“The Christ Of To-Day.” -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 053:212 (Oct 1896)
Article: “The Christ Of To-Day.”
Author: Anonymous


“The Christ Of To-Day.”1

This book takes its place among a considerable group of books which have appeared during the past quarter of a century in this country and Great Britain, and that constitute what I shall venture to call the popular literature of the new theology. I employ the word “popular” for the purpose of distinction between such works and those that are written for the especial use of scholars.

Belonging to the popular literature of the new theology as thus defined may be mentioned Bushnell’s “Forgiveness and Law” (the final form of “Vicarious Sacrifice”), Beecher’s “Life of Jesus the Christ,” Swing’s “Truths for To-Day,” Newman Smyth’s “Old Faiths in a New Light,” Hunger’s “The Freedom of Faith,” Fisher’s “Faith and Rationalism,” Abbott’s “Evolution of Religion,” Briggs’ “Whither,” Phillips Brooks’ “Toleration,” and “Progressive Orthodoxy,” by the editors of the Andover Review; Drummond’s “Ascent of Man,” Fairbairn’s “The Place of Christ in Modern Theology” (to which our author makes special acknowledgments), and, though reaching back in their origin beyond the quarter-century, yet, as exerting their most powerful influence within these later years, the sermons and other works of Robertson and Maurice. Indeed, to understand at all adequately the literature of the new theology of our own day, we must go back still further and name a little volume that, though written early in the present century, may almost be said to have been discovered only a little while ago, “The Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. To this list must also be added, and by no means given an inferior position, two books by members of this Association, “The Newer Religious Thinking,” by Rev. D. N. Beach, and a volume in which Dr. Herrick has shown that “Some Heretics of Yesterday “are relied upon by conservative theologians of to-day as champions of orthodoxy.

The books which I have enumerated differ one from another in innumerable respects; but they all have, I think, at least four great charac-

teristics in common. In attempting to point out certain features of Dr. Gordon’s treatment of his vast and vital topic “The Christ of To-Day,” I shall divide my remarks and citations into four groups according to these four common characteristics of the popular literature of the new theology, and in several instances I shall refer to one and another of the books mentioned as having with this one under review a general similarity.

1. All these teachers of the new theology agree in taking it for granted that the time has come...

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