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Stelzle on Church Mission

"Whatever may be said in condemnation of individualistic evangelism, and however inadequate it may be to meet all the needs of men - social and ethical - nevertheless it is fundamental in the task of bring about right relationships between men. Therefore, in the gifts which God has distributed among men, He has given it to some to be evangelists - men whose peculiar work it is to win others to Christ." (192)

"One day an Irish Catholic business agent of a trade union composed of women workers having a membership of eight hundred or more, told me the story of her experience in trying to find a hall that was suitable for her girls. ... When she had appealed to a saloon-keeper as a last resort, even he had turned down the organization, because he saw no prospects of securing any business from women members. 
     "She asked me if she might use the Labor Temple between the hours of six and eight on Monday nights, and the arrangements were quickly made, the only charge being a small fee to pay the janitor for extra service, and the cost of the lights. Later, other labor unions composed of men came to the Labor Temple for their meetings ... Soon it became the center for general meetings and strikers' conferences because of the desire of the leaders to keep their membership sober and away from the saloons." (131)

"The church causes social unrest. The early disciples were arrested for preaching a doctrine which was turning the world upside down. ... Social unrest, therefore, is the legitimate outcome of the finest idealist the world has ever known. Without it there can be no real progress. It must be obvious that it is impossible to stop the progress of social unrest. No army or navy can suppress the people in their desire to advance their social and economic interests. 
     "There will always be some social unrest in the world. The labor question will never be settled until the last day's work is done." (144-5)

Quotes above from A Son of the Bowery, Charles Stelzle, 1926 (1971).

Paul worked at his trade as a tent-maker, usually seeking out those who were of the same craft when visiting a strange city. As he was dependent upon his trade for a living, and as he constantly traveled from place to place, it seem reasonable to suppose that Paul identified himself with an organization ... it was among the guilds of the large cities which Paul visited that he established the churches whose names are given us in the inspired record. And these very guilds or working people became centres for the proclamation of the Gospel.
   "Always have there been organization of working people, born of a desire to better their social and economic conditions. Sometimes developed in secret on account of the oppression of the government, or the opposition of the employing class, and having its periods of depression as well as its times of exaltation, organized labor has gone steadily forward until to-day, throughout the world, it is eight millions strong." (67)

From Christianity's Storm Centre, Charles Stelzle, Revell, 1907.

"We must show the workingmen of this country that the Church of Jesus Christ does not stand for the present social system. It does not uphold it. It stands for only so much of it as is in accordance with the principles laid down by Jesus. ... Social unrest is one of the most hopeful signs of the times. Without it there can be no real progress. But this spirit of social unrest requires intelligence and unselfish direction, and it is at this point that the Church must be true to herself. I am not at all bothered about the spirit of social unrest in this twentieth century. I am not afraid of it. But it is just at this point that the Church is going to be most severely tested. (Stelzle in The Spirit of Social Unrest, 1908, p. 24, 32.)


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