Quotations for January, 2020
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus
For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Preface to the Prophets , in What Luther Says: an anthology, v. I, Ewald Martin Plass, ed., Concordia Pub. House, 1959, p. 83
(see the book; see also 2 Kings 22:8-13; Neh. 8:2-3,18; 1 Tim. 4:13; more at Bible, Knowledge, Tree, Year)
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833
Let nothing be to you an occasion of unbelief. If thou considerest the stones, even they contain proof of the power of their Maker; and so does the ant, the gnat, the bee. In smallest things the wisdom of the Creator is oftentimes displayed. He who stretched out the heavens, and poured forth the mighty volume of the sea, He it is who hollowed the minute sting of the bee to shed its virus through. You must not say that anything was done by chance. But His judgments are like the great deep.
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), Homily on Ps. XXXII.5, quoted in Saint Basil the Great, Richard T. Smith, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1879, p. 111
(see the book; see also Job 39:1-2; Gen. 18:10-14; Job 12:7-9; 38-41; Ps. 19:1-6,9; 32:5; 146:5-6; Eccl. 11:5; Jer. 10:12; Matt. 6:28-30; Rom. 1:20; more at Apologetics, Creation, Judgment, Power, Proof, Unbelief, Wisdom)
Friday, January 3, 2020
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970
George Brush, the hero of [Thornton Wilder’s] “Heaven’s My Destination,” a textbook salesman and evangelist extraordinary, is the innocent fool, in the kindliest sense of both the noun and the adjective. He is striving to be the fool in Christ, sowing the inevitable amazement, consternation and wrath that must ensue when Christ’s fool runs at large among the worldly wise.
... Edmund Fuller (1914/15-2001), “Thornton Wilder: the Notation of the Heart”, originally in American Scholar, September, 1959, pp 210-217, included in Books with Men Behind Them, New York: Random House, 1959, p. 49-50
(see the book; see also Luke 4:28-29; John 15:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:21-25; more at Christ, Evangelization, Fool, Innocence, Sow, Strife, Wisdom, Worldly)
Saturday, January 4, 2020
If we think that Jesus did not rise, but “lives” and “reigns” only in his followers’ memories and imaginations, and is not actively and objectively “there” in the place of power, irrespective of whether he is acknowledged or not, we should give up hope of our own rising, and of Jesus’ public return, and admit that the idea of churches and Christians being sustained by the Spirit-giving energy of a living Lord was never more than a pleasing illusion. And, in that case, we ought frankly to affirm that, though the New Testament is an amazing witness to the religious creativity of the human spirit, its actual message is more wrong than right, more misleading than helpful; and we must reconstruct our gospel accordingly. Only a weak, muddled, or cowardly mind will hesitate to do this.
... James I. Packer (b. 1926), “Jesus Christ the Lord”, 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. 34
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:17; 1 John 2:6; 4:2-3; 5:20; more at Bible, Church, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Illusions, Jesus, Power, Witness, Wrong)
Sunday, January 5, 2020
Lord Jesus Christ! A whole life long didst thou suffer that I too might be saved; and yet thy suffering is not yet at an end; but this too wilt thou endure, saving and redeeming me, this patient suffering of having to do with me, I who so often go astray from the right path, or even when I remained on the straight path stumbled along it or crept so slowly along the right path. Infinite patience, suffering of infinite patience. How many times have I not been impatient, wished to give up and forsake everything; wished to take the terribly easy way out, despair: but thou didst not lose patience. Oh, I cannot say what thy chosen servant says: that he filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh; no, I can only say that I increased thy sufferings, added new ones to those which thou didst once suffer in order to save me.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 361
(see the book; see also Luke 1:17-19; John 19:1-3; Col. 1:24; Heb. 9:26-28; 12:1-2; more at Affliction, Christ, Patience, Prayers, Redemption, Salvation, Suffer)
Monday, January 6, 2020
It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue but the strongest incentive to its practice; and has exerted so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.
... W. E. H. Lecky (1838-1903), History of European Morals, v. II , New York: D. Appleton, 1910, p. 8-9
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:37-48; John 1:14,17-18; 3:16; Heb. 1:1-2; more at Apologetics, Ideal, Inspiration, Love, Philosophy, Regeneration, Virtue)
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
[Johannes] Brahms chose his own texts [for his German Requiem] from Luther’s Bible to illustrate the Protestant conviction that man must hear and respond to God’s word in man’s own language, and that every believer must be free to deal with the Biblical text apart from priestly veto... For the word “German” he would gladly have substituted the word “human” because he was concerned to comment on “the primary text of human existence,” finding there, as in the Bible, the universal themes of suffering and joy.
