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Many of these come from a helpful article here.

The evangelist D. L. Moody once addressed a group of church workers. After the meeting he was confronted by an angry woman who said, "Mr. Moody, do you mean to tell me that I, an educated woman, taught from childhood in good ways and all my life interested in the church and doing good, must enter heaven the same way as the worst criminal of our day?" "No, madam," said Moody. "I don't. God does. He says everyone who would enter heaven, no matter how good they think they are, or how well educated, or zealous in good works, must be born again."

You don't need Jesus Christ because you are a drunkard. You don't need Jesus Christ because you take drugs. You don't need Jesus Christ because you lie. You don't need Jesus Christ because you cheat on your income tax. No. You don't need Jesus Christ because you do bad things...Whether you have done any of these things is irrelevant. You need Jesus Christ because you were born without the life of God. That makes you a sinner. You don't have God's life in you.

-- Converted gang leader Tom Skinner (Words of Revolution)

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Bishop John Taylor Smith was one-time Chaplain General of the British Army. He was preaching on one occasion in a large cathedral on the necessity of the new birth. In order to drive the point home he said, "My dear people, do not substitute anything for the new birth. You may be a member of a church, even the great church of which I am a member, the historic Church of England, but church membership is not new birth, and 'except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" The rector was sitting on his left. Pointing to him, he said, "You may be a clergyman like my friend the rector here and not be born again and 'except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" Also on his left was the archdeacon in his stall. Pointing directly at him, he said, "You might even be an archdeacon like my friend in his stall and not be born again and 'except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.' You might even be a bishop, like myself, and not be born again and 'except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'"

A day or so later he received a letter from the archdeacon who wrote: "My dear Bishop: You have found me out. I have been a clergyman for over thirty years, but I have never known anything of the joy that Christians speak of. I never could understand it. Mine has been a hard, legal service. I did not know what was the matter with me, but when you pointed directly to me and said, 'You might even be an archdeacon and not be born again', I realised in a moment what the trouble was. I had never known anything of the new birth." He went on to say that he was wretched and miserable and had been unable to sleep all night, and begged for a meeting, if the bishop could spare the time to talk with him.

"Of course I could spare the time," said Bishop Smith, "and the next day we got together over the Word of God and after some hours we were both on our knees, the archdeacon taking his place before God as a poor lost sinner and telling the Lord Jesus he would trust him as his Saviour. From that time on, everything has been different."

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"I came to Christ with a big bang and Jim came with a slow burn.

-- One woman's description of her conversion experience in constrast to her husband's.

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"If God saves souls in a quiet way I shall be happy; if in the midst of cries and tears, still I will bless his name."

-- Robert Murray McCheyne

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A teenager, who had been well hooked into the drug scene, but who was converted during a Billy Graham Crusade in Minnesota, described his experience:

I felt like loving everybody. It was like on a hot day and you are dirty and take a shower, only I felt the shower was on the inside and it was even more than just getting the mud washed away, it was like something else came in.

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When you cross the border from Switzerland to Italy the scenery doesn't become Italian - it's still alpine in fact. It is only as you go further into Italy that slowly the snow gets left behind and the sun gets warmer and it becomes obvious you are in a different country. The border represents the moment of decisive change from one nation to another, but only as you press on into the new country can you expect to discover just how different it really is.

-- Cliff Richard(!)

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It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We're like eggs at present. And you just can't go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must either be hatched or go bad.

