Monday, 31 October 2011


'Christ was given to us by God's generosity, to be grasped and possesed by faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ's blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ's Spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life.'
John Calvin in John Webster, Holiness, p.85.


'...a perpetual and inherent lack of self-sufficiency...'
GC Berkouwer in John Webster, Holiness, p.83.


'...the secret which we come to enjoy Christ and all his benefits.'
John Calvin in John Webster, Holiness, p.83.

Friday, 28 October 2011


'There is no greater sinner than the Christian Church.'
Martin Luther in John Webster, Holiness, p.73.


'...the existence of such a gathering is wholly astonishing. It is grounded in no human possibility; indeed, from the side of human history it is nothing other than a sheer impossibility, for the commonwealth of human time lies under the sway of sin and alienation, striving with all its might to oppose God and to refuse his call to reconciliation...That such a holy people exists and is preserved through time, that it does not collapse back into alienantion and hatred, that here sin is held in check and not permitted to eat away at human fellowship - all this lies in the hands of the holy God alone.'
John Webster. Holiness, p.57.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


'Theological talk of the divine attributes is thus not primarily a matter of categorization but of confession...'
John Webster, Holiness, p.37.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


'...the authority of Scripture is a matter for the Church's acknowledgement not its ascription.'
John Webster, Holiness, p.19.


'God is not summoned into the presence of reason; reason is summoned before the presence of God.'
John Webster, Holiness, p.17.


'One of the great myths of modernity has been that the operations of reason are a sphere from which God's presence can be banished, where the mind is, as it were, safe from divine intrusion. To that myth, Christian theology is a standing rebuke. As holy reason at work, Christian theology can never escape from the sober realization that we talk in the terrifying presence of the God from whom we cannot flee (Ps.139.7). In Christian theology, the matter of our discourse is not someone absent, somone who we have managed to exclude from our own intellectual self-presence and about whom we can talk about safely and undisturbed. We speak in God's presence. Whe we begin to talk theologically about the holiness of God, we soon enough discover that the tables have been reversed; it is no longer we who summon God before our minds to make him a matter for clever discourse, but the opposite; the holy God shows himself and summons us before him to give account of our thinking.'  
John Webster, Holiness, p.15.


'Theology is an aspect of the sanctification of reason, that is, of the process in which reason is put to death and made alive by the terrifying and merciful presence of the holy God.'
John Webster, Holiness, p.8.


'Theology is an office of the Church of Jesus Christ. It is properly undertaken in the sphere of the Church, that is, in the region of human fellowship which is brought into being and sustained by the saving activity and presence of God.'
John Webster, Holiness, p.1.


'Our culture tends to compartmentalize sex from every other area of life, personal and public. But these expressions of our core character and identity surely cannot be seperated so neatly. Who we are behind closed doors is not irrelevant: in fact, it is arguably the best indication of who we really are, because it is out of sight of others that we act with least influence from external expectations and pressures. People often claim that what they do in private has nothing to do with the rest of their lives, and is nobody else's business but their own. Nothing could be further from the truth.'
Guy Brandon, Just Sex, p.195.


'...the primary cause of our culture's sexual liberty is the lack of mature intimacy fostered by rootlessness and individualism.'
Guy Brandon, Just Sex, p.166.

Friday, 21 October 2011


'At its most basic intimacy is knowing that I am not alone in the universe. But that knowing is not simply a cerebral process. It is something I experience, and live within; something which shapes my understanding and acceptance of reality. Sometimes intimacy is there almost unconsciously as we live in comfortable taken-for-grantedness with those for whom we care deeply; sometimes it hits us in wide awake amazement as we are suddenly overwhelmed by the wonder of love; our whole being expands with joy and light. Intimacy is the sharing of closeness, of bonding, of reciprocation. It is the engulfing of warmth and care. It is the experiencing of Another.'
Elaine Storkey, The Search for Intimacy, p.4.  


