Quotations for December, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Commemoration of Charles de Foucauld, Hermit, Servant of the Poor, 1916
Beautiful sanctuaries, paved parking lots, and new liturgies will do very little for people who sit in worship with their fingers crossed and do not really believe the faith which is expounded. Often the layman dismisses what the preacher says as something irrelevant to his situation and generation. When he joins a group where he is no longer afraid to be frank, the supposedly faithful member often admits that he has never really accepted what he thinks he has heard. He has, for example, grave reservations about the idea of creation. Did not the world evolve of itself? Do we really need the hypothesis of Infinite Purpose to make sense of the physical, biological, and psychological development? These questions seldom come to the surface when the Church provides merely a one-way preaching. There is little chance of renewal if all that we have is the arrangement by which one speaks and the others listen. One trouble with this conventional system is that the speaker never knows what the unanswered questions are, or what reservations remain in the layman’s mentality.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Incendiary Fellowship, New York: Harper, 1967, p. 61
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:1-3; Eze. 34:4; Matt. 20:25-26; 23:8-10; Mark 10:42-45; Luke 22:25-27; 1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 4:5; more at Authenticity, Beauty, Belief, Church, Faith, Listening, Preach, Preacher, Question, Sanctuary, Worship)
Friday, December 2, 2016
This insensibility of ours is a bad symptom. For one thing, it implies that we have no spiritual ambition, else we should not be satisfied with such poor lives; that we cannot have thought out the fact of Jesus Christ, and how immeasurably He has raised the standard. Will you hang your wretched daubs beside the works of Titian and Michelangelo and not be shamed by the enormous contrast, stand back and say, with a satisfied smirk, “That is pretty good, you know!” And can you live face to face with Jesus Christ, and be content with what you are?
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 31
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:75; Hos. 8:1; Phil. 4:11-13; Heb. 12:3-8; more at Ambition, Attitudes, Christ, Contentment, Jesus, Satisfaction, Spiritual life, Work)
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Commemoration of Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies, Missionary, 1552
Poor and unsatisfying are the results where “Unity,” “Corporate Life,” and the like are the perpetual watchwords, but where they bear a primary reference to order, function, and succession in the ministry of the Church. One can not but ask the question sometimes, when contemplating phenomena of an ardent ecclesiasticism, is this the worthy goal of ten thousand efforts, of innumerable assertions of “catholicity”—this spirit and tone, these enterprises and actions, so little akin either to the love or to the simplicity, the openness, of the heavenly Gospel? Suppose such unity to be attained to the uttermost, beyond even the dreams of Rome: would it contribute at all to making “the world believe that the Father hath sent the Son, and hath loved us even as He loved Him”?
... Handley Moule (1841-1920), Ephesians Studies, New York: A. C. Armstrong, 1900, p. 184-185
(see the book; see also John 17:22-23; Matt. 9:10-13; John 14:20; 1 John 3:24; 4:14; more at Church, Father, Gospel, Love, Minister, Question, Simplicity, Son, Unity)
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Commemoration of Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637
Owing to the pressure of an ever-increasing number of subjects introduced into the curriculum of a school, it is only too possible for men to be held to be educated and intelligent without ever having seriously tested their intelligence upon, say, the Book of Job, or upon the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. No doubt there are very good excuses for this lack of discipline. Many forward-thinking men will tell you that the Bible is not worth serious attention, that it is simple, trivial, and out-of-date; and so, even though you may hear the Bible read, read it yourselves, or even study it, the tension of your energy may be relaxed—subtly relaxed. But it is quite certain that a widespread relaxation of the tension of Biblical interpretation has disastrous effects. For there is no corruption that threatens a country so surely as the corruption or sentimentalizing of its religion; and there is no corruption of the Christian religion so swift as that which sets in when the Church loses its strict Biblical discipline.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), We are the Pharisees, London: SPCK, 1960, p. 5
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 4:13-16; Ps. 21; Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 4:22; 1 John 5:19; more at Bible, Corruption, Discipline, Education, Religion, School, Simplicity)
Monday, December 5, 2016
If man is not made for God, why is he only happy in God? If man is made for God, why is he so opposed to God?
