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    July 3, 1907

    “The Catholic Church” The Medical Missionary, 16, 27, pp. 211, 212.

    ATJ

    BY ALONZO T. JONES

    (Concluded)

    AND so the ultimatum was announced—MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.1

    “It is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the certain gift of truth according to the good pleasure of the father.” “Since, however, it would be very tedious in such a volume as this to reckon up the successions of all the churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vain glory, or by blindness, or perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings: (We do this, I say) by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, and universally known church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also (by pointing out) the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the succession of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every church should agree with this church, on account of its preeminent authority.... Since, therefore, we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the church; since the apostles, like a rich man depositing his money in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth, so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers.”MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.2

    And since nothing could be recognized or accepted as the truth except as it came from Rome, it next followed that whatever came from Rome was truth in itself, and must be accepted as the truth without any kind of question. Also no one could be righteous except in the garb of Rome. And whether or not any one’s character was Christian was made to depend upon Rome’s recognition and recommendation.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.3

    There was thus built up a narrow, partisan, and exclusive system to which was arrogated the idea and the title of the Church “according to the whole,” and therefore, “the catholic Church” and “the body of Christ.” Then when, in the progress of this federate and confederate episcopal system, the development had spread over the Roman world and had culminated in one bishop at the great center, as the recognized as well as the asserted head of this body, he naturally enough was head of “the catholic Church,” head of the “body of Christ,” and therefore “vicar of Christ” or “viceregent of the Son of God,” the fountain of faith and of the truth, and therefore infallible.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.4

    Thus in the place of the true Church “according to the whole,” in place of the true Church of Christ which is his body, in place of that divine and spiritual Church which is composed of all true Christians who are known to Christ as his, and which is the fulness of him that filleth all in all, and whose unity is the unity of the Holy Spirit—in the place of this true, and truly holy, catholic Church, there was set up an arrogant, hierarchical and anti-christian machine, despotic to all who were in it, and persecuting to all who would not be of it; “organized” and conducted only by men; and refusing the name of Christian to all who were not of the machine. And this counterfeit, this fraud, this narrow sectarian thing, they crowded upon the world, and passed it off as the true catholic Church, the true church “according to the whole.”MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.5

    Then when, at the close of the Diocletian persecution, and under an imperial edict applying to “the whole body of Christians” alike, without distinction, this centralized system would gain possession of all the church property in the Roman empire, the project was made successful by the gaining of imperial recognition for this narrow, partisan, and exclusive sect or division, as the catholic church.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.6

    As stated, the imperial edict was made in behalf of “the whole body of Christians” alike, without distinction; and the edict directed that the church property that had been confiscated should “be restored to these same Christians.” But this narrow, partisan, and bogus “catholic Church” launched the claim that all who were out of the pale of her “unity” were not Christians, were not entitled to the name of Christian, and therefore could not be beneficiaries under the edict.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.7

    When the question came to the emperor—Constantine—for decision, he sustained the contention, and in a new edict declared that “those things belonging to the catholic church of the Christians ... these thou shalt cause immediately to be restored to their churches ... since we have previously determined that whatsoever these same churches before possessed, shall be restored to their right.”MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.8

    Presently Constantine carried this a step further, in an edict, in these words: “I show such regard for the holy catholic church that I wish you, upon the whole, to leave no room for schism or division.”MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.9

    There was one more step to be taken to raise this thing to the pinnacle. This step was taken, also by Constantine, in an edict in which he used the following words: “We have determined that in all the provinces of Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania, something should be granted to certain ministers of the legitimate and most holy catholic religion to defray their expenses.... And as I ascertained that some men, who are of no settled mind, wished to divert the people from the most holy catholic Church by a certain pernicious adulteration, I wish thee to understand that I have given both to the proconsul Anulinus and to Patricius, vicar-general of the prefects the following injunctions: That, among all the rest, they should particularly pay the necessary attention to this, nor should by any means tolerate that this should be overlooked.”MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.10

    And that, in brief, is the story of how arose “the Catholic Church” of history; that awful thing that has made the blackest record that has ever been made in all the history of this world. And the whole philosophy of that darkest record lies simply in the fact that a human system of government, wholly of the natural world, was adopted as the order of things for the Church and in the spiritual world. The papacy was not the worst thing in the world because the men who composed it were the worst men in the world; for they were always only the same sort of men as were everywhere in the world. The papacy was always the worst thing in the world only because the same natural men as of the world everywhere, carried their natural dispositions and natural ways, and the ways and things of this world, into the realm of the spirit, and would make all these to be the things of the spiritual world.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 211.11

    Every form of government ever of this world tends only to monarchy and despotism, because the dispositions of men who are only of this world are essentially monarchical and despotic. Carrying the dispositions and the things of this world into the spiritual world and making these things to be the things of the spiritual world, does not change these dispositions or these things; it only intensifies the evil effects of the things themselves that are already essentially evil. This is why it is that the papacy, being composed only of human beings like all others of this world, yet proves worse than all other in the world. And every system of church order that partakes in any way of any of these elements will be in the likeness of the papacy, just so far as it goes in that direction.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 212.1

    Natural things for the natural world only, and spiritual things only for the spiritual world. This is the law of eternal consistency.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 212.2

    The Christian church is spiritual. It is the body of Christ, and that body is wholly spiritual. The realm of the Christian Church is only that of spirit—the Spirit of God, and the spirit of man. Whosoever is of this Church is so only because of his having been born of the Spirit. The law of this church is only “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” as in the Word of the Lord which is spirit and which is life. The administration of this church is only the administration of the Lord who is Spirit. The kingdom to which alone that Church belongs is only the kingdom of God, and is spiritual. And only those who are spiritual can possibly know this Church which is of this kingdom. For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Yea, more. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This alone is the true catholic Church.MEDM July 3, 1907, page 212.3

    Therefore, the true catholic Church is, still, and is forever, just what it was in New Testament times. It is the Christian Church “according to the whole.” It is composed of those anywhere and everywhere who belong to Christ in deed and in truth, by personal choice and personal faith; for “in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him.” It is the “church of the first born which are written in heaven.” It is the Church which is His body. It is the Church, every member of which is a member of Christ himself. It is the Church of which Christ alone is the head, the builder, the organizer, and of which his own Spirit is the life and the power, the Sovereign, and the Guide. This alone is the true catholic Church, the true Church “according to the whole.”MEDM July 3, 1907, page 212.4

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