-- CS Lewis

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"During my first week of office as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland when I presided at the Assembly's Gaelic Service, a highlander asked me whether I was born again, and when I replied in the affirmative he asked when I had been born again. I still recall his face when I told him that I had been born again when Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and rose again from the virgin tomb, the first-born from the dead. When he asked me to explain I said: 'This Tom Torrance you see is full of corruption, but the real Tom Torrance is hid with Christ in God and will be revealed only when Jesus comes again. He took my corrupt humanity in his Incarnation, sanctified, cleansed and redeemed it, giving it new birth, in his death and resurrection.' In other words, our new birth, our regeneration, our conversion, are what has taken place in Jesus Christ himself, so that when we speak of our conversion or our regeneration we are referring to our sharing in the conversion or regeneration of our humanity brought about by Jesus in and through himself for our sake. In a profound and proper sense, therefore, we must speak of Jesus Christ as constituting in himself the very substance of our conversion, so that we must think of him as taking our place even in our acts of repentence and personal decision, for without him all so-called repentance and conversion are empty. Since a conversion in that truly evangelical sense is a turning away from ourselves to Christ, it calls for a conversion from our inturned notions of conversion to one which is grounded and sustained in Christ Jesus himself."

-- Thomas F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, New Ed. (Helmers & Howard, 1992), 85-86

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More on this last quote later...

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God created us male and female, in the image of God He created us (Gen. 1:27). Those theologians who say they are all about the Trinity, who at the same time say the homosexual heresy is no big deal, are missing one of the central places where God has decided to reveal His nature and character. Nicea was important, but the great confession was long before Nicea. The foundational creed about the Trinity is a sexual one, and it was first confessed when Adam first knew his wife. The foundational confession about the Incarnation is also a sexual one (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23).

Doug Wilson.

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This is how to preach evangelistically, huh?

Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want. –Martin Luther

Go and read all the quotes.

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Stephen Fry:

"I don't know about you but whenever I read a blog I do not let my eye drop below half the screen in case I accidentally hit the bit where the comments reside. Of all the stinking, sliding, scuttling, weird, entomological creatures that inhabit the floor of the internet those comments on blogs are the most unbearable, almost beyond imagining," (source)

Or David Mitchell:

"if there's one thing the internet demonstrates it's that a lot of angry people can read...

the convention of inviting comment from the benign many has put a metaphorical speakers' corner at the bottom of every web page for the poisonous few.

A friend of mine has come up with an idea to stem the tide of bile. He wants people to post, as a comment, on as many opinion-garnering web pages as possible, as often as they can be bothered, the phrase: "It just goes to show you can't be too careful!"

It's perfect; it seems lighthearted without being a joke. It's vaguely pertinent to almost any subject without meaning a thing. It's the ideal oil for the internet's troubled waters.

I invite you all to join me in doing this. Let's drown out the screeching with this peaceful, bland, meaningless psalm to not being constantly consulted. (source).

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Here's a hurriedly written essay on repentance and evangelism.  The basic point is this:

Unbelievers can't repent.  Believers must - all the time.

One of the implications is that evangelism is calling sinners to come to Christ just as they are. Two men preaching in the 19th century grasped this very well indeed.

Here is Spurgeon calling sinners to repentance:

Do not attempt to touch yourself up and make yourself something other than you really are, but come as you are to Him who justifies the ungodly. ...The Gospel will receive you into its halls if you come as a sinner, not otherwise. Wait not for reformation, but come at once for salvation. God justifieth the ungodly, and that takes you up where you now are; it meets you in your worst estate. Come in your disorder. I mean, come to your heavenly Father in all your sin and sinfulness. Come to Jesus just as you are: filthy, naked, neither fit to live nor fit to die. Come, you that are the very sweepings of creation; come, though you hardly dare to hope for anything but death. Come, though despair is brooding over you, pressing upon your bosom like a horrible nightmare. Come and ask the Lord to justify another ungodly one. (From "Justification of the Ungodly" by C.H. Spurgeon.  A sermon on Romans 4:5 - found in "All of Grace")

And this is from a wonderful piece called Evangelical Repentance by John Colquhoun (1748-1827)