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #438, p. 150
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:26-27; Matt. 10:22; Acts 17:23; Rom. 1:20-24; more at Apostasy, Attitudes, God, Happiness, Man, Sin)
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Feast of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c.326
The paradox is that a genuine “love for souls” which allows itself to be diverted by fashionable modes into a mere “winning” of them to this or that mutually exclusive version of the “Truth,” very often descends to a use of people for more-or-less irrelevant ends (already an evil), and can then so easily degenerate into a total misuse of people for alleged evangelical “results” with the consequent loss of all respect for people and their souls, and the withering of the original concern and love.
... G. W. Target (b. 1924), Evangelism Inc., London: Penguin Press, 1968, p. 88
(see the book; see also Acts 2:37-39; Phil. 1:15; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 9:19-23; 2 Cor. 4:5; more at Evil, Love, Mission, Paradox, People, Soul, Truth, Worldly)
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Feast of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher, 397
It is a great mystery of divine love, that not even in Christ was exception made of the death of the body; and although He was the Lord of nature, He refused not the law of the flesh which He had taken upon Him. It is necessary for me to die; for Him it was not necessary.
... St. Ambrose of Milan (Aurelius Ambrosius) (339-397), A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, second series, v. X, Philip Schaff & Henry Wace, ed., New York: Christian Literature Company, 1896, p. 61
(see the book; see also John 10:17-18; Isa. 53:10-12; Hos. 13:14; Matt. 26:53-56; John 2:19-21; 19:11; Acts 2:24; Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 2:9, 14-15; more at Christ, Death, God, Jesus, Law, Love, Nature)
Thursday, December 8, 2016
It is of great importance that you endeavour, at all times, to keep your hearts in peace; that you may keep pure that temple of God. The way to keep it in peace is to enter into it by means of inward silence. When you see yourself more sharply assaulted, retreat into that region of peace; and you will find a fortress that will enable you to triumph over all your enemies, visible and invisible, and over all their snares and temptations. Within your own soul resides divine aid, and sovereign succour. Retreat within it, and all will be quiet, secure, peaceable, and calm. Thus, by means of mental silence, which can only be attained with divine help, you may look for tranquillity in tumult: solitude in company; light in darkness; forgetfulness in pressures: vigour in despondency; courage in fear; resistance in temptation; and quiet in tribulation.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Mme. Guyon (1648-1717), William Backhouse (1779/80-1844) & James Jansen (1784-1821), A Guide to True Peace , Pendle Hill by Harper & Brothers, 1946, p. 47-48
(see the book; see also Isa. 40:31; Ps. 46:10; 103:2-5; Hab. 2:20; Zech. 2:13; 2 Cor. 4:16; 12:9-10; more at Calm, Enemy, Light, Peace, Prayer, Security, Silence, Temptation, Tranquility)
Friday, December 9, 2016
The missionary work of the non-professional missionary is essentially to live his daily life in Christ, and therefore with a difference, and to be able to explain, or at least to state, the reason and cause of the difference to men who see it. His preaching is essentially private conversation, and has at the back of it facts, facts of a life which explain and illustrate and enforce his words...It is such missionary work, done consciously and deliberately as missionary, that the world needs today. Everybody, Christian and pagan alike, respects such work; and, when it is so done, men wonder, and inquire into the secret of a life which they instinctively admire and covet for themselves... The spirit which inspires love of others and efforts after their well-being, both in body and soul, they cannot but admire and covet, unless, indeed, seeing that it would reform their own lives, they dread and hate it, because they do not desire to be reformed. In either case, it works.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Non-Professional Missionaries, privately printed, 1929, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 84
