Quotations for March, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601
We believe that the Word contained in these books [viz., the Bible] has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from Him alone, and not from men. And inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for our salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it, or to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them.
... The French Confession of Faith , in Bibliotheca Symbolica Ecclesiae Universalis: The evangelical Protestant creeds, vol. 3, Philip Schaff, New York: Harper, 1919, art. V
(see the book; see also Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Pr. 30:6; Matt. 15:9; John 3:26-31; 5:33-34; 15:15; 20:30-31; Acts 5:28-29; 20:27; 1 Cor. 11:2,23; Gal. 1:8; 1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:11-12; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Rev. 22:18-19; more at Bible)
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672
It is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it—this system cannot be tolerated. For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.
... Leo XIII (1813-1903), Providentissimus Deus, “On the Study of Holy Scripture” , par. 20
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:160; more at Bible)
Monday, March 3, 2008
In holy Scripture is fully contained what we ought to do, and what to eschew; what to believe, what to love, and what to look for at God’s hands at length. In these Books we shall find the Father from whom, the Son by whom, and the Holy Ghost in whom all things have their being and keeping up, and these three persons to be but one God, and one substance... Read [Holy Scripture] humbly with a meek and lowly heart, to the intent you may glorify God, and not your self, with the knowledge of it: and read it not without daily praying to God, that he would direct your reading to good effect: and take upon you to expound it no further than you can plainly understand it. For, as Saint Augustine saith, ‘the knowledge of holy Scripture is a great, large, and a high place, but the door is very low, so that the high and arrogant man cannot run in; but he must stoop low, and humble himself, that shall enter into it...’ The humble man may search any truth boldly in the Scripture, without any danger of error. [Continued tomorrow]
... “A Fruitful exhortation to the reading of holy Scripture” , from Certain sermons, or, Homilies appointed to be read in churches, Church of England, London: Prayer-Book and Homily Society, 1852, pp. 2,6
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:15-17; more at Bible)
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647
[Continued from yesterday]Scripture in some places is easy, and in some places hard to be understood. This have I said as touching the fear to read, through ignorance of the person.And concerning the hardness of Scripture; he that is so weak that he is not able to brook strong meat, yet he may suck the sweet and tender milk, and defer the rest until he wax stronger, and come to more knowledge. For God receiveth the learned and unlearned, and casteth away none, but [does not discriminate]. And the Scripture is full, as well of low valleys, plain ways, and easy for every man to use and to walk in: as also of high hills and mountains, which few men can climb unto.
... “A Fruitful exhortation to the reading of holy Scripture” , from Certain sermons, or, Homilies appointed to be read in churches, Church of England, London: Prayer-Book and Homily Society, 1852, p. 6-7
(see the book; see also 2 Pet. 3:15,16; more at Bible)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
We are to believe and follow Christ in all things, including his words about Scripture. And this means that Scripture is to be for us what it was to him: the unique, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God, and not merely a human testimony to Christ, however carefully guided and preserved by God. If the Bible is less than this to us, we are not fully Christ’s disciples.
... James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000), “The Preacher & God’s Word”, in Foundation of Biblical Authority, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978, p. 142-143, fn.
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:17,18; 7:12; 22:37-40; Mark 7:12,13; Luke 4:4; 16:29-31; more at Bible)
Thursday, March 6, 2008
A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting himself whenever and wherever his people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 48
(see the book; see also Luke 5:1-3; more at Bible, Life, Love, People, Presence of God, Work)
Friday, March 7, 2008
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203
The term “baptism in (or of) the Spirit” conjures up the idea of a separate initiatory experience which every Christian ought to enjoy, whereas evangelicalism is noted for its stress upon a “conversion” experience which marks the beginning of the believer’s relationship to his Lord. Too often, alas, conversion has been the end as well as the beginning, with the result that some Christians have looked back, with mingled delight and wistfulness to a past event that now seems to have diminished relevance to daily living. We can fully understand, then, the appeal of a movement which promises a new dimension of Christian living, there in the New Testament, and now available in everyday experience.
