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The Essence of Christianity and the Cross of Christ

161 pages1 hour


In a recent number of The Harvard
Theological Review
, Professor Douglas Clyde Macintosh of
the Yale Divinity School outlines in a very interesting manner the religious
system to which he gives his adherence. For “substance of doctrine” (to use a
form of speech formerly quite familiar at New Haven) this religious system does
not differ markedly from what is usually taught in the circles of the so-called
“Liberal Theology.” Professor Macintosh has, however, his own way of construing
and phrasing the common “Liberal” teaching; and his own way of construing and
phrasing it presents a number of features which invite comment. It is tempting
to turn aside to enumerate some of these, and perhaps to offer some remarks
upon them. As we must make a selection, however, it seems best to confine
ourselves to what appears on the face of it to be the most remarkable thing in
Professor Macintosh’s representations. This is his disposition to retain for
his religious system the historical name of Christianity, although it utterly
repudiates the cross of Christ, and in fact feels itself (in case of need)
quite able to get along without even the person of Christ. A “new
Christianity,” he is willing, to be sure, to allow that it is—a “new
Christianity for which the world is waiting”; and as such he is perhaps
something more than willing to separate it from what he varyingly speaks of as
“the older Christianity,” “actual Christianity,” “historic Christianity,”
“actual, historical Christianity.” He strenuously claims for it, nevertheless,
the right to call itself by the name of “Christianity.”

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