The Evidence of Reconciliation
if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (1:23)
One of the most sobering truths in the Bible is that not all who profess to be Christians are in fact saved. Our Lord warned, “ ‘Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” ’ ” (Matt. 7:22–23).
Of all the marks of a genuine Christian presented in Scripture, none is more significant than the one Paul mentions here. People give evidence of being truly reconciled when they continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast. The Bible repeatedly testifies that those who are truly reconciled will continue in the faith. In the parable of the soils, Jesus described those represented by the rocky soil as “ ‘those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away’ ” (Luke 8:13). By falling away they gave evidence that they were never truly saved. In John 8:31, “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.’ ” Speaking of apostates, the apostle John writes in 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”
After hearing some difficult and challenging teaching from Him, many of Jesus’ so-called disciples “withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore” (John 6:66). By so doing, they gave evidence that they had never truly been His disciples. Perseverance is the hallmark of the true saint. (I discuss the issue further in my books The Gospel According to Jesus [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988] and Saved Without a Doubt [Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1992].)
Lest there be any confusion about what they were to continue in, Paul specifies the content of their faith as the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. The Colossians are to hold fast to the apostolic gospel they had heard; the gospel that had been proclaimed throughout the world; the gospel of which Paul was a minister, commissioned to preach. Those who, like the Colossian errorists, preach any other gospel stand cursed before God (Gal. 1:8).
Perhaps no passage stresses the vital importance of reconciliation more than 2 Corinthians 5:17–21:
If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
In that powerful text we can discern five truths about reconciliation. First, reconciliation transforms men: “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (v. 17). Second, it appeases God’s wrath: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (v. 21). Third, it comes through Christ: “All these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ” (v. 18). Fourth, it is available to all who believe: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (v. 19). Finally, every believer has been given the ministry of proclaiming the message of reconciliation: God “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (v. 18), and “He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (v. 19).
God sends His people forth as ambassadors into a fallen, lost world, bearing unbelievably good news. People everywhere are hopelessly lost and doomed, cut off from God by sin. But God has provided the means of reconciliation through the death of His Son. Our mission is to plead with people to receive that reconciliation, before it is too late. Paul’s attitude, expressed in verse 20, should mark every Christian: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
23 Paul does not presuppose, however, that the Colossians’ final spiritual standing before God is a given. The “if [indeed]” (ei ge) with which v. 23 begins interjects a degree of contingency and a note of conditionality. Even if Paul can presently rejoice in the good order and stability of the Colossians’ faith (1:4–5; 2:5), he does not assume that they cannot deviate or be diverted from “the hope held out in the gospel” (cf. 1:28; 4:12). Indeed, a purpose for which Paul wrote Colossians was to warn the congregation of the negative spiritual consequences of supplementing or abandoning their received faith. Paul clearly believed that God would empower and enable the Colossians to stand firm in the gospel (1:11). In Paul’s theological understanding, however, divine provision does not preclude human responsibility. As Moule, 73, puts it, “Christ does for us what we could not do for ourselves; but we must do, for our part, what he will not do for us.”
Paul encourages the Colossians to “continue” (remain or stay) in the faith. The precise connotation of “faith” in this verse is debatable. Is it the Colossians’ personal faith to which Paul is referring (so NIV)? Is it the basic beliefs to which the Colossians and other believers hold? Or is it a both/and rather than an either/or? While I am inclined to construe “faith” here primarily as initial and continual trust in God through Christ (1:4; 2:5, 12), as intimated in the NIV, it would be both unwise and unnecessary to dichotomize the act of faith from the facts of faith. In any event, Paul, like Jesus, regarded the saving faith as the continuing faith (cf. Mt 24:13). Assurance of salvation and perseverance in salvation go hand in hand. Spiritual fidelity and eternal security were closer partners for Paul and his Master than some theologians in the (ultra-) Reformed tradition have acknowledged.
