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The Relation of Education and the Gospel

The Christian Recorder was first published in 1854 under the editorship of the Rev. J.P. Campbell. This early edition was short-lived, however, and in 1861, under the editorship of Elisha Weaver, the New Series, Volume 1 began. Under this new leadership the Recorder was introduced into the South by distribution among the negro regiments in the Union army. Benjamin T. Tanner became editor in 1867, and was followed in that position in 1885 by the Rev. Benjamin F. Lee who served until 1892.

The Christian Recorder embodied secular as well as religious material, and included good coverage of the black regiments together with the major incidents of the Civil War.

Accessible Archive’s collection of The Christian Recorder is complete from 1861 through December 1902; excluding 1892 and can be found within our African American Newspapers Collection.

The Relation of Education and the Gospel

As an humble servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, a believer in, and preacher of, the blessed gospel handed down to the world through his servants, the apostles, from Olivet’s rocky cliffs, under heaven’s fiery command: “Go ye into all the world and as ye go preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We remember with warm emotion the dawn of the Pentecostical morn, when the grief-stricken band of disciples were all assembled together in one place and of one accord. How they heard the rumbling of the wings of an angelic host playing upon the morning zephyrs and the descending of the Holy Ghost out of heaven from God, clothed in effulgent brightness and the very appearance of the Holy Spirit in their midst, drove the sombre clouds of fear and despondence from their once darkened sky; their tongues were loosened as never before. Every spiritual, mental and emotional impulse was fired up with hallowed fire from the burning altar in heaven, and all their nature under the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit was developed into one common holy nature and the divine purpose that was characteristic of one was true of all.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

The general acceptance and adaptation of the Apostolic Creed by the band of the apostles is proof of the foregoing. The commanding orders of their great general, who had recently stood as a giant in the malestrom of eternal death and with his right hand checked the currents of dissolving nature that were dashing in a fearful whirlpool around the falling orb, that had led captivity captive and given gifts unto men, saying to them go, and lo I am with you until the world shall end.

Our Master could have as well chosen Josephus, Tacitus, or any of the proud sages of Greece, or any of the Egyptian sculptors as to have gone down by the sea and called these unlettered men, but it did not please him to do so; for, as St. Paul says of this work, meaning, I presume, the promulgation of the gospel, that it is not by might; that is to say, not by physical, mental or acquired abilities, but by the power of God. Now there are two distinct things that must precede education to successfully preach the gospel: a sound conversion, and one must be called of God and divinely moved by the Holy Ghost. These are the two leading and essential qualifications in the Christian ministry. For, as saith St. Paul, how can they hear without a preacher, and how can they preach except they are sent? Not because of any hereditary or acquired extraordinary excellence. No, but if you go, go because God wants you to go. I do not protest against an educated ministry.

Education expounds, draws out and inspires the mind with higher and grander motives, but the grace of God and the sacred influence of the Holy Spirit, converts the soul, purifies morality, sanctifies the whole and fits man for every honorable position in life. The religion of Christ is not foreign to education, for I believe that Christian education is one of the essential graces of heaven, but there are too many men today in the pulpit that have been called from college and normal schools and know nothing. The Saviour says a tree is known by its fruit. The church is spiritually dead. You ask what’s the matter? The answer comes, “Oh well, you know I am polished and refined and these Negros are so ignorant here; they can’t understand me.” Something is wrong. Moses and Aaron were educated up to their day; Israel understood them. Paul was educated; the Romans understood him. Luke was an M.D.; the people understood. These men had that in them that makes the world understand. This class of men can’t build a church, can’t pay one cent of debt. You can see them standing all along the roadside crying, “I don’t know what the bishop meant by sending me here to starve to death.” The bishop sent him there to preach and bring men to Christ, and do battle for the Lord.

–Rev. J.H. Iford, Shreveport, La.

Source: The Christian Recorder, September 11, 1890

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