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Has Christianity Failed in…


Has Christianity Failed in I its Mission? I AN INDICTMENT OF CHRISTIANITY. By T. E. ENTWISTLE (Evangelist.) ,I Before we can hope to answer intelligently the above question, we must have a clear con- ception of what Christianity is; and then, fur- ther. we must ask what is the mission of Christ- Ian It)' ? In a recent article by the organising secre- tary of the Sociological Society, the following declaration was made:- "What Christianity has definitely failed to do after nineteen centuries of trial, is to re- deem human life from the worst of its evils. i The Christianity which has failed is Christianity as it has prevailed up to date, a Christianity founded on the apothesis of sufferng and the multitude of doctrines associated therewith." That statement illustrates the need stated above for a clear conception of Christianity be- fore we can decide as to its failure or other- wise- And again, the declaration as to what the failure is, namely, "to redeem human life from the worst of its evils," will depend for its acceptance or rejection upon the aspect or an- gle from which it is approached. If it means that human life as a whole has not yeis been redeemed from the worst of its evils, we must agree, but if it means that no human life has been redeemed from the worst of its evils, we must disagree. In endeavouring to answer a kindred question to that of our topic in this paper, namely, "Is Christianity Practicable ?" another writer says: "There are two different angles from Which the question as to the practicability of the Christian religion may be approached. It { may be approached from the point of view of tho individual, or it may be approached from j the point of view of society. We may ask how far Christianity is a practicable religion for the individual man and woman; whether it offers a reasonable creed, a satisfying object of worship, a worthy ideal of conduct, and motives ade- quate to ensure its retatisation; or we may ask •' l whether Christianity is socially practicable, a religion which in such a world as this, with its 'implex relationships, economic, social, and po- litical, we may reasonably expect to become the accepted standard for the common faith and life of man." This again emphasises the need for clea- i views Its to what Christianity is before we can decide Qs to what Christianity has done or can do. We Inst beware of identifying Cliristianity with l piue particular ecclesiastical organisation, and jifhen Warning Christianity for the failure of the ■ O rganisation. i L» What, then is Christianity? I would answer: t is that teaching an d manner of life presented [■flu word and in deed in the New Testament as ■ B oeing acceptable unto God in Christ Jesus. has been described as the programme ? Christianity is set forth in the words quoted Jesus as recorded in Luke 4. 18-19: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. Because He anointed Me to preach good tid- ?/ l?s to the poor. 'T-jP He hath sent Me to proclaim release to the j' tives. ?'j  And recovering of sight to the blind. ? To set at liberty them that are bruised. I) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." A Here, in essence, we have the mission of I1, cliristianity. namely, the bringing of comfort, nd deliverance and light, and hope to sin- I ?und humanity. ? Has Christianity failed in this mission? From ?e point of view the' answer would come adilv "Certainly not!" From the point of ?ew of the individual, few would be found to feiiy the practicability of Christianity, for the 1 'dence to the contrary is accessible on every lid. "There are men and women all the odd over who believe in the Christian God, Cie-pt the Christian standard, and realise that Nndard in their own personal conduct to a < '?arka'ble degree. They are unselfish, trustful ?otherly. forgiving, hopeful, pure. They face f*k1 Mnity w'th courage, sin with repentance, ?ortunity with consecration, and persecution th self-c(wtroL" i t- has But when we ask whether Christianity has ?led socially the answer is not so clear, at ftst to a good many. Is the standard ac- tyted and in a large measure realised by se- ated individuals here and there valId for llio '8 as a whole? Or does Christianity fail when socially ? (The writer first quoted, after declaiing that lithe Christianity which has failed is Christ- ifcty as it has prevailed tip to date. a Christ- 1 Pity founded on the apotheosis of suiter ing UM the multitude of doctrines associated there- tJI," goes on to say, But there is anothei or at least another i-tlliglon, foun- d on the cult of joy, and unburdened with f ry doctrines which have to be harmonised fPth science for it is in harmony with science jbrn the first. This deeper Christianity, or ligion. has neither failed nor succeeded —for ,i Simple reason that. unlike the form that failed- it has never been fairly tried." t Now, it is manifest to every reader of the i Hv Testament, which is the only Book of u-istia-nily known to mankind, that Christian- is a religion including both suffering and And the joyful aspect is emphasised as • ch as the suffering. J ohn declares: That rich was from the beginning that which we vu heard, that which we have seen with our r Pys, that which we beheld, and our hands ^Helled, concerning the word of life (and the Le was manifested, and we have seen, and p-r witness, and declare unto you the life, the s gnal life, which was with the Father, and s manifested unto us), that which we have (In and heard declare we unto you also, that ?I-so may have fellowship with us; yea, and ? fellowship is with the Father, and with His ? Jesus Christ; and these things we w?.?te,  OUr JOY MAY BE FULFILLEIJ." 