Page images
[ocr errors]

unto all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus."

The catholicity of our Standards finds Recognition beautiful expression in the Presbyterian of other

churches. attitude toward all sister evangelical churches. While a branch of evangelical Christendom unchurches all sister denominations, such action is abhorrent to Presbyterian feeling and unknown to Presbyterian practice. Members and ministers of other evangelical churches we treat as in all respects true members and ministers equally with ourselves of the Church of Christ.

While several of these churches decline giving letters of dismission from their own to other communions, we make no distinction. We dismiss members to Baptist, Episcopal, or other Christian congregations, in precisely the same form, and with the same affectionate confidence, as though we were transferring them to churches of our own name. 8 "Confession of Faith", Chap. XXVI, sec. 2.


Some evangelical denominations deny the validity of ordinances performed by sister churches, and when a minister or a member would come to them from a sister denomination, the one must be re-ordained, the other re-baptized. Such denial is utterly contrary to the Presbyterian spirit and usage. We never repeat the rite. The ordinance of a sister church we accept as no less valid than if performed by ourselves.

While from many evangelical pulpits the ministers of sister churches are shut out, or from co-officiation in sacred ceremonies, such exclusion is never practiced by us. It is alien to ihe Presbyterian heart and habit. We are as free and cordial in asking Episcopal, Baptist, or other evangelical ministers, to occupy our pulpits, or assist us officially in administering the Lord's Supper, as in asking our own pastors.

We unchurch no true Christian. We reject no ministerial ordination. We repudiate no administered scriptural sacrament of a sister church. Returning good for

[ocr errors]

evil, we recognize our high-church fellow clergyman as a true minister of Christ, and our immersionist brother as having been validly baptized. We respond with all our hearts to the “Amen” of the Methodists; we join with our brethren in any psalmody that puts the crown upon the brow of Jesus; and most lovingly do we invite our fellow Christians of every name and denomination to partake with us of the emblems of His broken body and His shed blood. We have no prejudice, no peculiarity, no crotchet of any kind, to restrict our Christian sympathies and dig a chasm between us and other servants of our Master. Our catholicity is wide as evangelical Christendom. When the day of union dawns upon the militant forces of our common Lord, and His prayer is answered “that they all may be one ”, it will be largely due under God to the teaching and the example of the Presbyterian Church.

The catholic breadth of her Christian sympathy is seen in her liberal support

Support of of interdenominational and undenomina-

tional religious enterprises and institutions
of all kinds. Wherever the common cause
of Christ calls for the sacrifice of sectarian
interests and the submergence of sectarian
differences, the Presbyterian Church is ever
first to respond, with greatest gifts and
largest labors. She stands with hand out-
stretched and purse open for every needy
worthy cause that bears the name of Chris- ;
tian. Her members have been called
“God's silly people ” from the self-forget-
ful generosity with which they have lav-
ished the time and means often sorely
needed by their own church upon those
great outside enterprises whose sole claim
is the common Christian good and whose
sole appeal is to the catholic Christian
heart. The statement of D. L. Moody is
well known, that if he needed one hundred
thousand dollars for some worthy unde-
nominational religious enterprise, he would
naturally expect to secure eighty thousand
of it from the Presbyterians. In the great .

interdenominational societies and associations, and in those private or public charities sustained by the gifts of good people of all Christian names, figures show that Presbyterians usually do and give not only more than any other denomination, but often more than all the others combined.

In a western city the Young Men's Young Men's Christian Association was seeking funds to Christian

Association. secure a new building. After sixty thousand dollars had been given by one Presbyterian, a general committee of one hundred was appointed, representing all denominations. That number proving too large for effective work, a special canvassing committee of five was selected, taken from the leading business men, and limited to those who would contribute at least five thousand dollars. Four of these so appointed were found to be Presbyterian elders. The Young Men's Christian Association Secretary said that this was about the proportion in other cities. * Hays' “Presbyterians", p. 354.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »