Socialism abolishes freedom, which the church cultivates and insists upon as the principle of its life. Tertullian: ?Nec religionis est cogere religionem? ? ?It is not the business of religion to compel religion.? Vedder, History of the Baptists: ?The community of goods in the church at Jerusalem was a purely voluntary matter. See <440504>Acts 5:4 ? ?While it remained, did it not remain thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thy power?? The community of goods does not seem to have continued in the church at Jerusalem after the temporary stress had been relieved and there is no reason to believe that any other church in the apostolic age practiced anything of the kind.? By abolishing freedom, socialism destroys all possibility of economical progress. The economical principle of socialism is that, relatively to the enjoyment of commodities, the individual shall be taken care of by the community, to the effect of his being relieved of the care of himself. The communism in the Acts was not for the community of mankind in general but only for the church within itself, it was not obligatory but left to the discretion of individuals and was it not permanent but devised for a temporary crisis. On socialism, see James MacGregor, in Presb. and Ref. Rev., Jan. 1892:35-68.
Schurman, Agnosticism, 166 ? ?Few things are of more practical consequence for the future of religion in America than the duty of all good men to become identified with the visible church. Liberal thinkers have, as a rule, underestimated the value of the church. Their point of view is individualistic, ?as though a man were author of himself and knew no other kin.? ?The old is for slaves,? they declare. But it is also true that the old is for freedmen who know its true uses. It is the bane of the religion of dogma that it has driven many of the choicest religious souls out of the churches. In its purification of the temple, it has lost sight of the object of the temple. The church, as an institution, is an organism and embodiment such as the religion of spirit necessarily creates. Spiritual religion is not the enemy, it is the essence, of institutional religion.?
II. ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH. 1. The fact of organization.
Organization may exist without knowledge of writing, without written records, lists of members, or formal choice of officers. These last are the proofs, reminders and helps of organization but they are not essential to it. It is however not merely informal but formal organization in the church, to which the New Testament bears witness.
That there was such organization is abundantly shown from
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