The City Of God -- By: Albert Howe Lybyer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 073:289 (Jan 1916)
Article: The City Of God
Author: Albert Howe Lybyer

The City Of God

Albert Howe Lybyer, Ph.D.

The present is manifestly a critical time in the history of the world. Before our eyes and ears comes constantly a vast stream of evidence that the fate of nations small and great, the fate of empires, the fate, some think, of mankind as a whole, is in the balance. Strengthened by such wealth as has never before been accumulated, aided by such organized knowledge as has never before been possessed, supported by such governmental energy as has never been equaled, nerved to such individual courage as has never been surpassed, armies of millions of men are striving to settle by force the lordship of lands, the control of trade routes, the hegemony of the world.

The effects of the conflict reach America in more ways than by words and pictures. They are felt in the slackening and uncertainty of business, and in the fever of speculation combined with hesitancy to begin new enterprises. The effects of the struggle present new political issues: Shall preparation be made for defense against possible aggression, or for taking an active part in this or future struggles? What general policy shall be supported — peace at any price,

watchful waiting, strenuosity? The effects of the great war suggest new moral questions: Is it right to take profits through supporting war with floods of ammunition and vast loans? Does the United States do right to abstain from forcible action, when neutrality is violated by the belligerent nations, and when the money and the lives of our citizens are taken in irregular ways?

But these are not the questions which most concern Christian people. What is the effect of the present crisis upon religion? Reports come that in all the warring countries the churches are filled as never before. As in the American civil war, both sides pray to the same God and both rely upon Him to give them victory. But these circumstances of increase of religious interest may be only temporary and superficial. From many sides, not only from adherents of other religions, not only from skeptics in Christian lands, but even from Christians themselves, come the deeper questions: Has Christianity failed? Why has it not prevented this savage struggle between nations whose people call themselves Christians? If in nineteen centuries Christianity has done so little to Christianize the world, can it ever do so? May not the entire Christian system, of belief and practice and organization, be best abandoned, and something better be sought?

Christianity is thus, in a sense, on trial. It is confronted by a fierce challenge. This is a day of hard practicality, of stern demand for efficiency, of ruthless destruction of that which is worn-out or even ...

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