Quotes by Other Authors
If marrying an unbeliever is outside of God’s will, then dating one must also be off limits. You cannot date someone who is spiritually dead and simultaneously please Christ (Rick Holland).
Christian love imitates God’s love for us, which is an unconditional commitment to imperfect people (Rick Holland).
A question frequently asked in Christian relationships is, How far can we go physically? This question is really asking, How close can we get to the line without crossing over into sin? By contrast, the chastity principle asks, How pure and holy can I be? Sex is God’s wedding gift, and He does not want it to be opened early! Avoid behavior you would one day regret if your relationship were to be broken off. The safest approach is to treat the person you are dating as if he or she might be someone else’s spouse (cf. 1Thes. 4:3-7) (Rick Holland).
Entertainment once provided escape from reality, it seems now that entertainment has become the reality from which no one desires to escape (Tom Patton).
Sadly, the unbeliever attempts the whole of his life to quench the unquenchable with something other than God. So, he pursues fame, money, power, wealth, fitness, work, wisdom, education, love, or any other creative thing that can perhaps quiet the desperate cry of his empty soul. But none of the things he finds – whether politics or popularity or creativity or anything else this world offers – can ever answer the call of his heart. He can pursue happiness, but he will never find it. As soon as he acquires one desire it turns into dust – as does the next, and the next day after that, until life finally ends in disappointment (Tom Patton).
You will never be satisfied until you realize that your every desire for more in this life is, in reality, a desire for more of God (Tom Patton).
To force Christian principles of moral behavior on an unbeliever only turns him into a Pharisee (John D. Street).
Though they accuse Bible-believing Christians of being homophobic, they themselves are theophobic (afraid of God). They are driven to rewrite what the Bible says about homosexuality because they fear what God says (John D. Street).
Suicide is often the ultimate evidence of a heart that rejects the lordship of Jesus Christ because it is an act in which the sinner takes his life completely into his own hands rather than submitting it to God’s will (Grace Community Church Position Paper).
There is no question God has authorized government to exercise capital punishment. The principle is established in Genesis 9:6, implicitly upheld by Christ in Matthew 26:52 (where Peter is warned of the consequences of murder), and reiterated by the apostle Paul in Romans 13:4 (cf. Ac. 25:11, where Paul indicates he understands some crimes are worthy of death) (Grace Community Church Position Paper).
What must not be lost sight of is that unpleasant as is the task of the jailer and the use of the whip, the cell, the noose, the guillotine, these things stand behind the stability of civilized society, and they stand there necessarily, for God has declared it so, in harmony with reality, rather than with apostate sociological opinion. Government, with its coercive powers is a social necessity, but one determined by the Creator, not by the statistical tables of some university social research staff! No society can successfully vote fines, imprisonment, corporal and capital punishment away permanently. The society which tries has lost touch with realities of man (his fallen sinful state), realities of the world, and the truth of divine revelation in nature, man’s conscience, and the Bible (Robert Culver).
Critics may claim capital punishment is hateful and destructive, but it is actually an outworking of God’s common grace to humanity, enabling sinful societies to maintain civil order and deter criminal activity. When executed properly, capital punishment serves as a terror to wrongdoers, restraining depraved sinners from doing what they would otherwise be prone to do (cf. Rom. 3:10-20), and thereby saving lives (Grace Community Church Position Paper).
While wealth cannot make people spiritual, it can reveal their spiritual priorities (Jonathan Rourke).
Gold and godliness do not always go together (Jonathan Rourke).
The question then is how can we, as believers, worship God with our financial resources while at the same time rejecting temptations that lead to idolatry and covetousness? The answer is found in giving to the Lord and His purposes. When we give our money to the work of the gospel, we not only demonstrate our heartfelt love for God (2 Cor. 9:7), we also store up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Mt. 6:16-24) (Jonathan Rourke).
God has morally sufficient reasons for the existence of evil that flow from His infinite wisdom. All things take place either by God’s prescription or permission, and in perfect accordance with His sovereign purposes and unfathomable judgments (Rom. 11:33-36) (Rick Holland).
