Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    June 23, 1887

    “The Need of Evangelists” The Signs of the Times 13, 24, pp. 375, 376.

    ONE of the associations of Congregationalist Churches in New England lately passed a resolution “objecting to the licensing as evangelists for home missionary service, of men who have not taken a full theological course.” The Christian Union decidedly objects to this objection, saying that the colleges and theological seminaries cannot do more than supply the demand for pastors and teachers over established churches, because the graduates from these schools are barely more than enough to fill the vacancies caused by death and departure to non-clerical professions. But the strongest objection made by the Union is stated in the following words:—SITI June 23, 1887, page 375.1

    “The education which culminates in a theological course does not prepare men for this evangelistic work. A young man who has spent three or four years in an academic course, four in college, and three in a theological seminary, is by the very process of such an education unfitted for the work of an evangelist. He is trained away from the people whom the evangelist wishes to reach. He is prepared to teach cultured Christian populations. The great evangelist of our times, Dwight L. Moody, not only did not have a college education, but it is safe to say would have been spoiled for his particular work if he had received such an education. We want in our great cities men of the people, educated with the people, accustomed not only to use the language but to think in the thought of the people. Scholastic training which is admirably adapted to prepare the teacher of an up-town church is equally admirably adapted to unfit a preacher to a street or a hall audience.”SITI June 23, 1887, page 375.2

    We do not doubt in the least that this is the exact truth of the matter. But what a deplorable condition of things it reveals? The highest effort to train men for the work of the gospel, only ends in unfitting them for that work! Ten or eleven years’ study by a young man in a theological course undoes him! That is to say that the most thorough educational course furnished by the theological schools of the country, unfits a young man for the very work which, above all others, demands the most thorough and fully rounded education. And for the very good reason that “he is trained away from the people whom the evangelist wishes to reach.” Now the evangelist wishes to reach all people, for so the Lord commanded, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Therefore no stronger indictment need ever be brought against the theological training of to-day to condemn it utterly, than that it trains men away from the people whom the evangelist wishes to reach. Such education is mis-education, and is worse than no education; such training is worse than no training. Any system of education or training that educates or trains men away from the common people is only a curse, for its only tendency is to develop pride, self-righteousness, and bigotry; its sole tendency is to Pharisaism.SITI June 23, 1887, page 375.3

    “He is prepared to teach cultured Christian households,” says the Union. That is to say that he is prepared to teach persons who are trained away from the people just as far as he is himself. But whoever cannot receive the kingdom of Heaven except as a graduate, will never receive the kingdom of Heaven at all. For, said Jesus: “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” And whoever is trained to such a pitch that he is disqualified to present the kingdom of God so that it may be received thus, is trained away from the gospel of Christ. And if it be true that the “scholastic training which is admirably adapted to prepared the teacher of an up-town church is equally adapted to unfit a preacher to a street or hall audience,” then the fact of the matter is that the “up-town church” is just as far estranged from the real gospel of Christ as is the street or hall audience.SITI June 23, 1887, page 375.4

    The Union thinks that Dwight L. Moody “would have been spoiled for his particular work” if he had received a college education. We very much doubt it. We have an idea that Dwight L. Moody has common sense enough to have kept him from becoming so puffed up by the little knowledge that is imparted in a theological course, as to unfit him for helping common people to a knowledge of the gospel of Christ. Yet if the inevitable result of a college education be to unfit men for such work, then of course even Mr. Moody would have been unfitted by it. We venture the assertion, however, that nobody ever heard Dwight L. Moody say that a college education would have spoiled him for his particular work.SITI June 23, 1887, page 375.5

    Is it then in truth better not to have a college education? Is it true that an uneducated man is better fitted for the work of the gospel? Not by any means. It is not one of the offices of the Spirit of God either to sanction or to sanctify ignorance. Nor does a lack of education commend a man even to uneducated people. There is nothing more interesting nor more attractive to uneducated people than to listen to an educated person speaking in a language that they can understand, and—not condescendingly nor patronizingly but, as it were—unconsciously adapting himself to their capacity. While on the other hand there is nothing that will repel the common people more quickly than to find a man talking to them in language entirely beyond the comprehension of anybody but a lexicographer, and with a manner that seems to be constantly saying, “I am a graduate in theology. I have been trained to teach cultured Christian households in ‘up-town churches,’ and it is a great condescension on my part to preach to ‘a street or a hall audience.’” This last is precisely what makes so objectionable the college education of which the Christian Union speaks. The fault lies not at all against a college education, but against such a system of education.SITI June 23, 1887, page 375.6

