A Study Of The Causes Of The Failure Of The Recent Efforts To Secure Organic Church Union In Japan -- By: Anonymous
BSac 48:191 (July 1891) p. 494
A Study Of The Causes Of The Failure Of The Recent Efforts To Secure Organic Church Union In Japan1
“Christian unity is one of the chief problems of our times,” says Dr. Charles A. Briggs, in a recent article; and by “Christian unity,” he does not mean “good fellowship, friendliness and co-operation in talk and work,” which he characterizes as “superficial, transient, evanescent, and effervescent.” “The only kind of Christian unity that is worth considering is organic unity or church unity.” 2 Japan has been seeking for a solution of this problem of organic church union. In many respects she has been successful. The churches that have sprung up in connection with the various- Presbyterian missionary boards have united in a single church, the Itchi Kyōkwai (The United Church). So also have the various Episcopal churches united. The various Methodist bodies are now negotiating with good prospects of securing a single Methodist Church in Japan. When, therefore, it was proposed to unite into a single organic body the Itchi Kyōkwai (Presbyterian), and the Kumiai Kyōkwai (churches that had grown up in connection with the Congregational work in Japan), the prospects of success seemed so bright that Christians throughout the world were jubilant. Japan was about to secure a union of denomina-
BSac 48:191 (July 1891) p. 495
tions comprising two-thirds of all the Christians in the empire, and with hopes of final union with all the other denominations, thus securing the ideal or true church, without divisions or sects. Everything seemed favorable. Every mail but confirmed the bright expectations. “Many circumstances combined to enhance the interest generally felt in this movement. There was its unique character,—unparalleled in the whole field of modern missionary experience. There was its remarkable spontaneity, earnestness, and dignity. There was the fresh and startling proof it gave that Christianity had struck deep root in the soil of Japan, and was identifying itself with all that was strongest in the newborn national spirit of that race. And, not the least remarkable, was the general unanimity with which the Christian missionaries from this country were willing to sink their individual and denominational preferences, and to help on the realization of what God himself seemed to have put into the hearts of the Japanese Christians.”3
A missionary revered for many years of valiant service in many lands, Dr. H. M. Scudder, wrote: “It is a strong movem...
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