Why would an apologist write a book on friendship? What can we learn about friendship from the example and teachings of Jesus and Paul? How can we recover the lost art of friendship? In this interview, Sean and Scott talk with Rebecca McLaughlin about her new book No Greater Love: A Biblical Vision of Friendship.

Rebecca McLaughlin holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance Literature from Cambridge University. Her first book Confronting Christianity was named book of the year by Christianity Today. She is a popular speaker who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, three children, and church family.

Episode Transcript

Sean: Has the virtue of friendship been lost today? If so, why? And how do we recover a biblical vision of friendship rooted in the example of Jesus? Our guest today is back. Her name is Rebecca McLaughlin. She holds a PhD in Renaissance Literature from Cambridge University and is the author of an excellent new book called, “No Greater Love.” I'm Sean McDowell.

Scott: I'm Scott Rae.

Sean: And this is Think Biblically from Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Rebecca, when I saw the title of this book, I was instantly intrigued because all the other books I read of you are apologetics books, which I love, of course. So, maybe tell us the backstory of what motivated you to write a book on friendship.

Rebecca: Gosh, so many things I could say. Part of it comes from the fact that for the last several years, I have been thinking and writing quite a bit about questions of sexuality from a Christian perspective. And one of the things that I've been trying to argue is that the Bible is actually very clear in its no to same-sex sexual relationships for Christians under any circumstances. So, there are some folks today who'd want to say, "Well, you know, if we really understood the cultural context or if we really understood the scriptures, we'd recognize that what the Bible excludes is various kinds of relationships, but it leaves room for monogamous committed, say, a marriage between two people at the same sex." And in the last few years, I've been in multiple different books and talks arguing that, no, actually, the Bible is very clear that same-sex marriage is not for Christians. But I've been increasingly persuaded that actually that no is in the context of two much bigger yeses in the scriptures, one of which is the yes that finds its outworking in Christian marriage, which is a picture of Jesus' love for his people and a very sort of specific picture of that. But the other yes that I think we notice even less is that rather than the Bible having no vision for love between people of the same sex, it actually has a beautiful, glorious, and life-giving vision, but it's a different vision than the vision it has for marriage between a man and a woman. And I think part of why we're often, those of us who are wanting to be faithful to the scriptures, why we're often kind of struggling to articulate why what the Bible says when it comes to sex and marriages is good and true and beautiful today is because we've actually lost the vision for non-sexual, non-romantic love that the Bible is very clear about. And the more I've delved into the New Testament, the more I've become persuaded that, yeah, we're missing an awful lot here where we reduce intimacy down to the kind of intimacy you might find in marriage and even the kind of intimacy you might find in parent-child relationships. We're missing an awful lot of what the New Testament is telling us.

Sean: Rebecca, as you know, I've really weighed into the question of marriage and sexuality as well, and I remember speaking at a conference in the Midwest, and a man came up to me afterwards, he said, "You know, I have same-sex attraction, I'm a Bible-believing Christian." He said, "My issue is not what Romans 1 or 1 Corinthians 6 says. My issue is the church has just said, 'Well, if you don't get married, you know, you're single. Good luck with that.' And we don't have a robust just experience and theology of friendship. So, I just want to affirm and love that you're weighing into this.

Scott: And, Rebecca, just a little further follow-up. It seems to me that we value marriage in the church much more than we value the kinds of the friendships that go along with singleness, that there's something that marriage is considered a better state to be in, and that singleness is sort of something you graduate from.

Rebecca: Right.

Scott: And so, you know, how would you help the church understand that marriage and singleness are viewed as moral equivalents?

