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and life that the task will be made three times as difficult. (2) The second conclusion reached is that whatever a Church does to direct the growth of the children, the youth and the adult life of the congregation into the fuller life in Christ may be designated as a part of the program of religious education. This applies to the agencies at work in the individual Church, and in the community and to all interdenominational agencies and field forces. (3) The meaning of the war has so changed the purpose and content of religious education as to very materially modify many of the existing agencies of the Church and to make a complete reorganization of all agencies necessary.
(4) These agencies, both in the individual Church and on the field should be so correlated as to present a unified impression to the mind of the pupil and of the community.
1. THE PULPIT.
The relation of the pulpit to religious education is not very clearly understood. There are many ministers who think that their chief business is to preach, leaving the so-called educational work of the Church to untrained laymen because it has only a secondary value in the life of the people. This is a fatal mistake. The pulpit has a distinct educational function which is central to the whole task of religious education. Public worship is the social life of the community functioning religiously. It is the instinctive effort of the people to realize their
membership in the great family of God and to learn His will for their lives. Worship is built up around the quickening of the emotions. The sermon deals with big ideas. Between the two there is a very vital connection. Together the worship and sermon aim at the creation of religious affections that endure. Now the religious affections that endure do not grow directly from those strong emotions that are always evanescent, but from the finer sentiments which are the result of the clear grasping by the mind of great religious ideas when those ideas are infused with strong religious emotions. “Holy affections," says Jonathan Edwards in his profound treaties on the Religious Affections, "are not heat without light, but evermore arise from some information of the understanding, some spiritual instruction that the mind receives, some light or natural knowledge. The child of God is graciously affected because he sees and understands something more of Divine things than he did before, more of God or Christ, and of the glorious things exhibited in the Gospel.”
If, as we have said, the public worship is the instinctive effort of the people to find out the purpose and will of God in the social experience through which they are passing, then the chief function of the preacher in every age is to interpret, persuade, and inspire. The world has been passing through a great social upheaval, the political, economic, and religious meaning of which is still but little understood. It is the business of the preacher
today to stand where Amos, Isaiah, Ezra, and Nehe miah stood in their day, to interpret the will of God in human history, instructing, persuading, and inspiring a baffled, bleeding, hoping people as they begin the building of a new world. For a preacher to say that this is not central to the work of religious education is to miss the high mark of one's calling
In conversation with a teacher in Cornell Uni. versity who was a captain of infantry, who saw much hard fighting in France and who taught three months in an A. E. F. College before returning to America, I asked this question, "What, in your opinion, must the religious teaching of our day possess as a result of the war?" His answer was immediate and to the point. He said, “It must possess reality, vision, and practicability. The boys," he continued, "have been face to face with the great realities of life; they have been compelled to think big ideas and the Church cannot interest them with anything less. They have caught the vision of a new world in terms of a great program or campaign. They know the meaning of what it is to bend every energy upon the taking of an immediate objective as a step in the realization of a large program. They will be intensely interested in the big ideas of religion only in so far as those ideas have a practical bearing upon the solution of the life problem that lies just ahead of them. The Church will do well to incorporate into all of its preaching and teaching the psychology of this ex
perience.” This means that the pulpit of the future will treat in an educational way the great theological themes of the Church, for true theology seeks to interpret religious experience and not to put static limitations about it.
The war has summoned the Church to put increased emphasis upon the evangelistic note in all preaching and teaching. If the war means anything, surely it is that an ideal society in the midst of an unregenerate world is a contradiction of ideas. Many ministers think that the evangelistic message of the pulpit is in no way related to religious education. They even think that the two are essentially antagonistic. All of this is a great mistake: Evangelism makes its strongest appeal when the mind has been prepared by a knowledge of Scripture. This was true at Pentecost and it has been true of all the really great evangelistic movements of history. In convincing men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, and in pressing for definite decisions for Christ, the Holy Spirit speaks more directly to the subconscious than to the conscious mind of men. It is to the great subconscious background of Biblical knowledge that Christ makes His most potent appeal. By far the largest number of converts to Christianity come from the Sunday schools and the Christian homes. Any organization of the Church for effective evangelism must include religious instruction in the pulpit, the home, and the Church school.
But the preacher is also the missionary messenger of the Church and it has been fully demonstrated that an occasional arousing of the people to feel their missionary obligation is hopelessly inadequate, even dangerous. So here again the work of the pulpit is seen to be a part of a great educational task which might for sake of definiteness be called missionary education. Surely, if the Church would assume the religious leadership that belongs to it, in this great day of challenge and opportunity, the minister must bring about a complete reorganization of the educational work of his Church making the pulpit central in the system. He cannot any longer make his preaching an isolated factor in the work of the Church.
2. THE HOME.
We have already dwelt at length upon the deep spiritual meaning of the home to the soldier and of the place the home really plays in the development of patriotism and religion. Religious education in the home is continuous; in the Church it is any. thing but continuous. No minister can maintain a strong public worship who pays no attention to family worship and private devotions. Somehow the Church must so reorganize its religious education as to give a larger place to the home. The Church must stand more definitely for the sacredness of the home and of the right of parents to enough leisure time to make the home a center of Christian culture and companionship.