Christ, our Light

Quotations for July, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873

[Continued from yesterday]
Here [in the Gospels] is something that the layman can hold on to, quite apart from the vagaries of critical scholarship, for it is a portrait unaffected by the authenticity of any particular saying or story. Such an encounter with the historical Jesus is, of course, not the same as Christian faith in him. Even Caiaphas, Herod, and Pontius Pilate encountered him in this way. Christian faith is still a matter of decision—either this Man is God’s redemptive act, or he is not. Nor is the historical Jesus the object of our faith. That object is the Risen Christ preached by the Church. But the Risen Christ is in continuity with the historical Jesus, and it is the historical Jesus which makes the Risen Christ not just an abstraction, but clothes him with flesh and blood.
... George Ernest Wright (1909-1974) & Reginald Fuller (1915-2007), The Book of the Acts of God, London: Doubleday, 1957, p. 265-266 (see the book; see also Luke 24:36-39; 24:46-48; John 20:26-29; Acts 2:29-32; 13:29-31; more at Authenticity, Christ, Church, Faith, Historical, Jesus, Preach)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The absorption of the individual in the universal is only another term for its destruction.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), New Testament Studies, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1953, p. 144 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:19-21; Ps. 51:12; John 8:31-32; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 9:27-28; more at Pagan, Philosophy, Sin, Universe)

Thursday, July 3, 2008
Feast of Thomas the Apostle

If God doesn’t bring judgment on America soon, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
... Ruth Graham (1920-2007) (see the book; see also 2 Chr. 7:14; Gen. 18:16-33; 19:1-29; Rev. 18:2-3; more at God, Judgment, Providence)

Friday, July 4, 2008

What else is the meaning of our present chaos, of humanity in sorrow, but this—that contemporary man is tried before the bar of the Eternal, and found wanting? Nor can any nation survive, or re-establish lasting peace, if it rests on those foundations on which contemporary nations have been built—our own included. What are those crumbling foundations? Conceit, self-will, denial of discipline, self-expressionism, secularism, this-worldliness, greed, entrenched privilege, defiance of God’s desire. On base absurdities have we built. Have we now moral courage to face our common sin, or are we content to trust in one form of armed wickedness to overcome the evils of another form of the same mad folly? Merely by smashing our enemies we shall not remake the world. By Beelzebub no devils are cast out.
... Bernard Iddings Bell (1886-1958), Still Shine the Stars, New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1941, p. 16 (see the book; see also Eccl. 2:26; Ps. 133:1; Matt. 23:8; Mark 3:22-26; more at Builder, Courage, Devil, Discipline, Evil, God, Morality, Nation, Peace, Self, Sin, Sorrow, Worldly)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thank God, our Christian chance is not permanently gone from us [in world affairs]. Ecclesiastics seem for the most part to have failed, failed both man and God; but God has not failed, Jesus has not failed. The God-man still remains the only leader into cooperation whose wisdom is sufficient for a permanent, competent, and free Society. The dictators and would-be dictators will not do. They overreach themselves. Eventually they will destroy one another, and kill off most of us. But even that disaster will not eradicate the desire of men and women to lay down lives for that which is more than themselves. Men will continue to demand not the freedom from that degree of unity for which the dictatorships stand, but rather a finer, more noble, more perceptive kind of unity: a human solidarity which is not nationalistic but world-embracing, a human integration which in aim and purpose is not secularist but spiritual. What the world unwittingly is groping after is allegiance to the eternal, the compassionate, the completely integrating Christ.
... Bernard Iddings Bell (1886-1958), Still Shine the Stars, New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1941, p. 51 (see the book; see also Luke 22:25-27; Ps. 2:6-9; 110:1-3; 118:9; Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 28:18; John 3:35; more at Christ, Compassion, Failure, God, Jesus, Purpose, Sin, Unity, World)

Sunday, July 6, 2008
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1415
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535

