The Nature of Friendship, Part One, with Dan Allender and Tremper Longman

This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender is joined by his long-time friend, Dr. Tremper Longman, III, who was in town to teach the Theology of Eroticism with Dan at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Dan and Tremper have been best friends since about 1967, and here they reminisce about their high school and college days together, and discuss how their friendship has led each of them into deeper engagement with the heart of God.

Dan: “Friendship is a window into the intent God has for us.”

As much fun as it is listening to Dan’s competitive side emerge while they talk about football and Ping-Pong, Dan suggests that their friendship goes far beyond nostalgia, shared history, and friendly competition. Rather than simply finding ways to kill time—go to a movie, have dinner together, take a vacation—Dan says that some friendships are meant to draw us more deeply into our callings as we learn how to love and serve one another.

Dan: “I can’t even imagine what my life would have been without our friendship—not only in terms of my character and survivability, but also calling.”

As young men, Dan says that their friendship was one of the few places that showed him what it means to love someone and to learn how to play together. Later, Tremper played a pivotal role in Dan coming to know God, going into seminary, and stepping into his life’s work of leading others toward healing and restoration. For Tremper, who is a prolific Old Testament scholar, Dan was instrumental in Tremper wanting to write about the Bible not just in an academic way, but in a way that could lead to transformation.

Tremper: “You invited me to a seminar in 1984, where you wanted me to critique your use of the Bible, and I ended up getting my life critiqued in a way that was very meaningful and helpful. It was at that point that I decided that it was very important for me to make sure that whatever study I do of the Bible is not some kind of abstract, disconnected from life study, but that, like Jesus says, the Bible is a seed that transforms our lives.”

Dan: “We’ve sustained our relationship not just on the basis of love, and not just on the basis of history, but on the basis of the kingdom of God and the intersecting of the gifts that God has given each of us.”

On next week’s podcast, Dan and Tremper will continue this conversation by talking about how their unique careers and callings have overlapped and built off of each other, and how their love for each other and their mutual love for God has drawn both of them deeper into their callings and deeper into the heart of God.