Yesterday I continued my march through George Marsden’s biography of Jonathan Edwards. It is a fascinating read and highly insightful! I also spent time gleaning wisdom from How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins. Collins always sharpens my thinking. A number of books sit on my desk, among them: The Future of Management, a recent offering from Harvard Business Press; Londinstan, Melanie Phillips’ work on the rise of Islam in England; and The Shape of World Christianity by historian Mark Noll. These volumes are a virtual potpourri of information.
I believe God has things for me to learn from all of them. The reason? Common grace!
Common grace . . . God sends rain on the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17); God gives a brain to both the righteous and wicked.
Common grace shapes my understanding of how I know things (epistemology). A biblically-based epistemology recognizes that God, as revealed in Scripture, has made himself known and is knowable through his creation, his spoken word, written word, and through Jesus who is the Living Word – God in human flesh (Romans 1:20-21; John 17:17; John 1:1,14; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). As Gaebelien has written this truth encompasses all truth,
“For Christian education, therefore, to adopt as its unifying principle Christ and the Bible means nothing short of the recognition that all truth is God’s truth. It is no accident that St. Paul, setting before the Philippian church a charter for Christian thought, wrote: ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true . . . think on these things’ (Philippians 4:8). He knew that Christian truth embraces all truth, and that nothing true is outside the scope of Christianity.” (Gaebelein, the Pattern of God’s Truth. 1979, 20)
A leader who understands common grace considers and embraces ideas, inventions, theories, and achievements outside of Scripture though Scripture is the touchstone by which they are evaluated. Christian leaders have a biblical responsibility to study, learn from, create, and dialogue with a variety of sources. This is an inferential teaching of the cultural mandate (Genesis 1:26-28) and common grace (Acts 14:17, 17:25-28). Leaders are better for it and so are the people they serve through their leadership.