The Common Good
March 2013

Spiritual But Not Religious: Oswald Chambers

by The Editors | March 2013

Modern passages from Oswald Chambers' classic devotional reader My Utmost for His Highest.

Long before it became trendy, Oswald Chambers self-identified as “spiritual but not religious.” As Ronald Osborn reveals in “Faith to the Utmost,”  in Sojourners magazine (March 2013), Chambers—a well-known evangelical author—rejected narrow bands of devotion and was ahead of his time.

Here are a few passages from Chamber’s daily devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, which reveal just how contemporary his message remains:

  • “We have the commercial view—so many souls saved and sanctified, thank God, now it is all right … Unless the worker lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple.” (April 24)
  • “When we preach we are not proclaiming how man can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are proclaiming good news about God.” (May 5)
  • “Jesus did not say—Make converts to your way of thinking, but look after My sheep, see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Me.” (June 19)
  • “We have to maintain our soul open to the fact of God’s creative purpose, and not muddle it with our own intentions. If we do, God will have to crush our intentions on one side however much it may hurt…Beware lest you forget God’s purpose for your life.” (September 21)
  • “The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God, and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. There is a passion for souls that does not spring from God, but from the desire to make converts to our point of view.” (October 27)
  • “Beware of making a fetish of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God … It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God.” (November 14)


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