Christ, our Light

Quotations for October, 2006

Sunday, October 1, 2006
Commemoration of Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, 533
Commemoration of Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite Nun, Spiritual Writer, 1897

We need to set our compass with three markers: (1) the Word of God; (2) a true analysis of the facts of our experience; and (3) the sensing of the mind of the Spirit by... this council.
... Thomas Houston, former president, World Vision International, in a private communication from World Vision (see also 1 Thess. 1:4-5; Luke 10:21; Acts 15:28; more at Authenticity, Bible, Experience, Holy Spirit, Mind, Truth)

Monday, October 2, 2006

The testimony of the New Testament cannot be lightly disregarded, nor can the claims of Christ be airily dismissed. Many otherwise intelligent people have never read with adult attention either the four Gospels or the Letters of the New Testament. When they so do, to my certain knowledge, they not infrequently become converted. Indeed, I know of no adult who has seriously studied the New Testament and rejected the stories of Christ as mythical or the evidence of changed lives in the Letters as mere fabrication.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), God With Us: a Message for Christmas, London: Epworth Press, 1957, p. 11 (see the book; see also Col. 2:1-3; Acts 4:31; 2 Cor. 4:2; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; 13:7; more at Bible, Christ, Conversion, Knowledge, Life)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Commemoration of William Morris, Artist, Writer, 1896
Commemoration of George Kennedy Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958

In some communities there remains, as a vestige of a false conception of the church building, a resistance to the sale and purchase of books on a table... anywhere on the premises. When this position is expressed, it must be attacked directly and unapologetically, because it represents a genuine evil, ... the idolatry of bricks and mortar, a heresy specifically undermined by the Apostle Paul in Athens when he said, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man” (Acts 17:24). The notion that it is perfectly all right to sell a New Testament in the department store on Monday, but that it is wrong to sell it in the meetinghouse on Sunday, represents a confusion so great that it is truly appalling.
As Christians, we believe in the Real Presence, but it is a severe denial of the divine power to claim that this Presence is limited geographically. If, in a building dedicated to worship, a seeker buys a book on Sunday morning and his life is deepened in consequence, the only important thing to say is that the Gospel has thereby been preached, and this is one of the major tasks of the Church.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Incendiary Fellowship, New York: Harper, 1967, p. 64-65 (see the book; see also Acts 17:24-25; 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chr. 2:6; 6:18; John 4:22-23; Acts 7:48-50; more at Belief, Bible, Book, Church, Confusion, God, Gospel, Heresy, Morning, Sunday, Worship)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Feast of Francis of Assisi, Friar, Deacon, Founder of the Friars Minor, 1226

Be not afraid that thou art tempted, for the more thou art assailed by temptations, the greater friend and servant of God do I hold thee, and the greater love do I bear thee. Verily, I say to thee, let no man deem himself the perfect friend of God until he have passed through many temptations and tribulations... I am ready to endure patiently all things that my Lord would do with me.
... Ugolino of Montegiorgio (d.1274), quoting St. Francis, The Little Flowers of St. Francis, London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1912, p. 106,113 (see the book; see also Jas. 1:2-4; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1-2; Heb. 2:10,18; 1 Pet. 1:6-8; more at God, Patience, Perfection, Service, Temptation, Weakness)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Unless we know the difference between flowers and weeds, we are not fit to take care of a garden.
It is not enough to have truth planted in our minds. We must learn and labor to keep the ground clear of thorns and briars, follies and perversities, which have a wicked propensity to choke the word of life.
... Evan S. Coslett (1830-1939), Leaves of Gold, Clyde Francis Lytle, ed. [1948], Honesdale, Pa.: Coslett Publishing Company, 1938, p. 150 (see the book; see also Matt. 15:10-13; Isa. 60:21; Matt. 13:24-30,36-42; John 15:2,6; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; more at Evil, Flower, Folly, Knowledge, Labor, Life, Mind, Truth)

Friday, October 6, 2006
Feast of William Tyndale, Translator of the Scriptures, Martyr, 1536

