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THE PROBLEM
OF CHRISTIAN UNITY



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THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

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THE PROBLEM
OF CHRISTIAN UNITY



BY

VARIOUS WRITERS



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1921

All rights reserved



A COURSE OF SEVEN ADDRESSES

UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE

CHRISTIAN UNITY FOUNDATION



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PUBLICLIBRARY



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COPTKIGHT, 1921,

By the MACMILLAN COMPANY



Set up and electrotyped. Published, January, 1921



INTRODUCTION

The interest in Christian Unity has greatly in-
creased during the last ten years. This is due to
several causes, the chief one being the conscious-
ness of the Churches that a divided Christendom
does not witness to the unity that is in Christ and
that a divided Church cannot accomplish the tasks
that are everywhere challenging it. As a result
of this conviction efforts are everywhere being
made to remove those barriers that have for ages
separated the many communions of the one
Church and to find some basis for reunion on
which all may achieve that oneness for which our
Lord prayed.

It would be interesting to survey these efforts,
and this has been done to some extent in the fol-
lowing chapters. They have found expression in
two directions. There have been the various fed-
erations of churches in England, Switzerland,
France and America, where the several denomina-
tions — in our own land over thirty — have
united for the common achievement of common
tasks. These federations have done much to pre-
pare the way, for they have greatly increased the



vi INTRODUCTION

acquaintance of the denominations with one an-
other, increased mutual respect, and revealed that
the things held in common vastly outweigh the
things that divide.

But it is with the organic unity of the Church
that the world is more and more concerning it-
self. During the last ten years there have been
more conferences on unity than in the previous
fifty years. The various communions in America
have established commissions on unity or on faith
and order, and these commissions have been meet-
ing frequently for conference. Representatives
of the Anglican Church and the Free Churches
have held frequent meetings in Great Britain.
Out of these meetings in America and Great Brit-
ain has come the important World Conference on
Faith and Order which met in Geneva during Aug-
ust, 1920. The Christian Unity Foundation of
America has been holding frequent conferences
between representatives of the Protestant Epis-
copal Church and representatives of other com-
munions. Out of these various movements in
America have come interesting suggestions for
practical steps toward reunion, such as the famous
Concordat proposed by certain Episcopalians and
Congregationalists. The results of the discus-
sions in England are seen in the remarkable steps
forward taken in " An Appeal to all Christian
People," issued by the recent Lambeth Confer-



INTRODUCTION vii

ence. In America we have the '' American Coun-
cil on Organic Union," which is the outcome of
the various movements in our country.

It is with this problem of organic reunion that
this volume deals. Several of the most eminent
leaders of the Churches have been persuaded to
speak their minds frankly on the whole subject.
Here one finds historic survey of the movement,
the causes of disunion, the obstacles that lie in the
way of unity, outstanding instances of reunion,
especially as found in the mission fields, a survey
of endeavors now being made, and suggestions for
immediate steps. It is a remarkably suggestive
and stimulating series of papers and perhaps the
most comprehensive treatment of the whole sub-
ject of reunion that has yet appeared in America.

Frederick Lynch.

New York,

December 6, 1920.



CONTENTS

PAGE

Can a Divided Church Meet the Challenge

OF THE Present World Crisis? . ... i
Reverend S. Parkes Cadman, D.D., LL.D.

Steps Toward Organic Unity ii

Rt. Rev. Thomas J. Garland, D.D., D.C.L.

Causes Leading Up to Disunity 29

Reverend Arthur Cushman McGiffert,
D.D., LL.D.

Obstacles in the Way 48

Bishop William Eraser McDowell, D.D.

Unity in the Mission Field 62

Mr. Robert E. Speer, D.D.

The Mind of the Master 84

Reverend Henry Sloane Coffin, D.D.

The Next Step 105

Rt. Rev. Ethelbert Talbot, D.D.



THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN
UNITY

CAN A DIVIDED CHURCH MEET THE

CHALLENGE OF THE PRESENT

WORLD CRISIS?

By the Reverend S. Parkes Cadman,
D.D., LL.D.

