Christ, our Light

Quotations for February, 2001

Thursday, February 1, 2001
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525

“Sorry! ’monmywaytochurch.”
The deepest sins are camouflaged as holiness.
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001) (see also Luke 10:29-37; Pr. 20:6; Matt. 5:23-24; 6:1-8; Mark 7:6; Luke 6:42; 13:15; more at Holiness, Religion, Sin)

Friday, February 2, 2001

It belongs to the very nature of the gospel that the Church is built across cultural, social, and racial barriers. There are siren voices (as well as gut reactions) telling Christians that the way to success in evangelism is to follow the natural divisions, and to try to build churches along cultural, social and racial divisions. In doing so, they ignore the “success” in the New Testament in crossing these lines; more importantly, they are in fact stressing success more highly than the truth of the gospel. To buy success at the price of treating the fundamental nature of the gospel as dispensable is to follow a false gospel.
... David Bronnert, “The Gospel and Culture”, 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. 125 (see the book; see also John 5:36-40,46; Matt. 22:29; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 2:10; 16:27-31; Rom. 1:16; 3:29-30; 10:12-15; Gal. 3:28; 5:6; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; more at Church, Culture, Evangelization, Gospel, Heresy, Social, Success)

Saturday, February 3, 2001
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

Is not the popular idea of Christianity simply this, that Jesus Christ was a great moral teacher and that, if only we took his advice, we might be able to establish a better social order and avoid another war? Now, mind you, that is quite true; but it tells you much less than the whole truth about Christianity and it has no practical importance at all.
It is quite true that, if we took Christ’s advice, we should soon be living in a happier world. You need not even go as far as Christ. If we did all that... Confucius told us, we should get on a great deal better than we do. And so what?... If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years. A bit more makes no difference.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 155-156 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:12; 21:11-13; 21:46; Mark 12:29-34; Luke 7:16-17; John 4:19; 6:14-15; Acts 7:51-53; Gal. 5:13-14; Jas. 2:10-13; more at Apologetics, Futility, Goodness, Morality, Social, Truth, World)

Sunday, February 4, 2001
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189

Theirs is an endless road, a hopeless maze, who seek for goods before they seek for God.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), On Loving God, CCEL, p. 190 (see the book; see also Luke 18:22; Matt. 6:19-20; 19:23; Luke 12:16-21, 33-34; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; more at Attitudes, God, Hopelessness, Worldly)

Monday, February 5, 2001
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597

While it is right to stress the dangers of the permissive society, the argument from danger is not in itself a good argument, because it seems to imply that, if the danger could be removed, if there was no risk of a child and no peril of infection, then the objection would be removed, too. It tends to imply that the objection is to the attendant dangers and not to the thing itself. But, if sexual intercourse before and outside marriage is against the teaching of Jesus, then the thing is not only dangerous, it is wrong in itself.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), Ethics in a Permissive Society, New York: Harper & Row, 1971, Fontana, 1971, p. 208-209 (see the book; see also Matt. 19:4-6; Acts 15:29; Rom. 1:24; 1 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 5:3; more at Attitudes, Danger, Jesus, Marriage, Teach)

Tuesday, February 6, 2001

The Christian must be consumed with the infinite beauty of holiness and the infinite damnability of sin.
... Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) (see also Isa. 60:1-3; Deut. 4:24; Isa. 6:3; Matt. 23:33; Heb. 12:29; more at Attitudes, Beauty, Holiness, Infinite, Mind, Sin)

Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), The Ministry of Intercession: a plea for more prayer, New York: Revell, 1898, p. 210 (see the book; see also Mark 4:35-41; Matt. 8:23-27; 14:28-33; 15:31; 19:26; Mark 1:27; 7:37; Luke 1:37; 4:18-19; more at Arrogance, Attitudes, God, Knowledge, Prayer, Unbelief)

Thursday, February 8, 2001

There is nothing safe in religion, but in such a course of behaviour, as leaves nothing for corrupt nature to feed, or live upon; which can only then be done, when every degree of perfection we aim at, is a degree of death to the passions of the natural man.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 169 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:24; Ps. 42:1-2; Matt. 10:37; 24:12; Mark 12:30; Luke 14:26; Rom. 6:6; 8:13; Gal. 6:14; Col. 3:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:11; more at Death, Obedience, Perfection, Religion, Safety, Sin)

