Little wonder, for his majestic presence and force of eloquence, Father Damen as a missionary rose to a success that surpassed anything ever before or since known in America. We read in the Illinois Catholic Historical Review : A transient visitor at Chicago in remarked that "a letter which arrived while I was there, announced to Father Rector the happy conclusion of a mission at Scranton, with 12, Communions, 19 converts, adult First Communions, etc.
In , after twenty-two years of excursions from Chicago, it was reckoned that Father Damen had conducted in person missions, averaging two weeks time for each; he had travelled on an average of 6, miles each year; he and his different bands of companions together had given 2,, Holy Communions and had made 12, conversions to the Faith. At one church in New York a party of his missionaries in the course of four weeks distributed no less than 42, Holy Communions.
And so the Bible carefully teaches. There was no such church then. Such an idea among New Testament Christians was not even thought of. And though there was a local group of Christians, He was not speaking to the group as an entity, but He was speaking to individuals. The Holy Spirit moves into the body of a Christian when he is saved. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" I Cor.
You say, "My Protestant friends do not seem to be able to see the necessity for having an organization, with a ruling authority in the greatest institution on earth. The Bible does not even mention such an "institution.
He did not. The Bible never mentions anything of the kind. You see, the trouble is you want a human authority, a man, to boss this matter when God wants the Holy Spirit to boss.
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You want that authority to reach down so a priest can tell people what they can do and what they cannot do, and God wants the Holy Spirit to dwell in the body of every believer and tell him what to do. And then you speak about "chaos" and say, "That is the situation in Protestantism today -- 'a house divided against itself. And Protestantism is not a church in the Bible sense any more than the Catholic organization is a church in the Bible sense.
You talk with no knowledge of the facts when you speak about "chaos" among Bible believers. No, there is a chaos if you mean that there are many cults who, like Roman Catholics, set up some other standard to follow besides the Bible. Some groups who call themselves Protestant do not believe in the virgin birth, and others, like Catholics, say they believe in the virgin birth, but they do not believe in salvation by personal faith in Christ. Of course, that is confusion whether among Catholics or Protestants, but it is not brought on by following the Bible, but rather by rejecting the Bible.
Those who follow the Book of Mormon or Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy's writings, or who follow the "scientific" unbelief of religious liberals, or the traditions and rulings of the church among Catholics -- these all, whether Protestants or Catholics, are in confusion, and of course do not represent Bible Christianity. However, there is a remarkable unity, very easily demonstrated and known by millions of Christians, among Bible believers. It is a foolish saying of infidels that there "are some three hundred denominations and everybody understands the Bible differently. Christians from a hundred different denominations, I suppose, from year to year attend Moody Bible Institute, or the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, or other fundamental Bible institutes where the authority of the Word of God is held up always above any other source of doctrine, above any authority of denomination or pope or bishop or council or cardinals or priests.
I am editor of an interdenominational Christian magazine. I received the other day a most fervent, brotherly letter from a Lutheran minister. He sprinkles babies; he has a liturgy and there are other minor matters on which we would differ. But on the great issues of the verbally inspired Bible, the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His blood atonement, His bodily resurrection, on the need for a new birth, on Heaven and Hell, we feel as brothers.
I have held great city-wide campaigns in Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Seattle, Miami, and elsewhere, with representatives of the principal Protestant groups taking part in those meetings, with the simple stipulation that they must be men who believed the Bible and the essentials of the Christian faith. And so Baptists, Presbyterians, Nazarenes, Pentecostalists, Mennonites, Episcopalians, and many others have participated in those meetings. The one simple essential we agreed on was that the Bible was the Word of God and was the supreme authority and the Christ of the Bible is all He claimed to be.
So such people naturally agreed on the great doctrines of the Bible, the verbal inspiration, the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His blood atonement, His bodily resurrection, His miracles, and the need for regeneration, salvation by faith in Christ, Heaven and Hell, etc. It is a foolish and insincere fiction to suppose that there is a chaos among Bible-believing Christians.
That simply is not so. You understand, of course, there were many, many who could not properly take part in such a campaign with me as a preacher and they would not have been welcome. That would include all those false cults who have some other authority besides the Bible. Mormons would not fit in, nor Christian Scientists, nor Catholics, nor Jehovah's Witnesses, because all of these have sources other than the fundamental center of a Christian unity, the Bible.
They would not agree in doctrine because they get their doctrines out of human tradition or the writings of Mrs. I am saying simply that the Holy Spirit living in the bodies of Christians who believe the Bible and go to the Bible for authority have more unity than would be possible in a great organization such as the Catholic Church where the authority is supposed to reside in the church meaning literally in the priesthood and not in the congregations. In that foreign country, speaking through an interpreter, standing barefooted upon a pillow, preaching to people who sat crosslegged on a polished floor, I found exactly the same sweet unity of spirit, the same brotherly love that I found with Christians in Bombay and Madras, India, in Karuizawa, Japan, and as I found in great united meetings all over America.
