Dynamic Religion

History records constant vitalizations of religious thought, which were followed by corresponding attempts to express in dogma or creed a final statement of truth. Sometimes these statements have been used to bind the consciousness of men by assuming it to be sinful even to think otherwise than according to the formula. This is the statical idea of religion, making it like the iron bed which every one must fit, and this without regard to temperament, vision, hope, intuition, or character. The statical theory of the Church has inferred that truth was given, once for all, and that God's thought for man is exhausted. The aid of the Spirit to lead into all truth, to re-mind men of the teaching of Christ, and bring to remembrance the spiritual meaning of his works, need not be invoked, since the truth once given was formulated finally by men of the past. This thought is pictured in a window in a European cathedral, where a man is represented as descending to earth with a completed church edifice on his shoulders.

The dynamic theory of religion sets forth the Church of Christ as a power to uplift the fallen, strengthen the feeble, and discipline the weak until they find strength within. The body of Christ is that aggregation of believers in the Christ-truth who obey the impulse of the heavenly mindedness which Christ Jesus manifested, even as a man's body responds to his volition. There is progress in religion; the statement of it changes, but Christianity is satisfying only when it is the expression of the spirit of Christ, and when it has power, the vital power of love.

Which is the Better Way?
June 3, 1905

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