“It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” ― Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit link
A few days ago, Phil Johnson, Executive Pastor of Grace to You, John MacArthur's ministry called me a "hypocrite." You can read a bit about the conflagration in this post A Response to Phil Johnson by Dr Rich Poupard, an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. I wasn't 100% sure why he thought that way but I guess it was because I was claiming that he should not have spoken ill of a women who had been abused. He claimed that I was more concerned about her than I was her children. Given the emphasis of this blog, I believe he was mistaken but I knew a denial would not amount to anything but further accusations. Instead I said that everyone, to one extent or another is a hypocrite and I got back to the subject at hand.
What is a hypocrite?
The simple answer is when one's actions do not align with their stated beliefs. However, in an article titled Are You a Hypocrite?, Lonnie Best delves into this a bit more.
Honest External hypocrites: Their stated beliefs contradict their actions. However, their stated beliefs are consistent with their actual internal beliefs. Therefore they are also honest internal hypocrites. They have strong convictions but do not always follow through. Causes for this type of hypocrisy will be discussed later.
Dishonest External hypocrites: Their stated beliefs contradict their actions and their stated beliefs are not consistent with their actual beliefs. They often have weak convictions, and it is possible for them to be non-hypocritical on an internal level.
Honest internal hypocrites: Their internal beliefs contradict their actions. Their internal beliefs remain constant despite their contradicting actions. They are honest with themselves, and strive not to conform their beliefs around their own desires, actions, or imperfections.
Dishonest internal hypocrites: stated beliefs are consistent with actions but actual internal beliefs are not. They are often people pleasers with weak convictions.
What is an honest hypocrite?
Best is not a declared Christian as far as I can tell but he give us some insights into what might be called honest hypocrisy.
Uncertainty of Beliefs: If you are not 100% certain in what you believe, then your actions are not likely to be consistent with your beliefs 100% of the time. A conservative interpreter of reality is seldom 100% certain about anything. This uncertainty can cause one to be hypocritical at times.
Carnal Desires: These are inherent human desires that often cause one to act on what the flesh desires, rather than what one believes to be the right action.
The difficulty level of the belief system: If one's belief standards of right and wrong are higher than what is humanly possible, then their actions are obviously not going to be consistent with their beliefs.
So, according to Best, three things can constitute honest hypocrisy. Think about these categories as you read the remainder of the post.
- A person is not totally convinced of his belief system so he behaves erratically.
- One is overwhelmed with certain desires that make it terribly difficult to be consistent.
- It is too difficult to maintain consistency in actions since the belief system demands something not humanly possible.
According to Wikipedia:
George Alan Rekers (born July 11, 1948) is an American psychologist and ordained Southern Baptist minister. He is emeritus professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
Rekers has a Ph.D from University of California, Los Angeles and has been a research fellow at Harvard University, a professor and psychologist for UCLA and the University of Florida, and department head at Kansas State University. In 1983 Rekers was on the founding board of the Family Research Council, a non-profit Christian lobbying organization, and he is a former officer and scientific advisor of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization offering conversion therapy intended to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality. Rekers has testified in court that homosexuality is destructive, and against parenthood by gay and lesbian people in a number of court cases involving organizations and state agencies working with children.
Rekers believed and preached that homosexuality could be cured. He was featured and promoted by many Christian groups and churches as he preached his "cure homosexuality" message. But Rekers had a secret.
In May 2010 Rekers employed a male prostitute as a travel companion for a two-week vacation in Europe. Rekers denied any inappropriate conduct and suggestions that he was gay. The male escort told CNN he had given Rekers "sexual massages" while traveling together in Europe. Rekers subsequently resigned from the board of NARTH.
TWW wrote about this situation here. (Please ignore the pagination issues.) There is little question that Rekers was involved in at least one two-week homosexual encounter. It is not beyond the possibility that he had struggled with his sexual orientation for a long time before this incident. What caused Reker not to seek help since he claimed to have the cure for his issue? Was it shame? Was it that he as afraid he would lose money by admitting his attraction? Was this honest hypocrisy?
