The Great Tradition

Jerry Sittser

READ : Jude Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (v. 3) As I teach the history of Christianity to my college students, I love to tell stories of the saints, stories of Paul and Bernard, Luther and Teresa. There is diversity in this history. Christians have a hard time agreeing with each other and getting along. But there is surprising unity and continuity, too. The overwhelming majority of Christians who have lived through …

A True Friend

Jerry Sittser

READ : 3 John The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. (v. 1) There are many privileges that come with age. Surely one of them is deep friendship. Younger ages enjoy friendship, of course; but their friendships have little history and stability to them. Age allows friendship to mature. It is not uncommon for people who are fifty or older to have friendships that go back over thirty years and reflect a deep bond of loyalty …

Be On Guard

Jerry Sittser

READ : 2 John Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God. (v. 9) Heresy is not a word we hear very much. Different and diversity are far more popular, even in the Christian church. Of course different can be good; diversity often enriches the Christian community. But not in all matters. There is still truth, and that truth must be guarded. John wrote this short letter to “the elect …

The Passing Twilight

Jerry Sittser

READ : 1 John 5:13-21 We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them. (v. 18) On earth each day ends with “twilight.” The earth’s atmosphere allows the sun’s light to linger before all becomes darkness. There is no twilight on the moon because the moon has no atmosphere. It is either day or night, with nothing in between. There is no twilight in John’s theology either. …

The Best Testimony

Jerry Sittser

READ : 1 John 5:1-12 And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (v. 11) Evangelicals love to give “testimonies” and tell their conversion stories, which are often quite dramatic in nature. For example, the influential 19th-century evangelist Charles G. Finney described his conversion as “waves of liquid love” washing over him. But the dramatic nature of such testimonies can miss the point. It is not how a person becomes a …

Boldness on the Day of Judgment

Jerry Sittser

READ : 1 John 4:13-21 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. (v. 13) In the early 20th century a scholar studied the progeny of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, who lived in the 18th century. The scholar discovered that their descendants were characterized by keen intelligence, commitment to the common good, and faith in God. Obviously, the spirit of the parents had gotten into the generations …