Do Christians believe they are perfect? That is the claim of scoffers — and perhaps the biggest myth about Christianity. There is an epidemic of arbitrary charges of hypocrisy being brought against Christians. Generally, the norm is to qualify them all as hypocrites regardless of what they have done.
A real Christian is somebody who accepts Jesus Christ as their savior — based on Jesus’ death on the cross (for sin) and His resurrection. When a person becomes a real Christian, God begins to renew their mind, making them more like Christ. This is a process, however, and is not perfected during the lifetime of the Christian — due to the self-centered and sinful nature of our earthly bodies.
Ephesians 4:20-21 says, “…put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.”
The process of mind renewal implies Christians are not perfect even after accepting Jesus Christ. In fact, one of the reasons people receive Christ is because they accept their imperfections. Yet when a Christian slips and does something wrong, we can count on the scoffer to be in proximity saying, “Look at what that person did…what a hypocrite!”
This has become so common that it’s normal to call Christians hypocrites regardless of what they’ve done. It’s noteworthy that people who bring these arbitrary accusations are hypocrites themselves. Since everybody at some point has not practiced what they preached, doesn't that make everybody a hypocrite?
In light of the above, I'll number some details that accentuate the fallacy of the hypocrisy charges. Some of the many possible variables in a hypocrisy charge are listed below.
- Which Christians are hypocrites? Is it one or two Christians, some Christians, or all Christians?
- Are the Christians in question real Christians or are they Christians by NAME only? In other words, are they fake, lacking the integrity of those truly being renewed by God?
- Are we talking about Christian pastors who preach to a crowd, or are we talking about Christian listeners who listen to the preaching?
- When something is taught, whether it comes from a pastor or another Christian, what is the context of the message that merits a charge of hypocrisy?
- Are we talking about committing felonies, misdemeanors, parking violations, gossip, complaining, or not picking up every bit of trash? In general, what is the severity of the perceived wrong?
- Are we talking about new Christians, or are we talking about those who have been Christians for a long time? At what point did they become a hypocrite? Was it immediately when they accepted Christ or are scoffers allowing them a grace period where they have “non-hypocrite” status that changes to “hypocrite” after 1 year? LOL
If those variables aren't enough to make you stop and think, consider the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis who refused to sign a gay-marriage certificate. She was called a hypocrite because she lived a life that was “sinful” before she became a Christian. By that rationale, even a non-Christian alcoholic is not allowed to start over. So much for Alcoholics Anonymous!
If this rationale is applied across the board, those who accuse Christians actually damn themselves. The rationale implies that once we do something wrong, then we’re condemned for the rest of our lives.
The apostle Paul (one of the authors of the New Testament in the bible) persecuted and killed Christians before he followed Christ. Moreover, even when he did follow Christ, he talked about his ongoing struggle with sin in Romans chapter 7 and how (thanks to Christ) he could have some power over it. This is the same Paul who wrote about the renewing of the mind in Ephesians 4:20-21, mentioned above.
Stop Believing the Myth
Real Christians certainly don't believe they are perfect. It is also not taught anywhere in the Bible that Christians ought to believe they are perfect.
When given sufficient and educated thought, one can see that the hypocrisy charges brought against Christians are absurd. Anybody who asserts the generalization that Christians are hypocrites either has an incorrect understanding of what Christians are or they just hate Christians.
© 2022 Dan Martino