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THE DISCUSSIONS OF THE
GENERAL CHRISTIAN • CONFERENCE,
WASHINGTON, D. C.,
December 7th, 8th and 9th, 1887.
UNDER THE AUSPICES AND DIRECTION OF THE
COPYRIGHT 1888 BY
FOR THE UNITED STATES.
224 Centre St., N.Y.
Early in October, 1887, the following call was issued, signed by officers of the Evangelical Alliance for the United States, together with those of the Washington Branch, and some seventy eminent clergymen and laymen, representing different evangelical denominations and various sections of the country.
CALL FOR THE WASHINGTON CONFERENCE.
TO THE CHRISTIAN PUBLIC.
Thoughtful men are convinced that the closing years of the nineteenth century constitute a momentous crisis in the history of the nation. There is a march of events which will not tarry. The necessity of planting Christian institutions in the formative West, and of strengthening them in older states, the duty of overtaking the rapid growth of our cities with adequate church provision, the importance of closing the widening chasm between the church and the multitude, and of bringing the regenerative power of the gospel to bear upon every character and life, demand the instant attention of the Christian church and the full exercise of all its energies.
Popular education has multiplied wants and created tastes which wealth has not been sufficiently distributed to gratify; hence a growing discontent among workingmen, which in prosperous times is an ill omen, suggesting grave questions concerning the next financial panic and the consequent industrial depression. The conflict with the saloon drawing to a crisis, and the manifest
determination of the liquor power to accomplish its ends by fraud, corruption or violence; a wide-spread spirit of lawlessness; the apathy of the popular conscience; the alienation of the masses from the churches, and increasing immigration—all these point to growing complications in the near future.
Under monarchical governments, men have thought that if power could be popularized the ills of life would mostly disappear. In this country, until recently, by reason of abundant public. lands, a sparse and substantially homogeneous population, and an almost limitless demand for labor, we have been exempt from many of the evils suffered by European peoples. But we are now • beginning to approximate European conditions of society. The existence of great cities, severe competition, an unemployed class, increasing pauperism and 'crime, are the occasion and evidence of a wide-spread discontent, for which the ballot affords no remedy. Has not the time come for us to make demonstration of the truth that the gospel can do what popular suffrage cannot do? Is not this the nation, and is not this the generation, providentially called to make such application of the gospel to the life of the people as has never yet been made ? Will not those who have enjoyed “ government of the people, by the people, and for the people," be the first to learn that the essential evils of society are caused, not by misrule, but by sin, and that the gospel, therefore, must furnish the solution of the great social problems?
The Christian church has not yet fully recognized its relations. to the entire life of the.community and the nation. Even Christian men, preoccupied with private concerns and overburdened by the demands on their time, are prone to neglect the public welfare, and are loath to accept any responsibility for existing evils.
Denominations and local churches, each intent on its own good work, have fallen into a harmful competition instead of engaging in an intelligent and comprehensive co-operation.
Our marvelous material growth and the progress of invention have produced new conditions, to which business has been quick to adapt its methods. Do not important changes in population and in the habits and temper of the people require some changes in the methods of Christian work?
The undersigned, therefore, unite in calling a General Conference of all Evangelical Christians in the United States, to be held under the auspices and direction of the Evangelical Alliance for the
United States, in the city of Washington, December the 7th, 8th. and gth, 1887, to study in effect the following questions:
ist. What are the present perils and opportunities of the Christian church and of the country ?
2d. Can any of them be met best by a hearty co-operation of all Evangelical Christians, which, without detriment to any denominational interests, will serve the welfare of the whole church ?
3d. What are the best means to secure such co-operation, and to waken the whole church to its responsibility ?
WILLIAM E. DODGE, President of the Evangelical Alliance for United States.
Hon. PETER PARKER, M. D., President Evangelical Alliance of Washington.
Rev. JAMES MCCOSH, D, D., LL. D., President of the College of New Jerse;,
Princeton, N. J. Rev. PHILLIPS BROOKS, D, D., Rector Trinity Church, Boston. *Rev, MARK HOPKINS, D. D., LL. D., Williams College, Williamstown, Mass. *Rev. WILLIAM L. HARRIS, D. D., LL. D., Bishop Methodist Episcopal
Church, New York. Rev. MARTIN B. ANDERSON, LL. D., President Rochester University,
New York. Right Rev. THOMAS M. CLARK, D. D., LL.D., Bishop Protestant Episcopal
Church, Rhode Island. Rev. THEODORE L. CUYLER, D. D., Pastor Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian
Church, Brooklyn, N. Y. REV. RICHARD S. STORRS, D. D., LL. D., Pastor Church of the Pilgrims
(Congregational), Brooklyn, N. Y. REV. G. B. STRICKLER, D. D., Moderator Southern Presbyterian Assembly,
Atlanta, Ga. Rev. WILLIAM ORMISTON, D. D., LL. D., Pastor Reformed Church, New
York. REV. JOHN F. HURST, D. D., LL, D., Bishop Methodist Episcopal Church,
Buffalo, N. Y. DANIEL C. GILMAN, LL. D., President Johns Hopkins University, Balti
more, Md. REV. ROBERT S. MACARTHUR, D. D., Pastor Calvary Baptist Church, New
York. *REV. EDMUND DE SCHWEINITZ, S. T. D., Bishop Moravian Church, Beth. lehem, Pa.
•Deceased since the call was signed.