Don Carson, co-founder of The Gospel Coalition, author, teacher and leading New Testament scholar, joined The Gospel Coalition India to converse about gospel preaching, responding to persecution, using common grace, reformed theology, the role that TGC plays and other questions. The conversation was led by Arvind Balaram and Anand Mahadevan, council members of The Gospel Coalition India.
As pastors and leaders, all of us celebrate the sufficiency of the gospel. We wholeheartedly believe that the gospel of our Lord Christ Jesus is sufficient for the salvation of human beings in every time, geography and culture.
And a very real aspect of the sufficiency of the gospel is that different strands of the gospel also engage different cultures uniquely. So this one timeless and universal gospel also engages our culture here in India in this moment in our history uniquely, just as it engages every other culture uniquely.
So this evening we’re going to be looking at both the universal relevance of the gospel to the human condition and also the unique relevance. Also its unique relevance to Indian culture here and now. Dr. Carson, the question we’d like to begin this evening with is this – how similar can gospel preaching in the east, be to the gospel preaching in the west and in what ways should the two be different?
It’s impossible to think legitimately about preaching, unless one agrees what is being preached. In other words, preaching is not simply an abstract activity from a Christian point of view, it’s preaching the gospel. So the prior question is always – what is the gospel?
Is the gospel the same for believers in India as it is for believers in Canada? And if so, then one may go on to ask, what emphases are distinct in the different cultures. But, the gospel itself to use the words of Jude, is the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
And if, if that is the case, then, one has to work hard, whether one is in India or, Timbuktu, to, to come to agreement on what the gospel is. And that means studying the word of God and seeking to understand that as a self-disclosure from God himself.
The second thing I would say is that the best gospel preaching, regardless of the culture, is that which explains God’s most holy word. Um, now there are different ways of explaining things, topically, exegetically, paragraph by paragraph book by book, beginning with questions for that emerged from the culture and so on. But the aim of all legitimate gospel preaching is unpacking what holy scripture says, what God has himself disclosed in scripture.
So in that sense, the best gospel preaching in New York should mirror in certain respects, the best gospel preaching, in new Delhi, i.e. in both cases, there should be a concern to explain what holy scripture says. Now, granted that the audience is different. Then the burdens that get in the way, the misconceptions, the things about which one is ignorant are so different than how one starts, how one proceeds may be a little different to begin with.
India, for example, in the Hindu world with its millions of gods, it is rather different from putting in a Jewish circle where there’s only one God. I don’t have to convince my Jewish friends that there is one God. We share the Old Testament – what they call Tanakh, and we share conviction that there is, but one God.
So obviously there are going to be different emphases, different hurdles to cross, uh, when one is trying to promote the gospel and in Mumbai, as opposed to, uh, Chicago. So, the best gospel preaching starts with scripture and seeks to conform the mind of every culture, every man, and woman to holy scripture, we stand under the authority of scripture and in that connection, the more we can do to get across the whole counsel of God, granted that, that there are differences in emphasis of interpretation, different in emphases, in the culture, there is still nevertheless one gospel once for all and over to the saints.
And that is what we should be laying emphasis on and trying to, to find ways of, of adorning the gospel, in the particular place where God has placed us.
Thank you, the dawning of the gospel in the specific place that God has placed us. Thank you for that. From the Indian context as a culture, whether it’s from a religious perspective or whether it’s from a socioeconomic perspective, Indians do tend to naturally lean towards some sort of salvation by works, uh, as does every culture in some degree or the other. Non-christian but religious people in India would call that karma.
Irreligious people in India tend to live by a performance driven culture where their accomplishment kind of becomes their functional salvation. How should this shape the way we preach the gospel to this unique people at this unique point in time?
I think what you said about the ways in which merit theology or works theology is found in every culture is why that is a key to how we need to get across the gospel of grace.
The fact of the matter is that whether you’re dealing with karma on a strict, “you get what you deserve” vision, or whether you’re dealing with a form of Christendom that is lost to the gospel of grace, and depends finally on how you say your prayers and, and how much money you give and how many good works you do, anything that subtracts from the sufficiency, the exclusive sufficiency of the gospel of grace, finally diminishes what Christ achieved on the cross.
So, in one sense, the emphasis on works in India, though it has some unique elements tied as it is in many parts of the country to karma, for example, yet, nevertheless, it is not at all unique, i.e., there is a tendency in the human heart to save oneself, to do what merits the favor of God.
