Ardent Cries

Posts Tagged ‘Biblical Worldview’

Books,Christian Living,Christians and Culture

May 27, 2010

Thinking Christianly About Sports

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(By David Giarrizzo)

[I’m borrowing the title of this post from the subtitle of Robert Spinney’s booklet entitled, Did God Create Sports Also?: Thinking Christianly About Sports.]

Last week was game 1 of the Phoenix Suns-L.A. Lakers match-up for the NBA Western Conference finals. I had a group of about 8 guys over to watch the game. We had the usual trappings of a game-night party: chips, drinks, bratwursts, veggies, and cookies.

Oh, and a devotional.

When I sent out the text-message invite earlier that day, a brother of mine responded by suggesting a half-time devotional. I thought it was a great idea, and I was reminded of the book by Robert Spinney about sports.

In just 21 pages, Spinney makes it clear that sports, while they can be used to glorify God and benefit us, they can also be misused and made into an idol. I found this quote to be the central theme of the book:

“We should not accept blindly our culture’s understanding of anything, including hobbies, politics, vulgar speech, or care for the elderly. Nor should we simply assume that our culture uses sports as God intended them to be used. We must think Christianly about the subjects of entertainment and physical recreation. Like work, marriage, child-rearing, and education, this area of life must be taken captive to the obedience of Christ and submitted to His lordship (2 Corinthians 10:5).”


Here’s an outline of Spinney’s major points:

  1. Sports are a part of God’s good creation. They can both glorify God and profit our souls.
  2. We can engage in recreation in such a way that it doesn’t glorify God and doesn’t bless us.
  3. We misuse sports when they (not God) address our deepest needs and become our purpose in life.
  4. Sports do not glorify God when they distract us from biblical behaviors and require too much time.
  5. Our sports do not glorify God when they nurture in us an excessive and unhealthy competitiveness.
  6. For many, sports expose how we behave when we love something and are deeply committed to it.


It’s not surprising any more that some Christians want little to do with professional sports today. These Christians may choose to abstain from following sports like they may choose to abstain from watching any television or going to the movies or listening to “secular” music, etc. But as I’ve written before, we must not equate abstinence to holiness. While we can all acknowledge that sports and TV and film and music have all been used and abused by a sinful society, we cannot say that God does not also use these same things to bring glory to Himself. In fact, God created sports and man’s athletic abilities, and we know that all things God created are good. Sports and art and other aspects of culture are gifts from God to mankind. We must remember to use everything God has given to us to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 10:31).

So be encouraged, brothers and sisters, as you enjoy the gifts of God through culture, always giving thanks and glory to the Maker of all good things. Like Eric Liddell, enjoy sports to the glory of God. Go Suns!

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” –Abraham Kuyper

Books,Miscellanious

March 10, 2010

What of the Material Things?

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(By David Giarrizzo)

I was contemplating this temporary world of material things today and thought of some words I read last night by John Piper. The small group that I lead at our church is currently using Piper’s book This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence as our guide in discussing the biblical picture of marriage. In chapter 10 of this book, Piper diverges for a page or so and shares these interesting thoughts:

Why Are There Bodies and Birds and Bread and Wine?

Thinking about the resurrection of the dead and the new heavens and the new earth has raised for me many questions about the material world. For example: Why did God give us bodies in the first place? Why did he make a material universe? Why does he raise our bodies from the dead and make them new and then liberate this earth so that it is a new earth where we can live forever in our new bodies? If God meant to have great praise (“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,” Ps. 96:4), why not just create angels with no bodies but great hearts who can only speak to God and not to each other? Why all these bodies, and why should persons be able to communicate with each other? And why trees and earth and water and fire and wind and lions and lambs and lilies and birds and bread and wine?

There are several deep and wonderful answers to these questions. But the one I want to mention is this: God made bodies and material things because when they are rightly seen and rightly used, God’s glory is more fully known and displayed. The heavens are telling the glory of God (Ps. 19:1). That’s why the physical universe exists. Consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and you will know more of God’s goodness and care (Matt. 6:26–28). See in the things he has made his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature (Rom. 1:20). Look at marriage and see Christ and the church (Eph. 5:23–25). As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you declare the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26). Whether you eat or drink or what­ever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). The material world is not an end in itself; it is designed to display God’s glory and to awaken our hearts to know him and value him more.


May we indeed glorify our Creator for all the material—and sometimes seemingly trivial—things He has provided for us to possess and enjoy. May we glorify Him with all that we have in these short-lived lives of ours.