... Paul S. Minear (1906-2007)
(see also Ps. 39:4-7; 84:1-2,4; 126:5-6; Isa. 35:10; 40:6-7; 66:13; Matt. 5:4; John 16:22; 1 Cor. 15:51-52,54-55; Heb. 13:14; Jas. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:24-25; Rev. 4:11; 14:13; more at Bible, Conviction, Existence, God, Historical, Joy, Man, Priest, Suffer)
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
24th anniversary of CQOD
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956
The man who will not act till he knows all will never act at all.
... Jim Elliot (1927-1956), citing a popular saying of ancient Greece, The Journals of Jim Elliot, ed. Elisabeth Elliot, Revell, 1990, p. 131
(see the book; see also Rom. 2:13; 1 Cor. 9:16; Jas. 1:22-25; more at Action, Attitudes, Knowledge, Man)
Thursday, January 9, 2020
I belong and will ever belong to “The Great God Party.” I will have nought to do with “The Little God Party...” Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible.
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), C. T. Studd—Cricketer and Pioneer , Norman P. Grubb, World-Wide Revival Prayer Movement, 1947, p. 164-165
(see the book; see also Ps. 48:1; Gen. 18:14; Ps. 86:10; 99:4; 145:3; 147:5; Nah. 1:3; Matt. 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37; 18:27; Rev. 15:3; more at Christ, Greatness, Miracle, Power, Providence)
Friday, January 10, 2020
Sin is not only manifested in certain acts that are forbidden by divine command. Sin also appears in attitudes and dispositions and feelings. Lust and hate are sins, as well as adultery and murder. And, in the traditional Christian view, despair and chronic boredom—unaccompanied by any vicious act—are serious sins. They are expressions of man’s separation from God, as the ultimate good, meaning, and end of human existence.
... Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001), in Great Ideas Online, #369, Apr., 2006, Great Ideas from the Great Books, part V. q. 59
(more at Attitudes, Commandment, Despair, God, Meaning, Sin)
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915
It is vain for bishops and pious bigwigs to discuss what dreadful things will happen if wild skepticism runs its course. It has run its course. It is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought begin. We have seen it end. It has no more questions to ask; it has questioned itself. You cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves. You cannot fancy a more skeptical world than that in which men doubt if there is a world. It might certainly have reached its bankruptcy more quickly and cleanly if it had not been feebly hampered by the application of indefensible laws of blasphemy or by the absurd pretense that modern England is Christian. But it would have reached the bankruptcy anyhow.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Orthodoxy, London, New York: John Lane Company, 1909, p. 65-66
(see the book; see also Job 22:17; Zeph. 1:12; Mal. 3:13-15; more at Agnosticism, Apologetics, Atheism, Blasphemy, Doubt, Question, Self, Vanity, World)
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689
Pain is a kindly, hopeful thing, a certain proof of life, a clear assurance [that] all is not yet over, that there is still a chance. But if your heart has no pain, well, that may betoken health, as you suppose. But are you certain that it does not mean that your soul is dead?
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 277
(see the book; see also Gen. 50:20; Isa. 53:11-12; Rom. 8:22,28; more at Assurance, Death, Heart, Kindness, Pain, Proof, Soul, Weakness)
Monday, January 13, 2020
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603
That is where they meet, the Upper Room, scene of the Last Supper, scene of the Resurrection appearances when the doors were shut, scene now of their waiting for the Spirit. Whose is it? The clue lies in Acts 12, where St. Peter, strangely freed from Herod’s prison, knows at whose house they will be gathered for prayer. He knocks, startles the gate-girl Rhoda. It was “the house of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark”—the young man who was to write the earliest of the gospels. The first meeting place of any Christian congregation was the home of a woman in Jerusalem.Something of the sort happens everywhere. The church in Caesarea centres upon Philip the Evangelist. “Now this man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.” ... Joppa church depends on Tabitha, “a woman full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” Follow St. Paul about the Mediterranean. He crosses to Europe because he dreams of a man from Macedonia who cries, “Come over and help us.” But when he lands at Philippi it is not a man, but a woman. “Lydia was baptized and her household”—his first convert in Europe, a woman. Everywhere women are the most notable of the converts, often the only ones who believe. In Thessalonica there are “of the chief women not a few;” Beroea, “Greek women of honourable estate;” Athens, only two names, one of them, Damaris, a woman. At Corinth Priscilla and Aquila come into the story, the pair always mentioned together, and four times out of the six with the wife’s name first, a thing undreamed of in the first century. Why? Because she counted for more in church affairs—hostess of the church in her houses in Corinth, Ephesus and Rome, chief instructress of Apollos the missionary, intimate of the greatest missionary of all, St. Paul. Six times in the Epistles greetings are sent to a house-church, and in five cases the church is linked with a woman’s name.
