This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Crossway, publisher of The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility by Ray Ortlund. In this book, Ray aims to inspire men to come together in new ways to fight the injustice of porn and build a world of nobility for every man and woman. More information at crossway.org.
We’re long past the time when we could assume even that dedicated believers in Jesus Christ understood why they should bother with church. The number who identify as Christians is far larger than the number who attend a weekly meeting. Even then, the bulk of the serving and giving in our churches tends to be done by only a few. So it’s not as if COVID-19 suddenly convinced Christians they didn’t need church. Millions had already made that decision even before gathering involved online registration, social distancing, and masks. Last year church membership fell to less than 50 percent for the first time since Gallup started recording the data 80 years ago.
COVID-19 accelerated a long-trending separation between personal faith and organized religion. The shutdowns caught all of us by surprise in their sudden onset and ongoing duration. And it’s hard to get back in the habit once it’s been broken for months—now, even years—without a clear end in sight.
Even so, the body of Christ is essential to our faith. A Christian without a church is a Christian in trouble. That’s why Jonathan Leeman and I wrote Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ Is Essential, published by Crossway in partnership with 9Marks and The Gospel Coalition [20 quotes]. Leeman serves as editorial director of 9Marks and joined me on Gospelbound to discuss virtual churches, biblical authority after Mars Hill, and fellowship across difference, among other topics. Questions for Jonathan include:
- How do you counsel leaders struggling to hold their churches together during the current upheaval?
- Last year you warned against churches gathering under certain conditions. Now you’ve written a book saying that the gathered church is essential. Doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?
- You argue that church authority is biblical, necessary, and even for our good. Haven’t you been listening to the “Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” podcast?
- Would you say the need to physically assemble as a church is explicitly commanded, implicitly commended, or just good practical wisdom?
- If virtual church makes it possible for many more people to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, then what’s the problem?
- Why should a church strive for fellowship across difference? Shouldn’t we want churches where everyone agrees on truth when it comes to politics and racial unrest and vaccines and masks?
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Collin Hansen: We’re long past the time when we could assume even that dedicated believers in Jesus Christ understood why they should bother with church. The number who identify as Christians is far larger than the number who attend a weekly meeting. Even then, the bulk of the serving and giving in our churches tends to be done by only a few. So it’s not as if COVID-19 suddenly convinced Christians they didn’t need the church. Millions had already made that decision even before gathering involved online registration, social distancing, and masks. Last year, church membership fell to less than 50%. For the first time in the United States, since Gallup started recording the data 80 years ago COVID-19 accelerated a long trending separation between personal faith and organized religion. The shutdowns caught all of us by surprise in their sudden onset and ongoing duration. And it’s certainly hard to get back in the habit once it’s been broken for months, now even years, perhaps, without an end in sight. Even so, the body of Christ is essential to our faith, a Christian without a church as a Christian in trouble. That’s why Jonathan Leeman and I wrote rediscover church, why the body of Christ is essential, published by crossway, in partnership with nine marks and the gospel coalition. Lehmann serves as editorial director of nine marks and joins me now on gospel bound to discuss virtual churches biblical authority after Mars Hill and fellowship across difference among other topics. Jonathan, welcome.
Jonathan Leeman: Thanks, brother, that line a Christian without a church as a Christian in trouble. That’s your line. That’s a good line.
Collin Hansen: Oh, man. Yeah. I had a lot of fun writing this book, most of the chapters are labeled between the two of us. But yeah, the intro and the conclusion, leave a little bit to mystery hearing behind the curtain. Now.
Jonathan Leeman: That’s his line, folks. Jonathan,
Collin Hansen: how does this book differ from the other dozen books that you’ve written on the church, or maybe I’m under 100 selling you there?
Jonathan Leeman: Well, number one, this church, this book is very much aimed at everybody in the Pew, right. A lot of the other books I’ve written are for church leaders, and so forth. Not all of them. But but but many of them. Number two, we are very much responding to the moment. Hopefully, it has a ministry and a life beyond this moment. But it is written in the midst of this moment coming out of a lot of political turmoil, as he said, coming out of the pandemics. And I think we’re responding to the fact that many people have long taken for the church for granted. And some people have even found it convenient not to attend church with, you know, the possibility of live stream and so forth. And so you and I are trying to say to them hold on this this, this is not a good idea. We were born into a family. The new covenant is a, a family affair. And you gotta have time with your family.
