Some Gems from Fool’s Talk

Well we made it through Proverbs, so I thought I would continue some posts commenting on an interesting chapter that Os Guinness included in his book Fool’s Talk.  He confronts the issue of hypocrisy and begins with some fascinating history that is very relevant to our divided Christian world today!  He gives a bit of history regarding how close Julian the Apostate came to restoring the Roman Empire to its pagan roots after Constantine.
“Most intriguingly of all, Julian’s designs included a canny reliance on what he knew was the Achillie’s heel of the Christian faith: hypocrisy – our constant Christian failure to practice what we preach.  It is true that he famously acknowledged where the love and care of Christians outstripped that of his fellow pagans. [“it is disgraceful that no Jew ever has to beg and the wretched Galileans take better care our our poor, as well as their own than we do.”] But he also counted on the well-known Christian capacity for division and strife that ran directly counter to Jesus’ call for unity in his prayer before His arrest.
Julian even calculated that, counting on Christian hypocrisy, he could use toleration to deliberately foster Christian disunity.  So when he became emperor, he called the Christian bishops together and told them to sort out their differences and live in peace — knowing that was probably the best way to intensify their differences and destroy their unity.  Experience had taught him, he remarked to those around, that “no wild beasts are as dangerous to man as Christians are to each other.”
Mr. Guinness continues, “Earlier emperors had thrown Christians to the lions, and the faith flourished through persecution.  But while the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church, the battles of the faithful are the scandal of the faith.  Better to let Christians hurt their own cause by fighting amo9ng each other like wild animals.  When Christians fight with Christians, there is an important sense in which both are defeated already.”

Certainly some important food for thought as we reflect on the divisions and even wars of the 20th Century and our current ability to engage anywhere in the world via the Internet.

Tomorrow and the days ahead, Lord willing we learn why we are all hypocrites now and why that is an advantage for our modern evangelism!

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