- Guinness begins this chapter by affirming that Christianity’s Achilles heel is hypocrisy and when believers fight among themselves it is a sure signpost that this fracture obtains. Hypocrisy among believers (I.e., charge of Christians not loving one another) is one of the main reasons for why people don’t come to faith and coupled with a worldly church, leaves the Christian advocate in a difficult place.
Guinness admits that everyone is a hypocrite because self-deception and truth suppression is committed by all which means that for the charge of hypocrisy to be real, objective truth must be presupposed. This is problematic for Post-moderns because the very notion of objective truth is alien to their worldview.
Hypocrisy ends up violating; truth, justice and honesty, because in one way or another, the position of a proponent is merely spoken, rather than lived out. That is, a person can “talk the talk, but fails to walk the walk”. When this kind of disconnect, from word to deed occurs, a loss of credibility follows and results in many people not having an ear to hear the Gospel, and thus calling believers hypocrites.
[It’s important however to point out that most, if not all non-believers, don’t understand the Christian struggle Paul reveals in Romans 7 with sin. To struggle with sin is one thing, to pretend not to, is another. And that is perhaps where I think Guinness could have been clearer. Nevertheless nonbelievers do understand that hypocrisy is bad which points to the reality of objective truth.]
This notion of objective truth is revealed through the social benefits of hypocrisy according to Guinness. While admitting that hypocrisy is bad and immoral, he says that it can offer some benefits to society for it:
falsely (models) virtue—there’s actually a good to imitate, it may affect others to practice what they preach—there’s actually moral consistency at which to aim, it may stir everyone to self-examination—there’s actually a corporate understanding of this malady, it points to the inner value of life and not just outward image—there’s actually more to us than mere physical properties.
When it comes to the confession of hypocrisy, Guinness admits that it’s the road to freedom and truth rather than bondage and deception. Moreover, our confessions’ motive should be God’s approval, not peoples, and lastly if truth does not exist, the charge of hypocrisy can’t coherently be leveled.