?Romanism,? says Dorner, ?identifies the church and the kingdom of God. The professedly perfect hierarchy is itself the church or its essence.? Yet Moehler, the greatest modern advocate of the Romanist system, himself acknowledges that there were popes before the Reformation ?whom hell has swallowed up.? See Dorner, Hist. Prot. Theol., Introduction, ad finem. If the Romanist asks: ?Where was your church before Luther?? the Protestant may reply: ?Where was your face this morning before it was washed?? Disciples of Christ have sometimes kissed the feet of Antichrist but it recalls an ancient story. When an Athenian noble thus, in old times, debased himself to the King of Persia, his fellow citizens at Athens doomed him to death. See Coleman, Manual on Prelacy and Ritualism, 265-274; Park, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 2:451; Princeton Rev., Apr. 1876:265.
Sixth, there is abundant evidence that a hierarchical form of church government is corrupting to the church and dishonoring to Christ.
A.J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 131-140 ? ?Catholic writers claim that the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ, is the only mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost. But the Spirit has been given to the church as a whole, that is, to the body of regenerated believers and to every member of that body according to his measure. The sin of sacerdotalism is that it arrogates for a usurping few that which belongs to every member of Christ?s mystical body. It is a suggestive fact that the name klh~rov , ?the charge allotted to you,? which Peter gives to the church as ?the flock of God? ( <600502>1 Peter 5:2), when warning the elders against being lords over God?s heritage. This now appears in ecclesiastical usage as ?the clergy,? with its orders of pontiff and prelates and lord bishops, whose appointed function it is to exercise lordship over Christ?s flock. But committees and majorities may take the place of the Spirit, just as perfectly as a pope or a bishop. This is the reason why the light has been extinguished in many a candlestick. The body remains but the breath is withdrawn. The Holy Spirit is the only Administrator.?
Canon Melville: ?Make peace If you will with Popery, receive it into your Senate, enshrine it in your chambers, plant it in your hearts. But be ye certain, as certain as there is a heaven above you and a God over you, that the Popery thus honored and embraced is the Popery that was loathed and degraded by the holiest of your fathers. The same in haughtiness, the same in intolerance, which lorded it over kings, assumed the prerogative of Deity, crushed human liberty, and slew the saints of God.? On the strength and weakness of Romanism, see Harnack, What Is Christianity? 246-263.
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