Heaven is the time and place where all believers will enjoy the absence of all evil and suffering and the presence of unmitigated joy. The problem of evil is the cry of the soul for that experience. It is placing upon this world expectations that can only be met in heaven. Considering our unworthiness in light of the infinite tributaries of God’s goodness, sovereignty, wisdom, grace, and mercy can reset the troubled heart with the power of perspective (Rick Holland).
God uses the troubles of our lives, culminating in the inevitability of our own deaths, to pry our grips off this world and refocus our hearts on what lies ahead with Him (Rick Holland).
If a believer can keep his mind on God, no evil in this world can steal his peace. And that will be enough till heaven (Rick Holland).
When all is said and done, mercy ministry looks like nothing more than Christians being faithful to the Great Commission and being obedient to genuinely love people wherever they go. This is true mercy ministry, and this is true religion. We are to in turn be faithful to minister to those around us and to live sacrificially so that we can send people to places where needs are greater. This is the means God has established to bring hope to this hurting and broken world (Jesse Johnson).
To give God glory is not to add something that is not already present; it is rather an act of acknowledgement or extolling of what He is or has already done (P.T. O’Brien).
Love, generally, is that principle which leads one moral being to desire and delight in another, and reaches its highest form in that personal fellowship in which each lives in the life of the other, and finds his joy in imparting himself to the other, and in receiving back the outflow of that other’s affection unto himself (James Orr).
“Being of the same mind” is not intended to squash independent thinking by Christians or to prevent them from having different opinions on secondary matters, but to exhort them to be at one in their mental attitude and thus in the basic aim, direction, and orientation of their behavior (P.T. O’Brien).
Puritanism was nothing else then the application of the Bible to all life and thought with the aim of living to the glory of God (Maurice Roberts).
His ongoing priestly work in the heavenly sanctuary is carried out as a risen and exalted human. Like the priests of old were “chosen from among men” and “appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God,” so also Christ was “made like His brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest” on our behalf (Heb 5:1; 2:17) (Luke Stamps).
Christ constitutes the unconditional gift of our salvation, but He also serves as our great exemplar. “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21). As the true man, the one who exemplifies God-honoring, Spirit-filled human obedience without peer, Christ is the one whom Christians are to imitate in our obedience of God. The words of Pilate at the crucifixion, “Behold the man,” are ironically true: in Christ, and especially in His passion and death, we see true humanity, and in Him we find our calling, our purpose, and our destiny as His followers (Luke Stamps).
The Old Testament anticipates that the redeemer of fallen humanity would be one who is both God and man. The New Testament plainly teaches that Jesus Christ is this divine-human redeemer. His humanity is apparent throughout the “whole course” of His obedience. His conception, birth, development, limitations, suffering, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, ongoing priestly work, and final return give powerful testimony to the genuine humanity of Christ (Luke Stamps).
The study of God is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity (Luke Stamps).
In His divine essence, God cannot die; He is immortal. But because the God the Son assumed humanity, He is capable of suffering and death as a part of His atoning work. He assumed the likeness of sinful flesh in order to condemn sin in His own body through death (Rom 8:3–4). He was legally reckoned to be a sinner, though He himself was without sin, so that He might pay the penalty for sin (2 Cor 5:21) (Luke Stamps).
The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus never sinned (Heb 4:15; 9:14; 1 Pet 1:19). And although theologians have debated the question of Christ’s impeccability—whether or not he could have sinned—it seems that the answer most consistent with the fullness of the New Testament revelation is that Christ, in fact, could not have sinned. Because the person of Christ is divine, and a divine person, being necessarily good, cannot sin, it seems best to argue for Christ’s impeccability. But this understanding of Christ’s inability to sin need not detract from the biblical teaching that Christ, as a human, was indeed tempted (Matt 4:1–11) and even “suffered” in his temptations (Heb 2:18). There may be better and worse ways of reconciling these two apparently contradictory aspects of the New Testament teaching, but however we attempt to reconcile them, it seems best to hold them both, without seeking to alleviate the tension by diminishing either (Luke Stamps).
It is important that we hold God-delegated authority in honor because we understand that they were put there by God (Todd Murray).
Exasperate – Goading [your children] into perpetual resentment through hypocrisy or neglect (Todd Murray).
