Secret Service Theologian



PREFACE and Contents.

THE subject of these pages is one of the highest interest, and it is only those who are in some way behind the scenes who can judge aright of its peculiar urgency at the present moment.
"The greatest achievement in English history" is a distinguished historian’s estimate of the Reformation ; but in this flippant and shallow age we seem to be letting slip what the Reformers won for us. For a national lapse toward superstition upon the one hand, and rationalism upon the other, is one of the marked characteristics of the day. And altogether apart from religious controversy these movements deserve the earnest attention of the thoughtful. For the dethronement of the Bible eliminates the most important factor in the formation of our national character, and it is not easy to estimate the effect which this will have on the life of the people of this country.
The superstitious phase of the apostasy, with which the following chapters chiefly deal, was the burden of a volume published ten years ago, with the title The Buddha of Christendom. And as that book is now out of print, the greater part of it is incorporated with the present work.
The title, The Bible or the Church? implicitly raises the question whether the Bible can still be accorded the place which it held with the Reformers as a Divine revelation. And I intended to deal with this question in a concluding chapter. But a defence of the Scriptures within such narrow limits would necessarily be so inadequate that it might serve only to prejudice the issue. I have decided therefore to omit it, trusting that my other writings will be accepted as proof that I do not ignore the subject in any aspect of it. I will only add that my deepening and now settled belief in the authenticity and Divine authority of the Bible owes much to the study of rationalistic criticism.
R. A.

To establish the supremacy of the Bible was the aim of the Reformers —False views about the Church—Cardinal Newman on Transubstantiation and the Church as the oracle of God— The question discussed—Pascal’s advice to those who cannot accept superstitious beliefs—The Papal Bull of September 1896—Cardinal Vaughan on the Ritualists—Action taken by the English Archbishops—The Martyrs, and their attitude toward the Church —Excavations at New Scotland Yard—Dean Alford on the apostasy of the Christian Church—The scheme and purpose of this book

Man is a religious animal—Renan’s dictum—Testimony of Tiele, Max Muller, and Charles Darwin—How can the fact be explained ?—How can man’s evil propensities be accounted for?— These appear in the spiritual, more universally than in the moral, sphere—The Pelagian heresy—If man is a religious being, why is not religion always pure and true ?—The tendency of all religions is to regenerate and to corrupt mankind—The only possible explanation of this

It follows that religion should always be tested—By what standard? The Christian answers, "By the Bible"; and yet the Church is set up as the authority—What and where is the Church ?—~The Church of England's position-The claim of Rome is an instance of "the confidence trick "-How, then, is the question to be decided ?-The claims of the Greek Church-The dogma of Papal supremacy-It is unsupported by evidence and refuted by Scripture-The Apostle Peter's ministry-To him were given the keys of the kingdom, not of the Church -A confirmation of the Eden fall

The dogmas of the religion of Christendom: on what ground are they presented to our faith ?-Dr. Pusey's answer: Scripture as interpreted by the Fathers-This is refuted by the testimony of the Fathers themselves, and by the condition of the early Church--The Bampton Lectures, 1864, quoted -The Church of Christendom was founded on the Fathers - Augustine's pottion and influence - His Confessions -The teaching of the Greek and the Latin Fathers contrasted - Clement and Augustine - Dean Farrar on the Church as formulated by Augustine

The teaching of Gautama and the corruption of Buddhism-The Lamaism of Tibet-The Christian religion marked by corruptions akin to those of Buddhism and the old classic cults-The explanation of this strange phenomenon -The Divine religion of Judaism differed from all other religions-The character of the apostasy it suffered-The "Golden Calf"

The religion of Christendom refuses an appeal to Scripture - Not so was it with the Reformers - Article XX.-The true character of the Reformation-Henry VIII. and Paul -The vital question is whether the supreme authority is the Bible or the Church- Bishop Gore cited as an exponent of the Romish view-Lux Mundi and The Ministry of the Christian Church-The absutdlty and effrontery of his position--Professor Harnack quoted-The figment of Apostolic Succession stated and refuted .

With the Romanisers the Church is paramount -The one mediator -This is the cause of the secessions to Rome -The true character of Protestantism -Salvation a personal matter -The teaching of the Law and the Gospel contrasted: Moses and Paul - The meaning of "religion": Trench and Carlyle quoted - The secular Press on Ritualism - A typical letter quoted - What these men mean by "The Church "- The Reformers' definition of it - The vital importance of the distinction - The revival of the Confessional in England - The manuals in use by priests - The profanity of priestly absolution - Scripture condemns it - Its degrading effect on national character

The fate of an unbaptized infant-The change alleged to be caused by baptism-What kind of God is thus presented to us? - Three facts established by an appeal to Scripture-Baptismal regeneration traced to the classic cults of Paganism-Mithras worship- The Eleusinian mysteries-Description of the cult, and its influence on the Christian Church-The Hibbert Lectures, 1888- Similar rites in Mexico and T'ibet-The early corruption of the other "Sacrament"

"The illuminated mind of primitive Christendom "-The Church of Christendom and "the Church in the wilderness "-The early Church marked by false doctrine and low morality--Pledged celibacy and asceticism-Nuns and nunneries -Tertullian's baneful teaching-The testimony of Cyprian and Clement-Chrysostom and the Church in his day-The Imperial Edict to shield women from "The greed of the clergy-Cyril of Alexandria and the Council of 1431-The "Council of Robbers" -Salvian and his testimony to the state of the Church-"A sink of vices "-Ritualists appeal to this "primitive Church :" the Reformers appealed to the Christianity of the New Testament- The decline of the Evangelical party

The apostasy of Christendom and of "the Jews’ religion "—The apostasy of Buddhism—Satan’s influence in the religion of Christendom—Alexander VI. and his immoralities—The Emperor Charles V. and his dreams of reform—The Edict of Worms —Charles’ efforts to obtain the calling of a Council—The Council of Trent and Paul —The Massacre of Bartholomew, and Gregory XIII.—Submission to the Pope is declared to be the way of salvation — Cardinal Vaughan’s statement of this— Macaulay’s problem—Human Religion a curse to mankind—Mill’s dictum discussed and justified—The God of the historic Church a monster

The true method of theological study—The typology of Scripture a safeguard against Ritualism—The Passover; the Exodus; Sinai; the Covenant—Redemption was completed apart from priesthood —The antitype of all this in Christianity—Latin theology ignores or denies the truth of it—The teaching of Hebrews . . .

Bishop Gore again cited as an exponent of the Romish view of the Church—The covenant is for the covenant people: How then men be brought within it ?—The answer is to be found in the fundamental, but forgotten, truth of Grace—The doctrine explained and vindicated—The teaching of Hebrews and Romans contrasted

Restatement of the question —The "Catholic’s" answer—The Church an apostasy, but the Bible stands unchanged—" But the Church has given us the Bible": discussion of this and other like themes of Rome—The true Church cannot fail, but the professing Church has become a part of the world—The charge of Bibliolotry—To the Christian, Christ is, not first, but all in all- Christianity not a religion—Archbishop Trench quoted—Judaism and Christianity compared and contrasted—The origin of sacrifice—Harnack on the Church of the Fathers—Dr. Hatch quoted—The position and teaching.

Christian Baptism and Baptismal Regeneration
The Romish Propaganda
Paolo Sarpi and the Council of Trent
NOTE I. Bishops II. "Deacons" III. "The Church" . . IV. "The Priest in Absolution". V. Death-dates of the leading Fathers VI. The "Virgin Mary" myth VII. The Apostle Paul on Celibacy - VIII. "We have an altar" .
Chapter One

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