The Voluntary Church - II - RR144J18
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I stated earlier that the voluntaristic principle began in 1740, essentially, with the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was a revival that began primarily among the Calvinists, headed in New England by Jonathan Edwards, and then brought over into all the colonies by George Whitfield of England, a Calvinist, and a church of England man; a friend and associate of Wesley, who broke with Wesley over the matter of the Reformed faith.
However, unlike previous examples of Calvinism in this country, with the great awakening the emphasis was no longer upon the church. The emphasis changed from the church as primary, the church as basic, to the faith as basic. Now this was a major revolution, because up until that time the basic argument had been about the church; to this day most churches are named not in terms of the faith they hold, but in terms of the form of church government: Presbyterian, Congregational, Episcopal. You see, the reference in too many cases is to the form of the church structure, or if it is not to the form of the church structure, it is to a right or ritual of the church, such as Baptist, rather than to the faith. The fundamental doctrines that they hold.
With Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield, it no longer became important here. And the lines were split across churches in terms of the faith. For example among the strongest followers of Edwards and Whitfield, a Calvinistic Congregationalist, and a Calvinistic Episcopalian, were Isaac Backus and others who were Baptist. In fact for many generations the only kind Baptist church there was, was a Calvinistic one. And to a very large extent this was an aspect of the great Awakening. Now in terms of the Voluntaristic church you see this was incredibly important. People were no longer thinking in terms of the institution of the church or the state, But in terms of the faith, the Christian faith. And what is my responsibility, not as a Baptist or a Presbyterian, or a Episcopalian, but what is my responsibility as a Christian? [00:03:13]
And the result was that, indeed denominationalism in...
And the result was that, indeed denominationalism in a sense began to increase, there were many more groups established, but it was because these people were driven out of churches that were not emphasizing the Church, and so they had to create new churches to emphasize the faith.
I’m going to read you some things that are illustrative of the growth of the Voluntary church. This from George Whitfield, and in 1739 when he was in the colonies preaching, he came among other places, to Philadelphia. And he wrote: “About eight in the evening we reached Philadelphia, and found great numbers waiting round my door to hear the Word of life. After I had paid a visit and talked closely to two persons who were doubting of the principals of the Quakers, I returned home and though I was weak I could not bear to let so many should go away without a scriptural morsel. I therefore gave them a word of exhortation as the spirit gave me utterance, sung a hymn, prayed and dismissed them with a blessing. They wept bitterly, and the people’s behavior more and more convinces me that God has begun a good work in many souls. Were proper encouragement given, I am persuaded Georgia might soon be peopled. Many would gladly go with me thither. I cannot but hope that it will be in time a fruitful soil for Christians. One great reason I believe why Pennsylvania flourishes above other provinces is the liberty of conscience which is given all to worship God in their own way.” (The Voluntaristic Principle.) “By this means it is as it were an asylum or place of refuge for all persecuted Christians. And methinks they live here as so many guardian angels. I want to go up into the woods to see more of them, but time will not permit. Oh, when will the children of God sit down together in the kingdom of their Father? There we shall all speak one language and join in singing the song of the Lamb forever, more to make my soul to thirst more and more after that blissful communion of saints.” [00:05:43]
Then just a year later, when he was in Boston again...
