Christian Apologetic Index
David G. Nesbitt - Kelowna, British Columbia
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† Thoughtful Quotes
"The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted."
___-Charles H. Spurgeon
Paul Tillich"Reason is the presupposition of faith, and faith is the fulfillment of reason."
"God is the answer to the question implied in man's finitude; he is the name for that which concerns man ultimately. This does not mean that first there is a being called God and then the demand that man should be ultimately concerned about him. It means that whatever concerns a man ultimately becomes god for him and, conversely, it means that a man can be concerned ultimately only about that which is god for him."
"A self which has become a matter of calculation and management has ceased to be a self. It has become a thing."
Hans Küng"Skandalon: a small stone over which one might stumble. Jesus in person, with all that he said and did, had become a stumbling stone, a continual scandal. There was his oddly radical identification of God's cause with man's: to what tremendous consequences in theory and practice this had led. He had been aggressive on all sides, now he was attacked on all sides. He had not played any of the expected roles: for those who supported law and order he turned out to be a provocateur, dangerous to the system. He disappointed the activist revolutionaries by his non-violent love of peace. On the other hand, he offended the passive world-forsaking ascetics by his uninhibited worldliness. And for the devout who adapted themselves to the world he was too uncompromising. For the silent majority he was too noisy and for the noisy minority he was too quiet, too gentle for the strict and too strict for the gentle. He was an obvious outsider in a critically dangerous social conflict: in opposition both to the prevailing conditions and to those who opposed them."
"The person of Jesus is subordinated to the cause he represents. And what is this cause? It can be described in one sentence: Jesus' cause is the cause of God in the world. It is fashionable now to insist Jesus is wholly and entirely concerned with man. This is true. But he is wholly and entirely concerned with man because he is first of all wholly and entirely concerned with God."
"If the Christian proclamation -- otherwise than formerly -- affirms the riches instead of the poverty of the religions, what has it to offer itself? ... If all religions contain truth, why should Christianity in particular be the truth? If there is salvation outside the church and Christianity, what is the point of the church and Christianity at all?"
"The word 'Christian' today is more of a soporific than a slogan. So much -- too much -- is Christian: churches, schools, political parties, cultural associations, and of course Europe, the West, the Middle Ages, [etc] ... Inflation of the concept of 'Christian' leads, like all inflation, to devaluation."
"The gospels were in fact written for people thinking mythologically in a time of mythological thinking ... Critical theology today sees the necessity and the limits of demythologization. It seeks ... neither to preserve nor eliminate the mythical factor. It seeks, as we have repeatedly insisted, to interpret the mythical element with discrimination ... the mythical must be understood as mythical, legends as legends, images and symbols as images and symbols. That is not to say that everything mythical-legendary must mean for modern man what it meant in former times. Myths, and legends too, images and symbols, can die and occasionally -- not arbitrarily of course -- be replaced if, in a new age, they no longer have the power to express what they were supposed to express."
Philip Yancey"What blocks forgiveness is not God's reticence but ours."
"The proof of spiritual maturity is not how 'pure' you are but awareness of your impurity."
"The more I got to know Jesus, the more impressed I am by what Ivan Karamazov called 'the miracle of restraint.' The miracles Satan suggested, the signs and wonders the Pharisees demanded, the final proofs I yearn for -- these would offer no serious obstacle to an omnipotent God. More amazing is his REFUSAL to perform and to overwhelm. God's terrible insistence on human freedom is so absolute that he granted us the power to live as though he did not exist, to spit on his face, to crucify him. All this Jesus must have known as he faced down the tempter in the desert, focusing his mighty power on the energy of restraint. I believe God insists on such restraint because no pyrotechnic displays of omnipotence will achieve the response he desires. Although power can force obedience, only love can summon a response of love, which is the one thing God wants from us and the reason he created us."
"I know too well my own instinctive response to the hiddenness of God: I retaliate by ignoring him ... One bold message in the book of Job is that you can say anything to God. Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, you betrayal, your disappointment -- he can absorb them all ... God can deal with every human response, save one -- he cannot abide the response I fall back on instinctively: an attempt to ignore him or treat him as though he does not exist. That response never once occurred to Job."
John Elderidge"Something awful has happened, something terrible. Something worse, even, than the fall of man; for in that greatest of all tragedies, we merely lost Paradise and with it everything that made life worth living. What has happened since is unthinkable: we've gotten used to it. We're broken in to the idea that this is just the way things are. The people who walk in great darkness have adjusted their eyes."
"The meaning of our lives is revealed through experiences that at first seem at odds with each other -- moments we wish would never end and moments we wish had never begun. Those timeless experiences we want to last forever whisper to us that they were meant to."
