In a Christian community, everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community which allows unemployed members to exist within it will perish because of them. It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the fellowship.
… Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 95-96 (see the book)
“There is one more thing to say about God’s glory – it is his absolute splendour and beauty. The word for ‘glory’ in the Old Testament means importance, the word for ‘glory’ in the New Testament (the Greek word doxa) means ‘praise and wonder; luminosity, brilliance or beauty.’
Jonathon Edwards once said: ‘God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in.’ It is not enough to say, ‘I guess he is God, so I have got to knuckle under.’ You have to see his beauty.
Glorifying God does not mean obeying him because you have to. It means to obey him because you want to – because you are attracted to him, because you delight in him.
This is what C.S.Lewis grasped so well in his chapter on praising. We need beauty. We go to lengths to put ourselves in front of beautiful places, or surround ourselves with beautiful music, or hang out with beautiful people. But these will leave us empty if we don’t learn to see all of these things as mere tributaries and God himself as the fountain, the headwaters of it all.”
Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2013), 170.
“Long story short: we don’t get to make our lives up. We get to receive our lives as gifts. The story that says we should have no story except the story we chose when we had no story is a lie.
To be human is to learn that we don’t get to make up our lives, because we’re creatures. Christians are people who recognise that we have a Father whom we can thank for our existence. Christian discipleship is about learning to receive life as gift without regret.”
Stanley Hauerwas, ‘The politics of gentleness: Abled and disabled’, Christian Century (Dec 2,2008), 32.
(Afflictions purify believers from sin.)
“And this they do by an efficacy communicated to them by the spirit of God; for by the cross of Christ, they were cut off from the curse of the first covenant, to which all their evils belonged, and implanted into the covenant of grace. The tree of the cross being cast into the waters of affliction, has rendered them wholesome and medicinal. Christ being the head of the covenant, all the afflictions of his members are originally his (Is 63:9), and they all tend to increase our conformity to him in holiness.”
John Owen (puritan), The Holy Spirit; His Gifts and Power, 296.
Some questions have been around a long time!
“Mr Calvin, will my dog go to heaven?”
“Certain subtle, but scarce sober men, demand whether all kinds of beasts shall be immortal; but, if these speculations may have loose reins, whither will they carry us? Therefore, let us be content with this simple doctrine, that there shal be such a temperature, and such a decent order, that nothing shall appear either deformed or ruinous.”
Commentary on Romans, 218-19