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CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 



Can Protestantism Ignore Economic Issues? — We have heard much, 
of late, about the church and industry. Many are discussing the 
question as to whether the church has a right to lift its voice in matters 
which affect the industrial world, but back of the question of the church's 
right, is the question of the church's desire to speak in this field. Assum- 
ing without argument the church's right to speak, James J. Coale in an 
article "Protestantism and the Masses" in the Yale Review for October, 
1921, addresses himself to the question of the church's present reluctance 
to enter this field. He finds the fundamental cause for the church's 
willingness to isolate herself from this important area of thinking and 
activity in the inherited ethics of the Protestant church, an ethics based 
ultimately on the sanctity of private property. Worship of thrift, 
admiration of accumulated wealth, has caught the Protestant church in 
a snare. She is committed to the point of view of the possessing ele- 
ment; her energies have been bent to hold this group. The results of 
this alignment on the side of property are complacency about the status 
quo of the social order and a commitment to the gospel of "Success." 
The model which Mr. Coale would set before the church for its action 
today is the step which the church took under Paul's direction in the 
first century of its history. 

The New Testament brings out the fact that a drastic choice of human 
material for the growing church was several times forced upon the leaders of 
the church, and in each case, a radical course was adopted. Paul turned to 
the Goyim, the Gentiles, as the alternative to a narrow exclusive policy for 
which his colleagues contended. History affords few more stirring, more 
dramatic climaxes than this surrendering of individual prestige, social advan- 
tage and racial pride, for the sake of the great, unnamed, undistinguished 

masses Is this the spirit of the Protestant church today? .... 

The cost of such a spirit is terrific, not in money merely but in the surrender 
of pride and prejudice. When the Protestant church is willing to pay the 
price, it will become an efficient instrument for social righteousness. 

The question is not one of right but of will. 

The Death of Two Veterans in the Field of Theology.— Professor G. 
Frederick Wright, of Oberlin College, died on April 20, 1921, at the 
age of eighty-four and Dr. Augustus H. Strong, formerly president of 

81 



82 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

Rochester Theological Seminary, died on November 29, 192 1, at the age 
of eighty-five. 

Professor Wright was appointed in 1892 to the chair of the harmony 
of science and religion at Oberlin. Educated for the ministry, he turned 
his attention during his early pastorates to the field of geology, and made 
some valuable researches into the glacial evidences of the extent of the 
ice age in North America. He was editor of the Bibliotheca Sacra from 
1884 until his death, and was an indefatigable defender of conservative 
theological views. 

Dr. Strong was for forty years (1872-1912) president of Rochester 
Theological Seminary, and the widely influential professor of systematic 
theology in that institution. He early published a textbook on theology 
which received constant revisions and enlargements, embodying an aston- 
ishingly wide range of reading. The orthodox theological position ex- 
pressed in the first edition was never abandoned, though at one time the 
lure of a monistic philosophy seemed to be leading in the direction of 
certain significant reconstructions. Dr. Strong was a lover of literature 
and published several studies of the theology of outstanding poets. 

Dr. Griffith Thomas on Missions in China. — A year ago at the Moody 
Institute, Dr. Griffith Thomas gave a vivid picture of alleged evangelical 
disintegration in the mission field in China. One of his statements was: 
"There are 248 missionaries in Shanghai and only 4 of these are doing 
evangelistic work." 

The editor of the Chinese Recorder in the August issue of 192 1 
answers Dr. Thomas' criticism with the following facts: (1) that in 
191 7 there were actually 450 missionaries in Shanghai; (2) that the 
large number of missionaries in Shanghai is due to the fact that Shanghai 
is the center of missionary administrative and literary work in China; 
(3) that the survey of the executive committee of the Shanghai Mission- 
ary Association reports that there are at present 34 missionaries giving 
their whole time to preaching and teaching the Bible — in accordance 
with the narrowest definition of "evangelist"; (4) that in addition there 
are Bible Society workers, a translator of the Bible into Phonetic, 
Sunday-school lesson workers, and writers of purely evangelistic tracts; 
(5) that there are also many missionaries working in hospitals and 
schools. 

