"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 13, Number 2, February 2010
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
I will show partiality to no one. Nor will I flatter any man.”
“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”
Earl of Kent
Shakespeare’s King Lear
Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34
[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given upon request.]
The Fuel for Scottish Scholarship
“We cultivate literature upon a little oatmeal.” (Tenui musam meditamur avena)
From the Edinburgh Review
English translation by Sydney Smith
Quoted by John Eadie
The English Bible, vol. 2, p. 312
(London: Macmillan and Co., 1876)
A PINK SLIP FOR AN APOSTLE
by Rick Moeller
Missionary to South Africa and Scotland
[Note: every missionary who has served for very long has been “fired” by one or more churches; sometimes, it is an economics-driven “layoff,” and every missionary is sympathetic to churches suffering due to the state of the economy beyond their control; but far too often, the reasons given--if any are given at all (some very unethical pastors drop support and never notify the missionary)--for terminating regular support to a missionary are patently absurd or blatantly disingenuous. When we read Bro. Moeller’s satirical letter--of course containing caricature--illustrating this situation, it struck a cord with us and we wrote for permission to reproduce it here; we think it will prove thought-provoking to our readers.--Editor]
From: Rev. Alexander Demas
New Ekklesia Church, Thessalonica
To: Missionary Saul Paulus (The Apostle Paul)
C/c: Church at Antioch
Dear Brother Paul,
Greetings, from your former disciple, Alexander Demas. You will be excited and encouraged to hear that I have recently been called as pastor of the church at Thessalonica that has faithfully supported your ministry for many years. Our church has recently heard of your health issues and your incarceration in Rome. Please know that we have been faithfully praying for you. (I have especially been concerned for you, because I still fondly remember the short time that we served together in missions work before the Lord led me elsewhere).
New Ekklesia Church is so grateful for your years of service to our Lord. I know that you have had many long time friends in our church. (Unfortunately, many of these friends have recently left our church for various reasons.)
Since becoming pastor of this church, I have done my best to attempt to reorganize the church in such a way that it can function more effectively and efficiently. One of the first things that I have done is to establish a Missions Committee in our church that I encouraged to make a detailed study concerning current Missions techniques and practices and how we can most effectively reach this modern world for Christ.
After this intense study, our Committee concluded that we need to concentrate on certain specific areas of world Missions outreach at our church. Our greatest desire is to find the neediest people of this world so that we can concentrate on taking the Gospel to them through modern business principles and current technology. Missions scholars and our own meticulous research have made it clear to us who these persons are and how we can best reach them. Of course, we know that souls need to be saved around the world, but we have come to the conclusion that New Ekklesia Church must concentrate upon the area of the "20-25 Window" for our Missions outreach.
We have further concluded that in our modern world, it will be best to concentrate on supporting short term projects, rather than lifelong ministries since short term projects yield the most visible results in the shortest possible time period. The Missions experts that we consulted have confirmed that this will be the best way to reach the world in our generation.
We also feel that such short term projects are the most efficient way to get the members of New Ekklesia Church to be involved consistently in giving to Missions since they will be continually excited by the ever changing Missions opportunities that are presented to them. We will support condensed, pithy Missions projects, not time-consuming, long term investments.
Brother Paul, please know that we love you with all of our hearts. (This is especially the case with me, because of our past history since you were such an incredible blessing on my life; I know you feel the same way toward me). So, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to inform you that, after compiling our report, our Missions Committee has come to the conclusion that we can no longer financially support your ministry. I know that this is a great disappointment to you and I apologize for that, but we know that you have many other supporters who can stand in the gap for you.
Let me outline some of the factors that have led us to this difficult decision:
1. YOUR AGE -- Our Committee is afraid that because of your advanced age, you are no longer able to identify with the current generation. You have had a significant ministry, especially when you served in Asia Minor, but we, as a Committee, do not believe that you will be able to make the difficult transition necessary to minister in Europe. We feel that you are too tied to Oriental culture and so, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for you to adapt to ministry in Europe.
