How to Spot a Hypocrite: True Christianity vs. Fake Christianity
There are people who claim to be Christians who haven't got a clue what a real Christianity is. These fake Christians can usually be put into three categories: Legalists, hypocrites, and liberal "Christians". However, sometimes a true Christian can be liberal, legalistic and/or hypocritical. So how do you tell if someone you know is a true Christian or a fake Christian. I was a fake Christian for 10 years before I found out what a TRUE Christian was. How can you tell if YOU are a real Christian or a fake Christian? Maybe this will help
This is a ministry to help Legalists: http://www.recoveringlegalists.org/templates/System/default.asp?id=39848
According to Recovering Legalists Ministries, the definition of Legalism is as follows: "Legalism is a part of human life and all pervasive in our culture. Most of us experienced or experience it in our families of origin. Churches often are guilty as well. Legalism, for the purpose of this site and ministry, is trying to gain God's love and acceptance by: 1)"obedience"; 2) tithing; 3) prayer time; 4) "law keeping" or anything other than faith and the personal relationship with Jesus which will follow. Legalism is a current problem today and most of us have been touched by it. As stated in the Life Application Bible note on Colossians 2:23 "Legalism still attracts many people today. Following a long list of religious rules requires strong self-discipline and can make a person appear moral, but religious rules cannot change a person's heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that……..By helping people move out of legalism and recover from its wounds, we are helping add joy and peace to their (our) lives. Again from the LAB, the note on Galatians 4:15 "Have you lost your joy? Paul sensed that the Galatians had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism. Legalism can take away joy because (1) it makes people feel guilty rather than loved; (2) it produces self-hatred rather than humility; (3) it stresses performance over relationship; (4) it points out how far short we fall rather than how far we have come because of what Christ did for us. If you feel guilty and inadequate, check your focus. Are you living by faith in Christ or by trying to live up to the demands and expectations of others?" Note: The book of Galatians is devoted entirely to the subject of legalism. Romans and Hebrews and other books of the New Testament address it as well."
Webster's Dictionary defines hypocrisy as: 1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion 2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.
However, hypocrisy can also be an unconscious act of self deception. Remember that we often judge others by their actions, but judge ourselves by our intentions. We also allow ourselves to operate outside of our belief systems under certain conditions. Before judging someone as a hypocrite, you should find out if that person has a set of conditions that is causing the behavior; chances are there are areas in your own life that you would call hypocritical as well. The Holy Bible does NOT teach that you should not judge others – on the contrary, it teaches that you should be careful HOW you judge others.
Theses are some examples of REAL hypocrisy:
* A preacher gives a sermon about infidelity while his wife is seated on the front row and his current mistress is seated two rows behind her.
* An employee sings praise and worship songs while embezzling from the company.
* A man who has a subscription to Playboy teaches his son that pornography is a sin.
However, it is a common fallacy to accuse people of hypocrisy who do not practice what they preach JUST because they fail to practice it. Such people may in fact be hypocrites, but the proof is not in their failure to practice; the failure may be in despite of their attempts to abide by what they preach. In order to accurately label someone a hypocrite who fails to practice what they preach, there would have to be proof that the preaching itself was not genuine. These examples appear to be hypocritical, but they are NOT:
* A man who was a 20 year smoker, but who has quit for health reasons, teaches his children that smoking is bad for them.
* A woman who wants to quit smoking, but who does not have the will power to quit, teaches her children that smoking is bad for them, AND explains that if she could quit, she would quit.
* Parents teach their children that they should wait until marriage until they loose their virginity; however, one parent lost his virginity at 14 because he was taught the classid double standard that boys who get a lot are studs and that and the other parent lost hers at 16 because she was in love and was trying to save a relationship. Both parents have admitted their shortcomings in remaining sexually pure and are trying to teach their kids to learn from their mistakes.
* A Muslim man who is married to four women converts to Christianity. He later becomes a pastor of a church. His four wives and eight kids are seated on the front row as he teaches the Christian principle that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
As you can see, circumstance and intent are determining factors in properly judging hypocrisy. If you are too quick to judge others as being hypocrites you may very well be guilty of committing hypocrisy by doing so.
Hypocrisy in a religious context usually involves the conscious intent to preach something different than what is practiced. Hypocrisy is NOT the unintentional failure to practice what is preached. Even good Christians commit sin- that is called being human. However, having a sin nature and being confronted by temptation is no excuse to sin. Here is a link to better understand the difference between hypocrisy and moral failure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrite
Understanding Liberal Christianity
The word liberal in liberal Christianity mans an interpretation scripture without any preconceived notion of its inerrancy correctness of Church teachings. Even if a liberal Christian holds certain beliefs in common with traditional, orthodox, or conservative Christians, Liberal Christianity has no unified set of beliefs. Liberal Christians do not believe that the Bible is a collection of factual statements. Instead they believe that the documents reflect the human authors' beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing—within the historic and cultural context. Liberal Christianity believes that the Bible is a collection of narratives that explain (often through analogy) the essence and significance of the Christian understanding. Most Liberal Christians do not believe in a literal Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, the Original Sin, the Fall of Man, The historical accuracy of the bible, or that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. Most liberal Christians (like liberals in many religions) believe that the various religions of the world are all valid means of expressing the same truth. Most of them do not believe in a literal Hell and if they did, would not believe that a loving God would send anyone there. Liberal Christians can believe in evolution, abortion, gay marriage, homosexual clergy, premarital sex, divorce, and can be open to astrology, mysticism, the New Age movement, gambling, and pornography. Liberal Christians do not believe in offending other people and consider themselves to be very tolerant; however, they are usually intolerant of conservative Christians.
The word Christian in Liberal Christian can be more of a religious brand preference than an actual practice of beliefs. This makes liberal Christianity related to cultural "christianity" Here is a link to what liberal Protestants believe: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2001/06/What-Liberal-Protestants-Believe.aspx
Understanding Cultural Christianity
Cultural "christians" are people who have been brought up in a Western or Christian culture and may refer to themselves as being Christian because of that heritage or culture. They think that they are Christians by association not by actively practicing the Christianity that is taught in the bible. Non-Christians may refer to them as Christians, but practicing Christians do not since they do not have Christian beliefs or practices. Here is a link to cultural "christianity": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Christian
Understanding TRUE Christianity
True Christianity is also called biblical Christianity because its beliefs come from the bible. There are many different denominations of biblical Christianity. The following description of true Christianity should fall within the core belief system of Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Christian sects. Different sects and different denominations within those sects will add to these beliefs in building the ideological structure of their particular denomination, but these beliefs should be found in all True Christians. The two core beliefs of true Christianity are:
1. True Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God (most believe He is also God who came in the flesh.) They believe Jesus' death of the cross was a literal event that paid for their sins IN FULL. (This is where Legalists miss out on being True Christians; they continue to try paying for their own sins by good works).
2. True Christians make Jesus the boss of their lives. (This is where Liberal and Cultural Christians miss out on True Christianity – they have NOT submitted to God's authority; they are still the boss of their own lives.) As a result of their submission to God's authority, they do perform good works. However, to a True Christian, good works are not an attempt to gain salvation, good works are a RESULT of being saved.If you prayed that prayer, and you meant it, then you have just become a TRUE Christian! Go tell someone the good news!