This Hill, though high, I covet to ascend, The Difficulty will not me offend. For I perceive the Way to life lies here: Come pluck up Heart, let’s neither faint nor fear; Better, though difficult, the Right Way to go, Than Wrong, though easy, where the End is Wo.
A true love to God must begin with a delight in His holiness and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.
Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility.
The true spirit of prayer is no other than God’s own Spirit dwelling in the hearts of the saints. And as this spirit comes from God, so doth it naturally tend to God in holy breathings and pantings. It naturally leads to God, to converse with him by prayer.
For more quotes like these check out The Index To Great Quotes
“I have chosen to use the traditional designations BC and AD for dates. I understand why many historians choose to use BCE and CE in an attempt to avoid seeing history entirely from a Judeo-Christian point of view, but using BCE while still reckoning from Christ’s birth seems, to me, fairly pointless.” ~ Susan Wise Bauer, in The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome. New York: W.W. Norton (2007). page xxvii.
“Even if concentrating on matters of theoretically factual history, irrespective of religion or politics, there still surfaces the religious problem of how dates should be quoted. Using the politically correct, religiously-neutral and increasingly-favored BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) will satisfy Jews and agnostics, but mystify the uninformed and irritate most Christian readers. Using the long-established but clearly Christian-biased BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) has clarity, tradition, and Christians on your side, but risks alienating many agnostics and Jews.” ~ Ian Wilson, in The Bible as History. London: Wiedenfeld & Nicolson (1999). page 12
Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly. I’m a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.
~ John Newton
Today, Saturday May 21, 2011, is the day that Jesus comes back. At least, that is what Harold Camping is telling us. According to Camping Jesus will touch down today at precisely 4:00 PM Central Standard Time.
This isn’t the first time Camping has predicted the return of Christ and the Rapture of the Church. Camping previously predicted that Jesus would come back in 1994. Oops.
Dr. Harold L. Willmington shares the following list of other End of World prophecies that did not come to be:
2800 B.C.: The oldest surviving prediction of the world’s imminent demise was found inscribed upon an Assyrian clay tablet which stated, “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.”
Second Century A.D.: The Montanists, founded around A.D. 155 by a man called Montanus, were perhaps the first recognizable Christian end-of-the-world cult. They believed that Christ’s triumphant return was imminent and established a base in Anatolia (699 A.D), central Turkey, where they anxiously awaited doomsday.
1284: Pope Innocent III predicted Christ’s second coming would occur in 1284. He arrived at that year by adding 666 years to the date of the inception of the Muslim faith.
February 1, 1524: Panicked by predictions made by a group of London astrologers, some 20,000 people abandoned their homes and fled to high ground in anticipation of a second great flood that was predicted to start from the Thames.
1556: Martin Luther felt this might be the year.
1715: Isaac Newton thought Christ would return.
1792: Shakers predicted the end of the world.
1914: Jehovah’s Witnesses have set several dates for the prophetic end-1914, 1915, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and 1994.
1844: Baptist preacher William Miller predicted Jesus would return to upstate New York on October 22, 1844. This became known in American history as the “Great Disappointment.”
1988: There was even a major book titled 88 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1988, by Edgar Whisenant. The following year he published 89 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1989, claiming to have been slightly off on his calculations. Make that twice.
Question: I am concerned by what I see in the modern church. It seems that evangelicals no longer claim the Bible as their authority for faith and practice. What do you think?
Answer: In order to answer this question I think we have to look at historical developments in the Western church during the last century. Classical 19th Century Liberalism asserted that reason (man) was the authority for theological truth claims. During the 20th century a number of theological movements (Fundamentalism, Neo-orthodoxy, Pentecostalism) all developed as a reaction to such “authority” claims made by classical nineteenth century liberalism. Fundamentalism said, “No way, the proper authority for belief and practice is the Bible.” Neo-orthodoxy said, “No way, the proper authority for belief and practice is one’s personal [crisis] experience with God.” Pentecostalism said, “No way, the proper authority for belief and practice is the Holy Spirit.”
So, those who have been called Evangelicals have always been pretty diverse when it comes to what they have believed about the ultimate authority for belief and practice. And, Evangelicalism today has become so diverse that the nomenclature is almost meaningless; — What is Evangelicalism? Consider the following quote from David Wells;
As evangelicalism has continued to grow numerically, it has seeped through its older structures and now spills out in all directions, producing a family of hybrids whose theological connections are quite baffling: evangelical Catholics, evangelicals who are Catholic, evangelical liberationalists, evangelical feminists, evangelical ecumenists, ecumenists who are evangelical, young evangelicals, orthodox evangelicals, radical evangelicals, liberal evangelicals, Liberals who are evangelical, and charismatic evangelicals. The word evangelical, precisely because it has lost its confessional dimension, has become descriptively anemic. To say that someone is an evangelical says little about what they are likely to believe (although it says more if they are older and less if they are younger). And so the term is forced to compensate for its theolog¬ical weakness by borrowing meaning from adjectives the very presence of which signals the fragmentation and disintegration of the move¬ment. What is now primary is not what is evangelical but what is adjectivally distinctive, whether Catholic, liberationalist, feminist, ecu-menist, young, orthodox, radical, liberal, or charismatic. It is, I believe, the dark prelude to death, when parasites have finally succeeded in bringing down their host. Amid the clamor of all these new models of evangelical faith there is the sound of a death rattle.