Our research has led us to believe that the greatest hope for world outreach is to use young missionaries who can identify with the current generation. You have had your chance, now it is time for us to go in a "different direction" with our financial support, and give someone younger a chance. I know that you, who have discipled so many young preachers yourself (myself included), will surely understand our decision.
2. YOUR HEALTH -- Our Committee is so thankful for your many sacrifices, but as a result, you have had too many life threatening situations which have caused too much wear and tear upon your body. To be completely honest, in your current health situation, we on the Missions Committee, feel that you would not be a good investment of our Missions denarii because your health will prohibit you from expending the energy that is necessary to do the ministries that our church envisions. Again, we are thankful for your sacrifices, we know that the Lord will honor them, but we must think about the future of our Missions program. There are so many projects that we desire to accomplish in the harvest fields of the world and this will require healthy bodies. We cannot waste our hard earned denarii! We know that you will understand and that the Lord will surely continue to provide for you from other sources. (Besides, I am sure that you have an adequate retirement plan in place).
3. YOUR FIELD -- You have left a fruitful ministry in Asia Minor, especially in Ephesus, where you proactively influenced a whole culture. Our Committee does not feel that this move to Europe can possibly bear the same results. Your talents were perfectly matched to the Asian mission field. We believe that you will be a "duck out of water" in Europe. Now, we have learned of your incarceration in Rome. This development will definitely further reduce your effectiveness. How will you ever be able to have an effective ministry while being chained to those licentious Roman soldiers? We are sorry for your situation, but we must think about getting the most "bang for our denarii". A missionary whose freedom of movement has been so curtailed just cannot get the job done that we have envisioned. We feel that we would not be good stewards of God's money if we continued to pour our resources into your ministry, since you are now incapable of free movement.
New Ekklesia Church agreed to support you in Asia Minor, but since you chose to change your field of service to Europe, our contract with you can legitimately be cancelled. This is not a judgment upon you or your future ministry. We will continue to pray for you and for your release, but we must move on to fields that we think are more deserving of the Gospel than Rome. (Please do not take this personally; we have had to take the same step with other missionaries who left a very successful ministry in Samaria to move on to Ethiopia). After our research we have determined at New Ekklesia Church that our target field must be Asia. So we are concentrating on Asian ministry, not European or African ministry).
4. YOUR STATUS -- Our Committee also believes that you have probably been out in field service too long. Many of the people of our church no longer even know you or your ministry. It has been such a long time since you last visited us. We just cannot pump our people up for Missions without regular personal contact. So, we feel we must concentrate our efforts on new missionaries and partner with them to reach our targeted fields. We even plan to send teams from our church out to instruct these new missionaries in what our research has indicated is the best way to reach these targeted people for Christ. I am sure that with your vast Missions background you can understand, accept, and appreciate this fact.
5. YOUR CONTACT -- Our Committee must also point out that you have been inconsistent with your reports from the field lately. We realize that you have been in some awkward situations, but it is still absolutely essential that we receive regular reports from you in order to keep Missions before our people. This is a very vital way for us to know whether our investment in your project is consistently bearing fruit. Regular "prayer letters" are a "must" and their neglect for any reason whatsoever must result in missionary termination. I might also say, as a word to the wise, that when we do receive your letters, they are good,
but our Committee feels that they are much too long and wordy. We feel that the best letters are those that are short and pithy; our people will never read them otherwise. Furthermore, our people need to hear of exciting results from their missionaries, not to be preached to!! You can see where I am coming from, I am sure.
I hope that we can part ways as friends. Your termination is only a business decision that is in the best interests of our church; it is NOT personal. We still love you in the Lord and will continue to be praying for you. We do love you, my brother! You are still important to us. We apologize to you that we could not speak with you about this in person, but you understand that, due to your situation in Rome, this was impossible. Also, our exciting and growing church does not have anyone that we can spare, at this moment, to come and visit you in your Roman prison. When you are released, if you get back to Thessalonica, I would be happy to meet you over a cup of coffee.
