Great Quotes

I once heard an Indian church leader say that other religions here can replicate every reported Christian miracle except one. Christians claim physical healings and so do Hindus and Muslims. Christians claim changed lives, and so do Buddhists. Only one miracle by the Christians causes other Indians to marvel: when people of different genders, races,, castes, and social classes come together in a true spirit of unity.
Phillip Yancey, What Good is God?, ©2010 Phillip Yancey, FaithWords, New York, NY

 

True unity is by the Spirit of God through faith in the gospel. Any form of unity that forsakes the central truths of the gospel–the substitutionary atonement of Christ, His resurrection, and justification by grace alone thorough faith alone–is no unity at all. All those who hold and cherish these core truths–the kind of truths that Paul described as of “first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:2-5) –enjoy true unity. We’re one in Christ, even if we exist on opposite sides of the world and worship in different traditions.
Joshua Harris, Stop Dating the Church, ©2004 by Joshua Harris, Published by Multnomah Publishers, Inc., Sisters, Oregon

 

For many years, some dear friends of our family were missionaries in Asia. Primarily through the husband/father’s work of teaching English in a local university, they were able to share the gospel in creative and profound ways. Several other people from the U.S. and other countries also were teachers in the same geographic region. These other people might be Baptist or Lutheran, Pentecostal or some other Christian group. Our friends would gather together with these folks because having “church” with the locals would be seen as an illegal act. So the foreigners would gather for worship, the Word and fellowship each Sunday.
During those years, one statement from my friend about those gatherings struck me. He said, “We don’t really have a choice about who we worship with.” In other words, the people who God happens to bring to minister the gospel in that region are the ones with whom they would gather.
What a strange idea that is to us in our country. For Americans, options are the ultimate good. We want choices about everything – food, entertainment, education, government, where to live, and even what church to attend. And the more options there are, the better we like it.
Yet, if we really believe that God is in control, then perhaps picking our place of worship based on our own likes and dislikes – our own comfort – might not be best. Think about it. God uses situation and circumstances – oftentimes uncomfortable situations and circumstances – to cause us to mature in Him. So running away from such things is likely not a good idea.
Tom Kraeuter

 

A friend of mine once told me years ago that the one thing that made her uneasy about heaven is that she won’t get to choose her table companions at the Messianic banquet.
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, 1990, 2000, pg 44

 

Does the church lack credibility with the culture because Christians would rather be right than be in relationship with one another? We’d rather be right about our positions, right about our condemnations, right about having the “right” interpretation of Scripture. We’d rather score points than secure relationships with others who share the Christian faith.
Leonard Sweet, Out Of The Question…Into The Mystery. Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook Press, 2004

 

Christian groups, such as college ministries, those reaching out to first-time mothers or to those playing certain sports, specialize in one age or life situation. They lack the variety of holy interaction that Jesus wants believers to have in order to become spiritually complete. To use the biblical picture of the church as the body of Christ, some Christian groups are like Jesus’ Leg Clubs saying, “Come join us, we’re all legs. We run fast and jump high for Jesus. We are Christians of action! We don’t need the boring old underarms, belly buttons, or noses in the body of Christ—let’s just go with legs. Don’t you want to spend your time, money, and energy moving for the Lord?” I believe these groups can be a wonderful blessing to Christians in special circumstances, but believers who put all of their eggs in special, but exclusive, baskets will discover that they are not growing in the many ways the Lord intended.
John Crotts, Loving the Church

 

There is no good, healthy, regular pattern of the Christian life if you are not joined with a local church—if you are not in covenant with other Christians. It’s not OK just having some Christian friends who you talk to sometimes. I am talking about the way that God set it out that there are leaders that you submit to. There are other Christians you covenant to, to pray for and care for. There is actually something that other Christians can do to help you if you fall into unrepentant sin—all the beautiful mercies that God has given us to gather together, to sing together, to sit under preaching together. That is huge in the life of a Christian.
And so we can’t say: God has adopted me. He is my Father. I am glad he is, but I am just going to ignore his people altogether. That doesn’t make any sense, because if you are adopted in his family, you now have brothers and sisters. So when we become new Christians, our identity changes as individuals, but also, in another way, corporately.
When I got married, I suddenly had an entire new set of relatives. People that I once had no relationship with at all — people I didn’t even know — are now suddenly close relatives. And not being related isn’t an option.
Trip Lee, “You Need the Local Church to Be Healthy,” http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/280653-need-local-church-healthy-trip-lee-desiring-god.html

