Christ, our Light

Quotations for July, 2002

Monday, July 1, 2002
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873

When I trouble myself over a trifle, even a trifle confessed—the loss of some little article, say—spurring my memory, and hunting the house, not from immediate need, but from dislike of loss; when a book has been borrowed of me and is not returned, and I have forgotten the borrower, and fret over the missing volume, ... is it not time that I lost a few things when I care for them so unreasonably? This losing of things is the mercy of God; it comes to teach us to let them go. Or have I forgotten a thought that came to me, which seemed of the truth? I keep trying and trying to call it back, feeling a poor man until that thought be recovered—to be far more lost, perhaps, in a notebook into which I shall never look again to find it! I forget that it is live things that God cares about.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Cause of Spiritual Stupidity”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 53-43 (see the book; see also Mark 8:17-21; Ps. 94:8; Matt. 8:21-22; 16:8-11; Mark 6:51-52; Luke 9:59-62; more at Affliction, Attitudes, Memory, Mercy, Patience, Providence, Thought, Truth)

Tuesday, July 2, 2002

When religion is in the hands of the mere natural man, he is always the worse for it; it adds a bad heat to his own dark fire, and helps to inflame his four elements of selfishness, envy, pride, and wrath. And hence it is that worse passions, or a worse degree of them, are to be found in persons of great religious zeal, than in others that made no pretences to it. History also furnishes us with instances of persons of great piety and devotion, who have fallen into great delusions, and deceived both themselves and others. The occasion of their fall was this: ... They considered their whole nature, as the subject of religion, and divine graces; and therefore their religion was according to the workings of their whole nature, and the old man was as busy, and as much delighted in it, as the new.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 168 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:18-19; Matt. 23:25-26; Eph. 4:17-27; more at Devotion, Envy, Nature, Pride, Religion, Selfish)

Wednesday, July 3, 2002
Feast of Thomas the Apostle

Long did I toil, and knew no earthly rest,
Far did I rove, and found no certain home;
At last I sought them in His sheltering breast,
Who opes His arms and bids the weary come:
With Him I found a home, a rest divine,
And I since then am His, and He is mine.
The good I have is from His stores supplied:
The ill is only what He deems the best.
He for my friend, I’m rich with naught beside;
And poor without Him, though of all possessed.
Changes may come—I take, or I resign
Content, while I am His, and He is mine.
Whate’er may change, in Him no change is seen,
A glorious Sun, that wanes not, nor declines;
Above the clouds and storms He walks serene,
And on His people’s inward darkness shines;
All may depart—I fret not nor repine,
While I my Saviour’s am, while He is mine.
While here, alas! I know but half His love,
But half discern Him, and but half adore;
But when I meet Him in the realms above,
I hope to love him better, praise Him more,
And feel, and tell, amid the choir divine,
How fully I am His, and He is mine.
... J. Quarles (1624-1665) & Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847), Miscellaneous Poems, London: Rivingtons, 1868, p. 75 (see the book; see also Ps. 102:25-26; Ruth 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 2:14-16; 1 Tim. 6:7-9; more at Attitudes, Contentment, Providence, Serene, Work)

Thursday, July 4, 2002

Bless God, America.
... Linden Summer (see also 2 Chr. 7:14; more at Blessing, God, Social)

Friday, July 5, 2002

Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until he be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so will he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.
... John Owen (1616-1683), IV.8 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V [1674], in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 546-547 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:29-30; Rom. 6:6-7,12,19; 1 Cor. 6:15; Gal. 2:20; 5:24-25; Col. 2:11; 3:5; more at Death, Quarrel, Sin, Strife)

Saturday, July 6, 2002
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1415
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535

Almighty and most gracious God, have mercy on N and N, and on all that bear evil to me, and wish me harm; and by every such easy, tender, and merciful means as Thine infinite goodness best can devise, vouchsafe to amend and redress them: and make us saved souls together in heaven, where we may ever live and love together with Thee and Thy blessed saints, This grant, O sacred and glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet Lord and Saviour Christ. Amen.
... Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), Sir Thomas More: a selection from his works, ed. William Joseph Walter, Baltimore: F. Lucas, 1841, p. 305 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:43-47; Luke 6:27-28,35; Rom. 12:14,20-21; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Enemy, Forgiveness, Heaven, Mercy, Passion of Christ, Prayers, Reconciliation)