May the Lord continue to bless you, as He is blessing us.
Yours in Christ's service,
Rev. Alexander Demas
New Ekklesia Church, Thessalonica
I wonder how the Apostle would have felt if he had received such a dismissal. Perhaps he would have remembered this occasion when he sadly looked around his dark, damp cell in the cold Mamertine prison in Rome and wrote, " . . . Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica . . ." (2 Timothy 4:10).
Theological Liberalism Self-Defined
“Perhaps the most revealing critique of old liberalism was authored, not by a Fundamentalist, but by H. Richard Niebuhr. In his book, The Kingdom of God in America, he observed that in liberalism, ‘A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross,’ (p. 193). To these characteristics could be added that liberals knew God through a Bible without authority—a defect that Niebuhr also shared.”
"In the Nick of Time"
January 15, 2010
Mencken on Machen
[Note: Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956), “the sage of Baltimore,” was a lifelong cynic and skeptic who regularly and maliciously assailed and ridiculed conservative, fundamentalist Christianity (see “The Man Who Hated Everything,” in As I See It 3:10, and the review of The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken by Terry Teachout in As I See It 8:1). However, one Fundamentalist Christian whom he greatly respected was Presbyterian scholar J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937). We recently were made aware of two articles by Mencken in which he lauds Machen for his scholarship, integrity and the internal consistency of his conservative theological views, in contrast to the insipid theology of Modernism. While dissenting strongly from some of Mencken’s remarks, we thought his perspective may prove informative to our readers, especially his clear perception that Modernism, whatever it is, is not Christianity in any legitimate use of the word, and that Machen’s views are rigidly consistent with the Bible’s teaching.
That Mencken was favorably disposed toward Machen may be due in part to several things they had in common--both were natives of Baltimore, born just a year apart; both were highly educated men--Machen formally, Mencken by dint of very extensive reading; both had their writings widely published; Mencken, of German immigrant stock, loved all things German and Machen’s name certainly looks German (though it is in fact English); Machen was a life-long bachelor who had the care of his widowed mother, while Mencken, a bachelor until age 50, likewise had the care of his widowed mother for many years. And, as Mencken points out, Machen, like himself, was not a proponent of Prohibition. Perhaps these factors, to some degree unconsciously, helped develop in Mencken his favorable opinion of Machen.--editor]
H. L. Mencken on J. Gresham Machen
Published in 1931.
Thinking of the theological doctrine called Fundamentalism, one is apt to think at once of the Rev. Aimee Semple McPherson, the Rev. Dr. Billy Sunday and the late Dr. John Roach Straton. It is almost as if, in thinking of physic, one thought of Lydia Pinkham or Dr. Munyon. Such clowns, of course, are high in human interest, and their sincerity need not be impugned, but one must remember always that they do not represent fairly the body of ideas they presume to voice, and that those ideas have much better spokesmen. I point, for example, to the Rev. J. Gresham Machen, D.D. Litt.D., formerly of Princeton and now professor of the New Testament in Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Dr. Machen is surely no mere soap-boxer of God, alarming bucolic sinners for a percentage of the plate. On the contrary, he is a man of great learning and dignity – a former student at European universities, the author of various valuable books, including a Greek grammar, and a member of several societies of savants. Moreover, he is a Democrat and a wet [against Prohibition], and may be presumed to have voted for Al [Smith] in 1928. Nevertheless, this Dr. Machen believes completely in the inspired integrity of Holy Writ, and when it was questioned at Princeton he withdrew indignantly from those hallowed shades, leaving Dr. Paul Elmer More to hold the bag.