And it attracts the favor of God. And that is just so far removed from, from a scripture that says by grace, you are saved through faith, not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
And in this connection here then created in Christ Jesus to do good works, but the good works are the fruit of the gospel, the inevitable fruit of the gospel, rather than the cause of it or the ground of it. So that has to be explained again and again and again, in every culture, in every language. There are no exceptions.
It is so easy to distort the gospel of grace into something about which I can become quite proud. I’m proud of my good works for my education or my discipline or my morality and at the end of the day, there is nothing so death dealing as the arrogance that goes with such self-sufficiency.
So we have simultaneously the need to expose self-righteousness and merit theology, and at the same time to articulate again and again, and again and again, with parables, with the exposition of texts, like Romans with old Testament narratives, with the words of literature and so on, just exactly how emphatic the Bible is when it underscores the exclusive sufficiency of grace.
So in this connection ministry of evangelism in India has some peculiarity, but it’s part of the condition of the lossness of the human heart that has to be confronted everywhere.
Thank you, Dr. Carson, that’s really helpful. I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about some thoughts from you regarding, we , as a church, as Christians in India, and that is the rise of persecution. And you may have heard of that happening, uh, all over India, especially in the last few years.
And as I mentioned earlier, Dr. Carson grew up in French, Canada, and a time where it was very difficult to be a Christian to be in ministry, even facing persecution.
Incidentally, I actually grew up just across the river from where I think you grew up. Uh, I grew up in Ottawa. Many years in India still hasn’t erased that accent, but, um, so we just want to get your thoughts and just, um, in terms of what does a wise and godly response to persecution look like, especially on the part of Christian leaders.
Well, the first thing to say is that India is not the only country that is facing the challenge of persecution. Many Christians in some parts of the Muslim world face a lot of pressure and, the totalitarian regimes of left and right can exert a lot of pressure. One thinks of what Christians are facing in China.
So there’s a sense in which what you are facing in India is rather typical. In fact, doesn’t the Bible itself say, yes, all who live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. And if they persecuted me, they will persecute you and so on. So there’s a sense in which Christians need to learn to avoid thinking that persecution is abnormal or persecution is just bad luck.
Um, historically, the freedom from persecution is the exception, and Christians have got to come to grips with the fact that there is an honor and a privilege to be counted worthy to suffer for the name and that helps us to avoid self-pity or fear. One of the important things to learn in a culture where there’s some persecution is the privilege of suffering for Christ Jesus.
That doesn’t mean we should go out looking for trouble or get persecuted because we’re obnoxious or rude or bad tempered. But if in fact, as Peter puts it, if we’re suffering unjustly, for Jesus’ sake, that’s a good thing. Indeed Peter goes so far as to say, not only that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is unique and substitutionary and atoning, but it’s also a model that Christ did this leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps – 1 Peter 2.
So we have to develop an attitude that is not surprised by persecution and that is not living in fear where persecution exists, but somehow finds the courage to be faithful in small things. And to rejoice even that one is counted worthy to suffer for the name.
That’s a very, very helpful answer, not one that we hear very often. That’s really helpful. Thank you for that. Another question related to India specifically. As you know, Christians are a tiny percentage of the population of India. We have almost a billion and a half people.
Christians are less than 3% and that’s Christians of all different kinds. And so as we’re trying to preach the gospel, the question is, how can we use common grace as a means of communicating a saving grace in a way that is winsome and the way that is effective?
I think that it is a mistake to think of using common grace as a tool. The glory of common grace is that it is properly the outflow of saving grace in our lives so that we want to help our neighbors, we want to do good to all men and women, we want to glorify Christ as Ephesians 2 puts it.
We have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works. And then some of those works are things that, that, uh, non-Christians do as well. That’s where the common grace terminology comes in i.e. to say, it’s grace, that is common between both converts and unconverted. It’s a grace that God gives commonly not just redemptively to save his own chosen elect.
So because that’s the common experience of being human, one can talk about the difference between good and evil and right and wrong and, and examples of courage and self sacrifice and all the rest, recognizing full well that those are not only the gifts and graces of Christians, but they are a part of common grace.