Rebecca: Yeah, I think that the best thing that we can do is just to go back to what the New Testament teaches very clearly, so that the title of my book is based on what Jesus said the night that he was betrayed, where he said, "This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, and that he lay down his life for his friends." And if you think about it, not only in that verse, but actually in a number of Paul's letters as well, we find that love between believers who are not married to one another and not in parent-child relationships is actually commanded. Like, we tend to think of friendship as a nice to have, and maybe something that like single people really need friendship, but once you get married, you know, your primary commitment is to your husband and wife and your children, and you know, friends are, sure friends are nice, but actually very much an optional extra from a disciples perspective. I don't think when we read the scriptures we can conclude that, because if Jesus says, "This is my commandment, that you love one another," and he's talking to a group of people, and I actually think it's probably more than the 11 at that point. I say the 11 because Judas has just walked out into the night to betray Jesus, so he ain't there. I think it's likely that there were other disciples there, including some of his closest female disciples, but leaving that aside, the people in that room were relating to each other, not as spouses, not as parents and children, but actually as friends, and he says that his commandment to them is for their love for each other to mimic his sacrificing love, and that actually the best that we can find in self-sacrificing friendship love is as good as any love we might find in any other place. I think if we're honest in most of our Christian circles, we would have ended Jesus' sentence differently. You know, we would have said, "Greater love has no one than this than a love of a husband and a wife," or maybe, "Greater love has no one than this than the love of a mother for her children." You know, we have categories for those kinds of love, but we actually don't have much of a category for serious, robust, Jesus-centered love between believers—I don't think only of the same sex. I don't think there's a sort of limitation there, per se, but I do think probably especially for believers of the same sex to be relating to one another as brothers or as sisters, and that is a commandment that we are given time and time again, actually, in the New Testament. I mean, if you read John's first letter, I was reflecting on this just recently because I was raised in the Anglican church, and in the Anglican wedding service, almost always, the service begins with a quote from 1 John, "God is love. Anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him." And we hear that, and we think, "Oh, you know, lovely wedding service verse. These people are about to share their love for one another, wonderful." But actually, John isn't talking about marriage at all. He's talking again and again in that letter about love between the brothers and by extension sisters. The word for brothers in the New Testament is definitely an inclusive word that can mean brothers and sisters as well, but he'll say things like, "This is how we know what love is, that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and so we are also to lay down our lives for the brothers." And again and again, we have this rearticulated to us that love between brothers and sisters in the church is not an option and an extra. It's actually central to what Christian discipleship looks like.

Scott: So, Rebecca, it sounds like that view of friendship reflects some of the different Greek words that are used to describe friendship. And there are a handful of these. There's not one term that's used to describe friendship, but there are different terms for different types of friendships. What are the different Greek words used to describe friendship and how would that help us define what we mean by friendship?

Rebecca: Yeah, the most famous and sort of commonly used word in the New Testament that's specific to friendship is "philos," and that's the word that Jesus is using when he says, "Greater love is none less than he laid down his life for his friends." Interestingly, when Judas betrays Jesus, famously, he never trades Jesus with a kiss, and Jesus addresses Judas as "friend." Typically, in English translations, that's the English word that we use. So, in our minds, that's probably exactly the same as the word that he's using when he calls his disciples to love one another. In actual fact, it's the word "hataros," which means more kind of a companion, like not necessarily as sort of specific as friendship, but a kind of associate or companion. So we have those two words—I think beyond that, actually, though, we have this language of brothers and sisters. And it's perhaps a stretch to say that that can be kind of fully collapsed into our modern concepts of friendship, because I think it's important to recognize that what we're called into as Christians isn't just a sort of voluntary association with others. We tend to feel like we can choose our friends, whereas we don't feel like we can choose our family members. You're born with the brothers or sisters that you have, and you're kind of stuck with them for better or for worse. And there's a strong sense in which the New Testament is saying to us, "Hey, actually, your brothers and sisters in Christ are not your chosen family. They're actually your unchosen family, but you need to love them." I think the overall kind of category, at least in our world, that we would have for that is the category of friendship. So, as we relate to brothers and sisters at church who we're not biologically related to or are not married to, we're primarily thinking in sort of categorical terms, at least in our culture of friendship. And I think that's a really important one.

Scott: That's really helpful about the chosen and unchosen friendships. I've often commented to my wife that I'd be happy to be in a small group if I could choose the people who are in it.

[all laugh]

Rebecca: Right, right.

Sean: That's awesome. So, I'm curious about why you started with Jesus and what we learned from Jesus, because it struck me at the beginning of the book, you described C.S. Lewis's, of course, his book on the four loves, but he was rooted less so in Scripture and more so kind of in the classics. So, why start with Jesus? And if we start there, what do we uniquely learn about friendship?

Rebecca: Yeah, in my experience, when you say friendship to Christians, they have one of two reactions. Either they say, "Oh, C.S. Lewis wrote a great book about that," or like partly about that. Or they say, "Oh yeah, David and Jonathan."

Sean: Yep.

