Fake Faith

Fake Faith January 12, 2019
I’ve discovered something that surprised me recently. It turns out that, for most Christians, the hardest thing isn’t loving their enemies or serving the poor, it’s obeying Jesus’ command to love their own brothers and sisters in Christ.
Over the last few weeks I’ve witnessed this phenomenon first hand, and it really disappoints me. What I mean is that when another Christian hurts our feelings, or even just disagrees with us about something, most find it easier to just walk away from that person, or even an entire church community, rather than go to that person and try to work things out.
Of course, the question for us shouldn’t be “which is easier”, it should be, “what does Jesus expect of me?”
So, instead of telling one another the truth about how we feel, or what we believe, we’d rather just pretend to have unity and fake our faith in the teachings of Christ.
Jesus wants us to actually put His teachings into practice. He expects us to leave our sacrifice at the proverbial altar and make things right with one another rather than go through the motions.
If we decide to ignore Jesus, it doesn’t solve anything. It only makes things worse. We carry around our hurt when we show up at the next church fellowship we enter. We begin to mistrust other Christians because we bear a constant reminder of how much it hurts to experience deeper fellowship. We get to be pretty good at faking our emotions, even faking the fruit of the spirit – joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control – rather than actually obey Jesus and allow His Spirit to create these within us for real.
Maybe this is why Jesus commands us to love one another? Maybe it’s why Jesus expects us to make things right between our brothers and sisters? So that those boulders of unforgiveness that are holding back the flood of His Spirit can be removed and we can start to actually live the Christian life and experience the indwelling life of Christ within.
Here’s what I do know: I know that Jesus isn’t glorified when we fake unity. I know that God doesn’t want His children to pretend they are obedient. Pretend obedience is more correctly called “disobedience” and nothing good can come from this.
I know that Jesus commands us to love one another, and I know that love includes forgiveness and reconciliation.
If you’re pretending that everything is ok, and you know deep in your heart that it really is not ok, then you need to go and make it right. You need to obey Jesus and make peace. You need to make reconciliation a priority. You need to stop pretending to love people, and start actually loving people. You need to stop faking unity with your brothers and sisters, and start living in actual unity.
Because who wants to pretend to follow Jesus? Who wants to fake their faith? Who wants to go through the motions?
Hopefully, none of us.

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

"as I have received replies that understood.Herm, the beauty of the internet is that everyone ..."

Dear Church: Here’s How You Can ..."
"The problem with scribblings, such as are found in the so-called 'bible', is that no ..."

Why Certain Words Are Left Out ..."
"David, I must assume it is in the ear of the beholder, as I have ..."

Dear Church: Here’s How You Can ..."
"The Bible DOES clearly say many things but some of us want to do things ..."

What the Bible Clearly Says

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Ocelot Aardvark

    There is NO “working things out” with those so-called ‘christians’ that defend, condone, support and worship TЯ☭itor-TЯ卐mp –> the Beast!

    Those who have surrendered their souls to the Beast are beyond redemption. Christ Himself commanded us:
    “Give not what is holy to dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine.” – Matthew 7:6

    Since the mid ’80’s the Christian church has steadily moved closer and closer to becoming the Harlot of Babylon! And when 81% of Evangelicals/Christians voted for TЯ卐mp, they embraced the Beast willingly; and took the Mark of the Beast upon themselves.

    Revelation 18:4 clearly commands us: “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.”

  • Antigone10

    I’m curious as to specifics. What happened when you describe: “What I mean is that when another Christian hurts our feelings, or even just disagrees with us about something, most find it easier to just walk away from that person, or even an entire church community, rather than go to that person and try to work things out.”

    What did the person do to hurt our feelings? What are they disagreeing about? What would “working things out” look like?

    And how does this tie into “Pretend obedience is more correctly called “disobedience” and nothing good can come from this.”. If someone is walking away from a person, that doesn’t look like “pretend obedience”- it seems it is making it pretty clear that they will not be obedient to the other person.

