0 / 0
Yet both Catholics and Protestants agree that Messiah's Kingdom was set up in power and great glory more than eighteen centuries ago. Why, then, has it failed of its mission? Can either Catholics or Protestants explain?
"Has the day come of such eminent prepotency of the principle of arbitration that a great nation, such as the United States of America, may safely turn all its swords into plow-shares and all its spears into sickles? No one will make the affirmation.
"Today the nation that dismantles its ships of war and disbands its soldiers puts itself in danger of gross humiliation, if not fatal disaster. Today America is respected by its sister nations—it is respected because, also, it is feared.
God's Kingdom, Messiah's Kingdom, was not set up eighteen centuries or more ago. That is the mistake! It is not yet set up! The Church was not commissioned to conquer the world and to reign as and for Christ during this time. Her commission was to "make herself ready." (Rev. 19:7.) She is to be her Lord's mouthpiece in calling and instructing the elect, who, at the First Resurrection, are to be "changed" to the "divine nature," as St. Peter declares, and then will inherit with their Redeemer his Messianic Kingdom, which will rule the world with a "rod of iron" for its blessing and uplift out of sin and selfishness.—2 Peter 1:4.
Christendom (Catholic and Protestant) has labored under the huge mistake of supposing themselves authorized to rule the world. The attempt to live by their erroneous opinions deluged the world with the blood of religious "holy wars" and cruel persecutions of each other and of the Jews.
It is time to awake to the fact that the Lord's call now to his people is to show their loyalty by faith and obedience to the Divine law of love, even unto self-sacrifice, even unto death. So the Apostle wrote, "If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with him."—Rom. 8:16,17; I Cor. 6:2,3.
The First Resurrection, like the second coming of Christ, will be invisible, except as the glory and power of the Messianic Kingdom will quickly follow. (1) A time of world-wide trouble. (2) A reign of righteousness world-wide, the cessation of wars, etc., as promised in the Prophets.
Let us no longer deceive ourselves by speaking and thinking of civilized nations as Kingdoms of God in any sense. Let us recognize them, Scripturally, as "kingdoms of this world," Gentile kingdoms, permitted to hold sway until the time of Messiah's Kingdom—and no longer. (Daniel 2:44.) Let us not expect of these kingdoms the blessings promised only under Messiah's Kingdom. Let us, on the contrary, watch and pray for the Kingdom of Heaven and prepare ourselves, and all who have the hearing ear, for our promised resurrection "change;" and let us leave all else to God. He is able and willing to work all things according to the counsel of his own will.
The intoxicating curse of China is opium. Half a century ago, China endeavored to control the situation and to exclude all foreign opium. But wealthy Englishmen were concerned, because they had large interests in India, where the poppy, from which opium is made, grows profusely.
The result was a war, in which the heathen Chinese, not having up-to-date Christian (?) cannons and ships, lost heavily. Then the British fastened themselves on the Chinese, took control of a liberal piece of territory, and made a treaty, which the conquered Chinese were forced to accept. That treaty stipulates the admission of opium into China. The Chinese cannot stop the traffic without precipitating war with the most powerful Kingdom of Christ (?) on earth, so far as naval strength goes.
Now, after years of suffering, the Chinese are becoming civilized, or Christianized (?), to the extent of adopting cannon, rapid-fire guns, a regular army, etc. They are about to establish a Parliamentary form of Government also, and are arranging to school the rising generation in the English language. It is said that vast orders for these new school-books have been placed in the United States.
Now China realizes that opium is her great curse; she has passed laws against the growth of the poppy and the manufacture of opium. But she finds that the imports of opium amount to 5,000,000 pounds per year. She cries out again, as in the past, that this Great Kingdom of Christ (?) (Great Britain) will have mercy upon her and cease to insist on this curse being introduced to blight China morally and physically.
The young men of heathen China have started a monster petition for the cessation of opium importation. The signatures are to be 200,000, representing China's 400,000,000 people. It is to be addressed to his Majesty, King George, of Great Britain and Ireland, and Emperor of India and the Isles of the Sea and Head of the Church of England—the mightiest Kingdom of Christ (?) on earth.
The text of this appeal has already appeared in the New York Herald, February 17. It recounts that a previous appeal, of similar character, was made without avail to the King's royal grandmother in 1858, when she was the representative of this branch of Christ's Kingdom (?).
Is not all this very incongruous! very strange? What hypocrisy we have indulged in! How we all should be ashamed of it! Think of one of the chief nations of earth sending Bibles and missionaries to the heathen in one hand and rum and opium in the other! Is it any wonder that the heathen reject our two-faced overtures as best they are able? Is it any wonder that the "common people" of Great Britain are unable to take their religion seriously and are falling away from all church association—into infidelity?
It is no wonder! Let us get back to honesty and truth. Let us admit that Great Britain is one of the kingdoms of this world. Let us not charge the faults of our selfishness to God and to Christ's Kingdom. Let us stand for the best possible in worldly government and continue to pray for and to hope and wait for the Kingdom which is to come and to bring about the doing of God's will on earth as it is done in heaven, according to the prayer of our dear Redeemer and Lord.
God's consecrated people, guided by his Word in the New Testament, realize that the law is just and good. But they see also that it was given to the Jew and not to the Christian "new creatures in Christ."
