Imagine if you were watching the Family Feud game show and the host said, “Name a reason people stop going to church.” The number one answer on the board would likely be “Hypocrisy.” We hear this frequently. “I stopped going to church,” or “I never go to church,” or “I changed my church,” or even, “I no longer believe in God because of all the hypocrites.”
The fatal flaw in such reasoning is that there is nowhere in the world to go where there are no hypocrites. It has often been said that if you discover the “perfect” church, don’t go in. If you go in, it will then contain a hypocrite, and you will have ruined it. We are all hypocrites. Some of us may try to deny it, but the fact remains that we are all imperfect.
Should you decide to eschew “organized religion” and worship God independently, all you will accomplish is to organize your own, private religion with one member that just happens to be a hypocrite. So, that doesn’t solve the problem. Your “private church” will still be full of hypocrites.
Hundreds of years ago, reformers tried to “fix” hypocrisy in the Church. Consequently, all of the churches started since the Reformation have been started by imperfect human beings who happen to have all been hypocrites. The Church was originally formed by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only man who ever lived that was a perfect, non-hypocrite. Consequently, when choosing a church, why not at least choose the one that was formed by a perfect, non-hypocrite? Why should an imperfect hypocrite believe that he or she can re-form what was already formed by the perfect, non-hypocrite, Jesus Christ?
Hypocrites in the Church do not negate the truth of the Church anymore than out-of-shape people in a gym negate the benefits of exercise. Instead of trying to run away from hypocrites we need to be running towards Christ and embracing the benefits of His Church. Otherwise, we’re just running from hypocrisy into the arms of more hypocrisy.