If those who say that we must preach the same message as Paul and the other apostles mean that we should also exhibit the same adaptability and sensitivity to the background culture, then they are right... If, however, they mean that we should expect results merely by repeating the actual phrases found in the New Testament, then they are mistaken. They are making, in fact, one of the basic mistakes in verbal communication, which is to confuse words with what they describe. The gospel is something God has done, not a series of phrases describing it.
Saying this does not undermine the Christian’s belief in the inspiration of the Bible, for the important thing about the Bible is what it talks about, rather than the way it does the talking. If we considered that there was the same degree of essential inspiration in the way it does the talking, then we would have to insist that every Christian learn Hebrew and Greek. The mere fact that we in the Western world read translations of the scriptures is a clear admission that times and cultures have changed.
... Gavin Reid (b. 1934), The Gagging of God, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969, p. 65 (see the book; see also Acts 17:16-23; Isa. 28:9-12; Acts 2:7-11; 1 Cor. 14:21; more at Bible, Confusion, Culture, Gospel, Inspiration, Preach, Scripture)

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Never let us be discouraged with ourselves; it is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked: on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light. And let us remember, for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till we begin to cure them.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 158 (see the book; see also Jas. 4:9-10; Ps. 6:1-2; Isa. 9:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:8-9; 12:9-10; Heb. 12:3-7; more at Consolation, Discouragement, Evil, God, Sanctification, Sin)

Sunday, October 8, 2006

The more a man hath unity and simplicity in himself, the more things and the deeper things he understandeth; and that without labour, because he receiveth the light of understanding from above. The spirit which is pure, sincere, and steadfast, is not distracted though it hath many works to do, because it doth all things to the honour of God, and striveth to be free from all thoughts of self-seeking.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.iii.3, p. 34 (see the book; see also Matt. 18:1-4; Rom. 12:6-8; 14:1-8; 2 Cor. 3:11; 1 Thess. 4:11-12; more at God, Honor, Knowing God, Purity, Simplicity, Sincerity, Spirit, Understanding, Unity)

Monday, October 9, 2006
Commemoration of Denys, Bishop of Paris, & his Companions, Martyrs, 258
Commemoration of Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, Philosopher, Scientist, 1253

Thou knowest how far Thou hast already changed me, who first healed me of the lust of vindicating myself, that so Thou mightest forgive all the rest of my iniquities, and heal all my infirmities, and redeem my life from corruption, and crown me with mercy and pity, and satisfy my desire with good things; who didst curb my pride with Thy fear, and tame my neck to Thy yoke. And now I bear it and it is light unto me, because so hast Thou promised, and hast made it; and verily it was so, and I knew it not, when I feared to take it.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, X.xxxvi, p. 278 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:20-22; Matt. 7:24; 11:29-30; John 13:17; 14:21-24; 15:10-14; Heb. 5:8-9; more at Corruption, Fear, Forgiveness, Goodness, Health, Life, Light, Mercy, Prayers, Pride, Promise, Redemption)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Feast of Paulinus, Bishop of York, Missionary, 644

Wilberforce, Lord Shaftesbury, and many other evangelicals, have been leaders in social reform, but it was not their religion. Their efforts succeeded because they put first things first, and believed firmly in the Word of God, in the conversion of the individual, in prayer, and in using spiritual means for spiritual work.
... G. T. Manley (1872?-1961?), Christian Unity, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1945, p. 69 (see the book; see also Jude 1:17-21; 1 Tim. 4:1-2,16; 2 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Bible, Church, Conversion, God, Prayer, Reform, Religion, Social, Work)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Commemoration of Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, 675

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 [1948], 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)

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Commemoration of Wilfrid, Abbot of Ripon, Bishop of York, Missionary, 709
Commemoration of Elizabeth Fry, Prison Reformer, 1845

Finally, what do we mean by the word “true?” How do we distinguish real Truth from human notions and ideas and opinions and doctrines? We are compelled to say that the word “true” means “grounded in reality, based on the real nature of things, on the basic facts which underlie the universe.” Hence, if people say, as many have said, that the moral ideals set out in the gospels are high and noble ideals, and express admiration for the moral character of Jesus, and stop there, not daring to affirm more than that, the answer they are giving to the Question [Is the Gospel true?] is “No”.
... Gabriel Hebert (1886-1963), The Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 102 (see the book; see also Acts 17:30-32; John 3:16; Acts 2:36; Rom. 8:3-4; Gal. 4:4-6; more at Gospel, Ideal, Jesus, Morality, Truth, Universe)

