“What is the difference between spiritual and secular, if any?”

This question recently came to me from a minister to students in one of our state universities. From information from a number of other sources, I have come to realize that the blurring of the distinction between things spiritual and things secular is widespread among activistic ministers, men who seemingly feel that their primary calling is to bring about social change.

No one can exist without engaging in secular activities, and there is nothing inherently evil either in secular pursuits or in many of the material things that are a part of our life on this earth. But if we fail to understand the importance of the spiritual as compared with the secular, we can in that failure lose the meaning and values of Christianity.

The difference between secular and spiritual is the difference between time and eternity, between body and soul, between earth and heaven, between sight and faith. Our Lord brings this difference into clear perspective when he asks, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26a).

The Apostle Paul states the difference in words no one should misunderstand: “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).

Probably all of us have heard the cliché about the person who is “so heavenly minded that he is of no earthly use,” and there may be some people to whom it applies. But the statements and activities of many today show them to be so earthly minded that they fail to realize that after death there is an eternity to be spent, either in God’s presence or separated from ...

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