30 August 2007

Mystery quotation: shrinking from telling unwelcome truth

by Dan Phillips

Well kiddies, how about another round of Mystery Quotation?

Remember, no tricks—
  1. Use your memory (or guessing) alone
  2. No electronic tools
  3. No Googling
And now, without further eloquence—
We have a base man-pleasing disposition, which will make us let men perish lest we lose their love, and let them go quietly to hell, lest we should make them angry with us for seeking their salvation: and we are ready to venture on the displeasure of God, and risk the everlasting misery of our people, rather than draw on ourselves their ill-will.
Timely? Have at it!

Dan Phillips's signature


Gryphonette said...


OTOH, that seems too obvious, but OTOH it really rather sounds like something he'd say.

Very convicting, BTW.

Ben N said...

AW Tozer?

DJP said...

I found it both convicting and heartening. Hence the sharing.


Patrick Eaks said...

Is it Richard Baxter, the Reformed Pastor?

I do enjoy your site.

Love the quote, I sometimes wonder
what these men would say about the state of the "church" today.


donsands said...

Man what a quote. Conviction, but it feels good.

JI Packer?

Helen said...

Jonathon Edwards?

Anonymous said...

Joel Olsteen?

JustJan said...

No ideas here.

It is an interesting experience to wince at the conviction that comes in the quote in one moment and then giggle at opn's post in the next.

Anonymous said...


DJP said...

John? or Paul?

LeeC said...

I'd say Richard Baxter also, but for some reason my gut says no.

Rick Frueh said...

Many have said something similar, at the risk of ruining your day I have read things like that from C. G. Finney.

I know, there should be a rule...

steve said...

Well, we can automatically eliminate all pragmatic church growth proponents. They'd never admit to this.

That's the kind of quote that makes for a good reminder before a minister steps into the pulpit.

Stefan Ewing said...

Well, I would guess it's not later than the 19th century based on style, methinks, but beyond that, I'm at a loss to even guess.


Noel said...


Mike Riccardi said...

It reminds me of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, though that seems to date this quotation much later than the rest of you guys.

Anonymous said...
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Mike Riccardi said...

What are the rules? Do we just guess till we get it, or do we tune in at some time for the answer?

DJP said...

After twenty.

Marcus Pittman said...


DJP said...

Lee, don't listen to your gut!

Patrick got it. It was the redoubtable Richard Baxter, in The Reformed Pastor.

Anyone care to discuss the content now, a bit more?

northWord said...

I was going to say Spurgeon.

Here's a quote by CHS I happen to just read that seems like a second half to this one by Baxter:

"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

*laffs at the Osteen reference* :P

Daryl said...

Seems like it's easier to be like this with believers on the edge than with unbelievers.

How do we avoid this?

DJP said...

Very good pairing, Northword.

Daryl, I think personally I shrink more from speaking confrontively to a self-satisfied professed believer, than to an unbeliever. The principle of what Baxter's saying is very bracing.

northWord said...

I'm rather in the thick of this now, my every being is inside screaming to the lost "repent! turn! put your faith and trust in Christ!!"

But as soon as my foot crosses the threshhold the "flesh" begins to creep in, the boldness begins to wane, and the pure, contemptable sissy in me always seems to prevail.
But God knows my heart, it remains utterly open to His will, and I know that He works a work in me.

northWord said...

Incidently, my son called me yesterday, he is hoping to get a new project off the ground through our church (a CMA church) and "expects" that I would participate, it's to do street evangelising (in the same fashion as heard on WOTMR)


Pray....... :)

Family Blogs said...

Hi Dan
Great quote to get us all thinking and praying over. I once had an experience of profound failure in witnessing to a dying man...it left a mark on me and a resolve to never engage in the same kind of complacency Baxter highlights again. Only time (and more importantly eternity) will tell if I can follow through on this.

Dick Dowsett's book 'God That's Not Fair' has a great chapter on repenting of past failure which doesn't let the reader off the hook, but shows how to move on from man-fearing weakness in speaking of Christ.

God bless,

donsands said...

The fear factor is what I've been going through.
Do I fear man, more than God? Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.

To become more fearful, and loving as well, of the Lord, one needs to be within the Spirit's realm of the Church, and it's here that we can even find nasty so-called brothers to help us overcome our fear, or my fear really.

For we don't have a Spirit of timidty, but of power and love and soundness.

Anonymous said...

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, 'Peace and
Safety' when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin! AW Pink

Daryl said...


Thanks. It's good to know that at least a bit of it is personality difference...not to use that as a cop-out you understand.


Talk Shop said...

Richard Baxter "The Reformed Pastor"

Mike Riccardi said...

Pink's the man. I love the reference to Ezekiel 13.

Another thing in this vein of Jesus being our example is the term splangchnizomai, the Greek word for "to have compassion." The word is used 24 times in 12 verses, and each time it's used it refers only Jesus -- whether He Himself uses it or someone is asking Him to have compassion, says that He is compassionate, etc. A favorite time it's used is in Matthew 9, where he looks and has compassion on the crowds, seeing as they were like sheep without a shepherd.

