Posted by: chuckbumgardner | February 2, 2010

Garrett, Systematic Theology, Quotable 4

(More interesting and representative quotations from James Leo Garrett, Systematic Theology, 2nd edition)

(31) “For many Christian congregations today it is not altogether evident that persons from differing ethnic, linguistic, national, cultural, and economic backgrounds are being united in the bond of Christian fellowship by common access to the Father in and through the Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, the sin of schism seems not to rank very high in the hierarchy of present-day sins inasmuch as new divisions among Christians are defended or justified without specific acknowledgment that schism is a sin.  Still further, the great issue as to the greater actualization of Christian unity and of church unity remains largely unanswered at the beginning of the twenty-first century despite the impact of the Ecumenical Movement.  Although there may be a growing recognition that there is indeed a givenness to Christian unity which survives all our Christian divisions, there is little agreement about structures designed to embody or reflect that unity.” (2:200)

(32) “Protestants, despite their lesser involvement in hierarchical polity, have not escaped the danger of making the Holy Spirit captive to the church. . . . Even the structures of congregational polity in the so-called ‘free churches’ can make the Spirit captive to culture or to the whims of a majority. . . . Three twentieth-century examples of Protestant muzzling of the Holy Spirit have been the defense of racial segregation and discrimination, the acquiescence by some in political totalitarianism, and the surrender to suburban culture in the great cities.” (2:209)

(33) “Has the French parliament with its numerous political parties each striving for its own ends, and their corresponding representation become the unconscious model for some churches and denominations?  Have governments dominated by one party, notably the Communist, with their reduction of all opposition to mere formalities become the pattern for others?  Has the practice of voting become so politicized through factional strife as to obscure any possible guidance by the Spirit?   Such present-day influences of the political upon the ecclesial are opposite to the fact that radical Protestantism’s decisions by consensus through the Spirit in an earlier era were taken from the ecclesial sphere and applied in the political with a resultant boost for democracy.” (2:21-11)

(34) (quotation from Dale Moody) “The faith that fizzles before the finish has had a flaw from the first.” (2:269)

(35) “For Christians to think that they can effectively announce to unbelievers the divine word of reconciliation while they are utterly unreconciled to their fellow Christians is an anomaly for which there is no legitimation in the Scriptures.  Reconciliation must be acted as well as spoken.  Hence television ‘sound-bites’ cannot effectively displace all career missionaries.” (2:333)

(36) “Discipleship is the discipline of continuance in Christ.” (2:381)

(37) “Strong congregational life and serious congregational participation in the world mission of Christianity would seem to depend upon storehouse tithing or some other equivalent degree of giving.” (2:246)

(38) “Prayer is not intended to be the means of bringing ‘a reluctant God’ to do the will of human beings. . . . Rather it seeks to bring human wills into subordination to God’s will so that God can bless such human beings and accomplish his will and purpose.” (2:443-44).

(39) “Election is not primarily a riddle to be unraveled but rather a great mystery that is to evoke thankful worship.” (2:479)

(40) “The Southern Baptists, probably more than any Christan body espousing believer’s baptism, today face an acute problem by virtue of the diminishing age at which very young children, usually from Christian families, are being baptized and received into church membership — a trend which some see as movement toward infant baptism.”


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