CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH
This column inspires some readers to pen such highly complimentary letters that the hat this columnist wears has been stretched out of proper proportions. On the other hand it prompts the sending of such vicious scribblings, that fear and trembling would be aroused, and enter his heart, were he not hardened by the walloping endured for many years, through persons who have taken issue with him.
The following is an answer to one of them, a 44-page, single spaced, type written "letter." In it the author bestowed praise upon this columnist in language of the highest order, before questioning his intellectual sanity.
Dear Mr. F.---Your letter interested me very much, though the reading of it took much of the time that should have been given to other matter on my desk.
Your realization that "truth is an absolute quality" is something to be thankful for. I say this because it has been of basic import to me; being one of the starting points in my intellectual journey from Marx to Christ. My appreciation of it came upon learning that basic principles are eternal, unchangeable; though the phenomena to which those principles apply differ with the ages. God is the Author of truth, which is absolute, as you say, error being of man's origin.
God's principles embody moral requirements that man, creature of God, is obligated to obey. This being so, man may rightly expect God to make His principles, and moral obligations, known to him. This God did through Moses, the Aaronic priesthood, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other great personages told about in the Old Testament. The will of God was more fully made known to man through His Son, Jesus Christ. He it was Who established a universal, indestructible Spiritual Corporation, called His Church, which was made up in the beginning of the Apostles. In it all the powers given the Jews by God were extended and elevated; the defining and enforcing of which were delegated to the hierarchy and priesthood of the Church Christ established, which Church was to endure until the end of the world (St. Matt. 16:18-20). This you will find enlarged upon in the Boston Pilot column of Oct. 16, 1954, copy of which is herewith enclosed.
You will no doubt agree that terminological exactitude is necessary for right reasoning. Such exactitude is found in the Catholic Church. You will also agree that Americans are obligated to look to our Supreme Court for a final, authoritative decision as to the meaning of the phraseology in our Constitution. Just so are we obligated, as Christians, to listen to the Supreme Court of Christ, His Church, "the pillar and ground of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), for an understanding of the will of Christ. The difference is this; our Supreme Court is likely to err; whereas the Supreme Court of Christ is protected by God from error, in matters of faith and morals. Doctrinal and moral error on the part of the Church Christ established would be error on the part of Christ, Who promised to remain with His Church until the end of the world (St. Matt. 28:20). The above is merely a foreword to saying that it is not rightly within your province to insist, for instance, that Christ was not a Jew, when the Catholic Church says otherwise; though you have the power to so declare.
Your use of the term Jew is unhistoric. The term appears first (in the singular) in the Book of Esther (2:5), in relation to Mordecai, cousin of Esther, whom she defended against the persecution of Mordecai and his fellow-believers in the Mosaic religion. Surely if the term Jew (Hebrew y 'hudah, Judah) can only rightly be applied to the members of the kingdom of Judah, as it was at one time, then Esther would not have applied it to Mordecai, who was of the tribe of Benjamin.
Your insistence that Jesus, Who obeyed the Mosaic requirements of the children of Israel of His time, was not a Jew is simply amazing, considering that the whole Jewish, Catholic and Protestant world declares to the contrary. Your contention is based upon the wording in the inscription Pilate mockingly placed upon the Crucifixion Cross Iesus Nazarenus Rex Judeorum. While the word Rex could be translated "Ruler" as you say it must be translated, the historic fact is that it has been universally translated King, as Pilate intended. It is so designated in St. Matt. 27:37; St. Mark 15:27; St. Luke 23:28; and in St. John 19:19. Pilate called Jesus "King of the Jews" (St. Mark 15:22-13); and the soldiers clothed Jesus in purple to signify His kingship; and cried Out "Hail King of the Jews" (St. Mark 15:15-19).
While the term "Iudeaus," inscribed on the Cross, may be related to members of the tribe of Judah, it was intended, and believed by the whole Christian world, to refer to the Jews.
There is no doubt, as you vaguely realize, that the Judaism of today is not the Judaism of the days when Our Lord sojourned in Palestine; even though those who profess belief in it today follow some of the practices of their pre-Christian Jewish forebears. Your protest against calling them Jews on that account, would warrant a protest against calling Protestants Christians, considering that the basic rule of the Protestant faith is a denial of the faith that guided pre-16th century Christians; and the undeniable fact that not one of the hundreds of Protestant denominations in the world has any Divine sanction for functioning. You call Protestants Christians, as do Catholics considering that they profess belief in Christ, yet their religion is as far from the religion of the early Christians, as the Judaism of today is from the Judaism of the pre-Christian centuries.
As far as the Catholic religious faith is concerned, there is no fear, my dear friend, that "the time is coming," as you say, "when the Christian faith as we know it shall have disappeared." The gates of Hell have been endeavoring to make it disappear for over nineteen centuries, without success. While the activity of the Christ-originated faith, the faith of the Catholic Church, may be circumscribed for a time by the growing power of the Communist Dictatorship, she will live on, thanks to the Bible-recorded fact, that Christ promised and has thus far kept His promise, to remain with His Church until time is no more.
I prayerfully hope you will get in line with the Lord Jesus Christ, by becoming a Christian in the full sense of the term.