1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
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SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
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Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
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the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
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Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
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OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
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Bible As History - Werner Keller
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Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
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WWN 1996 Apr - Jun
1996 Apr -- XXIX -- 4(96) -- E & CT -- Part 3 -- Editor's Preface -- As we continue to discuss the various essays of the new book, Evangelicals & Catholics Together, the second essay by George Weigel states without equivocation the Roman Catholic view of the Religious clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the American Constitution, and how the Papacy wants to see this Ammendment changed. Yet Weigel seeks to profess belief in what is termed, "the American experiment" which is, in reality, the separation of church and state. Admittedly, this does not make for light reading; however, thoughtful, analytical reflection is a must.
One reader who proofread the copy for us, wondered at my captialization of "Catholic" and the non-capitalization of "evangelicals." As you read, this differentiation occurs in direct quotes from Weigel's essay. He consistently made this difference of reference. Furthermore, he regularly capitalized, "Church," and the force appears to be, the one Roman Catholic Church.
Having read carefully, Weigel's comments and prologue he wrote in the book he edited on John Paul II's encyclical, Centesimus Annus, which marked the 100th Aniversary of Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, I decided to write to Mr. Weigel himself and discuss the incongruity between how he presented John Paul II, in his edited book, as a "Pope of Freedom" and the "paper trail" of Leo XIII. In the book he edited, Leo XIII is portrayed as the one who "began the papal tradition of modern Catholic social teaching," while John Paul II is presented as advancing this "social teaching" into a proposed "new worldly order." Both my letter and his reply are discussed in the second article of this issue.
Since sending out the Special Issue of WWN,
we have received another updating of events in connection with the management
merger of the Adventist Health system of Colorado with the Roman Catholic
system. As one compares statements made to the laity of the Church, and
the press releases, he is left with the feeling that all has not been
told, and only time will reveal the true nature of the compromise.
p 2 -- EVANGELICALS & CATHOLICS TOGETHER -- Part 3 -- Each of the Essays in the book, Evangelicals & Catholics Together is prefaced with a quotation. The Evangelical writers quote a Protestant, while the Roman Catholics quote either Pope John Paul II or a Cardinal. The Colson Essay quote was from Francis Schaeffer - "Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless." George Weigel author of the second Essay, quoted from John Paul II on a similar theme but with a different objective - "If there is no transcendent truth to which man achieves his full identity, then there is no sure principle for guaranteeing just relations between people."
George Weigel is president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His Essay is captioned - "Faith, Freedom, Responsibility: Evangelicals and Catholics in the Public Square." He is the author or editor of fourteen books on religion and public life. One of his edited books is - A New Worldly Order - essays on the recent Papal encyclical - Centesimus Annus - marking the centenary of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum; and to set the future intellectual direction of Catholic social teaching, or in other words, Catholic dominance of society.
Weigel comes right to the point as he begins his Essay.
He cites, as an illustration, a speech given in 1952 by Dean Acheson,
former Secretary of State, at a meeting held by the NCC for the presentation
of the newly completed Revised Standard Version. Acheson noted the place
that the Bible and its inspired moral order had in the founding of this
nation. Using this emphasis as his take off point, Weigel writes - "Were
some secretary of state to do today what Dean Acheson did in 1952, grim
warnings of a terrible breach of the wallofseparationbetweenchurchandstate'
- a polysyllabic neologism in certain vocabularies - would rumble forth
from the New York Times" editorial and op-ed pages, across
the Associated Press wire, on the network news shows, and in faculty lounges
from sea to shining sea." (E&CT, p.47)
The use of the word - "neologism" - by Weigel
is of interest. It has two meanings: 1)
"A new word, usage, or expression; and 2)
"A meaningless word coined by a psychotic." In context, one
could easily assume the second definition to be the one in Weigel's mind,
because the idea of a a wall of separation between Church and State is
not a new concept. Thus this would reflect the attitude of the Roman Catholic
thinking toward the American experiment in religious liberty.
Weigel calls for a "moral-cultural reformation" of America and declares this "will be the task of Christians; specifically of Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants, the two growing ends of American Christianity on the edge of the twenty-first century." Then he writes: "Moreover, this is a task for evangelicals and Catholics together. The job is sufficiently difficult, the opposition sufficiently formidable, and the odds of success sufficiently long, that Christians of common conviction about the moral reformation of the American Republic can no longer afford to indulge their ancient biases. An ecumenism of the trenches is the order of the day in the American cultural war. But there are also substantive reasons why the attempt to reclothe the 'naked public square' (in Richard Neuhaus' memorable image) is a joint task for evangelicals and Catholics.
"Evangelicals and Catholics share a common affection for the American democratic experiment. Unlike many in the leadership of the mainline/old-line Protestantism, evangelicals and Catholics do not regard America as an ill-founded republic... Rather, evangelicals and Catholics tend to think, together, that America remains a providentially guided experiment in religious freedom, religious tolerance, and the possibility of constructing political community amidst luxuriant diversity." (ibid., p. 49; emphasis his)
This statement of objectives in the call to arms of the impending cultural war raises a number of critical questions: Are the divisions between Catholicism and Protestantism merely "religious biases"? What will "the public square" look like when these two groups together "clothe" it? What is this "luxuriant diversity"?
One would have to be illiterate in church history to assume that the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism were mere biases. Then the word, "diversity" keeps returning to describe the ecumenical objective, but what is "luxuriant" diversity?
First, let us consider the "public square."
This is government, period. What has history taught
Finally, a new nation arose dedicated to the separation of Church and State, where neither dominated the other. It was the American experiment. Now is religion to return to the "public square"? Which religion? A union of two - the evangelicals and the Catholics? Is this then a return to the Dark Ages?
What agreement has been reached between Evangelicals and Catholics as to reclothing the "naked" square? Note - "Moreover, evangelicals and Catholics are agreed that any reclothing of the public square must engage the ancient moral wisdom of our elder brothers and sisters in faith, the Jewish people." (ibid., p. 50) There is no question about the inspired wisdom of the Old Testament. The question - Is this to be enforced by law called "ordered liberty."
Weigel plainly states what the first item on the agenda is. He writes: "The issue here is the direction that evangelicals and Catholics together should take in reconstructing the moral foundations of American pub-lic life. Not surprisingly, the first item on that agenda is the reconstruction of genuine religious freedom in the United States." (ibid.)
What does this mean? Weigel's response: - "The imost important thing that evangelicals and Cathoilics can offer America... is a new understanding of the First Amendment religion clause." (ibid., p. 54; emphasis his)
One must read carefully how Weigel writes what he has
written. He himself calls attention to the
This is strange language when set against the backdrop of history, or even of current activity Consider - "the Church rejects any partisan political role." [It might appear to be nitpicking to observe Weigel's use of Capital letters, but if the above quoted paragraph, he capitalizes "Church" when used of itself, but not "state." In the phrase, "separation of church and state," it is not so done. One is led to conclude that he means by Church - the Roman Catholic] The Church - the Roman - has been in partisan politics, and the "Religious Right" today - a union of both Catholics and Evangelicals - is openly involved in the political process. History is replete with incidents of papal involvement in the affairs of nations. Then to state that the Church "declines to have its truth-claims buttressed by the coercive power of the state" flies into the face of historical fact.
Since history does not sustain a track record of the Roman
Church divorced from "partisan politics," nor a Church "declining"
to have its dogmas enforced by the State, just what is Weigel saying,
and what does he mean by what he is writing? Observe further, and we shall
comments in brackets:
"That phrase (the "separation of church and
state") and Mr. Jefferson's equally extra-constitutional 'wall of
separation' image have been understood in recent years as placing a limit
on the Church. But 'disestablishment' and 'free exercise' also places
crucial limits on the state."
