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REESE LIBRARY

OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.

Class



CHRISTIANITY AND THE
SOCIAL ORDER



CHRISTIANITY AND THE
SOCIAL ORDER



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO
ATLANTA SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA

MELBOURNE ^

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.

TORONTO



CHRISTIANITY AND THE
SOCIAL ORDER



BY



R. J. CAMPBELL, M.A.

MINISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE, LONDON

AUTHOR OF "THE NEW THEOLOGY," "NEW THEOLOGY

SERMONS," ETC.




Wefo f orfe

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1907

All rights reserved




COPYRIGHT, 1907,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.



Set up and electrotyped. Published December, 1907.



J. 8. Cushing Co. Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Masa., U.S.A.



To the Church and Congregation of
the City Temple, in recognition of
the loyalty, charity, and liberality
of spirit with which they have sus-
tained their minister in his endeavour
to present the wider gospel to the time.



172865




INTRODUCTION

THE following pages constitute an attempt to
show the correspondence between the principles
of Christianity and those of modern Socialism
Socialism in the best sense of the term. They
are written from the point of view of one who
believes that the movement reprobated by the
Pope on the one hand, and dogmatic Protestant-
ism on the other, under the name of modernism
really represents a return to the primitive Christian
evangel, freed from its limitations and illusions.
The present writer regards this spiritual movement,
for such it is, as destined to rescue the true Chris-
tianity from ecclesiasticism in its various forms.
In the process it may work the overthrow of the
Churches as we have them now that is, religious
organisations held together by dogmatic statements
of belief rather than by the perception of a practi-
cal end to be attained. It is herein maintained
that the practical end which alone could justify
the existence of Churches is the realisation of the
Kingdom of God, which only means the reconstruc-
tion of society on a basis of mutual helpfulness
instead of strife and competition. It may be that
the modernist movement will in the long run succeed



Vlll INTRODUCTION

in freeing Christianity from the influences which have
obscured or deflected this ideal; or, at any race,
may succeed sufficiently far to remove the distrust
which at present exists between many of the leaders
of the Socialist movement and the advanced repre-
sentatives of the Christian religion.

It should be clearly understood that in the task
thus attempted I expressly disclaim any intention
of denying a place in the Socialist movement to all
but the adherents of liberal Christian thought.
It is already patent to all the world that the Social-
ist movement has found room for men as widely
divergent in their views of religion as could well be
imagined. Some of its most devoted adherents
are sacerdotalists, others are avowed materialists;
and it would be grossly unfair to exclude either.
To deny a place in the Socialist ranks to a veteran
like the Rev. Stewart Headlam because he happens
to be a sacerdotalist would be a piece of unpardon-
able effrontery. The one thing which I have tried
to keep before me in these pages is the desirability
of showing what primitive Christianity set out to
realise, and, therefore, how nearly identical were
its practical aims with those of modern Socialism.
If, in doing so, I have felt obliged to show the un-
historical character of the sacerdotalist position, I
have been no less frank in showing the impossibili-
ties and illogicalities of orthodox Protestantism.
As a matter of fact, I regard the Catholic idea of a
visible universal fellowship as nearer to the spirit



INTRODUCTION IX

both of ancient Christianity and modern Socialism
than is individualistic Protestantism.

It may not be out of place to say a word as to
the way in which I have come to be identified with
the Socialist movement. The first and most obvi-
ous influence in this direction was the study of
Christian origins, which led me gradually but irre-
sistibly to see that the first Christian preachers did
not know of any other gospel than that of a universal
brotherhood on earth. I have never been anything
else than a liberal in theology all assertions to
the contrary notwithstanding but my way of
presenting the truth in the earlier years of my minis-
try was necessarily less clear and coherent than at
present, for it rested too much on the other-worldism
of conventional Christian preaching. The realisa-
tion that this other-worldism was totally absent
from primitive Christian thought forced me, like
so many others, upon what was practically the
Socialist position without any first-hand acquaint-
ance with the Socialist movement itself. I now
regard Socialism as the practical expression of Chris-
tian ethics and the evangel of Jesus.

