|This article written by AFA Founder Don Wildmon first appeared in the AFA Journal in 1993 and has since been re-printed in numerous publications. We believe, on this Good Friday, it is just as timely today as then.|
|Would the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?
I have met these people, many of them during the past 16 years. I know when it is coming. I can hear it (in the tone of their voices and in their suggestions on how I should act in order to be a good Christian). They all make about the same points. Here is a general outline of their suggestions.
As a young minister, I read a story told by J. Wallace Hamilton, a preacher of note who died in 1968. According to the story, it seems that a not-too-dignified but somewhat successful preacher was preaching at a chapel service at a large respected university.
Now this preacher was not a good public relations person. He was somewhat unreserved and preached what many would call a straightforward, perhaps even blunt, sermon. I’m sure that you have heard that kind. He called sin…sin. Then laid out the plan of salvation.
He just wasn’t a very tactful preacher; his bluntness offended some who were present.
Following his sermon, he was met at the back by one of the professors. Calling the preacher aside, the professor told him that he had preached a good sermon but that if he would change it just a little, not be so straightforward, that he could do so much more good.
“You know,” the professor said, “if you will search the Scriptures you will find that Jesus was the most loving, non-condemning, forgiving, helpful person who ever lived. I’m simply suggesting that you make your sermons as tactful as Jesus made his. It would really help your ministry.”
The preacher thought for a moment. “You think I need to be more tactful?” he asked.
“I think it would be a big help to your ministry,” said the professor.
“Was Jesus a tactful person?” the preacher asked.
“The most tactful person who ever lived,” responded the professor.
The preacher thought a little more then spoke: “Professor, please answer a question for me. If Jesus was the most tactful person who ever lived, how did He manage to get Himself crucified?”
The professor did not answer the question.
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