Jared Wilson shares about his latest read-through of Mere Christianity.
In fact, prejudiced evangelicals are cause not for rejection but love that goes the extra mile. If they are believers who don’t go to church, the first step might be to invite them back. If they are already in church, they are ripe for discipleship. Go therefore and teach them to observe all things whatsoever our Lord has commanded us—which includes the love of the neighbor, who is often someone we’re tempted to despise (as in the parable of the Good Samaritan). In most cases, pastoral patience and care is needed; in others, church discipline that leads to repentance. But in either case love, not shame or rejection, has to win the day. To love the racist does not mean we give him a pass. Love bears all things, but it also confronts when necessary, just as Jesus demonstrated with both his enemies (religious leaders) and his closest friends (Peter).
This is an important story to follow. Which, of course, means that there will be many articles about it, mostly assuming that it’s an attack on separation of church and state (which the ruling is not).
Typically genuine and kind and reasonable people like being liked. They don’t wake up in the morning wondering if they can cause a new person to hate them today. But needing to be liked is different. When someone needs approval from others, the person is willing to sacrifice conviction and do anything to earn that approval. Leaders who need to be liked adversely impact those they are leading.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow.” This is one of William Shakespeare’s most oft-quoted lines. What few realize is that it was uttered in the context of Juliet saying goodnight to Romeo “till it be tomorrow.” The sorrow of that parting was sweetened by the knowledge that it was only for a few hours.
Quoting people in sermons can be challenging, no matter what era of church history you pull from. A sermon is an act of exposition intended to evoke exultation and conclude with exhortation. That is, we expound on the biblical text, seeking to lead our congregation to experience a worshipful awe at these truths, which provides the fuel for exhorting them to obey King Jesus. Quotes can either enhance that process or hinder from it. (If you quote so often or in a way that it sounds like you’re reading an essay with footnotes, you’re doing it wrong.)
But here’s why I quote often from the church fathers and why I recommend you consider doing so as well.
A favorite from the archives:
At one point, I had the entire book of Philippians memorized. Basically, I spent several weeks working through individual verses using a combination of writing and speaking to help make them stick. The great news is, it worked. The bad news is I didn’t keep up with it. And because I didn’t, I lost it. I still have pieces of it floating around, but I can’t say with integrity that I still have it memorized. At best, I have a strong familiarity with it, which is better than nothing.
We talk about memorization a lot at my house. Emily and the kids recently memorized the Apostles’ Creed. They did it using a song, which is a great approach. So now, when they recite it, the girls actually sing it, which is kind of fun. And this got me thinking about how easy and difficult it is to memorize Scripture.