Collin Hansen: Jonathan, you and I, in our jobs, we have the privilege to be able to talk with a lot of church leaders, especially pastors on a regular basis. How are how are you counseling leaders who are struggling to hold their churches together during this current upheaval?
Jonathan Leeman: Well, number one sympathy, like, you know, my own church, Shirley Baptist found ourselves first and you know, removed because we met in a pub public school, and as a plant, and we were kicked out of that when the schools are shut down. And so we met in the field for a while. And then we met in another church building for a while, and then a third church building, or second church building besides our own. And just now we’re back to the original public school gymnasium where we met and so so the first thing is like, yeah, this has been tough on our church. You know, you feel like you’re on pause, you’re on hold, it’s like a long holiday away, you know, from from your spouse, and you’re just, it’s just been on the phone and you’re like, I miss you. And in many ways, I think our churches is felt like that. So So I sympathize with any brother, pastor or any member who feels this way. You know, the encouragement comes down to remembering that Christ has built his church that we’ve endured, churches have endured pandemics and so forth before think of the plague and so many other things early church, how to deal with it. A lot of a lot of us, you could probably tell me more common, a lot of us have been discovering how much authors in the past have written about pandemics in plagues and during those times, and we will get through this.
Collin Hansen: Yeah, I mean, for centuries, the plague hit certainly at at massive times, but did not go away. And so just for century after century, decade, after decade, church leaders were dealing with with that problem, so you’re right, we’re not dealing with something that’s a surprise to God and even a surprise to many of our brothers and sisters in Christ over the centuries?
Jonathan Leeman: Well, it’s something it’s something I’ve noticed, actually is that churches going into the pandemic that already had a thick culture of membership and discipleship. They did, okay. churches that didn’t have that, in which people approach their congregation a little bit more like consumers. Well, on the one hand, they found that of my church is dissipating. On the other hand, they also found now that the live screen works just fine, you know, live stream, and I’m not dissing on it in all circumstances, that there may be a time and a place for it. But it works just fine for consumers. You know what I’m saying? And, but nonetheless, my larger point here is, is is churches that when ended up pandemic, with a thick culture of discipleship, a thick culture of membership, have discovered, hey, you know, we actually can endure this. People reach out, they understand their family members, their brothers and sisters in Christ, they can keep going. And so I’ve actually been encouraged to see both in my own congregation and others, that durability through these recent times.
Collin Hansen: Want to flip this around to talk about some of the members because number of members of churches feel as though they’ve lost the churches that they loved before 2020. And that could be in for a number of different reasons. For the reasons that you talked about of bouncing around between buildings, it could be because it seems as though members of the bonds of affection have frayed, there could even mean because they suspect that their leaders have veered in a certain political or theological direction, right or left in their tidy talk with with members who feel as though they’ve lost something treasured in the last couple years?
Jonathan Leeman: Well, really, I’d love to hear your answer to that question. I mean, for my part, it really depends on why the one eye and the discouragement among members I’ve encountered the most tends to be around differences of opinion about a political matters or be how we’re responding to the pandemics. I remember a long conversation with a brother and sister in Christ who, who are being required to wear masks, and socially distance, and they felt like that was a violation of their conscience. Well, I’m going to have one kind of conversation with them, that I’m going to have with the, okay, and another another lady in my church, who in that first couple actually is not my church, friends in another church, a lady in my church who simply due to high risk categories felt unable to attend in ways at times, I wondered if we were even kind of beyond what was reasonable in my own, you know, fallible sense. Okay, so I’m gonna have two very different kinds of conversations with those people again, trying to exercise sympathy with both but at the same time. Yeah, they’re very different conversations, and both might want different challenges. I genuinely be curious, calling to hear your answer to that question.