I desire now to make no more pleas with Christ. Verily, he hath not put me to a loss by what I suffer; he oweth me nothing: for in my bonds how sweet and comfortable have the thoughts of him been to me, wherein I find a sufficient recompense of reward!
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter while in exile, Jan. 1, 1637, p. 135-136 (see the book; see also Heb. 10:34-35; Matt. 5:11-12; 6:19-20; 19:21; 2 Cor. 5:1; Col. 3:2-4; 2 Tim. 4:8; more at Bondage, Christ, Comfort, Historical, Suffer)

Monday, July 7, 2008

I wish they’d remember that the charge to Peter was “Feed my sheep,” not “Try experiments on my rats,” or even “Teach my performing dogs new tricks.”
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 5 (see the book; see also John 21:17; more at Church, Preach, Teach)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The history of our student movement [Inter-Varsity] has demonstrated that a prayer-less chapter is a fruitless chapter. Prayer spells all the difference between working for God in our own strength and wisdom or being fellow laborers together with Him in the work that He is seeking to do in the university.
... C. Stacey Woods (d. 1983), The Growth of a Work of God, Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-varsity Press, 1978, p. 99 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 3:8-11; Ps. 127:1; Luke 18:1; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Pet. 4:7; more at Education, God, Historical, Prayer, Strength, Wisdom, Work)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What are the gifts of biblical faith to the secular university? ... Education can receive from the Bible a faith concerning man far more realistic than the naive faith by which education has tried to live. Not man as “pure reason”: his reason is not pure... Not man as incipient angel: he can turn any structure... to good or to demonic purpose. Not man with his steps on the highroad called evolution: he is relatively free and, therefore, can and does wreck any evolution unless some Grace constantly renews his onward journey. Not man who by his science is sure to fashion a “brave new world”: by science he can destroy the world... Not man as centrally and characteristically a reasonable creature who needs only that his mind shall be educated to build a reasonable world. Not man regarded in any naive faith, but man as potentially divine and potentially unworthy, who stands always in need of help from beyond the confines of the natural order. If education confronts this faith, education will know that the mind’s adventure also, like all things human, stands in need of redemption; and it can then proceed with lowliness, and thus with the power and light which are the reward of the lowly.
... George A. Buttrick (1892-1980), Biblical Thought and the Secular University, Louisiana State University Press, 1960, p. 55,57-58 (see the book; see also Jas. 3:17-18; Ps. 131:1; Pr. 26:12; Matt. 5:5; 11:29; 1 Cor. 8:1-2; Gal. 6:3; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Tim. 1:5-7; 6:3-4; more at Angel, Bible, Education, Faith, Grace, Knowledge, Light, Man, Meekness, Power, Reason, Science, World)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It is ironic that, although fundamentalists are implacably opposed to liberalism, their extreme reaction shows the same weakness. They, too, stress the leap of faith and make irrationality almost a principle, dismissing the serious questions of seeking modern men as intellectual smoke-screens or diversions to conceal deeper personal problems. All this masks a desperate intellectual insecurity, barely disguised by the surrounding hedge of taboos to preserve purity. The strident intolerance of much guilt-driven evangelism betrays the same insecurity. In these circles, much that is taught has to be unlearned in the wider school of life, and it is not surprising that universities are littered with dropouts from such groups. Their non-rational, subjective faith is cruelly punctured by varsity-level questions, and many manage to survive only by resorting to a severely schizophrenic faith which they hold to be true religiously but not intellectually, historically, or scientifically.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 322 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:1-3; Isa. 1:18; Matt. 7:16-18; John 15:26; 1 Cor. 10:15; 1 Pet. 3:15-16; more at Education, Evangelization, Faith, Question, School, Truth)

