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JOHN THOMAS, M.D., an Englishman, came to this country in 1844, and identified himself with the Disciples of Christ. Soon after, his views changed and he became convinced by a study of the Bible that the cardinal doctrine of the existing churches correspond with those of the apostate church predicted in Scripture. He began to publish his views, and organized a number of societies in this country, Canada, and Great Britain.
No name was adopted for these societies until the Civil War broke out. The members applied to the government to be relieved from military duty in consequence of conscientious scruples, and finding it necessary to have a distinctive name, that of Christadelphians, or Brothers of Christ, was adopted.
The Christadelphians do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity. They hold that Christ was Son of God and Son of man, manifesting divine power, wisdom, and goodness in working out man's salvation and attaining unto power and glory by his resurrection. He is the only medium of salvation. The Holy Spirit is an effluence of divine power. They believe in the natural mortality of the soul, and that eternal life is only given by God to the righteous; that the devil is the evil principle of human nature; that Christ will shortly come personally to the earth and set up the kingdom of God in place of human governments; that this kingdom will be established in Canaan, where the twelve tribes of Israel will be gathered; and that at the end of a thousand years judgment will be pronounced upon all, the just receiving eternal life, the unjust eternal death.
The Christadelphians practice immersion. They have no ordained ministers. Those who speak and conduct services are called "lecturing" or serving" brethren. Their meetings are all held, with four exceptions, in public halls or private houses. They have in all 63 organizations, with 1277 members, who are scattered over twenty States. There are 59 halls, with a seating capacity of 6085.
9 I 2 I 7 I I 3 3 4 1
89 40 245
4 20 90 92 IO 25 60 IOO 137
1.- THE CHRISTIANS.
This body, which is commonly known as the Christian Connection, but owns only the simple designation
The Christians," had its beginning in the early part of the present century in the union of three distinct movements: one in which Rev. James O'Kelley, of Virginia, a Methodist, was prominent; another in which Abner Jones, M.D., of Vermont, a Baptist, was first; and a third in which Barton W. Stone, and other Presbyterian ministers in Kentucky and Ohio, coöperated. These three movements, each independent and unknown to the leaders of the others until 1806, were alike in taking the Bible as the only rule of faith, and in rejecting Calvinism. Mr. Stone and many ministers and congregations subsequently united with the Disciples of Christ, with which this denomination is often confounded. They are much alike in many respects; they have no creeds, taking the Bible simply as their rule of faith and practice; they emphasize the importance of the union of all believers in Christ; they believe that immersion is the only true form of baptism (a few ministers among the Christians also believe that sprinkling is baptism), and that believers only are its proper subjects, rejecting infant baptism.
The Christians make difference of theological views no bar to membership. Holding to the inspiration and divine authority of the Bible, they allow every one to interpret it for himself. They believe in the divinity of Christ and in his preëxistence, and that he made atonement for the sins of all men. They admit to the communion table believers of other denominations, and also receive into membership persons who do not believe in immersion.
In church government the Connection is Congregational. It has, however, annual conferences, composed of ministers and lay delegates from the churches. These conferences receive and ordain pastors, but they can pass no regulations binding on the churches. There is a general convention which meets once every four years, called the American Christian Convention, which cares for the missionary, educational, and other general interests of the Church.
At the General Convention held in Cincinnati in 1854, in consequence of the adoption of resolutions declaring against slavery, representatives of the Southern churches withdrew, the result of which was the organization of the Christian Church, South. The two bodies have agreed upon a form of union, by which each retains its general conference.
There are 75 annual conferences, covering, in whole or in part, twenty-four States. The strongholds of the denomination are Ohio, where it has nearly 26,000 members, and Indiana, where it has somewhat less than 20,000. In all there are 90,718 members, divided among 1281 organizations or congregations. These organizations have 963 church edifices, which are worth $1,637,202. The average value is $1700, and the average seating capacity 313. Halls to the number of 218, with a seating capacity of 24,725, are occupied as places of worship.
540 20,239 64,660
3 104 214 54 49 41 60
3 64 186 32
8 15 28
4 23 15 I 20
65 273 69 8
57 247 54 8
muni. Property $1,600
181 2,800 63,135
5,745 230,925 19,832 32,775 2,555 8,250
1,676 5,605 76,380 3,451 160,300
1,627 1,000 62,950
1,489 257,850 7,520 23,055
4,896 392,500 25,952 98,500
335 8,875 1,390 4,456 704 5,955 579
5,650 7,690 8,325 7,975 4,000
475 6,178 4,400 28,710 17,710 83, 105 17,обо 2,525
Total ....... 1,281
301,692 $1,637,202 90,718
2.—THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, SOUTH.
In consequence of the adoption by the General Convention of Christians, held at Cincinnati in 1854, of resolutions opposed to slavery, and denouncing it as an evil, the churches of the South withdrew and formed a separate organization. The Christian Church, South, is in general agreement in doctrine and practice with the Northern churches, and it is claimed by some that the two bodies are now practically one.