Mere Christians

Dr. Andreas Köstenberger (Theologian)

Episode Summary

The 3 spheres of excellence every Christian is called to

Episode Notes

The 3 spheres of excellence every Christian is called to, why so many Christians are “addicted to mediocrity,” and the importance of calling out the God-given excellence in others.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Transcription

[0:00:03] JR: Hey, friend. Welcome to the Mere Christians Podcast. I'm Jordan Raynor. How does the gospel influence the work of Mere Christians, those of us who aren't pastors or religious professionals, but who work as painters, managers, and civil engineers? That's the question we explore every week. Today, I'm posing it to the brilliant Dr. Andreas Köstenberger. He's one of the world's leading Theologians, and listen, you guys know we don't have a lot of theologians or pastors or religious professionals on the podcast, but sometimes I love bringing in somebody who can go deep on a topic. Dr. Köstenberger is one of those.


When I was writing Master of One, years ago, Dr. Köstenberger's book on Excellence was one of my top resources in researching a theology of excellence. That's what we talked about on today's episode. We talked about specifically the three spheres of excellence that every Christian is called to. We talked about why so many Christians are not pursuing excellence and are instead addicted to mediocrity. We talked about the importance of calling out the God-given excellence in others. I loved this conversation with my new friend, Dr. Andreas Köstenberger.




[0:01:31] JR: Dr. Köstenberger, welcome to the Mere Christian's podcast.


[0:01:33] AK: Great to be with you today, Jordan. Thanks for having me.


[0:01:36] JR: Yeah. We don't have a lot of theologians or pastors on the show, but from time to time, I love bringing in somebody like yourself to go really deep on a topic that's relevant to the Mere Christians who are listening. I don't want to have you on for a while to discuss this older book of yours on Excellence, which I loved. When I was writing Master of One. This was one of my favorite books as I did that research. You say in that book that as we pursue excellence, we must first contemplate the excellence of God. Unpack that for us. Why must that be our starting point?


[0:02:12] AK: Excellence has to be grounded in the character of God. So, even the subtitle of the book is “The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue.” The entire first chapter is on God's excellence. I looked at systematic theologies, some of the major ones out there. Even they didn't have that much on the excellence of God. They had some different words for it.


Again, I had to break new ground. I went to the scriptures and then I realized there's just so much there that sometimes we're very anthropocentric in our thinking. We don't start with God. Most books on excellence don't start with God. I really felt starting with God was the right place to start. We’re created in his image, we’re his image bearers. So, we are to reflect some of the excellence of our creator. That's why I started with God.


[0:03:11] JR: No, that makes perfect sense. I mean, Genesis 1:26. Yeah, we're made in the image of God. He has to be the starting point for how we understand ourselves and our own work. But what evidence do we have that God works with excellence? We could take this out of a million different directions, right? But point to the scripture, show us where we see, where can we see around us the excellent work of God's hands?


[0:03:34] AK: Well, of course, you have the Psalms that extol the excellence of God in creation. We see that all around us. That would be an actual revelation, but then in my case, I was looking for passages in the New Testament, especially. I came upon this passage in 2nd Peter, Chapter 1, which is far and away the most important passage on that topic. I was just really intrigued because it starts out — I have it in front of me. 2nd Peter, chapter 1, verse 3, “His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Or the way I would gloss it. God has given us everything we need to lead a godly life.


Then in verse 4, it says that he's done that basically by introducing us to a relationship with Jesus Christ and has made us what Peter calls partakers of the divine nature, which is really an intriguing way to refer to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Then verse 5, and that really caught my attention. It says, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with excellence.” Or other translations say with virtue. God has given us everything we need to lead a godly life in and through our relationship with Jesus Christ in the Spirit. So, for this very reason, we ought to supplement our faith with excellence.


I was thinking, well, supplement our faith, doesn't sound like the Reformation doctrine of Sola fide, right? Faith alone. Apparently, faith is not enough if you understand it in the right way. Of course, James says pretty much the same thing. We need to use our faith as a launching pad, as a starting point to supplement it with excellence. Then there's a list of virtues given. Excellence, I think, is primarily defined, but not exclusively as in a moral sense, because God is holy. He is perfect in every way.


