Celebrating the Vote in Kansas

On Tuesday, the people of Kansas voted that a woman should continue to have the right to choose to end the life of her unborn baby. Many are celebrating this decision. Abortion will still be legal in Kansas. Dobbs verses Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization will not have the profound effect in Kansas that it will have in other states which will vote, or have voted, to further restrict abortions in their state.

But let us remember, the vote protecting the right to an abortion in Kansas did not overturn the current Kansas law concerning abortion. Kansas does not allow for abortions after 22 weeks, unless there are extreme circumstances (https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article262824318.html). These restrictions will continue until the laws are changed one way or another. The vote against the constitutional change in Kansas only kept abortion law in Kansas unchanged.

President Biden said of the vote concerning abortion in Kansas, “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions.”

Of course, we must remember that just because a majority of people vote to support an issue, there is no guarantee their decision is morally right. The blighted history of our nation is very clear about this.

Also, in the President’s statement, there is no reflection on the rights or life of the baby. The issue for pro-life advocates is not a woman’s right to choose. For many pro-life persons, if a woman has not had the right to choose (rape) to become pregnant, or she must choose between her own life and the baby’s life, abortion is an option, though not mandated. One can argue that a woman has the right to defend herself in both cases. Thankfully, these situations are relatively rare.

The biggest gap in President Biden’s statement is that the baby is not considered, only the woman. The pro-life position is that the baby is an innocent being who deserves the opportunity to live and has great value as he or she has been created in the image of God. Aborting or supporting the life of a baby is not just a health care decision for the mother, but also for the baby. The pro-life supporter is in no way against the mother. But, since the child is the weaker party, the pro-life position is that our society has the obligation to defend the defenseless and innocent. The pro-life position believes that the life of the baby should take priority over the rights or inconveniences of the mother (and father). Even in the case of rape, adoption should be considered. With this view, the pro-life person (and states) must seek to support mothers who need help carrying the baby to full-term and further help mothers who decide that, adoption, not abortion, is the best option.

Nothing has actually changed in Kansas. In most cases, abortion is still illegal after 22 weeks. But I wonder, is this vote to continue a woman’s right to abort an unborn child something to be celebrated? If it is about women’s rights, I guess the answer is “yes.” But if it is about the life of the unborn, the answer is a resounding “no.”

50 Ways to live a Great Life

  1. Spend daily time with God reading the Bible
  2. Spend daily time with God in prayer – Mark 1:35; Col. 4:2; Philippians 4:6-7
  3. read at least 1 hour each week
  4. exercise at least 4 times per week doing something that makes you sweat
  5. memorize Scripture
  6. date your children  – at least monthly, do something special with each child
  7. date your wife  – at least monthly, do something special with your spouse
  8. don’t borrow money to go to school – get a job and save
  9. don’t spend more money than you make
  10. invest in God’s work
  11. make a sacrifice for your family every day
  12. invest time in relationships  – stay in touch with some good friends
  13. develop your talents – focus on what you are good at and enjoy
  14. lay a foundation of education in your life
  15. be around good people who encourage and help you
  16. make a covenant with your eyes – Job 31:1
  17. learn to laugh – don’t take yourself too seriously
  18. take a family vacation at least once each year
  19. have special traditions with your family –  Pumpkin patch, thanksgiving, Christmas Eve
  20. allow your children to make mistakes
  21. ask your children and others forgiveness when you sin against them
  22. teach your children to save for the big things – college, car, marriage
  23. give your children responsibilities
  24. be consistent in your love and discipline
  25. help those who can’t help you
  26. start investing for retirement early
  27. don’t invest money in the stock market you can’t afford to lose
  28. have one ministry in the church where you are making disciples
  29. have one activity outside of the church where you are regularly meeting unchurched people
  30. eat a healthy diet
  31. get enough sleep each night
  32. spend time in worship with others weekly
  33. have a few people who hold you accountable
  34. read at least one book on parenting, finances, spiritual growth, marriage and theology each year
  35. read biographies of people who inspire you
  36. go on at least one mission trip outside your culture
  37. diversify your investments
  38. take worthy risks
  39. smile
  40. be flexible – James – we do not know what tomorrow holds
  41. walk in the spirit – Galatians 5
  42. set goals
  43. make a plan
  44. count the cost
  45. what do you want said at your funeral?
  46. walk by faith – trust God and challenge your fears
  47. Plan for your legacy
  48. honor your parents
  49. be thankful
  50. keep your word – don’t make promises you can’t keep

Less toys for Christmas

I propose we give fewer toys for Christmas. Let me explain. Growing up, I was very spoiled at Christmas. I received many wonderful toys from my parents and grandparents. At least from one set of grandparents. They were the seemingly wealthy ones to whom I gave a list from the Sears catalogue and often received several expensive items, with at least one main present. Things like a short-wave radio and giant pitchback (hours in the backyard with a baseball) come to mind. My mom did the shopping for them. I actually don’t remember receiving any gifts from my other grandparents, but I assume I did. Thanksgiving was more their holiday. I remember watching the Detroit Lions on their black and white TV at Thanksgiving, and eating delicious spicy dressing which my Grandpa (the cook) used to make, but I really don’t remember any Christmas presents. Grandpa would call us “squirrels” and often give us a quarter when we saw him, but nothing stands out from them as Christmas presents. In fact, though I don’t know this, I imagine my mom also bought their presents for us with her own money, and then put their names on the gifts. The thing is – I don’t think I ever thought, even thinking about it now, that my one grandparents loved me more because they bought me more gifts. One set of grandparents ate steak on Sunday evenings while watching Bonanza; the others sipped their coffee from saucers and played canasta. They were just different to me. I was very blessed to have the grandparents I did.