In an article entitled "Modernism in China," in the Princeton 
Theological Review for October, 1921, Dr. Thomas furnishes a stirring 
account of what he found on his recent visit to China. He cites instance 
after instance of the teaching of liberal and critical views in mission 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 83 

schools. It is self-evident to him that such views represent a perversion 
of Christianity, and he suggests three imperative duties which conserva- 
tives must assume: (1) People at home must be informed as to what is 
going on in China; (2) Mission Boards must be influenced "to send 
out only the right men"; (3) Missionaries should be provided with "the 
best books on the conservative side." 

The fundamental difference between the liberals and the conserva- 
tives is declared by Dr. Thomas to be found in the attitude toward the 
authority of Scripture. Doubtless this is true. But the analysis of the 
situation seems to indicate another difference which deserves considera- 
tion. Those who sympathize with Dr. Thomas demand the exclusion 
of all missionaries who do not agree with their conception of the Bible. 
The liberals make no such exclusive demands. They recognize honest 
differences of opinion, but believe that there should be a practical 
co-operation in Christian service. The conservative apparently attrib- 
utes to the liberal his own exclusive attitude and then accuses the 
liberal of promoting divisions in the missionary enterprise. There is 
need for a closer examination of this point. 

Can the Problem of Miracles Be Solved? — Without recourse to any 
new forms of argument, or the assembling of any new data, Mr. W. H. 
Bass, in the Pilgrim for October, 1921, has stated concisely and clearly 
what he believes to be the prime factor in the modern approach to the 
problem of miracle, namely, the recognition of the subjective element 
in the Gospel records. In brief, he contends that a twentieth-century 
man, if confronted with the events which the first-century man reported 
in terms of miracle, would undoubtedly give some interpretation sug- 
gested by modern views of cause and effect. The modern Christian 
is not obligated to accept an ancient interpretation, but may raise for 
himself the question as to what probably occurred. Mr. Bass's article, 
because of its brevity and directness, will commend itself to the many 
thoughtful people, for whom as Mr. Bass says, the presence of the 
miraculous element in the gospel narratives makes the character of 
Jesus unintelligible today. 

The Ancient Faith and the Modern Churchman.— In an article under 
this title, in the Contemporary Review for November, the Right Rev. 
Bishop J. E. C. Welldon. D.D., discusses the Conference of Modern 
Churchmen, held at Girton College, Cambridge, England, last August. 
The speeches and sermons delivered at the conference have all been pub- 
lished in the September number of the Modem Churchman, the organ 
of the Churchmen's Union, and it is to the consideration of these 



84 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

addresses that Bishop Welldon invites the attention of the reader. 
The view presented in the article is that of a conservative, who deprecates 
the formulation of new creeds as an indication of departure from the old 
faith, and whose examination of the attitude of the conference toward 
the personality of Jesus leads him to express the fear that the modern 
churchman "is prepared to surrender the essential power of Chris- 
tianity." The article is of interest, however, to the liberal as well as to 
the conservative, in its clear statement of the issues under discussion 
between the liberal and conservative parties in the Church of England 
today. An interesting new formulation of faith, proposed at the con- 
ference by Dr. Douglas White, is quoted in the article: 

I believe in God, the Father of all; 

And in Jesus Christ, Revealer of God, and Saviour of men: 

And in the Spirit of Holiness, which is the Spirit of God and of Jesus: 

By which Spirit, man is made divine: 

I acknowledge the communion of all faithful people, 

In beauty, goodness, and truth; 

I believe in the forgiveness of sins, the glory of righteousness, 

The victory of love, and the life eternal. 