We ought to cultivate moral excellence. But then in my book that you mentioned, Excellence, I actually talked about three different kinds of areas of excellence. I talked about vocational excellence, excellence at work. I talked about moral excellence of character. Then thirdly, I talk about relational excellence, excellence in relationships. I find each of those are discussed in scripture. I singled out four or five virtues in each of those three categories.


[0:06:05] JR: Yeah. It's interesting. I think about that Dorothy Sayers quote all the time, the great practical theologian, not a serious scholarly one like yourself, but where she says, “No piety in the worker will compensate for work that is not true to itself.” In there, I think she's connecting. I think she's viewing vocational excellence as a subset of moral excellence. She's saying that, “Hey, listen.” –


[0:06:27] AK: I think it's very important to realize that every Christian is called to pursue excellence because that passage in 2nd Peter makes it very clear that this is not just for a spiritual elite. It is for everyone. It also requires effort. Sometimes I think, because of our reliance on grace, we're a little bit reluctant to go there, but I think Peter, like James, is very clear that this is not just something that happens automatically. It's actually something we have to make every effort. We have to be intentional about it.


[0:07:00] JR: Dr. Köstenberger, you've studied this topic more deeply than almost anyone I know, when you look at God's word, how does God's definition of excellence differ from the worlds?


[0:07:11] AK: Well, I think it is integrated. It's not compartmentalizing different kinds of excellence. He looks at us holistically as whole persons. It doesn't work for us to say, “Well, personally, I'm a jerk, but I'm doing good work.” We have to keep things together. We have to strive to be people of impeccable moral character, as well as strive for excellence in our work. We also have to strive to be loving, to be good in building community, the relational aspect of being created in God's image. All of the above, not just we pick and choose just parts of our lives where we want to excel.


[0:07:56] JR: Yeah. I was reading the Parable of the Talents for the 500th time, whatever. I was thinking about the implications of that parable and our definition of excellence. I think as I read that, I'm like, “Yeah, you know what, unlike the world, I think God defines excellence as stewardship, as not being the best, but doing the best with what he has given us.” Would you agree? Is that a fair application of Jesus's words in the Parable of the Talents?


[0:08:22] AK: I totally, agree. That's what I always tell people that we ought to be the best we can be in light of who God made us to be. We each need to basically, increasingly — I think our entire lives are basically, you could say, their journey toward God's calling for our lives and to get to know ourselves better in light of how God made us.


Now, that may involve getting feedback from others, trial and error, variety of just trying out different areas of vocation, but in the end, hopefully, we are in sync with who God uniquely made us to be, which is why comparing ourselves with others is such a – is so detrimental to finding our true calling before God because God has made each of us unique.


[0:09:08] JR: Because the pursuit of that excellence is part of how we love our neighbors, ourselves, and glorify God. I think about Jesus's words in the Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” What evidence do we see in Scripture that excellent work, vocationally, morally, relationally can glorify the Father? Do we see evidence of that throughout Scripture?


[0:09:35] AK: Well, I think, again, I would start with the character of God and as we do excellent work. We reflect God's own character who's excellent in all his works. Again, that includes his character and his works, right? Again, they go together in God's case, so they also should go together in our case. I sometimes wonder like since everybody is called to pursue excellence in Scripture, like I mentioned earlier, not just a spiritual elite. Why is it that so many Christians don't pursue excellence? I remember when I first started thinking about that topic, I was very interested in the arts and it was wondering why so few churches that's part of their vision. I read this older book by Franky Schaeffer, remember him, the son of noted apologist, Francis Schaeffer. It was called Addicted to Mediocrity.


[0:10:27] JR: Such a good book.


[0:10:29] AK: It really resonated with me, because I agreed with him, that for many Christians, maybe it's because we rely on grace and think, I guess we don't have to strive for excellence. I started thinking about to why would not more Christians pursue excellence? I thought of at least three or four things. One, that we think excellence is just for the select few. It's not for everyone. It's just many people think it's beyond me or we think that excellence is unattainable. We think the best we can do is just make it through the day and do the best we can, but excellence, that's beyond our grasp. I would say no, it's not. We just have to focus. We have to get in sync with God's calling for our lives. We have to learn to do a few things well.


[0:11:13] JR: Yes.


