The Christian Charity Of The Twentieth Century Church -- By: H. Francis Perry

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 059:235 (Jul 1902)
Article: The Christian Charity Of The Twentieth Century Church
Author: H. Francis Perry

The Christian Charity Of The Twentieth Century Church

Rev. H. Francis Perry

The marvelous growth of the modern city makes it at the same time a storm-center and a light-center. Worldwide problems are now confronting us in the modern American city. A century ago about one-thirtieth of the population of the United States lived in cities. To-day one-third of our people are urban residents. This is only a part of the great world-movement of the present day from the country to the city. This migration, known and feared by other centuries, is strangely accelerated and intensified in our own times. No insignificant problem is constituted by this gravitation toward the city. If democracy is to fail anywhere it will be in the great city, the headquarters of discontent, of the saloon, of the social evil, of hunger, of overcrowding. Forth from the social cellar may come the assassins of free institutions.

We must not forget that while the city is the storm-center, it is also the light-center of our civilization. Here are the men of large enterprise and faith who are planning and executing great things for the Kingdom of God.

When Christianity was established, its leaders, under divine guidance, went at once to strategic centers of the world’s life; and here, where men were massed together, its mighty work began. It was in the cities that Christianity first conquered, and it is in the cities where its greatest battles are now being fought. To Christianize the city of the twentieth century is the task before the Christian

church. The centers of civilization were taken for Christ in the first centuries of the Christian era. They must be taken by the same divine power in the last centuries of the world’s life. Here dangers threaten. Here Christian service multiplies. It is well to know what is actually being done in Christian work by the church of our great American cities. It would be manifestly burdensome to take the entire city of Chicago and the work of the church in all departments for such a research. I have therefore chosen the South Side of the city of Chicago, and limited the inquiry to the work of relieving the poor. I sent out the following letter to the pastors of all the evangelical, Protestant churches on the South Side of the city of Chicago :—

“My dear Brother: —

“I am anxious to make an investigation on a subject which will be vital, I think, to the interests of the Church of Jesus Christ on the South Side of the city of Chicago. More attention is given at present than at any time during recent years, to the thought of relief for the poor. I want to study the subject by a research on the relief for the poor which the Ch...

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