Sin always leads to suffering. It works itself into natural consequences (Todd Murray).
The worthiness of Christ is the only thing that will make a person suffer for Him (Todd Murray).
People deny Christ either by their silence or doctrinal compromise (Todd Murray).
You can’t sin without consequences (Todd Murray).
Avoid the consequences of the sluggard’s presumptuous life: He suffers unemployment (Proverbs 10:26; 12:24). He suffers hunger (Proverbs 19:15; 20:4). He suffers unfulfilled cravings (Proverbs13:4; 21:25-26). He suffers unnecessary hindrances (Proverbs 15:19; 18:9). He suffers sudden, unexpected poverty Proverbs 20:13; 24:30-34) (Todd Murray).
Avoid the habits and character of the sluggard’s presumptuous life: He delays beginning a job because he is self-indulgent. “I’m too tired, I’ll do it later” (Proverbs 6:6-10; 26:14). He delays beginning a job because he is dishonest. “I can’t because…” (Proverbs 22:13, 26:3). He delays completing a job because he is lazy (Proverbs 19:24, 26:15). He defends his inaction because he is proud (Proverbs 26:16) (Todd Murray).
Sexual intimacy within the confines of marriage is the only time you can engage without feeling guilt and shame immediately after (Todd Murray).
We can’t be untemptable, but with God’s Word we can be less vulnerable (Todd Murray).
Is my teen turning away from me or is he turning away from the truth (Todd Murray)?
Without ceasing to be what He was, He became what He was not (Cyril of Alexandria).
Look at Him – this amazing Jesus! He is helping Joseph make a yoke in that little carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. This is the One who, apart from His self-emptying, could far more easily make a solar system or a galaxy of systems. Look at Him again! Dressed like a slave, with towel and basin for His menial equipment, He is bathing the feet of some friends of His who, but for their quarrelsomeness, should have been washing His feet.… “He humbled himself!” “Don’t forget this,” cries Paul to these dear friends of his at Philippi. “Don’t forget this when the slightest impulse arises to become self-assertive and self-seeking, and so to break the bond of your fellowship with one another”(Paul Rees).
He was born. He grew and developed. He experienced the limitations of finitude. He was tempted. He suffered, died, and was buried. He was raised in his humanity. He continues his kingly and priestly work. He will return in his humanity (Luke Stamps).
To emphasize the deity of Christ in no way diminishes His humanity, and to highlight His humanity in no way detracts from His deity. The properties of each nature retain their own integrity even in their union in the singular person of the Son (Luke Stamps).
As Presbyterian theologian B. B. Warfield put it, the Old Testament is like “a chamber richly furnished but dimly lighted.” Only in the light of the New Testament gospel can readers of Scripture go back to the Old Testament and see what was really there all along, but veiled until the coming of Christ (Luke Stamps).
With equal force [of His deity], the New Testament presents Jesus as truly human; His human limitations are not an illusion, nor is His humanity swallowed up by his deity (Luke Stamps).
If this [the humanity of Jesus Christ] is the central truth of Christianity, it is also a scandal to many. From the ancient Gnostics to contemporary Muslims, many have maintained that it is incongruous with the supreme dignity of the Deity that He should sully Himself with human weakness. Modern philosophy is also scandalized by the notion that only one human in a particular time and place could somehow constitute the definitive revelation of the eternal and immutable God. Even many in Christian history have sought to diminish or attenuate the full force of the true humanity of Christ. But the truth of Christ’s humanity is as significant for the gospel of salvation as the truth of his deity (Luke Stamps).
In His incarnation, the Son of God assumed a complete human nature – body, soul, mind, and will – into personal union with Himself. He did not assume a distinct human person, since He is already a divine person, but rather He gave personhood to the human nature that He assumed. As a human, Jesus experienced all the ordinary, non-sinful limitations of humanity. He grew and developed. He experienced hunger, thirst, weariness, and the full range of human emotions. His humanity was as integral to His saving work as His divinity. As the true human, the last Adam, He lived out obedience to God through our common humanity as our representative and substitute: through His life, death, and resurrection, He merits salvation for all who are united to Him by faith. As a human, He also serves as our example, providing a model for true human obedience (Luke Stamps).
