15 Augustine Quotes That Helped Shape Modern Christian Thought

On Reading Scripture

The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them. – Confessions

On Science and the Supernatural

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. – sourced in The Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations

On Being Open to New Interpretations of Scripture

In matters that are obscure and far beyond our vision, even in such as we may find treated in Holy Scripture, different Interpretations are sometimes possible without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such a case, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to conform to that of Sacred Scripture. – Genesi Ad Litteram

On Relationships with Others

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you. – On Christian Teaching

On Suffering

What grace is meant to do is to help good people, not to escape their sufferings, but to bear them with a stout heart, with a fortitude that finds its strength in faith. – City of God

On Truth

A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature, but rejecting superstitious vanities and deploring and avoiding those who ‘though they knew God did not glorify him as God or give thanks but became enfeebled in their own thoughts and plunged their senseless minds into darkness. Claiming to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the image of corruptible mortals and animals and reptiles’ [Romans 1:21-3] – On Christian Teaching

A word too far? Some evangelicals may have reached the breaking point with Trump.

Trump is, however, very much what the religious right has long rejected. The moral majority from which modern evangelical political activists descend rose in response to the immorality of the 1960s and ’70s. Sensing that American norms and morals were quickly changing for the worse, Jerry Falwell Sr. and others rallied to push back against a culture embracing sex outside of marriage, pornography and licentiousness. So it is no small irony that Falwell’s son, Jerry Falwell Jr., helped rally many evangelicals to a man who embodies all the things Falwell Sr. stood against. Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, even posed with his wife in front of an old cover of Playboy that featured Donald Trump.

.. Scripture commands we care for the widows, the poor, the orphans and the refugees, but some of the president’s evangelical supporters are cheering on the government breaking apart families through immigration policies.

.. a large number of evangelicals have convinced themselves that their politics and faith are two separate things and they can champion a politician like Trump without it affecting their souls or salvation. They have rationalized their way into a bastardized version of Martin Luther’s two kingdoms theology.

.. These evangelical activists believe God has ordained the two governments and never the two shall meet, so what they do in politics has no bearing on the church or the advancement of God’s kingdom.

.. This will keep a solid base of shallow evangelicals for the president, but Trump won the electoral college by only 70,000 votes spread over three states, while losing the popular vote. There is a sizable though overlooked minority within evangelicalism, and they threaten not just the president’s power, but the GOP’s majority.

.. A subset of evangelicals are increasingly attracted to a Protestantism that derives from reformed theology. The GOP is risking losing some of these “reformed evangelicals.”

.. The party was supposed to be the party that championed the concerns of people of faith. Instead, it is a party that demands people of faith support a party ahead of their God.

.. The point is Trump believes people from these countries are undesirable immigrants. Many reformed evangelicals now have children from those countries, have funded missionaries to those countries, and consider citizens in those countries their partners in ministry and mission. Trump’s attack is an attack on their work to glorify God and care for their children. They believe all people regardless of nationality and background are made in God’s image and deserve honor and respect.

 

Is There an Evangelical Crisis?

Christian Smith coined a useful and resonant phrase, describing evangelical Christianity in the post-1960s United States as both “embattled and thriving.”

.. an identity in a secularizing country that was neither separatist nor assimilated, but somehow mainstream and countercultural at once.

.. there is talk of an intergenerational crisis within evangelical churches, a widening disillusionment with a Trump-endorsing old guard, a feeling that a crackup must loom ahead.

.. that they will either go along with the drift of their elders and become church-of-American-greatness heretics, or else they will return to “older liturgical traditions,” Catholic and Orthodox and Anglican, and cease to identify with evangelicalism entirely.

.. If so, then this would imply that white Christian tribalism and a very American sort of heresy, not a commitment to scripture and tradition, has kept evangelical churches thriving all these years.

Comments:

.. According to Psychologist Brian Hall, many see a world that is a terrifying mystery beyond our control, where safety and security are the issues. Here, the black and white evangelical “are you saved?” churches thrive. Many others see the world as a problem to solve with the help of institutions of control, like government and big corporations. Institutional churches thrive here, depending on their unchanging truths. But other religious people have come see the world as a project, and here the old immovable certainties become more plastic. This is terrifying for those who go by black and white.

.. It strikes me that the first sentence of your third paragraph from the bottom should read as follows: “But it’s also possible that evangelical intellectuals and writers, and their friends in other Christian traditions, have Over-estimated how much how much a serious theology has ever mattered to evangelical’s sociological success.”

