Quotations for May, 2004
Saturday, May 1, 2004
Feast of Philip & James, Apostles
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), quoted in The God Who is There , Francis A. Schaeffer, in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Francis A. Schaeffer, Good News Publishers, 1990, p. 11
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:19-20; Mark 13:11; Luke 6:22-23; 12:11-12; 21:15; Acts 6:9-10; Eph. 6:11-17; 2 Tim. 4:17; more at Authenticity, Battle, Christ, Confession, Devil, God, Loyalty, Proof, Truth)
Sunday, May 2, 2004
Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373
The Hebrew word, nabi, which is translated “prophet” in English Bibles, has the connotation of “message bearer.” The prophets were men called by God to serve as His messengers to a stubborn and unheeding people. They were always careful to point out that they were not voicing their own wisdom. Their warnings, entreaties, and promises were always prefaced by the awesome proclamation:“Thus says the Lord...”When the prophets did engage in prognostication, they usually were concerned with events which were fairly close at hand, such as the Assyrian conquest of Israel and the Babylonian conquest of Judah (both of which they foretold with deadly accuracy). But occasionally a prophet’s vision ranged farther into the future, to the day when God would enter into a new covenant with his rebellious children. The hope of reconciliation was often linked with the coming of a very particular person, a Messiah or Savior.What made the prophets so sure that they had a right—nay, a duty, to speak in the name of God? It is clear from their writings that they were not megalomaniacs who confused their own thoughts with the voice of God. On the contrary, they were humble men, awe-stricken by the responsibilities thrust upon them...The prophets minced no words in their indictments of the sins of Israel and Judah, and they trod especially hard on the toes of the rich, the powerful, and the pious. The Establishment responded then as some church members are wont to respond now when a preacher speaks out on controversial public issues:“One should not preach of such things!”
... Louis Cassels (1922-1974), Your Bible, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967, p. 186-187,189
(see the book; see also Isa. 52:13-15; 53; Jer. 31:31-34; Eze. 37:3-14; Micah 2:3-7; more at Bible, Church, Future, Humility, Israel, Messiah, Power, Preach, Prophet, Reconciliation, Vision)
Monday, May 3, 2004
In most parts of the Bible, everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with “Thus saith the Lord.” It is... not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite—it excludes or repels—the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force... It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long, except to those who go to it for something quite different. I predict that it will in the future be read, as it always has been read, almost exclusively by Christians.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), They Asked for a Paper, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1962, p. 49
(see the book; see also Isa. 42:5-7; more at Belief, Bible, Book, Consecration, Future)
Tuesday, May 4, 2004
Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation
It seems to me that testimonies should once again become a part of the life of our churches. I have not made a study of why the testimony fell into disrepute and was discarded, but I suspect these were three of the factors:(1) The same persons gave the testimony every time.(2) They gave the same testimony every time.(3) The testimony they gave was about something that happened ten, or twenty, or thirty years before.
... Findley B. Edge (1916-2002), The Greening of the Church, Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1971, p. 173
(see the book; see also Matt. 3:9; more at Aged, Authenticity, Church, Witness)
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
We are frequently advised to read the Bible with our own personal needs in mind, and to look for answers to our private questions. That is good, as far as it goes... But better still is the advice to study the Bible objectively, ... without regard, first of all, to our own subjective needs. Let the great passages fix themselves in our memory. Let them stay there permanently, like bright beacons, launching their powerful shafts of light upon life’s problems—our own and everyone’s—as they illumine now one, now another dark area of human life... Following such a method, we discover that the Bible does “speak to our condition” and meet our needs, not just occasionally or when some emergency arises, but continually.
... Frederick C. Grant (1891-1974), How to Read the Bible, London: Thomas Nelson, 1959, p. 8-9
(see the book; see also Ps. 63:5-7; more at Bible)
Thursday, May 6, 2004
Inward rest... gives an air of leisure to [Christ’s] crowded life: above all, there is in this Man a secret and a power of dealing with the waste-products of life, the waste of pain, disappointment, enmity, death—turning to divine uses the abuses of man, transforming arid places of pain to fruitfulness, triumphing at last in death, and making a short life of thirty years or so, abruptly cut off, to be a “finished” life. We cannot admire the poise and beauty of this human life, and then ignore the things that made it.
