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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/440

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the product of the logical analysis of premises which remain themselves unverified. The revolt against the confessional orthodoxy, especially in the Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran Churches, is not a sign of decline, as some think, but a wholesome movement which indicates a determination to know the truth and to hold nothing but the truth.

The Chicago-Lambeth articles, adopted by the whole Anglican communion throughout the world, reduces the essential doctrines of Christ's Church to the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed; those creeds in which all the great historical churches, the Greek and the Oriental, the Roman and the Protestant, agree. This marks a dogmatic advance, not a dogmatic decline, because it makes the distinction between the essential and unessential doctrines, it defines essential doctrines by holding up ancient fundamental historical creeds; it thereby represents all other matters as within the realm of the unessential doctrines, the province of Christian liberty.

The churches are therefore readjusting themselves in their relation to Christian doctrine, and the Christian community is readjusting itself likewise. The offensive features of Christian dogma, while still retained and advocated by some theologians and some communions, have been in great measure removed by other theologians and communions, and the process is going on with great rapidity. The war against science, criticism, literature, and art-all that is characteristic of our age—is gradually being limited to a smaller number of theologians and denominations, and there is ever an increasing number of theologians and churches which fully recognize all the achievements of modern times, and who are at work in harmonizing them with the verified Christian dogmas in a larger, grander system—in a new theology representing all that is noblest and best in Christianity as applied to the modern world. While this process is going on, the dissatisfied ones will take some little time to find their new church homes and to adjust themselves to new conditions and circumstances.

So far as the great mass of mankind is concerned, the chief factor in the Christian religion is the fundamental one of the Christian life and the Christian institution, and the advance or decline of Christianity will be judged from this point of view. Here, however, we must recognize that there are several types of religious life which sometimes combine in one community, but which ordinarily exist apart as characteristic of different temperaments, different nations, different races. The lines of cleavage in historical Christianity are for the most part racial, national, or temperamental. We have to take this into account when we consider the