The General Eldership of 1925 unanimously adopted the report of its Board of Education, which contained the following:
"We recommend that the General Eldership of 1925 take the necessary steps to have written and published a brief, concise, comprehensive and readable history of the Churches of God in North America, the same to cover our first century and close with the celebration of our centennial. We have in mind a small book that would appeal to our people in general, especially our young people, and which could be distributed among them at a nominal cost, or, in certain cases, without cost; a book that would not only be useful for general reading but also suitable for Eldership courses of study, for Bible classes, and supplemental teacher training instruction."
Later in the session the General Eldership voted "that the editor of The Church Advocate be elected to write the history authorized by the General Eldership."
The first action quoted accounts for the appearance of this book, and also, to a great extent, for its size and the character of its contents. It represents an earnest effort to carry out the instructions given, leaving the measure of success to be determined by the charitable judgment of the reader.
The official action made brevity a constant reminder, so that only the high points of our history have been touched. But they are considered and related in such a way as to be comprehensive.
As this book is partly intended for the use of students, it includes a list of suggestive questions for each chapter. But as it is also intended for general reading, these questions are placed at the end of the volume instead of being placed at the ends of their respective chapters, to avoid any interruption to continuous reading.
Biographical sketches, interesting as they are in a collection of historical material, are excluded by the limited scope of the present volume. A few would not be sufficient. A just sense of proportion would require many. So all are omitted, with the single exception of Winebrenner's, which is included for obvious reasons. The same condition of limited space applies to the pictures of ministers and laymen. So the illustrations are limited to buildings, not that they are more important than men, but because there are fewer of them.
The names of those who attained most prominence are given, with the exception of the last period of our history (1900 to 1925), which contains only the names of those who were connected with important enterprises or historical events. It was felt that those who are still engaged in serving their day and generation would prefer to finish life's task before having their work appraised and being assigned to a place in history.
This book is now committed to the brotherhood with the sincere prayer that it may be a helpful contribution to the need which it is intended to supply.
S. G. YAHN.
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