Christian Living,apologetics

January 14, 2010

Think About It!

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(By David Giarrizzo)

Unfortunately the saying is true: “Common sense is not so common.” We see this all over the place—on the news, on the drive to work, even within our own households at times. The infamous Darwin Awards are chock-full of stories about people who were seriously hurt or killed due to a lack of common sense. Sadly, common sense, or practical judgment, just simply isn’t employed as often as it needs to be. I’m sure we could attribute a lack of sound judgment to a variety of causes depending on the situation—hastiness, peer pressure, ignorance, etc. At the end of the day, however, I think we just don’t think enough, thus we get ourselves into all sorts of trouble.

Wisdom; discernment; carefulness; vigilance; thoughtfulness; reason—these are words that describe a biblical use of the mind. The person who possesses these attributes is saved from a vast number of failures and pains that come to the person who does not seek these traits.

Since common sense is not inherent to humanity, we must strive all the more to be Christians who are aware, Christians who are thinking individuals. We know from the warnings in scripture that falsehood and deceitfulness can creep into the church and lay hold of unsuspecting Christians. In fact, it takes more than common sense to discern these kinds of dangers. This is why the Bible commands us multiple times to be on guard—

“Be on guard!
Be alert ! You do not know when that time will come.”
(Mark 13:33)

“Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
(1 Peter 5:8)

“Be on guard
for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
(Acts 20:28, NASB)


As believers who have been brought from darkness into light, we are to be awake, alert, aware, for there are wolves dressed as sheep and a lion who seeks to devour. Paul warns the young elder Timothy of such a person in 2 Timothy 4:14-15. Likewise, Paul writes in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

With these things in mind, it would be easy for someone to become cold, cynical, and untrusting. But we don’t need to be callous; we need to be careful. We don’t need to be defensive; we need to be discerning. We don’t need to be passive; we need to be proactive. And how do Christians live careful, discerning, proactive lives? By loving the Lord with all of the mind. And where do we receive our guidance? From God Himself! Job’s friend Elihu acknowledges this truth in Job 35:10-11 when he remarks that it is God Who “teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens.” It is God Who speaks to us through His Word, that Word which is a lamp to our paths and a light to our feet.

As I mentioned repeatedly in my short series on Christians and culture, as we engage ourselves in the culture of the time (which is inevitable for us to do), we need to think. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. So in order to think right, we need to learn right. With what are we filling our minds? Are we concerned with the things above, or are we focused only on the things below? Do we seek after truth like an expensive jewel, or wisdom like a precious stone? Proverbs 4 illustrates the direct connection between thinking straight and waking straight; being wise and living wise. When we think biblically, it is reflected in our words and actions. Then we are equipped to engage the world that is hostile to God and suppresses His truth in unrighteousness.

Therefore, we need to be both on guard and ready to engage: on guard against falsehood and able to engage those who speak it. Our weapon is the truth of God presented to us through His written Word. As the Apostle Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures,” let us do likewise and think biblically as we reason boldly for the cause of Christ.

“…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
1 Peter 3:15

Books,Christian Living

November 18, 2009

Just Do Something: Life’s Big Decisions

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(By David Giarrizzo)

DecisionsLast week I began a short discussion on the topic of God’s will and decision-making flowing from Kevin DeYoung’s book, Just Do Something. In that post I addressed four categories of Christians: planners, plodders, players, and the paralyzed. While local churches should be full of discerning planners and faithful plodders, far too often church pews are filled with playing and paralyzed people who are not making Gospel strides. While some of these paralyzed believers probably have intentions that are morally upright, they are nonetheless incapacitated by worry and fear of the future. As DeYoung puts it, “Passivity is a plague among Christians. It’s not that we just don’t do anything; it’s that we feel spiritual for not doing anything” (p 51). Therefore, these individuals accomplish little for the cause of the Gospel.

But the message is this: Do Something!

As the back cover of DeYoung’s book points out, “God doesn’t need to tell us what to do at each fork in the road. He’s already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him with our whole hearts, to obey His Word, and after that, to do what we like.” How important this is for us to understand, especially those brothers and sisters who are paralyzed by fear of the future. This theme of the book comes from Christ’s words in Matthew 6:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? . . . Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? …So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25, 27, 31-34)

Having been involved with our church’s college and career group, I can understand why much of what is written in Just Do Something is especially applicable to young adults. Young adults, especially those who are single and still in college, have many “closed doors” and “question marks” before them when they think about their futures: career, home, spouse, children, etc. But answering all of the question marks doesn’t require a person to become paralyzed as they try to strategize before entering into the unknown.

