This early 20th Century novel by the American Churchill, tells the story of an up-and-coming minister who almost loses his faith, only to be rescued by a new understanding of the gospel and the church. Sound good? It’s not, because the new gospel embraced was that of liberalism bordering on socialism.
Churchill wrote The Inside of the Cup to demonstrate the impotency and failure of the conservative church and the form of Christianity she espouses. In the novel all conservatives are painted as power-hungry, money-obsessed, hypocrites, while liberals are painted as those who live in the spirit of Jesus. The only value to Churchill’s novel is that the reader might receive a better understanding of the mind and actions of liberal “Christians.”
Along the way Churchill’s key characters deny virtually every important doctrine of Scripture: Heaven, Hell, eternal life, the virgin birth, inspiration of Scripture, the Gospel, creation, atonement, the fall. A sample quote, “And even Paul, though not consciously inconsistent, could not rid himself completely of that ancient, automatic conception of religion which the Master condemned, but had on occasions attempted fruitlessly to unite the new with the old. And thus, for a long time, Christianity had been wrongly conceived as ‘history,’ beginning with what to Paul and the Jews was an historical event, the allegory of the Garden of Eden, the fall of Adam, and ending with the Jewish conception of the Atonement. This was a rationalistic and not a spiritual religion” (p. 359).
It is interesting that Churchill has his liberal minister say what many so-called evangelicals are saying today, “Christianity was not a collection of doctrines, but a mode of life” (p. 418). And, “I can see . . .. the beginnings of a blending of all sects, of all religions in the increasing vision of the truth revealed in Jesus Christ, stripped, as you say, of dogma, of fruitless attempts at rational explanation” (p. 470).