Then just a year later, when he was in Boston again in the states, going up and down the colonies, he says: “At eleven I went to public worship at the Church of England.” (He was an ordained Church of England clergyman.) “And afterwards went home with the Commissary, who had read prayers. He received me very courteously, and it being a day whereon the clergy of the established church met, I had opportunity of conversing with five of them together. I think one of them began with me for calling that Tennent,” (the Presbyterian who had led part of the Great Awakening, who had the log cabin college.) For calling that Tennent and his brethren faithful ministers of Jesus Christ I sincerely believe they were. They then questioned me of the validity of the Presbyterian ordination. I replied: “I believe it was valid.” They then urged against me a passage in my first journal, where I said: “That a Baptist Minister did not give a satisfactory answer concerning his mission. “I answered perhaps my sentiments were altered since then.” “And is Mr. Wesley altered in his sentiments? For he was very strenuous for the church, and rigorously against all other forms of government when he was at Boston.” I answered: “He was then a great bigot, but God has since enlarged his heart, and I believe he is now like-minded with me in this particular. I then urged that Catholic spirit was best, and that a Baptist minister had communicated lately with me at Savannah. “And I suppose,” said another, “That you would do him as good a turn, and would communicate with him.” I answered, “Yes.” I then urged that it was best to preach up the new birth and the power of godliness, and not to insist so much upon the form: for people would never be brought to one mind as to that, nor did Jesus Christ ever intend it. “Yes, but he did.” said Dr. Cutler. “How do you prove it?” “Because Christ prayed: ‘That all might be one, even as thou Father and I are one.’” I replied, “That was spoken of the inward union of the souls of believers with Jesus Christ, and not of the outward church.” “That cannot be,” Said Dr. Cutler.” (One of the leading Church of England men there in Boston.) “”For how then could it be said ‘that the world might know that thou hast sent me’?” He then, (taking it for granted that the Church of England was the only true apostolical church) drew a parallel between the Jewish and our Church, urging how God required all things to be made according to the pattern given in the mount. I answered: “That before the pattern could be just, it must be proved that everything enjoined in our church was as much of a divine revelation as any rite or ceremony under the Jewish dispensation.” I added further, “that I saw regenerate souls among the Baptists, among the Presbyterians, among the Independents, and among the church folks, all children of God, and yet all born of again under a different way of worship; and who can tell which is the most Evangelical?”” [00:09:08]
Now of course, this represented a revolutionary attitude...
Now of course, this represented a revolutionary attitude, because, under the state church system, people really regarded anyone outside of that church as unconverted. I know I talked to a very fine Christian, a dedicated layman a few years ago, who is on my mailing list; who is a very wealthy man and a very winsome man. He invited me over to his home for dinner, and he said: “You know this is a very remarkable thing. I was brought up in Germany to feel that anybody who was not a Lutheran was really not a Christian.” And he said, “I couldn’t say a good word, especially about anyone who was reformed. In our community the reformed were the ones we pointed the finger at as the snares of the devil.” And so he said “I’ve been reading your things, and I know you are more Christian than any of our Lutheran pastors that we have around here.” I had a very pleasant evening with him, but of course he still hasn’t been able to bring himself after all these years to give a nickel to a non-Lutheran. This kind of attitude is very deeply ingrained in those with a European background. It is a part of this ancient state-church principle. The Voluntary church you see emphasizes not the institution, but the faith.
And you have grown up, I am fairly sure all of you, in terms of the voluntary faith principle. And as a result it is nothing out of the ordinary for you to have fellowship with people of other faiths. This noon we had a very delightful time with Pastor Grant, and we were having a lot of fun telling jokes about various churches including the Baptists, and Pastor Grant enjoyed the Baptist jokes as much as we did. Why? Because you see, for us while we may hold to a particular thing like infant baptism, or might be against it, for us it is not the Church but the faith which is central. And as a result we have a very different outlook and a perspective. We do not feel that the line of division is in terms of the church, but in terms of the faith, between modernism and Orthodox Christian faith. And if on the evangelical side we draw lines it is again in terms of the faith, Arminian and Reformed. In terms of the faith.
This is extremely important. It has given an emphasis which while producing some of the dangers we talked about in the last hour, points the way you see to a new kind of renewal, of Christendom, because first things are being put first. This is why I feel that Jonathan Edwards and others as we saw earlier were right in predicting that the world would see a great renewal beginning in the United States at some time. There whole Postmillennialism, to return to that subject, which we considered earlier, began with this voluntary church principle, and the primacy of faith. So they looked at a world mission, in terms of reaching peoples and of bringing them all into captivity to Christ. [00:13:08]
Now to continue further and to give you illustrations...