The word means "to have the inner bowels yearn." And I think it's interesting that it's used exclusively of Jesus. His compassion was truly elevated to a higher degree, in that He saw the glories of Heaven, the joy to be had in beholding the face of the Father, for He had enjoyed doing that very thing from eternity past. And He also saw very clearly the misery and destruction of hell, separated from such glory. And beholding these two eternities, He looks at the people of His day and sees them forsaking such glory and joy for such misery and destruction. And that thought, that "Why will you die, O Israel," just kicks Him right in the gut. His bowels yearn.

We need to get a clear glimpse of what's going on -- what's at stake. When we can get heaven and hell clear, and when we can get the consequences of sin clear, and when we can get the glory of the Gospel clear, we'll have to be held back from evangelizing in the streets.

Oh, that the Lord would open our eyes to these things!

northWord said...

the knowing . .

This part of Pauls letter to Corinth is especially helpful to me:

1Cr 2:1 "AND I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God."
1Cr 2:2 "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

I've heard it said, when witnessing "just preach the Cross, preach the Cross.." - I think this is what 2:2 is speaking about.

1Cr 2:3 "I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
1Cr 2:4 "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1Cr 2:5 "that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

I think this points to the supernatural aspect of the Word. We have been given the Gospel. Primarily, when we are witnessing, what we as Christ followers must do is speak it.
God, the Holy Spirit is the one who actually draws the heart nearer.

One of the things I find most astonishingly beautiful about our gracious God, is the fact that he doesn't need us at all to bring others to a reconciliation to Him, but that He wants us.

. . ah, but for the doing.

Anonymous said...

"The purpose of the church is certainly that of conserving the life of the saints, but this only in order that every saint, and all the saints, may be strong, for carrying out the purposes and the work of Jesus Christ. "Ye shall be my witnesses," not witnesses as talkers merely, but evidences, credentials, demonstrations, proofs among men. The only church which is truly evangelistic is the church which realizes within her own borders all the will of her Lord and Master Jesus Christ." G.Campbell Morgan

Anonymous said...

Mike, Amen. And where are the Pink-like men of God today in the ECM?

Northward, I am praying. And would you please pray for a neighbor who was attacked by a pit bull this a.m. Another neighbor dressed in army fatigues caught the dog. All I could do was call 911 and try to throw a few dog biscuits to distract the dog, but that didn't work. He attacked anyway.

TP, I am praying for your safety, too.

LeeC said...

"DJP said...
Lee, don't listen to your gut!"

Is my wife coaching you?

It was SO Baxter, and I knew I had read it somewhere, but my memory stinks, and I doubt myself often...except when I should it seems. Add in that he packs so much into a single paragraph that I feel like I am drinking from a fire hydrant when I read his stuff.

Baxter was a man who truly knew what it means to LOVE. I am crushed at my lack of love for both the brethren and the lost whenever I read him.

Oh that I could fully mortify my self love and the desire to feed it by the approval of others.

Some day.

Love people enough to tell them the truth.

northWord said...

You got it, nana.
and Thank you :)

My goodness, what a morning you've had!

I will pray not only your neighbor's full recovery both physical and emotional (i can only imagine) - but that through this experience God will be glorified . . somehow, through someone, somehwere..amen.

Rick Frueh said...

The elephant is a tail as well as a trunk. Jesus scourged the temple, but submitted His Temple to be scouraged. He rebuked the Pharisees, but wept over Jerusalem. We are exhorted to reprove and rebuke, but with all longsuffering. We are told to be bold, and we are told to be meek.

We are taught that some are saved with fear, and with some have compassion. Our voices like a trumpet, but seasoned with grace. Paul says not to question his apsotleship, but says he is the least of all of them.

God says "Ephraim is joined to his idols, leave him alone" Several chapters later He says "Ephriam, how shall I give thee up?"

There is a time for all of the many reflections of the Spirit, our challenge is to embrace them all.

Helen said...

Nice comment, henry.

~Mark said...

Thanks for a perfectly timed post. This morning I found a relationship on the verge of ending because I as gently as I possibly could told a friend that insistence upon healing for all being guaranteed by Scripture isn't the case.

This friend was celebrating what does indeed appear to be a miraculous healing but went a step too far in proclaiming physical healing a promise for all Christians.

The thing that I find irritates me most is that I expect this from unsaved people, but a Christian who has been a Christian for some years should really know better.

I find it most hurtful because I got called some interesting names and accused of spouting opinion and not fact. I think it's that kind of blind, unreasoned reaction from another Christian that makes this the most difficult type of situation for me to keep my cool in enduring.

Although, recognizing my faults, that's kinda like how we are more patient and understanding with strangers than we are with the people closest to us. :)

Why is it that more people can't just say "Oh yeah? Prove it."

Anyway, thanks for reminding me that this isn't a rare happening.

~Mark said...

I do have to say though, every time this happens I recheck my approach just in case I came off incorrectly. I don't want my being a jerk to get in the way of somebody learning the Truth, and it most certainly could.

Anonymous said...