'For some years now I have followed a simple rule, that when anyone asks me a question about divorce, I refuse to answer it until I have first talked about two other subjects, namely, marriage and reconciliation. This is a simple attempt to follow Jesus in his own priorities. When the Pharisees asked him about the grounds for divorce, he referred them instead to the original institution of marriage. If we allow ourselves to become preoccupied with divorce and its grounds, rather than with marriage and its essentials, we lapse into Pharasaism. For God's purpose is marriage not divorce, and his gospel is good news of reconciliation.'
John Stott, Issues Facing Christians Today(3rd Edition), p.341.
'At the heart of the homosexual condition is a deep loneliness, the natural human hunger for mutual love, a search for identity, and a longing for completeness. If homosexual people cannot find these things in the local "church family", we have no business to go on using that expression.'
John Stott, Issues Facing Christians Today (3rd Edition), p.417.
'To ferment greviance and to set men at variance is the trade by which agitators thrive and journalists make money. A dog-fight, a brawl, or a war is always good news; if news of that kind is lacking, it pays well to contrive it. The average English mind is a fertile field in which to sow the dragon's teeth of moral indignation; and the fight that follows will be blind, brutal, and merciless.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'The Other Six Deadly Sins' in Creed or Chaos? p.68.
'The moral relativist side of secular liberalism stems from the fact that, as Dostoyevsky noted, if God doesn't exist, anything is permitted. But such universal permisiveness is a recipe for chaos, one which even secularists cannot easily accept. Thus they seek to replace God with another supposed absolute. (Scripture calls this process "idolatry.") That absolute is, in most cases, their own autonomous moral judgment. Hence, there is the dogmatic side of secularism. But when that dogmatism fails, when the secularist's own judgment proves untrustworthy, then they revert to relativism: "Oh well, nobody really knows." Relativism and dogmatism: these are the Scylla and Charybdis of secular liberalism. Strictly speaking, these are inconsistent with one another. But they supplement and need one another. The secularist bounces backwards and forwards from one to the other on a pendulum.'
John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p.899.
'Scripture represents marriage as a reflection of our covenant relationship with God. To violate marriage is to violate that covenant, and unfaithfulness to God is adultery. All sin is unfaithfulness to God, spiritual adultery. So the seventh commandment, like the others, actually covers all of life from its particular perspective. Whenever we sin, we can think of it as marital unfaithfulness. And we should think of it that way, better to understand our radical need of forgiveness from our heavenly husband.'
John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p.747.
'"I...have a strange yearning in my heart whenever I see a mother with her baby in her arms. Nay, my dear," - (and by a sudden blaze which sprang up from the fall of the unstirred coals, I saw that her eyes were full of tears - gazing intently on some vision of what might have been) - "do you know, I dream sometimes that I have a little child - always the same - a little girl of about two years old; she never grows older, though I have dreamt about her for many years. I don't think I ever dream of any words or sounds she makes; she is very noiseless and still, but she comes to me when she is very sorry or very glad, and I have wakened with the clasp of her dear little arms round my neck. Only last night - perhaps because I had gone to sleep thinking of this ball for Pheobe - my little darling came in my dream, and put up her mouth to be kissed, just as I have seen real babies do to real mothers before going to bed."'
'...idols are lies, not because God is invisible or cannot be pictured, but because idols fail to picture what is most important about him - his personality, his ability to see, hear, speak, and interact with his creatures. Without personality, God cannot judge - good news for unbelieving hedonists, but bad news for the universe. And without personality, God cannot love - bad news for everybody.' John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p.460.
'...the second commandment does not forbid making images, even representations of God. It only forbids making them for the purpose of bowing to them in worship....the Scripture certainly intends to provide for its readers mental pictures of Jesus. It is, for most of us, psychologically impossible to read the New Testament (or even portions of the Old Testament like Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53) without forming such pictures. To forbid mental pictures of Jesus, while allowing mental pictures of other things in the gospel narrative, promotes Docetism, a view in which the Son of God did not really take on flesh. But our faith is to be focused on the real Jesus, whom, though unseen, we love: "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1: 8-9).'
John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p.460.
