A new booklet, telling the story of the Christian Evidence Society, which was founded over 150 years ago, is launched today on this website. Making the Case for Faith explores the whole history of the Society to date, starting in March 1870, when the growth of scientific knowledge was leading to widespread scepticism about religious faith.
The booklet, featuring a large number of photographs from the Society’s archive, shows how Christians gave reasoned arguments for their faith, using the popular media of their day.
In the 1870s, the Society’s pioneers were delivering lectures in music halls, and selling threepenny booklets about creation and evolution. In the 1920s and 30s, its speakers were addressing the lunchtime crowds at Tower Hill, London, and in other cities across the UK. In the 1940s, during the London Blitz, the regular Christian Evidence pitch at Speaker’s Corner was destroyed by a V2 bomb shortly before a meeting was due to start, but the speaker kept calm and carried on, next to the still-smoking bomb crater. By the 1990s, the Society was funding radio programmes, and in the new millennium was blogging and posting on social media, and then running Zoom webinars through the Covid pandemic.
Although the Society adapted to the media of its times, the case for faith it made focused on questions which have remained constant across 150 years: Is science the enemy of faith? Is there good evidence for the existence of God? Is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead credible?
Edward Carter, Chair of the Society, says, ‘The Society is almost unique in having lasted the course when it comes to putting forward a confident but thoughtful argument for the Christian faith in the public square. Like any history, this story is not just backward looking. It helps us think about today’s world, too, and how we can shape a contemporary Christian response.’
Making the Case for Faith, by Simon Jenkins, is available to download or read online here.