G. K. Chesterton on Comparative Religion

G._K._Chesterton_at_work

Comparative religion is very comparative indeed. That is, it is so much a matter of degree and distance and difference that it is only comparatively successful when it tries to compare. When we come to look at it closely we find it comparing things that are really quite incomparable. We are accustomed to see a table or catalogue of the world’s great religions in parallel columns, until we fancy they are really parallel. We are accustomed to see the names of the great religious founders all in a row: Christ; Mahomet; Buddha; Confucius. But in truth this is only a trick, another of these optical illusions by which any objects may be put into a particular relation by shifting to a particular point of sight. Those religions and religious founders, or rather those whom we choose to lump together as religions and religious founders, do not really show any common character. The illusion is partly produced by Islam coming immediately after Christianity in the list; as Islam did come after Christianity and was largely an imitation of Christianity. But the other eastern religions, or what we call religions, not only do not resemble the Church but do not resemble each other. When we come to Confucianism at the end of the list, we come to something in a totally different world of thought. To compare the Christian and Confucian religions is like comparing a theist with an English squire or asking whether a man is a believer in immortality or a hundred-per-cent American. Confucianism may be a civilisation but it is not a religion.

Chesterton, G. K. (2012-12-19). Everlasting Man (Kindle Locations 1165-1176). . Kindle Edition.

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Didache 1

A Pastor's Thoughts

From time to time I will be making entries on the Didache. What is the Didache? Simply stated, it is the writings of the apostles about the teaching of Jesus. You might even call it the quick “Quick Help” version of the red letter words of our Lord. The Didache has way of cutting to the heart of the teachings of Jesus. The apostles set this forth as a manual for Christians, and we would do well to make it our guide as well. The translation of the text that I am using was translated and edited by Tony Jones, and is under the protection of a Creative Commons license. I invite your comments

There Are Two Ways

There are two ways, one of life and one of death!  And there is a great difference between the two ways. The way of life is this: First, you shall love God…

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The Heart of Divine Revelation—William Graham Scroggie

 William Graham Scroggie

William Graham Scroggie

When we turn to the first four Books in the New Testament we see that the headings are, ‘The Gospel according to Saint Matthew,’ Mark, Luke, John, by which is meant that these men wrote them. In the first, are 28 Chapters; in the second, 16; in the third 24; and in the fourth, 21; 89 chapters altogether. The first three are called the Synoptic Gospels (Greek: sun and opsis, conspectus, seeing together) because they present the same general view of the several events, because they go over the same ground in the story they tell, whereas the author of the Fourth Gospel follows lines of his own. For this reason the writers of the first three Records are called the Synoptists. The Gospels which, as to the size are mere pamphlets are the most precious Writings in all the world. But for what we are told in them there would have been no proceeding Old Testament, and no following Acts, Epistles, and Revelation. They are the heart of Divine revelation, because they are the record of the manifestation of God on earth, in the Person of His Son, for the purpose of redemption.

A Guide to the Gospels, p8,  Pickering & Inglis, London 1948

from The Abolition of Man–C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

‘Man’s conquest of Nature’ is an expression often used to describe the progress of applied science. ‘Man has Nature whacked,’ said someone to a friend of mine not long ago. In their context the words had a certain tragic beauty, for the speaker was dying of tuberculosis. ‘No matter,’ he said, ‘I know I’m one of the casualties. Of course there are casualties on the winning as well as on the losing side. But that doesn’t alter the fact that it is winning.’ I have chosen this story as my point of departure in order to make it clear that I do not wish to disparage all that is really beneficial in the process described as ‘Man’s conquest’, much less all the real devotion and self-sacrifice that has gone to make it possible. But having done so I must proceed to analyse this conception a little more closely. In what sense is Man the possessor of increasing power over Nature? Let us consider three typical examples: the aeroplane, the wireless, and the contraceptive. In a civilized community, in peace-time, anyone who can pay for them may use these things. But it cannot strictly be said that when he does so he is exercising his own proper or individual power over Nature. If I pay you to carry me, I am not therefore myself a strong man. Any or all of the three things I have mentioned can be withheld from some men by other men— by those who sell, or those who allow the sale, or those who own the sources of production, or those who make the goods. What we call Man’s power is, in reality, a power possessed by some men which they may, or may not, allow other men to profit by. Again, as regards the powers manifested in the aeroplane or the wireless, Man is as much the patient or subject as the possessor, since he is the target both for bombs and for propaganda. And as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.

Lewis, C. S. (2009-06-03). The Abolition of Man (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis) (Kindle Locations 448-464). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Desire of the Nations—Bill Johnson

Bill JohnsonJesus is called the desire of the nations. To make us successful in the commission to disciple nations He chose to live inside of us. This gives us the potential of appealing to the world around us. That is far from the present experience of most of us. While sinners loved to be with Jesus, they seldom like to be with us. It is up to us to find out why and fix it. Part of the reason is because we tend to be very impractical, answering questions that few people are asking, bringing direction that no one is looking for. Yet it is God’s time for His people to become highly esteemed by unbelievers again (we prefer to call them, “pre-believers”). Jesus has all the answers to all the world’s problems. We have legal access to the mysteries of the kingdom. His world is the answer for this one. No matter the problem, whether it is medical, political, or as simple as a traffic-flow problem in our neighborhood or a conflict on the local school board, Jesus has the answers. Not only that, but He also desires to reveal them to us and through us. His method of choice is to use His children, the descendants of the Creator, to represent Him in such matters. It’s hard for us to bring solutions for this world’s dilemmas when our hope (end-time theology) is eagerly anticipating the destruction of the planet. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul said we inherit this world.” Our correct stewardship should start now. To ignore this part of the commission because of the conviction that the world cannot be made perfect before Jesus’s return is very similar to ignoring the poor because Jesus said they’d always be with us. It is irresponsible stewardship of our commission and anointing.

Bill Johnson. Face to Face With God (pp. 192-193). Kindle Edition.