Insights from Family Life -- By: R. Calvin Guy

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 015:1 (Fall 1997)
Article: Insights from Family Life
Author: R. Calvin Guy


Insights from Family Life

R. Calvin Guy

Fletcher Professor of Missions
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

There seems to be an unwritten rule that professional or public life and private or family life are, by nature or by custom, separate, different, off-limits, and never to be mingled or shared. This is a result, I believe, of persons in public life needing some protection from admirers who are too curious about their “stars” (who, incidentally, would be no stars at all without the curious ones), or because of flaws in their private lives that would, if known, diminish their leadership or popularity.

I’ll leave discussion about those people to others who have more interest than I do in pursuing entertainment and political types, some of whose private lives could destroy the public role altogether if people in general had more moral convictions than, say, baboons. My concerns and interests have always been with those leaders, of all dimensions, whose responsibilities are spiritual and kingdom related. With us, I believe, there should be—indeed can be—no separation because our personal, private, family life is (not ought to be) foundational to and supportive of our public, professional roles. The two roles are one, inseparable.

Because of that conviction, I have long proclaimed that no one has only heard me make a speech or two is qualified to render accurate judgment about my character or qualifications to lead others in spiritual matters. Unless my wife, daughter, son, and secretary believe that I am a godly man with character, integrity, and grace in those closest relationships, I feel that I am not qualified to relate to those who need a bit of distance from the real me to have confidence in my public utterances and performances.

What we are as preachers, deacons, and leaders is more important than what we say, however lyrical and charismatic; or what we do, however productive. There is, of course, no way that our lives can match that of our Lord, but there is important guidance to be found in our theology that bases our salvation in the sinlessness of Jesus as a vital part of His ability to be our atonement, offering His sinless life for our sin-stained ones. We are not going to be perfect in this life, but the more we become like Him in thought and action, the more nearly qualified we are as undershepherds of the Good Shepherd. It is not permissible to excuse our failures in the most foundational and closest relationships

in human life by pleading that we are only human, subject to human foibles. Of course we are only human, but Jesus promised that He would not leave us as orpha...

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