What problems impel or compel a person to seek counseling help? The answer is simple, though the problems are complex. Emotions play in darkly minor keys: anxious, embittered, guilty, despairing, ashamed. Actions run in self-destructive ruts of compulsion and addiction. Thoughts proliferate internal chaos, obsessing fruitlessly. Sufferings hammer a person down until the experience seems unspeakable.
This year I read a lot less than usual with only about 30~ books read. Between it being the busiest and most exciting year of my life (our first son was born), and also having completed all of my assigned reading for Greyfriars Hall the previous year, I didn’t read as much as I had hoped. Here’s to reading more in 2021. I’d like to read some Homer this coming year for the first time.
A sincere, decided, and yet moderate Christian, preaching the gospel with great purity and love, this man of thirty seemed destined to become one of the most influential reformers of England. Nothing could have prevented his playing the foremost part, if he had had Luther’s enthusiastic energy or Calvin’s indomitable will. There were less strong, but perhaps more amiable features in his character; he taught with gentleness those who were opposed to the truth, and while many, as Foxe says, ‘take the bellows in hand to blow the fire, but few there are that will seek to quench it’, Fryth sought after peace. Controversies between Protestants distressed him.‘The opinions for which men go to war’, he said, ‘do not deserve those great tragedies of which they make us spectators. Let there be no longer any question among us of Zwinglians or Lutherans, for neither Zwingli nor Luther died for us, and we must be one in Christ Jesus.’ This servant of Christ, meek and lowly of heart like his Master, never disputed even with papists, unless obliged to do so.
A true catholicism which embraced all Christians was Fryth’s distinctive feature as a reformer. He was not one of those who imagine that a national church ought to think only of its own nation; but of those who believe that if a church is the depositary of the truth, she is so for all the earth; and that a religion is not good, if it has no longing to extend itself to all the races of mankind… No one is the sixteenth century represented this truly catholic element better than Fryth. ‘I understand the church of God in a wide sense’, he said. ‘It contains all those whom we regard as members of Christ. It is a net thrown into the sea.’ This principle, sown at that time as a seed in the English reformation, was one day to cover the world in missionaries.
J.H. Merle D’Aubigne, The Reformation in England Vol. II, 131–132.
The residence of Tyndale and his friends in foreign countries, and the connections there formed with pious Christians, testify to the fraternal spirit which the reformation then restored to the church. It is in Protestantism that true catholicity is to be found. The Romish Church is not a catholic church. Separated from the churches of the East, which are the oldest in Christendom, and from the reformed churches, which are the purest, it is nothing but a sect, and that a degenerate one. A church which should profess to believe in an episcopal unity, but which kept itself separate from the episcopacy of Rome and of the East; and from the evangelical churches, would be no longer a catholic church; it would be a sect more sectarian still than that of the Vatican, a fragment of a fragment. The church of the Saviour requires a truer, a diviner unity than that of priests, who condemn one another. It was the reformers, and particularly Tyndale, who proclaimed throughout Christendom the existence of a body of Christ, of which all the children of God are members. The disciples of the reformation are the true Catholics (The Reformation in England, Vol. I, p. 367).
“But fan mail from children is delightful. They don’t gas. They want to know whether Aslan repaired Tumnus’s furniture for him. They take no interest in oneself and all in the story. Lovely.”
“Unredeemably savage religion goes on in the village: the Hermit philosophises in the forest: and neither really interferes with the other. It is only Xtianity wh. compels a high brow like me to partake in a ritual blood feast, and also compels a central African convert to attempt an enlightened universal code of ethics.”
“…though California must be a very attractive state, I confess I prefer New England. It is more my sort of country.”
This is now the fourth year that I have kept track of my favorite books of the past year. This list is merely based on personal enjoyment, and all of them I have read for the first time this year. According to Goodreads, I read 100 books this year—but that number is a little deceiving given a number of booklets and smaller works included.
As always, this is somewhat in order, but I didn’t agonize over it. You can see last year’s list here, 2016, and 2015.
Louis Berkhof (Introduction toSystematic Theology):
The position of the Church in the world calls for a united testimony. Every Church owes it to other Churches and to the world round about her, to make a public declaration of her teachings. If it is but natural that w desire to know something about the character and convictions of the people to whom we would entrust our material interests, it will certainly be considered highly desirable, and in fact quite essential, that we know exactly where a Church stands, in which we would seek spiritual guidance for ourselves and for our children. Moreover, one Church will have to know where another stands, in order to be able to determine in how far it can correspond, cooperate, and possibly affiliate with such a Church. The Church of Jesus Christ should never seek refuge in camouflage, should not try to hide her identity. And this is exactly what she does in the measure in which she fails to give a clear and unequivocal expression of her faith.
Love that refuses to defend that which is loved is not biblical love at all. Such a sentiment is actually self-absorption. Love that shuns a fight is an oxymoron, and so I turn the charge around. The modern evangelical world says peace, peace, but there is no peace. Neither is there love.
I love the right worship of our triune God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit of both. I love the Church, despite the make-up she is currently using. I love the Scriptures, and the message of free grace it brings to a race steeped in idolatrous folly. I love my wife, children, and grandchildren. Thought I haven’t seen them, I love my great-grandchildren and want my descendants to have a place to live in the world where they can worship God with more than three chords. I love my parents, brothers, sister, cousins, nieces, and nephews. God has given us a heritage that I intend to love fiercely until I die. I love the Reformed faith – both its glorious past and yet more glorious future.