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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 1918)
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TKe Rich Young
The New York World of Monday Dec. 10thf
published the following extracts from sermon
delivered la reply to a suggestion from John D;
Rockefeller, Jr., to .the effect that the Baptists
drop immersion as a requirement for church
"Two Baptist mlhistersthe Rev. Frank M. .
Goodchild of Central Baptist church and the Revv
Charles A. Eaton of Madison4 Avenue Baptist
church yesterday devoted their sUrjnons to re
plying to the recent plea of John D. Rockefeller,
Jr that baptism by immersion no longer shduld
be a requisite of church membership. ""
" 'Go ye, therefore, and "teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the.Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teach them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you. And lo, I am with you alway, even unto
the -end of the world, Amen,' was Dr. Goodchild's
text, and he said: , f ,
" 'The proposition to make radical changes in
the organization, of our church was advanced by
one of the younger leaders of our denomination, '
the son of a man who has organized a great
business enterprise, that has reached to the re
motest corners of the world. It has evidently
occurred to him that if Ills father's genius for
m organization were carried into the church, the
" spiritual enterprise to which he applied, himself
would become as dominant in the world as has
the commercial concern with which h,e has
busied himself.' , '
- "The preacher spoke on Mr. Rockefeller's
'dream which grew out of the contemplation of
the great multitudes of men ,who arc lighting
for the cause of righteousness and justice Jn
this war,' and whose ideals were not implanted
by the. church. He dwelt upon the pervasiveness
of church influence-which he said w.as,everyr
wherevand continued. ' ',." . . -4".H
" 'So at the outset this slight putuppn the
church, is gratuitous and unwarranted.'
"Referring to Mr. Rockefeller's statement
that the generosity and self-sacrifice exhibited
.since the war began is the expression of an, in
articulate religion, the minister said that 'an
inarticulate church is bujt a dream a church
without a creed, without a ritual, and without
ordinances, but only a right life as its fdunda-'
tion- that is his dream. Such an organization
would not be a Christian church; .it would not
come up to the requirements of a Jewish syna
gogue; it would not be a recognizable Unitarian
church; it would be founded entirely on an eth
ical basis;, it would be a Society for Ethical cul?
true, nothing moro.
" 'Mr. Rockefeller's address is..-a subtle attack
on the validity of the New Testament and the
authority of Jesus Christ. An attack -on the
ordinances of Jesus Christ established jte in. re
ality an attack on the wisdom and authority of
Jesus Christ.' . ';'
"Dr Eatons declared Mr. '. Rockefeller had
raised a very serious question, and continued:
" 'The Baptist people in their origin stoodfor
some of the greatest 'realities in 'the spiritual
life of the world they fought fdr absolute free
dom of conscience for separation of church
and statefor the right of every man to wor
ship God and to do his thinking In his own way
t the fundamental basis of these views lay In
the belief that religion is purely spiritual, and
that all Christian men are on an equality spirit- "
ually. Down the centuries these great issues
have been fought through until they have be
come the common property of the world. The
question, therefore, is: Shall the Baptist denom
ination cease to exist, havirig fulfilled its func
tion?' - - -
D"r. Goodchild protested against "an inarticu
late church,"' and .suggested that the abolition
of creeds wJould convert the church into a "so
ciety for 'ethical culture."
Dr.! Go'ddchlld is right. There are societies
enough rijow- for those who want a creedless
church;, a'ndrir any more are -needed they can be
easily organized. It Is not necessary, therefore,
for 'any church to abandon its creed in order to
ac.comihBdtfte those who have' 'an aversion to
creeds5," and surely no such change should be
made -merely for the purpose of "securing more
members., c ' ' .
The J Baptist church- is a great insti
tution with it noble record of service and
sacrifice. It stands for a certain inter
pretation of the Scriptures, just as the
Methodists and Presbyterians stand for a differ
ent interpretation of certain passages, but these
differences do not prevent friendship between
them and co-operation In defense of the spirit
ual life against materialistic attacks.
ThoMotal number of Christians is probably
greater with division on minor points than it
would have been with a forced unity in all
People do not join a church because of the
size of the church, but because It is home to '
thom and a church homo, like the home of the
individual, does not depend on bigness but upon
harmonious co-operation among the members.
If Drs Goodchild and Eaton want a Bible il
lustration to use in support of their contention
they will find one in the parable of the rich
young, man. t
Judged by the WORLD'S standards the Master
was- very much in need of influential friends,
ancLthe rich young man gavo a very plausible
excuse for accepting him as a follower, for ho
had kept the commandments from his youth. He
was, negatively speaking, quite an exemplary
young man, but Christ could read his heart and
discover his weak point. He put money first,
and so, "went away sorrowing." He had "great
possessions" and doubtless he had the social
prominence that usually goes with great posses
sions, but Christ did not lower by a hair's
breadth the requirements. He lost a follower
who would not follow, but ho built a church
which will grow as long as those in authority
have enough faith in their religion to refuse to
, surrender the moral integrity of the church to
please those who want to convert it into a dor
mitory. W. J. BRYAN.
A LETTER OP THANKS
The following letter explains itself. Words
fail to" express Mr. Bryan's grateful appreciation
of the generous Words of his esteemed -co-workers:
"Hon William Jennings Bryan, Miami, Fla.
