“The Epitome of Hypocrisy”Categories: Reflections (articles from R.Bowman)
Vol.XXVI January 5, 2011 No.1
the epitome of hypocrisy
A couple of days ago, I read with some interest - a not a little disgust - an exchange between a couple of people about the nature of the Bible. One person was pointed in his declaration that the Bible is not an infallible revelation of God, that we cannot be certain of it’s accuracy, and that it has been elevated to a place of idolatry as a substitute for God Himself. The other person was attempting to offer some opposition to those propositions. The discussion was brief and neither party was very comprehensive in their responses. I have no idea if the parties involved pursued the discourse any farther, and it is really not my intention to address the nature of those comments. What I do find absolutely incredulous is the fact that the same individual who offered such scathing criticism of the Bible and those who hold it as the infallible and inspired Word of God, then proceeded to make several comments about his own devotion to God, his life of service to Jesus and “His bride” and his declarations of faith in God’s will and God’s influence upon his life.
How, pray tell, do we know the first thing about God’s will, God’s work, God’s influence, God’s Son, or most anything else about God (apart from His existence), separate from God’s Word? It is the epitome of hypocrisy - the epitome of hypocrisy - to even recognize Jesus as the Christ and then to dismiss anything that the Bible says as irrelevant, uninspired, or inapplicable to mankind. It is imperative to learn and acknowledge that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot accept Jesus and dismiss the Bible as God’s Word - inspired, infallible, eternal. And we cannot accept the Bible as God’s Word and dismiss Jesus - Lord, Savior, Son of God. I am amazed at the frequency with which this inconsistency is applied in the religious world of our day. We see it constantly in the lives of individuals. People claim to recognize Jesus as their Savior, call themselves Christians, talk about God’s will and His influence. And yet they practice dishonesty, engage in sexual immorality, divorce and remarry at their own whim, worship at their convenience and in whatever way they deem pleasing, embrace covetousness, serve themselves. In essence, they reject what God’s Word says about discipleship after using God’s Word to learn about the sacrifice of Jesus. And I suppose that such is to be expected when we have witnessed the same approach to Biblical authority among religious organizations over the years. “Churches” that claim to be built upon the work and words of Jesus are regularly engaged in the promotion of activities that are nowhere authorized in the Bible. The New Testament pattern of worship has been exchanged for spiritually-themed entertainment; the moral demands of the Bible have been compromised due to the popularity of divorce/remarriage, homosexuality, promiscuity, and immodesty; God’s design regarding gender roles have been sacrificed for political correctness; and almost anything of a doctrinal nature that might actually indict someone of sin is often ignored for the sake of “unity”. Very few major denominations want to stand on the Bible anymore.
Oh, but everyone believes in Jesus. And everyone recognizes the love of God. And everyone is certain that God knows our heart and accepts us as we are.
Those academicians who study such movements, assign reasons to them and then attempt to label such would probably include these observations within the designation of “post-modernism”. Call it what you like, such a perspective is essentially a symptom of selfishness, pride, and hypocrisy.
The Bible claims that Jesus of Nazareth was God in the flesh (Jn.1:1-18; Col.1:15f), and that the miracles He performed prove those claims of divinity (Jn.20:30f; Acts 2:22). The proposition of the Bible is that Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for sin, so that those who put their faith in Him might stand justified (“pronounced innocent”) before God and enjoy eternal life after physical death (Jn.20:30f; Rom.3:21-26; 5:1-11). Almost every “Christian” religious organization accepts and espouses these Biblical claims. But the same Bible that reveals these truths, also reveals that this same Jesus - God in the flesh - assigned and authorized men to record the will of God which would be revealed to them by Jesus through God the Spirit after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. The thrust of Jn.14-16 revolves around this plan. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever...But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (Jn.14:16,26). “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (Jn.15:26). “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you...However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (Jn.16:7-15). And those apostles claim that the words they were writing were the words of Jesus given to them by God the Spirit (Acts 4:18-20; I Cor.2:4-16; Gal.1:11-12; Eph.3:1-5f; Heb.2:1-4). They are the men who have told us about Jesus, just as He had commanded them. They are also the men who told us, in the very same documents, about the will of God and the words of God. The two are irrevocably tied together. Consistency demands that if we accept Jesus as Lord based upon the claims of the Bible, then we must accept the Bible as the inspired and infallible Word of God based upon the words of Jesus.
Ours is an age of doubt, inconsistency, selfishness, and indulgence. Increasingly, people who claim allegiance to God are treating the Bible like a salad bar - we’ll pick and choose those things we want (salvation, mercy, love, hope, joy) and we’ll just ignore the stuff that is hard, demanding, and displeasing (diligence, holiness, morality, selflessness, temperance, sacrifice). How can we be so hypocritical as to acknowledge Jesus while decrying the very revelation that proclaims Him? God help us.