Quotations for August, 2020
Saturday, August 1, 2020
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)
Sunday, August 2, 2020
[Continued from yesterday] The humblest and—in the ecclesiastical sense—lowest Congregational or Methodist chapel is as vulnerable as any to priestcraft, even if it possesses no ordained minister to play the role of the priest, for it can and usually does allow the very absence of a minister to limit unnecessarily the ministry of its members, both in the church and in the community. Such chapels, indeed, quite often openly put forward their lack of a paid, professional minister as an excuse for their introversion. “We can’t possibly do this ... study this ... attend that. We haven’t got a minister.” The corrosive influence is especially visible in these churches’ pattern of worship. Whoever is actually conducting the services, ordained minister or visiting lay preacher, the pattern is irretrievably sacerdotal, the congregation neither speaking by itself nor performing an action from start to finish. Even the Lord’s Prayer is commonly “led” in a loud voice from the pulpit, presumably in case the congregation forgets the words.
... Christopher Driver (1932-1997), A Future for the Free Churches?, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 100-101
(see the book; see also Acts 8:14-17; Matt. 23:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Gal. 1:15-17; Eph. 3:6-8; more at Church, Minister, Preacher, Priest, Service, Worship)
Monday, August 3, 2020
There is that in the Gospel with which no one is allowed to argue. All we can do is believe ... or to disbelieve; to give it in our life the place of the final reality to which everything else must give way, or to refuse it that place. Many people ... would like to talk the Word of God over. It raises in their minds various questions they would willingly discuss. It has aspects of interest and of difficulty which call for consideration; and so on. Perhaps there are some that confusedly shield themselves against the responsibilities of faith and unbelief by such thoughts. All that such thoughts prove, however, is that those who cherish them have never yet realized that what we are dealing with in the Gospel is God. When God speaks in Christ, He reveals His gracious will without qualification. And without qualification, we have to believe in it, or refuse to believe, and so decide ... the controversy between ourselves and Him. God has not come into the world in Christ ... to be talked about, but to become the supreme reality in the life of men, or to be excluded from that place.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Way Everlasting: Sermons, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1911, 266-267
(see the book; see also Acts 19:8-10; Matt. 7:13-14; Acts 17:18; Rom.14:1; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; 1 John 3:21-23; more at Argument, Belief, Faith, God, Gospel, Question, Revelation, Unbelief)
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
My own idea, for what it is worth, is that all sadness which is not now either arising from the repentance of a concrete sin and hastening towards concrete amendment or restitution, or else arising from pity and hastening to active assistance, is simply bad.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 55
(see the book; see also Eccl. 11:10; Ps. 126:5-6; Isa. 35:10; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; more at Attitudes, Pity, Repentance, Sadness, Sin)
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
The Lord can clear the darkest skies,Can give us day for night;Make drops of sacred sorrow riseTo rivers of delight.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Psalms of David Imitated , in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, Ps. 126, p. 254
(see the book; see also Ps. 126:3-6; 46:4; Isa. 60:20; Jer. 31:12-13; Rev. 22:1-2; more at Darkness, Day, God, Joy, Night, Sorrow, Weakness)
Thursday, August 6, 2020
A man may go into the field and say his prayer and be aware of God, or he may be in Church and be aware of God; but if he is more aware of Him because he is in a quiet place, that is his own deficiency and not due to God, Who is alike present in all things and places, and is willing to give Himself everywhere so far as lies in Him. He knows God rightly who knows Him everywhere.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Meister Eckhart’s Sermons, tr., Claud Field, H. R. Allenson, London, 1909, p. 21
(see the book; see also Deut. 10:14; Ps. 139:7-8; Jer. 23:23-24; more at Awareness, God, Knowing God, Omnipresence, Prayer)
Friday, August 7, 2020
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
Art thou weary, art thou languid,Art thou sore distrest?“Come to me”—saith One—“and coming,Be at rest!”
Hath He marks to lead me to Him,If He be my Guide?“In His Feet and Hands are Wound-prints,And His Side.”
Is there Diadem, as Monarch,That His Brow adorns?“Yea, a Crown, in very surety,But of Thorns!”
If I find Him, if I follow,What His guerdon [reward] here?“Many a sorrow, many a labour,Many a tear.”
If I still hold closely to Him,What hath He at last?“Sorrow vanquish’d, labour ended,Jordan past!”
If I ask Him to receive me,Will He say me nay?“Not till earth, and not till HeavenPass away!”
Finding, following, keeping, struggling,Is He sure to bless?“Angels, Martyrs, Prophets, Virgins,Answer, Yes!”
... St. Stephen the Sabaite (725-796) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), Hymns of the Eastern Church, London: J. T. Hayes, 1870, p. 156-158
(see the book; see also Isa. 53:3-5; Matt. 11:28-30; Mark 15:17; John 20:27; more at Angel, Blessing, Guidance, Heaven, Labor, Martyr, Prophet, Sorrow, Weary)
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221
Sad, indeed, would the whole matter be if the Bible had told us everything God meant us to believe. But herein is the Bible greatly wronged. It nowhere lays claim to be regarded as the Word, the Way, the Truth. The Bible leads us to Jesus, the inexhaustible, the ever-unfolding Revelation of God. It is Christ “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” not the Bible, save as leading to Him.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Higher Faith”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 52-53
(see the book; see also Heb. 1:3; Matt. 16:1-4; John 14:5-6; 20:29; Col. 2:1-3; more at Bible, Christ, Knowledge, Treasure, Truth, Way, Wisdom)
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921
Whatever may be our differences of colour, culture, and class, the unity that is ours in Christ is given visible expression at every Synod. Here we all gather around the one Altar, here we all share in shaping the policy of the Church in this diocese; here we all take part in making provision for carrying on the work of the Church during the coming year. At this time, year by year, we are specially conscious of our unity in Christ, and are made aware afresh that we are members of this new race of human beings which is made up of all those of every ethnic group who have been added to Christ. We are members of that Kingdom in which all human antagonisms are transcended. Yet we shall not interpret aright this unity which is ours in Christ Jesus unless we continually remind ourselves that it has its origin in His death and resurrection. The Church springs out of the deeds of Jesus done in the flesh, and we can only fulfill our destiny in the Church as we learn that we are utterly dependent upon the whole Body of Christ... Whatever gifts we possess belong to the Body, and are useful only as they are used in the common life of the Church. All this is made very plain in the New Testament Epistles, for in them we are taught that in each local Christian community is a fellowship in which every member is to live in humility and in love to the brethren. Yet no local church is to live to itself. Again and again, local churches are reminded of their close relationship to one another, in life, work, worship, pain, and death. Not that such a relationship is to be regarded either as a matter of convenience or as a question of organization. On the contrary, this intimate relationship is seen as the direct outcome of the saving work of Christ. This unity with one another, and of local churches with each other, is the unity which belongs to the Body of Christ, arising from the unity of God Himself, uttered in the dying and rising again of Jesus, and now expressed in the order and structure of the Church.
... Ambrose Reeves (1899-1980), “The Church is United in the Body of Christ”, in Church and Race in South Africa, David M. Paton, London: SCM Press, 1958, p. 30-31
(see the book; see also Gal. 3:28-29; Ps. 133; Phil. 2:2; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; more at Altar, Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Community, Fellowship, Unity, Worship)
Monday, August 10, 2020
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258
When Christianity was young and growing, there was general terror of the stars and a wide practice of astrology. The terror was mainly superstitious, and the only way of mitigating the stars’ enmity was through magic. It was one of the Church’s main tasks to reduce the license of... astrological superstition to her own discipline: there was no question of cutting it out altogether. Naturally, she did not wholly succeed, and her task could never be completed. In the Elizabethan as in earlier ages, the orthodox belief in the stars’ influence, sanctioned but articulated and controlled by the authority of religion, was not always kept pure from the terrors of primitive superstition... The superstitious terrors... have little specifically to do with the Elizabethan age. But it is worth reflecting (as is not always done) that even these were not all horror and loss. If mankind had to choose between a universe that ignored him and one that noticed him to do him harm, he might well choose the second. Our own age need not begin congratulating itself on its freedom from superstition till it defeats a more dangerous temptation to despair.
... E. M. W. Tillyard (1889-1962), The Elizabethan World Picture , 9th ed., Vintage Books, 1960, p. 53-54
(see the book; see also Ps. 147:4; Isa. 47:13; Job 38:4-7; more at Church, Danger, Despair, Discipline, Religion, Star, Temptation, Terror)
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890
Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), included in Leaves of Gold, Evan S. Coslett & Clyde Francis Lytle, ed. , Honesdale, Pa.: Coslett Publishing Company, 1938, p. 55
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:16; Ps. 49:15; John 11:25; Rom. 6:11; more at Beginning, Fear, Life, Weakness)
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Man... cuts the wine of paradox with the water of consistency. The mystery of God and things is tamed to the simplicity of God or things; [man] builds himself a duller, skimpier world.If he is a pagan, he abolishes the secular in favor of the sacred. The world becomes filled with gods. To improve his wine, he searches, not for purer strains of yeast, but for better incantations, friendlier gods. He spends his time in shrines and caves, not chemistry. Things, for him, become pawns in the chess game of heaven. Religion devours life.On the other hand, if he is a secularist, he insists that God must have no part in the world at all. That God has made Saccharomyces ellipsoideus competent enough to ferment sugar on its own, becomes, for him, a proof that He never made it at all. Poor man! To be so nearly right, and so devastatingly wrong. To hit so close, and yet miss the mark completely. Yeast, without God to give it as a gift, ceases to be good company. It becomes merely useful—a mechanism contributory to other mechanisms. And those, in turn, to the vast mechanism of the whole. And that, at last, to—well, he is hard put to say just what.
... Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013), The Supper of the Lamb, New York: Doubleday, 1969, p. 87
(see the book; see also Deut. 8:19; Luke 17:33; John 12:25; Rom. 1:18-23; 2 Cor. 6:4-10; 12:9-10; Phil. 3:7; more at Gifts, God, Goodness, Knowing God, Paradox, Religion, Simplicity, World, Wrong)
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Feast of Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down & Connor, Priest, Teacher, 1667
Commemoration of Florence Nightingale, Social Reformer, 1910
Commemoration of Octavia Hill, Worker for the Poor, 1912
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 , 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, August 14, 2020
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941
Luther’s rejection of Papal authority was not due to any difficulty he may have experienced in reconciling the claims made for the Petrine office with the character of the men who occupied the Papal throne in his time, nor to any confusion caused by the Conciliar Movement. His objections went much deeper and sprang, not from the concrete existential situation of his time, but from his theological principles. Luther saw quite early that his theory of justification by faith alone implied a denial of any divinely appointed hierarchy in the Church. Already in 1518 he had accepted the Hussite doctrine that the True Church, the Church of the promises and the Mystical Body of Christ, is invisible. Luther’s saving faith is the response of the individual soul to the Word of God revealed in Scripture; in his theology there is no place for any created activity to mediate to men God’s saving action nor for any active sharing by men in the dispensation of grace or divine truth.
... George H. Duggan (1912-2012), Hans Küng and Reunion, Westminster, Md., Newman Press, 1964, p. 21-22
(see the book; see also Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22-24; 8:27,34; Eph. 2:18; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Body of Christ, Church, Faith, Grace, Justification, Mystic, Salvation, Theology, Truth)
Saturday, August 15, 2020
The student should beware lest he overlook the momentous issues involved in the refusal of the State to allow any society or club to exist which had not first obtained official recognition, and the equally momentous refusal of the Church to obtain such recognition. The question is not one of legal technicalities or procedure, or the “sheer obstinacy,” as Marcus Aurelius would have phrased it, of Christian fanatics, but points rather to one of those root antagonisms of principle the influence of which, in different forms, may be felt in the twentieth as much as in the second century. By Roman theory, the State was the one society which must engross every interest of its subjects, religious, social, political, humanitarian, with the one possible exception of the family. There was no room in Roman law for the existence, much less the development on its own lines of organic growth, of any corporation or society which did not recognize itself from the first as a mere department or auxiliary of the State. The State was all and in all, the one organism with a life of its own. Such a theory the Church, as the living kingdom of Jesus, could not possibly accept either in the first century or the twentieth.
... H. B. Workman (1862-1951), Persecution in the early church: a chapter in the history of renunciation, 2nd ed., London: Charles H. Kelly, 1906, p. 71-72
(see the book; see also Ps. 103:19; 133:1; Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 4:16-18; more at Church, Historical, Jesus, Kingdom, Law, Social)
Sunday, August 16, 2020
It is absolutely unimportant in the eyes of God how many people follow the “Anglican tradition” of belief and practice. It is of the greatest importance how many people there are who have come to know and love our Lord because of what we Anglicans have said and done.
... Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. (1908-1974), “The Challenge of the Frontiers: Organizing for Action (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 187
(see the book; see also Luke 11:33; Matt. 5:16; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; more at Belief, God, Knowing God, Love, Tradition, Ultimate reality)
Monday, August 17, 2020
I do not want bishops to practice the ordination of voluntary clergy [merely] as a plausible policy, for which something can be said. If by persuasive speech I could induce all the bishops in the world to adopt that practice, I think that I should refuse. I do not believe that Christian men should base their action upon such a foundation: I believe that the first blast of difficulty would overthrow them if they did. I try to set forth a truth of Christ which demands obedience. I call upon the church not to adopt a plausible policy, but to repent of a sin; for to make void the word of Christ is sin.
... 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. 137-138
(see the book; see also Acts 15:8; Matt. 15:3-8; Acts 6:2-6; Rom. 4:14-16; more at Church, Minister, Obedience, Ordination, Repentance, Sin, Truth, Vow)
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
The merit of persons is to be no rule of our charity; but we are to do acts of kindness to those that least of all deserve it.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 116
(see the book; see also Jas. 2:1-4; Matt. 5:3; 25:40; Luke 14:8-11; 1 John 3:17-18; more at Charity, Kindness, Love, People, Rule, Social)
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
What man ever had more renown? The whole Jewish people foretell Jesus before His coming. The Gentile people worship Him after His coming. The two peoples, Gentile and Jewish, regard Him as their centre.And yet what man enjoys this renown less? Of thirty-three years, He lives thirty without appearing. For three years He passes as an impostor; the priests and the chief people reject Him; His friends and His nearest relatives despise Him. Finally, He dies, betrayed by one of His own disciples, denied by another, and abandoned by all.What part, then, has He in this renown? Never had man so much renown; never had man more ignominy. All that renown was only of use to us, to help us to recognize Him; it was of no use to Him.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, n. 792, p. 279
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:16-19; Isa. 53:3-4; Luke 5:29-35; 7:31-35; Rev. 5:12; more at Betrayal, Death, Disciple, Friend, Jesus, Worship)
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890
I do a great wrong in His sight, when I beseech Him that He will hear my prayer, which as I give utterance to it I do not hear myself. I entreat Him that He will think of me; but I regard neither myself nor Him. Nay, what is worse, turning over corrupt and evil thoughts in mine heart, I thrust a dreadful offensiveness into His presence.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Selections from His Letters, Meditations, Sermons, Hymns and Other Writngs, tr. Horatio Grimley, CUP Archive, n.d., p. 195
(see the book; see also Amos 5:21-24; Ps. 51:10; Hos. 4:7-8; John 3:19-20; more at Corruption, Evil, God, Heart, Prayer, Thought, Wrong)
Friday, August 21, 2020
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)
Saturday, August 22, 2020
The very Nazis look at you with wonderment and an open contempt! For even they are sure that to live for nothing higher than oneself is to lose life; that life, to be called life, can be found only in serving something bigger than one’s personal interests; something that crowds these out of mind and heart, till one forgets about them and lives wholly, and without exception, for that other, worthier thing... It is long since Aristotle told us that only barbarians have as their ideal the wish to live as they please, and to do what they like. And the New Testament gravely sets us down before the Cross, and bids us gaze, and still gaze, and keep gazing, till the fact has soaked itself into our minds that that, not less than that, is now the standard set us, and that whatever in our lives clashes with that is sin.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 91-92
(see the book; see also Col. 2:13-14; Matt. 10:39; John 8:28; Rom. 6:12-14; more at Bible, Cross, Ideal, Life, Sin)
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617
The renovation of our social system is a work so vast that no one of us, nor all of us put together, can define all the measures that will have to be taken before we attain even the Cab-Horse Ideal of existence for our children and our children’s children. All that we can do is attack, in a serious, practical spirit, the worst and most pressing evils, knowing that if we do our duty, we obey the voice of God. He is the Captain of our Salvation. If we but follow where he leads we shall not want for marching orders, nor need we imagine that he will narrow the field of operations.I am laboring under no delusions as to the possibility of inaugurating the millennium by any social specific. In the struggle of life, the weakest will go to the wall, and there are so many weak. The fittest, in tooth and claw, will survive. All that we can do is to soften the lot of the unfit and make their suffering less horrible than it is at present. No outside propping will make some men stand erect. All material help from without is useful only in so far as it develops moral strength within. And some men seem to have lost even the very faculty of self-help. There is an immense lack of common sense and of vital energy on the part of multitudes. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Booth (1829-1912), In Darkest England, London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1890, p. 43-44
(see the book; see also John 3:19; Isa. 60:2; Rom. 12:9; more at Duty, Evil, Obedience, Renewal, Salvation, Social, Struggle)
Monday, August 24, 2020
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle
[Continued from yesterday] Insoluble [the problem] is, I am absolutely convinced, unless it is possible to bring new moral life into the soul of these people. This should be the first object of every social reformer, whose work will only last if it is built on the solid foundation of a new birth, to cry, “You must be born again!”At the risk of being misunderstood and misrepresented, I must assert in the most unqualified way that it is primarily and mainly for the sake of saving the soul that I seek the salvation of the body.But what is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive? You might as well give a tract to a shipwrecked sailor who is battling with the surf which has drowned his comrades and threatens to drown him. He will not listen to you. Nay, he cannot hear you. The first thing to do is to get him at least a footing on firm ground, and to give him room to live. Then you may have a chance. At present you have none.
... William Booth (1829-1912), In Darkest England, London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1890, p. 44-45
(see the book; see also John 3:6-7; Amos 5:15; Matt. 8:24-27; more at Gospel, Listening, Morality, New birth, Preach, Reform, Salvation, Social, Soul, Struggle)
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Thy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,Hears thee, by cruel men and impious, call’dFanatic, for thy zeal to loose th’ enthrall’dFrom exile, public sale, and slav’ry’s chain.Friend of the poor, the wrong’d, the fetter-gall’d,Fear not lest labour such as thine be vain!Thou hast achiev’d a part; hast gain’d the earOf Britain’s senate to thy glorious cause;Hope smiles, joy springs, and tho’ cold caution pauseAnd weave delay, the better hour is near,That shall remunerate thy toils severeBy peace for Afric, fenc’d with British laws.Enjoy what thou hast won, esteem and loveFrom all the just on earth, and all the blest above!
... William Cowper (1731-1800), The Works of William Cowper: his life, letters, and poems, New York: R. Carter & Brothers, 1851, p. 643
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:7; Isa. 61:1-2; Matt. 5:9; Luke 4:14-21; more at Exile, Hope, Joy, Labor, Love, Poverty, Slave, Zeal)
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
The relevance of the laity received the greatest emphasis in the sectarian apostolic movements after the 12th century, and especially in the 14th century through Wycliffe. The specific significance of this peculiar set of protests and movements is that their inspiration was purely religious. They squarely confronted the “ecclesiastical-hierarchical” line with the “biblical” one. They were, of course, not wholly unaffected by repercussions of the conflict between the worldly-conceived papal theocracy and the nationalistic demands of the nations and their rulers for an independent status, but their heart lay really with a reform of the Church in the light of the Word of God.fn. Looking back on these struggles, one is again and again struck by the daring and independence of mind shown in the Middle Ages, a time which is always considered to be marked by submissiveness, especially to authority claimed on religious grounds as necessary to salvation. This amazement increases when one takes into consideration our own time, which regards itself by definition as the time of non-submissiveness. Nevertheless, whatever movements of protest and conflict there may be to-day against the hierarchy, they are very weak in daring and independence in comparison with those of the Middle Ages. In our secularistic age, in which submissiveness is devalued on principle, submissiveness to the hierarchical claims of the Church has never before been so undisputed.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 60-61
(see the book; see also Eph. 4:11-15; Luke 9:57-62; Jas. 1:5-6; more at Bible, Church, Independence, Reform, Salvation, Struggle)
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
I can let Christ grip me; but I cannot grip him. I love... to sit on Christ’s knee; but I cannot set my feet to the ground, for afflictions bring the cramp upon my faith. All I now do is to hold out a lame faith to Christ, like a beggar holding out a stump, instead of an arm or leg, and cry, Lord Jesus, work a miracle.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 9, 1637, p. 178
(see the book; see also Mark 9:23-24; Matt. 11:4-6; 15:30-31; Luke 7:22-23; Acts 14:8; more at Affliction, Christ, Faith, Miracle, Weakness)
Friday, August 28, 2020
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430
Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that you may understand.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John, vol. i, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. x of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1873, tract. XXIX.6, p. 405
(see the book; see also John 6:44-45; Jer. 31:34; John 6:38-40; 7:14-18; 16:13; more at Belief, Faith, Understanding)
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Luther, in speaking of the good by itself and the good for its expediency alone, instances the observance of the Christian day of rest,—a day of repose from manual labour, and of activity in spiritual labour,—a day of joy and cooperation in the work of Christ’s creation. “Keep it holy,”—says he,—“for its use’ sake—both to body and soul! But if anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day’s sake,—if anywhere anyone sets up its observance upon a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it—to do anything that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit and liberty.”
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Table Talk, 2nd ed., London: John Murray, 1836, May 19, 1834, p. 298
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:7-8; Exod. 20:8; Mark 2:27; Gal. 4:9-11; more at Day, Goodness, Holiness, Law, Legalism, Liberty, Sabbath, Spirit, Work)
Sunday, August 30, 2020
The Day of Jesus Christ is the Day of all days; the brilliant and visible light of this one point is the hidden invisible light of all points; to perceive the righteousness of God once and for all here is the hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:5) everywhere and at all times. By the knowledge of Jesus Christ all human waiting is guaranteed, authorized and established; for He makes it known that it is not men who wait, but God—in His faithfulness.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 96
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:24-25; Lam. 3:24; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 5:5; Heb. 11:1; more at God, Jesus, Light, Righteousness, Worship)
Monday, August 31, 2020
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688
I never knew all there was in the Bible until I spent those years in jail. I was constantly finding new treasures.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), quoted in A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed., Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, p. 27
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:11-13; Matt. 13:52; 1 Cor. 15:3; Col. 2:2-3; 1 Thess. 2:13; 5:27; 2 Pet. 3:2,15-16; Heb. 4:12; more at Bible, Prisoner, Treasure, Year)
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