Adopted by the General Council, May 26-30, 1912
Amended by the General Council, March 25-28, 1913
The Christian and Missionary Alliance, owing to providential developments, finds itself called to readjust itself to a larger fellowship on the basis of the recognition of Jesus Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming Lord, and comprising the following constituent elements:
The objects sought by this Society include the following:
- To promote unity of faith in the Lord Jesus in His fullness, earnest effort for the conversion of souls, and the deepening of the spiritual life of Christians everywhere, by means of teaching and testimony in the power of the Holy Spirit, without reference to ecclesiastical uniformity, but in cordial sympathy with all evangelical Christians or organizations.
- That Christians in a given locality, in sympathy with the truths for which the Alliance stands, but of different church affiliations, may be afforded fellowship with one another and with the larger association of kindred believers, without affecting their denominational relations, may be stimulated as loyal witnesses to Jesus Christ in His fullness, and may have a common channel for voluntary cooperation in world-wide full gospel efforts.
- That denominational churches and city and highway missions of kindred spirit and type may have the opportunity of voluntary association with this larger fellowship, and of co-operation in spreading the full gospel at home and abroad.
- That the foreign missionaries and missions of the Alliance may enjoy the widest possible fellowship and support.
As a condition of sharing this fellowship, it is understood that all individual members, local groups, undenominational churches, city, highway and foreign missions uniting in this association shall accept the supervision provided for in the accompanying Constitution, and that the independent churches formed out of Branches of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the city and highway missions, shall agree to such legal relations in respect of property as shall secure the perpetual use of permanent investments for the full gospel work under the charge of the Alliance.
This condition does not interfere with the interdenominational character of the Alliance. Its attitude toward such independent churches and companies is simply the same as toward individuals, namely, one of cordial recognition and helpfulness. It is to be clearly understood that such full relations between the Alliance and these churches or companies are always effected on the initiative of the churches or companies themselves, and not through the solicitations of the Alliance. The latter merely accepts the trusteeship for the properties of such churches or companies, and the responsibility of supplying or approving their ministers or leaders, with a view to assuring their permanent adherence to the full gospel truths for which the Alliance stands.
In addition to these various constituent elements, the Alliance also welcomes the co-operation of such evangelical denominations and groups of churches or Christians, not identified with it in corporate relations, as may be disposed to send their missionaries under its Board and contribute their missionary offerings through its Treasurer.
The condition of membership shall be belief in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in the verbal inspiration of the Holy Scripture as originally given; in the vicarious atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the eternal salvation of all who believe in Him and the eternal punishment of all who reject Him; recognition of the truths of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King, as taught by the Christian and Missionary Alliance; full sympathy with the Society's principles and objects, and co-operation by contributing to its work.
The organization of the Alliance shall be on the principle of local, district and international Branches, each circle being organized in detail consistently with the general type of organization defined in the following Constitution. All legislative and executive features shall be upon the basis of well-balanced liberty and responsibility, heading up in a periodic representative Council of supreme legislative authority, and in an executive Board of Managers.
The ultimate power of the Society shall be vested in its entire membership, and delegated by them to a General Council, thoroughly representative of the whole constituency, on some agreed basis of selection. This council shall consist of all the officers and members of the Board of Managers, and such representatives of particular Departments as that Board may appoint, together with representatives of Branches and affiliated churches, and all foreign missionaries of the Christian and Missionary on furlough. This Council shall for the present meet annually, and shall at each Annual Meeting itself determine the time and place of its next meeting. It shall be the supreme legislative body of the Alliance. It shall not attempt executive work, but shall after well-matured nomination elect a Board of Managers for this purpose. It shall require full reports from this Board, and its legislation shall limit and direct the line of administration carried out by the Board.
The authoritative control and direction of the entire work between the Annual Meetings of the General Council shall be committed to a Board of Managers, whose members must be located within reasonably convenient distance of the Alliance headquarters, so that a quorum can always be secured. Eight members shall constitute a quorum. The membership shall be large enough to be representative, but small enough to be effective. It shall not be lower than fifteen. The term of office shall be three years, one-third of the members retiring at each Annual Council, but being eligible for re-election. They shall be elected by ballot at the Annual Council, careful preliminary preparations being made for such ballot. The Board shall have the power to fill vacancies between meetings of the Council, and also to make its own By-Laws.
The Officers of the Society shall consist of a President, a Vice-President, a General Secretary, a Recording Secretary a Treasurer and Honorary Vice-Presidents. Of these, the President shall be elected triennially, and the Vice-President, General Secretary and Treasurer annually, by ballot or open vote of the General Council. The Recording Secretary shall be elected annually by the Board of Managers.
He shall be the recognized head of the entire organization, the presiding officer over the General Council, and the Board of Managers, of which body he shall be recognized as an ex-officio member. He shall also be an ex-officio member of all the special committees and Departments under the Board. His duties shall embrace the general oversight of the entire work at home and abroad, the visitation of the National Conventions and the various Districts, the preparation of an annual survey of the work for the Council, the presentation to the Council, and the Board, and the special Departments from time to time, of such matters as he may judge expedient, and in addition such deputation work at home and abroad as he may find practicable and for the best interests of the work.
He shall perform the duties of the President in the absence or disability of the President, and in the case of the death of the President, the Vice-President shall succeed to the office of President until the next meeting of the General Council, when a President shall be elected to fill out the unexpired term of the deceased President.
He shall be the medium of correspondence for general matters in connection with the Society not pertaining to special Departments of the work.
He shall keep the records of the meetings of the Board and General Council, with such assistance as may be needed at the General Council.
His duties shall embrace the receiving of all funds contributed for the work, the sending out of prompt acknowledgments and of numbered receipts to all contributors, the preparation of a monthly report for the Board of Managers, and an annual report, properly audited, for the General Council. He shall also be the head of the Finance Department, and shall disburse all the funds of the Society on the order of this Department and the Board.
