R0727-6 A Methodist Bishop’s Opinion

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A METHODIST BISHOP’S OPINION

Brother MacMillen, in a private letter suggests the following points which are worthy of notice. He says:—

„What think you of Bishop Foster’s sermon (about eleven columns long) delivered before the Centennial Conference. Is it not a little gold and much clay? He utters some facts which we who have no titles would be denounced for saying. He says, ‚I have the most profound conviction that one of the most crying needs of the Church of God today, if not the greatest, is a revival of the spirit and fervor of religion in the pulpit, and sorry I am to say it, in no pulpit is it more needed than in our own. The people are hungry, and for bread they are fed on HUSKS—worse than that often, mere wind and sound.’

Well do I remember when I was severely criticised for uttering almost the same words. After speaking of the spiritually half-dead pastors and churches, the Bishop exclaims—’Oh for the awakening of the pulpits of Christendom!’

In speaking of the creeds he says: ‚We are safe in saying that up to date there is no perfect creed—we even doubt if there ever will be.’ Then a little farther on we are surprised to hear him say, ‚The Church has no treasure which it must so carefully guard as its creed. It is its Sheet-anchor, its foundation, its life blood, its very soul.’

This to my mind is nothing less than an acknowledgement that the creed or foundation, or life blood, or soul of the nominal church is imperfect and impure.

I would like to suggest to the Bishop that the true Church has a perfect creed, viz.—the Bible—that it has no treasure that can be compared to God’s Word.

The Bishop is beginning to see (using his words) ‚Signs that our Protestant Christianity is losing hold of what are called the masses, drifting away from humanity’—that it—’can no more be disputed that it has a tendency to separate poor and rich at the altars of God’—that it—’is the religion of the respectable.’

This sermon is a wonderful mixture of clay and gold.

There are points both good and bad to which I would like to call attention, but time and space forbid.”

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— February, 1885 —