Religious Items

Any one who observes closely the words and phrases in current use for teaching religious truth is impressed by the fact that a new phraseology is establishing itself wherever earnest men with a real message try by tongue or pen to gain the attention and the assent of their fellow-men....

We believe that this disposition is for the betterment and enrichment of religion. Some persons, it is true, affirm that the new phraseology means a casting aside of the old truths, and that the men who employ it have ceased to hold the beliefs which their fathers did about God, Christ, sin, and the moral struggle; but it by no means follows that, because a man strives to make himself understood by the people to whom he speaks, he has completely modified his theological standard. To be sure, fresh visions of truth can hardly help giving rise to new forms of statement; but perhaps, after all, it is not so much a question of conservatism versus liberalism, as of a preacher's profound yearning to voice his message most effectively. As The London Examiner says, people are not nearly so interested in the average pulpit themes as the average minister is apt to think. We would go farther and declare that a good deal of the language used in the pulpit and on the religious platforms fails to carry any distinct meaning to the modern man. He has heard from childhood the familiar phrases so constantly that their bloom and beauty have entirely disappeared, or, lacking such a background for his life he hears, when he occasionally does go to Church, phrases so totally unlike anything he hears in the shop, the market-place, and on the street, that he is bewildered and mystified.

The Congregationalist and Christian World.

April 4, 1903

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