But precisely because such grace is common, it’s hard to run it directly from it’s commonality to saving grace to redemptive grace. If by asking how can one use common grace one is simply saying how can one use kindness and goodness and generosity and art and music and so on to attract people to Christ. That’s something that has to be worked on in every culture.
But if you mean that the only reason for doing these things is precisely to try to get people into the kingdom, it’s too narrow a view. The very nature of common grace is that it is common. One should not use common grace manipulatively. But what God frequently does is takes the things that we do and attracts people, even though we are not trying to manipulate people.
Music and art and so on may well attract people, to make people more open, to listen to the poem, to the palatability of the gospel message. I’m not sure if that helps at all.
Oh, it does. It does. Thank you. That distinction that you made between what is appropriate or not, that is definitely very helpful. Thank you. Um, before we move to the next question, um, mean, I just remind everyone that we do have a time for questions, 20 minutes at the end. Uh, so please do as the evening unfolds please do send in your questions.
You can type them out on the chat box, uh, to Akshay is actually the only one you can chat with just sending your questions and we’ll be sure to take some of your questions at the end.
Dr. Carson moving a little bit away from India. How would you explain reformed theology in its most simple terms to someone who may not even be aware of it?
Reformed theology is one of those labels that has come to mean different things in different corners of the world, different denominations and so on. So it’s hard to know where to begin. Some people use reformed theology to talk only about those Protestant denominations that have infant baptism and an emphasis on the covenant.
Some people use reformed theology to talk about the so-called five points of Calvinism. Others talk about reformed theology to think, to distinguish it from broader evangelicalism, some of which is Armenian as opposed to being reformed.
If I were talking to somebody who heard the expression somewhere and didn’t have any idea where it came from and needed to find some introduction to reformed theology – where to begin?
I would say the best of reformed theology plays a huge emphasis on God. The centrality of God, the sovereignty of God, the goodness of God, the nature of God, the redemptive power of God, the love of God, it’s hugely God centered.
There are forms of evangelicalism forms of Christianity, which are so closely talking about what God does for us. And indeed God does do many things for us. He forgives our sins. He sovereignly looks over us and after us, he is providentially ruling to bring about all things, according to his glorious purposes in Christ Jesus, all of that’s true, but with the emphasis on what God does for me since then suddenly our very forms of, of Christian expression can become me-centered.
Some me-centeredness is not only legitimate, it’s inevitable that God saves me, God forgives my sin, God gives me eternal life. So there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but where that’s the whole focus, then one loses the centrality of God.
In reformed theology, the centrality of God means that we say not just that God forgives my sin. We say, God forgives my sin by sending his son to die on our behalf and taking our curse in his own body on the cross. And this is for his glory and for our good, we find our good and our joy in the sheer centeredness of God. That changes everything.
It means that when we pray, we’re not just praying for health or enough money this month to meet the mortgage or whatever. We’re praying for what brings glory to Christ, what pleases him, what honors God. And so that changes our prayer life, our direction, our priorities, our thought processes, what we read, what we do, and eventually, the best of reformed theology builds the structures of understanding of these things out of scripture so that, one develops a nose for the excellence of God, the sheer pleasure of God that the joy God has in being God.
We think constantly about him and seek to serve him. So that’s the heart of reformed theology at its best. Now, beyond that, there are many, many things that one could add in terms of disciplines, styles of worship, thoughtfulness, confessionalism and so on. But if one has to start somewhere with getting across what reformed theology is , reformed theology at its best is the glory of God.
Amen. Thank you for your winsome contribution to reformed theology and reformed scholarship especially from the scriptures. And we really do appreciate that. I know many, many people around the world have appreciated that from you, Dr. Carson.
So, as I mentioned earlier, the reason that we are able to gather together this evening with, leaders from across India with Dr. Carson is the upcoming launch of The Gospel Coalition, India and Dr. Carson, we were wondering if you can just give some idea, give an overview of the role that The Gospel Coalition has played in the recovery of gospel centered theology, gospel centered life and ministry in the US and in different parts of the world.
How also, in light of the situation of the church in India, as far as you know it, how it might be helpful for us here to have The Gospel Coalition of our own in India?
Well, let me start with where The Gospel Coalition began. It began with a concern of a group of about 40 pastors, to build an organization that is strong on scripture, strong on the glory of God, strong on confessional faith. That is, we believe that the gospel is well articulated in the great Christian confessions and, we are prepared to flex on denominational distinctions in order to bring men and women together to build one another up in our most holy faith.