Paul depicts how the Colossians should continue in faith by means of three reinforcing images. First of all, the Colossians are to be firmly established or founded like a well-built edifice. The perfect passive participle tethemeliōmenos (“having been established,” GK 2530) intimates that another is assisting and enabling their spiritual construction. If Paul does not intend a divine passive here, then Epaphras through his direct ministry and/or conceivably even Paul himself through his indirect ministry could be in view. Additionally, the Colossians’ faith is to be “firm” or steadfast. The meaning of the root word on which the adjective hedraios (GK 1612) is built is “to sit.” Paul is encouraging the church “to remain firmly seated on the gospel as … a skillful rider on a spirited horse” (Dunn, 111). Furthermore and finally, Paul cautions the congregation “not [to be] moved away from the hope of the gospel that [they had] heard” (NASB). The term metakinoumenos (“being moved away,” GK 3560) is a present passive participle. At this point we may well encounter the first, if subtle, indication that there are those who would lead the Colossians away from “the hope of the gospel” (cf. 2:4, 8). Christian hope, the eager expectation that God will consummate all things in Christ, is part and parcel of the gospel.
Regarding the gospel, three things are said. First, it is the gospel the Colossians had heard in the past (cf. 1:5–6). Hearing the gospel is vital. Indeed, “faith comes from hearing the message” (Ro 10:17). Moreover the gospel, Paul propounds, was preached “to every creature under heaven.” The universal scope of the gospel spoken of in 1:6 (cf. 1:20) is underscored here. Precisely who preached this gospel and where it was proclaimed do not concern Paul at this point. Paul’s confidence in the going forth of the gospel enables him to speak of the historical future as a theological past. Or as Bruce, 79, remarks: “Paul may be engaging here in prophetic prolepsis.” Regardless, Paul describes himself as a “servant” or minister (diakonos, GK 1356) of the good news (cf. Eph 3:7). Paul viewed himself as a servant of God (2 Co 6:4), the new covenant (2 Co 3:6), and the church (Col 1:25). He did not regard himself, however, as the only one suitable to serve. On the contrary, he acknowledged and appreciated such people as Phoebe (Ro 16:1), Apollos (1 Co 3:5), Tychicus (Col 4:7; cf. Eph 6:21), and Epaphras (Col 1:7) as fellow servants of the model servant, Christ (Ro 15:8; Php 2:7). For Paul, as with Jesus, spiritual success was based on sacrificial service, not on ecclesial standing or social status (cf. esp. Mk 10:43b–45).
faith and hope for sinners (v. 23). Perseverance proves faith’s genuine character and is the fruit of reconciliation: ‘… if you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (v. 23). This fruit is brought to maturity through the use of the means of grace. Men cannot add anything to the power of the blood of Jesus Christ by human effort, but God expects believers to exercise faith and embrace the hope that is found in the gospel. Christians are expected to continue believing in Christ Jesus all the days of their earthly life and to die in the hope of eternal life. There was an attempt in the assembly at Colosse to devalue Christ and deny the true way of salvation, so here Paul sounds a warning against backsliding. Christ is all-sufficient for their needs, and the pre-eminent Saviour (Heb. 7:25). False doctrine will come and winds of change will blow, but they (the Colossians) must remain true to Christ and his gospel. Christ is glorified when his redeemed and reconciled people persevere to the end.
1:23 / Lest his readers entertain any idea that their status in Christ can be treated with indifference, Paul emphatically reminds them of an important condition that needs to be kept in mind: if you continue in your faith, established and firm. Salvation, although a free gift from God, must be kept. Thus those who have received Christ are admonished to abide or to persevere in Christ (John 8:31; 15:4–7; Acts 14:22; Rom. 11:22; 2 John 9).
To counter the threat of their eroding faith and shifting hope, Paul draws upon building metaphors that, as elsewhere in Scripture, portray strength, endurance, and security (Matt. 7:24–27; 1 Cor. 3:10–15; Eph. 2:19–22; 1 Pet. 2:4–10). The recipients can only have such a foundation, established and firm, by following in the faith and hope of the gospel that initially was proclaimed to them as well as to the whole world.
With these themes of faith, hope, and the universality of the gospel, Paul returns full circle to ideas expressed in his opening thanksgiving (1:3–8). There, his concern was that the Colossians see this as evidence for the truth of the gospel; here, he admonishes them to apply this truth to their lives continually.
Paul closes this section by stating that he is related personally to this gospel as a servant (diakonos). By doing this, he shows his commitment to the message that the Colossians have heard as well as his identity with his co-workers Epaphras and Tychicus, who likewise are servants of the gospel (1:7; 4:7). The statement also serves as a transition to the following verses where Paul outlines his ministry to the church.