    There never was a more highly educated person on this earth than was Jesus of Nazareth, yet “the common people heard him gladly.” True, his teach- ing was not adapted to “cultured” Jewish households in “up-town” synagogues, but this was not the fault of either the matter or manner of his teaching. The fault lay in the proud hearts of the cultured up-town class. And everybody knows that if he had drunk in the spirit of the theological schools of his day, he too “would have been spoiled for his particular work,” and he never would have been the Saviour of the world. The education of those schools was precisely such as the Christian Union says it is in these. It unfitted for evangelistic work every man that was taught there. Their students all “trained away from the people.” There was a way, however, by which they could be brought back to the people, and taught “not only to use the language but to think in the thought of the people.” That way was by conversion.SITI June 23, 1887, page 375.7

    There is on record a notable instance of this, written, no doubt, as an example to be followed by these very theological schools that are now so admirably successful in unfitting men to preach the gospel. Saul of Tarsus was educated in the chief theological school, and by the chief theologian of his day. In that school he was trained so far away from the people whom the evangelists reached, that he thought he was doing God service by breathing out threatenings and slaughter against them and persecuting them unto strange cities. But he was converted after a while; then he became all things to all men, that he “might by all means save some.” Though he was free from all, yet he made himself a servant to all that he might gain the most. He could preach in the street, or in a hall, just as well as in an “up-town” synagogue. He could preach to “pagan populations” just as easily as to “cultured” Jewish households. But whether he preached in the one place or in the other, he preached “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” He preached “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” And although he was learned in all the wisdom of the schools, his speech and his preaching was not to make a display of his eloquence, it was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. He spake too in the language of the people, that he might be understood. To the church at Corinth he said: “Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” “I speak with tongues more than ye all; yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.1

    If the instructors in these theological schools should become converted to Christ, and should lead to Jesus those committed to their charge, and have them learn of Christ, the young men would not then be trained away from the people; they would not then be unfitted for the work of an evangelist; then an education instead of spoiling them for the work of Christ, would only the better fit them to obey the Scripture injunction, to “do the work of an evangelist,” and “make full proof of their ministry,” as it did for Paul, and Luther, and Wesley, and Finley, and Asbury, and Finney, and Simpson; as, in short, it ever has done for those who have made Christ and his salvation supreme, and have subordinated to his will themselves and their education. J.SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.2

    “The Reformation Repudiated” The Signs of the Times 13, 24, pp. 376, 377.

    IN the SIGNS of the past two weeks we have given an account of the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre, and of the Edict of Nantes and its revocation. We have recalled to the minds of our readers the disposition of Rome wherever she can reach her relentless arm. We know that to the minds of many of the Protestant leaders of theological thought of the present day, this is a thankless task. To them it is a very uncharitable proceeding to hold up these things to the gaze of the people of our day, because they say Rome has changed and progressed with the change and progress of the age. But it is not so. She has not changed, she only bides her time, till Protestants by following Romish doctrines, and practicing Romish principles, bring themselves to that place where they can see no difference between Protstantism and Romanism, and will restore to her the power of which she has been deprived so long. Romanism is not becoming enlightened, Protestantism is becoming more and more darkened.SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.1

    In 1569 Pope Pius V. wrote to Charles IX. against the Huguenots, saying:—SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.2

    “Our zeal gives us the right of earnestly exhorting and exciting you to use all your influence for procuring a definite and serious adoption of the measure most proper for bringing about the destruction of the implacable enemies of God and the king.”SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.3

    After a victory over the Huguenot forces, Charles sent to the Pope some flags that had been captured, as an acknowledgment of the help the Pope had rendered. At that Pius wrote to him in these words:—SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.4

    “The more the Lord has treated you and me with kindness, the more you ought to take advantage of the opportunity this victory offers to you, for pursuing and destroying all the enemies that still remain; for tearing up entirely all the roots, and even the smallest fibers of the roots, of so terrible and confirmed an evil. For unless they are radically extirpated, they will be found to shoot up again; and, as it has already happened several times, the mischief will reappear when your majesty least expects it. You will bring this about if no consideration for persons or worldly things induces you to spare the enemies of God—who have never spared yourself. For you will not succeed in turning away the wrath of God, except by avenging him rigorously on the wretches who have offended him, by inflicting on them the punishment they have deserved.SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.5

    “Let your majesty take for example, and never lose sight of, what happened to Saul, king of Israel. He had received the orders of God, by the mouth of the prophet Samuel, to fight and to exterminate the infidel Amalekites, in such a way that he should not spare one in any case, or under any pretext. But he did not obey the will and the voice of God.... therefore he was deprived of his throne and his life. By this example, God wished to teach all kings that to neglect the vengeance of outrages done to him is to provoke his wrath and indignation against themselves.—History of Protestantism, book 17, chap. 13.SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.6

    To Catherine de Medici, he wrote, promising her the assistance of Heaven if she would pursue the enemies of the Roman Catholic religion “till they are all massacred, for it is only by the entire extermination of heretics that the Roman Catholic worship can be restored.”—Id.SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.7

