As promised in last week’s “Throwback Thursday” feature, today we share an article by Christian educator and author D.R. Dungan (1837–1920) listing 15 strengths of our movement. The article appeared in the issue celebrating the 37th anniversary of Christian Standard.
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By D. R. Dungan
June 27, 1903; p. 8
Having been in the ministry forty-five years, and having read the [Millennial] Harbinger in its palmy days and the Standard from its first to its last issue, as well as nearly all our papers and periodicals, I am supposed to have some right to speak on the subject announced.
1. The simplicity of faith is a strength; nothing complicated or uncertain about the one article of belief, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God; it is both susceptible of the clearest proof, and its meaning can scarcely be misunderstood. This is a great power both with the learned and the unlearned.
2. The plea for Christian union meets with a ready response. The world is tired of sectarianism, and union is demanded.
3. The Scriptures, especially the New Testament, being our book of discipline satisfies all minds, and gives us a front seat among the loyal followers of the Son of God.
4. The name “Christian” is deservedly popular. To be a member of the body of Christ is enough, and the world so regards it.
5. The gospel plan of salvation for sinners has been an element of strength from the first. Fought by sectarian bias and opposed by denominational envy, it has won its way to the confidence and affection of the multitude. It is now the only genuinely popular plea that can be made to a popular audience.
6. Administering the ordinances in the same way and at the same time and for the same purpose as did the apostles and those who were taught by them, gives us strength in ourselves and character and standing before the world.
7. Our methods of work have been simple and well suited to the plea we had to present.
8. The evident correctness of the principles of interpretation employed among us has gained us much consideration among thoughtful people.
9. Persistence in using Scriptural words to convey Scriptural thought now stands to our credit, and is an element of strength.
10. The regular invitation to confess Christ following all sermons by our people, has reached many then willing to accept of Christ who would otherwise have lost their interest, and would not have taken the stand at all.
11. The appeal always made to reason and judgment, in the light of the word of God, has given to us, not so many persons at the time, but those who have had the ability and disposition to think, and these in turn have been an element of strength.
12. In clearly presenting the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion, as it is taught in the Bible, has led multitudes to know their privilege and duty of accepting Christ.
13. Contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, even in debates, has accomplished much good. After thirty-seven debates, I speak from knowledge.
14. The liberty we have in Christ to learn new truth, and engage in new duties, has given us a soundness in views and faithfulness in the discharge of duty that is of great value.
15. Our general readiness to co-operate with all true reformers in civic righteousness, is a great strength to us.