Skip to main content

Full text of "Current Events and Discussions"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 


A Significant Survey of the Early Protestant Movement in Italy. — 

Not all of us English-speaking Protestants have known that, about the 
time of Martin Luther, Italy, too, was stirred by a mighty spirit of 
reform. The movement promised to free the souls of men from the 
dominion of the unworthy and oppressive priesthood, but it was 
smothered by the power of the Roman church. Scattered in Italian 
convents and libraries lie a great number of books and memoirs, many 
in manuscript, telling, often at first hand, the experiences of the heroes 
of this Italian Reformation, but only a few scholars have known of these 

Now an Italian pastor of Florence, Rev. Pietro ChimineUi, moved 
by love of evangelical religion and of his country, has sought out these 
documents with research marked by rare devotion, and has compiled a 
descriptive catalogue of 2,543 books and pamphlets, in Italian, French, 
German, and English, the dates ranging from 1539 to the present. 
This work will be a great aid to any student of Europe in the Middle 

The book is entitled Bibliografia Delia Storia Delia Riforma Rdigiosa 
in Italia, and is issued by the Casa Editrice Bilychnis, Roma, Via 
Crescenzio 2. Price 5 lire. 

The Death of Two Leaders of European Protestantism. — One of 

the most brilliant and effective writers on theological subjects in the 
English-speaking world was Principal P. T. Forsyth, of Hackney College, 
London, who died on November n, 192 1. His religious experience 
included a profound consciousness of the power of sin, and his theology 
made redemption from sin its central theme. He was considerably influ- 
enced by the practical emphasis of the Ritschlian theologians, but differed 
from them in making the Cross rather than the inner life of Jesus central. 
His style, with its love of rhetorical antithesis and striking phrases, was 
not conducive to exact thought, but the whole-souled enthusiasm of 
his purpose was unmistakable. Among his most influential books are 
Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind, The Person and Place of 
Jesus Christ, and The Principle of Authority. 

Professor Eugene Menegoz, who died at the age of eighty-three on 
October 29, 1921, was associated with Professor Auguste Sabatier in the 



Faculty of Protestant Theology at Paris. His emphasis on the supreme 
place of faith (by which he meant a practical attitude of trust and 
devotion) in religion was combined with Sabatier's exposition of the 
symbolic character of religious knowledge to form the religious move- 
ment known as symbolofidHsme. To the interpretation of this vital type 
of Protestant liberalism Menegoz gave his life. His important works are 
the volumes of Publications diverse sur le fideisme. 

A Notable Achievement in Editorship. — When a man serves a church 
for thirty years or more it it always an occasion for comment. It should 
be equally worthy of note when a man serves the interests of all the 
churches in a denomination for that length of time. Dr. Howard A. 
Bridgman has just retired after thirty-four years of editorial service in 
connection with the Congregationalism It was during his term of editor- 
ship that the Congregationalist became officially the one journal repre- 
senting the interests of that denomination. Dr. Bridgman had an 
extraordinary capacity for positive and constructive editorship, com- 
bined with the broadest sympathies, and made the Congregationalist 
one of the ablest religious journals in the country. 

A Religious Interpretation of the Doctrine of Evolution. — Professor 
A. P. Mathews, in an article, "The Road of Evolution," in the Yale 
Review, January, 1922, suggests an interpretation of the doctrine of 
evolution which is capable of an interesting religious development. 
Professor Mathews points out that while struggle for existence has 
usually been taken as the most important aspect of the process of evolu- 
tion, there is really a much more important factor, which he calls the 
struggle for freedom. The course of the development of a species con- 
sists not simply in a relative superiority to other species, but also in 
the development of an organism which will make the individual less 
dependent upon the environment in which he chances to be. Professor 
Mathews finds the significant fact in evolution to be the development of 
the individual. "Evolution is a splitting-off, if I may put it thus, of 
an organism from its environment." The organism develops more and 
more mastery over environment as life passes from water animals to 
amphibians, and thence to reptiles, and eventually to animals with 
circulatory systems so that water supply may be carried about in the 
organism. Eventually comes the development of intelligence, which 
gives to man his peculiar power to triumph over the natural conditions 
of environment. The conclusion is that the evident goal of evolution 
is the development of free intelligent personalities such as we see in 
man. Professor Mathews intimates that the religious valuation of 


human personality and the hope of immortality are entirely in accord 
with this reading of the doctrine of evolution. This interpretation, 
coming from a technical scientist, is full of significance. 

