"The God-Tide of Denominational Union."
Baptist World Editorial
This is the heading of a leader in the Baptist Times and Freeman, London, by Rev. S. Pearce Carey, M.A. It is written under the full impulse at the late Edinburgh Missionary Conference, where union in mission work was the keynote. The point of Mr. Carey's article is to show that the movement is a "God-Tide." We freely admit that. Dissension on so many frivolous points has been a disgrace to Christianity. Most of the dissension has come from distinct departure from the New Testament teaching. Much of it, on the other hand, was due to a protest against departure from the New Testament teaching. "By the uprise of denominations God has needed repeatedly to protest the supremacy of Scripture, the Lordship of Jesus, the empire of conscience, the sanctity of the single or local church. Discussion has had to save religion." These are true words.
We gladly rejoice in the rise of the tide of union among the denominations in so far it is a sincere desire to return to spiritual Christianity. Union just for the sake of union is
worth little and cannot last. Many denominations need to bury not only their differences from each other, but also some of the things which they hold in common.
It is just at this point that the peculiar mission of the Baptists comes in. On some of the great fundamentals we stand out against the practice of many of the leading denominations. We cannot sacrifice them without disloyalty to our conscience and to Christ. "We tremble lest even for noble ends we should surrender a truth-trust." These are brave words. They are good for British Baptists to read and for American Baptists also. "We may not purchase the good will of others by the least disloyalty to our Lord." Baptists have a peculiar mission just now. It is ours to stand firm and wait for the "God-Tide" to come in. We shall be called selfish, narrow, bigoted. But we are used to that. They called our fathers so for the very things that now are the glory of our common Christianity. The part of the Baptists in the matter of union is to hold the right attitude of Christian fellowship with perfect loyalty to the whole truth. It is not an easy task that God has set us in the present time.
It There are those among us who wish to pull away from all cooperation with other denominations, as in the Sunday school lessons.
There are others who wish to obliterate all denominational lines of cleavage. The right path in our judgment is between these extremes. Baptists have a mission to the other denominations. We must not close the door of approach and of influence. We must be where we can bear our testimony and we must bear our testimony.
Fraternity and freedom are two good Baptist watchwords. We look for the Christian world to keep on coming to the Baptist position for the simple reason that Baptists are staying by the New Testament position. Union is possible on no other basis than on the New Testament simplicity. That sounds arrogant and narrow to some, but it is axiomatic to Baptists. The world of Christian sentiment is inevitably moving towards unity. Ultimately it must be New Testament unity. When that day comes, which God speed, Baptists will be there ready to welcome their brethren home again, who have wandered so far away in quest of the rags of Roman traditionalism and rationalistic speculation.
[From The Baptist Message, SSB/SBC, 1911, p. 21-23. This book was provided by Steve Lecrone, Burton, OH. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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