Quotes by Os Guinness

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The question the doubter does not ask is whether faith was really useless or simply not used. What would you think of a boy who gave up learning to ride a bicycle, complaining that he hurt himself because his bicycle stopped moving so he had no choice but to fall off? If he wanted to sit comfortably while remaining stationary, he should not have chosen a bicycle but a chair. Similarly faith must be put to use, or it will become useless. more...

Interestingly, God's remedy for Elijah's depression was not a refresher course in theology but food and sleep... Before God spoke to him at all, Elijah was fed twice and given a good chance to sleep. Only then, and very gently, did God confront him with his error. This is always God's way. Having made us as human beings, He respects our humanness and treats us with integrity. That is, He treats us true to the truth of who we are. It is human beings and not God who have made spirituality impractical. more...

Mastering our emotions has nothing to do with asceticism or repression, for the purpose is not to break the emotions or deny them but to "break in" the emotions, making them teachable because they are tamed. more...

What has happened to create this doubt is that a problem (such as a deep conflict or a bad experience) has been allowed to usurp God's place and become the controlling principle of life. Instead of viewing the problem from the vantage point of faith, the doubter views faith from the vantage point of the problem. Instead of faith sizing up the problem, the situation ends with the problem scaling down faith. The world of faith is upside down, and in the topsy-turvy reality of doubt, a problem has become god and God has become a problem. more...

The story of Christian reformation, revival, and renaissance underscores that the darkest hour is often just before the dawn, so we should always be people of hope and prayer, not gloom and defeatism. God the Holy Spirit can turn the situation around in five minutes. more...

Negative freedom is freedom from - freedom from oppression, whether it's a colonial power or addiction to alcohol oppressing you. You need to be freed from negative freedom. Positive freedom is freedom for, freedom to be. And that's what's routinely ignored today. more...

One of the key places where sociology should be used is in analyzing 'the world' of our times, so that we can be more discerning. To resist the dangers of the world, you have to recognize the distortions and seductions of the world. more...

The rewards of freedom are always sweet, but its demands are stern, for at its heart is the paradox that the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom. more...

Jesus made clear that the Kingdom of God is organic and not organizational. It grows like a seed and it works like leaven: secretly, invisibly, surprisingly, and irresistibly. more...

Augustine says that you don't understand a nation by the throw weight of its military or the strength of its research universities or the size of its population, but by looking at what it loves in common. To assess a nation, you look at the health and strength of its ideals. And there's no question that the common love in America is freedom. more...

Like a precious family heirloom, freedom is not just ours to enjoy, but to treasure, protect, and pass on to future generations. more...

The Christian church in the U.S. is still strong numerically, but it has lost its decisive influence both in American public life and in American culture as a whole, especially in the major elite institutions of society. more...

I give lectures on globalization. I have lived on three continents. I have no quarrel with a global consciousness. more...

I have lived under totalitarian Communism, so I prize freedom as much as anyone and have long fought for freedom of conscience and speech. more...

American democracy in the past has always been known for its large middle class and its relatively few very wealthy people and very few very poor people, but that is gone to today and the middle class is shrinking. more...

As I understand the American Founders, the most brilliant and daring idea they had was that it's possible to create a free society that could stay free forever. more...

Beyond any question, the way the American founders consistently linked faith and freedom, republicanism and religion, was not only deliberate and thoughtful, it was also surprising and anything but routine. more...

I'm obviously not an advocate of Christian America or a simplistic view of America as 'a city on a hill.' more...

The American 'unum' has been lost since the Sixties. If this continues, there will soon be no unifying American identity and vision to balance the 'pluribus,' and the days of the Republic will be numbered. more...

There are lots of people depending on the government who are good, honest citizens who have worked all their lives. more...

Atheism thrives on bad religion. more...

Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460 The evidence for Christian truth is not exhaustive, but it is sufficient. Too often, Christianity has not been tried and found wanting-it has been found wanting, and not tried. more...

What is undeniable is that when comforts and convenience sap our energies and idealism, inactivity secretes sloth in to our minds like a poison in the blood. more...

I live before the audience of One-before others I have nothing to gain, nothing to lose, nothing to prove. more...

We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. more...

Christianity is the only religion whose God bears the scars of evil. more...

In practice it undermines the transformation of faith. When Christians concentrate their time and energy on their own separate spheres and their own institutions-whether all-absorbing megachurches, Christian yellow-page businesses, or womb-to-tomb Christian cultural ghettoes-they lose the outward thrusting, transforming power that is at the heart of the gospel. Instead of being 'salt' and 'light' -images of a permeating and penetrating action-Christians and Christian institutions become soft and vulnerable to corruption from within. more...

We are not wise enough, pure enough, or strong enough to aim and sustain such a single motive over a lifetime. That way lies fanaticism or failure. But if the single motive is the master motivation of God's calling, the answer is yes. In any and all situations, both today and tomorrow's tomorrow, God's call to us is the unchanging and ultimate whence, what, why, and whither of our lives. Calling is a 'yes' to God that carries a 'no' to the chaos of modern demands. Calling is the key to tracing the story line of our lives and unriddling the meaning of our existence in a chaotic world. more...

In terms of distance, the prodigal's pigsty is the farthest point from home; in terms of time, the pigsty is the shortest distance to the father's house. more...

To come to faith on the basis of experience alone is unwise, though not so foolish as to reject faith altogether because of lack of experience ... the quality of a Christian's experience depends on the quality of his faith, just as the quality of his faith depends in turn on the quality of his understanding of God's truth. more...