[Does the First Amendment limit, or does it restrict the
state? The Amendment states - "Congress shall make no law
concerning an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof." It says "no law" period. I fail to find
in this amendment any restrictions beyond this period having any bearing
on religion. But not so Weigel! He continues]
p 4 -- "No established church means no sacred
state. [Who wants a "sacred state"? Will the union of church
and state, make the state "sacred"?] No established Church implies
the limited or constitutional state. No establishment means
that the state acknowledges its incompetence in the most important
arena of life: the arena of personal conscience, in which men and women
encounter God and his (sic) law. [emphasis his] And that confession of
incompetence clears the social space in which a politics of persuasion
and consent can replace the politics of coercion, which is no mean accomplishment
under the conditions of modernity. [A "social space" for a "politics
of persuasion and consent" in place of a "politics of coercion"
- what does that mean? Should "per-sonal conscience" ever become
a part of "politics" whether of "persuasion" or "coercion"?
It does not need to have a "social space" created for it. It
needs to be left alone - "no law!"]
Granted that the men and women need to be persuaded of
right as opposed to wrong. God places that power to so persuade within
His Church guided by the Holy Spirit, and not in a church empowered or
sustained by the state. Thus to Caesar there is a sphere, and God reserves
unto Himself His sphere. The Church does not need a "social space"
but merely the freedom to operate where there is no prohibition against
the free exercise thereof.
Weigel proceeds to call for a "Genuine Pluralism."
His position and the basis for this pluralism becomes even more unbelievable
in the light of the historical record. He writes: "Evangelicals
and Catholics committed to restoring the priority of free exercise would
also help achieve the desirable end if they were to reframe the debate
over pluralism and tolerance. ... Christians [are] to see in the facts
of plurality and difference the inexhaustibly creative love of God who
brought the world into being and sustains it by his providential care.
Thus Christian attempts to create a monistic state - an antipluralist
state, in which the coercive power of the state is used to enforce Christian
truth-claims - are to be rejected, precisely on Christian theological
grounds. For the Church, when she is truly being the Church, acts by persuasion
and witness, not by imposition through coercion." (ibid.,
To this last statement, we could whole-heartedly agree.
But where does Weigel want to take religion in relationship to the "public
square"? He declares that America "is living through a profound
moral crisis. With this, too, we can agree. He indicates that this is
based in another crisis - a crisis of personal responsibility. We hear
about human "rights" but fail to address how man "wrongs."
Here is where the fine line starts to be drawn between where the State
has a right to enter in defining "wrong" and enforcing "right,"
and the church has a responsibility to define by moral persuasion what
is right and what is wrong. A politically motivated Church having divorced
herself from union with the true Husband, seeks an adulterous relationship
with the State.
Weigel introduces the abortion question and follows it
by the issue dear to the heart of the Roman Church, questioning - "Why...
should publicly collected funds be expended only in government-run schools?"
(p. 70) So what is the design to alter the First Amendment all about?
"The virtual monopoly of the public purse by government schools must
be broken. It is prima facie unjust." (p. 72)
The final section of Weigel's essay is called "The
Partisanship of Truth." In it he outlines the agenda of "political
persuasion." It calls for "a restoration of religious freedom
in its primary meaning of 'free exercise,' for a rollback of legal endorsement
of the sexual revolution, and laws protective of the unborn and supportive
of the traditional family, for the empowerment of the parents and the
breaking of the government-school monopoly." (p. 73) He indicates
that while "Roman Catholics and Southern evangelicals were once part
of the bedrock of the Democratic coalition," and that while now the
Republican Party projects these initiatives, there is no guarantee it
will carry out the designed agenda. The results, if the Republican Party
does not do so, Weigel predicts, will be a new party based on this agenda.
Certain final observations made by Weigel, and his choice
of words, need to be carefully noted. He wrote - "If democracy necessarily
engages arguments of a real moral substance, then democracy has to be
tethered, to the truth about the human person, human responsibilities,
and human community. Some will ask, 'Whose truth?"' (p. 74, emphasis
mine) That is the question! As Weigel continues his argument, he quotes
John Paul II that genuine democracy can only exist "on the basis
of the equality of all its members, who possess common rights and duties.
When it is a matter of moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are
no privileges or exceptions to anyone." (p.75)
Weigel admits that to construct a genuine plural-
p 5 -- ism is difficult but not impossible if as
the pope suggests a "social coexistence" is based on "a
morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone
without exception." He then asserts that this "sense of common
moral obligation is the basis of democratic community in a civil society:
a society in which the chasms of racial, ethnic, and religious differences
are bridged for the purposes of achieving the common good." (ibid.)
How will it be achieved? "Legal and regulatory structures
are essential for channeling the explosive energies of free people into
enterprises that support genuine human flourishing and that advance the
common good." (p. 76) Would such a people be any longer free?
How does one reconcile "tethering," roping "democracy"
(the State) to "truth" with the First Amendment? You cannot,
for "truth" means the Church as the church is to be the pillar
and the ground of truth. (I Tim. 3:15) Then how is this to be reconciled
with his stated concept that when the Church "is truly being the
Church," she "acts by persuasion and witness, not by imposition
through coercion"? Or does "tethering" - "legal and
regulatory structures" - constitute "the politics of persuasion
and consent" which replaces "politics of coercion"? Pray
tell, what is the difference?
An Exchange of Letters -- BETWEEN
THE EDITOR AND GEORGE WEIGEL
-- It should be obvious
from reading the above analysis of George Weigel's essay that his call
for a "politics of persuasion and consent" is incongruent with
what the American experiment established as religious liberty - the separation
of church and state. Further, Weigel himself edited a book - A New
Worldly Order - which discussed the Papal encyclical, "Centesimus
Annus." In his Prologue, Weigel attempts to set forth Pope John
Paul II as an advocate of true human freedom. He writes that "the
image of John-Paul-the-Polish-authoritarian" is in error. "The
truth of the matter is precisely the opposite: were one to hang a moniker
on this remarkable Bishop of Rome, one might well call him the 'Pope of
Freedom."' (p. 3)
Then Weigel adds: "What
John Paul II means by ' freedom,' of course, is not what America's
cultural elites have had in mind since the fevered ' liberations'
of the 1960s. And so an argument is engaged: What is this freedom that
is a 'great gift, a great blessing of God'? How is it to be lived by free
men and women, in free societies that must protect individual liberty
while concurrently advancing the common good?" (ibid.)
The picture is being blurred. Actually, what John Paul
II means by "freedom" is not what the founding fathers of the
American experiment perceived as "freedom." Excesses of the
1960s, under the guise of "rights" which permitted the moral
decay of society to surface cannot be interpreted as equivalent to the
genuine liberty projected in the Bill of Rights. To use the moral breakdown
of society as an excuse to destroy the basic religious freedom assured
in that Bill under the pretense of promoting the common good is treasonable.
It must also be kept in mind that Pope John Paul II in
proclaiming a "new worldly order" in his encyclical, was marking
the centenary of Pope Leo XIII's "Rerum Novarum," which
"began the papal tradition of modern Catholic social teaching."
(ibid., p. 1; emphasis mine) [Keep this in mind as you read the
exchange of letters which follows, and note, if you have the book, Facts
of Faith, pp. 256-260]
With this background in mind, I decided to write to Mr. Weigel. My letter and his response follows:
Mr. George Weigel, President
Dear Mr. Weigel: This
morning I was reading your essay in Evangelicals & Catholics Together.
One statement appears to me to be incongruous with the data available.
You wrote - "Catholics do not regard America as an ill-founded republic...
Rather... Catholics tend to think... that America remains a providentially
guided experiment in religious freedom." (p. 49) You introduced your
essay with the remarks of Dean Acheson, and faulted the Supreme Court
for the present preservation of the separation of Church and State. You
cited certain decisions with which you disagreed, one of which was written
by Justice Kennedy, himself a Roman Catholic. You also noted Justice Souter's
argument in which you say he followed Justice Brennan, also a Roman Catholic.
The present Pope, trained in an
hierarchical system, reared under a totalitarian regime, appears to have
an affinity for Leo XlII's positions writing of them in a centenary motif.
I am well aware of your publication - A New Worldly Order - which
you seek to mitigate the force of Leo XIII's position and present the
present Pontiff as a promoter of "ordered freedom." (p. 2) However,
it comes through that "ordered freedom" is not "religious
liberty" as perceived by our founding fathers, but rather as Leo
XIII in the letter referred to above, stated, the Roman Church should
enjoy "the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authonty."
Such would be neither freedom nor liberty.
