By Ruth Bell Graham   •   December 2, 2005

Strange, I thought to myself. Wouldn’t the Father rather we welcome a phony than put down a genuine new believer, however odd or difficult that new believer might appear to be?

A former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is reputed to have said, “Although it is a mistake to collect a fake, an error every adventurous connoisseur has made, it is an absolute sin to brand as a forgery an authentic work of art.”

Objects of art are complete and static. But Christians, I hope, are growing, even though in some that growth may be imperceptible. However, Paul has given us the simplest common denominator in 1 Corinthians 12:3: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (RSV). Perhaps the Father watches how we welcome those who pass Paul’s test–even though we might distrust them or might not like them because for some reason they fail to pass our own standards. But wouldn’t we rather welcome a fake than brand as forgery an authentic work of grace?

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