The Birth-Origin Of The Christian Ecclesia -- By: C. B. Hurlburt

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 081:324 (Oct 1924)
Article: The Birth-Origin Of The Christian Ecclesia
Author: C. B. Hurlburt

The Birth-Origin Of The Christian Ecclesia

Nascitur Non Fit

C. B. Hurlburt

Bowling Green, Ohio

Suppose in an extended region of country a score of families, more or less, to be living, and mostly on farms. In their mutual acquaintance it soon appears that many of them are Christian households, have family altars and daily worship. This knowledge is a mutual joy, and requires their social life to conjoin in a religious service. Nothing is more natural than, worshipping separately as households, they should spontaneously crave such union service, and hold it alternately in neighboring houses.

It is soon found that other families than their own concur in this order of things, and they are warmly welcomed as regular attendants. This crowds the individual home in spite of its expansion, often unduly. The school-house is suggested as the more central and convenient place of meeting: the district authorities accede; and the service, held in a more public place, commands, as hoped, a larger attendance.

Grown into this more stately form the wonted exchange of leadership among the brethren in conducting the services proves inadequate. There is a call for a brother, naturally and spiritually qualified, to be set apart as both their teacher and leader. Nor are they embarrassed by this demand, for in the midst of them is an elderly man who, unconsciously, has been in spiritual training for the work now required. Imbued with the Biblical spirit, he soon discovers in reading the Acts of the Apostles how, under apostolic preaching, worshipping assemblies grew into churches, and the question arises spontaneously among them, Why may we not organize ourselves into a church? We dare to hope that in our service we meet in our Lord’s name and have him in the midst of us. In our mutual confession of him, may not that confession be the Rock specified by him as the required and sufficient foundation of a church?

So they conclude, and designate a day in the near future

when they will meet and organize. On that day, anticipated with great solemnity, and earnest prayer, they come together at the stated hour and place. In the midst of the service it is proposed that they all rise to their feet and, with hands upraised, enter by oath into God’s covenant with his people, to be themselves a part of his people and as such a people, to avouch the Lord God to be their God, Jesus Christ to be their Redeemer and Saviour and the Holy Spirit to be their Sanctifier; and that, as a Body of Christ, they will live and walk together in fellowship and mutual helpfulness.

This they do with a solemnity unsurpassed by any form...

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