The consciousness of abiding safety in the bosom of the Church is one of the most serious obstacles to an honest confrontation with the Christian faith.
The continuous and widespread fragmentation of the church has been the scandal of the ages. It has been Satan’s master strategy. The sin of disunity probably has caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined.
From the patristic period to the present, the Church has affirmed that misuse of the world’s resources or appropriation of them by a minority of the world’s population betrays the gift of creation since “whatever belongs to God belongs to all.”
People are driven from the church not so much by stern truth that makes them uneasy, as by weak nothings that make them contemptuous.
For a man to argue, “I do not go to church; I pray alone,” is no wiser than if he should say, “I have no use for symphonies; I believe only in solo music.”
The Miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.
Leave every church Independent; not Independent from brotherly Counsel, God forbid it that we should refuse that; but when it comes to power, that one Church shall have the power over the rest, then look for a Beast.
If nowhere else, in the relation between Church and State, “good fences make good neighbors.”
In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next it moved to Europe, where it became a culture, and, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.
If the church doesn’t listen to the world, then the world will never listen to the church.
In biblical days prophets were astir while the world was asleep; today the world is astir while church and synagogue are busy with trivialities.
Christian civilization has proved hollow to a terrifying degree: it is all veneer, but the inner man has remained untouched, and therefore unchanged. His soul is out of key with his external beliefs; in his soul the Christian has not kept pace with external developments. Yes, everything is to e found outside – in image and in word, in Church and Bible – but never inside. Inside reign the archaic gods, supreme as of old.
The historical Jesus has a different category of sins from that of the Old Testament or of Paul or of ecclesiastical writers after him. The sins which occupied the attention of Jesus were hypocrisy, wordliness, intolerance, and selfishness. The sins which occupy the principal attention of the Church… are impurity, murder, the drinking of alcohol, swearing, the neglect of the Church’s services and ordinances.
Sick or well, blind or seeing, bond or free, we are here for a purpose and however we are situated, we please God better with useful deeds than with many prayers or pious resignation. The temple or church is empty unless the good life fill it. The altar is holy if only it represents the altar of our heart upon which we offer the only sacrifices ever commanded – the love that is stronger than hate and the faith that overcometh doubt.
If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
Every church is orthodox to itself; to others, erroneous or heretical.
Segregation in the church violates something that is basic in the nature of the church. How can a church exclude from “the church of God” those who are children of God? How can it, as “the body of Christ,” withhold the privilege of worship from those who have been brought into union with Christ.
There is no such thing as a single scheme of salvation. Salvation is not the monopoly of any church. All paths lead to the hilltop of one and the same God-consciousness. The different religions are suited to the different aspirants in their various stages of progress.
Toleration… is not true liberty when it is only a gracious concession by the state to the individual. Gracious concessions are incompatible with liberty of religion which is not something that a state, or an absolutist church offers, but that which the citizen claims and the law protects.
The true Church government is to leave the conscience to its full liberty… and to seek unity in the Light and in the Spirit, walking sweetly and harmoniously together in the midst of different practices.