I confess frankly, as a life-long fan of theology, that I can find no defect in his defense of his position. Is Christianity actually a revealed religion? If not, then it is nothing; if so, then we must accept the Bible as an inspired statement of its principles. But how can we think of the Bible as inspired and at the same time as fallible? How can we imagine it as part divine and awful truth and part mere literary confectionery? And how, if we manage so to imagine it, are we to distinguish between the truth and the confectionery? Dr. Machen answers these questions very simply and very convincingly. If Christianity is really true, as he believes, then the Bible is true, and if the Bible is true, then it is true from cover to cover. So answering, he takes his stand upon it, and defies the hosts of Beelzebub to shake him. As I have hinted, I think that, given his faith, his position is completely impregnable. There is absolutely no flaw in the arguments with which he supports it. If he is wrong, then the science of logic is a hollow vanity, signifying nothing.
His moral advantage over his Modernist adversaries, like his logical advantage, is immense and obvious. He faces the onslaught of the Higher Criticism without flinching, and he yields nothing of his faith to expediency or decorum. Does his searching of Holy Writ compel him to believe that Jesus was descended from David through Joseph, as Matthew says, and yet begotten by the Holy Ghost, as Matthew also says, then he believes it calmly and goes on. Does he encounter witches in Exodus, and more of them in Deuteronomy, and yet more in Chronicles, then he is unperturbed. Is he confronted, in Revelation, with angels, dragons, serpents and beasts with seven heads and ten horns, then he contemplates them as calmly as an atheist looks at a chimpanzee in a zoo. For he has risen superior to all such trivial details, the bane of less devout and honest men. The greater marvel swallows all the lesser ones. If it be a fact, as he holds, that Yahweh has revealed the truth to His lieges on this earth, then he is quite as willing to accept and cherish that truth when it is odd and surprising as when it is transparent and indubitable. Believing, as he does, in an omnipotent and omniscient God, maker of heaven and earth, he admits freely that God probably knows more than he himself knows, both of the credible and the incredible, though he is a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and the American Philological Association.
It must be plain that the Modernists are in a much weaker position. The instant they admit that only part of the Bible may be rejected, if it be only the most trifling fly-speck of the Pauline Epistles, they admit that any other part may be rejected. Thus the divine authority of the whole disappears, and there is no more evidence that Christianity is a revealed religion than there is that Mohammedanism is. It is idle for such iconoclasts to say that one man – usually the speaker – is better able to judge in such matters than other men, for they have to admit in the same breath that no man’s judgment, however learned he may be, is infallible, and that no man’s judgment, however mean he may be, is negligible. They thus reduce theology to the humble level of a debate over probabilities. Such a debate it has become, in fact, in the hands of the more advanced Modernists. No two of them agree in all details, nor can they conceivably agree so long as one man, by God’s inscrutable will, differs from all other men. The Catholics get rid of the difficulty by setting up an infallible Pope, and consenting formally to accept his verdicts, but the Protestants simply chase their own tails. By depriving revelation of all force and authority, they rob their so-called religion of every dignity. It becomes, in their hands, a mere romantic imposture, unsatisfying to the pious and unconvincing to the judicious.
I have noted that Dr. Machen is a wet. This is somewhat remarkable in a Presbyterian, but certainly it is not illogical in a Fundamentalist. He is a wet, I take it, simply because the Yahweh of the Old Testament and the Jesus of the New are both wet – because the whole Bible, in fact, is wet. He not only refuses to expunge from the text anything that is plainly there; he also refuses to insert anything that is not there. What I marvel at is that such sincere and unyielding Christians as he is do not start legal proceeding against the usurpers who now disgrace the name. By what right does a Methodist bishop, in the face of John 2:1-11, Matthew 11:19 and Timothy 5:23, hold himself out as a follower of Jesus, and even as an oracle on Jesus’ ideas and desire? Surely there is libel here, and if I were the believer that Dr. Machen is I think I’d say that there is also blasphemy. I suggest formally that he and his orthodox friends get together, and petition some competent court to restrain the nearest Methodist congregation from calling itself Christian. I offer myself a witness for the plaintiffs, and promise to come well heeled with evidence. At worst, such a suit would expose the fraudulence of the Methodist claim and redound greatly to the glory and prosperity of the true faith; at best, some judge more intelligent and less scary than the general might actually grant the injunction.