[0:11:14] AK: We may think excellence is self-effort. We feel like, no, no, no, we want to just relying God's grace. I think 2nd Peter 1 strikes such a beautiful balance, because Peter starts out by saying that God graciously gave us everything that we need in Christ to pursue excellence, but on the basis of grace, he then urges us to make every effort, right, so it's both and not either or we have to pursue excellence, because of God's grace.


Finally, we think excellence is perfectionism. We wouldn't want to be obsessive-compulsive. Perfectionism is ugly, but I don't think God's excellence should be confused with perfectionism. I think rather I look at our pursuit of excellence as striving, with God's help, to maximize our creative potential.


[0:12:09] JR: Yes. That's so well said. Yeah, I think about this way. Nowhere in Scripture do we see God calling us to the attainment of some level of the said excellence. He calls us to the pursuit of it, right? I think it's one of the things we see in the Parable of the Talents. He's called us to steward these gifts, but he never demands that we achieve any certain result. He's honored in the striving of us putting those talents to work as excellently as we know how, to His glory and the good of others. Is that right? Am I interpreting that right?


[0:12:44] AK: Well, absolutely. It makes me think of Paul's incredible statement where he says, “Brothers, I don't consider that I've made it my own. One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ.” Then he says, “Let those of us who are mature think this way.” I think he's a great role model of that. This is the apostle Paul who for most of us, he's a spiritual giant. He said, “I haven't attained it yet, but I don't care. I'm just going to press on.”


[0:13:19] JR: Yeah. I think you've hit on a lot of the reasons why many Christians are addicted to mediocrity. I want to go a little deeper on one more, though. I think part of this is tied to a lack of understanding of the eternal purpose of our work with the material world, right? We get to work and we say, spiritual realm good, material world bad.


Sure. I'm going to be excellent at making disciples, but the work itself with the material world doesn't really matter, because material things aren't eternal, which is obviously a heretical line, right? Current believers to this end, help them make that connection between the goodness of the material world and thus the commitment to excellence as we work with the material things around us. Can you expound on that for a few minutes?


[0:14:09] AK: Well, I think you put it very well. It's an area maybe I haven't thought as much about it. You obviously have, but I couldn't agree more. I think it's this modern narcissism, if you will, as that heresy would distinguish between the material and the spiritual world. Then say, what we do in the body is inferior or doesn't matter or is this of lesser value. Then sometimes maybe as Christians, we might – maybe without meaning to, act like we're modern-day agnostics, who put lesser value on what we do in the body or our work world.


We again, compartmentalize and we dichotomize. The fact is that Scripture affirms, and everything God created is good. That includes marriage. It includes the family. It includes our work. It includes everything. I think what I've seen in my work, and I've taught at seminaries for a long time. We typically focus on The Great Commission, but we have a very narrow definition of what The Great Commission is.


[0:15:09] JR: Oh, this is my favorite soapbox. Keep going. Keep going.


[0:15:12] AK: Absolutely. What entails. I mean, it plays well to the donors and to the gallery, but is it really the true Biblical vision of excellence and of what it means to glorify God? Yeah, I just elaborating on what you already said there.


[0:15:31] JR: Listen, you're way more studied up on this than I am. I want to see if you agree with my hypothesis. It’s something I've been doodling on for a long time. When I look back at church history, it's really in the last couple hundred years that we have functionally turned The Great Commission to make – which to be clear, is a non-optional command for every follower of Jesus.


We've functionally elevated it to the only commission that Jesus' followers feel called to, to the neglect of the first commission in the Garden of Eden, just to take this material world and make more of it, right? If that's true, I think that's the root of this divide we place between the spirits and the material. The Great Commission is all there is. The gospel is Jesus coming to save me from my sins and taking my soul to a disembodied afterlife.


Then, who cares about excellence at work, right? But if Jesus came to make all things new, to fully reinstate me to the first commission of filling the earth and subduing it and ruling it for his glory and the good of others, now what I do with the material world matters a great deal. The Great Commission is a part of that project of putting every square inch of creation, spiritual and material under the lordship of this world's rightful King Jesus Christ. Amen?


[0:16:52] AK: Absolutely. I think the mistake there that I think a lot of people in the evangelical world are making today is that they think that The Great Commission replaces the cultural mandate, the way it's given in Genesis 1. I think it is just placed within the orbit of the original command. When God said there in Genesis 1:28. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion over it.” That command has never been rescinded. That continues to apply. Then the Great Commission is just given by the risen Jesus to the church in addition an inferior elaboration of it. It's more a matter of fulfillment rather than replacement, if you will.