, '...you cannot decide to work on one area of your ethical life (say, submission to authority) while ignoring the others. Since ethics is a matter of the heart, compromise in one area entails compromise in others. You won't be able to be fully subject to authority, in the biblical sense, unless you learn not to covet and not to lust. Positively, growth in holiness is holistic. It is a practice of the presence of God in all the situations of life, so that every decision becomes a godly response to his lordship.' John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p.396.
'The Reformed community needs to look at emotions much more positively, as the Bible does. We need to play the pathos game. There is no reason for us to disparage or try and dampen emotions in the Christian life or even in worship. And if we don't have the resources in the Reformed tradition to express the profound emotions found in Scripture, then we should be humble enough to go beyond the Reformed tradition to find the resources we need.'
John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p.382.
'Memorial services have swum into fashion. I don't know why because most of those remembered (with some notable exceptions) did not go into church after they grew up, except possibly for their first wedding. The reason may be that, as death is against the rules now, the sight of a real coffin at a real funeral is too much for the sensitive.'
Deborah Devonshire, 'Memorial Services' in Home to Roost and other peckings, p.133.
'In nothing has the Church so lost her hold on reality as in her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments , and is astonished to find that, as a result, the secular work of the world is turned to purely selfish and destructive ends, and that the greater part of the world's intelligent workers have become irreligious, or at least, uninterested in religion. But is it astonishing? How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life? The Church's approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to Church on Sunday. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes on him is that he should make good tables. Church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly - but what use is all that if in the very centre of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked table-legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare say, came out of the carpenter's shop at Nazareth.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'Why Work?' in Creed or Chaos? p.58.
'Never think that wars are irrational catastrophes: they happen when wrong ways of thinking and living bring about intolerable situations; and whichever side may be the more outrageous in its aims and the more brutal in its methods, the root causes of conflict are usually to be found in some wrong way of life in which all parties have acquiesced, and for which everybody must, to some extent, bear the blame.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'Why Work?' in Creed or Chaos? p.48.
'It is quite useless to say that it doesn't matter particularly who or what Christ was or by whose authority He did those things, and that even if He was only a man, He was a very nice man and we ought to live by His principles: for that is merely Humanism, and if the "average man" in Germany chooses to think Hitler is a nicer sort of man with still more attractive principles, the Christian Humanist has no answer to make.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'Creed or Chaos?' in Creed or Chaos? p.32.
'...it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanantion of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromisisng realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and only needs a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'Creed or Chaos?' in Creed or Chaos? p.28.
'"Never mind about theology," we observe in kindly tones, "if we just go on being brotherly to one another it doesn't matter what we believe about God." We are so accustomed to this idea that we are not perturbed by the man who demands: "If I do not believe in the fatherhood of God, why should I believe in the brotherhood of man?" That, we think, is an interesting point of view, but it is only talk - a subject for quiet after-dinner discussion. But if the man goes on to translate his point of view into action, then, to our horror and surprise, the foundations of society are violently shaken, the crust of morality that looked so solid splits apart, and we see that it was only a thin bridge over an abyss in which two dogmas, incompatible as fire and water, are seething explosively together.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'Creed or Chaos?' in Creed of Chaos? p.27.
'Somehow or other, and with the best of intentions, we have shown the world the typical Christian in the likeness of a crashing and rather ill-natured bore - and this in the Name of One who assuredly never bored a soul in those thirty-three years during which He passed through the world like a flame.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'The Dogma is the Drama' in Creed or Chaos? p.24.
'Judging by what my young friends tell me, and also by what is said on the subject in anti-Christian literature written by people who ought to have taken a little trouble to find out what they were attacking before attacking it, I have come to the conclusion that a short examination paper on the Christian religion might be very generally answered as follows:
Q.: What does the Church think of God the Father?
A.: He is omnipotent and holy. He created the world and imposed on man conditions impossible of fulfilment; He is angry if these are not carried out. He sometimes interferes by means of arbitary judgments and miracles, distributed with a great deal of favouritsim. He likes to be truckled to and is always ready to pounce on anybody who trips up over a difficulty in the Law, or is having a bit of fun. He is rather like a dictator, only larger and more arbitary.
