September 3, 2010

Faith without works

Filed under: God - general,Theology — quotable1988 @ 5:16 pm

Faith without “works” is not faith (James 2:14-26). It is not faith just like fire without heat and light is not fire. Heat and light are not just the possible result of fire, something fire sometimes does. They are fire. Inseparable from flame itself. – Shaun Groves (here)


August 27, 2010


Filed under: Theology — quotable1988 @ 7:00 pm

All divine power and strength against sin flows from the soul’s union and communion with Christ (Rom. 8. I0; 1 John 1. 6, 7). While you keep off from Christ, you keep off from that strength and power which is alone able to make you trample down strength, lead captivity captive, and slay the Goliaths that bid defiance to Christ. Thomas Brooks

April 17, 2010


Filed under: God - general,Theology — quotable1988 @ 11:13 am

So. It’s been awhile. Quote of the day:

The problem is not too much knowledge or too much doctrine or caring too much about thinking. The problem is when knowledge of God becomes a vat instead of a vessel. Doctrinal knowledge is to the Christian life what blood is to the human body. If the blood flows through vessels, it literally gives life to the whole body. But if you just collected blood in a big bucket, some kind of grotesque vat, then you’ve got something unnatural going on. Blood isn’t meant to be stored in a vat. It is meant to flow through vessels of veins and arteries. Likewise, knowledge is not meant to be pooled in a giant theological noggin. Good doctrine and a robust understanding of God is meant to flow through us, producing fruit, leading to worship, making us more like Christ. – Kevin DeYoung

January 28, 2010

Cherishing the Gospel

Filed under: Theology — quotable1988 @ 11:05 pm

“Imagine two scenarios of church life. In the first, God gathers His people together in a covenantal event to judge and to justify, to kill and to make alive. The emphasis is on God’s work for us – the Father’s gracious plan, the Son’s saving life, death, and resurrection, and the Spirit’s work of bringing life to the valley of dry bones through the proclamation of Christ. The preaching focuses on God’s work in the history of redemption from Genesis through Revelation, and sinners are swept into this unfolding drama. Trained and ordained to mine the riches of Scripture for the benefit of God’s people, ministers try to push their own agendas, opinions, and personalities to the background so that God’s Word will be clearly proclaimed. In this preaching, the people once again are simply receivers – recipients of grace.  Similarly in baptism, they do not baptize themselves; they are baptized.  In the Lord’s Supper, they do not prepare and cook the meal, they do not contribute to the fare; but they are guests who simply enjoy the bread of heaven.  Having been served by God in the public assembly, the people are then servants of each other and their neighbors in the world. Pursuing their callings in the world with vigor and dedication, they win the respect of outsiders. Because they have been served well themselves – especially by pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons – they are able to share the Good News of Christ in well-informed, natural ways. And because they have been relieved of numerous burdens to spend all of their energy on church-related ministries throughout the week, they have more time to serve their families, neighbors, and coworkers in the world…

In the second scenario, the church is its own subculture, and alternative community not only for weekly dying and rising in Christ but for one’s entire circle of friends, electricians, and neighbors. In this scenario, the people assume that they come to church primarily to do something. The emphasis is on their work for God. The preaching concentrates on principles and steps to live a better life, with a constant stream of exhortations: Be more committed. Read your bible more. Pray more. Witness more. Give more. Get involved in this cause or that movement to save the world. Their calling by God to secular vocations is made secondary to finding their ministry in the church. Often malnourished because of a ministry defined by personal charisma and motivational skills rather than by knowledge and godliness, these same sheep are expected to be shepherds themselves. Always serving, they are rarely served. Ill-informed about the grand narrative of God’s work in redemptive history, they do not really know what to say to a non-Christian except to talk about their own experiences and perhaps repeat some slogans or formulas that they might be hard-pressed to explain. Furthermore, because they are expected to be so heavily involved in church-related activities (often considered more important even than the public services on Sunday), they do not have the time, energy, or opportunity to develop significant relationships outside the church.” –  Michael Horton, Christless Christianity, emphases added, quoted at Gloria Dei

