Hi, my name is Shane and I am a hypocrite.  At least that is how the average outsider would see me according to David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, authors of the book UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… And Why It Matters.

On the left is a picture of a couple that had become synonymous with hypocrisy during the rash of televangelist scandals in the 1980s  – Jim and Tammy Faye Baker.   All Christians at that point were lumped into that category.  I was an outsider at the time myself, and I thought that of Christians as well.  An outsider’s perception of Christians has not changed much.

The perception is that Christians say one thing but live something completely different.  Victoria, a 24-year-old single mom was one who was interviewed by the authors.  She said:

Everyone in my church gave me advice about how to raise my son, but a lot of the time they seemed to be reminding me that I have no husband – and besides, most of them were not following their own advice.  It made it hard to care what they said.  They were not practicing what they preached.

In the mind of an outsider a hypocrite is someone who is two-faced or somebody who has double standards.  Anyone who says one thing and does another is subject to the label.  Remember that 85% of outsiders who were surveyed have had significant exposure to Christians and churches and they have concluded that Christianity today is hypocritical.  Half of the young churchgoers surveyed agreed with the outsiders assessment.

Why?  Kinneman notes that we (Christians) need to realize is what they (outsiders) see from Christians creates their ideas about the reality and authenticity of following Christ.  So begs the question – “By our words and actions, are we boosting the reputation of Christianity, or are we unwitting accomplices in presenting an UnChristian faith to outsiders,”(p. 43)?

The sad reality is that Mosaics and Busters come to expect this.  They have come to the conclusion that people can not be counted on.  Expect to be disappointed.  They expect hypocrisy from us, and they even expect it in themselves.

Young outsiders have also come to expect everyone to play the angles and make themselves look as good as possible.  Our culture considers having a good image to be one of the highest goals in life…. young people have become adept at shaping their own vision of reality…. They see Christianity through the same protect-your-image-at-all-costs lens.

So instead of being a help for them as they struggle with this – they see us doing the same thing.

What are some of the reasons why we have this label applied?

  • The obvious reason is that our lives do not match our beliefs.  Our lifestyles and perspectives are no different from those around us.  Only 15% of those surveyed see any difference at all in Christian lifestyles.
  • Another reason is not just our lifestyles but the very way we communicate the priorities of being a Christian.  They see Christianity as a religion of rules and regulations.  We are seen as hypocritical because they are measuring us by our own standards, (p.48).

The truth is, we have invited the hypocrite image.  Our lives are often times poor advertisement to those standards we wish to convey.  The authors mention that the apostle Paul warned us about this.

Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another, (Galatians 3:3; 5:1; 13-15, ESV).

Kinneman and Lyons state that the UnChristian faith which is hypocritical, judgmental, and full of empty moral striving is what Paul was warning his readers about.

We also deserve the hypocrite title.  The authors note a majority of young churchgoers currently believe that gambling, cohabitation and sexual fantasies are morally acceptable.  Also a higher percentage of young churchgoers, compared to those who are 42-years of age or older , when it comes to the acceptability of sex outside of marriage, profanity, drunkenness, pornography, homosexual sex and illegal drug use.

So when we lift the standards up, and then their is a major disconnect with our actual lifestyles we earn the label hypocrite. 

What are the antidotes?  Kinneman and Lyons suggest the following:

Older born-again Christians need to take another look at what Jesus teaches, that spiritual maturity is demonstrated in a life as an outcome of the condition of a person’s heart and soul, that behavior follows belief.

Younger born-again Christians need to take an honest assessment of their lives and realize that they are increasingly poor witnesses of a life and mind transformed by faith.  Embracing personal integrity and rejecting compromises to personal purity are crucial goals for young believers.

Be transparent – hypocrisy is failing to acknowledge the inconsistencies in our life.  Living with integrity starts with being transparent, (pg. 54-55).

Some questions to consider…

  • Are we being transparent with others or are we hiding behind a facade?
  • How do you believe you should address significant moral issues?
  • What concerns you?
  • As a Christ follower, does your response to these moral issues reflect their complexity?
  • Are Are you honest with yourself about your own struggles?  If so how does that affect how you approach others who are struggling?  If not, why not?

I’m looking forward to further discussion… so please leave a comment!

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13 comments
  1. Part 3 – of course I am back for this – this is some great insight and makes for good convo.

