Government Funds and the False Church
We have reported before these columns the fact that government funds paid into government coffers by all the tax payers are used for promoting false religions; particularly, promoting the interests of the Roman Catholic Church.
Our government prides itself on making a distinction, definite and clear-cut, between the Church and the State. So neutral does our government insist on being that even any form of religious devotion in the public school system is banned. Yet this same government persists in many ways in aiding various religions when it sends its money overseas. What it does at home it is very careless about across the ocean.
That this is true was recently revealed by the activities of the Peace Corps in West Cameroon, Africa. There are several instances of the government directly supporting the Roman Catholic Church. For one thing, Roman Catholics in West Cameroon, according toChristianity Today, have recently opened six new secondary schools staffed completely with teachers and principals taken from Peace Corps personnel. For another thing, schools supported by other denominational missions were forced to accept Peace Corps teachers they did not even want. And this was done without consideration given to the religious convictions of the Peace Corps teachers.
In another case, also in West Cameroon, Baptists were first given permission by the government to build a church; but they were later forced to tear down the church because the permission was withdrawn. A Roman Catholic Church is now being built there. A Roman Catholic school is also being built on a plot of ground originally given to Baptists Missions. And all this is due directly or indirectly to the influence of Peace Corps personnel funneled into Roman Catholic schools.
All this adds up to the bitter truth that our government is, with public tax moneys, promoting the cause of Roman Catholicism. In spite of all the pronouncements and rulings about religious liberty, the evidence is growing that the State has made at least a tacit alliance with false religion (as false religion has done with the State) for the promotion of a church where the people of God have no part.
Your Useless Ministers
Do you want to know whether your minister is doing a good job in your congregation? Then answer the questions quoted below which a recent magazine article directs to you.
Do you feel your clergyman, be he Catholic, Protestant or Jew, understands your problems? Is he able to help work out effective, realistic solutions when you ask for help?
Equally important, is your clergyman an essential figure in the community all week long, or is he only a Sunday preacher? Does he help solve community problems?
In short, can he cope with the ever-increasing demands of our modern world?
Unfortunately, many clergymen are not qualified for their role in the changing and changed world of today. They are burdened with an antiquated system of clerical education which limits their interests and narrows their abilities.
The sharply critical language goes on. A minister, after all, is responsible for
the behavior of his youth group on a bowling party, the conduct of a financial campaign for a building fund, the public relations of the parish church, the effectiveness of the local council of churches or ministerial association, mitigating tensions between conflicting groups in the community, saying the blessing at the service club luncheon, the sex education of adolescents, premarital counseling . . . .
Although half his day is spent in what could loosely be called the “business” of the church, the American cleric has had little or no education in business administration. And, although most churches today have extensive Sunday school programs of which the minister is in charge, he has little or no background in educational methods or psychology.
The result, according to this article, is that the real problems of life go unsolved while the ministers occupy themselves with silly homilies delivered once or twice a week from some adorned pulpit far removed from the masses to a small group of people who couldn’t care less what the minister says. He’s in an ivory tower and is missing entirely the rushing stream of humanity with all its problems. And all because he hasn’t been given a proper education.
The results of this for the ministers are even worse. The article, quoting authorities, suggests that a recent increase in mental illness among clergymen can be blamed, at least in part, to the fact that ministers have too many jobs to do and don’t know how to do them.
A number of seminaries, in order to reduce the load on the minister, have been teaching students to be minister-specialists in such fields as administration, counseling, education and preaching.
One pioneer, McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, sends seminarians out to work incognito in factories and laboring jobs in a summertime “Ministers in Industry” program. (These schools) train the men to work with groups of people who have been “cast up on the beach”; (they) have a dozen courses in the church and economic life, alcoholism, social welfare and society an the church. (They) also give special training for ministers in industrial communities and offer degree programs in social work.
It is not to be denied that a minister must deal with the problems that confront the sheep over which the Lord has placed him. Nor is it to be denied that this requires wisdom and understanding and compassion. But what this article reflects is a view common today which destroys the very essence of the ministry. The deepest root of the problems of life is sin. Nothing more; nothing less. Sin may be a very unpopular subject of discussion and preaching; but it remains the stark fact of life; and no philosophizing and socializing will change that.