Undoubtedly, the time in a person’s life from one’s late teens through the early thirties is an important period. Many important life choices are made during these years—where to go to school, who to date, when to marry, where to live, where to go to church, etc. But the focus in all of these things shouldn’t be on the questions themselves, but on Jesus.  This is why the point of Matthew 6—and the rest of Scripture’s teaching on the subject—seems to be, “Don’t worry about all of those earthly ‘things.’ But by faith, seek after the unseen things such as the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Then everything else will fall into place according to God’s will.”

Still, even though we recognize the truth of passages like Matthew 6:33 and Romans 8:28, there can be a natural hesitation or fear amidst major choices of life. I admire the way DeYoung writes about how believers can experience peace in the face of life-changing decisions: “[W]hen it comes to most of our daily decisions, and even a lot of life’s ‘big’ decisions, God expects and encourages us to make choices, confident that He’s already determined how to fit our choices into His sovereign will” (p 51). There’s the point: Don’t worry because God is sovereign.

In the realm of church life, when it comes to “discovering God’s will for your life” or “finding your spiritual gift,” I think the best advice for anyone is this: Stop wondering, stop worrying, and get to work. This is something that we try to encourage through the Building Tomorrow’s Church conference for young adults. Young people—late teens and college-aged Christians— don’t have to wait around until they are their parents’ ages to fulfill the roles of responsible church members; they don’t have to wait until they are married to get involved in the core ministries of their churches. All believers are called to minister to and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).

The area of dating and marriage is another major concern for many young, single Christians. But this important arena of life is simply another opportunity to trust the Lord and live life according to His Word. When my wife and I were dating (feel free to call it “courting” if it makes you feel better), she lived in Kansas while I was in Arizona for three (long) years. During this time right after high school, neither of us could exactly foresee God’s plan for us in the future. But Psalm 40:8 became a theme of our relationship: “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. With the Word of God constantly before us, we prayerfully continued forward with our relationship until it became evident to us and everyone who knew us that God was pointing us towards marriage.

SuGod's Word, His Willre, there was great risk involved as Paige and I lived 1,200 miles apart in different homes, different schools, [very] different churches, different jobs; but what worth having doesn’t involve some level of risk?! I appreciate what DeYoung mentions about risk and the future: “We must renounce our sinful desire to know the future and to be in control. We are not gods. We walk by faith, not by sight. We risk because God does not risk. We walk into the future in God-glorifying confidence, not because the future is known to us but because it is known to God. And that’s all we need to know” (p 48). As all Christians are commanded to do, Paige and I sought to live each day with eyes fixed on Christ. The rest of life, as God taught us, would be worked out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold thee as thou art,
And thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed.
-Jean S. Pig­ott


The most important things in life center around “…who we are, not where we are” (p 60). Who we are in Christ is so much more an important preoccupation for believers to be focused on rather than who to marry or where to live or which job to take or how many kids to have or when to retire. (If only we spent more time on that important question!)

I hope to continue and conclude this topic next week.

Books,Christian Living,Ecclesiology

November 11, 2009

Just Do Something: 4 Types of People

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(By David Giarrizzo)

What a trip! Over the past week I have had the opportunity to fly to the opposite end of the country (central Florida), play the part of the best man in a good friend’s wedding, spend some quality time with my family and close friends, go to a theme park, worship with a small Reformed Baptist congregation, and catch up on some reading. Overall, it was a great time, but I’m glad to be home (as of 30 minutes ago).

Just Do SomethingAs I thought about what I would write on for this week’s post, I found my answer in a book. There’s one book in particular that I have been meaning to read since I first heard about months and months ago that I was finally able to read this past weekend. It’s called Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will; Or, How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verse, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing In the Sky, Etc. by Kevin DeYoung (co-author with Ted Kluck of Why We’re Not Emergent and more recently, Why We Love the Church). It’s a short, easy read of only 122 [small] pages, and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a very basic, very biblical understanding of God’s will and decision-making. While I do not want to present an all-out book review (for a couple of those, check out here and here), I do want to discuss some of the important points that DeYoung makes in his book on knowing the will of God in a few posts on the subject of God’s will, but more specifically how we as believers are to think and live.

Let me begin by discussing four different types of people that I categorized in my mind through reading Just Do Something. I figure there are many types of people with varying personality types, cultural traditions, work ethics, behavioral patterns, theological nuances, etc. But in terms of Christians who are to be at work serving the Lord, I came up with these four categories of people: Planners, Plodders, Players and the Paralyzed.