    “Our lifestyles and perspectives are no different from those around us. Only 15% of those surveyed see any difference at all in Christian lifestyles.”

    I wonder what this actually means – since hypocrisy is not to well defined here (or the specifics are not mentioned – just the word hypocrisy). I think I get the vague generalization of what is being said – people don’t see much difference between church-goers and anyone else – I think I generally agree.

    “Another reason is not just our lifestyles but the very way we communicate the priorities of being a Christian”

    This is probably the big one as far as hypocrisy goes – this rules based faith we see in churches. We all know people break those commandments around us – and sometimes we do – but if the process of forgiveness and mercy was stronger (than judgment) – I think perceptions would change – and people would feel more welcome.

    “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Interesting Paul would say that…the whole law (every rule and regulation we can think of) is balanced by doing one thing – ‘loving our neighbor’. Maybe churches are making things way to rules based and not enough relationship based (one with another)?

    Now for the hypocrisy debate and where this book is missing the point.

    “We also deserve the hypocrite title. The authors note a majority of young churchgoers currently believe that gambling, cohabitation and sexual fantasies are morally acceptable”

    It’s called balance – that’s what is missing here. First off, gambling isn’t all that bad – unless you get to the poit of blowing all your money (and other’s money) to chase some imaginery dream of ‘getting rich’. Gambling in and of itself is not that bad a thing – it can be done for fun.

    Secondly, Cohabitation is normal and can be useful. I see young people rushing into marriage without even really knowing each other – and cohabitation helps solve some of that ‘unknown’ factor in living together. For example, my wife and I lived together for about 3 years before marriage – and this helped us figure everything out so we were ready for that next step (contractual marriage).

    Thirdly, since we are dealing with a younger audience here (like teens and young adults), how is possible to not have sexual fantasies (even one’s that come in unknowingly)? I say attraction is that double edged sword and this stuff happens – not that kids need to develop fantasies into some weird sex drive – but that this is a normal aspect of human growth (nothing weird).

    Those top 3 things – within normal reasoning – don’t have to be ‘sins’. They can be part of normal growth – but they also can be abused to a point of hurting others.

    “Also a higher percentage of young churchgoers… when it comes to the acceptability of sex outside of marriage, profanity, drunkenness, pornography, homosexual sex and illegal drug use”

    Now some of these things need to be explained better and not blanket statements of ‘sin’ – in my opinion. Every one of the things mentioned can lead to serious problems for a kid – but then that needs to be explained to them and also how being responsible works.

    If some teenager/young adult does have sex outside of marriage then we need not ruch them into a marriage – that’s also not a good answer. I think we need to explain the problem behind the whole thing – namely to the guy since we guys seem to not understand the whole emotional connectness part of this whole dilemma (and that is the sin element within the idea).

    As for swearing – well it’s not a good thing to be a filthy mouthed person (it gets you nowhere in life) – but as for it being a sin…I could see if the swears were used with anger behind them – but in a joking context (that’s dicey). I would advise someone to not use this as part of their speech and that’s about it.

    Drunkeness is a fun one to be honest – since drinking in and of itself is not a bad thing per se – and neither is being drunk essentially a bad thing. The problem in this area is about the abuse of the substance – and the problems we develop along that road (ex: fighting ot cheating). This is where I see the sin – not in having a few drinks with a bud and just relaxing.

    Pornography – I am not sure this has any redeeming value so I can understand it’s outlawing. But people will struggle here in a sex filled society so we need to remember to help people that struggle.

    Homosexual sex – where to start on this one? Is it good or is it evil? This is a tough one – by nature and the body shape I have to lean to it not being the norm – this is obvious. But at the same time, the gay community is making some good arguments for their inclusion in the faith – and I can’t turn my back on that – they are people like the rest of us. I just don’t think it’s as big an issue as the Religious Right has made it.

    Illegal drug use – no qualms there.

  2. Part 3 – of course I am back for this – this is some great insight and makes for good convo.

    “Our lifestyles and perspectives are no different from those around us. Only 15% of those surveyed see any difference at all in Christian lifestyles.”

    I wonder what this actually means – since hypocrisy is not to well defined here (or the specifics are not mentioned – just the word hypocrisy). I think I get the vague generalization of what is being said – people don’t see much difference between church-goers and anyone else – I think I generally agree.

