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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Dr. Josiah Strong Lecture

Nashville Globe – Feb 22, 1907

Dr. Josiah Strong  – Eminent Divine & Author Delivers Great Lecture to Prominent Colored & White Men of the City

He showed that Christianity under the workings of true service, love and sacrifice would solve all the difficult problems now vexing men.

In the  columns of the Globe of February 15, on the second page, appeared under the caption “Prominent Divine Coming,” an announcement setting forth that through the efforts of Rev. J.H. Currey and Dr. Lamburt, of this city.  Dr. Josiah Strong, an eminent minister and author, of Buffalo, N.Y. would visit Nashville on February 20.  It was desired by these gentlemen that the leading ministers, professional and business men (colored) of Nashville should be given an opportunity to hear this distinguished author.  A Globe reporter was on the scene at 10 o’clock according to appointment.  On arriving he found the new chapel on the fourth floor of the Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South, filled almost to capacity.  The faces of the leading colored, divines, professors, doctors, lawyers, merchants and bankers were prominent.  Dr. J.B. Currey (white), opened the meeting with a few remarks, stating that Dr. Strong was in the city the guest of Dr. Lamburt.  He was suffering some from fresh cold and possibly he would be delayed ten or fifteen minutes, but that he desired that the time should be profitably spent by hearing brief remarks from leading colored men setting forth their opinion of the new move to inaugurate a better relations between the two races in Nashville.  Dr. J.H. Welch, presiding elder of the A.M.E. Church, Dr. Henderson, Dean of Theology at Fisk University, and Dr. R.H. Boyd, President of the One Cent Savings Bank and Secretary of the National Baptist Publishing Board each made brief statements.

During this time Dr. Strong made his appearance in company with Dr. Lamburt.  After a brief introduction by Dr. Curry, Dr. Strong arose andin his clear and cool manner apologized, explaining that he was suffering from considerable hoarseness, but said that if he was going to preach a sermon to the gentlemen present, he would use this text, “Behold, I make all things new.”  Dr. Strong started out by narrating a story, stating that Mrs. Russell Sage had in her possession a letter written by an English lady to a friend one hundred years ago; giving her a description of a trip on a little boat from New York City to Albany and returning, which required seventeen days.  He said that invention and science had made such rapid progress that the Atlantic Ocean could be crossed, the continent of Europe could be entered as far as Constantinople and return in the same length of time.  He said that what was true in the changes of speed and comfort of travel in this county was also true in the new development of all others — wealth, science and knowledge.  He said that a majority of the world’s wealth and knowledge that had been accumulated within the last one <….text missing in between….>

…from the various governments and various nationalities, and yet were huddled together as one family, each depending upon the other.  He showed that the great questions arising were not questions that could be settled by political issues, but to be settled like all financial questions, commercial questions, labor problems, and sociological questions or problems — must be settled upon the Christ plan.  He said that the old theology and theologians had misunderstood and misinterpreted the purpose of Christ’s coming to the earth.  The old idea was that Christ’s purpose for visiting earth was to increase the census or population of Heaven and that his greatest mission, his greatest argument, was to persuade men from earth to Heaven, but that nothing could be more foreign from the teachings of Christ.

He said that this old idea of both the theologians and the scientists was to set forth a theory and then look for facts to support it; but that the new theologian and the new scientists looked for all the facts both in the Bible and in nature, summed them up and then applied the best theory.  And this new theory and new theology had made the world rich in wealth, rich in Christianity, and rich in knowledge.  He said that so soon as each man could be taught to understand his proper relation to  his fellow brother, all these problems would be readily settled, and then, and not until then, would the kingdom of God come.

At the close of his address, Dr. Lambuth arose and spoke of starting to Japan within the next few days to assist in organizing the United Methodist Church of Japan, to be composed of the Methodist churches of the South, East and of Canada.  He asked the prayers of all present for diving guidance.

He also explained that the Minister’s Conference had done all in its power to prevent the appearance of “The Clansman” on the stage in this city a few weeks ago; that they offered to pay the rent of the opera house in full if prevented; that they  had not succeede, but that the efforts to suppress the “Clansman” had awakened a great idea of Christian responsibility among the Christian citizenship of Nashville, and assured the colored representatives that the better element of the Southern whites were willing to join heart and hand with them for bettering their condition in this county.  After which, Dr. Chappelle, Hon. J.C. Napier, and a number of gentlemen present expressed their high appreciation for the visit of Dr. Strong and assured him that they believed this to be the beginning of a “New Era” in the city of Nashville.

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