Rebecca: Now that's kind of our, we have one Old Testament model for a close and loving relationship between two men. And people sometimes sort of want to point to Ruth and Naomi—people sort of reach back into the Old Testament to grasp onto some folks there. I don't think that's entirely illegitimate, but I do actually think we would struggle to map, for example, David and Jonathan onto a friendship today. Not least, I mean, there's a significant political dimension to their relationship. There's a substantial age difference between them. Like it's really not, it's not quite as straightforward as we often think. And because the word friend is used quite seldom in the New Testament, we tend to think, "Oh, well, the New Testament probably doesn't have a whole lot to say about this." In actual fact, it has an awful lot to say about it. So, I started with that verse of Jesus on the night that he was betrayed, because it plants a very strong flag. If this is Jesus's commandment to us, we need to take it very seriously. If we look just at Jesus's own life and ministry as recorded in the Gospels, we'll find that in addition, or kind of alongside his love for all who, strangers and enemies, as well as those he kind of traveled around with, we see specific instances of Jesus's love relationships with individuals. So, famously, the author of John's Gospel describes himself as the disciple Jesus loved. And some kind of contemporary scholars look at that and they say, "Oh, well, clearly Jesus must have had some sort of like romantic relationship with the author of John, because, I mean, honestly, because we don't really have a category for love between two men that isn't romantic or sexual." And they say, "Well, you see on the night that Jesus is betrayed to his death, we see John kind of, kind of culled under Jesus's arm." I mean, the archaic way of saying it is lying in Jesus's bosom is the sort of language. And we see Peter kind of signaling to them, to him, to ask Jesus the question, because he's next to him. And because in our culture, male-male kind of physical touch is very, you know, we struggle to have a category for that, again, aside from a romantic relationship. People sort of pick up on that and they say, "Well, there must have been some sort of very unique relationship between Jesus and the author of John's Gospel." But actually, that hypothesis crumbles even if you only read John's Gospel, because when in John 11, Jesus's friends, Mary and Martha, sent him a message because their brother Lazarus is very sick. They say, "Lord, the one you love is sick.” Not Lazarus, not our brother, “Lord, the one you love." And then John, in verse five of that chapter, specifically kind of underlines that Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus. So even from John's own pen, we see that he's not claiming he is the only disciple Jesus loved. He's saying it is foundational to his identity that he is loved by Jesus, but he's not making a kind of exclusive claim here. Lazarus as well and Mary and Martha, you know, are also disciples Jesus loves.

And then as we see the rest of the New Testament play out, I find Paul's example fascinating. We already talked about John's letter kind of emphasizing brotherly love. But in Paul, we see, again, not only the kind of general commands to Christians to love one another, which happen again and again, but we also see specific instances of Paul having close, loving relationships with various of his friends. So, one example would be in Paul's letter to Philemon, where he's talking about Onesimus. And he says of Onesimus that Onesimus is very hard. Technically in Greek, it's sort of what his bow is, sort of the way of communicating the deep seat of emotion. And one of the things I often wonder is, you know, if you said to a pastor, or if your pastor stood up on Sunday and described another man in the congregation as his very heart, you know, people would be like, Oh, you know, that's kind of an extreme way to talk about something like, you know, let's settle down here. You know, that's, that's a bit much. In our Christian culture, that seems overly intense. And yet that is how Paul is happy to describe Onesimus. He, in the greetings at the end of Romans, there are multiple men who he describes as my beloved. We see him talking about Epaphroditus and saying, if Epaphroditus had died, Paul would have felt sorrow upon sorrow, you know, he would have been heartbroken to have lost this gospel partner. Not because he wouldn't be sure that Epaphroditus would have gone to be with Jesus, he absolutely would. But because he would have missed him so much, you know, we see time and again in Paul's letters, these little glimpses of the deep love relationships that he has with a number of friends. And I think that's really important as well. And people sometimes would want to say, well, okay, we know that same sex sexual relationships are kind of out of bounds for Christians, but we can mimic marriage in the friendship context of, you know, especially those of us who might be attracted to our same sex to sort of pick one friend and kind of have a covenant bond with them that's not expressed sexually, but is like a lifelong kind of covenant partnership. I actually don't think that's what the New Testament is calling us to a tool. I think we see a picture of a variety of friends who we are called to love and invest in, that it's not unlike marriage, which by design is exclusive. Friendship by design is actually inclusive. It's doing a different kind of thing and we need to kind of give it its own space and not make it a mimic of marriage.