    “Another reason is not just our lifestyles but the very way we communicate the priorities of being a Christian”

    This is probably the big one as far as hypocrisy goes – this rules based faith we see in churches. We all know people break those commandments around us – and sometimes we do – but if the process of forgiveness and mercy was stronger (than judgment) – I think perceptions would change – and people would feel more welcome.

    “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Interesting Paul would say that…the whole law (every rule and regulation we can think of) is balanced by doing one thing – ‘loving our neighbor’. Maybe churches are making things way to rules based and not enough relationship based (one with another)?

    Now for the hypocrisy debate and where this book is missing the point.

    “We also deserve the hypocrite title. The authors note a majority of young churchgoers currently believe that gambling, cohabitation and sexual fantasies are morally acceptable”

    It’s called balance – that’s what is missing here. First off, gambling isn’t all that bad – unless you get to the poit of blowing all your money (and other’s money) to chase some imaginery dream of ‘getting rich’. Gambling in and of itself is not that bad a thing – it can be done for fun.

    Secondly, Cohabitation is normal and can be useful. I see young people rushing into marriage without even really knowing each other – and cohabitation helps solve some of that ‘unknown’ factor in living together. For example, my wife and I lived together for about 3 years before marriage – and this helped us figure everything out so we were ready for that next step (contractual marriage).

    Thirdly, since we are dealing with a younger audience here (like teens and young adults), how is possible to not have sexual fantasies (even one’s that come in unknowingly)? I say attraction is that double edged sword and this stuff happens – not that kids need to develop fantasies into some weird sex drive – but that this is a normal aspect of human growth (nothing weird).

    Those top 3 things – within normal reasoning – don’t have to be ‘sins’. They can be part of normal growth – but they also can be abused to a point of hurting others.

    “Also a higher percentage of young churchgoers… when it comes to the acceptability of sex outside of marriage, profanity, drunkenness, pornography, homosexual sex and illegal drug use”

    Now some of these things need to be explained better and not blanket statements of ‘sin’ – in my opinion. Every one of the things mentioned can lead to serious problems for a kid – but then that needs to be explained to them and also how being responsible works.

    If some teenager/young adult does have sex outside of marriage then we need not ruch them into a marriage – that’s also not a good answer. I think we need to explain the problem behind the whole thing – namely to the guy since we guys seem to not understand the whole emotional connectness part of this whole dilemma (and that is the sin element within the idea).

    As for swearing – well it’s not a good thing to be a filthy mouthed person (it gets you nowhere in life) – but as for it being a sin…I could see if the swears were used with anger behind them – but in a joking context (that’s dicey). I would advise someone to not use this as part of their speech and that’s about it.

    Drunkeness is a fun one to be honest – since drinking in and of itself is not a bad thing per se – and neither is being drunk essentially a bad thing. The problem in this area is about the abuse of the substance – and the problems we develop along that road (ex: fighting ot cheating). This is where I see the sin – not in having a few drinks with a bud and just relaxing.

    Pornography – I am not sure this has any redeeming value so I can understand it’s outlawing. But people will struggle here in a sex filled society so we need to remember to help people that struggle.

    Homosexual sex – where to start on this one? Is it good or is it evil? This is a tough one – by nature and the body shape I have to lean to it not being the norm – this is obvious. But at the same time, the gay community is making some good arguments for their inclusion in the faith – and I can’t turn my back on that – they are people like the rest of us. I just don’t think it’s as big an issue as the Religious Right has made it.

    Illegal drug use – no qualms there.

  3. Part 3 – of course I am back for this – this is some great insight and makes for good convo.

    “Our lifestyles and perspectives are no different from those around us. Only 15% of those surveyed see any difference at all in Christian lifestyles.”

    I wonder what this actually means – since hypocrisy is not to well defined here (or the specifics are not mentioned – just the word hypocrisy). I think I get the vague generalization of what is being said – people don’t see much difference between church-goers and anyone else – I think I generally agree.

    “Another reason is not just our lifestyles but the very way we communicate the priorities of being a Christian”

    This is probably the big one as far as hypocrisy goes – this rules based faith we see in churches. We all know people break those commandments around us – and sometimes we do – but if the process of forgiveness and mercy was stronger (than judgment) – I think perceptions would change – and people would feel more welcome.

