About Church Union
J. W. Cammack, in Religious Herald.
"Church Union" will not down. If it is of the Lord we need not, nor do we, want it to down. If it is of men, it will come to naught. It is in many of the papers we read, and in many of the speeches we hear.
The following is an example of practical and wise church union:
"Two large Methodist churches, 'North' and 'South,' in Chattanooga, Tenn., whose locations were close together, were planning to build two new and expensive churches; but the meeting in Baltimore for the union of all 'Methodising' has wisely called a halt to these proceedings. The two churches, it now seems, will unite and build a noble structure and put out a mission station."
The Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Methodist Protestant Church recently held a Federal Council of Methodism in Baltimore. A committee of nine, three from each body, was appointed to consider the causes which produce
friction and waste, and plan to provide for such unification of the Methodist churches as shall insure unity of purpose, administration and evangelistic effort.
Some of our Methodist and Presbyterian brethren have, in public speech and in print, plainly hinted, and sometimes boldly stated, that Baptists, at home and abroad, are a stumbling block to the onward march of church union. Aside from whether or not stumbling blocks are ever of practical service in the long run, the charge appears to us to be a case of "mote" and "beam." Today, forty-five years after the Civil War has ended, there are several country districts in Virginia, and also in towns of not more than a thousand people, a Methodist Episcopal Church and a Methodist Episcopal Church, South, competing with each other. Think what a first-class "beam" that represents. Again, we happen to call to mind two small towns in Virginia where there are more churches than can be kept open and more pews than all the people in the town and community can fill at one time. Yet in both of those towns the Presbyterian brethren, with only a very small number of people, are soliciting money from people of all denominations and building new churches.
Baptists, have been cooperating with God's people everywhere in fighting sin and Satan. We have wasted precious little ammunition,
recently, in fighting other denominations. We expect to waste still less in the future. But when we are asked to abandon our old uniform and implements of war, which have stood the test of years and that are winning victories unsurpassed by any others, and adopt in their stead later models which are not fashioned after the pattern our King gave us, then we hold fast that which we have. Our principles and plans of battle are attracting the attention of all denominations.
The Rev. Hugh Price Hughes, one of the best-known English Methodists, in speaking on the Education Bill, said: "I assert with full sense of responsibility, that I believe the great battle of the twentieth century will be the final struggle between the Jesuit society, in full possession of the authority of Rome, and the individual conscience; and when, like Oliver Cromwell, I look to see where I shall find Ironsides who will vindicate the rights of human conscience, my eyes fall upon the Baptists. The anvil upon which the Jesuit hammer will break to pieces is the Baptist conscience."
We must seek to avoid narrowness in the application of our principles, but it would be folly to give up the principles themselves when the battle has been fought, and we have only to maintain a right spirit in enjoying the fruits of victory.
Richmond, Va. ===============
[From The Baptist Message, SSB/SBC, 1911, p. 18-20. This book was provided by Steve Lecrone, Burton, OH.] — jrd]
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