Philip Schaff.

The American church history series, consisting of a series of denominational histories published under the auspices of the American Society of Church History; (Volume 1) online

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The denomination has only 7 church edifices. Meet-
ings are held in 213 halls, which have a seating capacity
of 19,690.

Summary by States.



California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Maine

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Missouri

Nebraska

New Hampshire ....

New Jersey

New York

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont



Wisconsin



Organi-
zations.


Church
Edifices.


Seating

Ca-
pacity.


Value of
Church
Property.


Com-
muni-
cants.


8








814


4








147


4








75


I








3


I








15


-7








-^-h


2








40


13




300


$2,126


1,271


5






900


134


22




300


5,200


640


15






300


424










60


10






15,000


499


6






150


125


10






200


264


9






300


374


20




100


365


650


3








54


2






100


35


28


















75


14




650


14,000


564










16










62











155

75










33











3










112










100


2








40


2








90


16


I


150


2,025


474



Total 221



1,500 $40,666 8,724



CHAPTER XII.

THE CHRISTIAN UNION CHRUCHES.

This body, which is now called the Independent
Churches of Christ in Christian Union, was organized in
Ohio during the first years of the Civil War. Elder J. V.
B. Flack was one of the most prominent leaders of the
movement, which was outspoken in opposition to the war.
They believed that it had been ** produced by an unwar-
rantable meddling both North and South, and great injus-
tice and insane haste on the part of extreme leaders in both
sections." They were opposed to the introduction of poli-
tics into the pulpit, and withdrew from existing denomina-
tions because they could not tolerate what they regarded
as political preaching. Elder Flack declared that he was
persecuted by the ministers and members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, in which he was a pastor. Writing of
the matter some years later, he said :

** We refused to vote in the conference for resolutions
of war. We refused to pray for the success of war. We
refused to bring politics into our pulpit. We refused to
join in the ranks that marched on the streets at war meet-
ings. We refused to make certain war speeches. We
refused to prefer charges against members of the church
whom the fanatics accuse of being disloyal. We refused
to preside at forced trials of good men who were tried for
political opinions."

99



lOO RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

He claimed that on account of taking this attitude he
was severely persecuted, and led to withdraw from the
Methodist Episcopal Church in 1863. He preached to
various companies of men and women after his withdrawal
from the Methodist Episcopal Church ; but the first church
of the new denomination was organized by the Rev. Ira
Norris, at Lacon, 111., late in 1863 or early in 1864. At a
convention held in Columbus, O., in February, 1864, per-
sons representing five different denominations being pres-
ent, the foundation of the new denomination was laid.
The principles of the Christian Union are in brief as fol-
lows :

1. The oneness of the Church of Christ.

2. Christ the only head.

3. The Bible the rule of faith and practice.

4. Good fruits the only condition of membership.

5. Christian union without controversy.

6. Each local church self-governing.

7. Partisan preaching discountenanced.

The church claims to be non-partisan, non-sectarian,
and non-denominational. It aims to furnish a basis for the
union of all true believers by making its organization as
simple as possible and by eliminating from its system con-
troversial questions in doctrine and polity. It has 294
congregations, 183 church edifices valued at $234,500, and
18,214 communicants; 105 halls, with a seating capacity
of 14,705, are occupied as meeting- places. For many
years prior to the census of 1890 its membership was esti-
mated at over 100,000 by Elder Flack and others.



THE CHRISTIAN UNION CHURCHES,



lOI



Summary by States.



Arkansas 4

Colorado 12

Florida i

Illinois 6

Indiana 26

Indian Territory .... 3

Iowa 31

Kansas 16

Kentucky 5

Maryland i

Michigan 8

Missouri 56

New Hampshire .... 2

Ohio 103

Rhode Island i

Tennessee 8

Texas 6

Vermont 5

Total 294



, ,


Seating


Value of


Com-




Ca-


Church


muni-




pacity.


Property.


cants.
lOI

50


4


1,450


$3,850


206


21


7,600


25,700


1.599
130


20


6,850


21,500


i,25«


4


1,250


4,600


495


I


300


1,000


443


I


350


1,000


15


3


1,650


12,000


436


31


13.500


39,050


3,926


I


400


4,000


102


94


33,250


114,350


8,002


I


300


3,500


50


2


800


1,400


376
190


^


300


2,500


264



184 68,000 $234,450 18,214



CHAPTER XIII.