Collin Hansen: I agree, it does. It does vary a lot. Depending on the person that you’re talking with. They’re the one thing that seems to matter most is whether or not what somebody is experiencing online, accords with the reality of years of relationship in person in the congregation. I think what’s been most concerning to me is how you’ll have clear biblical commands such as, for example, respect for elders, being utterly overturned, because somebody watched a video that convinced them of something that they had been betrayed by these elders who had known them and loved them over many years. And so yeah, I have a certain conversation there. But I would primarily ask if the if the online experience and all of us having been pushed even further online by the pandemic accords with the in person relationship that has been enjoyed or experienced, at least over the course of a long period of time. But that’s been one of the most concerning things I’ve seen in my own congregation and seen across the board and heard from others, as well. Let’s keep on that topic of just some of the difficulties that churches have faced in terms of responding to the last year. And last year, Jonathan, you warned against churches that were gathering under certain conditions, or at least you disagreed with certain churches and how they were meeting. Now you’ve written a book with me saying that the gathered church is essential. Doesn’t that just make you a big ol hypocrite?
Jonathan Leeman: Okay, let’s go there.
Collin Hansen: Yeah, we’re going there.
Jonathan Leeman: First of all, I would say you mischaracterize what I said, I don’t know this or not, but what you said is not quite what I said. Go ahead just cleared up. Yeah, no, no doubt. I don’t think I ever said church. Shouldn’t gather what I said or hearing
Collin Hansen: Conditions, it was not wise. I thought that’s what you said, well,
Jonathan Leeman: Well what I said it was. This was in response to a particular pastor and his elders, calling churches together. And saying that, as I understand, as I read the article at the time, was a matter of faithfulness and courage, if you are going to be faithful, and if you are going to follow Christ and love Christ, more than Caesar, you will gather. And I think that might have been a great decision for that congregation. I have no quarrel with them. My where I push back was just a way of saying, hey, other churches need to be free to make different decisions according to their contexts, according to what their elders have before them. So just kind of a note here for Christian freedom, to leave churches to make other decisions are different decisions, each in accordance with its context, and not as it were, Judge one another, not buying the consequences of other congregations, as Hey, this is necessarily the wave of faithfulness for all churches. And I think people misunderstood what I was saying, as discouraging churches together. I tried to make it very clear, that wasn’t what I was saying. Because I also said in that same piece, the very church that’s calling us together, can still gather, they could just do an outside, right? It’s not a particular form of gathering recall this, I never made those claims. So I think I have uniformly said it’s good for churches to gather churches must and I would say this, if you want to push me a little bit, I would say churches must ordinarily gather. I do think there are exceptions. I think there are emergencies. If you’re if your church building burns down, I wrote about this in the book, one assembly, if your church building burns down, and you can’t find another place to me, well, you just can’t gather we know historically, these have been called providential hindrances. Your You know, when you get sick, you’re hindered by Providence, from attending church, when your church building burns down, or when the government says you can’t meet here right now, because we’re trying to protect your lives. That’s a providential hindrance. And at that moment, you can decide we’re going to defy the government or we’re not going to defy the government. And all I’m saying is, in those exceptional, extraordinary moments, not ordinary moments. Let each church and each churches elders make its own decisions.
Collin Hansen: It does seem to have been a confusing point for a number of people, because one of the things I wrote about in the guest essay I did for the New York Times was on the importance of gathering. But that also came in the context of my Church’s decision last summer, to meet in a parking deck distanced and with masks, and how much even though I had a lot of skepticism about how that was going to work out, I’m glad that we did that, rather than simply having stayed in virtual church the entire time there. So yeah, that seems there’s a lot of confusion about, okay, if you’re saying gathering, and by the way, this criticism has come to us from both sides. If you’re saying gathering that must mean, indoors with no distancing with mass, and with a certain defiance toward the government. Yeah, that’s just not anything that we have said or demanded. And you’re right, when you’re making the argument for Christian freedom. It seems to be you’re prone to being misunderstood right now.