"Things appear to have come full circle. The promise of life and the invitation to desire have again been lost beneath a pile of religious teachings that put the focus on knowledge and performance ... The gospels are described today as 'gospels of sin management.' Sin is the bottom line, and we have the cure. Typically, it is a system of knowledge or performance, or a mixture of both. Those in the knowledge camp put the emphasis on getting our doctrine in line. 'Right belief' is seen as the means to life. Desire is irrelevant; content is what matters. But notice this -- the Pharisees knew more about the Bible than most of us ever will, and it hardened their hearts. Knowledge just isn't all it's cracked up to be. If you are familiar with the biblical narrative, you will remember that there were two special trees in Eden -- the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. We got the wrong tree. We got knowledge, and it hasn't done us much good. ... We don't need more facts, and we certainly don't need more things to do. We need Life, and we've been looking for it ever since we lost Paradise. Jesus appeals to our desire because he came to speak to it. When we abandon desire, we no longer hear or understand what he is saying."
"Christianity has come to the point where we believe that there is no higher aspiration for the human soul than to be nice. We are producing a generation of men and women whose greatest virtue is that they don't offend anyone. Then we wonder why there is not more passion for Christ. How can we hunger and thirst after righteousness if we have ceased hungering and thirsting altogether? ... A curious warning is given to us in Peter's first epistle. There he tells us to be ready to give the reason for the hope that lies within us to everyone who asks. Now, what's strange about that passage is this: no one ever asks ... Yet God tells us to be ready, so what's wrong? To be blunt, nothing about our lives is worth asking about."
C. S. Lewis"If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity."
"For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline and virtue. For the modern mind, the cardinal problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of man."
"We may think God wants actions of a certain kind, but God wants people of a certain kind."
"I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you -- the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge upon it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence."
"It is since Christians have begun thinking less of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one. Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you get neither."
"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, Thy will be done, and those to whom God says in the end, Thy will be done."
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be a lunatic - on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg ... Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse ... But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being merely a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Ravi Zacharias"People often say, 'What about all the good things I've done? What about all the good people in this world?' To this I must respond, 'Jesus did not come into this world to make bad people good; he came into this world to make dead people live."
"When Satan says to him, 'Change these stones into bread and the world will follow you,' Jesus says no, 'It is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' Humanity's problems is not material, it is spiritual."
"To argue for truth today is to stir an immediate debate, as if a heresy of devilish proportions has been invoked."
Aiden W. Tozer"The fact is that we are not today producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament."
"The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy of it."
"The idea that God will pardon a rebel who has not given up his rebellion is contrary both to the Scriptures and to common sense."
"To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men."
"Some who desire to be teachers of the Word, but who understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm, insist upon 'naked' faith as the only way to know spiritual things. By this they mean a conviction of the trustworthiness of the Word of God; a conviction, it may be noted, which the devils share with them. But the man who has been taught even slightly by the Spirit of Truth will rebel at this perversion. His language will be, 'I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?' For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text."
"Apart from God nothing matters. We think that health matters, that freedom matters, or knowledge or art or civilization. And but for one insistent word they would matter indeed -- that word is eternity."
G. K. Chesterton"There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions."
"Bigotry is an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition."
"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own."
"Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it."
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."
"The whole curse of the last century has been what is called the swing of the pendulum; that is, the idea that man must go alternately from one extreme to the other. It is a shameful and even shocking fancy; it is the denial of the whole dignity of the mankind."
"It is true that I am of an older fashion; much that I love has been destroyed or sent into exile."
"Any number of people assume that the Bible says that Eve ate an apple, or that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Yet the Bible never says a word about whales or apples ... It is unfair to turn round and blame the Bible because of all these legends and jokes and journalistic allusions, which are read into the Bible by people who have not read the Bible."
"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."
"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it."
"Properly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as a return to nature, because there is no such thing as a departure from it. The phrase reminds one of the slightly intoxicated gentleman who gets up in his own dining room and declares firmly that he must be getting home."
"I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday."
Thomas Aquinas"Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures."
Martin Luther"This life therefore is not righteousness but growth in righteousness; not health but healing; not being but becoming."
"I stand convicted by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word. I cannot or will not recant anything ... My conscience is indelibly chained to the Scriptures; I cannot forsake the one without forsaking the other."
"Original sin is in us, like the beard. We are shaved today and look clean, and have a smooth chin; tomorrow our beard has grown again, nor does it cease growing while we remain on earth."
Aristotle"It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible."
"How many a dispute could have been deflated into a single paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms."
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
"Wit is educated insolence."
Blaise Pascal"The heart has it reasons that reason knows not of."
"There are three kinds of people in the world: those who have sought God and found Him, those who are seeking Him but have not yet found Him, and those who neither seek Him nor find Him. The first are reasonable and happy, the second reasonable and unhappy, and the third unreasonable and unhappy."
Wayne E. Oates"The realm of religious experience is a realm of values, beliefs, intensely idiosyncratic behavior, and thought. Observing and describing these behaviors and thoughts awakens the biases, prejudices, and beliefs of the observer."
"The self-concept of a person undergoes revision in direct proportion to the alleviation of threat to the consistency, maintenance, and survival of the self as it is."
