Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"I am more interested in the Kingdom of God, than in the Presbyterian Church."


Union of Churches Urged By Rev. Jesse Halsey, Who Champions World Movement

Elimination of sectarianism and willingness to go forward in one body for the sole perpetuation of the spirit of righteousness and the worship of Christ was urged by Rev. Jesse Halsey, in a sermon at Seventh Presbyterian Church, Madison road and Cleinview avenue, yesterday.

“The time has come for us to abandon personal differences and work unitedly on the task,” said Rev. Mr. Halsey. “So far as I am concerned there is nothing distinctive enough about a Presbyterian church to keep us from uniting with the Congregational, the Methodist, and the Episcopal churches in one organic body. That time of organic union may be far off, though it is a day devotedly to be hoped for. In the meantime, let us co—operate in every way possible by working toward the more remote goal.

“The Inter-Church World Movement represents the most successful attempt at such co-operation. Some things can be done together, even while the church remains divided, such as united survey, the elimination of competition in mission work, and a united drive for necessary funds.

“The average business man has little patience with overlapping and denominational competition, cares little for hairsplitting creedal differences, but is, as I see him, tremendously interested in the cause of righteousness and the essential tasks of the kingdom of God.

“I have so great a respect for the ‘Faith once delivered’ that it goes back to the day of a united Church, when men of all sorts companied together, and the sole condition of membership was the possession of the spirit of Jesus; this was the New Testament Church. There was large local differences in government in that church, many varieties of theological opinion, and much diversity in worship, but it was an effective organization for its divine purpose, held together by loyalty to Jesus and consecration to His aims.

“Such respect have I for that church and that ‘Faith’ that anything that emphasizes the decisive and distinguishing doctrines of my denomination seems too modern to enlist my allegiance. In other words, I am more interested in the Kingdom of God, than in the Presbyterian Church.

“Publicity has been given recently to an alleged opposition of Cincinnati delegates who are to attend the Presbyterian General Assembly in World Movement. This report is erroneous. No action has been taken by the Cincinnati Presbytery looking in that direction: six out of eight of Cincinnati delegates are out for the InterChurch Movement. An overwhelming majority of our people are for co-operation rather than for a sectarian denomination interest first and foremost.

“So far as the minister of this church can shape its policies, and so far as he understand the temper of the officers and members of the Seventh Church, this church shall always stand for the great essential Christian teachings concerning God and man’s duty. We welcome all the disciples in the perpetuation of a distinctly Presbyterian dogma. Our interest is in the promotion of the Kingdom of God and our creed lays an ethical emphasis rather an intellectual.

“So long as denominations exist, we will be loyal in our own regiment. We find here a congenial mode of church government, but we claim for it no divine right. When the day for a unified command comes, we will thank God. And if we understand the signs of the times, that day is approaching.”

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