Judgments That Are Not Sentences. Of Christendom.

  • Wearing a wedding dress to a battlefield—the summary of American Christendom.
  • A new world with the same sins following.
  • “New soil! Any need of that old Vine?”
  • Christendom: trying new hats, headless. The Church: never apart from Christ, not for a moment.
  • Being penetrated versus comprehending. Truth versus the lie. Revelation versus Gnosticism. Humility versus hubris. Victory versus vanity. Rest versus “rage, rage.”
  • All things for Christ or some things for Christendom. Absolute conflict.

Two Quotes. Of Early Christian Missions.

A few lines from J. Gresham Machen’s 1933 radio address titled “A Christian View of Missions”:

If Christianity ever settles down to be the religion merely of one nation or of one group of nations, it will have become entirely untrue to the tradition which was established for it at the beginning.

One thing is perfectly clear—no missionary work that consists merely in presenting to the people in foreign lands a thing that has proved to be mildly valuable in the experience of the missionary himself, which he thinks may perhaps prove helpful in foreign lands in building up a better life upon this earth, can possibly be regarded as real Christian missions. At the very heart of the real Christian missionary message is the conviction that every individual hearer to whom the missionary goes is in deadly peril, and that unless the message is heeded he is without hope in this world and in the dreadful world that is to come.

Two Counterarguments. Of “Christian Nations.”

  1. One argument against the claim that the United State of America was initially a “Christian nation” is the conspicuous absence of republicanism, or even of democracy in general, from the Bible. But let no one by this statement be deceived into thinking that the Bible recommends any form of civil government. The concept of nation makes a “Christian nation” mutually incompatible with the Church’s mission to gather and make disciples from all peoples.
  2. God himself has only one government—and it is a kingdom. There is only one holy city—and it will come out of heaven from God. For God’s chosen, every nation on this earth is in effect Babylon.

A Famous Quote. Of Political Origins.

The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.

—Locke, Second Treatise IX.124

This, more than any appeal to Christian doctrine, seems to characterize the American eruption into political existence.

A Meditation. Of the Good News. Of the Christian Faith.

Christian teaching on “the good news” is paradoxical: the faith required to make the news good is occasioned by receiving the good news as good. One cannot have faith in something that has not been heard, yet one cannot hear it rightly without having faith. Faith makes impossible faith possible.

It is as if faith itself is the good news.

 

Two Clarifications. Of Christianity.

1. The whole Christian mind is comprehended in the thought of humiliation. All thoughts not defined and contained by it are anti-Christian, vaunting themselves against the Holy One, forsaking the appropriate fear and trembling before him—the fear and trembling that serves to steady us, through a kind of counterpoint, against the convulsions of this world’s dying kingdoms. If Mary had taken credit for the virgin birth in the way that so many “Christians” boast about the great ideas they have brought forth, would she not have been the most wretched among women!

2. Every step of the Christian walk is in repentance. Walking in repentance—which is a vast territory, not contained in any place, neither on this mountain nor on that—one will never leave the Way no matter where one’s steps fall. But advancing beyond repentance—which is also a narrow road that demands earnestness and attention in the midst of a wide world that is all flippancy and distraction—one’s way has become a new lawlessness, a path through nettle and prickers that, because of numbing presumptuousness, cannot be felt until they have drawn and drained every last drop of blood.

A Maxim. Continuations. Of Health. Of the Mind’s Idols.

The health of the soul is no more certain than that of the body. Although a man might appear free from the passions’ control, he is no less susceptible to being swept up by them than he is to falling sick when his body is well.

—La Rochefoucauld, Maxim 188

1. It is easy for a Christian to pooh-pooh the seeking of material goods or transient pleasures. The flower fades and the grass withers. But then he spends a fortune to go on vacation around the world, or to have a certain education, storing up memories and “experiences,” as if these treasures are any more lasting or sure, any less transient, than gold. But a man might lose his mind just as quickly as he loses his wealth—and then what will he have?

2. Jesus Christ told us to store up treasures in heaven and not in barns where moth and rust destroy. But who ever said your memory is not just such a barn full of idols? Old age is the moth and the rust. The treasure you should have sought was not a memory but a person: your neighbor.