THE CHURCH OF GOD.

John Winebrenner, the founder of this denomina-
tion, which in doctrine, polity, and usage resembles both
the Baptist and Methodist Churches, became a member of
the first Reformed German Church, Philadelphia, in 1817,
and three years later pastor of a church of the same
denomination in Harrisburg. There were four congrega-
tions under his care. Under his plain and pungent preach-
ing a revival of religion began, the progress of which was
opposed. The opposition continued five years or more,
resulting in a separation from the church. The revival
extended intp various parts of Pennsylvania and even
into Maryland, and hundreds of persons were converted.
These persons were organized into separate churches.
Meanwhile, Elder Winebrenner, after a careful study of
the Bible, had changed his views respecting points of doc-
trine and polity. In 1830 he, with Andrew Miller, John,
Eliot, John Walborn, David Maxwell, and James Richards,
who were recognized as teaching elders, met in conference
and agreed upon a basis of church organization. The fol-
lowing are the leading principles :

I. That the believers in any given locality according to
the divine order are to constitute one body. The division
of believers into sects and parties under human names and
creeds is contrary to the spirit and letter of the New



rilE CHURCH OF GOD. IO3

Testament, and constitutes the most powerful barrier to
the success of Christianity.

2. That the believers of any community organized into
one body constitute God's household or family, and should
be known by the name of the Church of God.

3. That the Scriptures without note or comment consti-
tute a sufficient rule of faith and practice. Creeds and
confessions tend to divisions and sects.

4. That there are three ordinances binding upon all be-
lievers ; namely, immersion in water in the name of the
Trinity, the washing of the saints' feet, and the partaking
of bread and wine in commemoration of the sufferings and
death of Christ.

Upon the basis of these principles the denomination was
organized, the first conference being held in 1831.

The conferences of the Church of God, of which there
are several, are held annually, and are called elderships.
There is a general conference or general eldership which
meets triennially. This is the chief legislative and judicial
body. The presiding officer of an annual eldership, or of
the general eldership, is called the Speaker. There are
itinerant and local ministers and exhorters, as in Method-
ism, and the weaker congregations are organized into cir-
cuits. The itinerant ministers are appointed to pastorates
by stationing committees of the annual elderships.

The Church of God is represented in fourteen States
and the Indian Territory. Its chief strength, however,
lies in the State of Pennsylvania, where it originated.
Fully one half of its total communicants are to be found in
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. It has sixteen annual
elderships. There are 479 organizations in all, with 338
church edifices, having an average seating capacity of 342



104 RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

and an average value of $1902. There are 129 halls, with
a seating capacity of 13,840.

Summary by States.



STATES. Organi-
zations.

Arkansas 19

Illinois 36

Indiana 44

Indian Territory .... 16

Iowa 18

Kansas 26

Maine 3

Maryland 21

Massachusetts i

Michigan 16

Missouri 7

Nebraska 9

Ohio 75

Pennsylvania 162

West Virginia 26

Total 479



Church
edifices.


Seating

Ca-
pacity.


Value of
Church
Property.


Com-
muni-
cants.


I


200


$500


577


zz


10,725


41,850


1,495


32

II


10,915
1,285


53,500
1,200


2,575
811


10
6


3,275
1,750


13,400
7,300


683
956


20


5,800


25,700


20


10


3,425


8,300


373


4


1,300


4,100


221


2


400


1,900


332


66
135


24,575
48,580


99,550
375,185


3,352
9,344


8


3,300


10,700


b8i



338 115,530 $643,185 22,511



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT (SCHWEINFURTH).

The founder and head of this body is George Jacob
Schweinfurth, who was born in Marion County, O., in
1853. He entered the ministry of the Methodist Epis-
copal Church in Michigan, but soon left it and became a
disciple of Mrs. Beekman, who, before her death, which
occurred in 1883, declared herself the ''spiritual mother of
Christ in the second coming," and pronounced Schwein-
furth the " Messiah of the New Dispensation." He ac-
cordingly became the acknowledged head of her follow-
ers, and removed the headquarters of the sect from Byron,
nine miles from Rockford, 111., to the Weldon farm, six
miles from Rockford, changing the name of the body to
the Church Triumphant. A large frame house, called
'* Mount Zion " or '' Heaven," is occupied by Schweinfurth
and a number of his disciples. There are also other com-
panies, each of which is presided over by an " apostle,"
who reads weekly the sermons previously delivered by
Schweinfurth at Mount Zion. There are no rites, cere-
monies, or forms of worship. The single condition of
membership is recognition of Schweinfurth as the ** Christ
of the Second Coming" and discipleship.

