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100 years ago: Modernism rejected

18 February 2022

February 17th, 1922.

THE Duke of Argyll [the 10th, Niall Diarmid Campbell, a leading Anglo-Catholic layman] will be satisfied, we think, with the action of at least one of the Scottish bishops in relation to the Girton Conference of Modern Churchmen. The Bishop of Edinburgh [Somerset Walpole] addressed to his Synod on Tuesday in last week a Charge on the duty of the Church respecting the recent attacks made on the Christian Faith. He discussed the two tendencies of Modernism and Traditionalism, vindicating Traditionalism as loyalty to the unchanging body of truth; never, when alive to its responsibility, stagnant, but always giving freshness to every truth of God, whether philosophical or scientific, as it emerges. He proceeded to examine the tendencies and effects of Modernism and Traditionalism, the one barren, the other potent to revive the Church in her driest periods. He examines, with relentless courtesy, the position of Modernists in the Church whose creeds they interpret in a non-natural and unhistorical way, that Church which they desire to see reformed and rejuvenated so that both Unitarians and Quakers may find in it an honoured place. He concludes that the issue is clear and unmistakable. “It is whether the Church can accept the Christ of Unitarian theology as well as the Christ of the creeds within the same formularies,” and expresses his conviction that a clear pronouncement by the bishops as to the errors that have been set forth at the Girton Conference would restore the confidence which is badly shaken.

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