JACKSON, Tenn. – March 1, 2002 – As he peered out from beneath his years of experience and wisdom, spoke through his mild British accent, and stood casually behind the broad podium before him, Dr. Os Guinness, author, scholar and keynote speaker at Union’s recent Mars Hill Forum, did little more than offer the simple truth. Which is exactly what he showed the truth to be – simple.
Those attending chapel got more than they bargained for when they were called to action by Guinness’s address focused on the topic and title of his most recent book, The Call. Guinness did not need to establish his intelligence or credibility with his audience by long introduction; he did it by wading through the thick mires of a difficult, Biblical issue that presses upon the hearts and minds of every Christian and presenting it as pure simplicity.
“Calling is the truth of scripture that has put its stamp on the world,” said Guinness. His argument was C.S. Lewis-like in the nature of his down-to-earth tone. “The World says, ‘You are what you do.’ The Bible says, ‘You do what you are.”
As students sat on the edge of their seats, swept away in the midst of Guinness’s address, they were not only reminded of the necessity of their respective callings, but of the sad fact that Christians have, throughout history, had a tendency to lose their Biblical sense of purpose and meaning in life. Guinness presented a quote from the days of John Wesley that has hauntingly served as a wake-up call to believers lost in the disillusion of complacency for centuries: “Either these are not the gospels, or we’re not Christians.”
Guinness also gave a lunch-hour standing-room only lecture that he titled “The World After September 11th.”
Guinness delved into the world issues of very real and potential threats to future political stability and reminded listeners of the present Christian disease of anti-intellectualism that has surrounded their stances on the disaster. He recalled the poor comments of Franklin Graham following the incident and the downright despairing, and later retracted, comments of such Christian leaders as Pat Roberts and Jerry Fallwell. His insight then shifted focus from present need to future possibility.
“Commit yourself and these days here at Union to rooting out all traces of anti-intellectualism,” commanded Guinness.
As the focus of Guinness shifted, so did that of his listeners, as the crowded room became more still, and the gaze of the students turned reflective.
“Be passionate to be a thinker for Jesus Christ,” pleaded Guinness. “Christians must think in believing and believe in thinking.”
Dr. Os Guinness’s remarks concerning the future of America can only be proven with the test of time, but his essential charge to Christianity will not be found false.
“Do what you are, but not for yourself.”
By Josh Howerton
Class of 2005
Sara B. Horn,