"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 5, Number 9, September 2002
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
I will show partiality to no one. Nor will I flatter any man.”
["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. Some may also be downloaded at http://www.tegart.com/brian/bible/kjvonly. Articles on the King James Bible controversy and recent issues may be accessed at www.KJVOnly.org
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]
“MAN PROPOSES BUT GOD DISPOSES”
As part of my most recent missions trip to Eastern Europe (July 30-August 20, 2002), I planned a brief 2 to 3 day stop in Prague in the Czech Republic (I would be on my way from Budapest, Hungary to Dresden in eastern Germany; Prague is on the direct train line between the two). I have a distant cousin who lives a few kilometers north of Prague (my great-grandfather and her great-grandmother were brother and sister). I first met her and her family in 1995 during a stop in Prague after summer youth camp in Romania, and I have often wanted to make another visit. This year, things seemed to be working out perfectly for such a return visit.
In 1995, my son and I had taken a train directly from Romania through Budapest to Prague. Unfortunately, it was an all-night train with any restful sleeping impossible (in spite of securing a berth in a sleeper car) since at every border crossing--Hungary/Slovakia, and again Slovakia/Czech Republic--passports were checked and any sleeping travelers awakened. And besides, I would have preferred to travel during the day in order to see what the countryside looked like in northern Hungary along the Danube, on into Slovakia, and then through Bohemia on the way to Prague. This time, I would travel during the day, if at all possible.
After careful scrutiny of a train schedule, I had it all figured out. A train would leave around 6 a.m. from Timisoara, Romania. It would arrive around 11:30 a.m. at Keleti station in Budapest. A different train left for Prague from a different train station, Nyugati, in Budapest around 2:00 in the afternoon, but no problem--the time between stations in a taxi would only be 10-15 minutes at most, and I already had my ticket--with a reserved seat--in hand, so even if the train was an hour late, or even two (and such lateness on international trains is quite rare), I could easily make the connection. I called and informed my cousin’s husband (he speaks good English; she, not so much) of my train number and scheduled arrival time. He told me of problems with heavy rains and flooding that were developing in and around Prague. I brushed it off as likely insignificant.
Arising on a Tuesday at 5:00 a.m., I was at the Timisoara station around 5:40. The board showed the train to Budapest running 180 minutes behind schedule, reportedly due to flooding around Bucharest, the Romanian capital. Oh, great, I thought. What to do? The Romanian pastor with whom I was staying was himself driving that morning through Arad, just under an hour north of Timisoara and a place through which several trains going to Budapest (including my own) pass daily. Perhaps there would be something earlier to Budapest from Arad. On to Arad. There--no change in the projected delay, and no earlier trains going to Budapest. So, just about the time my train should have been within an hour of Budapest, I was boarding it in Arad, some four and a half hours away.
There was still hope. A quick crossing at the border and we could pick up 30-45 minutes (I’ve seen it take as little as 15 minutes, though usually it takes nearly a full hour), and with a little bit here and there, I just might get to Budapest with 15 minutes to catch my train. When a full hour and more passed at the border, all hope was lost, and I surprised myself by not getting severely agitated at this development. I did not fret, and actually relaxed and read as we made snail’s pace to Keleti. Sure enough, we got to Budapest just over 3 hours late, as my train was somewhere north of the city, and pulling further away.
Inquiry showed that the next train to Prague left just before 9:00 p.m.--being the very all-night train I had tried so hard to avoid. I could have caught it in Romania in late afternoon, and spent a lot less money for it (and slept late to boot), but what was done was done.
I took a cab from Keleti to Nyugati. The cabbie spoke some German, and so we conversed a small bit. And then I began to sense the first inkling of the why and wherefore of my missed connection.
I am most definitely NOT one of those gregarious, bubbly, out-going types who loves to strike up a conversation with anybody almost anyplace and anytime. And when it comes to sharing the Gospel message with strangers--especially short, cold-call encounters, I very much personally dislike such an approach, unless, unless I sense that God is directly leading me to do it and has prepared the way.
I felt a strong inclination to give the cabbie a Gospel of John in Hungarian as well as a Hungarian version of “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.” He readily took these and thanked me for them.