... A. E. Whitham (1879-1938), The Discipline and Culture of the Spiritual Life, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938
(see the book; see also Mark 1:12,13; more at Jesus)
Friday, May 7, 2004
I need not shout my faith. Thrice eloquentAre quiet trees and the green, listening sod;Hushed are the stars, whose power is never spent;The hills are mute: yet how they speak of God!
... Charles Hanson Towne (1877-1949), included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 22
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:1; more at Providence)
Saturday, May 8, 2004
Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417
I saw full surely in this and in all, that ere God made us he loved us; which love never slackened, nor ever shall be. And in this love he hath done all his works; and in this love he hath made all things profitable to us; and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein he made us was in him from without beginning; in which love we have our beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end.
... Juliana of Norwich (1342?-1417), Revelations of Divine Love, Grace Harriet Warrack, ed., Methuen, 1901, ch. LXXXVIII
(see the book; see also Ps. 103:17; Gen. 1:26-27; Job 10:9-12; Ps. 22:9-10; 139:13-14; Isa. 44:2; Jer. 31:3; John 3:14-16; 6:51; 1 Thess. 4:17; 1 John 2:17; more at Beginning, Creation, Everlasting, God, Life, Love, Sight)
Sunday, May 9, 2004
If thou believest that Christ was crucified for the sins of the world, thou must with Him be crucified... If thou refusest to comply with this order, thou canst not be a living member of Christ, nor be united with Him by faith.
... John Arndt (1555-1621), True Christianity, tr. A. W. Boehm, Boston: Lincoln & Edmands, 1809, II.iv.18, p. 383
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:14; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Crucifixion, Faith, Redemption, Sin)
Monday, May 10, 2004
Every one who receives this Word, and by it salvation, receives along with it the duty of passing this Word on... Where there is no mission, there is no Church, and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Word and the World, London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1931, p. 108
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 2:14-17; more at Church, Duty, Faith, Mission, Salvation)
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning—just as, if there were no light in the universe, and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know that it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 39
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:14,15; more at Apologetics)
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Commemoration of Aiden Wilson Tozer, Spiritual Writer, 1963
It seems to me, as time goes on, that the only thing that is worth seeking for is to know and to be known by Christ—a privilege open alone to the childlike, who, with receptivity, guilelessness, and humility, move Godward. The Babe on your Christmas card says this to me.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), from a letter, Dec. 26, 1913, Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, v. 26, Church Historical Society., 1957, p. 131
(see the book; see also Ps. 131:1-2; Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:14-15; Luke 18:16-17; more at Christ, Christmas, Humility, Knowing God)
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Insofar as theology is an attempt to define and clarify intellectual positions, it is apt to lead to discussion, to differences of opinion, even to controversy, and hence to be divisive. And this has had a strong tendency to dampen serious discussion of theological issues in most groups, and hence to strengthen the general anti-intellectual bias...
... Sidney E. Mead (1904-1999?), Church History, v. XXIII, American Society of Church History, 1953, p. 291-320
(see the book; see also Titus 3:9; more at Church)
Friday, May 14, 2004
Feast of Matthias the Apostle
In religion, we are not asked to make up our minds, we are asked to make up our lives... We may refuse to make up our minds, but our lives get made up, one way or the other... Whatever we believe with our minds, our lives are committed either to God’s way or to the God-denying way, and what matters in religion is the act of commitment.
... A. Leonard Griffith (b. 1920), Barriers to Christian Belief, New York: Harper & Row, 1962, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1962, p. 190-192
(see the book; see also Ps. 31:5; 86:11; 119:30; 1 Pet. 4:19; 3 John 1:3-4; more at Action, Apologetics, Belief, Commitment, God, Life, Mind, Religion, Way)
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Commemoration of Charles Williams, Spiritual Writer, 1945
Although we have different ways of worshipping and doing things, we have only one God. So how can we claim to have... “Good News” unless people can see in us that Jesus Christ is breaking down barriers and bringing us together?