Now to continue further and to give you illustrations of what was happening in America as a result of this entirely new principle. When you emphasized not the church, the institution, but the faith, then instinctively you cease to emphasize the old lines, say, of the state or of national origin. So almost at the same time you had something develop in this country that was quite remarkable in terms of Europe. It was simply this: since you emphasize the faith, you are ready to join with someone of a like faith, even though they might be German or English or Dutch or whatever the case might be. Whereas prior to that emphasis on the voluntary principle and faith, if you were an Englishman you only married an Englishman; in fact the lines would be drawn even more closely. If you were from Yorkshire, you preferred someone from Yorkshire when you married. The lines were very sharply drawn.
But let us listen to what a Frenchman who came to this country in 1765, became an American Citizen, settled on a farm with an American wife in Orange county New York, then in 1780 returned to France. And he wrote a very famous work, Letters from an American Farmer. I’ll just read you a passage of it, it’s well worth getting and reading in full, a very delightful account of America.
He writes: “What then is the American? This new man? He is either a European or a descendant of a European, hence that strange mixture of blood which you will find in no other country. I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations. He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. Americans are the western pilgrims, who are carrying along with them that great mass of arts, sciences, vigour, and industry which began long since in the east; they will finish the great circle.“ [00:16:29]
Now of course this kind of thing created its problems...
Now of course this kind of thing created its problems to. Whenever you make an advance into new territory as we saw earlier, you also at the same time encounter new problems. It did in a sense weaken the family in some respects. There are not many people in America today who can name their great Grandparents. In fact there are many who cannot name their grandparents. And for people to be able to say who the names of where their Great-Great-Grandparents are concerned, you have practically eliminated 999 Americans out of 1000. It used to be commonplace for people to know who their ancestors were. My father could recite the names of his ancestors back into, behind almost, the Middle Ages, to the very early middle ages. He memorized them from the tomb stones in the church yard. It was routine for him to know it, he didn’t think there was anything remarkable about it. That was commonplace at one point, for most people.
It still is true of many peoples in Europe outside of the big cities. But in America, that kind of family strength has been weakened. Now this does not mean that there are not other ways in which the family is showing signs of strengthening here, because of the emphasis on faith, and the voluntaristic principle. And this uniting not around tradition, but upon faith.
But it does mean, you see, whenever you make an advance you encounter new problems and new dangers. Now of course the question that was raised by many was this: “Will this voluntaristic principle lead to indifferentism? Now again De Crevecoeur has something to say about this. One of the many such comments, but there were many indeed who believed it would lead to an indifference to religion.
He wrote: “As I have endeavored to show you how Europeans have become Americans, it may not be disagreeable to show you likewise how the various Christian sects introduced, wear out, and how religious indifference becomes prevalent. When any considerable number of a particular sect happen to dwell contiguous to each other, they immediately erect a temple, and there worship the Divinity agreeably to their own peculiar ideas. Nobody disturbs them. If any new sect springs up in Europe it may happen that many of its professors will come and settle in America. As they bring their zeal with them, they are at liberty to make proselytes if they can, and to build a meeting and to follow the dictates of their consciences; for neither the government nor any other power interferes. If they are peaceable subjects, and are industrious, what is it to their neighbors how and in what manner they think fit to address their prayers to the Supreme Being? But if the sectaries are not settle close together, if they are mixed with other denominations, their zeal will cool for want of fuel, and will be extinguished in a little time. Then the Americans become as to religion what they are as to country, allied to all. In them the name of Englishman, Frenchman, and European is lost, and in like manner, the strict modes of Christianity as practiced in Europe are lost also.” (And of course he associated strict modes with strict church modes.) “This effect will extend itself still farther hereafter, and though this may appear to you as a strange idea, yet it is a very true one. “ [00:20:34]
(You see, writing for Europeans they found it hard to imagine what was going on here. It was like anarchy to them.) “I shall be able perhaps hereafter to explain myself better; in the meanwhile, let the following example serve as my first justification.
