Quotations for June, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Feast of Justin, Martyr at Rome, c.165
Commemoration of Angela de Merici, Founder of the Institute of St. Ursula, 1540
The attitude of Jesus to the Jewish law was singularly free and unembarrassed. He made full use of it as an impressive statement of high ethical ideals. Even its ritual practices He treated with perfect tolerance where they did not conflict with fundamental moral obligations. From Pharisaic formalism He appealed to the relative simplicity of the venerable written Law. But again from the written Law itself He appealed to the basic rights and duties of humanity: the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; the Law might permit the dissolution of marriage, but there was something more deeply rooted in the nature of things which forbade it; the [law of retaliation], the central principle of legal justice, must go overboard in the interests of the holy impulse to love your neighbor, not merely as yourself, but as God has loved you. Such freehanded dealing meant that the whole notion of morality as a code of rules, with sanctions of reward and punishment, was abandoned. But the average Christian was slow to see this implication. For instance, Jesus had taken fasting out of the class of meritorious acts, and given it a place only as the fitting and spontaneous expression of certain spiritual states. This is what an early authoritative catechism of the Church made of His teaching: “Let not your fast be made with the hypocrites, for they fast on Monday and Thursday; ye therefore shall fast on Wednesday and Friday.” It sounds ludicrous, but we may ask, Was it not on some very similar principle that the Church did actually carry through its reconstruction of “religious observance?” And a Church which so perverted Christ’s treatment of the ritual law proved itself almost equally incapable of understanding His drastic revision of the moral law.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 68-69
(see the book; see also Matt. 9:14,15; more at Legalism)
Monday, June 2, 2008
You meet a thousand times in life with those who, in dealing with any religious question, make at once their appeal to reason, and insist on forthwith rejecting aught that lies beyond its sphere, without however being able to render any clear account of the nature and proper limits of the knowledge thus derived, or of the relation in which such knowledge stands to the religious needs of men. I would invite you, therefore, to inquire seriously whether such persons are not really bowing down before an idol of the mind, which, while itself of very questionable worth, demands as much implicit faith from its worshipers as divine revelation itself.
... Theodor Christlieb (1833-1889), Modern Doubt and Christian Belief, Ediburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1879, p. 69
(see the book; see also Isa. 41:28,29; 1 Cor. 1:20,21; more at Religion)
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Feast of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, Teacher, 1910
Commemoration of Martyrs of Uganda, 1886 & 1978
The life of holiness is the life of faith in which the believer, with a deepening knowledge of his own sin and helplessness apart from Christ, increasingly casts himself upon the Lord, and seeks the power of the Spirit and the wisdom and comfort of the Bible to battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
... Edmund P. Clowney (1917-2005), The Church, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1995, p. 89
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:30,31; Eph. 1:4; I John 5:18-20; more at Bible, Christ, Comfort, Devil, Faith, Helplessness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Life, Sin, Wisdom)
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The difficulties arise when we ask how much this polar complementarity [of the sexes] should be reflected in the structure of social life, both domestic and public. The New Testament (again, and notoriously, in the person of St Paul) assumes that there will be places other than the bedroom in which men and women assume consciously differentiated roles. They will do so in the affairs of the home, in which the wife is to “submit” to her husband (Eph. 5:22ff) as head. They will do so even outside the context of family life, since man is “head” of woman in some sense in quite another context, when the Church is at worship (I Cor. 11:2ff).fn. In order that St Paul should not be misjudged, we must note:—(a) that this relational ordering of male and female presupposes a fundamental generic equality (I Cor. 11:1 ff); and (b) that the “submission” of the wife is a special case of a “submission” of all Christians to one another, and complements a husband’s love that is to be expressed in self-sacrifice (Eph. 5:2lff, 25ff). The apostle is not an apologist for male tyranny.
... Oliver O’Donovan (b. 1945), “Marriage and the Family”, 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. 102-103,112-113
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:25-27; more at Bible)
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754
There are... few stronger indications of ignorance of the power and evil of sin, than the confident assertion of our ability to resist and subdue it.