Concerning Modernism in China. — The Chinese Recorder for Decem- 
ber makes a very significant statement that bears on an unsigned letter 
which appeared in the Evangelical Christian for September. Here the 
statement is made that "the presence of Modernists destroys the faith 
of school children and students and gnaws the root which alone can 
produce a native ministry and church." "The assumption is, " says the 
Recorder, "that the influence of the Modernists is weakening the school 
as a religious and Christian force." In reply to such an arraignment the 
Recorder states that, "a recent direct study of a large number of these 
schools shows, first, that in the middle schools about one-third of the 
pupils are church members with a large group of professing Christians 
not yet members. Among students in colleges, in grades above the 
middle school, two-thirds are in the church. Moreover, whereas the 
average increase to the Christian church outside of the Christian School 
in China is about 4 to 5 per cent, in the Christian schools it is about 
three times that much." Thus it appears that the Christian school is 
a stronger factor in the Christian propaganda than other phases of work. 
In any event, this influx of "Modernists," if it exists at all, has not had 
all the deleterious effects on Christian schools that is sometimes assumed. 

The Modern Pharisee. — He is not the hard-hearted and self-con- 
ceited hypocrite of the New Testament type, but according to Mr. Blau, 
in the January number of the Atlantic Monthly, he is the spiritual driving 
force who alone can save the present-day Judaism from bankruptcy. 
The distinction between the modern Sadducee and Pharisee is seen in 
their different approach to the solution of the Semitic problem. The 
Sadducee feels that the problem is social, philanthropic, economic, and 
political. To the Pharisee the problem is chiefly spiritual. A new 
education, a new understanding, and a new vision are his means. The 
condition of Judaism today, according to Mr. Blau, is a lifeless 
formalism that no one takes very seriously; here and there a pathetic 
bit of folklore in connection with death or marriage customs and a 
little ostentatious charity. It is as if the spirit had long fled the husk. 
"The Jew is in imminent danger of becoming a Sabbathless, religion- 
less devotee of business and pleasure — a being without a sense of God, 
with no ear for the vast tender suggestions of Eternity, no understanding 
of the spiritual meaning of human life." The Reform movement, which 
Mr. Blau designates as " made in Germany, " has not relieved the situation 


any. It has made no essential contribution to religious thought. "It 
has failed to initiate a religion by showing the modern Jew how to rise 
above the merely negative phases of criticism to the heights of a glowing 
religious affirmation." The cure for all Jewish ills, according to Mr. 
Blau, is found in geography. The gradual repatriation of the Jew in 
Palestine, where he may avoid foreign contacts, is considered the 
solution for the Jewish problem. 

Whatever value may be attached to the repatriation of the Jew in 
Palestine it will never prove a panacea for modern Jewish ills. A glance 
at the Old Testament is sufficient to disprove such an allusion. When 
the Jews did occupy Palestine foreign contacts were unavoidable. How 
much more would that be true today. Moreover, the very same arraign- 
ment that Mr. Blau makes against modern tendencies was made by 
the prophets when the Jews were still in Palestine. The crying need is 
not geographic isolation but prophetic inspiration. 

The Gate Called Beautiful. — We are familiar today with the Chris- 
tian propagandists who attempt to lead the world through the gate of 
Truth. Even more frequently the attempt is made to bring men to the 
gate which is called Righteousness. " But, " says Henry Sloan Coffin in 
the January number of the International Review of Missions, "rarely do 
we think to lead them to the gate which is called Beautiful." To the 
ancients, beauty was a gate which led directly to communion with the 
Deity. To this day, even in ruins, the Greeks' symmetrical, white 
marble temples, charmingly located, evidence the prominence of beauty 
in worship. "We who trace the lineage of our faith through Israel, 
have not been wont to use this gate into the temple." "But we cannot 
forget that the supreme Interpreter of the Most High was a lover of 
beauty." He bade us consider the lilies of the field and himself was 
an artist in speech, whose stories and sayings live not only because of 
their inherent truth but by reason of their essential loveliness. "We 
must not forget the holding power of beauty. When the gate Truth 
appears closed and the gate Righteousness loses its appeal, they may be 
forsaken; but the gate Beautiful keeps near it even those who claim no 
intention of entering by it into the temple." " Many men who have lost 
faith in the truth of the Bible, continue to read its pages for their sheer 
fascination." The Bible may not be considered a gate to anything, but 
let it be esteemed as beautiful. Few who feel its spell can resist passing 
through its doors into the temple of faith and consecration. 

The Question of Responsibility.— In the great attempt to establish 
an enduring world-peace, there is one particular obstacle that has not 


yet been removed. In an article, "The Question of Responsibility, " that 
appeared in the January number of the Hibbert Journal, we are reminded 
by H. C. Shawcross that "the dogma of Germany's sole responsibility 
is emphasized to camouflage the sinister aims and ambitions which some 
of the Allied Powers are pursuing." It is displayed to strengthen the 
public in its resolve to make Germany pay and to exclude from the 
consciousness of the Allied peoples any suspicion of the possibility that 
other powers may share the guilt of Germany. The authors of the 
Versailles Treaty prefaced their conditions with the same assumption. 
"A change of heart must come," says Mr. Shawcross, "and with it a 
spirit of friendliness and toleration in the intercourse of the nations, 
strong enough to move us to acknowledge our mutual errors. In 1914 
all the big powers were watching each other in distrust and fear. France 
had passed its three years' conscription bill; Russia was intent on Pan- 
Slavonic supremacy and was looking to Constantinople; England, 
secure in her naval strength, was waiting. This was the mine that 
existed in 1914. It is true that Germany first fired the mine, but 
Germany was not alone in the race of armaments that produced the 
mine. If under such conditions we continue to place the whole responsi- 
bility of the war on Germany, she is thrown back upon herself to nurse 
a sullen resentment at the senseless verdict. From such feelings of 
resentment it is but a short step to the desire for revenge. 

Even now the world is troubled by the same ambitions and passions 
which led to the catastrophe of 19 14. To avert this storm from bursting 
out again, we must believe in the good will of other peoples and earnestly 
desire their co-operation in the work of promoting well-being for all. 

Hypocrisy and Dogmatism. — The habit of affirming that we believe 
what we do not believe is a pathological symptom which is called hypoc- 
risy by Benjamin Ginzburg in the January number of the International 
Journal of Ethics. In the past the traditional school of ethics spent 
much time in denouncing the hypocrite. The attacks should rather 
have been directed to a society in which a man often cannot help being 
a hypocrite. A careful study of the social sciences reveals that hypocrisy 
often results when a mode of thought or standard of life is not in vogue, 
or else is no longer in accord with the precise needs of living men 
"For the trained sociologist, the appearance of hypocrisy is in itself a 
sufficient warning of the need of a readjustment." It is a readjustment 
to avoid contradiction. That such a process is now going on is witnessed 
by the laborious attempts that have been made in England and in 
America to reconcile the Old Testament version of creation with the 


scientific theory of evolution. Such a revision is indeed encouraging 
since it is an indication of the moral evolution of society. It is an indi- 
cation of an attempt to remove this phase of contradiction and attain 
a higher level of unity. 

