I like Tolstoy. His writings are engaging and thought provoking. He is one of the earliest fighters for social justice and all through peaceful methods. He was a remarkable man for any time period. I am not sure if he was a Christian though.
Tolstoy, like many, was influenced by the Sermon on the Mount. This became his defining aspect of what Christianity was and what it should always be. He used this sermon to outline five simple propositions that should guide his and everyone’s life:
1. Love your enemies
2. Do not be angry
3. Do not fight evil with evil, but return evil with good
4. Do not lust
5. Do not take oaths
These are all really good qualities that should be practiced, but these do not make one a Christian. Tolstoy took Christian principles which should be true in all aspects of life for all people and made his Christian version of humanism in which he followed. Many others who see problems in the church, follow this same path. They take the positive aspects of Christianity and strive to make themselves better people. Doing what Jesus taught. That is not Christianity though.
Often we see people who claim to be Christian and who fail to live up to these qualities and the teachings of Jesus. This is the hypocrisy that outraged Tolstoy. It is what should outrage everyone who claims to be a Christian as well. We are not who we are because of what we do, but what we do is based on who we are. If we have been saved and have turned toward Christ, then our life should begin to reflect that transformation. If it has not, then one should look to see why not.