Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Quote for a Wednesday

"I saw about a peck of counterfeit dollars once. Did I go to the window and throw away all my good dollars? No! Yet you reject Christianity because there are hypocrites, or counterfeit Christians."

~~ William E. Biederwolf

Well, there was a time when I could fully relate to this one. I remember saying to my friend, Jack, years ago that I couldn't possibly become a Christian because when I looked around a church all I saw was a bunch of hypocrites.

Jack shot back, "Well, c'mon in and join us. There's always room for one more."


Roxane B. Salonen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roxane B. Salonen said...

[Yeah, that was me. Too many typos, too fast, starting over...]


Oh, this is wonderful! I am relating so well. My father, who once attended seminary to become a priest, eventually abandoned the faith for many years. Often, his answer for why was, "They're just a bunch of hypocrites." Even as a older child, I didn't think that made any sense. I thought, "But, isn't he being one by saying that?" Thankfully, years later, he was drawn back in and is now actively engaged in his faith again. In other words, he's back in there with the rest of us sinners. :) Yeah, our faith definitely humbles us. The "hypocrite excuse" is almost as bad as the accusation that we Christians all think we're holier than thou. Uh, huh? Let me speak for myself on that one, please. I've never professed to holiness. I only strive for it, imperfectly, every day. :)

Theresa said...

Oh, boy. That was my excuse for years, too. I wish I'd had Jack to set me straight!

Skysaw said...

To be fair, hypocrisy was one of Jesus' primary targets in His earthly ministry, if not number one on His hit list. Woe to us if we cause one of the little ones to stumble, and our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. Not saying Jack and Mr. Biederwolf don't have great points to contribute, just sayin'. We gotta walk the walk for the sake of others as well as ourselves. Perhaps that's what St. Paul was talking about with "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12)." I think it's a matter, too, for Roxane's dad, that we know that those people who disedified him weren't being the Christians they should have been.

Karen E. said...

Absolutely He targeted hypocrisy, and absolutely we need to strive for perfection -- I think you may have misunderstood my point a little, Skysaw. When Jack invited me to "join the hypocrites" it wasn't meant to say, "Hey, we're all imperfect anyway, so you may as well come, too and we'll all just be imperfect together; no need to strive for better." No, no, no. Rather, it was a much-needed shot at me for being so judgmental myself -- Who was I to decide that those people sitting in a church were being hypocritical? And why wasn't I examining *myself*, instead of *them*? He called me on my own hypocrisy, and he won that round. :)

Also, I think Biederwolf's point was that we cannot reject the objective institution simply because there will always be fakes. There will always be tares among the wheat but to reject Christianity because of that fact is a cop-out, a dodge of the real issue, and a dodge of examining one's own position on the matter, you know?

Skysaw said...

Absolutely. As I said, I did appreciate the points made. We just have to work on making sure we do our best, with God's grace, not to be one of those hypocrites.

I think it was St. Bernard of Clairvaux who enjoined Christians to attribute the worst of motives to themselves (to purify their intentions and actions), and the best of motives to others (for the sake of mercy).

Karen E. said...

"We just have to work on making sure we do our best, with God's grace, not to be one of those hypocrites." Yup!

I love St. Bernard.

Maureen :) said...

I used that old hypocrite argument myself as one reason not to go to church back in my heathen days. Then someone said to me, "That's exactly why I NEED to go to church because I am a hypocrite!"

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Loved this. :>) Linked to it last week in my weekly roundup, and I also linked this week to your interview - I loved the CS Lewis quote you mentioned on suffering. Thanks!