Now, to be honest, when we started, we had no idea about what would happen. From our perspective a lot of North American evangelicalism was fragmented, too isolated, too reductionistic.
We wanted something robust and big and gospel centered and biblically based and with the best of expository preaching and the best of corporate worship and so on. And it just took off. I wish I could tell you it was all due to a superior thinking and planning on our part, but it wasn’t like that.
We, we did basic things and the movement grew very quickly. The first conference was, uh, about 600 people. The second conference was 2,700. The third conference was about 6,000 and the websites grew and multiplied and so on. So today something like 50 million different people visit our websites in a year, in many different languages, including shortly Hindi.
And as it grew, we decided on several things. Number one, this was not going to be an American organization , an American mission board that was going to tell everybody else in the world what to do. TGC America is for TGC America, but we try to offer help to other parts of the world so that they could build their own chapters of TGC with self-governance, self-financing, self-direction, so with a common confessional stance with a confessional agreement as to what the gospel is of the centrality of the Bible and all the rest.
Nevertheless, the different organizations that have spread out around the world in different cultures aren’t dictated to by some office in America.
If I preach in France or Switzerland at a gospel coalition meeting, it’s because local people have asked me to come. It’s not because I’m the guru who has to dictate what happens. In other words, there’s been a concerted effort to help different parts of the world build an organization that is self-governing and, and responding to common felt needs the centrality of, of, of the Bible and biblical exposition and praise to God and reformed confessionalism and so on.
But at the end of the day, there’s no head office somewhere that dictates to the whole world what should be done. So the result is that in God’s good pleasure, although we’ve made mistakes and, and have not always got things exactly right, yet the movement as a whole has become a refreshing gospel challenging fire that hungers to preach the whole counsel of God and listen to Christians from other parts of the world under the authority of holy scripture.
And we’re working now on developing biblical content that will ultimately help train pastors. Do you know, 85% of the world’s pastors have no formal theological training at all – 85%! But probably 85% have cell phones or smartphones. So the question then becomes how can one begin to get theological education for free on smartphones.
And so leaders in the gospel coalition and different countries are thinking about things like this and planning on building modules of biblical content that can be reached by smartphones in different cultures and different languages with different emphases, depending on where one is located. All of these things have come about because of Christians coming together, praying together, thinking together about how to live strategically, how to serve strategically in a needy broken world.
And, I would like to think that the best has just begun and there is so much more to do. But, it won’t be done because of some head office in Chicago or elsewhere in the U.S. It will be done because there are new movements springing up like TGC India, which itself will learn from other TGCs around the world and make its own contributions in due course under the authority of king Jesus.
I can tell you so many things about what TGC is doing, but that’s a sketch at least.
Thank you. This is definitely helpful. And even over the last couple of years, as a few of us have been working to see TGC India launched one of the things that we’ve absolutely enjoyed is the living out of the philosophy that you just mentioned, each country, it comes from within, and it’s not something that’s dictated from outside.
We’ve enjoyed it and looking forward to grow in it. We’re moving into Q and A from everyone in the audience. Before that, a quick request to fill out the feedback forms that is going to be shared on the chat box right now, uh, it would really helped us serve everyone better in the months to come.
The first question for Dr. Carson from the audience is from Samir Deokuliar and this is this question. The study of theology seems to be more chronological and a story in the Bible. The way the west has tended to teach is more systematic, which has definitely helped us. However, is there a better way to learn theology de-linked from being systematic?
It’s important to define terms. As I use systematic theology, the expression refers to theology that is organized topically, and atemporarily. That is, it is systematic. So it asks and answers questions. Like what does the Bible say about God? What is sin? What is salvation? What did the cross achieve? And so on.
So that’s what systematic theology does and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a discipline. Those are all legitimate questions and they’re questions that the Bible in fact does answer. So to get an overview of what the Bible says, systematic theology is often a very good way of beginning.
The expression biblical theology has again, another expression that has come to mean different things to different people. But as I use biblical theology, it’s theology that includes a temporal note. It’s not asking what does the Bible say about God, but what does the contribution of what Isaiah the prophet say about God and the unfolding doctrine of God in holy scripture.
In other words, it is asking how the storyline of the scripture puts things together. There are things that Genesis 1 says about God, but there are things that you have to wait till John 14 through 16 to get clear about the nature of God and that comes centuries or millennia later. Um, so to help to understand how the Bible is put together, it’s important to ask biblical theology questions.