Jonathan Leeman: Let me just say two things. Number one, I think we have as Christians, evangelical Christians, and underdeveloped view of Christian freedom. I think when somebody invokes Christian freedom, people necessarily are construed that to mean, oh, this isn’t really important. This is a relative matter. Well, no, not necessarily. I’m not have a strong conviction here. It’s just that I recognize the limitations of, of what I’m able to bind on you what I’m not able to bind on you according to Scripture, right? The second thing I would say is I just I want to state this again very clearly. So there’s there’s no confusion, I believe it’s possible to simultaneously say that one Christians must gather as churches and to occasions exist when they are providentially hindered from doing so. I think column we can hold those two sentences together at the same time as Christians must gather one and two occasions exist on which we’re providentially hindered from doing so, as somebody wants to quarrel with either of those things. That’s fine, we can have that conversation. But I think you and I, both from the beginning until now believe both of those and I said both of those things.
Collin Hansen: Yes, yes, we have. And rediscover church. Jonathan, you argue that church authority is biblical, necessary, and even for our good. Haven’t you been listening to the rise and fall of Mars Hill podcast?
Jonathan Leeman: What’s your question?
Collin Hansen: The question. That’s the question. How can you say? Yes I How can you say church authority is good in a post mars hill world?
Jonathan Leeman: Okay, thank you. Don’t throw the baby out the bathwater. Do parents abuse their children? Yes, we get rid of parental authority knows, you know, two policemen abused their, their jobs. Yes. Do we get rid of policemen? Well, no. Right. So so. So the question is, what is biblical healthy church authority. And not only that, you can have a right system of church governments polity structure, and just really immature people trying to lead it. You know, people who are not qualified as elders with their hands on the steering wheel, right? Like I you know, cars, not a bad thing. I just want to make sure somebody is qualified to drive and is driving it. So that’s that’s my short answer. I can expand on that, if you want what I think, Justin, I agree with all of that.
Collin Hansen: Sure. I, I think that in general. This podcast, the rise and fall of
Jonathan Leeman: scratching where you itch, though, obviously, no, no,
Collin Hansen: you are. I think it’s just worth reaffirming explicitly for, especially the leaders who are listening to this podcast that that podcast has been such a phenomenon certainly in in my church, it has been that I think you’re going to see a certain response to authority become expected. And I think one thing that’s often confusing is that when my church exercise of exercises authority, for example, through discipline, almost always it’s for the same reason, is a husband, who is hurting his wife in some way or another. It’s almost always how it’s exercised in our case. And so I would think, well, his church authority, in that case, biblical necessary, and even for our good, they want to protect the vulnerable women of your congregation. Well, that that mean that that’s that’s what we’re trying to do here. So it does seem to be a major mistake to say that the problem is authority, as opposed to people who are sinfully wielding that suppose that authority in bad and ungodly and certainly unbiblical ways. So I don’t know that I trust right now that people are particularly good at being able to discern
Jonathan Leeman: reaction mode. And I understand that exactly. But But another way of saying what you’re saying just a little more philosophically is the response to bad authority is always going to be good authority. Yeah, we’re taking it out of your hands. By the authority vested us we’re going to take that authority out of your hands. Right. And I think that’s almost always the case. But but but what people rightly are instinctively responding to Colin is that authority is, as I wrote an article a good and dangerous gift. Absolutely. authority and creation and redemption are used to think of the word authority off for life, God and creation, used his authority to author creation and he told Adam and Eve to do the same thing, right. And Christ in His in redemption uses his authority, not to not to, to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. So authority and creation or redemption are beautiful, glorious life giving things a coach coaching, the mother mothering, you know, the pastor pastoring raising up equipping strengthening authority in the fall, however, is dangerous, exploitative, oppressive, destructive. And when we have our eyes fixed on just one or the other, the good parts and creation redemption or the other, the dangerous parts in the fall, we’re gonna have an imbalanced view. And so finally, we need to think through these things a little more carefully and ask ourselves what can we learn from situations like Marcel? Yeah.
Collin Hansen: Or you can keep that going through right authority in creation, authority and fall authority, ultimately redeemed in Christ. And as we eagerly anticipate a time when his authority is fully and finally known to all every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord. This is a quick answer. I’m looking for Jonathan, would you say the need to physically assemble as the church is explicitly commanded, implicitly commended or just good practical wisdom?
Jonathan Leeman: Hey, Hebrews 10, do not forsake the assembling or sell together.
