An account of its inception, progress,
principles and failures, and its
lessons for present day
The Preparation of these papers, both in their original form as a series of articles in a periodical no longer published, Serving and Waiting, and in re-editing and adding more and later material for book publication, has been to me a definite labor of love. That the movement some of whose history I have endeavored to trace out has been, and still is, a very definite work of the Spirit of God, though like all other testimonies committed to man, seriously marred by the failing human element, is my sincere conviction.
I have been importuned by many persons to put these papers in permanent form, but for a number of years have refrained from doing this for I was not clear as to whether the doing so would be for the glory of God and the blessing of souls or not. But after much exercise of heart, considerable prayer for guidance, and consultation with leading men among the assemblies of brethren who have encouraged me to accede to this request, I have gone over the original papers, endeavored to correct any inaccuracies, and added much additional material.
The question has been raised as to whether the story of the divisions among the brethren is profitable, and some have suggested it would be kinder to eliminate this part of the story and tell only the other side. This does not seem to me to be right. Common honesty I feel would compel one to set forth the whole truth, so far as possible, in connection with the movement, hoping that the portion relating to strife and dissension might prove to be salutary reading for the brethren themselves, and give warning and instruction to other Christian groups that they may avoid the rocks which proved so disastrous to what was evidently a marked work of God.
I do not pretend to infallibility in discussing the many questions involved. I have had to depend on much ephemeral pamphlet literature. Many of the booklets contradicted one another and it has been difficult to ferret out the exact facts. But after conferring with many older brethren, numbers of whom are now with Christ, I believe I have been enabled to give a fair and straightforward account of what is here recorded.
During the past twelve years I have been pastor of the Moody Memorial Church of Chicago, an independent church standing very largely for the very truths which the brethren love and from which Dwight L. Moody profited so definitely. This has, in measure, cut me off from that full communion with assemblies of brethren which I enjoyed for years, but has in no sense lessened my love and respect for them.
H. A. Ironside