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.


A Quote. Of Language. Of Self-Defense.

Everybody seems to be doing things for this moment only; and never again. Never again. The urgency of it all is fearful. Everybody knows I am going to school, going to school for the first time. “That boy is going to school for the first time,” says the housemaid, cleaning the steps. I must not cry. I must behold them indifferently. Now awful portals of the station gape; “the moonfaced clock regards me.” I must make phrases and phrases and so interpose something hard between myself and the stare of housemaids, the stare of clocks, staring faces, indifferent faces, or I shall cry. . . .

—Virginia Woolf (as Bernard) in The Waves

A Quote. A Short Dialogue. Of the Will of God.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

—Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18 (ESV)

Student: So Paul says that I should always be glad and thank God.

Teacher: Yes, in short, that is what he says. And why should you do these things?

S: Because God deserves it.

T: Of course. But these verses reveal something else.

S: Well, it says that it’s “the will of God.”

T: That is what it says. Have you ever heard someone ask about the will of God? Have you ever heard someone ask what the will of God is for his or her life?

S: Yes. And usually they ask this to make an excuse for not doing something.

T: A sad observation, but an accurate one. Here, however, we see that the will of God is a prompt to do something. What is it prompting us to do?

S: To rejoice, to pray, to give thanks.

T: So you see, if there is ever a question about the will of God for your life, you have found it here in Paul’s exhortation.

S: I do see that. But that doesn’t seem very specific. That doesn’t tell me what job I’ll have or where I’ll live.

T: And those who use the will of God as an excuse are usually concerned with these things, then?

S: They are.

T: And they want to know the will of God because they want to be blessed by God in what they do?

S: Yes.

T: Then if it is the will of God that we should rejoice, pray, and give thanks—do you not think we will be blessed by doing these things?

S: We will be blessed. And I do see what you’re getting at: we would be blessed in doing those things regardless of what job we have or where we live.

T: Exactly. When these others—I mean the ones who use the will of God as an excuse—when they seek it for their life, they are actually seeking their own will and hoping that it will be blessed by God. I dare say they will always be disappointed until they learn to rejoice and to pray and to give thanks.

S: So the command is specific even though it applies to every situation. That must be why Paul says “always” and “without ceasing” and “in all circumstances.”

T: This exhortation is unchangeably the will of God for you and me. Of temporal things we say that there is a season, a time for this and a time for that. But of the eternal there are no seasons; there is not a time but all time.

S: And in some sense, no time, for the eternal is pressing upon us.

A Caricature. Concerning Teachers in State Schools.

“Teachers improving with time and experience? Ridiculous! The education of our children is urgent! We cannot wait for them to become something that they are not. Quick! We must find someone who can teach to replace those who claim they are learning to teach.”