Scott: Yeah, Rebecca, I don't think it's an accident that the New Testament describes our relationships in the church as siblings, as brothers and sisters, as you pointed out from our exciting, our colleague, Joe Hellerman, in his book, “The Church as a Family,” it describes that a sibling relationship in the Greco-Roman culture was actually considered stronger than the husband-wife relationship. And so, it's true that our relationship to Christ is compared to marriage in some respects, but it's also true that our relationships with each other are compared to those sibling relationships that are considered to be the closest blood relations that you can have with someone. So, you wrote a really interesting piece, and it strikes me that this is one of the ways that you put shoe leather on this idea of friendship. And you entitled it, "Why I Don't Sit With My Husband at Church." What do you mean by that? And who do you sit with?

Rebecca: Yes, there’s a funny story that goes with that article. Because when I first sat down to write it, I thought this is going to be the least controversial thing I've ever written. [Sean laughs] You know, I write about abortion, I write about same-sex marriage, I write about race, I like all the things, yeah? And I thought I'm going to write this piece explaining why Brian and I choose to not sit next to each other at church, and this is going to not generate too much drama. And it turned out to be extremely controversial. I ended up—I wrote it for Christianity Today, and I ended up doing a podcast interview with them because there's been so much drama around this article, which intrigued me. The thinking is this, so on a Sunday, of course, what church is is not limited to what happens on a Sunday morning or a Sunday evening, if you're an evening kind of congregation person. But I would want to say that what happens on a Sunday is certainly a substantial piece of what church means. You know, what we do on Sunday needs to indicate what we believe about the church body. And if it is true that my local church is actually my primary family unit, and I think that's what Jesus is telling us. You know, famously when Jesus is preaching one day and his mother and his brothers come to see him, he gets the message. And we might expect, actually, in our Christian culture, we might expect Jesus to leave at once and say, you know, family first, I'm out of here, sorry, guys. But instead, he shockingly says, who is my mother and who are my brothers? And looking around at his disciples, he says, whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother. So, Jesus has a sort of shocking disruption of the idea of the kind of family first mentality, not because Christian family doesn't matter, but because it belongs in the broader family of the local church. And so, what Brian and I do on a Sunday is rather than sitting with each other, which is, you know, perfectly lovely, we choose instead to sit with people who might be new to the church or people who are sitting by themselves, you know, perhaps single friends, because we want it to be visible that we mean it when we say our local church is our family, not that we come with our family to church, but that we actually come to church to be with our family, if that makes sense. And one of the things that we've both discovered and experienced over the years—well, two primary things. One is that an awful lot of people walk into church randomly every Sunday morning, for whatever reason. You know, one week for us, it was a woman who had been raised Catholic, hadn't been to a church in a decade, had recently, her fiance had broken up with her, and she was thinking, I just need to rethink my entire life. She was disillusioned with Catholicism, and so she's shown up at our little Southern Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And I went and sat with her and chatted with her. But many people walk into our churches on a Sunday morning, sit by themselves, nobody talks to them, and they leave, and they never come back again. We are wasting gospel opportunities, week in, week out, because we're not being super proactive about pursuing those who might be new to our congregations. And the other thing is that I hear frequently, and I heard after that article, and every time I've written or spoken about this, I hear from single Christians who say to me, when I go to church on Sunday morning, I feel lonely. And it just, it breaks my heart. Because if we are, as Jesus' followers, one body together, I mean, that's how Paul describes this. If we are brothers and sisters, if we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us, the fact that our single siblings show up to church on a Sunday and feel lonely is a damning indictment on our churches, actually. Like, it could not be more wrong. And Brian and I just try to do our little piece in making that not true by sitting with friends who are single, and making it clear to them that we see them as part of the family, not as, you know, they'll often walk in on a Sunday morning, look around at various family pods sitting together or couples sitting together and think, oh, you know, I guess I'll sit here by myself. I think we need a radical rethinking of what church looks like on a Sunday. And I don't think that undermines the family. I actually—I think it puts the family, the Christian nuclear family, in its right context, because then, you know, my children are growing up in church where they get to experience the love and input of a whole range of adult friends. And they get to show love to a whole range of people, you know, adult and child. They get to be part of the family in a meaningful way kind of week on week.