Present-Day Occultism. — What are the phenomena involved in such 
modem cults as telepathy, dowsery, spiritualism, palmistry and faith- 
healing or psychotherapism ? In an article on occultism in the January 
number of the Hibbert Journal, Edward Clodd explains these phenomena 
in the light of scientific research. Regarding telepathy he says, "That 
one mind can communicate with another mind, no matter what distance 
in space divides them" is a conclusion often arrived at when "one 
startling incident, one dream fulfilled, suffices as the swallow to make the 
summer. " Coincidences are very likely to impress a sensitive imagina- 
tion and beguile those who are prone to take the line of least resistance. 
Francis Bacon's shrewd comment on the inferences drawn from "Dreams 
and Predictions of Astrologie" hits the bull's-eye. "In prophecies," 
he says, "first that men marke when they hit and never marke when 
they miss." "The myriad number of dreams unfulfilled count as 
nothing against one dream that comes true." And the same indict- 
ment is equally effective against the other branches of modern occultism. 
By a mass of gratuitous assumptions, the propagators of these super- 
stitions retard the approach to the discovery of truth. Hume's axiom 
is quite applicable in this field: "As finite added to finite never 
approaches a hair's-breadth nearer to infinite, so a thing incredible in 
itself acquires not the smallest accession of probability by the accumula- 
tion of testimony." 

Are Theological Seminaries Disintegrating? — In 1918 the official 
report of the United States Bureau of Education showed an attendance 
of 9,354 students at reporting theological institutions. In 1916 the 
attendance was 12,051. Thus the year 1918 had witnessed a decrease 
of 2,697 students in theology. Without further analysis, such statistics 
would indicate a very serious setback for the Christian church. How- 
ever, a sounder analysis of this situation has been offered by Professor C. 
H. Moehlman in the November number of the Rochester Seminary Bulletin. 
It reveals the significant fact that, although there was a decrease of 2,697 
students, due largely to the demand for "Y" men and chaplains in the 
world-war, the attendance of college-degree students in seminaries was 
almost doubled from 1905 to 1918 and the increase in theological gradu- 
ates during that period was 572. This constant rise in the level of the 
educated ministry is one of the most hopeful facts in the general theo- 


logical situation. This is particularly true of the Protestant theological 
schools. In 1916 the percentage of college-degree men in Roman Catho- 
lic theological schools was 24 while Protestantism had a percentage of 
40. This favorable Protestant balance has been constantly maintained. 
Moreover, the decline in the total number of theological students for 
1918 was not singular for the seminaries. There was a decline through- 
out all the professional schools and colleges as well. In the case of law 
the decline exceeded that of theology by 34 per cent and when we notice 
a retardation of 13 per cent in case of even college graduates, the wonder 
is that theology did not suffer at a far greater rate. 

However, in one respect the Roman Catholic church has a tre- 
mendous advantage. "Given a religious community of 1,500, Roman 
Catholicism would erect one church, while Protestantism would be 
represented by at least one Congregationalist, one Northern Baptist, 
one Methodist, and one Presbyterian." "If the era of competition and 
waste for Protestants were to terminate, there would be more than 
sufficient Protestant ministers to care for all the Protestant churches." 

The League of Nations and the Health of the World. — "It is a war 
that never ends, but unlike other conflicts it turns science from the 
destruction to the healing of the nations." In Current Opinion (Febru- 
ary, 1922) George E. Vincent, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, 
tells of the great work which the League of Nations is doing in helping 
science battle with disease. Through the League of Nations we are 
approximating a world-organization and campaign against disease. The 
Health Committee of the League of Nations is standardizing inter- 
nationally the products which are used for protection against the more 
deadly diseases. Through this same organization vital statistics are 
now being assembled internationally. Scientific knowledge is being 
effectively and promptly diffused where it is most needed. "One of the 
aims of the League of Nations' Health Committee is to centralize all 
current information and to distribute this to the chief health offices of the 
fifty-one nations which are its members." This great campaign against 
disease in every quarter of the world more than justifies the existence of 
the League. As it continues ministering to the body of mankind it 
may also have a larger opportunity for ministering to the soul of the 

