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
"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.
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.
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.)