... John Foster (1898-1973), Five Minutes a Saint, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1963, p. 39
(see the book; see also Acts 12:11-16; 16:14-15; 17:12,34; 18:24-28; Rom. 16:1-3,6,12; Col. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:19; more at Bible, Church, Conversion, Evangelization, Home, Missionary, Prison, Prophet, Woman)
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915
When law and sin ceased to be distinguished in Israel, compassion induced Him to appoint judges again. If these are gifted with heroic qualities, to vanquish the oppressors of Israel, it is nevertheless not this heroism that forms their principal characteristic. That consists in judging. They restore... the authority of the law. For this reason, God raises up judges, not princes. The title sets forth both their work and the occasion of their appointment. Israel is free and powerful when its law is observed throughout the land.
... Paulus Cassell, from The Book of Judges, tr. P. H. Steenstra, in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, vol. IV, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, John Peter Lange, New York: C. Scribner & Co., 1871, p. 61
(see the book; see also Judg. 2:14-19; 5:1-3; 6:12-16; more at Authenticity, Bible, Compassion, God, Heroism, Israel, Judgment, Law, Nation, Sin)
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
There is a continuum of values between the churches and the general community. What distinguishes the handling of these values in the churches is mainly the heavier dosage of religious vocabulary involved... Another way of putting this is to say that the churches operate with secular values while the secular institutions are permeated with religious terminology... An objective observer is hard put to tell the difference (at least in terms of values affirmed) between the church members and those who maintain an ‘unchurched’ status. Usually the most that can be said is that the church members hold the same values as everybody else, but with more emphatic solemnity. Thus, church membership in no way means adherence to a set of values at variance with those of the general society; rather, it means a stronger and more explicitly religious affirmation of the same values held by the community at large.
... Peter L. Berger (b. 1929), The Noise of Solemn Assemblies, Garden City: Doubleday, 1961, p. 41
(see the book; see also Isa. 1:13-16; Matt. 5:13-16; Luke 11:33-35; John 9:5; Phil. 2:14-16; more at Authenticity, Church, Community, Religion, Social)
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 51
(see the book; see also Phil. 1:27; Heb. 12:1-2; 1 John 1:7; more at Body of Christ, Church, Ecumenical, Fellowship, Health, Purity, Religion, Social, Unity, Worship)
Friday, January 17, 2020
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932
It was something more than a glorified Christ in the heavens in which [the Apostles] believed. At the beginning John the Baptist had taught his disciples to expect from the Christ the baptism, not of water only, as in his baptism, but of the Spirit. Before His death Jesus had sought to fill His disciples’ minds with the expectation of this gift... And that Spirit had come in sensible power upon them some ten days after Jesus had disappeared for the last time from their eyes... And this Spirit was the Spirit of God, but also and therefore the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus was not to them merely a past example, or a remote Lord, but an inward presence and power. A mere example in past history becomes in experience a feebler and feebler power... But the example of Jesus was something much more than a memory. For He who had taught them in the past how to live was alive in the heavenly places, and was working within them by His Spirit.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), The Philosophy of the Good Life, J. Murray, 1930, p. 195
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:19,20; John 14:16-17; Acts 1:4-5,8; 2:1-4; Rom. 8:34; more at Baptism, Christ, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Pentecost, Power)
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951
I do not find that this position, that of unbroken peacefulness and inward song, is one which we can hope to hold unassailed. It is no soft arrangement of pillows, no easy-chair. It is a fort in an enemy’s country, and the foe is wise in assault and especially in surprise. And yet there can be nothing to fear, for it is not a place that we must keep, but a stronghold in which we are kept, if only, in the moment we are conscious of attack, we look “away unto our faith’s Princely Leader and Perfecter, Jesus, who endured.”
