Whatever happened to history?
Some [evangelicals] have fixated upon “me and the Bible, and especially me,” so that what Bible reading becomes is primarily an assertion of inward feelings. This has sadly prevented readers from … learning that the Spirit has a history, and that the body of Christ being called forth in that history has unity.… Beware of the “evangelical” who wants to read the Bible without the historic voices of the church, who is only willing to listen to his own voice or the voices of contemporaries in the dialogue. Evangelicals have usually been the losers when they have systematically neglected the saints and martyrs and consensual writers of the earliest Christian centuries.
—Theologian Thomas Oden in Good News (Jan.–Feb. 1993)
No good without God
Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in him.
—Saint Augustine in The Confessions of Saint Augustine
The gospel is not a media presentation
When novels end up at the movies or on TV, the usual response goes, “Well, it was nothing like the book.” Could the same be said of today’s “media gospel”? Granted, the “core message” is simple, but the Book says so much more. When Paul called the good news a “mystery,” he wasn’t talking about “Murder, She Wrote.”
—Philip Wiebe in the Christian Leader (Oct. 6, 1992)
Give us the business!
The Church is uncommonly vocal about the subject of bedrooms and so singularly silent on the subject of boardrooms!
—Dorothy L. Sayers, quoted by Bishop Michael Marshall in The Church of England Newspaper (Aug. 20, 1993)
Those that hate …
Peace is not made with friends. Peace is made with enemies.
—Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, quoted in Newsweek (Sept. 13, 1993)
Renewing the Church is like remodeling your house: it takes longer than you hoped, costs more than you planned, and makes a bigger mess than you ever thought possible.
—Paul Smith in Is It OK to Call God Mother
The morality of feelings
It is no wonder that in 15 years of asking high school students throughout America whether, in an emergency situation, they would save their dog or a stranger first, most students have answered that they would not save the stranger. “I love my dog, I don’t love the stranger,” they always say. The feeling of love has supplanted God or religious principle as the moral guide for young people. What is right has been redefined in terms of what an individual feels.
—Dennis Prager in Good News (July/Aug. 1993)
Playing with dynamite
Power is a dangerous thing to handle, even in religion.
—Joseph R. Sizoo in Preaching Unashamed
More than gun control
Cannons and fire-arms are cruel and damnable machines; I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the Devil. If Adam had seen in a vision the horrible instruments his children were to invent, he would have died of grief.
—Martin Luther in Table Talk
Thoughts into words
To know how to say what other people only think, is what makes men poets and sages; and to dare to say what others only dare to think, makes men martyrs or reformers.
—Elizabeth Rundle Charles in Chronicles of the Schonberg-Cotta Family, XIV
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