.. His view of life led to his death because he was way ahead of his time. He chose a difficult path.
Evangelicals choose an easy path. One that is black and white. One that rejects science; evolution. One that rejects the complexities inherent in daily life.

.. Why does every pundit speak of the election as if voting for Trump is tantamount to an endorsement of all things Trump?

I voted because I believe it to be a civic obligation, but I didn’t choose the options on the ballot, and I had to pick one. Tust me that I endorsed neither. I am honestly not sure how much anyone should take away from a vote for Trump (or a vote against Hilary).

There were two bad choices, and he won by the skin of his teeth. Let’s not make more of his victory than what it was.

 

Trump’s Pious and Dangerous Enablers

Did I miss something when Trump said he was salivating at the chance to take health care away from 22 million Americans and the 87-year-old Robertson merely responded with his trademark chucklehead chuckle?

.. Robertson is not the most despicable of Trump’s enablers. For that, you’re probably thinking of Sean Hannity. No, it goes beyond the safe spaces in broadcasting. The most odious of those who are letting Trump drag America into the gutter include Vice President Mike Pence, the leaders in Congress and the pious shepherds of a white evangelical community that continues to give an awful man a pass for every awful thing he does.

.. Pence is the choirboy who leaves the room when the nasty boys take over, and then helps clean up later.

.. Pence has said he would never dine alone with a woman who is not his wife, which raises questions about how he would handle a diplomatic dinner with Angela Merkel.

.. Through every degrading statement, every Oval Office insult, every one of the more than 500 demonstrable lies told (so far) by this president, Pence has remained silent or defended the offender.

And if the White House is blackmailed because the Kremlin has something even more damning on, say, Jared Kushner .. Pence will be further exposed as a gutless cipher.
.. Another boy scout in hiding is House Speaker Paul Ryan. Golly gee, he just wants to cut taxes on the rich, destroy the health care system, and work on his abs and guns.
.. Asked this week if he would ever have a meeting with a foreign power offering dirt on a political opponent, he said, “I’m not going to go into hypotheticals.”
.. And the above question is anything but a hypothetical; the dim-bulbed Donald Trump Jr. presented it in writing.
.. A true miracle would be for one of the enablers among the 81 percent of white evangelicals who gave their vote to Trump to follow their conscience, or at least the Scriptures they profess guide them.

A Fountain Fullness of Love

Bonaventure taught that there are three books from which we learn wisdom: The Book of Creation, The Book of Jesus and Scripture, and The Book of Experience. He also taught that there are three pairs of eyes. The first pair sees all things as a fingerprint or footprint of God (vestigia Dei), which evokes foundational respect and teachability. The second pair of eyes is the hard work of honest self-knowledge—awareness of how you are processing your reality moment by moment. This is necessary to keep your own lens clean and open, and it is the work of your entire lifetime. The third pair is the eyes of contemplation, which allow you to see things in their essence and in their core meaning. Only then can you receive the transmitted image of God on your soul.

.. Bonaventure says we must begin “at the bottom, presenting to ourselves the whole material world as a mirror through which we may pass over to God, the Supreme [Artisan].”

.. Everything comes from God, exemplifies God, and then returns to God.  Bonaventure says that sums up all his teaching.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Disgusting, Cowardly Response to the Manchester Attack

The Labour leader used Monday’s brutal attack as a chance to blame Islamist terror on Western foreign policy.

We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home. Look closely at Corbyn’s words here. On the first day of campaigning after a major atrocity, he chose to strike moral and strategic parallels between British foreign policy and ISIS. In so doing, he demonstrated the worst kind of moral cowardice. He also proved himself a man of deep strategic incontinence.

After all, while individual Islamist terrorists are often partly motivated by the perceived injustices of Western foreign policy, those they serve are not — and that difference is critical. From ISIS to al-Qaeda to Hezbollah, Islamist groups are motivated by Islamic scripture. The majority of scholars from various Islamic schools would attest that these groups adhere to their own warped interpretations of the Koran. But the Koran is nevertheless important, because it motivates an ordained mission that seeks something far more elusive than territory or political power: purity on Earth. The major Islamist terrorist leaders have dedicated themselves to the imposition of Allah’s law on all of humanity, and in this they see themselves as humanity’s liberators.

.. But when withdrawal came, the weight went with it. And suddenly, our ability to influence political developments perished alongside our capability to assist Iraqi security forces in counter-terrorism missions. And so ISIS filled the vacuum.