The sound of death is hard to hear, however, given the rumble of the large numbers that the evangelical movement has attracted and the chorus of voices being echoed from the cultural pluralism that surrounds it. The pluralism is providing insulation from criticism and reality. It is not hard to see that the disappearance of a center of values in culture is now paralleled by a disappearance of a theological center in evangelicalism.
— David F. Wells, No Place for Truth, p.134
All the great divertissements are dangerous for the Christian life, but among all those which the world has invented, none is more to fear than the theatre.
~ in Pensees, ch. 24, 60
All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.
All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
All of us have been created with a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill.
Happiness is neither within or without us—it is in God and only when God is in us is happiness within and without us.
Not only do we know God through Jesus Christ, we only know ourselves through Jesus Christ.
The last thing that we discover in writing a book is to know what to put at the beginning.
There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.
We must know where to doubt, where to feel certain, where to submit.
“The Inquisition was a good thing.”
That is the sentence with which I usually open my lecture on The Inquisition(s) in my medieval history class. The sentence is intended to shock my students and to get them to lean in to the topic. Do I really believe that The Inquisition was a good thing? Well, let me explain . . .
We almost always discuss The Inquisition as a whole but there was not a single all-encompassing Inquisition; there were many inquisitions. The four major inquisitions are generally categorized as (1) the Medieval Inquisition [1184–1230s], (2) the Spanish Inquisition [1478–1834], (3) the Portuguese Inquisition [1536–1821], and (4) the Roman Inquisition [1542 – c. 1860]. However, even this breakdown is far too general and does not adequately represent the great diversity of approach during 600 years of the Catholic church’s inquiry into heresy.
When I tell my students that The Inquisition was a good thing, I hasten to explain that The Inquisition must be vehemently condemned. Anonymous accusations, terror, cruelty, torture and death are not something of which we approve. My opening statement is intended to get my medieval history students to look past the blood stained garments to see the men and women involved. Who were they? How did this begin? Why?
During much of the medieval period less than 1% of the European populace could read. In this environment heresy was everywhere. In a world in which church and state had been fused, civil rulers believed that orthodoxy was much more than an issue of personal salvation or an in-house theological controversy; they believed that orthodoxy was an issue of state (national) security. Civil rulers were convinced that they were obligated to preserve social order by ferreting out theological error and dispatching it. However, most civil rulers were in no manner qualified to examine those accused of heresy and to determine whether or not they were genuine heretics. Most civil rulers were clueless when it came to matters of faith and doctrine, so how were they to render judgment on the theology of others? Civil rulers, recognizing their own ignorance, often took what they considered to be the safest approach; to avoid the risk of setting free a heretic they simply executed everyone who was accused. Others opted for a more discriminating approach; they resorted to trial by ordeal. In trial by ordeal a person was subjected to some kind of horrendous experience and then innocence or guilt was determined based upon the outcome. For instance, an accused individual might be forced to use his bare hand to grab a pebble from the bottom of a pot of boiling water after which his innocence or guilt was determined by how well his skin healed. Other individuals were forced to walk across red-hot plowshares or to carry a red-hot iron to see if they came through it without being burned, or to be submerged in water to see if they would be drowned.
Inquisition was birthed out of this historical setting. Innocent people were being executed because a personal enemy accused them of heresy and the civil ruler did not have the wisdom to be able to properly examine them and establish the truth. Innocent people were suffering horribly when forced to endure trial by ordeal. Inquisition was initiated as a humane alternative to the violence and cruelty being suffered by the accused. If the civil ruler was not adequate for the task of inquiring into the theology of the accused then who was? Theologians. Inquisition allowed those who were more theologically informed to inquire into the theology of the accused and to determine if they really were heretical in their beliefs. Many of those who actually were heretical in belief had strayed simply because they didn’t know any better. A good inquisitor could show the errant person his mistake, teach him the truth, and send him on his way. It was all very humane compared to the alternatives that were in vogue.
So, in some very minimal way, when very strictly limited and defined, it is probably true that “The Inquisition was a good thing.”
Lest I be misunderstood, let me say once again that I completely, utterly, vehemently condemn the inquisitions in almost all of their many manifestations. Even though some such inquiries were initially good intentioned, I am fundamentally opposed to an understanding of the church-state relationship in which such investigations would even take place. But, I will continue to use this opening line for my lecture because it facilitates two things, it forces my students to examine the historical development of the inquisitions, and it also shows how something that is initiated for the purpose of preserving life and defending truth can very quickly devolve into something of unspeakable horror. A warning for us today.
“Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” (Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms)
Seek the truth
Listen to the truth
Teach the truth
Love the truth
Abide by the truth
And defend the truth
Without Christ life is as the twilight with dark night ahead; with Christ it is the dawn of morning with the light and warmth of full day ahead.
~ Philip Schaff