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“THE WAY OF THE CROSS FOR TEACHERS”

It is sometimes argued that the Roman Catholic Church cannot be as evil as our fathers often described it because this Church still maintains the fundamental truth of the atonement of Jesus Christ. After all, the truth of the blood of atonement forms the fundamental confession of the Church in the world. He who denies this truth cannot be called “Christian” even in the broadest sense of the word. But, it is said, the Roman Catholic Church has not yet denied this truth, and must not be considered, as our fathers I maintained, Antichristian.

In a recent article in the Roman Catholic paper Our Sunday Visitor, an article appears which clearly shows that the truth of the cross is very really denied. This article is intended to be a means to encourage teachers to pursue their teaching vocation with dedication by contemplating the passion of Christ. Some of the article is, on the surface, false; much of it is blasphemous; all of it clearly indicates that the truth concerning the cross is denied. The article reads, in its entirety:

 

THE WAY OF THE CROSS FOR TEACHERS


Preparation
 


O Greatest of Teachers, you taught much during the three years of your public life, but the most important lesson you ever taught was here on the road to Calvary. Let me follow you on this sorrowful journey and learn from you. Already I see one lesson you wish to teach me not to expect gratitude from those I teach.

Jesus Is Condemned To Death

O Christ, how could these people whom you taught so lovingly, now turn on you and ask that you be crucified? I ought to know. Often I am itching to say an unkind word to my pupils; to make a sarcastic remark. I know it hurts you but I do it anyway. My excuse is, “It’s only a venial sin.” Help me to stop this rationalizing and recognize a sin for what it is—the greatest evil in the world.

Jesus Accepts The Cross

The soldiers did not need to force you to take up your Cross. You stretched out your arms willingly and carried it joyfully. The life of a teacher is one of sacrifice. Each morning I will take up my cross and carry it with you, O Lord. At times I may be utterly exhausted but I will never lose my inner joy.

Jesus Falls The First Time

I was a very young teacher when I had my first fall. I saw the contrast between the lovely picture I had formed at Teachers’ College and the stark reality of actual teaching. And I fell. But I did not quit and get a different job. No, I got up and tried again. It was you, Jesus, who helped me.

Jesus Meets His Mother

The most sorrowful meeting in the world took place when you met your Mother on the road to Calvary. Perhaps at this moment you decided to give Mary to John and to all of us as our Mother. I can best show my gratitude by being absolutely loyal and devoted to my Mother and to impart this loyalty and devotion to my students. 

Simon Helps Carry The Cross

Jesus gratefully accepted Simon’s help in carrying His cross, though it must have been very humiliating for Him to do so. O Jesus, let me always be eager to help all with whom I come in contact: my principal, my fellow teachers and my students. But if I should ever need help myself, let me not be too proud to ask for it. Veronica Comforts Our Lord Veronica had the courage to do what her kind heart suggested. Many times each day I see ways of helping others but fear of what people will think keeps me from acting. From now on, O Christ, help me to be kind no matter what it costs.

Jesus Falls The Second Time

O Jesus, your second fall was far worse than the first because you were too weak to break the force of the fall. My second fall was worse than the first. Pupils of whom I expected the best became miserable failures scholastically, or worse still, morally. “What’s the use?” I asked myself. I was tempted to change my profession as teacher for something more profitable. But no, like you, Lord, I got up again and went on carrying my cross. Women Of Jerusalem Weep Over Jesus 

The Savior was grateful for the sympathy of these courageous women but He wanted them to weep for their sins which were the cause of His suffering. We, too, should be grateful for sympathy but not always asking for it. Let us tell our pains, labors and worries to God who is always dwelling within us.

Jesus Falls The Third Time

So terrible was this fall that Jesus may have thought, “I cannot go on. This is all I can take!” But no; He gets up and goes on to the place of crucifixion. There are moments in my teaching day when it seems to me I cannot go on. Doing my duty is simply impossible! But the truth is that there are no limits to what a man can do if only he wills to do it. In those impossible moments, O Jesus, support my weak will!

Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments

What shame Christ must have endured when He was stripped of His clothes before a huge crowd! I will probably never be asked to suffer anything like that. At least I can bear patiently the ridicule I sometimes receive from my pupils because of my stupid mistakes and absent-mindedness.

Jesus Is Nailed To The Cross 

At this moment, when He is being nailed to the Cross, Christ truly looks like a victim. He is the teacher dying because of the ingratitude of his pupils. Later St. Cassian will die for the same reason and so will many other teachers in countries behind the Iron Curtain. If I am not asked to suffer physical martyrdom for the sake of Christ, at least I may become the victim of injustice at the hands of modem pagans.

Jesus Dies On The Cross

When you explain the crucifix to a little child, there is one question he is sure to ask: “Why did God die like that?” And when you tell the child that God did it because He loves us, then the child will kiss the crucifix and give his whole heart to God in return. As an educator, I have the glorious privilege of repaying love for love by leading the little ones to the Crucified Christ. 

Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross

As she holds the dead body of her son on her lap, Mary can see at close range what the sins of men have done to her child. But Mary is not bitter. Like Jesus, she prays with her whole heart, “Father, forgive them.” With this sorrowful picture before me, I resolve always to be merciful. No matter what I may have to suffer at the hands of my pupils or their parents I will always be ready to forgive.

Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb

After the burial of Jesus what gave Mary the courage to console the grief-stricken John and to go home with him? It was her faith. Christ had said that He would rise again and she believed Him. That was all. O Mary, help me to have a faith like yours. Then I will be an optimist in the best sense of the word. After all, the only real evil in the world is sin and that can be avoided. So I will take St. Paul’s advice and rejoice always!

Such crude mockery of the cross is as bad as the motley rabble of Jews that railed on Christ from Calvary. There is no mention of the fact that Christ bore the wrath of God against sin. There is no mention of a vicarious atonement. There is no mention of the sins of God’s people being taken away by the suffering and death of Christ. Christ is little more than an example, and a rather poor example at that. This is not the Christ of Scripture; this is blasphemy.

EVOLUTIONISM IN THE REFORMED CHURCH

In the Church Herald, official weekly organ of the Reformed Church in America, appeared a symposium entitled “What Does the Bible Teach Concerning the Origin of Life and of Man?” An answer to this question was given by Dr. Paul W. Harrison who was all his life a medical missionary in the Arabian Gulf area and who passed away late last year.

Quotes from his article show how little he cared for the truth of Scripture, and how openly he dared to teach an evolutionism that sounds very much like Pantheism. It is, however, not simply his forthright evolutionism that strikes the reader; it is rather his careless disregard of the whole question. To him, it seems, the whole matter is hardly worth discussing. With callous indifference he ignores the truth and shrugs off the whole Scripture—especially the Old Testament. And this is permitted in an official paper of the Reformed Church!

The author first of all discusses the authority of Scripture in a few brief sentences. His argument seems to be that there is no final authority in Scripture concerning the truth; only perhaps in the words that Jesus spoke. But especially the Old Testament cannot be taken seriously. He writes:

These early accounts (of the origin of all things) have neglected the time element. The supposition that we have here accurate dates and duration lengths is obviously a mistake. Also we must remember that recording an event does not imply divine approval of it; also, what was God’s will once is not necessarily His will for always. 

Here as elsewhere the most important part of the Bible is not the Old Testament, but the New. Most especially, of course, Jesus’ teachings, His “words” as He called them . . . 

Men do not like Jesus’ authority. They never have. Jesus was talking to earnest devotees of the Old Testament when He said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you saying, ‘This people honoreth me with their lips but their heart is far from me but in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines of men.'” (This quotation is evidently a misquotation of the text. H.H.) Sometimes in our earnestness we forget that the five points of Calvinism are precepts of men as are the Canons of Dordt. 

Jesus went to great lengths to bring the Old Testament down to the time of the disciples. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also . . . You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies . . .” 

And we will pass from verbatim quotations to something the same.

Psalm 137

says, “Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” Jesus says, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.”

The quotation that the author uses from Isaiah was not written against earnest devotees of the Old Testament; it was spoken by Jesus against those who corrupted the Old Testament inasmuch as these Old Testament Scriptures all spoke of Christ, and the Jews refused to believe in Him. But this is precisely the point. The Old Testament Scriptures spoke of Christ because they too were written by Christ Himself. They too must be considered the Word of Christ.

The author then, in a few short paragraphs, turns his attention to the question of evolutionism. He writes:

And indeed it used to be said to them of old time, by Archbishop Usher and the scholars of his day, that the world was created about 8,000 years ago. Now we know that the light from the distant galaxies has been four or five billions of years on its way to our eyes. 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It took billions of years. The geologist has learned to read a little of that scroll . . . 

And then the creation of life, and after that the mind and after that the soul . . . millions and millions of years . . . the creation of the brain to carry that mind and soul stretched over myriads of millenniums. God is never in a hurry. 

One of the tragedies of our day was the determination of the church to pit herself against evolution, our best friend. It was a beautiful vision that she lost. The whole divinely ordered universe pointed in one direction, upward, and proceeding century after century, millennium after millennium, following the undeviating divine purpose. It has made the position of the atheist forever untenable. 

The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God, but the atom declares it just as wall. That incredibly tiny thing has the energies of God enclosed in it. Harnessed by evil it can destroy this whole earth. God willing, it is going to be harnessed by His will and for it, to make human life more powerful, more beautiful, more divine, than it has ever been. We will send up a prayer for the scientists and for the church. May God give them wisdom.

It is obvious from all this that anyone who wishes to toy with evolutionism must, of necessity toy also with the Scriptures. If the authority of Scripture is denied in one single part, the whole of Scripture is inevitably lost. Lose creation, and Christ will also be lost. Eliminate creation from the confession of the Church, and Christ will also be eliminated without fail. May God give us grace to combat this terrible heresy.

—H. Hanko