    “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Interesting Paul would say that…the whole law (every rule and regulation we can think of) is balanced by doing one thing – ‘loving our neighbor’. Maybe churches are making things way to rules based and not enough relationship based (one with another)?

    Now for the hypocrisy debate and where this book is missing the point.

    “We also deserve the hypocrite title. The authors note a majority of young churchgoers currently believe that gambling, cohabitation and sexual fantasies are morally acceptable”

    It’s called balance – that’s what is missing here. First off, gambling isn’t all that bad – unless you get to the poit of blowing all your money (and other’s money) to chase some imaginery dream of ‘getting rich’. Gambling in and of itself is not that bad a thing – it can be done for fun.

    Secondly, Cohabitation is normal and can be useful. I see young people rushing into marriage without even really knowing each other – and cohabitation helps solve some of that ‘unknown’ factor in living together. For example, my wife and I lived together for about 3 years before marriage – and this helped us figure everything out so we were ready for that next step (contractual marriage).

    Thirdly, since we are dealing with a younger audience here (like teens and young adults), how is possible to not have sexual fantasies (even one’s that come in unknowingly)? I say attraction is that double edged sword and this stuff happens – not that kids need to develop fantasies into some weird sex drive – but that this is a normal aspect of human growth (nothing weird).

    Those top 3 things – within normal reasoning – don’t have to be ‘sins’. They can be part of normal growth – but they also can be abused to a point of hurting others.

    “Also a higher percentage of young churchgoers… when it comes to the acceptability of sex outside of marriage, profanity, drunkenness, pornography, homosexual sex and illegal drug use”

    Now some of these things need to be explained better and not blanket statements of ‘sin’ – in my opinion. Every one of the things mentioned can lead to serious problems for a kid – but then that needs to be explained to them and also how being responsible works.

    If some teenager/young adult does have sex outside of marriage then we need not ruch them into a marriage – that’s also not a good answer. I think we need to explain the problem behind the whole thing – namely to the guy since we guys seem to not understand the whole emotional connectness part of this whole dilemma (and that is the sin element within the idea).

    As for swearing – well it’s not a good thing to be a filthy mouthed person (it gets you nowhere in life) – but as for it being a sin…I could see if the swears were used with anger behind them – but in a joking context (that’s dicey). I would advise someone to not use this as part of their speech and that’s about it.

    Drunkeness is a fun one to be honest – since drinking in and of itself is not a bad thing per se – and neither is being drunk essentially a bad thing. The problem in this area is about the abuse of the substance – and the problems we develop along that road (ex: fighting ot cheating). This is where I see the sin – not in having a few drinks with a bud and just relaxing.

    Pornography – I am not sure this has any redeeming value so I can understand it’s outlawing. But people will struggle here in a sex filled society so we need to remember to help people that struggle.

    Homosexual sex – where to start on this one? Is it good or is it evil? This is a tough one – by nature and the body shape I have to lean to it not being the norm – this is obvious. But at the same time, the gay community is making some good arguments for their inclusion in the faith – and I can’t turn my back on that – they are people like the rest of us. I just don’t think it’s as big an issue as the Religious Right has made it.

    Illegal drug use – no qualms there.

  4. “Are we being transparent with others or are we hiding behind a facade?” (Shane)

    I always wonder this about the faith – are some people acting or being honest about their lives? I notice in a lot of churches the idea of being transparent is frowned upon in some regards (ex: can say you have problems but you have to have defeated them). I try to be as honest as I can be – but then again – I am not pretending I have a single thing to lose.

    “How do you believe you should address significant moral issues?” (Shane)

    I think with care about the people involved in said moral issue. I think we can take stands on morality (and should) but it should be one of responsibility and what is gained by keeping the ‘ethic’. Flat out saying something is wrong might not workk anymore – people have seen problems with that and inconsistencies.

    “What concerns you?” (Shane)

    I have concerns with how we use our ethics and where we place our efforts. I see churches with a lot of resources doing little programming – not building community – or not providing an actual answer to problems within communities. Some of that stuff has worried me for years and I think the focus of the faith might very well be it’s massive achille’s heel.

    “As a Christ follower, does your response to these moral issues reflect their complexity?” (Shane)

    I would say ‘yes’. These issue are complex but like I have always believed balance is part of the answer.

