"God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world." (Gal. 6: 14)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
This Protestant author accuses St. Augustine and therefore the Catholic Church of holding some rather absurd positions. As I have not yet heard these accusations before, it struck me as rather shocking that anyone could believe that the Church holds to such positions.
The gist of the position is that the Church believes that procreation and sexual intercourse are evil and therefore must be resisted if not completely denied. This seems so illogical given so many false accusations against the Church of forcing people to have large families, but who ever accused Protestants of being logical?
That is supposedly why the Church is so adamant concerning the virgin birth of Christ. For some reason the Protestants don’t seem to like the fact that Mary is ever virgin. That she was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Our Lord. And based upon the Church’s doctrine they conclude that the Church says that procreation and sexual intercourse are evil.
And to add insult to injury they further claim that the defining of the Immaculate Conception is further proof of the Church’s position against procreation.
They attempt to quote St. Augustine as saying that Original sin is transmitted through the physical act of procreation and therefore procreation is a sin or is evil. And therefore that is why St. Augustine became celibate.
These poor souls seem to have lost all reason or logic. To say that Original sin is inherited from our parents is not the same as saying that the physical act of procreation is the cause of Original sin.
The color of our eyes is something that we inherit but, it is not caused by the act of procreation. We inherit sin not because our parents were having sexual relations at the time we were created, but because they themselves inherited this sin and are carriers of this spiritual disorder.
Sin is not a physical thing, but a spiritual one so therefore it is better defined as the lack of something that should be there (grace). Or perhaps we could say that it is a spiritual disorder. And this is inherited.
Christ needed no physical earthy father to perform the act of procreation to come into this world, because He already has a Father in Heaven, not because procreation is evil. He chose to have a mother so that there would be no doubt about His humanity. Thus He is both God and Man. The act of procreation is just not necessary for this situation. And that is why it is excluded; it does not imply that it is therefore intrinsically evil.
The Immaculate Conception does not imply that there was no act of procreation. Mary had a true physical earthly father who along with her mother performed the natural act that brought her into existence by the power of God. In addition to this, Mary is special because by the will of God she was preserved from inheriting the disorder of original sin as a singular honor to her who was later to be the Mother of God.
Before Adam had sinned he was given the command to populate the earth. His assignment was to expand the garden of Paradise over the entire earth and drive out the demons who were roaming the earth after their fall from Heaven. He was not expected to do this alone but was told to bring forth children to help in this work. This is still our assignment whether we wish to accept it or not. Only now we do not have the luxury of working from the solid base of Paradise because that was lost to us by our father Adam. But, we now have the Church and the graces that Christ has left us in the Sacraments to more than compensate us for what we have lost.
The point is that the act of procreation is not sinful, because God expected Adam to perform this before he had sinned. It is therefore something good and holy.
What the Church does condemn is the disordered use or abuse of the faculties of procreation. Fornication, adultery, sodomy, bestiality, self-abuse, onanism, contraceptives, etc. are condemned not because procreation is evil but because these are abuses of the faculties of procreation.
Sexual intercourse between a husband and his own wife for the purpose of procreation or even as an expression of their mutual love for one another (provided that procreation is not hindered) is a virtuous act and is pleasing to God and is an act upon which He showers many precious graces.
The celibacy of clerics and religious is not a condemnation of married life, but is a calling to something higher. It is a desire to unite oneself closer to God rather than to other human beings. It is an attempt to put off the world and the companionship of others and the right to have children to reach to a closer unity or oneness with God.
Therefore, far from today’s feast being a condemnation of procreation, it is in fact proof of God’s blessing upon it.
May God bless you.
+Bishop Giles OFM
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Saturday, October 03, 2009
LETTER TO ALL THE FAITHFUL
To ALL CHRISTIANS, religious, clerics and layfolk, men and women; to everyone in the whole world, Brother Francis, their servant and subject, sends his humble respects, imploring for them true peace from heaven and sincere love in God.
I am the servant of all and so I am bound to wait upon everyone and make known to them the fragrant words of my Lord. Realizing, however, that because of my sickness and ill-health I cannot personally visit each one individually, I decided to send you a letter bringing a message with the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Word of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit, whose words are spirit and life (Jn 6: 64).