Friday, October 13, 2006
Feast of Edward the Confessor, 1066

[He said:] That all possible kinds of mortification, if they were void of the love of God, could not efface a single sin. That we ought, without anxiety, to expect the pardon of our sins from the blood of Jesus Christ, only endeavoring to love Him with all our hearts. That GOD seemed to have granted the greatest favors to the greatest sinners, as more signal monuments of His mercy.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Second Conversation, p. 12-13 (see the book; see also Isa. 55:7; Matt. 10:37-38; Luke 7:41-47; John 21:15-17; Gal. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 John 4:19; more at Anxiety, Blood, Endeavor, Forgiveness, Jesus, Love, Mercy, Sin, Sinner)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Steadfastness in believing doth not exclude all temptations from without. When we say a tree is firmly rooted, we do not say the wind never blows upon it.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. IX, New York: R. Carter, 1851, Serm. I, p. 27 (see the book; see also Luke 22:31-32, Ps. 1:1-3; 46:1; John 14:1; Rom. 4:20; Jas. 1:5-6; more at Belief, Faith, Temptation, Tree)

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Feast of Teresa of Avila, Mystic, Teacher, 1582

O God, grant that today
I may not disappoint any friend;
I may not grieve any loved one;
I may not fail anyone to whom I have a duty;
I may not shame myself.
Grant that today
I may do my work with honesty and fidelity;
I may take my pleasure in happiness and purity.
Grant that today
I may lead no one astray;
I may not make goodness and faith harder for anyone.
Help me today
to be a help and example to all;
to bring strength and encouragement wherever I am:
Through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), More Prayers for the Plain Man, London: Collins, 1962, p. 54 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:9-13; more at Disappointment, Duty, Encouragement, Example, Failure, Faith, Friend, Goodness, Grief, Happiness, Prayers, Purity, Shame, Strength, Today)

Monday, October 16, 2006
Commemoration of the Oxford Martyrs, Hugh Latimer, Nicolas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer, bishops and martyrs, 1555

Our faith and our friendships are not shattered by one big act, but by many small neglects.
... J. Gustav White (b. 1881) (see the book; see also 2 Kings 22:8-13; Luke 11:42; Rom. 12:6-8,12; 2 Cor. 9:6; 1 John 4:20; more at Action, Faith, Friend, Neglect)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Feast of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr, c.107

The laity living in the world as an integral part of it is the primary body through which the reality of the phrase “the Church is service” has to be manifested in all spheres of secular life: the Church has to show in her own life and attitude towards others the evidences of the redemptive order which is in Christ an operative fact: Christ the Lord is also Christ the servant: the Church which is the lord of all life is also the servant of all life, and the lordship is shown only through the service. The world wants to see redemption: it is not interested in being talked to about it. A church which is not outward looking... has ceased to be a church as the Body of Christ and has instead become a club for the benefit of its members.
... Douglas Rhymes (1914-1996), “The Place of the Laity in the Parish”, in Layman’s Church, ed. John A. T. Robinson, London: Lutterworth Press, 1963, p. 28 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:5; Matt. 20:25-27; Luke 22:25-26; John 17:11; 1 Cor. 9:23; 2 Tim. 2:10; more at Attitudes, Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Life, Redemption, Service, World)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Feast of Luke the Evangelist

The doctrine of the “body” in First Corinthians... is a picture of the local church, [which] is distinguished by a great variety of gifts, outlooks, and cultures. The various members belong organically to each other in Christ, and are to exhibit that harmony practically in their common life. The recognition of how they differ from each other, and are yet one, is to enrich their worship, inspire their ministry, and quicken their love. To divide the local church is... to witness to a divided Christ, or to a discipleship to lesser masters than Christ, such as Paul or Apollos. Both implications are equally unthinkable. There is no New Testament pattern of serving the one Christ, except in one local body, formed by the incorporation given in the one baptism, and the continued life sustained by breaking and sharing the one bread.
... C. O. Buchanan (b. 1934), “The Unity of the Church”, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 117-118 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:27-31; Acts 2:42; Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 10:17; Gal. 3:26-28; Eph. 4:11-13; Col. 3:11; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Gifts, Love, Minister, Worship)

Thursday, October 19, 2006
Feast of Henry Martyn, Translator of the Scriptures, Missionary in India & Persia, 1812

The apostle asked the converts of Apollos one question: “Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” and got a plain answer. His modern successors are more inclined to ask either “Did you believe exactly what we teach?” or “Were the hands that were laid on you our hands?” and—if the answer is satisfactory—to assure the converts that they have received the Holy Spirit even if they don’t know it.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 104 (see the book; see also Acts 19:1-7; Joel 2:28; Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-48; Gal. 3:2-5; more at Belief, Church, Conversion, Holy Spirit, Teach)

