Editorial Keynotes

Papal Tradition Versus the Prophetic Gift

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

Catholics have felt the imperative need of a sense of authority and cer­tainty, which they derive from the hu­man wisdom of their church. In contrast, the remnant church soundly and Scripturally finds its anchorage and security in the counsels of the prophetic gift in her midst known as the Spirit of prophecy.

The papal doctrine of the continuing inspi­ration of the living church through the medium of tradition (adopted at the Council of Trent in 1546), and reaching its climax in the declara­tion of papal infallibility (adopted at the Vatican Council of 1870), is a substitute for God's provision of inerrant, prophetic guid­ance for His remnant church, with its initial manifestation in 1844, at the very inception of . the third angel's message.

The Catholic Church contends that the pope when speaking on matters of "faith and mor­als" is "irreformable" and cannot err. (Man­ning, "Petri Privilegium," London, 1871.) On the contrary, the remnant church believes that the guiding counsels of God's latter-day messenger are inspired, and are therefore in­errant. But the wisdom of the first is of merely human origin, while that of the second is superhuman and divine.

In the first, the teachings and traditions of man transcend Scripture ; in the latter, the word of God in its completeness is exalted as the rule of faith and practice. In the first, such explicit provisions of the Word as the seventh-day Sabbath are expressly set aside by the alleged power of the church ; while in the second, the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is brought before the world as sacredly obligatory, the church having no power, right, or authority to change the explicit mandate of Scripture.

Such fundamentally opposite positions and contentions cannot but lead to challenge and eventually to conflict. If the one is true, the other must perforce be false. Hence the anger and inevitable opposition of the Papacy toward the remnant church. In fact, all other oppo­sition to papal claims becomes secondary in comparison.

Nominal Protestantism, professing to follow Scripture as its rule of faith and practice, is tragically inconsistent, and fatally neutralizes its position by its retention of Roman Catholicism's Sunday-sabbath, substituted and estab­lished at her behest in the days of her growing power and influence.

But that is not all. Protestantism had no sooner cast off her allegiance to the historic church from which she separated and emerged, than rationalism and higher criticism began to undermine her confidence in the inspiration and integrity of those very Scriptures, so that Protestantism at large now has neither the former authority of the church nor is she longer anchored to the Word she espoused. And she is, of course, without the guiding counsels of the Spirit of prophecy. Therefore she has neither respect for nor fear of Catholi­cism, and is herself devoid of inner strength to stand or to withstand.

But the remnant church, while exposing and condemning that usurpation that tampered with God's Sabbath and made a pago-papal rival day the mark of her authority over the souls of mankind, holding consistently to the integ­rity and inspired final authority of the Bible, and upholding its obligations in practice as in faith, is hound to become the supreme object of papal wrath, attack, and finally of attempted extirpation.

Counterfeit System Girds for Attack

The coming conflict is inescapable; for the championing of the Sabbath, the possession of the Spirit of prophecy, and the holding of the simple faith of the primitive gospel strikes at the very heart of that colossal system of perver­sion built up to a climax through the centuries.

And, be it observed, it was when the judg­ment hour struck that Daniel caught in vision the sound of "the great words which the horn spake." Dan. 7:11. Thus has the most arrogant claim in papal history been made since 1844. As God's work reaches its climax, this counterpart system of teaching girds itself for its supreme attack upon the citadel of truth.

The issue is sharp, clear, and unavoidable. That issue is the authority of the Word versus the authority of tradition; the antiquity of truth versus the antiquity of the church and its deviating practices ; and the infallibility of the Catholic Church in upholding her anti-Biblical practices versus the inspiration of the Spirit of prophecy in confirming the remnant church's denunciation of all these subverting positions and practices. Thus the issue is joined, and the great last battle between truth and error is on. And the more clearly the issues are perceived by her and declared by us, the more intolerable will we be to the power of Rome.

In the ultimate, it will be the incriminating finger of prophecy pointing with cumulative force to the predictive outline of the centuries, connecting the little horn of Daniel 7, the mystery of iniquity of 2 Thessalonians 2, with the symbolic beast of Revelation 13—and climaxing with its telltale "mark"—that will bring on the final crisis. This we know from the clear lesson of past history, the inerrant prediction of Bible prophecy, and the inspired confirmation of the Spirit of prophecy.

Such is the supreme issue of these last days. It is papal tradition versus the attestation of the Spirit of prophecy. The dragon is wroth with the commandment-keeping, Spirit-of­prophecy-guided remnant. But triumph and deliverance lie ahead. This is our destined course.                                                        

L. E. F.


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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

June 1942

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