My three children were also very spoiled at Christmas (and on other occasions) through gifts. I know they were all given out of love and generosity, but looking back on it, man, did they rake it in. Not so much from Kathy and me, though I think we were generous, but from our parents. Thankfully, our parents could afford many nice gifts to purchase for our kids, and they did. We were so thankful they often provided the clothes and toys which we couldn’t on a small church pastor’s salary. But I also knew there would come a time when, more than toys, our children would need money for things like a car, college, or even a wedding or honeymoon. So early on with our children, for Christmas, Easter and birthdays, we tried to spend half of what we might spend on presents, and put the rest into savings for their future needs. It’s crazy that now all three of our grown children have used up those savings on those future needs, and more. I told our kids early on in their lives that their parents would never have (unless something really changed) a lot of money to give them for major expenses they would have as an adult, but we would give them small amounts over the years to help them save for those expenses. What they ended up doing with that money was up to them, but they would be responsible to buy their own cars, pay for their educations, and pay for their own weddings and/or honeymoons. Overall, I would say our plan worked. Each one took responsibility for these major expenses. All paid cash for their first used cars. Only one borrowed a small amount to finish college (they had all worked, first went to community colleges, lived at least partially, with family, and also received other money from great grandparents, along with some scholarships). They learned frugality and responsibility throughout the process.

Now that I have my own grandchildren, with more on the way, our plan is to buy one toy and one clothes item for each special occasion (Christmas, birthday, Easter), plus sending some money for their savings for future major expenses. Of course, we have already found this very difficult as grandparents have a tendency to overspend and want to spoil their grandchildren. It’s so fun! There are so many cute clothes and fun toys which we know our grandchildren will love – at least, we will love giving them to them. But as our kids were when they got older, we hope our grandchildren are thankful that Gigi and Grandpa helped them save for those expensive items in their future – while also giving them a few fun presents and needed clothes on the way. But more than all this, our desire is to show them unconditional love and help them know Jesus by sharing our lives with them. Beyond toys, clothes, or money, our testimony of faith in Jesus Christ, and our desire to live for God and spread His gospel to others, are the most important gifts we can share with our grandchildren.

In Defense of Moses: A Critique of Robert Greenleaf’s understanding of Moses and Exodus 18.

            In 1970, Robert Greenleaf published his article, “the Servant as Leader.”  From this article and further writings, Greenleaf became known as the modern founder of the philosophy of Servant Leadership.  Greenleaf would continue to write and speak on a variety of topics and interests concerning leadership and culture over the next 20 years before his death in 1990.  The Center for Servant Leadership web-site states of Greenleaf, “Greenleaf always claimed that although he was informed by the Judeo-Christian ethic (he became a Quaker in mid-life), servant leadership was for people of all faiths and all institutions, secular and religious. He knew that he was not a perfect servant-leader, but it was his ideal, and the arc of his life bent in that direction.”

            In several of his writings, he writes that he is not a theologian, or at least, a trained theologian.[1]  In many of his writings he describes himself as a Quaker who has great respect for religion.  In some of his works he endorses the importance of seminaries in training pastors who have influence on culture through their churches.   His Christian background seems very important in his life and work.

            With all of his religious background, I was surprised by his approach and interpretation of Exodus 18 as he applied it to organizational theory.  He uses an interpretation of Exodus 18 to blame Moses (and therefore, in some ways God) for the classic organizational leadership style of top down, authoritarian leadership.  He writes in his discussion of Spirituality as Leadership in the collection, Seeker and Servant (p. 57), “Is it possible that the ultimate cause [of Moses hitting the rock rather than speaking to it and God punishing him] was that stupid advice that Moses accepted from Jethro?  Anybody who is set up as the single chief over a vast hierarchy (or even a small one) is vulnerable to the illusion that he or she is God!”

            He continues, “’How would you organize it?’ the faithful often ask, ‘Not that way, ‘is my firm reply.  Anyone who is placed in the position of unchecked power over others is vulnerable to the corrupting of that power and may fall victim to the illusion that one is God.  No one, absolutely no one, should be given unchecked power over others.”[2]

            He states in his article, The Institution as Servant (Servant Leadership, p. 97-98), “In the history of organizational ideas, primus inter pares came later, but the notion of a single chief was too firmly entrenched.  Too many people were comfortable with it.  Unchecked power was still accepted.  And the mediocrity of institutions had not yet been challenged the way the revolution of expectations has challenged it today.”  He continues,

             “It may be that we have stayed with Jethro’s advice so long because people have wanted order and they have been willing to pay the price of concentrating power in one person’s hands as the only way they knew to get it.  Now the costs of this choice are looming too large and it is imperative that we must have what we cannot have it we stay with Jethro’s advice.

            The abuse of power is curbed if the holder of power is surrounded by equals who are strong, and if there is close oversight by a monitoring group, trustees who are not involved in the daily use of power.

            There are several kinds of power.  One is coercive power, used principally to destroy.  Not much that endures can be built with it.  Even presumably autocratic institutions like businesses are learning that the value of coercive power is inverse to its use.  Leadership by persuasion and example is the way to build– everywhere.”  

            In another article in On Becoming a Servant Leader, Greenleaf opines, “How did our society get to be so bureaucratic?  I believe that it started with a man called Jethro who was the first management consultant of record, mentioned in the Book of Exodus.”  He shares of discussing Moses’ leadership style and his not making it into the Promised Land with a rabbi friend.  Greenleaf questions,

“The Lord’s reasons for sacking Moses seem to me rather specious, the kind of reasons many of us have invented when we are going to do something unpleasant to somebody and prefer not to give our real reasons.  Could it be, I asked the rabbi, that the Lord’s real criticism of Moses that led to the substitution of another leader was that Moses had taken this stupid advice from Jethro and that the unfortunate bureaucratic consequences were already evident in the tribes of Israel?  This, I suggested, and not the reason the Lord gave Moses, was the cause of the Lord’s dissatisfaction.[3]  The long-term result, of course, for the Western world and ultimately the whole world, is that the world has been stuck with a lousy organization theory for three thousand years.” 

