Why Every Christian Can Evangelize

Suppose an earthquake seriously damaged a high-rise building your were in. But a friend from that building who’d made it out safely called to check on you, and guided you to a stairwell in a particular corner of the building from which he had escaped.

After emerging into the light and open air, you become concerned for another friend in the building. You call him and he’s made his way to the same place you were when you received the message of escape. Having heard, believed, and followed the message that led to your deliverance, don’t you think you’d be able to convey that same message to your still-trapped friend?

If you understand it, you can express it

Anyone—regardless of age, church experience, or Bible knowledge—who has understood the Gospel well enough to believe it should be able to communicate the Gospel to others.

To put it another way, if a person cannot communicate the Gospel—at least its most basic elements, in a way commensurate with their age and mental ability—how can we be assured they have understood it well enough to believe it themselves?

Let me say it yet another way. To be saved, a person must believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To believe the Gospel a person must have at least a minimal understanding of it, whether it comes to them by ear or eye. In normal situations, one indication whether a person has understood the message of God’s salvation through Christ is whether they can express what they’ve understood.

Does this apply to children too?

“But what about children?,” someone may ask. “Can a child believe the Gospel and be saved?”

Yes, of course, but even a child should be able to express in childlike ways what they are believing. This is more than merely nodding one’s head at an assertion of the Gospel by someone else or affirming that you believe what another has explained. These are not wrong at the appropriate time. But such responses fall short of the believer expressing the content of what he or she believes.

If a person cannot say (or write) to someone else what they believe, how can we be assured they have believed the Gospel that saves?

Having gone through the experience of hearing the Gospel, comprehending some degree of its implications, and responding to it in repentance and faith, they should be able to describe that message and their response (on their own age and theological level, of course) to someone else.

Ever changed a tire?

For example, if someone explains to me “the message” of changing a tire, and I personally go through the experience of changing a tire, I should be able to relate the essence of that message to you when you have a flat. Even if I don’t know some the specific terms of the message like “jack,” “wheel cover,” and “lug nut,” I can still relate the basic message, albeit with synonyms or descriptions of some of the terms I can’t remember precisely. Conversely, if I am unable to tell you the basics of changing a tire, you have a right to question whether I’ve really been through the experience.

That’s why it raises doubts about the authenticity of the experience of any professing Christian who maintains that he does not know enough to speak to someone about the salvation of their soul.

The second part of this article will be in the next post.


Why Every Christian Can Evangelize, part 2

You can read the first part of this article here.

In part one I asserted that if a person has understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ well enough to believe it savingly, then he or she should be able to communicate the Gospel to others. Obviously they can’t be expected to share the Gospel beyond their age, maturity, intellectual, or theological level. But if they have believed the Gospel, they should be able to express what they have believed.

A person who is unable to share the Gospel that they claim to believe casts serious doubts on the nature of their faith and the authenticity of their salvation.

Then why can’t many genuine believers express the Gospel?

So maybe many who wrongly think themselves to be Christians cannot communicate the Gospel because they’ve never really encountered a clear presentation of the Gospel, or they did not understand it, or they have never experienced the saving power of the Gospel. But what about those who give much evidence of being a born-again believer in Jesus and likewise seem unable to faithfully share the message of salvation they say they’ve believed?

I’m convinced many true Christians doubt their ability to verbalize the gospel because after their conversion they were never asked, in the words of 1 Pet. 3:15, to “give an account of the hope that is in” them. From the very beginning of their own relationship with Him they’ve never had to talk to anyone—not even their pastor or another Christian—about knowing Christ. As a result, with the passing of time they’ve come to believe they can’t share the Gospel (because they never have shared it before).

My own experience

In my own case, when I presented myself to make a public profession of faith in Christ and to become a candidate for baptism, all that was required of me was to nod my head at the right time to certain questions. No one ever asked me why I had presented myself or what I believed. Everyone assumed that I adequately understood the gospel and had responded with true repentance and faith.

In the years that followed, when I would move to a different city and present myself for membership in another church, the people there assumed I had been sufficiently examined in my previous church. While admitting me to membership in their church, they did not verify that I knew the basic message of the church. In other words, no one asked, “How did you become a Christian?,” listening for my understanding of the Gospel in my testimony.

