Notes and Comments: The Spiritual Death of Christianity

The Review of Religions (English), January 1903 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 40–41)

This is now admitted by the majority of the Christian people. Many books have been written recently by Christian authors in which present Christianity is described as devoid of life and as the Anti-Christ. Numerous Christian writers have admitted that the Christian nations excel all nations, past and present, in the three vices of drunkenness, gambling and adultery. Even Church dignitaries have confessed this in plain words. The Christian Patriot of Madras writes in its issue of 13th December 1902, quoting Reverend T. Walker, MA:

“I have known Tamil pastors and others resent the statement that true conversions were few and far between; who have yet, when asked in private, confessed that the congregations under their care were carnal, dead and worldly. … There seems so far as I can judge something like a consensus of opinion that things are far from satisfactory. I once asked a leading Indian clergyman how many of the twenty or thirty congregations under his jurisdiction could be said to possess anything like real spiritual life. He was silent and thoughtful for a moment, and then replied, ‘Not more than two or three, and I may only speak with certainty of one.’ … But is it not a fact that multitudes of those who figure in the statistics of our missionary reports are Christians in name only? And is it not a fact that many of our congregations are stagnant, dead, lifeless?”

These words coming from the mouth of a Christian missionary reveal a deplorable condition of spiritual death in the Christian Church. Moreover, the signs of true believers given in the Gospels are nowhere met with. All these things concur to prove that Christianity is spiritually dead. What is the reason of this? The disciples of Jesus were not men who could be termed spiritually lost like the present Christian generation. Had Christ been living now, his influence ought to have worked. But it is admitted by the Christians themselves that that influence does not now work. The conclusion is, therefore, evident that Jesus is not now living. In fact, the spiritual death of Christianity is the most important evidence of the death of its founder.