                       Over the years, I have read many books on leadership.  In every other instance I can remember, when Moses is discussed as a leader and someone who delegates authority, he is used as a positive example of humility and leadership, not blamed for abuse and pride, or wrong organizational theory as Greenleaf suggests. 

            For instance, in his classic text, Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Leroy Eims writes of Moses’ response to Jethro in Exodus 18 (p. 91), “One of the most amazing things in this record was the fact that Moses had the good sense to take that advice.  Pride could have kept him from it.  He could have said, ‘Who do you think you are, telling me what to do?  Don’t you know who I am?  I am Moses, the man who has spoken to God Himself face to face.  If I want advice I’ll go right to the top and get it-I’ll go to God Himself.” 

            In my favorite book on spiritual leadership (Spiritual Leadership, p. 139), Oswald Sanders writers concerning Exodus 18, “One of the great biblical illustrations of the principle of delegation is the story of Jethro, father-in-law to Moses, recorded in Exodus 18.”  He later states,

“Then Jethro proposed a two-part plan.  Moses would continue to teach spiritual principles and exercise legislative leadership.  He would also decide the hard cases at court.  But much of his work would be delegated to competent, trustworthy subordinates. Jethro spoke wisely, for if Moses had succumbed under the strain, he would have left chaos behind-no one trained to lead, no one in charge of anything.  Failure to make provision for the succession of leadership has spelled ruin for many missions and churches. Moses followed Jethro’s advice and realized several benefits.”

            Henry and Richard Blackaby write in their book, Spiritual Leadership (p. 209),

“The quantity of work leaders can accomplish is in direct proportion to their ability to delegate work to others.  Leaders who refuse to delegate limit their productivity to the amount of work they can accomplish themselves.”  Further, using the example of Moses in Exodus 18 they state, “There are certain things that leaders cannot delegate.  Leaders have the responsibility to hear from God and to guide their organizations into his will.  The onus is on the leader to see that people are equipped to accomplish their tasks.  Therefore they must delegate everything they can so they have the time to focus on these crucial responsibilities.”

            Finally, in Feeding and Leading, an excellent Christian leadership and Church administration work by Ken Gangel (which I wish would be updated), Gangel uses Exodus 18 to discuss many principles of delegation.  Under the heading ‘delegation is essential to survival’ he writes (p.177), “In all the history of management science on the subject of delegation there appears no more poignant phrase than verse 18. ‘The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.’  We hear a great deal today about stress and the workaholic tendencies of many Christian leaders.  The quickest way to insure both stress and workaholism is to fail at delegation.”  Gangel then further talks about the purposes and practices of delegation, all referencing Exodus 18. 

            I mention these examples not so much to teach about the importance of delegation in leadership, but to show how several “leadership experts” use Exodus 18 as a positive, even essential, example that leaders must follow to be effective.  At no time do they speak of Moses as trying to keep power himself, or thinking himself to be God and not listening to others.  I do not understand in Greenleaf’s writings why someone as learned and “churched” as Greenleaf blames Moses for a wrong organizational theory.  In fact, Moses fulfills many of the servant leadership principles described in Greenleaf’s writings.

 

            Here are a few misunderstandings of Exodus 18 that I see in the writings of Robert Greenleaf. 

  1. Greenleaf writes as if Moses was accountable to no one. Big mistake.  Moses was directly accountable to God for his actions.  We might say that God was Moses’ board of directors or trustees.  We see this in that Moses paid the price of not getting into the Promised Land with the rest of the nation because Moses did not treat God as holy when he hit the rock, rather than speaking to the rock.  See footnote 3.

 

  1. Moses did not appoint himself to be the leader of the nation; God called him to be the leader of the nation. Moses was very reluctant as the leader.  He was so reluctant the God assigned Aaron, his brother, to help him with the leadership.  In that sense, Moses was not a solo leader.   See Exodus 4:27 – 30.

 

  1. In Greenleaf’s emphasis of being “first among equals” there still has to be a leader who bears the responsibility, at least in specific areas of leadership. Moses did not assume he was better than others, but he submitted to God’s call on his life.  He willingly submitted to the questioning of the people, specifically Aaron and Miriam, when they questioned his leadership.  However, God did not appreciate these questions and struck Miriam with leprosy.  After this, Moses actually pleads for God to heal Miriam, his sister.  See Numbers 12:1-15.   Notice also that Moses is called in this passage (Numbers 12:3) the most humble man on the planet.  This is certainly not how Greenleaf characterizes him.  

 

  1. It is unfathomable to me that Greenleaf criticizes Moses for authoritarian leadership when he gave up a great amount of power when agreeing to follow the advice of Jethro. Many other capable men were brought into the organizational structure once Moses followed Jethro’s plan. This fits well into the organizational theory of servant leadership.  He delegated power.  Moses did not keep all power for himself, but gave many decisions and much authority away.  This was not only so he could spend more time with his family, but also so that decisions would be made more quickly for the people. 

 

  1. In so many ways, Moses was a quintessential servant leader according to the writings of Greenleaf. Moses knew what he was trying to do.[4]  As if describing Moses, Greenleaf writes, “A mark of leaders, an attribute that puts them in a position to show the way for others, is that they are better than most at pointing the direction.”[5] Because God had directly commanded Moses, Moses knew exactly what he was trying to accomplish and where he was leading the people.  He showed his calling, competency and commitment through His willingness to traverse the desert to lead, and put himself in harm’s way as he went back to Egypt.  As well, he spent at least two 40 day periods of time on Mount Sinai so that he would accurately and powerfully bring the law of God to the people.  God affirmed His call of Moses by doing powerful miracles through him, even holding people accountable who rejected Moses’ leadership.  The people were not often good followers, as shown by their need to wander for forty years in the wilderness because of their unbelief, but Moses was a wonderful (not perfect) example of servant leadership. 

