Go read! quotes and notes and opinions


Psalm 137

NKJV

By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”


Awaiting the City of God

Jerusalem_Glory

“We live—in every age and in every generation—by the rivers of Babylon. We need to understand that clearly. We must learn how to sing the Lord’s song in a strange and foreign land.”


Hebrews 11

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.


 

History brief – M. F. Cusack on Martin Luther


Matthew 18

NKJV

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”


Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach, via Wikimedia Commons

Martin has remained a controversial man, loved and forgiven, hated and reviled. His book, The Bondage of the Will, has been very helpful to me as a former Roman Catholic. My prayer is that we all come down on the side of love and forgiveness, remembering our own failures and sins.


 

From: The Black Pope, A History of the Jesuits, Chapter II – Martin Luther and Some of the Causes of the German Reformation, by M. F. Cusack (Formerly the Nun of Kenmare)

There is no doubt that Luther felt very keenly the false accusations which were brought against him, not only by his enemies, but even by those who ought to have been his warmest supporters. The unity of Rome has always been its strength. The disunion of Christians has been the greatest hindrance to the spread of the Gospel. As the end of time draws nearer may we not hope that Christians will draw nearer to each other, and to their coming Lord.

There are few things more touching than the appeal which Luther makes to posterity for the justice which was denied to him even by some of his Christian contemporaries. He says: “I am yet alive, and I write books, and I preach sermons, and read public lectures every day, and yet virulent minded men, adversaries and false brethren, allege my own doctrines against me, and represent me as saying what I do not say, and as believing what I do not believe. If they do this while I am alive, and while I look on and hear it, what will they do when I am dead. But how is it possible for me to stop all the mouths of the evil speakers, especially of those who set themselves to pervert my words.” No doubt Luther must have often felt that it was indeed hard for him to suffer from both sides: from the Roman Catholics against whose errors he was fighting so earnestly, and from those professing Christians, who, through jealousy or ignorance, were ever ready to attack him. Surely the path of an earnest reformer is ever one of pain. It should be said, however, that the best and noblest men of his day were his defenders, but this did not lessen the guilt of those who added to his already heavy burdens. Erasmus has left it on record that the better any man was the more he appreciated the writings of Luther. In the same letter, which is addressed to archbishop Albert, he says: “that he (Luther) was accounted a good man even by his enemies, and that the best men were least offended by his writings.” Even the Roman Catholic historian Lingard admits that Luther’s morals were unexceptional. He says: “he (Staupitz) selected a young friar of his own order, Martin Luther, a man of an ardent mind, and unimpeached morals, and of strong prejudices against the Church of Rome.” Luther’s last words have been placed on record, and with these words we shall conclude this part of our subject. “O my Father, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all consolation, I thank Thee for having revealed to me Thy well beloved Son, in whom I believe, whom I have preached and acknowledged, loved and celebrated, and whom the Pope and the impious persecute. I commend to Thee my soul. O Jesus Christ my Lord, I am quitting this earthly body. I am leaving this life, but I know that I shall abide eternally with Thee.” And so Luther was gathered to his fathers, and rests in the unchanging peace of God. Rome could no more threaten him with its thunders, nor could the mistrust and unkindness of false friends vex his tender heart. And his work follows him. It is still the same because it is Divine. And those who worked with him and those who worked against him know now that his teaching was the teaching of the Spirit, and that with him was the grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy ghost.


 

Quote of the day – Irenaeus, truly edifying, both the quote and where it was found


Ephesians 4:1-6

NKJV

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.


“If, therefore, even with respect to creation, there are some things only God knows, while others come within the range of our knowledge, why should we complain if, in regard to those things which we investigate in the Scriptures (which are thoroughly spiritual), we are able by the grace of God to explain only some of them, while we must leave the rest in the hands of God— and that not only in the present world but also in that which is to come— so that God will forever teach and human beings will forever learn the things God teaches? . . . If, then, . . . we leave some questions in the hands of God, we will keep our faith from injury and will continue without danger. Moreover, we will find all Scripture, which has been given to us by God, to be entirely consistent. Then the parables will harmonize with the passages which are perfectly plain, and the statements which are clear in meaning will help explain the parables, and in all the various utterances of Scripture we will hear one harmonious melody, praising in hymns the God who created all things. So, for instance, if anyone asks, “What was God doing before He made the world?” we reply that the answer to such a question lies hidden with God Himself. (2: 28,3) If anyone asks, “How was the Son produced by the Father?” we reply that no one understands that production, or generation, or calling, or revelation, or whatever term may be used to describe His generation: it is utterly indescribable. (2: 28,6) We have learned from the Scriptures that God holds the supremacy over all things. But Scripture has not revealed to us the way He produced it. . . . In the same way, we must leave unanswered the question why, since all things were made by God, some of His creatures sinned and revolted from a state of submission to God. . . . Since we know only in part [1 Cor 13: 12], we must leave all sorts of questions in the hands of Him who gives us grace by measure. (2: 28,7) God alone, who is Lord of all, is without beginning and without end, being truly and forever the same, and always remaining the same unchangeable being. But all things that proceed from Him, everything that has been made and is made, has its own beginning. Consequently, they are inferior to Him who formed them, since they are not unbegotten. (2: 34,2) Life does not arise from us, or from our own nature; it is granted by the grace of God. Therefore the one who takes care of the life received and gives thanks to Him who imparted it will also receive everlasting life. But the one who rejects it and shows himself ungrateful toward his maker, since he has been created and has not recognized Him who bestowed life, deprives himself of ongoing existence. (2: 34,3)”

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (now Lyons, France)

Cited by Phil Brown, The Lutheran Baptist blog, September 18, 2017 post

The Sin of Division and How it Has Affected Us


 

The most unpopular controversy – Should Christians celebrate Christmas?


Galatians 4

But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

1 Peter 2

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.


Most Bible believing Christians I know don’t celebrate Halloween because of its obvious association with witchcraft, horror, and death. Christmas is another story however, because as it is celebrated by Christians it is seen as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and who can object to this? Only people who are misguided and. . .well, fanatical.

Most of the devout Christians I know celebrate the season; otherwise, they have no interest in the liturgical calendar. I’m disheartened and perplexed. Is the celebration of Christmas really adiaphora, that is, indifferent, a matter of conscience? How can this be when it’s common knowledge that Christmas originates in the pagan world and Catholic Rome.

Wikipedia: In Christianity, adiaphora are matters not regarded as essential to faith, but nevertheless as permissible for Christians or allowed in church. What is specifically considered adiaphora depends on the specific theology in view.

Though it seems early to be thinking about all of this I believe it’s important to get a head-start on the season by learning what Christians who have been opposed to the celebration on biblical grounds have had to say about it. Since they are sound in other respects, they should at least be given a hearing.


Arthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was an English Bible teacher who sparked a renewed interest in the exposition of Calvinism. Virtually unknown in his own lifetime, Pink became “one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.” ~Wikipedia~


from

XMAS (Christmas)

by A.W. Pink


Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen. . .for the CUSTOMS of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:1-3).

Christmas is coming! Quite so: but what is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote its source – “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Roman origin, brought over from paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth. It is? And WHO authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. Is it without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Gen. 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt. 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

And WHO is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any true born again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are VAIN; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2). . .



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