Then in the station, after calling my cousin (successfully, I might add; all my prior efforts at phone calls from Budapest train stations--even in-country ones--have been utter failures) and checking my bags, I noticed an old woman doing needlework on a bench in the waiting area. I heard her speak in Romanian, so I began a conversation. I learned that she was ethnically Hungarian, but lived in Transylvania in Romania. Her husband was retired and they lived on a monthly pension of about $30. She sewed and sold her wares in the Budapest train station to supplement their income. I told her that I was a Baptist preacher and had been in Romania for youth camp. I learned that she was neither Catholic nor Orthodox but Reformed (which can mean not much, or can mean that she knew and believed the true Gospel). She indicated that every day at the station, she felt that the Lord was with her. I gave her “God’s Simple Plan” in both Romanian and Hungarian.
I was out on the train platform just after 8:00, and there was a young couple. They spoke what by process of elimination I figured was perhaps Dutch (I knew far better what it wasn’t than what it was). I asked in English if they were headed for Prague, and he answered--in English--that yes, they were. I learned that they were in fact from Iceland (Icelandic being from the same Germanic language family as Dutch, Danish, etc.), and had been traveling around Europe for about a month. Ultimately, I was able to give an English Gospel of John to the man (the woman had gone somewhere for a brief moment) and I urged upon him the importance of every man reading the Gospels for himself at least once. He willingly took it from me; I only regret that I did not also give him a copy for the woman.
I was alone in my compartment all the way to Prague. The Danube was dark as we passed along it after 9:00. As was Slovakia, where we stopped in Bratislava for some while after midnight. As was the Czech Republic, until around 5:00 a.m. I saw next to nothing during my solitary, sleepless, all-night vigil.
At the main Prague station around 6:00 a.m., I was met by--no one. Miserably weary, hungry, grimy, with two heavy bags (praise God for wheels!), I made my way down into the belly of the train station, exchanged some money, found a phone, and called. ”We cannot come; we are flooded into our home. Our town is under 2 meters of water.” Shortly after this call, the phone system in Kralupy--my cousin’s town--went out, and I never made contact with them again while in Prague.
Oh, great! I checked with a young, English-speaking cab driver--is it possible to get to Kralupy? “Impossible. And will remain so for several days.” So, I secured a hotel room in Prague, within a couple of kilometers of the train station (for which trip the cabbie wanted to charge me $20; he settled for $10--still banditry).
Arriving at 7:30 a.m., I had to wait until 9:30 to move into a room (during which time I did eat breakfast). I collapsed and napped til after noon, then went on a walk in the city (much along the Vlatva River was flooded or closed, but the far greater part of the city, even much of the old city closest to the river, was untouched and therefore accessible). In my walking (including searching for used bookstores, which is practically my only hobby), I “by accident” came across a small storefront Baptist Church and bookstore, where, the next day, I bought some copies of the Gospel of Matthew and of John in Czech. Since I had spoken with the hotel clerk several times, asking for information about internet cafes, trolley lines, bookstores, and other matters, I felt comfortable giving him the Czech Gospel of John, and as with the Icelander a couple days earlier, I urged upon him the importance of reading the Gospels for himself at least once.
Not one of these people--the Hungarian cabbie, the old woman from Transylvania, the Icelandic couple, or the hotel clerk in Prague--would have crossed my path without God’s disruption of my travel plans. Now I see His hand in it all.
I traveled by car to Dresden with an American missionary who came to Prague to get me, since going by train was impossible (the Dresden train station was under 6 feet of water--it isn’t every trip that you get to see two natural disasters: the flooding in Prague, and again the flooding in Dresden). On my last day in Dresden, we went to a genuine Greek outdoor restaurant and were waited on by a native Athenian in his 20s who spoke good, slangy English. I told him that I had taught Greek, and quoted a few verses of the Greek New Testament, some of which he said he understood perfectly well (I had not learned the modern Greek pronunciation system). Once again, I urged him to get and read the Gospels (I had nothing at all in Greek with me, and this time, nor even an English Gospel); he said his mother back in Greece had a Bible and he would borrow and read some of it next time he is back home. I certainly pray that he does do so.
I am no model witness for Christ. I can check off in my mind a multitude of times that I was too cowardly to open my mouth for Christ’s sake, and many other times when I was so spiritually dull, so unspiritual, so carnally-minded as to be utterly blind to opportunities to present Christ to others. All such memories fill me with regret. But I have come to recognize that we who are believers are constantly presented with opportunities to share the Gospel with those who are already disposed to listen, if we are disposed to listen to and follow the leading of God, even if it means a disruption of our best-laid schemes. This series of encounters was so unexpected, so remarkable that I could not let it pass unnoted.