1 John, 1. jL many passages suffering and joy are rght toigpether, as in I Peter, 1. 3--9, where Apostle writes; Blessed be the God and her of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according lis great mercy begat us again into a liv- hope by tire resurrection of 1 Jesus Christ the dead into an inheritance incorruptible undefiled, and that fadetli not away ivser- I, in hca vendor you, who bv the power of It d are guarded through faith unto a salva- ready to be reveaied in the last time. sreiiL ye greatly rejoice, though now for a p 0 w hile, if need be, ye ha.ve been put to e£ In manifold temptations, that the proof our faith, being more precious than gold ttho-Ll,o-Ii it. be proved' by fire, ,lit be found unto praise and glory and OUr at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom i having- seen ye love, on whom, though now *6e Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice great- 'ii o,, unspeakable an d full of glory, re-j tI e, end of your faith, even the salva- \l of your souls. -tit setting asid e the muddled thinking with ,yd to a Ghrlsbamty of suS?ring and a ?tianity of joy, and just thinking of Christ- t V as a whole, as it is presented in the New Testament, we may concede, sorrowfully perhaps, as we think of what might have been, that Christianity from the national and international point of view, that is, the broad social or racial point of vew, has neither failed nor succeeded—for the simple reason that it has never been fairly tried. It is frequently asserted that Christianity, as to its most vital principles, has failed, and is i i-ne. That re d e,mpt i ,)n failing at the present time. That redemption through Christ, the Fatherhood of, God, the Brotherhood of Man, the leadership of the Church of Christ, are but figments of the imagi- nation in view of what we know to be taking place daily amongst the nations in which Christ- ianity is most generally received. Now we may concede at once that from the national and international point of view, the teachings of Christ and His Apostles axe very far from finding exemplification at the present time. But this is simply to allow that no na- tion, as such, is Christian. Personally, I agree with the thought expressed by Br. Salter that there is a great place waiting in history for the first nation that will dare to save its life by losing it, that will dare to base its na- tional existence on righteous dealing, and not on force; that will found conduct on the truths of primitive Christianity, and not on the power of its army and navy. And there is a great place waiting in history for the first political party that will dare to take the same stand and will dare to advocate the Christian policy of complete disarmament and non-resistance to alien force. No nation and no political party— and for that matter no church either—is at present prepared to do that, although they all, more or less, profess to be Christian. Dreamers of dreams is regarded as a fit- ting description of those who at present hold such views, but we are not without some little foundation, even in history, to build upon. "In the year 1861, William Penn and a handful of Quakers founded the Colony of Pennsylvania. All around them the white man was at war with the Indian, whose tomahawk and scalping knife carried death and terror and destruction into all the surrounding colonies. Surely Penn's "holy experiment" could not have been tried under circumstances more prejudicial to its success! Notwithstanding this, however, Penn and his companions landed unarmed, and, from the very first, treated the Indians with Christian kindness and loving forbearance. The land, though it had already been given them by the English monarch, they obtained again by treaty from the Indians themselves, whom they con- sidered to be the real owners of the soil; a treaty which was described by Voltaire as the only treaty that was ever made without an oath and the only treaty that was ever kept. For seventy long years the colony remained under Quaker rule, depending for its safety upon the absence of the usual means of pro- tection. And what was the consequence of this" hare-,brained foIly' ?--for that was it was called by the wordly-wise contempories of William Penn. The consequence was that during the whole of these seventy years, whilst blood flowed like water m the surrounding States, not one single drop of Christian, blood was shed by the In- dians in the Colony of Pennsylvania. Now I have heard the importance of this historical fact discounted on the score that it was entirely exoeptiona1. And truly exceptional it was But where did the exception lie? Surely the exception lay here, that this is the only instance recorded in history of the princi- ples of Christ having been tried on a large po- litical scale Surely no one will argue that the exception Jay here, that God protected those who put their trust in Him"! The fact is, so far is Christianity from being a failure, that from the early days until now, there is ho single instance on record, where Christianity has been applied, that is, reduced to practice, on either a small scale, or a large scale, without producing the promised results. (To he Continued).

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