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Interview by Michael Cromartie
No Calling Without a Caller
Os Guinness first became a fixture on Christian reading lists with the publication of The Dust of Death: A Critique of the Establishment and the Counter Culture—and a Proposal for a Third Way (InterVarsity, 1973; reissued with a new foreword—and a new subtitle—by Crossway in 1994). Born in China and raised and educated in England, where he took an advanced degree from Oxford University, Guinness was one of many young Christians of diverse persuasions to be markedly influenced by Francis Schaeffer.
Guinness, who has lived in the United States since 1984, was the executive director of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation from 1886 to 1989. He is currently the senior fellow of the Trinity Forum, a seminar-style forum for senior executives and political leaders that engages the leading ideas of our day in the context of faith. Guinness is the author of many books, including most recently The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (Word). Michael Cromartie met with Guinness in Washington, D.C., to talk about his new book.
What was the burden that caused you to write The Call?
Nearly 25 years ago, I left L'Abri after one of the most stimulating and fertile periods in my life. As I left, I wrote down the outline of 25 books that I hoped to write. This was one of the central two or three that I always had in mind to write.
I think calling is the key to two things. On the one hand, it is the key to the enormous quest for individual purpose today, which you see across the Western world: to find the idea, as Kierkegaard put it, for which I can live and die. Clearly, some people are turning toward the East, which is no answer because it ends up in renunciation. Some people are going the Western route toward a kind of Nietzschean Superman. But the deepest answer to individual longing for purpose is to rise to the call of our Creator. So that's the first reason, the search for individual purpose.
The second is to find and rediscover a truth ...