'...couples today overload their marriage with such expectations; marriage is given too much responsibility for providing people with a sense of identity and significance. Often the idea is present that, once you are married, problems will disappear, self-esteem will improve and life will get a whole lot better. People expect of marriage what they expect from the sum total of all other relationships - an intense demand that can produce serious tensions.'
Guy Brandon, Just Sex, p.80.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


'Interdependence is not only a crucial skill for personal relationships; it is also an essential way of understanding and relating to both the social sphere and the ecosphere. The illusion of independence damages the the idividual and those who come into contact with him or her. It also damages society as a whole, and the whole planetary biosphere, when people believe that they can take without giving, and that taking does not make them dependent on the sources from which they take.'
Nick Totton in Guy Brandon, Just Sex, p.41. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


'One implication of this unity is that it guarantees that the life of a Christian will be filled with a greater joy - but also greater sorrow. It will be filled with great joy because Christ has risen, we have been given a community, and, as the Spirit unites us, we rejoice with other brothers and sisters who rejoice. But the life of the Christian is filled with greater sorrow because we suffer when other parts of the body suffer. In the same way that we are affected when one of our family members is suffering, so we are to suffer when those in our extended family are suffering. Also, when we are hurt by people in the body, it will hurt more because they are our family.'
Edward T Welch, When People Are Big and God Is Small, p.207.


'Love for enemies is the pinnacle of Christian obedience to God.'
Edward T Welch, When People Are Big and God Is Small, p.190.


'Here is the body pent,
Absent from Him I roam,
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
A day's march nearer home.'
James Montgomery, 'At Home in Heaven' in Alec Guiness, A Commonplace Book, p.106.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


'There is nothing safe about sex. There never will be.'
Norman Mailer in Guy Brandon, Just Sex, p.34.


'The relational order of a society can be articulated as a measure of the health of its relationships. One broken marriage or a few single parents - or a failed friendship or a fall-out between business partners, for that matter - doesn't destroy the relational framework upon which our society rests, any more than cutting down a single tree threatens the entire natural order, including every woodland and forest. But there are general norms for relationships, ideal patterns that God has built into creation, and when we stray too far from these the result for society is akin to that of deforestation for the environment. The balance is disturbed, with unwelcome and sometimes unpredictable consequences. There is, broadly speaking, a right way to approach relationships, as there is a right way to interact with the environment.'
Guy Brandon, Just Sex, p.28.


' recent decades intimacy has been seriously damaged in families, friendships and other relationships...sexual relationship is now used as a kind of catch-all pseudo-intimacy to fill that gap.' 
Guy Brandon, Just Sex: Is it ever just sex? p.20. 

Monday, 17 October 2011


'We don't fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel to someone who is not converted; we fail only if we don't faithfully tell the gospel at all. Evangelism itself isn't converting people, it's telling them that they need to be converted and telling them that can be.'
Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, p.82.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


'Evangelism is pre-eminently dependent upon the quality of the Christian life which is known and enjoyed in the church.'
Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, p.51.


'The life of the church makes the audible gospel visible.'
Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, p.50.


'The invisibility of God is a great problem. It was already a problem in Old Testament days. Their pagan neighbours would taunt them, saying, "Where is now your God?" Their gods were visible and tangible, but Israel's God was neither. Today in our scientific culture young people are taught not to believe in anything which is not open to empirical investigation. How then has God solved the problem of his own invisibililty? The first answer is of course "in Christ." Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. John 1:18: "No one has ever seen God, but God the only son has made him known." "That's wonderful," people say, "but it was 2,000 years ago. Is there no way by which the invisible God makes himself visible today?" There is. We return to 1 John 4:12: "No one has ever seen God," It is precisely the same introductory statement. But instead of continuing with reference to the Son of God, it continues: "If we love one another, God dwells in us." In other words the invisble God, who once made himself visible in Christ, now makes himself visible in Christians, if we love one another. It is a breathtaking claim. The local church cannot evangelize, proclaiming the gospel of love, if it is not itself a community of love.'  
John Stott in Mark Dever, The Gospela and Personal Evangelism, p.50.


'...Christianity is not finally about anesthetizing us to life's pain, or even about waking us up to it and teaching us to live with it. It is is about teaching us to live with a transforming longing, with a growing faith, with a sure and certain hope of what's to come.'  
Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, p.35.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


'Just think - there must be tens of thousands of God's people who in past ages have been through the same burning torment that we go through, constantly fighting against our kind of temptation and trying like the saints in Hebrews 11 to "quench raging fire", and longing for deliverance from the weakness of this mortal body. And they have been delivered. They stand now before the throne of God in heaven; and in the Lord's good time we shall be there too, and the pains of this life will be like a dream that vanishes with the waking day. Doesn't that help a little bit, Peter? Doesn't that encourage you to hold on a little longer, when in the depth of despair you feel like giving up for good?'
Alex Davidson, The Returns of Love, p.49.