Sunday, July 7, 2002

O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in thee; mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... Collect for the first Sunday after Trinity, in The Book of Common Prayer [1790, U.S.], New York: Protestant Episcopal Press, 1835, p. 100-101 (see the book; see also Isa. 12:2; Gen. 6:5; Ps. 51:5; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 15:17-20; Mark 7:18-23; Rom. 7:18-21; Eph. 2:1-5; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; more at Mortality, Prayers, Strength, Trust, Weakness)

Monday, July 8, 2002

Happily for us, the fundamental Christian message concerns not what we ought to do, but what God has done and what God is willing to do. In fellowship with Him and with others who are likewise trying to be like Him, we can be lifted up above our native possibilities.
... Hugh Martin (1890-1964) (see also Rom. 16:25-27; Ps. 66:5; Matt. 13:45-46; Rom. 1:16-17; more at Christlikeness, Fellowship, Gospel, Grace, Nature)

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

When in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little Biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter; one needs a man who will let go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, in the power of the Holy Ghost... Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count.
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), quoted in C. T. Studd—Cricketer and Pioneer [1933], Norman P. Grubb, World-Wide Revival Prayer Movement, 1947, p. 163 (see the book; see also Acts 10:37-38; Mic. 3:8; Zech. 4:6; Luke 10:18-20; Acts 1:8; Jude 1:3; more at Devil, Fight, Fire, Holy Spirit, Mission, Power)

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Lord, come away;
Why dost thou stay?
Thy road is ready and thy paths made straight
With longing expectations wait
The consecration of thy beauteous feet.
Ride on triumphantly: behold, we lay
Our lusts and proud wills in thy way.
Hosannah! welcome to our hearts: Lord, here
Thou hast a temple, too, and full as dear
As that of Sion; and as full of sin;—
Nothing but thieves and robbers dwell therein,
Enter, and chase them forth, and cleanse the floor;
Crucify them, that they may never more
Profane that holy place
Where thou hast chose to set thy face.
And then if our stiff tongues shall be
Mute in the praises of thy deity,
The stones out of the temple wall
Shall cry aloud and call
Hosannah! and thy glorious footsteps greet.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. XV, London: Ogle, Duncan & Co., 1822, p. 77 (see the book; see also Luke 19:37-40; Rom. 6:6; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Gal. 2:20; Col. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; more at Beauty, Cleanse, Consecration, Easter, Holiness, Praise, Temple)

Thursday, July 11, 2002
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550

To be prayerless is to be without God, without Christ, without grace, without hope, and without heaven.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A Call to Prayer, published in the 1850’s as a pamphlet, American Tract Society, 1867, sec. I, p. 6 (see the book; see also Jer. 10:21; Ps. 10:4; Jer. 8:9; Isa. 43:22-24; 64:6-7; Zeph. 2:3; John 10:12-13; Rom. 3:10-11; more at Christ, God, Grace, Heaven, Hope, Prayer)

Friday, July 12, 2002

I did not expect to hear that it could be, in an assembly convened for the propagation of Christian knowledge, a question whether any nation uninstructed in religion should receive instruction; or whether that, instruction should be imparted to them by a translation of the holy-books into their own language. If obedience to the will of God be necessary to happiness, and knowledge of his will be necessary to obedience, I know not how he that withholds this knowledge, or delays it, can be said to love his neighbour as himself. He, that voluntarily continues ignorance, is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces; as to him that should extinguish the tapers of a light-house, might justly be imputed the calamities of shipwrecks. [Continued tomorrow]
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., v. I [1791], James Boswell, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1858, p. 419 (see the book; see also Acts 10:34-35,47-48; 11:18; Rom. 1:14-15; 10:17; 1 Cor. 9:16; more at Bible, Guilt, Happiness, Historical, Ignorance, Knowledge, Obedience, Will of God)

Saturday, July 13, 2002

[Continued from yesterday]
Christianity is the highest perfection of humanity; and as no man is good but as he wishes the good of others, so no man can be good in the highest degree, who wishes not to others the largest measures of the greatest good. To omit for a year, or for a day, the most efficacious method of advancing Christianity [i.e., the Bible], in compliance with any purposes that terminate this side of the grave, is a crime [the like] of which I know not that the world has yet had an example.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., v. I [1791], James Boswell, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1858, letter, 1766, p. 419 (see the book; see also Acts 17:29-30; 4:20; 26:16-18; Rom. 10:12-15; 1 Cor. 1:18-24; more at Crime, Goodness, Historical, Kingdom, Knowledge)