... George Carey (b. 1935), “Christian Beginning”, in The Lord Christ , John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 131
(see the book; see also Mark 1:7,8; more at Conversion)
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929
Thou who art Lord of all the tender pities,Mercy Incarnate, human and divine,How could we write Thy Name upon these citiesWherein Thy children live like herded swine? Would not those eyes that saw their angels gazingInto the brightness of the Father’s faceTurn on this slum, with Love and Fury blazing,Shriveling our souls with shame of such a place? “Where are My children, those the Father gave you?What have you done with babes that bore My Name?Was it for this I suffered so to save you?Must I for ever burn for you in shame?”
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Wicket Gate, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923, p. 90
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:7; more at Authenticity)
Sunday, March 9, 2008
[The] denominational divisions which accentuate the problem are ... perpetrating an image of a divided Christ to the community in which we live. Such an image is at variance with the unity of the body into which we were all baptized. The same arguments that Paul used to deal with the factions and personality cults of the Corinthian church are applicable [here and now]. We can not hide behind some concept of “spiritual unity” which has little or no embodiment in structure or institution; for, not only does it drive an unnatural and unbiblical wedge between the physical and the spiritual, it is also nonsense to the world to which we are called to be in mission, and thereby denies the very basis of the unity for which Christ prayed.
... Ian P. M. Cundy (1945-2009), “The Church as Community”, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 30
(see the book; see also John 17:20-23; Eph. 4:1-6; more at Church)
Monday, March 10, 2008
Very few people in the world would care to listen to the real defence of their own characters. The real defence, the defence which belongs to the Day of Judgment, would make such damaging admissions, would clear away so many artificial virtues, would tell such tragedies of weakness and failure, that a man would sooner be misunderstood and censured by the world than exposed to that awful and merciless eulogy.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Robert Browning, Macmillan, 1908, p. 188
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:22-25; more at Providence)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And, taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heavenly creature or into a hellish creature; either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 92
(see the book; see also Heb. 2:1-3; more at Choices)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Alas, we but chase feathers flying in the air, and tire our own spirits, for the froth and over-gilded clay of a dying life. One sight of what my Lord hath let me see within this short time, is worth a world of worlds.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 9, 1637, p. 179
(see the book; see also Heb. 2:9; more at Life, Sight, Spirit, Time, World, Worship)
Thursday, March 13, 2008
You can read all the manuals on prayer and listen to other people pray, but until you begin to pray yourself you will never understand prayer. It’s like riding a bicycle or swimming: You learn by doing.
... Luis Palau (b. 1934), in a private communication from the Luis Palau Association
(see also Heb. 13:20,21; more at Listening, Obedience, People, Prayer, Understanding)
Friday, March 14, 2008
Most evangelicals believe that if a passage of the Bible seems unclear in its meaning, it should be interpreted in the light of Scripture “as a whole.” But what does “Scripture as a whole” mean? In practice, if not theory, it means the working systematic theology of the interpreter, or of his own theological tradition. An evangelical... would not hold to that tradition unless he believed that it did represent the wholeness of the biblical witness. Nevertheless, if this state of affairs has been correctly described, he is now in a serious difficulty. For if the Bible must always accord with a theology that has already been accepted, how can the truth of a biblical passage ever confront him afresh with an unfavorable judgment?
... Tony Thiselton (b. 1937), “Understanding God’s Word Today”, in The Lord Christ , John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 97
(see the book; see also Heb. 6:4-6; more at Bible)
Saturday, March 15, 2008
[From our side] our relation to God is unrighteous. Secretly we are ourselves the masters in this relationship. We are not concerned with God, but with our own requirements, to which God must adjust Himself. Our arrogance demands that, in addition to everything else, some super-world should also be known and accessible to us. Our conduct calls for some deeper sanction, some approbation and remuneration from another world. Our well-regulated, pleasurable life longs for some hours of devotion, some prolongation into infinity. And so, when we set God upon the throne of the world, we mean by God ourselves. In “believing” on Him, we justify, enjoy, and adore ourselves.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 44
(see the book; see also Rom. 1:18; more at Attitudes)
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The entrance into Jerusalem [on Palm Sunday] has all the elements of the theatre of the absurd: the poor king; truth comes riding on a donkey; symbolic actions—even parading without a permit! Also, when Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem,” what was involved was direct action, an open confrontation and public demonstration of the incompatibility of evil with the Kingdom of God.
