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    April 10, 1907

    “Consequences of Church Federation” The Medical Missionary, 16, 15, pp. 116, 117.

    ATJ

    ALONZO T. JONES

    CHURCH Federation is making rapid progress. From the evidences presented in the previous studies of this movement, in these columns, it was made plain that in religious federation there lies one of the world’s greatest issues of present and the quickly coming time. It is not the purpose here either to repeat or to review the evidences already presented on this subject. It is important now to study the progress of the movement, and note what must be the direct consequences of its regular and constant workings.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.1

    Let us take for illustration the Baptists, who are just now actually involved in the discussion of this question as a practical issue upon which they are called to decide. As is well known, the Baptists have always held firmly the Christian principle of the integrity of the separate, individual, local churches; each individual church standing in its relation to the Lord just as independent of all the others as though there were no others, and it stood alone in the world. This is precisely the New Testament order, and in following it, as well as in baptism itself, the Baptists have ever been and are in the right.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.2

    Now the principle of Federation is another principle entirely. It is indeed the opposite principle to that of the New Testament order. To the Baptists, therefore, church federation is strictly revolutionary, and is entirely subversive of the principle and order for which they have ever stood. And yet, there are among the Baptists, leading men who are advocating federation and are arguing that the Baptists should first federate themselves into a centralized organization, and then, as such, become a part of the grand movement for the federation of all the churches into national, international, and world, federation.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.3

    This, of course, is causing much discussion amongst them. It is most rife just now among the Baptists ministers of New England, and especially those of Boston and vicinity in their Monday meetings in Tremont Temple. There is opposition to the movement, and how it will be decided remains to be seen. It may be that federation will prevail. And if it does, then what will come to those who opposed it?MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.4

    First of all, Should those who are opposed to federation fall in with it and favor it, just because the majority favor it and carry it? When they are opposed to it on the original principles of the Baptists, and upon the true Christian principle of church-order, then should they forsake this ground and espouse the opposite, because the majority do so? Everybody who knows what principle is, will instantly say, No. For neither Christian principle nor Christian practise is ever subject to the decision of majorities.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.5

    Second: Even though these do not adopt federation because the majority do, then should they cease to oppose it? Should they cease to speak against it? In other words, should they cease to speak and to preach the truth of Christian principle and order, and of Baptists principle and order, because the majority have abandoned it and espoused the opposite? Again everybody who knows what principle is, what truth is, and what Christian freedom is, will instantly say, No.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.6

    But only the speaking and the preaching of that truth, will be opposition to federation. For them to continue and to hold and to proclaim the principles that they have always held and proclaimed, this of itself will be nothing else than opposition to federation, because federation is the opposite of those principles just as they are, even without specific reference to federation will of itself undermine federation.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.7

    Therefore, for any to preach these principles just as they did before, and as the principles have always been held and preached by Baptists, this will not be pleasing to the federation. And as certainly as it is displeasing to the federation, so certainly will the federation make its displeasure felt, through slights, separation, ostracism, and denunciation. They will be denounced for “causing division,” for “opposing the good work and progress of the kingdom of God,” which the federation is so devotedly carrying forward, etc., etc.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.8

    And this illustration from present experience of the Baptists, is in substance what will be the experience of all the people of all the denominations in the land both in and out of the federation. For it is particularly to be noted that it is not the people, but only the official bodies, of the denominations that have formed the Federation of the Churches. Yet this officialdom of the denominations will expect that all the people of those denominations will promptly sanction and fall in with the federation and all that the federation shall do. But it is very probable that there will be some among those people who will dissent wholly from the whole scheme and even the very idea of federation. Also the federation itself may take steps and do things, from which some if not many of the people will decidedly dissent, and against which they will openly protest. But for these to do so will be held by the officialdom of the denominations and the federation, to be disrespect, presumption, treason, rebellion, etc. Then each individual will find himself face to face with the issue. Shall he think and act with the intelligence that God has given him, or shall he cease all that and surrender thought and conscience to an assumptious, hierarchial, officialdom in church and religion?MEDM April 10, 1907, page 116.9

    Such also is in substance what will be the experience of all the people who are not of the denominations that compose the Federation. For the direct aim of the Federation is so to control legislation and the civil power as to make religion a matter of law enforced upon all. And this forces upon every person the personal individual choice and decision as to whether he will be a man and act upon his own free choice before God or whether he will allow himself to be a hypocrite enslaved in thought and conscience to the dictates of a religious despotism.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 117.1

    Thus one direct consequence of federation is that every soul will be caused to make a personal individual choice and decision on religious principle.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 117.2

    “In the Field” The Medical Missionary, 16, 15, p. 118.

    ATJ

    FEBRUARY 22 till March 2 I preached in Rutland, Vt., on the world’s greatest issues of the present and future days. We had a good hall in the heart of the city; and while the attendance was not as large as it should have been, it was good, and the interest increased to the end. And when the time comes to go there again, the interest will still be as good, and the attendance will be better. The mighty issues that are fast crowding upon the world are now so plainly to be seen in the current affairs of the world, that people can not fail to see the issues and catch their meaning when attention is called to these things.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 118.1

    From Rutland I went to Northfield, Vt., where I spoke three nights: The first night, on the Eastern Question, in the Methodist Church; the second night, on National Temperance and Intemperance, in the Congregational Church; and the third night, on Christian Health and How to Have It, in the Unitarian Church. This arrangement of the meetings was made by the three ministers of the three churches named so as to give all the best opportunity to attend the meetings. The ministers themselves attended the meetings and were much pleased with the discussion of the subjects. Thus at Northfield, too, there are doors wide open whenever the time comes to go there again.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 118.2

    From Northfield I went to Boston and preached at noon each day, Tuesday to Friday, March 12-15, in the Bromfield St. Methodist Church, on the Easter Question and Temperance; Wednesday night, in the Bowdoin Square Baptist Tabernacle, on Temperance; and Sunday night, March 17, in the Flint St. M. E. Church, Somerville, on The Place of the Holy Spirit in the World and in the Church. There were other openings in Boston and I arrived there, but circumstances with which I had nothing to do postponed these for at least three weeks. I decided then to spend this time in other places, and to return to Boston, April 19, and preach on Church Federation till the 18th; because then that will be an especially live subject in Boston.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 118.3

    These questions are the individual, the local, the state, the national, and the world, issues now and forward, and must be discussed before the people everywhere.MEDM April 10, 1907, page 118.4

    ALONZO T. JONES.

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