An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant.
on the ’Study of the Evidences of Christianity.’  It was mainly a discussion of the miracle.  It was radical and conclusive.  The essay closes with an allusion to Darwin’s Origin of Species, which had then just appeared.  Baden Powell died shortly after its publication.  The fight came on Rowland Williams’s paper upon Bunson’s Biblical Researches.  It was really upon the prophecies and their use in ‘Christian Evidences.’  Baron Bunsen was not a great archaeologist, but he brought to the attention of English readers that which was being done in Germany in this field.  Williams used the archaeological material to rectify the current theological notions concerning ancient history.  A certain type of English mind has always shown zeal for the interpretation of prophecy.  Williams’s thesis, briefly put, was this:  the Bible does not always give the history of the past with accuracy; it does not give the history of the future at all; prophecy means spiritual teaching, not secular prognostication.  A reader of our day may naturally feel that Wilson, with his paper on the ‘National Church,’ made the greatest contribution.  He built indeed upon Coleridge, but he had a larger horizon.  He knew the arguments of the great Frenchmen of his day and of their English imitators who, in Benn’s phrase, narrowed and perverted the ideal of a world-wide humanity into that of a Church founded on dogmas and administered by clericals.  Wilson argued that in Jesus’ teaching the basis of the religious community is ethical.  The Church is but the instrument for carrying out the will of God as manifest in the moral law.  The realisation of the will of God must extend beyond the limits of the Church’s activity, however widely these are drawn.  There arose a violent agitation.  Williams and Wilson were prosecuted.  The case was tried in the Court of Arches.  Williams was defended by no less a person than Fitzjames Stephen.  The two divines were sentenced to a year’s suspension.  This decision was reversed by the Lord Chancellor.  Fitzjames Stephen had argued that if the men most interested in the church, namely, its clergy, are the only men who may be punished for serious discussion of the facts and truths of religion, then respect on the part of the world for the Church is at an end.  By this discussion the English clergy, even if Anglo-Catholic, are in a very different position from the Roman priests, over whom encyclicals, even if not executed, are always suspended.

Similar was the issue in the case of Colenso, Bishop of Natal.  Equipped mainly with Cambridge mathematics added to purest self-devotion, he had been sent out as a missionary bishop.  In the process of the translation of the Pentateuch for his Zulus, he had come to reflect upon the problem which the Old Testament presents.  In a manner which is altogether marvellous he worked out critical conclusions parallel to those of Old Testament scholars on the Continent.  He was never really an expert, but in his main contention

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An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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