Christ in Greek society

The coming of Christ turned the world upside down. As the fourth-century Christian bishop and writer Athanasius (296 – 373AD) points out, the impact of Christ upon early Greek society showed clearly that this was no ordinary person.


Athanasius 2

“When did people begin to abandon the worship of idols, unless it were since the very Word of God came among men?

When have oracles ceased and become void of meaning, among the Greeks and everywhere, except since the Savior has revealed Himself on earth?

When did those whom the poets call gods and heroes begin to be adjudged as mere mortals, except when the Lord took the spoils of death and preserved incorruptible the body He had taken, raising it from among the dead?

Or when did the deceitfulness and madness of demons fall under contempt, save when the Word, the Power of God, the Master of all these as well, condescended on account of the weakness of mankind and appeared on earth?

When did the practice and theory of magic begin to be spurned under foot, if not at the manifestation of the Divine Word to men?

In a word, when did the wisdom of the Greeks become foolish, save when the true Wisdom of God revealed Himself on earth? In old times the whole world and every place in it was led astray by the worship of idols, and men thought the idols were the only gods that were. But now all over the world men are forsaking the fear of idols and taking refuge with Christ; and by worshipping Him as God they come through Him to know the Father also, Whom formerly they did not know.”


From The Incarnation of the Word of God by Athanasius of Alexandria (296 – 373AD). Available at <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/athanasius/incarnation.ix.html>

 

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Revival

martyn-lloyd-jones


Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 – 1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. He was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London for almost 30 years. For more on his life and ministry, please visit http://www.mljtrust.org.


*”It seems to me that there is no hope for revival until you and I, and all of us, have reached the stage in which we begin to forget ourselves a little, and to be concerned for the Church, for God’s body, his people here on earth. So many of our prayers are subjective and self-centred. We have our problems and difficulties, and by the time that we have finished with them, we are tired and exhausted and we do not pray for the Church. My blessing, my need, my this, my that. Now, I am not being hard and unkind, God has promised to deal with our problems. But where does the Church come into our prayers and intercessions? Do we go beyond ourselves and our families? We stand before the world and we say the only hope for the world is Christianity. We say the Church, and the Church alone, has the message that is needed. We see the problems of society, they are shouting at us and they are increasing week by week. And we know that this is the only answer. Very well, then, if we know that and if we believe that, let me ask you in the name of God, how often do you pray that the Church may have power to preach this, in such a manner that all these citadels that are raising themselves against God shall be razed to the ground and shall be flattened in his holy presence? How much time do you give to praying that the preachers of the gospel may be endued with the power of the Holy Ghost? Are you interceding about this? Are you concerned about it? Moses, I say was more concerned about this than about himself. He would not go up alone to the promised land. He did not want to be made the great man alone. ‘No, it is the Church,’ he said, ‘I am not going on unless they are all coming with me, and with you in the midst.’

We must learn to think again about the Christian Church. Our whole approach has become subjective. It is subjective in evangelism, it is subjective in the teaching of sanctification, it is subjective from beginning to end. We start with ourselves, and our own needs and problems, and God is an agency to supply an answer, to give us what we need, but it is all wrong. Evangelism, and everything else, must start with God and his glory. The God who is over all and to whom all things belong. It is because men are not glorifying him that they need to be saved, not to have some little personal problem solved. And if the motive for evangelism is to fill the Churches, it is doomed to failure. Of course, you may fill your Churches, and it will not help you, it will not avail you, it will not make any difference to the main problems. It is this conception of the Church as the people of God, who bear his name and who have been brought into being by him, it is this that matters. We must cease to think of the Church as a gathering of institutions and organisations, and we must get back this notion that we are the people of God. And that it is for his name’s sake, and because his name is upon us, we must plead for the Church. Yes, and for her glory and her honour, because she is his.”


*Source: Chapel Library

Truths of Calling

For the past several years, the theme of Calling has been very dear to me. I have increasingly come to see that it is a crucial truth for escaping the humdrum of modern life. As such, I am always on the lookout for books which help to clarify what it’s all about and provide much-needed guidance to all who are seeking to uncover the mystery. And, lately, I read Os Guinness’s masterpiece on the subject. It is at once thorough and lively, learned and interesting, with a continual focus on the Saviour who obediently surrendered to his Father’s call. His book is a delight to read and a feast to relish. I can do little more than offer his points on calling which he carefully develops throughout the book and hope they stimulate you to get the book for yourself and devour its nutrients.


Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.

When something more than human seeking is needed if seeking is to be satisfied, then calling means that seekers themselves are sought.

The notion of calling, or vocation, is vital to each of us because it touches on the modern search for a basis for individual
identity and an understanding of humanness itself.the call

Our primary calling as followers of Christ is by him, to him, and for him. Our secondary calling, considering who God is as sovereign, is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live, and act entirely for him.

God normally calls us along the line of our giftedness, but the purpose of giftedness is stewardship and service, not selfishness.

A life lived listening to the decisive call of God is a life lived before one audience that trumps all others – the Audience of One.

God’s calling is the key to igniting a passion for the deepest growth and highest heroism in life.

The notion of calling is vital to the modern search for a basis for moral responsibility and to an understanding of ethics itself.

The call of Jesus is personal but not purely individual; Jesus summons his followers not only to an individual calling but also to a corporate calling.

Calling reminds Christians ceaselessly that, far from having arrived, a Christian is someone who in this life is always on the road as “a follower of Christ” and a follower of “the Way”.

The reverse side of calling is the temptation of conceit.

The truth of calling touches closely on the link between giftedness and desire and the almost inescapable temptation of envy.

Calling, which played a key role in the rise of modern capitalism, is one of the few truths capable of guiding and restraining it now.

Calling is the best antidote to the deadly sin of sloth.

Calling directly counters the great modern pressure towards secularization because the call of Jesus includes a summons to the exercise of the spiritual disciplines and the experience of supernatural realities.

Calling directly counters the great modern pressure toward privatization because of its insistence that Jesus Christ is Lord of every sphere of life.