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Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship

Lesslie Newbigin

Top 10 Best Quotes

“One does not learn anything except by believing something, and -- conversely -- if one doubts everything one learns nothing. On the other hand, believing everything uncritically is the road to disaster. The faculty of doubt is essential. But as I have argued, rational doubt always rests on faith and not vice versa. The relationship between the two cannot be reversed. ”

“But if the biblical story is true, the kind of certainty proper to a human being will be one which rests on the fidelity of God, not upon the competence of the human knower. It will be a kind of certainty which is inseparable from gratitude and trust.”

“Modern science has placed in human hands the power to do things that were previously unimaginable. Technology, the development of ever more sophisticated means for achieving any end we choose, dominates modern and modernized societies. But there is a growing perception that science and technology are no substitute for wisdom - for the power to discern what ends are in accordance with the truth and the power to judge rightly between alternative ends.”

“If we define the word Theos as that on which everything else depends but which itself depends on nothing else - a reasonable definition - then none of these scientific theories is theologically neutral. All of them rest on fundamental assumptions which can be questioned. But the questioning, if it is to be rational, has to rely on other fundamental assumptions which can in turn be questioned. It follows (and this is Polanyi's point) that there can be no knowing without personal commitment. We must believe in order to know.”

“postmodernists' replacement of eternal truths with a story. But there is a profound difference between the two. For the postmodernists, there are many stories, but no overarching truth by which they can be assessed. They are simply stories. The church's affirmation is that the story it tells, embodies, and enacts is the true story and that others are to be evaluated by reference to it.”

“When Jesus says to Simon, "Follow me," the response is a single act of faith and obedience; there is no gap between a mental action of believing and a bodily action of following. The human person is not a mind attached to a body but a single psychosomatic being.”

“The strong counterattack against the values of the European Enlightenment has come just at the time when, for the reasons already given, the confidence of Europe in its own culture is collapsing. The result of the conjunction of these two forces is the phenomenon of multiculturalism, an ideology that celebrates cultural diversity as an unqualified good in its own right. When this ideology takes over, value judgments claiming to discriminate between different cultural traditions in terms of their intrinsic worth are ruled out of order. Cultural diversity is an unqualified good; judgments of good or bad with respect to different cultures are condemned as cultural imperialism.”

“The modern antithesis of observation and reason on the one hand versus revelation and faith on the other is only tenable on the basis of a prior decision that the whole cosmic and human story has no purpose and therefore no meaning. It”

“In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "Only the obedient believe, and those who believe are obedient" (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 69).”

“If the logos had become part of history in this man Jesus, then two dualisms which were fundamental to classical thought were no longer tenable. One was the dualism between the "sensible" and the "intelligible," or--as we might say--between the material and the mental or spiritual.”

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Book Keywords:

anthropology, ontology, spirit, judgment, jesus, the-enlightenment, soul, human, diversity, multiculturalism, values, gnosticism, cultural-imperialism, incarnational

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