How you must go on (verse 23)
This verse confirms our understanding of Paul’s meaning. The position the Colossians occupy before God as ‘acceptable people’ depends upon one condition—continuance in the faith. This continuance is then defined as faithfulness to the gospel. The gospel is then defined as:
(i) the gospel they had already heard, i.e. which had already proved itself to be living and powerful;
(ii) the gospel the world was also hearing, i.e. which had already proved itself ‘catholic’ or universal;
(iii) the gospel Paul had received and served, i.e. which had already proved itself to be apostolic.
The duty of the Colossians to this gospel is expressed in fine words, whose precise meaning epitomizes the appeal of the whole Colossian letter.
- a. They are to be stable, literally, established or well-founded in the truth. To move from the gospel is to move from the foundations on which Christ has built his church, and therefore to lose Christian ‘stability’.
- b. They are to be steadfast. This is the great call of 1 Corinthians 15:58, where apostolic truth was again at stake. It means loyalty to the truths by which they were saved.
- c. They are not to shift. A unique New Testament word, it literally means that they are not to be dissuaded from the hope of the gospel. This is extremely significant language, specially characteristic perhaps of the captivity epistles. The chief blessing of the gospel is the hope it contains for the future. Meanwhile, in the present, the church lives by faith. Now we have a ‘taste’ of ‘the powers of the world to come’.7 It may be that the new teachers urged the believers not to be content with this ‘taste’, but to claim from God the full heavenly feast. But this, for Paul, is to ‘shift from the hope’. It is to refuse to walk by faith. It is to bring Christ down to earth. It is to give oneself to ‘another’ gospel.
To continue in the faith is to be content with the gospel that first saved and delivered us from spiritual death and estrangement with God, and brought us straightaway to live in his presence, at peace with him. It is to base our lives and our teaching upon the apostolic doctrines of grace. It is for those whose confidence that they are reconciled is in Christ’s work for us, not in Christ’s work in us. It is to be unmoved and immoveable in the face of strong winds of new doctrine, not just when people would deny the apostolic gospel but when, more subtly, they would improve upon it. For the sixteenth-century Anglican Reformers it was the rediscovery of the ‘finished work’ of Christ on the cross as an atonement for the sins of the world that made the medieval Mass so intolerable to them. From experience they knew that the focus of the worshippers’ attention was on the words and actions of the priest at the altar; there is concrete evidence of this in the new consecration prayer prepared for the Holy Communion service in the Book of Common Prayer. The words of this prayer vigorously turn our attention back to what Christ did by his death at Golgotha, ‘who made there … a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice … for the sins of the whole world’. Notice the emphatic there as opposed to here. Communicants are then invited to listen to what Christ said at the institution of the supper, since it is not the mysteriously powerful words of the priest that matter but rather the words Christ spoke by way of explanation for this remembrance of his passion. It is these words that must reach every listening ear and lodge in every worshipper’s mind and heart.
Today the situation is confused for many Christian people. Frequently one meets ‘catholic’ believers who claim with obvious sincerity that they believe and trust in Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for sins. Shall we not say, therefore, that the old misunderstandings have been removed and that all believers can reasonably look forward to meeting with one heart and mind at the Lord’s table? Only if we can all agree that the finality of the sacrifice on the cross is a cardinal tenet of the New Testament, not only here in Colossians (1:20, 22) but also in the letter to the Hebrews where the imagery is very telling. Christ is pictured as having sat down at the right hand of the Father, his work of offering sacrifice completed, while his presence at the place of honour witnesses to the fact that he is (and therefore those that are ‘in him’ are also) now accepted fully, finally and for ever (Heb. 10:1–18).
It must reluctantly be said that this finality is still contradicted by much Catholic principle and practice even since Vatican II. Granted that the Mass is no independent or additional sacrifice, it remains for many a ‘real’ sacrifice, that is, the same sacrifice which Christ offered, though offered now in a different way. But why is this constant ‘renewal’ of Christ’s sacrifice necessary, even if it is offered in a bloodless manner? The official answer remains unchanged, as in paragraph 29 of Paul VI’s encyclical Mysterium Fidei (1965);
Instructed by the Lord and the Apostles, the Church has always offered it not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions and needs of the faithful still alive, but also for those who have died in Christ but are not yet fully cleansed.
Notice carefully the final phrase ‘not yet fully cleansed’. But this full cleansing of all sin is precisely what Christ by his bloody sacrifice has won for his people. This is the glory of the cross (1:27); this is the hope of the gospel from which we may not shift (1:23); from the enjoyment of this ‘freedom from sin’ we cannot allow ourselves to be recaptured by the chains of ‘religion’ (2:8–15). To those with a heart for this spiritual freedom the official Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass remains intolerable still.
