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SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1936. Volume 7. Number 10.

"For Sinners Only" — The Oxford Group Movement

"For Sinners Only"

The Oxford Group Movement

To those of us who have ever doubted the inviolability of Christian beliefs; to those who have ever sought a personal religion that they could understand—a religion not cluttered up by meaningless dogmas, precepts and ceremonis; to those who have ever given serious thought to the reason of their own existence, the Oxford Group Movement comes as a relief and a challenge. To quote from Russell's book, "For Sinners Only," which has stimulated me to think along new lines—"It is not an organisation for there is no membership not a sect for it is interdenominational; not a new movement for it is but a continuation of early Christian fellowship; not a church but aiming at at inner spiritual fellowship in all chrches."

They are not an organisation and none can tell their number, for in their own words: "You can't join, you can't resign—you are either in or out by the quality of the life you live."

It is just the same old Christianity but so intelligently phrased and sensibly though uncompromisingly presented that it becomes a fresh challege to a Pagan world. This challenge is a vital stimulation to thought. Those who have learned to appreciate their own company and get away by themselves to think will best appreciate it. Just as the early disciples challenged the world, the Group challenges us to turn back to God, to cut out sin, to make restitution for past sins and to let God command every area of our lives. The Group, moreover, expects, and this is a disturbingly significant point, it expects strenuous opposition from those who are fafraid or unwilling to respond to the challenge. "It must sting consciences and a stung conscience either surrenders or stings back." We want to know how we ourselves will react when we have learnt more about this movement and felt its strength. It must disturb all the stuffy smug "Christians" who prefer social service to the saving of souls because it is less intimate, more snobbish and more socially correct. Those who elect to criticise us from the shelter of their "good church-worker" reputations that hide their real shallowness and lack of fight—they can never have questioned their beliefs, never groped to find a truth that would satisfy, never pondered the whole question of religion, as we who are now welcoming this new idea as an answer to some of our definite disbeliefs, have done.

The Group has a number of definite aims—absolute surrender bringing Guidance, unquestioning sharing bringing Fellowship; Faith and Prayer which are usually manifested in the Quiet Hour which is claimed to be the most glorifying innovation of the movement. But there are two principles that we can appreciate because we understand them. They are Teamwork and Loyalty. As we wll know who have experienced it, teamwork abolishes our petty eccentricities and jealousies. We can appreciate the fact that the Group puts life-interest before head-interest, reality before theory. We know that many professing Christians are disloyal to those trying to live in loyalty to Christ and we rejoice that the Oxford Group Movement recognises this and builds up from the loyalities of its own members that exquisite "Fellowship of the Spirit," that we, the uninitiated, find so intangible and incomprehensible, but which apparently brings happiness and abiding peace in human association.