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the glorious Word of the Father, so holy and exalted, whose coming the Father made known by St Gabriel the
Then, as His passion drew near, He celebrated the Pasch with His disciples and, taking bread, He blessed and broke, and gave to His disciples, and said, Take and eat; this is My Body. And taking a cup, he gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, This is My Blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins (Mt. 26: 26-29). And He prayed to His Father, too, saying, Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me (Mt. 26: 39); and His sweat fell to the ground like thick drops of blood (cf. Lk. 22: 44). Yet He bowed to His Father's will and said, Father, Thy will be done; yet not as I will, but as Thou wiliest (Mt. 26: 42 and 39). And it was the Father's will that His blessed and glorious Son, whom He gave to us and who was born for our sake, should offer Himself by His own blood as a sacrifice and victim on the altar of the cross; and this, not for Himself, through whom all things were made (Jn 1: 3), but for our sins, leaving us an example that we may follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2: 21). It is the Father's will that we should all be saved by the Son, and that we should receive Him with a pure heart and chaste body. But very few are anxious to receive Him, or want to be saved by Him, although His yoke is easy, and His burden light (Mt. 11: 30).
All those who refuse to taste and see how good the Lord is (Ps. 33: 9) and who love the darkness rather than the light (Jn. 3: 19) are under a curse. It is God's commandments they refuse to obey and so it is of them the Prophet says, You rebuke the accursed proud who turn away from your commands (Ps. 118: 21). On the other hand, those who love God are happy and blessed. They do as our Lord himself tells us in the Gospel, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, . . . and thy neighbor as thyself (Mt. 22: 37-39). We must love God, then, and adore Him with a pure heart and mind, because this is what He seeks above all else, as He tells us, True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (Jn 4: 23). All who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn 4: 24). We should praise Him and pray to Him day and night, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven (Mt. 6: 9), because we must always pray and not lose heart (Lk. 18: 1).
And moreover, we should confess all our sins to a priest and receive from him the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The man who does not eat His flesh and drink His blood cannot enter into the
Besides this, we must bring forth therefore fruits befitting repentance (Lk. 3: 8) and love our neighbors as ourselves. Anyone who will not or cannot love his neighbor as himself should at least do him good and not do him any harm.
Those who have been entrusted with the power of judging others should pass judgment mercifully, just as they themselves hope to obtain mercy from God. For judgment is without mercy to him who has not shown mercy (James 2: 13). We must be charitable, too, and humble, and give alms, because they wash the stains of sin from our souls. We lose everything which we leave behind us in this world; we can bring with us only the right to a reward for our charity and the alms we have given. For these we shall receive a reward, a just retribution from God.
We are also bound to fast and avoid vice and sin, taking care not to give way to excess in food and drink, and we must be Catholics. We should visit churches often and show great reverence for the clergy, not just for them personally, for they may be sinners, but because of their high office, for it is they who administer the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. They offer It in sacrifice at the altar, and it is they who receive It and administer It to others. We should realize, too, that no one can be saved except by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the holy words of God, and it is the clergy who tell us His words and administer the Blessed Sacrament, and they alone have the right to do it, and no one else.
Religious especially are bound to make greater efforts, without neglecting the duties of ordinary Christians, because they have left the world.
Our lower nature, the source of so much vice and sin, should be hateful to us. Our Lord says in the Gospel, It is from the heart of man that all vice and sin comes (cf. Mt. 15: 18-19), and He tells us, Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you (Lk. 6: 27). We are bound to order our lives according to the precepts and counsels of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so we must renounce self and bring our lower nature into subjection under the yoke of obedience; this is what we have all promised God. However, no one can be bound to obey another in anything that is sinful or criminal.
The man who is in authority and is regarded as the superior should become the least of all and serve his brothers, and he should be as sympathetic with each one of them as he would wish others to be with him if he were in a similar position. If one of his brothers falls into sin, he should not be angry with him; on the contrary, he should correct him gently, with all patience and humility, and encourage him.
