Religious Items

We see convincing evidences that the Christian Churches in this country are in the first stage of an evangelistic movement, which is likely to affect all denominations and to continue for several years. These evidences are found in newspaper discussions of religious problems, in news from the Churches, reports of sermons, and plans for aggressive work. Especially do we note the increasing purpose of individual Christians to reach their neighbors and friends with the effort to persuade them to declare themselves as disciples of Christ. The Presbyterian Church is probably taking the lead in this movement at the present time. But other denominations are falling into line. The Watchman notes many signs of aggressive effort among Baptists throughout the whole country. Methodist papers speak hopefully of the sense of longing among their Churches for deeper spiritual power to break through the indifference and world-liness of the life around them. Letters received by us breathe like aspirations and hope. This movement is not confined to any locality, does not put forward any particular doctrine, recognizes no one great leader. It is the quiet awakening of men and women to the value of Christian living, to the supreme importance of fellowship with God, to admiration of the character of Jesus Christ, as the revelation of the Father, to a growing desire to become like him and to persuade others to come into obedience to him. These indications summon every Christian to renewed prayer, to more faithful study of the Bible, and to keep open eyes to discover opportunities to win others to Christ.

The Congregationalist and Christian World.

Robert Stuart MacArthur says in The Watchman: "It is comparatively useless for pastors to denounce the 'higher criticism' and to announce their own loyalty to orthodox views of Scripture and theology if their own ministry is fruitless in the edification of saints and in the conversion of sinners. A warm-hearted and loving heterodoxy may be more acceptable to God than a frigid and moribund orthodoxy. There are some men so anxious to keep all their theological fences in superb repair that they neither till the fields nor reap any harvests. The question for a true orthodoxy is not, ultimately, as to the depth of its well, but as to the number of thirsty souls whom it satisfies with its living water. Let the old Gospel have free course and be glorified once more in all our pulpits. Let Christ and him crucified be exalted as the only hope of lost men and women. An exalted Christ is still the mightiest magnet to draw men to holiness and to heaven. A warm, living, loving Gospel would be the newest, freshest, sweetest, and mightiest message which has been heard for many years in some pulpits. Let us give the crucified Christ the opportunity in every pulpit to fulfil his promise, 'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.' "

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February 5, 1903

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