Friday, October 20, 2006

By God’s grace we live in a time of rediscovery of the Church and of the wholeness of the Church. We see more clearly than often has been the case that ecclesiology and christology are one. The ekklesia, the community of believers, has as its first and foremost qualification that it is that community which, as community, belongs to Christ and is in Christ, and as such is the sphere of God’s salvation, redemption and reconciliation and of Christ’s rulership. This is the archetypal reality of the Church. To see and seize this essential point is a great blessing. This blessing, however, could as well become a curse, if it remained a theme of theological meditation and self-contemplation. This new knowledge is not real knowledge, if it is not accompanied by a horror about the alienation of the empirical Church from its own fundamental reality and by a deep longing for a tangible manifestation of the Church’s true nature. This horror and this longing are the deeper motives which are operating in many of the events and passionate discussions around the place and responsibility of the laity as an organic part of the Church.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 100 (see the book; see also Acts 20:27-31; Isa. 46:9-11; Matt. 28:19-20; John 15:15; 2 Cor. 5:17; 11:3; Rev. 3:1-2,14-16; more at Blessing, Christ, Church, Community, God, Grace, Reconciliation, Redemption, Responsibility, Salvation)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

We must not admit for one moment the truth of a statement often made that the man who devotes himself to the establishment of the church, declining to be involved in all sorts of activities for the improvement of social conditions, is indifferent to, or heedless of, the sufferings and injustices under which men suffer. He is nothing of the kind; he is simply a man who is sure of his foundation, and is convinced that the only way to any true advancement is spiritual, and is Christ, and therefore he persists, in spite of all appearances, in clinging to Christ as the only foundation, and in building all his hopes for the future on the acceptance of Christ. He is not content with attacks upon symptoms of evil: they seem to him superficial: he goes to the roots. He cannot be content with teaching men “Christian principles of conduct,” “Christian ideals of social life,” still less with the establishment of colleges and clubs. Nothing but Christ Himself, faith in Christ, the obedience of Christ, seems to him equal to the need, and nothing else is his work but the establishment of that foundation. In doing this he is not showing indifference to social evils, he is not standing aloof from beneficent movements; he is actively engaged in laying the axe to the roots of the trees which bear the evil. That is not indifference.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Mission Activities [1927], included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 113 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:10; Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:10-11; Eph. 2:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:19; more at Christ, Church, Devotion, Evil, Faith, Indifference, Man, Obedience, Social, Teach)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We dare not stand idle, with Christian forces disunited, and see the lead taken by communities which are not Christian. We may not shrink back with fear, nor sit complacently with folded hands. With such opportunities on every side, the call is imperious to examine ourselves, to set our minds to work, to gird up our loins, and to unite together to overcome the forces of evil and to bring in the Kingdom of Christ.
What, then, is the nature of the unity we seek after, and the manner of our search?
1. It is not a secular unity, and must be prompted by no secular motive. The unity we seek is deeper than anything that the world offers. Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, and even Shintoism have proved their ability to bind men together in a common enterprise with great devotion and self-sacrifice; but these are secular ideals, intermixed with self-interest, the love of mastery, and the use of force. Christian Unity can only be “in Christ.” It is based on the New Birth and New Life in Christ, and upon the oneness of all the members in the Christ who is the Head. Therefore, “the quest for the unity of the Church must in fact be identical with the quest for Jesus Christ as the concrete Head and Lord of the Church.” *
What kind of unity, then, do we ask? It must be God’s kind, that for which Christ prayed, and which, therefore, must be in the line of God’s purpose. Will He not then take the initiative? It is for us to wait upon Him, and to go through the gates which He opens, to cast up the highway, to gather out the stones of stumbling, to lift up the standard, and to prepare the way of the Lord. (Isa. 62:10)
2. The task is not, in essence, the securing of uniformity, or cooperation, or Church reunion, or any of the external forms, through which nevertheless the unity may be manifested. Within the wide bounds of the Christian Church there is abundant scope for the multiplicity of races, languages, and social conditions; room also for separate organizations with different traditions of faith and order, and much diversity of operation.
But there is no room for strife or hostility, for pride or self-assertion, for exclusiveness or unkind judgments, nor for that kind of independence which leads men to ignore their fellowship with the great company of believers, the communion of saints. These things are contrary to the revealed will of God, and should be made at once to cease. As these disappear, the outward manifestation of unity will come in such ways as the Spirit of God shall guide.
3. The task to which we are called is not the sacrifice of any principle in which we firmly believe. It is rather to return to Christ not a figure of the imagination, but the Christ of the Scriptures, and to listen to His voice in obedience, to discover afresh what is the Truth. All unpretentious Bible study, every effort to disseminate a true scriptural theology, and every earnest prayer is part of the task of promoting that unity which is truly Christian.
We must not envisage Christian Unity as consisting of far-off and doubtful schemes, but as something very nigh which affects us all. If we are really to seek for Christian Unity, we must be prepared to pay the cost. For it must be based upon love, and love is always costly. It will never be attained until there is “far more humility, far more thought, far more self-sacrifice, and far more prayer, than there is at present.” **
If we are right in the conclusion that such disunion as has been sinful in the history of the Church has been due to pride, self-assertion, and contempt for God’s Word and commandment, then it follows that the way to the unity which God wills is through humility, love of the brethren, and obedience to the Divine Revelation. When Christians pray to be shown where they have been wrong, proud, complaisant, or censorious, and to be put right; when they meet for common counsel and study of the Word, in the spirit of obedience and prepared to subject their individual opinions to the guidance of the Spirit; where the strong are willing to foster and strengthen the weak; and where all are seeking the common good rather than their own sectional interests; then the pathway to unity will become plain, and God will grant His blessing.
“We need to be more like our blessed Master. What will contribute most to making the world believe that the Father sent the Son?” asks Bishop Moule. He gives the answer, “The manifestation of the presence of the Lord in all who bear His Name, so that they forget themselves in HIM, would do so to a degree now inconceivable. It would tend more than all ecclesiastical schemes to an external and operative cohesion. But it would do so, not by policy, but by grace; not by the universal acceptance of a hierarchical program, but by the life of Jesus manifested in mortal flesh.” ***
This is our great need, to be more like Christ, that His likeness may be seen in our lives; and this is just what is promised to us as we yield ourselves in full surrender to the working of His Spirit. Then, as we draw nearer to Christ, we shall be drawn nearer to His people; and in our search for unity with the members we shall be drawn closer to the Head.
* Karl Barth, The Church and the Churches, p. 18
** Streeter, Restatement and Reunion, p. 56
*** Moule, Ephesian Studies, p. 185
... G. T. Manley (1872?-1961?), Christian Unity, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1945, p. 86-88 (see the book; see also Isa. 62:10; 2 Chr. 5:13-14; Lam. 3:24; Matt. 9:36-38; John 17:20-21; more at Christ, Church, Communion, Complacency, Devotion, Fear, Quest, Strength, Unity, Will of God)

