440) What’s New?

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.  –Ecclesiastes 1:9


I have believed myself restating ancient and orthodox doctrines.  If any parts of this book are ‘original,’ in the sense of being novel or unorthodox (or new), they are against my will and as a result of my ignorance.  –C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, prologue

I was not writing to expound something I could call ‘my religion,’ but to expound ‘mere’ Christianity, which is what it is and was what it was long before I was born and whether I like it or not.  –C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


“The best compliment anyone could ever give me is that I never said anything new.”  –source lost


Someone wrote this in a review of my last book:  “Dr. Willimon’s book is engagingly written and well stated, but the informed reader will find nothing new here.”  Nothing new?  To be accused of saying nothing new is the kiss of death for a scholar!  But not for prophets of God…  (For example), Martin Luther King, Jr. did not come preaching something new; he came shouting something we already knew:  “You have said in your own Declaration of Independence, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights.’  And I insist that you either live by what you already know, or else be unfaithful to your own Constitution…”  He preached our sermon. 

You may be surprised to hear a preacher say this, but here it is:  You already know all you need to know about religion!

–William Willimon, Pulpit Resource, vol. 36, No. 2.


“All the good maxims already exist in the world.  We just fail to apply them.”  –Blaise Pascal, Pensees


Jeremiah 6:16  —  This is what the Lord says:  “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.  But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”

Job 8:8-10  —  “Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow.  Will they not instruct you and tell you?  Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?”

Proverbs 1:7  —  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

2 Thessalonians 2:15  —  So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.


Grant us, O God, to hear thy voice; and in hearing thy voice, to love thy Word; and in loving thy Word, to do thy will.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  

–Paul Sherer, Love is a Spendthrift,  (1892-1969)