In other words, we are never freer than when we become most ourselves, most human, most just, most excellent, and the like. more...

Either we conform our desires to the truth or we conform the truth to our desires. more...

We betray our modern arrogance and forget the place of mystery in God's dealing with us. more...

Culturally, one of the best arguments we can make is, wait and see. more...

God is the ultimate source of all power. All human power is therefore derived, limited, unstable and transient. more...

Calling is not only a matter of being and doing what we are but also of becoming what we are not yet but are called by God to be. more...

By our uncritical pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching committment to faithfulness, we have become not only unfaithful, but irrelevant; by our determined efforts to redefine outselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant more...

Freedom is not the permission to do what you like. It's the power to do what you ought. more...

If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt....There is no believing without some doubting, and believing is all the stronger for understanding and resolving doubt. more...

This is also why it is wrong to treat God as a grand employment agency, a celestial executive searcher to find perfect fits for our perfect gifts. The truth is not that God is finding a place for our gifts but that God has created us and our gifts for a place of his choosing - and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there. more...

We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. We are not called first to special work but to God. The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself. more...

The problem with Western Christians is not that they aren't where they should be but that they aren't what they should be where they are. more...

At the supreme moment of his dying Jesus so identified himself with men and the depths of their predicament and agony that no man can now sink so low that God has not gone lower. more...

Friedrich Nietzsche predicted that secular people, losing touch with transcendence, would eventually lose a reference point from which to look down and judge themselves. In the end they would lose even the capacity to despise themselves. Thus, because of the 'death of God', they would confuse heaven with happiness, and happiness with health. more...

Christ is the only way to God, but there are as many ways to Christ as there are people who come to Him. more...

We may be in the dark about what God is *doing*, but we are not in the dark about God. more...

Thus, for followers of Christ, calling neutralizes the fundamental position of choice in modern life. "I have chosen you," Jesus said, "you have not chosen me." We are not our own; we have been bought with a price. We have no rights, only responsibilities. Following Christ is not our initiative, merely our response, in obedience. Nothing works better to debunk the pretensions of choice than a conviction of calling. Once we have been called, we literally "have no choice. more...

In our day it's worse to judge evil than to do evil. more...

In working out our callings, we are to perform for one audience, the audience of One. more...

Calling is a 'yes' to God that carries a 'no' to the chaos of modern demands. Calling is the key to tracing the story line of our lives and unriddling the meaning of our existence in a chaotic world. more...

Idolatry is huge in the Bible, dominant in our personal lives, and irrelevant in our mistaken estimations more...

Anti-intellectualism is a disposition to discount the importance of truth and the life of the mind. more...

At root, evangelical anti-intellectualism is both a scandal and a sin. It is a scandal in the sense of being an offense and a stumbling block that needlessly hinders serious people from considering the Christian faith and coming to Christ. It is a sin because it is a refusal, contrary to Jesus' two great commandments, to love the Lord our God with our minds. Anti-intellectualism is quite simply a sin. Evangelicals must address it as such, beyond all excuses, evasions, or rationalizations of false piety. more...

The opposite of having faith is having self-pity. more...

Evangelicalism can only remain evangelical if it is passionately serious about truth and theology. more...

If Jesus Christ is the head of the church and hence the source and goal of its entire life, true growth is only possible in obedience to Him. Conversely, if the church becomes detached from Jesus Christ and His Word, it cannot grow however active and successful it may seem to be. more...

We may at times be unemployed, but no one ever becomes uncalled. more...

American views today are weak, confused, and divided. On one side, many progressive liberals still think that we humans are essentially good and getting better and better. On the other side, many postmoderns actually think it is worse to judge evil than to do evil. And in the middle, many ordinary folk plaster life with rainbows and smile buttons and wander through life on the basis of sentiment and cliches. more...

Everybody is born free. Not everybody is worthy of freedom. more...

This is also why it is wrong to treat God as a grand employment agency, a celestial executive searcher to find perfect fits for our perfect gifts. The truth is not that God is finding a place for our gifts but that God has created us and our gifts for a place of his choosing - and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there. more...

...making the world safe for diversity, is one of the greatest tasks we face in the global era.... more...

Too often we forget that the great men of faith reached the heights they did only by going through the depths. more...

As soon as we ask what faith is and what sort of mistreatment of faith causes doubt, we are led to the first major misconception about doubt-the idea that doubt is always wrong because it is the opposite of faith and the same thing as unbelief. What this error leads to is a view of faith that is unrealistic and a view of doubt that is unfair. more...

We cannot find God without God. We cannot reach God without God. We cannot satisfy God without God - which is another way of saying that all our seeking will fall short unless God starts and finishes the search. The decisive part of our seeking is not our human ascent to God, but His descent to us. Without God's descent there is no human ascent. The secret of the quest lies not in our brilliance but in His grace. more...

People in the secular world have too much to live with, too little to live for. more...

Whereas our grandparents lived as if they had swallowed gyroscopes, we think and act as if we have swallowed Gallup polls. more...

Followers of Jesus who count the cost and are willing to take up their crosses after him must have broad shoulders. more...

Calling means that everyone, everywhere, and in everything fulfills his or her (secondary) callings in response to God's (primary) calling. more...

If there is no Caller, there are no callings - only work. more...

For the grand and inescapable tradition of western literary classics confronts us with fundamental choices over our understanding of words, reading and art, as well as citizenship, civilization, faith, and the whole notion of the true, the good, and the faithful. more...

The United States is at a turning point because of a decreasing influence of faith . more...

We human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us. more...


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