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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LXI TWO QUESTIONS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY

Luke xx.19-38.

(PASSION WEEK -- TUESDAY)

The Sunday of the last week of Jesus was all triumph, the Monday was all neglect, the Tuesday was all controversy. He returns once more from Bethany to the city, and he finds the opposition at its height. At once he is set upon by two kinds of people and asked two kinds of questions as to his mission and aim. One question was political, or as we now are saying sociological. What did he think about taxation? What was his attitude toward the government? Was he encouraging social revolt? Was he an anarchist or a socialist? The other question was theological. What did he think about the future life? How would marriage be arranged in heaven? Was his theology orthodox? All this must have seemed to Jesus malicious enough, but I think that the deepest impression he had of such questions {152} must have been of their stupidity. How was it possible that after months of public teaching any one could suppose that such problems were in the line of his intention. Here he was, trying to bring spiritual life among his people, -- the life of God to the souls of men, -- and here were people still trying to find in him a political schemer or a metaphysical theologian.

Yet there are questions of much this nature still being asked of Jesus. Some honest persons are still insisting that Christ's religion is a system of theology, and some are trying to make of it a course in social science, and neither of them seem to notice that the last day of general teaching which was permitted to him on earth was largely devoted to demonstrating that he was neither a social agitator nor a theological professor. Christianity is not a scheme or arrangement, social or theological, like a railway which men might build either to accelerate the business of life or to take one straight to heaven. Christianity provides that which all such mechanism needs. It is a power, like that electric force which makes the equipment of a railway move. A church is a power-house for the {153} development and the transmission of the power that makes things go. Cut off the power, and the theological creeds and social programmes of the day stand there paralyzed or dead. Communicate to them the dynamic of the Christian life, and the power goes singing over all the wires of life and sets its mechanism in motion, as though it sang upon its way: |I am come that these may have my life, and may have it abundantly.|

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