Strobel then turned the interview toward Jesus. An article from Christian Courier comments on their conversation as follows: How would he now assess Jesus at this stage of his life?
Strobel says that, amazingly, Templeton’s “body language softened.” His voice took on a “melancholy and reflective tone.” And then, incredibly, he said: “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 quietly commented: “You sound like you really care about him.”
“Well, yes,” Templeton acknowledged, “he’s the most important thing in my life.” He stammered: “I . . . I . . . I adore him. . . . Everything good I know, everything decent I know, everything pure I know, I learned from Jesus.”
Strobel was stunned. He listened in shock. He says that Templeton’s voice began to crack. He then said, “I . . . miss . . . him!” With that the old man burst into tears; with shaking frame, he wept bitterly.
Somehow, this minister who early in life was a strong Christian leader lost his faith. He let go of the Jesus he loved so dearly. How could something like that happen?
C.S. Lewis writes in his book Mere Christianity, “We must never imagine that our own unaided efforts can be relied on to carry us through the next twenty-four hours as ‘decent’ people. If He does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin.”
No one is immune to failure.
No matter how much knowledge or experience or revelation one might have, no one is exempt from tripping spiritually. None of us should ever presume to have “arrived” or to be stable enough not to fall, even significantly. Not even a spiritual stalwart who has been faithful for the past 50 years is immune to crashing.
The Bible warns us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” I pray that in the areas in which you believe yourself to be strong that you choose to humble yourself. Be careful to continue in His grace, for He gives grace to the humble, but by His own Word, He must oppose the proud (see James 4:6).