(see the book; see also 2 Thess. 3:7-9; Acts 18:2-3; 20:34; 1 Cor. 4:12-13; 9:12; 2 Cor. 11:9; more at Christ, Life, Love, Mission, Missionary, Preach, Reform, Spirit, Work)
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Commemoration of Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968
Prayer is the movement of trust, of gratitude, of adoration, or of sorrow, that places us before God, seeing both Him and ourselves in the light of His infinite truth, and moves us to ask Him for the mercy, the spiritual strength, the material help that we all need. The man whose prayer is so pure that he never asks God for anything does not know who God is, and does not know who he is himself: for he does not know his own need of God.All true prayer somehow confesses our absolute dependence on the Lord of life and death. It is, therefore, a deep and vital contact with Him whom we know not only as Lord but as Father. It is when we pray truly that we really are. Our being is brought to a high perfection by this.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), No Man is an Island, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955; reprint, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 43
(see the book; see also Ps. 118:5-6; 46:1; 56:11; 146:5-6; Rom. 8:26-27,31; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; Jude 1:20; more at Confession, Father, God, Gratitude, Mercy, Praise, Prayer, Sorrow, Trust, Truth)
Sunday, December 11, 2016
This power of being outwardly genial and inwardly austere, which is the real Christian temper, depends entirely upon the time set apart for personal religion. It is always achieved if courageously and faithfully sought; and there are no heights of love and holiness to which it cannot lead.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Concerning the Inner Life, London: Methuen, 1927, p. 31-32
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:18; Ps. 119:80; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:19-20; 2 Tim. 1:7-8; more at Attitudes, Courage, Discipline, Holiness, Love, Religion)
Monday, December 12, 2016
Christ is the Word of God. It is not in certain texts written in the New Testament, valuable as they are; it is not in certain words which Jesus spoke, vast as is their preciousness; it is in the Word which Jesus is, that the great manifestation of God is made.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Life and letters of Phillips Brooks, v. III, Alexander V. G. Allen, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1901, p. 104
(see the book; see also John 1:1-14; Ps. 2:7; Matt. 1:23; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:1-3; 1 John 5:20; more at Bible, Christ, God, Incarnation, Jesus)
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Feast of Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
Commemoration of Samuel Johnson, Writer, Moralist, 1784
It is by affliction chiefly that the heart of man is purified, and that the thoughts are fixed on a better state. Prosperity ... has power to intoxicate the imagination, to fix the mind upon the present scene, to produce confidence and elation, and to make him who enjoys affluence and honours forget the hand by which they were bestowed. It is seldom that we are otherwise, than by affliction, awakened to a sense of our imbecility, or taught to know how little all our acquisitions can conduce to safety or to quiet; and how justly we may ascribe to the superintendence of a higher power, those blessings which in the wantonness of success we considered as the attainments of our policy and courage.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Works of Samuel Johnson, L. L. D., v. III, New York: William Durell, 1811, p. 251-252
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:12; Luke 12:15; Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor. 1:23-29; Col. 3:1-2; Heb. 12:5-8; Jas. 5:1-5; more at Affliction, Awakening, Blessing, Forget, Purity, Weakness)
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Feast of John of the Cross, Mystic, Poet, Teacher, 1591
No knowledge, therefore, and no conceptions in this mortal life, can serve as proximate means of this high union of the love of God. All that the understanding may comprehend; all that the will may be satisfied with; and all that the imagination may conceive; is most unlike unto God, and most disproportionate to Him.
... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), The Ascent of Mount Carmel, London: Thomas Baker, 1906, p. 96-97
(see the book; see also John 15:9; Job 36:26; 37:5; Ps. 86:10; 98:1; Eccl. 3:11; Isa. 40:28; 55:8; Lam. 3:22-23; Rom. 11:33; Eph. 3:18; more at God, Knowledge, Love, Mortality, Understanding)
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Come worship the King,That little dear thing,Asleep on His Mother’s soft breast.Ye bright stars, bow down,Weave for Him a crown,Christ Jesus by angels confessed. Come, children, and peep,But hush ye, and creepOn tiptoe to where the Babe lies;Then whisper His NameAnd lo! like a flameThe glory light shines in His eyes. Come strong men, and seeThis high mystery,Tread firm where the shepherds have trod,And watch, ’mid the hairOf the Maiden so fair,The five little fingers of God. Come, old men and grey,The star leads the way,It halts and your wanderings cease;Look down on His FaceThen, filled with His Grace,Depart ye, God’s servants, in Peace.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)
(see also Luke 2:8-14; Matt. 2:9-11; Luke 2:6-7,15-20 ; more at Christ, Christmas, Glory, God, Grace, Jesus, King, Peace, Star, Worship)
Friday, December 16, 2016
Wherever the missionary character of the doctrine of election is forgotten; wherever it is forgotten that we are chosen in order to be sent; wherever the minds of believers are concerned more to probe backwards from their election into the reasons for it in the secret counsel of God, than to press forward from their election to the purpose of it, ... that they should be Christ’s ambassadors and witnesses to the ends of the earth, wherever men think that the purpose of election is their own salvation rather than the salvation of the world: then God’s people have betrayed their trust.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 111
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:9; Ps. 22:30; 33:12; 73:11-17; Matt. 5:16; Eph. 1:14; 2:10; 6:19-20; 2 Tim. 1:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 5:9-10; more at Betrayal, Counsel, Earth, Forget, God, Mission, Missionary, Purpose, Salvation, Trust, Witness)
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Commemoration of Eglantine Jebb, Social Reformer, Founder of ‘Save the Children’, 1928
Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God, we do not see ourselves—blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 84
(see the book; see also John 19:37; Isa. 45:22; Zech. 12:10; Mic. 7:7; John 1:29; 3:14-15; Heb. 12:1-2; Rev. 1:7; more at Failure, Faith, God, Purity, Sight)
Sunday, December 18, 2016
One of the heritages from history which prevents us so often from seeing the Church, with all its greatness and misery, in its true light, is the distinction between the “empirical” and the “ideal” Church. It is to such a degree an element of our thinking that we hardly notice it. It has been since the first centuries a standard view, a means to give account of the, indeed, often disappointing state and quality of Christian faith and practice in the Church as it appeared. As such it is understandable; but nevertheless it proceeds more from the counsels of worldly wisdom than from the faith-as-response by which the Church should live, and the call to incessant renewal under which the Church stands as “God’s own household,” “growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” However stubborn and refractory the stuff of ordinary reality may be—and it is—the Church, though with clear realism seeing this reality, can never permit itself to put the divine indicatives and imperatives, which are her peculiar directives and points of orientation, behind considerations which are properly speaking worldly in character.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 88
(see the book; see also Eph. 2:19-22; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 3:6,14-15; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 12:22-23; 1 John 3:1; more at Church, Counsel, Disappointment, Faith, God, Historical, Holiness, Renewal, Temple, Wisdom, Worldly)
Monday, December 19, 2016
The Church is not a tribe for the improvement in holiness of people who think it would be pleasant to be holy, a means to the integration of character for those who cannot bear their conflicts. It is a statement of the divine intention for humanity.
... Harold Loukes (1912-1980)
(see also Eph. 5:25-27; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:19-22; more at Church, Holiness, People, Will of God)
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
The heart is commonly reached, not through the reason, but through the imagination, by means of direct impressions, by the testimony of facts and events, by history, by description. Persons influence us, voices melt us, looks subdue us, deeds inflame us.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, v. 8, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 555
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 1:8; Ps. 40:6-8; Isa. 2:3; 52:7; 66:19; Rom. 10:14-15; 2 Thess. 3:1; Rev. 22:17; more at Apologetics, Heart, Imagination, Influence, Reason)
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
God gave the prophecies, not to gratify men’s curiosity by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and His own providence, not the interpreter’s, be thereby manifested to the world.
... Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Commentary on Daniel, Darby and Browne, 1733, p. 101
(see the book; see also Acts 10:43; Isa. 53:11; Joel 2:28-29; Mic. 7:18; Luke 24:25-27,44-45; John 1:45; 5:39-40; Acts 26:22; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; more at Fulfillment, God, Man, Prophecy, Providence, World)
Thursday, December 22, 2016
[The entire Old Testament] ground-plan is the whole scheme of Messianic prophecy, from the germinal revelation in Genesis concerning the suffering, yet triumphant Seed of the Woman to the coming to His Temple of the long-absent “Angel of the Covenant” in Malachi. That hope alone explains the Book, giving meaning and consistency to its story. Was it a chimera, an hallucination? According to the prophecy of Micah, the messianic Shepherd of Israel had to be born in Bethlehem. It is unthinkable that an heir to the throne of David could be born in Bethlehem now, and be also able to prove his legitimacy by documentary evidence. The event must clearly have taken place already, or Micah is a false prophet, a raiser of false hopes, along with the other writers in the Old Testament.
