Page 15 - History of UB Church by A. Funkhouser Ver 1
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The denominations we have named are substantially all that were represented in America of
1752. They originated in Europe, and with the exception of the Baptists, Quakers, Mennonites, and
Moravians, they began there as state churches.

Several organizations very strong in America to-day were then quite unknown. This is
conspicuously true of the Methodist Church, which began as a society within the Church of England,
and did not become an independent body in America until 1784. It was unknown in 1752 and had
little more than a thousand members in 1774. Alexander Campbell was not yet born, and
consequently the church founded by him was still in the future.

It is in place to say something more about established churches. Two centuries before the birth
of Otterbein it was strictly true that there was but one church in all Western Europe. This church
was the Roman Catholic. There was a small wave of dissent, but it was the customary practice to
hunt down the objector as though he were a wild beast. If emphatic persuasion would not silence
his voice he was put out of the way as though a positive danger to society. Toward the middle of
the sixteenth century, Henry VIII broke with Rome and within the borders of England he took the

place of the pope as the head of the church. For a while there was no other conspicuous point of

difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England. But within the latter body an
influence sprang up which conformed its theology to the Protestant standard, while making little
alteration in its ritual and its forms of worship, so far as outward appearance was concerned.
Somewhat the same thing happened in Germany. Under the lead of Martin Luther a large portion of
Northern Europe threw off all allegiance to Rome, and adopted the creed on which the Protestant
Reformation had rested its cause. Yet the externals of worship in the Lutheran Church, as in the
Church of England, were much the same as in the mother church. This is an illustration of the fact
that mankind is far more prone to effect a change by steps and not by jumps. A large section of
the Protestant world did not consider the change radical enough, and the Calvinistic creed was the
result. Thus arose the Calvinistic churches; the Presbyterian in Scotland, the Independent in
England, the Dutch Reformed in Holland, the German Reformed in Switzerland and the south of
Germany, and the Huguenot, or French Protestant Church, in France.

Before the coming of the Reformation and for many years afterward, it was generally believed
that no country should permit more than one church organization within its confines. The church
and the civil authority were viewed as the twin pillars that supported the state. I! was plain that no
state could endure if it were to tolerate any rival political organization inside of its borders. How,
then, it was argued, could there safely be more than one standard of religious belief within a state?
Religious dissent was viewed with anger and horror, just as anarchy and bolshevism are viewed in
the political world to-day. But the spirit of that age was more than intolerant. It was cruel. The
religious remonstrant was boycotted, both socially and religiously. This policy alone was severe
enough in its practical effect. But if relatively mild measures did not effect the desired result, the

heretic was burned at the stake, or was skinned and disemboweled in the hideous belief that his

torture in this world meant the salvation of his soul for the next.

The Church of Rome tried to stamp out Protestantism, root and branch. It nearly succeeded in
France and more fully succeeded in some other regions. In Germany it was obliged to come to
terms. An agreement was reached whereby each of the petty states into which Germany was then
divided should choose between Catholicism and Protestantism.

Religious toleration was not by any means a first fruit of the Reformation. The early Protestants
were themselves intolerant. Freedom of conscience was not recognized until torrents of blood had
flowed on the battlefields of Europe. When brave, stubborn men fought other men as brave and
stubborn as themselves, each party found at length that the only way out of the difficulty was to
agree to live and let live. It was next found out that unity in political government and unity in
church organization do not rest on the same base. It was gradually discovered that the assumed
peril to the state in permitting more than one sect within its borders was a mere creature of the
imagination. Nevertheless, toleration was resisted in Europe, inch by inch, year by year, and had
not become generally accepted at the time when Otterbein sailed for America. And even after
intolerance had lost the support of the civil arm of the state, its spirit survived in the form of
animosity between sect and sect. Instead of presenting a united front against the manifold forces
of evil, the Protestant churches scattered their energies by persistently firing into each other's

Chapter IV 15 German Immigration in the 18th
Century
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