Chapter 27 » 27.23

Friends and the Christian church


We do not in the least deprecate the attempt, which must be made, since man is a rational being, to formulate intellectually the ideas which are implicit in religious experience… But it should always be recognised that all such attempts are provisional, and can never be assumed to possess the finality of ultimate truth. There must always be room for development and progress, and Christian thought and inquiry should never be fettered by theory… Among the dangers of formulated statements of belief are these:

  1. they tend to crystallise thought on matters that will always be beyond any final embodiment in human language;
  2. they fetter the search for truth and for its more adequate expression; and
  3. they set up a fence which tends to keep out of the Christian fold many sincere and seeking souls who would gladly enter it.

Particularly in these days we need to be on our guard against these dangers. Multitudes of people are being shaken out of their comfortable beliefs by the terrific experiences through which the world is passing, and are seeking a secure basis for their faith. And some are finding a Reality which is much too great to be confined within the narrow limits of a creed.

True basis of Christian unity, 1917

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