WADING THROUGH THE SEA OF CHRISTIAN WRITERS
When the new CBD catalog arrives--and for the uninitiated, the CBD catalog is a listing of thousands of books on Bible-related topics, books of all sorts, from commentaries and reference books, to topical books, Christian (?) fiction, and Bibles in various editions, translations and languages. All are sold at discount prices. Not all Christian publishers’ works are carried--Banner of Truth, Broadman & Holman, Pilgrim, CLC and Moody Press publications are among those usually not to be found--and much that is included is not worthy of purchase or reading. Even so, a whole library of serious Bible study tools are listed, and over the past decade and more, many a parcel of books from CBD has found its way to my door. (Their website is at www.Christianbook.com)
As I was saying,--when the CBD catalog arrives (and it does so on a regular basis), the serious Bible student is faced with a quandary: among so many books, which ones are worthy of my time, my attention and my money?
Every serious student and teacher of the Bible values the assistance rendered him by competent writers. Spurgeon uttered the famous remark, “The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of own” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. IX, 1863, p. 668). The wise teacher and preacher of the Bible is grateful for the diligent labors of learned and devout authors who give aid to him as he prepares his mind to deliver God’s message.
It is entirely true that our sole authoritative source of doctrine, beliefs, and practices is the inerrant written word of God. Every human book, every Bible interpretation, every scholarly opinion should and must be tested and tried in the refining fires of the Bible (and not the reverse). Not a few Bible students have wandered into error--sometimes, serious error--by ignoring this fact and by instead following one Bible interpreter or a tight knot of such writers as a veritable “oracle at Delphi,” to the exclusion of all other dissenting voices, and the Bible has been made to conform in their system to the teachings (and errors) of this substitute “final authority.”
We must recognize that even the best of Christian scholars and writers will from time to time err through ignorance, misunderstanding, prejudice, distorted emphasis, and warped perspective. This does not mean that we should simply jettison and junk all books and writings outside the Bible itself (though I suspect that many would be well served by more reading of Scripture, and proportionately less reading of Bible interpreters). We do not summarily reject all human Bible teachers and preachers simply because they are fallible, just as we do not cease reading our Bible translations simply because they sometimes fail to give precisely the sense and meaning of the inerrant original Scriptures. Rather by experience and discernment, we learn to sift out the errant and retain that which is true to Scripture.
Obviously, the more reliable, the more trustworthy, the more Biblical a teacher, preacher or writer is, the less sifting need be done in his teaching. But among the sea of published Christian authors, some guidance would be most welcome. Information as to the life, background, education, interests, written works and emphases of those whose works are offered to us would be highly appreciated, for by such information we can make a preliminary evaluation of whether his works are likely to meet our present needs and interests. And such guidance is happily close to hand.
Walter A. Elwell, a professor at Wheaton College Graduate School, has devoted much of his literary attention to editing reference books for the reading Christian public. Among these are two that go far in helping the Bible student inform himself about noted Christian authors.
The first of these is Handbook of Evangelical Theologians (Baker Book House, 1993; 465 pp.). Here, some thirty-three theologians are profiled (all of whom were active in the 20th century), their lives briefly sketched and their works briefly analyzed. Many are among those whose writings have served as theology textbooks in Bible colleges and seminaries: A. H. Strong, Henry C. Thiessen, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Charles C. Ryrie, et al. Others are noted writers in specific areas of theology: James Orr, B. B. Warfield, Carl F. H. Henry, John Walvoord, J. I. Packer, et al. Some are names previous unknown to me. As the title of the book indicates, the writers are those noted chiefly as theologians (rather than commentators and expositors, or preachers), and all fall under the somewhat broad theological umbrella of “evangelical” (though several of them would definitely not qualify as “inerrantists”--among them James Orr, E. J. Carnell, Bernard Ramm and Clark Pinnock). Most of the theologians profiled are American, but several are from the English-speaking world outside the States, and one is German. There is considerable denominational diversity among the subjects--Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Anglican, Pentecostal, etc. The authors of the various profiles are generally individuals sympathetic with the subject of their chapters, and who were personally acquainted with them. Naturally the quality and readability varies chapter to chapter.
