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2,474 Christianity Quotes

One of Paul's most important teachings... is the doctrine of what we call "justification by faith". It frequently appears to the non-Christian mind that this is an immoral or at least unmoral doctrine. Paul appears to be saying that a man is justified before God, not by his goodness or badness, not by his good deeds or bad deeds, but by believing in a certain doctrine of Atonement. Of course, when we come to examine the matter more closely, we can see that there is nothing unmoral in this teaching at all. For if "faith" means using a God-given faculty to apprehend the unseen divine order, and means, moreover, involving oneself in that order by personal commitment, we can at once see how different that is from merely accepting a certain view of Christian redemption... That which man in every religion, every century, every country, was powerless to affect, God has achieved by the devastating humility of His action and suffering in Jesus Christ. Now, accepting such an action as a fait accompli is only possible by this perceptive faculty of "faith". It requires not merely intellectual assent but a shifting of personal trust from the achievements of the self to the completely undeserved action of God. To accept this teaching by mind and heart does, indeed, require a metanoia ["transformation"], a revolution in the outlook of both heart and mind.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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Maundy Thursday There is joy and strength, of course, in this holy food and drink, but it is also an inevitable joining forces with the vast Scheme of reconciliation and redemption. Now there is something in our natural selves that may well make us wary of such a contact. The man who in his heart intends to go on being selfish or proud, or who has already decided how far his Christian convictions should carry him, is probably obeying a sound instinct when he keeps away from this glorious but perilous Sacrament. For, if the truth be told, men are often willing to put their trust in a god who in the end must be triumphant, simply because they want to be on the winning side; but they are not nearly so ready to bear any part of the cost of that winning. Yet the fellowship of the broken bread and the poured-out wine can mean no less than that.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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A man can not be "friends with" God on any other terms than complete obedience to Him, and that includes being "friends with" his fellow man. Christ stated emphatically that it was quite impossible, in the nature of things, for a man to be at peace with God and at variance with his neighbor. This disquieting fact is often hushed up, but it is undeniable that Christ said it, and the truth of it is enshrined in the petition for forgiveness in the "Lord's Prayer.".

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877 To put it shortly, the Church forgets that Christianity is not an attitude of mind, but a type of life: a man's spirit is not known by his opinion, but by his action and general conduct.

William Temple Quotes

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Feast of Matthias the Apostle In religion, we are not asked to make up our minds, we are asked to make up our lives... We may refuse to make up our minds, but our lives get made up, one way or the other... Whatever we believe with our minds, our lives are committed either to God's way or to the God-denying way, and what matters in religion is the act of commitment.

A. Leonard Griffith Quotes

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Feast of Andrew the Apostle I would very earnestly ask you to check your conception of Christ, the image of Him which as a Christian you hold in your mind, with the actual revealed Person who can be seen and studied in action in the pages of the Gospels. It may be of some value to hold in our minds a bundle of assorted ideals to influence and control our conduct. But surely we need to be very careful before we give that "bundle" the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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The 'outsider' who knows nothing of the mixture of tradition, conviction, honest difference, and hidden resentment, that lies behind the divisions of the Christian Church sees clearly the advantage of a united Christian front and cannot see why the Churches cannot 'get together'. The problem is doubtless complicated, for there are many honest differences held with equal sincerity, but it is only made insoluble because the different denominations are (possibly unconsciously) imagining God to be Roman or Anglican or Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or what have you. If they could see beyond their little inadequate god, and glimpse the reality of God, they might even laugh a little and perhaps weep a little. The result would be a unity that actually does transcend differences, instead of ignoring them with public politeness and private contempt.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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God may thunder His commands from Mount Sinai and men may fear, yet remain at heart exactly as they were before. But let a man once see his God down in the arena as a Man, -- suffering, tempted, sweating, and agonized, finally dying a criminal's death - and he is a hard man indeed who is untouched.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304 Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988 Faith is not the holding of correct doctrines, but personal fellowship with the Living God... What is offered to man's apprehension in any specific revelation is not truth concerning God but the Living God Himself.

