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CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 



statistics of Church Membership in the United States. — In the Year 
Book of the Churches, compiled by Dr. E. O. Watson, Washington sec- 
retary of the Federal Council of Churches, statistics show that of every 
io6 persons in the United States, lo have no religious affiliation and 
96 are affiliated, through membership, financial support, attendance, or 
other connection, with religious bodies. Of these 75 are Protestant, 18 
Roman Catholic, and 3 of other faiths. In total church population the 
Protestants lead with 75,099,489, the Roman Catholics claim 17,885,646, 
the Jews 1,600,000, Latter Day Saints 587,918, and Eastern Orthodox 
411,054, giving the country a total church population of 95,584,107. 
Among the denominations the Methodists head the list with 22,171,959, 
the Baptists are second with 21,938,700, and the Roman Catholics stand 
third, with the figure named above. The Year Book calls attention to 
the fact that the Roman Catholics compute membership as "Catholic 
population," whereas the Protestants usually count communicants only 
as members. For this reason it was necessary to introduce a factor to 
convert the Protestant membership into Protestant population, so that 
the figures might be comparable. Dr. Laidlow, statistician in the Census 
Bureau and in the New York Federation of Churches, has determined 
that the figure given for communicant membership multiplied by 2.8 will 
give church population. Figures so corrected are used in the preceding 
statements. The most remarkable growth in the churches during the 
five-year period preceding 192 1 occurred in the Colored Methodist 
Episcopal Church. It is due largely to this growth that the Methodist 
population surpasses that of the Baptists at the present time. 

An Appreciation of Herrmann's Theology. — Herrmann was by far the 

most influential exponent of Ritschlian theology in recent years. Pro- 
fessor Karl Bornhausen gives a suggestive estimate of the great theo- 
logian's work in an article entitled "Die Bedeutung von Wilhelm 
Herrmanns Theologie fiir die Gegenwart" in the Zeitschrift fiir Theologie 
und Kirche (1922, 3 Heft, pp. 161-79). The secret of Herrmann's power 
was his spirit of profound and fearless candor. For him religion was 
truth itseK, and demanded utter consecration. Bornhausen discusses 
Herrmann's contribution to religious thinking under four captions, (i) In 

538 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 539 

answer to the question, "What is Religion," Herrmann clearly showed 
that religion is fundamentally a personal experience in which a man 
feels himself to be seized and upheld by a power not himself. This 
insight enabled Herrmann to direct thought away from rationaUstic or 
external authoritarian discussions of religion and to promote a direct 
study of religious experience itself. (2) In his ethics Herrmann built 
upon the Kantian ideal of utter reverence for the moral imperative, but 
he enlarged this into the religious conception of a divine power which 
enables us to live rightly when through Christian faith we yield to the 
summons of the good. (3) In his discussion of the relation of historical 
criticism to Christian faith, Herrmann belongs to a generation already 
gone. He thought of criticism as a process of inquiry which makes us 
question the historicity of ancient records. Faith cannot build upon the 
uncertain and tentative hypotheses of critical historians. Herrmann 
sought to base faith on the actual power which we experience from the 
historical Jesus — a power which discloses itself, no matter what the 
critics may say about the records. Herrmann wished to emancipate 
faith from dependence on historical science, as he believed he had emanci- 
pated it from dependence on natural science. Bornhausen rightly 
remarks that our present-day social and evolutionary conception of 
history requires a different interpretation of the relation of faith to 
history. (4) Herrmann represents the eternal youth of vital religion in 
his interpretation of Christian faith as a great creative activity of the 
human soul in response to the experienced power of God. It is in this 
realm of creative experience that the heart of religion is found. 

Steps toward the Realization of a Chinese National Church. — ^The 

National Conference of all the Protestant church and mission agencies 
of China brought together in Shanghai, from May 2 to 11, 1922, 1,189 
Chinese and foreign men and women for the purpose of considering the 
establishment of the Christian Church of China. It is a unique confer- 
ence in many respects. Among its many significant achievements, the 
following probably will have great influence upon the life of the new 
church: 

(i) A National Christian Council of one hundred members was born 
in the conference. Of the total number, 51 are Chinese, 43 are foreign. 
The council is no other than a clearing house for the work of the church 
in all its forms and a central agency to deal with such national issues as 
no one church group could adequately meet alone. 

(2) The conference declined to have any credal or doctrinal statement 
in the constitution of the new council on the ground that the conference 



540 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

is not constituted as a church council and therefore has no authority 
to draw up a creed or to pass upon questions of doctrine and of church 
policy. 

