Gandhi Doesn’t Like Us
by Tim Challies
How many times have you come across this quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi? "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." I must have read it a hundred times in books, magazines, articles, tweets. It is used by believers and unbelievers to point to the hypocrisy of Christians and to call us to more and to better. Our inability to live what we preach is driving the multitudes away. Or so we are told. After all, that’s what Gandhi said.
We need to stop using this quote and I’m going to give you two good reasons to do so. In the first place, Gandhi was hardly an authority on Jesus. When he says, "I like your Christ" he is referring to a Jesus of his own making, a Jesus plucked haphazardly from the pages of Scripture, a Jeffersonian kind of Jesus, picked and chosen from the accounts of his life. He certainly was not referring to the Jesus—the true and complete Jesus—revealed from the first page of Scripture to the last. He did not refer to the Jesus who stands reading with a sword of judgment, the Jesus who made unwavering claims of his own deity and eternality, who declared that he was and is the only way to be made right with God. Jesus the good man, Jesus the teacher, Jesus the moralist, perhaps, but never Jesus who was and is and is to come.
Whatever Jesus Gandhi liked was certainly not the Jesus of the Bible. Why then should we care if we do not attain to this falsified version of Jesus? I would be ashamed to have any appearance to the kind of Jesus that Gandhi would deem good and acceptable and worthy of emulation. That Jesus would, of course, have to look an awful lot like Gandhi. So there is one good reason to stop using this quote: because Gandhi fabricated a Jesus of his own making and declared his affection only for this fictional character. He never liked the real thing…
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