Throes of Death of the A.M.E. Church
Christian Recorder: February 7, 1889
One of the most eminent phrenologists in the world says, “That the entire animal and fowl kingdoms are represented in mankind.” I presume he based his conclusions largely upon the theory that man being the highest specimen of animated nature, embodies all the lower elements, proclivities and propensities of animated existence. But since hearing him make the remark, some twenty-six years ago, I have noticed that there is either a semblance of truth in it, or there is quite a limit to our understanding of each other’s eccentricities. It does seem that people partake of all animal natures or give out preponderances of dispositions that appear to be doggish, wolfish, catish, foxish, hoggish, bullish, mulish, bearish, monkeyish, houndish, (that will take me in I reckon) and cranish, hawkish, eagleish, goosish, buzzardish, etc. But which of these will fill the measure of some of our good friends, who attempted to gloat too soon over a remark I made a few weeks ago, when referring to the New England Conference through your paper, I will leave for others to decide.
In your issue of December 27th, I replied to a letter sent me, which contained some remarks I thought unjustly caustic, and in an open reply I said “The truth is the A M E Church is in the throes of death, if we would open our eyes and see it, and no man can afford to evade duty or twaddle at this time. Dr. C S. Smith made a report at our last General Conference which frighten us all nearly to death. Giant men stood appalled and flippant tongues for once were silent. And much more bearing upon the same line, clearly showing the reason why I made the remark, simply because, if the statistics of Dr. Smith were correct we are not growing in membership. As he reported the Church loss in membership than four years ago by some few thousand. I called the report of Dr. Smith if true, the “throes of death.” Because stagnation or non progression in the Church of God is ultimate death. A fact so transparent that a blind man might see through it; yet I am told (for I have not seen them) that certain editorial buzzards were so delighted at finding what they thought was a dead carcass or a lump of putrefied carrion, that a number of papers have been full of “the throes of death” for the A. M E Church ever since. As many things as that letter contained which I think might have been referred to with profit, nothing could be noticed but that little sentence that seemed to stink so sweetly, “The A. M. E, Church in the throes of death.” Come on buzzards and vultures and get a mess. Be careful. however, when you throw your bill in the eye of this dead carcass, that is does not spring to its feet and make you fly. The A. M E. Church is weak enough, sick enough, poor enough, mean enough, does little enough I grant, to not exalt over too much But she is more than all her competitive fragments thrown in a pile; doing more for Negro elevation than any church upon the face of the globe, while she does not have so much money possibly, you might hang all her bishops to a sour apple tree and send all her general officers to the penitentiary and burn every college to the ground, and destroy every paper she prints, and the A. M. E. Church would move on in stately grandeur, scarcely knowing that anything had happened. I will say, however, that the A. M E. Church is in the death throes of revolution, but I believe she will get through safely. Will the same papers please copy?