Christ, our Light

Quotations for September, 2018

Saturday, September 1, 2018
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710

Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself.
... Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1910-1997), Something Beautiful for God: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Malcolm Muggeridge, London: Collins, 1971, p. 66 (see the book; see also Rom. 10:10; 15:30; 2 Cor. 8:16; Gal. 1:3-5; 2:20; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Tit. 2:12-14; Heb. 3:12; 10:22; more at Gifts, God, Heart, Prayer)

Sunday, September 2, 2018
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942

We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God.
... Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899), Glad Tidings, New York: E. B. Treat, 1876, p. 487 (see the book; see also John 15:14; Deut. 8:11-14; Luke 12:15-21; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17; more at Affliction, Forget, God, Weakness)

Monday, September 3, 2018
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604

Some think that the Old Testament is stricter than the New, but they are judging wrongly: they are fooling themselves. The old Law did not punish the desire to hold onto wealth: it punished theft. But now the rich man is not condemned because he has taken the property of others: rather, he is condemned for not giving his own property away.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), from Homily 40 (see the book; see also Eph. 4:28; Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 3:11; 12:33; 16:20-31; 18:22; 21:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:2,12; 1 Tim. 6:18-19; more at Bible, Condemnation, Giving, Judgment, Law, Punishment)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650

“Homesickness for the [One True Church]” is genuine and legitimate only in so far as it is a disquietude at the fact that we have lost and forgotten Christ and with Him have lost the unity of the Church.
Thus we must be on our guard, all along the line, lest the motives which stir us today lead us to a quest that looks past Him. Indeed, however rightful and urgent those motives are, we could well leave them out of our reckoning. We shall do well to realize that in themselves they are well-meaning but merely human desires, and that we can have no final certainty that they are rightful, no unanswerable claim for their fulfillment. Unless we regard them with a measure of holy indifference we are ill placed for a quest after the unity of the Church.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Church and the Churches [1936], Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, p. 15-16 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:19; Pr. 10:25; Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:10-11; Eph. 2:19-20; Heb. 11:10; more at Christ, Church, Forget, Quest, Unity)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

If New Testament Christianity is to reappear today with its power and joy and courage, men must recapture the basic conviction that this is a Visited Planet. It is not enough to express formal belief in the “Incarnation” or in the “Divinity of Christ,” the staggering truth must be accepted afresh—that in this vast, mysterious Universe, of which we are an almost infinitesimal part, the great Mystery, Whom we call God, has visited our planet in Person. It is from this conviction that there springs unconquerable certainty and unquenchable faith and hope. It is not enough to believe theoretically that Jesus was both God and Man; not enough to admire, respect, and even worship Him; it is not even enough to try to follow Him. The reason for the insufficiency of these things is that the modern intelligent mind, which has had its horizons widened in dozens of different ways, has got to be shocked afresh by the audacious central Fact—that, as a sober matter of history, God became one of us.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, chapt. iii, p. 29 (see the book; see also John 1:1-9,14; Luke 1:31-35; Rom. 1:2-4; 9:5; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6-8; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:11-17; 1 John 4:2-3; ; more at Courage, God, Incarnation, Jesus, Power)

Thursday, September 6, 2018
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965

We allow no faith to be justifying, ... which is not itself, and in its own nature, a spiritually vital principle of obedience and good works.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, in Works of John Owen, v. V, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 73 (see the book; see also John 15:10; 14:15,21; 15:9-12; Phil. 1:9-11; 2 Tim. 3:16; more at Faith, Good works, Obedience)

Friday, September 7, 2018
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957

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)

Saturday, September 8, 2018
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855