The question remains as to how
forthright you have been in your statement as it appears in the
To this letter, Mr. Weigel responded January 10, 1996:
Dear Mr. Grotheer: Thank
you for your letter of 30 December.
As you may be aware, there has
been a development of social doctrine in Roman Catholicism on the issues
of religious freedom, church establishment, and juridical or constitutional
state, since Leo XIII wrote Longinqua Oceani in 1895. You may wish
to consult the Second Vatican Council's "Declaration on Religious
Freedom" (issued in 1965) or the recent address of Pope John Paul
II to the U.N. General Assembly for explications of the current state
of the question. As a matter of historical fact, though, Leo XIII did
not "condemn" the American arrangement on Church and State;
it was, rather, tolerari potest
- something that "could be tolerated." As I say, things
have moved a considerable way since then.
By the way, in Evangelicals
and Catholics Together I did not fault the Supreme Court "for
the current preservation of the separation of Church and State."
I faulted the Supreme Court for a tortured Church/State jurisprudence
which resulted in something verging on the establishment of secularism
as an officially-sanction-ed national creed.
The Church/State jurisprudence
of Justices Brennan and Kennedy, like their jurisprudence on the abortion
license, shows little familiarity with Catholic social theory; but that
is perhaps a question of primary interest to Roman Catholics. All Americans
ought to be concerned that the jurisprudence in question demonstrates
little familiarity with the classics of the American constitutional tradition.
With kind regards,
Admittedly, this is not the Papal thinking of the past.
The document on Religious Liberty coming from Vatican II, on the surface,
is even more pronounced. What is meant by what is being stated requires
further research and analysis.
p 7 -- AN
UPDATE UPDATED -- ADVENTISTS & CATHOLICS TOGETHER
-- A Press Release dated January 23,
1996 indicated that the Operating Company for the merged Adventist and
Roman Catholic me facilities in Colorado was named Centura Health. The
name was chosen to represent the past one hundred years of health service
provided by both systems and expresses its position "to be a leader
in providing a new level of care for the next century." And "each
system will retain its own distinctive identity, beliefs and missions"?
Has it been forgotten that one of those beliefs expressed by the name
"Adventist" is that Jesus is coming soon! Of course, the one
quoted in this release is the new CEO for Centura Health, Gary Susnara,
the head of the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity Colorado Health Care
The structure of this organization is the first of its
kind in the United States. "It calls for Centura Health to manage
the assets of both ... health care organizations." Yet, Terry
White, of PorterCare, informed the Church through the Outlook (January,
1996, p. 21) that PorterCare will retain ownership of its assets."
The Release further stated that "all operating management and income
statements will be consolidated." Centura Health has its own Board
of Trustees, yet the article in the Outlook, told the Adventist
Church that "the two systems will operate under a combined management
company overseen by the separate system boards." Truly a unique -
first-of-its-kind - arrangement! Or is it one way, and the laity of the
Church are being fed a different story so to make it more palatable?
The officers of the new controlling company are: a
Roman Catholic CEO; a senior vice president of corporate development called
from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, parent of the Colorado Catholic
organization; an officer from Provenant as senior vice president of human
resources, and Terry White of PorterCare as senior executive of the Denver
market service area. This is a 3 to 1 Catholic dominance on the "senior
The Board of Trustees is chaired by Terrence O'Rourke, M.D, with Charles Sandefur, who as president of the Rocky Mountain Conference chaired this give-away of the Adventist Health System of Colorado, serving as vice chairman. One would have thought that with the CEO, a Roman Catholic, the Board of Trustees would have been chaired by an Adventist, or, at least, an Adventist be the co-chairman. It probably would have made little difference in this incidence with Sandefur's track record in Hawaii, and then in Colorado. It seems that the Church is cursed with men, who though not Jesuits, do as good a job as the Jesuits would have done. One is left to ask - Was it the purpose of God that the "right arm of the message" be grafted to a Roman Catholic body? If "it is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy" (ST, Feb. 19, 1894), then it is a backslidden Church which grafts its "right arm" to a Roman Catholic body! ---(1996 Apr) --- End --- TOP
May -- WWN XXIX -- 5(96) -- E
& C T -- Part
4 -- Editor's
When the Accord between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics was first released,
an editorial in Christianity Today noted it as "historic"
and perceived it as calling for universal religious liberty and world
evangelization." (May 16, 1994) In a recently televised series, Dr.
John Ankerberg indicated that this Accord had been "circulated widely
inside the Vatican and was received with great enthusiasm." In this
issue, we continue our analysis of another essay from the book, Evangelicals
& Catholics Together, written by Dr. Mark Noll to justify the
Accord. He approaches the topic from an historical perspective.
the previous issue, we printed an exchange of letters in which Mr. George
Weigel recommended Vatican Council II's "Declaration on Religious
Freedom" as evidence as to how far the Roman Catholic Church has
advanced in their thinking since Leo XIII. We pursue this suggestion in
the article, "Things Are Not As They Were?" It should cause
one to pause and think twice in noting the actual position set forth in
one reads the documented material certain words and phrases keep reoccurring.
The re-phrasing of "the American experiment" from "religious
liberty" to "religious freedom," and if "liberty"
is used, it is "ordered liberty" should cause us to ask, just
what is being advocated? Another term also keeps reocurring - "diversity."
In the Accord itself, this term is limited by the adjective, "legitimate,"
and the declaration - "There is a necessary connection between visible
unity of Christians and the mission of the one Christ." Other words
and phrases need to be carefully considered - "the common good,"
"the moral order," "just legislation" by "civil
authority" so as "to safeguard religious freedom... in an effective
paragraphs are being devoted to the on-going "partnership" or
"merger" (depending upon who is doing the writing) between the
medical facilities of Adventists and Catholics in Colorado. There is more
p 2 --
E & CT -- Part 4 --
Dr. Mark Noll, the author of the third Essay in
the book, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, is professor of
Christian Thought at Wheaton College. In his Essay he discusses "The
History of an Encounter" between Roman Catholics and Protestant Evangelicals.
First, we must ask, where is Dr. Noll coming from? This past year Christianity
Today (CT) featured a forum on the evangelical mind. (August 14, 1995)
Noll had written a book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind in
which he "decried the anti-intellectualism he saw in modern evangelical
life." (p. 21) This sparked a debate in the evangelical community.
At this forum, each of the participants was asked how he would "characterize
the current state of the evangelical mind?" Noll responded first.
He said: "I
am most concerned about the widening gap between the evangelical populace
and the evangelical academy. Every popular forum I have attended that
has discussed The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind has been dominated
by the most rigid kind of six-day creationism. I'm not sure where this
is coming from, and I do not know exactly what it means. But I think its
elevation to the status of dogma is crippling to the Scriptures and demeaning
to the Christian tradition." (ibid.)
This same point he emphasized, with another,
when inducted in 1993 as McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton
College. His talk was titled the same as the book he was to write. In
this induction talk he declared that we would be deluding ourselves if
we thought that evangelical thinking in our day has progressed very far."
He cited two books, written by historians at the University of Wisconsin.
Noll noted that one by Dr. Ronald Numbers, Creationists "explains
how a popular belief deceptively known as 'creationism' - a theory that
the earth is 10,000 or less years old - has spread like wildfire in our
century from its humble beginnings in the writings of Ellen White, the
founder of Seventh-day Adventism, to its current status as a gospel truth
embraced by tens of millions of Bible believing evangelicals and fundamentalists
around the world." (CT, Oct. 25, 1993, pp. 29-30)
The second book by Dr. Paul Boyer,
When Time Shall Be No More, discusses the prophetic beliefs held by
evangelicals and fundamentalists. Then Noll concludes: "These
books share in common the picture of an evangelical world almost completely
adrift in using the mind for the sake of Christ and the Scriptures. They
describe Christians who think they are honoring the Scriptures, yet who
interpret the Bible on questions of science and world affairs in ways
that fundamentally contradict the deeper, broader, and historically well-established
meanings of the Bible itself. (ibid., p.30)
In this conclusion, Noll misses two very
fundamental points. If the Bible is not true in its statement of human
origins, it is not true in its statements regarding redemption. The same
Divine Author spoke both. The One who came to redeem is declared to be
the One who created. (John 1:3) The second point - the revelation of prophecy
- is vital. Prophecy describes how God views human events. While it is
true that much unwarranted speculation has become the hallmark of many,
if not most, evangelical writers on prophecy, this still does not justify
the abandonment of the significance of prophetic revelation. Noll having
placed his mind in this mold, became a candidate to endorse the Statement
of Accord between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. He ignores what the
Bible says about the "man of sin." This is a worst "scandal"
than Noll is trying to correct.
