Furlough Impressions

The deep impressions I saw, read, and heard on my return to America.

By J. L. Brown, Missionary to South America

The things we see, hear, and feel, leave what we call impressions on the mind. When we travel in other lands, we are usually impressed by the difference in customs, government, reli­gion, etc. If we remain away from home long enough, we are again impressed by the changes when we return, new governments with "New Deals," new highways, new institutions of learning, new hospitals and sanitariums, new industries, and many new ways of doing things. After spending almost twenty-eight years trav­eling and observing in Catholic countries, and seeing the fruitage of centuries of papal rule, I returned to my homeland (America) on fur­lough and was deeply impressed with what I saw, read, and heard.

Dr. W. R. Patterson, of the General Council of the Presbyterian Church, reports: "More than thirty-two per cent of the Presbyterian, Northern Baptist, and Methodist Episcopal churches in the United States failed to obtain a single convert last year." Doctor Patterson's information was based on a study of the year­books of the three denominations of several years ago, and was given to the Men's Church League of New York, by J. Campbell, general secretary, as quoted in the metropolitan press.

Being interested in the foregoing statement, and other reports of "empty Protestant pews," I visited several churches of the different de­nominations in the South and on the Pacific Coast, and was surprised to find churches with a seating capacity of over five hundred almost deserted. The average attendance at Sunday-night services was between twenty-five and fifty.

Again, I was greatly surprised when I heard one of the general secretaries of one of the larg­est denominations try to prove in his eloquently worded sermon that the world is getting better and better. To confirm this argument he cited "the present progressive condition of Russia." He then stated that there are a few people who still believe in the second coming of Jesus in this generation. He said that these people be­lieve that every happening of importance is a sign of Jesus' return, and that they want us to stand with our hands folded and our eyes looking heavenward for His appearing. "But," he continued, "the facts are that Jesus, for whom they wait, will never come in their day. The apostles waited for His coming, and Chris­tians through all ages since have believed in His coming, but He has never come. Time will go on and on and on, and that Jesus for whom they wait will not come."

As I listened to this Modernistic sermon, I remembered having read an article in the Lit­erary Digest, of March 3, 1934, about a test on beliefs conducted by Professor Betts of the University of Chicago. A questionnaire was sent out to fifteen hundred Protestant ministers. Seven hundred of this number responded. Ac­cording to the result obtained, 54 per cent of these preachers did not believe in the devil; 40 per cent did not believe in the existence of angels; 28 per cent did not believe in Christ as being equal to God; 20 per cent did not be­lieve in the divinity of Jesus; 41 per cent did not believe in heaven; 52 per cent did not be­lieve in the judgment day, etc.

In an article entitled, "What's Wrong With the Laity?" by Gordon King, printed in the Forum, in November, 1928, we read:

"So much is wrong with the laity that it is highly improbable that anything can be done to set things right in the eyes of intelligent believers; and even if restoration of faith could somehow be accomplished, it is now question­able whether the result would postpone an in­evitable debacle."

Apparently the laity of America is seeking for spiritual leaders who still believe in Christ, heaven, angels, creation, a devil, and a judg­ment. The Catholic Church has taken advan­tage of this deplorable condition which exists among the Modernistic clergy, and as a result has prospered in North America as no other church has ever prospered.

Catholicism's Alarming Expansion

My anxiety increases as I see large Catholic educational institutions multiplying, and hospitals and churches increasing from coast to coast. In the Literary Digest of July 7, 1934, I read:

"Roman Catholics gain 54,191. The Roman Catholic population of the United States, in­cluding the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska, has increased to 20,322,594, representing a gain of 54,191 last year, according to 'The Official Cath­olic Directory' published by P. J. Kennedy and Sons, New York. There are 29,619 priests, 18,244 churches, and 1,028 high schools with a total of 24,356 students. . . . The total number of parochial schools is 7,429, and there are 2,224,553 pupils."

The Reader's Digest of April, 1934, in an article entitled, "Priest of the Air," said that the radio priest of American fame was attaining a weekly hearing of 10,000,000 people, and a conversion list of 5,000.

What a contrast to the report of "sterile churches" of Protestant denominations! This should cause every minister who believes the Bible, and Bible prophecy, to think seriously about the changes that are taking place before his own eyes in America.

While on the Pacific Coast recently, I read in the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Ex­press of September 23, 1936, the following news item: "The city of Los Angeles deeply appreci­ates the elevation of Bishop Cantwell to the rank of archbishop." These words were written by the mayor of the city, Frank L. Shaw. The Evening Herald continued its felicitations by stating:

"When Bishop Cantwell came to Los Angeles, the diocese included about 120,000 Catholics, twenty Catholic churches, one college, and five smaller schools. Today it comprises a Catholic population of close to 500,000, ninety churches, and twenty institutions of learning."

Again I repeat that this condition of affairs in the United States has alarmed me. On one hand I see the apostasy of the Protestant clergy from Bible truths, and the empty pews in their churches. On the other hand I see and hear about the almost unbelievable growth and influ­ence of the Catholic Church. Is it any wonder that I am deeply impressed with the seriousness of the situation?

Some time ago I saw a caption to an article reading thus: "Will America Become Catho­lic?" The article was written by Gordon King, and his answer to the interrogation was, "In so far as America will remain in any sense a Christian country, the indications are that it will very presently become a Roman Catholic country like France, with a huge agnostic op­position, upon whom the real burden of our intellectual virility will rest."

I appeal to my fellow workers in the advent movement to arouse and sound an alarm from shore to shore. "The work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us."—"Testimonies," Vol. IX, p. 29.

"Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that man may be deceived, deluded." "We are standing upon the threshold of great and solemn events. Proph­ecies are fulfilling. Strange, eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven. Every­thing in our world is in agitation. . . . Events are changing to bring about the day of God, which hasteth greatly." "A power from be­neath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama,—Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness."—"Christion Service," pp. 50-52.

The time is near when we shall see Revela­tion 13:15-17 and 17:12-17 fulfilled. Shall we not as God's messengers to a deluded world do our part in warning it of the oncoming tempest and of the end of all things earthly?

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By J. L. Brown, Missionary to South America

May 1937

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