A Theology for the Social Gospel

By Walter Rauschenbusch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE DIFFICULTIES OF THEOLOGICAL READJUSTMENT

ANY demand for changes in Christian doctrine is sure to cause a quiver of apprehension and distress. Religious truth is the truth our souls live by and it is too dear to be scrapped and made over. Even to grant the possibility of the need of change means a loss of assurance and certitude, and that hurts. The passionate interest of many in the beliefs which have been the food of their spiritual life for years creates a social resistance to change in religious thought. Every generation tries to put its doctrine on a high shelf where the children can not reach it. For instance, the Methodist Church will not be charged with sitting on the clock, but its creed has been put beyond the reach even of the highest body of the Church. Its "Articles of Religion" were an adaptation of the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England by John Wesley; to-day they seem to have the better of the starry universe, for they can never change: "The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, nor change our Articles of Religion, nor establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine."

I have entire sympathy with the conservative instinct which shrinks from giving up any of the dear possessions

-10-

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