The humanity of Christ refers to the reality that in His incarnation, the Son of God assumed a complete human nature with all its limitations (but without in any way surrendering His divinity), so that He might serve as humanity’s representative, substitute, and example (Luke Stamps).
Our security is not our grip on Christ, but His grip on us (David Smith).
The deepest level of awareness of God is achieved only by intimate communion with the Son (Kenneth Grayston).
How you preach is what you think about the Scripture (H.B. Charles).
When the fruit of the spirit becomes characteristic of the church’s daily life, it becomes painfully clear whenever one person violates that spirit, and the body itself will work to take care of the irritation (Marshall Shelly).
Most churches have plenty of strong personalities but a shortage of gentleness (Marshall Shelly).
The most effective boards can see issues from different sides and examine them fully, even when it means disagreement with the pastor. At the same time, healthy boards are united in purpose and plan, respecting one another’s differences. The strongest board is a team of coworkers willing to honor God not only with their decisions but also with the decision-making process. Their relationships are as important as their righteousness, and the relationship between pastor and board is cemented with trust; without that, the pastor’s ministry will inevitably come unglued (Marshall Shelly).
Taking opportunities to build a close, cohesive church will produce better results than the shrewdest political maneuvers to squash dissenters after problems sprout. Defusing potential problems before they arise is far better than troubleshooting later on (Marshall Shelly).
Whenever there is conflict, you should use email: 1. If there needs to be a record of the interaction. 2 If you are dealing with a conflict where the emotional level is fairly low. 3. If you can be gracious and not upset as you’re drafting your reply. 4. If you’re having an initial conversation to set up a phone call or face to face meeting to address things in more detail. Do not use email: 1. If you’re in conflict with someone you’ve never met face-to-face. 2. Your emotions are running high. 3 If the email exchange has gone back and forth more than three times. This could mean that the issue is too complex to deal with using only email. Ask to speak by phone or face-to-face (Marshall Shelly).
Email is an isolated activity. You don’t need anyone around to read or respond to an email. This makes it convenient. But it also means you miss all the nonverbal cues: vocal inflections, facial expressions, gestures. So it’s easy to overlook the actual person we’re emailing, which means that misunderstandings are more likely to arise (Marshall Shelly).
Nothing is bloodier than a religious war. Issues aren’t just as human squabbles; everything is elevated to eternal importance… How tempting… to mistake our will for God’s. How devilish to believe that disagreeing with me is disagreeing with God (Marshall Shelly).
The church, indeed every Christian, is an odd combination of self-sacrificing saint and self-serving sinner. And the church, unlike some social organizations, doesn’t have the luxury of choosing its members; the church is an assembly of all who professed themselves believers (Marshall Shelly).
Emotions are often more powerful than logic (Marshall Shelly).
Rebuilding trust is much harder than building it. After conﬂict and separation, after two people have so seriously injured each other, even after apologies have been made, restoring spontaneity and carefree aﬀection doesn’t happen overnight (Marshall Shelly).
Wisdom without Christ is damning folly – righteousness without Christ is guilt and condemnation – sanctification without Christ is filth and sin – redemption without Christ is bondage and slavery (Robert Traill).
It is harder to deny proud self than sinful self (James Hervey).
The late J. Vernon McGee received a letter from a lady who listened to his radio program. She wrote: “Our preacher said that on Easter Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed him back to health. What do you think?” McGee replied, “Dear Sister, beat your preacher with a leather whip. Nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for six hours. Run a spear through his heart. Embalm him. Put him in an airless tomb for three days. Then see what happens” (J. Vernon McGee).
The very structure of being human is such that we can only be what we were created to be and are called to become by resting transparently in God. This means, among other things, that being rightly related to God is the only way truly to be oneself. If we fail to rest transparently in Him – that is, if we fail to have faith in God – then there will be a fundamental misrelation at the center of our existence and this is the condition of being in despair (Bruce Baugus).