But a further and more immediately effective
influence came into existence as follows. In the
autumn of 1904 I wrote an article in the National
Review on the question of Sunday observance, in
which I pointed out certain sinister tendencies of
the time, particularly among the working classes.
The result was a newspaper storm, in which a



X INTRODUCTION

number of clergy and nonconformist ministers
played a discreditable part. Many of them went
out of their way to make my strictures the sub-
ject of sermons in which they fulsomely praised
the working-man and credited him with every
imaginable virtue. The object of this kind of syco-
phantic proceeding was obvious, and, probably
for that reason, it did not succeed. I was asked
to address a mass meeting of Trades Union repre-
sentatives, and repeat my observations face to face
with the workers themselves and listen to what they
had to say in reply. I did so, with the result, on
the one hand, that the working-men were able for
the first time to hear my actual words instead of
garbled newspaper reports and slanderous pulpit
versions of them; while, on the other, I realised
that, although all I had said was perfectly true, and
no one could really deny it, I had not taken account
of the working-man's point of view. The strictures
were resented, not so much because they were unjust,
as because they were made by a man who did not
share the privations and disabilities of those with
whom he found fault. I determined to do my best
to get to see things from the point of view of the
unprivileged majority, and I hope I have, to a
certain extent, succeeded. Ever since that memo-
rable meeting I have been more or less closely in
touch with some of the more prominent leaders
of the Labour movement in this country. In the
autumn of last year I preached a sermon in the



INTRODUCTION XI

City Temple on Christianity and Collectivism, in
which I declared myself a Socialist. Forthwith
all the Labour platforms were thrown open to me.
When the New Theology controversy broke out
in January of the present year these were almost
the only platforms I had left. All my Free Church
Council engagements were cancelled by the Churches
themselves, as were most of my preaching appoint-
ments with other ecclesiastical organisations. Even
where they were not cancelled the situation was,
as a rule, to say the least of it, somewhat strained.
At the present moment I am in the position of
having been quietly excluded from an active share
in every Nonconformist organisation with which
I was formerly connected, with the exception of the
City Temple itself. I do not complain of this ; it
has done me no harm whatever; but it is as well
for the public to know the facts.

I work now in the confident expectation that
with the rise of a younger generation of able men
in the Churches themselves men of liberal out-
look in religion, and inspired by the social con-
sciousness I may live to see the time when the
Socialist movement, realised from the spiritual
point of view, will have laid hold of Nonconformity
as it is already laying hold of the Anglican church.
The present official heads of Nonconformity cannot
expect to boycott a movement for ever by the futile
expedient of boycotting this man and that among
its representatives. The time will come when the



Xil INTRODUCTION

wider theology and the Socialist gospel will be seen
to be one and the same, and until it does come I
offer myself, with all the little power I possess,
to the service of every young man who is trying
to make his way against the tide of prejudice and
obscurantism with which this joint movement is
at present assailed. It is but little that one man
can do except to help where opportunity affords,
in the true spirit of comradeship, the causes that
most need helping. One cannot do more, and
would not willingly do less.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER FACE

