Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 26, 1960

Parallel Principles

Vaughn D. Shofner, Tucumcari, New Mexico

Article nineteen of "The Syllabus" of Pius IX, 1864, claims that the rights of the Roman Catholic Church are without limit. State governments are herein denied the right to interfere with any of its actions, whether political or religious. It is very worthy of notice that people of the long ago were more concerned about the designs of this organization than they are now, and it is therefore gaining the strength needed to accomplish its desired ends. The French Parliament of 1762 denounced the constitution of the Jesuits (a Roman Catholic Order) as "godless, sacrilegious, treasonable, and the vows taken by the Jesuits to be null and void." The reasons for the suppression included the sworn allegiance to the pope as "Christ's vicar-general, and the only head of the universal church throughout the earth," with "power to depose heretical kings, princes, states, commonwealths, and governments." (Schaff-Herzog Relig. Ency. and Campbell-Purcell Debate)

This Romish doctrine of consolidation of Church and State is one logical result of the false reasoning that anything a member of the Catholic Church can do the Church can do. A Catholic individual can engage in secular business for profit, and since the individual member's action is actually the universal Church in action, they reason, therefore it is right for the Catholic Church to enter business for profit. Catholic Church members are members of the State, and their actions as such citizens are actually the Church in action, so, to them, it would be to their advantage to have their religious head as their political head also.

Now, gentle reader, that brings us to some practical observations regarding the way the "liberal" brethren in the church of the Lord are carrying on today. Debates have been engaged in at such great length as to require large books to record them, and the only scriptural proof offered for the institutions "of the church" are those addressed to individuals. These brethren should be careful about calling the hand of Catholicism, for they, as the Catholics, seem to take it for granted that the scripture addressed to an individual Christian can be used to justify the actions of the church, as though the individual church member's action is the church in action. Many of my brethren openly avow this to be the truth of the matter.

Thus, according to the leadership of "our practicing Doctors", anything that is not morally wrong, not specifically commanded against in the New Testament, and which will assist in the direction of an objective that is good, the church can do. It is morally right for an individual church member to own and operate a farm, so it is morally right for the church to "own and operate a farm. An individual may build a "Fellowship Hall" to provide wholesome association and recreation, which are both good objectives, therefore there are many churches building them on the same ground. It is morally right for an individual to create an organization through which to do benevolence, so it is morally right for the church to create such. It is a good work. It is not morally wrong for an individual to raise hogs, so it is not morally wrong for the church to raise hogs.

Good friend, here are some questions which will erase this foolishness from the heart of the honest truth-seeker. What principle of heaven is violated by the Catholic Church member who contends for Church and State consolidation that is not violated by "our brethren" who put the church in other secular organizations and business? Is it morally wrong to be a citizen of the state? Is it toward a good end to be a law abiding citizen? By what process of reasoning can one conclude that it is wrong for the Catholic Church to engage in and have under its power the business of state government, but right for the church of Christ to engage in and have under its power other secular organizations and businesses? You giants of the academic arena, take heed lest in your condemnation of Catholicism you anathematize your own action for having trodden underfoot the same principle. You brethren "on the march", make sure your own organizations and schools are in order, as you challenge the Catholic Church for using tax money to support its schools. Sometimes Courts examine all the evidence!

Actually, gentle reader, the Catholics and some of "our marching men" missed the boat at the same dock! They have trodden underfoot the same divine principle; namely, that the action of individual church members is regulated by moral law, but the activity of the church is regulated by divine laws which are beyond and above the laws of morality. Thus the church can do only what divine law designates. When this principle is respected, the church and state can exist, each in the other, yet remain separate, for the laws regarding them never conflict. They operate in different spheres. They never compete. Only when laws are disrespected is there conflict.

The universal church is an abstraction, completely spiritual, and God provided no earthly means of universal organization and action. The only organization provided by divine authority is the local church, and is therefore existent in a concrete way. Such has been ridiculed by some of our present day giants of promotion, and they've feigned a lot of fun about certain "geographical boundaries" of the church, as though it is manifested only in individual action. I hope that in their more honest moments they've reaped enough remorse for the blasphemy to cause them to repent.

Those of you who have had so much "leg-slapping" laughter about God's church existing in a concrete form, capable of acting according to organization and divine law that is different from the law which governs individuals, try the following scripture "for size". "If any man or woman that believe, have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it (the church) may relieve them that are widows indeed" (I Tim. 5:16).

If the church may do anything that the individual member may do. Paul was ignorant of it. And if the individual in action is the church in action, then the verse absurdly means: "If any man or woman that believe, have widows, let them as the church in action relieve them, and let not the church in action be charged; that the church in action may relieve them that are widows indeed."

I warn you, "marching men", you'd better stop and think about the distance you've "marched" from the lighthouse of God's word, and how close to congruity with many of the principles of Catholicism you actually are. Unless you refuse to violate divine principles the pope violates, you have no power to oppose him. Thus you'll be forced to the submission of silence, which after awhile will align you with him. Let the silence of "protestant" churches awake you to these realities which are around you!