... Charles Hodge (1797-1878), Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Philadelphia: W. S. & A. Martien, 1864, p. 363
(see the book; see also Mark 14:38; more at Sin)
Friday, June 6, 2008
Commemoration of Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945
The very strength and facility of the pessimists’ case at once poses us a problem. If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator? Men are fools, perhaps; but hardly so foolish as that. The direct inference from black to white, from evil flower to virtuous root, from senseless work to a workman infinitely wise, staggers belief. The spectacle of the universe as revealed by experience can never have been the ground of religion: it must have always been something in spite of which religion, acquired from a different source, was held.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 3
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:17,18; more at Apologetics)
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Oh my debt of praise, how weighty it is, and how far run up! Oh, that others would lend me to pay, and teach me to praise.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Jan. 1, 1637, p. 136
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:1-3; more at Debt, Praise, Teach, Worship)
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Feast of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath & Wells, Hymnographer, 1711
Commemoration of Roland Allen, Mission Strategist, 1947
The case for inerrancy rests precisely where it has always rested, namely, on the lordship of Christ and his commission to the prophets and apostles, who were his representatives. Because it rests on Christ and his authority, the question of inerrancy will therefore remain a key doctrine of the evangelical church so long as Christ is Lord. Evangelicals must remember, however, that this basis must be set forth anew for every generation. What was adequate for Gaussen, Pieper, and Warfield is still valuable, but it is not necessarily adequate to serve as the foundation for the thinking of our generation. The case for inerrancy must be made anew with each presentation of the gospel teaching.
... Kenneth S. Kantzer (1917-2002), “Evangelicals and the Doctrine of Inerrancy” , in Foundation of Biblical Authority, ed. James Montgomery Boice, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978, p. 151-152
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:163-165; more at Church)
Monday, June 9, 2008
Feast of Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, 597
Commemoration of Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymnographer, Teacher, 373
Although it is indisputable that our Lord founded a church, it is an unproved assumption that that church is an aggregation of visible and organized societies... The theory upon which the public worship of the primitive churches proceeded was that each community was complete in itself, and that, in every act of public worship, every element of the community was present.
... Edwin Hatch (1835-1889), The Organization of the Early Christian Churches , London: Longmans, Green, 1918, preface, p.xii,79
(see the book; see also Eph. 2:19-22; more at Action, Church, Community, Historical, Sacrament, Worship)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I vehemently dissent from those who would not have private persons read the Holy Scriptures nor have them translated into the vulgar tongues... I would wish that all women—girls even—would read the Gospels and the letters of Paul. I wish that they were translated into all languages of all people... To make them understood is surely the first step. It may be that they might be ridiculed by many, but some would take them to heart. I long that the husbandman should sing portions of them to himself as he follows the plough, that the weaver should hum them to the tune of his shuttle, that the traveller should beguile with their stories the tedium of his journey.
... Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), preface to the first edition of his Greek New Testament , quoted in Erasmus: a study of his life, ideals and place in history, Preserved Smith, Harper & Brothers, 1923, p. 184
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:169-172; John 17:8; more at Bible, Knowing God, People, Scripture)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Feast of Barnabas the Apostle
Lord Jesus, when we are wrong, make us willing to change; and when we are right, make us easy to live with.
... Peter Marshall (1902-1949), A Man Called Peter, Catherine Marshall, p. 82
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:13-16; more at Prayers)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
It is the best savour in a Christian soul when his sins are loathsome and offensive unto him—a happy token that there hath not been of late in him any insensible supply of heinous offenses, because his stale sins are still his new and daily sorrow.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), Good Thoughts in Bad Times , Chicago: United Society of Christian Endeavor, Boston, 1898, Mixt Contemplations, VII.
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:9; 1 John 2:1,2; more at Sin)
Friday, June 13, 2008
Commemoration of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Apologist and Writer, 1936
The power of God is the worship He inspires. That religion is strong which in its ritual and its modes of thought evokes an apprehension of the commanding vision. The worship of God is not a rule of safety: it is an adventure of the spirit, a flight after the unattainable. The death of religion comes with the repression of the high hope of adventure.
... Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), Science and the Modern World, Macmillan Company, 1925, p. 276
(see the book; see also Isa. 49:13; more at Worship)
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Commemoration of Richard Baxter, Priest, Hymnographer, Teacher, 1691
He knoweth nothing as he ought to know [it], who thinks he knoweth anything without seeing its place and the manner how it relateth to God, angels, and men, and to all the creatures in earth, heaven and hell, time and eternity.