Collin Hansen: Okay, that’s the short answer I was looking for. I was so
Jonathan Leeman: kind of you told me a short answer, because you know, it can be long winded.
Collin Hansen: That’s fine. We’re just working on it. We’d be like a dog calling. We’re going against the clock here. This one. I’m also not looking for a super long answer, because we’ve touched on this and you and I’ve talked about it in various forums, but I wanted to ask it, this particular way, is a virtual church makes it possible for many more people to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, than what can be the problem with it.
Jonathan Leeman: Because it’s portraying an individualized, this embodied overly spiritual alized view of Christianity, the Christianity that Jesus gave to us is both corporate slash familial, and physical, because we’re physical creatures, and he means for us to encourage and be together. I mean, just, you know, two words, virtual honeymoon. All right. Nobody wants that.
Collin Hansen: I was talking with somebody
Jonathan Leeman: now churches on honeymoon, but you know what I’m saying?
Collin Hansen: Yeah. Well, yeah, I think what we’ve been saying all along about virtual church is that it only makes sense as the continuation of premises that we’re already flawed. Right? Yep. That church is essentially just a platform for disseminating information and experiences in a broad way. If you start with that premise, then virtual church is simply a continuation.
Jonathan Leeman: Oh, yeah, it makes perfect sense. But if I understand Christianity to be the sort of thing where I, I’d like to hide sins in the dark, a little bit, but then I step into the assembly of people, and they ask me questions. And then I see that I’m not just saying songs or praises, I hear my brothers and sisters saying he singing those sang songs of praises, and I look at them in the room. And then, and the pastor leads us in prayer. Maybe he asks me to lead in prayer, and then I hear other people praying, I’m physically surrounded, right? I’m physically surrounded by people seeing the same songs, offering the same confessions, singing the same praises saying a man when the when the preacher reminds us of Christ certain victory amidst all the challenges we’re feeling that we, okay that emboldens and heart and hardens my faith, sing to one another psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. And so the full three dimensional embodied experience of gathering with the saints is what Jesus set up and churches in ecclesia, it’s an assembly, right, the very word tells us to assemble. Like, why would we be thinking we’re so wise to know how to do better? just doesn’t make sense.
Collin Hansen: This question, Jonathan, I don’t you don’t, you don’t have to make this personal about your church, because I’m sure the saints of heavenly Baptist are listening to you on this podcast. But is there something you hope your church or you could say churches in general, never do again, after the pandemic? In other words, maybe not every aspect of opting out during this unusual era? Is this bad?
Jonathan Leeman: Okay, I’m not sure I understand your question. Okay. So I think if they did before that, I hope they’ve learned that they don’t do now. Yes, exactly.
Collin Hansen: So what we’ve seen here with virtual church and with this pandemic, is more or less, everybody has opted out. One of the ways Andy crouch put it early on in the pandemic is that everybody’s an entrepreneur, everything’s a startup now. So that means more or less, this is an unprecedented opportunity for people to be able to rethink what they do, and why they do different things. So there may be some things that you’re looking out there saying, this would be a great time to opt out of something that you saw churches doing just out of maybe momentum, or tradition or something.
Jonathan Leeman: How about you answer that question? Give me time to mine, I
Collin Hansen: had a pastor tell me that they that they stopped doing altar calls, because they didn’t want people mingling upfront. And so he decided, I’m just never gonna bring it back. I say, so I’m just gonna hope nobody notices. I don’t do altar calls anymore. And you can just see across the board in our society, people deciding, I’m not never gonna do that again, and just hope no one notices or complains that we’re not doing that.
