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It is, of course, clear that many of these sects are fundamentally non-Christian. Some of them may represent preChristian beliefs and others again have been influenced by Judaism or Mohammedanism, which numbers many millions of followers in Russia, especially among the Tartar tribes. Some of the Old Believers, particularly the more conservative portions and those which still believe in the priesthood, whether they acknowledge the irregular hierarchy which they have obtained or not, may perhaps be won back to the Church. These bodies are in many cases well organized and are well equipped for certain kinds of charitable work. Thus they have large orphan asylums and similar institutions. The others, however, cannot be treated in any other way than that in which we would deal with the more extreme and emotional types of religious thought in the United States. They form, however, a big problem for the Orthodox Church, especially since their members and friends number several millions. Yet, so far, there is little real unity among them and they rise and fall with few to mark or heed.

The Orthodox Church has attempted to stamp out these sects and to convert them. This has proven a difficult task, because of the great size of Russia and the secrecy with which many of the services are carried on. Their influence is shown by the fact that Rasputin who played such a part in the events leading up to the downfall of the royal family, was almost certainly an adherent of one of the wilder sects, the Flagellants. It is hard to say what effect the Revolution will have upon them but it is possible that they may multiply even more rapidly than in the past. As religious bodies and particularly as Christian bodies, we may perhaps consider them quite unimportant but their main interest for us lies in the fact that in the Orthodox East there have developed religious bodies apart from the Church and claiming to be on a higher spiritual level than it but with many of their less novel ideas those to which we have long been accustomed. These Russian sects furnish good evidence, if evidence were needed, that whatever be the form and ritual, the number of heresies possible is after all quite limited and that the same types recur in all portions of the Christian world and indeed at all times and ages.

The American Church Monthly

PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY

TEMPLE PUBLISHING CORPORATION
II WEST 45TH STREET, NEW YORK, N. Y.

President: GEORGE A. ARMOUR, Princeton, N. J.

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Mr. Cleveland Moffett and the Church

MR. CLEVELAND MOFFETT believes that physical cul

ture is the royal road to efficiency. As efficiency is necessary to make America victorious, he thinks that the churches can render their highest patriotic service to the nation by affording their people greater opportunities for physical culture. He advocates that the churchyards be converted into playgrounds; that the churches be used for popular lectures, concerts, motion pictures, and evening classes; and that the assembly rooms connected with the churches be devoted to physical culture classes and dancing. By means of these dance halls he anticipates that every church will soon become a matrimonial agency, and thus render further patriotic service by helping to eradicate our great national vice of birth-control.

Mr. Moffett says it is "wickedly inefficient" for so many of our churches to be closed and silent more than half the time. Therefore he feels justified in making the following threat:

"Let it be remembered that the church buildings of America, over 200,000 of them, belong absolutely to the people of this country. They were built by the people's contributions. They are free from taxation (with a total estimated value of three billion dollars) by the people's favor. Therefore any activities calculated to benefit the

people and give them reasonable pleasure are legitimate within their walls; particularly any activities, like physical culture work, that are calculated to make us more efficient as defenders of the nation.'

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We had supposed that the churches had been consecrated to God, and therefore belonged to Him; but that is doubtless too mediaeval a view.

Our sympathy was aroused for Mr. Moffett some time ago when he was arrested for interrupting a seditious soap-box orator on Broadway. We still cannot help sympathizing with him, because he so evidently means well, and his ideas of the churches are so obviously biased by an exclusively Protestant outlook. Naturally he would feel that a church, which is open only on Sunday, and even then is not regarded as any more hallowed or sacred than a concert hall or lecture room, should be utilized for other purposes on the other six days of the week. Apparently he knows nothing about a church that is always open, and that enshrines the hidden Presence of the Saviour of the world, so that at any time the weary and the heavy-laden may enter and find rest for their souls. Doubtless it would be difficult for him to understand how one prayer, said by an ignorant scrub-woman in a dimly lighted church, may be of more avail for the young manhood of America than all the gymnasiums and all the dancehalls in the land.