The Church Triumphant accepts the Bible as the Word
of God, but denies the essential divinity of Christ. He
was a mere man, but passed through an experience in

105



I06 RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

which he was freed from the power and curse of sin, after
which he received the Spirit of God and became divine.
Schweinfurth does not claim to be Jesus of Nazareth, but
to have received the same Spirit and to be equal to him.
He claims to be sinless, to perform miracles, and to be able
to bestow the Spirit on whomsoever he chooses. He also
declares his power over sin, not only to save from its curse
but to save from its commission.

There are in all 12 organizations and 384 members. All
the services are held in private houses with one exception,
Mount Zion being returned as a hall.

Summary by States.



STATES Organ!- Halls

STATES. zations. etc.

Colorado i i

Illinois 5 5

Kentucky i i

Michigan 2 2

Minnesota 2 2

Missouri i i

Total 12 12



Seating

Ca-
pacity.



Value of Com-
Church muni-
Property, cants.

12

$15,000 190
25

37

100

20

$15,000 384



CHAPTER XV.

CHURCH OF THE NEW JERUSALEM.

The theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, born
in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1688, died in London, England, in
1 772, led to the organization of the New Jerusalem Church.
Its members are often spoken of as Swedenborgians. He
was called, according to his own words, *' to a holy office
by the Lord himself, who most mercifully appeared before
me, his servant, in the year 1743, when he opened my
sight into the spiritual world, and enabled me to converse
with spirits and angels." From that time he began to
** publish the various arcana" or sacred truths, seen by or
revealed to him, *' concerning heaven and hell, the state of
man after death, the true worship of God, the spiritual
sense of the Word, and many other important matters con-
ducive to salvation and wisdom." His, voluminous religious
works contain the body of doctrine to which his followers
adhere. The greater portion of them consist of the expo-
sition of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures.

The first meeting for organization was held in London
in 1783, eleven years after his death. The next year his
teachings were set forth in Boston and Philadelphia, and a
congregation was established in Baltimore in 1792. This
was the beginning of the church in this country. It was
gradually established in other cities and towns, and is
represented now in twenty-nine States, besides the Dis-

107



I08 RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

trict of Columbia. It has 154 organizations, and 7095
members or communicants, more than a fourth of whom
are to be found in Massachusetts.

The doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church declare that
God is one in essence, person, and nature, manifesting
himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — the Father being
the infinite divine essence, the Son the human organization
with which the Father clothed himself to accomplish the
redemption of mankind when immersed in sin, and the
Spirit being the divine power flowing forth into act ; that
the Lord accomplished this redemption by fighting against
and overcoming the infernal hosts which had long enslaved
mankind, and restoring man to spiritual freedom ; that life
is not created, only the forms which receive it, man's mind
and body being organic forms for the reception of life,
which is maintained by the constant conjunction of man
and God ; that man has a spiritual body which is fitted to
receive and manifest the divine forces, and the mind or
spirit constitutes this spiritual body ; that the material
body is only the husk, so to speak, and its death is caused
by man's resurrection from it ; that the spiritual world is a
substantial world, the realm of causes, and exists in three
divisions — heaven, the world of spirits, and hell ; that the
world of spirits, which all enter immediately after death,
is the place of preparation for heaven or for hell, according
to the character brought into it ; that the life in this inter-
mediate state is similar to the one in this world, except
that it is not a life of probation, but a life devoted to bring-
ing discordant elements in man's nature into harmony, and
to receiving instruction ; that gradually the scene changes
and men rise to heaven or sink to hell, drawn by the irre-
sistible affinities of their true character ; that hell is not a



CHURCH OF THE NEW JERUSALEM. 109

place or state of constant punishment, but its inhabitants
have all the enjoyments of which their perverted nature is
capable, living under restraint of penalties which follow
every violation of law; that heaven is a place of useful
activity, in which each finds his appropriate sphere of
action and happiness, and becomes subject to the process
of perfectibility which goes on forever ; that in the Script-
ures there is a spiritual principle or fact corresponding to
every natural act and object they record, a spiritual mean-
ing distinct from, yet harmonizing with and based upon,
the natural meaning of every word and sentence ; that
while the books of the Bible were written through various
authors, each in his own natural style, it is nevertheless,
by virtue of the infinite store of truth within it, a divine
book, the Lord himself being its author. This view of the
Bible is one of the chief distinctions of Swedenborgian
belief.