A Business Manager under the direct authority and supervision of the Treasurer and Finance Department shall have charge of the office, with such clerical help as may be required, for prompt and thorough dispatch of all official business.
There shall be a systematic division of administrative work among the following Executive Departments, which, with their heads or Secretaries, shall be appointed by the Board.
Having charge of all the receipts, disbursements and financial business of the Society. No disbursement is to be made except on the order of this Department, and audited statements to be presented, as required, to the Board, the council and the Annual Meeting. The Treasurer shall be the head of this Department.
This Department shall also act as a bureau of information on all points of law, forms of business, and such matters as bequests, conveyance of title deeds, etc.
Having charge under one head of all the educational work of the Alliance, in accordance with the revised basis adopted by the Annual Council of 1912. The Educational Secretary shall be the head of this Department.
Having general oversight of the interests of the home field, in consultation with the District and Local Executives, and being the medium of communication with the Board in all matters requiring readjustment or attention of any sort, and in general constituting a bureau of communication and arrangement between all available workers and needy fields, both old and new, and the recruiting agent of ministerial supply. It shall also have charge of the Young People's and Children's Work. The head of this Department shall give as much time as his other duties admit of to field visitation. The Home Secretary shall be the Head of this Department.
Having the direction of the entire work of the foreign missionary fields, and covering missionary candidates, appointments, furloughs and retirements, assignment of missionaries and native workers to particular supporters, with some method of closer correspondence between the parties. The Foreign Secretary shall be the head of this Department.
Having charge of special campaigns along missionary lines, as well as the missionary part of District Conventions, in co-operation with the District authorities, the oversight of the production and circulation of missionary literature in pamphlet form and through the missionary department of the Alliance Weekly. In general it shall constitute an agency for the promotion of public interest in missions, the recruiting of missionary reinforcements and the increasing of the financial resources of our foreign missionary work. The Deputational Secretary shall be the head of this Department.
Having charge of the publication and dissemination of periodicals, books, and tracts which conform to the distinctive testimony of the Alliance. The Publication Secretary shall be the head of this department.
Having as its object the fostering of and making practically effective our policy of comity, fraternity and mutual co-operation in the Lord's work with the various evangelical churches, and especially endeavoring to secure and utilize, in harmony with all the other agencies of the Alliance, new channels of practical access to and influence upon Christians throughout the existing churches. The Secretary of Fraternal Relations shall be the head of this Department.
As far as possible each of these Departments shall be under the direction of a member of the Board. Where this is not practicable, some strong and experienced worker shall be selected for the position. Each Department shall be further supplemented by a small but efficient Committee under the Secretary or head of the Department, and some of these Committees may be made up in part of members outside the Board. These Departments, while possessing no executive power apart from the action of the Board, shall have their regular meetings, and deal first with the matters pertaining to their Departments, getting them into shape for presentation to the Board, with recommendations of definite action.
The Home Field shall be divided by the General Council into certain geographical Districts, and these shall be subject to change from year to year by the action of General Council. Each of these Districts shall have a constitutional provision for local self-government, not inconsistent with this Constitution, on all matters exclusively affecting such District. This government shall be on the same lines as that of the national administration, including a District Conference for District administrative control, and an Executive Committee for detailed administration. Such District Conference shall be thoroughly representative of the whole District, and shall meet annually at a time most convenient for the District workers and least likely to interfere with the meeting of the General Council. It shall elect the District Executive Committee, of which the District Superintendent shall be the Chairman, and shall require reports from this Committee. It shall also appoint representatives to the General Council, on the basis of representation prescribed by that body, and make provision for the expenses of representatives attending such Council.
The District Executive Committee shall have control of all arrangements in connection with regular Conventions within the District, their speakers, etc., excepting only such general deputations as the Board may arrange from time to time in conference with the District.
District Conferences may sub-divide their Districts into smaller sections, according to State lines or otherwise, under special superintendents appointed by them. The combination of Branches and fields of operation ought to be adjusted with reference to convenience and spiritual efficiency rather than arbitrarily on mere State lines. District Conferences may also, if deemed necessary, nominate Assistant District Superintendents subject to the approval and appointment of the Board. In Districts not fully organized the Board shall take the initiative in perfecting the District organization.
Field Evangelists shall be appointed by the Board for the visitation of the whole field in connection with periodic Conventions and special evangelistic work. They shall be assigned by the Board, through the Home Secretary, to the Districts as may be found desirable and practicable, and their appointments within the Districts shall be arranged by the District Superintendents.
The members of the Alliance in a particular locality shall be organized as a Local Branch. The work shall be under the charge of a Local Superintendent in conjunction with the local Committee elected by members.
These shall be under the general oversight and authority of the Board of Managers, but in all matters of local detail there shall be a similar administration to that of the home Districts. Each field shall be organized with an Annual Conference and an Executive Committee for the control of matters of local interest and detail not requiring the direct interposition of the Board. The Annual Conference shall elect the Executive Committee with the exception of its Chairman who shall be nominated by the Conference and appointed by the Board.
- All property for the use of the Society generally shall vest in the Christian and Missionary Alliance as incorporated under the laws of the State of New York.
- All property of Districts, Local Branches, local schools and undenominational churches in affiliation with the Christian and Missionary Alliance may be held by said Districts, Local Branches, local schools and undenominational churches in affiliation as aforesaid, after they have been duly chartered by law, and every such local charter must contain a clause connecting it with the Christian and Missionary Alliance of New York as the parent religious Society, and expressing in said clause that should such District, or Branch, or school, or church, cease to exist as a corporate body or cease to be subject to the purposes, usages, doctrines and teaching of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, then all its property, appurtenances and effects then owned or held by it shall revert to and become the property of the Christian and Missionary Alliance as incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, and all such charters shall be approved by the Board of Managers before becoming effective.
