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Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years where we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.
Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
The Kingdom that I seek
Is thine; so let the way
That leads to it be thine,
Else I must surely stray.
H. Bonar, 'Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord.'
How all-important it is that a vigorous spiritual life, in close association with the Holy Scriptures and in the midst of Christian community, be maintained as a background to theological work, and that the unformed shadows of thought always derive their life-blood from that source...
Helmut Thielicke, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, p. 37
The Kingdom that I seek
Is thine; so let the way
That leads to it be thine,
Else I must surely stray.
H. Bonar, 'Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord.'
In the absence of a deep inner life a priest will turn into an office clerk, and his apostolate will turn into a parish office routine, just solving daily problems.
Pope John Paul II quoted Great Souls, p.285
Johann Winer, whose grammar first appeared in 1824...introduced a revolution into the study of the Greek New Testament by adopting and substantiating the premise that Biblical Greek, and particularly that of the New Testament, was not a special 'Holy Ghost' language, nor a conglomerate of Greek words and Semitic grammar, but the ordinary colloquial tongue of the day, spoken through the Graeco-Roman world.
Dana and Mantey, Manual Grammar of the Greek NT (vii-ix)
In the Old Testament...'the knowledge of God is mediated not by metaphysical reflection on the necessity of his being but by historical experience of his presence...'
John Courtney Murray, S.J. The Problem of God, p. 19
The history of Western epistemology might be described as the quest for a method of reasoning that assures certain knowledge. But philosophers have now come to the conclusion that there is no way to reason that both extends our knowledge and certifies the results.
Nancey Murphy, Reasoning and Rhetoric in Religion, p. 53
The common thought is that this life hid with Christ in God is to be lived in the emotions, and consequently all the attention of the soul is directed toward them, and as they are satisfactory or otherwise, the soul rests or is troubled. Now, the truth is, that this life is not to be lived in the emotions at all, but in the will; and therefore, if only the will is kept steadfastly abiding in its center, God's will, the varying states of emotion do not in the least disturb or affect the reality of life.
Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, p. 57
...the knowledge of God which we are invited to cultivate is not that which, resting satisfied with empty speculation, only flutters in the brain, but a knowledge which will prove substantial and fruitful wherever it is duly perceived and rooted in the heart.
John Calvin, The Institutes, bk 1, ch 5
...He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and the needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me? declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 22:16
We moderns are accustomed to finding God in peace and beauty and silence. The Old Testament most often knows him present behind the violence and flow and clatter of everyday life.
Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier, The OT Roots of Our Faith
The duty of a Theologian, however, is not to tickle the ear, but confirm the conscience, by teaching what is true, certain, and useful.
John Calvin, The Institutes, bk1, ch14
Dilthey worked '...to illuminate the difference between the structure of these sciences of meaning and the natural scientific explanation of events based upon the formulation of theoretical frameworks and the discovery of causal laws.
Georgia Warnke, 'Gadamer' p. 2
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.
G.K. Chesterton

About the Webmaster

15th March 2013

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In the late 1980’s I was a college grad working with churches on an island called “La Isla del Tigre”.  My roommate and I had just finished explaining Christianity to a Honduran couple from one of the villages.  We were unprepared for their response.  “We have heard that before, but it never made a difference on this island.”   And with that comment, a passion was born..

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This passion was rooted in my studies in religion and sociology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.  Much of my course work had focused on modern Western critiques of Christianity.  The principled arguments of Feuerbach, Freud and Nietzsche were powerful.  I could not refute them.  But my experience of Christianity through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship on the campus kept me grounded and growing in my faith.  Though I could not justify it intellectually, I knew that the story of Christianity was true.  It was making a difference in so many people’s lives.

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This tension became clearer, not only in the response of the Honduran couple, but in experiences after that time in Southern African and the United States.  I struggled while at Fuller Seminary with a way to speak Christianity with intellectual integrity.  Given the TV evangelist scandals of the 80s, the genocides of the 1990s in the wake of the East African revival, and the child sex abuse scandals among Catholic Priests up to the present day the task would be a challenge.  As a pastor in Mozambique, South Carolina and Los Angeles I confronted an institutional Christianity that left so many stern, insecure and unloving Christians unchanged and while having a minimal impact upon the communities in which they found themselves.  As a father, I worked with my wife to  help our two sons develop a faith that is clearly expressed in their character and in their relationships with others.  Again and again that persistent question surfaced:  “What difference does Christianity make?”

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Wirkungsgeschichte is dedicated to an embodied response to that couple as well as to post-modern Western culture.  It says, “Christianity does make a difference.  Let me show you what I mean!”

 

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