Friday, July 11, 2008
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550

We demand, as [St. Paul] did, that the candidate must be of good moral character; at least, so far as that he can produce testimonials to his good conduct. We demand, as the apostle demanded, that he must hold fast the faithful word; at least, so far as that he shall not write deliberate heresy in his examination papers, and shall profess belief in the Creed. We demand, as he demanded, that the candidate must be apt to teach; at least, so far as an examination of his verbal memory can prove that he knows what he ought to teach. But there is some difference between the “without reproach” of the apostle and our testimonials; and there is a difference between the holding fast of the faith by a man tried in the furnace of life, and the soundness in the faith of a youth fresh from a theological school; and the aptness to teach of a man of experience and social authority is not quite the same thing as the aptness to teach of a young man who has just passed an examination in the subject-matter.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), The Case for Voluntary Clergy, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1930, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 141 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Acts 20:17,28; 1 Tim. 6:11-14; Tit. 1:5-7; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; more at Education, Experience, Faith, Heresy, Man, Morality, School, Teach, Theology, Youth)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The devout student is the best of all students. There are too many who are devout, but not students. They will not accept the discipline of study and of learning, and they even look with suspicion upon the further knowledge which study brings to men. There are equally too many who are students, but not devout. They are interested too much in intellectual knowledge, and too little in the life of prayer and in the life of service of their fellow men. A man would do well to aim at being not only a student, and not only devout, but at being a devout student.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Revelation of John, v. II, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961, p. 286 (see the book; see also Rev. 22:7; Matt. 22:29; Mark 12:24; Luke 24:27,45; John 5:39-40; Acts 17:2-3; more at Devotion, Discipline, Education, Knowledge, Life, Prayer, Service)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

For us, murder is once for all forbidden... It makes no difference whether one take away the life once born, or destroy it as it comes to birth. He is a man, who is to be a man; the fruit is always present in the seed.
... Tertullian (Quintus S. Florens Tertullianus) (160?-230?), Tertullian: Apologetic and practical treatises [2nd-3rd century], Oxford: J. H. Parker, 1842, Apology, ch. IX, p. 22 (see the book; see also Gen. 9:5-6; Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17; Matt. 5:21-22; 1 John 3:12-15; more at Life, Man, Murder, Seed)

Monday, July 14, 2008
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866

The early Hebrews learned at the foot of Mount Sinai that in the sight of God there is indeed a difference between the sacred and the profane, but there is no difference between the spiritual and the social.
... Sherwood Eliot Wirt (1911-2008), The Social Conscience of the Evangelical, New York: Harper & Row, 1968, p. 9-10 (see the book; see also Ex. 22:21-27; Lev. 25:32-38; Lev. 19:17-18; Deut. 10:19; Jer. 7:5-7; 22:3; Zech. 7:10; more at Consecration, God, Profane, Social, Spiritual life)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274

In addition to the general situations in which men find themselves today, there are those things in personal life which have always tested faith: the inexplicable tragedies and injustices; the suffering of innocent people, especially of children; the seeming uselessness of prayer, and so forth.
It is surely life itself that makes against belief in most cases. It is the contradiction in real life between any image of God as good, whether God is “above,” “beneath,” or “within,” that makes men atheists. Yet how few books and how few sermons touch on this basic problem! Our theological libraries are crammed with books devoted to every aspect of textual and higher criticism of the Bible; but of genuine theological thinking about the things which drive religion from men’s hearts, there is appallingly little to be found. The archaeology of Christian origins seems largely to have replaced genuine theology.
... O. Fielding Clarke (1898-1987), For Christ’s Sake, New York: Moorehouse-Barlow, 1963, p. 72 (see the book; see also Amos 4:6-11; Job 38:4-7; 40:6-14; Matt. 6:25-30; Rom. 8:31; Heb. 12:5-11; more at Bible, Faith, God, Goodness, Innocence, People, Religion, Suffer, Theology, Thought, Tragedy)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099