(For the record, reparative therapy has been shown to not only be totally ineffective but may even be dangerous and is no longer endorsed by the SBC or the Christian Medical Dental Associations.)
Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham, admitted to being rebellious in his younger years. Eventually, he returned to the family business- preaching. He became known, in Reformed circles, for his teachings on grace.
Bestselling author Tullian Tchividjian is convinced our exhausted world needs a fresh encounter with God's inexhaustible grace—His one-way love. Sadly, however, Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living—and the judgments that result from them—rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over and over again. Tchividjian convincingly shows that Christianity is not about good people getting better. If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good.
In this "manifesto," Tchividjian calls the church back to the heart of the Christian faith—grace. It is time for us to abandon our play-it-safe religion, and to get drunk on grace. Two hundred-proof, unflinching grace. It’s shocking and scary, unnatural and undomesticated … but it is also the only thing that can set us free and light the church—and the world—on fire.
Tchividjian was eventually critiqued for his views on grace by his friends at The Gospel Coalition and was forced to remove his blog from their website. Shortly thereafter, he stepped down from the pulpit when he admitted to two affairs, more were documented by Spiritual Sounding Board. He divorced his wife and quickly remarried a woman who had been divorced two times.
Question: Was his emphasis on inexhaustible grace due to his hidden behavior? Was this honest hypocrisy or not?
CJ Mahaney and humility
Was Mahaney's book on humility an example of humility or just the opposite? Mahaney, at one time, once called himself the Head Apostle for his churches, exhibiting what appeared to be profound egotism. The history of his rise and fall proved to be an example of hypocrisy. Yet, many of The Gospel Coalition fanboys continue to recommend this book as required reading and continue to make pilgrimages to his new church. I would assume that none of these pastors ever tell the folks who read the book about Mahaney's history.
How would one describe the hypocrisy that is evident here?
Iain Campbell: Was his suicide due to the truth of his hypocrisy being revealed?
If you haven't read our post on Campbell here is a link to Reformed leader Dr Iain Campbell Dies By Suicide Amidst Allegations of Affairs and an Out of Wedlock Child. His Wife Gets Blamed!. It will be of help in understanding the following.
Campbell taught about hypocrisy.
He wrote Hypocrisy in High Places for Ligonier Ministries. As I read the following, I wondered if he might have been talking about himself.
“We are all within an inch of succumbing to the delusion that it is possible to be one thing in one context and something else in another. The real danger lies in the deception that whispers that we are safe behind the mask of hypocrisy.”
He discussed the problem of living up to our profession of faith.
One of our readers, Max, sent us the following quote from You Should Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain? by Campbell.
“… ways in which we take God’s name in vain. Among them … professing His name but not living according to our profession
He stood firmly against the laws legalizing assisted suicide yet he took his own life.
Here is a letter to the editor of the Stornoway Gazette disagreeing with Campbell's stand.
Assisted dying Rev. Iain D. Campbell’s “Life, death and dignity” take on the assisted suicide debate at Westminster made interesting reading (Gazette 3.9.15), and since he is opposed to any form of assisted dying he will be well satisfied that a majority of M.P.’s agreed with him and kicked this thing into touch yet again.
It’s an issue however that refuses go away, and it’s my belief there’ll come a day when assisted dying will get onto the statute books. I find myself in disagreement with Rev. Iain when he writes that to be debating this subject at all is a sad indictment on the kind of society we have become. In my view that’s a nonsense thing to say, and nor can I agree with him when he claims that by no stretch of logic can theology concede that assisted dying adds to the dignity of the person. I agree even less when he states that a society that makes assisted dying legal has already sold its soul. That too in my view is nonsense, and maybe Rev. Iain needs to get out of his study a bit more and into the real and suffering world.