... Max I. Reich (1867-1945)
(see also Mic. 5:2; Gen. 3:15; Mic. 3:1; Rom. 1:1-4; more at Angel, Bible, Israel, Prophet, Prophecy, Revelation, Seed, Temple, Woman)
Friday, December 23, 2016
The King of glory sends his Son,To make his entrance on this earth;Behold the midnight bright as noon,And heav’nly hosts declare his birth! About the young Redeemer’s head,What wonders, and what glories meet!An unknown star arose, and ledThe eastern sages to his feet. Simeon and Anna both conspireThe infant Saviour to proclaim;Inward they felt the sacred fire,And bless’d the babe, and own’d his name. Let pagan hordes blaspheme aloud,And treat the holy child with scorn;Our souls adore th’ eternal GodWho condescended to be born.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs , in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, Book II, hymn 136, p. 454
(see the book; see also Matt. 2:1-11; Luke 2:25-38; John 1:14; more at Blessing, Child, Christmas, Consecration, Earth, Everlasting, Glory, God, King, Preach, Savior)
Saturday, December 24, 2016
High o’er the lonely hills black turns to gray,Bird-song the valley fills, mists fold awayGray wakes to green again,Beauty is seen again,Gold and serene again dawneth the day. So, o’er the hills of life, stormy, forlorn,Out of the cloud and strife sunrise is born;Swift grows the light for us,Ended is night for us,Soundless and bright for us breaketh God’s morn. Hear we no beat of drums, fanfare, nor cry,When Christ the herald comes quietly nigh;Splendor He makes on earth;Color awakes on earth;Suddenly breaks on earth light from the sky. Bid then farewell to sleep: rise up and run!What though the hill be steep? Strength’s in the sun.Now you shall find at lastNight’s left behind at last,And for mankind at last, Day has begun!
... Jan Struther (1901-1953), Songs of Praise, enl. ed., Ralph Vaughan Williams, et al., ed., Oxford University Press, 1931, n. 63, p. 19
(see the book; see also John 8:12; Matt. 4:13-16; Isa. 9:2; 60:1-3; Luke 1:76-79; 2:30-32; John 1:9; 9:5; Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:4-5; 1 John 1:5-7; more at Beginning, Christ, Christmas, Day, Earth, Sleep)
Sunday, December 25, 2016
He has come! the Christ of God;—Left for us His glad abode;Stooping from His throne of bliss,To this darksome wilderness. He has come! the Prince of Peace;—Come to bid our sorrows cease;Come to scatter, with His light,All the darkness of our night. He, the Mighty King, has come!Making this poor world His home;Come to bear our sin’s sad load,—Son of David, Son of God. He has come whose name of graceSpeaks deliverance to our race;Left for us His glad abode,—Son of Mary, Son of God! Unto us a Child is born!Ne’er has earth beheld a mornAmong all the morns of time,Half so glorious in its prime. Unto us a Son is given!He has come from God’s own heaven;Bringing with Him, from above,Holy peace and holy love.
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), Hymns of Faith and Hope, first series, New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1866, p. 160-161
(see the book; see also Isa. 9:6-7; 7:14; 1 John 4:2-3; Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:4-14; 1 Tim. 3:16; more at Christ, Christmas, Deliverance, God, Grace, Light, Love, Peace, Son)
Monday, December 26, 2016
Feast of Stephen, Deacon, First Martyr
If Christianity is what Jesus taught and lived and died for, then nothing can be truly the Gospel which lays less stress than he did upon every human being’s need of forgiveness by God, and upon our human need to be perpetually forgiving each other... Sooner or later, the modern adult man, like all other men everywhere, must come to know his need to be forgiven, and that by God.