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The other day a Catholic man who had lost his wife and was disconsolate and now for three years had been trying to raise his children alone, found that he, too, had this same unity with other Bible-believing Christians. He went regularly to the Catholic Church and to no other, but he said, "It was like a trip to the corner store, with no spiritual help.
He began to listen to my broadcast. His heart began to seek for a personal acquaintance with Jesus Ghrist. He wrote to me pleading for prayers and help. Some godly people went to see him; they read together from the Bible and he was taught to look to Jesus who died to save sinners.
On his knees he trusted Christ and took Him as Saviour and, oh, how happy he has been since!
Are you sincere, and do you go to confession?
Mark you, this happiness, this union of heart with other Christians, did not come through the Catholic organization. It came as he read the Bible, and then found other Christians who believed the Bible and then found the Christ of the Bible. The "chaos" that you pretend to see among Bible believers is simply not true. There is a chaos among those who have other sources of doctrine and so serve other gods. There is a chaos when men go to Catholic tradition or the Book of Mormon or the writings of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy or the presumptuous imaginings of modernists or unbelievers. But there is a great unity which millions know as they read the Bible and find there the same Saviour, the same doctrine that all have sinned, the same promise that the blood of Christ has paid for our sins and that Christ died for us and is willing to forgive sinners, and then the sweet sense of fellowship of born-again believers who know they have a home in Heaven and who know they are born of God.
There is a kind of unity among the loyal adherents of the Catholic Church, but it is not Christian unity. It is not even the kind of unity that men have in a labor union where they join voluntarily, where they have a vote in the proceedings, where they can argue for their rights, and where they can join others of like convictions to seek a common end.
Catholics do not have the unity which comes when people know the same Saviour, have the same peace in heart, find in the Bible the same doctrines and look together, as the Bible teaches us to do, for Christ's Second Coming. Catholics are alike in praying to Mary, but Mary does not answer, does not give them any spiritual response. The unity of Catholics is like the unity in a penitentiary. The prisoners have someone to tell them what to do. They are told when to get up, when to march to the playground, when to go to meals, and when to rise.
They are fed not what they want, but what prison officials decide is proper on the budget that is provided. Prisoners have something in common: they have the same kind of bars on their cells, the same concrete floor, the same smell of disinfectant. I am saying the Catholics do not know the kind of unity which is very common among Bible-believing Christians. Have a bunch of Catholics together; now try to have a testimony meeting and try to get them to rise with joy in their faces and tell how God has answered their prayers.
A few Catholics, thank God, have had such experiences. They seem queer to other Catholics and that is not the ordinary thing. Other Christians find a common bond in the Bible. But sadly I have found that the average Catholic family does not even have a Catholic Bible.
How does a Catholic respond to, "Are you saved"?
If they have one, they are not free to study it and find what God Himself means to tell them. They are to believe the Bible teaches only what the church tells them it teaches. The simple truth is that the Catholic Church through the centuries has usually forbidden Catholics to study the Bible and now in our American civilization public enlightenment has made it so they must give permission for Catholics to read the Bible. Catholics generally are not encouraged to read it and generally do not read it.
I remember I talked to a beautiful and cultured Catholic lady in Washington, D.
A question came up about the Bible and I said I would ask her a question. She threw up her hands and laughed deprecatingly and said, "Oh no! I don't know a thing about the Bible. Now on the Prayer Book," she said, "I am pretty good. But I don't know anything about the Bible. Those who are not good Catholics are not usually good on the Prayer Book, even. Catholics are not usually tied together by one common experience of conversion.
They are not commonly tied together with a sweet enjoyment of the same Scripture truths. Catholics generally believe in the virgin birth, and I thank God that they do, but that is emphasized primarily in order to emphasize Mary, and not necessarily to emphasize the deity of Christ. And in most of the Catholic countries in the world, as in South American countries, priests systematically collect and burn Bibles and people are taught that it is heresy to read the Bible.
And that attitude is the general Catholic attitude around the world except in a very few enlightened spots where culture makes for more human freedom than will permit that degree of servility. You talk of Catholic unity. The simple truth is that most of the Catholic population of the world lives in most abject superstition and ignorance, with almost no comprehension of spiritual truths. In countries like Columbia and Peru in South America, Protestant missionaries have recently been murdered, and nationals who have been converted to Christ and come to know Him as Saviour and do not depend on the priest for forgiveness have their homes burned, and many a believer has been beaten and others tortured and killed.
There is no more unity among Catholics than the kind of unity of communist inspired mobs in Castro's Cuba. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean that Catholics are communists, or that the Catholic Church generally favors communism. I mean that the priest-led mobs who killed Christians who read the Bible in South America are the victims of mass superstitions and mob rages such as similar mobs in Cuba are, who storm the homes of Americans.
