[Rev Richard Roberts in British Congregationalist.]

A third element in the problem of "the church and its cross" is to be found in the disrespect into which Christianity has fallen in England today. The churches are empty or emptying. The bulk of the people are not going to attend church unless they cannot help it, unless the church compels them to come in. It is no use to chide people because they do not go to church. They do not go because they do not feel that the church matters to them. They will go as soon as they know that the church has something vital and real and intimate to say to them; and whether we like it or not, we have to confess that the church is not saying anything in that way just now. It is of no use putting it down in a general way to prevalent unbelief. The unbelief that really matters is that which is based on the conviction that Christianity does not matter and does not work; and if Christianity is not working and does not matter today, it is because we are not making it work or making it matter.

The doctrine of evolution has come to stay. Criticism has come to stay. There is a difference today, and we must not ignore it. Part of the impotence of the church today is due to the wide-spread feeling that the church is shirking in its dealings with present-day affairs, that there is a lack of candor. It is due to the way in which the man with the big pocket is allowed to rule the roost; to the way in which we have let men who are not straight in business hold prominent positions in our churches and exploit them for their own ends; to the way in which the church has been silent, or has hedged and compromised about great moral issues and issues of righteousness.

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May 13, 1911

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