Page images

We suspect that it has always been a characteristic of youth to be troubled by doubt. It is perfectly natural that in readjusting the faith of one's childhood to the actual conditions of adult life, many of one's childhood conceptions would prove to be inadequate and untrue. They need to be reshaped and made intelligible and workable.

Both young men and young women today appear to be more sophisticated and to know more about the hidden things of darkness than was true twenty years ago. Perhaps that is not altogether a misfortune. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Furthermore, with their deeper understanding of life they tend to be more serious-minded than were the young people of the last generation. President Lowell said recently that the young men of Harvard are much more in earnest about intellectual pursuits and problems of thought and action than at any time in his memory. Possibly this may be due to the War. Those who have been through the soul-shaking experiences of that world catastrophe—the young women as well as the young men-have naturally learned more in a few years than their parents learned in twenty.

We may also attribute some of the restlessness and intensity of the younger generation to the various mechanical devices which human ingenuity and inventiveness have placed at their disposal. The automobile alone has made a tremendous difference in the morals and manners of the younger generation. They can go further and do more in a shorter time than could their more slowly moving ancestors.

We have no carping criticism to make of the “ flapper." That particular type of young lady, with her bobbed hair and bobbed skirts, her rouge and her lip-sticks, her furs and silks and flashing colors and picturesque hats is one of the most artistic effects in this decadent, cubistic, jazzified, gasolenesmelling civilization. We do not know what the rouge and the lip-sticks will do to her skin. We do know that she is very selfishly extravagant and spends all her money on herself and her decoration.

However, it is not alone the younger generation that is undergoing a revolution in morals, but the whole of our modern society. We are all apparently on the down-grade, and unless we change our course, headed for destruction. We have passed the crest of the materialistic civilization of the last four hundred years. We are now reaping the fruits of revolt from the fundamental dogmas and traditional spiritual values of the Christian faith. Our fathers thought that they could throw over with impunity most of the dogmas of Christianity and still retain its morals. That was a bad guess. The moral collapse of our time is the direct and logical consequence of the loss of faith. We are slowly learning that it is after all true that the most important thing about a man is what he believes.

What is the remedy? It is a common human trait that each one of us is inclined to suggest as the remedy for any serious evil the particular institution or philosophy or system of life in which he is most interested. One man perhaps would be inclined to suggest that vegetarianism would solve all our problems. Another is convinced that if we could turn away our attention from this world and devote ourselves to spiritualistic communication with those who have gone beyond all would be well. Another would like to see a return to medievalism, and still another desires a revival of the culture and philosophy of pagan antiquity. It happens that we are primarily interested in religion and therefore believe that the only cure for our present diseased state is a return to the fundamental Gospel of Jesus Christ with all its implications resulting from nineteen centuries of Christian experience.

CHARLES C. MARSHALL HE utterance of a distinguished member of the Broad T!

Church party on the great religious questions in the

Church is an important contribution to current controversy. A signal difficulty up to the present has been the lack of any definite expression of Broad Churchmanship that could be compared with the standards of Catholic doctrine and life. The former has always claimed that it was merely a “ safe and sane" qualification of Catholic definiteness. This qualification is now clearly disclosed in Dr. Parks' book and the question is sharply presented as to whether qualification has not become repudiation.

The questions presented involve theological considerations and it might well be thought invidious for a layman to protest or to criticize were the argument not addressed to the laity by a priest of the Church, commissioned to impart her instruction and under ordination vows to banish and drive away all strange and erroneous doctrines. The laity is now face to face with the issue: what does the Protestant Episcopal Church believe; and what doctrine to her is erroneous or strange?

Dr. Parks premises that there is a crisis in civilization and a crisis of the churches. His argument gives to the condition in the churches a responsibility for the situation in the world. That condition is universal sectarianism; there is no religious body which really expresses or stands for the faith. Chapter IV is devoted to " Sectarianism-Protestant ” and Chapter V to“ Sectarianism-Catholic." Roman and Protestant organizations are equally faulted, for both are sectarian. The Roman Catholic Church is the greatest sect in history. Its policy is dictated by an Italian pope. “ Should it succeedthen the Republic is doomed.” (p. 59).

