Christ, our Light

Quotations for July, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873

Reynold Pecock, Bishop of St. Asaph, [in The Repressor of Overmuch Blamings of the Clergy] tells us that the Lollards objected to image-worship, pilgrimages, the landed endowments of the Church, degrees of rank among the clergy, the authority of tradition, the monastic orders, the invocation of the saints (and every practice based on the doctrine of the transference of merit), the use of ornaments in Divine service, the mass (and the doctrine of sacramental grace generally), oaths, war, and capital punishment. We have here the outlines of a system approximating in some respects to modern Quakerism, and the likeness is enhanced by something like the doctrine of the “inward light.” Pecock ascribes to the “Bible-men” three fundamental principles, or “trowings,” as he calls them:
1. That nothing is to be esteemed a law of God, unless it is founded on Scripture;
2. That every Christian “meke in spirit” shall without fail understand the true sense of the Bible;
3. That he should then heed no arguments of “clerks” to the contrary... Further on in the book he adds a fourth “trowing” of theirs—that the clergy were so blinded by self-interest that it was impossible for them to arrive at the true sense of Scripture.
... W. H. Summers, Our Lollard Ancestors, London: National Council of Evangelical Free Churches, 1904, p. 81-83 (see the book; see also Ps. 119:33-36; Gal. 5:19-23; Phil.2:3-4; Jas. 3:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; more at God, Grace, Historical, Law, Sacrament, Scripture, Self, Tradition)

Friday, July 2, 2010

We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly.
... St. Clement of Alexandria (150?-220?), The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v. II, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, trs., Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885, p. 595 (see the book; see also Pr. 3:27-28; Zech. 8:16-17; Matt. 7:15; Rom. 15:2; Gal. 6:10; more at Goodness, Neighbor, Obedience, Providence)

Saturday, July 3, 2010
Feast of Thomas the Apostle

It is a serious thought that the disobedience of the men he had set free from blindness and leprosy should be able to hamper him in his work for his father. But his best friends, his lovers did the same. That he should be crucified was a horror to them; they would have made him a king, and ruined his father’s work. He preferred the cruelty of his enemies to the kindness of his friends. The former with evil intent wrought his father’s will; the latter with good intent would have frustrated it.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Displeasure of Jesus”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 190 (see the book; see also Mark 8:31-33; Matt. 9:27-31; 16:21-23; Mark 1:40-45; John 18:36; more at Crucifixion, Disobedience, Evil, Father, Friend, Frustration, Goodness, King)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Remind us, O Lord, that you do not exist to bless America. We exist to bless you.
... Max Lucado (b. 1955), from a prayer at the RNC, 2004 (see the book; see also John 1:16-17; 2 Chr. 7:14; 1 John 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:22; more at Blessing, Existence, God, Nation)

Monday, July 5, 2010

We might well pray for God to invade and conquer us, for until He does, we remain in peril from a thousand foes. We bear within us the seeds of our own disintegration... The strength of our flesh is an ever present danger to our souls. Deliverance can come to us only by the defeat of our old life. Safety and peace come only after we have been forced to our knees... So He conquers us and by that benign conquest saves us for Himself.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Divine Conquest, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1950, Revell, 1950, p. 57 (see the book; see also Ps. 94:11-13; Job 7:17-19; Ps. 8:3-4; 49:10-13; Rom. 1:21-22; 3:3-4; more at Danger, Deliverance, Foe, God, Peril, Prayer, Strength)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1415
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535

The way of the Church as a body that has the mandate to express the ministry of the great Diakonos [Servanthood] is not spectacular. The “first fruits” of fraternities, house-churches, para-parochial congregations, retreats (not for retreat’s sake, but for the sake of going out into the world) etc. should not continue to exist alongside the Church. They should be acknowledged as really doing the business of the Church.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 179 (see the book; see also Acts 16:14-15; Rom. 16:3-5; Col. 1:24-25; 4:15; more at Body of Christ, Church, Congregation, Minister, Service, World)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What we call the meekness of Our Lord is more than an aspect of His character: it is its fundamental principle. There is nothing in it of the “inert door-mat”; it was, and is, the practice of uncompromising and unyielding love, the exposition of a new technique in dealing with evil. I believe it to be the business of Christians, especially to-day, first to realize, and then to proclaim, this revolutionary technique as the only way to peace and justice. It won’t be easy, for meekness has little “face value” compared with armaments; but, if the Cross means anything at all, it is the vindication of meekness as the most dynamic and explosive force that humanity has ever known.
... Donald O. Soper (1903-1998), Popular Fallacies about the Christian Faith, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938, p. 76 (see the book; see also Ps. 37:11; Matt. 11:29; Phil. 2:14-15; Col. 3:12-13;Jas. 3:17-18; 1 Pet. 2:21-23; more at Cross, Evil, Justice, Love, Meekness, Peace, Preach, Way)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up; for possibly, they say, the name of God may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in this, yet truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men. Trample not on any; there may be some work of grace there, that thou knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on; it may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not.
... Robert Leighton (1611-1684), A Practical Commentary Upon the First Epistle of St. Peter, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1849, p. 368 (see the book; see also Acts 5:41; Jer. 14:9; Rom. 14:4; Phil. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:17; Jas. 2:7; more at Attitudes, Blood, Christ, God, Grace, Religion)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Faith is a work of God in us, which changes us and brings us to birth anew from God. It kills the old Adam, makes us completely different people in heart, mind, senses, and all our powers, and brings the Holy Spirit with it.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), “Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans”, par. 14 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:13-14; John 3:3; Rom. 7:14-25; 12:1-2; Eph. 4:22-24; more at Faith, God, Heart, Holy Spirit, Mind, Work)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