It is not for us to be wise and calculating in the world's fashion; we should be guileless, lowly, and pure. We should hold our lower nature in contempt, as a source of shame to us, because through our own fault we are wretched and utterly corrupt, nothing more than worms, as our Lord tells us by the Prophet, I am a worm, not a man; the scorn of men, despised by the people (Ps. 21: 7). We should not want to be in charge of others; we are to be servants, and should be subject to every human creature for God's sake (1 Pet. 2: 13). On all those who do this and endure to the last the Spirit of God will rest (cf. Is. 11: 2); He will make His dwelling in them and there He will stay, and they will be children of your Father in heaven (Mt. 5: 45) whose work they do. It is they who are the brides, the brothers and the mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. A person is His bride when his faithful soul is united with Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit; we are His brothers when we do the will of His Father who is in heaven (cf. Mt. 12: 50), and we are mothers to Him when we enthrone Him in our hearts and souls by love with a pure and sincere conscience, and give Him birth by doing good. This, too, should be an example to others.
How glorious, how holy and wonderful it is to have a Father in heaven. How holy it is, how beautiful and lovable to have in heaven a Bridegroom. How holy and beloved, how pleasing and lowly, how peaceful, delightful, lovable and desirable above all things it is to have a Brother like this, who laid down His life for His sheep (cf. Jn 10: 15), and prayed to His Father for us, saying: Holy Father, in Your name keep those whom You have given Me. Father, all those whom You gave Me in the world, were Yours and You gave them to Me. And the words You have given Me, I have given to them. And they have received them and have known truly that I have come forth from You, and they have believed that You have sent Me. I am praying for them, not for the world: Bless and sanctify them. And for them I sanctify Myself, that they may be sanctified in their unity, just as We are. And, Father, I wish that where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may see My splendor in Your kingdom (cf. Jn 17: 6-24).
Every creature in heaven and on earth and in the depths of the sea should give God praise and glory and honor and blessing (cf. Ap. 5: 13); He has borne so much for us and has done and will do so much good to us; He is our power and our strength, and He alone is good (cf. Lk. 18: 19), He alone most high, He alone all-powerful, wonderful, and glorious; He alone is holy and worthy of all praise and blessing for endless ages and ages. Amen.
All those who refuse to do penance and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are blind, because they cannot see the true light, our Lord Jesus Christ. They indulge their vices and sins and follow their evil longings and desires, without a thought for the promises they made. In body they are slaves of the world and of the desires of their lower nature, with all the cares and anxieties of this life; in spirit they are slaves of the devil. They have been led astray by him and have made themselves his children, dedicated to doing his work. They lack spiritual insight because the Son of God does not dwell in them, and it is He who is the true wisdom of the Father. It is of such men as these that Scripture says, their skill was swallowed up (Ps. 106: 27). They can see clearly and are well aware what they are doing; they are fully conscious of the fact that they are doing evil, and knowingly lose their souls.
See, then, you who are blind, deceived by your enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil, our fallen nature loves to commit sin and hates to serve God; this is because vice and sin come from the heart of man, as the Gospel says. You have no good in this world and nothing to look forward to in the next. You imagine that you will enjoy the worthless pleasures of this life indefinitely, but you are wrong. The day and the hour will come, the day and the hour for which you have no thought and of which you have no knowledge whatever. First sickness, then death, draws near; friends and relatives come and advise the dying man, "Put your affairs in order". Wife and children, friends and relatives, all pretend to mourn. Looking about, he sees them weeping. An evil inspiration comes to him. Thinking to himself, he says, "Look, I am putting my body and soul and all that I have in your hands". Certainly a man who would do a thing like that is under a curse, trusting and leaving his body and his soul and all that he has defenseless in such hands. God tells us by his Prophet, Cursed shall he be that puts his trust in man (Jer. 17: 5). There and then, they call a priest; he says to the sick man, "Do you want to be absolved from all your sins?" And the dying man replies, "I do". "Are you ready then to make restitution as best you can out of your property for all that you have done, all the fraud and deceit you practiced towards your fellow men?" the priest asks him. "No", he replies. And the priest asks, "Why not?" "Because I have left everything in the hands of my relatives and friends", is the answer. Then his speech begins to fail and so the unfortunate man dies an unhappy death.