Sunday, July 14, 2002
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866

The “good” man, the man whose god is righteousness, has as his life’s ambition the keeping of rules and commandments and the keeping of himself uncontaminated by the world. This sounds admirable, but, as the truth of Christ showed, the whole of such living, the whole drive and ambition, the whole edifice, is self-centred. That entire process of effort must be abandoned if a man is to give himself in love to God and his fellows. He must lose his life if he is ever going to find it.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), When God was Man, London: Lutterworth Press:, 1954, p. 40 (see the book; see also John 12:25; Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:23-24; 17:33; Acts 20:24; more at Ambition, Giving, Legalism, Life, Pharisaism, Practical Christianity, Self-righteousness, Selfish)

Monday, July 15, 2002
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274

Outward as well as inward morality helps to form the idea of a true Christian freedom. We are right to lay stress on inwardness, but in this world there is no inwardness without an outward expression.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Meister Eckhart’s Sermons, tr., Claud Field, H. R. Allenson, London, 1909, p. 56 (see the book; see also Luke 6:43-45; Matt. 5:21-22; 27-28; 7:16-20; 12:33; 1 Cor. 15:10; more at Freedom, Good works, Goodness)

Tuesday, July 16, 2002
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099

Once I knew what it was to rest upon the rock of God’s promises, and it was indeed a precious resting place, but now I rest in His grace. He is teaching me that the bosom of His love is a far sweeter resting-place than even the rock of His promises.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, M. E. Dieter, ed., Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan 1994, p. 27 (see the book; see also John 14:18; Hos. 6:3; Matt. 18:20; 28:20; more at Grace, Love, Promise, Providence, Rest)

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

This total and entire conversion of the inner man, this absolute doing away of the old and acceptance of the new life, being in its nature a real breach and not a formal one, necessarily involved a corresponding outward breach with the old form of life. Of this breach baptism was the sacrament. In baptism the change was effected and realized in fact. Baptism was not a mere formal external act, a symbol of a spiritual fact which was already complete without it. A Spiritual conversion which was not also a conversion of life was no conversion at all, but a delusion... With the heart man believes, with the mouth he confesses; but a mouth which does not confess disproves the existence of a heart that believes. The soul cannot be God’s and the life not God’s at the same time. The soul can not be recreated and the life remain unchanged. The spiritual breach is proved and realized and completed in the outward breach. Where there is no outward change, it is safe to deny an inward change. Faith without baptism and all that baptism involved was consequently no part of St. Paul’s teaching.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 71-72 (see the book; see also Rom. 6:3-4; 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:11-20; more at Baptism, Confession, Conversion, Sacrament, Spiritual life)

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Wonderful is the depth of thy words, whose surface is before us, gently leading on the little ones: and yet a wonderful deepness, O my God, a wonderful deepness. It is awe to look into it; even an awfulness of honour, and a trembling of love.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, XII.xiv, p. 328 (see the book; see also Rom. 11:33; Ps. 31:19; 107:15; 139:1-6; Eph. 3:8,16-19; Col. 1:27; 2:2-3; more at Bible, Gentleness, Honor, Love, Prayers)

Friday, July 19, 2002
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379

All angels, all saints, all the devils, all the world shall know all the deeds that ever thou didest, though thou have been shriven of them and contrite. But this knowledge shall be no shame to thee if that thou be saved, but rather a [witness to God], right as we read of the deeds of Mary Magdalene to her worship and not to her reproof.
... Middle English Sermons, Woodburn O. Ross, ed. by H. Milford, London: Oxford University Press, 1940, included in The New Christian Year, Charles Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 77 (see the book; see also Luke 8:17; Ps. 32:1-2; 85:2; Isa. 43:25; 44:22; Luke 8:2; 24:9-10; John 20:14-18; Rom. 4:6-8; 8:1-2; more at Contrition, Deed, Repentance, Salvation, Sin, Witness)

Saturday, July 20, 2002
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566

Our union with God—his presence with us, in which our aloneness is banished and the meaning and full purpose of human existence is realized—consists chiefly in a conversational relationship with God while we are each consistently and deeply engaged as his friend and colaborer in the affairs of the kingdom of the heavens.
... Dallas Willard (1935-2013), Hearing God, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999, p. 56 (see the book; see also Matt. 9:37-38; 1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 John 4:13; more at Being alone, Existence, Friend, God, Kingdom, Knowing God, Labor, Practical Christianity, Purpose)

Sunday, July 21, 2002

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 52 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:20-22; 10:1; Gal. 4:3-5; Heb. 2:14-15; more at Bondage, Deliverance, Disappointment, Liberty, Love, Weakness)