 

A caricature is a cartoon drawing of someone. It generally accentuates certain characteristics of the person. If the person has a large nose, for example, a caricaturist would portray them with a very large nose. Someone who is skinny would be drawn as extremely skinny. Those noteworthy features are overemphasized — sometimes to a level of absurdity — to make a point.
The place where we encounter caricatures most frequently is in political satire comics. And the one drawing is lampooning the person, making them look ridiculous in an effort to say that they are ridiculous.
I can’t help but wonder if we sometimes — because of our bickering and general disunity — portray Christ in a caricature-ish way. He did, after all, say that people would know we are His followers because we love one another. So does our lack of love — often portrayed in the extreme by the media and those opposed to Christianity — tell people that we’re clearly not followers of Jesus?
Tom Kraeuter

 

Jesus deeply longed for unity amongst His children. This should not come at the expense of truth. There are times when the truth will divide. Let’s all humbly beg for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to know how to love our brothers without compromising truth. As we diligently confront false teaching, let’s show equal fervency in defending those who are truly our brothers and equal zeal in confronting those who unnecessarily divide the body.
Francis Chan http://wearechurch.com/blog/2019/3/16/a-response-to-some-concerns-by-francis-chan

 

No doubt we all love unity, but we must distinctly maintain that true unity can only be built on God’s truth. We must not withhold the right hand of fellowship from any faithful brethren because he does not think exactly like us, but we must understand who the men are to whom we extend the hand of fellowship. We cannot endorse the sentiments and views of persons who have no real love for Christ’s truth. We cannot make people believe that we are all one in heart, when in reality, we differ on the most basic of truths.
J.C. Ryle, prominent 18th century theologian http://www.gospelbearers.com/2016/07/

 

Many people who talk about unity among churches lean in one direction or the other. Either their understanding is that unity is all-inclusive — “We’re all children of God: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, all of us — or the unity only extends to their “tribe” — Baptists in unity with other Baptists, Pentecostals in unity with other Pentecostals, etc.
But both of those options seem to lean away from God’s heart.
Although we surely should be kind and friendly toward those who are not Christians, true Christian unity is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus. We have been made one in Him.
Tom Kraeuter

 

Martin Luther said, “I pray you leave my name alone. Do not call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians.” John Wesley said, “I wish the name Methodist might never be mentioned again, but lost in eternal oblivion. Charles Spurgeon said, “I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ’s own name last forever.”
Dan Delzell “Why All Christians Are Actually Non-denominational”, https://www.christianpost.com/news/why-all-christians-are-actually-non-denominational-72136/

 

Many scholars believe that the Hebrew word that is translated as “covenant” in the Old Testament is from an Assyrian word that commonly meant fetter: something that binds or restrains.
We don’t use that word “covenant” much in our culture today, and when we do, I don’t think we really get it.
See, in covenant, we are bound to — shackled to, if you will — the other party.
In our culture, broken promises and agreements are the norm. But that’s not the biblical pattern.
So when we talk about covenant, it’s a lasting, binding sort of thing that does not allow for an exit strategy or a prenuptial agreement in case something goes wrong.
No, in covenant, we’re stuck.
And here’s why we need to understand this: God has made a covenant with us and, at the same time, has brought us into a similar covenant relationship with the rest of His Body.
It’s not something we have the option of simply walking away from.
We’re bound to the Lord and to one another in His Body.
That’s covenant.
Tom Kraeuter

 

