How to fight for truth

Feb 10, 2016 | Ray Ortlund

“When the heart is cast into the mould of the doctrine which the mind embraces, . . . when not the sense of the words but of the things is in our hearts, when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for, then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.  Without this, all our contending is of no value to ourselves.  What am I the better, if I can dispute that Christ is God but have no sense that he is a God in covenant with my soul? . . . It is possible to contend for truth in a spirit most opposite to its nature, and most warmly to advocate the rights of a cause from which we ourselves may derive no benefit.  In all cases, it should be remembered, that the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.”

John Owen, in The Works of John Owen, edited by Thomas Russell (London, 1826), I:164-165.

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How to get traction in thinking

Feb 09, 2016 | Ray Ortlund


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Proverbs 1:7

“[The fear of the Lord] contains in a nutshell the whole Israelite theory of knowledge. . . . The search for knowledge can go wrong, not as a result of individual, erroneous judgments or of mistakes creeping in at different points, but because of one single mistake at the beginning. . . . Faith does not – as is popularly believed today – hinder knowledge; on the contrary, it is what liberates knowledge, enables it really to come to the point.”

Gerhard von Rad, Wisdom in Israel (Nashville, 1972), pages 67-68.

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The deep happiness of heaven

Feb 04, 2016 | Ray Ortlund


“Let us look at our lives in the light of this experience [in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10] and see whether we gladly glory in weakness, whether we take pleasure, as Paul did, in injuries, in necessities, in distresses.  Yes, let us ask whether we have learned to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which others bring us, as above all an opportunity of proving how Jesus is all to us, how our own pleasure or honor are nothing, and how humiliation is in very truth what we take pleasure in.  It is indeed blessed, the deep happiness of heaven, to be so free from self that whatever is said of us or done to us is lost and swallowed up in the thought that Jesus is all.”

Andrew Murray, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (London, 1896) page 83.

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Readpray, studypray, workpray, thinkpray

Feb 03, 2016 | Ray Ortlund

“I am doggedly sworn to irrelevance, insofar as relevance implies a corrupt indebtedness to modernity. . . . My deepest desire as a theologian is to be permitted to study the unchanging God without some pragmatic reason.  I simply want to enjoy the study of God — not write about it, not view it in relation to its political residue, or pretentiously imagine it will have some social effect.  The joy of inquiry into God is a sufficient end in itself. . . .

I relish those times when there are no responsibilities but to engage in this quiet dialogue that is my vocation.  Then, I readpray, studypray, workpray, thinkpray, because there is nothing I more want to do.

So when old activist friends ask why I’m not out there on the street working to change the world, I answer that I am out on the street in the most serious way by being here with my books, and if you see no connection there, you have not understood my vocation.  I do not love the suffering poor less by offering them what they need more.”

Thomas C. Oden, “Last Wednesday’s Theology,” Christianity Today, 10 February 1992, page 9.

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The Thinking Pastor

Jan 30, 2016 | Ray Ortlund



Yesterday it was my honor to address the pastors at The Pastors’ Conference of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.  I thank my friends there for their many kindnesses.  Attached is my manuscript, “The Thinking Pastor”:  Jxnville2016

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America’s greatness, God’s will, raw courage

Jan 23, 2016 | Ray Ortlund

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Not one moment longer

Jan 22, 2016 | Ray Ortlund


“But in Passion Week, as I was reading Bishop Wilson on the Lord’s Supper, I met with an expression to this effect — ‘That the Jews knew what they did, when they transferred their sin to the head of their offering.’  The thought came into my mind, What, may I transfer all my guilt to another?  Has God provided an Offering for me, that I may lay my sins on His head?  Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment longer.  Accordingly I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus.”

Charles Simeon, quoted in Handley C. G. Moule, Charles Simeon (London, 1956), pages 25-26.

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The man who has God

Jan 16, 2016 | Ray Ortlund

“The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.  Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness.  Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things, he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight.  Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately, forever.”

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (London, 1967), page 20.

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Paul Tripp in Nashville this weekend

Jan 15, 2016 | Ray Ortlund


This public event is free and open to all.  Please register for childcare at The address of Immanuel Church, our venue, is 4301 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, 37209. Join us!

Peace In The City events are one way Immanuel Nashville serves our city.

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Not your ordinary food

Jan 14, 2016 | Ray Ortlund

“Penitent sorrow is only a purge to cast out those corruptions which hinder you from relishing your spiritual delights.  Use it therefore as physic [medicine], only when there is need, and not for itself, but only to this end, and turn it not into your ordinary food.  Delight in God is the health of your souls.”

Richard Baxter, A Christian Directory (Ligonier, 1990), page 142.  Italics added.

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