The two societies which were afterwards merged into the Christian and Missionary Alliance were organized at Old Orchard, Maine, in the summer of 1887, for the purpose of uniting in Christian fellowship and testimony, in a purely fraternal alliance, the large number of consecrated Christians in the various evangelical churches, who believe in the Lord Jesus as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and coming Lord, and also of uniting their effort in the special aggressive work of world-wide evangelization.
They were known for many years as the Christian Alliance and the International Missionary Alliance. In the spring of 1897 they were united as the CHRISTIAN AND MISSIONARY ALLIANCE.
Within the past quarter of a century especially, God had been calling large numbers of His people into a deeper life, and Christ has been revealing Himself, personally, to them as a complete Saviour and united Himself to them through the Holy Ghost as an indwelling presence and an all-sufficient Sanctifier, Healer and Keeper.
In order to give a more emphatic testimony to those great principles which might well be called at this time present truths, that we might encourage and strengthen each other's hearts by mutual fellowship and prayer and that we might unite in various forms of aggressive work to give wider proclamation to these truths and prepare for the coming of our Lord. With this view the Alliance was formed and founded upon the especial basis of the Fourfold Gospel, as above expressed. In all other respects, and with reference to all other doctrines not expressed in the Fourfold Gospel, its attitude is strictly evangelical, holding most firmly to the verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, the doctrine of the Trinity, the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the necessity of the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost. It is not an ecclesiastical body in any sense, but simply a fraternal union of consecrated believers in connection with the various evangelical churches. It does not organize distinct churches, or require its members to leave their present church connection, but helps them to work together in the broader fellowship of sympathy, testimony and service.
The seal of God has rested upon it in an extraordinary manner. While comparatively slight efforts have been put forth to extend the organisation as such, yet its membership has increased very rapidly and numbers many thousands in all parts of the land and world. The Chief efforts of the promoters have been made in the direction of publishing the truths which form its basis, and promoting a deeper Christian life in all the churches, and in this respect the work that has been accomplished is far beyond the apparent results, as shown by the organization.
There is no antagonism whatever in the Alliance to any of the evangelical churches, but a desire to help them in every proper way, and to promote the interests of Christ's kingdom in connection with every proper Christian organization and work.
Its chief methods of work are through local conventions and its printed publications. "The Christian and Missionary Alliance," is circulated very widely and read by many thousands throughout the world. The various tracts and publications of the Alliance have been circulated in repeated editions, and several of them have been translated into various foreign languages, especially into German, Swedish, French and Japanese.
Conventions have been constantly held in the chief centres of population in almost all parts of the country, and the call for such meetings is very much greater than can be met. . . .
An important work has been done through the Alliance among the neglected classes at home through the formation of Rescue Missions. A number of these have been directly formed and sustained by the Alliance, and a much larger number promoted indirectly through its members. Scores of rescue missions are carried on throughout the country, whose helpers are members of our Alliance although the work is either independent or in connection with other organizations. Many of the mission workers throughout the country are either members of the Alliance or in full sympathy with it.
The object of this Society was the immediate evangelization of the whole world by sending out missionaries to unoccupied and neglected fields, conducting the work on evangelistic, economical and spiritual lines. The movement went on quietly for the first three years, and missionary centers were established in India, Africa, China and Palestine. As the principles of the Society became better known, God was pleased to awaken a profound and widespread response in the hearts of many of His people, and the work began to receive a liberal and remarkable support from Christians of all denominations. In the past few years it has moved forward with unusual rapidity, and has been sealed with God's peculiar blessing, until now there is a large force of about three hundred workers scattered over almost all portions of the world.
The union of the two societies consummated in April, 1897, was the natural evolution of the work. The two branches had long been practically identical in their constituency although distinct in their organization and executive government. The Christian Alliance formed the sustaining constituency of the missionary work and the Missionary Alliance was the natural outlet of the faith, love and activity of the Christian Alliance. The new organization has been able to greatly simplify the executive machinery and promote the efficiency of the entire work. . . .
In several states and districts of the United States and Canada there are auxiliaries and branches organized under a strong State Committee with a State or District Superintendent in charge of the field while in each locality there are local branches under the care of a Committee and Superintendent as far as possible. The work is promoted chiefly by means of numerous conventions held in all parts of the country. . . .