(3) The message of the church delivered by the Chinese put chief 
emphasis upon international friendship and justice, a united church for 
China, and the need of a social gospel for the regeneration of China. 

(4) The following labor standard was adopted by the conference and 
the new council was authorized to give it the widest possible publicity: 
{a) No emplojmient of children under twelve years of age. (6) One day's 
rest in seven, (c) The safeguarding of the health of workers, by the 
limitation of working hours, improvement of sanitary conditions, and 
installation of safety devices. 

Is the Community Church a Fad? — ^An interesting discussion of this 
subject by Rev. David R. Piper appears in the Homiletic Review for 
August, 1922. Statistics show that the get-together movement in 
religion is a laymen's movement and not the work of a few denominational 
leaders. Replies to questionnaires sent to more than 500 community 
churches reveal the fact that 80 out of 100 community churches are 
formed because of the spontaneous desire of the people themselves, and 
almost three-fourths of these are actually organized without the assistance 
of ministers. In some instances the people got together in spite of the 
active opposition of denoniinational officials. 

The writer of this article suggests that the development of a com- 
munity consciousness stronger than the group consciousness through 
co-operation in secular pursuits is one of the fundamental causes of this 
get-together movement on the part of the churches. Farmer's co- 
operatives, consolidated schools, chautauquas, and better roads are help- 
ing directly to foster the community church. Again, the changed 
emphasis in religious thought manifesting itself in the multiplication of 
interdenominational agencies and in the social application of religion 
through such agencies as the Y.M.C.A. is bearing fruit after its kind 
even in the most isolated corners of America. When once the social 
gospel becomes recognized, sectarianism loses its reason for existence. 

The Place of Religion in Irish Politics. — The chief reason that Ireland 
has failed to achieve national solidarity and union is found in the religious 
differences which exist within her borders. So says Edward G. Mackay 
in his interesting discussion of the situation in Ireland which appears in 
the Methodist Quarterly Review for April, 1922. The following excerpt 
gives the writer's view of the problem which Irishmen are facing in their 
efforts to achieve national unity: 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 541 

I do not mean to say that it is necessarily the intolerance between one 
religious group and another which has kept Irishmen apart. There are no more 
bigots there than elsewhere. But it is the separate existence in the things 
most unifying — school days, worship, love, marriage, friendship — ^which has 
forbidden that fusion of interest and blood, without which there can be no 
real national unity. A difference in religion in Ireland means a different 
residential section in the city, a different school, a different church, a different 
place of business, a different social set, a different cemetery — separation from 
the cradle to the grave in those intimate and human experiences that touch 
the soul. There are exceptions, but this is the average; and it is the average 
that counts. 

How Can the Church Find Its Real Mission? — ^How the church shall 
face the immense tasks of today is discussed by Dr. Angus in the Review 
and Expositor for April and July, 1922. Laboring classes and capital- 
ists both are dissatisfied with the church's practical efforts to secure 
social justice. Multitudes of cultured men and women are out of 
sjTnpathy with the church's teaching and dogmas. How shall the 
church meet the present emergency? The writer discusses various 
proposed methods such as, (i) a better organized and better equipped 
church, (2) modernizing the church's teaching and faith, (3) church union, 
and (4) going back to apostolic Christianity. Dr. Angus concludes that 
the church must devote itself primarily to its high calling of stimulating 
the spiritual life. "It is not the function of the church to organize or 
conduct society, but to inspire it with Christian ideals. It is unnecessary 
for the church to return to the political arena, or to enter the economic. 
It is not a judge or divider in questions of wages." The duty of the 
churches is "to create the atmosphere in which social reforms are pos- 
sible." Thus, "if the church stands forth for a true brotherhood of 
man under the Fatherhood of God it will thereby solve the social and 
economic problems of the time. If it once convinces men of the reality 
of the unseen, of the life hid with Christ in God as the plenitude of life, 
the profiteer will disappear, and labor will not only receive but give a 
fair return. So far as the church succeeds in asserting the primacy of 
the spiritual, in that measure society will be remade." 