As surely as men standing in Jerusalem once saw Him slowly descending the Mount of Olives and then ascending the opposite hill into the city, so surely shall the world one day see the Son of Man descending the heavens. Not then shall He come as the meek and lowly: He shall come with power and great glory. Not then shall He come riding on an ass: He shall come in a cloud, the emblematic carriage of deity. Not then shall he have to borrow a donkey: then His advance preparations shall be the roaring of the sea and the shaking of the powers of the heavens (David Gooding).
As we approach the twenty-first century, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that our entire culture is in trouble. We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and we can no longer afford to act like it’s loaded with blanks… Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for a well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality. In the political process, the makeup man is more important than the speech writer, and we approach the voting booth, not on the basis of a well-developed philosophy of what the state should be, but with a heart full of images, emotions, and slogans all packed into thirty-second sound bites. The mind-numbing, irrational tripe that fills TV talk shows is digested by millions of bored, lonely Americans hungry for that sort of stuff (J.P Moreland).
Jesus came to a growing understanding of his Messianic calling by reading the Scriptures. He had to learn the Bible just as we must. Of course, He is the greatest theologian who has ever lived. His reading of the Bible would have been free from the problems that beset Christians who wrongly interpret passages and bring their own sinful dispositions to the text. Nevertheless, we must not imagine that Christ had all of the answers as a baby and merely waited to begin His ministry at the age of thirty without putting in hard yet delightful work on a daily basis in obedience to His Father’s will. As Christopher Wright notes, the Old Testament enabled Jesus to understand Himself. The answer to His self-identity came from the Bible, “the Hebrew scriptures in which he found a rich tapestry of figures, historical persons, prophetic pictures and symbols of worship. And in this tapestry, where others saw only a fragmented collection of various figures and hopes, Jesus saw His own face. His Hebrew Bible provided the shape of His own identity.” …He had to study to know what to do. While He was never ignorant of what He needed to know at any stage of His life, He nevertheless was required to learn (Mark Jones).
The unity of the church is to be a reflection of the unity of the one God upon which the church is built. The ideal (unity) and the real (division) do not always match up in the life of the church. A biblical theology of unity reveals a richer and deeper understanding of unity than mere uniformity, but it also holds out the goal of visible unity towards which Christians should aspire. The model of church unity presented in Scripture is a unity-in-diversity which protects it on one side from an over-reliance on human hierarchies but also from too great of an emphasis upon human autonomy… [Unity is being] bound to God and to one another by the gospel (Richard Lints).
It is the truth which is assailed in any age which tests our fidelity. It is to confess we are called, not merely to profess. If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point (Fritz – German Monk and contemporary with Martin Luther).
One helpful way of delineating these conditions is to say that the Christian use of contraception is only permissible when biblical principles of human flourishing are applied within the context of the biblical paradigm of marital fruitfulness (Ben Franks).
What caused this dramatic shift in the church’s views [toward birth control]? Part of the answer is found in the radical shift which took place in the culture’s views in the first half of the 20th century. Increasing concern over population growth, loosening sexual mores, the rise of the Feminist movement, and an increasing commitment to individual autonomy and personal choice all pushed contemporary culture towards an embrace of contraception. By the 1960s and 70s, one could safely say that the contemporary cultural view of contraception was overwhelmingly positive (Ben Franks).
While Christians take a variety of stances on contraception today, this diversity of opinion and practice is a relatively recent historical development. The majority report in Christian history has been overwhelmingly vocal in its opposition to birth control. The Early Church fathers condemned the use of contraception, leaning heavily on the negative example of Onan in Genesis 38 as evidence for their position and arguing that procreation was the primary purpose of sexual intimacy. This same basic stance was reiterated and reinforced by the Medieval monks and theologians. Even with the sweeping changes which the Reformation brought to Christians’ views of marriage and family, leading Reformers (such as Luther and Calvin) maintained the church’s historic opposition to contraception. Up through the 19th century, both Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic church stood united in their condemnation of contraception. The first official break with this view came with the 1930 Lambeth Conference, in which the Anglican Communion cautiously opened the door for Christian use of contraception. Within a few decades, the Christian consensus on contraception had collapsed and a range of attitudes and approaches towards contraception began to develop (Ben Franks).
True prayer is an awareness of our helpless need and an acknowledgment of divine adequacy (Ray Stedman).