I’m convinced that this pattern has been repeated in the lives of countless Christians who eventually believe they cannot express the Gospel clearly because they’ve never done so before.

Is the problem a lack of training?

Some would contend that most Christians cannot adequately share the Gospel without formal training in evangelism. I’m for evangelism training. I’ve participated in it, led it, recommend it, and think churches should have it. But training is not necessary before you can tell someone about Jesus and your own testimony.

In John 9 we read of a man born blind who, within an hour after his conversion, is witnessing to Ph.D.’s in religion (the Pharisees). Obviously he’d had no evangelism training, but he was able to talk about Jesus and his own conversion. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say, after being saved and after hearing countless presentations of the Gospel in sermons, if Christians still believe they need massive amounts of specialized training before they can evangelize, then either they have heard very poor preaching or they have been very poor listeners.

Here’s help

But it does boost one’s confidence in sharing the gospel to know a general outline of what to say and to have some appropriate verses of Scripture committed to memory. Several years ago I developed an outline to hang my thoughts on, along with at least two key verses for each point. I don’t follow it woodenly in every situation, for each evangelistic encounter is unique. And sometimes I condense it a bit. But having a full presentation of the gospel ready on my lips does give me a sense of direction and a feeling of preparedness.

You’re welcome to adapt the outline for use in your own personal evangelism, and you can find it by clicking here. And if you aren’t sure of the Gospel yourself, you are warmly invited to read the outline as well.

Have you believed the Gospel, the message about what God has done through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus? If so, you can evangelize. Just tell people the message that brought about your own relationship with God. Then invite them to turn from trusting in what they have done to be acceptable to God and to believe that what Jesus has done will bring them into a relationship with God.

You can read the first part of this article here.

The Christian Life Isn’t Meant to Be Effortless, part 2

Read part one of this post here.

When God saves people, He doesn’t make them less human, but more fully human. And He intends for us to use all that He created us with—our minds, our bodies, our will, and all that’s part of being human—to live for His glory.

Who is to do the obeying?

Some teachers, however, deny this when they say that if you abide in Christ as you should (Jn. 15:1-11), then you won’t have to exert effort to be Christlike, any more than a branch of a grapevine exerts effort to produce grapes.

This kind of teaching ignores the fact that in Scripture repeatedly God commands us to accept the responsibility of obeying Him. In Col. 3:2, when you are told, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,” who is to do that, you or God?

When God says in Eph. 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives,” that means husband, you’d better actively love your wife. Do you think God intends for you to tell your wife, “I’m not going to try to love you any more, I’m just going to let go and let God”? Try telling her that. She knows how much love she’d get out of that deal!

When the Lord says in 1 Cor. 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality,” what He means is for you to use your feet and get away.

Even in Romans 6 when it says, “Consider yourselves dead to sin,” who is to do the considering? You are!

There is no elimination of any part of our humanity in Christian living.

Work toward what only the Holy Spirit can produce

The Bible commands us to work toward things that only the Holy Spirit can give. For example, notice 2 Pet. 1:5-7, especially at the beginning when it reads, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” Only the Holy Spirit can truly develop those Christlike qualities, nevertheless we are told to cultivate them.

Think about what Paul says in Phil. 2:12“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” You’ve probably heard the explanation of that. You are to work out the salvation that God has worked in. The verse 13 adds, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God’s grace gives you both the desire and ability to work out what He has worked in. But you must be about it.

Justification is monergistic, sanctification is synergistic

It’s important not to confuse at this point how one becomes a Christian with how one grows as a Christian.

When a person becomes a Christian, only one Person is at work—God. Theologians apply to this process the word  “monergism,” which means “one person working.” God comes to the person who is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-7) and “regenerates” them, that is, He does all the work to make the person alive. The corpse contributes nothing to the process. But once alive, the first thing he or she immediately wants to do is come to Christ in repentance and faith.

This is much like when Jesus took the initiative to come to Lazarus who was dead and entombed. Jesus, by Himself, raised Lazarus to life, and the first thing he freely wanted to do was to come to Jesus (Jn. 11:1-44, esp. vv. 38-44).