Monday, October 23, 2006

The knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #280, p. 99 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:19; Matt. 8:29; Mark 1:24; 5:7; Luke 4:34; Acts 19:5; more at God, Knowing God, Knowledge, Love)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

God’s child in Christ adopted—Christ my all—
What that earth boasts were not lost cheaply, rather
Than forfeit that blest name, by which I call
The Holy One, the Almighty God, my Father?—
Father! in Christ we live, and Christ in Thee—
Eternal Thou and everlasting we.
The heir of heaven, henceforth I fear not death:
In Christ I live! in Christ I draw the breath
Of the true life!—let then earth, sea, and sky
Make war against me! On my heart I show
Their mighty Master’s seal. In vain they try
To end my life, that can but end its woe.—
Is that a death-bed where a Christian lies?
Yes, but not his—’tis Death itself there dies.
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), The Poetical Works of S. T. Coleridge, v. II, London: W. Pickering, 1835, p. 151 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:1-2; Matt. 5:44-45; Luke 20:35-36; Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2; more at Authenticity, Christ, Death, Everlasting, Father, Heaven)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Commemoration of Crispin & Crispinian, Martyrs at Rome, c.285

The basis of our Lord’s appeal was himself. “Follow me,” “come unto me,” and “ye will not come unto me,” indicate sufficiently that what he offered to men was himself. He seeks to win men’s acceptance of the truth that had come in him. His words and deeds served to indicate what manner of man he was and what kind of work he had come to do; and all the time it is a person addressing persons, seeking to gain their recognition of and their self-commitment to himself. He sought to exercise no authority over men that was not personal, both in the way it was exercised and in the way in which it was recognized and accepted.
... John Huxtable (1912-1990), The Bible Says, London: SCM, 1962, p. 82 (see the book; see also Matt. 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21; Mark 2:14; 10:21; Luke 5:27; John 1:14; 7:17; 8:47; 18:37; 1 John 4:6; more at Commitment, Jesus, Man, People, Truth)

