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Feast of Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre (September 4)   Leave a comment

Apotheosis of War

Above:  The Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereschchagin

Image in the Public Domain

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PAUL JONES (NOVEMBER 25, 1880-SEPTEMBER 4, 1941)

Episcopal Bishop of Utah and Peace Activist

colleague of 

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (FEBRUARY 4, 1884-SEPTEMBER 13, 1977)

Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist

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INTRODUCTION

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The Episcopal Church commemorates the life of Bishop Paul Jones on September 4.  On this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I do the same and add to the feast his colleague and fellow Episcopalian, John Nevin Sayre.

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PAUL JONES (I)

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Jones, born on November 25, 1880, at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was a cradle Episcopalian and a son of a priest.  After graduating from Yale University he attended the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  There, in 1906, Jones heard the Bishop Franklin S. Spalding, of the Missionary District of Utah, speak of the challenges of evangelizing in the Mormon-dominated state.  Our saint volunteered to serve in Utah.  And he did, at St. John’s, Logan.  In 1914 Jones became the archdeacon in the missionary district.  Later that year he succeeded Spalding as bishop.  Our saint built up the diocese well during his tenure (1914-1918).

Jones got into deep trouble for speaking out based on his conscience.  He was a pacifist, for he was convinced that Jesus disapproved of settling conflicts violently.  Jones also argued for recognizing the moral validity of conscientious objection to war.  Both church and society, he insisted, should respect the choice not to engage in violence.  All of this was politically dangerous to advocate for in the United States in 1917 and 1918, a time when much of the population contracted war fever.  In the realm of the ridiculous, Dachshunds became Liberty Hounds, German Shepherds became Alsacian Shepherds, and frankfurters became hot dogs, among other examples of renaming dog breeds and food products.  The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, banned the performance of the music of Ludwig von Beethoven, who had been dead for 90 years.  Besides, given the composer’s political position regarding Emperor Napoleon I (he considered Bonaparte’s self-promotion a betrayal of principles), would Beethoven have supported German imperialism in 1914-1918, had he been alive?  Reason be damned, this was wartime panic and intolerance.  States and the federal government passed laws suspending the freedom of speech and redress of the government.  Certain opponents of U.S. involvement in World War I went to prison for their nonviolent activities, such as giving speeches and distributing leaflets.  (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution be damned also, apparently.)  Jones had to contend with false allegations of being pro-German and anti-American.  He got off relatively lightly, though; the Episcopal House of Bishops forced him to resign from both the Missionary District of Utah and the House of Bishops.  Years later he got to rejoin the House of Bishops yet without a vote therein.

Jones served as the executive secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, devoted to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts, from 1919 to 1929.  A colleague there was John Nevin Sayre.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (I)

With Paul Jones

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Sayre came from a distinguished family.  He, born on February 4, 1884, at South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was a grandson of John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886), the great German Reformed minister and Mercersburg theologian.  Our saint’s aunt was Alice Nevin (1837-1925), who contributed much to the life of the Reformed Church in the United States and to the civil life of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Sayre’s mother was Martha Finley Nevin (1824-1917), daughter of John Williamson Nevin and sister of Alice.  Our saint’s father was Robert Heysham Sayre (1844-1917), the manager of the Bethlehem Iron Works and the founder of the Sayre Mining and Manufacturing Company.  Sayre’s brother was Francis Bowes Sayre, Sr. (1885-1972), an attorney and diplomat.  Francis Sr. was a professor at Harvard Law School (1917-1923), the Advisor in Foreign Affairs to the King of Siam (1923-1925), the U.S. Ambassador to Siam (1925-1932), the Director of the Harvard Institute of Criminal Law (1932-1933), the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (1933-1939), the High Commissioner of the Philippines (1939-1942), and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Leadership Council (1947-1952).  In 1913 he married Jessie Woodrow Wilson (died in 1933), daughter of President (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson (in office 1913-1921).  Through Francis Sr. our saint was able to gain access to prominent people, such as President Wilson, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (in office 1933-1945), General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), and Emperor Hirohito (reigned 1926-1989).

Our saint was a well-educated man.  He graduated from Princeton University (B.A., 1907) and the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (B.D., 1911).  He also studied at the Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York (1908-1910) and the University of Marburg, Germany (1913-1914).  Sayre also taught at Princeton University (1911-1912) and at Boone University, Wuchang, China (1913).

