Farewell to God

This is the sad story of a man who left the faith and turned to atheism. His name is Charles Templeton. 

During the 1950s and ’60s, Templeton was an evangelist who preached to large crowds. He was a close friend of Billy Graham and many believed he was a better preacher than Graham. However, Templeton was plagued with nagging doubts about the reliability of the Bible.

Feeling unable to continue, Templeton decided to bid farewell to God.

Many years later, investigative reporter, Lee Strobel interviewed Templeton. It’s one of the most powerful interviews I’ve ever heard.

Although advanced in years, Templeton maintained his rejection of the Bible. But when Strobel asked a question about Jesus Christ, he noted a clear change in Templeton’s body language. With softened posture and a “melancholy and reflective tone,” Templeton spoke of Jesus with a deep admiration. 

“He was the greatest human being who has ever lived. He was a moral genius. His ethical sense was unique. He was the intrinsically wisest person that I’ve ever encountered in my life or in my reading. His commitment was total and led to his own death, much to the detriment of the world.”

Strobel said: “You sound like you really care about him.” Templeton answered, “Well, yes, he’s the most important thing in my life.” Then, with a stammering voice, this seemingly hardened atheist said of Jesus: “I . . . I . . . I adore him . . . Everything good I know, everything decent I know, everything pure I know, I learned from Jesus.”

His voice began to crack with emotion and to the surprise of Stroble, through his tears, he said of Jesus, “I miss him!” “I miss him very much.”

Then, after this startling emotional moment, Templeton snapped, “Enough of that!” as if to demand no more questions about Jesus.

Templeton learned that Jesus cannot be easily dismissed

The gospel describes a moment when many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and no longer followed him. Jesus turned to the twelve and asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:66-68).

Jesus spoke the truth, opposing the religious establishment and renouncing its hypocrisy. He was a friend of sinners. In him, one finds all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). In Jesus, all the fullness of Deity resides in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). ”… to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:12-13).

C. S. Lewis summarized the dilemma many face regarding Jesus Christ:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say.”

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic –on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell.”

“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Steve Cornell

About Wisdomforlife

Just another worker in God's field.
This entry was posted in Atheism, Atheists, Charles Templeton, Jesus Christ and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Farewell to God

  1. Pingback: Where are the profound atheists? |

  2. Earl Cruser says:

    Since Jesus is a product of the imagination both for the Gospel authors and present day believers, one can make of him what one wants–either the romantic Jesus of Templeton or the avenging God of Lewis. You know, I miss Santa, too.

    • “The biblical presentation of Jesus refuses to remain nicely confined to any of our containers. One picture after another of Jesus in this long line of nontraditional portraits fails before one question dear to the hearts of all faithful Christians: ‘What about the Cross?’… Why would anyone crucify the reasonable Jesus of the Enlightenment? Why would anyone crucify the dreamy poet of Romanticism? Why would anyone crucify the Law-abiding, mild-mannered rabbi of revisionist Jewish scholarship? Why would anyone crucify the witty, enigmatic, and marginal figure of the Jesus Seminar?” A Jewish scholar says, ‘Theologians produced the figure they could admire most at the least cost.’ But the Cross stands amidst each such easy path, each attempt to avoid the heart of the matter and the cost of discipleship. The Cross remains a stumbling block for all who encounter this Jesus. He is perhaps not the person we want, but he is surely the person we still – desperately – need” (Allen)

      see: Can we trust the story about Jesus https://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/can-we-trust-the-story-about-jesus-christ/

    • marc says:

      “Since Jesus is a product of the imagination both for the Gospel authors and present day believers…..” Really ??? With all the historical amount of evidence…?

  3. Pingback: Emperors of New Atheism have no clothes | WisdomForLife

  4. Gayle Brosseau says:

    My mother was saved through the preaching of Charles Templeton in 1945 at Massey Hall. Following the death of her 4 year old daughter her grief was overwhelming. As her death was the first death of the year it was written up in detail in the Toronto Star. A lady in Oshawa felt compelled to contact my mom by letter as she had lost two teenage sons in a motorcycle accident and could relate to my mom’s grief and she had found Jesus herself and wanted my mom to experience a relationship with the Lord. She wrote to my mom every week for quite a while. She invited my mom to meet her at Massey Hall where my mom gave her heart and life to the Lord.
    (For some reason the name Charles Templeton came to mind and I looked it up on the internet and could not help but respond.)

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