Sunday, 6 May 2018

CONTEMPORARY RESPONSES TO SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT

'It is not an exaggeration to say that in some circles there has been something resembling a campaign of intimidation, so that those who cherish the idea that Jesus offered himself in our place have been made to feel that they are neo-Crusaders, prone to violence, oppressors of women, and enablers of child abuse.' 
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.464. 

OUR INSTINCTIVE SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS

'There is nothing more characteristic of humanity than the universal tendency of one portion of that humanity to justify itself as deserving and some other portion as undeserving. Nothing is more foundational in Christian faith than the recognition that we can never be justified in that way. To speak of "deserving" is to divide up the world in a fashion that is utterly alien to the gospel.' 
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.451. 

Saturday, 5 May 2018

MEETING THE DEVIL

'After one of my many presentations following my return from Rwanda, a Canadian Forces padre asked me how, after all I had seen and experienced, I could still believe in God. I answered that I know there is a God because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him. I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists, and therefore I know there is a God.' 
Roméo Dallaire in Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.439. 

THE EXPERIENCE OF EVIL

'Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring.' 
Simone Weil in Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.425.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS EXPOSED

'Until the sun slipped finally behind the tree line, Mrs. Turpin remained there with her gaze bent to them as if she were absorbing some abysmal life-giving knowledge. At last she lifted her head. There was only a purple streak in the sky, cutting through a field of crimson and leading, like an extension of the highway, into the descending dusk. She raised her hands from the side of the pen in a gesture hieratic and profound. A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vaste horde of souls were rumbling towards heaven. There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black niggers in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognised at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the God-given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer. They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away. She lowered her hands and gripped the rail of the hog pen, her eyes small but fixed unblinkingly on what lay ahead. In a moment the vision faded but she remained where she was, immobile. 
At length she got down and turned off the faucet and made her slow way on the darkening path to the house. In the woods around her the invisible crickets choruses had struck up, but what she heard were the voices of the souls climbing upward into the starry field and shouting hallelujah.'   
Flannery O'Connor, 'Revelation' in Collected Stories, p.508. 

THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE IN PRACTICE

'Since Scripture is our only final and authoritative source in understanding truths about God and his relation to the created order, two things are required of us. First,we must submit to and embrace all that Scripture does teach, despite its agreement or disagreement with the values and teaching of our culture. If the authority of Scripture means anything, it means that our mistaken ideas must change to conform to Scripture's teachings, and we must resist at every turn the temptation to conform Scripture's teaching to what seems so clear and true to us from our culture. Granted, this is easier said than  done. Nonetheless, this must be our goal and earnest desire if we are to honor God and his Word in the process of our theological formulation. Second, we must also be ready to stop our theological formulations at the point that Scripture's revealed truth stops. We can violate the authority of Scripture as much by going beyond what it says into areas wherein Scripture is silent as we can by distorting and reshaping what it actually does say to fit the mindset of our culture. In other words we must discipline our minds and our theology to conform to Scripture and to be content to say what it says and remain silent where it is silent.' 
Bruce Ware, God's Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith, p.99. 

Friday, 20 April 2018

THE PROBLEM WITH JUST TALKING ABOUT RECONCILIATION

'It is not uncommon, both in and out of the church, for the people who do the most talking about reconciliation to be the ones who find it easier to smooth things over than struggle through them.' 
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, p.344. 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

HUMILITY

'Some of us seem to imagine that because we understand much, we should be able to understand everything, and that science will continue pulling up the blinds, exposing to the light more and more of the dark room that is our ignorance. But this is a faith one need not be embarrassed to decline. Despite all our knowledge about ourselves and the universe we inhabit, much more is unknown than is known; our ignorance drowns our knowledge...The world is large, and our minds are small, so the latter cannot always contain the former. We cannot but expect there to be mysteries - permanent mysteries - on every side.' 
Dale C Allison Jr., The Luminous Dusk, p.174. 

TV & PRAYER

'I am sure, although I can offer no proof, that those who spend hours every day in front of a TV pray less than they otherwise might, not because they have less faith, not because their morals have been corrupted, nor because their time is consumed by the tube. Rather, their attention spans, like their imaginations, have been made lazy. If prayer is sustained concentration upon the seemingly unexciting, how well can it be practiced by those habituated more and more to just the opposite? Surely the great sin of the modern world is indolence.'
Dale C Allison Jr., The Luminous Dusk, p.153.

GOD'S UNCHANGING LOVE

'...God and God's love are, from one point of view, monotonous stimuli, for they are always present and never changing.' 
Dale C Allison Jr., The Luminous Dusk, p.150.