We should all realize that no matter where or how a man dies, if he is in the state of mortal sin and does not repent, when he could have done so and did not, the devil tears his soul from his body with such anguish and distress that only a person who has experienced it can appreciate it. All the talent and ability, all the learning and wisdom which he thought his own, are taken away from him, while his relatives and friends bear off his property and share it among themselves. Then they say, "A curse on his soul; he could have made more to leave to us and he did not". And the worms feast on his body. So he loses both body and soul in this short life and goes to hell, where he will be tormented without end.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
In that love which is God (cf. 1 Jn 4: 16), I, Brother Francis, the least of your servants and worthy only to kiss your feet, beg and implore all those to whom this letter comes to hear these words of our Lord Jesus Christ in a spirit of humility and love, putting them into practice with all gentleness and observing them perfectly. Those who cannot read should have them read to them often and keep them ever before their eyes, by persevering in doing good to the last, because they are spirit and life (Jn 6: 64). Those who fail to do this shall be held to account for it before the judgment-seat of Christ at the last day. And may God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless those who welcome them and grasp them and send copies to others, if they persevere in them to the last (cf. Mt. 10: 22).
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
It has been brought to my attention that many of you would like to have the sermon available earlier than I can post it. This audio sermon was given in 2007, but at least you will have something to listen to until I can get a new one posted. You can find this and other previous sermons in the archives of this blog.
May God bless you.
+Bishop Giles OFM
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
May God bless you.
+Bishop Giles OFM
Nihil Obstat: Arthur J Scanlan STD Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: +Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop of New York
New York, September 14, 1934
THE PAULIST PRESS NEW YORK, NY
Nineteen hundred years ago with eyes stern, with words incisive and uncompromising, Jesus warned men of the evils to come.
But there was to be one evil men should fear above all others. It was the one evil Christ would warn them against, time and time again. Satan? Yes! But Satan disguised as an angel of light!
It is here! It is this evil Christianity faces today! And the name of this evil is indifferentism!
What is indifferentism? It is the thought that has come to you, time and time again. A thought you hear spoken of on every side. It is in the very atmosphere you breathe. What is this?
That it doesn't make any difference to God what you may believe. That God doesn't care what you believe as long as you live a good life. That God doesn't care to what church you may belong, as long as you live up to the teaching of that church. In brief, indifferentism is simply this: “One church is as good as another."
This subtle attack on Christianity has been slowly developing during the last fifty years, coming along hand in hand with the material progress of the times. With the coming of the automobile, improved highways, the telephone, telegraph and radio, and the other various improvements to make life more liveable and happy, men have been thrown more and more into contact with each other. So that today, in this nation of ours, we are really just one large family.
But the real vantage point for indifferentism came in 1917, with the World War. When men were taken from their homes. In the East, West, North, and South. Forced to live together in the closest possible contact in army camps, on the battle field, on battleships, in peril and danger, in privation and suffering. And men began to realize that no matter what belief a man might hold, he was apt to be a splendid fellow after all.
And the result was, that although they might hold contradictory creeds and doctrines, a wonderful feeling of friendship, fellowship, and tolerance. sprung up among men.
And it was, unfortunately, in this, garb of friendship and tolerance and good fellowship, that the evil of indifferentism disguised itself. Spreading far and wide until today it is an evil widespread as Christianity itself. Threatening Christianity's very existence. An evil all the more terrifying in its destruction, because while it appears lovely and beautiful on the surface, at the same time it is destroying men's souls.
Does this seem far-fetched? Stop and think for a minute!
If one church is as good as another. then, religion is only a matter of sentiment and good taste. There is no real truth in it. And a man is as free to follow his inclination in choosing his church, as he might be in choosing a club or a lodge. When you are indifferent to anything it doesn't require much opposition for you to give up that thing completely. Religion is no exception. You know that! And thus it requires only a little obstacle for you to drop church entirely.
If you hold one church as good as another, you are not far from the belief that there is not much good in any church. And you are quite right. For, if religion is only an opinion, then it can easily be wrong, as any opinion can be wrong. Hence, there is no certainty. Everything ends in doubt and darkness. The mysteries of faith are denied. And this state of the mind prepares you, sooner or later, for a complete denial of Christianity. A rejection of God's Revelation. And perhaps, even a rejection of God Himself!