The standpoints of our missionary work are distinct and strongly marked, and we trust are fitted to commend the work to the special sympathy and support of a large number, if not all of the people of God.
1. The work is projected from the pre-millennial standpoint. We believe in the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ and that the evangelization of the world is the best way to hasten His coming. According to the program so clearly marked out in the 15th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the Lord is visiting the Gentiles in this dispensation to take out of them a people for His name and when this shall have been accomplished, we may expect the Lord's immediate return, the restoration of Israel and the opening of the millennial age. We believe that the Gospel is to be preached "in all the world as a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come." So far from paralyzing missionary effort this blessed hope has been found to be a most powerful and practical incentive to it.
2. The Alliance emphasizes the special agency and superintendence of the Holy Ghost in the work of missions, seeking only for wholly consecrated missionaries and holding the work under the constant direction of the Spirit of God. It goes without saying to add that the testimony of the Alliance is a full Gospel and the converts of our missions are led to know the Lord Jesus in His fulness and to expect the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
3. Along with this it naturally follows that the work should be a work of faith and that it should be maintained by a spirit of prayer and continual dependence upon God. Having no ecclesiastical constituency the workers on the field and the executive officers at home are led to look more directly to God for all their resources and supplies.
4. The Alliance missionary work is evangelistic and aggressive rather than educational and institutional. We do not attempt to establish educational institutions and transplant our denominational organizations to heathen soil, but to give the Gospel as rapidly as possible to all races and tongues.
5. Our chosen fields are the "regions beyond," the unoccupied portions of the heathen world, and so our missionaries have been led into the most difficult and remote regions and enabled to introduce the Gospel to many sections where Christ had not been named. . . .
6. The principle of economy is rigidly aimed at. The expenses of home administration are reduced to the lowest possible figure. Missionaries on the field are not promised regular salaries, but simply their expenses, and all the workers unite to make the means at our disposal accomplish the largest possible results without sacrificing or crippling the work.
7. The principle of sacrifice is the deepest element of power in the work. Again and again has it been displayed upon the field by the missionaries themselves and not less by the self-sacrificing gifts of those who sustain them at home. One of the latest gifts received by us for missions, was ten dollars from a farmer in Oregon, who had intended to use this money to can and preserve his crop of fruit, but who felt that he must sacrifice this and send it all to give the Gospel to the world. We are glad to say that the farmer afterwards got his sugar from another source and his money also went to spread the Gospel, but while such a spirit of self-sacrifice lives the work can never die.
Several important institutions have grown up in the past few years in connection with the work. The most important of these are the Gospel Tabernacle, New York, the Missionary Institute, the Home School for the training of evangelists, Berachah Home, the Alliance Home, New York; Berachah Orphanage, Christian and Missionary Alliance journal, the Christian Alliance Pub. Co., New York and Nyack. A brief notice of these is essential to the record of our work.
Foundation. The New York Missionary Training Institute was founded in 1882, by Rev. A.B. Simpson. The school was born in an atmosphere of faith and grew up in a spirit of self-denial and prayer. From the beginning, the seal of God's approval rested upon the undertaking. From some years, like the tent in the wilderness, the Institution was removed from place to place as the providence of God directed, until 1890, when, in connection with the Gospel Tabernacle, a suitable home was provided in a five-storey brick structure at 690 Eighth Avenue, New York City. Here the Institute was located for six years. From its opening this building, with a capacity of fifty, was overtaxed, so that at every session students had to secure outside accommodations. Indeed, the attendance increased so rapidly that in the winter of 1896-97, over two hundred students were enrolled and many applications had to be refused. Thus the necessity for a larger building became apparent. The cost of land in New York and the distractions to student life in the city, led to the choice of a rural site for the school. South Nyack was selected, and here the new Missionary Institute was erected. The corner stone was laid in April, 1897, and the building formally opened in October the same year.
Location. Nyack, New York, is situated on the right bank of the Hudson River, about twenty-eight miles from New Jersey City. Here in the charming suburb of South Nyack, and on a mountain side at an elevation of about four hundred feet, stands the Institute building, commanding a view of the Hudson for twenty miles.
