Nurturing friendships with other Christians—and with Jesus – a talk with John Vissers

The Pulse Podcast is about living abundantly wholeheartedly.

It includes feature topics, interviews, and weekly biblical studies.

This episode is a talk with John Vissers about nurturing friendships with others Christians, and even with Jesus himself. Before I share more specifics about our talk, let me tell you a bit more about him.

The Rev. Dr. John Vissers is the Principal of Knox College, Toronto. He is also the Professor of Historical Theology. Previously he served as the Principal of The Presbyterian College, Montreal, and in 2012-13 he served as the Moderator of the 138th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. He has written several books and articles, and has degrees from the University of Toronto, Knox College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Toronto School of Theology.

On a personal note I’ve appreciated getting to know John over the years, usually over coffee. We’ve talked about leadership, apologetics, and whatever else was going on in the world. He’s the kind of insightful and sincere person who can’t not enrich your life.

Our talk includes these topics and quotes:

  • The importance of friendships, especially coming through a pandemic
  • What friendship with Jesus has to do with friendship with others
  • Jesus said: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends…” (John 15:15)
  • “I think God has given us friendship in Christ as one of the most powerful ways to understand the heart of the Christian faith…”
  • “I think you can fellowship with a lot of people; you have friendship with a very few.”
  • The role which the word, prayer and the Lord’s Supper play in our friendships
  • “Here we are, you and I, and I hope a third, Christ, is in our midst.” -Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship
  • How you can’t rush trust
  • Some of John’s own friends who have been a source of mutual joy, support and counsel through the years
  • Friends as people who can help you with discernment and important decision-making
  • Friends are those who are looking out for your best interest (which stands in contrast to an approach to friendship which is very self-serving)
  • A friend is like a “second self” (Aristotle)
  • A friend in Christ helps you understand who you are in relationship with God
  • What our relationship with Jesus has in common with others, and what might be unique to each of us
  • How the “chattering monkeys” in your head are not the voice of Jesus


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Resources mentioned:

  • James Janeway, “Heaven upon earth, Jesus, the best friend in the worst times” (1670, book)
  • Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship (book)

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