Three Essentials of New Testament Interpretation. — Professor H. 
L. Goudge's Inaugural Lecture at King's College, London, in March, 
1921, is printed in the Church Quarterly Review for October, 1921. 
Entering upon his work as professor of New Testament exegesis, Dr. 
Goudge has formulated the principles by which he wishes his interpreta- 
tion of the New Testament to be regulated: (1) the recognition of the 
unity and continuity of the Church's life; (2) the understanding of the 
unity of the canonical scriptures; and (3) the appreciation of the gift of 
the Holy Spirit. Failure to realize the corporate character of all bib- 
lical religion, and the growth of Christianity, as a social organism from 
Judaism means misunderstanding of the message of Jesus. An under- 
standing of the progressive character of the revelation in the Old 
and New Testaments, must precede any real appreciation of the work 
of Jesus — especially his choice from all the Old Testament pictures of the 
Messiah of the gentlest one for his model. Of the gift of the Holy 
Spirit, Professor Goudge says, "It is the gift of the Holy Spirit which 
alone explains the New Testament, and we cannot understand it, unless 
in some measure, we share the writer's experience." Finally he says, 
"We come to the New Testament not primarily that we may judge it, 
but that it may judge us: and the more that this is what we desire, the 
better will our understanding be." 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 85 

Accepting the Universe. — "Gad, she'd better," was Carlyle's grim 
answer when he was told that Margaret Fuller, the American tran- 
scendentalist, had accepted the universe. That was, in essence, the 
doctrine of the stoics of Paul's day — acquiesence and loyalty to the 
cosmic scheme as the only means to peace and freedom. In distinction 
from these philosophers, the devotees of the Hellenistic mystery religions 
sought escape from the tyranny of the cosmic order through alliance 
with some deity who was superior to it. Ecstasy, asceticism, sacra- 
mental feasts brought to them this freedom. That Paul was coping 
with the same problem when he wrote to his followers about being in 
"bondage under the elements of the world" (Gal. 4:3 and Col. 2:8-10) 
is the contention of Professor Moffatt in his article, "The Festival of 
Christianity" in the Expositor for November, 1021. Beside these 
passages, which deal with the Christian's relation to the cosmic order, 
Professor Moffatt places I Cor. 5:8— "Wherefore let us celebrate our 
festival" — Paul's symbol of the relationship that Christianity involved. 
The religious notion of lif e as a festival meant the guardianship of God as 
a source of confidence. Dr. Moffatt shows that Paul's belief in this 
relationship implied for Christians a position of superiority over cosmic 
forces, lordship over the world, and freedom which enabled them to 
face external things without fear or hesitation. "As Christians," says 
Professor Moffatt, "we are the guests of God, set to live our life before 
him in a world-order over which He has control, and in which he has a 
place for those whom he has redeemed from sin and death." Every stu- 
dent of Paul will welcome this discussion of the puzzling phrase: orotxtta 

TOV KOCTflOV. 

The Religious-social Movement in Germany. — In the World Tomor- 
row (September, 1921) Mr. Hans Hartmann gives a survey of this new 
religious movement in Germany. There has been a growing conviction 
since the revolution of 1018 that religion must have a closer connection 
with life. At present there are two active movements in this direction. 

1. The "theoretical group" tries to find out the Divine will for the 
present time and to furnish to mankind the fruits of their best thinking. 
This group believes that only by their modesty and humility can God 
work through them. They avoid close connection with the masses of 
workers in order to keep unsullied their own point of view. 

2. The "practical group" consist of radicals and well-balanced 
leaders. The latter are cautious in making any direct contact with 
the masses but are trying to bring men together in small circles, awaken- 
ing them so that they will purify the public lif e slowly but surely. The 



86 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

New Work, which is an enthusiastic exponent of a strong will to prepare 
the way for peace, justice, faith and love, is a popular magazine among 
the youth. 

Can There Be Self-Determination on the Mission Field? — Almost 
everywhere non-Christian peoples are restive under the domination of 
foreigners, whether in religion or politics. In the words of Rev. 
Masahisa Uemura, of Japan: 

To depend upon the pocket of foreigners for money to pay the bills is not 
a situation which ought to satisfy the moral sense of Japanese Christians. 
Likewise in the realm of religious thought, is it not shameful to accept opinions, 
ready-made, relying on the experience of others instead of one's own ? . . . . 
Is it not a great duty which we owe to God and to mankind to develop the 
religious talent of our people, and to contribute our share to the religious ideas 
of the world ? 

Dr. Brown, the secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions of the 
Presbyterian church, has an article in the International Review of Missions 
(October, 1921) pointing out that there are two possible methods of 
solving the difficulty. The first proposal is to keep the mission with its 
present powers and make a few of the best-qualified native Christians 
members of the mission. The second is to transfer a large part of the 
power to the native church. The latter is the wiser course because the 
ultimate object of the missionary is not to establish an American or 
English church in any mission field but a native church that will and 
should govern itself. The sphere of a mission in any field is temporary 
but that of a native church is permanent. 

