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27
Feb

Christian unity quiz

Pop quiz! When was the following quote written?
(a) 1928; (b) 1948; (c) 1968; (d) 1988; (e) 2008

A feeling of brotherhood is fast growing among Christians, and this will become more pronounced. Creeds as a test of fellowship are being repudiated and will doubtless be less in favor as time passes. Christians will recognize and accept the truth each other has held. Denominational lines will gradually fade out as they are beginning to do now and rivalries will consequently cease. All Christians will feel free to worship together and to help each other in Christian work. Cooperation in Christian work will be common and is now becoming so. True Christians will gradually come to the true basis for unity by God’s working in their consciousness. They will eventually wake up to find themselves in loving fellowship with division walls gone.

Answer will be in the first comment, so as not to spoil the fun. (Sorry, Facebookers, I mean the first comment on my blog. Dig around, you’ll find it.)

7 Responses to “Christian unity quiz”

  1. Dave Says:

    The correct answer is …

    (a) 1928.

    This was written by Russel R. Byrum, one of the second-generation leaders in the Church of God. He helped shape the movement’s self-understanding and moved it away from sectarianism in the 1920s and 1930s.

    But it sure sounds like it could be written today, I think…

    (Quote taken from Barry L. Callen’s “Following the Light” (Anderson, Indiana: Warner Press, 2000), p. 133.)

  2. Tara Says:

    *sigh* Self-understanding? Away from sectarianism? Maybe this generation will get a bit closer than the last couple.

  3. Dave Says:

    Well, by “away from sectarianism,” I mean “away from thinking that all other Christian groups are sinful divisions of the church.”

    And “self-understanding” … the early Church of God saw its movement as the fulfillment of the prophecies in the book of Revelation. There was a huge church-historical interpretation of Revelation in the first generation of the Church of God. For instance, they found historical significance in the spans of time in Revelation, and they found a way to interpolate the year 1880 (when the Church of God began) from those spans of time. Byrum was the first to really challenge that point of view, and in that way he shaped the self-understanding of the Church of God away from this kind of thinking. (And I’m glad he did.)

  4. Dad A. Says:

    “When was the following quote written?”

    FINALLY — I have caught you in a grammatical error! “Quote” is a verb. The noun that you want in your question above is “quotation.”

    Oh — and BTW — 3-3-09 was indeed a square root date. What do you math types call today’s date? 3-6-09?

  5. Dave Says:

    Hmm… good point. But m-w.com says that “quote” can be used as a noun, as well…

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quote%5B2%5D

    Anyway, point taken. As for 3-6-09, I don’t know that there’s a fancy name for what today is, but it’s definitely a fun date. 4-8-12, 5-10-15, 6-12-18 … lots to look forward to in the upcoming years. 🙂

  6. Spaugh Says:

    I think a lot depends on how you define “Christian.” I think one of Satan’s main strategies–really throughout history–has been to divide the Church. The fact that there might be uncertainty about when the quote is written says a lot to that point. I don’t expect a change in that plan anytime soon. If anything, I expect things to get worse. What I *do* expect to happen is a core group (possibly youth-led) will lead a revolution based on real honesty, transparency, and miracles from God. Among those, there will be a true unity in the Spirit.

  7. Mom A. Says:

    Well, let’s think about this. The church world of the 1880’s was full of hatred and suspicion among various denominations. Early Church of God leaders, who were nearly all in their twenties, were excited about the revolution they felt they were participating in – offering an alternative to the division that surrounded them. They experienced unity in the Spirit and miracles from God. I have no way of evaluating their transparency, but I do believe in their honesty. It felt as fresh and radical and life-giving and barrier-breaking to them as anything we can imagine today. Those young people and their enthusiasm were the foundation for what became the Church of God. That’s the backstory.

    It is true that in the 1920’s and 30’s the Church of God became more entrenched in its own systems which had naturally developed over the course of time. In some areas, the message had changed from “Come to us and live in holiness free of division” to “If you do not come to us, you are unholy and divisive.” It’s an unfortunate switch but one that can easily happen as any organization matures (though the early CHOG pioneers would have been loathe to call it an organization). Sadly, this is the kind of preaching that still was the norm in my area of Ohio as I grew up – even though Anderson and much of the rest of the church had moved beyond that. Thank God I came to AU (then AC) and learned a different way to believe!

    However, I think the practical reality is that people do have varying beliefs and practices, and they tend to feel most comfortable among others with the same beliefs and practices. So there are still divisions – albeit not generally as acrimonious as in the 1880’s, or even as those I knew in my childhood. Today people are more inclined to be willing to cooperate with folks of different faiths, and less inclined to shun them than they were before.

    The down side to that is that as people of various beliefs become more blended, they can lose their distinctive beliefs in the process. Today the Church of God includes folks from many different church backgrounds, but most don’t know much about our historic core beliefs because we now tend to emphasize the same general teachings that would apply to nearly any denomination.

    That’s my two cents for this time. Good discussion.

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