In any account that we might give of the Christian Church, we must honestly acknowledge its failures. There have been occasions – too many occasions – when it has accepted the world’s values and priorities, and accommodated itself to the prevailing culture, and rationalised its own unfaithfulness.
Among its most notable failings we must mention:-
- Its approval and even glamorisation of the medieval Crusades, when European knights rode forth to recover the holy places from Islam by force.
- Its use of torture as a means of combatting heresy and enforcing orthodoxy.
- The failure of the Protestant churches to engage in any meaningful mission until two centuries after the Reformation.
- The failure of the Christian church to abolish slavery in the so-called Christian West until 1800 years after Christ.
- The Church’s failure to recognise racial prejudice and enviromental pollution as the evils they are until after the Second World War.
- The failure of Christians who live in the affluent North to feel sufficiently the injustice of the continuing North-South economic inequality.
- The failure of at least evangelical Christians to condemn as indefensible all indiscriminate weaponry
Based on Stott, The Contemporary Christian, p191-193