In order to hold a check upon hasty legislation, when any matter has been adopted by a vote of the majority in a General Council, any three members of that Council may together immediately demand a vote of two-thirds majority, and the matter must then be laid over a day and be again voted on, and a two-thirds majority of the members present shall be necessary to adopt it.
No change shall be made in the above Constitution and Principles unless such change shall have been first approved by a two-thirds vote of the General Council and ratified by a General Meeting of the members of the Society, held after at least three months' notice of the time and place by publication in the official organ of the Society.
Them also I must bring (John 10:16)
The world groans with such appalling need; the old nations cry with such pain; the young ones with such birth pangs; the classes are so nervous, so irritable, the devil is so rampant--while, on the other hand, the saints are so earnest in prayer; the body of Christ is so expectant of a revival; the reports of meetings tell of such blessing, such manifestation of the power and Spirit of God, that we calm and settle ourselves with God, awaiting in faith the clearer outlines of the next great epoch or event in the history of the Church. The form the coming great spiritual awakening will take is a bit vague now to the eye, but its oncoming rumble has reached a multitude of expectant and eager ears.
It is seven years since that pistol shot, in the hill town of Bosnia, let loose upon the world the white horse, the red horse, the black horse and the pale horse of the Revelation. The coming forth of these terrifying chargers is only a trial trip around the whole earth, but the havoc wrought in these seven years has left our poor world bleeding, sick, hungry, heart-broken and trembling.
May God save the Christian and Missionary Alliance in this its twenty-fourth Annual Council, since the year of its incorporation, from in the least measure being blind leaders of the blind host who know not our glorious Lord. May He make us especially wise in these awful closing days of Satanic warfare. Warfare, I repeat it. Brethren, we are in the war. "The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge." Leaders may drop before our eyes, and the ranks be thinned according to the prophesied falling away. But remember through it all, this is war. War requires wisdom. The tactics of war are more powerful at times than its long range guns, and the tactics are the products of wisdom.
We are in Council assembled to discuss the tactics of warfare in connection with the workings of the Christian and Missionary Alliance into whose fellowship and operation God has called us. We are helpless without His wisdom. The Lord might excuse some societies for weakness, but we can never be so excused, for our boast is large, and our banners exalt a full Christ; a Saviour, all righteous, a Sanctifier, all victorious; a Healer, all sufficient, and a coming King, all glorious. Our danger in this warfare as a society is that with such long ranged and powerful guns of doctrine, we will rely only upon these, forgetting that proper tactics, well understood, must put these guns in position to do victorious business. We are not assembled here in Council to make a message for this society. Praise God! that message has already been made and given by the Holy Ghost. Our message is all wrapped up in Himself. It is "everything in Jesus, and Jesus everything."
But we are here to get wisdom, and the wisdom we need is from above. The wisdom we need is also revealed in the Scripture and comes to spiritual hearts who search the "Word of God."
Spurious spirituality is now and will be increasingly manifested by the devil in the coming days. Only the spiritually wise will be able to distinguish the fake from the true. Movements to counterfeit the movements of the Holy Ghost will be lauded by the devil. Wholesale criticisms and denunciations without distinguishing between the false and the real will be indulged in by many leaders. It will take wisdom to stand. It will take much more wisdom to advance. Our Society is called upon by its very genius and message to advance in just such a crisis and in the face of just such fire.
If we can have His wisdom, it assures us of His tactics. If we get His tactics, it will lead into His plan and His program, and will put this full message upon the battle hills of earth, that it may reach the blinded, dying multitudes and do business for eternity. It is to get His wisdom and His plan, that we have commenced our Annual council this year with a day of prayer. Our united hearts' cry is "O Lord of Hosts, in this hour of opportunity, give us Thine own plan and Thine own power."
We are warriors then in council. Many ranks are represented here. The Lord Jesus Himself is our Leader and Head. We are all commissioned officers, commissioned to carry this Gospel to the ends of the earth. We love the fight. We love our great Commander. We want to hear His orders from heaven. We want to move forward into the whitened harvest fields. To do this, we must ask ourselves some questions. They are the common sense questions that all warriors of all history have asked.
There are four questions which we will now consider: First, then, what is the power of the enemy? This is the question from which the natural heart and mind would shrink. It is so much more comforting to talk of victory, courage, plans. It is our human nature's most typical trick to stick out our chest in the hour of battle, talk loud and say like Peter, "Though all men forsake thee, yet will I never forsake thee." The thirty-first verse of the fourteenth chapter of Mark records this, "Likewise also said they all." They all forsook Him and fled because they had not believed in the hour of darkness which the Lord warned them would come. They did not even hear when for their sakes He said plainly to the crowd who came to arrest Him in the garden, "This is your hour and the power of darkness."
We must know and let the people know that the day in which we are living is the beginning and oncoming of those dark days so plainly recorded in the Word of God. We must know this that we may fight on in the hour of darkness instead of stopping to complain of the darkness. One form of this darkness will be the ease with which the multitudes will be deluded and deceived by a growing, popular fake Christianity. Christian societies, so called, education enterprises, uplift movements will greatly enlarge and become the mouth piece instead of the pulpit. Because of the size of this mustard plant, and the gay color of the feathers of the birds that lodge in the branches, the people will be deceived, believing it to be real Christianity. "The body of Christ" shown forth in the Scriptures will not be understood. The enemy will show the great growth as a delusion. The true Christian commission of getting out of the body of Christ from among all nations will be fought at every forward move. At every open door in the mission field soon will be found great so-called Christian powers and programs of education and reformation to substitute for evangelization and salvation.