Sayre became a pacifist in 1914.  He agreed with Jones that warfare was incompatible with the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  Sayre, Assistant Rector (1915-1916) then Rector (1916-1919) of Christ Church, Suffern, New York, found his congregation to be less than fully supportive of his pacifism.  He resigned and helped to found Brookwood School (1919-1921), where he taught nonviolence for two years.  In 1921, when Brookwood School became Brookwood Labor College, an experimental residential two-year institution for workers, he transferred to the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  (He had helped to found that branch six years earlier.)  Sayre edited The World Tomorrow from 1922 to 1924 and served as the organization’s associate secretary from 1924 to 1935, serving under Jones during part of that time.  Sayre traveled the world as he sought to resolve conflicts nonviolently.  In 1927, for example, he, via Francis Sr., gained access to U.S. senators and State Department officials and thereby succeeded in halting the planned U.S. bombing of innocent civilians during a conflict in Nicaragua.

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PAUL JONES (II)

With John Nevin Sayre

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Jones spent his final years as the chaplain of Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.  He also functioned as a spiritual advisor to students and a member of the faculty, as a well as a traveling speaker.  Other causes for which our saint advocated were economic justice (from a Christian Socialist perspective) and civil rights for African Americans.  In 1939 he and Sayre helped to found the Episcopal Pacifist Fellowship (now the Episcopal Peace Fellowship).  Toward the end of his life Jones helped to resettle European Jews fleeing the Nazis.  He died of multiple myeloma at Yellow Springs on September 4, 1941.  He was 60 years old.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (II)

With Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr.

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Sayre, active in pacifist activism for most of his life, spent most of that life with Kathleen Whitaker, also his partner in activism.  She and her mother, pacifists, had emigrated from England in 1916.  Kathleen became the second Mrs. Sayre in 1922; the marriage ended when Sayre died in 1977.  (Sayre had married his first wife, Helen Augusta Bangs, on June 28, 1910.  She died two years and two days later.)  Other organizations through which the Sayres worked for peace and reconciliation included, of course, the Episcopal Pacifist/Peace Fellowship, the National Peace Conference and the International Fellowship of Witness.  Their pacifism translated, not surprisingly, into opposition to the Vietnam War.

Other favored causes included helping conscientious objectors in Europe and the United States during World War II, sparing the lives and facilitating the release and repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war after that conflict, advocating for civil liberties, and working for civil rights for African Americans.  Sayre died at South Hyack, New York, on September 13, 1977.  He was 93 years old.

A nephew, Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr. (1915-2008), a grandson of Woodrow Wilson, became an Episcopal priest, and from 1951 to 1978, the Dean of Washington National Cathedral.  True to his family heritage, he opposed Jim Crow, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War.

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CONCLUSION

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As time moved on, so did ecclesiastical institutions.  The Lambeth Conference of 1958 approved the following resolutions:

Resolution 101 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations 

The Church’s Work of Reconciliation The Conference urges all members of the Anglican Communion to further the ministry of reconciliation by: (a) developing deeper understanding and fellowship with churchmen of every land; (b) extending the use of clergy and lay workers in lands other than their own, the exchange of teachers and seminarians, and the participation by lay visitors in the Church life of the countries they visit; (c) the general use of the Anglican Cycle of Prayer to undergird this wider sense of community; (d) participation everywhere in the wider community of all Christian people in the ecumenical opportunities open to them.

Resolution 102 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to recognise their duty of exercising to the full their responsibility as citizens in the national and international policies of their governments.

Resolution 103 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to strive by the exercise of mutual understanding, calm reason, and constant prayer, to reconcile all those who are involved in racial, political, economic, or other conflicts.

Resolution 104 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Rights of Men and Nations

The Conference declares that the Church is not to be identified with any particular political or social system, and calls upon all Christians to encourage their governments to respect the dignity and freedom of people within their own nations and the right of people of other nations to govern themselves.

Resolution 105 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Sharing Material Resources

The Conference draws attention to the widespread poverty in many parts of the world; it notes with thankfulness the measures taken to help under-developed countries to become self-supporting, and calls upon Christians in more favoured lands to use their influence to encourage their governments in the task of relieving poverty by a generous sharing of their material and technical resources with those in need.

