Sunday, 25 February 2018

THE IRRELIGION OF THE CROSS

'The cross is by a very long way the most irreligious object ever to find its way into the heart of faith.' 
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.75. 

THE PRIMACY OF THE CROSS

'In the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, the only word used in connection with the entire span of Jesus' life is "suffered." "Born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and buried." Who, today, notices how extraordinary this is? What a way to describe the life and ministry of a man so famous for his teachings, parables, healings, exorcisms, and other works? None of these are even mentioned in the creeds, and very little is said of them in the various New Testament epistles. The wording of the creeds is a vivid demonstration of the early Christians' conviction that the passion was the culmination and consummation of everything that Jesus accomplished, so as to subsume everything else in the magnitude of its significance.' 
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.56.

ADVENT

'Surprisingly, the liturgical season of Advent, rather than Lent, best locates the Christian community. Advent - the time in between - with its themes of crisis and judgment, now and not-yet, places us not in some privileged spiritual sanctuary but on the frontier where the promised kingdom of God exerts maximum pressure on the present, with corresponding signs of suffering and struggle.' 
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.45. 

PREACHING

'The meaning of the life, death, and future of Jesus Christ has been entrusted to human witnesses. The whole enterprise of preaching is built on this trust in the witnesses. It is not always understood that the confidence of the biblical preacher, teacher, and witness is not personal arrogance. Such confidence arises out of the paradoxical faith of the sufficiency of God to override the insufficiency of human beings.' 
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.21. 

THE UNIQUENESS OF CHRISTIANITY

'Christianity is unique. The world's religions have certain traits in common, but until the gospel of Jesus Christ burst upon the Mediterranean world, no one in the history of human imagination had conceived of such a thing as the worship of a crucified man. The early Christian preaching announced the entrance of God upon the stage of history in the person of an itinerant Jewish teacher who had been ingloriously pinned up alongside two of society's castoffs to die horribly, rejected and condemned by religious and secular authorities alike, discarded onto the garbage heap of humanity, scornfully forsaken by both elites and common folk, leaving behind only a discredited and demoralized handful of scruffy disciples who had no status whatsoever in the eyes of anyone. The peculiarity of this beginning for a world-transforming faith is not sufficiently acknowledged. Too often, today's Christians are lulled into thinking of their own faith as one of the religions, without realizing that the central claim of Christianity is oddly irreligious at its core.'  
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, p.1 

Sunday, 4 February 2018

THE IMPORTANCE OF BELONGING

'According to the Bible, in order to know who you are, you have to know whose you are.' 
Brian S Rosner, Known by God, p.137. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

THE WISDOM OF EXPERIENCE

'...because my mother in particular took a lively part in church affairs, I never from my earliest age assumed that churchgoers were becessarily morally superior to other people, since experience showed me they were not.' 
PD James, Time to be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography, p.87. 

THE TRAGEDY OF NOT GRASPING GRACE

'For now he knew that though God might save every other man, Gib Dawe He could not save. Once he had seen his sin as a thing that clung close as his shadow clung to his heels; now he knew that it was the very stuff of his soul. Never could he, a leaking bucket not to be mended, retain God's saving Grace, however freely outpoured. Never could he, that heavy lump of sin, do any other than sink, and sink again, however often Christ, walking on the waves, should stretch His hand to lift and bring him safe. 
He did not know that though the bucket be leaky it matters not at all when it is deep in the deep sea, and the water both without it and within. He did not know, because he was too proud to know, that a man must endure to sink, and sink again, but always crying upon God, never for shame ceasing to cry, until the day when he shall find himself lifted by the bland swell of that power, inward, secret, as little to be known as to be doubted, the power of omnipotent grace in tranquil irresistible operation.' 
HFM Prescott, The Man on a Donkey, p.710. 

WHAT IS A GOD?

'What does it mean to have a god? What is God? my answer is: A god is whatever a person looks to for all good things and runs to for help in trouble.' 
Martin Luther in Brian S Rosner, Known by God, p.62. 

DON'T BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

'If you are true to "yourself", you will end up a complete mess. The challenge is to take the "self" you find within, and to choose wisely which impulses and desires to follow, and which ones to resist.' 
Tom Wright in Brian S Rosner, Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity, p.25.