Monday, July 22, 2002
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles

It has been observed that nowhere does Scripture attempt a deductive argument for the existence of God, like those of Thomas Aquinas, for example. This fact ought not to be taken to imply, however, that such an effort is unjustifiable and necessarily useless. The distinctiveness of the Biblical approach is its immediacy. The theistic proofs for God’s existence constitute a laborious, painstaking, and patient justification of theism. They attempt to set forth in rational argument what the soul grasps intuitively. But for the Bible, the deepest proof of God’s existence is just life itself. The knowledge of God and man’s knowledge of himself are closely intertwined. If only God could be written off neatly and cleanly, how simple things would be! But the hound of heaven pads after us all. He does not let us go. There is no escaping him...; when least expected, he closes in. The explanation for this is man’s creation in the image of God. His identity is known theologically, in relation to the God who as a man in his true significance cannot survive permanently in isolation from his Maker. Without God, man is the chance product of unthinking fate, and so of little worth. The current loss of identity and the emergence of the faceless man in today’s culture are testimony to the effects of losing our God. The knowledge of God is given in the same movement in which we know ourselves.
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Set Forth Your Case, Chicago: Moody Press, 1971, p. 108-109 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:26; 1 Chr. 28:9; Ps. 119:66; Jer. 24:7; 31:33-34; Amos 8:11-13; Hab. 2:14; John 6:45; 17:3; more at Argument, Existence, God, Knowing God, Providence, Scripture)

Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373

Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
... Edwin Hubbel Chapin (1814-1880), paraphrased from Duties of Young Men, Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1853, p. 160 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:12-16; Matt. 6:19-20; John 3:16; 17:3; Rom. 6:23; 1 John 2:17; Jude 1:21; more at Action, Eternity, Practical Christianity)

Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471

When we are troubled with temptation and evil thoughts, then we see clearly the great need we have of God, since without him we can do nothing good... No one is so good that he is immune to temptation; we will never [in this life] be entirely free of it.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xii-xiii, p. 45-46 (see the book; see also Rom. 7:18-21; Matt. 15:19; Eph. 2:1-5; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; 1 John 1:9; more at Evil, Goodness, Need, Sight, Sin, Temptation, Thought)

Thursday, July 25, 2002
Feast of James the Apostle

In the absence of so many vital points—the spiritual understanding of the Law, and the consciousness of sin, the unity and all-sufficiency of Scripture, and the expectation of the Messiah—we cannot wonder that the idea of God, as it lived in faithful Israel of old, was also obscured. Instead of the living, loving, self-manifesting God of the Old Testament, Israel now took hold of the abstract idea of the unity, or rather the unicity, of God, as if that were God. Before—when they lived in communion with God, when God was known to them as a Person, speaking, acting, blessing, who had chosen them, who was educating them, and who was going to fulfill His promises—they declared, in opposition to the idolatrous nations that surrounded them, that this God of Israel was one God, that there are not many gods; but when they lost communion with God, in order to show what distinguished them from the nations of the earth, and especially from Christians, they emphasized that God in Himself was only one Person, and not as He is revealed to us in the Scripture: Sender, Sent, and Spirit. It is the boast of the modern Jewish synagogue that their great mission is to testify to the world the unity of God. But it is a striking fact that the Gentile nations who have, since the dispersion of Israel, been converted from idolatry, have been influenced, not by the synagogue, but by the congregations of Jesus Christ, and were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost... It is one thing to believe in justification by faith, it is another thing to be justified by faith; and so it is one thing to believe in God, who is One, and it is another to believe in the numerical abstraction, in the mere idea of unicity.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 72-73 (see the book; see also Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29-32; Rom. 7:14; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; more at Faith, Holy Spirit, Israel, Jesus, Justification, Law, Messiah, Monotheism, Scripture, Sin, Unity)

Friday, July 26, 2002

We cannot divide either man or the universe... into two parts which move on different planes and have no vital relations; we cannot... limit the divine reaction against sin, or the experiences through which, in any case whatever, sin is brought home to man as what it is, to the purely spiritual sphere. Every sin is a sin of the indivisible human being, and the divine reaction against it expresses itself to conscience through the indivisible frame of that world, at once natural and spiritual, in which man lives. We cannot distribute evils into the two classes of physical and moral, and subsequently investigate the relation between them: if we could, it would be of no service here. What we have to understand is that when a man sins he does something in which his whole being participates, and that the reaction of God against his sin is a reaction in which he is conscious, or might be conscious, that the whole system of things is in arms against him.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 59-60 (see the book; see also Luke 3:8-9; Jer. 7:5-10; Amos 4:4-11; 8:11; Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; more at Conscience, Evil, Guilt, Morality, Nature, Sin)

