11 May, 2021

‘Our Plea for Union Differs from All Others’

by | 15 August, 2019 | 0 comments

Here is the eighth in our monthly series of excerpts from Christian Standard, circa 1909, a year the magazine devoted an issue each month to articles of particular interest to our movement. This editorial from 1871 is a simple but eloquent primer (surely written by Isaac Errett) about what it means to be a New Testament Christian.

_ _ _

Union of Christians

An editorial originally published Sept. 23, 1871;
republished on p. 12, Aug. 14, 1909

Our plea for union differs from all others. It knows nothing of human policy or human invention. It simply proposes to go back to Christianity as taught in the New Testament, and accept it as it is, “in letter and in spirit, in principle and in practice.” It regards all Protestant movements as more or less successful attempts to escape from the great apostasy of Romanism, but all of them partial and incomplete. Sympathizing with every step of reformation, and appropriating all of wisdom and practical good furnished in the history of these various movements, we still insist that in escaping from Babylon they have all stopped short of Jerusalem, and that there is crying need for further reformation. We repudiate all attempts to incorporate the Christianity of the New Testament with the forms and polity of any existing sect, and insist that names, phrases, creeds, doctrines, ordinances, and politics not found in the New Testament, shall be abandoned, and that nothing shall be regarded as a bond of union or test of fellowship that is not found clearly and unmistakably in the New Testament in express precept or approved precedent. We propose union in Christ, on Christ’s own teachings. Coming to the New Testament, we find

1. Christ Jesus, the Saviour, the Son of God, is himself the center of life, of faith, of hope; and the faith the Gospel requires is trust in a divine person, and not assent to doctrinal speculation.

2. Faith in the Christ, the Son of God, the sole requirement in order to admission, through baptism, to the fellowship of saints; a faith which reposes on Christ for salvation, and turns the heart from sin to the service of God.

3. The immersion of all such believers, by the authority of the Lord Jesus, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, for the remission of sins.

4. A brotherhood of baptized believers, consisting a royal priesthood. No hierarchy, no priestly order, no lord of the conscience this side of the throne of God. In this brotherhood, such orderly arrangements for an efficient ministry in temporal and spiritual things, as would conduce to the edification of the body—namely, bishops and deacons, chosen from the people, and ordained to the work by fasting and prayer, and the laying on of hands.

5. Obedience to the law of Christ the only test of fellowship in this community. So that the terms of union may be very briefly summed up: 1. Faith in Christ. 2. Obedience to Christ.

6. Outside of this faith and obedience, perfect liberty restrained only by the law of love and dictates of expediency. Where Christ leaves us free to adopt such expedients as may be needful for carrying out the objects of piety or humanity, no conscience is bound, but all are free to adopt such measures as wisdom and experience may suggest, but without attempts to compel uniformity.

To place it in another form, we find

1. “One Lord”—Jesus, the Christ, to whom, and to home alone, we owe the trust of our souls, and the submission of conscience and life.

2. “One Faith”—faith in this divine Saviour—a reliance on his divine excellency and power, on his death for our sins and resurrection for our justification.

3. “One Baptism”—an immersion into Christ, and an immersion into a new life.

4. “One Body”—the church of God of which we become members by faith and baptism, in which all are members of Christ and of one another. No sects, no divisions, no party leaders.

5. “One Spirit”—of which all are made partakers who come into this body, and by which they are sealed as the children of God and heirs of heaven.

6. “One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in all”[—]and as children of whom we are required to walk in love and preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

It will be seen that we are contending for that which is generally acknowledged among Protestants, and that union on this basis calls for no new faith, or creed, but simply for the surrender of that which is human, that we may all be “one in Christ Jesus.”

_ _ _

In case you read over it too quickly, consider Errett’s terrific line from the middle of the first paragraph that shed light (and opinion) on the Protestant movement’s break from Roman Catholicism: “. . . We still insist that in escaping from Babylon they have all stopped short of Jerusalem.”

—Jim Nieman, managing editor, Christian Standard

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Stories

By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Mary’s Testimony

Look through Mary’s eyes at the bread and the cup. Listen to Mary’s voice as you thank God for paying the price for our sins. This was Mary’s testimony about God’s Son: “Do whatever he tells you.”

May 16 | Application

How will we face the challenges that confront us in the church, in our culture, and in our personal lives?

May 16 | Discovery

Compare David and Goliath. What was each one depending on to bring about victory?

Follow Us