Blasphemy on Sunday morning

“The misuse of meaningful songs, or even only a lack of understanding and feeling in singing them communally, has a devastating effect. When we sing them in real community with the Holy Spirit, we sense something of innermost holiness. Such songs should be sung only at very special moments, only at times of God-given experiences. To suggest songs that were once written in the Spirit, with the idea of producing an atmosphere that does not exist, to sing ‘God is present with us!’ when no one feels that God really is present, to dare to sing ‘Lord of all, to Thee we bow’ when there is no real honoring of God’s greatness in the atmosphere of the meeting is a misuse that borders on the sin against the Holy Spirit.”

— Eberhard Arnold, God’s Revolution: Justice, Community, and the Coming Kingdom

The Process of Justifying Yourself

“Especially among Christians in positions of wealth and power, the idea of reading the Gospels and keeping Jesus’ commandments as stated therein has been replaced by a curious process of logic. According to this process, people first declare themselves to be followers of Christ, and then they assume that whatever they say or do merits the adjective ‘Christian’”
― Wendell Berry, Blessed are the Peacemakers: Christ’s Teachings of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness, via Relevant Magazine.

Sung’s Razor

Let’s call him Titus Sung. When I met him, he was a young student who had already spent a year in prison in his native China because of his Christian witness. Yet his face showed peace and joy that is rare among American Christians.

I’ve thought much about Titus’s background. Why was his faith stronger and more effective than almost anybody I’ve ever met in church? Did he attend a better Bible college? Had he seen better Christian videos? Listened to more anointed cassettes? Owned better worship CDs? Attended more conferences? Sat under a more gifted singles minister?

It caused me to formulate a principle I’ll call “Sung’s Razor,” a subset of Occam’s Razor.

Means of sanctification should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

That is, if the Chinese Church doesn’t need it to be like Jesus, why do you need it? If it doesn’t make the Chinese Church more like Jesus, is it possible that it doesn’t make us more like Jesus?

As William of Occam is supposed to have said, “It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less.”

Calvin for Apostle

Many modern “New Testament” churches claim that “they only go by the Word of God,” that their authority is the New Testament. Except, for the actual New Testament church, their authority was Jesus. The New Testament hadn’t been written yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting used to the taste of sea water

Surely the reason we don’t think we need an expensive savior is because we don’t think we are in any danger. We have gotten used to floors that are constantly wet, water seeping through cracks in the walls, bulkheads bowing inward, strange rumblings below deck, and the taste of sea water. We can’t admit our need because it would cost us too much to fix it. Because the alternative is inconceivable. Or uncomfortable.

The tolerant man

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

Do you like what God is doing?

God, in these days, is uncovering the mask of all creatures and stripping them naked. . . . He is annihilating creatures and bringing them to spiritual death. He is laying low mountains . . . even to a loss and silence, confusion and darkness, so that now their light is darkness, their wisdom folly, their life death . . . and now they are made to wait in silence as I was also made to do.

— R. Wilkinson (17th century, England):

The case for discomfort

I don’t want to hire a river guide who’s just like me, a nice guy who knows the river as well as I do, who never tells me what to do.

I want a river guide who is wiser than me, who knows the river better than I do, who’s willing to tell me what I should do.

I want to hear about the river, not what I want to hear. Or I could drown.

I would rather be uncomfortable and find the truth, than be comfortable and find nothing.