Once God has made us alive spiritually, we work together with God to grow in the faith. We can’t do anything without God’s grace (Jn. 15:5), but His grace doesn’t eliminate what we gives us to do by His grace.

Notice what the Apostle Paul writes in Phil. 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” What did Paul say he could do? He could do all things God wanted him to do. But He could only do it as Christ strengthened him. Still, Paul had to do what Christ gave him the strength to do in obedience to the Father.

Compare that with what we’re told in the many popular books like Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, (which has sold more than 10 million copies). She says, “Let me entreat you, then, to give up all your efforts after growing, and simply to let yourselves grow” (p. 127). As spiritual as it sounds, it doesn’t sound like the New Testament any more, does it?

What has Christ been calling you to do? Then by His grace and empowered by His Spirit, do it!


Read part one of this post here.

In 1987 I made notes while reading a Banner of Truth booklet, Living the Christian Life. I recently reflected upon those notes, modified them, and expanded upon them for this piece.

The Christian Life Isn’t Meant to Be Effortless

When we’re born again from above by the Spirit of God, the Lord makes a “new creation” of us (2 Cor. 5:17). But when He accomplishes that radical, regenerating transformation of us, He does not eliminate our minds, our bodies, our emotions, our will or anything that’s a part of what makes us human. God’s grace doesn’t eliminate any of those things, instead He gives dramatically new purposes to them.

He calls us to live the Christian life with the full—though God-centered—use of our minds and judgment and everything else that is a part of our humanity.

Let go and let God?

However, many people will tell you that your spiritual problems stem from the fact that you are trying to live the Christian life, but that God never intended you to do so. They say that just as God never intended for you to save yourself so He does not expect you to live the Christian life. They will tell you to “let go and let God; let go and let the Lord Jesus live His life through you.”

You’ve probably heard it put this way: “Have you ever seen an apple tree struggling and working and trying to produce apples? No! The branches just let the sap from the trunk produce the fruit. As long as they remain in the trunk the fruit will come. And in the same way, Christians produce spiritual fruit. All you have to do is abide in the vine, abide in Christ, and He will produce spiritual fruit through you. You don’t have to do anything; He does it all.”

It’s true that the Holy Spirit produces the fruit (that is, Christlikeness) through us and not we ourselves who produce it. But to say that we don’t do anything but remain passive takes the analogy of fruit-bearing too far.

Why does sin tempt me if I’m dead?

Here’s another analogy related to the Christian life that people take too far. Once again, in the process of trying to illustrate a biblical truth they teach that part of our humanity is eliminated in true Christian living. These well-meaning believers will remind us how Romans 6 teaches that we are identified with Christ in His Cross and Resurrection and therefore should consider ourselves as dead to sin. Then they will say something like: “Suppose an immodestly-dressed woman walks past the corpse of a man; will that man notice? Of course not, he’s dead! And that’s the way it’s to be with you if you are identified with Christ; sin will have no real appeal to you.”

But that’s taking the analogy beyond the bounds of Scripture. Romans 6:11 doesn’t say we are dead to sin, but rather “consider yourselves dead to sin.” The Apostle Paul exhorts us to this because believers are united with Christ by faith and Christ has died to sin on the Cross. In other words, sin will still appeal to us as long as we live in these bodies that have been corrupted by sin. However, we should no longer let any sin master us because we are united with Christ. As people united with the sinless, risen Christ, we’re to consider ourselves as dead to sin as He is.

Christlikeness requires effort

Note that to obey the command to “consider yourselves” requires intentionality and effort. It’s a faith-initiated, Christ-focused effort, to be sure, but it is human effort nonetheless. The Holy Spirit motivates and empowers you to do that, but He doesn’t do it for you.

When God saves people, He doesn’t make them less human, but more fully human. And He intends for us to use all that He created us with—our minds, our bodies, our will and all that’s part of being human—to live for His glory.


Read part two of this article in the next post.

In 1987 I made notes while reading a Banner of Truth booklet, Living the Christian Life. I recently reflected upon those notes, modified them, and expanded upon them for this piece.


