Sola Scriptura: The Bible and Only the Bible
2 Timothy 3:16
June 15, 1997 | Ray Pritchard
“Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” Psalm 119:89
“You have exalted above all things your name and your word.” Psalm 138:2b
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35
“The Scripture cannot be broken.” John 10:35b
“Your word is truth.” John 17:17
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
It is not unusual for people to ask, “What kind of church is this?” That’s a good question and one that is not as easy to answer as you might suppose. In 1991 the staff composed this sentence as the first part of a larger mission statement. “Calvary Memorial Church is an independent, evangelical church located in Oak Park, IL.” That’s true enough and a good place to begin, but it’s hardly comprehensive. We could easily add other facts. We are an 83-year-old, interdenominational, full-service church with a broad spectrum of ministries. I am the 12th pastor. Our annual church budget is just over $1 million. We will give over $200,000 to world missions this year. We are a regional church, which means that people drive long distances to worship here. To all of that we might add that we are conservative in our theology and pragmatic in our methods.
A Man Named Luther
Everything I have said so far is true and helpful in describing various aspects of who we are. Let me suggest another word for Calvary, one that is not often used today. We rarely use it to talk about ourselves, but it is just as true as anything else I have mentioned. We are a Protestant Church. To say that word immediately reminds us of the three main division of Christendom: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant.
If you are a student of Christian history, you know that there are many different Protestant churches. Thousands in fact-a point some of my conservative Catholic friends delight to mention to me from time to time. While Protestant churches differ among themselves in various ways, all of them trace their heritage back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. The Protestant movement was born on October 31, 1517, when an obscure Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He had no idea that his actions would change the course of history. He hoped to spark debate about church practices he considered corrupt. Instead he ignited a revolution whose flames burn bright to this day. It is no exaggeration to say that a direct line stretches from 931 Lake Street all the way back to the church door in Wittenberg. We are Protestants because we stand with Martin Luther in the things he said.
All Protestants trace their origins back to Luther in one way or another-although some people would rather downplay the historical connection. This includes Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Charismatics, Wesleyans, Disciples of Christ, the independent Bible churches, and of course the Lutherans themselves.
The Battle Cry of the Reformation
This morning we are beginning a new sermon series on our Protestant heritage. These four sermons are built around the four “solas” of the Reformation. The word sola is Latin for “only” or “alone.” In the words of theologian R. C. Sproul, “It is no exaggeration to say that the eye of the Reformation tornado was this one little word.”
As the Reformation spread across Europe, the early reformers coined four Latin phrases that became the battle cry of the Protestant Reformation. They summarized the essential issues that separated Martin Luther and his followers from the Roman Catholic Church. In this series we will re-examine each phrase individually and ask its relevance for today. In essence we are looking into what it means to be a Protestant Christian at the end of the 20th century.
This series comes at a time when Catholics and evangelicals have seemed to come closer to together than ever before. Several years ago a number of Christian leaders from both traditions signed a document called “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT). Evangelical signers included such notables as Pat Robertson, J. I. Packer, and Bill Bright. The document discusses common ground and proposes a kind of “co-belligerancy” between Catholics and evangelicals in areas of mutual concern-especially regarding moral issues. Unfortunately the document does not adequately address the very real differences that exist between Protestants and Catholics-especially the crucial issue of sola fide-justification by faith alone. As a result the agreement has engendered enormous controversy in evangelical circles, with published criticism by R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and John Ankerberg.
This series is not about the ECT. However, I would like to go on record as saying that I agree more with the criticism than with the arguments put forth by the signers of that document. While I am all in favor of dialogue and open discussion, and while I favor “co-belligerancy” where possible, some issues cannot be shuffled under the table or treated as if they no longer matter. Sola fide still matters. It divided Protestants and Catholics 450 years ago and still divides us today.
I. The Four Solas
The word Protestant carries within it the smaller word “protest.” Luther and his followers were called Protestants because they protested against certain abuses of the Catholic church-especially its doctrine of indulgences and its emphasis on works-righteousness. In our day there is still much to protest. We agree with Luther’s points and we also protest the moral, spiritual, doctrinal decline in the church.