Jonathan Leeman: Yeah, that’s that’s that’s I mean, insofar as you can get rid of unhelpful, unhealthy distracting programs along the way. That’s a great thing to do. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that that that is going that I would say uniformly we should we should get rid of like that. I guess I would move in the opposite direction. I think my concern is more that people will discover virtual church. Live Stream services are so easy and convenient. And they won’t realize what they’re missing because as you were saying a few moments ago, there their whole view of church was already careening in that trajectory. it you know, it was it’s a it’s a furthering I think you said of the way they’ve already construed the faith and So they’re going to get the virtual church and, and become even weaker, because it will affect them, but they might not realize it. And that’s my concern, more in that direction. And and for those of us who stop and think hopefully, though, however, it’s an opportunity to ask the question, okay, what why do I gather? So I guess if if a takeaway lesson is that you’re being forced to think about the assembly, and the nature of the assembly and the good of the assembly and its purpose in your life more deliberately and carefully than you ever did before? Before you just took it for granted? I would say that’s a good thing. In fact, I think that’d be one of the main main challenges I would offer to any listener, which is, have you stopped to consider to think about the good of the assembly, the purpose of the assembly, why Jesus would name the church, the assembly, like why I’ve been sat for five minutes and thought about that, that’d be a good thing to do. Have a conversation with a friend, look at the Bible.
Collin Hansen: I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on a number of different things during this pandemic, as I know you have and I’m sure the listeners have, as well. And one of the things that we emphasize in rediscover church is the beauty of a church, that fellowships across difference across our differences on politics and masks and racial unrest and things like that. But it struck me at some point, Jonathan, that I don’t think that’s a premise, we can assume. I think a lot of people assume that there’s something wrong with your church, if there’s disagreement on those points. And I think that’s on both ends of the spectrum. So because I would say, what’s your shortest clearest argument for why that should be something a church actually strives for? As opposed to striving to stamp out?
Jonathan Leeman: Yeah, it’s easy to understand why non Christians will gather around points of commonality, right? Whether it’s a shared interest in a sport, or shared ethnicity, or a short, shared nationality, you don’t need the Holy Spirit of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant, his blood, to unite us across those kinds of things. But when we’re united around nothing else except the gospel, or that shows supernatural power. So you have Simon the Zealot, and Matthew, the tax collector, walking down the road, let’s just picture them there for a second, maybe they’re 20. You know, they’re shuffling along, from one city to the next with Jesus, maybe they’re 20 feet behind. They’re kind of talking about Rome. I’m picturing Matthew and Simon, kind of, you know, arguing a little bit over their differences on robe, nonetheless, what are they both doing? They’re both following Jesus. They’re both demonstrating that they have a greater love and greater affection and a new worship, which is the man that they’re following, right. And I think that displays the glory of Jesus in a special way, rather than if it was just a zealot and a zealot, or a tax collector and a tax collector, following after Jesus. So we do have a wonderful opportunity to show the power of the gospel. And let’s be honest calling I’m kind of speaking theoretically here. This is hard. Last year, last year and a half is exposed out like never before, how difficult this can be because this isn’t this this is a difference between Cheerios and Wheaties. You know, these are matters of justice. These are potentially matters of repentance, right? Some of these political things we’re talking about. And so I get it, it’s hard. I don’t mean to downplay the their significance or the difficulty, nonetheless, the Gospels got to be greater
Collin Hansen: love that the Gospels got to be greater, it is greater. Which is the opportunity here? And that’s the last question I had here was, what’s your hope? What’s the hope that our churches could actually emerge from this period? stronger? What would that look like?
Jonathan Leeman: Well, you know, you and I are having this conversation in the middle of 2021. And the image that came to me earlier today, in fact, talking with somebody else’s, in many ways, I feel like we’re still in it. I feel like oh, yeah, we’re, we’re a little prop plane in this big storm lightning is, is all around us. crack, crack, crack, right? And you’re out, you know, you’re there. You and I are flying along. And I’m saying, Hey, we need to fly at 5000 feet, and you’re saying no, we need to drop it down to 2000 feet to get through this storm. And who knows, you know, I don’t know which one of us is right. And and we’re all still navigating this, the hope is that we have of course, we just have to go back to those theological truths that Jesus will build his church, even if you and I make the wrong judgment about whether or not 2000 feet or 5000 feets the right altitude for our little plane here. And the one who adores to the end will be saved. Right, says Jesus and the one who conquers. He says in Revelation three, he will rule with Christ on his throne. And I was at fact I was reading that this morning to the church and later To see him and thinking, Okay, Lord, help me to hold on, helped me to conquer, so that I may rule with you in the end. And all I know how to do that as to about do that by faith holding on to him, even if some brothers and sisters in the faith, profoundly disagree with me on this or that issue, and pull away from me. Or maybe I feel the need to pull away from them for a little while. I can’t see the end of all of this. I don’t know what’s going to emerge on the other side of the storm, other than Jesus wins, the church will be standing. And I’m going to be doing all I can between now and then to hold on to him by faith. And I would exhort my brothers and sisters in the Gospel, whether they think I’m, you know, too far this way or too far that way to do the same. I’d love you to answer that question, brother, I really would, even if we’re out of time.
