Sunday, May 04, 2008

An assortment of authors

It could scramble one's brain--if they weren't all pointing to Jesus. I'm reading (or dipping into) four Christian authors of totally different traditions and writing centuries apart, yet they all say much the same. Oswald Chambers (late 19th century, Baptist, Holiness), My Utmost for his Highest, particularly those daily readings that focus on intercession and the cross; St. John of the Cross (Carmelite, Roman Catholic Saint, 16th century), The impact of God; Jeremiah Burroughs (Puritan, 17th century), "Christ is all in all" (sermon); and A.C. Wieand (Church of the Brethren, founder of Bethany Seminary, mid-20th century), who drew from many traditions, The Gospel of Prayer (1953). The frayed, second hand Wieand book I've had on my shelves at Lakeside for probably 15-20 years, and yet this week-end I opened it with a fresh eye and it seemed to come alive, reading it in the context of the other writers who direct us beyond on our damaged, sinful lives and troubles to the purity and holiness of Jesus Christ. In the words of Burroughs, Wieand fits perfectly:
    "That which I shall this day endeavor is to show you something of the glory of God shining in this truth: that God communicates Himself through a Mediator, through His Son. It is absolutely necessary for you to know if you would have eternal life. It is possible to be ignorant of many other truths and still be saved, but there must be something of this or there can be no salvation. The mistake in this very thing is the miscarriage and the eternal undoing of thousands upon thousands of souls. Many believe that they have need of, and can never be saved without, God's mercy. The light of nature convinces us of this. But they are ignorant of, and do not see the reality of, this truth: that God communicates His mercy through a Mediator. They miscarry and perish eternally with cries to God for mercy because they come to God, but not through a Mediator."
Oh, that there could be more substance and solid food in contemporary Christian books which seem to be so choked by anecdotal cotton candy and tangential concepts like diets or parenting or church growth or signs from the headlines. But praise God for the classics!

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