 

So many other servant leadership principles and applications can be seen in the life and ministry of Moses.  Why Greenleaf does not take the time to speak more fully about this, leaves me confused.  Greenleaf’s view seems to come from his biased liberal understanding of Scripture which has led him to misunderstand Exodus 18 and not give Moses the credit he is due for the leading the nation of Israel and following the ways of God.  

 

 

Bibliography

Blackaby, Henry and Richard, Spiritual Leadership, Broadman and Homan Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 2001.

Eims, Leroy; Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be; Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois; Twenty-first printing, 1986, 1975. p. 91

Gangel, Kenneth O., Feeding and Leading, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois; 1989.

Greenleaf, Robert K., Seeker and Servant, ed. Fraker and Spears, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, California, 1996.

Greenleaf, Robert K., On Becoming a Servant Leader, ed. Frick and Spears; Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, California, 1996.

Greenleaf, Robert K., Servant Leadership, 25th Anniversary Edition, ed. Spears, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, 2002.

Sanders, J. Oswald, Spiritual Leadership, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 2007.

https://www.greenleaf.org/robert-k-greenleaf-biography/

https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1991/03/servant-leadership-and-robert-greenleaf


[1] He describes himself not as a theologian in places such as Servant Leadership, The Institution as Servant, p. 93 and Servant Leadership, Servant Leadership in Churches, 237; in On Becoming a Servant Leader, Building the Ethic of Strength in Business, p. 168.  He also postulates this in Seeker and Servant, pages 9 and 51.  In On Becoming a Servant Leader, the Individual as Leader (p. 336), he writes, “In my role as my own theologian, I do not want to define or explain it.  There is, in my theology, a mystery before which I simply stand in awe.  At the threshold of the mystery, I ask no questions and seek no explanations.  I simply bow before the mystery, and what it wants to say to me comes as gently as doves as I achieve the quiet.  Spirit is behind the threshold of the mystery.”   This quote, along with others, reveals much about his own liberal Quaker understanding of truth and Scripture. This background of his theological viewpoint helps us understand some of his theological assumptions in his writings.

[2] It is interesting to note that in Greenleaf’s collection, On Becoming a Servant Leader, he writes of Exodus 18, “This is an interesting account.  Jethro is the first management consultant on record and made the first formal statement of organization theory.  Incidentally, not much basic organization theory has been added to this statement.” (p. 88) He speaks of this in discussing Jethro’s role as a consultant and confidante, making the point that outside sources often have insight we cannot see ourselves, but he gives no critique of this management scheme at that time.  

[3] Wow, talk about reading your own thoughts into a passage!  God is clear as to why Moses did not get to enter into the Promised Land.  Moses had disobeyed God’s specific command when he struck the rock to bring forth water rather than speaking to the rock as God had commanded.  See Numbers 20:8-13; also Numbers 27:12; Deuteronomy 32:51.  Moses does seem to put some blame on the disobedience of the people in the wilderness for his not entering (Deuteronomy 1:37, 3:26), but this has nothing to do to how Moses managed the people.

[4] Servant Leadership, The Servant as Leader, p. 29.  He talks about this in many places in his writings, ‘What are you trying to do?’ is one of the easiest to ask and most difficult to answer of questions.”

[5] Servant Leadership, The Servant as Leader, p. 29.

Seeking Truth: The fallacy and fault of Robert Greenleaf’s view of truth

            Robert Greenleaf has gained great respect for his presentation and thinking concerning the importance of servant leadership in the business world and in organizations.  His 1970 article on Servant Leadership, along with further articles, seemed to change much thinking on leadership.  There are certainly many applications to his “first among equals” ideas throughout organizations.  He also gives us great questions to ask in evaluating leaders.  Greenleaf states, “The best test, and difficult to administer, is this: Do those served grow as person?  Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants.”[1] Much of his writings has been helpful in thinking through leadership in a variety of organizations.

            But one aspect of his discussion I find disconcerting is his view of seeking truth.  In the essay, The Search and the Seeker, an essay written on April 4, 1966, Greenleaf writes, “For some who call themselves Christians it is the same: there is no way, no clear, single way, no list of sharply cutting criteria, no set of gauges.  If there were, there would be no human dilemma; life would have no challenge.  Can the seeker accept there is no well-marked path?  It there were such a way, there would be a destination.  There would be an assurance of accomplishment, a promise of certainty.  There would be something to be wanted, something which when found would end the search.  Life at that point would be empty.”[2] 

            This is only a flavor of some of his thinking on seeking and searching.  He later states in this article, “Above allow, the free inner person, the seeker, must not have a goal; he or she must be consumed only with the search.  Otherwise one cannot be free, spontaneous, and limitless.”[3]

            He further shows his own religious bent as he writes,

“I see belief or faith as a consequence, rather than a source.  Such faith as I have is a consequence of my own experience framed in the religious feeling that is the light of my search.  I am aware of and interested in what others have experienced and believe.  But I prefer to see faith as Dean Inge defined it [Greenleaf often uses this quote in his writings], the ‘choice of the nobler hypothesis,’ the kind of choice that only an experienced person can make.  But it is my choice, my affirmation that makes it significant.  Such truth as it has lies in my rational, intuitive sense of rightness that leads me to choose it and affirm it.  Old truths come into the contemporary world as hypotheses.  They become contemporary truths only as contemporary people choose to affirm them, test their validity in practice, and give them viability through their thoughts, words, and deeds.”[4] 

            It is helpful to know that Greenleaf wrote this article in 1966, in the midst of the Cultural Revolution which questioned authority (which he saw as a problem with any style of leadership), and began to question objective truth.  It is tragic to me that his Quaker background did not catch the fallacy of his thinking.  He wrote with great respect of George Fox, one of the founders of Quakerism, who I do not believe would agree with his perspective.[5]  Yes, Quakers emphasize experience, and seeking the light within them, but they also look to Jesus and the Scriptures for truth.  Greenleaf misses this point.  There is nothing about God or Jesus in Greenleaf’s seeking truth.[6]  There is no discussion of the orthodox Christian belief that the eternal Word of God is the truth from God.[7]  There is no thought of assurance of eternal life through placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ.[8]  He seems to have bought into the Kantian idea of everything being nebulous, and the only thing we can trust in this life is our experience.[9] 