Collin Hansen: I always see a crisis like this as an opportunity for renewal, for getting back to basic principles. If we can get back to the gospel, if we can get back to that which unites us, then we can move forward together. But if we get convinced that the gospel is not big enough to be able to keep us together, that we need to find unity in something else. I don’t see where the power of God comes in there. Now the gospel may lead us to certain conclusions, Christ may lead us to certain conclusions based on that, that we think are very important. And we think the rest of the church needs to hear. But unless it’s coming out of that supernatural power of the of the debt of the death and resurrection and the ongoing ascension, or in the intercession of Christ, then I don’t, I don’t know what other means we have, except basically screaming at each other on social media. And that doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. So it’s my short answer there. My final three here, Jonathan Leeman from nine marks talking about rediscover church when the body of Christ is essential. I just normally in final three, Jonathan, I asked, Where do you find calm the storm, but you beat me to the punch. And you actually gave me the storm? I think stration so I’m not going to ask you that one. So I’m going to jump straight to Well, I mean, this one probably where do you find good news today? I mean, certainly we’ve got the gospel. We’re celebrating here and talking about but what do you look for good news today?
Jonathan Leeman: What kind of answer Are you looking for in that?
Collin Hansen: Oh, just is there somewhere you something you read someone you talk to some some practice that you have? I mean, it’s just so much. That’s discouraging. Where do you find good news?
Jonathan Leeman: Number one, I get off Twitter honestly, number number number two wife and kids. But let me let me give you a third, a third answer. One of the brothers who I just continue to grow in respect for very, very often, when you draw close to people, you see their faults, and you realize, okay, you may not be the hero I thought you are. I’ve been able to draw close pretty close to mark ever over the years, I think we can say, I see the man’s flaws and foibles. But I just continue to respect him and be amazed by his ability to keep his eyes fixed on the hope set before us on his dock, getting dragged into the quarrels and controversies and get continuing to give the benefit of the doubt. And to see the best in people through all of this, because he has his eyes fixed on a very big God. So honestly, I find that spending time with Mark Devers just is one way to, to remain encouraged. Let’s be looking for a very concrete answer tab. Perfect. Let’s see if I can find
Collin Hansen: exactly exactly what I was asking. About It can be very disillusioning of all the frustrations that we experienced with broken friendships and pastors who fail us. So when we see the risen Christ in dwelling, somebody who I mean a friend that we’ve known for a long time, that’s a great encouragement to us. Last question, Jonathan, what’s the last great book you’ve read?
Jonathan Leeman: The last great book I’ve read. I just started a new book today.
Collin Hansen: I definitely qualify No, it doesn’t like one that you just it’s just on your mind you want to talk to people about and it could it could go back a while you put up your good reads. Yeah,
Jonathan Leeman: well, well, well, okay. A fun book I just found mine was a man at arms by Steven pressfield historical fiction, but the book I just want to talk to people about and this is going to be only predictable because you’ve been saying the same thing as Carl Truman’s book. Like, like everybody needs to read that book, or at least a new edition coming out next spring, hopefully little simpler. Like I think I think junior high and high school kids especially need to be reading that book to understand the the cell And how we want to define ourselves. And so if you’re in junior high or high school or you have kids of that age let me encourage you to get Carl Truman’s upcoming book was what’s what’s the new one called?
Collin Hansen: I can’t remember. But current look for
Jonathan Leeman: the strange new, strange new world. Okay, that sounds strange. That sounds right. Yeah. And read that with your high schooler.
Collin Hansen: I love that one. Love that suggestion. Jonathan Lehman’s been my guest on gospel bound editorial director of nine marks, co author with yours truly have rediscovered church, why the body of Christ is essential. Thank you, Jonathan. Thanks, brother.
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