The Religious Defects of Spiritualism. — "The times demand a more 
definite and coherent teaching on the part of the church concerning the 
problems of human destiny, and especially do they demand a clear 
policy regarding the growing cult of spiritualism." This is asserted by 
A. D. Belden in his discussion of "The Church and Spiritualism" which 
is found in the Pilgrim (April, 1922). The writer suggests that the 



542 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

churches, in their attitude toward spiritualism, ought to be very careful 
of their evaluations of the considered and weighty findings of men of 
known integrity and intelligence. "Let us listen carefully to the 
scientist, but be on our guard against the 'charlatan' and discourage any 
'popular' cult in this thing." It is also suggested that one of the chief 
perils of spiritualism is a forgetfulness of Christ and his service. "If 
we are to be kept faithful to Christ's work in the world, we need all the 
inspiration we can draw from commiunion with him, and we must be 
careful that interest in others does not rob him of the fulness of our 
energies." The writer feels that a spiritualism which ignores sin as a 
factor in life, and begins and ends in mere communication of spirits, 
"without any real interest in a gospel of redemption and the saving grace 
of Christ, is utterly inadequate to human needs, and in so far as it absorbs 
human interest and energy, it is pernicious." 

In Defence of Creeds. — It is necessary and desirable that the church 
have a creed according to R. Winboult Harding, whose discussion of this 
question appears in the London Quarterly Review (July, 1922). The 
writer holds that the church creeds stand for the New Testament con- 
ception of Christ as being God and man in ideal unity, and that if this 
conception is overthrown we have no guarantee that God is approach- 
able and no hope of salvation that rests on his interest in men. The 
church, says the writer, has "facts" verifiable by experience, about Christ, 
and his relation to God and to humanity, so she can be no other than 
dogmatic. And in the flux of thought so characteristic of our time this 
dogmatic assurance can be maintained only by some form of creed. 

Religion in Germany. — ^An interesting article on "Religious and Ethi- 
cal Conditions and Outlook in Germany" by Professor Konig appears in 
the Homiletic Review (August, 1922). The rights which the Kaiser 
formerly exercised as supreme bishop of the national church, are now 
exercised through three authorities constituting the supreme Church 
Council in Berlin. The church has thus become more autonomous, but 
there has been no complete separation of church and state. Their rela- 
tions are comparatively friendly. The Marxian socialists have agitated 
withdrawal from the church but their efforts have had only a very slight 
effect upon the membership of the churches. "One significant pointer 
of earnest religious life is diligent attendance upon divine service. This 
is in evidence stronger than before the war, not merely on fast and festival 
days, but also on the Sundays throughout the year." In spite of the 
colossal increase in the cost of living the amount of the collections Sunday 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 543 

after Sunday is nothing less than astounding. The spirit of self-sacrifice 
is much in evidence. 

Regarding education, the theological faculties are being supported 
by the state the same as the departments of general science. There has 
been an agitation for the elimination of religious instruction from the 
other schools supported by the state. But the opposition to such a 
plan has been very great and is likely to defeat it. 

The State and many unofficial leagues are striving with all earnest- 
ness to abolish prostitution and other evils. The youth of the high 
schools and universities in many instances are taking a large part in 
the task of cleansing the cities of their moral filth. 

Healing by Autosuggestion. — In the Living Age we read that "M. 
fimile Coue has for some time been the most talked-of man in London, 
whither his reputation as healer, first won at Troyes and Nancy, has 
recently extended. He claims numerous cures and his formula is, 
'Every day, in every respect, I grow better and better.' M. Coue was 
a pupil of Liebault, 1855-86, and gradually formulated his own thought 
during the closing years of the nineteenth century. His theories are dis- 
tinct from those of the Freudian School, although his chief disciple. Dr. 
Baudauin, declares that ' the two outlooks are complementary.' " While 
lecturing in England, M. Coue supported his theory with some very 
practical observations. Having for many years taught the people of 
Nancy how to restore their own health with such extraordinary success, 
his observations are based on not a few cases and patients. According 
to the English report, he has proved to hundreds, day after day, in his 
bare clinic at Nancy "that in conscious autosuggestion there is a fresh 
start for the weary and a new hope for the despairing." The imagina- 
tion, or the subconscious — Dr. Coue uses the terms synonymously — 
regulates all the bodily functions and further influences conscious 
thought and action to an incalculable degree. For any individual, 
so far as his own personality goes, what his imagination believes is true, 
what it expects will happen, what it dreads is terrible, what it rejects 
is impossible. A consciously formed wish, within the range of personal 
performance, will not be fulfilled until the imagination accepts its 
possibility. The words "I can," not "I will," are important. But 
when the imagination conflicts with the will, nothing can be achieved. 
In other words, the limit of the efi&cacy of autosuggestion is "what is 
reasonable." A thing is reasonable when the will and the imagination 
both reinforce it. But when the imagination and the will conflict, 
performing an act of faith on rational grounds is impossible. 