"By their fruits you shall know them!" So said Christ Himself. It is the Acid Test! Apply it to indifferentism! What are its fruits?
FRUITS OF INDIFFERENCE
Fifty years ago, had you met a man on the street and asked him: "To what church do you belong?" he would have promptly answered you. Mentioning such and such a church. The United States was, practically speaking, a hundred per cent Christian nation.
Today ask a man on the street to what church he belongs. He will be amazed, and amused at your question.
Seven out of ten will answer you with a pitying smile, that they belong to none. Do you know that the last census revealed the appalling fact, that the American people are now practically 70% Churchless? Think what this means! Seven out of every ten men and women in our country have put themselves down, in black and white, that God, and the worship of God, means nothing to them whatsoever.
To sum up! The last generation were, for the most part, baptized church members. The present generation, for the most part, are baptized, but are not church members. And the signs of the times seem to point out that the next generation, at least outside of the Catholic Church, will be neither church members nor baptized.
That is the fruit of indifferentism in a short fifty years. Is it, or is it not, an evil?
But while indifferentism comes to us disguised as an angel of light, like all disguises, it can be easily torn off. And you can see the evil as it really is. Simply take your God-given gifts of intelligence, reason, and common sense and use them.
GOD IS TRUTH
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life," said Jesus. God is truth! But a God of infinite and absolute truth! He loves truth. And He hates and despises untruth, falsehood, and deceit.
And you are the living child of the Living God!
Hence, God wants you to love the truth! And hate untruth, falsehood, and deceit!
If you believe in God at all, you must believe this!
Now indifferentism says that it makes no difference to God whether you believe in one thing or the other. Whether you belong to this church or another. Whether you believe one set of doctrines, or some opposing doctrines, or whether you believe anything at all.
It is a terrifying statement! It simply means that God is not a God of truth. But a God of falsehood and untruth. That He is the Father of lies. You do away with God!
Why is this?
Because, even though you know nothing at all about the teachings of the various Christian bodies in existence today, you know they are not only teaching different doctrines but they absolutely contradict each other in essential beliefs.
Here is one church teaching baptism is absolutely necessary to salvation. But here is another church denying this, and saying that baptism is not necessary.
Here is one church that teaches men are doomed either to eternal happiness or eternal misery. But here is another church teaching that all men will be saved.
Here is one church that is teaching Christ is really present in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. But here is another church which says He is not present, never was, never will be. And the contrary teaching is idolatry.
But why go on? Over every article in the Christian Creed, there is this same contradiction and mutual denial.
Now here you have teachings, not only different but contradicting one another. So that if one is true, the other must be false. Or if the latter is true, then the first must be false.
For you know that when two statements or teachings flatly contradict each other in the same way, at the same time, one of them is wrong. If one is true, then the other must be false and untrue.
For instance, if it be true that the sun gives heat and light to the earth, then it is false to say that it does not. If it is true that you are reading these words at this moment, then it is false, and untrue, to say that you are not doing so.
And it is the same with the teachings of God! If the doctrines of one church be true, then the doctrines of a church which contradicts them in any way, must be false.
And so with the church! If a church has the true doctrines of God, it must be the true church. And a church holding a false doctrine, or doctrines, must be a false church.
Hence, to say that one church is as good as another, is to say that it makes no difference to God whether you hold the true doctrine, or false, contradictory doctrines. You are simply saying, it makes no difference to God whether you believe truth or falsehood.
And this is a frightful blasphemy of God!
Spiritual writers say that if God could be killed it could be done only by denying that He is a God of Truth. By this blasphemy of Him!
Hence, you see precisely how you stand when you say: "One church is as good as another!" You are blaspheming God!
Furthermore, to make such a statement is to speak against your own reason. For your God-given gifts of reason and intelligence tell you that the God of truth loves truth. That He hates error and falsehood.
The whole mission of Christ in His own words was this: "For testimony to the truth." To say one church is as good as another, is to say that the terrible suffering and death of God's only Begotten Son, was the act of a madman and a fool. Such is indifferentism without its disguise.