H. L. Mencken's Obituary of Machen
Baltimore Evening Sun (January 18, 1937), 2nd Section, p. 15.
The Rev. J. Gresham Machen, D. D., who died out in North Dakota on New Year's Day, got, on the whole, a bad press while he lived, and even his obituaries did much less than justice to him. To newspaper reporters, as to other antinomians, a combat between Christians over a matter of dogma is essentially a comic affair, and in consequence Dr. Machen's heroic struggles to save Calvinism in the Republic were usually depicted in ribald, or, at all events, in somewhat skeptical terms. The generality of readers, I suppose, gathered thereby the notion that he was simply another Fundamentalist on the order of William Jennings Bryan and the simian faithful of Appalachia. But he was actually a man of great learning, and, what is more, of sharp intelligence.
What caused him to quit the Princeton Theological Seminary and found a seminary of his own was his complete inability, as a theologian, to square the disingenuous evasions of Modernism with the fundamentals of Christian doctrine. He saw clearly that the only effects that could follow diluting and polluting Christianity in the Modernist manner would be its complete abandonment and ruin. Either it was true or it was not true. If, as he believed, it was true, then there could be no compromise with persons who sought to whittle away its essential postulates, however respectable their motives.
Thus he fell out with the reformers who have been trying, in late years, to convert the Presbyterian Church into a kind of literary and social club, devoted vaguely to good works. Most of the other Protestant churches have gone the same way, but Dr. Machen's attention, as a Presbyterian, was naturally concentrated upon his own connection. His one and only purpose was to hold it [the Church] resolutely to what he conceived to be the true faith. When that enterprise met with opposition he fought vigorously, and though he lost in the end and was forced out of Princeton it must be manifest that he marched off to Philadelphia with all the honors of war.
My interest in Dr. Machen while he lived, though it was large, was not personal, for I never had the honor of meeting him. Moreover, the doctrine that he preached seemed to me, and still seems to me, to be excessively dubious. I stand much more chance of being converted to spiritualism, to Christian Science or even to the New Deal than to Calvinism, which occupies a place, in my cabinet of private horrors, but little removed from that of cannibalism. But Dr. Machen had the same clear right to believe in it that I have to disbelieve in it, and though I could not yield to his reasoning I could at least admire, and did greatly admire, his remarkable clarity and cogency as an apologist, allowing him his primary assumptions.
These assumptions were also made, at least in theory, by his opponents, and thereby he had them by the ear. Claiming to be Christians as he was, and of the Calvinish persuasion, they endeavored fatuously to get rid of all the inescapable implications of their position. On the one hand they sought to retain membership in the fellowship of the faithful, but on the other hand they presumed to repeal and reenact with amendments the body of doctrine on which that fellowship rested. In particular, they essayed to overhaul the scriptural authority which lay at the bottom of the whole matter, retaining what coincided with their private notions and rejecting whatever upset them.
Upon this contumacy Dr. Machen fell with loud shouts of alarm. He denied absolutely that anyone had a right to revise and sophisticate Holy Writ. Either it was the Word of God or it was not the Word of God, and if it was, then it was equally authoritative in all its details, and had to be accepted or rejected as a whole. Anyone was free to reject it, but no one was free to mutilate it or to read things into it that were not there. Thus the issue with the Modernists was clearly joined, and Dr. Machen argued them quite out of court, and sent them scurrying back to their literary and sociological Kaffeeklatsche. His operations, to be sure, did not prove that Holy Writ was infallible either as history or as theology, but they at least disposed of those who proposed to read it as they might read a newspaper, believing what they chose and rejecting what they chose.
