These notes show the vast resources Bill used while holding seminars, generally for pastors.
Shaped by the Word:
> Studying the Word > Information (history & theology)
> Interacting with the Word > Formation (personal involvement)
“The holding of reasonable convictions beyond the possibility of final demonstration and the casting out on one’s life on those convictions as though they are true” (Harry Emerson Fosdick).
“No man really believes so long as he can help believing. True belief is always belief that is under the constraint of the Object” (John Baillie).
“Faith affects much of what we do: It determines the measure of the strength of the will; and accounts for a great deal of our energy and perseverance” (Thomas Upham, Life in Faith).
“Only the practice of faith, resulting in the habit of faith will gradually defeat the ‘fifth columnist of the soul,’ doubt” (C.S. Lewis, “Religion: Reality or Substitute”).
“It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it? . . . Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief” (C.S. Lewis).
“Only those who believe obey; only those who obey believe” (WBC).
“If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life. (The idea of the suffering of the cross) has ceased to be intelligible to a Christianity which can no longer see any difference between an ordinary human life and a life committed to Christ” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship).
“In many cases (the saints) were such ordinary, even unpromising people when they began; for the real saint is neither a special creation nor a spiritual freak. He is just a human being in whom has been fulfilled the great aspiration of St. Augustine: ‘My life shall be a real life, being wholly full of Thee.’ And as that real life, that interior union with God grows, so too does the saints’ self-identification with humanity grow. They do not stand aside wrapped in delightful prayers and feeling pure and agreeable to God. They go right down into the mess; and there, right down in the mess, they are able to radiate God because they possess Him. And that, above all else, is the priestly work that wins and heals souls” (Evelyn Underhill, Concerning the Inner Life).
Decisive battlefield for the issues of life (Fosdick)
> Fight out the purposes of life
> Struggle with the desires of the heart
> Hunger and thirst for righteousness
> Strive for power to see and courage to do God’s will
“Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself” (Susannah Wesley to her son John).
“My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise” (Reepicheep in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis). “May the mouse speak for us all” (WBC).
3 thoughts on “Gleaning Bill’s Seminar Notes”
Pastor Bill’s sermons blessed me in so many ways. He introduced me to the best fiction conversion story. C.S. Lewis’s Eustace the Dragon from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the amazing historical fiction of Brock and Bodie Thoene, as well as, Malcolm Muggeridge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and other great men and women of faith.
More importantly, he used these Godly authors and theologians to make the Bible understandable. Not to mention his knowledge of Greek and Hebrew that enhanced the Biblical meaning of scripture passages. Pastor Bill was my pastor during my formative years of high school and college. I loved that he took a deep and intellectual approach to his sermons. He also set an extremely high bar for what I expect for a Sunday morning sermon.
Gretchen, your comment is point-on for impact and beautifully written. I may use it in an upcoming book of messages by Pastor Bill. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks & God’s blessings.
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I would be honored!