[0:17:36] JR: Say more about that. Are you saying that The Great Commission is a restatement, a reframing of that first commission in Genesis 1?


[0:17:45] AK: Well, I think obviously, the Genesis 1 command was given prior to the fall. If the fall had never occurred, that would have been the only command that was needed, but then because of the fall, the world is fallen. It doesn't mean that there's nothing good or beautiful left, but it required mission, required salvation, required Jesus' sacrifice from the cross for our sins, but it's still the same creation that we live in.


The idea of making disciples, making followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is now the perfect image of God. He reflects God perfectly. He becomes then the second Adam, if you will. In Scripture, there's a very organic relationship between the first Adam and the second Adam. So again, Jesus is more the fulfillment of God's original vision that's already there in Genesis 1.


[0:18:41] JR: Yeah. I just go back to Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount. Part of the way the people will give glory to our Father who is in heaven is through the good work that we do. I think about Nehemiah in Nehemiah 6 He's facing all this opposition. The wall is completed in 52 days, which sounds absurdly fast. He says, “Hey, when all of our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”


I think the people looked around at this crazy feat of rebuilding this wall in 52 days, and they had to assign glory and weight to God because that was the only possible way that that work could get done. I think that's true today, as we do our work with excellence, vocationally, and morally, and relationally. Man, that raises eyebrows and gives evidence to the God that we believe in, right?


[0:19:38] AK: Yeah, that's right. I think excellence, I found to be such a great category in my Christian life that encompasses doing my work well. Also, to become the person God wants me to be and has made me to be and in Christ that by the Spirit, I can be also to be an excellent father and husband, which is, again a great challenge in a lifetime journey. I think sometimes, Jordan, we act like we glorify God more by our mediocrity than by our excellence. Of course, that's utterly absurd.


Certainly, if we pursue excellence, I think sometimes the temptation for us would be to be complacent and to be quite frankly lazy. To think that, because we're the recipients of God's grace, we can basically just not strive to be excellent at work or to pursue sanctification rigorously. I think that's clearly not true. I think the 2nd Peter 1, passage shows that –


[0:20:39] JR: Yeah. It's just like general posture of intentionality, right, to life that we are not saved to wait around for Christ's return or wait around until we head to the present heaven, but that we are saved for – that’s Ephesians 2:8 through 10, right? We're saved not by our works, but we are saved for those works. My pastor has this phrase, he uses – just like made up this word, intentional, but I love that. That's the right way to think about it. I think it's what we see in the model of Christ. I think it's what we see in Paul. Paul was an incredibly disciplined, intense and intentional person, right?


[0:21:20] AK: Absolutely. We already talked about the passage that's from Philippians, chapter 3 three. I think I love the gospel of John. I think my life of verse or one of them is John 15, verse 8, which says, “This is my father glorified that you bear much fruit, and so proof to be my disciples.” I receive you, Jordan, as somebody who is living by that, as well. That we want to be productive. We want to be effective. We want to be strategic. We want to be excellent in every way. I think that is our calling. We're not just called to be a fruit. We're called to be much fruit and God prunes us, and refines us, and disciplines us, so that we maximize our fruit production, if you will.


[0:22:01] JR: That's exactly right. I want to go back to something you said a few minutes ago, just that lifelong process of vocational pruning and discernment and trying to find that work, that one can do best in service of neighbor. I think there's a lot of listeners who are frustrated, because they don't like feel they found that thing, or economic realities living in a post Genesis 3 world has kept them from doing the work they feel God has equipped them to do most exceptionally well in service of neighbor.


When you look ahead to the new earth, as you've studied the New Testament, Isaiah 65 says, “We're going to long enjoy the work of our hands.” Revelation 22:5 says, “That we are going to reign forever, never with Christ.” Do you think that on the new earth, we're finally going to find that thing? We're finally going to be able to do that work that God created us to do most exceptionally well for his glory. Is that going to be our eternal vocation?


