Archive for the ‘salvation’ Category

Men of intemperate minds cannot be free

April 7, 2013

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

The self-restraint of genuine Christianity provides the conditions of a truly free society. Conversely, as society degenerates into licence, restraint must be imposed by the state. Ultimately this leads to totalitarianism.

Eye witness testimony rejected

April 2, 2013

The beginning of knowledge for the ghetto, and the clinching news for Oskar, was the return to Cracow—eight days after he’d been shipped off from Prokocim—of the young pharmacist Bachner. No one knew how he had got back inside the ghetto, or the mystery of why he returned to a place from which the SS would simply send him off on another journey. But it was, of course, the pull of the known that brought Bachner home.
All the way down Lwowska and into the streets behind Plac Zgody he carried his story. He had seen the final horror, he said. He was mad-eyed, and in his brief absence his hair had silvered. All the Cracow people who had been rounded up in early June had been taken nearly to Russia, he said, to the camp of Belzec. When the trains arrived at the railway station, the people were driven out by Ukrainians with clubs. There was a frightful stench about the place, but an SS man had kindly told people that that was due to the use of disinfectant. The people were lined up in front of two large warehouses, one marked “CLOAK ROOM” and the other “VALUABLES.” The new arrivals were made to undress, and a small Jewish boy passed among the crowd handing out lengths of string with which to tie their shoes together. Spectacles and rings were removed. So, naked, the prisoners had their heads shaved in the hairdresser’s, an SS NCO telling them that their hair was needed to make something special for U-boat crews. It would grow again, he said, maintaining the myth of their continued usefulness. At last the victims were driven down a barbed-wire passage to bunkers which had copper Stars of David on their
and were labeled BATHS AND INHALATION ROOMS. SS men reassured them all the way, telling them to breathe deeply, that it was an excellent means of disinfection.
Bachner saw a little girl drop a bracelet on the ground, and a boy of three picked it up and went into the bunker playing with it. In the bunkers, said Bachner, they were all gassed. And afterward, squads were sent in to disentangle the pyramid of corpses and take the bodies away for burial. It had taken barely two days, he said, before they were all dead, except for him. While waiting in an enclosure for his turn, he’d somehow got to a latrine and lowered himself into the pit. He’d stayed there three days, the human waste up to his neck. His face, he said, had been a hive of flies. He’d slept standing, wedged in the hole for fear of drowning there. At last he’d crawled out at night.
Somehow he’d walked out of Belzec, following the railway tracks. Everyone understood that he had got out precisely because he was beyond reason. Likewise, he’d been cleaned by someone’s hand—a peasant woman’s, perhaps—and put into fresh clothes for his journey back to the starting point. Even then there were people in Cracow who thought Bachner’s story a dangerous rumor. Postcards had come to relatives from prisoners in Auschwitz. So if it was true of Belzec, it couldn’t be true of Auschwitz. And was it credible? On the short emotional rations of the ghetto, one got by through sticking to the credible. The chambers of Belzec, Schindler found out from his sources, had been completed by March of that year under the supervision of a Hamburg engineering firm and of SS engineers from Oranienburg. From Bachner’s testimony, it seemed that 3,000 killings a day were not beyond their capacity.

Thomas Keneally, Schindler’s Ark, 150

Everthing Bachner said was true. Bachner was an eyewitness. But he wasn’t believed. He wasn’t believed because people didn’t want to believe him.

People do not believe in line with the facts. People believe what is conventional, easy, agreeable to one’s own self perception and, whereever possible, without personal cost.

People cannot be argued into the kingdom of God by human reasoning and gentle persuasion. God must confront sinful man and break the fetters that bind him to falsehood. Only the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit can change a heart of stone.

The east is red/the sun rises/China has produced a Mao Tse-tung/he pursues happiness for the people/he is the people’s savior

October 4, 2009

The east is red/the sun rises/China has produced a Mao Tse-tung/he pursues happiness for the people/he is the people’s savior.

Peasant’s Song during Cultural Revolution

Gao Anhua, To the Edge of the Sky, p.145

the salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility

October 4, 2009

…the salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility.  Without a global revolution in…human consciousness, nothing will change for the better, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed…will be unavoidable.

Vaclav Havel

But God says:

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17.9

And this vileness that at present does so much swallow up our youth…

October 4, 2009

I have often marvelled at our youth, and said in my heart, What should be the reason that they should be so generally debauched as they are at this day? For they are now amazingly profane; and sometimes I have thought one thing and sometimes another; that is, why God should suffer it so to be. At last I have thought this: How if the God whose ways are past finding out should suffer it so to be now that he might make of some of them the more glorious saints hereafter? I know sin is of the devil, but it cannot work in the world without permission… it would not be the first time God has caught Satan in his own design. For my part, I believe that the time is at hand that we shall see better saints… than we have seen in many a day. And this vileness that at present does so much swallow up our youth is one cause of my thinking so; for out of them… when God puts forth his hand, as of old, you shall see what penitent ones, what trembling ones, and what admirers of grace, will be found to profess the gospel, to the glory of God by Christ.

John Bunyan, writing in the 17th century.

Adding to Scripture

September 4, 2009

Joseph Fielding Smith (Mormon President 1970-72) said that a cup of tea can keep a member out of heaven:

…but my brethren if you drink coffee or tea, or take tobacco, are you letting a cup of tea or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the Celestial Kingdom of God, where you might otherwise have received a fulness of glory?

“Oh, it is such a little thing, and the Lord will forgive us.” Well, there is not anything that is little in the way of sinning. There is not anything that is little in the world in the aggregate. One cup of tea, then it is another cup of tea and another cup of tea, and when you get them all together, they are not so little.

Joseph Smith, Mormon founder, drank tea, beer, wine and possibly smoked too.

I remember two things

September 4, 2009

My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.

John Newton, on his deathbed

Salvation through faith

August 17, 2009

As George Whitefield preached from John 3 – ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent…’ the wife of a jailed convict cried, ‘I believe! I believe! I shall not perish because I believe in him now! I’m born again, I’m saved!

Her husband gripped George’s hand as in pain, and cried, I’m on the brink of hell! But the next moment his face changed, I see it too! I’m saved! Oh joy! joy! joy! George was astonished. He’d tried so hard for a year, but these two sinners seemed to have been forgiven in a second.

George Whitefield, John Pollock, 1972, p.14

Sincere Faith

August 17, 2009

…there is something mystical, inexpressible, almost incomprehensible, which this unique man (Hitler) possesses, and he who cannot feel it instinctively will not be able to grasp it at all. We love Adolf Hitler, because we believe deeply and unswervingly that God has sent him to us to save Germany.

from a speech by Hermann Goring, reported in F. L. Schuman, The Nazi Dictatorship, New York: Knopf, 1935, 122.

Effective (or Effectual) calling

August 5, 2009

Effective calling is an act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith.

Wayne Grudem, Sytematic Theology, p.693

In distinction from effective calling, which is entirely an act of God, we may talk about the gospel call in general which comes through human speech.  This gospel call is offered to all people, even those who do not accept it.  Sometimes this gospel call is referred to as external calling or general calling.  By contrast, the effective calling of God that actually brings about a willing response from the person who hears it is sometimes called internal calling.  The gospel call is general and external and often rejected, while the effective call is particular, internal, and always effective.