What have been the eras of the Church’s greatest influence? What have been the moments of it most powerful impact on the world? Not the epochs of its visible might and splendor; not the age succeeding Constantine, when Christianity became imperialistic, and all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them seemed ready to bow beneath the sceptre of Christ, not the days of the great medieval pontiffs, when Christ’s vicar in Rome wielded a sovereignty more absolute than any secular monarch of the earth; not the later nineteenth century, when the Church became infected with the prevailing humanistic optimism, which was quite sure that man was the architect of his own destinies, that a wonderful utopian kingdom of God was awaiting him just round the corner, and that the very momentum of his progress was bound to carry him thither. Not in such times as these has the Church exercised its strongest leverage upon the soul and conscience of the world: but in days when it was crucified with Christ, and has counted all things but loss for His sake when, smitten with a great contrition and repentance, it has cried out to God from the depths. – James S. Stewart
James S. Stewart (1896-1990) was a gifted Scottish preacher who taught New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at the University of Edinburgh (New College).