So, then, we proudly wear the Protestant mantle and join with the reformers in professing the four solas of the Reformation:
Sola Scriptura = The Bible Alone
Solus Christus = Christ Alone
Sola Gratia = Grace Alone
Sola Fide = Faith Alone
II. Defining Our Terms
We begin with Sola Scriptura: The Bible and only the Bible as the basis of our faith. This has been called the “material principle” of the Reformation because it touches the very basis or foundation of our Christian faith.
How can we know the truth about God? When the churches can’t agree, where do we go? Or when the church is wrong, or the priest is wrong, or the pastor is wrong, how do we know? The Reformers answered with Sola Scriptura. We go to the Bible because it stands supreme above all other books because it alone is the pure and undiluted Word of God.
Let’s look at this doctrine in an older and then a newer statement of faith. First, consider these words from the Belgic Confession of Faith:
We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein … Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God … Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule.
I think that’s fairly clear in what it says. The key phrase is “of equal value.” Sola scriptura does not mean that we reject church history, tradition, the councils, commentaries, or the opinions of learned scholars. All those things have great value and the church should never reject the wisdom passed down from the previous generations. However, we believe that those things-as good as they are-can never be “of equal value” with the Word of God. It stands supreme. It is the “Supreme Court” of the Christian faith. Tradition may be likened to a lower court, statements of faith to a higher court, councils to a court of appeal. But the Bible itself is the Supreme Court from which there is and can be no appeal.
The Chicago Statement
Here is another statement of the same truth, this time from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978), and signed by a great many evangelical leaders. There are 19 separate articles in the statement. The first deal with the issue of sola scriptura:
Article 1: We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God. We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.
Article 2: We affirm that the Scriptures are the Supreme Written Norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture. We deny that Church Creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.
Now let’s take a look at Article One of the Calvary Memorial Church Articles of Faith:
We believe that the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God and are therefore without error in the original writings. We further believe that this inspiration is not in different degrees, but extends equally and fully to all parts of the Bible: historical, poetical, doctrinal and prophetical. We, therefore, believe in the absolute authority of the Bible in all matters of faith and practice.
That’s a broader statement than the words quoted from the Belgic Confession but when the final sentence speaks of the “absolute authority” of the Bible, it is saying precisely the same thing that the older confession was saying. Several months ago a woman in my Wednesday night class used an arresting phrase to describe what we believe about the Bible. She called it the “undisputed Word of God.” I like that because it precisely describes our attitude toward what God has said.
Three Key Words
Protestants historically have used three key terms to describe what we believe about the Bible. We speak of “verbal plenary inspiration. Inspiration means that the text of Scripture was “breathed-out” by God and written down by men using their own gifts, words and personal style. Plenary means that inspiration extends to every part of the Bible. And verbal means that inspiration extends to the very words of the text.
Seven Crucial Implications
What does this mean in practical terms? Let me suggest several crucial implications.
1. The Bible is the objective Word of God. By “objective” I simply mean that the Bible is in itself the Word of God without regard to how people may receive it. The Bible is the word of God whether you read it or not. The Bible is the word of God whether you believe it or not. The Bible is the word of God whether you obey it or not. That by the way is why I don’t think we need to argue with people to “prove” the Bible is true. That’s like arguing whether or not a knife is sharp. Don’t argue, just stick it the other fellow’s gut. If he bleeds, it’s sharp. Likewise, people don’t have to believe the Bible in order for it to work in their hearts. Just give them the truth and let the Sword of the Spirit do its work.
2. The Bible is the supreme revelation of God’s truth. No other book can be compared with it. The Bible stands alone among the great religious texts of the world.
3. The Bible’s message of salvation is plain enough so that anyone can understand it. The Reformers used the term “perspicuity” to explain this truth. They meant that while there are many things in the Bible that remain obscure even to the greatest scholars, God has made the way of salvation so plain that anyone-from the least to the greatest-can understand it.
4. No creed or council or word from any pope or priest or pastor nor any private prophecy or supposed word from God-nor any vision or dream or modern day revelation–can overturn, add to or subtract from the truth of the Bible. In our day we need to re-emphasize that the Bible is the only reliable and infallible expression of God’s truth. This becomes crucial when considering the many so-called prophesies that individuals claim to have received from the Lord.
5. The Scripture judges the church, the church does not judge the Scripture. By that we mean that the Scriptures not only give us our message, they also stand in judgment over our methods as well. We must do God’s work God’s way as revealed in God’s Word.
6. Since the Bible is the supreme revelation of God’s truth, our supreme duty as Christians is to know the Bible, believe the Bible, preach the Bible, and obey the Bible. We are to be Bible Christians first, last and always.
7. The meekest Christian who stands on the truth of God’s word has more wisdom than the so-called wise men of our age. Psalm 119:99 says, “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.” This doesn’t mean we don’t need teachers or leaders, or that we should all be spiritual renegades. But it does mean that one man with the Word of God may confidently “speak truth to power” knowing that Almighty God is on his side.
Years ago most of us learned a little chorus that goes like this: “The B-I-B-L-E, Yes That’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.” You may not have considered it, but there is tremendous spiritual truth in those simple words. When you say, “I stand alone on the Word of God,” you are declaring the doctrine of sola scriptura!
Therefore, we may come to this simple conclusion: What the Bible says, God says. The Bible is the Supreme Court from which there is no appeal.
III. Implications For the Christian Faith
Let’s wrap up this message by considering four implications of sola scriptura for the Christian today.
A. History and Tradition
First, regarding history and tradition, sola scriptura teaches us to respect history but not to be bound by it. In the words of J. I. Packer, church history is like one long Bible study in which Augustine, Aquinas, Anselm, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and many others have taken part. We ought to respect the thinking of those who have gone before, especially those godly men and women who have labored to correctly understand and apply the Bible. This is why to this day we sometimes quote together the Apostles Creed, the Nicean Creed, and other statements of Christian doctrine. However, these statements can never be used to overturn the clear teaching of the Bible.
This truth ultimately led Martin Luther out of the Roman Catholic Church. He came to the conviction that he must put the “infallible Word of God” over that of popes, councils, church fathers, and tradition. The moment of crisis came on April 18, 1521, at the Diet of Worms, when he was called on by Johann von Eck, Official General of the Archbishop of Trier to renounce his errors. Luther replied, “Unless I am convinced by testimonies of Scripture or by evident reason-for I believe neither the Pope nor Councils alone, since it is established that they have often erred and contradicted themselves-I am the prisoner of the Scriptures cited by me, and my conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”
B. Moral Issues
Sola scriptura gives us a foundation for standing against the moral decline of modern society. A recent opinion column (“Modern Morality”) in the Wall Street Journal began with these piercing words:
In the same week that an Army general with 147 Vietnam combat missions ended his career over an adulterous affair 13 years ago, the news broke that a New Jersey girl gave birth to a baby in the bathroom at her high school prom, put it in the trash and went out to ask the deejay to play a song by Metallica-for her boyfriend. The baby is dead.
Welcome to morality in late 20th century America, where what’s right and what’s wrong is anyone’s guess on any given day.
The article goes on to call this the moment when the United States finally achieved “moral chaos” and “manifest catastrophe.” We have followed the road into the swamp. How will we ever get out?
We have no good advice on how the country might extricate itself anytime soon from a swamp of sexual confusion that now causes teenaged girls to bear their babies in toilets and motel rooms before tossing them in the dumpster, but the road into the swamp isn’t hard to see.
You must admire the writer’s honesty. He knows how we got here, but hasn’t a clue on how to get back on the high road of moral sanity.
Flying over the wreckage, we guess we’d say that the biggest mistake made by the architects of the new sexual politics is that they never seemed to be able to identify any act or practice they considered simply wrong. … The new sexual arbiters have failed us. The sexual landscape is indeed value-free, which is to say it will both forbid nothing and punish anything. It has arrived as a position of perfect nonsense.