Baha'u'llah"The reality of God is and will always remain unknowable. Whatever words human thought may apply to the Divine nature relate only to human existence and are the products of human efforts to describe human experience."
"You dwell in one world, and have been created through the operation of one Will. Blessed is the one who mingles with all mankind in a spirit of utmost kindness and love."
"The essence of religion is man's attempt to somehow convince himself he's jumped through enough hoops for God to give him the approving nod. Religion is what rushes in to fill the vacuum created by the baseness of intimacy with God."
"God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way."
"I really only love God as much as the person I love the least."
"The empiricist thinks he believes only what he sees, but he is much better at believing than at seeing."
"Certainly nothing is difficult for God: but if in our assumptions we so rashly make use of this judgment, we shall be able to invent any manner of thing concerning God, as that he has done it, on the ground that he was able to do it."
"Our first problem is that our attitude towards sin is more self-centered than God-centered ... We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God."
"The distinction between Christianity and all other systems of religion consists largely in this; that in these others, men are found seeking after God, while Christianity is God seeking after men."
"For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is -- limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death -- he had the honesty and courage to take his own medicine ... He has himself gone through the whole of human experience, from trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death. When he was a man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile."
"Jesus will judge us not only for what we did, but also for what we could have done and didn't."
"There's only one thing worse than the man who will argue over anything, and that's the man who will argue over nothing."
"We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God."
Sir Winston Churchill
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
B. B. Warfield
"It is not faith in Christ that saves but Christ that saves through faith."
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz
"To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another."
"The good news [of the gospel] makes no sense unless you believe the bad news first ... Once, the main obstacle to believe in Christianity was the good news; it seemed like a fairy tale, too good to be true. Today, the main obstacle is the bad news; people just don't believe in sin, even though that is the only Christian doctrine that can be proven ... Calling a person sinful is not to deny that his being remains good, any more than calling the statute of Venus de Milo a damaged work of art means denying that its sculptor created a masterpiece. Humanity is a good thing gone bad, the image of God in rebellion against God."
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Lionel Spencer Thornton
"Belief and conduct are inextricably bound together."
"Though we as Christians are like Christ, having the first fruits of the Spirit, yet we are unlike Him, having the remainders of the flesh."
"Perhaps the most important question that can be asked is found in the Christmas carol: What Child Is This?"
"The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"People only see what they are prepared to see."
Dr. A. Leonard Griffith
"Satan tempts us at the point of our ambitions; not that we might engage in positive evil but simply accept the fact of evil, learn to live with it, come to terms with it, and maintain a discreet silence in the presence of it. Satan tempts us at the point of our religion; not that we might disbelieve in God but that we might demand certainty -- that kind of certainty of God that leaves nothing to faith, nothing to God himself."
John F. Kennedy
"If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable."
"The Christian life starts with grace and it must continue with grace because it ends with grace."
"Satan doesn't care if you believe in God. He does, however, care how much you love, trust and obey him."
"Forks and spoons provide no nourishment. ... The vitamins reside completely in the food; nevertheless, an eating utensil conducts the nourishment from the table to the tongue. Food brings life but a fork brings the food. Faith is the fork necessary for appropriating life, but the saving value of the life, resides solely in the food -- i.e. in Christ, the Bread of Life."
"A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
"The reason we are so threatened by the holiness of God is that we are sinful. After a muddy game of football, a player may not feel out of place alongside all the other muddy players, but take him immediately from the field of play and present him at the head table of a formal banquet and he will feel conspicuous in the extreme."
"Everyone who supported slavery was free. Everyone who supports abortion was born."
David G. Nesbitt
Copyright © 2003 by David G. Nesbitt. All rights reserved."The pursuit of truth for the postmodernist is necessarily an exercise in futility, for truth is reduced to the level of opinion and error has ceased to exist."
"A relationship with God is really not unlike a relationship with significant other, by and large. A relationship wherein you're concerned primarily with your own interests is a self-centered one-way relationship. A relationship wherein you both are concerned with your own interests is a destructive relationship that won't last. Rather, a healthy relationship is one wherein the concern of you both is primarily for the other. By way of application, the Christian's primary concern is not his own interests but rather God's interests, and God's primary concern is your interests."
"I think that is undeniably at least part of the reason why the Son of God came to Earth as a man: to give us something tangible to grasp, something we can understand, and someone we could relate to. For as long as God remained this ineffable power of thunder and lightening from Mount Sinai, we could never hope to relate to him. We would fear him, but would we ever love him?"
"I think the Bible is an eloquent portrait of things human language could not contain; it is not the truth so much as it is a tangible portrait of the truth. Consider a still-life painting -- the canvas, the brush strokes, the paint -- it is not the object but rather a portrait of the object. The reality is far more than mere paint could ever contain."
"If our words and actions do not reflect the Word of God, then how can anyone think we truly understand the Word of God? And therefore, why should they listen to us at all? The greatest ministry is the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives."
"Yesterday science was in the hands of religion; today religion is in the hands of science. It's simply the opposite arc of this swinging pendulum."