And now the War has broken upon the world, and caught the churches, like everything else, in its mighty current; the clergy and the congregations are confronted by pressing national needs, they are forced to take notice of a thousand new problems, to engage in a thousand practical activities. No one can see the end of this - any more than he can see the end of the vast upheaval in politics and industry. But we who are trained in revolutionary thought can see the main outlines of the future. We see that in these new church activities the clergy are inspired by things read, not in ancient Hebrew texts, but in the daily newspapers. They are responding to the actual, instant needs of their boys in the trenches and the camps; and this is bound to have an effect upon their psychology. Just as we can say that an English girl who leaves the narrow circle of her old life, and goes into a munition factory and joins a union and takes part in its debates, will never after be a docile home-slave; so we can say that the clergyman who helps in Y. M. C. A. work in France, or in Red Cross organization in America, will be less the bigot and formalist forever after. He will have learned, in spite of himself, to adjust means to ends; he will have learned co-operation and social solidarity by the method which modern educators most favor - by doing. Also he will have absorbed a mass of ideas in news despatches from over the world. He is forced to read these despatches carefully, because the fate of his own boys is involved; and we Socialists will see to it that the despatches are well filled with propaganda!
The Desire of Nations
So the churches, like all the rest of the world, are caught in the great revolutionary current, and swept on towards a goal which they do not forsee, and from which they would shrink in dismay: the Church of the future, the Church redeemed by the spirit of Brotherhood, the Church which we Socialists will join.
Within two short paragraphs, there's three really important observations.
First, this viewpoint of Sinclair's that churches don't do anything practical. What he means, of course, is those of us who believe in the Lord and engage in worship on a regular basis. That's a waste of time. Alternatively, he also means (somewhat) charitable work, since as a rule progressives look at charity as insufficient. Real charity obviously comes from and is enforced by a heavy handed redistributive government regime.
Second, this notion that the Social Gospellers spend more time reading newspapers than they do(did) 'ancient Hebrew texts'. I have little doubt that he is including 'translated ancient Hebrew texts' within that. This explains a lot about how corrupt the Social Gospel was, since it was more about being socialist Christianity than it was about being Christian. Which makes sense that if the Social Gospellers had abandoned their bibles and instead were reading only newspapers, they would not be very well versed in the Word as they should be. Particularly since those news dispatches were, by Sinclair's own admission, filled with socialist propaganda.
And finally, Sinclair points out how the Church of the future will be redeemed by the spirit of Brotherhood. This ties together the first, second, and third. The "spirit of brotherhood" means collectivism. Once the churches have embraced collectivism, then socialists can join.
But how are the first second and third tied together? This is a process that Sinclair is explaining. This is the process of how one or more churches can become infected and corrupted by socialism or "social justice". Create a crisis in an attempt to get people's eye off of the ball, get them reading more newspapers filled with propaganda, and the abandonment of the Truth is all but certain.