Can you believe Bonnar wrote this in 1883? He could be describing the 21st century Church. Why don’t we learn from Church history? My thanks to Darrin R. Brooker for this.
The religious atmosphere of the present time is much changed from what it was in my younger days; and I may be allowed to note the difference. The theological crisis through which we are passing is a peculiar one, such as the men of fifty years ago would have thought very unlikely; and I wish to mark some of its more important characteristics.
These are becoming more and more distinct in outline and pronounced in character every year. A quarter of a century ago, it was not quite evident what they meant or whither they were tending. Now there is less of reserve, and the repulsion between Revelation and much of modern thought is expressing itself in many ways, and through many channels. Man is now thinking out a Bible for himself; framing a religion in harmony with the development of liberal thought; constructing a worship on the principles of taste and culture; shaping a god to suit the expanding aspirations of the age. The process of evolution on all these points is so satisfactory and so well advanced that disguise is no longer needful. Faith and certainty, in things outside our senses, are, in the meantime at least, not to be taken into account.
Whether the human mind was really made for such uncertainty is a question which each one must settle for himself; and whether there may not be a way of escape from uncertainties, into a region of absolute truth, in things of religion as well as in those of science, is certainly worth the consideration of the age.
Amid all this dazzling confusion, it is well to keep in mind that the way leading to life is narrow, the way leading to death is broad. The danger arising from want of spiritual discrimination between light and darkness is more serious than many think. For one authentic light there are a thousand spurious ones. The false Christs are many, the true Christ is but one; and whilst glorying in the vitality of truth we must stand in awe of the marvelous fecundity of error. Discrimination is not censoriousness.
Still, all the strength that won the battles of the olden time is at our disposal still, undiminished and unwithdrawn. That strength is supernatural and Divine. The power of Pentecost is not yet exhausted.
-Taken from Our Ministry: How It Touches The Questions Of The Age, 1883.