There are at least two reasons why the gospel writers give us such extensive material on the Jewish religious leaders of the first century (e.g., scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees). First, Jesus exposes the spiritual character of the Pharisees in order guard his disciples from becoming entangled with and influence by those who are in the grip of religious hypocrisy (see Matt 16:6-12; 23:1-12; cf 2 Tim 3:5). Second, the negative example of the Pharisees help uproot our own residual hypocrisy because Christians are all recovering legalists from one degree to another. Continue reading “Are Christians Hypocrisy Hunters?”
You can read part 1 here
Two texts that a person could point to–really the only two in the New Testament–to argue that Christians can be classified as hypocrites, are Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42. In both texts, Jesus, speaking to his disciples, appears at first glance to imply that a disciple who does not deal with his own sin before helping another disciple with their sin is not merely guilty of hypocrisy, but is, in fact, a hypocrite (Matt 7:4; Luke 6:42).
These passages are often used as proof texts for how Christians should conduct their ministry of confrontation and restoration. The pattern should be this: before you deal with the little sins in other brothers and sisters, first deal with the big sins in your life. Well and good. As a principle, this approach is certainly valid. But a closer look at these texts shows us that Jesus’ use of the word hypocrite in Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42 is consistent with how he uses it elsewhere. In other words, Jesus isn’t assuming the person with a log in their eye is a genuine believer who simply needs instruction on how to humbly interact with other believers. Continue reading “Is the Church Full of Hypocrites? Part 2: What About the Log in our Eye?”