He’s right, of course. When nothing is wrong, then everything is right, which is indeed a position of perfect nonsense.
When you turn away from the Bible, what are you left with? Moral chaos.
“This is for those who believe neither.”
Several years ago Jeff Eaton told me about a famous man from his home state of KentuckyÃ³Cassius Marcellus Clay. Born in 1810, he was the son of a slave-holder who became an ardent abolitionist after graduating from Yale University. Later he served in the Union army and as ambassador to Russia. He was also a lawyer and a member of the Kentucky legislature. One time when he was called to settle a dispute, he placed the Bible on the table and said, “This is for those who believe in the law of God.” Placing the Constitution on the Bible, he then declared, “This is for those who believe in the laws of man.” Finally he put a pistol on top of the Constitution and said, “This is for those who believe in neither.”
When you turn away from the Bible as absolute truth, you eventually come to the use of brute force because you have nothing left.
Why is it that our leaders rely so much on opinion polls today? Is it not (in part at least) because we no longer believe in absolute truth? Once you veer away from fixed principles of right and wrong, you are left with what Francis Schaeffer called, “The tyranny of the 50% + 1 majority.”
Gay Rights and Wrongs
That brings us to the current discussion over Gay Rights in Oak Park. In light of sola scriptura, it doesn’t matter what the Wednesday Journal says. And it doesn’t matter what Hollywood puts out. The truth about homosexuality cannot be changed by spurious genetic research or by the propaganda of the pro-gay machine.
Some things are wrong no matter who says they are right and some things are true no matter who says they are false!
The real debate isn’t about sex or gender or orientation. It’s not even about the domestic partnership registry. This debate is as old as the human race because it goes back to the question the serpent asked Eve in the Garden of Eden: “Has God indeed spoken?” The answer is yes he has, and he did not stutter. Oak Park would be a better community if we took his Word seriously.
C. Christian Unity
Last Monday the front page of the Chicago Tribune carried a story with the following headline: “Christians heed the call for 1, and only 1, church.” It’s about the slow move toward organizational unity being taken by five mainline Protestant denominations. After discussing various failed attempts at unity over the years, the writer opines that this effort will succeed because church unity is in fact a good thing.
On that point all Christians may partially agree. The New Testament over and over again emphasizes the unity of all true believers in Jesus Christ. But that unity comes about because of shared truth and a shared personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not organizational at all, but rather organic unity centered on a common faith and a common body of revealed truth.
The last paragraph notes that one church ordains gays and lesbians while Such is not the case with these mostly liberal denominations another one does not. How will the churches bridge the gap? Here are the closing words of the article: “Some differences are worth splitting over and some are not.”
Unity is good but not at the expense of truth. In the words of the late Edward John Carnell, “It is better to divide over truth than to unite around error.”
Light and Darkness
This explains why we don’t work with liberal churches and why they don’t work with us. In the end the answer is very simple: Because we have nothing in common with them. That’s why we won’t have joint worship services or do a pulpit exchange or allow our youth groups to work together. In the words of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “What fellowship does light have with darkness?”
Someone reading these words may think that we have painted ourselves into a corner. But it is not so. We simply follow Psalm 119:63, which declares “I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.” We gladly work with anyone who believes the Bible and knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That’s why we enthusiastically supported the Luis Palau campaign. That’s why we had a pulpit exchange with Judson Baptist Church. That’s why we support the National Association of Evangelicals and why we attend the GCSSA convention every year. Our circle of support is as broad as the blood-washed children of God. We love all of God’s children and gladly fellowship with them, but we won’t compromise our convictions by working with those who have denied the Word of God for the sake of political correctness.