Concerning the past, Noll writes - "Once
upon a time - in fact, within the living memory of many people who are
still very much alive - Catholics and evangelical Protestants regarded
each other with the greatest possible suspicion." (E&CT,
p.82) He observes that "by midcentury, the grosser forms of religious
hostility that had prevailed widely throughout much of American history
were subsiding." (p. 83) Yet, even at that point in time (1945),
the Presbyterian fundamentalist, Carl McIntyre, could be quoted as declaring
that "without any doubt the greatest enemy of freedom and liberty
that the world has to face today is the Roman Catholic system." A
few years later, the Protestant church historian, Wilhelm Pauck, observed
that "the difference betwen Protestantism and Roman Catholicism is
Noll cites the reaction to President Truman's
attempt to appoint an ambassador to the Vatican in 1946. Loud protests
greeted the announcement all along the Protestant spectrum so much so
that the appointment had to be withdrawn. Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, president
of the Federal Council of Churches criticized the move as "encouraging
the un-American policy of union of church and state" pursued by Rome.
The Roman Catholics also reacted to Protestant ecumenical activity. When
the second General Assembly of the World Council of Churches met at Evanston,
Illinois, in 1954, Cardinal Samuel Strich of Chicago issued a pastoral
letter forbidding priests to attend even as reporters. Noll concludes
- "In sum, on the very eve of Pope John XXIII's pontificate and,
one might add, of the American presidential election of 1960 [Nixon v.
Kennedy], there seemed no particular reason to expect a quantum leap in
Protestant-Catholic goodwill." (p. 84)
Dr. Noll asserts that "four major factors" have contributed to the changed climate between Catholics and Evangelicals, and why that change has been so dramatic:
most visible public signal of a shift in the United States was the election
of a Catholic as president in 1960." (p. 93) Kennedy's "scrupulous
record on church-state matters, particularly his opposition to government
aid for parochial schools, silenced many critics who feared that Catholics
did not have proper national priorities." (p. 94)
2) The elevation
of Cardinal Angelo Roncalli as Pope John XXIII advanced the ecumenical
movement. He sent observers to the 1960 Assembly of the WCC in New Delhi,
and established a Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. He convened
Vatican II Council. This Council's Decree on Ecumenicism commended this
work to the bishops everywhere in the world. The result was the beginning
of a series of dialogues between Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Church
as well as several major Protestant denominations. Noll indicates that
the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue "has produced the richest fruit, with
a series of agreements on the Nicene Creed, baptism, the Eucharist, and,
most importantly, justification by faith."
3) The Vatican II Council's "Declaration on Religious Freedom" was so worded to dispell historic evangelical fears of Catholic tyranny. [This is an area that demands more study and definition of terms used in the present discussion of the Accord between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics Does "religious freedom" mean the same as what has been known in America as "religious liberty"?]
This change in the civic sphere was also
accompanied by increased political action on the part of Evangelicals.
This has developed into the Religious Right. Noll observes - "Over
the last several decades, contemporary political affairs have become so
tangled that Christian beliefs and public stances on moral issues now
collide in nearly every conceivable combination." Then he adds -
"The complex controversies surrounding three American fundamental
social concerns - sex, national defense, and the economy - have contributed
a great deal to the withering of old interreligious antagonisms."
(p. 95) The end result is that Catholic conservatives and Evangelicals
have found themselves arguing from the same side on the issues in dispute.
4) The fourth factor, Noll terms "a theological breakthrough." He maintains that the dialogues between Roman Catholic theologians and Protestant counterparts have distinguished between "religious stereotypes" and "genuine theological disagreement." He again cites the Catholic-Lutheran Accord document on Justification by Faith. "The document spoke not of 'uniformity' on the substance of the doctrine of justification, but about 'a convergence' on the meaning of the doctrine."
Again we have what could be called - "those
tricky words," such as "uniformity" and "convergence."
It needs be recalled that Cardinal Cassidy, president of the Pontifical
Council for Promoting Christian Unity, at the Seventh Assembly of the
WCC in Canberra, declared - "We are not working towards
uniformity among the churches of the world. We are working towards
the unity in faith and in communion." (The Catholic Leader,
Feb. 24, 1991, p. 3) Is "convergence" the objective of the "unity"
Then again, the term, "convergence,"
was used in connection with "diversity" in the introduction
of the release of the Lima Text of the Faith and Order Commission of the
WCC released in 1982. It read - "In leaving behind the hostilities
of the past, the churches have begun to discover many promising convergences
in their shared convictions and perceptives. These convergences
give assurance that despite much diversity in theological expression
the churches have much in common in their understanding of the faith."
There is, however, another word used in
the WCC Paper #111
which needs to be noted. The same preface observes: "As
demonstrated in the Lima text, we have already achieved a remarkable degree
of agreement. Certainly we have not yet fully reached 'consensus' (consentire),
understood here as that experience of life and articulation of faith necessary
to realize and maintain the Church's visible unity. ... Full concensus
can only be proclaimed after the churches reach the point of living and
acting together in unity." (ibid)
Is this "concensus" rather than
"convergence" what Cassidy meant when he said the Roman Church
was working toward "the unity in faith and in communion"? Then
there is George Weigel's statement in his Essay which spoke of "constructing
political community amidst luxuriant diversity." (E&CT,
p. 49) These terms which permit various interpretations tend to mute,
for the present, Rome's objectives. Here again, the "sure word of
prophecy" can help clarify the picture. The second "beast"
of Revelation 13 ultimately speaks "as a dragon." (13:11) Further,
it is an "image" to the first "beast" which is empowered
to issue a "death" threat. (13:15) Is this ultimate picture
a "unity in diversity," a "convergence," or a "consensus"?
Or are these some "nice" expressions to veil an "ugly"
Noll continues his historical Essay by
noting some reasons for the "Catholic-Protestant Reengagement."
Within "liberal" Protestant thinking there has been a denial
of such basic Christian concepts as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ;
so much so, that Carl McIntyre, who could in 1945 aver that the Roman
Church was the greatest enemy of freedom and liberty in the world, could
by 1969 state, "I'm much closer to the Catholics in my belief in
the Virgin Birth than I am to liberal Protestants who deny it." The
charismatic movement within Catholicism which began in 1967 has furthered
unity with its Protestant counterparts.
Another phenomenon cited by Noll is the
changed attitude toward the Bible. "Catholics currently may read
the Living Bible and the Good News Bible, both produced under Protestant
auspices, with the imprimatur
and nihil obstat.
Catholic scholars sit on the revision committee of the Revised Standard
Version, and Protestant purchasers swell the sales of the Catholic Jerusalem
Bible." It is a Roman Catholic group - the Sacred Heart League -
which has set records in the distribution of the Scriptures. In 1979,
they ordered 775,000 copies from the American Bible Society, and in 1983,
they ordered another 800,000. (E&CT, p. 98)
Two about faces have also served to bring
the Evangelicals and Rome closer together. One is Billy Graham's ecumenism.
Noll observes that Graham in 1960 "just barely" succeeded in
"hiding his apprehensions about a Democratic regime that would not
only include a Catholic president, but a Catholic majority Leader in the
Senate, and a Catholic Speaker of the House." By 1978, "he became
the first Protestant leader to be entertained by the abbot of the shrine
of the Black Madonna in Czestochowa, Poland. In 1981 he sought and was
granted an audience at the Vatican by John Paul II, who short years before
as Cardinal Karol Wojtyla had made it possible for Graham to preach in
Catholic churches during his evangelistic tour of Poland." (ibid.,
The second turn around was the Roman Catholic
attitude toward Martin Luther. From Catholic reaction in 1953 to the movie,
Martin Luther, calling Luther "a lewd satyr whose glandular demands
were the ultimate cause of his break" with Rome, to 1983 when during
the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Luther's birth, the pope
appeared in Rome's Evangelical Lutheran Church on December 11th. This
was a remarkable volte-face.
