Tag Archives: Dorothy Sayers

On Doctrine

In the spirit of last week’s post, here are a few more quotes on the subject of doctrine:

“Nobody objects to a nondoctrinal Christianity because there is nothing to object to.” – Kevin DeYoung

“A nontheological faith cannot explain itself, but too theological a faith loses contact with the reason for its existence… Too much enthusiastic faith without a corresponding degree of theological understanding is almost certain to lead to error, perhaps to serious heresy. Too much doctrine unaccompanied by a living and growing faith is the recipe for dead orthodoxy.” – Harold O.J. Brown

“How is God’s name hallowed among us? When both our doctrine and living are truly Christian.” – Martin Luther

“The one thing I am here to say to you is this: that it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is virtually necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion about what the church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ.” – Dorothy Sayers

“As a man is known by the company he keeps, so it is with a doctrine.” – A.W. Pink

“There is nothing which is so wrong, and so utterly false, as to fail to see the primary importance of true doctrine. Looking back over my experience as a pastor for some thirty-four years, I can testify without the slightest hesitation that the people I have found most frequently in trouble in their spiritual experience have been those who have lacked understanding. You cannot divorce these things.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Indifferentism to doctrine makes no heroes on the faith.” – J. Gresham Machen

“The gospel is a reasonable system, and it appeals to men’s understanding; it is a matter for thought and consideration, and it appeals to the conscience and the reflecting powers। Hence, if we do not teach men something, we may shout, ‘Believe! Believe! Believe!’ but what are they to believe? Each exhortation requires a corresponding instruction, or it will mean nothing. ‘Escape!’ From what? This requires for its answer the doctrine of the punishment of sin. ‘Fly!’ But whither? Then must you preach Christ, and His wounds; yea, and the clear doctrine of atonement by sacrifice. ‘Repent!’ Of what? Here you must answer such questions as, What is sin? What is the evil of sin? What are the consequences of sin ? ‘Be converted!’ But what is it to be converted? By what power can we be converted? What from? What to? The field of instruction is wide if men are to be made to know the truth which saves. ‘That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good,’ and it is ours as the Lord’s instruments to make men so to know the truth that they may believe it, and feel its power. We are not to try and save men in the dark, but in the power of the Holy Ghost we are to seek to turn them from darkness to light.” – C.H. Spurgeon

“If Error be harmless, then Truth must needs be useless.” – Abraham Booth

“Moral power has always accompanied definitive beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need right now a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever.” – A.W. Tozer

Work That Is Not True to Itself

If you know anything about me or what I do, you’ll know why I love this quote (taken from Dorothy Sayer’s essay “Why Work”). Many thanks to a friend from church for sharing it with me:

The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables. Church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly – but what use is all that if in the very centre of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked table-legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made heaven and earth. No piety in the worker will compensate for work that is not true to itself; for any work that is untrue to its own technique is a living lie.

On Hell

“The doctrine of hell is not ‘mediaeval priestcraft’ for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin…. We cannot repudiate hell without altogether repudiating Christ.” ~ Dorothy Sayers

“Hell is not evil; it’s a place where evil gets punished. Hell is not pleasant, appealing, or encouraging. But Hell is morally good, because a good God must punish evil.” ~ Randy Alcorn

“The fact that most people don’t believe in hell doesn’t mean
they won’t end up there.” ~ Cliffe Knechtle

“When I pastored a country church, a farmer didn’t like the sermons I preached on hell. He said, Preach about the meek
and lowly Jesus. I said, That’s where I got my information
about hell.” ~ Vance Havner

“There is nothing funny about Hell. Hollywood laughs at it, but it’s still not funny. A lot of people use hell as a byword or a curse word, but it’s still not funny. University professors mock it, but it’s not funny. Philosophers explain it away, but it’s still not funny. Hell is no joke.” ~ Shelton L. Smith

“Not believing in hell doesn’t lower the temperature down there
one degree.” ~ Neil T. Anderson

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all.” ~ J.C. Ryle

“It’s only a popular myth that Hell doesn’t exist. And it’s also cruel not to believe in Hell. For isn’t it cruel to tell skaters on thin ice that there’s no water under the ice and that they can’t possibly drown?” ~ Peter Kreeft