Thursday, 29 January 2009


'Man's capacity for justice make democracy possible; man's inclination toward injustice makes democracy necessary.'
Reinhold Niebuhr in Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Journals 1952-2000, p.337.


'For some people, secularism may be desirable as a social ideal. But as a framework for describing, explaining and predicting the course of global politics in the real world, it has become a serious liability. Believers in iron laws of history are usually disappointed in the end. Believers in a "march of history" toward some secular end-state are headed for more disappointment than most.'
Timothy Samuel Shah and Monica Duffy Toft, 'God Is Winning: Religion in Global Politics' in Paul Marshall et al. Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion, p.27.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


'Politics is an area of human endeavor that places greater stress on moral sensitivity, on the ability to reflect critically on oneself, on genuine responsibility, on taste and tact, on the capacity to empathize with others, on a sense of moderation, on humility. It is a job for modest people, for people who cannot be deceived.
Those who claim that politics is a dirty business are lying to us. Politics is work of a kind that requires especially pure people, because it is especially easy to become morally tainted.
So easy, in fact, that a less vigilant spirit may not notice happening it at all.
Politics, therefore, ought to be carried on by people who are vigilant, sensitive to the ambiguous promise of self-affirmation that comes with it.
I have no idea whether I am such a person. I only know that I ought to be, because I have accepted this office.'
Vaclav Havel, 'The Temptations of Political Power' at:


'Why is it that people long for political power, and why, when they have achieved it, are they so reluctant to give it up?
In the first place, people are driven into politics by ideas about a better way to organize society, by faith in certain values or ideals, be they impeccable or dubious, and the irresistible desire to fight for those ideas and turn them into reality.
In the second place, they are probably motivated by the natural longing every human being has for self-affirmation. Is it possible to imagine a more attractive way to affirm your own existence and its importance than that offered by political power? In essence, it gives you a tremendous opportunity to leave your mark, in the broadest sense, on your surroundings, to shape the world around you in your own image, to enjoy the respect that every political office almost automatically bestows upon the one who holds it.
In the third place, many people long for political power and are so reluctant to part with it because of the wide range of perks that are a necessary part of political life - even under the most democratic of conditions.'
Vaclav Havel, 'The Temptations of Political Power' at:

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


'...when you really reflect on it, everything is beautiful on this earth, everything that is, except what we think and do when we forget about the higher purpose of existence and about our human dignity.'
Anton Chekhov, 'The Lady with the Little Dog' in About Love and Other Stories, p.173.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


'Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?'
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p.20.


'Knowing God without knowing our own wretchedness makes for pride. Knowing our own wretchedness without knowing God makes for despair. Knowing Jesus Christ strikes the balance because he shows us both God and our own wretchedness.'
Blaise Pascal in Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.132

Monday, 12 January 2009


'Our mind-set toward our own good works must always be: These works depend on God being totally for us. That's what the blood and righteousness of Christ have secured and guaranteed forever. Therefore, we must resist every tendency to think of our works as establishing or securing the fact that God is for us forever. It is always the other way around. Because he is for us, he sustains our faith. And through that faith-sustaining work, the Holy Spirit bears the fruit of love.'
John Piper, The Future of Justification, p.186.

Sunday, 11 January 2009


'We enter relationships for personal pleasure, self-actualization, and fun. We want low personal cost and high self-defined returns. But God wants high personal cost and high God-defined returns. And, although we frequently disagree with God, his plan is better.'
Tim Lane & Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, p.49.

Friday, 9 January 2009


'The faith of the individual must be seen as having no value in itself, but as discovering value wholly and solely through movement towards and commital to Christ. It must be seen as simply a means of finding all one's hope outside oneself in the person and work of another; and not as in any sense an orginating cause or objective ground of justification. For true faith is active only in the man who is wholly occupied with Christ; its practice means that every blessing is received from another. For this reason faith is exclusive and intolerant of company; it is only truly present when any and every contribution towards his salvation on the part of the believer himself or on the part of the church is unequivocally shut out.'
Alan Stibbs, 'Justification by Faith: The Reinstatement of the Doctrine Today' in Andrew Atherstone (Ed.), Such a Great Salvation, p.92.

Thursday, 8 January 2009


'We make a mistake when we measure our potential to deal with difficulty by the size and duration of the problem. We should be measuring our potential according to the size of God's provision and the promise of his eternal presence.'
Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, p.40.


'Because the Christian God is not a lonely God, but rather a communion of the three persons, faith leads human beings into divine communio. One cannot, however, have a self-enclosed communion with the Triune God - a"foursome," as it were - for the Christian God is not a private deity. Communion with this God is at once communion with those others who have entrusted themselves in faith to the same God. Hence one and the same act of faith places a person into a new relationship both with God and with all others who stand in communion with God.'
Miroslav Volf in Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, p.20.


'Are you feeling overwhelmed by the hard work relationships require? If so, are you ready for this last fact: The shattered relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the cross provides the basis for reconciliation. No other relationship has ever suffered more than what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit endured when Jesus hung on the cross and cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was willing to be the rejected Son so that our families would know reconciliation. Jesus was willing to become the forsaken friend so that we could have loving friendships. Jesus was willing to the rejected Lord so that we could live in loving submission to one another. Jesus was willing to be the forsaken brother so that we could have godly relationships. Jesus was willing to be the crucified king so that our communities would experience peace.'
Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, p.13.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


'A godly life is the body language of sound teaching.'
John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, p.257.


'Kingdom of God is not merely a synonym for God's sovereignty; rather, it is a specific historical program. God is always sovereign, always King in a general way. But since the fall, he must, as King, put down opposition and bring human beings to acknowledge his kingship. The kingdom of God in the New Testament is that historical program, the series of events, by which God drives his kingship home to sinful human beings.'
John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, p.248.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


'Every really great Christian born in controversy. It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of truth.'
J. Gresham Machen in John Piper, The Future of Justification, p.29.


'When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth - when the evidence and necessity of the truth abides in us - when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the thing abides in our hearts - when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for - then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.'
John Owen in John Piper, The Future of Justification, p.28.


'No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.'
James Denney in John Piper, The Future of Justification, p.13.


'God clothes you with his righteousness when you believe, giving you a garment that makes you fit for heaven.'
Bill Piper in John Piper, The Future of Justification, p.9.


'...inner health made audible.'
CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, p.81.

Monday, 5 January 2009


'O it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly.'
Martin Luther in Richard B Gaffin Jr. By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, p.105.


'When the eighth commandment says, "Thou shalt not steal," it doesn't mention my name. It doesn't say that John Frame should not steal. Does that mean that I am free to take your wallet? Well, of course not. Because "Thou shalt not steal" means "Everybody should not steal" or "Nobody should steal." That includes John Frame. So, although my name is not in the text explicitly, the text applies to me, which is to say that my name is there implicitly. The same is true with the promises of salvation. God promises salvation to everybody who believes. If you believe, then that promise is yours. God promises to save you. And that promise is infallible, certain. You dare not doubt it.'
John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, p.218.


'...adoption, belonging to God's family, is the height of our privilege as God's people and the beginning of our heavenly reward. It is the foundation of all our relationships with God and one another. God's name is our family name, the name by which we will be known, through all eternity.'
John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, p.210.