In this country of ours we have in the main the greatest concern for the welfare of animals. If an animal is suffering and in distress, and with no possibility of relief or betterment, we intervene on its behalf and put it to sleep. It’s the right thing to do and we have no hesitation in doing it. In my view that facility should also extend to ourselves, indeed it seems entirely illogical that it doesn’t. There are folk out there who, from whatever cause, have fought pain and distress beyond our imagining, who have neither the bodily strength nor the will to go on and who want to go home. The law of this land should permit them to do that. It has not a thing to do with theology, but has everything to do with reality, with compassion and dignity and the mind and heart of a loving God. Keith Fernie 8 Drakies Avenue,
Here is an interesting take by Campbell on the presumption of salvation.
Campbell, once again writing for Ligonier Ministries, discusses True and False Assurance.
The particular doctrine this parable represents is highlighted in Matthew 22:14: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” There is a generous and free invitation. But not everyone who receives this invitation will finally partake of the feast. As B.B. Warfield reminds us in his essay “Are They Few That Be Saved?”, Jesus is not here speaking about the eternal number of the elect and the reprobate; He is pressing home to His hearers the need “to see to it that they both respond to the invitation of the gospel and live according to it.”
The point of the parable and its warning is to remind us that there is such a thing as a presumption of salvation, a sense that all is well with our soul, when, in actual fact, the opposite may be true. Thus, to be sure we are saved requires a consideration of the possibility that we may not be.
…The “Lord, Lord” of theological knowledge is not a ground for believing we shall be saved. The demons believe but are still demons (James 2:19). To know that there is a wedding feast, and that there is an invitation to it, is not the ultimate qualification. Indeed, if we take the nature of sin seriously, it could be the ultimate disqualification; for to know the truth and not act on it is a greater sin than not having known it at all.
The “Lord, Lord” of Christian experience is not a ground for assurance. There is an inseparable connection between the promises of the gospel and Christian experience. When the gospel impacts our lives, we will feel and experience certain things. But, as Jonathan Edwards reminds us in his Religious Affections, there is a real distinction between the exercises of grace and the evidences of grace; and to make evidences out of our experiences without any real love of Christ, which alone comes from the exercise of grace, will lead to a false assurance. Apparent evidences of piety there may be, but these, in Edwards’ words, may be nothing more than “the common influences of the Spirit of God, joined with the delusions of Satan and the wicked and deceitful heart.”
Nor will the “Lord, Lord” of Christian service serve as a ground of assurance. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, that is what the Lord drives home in particular. People will appeal to the fact that they prophesied, exorcised demons, and did mighty works in Christ’s name. He will not deny that they did these things, only that, in the doing of them, they did not know him.
…That assurance is but presumption that works men to play with sin, to be bold with sin, to make light of sin, to walk on in ways of sin. Such assurance will never bring a man to heaven, it will never keep him from dropping into hell, yea, it will double his damnation and make him the most miserable among all damned, miserable, forlorn spirits. Ah Lord! from such an assurance deliver my soul, and give me more and more that divine assurance that makes sin to be more hateful than hell, and that makes the soul to be more careful to avoid the one, than it is fearful of falling into the other.
In 2000, Iain Campbell was allegedly involved in the expulsion of 20 ministers who wanted an investigation of a colleague allegedly involved in sexual improprieties. (I am sorry for all the *allegeds.*(Lawyers, you know.)
One of our readers, JYJames, referred us to this story which we will investigate in greater depth. A letter to the editor regarding CHURCH SEX CLAIMS :Married reverend found hanged is accused of having SEVEN mistresses – and his wife ‘wants them kicked out of the church’ refers to this incident.
“This is the same minister who seventeen years ago argued that fellow ministers who argued that allegations of serious sexual improprieties on the part of one of his senior colleagues should be investigated [and] should themselves be expelled from the Church. Over twenty of them were expelled, in 2000 but the subject of those allegations never dealt with.”
Did he understand the gospel as I related to him and his sin?
though gifted in so many fields Iain’s great love was preaching the gospel. It was a preaching of the highest calibre.”
Is this honest hypocrisy or not?
Are these men examples of honest hypocrisy?
Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.
- It is next to impossible to fulfill all the commands for living a sinless life. The Holy Spirit, while present in the life of the believer, is a divine helper but does not irresistibly lead the believer to sinless perfection. We do not have the freedom to obey perfectly no matter what some people at TGC claim. That means we will all sin. I love the confession of sins each week at my church because it reminds me to be aware of my shortcomings and failures and to admit, out loud, that I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
- I believe that these men all were certain in their beliefs as Christians. I cannot read their minds but I have, with the exception of George Rekers, read extensively on the others.