Resolution 106 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference reaffirms that war as a method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and declares that nothing less than the abolition of war itself should be the goal of the nations, their leaders, and all citizens. As an essential step towards achieving this goal the Conference calls upon Christians to press through their governments, as a matter of the utmost urgency, for the abolition by international agreement of nuclear bombs and other weapons of similar indiscriminate destructive power, the use of which is repugnant to the Christian conscience. To this end governments should accept such limitations of their own sovereignty as effective control demands. The Conference further urges the governments of the leading nations of the world to devote their utmost efforts at once to framing a comprehensive international disarmament treaty, which shall also provide for the progressive reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments to the minimum necessary for the maintenance of internal security and the fulfilment of the obligations of states to maintain peace and security in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Resolution 107 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference calls Christians to subject to intense prayer and study their attitudes to the issues involved in modern warfare, and urges the Church to continue to consult regularly with scientists and political leaders about the many problems of ethics and conscience which arise from advances in nuclear research.

Resolution 108 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference affirms the need for strengthening the United Nations and to this end: (a) urges that serious consideration be given to the revision of its Charter, the more effective use of, and respect for, the existing processes of international justice, and to the creation of adequate means for enforcing its decisions; (b) commends wholeheartedly the work done under the aegis of the United Nations, whereby the skills and resources of member nations are made available for the benefit of the whole of humanity; (c) recommends that all Church people be asked to pray for God’s blessing upon the officers and declared purposes of the United Nations; (d) urges that all Church people be asked to encourage community study regarding the constitution, the plans, and the needs of the United Nations.

Resolution 109 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference draws attention to the work of the Committee of the Churches on International Affairs (within the World Council of Churches) and urges Anglicans to support its efforts to bring an informed Christian opinion to bear on international issues.

Resolution 110 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Condemnation of Racial Discrimination

The Conference affirms its belief in the natural dignity and value of every man, of whatever colour or race, as created in the image of God. In the light of this belief the Conference affirms that neither race nor colour is in itself a barrier to any aspect of that life in family and community for which God created all men. It therefore condemns discrimination of any kind on the grounds of race or colour alone. The Conference would urge that in multi-racial societies members of all races shall be allowed: (a) a fair and just share in the government of their country; (b) a fair and just share in the control, development, and rewards of the natural resources of their country, including advancement to the highest level of attainment; (c) the right to associate freely in worship, in education, in industry, in recreation, and in all other departments of the common life.

Resolution 111 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Church in an Industrial Age

The Conference urges the provinces of the Anglican Communion to give special study to the task, strategy, and ministry of the Church within industrial society, and by the use of bold and imaginative experiments to strengthen the impact of the Christian faith upon the whole life and pattern of industry.

Source = link

I am not a pacifist.  I have tried to become one, but I have not been able to, pardon the term, reconcile certain uncomfortable realities with idealism.  Sometimes the best choice is a bad one, albeit the least or lesser bad choice.  I write this post on the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb in 1945.  As much as I deplore the human costs (including to innocent civilians) inherent in that act, I also know that the human costs (including to innocent civilians) would have been far worse had an invasion of the Japanese home islands occurred.  Forcing Japanese surrender also kept Soviet troops out of Japan.  President Harry Truman made the decision he had to make; he chose the lesser of two evils when no good option was available.  I also recognize the fact that reconciling with, not antagonizing, Japan after World War II made the world a better place for Allies and Japanese alike.  I wonder world history would have been different had the victorious Allies been kind to Germany and nicer to Japan at Versailles Palace in 1919.

Although I am not a pacifist, I refuse to condemn those who are.  They remind the rest of us of the importance of seeking peace–not just the absence of conflict, but the reality of reconciliation.  “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” may have been originally a moral step forward, insofar as its purpose was to curtail violence, but reconciliation is superior.  As Delenn, the Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5, said in Passing Through Gethsemane (1995), one of my favorite episodes of Babylon 5 (1994-1998), “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” leaves many people blind and toothless.  Is it not better for all of us to retain our eyes and teeth and to strive for peace, or at least the absence of conflict?  Some violence is necessary, sadly, but most of it is morally unjustifiable.  Frequently the motivation for violence is revenge or pride, not self-defense.  Even when violence is in self-defense, it might damage the one who commits it.  Wildred Owen (who died a week before the armistice in 1918, wrote a poem in the voice of two soldiers.  One soldiers tells the other:

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

I knew you in the dark; for so you frowned

Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

Let us sleep now….

