by Mike Ratliff
29 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, 35 the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him. Exodus 34:29-35 (NASB)
What is hypocrisy? Most dictionaries define it this way, “The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.” In the New Testament, one of best known examples of the Greek word translated as “hypocrites” is found in our Lord Jesus’ quotation of Isaiah 29:13 in Matthew 15:7-9, “ὑποκριταί, καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν περὶ ὑμῶν Ἠσαΐας λέγων· ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ· μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων.” Or, “Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you saying, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me and in vain do they worship me teaching as commandments the teachings of men.” Remember, this was our Lord talking here.
Whenever I write any piece on discernment and name names I also receive a healthy dose of reprimand from other Christians who believe that it is wrong for Christians to do the very thing our Lord was doing in the passage above or in John 9 in which he stood his ground against the hypocrisy of the false teachers of his day, refusing to model his ministry in such a way that it would never be offensive to anyone. How did our Lord react when his disciples came to him telling him that the Pharisees were offended at his teaching (Matthew 15:12)?
10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:10-14 (NASB)
Please read the following blog article at the Gospel Coalition by Trevin Wax. The blog is titled Behind Every Theological Crusader There’s Usually a Story. Lets see if we can follow this logic consistently and where it takes us and see if it lines up with those used by God to bring him glory and edify the Body of Christ. How about the Apostles? Were they “Crusaders” as Trevin labeled them? Yep, that’s what they were and the Apostle Paul would be leading them. My library would probably not be very interesting to most people. I have open in front of me as I type this William Tyndale’s The Obedience of a Christian Man. Tyndale knew all about being a “Crusader” as Trevin would label him. He refused to bow the knee to the Pope or his Bishops, the King of England, or the Holy Roman Emperor as they hunted him seeking his life as he translated the New Testament from Greek to English. He then had them printed and smuggled into England. In his book The Obedience of a Christian Man he shows chapter by chapter how those who always oppose the work of God can often be those at the highest level of visible religious power. In their fight to suppress the true work of God their hypocrisy is revealed as they often persecute the righteous as they seek to create a religious climate that does not offend those in power.
Another book I have in my library is The Church History by Eusebius. He wrote during the time of the Arian controversy, but his history covers the time of Christ through his own time. He does not flinch in giving the details of the martyrdom of Christians who refused to bow the knee to evil rulers and heretics who gained power. I also have several of John Bunyan’s books who spent seven years in prison for refusing to stop preaching the Gospel.
Are these people “Crusaders” with a story and, therefore, just having “issues” that others need to take into account as the status quo is maintained so no one is “offended.” Two of my favorite Twentieth Century Christian “Crusaders” are Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and J. Gresham Machen. If these men were alive today I doubt if either would be invited to very many “conferences” to speak or address a gathering of pastors or whatever; at least, not outside of their own denominations. What makes these two men stand out is their utter refusal to compromise on God’s Word as God’s Truth. There was no hypocrisy in either of them and it cost both of them, but isn’t that the way with those who truly obey God?
When I read posts or articles like Behind Every Theological Crusader There’s Usually a Story I get heartburn. I want to go find Trevin and ask him some very serious and direct questions about the Sovereignty of God and what it means for believers to be those living sacrifices in Romans 12:1. In that piece Trevin used the example of a man who was forced out of a church by a new pastor who was taking his church Purpose Driven. I can relate. If you have read my past posts much at all you know that God used that almost exact scenario to push my wife and I out of our old church, marginalizing me in the process from those peope and many of the other local churches in that area, which was the process He used to create this ministry. In his article Trevin assumes that the Purpose Driven paradigm is just another form of valid evangelism just lacking in doctrinal focus whereas we know that it is complete compromise and is centered around a false gospel and is doctrinally bankrupt. The fellow he used in his example was counseled to be forgiving and to simply focus more on evangelism and gospel and “stop focusing on the faults of the Purpose Driven model.” I admit that was the part of the article that caused me the most heartburn, even more than the part about the Calvinism issues.
Do Christians have issues? Sure, when I was forced out of my old post as a Deacon and Bible teacher at that SBC church in 2006 because I refused to go along with it going Purpose Driven, I became a crusader against all things PDC and Rick Warren as I shared above. I think I am past that, but through that I also learned that there is a great deal more going on with Rick Warren that we need to discern than the Purpose Driven paradigm. Some of my friends refer to him as Wolf Warren. Others are still so bitter towards him that they cannot even have a meaningful conversation about him without losing it. Being a highly technical I.T. guy I approach Rick Warren and all he does as a “threat” just as I would some “virus” or “spoofing” attack. He makes his move and I take the appropriate action to neutralize it by telling the truth, by shinning the light of God’s Word into the murkiness he creates with his open-ended theology that attempts to be non-threatening and inoffensive to everyone.
One of the first signs that a Christian leader is NOT following our Lord Jesus is that he takes the broad inoffensive way rather than the narrow way that offends leaving the results to the Holy Spirit. This is exactly the opposite from what most believe nowadays. Rick Warren and those who emulate him are on which path? Which path is the one with all the hypocrites according to our Lord Jesus (Matthew 15:7-9)?
Soli Deo Gloria!