Gavin Ortlund: “We were designed to be spent for a cause.”

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How have things changed in the past decade, and how might that affect how we share thee gospel with others? Gavin Ortlund (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) delivered this Center for Faith and Culture Lecture on Thursday, September 14, and highlighted four ways things have changed — and three ways to respond.

How have things changed?

  1. Scandal and Abuse
  2. Cultural and Political Polarization
  3. Distraction and Noise
  4. Disillusionment and Disenchantment

How can we respond?

  1. We have an opportunity to highlight the beauty of the gospel.
  2. Kindness.
  3. Courage.

Dr. Ortlund is the author of several books, including Why God Makes Sense in a World That Doesn’t: The Beauty of Christian Theism (Baker Academic, 2021) and Why Protestantism Makes Sense: The Case for An Always Reforming Church (Zondervan Reflective, 2024). He runs the YouTube channel Truth Unites.

There's a kind of flatness, barrenness, and despair in the modern world because we've cut ourselves off from sources of transcendence.


  • “We are trying to distinguish ourselves from being just one more angry voice.”
  • “Now more than ever we need an apologetic that defends the gospel as true and beautiful.”
  • “The constant noise, clicks, entertainment can distract us from the issues of the soul… We use diversion as a way to distract ourselves from thinking about the real issues of life.”
  • “There’s a kind of flatness, barrenness, and despair in the modern world…. There’s a thinness to the modern world because we’ve cut ourselves off from sources of transcendence.”
  • “Our culture is aching for kindness.”
  • “When you show kindness, it’s intellectually clarifying. It creates open doors you never could have imagined… Kindness can open doors for the gospel.”
  • “Most people most of the time need encouragement.”
  • “When you find your courage, there’s a freedom in it. It’s vulnerable, but it’s also joyful. We were designed to be spent for a cause. We live to do something with our lives.”

All opinions and views expressed by guest speakers are solely their own. They do not speak for nor represent SEBTS. Read our expressed views and confessions.

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MA Ethics, Theology, and Culture

The Master of Arts Ethics, Theology, and Culture is a Seminary program providing specialized academic training that prepares men and women to impact the culture for Christ through prophetic moral witness, training in cultural engagement, and service in a variety of settings.

  • apologetics
  • CFC Lecture
Center for Faith and Culture

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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