Who wrote this booklet?The Reverend James R Rendell, of Accrington, was an established leader of the ‘Swedenborgian’ New Church. Although Emanuel Swedenborg had developed the strict adherence to Jesus Christ, a church following his approach wasn’t established until well after he died, in the 18th century. By the time the First World War broke out, Reverend Rendell was already editor of the New Church Magazine, and soon after gave public talks on the theme of this booklet. As the war and loss of lives dragged on for three more years, his speech became more social-political, accusing Germany of ‘materialism’ and the German churches of being slaves to ‘secular oppression.’ But his main criticism was of the war-weary British public seeking ‘pleasure’, as in going to the cinema.
He believed that ‘human selfishness’ led to war and that warfare itself was against the Christian faith. “Every drunkard, every loafer, whether rich or poor, every thief, every selfish man” brought war closer [p.22].
The conclusion of this essay states about the battlefield: “If hell is active, so is heaven."
- Article by:
- Matthew Shaw
- Life as a soldier
From organised religion to visions of angels on the battlefield, Curator Dr Matthew Shaw explores the profound impact of World War One on religion, belief and superstition for individuals and communities around the world.