    And that the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day followed, was but the natural consequence. But Pius V. was no worse than Pius IX., and neither of them was any worse than Leo XIII. We related last week how that Massilon, Bourdaloue, Bossuet, and Fléchier, exulted over the horrors brought upon the Huguenots by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Yet to-day there are so-called Protestant divines who sound the praises and exalt the Christion [sic.] virtues of those wicked men. “Oh, but they were eloquent,” it is said. Of course they were eloquent, and as cruel as they were eloquent. When eloquence is employed in exultation over the afflictions and miseries of men, it is an accomplishment that may well be abhorred rather than admired. And when those who are masters of the accomplishment are so cruel at heart as to so employ it, it is difficult to understand how they can be admired by any but such as partake of the same spirit.SITI June 23, 1887, page 376.8

    Yet in the face of Rome’s history and fixed character of bitter persecution and perpetual tyranny, there are scores of men of extensive influence professing to be Protestants, who are lending their names and influence to hand over this Government to be ruled in accordance with the principles of the Papacy “the most perfected of all existing forms of tyranny.” The National Reform Association has rallied to its support all the “evangelical churches” and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and proposes to join hands with the Catholic Church in amending the National Constitution, so as to oblige Congress to make laws concerning religion.SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.1

    In his little book, “Our Country,” Dr. Strong well says:—SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.2

    “There are many who are disposed to attribute any fear of Roman Catholicism in the United States to bigotry or childishness. Such see nothing in the character and attitude of Romanism that is hostile to our free institutions, or find nothing portentous in its growth. Let us, then, first compare some of the fundamental principles of our Government with those of the Catholic Church.SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.3

    “The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius IX., in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: ‘The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience, are a pestilential error—a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a State.’ The same Pope, in his Encyclical Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized ‘those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship,’ also ‘all such as maintain that the church may not employ force.’”SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.4

    “The pacific tone of Rome in the United States does not imply a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says Bishop O’Connor: ‘Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.’ ... The archbishop of St. Louis once said: ‘Heresy and unbelief are crimes; and in Christian countries, as in Italy and Spain, for instance, where all the people are Catholics, and where the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land, they are punished as other crimes.’ ...SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.5

    “Every cardinal, archbishops, and bishop in the Catholic Church takes an oath of allegiance to the Pope, in which occur the following words: ‘Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said Lord (the Pope), or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost persecute and oppose.’”SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.6

    “Cardinal Manning advises Romanists throughout the world to enter politics as Romanists, and to do this especially in England and the United States. In our large cities the priests are already in politics, and to some purpose.... We are told that the native Catholics of Arizona and New Mexico are not as energetic as the Protestants who are pushing into these Territories. True, but they are energetic enough to be counted. The most wretched members of society count as much at the polls as the best, and too often much more.”SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.7

    It is true that the Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience, but it is equally true that the evangelical churches and the W.C.T.U., through the mediumship of the National Reform Association, and its proposed amendment to the Constitution, are pledged to put into the hands of Rome, the power to employ force in this Government and so to rid it of this “pestilential error” of liberty of conscience, which is so much “to be dreaded in a State.”SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.8

    The Papacy is to-day the most influential power in the world. The Christian at Work admits that “There can be no question that under the new policy of Pope Leo XIII. the Roman Church is coming to the front again in the matter of dealing with political governments.” And further it says that “in doctrine and in the completeness and compactness of her ecclesiastical system, and the far-reaching adaptability of that system to all exigencies the church of Leo I. and of Leo XIII.—though fourteen centuries intervene between them—are substantially one.” And yet in the very same article with these last quoted words it says that if Dr. McGlynn does not obey the command of the Pope, “He will cease to speak with the influence of a priest of the largest Christian denomination.”SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.9

    A “Christian denomination” indeed! And “the church of Leo I. and of Leo XIII. are substantially one.” It therefore follows that she always has been a Christian denomination; the Reformation was sheer heresy and schism, a sanctioning of “rebellion by undermining the principle of authority;” it was “the offspring of rebellion,” and “originated with priests impatient of the yoke of the gospel, fond of novelty and ambitions of notoriety”! and Luther was excommunicated and cursed by a Christian Pope! Huss and Jerome were condemned and burnt by a Christian council! the command to massacre the Huguenots was issued by a Christian! the Inquisition was a Christian organization, and all its murders, and assassinations, its torments, and its persecutions, were but acts of Christian kindness, and Christian charity! The minions of the Pope and the Inquisition when thus employed were only Christians at work!SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.10

    May Heaven help the Christians who are represented by the editorial utterances of the Christian at Work. And may all people who love liberty of conscience awake to the danger that lies in the strong Papacy and the weak, degenerate, and apostate Protestantism of to-day.SITI June 23, 1887, page 377.11


    Larger font
    Smaller font