The enemy will advance and is advancing their civilization propaganda to laugh out of the trenches the truth of salvation. Hospitals, splendid as they are and benevolent as are their open doors of human kindly service, will be used by the enemy as a substitute for holiness. This camouflage hospital ship, loaded with needed salve, will be anchored in great mission center harbors as a forerunner of salvation along with school buildings. Then like a tape worm these two enterprises will take all the time, strength and money of the missionaries and mission boards. The enemy slips salvation on a side seat, softly saying, "Sit still, sweet Gospel Story, we're opening the way so you can sing your song very soon." The "preparation" for the Gospel propaganda is being very successfully used by the enemy everywhere even now. It is high time we recognized this deviating of our men and money by the enemy and believe afresh that the Gospel preached in any tongue, under any circumstance, to any people has within itself its own dynamite to open its own way. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not have to play second fiddle to any hospital, school or civilizing scheme. The Gospel is God's great pioneer. It opens the path, it plows the furrows, it plants the seed. Then the hospitals, schools and civilizing, uplifting schemes come on behind. Look what the enemy has done. He has taken this perfectly good, four-wheeled wagon of hospitals, schools, civilization, science, and fastened them successfully before the great gospel horse. He stands and laughs while the Christian Church beats the horse and yells, "Git ep." He is gaining his fight for the Christian Church seeing that things were not moving, have turned out the gospel horse and gotten into the shaves themselves, crying "Hurrah for us." The emphasis is and will from now on increasingly be on "us" until the great Ego, the great boasting Anti-Christ "I" shall put his boasting false prophet into the leadership of this great self-movement of our day. Yes, it is the cart before the horse and then get rid of the horse.
Beloved, let us remember in this Council that in Christian warfare we go after the general and his staff direct though Christ's merit. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world rulers of this darkness in the heavenlies." Let us not attack the people who are doing these things. Satan has been able to draw much fire to no purpose in this way from the ranks of Christians. In natural warfare, we fight the soldiers of the general, but in Christian warfare, we attack the devil himself and his staff by the prayer of faith. He is speeding up his attacks. Let us speed up in prayer. Look back for seven years and see the accelerated speed of his onslaught in darkness, lawlessness, lust. It is especially the hour of lawlessness preparing for the coming of the lawless one who will come as the world's dictator. Because of this lawless spirit, many Christians will be affected. Many will refuse to walk under any leadership and old ties of fellowship will be broken. Deception, diversion, derision, delusion, division ten is the what power of the enemy.
What is our power? We might rather ask "Who is our power?" We know the answer is Christ, but to reach Him who has all power both in heaven and on earth, we must go by the way of prayer. Therefore, the power of our Alliance forces must be prayer. I cannot say one new thing about prayer. There is no need that I should repeat what wonderful things have already been said by others. I must, however, in the strongest terms possible, call our attention to warfare by prayer. The Alliance is what it is and has accomplished what it has because of its belief in the power of prayer. Our leaders, our branches, our missionaries have succeeded only in proportion to the place they have given prayer.
The message of our society points to Christ Himself as all sufficiency. Since the power is wholly His, He is looking for men who are wholly His through whom He can manifest this power. If He can get a society of men who are wholly His, He can give them His power wholly. God grant that we may qualify as a society in this particular. What society, what individual dares march out against the enemy behind this warfare today unless it can be said--I am wholly Thine and therefore Thou art wholly mine? . . .
Beginning at Jerusalem, our forces literally reach the "utmost part of the earth." We have a long trench line which girdles the globe. . . .
Take these two figures, and look steadily at them. You will see what the first policy of this society must be. The figures show nearly twice as many women as men. WE MUST HAVE MEN. There must be a movement at once to get men for the foreign field. If you could hear the agonizing cry of our lady missionaries in their pleading for men to come to the field, you would, I am sure, give yourselves in intercession for men. "Pray ye the Lord of the Harvest."
I ask that this Council look these figures squarely in the face before God, and at once enact legislation that will send our society courageously forth in faith for men. I would most earnestly ask that men be the uppermost note at all our coming conventions, and that our faith for men be expressed by legislation that will ask all our training schools to make way for men by asking all lady candidates this year to remain at home or attend some other school, while men take the precedence.
We must pray men, think men, talk men, dream men. We must have men for all these yawning trenches around the globe.
This emphasis on men must not in any way take the form of discouraging women. We need women, and must continue to have as many women as men, but the women are now so much in the majority that we must call a halt until God's Scriptural place for men is reached. . . .
We must not only have workers sent from this country, but we must believe God, and plan for a great increase in native workers. To this end we must magnify the Bible School for the training of native workers on every field.
The supporters of our work must be encouraged to give to the Bible training work. Information concerning the Bible training schools will be sent to all desiring it.
I wish to strongly urge that the Foreign Department gather all the valuable information concerning native self-support on the foreign field, and that a campaign of education concerning self-support be started at once among all our missionaries. All our missionaries, who now have self-supporting churches, should write out fully, and send to headquarters for the information of others the story of their efforts in bringing their church to self-support. Their plans and methods should be set forth in rigid detail. All information about students' support by natives should also be included. Our society must take new ground and bring about a reviving movement in all our fields concerning self-support. . . .
Great advance in the home fields can only be made through securing new chairmen for districts, both great and small, in the United States and Canada, which are not now supervised. Some of our own Alliance workers must look to God, asking Him if He would not have them leave their already established work, and go into some of these unoccupied fields at home. It is not only the "regions beyond" we must take in the foreign field, but also at home.
The Home Department should give itself most energetically and fully to the work of securing new district superintendents.
There should also be some definite legislation, leading to a larger distribution of Alliance literature. Pushing Alliance literature through bookstand and private mailing list should be considered a very important part of the ministry of an Alliance superintendent. The Alliance Weekly, as the mouthpiece of the Alliance, sending forth its message, spreading before the supporters the needs of the fields, and telling of triumphs of faith at home and abroad, deserves a far greater list of subscribers. It must be a settled policy with us to constantly push this splendid organ, so necessary in all our Alliance activities. . . .
Let us go out anew to our fields of labor from this Council to move with Him and forward in faith for a lost world.
Were it possible to compress the Alliance Message into a single word, that word would be "Himself." This sentiment has been crystallized and immortalized in one of Dr. Simpson's hymns which has sung itself into the hearts of thousands of God's children.
