Category Archives: Quotable

Look for Christ, Draw Near to God

Tomorrow’s scripture readings include this verse:

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” — James 3:8 (NRSV)

It is the truth behind this quote:

“Look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” — C. S. Lewis [1]

[1] C. S. Lewis, “The New Men,” in Mere Christianity (1952).

We Live By Faith Not By Certainty

“I don’t see anything about the quest for certainty that is helpful to the soul. We live by faith not by certainty. The more certain you become, the less room you make for faith. And certainty will not bind you to God; we are only bound to God (and frankly to each other) by faith.

… they [the creeds] don’t start ‘I know.’ They start ‘I believe.'” — Craig Barnes [1]

[1] Craig Barnes, “Preaching in the Age of Anxiety” (lecture, The Festival of Homiletics, Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, D.C., May 23, 2018). Audio Recording. In the official recording, this quote is about 24 minutes in.

The Real Reason for Democracy

A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people … who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. … The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. — C. S. Lewis [1]

Note the d in democratic is lowercase indicating everyone who believes in democracy regardless of party affiliation. We in the West often think of democracy as a cure for all ills even though our own experience proves the opposite. I think we would be better off if we, like Lewis, were more pessimistic. Democracy is not a perfect solution to the problem of governance, it’s just better than all the other options. This side of the return of King Jesus and the fullness of his coming reign, we’ll just have to take what we can get.

[1] C. S. Lewis. Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays (New York: HarperCollins, 1986). Kindle Edition, 279-280.

The Burden of Anger and Bitterness

“The fact is that when we forgive someone we not only release them from the burden of our anger and its possible consequences; we release ourselves from the burden of whatever it was they had done to us, and from the crippled emotional state in which we shall go on living if we don’t forgive them and instead cling to our anger and bitterness.” — N. T. Wright [1]

Let’s do ourselves a favor and pray for the grace to forgive those who have sinned against us. (Sometimes I have to start by praying for the desire to forgive.)

[1] N. T. Wright. Evil and the Justice of God (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2006). Kindle Edition, 135.

A Church for God’s Mission

“It is not so much that God has a mission for his church in the world, but that God has a church for his mission in the world.” — Christopher Wright [1]

[1] Christopher Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006), 62, quoted in Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsityPress, 2015), 30. Kindle.

Quotable: Keep Praying

“When I pray, coincidences happen; when I stop praying, the coincidences stop happening.” — William Temple

Keep praying.

William Temple quoted in N. T. Wright, The Lord and His Prayer (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 68.

Christ, the True Word of God

It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him. . . . But we must not use the Bible (our fathers too often did) as a sort of Encyclopedia out of which texts (isolated from their context and not read with attention to the whole nature and purport of the books in which they occur) can be taken for use as weapons. — C. S. Lewis, Letter to “Mrs. Ashton” [1]

[1] C. S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis, ed. W. H. Lewis and Walter Hooper (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2017), 549.

Quotable: The Fulcrum of History

The death of Jesus of Nazareth as the king of the Jews, the bearer of Israel’s destiny, the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people of old, is either the most stupid, senseless waste and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or it is the fulcrum around which world history turns. Christianity is based on the belief that it was and is the latter.
— N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), 111.

Quotable: Worship Defined

Worship means, literally, acknowledging the worth of something or someone. It means recognizing and saying that something or someone is worthy of praise. It means celebrating the worth of someone or something far superior to oneself.
— N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), 144.

Classic Quotable: Neither Gospel is Complete

So which Jesus are we to believe in and follow: the social reformer of liberal Christianity or the personal savior of conservative Christianity? Or, more to the point, is either of these portrayals of Jesus adequate apart from the other? Jesus preached one gospel that has, unfortunately, been split by the church into two: the social gospel and the personal evangelical gospel. Neither gospel is complete apart from the other. — Adam Hamilton

“Neither gospel is complete apart from the other,” this has been my thinking for a long time. I always appreciate the way Adam Hamilton takes what I’ve been thinking and puts it in well-phrased print form.

Adam Hamilton, Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2008), 93.

Quotable: Make It Holy

Do not think that saintliness comes from occupation; it depends rather on what one is. The kind of work we do does not make us holy, but we may make it holy.
— Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart as quoted in George Wolfgang Forell and James M. Childs, eds., Christian Social Teachings a Reader in Christian Social Ethics from the Bible to the Present (Fortress Press, 2013), 71.