Upon undogmatic, undenominational religion no Church can live. With mere spirituality the Church has not much directly to do; it is but a subjective thing; and its favour with many may be but another phase of the uncomprehending popular reverence (not to say superstition) for the recluse religionist, the mysterious ecstatic, and the ascetic pietist. What Christian faith and the Christian Church have to do with is holy spirituality – the spirituality of the Holy Spirit of our Redemption. The Christian revelation is not “God is a spirit,” nor is it “God is love.” Each of these great words is now much used to discredit the more positive faith from whose midst John wrote them down. Herein is love, not in affection but in propitiation (1 John 4:10). Would Paul ever have written 1 Cor. 13 if it had been revealed to him that it was going to be turned against Rom 3:25? And what would his language have been to those who abused that chapter so? Christian faith is neither spirituality nor charity. Its revelation is the holiness in judgment of the spiritual and loving God. Love if only divine as it is holy; and spirituality is Christian only as it meets the conditions of Holy Love in the way the Cross did, as the crisis of holy judgment and holy grace. If the Cross is not simply a manner of religion but the object of our religion and the site of revelation, then it stands there above all to effect God’s holiness, and not to concentrate man’s self-sacrifice. And except in the Cross we have no guarantee for the supreme thing, the divine thing, in God, which is the changeless reality and irresistible sovereignty of His Holy Love.
It is upon such faith alone, given by the Cross alone, that a Church can live – upon the faith that founded it – upon a positive New Testament Gospel. Of that Gospel the Church is the trustee. And the Church betrays its trust and throws its life and its Lord away when it says, “Be beautifully spiritual and believe as you like,” or “Do blessed good and think as you please.”