... Roger Lloyd (1901-1966), The Ferment in the Church, London: SCM Press, 1964, p. 120-121
(see the book; see also Rom. 4:5-8; Ps. 32:1-2; 51:8-9; 85:2; Jer. 33:8; Mic. 7:18-20; Matt. 6:12,14-15; 9:2; 18:21-22; Luke 7:47-50; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Col. 3:13; more at Forgiveness, God, Gospel, Jesus, Need, Teach)
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Feast of John, Apostle & Evangelist
Jesus Christ is the end of all, and the centre to which all tends. Whoever knows Him knows the reason of everything.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #556, p. 185
(see the book; see also Col. 1:16-17; John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; more at Jesus, Knowing God, Reason)
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Feast of the Holy Innocents
You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then he is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation—a rock rising above the storm.
... Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), The Life and Remains, Letters, Lectures, and Poems of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, Andrew Alexander Bonar, New York: R. Carter, 1866, p. 253
(see the book; see also Isa. 35; Hos. 14:5-6; John 7:38; Rom. 10:15; Rev. 19:6-9; more at Desolation, Hostility, Jesus, World)
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Feast of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170
To me there is a much more frightening ignorance in our modern world than the “ignorance of the heathen.” I am referring to the almost total ignorance of the content and implication of the Christian Faith shown by many “clever” people today. Frankly, I find it horrifying to discover that men who are experts in their own line, in astronomy, genetics, or nuclear physics, for example, have no adult knowledge of what the Church of Christ stands for, and a complete blank ignorance of what the Church is achieving today. It is the more horrifying because people who rightly respect the expert for his knowledge in his own field have no idea that he has not carefully examined and reluctantly discarded Christianity; but in all probability he has never studied it at all!
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), The Church Under the Cross, London: Macmillan, 1956, p. xii
(see the book; see also Rom. 15:20-21; Isa. 52:15; 65:1; 2 Cor. 10:14-16; more at Christ, Church, Education, Example, Faith, Ignorance, Knowledge, Social)
Friday, December 30, 2016
In the last analysis, the service the Christian does is not his, but Christ’s. Therefore he must not feel too keenly the burden of responsibility, because at the end of the day all he can say is, “We are unprofitable servants.” This knowledge, far from inhibiting action, actually releases the Christian from that appalling feeling of responsibility that has driven so many high-minded humanists to despair, even to suicide... Work done conscientiously by the Christian is his share in Christ’s service; but it is Christ’s service, and therefore the Christian need neither be proud because it has succeeded or overwhelmed because it has failed. The service of Christ is supremely expressed in the apparent failure of the Cross.
... Anthony T. Hanson (1916-1991), The Church of the Servant, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 88-89
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:22-29; Rom. 14:4-8; Gal. 2:20; 1 Thess. 5:10; 1 Pet. 4:2; more at Christ, Cross, Despair, Failure, Knowledge, Obedience, Responsibility, Service, Share)
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Commemoration of John Wycliffe, Reformer, 1384
Christian men and women, old and young, should study well in the New Testament, for it is of full authority, and open to understanding by simple men, as to the points that are most needful to salvation. Each part of Scripture, both open and dark, teaches meekness and charity; and therefore he that keeps meekness and charity has the true understanding and perfection of all Scripture. Therefore, no simple man of wit should be afraid to study in the text of Scripture. And no cleric should be proud of the true understanding of Scripture, because understanding of Scripture without charity that keeps God’s commandments, makes a man deeper damned... and pride and covetousness of clerics is the cause of [the Church’s] blindness and heresy, and deprives them of the true understanding of Scripture.
... John Wycliffe (1320?-1384), Wycliffe: Select English Writings, AMS Press, 1976, p. 23
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:13; Matt. 5:5; 22:43; Rom. 15:4; Gal. 3:8; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; more at Bible, Blindness, Charity, Church, God, Heresy, Meekness, Scripture, Simplicity, Truth, Understanding)
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