We regret that we cannot share Mr. Moffett's unbounded faith in physical culture. We had supposed that the gospel of salvation through dancing had been tried and found wanting. Mr. Moffett's criticism of the Church seems like a voice out of the distant past, in the days before the war.

Loyalty to Our Spiritual Tasks

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T is very easy in the midst of so tremendous a world cataclysm as the present to lose sight of spiritual realities, and to measure our needs and aims entirely in the terms of the material world. The whole nation is being urged continually to throw its whole effort into the work of winning the war. This is commonly taken to mean that we must concentrate our atten

tion upon training men for the army and navy; keeping them supplied with food and clothing, arms and munitions; building and manning the ships that are needed; and helping to feed and clothe our allies.

Those who are not directly engaged in some of these war activities, such as the clergy and other church workers, are likely to feel that their work is of little consequence in the present distress, and that therefore they ought to reduce their own activities to a minimum. They feel almost like apologizing for using their energies in doing work for the Church. Some of them are beginning to question whether it would not be more patriotic to reduce the missionary work of the Church to the lowest terms, cut down the working staffs in all our parishes, eliminate all of the Church's charities, and urge people to give their money instead to the Red Cross and the Y. M. C. A.

Would it not be well for us to remember that we are in this war largely because we believe in the spiritual values of life? We are not willing that they should be replaced by the materialistic ideals of Prussian militarism; by the worship of an all-powerful, unmoral state; and by the kind of right that is made only by might. How the devil would rejoice if in preparing ourselves to do battle for the higher ideals of the spirit, we should throw away our own spiritual ideals, and should become a nation wholly given over to things material! There is real danger of our falling into this snare unless we guard more jealously the position and power of the Church, and unless we insist that the Church shall increase rather than diminish her activities.

Napoleon is said to have maintained that in a great national emergency things spiritual count in comparison with things material as four to one, and that the moral force behind and within a man is of much greater value in the end than physical or brute force. If he was right, then the clergy and all who love the Church may rest assured that there is still much for them to do at their posts of duty at home. If the call plainly comes from God for them to go to France, then let them by all means go as soon as possible. If not, the present crisis is simply a call from God to redouble our efforts among the peo

ple at home. We must inspire and encourage the young men who go forth into the conflict, we must sympathize with those who are left behind and stimulate them to make their sacrifices willingly and cheerfully, we must comfort the sorrowful and bereaved, we must stimulate patriotism and fill our people with zeal for bearing the burdens of the war until victory is won, we must minister to the spiritual needs of all and keep them in constant touch with God, and above all we must be men of prayer and like Moses on the mount hold up our hands until the enemy has been vanquished. There is plenty for us to do. Let us be loyal to the tasks that God has laid upon us.

A Common Difficulty in Preaching

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N criticizing the clergy for their sermons, the laity would do well to bear in mind that the average congregation is made up of two distinctly different classes of people, who are as far asunder spiritually as the poles. These two classes may be designated as the natural man and the spiritual man.

The spiritual man has been regenerated in baptism by being brought into vital union with Jesus Christ. He may have fallen away through sin, but if he has truly repented he has been restored again by the grace of God; and in the main he is now trying to walk in the ways of true discipleship, and as the years go on he is being progressively enlightened by the Spirit of God. Through the Holy Spirit he is favored with that secret wisdom which enables him to understand and appreciate the blessings which are mediated through Christ, in fact all "the deep things of God."

The natural man is the man who has never been brought into the covenanted sphere of the Spirit's operations, or the man who has been regenerated but has not lived up to the obligations of his new inheritance. Many nominal Christians belong to this class. They have been baptized, confirmed, and they occasionally receive the Holy Communion. These sacraments, however, mean nothing to them but outward forms. Probably the majority of the average fashionable Sunday morning congregations are people of this type. S. Paul says of

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