Planners—Visionaries, pioneers, innovators; plan ahead; often express leadership qualities; can see the big picture, but may not be as good with details.
“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Plodders—Hard workers day-in and day-out, task-oriented, patient, dependable; manage the details well, not easily distracted; able to consistently complete their work and meet their goals.
“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” Proverbs 12:11
The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” Proverbs 12:24

Players—Entertainment-driven, looking for excitement & fulfillment through material objects; worldly, easily distracted, unreliable. (Consider the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:13.)

Paralyzed—Easily confused, easily distressed; indecisive, worrisome; procrastinators, excuse-makers; Do-nothings. (I think of Bunyan’s characters, Simple, Sloth, and Presumption, who Christian encounters just to the side of The Way in Pilgrim’s Progress.)

(Of course, each of these could probably be subcategorized or this list added to, but these are the four that came to mind while reading DeYoung’s book. If you come up with other categories, please leave your thoughts in the comment section!)

Many people go through phases in life where any of these characteristics could describe them; however, some people just simply resemble one type of person more than any other. For example, I know some plodders within our church congregation who have worked behind the scenes for years simply doing the work of the Lord through various ministries. Likewise, some generations seem to produce more of one type than another. I think of the plodders of my grandparent’s generation who were happy just getting a paycheck for doing an honest day’s work. I think of the baby boomers and the many innovations that came out of that generation (think: the internet). Then I think of my generation comprised of some Gen-Xers and some Millennials (I am a “cusper” because I was born in the early ‘80’s and can relate closely to both generations). This generation, as DeYoung points out in chapter 1, is a generation of “tinkerers.” DeYoung writes, “Our grandparents built. Our parents boomed. And my generation? We tinker” (p 12). I think that word “tinker” accurately portrays my generation: we mess around with things, probably because there’s so much to tinker with. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the blessings of technology for the Christian. But as we all well know, with technology also come many distractions. And I think that technology, as much as it has helped us do some things faster, it has likewise become one of the largest distractions to productivity.

Farmer plowingIdeally, the church should be full of both Planners and Plodders, not Players or paralyzed parts. We should see our churches full of people with purpose and vision for the future. And we should see our churches busy in ministering and actively working to see the fruit of their labors for the glory of God (the faithful proclamation of the Gospel; the caring for the poor, sick, and needy; the sending and supporting of missionaries; etc.). Regretfully, though, some churches suffer and are inhibited by those who find more fulfillment in worldly pleasures and spend their time and energy on pursuing personal rather than spiritual gain; or by those who seem to do absolutely nothing for the benefit of themselves, never mind for the kingdom. These latter individuals are paralyzed by indecision. Additionally, as DeYoung acknowledges, they often excuse their life-long procrastination and sluggishness with statements like, “I’m trying to find God’s will for my life” or “I am praying for God to give me direction.” The problem is this: God HAS given us direction, He has shown us His will for our lives in His WORD!

Hebrews 1:2“…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” This is how God speaks to us today.

And God has shown us His will for our lives in 1 Thessalonians 4:3—“For this is the will of God, your sanctification…”.

I look forward to writing more on this subject and further discussing other points that DeYoung brings out in his book, Just Do Something. For now, let me leave you with this:

Are you a Planner or a Plodder? How are you currently using your spiritual gifts to benefit the body? Are you spending too much time playing when there is God’s work to be done? Or are you paralyzed by fear, indecision, or confusion? As the old saying goes, “Plan your work and work your plan.” Start by getting up and doing something. But don’t just tinker with life; don’t tinker with the important things like God’s will, your spiritual growth, and ministering through the body of Christ. Whatever your hand finds to do, remember:  do it with all your might (Eccl. 9:10) and to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)!

Christians and Culture

September 9, 2009

Christians and Culture: What To Do

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(By David Giarrizzo)Bible
Some people may view the work of engaging culture as no better than polishing brass on a sinking ship. But I would disagree with that estimation. I believe that the Bible is explicitly clear in setting forth our responsibility here on earth until Christ’s return: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) This was a command set forth by Christ Himself to every generation of believers to follow. So with this as our foundation for engaging culture—to seek to make disciples of men—may we be fitted with the belt of Truth and the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit as we engage our culture to the glory of God.

Having already considered wrong approaches that Christians take to culture, let us now consider a more biblical approach in our dealings with our culture:

A Right Approach to Culture…

  • Stand on Scripture.
  • Know the Times.
  • Preach the Gospel.

