Paul sees maturity as growing up “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). To rise to such grandeur, we are not helped by a diminished view of Christ. We need to see his fullness again and again, Sunday after Sunday.

On August 18, 1955, Carl Henry wrote Billy Graham a letter full of the wisdom and courage we need in our generation. The issue at hand was the formation of a new magazine, though the relevance of his outlook is far broader:

“I have carried with me into and through the night the burden of the new magazine, Christianity Today. There has come to me the growing conviction that, at its present level of editorial projection, it carries, if not a compromise of principle, at least a sufficiently perilous strategy as to render its ultimate effectiveness insecure and uncertain, and enough of a disposition to introduce a sturdy theology only by degrees as to give me grave doubts that it offers me justification for stepping out of my present theological responsibilities. I have no personal reputation for bitterness; my friends have included men in all theological brackets. But in evangelistic and missionary thrust, I have but one uncompromisable zeal — that Christ be known in His total claim upon the life. At the beginning of our century, the question raised by the sponsors of that fine series “The Fundamentals” was, Have we told the whole truth? We seem to be wondering when we may dare tell some of it.”

Quoted in Wilbur M. Smith, Before I Forget, page 181.

Yes, let’s be ready to give intelligent, respectful answers to current objections (1 Peter 3:15). But let’s never treat Jesus as a problem, as if we’d better hide some aspects of him. There comes a point when we trust him so much and admire him so much that we risk offending our unbelieving friends, lest we offend our glorious Lord. Let’s not slight the Lord of glory. Let’s display his fullness, not holding back at all. Let’s see what he will do with that. And along the way, we ourselves will grow toward his grandeur.

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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