Its religion is the religion of magic. It believes that spiritual effects may be produced through material means, the sacraments. This inevitably involves Greek and Oriental Catholics and all Sacramentalists in the religion of magic. Angli

• The Crisis of the Churches, by Leighton Parks, D.D.. Rector of St. Bartholomew's Church in the City of New York. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.

can Catholics have no position. They should go to Rome, as potentially they are Roman Catholics. It is the heart of the Roman Catholic religion in which Bishop Gore has found peace. All Catholics believe in miracles and Christians should not be asked to believe in miracles, least of all in the miracle of the mass (pp. 18, 219). Protestant communities are the special abodes of Christian Science and of Theosophy (p. 214) and still worse, Protestant development is identified with a servile dogmatism repugnant to the modern mind and, (quoting Dean Rashdall) with a distinctive dogmatic theology which (including Luther's “ Justification by Faith ") was largely moulded upon an expiring scholasticism in its last and most degenerate phase (p. 81).

Apparently a venture at present into the Christian religion is dangerous. If one becomes a Catholic he practices magic. If he becomes a Roman Catholic he not only practices magic but he may seal the doom of the Republic. If he becomes a Protestant he may find himself an Eddyite or a Theosophist. At any rate he will be identified with a servile dogmatism and with a pernicious and degenerate scholasticism. In place of all this Dr. Parks would have a new alignment of Christendom. There must be a new form of religious solidarity (p. 81). All Christendom is to be reduced to at least two divisions, “ Sacramentalists” (“ Sacramentarians ") on the one side, and “Non-sacramentalists" (“ Non-sacramentarians ") on the other.

Christendom is at present quite divided into Sacramentalists and Non-sacramentalists. The advantage in the obliteration of the numerous lines of division among the latter is not apparent. There would result merely a consolidated instead of a separated sectarianism but the content of differences on that side of the line would still be the same. The alignment, however, of all Sacramentalists on the other side would be a signal advance toward the establishment of the Catholic Church in her single and undivided estate. The religious society most profoundly affected would be Dr. Parks' own Church, whose disruption he not only contemplates as possible but imperatively commands, for the Protestant Episcopal Church, it is obvious in his opinion, is non-sacramental. He does not assume to deal with the sacramental declarations of the formularies of that Church, nor to explain how in view of his ordination vows he can deny baptismal regeneration even as he uses the baptismal office, nor how he can announce without further qualification that he would not go to the extreme of those who would deny divorce in all circumstances (p. 36) even as he declares: “ Those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder.” Protestant Episcopalians known to be Sacramentalists are in terms quite excommunicated, for Anglo-Catholics are told to go to Rome; as long as they remain they will be an alien element and hinder the unity which they believe they desire (p. 217). Anglo-Catholics, however, cannot agree that a decree of excommunication is effective when based upon views directly contrary to the formularies of the Church, however re-enforced by notions that those formularies are of no effect because in conflict with Broad Church opinion. Sacramentalists cannot concede the willing surrender of their birth-right in the Anglican communion at the behest of Broad Churchmen-theirbehest because Dr. Parks is representative of them, and, we may say, their accepted champion. His book is officially hailed by the leading Broad Church organ as “ one of the few books issuing in the present generation from Episcopal rectories which may be considered to be contributions to Broad Churchmanship.

1 The word “ sacramentarianism” was first used by early Protestant theologians to indicate the teaching of those who like Zwingli, held that the Bread and Wine of the Eucharist can be said to be the Body and Blood of Christ only in a metaphorical sense. It is sometimes used opprobriously in the opposite sense to indicate the Catholic view of the Real Presence and of the nature, value and efficacy of the sacraments generally. It is in this sense that the word is used by Dr. Parks. In this article the word "sacramentalism" is used in place of the word " sacramentarianism." Dr. Parks has assured me that in his use the one word is equivalent to the other.

Dr. Parks seems wholly committed to the Protestant view as distinguished from the Catholic view of the sacraments. He reduces a sacrament to an act of “ remembrance."

remembrance." "Life then becomes full of sacraments." “ The illusion ” concerning sacraments, he says, “ is that the grace or help resides in the material which witnesses to it instead of being a sign or symbol of that help.” (p. 221). It is impossible for the lay mind to understand these words, but it is very evident that the question is whether the words of our Lord in respect to baptism, and the


* The Churchman, April 1, 1922.

« PreviousContinue »