THE CO-OPERATIVE CHURCH MOVEMENT
NEWSPAPER items advise the world that Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, financier, and other prominent men are backing and financing a great religious movement for this fall--a religious revival to be simultaneously launched in every part of the United States by the active co-operation of Christians of all denominations. Realizing that few except women attend the usual Church services, this movement is to be specially directed toward men. It is styled, "The Men and Religion Forward Movement."
Each Christian should properly ask himself, what should be my attitude toward this movement? We therefore offer some suggestions to WATCH TOWER readers, but they are merely suggestions. Each child of God, of course, is free to follow his own judgment respecting the Divine will. The Editor will merely express his own convictions, his own mental attitude, and such as like may copy the same wholly or in part.
OUR SYMPATHY SHOULD GO OUT TO THEM
Our sympathy goes out toward the good people who are launching this movement, even though we have every reason to believe that probably only a few of them may be devout Christians in the deepest sense of that term. We sympathize with those who are not Christians at all in the Biblical sense, who are merely well-meaning moralists and who, not understanding the Divine Plan, consider the real, saintly Christians to be merely extremists and freaks. Going about to establish a righteousness of their own (Rom. 10:3), they are in deep earnest in desiring the welfare of humanity. We surely rejoice that their intentions toward their fellowmen are good and not evil, not injurious.
This kind of sympathy with their methods should lead us to speak to them and of them in most kindly terms, whether they be ministers or laymen, rich or poor. God is on the side of everything that is good and sympathetic with everything that is good and right-- to the extent that it is good-intentioned. And so His children should be. Thus the Master taught: When the Apostles told Him that they had forbidden others to cast out demons because they followed not with them, He said, Forbid them not, for whosoever is not against us is on our part. In other words, there should be a bond of sympathy between all who are right-minded, just, kind, well-meaning, whether or not they can see eye to eye theologically.
A HOUSE-TO-HOUSE CANVASS
It is a part of this general revival scheme to visit every home and to make inquiry respecting the attitude of every citizen as respects the Church relationship, attendance at meetings, etc. These visitors will call at our homes. The fact that we see that they are attempting an impossible work, and the fact that we believe that they are ignoring the Divine methods, should not blind us to the fact that some of these dear people are spending time and energy in what seems to be a valiant fight for the Lord.
Our sympathy should go out toward them and they should be received by us in the most kindly and generous manner. But we need to be on guard lest our zeal should outstrip our wisdom, and we should do them and the cause harm rather than good. We should be wise as serpents at all times and as harmless as doves.
For instance, our sympathy with their good intentions, uniting with our knowledge of a more excellent way, would incline us to use such an opportunity for instructing them in this more excellent way. In our zeal we might forget that a certain preparation of the heart is necessary before the Truth can be received into even a good and honest heart and that it will do no good to others. Instead, therefore, of attempting to delay these visitors and apparently to hinder their work by engaging in theological discussions, the wiser course would seem to be to give in a dignified and kindly manner and unobtrusively our little witness for the Truth and to leave the matter there. If their hearts be in right condition the Truth itself will appeal to them. And if they hunger and thirst after righteousness, they will seek more of it, either at the time or later.
A SUPPLY OF "PEOPLES PULPITS"
Each reader should have a supply of PEOPLES PULPITS covering interesting topics, for wise use on such occasions. After answering the questions kindly and very briefly and without any attempt to convert, some free reading matter on the subject might be suggested, with the intimation that if he would read it you could get it for him, but without any attempt to thrust it upon him or to unduly urge him to accept it. If he has no ear for the Truth, it would be better to save the reading matter for another less likely to waste it.
Again, if the gentleman manifest an interest, do not thrust upon him a great amount and thus make it appear common and valueless. Rather make a selection of one, letting him know that there are many so good that you scarcely know which one to give him. Select the one which, in your judgment, would be most likely to help him and tell him that, should he want more, you would be glad to hear from him. Show him also the SCRIPTURE STUDIES and in a very few, moderate, well-chosen words let him know your estimation of them and how you wish that all Christians could have them and obtain from them the same blessing which you and thousands of other Christian men and women have experienced.
YOUR CARD AND CHURCH RECORD
Below we print a little statement which may be used by those who please as their card. It bears answers to nearly all the questions likely to be asked you. Of itself it will be a witness for the Truth that may seem foolish --even silly--to some who are not spirit-begotten, but will prove powerfully enlightening to such as are Spirit-begotten --which is the only class we expect to reach anyway.
We have arranged this so that it may be clipped and handed to your inquirer with as little inconvenience as possible:--
MY CHURCH CONNECTION
"The Church of The Living God
Whose Names are Enrolled in Heaven."
I joyfully recognize as members of the same Church all who profess faith in Christ's redeeming sacrifice and full consecration to death with Him--whether in or out of earthly sects and parties.
I am not a member of any earthly sect, believing that they are all of human organization. I love all who love God and are seeking His ways, but I abominate the creeds of the "dark ages," which did so much to misrepresent the Divine Character and Plan and which so seriously enslaved so many of God's people in the chains of ignorance and superstition.
I meet regularly with other Bible students for the study of God's Word, regardless of creedal limitations and colorings.
We give our children religious instruction at home, believing this to be the Divine arrangement set forth in the Bible. We have found God's way helpful, both to them and to us.
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One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
One God and Father of All
One Church of the First-Borns, and
One Hope of Glory, Honor and Immortality
Eph. 4:5,6; Heb. 12:23; Rom. 2:7.