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Feast of Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, Scholar, 899
Commemoration of Cedd, Founding Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of the East Saxons, 664

We cannot understand the depth of the Christian doctrine of sin if we give to it only a moral connotation. To break the basic laws of justice and decency is sin indeed. Man’s freedom to honor principles is the moral dimension in his nature, and sin often appears as lawlessness. But sin has its roots in something which is more than the will to break the law. The core of sin is our making ourselves the center of life, rather than accepting the holy God as the center. Lack of trust, self-love, pride, these are three ways in which Christians have expressed the real meaning of sin. But what sin does is to make the struggle with evil meaningless. When we refuse to hold our freedom in trust and reverence for God’s will, there is nothing which can make the risk of life worth the pain of it.
... Daniel Day Williams (1910-1973), Interpreting Theology, 1918-1952, Daniel Day Williams, London: SCM Press, 1953, ed. 3, under alternative title, New York: Harper, 1959, p. 23 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:3; 7:7; Eph. 4:7; Jas. 5:15; 1 John 3:4,8-9; more at Antinomianism, Holiness, Justice, Law, Pride, Sin)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Evangelism and social action: one is not synonymous with the other. They are the twin mandates of the New Testament, and to neglect one is not only to cripple the Church and make its message less credible but to do violence to the New Testament teachings.
... Stan Mooneyham (1926-1991), former president, World Vision US, in a private communication from World Vision (see also Gal. 2:9-10; Acts 3:4-8; 6:1-4; more at Action, Bible, Church, Evangelization, Neglect, Social)

Saturday, October 28, 2006
Feast of Simon & Jude, Apostles

The heart of man is revealed in temptation. Man knows his sin, which without temptation he could never have known; for in temptation man knows on what he has set his heart. The coming to light of sin is the work of the accuser, who thereby thinks to have won the victory. But it is sin which is become manifest which can be known and therefore forgiven. Thus the manifestation of sin belongs to the salvation plan of God with man, and Satan must serve this plan.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Temptation, London: SCM Press, 1955, p. 29 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:4; 2 Chr. 32:31; Ps. 139:23-24; Jer. 17:9-10; Heb. 4:16; more at Forgiveness, God, Heart, Salvation, Satan, Sin, Temptation)

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Commemoration of James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyr in Uganda, 1885

We come to Jesus Christ: and He does for us what He promised; and the thing works out. To our amazement, it works out. And then we settle down. We have had our own first-hand and irrefutable experience. But, instead of opening the windows to the glory of the sunshine so evidently there, instead of being incited to a hugeness of faith by what Christ has already done for us, we can’t believe that there can be anything more, or that even He can work for us anything better. That first foretaste satisfies us. And so we camp for life out on the confines of the Kingdom, and never press on, to inherit what is there, and meant for us.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 119 (see the book; see also Luke 17:12-19; Ps. 106:12-13; Mark 4:16-17; John 8:7-10; Rom. 1:21; more at Attitudes, Belief, Christ, Experience, Faith, Glory, Jesus, Promise, Providence, Satisfaction)

Monday, October 30, 2006
Commemoration of Martin Luther, Teacher, Reformer, 1546

Let every man then who has learnt that he is a Christian recognize what he is, and be certain that we are all equally priests, that is, we have the same power in the word and in any sacrament whatever.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), The Babylonian Captivity of the Church [1520], par. 7.16 (see the book; see also Rev. 1:4-6; 1 Pet. 2:4-5,9; Rev. 5:9-10; 20:6; more at Church, Equality, Preacher, Priest, Sacrament)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Reformation Day

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save what Thou art:
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all!
... Anonymous, medieval Irish hymn, Eriu, Journal of the School of Irish Learning, v. 2-3, Kuno Meyer, John Strachan, Dublin: School of Irish Learning, 1905, p.90 (see the book; see also Jas. 3:17; Isa. 6:9-10; 9:2; 60:1-2; 61:1-3; John 1:5; more at Heart, Heaven, Praise, Prayers, Salvation, Thought, Truth, Vision, Wisdom)


Christ, our Light

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