We all agree that the Church must become in-
wardly and outwardly, what her glorified Head
intends her to be: that under no consideration
should any of her children seek to modify the
ideal which the New Testament presents concern-
ing the authority and the mission of the Church
as the guardian of the Gospel she is commissioned
to proclaim to all nations. We further agree that
the Church should be in every age a sufficient vehi-
cle for the communication of God's saving grace
to mankind, and that no views we hold concern-
ing the loftiness and the vital necessity of her
work, can exceed the realities therein involved.
It is upon the common basis of these mutual
agreements that I speak to the question, '* Can a
divided Church meet the challenge of the present



2 THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

world crisis?". Speaking personally, I conceive
of the Church in the words of St. Augustine, who
averred that " If God was his Father, the Church
was his Mother." According to the develop-
ments of doctrine in the Apostolic writings, she is
the present Body and the future Bride of the
Lord Jesus Christ, the dwelling place in her spirit-
ual unity of the Paraclete of God, the pillar and
ground of the truth which St. Paul defines as
saving truth, the one eternal institution in Time,
which will survive all other institutions of Time.
I see no reason why we should not cultivate the
consciousness of her dignity and power which has
its warrant in the teachings of Holy Scripture.
Our ascription of ultimate holiness and catholicity
to the Church, is the statement in language fa-
miliar to Christian men and women, of Professor
Huxley's prediction that the only rational goal for
the continuous progress of the race is an ultimate
perfectibility. Surely we know, if we know any-
thing at all, that Christian history and Christian
experience point to the triumph of the Church as
consisting in this perfectibility. There is, how-
ever, a lamentable indefiniteness in our interpre-
tation of the essential nature and meaning of the
Church which will have to be removed if the unity
of which the Bishop has so ably spoken is to ob-
tain. I need not remind you that both Prot-
estantism and Catholicism are on trial, and if



THE PRESENT WORLD CRISIS 3

they are to emerge purified and strengthened from
the tests imposed upon them, all faithful lovers of
the Master will have to discern in the Church the
entire congregation of souls re-born, gathered out
of every nation, fused into spiritual homogeneity,
animated by the indwelling life of the Spirit,
broadly and securely founded upon the Person,
the Work, the Priesthood and the Reign of Jesus
Christ. That is the real catholicity which sees in
the past, the present, and the future of the Eccle-
sia the outworking of one Divine Design, slowly
appearing from beneath the wear and waste of
human agencies. Such a catholicity esteems the
Church capable of universal service, sacrifice, loy-
alty, and holds that she will grow up into her
Living Head in all things, fulfilling every religious
obligation and responding to every just social
demand. The breach between these conceptions
and our actual conditions is indeed wide, but can
we not span it with our faith, hope and charity?
There will be a day when the various flocks will
be gathered into one fold, under one Shepherd.
Hence, we should be chary about establishing our
own altars and covenants, and be more intent upon
making the Church the alter ego of her Lord than
upon the sectional interests which have too often
monopolized our thought and energy. She is the
priestess of the world, offering for the world the
homage it frequently forgets to offer for itself,



4 THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

pledged to its service, and to sacrifice in its behalf.
No one who understands denominationalism
will speak harshly of its past. Its respective
forms and organizations have endeared them-
selves to the servants of God because of their im-
memorial associations in righteous causes and their
notable contributions to the evangelization of
mankind. The quiet devotion of the Friend, the
intellectual integrity of the Calvinistic churches,
the liberty loving propensities of the Puritan
churches, the Apostolic zeal of the spiritual
children of the Evangelical Movement of the
eighteenth century, the educational processes of
Lutheranism, and the reverer\t and worshipful
characteristics of Anglicanism have alike enriched
and hallowed the praise of the sanctuary, and
fostered the growth and the benefits of our com-
mon Faith. Yet until recently, separative factors
have had a period of unrestrained eulogy in which
historical accuracy and judicial fairness have oc-
casionally suffered. At the summit of their sway,
those factors did not capture the world to which
they were so sedulously presented. Nationalism
has proved sufficiently strong to crush an artifi-
cial over-balance of destructive imperialism.
Nevertheless, far-visioned statesmen are not con-
vinced that nationalism is the final goal of Chris-
tian civilization. In like, manner. Protestantism
has redressed ancient wrongs In the Church,