Also, given the long tradition of people from various religions (including, unfortunately, Christianity, named after the executed Prince of Peace) engaging in violence at the proverbial drop of a hat, from antiquity to the present day, I derive comfort from the fact many faithful people seek to incite nonviolence in the name of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Merciful God, you sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near:

Raise up in this and every land witnesses who, after the examples of your servants

Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre,

will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace,

our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Malachi 2:17-3:5

Psalm 76

1 Peter 3:8-14a

John 8:31-32

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 561

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Feast of Alice Nevin (November 18)   1 comment

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Above:  Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1921

Image Source = Library of Congress

Copyright Claimant = Darmstaetter’s, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

J247993 U.S. Copyright Office

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ALICE NEVIN (AUGUST 1, 1837-NOVEMBER 19, 1925)

U.S. German Reformed Liturgist and Composer of Hymn Tunes

Alice Nevin, one of six children and three daughters of Martha Jenkins and John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886), a great Mercersburg theologian in the former Reformed Church in the United States (1793-1934), was an heiress to her father’s legacy.  She carried it well, with an emphasis on hymns.

Our saint, born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 1, 1837, when her father taught at Western Theological Seminary, spent most of her life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Professor Nevin transferred to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1840 then to Lancaster 11 years later.  Alice walked with a limp, albeit not a debilitating one, because a nurse dropped her when she was a baby.  Our saint, who never married, served as an organist and choir director at both Franklin and Marshall College and First Reformed Church, Lancaster, for many years.  She also helped to found St. Luke’s Reformed Church, Lancaster, in 1879.

[Aside:  First Reformed Church has become First Reformed United Church Christ.  St. Luke’s Reformed Church became St. Luke’s United Church of Christ.  St. Luke’s, like many urban congregations, lost most of its membership to suburban churches.  It closed on May 31, 2015, and remaining members transferred to Trinity United Church of Christ.]

Nevin cared deeply about the quality of hymns and songs for children.  She edited Hymns and Carols for Church and Sunday School (1879), a volume more formalistic congregations of the Reformed Church in the United States used.  In the preface our saint criticized many hymns and songs for children for being childish when they should be childlike.  She also condemned many of them for featuring

meaningless, jingling rhymes and melodies.

–page 3

The hymnal included five of her hymn tunes and three of her arrangements.  Two of these tunes were nameless, but the other three were RESURRECTION, CECIL, and ELSIE.  The arrangements were WILLIAMSON, COBLENTZ, and CORNISH MELODY.  The Hymnal of the Reformed Church in the United States (1890), The Hymnal of the Reformed Church (1920, with the Reformed Church in America, which barely used it), and The Hymnal (1941, Evangelical and Reformed Church, immediate successor to the Reformed Church in the United States) contained RESURRECTION and WILLIAMSON.  The committees for The Hymnal of the United Church of Christ (1974) and The New Century Hymnal (1995) omitted all tunes and arrangements by our saint.

Nevin was also active in the civil life of Lancaster.  She helped to found the Visiting Nurses’ Association.  Furthermore, she was one of the organizers of the Cliosophic Society, a literary society, in 1879.  And, in 1895, she founded the Iris Club, an organization for women, which she led for six years.

In 1922, toward the end of her life, Nevin published Poems, a slim volume she distributed only among her friends.  She died at home on November 19, 1925, aged 88 years.

Her insistence upon quality in hymns and songs for children remains relevant.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALFRED TENNYSON, ENGLISH POET

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FOSTER, ENGLISH MORAVIAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWNLIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Alice Nevin)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin (October 20)   4 comments

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Above:  Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1921

J247993–U.S. Copyright Office

Image Source = Library of Congress

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PHILIP SCHAFF (JANUARY 1, 1819-OCTOBER 20, 1893)

and

JOHN WILLIAMSON NEVIN (FEBRUARY 20, 1803-JUNE 6, 1886)

U.S. German Reformed Historians, Theologians, and Liturgists

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Cardinal John Henry Newman, a famous convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, said that to understand church history is to cease to be a Protestant.  I understand why Cardinal Newman thought that, given his spiritual biography and the widespread neglect of Christian history among many Protestants during his lifetime, but that statement did not reflect the reality of Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin, who called the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A. (the Reformed Church in the United States from 1863 to 1934) away from its historical amnesia and indifference, Puritanism, Pietism, Revivalism, and Zwinglianism.  These men worked to take their denomination back to its roots in the Protestant Reformation, recovering its Reformed Eucharistic and liturgical heritage while renouncing anti-Roman Catholicism.

