Dickens’ Religious Education
Charles Dickens was baptized at St Mary Anglican Church in Kingston. His family were not devout Anglicans. However, in Dickens’s boyhood, his family made an acquaintance with the minister of Zion Baptist Chapel in Chatham, Rev. William Giles. Charles Dickens used to listen to sermons by Rev. Giles and it was most likely from these encounters that Charles Dickens first gained his disdain for religious dogma.
Yet, Rev. Giles had a son of twenty three who ran a Baptist school for young boys who won Dickens’s heart. Dickens attended that school. The younger Giles was Oxford educated and took an interests in Charles Dickens. The relationship was so close that Charles Dickens belonged to a small group of boys who wore beaver hats and called themselves “Giles’s Cats”.
For the rest of his life Dickens wrote to Mr. Giles and considered him his spiritual father. As an adult Charles Dickens studied with Reverend Thomas Madge and Reverend Edward Target of the Unitarian Church (please recognize that the Victorian Unitarian Church was much more orthodox than the Unitarian church today). Dickens liked their theology that focused on Christian action rather than Christian dogma.
Although Charles Dickens like to practice "sermon sampling" by visiting different churches of all denominations, according to his best friend John Foster "at his heart his theology sprung from Church of England."
As all men, he had moral failing, but his convictions that people should be treated as creatures created in God’s image and not as mere chattel, preached in all his stories.
Charles Dickens education.
Read About Charles Dickens Biblical Inspiration for Writing A Christmas Carol.
Hearing the Gospel Through Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol
By Rev. Cheryl Kincaid
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