544 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

Evangelism for the Times. — "One of the chief elements in eloquence," 
said Ralph Waldo Emerson in his last public lecture, "is timeliness." 
And this factor, according to Dr. C. L. Goodell in the April number of 
the Biblical Review, is applicable in religion. "Styles of manner and 
dress are relegated to the limbo or attic. To what extent will this occur 
in religion? Will the Lamb's Bride, 'clad in linen pure and white 
which is the righteousness of the saints' be also troubled lest her garment 
be out of style?" No, for religion is not a garment to be put on; it is 
a life to be lived. True religion like its Author is not the old-time 
religion; it is timeless, the same yesterday, today, and forever. "Love 
is always new. Time cuts no furrows on its brow, and fire and flood 
cannot destroy it. We are quite prepared to believe that this must 
also be supremely true of the love of God, and since the evangel is only 
the proclamation of that love, something of the evangel must remain 
forever unchanged." The kind of truth that evangelism must present 
today is felt truth, the truth of experience, the truth that has so much 
of life that if you cut it, it would bleed. This is the news that fits the 
hour and saves the soul. Men do not want stale news. They light 
their fires with yesterday's newspapers. They want such news as Jesus 
gave to the disheartened on their way to Emmaus. Men want sight for 
God is filling all the air with light. This is the evangel which our pastors 
must proclaim. By its power, "the false will become true, polluted 
lips will speak the truth and those who took God's name in vain will 
now take it to such purpose that brazen-hearted sin will flee and the 
stout quail before it." Then will men come to love and serve their 
fellows because they love Him who came not to be ministered unto but 
to minister. 

Religion in Soviet Russia.— The religious situation in Russia is 
described in an article by Professor Jerome Davis which appears in 
the Missionary Review for March, 1922. He visited Russia during the 
summer of 192 1 and tells us about the religious situation in that land 
as he saw it. 

Professor Davis says that in religion the Soviet government has 
been hostile to all forms of Christianity. The church has been separated 
from the state and in some cases church lands have been confiscated. 
This opposition however has in a measure helped the orthodox church. 
The persecution has helped to weed out the less consecrated from the 
priesthood and has brought to the front the more earnest religious 
leaders. Some of these are liberal-minded men who have had experience 
in the Russian church in America. 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 545 

But while the Bolsheviki oppose the church, many still believe in 
the teachings of Jesus. They find that while their communist theory 
opposes the church, it does agree with many of the teachings of Christ. 
They find themselves quite in agreement with Jesus in His attitude 
toward women, children, and workingmen. The churches however are 
permitted to remain open and to hold services, and the people are 
flocking to the churches as never before, for it affords an escape from 
unprecedented hardships. 

Since the breaking of the Tsar's control, the priests of the Russian 
church are enabled to adopt new methods. They wish to introduce 
Sunday schools, men's clubs, social service, the best Christian literature, 
and many other features of Western Christianity. Moreover, these 
priests are anxious for representatives of the American church to help 
them in the great task of making the church of Russia, an effective 
agency of a practical and social Christianity. Here is a great opportunity 
for the church of America to help the reUgious leaders of Russia to make 
their religion practical. 

Do Mission Schools Supply What China Most Needs ? — Build up a 
China of men and women of trained independent thought and character, 
is the thesis of Professor Dewey in an article entitled "America and 
Chinese Education" in the New Republic, March i, 1922. The failure 
of American missionary education in one particular is reflected in the 
conduct of the Chinese official delegation in Washington. Two of them 
who studied in missionary schools before they came to America to study 
have been most unsatisfactory to Chinese at home and in this country. 
This is due to the fact that (i) American missionary institutions in China 
had simply transplanted the American college curriculum and American 
conceptions of discipline; (2) they do not represent what China most 
needs from the West, namely, scientific method and aggressive freedom 
and independence of inquiry, criticism, and action. But above all 
Professor Dewey is very much afraid of fanatic meddlesomeness from 
without, for he says "that at present some American millions of a special 
fund are being spent in China for converting souls; that they go only to 
those who have the most dogmatic and reactionary theological views, 
and that the pressure of these funds is used to repress the liberal element 
and to put liberal institutions in bad repute as well as in financial straits. ' ' 
It is evident that we have too easily taken for granted that occi- 
dental ideas and institutions when transplanted unchanged will supply 
what the Orient needs. Fortunately the best missionary statesmanship 
is now insisting on a preliminary social survey.