The way it was… Faith a cross to be endured

Published January 1, 2000

100 years ago: January 1900

Canadian Churchman said there must be authority in religion, or the issue cannot fail to be complete unbelief. “In every department of our life activities there is authority of some sort. Without it there would be a kaleidoscopic exhibition of ignorance and inefficiency. Man would become simply an undisciplined animal.” In the case of the Christian religion, “whose sanctions and restraints are held to be of divine origin,” it is least of all possible. An organization must have authority, and if the authority goes, the organization must necessarily go with it. “The alternative of an authoritative religion is a weak and nerveless substitute of speculative gossip and sweet philanthropy, which encourages the bolder spirits of anarchy and nihilism in their advocacy of pure selfishness and a gross materialism.”

50 years ago: January 1950

Canadian Churchman reported that 10 years ago the Church of England in Canada offered to relieve Missionary Societies in the Motherland which had been making grants to missionary work in Canada. Following consultation with the Canadian dioceses, the apportionments were adjusted to provide for the grants of those English societies which accepted the offer. It has been a matter of satisfaction that the interest of our people was aroused and their support increased?” Church leaders and members are suffering from the serious plight of frustration and inadequacy,” Canon Quinton Warner confided to a meeting of laymen in Ottawa. “Backslapping is no good.”

25 years ago: January 1975

Canadian Churchman reported that too often the Anglican community accepts Western cultural values unquestioningly and abandons Christian judgments on matters of injustice in treatment of women, Indians and the poor. We adhere faithfully to an economic system of exploitation and degradation without applying the same Christian principles that we profess to apply to matters ecclesiastical. Is the parable of the good Samaritan to become merely a parable of personal charity, irrelevant to public policy as regards the millions who face starvation in India, Africa, Asia and Latin America? We live in a world and a church that are changing at a rate incomprehensible to most. Indeed in the next decade Canada and church face greater challenges than either has ever seen…. Bishop John Bothwell (Niagara) concluded his charge to synod with a word to those who seek the church for a respite from pressure, for its reassurance and comfort. “Your desire is understandable, but your expectations are wrong. Our faith is not a security blanket to be hugged, it’s a cross to be endured joyfully.”


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