1: LUTHER'S DREAM UNREALIZED
The more one studies Protestantism, with Catholic principles and history as a standard of judgment, the more is amazement aroused at the failure of Protestant leaders to realize the unsoundness of their religious concepts, usually due to misinterpretation of biblical texts.
These Protestant leaders agree with Catholics that Christ established a Church. But they have conjured up the notion that it is an invisible Church; thus disregarding the declarations of the foremost ecclesiastical authorities of the pre-Protestant centuries, who held to the biblical, historical fact that the Church Christ established is an indestructible, authoritative, visible Spiritual
The consciousness of the abnormality of a "Church" split into hundreds of differing denominations, has been aroused in the Protestant world to a greater degree during the present century than during any other period since the 16th century so-called "Reformation."
The consciousness of this caused Rev. William Dowding, author of Will Protestantism Be Overthrown? issued by the International Church League, Norfolk, Va., to ask his fellow-Protestants "for the good of society and the redemption of the race," whether "the dream of Luther and his friends has been realized." This Protestant author proceeded to ask, "Did the founders of this new order forsake their MOTHER CHURCH, die at the stake, suffer on the rack, lay down their lives to produce the condition and establish the Protestantism of the twentieth century? Was it their aim to divide the church into hundreds of parts, with as many shades of belief? That there should be units of authority and power without central authority and leadership? Would not Luther, were he here, again protest against the weakness and inefficiency of the church which is the outgrowth of his reform?" Surely there is no warrant in Holy Writ for Rev. Dowding's concluding that the "hundreds of parts" of Protestantism is "the church," or "branches" of the church that Christ Our Lord established.
We were prompted to deal with the above matter by an address brought to our attention by a Lowell friend, which had recently been delivered by President Nathan W. Pusey of Harvard University, at a "Communion Breakfast" gathering in Mechanics Hall, Boston, said to have been attended by 5,000 men. The Evanston World Council of Churches gathering was referred to in the address as "the new surge toward ecumenical Christianity." This would only be possible if the "surge" were toward the Catholic Church, the Universal Church that may and that did cause ecumenical gatherings to assemble during the centuries before Protestantism afflicted the Christian world with its divisive "church" concept.
These ecumenical gatherings were Catholic Church councils, made up entirely of Catholic Church representatives, assembled with the approbation of the Pope. The more appropriate designation of the "Council of Churches" assembled in Evanston is, as the Philadelphia Catholic Standard and Times said, "A Tower of Babel."
"There is essentially but one Christian church," said President Pusey, as Catholics have always said; but it is not a combination of 17 kinds of Lutheran churches; 22 kinds of Baptist churches; 19 kinds of Methodist churches; 9 different kinds of Presbyterian churches; and hundreds of other kinds of "separated churches" as President Pusey assumed. If the Church is a "Body," a "Sheepfold," a "Kingdom," as Christ said, and as all Christians are obligated to believe; if it is the Church that Christ promised to remain with until time is no more, as He did; if "the gates of Hell" were never to prevail against it, as Christ said, then is it contrary to common sense and right reasoning to assume that the churches brought into existence by Martin Luther, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, John Wesley, John Calvin, John Knox, John Smyth, Robert Brown, Menno Simmons, John Murray, William Miller, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker G. Eddy and hundreds of other assumptive interpreters of the Bible, are "fragmentary parts of the one Christian church," as the President of Harvard University told the men assembled in Mechanics Hall.
Professor Pusey is not the first President of Harvard whose University status enabled him to further an anti-Christ concept of the Church that man is obligated to obey in matters of faith and morals. We recall the occasion when President Charles W. Eliot furthered the Unitarian anarchistic, inorganic church concept, as taught in the Harvard Divinity School. It was in an address delivered at the dedication of the Miles Standish Monument, in Duxbury, Mass. This address was, in substance, what visitors to Duxbury have read since 1918, on the Monument inscription that was written and unveiled by President Eliot. It reads in part as follows:
THE PILGRIM FATHERS
Held That Any Convenient Number Of Believers
Might Form Themselves Into A Church
And Choose Their Own Officers
This was the Pilgrims' concept of the church, as it has been of all the Protestant repudiators of the Church Christ established, the Catholic Church, which is the one, and the only existing Spiritual Society that has the historical as well as doctrinal credentials to prove its establishment by Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The word Protestant ought to have been inscribed before the word "church" on the Pilgrims Monument; as any number of persons may "Form Themselves Into A (Protestant) church" today, as they have done ever since the Lutheran 16th century revolt against Christ's Church.
It was Christ Who formed His Church, the Catholic Church, during the first century; hence it was not formed by the members thereof. That Church was to be, and is of "one mind," as St. Paul said it should be; and not doctrinally of hundreds of minds, as are the churches in the Protestant world. It is a "Kingdom," the head of which has been Christ-delegated Peter, and his 257 successors. Yet that "Kingdom" is democratic as far as the relationship to it of the members is concerned. They all share equally in the benefits of that Kingdom, irrespective of their social or economic status. This was appreciated by President Woodrow Wilson, who aid, "The Church is a great democracy. There is none so poor and humble that he might not become a priest. There is no priest so obscure that he might not become Pope ... These learned, rained and accomplished men kept government alive in the Middle Ages ..."
2: THE REFORMATION
Some speakers and writers seem to draw upon their imagination, if not their prejudice, instead of sound principles and authentic history for their religious concepts. This thought came to mind while reading an address on "civil rights and civil liberties" delivered by Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which U. S. Senator Herbert H. Lehman caused to be printed in the Congressional Record.
The Rabbi dogmatically declared, in this address, that "THE REFORMATION WAS A RETURN TO PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY," which it was not. The rejection of the authority of the fifteenth century old Catholic Church, that Christ established, by the so-called "Reformation," and its institution of the Bible as the sole rule of faith, were a denial rather than a "return to primitive Christianity." A return to "primitive Christianity" on the part of the 16th century religious rebels, would be returning to the Church they repudiated, and not to the Bible as the primary rule of faith, as such a Book of inspired writings did not exist during that early Christian era.
The basic "Reformation" standard of religious judgment is contrary to the teaching of traditional Judaism, as well as contrary to traditional Christianity. Traditional Judaism is based on the Oral Law, which is declared to exist coevally with the Written Law. That is why the Jews repudiated the Karaites (Mikrah or Karaian, "Readers of the Scriptures"), a Jewish Protestant sect originated in Babylonia, that rejected tradition, as did the "Reformation" centuries afterwards, and substituted the Scriptures, privately interpreted, as their rule of faith, as did Martin Luther, the inaugurator of the Protestant revolt.