SCRIPTURE WARNS US
And what about the Holy Word of God? Does it say anything concerning indifferentism?
It surely does! Text after text, and text after text, could be given. The Bible is shot through and through with denial of such blasphemy. But all I ask is to take one quotation. If you would see how God's word contradicts this evil.
It is the closing of Christ's ministry upon earth. He has gathered His Apostles together. And He solemnly gives them that wonderful and glorious commission which is to revolutionize the history of the world.
"All power is given to Me in Heaven and Earth: Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world' (Matt. xxviii. 1 8 ) .
And then, according to St. Mark, Christ adds that terrifying sentence that means so much to you and to me. "He that believcth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be condemned."
Consider these words! The words of Christ Himself!
"Teach all nations!" What does He mean? The Apostles are ordered by Christ, commanded by Him, "Going, teach ye all nations." What were they to do? They were to teach!
But what were they to teach?
They were to teach the truth! To instruct all mankind in the doctrines and precepts which they had received from Christ Himself. Three long years Jesus had spent with these men. Teaching them. Instructing them. Drilling them. Giving them the truths of Life, Death and Eternity, the Revelation of God to man.
And now He sends them forth to bring these truths to all mankind, to all nations. Moreover, to safeguard the truth, to preserve the truth, He promises to be with them always. Even more! "I will send to you," He promises them, "the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to abide with you all days even to the consummation of the world."
But can you conceive, then, that Christ intended His Apostles to teach anything but the truth? Can you suppose Christ wished them to teach error? Can you suppose that He intended His Apostles should go forth and teach contradictory doctrines?
Could He have said to one Apostle: "Teach all nations that Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation"? And sending forth another Apostle, instruct him: "Teach that Baptism is not necessary"?
Could He have said to one Apostle: "You teach all men, they are predestined to either eternal happiness or eternal misery"? And to another Apostle. He commands, "Deny this"?
Could He have sent one Apostle forth to teach: "I am really, truly present in the Lord's Supper"? And send another Apostle, commanding him: "Teach that I am not present, never will be, and such belief is idolatry"?
And so on, through the entire Christian Revelation. Is God insane?
It is only too evident that Christ, the God of truth, could not have intended that they should teach any such contradictions, errors or falsehoods. His words leave you not even the slightest doubt. His words show He left His Apostles no room for the dictates of private opinions, nor for the prompting of their imaginations, in carrying out their commission.
The Apostles knew that He was the One True God. That He never contradicted Himself. That He never gave utterance to contradictory statements or doctrines. That His teaching was truth. That it was One. And that their work was the teaching of this Revelation of God to all nations! To all mankind!
Christ did not say to them, "Teach what you think is right," or "Teach what you think will make the most converts," or "Teach whatever you think the people want to hear" or "Teach what you think is the best."
But what were they to teach? He commands, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."
He does not say, "Teach them a part of what I have commanded," or "Teach those things that are most agreeable," or "Teach those things that meet with your approval." No! He commands them: "Teach all things whatsoever I have commanded."
And did the Apostles understand His command? They did! There was not the slightest doubt in their minds! Christ had made it as clear to them as the noonday sun.
So much so that St. Paul, and remember in quoting St. Paul, he never even saw Christ — St. Paul coming along years later — St. Paul receiving his teaching from the Apostles — St. Paul could write to the Galatians in letters of fire: "Though an angel from Heaven preach to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be damned."
CHRIST'S COMMAND TO YOU
Then what about those words of Christ that mean salvation to you and to me?
The obligation to heed, and to believe, what the Apostles taught.
Christ commands you under threat of everlasting death. "He that believeth not shall be condemned!"
How could Christ have made His meaning any plainer? How could He have driven it home to you with more force and directness? How could He have been more firm? How could He have been more severe? He tells you that your eternal salvation, your eternal life and death, your eternal happiness or eternal rejection, depends upon His truths. That they should be taught to you. And believed by you!
Yet in the face of Christ's words, indifferentism calmly says: "Christ was wrong. It makes no difference what you believe, or whether you believe at all."