Dear Mr. Bryan: As general superintendent,
legislative superintendent and legislative com
mittee of the Anti-Saloon League of America,
we wish to express to you our very great appre
ciation: of the service you have rendered In help
ing to secure the adoption by congress of the
resolution for national prohibition.
"As democracy's greatest prophet of reform
you have many times rendered conspicuous ser
vice for the right; never more so than In the
present case During all the 'recent months lead
ing up to the final battle, your voice has sounded
the high note of idealism in this Ight for hu
manity, has inspired your friends to confidence
and enthusiasm, and has . sent the shock of
alarm throughout the ranks of the liquor forces.
This period of continued and distinguished ser
vice found fit completion dn your great address
last Wednesday night at the Metropolitan Meth
odist Episcopal church and the overflow meeting
at the First Presbyterian church before the an
nual convention of the Anti-Saloon League of
America; In your return to the national capitol
for the final struggle in the house, and in your
history-making and memorable reply to Mr.
Gompers which, added to your unquestioned in
fluence with the -members of the congress, did
so much to put the cause- of temperance and pro
hibition 'over the top
"But we must not undertake to recount your
services. We ..wish only on behalf of ourselves
and our constituency to express to you our heart
iest congratulations and good will and our deep
est, sense of appreciation for your great service.
"Generations yet unborn will rise up to call
you blessed. Women and children without num
ber who havo had to sit In sack-cloth and ashes,
robbed of their right and despoiled of their best
treasures by the greedy, conscienceless, lecher--ous
traffic in strong drink, will not cease to
thank God that He sent you to help proclaim the
day of their deliverance.
"May your 'bow abide in strength.'
"Sincerely and respectfully yours,
"P. A. Baker, general superintendent; James
Cannon, Jr., chairman; A. J. Barton; Edwin
C. Dinwiddle, legislative superintendent;
Wayne B. .Wheeler, secretary ;. Ernest C.
Cherrlngtoh. Legislative- Committee of Anti--?'
Saloon League of America." .""-
Why Not Anoftte
The manufacturers of intoxicants haViG ju
discovered that It is POSSIBLE for the amend
ment to bo ratiflod by thirty-six (carefully se
lected) states tho necessary number although
the ratifying states may not contain a majority
of tho people of the United States. And they
have discovered that a majority In the state
legislature may not represent a popular major
ity In the state. These discoveries are stated
as if startling, and yet tho facts have existed for
a century and a third without attracting much
If these facts have not prevented the ratifica
tion of the other amendments already adopted,
why should they stand in tho way of this par
If tho manufacturers of Intoxicants though
they have never respected the right of the ma
jority before have really been converted to
popular government If they are In EARNEST
let them join with friends of reform and so
amend the constitution as to make it more eas
ily amendable Why not use the present occa
sion to bring tho federal constitution up to date
by making It possible for the people to rule?
The constitution now requires the consent of
two-thirds of both houses to the submission of
an amendment why not allow a MAJORITY to
submit? And, Instead of requiring ratification
by three-fourths of the states why not permit
ratification by a MAJORITY of tho states, speak"
lng through a popular vote taken at a general
election, provided, a majority of the pe-plo fof
the nation declare In favor of the, amendment. '
Such a changG in the method of, amending the
constitution would not only prevent amendment
by a MINORITY but would make It possible for
the majority to make such changes as they (de
sire, thus putting the federal government in the
hands of the people, W. J. BRYAN.,
(THE PRESIDENT ,NAILS A FALSEHOOD
' Dec..l7thl917l "'
The White House,
Washington, D. C.
My dear Mr. Bryan,
My attention has been called to a book in.
which the author states by very clear implica
tion that I demanded your resignation as secre
tary of state because of language used by you
In an Interview with Ambassador Dumba soon
after the first Lusitania note.
You may quote me as saying that I did not
ask for your resignation or desire it, as any one
can learn from my note "accepting your resigna
tion. And this statement ought also to be a,
sufficient answer to the criticism of you based,
upon the Dumba interview, for I could not make,
It If I thought you responsible for the misinter
pretation placed upon that interview. iut Berlin. ,,.
But knowing at the time all the facts I d
not give the matter serious thought and may add,,
in justice to you, that as you promptly corrected
the misinterpretation, within a few!(days, after
it was brought to your attention lit cojild not,
have affected the diplomatic situation.
Cordially and sincerely- yours,
(Signed) WOODROW WILSOr",'
In choosing members of the legislature that
are to c vote upon the adoption of 'the national'
constitutional amendment prohibiting the maiuv,
facture and sale of liquors, dry voters j&'ould be,
sure that the mantle of perfervid patriotism dofia,
not cover the form of some representative of the.'
liquor interests. The candidate wHo says that he,
is for America and refuses to say wh6revh'e
stands on prohibition justifies any suspicions!.. of
his good faith that may be entertained,. , '" ' ,f
Red tape is very useful in the tying up p
packages to send to the boys abroad, but it, is &
hindrance when used in the departments, at,
Washington. As the surgeon paid toVtlie-.jaon
with the inflamed appendix, "let!s cut it. out.'
' rrr . .,: i
The liquor interests oppose the subm.Issi.9n; of
national prohibition NOW on the .ground 'tji&t,
they fear it will prevent a united support of jthej
government during the war. Arid yet this!. is, ,
the same crowd that would, If it could," ja&ajcg ;,ii,
drunkard of ejery soldier andJteavetbe!natlba,
defenseless before a foreign foe
' - -1
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