If one could talk absolutely humanly about Christ, one would have to say that the words: “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” are impatient and untrue. They can only be true if God says them, and consequently also when the God-Man says them. And indeed—since it is true, it is the very limit of suffering.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 301 (see the book; see also Matt. 27:46; Ps. 22:1; Mark 15:34; 1 Cor. 1:22-24; Heb. 2:18; 13:12; more at Christ, Easter, God, Suffer, Truth)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery; if stupid people fret me and the little ruffles set me on edge; if I make much of the trifles of life, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 44 (see the book; see also Pr. 24:17-20; Ps. 37:1-3; 103:10; Jas. 1:5; 1 Pet. 2:24; more at Calvary, Fret, Love, Weakness)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Division has always been a disease of the church... The Love Feast, which should have been the sign and symbol of perfect unity, has become a thing of divisions and class distinctions. And here there is something which only the newer translations reveal. In the older translations, it is said that to eat and drink at the sacrament without discerning the Lord’s body is the way to judgment and not to salvation. But in the best Greek text, the word Lord’s is not included. The sin is not to discern the body; that is to say, not to discern that the church is a body, not to be aware of the oneness of the church, not to be aware of the togetherness in which all its members should be joined.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), Ethics in a Permissive Society, New York: Harper & Row, 1971, Fontana, 1971, p. 59 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:28-29,31; Ps. 26:2-3; Lam. 3:40; Hag. 1:5,7; John 17:22-23; 2 Cor. 13;5; Gal. 6:4; 1 John 3:19-21; more at Awareness, Body of Christ, Church, God, Judgment, Sacrament, Salvation, Unity, Way)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When a comparison is made of the variant readings of the New Testament with those of other books which have survived from antiquity, the results are little short of astounding. For instance, although there are some 200,000 “errors” among the New Testament manuscripts, these appear in only about 10,000 places, and only about one-sixtieth rise above the level of trivialities. Westcott and Hort, Ezra Abbot, Philip Schaff, and A. T. Robertson have carefully evaluated the evidence and have concluded that the New Testament text is over 99 percent pure. In the light of the fact that there are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, some 9,000 versions and translations, the evidence for the integrity of the New Testament is beyond question.
... Norman L. Geisler (1932-2019) & William E. Nix, From God to Us, Chicago: Moody Press, 1974, p. 180 (see the book; see also Gal. 6:10-11; Ps. 119:140; Rom. 3:1-4; Acts 7:37-38; 26:25-27; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; Heb. 5:12; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Rev. 22:6; more at Bible, Book, Error, Integrity)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The mystical union, on the one hand. The resurrection of the body, on the other. I can’t reach the ghost of an image, a formula, or even a feeling, that combines them. But the reality, we are given to understand, does. Reality [is] the iconoclast once more. Heaven will solve our problems—but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.
... N. W. Clerk, A Grief Observed, penname of C. S. Lewis, Seabury Press, 1963, p. 56 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Luke 24:38; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; Jas. 1:6; more at Death & Resurrection, Heaven, Mystic)

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407

Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407) (see also Matt. 25:35; 5:6; Luke 1:53; John 6:21,32-35; Rom. 12:20-21; more at Death, Mercy, Obedience, Work)

Friday, September 14, 2018
Feast of the Holy Cross

Thou knowest well how to excuse and colour thine own deeds, but thou art not willing to receive the excuses of others. It were more just that thou shouldest accuse thyself, and excuse thy brother.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.iii.2, p. 87 (see the book; see also Matt. 18:23-35; 5:44-45; 7:1-2; Luke 6:35-36; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13; Jas. 2:12-13; more at Abasement, Deed, Judgment, Justice, Repentance)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The various moral and theological and sociological disputes of the day, however progressively resolved with ecclesiastical connivance, have nothing to say to this spiritual hunger, which is not assuaged by legalized abortion and homosexuality, solaced by contraception, or relieved by majority rule. Nor will it take comfort in the thought that God is dead, or that mankind has come of age, or even in ecumenical negotiations for writing off Papal Infallibility against the validity of Anglican Orders. The only means of satisfying it remains that bread of life which Jesus offered, with the promise that those who are of it should never hunger again. The promise stands.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), Jesus Rediscovered, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969, p. xiii (see the book; see also John 6:35; Isa. 55:1-3; Matt. 11:28; John 6:27,48-58; 7:37; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; Rev. 22:17; more at Apologetics, Bread, Ecumenical, God is dead, Jesus, Life, Morality, Promise, Satisfaction, Theology)

Sunday, September 16, 2018
Feast of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258
Commemoration of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts, c. 430
Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, tractarian, 1882

No one is strong in his own strength, but he is safe by the grace and mercy of God.
... St. Cyprian (Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) (?-258), Treatise IV. On the Lord’s Prayer [252], in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v. V, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, trs., Buffalo: Christian Literature Company, 1886, par. 14, p. 451 (see the book; see also Ps. 27:1; 46:1-2; Isa. 40:31; Matt. 6:9-13; Gal. 6:16; more at God, Grace, Mercy, Providence, Safety, Strength)

Monday, September 17, 2018
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179

Some have said that the power of a Redeemer would depend upon two things: first, upon the richness of the self that was given; and second, upon the depths of the giving. Friend and foe alike are agreed on the question of the character of Jesus Christ... Whatever our creed, we stand with admiration before the sublime character of Jesus. Character is supreme in life, and hence Jesus stood supreme in the supreme thing—so supreme that, when we think of the ideal, we do not add virtue to virtue, but think of Jesus Christ, so that the standard of human life is no longer a code, but a character.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Now and Then (see also Acts 8:32-35; Ps. 69:4; Isa. 52:13-53:12; Matt. 27:12-14; Luke 17:12-14; more at Giving, Ideal, Jesus, Life, Thought, Virtue)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905

There are those who in their very first seeking of it are nearer to the kingdom of heaven than many who have for years believed themselves [to be] of it. In the former there is more of the mind of Jesus, and when he calls them, they recognise him at once and go after him; while the others examine him from head to foot, and finding him not sufficiently like the Jesus of their conception, turn their backs, and go to church or chapel or chamber to kneel before a vague form mingled of tradition and fancy.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Thomas Wingfold, Curate [1876], New York: George Routledge & Son, 1876, p. 229-230 (see the book; see also John 10:27; Matt. 24:5; John 8:12; 10:4,16; Rev. 14:4; more at Call, Church, Conversion, Heaven, Jesus, Kingdom, Mind, Tradition)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690

I find more marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.
... Isaac Newton (1642-1727) (see the book; see also Dan. 10:21; Isa. 43:8-9; Amos 3:7; Luke 3:1-2; Rom. 3:2-4; more at Authenticity, Bible, Historical)

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871

Knowing God is more than knowing about Him; it is a matter of dealing with Him as He opens up to you, and being dealt with by Him as He takes knowledge of you. Knowing about Him is a necessary precondition of trusting in Him, but the width of our knowledge about Him is no gauge of the depth of our knowledge of Him.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), Knowing God, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1973, p. 39 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:12; Ps. 9:10; 46:10; 56:9; Phil. 3:8-11; Tit. 1:16; 1 Pet. 4:19; 1 John 4:6-7; more at Authenticity, Knowing God, Knowledge, Trust)

Friday, September 21, 2018
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

Modern Christianity is crucially weak at three vital points. The first is its compromised, deficient understanding of revelation. Without Biblical historicity and veracity behind the Word of God, theology can only grow closer to Hinduism. Second, the modern Christian is drastically weak in an unmediated, personal, experiential knowledge of God. Often, what passes for religious experience is a communal emotion felt in church services, in meetings, in singing or contrived fellowship. Few Christians would know God on their own. Third, the modern church is often pathetically feeble in the expression of its focal principle of community. It has become an adult social club, preaching shop, or minister-dominated group. With these weaknesses, modern Christianity cannot hope to understand why people have turned to the East, let alone stand against the trend and offer an alternative.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 209 (see the book; see also Heb. 6:18; Matt. 14:1-2; Luke 1:1-4; 2:1-2; 3:1; 9:7; Acts 12:19-23; 18:12; 25:13; 1 John 4:8; more at Attitudes, Church, Community, Experience, Knowing God, Revelation, Weakness)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Taken as practical counsel for survival, the Fifth Commandment is now almost a dead letter. Yet if our world were truly Christian, the change might be a reason for rejoicing. We no longer need our families—we are therefore free to love them with complete unselfishness. Now at last it is possible to honour our parents genuinely, because they no longer have the power to kill us if we don’t. The old sort of honour was sometimes an ugly sham: the son who respects Father only out of fear of punishment is not much of a son, just as the Christian who worships God only out of fear of hell is precious little of a Christian. But the new sort of honour can be a beautiful and holy thing. There are many sweet and sane families bound together by love; there are plenty of experts who remind us that only love can make the modern family work at all. And one must admit that there are plenty of parents very willing to be honoured.
The catch is that not so many of them are willing to be honourable.
... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 67-68 (see the book; see also Matt. 15:4-6; Ex. 20:12; Jer. 12:2; Mark 7:10-13; Heb. 3:12; more at Family, Hell, Honor, Love, Obedience, Punishment, Unselfish, Worship)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

[St. Paul] always contrived to bring his hearers to a point. There was none of the indeterminate, inconclusive talking, which we are apt to describe as “sowing the seed.” Our idea of sowing the seed seems to be rather like scattering wheat out of a balloon... Occasionally, of course, grains of wheat scattered out of a balloon will fall upon ploughed and fertile land and will spring up and bear fruit; but it is a casual method of sowing. Paul did not scatter seeds, he planted. He so dealt with his hearers that he brought them speedily and directly to a point of decision, and then he demanded of them that they should make a choice and act on their choice. In this way he kept the moral issue clearly before them, and made them realize that his preaching was not merely a novel and interesting doctrine, but a life. [Continued tomorrow]
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 74-75 (see the book; see also Josh. 24:14-15; Matt. 13:3-9,18-23; Acts 14:1-3; 17:16-32; more at Evangelization, Mission, Preach, Seed, Sow)

Monday, September 24, 2018

[Continued from yesterday]
The possibility of rejection was ever present. St. Paul did not establish himself in a place and go on preaching for years to men who refused to act on his teaching. When once he had brought them to a point where decision was clear, he reminded that they should make their choice. If they rejected him, he rejected them... He did not simply “go away;” he openly rejected those who showed themselves unworthy of his teaching. It was part of the Gospel that men might “judge themselves unworthy of eternal life.” It is a question which needs serious consideration whether the Gospel can be truly presented if this element is left out.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 75 (see the book; see also Acts 13:46-47; Isa. 49:5-8; Matt. 21:43; Luke 14:16-24; John 1:11; Acts 7:51; 18:6; more at Choices, Eternal life, Evangelization, Gospel, Mission, Preach, Teach)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392

The manifestation of God in the flesh the Evangelists set down by way of a history; the Apostle goes farther, and finds a deep mystery in it, and for a mystery commends it to us. Now there is difference between these two, many—this for one; that a man may hear a story, and never wash his hands, but a mystery requires both the hands and heart to be clean that shall deal with it.
... Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), sermon for Christmas day, 1607, Ninety-six Sermons, v. I, Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841, p. 32 (see the book; see also Col. 1:25-27; Rom. 16:25; Eph. 1:9-10; 3:2-9; Col. 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:16; more at Bible, Cleanse, Gospel, Heart, Historical)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942

There is [in these Wesleyan hymns] the solid structure of historic dogma; there is the passionate thrill of present experience; but there is, too, the glory of a mystic sunlight coming directly from another world. This transfigures history and experience. This puts past and present into the timeless, eternal NOW. This brings together God and man until Wesley talks with God as a man talks with his friend. This gives to the hymn-book its divine audacity, those passages only to be understood by such as have sat in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and, being caught up into paradise, have heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
... Bernard Lord Manning (1892-1941), The Hymns of Wesley and Watts, London: Epworth Press, 1942, p. 29 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Isa. 6:1-4; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 11:5; Jas. 5:13; Rev. 2:7; 7:16-17; more at Dogma, Experience, Heaven, Historical, Jesus, Paradise)