I. THE CHURCHES AND THE MASSES i

II. THE KINGDOM OF GOD: I. IN JEWISH HISTORY 21

III. THE KINGDOM OF GOD: II. IN PRIMITIVE

CHRISTIANITY 47

IV. THE KINGDOM OF GOD: II. IN PRIMITIVE

CHRISTIANITY 88

V. THE KINGDOM OF GOD : III. IN PRESENT-DAY

CHRISTIANITY 120

VI. THE COMMON OBJECTIVE OF CHRISTIANITY

AND SOCIALISM 147

VII. THE SOCIALISING OF NATURAL RESOURCES . 176
VIII. THE SOCIALISING OF INDUSTRY . . .201

IX. THE SOCIALISED STATE: 1 231

X. THE SOCIALISED STATE: II 259



CHRISTIANITY AND THE
SOCIAL ORDER

CHAPTER I

THE CHURCHES AND THE MASSES

The decline of church-going. We are to-day
confronted by the startling fact that in practically
every part of Christendom the overwhelming major-
ity of the population is alienated from Christianity
as represented by the churches. In our own country
nearly seventy-five per cent, of the adult population
remains permanently out of touch with organised
religion. Broadly speaking, it is true that only a
section of the middle class ever attends church at all ;
the workers, as a body, absent themselves; the pro-
fessional and upper classes do the same. Not so
very long ago, attendance at church was held to be
a social necessity, a sort of hall mark of respecta-
bility; it is not so now. A professional or business
man can be just as sure of success without church-
going as he can with it; no stigma attaches to
abstention. The artisan class not only remains
aloof from, but even contemptuous of, churches and
preachers; no appeal ever produces so much as a
ripple on the surface of their indifference. As soon



2 CHRISTIANITY AND THE SOCIAL ORDER

as the children in our Sunday schools reach ado-
lescence they become lost to religious influences, or,
at any rate, the male portion of them drifts away.
In any ordinary church service women form the
overwhelming majority of the worshippers. There
are several ways of accounting for this, chief among
which is the fact that for the most part women have
not yet come to feel, as men must feel, the dissonance
between pulpit Christianity and prevailing economic
conditions in the modern world. But women are
coming to take their place in business and in the
professions; and the more this tendency develops,
the more certain is it that women will stay away
from church as men are doing. Of course it is ob-
vious that, even already, the women who compose
the congregations in most places of worship are but
a small minority of their sex.

On the Continent this falling away of the people
from the churches is more marked than in this
country. Educated Germans frequently express
their astonishment on coming to England at the fact
that so many people go to church. This is a phe-
nomenon to which they are quite unaccustomed at
home, and the reason for the difference is fairly
simple. In this country the social life of the lower
middle classes centres to a considerable extent around
the church. The church is the club or public-house,
the place to which people must go in order to meet
one another and enjoy one another's company. In
Germany this is not so; the ordinary centre of



THE CHURCHES AND THE MASSES 3

social life is of quite a different kind, with the
consequence that people do not feel any need for
the church as a meeting-place. Once let the same
set of conditions be established here, and we shall
have just the same result; the middle class will do
what other classes have already done, they will stay
away from church. At present, in many districts
the division of classes is plainly marked by the fact
that the artisans meet at the alehouse while those a
little higher up the social scale meet at church. The
vicar of the parish is the head of one social set, and
the nonconformist minister of another, but neither
of them touches the masses; the workers prefer
another kind of club.

The Church as a social centre. That this is
recognised to some extent is evident from the num-
ber of devices which have been adopted of late years
in order to attract people to church. The institu-
tional church, as it is called, represents the most
advanced of these, but every church tries to follow
more or less on the same lines. The list of the social
activities of any vigorous church in any populous
centre to-day is lengthy and elaborate. It is note-
worthy that these various organisations are similar
to those existing in connection with successful secu-
lar institutions of a social or educational character;
they are not distinctively religious at all. The
discovery has been made by their promoters that
something of the kind is imperative if people are to
be got into the churches. So we have literary so-



4 CHRISTIANITY AND THE SOCIAL ORDER

cieties, gymnasia, swimming clubs, photographic
clubs, rambling clubs, tennis and croquet clubs,
billiard-rooms, smoking-rooms, restaurants, and a
host of others running in connection with church
services and religious meetings. It would be foolish
to decry them, for they serve a useful purpose, but
it is plainly evident that they have sprung into exist-
ence in order to supply what will be sought else-
where if the churches do not rise to the occasion.
These things could flourish just as well if there were
no religious services whatever associated with them.
They are a confession that the churches are ceasing
to hold their own. What a surprise Richard Bax-
ter, John Bunyan, or even John Wesley or George
Whitefield, would receive if they could behold the
institutional church of to-day ! I was recently told
of a philanthropic and public- spirited employer of
labour who erected a number of model dwellings
for his workpeople in the neighbourhood of one or
two churches (also erected by himself), in the hope
that the churches would be well rilled and be the
means of maintaining a high level of character and
conduct in that particular community. There was
no public-house in the district to act as counter
attraction, but somehow the tenants of those model
dwellings did not go to church until the usual club
facilities began to be provided; to prayers and
sermons they paid no heed.

