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No Such Thing as Secular

March 30, 2016
Doug Vande Griend discusses Think Christian articles with Sunday school participants at Sunnyslope CRC.

Doug Vande Griend discusses Think Christian articles with Sunday school participants at Sunnyslope CRC.

Back to God Ministries International

Doug Vande Griend of Salem, Ore., became a follower of Think Christian because of the ministry’s tagline that says there is “no such thing as secular.”

“I’ve believed that all my adult life,” says the 61-year-old lawyer. “In fact, back in 1979, I submitted my third-year thesis for law school based on the idea contained in those words.”

A northwest Iowa native, Vande Griend and his wife, Carla, settled in Salem following law school, in part because he saw the area as a place where the broader gospel witness was needed in law, but also in that community in general.

When asked to lead an adult Sunday school class at his church, Sunnyslope CRC, Vande Griend decided to use articles taken from as the curriculum.

Think Christian, a collaborative online publication produced by ReFrame Media, the English outreach of Back to God Ministries International, is a place for Christians to discuss how to faithfully think about all aspects of contemporary culture.

“I choose articles, hand them out a week ahead of time, and then we discuss the articles the next week,” he explains. Some of the class members have begun following the Think Christian blog.

The class members are a mix of occupations and people of ages ranging roughly 25 to 80. Long-time members and new attendees are included in the class.

“We discuss the topics raised by the particular Think Christian article,” says Vande Griend, “which may be about politics, home life, race, personal finance, business, science, economics, or whatever else might have come along in an article on the site. The purpose of the class is to communally learn, literally, how to ‘think Christian’ about whatever the subject.”

Vande Griend adds, “We spent the first three weeks of class just discussing the concepts contained in the class title: what does it mean to think Christian? Is there really no such thing as secular? That was important because these ideas can be hard to understand, let alone practice, even if we claim them.”

Vande Griend repeatedly reminds the class that the point is not to agree on the correct answer to whatever the question is, but to figure out just how one gets to that answer.

“Said another way,” Vande Griend continues, “this class is about learning to practice in our real lives what Abraham Kuyper declared when he said, ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!’”

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