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in positions of wealth and power, the idea of reading the Gospels and keeping Jesus’ commandments as stated therein has been replaced by a curious process of logic.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.

Ruins or foundation?

The whole matter of finding the true foundation is made all the more difficult because these defiant weeds which have sprung upon it are called the true foundation by many; they, pulling to themselves the growth on top of the house ruins, declare, “This is the foundation and the way, all should follow it.” And with many of them we see that their new foundation sinks into soft ground, the floor settling at different levels. This shows the difficulty of finding the true foundation…

— Peter Chelčický, The Net of Faith, 1440-1443

Wanting the Word, not what it gives

Sink down into the eternal Word and rest there, and not in any manifestation that proceeds from the Word, for it is the Word of the Lord that shall endure forever…

This eternal Word was before any manifestation. It is the Word the builders rejected that has become the head of the corner.

Reason not with flesh and blood, nor with the voice of the Serpent, for if you do, you will darken the council of God in yourselves, but in the power of the Lord shut him [the Serpent] out… Stand still and see the salvation of God, which is in the Light of his Covenant that will stretch forth the hand of his power, as he did to Peter when he feared the proud waves would prevail over him.

Cease thy mourning, thou weeping babe that mourns in secret for manifestations of thy beloved . . . for I can testify unto thee by experience, whosoever thou art in that state, that he is bringing thee nearer to him. That was but milk ith which he fed thee whilst thou wast weak. But now he will feed thee with the Word from whence that milk proceedeth. Live at home with Jacob, which is to retire daily into thy mind. Though the gadding, hunting Esau persecutes thee for it, thou shalt receive the blessing. . . . Oh the glorious day of the Lord God hasteth to be revealed to those who are kept faithful in his Word.

— Sarah Jones (17th century, England):

A thermometer does not improve your comfort

Changing your church’s spiritual temperature to match the world outside doesn’t make visitors any more comfortable than changing your church’s thermostat to match the weather outside.

“The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”

— Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

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):

Love is like a fire.

The one that loves God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength would rather die than continue, even for a little while, in senseless or unprofitable thought. He would rather be silent than bring dishonor to God’s name through words and works of no value… Love like this brings about what God wants done, and makes faith alive. The one that puts it to practice is born of God.

Continue reading “Love is like a fire.”

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

False conversion

Baptists usually believe in eternal security or persistence of the saints. That is, once you are saved, you’re always saved. Yet a Baptist prison chaplain says that he finds the same percentage of Baptists in jail as out of jail. Same percentage of Methodists, same percentage of Catholics.

So what’s the problem? A Baptist preacher once said, “We’ve spent too many years telling people they can never lose what they never had.”
Continue reading “False conversion”