Friday, February 9, 2001

As a sinful man looking at death and beyond it, into the eternal world, I need salvation. Nothing else will meet my case. There is something genuinely at stake in every man’s life, the climax whereof is death. Dying is inevitable, but arriving at the destination God offers to me is not inevitable. It is not impossible to go out of the way and fail to arrive. Christian doctrine has always urged that life eternal is something which may conceivably be missed. It is possible to neglect this great salvation and to lose it eternally, even though no man may say that anything is impossible with God or that his grace may ultimately be defeated.
I know it is no longer fashionable to talk about Hell, one good reason for this being that to make religion into a prudential insurance policy is to degrade it. The Faith is not a fire-escape. [Continued tomorrow]
... John S. Whale (1896-1997), Christian Doctrine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, p. 186 (see the book; see also John 3:13-15; Job 14:2; Ps. 39:4-6; Matt. 19:25-26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27; Jas. 4:14; more at Apologetics, Death, Eternal life, Faith, Grace, Hell, Need, Salvation)

Saturday, February 10, 2001
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

[Continued from yesterday]
But in rejecting the [Bible’s illustrations of eternal punishment] as grotesque and even immoral, many people make the mistake of rejecting the truth it illustrated (which is rather like rejecting a book as untrue because the pictures in it are bad). It is illogical to tell men that they must do the will of God and accept his gospel of grace, if you also tell them that the obligation has no eternal significance, and that nothing ultimately depends on it. The curious modern heresy that everything is bound to come right in the end is so frivolous that I will not insult you by refuting it. “I remember,” said Dr. [Samuel] Johnson on one occasion, “that my Maker has said that he will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.” That is a solemn truth which only the empty-headed and empty-hearted will neglect. It strikes at the very roots of life and destiny.
... John S. Whale (1896-1997), Christian Doctrine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, p. 186-187 (see the book; see also Matt. 25:31-33; 23:33; 25:46; John 10:28; Heb. 2:2-3; 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 20:14-15; more at Apologetics, Bible, Gospel, Grace, Heresy, Neglect, Punishment, Will of God)

Sunday, February 11, 2001

We cannot find in the Old Testament the fondly drawn distinction of our latter days between the natural and the supernatural, for the whole of the natural order is so directly linked with God that its conservation must be regarded as a kind of continuous creation, quite as dependent on God’s creative Word as when first the heavens and the earth were made.
... E. C. Rust (1910-1991), Nature and Man in Biblical Thought, London: Lutterworth Press, 1953, p. 69 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:29-30; Ps. 23; Luke 12:24-28; more at Bible, Creation, God, Nature)

Monday, February 12, 2001
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691

The church has failed to follow her appointed pathway of separation, holiness, heavenliness and testimony to an absent but coming Christ; she has turned aside from that purpose to the work of civilizing the world, building magnificent temples, and acquiring earthly power and wealth, and, in this way, has ceased to follow in the footsteps of Him who had not where to lay His head.
... C. I. Scofield (1843-1921), Addresses on Prophecy, New York : Gaebelein, 1910, Gospel Hour, 1967, p. 52 (see the book; see also Matt. 8:19-20; 5:48; 23:13-33; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 2 Pet. 1:16; Rev. 2:4; more at Builder, Christ, Church, Failure, Jesus, Power, Temple, Wealth, Worldly)

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Zinzendorf and the Moravians proved that an entire communion of believers (call it a church or a denomination, if you will) can find reason for being solely on the basis of missions to the lost and unreached multitudes of the world. Their fellowship existed solely to send out laborers into the harvest. Everyone and everything pointed to that missionary purpose. For them, missions was not an adjunct to church life, it was church life.
... James Reapsome (see also Acts 13:46-48; Isa. 2:3-4; Mic. 4:2-3; Zech. 2:11; 8:20-23; Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 2:30-32; Acts 26:22-23; Rom. 15:8-9; more at Church, Fellowship, Harvest, Life, Mission, Missionary, Purpose)

Wednesday, February 14, 2001
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269