William Temple Quotes

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Feast of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373 Our thoughtful observer who is outside the Churches has done a good deal of thinking on his own. The discoveries of modern physical and biological science, of astronomy, and of psychology, have profoundly influenced his conception of the "size" of God. If there be a Mind behind the immense complexities of the phenomena that man can observe, then it is that of a Being tremendous in His power and wisdom: it is emphatically not that of a little god. It is perfectly conceivable that such a Being has a moral purpose which is being worked out on the stage of this small planet. It is even possible to believe that such a God deliberately reduced Himself to the stature of humanity in order to visit the earth in Person, as all Christians affirm.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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Feast of Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher, Martyr, c.200 Knowledge of God can be fully given to man only in a Person, never in a doctrine. Faith is not the holding of correct doctrine, but personal fellowship with the living God.

William Temple Quotes

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So long as a man confines his ideas of Christ to a rather misty hero figure of long ago who died a tragic death, and so long as his ideas of Christianity are bounded by what he calls the Sermon on the Mount (which he has almost certainly not read in its entirety since he became grown-up), then the living truth never has a chance to touch him. This is plainly what has happened to many otherwise intelligent people. Over the years I have had hundreds of conversations with people, many of them of higher intellectual calibre than my own, who quite obviously had no idea of what Christianity is really about. I was in no case trying to catch them out: I was simply and gently trying to find out what they knew about the New Testament. My conclusion was that they knew virtually nothing. This I find pathetic and somewhat horrifying. It means that the most important Event in human history is politely and quietly bypassed. For it is not as though the evidence had been examined and found unconvincing: it had simply never been examined.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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Feast of Saints & Martyrs of England It frequently happens that the value of a thing lies in the fact that someone has possessed it. A very ordinary thing acquires a new value, if it has been possessed by some famous person. In any museum we will find quite ordinary things--clothes, a walking-stick, a pen, pieces of furniture--which are only of value because they were possessed and used by some great person. It is the ownership which gives them worth. It is so with the Christian. The Christian may be a very ordinary person, but he acquires a new value and dignity and greatness because he belongs to God. The greatness of the Christian lies in the fact that he is God's.

William Barclay Quotes

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Some people are reluctant to consider the future, arguing that it must be left to solve its own problems and to shape its own beliefs. In all right efforts for the future, religion must be given first place. No provision to secure peace or just social principles can be worth much unless the foremost aim be to establish the Kingdom of God. It is not the minds and bodies only of generations to come that have to be remembered, but their immortal souls.

John Oxenham Quotes

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Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735 Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709 Life is at its noblest and its best when our effort cooperates with God's grace to produce the necessary loveliness.

William Barclay Quotes

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Feast of All Saints What changed these very ordinary men (who were such cowards that they did not dare stand too near the cross in case they got involved) into heroes who would stop at nothing? A swindle? Hallucination? Spooky nonsense in a darkened room? Or Somebody quietly doing what He said He'd do -- walk right through death? What do YOU think?

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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If we are to accept the teaching of Jesus at all, then the only test of the reality of a man's religion is his attitude to his fellow men. The only possible proof that a man loves God is the demonstrated fact that he loves his fellow men.

William Barclay Quotes

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Beginning a short series on education: The history of our student movement [Inter-Varsity] has demonstrated that a prayer-less chapter is a fruitless chapter. Prayer spells all the difference between working for God in our own strength and wisdom or being fellow laborers together with Him in the work that He is seeking to do in the University.

C. Stacey Woods Quotes

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Feast of Edward the Confessor, 1066 The trouble with nearly everybody who prays is that he says "Amen" and runs away before God has a chance to reply. Listening to God is far more important than giving Him your ideas.

Frank Laubach Quotes

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Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883 There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot from that situation create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today.