[0:23:02] AK: I believe we will work in heaven, because sometimes we think of work and it's about a drudgery or negative sense, but not you, but many of us. I think we need to get used to the idea that God doesn't look at work that way. Certainly, I think as a parent, I've come to see how vital it is for my children who are now all grown to find their place in this world and to find a line of work that they enjoy doing that is fulfilling. Also, that glorifies God, because they're using the talents God has given them.


I think even in parenting, and my wife and I wrote a couple books on parenting. We encourage people, we have a chapter on mission. The idea that one of the key and very gratifying things about being a parent is to encourage our children to actually by trial and error and then finding out their strengths and weaknesses, getting feedback from other people to find out what they're good at and then to do that for the glory of God.


[0:24:03] JR: When I was growing up, the overriding career advice I got from my terrific parents and every other well-intentioned adult my life was, do what makes you happy and follow your passions, follow your dreams. How is your advice to your kids more nuanced than that? Sounds like you're telling them to follow their gifts. What does that advice sound like and what does that look, practically?


[0:24:26] AK: Well, I think certainly, as a parent, I'm trying to observe. I'm trying to take a listening approach and to watch them and to see what they get passionate about. If they talk about something, they really – you can tell they get excited about it. One of our daughters, she's a dietitian. I recently came across this essay she wrote in middle school about healthy eating. I was thinking, how did I miss that? There were some early indications that she really loves both eating well and then helping other people to eat well.


She now focuses on basically, early childhood nutrition and helping people in impoverished areas like India and other places, to know how to eat better. Mothers and social workers, and so forth. It's a wonderful, fulfilling calling for her. It was a matter of just listening to her heart and almost drawing out what's there. I think there's a proverb that talks about desires of our hearts, they're deeply buried within, but God or wisdom draws it out.


[0:25:35] JR: This is wild. This morning, I was talking with Nicky Gumbel, pioneer of Alpha, over the UK. He quoted that exact same proverb, drawing out the deep well in others. It's interesting to apply that to our children, and not just children, anyone around us. Being able to speak into them and say, “Hey, listen. I've noticed this passion of yours.” Or, “I've noticed this gift of yours. I just want to encourage that and edify that.” I think that's a good word to anyone listening who has found the work that they could do most exceptionally well for the glory of God and the good of others.


Look around you and other people who haven't figured that out and draw out those things in them, call out those things in them. If you haven't found that thing, maybe go around and ask the question, right? If work is primarily means of serving others, sure, ask some introspective questions, but we should probably seek to discern that calling in community, ideally, Christian community, where other people can draw that out, as well. Amen?


[0:26:35] AK: Oh, absolutely. I think we're sometimes too self-absorbed, I’m including myself, but I'm trying to be very intentional and to catch others in something they do well and even excel and to – as you mentioned, to compliment them on it. Sometimes maybe they don't even realize that. I mean, I was already – just finished my master of divinity in seminary. I still didn't realize that maybe I had a special gift in scholarship and writing. Then somebody told me that, “Have you ever considered getting a Ph.D. and becoming a Bible teacher.” I was saying, “Really? You think I would be good at that?” I didn’t necessarily see myself as that, and it took somebody else seeing that in me and telling me, caring enough to telling me that launched me on that path.


[0:27:21] JR: Same is true for me as a writer and a content creator. I think it'd be hard press to find somebody says that, “Yeah, I found the thing that God's clearly created me to do.” There hasn't been that voice in their life speaking that into them at some point in the term, right? That's a really, really good place to land this plane is an encouragement to our listeners to call out the excellence in others so that they could step in with confidence to focus on the work God has given them to do.


Dr. Köstenberger, we wrap up every episode with the same three questions. Number one, I'm curious which books on the whole you find yourself recommending or gifting most frequently to others. You mentioned Addicted to Mediocrity. Are there any other – like if you log into Amazon, you look at your purchase history, are there books you order over and over and over again to give to other people?


[0:28:10] AK: Well, that’s a great question. I love books. I love to recommend them, give them to others and so forth. Yeah, how much time do you have?


[0:28:17] JR: I got all the time of the world for you sir.


[0:28:19] AK: Certainly, I often recommend good study Bibles, like the ESV Study Bible and others, just because those are such great one-volume works. Obviously now, if you don't want to pair it around, you can have it on your smartphone or on your computer. I read a book called Date Your Wife the other day and the author, I forget his last name now, but I mean, he was talking about the – most of us husbands, at some point, kick into some maintenance mode in our marriage. It was a kick in the rear end. He said, “Hey, if you're a husband, you can do it, you need to do better than this.” That was very refreshing to read.


