Rev. P. H. Eldersveld
Christian Reform Church
Dear Sir: The "Back to God" activities of your church have often attracted my attention. Its propaganda spirit, like that of a number of minority Protestant groups of professed believers in Christ, interests me very much.
This interest is due, in part, to the realization that if such a propaganda spirit were to obtain among the laity in the Church of my adoption, to the degree that it exists in your church, a multitude of persons would be brought to an understanding of the basic error of Protestantism, that causes its divisiveness. Through this understanding, they would be on the way to an appreciation of the fact that the unity in Christ called for in the Bible, which your church claims to be the sole norm of Christian judgment, can only be obtained by return, on the part of Protestants, to the Church of their pre-16th century forbears. That is to the Church which has been under the universal jurisdiction of the occupant of the Christ instituted Chair of Peter for over nineteen consecutive centuries.
Your February "Meditations," on the general theme "The Christian Church," was of special interest to me. You rightly state therein, that the "Apostle Paul stresses the unity of believers in Christ," quoting Ephesians 4:4-6, that "for all members of the Church there can only be 'one body and one spirit ... one hope ... one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all' ... despite what we see about us."
Strange, indeed, is it to assume, as does your church, that "this unity is still present today," despite the fact, as your church says, that "there are at least 257 (Protestant) denominations," because they all proclaim belief in Christ. Further along in the "Meditations," readers are told that this "invisible Church" is made up of "true believers" in Christ. How, in the name of right reasoning, can an "invisible Church," a "Church" that is devoid of unified, organic reality, determine who are, or who are not, "true believers"? St. Paul set down an obligation in Romans 15:6 that your church, and the other 256 Protestant churches in our country deny by their divisive existence. It is that God be glorified with "one mind," and with "one mouth."
To glorify God one must know God in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. He must know the works of Christ and what to do to fulfill His will. It is only through an organic, authoritative, visible Church; a Church of Christ's making; a Church that is divinely safeguarded from error in matters of faith and morals, as is the Catholic Church; a Church that knows with absolute certainty what is to be believed and done, that we can know who are "true believers."
"There is only one church of Jesus Christ," as is said in your "Meditations," though Catholics would spell it with a big C. "It may be found," as your church says, "in many lands, composed of different nationalities, and speaking a thousand languages. It may emphasize different aspects of the faith and cherish different customs," but, note this, it must be doctrinally one. It must be of "one mind," and speak universally with "one mouth," not with 257 minds, speaking through 257 mouths. St. Paul admonishes the doctrinally contradictory Protestantism of today in emphatic language, as he did the Galatians who gave ear to false doctrines, when he said, "though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema" (Gal. 1:8-12).
This admonition of St. Paul meant avoiding teachings other than those of Christ's infallible Church; the Church Christ promised to remain with "until the consummation of the world"; the Church against which "the gates of Hell" would never prevail, though many churches tried to prevail against her since the days of Martin Luther, Henry VIII, and "Good Queen Bess."
The assumption that Protestant churches are parts of the
Church of Christ, is simply absurd. They are all directly, or indirectly, parts of the breakaway from the Catholic Church in Germany and England, during the so-called "Reformation." The fact of the matter is, they can no more claim to be a part of the Church Christ established, which is the Catholic Church, than the 13 Colonies, which formed the U.S.A., can claim to be a part of the British Empire from which they separated in the Revolution of 1776.
You will no doubt agree, my dear sir, as do all other Protestant ministers, that there was but one Church of God in pre-Christian times, the Jewish Church. All other churches were man-made, as are all churches today save the Church of Christ. You will agree that Christianity was to be, and is, the perfection, the realization of all that was prophetically revealed to the children of Israel.
Surely perfection does not mean going from unity to diversity; from one Church to 257 differing churches. Perfection means going from a lower to a higher state; from a temporary to an eternal priesthood; from the Mosaic sacrifices to the "clean oblation," the continuance of the Sacrifice on Calvary in an unbloody manner. That Church is the Catholic Church, the Church that administers the Christ-instituted Sacraments that safeguards the holiness of man from the cradle to the grave, on to eternal glory.
The objective of your church, to lead readers of its "Meditations," and listeners to its broadcasts, "Back to God," is commendable. I have discussed it at length in this communication, with the prayerful hope that you will be blest with the realization that Christ's road "Back to God" is through the Church of the living God; the Church Catholic that Christ commanded to be heard.
Sincerely in the Lord,