Apart from God every activity is merely a passing whiff of insignificance.
... Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), “Immortality”, in The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, P. A. Schilpp, ed., Northwestern University, 1941, p. 698 (see the book; see also Eccl. 3:14-15; Job 14:1-2; Ps. 33:4,11; 90:5-6; 102:11; 103:15-16; Isa. 40:6-8; 46:10; Jas. 1:10-11; more at Attitudes, God, Providence)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

From thine, as then, the healing virtue goes
Into our hearts—that is the Father’s plan.
From heart to heart it sinks, it steals, it flows,
From these that know thee still infecting those.
Here is my heart—from thine, Lord, fill it up,
That I may offer it as the holy cup
Of thy communion to my every man.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Diary of an Old Soul, London: by the author, 1880, p. 113 (see the book; see also Luke 22:17-18; Ps. 116:13; John 4:13-14; 6:32-35; 7:37-39; 15:5; more at Communion, Heart, Virtue, Worship)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Only those who try to live near God and have formed the habit of faithfulness to Him in the small things of our daily life, can hope in times of need for that special light which shows us our path. To do as well as we can the job immediately before us, is the way to learn what we ought to do next.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) (see also Luke 12:42-44; Matt. 25:14-30; Jas. 1:22; more at Faith, God, Hope, Life, Light, Need, Weakness)

Saturday, July 19, 2008
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379

Love is [careful] of little things, of circumstances and measures, and of little accidents; not allowing to itself any infirmity which it strives not to master, aiming at what it cannot yet reach, desiring to be of an angelic purity, and of a perfect innocence and a seraphical fervour, and fears every image of offense; is as much afflicted at an idle word as some at an act of adultery, and will not allow to itself so much anger as will disturb a child, nor endure the impurity of a dream. And this is the curiosity and niceness of divine love: this is the fear of God, and is the daughter and production of love.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 158 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 6:31; John 13:14-15; 15:12-13,17; more at Fear, God, Innocence, Love, Perfection, Purity)

Sunday, July 20, 2008
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566

Christianity is a battle—not a dream.
... Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), speech, April, 1869, recorded in Wendell Phillips: the agitator, William Carlos Martyn, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1890, p. 368 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-17; 1 Tim. 6:12; more at Battle, Definition of Christianity, Dream)

Monday, July 21, 2008

One of the principal parts of faith is patience.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Weighed and Wanting, Boston: D. Lothrop and Company, 1882, p. 542 (see the book; see also Ps. 37:7-9; 40:1-2; Luke 8:15; 21:17-19; Rom. 2:7; 8:25; 1 Cor. 13:4-5; Heb. 12:1; Jas. 1:3-4; more at Faith, Patience)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles

Life together under the Word will remain sound and healthy only where it does not form itself into a movement, an order, a society... but rather where it understands itself as being a part of the one, holy, catholic, Christian Church, where it shares actively and passively in the sufferings and struggles of the whole Church. Every principle of selection, every separation connected with it that is not necessitated quite objectively by common work, local conditions, or family connections is of the greatest danger to a Christian community. When the way of intellectual or spiritual selection is taken, the human element always insinuates itself and robs the fellowship of its spiritual power and its effectiveness for the Church, and drives it into sectarianism.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 45 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:40; Rom. 14:1; 15:7; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:14,15; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; more at Church, Community, Fellowship, Health, Holiness, Life, Share, Social)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373

I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546) (see the book; see also Prov. 3:5-6; Matt. 6:19-21,33; 2 Tim. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:6-7; more at Faith, God, Possession, Providence, Trust)

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xvi.2, p. 52 (see the book; see also Gal. 6:1-2; Matt. 8:17; Rom. 15:1; Gal. 5:13-14; 1 Thess. 5:14; 1 Pet. 2:24; more at Humility, Self-righteousness, Weakness)

