Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Missing Jesus

Lee Strobel, in his great book, The Case for Faith, tells an amazing story of the famous atheist Charles Templeton. Templeton had not always been an atheist. In fact, he had been an evangelist working side by side with his close friend Billy Graham. Before his conversion to Christ he had been on the sports staff of the Toronto Globe. But he became disgusted with his lifestyle and knelt by his bed one evening and gave his life to Christ. He wrote about the experience saying, “An ineffable warmth began to suffuse my body. It seemed that a light had turned on in my chest and that it had cleansed me.” But Templeton would later abandon his faith and write a book entitled: Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith. According to Templeton, the loss of his faith began when he saw a photograph in Life magazine. He said, “It was a picture of a black woman in Northern Africa. They were experiencing a devastating drought. And she was holding her dead baby in her arms and looking up to heaven with the most forlorn expression. I looked at it and I thought, ‘Is it possible to believe that there is a loving or caring Creator when all this woman needed was rain?’” Templeton was dying from an incurable disease as Strobel interviewed him. They talked of death and what was beyond. Eventually, they began to talk about the person of Jesus Christ. Templeton’s tone completely changed when Strobel asked him what he thought of Jesus. He looked at Strobel and said, “He was the greatest human being who has ever lived. He was a moral genius.” Strobel was surprised at his words and replied, “You sound like you really care about him.” “Well, yes,” he said. “He’s the most important thing in my life. I... I... I... I know it may sound strange, but I have to say... I adore him!” Strobel was a little shocked as he said, “You say that with some emotion.” “Well, yes. Everything good I know, everything decent I know, everything pure I know, I learned from Jesus.” “There was a brief pause, almost as if he was uncertain whether he should continue,” Strobel writes. Templeton went on as he spoke slowly and deliberately: “He’s the most.... In my view he is the most important human being who has ever existed.” Then it was that Templeton uttered the words that Strobel never thought he would hear: “And if I may put is this way,” he said as his voice began to crack, “ I... miss... him!” “With that, tears flooded his eyes. He turned his head and looked downward, raising his left hand to shield his face from me. His shoulders bobbed as he wept.”

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