... David Kirk (1935-2007), Quotations from Chairman Jesus, Springfield, Ill.: Templegate Publishers, 1969, p. 61
(see the book; see also Luke 9:51,52; more at Easter)
Monday, March 17, 2008
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460
The evidence for Christian truth is not exhaustive, but it is sufficient. Too often, Christianity has not been tried and found wanting—it has been found demanding, and not tried.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 359
(see the book; see also Luke 9:61,62; more at Christianity not tried)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
To perpetuate the clerical role of answer man, the layman when inside the church building must act as if he has only half a brain, while outside in the world he is expected to be an ambassador for Christ, a lay transmitter of faith. Outside, he is to be informed and vocal; inside, he must appear ignorant and mute as a sheep. Christians have within them many questions—questions that are at once elementary and profound, questions that would ripple the water were they raised. However, because a Christian is supposed to have “answers,” life’s important questions are not discussed outside the church building; and, because the pastor is the educated, spiritual authority, they are not discussed inside either.
... Paul G. Johnson (b. 1931), Buried Alive, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1968, p. 37-38
(see the book; see also John 21:15; Rom. 14:5,6; 2 Cor. 5:20; more at Action, Christ, Church, Faith, Minister, Question, World)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth
Come all crosses, welcome, welcome! so I may get my heartful of my Lord Jesus.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 20, 1637, p. 191
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:37,38; more at Cross, Heart, Jesus, Weakness)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687
We usually think of Jesus in the upper room as calmly and patiently preparing his disciples for their coming crisis; only in the garden are we shown his deep anguish over what lies ahead for himself. But if this verse (“They hated me without a cause.” Ps. 69:4) occurred to Jesus as describing his enemies, surely he was also identifying with the rest of [Psalm 69] with its vivid description of overwhelming troubles and importune cries to God for deliverance. What in the upper room was still under the surface was openly expressed in the garden.
... John R. Cogdell, “The humanity of Jesus Christ, as revealed in certain Psalms”, section V
(see the book; more at Calm, Deliverance, Easter, Enemy, Jesus, Patience)
Friday, March 21, 2008
Faith is the acknowledgment of the entire absence of all goodness in us, and the recognition of the cross as the substitute for all the want on our part... The whole work is His, not ours, from first to last.
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), The Everlasting Righteousness, London: James Nisbet and Co., 1873, p. 116-117
(see the book; see also Ps. 148:13; Rom. 1:16,17; 3:23; 2 Cor. 4:15; 1 John 1:8; more at Faith)
Saturday, March 22, 2008
When Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross, it was not the blood of a martyr; or the blood of one man for another; it was the life of God poured out to redeem the world.
... Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:18,19; more at Blood, Christ, Cross, God, Gospel, Jesus, Martyr, Redemption)
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Almighty and everlasting God, Who hast preserved me by Thy fatherly care through all the years of my past life, and now permittest me again to commemorate the sufferings and merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; grant me so to partake of this holy rite, that the disquiet of my mind may be appeased, that my faith may be increased, my hope strengthened, and my life regulated by Thy Will. Make me truly thankful for that portion of health which Thy mercy has restored, and enable me to use the remains of life to Thy glory and my own salvation. Take not from me, O Lord, Thy Holy Spirit. Extinguish in my mind all sinful and inordinate desires. Let me resolve to do that which is right, and let me by Thy help keep my resolutions. Let me, if it is best for me, at last know peace and comfort; but whatever state of life Thou shalt appoint me, let me end it by a happy death, and enjoy eternal happiness in Thy presence, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, April 15, 1770, p. 79-80
(see the book; see also Ps. 51:10,11; John 20:19-22; more at Prayers)
Monday, March 24, 2008
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953
Counter-culture’s glad tidings of revolution by consciousness are neither new nor revolutionary. Christianity has been trying to achieve a revolution by consciousness for two thousand years. Who would deny that Christian consciousness could have changed the world? Yet it was the world that changed Christian consciousness. If everybody adopted a peaceful, loving, generous, noncompetitive lifestyle, we could have something better than counter-culture—we could have the Kingdom of God.
