THE Christian Nation of July 13, 1887, presents an argument to show that “National Reform is non-sectarian.” It presents “three facts” and then says:—
“The National Reform Association is not asking the nation to recognize Calvinism, Arminianism, Catholicism, or any other ism.”
On this point of “any other ism” we have a word to say, and we shall say it, after the manner of the Christian Nation, by presenting a few facts—more than three—for the consideration of the people in general and of the Christian Nation in particular.
First fact. The first step that was ever taken, the first paper that was ever presented, in favor of the National Reform movement, or the organization of that association, was by a Reformed Presbyterian.
Second fact. Until within about the last three years, all the active public workers—the District Secretaries—of the National Reform Association have been Reformed Presbyterians, and all but three of them—Leiper, Weir, and Mills—are now Reformed Presbyterians.
Third fact. Both of the editors of the Christian Statesman—Dr. McAllister and T. P. Stevenson—are Reformed Presbyterians. Dr. McAllister is a professor in a Reformed Presbyterian College, and Mr. Stevenson is pastor of a Reformed Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
Fourth fact. Mr. John W. Pritchard, by whom the Christian Nation is “conducted,” is a Reformed Presbyterian; and for two years or more was the Reformed Presbyterian Synod’s “Financial Agent for National Reform.”
Fifth fact. Both the Christian Statesman and the Christian Nation are recognized church papers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, as well as organs of National Reform.
Sixth fact. The Reformed Presbyterian, for the month of January, 1870, published to the world an article by Rev. James Wallace, in which are the following statements:—
1. “This important truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the nations, was attained by our reforming and martyred Fathers in Scotland, … and has been transmitted down to us sealed with their blood, and is the precious and peculiar inheritance of the Reformed Church, and distinguishes her from all the other evangelical churches in this and other lands. No other church professes to maintain this great principle in its practical applications.”
2. “The distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church are and the only principles, of National Reform.”
3. “Now the Association for National Reform simply proposes to have these distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church adopted into the Constitution of the United States, annulling any parts of that Constitution that may be inconsistent with these principles…. The adoption of this Amendment into the Constitution would be the Government doing … the highest honor to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the greatest benefit to our church.”
4. “The principles of National Reform are our principles, and its work is our work. National Reform is simply the practical application of the principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church for the reformation of the nation.” (The Italics are his.)
Seventh fact. These statements are confirmed by Rev. J. R. W. Sloane’s account of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in the “Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia,” in which he says:—
“The more special and distinctive principle of this church, the one in which she differs from all others, is her practical protest against the secular character of the United States Constitution…. They take the deepest interest in that reform movement which has for its object the amendment of the United States Constitution in those particulars in which they consider it defective. Indeed, they feel specially called to aid in its success, at whatever cost or personal sacrifice.”
Eighth fact. The Reformed Presbyterian Synod of 1886 in its report on National Reform said:—
“It is ours to hold up the ideals of God, which have originated the National Reform cause.” And the Synod of 1885 said of National Reform, that “This is the tap-root of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.”
Therefore the sum of all this matter is—
THE UNDENIABLE TRUTH, that National Reform is nothing under heaven but Reformed Presbyterianism—and that in politics.
In view of these facts, the statement of the Christian Nation that “the National Reform Association is not asking the nation to recognize Calvinism, Arminianism, Catholicism, or any other ism,” looks rather queer as a representation of truth. And all the more so as it is so exceedingly difficult to understand how it can be that the Reformed Presbyterian conductor of the Christian Nation does not know of these facts.
In proof of the “non-sectarian character of the National Reform creed” the Christian Nation proposes the fact that “the membership of the National Reform Association embraces representatives of almost every evangelical communion. Joseph Cook and Dr. Miner, Dr. Leonard and Bishop Littlejohn, Frances E. Willard and Julia McNair Wright, and thousands of others … find room and welcome on the broad platform of National Reform.” But it proves nothing of the kind, because the “broad (?) platform of National Reform” is composed only of the narrow distinctive principles of the Reformed  Presbyterian Church,” and when these people of other communions step upon that platform, they in that adopt the distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and so far make themselves Reformed Presbyterians. And when they of other communions push the National Reform movement to a successful issue, they are only pushing to a successful issue the distinctive principles of Reformed Presbyterianism; they are only fixedly planting in the soil of our national affairs “the tap-root of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.”
The logic is perfectly easy. By their own words, we have the following syllogism:—
MAJOR: Reformed Presbyterianism “originated the National Reform cause.”
MINOR: “The distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church are the principles, and the only principles, of National Reform.”
CONCLUSION: National Reform is only Reformed Presbyterianism. And when the National Reform Association asks the nation to recognize National Reform, it asks the nation to recognize Reformed Presbyterianism, and no “other ism.”
The Christian Nation ought to adopt some other form of denial. It might have better success in getting at the truth. A. T. J.