The second volume edited by Elwell (this time in conjunction with J. D. Weaver) is Bible Interpreters of the 20th Century: a Selection of Evangelical Voices (Baker Book House, 1999; 445 pp.). Here, some thirty-five authors are profiled, again falling under the broad rubric “evangelical,” though again with a small minority who rejected inerrancy, and perhaps one or two who would “push the envelope” on the term “evangelical.” And, in spite of the book’s title, at least three of the men profiled labored entirely in the 19th century.
In contrast to the previous volume where the focus was on theologians, here the focus is on expositors, commentators and authors of other scholarly Bible-related works. It is a veritable who’s who of noted English-speaking writers: A. T. Robertson, Merrill Unger, F. F. Bruce, Leon Morris, William Hendricksen, A. W. Pink, Walter Kaiser, D. A. Carson, to name only some of the more famous. A library composed of all the books authored or edited by these thirty-five men would be of high quality and usefulness, even if not another volume were added to it (and without actually counting, I would estimate their literary output at somewhere between 500 and 600 volumes). I was struck repeatedly by the fact that knowledge of half a dozen languages was common among these men, and in some cases the number reached fifteen or even twenty, and in one case thirty. Long years of intensive and extensive study were characteristic of those profiled here.
Through these two books, I have met some men previous outside my realm of knowledge, and I have become better acquainted with others. In a few cases, I was made aware of books by authors I had previously come to respect, books I was hitherto wholly ignorant of. In short, here is some profitable reading and information. While only secondarily related to Bible study, the information here can help facilitate greater efficiency in study by directing attention to worthy tomes by competent authors, and steering the reader away from some works of lesser merit.
(A similar volume, restricted solely to Baptists, but without limitation to the 20th century, or even to “evangelicals,” and including both professional theologians and also scholarly pastors and Bible expositors is Baptist Theologians edited by Timothy George and David S. Dockery (Broadman Press 1990; 704 pp.). My review of that volume was published in The Biblical Evangelist, July 1, 1992. A more recent edition of this book, with the same editors, was published by Broadman & Holman in 2001 under the title Theologians of the Baptist Tradition (414 pp.). The differences between the editions consist chiefly in the elimination in the latter of most of the sketches of theological liberals, as well as most of the men of the 19th century and earlier. There is some small overlap between the volumes edited by George and Dockery with the two edited by Elwell)
There is still a crying need for similar works dealing with men of the 19th and previous centuries: I would suggest a volume focusing on “The Great Protestant Bible Commentators: John Calvin, Matthew Poole, J. A. Bengel, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, etc.”; another volume on 19th century Bible scholars of England: T. H. Horne, Henry Alford, Westcott, J. B. Lightfoot, C. J. Ellicott, S. P. Tregelles, etc.”; a work on conservative German scholars of the 19th century such as Hengstenberg, Keil, Delitzsch, Tholuck, Lange, Tischendorf, etc.” and perhaps a volume on “The Great Christian editors: William Smith, Philip Schaff, W. R. Nicoll, James Strong, James Hastings, J. O. Excell, J. D. Douglas, etc.” I would personally highly value such works.
“OUR OWN HYMN-BOOK”: A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for Public, Social and Private Worship, compiled by Charles H. Spurgeon. Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 2002 reprint. 264 pp., paperback. $14.00
Spurgeon’s London congregation was accustomed to using two hymnals, that of John Rippon (1751-1836), Spurgeon’s predecessor, and another of Isaac Watts (1674-1748). However, this practice proved not quite satisfactory because their arrangement and organization was a bit confusing, and their contents were lacking in numerous hymns and spiritual songs that had appeared in the 19th century. So, with the assistance of one D. Sedgwick, Spurgeon compiled this collection of some 1130 psalms and hymns, including at least portions of all the Biblical Psalms rewritten as poetry and suitable for singing. Unlike modern hymnals, there are only words, but no musical notes. The hymns were sung to a small stock of standard melodies, depending on the meter of the hymn involved. There is a topical index in the front and a combined title and first line index in the back, to facilitate the ready location of any particular hymn
Anyone who has read sermons from the unabridged reprint of Spurgeon’s The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit series has noticed that frequently at the end of the printed message there are notations that particular hymns were sung at the service. Now, with this volume in hand, the reader can know the precise contents of each of those hymns. It was Spurgeon’s regular practice to choose all the hymns for each service, so that there would be thematic harmony and continuity between the music and the sermon subject.