That means you ask, what’s the contribution of Ezekiel to our understanding of sin. What’s the contribution of Ezekiel, what are its main themes? What does it contribute to the Bible storyline? How does it unpack the nature of redemption? One can do that with book after book and sector after sector of holy scripture and one begins to see how the Bible is put together as part of the storyline.
And of course, that can also affect our preaching. If you’re preaching out of systematic theology each sermon tends to be structured atemporally. It tends to be structured logically, in terms of the coherence and then so on, which is good. I’m not criticizing, but if one has an eye on biblical theology, then a lot of sermons can be structured with atemporal factor, unpacking the Bible storyline.
I wrote a book a few years ago called “The God Who Is There” that works through the entire Bible in 14 chapters to follow the Bible storyline. So then one can understand how the Bible is put together. And it’s designed for unbelievers for, for people who, who have had no background at all in theology or philosophy.
So, I would argue that both disciplines are useful, helpful, and legitimate, and on the long haul well informed Christians will want to become current with both biblical and systematic theology.
Great. Thank you, Dr. Carson. So we’ve received, uh, many, many excellent questions from our audience today, and unfortunately we won’t have time to get to all of them. But another question from another pastor in Delhi, we’re not trying to favor Delhi pastors, the system worked out that way. This is from pastor Abhishikta Satphathy and he asks is virtual church, actually a church.
And second part of his question. How should we envision church planting in a time when we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic with all of its restrictions. And is there any lessons from scriptures or from history that we can turn to for insight on this?
Obviously, a very relevant and pertinent question in an age of COVID.
I would say that in the New Testament, the church in its very nature is a gathered community of believers and, gathering virtually is not the same thing that has overtones of entertainment or of observation of watching outside, listening in. But it’s not part of the give and take of human relationships that are bound up with the multitude of places where the Bible speaks of one body.
But many parts, many members of the body and church fellowship, church mutual exhortation, church rebuke, church discipline, church encouragement, church teaching, and so on is really not possible unless Christians gather together. But having said all of that sometimes, in the Lord’s Providence, we find ourselves in situations where you can’t have everything that you want, everything that’s ideal.
I think it’s mandated, but you do what you can. For example, there are parts of the world where it is so dangerous to meet together that the numbers of people that are arrested and even executed, beheaded in some countries that I could name, continues. The only way that Christians can meet together is in very small numbers and rather secretively and so on.
And I’d say, well, then do that. Do what you can do. If the virulence of the coronavirus is at the moment requiring that you wear masks and don’t meet with greater numbers than 30 or whatever the number is and with adequate distancing, then do that. Do what you can do. Rather than ask how legitimate this is, it’s legitimate in so far as it’s better than nothing, but it’s not the ideal.
And one wants to distinguish sometimes between what’s legitimate, given the miserable circumstances in which one finds oneself versus what is ideal. So the church that my wife and I attend in the Chicago area for about a year and a half “virtual church”, i.e., we were not allowed legally to come together for about 11 months actually. So everything was done virtually with live streaming and like that’s better than nothing.
In fact, one can be thankful for the digital age that made Zoom contact as smooth as it actually is. You realize, of course that 10 years ago, we couldn’t have done what we’re doing right now. That’s a gift of God. And God’s Providence to enable us to have contacts that is possible precisely because of the technological advances of the last two or three decades.
So, if one distinguishes between what’s ideal, what’s mandated and what one can do, granted the circumstances in which one finds oneself. I think one finds one’s way through the thicket of, of conflicting claims.
Thank you, Dr. Carson. I’m definitely going to favor Mumbai for the next question. This one is from Advait Praturi.
With so many denominations represented in India, how can those of us who love Jesus and his gospel, work across denominational lines without necessarily having to compromise on our denomination’s specific convictions provided they don’t compromise the gospel. How can we do theological triage together in determining essentials and non-essentials?
Well, I guess I would say that the question can be asked not only about India, but just about anywhere in the world where there are more denominations than one might think is useful. I would say that theological triage as you call is inevitable.
The question is whether it’s intentional or it’s just happening. If it’s just happening, i.e. people think that certain theological distinctives you fight for others think that you don’t fight for those you fight for something else in a certain kind of triage is already itself taking place, but much better I think is to try to think through the principles about the basis on which triage ought to take place.
