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 the ages share a belief in what C. S. Lewis called “mere Christianity.” Jude refers to it as “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” This great tradition tells the story of human corruption and divine salvation. God came to earth in Jesus Christ to take care of the problem of sin through his life, death, and resurrection. The church is founded on this faith. Martyrs have died for it. Missionaries have preached it. Ordinary believers—hundreds of millions of them—have trusted it with their lives. And rightly so.

No one invented this faith. It exists because God took the initiative to reveal it. John says it so well: “This life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you” (1 John 1:2).


Dearest Father, thank you for this faith, the precious gospel, once for all entrusted to the saints. You are worthy of all praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.