Friday, June 16, 2006

Another Friday with Andrew Fuller

Next Friday I'll be en route to the Great Lake State and from there it's the arduous drive to the EFCA National Leadership Conference (and I don't think Fuller will be coming along - but who's to say?), so this might be it for a few Fridays:

Several of our religious denominations have arisen from a conscientious desire to restore Christianity to its primitive purity. From this motive acted, I believe, the greater part of the Reformers, the puritans, the nonconformists, and the Baptists. I do not know that any one of these denominations were censurable for the separations which they made from other professing Christians. It may be alleged that they have torn the church of Christ into parties, and so occasioned much evil; yet some of them did not separate from the church of Christ, but from a worldly community calling itself by that name; and those who did, pretended not to be the only people of God in the world, but considered themselves merely as “withdrawing from brethren who walked disorderly.” It is a melancholy fact, however, that no sooner have a people formed themselves into a new denomination than they are in the utmost danger of concentrating almost all their strength, influence, zeal, prayers, and endeavours for its support; not as a part of Christ’s visible kingdom, but as though it were the whole of it, and as though all true religion were circumscribed within its hallowed pale. This is the essence of a sectarian spirit, and the bane of Christianity.
- from "The Necessity of Seeking Those Things First Which are of the First Importance," The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, vol. iii, 796.

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