There’s a recent book by Dane Ortlund, the title escapes me, but it’s precisely asking this question. What are the non-negotiables that without which you no longer have faithful Christianity and you keep asking those questions and then you have places where you draw a line in the sand.
(Editor’s Note: The book being referred to here is by Gavin Ortlund, brother of Dane Ortlund, Finding the Right Hills to Die On.)
If you have some culture or the other that says sleeping around is fine or it doesn’t matter if you believe that Jesus is God or not, or that he died but I don’t know if he rose from the dead or that’s accidental. Those things are so central to any faithful understanding of scripture as God has revealed what the gospel is in scripture, that I would say that that’s not legitimate Christianity.
One has to say that’s false teaching. It’s diabolical, it’s condemning it, it’s unwise, it’s unhealthy, it’s untrue. But if one finds some things that are distinctive in your denomination, then you have to face the fact that there are genuine Christians, deeply committed believers who may disagree with you on forms of church, government, for example.
So at the level of organizing church meetings and the like you’ve got to decide one way or the other, some form of government is inevitable, but is there a place where sharing one’s common faith and rejoicing in what we do have in common? Is there a place for that? Or is the only person with whom you are allowed to have fellowship the one who agrees with you and Charlotte.
If you have to have perfect agreement with someone, but ultimately you’re going to have a church of one or two people, um, because distinctions do take place, but triage is inevitable. The question is whether or not we can start developing patterns of triage that have reason behind them that are thoughtful, that that can be justified by scripture.
So Paul, likewise can say to the Galatians, if somebody preach any other gospel than what we have preached to you, let them be anathema. So there are places where he will draw the line, but then he writes to the Philippians about other matters. And he says, if some of you disagree with me on this point, a well-known order would reveal it to you in due course. He’s not going to split the church over it.
So this indicates that Paul himself based questions have triage in the first century and had to think through where you draw the line, where you are embracing brothers and sisters who are different. And every generation has to do that, undertake that, to that discipline by itself.
If you draw too tightly, then you will be pure, but, you’ll be consistent with your own group, but it will be a small group always. And you will leave a little space for learning from brothers and sisters in Christ in the larger Corpus. If you, if you’re too broad, you become under served.
And so it’s important to remember the balance of the apostle Paul, what I sometimes call the beauty of biblical balance to know where the triage should dictate that we do this or that.
Great. Thank you, Dr. Carson again, super helpful. So we just have about three minutes left. We also, uh, got many, many more questions, uh, about new perspective on Paul, the work of the holy spirit, more on the charismatic movement and prosperity gospel. But unfortunately we won’t have time to take on all of those questions right now.
Dr. Carson you’ll have to come back again, to be with us and, and, and shed some light on some of those things. But we did want to hear from you some exhortation some word of counsel that you would give to us as Christians, as pastors, as leaders in various kinds in the church in India.
Just a few words before we wrap up this evening just exhorting us. What would you say to us?
You may recall that a little earlier, I referred to Joshua 1 where he’s taking over responsibility for leadership for Moses and what God says to him about this book of the law not departing out of his mouth.
It’s worth pausing to remember the many, many, many places in scripture that underscore the privacy of holy scripture. When Deuteronomy considers what the duties of a king are before there is a king. He says, when you sit on your throne, your first job is not to call up a cabinet or to find a lot of horses, the equivalent of tanks in the ancient world, or to accumulate a lot of money.
Rather, your first job the king is told is to copy out this book of the law by hand and do it so neatly that it becomes your reading copy, which you then read daily. So as to learn, not to go to the left or to the right and not to think of yourself better than you are, to walk humbly with God, that’s what the king is told to do.
How much more should all the rest of us? Likewise, spend time thinking through what holy scripture says. Your word is a light to my feet, a lamp to my path. This holy scripture is what transforms. On the night that he’s betrayed the Lord Jesus prays sanctify them through your truth – your word is truth.
So in the night that he’s going to the cross, what Jesus prays for his believers is their sanctification. And he establishes the means your word is truth. So in going to the cross, Jesus prays that his people, his followers, his believers, his redeemed community, will grow in sanctification by access to the word of God.
So whatever else you do, believers in India, whether you opt for this denomination or that denomination this moment, or that moment, give yourself unreservedly to God’s most holy Word.