THE PRESENT WORLD CRISIS 5

colonized States, kept faith with Biblical teach-
ing, restored preaching to its Apostolic honor,
and been the companion and the conscience of
much civil and religious hberty. But the passion
for doctrinal systems and exclusive creeds which
raged with uncontrollable force for the past four
hundred years has divided the empire of Protes-
tantism. Her doctors seemed to agree on little
except that there could be no such thing as an
open question among Christian men. The quar-
rels of these dogmatists, which absorbed their
minds, are short-lived and unimportant when
viewed in the light of the eternal cosmos which
is being built up by every Christ-like interest
of mankind. Their historic separatisms have
ceased to charm. Enlightened spirits, weary of
arid controversies, feel that the matters about
which those controversies centered are as dust in
the balances when compared with the glorious
truths upon which all Protestants are agreed. In
the meantime the relationships of nations in liter-
ature, in art, in science, in commerce, in things
conducive to their welfare, and also, things con-
ducive to their disaster, have become more inti-
mate, responsive, and compHcated. This evolu-
tion of human life begets in those who mark its
unfoldings the virtue of tolerance ; the knowledge
of it cultivates the historic perspectives which
shape the informed Christian's verdict, without



6 THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

which he magnifies the trivial, slights the impor-
tant, and may inflame the antagonistic elements
of society. We are confronted in our sectarian
affinities with the gigantic problem of running
order through chaos, discipline through freedom,
unity through multiplicity. This problem has al-
ways been, and perhaps always will be, the test
of the Divine Society; the moral, not alone of
Religion, but of every undertaking and economy
of life. Multitudes of earnest and seeking indi-
viduals are Inquiring why It Is that Protestantism,
the great architect of free and moralized com-
munities, cannot find a solvent for the standing
riddle of freedom with obedience, and place
against the overweening claims of political states
the claims of the Moral Sovereign of the Uni-
verse. Evidently sectarianism has seen Its meri-
dian, and if it be true that nations must agree or
perish. It is almost more true that denominations
must do likewise or meet the same end. Such af-
firmations are of course conditioned by the unde-
termined values of twentieth century thought,
but a forecast for the Church compels the con-
clusion that her growing desire for unity must
be nourished by prayer, by discourse, by a sub-
mission of our deepest wishes to the guidance of
the Eternal will. Should the Church refuse to
deal candidly with this laudable Instinct for one-
ness, which I believe Is the fruit of the Spirit, the



THE PRESENT WORLD CRISIS 7

Lord of all ages may again assert His supremacy
as He did in the sixteenth century, or in even
more surprising ways than those experienced in
that great upheaval. The fate that has doomed
States which nursed disruptions will not spare
churches that set the part above the whole, heed-
less of the signs of the times. The world re-
fuses to be either Romanized or Protestantized.
It demands that Christian organizations forsake
a hollow and transient truce, and arrive at an
equitable and a settled peace. We cannot for-
ever be disputing the exact origins of the streams
at which men quench their spiritual thirst. It is
our chief duty to replenish them in order that
they may irrigate larger areas. Union would give
us a working basis from which to attack the in-
iquities that have agreed while churchmen have
wrangled. It would neutralize the sharpness of
the controversial spirit by the forbearance of the
fraternal spirit. It would call a halt upon the
hosts of non-church-going nominal Protestants
who in their manner of living are sometimes act-
ual pagans, who acknowledge no religious control,
and resent the preacher's attempt to regulate
life by the austere standards of the New Testa-
ment. I need say nothing about the waste of
means and men, the overlapping and the mutual
weakenings, which sectarianism has involved.
These losses are before us all, and their bearing



8 THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

upon the efficiency of the ministry In the near fu-
ture weighs heavily upon hearts of those who
love the Kingdom of God supremely. They
recognize that the function of the Gospel and of
the ministry Is not sectarian, nor national, nor
even International, but supernational, as every
advocate of Christ In non-Christian lands can
testify.

