Monday, July 30, 2018

Quotes of Note

Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking,  or all of the above.


Reading the letters of the seven churches in Revelation reveals what a successful church looks. In the letters to the churches at Philadelphia and Thyatria, both which had no negatives applied to them, we are reminded what God wants in churches: faithfulness, not worldly success. In his commentary Revelation Verse by Verse, Grant Osborne points out the truth that God prefers faithful churches:
These two churches are important reminders that God prefers faithful churches over big and seemingly successful ones. Many of us feel insignificant, and our churches may seem small and unimportant. But when we remain centered on Christ and live for him, God greatly honors both us and our churches. We must not allow the world to determine the criteria for success. God will lift us up and open the doors of heaven to us when we endure hardship for him and remain faithful. This is what really matters.


The following is a quote from The True and Only Heaven by Christopher Lasch, a historian and social critic. I have not read this book but only a quote by him in another book. Lasch's distinction between nostalgia and memory intrigues me, which makes me want to read more.
Nostalgia appeals to the feeling that the past offered delights no longer obtainable. Nostalgic representations of the past evoke a time irretrievably lost and for that reason timeless and unchanging. Strictly speaking, nostalgia does not entail the exercise of memory at all, since the past it idealizes stands outside time, frozen in unchanging perfection. Memory too may idealize the past, but not in order to condemn the present. It draws hope and comfort from the past in order to enrich the present and to face what comes with good cheer. It sees past, present, and future as continuous. It is less concerned with loss than with our continuing indebtedness to a past the formative influence of which lives on in our patterns of speech, our gestures, our standards of honor, our expectations, our basic disposition toward the world around us.

One of the most relevant books written in the last century, still applicable today is Christianity and Liberalism by ― J. Gresham Machen. The following quote has been attributed to him, even though the quote does not appear in his published works. Nonetheless, the quote aligns very well with some of my own recent research, so I'll share it even though I'm unsure of the source or its author:
For Christians to influence the world with the truth of God's Word requires the recovery of the great Reformation doctrine of vocation. Christians are called to God's service not only in church professions but also in every secular calling. The task of restoring truth to the culture depends largely on our laypeople.

To bring back truth, on a practical level, the church must encourage Christians to be not merely consumers of culture but makers of culture. The church needs to cultivate Christian artists, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, journalists, attorneys, teachers, scientists, business executives, and the like, teaching its laypeople the sense in which every secular vocation-including, above all, the callings of husband, wife, and parent--is a sphere of Christian ministry, a way of serving God and neighbor that is grounded in God's truth. Christian laypeople should be encouraged to be leaders in their fields, rather than eager-to-please followers, working from the assumptions of their biblical worldview, not the vapid clichés of pop culture.

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