The Lord’s affirmation of the physical and spiritual tells me there’s a place for my body to be used rightly… and there’s a place for my spiritual depth… and when those two converge, you’ve found the beauty of worship. You’ve found it. …and a church that thinks we can only worship if we get ourselves all hyped-up in music is an extreme. It’s not going to work. What you win them with is what you win them to.
Here’s the bottom line I want to make for you: The Rationalist had an angle at truth. The Existentialist had an angle at truth. The Empiricist had an angle at truth. The problem was in taking this single line, they blocked off all the others… and the church that only goes for the intellect is going to send out dry people… that only goes for emotion… is going to send people bouncing around with no mind. You’ve got to bring all of these realities and converge into a composite whole. That’s what the Christian ought to do best in this world.”
— Ravi Zacharias, “Engaging Cultures with Conversations that Count, part 2” @15:39
“To give truth to him who loves it not is but to give him more multiplied reasons [plentiful material] for misinterpretation.”
George MacDonald, Minister, poet, and novelist (1824 — 1905)
I am coming to believe that this quote suffers from the same symptoms with which Jim Elliot’s “He is no fool” quote is beset, in that there are many variations floating around out there and little to suggest which has greater veracity. Another possibility is that the author may have communicated, in print or person, the same meaningful phrase multiple times and perhaps not the same way every time. The first time I heard Ravi Zacharias relate this quotation it was with the “more multiplied reasons” wording and that remains my favorite, but I’ve subsequently heard him quote it as “more plentiful reasons” and so I am left in doubt if one or the other is really more accurate. Searching the interwebs I find both versions in similar abundance.
“The character of Jesus has not only been the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive in its practice, and has exerted so deep an influence, that it may be truly said that the simple record of three years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.”
— William E. H. Lecky, “The History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne”.
Himself not a believer (Ravi describes his as a skeptic) but unable to draw any conclusion but this.
~ “Let My People Think: One God Among Many, Pt 2 of 2”, Ravi Zacharias, April 20, 2013
Excellent sermon series that covers the premise of “Decision Making and the Will of God”.
These are the podcasts, created of segments of the original messages, so there is a lot of repetition.
Should I or shouldn’t I?
Indeed, if the counsel sincerely offered by Pastor Thompson is correct, the implications for Ted’s marriage decision are very sobering:
- In all the world, there is either no person or only one person who is eligible to be his wife.
- If God wants him to remain single and he marries anyone at all, he is out of God’s will.
- If God has a particular wife chosen and he marries someone else, he is out of God’s will.
- If the woman God has selected for him marries someone else, he cannot enjoy God’s will not matter what he does.
- If either of the pair marry out of God’s will there is nothing they can do to reverse the decision and return to the center of His will. They are permanently stranded in the barren terrain of God’s “second (third, fourth,…) best.”
Chapter 17: Singleness, Marriage, and Wisdom — Pg 283–284, Decision Making and the Will of God, A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View, 1980, Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson.
People ask: “Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?”: or “May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?”
Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every amiable quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it. I will try to make this clear by the history of another, and very much less important, word.
The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone “a gentleman” you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not “a gentleman” you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there now is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A.
But then there came people who said — so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully — “Ah but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?” They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man “a gentleman” in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is “a gentleman” becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker’s attitude to that object. (A ‘nice’ meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualised and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes.
As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose. Now if once we allow people to start spiritualising and refining, or as they might say ‘deepening’, the sense of the word Christian, it too will speedily become a useless word. In the first place, Christians themselves will never be able to apply it to anyone. It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense. And obviously a word which we can never apply is not going to he a very useful word. As for the unbelievers, they will no doubt cheerfully use the word in the refined sense. It will become in their mouths simply a term of praise. In calling anyone a Christian they will mean that they think him a good man. But that way of using the word will be no enrichment of the language, for we already have the word good. Meanwhile, the word Christian will have been spoiled for any really useful purpose it might have served.
We must therefore stick to the original, obvious meaning. The name Christians was first given at Antioch (Acts 11:26) to ‘the disciples’, to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles. There is no question of its being restricted to those who profited by that teaching as much as they should have. There is no question of its being extended to those who in some refined, spiritual, inward fashion were ‘far closer to the spirit of Christ’ than the less satisfactory of the disciples. The point is not a theological or moral one. It is only a question of using words so that we can all understand what is being said. When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Preface