Related to the problem of self-government is that of the creed and 
the polity of the native church. If the rising churches in the mission 
field determine their own creeds and polity, who is to be the judge of 
their soundness ? Dr. Brown believes that as Christianity in the course 
of two thousand years has taken on the characteristics of the white race, 
it is very natural for an autonomous body of Christians in the mission 
field to shape it in accordance with their own racial characteristics. No 
missionary should lay too much stress upon occidental terminology and 
theology as essentials of Christianity. 

The Golden Rule as a Business Asset. — In the American Magazine 
(October, 192 1) Arthur Nash tells of a business miracle in his Golden 
Rule Factory. After the war, conditions were so bad that he decided 
to sell out his " tailor-to-trade concern" and buy a farm. While getting 
ready to liquidate, he made up his mind to try a final experiment. 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 87 

1. He raised the wage of all his employees so that everyone 
was to be paid at least $20 a week. But the unexpected result was 
that under this application of the Golden Rule his people turned out 
nearly three times as much work as ever before, and the manufacturing 
cost of a suit of clothes was less than before the wage increase went into 
effect. During a period of strikes and general unrest, he had no strike. 
His business grew from a one-floor shop to a big six-story building. 

2. He announced that he would divide profits with his employees 
in the form of a semi-annual bonus on the basis of salaries earned. But 
soon he received a petition from his employees asking him to distribute the 
workers' share of profits on the basis of time worked instead of on the 
basis of wages earned. This meant that skilled labor making from $75 
to $90 a week voluntarily asked that the poorest paid help in the shop 
should receive just as much dividend as the more highly paid. The 
practice of the Golden Rule was contagious. 

3. When the problem of unemployment became acute in Cincinnati, 
his employees voluntarily and unanimously offered to give up their 
jobs for one month in January or February and let their places be taken 
by needy garment workers of the city who were out of employment 
regardless of their creed, nationality, union, or non-union affiliation. 

The Unspiritual Tone of Spiritualism. — A very pertinent criticism on 
spiritualism is expressed in the Personalist for October. Here G. R. S. 
Mead points out that in the demonstrations of spiritualism "psychical 
capacity is notoriously unaccompanied with intellectual ability." " From 
the point of view of the student of spiritual literature," writes Evelyn 
Underhill, "one of the most remarkable and distressing characteristics 
of spiritualism is the thoroughly unspiritual tone of its revelations. It 
fails to respond to the higher cravings of the soul and never approaches 
the nobility and beauty of that conception of Eternal Life which has 
been developed by the Mystics." 

Is God Knowable?— In the Expositor for November, Professor 
H. R. Macintosh discusses the question of the knowability of God. 
After an examination of the symbolic and abstract methods of think- 
ing in religion, the author concludes that we can get a true and 
satisfying knowledge of God through a pictorial and imaginative pres- 
entation. It may be inexact from a critical point of view, yet it 
will suffice for the meeting of our religious needs. Thus a world 
with Jesus in it is a world with a great and loving God over it. 
Hence the name of God, though set in pictorial forms is trans-subjectively 



88 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

true. This means that the business of theology is to criticize religious 
symbols. In discharging this task theology must (i) eliminate every 
figure which represents God as unlike Jesus Christ; (2) the new symbol- 
ism must be vitally continuous with the old. There must remain a 
"meaning" which does not change but preserves the historic self-identity 
of Christian faith. 

It is quite evident that a conception of God as a personal being 
involves the use of such terms as are generally applied to personal beings. 
But personality implies certain specifications and qualifications. These 
imply certain limitations. Thus, says Professor Bertling in Der Geistes- 
kampf, Heft 10, "Man's will is a limit to God's will." It is a limit to 
God's omnipotence. Must this fact not be conceded if God is to be 
thought of in pictorial and personal terms ? 

