Chapter Eight: The Problem of Hypocrisy

My Problem With God Is…

Sunday, October 6

Studies show the top 3 reasons people reject Christianity are that “church people” are seen as anti-homosexual, judgmental or hypocritical. People have connected past wars, torture, murders, slavery and other horrific acts, done in the name of Jesus, with the position and purpose of God’s design and calling for His church. The church is a place for the imperfect, but many who attend and represent Christ, don’t have a real relationship with Jesus. And many who do, do not live a lifestyle counter to cultural norms. True Christians must have beliefs coupled with lives that are God-honoring. In the book, Clark tackles past violence and intolerability by those professing faith in Jesus. “The Bible calls us to judge the truth of Christianity by the life of its founder, Jesus Christ himself, not by the lives of those attempting to follow him, because in him and him alone will you find someone worthy of trust and imitation.”

Getting Started:

  1. Take a few minutes as a group and share what portions of the book or the Sunday morning message were most impactful to you? How has what you’ve heard re-shaped the way you think
  2. In your own experience, how has the poor behavior of Christians impacted your belief about Christianity, and its’ beliefs as a whole? What culturally encourages the thought that Christians are to be “perfect”?
  3. When assessing Christianity, it is best done by investigating its’ central teachings, and teacher, Jesus, and not it’s followers, the church. Why is this important for anyone looking further into Christianity to understand that the fact there are hypocrites in the Church, affirms its ability to transform lives?
  4. Do you believe StoneWater Church is a hypocritical church, filled with hypocritical people? Are there conversations you need to have with leadership regarding your concerns? Are your positions based on the actions of individuals, or does the culture being displayed or taught not mimic the life of Christ?

Going Deeper:

  1. When confronted with examples of horrible things the church has done in the name of Jesus, what is your response? How do you respond when people give examples of followers of Jesus living a life counter to the teachings of Jesus?
  2. Many take the position that Christians preach to love everyone, yet they judge and distance themselves from those who do not look like or act like they do. What is inaccurate about this perspective? Should there exist the opportunity to both disagree with someone’s position, but still show love? Share some examples of how this could be lived out.
  3. Pastor Jeremy referenced “fakers” of the faith in his Sunday sermon on hypocrisy. Why is it difficult to identify cultural Christians from real followers of Christ. What queues help identify the difference?