I have this awful fear that the self-righteous will be smiling all through eternity.

I remember once leading a student seminar at York University in Ontario. I had used an illustration from the life of Gandhi in which I told how, at the moment of his assassination, he had blessed his assassin. A blue-eyed, Clairol sophomore responded, “Do you believe that Gandhi was a Christian? If he never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, he is in hell right today.”

“How true,” I said. But I only reluctantly agreed with her. I have this awful fear that in heaven, just beyond the throne, outside the circle of beasts and elders, will be the self-righteous, smiling smugly all through eternity. Sometimes I awake at midnight with nightmares. I have finally made it to heaven. And horrors, there, by the right hand of God, I see that coed filing her nails, clutching her discipleship manuals, and smiling over the perishing of a great many souls. All the while she is saying, “Too bad, I told you so.”

To be sure, there is only one kind of knowledge that saves. Outside of Christ, there is no life. The knowledge of the Lord is the essential kind, but Christians are often one-dimensional. We have, through dull attendance, written off other kinds of knowledge.

We must win the world to Christ lest it perish. But our conversionism blindly divides our world into “them” and “us.” It is a division so fired with zeal that all other knowledge seems wasted. We Christians have not been the world’s greatest listeners. We are too mouthy in the face of other kinds of human intellect.

But not only are we Christians too talkative, we are quarrelsome with each other in confronting our world. We are of all types ...

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