A great many of the poems in this collection are nowhere else to be found, and some are most excellent. There are even a few contributions by Spurgeon himself (for which he begs the readers’ indulgence).
Pilgrim first reprinted this hymnbook (and it is a facsimile reprint, with nothing altered or edited in the least) back in 1975. I failed to obtain a copy back then, and after fruitlessly searching for a used copy, I have been urging the publisher for the past ten years or so to put it back into print. They have now done so, and in a larger, more readable size than the earlier reprint. Learn from my mistake; get a copy now while you can.
When I received my copy, as I was thumbing through it, I came first upon #553, a hymn wholly unfamiliar to me, but of such interest that I reproduce it below, as an example of the gems to be found herein. Enjoy.
553. Jesus Died for Me
Great God, when I approach Thy throne,
And all Thy glory see,
This is my stay, and this alone,
That Jesus died for me.
How can a soul condemn’d to die
Escape the just decree?
A vile, unworthy wretch am I,
But Jesus died for me.
Burden’d with sin’s oppressive chain,
Oh, how can I get free?
No peace can all my efforts gain,
But Jesus died for me.
My course I could not safely steer
Through life’s tempestuous sea,
Did not this truth relieve my fear,
That Jesus died for me.
And, Lord, when I behold Thy face,
This must be all my plea--
Save me by Thy almighty grace,
For Jesus died for me.
---William Hiley Bathurst, 1831
THE RAISING OF THE HUNLEY: THE REMARKABLE HISTORY AND RECOVERY OF THE LOST CONFEDERATE SUBMARINE by Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf. New York: Ballantine Books, 2002. 301 pp., hardback. $25.00
One major component of Abraham Lincoln’s grand strategy for subduing the rebelling Southern States in the American Civil War (or, as some unreconstructed Southerners still call it, “the War of Northern Aggression”) was a strangling naval blockade of the entire coast of the South, from the Chesapeake Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande. The purpose was to prevent the export of any Southern products (chiefly cotton and tobacco) to foreign ports that would secure for them funds necessary for the continuing prosecution of the war, but more especially to prevent the importation of materials essential to the Southern war effort--guns, ammunition, gunpowder, cannons, iron and steel, cloth, medical supplies, and a thousand and one other items.
One of the chief Southern ports, and thereby an immediate target for the Union blockade, was Charleston, South Carolina. It was also a prime target for the Union blockade because it was there that the very first shots of the War were fired, and was located in the State that was first to secede from the Union.
Naturally as the slow naval strangulation of the South progressed, the South sought by a variety of ways to break the blockade. One particular approach was the development and use of so-called “fish-boats,” that is, ships that could attack Union warships by stealth, submerging, attacking and then surfacing, or, in modern parlance--submarines. Only one such submarine became operational, the H. L. Hunley, named for one of its inventors.
In its one successful attack, February 17, 1864 (the first successful submarine attack in history), the Hunley, powered solely by hand-operated cranks manned by 7 sailors, sank the Union sloop Housatonic about 4 miles out to sea from the entrance to Charleston harbor. The Hunley itself sank that same night shortly thereafter, due to causes not yet fully explained (the Hunley had sunk twice in Charleston harbor during training maneuvers in the preceding 6 months, killing most of one crew and all of another, including H. L. Hunley himself; after each of these training mishaps, the sub was raised, refurbished and reused).
The Hunley, its creation, success, and sinking were minor “footnotes” in the much larger panorama of the War. Relatively few “official” reports and papers regarding the sub ever existed. After the War. a few individuals wrote accounts of the sub and the events in its brief history, but on the whole the Hunley was soon largely forgotten, and what information about it as was current was a jumble of fact, legend, speculation and distortion. The Hunley itself was not raised after its third sinking; its value as scrap metal was likely hardly worth the expense of recovery. And then again, its exact resting place was unknown (a salvage operator probably did locate the sub in 1876--his claim was universally ignored by later searchers for over a century--but for whatever reason he did not retrieve it).
The legend of the Hunley stirred up numerous expeditions over a period of 131 years to find and raise it. None proved successful in locating the wreck until May 1995. But immediately thereafter, there followed a complex process of sorting out conflicting claims of ownership, and detailed and expensive preparations to lift the remains from their resting place 30 feet below the surface, then transport and study them, and document the details of the sub and its crew.