Those of a strong doctrinal background... assumed that Christ tied the knot when the catechism was memorized and parroted correctly. The result: a generation so obsessed with saying it right, they hardly dare say it at all.
... Paul G. Johnson 1931-2013, Buried Alive, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1968, p. 102 (see the book; see also Tit. 2:1-5; Matt. 6:5-6; Luke 12:11-12; 21:15; Acts 4:29-31; 6:9-10; Jas. 1:5; more at Christ, Fear, Legalism, Teach)

Thursday, February 15, 2001
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730

Faith is not so much belief about God as it is total, personal trust in God, rising to a personal fellowship with God that is stronger than anxiety and guilt, loneliness and all manner of disaster. The Christian’s faith in Christ is trust in a Living Person, once crucified, dead, and buried, and now living forevermore. Call it, if you will, an assumption that ends as an assurance, or an experiment that ends as an experience, Christian faith is in fact a commitment that ends as a communion.
... Frederick Ward Kates (1910-1987), A Moment Between Two Eternities, New York: Harper & Row, 1965, p. 96 (see the book; see also Acts 16:30-32; John 6:29; 12:44; 14:1; Acts 2:38-39; Rom. 10:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:8-9; 1 John 5:10-13; more at Anxiety, Belief, Commitment, Communion, Crucifixion, Faith, Fellowship, God, Guilt, Loneliness, Resurrection, Trust)

Friday, February 16, 2001

For (Martin) Luther, the sola of Sola Scriptura was inseparably related to the Scriptures’ unique inerrancy. It was because popes could and did err and because councils could and did err that Luther came to realize the supremacy of Scripture. Luther did not despise church authority, nor did he repudiate church councils as having no value. His praise of the Council of Nicea is noteworthy. Luther and the Reformers did not mean by Sola Scriptura that the Bible is the only authority in the church. Rather, they meant that the Bible is the only infallible authority in the church.
... R. C. Sproul (1939-2017), Sola Scriptura: Crucial To Evangelicalism”, in Foundation of Biblical Authority, ed. James Montgomery Boice, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978, p. 104 (see the book; see also Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 2:9-10; 15:1-8; Gal. 1:1; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; more at Bible, Church, Historical, Scripture)

Saturday, February 17, 2001
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

Where would you be if God took away all your Christian work? Too often it is our Christian work that is worshiped and not God.
... Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) (see also Acts 10:25-26; Matt. 4:10; Acts 14:8-15; Rom. 11:17-18; 1 Cor. 1:28-31; 9:14-19; 10:17; 2 Cor. 11:30; 12:9; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9; more at Authenticity, God, Work, Worship)

Sunday, February 18, 2001

This is great literature and great religious literature, this collection of ancient writings we call the Bible, and any translator has a deep sense of responsibility as he undertakes to transmit it to modern readers. He desires his transcript to be faithful to the meaning of the original, so far as he can reach that meaning, and also to do some justice to its literary qualities. But he is well aware that his aim often exceeds his grasp. Translation may be a fascinating task, yet no discipline is more humbling. You may be translating oracles, but soon you learn the risk and folly of posing as an oracle yourself. If your readers are dissatisfied at any point, they may be sure that the translator is still more dissatisfied, if not there, then elsewhere—all the more so, because, in the nature of the case, he has always to appear dogmatic in print.
... James Moffatt (1870-1944), A New Translation of the Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1935, New York: Harper, 1935, Introduction, p. v (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:11; Luke 24:45; Rom. 3:2; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:19; 3:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; more at Awareness, Bible, Faith, Humility, Meaning)

Monday, February 19, 2001

What, after all, are the world’s deepest problems? They are what they always have been, the individual’s problems—the meaning of life and death, the mastery of self, the quest for value and worth-whileness and freedom within, the transcending of loneliness, the longing for love and a sense of significance, and for peace. Society’s problems are deep, but the individual’s problems go deeper; Solzhenitsyn, Dostoyevsky, or Shakespeare will show us that, if we hesitate to take it from the Bible.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), “Jesus Christ the Lord”, in The Lord Christ [1980], John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 56 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 13:5; Ps. 26:2; 139:23-24; Lam. 3:4; Hag. 1:5; John 15:15,19; 1 Cor. 11:28-31; Gal. 6:4; 1 John 3:19-21; more at Apologetics, Bible, Death, Life, Longing, Love, Meaning, Peace, Quest)

Tuesday, February 20, 2001
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906

