“Which Pope Shall It Be?” American Sentinel 10, 6, pp. 42, 43.

THE Christian Statesman, the representative par excellence of the American papacy—the image to the Roman papacy—is still turning “white with fear and wrath”—or more properly speaking, with envy—at the aggressions of the “man of sin,” the “mystery of iniquity,” the self-styled vicar of Christ, who from the banks of the Tiber appeals to his followers throughout the world to demand with united voice the restoration of his temporal power.

In its issue of Jan. 19, the Statesman has a long editorial upon the “Campaign for the Pope’s Temporal Sovereignty,” in which are discussed the papal claim to independence of, and to sovereignty over, the nations of the earth. In conclusion, the question is asked, “Is it not time for loyal Americans to understand just what these claims mean?” It is indeed time that Americans of every description understand not only the meaning of these claims of the Roman papacy, but that they likewise understand the significance of like claims made by the American papacy, the image to the papacy of the pope.

In the recent National Reform convention at New Castle, Pa., Rev. R. J. George, D.D., laid down as sound National Reform doctrine (and the editor of the Statesman who was present uttered no word of protest) these propositions:—

The State is subservient to the Church.

It is the highest dignity and honor of the State that it has been placed under the authority of the Church’s head.

Now it is evident that the only question between papist and National Reformer is. Who is the Church’s head? They both agree that the head of the Church is the ruler of nations; hence, the only question between them is one of fact. The National Reformer says Christ is head of the Church and ruler of nations. The papist says, Christ is head of the spiritual, the invisible church, but the pope is head of the visible church, the church to which the commission was given to disciple all nations; hence the pope is the head of the church under whose authority the State has been placed. Therefore the pope is superior to all nations and answerable to no human law.

The question is, therefore, one of fact; in other words, in such a case, one of opinion; which is only saying that in governmental affairs, it is one to be decided by the majority, or by those having the power in their hands, whether a majority or an organized and aggressive minority. If therefore the Roman Catholic Church can gain enough adherents in this country to so shape legislation, and so mould the Government, as to give practical recognition to the faith of that church upon this question, the Christian Statesman will have no right to find fault. It is certainly right that the majority should rule in the settlement of all governmental questions; and if this question of the head-ship of the Church is one that concerns the State, one which the State must answer by according certain recognition to the head of the Church, then certainly the majority, or at least those having control of the Government, must decide it according to the best light they have; and all others must abide by the decision; for in all things coming properly under civil jurisdiction it is the duty of all men to obey the powers that be, for they “are ordained of God.”

But suppose that the decision were favorable to the view entertained by the Christian Statesman; suppose that it were decided by the Government that Christ himself is the head of the Church and ruler of nations, and that the pope’s claim to be is representative is not valid; who then is to represent Christ? He is not personally present. There is no general, much less any universal agreement, as to his will. Who then is his proper representative upon earth, if not the pope of Rome?

The question raised is already answered by National Reform: “The Church is to teach the State God’s message.” This too was stated in the New Castle convention as a fundamental National Reform truth; and the editor of the Christian Statesman, himself a leading spirit in that convention, was evidently in accord with the declaration. What then is the difference between National Reform and the papacy?

The papacy teaches that the pope, the visible head of the visible Church, is the vicar of Christ, authorized by him “to teach the State God’s message,” to announce is will to the governments of the earth.

National Reform teaches that “the Church is to teach the State God’s message,” to announce to the government God’s will; and that the State must obey under [43] penalty of the divine displeasure and divine judgments.

What, if any, difference is there then between these views? In either case it is the Church that teaches “the State God’s (?) message.” The Roman Catholic Church does this through its visible head, the pope; the so-called Protestant Church does it through its several representatives, its authorized teachers, and by resolutions and official utterances of its representative bodies—the church courts—synods, assemblies, conferences, etc. But according to the National Reform theory, the State is under obligation to hear and heed this message; for the Church speaking in this way is, according to the National Reform view, speaking with authority, not only to the State but to the individuals which compose the State; hence the mere manner of speaking, or the medium through which the speaking is done, does not change the principle. In any event the right of private judgment is denied. It is only a question of one pope or a number of popes, a composite pope as it were. Under the papal scheme a single man interposes himself between God and the invididual, and speaks for Him, thus sitting “in the temple of God showing himself that he is God;” while under the National Reform scheme, a number of men acting together do exactly the same thing. The principle is the same; the one is the papacy, the other is the image of the papacy.

And this is not mere theory of what may some day be. Already the churches of the United States have assumed to teach God’s message to the State, and the State, the Government, has heard and obeyed. By petition, by resolutions, by threats of political boycott and by all the arts known to the American papacy, the composite “Protestant” pope declared to the Government of the United States that Sunday is the Sabbath, that it is enforced by the fourth commandment, and that it is the duty of the State to recognize this fact and to require all men to recognize it. The State heard and obeyed by enacting the World’s Fair Sunday legislation; and now this “Protestant” pope boasts that the churches have the Government so well in hand, so entirely under their control, that they can get anything they ask for. That this is true in a measure must be admitted, but the power of the American pope, the man of sin on the Tiber; for the image to the beast now doing its work in this country is dependent in large measure upon the beast itself, and can go only so far as the beast permits. True, the image aspires to supreme authority, but the beast not only refuses to abdicate but greedily snatches from his double the fruit of every victory gained; thus strengthening his own power while the makers of the image “turn white with fear and wrath” at the aggressions of Romanism, but continue nevertheless in the same evil course, casting up a highway over which the beast rides in triumph, and will continue to ride until destroyed, with its image, by the coming of the true head of the true Church, the Lord Jesus Christ. [43]

Share this: