Archive for the 'quote' Category

I just finished reading Radical by David Platt. I really like the book and agree with about 95% of what he has to say. I found this particularly refreshing:

As a result, Christ commands the church make the gospel known to all people. If this is true, then the implications for our lives are huge. If more than a billion people today are headed to a Christless eternity and have not even heard the gospel, then we don’t have time to waste our lives on an American dream. Not if we have all been commanded to take the gospel to them. The tendency in our culture is to set around debating this question, but in the end our goal is not to try to find an answer to it; our goal is to alleviate the question altogether (157-158).

For more on Platt, check out my review.

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Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

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“Get a friend to tell you your faults, or better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and sting you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise man, what an intolerable nuisance to a fool!”–Spurgeon, as quoted by Marshall Shelley in Well-Intentioned Dragons: Ministering to Problem People in the Church, 107

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“I sense that once again, it will take persecution to scatter the saints for the spread of the true gospel.”–Charles Newbold, The Crucified Ones, 17 (his emphasis)

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“The search for a ‘suitable’ church makes the man a critic where [God] wants him to be a pupil.”

- C.S. Lewis (Screwtape Letters, ch.16, p.73)

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We have been talking about theology lately…how much God knows, how little, whether it is important that we know how much he knows, and so on and so forth. It’s all very interesting, time consuming and, to an extent, tiresome. Fact is, the Bible is silent on some issues, speaks loudly on others, and is rather ambiguous about still others (such as whether or not Jesus had long hair). All jesting aside, I don’t think it is unreasonable to believe that there are some things that simply cannot be known by us about God.

But that doesn’t mean it is unhealthy to talk about such things and debate them.

Many years ago I read this book by John Sanders called The God Who Risks. I was too young at the time to fully grasp what I was reading, but in light of recent conversations (among others), I have been thinking about the book’s contents and arguments (it seems even back then, more than 10 years ago, John Piper was on the radar in these conversations). One interesting thing I noted about the book is that I didn’t mark it up like I normally do a book I am reading. Seriously, not one ink mark on any page. Strange. Although I do vaguely recall disagreeing with quite a lot of it (what I understood at the time).

So, here’s Sanders on salvation, what he calls the Relational Model of Salvation:

God takes risks with enabling grace in that people are not forced to believe. God does not believe in himself through us. The love of Christ and the prompting of the Spirit create the context in which we may respond in penitence and faith to God’s gracious gift. God is the initiator and provider of salvation, yet he does not want a relationship without our consent. (246)

I believe this conversation is meaningful enough that I will post some more of Sanders’ thoughts later this week and next. For now, though, I am curious. Do you think God takes risks? I remember one time, when I was but a young preacher, preaching a sermon that expounded a point that went something like this: God is courageous. I remember one of the elders questioning me closely after the sermon and then informing me, in no uncertain terms, that God doesn’t need to be courageous.

Years later, I wonder…

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The renewal of the human being in the divine image is profoundly personal, and embraces the human person in his or her totality.  This means that (trans)formation is fully embodied within a nest of relationships, a community.  From Scripture we receive an all-encompassing perspective on human health in the cosmos and in relation to God, but also well-developed ways of identifying the sickness that spreads like a cancer througout the human family, even eating away at the world that humans call home.  The term generally given this sickness in the Christian tradition is “sin”, a multivalent term that points to the myriad ways in which humans – individually, collectively, and systematically – neglect, deny, and refuse simply to be human – that is, to embrace and live out their vocation as creatures made in the image of God.  Accordingly, a Christian conception of human transformation does not allow the categorization of either the person or his or her salvation into “parts,” as though inner and outer life could be separated.  Angst among Christians in recent decades over how to prioritize ministries of “evangelism” and “social witness” is simply wrongheaded, therefore, since the gospel, the “evangel” of “evangelism,” cannot but concern itself with human need in all its aspects.  Only an erroneous body-soul dualism could allow – indeed, require – “ministry” to become segregated by its relative concern for “spiritual” versus “material” matters.  Nor does a Christian conception of human transformation allow us to think of the restoration of individuals, as it were, one at a time, but pushes our categories always to account for the human community and, beyond humanity, the cosmos.  Persons are not saved in isolation from the world around them.  Restoration to the likeness of God is the work of the Spirit within the community of God’s people, the fellowship of Christ-followers set on maturation in Christ.  From this vantage point, “image of God” points ultimately to the transformation of believers in resurrection, a transformation already at work in the creation of new humanity through the dissolution of barriers dividing human beings from one another along gender, social, or ethnic lines (Col 3:10-11; 1 Cor 12:12-13; Gal 3:28).

Joel B. Green, from Body, Soul, and Humanity, pp. 69-70

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“One thing is absolutely certain, namely, that victory will never be found by taking the line of least resistance.”–Winston Churchill, The Second World War: The Gathering Storm, 436

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“I am equally haunted by the insanity of God’s relentless unconditional love for me–a speck of sand on the beach of humanity.”–Nathan Foster, Wisdom Chaser, 57

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I’m reading some really good books right now. I think I like them because they irritate me and I get all worked up when I read them. One, especially, is driving me nuts. It’s a book by Steven Furtick called Sun Stand Still and it is an especially unpleasant read–for the most part.

Another book, Whole Life Transformation, by Keith Meyer comes off at times as way too autobiographical and winy, but I’m starting to open up to it a bit more the deeper I get into it.

As I was reading, I came across a rather lengthy quote that I thought you (the readers) might appreciate. The quote is from a man I have never heard of who lived a really, really long time ago.  I have no context other than what Meyer gives, so the quote is sort of threadbare as far as it goes.

One of the most persistent mistakes of Christian men has been to postpone social regeneration to a future era to be inaugurated by the return of Christ…It is true that any regeneration of society can come only through the act of God and the presence of Christ; but God is now acting, and Christ is now here. To assert that means not less faith, but more. It is true that any regeneration of society is dogged by perpetual relapses and doomed forever to fall short of its aim. But the same is true of our personal efforts to live a Christ-like life; it is true, also of every local church, and of the history of the church at large. Whatever argument would demand the postponement of social regeneration to a future era will equally demand the postponement of personal holiness to a future life. (Meyer’s emphasis; quote from Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century, ed Paul B Raushenbush, p 283. Meyer quotes him on page 50 of Whole Life Transformation.)

Well, I have to be honest with you when I say: that sounds right to me. What do you think? Is there a correlation between personal holiness and social regeneration? Do you think Rauschenbusch was on to something when he wrote that more than a century ago?

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