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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
us? For milleniums, church and state were united. The monarchs of the ancient kingdoms were in many instances the heads of the state religion. The State dominated religion. Then a change came and for another thousand years the

p 3 -- Church dominated the State. This was the Dark Ages.

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
fact that he uses the singular, "clause," and not the plural, "clauses." He faults the Supreme
Court for insisting that there are "two religion clauses" - an "Establishment Clause" and a "Free
Exercise Clause." Further, he avers that the Court's primary concern has been "no establishment" and "free exercise" accomodated to it. He wants to reverse this by adding one word to the First Amendment, so that "No establishment" is in the service of "free exercise." By doing so, what is to be accomplished? Note very, very carefully -      "It would clarify, for example, the meaning of that ubiquitous [omnipresent] phrase, ' the separation of church and state.' America needs to be reminded that the phrase is not in the Constitution, but in fact involves an interpretation - and, arguably, a tendentious [one-sided] interpretation - of the Constitution. The 'separation of church and state' cannot mean the separation of religion from public life, or the proscription of religiously grounded moral argument from public life, for to do so would involve a profoundly undemocratic discrimination against citizens on the basis of religious belief. The 'separation of church and state' should, therefore, be understood minimally, as a description of the fact that, in the American constitutional order, the state claims no theological expertise and the Church rejects any partisan political role. Thus the state is, by definition, a limited state. And the Church, primarily for theological reasons, declines to have its truth-claims buttressed by the coercive power of the state." (ibid., p. 55)

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 place our 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., pp. 56-57)

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
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Washington DC 20005

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.

p 6 -- The problem I have with your statement in E&CT, is that the "experiment in religious freedom" to which Acheson referred is the experiment which Leo XIII condemned. The Pope wrote in an encyclical letter of January 6, 1895 - "It would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would universally lawful or expedient for state and church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced." The head of your church in 1895 did not approve of the "American experiment in religious freedom" of which Acheson was speaking.

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
book, E&CT.

Respectfully yours,
Wm. H. Grotheer, Editor
Publications and Research

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,
Your sincerely,

George Weigel

In this letter, Mr. Weigel referred me to two papal pronouncements which he said reflected the current thinking of the papacy in regard to religious liberty. On October 5, 1995, Pope John Paul II addressed the U.N. General Assembly. His remarks were captioned - "Freedom Cannot Be Suppressed." In the section on "Respect for differences," the Pope declared:      "Our respect for the culture of others is therefore rooted in our respect for each community's attempt to answer the question of human life. And here we can see how important it is to safeguard the fundamental right of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience as the cornerstones of the structure of human rights and the foundation of every truly free society. No one is permitted to suppress these rights by using coercive power to impose an answer to the mystery of man."

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 System.

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 management staff."

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

1996 May -- WWN XXIX -- 5(96) -- E & C T -- Part 4 -- Editor's Preface -- 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.

In 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 the Declaration.

As 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 manner."

A few 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 to come.

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.
Noll begins his Essay building on a theme echoed by J.I. Packer - "Things are not as they were." By this he means that Roman Catholicism is not what it once was, and that the Accord itself indicates "a sea of change in a once stormy relationship." His Essay is an historical review of what was once the relationship between the two religious forces; what has caused the change; and the basis for the present status.

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 so

p 3 -- profound that it seems almost impossible to recognize them as two forms of one Christianity.(ibid.)

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:   

1)    "The 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" desired?

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." (Paper #111,

p 4 -- p. ix; emphasis supplied)

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" future?

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., p. 99)

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 survey in-

p 5 -- dicated that of the 15% which could be identified as "evangelicals," a full one third were Roman Catholics.

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:

1)    "The contemporary world needs to hear more about what Catholics and evangelicals share in common than about their legitimate disagreements."
2)    "The cobelligerence of Catholics and Protestants fighting together for the basics of the creed is nowadays more important [than discussion of individual doctrines]" (p. 107)

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 was:      "This 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)

"It 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., sec. 3)

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."

"The 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-

p 7 -- ligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies towards the religion of the one Church of Christ."(ibid., Sec. 1; emphasis supplied)

Are things now not as they were, or are things just as they were?

LET'S 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

1996 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.

" The Sabbath is the time when the spent spirit may catch its breath,
and man can look into the face of God and be refreshed.

p 2 -- E & C T -- Part 5 -- 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 summarizing:       "For 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. 135-136)

Why is Dulles stressing Cullmann? Interestingly, he writes that "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, writing from a Roman Catholic perspective, proposes an

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)

First   it 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." Secondly,    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.

Thirdly,  and this is most important. What did the "Decree of Ecumenism" state? Dulles wrote and note carefully what this Jesuit is saying:        "In 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.

"According to 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." (p. 134)

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 ecumenical process.

"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 body.

[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 writes:        "Of 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 . . . by

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." (p. 125)

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)

THE SEAL 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, the Sabbath.

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."
(ibid., p. 139)

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."' (1327)

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." (p. 392)

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 Christ ...

"Thus the 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 Cross:       "They 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)    3)     Then - 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." (MB:203)

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----

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