... Thomas Traherne (1637?-1674), Christian Ethicks, Cornell University Press, 1968, p. 69
(see the book; see also Ps. 90:1,2; 1 Cor. 8:1,2; 2 Tim. 3:2-7; more at Religion)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941
Anyone can lead a “prayer-life”—that is, the sort of reasonable devotional life to which each is called by God. This only involves making a suitable rule and making up your mind to keep it however boring this may be.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Letters of Evelyn Underhill, Charles Williams, ed., London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1991, p. 189
(see the book; see also John 15:15,16; more at Prayer)
Monday, June 16, 2008
Feast of Richard of Chichester, Bishop, 1253
Commemoration of Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, Moral Philosopher, 1752
The Christian should be a conscience in his group. His presence must never be used to provide a Christian justification for evil. To stand as a co-belligerent and not an ally will be to rally the middle ground for a genuine Third Way without mediocre compromise.The Third Way will not be easy. It will be lonely. Sometimes the Christian must have the courage to stand with the establishment, speaking boldly to the radicals and pointing out the destructive and counter-productive nature of their violence. At other times, he will stand as a co-belligerent with the radicals in their outrage and just demands for redress. The Christian is a co-belligerent with either or both when either or both are right, but... fearless in his opposition to either or both when they are wrong.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 186
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 2:14-17; more at Attitudes)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Commemoration of Samuel & Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformers, 1913 & 1936
Evil can be interpreted as guilt only where human existence is understood as personal, and that means where the existence of man is understood to be in responsibility to the Divine Thou. This is the depth of human distress, that we are separated from God, that our communion with Him is destroyed, that man has emancipated himself (has taken himself out of the hand of God) and has become independent, his own master.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Word and the World, London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1931, p. 49-50
(see the book; see also John 16:7-11; more at Sin)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The Christian religion finds expression thus, in the love of those who love Christ, more comprehensibly and accessibly than in metaphysical or ethical statements. It is an experience rather than a conclusion, a way of life rather than an ideology; [it is] grasped through the imagination rather than understood through the mind, belonging to the realm of spiritual rather than intellectual perception; reaching quite beyond the dimension of words and ideas.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), Something Beautiful for God: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, London: Collins, 1971, p. 127
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:11,12; more at Love)
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Commemoration of Sundar Singh of India, Sadhu, Evangelist, Teacher, 1929
The breadth and depth of [William] Carey’s missionary service [in India] is well illustrated in the principles laid down for themselves by the Serampore Brotherhood to be read three times a year in each station in their charge. Here is a summary:1. To set an infinite value on men’s souls.2. To abstain from whatever deepens India’s prejudice against the Gospel.3. To watch for every chance of doing the people good.4. To preach Christ crucified as the grand means of conversions.5. To esteem and treat Indians always as equals.6. To be instant in the nurture of personal religion.7. To cultivate the spiritual gifts of the Indian brethren, ever pressing upon them their missionary obligation, since only Indians can win India for Christ.
... Hugh Martin (1890-1964), Great Christian Books, London: S.C.M. Press Ltd., 1945, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1946, p. 101-102
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:14,15; more at Brotherhood, Christ, Equality, Gifts, Goodness, Historical, Missionary, Preach, Religion, Service)
Friday, June 20, 2008
The Conob Indians of northern Guatemala... describe love as “my soul dies.” Love is such that, without experiencing the joy of union with the object of our love, there is a real sense in which “the soul dies.” A man who loves God according to the Conob idiom would say “my soul dies for God.” This not only describes the powerful emotion felt by the one who loves, but it should imply a related truth—namely, that in true love there is no room for self. The man who loves God must die to self. True love is, of all emotions, the most unselfish, for it does not look out for self but for others. False love seeks to possess; true love seeks to be possessed. False love leads to cancerous jealousy; true love leads to a life-giving ministry.
... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 126-127
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:16,17; more at Love)
Saturday, June 21, 2008
A mere form of religion does upon some accounts bring a man under a heavier sentence, than if he were openly profane and irreligious. He that makes a show of religion flatters God, but all the while he acts and designs against him: whereas the profane man deals plainly, and though he be a monstrous and unnatural rebel, yet he is a fair and open enemy. And the kisses of a false friend are more hateful than the wounds of an open enemy.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VIII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CCV, p. 540
(see the book; see also Prov. 27:6; Matt. 23:13,15; 24:51; 26:49,50; 2 Tim. 3:5; more at Religion)
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Feast of Alban, first Martyr of Britain, c.209
There is one growing persuasion of the present age which I hope this book may somewhat serve to stem—not by any argument, but by such a healthy upstirring ... of the imagination and the conscience. In these days, when men are so gladly hearing afresh that “in Him there is no darkness at all;” that God, therefore could not have created any man if He knew that he must live in torture to all eternity; and that His hatred to evil cannot be expressed by injustice, itself the one essence of evil,—for certainly it would be nothing less than injustice to punish infinitely what was finitely committed, no sinner being capable of understanding the abstract enormity of what he does,—in these days has a arisen another falsehood—less, yet very perilous: thousands of half-thinkers imagine that, since it is declared with such authority that hell is not everlasting, there is then no hell at all. To such folly, I, for one, have never given enticement or shelter. I see no hope for many, no way for the divine love to reach them, save through a very ghastly hell. Men have got to repent; there is no other escape for them, and no escape from that.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), preface to Letters from Hell, by Valdemar Adolph Thisted (ca. 1871)
(see the book; see also 1 John 1:5; more at Authenticity)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Feast of Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, c.678
For the preacher’s merit or demerit,It were to be wished the flaws were fewerIn the earthen vessel, holding treasure,Which lies as safe in a golden ewer;But the main thing is, does it hold good measure?Heaven soon sets right all other matters!