Of course, also, probably all of us like Dane Ortlund's recent book, Gentle and Lowly. I've given that to both of my sons. I think he's doing a great job to help us get to know the heart of Jesus, better. Finally, I sometimes recommend some of the books that my wife or myself have written. My wife has a brand-new book, Sanctification as Set Apart and Growing in Christ, that we've given to quite a few people. It's a great read. It's short. It's in crossway studies in Google theology. I think such an important subject.


I think it can truly be life-transforming first to learn more about how the spirit is transforming us if we are yielding to his control in our lives. Those would be just a few books. I mentioned our parenting books, Equipping for Life and Parenting Essentials. We've given that to a lot of young couples as they prepare for marriage or as they're thinking about having children or even as they have young children. Those would be just a few books that I often give to people.


[0:29:55] JR: I love it. Well, I give out your Excellence book a lot. It's one of the ones I keep coming back to. Hey, Dr. Köstenberger, who would you like to hear in this podcast talking about how the gospel should influence the work that Mere Christians do in the world? It can be a theologian like yourself to go deep on a topic like excellence, or it can be a practitioner who's at work out in the world.


[0:30:16] AK: Right. Well, one person that comes to mind is somebody I've been friends with for a long time. He was Robert Yarbrough, Bob Yarbrough, who's a lumberjack by background, but he is a long-time teacher. He's now a Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He's American, but he knows German better than many native speakers. One thing that really strikes me, he's very committed to helping Christians, especially underground Christians in countries where Christians are heavily persecuted. He travels to South Sudan and Romania. I think every year. Almost every year regularly to teach underground pastors there. He's been just an incredible example to me. He would be, I'm sure a great person at all.


[0:31:00] JR: He was a lumberjack? That's amazing. That's so great. I don't think we've ever had a or current lumberjack on the podcast, but that would be awesome. It's funny. We mentioned these vocations from time to time, I don't know, a few months ago, I really want a janitor on the podcast and somebody reached out. We recorded his episode. It was amazing. I don't know if it will have been released by the time this episode airs. I love just throwing out the world. Hey, listen. Who knows a lumberjack? Send them our way.


Hey, Dr. Köstenberger, we're talking to this global audience of Mere Christians, who are doing a lot of different things vocationally. I'm sure there's a lumberjack out there. We know there's janitors. We know there are CEOs of four to 500 companies. What they share is a desire to glorify the Lord in all that they do at work. What's one thing you want to say to them before we sign off?


[0:31:51] AK: Well, I recently wrote a massive thousand-page book with a colleague of mine in Australia, a great gospel. It’s called Biblical Theology. I did a lot of thinking, what is the heart of the biblical narrative? What's the big picture? What's the story of the Bible all about? I landed on the love of God, as the heart of it all. Obviously, John 3:16, we all know, summarize it so perfectly, “For God to love the world.” Even when you look at Jesus, he was asked, what's the greatest commandment? Again, he said, “Is to love God with all the hearts, mind, strength, soul, and to love our neighbors ourselves.”


I think the one thing that I certainly recommitted myself to is that. That is what I want my life to be all about. To love God with all my heart and to love others as I love myself. So maybe I could leave that thought with your listeners. If they want more, they can go to my website, where they can find a lot of resources on that and many other topics.


[0:32:49] JR: I love it. Dr. Köstenberger, I want to commend you for the excellent, dare I say, exceptional work you do every day for the glory of God and the good of others, for helping us just free ourselves from the addiction to mediocrity, catch a vision for excellent work, the excellent work of God's hands, and the call to respond as Paul says in Ephesians 5:1 by, “Imitating his character as his beloved children.” Friends, I love all of Dr. Köstenberger’s work, but especially this short book on Excellence, I would strongly recommend it to you. Dr. Köstenberger, thank you so much for spending some time with us today.


[0:33:25] AK: Thank you.




[0:33:26] JR: I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. Hey, if you know a lumberjack or anyone else you want to hear on the Mere Christians podcast, let me know at Hey, thank you guys so much for tuning into the Mere Christians podcast this week. I'll see you next time.