Monday, April 24, 2006

The Answers to "Who Said It...?"

Award yourself 8 points if you said A.W. Tozer...and 8 more if you said the '40s, '50s or '60s. I think these come from the '5os. They're found in Man the Dwelling Place of God, a collection of essays written during those years.

Isn't it fascinating the way some of the writers a long time ago seem to speak directly to current fads and trends? C.S. Lewis somewhere called it "chronological snobbery," that tendency to think that whatever we're doing now automatically represents newness and progress.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Not a Fender, but still a Nice Guitar for Sale...

Up for auction, an excellent 1960 Gibson Les Paul, owned by my sister-in-law's brother.
Happy bidding!
Who Said it...and When?

Points awarded to anybody who can identify the author(s) and come within a decade of the dates...OK, knowing the blogger, this is not too tough!

Quote #1:

"Haziness of doctrine has always been the mark of the liberal. When the Holy Scriptures are rejected as the final authority on religious belief something must be found to take their place. Sometimes there has been an admixture of the two, as may be seen in liberal churches today. These will not quite give up the Bible, neither will they quite believe it; the result is an unclear body of beliefs more like a fog than a mountain, where anything may be true but nothing may be trusted as certainly true."

"We have gotten accustomed to the blurred puffs of gray fog that pass for doctrine in modernistic churches and expect nothing better, but it is a cause for real alarm that the fog has begun of late to creep into many evangelical churches."

"Certain of our evangelical brethren appear to be laboring under the impression that they are advanced thinkers because they are rethinking evolution and re-evaluating various Bible doctrines or even divine inspiration itself; but so far are they from being advanced thinkers that they are merely timid followers of modernism—fifty years behind the parade."

Quote #2:

"In all of our discussions there must never be any trace of intolerance; but we obviously forget that the most fervent devotees of tolerance are invariably intolerant of everyone who speaks about God with certainty. And there must be no bigotry, which is the name given to spiritual assurance by those who do not enjoy it."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Incredible Shrinking Post

My posts just keep getting shorter (applause).

"Before His Kingdom can come, your kingdom has to go."

—A.W. Tozer
From "Secret of Victory" audio sermon

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Edmund the Just

We watched Narnia: The Lion... again last Saturday. This time at home but on the "big screen" courtesy of Chris's projection system. The line that makes me tear up every time is, as Aslan introduces the new kings and queens of Narnia, "Edmund the Just." After all the selfishness and treachery, that's his permanent legacy.

Monday, April 10, 2006

More Good Advice from A.W. Tozer—for me...

"There are areas in our lives where in our effort to be right we may go wrong, so wrong as to lead to spiritual deformity. To be specific let me name a few:

1.When in our determination to be bold we become brazen.
Courage and meekness are compatible qualities: both were found in perfect proportion in Christ and both shone in beauty in His conflict with His enemies. Peter before the Sanhedrin and Paul before Agrippa demonstrated both qualities, though on another occasion when Paul's boldness temporarily lost its charity and became carnal he said to the high priest, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." It is to the credit of the apostle that when he saw what he had done he immediately apologized (Acts 25:1-5).

2.When in our desire to be frank we become rude.
Candor without rudeness was always found in the man Christ Jesus. The Christian who boasts that he always calls a spade a spade is likely to end by calling everything a spade. Even the fiery Peter learned that love does not blurt out everything it knows (1 Peter 4:8)

3.When in our effort to be watchful we become suspicious.
Because there are many adversaries the temptation is to see enemies where none exist. Because we are in conflict with error we tend to develop a spirit of hostility to everyone who disagrees with us on anything. Satan cares little whether we go astray after a false doctrine or merely turn sour. Either way he wins."

I am especially wary of the third condition. In the last year I have spent an enormous amount of time reading, thinking, debating, appealing, writing, confronting, discussing, and praying about questions of biblical truth in my own fellowship.

Looking back, the up side of an otherwise difficult parting of the ways has been the fruit of all those activities: deeper Bible study, clarification of my own core convictions, new appreciation for the Church in all it's manifestations, and exposure to rich resources of Godly thinking and writing, old and new.

The down side Tozer nails precisely. It's easy to become cynical and sour and lose sight of what's amazing, wonderful and gates-of-hell defying about the Church, "wherever two or three are gathered in My name..."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Westminster Confessions
Almost halfway through the book The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent, Marshall-Pickering 1985, I am now in the early days of the Reformation—Wycliffe, Huss and some lesser known reformers of that era.

The premise of the book is, of course, that there were throughout the centuries, lots of faithful, biblically sound, and growing groups of believers all over the world—without any need for the Reformation as we think of it. Among them were the Waldenses and the Vaudois in Southern Europe, enormous, widespread "unofficial" churches—the latter descended directly from the Apostles' ministry in Rome and continuing through the early days of the Reformation (13-1400s) in spite of terrible persecution from the hierarchy of the Church. The name Evangelic given to them, is tied not insignificantly to our term Evangelical today, referring to Bible-believing, evangelizing churches.

They had little time for the hierarchical, man-centered, power-hungry system that then characterized the Papal Church. Even today's norms of church governance, where whole congregations have ultimate responsibility for the direction of their fellowships, reflect the practices of these churches. Broadbent concludes of the Waldenses, "In matters of discipline, appointment of elders, and other acts, the whole church took part, in conjunction with its elders." All this long before any notions of political democracy had taken hold in medieval Europe.

It is fascinating and so encouraging for me just to get a little familiar with what God has been doing with his church in big and small ways in the nooks and crannies of history. Their faithful approach to truths like the priesthood of the believer, salvation by faith, Christ's headship of the Church and the significance and role of His body, the members of the church, were consistent with, and apparently influenced men like John Huss and the early Reformers, who stood up against the corrupted Church of Rome. They were aggressive in spreading the Gospel but were known for their peaceable lives and kindness to the poor and the sick.

The Westminster Confession, shows up a little later (1648). It was "...commissioned from an assembly of 121 Puritan clergymen meeting in Westminster Abbey, called the Westminster Assembly , which was convened in 1643 for the purpose of drafting official documents for the reformation of the Church of England." (from an introduction) It seems to be these good men's attempt, in the wake of recovery from Rome's corruptions, to answer the question "What is Biblical Christianity...and What is the Church?"

Quaint style and language to us, but probably some of the most complete thinking on the church and the essential truths of the Bible I'll ever encounter outside the Bible itself. The Savoy Declaration was added in 1658 with some clarifications and new references to the church and church order that have provided a foundation for many, if not most, modern churches. Developing...