Once it was the blessing,
Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling,
Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted,
Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing,
Now Himself alone.
The Christian and Missionary Alliance has always sought, as a sane and spiritual movement, to closely follow Scriptural standards, having as its ideal a life of prayer, faith, simplicity and sacrifice. The whole Society has partaken of the spirit of its founder -- Rev. A.B. Simpson.
The Alliance accepts without question the great Fundamentals, specifically as follows:
The Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures.
The Trinity of the Godhead.
The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Personality of the Holy Ghost.
The Sanctifying Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
The Universal Depravity of the Human Race.
The Atonement by the Blood of Christ.
The Salvation of the Lost by Grace.
The Healing of the Body.
The Resurrection of the Dead.
The Eternity of Punishments and Rewards.
The Reality and Personality of Satan.
The Pre-millennial Coming of the Lord.
But the Alliance has a Distinctive Testimony which from the beginning of its organization has been called the Fourfold Gospel--Jesus our Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming Lord. Nearly forty years ago the venerable George Mueller of Bristol Orphanage fame told Dr. Simpson that his arrangement of truth was most evidently "of the Lord" and suggested that he never change its mold. Since this time other organizations have either adopted or adapted the phraseology, and so we thank God and take courage.
In this connection it is a pleasure to quote from the trenchant pen of Woodrow Wilson as follows: "Christianity is not character, Christianity is Christ."
We believe that man, originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, fell from his high and holy estate by eating the forbidden fruit, and as the consequence of his disobedience the threatened penalty of death was then and there inflicted, so that his moral nature was not only grievously injured by the fall, but he totally lost all spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, and subject to the power of the devil. Gen. 1:26; 2:17; John 5:40; 6:53; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 5:6; 1 John 3:8.
We believe that this spiritual death, or total corruption of human nature, has been transmitted to the entire race of man, the man Christ Jesus alone excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, but is essentially and unchangeably bent towards evil, being enmity against God, and incapable by any educational process whatever of subjection to His law. Gen. 6:5 Psa. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12-19; 8:6, 7.
We believe that, owing to this universal depravity and death in sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainment in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no humanitarian and philanthropic schemes and societies however useful, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Ghost through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation. Isa. 64:6; John 3:5, 18; Gal. 6:15; Phil. 3:4-9; Tit. 3:5; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet.1:23.
We believe that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin, and made a curse, for us, dying in our room and stead; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church, or of all the churches that have existed since the days of the Apostles, can add in the very least to the value of that precious blood, or to the merit of that finished work, wrought for us by Him who united in His person true and proper divinity with perfect and sinless humanity. Lev. 17:11; Matt. 26:28; Rom. 5:6-9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19.
We believe that Eternal Life, being a gift, must be accepted as such, and can never be purchased or earned by deeds of human merit; that Christ and Christ alone can save; and that no works however good, no Church or Church membership, no lodge, no righteousness of our own, no moral attainment, no religion, Christian or otherwise, no Pope, priest or minister, no penance, confessional or christening, no repentance, praying or Bible reading, can in any way save us from hell, impart Eternal Life, or get us into heaven. "By grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Rom. 6:23; 1 John 5: 11; Eph. 2:8; Acts 4:12; Rom. 4:5; Titus 3:5.
We believe that Christ, in the fullness of the blessings He has secured by His obedience unto death, is received by faith alone, and that the moment we trust in Him as our Saviour we pass out of death into everlasting life, being justified from all things, accepted before the Father according to the measure of His acceptance, loved as He is loved, and having His place and portion, as linked to Him and one with Him forever. John 5:24; 17:23; Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1; Eph, 2:4-6, 13; 1 John 4: 17; 5:11,12.
Sanctification, or holiness, is the gift of the Holy Ghost, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the prepared inheritance of all who will enter in, the great attainment of faith, not the attainment of works. It is divine holiness, not human self-improvement, nor perfection. It is the inflow into man's being of the life and purity of the infinite, eternal and holy One, bringing His own perfection and working out in us His own will.
Sanctification or holiness results from contact with God. This contact has both a divine and a human side. On the divine side contact is formed by the cross of Christ and the work of the Spirit, and on the human side by entire surrender and appropriating faith. The first point of divine contact is the cross. The Christian who is struggling with sin and helpless in defeat must come to see that in the thought of God he is identified with Christ in His crucifixion and in His resurrection. The cross has a separating power. Through the blood of the cross our hearts are cleansed. The cross separates us from the world, from our sins, and from self. By our death with Christ we are released from "the carnal mind"; we are separated from "the flesh''; we are detached from the self-life. By our resurrection with Christ we are "renewed in the spirit of our minds," we "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness"; and, highest of all, we "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," who is thus "made unto us . . . . sanctification." Eph. 4:23, 24; Rom. 13:14; 1 Cor. 1:30.
"The second point of divine contact whereby sanctification is received is the work of the Spirit. The identification of the believer with Christ in death and resurrection is the historical side of holiness; the transformation of the believer in character and conduct through the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the experimental side of holiness. The one is apprehension, the other is appropriation. After the vision of victory comes the realization of victory. Now it is through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that the vision of victory is transformed into its realization. It is through the incoming of the Holy Spirit that the revelation of the indwelling Christ breaks with comforting cheer upon our despairing hearts, and it is through the Holy Spirit that we are enabled to die unto sin and live unto God.
"On the human side there are two points of contact with God whereby we become partakers of the holiness of Christ; namely, a step of entire surrender and an act of appropriating faith. This means a covenant made with God, a definite transaction at a definite time when by full consecration and living faith we boldly enter in and possess our inheritance. The step of surrender must be voluntary, complete and final; the act of faith must be definite, living and aggressive. Such a step of surrender and such an act of faith means a new Christian experience--a crisis as radical and revolutionary as the crisis of conversion. In nature it is not a gradual development, but a sudden change. In regeneration we pass out of death into life; in sanctification we pass out of self into the Christ-life. In regeneration we receive "a new spirit"; in sanctification Christ comes and takes up His abode within the "new spirit.'' When such a revolution occurs in our lives, we shall certainly know it; and we may expect the Holy Ghost to witness as definitely and distinctly to His work of sanctification as He did to His work of regeneration."