- I believe that all of the men mentioned were dishonest hypocrites. Let me explain why.
Rekers hid his same sex attraction while at the same time claiming that same sex attraction could be cured by reparative therapy. His claims in the area were adopted by many church and parachurch organizations. As we now know, reparative therapy was not only an abysmal failure, it led to serious consequences for those who have same sex attraction and attempted to *take the cure." My guess is that untold numbers of people have been hurt by his hypocrisy.
If Rekers had been honest about his own attraction, it would have become patently obvious that reparative therapy was ineffective. Rekers appears to be a dishonest hypocrite.
It is my opinion that TT is also a dishonest hypocrite. If one looks carefully at his writings, it appears that he was advocating for grace that forgives sin over and over and over. I am one who bought what he had to say, thinking that he was discussing the fact that Christians cope with sin every day of their lives. However, it now appears to me that he may have been advocating that there was no hope to deal with serious sin in our lives. Strangely, he did not seem to emphasize repentance.
In other words, TT knew he had a problem with serial adultery yet decided not to deal with it over a prolonged period of time. Please read the linked in Timeline at Defend the Sheep. I believe that he was playing a game with his perspective on grace and not telling the truth. TT had a woman problem-not a one time fall from grace. He gave up on his marriage, attempted blame his wife, leave his children behind in Florida and allegedly married and moved to Texas with his honey who was allegedly twice divorced and allegedly involved with him during his marriage. What a pair!
This is far different than a pastor I know who had an affair, confessed it, stepped down from the pulpit and has led a life of repentance for many, many years. He is is an honest hypocrite. In fact, it was he who once said "We are all hypocrites."
Wowza! I could write a book on this subject. CJ Mahaney, when confronted by his own sin, took off from his church and hid out under the protection of Mark Dever and Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Then, when the going continued to be rough, he ditched his church and people and took off to Louisville, Kentucky to be near to his BFF, Al Mohler and start again How sad it is when pastors help their friends to avoid being truly humble by avoiding repentance and apologizing.
Recently, Mahaney stated that people should make their pastors happy by not expressing any sort of dissent. Seriously? This is humility? Due to the number of years that are involved in this short narrative, I believe that Mahaney is a dishonest hypocrite.
I have received a number of emails from people from across the Pond about Campbell. They all told me that they believe that Campbell is guilty of these allegations. Campbell took his own life immediately when allegedly confronted by his wife regarding what was allegedly years of infidelity with a number of women. If this is true, he lived a lie for years. Not only that but he wrote about hypocrisy and the problems of living up to the faith that we profess. He claimed to be against assisted suicide but took his own life when confronted with his sins.
He may have been involved in covering up the sexual improprieties of a colleague while helping to expel 20 pastors who were concerned about this pastor. This seems a bit radical. Did he see himself in the one pastor whom he allegedly protected at the expense of others?
Sadly, he was known for his preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel that I know claims that we are sinners in need of grace and we must repent. If we repent, we are forgiven. Was his faith tied up in being the *great preacher?* Did he not understand that a confession of his sins would be a way to truly preach the Gospel? As he stood in repentance he could cling to that Gospel as he faced the consequences of his sin. How many people would have come to an understanding of grace if he had lived it out, courageously, in his own life?
Due to the years of alleged hidden sin and his response, I believe he was a dishonest hypocrite.
A final caveat
Being a dishonest hypocrite does not mean that someone is not a Christian. I gladly leave that judgment up to the One who truly knows us.
Help with further posts on Campbell, Robertson and others
I am so thankful to a number of readers who have sent us information on Iain Campbell. I am interested in writing more posts on Campbell and a few of his friends such as David Robertson. I would appreciate any newspaper articles, etc. along with your thinking. Also, if any of you know Anne Campbell, please tell her that TWW is standing with her and wish to offer our assistance to her in any possible way.