Paul’s teaching remains the only road to spiritual ‘assurance’, a much neglected aspect of Christian truth: indeed it has often been regarded as peculiarly evangelical. Writing of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, Georgina Battiscombe says that
No existing record suggests that at any period of his life did Ashley experience that sudden and definite assurance of salvation which is the classic Evangelical conversion. If he in fact ever had such an experience it most probably would have been during his childhood under the influence of Maria Millis.
But sudden or gradual, can there be an intelligent and genuine turning to Christ without ‘that definite assurance of salvation’? Alas, it seems that there can, but only because believers do what Paul here forbids and shift from the hope (i.e. assurance) of the gospel by seeking something more than Christ crucified as the sufficient foundation for their soul’s confidence. Assurance of ultimate salvation is God’s intention for every Christian (1 Jn. 5:13), and, incidentally despite his most recent biographer’s hesitations, Shaftesbury certainly enjoyed it. The celebrated minister of St Peter’s, Dundee, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, wrote these words about such Christian certainty:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
1:23. The if of verse 23 should not be misunderstood. This verse is not saying that we will be presented holy and blameless if we remain faithful, as if our eternal salvation depends on our performance. The Greek construction of the if is not an expression of doubt but an expression of confidence and is better translated as since. Paul is not in doubt about whether the Colossians will remain faithful (see Col. 2:5). He is confident that because they have understood what it means to be reconciled they will remain faithful to the gospel that reconciled them. He writes this as an expression of confidence and as a warning to avoid the religious fads of the false teachers of Colosse.
23. Now in connection with this glorious presentation at the Lord’s return a condition must be fulfilled. Hence, Paul continues: if, indeed, you continue in the faith, founded and firm.… Divine preservation always presupposes human perseverance. Perseverance proves faith’s genuine character, and is therefore indispensable to salvation. To be sure, no one can continue in the faith in his own strength (John 15:5). The enabling grace of God is needed from start to finish (Phil. 2:12, 13). This, however, does not cancel human responsibility and activity. Yes, activity, continuous, sustained, strenuous effort (Heb. 12:14). It should be noted, however, that this is distinctly the activity of faith (cf. 1 Tim. 2:15), a faith not in themselves but in God. Thus they will be “founded and firm,” that is, firmly established upon the one and only true foundation, the foundation of the apostles (through their testimony). Of this foundation Christ Jesus is the cornerstone (1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20: Rev. 21:14, 19, 20). The conditional clause continues: and are not moved away from the hope that is derived from the gospel which you have heard. Danger was threatening; and it was of a twofold character, as pointed out earlier (see Introduction, III B; IV A). Hence, the apostle by implication is here warning the Colossians against relapse into their former state with all its soul-destroying vices (Col. 3:5–11) and against the “solution” urged upon them by those who refused to recognize Jesus Christ as the complete and all-sufficient Savior. Let them not allow themselves to be dislodged or shunted away from the hope—ardent expectation, complete confidence, watchful waiting—of which the gospel speaks and to which the gospel gives rise, that gospel which the Colossians “have heard,” that is, to which they have not only listened but to which they have also given heed. See above on Col. 1:6–8. That gospel, moreover, was not meant for a select few—the Colossian errorists may well have considered themselves an exclusive set!—nor was it confined to any particular region; on the contrary, it was the gospel which, in obedience to the Lord’s command (Matt. 28:19; especially Mark 16:15), was preached among every creature under heaven. It recognized no boundaries whether racial, national, or regional. It is always the “whosoever believeth” gospel. Having reached Rome, from which Paul is writing this epistle, it had actually invaded every large center of the then-known world. More on this under verse 6 above. With deep emotion and humble gratitude the apostle concludes this section and links it with the next paragraph by adding: and of which I, Paul, became a minister. The real depth of these words can only be understood in the light of such passages as 1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8; and 1 Tim. 1:15–17. A minister of the gospel is one who knows the gospel, has been saved by the Christ of the gospel, and with joy of heart proclaims the gospel to others. Thus he serves the cause of the gospel.