Christianizing Penal Methods. — Revenge and retribution in the 
treatment of criminals are being replaced by saner methods based upon 
justice and good will. Charles L. Chute, Secretary of the National 
Probation Association, writing for the Survey (January 21, 1922) tells 


of the success of probation as a method of treatment for offenders. In 
1921 in New York State 19,637 persons were released on probation; 
79.6 per cent completed their probation terms without committing 
other offenses and were honorably discharged; 8.2 per cent were arrested 
for violating probation or committing other offenses and were imprisoned. 
Only 6.1 per cent escaped supervision. Pointing out that long prison 
terms do not reform criminals the writer says, "For the protection of 
society and the solution of the crime problem we must strengthen every 
available method for reforming the offender in and out of the institution. 
Most important of all, we must begin with the young, giving the greatest 
attention to the early and first offender, and we must discriminate 
between the entirely different types of delinquents appearing in our 
courts." The writer concludes this encouraging discussion with a plea 
for popular support of the reformatory methods now being tried and 
proving a success. "Public criticism should be directed away from the 
indiscriminate attack on probation, parole, and other approved methods 
of treatment for the offender. The need today is to strengthen these 
systems to the end that individual justice may be done and society 

Signs of the Times in Moslem Lands. — A very illuminating and 
readable description of present conditions in Turkey and an interpreta- 
tion of the present outlook is presented in the Missionary Review of the 
World (January, 1922). The writer of this description has lived in 
Turkey forty years and gives us first-hand information on the status of 
Mohammedanism in Turkey. 

Today the very pillars of Islam are neglected by the average Moslem. 
The annual pilgrimage to Mecca used to be one of the first duties of 
every true believer. But because of the political situation no Turk has 
gone to Mecca since 1914. Consequently he feels his world shrunken 
and disgraced; for it was at Mecca that the Turk met his brethren 
from other lands and felt the tremendous strength of Islam as a world- 
power. The annual fast of Ramazan, once strictly observed by all good 
Moslems, is today very generally ignored. The duty of praying five 
times daily toward Mecca used to be strictly observed by all Turks. 
But today this is a rule more honored in breaking than in keeping. 
Such disregard for the very pillars of Moslem faith indicates that here, 
as in Christian lands, the exigencies of the new world are making signifi- 
cant changes in religious sentiment. 

How Prohibition Is Working. — What is claimed to be an acute 
observer's survey and forecast with reference to the working of prohibi- 


tion in the United States is given in the Independent for January 14, 1922. 
The writer, Chester T. Crowell, who has been in nearly all of our states 
during the past twelve months, gives us these observations on the liquor 
situation as it exists today: 

1. This country still has local option because there are large parts 
of its most populous states where the people do not desire prohibition 
and sentiment is not adequate to make its enforcement possible. 

2. Taking the country as a whole the progress made toward actual 
enforcement of prohibition is certainly as great as a sanely optimistic 
person could have expected. 

3. Intoxicants can be obtained in every state in the Union — and in 
the larger cities with comparative ease. 

4. It is still too early to predict whether the general tendency is 
dry or wet. 

5. Efforts to launch campaigns for the repeal of the Eighteenth 
Amendment have received very little support. 

Preaching the Gospel by Wireless. — An interesting experiment 
conducted by Paulist Fathers is described in the Catholic World for 
January, 1922. During a mission in Old St. Patrick's Church in Pitts- 
burgh a wireless telephone was installed in the pulpit of the church. 
After preaching to their unseen audiences the speakers invited the 
listeners to send in their questions by telegraph or mail, promising to 
answer the questions on the following evening. The second day after 
the use of the wireless, inquiries began to come in from very distant 
points. People in cities four hundred miles away wrote in for informa- 
tion and literature bearing upon the doctrines of the church. The 
sermons were heard in twenty different states and it was estimated that 
the listeners every night numbered a million. 

