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More Like Hitler Than Like Jesus

In his book Being the Body, Charles Colson writes about meeting a businessman whom he calls Mr. Abercrombie. Mr. Abercrombie had invited Colson to speak at a Bible study he hosted. Nineteen other movers and shakers of the business world were in attendance. Colson writes about what transpired:

Mr. Abercrombie had asked me to speak at the luncheon and then allow time for questions. Somewhere in my talk I referred to our sinful nature. Actually, "total depravity" was the phrase I used. I noticed at the time that a few individuals shifted uncomfortably in their leather chairs, and, sure enough, it must have hit the mark. Because after I finished, the first question was on sin.
"You don't really believe we are sinners, do you? I mean, you're too sophisticated to be one of those hellfire-and-brimstone fellows," one older gentleman said, eyeing my dark blue pinstripe suit just like his. "Intelligent people don't go for that back-country preacher stuff," he added.
"Yes, sir," I replied. "I believe we are desperately sinful. What's inside of each of us is really pretty ugly. In fact we deserve hell and would get it, but for the sacrifice of Christ for our sins."
Mr. Abercrombie himself looked distressed by now. "Well, I don't know about that," he said. "I'm a good person and have been all my life. I go to church, and I get exhausted spending all my time doing good works."
The room seemed particularly quiet, and twenty pairs of eyes were trained on me.
"If you believe that, Mr. Abercrombie—and I hate to say this, for you certainly won't invite me back—you are, for all of your good works, further away from the kingdom than the people I work with in prison who are aware of their own sins." Someone at the other end of the table coughed. Another rattled his coffee cup. And a flush quickly worked its way up from beneath Mr. Abercrombie's starched white collar.
"In fact, gentlemen," I added, drawing on a favorite R. C. Sproul shocker, "If you think about it, we are all really more like Adolf Hitler than like Jesus Christ."
Now there was stony silence…until someone eased the pain and changed the subject.
When lunch ended and I was preparing to leave, Mr. Abercrombie took my arm. "Didn't you say you wanted to make a phone call when we were finished?"
I started to say it wasn't necessary, then realized he wanted to get me alone.
"Yes, thank you," I said.
He led me down the corridor to an empty office. As soon as we were inside, he said bluntly, "I don't have what you have."
"I know," I replied, "but you can. God is touching your heart right now."
"No, no," he took a step back. "Maybe sometime."
I pressed a bit more, however, and moments later we were both on our knees. Mr. Abercrombie asked forgiveness of his sins and turned his life over to Christ.

Colson concludes: "Martin Luther was right. 'The ultimate proof of the sinner is that he doesn't know his own sin. Our job is to make him see it.'"

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