Thursday, September 27, 2018
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660

The gospel comprises indeed, and unfolds the whole mystery of man’s redemption, as far forth as it is necessary to be known for our salvation: and the corpuscularian or mechanical philosophy strives to deduce all the phenomena of nature from adiaphorous matter, and local motion. But neither the fundamental doctrine of Christianity nor that of the powers and effects of matter and motion seems to be more than an epicycle ... of the great and universal system of God’s contrivances, and makes but a part of the more general theory of things, knowable by the light of nature, improved by the information of the scriptures: so that both these doctrines... seem to be but members of the universal hypothesis, whose objects I conceive to be the natural counsels, and works of God, so far as they are discoverable by us in this life.
... Robert Boyle (1627-1691), The Excellency of Theology [1674], Works, v. IV, p. 19 (see the book; see also Ps. 19:1-6; Gen. 1; Job 38:4-14; Ps. 8:3-4; 33:4-7; 148:3-4; Isa. 40:22-26; Jer. 10:12; Rom. 1:18-20; more at God, Gospel, Nature, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture)

Friday, September 28, 2018

One attempt to reconcile the Gnostic doctrine [of the unreality or evilness] of matter with the apostolic teaching about Christ was the theory that the body which our Lord took at His coming into the world was not a real body but a phantom one. He only seemed to inhabit a material body, and from the Greek word dokein, which means “to seem”, people who held this theory were known as Docetists.
But if Christ’s incarnation was unreal, His death and resurrection were also unreal; and the whole gospel message was thus emptied of its truth and power. One unhappy legacy of this short-lived phase of Christian heresy ... remains to bedevil Christian witness to Muslims up to the present day. For when the Koran says of Jesus that “they did not kill Him, nor did they crucify Him: it was made a semblance to them”, we may infer that Muhammad was indebted for this idea to a Christian source tainted with Docetism.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1959, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959, p. 83-84 (see the book; see also Matt. 27:57-60; John 1:14; 1 Cor. 12:3; 15:14; 1 John 4:2-3; 5:1; more at Christ, Death & Resurrection, Easter, Gospel, Heresy, Incarnation)

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Feast of Michael & All Angels

We would fain be humble; but not despised. To be despised and rejected is the heritage of virtue. We would be poor too, but without privation. And doubtless we are patient, except with hardships and with disagreeables. And so with all the virtues.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 45 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:3-4; Ps. 22:6-8; 69:10-12,19-20; Isa. 50:6; Matt. 5:3-11; 26:67; 27:39-44; Heb. 12:2-3; more at Humility, Patience, Poverty, Virtue, Weakness)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

One of the results of the Reformation,... which is somewhat difficult of explanation, was the attitude of the Protestant Church of the Reformation to missions during the Reformation period (1517-1650).
Having themselves been emancipated from the superstitions and slavery of a false doctrine and a harsh ecclesiastical government, it would be thought most natural that the reformers and those who followed them should promptly turn their attention to spreading these glad tidings among non-Christian peoples; but here a strange anomaly is found in the fact that there had been hardly any period, in the entire history of the Christian Church, so destitute of any concerted effort to spread the gospel in heathen lands [as] just this period of the Reformation.
... Alfred D. Mason (1855-1923), Outlines of Missionary History [1912], New York: Doran, 1921, p. 53 (see the book; see also 2 Thess. 3:1; Acts 6:7; 12:24; 13:48-49; 19:20; 1 Cor. 16:8-9; more at Attitudes, Church, Evangelization, Gospel, Historical, Mission, Reformation)


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