Receiving instruments for wireless messages can be installed almost 
anywhere at but a few dollars cost. This makes the possibilities for the 
use of wireless very great. If the church begins to use wireless there is 
no danger that printers' ink will eliminate the spoken word, and preach- 
ing become a lost art. 

Emperor-Worship in Japan.— In an interesting article, "The Shifting 
'Thoughts' of Japan," in the Missionary Review of the World, December 
1921, Robert E. Speer, who has just been in Japan, tells of the political- 
religious movement in the Islands. Buddhism has now very little 
influence among the educated and intelligent classes. But there are 
some powerful forces that are trying to change it into a pure Emperor- 
worship cult. A new Meiji shrine has just been erected at Tokyo. 


Toward this magnificent shrine the devotion and worship of the people, 
more especially the youth, are being directed with the highest skill and 

What about the Church in Soviet Russia? — Though the constitution 
of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic says, "with a view 
to insuring real freedom of conscience for the laborers, the church is 
separated from the state, and the school from the church, and the free- 
dom of religious and anti-religious propaganda is the recognized right 
of all citizens, " yet the Russian Communist party and the state authori- 
ties still invite the people in the name of prosperity and happiness to 
forsake and to persecute their ministers. Anti-religious propaganda 
exists on a most extensive scale. But the significant fact is that the 
people, the masses of them, cannot renounce the religion of their fathers. 
It is too precious to them. Persecution here, as always, means a revival 
of interest in religion. The outcome of this struggle between a new 
state policy based on materialism and the old religious devotion will be 
watched with interest. {American Review of Reviews, November, 1021.) 

A Unique Missionary Magazine. — Outward Bound is an illustrated 
monthly edited by Basil Mathews, similar to any other popular magazine 
in appearance. Its style is pictorial throughout and its contents cover the 
whole living and moving world of non-Christian peoples. It is the ambi- 
tion of the editor to make the monthly such that it will appeal to the 
man in the street who fights shy of the conventional missionary maga- 
zines. It will challenge men to think of religion on as broad a plane as 
matters of business and politics. This new monthly is for sale at every 
railway book-stall in England. 

Should American Denominations Exist in Europe? — This question is 
raised in an article, " The World of To-Day, " in Christian Work, December 
10, 1921. In these days of physical suffering and spiritual starvation in 
every land, the American churches are eager to do what they can in 
helping others. But the great danger there is that they will incidentally 
strive to spread their own denominational interests. When years ago 
the first missionaries went to China, Japan, or India, they started their 
own churches, as was natural, since no churches existed in those lands. 
But Europe has her own Protestant churches. Why should the 
Americans today start their own denominational churches there instead 
of co-operating to the best of their ability with the native Protestant 
churches ? A few sentences from M. Jezequel, the general secretary of 
the National Union of the Reformed Church in France, will illustrate 
the attitude of European Protestants toward this question: 


They say that one of the (American) important religious bodies intends 
to undertake evangelization in France. It is said to have already begun its 
program. This is well enough, but on one condition, which is that the body 
in question does not venture to conduct this movement itself. If it gets in 
touch with all those who, among us, are qualified to conduct evangelistic work, 
if it associates itself with them, giving them co-operation and its resources, 
but accepting their counsel and direction, then we can predict magnificent 
results. But if our American friends want to direct themselves, to chose 
their agents without consultation, to impose upon us their men, their methods, 
and their program, then in all brotherliness we must warn them of disaster, 
and stand aloof from a venture which can only end miserably. 

Religious Doubts of Chinese Students. — In the Methodist Review, 
November, 1921, Paul Hutchinson tells of "The Awakening Student 
Mind of China." This is his conclusion from a special study he made 
last summer of the mission-school students. The latter, like the 
government-school students, have been very much interested in social, 
economic, and religious problems. But the mission-school students are 
having real difficulties with the problems of Christianity. There is very 
little Western influence in this matter. The students are just thinking 
for themselves along the line of religious interest. They are skeptical 
toward the miraculous elements in the Bible. They question whether 
hell and heaven exist. They ask why God lets Satan tempt people 
when he commands them not to tempt each other. They have learned 
the doctrine of Trinity; but are now asking why it says in the Bible that 
the Son does not know what the Father intends, since God and Son are 
one. However, the students are open-minded. If Christian teachers 
will approach them "in a fair manner, showing that they know and 
respect the results of modern science, and yet advocating a Christianity 
that is compelling in its ethical power and has deep social implications, 
they will find an army of eager recruits." 

