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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 27

Church Organisations

Church Organisations.

Christianity is, and always has been, represented in the world by the Christian churches. The churches are organisations, distinguished by different forms of government, by different rituals and forms of worship, and chiefly by different and conflicting systems of religious belief, contained in hostile creeds, articles, confessions, and standards of faith. This last fact is that which appears to me to carry with it the final condemnation of all Christian churches alike as they exist down to the present day. All other differences may be necessary, or if not necessary, may be expedient, and therefore lawful. But unity in the object of worship and in the fundamental principles of belief and practice must be the essential and distinguishing mark of the one Church founded by Him who restored and announced to the whole world the obscured faith in one living and true God.

I assume, of course, that not one of the Christian churches can successfully set up so much as a shadow of a rational claim to regard itself, or to be regarded by others, as being itself the sole Church of Christ.