The Two Sides

   Written by on July 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

When one says the history of the church is one long spasm of violence, ignorance and deceit, he speaks the truth. But if one fails to say more, he is not speaking the truth.

logo-Stephen CrottsAn atheist professor was pointing out to me his view of the church as inhumane. “The church is responsible for more prejudice, more wars, more suffering than anything in the world.”  And he chronicled to me crusades, inquisitions, and witch hunts.

I told him he was being unfair to be so reductionist with his historical grasp. “You wouldn’t like it if I said, ‘Atheism is evil. Just look at all the bad behavior of Joseph Stalin.’ ”

Indeed, the church has a lot to answer for in her failures. But do not overlook her successes.

No revolution ever taken place in society can be compared to the one produced by Jesus Christ and His church over 20 centuries now. Jesus has produced men and women like Augustine, Paul, Mother Teresa, and Albert Schweitzer.

It has given us gothic architecture, the music of Bach, Handel, and Haydn. It’s inspired the paintings of Rembrandt and Vincent Van Gogh, the poetry of Ann Bradstreet and T.S. Eliot, the novels of Daniel Defoe and WIlliam Hoffman, and the science of Isaac Newton and Werner Von Braun. The church has given us the hospital, the orphanage, and the university. Schools like Harvard, Duke, Yale, and Princeton were founded by Christians.

It was the church that gave us movements to abolish slavery and to establish civil rights; the politics of Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

I could go on and on. But the point is: When you say church history is a long spasm of inhumanity, you do speak truth. But unless you say more, you do not speak truth.

About Stephen Crotts

The Reverend Stephen Crotts is pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, VA. He is also the director of the Carolina Study Center, Inc., a campus ministry, located in Chapel Hill, NC. Pastor Crotts may be reached at


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