Philip Schaff, born on January 1, 1819, at Chur, Switzerland, attended the Universities of Tubingen, Halle, and Berlin.  He immigrated to the United States in 1843 to teach at the German Reformed Seminary at Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.  He, a church historian, championed the subject at a time when many U.S. Evangelicals had little use for it.  Nevertheless, Schaff argued that Protestantism stood in continuity with Medieval Roman Catholicism, not Pauline Christianity.  He advocated taking the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A. back to the liturgical and Eucharistic theology of John Calvin.  In contrast, the dominant influences in the denomination at the time were Puritanism, Pietism, Revivalism, and Zwinglianism, the latter with its memorial meal theology of the Lord’s Supper.  For his trouble Schaff faced a heresy trial in 1845.  The tribunal dismissed all charges unanimously.

Schaff’s theological partner in the Mercersburg Theology was John Williamson Nevin, born on February 20, 1803, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Nevin, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, was originally a Presbyterian.  He, graduated from Union College in 1821 and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1828, received his license to preach in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. that year.  From 1830 to 1840 he taught Biblical literature at the former Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  Then Nevin, dissatisfied with the Puritanical influences in the Presbyterian Church, left for the German Reformed Church and became a Professor of Theology at the Mercersburg seminary (1840-1851) and President of the former Marshall College (1841-1853).

A mighty dragon Schaff and Nevin had to combat as part of their effort to recover historical awareness and renew liturgical life in the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A. was anti-Roman Catholicism.  As Frank C. Senn wrote:

In America, Protestant liturgical recovery in the nineteenth century not only went up against Puritanism, Pietism, and Revivalism, but also against that cultural-political expression of anti-Catholic bigotry known as “Know-Nothingism.”

Christian Liturgy:  Catholic and Evangelical (Minneapolis, MN:  Fortress Press, 1997), page 581

There was, in the middle of the 1800s, a political party known variously as the Native American Party, American Republican Party, or simply the American Party, but informally as the “Know-Nothing Party,” devoted to xenophobia and opposition to Roman Catholicism, notably Roman Catholic immigrants.  The list of people they liked consisted of other bigoted Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Our saints sought to revive not only the Continental European Reformed liturgical tradition (that of service books) in the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A., but the Calvinistic Eucharistic theology of the non-localized mystical presence of Christ in the sacrament.  Toward that end Nevin wrote The Mystical Presence:  A Vindication of the Calvinistic Doctrine of the Eucharist (1846).  Nevin, who considered the Lord’s Supper to be “the very heart of the whole Christian worship,” was, like Schaff, more traditional than those who considered them heretics and innovators.  Nevin and Schaff were closer to the Reformed traditions than were Pietists, Revivalists, and Puritans.

Ironically, as late as 1861, Schaff, who was busy resisting anti-Roman Catholic bigotry, had yet to slay racism inside himself.  That year he wrote Slavery and the Bible, the contents of which were–and remain–indefensible.  He was ahead of his time in some ways yet sadly of it in others.  I include this detail for the sake of thoroughness and honesty.

Schaff and Nevin belonged to the committee which produced A Liturgy:  or, Order of Christian Worship (1857), for provisional use in the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A.  In 1866 it became official as An Order of Worship for the Reformed Church.  Nevin wrote the Vindication of of the Revised Liturgy, Historical and Theological (1867) to defend against charges of “Romanizing tendencies”  Such allegations prompted the (Dutch) Reformed Church in America to terminate (for a time) relations with the German Reformed Church/Reformed Church in the United States in the late 180os.

Schaff’s career from 1863 to 1893 was as follows:

  1. Chairman of the Sabbath Committee, New York City, 1863-1870;
  2. Chair of Christian Encyclopedia and Symbolism, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, 1870-1873;
  3. Professor of Sacred Literature, Union Theological Seminary, 1874-1887; and
  4. Professor of Church History, Union Theological Seminary, 1887-1893.