    “Are you honest with yourself about your own struggles? If so how does that affect how you approach others who are struggling? If not, why not?” (Shane)

    I am very honest about struggles and how I don’t let my personal issues blow up and ruin my life. I try to pass that info on to people around me and if we can find balance this is key – and proper perspective. Struggles will happen – it’s inevitable – but does this build us up or make us into worse people? That’s where the key to all this is really is – what do we learn as we continue to go forward? I think this is where my focus is these days – talking honestly, remaining friends despite the issues, and being willing to see someone succeed no matter what.

  5. “Are we being transparent with others or are we hiding behind a facade?” (Shane)

    I always wonder this about the faith – are some people acting or being honest about their lives? I notice in a lot of churches the idea of being transparent is frowned upon in some regards (ex: can say you have problems but you have to have defeated them). I try to be as honest as I can be – but then again – I am not pretending I have a single thing to lose.

    “How do you believe you should address significant moral issues?” (Shane)

    I think with care about the people involved in said moral issue. I think we can take stands on morality (and should) but it should be one of responsibility and what is gained by keeping the ‘ethic’. Flat out saying something is wrong might not workk anymore – people have seen problems with that and inconsistencies.

    “What concerns you?” (Shane)

    I have concerns with how we use our ethics and where we place our efforts. I see churches with a lot of resources doing little programming – not building community – or not providing an actual answer to problems within communities. Some of that stuff has worried me for years and I think the focus of the faith might very well be it’s massive achille’s heel.

    “As a Christ follower, does your response to these moral issues reflect their complexity?” (Shane)

    I would say ‘yes’. These issue are complex but like I have always believed balance is part of the answer.

    “Are you honest with yourself about your own struggles? If so how does that affect how you approach others who are struggling? If not, why not?” (Shane)

    I am very honest about struggles and how I don’t let my personal issues blow up and ruin my life. I try to pass that info on to people around me and if we can find balance this is key – and proper perspective. Struggles will happen – it’s inevitable – but does this build us up or make us into worse people? That’s where the key to all this is really is – what do we learn as we continue to go forward? I think this is where my focus is these days – talking honestly, remaining friends despite the issues, and being willing to see someone succeed no matter what.

  6. “Are we being transparent with others or are we hiding behind a facade?” (Shane)

    I always wonder this about the faith – are some people acting or being honest about their lives? I notice in a lot of churches the idea of being transparent is frowned upon in some regards (ex: can say you have problems but you have to have defeated them). I try to be as honest as I can be – but then again – I am not pretending I have a single thing to lose.

    “How do you believe you should address significant moral issues?” (Shane)

    I think with care about the people involved in said moral issue. I think we can take stands on morality (and should) but it should be one of responsibility and what is gained by keeping the ‘ethic’. Flat out saying something is wrong might not workk anymore – people have seen problems with that and inconsistencies.

    “What concerns you?” (Shane)

    I have concerns with how we use our ethics and where we place our efforts. I see churches with a lot of resources doing little programming – not building community – or not providing an actual answer to problems within communities. Some of that stuff has worried me for years and I think the focus of the faith might very well be it’s massive achille’s heel.

    “As a Christ follower, does your response to these moral issues reflect their complexity?” (Shane)

    I would say ‘yes’. These issue are complex but like I have always believed balance is part of the answer.

    “Are you honest with yourself about your own struggles? If so how does that affect how you approach others who are struggling? If not, why not?” (Shane)

    I am very honest about struggles and how I don’t let my personal issues blow up and ruin my life. I try to pass that info on to people around me and if we can find balance this is key – and proper perspective. Struggles will happen – it’s inevitable – but does this build us up or make us into worse people? That’s where the key to all this is really is – what do we learn as we continue to go forward? I think this is where my focus is these days – talking honestly, remaining friends despite the issues, and being willing to see someone succeed no matter what.

  7. Society – thanks for your comments. I’m sorry it took me this long to reply. I’m at a conference in L.A. and I have a break before my next session.

    Hypocrisy is defined better in the book than I did in this post. I’m trying for this to just be a summary and interaction with the text so I don’t everything in the book.

    I agree with you that churches have become too rules based and not enough relationship centered, but not just with one another, but with God as well. The Great Commandment first mentions to love the Lord your God will all of you heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. 1 John makes it clear that we can love because God first loved us.

    “but if the process of forgiveness and mercy was stronger (than judgment) – I think perceptions would change – and people would feel more welcome.” (You)

    Agreed.