You speak of unity among Catholics. But President Kennedy does not agree with the Catholic dogma that every head of state, if a Catholic, must be subject to the pope in his official duties. On this matter Catholics in America do not very well agree with Catholics in Italy. The true and loyal Catholic knows nothing of the great freedom in Christ. He does not know that he can come personally to Christ and get forgiveness without any reference to the priest or the church or the mass or the confessional.
He does not know the great freedom taught in that Scripture, I Timothy and 6: "For there is one God, and one meditator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. No, the Catholic Church has put Mary in there as an intermediary and the saints and the priests and the church.
Dear Catholic, Are You Saved?
I can read the Bible and ask God's blessed Spirit to help me understand it. That is exactly what Jesus taught His disciples, that "when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" John But that blessed and intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit leading him to understand God's Word, the Catholic is not free to have. He cannot go to the Bible and find whether it is proper to eat meat on Friday or during Lent -- no, he must go to the church who has established the man-made rules. So the Catholic has little acquaintance with Christ, little dependence on the Holy Spirit.
It is a big church, a big priesthood, a little Jesus. It is a big Mary but a little Saviour. It is big law but little grace. A noble young Catholic man wrote me. He appealed to me that I would enter "the true church. I wrote him that I could not do that, first of all, because as it is now I have perfect assurance that my sins are forgiven; I have the assurance from the Word of God and from the Holy Spirit who lives within me that when I took Christ as my Saviour and relied upon Him, my sins were all forgiven and there, once for all, as they were paid for on the cross, my sins were forgiven, I was born of God and I am certain of Heaven.
I told him I do not deserve this salvation, that it is all of God's grace, but it is certain because the blood of Jesus paid for it; I do not have to go through the church to get this salvation; I have already gone to Christ and when I trusted Him I received everlasting life. I told him that I could not give up this sweet peace and assurance. I told him that I am relying on the one sacrifice forever which perfected the one who trusted in Christ according to Hebrews , and that now I could not put any confidence in the mass, since, after my sins were remitted through the blood of Christ, "there is no more offering for sin" Heb.
And I urged him to find out if his priest, or if any other Catholic he knew, had sweet peace and assurance that his sins are already all forgiven, that he is now already a child of God and certain for Heaven, with all his sins forever hidden under the blood of Christ. He was indignant. He was sure Catholics had just as much peace and assurance as anyone else did. So he went to his local priest in Tennessee. That priest assured him that no, of course, he did not know for sure that his sins were all forgiven.
He hoped to go to Heaven but he would probably have to go to purgatory for a time first. The young man was distressed so he went to a bishop and there he received the same kind of an answer. Now, getting desperate, he wrote to a number of archbishops. And again he got the same kind of answer, that none of them could know for sure that their sins were forgiven.
Distressed he went back to the local priest and asked the priest why now there would be the sacrifice of the mass when the Bible so plainly said that Jesus had paid the whole debt by one offering forever, and that "now The priest scoffed at him. The young man, cut to the quick, said to the priest, "Who gave you the right to say that there is need for more offerings when the Bible says that Jesus' offering settled the matter once for all?
That young man went to bed that night but tossed in torment for hours. Could no one then have any assurance of forgiveness? Was there no certainty of salvation through the blood of Christ, to one who trusted in Him? And in his groping mind there came again the Scripture of Hebrews "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all," and there he put his trust in the Lord Jesus alone and had the peace that he could not have by Catholic dogma.
I have from time to time, contact with Catholics whom I greatly love and respect. Many of them are noble, good people and some of them, I believe, are devout Christians, by which I mean that in spite of all the false teachings of the traditions of the church, they have seen through the darkness and have come to personally trust in Jesus Christ and His atoning blood, and have rested in that and have peace as born-again children of God.
But I would have to say in honesty that that is not the position of the average Catholic. And that peace, that assurance of salvation, that personal devotion to Jesus Christ, is not known by the average Catholics. They know Mary and penances and Ave Marias and confessionals, but the sweet joy of settled peace, knowing sins are forgiven, knowing they are children of God, knowing they are born again, knowing they are saved and going to Heaven and mark you, all these are Bible principles -- I say that is unusual among Catholics and that kind of settled peace of certain salvation is not usually the property of Catholics.
No, dear brother, when you talk to me about the unity of the Catholic Church, you are not talking about any Christian unity such as real born-again Christians generally have when they depend on the Word of God alone as authority and when they come to Christ personally for salvation and when they have the Holy Spirit dwelling within to guide them into the truth and comfort them. I have indicated above that the Catholic does not have the peace and happiness and freedom and spiritual enlightenment that one has who is free to go to the Bible and take the authority of the Bible and the leadership of God's own Spirit dwelling within his body.
But not only the Catholic who is domineered and ruled and bossed suffers. The Catholic must eat fish on Fridays and during Lent or macaroni and cheese. If he reads the Bible at all he cannot find out what it means except from a Catholic theologian or some of the official literature of the church. He dare not depend on the Spirit of God to make plain the Word of God. Read on, Dear Reader, and you also can learn the truth. Brand: Brand: iUniverse, Inc. First Name:.
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