It was Sir Leslie Stephen who spoke of a churchman...

Virginia (Minn.) Enterprise

It was Sir Leslie Stephen who spoke of a churchman as one who "gives no indication of having any religious views whatever, beyond a dislike to dissenters." Such a description is not universally applicable; dislike of dissent is not the predominant element in the religious views of all ministers. Yet there is more than a hint of fact in the words just quoted, as the people of Virginia had recent occasion to observe. This at least, can be safely said: Any religionist is more likely to be qualified to explain his own creed than to condemn other religions, and in the former effort rather than in the latter is he more likely to be engaged in God's service.

Take, for instance, the recent letter in the Enterprise from a minister who assailed Christian Science as anti-Scriptural." Such a declaration amounts to more than a dislike of dissent. He might as well have said, "My religion is Scriptural and I am not a Christian Scientist; hence I pronounce judgment that Christian Science is not Scriptural." It would be more sensible to recall that the text of all religions furnished by Christ Jesus was, "Ye shall know them by their fruits;" that the fruits of Christianity which he named were the works he did, and that the most prominent of these works was Christian healing. (See Matt. vii. 15-20; Mark xvi. 14-18; John xiv. 12; Matt. x. 5-10 and xxviii. 19, 20, and James v. 13-16.) When our contentious brother can show as many of the fruits described in the New Testament as do Christian Scientists, it will then be time enough for him to say that their religion is less Scriptural than his. But if that time should come he would have less relish for sectarian strife.

September 22, 1917

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