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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Walking in Wisdom Toward Outsiders

In today’s hyper-partisan and media-saturated culture, we’re not trained to be good listeners. In fact, when it comes to discussing our religious or political convictions with others, too often we’re encouraged to throw bombs at the other side, or to present caricatures of other people’s views. But in Colossians chapter 4, Paul instructs us to be wise in the way we deal with outsiders, and that our speech should “always be gracious.” On this program, Shane Rosenthal discusses this with Greg Koukl, author of Tactics, which was just released in a newly expanded 10th anniversary edition.


“Paul is saying conduct yourself with wisdom towards outsiders making the most of the opportunity. Be smart. Keep your eyes open for opportunities and do the best you can with the opportunities that are given you. Then he says let your speech always be with grace, seasoned as it were with salt, so that you know how to respond to each person. So he says be smart, be nice, and then he says be tactical.”

Greg Koukl


“Turning Your Gaze Away from Yourself”

If you want health for your souls, and if you want to be the instruments of bringing health to others, do not turn your gaze forever within, as though you could find Christ there. Nay, turn your gaze away from your own miserable experiences, away from your own sin, to the Lord Jesus Christ as He is offered to us in the gospel. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Only when we turn away from ourselves to that uplifted Savior shall we have healing for our deadly hurt.

It is the same old story, my friends — the same old story of the natural man. Men are trying today, as they have always been trying, to save themselves — to save themselves by their own act of surrender, by the excellence of their own faith, by mystic experiences of their own lives. But it is all in vain. Not that way is peace with God to be obtained. It is to be obtained only in the old, old way – by attention to something that was done once for all long ago, and by acceptance of the living Savior who there, once for all, brought redemption for our sin. Oh, that men would turn for salvation from their own experience to the Cross of Christ; oh, that they would turn from the phenomena of religion to the living God!

That that may be done, there is but one way. It is not found in a study of the psychology of religion; it is not found in “religious education”; it is not found in an analysis of one’s own spiritual status. Oh, no. It is found only in the blessed written Word. There are the words of life. There God speaks. Let us attend to His voice. Let us above all things know the Word. Let us study it with all our minds, let us cherish it with all our hearts. Then let us try, very humbly, to bring it to the unsaved. Let us pray that God may honor not the messengers but the message, that despite our unworthiness He may make His Word upon our unworthy lips to be a message of life.

(Taken from J. Graham Machen’s “The Importance of Christian Scholarship” in his book, What is Christianity [Eerdmans, 1951])

More from this Series: What Does Your Neighbor Believe?

  1. What Does Your Neighbor Believe? Listen Now ›
  2. What Do Hindus Really Believe? Listen Now ›
  3. Walking in Wisdom Toward Outsiders Listen Now ›
  4. The New Spiritual Landscape Listen Now ›
  5. Reaching the Next Generation Listen Now ›
  6. Why Do People Believe in Hell? Listen Now ›
  7. Does Everyone Go to Heaven? Listen Now ›