When Christians join together to accomplish certain things, one may expect the organizations they form to reflect the characteristics of the Kingdom, but that will only happen as a consequence of the way people live and relate to each other in Christ. It will not necessarily follow from structures, policies, or documents.
... Graeme Irvine, former president, World Vision International, in a private communication from World Vision (see also Rom. 14:17-18; Matt. 12:3-5,46-50; John 4:23; 15:12; more at Belief, Christ, Church, Kingdom, Way)

Sunday, July 11, 2010
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550

The test of worship is how far it makes us more sensitive to the “beyond in our midst,” to the Christ in the hungry, the naked, the homeless, and the prisoner. Only if we are more likely to recognize him there after attending an act of worship is that worship Christian rather than a piece of religiosity in Christian dress.
... John A. T. Robinson (1919-1983), Honest to God, London: SCM Press, 1963, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, p. 90 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:2-6; 25:31-40; John 6:33-35; more at Action, Charity, Christ, Religion, Worship)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cover, Lord, what has been: govern what shall be. Oh, perfect that which Thou hast begun, that I suffer not shipwreck in the haven.
... Theodore Beza (1519-1605), his last words, quoted in The Last Hours of Eminent Christians, Henry Clissold, London: Rivingtons, 1829, p. 169 (see the book; see also Eze. 27:25-27; 2 Cor. 12:8-9; Phil. 3:10-12; Col. 1:27-29; 1 Tim. 1:18-19; more at Beginning, Death, Perfection)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

He was too great for his disciples. And in view of what he plainly said, is it any wonder that all who were rich and prosperous felt a horror of strange things, a swimming of their world at his teaching? Perhaps the priests and the rich men understood him better than his followers. He was dragging out all the little private reservations they had made from social service into the light of a universal religious life. He was like some terrible moral huntsman digging mankind out of the snug burrows in which they had lived hitherto. In the white blaze of this kingdom of his there was to be no property, no privilege, no pride and precedence; no motive indeed and no reward but love. Is it any wonder that men were dazzled and blinded and cried out against him? Even his disciples cried out when he would not spare them the light. Is it any wonder that the priests realized that between this man and themselves there was no choice but that he or priestcraft should perish? Is it any wonder that the Roman soldiers, confronted and amazed by something soaring over their comprehension and threatening all their discipline, should take refuge in wild laughter, and crown him with thorns and robe him in purple and make a mock Caesar of him? For to take him seriously was to enter upon a strange and alarming life, to abandon habits, to control instincts and impulses, to essay an incredible happiness... Is it any wonder that to this day this Galilean is too much for our small hearts?
... H. G. Wells (1866-1946), The Outline of History, v. II [1920], The Review of Reviews Co., 1922, p. 598-599 (see the book; see also Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:21; Luke 6:24-25; 12:15; John 7:7; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; more at Greatness, Historical, Jesus)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866

Hosanna to the King
Of David’s ancient blood;
Behold, he comes to bring
Forgiving grace from God:
Let old and young
Attend his way,
And at his feet
Their honors lay.
Glory to God on high;
Salvation to the Lamb;
Let earth, and sea, and sky,
His wondrous love proclaim:
Upon his head
Shall honors rest,
And every age
Pronounce him bless’d.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs [1707], in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book 3, hymn 45, p. 496 (see the book; see also Rev. 4:9-11; 1 Chr. 16:28-29; Neh. 9:5; Ps. 29:1-2; 96:7-8; 148; more at Blessing, Glory, God, Grace, Honor, King, Lamb, Salvation)