“The Bible is not a collection of timeless principles offering a gentle thought for the day.  It is not a resource for our self-improvement.  Rather, it is a dramatic story that unfolds from promise to fulfillment, with Christ at the center.  Its focus is God and his action. God is not a supporting actor in our drama; it is the other way around.  God does not exist to make sure that we are happy and fulfilled.  Rather, we exist to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. God is not a facilitator of our ‘life transformation’ projects.  He is not a life coach.  Rather, he is our Creator, Lawgiver, Judge, and Covenant Lord.” – Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life, emphases added, quoted at Gloria Dei

I have read neither of these books; however, due both to Josh’s high level of praise for both of them and to these quotes, they are on my short list of books to purchase.

These quotes strike a chord in me, mostly because I think the second scenario above describes Antioch to some extent. I often think that I am the only person at Antioch who has any close friends outside of the church, and the only reason I do have those friends is because I was already friends with them before I started attending Antioch. As much as they talk about being “holistic,” I really don’t think they are.

It also seems to me that Antioch is somewhat in the situation described by Paul in Romans 1: they effectively worship the creation rather than the creator, or the gifts rather than the giver. Celebrating “gold dust” and manifestations seems… well, rather… shallow, I guess. I don’t doubt the gifts of God. The people whom I have seen reveling over these things are people whom I trust, so I don’t think it’s made up. But all gifts are a means to an end. Even the gift of salvation is a means: the end is the Father being glorified. Worshiping the Gospel itself is idolatry: for that is worshiping the gift rather than the giver. Nay, we must worship the Giver of the Gospel: the Author of the Gospel: the Person at the centerpiece of the Gospel. And it is only when we do this that the gates are opened to everything else. Is this pedantic? Yes. But it is necessary.

To conclude, I will quote Josh’s blog again, this time something that he wrote himself on his review of The Gospel-Driven Life.

“We have no other message [besides the Gospel], why would you want one?” – Josh King

January 20, 2010

Correct belief, correct practice, and real belief

Filed under: Theology — quotable1988 @ 7:49 pm

Orthodoxy fuels orthopraxy. -Josh King, Gloria Dei

[W]hat I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do. -Donald Miller: Blue Like Jazz, p. 110

Orthodoxy – correct doctrine – is essential. Orthopraxy – correct practice — is also essential. But how do the two relate?

Josh’s quote has been at the forefront of my thoughts for awhile. I mis-remembered the quote until I just looked the reference up. I remembered it as “Orthodoxy always fuels orthopraxy.” The resulting thoughts prompted me to form my own version of that: “Orthopraxy is always fueled by orthodoxy, but orthodoxy doesn’t always fuel orthopraxy.”

It was important to me to make this distinction. When I was younger (and even sometimes now), I fell into dead orthodoxy. I believed correct theology, but it didn’t lead to correct practice.

This leads to the Donald Miller quote. I did not truly believe what I said I believed. My true beliefs were evidenced by my active apathy toward God. My real belief (heart belief) was not orthodoxy, though what I said I believed (my head belief) was orthodoxy.

But a question has recently arisen in my mind. Can doctrine that is theologically correct but that does not produce orthopraxy really be called orthodoxy? True orthodoxy is not fodder for the mind; it is food for the soul. This would produce the statement: “True orthodoxy always fuels orthopraxy.” I realize that the statement is redundant–ortho- means true–but I cannot think of any other way to differentiate between correct doctrine that fuels orthopraxy and correct doctrine that only fuels intellectual pursuits.

Perhaps the best way to resolve this is by combining the quotes.

You do not truly believe in orthodoxy if you only say you believe it; true belief in correct doctrine always produces correct practice. –Matthew Williams

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