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certain communistic societies. This is a very small and insignificant division. The Jewish division embraces simply the Orthodox and Reformed Jews. The Christian division contains, of course, the great majority of denominations and believers—Catholics, Protestants, Latter-Day Saintsall bodies not Jewish or pagan.
I consider as a denominational family all Methodist bodies. They are branches with a common stem, a common name, a common type of doctrine, and certain common features and usages. I consider as a denominational family all Presbyterian bodies. They all go back to the same source historically, they have the same name, the same confession of faith, with two or three exceptions, and the same system of government. I also class the various Lutheran bodies as a denominational family, the numerous Baptist bodies, and so on. A denominational family, therefore, is a number of branches closely affiliated in history and in common characteristics. Nowhere have denominational families developed as in the United States. In no quarter of the globe have the Lutherans or the Methodists, the Presbyterians or the Baptists, the Friends or the Mennonites, separated into so many branches as here in this land of perfect civil and religious liberty.
It was an American Presbyterian, in the great gathering of Presbyterians of all lands, in Belfast, Ireland, some years ago, who exclaimed, alluding to a reference to the “U. P's." of Scotland, and other branches, “We are little better than a lot of split P's." His observation might be given a much wider range. It is far more applicable to Protestants than to Presbyterians, we are “a lot of split P's." If there were in Milton's day “subdichotomies of petty schisms,” what phrase would that great master of vivid expression coin to fit the numberless divisions and subdivisions into which Protestantism has fallen since? We no longer classify these divisions as units, but as families of units. The Presbyterians are not simply one of these divisions, but a whole family. The Methodists, who were a sort of ecclesiola in ecclesia in Wesley's day in England, are now an ecclesia ecclesiarum the world over. According to the scientists, no atom is so small that it may not be conceived of as consisting of halves. It may be divided into halves, and these halves may in turn be divided, and so on ad infinitum. No denomination has thus far proved to be too small for division. Denominations appear in the list given in this volume with as few as twenty-five members. I was reluctantly compelled to exclude from the census one with twenty-one members.
The reason was, that while they insisted that they were a separate body and did not worship with other churches, they had no organized church of their own. Twelve of them were in Pennsylvania, divided between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, six in Illinois, and three in Missouri. They were so widely scattered they could not maintain public worship.
It is not easy to define clearly and to apply discriminatingly the term “Evangelical.” It comes, of course, from the Greek word "evangel," for which our Anglo-Saxon 'gospel,” or good news, is the close equivalent. In a general way, we mean, I suppose, when we say certain denominations are Evangelical, that they hold earnestly to the doctrines of the gospel of Christ as found in the New Testament. Evangelical and non-Evangelical are terms used generally to designate classes of churches in the Protestant division. The Evangelical churches are those which hold to the inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the Scriptures; the Trinity, the deity of Christ, justification by faith alone, and the work of the Holy Ghost in the conversion and sanctification of the sinner. The non-Evangelical churches are those which take a rationalistic view of the deity of Christ and the doctrines of grace, of which the Unitarians may be taken as an example. There are some denominations which have the word “Evangelical ” in their title, and yet are thoroughly rationalistic and therefore non-Evangelical. Practically, we may distinguish as Evangelical all those bodies which are members of the general organization known as the Evangelical Alliance, or in harmony with its articles of faith; and as non-Evangelical all other Protestant bodies.
The numerous divisions make modern ecclesiastical history an interesting study. It is interesting because it necessarily deals with so many distinct phases of religious thought, so many diverse denominational movements, and so many divergencies, great and small, in usage, discipline, and polity. But it is a peculiarly difficult study, because of the multiplicity of denominational divisions, and the labyrinth of details which must be mastered. No worse puzzle was ever invented than that which the names of the various denominations present.
We have, for example, the " Presbyterian Church in the United States " and the “ Presbyterian Church in the United States of America"; the "Reformed Church in the United States " and the "Reformed Church in America." Which is which? There are doubtless many members of these bodies who could not tell. The only apparent distinction in each of these cases is geographical. But what is the difference between the “United States” and the “ United States of America"? How is anybody to distinguish between the " Presbyterian Church in the United States” and the “ Presbyterian Church in the United States of America "?
There are, no doubt, theological distinctions between the “Reformed Church in the United States " and the “Reformed Church in America.” But what precisely are these distinctions? They cannot be of fundamental importance, because both churches accept the same symbol, the Heidelberg Catechism. We should expect the theologians of the two churches to know; but what about the body of ministers? Many may have known once, but might find it difficult to recall the exact shades of difference. As to the laymen, few of them have probably ever heard the difference described. The way we learn to distinguish between the two churches is by identifying the Reformed Church in America as the “Dutch" body, and the Reformed Church in the United States as the “ German" body; and so when we want to use these titles intelligently we bracket the words “ Dutch” and “German” in connection with them.
Among the Presbyterians there are four bodies of the Reformed variety. I have always had great difficulty in distinguishing between them. One is called the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States of America; another, the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America. One has a synod and the other a general synod. But it is not always easy to remember which has the synod and which the general synod. I have found in their monthly organs a more sure method of distinction. One of these organs has a blue cover and the other a pink
The blue-cover organ represents the general synod, and the general synod represents the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America; the pink-cover organ represents the synod, and the synod represents the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
About a century ago a number of ministers and churches
seceded from the Kirk in Scotland and organized the Secession Church. Soon after, half of this Secession Church seceded from the other half, and in process of time the halves were quartered. Then, as a matter of course, , there was a dispute among them as to who were the first seceders. Those who thought their claim best prefixed the word “Original” to their title and became Original Seceders. Then there was a union of Seceders and Original Seceders, and the result was the United Original Secession Church, or, more properly, the Church of the United Original Seceders. This is probably the only instance in which the ideas of division and union are both incorporated in one title. This title being neither ecclesiastical nor doctrinal, and not even geographical, we may properly term it mathematical, and think of the church as the Original and Only Addition Division Church in the Presbyterian family.
There are twelve bodies of Presbyterians to be distinguished, and seventeen bodies of Methodists; and Methodist titles are scarcely more helpful than Presbyterian. We have the Methodist Episcopal, which we recognize as the parent body, and which we sometimes distinguish as the Northern Church, though it covers the South as well as the North. We have the Methodist Episcopal, South, , which resulted from the division in 1844. We have the African Methodist Episcopal, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion, the Colored Methodist Episcopal, the Union American Methodist Episcopal, the African Union Methodist Protestant, the Zion Union Apostolic, and the Evangelist Missionary—all colored bodies. We have also three bodies of Congregational Methodists, none of which are Congregational in fact, with Free, Independent, Protestant, Primitive, and other varieties of Methodists, the why of which must forever remain an inscrutable mystery to the