Religious Reality
By A.E.J. Rawlinson

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Chapter VII - The Church and Her Mission in the World

The GOD and Father of Jesus Christ loves every human being individually, cares for each and has a specific vocation for each one to fulfil. This doctrine of the equal preciousness in the sight of GOD of all human souls is for Christianity fundamental. But the correlative of Divine fatherhood is human brotherhood: just because GOD is love, and fellowship is life and heaven, and the lack of it is hell, GOD does not redeem men individually, but as members of a brotherhood, a Church.

The Church is simply the people of GOD. It is the fellowship of redeemed mankind, the community of all faithful people throughout this present world and in the sphere of the world beyond–one, holy, apostolic (i.e. missionary), and catholic, that is, universal. Death is no interruption in that Society, race is no barrier, and rank conveys no privilege. “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all”: over the Church the gates of Death prevail not: and “ye are all one Man in Christ Jesus.”

Furthermore, the Church is described as the Body, that is, the embodiment, of Christ: the instrument or organ whereby the Spirit of Christ works in the world. Her several members are individually limbs or members in that Body, and their individual gifts and capacities, whatever they may be, are to be dedicated and directed to the service of the Body as a whole, and not to any sectional or selfish ends or purposes. In practical churchmanship, rightly understood, is to be discovered the clue to the meaning and purpose of human life.

Again, the Church is by definition international. The several races and nationalities of mankind have each their specific and individual contribution to make to the Church’s common life, in accordance with their specific national temperaments and genius. All of them together are needed to give adequate expression in human life to the many-sided riches of GOD in Christ. The Church is incomplete so long as a single one remains outside. The idea, therefore, of a so-called “National" Church, as a thing isolated and self-contained, is intrinsically absurd.

Therefore also the Church is missionary. She exists in order to proclaim to all the world the Good News of the love of GOD. She exists to bring all men everywhere under the scope of Christ’s redemption, and to claim for the Spirit of Christ the effectual lordship over all human thought and life and activity. It is her threefold task at once to develop and make real within her own borders the life of brotherhood in Christ, to evangelize the heathen by declaring to them the satisfaction of their instinctive search for GOD in the answering search of GOD for them, and to labour for the discovery and application of Christian solutions to the problems of industry and commerce, of politics and social life and international affairs.

In so far as the Church has been true to the Spirit of Christ she has succeeded; in so far as she has made compromises with the world, and in every generation has in greater or less degree been disloyal to the standards of her Master, she has failed. In every generation there has been partial and obvious failure, side by side with real, if partial and in some ways less immediately obvious, success. But the Church can never wholly fail and must one day wholly succeed, for the reason that behind her is the omnipotence of the love of GOD.


Preface  •  Author’s Preface  •  Introduction  •  Part I - The Theory of the Christian Religion: Chapter I - the Man Christ Jesus  •  Chapter II - The Revelation of the Father  •  Chapter III - The Fellowship of the Spirit  •  Chapter IV - The Holy Trinity  •  Chapter V - The Problem of Evil  •  Chapter VI - Sin and Redemption  •  Chapter VII - The Church and Her Mission in the World  •  Chapter VIII - Protestant and Catholic  •  Chapter IX - Sacraments  •  Chapter X - The Last Things  •  Chapter XI - Clergy and Laity  •  Chapter XII - The Bible  •  Part II - The Practice of the Christian Religion: Chapter I - The Christian Aim  •  Chapter II - The Way of the World  •  Chapter III - The Spirit and the Flesh  •  Chapter IV - The Works of the Devil  •  Chapter V - The Kingdom of God  •  Chapter VI - Christianity and Commerce  •  Chapter VII - Christianity and Industry  •  Chapter VIII - Christianity and Politics  •  Chapter IX - Christianity and War  •  Chapter X - Love, Courtship, and Marriage  •  Part III - The Maintenance of the Christian Life: Chapter I - How to Begin  •  Chapter II - Prayer  •  Chapter III - Self-Examination and Repentance  •  Chapter IV - Corporate Worship and Communion  •  Chapter V - The Devotional Use of the Bible  •  Chapter VI - Almsgiving and Fasting

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Religious Reality
By A. E. J. Rawlinson
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