DISCIPLES OF CHRIST (cifs-si'pls 61, The religious people who are generally known as Disciples of Christ, or Christians, represent a movement in the church in the interest of unity, peace and union, by a return in faith and in life to the Christianity described in the New Testa ment. The inspiration of this movement is found in the words of our Lord, recorded in John xvii 20, 21, as follows: "Neither pray I for these alone. but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they may be one as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee. that they also may he one in us; that the world may believe that thou bast sent me." (1) Origin. This movement began in the early part of the nineteenth century in different parts of the country.
In 1891 the General Convention of the Disciples of Christ met in Allegheny, Pa. In that conven tion the standing committee on Christian union made a report which was adopted without a dis senting vote. This report suggested as a basis of union: (1) The primitive creed; (2) the primi tive ordinances: (3) the primitive life.
(2) Creed. The primitive creed is this: I be lieve in my heart that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God.
(3) Primitive Ordinances. The primitive or dinances are two--baptism and the supper of the Lord.
A movement which has for its object the union of Christians ought to occupy a position out of the region of controversy. The Disciples occupy such a position. In answer to the question, what is haptism? their reply is: "Baptism is the immer sion in water of a penitent believer in the name of the Lord Jesus, and into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." That this is baptism is denied by no one. Some do, indeed, say that there are other ways of being baptized, but no one says that the penitent believer who has been immersed in water, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, has not been baptized. Persons who have been thus baptized arc received into the fellowship of all the churches. No person is denied membership in any church, as above explained, on the ground that he has not been baptized. The Disciples, then, so far
as baptism is concerned, occupy undisputed and indisputable ground. The baptism of infants, of unbelievers, is a subject of controversy, but not the baptism of penitent believers. Sprinkling, as a mode of baptism, is in debate; immersion is not.
The supper of the Lord is a feast of love for such as :.re disciples of Jesus. This is clear from the testimony of Holy Scripture, "Ani as they were eating Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it. and gave it to the disciples, and said: 'Take, eat; this is my body.' And he took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, say ing, 'Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed tor many for the remission of sins.'" (Matt. xxvi:26-2.8).
(4) Primitive Life. The primitive life is the life that takes the man Christ Jesus as the model. The Christian life is not a life of rules and regu lations, saying, "thou shalt not," and "thou shalt." It is a life inspired by devotion, a devotion in spired by faith and love to the Sinless One. The real Christian tries to be and to do all things, in all places, and at all times, whatever the Lord Jesus would like him to be and do. That life is most truly Christian which is most like the life lived by the Son of God in the flesh and when he was among the sons of men.
This, in brief, is the origin, the position, the aim of the people %vho are known as Disciples of Christ. The movement evidently was inspired by God. It was not planned by any man, nor by any company of men. The above facts clearly demonstrate the absolute accuracy of this state ment.
(5) Statistics. The movement is remarkably popular among the people. They have responded to its call with great rapidity. The number of names together is now, according to the last re port of the statistical secretary. made to the Gen eral Convention in Indianapolis, in October, 1897, more than one million.
Their organizations for aggressive evangelistic or missionary work are as follows: "The Amer ican Christian Missionary Society," "The Chris tian Woman's Board of .MiSsions" and "The For eign Christian Missionary Society." R. 11. T.