Sunday, September 19, 2010

Faith and Works: Rich Mullins

Rich Mullin died in a car accident thirteen years ago today. He was a musician who came just at the end of the Jesus Movement. And so he was somebody I did not know about until my daughters, Jenny and Penny, started playing his music and talking about him when we visited each other. He is a reminder to me that for a Christian works grow out of faith and the two do not exist without each other. In the righteousness that Jesus gives to us there is also that plan for the good works that God planned for each redeemed soul.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not that of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)

Rich cared and labored for the poor and needy, but his was an evangelical orthodox faith not a progressive one. It stood through and against the kind of winds that are and will continue to buffet our post-modern age. There is a fullness and richness about a faith that stands its ground on the rock Jesus Christ while ministering in his name.

It is not a sterile faith that never touches the dirty parts of the world, and yet it is not a faith divorced from the historical incarnation. It is not focused on a vague spirituality which gathers dusty utopian dreams nor does it sink beneath a nihilistic ugliness that cannot conceive of real life. Instead it gathers life and grows more life even after the saint goes home to dwell forever with God.

Here is a memorial video to the memory of Rich. One of the musicians talking, Jim Abegg, is an old friend whom I haven’t seen for years. There is even richness in the telling:

And then here, standing on the rock, is my favorite video of Rich, singing the Doxology:


Anonymous said...


This comment has nothing to do with your current posting, but I wasn't sure how else to reach you.

I am new to all this. Your commonsense and scholarship leave me breathless. I love reading whatever you write.

I have been writing about my own journey. I felt it was important to go on record, so here is a link to my own blog --

May God continue to bless you. You are an inspiration to us newbies.

Greg Scandlen

Viola Larson said...

Hi Greg,
You are far to kind. I enjoyed reading some articles on your blog and will probably comment as you you write from time to time.

God bless you on your journey.

Justaservant said...

Sister Viola --

I served as a Mission Volunteer ESL teacher in Thailand from 1990-1993. I was in a somewhat rural area, and the only English "media" I had available to me was a Bible, a few spiritual memoirs (Confessions, A Severe Mercy), and about 10 CD's of Christian music. Two of those were by Rich Mullins ("...World...", Vols. 1 & 2) and over three years I listened to them probably hundreds of times. Spiritually, those were the richest and most formative years of my life, and Rich's music and testimony played a significant part in that.

My heart broke when I heard of his death, and I saw a news release or two several weeks ago marking the anniversary of his death. Only today did I run across this blog entry (though I've been an occasional visitor to your blog for a while, and am grateful for your witness). I had never known that there was a video of Rich Mullins performing, and this was the first time I had seen them both. What a wonderful treat, and tonic for my soul, to re-encounter one of God's saints who so deeply influenced my earlier walk. Thank you, and may God continue to bless, guide and prosper your ministry --

in Christ's service, Brint

Viola Larson said...

Hi Brint. I am glad you found this posting and that you were blessed by Rich Mullins music.There are many videos of Rich Mullins on Youtube. You should go exploring.

I have read "A Severe Mercy." That is a wonderful book.

I wonder if you ever knew Holly and Craig Denny in Thailand. They are old friends.