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THE EPISCOPALIAN VIEW
The convention of the St. Andrew’s Brotherhood, which was held in this city last week, was its second annual session. The report of the council shows that the Brotherhood has grown in a year from 36 to 144 chapters, with an estimated membership of 2,361 young men. These figures demonstrate that the Church needs such a society, an order of laymen who will do Church work on Church lines. We wish to emphasize this remark—Church work on Church lines—because we believe it needs to be impressed upon the leaders of this movement. We were pained to note in the debates of the session a disposition to adopt the cant that young men must be brought to Christ, not the Church, that Christ, not the Church, must be preached, etc. In other words that there is a disposition to „run” the Brotherhood on Y.M.C.A. lines. This is a mistake, and if it is persisted in, will be a fatal mistake. Christ and His Church cannot be divorced. To bring men to Christ we must bring them into His Body. It is because the Y.M.C.A. ignore this principle that the Church has not adopted it, and the Church will not adopt it even if it calls itself by the name of St. Andrew.—From The Living Church, Oct. 22, ’87—Prot. Episcopal organ, Chicago.
The above is sent us by a brother who was once a staunch Episcopalian, but who is now rejoicing in a membership enrollment in the real Church—”The Church of the first born whose names are written in heaven.” Our Brother’s brief comment accompanying the above was: „A strong argument for our side.”
Yes, it is a strong argument for our side. The claim made by the Episcopal organ that: „Christ and his church cannot be divorced; To bring men to Christ we must bring them into HIS BODY,” is true only of the true Church as we recognize it; the Church of whom it is written „The Lord knoweth them that are His.” Truly it is impossible to divorce or separate the saints, the Bride, from their Lord, the Bridegroom. Truly to bring men to Christ is to bring them into this state of membership with Him as their head—into membership in the Church which is HIS BODY.
But this is not true of any of the nominal bodies of Christ which are mere earthly organizations composed for most part of tares; containing (as Bishop Foster, of the M.E. church, has declared) „all the ring-streaked and speckled [characters] of Christendom.” No earthly organization whose membership is admitted by fallible men who cannot read the hearts of those they admit, can decently and candidly claim to be the Church, the Body of Christ.
Yet this absurd claim made by Episcopalians in the past, when all „dissenters” such as Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, etc., were regarded as heretics who had neither part nor lot in the Church of Christ—is still the measure of the heart and intellect of the editor of The Living Church, and we fear also of many who regard his writings with favor.
And yet all the various churches or sects are involved in the same confusion, for none will dispute that there is but one body of the one Lord, and hence but one „Church, which is his body.” It is the height of absurdity then, to speak of the various human organizations as churches. There can be but one true church, one true body of Christ: all others must be spurious counterfeits.
The true Church which is his body must contain all „the sanctified in Christ Jesus,” from the Head, down to the last member of his body. The true living Church in any city, state or town Must contain all „the sanctified in Christ Jesus” who are alive. The true living church in any city, state or town must contain all „the sanctified in Christ Jesus” in such city, state or town; as for instance, the true Church in London includes all „the sanctified in Christ Jesus,” who are in London, and the true Church in Ohio, includes all „the sanctified in Christ Jesus” in Ohio.
Can it be claimed that any earthly organization contains all „The sanctified in
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Christ” in London or in Ohio, and none besides? We are confident that no sectarian, be he even as fossilized as the Editor of The Living Church, will have the effrontery to make such a claim for his sect. Why then call all these sects or counterfeits Churches, when there is but one genuine true Church, and none of these claim to be it? It is wrong as well as absurd.
Our brother well says of the above words: „a strong argument for OUR side.” They are indeed, they agree and fit only to the Church of the first born [ones] whose names are written in heaven. All these are our brethren; all these are joint-heirs, whether known to us or unknown. The Lord knoweth them that are His. And though he has long permitted these to grow up side by side, wheat and tares together, he now in the „harvest” commands the reapers with the sickles of truth, to separate, and he sends his message to all these sheep—Come out of her, my people! He that hath an ear to hear let him hear! All his sheep will hear [obey] the Master’s voice.
— November, 1887 —