Christian leaders through the centuries have likewise made profound statements. Having done Church History, earning 1st Class Honours and winning the Christian History Prize at seminary (albeit 36 years ago at Morling), I thought that I'd check out "Christian Quotes" on Google and a hand full of the most famous 1st and 2nd century quotes.
Alas, what came up astonished me, there were literally hundreds of web site and ministries that featured Christian Quotes and rather than selecting a few I recalled from my seminary years, it became something of a research problem as to where to begin and what one might dare to leave out in this article.
Initially, I thought of Polycarp in 120AD, who when being led to be burnt at the stake he said that in his 96 years he have never denied his Lord. We can think of Tertullian in the 3rd century who exclaimed that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. From memory I could fill this article with such quotes – the Cappodecian fathers, Justin, Cyril, Ambrose, Augustine to name but a few.
That would be all too easy and any theologian reading this would be well aware of these famous quotations, and therefore I thought it more appropriate to dig a little and find quotes that are a little out of the ordinary.
One of the quotes that is attributed to me and has been utilised over and again in the realms of sports ministry around the world, was my emphasis and understanding of human experience, where I stated: "We are in battle for our nation's youth, where the battle is won and lost on the philosophical".
In the 14 years we spent in Moruya at the Basil Sellers House respite facility for Australian Institute of Sport elite athletes, one of the privileges was to meet with them. Seeking their responses to philosophical questions provided remarkable doors into their hearts. Questions such as at a supermarket and asking the employee to point out which isle I might find the Packet of Ambition. Or, the Can of Honesty. Or the Box of Humility. Or the Container of Integrity. Or the Jar of Loyalty. Or the Bottle of Trusted Relationship.
It was pretty obvious to them that they were facing philosophical issues - none of these could be seen or touched, and yet these are the most important things in our lives. Christian Faith too is one of these, and perhaps for the very first time, it dawned upon them that this too was as valid for their lives as those listed above.
"Wanna be a rebel. Read your Bible. No one does that anymore, You'll be sure to stick out." John Wylie. (www.tumblr.com)
"Many good purposes and intentions lie in the church graveyard." Mathew Henry.
"One great power of sin is that it blinds men so that they do not recognise its true character." Andrew Murray.
In Scripture the visitation of an angel is always alarming; it has to begin by saying "Fear not." The Victorian angel looks as if it were going to say, "There, there." C S Lewis
(I might add that some the 21st century angels might say "This is how you make money!")
"We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God." D L Moody
"To enjoy sensuous pleasures daily is no evidence of spirituality. On the contrary, those who go on with God and disregard their own feelings are the truly spiritual ones." Watchman Nee. (christian-quotes.ochristian.com)
"Before an individual can be saved, he must first learn that he cannot save himself." M. R. DeHaan, M.D.
(My wife Delma of 36 years says that a person must first recognise they are not a Christian. This is how she became a follower of Jesus.)
"Christ is a substitute for everything, but nothing is a substitute for Christ." Dr. H. A. Ironside
"God's work done God's way will never lack God's supply." Hudson Taylor.
"And Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees." William Cowper.
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible!" President George Washington
"If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by him. Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." William Penn
"The Law and the Gospel are two keys. The Law is the key that shutteth up all men under condemnation, and the Gospel is the key which opens the door and lets them out." William Tyndale (www.cobblestoneroadministry.org)
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html