Paul specifies the threefold division of our human nature--the spirit, the soul and the body--as respectively the subjects of this work of sanctifying grace. The spirit is that which is cognizant of God. It is the moral element in man, which trusts, loves and glorifies God. The spirit must first be quickened by regeneration, since naturally it is dead. A sanctified spirit is one separated from all known evil and dedicated unto God, so that all its powers are at His disposal. A sanctified spirit is also a spirit filled with the presence and the Spirit of the Lord.
The soul is endowed with understanding, tastes, affections, passions and appetites. All these can be separated, dedicated and filled with the Spirit and life of God. There is a distinct baptism of the Holy Ghost for mind as well as for spirit.
The human body was designed in the beginning as the pattern and type of the sublimest form of being which ever should exist. The body, therefore, should be separated in all its functions, dedicated to God, to become "the habitation of God through the Spirit." "Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost?"
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is simultaneous with our union with the Lord Jesus. The Spirit does not act apart from Christ. The Holy Spirit is pure Spirit, and has not been incarnated in human flesh as the Son of God was in His birth and early life. Instead of this, He has been so united to Jesus Christ that he partakes of the incarnation of the Son of God, and comes to us clothed in the humanity of Jesus.
In receiving Him we receive the Lord Jesus Himself. He comes to us to impart the very life of Jesus Christ. He takes the qualities that were in Him, and makes them ours. He transfers to us the love, the purity, the gentleness, the faith of Jesus Christ, and so imparts to us His very nature as to reproduce in us His life, and we live, in a very literal and real way, the Christ-life as our own experience.
This is a very attractive conception of the Christian life. It is not our holiness, but the life of our Lord. It is not our struggle with the old nature, but it is the imparting of a new nature, and the indwelling of a new life. Hence it follows that when the Holy Spirit comes into our life and consciousness it is Jesus that is made real to us, rather than the Spirit, who never speaks of Himself.
Every disciple of Christ ought to have some special manifestation of the Holy Ghost and some gift for Christian service. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
These gifts are conferred by the Holy Ghost Himself in His sovereign will according to individual fitness and for the completeness and profit of the whole body of Christ. He knows the gift that will best enable us to glorify Him and help others. No disciple can expect to receive all these gifts. It is unscriptural and unreasonable to say that any one gift is the criterion of having received the Holy Ghost. God adjusts our equipment to the special work which He has called us to do. As in the body the different members have different offices, so it is in the body of Christ.
Above all gifts, above all ministries, is the grace of love, that love that uses every gift and ministry, not to exploit its own greatness, but to glorify God and bless men. Not only is love here described as an end, but as a means. He says, "I show unto you a more excellent way," which is the way to reach the highest gifts of the Spirit. God will entrust to us His most sacred ministry and most glorious manifestations in proportion as He sees that we will use them in the spirit of love and for the help of the souls that are so dear to the Shepherd's heart.
Let us covet earnestly the best gifts, but chiefly the gifts of useful and effectual spiritual ministry.
Let us pray for love, let us cultivate love, let us take the Lord Jesus Himself to be our love, and let our deepest cry be
"Give me a heart like Thine."
The crisis of sanctification, while it brings entire holiness in every part of our being, is only the infancy of holiness. All the parts and organs and functions are there, but there must be growth into maturity and manhood to "the fullness of the stature or a perfect man in Christ Jesus." Growth is not a matter of parts, but of degree in the various parts, and maturity in their combination and complete development. It is this process of Christian nurture that occupies so large a place in the New Testament epistles. It was for this that the Comforter was promised to guide us into all truth.
It cannot be too strongly emphasized that holiness is retained only while vital contact with Christ is maintained. To abide in Christ means two things; namely, obedience and fellowship. In 1 John 3:24 we read "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth [abideth] in me and I in him." Again, our Lord Himself said, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth [abideth] in me and I in him" (John 6: 56). If we would be like Christ, we must keep His commandments and abide in His love, even as He kept His Father's commandment and abode in His love.
That healing is in the Atonement for us has always been the contention of the Alliance. It is difficult to understand how anyone could object to healing being placed on this reverent plane, which exalts our Lord more than it exalts any human agency.
Dr. Scofield, in his explanatory notes printed in the Bible that bears his name, has called attention to the seven compound names of Jehovah, declaring that they set forth God's redemptive relation to man. He says that these names reveal God "as meeting every need of man from his lost state to the end." One of these redemptive names is Jehovah Rapha or Rophi (Ex. 15:26), meaning "I am the Lord that healeth thee." Concerning this Dr. Scofield writes as follows: "That this refers to physical healing the context shows, but the deeper healing of soul malady is implied." If these names of Jehovah reveal His redemptive relationship to man do they not clearly point to Calvary?
Dr. Kenneth Mackenzie says that Dr. Simpson was probably the first man to define healing as provided in the atonement. Since this time a mighty host have followed him in this postulate. Since the conflict of opinion in reference to the subject of healing at the present time seems to center around this mooted problem it would be helpful to examine two cardinal Bible passages, Isaiah 53:4, 5 and Matthew 8:17.
"Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows . . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed."
The first reason for applying this passage to healing is the use of the word "griefs,'' "He hath borne our griefs." The original word is found about a hundred times in the Old Testament, and every time but this it is translated "sickness." This is the only instance where it is translated "griefs" and this must be because the translator could not quite understand the sense of using "sickness" here. The Hebrew word really means "disease." This verse covers the atonement for our bodies, the provision of His redemption for these mortal attacks.