The problem of how an unholy concourse of sinful men and women can be in truth the body of Christ is the same as the problem of how a sinful man can at the same time be accepted as a child of God... Our present situation arises precisely from the fact that this fundamental insight, which the Reformers applied to the position of the Christian man, was not followed through in its application to the nature of the Christian church.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 23 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 1:15-16; Matt. 1:21; 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; 19:10; Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22-24; 5:8; 1 John 3:5; more at Body of Christ, Child, Church, God, Insight, Sinner)

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

As we groan, so also does the Holy Spirit groan with us, putting a meaning into our aspirations which they would not have of themselves.
... William Sanday (1843-1920) & Arthur C. Headlam (1862-1947), A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1896, 10th ed., New York: Scribners, 1905, p. 213 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:26; Ps. 6:9; 42:1-2; 69:3; 102:19-20; Luke 22:44; 2 Cor. 5:4; more at Holy Spirit, Intercession)

Thursday, February 22, 2001

Earnestness is good and impressive: genius is gifted and great. Thought kindles and inspires, but it takes a diviner endowment, and more powerful energy than earnestness or genius or thought to break the chains of sin, to win estranged and depraved hearts to God, to repair the breaches and restore the Church to her old ways of purity and power. Nothing but this holy unction [the anointing of the Holy Spirit] can do this.
... E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), Preacher and Prayer, Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, Dallas, Tex., 1907, p. 93-94 (see the book; see also 1 John 2:27; Jer. 31:33-34; John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:13; Eph. 4:21; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:16-17; 1 John 2:20-21; more at Anoint, Church, Depravity, Holy Spirit, Renewal, Sin, Sincerity, Thought)

Friday, February 23, 2001
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

Grace tried is better than grace, and it is more than grace, it is glory in its infancy. I now see godliness is more than the outside and this world’s passments and their buskings [i.e., ornaments and fine dress]. Who knoweth the truth of grace without a trial? Oh how little getteth Christ of us, but that which he winneth (to speak so,) with much toil and pains! And how soon would faith freeze without a cross?
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Jan. 1, 1637, p. 135 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 4:8; Rom. 12:12; 1 Tim. 6:6; Heb. 12:5-11; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; more at Christ, Cross, Faith, Glory, Godly, Grace, Pain, Toil, Trial, Truth, Weakness)

Saturday, February 24, 2001

God does not lead all His servants by one road, nor in one way, nor at one time; for God is in all things; and that man is not serving God aright, who can only serve Him in his own self-chosen way.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), The Inner Way, Sermon XVI (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:12,18-20,27; Matt. 5:6; Luke 10:41-42; 1 Cor. 14:1; more at Authenticity, God, Leader, Man, Road, Self, Service, Way)

Sunday, February 25, 2001

We have the means to evangelize our country; but they are slumbering in the pews of our churches.
... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011) (see also Eph. 5:14; Isa. 9:2; Rom. 13:11-12; 1 Thess. 5:6; more at Awakening, Church, Evangelization)

Monday, February 26, 2001

Seeing, then, it is no longer the fisherman, the son of Zebedee, but He who knoweth “the deep things of God”, the Holy Spirit, I mean, that striketh this lyre, let us hearken accordingly. For he will say nothing to us as a man, but what he saith, he will say from the depths of the Spirit.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407), The Homilies of S. John Chrysostom on the Gospel of St. John, v. I, Oxford: Parker, 1848, p. 3 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 2:9-10; Job 12:22; Ps. 42:7; 92:5-7; Dan. 2:22; Rom. 11:33-36; more at God, Holy Spirit, Teach)

Tuesday, February 27, 2001
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

Love is that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), from The Agony in The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 43 (see the book; see also Mark 14:23-24; Matt. 26:28; Luke 22:20; John 6:53-56; 1 Cor. 10:16; more at Church, Communion)

Wednesday, February 28, 2001
Ash Wednesday

We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverend esteem of the Holy Scripture, and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
... The Westminster Confession of Faith [1646], Introduction & Notes by John Macpherson, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1881, chapter 1, article V (see the book; see also 1 John 2:20; Isa. 59:21; John 16:13,14; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 John 2:27; more at Bible, Church, Heart, Holy Spirit, Inspiration, Salvation, Scripture, Witness)


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