During the mid-1950s, Chicago Catholics sought to keep the Luther film
off local television, while in 1983, "the Notre Dame alumni magazine
devoted much of one issue, including an attractive cover portrait, to
a discussion of 'What Martin Luther Means to Us."' (p. 100) However,
the haunting question remains - Has Rome really changed?
One of the issues which has produced much
negative Evangelical reaction to the E&CT Accord is the matter of
proselytizing - that of Evangelicals seeking converts from Roman Catholics.
This issue has become severely acute in Central and South America. The
Accord condemns such activity, and Noll seeks to defend this condemnation.
He recognizes that Evangelicals should be spelled, "evangelicals,"
as there is no formal organization to which Evangelicals must answer.
They are spread across a large spectrum of various religious bodies from
Anglicans to Pentecostals. He cites a British historian, David Babbington,
which assigns "four marks" as the criteria of envangelicalism
- "conversionism, activism, biblicalism, and crucicentrism"
(focus on the Cross of Christ as the means of salvation). Then Noll notes
a Canadian survey with criteria more detailed than Babbington's. This
Quoting Roman Catholic theologians that
"there are sometimes sharper divisions within the Roman Catholic
Church than there are between certain Catholics and certain Protestants,
Noll concludes: "Given
the situation of religious pluralism within the Christian families,
there is much more opportunity now than fifty years ago to find meaningful
fellowship across, as well as significant strife within, traditional evangelical
and Catholic communities." (p. 105)
So what about the proselytizing question?
Noll writes against this backdrop of pluralism declaring: "The
pluralism with Catholic and evangelical communities also poses genuine
problems for the practice of evangelism. Most responsible Catholics and
evangelicals recognize that it is at best dubious, and at worst simply
wrong, for Catholics and evangelicals to proselytize across the Catholic-Protestant
border in situations where believers are coming close to the finest standards
of either faith." (pp. 105-106)
Noll concludes his Essay with some interesting
observations which need to be carefully analyzed:
"The contemporary world needs to hear more about what Catholics and
evangelicals share in common than about their legitimate disagreements."
We need to ask ourselves - Are these conclusions
valid? If not, then how shall we respond to them? And - the answer must
be founded on the sure Word of God. The last paragraphs of the Essay,
cite European viewpoints as to the key for unity. Noll quotes with approval
the Archbishop of Canterbury,
George Carey's suggestions based on the Second Vatican Council's
Decree on Ecumenism. Carey, when principal of Trinity Theological College
in England, wrote in his book,
A Tale of Two Churches:
"The decree suggested that closer agreement among Christians is possible
if we think in terms of a hierarchy of truths. What the decree is getting
at is this: unity is often marred by the attention given to our differences,
but not all doctrines have the same importance for faith. Could we arrive
at an understanding of the common core of the faith we share while allowing
freedom with respect to other teachings less essential?" (p. 160)
Is this what is meant by speaking about "unity in diversity"? Is this not the concept for unity in the Community of Adventism being advocated by the Adventist Review? However, is this the unity which flows from the truth as it is in Jesus? These questions must be answered by each one individually, and each needs to know why he so answers.
UPDATING AN UPDATE -- The Board of Trustees for the Colorado
Adventist-Roman Catholic Health partnership is composed of fitteen members.
The "chairperson" is a Roman Catholic doctor. The "vice
chairperson" is Elder Charles Sandefur, now president of the Mid-America
Union Conference. Of the other thirteen members, ten are Roman Catholics,
two are Seventh-day Adventists, and one is a doctor from Porter Hospital
staff but not a Seventh-day Adventist. One of the Catholic members is
a doctor from (SDA) Avista hospital staff. Somebody was "asleep at
the switchboard" when this selection of trustees was made.
David Algeo, Denver Post Business
writer, in an article dated January 24, 1996, announced the new name -
Centura Health - which combined the Sisters of Charity Health Services
of Colorado and Porter-Care Adventist Health System. He noted that the
name chosen "came as a disappointment to James Hertel, publisher
of the newsletter Colorado Managed Care." Hertel "jokingly had
suggested the company call itself Porter Sisters." This would have
been truer to fact.
Hertel continued by noting that "these
mergers of large numbers of health-care organizations into single groups,
and the creation of large numbers of regional and statewide service areas,...
have sought to select generic names, which diminishes their local identity."
Whose "identity" will be lost in this merger? No guess work
needed to answer this question.
p 6 --
"THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY WERE?" -- Mark
Noll in his Essay had used J. I. Packer's comment - Things are not as
they were!" - as his theme. We chose this same quote to caption this
article but with changed punctuation. It alters what appears to be, into
suggesting the reality of what is.
The late Arthur S. Maxwell, then editor
of The Signs of the Times, was ecstatic over what he observed at
the Vatican II Council. In a report given to the University Church at
Loma Linda, on his "Impressions of Vatican II," he began his
sermon by saying - "First the friendliness of the welcome. You see,
I' ve been there several times - that is - Rome. Always a sort of iciness
there, but not any more, not any more. ... (emphasis his)
"Then, another aspect of this new
friendliness was the pope's opening speech.... It was a beautiful speech.
This was the opening of the final session. Do you know what his subject
was? Love. ...
"The whole thing was a picture of
the church loving humanity. Now, we've got to adapt our thinking a bit.
There was no condemnation here of Protestants, no suggestion of a persecution
of anybody, but love, unfeigned love for everybody - the separated brethren
and people who don't belong and all people of all faiths and religions.
Very, very wonderful change and a very, very significant change, and I
will mention it, of course, later."
Maxwell did, by noting a question which
he had been asked since his return from the Council - "Is the Catholic
Church sincere in its declaration of religious liberty?" His answer
is such a tremendous change that the Roman Catholic Church has embarked
upon... It's an amazing thing that the church has done to set itself alongside
Protestants in declaring that every man has the basic human right to choose
his own religion and follow the dictates of his own conscience."
(Present Truth, #3, 1968)
Did the Vatican II Council do so? Its
document, Dignitatis Humanae ("Declaration of Religious Liberty")
issued 7 December, 1965, stated: "The
Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious
freedom. Freedom of this kind means that all men should be immune from
coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power
so that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his convictions
nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his convictions
in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in associations
with others. ... This right of the human person to religious freedom must
be given such recognition in the constitutional order of society as will
make it a civil right. ... (Chapter I, sec. 2)
is through his conscience that man sees and recognizes the demands of
the divine law. He is bound to follow this conscience faithfully in all
his activity so that he may come to God, who is his last end. Therefore,
he must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be
prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious
matters. The reason is because the practice of religion of its very nature
consists primarily of those voluntary and free internal acts which cannot
be commanded or forbidden by any merely human authority." (ibid.,
Noll, in his Essay, avers that it was
the American bishops' influence at Vatican II which secured these statements
in behalf of civil liberty. However, Vatican II cannot be divorced from
the context of time. Communistic governments still dominated Eastern Europe
restricting Roman Catholicism. The words of this Declaration speak to
this issue, not to an acceptance of the American way - the separation
of church and state.
A preface was placed on this declaration.
It is the "fine print" of what the Roman position really is.
It reads: "The
sacred Council begins by professing that God himself has made known to
the human race how men by serving him can be saved and reach happiness
in Christ. We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in
the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the
task of spreading it among all men... All men are bound to seek the truth,
especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and
hold on to it as they come to know it."
sacred Council likewise proclaims that those obligations bind man's conscience.
Truth can impose itself on the mind of man only in virtue of its own truth,
which wins the mind with both gentleness and power. So while the
religious freedom which men demand in fulfilling their ob-
Are things now not as they were, or are things just as they were?
TALK IT OVER -- As we near the close of the Century and
the Sixth Millennium of time, we have anew the same test as was faced
by Eve in Eden. The serpent said to Eve - "Yea, hath God said, ..."
(Gen. 3:1) Finally, "when the woman saw that it was good ...
pleasant to the eyes, and ... to be desired ..., she took of the
fruit thereof, and did eat." (3:6) Sin came by seeing, and responding
to what seeing said.
Into the redemptive process, God placed
faith, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen." (Heb. 11:1) This faith, without which it is impossible
to please God (Heb. 11:6), and by which victory is achieved (I John 5:4)
comes by hearing - "hearing the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)
Through the ever increased visionary allurements
of television and the video, men are being conditioned by what they see.
"The man of sin" is "the Holy Father." Religious liberty
is seen as "ordered freedom," a "civil right" and
not an inalienable right of man.
If we continue to be beguiled by what
we see, in the final confrontation, we will accept the offered "fruit"
and eat, instead of standing by the truth of God as revealed in His WORD.
Well has it been written - "None but those who have fortified
the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great
conflict." (GC, p. 593)
It will not be what we see that will constitute the right way, but what is not seen, what God says, for "darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people" (Isa. 60:2), yet they will perceive themselves to be walking in light. "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness." (Matt. 6:23) "Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness." (Luke 11:35) ---(1996 May) ---End---- TOP
Jun -- XXIX -- 6(96) -- E
& C T -- Part
5 -- Editor's
Preface -- The
fourth Essay in the publication Evangelicals & Catholics Together
was written by the Jesuit Theologian Avery Dulles of Fordham University,
and Professor Emeritus of the Catholic University of America. Dulles was
also one of the participants in drafting the original document of the
Accord between Evangelicals and Catholics. In his Essay he discusses the
various models of ecumenical unity, and seeks to establish that the Roman
Catholic Church is in its structure and organization a continuum of the
apostolic church with "adaptations." He sets forth the supreme
sign and instrument of the Church's unity.
Because of Dulles emphasis on the "sign" of the
Catholic Church, the second article reviews the Seal of God and the Mark
of the Beast perceptions held in Adventism. Many of us perhaps will need
to do some serious rethinking, and not merely hold to surface perceptions.
The information available in the new Catholic Cathechism, and the messages
coming from the various apparitions of Mary in regard to the Eucharist,
demand that we do some serious reflection.
Many may not be aware that what we have given as a doctrinal conclusion in regard to the "Seal of God" is elementary. What Ellen White indicates it to be, is quite different. I, therefore, deemed it advisable to note these points in the editorial, "Let's Talk It Over." Further, I hope that the few thoughts suggested in the column will stimulate some study and research on your part. I know that I shall be doing some. What is the meaning of the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on Calvary in contrast to the multiple sacrifices as the Catholics believe the Eucharist to represent? Do we mingle these two concepts in our theology? That is still ahead and will come up in the next issue of WWN.
Sabbath is the time when the spent spirit may catch its breath,
p 2 -- E &
C T -- Part
The fourth Essay in Evangelicals and Catholics Toether,
was written by Avery Dulles, a Jesuit theologian. A convert to Catholicism,
he was the son John Foster Dulles, who served as Secretary of State during
the Eisenhower administration. Writing on "The Unity for Which We
Hope," a quote is chosen from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as a theme
which reads - "As people who are divided, we can also be one."
Drawing on "the vigorous discussions about models
of Christian union and unity that took place in ecumenical circles in
the 1970s" and the work of several recent authors, Dulles discusses
six models "as patterns for possible interchurch cooperation and
unity." (p. 115) Several of these "models" are similar,
and only a fine line distinguishes them apart.
Dulles begins with the "organic union" model
long advocated by the World Council of Churches. Interestingly, it was
at the Third Assembly held in New Delhi in 1961, and the Assembly to which
Pope John XXIII first sent Roman Catholic observers, that formulation
of this type of union was made. At the Fifth Assembly in Nairobi, a a
new constitution was adopted which proclaimed that the first purpose of
the council was "to call the churches to the goal of visible unity
in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship." The Lima Text in
1982, which discusses the "fellowship" objective, notes in its
preface that the Faith and Order Commission is charged by the Council
"to keep always before them their accepted obligation to work towards
manifesting more visibly God's gift of Church unity." (p. vii)
After the Lima Text, the focus of the Faith and Order
Commission moved to the confession of one Apostolic faith. To this end
the Nicene-Costantinopolitan Creed of 381 was adopted. The Moderator of
the Apostolic Faith Steering Group to advance its adoption, as well as
vice-moderator of the Commission itself, is a Roman Catholic, Jean-Marie
Tillard OP. Dulles in his Essay notes that this Creed along with the Apostles'
Creed "are still acknowledged as normative for Christian faith by
most Christian churches." (p. 132) This Creed formally ratified "the
formula of one God existing in three co-equal Persons," in other
words, the Trinity doctrine. (Early Christian Doctrines, p. 88)
This has set the stage to "re-vision the goal of visible unity"
in terms of koinonia,
a Greek word, described as "a gracious fellowship in Christ expressing
the richness of the gift received creation and humankind from God."
(One World, October 1993, p. 15) This "new vision" was
the theme of the Fifth World Conference of Faith and Order held in Santiago
de Compostela, Spain, in 1993. One of the key speakers an Orthodoy theologian,
John Zizoulas said "the notion of the church as koinonia is rooted
in faith in God as trinitarian." A report from this Conference "depicted
this shared life of Christians as rooted in the Triune God, who is 'the
ultimate reality of relational life.' Consequently, 'unity and diversity
are inseparable;' both must be safeguarded in the structure of the church."
(ibid.) Thus we are left to determine what "oneness"
means in terms of the Godhead as applied to visible church unity, and
what the distinctions between the members of the Godhead mean in terms
of diversity in church union.
Dulles discusses other models - Conciliar Fellowship,
Communion of Types, Reconciled Diversity - all of which reflect some aspect
of the concept of unity in diversity. In discussing "Reconciled Diversity,"
he refers to Oscar Cullmann's "important little book, Unity through
Diversity," in which Cullmann pleaded for a harmonious separation"
of churches. Quoting further from Cullmann, Dulles notes that "the
planned community of churches, though it is itself not a church, should
have some sort of superstructure, even if fairly loose, a superstructure
which respects the churches which it unites: here too, unity in diversity."
(E&CT, p. 120; emphasis in text)
In another section of Dulles' Essay, he returns to Cullmann
Cullmann the goal of ecumenism is to achieve a visible manifestation of
unity without the suppression of the diversity of the distinct charisms.
This can be achieved, he believes, in a community of independent churches
that cross-fertilize one another, both enriching the others with their
own gifts and submitting to criticism by the others. While he opposes
merger, he does not exclude the erection of certain common structures
to sustain the relationship between the churches. ... He also makes it
clear that such a union would be open only to churches that adhere to
the basic Christian faith, as expressed in the early creedal and confessional
statements found in the New Testament." (E&CT, pp.
Why is Dulles stressing Cullmann? Interestingly, he writes
that "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, writing from a Roman Catholic perspective,
p 3 -- ecumenical strategy surprisingly similar
to those of Cullmann." Ratzinger accepts the goal of full visible
unity set forth in the "Decree of Ecumenism" and other Roman
Catholic documents, but "he recognizes that the attainment of that
goal depends upon a special initiative of the Holy Spirit" beyond
the Roman Church's power to so attain. (ibid., p. 137)
must be observed that Ratzinger accepts Cullmann's model as only a "strategy"
for the attainment of the Roman Catholic "goal of full visible unity."
it is not difficult to observe that "full visible unity" is
the same goal as that of the WCC. Further, it needs to be recalled that
the Faith and Order Commission has as its stated aim to carry out this
objective, and that on this Commission is the Seventh-day Adventist presence.
As noted above, the Moderator of the Steering Committee to forward this
goal is a Roman Catholic priest.
and this is most important. What did the "Decree
of Ecumenism" state?
Dulles wrote and note carefully what this Jesuit is saying:
Catholic teaching the papacy is understood preminently as a unitive [unifying]
agency in the words of the First Vatican Council [which issued the Dogma
of Papal infallibility], repeated almost vorbatim by the Second Vatican
Council: ' In order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided,
and that the whole multitude of believers might be preserved in unity
of faith and communion by means of a closely united priesthood, [Christ]
placed blessed Peter at the head of the other apostles, and established
in him a perpetual principle and visible foundation of this twofold unity.
the Catholic understanding, then, the visible unity of the church, as
intended by Christ, includes three constitutive elements: the sacramental,
the doctrinal, and the governmental. The members of the Church are in
communion with one another to the extent that they enjoy the same sacramental
life, profess the same faith, and acknowledge the same authoritative leadership."
