touchstone archives


Piquant excerpts lifted from Touchstone editors' own reading & listening.

Things had come to such a pitch in the churches, by the intensity of the revival system, that the permanent was sacrificed to the casual, the ordinary swallowed up and lost in the extraordinary, and Christian piety itself reduced to a kind of campaigning of stage-effect exercise. The spirit of the pastor was broken and his powers crippled by a lack of expectation: for it was becoming a fixed impression that effect is to be looked for only under instrumentalities that are extraordinary. . . . It was even difficult for the pastor, saying nothing of conversions, to keep alive in Christians themselves any hope or expectations of holy living as an abiding state, in the intervals of public movement and excitement left to his care; because everything was brought to the test of the revival state as a standard, and it could not be conceived how any one might be in the Spirit and maintain a constancy of growth in the calmer and more private methods of duty, patience, and fidelity, on the level of ordinary life.

Horace Bushnell
(recollections of early ministry, ca. 1870)

Christianity Commonplaces #117 Jan/Feb 2022

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