... Marvin Harris (1927-2001), Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches, New York: Random House, 1974, p. 253
(see the book; see also Rom. 2:9-11; more at Religion)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary
Faith is rest, not toil. It is the giving up all the former weary efforts to do or feel something good, in order to induce God to love and pardon; and the calm reception of the truth so long rejected, that God is not waiting for any such inducements, but loves and pardons of His own goodwill, and is showing that goodwill to any sinner who will come to Him on such a footing, casting away his own poor performances or goodnesses, and relying implicitly upon the free love of Him who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), The Everlasting Righteousness, London: James Nisbet and Co., 1873, p. 116
(see the book; see also Heb. 6:19,20; more at Faith)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883
There is a certain kind of so-called conversion which separates a man from his fellow men. It may fill him with a self-righteousness which rejoices in its own superiority to those who have had no like experience. It may move a man to a Pharisaic self-isolation. There have in fact been not a few so-called conversions as a result of which a man has left the Church to belong to some smaller and holier body. The plain truth is that such a one should very seriously examine himself, if he finds what he regards as his Christian experience separating him from his fellow-men, or his fellow-Christians.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), In the Hands of God, New York: Harper & Row, 1967, Westminster Press, 1981, p. 40-41
(see the book; see also Eph. 4:29,30; more at Conversion)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Spirit divine, attend our prayers.And make this house thy home;Descend with all thy gracious powers;O come, great spirit, come! Come as the light; to us revealOur emptiness and woe;And lead us in the paths of lifeWhere all the righteous go. Come as the wind: sweep clean awayWhat dead within us lies,And search and freshen all our soulsWith living energies. Come as the fire: and purge our heartsLike sacrificial flame;Let our whole soul as offering beTo our Redeemer’s name. Spirit divine, attend our prayers,Make a lost world thy home;Descend with all thy gracious powers:O come, great Spirit, come!
... Andrew Reed (1787-1862), in 1829, included in Memoirs of the Life and Philanthropic Labours of Andrew Reed, D. D., comp. Andrew Reed, Charles Reed, London: Strahan & Co., 1863, p. 332
(see the book; see also 2 Chr. 5:14; Ezek. 39:29; Acts 4:31; Rom. 8:9; more at Cleanse, Heart, Holy Spirit, Home, Life, Light, Offering, Prayers, Redemption, Revelation)
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thomas à Kempis speaks for all the ages when he represents Jesus as saying to him, “A wise lover regards not so much the gift of him who loves, as the love of him who gives. He esteems affection rather than valuables, and sets all gifts below the Beloved. A noble-minded lover rests not in the gift, but in Me above every gift.” The sustaining power of the Beloved Presence has through the ages made the sickbed sweet and the graveside triumphant; transformed broken hearts and relations; brought glory to drudgery, poverty and old age; and turned the martyr’s stake or noose into a place of coronation.
... Dallas Willard (1935-2013), Hearing God, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999, p. 45
(see the book; see also Acts 1:4; more at Affection, Coronation, Gifts, Glory, Historical, Jesus, Love, Martyr, Poverty)
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974
The reason that the Ten Commandments are short and clear is that they were handed down direct, and not through several committees.
... Dan Bennett
(see also Eccl. 5:2; more at Humor)
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt. It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament than have many theologians.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990/1), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1949, reprint, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p. 10
(see the book; see also Rom. 10:4,17; more at Bible)
Monday, March 31, 2008
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631
Death, be not proud, though some have called theeMighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,Much pleasure, than from thee, much more must flow,And soonest our best men with thee do go,Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell.And poppy, or charms, can make us sleep as well,And better, than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally,And Death shall be no more, Death thou shalt die.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. VI, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Holy Sonnets, XII, p. 448
(see the book; see also Rom. 14:7,8; 1 Cor. 15:26; Phil. 1:20-24; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:10; Rev. 14:13; more at Attitudes)
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