The moral evil of hypocrisy has a definite influence in any institution. The effects of the hypocrite in the church can be seen in the preachers, choirs, and deacons. Pretentious preachers pave the pathway parallel to paradise. The preacher's life is an encouragement to all who would pay rather than pray their way to heaven. The church membership is comprised of two groups of people, the saints, and the "aints." the saint looks at the filthy and raggedy life of the cigarette-smoking, tobacco-chewing, woman-chasing preacher and reasons that if he is to make it to heaven, he will have to pray his way and follow the perfect example of Christ.

The "aint" on the other hand, sees in this preacher, things common to himself, so he believes he can pay his way to heaven. He gives money to the preacher in order to keep his bar full and entertain some of the half-saved (totally lost) sisters in the congregation. The aint further believes that if he ushers or teaches a Sunday "fool" class he is reserving his seat on the glory-bound train. He thinks he's on his way to heaven and so glad, but in reality he is on his way to hell and it's too bad.      This false notion of eternal destiny is derived from watching his sin-cursed, hell-bound, demon-delighting preacher. Not only do the preacher's actions affect the church, but also the message he proclaims.

The preacher's soul-inspiring, body-perspiring, and mind-retiring sermon soothes the sunburn of sin of the celestial travelers. Every one whose heart is not right with God, knows it. However, if the hypocrite has his way, the sinner will not dwell on the fate of his eternal destiny.

There are three notable elements to the preacher's sermon. The first is his soul-inspiring, or should I say "sole"-inspiring message. This type of message would emphasize the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man with an introductory phrase such as, "we are all our heavenly father's children." however, I must beg to differ with this statement, for some people have got a devil for a daddy - Jesus said, "ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:44).

The second element is seen in the antics of the preacher as he perspires. On Sunday morning the preacher mounts the rostrum and in record time he has pulled off his jacket, loosened his tie, rolled up his sleeves, and shakes so much that you would be almost tempted to forget that he is talking loud and saying nothing. The third element is the mind-retiring effect on the listeners.

As the preacher begins talking about current events, the mind of the sinner retires to contemplate social issues instead of soul issues. The poor misguided sinner has failed to realize that true Christianity is not an outward conformation (reading the bible, attending church, and believing in God - so does the devil), but an inward transformation (James 2:17; Romans 12:2). One preacher has succinctly stated, "the church is a place that you have to pull off yourself in order to get into." Although the clergy contributes to parishioner progress, the choir also plays a part.

The choir members and musicians imply that those who are not saved from sinning can be saved by singing. This is evidenced by the manner in which the choir sings.       After watching the choir for a period of time, it soon becomes evident that none can sing heaven's songs like hell's citizens. The hypocrite usually doesn't make it to service until he is scheduled to sing. When he does sing, he puts on a grand performance. He will wait until the song is over and start it up again while running aimlessly across the pulpit, knocking over chairs, and commanding the immediate attention of the ushers.

Now the ushers refuse to be out-done by this second-rate performance in the pulpit, so they make their debut. One usher leaps frantically on the back of the singer, another grabs his arms, another fans him as if his life depended on it, and another waits until the man is totally subdued and says, "that's all right brother, praise him." Oftentimes, these somewhat comical choirs are also accompanied by a "funny" musician. He is abnormally a picturesque character. His hair is curled, his voice is pitched an octave high, his wrist appears to be permanently fractured, and he walks like he just graduated from charm school. How can we diagnose this strange malady? This person acts like a "she" though I have called him a he, maybe the label of "it" should be stuck on him. I suppose only God loves "it" even though "it" has some other attractions. You see, "it" doesn't like girls that are girls, but "it" likes boys that are girls - what a paradox. Lest my stomach suffer irrevocable damage, I shall turn to hypocrisy on the deacon board.

The deacon's prayer is an added dimension to any service.    The manner in which the deacon prays makes for leisure time during service. In a typical Sunday morning service, the preacher will remark to the audience, "we will now be led to the throne of disgrace by deacon slew-foot." this is a signal for mothers to play with their babies, lovers to hold hands, the sleepy to catch a nap, and the rest to listen intently and see if this prayer sounds any better than the one they heard last week. In this type of church, since the deacon does everybody's praying, they feel compelled to take a break.

The deacon answers the beckoned call of the pastor and bows slowly before the audience. The content of his prayer contains more truth than meets the ear. The opening words of a typical deacon's prayer would go something like this: "Oh most holy and everlasting God, precious potentate of eternity, the indescribable cosmic conscience of a transcendental world; I humbly bow before you this morning as an empty pitcher before a full fountain, beseeching you to remove the cobwebs of sin from my life, hang me on the spiritual clothesline of your will and let the wind of the Holy Ghost blow the chaff of iniquity far from me...."

While it is true that God is more lofty than this simple prayer portrays, it is also true that this pipe-carrying, dirty-mouthed deacon is in need of more help than he has requested. Not only is the deacon empty, he is also ugly and repulsive. His heart is a devastated graveyard of wretchedness. God needs to do more than move the cobwebs of sin - he needs to remove the spider that makes the cobwebs. If God can love the homosexual, he no doubt is able to love this paradigm of perversity also.

The hypocrites in the church are all on the parallel pathway to pandemonium. As geometry teaches that two parallel lines never meet, so the eternal destinies of the saints and aints do not intersect. Sinners will not be in heaven, neither will saints be in hell.

Of the many forces that affect the church in pulpit, choir, and pew, none is so remarkable as that of the hypocrite. "For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul" (Job 27:8).