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[The Continent]

If all followers of Jesus Christ from the time of the apostles until now had understood his message in perfect simplicity and had followed his will with perfect devotion, there would still today be just one undivided Christian church in the world, as there was on the day of Pentecost. Denominational differences and distinctions are badges of human frailty, always signifying somebody's fault somewhere, of either insufficient understanding or insufficient consecration; and therefore as the church goes on to perfection in knowledge and grace, these badges of frailty must gradually disappear. If they are not disappearing, the church is not progressing. A church not wanting them to disappear is far from its Lord.

Getting these recognitions into the prevalent Christian mind puts the church in the right attitude toward church union. It makes denominationalism, however needful in "times of this present distress," a thing to be outgrown. It prepares the whole church to lament it as a heritage of the flesh and to long for its ultimate disappearance. And with that attitude established, all church union movements may be watched without anxiety. They will then advance neither by compromise on the one hand, nor by constraint on the other, but by prayerful effort on the part of all Christians to understand and appreciate one another's tenets, while all labor together to enlarge the bounds of Christian liberty and reduce the exactions of ecclesiastical law.

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September 20, 1913

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