Archive for the ‘church’ Category

No man is to be alone against Satan

March 25, 2014
“No man is to be alone against Satan; God instituted the church and the ministry of the Word in order that we might join hands and help one another. If the prayer of one does not help, the prayer of the other will.”
Martin Luther

When nations are to perish in their sins, ‘Tis in the church the leprosy begins

March 18, 2014

When nations are to perish in their sins,

‘Tis in the church the leprosy begins

William Cowper, Expostulation

.In Islam, God is Caesar; in China and Japan, Caesar is God; in Orthodoxy, God is Caesar’s junior partner

May 10, 2013

Throughout Western history, first the Church and then many churches existed separate from the state. God and Caesar, church and state, spiritual authority and temporal authority had been a prevailing dualism in Western culture…In Islam, God is Caesar; in China and Japan, Caesar is God; in Orthodoxy, God is Caesar’s junior partner.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Samuel P. Huntington. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, p.70

the all-powerful and all-benevolent state should weigh heavy in each person’s life

September 5, 2011

(Gordon Brown’s) real goal was to increase public expenditure…; he believed that the all-powerful and all-benevolent state should weigh heavy in each person’s life, and should be a presence in it as God was supposed to be in the Presyterianism of his upbringing.

Theodore Dalrymple, Not With a Bang But a Whimper

The state becomes a surrogate God once the real God has been ditched. The government becomes an idol as it was for the 20th C. absolute monarchies of the atheistic republicans. The state becomes the object of faith, a kind of benevolent Eternal Father who feeds, teaches and loves all indiscriminately.

A Safe Stronghold Our God is Still

September 1, 2011

And though they take our life,

Goods, honor, children, wife,

Yet is their profit small;

These things shall vanish all:

The City of God remaineth

Martin Luther, A Safe Stronghold Our God is Still

When Luther wrote these things the Pope had issued a bull providing absolution to any who would take his life, goods, honor, children, wife etc. These were not pieties written from a  place of comfort and safety such as a modern, western Christian enjoys.

The rest of the hymn demonstrates faith that Christ’s church will prevail though hell (through the agency of Antichrist Rome) furiously assail it.

A safe stronghold our God is still,
a trusty shield and weapon;
he’ll keep us clear from all the ill
that hath us now o’ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
hath risen with purpose fell;
strong mail of craft and power
he weareth in this hour;
on earth is not his fellow.

With force of arms we nothing can,
full soon were we down-ridden;
but for us fights the proper Man,
whom God himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, who is this same?
Christ Jesus is his name,
the Lord Sabaoth’s Son;
he, and no other one,
shall conquer in the battle.

And were this world all devils o’er,
and watching to devour us,
we lay it not to heart so sore;
nor they can overpower us.
And let the prince of ill
look grim as e’er he will,
he harms us not a whit;
for why?–his doom is writ;
a word shall quickly slay him.

God’s word, for all their craft and force,
one moment will not linger,
but, spite of hell, shall have its course;
’tis written by his finger.
And though they take our life,
goods, honor, children, wife,
yet is their profit small;
these things shall vanish all:
the City of God remaineth!

Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering

August 15, 2011

It is, indeed, better that men should be brought to serve God by instruction than by fear of punishment, or by pain. But because the former means are better, the latter must not therefore be neglected. Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering, before they attain the highest grade of religious development. . . . The Lord himself orders that guests be first invited, then compelled, to his great supper.

This quote is attributed to Augustine. If any reader can verify where Augustine said it I’d appreciate it. I can’t remember it from City of God or Confessions but they are long books – well the former is!

If the quote is genuine it demonstrates how even a great theologian can completely misunderstand a parable to great detriment.

The Body of Christ is not a pleasure cruiser on its way to heaven

May 14, 2011

The Body of Christ is not a pleasure cruiser on its way to heaven but a battleship stationed at the very gates of hell.

Oswald J. Smith

Union with Christ is the foundation of all saints’ communion; and not any ordinances of Christ, or any judgment or opinion about externals

December 8, 2009

Now, concerning your admission of members… this much I think expedient…that after you are satisfied in the work of grace in the party you are to join with, the said party do solemnly declare (before some of the church at least), That Union with Christ is the foundation of all saints’ communion; and not any ordinances of Christ, or any judgment or opinion about externals…

John Bunyan on the examination of applicants for church membership, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.281-2

If it is a sin to meet together and seek the face of God, and exhort one another to follow Christ, then I will sin still

December 8, 2009

If it is a sin to meet together and seek the face of God, and exhort one another to follow Christ, then I will sin still.

John Bunyan at his trial when accused of not following his calling as  tinker by preaching the gospel. This statement condemned him for attending a coventicle (non-conformist gathering) and he spent 12 years in Bedford gaol for it. Quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.197

The greatest preacher of the English Reformation was Hugh Latimer, and often he was called to preach before King Henry VIII

November 17, 2009

The greatest preacher of the English Reformation was Hugh Latimer, and often he was called to preach before King Henry VIII. When he was made a king’s chaplain a courtier said to him, “Beware of contradicting the king. Speak as he speaks, and instead of presuming to lead him, strive to follow him.” “Away with your counsel !” replied Latimer. He took his calling seriously, and all he read confirmed his need to be faithful. One day he picked up Augustine’s writings and read there, “He who for fear of any power hides the truth, provokes the wrath of God to come upon him, for he fears men more than God.” Another day he picked up Chrysostom’s writings and read, “He is not only a traitor to the truth who openly for truth teaches a lie, but he also who does not pronounce and show the truth he knows.” Latimer said that those two sentences made him afraid and he vowed, “I had rather suffer extreme punishment than be a traitor unto the truth.” He met many obstacles in speaking to the king, some even in his own impetuous make-up, but he wrote a letter one day to Henry VIII, “Your Grace, I must show forth such things as I have learned in Scripture, or else deny Jesus Christ. The which denying ought more to be dreaded than the loss of all temporal goods, honour, promotion, fame, prison, slander, hurts, banishment, and all manner of torments and cruelties, yea, and death itself, be it never so shameful and painful … There is as great distance between you and me as between God and man; for you are here to me and to all your subjects in God’s stead; and so I should quake to speak of your Grace. But as you are a mortal man having in you the corrupt nature of man, so you have no less need of the merits of Christ’s passion for your salvation than I and others of your subjects have”

(The Reformation in England, D’Aubigne, Vol.2, p.42).

The king was not offended by the letter and continued to appreciate his chaplain Hugh Latimer.