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From the Autobiography: Hypocrites & Conquistadors

One day, a hippie named Hardy Cook came into the bookstore in College Park, Maryland. When he realized that he was in a Christian store, he felt obligated to tell me why he was not a Christian. I had heard the same story many times before. His reasons for rejecting Christianity were the Conquistadors, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and hypocrites.

When he finished, I asked him these questions.

“Are hypocrites Christians?”


“Were the Crusaders Christians?”


“Were the Conquistadors Christians?”


“Were the Inquisitors Christians?”


“Hardy, you just told me that you are not a Christian because of all these non-Christians. That doesn’t make any sense at all.”

I told him that I had been asked to speak at the InterVarsity Fellowship that evening in the Student Union Building and gave him the time and the room number.

It was a long room with a long table down the middle. There were about seventy-five students there. The room was so crowded that when I stood up to speak, I stood in the corner. I noticed that Hardy was standing in the corner to my right.

When I finished, two girls right in front of me had questions. When I was done answering them, I looked up to find that Hardy Cook had left. I was annoyed with the two girls for detaining me. I said I had missed the guy I had invited to the meeting.

I continued to talk with students until finally I made it out into the hallway. I looked up, and there was Hardy. “Hardy, I thought you left!”

“I got out of there as fast as I could. I was down at the other end of the Student Union when two girls walked by. One of them said to the other, ‘Too bad that fellow Mr. Wilson invited to the meeting left.’ I figured they were talking about me, so I came back.”

“Hardy, if you want to talk, I will listen.”

“No. You talk, and I will listen.”

We went back into the room and sat at the table with some of the Christian guys, and I explained the gospel to him.

Pretty soon, Hardy was physically shaking. I knew he was convicted of sin, so I suggested that he receive the Lord.

He responded, “No, no. Mind your own business! This is a personal thing.”

“OK. When you receive the Lord, go down to the Lamplighter Bookstore and tell them you got saved. Good night.”

“What do you mean, ‘Good night’?!”

“I am going home to bed. It is a personal thing, so you go home and take care of it.” I shooed him out the door.

The parking lot for the Student Union Building was at the bottom of a steep hill. The Christian guys were walking with me to my car when we heard someone running down the hill behind us yelling, “Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson!” It was Hardy Cook. “I couldn't wait until I got back to my dorm. I have to accept Christ now.” And he did.

Read more in Grace upon Grace: The Autobiography of Jim Wilson, coming early spring 2020.


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