The organization of the New Jerusalem Church is a
modified Episcopacy, each society being, however, free to
manage its own affairs. There are associations of societies,
generally conforming to State lines, and a general conven-
tion composed of representatives of the associations, and
also of a number of societies which have no associational
connection. The service is generally liturgical. A variety
of liturgies are in use in the different congregations or
societies; the greater number, however, use the "Book of
Worship," published by the General Convention. Three
orders are recognized in the ministry. In connection with
each association there is a general pastor, who bears the
same relation to the association that a pastor does to a
society. There are also pastors of societies, and preachers
not yet in full orders.



no RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

The average seating capacity of the church edifices is
236, and their average value $15,755; 7o halls, with a
seating capacity of 7165, are used as meeting-places.

Summary by States.



STATES. Organi- Church Seating

zations. ii^dinces.

pacity.

Arkansas i i 400

California 12 3 750

Colorado .... 2 i 40

Connecticut i

Delaware i i 200

District of Columbia. i

Florida 3

Georgia 2 i 180

Illinois 14 10 1,895

Indiana 4 4 950

Iowa 6 3 495

Kansas 3 i 75

Kentucky i

Maine 4 3 1,125

Maryland 9 4 1,215

Massachusetts 22 18 5,025

Michigan 5 4 975

Minnesota 2 2 250

Missouri 5 4 800

New Hampshire .... i

New Jersey 6 4 800

New York 11 5 1,350

Ohio 13 8 1,625

Oregon 2 i 100

Pennsylvania 13 4 1,600

Rhode Island 3 3 610

Tennessee 3 i 75

Texas i i 200

Virginia i i 75

Wisconsin 2 . . .....

Total 154 88 20,810



Vahie of


Com-


Church


muni-


Property.


cants.


$55


3


41,500


347


2,500


41




28


12,000


50




93




30


9,000


48


163,700


641


16,500


104


6,200


i.3«


5,000


62




61


33,000


289


44,600


244


368,500


1,684


34,600


163


29,000


80


24,600


309




42


24,500


323


192,900


560


103,500


657


300


45


230,500


774


39,000


130


500


64


4,000


40


500


2




43



$1,386,455 7,095



CHAPTER XVI.

COMMUNISTIC SOCIETIES.

All societies observing the communal life, whether
founded on a religious or secular basis, are embraced in
these returns. Two of the societies are not religious, the
Icarian and the Altruist, but it was deemed best not to
omit them, on the technical ground that they are not or-
ganized to practice a faith, but to apply a social principle.

There are nine societies which properly come under this
head. One of these, the Bruederhoef Mennonite, is omitted
in this chapter because it is given in that on the Mennonites.
The other societies are these :

1. Shakers, 5. New Icaria,

2. Amana, 6. Altruists,

3. Harmony, 7. Adonai Shomo,

4. Separatists, 8. Church Triumphant

(Koreshan Ecclesia).

I. — THE SOCIETY OF SHAKERS.

The oldest of all existing communities in the United
States is that of the Shakers, or, more accurately, '' The
Millennial Church, or United Society of Believers." Their
first community was organized at Mount Lebanon, N. Y.,
in 1792.

They count themselves as followers of Ann Lee, an
English woman, who was born in 1736 in Manchester and



112 RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

died in 1 784 in this country. They revere " Mother Ann,"
as she was called, as the second appearance of Christ on
earth. She was a member of the Society of Quakers, and
in a persecution which arose against them was cast into
prison. While in prison she saw Christ and had a special
divine revelation, which showed her that the only way
mankind could be restored to the proper relation to God
was by leading a celibate life. She came to this country
in 1774 and settled at WatervHet, N. Y., in 1775, and died
there. The popular designation " Shakers " was first used
in England. Those Quakers who joined " Mother Ann "
were noted for " unusual and violent manifestations of
religious fervor," and were therefore spoken of as *' Shak-
ing Quakers." Hence the term *' Shakers."

