The subject I have chosen for my Address tonight is the present plight of Church History, its causes, and a possible cure. It is an old story. Thirty years ago, the late Professor H. M. Gwatkin wrote:
Church History has not always had a bad name in England. It was as respectable as any other till it was covered with reproach by the partizanship and credulity of the Tractarians. Whatever service they did by calling attention to the subject was far outweighed by the scandal of their uncritical methods and unhistorical dogmas. The reproach is not yet done away, for the literature with which the successors of that school have flooded the country is little better than a dream. Its writers often have their merit; but their fundamental dogmas compel them to set aside the plainest facts of history and human nature. So the outsiders who take their ideas of the subject from its professed experts are still too much inclined to set it aside with sarcastic politeness, or by way of reaction to rush into excesses of scepticism.