A New Era of Two Old Religious Journals.— The Reformed Church 
Review began with its January issue a new series. The journal was 
founded in i848,and has had a continuous existence since that time, except 
for a gap of five years at the period of the Civil War. Originally called the 
Mercersburg Review, it undertook to promote the vital, Christocentric type 
of theological thinking which characterized the Mercersburg School. It 
has since become more broadly the organ of the religious thinking of 
the Reformed church. It has always been marked by a fine spirit of 
loyalty to truth as well as to the Gospel of Christ, and has been a real 
influence for sanity and sweetness of temper in theological discussion. 
The new managing editors, Professor Theodore F. Herman and Presi- 


dent George W. Richards, have a noble inheritance and an enviable op- 

The Bibliotheca Sacra has an even longer history. It was founded 
in 1843, and was for years the leading theological journal in this country, 
being edited with unusual vigor by the noted Andover theologian, 
Dr. Edwards A. Park. At Dr. Park's death in 1883, it was transferred 
to Oberlin, Ohio, where Professor G. Frederick Wright was editor. It 
has recently been more and more devoted to the defense of conservative 
views. With the death of Professor Wright the journal passes to the 
faculty of Xenia Theological Seminary, with Professor Melvin G. 
Kyle as editor-in-chief. It thus continues to be a scholarly exponent 
of conservative theology. 

An Inquiry by Chinese Students Concerning American Religion. — 
About a year ago a group of Chinese students in two or three American 
universities carefully planned a questionnaire with the purpose of gaining 
what information they could in this way concerning the status of belief 
in God in this country. They sent out to practically one thousand people 
the following three questions: (1) What is your idea of God? (2) Do 
you believe in God? (3) Why? They received 580 letters in reply, 
over 100 of these being volunteer statements made by those who had 
heard of the questionnaire. The committee of students attempted to 
organize and classify the answers to the questions. In reply to the 
first, the ideas of Creator, Supreme Being, Personality, Spirit, and 
Force are the dominant ideas. In reply to the second question it was 
found that there were 399 persons who professed belief in God, 15 who 
were agnostic or neutral, and 30 who definitely disbelieved in God. 
The answers to the third question are so variable that any classification 
proved to be almost impossible. The answers vary all the way from a 
mere conventional repetition of what had been taught to a reasoned 
explanation of the person's belief. 

Among the various classes of people it is interesting to note that 
there are 42 believers in God and 1 agnostic among criminals, while of 
natural scientists there are 61 believers, 8 unbelievers, and 8 agnostics. 
In fact, it is only among natural scientists and philosophers that any 
significant number of unbelievers appears. 

It is to be feared that the students who made this inquiry will 
perhaps be as much bewildered after reading the replies as they were 
before. In the nature of the case the answer to a questionnaire depends 
very largely on the amount of thought which the person interrogated has 
given to the subject. If, for example, the ordinary clergyman were to 


be asked three questions as follows: (1) What is your idea of theory of 
gravitation? (2) Do you believe in the theory of gravitation? (3) 
Why ? it will readily be seen that the answers would furnish information 
concerning the limitations of a clergyman's knowledge of science, rather 
than any suggestions of value concerning the theory of gravitation. 
Analogously, it is hardly to be expected that men busy in other lines of 
work who have not devoted any specific attention to theology should be 
able to throw much light on theological problems by their remarks. 
On the whole, the questionnaire seems to indicate that the majority 
of people believe just about what they have been taught in the con- 
ventional society in which they are. A very few have done some 
critical thinking on the subject.