Though not “professional historians,” the authors, both reporters for the Charleston newspaper, The Post & Courier, have done a superb job of recording the Hunley’s origin and history during the War, and tracing the subsequent legend and lore regarding the Hunley, and the various efforts at its recovery. The authors had long and direct access to the project to recover the sub, and study and conserve its contents, writing hundreds of articles for the newspaper over 5 years’ time. Their account is a delight to read. For anyone interested in American history in general or in Civil War, naval or submarine history in particular, this is a volume of especial interest.
PASTOR TO PASTOR: TACKLING PROBLEMS OF THE PULPIT by Erwin W. Lutzer. Chicago: Moody Press, 1987. 140 pp.
Though I have heard Erwin Lutzer, pastor of the famous Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, not a few times on the radio, I had never read any of the numerous books he has authored until this little volume came into my possession not a week ago.
Lutzer here presents in a very clear, down home, readable and usable form his perspective on a number of major issues that every pastor faces. Among these are: is a call to the ministry really necessary (his answer: absolutely--without the deep abiding conviction of a Divine call, it is rare that a man can withstand the pressures of the ministry); dealing with (sometimes unrealistic) expectations of a congregation; dealing with prickly, disagreeable people in God’s work; the issue of pastoral political involvement; burnout; counseling; worship; public invitations; fallen ministers; and more. There is much here to inform the head and encourage the spirit. I found myself encouraged and refreshed--and rebuked--after reading this brief volume through.
Lutzer is not shy at expressing himself. He mentions, for example, and denounces the false theology of self-love of Robert Schuller.
Though I read this book at one sitting, I suspect that I will read it over again more slowly, and will soon be reading other works by Lutzer (several others came into my hands with this one). Definitely worth reading.
Some quotes from PASTOR TO PASTOR--
“I don’t see how anyone could survive in the ministry if he felt it was just his own choice. Some ministers scarcely have two good days back to back. They are sustained by the knowledge that God has placed them where they are.” (p. 10)
“Yet, what pastor hasn’t done some things he’s ashamed of? If our congregations could open our minds for inspection, we’d all resign in shame and disgrace.” (p. 19)
“Christ taught that the primary quality of leadership was servanthood, not a dictatorial spirit. The Gentiles sought superiority and control; believers should seek humility and submission. The only clear instance of one-man rule in the New Testament is that of Diotrephes, who loved to have the preeminence (3 John 9).” (p. 24)
“Sermons with good content may fall flat for many reasons. Perhaps the most common is that they are delivered with an absence of feeling. We’ve all fallen into the rut of preaching unfelt truth. We’ve rattle through a message as if it were a stock market report at the end of a lackluster day of trading.” (p. 37)
“If we spend as much time preparing our hearts as we do our minds, our congregations will know that they have heard from God.” (p. 41)
“Selective obedience nullifies the authority of God.” (p. 78)
“Many Bible school graduates think they have to get a doctorate in psychology at a state university so they can become a counselor. . . . Personally, I am wary at attempts at integration [of the Bible with secular psychology]. I find no biblical support to distinguish a spiritual problem from a psychological one. At root, man’s psychological problems, unless due to physical or chemical causes, are spiritual--and where could we find a better analysis of man’s needs along with a supernatural remedy than in the Scriptures?” (p. 81).
“There can be no worship without obedience to truth.” (p. 92)
“When fathers neglect to lead their families in prayer and Bible instruction, they subtly give the impression that God’s counsel is optional. And when we are willing to rationalize sensuality, selfishness, and greed, we are in effect admitting that Christ is unable to free us from sin. As a result, we have nothing to say to this generation.” (p. 105)
“We must repent of our comfortable relationship with the world.” (p. 106)
“I agree with Joe Bayly, who wrote, ‘In our “let’s give God a hand” (applaud, everyone) Christian culture, we have lost a sense of wonder, of awe, of approaching an Almighty God when we pray. Even our worship is narcissistic.’ “ (p. 109)
“Someone has said that the marks of a strong church are wet eyes, bent knees, and a broken heart.” (p. 113)
“Though we ought to spend much time preparing our minds for preaching, great men of the past have often spent the same amount of time in prayer, preparing their souls. Prayer, it is said, is not the preparation for the work--it is the work.” (p. 119) [He could have quoted Acts 6:4 here as an example of Apostolic priorities]
“For many of us, at least half of our ministry is over.” (p. 121) [And what have we to show for it?]