Friday, July 25, 2008
Feast of James the Apostle

We have all been inoculated with Christianity, and are never likely to take it seriously now! You put some of the virus of some dreadful illness into a man’s arm, and there is a little itchiness, some scratchiness, a slight discomfort, disagreeable, no doubt, but not the fever of the real disease, the turning and the tossing, and the ebbing strength. And we have all been inoculated with Christianity, more or less. We are on Christ’s side, we wish him well, we hope that He will win, and we are even prepared to do something for Him, provided, of course, that He is reasonable, and does not make too much of an upset among our cozy comforts and our customary ways. But there is not the passion of zeal, and the burning enthusiasm, and the eagerness of self-sacrifice, of the real faith that changes character and wins the world.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 17 (see the book; see also Matt. 19:20-22; Deut.30:17-18; Matt. 23:27-28; Acts 4:18-20; Rom. 2:20-24; 2 Tim. 3:2-5; Tit. 1:15-16; more at Christ, Conversion, Faith, Self-sacrifice, Zeal)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

If you were to rise early every morning, as an instance of self-denial, as a method of renouncing indulgence, as a means of redeeming your time, and fitting your spirit for prayer, you would find mighty advantages from it. This method, though it seem such a small circumstance of life, would in all probability be a means of great piety. It would keep it constantly in your head, that softness and idleness were to be avoided, that self-denial was a part of Christianity... It would teach you to exercise power over yourself, and make you able by degrees to renounce other pleasures and tempers that war against the soul.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 239-240 (see the book; see also Tit. 2:11-14; Matt. 10:37-38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23-26; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 3:12; more at Prayer, Renunciation, Self-control, Soul, Weakness)

Sunday, July 27, 2008
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011

What are our lame praises in comparison with His love? Nothing, and less than nothing; but love will stammer rather than be dumb.
... Robert Leighton (1611-1684), A Practical Commentary Upon the First Epistle of St. Peter, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1849, p. 45 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Ps. 34:1-3; Isa. 32:1-4; Col. 1:27; more at Dumbness, Love, Praise, Worship)

Monday, July 28, 2008
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750

Theologians have felt no hesitation in founding a system of speculative thought on the teachings of Jesus; and yet Jesus was never an inhabitant of the realm of speculative thought.
... Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918), Christianity and the Social Crisis, New York: Macmillan Co., 1907, p. 91 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:37-39; Mark 10:29-31; Luke 12:49-53; more at Jesus, Teach, Theology, Thought)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord

True it is that every man willingly followeth his own bent, and is the more inclined to those who agree with him. But if Christ is amongst us, then it is necessary that we sometimes yield up our own opinion for the sake of peace. Who is so wise as to have a perfect knowledge of all things? Therefore trust not too much to thine own opinion, but be ready also to hear the opinions of others. Though thine own opinion be good, yet if for the love of God thou foregoest it, and followest that of another, thou shalt the more profit thereby.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.ix.2, p. 41 (see the book; see also Eph. 5:21; Rom. 12:3; 14:13-15; 1 Cor. 3:18-20; Jas. 1:19-20; 3:17-18; more at Attitudes, Christ, God, Knowledge, Love, Peace, Truth, Wisdom)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833

All these several artifices, whatever they may be, to unhallow the Sunday and to change its character (it might be almost said “to mitigate its horrors,’) prove but too plainly, that religion, however we may be glad to take refuge in it, when driven to it by the loss of every other comfort, and to retain, as it were, a reversionary interest in an asylum, which may receive us when we are forced from the transitory enjoyments of our present state; that in itself wears to us a gloomy and forbidding aspect, and not a face of consolation and joy; that the worship of God is with us a constrained and not a willing service, which we are glad therefore to abridge, though we dare not omit it.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 174 (see the book; see also Ps. 122:1; 5:7; 63:1-3; 84:10; 1 Pet. 5:2-3; ; more at Comfort, Consolation, Gloom, God, Religion, Sunday, Worship)

Thursday, July 31, 2008
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556

He who hath heard the Word of God can bear his silences.
... St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491/5-1556) (see the book; see also Heb. 4:12; Lam. 3:25-29; Acts 4:31; Heb. 13:7; more at God, Silence)


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