Christian Fellowship As Affected By Race -- By: W. E. C. Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 051:203 (Jul 1894)
Article: Christian Fellowship As Affected By Race
Author: W. E. C. Wright

Christian Fellowship As Affected By Race

Rev. W. E. C. Wright

The United States is the great meeting place of races. The material riches of our territory have invited the needy and the ambitious. The rapid improvement in means of communication has made our borders so accessible that a generation has been sufficient for greater migrations than were possible in a century of earlier time. The political philosophy of the Declaration of Independence has been no unimportant factor conspiring with these material forces to make us in one respect like heaven: —we have gathered well-nigh every kindred, tribe, and tongue. The problem of the relation of the races is upon us. Our solution will dominate history for coming centuries. The attitude of the Christian church to the problem must profoundly influence the answer.

With a single exception, Christian fellowship among us gives little heed to the lines that separate these different races. The many churches made up of a single nationality or race, as German, Welsh, or Swede, are segregated by the practical influence of language, rather than by the sentiment of race. Whenever such churches attempt to hold the second and third generations to services in what has become to them a foreign tongue the attempt is at best slow suicide. The Christian fellowship of the young people reaches out for the sympathy of churches that worship in the English language, and this desire is seldom repelled by English-speaking churches.

So there are churches which at first glance might seem

to be drawn together by the tie of nationality, whose bond on close inspection will be found to be doctrinal rather than racial. These churches welcome to their membership those who agree with their views of truth, without asking in what country they learned so to view the truth.

A similar remark applies to churches whose membership has been consciously or unconsciously sorted by education, or tastes, or habits of thought, or methods of Christian work. The liberty to join the church where one can receive the best spiritual impulse, and can work most freely and efficiently, tends to bring together in each church of a large town those whose similarity of manner and thought promises the largest mutual helpfulness in the Christian life.

The danger of using this liberty so far as to turn the church of Christ into a social club is, however, generally realized by thoughtful, earnest Christians. In country places and small villages, a healthy church life is not possible, unless “all classes and conditions of men “can find fellowship in one church. The recent achievements of “college settlements” in tenement house city quarters emphasize ...

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