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Modern Skepticism: A Journey Through the Land of Doubt and Back Again A Life Story   By: (1806-1875)

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MODERN SKEPTICISM: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE LAND OF DOUBT AND BACK AGAIN.

A Life Story

by

JOSEPH BARKER.

Philadelphia: Smith, English & Co. 1874. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by Rev. Joseph Barker, In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. Jas. B. Rodgers Co., Printers and Stereotypers, Philadelphia.

CONTENTS.

PREFACE, 7

CHAPTER I.

Introduction. My early life. Enter the Church. The Ministry. Happy days. Sad change. How happened it? 17

CHAPTER II.

Causes of unbelief. Vice. Other causes. Constitutional tendencies to doubt. Disappointed expectations about Christianity. Mysteries of Providence. Misrepresentations of Christ and Christianity in human creeds. Church divisions. Ignorant advocates of Christianity. Wrong principles of reasoning. False science, 19

CHAPTER III.

Another cause of unbelief. Bad feeling between ministers or among church members. Alienates them from each other. Then separates them from the Church. Then from Christ. How it works. My case, 26

CHAPTER IV.

Origin of the unhappy feeling between me and some of my brother ministers. Tendencies of my mind. Rationalizing tendency. Its effects. Reading. Investigations. Discoveries, 30

CHAPTER V.

Modification of my early creed. Unscriptural doctrines relinquished. Scriptural ones adopted. Some doctrines modified. Theological fictions dropped. Eager for the pure, simple truth as taught by Jesus. Doctrine of types given up. Other notions relinquished. Alarm of some of my brethren at these changes, 44

CHAPTER VI.

How preachers and theologians indulge their fancies on religion. John Wesley. His resolution to be a man of one book. What came of his resolution. His sermon on God's approbation of His works, unscriptural and unphilosophical throughout. Illustrations and proofs. And Wesley was one of the best and wisest, one of the most honest and single minded of our theologians. What then may we expect of others? Evils of theological trifling. Mischievous effects of mixing human fictions with Divine revelations, 55

CHAPTER VII.

Further theological investigations. Unwarranted statements by preachers. John Foster's Essay on Some of the Causes by which Evangelical Religion is Rendered Distasteful to Persons of Cultivated Minds. Introduction of similar views to the notice of my ministerial brethren. The reception they met with. No Church has got all the truth. Most Churches, perhaps all, have got portions of it, which others have not. My attempts to gather up the fragments from all. Freedom from bigotry. Love to all Christians. Judging trees by their fruit. Reading the books of various denominations, like foreign travel, liberalizes the mind. I found truth and goodness in all denominations. Appropriated all as part of my patrimony. Results. Suspicions and fears among my brethren. Mutterings: Backbitings: Controversy. Bad feeling, 65

CHAPTER VIII.

My style of preaching. Decidedly practical. Using Christianity as a means for making bad people into good ones, and good ones always better. Reasons for this method. A family trait. Hereditary. Great need of practical preaching. Folly of other kinds of Preaching. Littleness of great Preachers. Worthlessness of great sermons. The Truly Great are the Greatly Good and Greatly Useful. My Models. The Bible. Jesus. My Favorite Preachers. Billy Dawson, David Stoner, James Parsons. My Favorite Books. The Bible Nature. Simple Common Sense, instructive, earnest, moving books. How my preaching was received by the people. Its effects on churches and congregations. Uneasiness of my colleagues. Fresh mutterings; tale bearings; controversies; and more bad feeling, 82

CHAPTER IX.

Extracts from my Diary. A strange preacher. Horrible sermons. Lights of the world that give no light. Theological mist and smoke. Narrow mindedness. Intolerance. T. Allin, Great preaching great folly. A. Scott, A good preacher... Continue reading book >>




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