Better Than No Church?

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

The eminent theologian, Dr Charles Hodge, a stalwart of the Reformed faith, who penned his Systematic Theology which is read by many even today, shows himself when it comes to the Roman Catholic church, to be like most other men, a man with feet of clay. He wrote in a magazine article, “The question proposed in your letter is one to which wise and good men have given different answers. Some say that the Romish church teaches serious error. As the influence of that church is everywhere, and from its nature, hostile to civil and religious liberty, therefore it is wrong to grant it any voluntary support or direct encouragement. Others say that, inasmuch as the Roman Catholic church teaches truth enough to save the souls of men (of which I have no doubt); inasmuch as it proclaims the Divine authority of the Scriptures, the obligation of the Decalogue and the retributions of eternity; and inasmuch as it calls upon men to worship God, the Father, Son, and Spirit, it is unspeakably better than no church at all. And therefore, when the choice is between that and none, it is wise and right to encourage the establishment of churches under the control of Catholic priests. While, therefore, I dread the influence of the Romish church, and recognise its corruptions in doctrines and worship, I nevertheless believe it is better that men should be Roman Catholics than infidels or atheists. Romanists teach people to worship Christ and to regard and acknowledge Him as the Savatorum Hominum.

The converted Roman Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy, in response says, “If these assertions are correct, Luther, Calvin, Knox etc., would be the most guilty men of modern times, and the millions of martyrs whom Rome has slaughtered would be nothing else but rebels justly punished. If the church of Rome’s teaching can save souls, why should we continue to protest against the great soul-saving “church” and why do we not go to the feet of the Pope to make our peace with him?

Dr Hodge is a mighty logician…But the more arguments he will bring to prove that Rome is a soul-saving church….the better he will prove that Luther and Calvin with their millions of Protestant followers, Dr Hodge included, were, and are, today, the greatest fools and the most wicked of men for having made so much noise, caused so much shedding of blood, to get out of the chains of Rome”.

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