Article Index

Other issues

If these were the core concerns of those who founded what is now Modern Church, the Church Gazette briefly noted their relevance to a variety of other issues.

The Bible
While rendering all fitting reverence to the Bible, a Broad Churchman absolutely declines to be enslaved by it, or by any other volume or document whatever; because he holds that there is no manual in existence which possesses supreme or final authority.[10]
Ordination oaths
[The Broad Churchman] firmly holds that no one can honestly take such oaths except in their principal sense, generally regarded; but that no one can or does at that period accept any responsibility as to what he may see reason to believe in ten or twenty years’ time.[11]
Objective truth
He considers that there is such a thing as Absolute Truth: but that this is known, and can be known, only to the Deity. That there is also such a thing as Relative Truth, and that this latter is the only form in which truth is knowable by man. That Relative Truth, as apprehended at any given time, must be always approximating nearer and nearer to the absolute standard which yet it never actually reaches; and, therefore, that truth, as known by man, must always be progressive, just as history shows that it always has been. He therefore refuses to be tied back to any fixed standard, either of the present age or of past ages; but regards all such standards as embodying the best conceptions of truth which were attainable in their own day.[12]
Progressive inspiration
Just as he holds with a continuous advance in knowledge of truth, so he believes there is a continuous inspiration which promotes it. He does not deny that such inspiration may have acted with special power at one particular period, or at several different periods, but he refuses to believe that it was confined to certain portions of history, or that it was finally withdrawn from the world about A.D. 90. He maintains that such influence has extended throughout the whole of time, and is as truly operative now as at any previous age, and that it exerts itself not only in influencing views directly connected with religion proper, but has its domain throughout the entire range of thought.[13]
He is not wanting in spirituality, though rarely indulging in the cant expressions which are so often used as a mere substitute for it, and which, being employed at second-hand, have come to lose their edge. On the contrary, his contention is consistently on behalf of the supremacy of spirit over letter, and thus, without spirituality of the genuine kind, he has no locus standi at all.[14]
Ecclesiastical discipline
Another object of the proposed Union was to deal with matters of discipline, so that if men were persecuted for the maintenance of liberal views there would be a means for them to turn for help.[15]