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), Rose from Brier , London: SPCK, 1950, p. 76
(see the book; see also Acts 10:36; Rom. 5:1; 8:6; Eph. 2:14-17; Col. 3:15; Heb. 12:2; more at Enemy, Faith, Foe, Jesus, Peace, Safety, Song, Weakness)
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
As for the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was so far from wondering at them that, on the contrary, he was surprised that there were not more, considering the malice sinners were capable of. For his part, he prayed for them; but, knowing that God could remedy the mischiefs they did when He pleased, he gave himself no further trouble.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, First Conversation, p. 8-9
(see the book; see also Luke 6:27-28; Acts 7:60; Rom. 12:14,19-20; more at Confidence, Malice, Providence, Sin, Sinner, Trouble, World)
Monday, January 20, 2020
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349
That thou mayest win to the sweetness of God’s love, I set here three degrees of love, in the which thou shouldst be aye waxing. The first is called insuperable, the second inseparable, the third singular. Thy love is insuperable when nothing may overcome it, that is, neither weal, nor woe, nor anguish, just of flesh nor the liking of this world... Thy love is inseparable when all thy thoughts and thy wills are gathered together and fastened wholly in Jesus Christ, so that thou mayest no time forget Him, but aye thou thinkest on Him... Thy love is singular when all thy delight is in Jesus Christ and in no other thing finds joy and comfort.
... Richard Rolle (1290?-1349), The Commandments, in English Spirituality in the Age of Wyclif, David Lyle Jeffrey, tr., Regent College Publishing, 1988, p. 156
(see the book; see also John 14:21; 15:9-12; 16:33; more at Affliction, Anguish, Comfort, Forget, Jesus, Joy, Knowing God, Love, Victory, World)
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304
It is one thing to fear God as threatening, with a holy reverence, and another to be afraid of the evil threatened.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. XI ff, in Works of John Owen, v. XXIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1855, p. 50
(see the book; see also Ps. 23:4; 119:120; Hab. 3:16; Mal. 2:5; Heb. 4:1; 5:7-8; 11:7; more at Evil, Fear, God, Holiness, Reverence, Sin)
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
It is not in our life that God’s help and presence must still be proved, but rather God’s presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is, in fact, more important for us to know what God did to Israel and to His Son Jesus Christ, than to seek what God intends for us today.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 62
(see the book; see also John 1:17-18; Rom. 1:1-4; Tit. 1:1-3; Heb. 1:1-2; 13:8; more at God, Intention, Israel, Jesus, Life, Proof, Social, Today)
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you yourself shall be the miracle.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Twenty Sermons, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1887, p. 330
(see the book; see also Luke 18:30; John 4:48-53; 20:29; Rom. 15:18-19; more at Miracle, Prayer, Task, Work)
Friday, January 24, 2020
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622
We must not be unjust and require from ourselves what is not in ourselves... Do not desire not to be what you are, but desire to be very well what you are.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Spiritual Maxims, Longmans, Green, 1954, p. 138,114
(see the book; see also Matt. 19:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Col. 3:5; more at Achievement, Humility, Obedience, Providence)
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Feast of the Conversion of Paul
In [Father Smith’s] opinion the leaders of the Church had grown so used to the spectacle of the world neglecting the wisdom of Christ that they had ceased to be shocked by it and what was wanted was a renewal of the apostolic spirit among cardinals and archbishops and papal nuncios. It was no use preaching the gospel only to those who came to church to hear it. The gospel ought to be preached to those who didn’t want to hear it as well: to industrialists in their offices, to clubmen in their windows, to workers in their yards and factories, to bibbers in their taverns, to harlots in their doorways, to all those should the sweet tidings of Christ be taught. It was a sorry matter for reflection that it was only heretics who dared to brave the sneers of the mob by crying aloud the Name of Jesus at street corners and in the market place.
... Bruce Marshall (1899-1987), The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1945, p. 127
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:169-172; Matt. 13:15-16; John 17:8; more at Christ, Gospel, Jesus, Neglect, Preach, Renewal, Wisdom)
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963
Remember: he who despises and mocks a mental gift in another, calling it pride, and selfishness, and sin, mocks Jesus, the giver of every mental gift, which always appear to the ignorance-loving hypocrite as sins. But that which is a sin in the sight of cruel men, is not so in the sight of our kind God. Let every Christian, as much as in him lies, engage himself openly and publicly before all the world in some mental pursuit for the building up of [the Kingdom].
