“To think that having ‘all grace’ except for persevering grace is somehow reassuring is to have a wildly skewed sense of priorities. ‘Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?’ How is God’s withholding of perseverance not a refusal of grace? If we say that the grace was forfeited by those who subjectively resisted his work in their lives ‘too much,’ then why did God withhold from them the gift of ‘not resisting too much?’” (Against the Church, p. 187).
“A hermeneutical rule of thumb (and quite a good one, I might add) is that unclear verses should be interpreted in the light of the clear ones. But however wise this is — and it is wise — we also have to distinguish between verses which are unclear, and verses that are excruciatingly clear but which conflict with the received interpretation” (Against the Church, p. 185).
“Not only do we speak biblically when we call the baptismal font the laver of regeneration (which it certainly is), we also speak biblically when we say of multitudes who have been presented at that very same font, that they are vipers, sons of the devil, unwashed pigs, whitewashed tombs, blind guides, tares planted by the enemy, unfruitful branches and clouds without rain — in short, unregenerate” (Against the Church, p. 183).
“We might be accused of leaving the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, and if we are accused of this, we might reply that the marble floors, the guttering candles, and all the dead bodies had started to creep us out” (Against the Church, p. 180).
“This is life in the visible church, and I really think our discussions of clerical garb should always start with the muck boots” (Against the Church, p. 178).
“There are plenty of born again people who wouldn’t call it that, and there are plenty of evangelicals who need to get saved. Life is messy” (Against the Church, p. 175).
“The long and winding road between now and the Last Day is thousands of miles long, but it is a road down which no living man will be able to kick any cans farther than fifty yards” (Against the Church, p. 164).
“Suppose the Great Eschaton is ten thousand years off. It remains a stubborn but persistent fact that my launch into that Eschaton is no more than fifty years off . . . The eschatological scythe harvests every individual long before it harvests the world” (Against the Church, p. 163).