Whatever happened to the ‘Church Militant’? Has the church lost its prophetic voice, or did that disappear long ago? Social justice, in all its forms, seems to have fallen by the wayside, save the sporadic public utterances from the ‘mainstream’ churches. As William Sloane Coffin once wrote:
To show compassion for an individual without showing concern for the structures of a society that make him an object of compassion is to be sentimental rather than loving.
It seems to me that Sloane Coffin’s prophetic voice on this subject grows louder as those of us living in the prosperous ‘developed’ world struggle to cope with recession and the resultant house repossession and job losses. Where is the ‘Church Militant’ in all of this? Rather muted I’d suggest!
I came across an excellent clip from an interview William F Buckley conducted with Sloane Coffin on 27th June 1966. In the interview Sloane Coffin argues that the Christian Church in all its denominations is struggling, is increasingly ignored and regarded as irrelevant. He goes on to say this (not shown in the clip):
The primary problem of the church in our time is not that people don’t believe in God, it’s that the prosperous church in our time has failed to make common cause with the sufferers of this world.
Some things never change it would seem! Anyway, here’s the clip: