Some “Nuggets” from Peter Kreeft

I’ve been reading Peter Kreeft’s Back to Virtue this week and so far am loving it. The following are a few of the nuggets that caught my attention:

1. Faith = “yes”

“Faith is saying Yes to God’s marriage proposal. Faith is extremely simple. Saying anything more would probably confuse it. Most of what is written about faith is needlessly complex. The word yes is the simplest word there is.”

2. Not our job to convert

“It is not our job to convert the world or to fill churches; that is God’s job. Our is to sow the seed, without sugar-coating it; God’s is to make it take root and grow.”

3. When Men Speak Well of You

“The apparent kindness of preachers who water down Jesus’ hard sayings is really arrogance. They are like mail carriers who arrogate to themselves the role of editors of the mail that is entrusted to them to deliver intact. Some preachers act as if Jesus had said, “Blessed are you when all men speak well of you.” But the real Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). If we never offend anyone, we are not giving them Jesus.”

4. Why Jesus is different

“Most of our ethical teachers give us either old platitudes or new nonsense, safe old truths or dangerous new lies. Confucius is a good example of the former, Nietzsche of the latter. The first type is reliable but dull, the other fascinating but deranged. Jesus is wholly different. He gives us neither old orthodoxies nor new heresies, but the very mind of God, fresh water springing straight from the glacier of God’s heavenly mountain, refreshing the soul and welling up with eternal life.”

5. The “Meek and Gentle” Jesus

“Why have we reduced him to “meek and gentle Jesus”? Because we have reduced all the virtues to one, being kind; and we measure Jesus by our standards instead of measuring our standards by him.”

There is so much packed into this little book, but I really like his approach to ethics thus far (I haven’t read all of it yet). I also like the way he views the Sermon on the Mount. He sees it as the “Imitation of Christ.” It is the “fruits of faith,” not some humanistic “ideal” that any society, secular or not, could implement. The Sermon on the Mount describes the works that Christians do, which are essentially the works of Christ. David P. Scaer takes this view as well: that the Sermon on the Mount describes Christ and those who are in Christ.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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