    Regarding gambling – I see your point. Practicing good stewardship I would say that it generally isn’t a good thing to do – that money could be better spent (or saved or given away). You can say that for a lot of different things we spend money on though.

    I disagree with your view of cohabitation – it is pretty well documented that those who cohabitate prior to marriage have a higher rate of divorce – up to 50% higher depending on the study you look at. That isn’t to say that everybody who cohabitates before marriage will end up divorced. The benefits you mentioned could also be addressed through a good premarital counseling/mentoring program though. You won’t, however, have everything answered though – that is part of marriage – lifelong learning about one another. There is always friction when two become one, but when you are committed to one another (contractually – before God and friends and family) you learn not to sweat the small stuff.

    It is important to discuss money, children, sex, and in-laws (what most married couples fight over) in pre-marital counseling sessions though. Workting through some of that before hand or learning perhaps you shouldn’t be married as a result of that counseling will go a long way toward seeing the divorce rate go down.

    You are right that rushing people into marriage isn’t the answer, but the Bible is very clear that sex is for a man and his wife. Abstinence is key. Many people have been able to wait until marriage.

    Regarding sexual fantasies – it is one thing for it to pop in your head, it is quite another to linger on the thought. A great book to read if you get a chance is Everyman’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred (I can’t remember his last name). This is linked with pornography as it feeds into this. There are number of passages that deal with keeping our hearts and our minds pure.

    Ephesians 5:18 is one place it speaks of not being drunk. I have no problem with those who are of age (in the U.S. it is 21 drinking in moderation). If they are under age – then Romans 13:2 says that they are to obey those in authority over them (i.e. laws of the land).

    Regarding our speech – there are a variety of opinions out there. I think Ephesians 5:4 is a good guide. James 3 is another good passage. I’m sure there are others, but my next session is starting in 10 minutes so I’ve got to run.

    Again, thanks for your comments!

  8. Society – thanks for your comments. I’m sorry it took me this long to reply. I’m at a conference in L.A. and I have a break before my next session.

    Hypocrisy is defined better in the book than I did in this post. I’m trying for this to just be a summary and interaction with the text so I don’t everything in the book.

    I agree with you that churches have become too rules based and not enough relationship centered, but not just with one another, but with God as well. The Great Commandment first mentions to love the Lord your God will all of you heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. 1 John makes it clear that we can love because God first loved us.

    “but if the process of forgiveness and mercy was stronger (than judgment) – I think perceptions would change – and people would feel more welcome.” (You)

    Agreed.

    Regarding gambling – I see your point. Practicing good stewardship I would say that it generally isn’t a good thing to do – that money could be better spent (or saved or given away). You can say that for a lot of different things we spend money on though.

    I disagree with your view of cohabitation – it is pretty well documented that those who cohabitate prior to marriage have a higher rate of divorce – up to 50% higher depending on the study you look at. That isn’t to say that everybody who cohabitates before marriage will end up divorced. The benefits you mentioned could also be addressed through a good premarital counseling/mentoring program though. You won’t, however, have everything answered though – that is part of marriage – lifelong learning about one another. There is always friction when two become one, but when you are committed to one another (contractually – before God and friends and family) you learn not to sweat the small stuff.

    It is important to discuss money, children, sex, and in-laws (what most married couples fight over) in pre-marital counseling sessions though. Workting through some of that before hand or learning perhaps you shouldn’t be married as a result of that counseling will go a long way toward seeing the divorce rate go down.

    You are right that rushing people into marriage isn’t the answer, but the Bible is very clear that sex is for a man and his wife. Abstinence is key. Many people have been able to wait until marriage.

    Regarding sexual fantasies – it is one thing for it to pop in your head, it is quite another to linger on the thought. A great book to read if you get a chance is Everyman’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred (I can’t remember his last name). This is linked with pornography as it feeds into this. There are number of passages that deal with keeping our hearts and our minds pure.

    Ephesians 5:18 is one place it speaks of not being drunk. I have no problem with those who are of age (in the U.S. it is 21 drinking in moderation). If they are under age – then Romans 13:2 says that they are to obey those in authority over them (i.e. laws of the land).

    Regarding our speech – there are a variety of opinions out there. I think Ephesians 5:4 is a good guide. James 3 is another good passage. I’m sure there are others, but my next session is starting in 10 minutes so I’ve got to run.