It goes against the grain to give an image of oneself that is anything less than perfect, and many Christians imagine that they will be rejected by others if they admit to any faults. But nothing could be more destructive to Christian koinonia (fellowship) than the common practice today of pretending not to have any problems (Ray Stedman).
True Christianity is to manifest genuinely Christ-like behavior by dependence on the working of the Spirit of God within, motivated by a love for the glory and honor of God (Ray Stedman).
The flesh is the old life, the natural life inherited from Adam, with its apparent resources of personality, of ancestry, of commitment, of dedication, and so forth. You can do all kinds of religious things in the flesh. The flesh can preach a sermon. The flesh can sing in the choir. The flesh can act as an usher. The flesh can lead people to Christ. Did you know that? The flesh can go out and be very zealous in its witnessing and amass a terribly impressive list of people won to Christ, scalps to hang on a belt. The flesh can do these things but it is absolutely nauseating in the eyes of God. It is merely religious activity. There is nothing wrong with what is being done, but what is terribly wrong is the power being relied upon to do it (Ray Stedman).
Remember that grace and truth cannot finally be crucified. Remember that all the high things that make humanity beautiful cannot be forever laid in the dust, spattered with blood. And most of all, remember that He who rose from the dead, rose to pour out His Holy Spirit into human lives, and, by that Spirit, to make available to any individual all the fullness of Himself, twenty-four hours a day (Ray Stedman).
Legalism can also be described as false Christianity because that is essentially what it is. It uses Christian language and biblical terms. It sounds evangelical. It loves to use phrases like “evangelism,” “fundamentalism,” “biblical literalism,” and such. It sounds Christian, and looks Christian, but it is emphatically not true Christianity. It as a spurious fake, an imitation Christianity, an empty, hollow counterfeit of the real thing. It is a burdensome drag upon the spiritual life that creates a sense of bondage and guilt. It is a sickening, nauseating fraud in the eyes of others. God describes it in the Scriptures as a stench in his nostrils. That is what legality really is (Ray Stedman).
For many years, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been the central certainty of my life, as it has for thousands and hundreds of thousands of Christians. To me the great value of Easter Sunday lies right here. Amid all the question marks of this questioning age in which we live, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s great exclamation point. And if you are aware of the questions, the doubts, and uncertainties that surround us today, I think you will agree with me that we are very much in need of exclamation marks in this day. The belief of Christians this Easter Sunday morning is an island of faith in the midst of an ocean of doubt and uncertainty (Ray Stedman).
Exposition is preaching that derives its content from the Scripture directly, seeking to discover its divinely intended meaning, to observe its effect upon those who first received it, and to apply it to those who seek its guidance in the present. It consists of deep insight into and understanding of the thoughts of God, powerfully presented in direct personal application to contemporary needs and problems. It is definitely not a dreary, rambling, shallow verse-by verse commentary, as many imagine. Nor is it a dry-as-dust presentation of academic biblical truth, but a vigorous, captivating analysis of reality, flowing from the mind of Christ by means of the Spirit and the preacher into the daily lives and circumstances of twentieth century people (Ray C. Stedman).
Unbeknownst to the people of Moses’ day (it was a ‘mystery’), marriage was designed by God from the beginning to be a picture or parable of the relationship between Christ and the church. Back when God was planning what marriage would be like, He planned it for this great purpose: it would give a beautiful earthly picture of the relationship that would someday come about between Christ and His church. This was not known to people for many generations, and that is why Paul can call it a ‘mystery.’ But now in the New Testament age Paul reveals this mystery, and it is amazing. This means that when Paul wanted to tell the Ephesians about marriage, he did not just hunt around for a helpful analogy and suddenly think that “Christ and the church” might be a good teaching illustration. No, it was much more fundamental than that: Paul saw that when God designed the original marriage, He already had Christ and the church in mind. This is one of God’s great purposes in marriage: to picture the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever! (George Knight)
[Jesus] did not consider the political dominance of the Romans to be any infringement of the sovereignty of God. It is not the rule of foreigners over the nation, but the rule of all ungodly powers in the inner life of men, that the sovereignty of God aims at removing (Gustaf Dalman).