Of course the pulpit has a premier place In
Protestantism, but the Intellectual vigor which
should have been consecrated to its great office
has not been available In the last decades. Nor
is It a harsh criticism to say that It was not In-
tended for the life of the Church to find Its only
outlet In sermons. No single method of trans-
mission, however venerable and blessed, exhausts
the possibilities of the Evangel. Unity will not
be well begun In preaching any more than In the-
ology. But it Is already existent in worship. In
the symbolism and the hymnology that express
the spiritual aspirations of the worshipers.
The mystical blending of things seen and unseen
In the Christian system Instructs us that the Awful
Being raised above the sphere of sense Is not
beyond the reach of sensory perceptions. The
Incarnation pierced the vail, and caused St. John
to rejoice over what the eyes of the first disciples
had seen, and their hands had handled, even the
Word of Life. The state is lavish In symbol-



THE PRESENT WORLD CRISIS 9

ism. It garlands its streets, and greets its heroes,
and utilizes every available appeal which im-
presses the public imagination with the majesty
of the nation. What have we done in our hole-
and-corner sectarianism to exalt the Eternal Con-
queror returning from the battle with sin and death
in solitary triumph? I admire the Salvation
Army for displaying its banners and uniforms on
the streets, for its decisive efforts to make our
Faith known to the casual passer-by. Denomina-
tions, creeds, theologies, sermons, propaganda,
exist for the Church, not the Church for them;
and churches exist, not solely for the edification
of believers, still less for the display of erudition
or of eloquence, but that the life of God in Christ
Jesus shall be quickened and developed in them;
diffused abroad through them by every method
Christ has sanctioned, and every avenue of spirit-
ual approach and influence Christian history has
approved. We do not expect the unification of
Protestantism to mature in a brief period. It is
wiser to let so noble a cause develop in the way,
such causes usually take. It may require half
a millennium to repair the breaches in the walls of
the City of God. But it is our inestimable priv-
ilege to plead for its benefits, and to observe its
genesis. The undertaking will entail a more res-
olute faith, a rarer devotion, a diviner love, than
we possess. That these are already leavening the



lo THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

churches I humbly believe, and I foresee the
Church of the future as a corporate whole, elastic
enough to accommodate difference in non-
essentials, with a simple but catholic doctrine, a
common worship, a mission which has no boun-
daries in a world which the Lord of all has Re-
deemed.



STEPS TOWARD ORGANIC UNITY:
THE PRESENT SITUATION

By the Right Rev. Thomas J. Garland
D.D., D.C.L.

The great schism between the East and West
may be dated from 867 A. D. when it began, or
1054 when it was practically completed. During
the following centuries many attempts at reunion
were made, but the fall of Constantinople In 1452
brought all negotiations to an end. In England,
the Reformation made great changes: definite
schism there may be placed about 1574 when the
Roman CathoHcs were ordered to withdraw from
the communion of the Church. With the politi-
cal disorder and Intellectual renaissance of the
Middle Ages, we are not surprised that In the un-
restricted use of the right of an ecclesiastical self-
determination, disorder manifested itself by sepa-
ration Into many religious bodies. The unity of
the Church was broken; new standards of faith,
new conceptions of the Ministry of the sacra-
ments, and of the government of the Church were
promulgated. It is true that thoughtful men In
all churches reahzed the danger of such a trend,

II



12 THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

and after the rise of the Puritans, many attempts
at reunion were made in England as well as on
the continent. In the latter many prominent
Protestants and Roman Catholics took part (e.g.,
Grotius, who first attempted to get a union of all
Protestant bodies and later considered reunion
with Rome), also the philosopher, Leibnitz. On
the Roman side were such men as Bishop Bossuet
and Bishop Spinola. An Interesting article on
Bossuet's correspondence with Leibnitz was pub-
lished In the Constructive Quarterly of last De-
cember.

Many references have been made to the effort
to restore the Episcopate to Scotland In 1610, but
it should be added that in 1661 an appeal was
made to England for the reestablishment of the
Episcopal Succession.

During the i8th century. Reunion was little
thought of — in fact, in England there was wit-
nessed the largest and most needless separation, in
the case of the Methodists, — who in a spiritually
unsympathetic age, were practically driven out of
the Church of England.