This, then is what is down the road, at the end of the
tunnel. The road to the objective is "unity in diversity." And
even when the objective is realized it will still be passed for "unity
in diversity." Dulles writes - "Within this unity of faith,
worship, and polity, considerable scope is allowed for diversity of styles
and practices. This variety, far from impairing
the unity, enriches it." (ibid.)
Now the details as they are spelled out need to be considered.
"The unity of the whole body is expressed and maintained by manifold
signs and instruments that are attested in the New Testament and
in patristic tradition. Among these bonds are liturgical worship, canonical
Scriptures, creeds, and a hierarchical system of government," according
to Dulles. (p. 131; emphasis supplied)
We can understand what the system of Church government
is all about - the Papacy. We have ready access to the "creeds"
being promoted. We do need to keep in mind that the "canonical Scriptures"
as decreed by the Roman Church includes the Apocrypha. However, it is
the "liturgical worship" which is a key issue in the present
"Liturgical worship includes most prominently baptism
and the Lord's Supper," states Dulles. "Baptism, the basic sacrament
of incorporation, is necessarily 'one' according to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan
Creed ,... By incorporating Christians into Christ, baptism makes them
members of one another." Quoting the "Decree on Ecumenism,"
Dulles writes - "Thus baptism establishes a sacramental bond of unity
existing among all who have been reborn by it." (p. 131) This is
why the stress on unity in baptism. It should be recalled that the Ecumenical
convocation on the Union College Campus, the first of a series of annual
meetings sponsored by the Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska, began with
a discussion on baptism. Further, at the first service, a form of baptism
was performed on the whole of the attending congregation in the College
View Seventh-day Adventist Church. This established all present as one
[Dr. John Kerbs, President of Union College, stated in
a telephone conversation that no Adventist ministers participated in this
service and to his knowledge, no Adventists were in attendance. The Church
Board had made available the church and college facilities to the Interchurch
Ministries for their convocation. See WWN, January and February
issues, 1996, for full details and documentation]
The second part of the "liturgical" package
needs to be carefully noted - the celebration of the Eucharist. Dulles
all the sacraments, the Lord's Supper or Eucharist is seen especially
as the bond of unity. For the fathers and medieval doctors, the Eucharist
was the supreme sign and instrument of the Church's unity. The
' Decree on Ecumenism' describes it as ' the wonderful Sacrament . . .
p 4 -- which
the unity of the Church is both signified and brought about.' " (p.
132; emphasis supplied)
This "sign" of unity with the Church of Rome
is stated in their official pronouncements, and is not merely a letter
from a Chancellor to a Cardinal. This weight of authority needs to be
carefully weighed in any study of the Mark of the Beast. Keep in mind
that the Eucharist can be received on either the tongue, or in the hand.
The last model of church unity, Dulles terms, "Spiritual
Ecumenism." He defines this model as "an invisible communion
of the faithful in Christ." Those who hold to this concept believe
that "the Spirit can raise up true Christians wherever the Scriptures
are read and wherever prayer in the name of Jesus is practiced."
(p. 120) Assuming, and rightly so, that this "model" is the
position held by "Evangelicals," Dulles then proceeds to respond
to this concept. As if answering those Evangelicals who are opposing the
E&CT Accord, he jesuitically twists the point, and suggests that the
reluctance of some Evangelicals is based on the supposed fact that the
Roman Catholics would be unwilling to enter into such a model. He declares
that this is because of ignorance of the pronouncements of Vatican II.
Citing a section (Unitatis Redintegratio), he quotes - "Those
who have been justified by faith through baptism are incorporated in Christ,
and have a right to be called Christians, and so are deservedly recognized
as brothers and sisters in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."
Because of this there should be no problems of mutual fellowship, Dulles
concludes. Further, wherein the Evangelicals have different views from
the Roman Catholics on the structure of the Church, "they must therefore
engage in dialogue about the matter." (p. 124)
Immediately, Dulles devotes a section of his Essay to
what he calls "Biblical Perspectives." Noting that Evangelicals
"recognize the canonical Scriptures as a peremptory norm, one that
may under no circumstances be contradicted," he observes, "Holy
Scripture therefore provides a common resource for giving specific content
to the prayer of Christ for unity. It helps us to know what kind of unity
prevailed among the early Christians and to identify the signs by which
that unity was expressed and the means by which it was maintained."
Lest one assume that a Jesuit theologian would be more
apt to cite the church fathers and papal pronouncements to defend his
position, it should be noted that when Dulles said, Scripture, he meant
just that. This should serve as a warning that in the days ahead, we will
be faced with Scripture used to defend false premises, thus it behooves
us to know what "Saith the Lord." Further, Dulles' discussion
of the Church structure closely parallels the very issue within the Community
of Adventism today between a hierarchical allegiance and the independent
ministries. Dulles even alludes to "the house church."
His first point is the universality of the Christian religion
"embracing in a single fellowship adherents of every race, nation,
and linguistic group." (p.125) He freely admits that a difficulty
against the universality of the Church "can be raised on the basis
of the Greek word, ekklesia
(church) as used in the New Testament. He notes Paul's use of the term,
even using it to refer to "house churches," and then states
that "although Paul is conscious that all Christians are 'one body,'
he never uses the term 'one church.' Thus an argument can be made that
the Church is primarily the local congregation and only secondarily the
totality of such congregations." (p. 126) Dulles does not "buy"
this argument and seeks to mute its force. He states that "the ecclesiology
of the New Testament has to be teased out of a great variety of terms"
and metaphores such as "the new Israel, the body of Christ, Bride,
and Temple. ... To the New Testament authors it was evident that there
could only be one body or bride of Christ, one temple of the Holy Spirit,
one new Israel. Christians were conscious of belonging to a single, all-embracing
fellowship or society."
While the concept of the nature of the Church as a universal
(catholic) entity existed, the fact remained that it existed in the form
of a multiplicity of congregations. So what was going to keep the unity
of the faith? While Dulles admits that common teaching and the Scriptures
were factors, he writes - "Yet another structure of unity was the
hierachical vigilance exercised by the apostles and their associates."
(p. 128) To this he adds "common practices of worship" - baptism
and the eucharist - and concludes: "To
be a Christian was to confess the apostolic faith, to be baptized, to
partake of the Eucharist, to join in the traditional hymns and prayers,
to practice mutual charity and solidarity, and to accept the leadership
of the duly designated leaders, whose function it was to maintain orthodox
belief and good order in the community." (p. 130)
From these "Biblical Perspectives" - and Scripture
can be cited for each point noted in the above paragraph. Dulles moves
to "The [Roman]
p 5 -- Catholic System" writing: "The system of unity in the Roman Catholic Church, as it has developed since the early patristic times, is grounded in the order of the apostolic Church as attested by the New Testament. It is not a rigid perpetuation of that order but an adaptation to the needs of a later age, retaining the same essential structures in a variety of forms that have unfolded under the aegis of the Holy Spirit." (p. 130)
Herein is the error. Many of the observations made under
"Biblical Perspectives" are valid, but now we face the "adaptations"
which became known as the "Roman" Catholic Church. Further,
Dulles declares that these modifications came through the guidance of
the Holy Spirit. Paul warned that there was to be "a falling away."
(II Thess. 2:3) These "adaptations" are a part of that "falling
away." Jesus in promising the Holy Spirit indicated that the Spirit
would "guide into all truth" not away from the truth. Neither
would the Spirit "speak of Himself," but would inspire that
which Christ revealed. (John 16:13-14)
The very concept of "church" as perceived by
Rome is at variance with the words of Jesus. The Second Vatican Council
propounded the idea of the Church as a communion of local churches in
each of which the one Catholic Church is truly present and operative.
Each local church is to be realized only when gathered together at the
Eucharist "under the presidency of the bishop surrounded by members
of his clergy." (p. 130) What a contrast to the simple statement
of Jesus - "Where
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst
of them." (Mat. 18:20) What
is the bond which would unite these various gatherings in Jesus' name?