'...I'm not asking for a society that has as its Rule No. 1 the public washing of dirty linen; all I want is a brotherhood open-hearted enough to encourage one to open one's heart within it...
So I fall under my own condemnation, and have to ask whether I myself ever bother to cultivate the leisurely, unshockable friendships in which other tormented souls can have the chance to unwind. You make me ashamed of myself as I remember burdened people whom I must at times have fobbed off with a cheerful "Take it to the Lord, brother," because I didn't want the responsibility of carrying the burden myself.'  
Alex Davidson, The Returns of Love, p.23.


'Of course you can be preoccupied for a good deal of the time with your work, and find it really does take your mind off yourself. Even so you can hardly help but have some leisure; and what is to fill that? Well, a whole heap of interests, to keep your time and your hands and your thoughts busy, yes, and your emotions too. But what then? You come home to yourself again: the embers are cold in the grate, and the house is empty.
Friends then: friends are the answer. There must be folk who whom you know and love, and who know and love you? Yes they are the next possibility on the list, certainly. But what Archbishop Lang once wrote has stuck in my mind ever since I first read it: something to the effect that in the loneliness of his bachelor life his great need was not for friends, of whom he had plenty, any more than it was for work, of which he had too much; it was for "that old simple human thing - someone in daily nearness to love." And that is precisely it. Just as at some point you left both work and hobbies behind, so you leave your friends, too, at the garden gate; and you're still going to be on your own in the house tonight. And brother, it's so lonely...'
Alex Davidson, The Returns of Love, p.16.  


'...all suffering when invested wisely brings returns.'
Alex Davidson, The Returns of Love, p.12.


'The part of the jungle where I am lost may be miles away from where you are lost, but the same map and compass can help us both. That map and compass I take to be the Word of God, both Christ the living Word and Scripture the written Word. Why do people who are otherwise thoughtful and sincere find it so easy to break the third commandment? They take the name of the Lord, and call themselves "Christians"; yet they take it in vain, by emptying it of what is necessarily contained within it. The only Christ I can accept is not the tenth-hand Christ of the popular imagination, but the first-hand Christ of the New Testament, and once I admit Him I find I have to admit a whole range of teaching which is inseperable from Him - not only His own as reported in the Gospels, but that of the prophets whom He upheld and ratified, and that of the apostles whom He taught and commissioned: in other words the Bible as a whole. It is on the principles the Bible lays down that I try to base my belief and behaviour in general, and therefoore my attitude to the matter discussed in this book in particular.'
Alex Davidson, The Returns of Love: Letters of a Christian Homosexual, p.11.

Monday, 10 October 2011


'...let this encourage your heart: The God who calls us to live in time lives outside of time. We feel the burdens of deadlines but he never does. We grow impatient, while he knows nothing of that weakness.'
Randy Newman. Bringing the Gospel Home, p.155.

Friday, 7 October 2011


'It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you. People's failings, even major ones such as when they make you wear short trousers to school, fall into insignificance as your teeth break through the rough, toasted crust and sink into the doughy cushion of white bread underneath. Once the warm, salty butter has hit your tongue, you are smitten. Putty in their hands.'
Nigel Slater, Toast, p.1.


'Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call "humble" nowadays: he will not be the sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said him.  If you do dislike him it will be because you felt a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life to easily. He will not be thinking about humilty: he will not be thinking about himself at all.'
CS Lewis in Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel Home, p.147.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


'...we sometimes present our gospel-masterpiece in a context that belies our message. We speak of measureless love, unmerited grace, and infinite goodness but our tone of voice, demeanour, and lifestyles convey the exact opposite. We want people to quiet their hearts so that they can hear the music of the gospel, but we're performing in a context of judgementalism. We want them to feel loved by God, but they feel unloved by us. We want them to be amazed by grace, but they can't get past the smell of condemnation.'
Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel, p.129.   

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


'Many people are rejecting our gospel today not because they perceive it to be false, but because they perceive it to be trivial. People are looking for an integrated worldview, which makes sense of their experience. We learn from Paul that we cannot preach the gospel of Jesus without the doctrine of God, or the cross without the creation, or salvation without judgement. Today's world needs a bigger gospel, the full gospel of Scripture, what Paul later in Ephesus was to call "the whole purpose of God."'
John Stott in Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel Home, p.83.


'An "impersonal God" - well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads - better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap - best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of a cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, the king, husband - that's quite another matter.'
CS Lewis in Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel Home, p.82.


'Home may be "where the heart is," but it's also where we let the darkness of those hearts display themselves for all to see.'
Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel Home, p.60.


'Grace is a scandal, an outrage. When grace no longer confounds, it no longer transforms.'
Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel Home, p.60.