Read One Page Per Day

When life gets too complex, one of the first parts of a healthy spiritual life to decline is reading. I talk to well-intentioned Christians almost every week who confess to growing piles of books by their “reading” chair, desk, nightstand, and other places, but who never have time to read. Reading for sheer enjoyment was long ago forsaken. Reading for Christian growth rarely happens. Most days, a few minutes in the Bible is all that’s left of their reading.

Those who love to learn and those who want to grow grieve the loss of reading like the loss of a close friend. “But what can I do,” they sigh, “there are only so many hours in a day.”

To these overwhelmed believers I usually ask, “Do you think you could find the time to read one page of a book each day?” No one has ever told me they couldn’t, no matter how busy they are or how many children they have. It might mean sneaking a page during a visit to the bathroom, sitting in the car an extra two minutes at the end of the morning or evening commute, or standing by the bed to read a moment before crashing into the pillow at night.

By reading one page per day you can read 365 pages in a year, or the equivalent of two full-length books. That may not sound like much, but it’s far better than not reading at all. Moreover, this would place you well beyond 27% of the U.S. population in the number of books read each year.

Furthermore, if you read just two books a year for the rest of your life, think of how many books you’d read if you lived to be seventy or seventy-five. Add to these all the books you might read in your retirement years if you develop the habit reading just a little each day now.

By this means of just a page per day, I’ve seen mothers of multiple preschoolers, homeschooling moms, and overwhelmed executives alike plow through a book every month or two. It wasn’t because they had any less to do. Rather, the secret lay in the simple discipline of making the commitment to read just one page.

Invariably, of course, when they read one page they decided to read more. The main problem was just getting to that first page. Once that was done, the rest was not only easy, but enjoyable as well.

Get back to the simple pleasure of good reading, one page at a time.


Go here to print this article as a bulletin insert.

Taken from Simplify Your Spiritual Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2003), pages 111-112.

Is It Unusual for a Minister to Question His Call?

One of my students asked if it were possible for someone truly called to the ministry to ever doubt that call.

“If a man ever has doubts about being called to the ministry, do those doubts indicate that God certainly has not called him?”

The internal call and the external call

First of all, the question presumes there is such a thing as a call to ministry, that is, a subjective sense of guidance from God into vocational ministry. Personally, I believe those God chooses for vocational ministry do receive such a call, and I have written about it here. When Paul says in 1 Tim. 3:1, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task,” I believe that “aspires” and “desires” speak of internal realities initiated by the Holy Spirit.

Second, I will assume that the minister who is experiencing such doubts had his internal sense of call affirmed by at least one local church. In other words, a local church has, to a greater or lesser degree, inquired about the man’s aspirations, observed him using his gifts in ministry to others, and concurs with the man’s sense of call. This is the “external call” to the ministry which a local church acknowledges after evaluating a man according to the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:2-7.

Any biblical examples?

Given that context, we can begin by saying that there’s no clear New Testament example of a God-called minister of the gospel doubting his call. One might infer that when John Mark leaves Paul and Barnabas early on the first missionary journey and returns home (Acts 13:13) that he was doubting any call to ministry he might have had prior to that time (even though he later returned to ministry). But there are so many potential difficulties with that inference that it’s not worth addressing. Any other speculation about what might have been occurring in the mind of the Apostle Paul or any other New Testament preacher while they were in the midst of suffering for the sake of the gospel is likewise unhelpful.

In the Old Testament some of the prophets certainly complained about the ministry to which God called them. Perhaps the best-known occurrence of this is when Jeremiah protested, “O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. . . . For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long” (Jeremiah 20:7).

But Jeremiah expresses no doubts about God’s call. Rather he’s complaining that being God’s prophet was much harder than he expected, so much so that he accused God of deceiving him. Doubtless every God-called minister occasionally encounters the awareness that ministry is much tougher than he anticipated. Like Jonah wanted both before and after going to Nineveh, Jeremiah wanted to abandon the role of delivering God’s message. But wanting to turn away from God’s call is not the same as doubting God’s call to proclaim His Word.

In the end, Jeremiah stuck it out. Despite the difficulties and the cost of remaining faithful, he couldn’t walk away. He knew that if he did the internal pressure to declare the Word of the Lord would ultimately prove irrepressible. “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9).