The Building. It is a plain, substantial structure of noble and graceful proportions, simple in plan and impressive in style of architecture, and presenting a striking and beautiful appearance. The building is two-hundred and fifty feet long, four stories in height and has an extreme depth of about seventy feet. It is composed of a central part flanked by two wings. On the first floor of the central part is a large and well appointed Library Room, which already had the nucleus of a good working theological and missionary library. Above this is the chapel with a seating capacity of four hundred, in which the usual daily lectures are held. Over the chapel are four small class rooms. Including single and double rooms there are ample and comfortable accommodations for two hundred and fifty students.
The Institute is a co-educational school, the ladies occupying the southern and the gentlemen the northern wing, and having separate dining rooms. The students meet together in the freedom of home life at morning prayers, in lecture and class rooms, and at other public exercises; but there is maintained at the same time that wise and prudent oversight which in an institution of such character is both desirable and necessary.
Object. The past generation has witnessed a new movement which has for its object the speedy evangelization of the world through channels entirely distinct from, yet in friendly co-operation with the recognized and conservative denominational agencies. To carry forward this evangelistic and missionary movement both at home and abroad the need has arisen for young people, who without an elaborate classical and theological education, but with a simple Biblical training, and with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, will go forth like flaming evangels to proclaim the whole Gospel to the whole world. Moreover, in response to this need God is calling from office and store, from work bench and farm, from the school and the home many who are offering themselves in deep consecration and in holy enthusiasm for this work. These young people have the spirit of true missionaries, but are without the necessary training, and to prepare them for efficient work for Christ, both at home and abroad, is the object of the Institute.
The school aims also to meet the need of older students who feel called to some special form of Christian service, but who have not had the advantages of good education.
Course of Study. In accordance with its object to prepare students for efficient service for Christ in mission lands and in the Word of God, and a practical and experimental training in the various forms of evangelistic and Christian work, the Bible is the main text book. Instruction is given chiefly by the lecture method. The courses of study are confined to the Scriptures and subjects closely related to the Bible and Christian work.
In order to give training in city mission work a Midnight Mission has been opened in New York City at 291 Eighth Avenue. The students go from Nyack in parties of ten, men and women, alternatively, boarding in the Home School at 690 Eighth Avenue and assisting in the mission. There is a Gospel Mission in Nyack which has been opened by the Institute and is conducted largely by the students, giving them practical training in Christian work.
The most thoughtful and loving attention is given to each student, individually by the Resident Superintendent and Secretary, and earnest spiritual counsel continually offered. Opportunity is provided each day for private devotion that each one may have the privilege for a certain length of time of being alone with God.
The term begins the second week in October and closes the first of the following May. Students are admitted at any time, but it is desirable that they shall remain if possible for at least the entire period of each term.
Expenses. The tuition is absolutely free. Text books are furnished at cost. The price of board is $4.00 a week including room, heat and light. Other personal expenses depend upon the economy of the student.
Requirements for Admission. The Institute is unsectarian and open to all men and women called of God to engage in Christian work at home or abroad. Special attention, however, is given to the equipment of foreign missionaries and securing their adaptability to their various fields of labor. The students are entirely free to choose their future work as the Lord may lead them in connection with an evangelical church or providential field at home or abroad.
The principal qualification for admission is a consecrated heart, a special fitness for, and a distinct call to, direct work for Christ and souls. . . .
The building formerly occupied by the New York Missionary Institute at 690 Eighth Avenue, New York, has been used since the removal of the Institute to Nyack as a Training School for home workers, and a Missionary Home. A short course of Bible study and missionary training lasting about six weeks is conducted in this place and students are chiefly employed in missionary work and house-to-house visitation in the neighbourhood. The expenses of the course are nominal and the advantages are very great.
In connection with this school a Rescue Mission has been opened near the corner of Eighth Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street. This mission while, accomplishing a blessed work for the salvation of souls, is at the same time an admirable training school for our home workers. It is under the care of Miss M. Agnew. In connection with this mission a kindergarten has been established and much excellent local work is done in the neighbourhood. During the first year of the mission, a large number of souls have been led to Christ and some of them are already students under preparation for future missionary work. The workers trained in this institute are expected to be employed in the home field as superintendents of Alliance branches, evangelists, city missionaries, and rescue workers. . . .
