My Friend


Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430) was the first Christian writer to elaborate a theory on Christian friendship. While certainly a biblical concept (consider David and Jonathon in the Old Testament), not to mention the unfathomable grace of Jesus who calls his followers “friends” (Luke 12:4 and John 15:13-15), we find in Augustine’s teaching the flowering of Christian friendship. Near the end of his City of God, for instance, Augustine wrote, "What consoles us in this human society so full of errors and hardships, except unfeigned faith and the mutual love of good and true friends?" (19.8).

Today I would like to honor a friend whose life exemplifies “unfeigned faith and mutual love of God,” my colleague Jay Thomas. The reason for this tribute is the soon-coming departure of Jay and his family for North Carolina, where Jay is to serve as the new lead pastor at Chapel Hill Bible Church.

Why is friendship so valuable according to Augustine? Simply put, it is because when we join with friends who also love Jesus Christ and for whom the Lord is at the center, we are inevitably brought closer to Jesus, much like spokes of a wheel are drawn closer to the hub. This is why I love Jay, because, in Augustine’s language, we get to enjoy our friendship “in God.”

From our days together in seminary learning about biblical theology and redemptive history, to our years of serving as colleagues at College Church in Wheaton, to the countless cups of coffee together attempting to solve the world’s theological conundrums, Jay Thomas is a brother who has made me a better man, a better pastor, a better Christian, and a better friend.

Please join me in praying for Jay, Rebecca, and their four children as they embark upon this next chapter of life… that God’s grace would embolden their hearts and animate their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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