  • Rafi Simonton

    I understand this is a family disagreement; you’re speaking to other evangelicals. I was raised without religion and arrived at a Christian identity after a series of mystical encounters in my late 40s. So ingrained habit makes it very uncomfortable for me to read or hear evangelicalspeak. It sounds phony or shallow or meaningless to me. I realize that’s not true of you, and it’s more my problem than yours, but I wonder if you realize how those of us who are shirttail relatives hear the dialogue?

    It’s clear you are well-meaning, of good heart. Not one of the brittle ultra conservatives where any questioning is tantamount to heresy. Because they’re disoriented by living in a post-Einstein world of relativity and want the unambiguous certainty of authority. Obedience is then the only virtue necessary.

    The question then becomes: obedience to whom? If you have never struggled with the nuances of the Bible or with the challenges to become mature in your faith, then that obedience to church authority is functioning as an easy out from having to do the hard work. Of course these issues are disturbing since to recognize them means uncertainty. It would also be to risk the displeasure of authorities if questions are raised. Push that and risk the loss of your entire community. It would take a certain core strength of character to take that leap of faith into the unknown. That despite all evidence around you that says you are wrong.

    I am uneasy with the whole idea of obedience. If you believe Jesus said “dig ditches all day,” then that’s what you’d do no matter that it doesn’t make sense? Or what happens when all the ditch diggers run into each other? My point is that obedience is not enough. Faith is not belief, which is an assertion of certainty without evidence. Faith is to assent to provisional requirements before you have enough religious experience to know for yourself. To me, that obedience to Jesus is analogous. A Christian is not obeying merely because Jesus said something, a Christian does so because it’s a matter of faith– do it this way and find out that it will work for you, too. That way may not be the exact duplicate of way he did it or that anyone else does. After all, he didn’t say “pick up MY cross and follow me.” he said, “pick up YOUR cross and follow me.” Love one another…uh, okay. Does a command make it happen? Do we have much understanding of what that word (or the more complex Greek) actually mean? Each of us has that difficult cross to bear; we differ in our capacity, in our experience, our openness. Even if we learned little about it in our families of origin, as Christians, we learn by doing. As Jesus promised we would.

  • Leah

    i don’t know about this. If two people can set aside their differences long enough to work things out, then i absolutely agree with this. Such has not been my experience with most things religious. If you disagree, you’ll be told that you are wrong – and if you are in the minority, then you’ll be piled upon by 2 dozen people telling you that you are wrong. If you attempt to argue the point, you’ll be threatened with hell through the citing of bible passages. If you don’t stay silent, then people will find ways to make sure you don’t speak, or even if you do go silent, people will treat you different because you are not a believer in their idea of what God and Jesus are, or what they think the scriptures say.

    And to be honest, i have no other expectation. Any church has no obligation to let every person who disagrees with them come in and have a platform for voicing their disagreements. i have no expectations that someone should let me come in and tell them that they are wrong and why.

    Sometimes it’s best just to walk away, and wish them the best in your heart.

  • John Purssey

    I agree with you about a stranger coming in with conflicting views and stirring up disagreements or causing dissension.

    Here I understand the context to be disagreements or hurts between significantly long-standing members of a church or Christian community, and not necessarily over differences of theology.

  • Jon Laan

    A few days ago, I grappled with what you are saying: Is it not easier to love our enemies, as we know their motives and tactics, but how much more difficult to love our “friends”, who often, we feel, deceive and betray us. Did you ever think how “difficult” it was for Jesus to love his disciples, who often questioned him, were opaque to his teachings, and even cursed Him when confronted when asked if they knew Him, ran away so fast that their clothes fell off – He was God, but we are supposed to be like Him. Lord, Help us.

  • Ed Senter

    Sad, but you know just enough Bible to be the president of confusion. Hope you find your way one day.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    The Good Shepherd has found the Way for me.

    Speaking of “confusion” … if you still defend, condone and support that vile, wicked, treasonous, monster in the Oval Office, after all the depravity he has exhibited, without ever repenting, then you’re already beyond redemption.

  • Ed Senter

    The Good Shepherd IS the way. Christianity is not a way of life. There is nothing for you or anyone else to do.

    What I support, defend and condone is the Constitution. It is no respecter of persons. However, Trump is a breath of fresh air compared to most of the mealy mouthed wimps who have occupied that office of late.
    “Judge not lest ye be judged.” It is clear you know little about repenting and redemption.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Yet it’s okay for you to judge me by calling me “president of confusion”?