Doubts in the down times

So while there are no explicit examples in Scripture with men struggling with this precise issue, that alone doesn’t mean it never happens. The New Testament does tell us that men called by God retain the capacity to doubt, as Peter did when he stopped walking on water and started to sink (Matthew 14;31). It shouldn’t surprise us, therefore, for a person genuinely called by God to the ministry to sometimes doubt whether they misunderstood what they once believed was a call to the ministry.

I don’t think it unusual at all for someone to doubt a call to ministry during a season when their ministry bears little evident fruit. Especially in the early years of one’s ministry, I believe it’s rather normal to question one’s call to ministry when the Lord doesn’t seem to be blessing your ministry.

Moreover, when a man receives unexpected and/or undeserved opposition—and again, particularly in the early phase of his ministerial labors—he may take this as an indication that he misinterpreted the Lord’s will for his life. But since all ministers experience opposition, this by itself is no evidence either way regarding one’s call.

Therefore . . . 

Every God-called minister will pass through seasons—sometimes very long ones—of little apparent impact or of strong resistance. Even Jesus reached a point where few beyond his twelve disciples continued to follow Him (John 6:66ff.), and He experienced constant opposition to His ministry.

This is why it is crucial to be as certain as one can be about his call to ministry at the start. There will be many times when this sense of call, this “fire in your bones,” will be all that keeps you in the ministry.

But if you are questioning that call, first pray and ask the Lord to clarify matters for you. If He’s called you to His service, you’ll never be more miserable than you’ll be doing something else besides vocational ministry. As my dad once said to me (and I know this counsel didn’t originate with him), “Son, if you can do anything else except pastoral ministry and be happy, do it.” He was right. In time I began to see that I could never have found anything else more fulfilling than vocational ministry.

Second, get counsel from other godly ministers. No one will understand both the call of God, the challenges of the ministry as they will, and the struggle you are experiencing as they will.


For additional resources on this subject, consider:

The Call to Ministry, by R Albert Mohler, Jr., with Daniel S. Dumas and Donald S. Whitney.

Am I Called? The Summons to Pastoral Ministry, by Dave Harvey.

Called to the Ministry, by Edmund P. Clowney.

Is God Calling Me? by Jeff Iorg.


A Collection of Tributes to Jerry Bridges

I did not know Jerry Bridges as well as those who wrote these tributes, though I wish I’d had that blessing. I was honored to speak at a couple of conferences with him. Other than a couple of letters or emails perhaps, this was the extent to which I knew him personally. But each time we were at a conference together I was struck by his humility and kindness.

Like nearly all who have written of him since his home-going to Heaven, Jerry’s books had a great impact on me and my ministry. I have recommended his books on countless occasions, and it so helpful when someone asks for a book recommendation to be able to say “anything by Jerry Bridges.”

If you aren’t familiar with Bridges, you owe it to yourself to read at least one of these brief articles. I hope you’ll read them all.

This one is from Justin Taylor and was posted on the Gospel Coalition website. Here’s the best overview of Bridges’ life among all the tributes.

Here’s another from the Gospel Coalition website. It’s by Bob Bevington, who coauthored two books with Bridges. It has one of my favorite stories regarding Jerry in all the tributes:

A year ago I sat at Jerry’s dining room table, the place he typically did his writing—longhand with pen on paper. Every 10 minutes or so Jerry would put down his pen, close his eyes, and slip into what looked like a catnap. A couple times it looked as if he was going to fall off his chair. Then he’d suddenly awaken, pick up his pen, and start writing away. He’d look at what he wrote, nod his head as if to say, “Thank you, Lord,” and then repeat the process. The result was Jerry’s final book, The Blessing of Humility: Walk within Your Calling, which will be released later this year.

Remembering Jerry Bridges” is by C.J. Mahaney. C.J. writes of the “surprising friendship” he had with Jerry for more than fifteen years.

Tony Reinke, author and host of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, provides “Five Lessons from a Remarkable Life of Faith.” This includes both an audio and text version of a 2011 interview with Bridges..

Tim Challies wrote “My Too-Weak Tribute to Jerry Bridges.” With Bridges-like humility, Tim underestimates the strength of this testimony.

Finally, here’s the obituary on the Navigators’ website. It also includes a list of the more than twenty books that bear the name of Jerry Bridges.