            Part of the wonder and joy of the Christian faith is we can stand on the rock of the Word of God[10] upon which to live our lives.  We don’t have to keep seeking truth – we have found the truth which gives us true peace and joy and eternal life[11].   His name is Jesus Christ.  Life is not empty because we have found the truth; Life can now be filled with great joy and purpose as we seek to worship the Lord in all we do, and help others join us on this path of truth and eternal life.[12] 

            Certainly we must have the humility to learn and grow as new discoveries are made in science and technology and business and medicine.  We don’t know it all.  There is application in organizations of Greenleaf’s thoughts to keep seeking truth and knowledge in a variety of settings. As Steve Case discusses in his book, The Third Wave, businesses must continue to ask questions and seek discovery or they will be left in the dust of entrepreneurs and disruptors.[13]  Had Greenleaf only applied his thoughts to a business or organizational setting, I would have had no qualms, but he began and ended his article by philosophizing about a rabbi saying there is no way to tell the false prophets from the true prophets.  Throughout he speaks of religion and seeking truth (whatever that means to him). Greenleaf further opines, “I believe, equally firmly, that there is no way for the personal search; yet each of us needs a lamp and a direction.  And I also believe that there can be no finding, no ‘now I have it’’ yet one should at all times know who one is and where one is.”[14]

            It saddens my heart that Greenleaf seemed to buy into the lie that we must base our understanding of the world on our experience, rather than on any known premise.  In his writings, he emphasizes always looking for “new truth.” He writes in a brief article, published in the Friends Journal in 1975, “But if one really believes that the ‘word’ has been given for all time, how can one be a seeker?  How can one hear the contemporary voice when one has decided not to live in the present and has turned that voice off?”[15]       

            Many Christians have found the real truth, and His name is Jesus Christ.  Yes, we continue to listen and watch for God’s leading in our lives.  We have not turned off the voice of God and the work of His Spirit.  We look to God in a variety of ways to direct us in our lives.[16]  But we stand on the promises of the truth of God’s Word.  We do not need a new prophet or new word from the Lord to show us how to live an abundant life or the way of eternal life.  We have sought the Lord and now have a relationship with Him.[17] As we follow God’s revealed Word through Jesus and the Bible, we have great joy and peace and a certain hope for today and for eternity.  We have found the truth which fills our souls.  

 

Bibliography

Case, Steve. The Third Wave. Simon and Schuster, New York, New York, 2016.

Geisler, Norman. Christian Apologetics. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1976.

Greenleaf, Robert K. Servant Leadership. Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, 2002.

Greenleaf, Robert, Seeker and Servant. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, California, 1996.

Greenleaf, Robert K. On Becoming a Servant Leader. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, California, 1996.

Sproul, R.C., Defending Your Faith. Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2003.

Walker, Williston and Richard Norris, David Lotz and Robert Handy. A History of the Christian Church, fourth edition. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, New York, 1985.

 

                    


[1] Servant Leadership, The Servant as Leader, p. 27.

[2] Seeker and Servant, The Search and the Seeker, p. 284ff.

[3] ibid., p. 287.

[4] ibid., p. 289.

[5] https://www.georgefox.edu/about/history/quakers.html; see also, A History of the Christian Church, Williston Walker, Norris, Lotz and Handy, p. 561-2.

[6] John 8:31-32; 14:6

[7] John 17:17

[8] Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 5:11-13

[9] see R.C. Sproul, Defending Your Faith, pp. 88 -93, 145.  Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics, pp. 15 – 17.

For great bedtime reading see The Philosophical Review Vol. 2, No. 2 (Mar., 1893), pp. 167-186 (20 pages), ttps://www.jstor.org/stable/2175664?seq=7#metadata_info_tab_contents.  I also appreciate the input from my nephew William Vincent who is seeking his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Virginia.

[10] Matthew 7:24-27

[11] John 5:24; 11:25; 14:27;16:33; Romans 15:13; Philippians 4:6-7

[12] Psalm 16:8-11; 119:105; Matthew 7:13-14; John 10:9

[13] Steve Case, The Third Wave, pp. 80-88.

[14] Seeker and Servant, The Search and the Seeker, p. 294.

[15] Robert Greenleaf, Seeker and Servant, On Being a Seeker in the Late Twentieth Century, pp. 297-8.

[16] God often directs through His Word, prayer, His Spirit and inner peace, godly council and circumstances.  Psalm 37:3-6; Proverbs 3:5-6;

[17] Isaiah 55:6-7

Judging Others with Humility

Today, many people use Matthew 7:1 , “Do not judge lest you be judged,” to say  that Christians should not judge the sin of others.   But is that what the Scripture teaches?  Is there no right or wrong on abortion or stem cell research?  Is there no right or wrong on divorce or homosexuality?

The Scriptures are clear that this is not what Jesus is teaching.  As D.A. Carson (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 8, p. 183) writes in his excellent commentary on Matthew, “Still less does this verse forbid all judging of any kind, for the moral distinctions drawn in the Sermon on the Mount require that decisive judgments be made. Jesus himself goes on to speak of some people as dogs and pigs (v. 6) and to warn against false prophets (vv. 15-20). Elsewhere he demands that people “make a right judgment” (John 7:24; cf. 1Cor 5:5; Gal 1:8-9; Philippians 3:2; 1John 4:1). All this presupposes that some kinds of “judging” are not only legitimate, but mandated.”

Many Scriptures speak of judging sin.  Jesus says in John 7:24 – “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”   Paul judges others as he writes in Phil 3:2-3, “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;  for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, …”  He judges some acts as sin when he writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”    We see from these verses and others there is still truth, and right and wrong, according to the Word of God.