The Shakers are strict celibates, have a uniform style
of dress, and use the words *'yea" and ''nay," but not
"thee" or "thou." They are spiritualists, holding that
there is a " most intricate connection and the most con-
stant communion between themselves and the inhabitants
of the world of spirits." They believe, as already stated,
that the second coming of Christ is past, and that they
constitute the true Church, and that " revelation, spiritual-
ism, celibacy, oral confession, community, non-resistance,
peace, the gift of healing, miracles, physical health, and
separation from the world are the foundations of the new
heavens." They reject the trinitarian conception of God,
holding that he is a dual person, male and female, and that
the distinction of sex inheres in the soul and is eternal.
Christ, they believe, first appeared in Jesus as a male and
then in Ann Lee as a female. They worship only God.

Both sexes are represented in the ministry. Religious
services, held on Sunday, consist of exhortation, singing,



COMMUNISTIC SOCIETIES. 113

and marching and dancing to music. There is Httle audi-
ble prayer.

There are 15 communities of Shakers — 3 each in Ohio
and Massachusetts, 2 each in Kentucky, Maine, New
Hampshire, and New York, and i in Connecticut. They
have 16 church edifices, with a seating capacity of 5650,
or an average of 353, and a valuation of $36,800, or an
average of $2300. The number of members is 1728. In
1875, according to Nordhoff's "Communistic Societies,"
they had 18 communities and 2415 members. This indi-
cates that they are decreasing.

_ Summary by States.



STATES.

Connecticut . . . .

Kentucky

Maine

Massachusetts . .
New Hampshire

New York

Ohio

Total



2. — THE A.MANA SOCIETY.

This society calls its organizations, of which there are
seven, *' True Inspiration Congregations." The commu-
nity is confined to Iowa County, la., where its members
exist in seven towns. They came from Germany in 1842
and settled near Buffalo, N. Y., whence they removed thir-
teen years later to their present location in Iowa. They
are a religious rather than an industrial community, and



Organi-
zations.


Church
Edifices.


Seating
Ca-
pacity.


Value of
Church
Property.


Com-
muni-
cants.


I


I


400


$5,000


100


2


2


700


1,900


371


2


2


1,000


5,000


100


3


4


1,000


5,800


129


2


2


700


1,500


250


2


2


1,100


12,000


575


3


3
16


750
5,650


5,600


203


15


$36,800


1,728



114 RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

are devoted Bible readers, believing that all parts of the
Book are inspired. They hold to the Trinity, to justifi-
cation by faith, to the resurrection of the dead, but not to
eternal punishment. The wicked are to be purified in fire.
They do not observe the sacrament of baptism, but make
much of that of the Lord's Supper, which, however, is cele-
brated not oftener than once in two years. They believe
that an era of inspiration began at the opening of the eight-
eenth century, the Holy Ghost revealing the secrets of the
heart and conscience to messengers or new prophets. The
elders or ministers are guided by the spirit of inspiration,
and the community has at its head some one (at one time
it was a woman) who is under the direct inspiration of God.
There are three orders of members : the highest, the mid-
dle, and the lowest or children's order. They hold relig-
ious services every evening, and also on Sunday, Wednes-
day, and Saturday mornings. The general meeting is held
Saturday morning; the other meetings are mostly for
prayer.

Summary.

o^.^^ Organi- Church

^^A^^- zations. Edifices.

Iowa 7 22 2,8oo $15,000 1,600



3. — THE HARMONY SOCIETY.

The founder of this society was George Rapp, who was
born in Germany in 1757 and died in Economy, Pa., in
1847. His followers are celibates, having adopted this
rule early in the present century, and follow the example
of patriarchal rule set in the Old Testament and hold to a
community of property. They are literalists in interpret-



Seating


Value of


Com-


Ca-


Church


muni-


pacity.


Property.


cants.



COMMUNISTIC SOCIETIES. II5

ing the Scriptures, and they beHeve that the millennium
is near at hand and that all mankind will ultimately be
saved, those who marry being classified with the number
who will have to undergo a probation of purification. They
do not believe in spiritualism. They observe as holy days
Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost. They
celebrate the Lord's Supper annually in October, The
town of Economy is described by Nordhoff as a ** trim,
well-kept village." The society has one organization, one



Online LibraryPhilip SchaffThe American church history series, consisting of a series of denominational histories published under the auspices of the American Society of Church History; (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 35)