    We are allowed to make righteous judgement when a person shows us exactly who they are.

    Matthew 15:18-19 (KJV)

    18 – But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
    19 – For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

    This is how I can perceive, through the Lord’s Light, who and what unrepentant TЯ☭itor-TЯ卐mp …
    and his vile, neo-nazi TOADS are.


    Matthew 7:6 (KJV)

    6 – Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    Sounds like Our Lord and Savior is directing us to make righteous judgements, when it comes to who we defend, condone, praise, support, vote for or get too ‘chummy’ with.

    Since the day the Beast rose from out of the sea (Revelation 13:1) I have severed ALL ties with anyone who supports or defends
    TЯ卐mp … including all those “Harlot of Babylon” evangelical/fake-christian churches, where 81% have surrendered their souls to the Beast for worldly, political power and expediency!

    Revelation 18:4

    4 – Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins,
    so that you will not receive any of her plagues;

  • Ed Senter

    Sorry, but nowhere did I judge you. I called you an IDIOT.
    Whether or not you are saved is up to the Lord.
    “If you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of his.”

    Revelation chapter 5 forward is still in the future. Be careful because you have clearly been deceived.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Anyone who still thinks TЯ卐mp >—> the Beast is a “breath of fresh air” clearly is the one who is deceived.

  • Ed Senter

    You don’t know your Bible. The “beast/anti-christ” will arise out of the area that was the ancient Seleucid Kingdom.

  • Robert Conner

    Christians need enemies. Jesus needed them. Paul needed them. Jesus’ disciples need someone to push around.


  • Robert Conner

    “Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.” (2 Tim. 2:14)

    Anyone who knows anything about early Christian history knows Christians have been in-fighting since Day One. Paul versus the despised “pillars” in the Jerusalem mother church, etc.

  • Leah

    Thank-you. Perhaps. TBH, i’m not quite eloquent enough to pull it off. i come across mainly as someone who is persecuting them for their beliefs. It makes them mad and indignant, and me feel misunderstood. Jesus said there would be many rooms in heaven. And my guess is one of the reasons is because otherwise, they’d be dealing with a lot of fistfights as people continue to argue about who belongs in some version of hell and whose ordinances count. 🙂

  • Robert Conner

    Fundamentalists in particular construe lots of things as persecution. Bake a cake for gay people!?!? Heaven forfend! Jesus told us we’d be persecuted, and here they are, demanding a cake! With icing! It’s a sign of the End Times! Get me to my fainting couch!

  • Leah

    Thank-you. i honestly don’t know. i wish nobody would have gone after that baker. That just makes him and those who support him feel even more persecuted.

    i wish there were a people who cared about being kind rather than being right. That would be a church i could join. Except without something to be right about, it couldn’t claim to be important enough to survive as a church. C’est la vie.

  • Daniel G. Johnson

    It looks like to me that Giles chooses to limit “hurt” to some emotional domain that somehow is expected and/or required to generate resiliency. Then if people fail in that expectation…that’s on them?

  • Dick Modderkolk

    “Because who wants to pretend to follow Jesus? Who wants to fake their faith? Who wants to go through the motions? Hopefully, none of us.”
    I don’t know where you’ve been but it wasn’t on planet Earth!

  • cowalker

    Can you explain to this atheist WHY God would set up a situation where the clarity of His message is further muddled each day by the people who are supposed to pass it on? With no correction from Him? There are only more and more schisms and splits in Christianiity, while there is no reaction to religions outside Christianity, such as Islam or Hinduism. Or Shinto, or Buddhism, or many versions of animism. What a patheticallty inadequate response to misrepresentation, fraud, and sincere confusion.

  • Robert Conner

    The short answer is that there is no God and he/it has no message, hence the confusion. There are supposedly 40,000 Christian sects, Islamists kill each other on a regular basis for not following the “real” Islam, and of course other religions have splinter groups. And of course there’s the usual human tendency to break up into cliques. Every organization, whether it’s high school or universities, or corporations or churches has its “in” groups, its networks, etc.