The next reason for applying these verses to healing is the word "borne." "He hath borne our sicknesses." This word has a theological meaning which is most clearly defined in many of the passages in which we find it. It is applied to the scape-goat that bore away the sins of the people. It is used in this chapter where we are told that He bore the sins of many. It is found in John where we are told that the Lamb of God "beareth away the sins of the world." So it does not mean mere sympathy or relief, but substitution, one bearing another's death penalty. Christ literally substituted His body for our body. That is the meaning of the words, "Surely he hath borne our sicknesses." He took them upon Himself and relieved us of the load by His atonement.
And it seems that Matthew himself applies this passage to healing in the eighth chapter of his Gospel, verses sixteen and seventeen. "When the evening was come He healed all that were sick . . . that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, 'Himself took our infirmities and bare our sickness.'" The words "infirmity" and sickness denote physical difficulty and disability. The one may be a lack of strength and the other may be a condition of physical disease. And it is certain that Matthew was referring to the body alone, for he quotes the passage in direct connection with Christ's miracles of healing. The reason he healed the people was because Isaiah said He would. Now if Isaiah did not mean healing this verse would be irrelevant. Isaiah must have meant healing or Matthew would not have quoted it.
But verse five of this fifty-third chapter of Isaiah lends the strongest support to our argument that healing is in the atonement. There are four things mentioned. "He was wounded for our transgressions." These are actual sins. "He was bruised for our iniquities." This is different from transgressions. This has reference to something within us, showing that Christ died for what we are as well as for what we do. "The chastisement of our peace was upon him." That means our spiritual blessing, our peace and rest, our union with Christ in the Holy Ghost. "With his stripes we are healed." That makes the inventory complete. Without that it is only a partial list. With that it is fourfold and entire. But to say that "by his stripes we are healed" simply means spiritual healing is a tautology. He has covered spiritual in the former statements. This must mean something else--physical redemption through His agony as our substitute. Taking these four points together no unprejudiced mind can doubt for a moment that this passage covers the healing of our bodies through the Atonement of Christ.
But again we want to notice the force of the word "surely" in the text. "Surely he had borne our sicknesses and carried our sorrows [pains]." Why did He say "surely"? Why did He say it here? Well, to say the least, it is an underlining of the passage intended to make it as very important. It makes it not only important but absolutely true. In the beginning of the chapter Isaiah stepped out with diffidence and hesitation, and said, "Lord who hath believed our report? Lord they won't believe what I am going to say, and especially when I say anything about the power of the Lord, they will be sure to doubt it. If I talk about historical facts they may believe it, but if I go and tell them of a divine arm that can take hold of man's weaknesses, if I reveal a power that can do great things, they will doubt my testimony." "Lord, who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" Therefore, the Lord just says, "Isaiah, tell them that it is true and put my oath behind it, and say, 'Surely, this particular part of the Gospel is true, because it does reveal the arm of the Lord, it does show the power of God.'" In this passage, "Surely he hath borne our sicknesses and carried our sorrows," the same Hebrew verbs for borne and carried are used in verses eleven and twelve for the substitutionary bearing of sin. Do they not all and in each have the same substitutionary and expiatory character?
Arguments against Divine Healing are frequently drawn from its failures. If this method were employed against justification, regeneration and sanctification, would not the attack be almost overwhelming?
Is there positive proof that we may look for the Pre-millennial Coming of the Lord?
The Lord has been here already, the Lord Jesus lived on this globe of ours literally, actually treading its material surface with His holy feet, and saturating its soil with His precious blood. He has been a citizen of this earth; why should it be thought a thing incredible that He should come back again to His old home? If He actually lived here once, why should He not actually come here again?
How simple that is! Here once He initiated His work. Why should He not come back and finish it? Here once He fought the battle. Why should He not come back and wear the crown of victory and see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied? Here once He paid the fearful price. Why should He not come back to win the great reward? That is what He Himself says. He is "like a nobleman going to a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom, and return." There is nothing transcendent or novel about the Glorious Son of God becoming a citizen of earth. He is a citizen of earth forevermore and has already lived among us here like other men.
He did not merely in a transitory way touch the human family, but He became forever identified with the race of Adam, and He never can get away from His humanity. All that concerns our race concerns Him. He is a man today and He will be a man forever and wherever man is to be, the Son of man will be also. So that Christ's relation to this old earth is a permanent relation and His kingdom is to be consummated here where it was first begun.
Let us note that the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament have not been satisfied and fulfilled. There is a double thread running through the texture of ancient prophecy. There is the crimson line of the cross, and there is also the Golden thread of the coming Glory. The Jews saw only the prophecies of the glory, and therefore when He appeared among them they were not prepared to recognize the lowly Nazarene, that rejected Man, as the fulfillment of the splendid ideal. They had good cause for it, to a certain extent, at least. The only trouble with them was that they were out of date. They had mixed the chronology. He was the King, but He was not yet enthroned. It was first the cross and then the crown; the Lamb of Calvary first and then the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Unless He comes again part of the prophetic scriptures will be unrealized. It was necessary that He should fulfill the vision of the cross and it is just as necessary that He shall fulfill the vision of the King.
The Lord Jesus Himself when He was on earth always left the impression that He was coming back again, actually, visibly, personally to His people. He repeatedly told them also that when the Son of man should come He should sit on the throne of His glory and they should sit on thrones and receive rewards for their earthly sacrifice and sufferings. One particular event in the very middle of His career, the Transfiguration on the Mount, was an object lesson, a demonstration of this very thing, foreshadowing the fact that He who seemed so obscure was really to be unveiled some day in the great Apocalypse of the Advent and appear in glory. The risen dead were represented by Moses and the transfigured living by Elias. In Matthew 24 we have a detailed prophecy of the Lord's return. We have also the parables of the Talents, the Pounds, the Marriage of the King's Son, the Ten Virgins, the Sheep and the Goats. These have no meaning unless the Lord is coming back again. All His teachings crystallized around two focal points, His cross and His advent.
