Insight: There are No Secular Vocations

Let’s all admit–or rather declare passionately: Since God is the Sovereign Creator of all, there is no sacred-secular dichotomy.

I realize that some may suffer from cognitive dissonance at this idea, thinking, But my vocation is secular.  Well, something Dallas Willard said in Talbot chapel a couple weeks ago may just add a feeling of responsibility to that cognitive dissonance.

There is no such thing as secular work, except by choice.

If Willard is right, and he is, then something has gone wrong in many, or most, of our churches, for the alleged sacred-secular dichotomy is taken as a given in most Christian discussions of vocation.  There is “full time ministry” and there is everything else.

So, what can be done?

In his book, Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul, J. P. Moreland makes an excellent suggestion: sponsor vocation-specific fellowship and study groups to train believers in proper habits of mind.  Another response is to cultivate a community culture that expects all vocations to be considered sacred; diligence at this expectation will cultivate habits of response.

So, in what way is your vocation sacred?

About Laura

My name is Laura and I am on a journey, pondering the implications of God's glorious design of humanity and integrating every aspects of this design into a description of whole life health.
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4 Responses to Insight: There are No Secular Vocations

  1. Thank you, Laura, for declaring the wrongness of the sacred/secular dichotomy. A friend, Dr. Christian Overman, in his book, GOD’S PLEASURE AT WORK, heads an entire chapter with this great question: “Have You Ever Seen a Secular Color?” And in line with your reference to J. P. Moreland, he asks: “Any working person in good standing with the church who truly desires to be set apart for the purposes of God to be fulfilled through his or her daily work could conceivably by commissioned for service, couldn’t they?”

  2. Laura says:

    Larry, I’ve known far too many who either lived compartmentalized lives or felt like lesser Christians because they were not in so-called full time ministry. It is so important not only to teach the facts, but also to teach people how to think properly about their vocations.

  3. How do you think we can best reach Christians to teach them to think properly about their work? My book, SERVING CHRIST IN THE WORKPLACE (originally, SECULAR WORK IS FULL-TIME SERVICE), aims to do just that. And I am now offering a six-hour seminar with the same intent. But so many Christians, conditioned by centuries of dualistic thinking, seem content with the Sunday/Monday divide. Any ideas for overcoming the inertia?

  4. Laura says:


    Seminars and other training programs are of good benefit, but I think the best option, as stated in the post, is vocationally-focused biblical-theological dialogues and incorporate the topic into up front teaching in order to create a culture that pays attention to vocation as sacred.

    Seminars would go a long way toward initial thinking and training, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

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