There are Christians who repudiate Spiritualism, and there are Spiritualists who are not Christians. We understand them both, although deep in our hearts there is puzzlement as to what appears to us to be some degree of lack of discernment on the part of these seekers after Truth.
The disagreement of the orthodox churches with what we teach is not easy to understand when we consider the countless instances of spirit communion that occur in the Bible (in fact we would not have a Bible without spirit communion). In his Epistle St. Paul encourages us to use our spiritual gifts and, of course, there are the teachings and practice of these gifts by Our Saviour Himself. It is a fact that the very basis of Christianity rests upon definite manifestations of Spirit Power.
The attitude of Spiritualists who are not Christians is somewhat different; it would appear to arise from the desire to break clean away from the old teachings of religion, substituting for them something new and entirely different – it is, in fact, a case of the ‘swing of the pendulum’. At the extreme end of the swing are those who deny the existence of God Himself, claiming that man is a god. In small measure this is so, for within man is that spark of the Divine that will, in time, find its freedom from the hampering restrictions of grosser envelopes; but that time is so far distant that it might well be left out of our calculations.
Leaving, however, these extreme cases, we find there are those who accept the ‘Fatherhood’ of God, and look to Him with reverence and love, and yet they regard Christ merely as a medium of outstanding merit.
The Christian Spiritualist, however, regards Christ as the means by which we can know what God is like. Christ represents that accessible, understandable aspect of the Father that can be loved and whose example as Man, although representing an ideal, can be striven after. God is in everything and over everything, and this fact brings a sense of separation between us – who are as fragments of life – God, the Source of creation! The character and life of the Christ as shown during His earthly sojourn may show up our limitations, but His loving kindness bridges the enormous gap between us and Perfection. We are not like Him, but we long to be; and we have his assurance that, through this desire, eventually we shall indeed be as the ‘children’ of God, bearing likeness to our Heavenly Father.
Very largely this awareness of the Divinity of Christ comes from an inner knowledge, a spiritual perception that cannot be defined or described, in the same way as many other spiritual experiences which cannot be ‘weighed or measured’ – they just exist!
Apart from this, reason shows the truth of our belief in Christ. That great scientist, Sir Ambrose Flemming, whose reasoning powers enabled him to discover the properties of the thermionic valve, is responsible for the statement that the life, the teachings, the death and the resurrection of Christ are amongst the best attested facts of the history of His time. Those teachings, after the lapse of nearly two thousand years, are unassailable, and over the centuries they have been a guide to the feet of aspiring man.
No other code of life can be substituted for them, provided – and this is essential – we read them in the spirit, as He instructed His disciples to do. It is as the result of misunderstandings following on interpreting the teachings literally, and not spiritually, that the Church has gone astray from the truth, and has in a large measure lost the sympathy and support of thinking people. We have the greatest respect for all the work the orthodox Churches have done over the past, but their mistaken presentations of the Scriptures prevents them from making an appeal that might well be universal if they could but interpret them aright.
Christian Spiritualism takes us back to the worship practiced by the early Christians. We hail Christ as Saviour because His loving sacrifice – shown in His life rather than His physical death – saved the world from descending into depths from which it could not have emerged; we worship Him because He is comprehensible to us. We love Him because He is LOVE! We do not believe that He will bear the burden of our wrong-doing – that falls upon ourselves, for even God Himself cannot learn our lessons for us. Surely we are responsible enough to be ready to take up the task of putting right the wrongs we have committed! But in our lives we who are conscious of the Christ Presence, and who look to Him as the One Who loves us best, find the truth of the promise: “Lo, I am with you” and the knowledge of that Divine nearness brings all the comfort and strength we need.