Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Will Youth Destroy or Redeem the Church?

I hope that title grabbed your attention.  It's a pretty provocative question that may be as appropriate today as it was when first made in a church bulletin in 1925.  I was rooting through boxes of historical material that had been left to the church by one of our long standing members who had recently died.  Jean was our historian and had been gathering a variety of materials, and among these was a folder full of bulletins and newsletters for Central Woodward Christian Church.  Among these was set of bulletins from one of the predecessor churches -- Woodward Avenue Christian Church, which merged with Central Christian Church in 1926.

This note printed in the bulletin caught my eye and I'd like to share it.  As you read consider that this is written in 1925.  It is a time when the United States was seeking normalcy after the wrenching experience of World War I.  Pacifism was on the rise, as was the Social Gospel (though in a softer, less radical form).  Taking into consideration the realities of the 1920s, consider this statement.  What do you hear in these statements drawn up by students at Doane College:

Will Youth Destroy or Redeem the Church.  Seventy students of Doane College recently organized their own church, with Harold Cooper as Pastor.  But, instead of accepting any of the many creeds and church constitutions, they made up their own statement of ideals and here they are:

"I believe in the God of the universe as a God of love. 
"I believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God, and in His way of life as the way of God for man. 
"I believe in the worth of personality, and in the response of human nature to good. 
"I believe in the universal brotherhood of man as taught by Jesus and that the realization of this brotherhood will come through the applications of His law of love to every relationship of life.
"I believe that the church should be the leader of the movement for world-wide peace and unity, and that the abolition of war is the first great step. 
"I believe in prayer as communion with God, to be used not only as a source of strength and power, but as a source of spiritual satisfaction and growth."

Read again the above and decide what would happen to our church, if youth were given a free hand in the affairs of the Kingdom.  How many of the above ideals are your ideals and how many of them do you reject?    


 Which of these ideals speak to our era -- this age of a possible new great awakening?

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