Do you know, the only people I can have a conversation with are the Jews? At least when they quote scripture at you they are not merely repeating something some priest has babbled in their ear. They have the great merit of disagreeing with nearly everything I say. In fact, they disagree with almost everything they say themselves. And most importantly, they don't think that shouting strengthens their argument.
Considering he was neither priest nor scholar, the young man gave sensible, thoughtful replies -- the more so, perhaps, for being untrained, for he had not learned what he should believe or should not believe. Present a statement to him in flagrant contradiction to all Christian doctrine and he could be persuaded to agree on its good sense, unless he remembered it was the sort of thing of which pyres are made for the incautious.
The problem with churches of all sorts, he continued, is that so often they ignore the key teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, like the doctrine of love. So often we ask God to be on our side instead of asking that we be blessed enough to be on his. That said, the wheat and the tares must grow up together, and in the days of harvest they will be separated properly.
Any philosophy, whether of a religious or political nature - and sometimes the dividing line is hard to determine - fights less for the negative destruction of the opposing ideology than for the positive promotion of its own. Hence its struggle is less defensive than offensive. It therefore has the advantage even in determining the goal, since this goal represents the victory of its own idea, while, conversely,it is hard to determine when the negative aim of the destruction of a hostile doctrine may be regarded as achieved and assured. For this reason alone, the philosophy's offensive will be more systematic and also more powerful than the defensive against a philosophy, since here, too, as always, the attack and not the defence makes the decision. The fight against a spiritual power with methods of violence remains defensive, however, until the sword becomes the support,the herald and disseminator, of a new spiritual doctrine.
Do not believe anything merely because you are told it is so, because others believe it, because it comes from Tradition, or because you have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect. Believe, take for your doctrine, and hold true to that, which, after serious investigation, seems to you to further the welfare of all beings. (47)
Nevertheless, should you have any doubts that we are stating sound doctrines, look up the references and see exactly what the Bible says and believe it in preference to any man. You cannot go wrong with this kind of advice. But in doing this, be sure you adhere to what is written, and that you do not let preconceived ideas cause you to be biased on any point. Do not try to make the Bible conform to your ideas. Always reconcile your ideas to the Bible. Let the plain language of the references given be read and understood in the same literal way that we would understand similar statements in any other book
For Christians to influence the world with the truth of God's Word requires the recovery of the great Reformation doctrine of vocation. Christians are called to God's service not only in church professions but also in every secular calling. The task of restoring truth to the culture depends largely on our laypeople.To bring back truth, on a practical level, the church must encourage Christians to be not merely consumers of culture but makers of culture. The church needs to cultivate Christian artists, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, journalists, attorneys, teachers, scientists, business executives, and the like, teaching its laypeople the sense in which every secular vocation-including, above all, the callings of husband, wife, and parent--is a sphere of Christian ministry, a way of serving God and neighbor that is grounded in God's truth. Christian laypeople must be encouraged to be leaders in their fields, rather than eager-to-please followers, working from the assumptions of their biblical worldview, not the vapid clichés of pop culture.