1:23 Now the Apostle Paul adds one of those if passages which have proved very disconcerting to many children of God. On the surface, the verse seems to teach that our continued salvation depends on our continuing in the faith. If this is so, how can this verse be reconciled with other portions of the word of God, such as John 10:28, 29, which declare that no sheep of Christ can ever perish?
In seeking to answer this question, we would like to state at the outset that the eternal security of the believer is a blessed truth which is set forth clearly in the pages of the NT. However, the Scriptures also teach, as in this verse, that true faith always has the quality of permanence, and that one who has really been born of God will go on faithfully to the end. Continuance is a proof of reality. Of course there is always the danger of backsliding, but a Christian falls only to rise again (Prov. 24:16). He does not forsake the faith.
The Spirit of God has seen fit to put many of these so-called “if” passages in the word of God in order to challenge all who profess the name of Christ as to the reality of their profession. We would not want to say anything that might dull the sharp edge of these passages. As someone has said: “These ‘ifs’ in Scripture look on professing Christians here in the world and they come as healthy tests to the soul.”
Pridham comments on these challenging verses as follows:
The reader will find, on a careful study of the Word, that it is the habit of the Spirit to accompany the fullest and most absolute statements of grace by warnings which imply a ruinous failure on the part of some who nominally stand in faith.… Warnings which grate harshly on the ears of insincere profession are drunk willingly as medicine by the godly soul.… The aim of all such teaching as we have here is to encourage faith, and condemn, by anticipation, reckless and self-confident professors.
Doubtless with the Gnostics primarily in mind, the apostle is urging the Colossians not to be moved away from the hope that accompanies the gospel, or which the gospel inspires. They should continue in the faith which they learned from Epaphras, grounded and steadfast.
Again Paul speaks of the gospel as having been preached to every creature (or “all creation”) under heaven. The gospel goes out to all creation, but it has not as yet reached literally every creature. Paul is arguing the worldwide proclamation of the gospel as a testimonial to its genuineness. He sees in this the evidence that it is adaptable to the needs of mankind everywhere. The verse does not mean that every person in the world at that time had heard the gospel. It was not a fact accomplished, but a process going on. Also, the gospel had reached to all the Bible world, that is, the Mediterranean world.
Paul speaks of himself as a minister, a Latin word that simply means “a servant.” It has nothing of officialdom about it. It does not denote a lofty office so much as humble service.
23 Their continuing in the faith shows how real that faith is; so the passage concludes with a condition. If it is true that the saints will persevere to the end, then it is equally true that the saints must persevere to the end. Like a building set on a sure foundation and erected with strong supports, the readers are to remain true to the gospel, and not to shift from the fixed ground of their Christian hope. The claim of Paul’s gospel (which focused on this hope) to be the true message of God is shown by its universal appeal. It has already been preached in representative towns and cities of the empire—Paul does not mean that every single individual has heard.
1:23if indeed you continue in the faith: The perseverance of the Colossians was proof of the reconciling work of Christ on their behalf (vv. 21, 22). every creature under heaven: Paul uses this exaggeration to illustrate the rapid spread of the gospel. Compare Acts 17:6, where the apostles are said to have turned the world upside down, even though their ministry up to that point had been limited to a small portion of the eastern Mediterranean region.
1:23. This reconciliation in Christ comes only by an abiding faith—if you continue in your faith. The Colossians had a settled faith—established (i.e., “grounded” like a building on a strong foundation) and firm (hedraioi, “seated or settled”; cf. 1 Cor. 7:37; 15:58), so Paul did not doubt that they would continue. In fact he spoke of the hope (confident expectation) which this gospel of reconciliation provides not only to them but also to the whole world—to every creature under heaven. This is obviously a figure of speech indicating the universality of the gospel and its proclamation, not that every person on the globe heard Paul preach. In Acts 2:5 this phrase describes a wide range of people from various countries without including, for example, anyone from North or South America (cf. also Gen. 41:57; 1 Kings 10:24; Rom. 1:8).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 65–67). Chicago: Moody Press.
 Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 297–298). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 McNaughton, I. S. (2006). Opening up Colossians and Philemon (p. 32). Leominster: Day One Publications.
 Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 37). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 Lucas, R. C. (1980). Fullness & freedom: the message of Colossians & Philemon (pp. 62–65). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
 Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 284). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, p. 85). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1996–1997). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 O’Brien, P. T. (1994). Colossians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1267). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
 Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1563). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
 Geisler, N. L. (1985). Colossians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 674–675). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.