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, tells of a dream that he once had in which he was transported to the gates of hell. He stood there and called out:
“Are there any Roman Catholics here?”
“Yes,” came the reply.
“Are there any Presbyterians?”
“Yes,” was the answer.
“Any Congregationalists?”
“Yes.”
“Are there any Methodists here?”
“Yes,” came the reply.
As Wesley thought on this last answer, he was suddenly transported to the gates of heaven. Once again, he called out:
“Are there any Roman Catholics here?”
“No,” came the reply.
“Are there any Presbyterians?”
“No,” was the answer.
“Any Congregationalists?”
“No.”
“Are there any Methodists here?”
“No,” came the reply.
Puzzled, he asked, “Well then, who is here?”
The answer came back, “Christians.”
There is coming a day when all of the party denominations and separations will be done away. One of these days we will see Jesus and then everything else will come to be unimportant by comparison.
John and Paula Stevenson “Divisions in the Church,” http://www.angelfire.com/nt/theology/1cr01-10.html

 

 
Christian unity at its deepest and yet simplest is this: Jesus Christ indwells you and he indwells me. We have been joined to the Father through the work of Jesus and the presence of the Spirit. So whatever makes us different could not possibly be greater than what makes us alike. Whatever divides us cannot possibly be stronger than what brings us together. If Jesus Christ is with you, and Jesus Christ is with me, then what we have in common exceeds everything we don’t.
Mark Buchanan, Hidden in Plain Sight, ©2007 Mark Buchanan,Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, pg. 170

 

A dear friend of mine asked this question, “To the extent that we shop for churches to suit our tastes, how much of this is out of a desire to protect our own sense of safety and comfort and meet our own needs (and avoid the hard work of growing into mature Christians who can demonstrate the difference between unity and conformity) and how much is out of a deep conviction that the Lord Himself is placing us right where He wants us?”
Tom Kraeuter

 

John Calvin wrote this: “So long as animosities divide us, and heart-burnings prevail amongst us, we may be brethren no doubt still by common relation to God, but cannot be judged one so long as we present the appearance of a broken and dismembered body. As we are one in God the Father, and in Christ, the union must be ratified amongst us by reciprocal harmony, and fraternal love.”
http://www.biblia.work/sermons/unity-and-purity/

 

From gifted older couples providing an example to you and your spouse, service opportunities to enjoy as a family, godly interaction with brothers and sisters, encouragement and counsel when you need it, to the accountability provided by loving leaders, the church is a community that will benefit you and your family.
John Crotts, Loving the Church

 

If we were never hungry, we would likely die. The hunger causes us to go after that which our body needs to stay alive. We can ignore the hunger — act like it’s not real — and we can eventually suppress it enough that we won’t notice it anymore.
In much the same way as hunger pushes us to eat, there is inside us an innate desire/need to be in relationship with others. But, we can — just like it’s possible to ignore the hunger pangs — keep ignoring the impulse for relationship. If we do, we can lose the desire for fellowship with others. If that happens, it does not make the need any less real.
Tom Kraeuter

 

If I mention I’m a servant of God, some will say they aren’t servants, they’re friends. If I say I’m a friend of God, some will say they’re not friends, they’re sons. If I say I’m a son of God, some will say, they are not sons, they are part of the bride of Christ.. If I say I’m part of the bride of Christ, some will say they are not, they are part of the Body of Christ on earth. Each point can be successfully argued from Scripture. The error is not theological. It is in the heart — it’s the inability to recognize and value the lesson another is learning in Christ. The insecure often find their security in having an opinion that differs from others.
Pastor Bill Johnson, shared on Facebook, April 17, 2914

 

“The church of Jesus Christ must stand together in a divided culture. The bride of Christ cannot allow the evil one to create divisions within us. When followers of Jesus Christ are divided, they will fall more easily to the temptations and traps of the evil one. Isolation is not the answer to maintaining holiness and righteousness. Unity is the answer to maintaining holiness and righteousness.”

Benjamin Karner, Unity in the Body, ©2017, Bloomington, Ind.: WestBow Press