Let us suppose you and I to be traveling; we observe that in this house, to the right, lives a Catholic, who prays to God as he has been taught, and believes in transubstantiation; he works and raises wheat, he has a large family of children, all hale and robust; his belief, his prayers offend nobody. About one mile further on the same road, his next neighbor may be a good honest plodding German Lutheran, who addresses himself to the same God, the God of all, agreeable to the modes he has been educated in, and believes in consubstantiation; by so doing he scandalizes nobody; he also works in his fields, embellishes the earth, clears swamps, etc. What has the world to do with his Lutheran principles? He persecutes nobody, and nobody persecutes him, he visits his neighbors, and his neighbors visit him. Next to him lives a seceder, the most enthusiastic of all sectaries; his zeal is hot and fiery, but separated as he is from others of the same complexion, he has no congregation of his own to resort to, where he might cabal and mingle religious pride with worldly obstinacy. He likewise raises good crops, his house is handsomely painted, his orchard is one of the fairest in the neighborhood. How does it concern the welfare of the country, or of the province at large, what this man’s religious sentiments are, or really whether he has any at all? He is a good farmer, he is a sober, peaceable, good citizen.” [00:22:17]
“William Penn himself would not wish for more...
“William Penn himself would not wish for more. This is the visible character, the invisible one is only guessed at, and is nobody’s business. Next again lives a Low Dutchman, who implicitly believes the rules laid down by the synod of Dort. He conceives no other idea of a clergyman than that of a hired man; if he does his work well he will pay him the stipulated sum; if not he will dismiss him, and do without his sermons, and let his church be shut up for years.
But notwithstanding this coarse idea, you will find his house and farm to be the neatest in all the country; and you will judge by his wagon and fat horses that he thinks more of the affairs of this world than of those of the next. He is sober and laborious, therefore he is all he ought to be as to the affairs of this life; as for those of the next, he must trust to the great Creator. Each of these people instruct their children as well as they can, but these instructions are feeble compared to those which are given to the youth of the poorest class in Europe. Their children will therefore grow up less zealous and more indifferent in matters of religion than their parents. The foolish vanity, or rather the fury of making proselytes, is unknown here; they have no time, the seasons call for their attention, and thus in a few years, this mixed neighborhood will exhibit a strange religious medley, that will be neither pure Catholicism nor pure Calvinism. A very perceptible indifference, even in the first generation, will become apparent; and it may happen that the daughter of the Catholic will marry the son of the seceder, and settle by themselves at a distance from their parents. What religious education will they give their children? A very imperfect one. If there happens to be in the neighborhood any place of worship, we will suppose a Quaker’s meeting; rather than not show their fine clothes, they will go to it, and some of them may perhaps attach themselves to that society. Others will remain in a perfect state of indifference; the children of these zealous parents will not be able to tell what their religious principles are, and their grandchildren still less.
The neighborhood of a place of worship generally leads them to it, and the action of going thither is the strongest evidence they can give of their attachment to any sect. The Quakers are the only people who retain a fondness for their own mode of worship; for be they ever so far separated from each other, they hold a sort of communion with society, and seldom depart from its rules, at least in this country. Thus all sects are mixed as well as all nations; thus religious indifference is imperceptibly disseminated from one end of the continent to the other; which is at present one of the strongest characteristics of the Americans. Where this will reach no one can tell, perhaps it may leave a vacuum fit to receive other systems. Persecution, religious pride, the love of contradiction are the food of what the world commonly calls religion. These motives have ceased here; zeal in Europe is confined; here it evaporates in the great distance it has to travel; there it is a grain of powder inclosed, here it burns away in the open air, and consumes without effect.” [00:25:25]
Now De Crevecoeur did influence many people in Europe...
Now De Crevecoeur did influence many people in Europe with his opinion. And there was a very prevalent feeling in Europe that the Catholics who were going to America were lost Catholics, in fact there was a great deal of talk a century and more ago about the American heresy, “these horrible American Catholics” This was the feeling in Europe. “They get along so well with their neighbours, they are bound to lose all their religion. They are going to be protestants. They are going to Calvinists and Congregationalists and Baptists.