During his career Schaff added many other impressive accomplishments to this already mostly auspicious list.  A partial enumeration follows:

  1. He edited the twenty-five volumes of the English-language translation of Johann Peter Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (1865-1880), available at archive.org.
  2. Schaff published a hymnal, Christ in Song:  Songs of Immanuel (1869) and co-edited a second hymnal, Hymns and Songs of Praise for Public and Social Worship (1874).
  3. He edited German and Latin hymns into English.  Among these was “O Bread of Life from Heaven.”
  4. Schaff edited Volumes I, II, and III of The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1882-1884).
  5. He wrote the eight-volume History of the Christian Church (1882-1892).  His son, Presbyterian minister and scholar David Schley Schaff (1852-1941), revised those volumes and added two more.
  6. Schaff published Volumes I, II, and III of The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes (1877).
  7. He published the fourteen volumes of A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (1886-1890), available at archive.org.
  8. Schaff founded the American Society of Church History in 1884.
  9. He served as President of the American Revision Committee, thereby contributing to the American Standard Version of the Bible (1901), from which other translations have sprung directly and indirectly.  These include the Revised Standard Version (1946/1952), its 1971 revision, its two Catholic editions (1965 and 2002), the New Revised Standard Version (1989), its Roman Catholic edition (1993), the New American Standard Bible (1971/1977) and its updated edition (1995), the Living Bible (1969/1971), its Roman Catholic edition (1972), the New Living Translation (1996/2004), and the English Standard Version (2001).

Schaff, who died at New York City on October 20, 1893, worked for church unity.  His Reformed theology of ecumenism led him to oppose both Papal Infallibility and the Anglican/Episcopalian Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.  The inclusion of Apostolic Succession in the latter troubled him.  He was correct, however, that Papal Infallibility functions as an obstacle to Christian unity.

Schaff left an impressive literary and scholarly legacy.  Among its other components were:

  1. The Principle of Protestantism as Related to the Present State of the Church (1845);
  2. The Life and Labors of St. Augustine:  A Historical Sketch (1854);
  3. The Oldest Manual Called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles:  The Didache and Kindred Documents in the Original (1855);
  4. The Moral Character of Christ; or the Perfection of Christ’s Humanity, a Proof of His Divinity (1861);
  5. A Catechism for Sunday Schools and Families in Fifty-Two Lessons, with Proof-Texts and Notes (1862; revised in 1880);
  6. The Harmony of the Reformed Confessions as Related to the Present State of Evangelical Theology (1877);
  7. Through Bible Lands:  Notes on Travel in Egypt, the Desert, and Palestine (1878);
  8. A Dictionary of the Bible (First Edition, 1880; Second Edition, 1881; Third Edition, 1885, Fourth Edition, 1887);
  9. A Library of Religious Poetry (1881);
  10. A Companion to the Greek New Testament and the English Version (1883);
  11. Church and State in the United States, or the American Idea of Religious Liberty and Its Practical Effects, with Official Documents (1888);
  12. The Progress of Religion as Shown in the History of Toleration Acts (1889); and
  13. The Renaissance:  The Revival of Learning and Art in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (1891).

Nevin taught history at the merged Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1861 to 1866 then served as the President for a decade.  He died at Lancaster on June 6, 1886.  He also left a written legacy, which included, apart from The Mystical Presence (1846), the 1857/1866 German Reformed Liturgy, and the Vindication (1867) thereof, the following:

  1. A Summary of Biblical Antiquities:  Compiled for the Use of Sunday-School Teachers, and for the Benefit of Families, Volumes I and II (1829);
  2. The Scourge of God (1832);
  3. The Anxious Bench (First Edition, 1843; Second Edition, 1844); in German here;
  4. History and Genius of the Heidelberg Catechism (1847);
  5. A Summary of Biblical Antiquities; for the Use of Schools, Bible-Classes, and Families (1849);
  6. Man’s True Destiny (1853); and
  7. Christian Hymnology (1856);
  8. Life and Character of Frederick Augustus Rauch, First President of Marshall College (1859).

Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin were giants in the Church.  Those of us who pursue interests in ecclesiastical history and/or liturgy stand on their shoulders.  Certainly those from the Reformed tradition who encourage proper Eucharistic practice and better liturgy stand on their broad shoulders.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 23, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEASTS OF PHILIP EVANS AND JOHN LLOYD, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE TEAGUE CASE, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT OLAF II OF SWEDEN, KING AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SUSANNA WESLEY, MOTHER OF METHODISM

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Philip SchaffJohn Williamson Nevin, and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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