Page:Modern Rationalism (1897).djvu/41

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41
RATIONALISM IN THEOLOGY.

Hurst[1] declares that Maurice did not accept it in the orthodox sense. Momerie maintains that Scripture does not promise a resurrection of the material body at all.

The dogma of the Trinity has invited Rationalistic criticism from the time of its formation—the fourth century. Since, however, the dogma has become the fundamental tenet of the orthodox Church, in contradistinction to Arians, Socinians, or Unitarians, few important ecclesiastics openly dissent from it. Kingsley's doctrine of the holy spirit is said to have been Pantheistic. Jowett and Colenso are generally said to have abandoned it. The Rev. A. Craufurd and the Rev. A. Momerie openly reject it. Momerie again says that Scripture never taught it; that it merely depicts the one indivisible God as manifesting himself in three characters—in nature, in Christ, and in our hearts. Thus the divinity of Christ is also called into question with impunity. In fact, there has recently been an attempt made to show that the ordinary doctrine of the Incarnation, the miraculous conception of Christ, is inconsistent with the idea that the relations of the sexes are divinely appointed. A deviation from the ordinary sexual course, in view of the sanctity of Christ, would seem to imply that there is some thing unholy in legitimate sexual intercourse.

Two of the most vivid convictions of the Christian from the earliest Christian ages have been belief in the personality of God and the personality of the devil. The latter, we have seen, is much enfeebled; the former has also been deeply impaired by the criticism of professed theologians. Dr. Arnold seems to have felt that a relaxation of this dogma (certainly the most important in theology) was imminent. Maurice quotes a saying of his, "that the early Church was utterly wrong and foolish in making the nature of God the ground of its belief and profession; whereas some doctrine directly concerning our human life ought to be the uniting bond." A little later Jowett wrote, with characteristic nonchalance, that "the received reasons for believing in a God are groundless." We have already quoted two critics (both ecclesiastical writers) who declare that Jowett lost belief in the personality of God. Dean Mansel also provoked strong accusation of rationalizing the dogma in his

  1. "History of Rationalism."