We are not just dogmatic about the gospel, we are bulldog-matic.
I have watched men catch the vision of reaching the world for Christ. I have caught this vision, and have dedicated my life to this grand and glorious aim. But I have seen some men become so goal-oriented that to achieve their goals they roughly shoulder their way past people who need help and encouragement.
But what is our objective? What are our goals? When we all get to heaven it will all be vividly and pointedly clear. We will find only people in heaven. There will be no committee notes, no scholarly papers on intriguing themes, no lengthy studies, memos, or surveys. People are the raw material of heaven. If we become enamored with projects, goals, and achievements, and never lend a hand to people along the way; and if we say, “Doing this will not help them accomplish my objective,” what are we really thinking about? Self! Exactly opposite to the lifestyle of Jesus Christ.
Leroy Eims, Disciples in Action
Perhaps we have forgotten that pastoral ministry is war and that you will never live successfully in the pastorate if you live with a peacetime mentality. Permit me to explain. The fundamental battle of pastoral ministry is not with the shifting values of the surrounding culture. It is not the struggle with resistant people who don’t seem to esteem the gospel. It is not the fight for the success of the ministries of the church. And it is not the constant struggle of resources and personnel to accomplish the mission. No, the war of the pastorate is a deeply personal war. It is fought on the ground of the pastor’s heart. It is a war of values, allegiances, and motivations. It is about subtle desires and foundational dreams. This war is the greatest threat to every pastor. Yet it is a war that we often naively ignore or quickly forget in the busyness of local-church ministry.
Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, pg. 98
Sir John Maddox, speaking about Big Bang theories:
“The view of the origin of the Universe is thoroughly unsatisfactory.”
“The essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.” Further on, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
Why believe that there is a God at all? My answer is that to suppose that there is a God explains why there is a world at all…and so much else. In fact, the hypothesis of the existence of God makes sense of the whole of our experience, and it does better than any other explanation which can be put forward, and that is the grounds for believing it to be true.
Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA)
An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”
Sir Frederick Hoyle
The chance that higher life forms arose by evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Beoing 747 from the materials therein.
The Associated Press on Antony Flew:
“A British philosopher who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than 50 years has changed his mind. Antony Flew, 81, [of Oxford University] said scientific evidence has now convinced him that a super-intelligence is the only explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature…If his newfound belief upsets people, Flew said, “that’s too bad”—but he’s always been determined to “follow the evidence wherever it leads.”
These quotes are taken from Nathan Busenitz’s book called Reasons We Believe: 50 Lines of Evidence that Confirm the Christian Faith.
This is a big deal these days.
“We’re not to come to the text with a Christo-centric hermeneutic, where Christ is seen as the main point of every text in the Bible–that often bulldozes the meaning of the text– but a Christo-telic approach, where Christ is seen as the end and completion to which every text points.”
Dr. Michael Grisanti
“It is possible to meet the skeptic who believes that everything began in himself. He doubts not the existence of angels or devils, but the existence of men and cows.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
J.I. Packer’s opening to the third chapter of his classic Knowing God is a great reminder to get back to the basics. We exist to know God. Start there. Live there. End there.
“What were we made for? To know God.
What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God.
What is the ‘eternal life that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. ‘This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ (Jn. 17:3).
What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment than anything else? Knowledge of God. ‘This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me’ (Jer. 9:23-24).
What, of all the states God ever sees man in, gives God most pleasure? Knowledge of himself. ‘I desired…the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings,’ says God (Hos. 6:6).”
“If, ten years ago, you had told me that I would live to see literate evangelicals, some with doctorates and a seminary teaching record, arguing for the reality of an eternal salvation, divinely guaranteed, that may have in it no repentance, no discipleship, no behavioral change, no practical acknowledgment of Christ as Lord of one’s life, and no perseverance in faith, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. Stark, staring bonkers, is the British phrase I would probably have used.”
Read the rest of it here.
J.I. Packer, Understanding the Lordship Controversy. From: Tabletalk, May, 1991, published by Ligonier Ministries.
Tolkien had a fascination with words. He seems to have been obsessed with them. Shippey writes, “On some subjects Tolkien simply knew more, and had thought more deeply, than anyone else in the world.” The following description of Tolkien’s ideas about the intrinsic beauty of languages fascinates me, and it puts to words something I’ve known to be true for a long time but have never set to expression:
[Tolkien] thought that people, and perhaps as a result of their confused linguistic history especially English people, could detect historical strata in language without knowing how they did it. They knew that names like Ugthorpe and Stainby were Northern without knowing they were Norse; they knew Winchcombe and Cumrew must be in the West without recognizing that the word cwm is Welsh. They could feel linguistic style in words. Along with this, Tolkien believed that languages could be intrinsically attractive, or intrinsically repulsive. The Black Speech of Sauron and the orcs is repulsive. When Gandalf uses it in ‘The Council of Elrond’, ‘All trembled, and the Elves stopped their ears’; Elrond rebukes Gandalf for using the language, not for what he says in it. By contrast Tolkein thought that Welsh, and Finnish, were intrinsically beautiful; he modelled his invented Elf-languages on their phonetic and grammatical patterns, Sindarin and Quenya respectively. It is a sign of these convictions that again and again in The Lord of the Rings he has characters speak in these languages without bothering to translate them. The point, or a point, is made by the sound alone–just as allusions to the old legends of previous ages say something without the legends necessarily being told.”
J.R.R. Tolkien:Author of the Century, by Tom Shippey
“Our age has been sadly deficient in what may be termed spiritual greatness. At the root of this is the modern disease of shallowness. We are all too impatient to meditate on the faith we profess… It is not the busy skimming over religious books or the careless hastening through religious duties which makes for a strong Christian faith. Rather, it is unhurried meditation on gospel truths and the exposing of our minds to these truths that yields the fruit of sanctified character.”