Well of course, 60 to 70 years after De Crevecoeur, De Tocqueville wrote his observations. “The Catholics,” he said, “In the United States are the best Catholics in the world. They have a more earnest and truly Christian faith, as do all the church people here.” Why? De Crevecoeur believed that the voluntaristic principle would lead to indifference, because it left everything to the individual. But what happened was that yes, with faith, indifference could result. But when the emphasis was on the faith and the voluntaristic principle it could also lead to a stronger faith, to a more self-reliant faith, and to a greater knowledge of what one was to believe, because the life of the Church depended upon a voluntaristic principle, upon the faith of the individual rather than a state church (style?). [00:27:15]
Now, the various comments of the foreigners as they...
Now, the various comments of the foreigners as they came here, are very interesting, because so many travelers came to this country and something we Americans failed to realize, they did realize in their own way without exactly saying so. They did not want to admit the superiority of America, and yet in a very real sense because of this principle of voluntarism which began the Great Awakening and the Voluntary church with its emphasis on faith, led to a new civilization. So that although we tend to think of ourselves as having a great deal in common with the Europeans, in a very real sense we are as different from the Europeans almost as the Europeans are from the Asiatics. Because our culture has a radically different foundation; it begins in the faith of the individual. We have created a distinctively American civilization, and we can never do justice to our country, whatever its faults, whatever its evils are, if we underrate the centrality of that. This is why it is easier to bring about a change in the United States, because the character of the country depends less on institutions and more on the faith of the people.
If in the next 10 or 20 years through the Christian School Movement, through Christian scholarship, through a truly Christian awakening, a Great Awakening, such as we’ve never had before, we can revive the centrality of that faith, the change in this country will be more rapid than it can be anywhere else in the world, precisely because the principle of voluntarism is so far reaching in its impact on this country, on its institutional life, its cultural life, and its political life. [00:29:53]
Now, one of the very interesting commentators was William...
Now, one of the very interesting commentators was William Cobbett Whose dates are 1762-1835, and, from 1792-1800, he was in America; he returned and became one of the great reform leaders or radicals calling for change in the political structure of parliament, a very great exponent of sound economic principle. And he wrote in America, and I quote: “If indeed the Americans were wicked, disorderly, criminal people, and of course a miserable and foolish people, then we might doubt upon the subject: then we might possibly suppose, that their wickedness and misery arose, in some degree, at least, from the want of tithes.” (Now, he’s talking about the fact that in England there is a compulsory collection of tithes from people that never go to church.) “But, the contrary is the fact. They are the most orderly, sensible, and least criminal people in the whole world. A common labouring man has the feelings of a man of honour; he never thinks of violating the laws; he crawls to nobody; he will call every man Sir, but he will call no man master. When he utters words of respect towards any one, they do not proceed from fear or hope, but from civility and sincerity. A native American labourer is never rude towards his employer, but he is never cringing.
In short, blindfold an Englishman and convey him to New York, unbind his eyes, and he will think himself in an English state. The same sort of street, shops precisely the same, the same beautiful and modest women crowding in and out of them. The same play houses, the same men, same dress, same language; he will miss by day only the nobility and the beggars; and by night only the street walkers and pickpockets. These are to be found only where there is an established clergy, upheld by what is called the state and which word means in England the Borough mongers.
But the fact is that it is the circumstance of the church being established by law that makes it of little use as to real religion; and as to morals as far as they be connected with religion. Because as we shall presently see this establishment forces upon the people parsons whom they cannot respect, and whom indeed they must despise, and it is easy to conceive that the moral precepts of those whom we despise on account of their immorality we never much attend to even supposing the precepts themselves to be good.” [00:33:06]
Then he went on to say further...
Then he went on to say further: “If men be sincere about religion, if it be not at all a mere matter of form, it must always be of the greatest consequence that the example of the teacher correspond with his teaching. And the most likely way insure this is to manage things so that he may in the first place be selected by the people, and in the second place have no rewards in view other than those which are to be given in consequence of his perseverance in a line of good conduct.
And thus it is with clergy in America, who are duly and amply rewarded for their diligence and very justly respected for the piety, talent, and zeal which they discover; but who should have no tenure of their places other than that of the will of the congregation. Hence it rarely indeed happens that there is seen amongst them an impious an immoral or a despicable Man.
