WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
What is the Church, psychologically viewed?
The Church is:
1. A school of the Christian spirit. That is her first task in the world.
2. She is the Body of Christ. That is her official and physical determination--her firm, her name.
3. She is the living Christ Himself, i.e. Christ's body (consisting of all the human bodies inside the Church organisation), and Christ's spirit (filling all the human bodies inside the Church). That is her ideal, her end, her Horeb.
What is the Church, sociologically viewed?
The Church is:
1. A Theocracy. That is her general virtue, which she shares with all the religions in history.
2. She is a Christocracy. God is the abstract Ruler of Humanity, but Christ is the pragmatic God, leading, enlightening, encouraging and inspiring Humanity. That is the Church's special charter, special way, different from the charters and ways of other religions. She is a Sanctocracy. The saints ought to lead mankind--not the great men of the world, but the saints. But when all men become saintly, no special leaders will be needed: no authority, no state, no law, no punishment. All men will do their over-duty, and all will be happy in their neighbour's happiness. The fight for right is an inferior stage in human history. It is a savage fight. But there will come a fight for over-duty. It will be a smiling, pleasant fight.
What is the Church, historically viewed?
The Church is:
1. A heresy regarding Judaism and Paganism, a real, deep heresy. Not so deep was the outward gulf as the inward. Outwardly, this heresy made a thousand compromises with Judaism and Paganism. That did not matter. But inwardly it was a new, an absolutely new and most uncompromising spirit with anything in the world.
2. She was a heresy regarding the whole practical life of mankind: politics, society, art, war, education, nationalism, imperialism, science. She meant the most obstinate conflict between what exists and what ought to exist. Therefore her martyrdom is quite comprehensible.
3. She was built up and applied to human life by the Graeco-Hebrew spirit. Yet she has become the European religion, par excellence, almost exclusively European. That is her historical development and fate.
Europe's acceptance of Christianity is nominally definite. No other Asiatic religion (all great religions are Asiatic) has had any notable success in Europe. Yet Europe's mission of Christianity has been no success. St Paul has done more for the Christian mission than the whole of modern Europe. Historically, Christianity has been and has remained until now the religion of the European race only.
What is the Church viewed from the point of view of the world war?
The Church is:
1. The only keeper of the secret of the present war. The present war is the result of the de-christianisation of Europe, and de-christianisation of Europe's Church. The Church only is conscious of this fact and keeps silent. She has no courage to accuse because she has no courage to self-accuse.
2. She is the only thing which makes European civilisation not lower than the civilisation of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and China. The ruins of those ancient civilisations are more magnificent than the actual constructions of Europe. But the Church gives Europe a special nimbus and a special excellency over those ancient worlds. Secular Europe does not know that, but the Church knows it and keeps silent. She cannot announce it because she has sinned. Her sins keep her tongue-tied.
3. Nothing is sure to survive the present catastrophe of Europe, but the Christian Church. None of the European potencies has the idea for the reconstruction of the world, for durable and Godlike world-peace, but the Church.
Socialism, Masonry, Philanthropy, Rousseauism,--all these are only small units of the great treasury that the Christian Church hides under her clouds and dust of errors and miseries. All non-Christian systems and schemes mean, my own interest first and then thine, or first I and my nation and my race, and then thou and thy nation and thy race, or, my happiness and, along with it, thy happiness. The Christian idea hidden in the Church is a revolutionary one, the most revolutionary idea in the world. The Christian idea is, thou and thy nation and thy race first, and then me and my nation and my race; or, thy happiness first and in thy happiness my happiness. Saintliness above everything, the true saintliness including goodness and sacrifice. That is the fundamental idea of the Church. That is the only constructive, Godlike treasury that Europe still possesses, the sleeping, never used, never tried treasury. The Church is the keeper of this treasury. This treasury must survive the old Europe and the old Church, the de-christianised Europe and the de-christianised Church.