Hence I leave it to you. Indifferentism has no place in God's Holy Word!
And furthermore, did you ever stop to realize when you say one church is as good as another, you take all meaning, all significance, out of Christ's life and work among men?
What is the most prominent feature in the life of Christ? It is His teachings!
Presenting Himself to men, and bringing to men, God's revelation. The truths of Life, Death and Eternity. What men must believe! And how men must live in accordance with this belief!
Probably the most telling point in His whole life's ministry was when He stood before Pontius Pilate. And Jesus cried out to Pilate, and to all mankind! "For this I was born, for this I came into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth."
For truth, Christ came into the world! For truth He suffered! For truth He died!
And indifferentism lightly says: "It makes no difference to God whether you believe truth or error."
Then why was Christ here among us? Then why did He teach? Then why did He suffer and die for truth? Was Christ worse than a human fool?
And what about the Apostles? In all justice the Apostles were eleven good men. Tried and true! They had given up everything for Christ. Homes, friends, positions! They had suffered with Him the scorn, the jeers, and the abuse. He had seen them so hungry that they were plucking the corn from the stalks and eating it raw. He had seen them thirsty, footsore, and weary. They had trudged with Him over the dreary miles of the Galilean desert sands. And all for love of Him. And that alone! Their only reward had been hardship, hunger, and the hatred of men.
Christ not only foresaw, but He even foretold, the hardships, the imprisonments, the exiles, the tortures, the cruel deaths, that were in store for them.
What can you think of Christ? Here He is, ordering these men, His dearest, most beloved friends, to suffer all things in order to bring His teachings to men. When it made no difference to Him whether men believed these teachings or believed them not. How could Christ command them thus? You who believe Christ was God! And believe God is love! Is God an inhuman tyrant?
And what about the Christians of all ages? Those who had kept the word delivered to them by the Apostles!
Did Christ not foresee the centuries of bloody persecution in which His followers would be dragged from their homes, torn from their loved ones, thrown into the loathsome dungeons, scourged, burned, exposed to wild beasts, beheaded, crucified, suffering under the worst and most diabolical of torments? Did He not foresee all this? Did He not foresee all that His followers would suffer and suffer simply because they believed in Him and were faithful to His teachings?
He did foresee all this! He knew exactly what would happen! Can you believe then, knowing God as you know Him, this God loving you as you know He loves you, that He would have demanded obedience to His teachings in the face of all this if it makes no difference to Him what men believe? What doctrines they hold? To what church men belong?
Finally, picture one of these martyrs. his body torn limb from limb; his ears cut off; his eyes burned out by red-hot irons; his tongue ripped out, and red-hot lead poured down his throat; his hair torn out by the roots; tortured and tormented by every diabolical scheme that men could devise; until nearly dead, he is thrown into a furnace where death relieves him from his torments.
Now picture Christ! Coming along and gazing upon that wounded and bruised and scarred body. Gazing into those eyeless sockets, which had welled with those scalding tears of pain and agony.
Can you picture Christ, His lips curled in derision, a mocking light in His eyes, as He says: "I was only joking — it really makes no difference what you believe, or whether you believe anything at all. The joke is on you!"
Can you even imagine such a vile, blasphemous picture of Christ?
But that is the picture indifferentism would give you!
Indifferentism, which says: "One church is as good as another." Indifferentism, which is nothing but blasphemy! Indifferentism, which is simply atheism. Disguised as good fellowship, tolerance, and friendship.
Can you not see that it is against all logic. That it is against all reason and common sense. That it is nothing but a denunciation of Christ. That it contradicts the word of God. That it calls Christ's life and suffering and death, nothing but a lie. That it makes vain and useless the revelation of God. That it makes fools of all Christians.
No intelligent, reasoning man or woman, can hold indifferentism!
It does make a difference what you believe! The doctrines you hold! The church to which you belong!
For quite obviously, it would seem to me, in God-given intelligence and reason, God demands of each and every one, that you belong to the one true church. That church which is teaching those doctrines which Christ gave to His Apostles. The doctrines which they and their successors are to teach to all nations, to all times.
To that church you must belong. The One, True, Church of Christ! And it alone.
One church is not as good as another!