quotes

All Good Men Were Once Bad

Augustine, the early church father (354-430 A.D.), was on of the most significant theologians in all of church history. In this post I have selected a number of quotes from a few different works.

“Hence it is not the case that every bad man will become good, but no one will be good who was not bad originally.”

“He that becomes protector of sin shall surely become its prisoner.”

“It is this Good which we are commanded to love with our whole heart, with our whole mind, and with all our strength. It is toward this Good that we should be led by those who love us, and toward this Good we should lead those whom we love. In this way, we fulfill the commandments on which depend the whole Law and the Prophets: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with thy whole heart, and thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind’; and ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ For, in order that a man might learn how to love himself, a standard was set to regulate all his actions on which his happiness depends. For, to love one’s own self is nothing but to wish to be happy, and the standard is union with God. When, therefore, a person who knows how to love himself is bidden to love his neighbor as himself, is he not, in effect, commanded to persuade others, as far as he can, to love God?”

“Now the Apostle, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says, “Knowledge inflates: but love edifies.” The only correct interpretation of this saying is that knowledge is valuable when charity informs it. Without charity, knowledge inflates; that is, it exalts man to an arrogance which is nothing but a kind of windy emptiness.”

Blessed Doubters and Gospel Freedom

Helmut Thielicke was a German theologian and professor that taught and wrote during WWII. He has some very helpful things to say about the liberating intention of the gospel and the connection between grasping mercy and knowing doubt. Here are a few of his insights.

“The Christian stands, not under the dictatorship of a legalistic ‘you ought,’ but in the magnetic field of Christian Freedom, under the empowering of the ‘You may.'”

“The gospel must be preached afresh and told in new ways to each generation, since every generation has its own unique questions. The gospel must constantly be forwarded to a new address, because the recipient is repeatedly changing his place of address.”

“Jesus did not identify the person with his sin, but rather saw in this sin something alien, something that really did not belong to him, something that merely chained and mastered him and from which he could free him and bring him back to his real self. Jesus was able to love men because he loved them right through the layer of mud.”

“I don’t believe that God is a fussy faultfinder in dealing with theological ideas. He who provides forgiveness for a sinful life will also surely be a generous judge of theological reflection. Even an orthodox theologian can be spiritually dead, while perhaps a heretic crawls on forbidden bypaths to the sources of life.”

“Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellowmen and I will tell you how much you have loved them.”

“The doubters are always more blessed than the mere fellow travelers in faith. For they are the only ones who fully learn that their Lord is stronger than any doubt and any hell of despair.”

“What is the greatest deficiency among human Christians? They have an inadequate view of human suffering.”

Select Quotes from G.K. Chesterton

The following quotations are taken from an article on G.K. Chesterton written by Relevant Magazine. The assortment is a good snapshot of his wit and creativity.

The Nature of God

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.” – Introduction to The Book of Job.

Creativity

“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.” – Orthodoxy

Mystery

“As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.” – Orthodoxy

Individuality

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” – The Everlasting Man

Humility

“It has been often said, very truly, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary.” – Charles Dickens: A Critical Study

Sin

“Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.” – Orthodoxy

Theology

“Theology is only thought applied to religion.” – The New Jerusalem

Religion

“One of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we are created.” The Boston Sunday Post

Idolatry

“Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.” – Illustrated London News

Religious Liberty

“The man of the true religious tradition understands two things: liberty and obedience. The first means knowing what you really want. The second means knowing what you really trust.” – G.K.’s Weekly

Humility

“Humility is the mother of giants. One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” – The Innocence of Father Brown

Humor

“It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it”. – All Things Considered

Being Childlike

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” – Orthodoxy

Thought

“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.” – Orthodoxy

Freedom

“According to most philosophers, God in making the world enslaved it. According to Christianity, in making it, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.” – Orthodoxy

Quotes by George MacDonald

C.S. Lewis called George MacDonald his “master.” Lewis considered himself a student of MacDonald and attributed significant influence on his writing. Here are a few quotes from MacDonald.

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.”
“Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly.”
 “To try to be brave is to be brave.”
“Come, then, affliction, if my Father wills, and be my frowning friend. A friend that frowns is better than a smiling enemy. ”
 “The world…is full of resurrections… Every night that folds us up in darkness is a death; and those of you that have been out early, and have seen the first of the dawn, will know it – the day rises out of the night like a being that has burst its tomb and escaped into life.”