Bishop Handley Moule Quotes

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Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877 If our hopes, whatever we protest, really lie in this world instead of in the eternal order, we shall find it difficult to accept the New Testament teaching of the Second Coming. In our eyes, the job is not yet done; and such an action would be, though we would not put it so, an interference. But suppose our hope rests in the purpose of God: then we safely leave the timing of the earthly experiment to Him. Meanwhile, we do what we were told to do -- to be alert and to work and pray for the spread of His Kingdom.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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I did not expect to hear that it could be, in an assembly convened for the propagation of Christian knowledge, a question whether any nation uninstructed in religion should receive instruction; or whether that, instruction should be imparted to them by a translation of the holy-books into their own language. If obedience to the will of GOD be necessary to happiness, and knowledge of his will be necessary to obedience, I know not how he that withholds this knowledge, or delays it, can be said to love his neighbour as himself. He, that voluntarily continues ignorance, is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces; as to him that should extinguish the tapers of a light-house, might justly be imputed the calamities of shipwrecks. (Continued tomorrow) ... a letter from Samuel Johnson to William Drummond of Edinburgh, 1766 July 13, 2002 Christianity is the highest perfection of humanity; and as no man is good but as he wishes the good of others, so no man can be good in the highest degree, who wishes not to others the largest measures of the greatest good. To omit for a year, or for a day, the most efficacious method of advancing Christianity [i.e., the Bible], in compliance with any purposes that terminate this side of the grave, is a crime [the like] of which I know not that the world has yet had an example. ... a letter from Samuel Johnson to William Drummond of Edinburgh, 1766 July 14, 2002 Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866 The "good" man, the man whose god is righteousness, has as his life's ambition the keeping of rules and commandments and the keeping of himself uncontaminated by the world. This sounds admirable; but, as the truth of Christ showed, the whole of such living, the whole drive and ambition, the whole edifice, is self-centered. That entire process of effort must be abandoned if a man is to give himself in love to God and his fellows. He must lose his life if he is ever going to find it.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258 There are doubtless many reasons for the degeneration of Christianity into churchiness, and the narrowing of the Gospel for all mankind into a set of approved beliefs; but the chief cause must be the worship of an inadequate god -- a cramped and regulated god who is a 'good churchman' according to the formulas of the worshipper. For actual behaviour infallibly betrays the real object of the man's worship. All Christians, whatever their Church, would of course instantly repudiate the idea that their god was a super-example of their own denomination, and it is not suggested that the worship is conscious. Nevertheless, beneath the conscious critical level of the mind it is perfectly possible for the Anglo-Catholic, for example, to conceive God as particularly pleased with Anglo-Catholicism, doubtful about Evangelicalism, and frankly displeased by all forms of Nonconformity... The ultra-low Churchman on the other hand must admit, if he is honest, that the God whom he worships disapproves most strongly of vestments, incense, and candles on the altar. The tragedy of these examples -- which could be reproduced ad nauseam any day of the week -- is not difference of opinion, which will probably be with us till the Day of Judgment, but the outrageous folly and damnable sin of trying to regard God as the Party Leader of a particular point of view.

J. B. Phillips Quotes

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What use is it to us to hear it said of a man that he has thrown off the yoke, that he does not believe there is a God to watch over his actions, that he reckons himself the sole master of his behavior, and that he does not intend to give an account of it to anyone but himself? Does he think that in that way he will have straightway persuaded us to have complete confidence in him, to look to him for consolation, for advice, and for help, in the vicissitudes of life? Do such men think that they have delighted us by telling us that they hold our souls to be nothing but a little wind and smoke -- and by saying it in conceited and complacent tones? Is that a thing to say blithely? Is it not rather a thing to say sadly -- as if it were the saddest thing in the world?

Blaise Pascal Quotes

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"When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" If He should now come, would He find it in us? What fruits of faith have we to show? Do we look upon this life only as a short passage to a better? Do we believe that we must suffer with Jesus Christ before we can reign with Him? Do we consider this world as a deceitful appearance, and death as the entrance to true happiness? Do we live by faith? Does it animate us? Do we relish the eternal truths it presents us with? Are we as careful to nourish our souls with those truths as to maintain our bodies with proper diet? Do we accustom ourselves to see all things in the light of faith? Do we correct all our judgements by it? Alas! The greater part of Christians think and act like mere heathens; if we judge (as we justly may) of their faith by their practice, we must conclude they have no faith at all.

François Fénelon Quotes

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