What then is Jesus teaching?  In Matthew 7:1 (and throughout the Sermon on Mount) Jesus is contrasting the spiritual lifestyle of the Pharisees and Jewish leaders as compared to those who walk according to the Kingdom of God.  The Pharisees were guilty in their self-righteousness of judging others and viewing themselves as better than others.   Carson (p. 183) writes, “The disciple who takes it on himself to be the judge of what another does usurps the place of God (Rom 14:10) and therefore becomes answerable to him. As one Rabbi wrote, “Do not assume the place of God by deciding you have the right to stand in judgment over all–do not do it, I say, in order to avoid being called to account by the God whose place you usurp” (cf. b Shabbath 127b; M Sotah 1:7; b Baba Metzia 59b).”

Jesus further states in Matthew 7:2 – “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  This is very similar to Jesus’ statement in the model prayer concerning forgiveness.  There, in Matthew 6:12, He said, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

The encouragement here is that we have hearts of humility and mercy in thinking of others.  John Stott (in Carson, p. 184) suggests, “the command to judge not is not a requirement to be blind, but rather a plea to be generous. Jesus does not tell us to cease to be men (by suspending our critical powers which help to distinguish us from animals) but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God (by setting ourselves up as judges) Stott, p. 177, emphasis his).”

But there were some, who Jesus calls the hypocrites, who were judging the brethren.  Matthew 7:3-5 reads, “And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  We remember that Jesus has already referred to the Pharisees and Jewish leaders as hypocrites, and He may be referring to them again in this way here.   But truly, Jesus is saying that before we begin pointing out the sins of others, it is important to remember that none of us is perfect. All of us have issues where we battle our flesh, the world, and sin.  And the only way we have been delivered from our sins is through the work and grace of Jesus.

We must always remember in thinking about others that we are all sinners. I’m a sinner; you’re a sinner. We are no better or worse than anyone else.   We all need the grace and love of God or we are hopeless.  All of us have done or thought dastardly acts which we hope no one ever finds out.  We’re sinners and the only way we can be forgiven is through the power and payment of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross.  In considering the actions of others, we must remember we are all sinners, though made saints through Jesus.

We must also remember that ultimately, God is the judge.  Psalms 7:8-11 reads, “The LORD  judges the peoples;  Vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.  O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous;  For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.  My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart.  God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.”

We don’t need to judge one another, for God is the ultimate judge.  All people will be judged according the Word of God.  God sees the heart and motivation of every person.  And we know that all of us, on our own, are found wanting.  For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  All of us have beams and specks (sawdust) with which we must deal.

However, Jesus does not say, deal with your own sins, and then let your brother do whatever he wants to do. Though we are all sinners, we still have a responsibility to help others walk in righteousness.

Jesus states we must deal with our sins, and help our brother deal with his sins (take the speck out of his eye). Because we have recognized our own sinfulness, we come to our friend with humility and compassion, not with a judgmental attitude as if we are more righteous or better than her.

Carson writes, “In the brotherhood of Jesus’ disciples, censorious critics are unhelpful. But when a brother in a meek and self-judging spirit (cf. 1Cor 11:31; Gal 6:1) removes the log in his own eye, he still has the responsibility of helping his brother remove his speck (cf. 18:15-20).  We still have to say that some things are right, and some things are wrong, based on the Word of God.

In a moving passage which applies directly to our discussion , Paul writes in Galatians 6:1-4, “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.   NASU

Jesus also teaches us to carry out church discipline in the body of Christ as He states in Matthew 18:15-18, “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.  And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.  Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Do you understand now what Jesus is saying in this passage?  He is not saying we should not judge sin.  There is still right and wrong.  We find right and wrong and truth in God’s Word.  This is how we can judge with a righteous judgment.  But He is also saying that we are to judge in a spirit of compassion knowing that we are all sinners and God is the ultimate Judge who knows the heart.  We are to judge others with humility.

Defining Humanism

Recently I finished reading a book entitled “The Humanist Alternative,” edited by Paul Kurtz, who some have called “the father of secular humanism.”  It is a collection of essays from 1973 which bring together many intellectuals to help define and apply humanism.   I read the book to help understand the thinking of so many in our culture today.  We are certainly seeing the fruit of this thinking in our culture today.  In essence, we are seeing that when you put Man first, and remove the boundaries of a moral code from a Higher Authority, you end up with every man doing what is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).

Throughout the book, one sees that most anything is tolerated in Humanism, except God. A variety of authors of short chapters stab to define Humanism without, of course, putting anyone in a box. Many argue for morality, but have no real way to define what that should look like. At one point Kurtz writes (p.181), “For decades Humanists have defended sexual liberation and the development of a tolerant attitude towards sexuality. Yet an uncritical interpretation of the new sexual revolution can lead to a bestialization and dehumanizing of sex, the economic exploitation of humans as sexual objects rather than as subjects, and extreme expression of pornographic pandering.” You think?! If you remove the Eternal Standard, in the end, anything goes.

Really, there are some good laughs in this book.  Kurtz declares (p. 179) , “If man is a product of evolution, one species among others, in a universe without purpose (at least he is honest), then man’s option is to live for himself and to discover new areas of significance and achievement. If it is anything, Humanism is an effort at infusing life with meaning and hope.” How funny! They are trying to find meaning and hope when they have already confessed there is no purpose because we have just evolved. So much for rational thinking!

Purpose and meaning are found in a relationship with the eternal God through Jesus Christ. He has a purpose and plan for us if we will put our trust in His death on the cross, and submit our lives to His will as revealed in the Scriptures. Sadly, many will choose the Humanistic way of trusting Man’s wisdom. Kurtz pens (p. 184), “The basic worship of the Humanist is the worship of the free mind; and his highest duty is to the truth as he sees it (but, then, “what is truth?”) and to the destruction of cant, fraud, deception, illusion or dogma.” How can we have a duty to the truth if we destroy fraud and deception.  When truth become subjective it is no longer truth.  As for me, I choose not to worship Man, but God, who is my Creator and Redeemer.