In his own position there was never the least shadow of inconsistency. When the Prohibition imbecility fell upon the country, and a multitude of theological quacks, including not a few eminent Presbyterians, sought to read support for it into the New Testament, he attacked them with great vigor, and routed them easily. He not only proved that there was nothing in the teachings of Jesus to support so monstrous a folly; he proved abundantly that the known teachings of Jesus were unalterably against it. And having set forth that proof, he refused, as a convinced and honest Christian, to have anything to do with the dry jihad. This rebellion against a craze that now seems so incredible and so far away was not the chief cause of his break with his ecclesiastical superiors, but it was probably responsible for a large part of their extraordinary dudgeon against him. The Presbyterian Church, like the other evangelical churches, was taken for a dizzy ride by Prohibition. Led into the heresy by fanatics of low mental visibility, it presently found itself cheek by jowl with all sorts of criminals, and fast losing the respect of sensible people. Its bigwigs thus became extremely jumpy on the subject, and resented bitterly every exposure of their lamentable folly.
The fantastic William Jennings Bryan, in his day the country's most distinguished Presbyterian layman, was against Dr. Machen on the issue of Prohibition but with him on the issue of Modernism. But Bryan's support, of course, was of little value or consolation to so intelligent a man. Bryan was a Fundamentalist of the Tennessee or barnyard school. His theological ideas were those of a somewhat backward child of 8, and his defense of Holy Writ at Dayton during the Scopes trial was so ignorant and stupid [in fact, it was for the most part excellent and right on target--editor] that it must have given Dr. Machen a great deal of pain. Dr. Machen himself was to Bryan as the Matterhorn is to a wart. His Biblical studies had been wide and deep, and he was familiar with the almost interminable literature of the subject. Moreover, he was an adept theologian, and had a wealth of professional knowledge to support his ideas. Bryan could only bawl.
It is my belief, as a friendly neutral in all such high and ghostly matters, that the body of doctrine known as Modernism is completely incompatible, not only with anything rationally describable as Christianity, but also with anything deserving to pass as religion in general. Religion, if it is to retain any genuine significance, can never be reduced to a series of sweet attitudes, possible to anyone not actually in jail for felony. It is, on the contrary, a corpus of powerful and profound convictions, many of them not open to logical analysis. Its inherent improbabilities are not sources of weakness to it, but of strength. It is potent in a man in proportion as he is willing to reject all overt evidences, and accept its fundamental postulates, however unprovable they may be by secular means, as massive and incontrovertible facts.
These postulates, at least in the Western world, have been challenged in recent years on many grounds, and in consequence there has been a considerable decline in religious belief. There was a time, two or three centuries ago, when the overwhelming majority of educated men were believers, but that is apparently true no longer. Indeed, it is my impression that at least two-thirds of them are now frank skeptics. But it is one thing to reject religion altogether, and quite another thing to try to save it by pumping out of it all its essential substance, leaving it in the equivocal position of a sort of pseudo-science, comparable to graphology, "education," or osteopathy.
That, it seems to me, is what the Modernists have done, no doubt with the best intentions in the world. They have tried to get rid of all the logical difficulties of religion, and yet preserve a generally pious cast of mind. It is a vain enterprise. What they have left, once they have achieved their imprudent scavenging, is hardly more than a row of hollow platitudes, as empty of psychological force and effect as so many nursery rhymes. They may be good people and they may even be contented and happy, but they are no more religious than Dr. Einstein. Religion is something else again--in Henrik Ibsen's phrase, something far more deep-down-diving and mud-upbringing. Dr. Machen tried to impress that obvious fact upon his fellow adherents of the Geneva Mohammed. He failed--but he was undoubtedly right.