All this is so well known that some may con-
sider it useless to draw attention to it. But as,



THE CHURCHES AND THE MASSES 5

apparently, there are very few among the eccle-
siastical leaders of the day who are willing or able
to recognise the root causes of the tendency which
everybody admits, it is as well to face the situation
before proceeding to examine the whole movement
of which this is but a symptom. It is absolutely
clear that church-going is on the decline, and that
the ordinary gospel preached from the pulpit has
no power to influence the public. The curious thing
is that religious teachers and administrators should
be as well content as they seem to be with this state
of things, and should resent so warmly any sugges-
tion that their gospel may be at fault. A fairly
prominent theologian stated not long ago, that
while he did not deny what was taking place, he
was not in the least perturbed by it, for he believed
that the Gospel of Christ had never appealed to
more than a remnant of the world's total popula-
tion, and never would. This conviction must have
been rather comforting to this particular gentleman,
especially as, like so many of his class, he stands
on fairly good terms with the world in all ordinary
respects. But for the rest of us this consideration
is not quite so comforting. If Christianity is a real
message to humanity a message of universal ap-
plication, and not confined to any one age or clime
it should not be losing its grip to-day, and it is
impossible for a lover of mankind to look on with
equanimity at the increasing alienation between
the churches and the masses. It is pathetic nay,



O CHRISTIANITY AND THE SOCIAL ORDER

more than pathetic, it is dreadful to see the
churches engaged in strife or competition with one
another, while the great world passes by unheeding.
It is only too sadly true that very many churches
are having a hard fight to keep their heads above
water, and that the minister's first aim in every
such case is to make a business success of the insti-
tution if he can. As often as not, he looks with
anything but favour upon the establishment of
some other Christian organisation In his immediate
neighbourhood, even though it be of the same faith
and order as his own. The principle of competi-
tion and trade rivalry is as observable here as any-
where else. The religious public is such a limited
one that the success of one church means the weak-
ening of another; and it becomes requisite that the
minister should be a man who is able to "draw"
that is, draw from other churches the congre-
gation required to make the business a financial
success. Often enough the minister of the church
is regarded as a salaried business manager, whose
duty it is to see that the balance comes out on the
right side at the end of the year, and that the estab-
lishment holds its own in public favour. The most
saddening feature of this tendency is that it almost
compels a minister to lose sight of what should be
the main object of his ministry and concentrate
instead upon the task of keeping his own footing
in the swirl of events. The moment an institution
begins to fight for its own existence, rather than



THE CHURCHES AND THE MASSES 7

for the cause it professes to serve, it has forfeited
the right to continue. If the number of churches
in England, especially Nonconformist churches, of
which this is true, were to be closed, there would be
a very considerable thinning of the present total.
So far as the Church of England is concerned the
case is not so very different; but there are endow-
ments to fall back upon.

The humanitarian activities of the churches fail
to arrest the decline. It would not be fair to say
that there is not plenty of unselfish religious enthu-
siasm still at work for far other reasons than that of
keeping church doors open. Every one knows
of the social redemptive work of the Salvation Army;
and there is hardly any religious denomination which
has not its representatives serving in the poorer
districts of our great cities. It is, perhaps, no in-
justice to other organisations to .say that the High
Church party has specially distinguished itself in
this way. Nothing could exceed the devotion of
some Anglican priests who go and live in the midst
of the poor in slum tenements, and make their lives
a gift to the service of the suffering and degraded.
They believe intensely in their own form of the
Christian evangel, and they unite it to a vigorous
social propaganda, which is more than some other
denominations do. But I am not sure that a great
part of this devotion is not waste of energy a
desperate effort to deal with symptoms instead of
causes. Every year we pour money and men into



8 CHRISTIANITY AND THE SOCIAL ORDER

the slums of London and other great cities, without
making any appreciable difference to the vast total
of misery and crime engendered therein. The
sufferers accept the service, but it would be quite
untrue to say that the churches exert any great in-
fluence of a distinctly religious kind upon them.
Charity demoralises the poor, and gospel missions
fail to touch them. There is no blinking the fact
that if the churches represent Christianity, then
Christianity is rapidly losing its hold in this pro-
fessedly religious country, as well as in every other
country of the civilised world.

And yet the masses not hostile to the religion of
Jesus. How is this to be accounted for ? Is it
because the average man is hostile to or despises
Christianity? Not at all. Of course we hear a
great deal of severe criticism of Christianity, as it
is popularly understood, but that proves nothing.
Christianity, as popularly understood, is not the
religion of Jesus. Such publications as those issued
by the Rationalist Press Association have an enor-
mous sale, but this points only to the impatience
felt by the ordinary sensible man of the world at
the assumptions of dogmatic theology. But the
great mass of the people takes no account of these
things. The ordinary working-man is not hostile
to Christianity; he just lets it alone, because it
seems to have nothing to do with his life. If he
felt that it touched his vital everyday problems, he
would either definitely embrace it or definitely reject



THE CHURCHES AND THE MASSES 9

it. He does neither, for the simple reason that,
so far as he is able to see, the Christianity he hears
about from the pulpit and from church formularies,
has little or nothing to do with life as he knows it.
Certainly there is no hostility to the name of Jesus.
Probably it would be true to say that the name of
Jesus receives an intelligent reverence to-day such
as it never received before, even in the so-called
ages of faith. The Jesus of history has been
recovered for us, and has aroused a new interest
in the minds of the workers of this country from the
purely human and ethical point of view. An ex-
amination of a few of the addresses given at men's
meetings, Pleasant Sunday Afternoon gatherings,
and such-like, would serve to demonstrate this if
evidence were needed. No, it is not Christianity
as represented in the character and teaching of
Jesus which the workers reject, it is the Christianity
of the churches.

The Christianity of the churches is not the religion
of Jesus. When I say this, I am far from intend-
ing to make an undiscriminating attack upon the
churches, quite the contrary. We are living in an
age of rapid transition when the churches, as we
have known them, are having to adjust themselves
to new conditions and new problems, and have not
yet realised the urgency of the situation. Religion
has always been conservative in tendency, and
always will be, because of its primary importance in
human life. When a truth has become associated



10 CHRISTIANITY AND THE SOCIAL ORDER

with any particular form of statement, men are slow
to tamper with the form for fear of losing the truth
itself. In proportion to their loyalty to the truth
and their experience of its value is their reluctance
to part with the form. It is not only Christianity
of which this statement holds good; it is true of
almost any religion. And yet change is going on all
the time. Dogma develops, like everything else in
human concerns, and what is called old in doctrinal
forms is, as often as not, comparatively modern.
In the light of historical criticism nothing is much
more untenable than the claim of the Church of
Rome to have kept unchanged the faith once for all
delivered to the saints. As a matter of fact she has
done nothing of the kind, and it was impossible
that she should. It has often been said that the
best criticism of a dogma is its history, and once we
know the history of the development of dogma in
the Church of Rome, we know beyond question that
Christianity, as represented by the oldest church in
Christendom, the church which claims to be the
only true representative of apostolic Christianity, is
something quite different from the religion of Jesus.
It is just the same with Protestantism. There is no
church in Christendom to-day which would be rec-
ognisable by a Christian of the first century. This
is not necessarily to the discredit of the churches.
It was inevitable that the Christian society should
change its character and modify its tenets as time
went on if it was to live at all. What many people



THE CHURCHES AND THE MASSES II

fail to see is that any change was ever necessary, or
that primitive Christianity itself could be less than
perfect. Whether we like it or not we shall have
to recognise that the Christianity of to-day is not
the Christianity of the first century. Whether it is
better or worse is not immediately to the point; it


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