These latter are spirit-begotten and are under the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ—a superior Law—a Law which requires love to God supremely and love for our fellow-creatures as for ourselves. This Law of Love includes all of the requirements of the Mosaic Law and more.
But God is not judging these "new creatures" as flesh beings, but as spirit beings. They are being judged according to their minds, their hearts, their intentions. Thus "the righteousness of the Law of God is fulfilled in us, who are walking, not after the flesh, but after the spirit.—Rom. 8:1.
Early in March a "Church Unity Congress" at Los Angeles, Cal., is recorded. Its principal speaker was Bishop Johnson (Episcopalian). His address, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, is interesting, and was as follows:—
"We are addressing ourselves to a project which, until within very recent years, has been regarded as fanciful. [R4800 : page 116] We are about to confer concerning the reunion of Christendom, than which, a quarter of a century ago, no proposal was regarded as more chimerical. And yet we are doing this at the present time, conscious that the convictions of Christian men have within twenty-five years so changed that, to a large extent, they coincide with the judgment that has brought us together.
"Suddenly the Christian world began to realize that possibly it had attained all the success it could expect to have, or deserved to have, under existing conditions. Christendom divided, even if it be into friendly camps (which was not always the case), was not a condition favorable to the largest and best fruitage in the Christian church. Therefore, it is now demanding that at least this one adverse condition shall be changed, so that the church at large shall be able to do work worthy of Jesus Christ our Lord and of the character which he expected the church to do.
"With such a cry ringing in our ears, you and I come together today and join in this conference, which, until the present time, has been deemed impracticable. I am glad to believe that should we get the ideal of what ought to be done clearly in our own minds, we could, in God's own time, bring about such a reunion of Christian forces as would make the united churches really a tremendous power in the world for God.
"I am quite aware what this statement involves. I am prepared to say that I am, by conviction, committed to a policy which looks forward to its universal adoption, even to the obliteration of so-called denominational lines, and to a genuine effort so to re-relate Christian forces that they may, with no overlapping or friction, plan as with one mind for the upbuilding of the Kingdom of Christ in the world.
"Some of our friends may say that we have not done much, and that may be true, but will it not be fine when we do appear before the Judgment Seat, should we be commended by God because we have not allowed the Christian world, in the presence of fearful social and civic problems, to fail of its duty, without some warning on impending disaster, due to our dismal and pitiable divisions?
"In order to show what my ideal is, it has seemed well for me to show what it is not. Frankly, my ideal leaves the federation idea far in the rear, and I say it with a profound [R4800 : page 117] respect for federation. Right here in this city we have shown what federation may accomplish, and if it has done nothing else, it has made this meeting possible." [Great applause.]
Bishop Johnson argued that, in case of federation, if the settled policy of any affiliated church was menaced by the action of the federation, the latter would be unable to carry out its policy. He declared that the towns and hamlets of Southern California are overchurched, and that in the cities the churches are scattered about in a most unstatesmanlike manner. He argued that the uniting of forces would bring about better results at a much reduced cost and more effectively reach the people who need to be reached, but it would probably not be accepted by many of those affected by such a move.
"Of course," said the bishop, "there is something seriously wrong in this attitude, but it is the fact and we must face it. I am perfectly satisfied, however, that the churches, merely federated, will not be able to deal effectively with the problem.
"You will see that I regard sectarianism not only as productive of evil, but as being evil and vicious in itself; that is, if the spirit of the greatest of the Apostles is any indication of the Master's aim and purpose.
"It is my feeling that the time has come when we, as Christian leaders, ought to repreach the Pauline conception of the church. Of course, we will all find that there will be plenty of people in all of our congregations who are determined, at all cost, to be first, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists and Congregationalists, and I suppose there always will be such, but I for one am praying that the time shall come when the necessity for these names shall have passed away (applause); that the Christian world will soon have formed a platform upon which every Christian may stand without any sense of loss, and with the satisfaction of knowing that it includes every essential to salvation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
"When a church regards herself as the enclosure for saints, rather than the refuge for those 'called to be such,' she is giving herself a character quite unlike and below that which Jesus had. If the church is the extension of the Incarnation, then she must welcome to her companionship and fold the publicans and sinners who are fascinated by her Master's message; she must so relate herself to them that she will neither suffer defilement nor have an unpleasant sense of contamination in such association, and they, on the other hand, must be led by association with her, to think of and to love noble things.
"In a word, the church is to be the physician of the spiritually sick, and halt and blind, and yet the guide of the spiritually strong, courageous and brave, and for each in his own place and time, she is to bring a message of love and peace, so that she herself will ultimately become the spotless Bride of Christ."
The congress closed with a night session, at which Dr. Robert J. Burdette delivered an address on "The Church with an Alias," and Bishop W. M. Bell talked of "Christian Unity in the Foreign Field." A very large audience was present, and their delight was frequently expressed in laughter and applause.
Col. Gadke, a German military critic, has joined the chorus of civilization in protest against the huge waste of armies and navies. These armaments, he says, do not tend to preserve peace, but to menace peace; and, furthermore, upon the eight great nations they impose an annual expenditure of upward of $2,000,000,000.
The argument is not new. The figures add nothing to public information. Interest in them is due almost wholly to the source from which they come. German authorities have hitherto upheld the military spirit and maintained that a standing army is a standing benefit. An opposing voice from that quarter naturally compels attention.