This home was opened in the year 1884 for the purpose of offering a place of rest and instruction for persons coming from various parts of the country in order to attend the meetings of the Tabernacle, and receive instruction with reference to their spiritual and physical life. It is the oldest of the various institutions that have sprung up in connection with the work of the Gospel Tabernacle. The subject of divine healing, in a simple and Scriptural form, has been one of the teachings of this work from the beginning. Very early God began to manifest His power and seal the work by many remarkable cases of healing.
The first Home was No. 331 West Thirty-fourth Street. Then No.328 West Twenty-third Street was given for the purpose and occupied for several years, after which it was moved to 100 and 102 East Sixty-first Street, a much larger building, which was filled for several years with a delightful household.
In 1887 the new Home at 250 West 44th Street was erected. It is a commodious building holding about 100 guests and specially adapted to the purposes of the work. In 1897 it was deemed best to remove the special work of Berachah Home to the new building at South Nyack where it has since been carried on. The Nyack Home is delightfully situated on the west bank of the Hudson about twenty-eight miles north of New York City. The building is commodious and most comfortable and the surroundings in every way delightful and appropriate. It is reached by the Erie Railroad from the foot of West 23rd Street or Chambers Street. About thirty trains a day communicate with Nyack. The New York Home is now used as a place of entertainment and rest for our Alliance people as they pass through the city or sojourn there for a longer or shorter time. It is in a sense a family hotel under Christian influences and auspices and is constantly filled with friends of the work, returned missionaries and others from all parts of the country and the world. Daily devotional services are conducted in the chapel in the rear under the direction of Mr. J. Pulis and others. The work both in the Nyack and the New York Homes is under the personal direction of Miss S. Lindenberger, our first deaconess, assisted by several other workers.
This work has now been in existence since 1883. It originated in the need of a work of publication for the Alliance. The first periodical was, "The Gospel in All Lands," which is now the organ of the Methodist Missionary Society of this country. The next magazine was "The Word, Work and World," which was continued as a monthly for several years. The present organ is the "Christian and Missionary Alliance," a paper with a larger and increasing circulation, reaching tens of thousands of people throughout the land and the world.
Many tracts and books have been issued during the past eight years, some of them reaching large editions. The work has not been carried on as a business enterprise, but as a channel of usefulness, and we believe, more good had been accomplished in this way than by any other single instrumentality in connection with this work.
The retail book and tract room of the company is at 692 Eighth Avenue, and the wholesale and manufacturing department at South Nyack, where special buildings have been erected for the purpose and a large and complete printing, stereotyping and embossing plant has been established, and most of the books, tracts and mottoes sold by the Publishing Company are manufactured there. The printing house is known as the Alliance Press. The principal publication of the work is the "Christian and Missionary Alliance Weekly," an illustrated journal of twenty pages, having a large subscription list in the United States, Canada, and almost all foreign countries. While not strictly the organ of the Alliance, as it is an independent journal, yet it is the channel through which the work is most widely known, and God has been pleased to use it as an important instrumentality in building up the cause of holiness and the work of missions. . . .
Another important publication is the Alliance Colportage Library, a semi-monthly series of volumes on various lines of advance truth by a large variety of writers, and sent through the second class mails as a special effort to counteract the false literature of the day and circulate the highest religious truth in a cheap and popular form. Volumes averaging about 125 to 150 pages are sold, in lots of ten, for ten cents each, and to annual subscribers at a still lower price. . . .
The work of the Orphanage formerly carried on at College Point, N.Y., is now transferred for the most part to South Nyack, where the girls of the Institution have a separate home, the boys having been transferred for the present to the care of an independent Boys' Home, an excellent institution which has rented and may purchase the property at College Point, formerly used for the Berachah Orphanage. It is extremely desirable that all the work should be in as close touch as possible, and it is expected that a permanent home will be ultimately built at Nyack. In connection with the Orphanage a bright little paper, "Echoes from the Valley of Blessing," is issued monthly at the low subscription price of twenty-five cents a year. The Orphanage is under the direction of a Board of Trustees and is incorporated under the laws of the State of New York.