14 October 2011

Calling all hypocrites?

Last evening Bishop Paprocki and I drove through the small town of White Hall (Illinois) where outside of a Protestant church (it might have been Baptist, but I can't remember) with a marque sign along the road.

Now, I'm never been much of a fan of these signs where silly statements are posted in an attempt to lure people into the church.  Typically they only speak part of a theological truth and thus are very questionable, at best .  At other times they spout off historical inaccuracies (such as, "Under same management for 2,000 years" when the particular denomination has only been in existence for 140 years).  I often think of Rich Mullins' great line: "Save me from trendy religion that makes cheap cliches out of timeless truths."

This isn't to say that Baptist's (or whatever denomination it was) is trendy.  It might be, it might not be; I've never been there.  Still, I don't like gimmicky religion; it seems all too fake to me.

At any rate, the sign read something to this effect:

Come in and join us.
One more hypocrite
won't hurt.

Perhaps someone in White Hall can give the full quote.

Call me silly, but I'm not sure what the purpose of such a statement is.  If it is intended to draw people in, this seems hardly a good way to do so, especially since people so dislike hypocrites.  The sign not only insults the person reading it - by calling him a hypocrite without an evidence - and insults the congregants - by calling all of them hypocrites.

Too many people today are too quick to throw out the label of, "Hypocrite!" as if every sinner were a hypocrite.  There is a distinction: a hypocrite is a sinner who refuses to acknowledge he is a sinner.  Such a person isn't likely to be drawn in by a silly sign.  A sinner who acknowledges he is a sinner is not a hypocrite, but simply a sinner.

At the very least, I can safely say this slogan will not be found on the next vocations poster.


3 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:04 AM

    Haven't you heard people claim they don't go to church because "there are too many hypocrites there"? I assume this sign is meant as a humorous comeback to them and as a reminder that they, too, are hypocrites/sinners in need of salvation as much as anyone else.

    Elaine

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  2. It may well be an attempt at humor, but it still seems rather self-defeatist.

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  3. Anonymous2:44 AM

    I think that there a lot more liars than hypocrites in churches. I don't usually expect someone else to uphold a doctrine or tradition I won't, but I expect myself to "keep the Faith" and don't.

    Sharon L

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