History Collection Shows the More Things Change…

CHICAGO, IL (May 14, 2014) — When were the following statements first written?

“The Christian Church has been invaded by efficiency experts who have attempted to transform the sacred sign of the cross into the commercialized dollar sign.”

“Christianity finds God revealed in the person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ. Science finds the same God in the revealed ‘finger prints’ he has left in the vast product of his created universe. Neither can be substitute for the other. But together, the two reveal to mortal man the knowledge, power, and infinite love of the creator of the universe, our heavenly Father. If this be our attitude toward conservative Christianity and modern science, we shall find our conception of God enlarged, our sense of responsibility deepened, and our lives enriched.”

Both quotations come from an article titled “Religious Faith in an Age of Modern Scientific Doubt” written by North Park professor Peter Person—in 1927.

It was the first article of the first volume of Our Covenant, an annual publication of the denomination that ran between 1927 and 1964. It was originally published “for the purpose of bringing our young people a more intimate knowledge of our Covenant Church.”

All 36 volumes are part of the newest digitized additions of original publications to the Frisk Collection of Covenant Literature and can be accessed online. Despite its stated intended readership, Our Covenant was far from being “just” a youth publication. The volumes included poetry, artwork, stories from the mission field, theology, and meditations on topics that are still being discussed in the church today, such as war, politics, and immigration. They offer important insights into the Covenant’s history and perspectives of how we might approach issues of our day.

In an article written for the 1938 volume of Our Covenant, missionary Martha Anderson recounted her call to serve in China. “I shall never forget the day when President Anderson came to me and told me that the request had come from the China field for workers, and he said, ‘Apparently you are the one that God has chosen.’… Now that the call has come to me from the Covenant, it is needless to say I am extremely happy, for I know God has spoken and that it is God’s will.” She was executed by bandits in China in 1948.

Her words are echoed in those of contemporary martyr Jerry Umanos, the Covenant physician who was killed in Afghanistan last month. The program for his funeral included these words: “In conclusion, I want to underscore clearly that my wanting to become a doctor and a missionary is not the result of some command from God which is against my wishes. On the contrary, I believe that God wants me to serve Him, but has left the manner by which I do this, up to me, and becoming a doctor and a missionary is what I truly desire.”

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About the Author

Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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