There is therefore only one way in which God’s people in the midst of all their problems and afflictions can be helped. And that is the way of the preaching of the Word of God. This Word alone can solve life’s problems according to the will of God and bring peace and comfort to the troubled hearts of the faithful. A minister is therefore emphatically a preacher. He isnot a psychologist, a business administrator, a marriage counselor, an educator, a community leader, a social welfare worker. He is not even a preacher and then all these other things. He is solely and exclusively a preacher. He has no other calling but to bring the Word of God to his sheep. He has no calling, no right, no authority, to dabble in the psychology of alcoholism, to pioneer in labor-management relationships, to engage in the easing of racial tensions through freedom marches, to play the psychiatrist. He is called and has authority to preach. Nothing else.
For this he will not need courses in economics, business administration, welfare work. As interesting as all these courses could conceivably be, he needs exegesis, dogmatics, homiletics. And if he faithfully preaches the truth of God’s Word, bringing that Word to his people in all their needs, he will give his people all they need to cope with life’s problems and to live and die in peace and happiness.
But if he does not want to deal with the reality of sin; if he does not trust the Word of God, then he had better he himself off to the nearest university to take all these courses that are offered. Let him be prepared, however, if they become the main tools of his work, to be a failure as a shepherd under Christ who leads the sheep of God.
Remember the Dead
How utterly repulsive is the theology of Roman Catholicism, and particularly the doctrine of purgatory is evident from the following quotes taken from Our Sunday Visitor.
It is in the chill and grey-skied November that the Church nudges us to remember those dear ones whose bodies may be imprisoned in a silent plot of earth, but whose souls could be languishing in God’s prison house of purgatory. Though we should perhaps like to whistle a merry tune and turn our heads away and forget all about purgatory, both revelation and reason grimly attest it. Revelation, because in the Book of the Machabees (spelling incorrect, H.H.) the Holy Spirit reminds us, “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.” Reason, because . . . few men, we fear, are so immaculate at death that they can stride at once into the all-pure presence of God; and few men, we hope, are so unrepentantly depraved that they must be flung into an eternal hell.
There would seem, then, need for a place of purification for the erring but repentant many whose souls are still scarred and blotched with the remains of sin, that is, sins confessed indeed, and forgiven surely, but for which no reparation has ever been made.
But are our sins not taken away by a sincere confession? In confession the mercy of God forgives our guilt, and. guarantees for those sins no eternal damnation. But the majesty of God still demands satisfaction for the insult offered by those sins. It is somewhat like the case of someone sideswiping your parked car. The offender is all apology: “I was day-dreaming. It was stupid on my part. Please forgive me.” And you might tartly answer, “Oh I forgive you, all right, but you still have to pay for that ruined fender.” Just so, in confession God’s mercy pardons, but His majesty insists on reparation.
(Our professor) knew we were boys and therefore not too keen on long prayers. So he told us to take our rosary and say on each bead just three words, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph” and we would gain for the Poor Souls an indulgence of more than 400 years.
Is it not enough to say that this is a total denial of the atonement of Calvary?
The Reformation, A Loss of the Faith?
The Roman Catholic Church has supposedly entered into a new era. The Protestants are separated brethren now instead of heretics. The winds of unity are blowing strongly. Some clergy are even ready to concede that Luther and Calvin were fine fellows; that perhaps even the Reformation, while still a disgraceful thing, did contribute something worthwhile to the Church.
The trouble is that it takes so long for these views to seep down from the higher clergy to the lower priests and the laity. They haven’t gotten the word yet it seems.
In answer to a question, “Why was the Reformation such a success?” a Catholic priest answers: “Because the worldly, avaricious, and immoral Christians of the sixteenth century, so unlike the faithful and devout Christians of the first three centuries who died gladly for the faith, easily lost the faith that they had ceased to practice.”
This means that the father admits that many thousands of Roman Catholics prior to the Reformation had become thoroughly worldly and had no longer practiced the holy faith of the Church. But it means further that these same worldly apostates were the ones who followed the Reformation so that the people of the Reformation were the worldly, avaricious, immoral unbelievers—nothing more. This means further that the teachings of the Romish Church then and now were and are held to be the only truth; that the Reformation was apostasy from the faith, and that it remains this until today.
And the conclusion is that these apostates had better come all the way back to Rome if they want to be accepted under the ecclesiastical roof of the Catholic Church.
Notwithstanding the assurances of many Catholic prelates, this is still the official position of Rome—and a priest can hardly be blamed for not catching the ecumenical spirit and speaking in harmony with the official stand of his denomination.