If God is Love, is Hell for Real?

Recently I was handed a blog which began this way, “The modern concept of Hell as eternal punishment is not in Scripture.”   She further states, “Neither Jesus nor Paul or any of the authors of scripture conveyed the notion of a burning lake of fire where evil or unrepentant people suffered for all eternity damned by God.”  Throughout the blog, there are many arguments against a fiery hell, and quotes from people like Dante and Pope Francis, but no actual quotations from the Scriptures.  In the end the author writes, “Hell doesn’t fit with the notion of Grace.  There is no lake of burning fire for all eternity-and Dante’s demons and gruesome creatures of the underworld are not images of hell – but there are other images of hell in our world…”   Sadly, her soft landing by making “hell” only refer to this life, is often the outcome of liberal theology.  There is a sense that  if we do enough good, we will feel better about ourselves, and “god” will look better to the world too.  But this kind of spiral leads only to the discounting and irrelevance of Scripture.  The world has seen this for years, hence, the loss of membership in liberal churches.

The major problem  in this argument is that there are many quotes about hell in the Scriptures.   Jesus speaks of this fiery place in Matthew 5 as He challenges the Pharisees (and us) to take seriously the responsibility to walk in obedience to God. Matthew 5:22
reads, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘ You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”  (NASU)  He also speaks of people going into hell in verses 29 and 30.  Jesus teaches us to follow God’s word us He states in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  (NASU)  Again, Jesus speaks of the seriousness of obedience through hyperbole when He states in Matthew  18:9, ” If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”  (NASU)   Again to the Pharisees, Jesus rebukes them saying in Matthew 23:33, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell ?” ( NASU)  And in His discussion of the last days, Jesus states in Matthew 13:41-42, ” The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,  and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (NASU)  Jesus could not be more clear about the punishment of hell than that.    Many other places in Scripture directly or indirectly point to this punishment for those who do not place their trust in the Lamb of God to pay for the penalty of their sins (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Hebrews 10;26-27; Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8).

God certainly is a God of grace, but He is also a holy God who judges sin.  All of us have sinned and fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23-24).  All of us deserve His eternal punishment.  But in His love and grace, He sent His Son to to be the sacrifice to pay for our sins.  (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-9)  If we turn from our sins and put our faith in Christ (John 1:12; Romans 10:9-10) we will know His love and grace and eternal life. If we don’t, we will get what we deserve.  Let us therefore, receive Christ as our Savior, continue to look for ways to share the gospel with others and live our lives in thanksgiving for all God has done for us through His Son, Jesus.

 

 

 

100 Books that have shaped my life

100 Books that Shaped My Life

There have been so many books that have shaped my life. I have combined a list of not necessarily my favorite books (though most are), but books that have been life-changing for me. These helped me form my theology, started or expanded my interest in reading in new areas, or were books I read with my children. A majority of these books I read by the time I was 30, but there have been some more recent additions which have further shaped my thinking.

I have read the Bible almost daily for the last 40 years, so God’s Word, by His grace and Spirit, has shaped me by far the most. As well, the book I finished writing in 2003, Walking in Humility, was very important in my journey.

I have put the top ten life-shaping books in bold, but all on the list have had, or continue to have, an important part in molding my life. I know there are many I left off that have also shaped my life, but I limited myself to 100. Of course, this list could change almost hourly, depending on my mood and memory.

1. The Bible – God
2. Walking in Humility – Michael Vincent

Theology
3. Expositor’s Bible Commentary Set
4. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties – Gleason Archer
5. Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem
6. More Than a Carpenter – Josh McDowell
7. The Holy Spirit – Bill Bright
8. The Holy Spirit – Billy Graham
9. The Canon of Scripture – F. F. Bruce
10. The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church – Marvin Rosenthal
11. The Feasts of the Lord – Howard/Rosenthal
12. Last Supper and Lord’s Supper – I. Howard Marshall
13. The Answers Book – Ken Ham
14. Evangelical Ethics – John Jefferson Davis
15. Kept by the Power of God – I. Howard Marshall
16. Showing the Spirit – D. A. Carson
17. Escape from Reason – Francis Schaeffer

Christian Living
18. Improving Your Serve – Charles Swindoll
19. Strengthening Your Grip – Charles Swindoll
20. Living Above the Level of Mediocrity – Swindoll
21. Power Through Prayer – E. M. Bounds
22. Kingdoms in Conflict – Charles Colson
23. Loving God – Charles Colson
24. Humility – Andrew Murray
25. The Holiness of God – R. C. Sproul (originally the tape series)
26. Ordering Your Private World – Gordon MacDonald
27. The Pursuit of Holiness – Jerry Bridges
28. The Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster
29. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment – Jeremiah Burroughs
30. The Imitation of Christ – Thomas A’Kempis
31. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life – William Law
32. In His Image – William Jennings Bryan
33. In His Image – Paul Brand and Philip Yancey
34. The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
35. The Mark of a Man – Elisabeth Elliot
36. The Love Dare – Stephen and Alex Kendrick

Evangelism/Discipleship/Church Growth
37. Witnessing Without Fear – Bill Bright
38. How to Give Away Your Faith – Paul Little
39. The Master Plan of Evangelism – Robert Coleman
40. The Lost Art of Disciple Making – LeRoy Eims
41. The Frog in the Kettle – George Barna
42. Unleashing the Church – Frank Tillapaugh
43. Assimilating New Members – Lyle Schaller
44. Prepare Your Church for the Future – Carl George
45. How to Break Growth Barriers – Carl George
46. The Disciple Making Church – Bill Hull
47. The Disciple Making Pastor – Bill Hull
48. The Myth of the 200 Barrier – Kevin Martin