... William Blake (1757-1827), Poems of William Blake, ed. William Butler Yeats, London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1893, p. 203
(see the book; see also Jas. 1:17; Matt. 6:33; more at Builder, Gifts, God, Jesus, Kindness, Pride, Scorn, Selfish, Sin)
Monday, January 27, 2020
Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; we do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #548, p. 177
(see the book; see also Ps. 139:23-24; Jer. 17:9; John 14:9; 2 Cor. 13:5-8; more at Christ, Jesus, Knowing God, Self-examination)
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
The tendency of the religions of all time has been to care more for religion than for humanity; Christ cared more for humanity than for religion—rather, His care for humanity was the chief expression of His religion. He was not indifferent to observances, but the practices of the people bulked in His thoughts before the practices of the Church. It has been pointed out as a blemish on the immortal allegory of Bunyan that the Pilgrim never did anything—anything but save his soul. The remark is scarcely fair, for the allegory is designedly the story of a soul in a single relation; and, besides, he did do a little. But the warning may well be weighed. The Pilgrim’s one thought, his work by day, his dream by night, was escape. He took little part in the world through which he passed. He was a Pilgrim travelling through it; his business was to get through safe. Whatever this is, it is not Christianity.
... Henry Drummond (1851-1897), The Programme of Christianity, New York: J. Potts, 1891, p. 9
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:13,23; Gal. 5:22-25; Jas. 1:27; 2 Pet. 1:5-9; more at Church, Pilgrim, Religion, Safety, Salvation, Soul, Thought, Travel)
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
I have a profound belief in the power of the Sacraments. I believe that in a Divine way the use of them teaches the teachable their inward meaning... and therefore I think that we need be in no hurry to attempt to teach new converts all that we think we know about them.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes Which Hinder It, London: World Dominion Press, 1949, reprint, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1997, p. 204
(see the book; see also Eph. 1:7-10; 4:11-13; more at Belief, Church, Conversion, Knowledge, Sacrament, Teach)
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
If [instead of beginning with the fellowship,] we begin by saying that the Church exists where the Word is truly preached and the Sacraments rightly administered, we are immediately involved in the attempt to answer the question, “What is correct doctrine and correct administration?” In fact, the latter question has tended to drop out of the centre of Protestant discussion, for the Word was really central and the Sacrament was conceived essentially as the Word made visible. “The Word,” says Luther, “is the one perpetual and infallible mark of the Church.” The natural result of this position is that the question of doctrinal correctness becomes the all important one. And, ex hypothesi, this question has to be discussed in isolation, apart from consideration of the character of the fellowship in which the doctrine is taught. The Church is defined in terms of agreement about doctrine, and this doctrinal agreement must be agreement on paper. A written theological statement becomes the one determinative centre of the Church’s life [instead of the unity of the believers in Christ].
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 51
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:1-8; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:3; 1 Pet. 3:8; more at Church, Existence, Fellowship, Gospel, Preach, Sacrament, Theology, Unity)
Friday, January 31, 2020
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888
The Judaism [in which Paul had grown up] had become largely traditional: the word of the Lord, the Rabbis held, came to the prophets of old, but we can only preserve and interpret the truth they handed down. Jesus Christ, with a confidence that to the timid traditionalism of His time appeared blasphemous, asserted that He knew the Father and was prepared to let others into that knowledge. He did so, not by handing down a new tradition about God, but by making others sharers in His own attitude to God. This is what Paul means by “having the mind of Christ.” It was this clear, unquestioning conviction that gave Paul his power as a missionary: but he expected it also in his converts. To them too “the word of knowledge” came “by the same Spirit.” He prayed that God would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Such knowledge is, as Paul freely grants, only partial, but, so far as it goes, it is real, personal knowledge. In friendship between men there is a mutual knowledge which is never complete or free from mystery: yet you can know with a certainty nothing could shake, that your friend is “not the man to do such a thing,” or that such-and-such a thing that you have heard is “just like him.” You have a real knowledge which gives you a criterion. Such is the knowledge the Christian has of his Father.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 131-132
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:1-3; 12:7-11; 2 Cor. 10:3-6; Gal. 4:9; Eph. 1:17; Phil. 1:9-10; 2:5; Col. 2:2-3; 1 Thess. 1:5; more at Conviction, Friend, Jesus, Knowledge, Missionary, Power, Tradition)
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