Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Converts - Part 2: "Not All Converts are Equal"

Johnny and Billy both sat in their desks staring at their answers for the pop quiz. By coincidence, the two boys had become greatly concerned over their answers for the final question.

Johnny, filled with doubt about his answer, read the question again:

On what date was the United States Constitution adopted by a convention of the states?

Johnny had written "July 4, 1776" as his answer, but he was starting to have doubts. That answer had seemed too easy. Suddenly, Johnny remembered that Independence Day had more to do with the Declaration of Independence and that the Constitution was ratified much later...

Billy was equally concerned about his answer. He had written "September 17, 1787" as his answer, but he was starting to have doubts. That date had popped into his head because they had talked about it in class, but he could not remember what that date corresponded to. Suddenly, Billy remember that "July 4, 1776" was the celebration of the nation's Independence from England. Was that it? Billy pondered for a moment and realized that he had been wrong...

Both boys confidently erased their answers and wrote in new ones.

Johnny erased July 4, 1776 and wrote September 17, 1787.
Billy erased September 17, 1787 and wrote July 4, 1776.

Both boys turned in their tests with confidence that they had narrowly averted disaster on that last question. Johnny was right to convert his answer. He had been mistaken. Unfortunately, Billy was wrong to convert his answer because his first answer had been right all along.

Both boys followed their conscience and changed their minds with the best of intentions to get the answer right. I suppose you could commend both boys for following their gut and going with what they believed to be true.

But like so many things in life, there was one objective answer: September 17,1787. Johnny went from wrong to right while Billy went from right to wrong.

When handing back the quiz, the teacher turned to Billy and said, "Good job, Billy. I see that you had the right answer, but I am proud of you for having the integrity to change your answer when you no longer thought you were right. I wish that you had kept the right answer, but at least you weren't hypocritical by turning in an answer that you thought was wrong."

Please! What kind of teacher is that?!? How does that help Billy at all?

Let us never forget that there is objective truth. People who go from the right answer to the wrong answer have made a mistake. They do not need to be commended on their methods or their desire to get the right answer. All of that effort caused them to err. They need to be told what the right answer is so that they are not confirmed in their mistake.

Converts to Lutheranism (the right answer) are to be commended. Converts from Lutheranism (the wrong answer) need to be shown their error in judgement... not complimented on their "integrity".

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