In the next place, His very last message was on this specific subject. As He hovered in midair between earth and heaven, His parting word was sent back by two messengers, perhaps two glorified men, who stood by them and said, "Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus shall so come again in like manner as ye have seen him go up into heaven." Put these three S's together--same, so, seen--and you have a trinity of infallible proof. "This same Jesus shall so come as ye have seen him go." He is the same and He will be the same then, and you will see Him and you will know He is the same. That is Christ's farewell message, and we know He means what He says.
The apostolic testimony was always the same. Peter said at the very beginning of the Acts, "Whom the heavens must receive till the times of the restitution of all things." Therefore, when that is accomplished the heavens will not hold Him any more.
Paul proclaimed Him as the One who would be "the Judge of the living and the dead." In Romans He gives three chapters to the dispensational questions leading up to the day when a Deliverer shall come to Zion and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The First Epistle to the Corinthians reaches its climax in the magnificent fifteenth chapter, and the realities of that glorious appearing. Second Corinthians tells us how "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." Colossians tells us that "when he shall appear we shall appear with him in glory." Thessalonians crystallizes around the doctrine of the Lord's Coming. Every chapter and every important paragraph finds its keynote in this Blessed Hope. In Timothy Paul declares that this is his own personal hope, that he shall receive "the crown of righteousness" which the Lord is keeping not only for him but "for all that love his appearing." James bids us "Be patient . . . unto the coming of the Lord." Peter tells us it was the very meaning of the Transfiguration when they "were with Him in the holy mount." John in his epistles and the Apocalypse repeats the message of His glorious Advent and the importance of our constant preparation for it.
But the supreme and crowning evidence of the Lord's pre-millennial coming is the glorious book of Revelation. Two generations after Christ had ascended, after thousands of saints had been gathered home, after hundreds of churches had been established on earth, after the spiritual facts and experiences of Christianity had been illustrated to the fullest extent, the Lord Himself came down as the last Messenger of inspired truth, and to John on Patmos He gave the glorious message of which the keynote and finale is this-- "I am coming again." The first announcement in that Apocalypse is "Behold, he cometh with clouds," and the last farewell is, "Behold, I come quickly."
Shall we answer, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," come quickly?
God has given to the Christian and missionary Alliance a missionary movement unique in its polity, worldwide in its scope, lofty in its aims, and inspiring in its motives; and it seems fitting that at this time we should be fully baptized into the very heart of this movement until we ourselves shall go forth as living epistles and apostles for the evangelization of the world.
First and best, it is an evangelical movement, and in these days of doubt and sometimes denial of the Bible and the Blood it has ever stood for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints, and steadfastly believed that if we cannot give the world a divine message, we had better give it no message at all.
Second, it is an evangelistic movement, not aiming to build up elaborate institutions, but to preach the Gospel immediately to every creature and give one chance for eternal life to every member of our fallen race.
Third, it is a spiritual movement, seeking and sending only missionaries that have been baptized with the Holy Ghost and are fitted to develop the highest type of Christian life among the people to whom they minister.
Fourth, it is an interdenominationa1 movement, not building up sectarianism, but bearing only on its banner the name of Jesus, and welcoming the cooperation of Christians and missionaries of every evangelical denomination without requiring the sacrifice of their convictions and denominational relationships.
Fifth, it is an international movement, attracting by the greatness of its scope, and interesting by the magnificence of its field, men and women who are concerned for the welfare of every race and tongue.
Sixth, it is a pioneer movement, not duplicating existing agencies, but reaching out to the regions beyond, and seeking to send the Gospel to the most destitute corners of this benighted world. In China it was among the first to enter the province of Hunan, and the pioneer of Kuang Si; in Palestine it built the first American chapel in Jerusalem; in Annam it has planted the first native church; in Venezuela and Ecuador it has dedicated the first Protestant chapels; beyond the great wall of China it has thirty-three martyr graves, and the tomb of one of its pioneers is a mile-stone marking the lonely way to the borders of Arabia.
Seventh, it is an economical movement, avoiding expensive establishments, aiming to make every dollar go as far as possible, and sending only such missionaries as are glad to give their lives and services for their bare expenses.
Eighth, it is a pre-millennial movement, not attempting to convert the world, but rather to gather out of the nations a people for His name; thus looking for and hastening the day of the coming of the Lord.
Ninth, it is a lay movement, utilizing agencies for which otherwise the doors had perhaps been closed, and encouraging the consecrated layman, the earnest business man, the humble farmer boy, the Spirit-filled maiden whom the Master has called and fitted to follow in the footsteps of the lowly fishermen of Galilee and create a new battalion in the army of the Lord, the volunteers and irregulars of whom we have no cause to be ashamed, and who but for this movement might never accomplish their glorious work.
Tenth, its divinest seal is the spirit of sacrifice. While we do not claim a monopoly of self-denial, yet we thank God with deepest gratitude and humility for the men and women in the homeland whose noble gifts for missions are not unworthy of having a place with Mary's anointing and the widow's mite. Still more we thank Him for the glorious army of missionaries abroad, of whom over one hundred and fifty, counting not their lives dear unto themselves, have rendered the supreme offering of devotion. Over four hundred more are still engaged in the work and, surrendering all prospects of human ambition and interests and asking nothing but the bare necessities of life, represent us today under the burning sun of India, in the malarial swamps of Africa, in the unsavory cities of China, in the sweltering humidity of the Philippines, or amid the snow-covered heights of Quito or far Thibet, only asking of us that we will make it possible for them to spend and be spent till Jesus comes for the salvation of men, the glory of God, and the hastening of the coming of our Lord and King.
With such principles, such precedents, such opportunities, such a work, such a Leader, such a hope, and such a cloud of witnesses, O beloved, is it not worthwhile?