Yea Or Nay

“One of the greatest curses of the modern evangelical movement, in my opinion, is that we are somehow becoming ‘popular.’ Just as soon as you become popular, something goes out of your life, or more accurately, something has gone out of your life before you get popular.

“Historically, the Christian had to be emphatic. He had two words: yea or nay. When God was talking to him, he said yes, and when the devil was talking to him he said no. When God said, ‘Do this,’ he said, ‘Yes, Lord.’ When sinners tempted him to stray, he said an emphatic no.

“The trouble with us now is that we are double-minded. That is why we are weak. Scripture speaks of the double-minded man. He is ‘unstable in all his ways’ (James 1:8). Elijah illustrated this when he said, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him’ (1 Kings 18:21). We need to be on one side or the other. Wholly committed to our high calling in Christ Jesus.” —A.W. Tozer, in The Wisdom Of God

Thursdays With Oswald—Popular Christianity?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Popular Christianity? 

     Take the popular idea of Christianity and compare it with the patience of the saints, and you will see where we are. Popular Christianity says, “We must succeed.” … We are determined to be successful, but the Apostle Paul says we are called upon to be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). …  

     The way worldly sagacity argues is—Pay men back in their own coin, if you have been deceived, deceive in order to get your rights—“an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” You cannot do that if you are a saint. We must practice the expressed love of God and behave among the unseemly as the children of God. There is no test on earth to equal it. There is unseemly laughter at the saint—“Where is your success? what have you done? what is the good of missionary enterprise?” … 

     We do not need Jesus Christ and the Bible for the ordinary common-sense standpoint, and if in a crisis we act according to common sense we do not express the love of God. … 

     The test for the saint is not common sense, but “Is this is what Jesus Christ stood for?” 

From The Saints In A Disaster Of Worldliness

Standing true to Jesus Christ and the Bible is never popular.

So the question is—Do I want praise from men, or “Well done” from my Savior?

11 More Quotes From “Culture”

cultureA.W. Tozer wrote almost 50 years ago, but his words to the church still ring true today. Check out my review of Culture, and then enjoy some additional quotes from this book.

“To preserve life the physician and the druggist use words of fixed meaning common to both. How much more should the pulpit and the pew have a clear understanding about the words of eternal life. The modern effort to popularize the Christian faith has been extremely damaging to that faith. The purpose has been to simplify truth for the masses by using the language of the masses instead of the language of the church. It has not succeeded, but has added to rather than diminished religious confusion.”

“The hope of the church yet lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and the relation to each other. These beliefs have been revealed to her by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious.”

“I think we make two mistakes in our attitude toward our Christian leaders, one is not being sufficiently grateful to them and the other in following them too slavishly.”

“Today we evangelicals are showing signs that we are becoming too rich and too prominent for our own good. With a curious disregard for the lessons of history we are busy fighting for recognition by the world and acceptance by society.”

“That terrible zone of confusion so evident in the whole life of the Christian community could be cleared up in one day if the followers of Christ would begin to follow Christ instead of each other.”

“The difficulty we modern Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions.”

“Our churches these days are filled (or one-quarter filled) with a soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology they know little. Scarcely any of them have read even one of the great Christian classics, but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films. No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail.”

“To accept the call of Christ changes the returning sinner indeed, but it does not change the world. The wind still blows toward hell, and the man who is walking in the opposite direction will have the wind in his face. And we had better take this into account when we ponder on spiritual things.”

“Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline.”

“The desire to stand well with our fellow man is a natural one, and quite harmless up to a point, but when that desire becomes so all-consuming that we cannot be happy apart from the praises of man, it is no longer harmless, it is sinful in itself and injurious in its effects.”

“A Christian’s standing before God does not depend upon his standing before men. A high reputation does not make a man dearer to God, nor does the tongue of the slanderer influence God’s attitude toward His people in anyway.”

To read some additional quotes I shared from Culture, click here. You may also follow me on Twitter and Tumblr to read quotes which I share daily from Tozer and other notable thinkers.

Billy Graham On The Church

BillyGraham“Many persons today insist on coming into the church head first rather than heart first.”

“I am afraid that we in the church are making a great mistake by trying to make Christianity popular and pleasant. We have taken the Cross away and substituted cushions.”

“I wonder if the church has not failed this generation of young people by failing to make the Christian faith the thrilling, joyful, triumphant experience that it really is.”

“The greatest need in the church today is a spiritual revival that will drive her back to her knees and will cause her earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered.”

“There is a viewpoint prevailing in some areas of the church that its function is to change social structures, through political power and political pressure. In my opinion, this is not supported from the Bible. I think the biblical approach is to change men and men themselves will change society for the better.”

“I am convinced that if the church went back to its main task of preaching the Gospel and getting people converted to Christ it would have far more impact on the social structure of the nation than it can have in any other thing it could possibly do.”

All quotes from The Quotable Billy Graham (1966)

J.C. Ryle On Popular Trends

J.C. Ryle“‘The fear of man’ will indeed ‘prove to be a snare’ (Proverbs 29:25). It is terrible to observe the power which it has over most minds, and especially over the minds of the young. Few seem to have any opinions of their own, or to think for themselves. Like dead fish, they go with the stream and tide: what others think is right, they think is right; and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. There are not many original thinkers in the world. Most men are like sheep, they follow a leader. If it was the fashion of the day to be Roman Catholics, they would be Roman Catholics, if it was to be Islamic, they would be Islamic. They dread the idea of going against the current of the times. In a word, the opinion of the day becomes their religion, their creed, their Bible, and their God.” —J.C. Ryle

Are you reading the Bible for yourself? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to help you think critically? Are you willing to go against the crowd to hear the applause from the nail-scarred hands of Jesus?

Bold Pastors

A.W. TozerI want to be this kind of pastor that A.W. Tozer describes! What about you, my dear pastor?

“The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men, bold men…. We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within—or from above. This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.” —A.W. Tozer

What stood out to you in this quote?

Links & Quotes

link quote

“A spirit of thankfulness is so at odds with a spirit of coarse jesting that when one rises, the other falls [Ephesians 5:4]. And a spirit that yearns to edify is so at odds with foul talk that when one rises, the other falls [Ephesians 4:29].” —John Piper
“Love for others is the overflow of God-given security for the good of others. It signifies that we have the resources to care about others because God cares for us.” —John Piper

 

British prime minister David Cameron said recently that “our religion is now the most persecuted religion around the world.” Read this post about The War On Christians.

The Assemblies of God has now shown membership growth for 24 consecutive years, and its attendance grew more in 2013 than the US population did! Check out these God-glorifying stats.

“Let anger be guarded against. If it cannot, however, be averted, let it be kept within bounds. For indignation is a terrible incentive to sin. It disorders the mind to such an extent as to leave no room for reason. The first thing, therefore, to aim at, if possible, is to make tranquility of character our natural disposition by constant practice, by desire for better things, by fixed determination.” —Ambrose of Milan

“There is no true comfort for anyone on this earth except that of the Holy Spirit. This is why you need Him abiding in you. He alone can lay you down at night, as in a warm bed, and fill your heart with perfect peace. He alone can truly comfort you in times of pain and sorrow. He is the one who will assure you, ‘This comfort is not just temporary—it is eternal!’” —David Wilkerson

Guess what? Being popular in high school may hurt you in the long run.

Surprise (or not)! The biggest tax delinquents are US government employees.

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