... Albert Braithwaite
(see also John 13:13-15; more at Authenticity)
Sunday, May 16, 2004
Commemoration of Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877
The truth of Christ’s supremacy over all the powers in the universe is one which modern man sorely needs to learn. He is oppressed by a sense of impotence in the grasp of merciless forces which he can neither overcome nor escape. These forces may be Frankenstein monsters of man’s own creation, or they may be horrors outside his conscious control; either way, he is intimidated by the vastness of those fateful currents which threaten to sweep him on to destruction, whether he will or no. And to modern man in his frustration and despair, the full-orbed gospel of Christ, as Paul presents it to the Colossians, is the one message of hope. Christ crucified and risen is Lord of all; all the forces in the universe, well-disposed and ill-disposed, are subject to Him. To be united to Christ by faith is to throw off the thraldom of hostile powers, to enjoy perfect freedom, to gain the mastery over the dominion of evil, because Christ’s victory is ours.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990/1), The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1959, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959, p. 78-79
(see the book; see also Col. 3:1-3; more at Gospel)
Monday, May 17, 2004
Above all, the group must keep remembering that true growth in grace is not to be achieved by our own efforts or contriving, but must be received as the gift of God’s Spirit, working in, and among, us. The work of the group is to keep open the channels of receptiveness through study, discipline, prayer, and self-offering... When a group learns to live in this faith, it can keep the lines of endeavor tentative and sensitive to new headings and possibilities, on the one hand; and on the other, move forward resolutely under such light as is now given.
... John L. Casteel (1903-1993/5), Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 195
(see the book; see also Acts 13:2-4; Lev. 26:12; Luke 11:13; John 16:13; Acts 15:28; Rom. 8:9-10; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 1:13-14; 2:8-9; Phil. 2:5-7; Heb. 6:1-3; more at Church, Discipline, Faith, Gifts, Grace, Growth, Holy Spirit, Prayer, Work)
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
The neglect of the spiritual cannot be laid directly at the door of advertising. It may be better laid at the door of the church [that] has failed to preach the God of the Bible, heaven and hell, repentance, faith, and eternal life. It can be argued that a society only gets the advertising it deserves. Yet the power to commend certain patterns of spending behaviour to millions with regularity is an open invitation to orchestrate the covetousness, envy, lust, and desire to dominate, which lie in the heart of sinful man.
... Raymond Johnston (1927-1985), “The Power of the Media”, in The Changing World, Bruce Kaye, ed., vol. 3 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 55
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:3,4; more at Bible, Church, Envy, Eternal life, Faith, God, Heaven, Hell, Neglect, Preach, Repentance, Sin)
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
I suddenly saw that all the time it was not I who had been seeking God, but God who had been seeking me. I had made myself the centre of my own existence and had my back turned to God. All the beauty and truth which I had discovered had come to me as a reflection of his beauty, but I had kept my eyes fixed on the reflection and was always looking at myself. But God had brought me to the point at which I was compelled to turn away from the reflection, both of myself and of the world which could only mirror my own image. During that night the mirror had been broken, and I had felt abandoned because I could no longer gaze upon the image of my own reason and the finite world which it knew. God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.
... Bede Griffiths (1906-1993), The Golden String , Bede Griffiths, London: Fount Paperbacks, 1979, p. 97
(see the book; see also Job 42:5,6; more at Beauty, Discovery, Existence, God, Knowing God, Life, Reason, Truth)
Thursday, May 20, 2004
If criticism has made such discoveries as to necessitate the abandonment of the doctrine of plenary inspiration, it is not enough to say that we are compelled to abandon only a “particular theory of inspiration,” though that is true enough. We must go on to say that that “particular theory of inspiration” is the theory of the apostles and of the Lord, and that in abandoning it we are abandoning them.
... Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921), The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, Volume 4, 1893, Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Review, 1893, p. 185-186
(see the book; see also 2 Sam. 23:2; Matt. 22:43; Mark 12:36; Luke 1:70; Acts 28:25; Rom. 3:2; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:21; more at Bible, Criticism, Discovery, God, Inspiration, Truth)
Friday, May 21, 2004
Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330
We are all pencils in the hand of a writing God, who is sending love letters to the world.
... Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1910-1997)
(see also John 3:16; 2 Cor. 3:3; more at Love)
Saturday, May 22, 2004
In all the sins of men, God principally regards the principle, that is, the heart.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. III-V, in Works of John Owen, v. XXI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 88
(see the book; see also Ps. 95:10; Matt. 5:27,28; Heb. 3:7-11; more at Evil, God, Heart, Man, Sin)
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
One good never clashes with another.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 23
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:29,30; more at Authenticity, Goodness)
Monday, May 24, 2004
Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
Wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore I do not see how it is possible in the nature of things for any revival of religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches.How then is it possible that Methodism, that is, a religion of the heart, though it flourishes now as the green bay tree, should continue in this state? For the Methodists in every place grow diligent and frugal: consequently, they increase in goods. Hence, they proportionately increase in pride, in anger, in the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life. So, although the form of religion remains, the spirit is swiftly vanishing away.Is there no way to prevent ... this continual decay of pure religion?