Besides his humility and holiness, what I’ll remember most when I think of Jerry Bridges is his exhortation to “preach the gospel to yourself every day.”

Thank You, Lord, for the life and works of Jerry Bridges.


Photo from ChristianityToday.com

Jonathan Edwards’s “Fast Days”

A “Fast Day” in Jonathan Edwards’s time was day designated by an individual, congregation, town, or colony as a day to engage in the biblical practice of fasting, that is, abstaining from food for spiritual purposes.

Usually “the work of the day,” as Edwards put it in a Fast Day sermon, was “repentance and humiliation of sin” and “humble and earnest supplication to God for his mercy.” Frequently this was deemed the appropriate response to a recent calamity or necessary to avert impending judgment.

Edwards took at face value biblical passages such as Matthew 6:16-18 where Jesus taught His disciples about fasting and began the instructions with, “Whenever you fast,” understanding these directions to apply to every Christian in every generation.

Samuel Hopkins, writing from the perspective of a young minister who spent eight months as a type of pastoral intern in the Northampton pastor’s home during the early 1740s, noted that while much of Edwards’s personal piety was concealed from onlookers, he knew that Edwards “often kept days of fasting.”

Edwards believed that ministers, as they were to be examples to the flock, should especially feel responsible to discipline themselves to observe fast days. He said as much in Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival, when he wrote, “I should think ministers, above all persons, ought to be much in secret prayer and fasting, and also much in praying and fasting with one another.” In his “Blank Bible” notes on Matthew 17:21, Edwards summarized succinctly, “fasting is a part of Christian worship.”

So when Edwards led his church or all Northampton in a Fast Day proclaimed locally or colonially, even those who opposed him (as became increasingly common prior to his dismissal from the pastorate in 1750) knew that Edwards was no hypocrite in the piety he urged upon them from the pulpit. Everyone in his congregation was aware that his slender frame had often been denied food because of a greater hunger for the blessing of God.

In his sermons and publications, Edwards referred to or called for what might be termed special congregational (in contrast to personal) Fast Days. He did so in the pursuit of spiritual revival and in response to events as varied as military campaigns, epidemic sickness, and a local suicide. All these were in addition to “annual days of public fasting” which were apparently a customary part of the calendar for the people of Northampton.

Although fasting involves more physical self-denial than other personal spiritual disciplines and thus might provoke resentment in those upon whom it is enjoined too frequently, there is no indication that Edwards’ congregation manifested any antipathy toward their pastor in this regard. Eight months before he was fired, Edwards received the cooperation of the church when he called for a Fast Day on October 26, 1749, “to pray to God that he would have mercy on this church . . . that he would forgive the sins of both minister and people.”

When counseling people individually, he likewise advocated the biblical disciplines he practiced, such as fasting. In a letter to eighteen-year-old Deborah Hatheway, penned on June 3, 1741, in response to her request for spiritual guidance, Edwards advised her in a way consistent with his own practice: “Under special difficulties, or when in great need of, or great longings after, any particular mercy for yourself or others, set apart a day for secret prayer and fasting for yourself alone.”

For Edwards, though, fasting was primarily a matter of faithfulness to the Bible and conformity to the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. He would fast as a means “to animate and engage devotion” and as way by which he would “seek the Lord.”

Thus, perhaps as much as he might have done with any contemporary writer on the subject, Edwards would have identified with John Piper who said that fasting is what a Christian does to express herself or himself on those occasions when the hunger for God exceeds the hunger for food.  Therefore as pastor he considered it his responsibility not only to engage in the discipline personally as an example to his parishioners, but to instruct them in it, both individually and congregationally.

Edwards’s understanding of the biblical teaching on the subject of fasting and his personal example in the matter is worthy of every Christian’s consideration today.


Original artwork by Caffy Whitney

For more about Jonathan Edwards and his spirituality:


A God-Entranced Vision of All Things—The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. Don’s contribution to this book is the chapter on “Pursuing a Passion for God Through Spiritual Disciplines: Learning from Jonathan Edwards.”


Finding God in Solitude: The Personal Piety of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and It’s Influence on His Pastoral Ministry. This is a popularization of Don’s Ph.D. dissertation. It is so expensive because it was published by an academic press and with a small print run.