Saturday, March 01, 2008

Annual Meeting of 1865

The Civil War was continuing as the Brethren gathered for the Annual Meeting in 1865. After four consecutive years with John Kline as Moderator, and having been killed shortly after the 1864 Annual Meeting, H. D. Davy served as Moderator in 1865. The Minutes indicate a large number assembled for worship on Saturday and Sunday, with 140 churches represented by 182 delegates for business. Some 57 queries or articles were dealt with during the meeting. Two are noted below.

Article 7. Whereas, the brethren at our last Annual Meeting decided that "Civil Government is of divine authority" (article 23, 1864); and, whereas, all civil governments are, and always have been, sustained by the sword; we therefore wish to know if it is right for brethren to bear arms, when called upon to do so by the authorities, in order to sustain the civil government? Answer: We consider that we have no right to take up arms.

Article 47. How are the churches to hold and proceed with those members, who, in heart and soul, have been in sympathy with the rebellion, denouncing the government, and speaking evil of our rulers, especially of President Lincoln? As many members are unwilling to commune with such, a scriptural answer is required. Answer: We consider such brethren as transgressors of the Word, and admonish them to make satisfactory acknowledgment to the church; and if they refuse to do so, they should be dealt with according to the gospel.