Thursday, July 15, 2010
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274

We preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), motto of the Dohnavur Fellowship (see also Matt. 3:11; John 7:18; Rom. 15:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:3-5; more at Christ, Historical, Jesus, Preach, Service)

Friday, July 16, 2010
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099

Be persuaded, timid soul, that He has loved you too much to cease loving you.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 188 (see the book; see also Ps. 100:4-5; 136; Luke 1:50; 2 Cor. 1:3; Jas. 2:23; Jude 1:21; more at Assurance, Attributes of God, God, Love)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Every logical position ... will eventually lead into trouble, and heresy, and chaos. Every logical position is fully consistent, but coherence arises from the human mind, not God’s. The human mind is finite and cannot grasp eternity, and therefore the finite mind sees the infinite as not graspable coherently. If we could grasp it all coherently, without contradiction, we would be God. The person who insists on being logical to the end winds up in a mess. I am not saying that we should not be rational. I am not anti-intellectual. I am saying that the intellect by itself is helpless to arrive at total truth.
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001), Stir, Change, Create, p. 44 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:7; Pr. 14:6; Matt. 13:11; John 16:13; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 2:12-14; 2 Cor. 4:4-6; Eph. 4:17-18; 1 John 2:15-16; more at Eternity, Helplessness, Heresy, Infinite, Logic, Reason, Trouble, Truth, Understanding)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I have no reason to complain of any crosses, because they are the bitter fruit of my sin. Nothing shall hurt us but sin; and that shall not hurt us, if we can repent of it. And nothing can do us good but the love and favour of God in Christ; and that we shall have if we seek it in good earnest. Afflictions are God’s potions, which we may sweeten by faith and prayer; but we often make them bitter, by putting into God’s cup the ill ingredients of impatience and unbelief. There is no affliction so small but we shall sink under it, if God uphold us not: and there is no sin so great but we shall commit it, if God restrain us not. A man who hath the spirit of prayer hath more than if he hath all the world. And no man is in a bad condition, but he who hath a hard heart and cannot pray.
... John Dod (c.1549-1645), as quoted in The Lives of the Puritans, v. III, Benjamin Brook, London: J. Black, 1813, p. 3 (see the book; see also Ps. 103:8-10; Isa. 6:9-10; Jer. 46:28; Matt. 9:13; 12:34; 1 Thess. 3:2-3; Jas. 4:8; 1 Pet. 4:13-14; Rev. 3:19; more at Affliction, Bitterness, Christ, Cross, Faith, Goodness, Love, Patience, Prayer, Sin, Unbelief)

Monday, July 19, 2010
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379

The Christian ethic is inseparable from the preaching of the Word, for the very behaviour of the Christian destroys the work of Satan, and helps to build up the Body of Christ in the world.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), The Presence of the Kingdom, tr. Olive Wyon, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1951, p. 23 (see the book; see also Rom. 4:14-16; Matt. 8:16-17; Acts 8:12; 1 Cor. 1:23; more at Body of Christ, Holy Spirit, Preach, Righteousness, World)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566

It is clear that God wants us to get involved. It is our work to do, and we are blessed when we do it willingly.
... Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, Inc., in a private communication from World Vision (see also 1 John 3:17-18; Deut. 15:7-11; Pr. 19:17; Isa. 58:7-10; Luke 3:11; 1 Tim. 6:17-18; more at Blessing, Cooperation, Mission, Will of God, Work)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The men of faith might claim for their positions ancient tradition, practical usefulness, and spiritual desirability, but one query could prick all such bubbles: Is it scientific? That question has searched religion for contraband goods, stripped it of old superstitions, forced it to change its categories of thought and methods of work, and in general has so cowed and scared religion that many modern-minded believers... instinctively throw up their hands at the mere whisper of it... When a prominent scientist comes out strongly for religion, all the churches thank Heaven and take courage, as though it were the highest possible compliment to God to have Eddington believe in Him. Science has become the arbiter of this generation’s thought, until to call even a prophet and a seer ‘scientific’ is to cap the climax of praise.
... Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969), As I see Religion, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1932, p. 123 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:16; Jas. 1:27; 4:4; more at Faith, Prophet, Religion, Science, Tradition)

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles

He said: that it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times; that we are as strictly obliged to adhere to God by action in the time of action, as by prayer in the season of prayer.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fourth Conversation, p. 16 (see the book; see also Luke 5:16; Ps. 122:6-7; Eccl. 3:1; 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 10:19-22; more at Action, God, Prayer, Time)

Friday, July 23, 2010
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373

The book would have been richer if [it had represented] that small but significant section of preachers who are not content with generalization where ‘the social implications’ of Christianity are concerned, but who are prepared to take sides on concrete issues. This is an admittedly different and dangerous proceeding, but one which certainly the prophets of Israel were not afraid to tackle. This is a form of witness-bearing, which the pulpit shuns at its peril.
... O. Fielding Clarke (1898-1987) (see also 2 Sam. 12:7-10; 1 Kings 21:18-19; Isa. 1:11-17; Amos 5:21-24; more at Danger, Preacher, Prophet, Social, Witness)

Saturday, July 24, 2010
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471

Now since our eternal state is as certainly ours, as our present state; since we are as certainly to live for ever, as we now live at all; it is plain, that we cannot judge of the value of any particular time, as to us, but by comparing it to that eternal duration, for which we are created.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 226 (see the book; see also John 16:20; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17; 1 Pet. 1:6; 4:13-16; 5:10; more at Authenticity, Everlasting, Judgment, Life, Time)

Sunday, July 25, 2010
Feast of James the Apostle

Every man has in his own experience some knowledge of the perplexing uncertainty of this whirligig of time. Yet with his best thought, and largest opportunity, and the application of his highest ability, he cannot penetrate far. But the Christ of God unfolds both its meaning, and its order. He shows that the goal is freedom, and the guidance love... In this way Christ appeals direct to the spirit of man, not by its special acquirements or special ability, but through its common needs and common tasks.
... John Oman (1860-1939), Vision and Authority, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1928, p. 109 (see the book; see also Eccl. 8:16-17; Isa. 40:28; John 4:13-14; 6:35,51; Phil. 4:7; more at Christ, Freedom, Love, Man, Meaning, Spirit, Time, Uncertainty)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Love always involves responsibility, and it always involves sacrifice. And we do not really love Christ unless we are prepared to face His task and to take up His Cross.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 2, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001, p. 334 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:37-38; 16:24; Luke 9:23; John 21:15-19; more at Christ, Cross, Love, Responsibility, Sacrifice)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011

It may be that the grace of renewal will not be given to us in our separation, will not be given until we stand together for the healing of the nations.
... Gordon Rupp (1910-1986) (see also Rev. 22:1-2; Ps. 85:4; John 17:11; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:22-24; Phil. 1:27-28; Tit. 3:4-6; more at Church, Grace, Health, Purpose, Renewal)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this, it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging.
... J. S. Bach (1685-1750), Glory and Honor: the musical and artistic legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach, Gregory Wilbur & David Vaughan, Cumberland House Publishing, 2005, p. 1 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 14:15; Mark 14:26; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Rev. 5:12; more at Art, Glory of God, Music, Renewal)

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord

I acknowledge, dear God, that I have deserved the greatest of Thy wrath and indignation; and that, if Thou hadst dealt with me according to my deserving, I had now, at this instant, been desperately bewailing my miseries in the sorrows and horrors of a sad eternity. But Thy mercy triumphing over Thy justice and my sins, Thou hast still continued to me life and time of repentance; Thou hast opened to me the gates of grace and mercy, and perpetually callest upon me to enter in, and to walk in the paths of a holy life, that I might glorify Thee and be glorified of Thee eternally.
... 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. 34 (see the book; see also Matt. 26:28; Jer. 31:33-34; Matt. 1:21; Jas. 5:15; 1 John 1:9; more at Eternity, Grace, Holiness, Justice, Mercy, Prayers, Repentance, Sadness, Sin, Sorrow)

Friday, July 30, 2010
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833

Infant Baptism... has been a witness for the Son of Man and the universality of His Kingdom, like no other. It has taught parents that to bring children into the world is not a horrible crime. It has led them to see Christ and His redemption of humanity through all the mists of our teachings and our qualifications. It has explained the nature of His Kingdom to the hearts of the poorest. Christ has preached at the fonts, when we have been darkening counsel in the pulpits.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Kingdom of Heaven [1864], London: Macmillan, 1893, p. 282-283 (see the book; see also Ps. 8:2; Matt. 21:15-16; Luke 18:16-17; more at Baptism, Child, Christ, Church, Kingdom, Redemption, Teach, Witness)

Saturday, July 31, 2010
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556

Priestcraft ... is fostered whenever and wherever the ... whole people of God begins to view the ordained ministry as an office rather than as a function, and allows the office to shape the function rather than the function to shape the office. Most churches and most Christians in Britain—the denomination is immaterial—conceive the ministry as a professionalized caste with its own exclusive tabus, rather than as a specially trained task force, working to professional standards simply in order to make its service more effective. [Continued tomorrow]
... Christopher Driver (1932-1997), A Future for the Free Churches?, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 100 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 2:8; Matt. 9:37-38; Mark 1:17; 2 Cor. 6:3-10; more at Body of Christ, Church, Minister, Ordination, Service, Work)


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