Do you postpone the act of trusting in the Lord Jesus for all His salvation, till you first sit down and mourn awhile for your sins, or till your heart be so humbled that you may be welcome to Him, and so have from your own resources a warrant for trusting in Him? Do you object against coming to Christ because you are not certain that your conviction of sin and your repentance are of the right sort? Do you apply yourself to the exercise of repentance in order to be qualified for believing in Christ, or do you apply your conscience to the commands and curses of the broken law, in order so to repent as to be entitled to trust in Him? Know, I entreat you, that this preposterous and self-righteous course will but sink you the deeper in unbelief, impenitence, and enmity to God the longer you try in this manner to seek for evangelical repentance in your heart or life, the farther you will be from finding it... Do not try to wash yourself clean in order to come to the open fountain of redeeming blood; but come to it as you are, and, by the immediate exercise of direct confidence in the Lord Jesus, wash away all your sins (Ezek 36:25).

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Athanasius... declares that Christ the eternal Son is the “living will” of the Father, and as such His Advent is the advent of the decree, God’s choice, in human flesh.  (Peter Leithart)

Is God's election secret or revealed?  Both.  It's hidden.  But hidden in Christ - Matthew 11:25-28:

25At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

27"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Christmas is the advent of God's eternal decree - Christ Himself.  Lay hold of Him and you lay hold of God's eternal choice.

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Athanasius... declares that Christ the eternal Son is the “living will” of the Father, and as such His Advent is the advent of the decree, God’s choice, in human flesh.  (Peter Leithart)

Is God's election secret or revealed?  Both.  It's hidden.  But hidden in Christ - Matthew 11:25-28:

25At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

27"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Christmas is the advent of God's eternal decree - Christ Himself.  Lay hold of Him and you lay hold of God's eternal choice.

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Karl Barth died 41 years ago today.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from him:

On his own theology:

My whole theology, you see, is fundamentally a theology for parsons. It grew out of my own situation when I had to teach and preach and counsel a little. (From a radio broadcast made shortly before Barth’s death. Quoted from William Willimon, Conversations with Barth on Preaching, Abingdon Press, 2006.)

On the reason for theology:

The normal and central fact with which dogmatics has to do is, very simply, the Church’s Sunday sermon of yesterday and to-morrow, and so it will continue to be.” (Church Dogmatics I/1, p91)

On theological method

Jesus Christ, as he is attested to us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God whom we have to hear, and whom we have to trust and obey in life and in death.  (Article 1 of the Barmen Declaration)


On the bible:

“The Bible says all sorts of things, certainly; but in all this multiplicity and variety, it says in truth only one thing – just this: the name of Jesus Christ… The Bible becomes clear when it is clear that is says this one thing… The Bible remains dark to us if we do not hear in it this sovereign name… Interpretation stands in the service of the clarity which the Bible as God’s Word makes for itself; and we can properly interpret the Bible, in whole or part, only when we perceive and show that what it says is said from the point of view of that… name of Jesus Christ.”  (Church Dogmatics I/2, p720)

At bottom, the Church is in the world only with a book in its hands. We have no other possibility to bear witness except to explain this book.” (God in Action, p107-8)

On creation and covenant

Creation is the outward basis of the covenant and the covenant is the inward basis of creation.  (Church Dogmatics III/1, ch41)

On church:

The essence of the Church is proclamation.  (Homiletics, p40)

On the Christian life:

"Ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8) – this is enough for the one to whom Christ speaks and who has heard Him. Whether strong or weak, willing or unwilling, successful or unsuccessful, the Christian is a witness, irrespective of whether the miracle occurs, or whether it occurs visibly or invisibly. In all circumstances and with the whole of his existence he is a responsible witness of the Word of God. He is called to be this. As such he is set at the side of God in the world, and therefore set over against the world.’ (Church Dogmatics IV/3, p609)

On proofs for God:

Note well: in the whole Bible of the Old and New Testaments not the slightest attempt is ever made to prove God. This attempt has always been made only outside the biblical view of God, and only where it has been forgotten with whom we have to do, when we speak of God. What sort of attempts were they, after all, where the attempt was make to prove a perfect Being alongside imperfect ones? Or from the existence of the world to prove the ordering Power? Or the moral proof of God from the face of man’s conscience? I will not enter into these proofs of God. I don’t know whether you can at once see the humour and the fragility of these proofs. These proofs may avail for the alleged gods; if it were my task to make you acquainted with these allegedly supreme beings, I would occupy myself with the five famous proofs of God. In the Bible there is no such argumentation; the Bible simply speaks of God simply as of One who needs no proof. It speaks of a God who proves Himself on every hand: Here I am, and since I am and live and act it is superfluous that I should be proved. On the basis of this divine self-proof the prophets and apostles speak. In the Christian Church there can be no speaking about God in any other way. God has not the slightest need for our proofs. (Dogmatics in Outline, 38)

On apologetics:

The great danger of apologetics is “the domesticating of revelation… the process of making the Gospel respectable. When the Gospel is offered to man, and he stretches out his hand to receive it and takes it into his hand, an acute danger arises which is greater than the danger that he may not understand it and angrily reject it. The danger is that he may accept it and peacefully and at once make himself its lord and possessor, thus rendering it inoccuous, making that which chooses him something which he himself has chosen, which therefore comes to stand as such alongside all the other things that he can also choose, and therefore control.” (Church Dogmatics II/1, p141)

On assurance (this is perhaps my favourite Barth quote):

“We might imagine the conversation...  The man to whom [the Word of grace is spoken] thinks and says that he is not this new, peaceful, joyful man living in fellowship. He asks leave honestly to admit that he does not know this man, or at least himself as this man.

The Word of grace replies: ‘All honour to your honesty, but my truth transcends it. Allow yourself, therefore, to be told in all truth and on the most solid grounds what you do not know, namely, that you are this man in spite of what you think.’

Man: ‘ You think that I can and should become this man in the course of time? But I do not have sufficient confidence in myself to believe this. Knowing myself, I shall never become this man.’

The Word of grace: ‘You do well not to have confidence in yourself. But the point is not that you can and should become this man. What I am telling you is that, as I know you, you already are.’

Man: ‘I understand that you mean this eschatologically. You are referring to the man I perhaps will be one day in some not very clearly known transfiguration in a distant eternity. If only I had attained to this! And if only I could be certain that even then I should be this new man!’

The Word of grace: ‘You need to understand both yourself and me better than you do. I am not inviting you to speculate about your being in eternity, but to receive and ponder the news that here and now you begin to be the new man, and are already that which you will be eternally.’

Man: ‘How can I accept this news? On what guarantee can I make bold to take is seriously?’

The Word of grace: ‘I, Jesus Christ, am the One who speaks to you. You are what you are in Me, as I will to be in you. Hold fast to Me. I am your guarantee. My boldness is yours. With this boldness dare to be what you are?’

Man: ‘I certainly hear the message, but…’

In this perplexed and startled ‘but’ we see the attack, and who it is that is attacked.” (Church Dogmatics, V/2, p250)

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Do you have a favourite Barth quote?  Why not leave it in comments.

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“My whole theology, you see, is fundamentally a theology for parsons.  It grew out of my own situation when I had to teach and preach and counsel a little.

[I]n self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm of all creation and of all being. For the Eternal Word gives Himself in mortal sacrifice; and that not only on Calvary. For when He was crucified on Calvary He did that in the wild weather of His outlying provinces what He had done at home in glory and gladness. From before the foundation of the world, Christ surrenders begotten Deity back to begetting Deity, in obedience. And as the Son glorifies the Father, so also the Father glorifies the Son. ...From the highest to the lowest, self exists to be abdicated and, by that abdication, becomes the more truly self, to be thereupon yet the more abdicated, and so forever. This is not a... law which we can escape... What is outside the system of self-giving is... simply and solely Hell... that fierce imprisonment in the self... Self-giving is absolute reality.

C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain, ch 10, p157
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Read it and weep.
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