Q.: What does the Church think of God the Son?
A.: He is in some way to be identified with Jesus of Nazareth. It was not His fault that the world was made like this, and, unlike God the Father, He is friendly to man and did His best to reconcile man to God (see Atonementi). He has a great deal of influence with God, and if you want anything done, it is best to apply to Him.
Q.: What does the Church think of God the Holy Ghost?
A.: I don't know exactly, He was never seen or heard of till Whit-Sunday. There is a sin against Him which damns you for ver, but nobody knows what it is.
Q.: What is the doctrine of the Trinity?
A.: "The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the whole thing incomprehensible." Something put in by theologians to make it more difficult - nothing to do with daily life or ethics.
Q.: What was Jesus Christ like in real life?
A.: He was a good man - so good as to be called the Son of God. He is to be identified in some way with God the Son (q.v.). He was meek and mild and preached a simple religion of love and pacifism. He had no sense of humour. Anything in the Bible that suggests another side to his charcater must be an interpolation, or a paradox invented by G.K. Chesterton. If we try to live like Him, God the Father will let us off being damned hereafter and only have us tortured in this life instead.
Q.: What is meant by the Atonement?
A.: God wanted to damn everybody, but His vindictive sadism was sated by the crucifixion of His own Son, who was quite innocent, and, therefore, a particularly attractive victim. He now only damns people who don't follow Christ, or have never heard of Him.
Q.: What does the Church think of sex?
A.: God made it necessary to the machinery of the world, and tolerates it, provided the parties (a) are married, and (b) get no pleasure out of it.
Q.: What does the Church call Sin?
A.: Sex (otherwise than as excepted above); getting drunk; saying "damn"; murder, and cruelty to dumb animals; not going to church; most kinds of amusement. "Original sin" means that anything we enjoy doing is wrong.
Q.: What is faith?
A.: Resolutely shutting your eyes to scientific fact.
Q.: What is the human intellect?
A.: A barrier to faith.
Q.: What are the seven Christian virtues?
A.: Respectability; childishness; mental timidity; dullness; sentimentality; censoriousness; and depression of the spirits.
Q.: Wilt thou not be baptised into this faith?
A.: No fear!'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'The Dogma is the Drama' in Creed or Chaos? p.22.
'Are there places where your gifts are needed in the body of Christ? A better question is, "Where are your gifts needed?" One good way to determine your gifts is to ask yourself where you see weaknesses in the body. It is highly likely that you see these weaknesses because you are looking at the church through the lens of your gifts. Where you see weakness is probably the very place where God wants you to serve your brothers and sisters.'
Timothy S Lane and Paul David Tripp, How People Change, p.89.
'"Why doesn't God smite this dictator dead?" is a question a little remote from us. Why, madam, did He not strike you dumb and imbecile before you uttered that baseless and unkind slander the day before yesterday? Or me, before I behaved with such a cruel lack of consideration to that well-meaning friend? And why, sir, did He not cause your hand to rot off at the wrist before you signed your name to that dirty little bit of financial trickery?
You did not quite mean that? But why not? Your misdeeds and mine are none the less repellent because our opportunities for doing things are less spectacular than those of some other people. Do you suggest that your doings and mine are too trivial for God to bother about? That cuts both ways; for, in that case, it would make precious little difference to His creation if He wiped us both out to-morrow.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'The Triumph of Easter' in Creed or Chaos? p.8.
'If spiritual pastors are to refrain from saying anything that might ever, by any possibility, be misunderstood by anybody, they will end - as in fact many of them do - by never saying anything worth hearing.'
Dorothy L Sayers, 'The Triumph of Easter' in Creed or Chaos? p.7.
'Why is it, I wonder, that in our circles whenever anybody gets an interesting idea, if produces a party that makes it a test of orthodoxy, leading to another party that opposes it, and then to battles between these two parties in the churches? Why can't those who think they have new insights quietly teach them to others while embracing them as brothers and sisters in Christ? If some "don't get it," why should that amount to heresy? Why not simply permit both views to be taught until the Spirit convinces God's people generally that one view is scriptural and the other is not?'
John Frame, The Doctrine of the ChristianLife, p.296.