... John Wesley (1703-1791), The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. X, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1827, p. 150
(see the book; see also Mark 10:25; more at Sin)
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
The world exists, not for what it means but for what it is. The purpose of mushrooms is to be mushrooms, wine is in order to wine: Things are precious before they are contributory. It is a false piety that walks through creation looking only for lessons which can be applied somewhere else. To be sure, God remains the greatest good; but, for all that, the world is still good in itself. Indeed, since He does not need it, its whole reason for being must lie in its own goodness; He has no use for it, only delight.
... Robert Farrar Capon (b. 1925), The Supper of the Lamb, New York: Doubleday, 1969, p. 86
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:31; more at Goodness)
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, spiritual writer, 1954
We must try to be at one and the same time for the Church and against the Church. They alone can serve her faithfully whose consciences are continually exercised as to whether they ought not, for Christ’s sake, to leave her.
... Alec R. Vidler (1899-1991), quoting an unknown German theological student in Essays in Liberality, SCM Press, 1957, p. 27
(see the book; see also Judges 10:6; more at Christ, Church, Conscience, Purity, Service)
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Commemoration of John Calvin, renewer of the Church, 1564
When they inquire into predestination, they are penetrating the sacred precincts of divine wisdom. If anyone with carefree assurance breaks into this place, he will not succeed in satisfying his curiosity and he will enter a labyrinth from which he can find no exit. For it is not right for man unrestrainedly to search out things that the Lord has willed to be hidden in Himself; nor is it right for him to investigate from eternity that sublime wisdom, which God would have us revere but not understand, in order that through this also He should fill us with wonder. He has set forth by His Word the secrets of His will that He has decided to reveal to us. These He decided to reveal in so far as He foresaw that they would concern and benefit us.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.xxi.1, p. 142
(see the book; see also Rom. 11:2,5,6; more at Predestination)
Friday, May 28, 2004
Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089
The denominations, churches, sects, are sociological groups whose principle of differentiation is to be sought in their conformity to the order of social classes and castes. It would not be true to affirm that the denominations are not religious groups with religious purposes; but it is true that they represent the accommodation of religion to the caste system. They are emblems, therefore, of the victory of the world over the church, of the secularization of Christianity, of the church’s sanction of that divisiveness which the church’s gospel condemns.
... H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), The Social Sources of Denominationalism, Hamden, Conn.: Holt, 1929, reprint, Meridian Books, 1960, p. 25
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 5:21; more at Church, Gospel, Religion, Social, World)
Saturday, May 29, 2004
Never propose to thyself such a God, as thou wert not bound to imitate: thou mistakest God, if thou make him to be any such thing, or make him to do any such thing, as thou in thy proportion shouldst not be, or shouldst not do. And shouldst thou curse any man that had never offended, never transgrest, never trespassed thee? Can God have done so? ... Will God curse man, before man have sinned?
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. IV, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon CVII, p. 458
(see the book; see also Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 64:6; 65:20; Jer. 4:22; Matt. 9:9-13; Rom. 1:28; 3:10-12; Eph. 2:3; more at Existence, God, Man, Sin)
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Feast of Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Commemoration of Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431
Commemoration of Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist, 1933
Every time we say, ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit,’ we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality, and change it.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Plain Christianity, London: Macmillan, 1954, p. 70
(see the book; see also Acts 1:8; more at Belief, God, Holy Spirit, Life, Sanctification)
Monday, May 31, 2004
If... you are ever tempted to think that we modern Western Europeans cannot really be so very bad because we are, comparatively speaking, humane—if, in other words, you think God might be content with us on that ground—ask yourself whether you think God ought to have been content with the cruelty of past ages because they excelled in courage or chastity. You will see at once that this is an impossibility. From considering how the cruelty of our ancestors looks to us, you may get some inkling of how our softness, worldliness, and timidity would have looked to them, and hence how both must look to God.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 52
(see the book; see also Gen. 3:21; Isa. 64:5,6; more at Contentment, God, Historical, Humane, Temptation)
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