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Closing the divide with covenants

Famous social critic Os Guinness speaks to campus.  |  Caleb Raney/THE CHIMES

 

“I’m speaking on Exodus as the forgotten key to the American experiment,” Os Guinness, writer and social critic. “Did you know that the notion of covenant from Exodus is behind the American notion of constitution?”

Guinness asked this question before he spoke in Calvary Chapel on Sept. 20. Beyond the topic of covenants, Guinness spoke on the need for Christians to take on the role of champions and defenders of the freedom of the Bible, for leadership, and for the restoration of transmission. He also spoke on how to reach non-Christians and how the Reformation did not only affect Christians.

Guinness further explained the cultural issues surrounding the Reformation as it celebrates 500 years. Many think of the Reformation in terms of what it did for the church, but Guinness focuses on the effects on wider society.

“I’m picking up the three main things the Reformation contributed to the rise of the modern world,” Guinness said. “One of them is covenant, because the biblical notion became the American notion of constitution. Many Americans don’t realize that.”

Attendees and Take-Away

About 300 attendees gathered in Calvary Chapel to hear Guinness speak. People of all ages and backgrounds came for different reasons. Sophomore business major Colton Stoody came because he felt convicted.

“About an hour before [the event], my friend was telling me that he was going,” Stoody said.  “He started telling me that it was about the way in which the church has been received negatively in a culture and how we’ve kind of lost our touch. I felt convicted in my heart. I was like, ‘Wow, I need to go to this event,’ so I decided to go from there.”

One thing which stood out to Stoody included Guinness’ love and approach to people who disagree with one’s views, particularly with the progressive mindset.

“We need to look at our own individual relationships with people, and the influence that we have around us,” Stoody said. “We need to start with that, and start adhering to [God’s] covenants and loving those people that we have influence over.”

The Importance of Prestigious Speakers

The Christian Apologetics Program put this event on, and two staff members shared that speakers like Guinness bring recognition to Biola and give students fresh perspectives.

“It’s a great way to get the word out for Biola, to promote Biola. But in a way that’s showing that it really is impacting the world and society and culture today,” said Megan Clark, apologetics event coordinator “So I think it’s a great way to show that Biola is up and coming in those topics.”

Harry Edwards, associate director with the graduate program in Christian Apologetics and the graduate program in Science and Religion, also spoke on the necessity of unique speakers like Guinness. He has the ability to speak for the church and to the non-Christian world in a more culture based way.

“We have all sorts of ideas out there that somehow promote the idea that the framers of this country did not connect their ideas to scripture,” Edwards said. “Not all of them were Christians, but certainly a lot of them were Bible-believing. That kind of message we don’t hear anymore.”

The evening with Os Guinness challenged the Biola community to settle differences with love and to close the gap with covenants. This starts with keeping covenants with others the way that God keeps his covenants with his people, which means engaging others in love and dialoguing about differences.

 

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