Friday, December 17, 2010

Philip Schaff on the "Sect System"

"...the sect system...brings all sorts of impure motives into play, and encourages the use of unfair, or at least questionable means for the promotion of its ends. It nourishes party spirit and passion, envy, selfishness, and bigotry. It changes the peaceful kingdom of God into a battle-field, where brother fights brother, not, of course, with sword and bayonet, yet with loveless harshness and all manner of detraction, and too often subordinates the interests of the church universal to those of his own party. It tears to pieces the beautiful body of Jesus Christ, and continually throws in among its members the fire-brands of jealousy and discord, instead of making them work together harmoniously for the same high and holy end. It should not be forgotten, that Christianity aims not merely to save individual souls, and then leave them to themselves, but to unite them with God and therefore also with one another. It is essentially love, and tends towards association; and the church is and ought to become more and more the one body of Jesus Christ, the fullness of Him who filleth all in all. If, therefore, the observer start with the conception of the church as an organic communion of saints, making unity and universality its indispensable marks, and duly weighing the many exhortations of Holy Scripture to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bod of peace; he cannot possibly be satisfied with the sect system, but must ever come out against it with the warnings of Paul against the divisions and parties in the Corinthian church." Philip Schaff, America, p. 99

Further Reading

“To the dogs with the Head”: The Anti-inellectualism of Charles Finney

8 Gnostic Myths You May Have Imbibed

The Problem of Mediation in the First Great Awakening

Religion of the People, by the People, for the People

Recovering the Protestant Affirmation of Life

Finney and the New Measures

Gender, Morality and Modesty

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