    Again, thanks for your comments!

  9. Society – thanks for your comments. I’m sorry it took me this long to reply. I’m at a conference in L.A. and I have a break before my next session.

    Hypocrisy is defined better in the book than I did in this post. I’m trying for this to just be a summary and interaction with the text so I don’t everything in the book.

    I agree with you that churches have become too rules based and not enough relationship centered, but not just with one another, but with God as well. The Great Commandment first mentions to love the Lord your God will all of you heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. 1 John makes it clear that we can love because God first loved us.

    “but if the process of forgiveness and mercy was stronger (than judgment) – I think perceptions would change – and people would feel more welcome.” (You)

    Agreed.

    Regarding gambling – I see your point. Practicing good stewardship I would say that it generally isn’t a good thing to do – that money could be better spent (or saved or given away). You can say that for a lot of different things we spend money on though.

    I disagree with your view of cohabitation – it is pretty well documented that those who cohabitate prior to marriage have a higher rate of divorce – up to 50% higher depending on the study you look at. That isn’t to say that everybody who cohabitates before marriage will end up divorced. The benefits you mentioned could also be addressed through a good premarital counseling/mentoring program though. You won’t, however, have everything answered though – that is part of marriage – lifelong learning about one another. There is always friction when two become one, but when you are committed to one another (contractually – before God and friends and family) you learn not to sweat the small stuff.

    It is important to discuss money, children, sex, and in-laws (what most married couples fight over) in pre-marital counseling sessions though. Workting through some of that before hand or learning perhaps you shouldn’t be married as a result of that counseling will go a long way toward seeing the divorce rate go down.

    You are right that rushing people into marriage isn’t the answer, but the Bible is very clear that sex is for a man and his wife. Abstinence is key. Many people have been able to wait until marriage.

    Regarding sexual fantasies – it is one thing for it to pop in your head, it is quite another to linger on the thought. A great book to read if you get a chance is Everyman’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred (I can’t remember his last name). This is linked with pornography as it feeds into this. There are number of passages that deal with keeping our hearts and our minds pure.

    Ephesians 5:18 is one place it speaks of not being drunk. I have no problem with those who are of age (in the U.S. it is 21 drinking in moderation). If they are under age – then Romans 13:2 says that they are to obey those in authority over them (i.e. laws of the land).

    Regarding our speech – there are a variety of opinions out there. I think Ephesians 5:4 is a good guide. James 3 is another good passage. I’m sure there are others, but my next session is starting in 10 minutes so I’ve got to run.

    Again, thanks for your comments!

  10. Society – thanks for your comments. I’m sorry it took me this long to reply. I’m at a conference in L.A. and I have a break before my next session.

    Hypocrisy is defined better in the book than I did in this post. I’m trying for this to just be a summary and interaction with the text so I don’t everything in the book.

    I agree with you that churches have become too rules based and not enough relationship centered, but not just with one another, but with God as well. The Great Commandment first mentions to love the Lord your God will all of you heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. 1 John makes it clear that we can love because God first loved us.

    “but if the process of forgiveness and mercy was stronger (than judgment) – I think perceptions would change – and people would feel more welcome.” (You)

    Agreed.

    Regarding gambling – I see your point. Practicing good stewardship I would say that it generally isn’t a good thing to do – that money could be better spent (or saved or given away). You can say that for a lot of different things we spend money on though.

    I disagree with your view of cohabitation – it is pretty well documented that those who cohabitate prior to marriage have a higher rate of divorce – up to 50% higher depending on the study you look at. That isn’t to say that everybody who cohabitates before marriage will end up divorced. The benefits you mentioned could also be addressed through a good premarital counseling/mentoring program though. You won’t, however, have everything answered though – that is part of marriage – lifelong learning about one another. There is always friction when two become one, but when you are committed to one another (contractually – before God and friends and family) you learn not to sweat the small stuff.

    It is important to discuss money, children, sex, and in-laws (what most married couples fight over) in pre-marital counseling sessions though. Workting through some of that before hand or learning perhaps you shouldn’t be married as a result of that counseling will go a long way toward seeing the divorce rate go down.

    You are right that rushing people into marriage isn’t the answer, but the Bible is very clear that sex is for a man and his wife. Abstinence is key. Many people have been able to wait until marriage.

    Regarding sexual fantasies – it is one thing for it to pop in your head, it is quite another to linger on the thought. A great book to read if you get a chance is Everyman’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred (I can’t remember his last name). This is linked with pornography as it feeds into this. There are number of passages that deal with keeping our hearts and our minds pure.

    Ephesians 5:18 is one place it speaks of not being drunk. I have no problem with those who are of age (in the U.S. it is 21 drinking in moderation). If they are under age – then Romans 13:2 says that they are to obey those in authority over them (i.e. laws of the land).

    Regarding our speech – there are a variety of opinions out there. I think Ephesians 5:4 is a good guide. James 3 is another good passage. I’m sure there are others, but my next session is starting in 10 minutes so I’ve got to run.

    Again, thanks for your comments!

  11. I think me and you are the only one’s discussing this book and it’s ramifications – it makes me want to read it that’s for sure.

    “not enough relationship centered, but not just with one another, but with God as well” (Shane)

    I would ask, how so? Also you mention the 2 commandments that Jesus gives, Paul oddly enough also mentions that but says ‘to love your neighbor is to fulfill the law’ (without the love God part). I persaonlly think if you love your neighbor you do love God – and this is an aspect of respect for God’s creation.

    “I disagree with your view of cohabitation” (Shane)

    No problem there – I am not sure I would advise all people into this – as you mentioned – counselling works also. But as for the high divorce rate of those who cohabitate – why is that? Is it because of the cohabitation or because they ‘rushed’ something they shouldn’t have?

    “contractually – before God and friends and family” (Shane)

    Is this your definition of marriage. Cause I will let you know nowhere in scripture does it say that in order to be married we need to enter in a ‘contractual’ agreement. This is a law of the land thing to protect the parties involved.

    “Abstinence is key” (Shane)

    I think we shoot for the highest goal (agreed) but we both know very well – most youth will struggle with this and possibly give in. Where do we go from there?

    Anyways, I am enjoying the convo’s.

  12. I think me and you are the only one’s discussing this book and it’s ramifications – it makes me want to read it that’s for sure.

    “not enough relationship centered, but not just with one another, but with God as well” (Shane)

    I would ask, how so? Also you mention the 2 commandments that Jesus gives, Paul oddly enough also mentions that but says ‘to love your neighbor is to fulfill the law’ (without the love God part). I persaonlly think if you love your neighbor you do love God – and this is an aspect of respect for God’s creation.

    “I disagree with your view of cohabitation” (Shane)

    No problem there – I am not sure I would advise all people into this – as you mentioned – counselling works also. But as for the high divorce rate of those who cohabitate – why is that? Is it because of the cohabitation or because they ‘rushed’ something they shouldn’t have?

    “contractually – before God and friends and family” (Shane)

    Is this your definition of marriage. Cause I will let you know nowhere in scripture does it say that in order to be married we need to enter in a ‘contractual’ agreement. This is a law of the land thing to protect the parties involved.

    “Abstinence is key” (Shane)

    I think we shoot for the highest goal (agreed) but we both know very well – most youth will struggle with this and possibly give in. Where do we go from there?

    Anyways, I am enjoying the convo’s.

  13. I think me and you are the only one’s discussing this book and it’s ramifications – it makes me want to read it that’s for sure.

    “not enough relationship centered, but not just with one another, but with God as well” (Shane)

    I would ask, how so? Also you mention the 2 commandments that Jesus gives, Paul oddly enough also mentions that but says ‘to love your neighbor is to fulfill the law’ (without the love God part). I persaonlly think if you love your neighbor you do love God – and this is an aspect of respect for God’s creation.

    “I disagree with your view of cohabitation” (Shane)

    No problem there – I am not sure I would advise all people into this – as you mentioned – counselling works also. But as for the high divorce rate of those who cohabitate – why is that? Is it because of the cohabitation or because they ‘rushed’ something they shouldn’t have?

    “contractually – before God and friends and family” (Shane)

    Is this your definition of marriage. Cause I will let you know nowhere in scripture does it say that in order to be married we need to enter in a ‘contractual’ agreement. This is a law of the land thing to protect the parties involved.

    “Abstinence is key” (Shane)

    I think we shoot for the highest goal (agreed) but we both know very well – most youth will struggle with this and possibly give in. Where do we go from there?

    Anyways, I am enjoying the convo’s.

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