The Pragmatic Method in Christianity. — The application of the prag- 
matic method to some of the elements of Christian doctrine is attempted 
by George W. Roesch in an article entitled, "The Pragmatism of James 
and the Christian System." The article appears in the Personalist for 
October. The writer presents a number of interesting parallels between 
pragmatism and various doctrines of the Christian system. He defines 
pragmatism (1) as a method, (2) as a genetic theory of what is meant by 
truth. Since Christianity is a practical system interested in the affairs 
of life, it is in hearty accord with pragmatism in its attitude toward 
the achievement of truth by a progressive unfolding. "I have yet many 
things to say unto you, but you cannot hear them now," are the words 
of Jesus which indicate that the achieving of truth was conditioned upon 
the proper attitude in life to practical issues. Moreover, as an attitude 
toward a becoming and developing universe, pragmatism supports the 
Christian endeavor to establish the Kingdom of God in loyalty, truth, and 
righteousness. 

Is Modernism Bankrupt?— An article under the foregoing caption 
in the October number of the Modern Churchman definitely denies such 
an accusation. A casual perusal of the program of this movement in 
England should convince any fair-minded person that it ministers to a 
tremendous present-day need. The modernist is convinced that sound 
education is impossible without religion, but religion in its traditional 
form is showing itself less and less capable of grasping the whole-hearted 
loyalty of young men and young women. The modern presentation of 
the Christian religion is trying to meet this difficulty. What has it 
accomplished ? It has kept in the church a number of the thoughtful, 
modern-minded men and women who might otherwise have given it up 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 89 

as hopelessly obscurantist. Moreover it hopes to turn back those 
opponents of the church who feel that the church is opposed to scientific 
and historic truth. 

A movement with such a program is only another evidence of the 
progressiveness of real religion. Unless Christianity is adapted and 
reinterpreted according to the needs of each successive age it will have 
little effect on the people who bear its name. That it can be so adapted 
suggests in no uncertain terms that it is still significant for the thinking 
mind of the present day. 

Philosophical Religion vs. a Religious Philosophy. — Are the masses 
hampered today by a religious philosophy which comes to conclusions 
not on grounds of reason but on those of utility ? This is the conviction 
of Professor Radhakrishnan, of Calcutta University. In the Hibbert 
Journal for October, the writer in an article on " Religion and Philosophy " 
expresses the opinion that utility as a basis for religion is too often an 
indication of a temper which is too lazy to think out philosophical 
problems and is too ready to accept traditional answers to ultimate 
questions. Instead of such a religious philosophy the writer advocates 
a philosophical religion. Its characteristics include: (1) Tradition or 
dogma: Tradition is the stepping-stone to truth. It conveys to us the 
intense spiritual experience of others. However to lean only on other 
people's experience brings a religion that is only second hand. It is 
the religion of the spinal column and not of the brain. (2) Mystic 
feeling: This is a consciousness of God. But it must be accompanied by 
reflection. For if philosophy does not establish the reality of the object 
of the mystic consciousness, the experience loses its value. (3) Ethical 
implications: This is the dynamic force of religion which stirs the very 
depths of the soul to a sense of morality and righteousness. (4) Rational 
factor: The function of the rational aspect of religion is to give a reason 
for the hope that is in us. In all genuine religion these four elements 
are found together and to exaggerate any one of them out of proportion 
endangers religion. 

The Mystic's Experience of God. — The three most constantly 
reiterated questions that moderns are asking about mysticism are these: 
What is it? Is it normal or abnormal? Does it actually furnish us 
with knowledge ? To these three questions Professor Rufus Jones, one 
of America's foremost mystics, addresses himself in an article called 
"The Mystic's Experience of God" in the Atlantic Monthly for 
November. To the first of the three questions, Professor Jones replies 
that mystical experience "is consciousness of direct and immediate 



go THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

relationship with some transcendent reality which, in the moment of 
experience, is believed to be God." To the second, he replies by dis- 
tinguishing between criticism of mystical experience which is abstract, 
and that which is concrete. Denying the possibility of judgment in 
the abstract, Dr. Jones makes his own test of the normality of the 
experience a pragmatic one. Granting that there are extreme types, 
and calmer and more restrained types as well, Dr. Jones affirms that we 
should not class as abnormal experiences which bring "spaciousness of 
mind, new interior dimensions, ability to stand the universe — and the 
people in it — and capacity to work at human tasks with patience, 
endurance, and wisdom." It is to the third question that Dr. Jones 
devotes the major part of discussion, centering his thought, in the main, 
upon the problem as to whether the mind has any way of approach, 
except by way of the senses, to any kind of reality. Since the answer 
to this question must he in the realm of experience, the mystic's own 
experience is his ultimate answer. That there is a world of spiritual 
reality of which we know, not through the senses, but through the 
channels of spiritual activity. That he himself has found that world, 
the mystic is as sure as he is that Columbus found San Salvador. After 
all, the ultimate answer to the reality of the knowledge, is phrased in 
Dr. Jones's succinct sentence about mystical experience, "It makes 
God sure to the person who has had the experience." 

Providing Spiritual Opportunities for Our Fellow-Countrymen. — 
That a tremendously large field in need of educational facilities and 
moral uplift lies within a few hours' ride from Washington is urged by 
Sara A. Brown in the American Child (August, 1021). She makes a 
moving appeal in behalf of the mountaineers of Kentucky, Tennessee, 
and Virginia. A study of the conditions of rural child life in Appalachia 
resulted in a compilation of schedules for 1,005 dependent and neglected 
children of whom 482 were visited in 172 homes. 

There is no excuse for our government and the religious organiza- 
tions of our land to allow such conditions to continue long in the future. 
It is to be noted that the church has done more than any other institu- 
tion for the well-being of the southern mountaineers; but it has hardly 
made a beginning. 

Some Social Consequences of Divorce. — A study of children in institu- 
tions of Los Angeles by Mrs. E. K. Foster and Carrie M. Burlingame 
revealed some disturbing facts which they have presented in the Journal 
of Delinquency (July, 1921). Two hundred and twenty-three children 
were studied and the following facts discovered: Over half had both 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 91 

parents living. Nearly half were in institutions because parents were 
separated or divorced. Less than one-fourth were over ten years of 
age. Three-fourths of the parents living were not over forty years 
of age. Three-fourths of the parents were American born. 

Investigations in other cities bring equally severe indictments 
against divorces. It no doubt would be interesting and stimulating if 
these studies also revealed how many of the divorced parents were pro- 
fessing Christians and regular church attendants. 

Armaments and Missions. — The bearing which disarmament may 
have upon foreign missionary work is a subject which should command 
the interest of Christian people. Discussing this subject in Missions 
(November, 1921) Professor Henry B. Robins, of Rochester Theological 
Seminary, makes the following statements: 

First of all, no people which faces the uncertainties of a world under arms 
and still arming can throw itself with a whole heart into sacrificial preparation 
for the early establishment of a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and love. 
Nobody can measure the moral enthusiasm and active good will which will 
be generated through a general movement for disarmament. 

And again, the effect upon the non-Christian world of such a concerted 

act of the nations or any great group of them would be arresting When 

the new situation has become an accepted fact, the representative of the 
Christian gospel might find its claim to represent a heavenly order, a new 
society of peace and good will, more readily and completely credited by the 
heathen mind. Away out in western China I saw the armed employees of 
a great American corporation patrolling the Yangtze River, "shooting the fear 
of God, " as they said, into the natives with modern machine guns. That is 
one way of doing it; but I am thinking that only the propulsion of a mighty 
new affection will ever project the love of God into the heart of the pagan 
world. What a difference it would make if our claim to be a Christian nation 
would be somewhat supported by the facts. 

Lyman Abbott on the Fundamentals. — In an article, "The Funda- 
mentals of Christianity" in the Outlook for November 23, 1921, Dr. 
Abbott concludes with the following words: 

If Christianity is a system of philosophy, then certain doctrines might be 
regarded as fundamental in that system. But if Christianity is a life, the 
fundamentals are not understandings by the intellect as to the nature of the 
Bible, Christ, and of Sacrifice, but acts of the will, as repentance, love, and 
loyalty. And if so, the condition of admission to the Church of Christ should 
not be acceptance of a creed, ancient or modern simple or complex, but the 
conservation of the life to the service of God in the service of his children 
under the leadership of Jesus Christ.