“Perhaps the most common invitation to cynicism about the church is hypocrisy. Cynicism’s standard cliché about the church is that it is “filled with hypocrites.” This is a curiously powerless criticism. Of course it is filled with hypocrites. What else is new? Hospitals are filled with sick people. Hypocrisy is a human problem, not a distinctively Christian problem. Is anyone suggesting that there is no hypocrisy outside of the church? . . . Just because hypocrisy is so widespread, almost normal, this does not lessen its seriousness. Jesus reserved some of the most stinging rebukes for hypocrites. He repeated, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” no less than seven times in one chapter (Matthew 23) as he denounced one hypocrisy after another in the religious leadership. They crucified him at the end of the week.”
“I hate, I despise your festivals,
and take no delight in your solemn assemblies . . .
Take away the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
“The fear of God is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law.”