... Robert Browning (1812-1889), from “Christmas Eve” , in The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, v. IV, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1887, p. 30
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:20,21; more at Authenticity)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist
There, right in the middle of our lives, is that which satisfies the craving for inequality, and acts as a permanent reminder that medicine is not food. Hence a man’s reaction to Monarchy is a kind of test. Monarchy can easily be “debunked;” but watch the faces, mark well the accents, of the debunkers. These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach—men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire mere equality, they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king, they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “Equality”, in The Spectator, v. 171, p. 192
(see the book; see also Acts 13:20-23; more at Authenticity)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
“Prayer in the Name of Christ,” though it is essentially a mystical phrase, also contains a surface meaning which is very valuable to those who grasp and apply it... The more Jesus becomes our standard and inspiration in prayer, the more confident we may be of a favorable hearing.
... L. Swetenham, Conquering Prayer, London: J. Clarke, 1908, p. 169
(see the book; see also John 14:14; more at Authenticity, Christ, Confidence, Inspiration, Jesus, Meaning, Prayer)
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Think thyself at that Tribunal, that judgment now: where thou shalt not only hear all thy sinful works, and words, and thoughts repeated, which thou thyself hadst utterly forgot, but thou shalt hear thy good works, thine alms, thy coming to church, thy hearing of sermons given in evidence against thee, because they had hypocrisy mingled in them; yea thou shalt find even thy repentance to condemn thee, because thou madest that but a door to a relapse.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. II, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon XXXV, p. 125
(see the book; see also Luke 13:1-5; 18:10-14; John 16:8-11; Heb. 2:1-4; 1 John 2:4-6; more at Repentance)
Friday, June 27, 2008
To relinquish any of the Psalms on the excuse that its sentiments are too violent for a Christian is a clear sign that a person has also given up the very battle that a Christian is summoned ... to fight. The Psalms are prayers for those who are engaged in an ongoing spiritual conflict. No one else need bother even opening the book.
... Patrick Henry Reardon, Christ in the Psalms, Ben Lomond, California: Conciliar Press:, 2000, p. 6
(see the book; see also Ps. 5:8-10; 109:9-20; more at Bible)
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Feast of Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher, Martyr, c.200
It was my generation and the generation that preceded me that forgot. The younger generation is not primarily to be blamed. Those who are struggling today, those who are far away and doing what is completely contrary to the Christian conscience, are not first to be blamed. It is my generation and the generation that preceded me who turned away. Today we are left largely not only with a religion and a church without meaning, but we are left with a culture without meaning.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), Death in the City, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1969, Good News Publishers, 2002, p. 36
(see the book; see also John 8:47; more at Apologetics)
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Feast of Peter & Paul, Apostles
God always gives us strength enough, and sense enough, for every thing that He wants us to do.
... John Ruskin (1819-1900)
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:13; more at Giving, God, Providence, Strength, Wisdom)
Monday, June 30, 2008
Behind the words of Jesus and the memories about him, ... there shines forth a self-authenticating portrait of a real person in all his human uniqueness, an impression which is accessible alike to the layman and to the expert, to believer and non-believer. No reader of the gospel story can fail to be impressed by Jesus’ humble submission to the will of his God on the one hand, and his mastery of all situations on the other; by his penetrating discernment of human motives and his authoritative demand of radical obedience on the one hand, and his gracious, forgiving acceptance of sinners on the other. There is nothing, either in the Messianic hopes of pre-Christian Judaism or in the later Messianic beliefs of the early Christian Church, to account for this portrait. It is characterized by an originality and freshness which is beyond the power of invention. [Continued tomorrow]
... George Ernest Wright (1909-1974) & Reginald Fuller (1915-2007), The Book of the Acts of God, London: Doubleday, 1957, p. 265
(see the book; see also Luke 20:2-8; more at Jesus)
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