Whether the teaching of even these Reverend persons have any very great effect in producing virtue and happiness amongst men, is a question upon which men may without deserving to be burnt alive take the liberty to differ; especially since the world has constantly before its eyes a society who excel in all the Christian virtues who practice that simplicity which others teach, who in the great work of charity really and truly hide from the left hand that which the right hand doeth, and who know nothing of Bishop Priest Deacon or Teacher of any description.” [00:34:53]
Now this is quite a remarkable description of church...
Now this is quite a remarkable description of church life in America. of course there were people who disagreed, and one of them was Achille Murat, who is the eldest son of Joachim Murat, whom Napoleon made King of Naples. So Achille Murat spent his childhood as a crown prince. He came to the United States and spent the rest of his life here. He was an atheist to the core, and he was very happy to see the voluntary principle here, since he believed that it was going to spread to the rest of the world someday, and if it was voluntary, that meant that Christianity would disappear, because if the state wasn’t ramming it down the throats of the people, people would never believe that nonsense.
So, Murat had nothing but contempt for the church, but all the same, he had this to say about voluntary associations, the tithe agencies; now his tone is cynical but he says: “The great number of religious societies existing in the United States is truly surprising. There are some of them for everything.” And he wrote this book for Frenchmen. “For instance societies to distribute the Bible, others to distribute tracts, to encourage religious journals, to convert, to civilize, to educate the savages, to marry the preachers; to take care of their widows and orphans; to preach, extend, purify, preserve, reform the faith; to build chapels, endow congregations, support seminaries; catechize and convert sailors, Negroes, and loose women; to secure the observance of Sunday and prevent blasphemy by prosecuting the violators; to establish Sunday schools where young ladies teach reading and the catechism to little rogues, male and female; to prevent drunkenness,” Etc. etc. [00:36:55]
“This last society in particular is and very much extended...
“This last society in particular is and very much extended. They engage never to drink any distilled liquor to permit its use in their families but nothing hinders them from drinking wine, in that they mistake the Creator for a bad chemist. The number of these societies is always increasing by hundreds because there is forthwith one at least of each sort in each state and for each sect or denomination. Thus they are Protestant, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Evangelical etc. Tract Societies for the State of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, etc. etc. There is no end to them.
Of course whatever may be the object of the society there must be at least a secretary and a treasurer, an office, office charges, printing, postage, clerks, and all the appointments of a public office, all of which are filled by preachers and more or less remunerated. This explains a little how it is that the vineyard of the Lord is so flourishing. It is by these means that immense sums are the pockets of the people. There is certainly no clergy so costly to the people as the American clergy, but it is only fair to these contributions are strictly voluntary, and I for one have no right to complain, for no preacher ever received a cent from me.” [00:38:13]
Now, in spite of his cynical tone, you see what comes...
Now, in spite of his cynical tone, you see what comes through. He believes that the voluntary principle is going to lead to the death of Christianity, but he has to say that nowhere else in the world is more money raised for Christianity, than in the United States where nobody is compelled to give. A very remarkable fact, still true. Still true.
Now, this doesn’t mean giving, let me add, is good today, it only means that is has become so abominable in the rest of the world. But the voluntary principle was producing results that even someone who believed it was suicidal ultimately, had to admit it was producing greater results than ever before in history. As a result, while he went on to say: “Voluntarism will certainly end by over throwing the Christian Religion.” And by expressing his disgust for Christianity here: “It must be admitted that looking at the physiognomy of the United States its religion is the only feature which disgusts a foreigner.” The fact is that voluntarism did not lead to a disillusion of Christianity. Because our Lord said: “Where the treasure is, there the heart will be also.” And this was amply demonstrated. [00:39:58]
Now, one of the travelers who came here was Andrew...