Preaching
49. Biblical Preaching – Haddon Robinson
50. Between Two Worlds – John Stott
51. On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons – John Broadus
52. Toward an Exegetical Theology – Walter Kaiser

Pastoral Ministry
53. The Preacher’s Portrait – John Stott
54. The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter
55. Lectures To My Students – Charles Spurgeon
56. How to Be a People Helper – Gary Collins

Leadership
57. In Search of Excellence – Peters and Waterman
58. Spiritual Leadership – J. Oswald Sanders
59. Feeding and Leading – Kenneth Gangel
60. Developing the Leader Within You – John Maxwell
61. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
62. The Leadership Challenge – Kouzes and Posner
63. On Becoming a Leader – Warren Bennis
64. Good to Great – Jim Collins
65. High Impact Church Boards – T. J. Addington
66. Stan Toler’s Practical Guide to Staffing – Stan Toler

Missions and Culture
67. In the Gap – David Bryant
68. Miraculous Movements – Jerry Trousdale
69. Transformed for a Purpose – Saji Lukos
70. Megatrends – John Naisbitt
71. Eternity in Their Hearts – Don Richardson

Christian Biography
72. DAWS – Betty Skinner
73. D.L. Moody – Faith Bailey
74. C.T. Studd -Norman Grubb
75. Strength for the Journey – Jerry Falwell
76. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther – Roland Bainton
77. Amazing Faith (Bill Bright) – Richardson
78. Born Again – Charles Colson
79. Walking with the Giants – Warren Wiersbe

Biography
80. The Kennedys: An American Drama – Collier and Horowitz
81. Right from the Beginning – Pat Buchanan
82. Truman – David McCullough
83. Edison: Inventing the Century – Baldwin
84. Walt Disney – Bob Thomas
85. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin – Franklin
86. 41 – George W. Bush

Politics
87. In the Arena – Richard Nixon
88. Up from Liberalism – William Buckley, Jr.
89. The Rise of the Right – William Rusher

History
90. The Americans, Vol. 1 – 3 – Daniel Boorstin
91. Erdmann’s Christianity in America

Literature
92. A Christmas Carol – Dickens
93. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl
94. Charlotte’s Web – White
95. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Stevenson
96. Toby Tyler – James Otis
97. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
98. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis

Other
99. On Writing Well – William Zinsser
100. How to Read a Book – Mortimer Adler

A Treatise on the Fear of God

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been reading John Bunyan’s, A Treatise on the Fear of God.  Though it is written in a style from centuries gone by, and therefore sometimes hard to understand, he shares great wisdom on truths concerning the paramount doctrine of fearing God.  Fearing God is a life application that Christians need to revisit.   We have watered down this idea by saying this only means to be in awe of God.  Being in awe of God is certainly a part of fearing God, but throughout the Scriptures, actual fear of punishment and accountability because of the holiness and majesty of God is also a part of the meaning of the fear of God  (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Matthew 10:28; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 7:1; Hebrews 10:30-1).  Though we as Christians need not fear His judgment and condemnation for our sins, we must not take for granted His holiness and majesty.  As well, we must remember that Christians will still be judged for their rewards because of their obedience and disobedience.

Below are several quotes I have pulled from this writing.

Quotes from A Treatise on the Fear of God by John Bunyan 

in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1977, from the 1875 edition.

“To rejoice before him is a part of his worship; but David bids us ‘rejoice with trembling.’ Ps. ii.11. Yea, the whole of our service to God, and every part thereof, ought to be done by us with reverence and godly fear. And therefore let us, as Paul saith again, ‘Cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’ 2 Co. vii. 1. He. xii.” John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 441.

“The fear therefore that now I call godly, it is that fear which is properly called the fear of eternal damnation for sin, and this fear, at first awakening, is good and godly, because it ariseth in the soul from a true sense of its very state.  Its state by nature is damnable, because it is sinful, and because he is not one that as yet believeth in Christ for remission of sins: ‘He that believeth not  shall be damned.’ – ‘He that believeth not is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him.’ Mar. xvi. 16. Jn. iii.18, 36.  The which when the sinner at first begins to see, he justly fear it; I say, he fears it justly, and therefore godly, because by this fear he subscribes to the sentence that is gone out against him for sin.”   John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 448-9.

But now, although thus far this fear of God is good and godly, yet after Christ by the Spirit in the word of the gospel is revealed to us, and we made to accept of him as so revealed and offered to us by a true and living faith; this fear, to wit, of damnation, is no longer good, but ungodly.”   John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 450.

“It is not the knowledge of the will of God, but our sincere complying therewith, that proveth we fear the Lord’ and it is our so doing that putteth upon us the note of excelling; hereby appears our perfection, herein is manifest our uprightness.  A perfect and an upright man is one that feareth God, and that because he escheweth evil.”  ” John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 453.

“The Word of God is the fountain of knowledge, into which a man will not with godly reverence look, until he is endued with the fear of the Lord.”   John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 453.

“This, therefore, teacheth us how to judge who feareth the Lord; they are those that learn, and that stand in awe of the Word.  Those that have by the holy Word of God the very form of itself engraven upon the face of their souls, the fear God.”  John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 460.

“O prayerless man, thou fearest not God!”  John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 465.

“Where there is a high mind, there is not the fear of God; and where there is the fear of God, the mind is not high but lowly. … He therefore that is proud of his person, of his riches, of his office, of his parts, and the like, feareth not God.” John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 474.

“Wouldest thou grow in this fear of God? then set before thine eyes the being and majesty of God; for that both begetteth, maintaineth, and increaseth this fear.  And hence it is called the fear of God, that is, an holy and awful dread and reverence of his majesty.  For the fear of God is to stand in awe of him, but how can that be done if we do not set him before us?”  John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 484.

Seest thou a man that prays but little, that man feareth God but little; for it is the praying soul, the man that is mighty in praying, that has a heart for the fear of God to grow in.”  John Bunyan, A Treatise on the Fear of God, in the Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 1, 486.