Unfortunately, there is no simple “12-Step Plan for Successful Cultural Engagement.” The truth is nothing worth pursuing is that easy. What I’m proposing is a mindset, not a methodology. It is a philosophy that should encompass our understanding and actions regarding the world. And the actions that flow out of this philosophy should represent a life of devotion to God. Engaging culture requires time and sacrifice. Engaging the culture takes a heart that aches for lost souls. But before someone labels me as being overly simplistic, let us further consider these principles and the implications they have on both the person who seeks to counter the culture and on the culture itself.

Stand on Scripture.
Truly engaging our culture requires biblical discernment. But true discernment doesn’t come easily. A person who seeks to address the errors and abuses of popular culture must know the ultimate standard of morality, that is, God’s Law. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) A proper knowledge of scripture is primary and essential to a right approach to pop culture.

“The culture is to be constantly judged by the Bible, rather than the Bible being bent to conform to the surrounding culture.” -Francis Schaeffer


When we are firmly established in the Word and confronted with a cultural text or trend, we should be quick to utilize a solidly biblical worldview that has been taught and trained to discern truth from error based on the authority of God’s Word. Calvin described the Bible as glasses which aid us in reading the world around us so that what we see we see through the lens of God’s truth. But this takes effort on our part; therefore we must follow Paul’s admonishment in 1 Corinthians 16:13: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

Like trees planted by streams of water, may we ever find ourselves rooted in the depths of God’s Word if we are to be known as faithful evangelists. May we stand firm on God’s Word and use that two-edged sword to distinguish truth from error.

Know the Times.
In 1 Chronicles we read the list of David’s mighty men, and there were those from Issachar who, as we are told, understood the times to know what Israel should. “Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.” (1 Chronicles 12:32) These men in their day were able to look around at their cultural landscape and make sound judgments based on what they observed. They had a discernment based on God’s Word, and they were able to act upon their understanding of the times.

For us today this means taking an active part in our culture. Knowing the times involves being well-read in cultural texts, even well-versed in cultural expressions so as to speak the language when necessary. Dialogue with the culture can serve a noble purpose provided that it has a purpose. More specifically, in order to understand the times, here are a few simple ways to get to know the culture around us without engaging in the sins of the world:

  • Begin by stepping out of the office every once-in-a-while.
  • Find time to watch a recently-released movie.
  • Read a book from the New York Times bestseller’s list.
  • Tune to a secular radio station for a day.
  • Visit a museum—art, science, or history.
  • Watch the news (and feel free to talk back to the television like I do!).
  • Become politically active; vote!
  • And in all of these things, using the spectacles of Scripture, discern what is true and know what to do.

Preach the Gospel.
“…Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2

For all of the world’s problems and the culture’s ailments, there is one important solution, only one cure: The Gospel. There are church groups in America that are preaching relevance and freshness instead of repentance and forgiveness.  But when the truth loses its truthfulness, its very substance is changed from truth to falsehood.  As I’ve said before, if anyone wants to be relevant, let him know his Bible better than he knows his culture. If God’s Word possesses the power of life, then what are some churches doing wasting time with preaching moralism? The Bible doesn’t call on churches or church leaders to have a chit-chat with popular culture over lattes, but to preach the Word!

Charles Spurgeon, a man who lived and died over a century ago, understood the importance of preaching the truth of the Gospel in his day. How much more should we be concerned with preaching God’s truth in our day? Here are Spurgeon’s words on the matter:

“We have a faith to preach, my brethren, and we are sent forth with a message from God. We are not left to fabricate the message as we go along. We are not sent forth by our Master with this kind of general commission – ‘As you shall think in your heart and invent in your head as you march on, so preach. Keep abreast of the times. Whatever the people want to hear, tell them that, and they shall be saved.’ Verily, we read not so. There is something definite in the Bible. We ought to preach the gospel, not as our views at all, but as the mind of God-the testimony of Jehovah concerning his own Son, and in reference to salvation for lost men. If we had been entrusted with the making of the gospel, we might have altered it to suit the taste of this modest century, but never having been employed to originate the good news, but merely to repeat it, we dare not stir beyond the record. What we have been taught of God we teach. If we do not do this, we are not fit for our position.”


May the God of all grace allow us to approach our culture in this way: by standing with our feet planted firmly on the Word of God with an understanding of our times and a desire to preach God’s Word amidst this world of fleeting pleasures.