Truth - truth as it is in Jesus. (John 14:6; I Tim. 3:15)
Since Evangelicals and Catholics at present cannot unite
as one Church, Dulles suggests an interim strategy. He suggests changing
false impressions which each has of the other. Among these is that Roman
Catholics deny the "unique mediatorship of Christ." How can
one alter this concept of Roman teaching when the placing of Mary as a
co-mediatrix predominates in their practice? He further suggests that
emphasis be placed on concepts which both communities affirm - doctrines
held in common. Observe carefully what Dulles writes on this point: "It
is no small thing that we [Evangelicals
& Catholics] can jointly read the same [?]
Scriptures as God's inspired Word, that we can share the confession of
the Triune God and of Jesus as true God and true man. It is a blessing
to be bound together by the essential forms [the
Rosary excluded?] of Christian prayer, based on Holy Scripture,
and by common commitment to the way of life held forth in the Ten Commandments
as interpreted in the light of the New Testament." (p. 140)
And again: "Within this type of ecclesial friendship there is no lack of things that Catholics and evangelicals can do together. They can join in their fundamental witness to Christ and the gospel. [Do they both teach the same gospel?] They can affirm together their acceptance of the apostolic faith enshrined in the creeds and dogmas of the early Church. They can labor side by side in defending the religious heritage of the nation, to the extent that this is authentically biblical and consonant with the eternal law of God. They can jointly protest against the false and debilitating creeds of militant secularism. In all these ways they can savor and deepen the unity that is already theirs in Christ." (p. 144)
of GOD & THE MARK of THE
BEAST -- To John on
the Isle of Patmos was given visions of things to come. Among those future
events to transpire just prior to the return of Jesus Christ in clouds
of heaven (Rev. 1:7) was to be the sealing of a group of people described
as 144,000 "servants of our God." (7:3-4) This group is noted
as standing with the Lamb, "having His Father's name in their foreheads."
(14:1) They are also declared to be those "that keep the commandments
of God," "the remnant of the seed of the woman." (14:12;
12:17) Further, it was recognized that the last messages of God to mankind
involved a call "to worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the
sea, and the fountains of waters." (14:6) Knowing that the law was
to be sealed among the disciples of the Lord (Isa. 8:16), Adventists have
taught that the commandment of that Law which designates God as the Creator
of all life and being constitutes its seal of authority; in other words,
In the final messages to be given - the Third -
p 6 -- there is a warning against one receiving
"a mark in his forehead, or in his hand." (Rev. 14:9) Identifying
the beast as the Papacy, the mark was assumed to be a sign of that system
in contrast to the "seal of God." Such a "mark" was
easily found in the substitution by Rome of the observance of Sunday in
place of the Sabbath of the Commandments of God. While this act of Rome
has been used to signify its "authority" in religious matters,
and to justify "tradition" as the "continuing inspiration"
of the the Spirit rather than "antiquity," it has lacked an
essential ingredient for contrast with the Sabbath - "creation."
In the previous article, we noted that Avery Dulles, the
Jesuit theologian declared - "For the fathers and medieval doctors
the Eucharist was the supreme sign and instrument of the Church's
unity." Then he quoted the "Decree on Ecumenism" from the
Vatican II Council which described the Eucharist as "the wonderful
Sacrament ... by which the unity of the Church is both signified and brought
about." (E&CT, p. 132, emphasis supplied) At another point,
Dulles wrote that "the bodliness of the [Eucharistic] sacrament cannot
be dissociated from the bodliness of the Church."
In the new Cathecism of the Catholic Church, the
Eucharist is defined as "the Sacrament of sacraments." (1211)
In another paragraph, the Eucharist is declared to be "the sum and
summary of our [Roman] faith: ' Our way of thinking is attuned to the
Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turns confirms our way of thinking."'
In a recent book - The Thunder of Justice - which
brings together the messages given during the apparitions of Mary worldwide,
and the messages she has given to "prophets," she is quoted
by a priest, Don Stefano Gobbi, as stating - "The Eucharistic Jesus
is the Living Bread come down from Heaven, the food to eat that one may
hunger no more, the water to drink that one may thirst no longer."
Herein is the factor of "creation" which in
its blaphemous suggestion truly sets this as a "mark" diametrically
opposed to the Lord God as Creator of all life and being. The sainted
Doctor of the Roman Church, Alphonsus
de Ligouri, wrote in his book, The
Dignity and Duties of the Priest, the following: "St.
Bernardine of Sienna has written: ' Holy Virgin, excuse me, for I speak
not against thee: the Lord has raised the priesthood above thee.' The
saint assigns the reason of the superiority of the priesthood over Mary;
she conceived Jesus Christ only once; but by consecrating the Eucharist,
the priest, as it were, conceives him as often as he wishes, so that if
the person of the Redeemer had not yet been in the world, the priest,
by pronouncing the words of consecration, would produce this great person
of a Man-God. ' O wonderful dignity of the priests,' cries out St. Augustine;
' in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God
becomes incarnate.' Hence the priests are called the parents of Jesus
priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator,
since by saying the words of consecration, he creates, as it were, Jesus
in the sacrament, by giving him a sacramental existence, and produces
him as a victim to be offered to the eternal Father ... St. Augustine
has written, ' O venerable sanctity of the hands! O happy function of
the priests! He that created me (if I may say so) gave me the power to
create him; and he that created me without me is himself created by me!'
As the Word of God created heaven and earth, so, says St. Jerome, the
words of the priest create Jesus Christ." (pp. 32-33)
Here all the vindictiveness of the demonic hatred of Lucifer
is displayed in one service. He "creates" the One of whom he
was jealous, who in reality had created him in the beginning. This in
turn becomes the "supreme sign and instrument" of his Church's
unity which he has set up in the world as opposed to the Church of Jesus
Christ. All who join in the worldwide unity under the aegis of Rome will
accept this mark.
It is also of interest to note that Dulles in his Essay
observes - "In the New Testament we begin to find hints that the
Christians regularly assembled for the Eucharist on the first day of the
week." The aspect of creation is central - the Eucharist - the time
of its celebration, an adjunct. This point we seemed to have missed. If
we emphasize the Sabbath in its external aspect, and fail to understand
the creative power which it memorializes, we will be no better off than
the Jews and their Sabbath emphasis in the days of Christ. Ours will be
a form of godliness without the power thereof. We will be unable to stand
against the power behind the Eucharist.
p 7 -- LET'S
TALK IT OVER -- In 1898, Ellen White wrote
a letter in which she asked the question - "What is the seal of the
living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people?" (Letter
126) She answered her own question, and the answer she gave goes far beyond
what is given as the standard doctrinal reply: "It
is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read: for the destroying
angel must see this mark of redemption.
[Here is an allusion to the Passover - the blood on the door post] The
intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord's
adopted sons and daughters."
It doesn't say, that mind has observed Sabbath keepers. In fact,
"not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There
are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive
the seal of God in their foreheads." (5T:213-214)
This should cause us to pause and do some honest evaluating.
There is today much agitation on the part of some over
"The National Sunday Law." This emphasis is surface, elementary,
and deceptive. It is deceptive in that it fails to go to the basis of
the real controversy between Christ and Satan which involves the sacrifice
of Christ upon the cross, once and for all time. It fails to focus our
attention on Him who ever liveth to make intercession for us by that once-for-all
sacrifice. True it is a popular, money making topic, but in the end it
will leave the devotees of such a cause unready for the final confrontation.
Back to Letter 126 - It states further - "The
sin [not "sins"] of
the transgression of God's law is taken away. They have on the wedding
garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God's commands."
Note the steps - 1) The
overcame him [the dragon]
by the blood of the Lamb." (Rev. 12:11). 2)
They have on the wedding garment [Christ's righteousness]
"We through the Spirit wait
for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Gal 5:5)
- and not before then - are they obedient and faithful to all of God's
commands. It all begins with "the
sign of the cross of Calvary"
- "the surrender of self
to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love."
Let's stop thinking in a surface manner and promoting cliches to further our own ends, and instead sink the shaft of our thinking into the mine of truth. ---(1996 Jun) ---End----