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25 Thought-Provoking Os Guinness Quotes

25 Thought-Provoking Os Guinness Quotes

From his first book published in the 1970s to today, Os Guinness has been of the most insightful Christian thinkers. Like his mentor Francis Schaeffer, he has looked at culture and dived beneath the surface to show readers what big ideas underpin today’s issues. While he’s written extensively about politics, Guinness has also looked at more personal questions like calling and how humanity relates to God, showing readers how to spiritually grow.

Here are some of Guinness’s many interesting ideas from his many books.

Photo Credit: Graphic by G. Connor Salter. Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Deryck Chan

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Os Quotes about God

“The greatest gift in life is life itself. Your life is not an accident. God wanted you to be. How then are you searching for purpose in your life, your own ultimate why for everything you do?” — The Call

“As God reveals himself in the Bible, he is absolutely unique in two foundational ways. On the one hand, God is transcendent and utterly Other—the One who is ‘only, outside, and over all’ (radical monotheism) and therefore sovereignly free. At the same time, God is personally and passionately engaged with his creation and on behalf of his creation, and especially committed to and concerned for the human creatures he has made in his image and likeness. God loves us and believes in us as humans even more than we love and believe in ourselves.” — Carpe Diem Redeemed

“God is not only a person, he is the supreme person on whom all personhood depends, not to speak of life itself and our entire existence. That is why to know him is to trust him, and to trust him is to begin to know ourselves. That is why our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” — God in the Dark

“Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.” — The Call

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Os Guinness Quotes about Life and Meaning

“We humans, it would appear, are the only life form that raises the question why.” — The Great Quest

“The meaning of anything can only be understood within the wider meaning of everything.” — The Great Quest

“Time and history have meaning. Under the twin truths of God’s sovereignty and human significance, time and history are going somewhere, and each of us is not only unique and significant in ourselves, but we have a unique and significant part to play in our own lives, in our own generations, and therefore in the overall sweep of history.” — Carpe Diem Redeemed

“Doubt is not simply intellectual, an abstract philosophical or theological question. Nor is it merely psychological, a state of morbid spiritual or psychological anxiety. Doubt is personal. Doubt is all about people—who they are and what they have to say. At its most basic, doubt is a matter of trust, of trustworthiness. Can we trust God? Are we sure? How can we be sure? Do we trust him enough to depend on him utterly? Are we trusting him enough to enjoy him? Is the whole of living different for that trust?” — God in the Dark

“In the years ahead we humans may explore unimaginable reaches of outer space, but we will still carry with us the crooked timber of our humanity.” — The Impossible People

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Os Guinness Quotes about Following God

“True faith is unquestionably childlike and simple, but it is never childish or simplistic.” — Fit Bodies Fat Minds

“As followers of Jesus we are called to live before one audience, the audience of One… there is only one judgment that matters, and one word of approval that counts in the end: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.” — The Impossible People

“Jesus tells his followers to seek first God’s kingdom, ‘and all these things will be added to you.’ We are to trust and obey God, and to follow his call in every inch or our lives, in every second of our time, and with every gift with which we have been endowed. And we are then to leave the result as well as the assessment to God.” — Renaissance

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Os Guinness Quotes about Modern Times

“Secularization happens when the church is so ‘in the world’ that she is ‘of the world’ and unrelievedly worldly – when she is engaged but equated, and without remainder, so much so that she is indistinguishable from her day and age (the original meaning of saeculum). Such secularization from the inside is far more deadly to the church than attacks from the outside.” — Renaissance

“The truth is that the urgent need of our times is a fresh seriousness about human existence and a renewed openness to ultimate questions.” — The Great Quest

“A central fact of modern times is faith’s search for its own lost authority. A central challenge of modern times is faith’s need to recover its integrity and effectiveness.” — Dining with the Devil

“For the early Christian apologists in the time of the Roman Empire, the challenge was to introduce a message so novel that it was strange to its first hearers, and then to set out what the message meant for the classical age and its sophisticated and assured way of thinking. For much of the advanced modern world today, in contrast, the challenge is to restate something so familiar that people know it so well that they do not know it, yet at the same time are convinced that they are tired of it.” — Fool’s Talk

 “The fact is that much contemporary advocacy ignores the deeper understanding of the spiritual and philosophical ways in which people think through their faiths, change their faiths, and the impact of their cultures and their ways of life on their thinking and beliefs. Even more importantly, today’s advocacy often ignores the crucial biblical understanding of the anatomy of human unbelief, how God addresses those who ignore or reject him, and how we too are to learn to address people wherever they are and whatever they think about God or church or us. The heart of the problem is quite literally the problem of the heart.” — Fool’s Talk

“Technology and technical reason have produced a world that many people find alienating and dehumanizing – whereas modernists spoke glowingly of houses as ‘machines for living,’ postmodernists speak of them gloomily as ‘human filing cabinets.’” — Fit Bodies Fat Minds

“We are living in the global era. The global era is the product of the West, just as the West is largely the product of the Christian faith. And the Christian faith is the world’s first truly global faith. But what is wrong with the Church in the West if the Church is exploding in the global South and around the world but is increasingly faithless and failing in the West?” — The Last Christian on Earth

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Os Guinness Quotes about Politics

“One index of a healthy, free, and democratic society is its ability to deal constructively with differences and disagreements.” — Last Call for Liberty

“In sum, the 1960s were a fascinating era—colorful, passionate, noisy, angry, intoxicating and earthshaking all at once. But at the end of the day, their significance is more than political, cultural or historical… In one way or another, we are all children of the sixties today, and we need to assess the best and worst of the legacy given to us by the sixties.”—The Dust of Death

“Unquestionably, religion can be divisive, violent, and evil. But, also unquestionably, secularism can be oppressive, murderous, and evil too… This is no moment for crowing by either side, or for cheap attacks and mindless finger-pointing by anyone. There is enough blame to go around to sober us all, and the urgent need is for solutions, not scapegoats.” — The Case of Civility

“The great American republic is as divided today as at any moment since just before the Civil War. Yet this time no Abraham Lincoln has stepped forward to address the evils, appeal to the Declaration of Independence, defend the better angel of the American character, demonstrate the magnificence of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ in our time, and call for a ‘new birth of freedom.’” — The Magna Carta of Humanity

“The facts of our times are there for anyone to see. What matters are their meaning, the issues that they spawn, and the stakes that humanity is playing for as this generation makes its decisions and demonstrates them in its actions.” — Last Call for Liberty

“As the world emerges from the global coronavirus pandemic, two of the deepest questions raised are, Do Americans realize the contours of the world of the future that has been exposed? And will America now walk more humbly?” — The Magna Carta of Humanity

Further Reading:

10 Things You Need to Know about Francis Schaeffer

Os Guinness: America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

‘Carpe Diem Redeemed’: The Christian View of Time

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Connor SalterG. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,000 articles to various publications, including interviews for Christian Communicator and book reviews for The Evangelical Church Library Association. Find out more about his work here.