Sean: Rebecca, you really deal with some of the important questions of what is our relationship to our family and the church family. And I think folks are going to jump into that and be challenged in a fresh way, but also look at how Jesus kind of redrew relational lines, not horizontally, but really vertically. One of the issues you weigh into that really intrigued me is physical affection. What is appropriate and not appropriate between friends of the same sex? And I asked because I saw a tweet from a Christian leader and he just wrote out a while ago, he said, "It's never okay for Christian men to cuddle." And that, of course, stirred the hornet's nest. But then we look at David and Jonathan, as you mentioned, and there's this deep intimacy and brotherly even hugging and embracing and kissing. How do we draw that line of what physical affection is appropriate and not appropriate and good between friends of the same sex?

Rebecca: Yeah, I mean, even setting aside David and Jonathan, again, no offense to them, but I sort of less anchor on them. Let's just look at the New Testament. So, as I mentioned, Jesus at the Last Supper has John, like, curled under his arm. So, to say that it is never appropriate for Christian men to be physically connected like that is—I would really struggle to reconcile that with the Scriptures. We have the Apostle Paul multiple times commanding us to greet one another with a holy kiss. Now, I come from England where actually kissing is very common for women to greet each other with a kiss, for women and men to greet each other with a kiss. It's not common for men and men to greet each other with a kiss. That's just sort of the cultural way things play out, where we are. My sense in the US, having lived here 16 years, is it's more common for men here to hug each other, whereas in the UK, it's kind of fairly uncommon for men to hug each other. All of these things are going to need to be sort of nuanced according to culture and according to people's comfort levels and whatever. But again, to say that it's never appropriate for Christian men to cuddle one another is like—I actually think that is demonstrably false from the Scriptures. Now, you could absolutely say that there could be certain contexts in which it would be unwise for, say, a Christian man who maybe experienced the same-sex attraction and is struggling with his feelings to be cuddling with another man, like, for sure. And as a woman myself who—I've experienced same-sex attraction for as long as I can remember, and there will have been certain contexts in my life where actually leaning into physical contact with a particular friend at a particular time might have just not been the right thing for me to do at all. And all of us will need to kind of exercise wisdom and discernment about that. But at the same time, I actually think an awful lot of sexual sin of all kinds happens today in part because people are starved of the right healthy kind of physical affection. I think that's true of a lot of young women. I think it's true of a lot of young men—well not just young, I think it's true. I'm not saying that's the only thing that's going on, nor that embracing one another more is going to be the kind of remedy for all else for sure. But I do think it is appropriate that our church families are ones where physical affection is normal. I think of Brian and I met in the UK and he'd moved from Oklahoma to England. And one of the many culture shocks that he experienced was the lack of hugging between men in England. So, he sort of somewhat kind of starved of physical affection while he was there. And the first time I went home with him to visit Oklahoma, we went to visit a black church in Oklahoma City. And Brian commented that he got more hugs in the space of one hour at that black church than he had had in the entire previous year in England. Which again, goes to show that some of our churches struggle more with normalizing physical affection between Christians than others. Perhaps those of us in white majority churches might have a thing or two to learn from our black brothers and sisters in black majority churches on this. But yeah, I think appropriate physical affection between brothers and sisters in Christ is one of the good things that the Lord has for us actually. Darrell Bock

Scott: So Rebecca, what about opposite sex friendships? And specifically, you mentioned the Billy Graham Rule. So, explain what that is and do you think that's an appropriate guideline?

Rebecca: Yeah, so again, just sort of starting with the scriptures, we see in the New Testament, a model of real gospel partnership and loving relationship between men and women. So, we see that again, in Jesus's life and ministry, and with Mary and Martha, Bethany being a couple of examples, Mary Magdalene being another. Jesus clearly had close friendships, close relationships with a number of women, female disciples. We see it also actually in Paul, if you look through the greetings at the end of Romans, you'll see a number of women Paul is highly commending. If you look in Philippians, where he talks about Syntochi and Eurydice, I'm botching her name, but he calls on two particular women within the church to agree with one another, they're clearly at odds for some reason that we don't fully understand. But he describes them as having kind of labored vigorously alongside him in the gospel. And the word that he uses is one of kind of close sort of contending together, like it's quite an intimate word, actually. And when he writes to Timothy, he tells Timothy, he doesn't say, you know, avoid women in your church like the plague. He says treat younger women as sisters and older women as mothers. And if you think about it, you know, I don't know if either of you guys have sisters. But if you think about how a brother and a sister might relate, that's a close intimate relationship, that's a relationship of love. If you think about how a mother and a son relate, that's a relationship of love. But it's one that is not a sexual relationship. And Paul adds that he should treat, you know, younger women as sisters with all purity. So, there's a strong concern that we see throughout the New Testament, that we should flee from sexual immorality. And there is a strong invitation to brotherly and sisterly love. And my sense is that for each of us, we are going to need to attend to both of those commands, and that it might actually end up looking a little bit different for each of us, depending on our own particular circumstances and relationships and the things that we may or may not struggle with.