About the middle of the 19th century. Re-
union was for the first time officially brought to
the attention of the Episcopal Church in the
United States in a memorial to the General Con-
vention of 1853. Finally in 1886, the Quadrilat-
eral wag adopted. As slightly altered at the



STEPS TOWARD ORGANIC UNITY 13

Lambeth Conference, the articles were as follows :

a. The Holy Scripture of the Old and New
Testaments as " containing all things necessary to
salvation " and as being the true and ultimate
standard of Faith.

b. The Apostles' Creed as the Baptismal Sym-
bol; and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient state-
ment of the Christian Faith.

c. The two sacraments ordained by Christ him-
self — Baptism and the Supper of the Lord —
ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of
institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.

d. The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in
the methods of its administration to the varying
needs of the nations and people called of God
Into the unity of His Church.

This may be largely regarded as the beginning
of the modern movement. One has only to men-
tion the Evangelical AlUance, the Bonn Confer-
ences, the Edinburgh Missionary Conference, the
Commission on Faith and Order, the Free
Church Alliance, etc., to Illustrate the fact that
in recent years. Reunion has been one of the chief
topics in the Christian world. This movement
has crystallized into conferences between repre-
sentatives of various churches in Russia, in China,
In Japan, In Australia, in Africa, In England, in
Canada, as well as in the United States.

The fact Is that every InteUIgent man, what-



14 THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

ever his opinion may be, must concede that he
cannot defend division. In the last few years,
since the beginning of the World War, there has
been a growing demand for democracy — for the
manifestation of human brotherhood. A divided
Church cannot lead this movement, yet the Church
must lead it or Socialism will. If, as we beheve,
Christ is the center of unity, then those who be-
lieve in Him must make His Church the inspira-
tion, the leader and the center of human brother-
hood.

The missionary awakening of the Church and
the union of democratic nations in the War, the
ministrations of chaplains to men of every reli-
gious communion, receiving them into the mem-
bership of their respective churches, have done
much to break down barriers and to promote the
*' will of unity."

To refer again briefly to the history of the past,
it might be said that in the early Church, schism
and heresy had reference chiefly to doctrine and
not order.

In the middle ages, the main objections of the
Puritans and others in England and Scotland
were to the State Constitution of the Church and
not primarily to Episcopacy or Doctrine. A clear
statement of this fact may be found in the words
of the late Moderator of the Presbyterian Church
of Scotland, the Ve«ry Rev. Dr. Cooper, who



STEPS TOWARD ORGANIC UNITY 15

writes: "When Episcopacy was discarded in
Scotland it was due to the intrusion of the civil
power rather than any strong difference of prin-
ciple " ; " Episcopacy had become hopelessly
Erastian."

In these modern days, the objections are chiefly
centered in differences as to government and
order.

During the last ten years, the leaders of the
Church, like Gaul, have been divided into three
parts :

The first believed that we should seek Reunion
with those who are our kith and kin — the Pro-
testant churches which dominate Anglo-Saxon
Christendom.

The second, though willing to confer with all,
thought that no real effort toward Reunion should
be made until the Roman and Eastern Churches
were ready to agree on terms.

The third took no interest in the matter.

The second party is now negligible. The War
has changed some of its adherents into earnest
advocates for Reunion with Protestant bodies.

The third party is also growing numerically
smaller and on all sides there seems to be a desire
for Organic Union, though there are still some
who believe that an alliance or federation is all
that is possible or desirable.

Five important conferences should be consid-



i6 THE PROBLEM OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

ered In this paper — In Canada, Australia, South
Africa, England and In the United States.

Canada

From 1899 to 1903 preliminary conferences
were held looking toward organic union of
the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational
Churches. These crystallized in 1909 and 19 10,
and a definite attempt was made to seek the ap-
proval of the governing bodies and the members
of the respective churches on a proposed Basis of
Union for the United Church of Canada. About
sixty-five per cent, of the members of the Presby-
terian Church voted In favor of the project.

In the Methodist and Congregational Churches,
over eighty per cent, were favorable. The lat-
ter bodies were in favor of proceeding but the
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church
decided that It was unwise to consummate the
union with such a large minority unconvinced, and
hoped that further conference and discussion
might bring unanimous action.

In December, 19 14, representatives of the three


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