Saturday, July 27, 2002
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011

Nor is the fact that a particular form was good in a particular age a proof that it is also good for another age. The history of the organization of Christianity has been in reality the history of successive readjustments of form to altered circumstances. Its power of readjustment has been at once a mark of its divinity and a secret of its strength.
... Edwin Hatch (1835-1889), The Organization of the Early Christian Churches [1880], London: Longmans, Green, 1918, p. 218 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 9:19-22; Acts 11:16-18; 2 Cor. 3:17; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15-16; Col. 1:18; more at Body of Christ, Church, Historical, Strength)

Sunday, July 28, 2002
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750

The Church knew what the Psalmist knew: music praises God. Music is as well or better able to praise Him than the building of a church and all its decoration; it is the Church’s greatest ornament.
... Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Conversations with Igor Stravinsky [1958], Robert Craft, Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1959, p. 141 (see the book; see also Ps. 81:1-2; 33:3; 95:1-2; 96:1; 140:1; Isa. 42:10; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Jas. 5:13; Rev. 5:9-12; more at Art, Church, Music, Praise, Worship)

Monday, July 29, 2002
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord

The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish. And when they are wicked, the Humanitarian theory of punishment will put in their hands a finer instrument of tyranny than wickedness ever had before. For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which our masters choose to call ‘disease’ can be treated as crime, and compulsorily cured. It will be vain to plead that states of mind which displease the government need not always involve moral turpitude and do not therefore always deserve forfeiture of liberty. For our masters will not be using the concepts of Desert and Punishment but those of disease and cure. [Continued tomorrow]
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, in God in the Dock [1970], ed. Walter Hooper, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994, p. 292-293 (see the book; see also Ps. 118:8; Acts 17:21; 1 Cor. 1:21-24; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; more at Evil, Folly, Punishment, Social, Tyranny)

Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833

[Continued from yesterday]
We know that one school of psychology already regards religion as a neurosis. When this particular neurosis becomes inconvenient to the government, what is to hinder the government from proceeding to ‘cure’ it? Such ‘cure’ will, of course, be compulsory; but under the Humanitarian theory it will not be called by the shocking name of Persecution. No one will blame us for being Christians, no one will hate us, no one revile us. The new Nero will approach us with the silky manners of a doctor, and though all will be in fact [compulsory], all will go on within the unemotional therapeutic sphere where words like ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘freedom’ and ‘slavery’ are never heard. And thus when the command is given, every prominent Christian in the land may vanish overnight into Institutions for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound, and it will rest with the expert gaolers to say when (if ever) they are to emerge. But it will not be persecution. Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident, the intention was purely therapeutic.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, in God in the Dock [1970], ed. Walter Hooper, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994, p. 293 (see the book; see also Ps. 118:9; John 8:43-45; Matt. 24:12-13; Acts 7:51-58; Rom. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 1:18; more at Intention, Knowledge, Persecution, Social, Tyranny)

Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556

One of the catchwords in contemporary Protestantism is that religion must aid man in “becoming human” or even “truly human,” whatever that means, and the “model” is Christ. Take the “obvious things” about Christ as listed by a contemporary minister:
He was a popular and controversial preacher;
He gathered a group of followers;
He spent most of his time with the disinherited;
He taught with authority;
He never married;
He never (as far as we know) held a job;
He did not participate responsibly in public affairs;
He did not have income, property, or a fixed address;
He was in bitter and frequent conflict with the religious and political authorities;
He seemed to expect that the world would be eminently, radically, and supernaturally transformed;
He attacked the traditions and values of his own people;
He practically forced the authorities to prosecute and execute him.
There is nothing exclusively religious, much less Christian, in this description, which, with a few exceptions, might apply also to Socrates or to “Che” Guevara. I asked many socially oriented ministers why they were Christians at all. Some said through faith, and some said that Christianity gave them courage and the motivation to endure (but so do other beliefs). Some said they hardly knew and [that] if another, more acceptable ideology came along, they would embrace it.
... Arthur Herzog (1927-2010), The Church Trap, New York: Macmillan, 1968, p. 166-167 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 4:1-5; John 4:32-34; Rom. 12:12; 1 Tim. 4:15-16; more at Christ, Courage, Religion, Social, Tradition)


Christ, our Light

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Compilation Copyright, 1996-2024, by Robert McAnally Adams,
        Curator, Christian Quotation of the Day,
        with Robert Douglas, principal contributor
Logo image Copyright 1996 by Shay Barsabe, of “Simple GIFs”, by kind permission.
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Last updated: 05/16/20

























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