So, you mentioned a Billy Graham rule, and I bring this up in the book, because one of the things that Billy Graham was famous for was he and a couple of other kind of gospel brothers had seen a number of other evangelists and pastors completely destroy their ministry through various kinds of sin, including sexual sin. And they were wisely really wanting to not have that be their story, and actually kind of humbly saying that, but for the grace of God go I, right? You know, we only need boundaries and these kinds of rules, because we know that we're sinners. So, one of the things that he and these other guys came up with, that's kind of been codified since for a number of Christians today as sort of the “Billy Graham rule” is to never be alone with a woman other than your wife. And my sense is that there'll be some men for whom that is actually a really wise rule, and perhaps some women as well for him, that's a really wise rule. Perhaps they significantly struggle with sexual temptation, and it just would help them a lot in terms of their purity in their mind and in how they're relating to others to just never be in a one-on-one situation with a woman other than their wife. So, I don't for a minute want to denigrate or discourage somebody who thinks, "Do you know what? I think that's actually the most helpful approach for me." On the other end of the spectrum, sorry to kind of keep going with this, but I, as I mentioned, I'm someone who's, my temptations such as they are would be actually toward other women. So, I don't feel any kind of anxiety about spending time individually with Christian men. I sometimes have to think like, just because it might not be a challenge for me, that I need to be attentive to whether it's a challenge for them. But I dedicated this book to my friend Sam Albury, who also, like me, is someone who's typically tempted towards members of the same sex. So, he and I can relate very easily and very, like, it's just very uncomplicated, you know, his and my friendship, and we don't really have to kind of worry a whole lot about the possibility of either of us kind of being sexually tempted toward the other. So that would be kind of one extreme end of the spectrum. But I have other, I mean, I have other male friends who are never attracted to people of their same sex, but also just don't find that they're in a kind of continual battle when it comes to temptation toward other women. And so, they're actually in a place where they can be, you know, pursuing friendship with women in a way that doesn't complicate their marriage or, you know, doesn't draw them into sexual sin in any way. So, I think as with any relationship, we need to be, we need to know ourselves well, we need to be prioritizing fleeing from sexual sin. And we need to be thinking, what does it look like to love this other person? And that just will play out differently. I don't think there's only a kind of one size fits all. This is the rule for everybody under all circumstances, I think we need to exercise wisdom.

Sean: I totally agree that I thought your nuanced and charitable approach to the Billy Graham rule was wise, because I have a father who for decades was probably one of the most recognizable Christians in the world and would follow the Billy Graham rule. And it wasn't so much for temptation to him as it was just the appearance to other people and the amount of people, especially speaking in the free speech platform when he started out who just kind of wanted to tear him down and look for even the slightest, you know, hint of indiscretion. And so. you saying there could be different factors if you have same sex attraction, if you don't, you have a public ministry, you don't. I think that's a nuanced, fair charitable approach, because it does raise some concerns. Some people said, does it make certain systems of power and all boys clubs? Does it make women out to be just kind of sexual, you know, objects in some fashion? These are totally fair concerns, I think we need to think about. But I loved your nuanced approach. Really appreciate your book. Scott and I are looking at each other right now thinking we have so many more questions for you. But of course, that means we'll just have to have you back in due time. But we want to commend your book to our audience. It's called, “No Greater Love: A Biblical Vision of Friendship.” Again, “No Greater Love: A Biblical View of Friendship” from our guest today, Rebecca McLaughlin. Rebecca, thanks for writing a great book and thanks for joining us today.

Rebecca: Thanks, brothers.

Sean: This has been an episode of the podcast Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. The Think Biblically podcast is brought to you by the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, offering programs in Southern California and some are online, including our Masters in Christian Apologetics now offered fully online. To submit comments, ask questions, or suggest issues or guests you'd like us to include, please email us at thinkbiblically@biola.edu. If you enjoyed today's podcast conversation, please give us a rating on your podcast app and consider sharing with a friend. Thank you for listening and remember, Think Biblically about everything.