[Copied, with obvious typographical errors corrected, from http://www.entrewave.com/freebooks/docs/html/gncf/appendix_a.htm ]
Spurgeon Commends Revised Version over KJV
[Note: Since we first discovered back in 1977 the fraudulent claim of some KJVO zealots that “Charles Spurgeon loved the KJV and vowed he would withdraw fellowship from any preacher or group of preachers who made light of or ‘down-graded’ the KJV!”, we have kept an eye open for statements in the published writings of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) relating to English and other Bible versions, as well as Greek and Hebrew texts. Besides a booklet addressing the subject published back in the 1990s by Pilgrim Publications (An Answer to David Otis Fuller), from time to time we have published our findings along this line in AISI (see 1:2; 3:6; 9:3; 12:6). Here, we add another--Editor]
“My subject has been suggested to me by the rendering of this passage [i.e., Luke 9:11] given in the Revised Version, where we read: ‘But the multitudes perceiving it, followed him; and he welcomed them.’ The difference lies, you see, between the words ‘he received them’ and ‘he welcomed them.’ The new version is an instructive improvement, of which we will at once make evangelical use.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
Vol. 27 (1881), p. 581
Italics in original
Quotes from Long Journey Home by Os Guinness
(Waterbrook Press, Colorado, Springs, Colorado. 2001)
“It’s often said that there are three requirements for a fulfilling life. The first two--a clear sense of personal identity and a strong sense of personal mission--are rooted in the third: a deep sense of life’s meaning. In our time especially, many people are spurred to search for that meaning because they’re haunted by having too much to live with and too little to live for.” (p. 2)
“In his famous speech, ‘My Credo,’ delivered in Berlin in 1932, Albert Einstein put it this way: ’Our situation on this earth seems strange. Everyone of us appears here involuntarily and uninvited for a short stay, without knowing the whys and the wherefores.’ “ (p. 7)
“. . . almost all the great reforms in Western history--including the banning of infanticide, the abolition of slavery, the rise of the women’s movement, and progress in civil rights--have been inspired by faith and led by people of faith. Yet faith itself is commonly dismissed as reactionary. . . . [S]ecular ideologies, not religion, proved responsible in the last century for the Holocaust, the Gulag, and the killing fields, [a]nd . . .religion, not secular philosophies, was influential in provoking the worldwide thrust for freedom and democracy in the last several decades.” (p. 13)
“The intellectual, as Dwight Eisenhower quipped, is ‘a man who takes more words than necessary to tell us more than he knows.’ “ (p. 17)
“Modern society itself is one grand diversion--the Republic of Entertainment. With our shops, shows, sports, games, tourism, recreation, cosmetics, plastic surgery, virtual reality, and the endless glorification of health and youth, our culture is a vast conspiracy to make us forget our transience and morality.” (p. 41)
“. . . [M]ost people . . . want desperately to be pre-occupied. Their deep need is to be tranquilized with the trivial.” (p. 42)
“”Ours is world in which ‘Thou shalt not judge’ has been elevated to the status of a new eleventh commandment. Many people today consider judging evil to be worse than doing evil.” (pp. 56-7)
“. . .the astonishing fact that at the end of the twentieth century the Christian faith was the most studied and the most persecuted faith in the world.” (p. 107)
“Belief in something doesn’t make it true; only truth makes a belief true. But without truth, a belief may be only speculation plus sincerity--or perhaps, worse, bad faith. True beliefs then are beliefs that correspond with reality. What they represent as real is in fact so. That’s what we mean when we say a belief is ‘true.’ “ (p. 122)
“. . . the twentieth century has been called an extended footnote to Nietzsche.” (p. 127; it could also be called “an extended footnote to Darwin”--editor)
“The decisive question is not whether believers fall short of their beliefs but whether those beliefs are true.” (p. 139)
“We become accustomed to evil and bad news until our hearts are so hardened that we don’t mind the evil as much. ‘And then good news cracks your heart . . . .We sometimes weep when we are surprised by true goodness.’ “ (p. 155)
“. . . the irreducible component of personal responsibility.” (p. 173)
“We’re therefore right to desire happiness but wrong to think that happiness may be found wherever our desires lead.” (p. 191)
“[T]he cleverer the mind, the more slippery the heart. The more sophisticated the education, the subtler the rationalization. Sometimes erudition only lends conviction to self-deception, for no one is easier to deceive than ourselves.” (p. 201)
“We started this book by seeing that the unexamined life is not worth living; we end by realizing that the untransformed life is not worthy of finding.” (p. 204)