Now, one of the travelers who came here was Andrew Reeve, an English dissenting minister and philanthropist who came here in 1834. And he compiled statistics, comparing them with population both in this country and Europe. And so, he pointed out that the churches were very strong here in ration to population as against Europe. Thus, he said, “Massachusetts has a population of six hundred and ten thousand,” (I am rounding the figures) “six hundred churches, seven hundred and four ministers, and seventy three thousand communicants.” Well over ten percent church membership. Now that may seem very low to us, but we must remember in those days to become a church member was not an easy thing. You could attend all your life, and you would be accepted only with great difficulty into membership. You had to have a command of the doctrines of the faith, and you had to pass a very severe test. “In New York the population, one million nine hundred thousands, seventeen hundred and fifteen ministers, eighteen hundred churches, a hundred and eighty four thousand communicants. Pennsylvania, one million three hundred thousand population, one thousand one hundred and thirty three ministers, eighteen hundred and twenty nine churches, a hundred and eighty thousand communicants.” And so on.
And he says; “When you compare this with England, Scotland and Wales, the results are very, very poor, for England, Scotland and Wales. For example,” he says: “Liverpool has a population of two hundred and ten thousand. Fifty seven ministers, sixty seven churches, only eighteen thousand communicants.” And not many non-communicants going to church. Whereas in America while the membership was about ten percent, practically everybody went to church. So he says: “Against this New York city has about the same population as Liverpool, but has two and a half times as many churches, two times as many ministers, two times as many churches, and twice as many communicants.” Then he says: “Nottingham has a population of fifty thousand, twenty three ministers, twenty three churches, four thousand eight hundred communicants. But Cincinnati, a city only 14 years old and out in the forest has a population of thirty thousand, as against Nottingham’s fifty thousand, twenty two ministers, twenty one churches, eight thousand five hundred and fifty five communicants. Twice as many as Nottingham.” And so he says: “the picture in the United States is about one clergy man and one church to every thousand persons, while it gives about one in nine of the whole population as in a state of communion, and as the returns do not include the communicants connected to the Episcopal, the Catholic, and some smaller sects it is certainly not taken too high.” So you see his statistics do not include, Catholics, Episcopalians, and some smaller sects. Just the main line Protestant groups.
As a result, he says: “The American figures are very low because they have a universally strict communion. As a result, the data indicated a very remarkable fact: a vitality of faith in America. now we have a higher ratio of church membership, but not as much power with respect to faith. [00:44:20]
Moreover, various person pointed out, travelers to...
Moreover, various person pointed out, travelers to America, that the problem European countries have faced over and over again, the Catholic church controlling the state, or other reformed churches, or the Lutheran church controlling and manipulating the state, never happened in America, because there is no church that important to the people. For them it is their faith that is primary.
Now we have seen this even with Catholics, when (Oustmitt?) ran for the presidency, the Catholic hierarchy was very critical of him because he spoke primarily in terms of the faith, and ran down the importance of the church to him. And Kennedy was criticized for the same reason when he ran for the presidency, because he was talking in terms of this American heresy, he was emphasizing the centrality of his faith rather than of his church in his life.
As a result of this factor, one German scholar who came to this country and became a very important church historian here, (Philip Shack?), predicted that the Kingdom of Christ will triumph first in America. And so he wrote, this was at the latter part of the last century; “Now in this unrestrained development of splitting up of Christian interests most palpable in America, the Roman Catholics see symptoms of an approaching dissolution of Protestantism, and the negative preparation for its return into the bosom of the only saving church. That such a relapse to a position already transcended in Church history, such an annulling of the whole history of the last few centuries is according to all historical analogy impossible. How inconceivable that in this age of the general circulation of literature the book of all books can again be taken away from the people, and all of its liberties hard won by the reformation obliterated. Catholicism can indeed draw over to itself as it has lately done in England, Germany and America, individuals tired of the Protestant confusion and uncertainty, having no patience with the present and no faith in the future, longing for a comfortable pillow of absolute tangible authority. But Protestantism en-mass can never be swallowed up by it, or if it should be it would soon break out again with increased violence, and shake the Roman structure still more deeply than it did in the 16th century. We… [Tape ends.] [00:47:15]