D. The Way of Salvation
This was the keynote of the Reformation. Luther and those who followed him declared that salvation was not in the church or the councils but only in Jesus Christ. The Bible doesn’t save you, it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ that saves you. But where do you find the gospel? You don’t find it on Oprah Winfrey. You don’t find it on Rosie O’Donnell or Jay Leno. You don’t find it on Geraldo Rivera. You can’t even find it by watching the Chicago Bulls. You can’t find it by listening to Bart Simpson. You can’t get the gospel that way. Where has God put the gospel? He put the gospel in his book. That is where the gospel is.
My brothers and sisters, the issue at the end of the 20th century is this: Has God spoken? And if God has spoken, did he speak the truth? And if God has spoken truth, where can we find it? Those are the great questions of our time. Has God spoken? Has he spoken the truth? Where can we find the true words of God?
How Firm A Foundation
The question of religious authority is not just some ethereal debate. It is the supreme issue. Until you’ve decided that issue, until you’ve answered those questions, until you’ve settled your life one way or the other, you’re going to be tossed to and fro.
I close with these words. We are Protestants and proudly so. We stand with Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, and a host of others who staked everything on the truth of sola scriptura: The Bible and only the Bible.
This is a high view of Scripture, I realize. But I’m trying to differentiate what we believe versus what some other people believe because nothing is more foundational than this. We believe the Bible is divinely inspired, verbally true, its inspiration extends to all its parts. It is the God-breathed message from the Father and it is therefore absolutely authoritative in everything it says. Every word is absolutely true. Therefore we should hold on to the Bible. Therefore we should believe the Bible and we should never be turned away from it.
A Young Man At The Crossroads
It was around the time of World War II. A young man had gone down to Florida to study at a small Bible college. After graduating, he came up to Wheaton College. He was in Wheaton during most of the World War II years. Everyone recognized his gifts as a preacher of the gospel. As his fame spread across the Midwest, thousands gathered to hear this dynamic young man speak. During those years the young man met Torrey Johnson, the founder of Youth for Christ. He and Torrey Johnson toured the United States in 1944 and 1945 speaking in great Youth for Christ rallies. He saw thousands and thousands of people come to Christ. In 1946 this young man left on a tour of Great Britain and Scotland preaching the gospel all over the United Kingdom. Hundreds and thousands of people came to Christ. He wasn’t even 30 years old. Another year passed and another year passed. He formed an evangelistic team and it looked like his star was on the rise, and indeed it was.
Then came 1949. In the early part of the year this young man was beset with inner doubts about the truth of the Bible. He wrestled with questions he could not entirely answer. One of his close friends was a powerful speaker who began to drink deeply at the fountain of higher criticism and liberal unbelief. This friend went to a liberal seminary. There he had his faith in the Bible as the Word of God taken away from him. He came back and told the young man, “You need to give up this fundamentalist view of the Bible. This is the twentieth century. You can’t preach the Bible that way anymore. If you keep preaching the Bible this way, your ministry is going to come to nothing.”
“I Accept The Bible As Thy Word”
That young man was torn in his heart and by his own testimony, the turning point came early in l949 when he and a group of men and women met at a place called Forest Home, a Christian conference center in southern California. He was there, deeply troubled over the raging battle in his soul: Is the Bible the word of God or is it not? Can I believe it or not? His friend was telling him, “Don’t be a fool. If you follow that fundamentalist path your ministry will come to nothing and nobody will ever hear you.”
Finally the night came when he knew he had to make a decision. He skipped the evening meeting to pray by himself. He talked to his friend J. Edwin Orr early that evening and laid out the great dilemma of his heart. Orr said, Ã¬You’d better go off and pray and get the matter settled.Ã® So off he went into the woods to settle the matter once and for all. Finally, he realized that he would never have all the answers. And so he knelt down and began to pray. These are his own words:
I dueled with my doubts, and my soul seemed to be caught in the crossfire. Finally, in desperation, I surrendered my will to the living God revealed in Scripture. I knelt before the open Bible, and said, “Lord, many things in this Book I do not understand. But Thou hast said, ’The just shall live by faith.’ All I have received from Thee, I have taken by faith. Here and now, by faith, I accept the Bible as Thy Word. That which I cannot understand I will reserve judgment on until I receive more light. If this pleases Thee, give me authority as I proclaim Thy Word, and through that authority convict men of sin and turn sinners to the Savior.”
That was the turning point for Billy Graham. Six weeks later was the great crusade in downtown Los Angeles, a meeting which would change the course of American history. The crusade was extended and extended and extended because so many thousands of people were coming to Christ. You remember the story of how William Randolph Hearst instructed all the newspapers in his chain to “Puff Graham.” And the word about Billy Graham was spread from coast to coast. And his fame was assured. The rest is history.
Like A Hammer
By his own admission, everything that has happened in Billy Graham’s life goes back to that night at Forest Home when he put the Bible down and knelt before God and said, “Oh, God, I do not understand it all, but I am willing to believe it and willing to obey it.” Billy Graham later wrote:
During that crusade I discovered the secret that changed my ministry. I stopped trying to prove that the Bible was true. I had settled in my own mind that it was, and this faith was conveyed to the audience. Over and over again I found myself saying, “The Bible says.” I felt as though I were merely a voice through which the Holy Spirit was speaking …
I found that the Bible became a flame in my hands. That flame melted away unbelief in the hearts of people and moved them to decide for Christ. The Word became like a hammer breaking up stony hearts and shaping them into the likeness of God …
I found that I did not have to rely upon cleverness, oratory, psychological manipulation of crowds or apt illustrations or striking quotations from famous men. I began to rely more and more upon Scripture itself, and God blessed. (All quotes from “Give Me That Book” by Robert Coleman in The Alliance Witness, January 7, 1987)
No Middle Ground
All of us stand exactly at that same position right now. We can do what Billy Graham did. We can say we believe the Word of God is true even though we don’t understand every part of it. Or we can follow the way of liberal unbelief and apostasy and ultimately drift away from God. The decision is as sharp as that, and there’s really no middle ground. Either you believe the Bible is the Word of God or you don’t.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God. This church does. That’s why the Bible has such a high position around here. That’s why we give out Bibles to the little children who graduate from kindergarten into first grade. We don’t give them Weekly Readers. We give them Bibles. We believe the Bible is the Word of God. That’s why we have a Sunday School. That’s why we have Sunday School teachers. That’s why we spend thousands of dollars on Christian education. That is why we send the best and the brightest we have to the ends of the earth with the message of the gospel. That’s why we do everything that we do. We have decided that the Bible is the Word of God and we are going to stand upon it. We have staked our lives upon that fact.
A Standing Vote
I want you to stand with me now, and as you stand I’d like you to hold your Bible in your hand. I’m going to ask you four questions this morning. If your answer is yes I want you to respond as a congregation, “We do.”
Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? (The congregation answers: “We do.”)
Do you believe that the Bible is God-breathed so that it is truth and truth alone and truth without any mixture of error? (The congregation answers: “We do.”)
Do you believe that the Bible reveals the message of salvation through Jesus Christ? (The congregation answers: “We do.”)
Do you believe that the Bible is able to thoroughly equip you in every way to live a life pleasing to God? (The congregation answers: “We do.”)
If you believe those things, read this book. If you believe those things, study this book. If you believe those things, memorize this book. If you believe those things, meditate upon this book. If you believe those things, take this book and put it in your hearts, put it inside where you can never lose it. If you believe those things, take the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ which is in this book and go out from here and proclaim it wherever you go. Never be ashamed of God’s Word. Never be ashamed to believe it. Never be ashamed to stand upon it. His Word is true. His Word is the firm foundation. His Word will stand forever.
Our Heavenly Father, how thankful we are that you have not left us alone. You’ve not cast us off to wonder who you are. But you have given us a more sure and certain Word from heaven. You have given us your Word to believe and obey. Oh, make us people of the book. Make us people who believe it. Make us people who will stake our very lives upon it. Let us go from this place, O Lord, to share the good news of Jesus Christ with men and women who desperately need to hear it. We ask it for Jesus’ sake, Amen.