Heresies Ancient and Modern by J. Oswald Sanders.

Ancient and Modern
J. Oswald Sanders.

THE substance of these chapters was originally
delivered as a series of lectures to the students of
the New Zealand Bible Training Institute in the course
of their studies in Apologetics. They were later repro-duced
in The Reaper, the magazine of the Institute,
and in their printed form were used to deliver some from
the clutches of the cults here treated. After revision, we have ventured to reproduce these studies in book form,
in the hope that wider usefulness may be found for them. Jude the Apostle gives abundant warrant for such an
approach as is here used. “ Beloved,” he wrote, “ while
I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common
salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered
unto the saints,” giving as the reason for his exhortation
that “ certain men had crept in privily . . . denying
our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” The same reason
has compelled the author to compile these studies.
The spate of subtle propaganda which comes over the air on the various radio networks, has strengthened the conviction that it is incumbent on Evangelicals, not only to indoctrinate their own members, but to raise a warning
voice against the insidious encroachments of these
Satanic counterfeits of true religion. Too long have we
allowed the cults to win by default.
Numerous books, pamphlets and magazine articles
from the pen of both antagonists and protagonists of
the various heresies have been read and drawn upon
in the course of preparation of these pages, for all of which
the author gratefully acknowledges his indebtedness.
Special mention must be made of Chaos of the Cults,
by J. K. Van Baalen which he would recommend as the
best book on the subject he has read ; Heresies Exposed,
by W. C. Irvine ; Confusion of Tongues, by C. W. 5.6 PREFACE
Ferguson ; Islrzs, New and Old, by Julius Bodensieck;
and Some Latter-Day Religions, by G. H. Combs.
The method adopted is simple and adapted to the
purpose in view, viz. to enable ordinary Christians to resist the blandishments and refute the errors of these
cults, It has been the aim throughout to quote from authorised publications of the cult under review, giving book and page, wherever possible, so that no injustice
may be done. In cases where the original books were not available for research, quotations from them by reliable
authorities have been given.
May the Lord Whose honour this book seeks to defend, bless it to the enlightenment of some and the emancipa-tion
of others of its readers.
INTRODUC~~I~N . . . . . . . 9
HE rise and development of the heresies current
throughout the world to-day, constitute one of the most remarkable features of contemporary religious history. The nature of their teachings, and the rapidity with which each in turn has gathered a not inconsiderable following, are at once an evidence of the inadequacy of the teaching in the orthodox churches, and a vindication of St. Paul’ s prophetic utterance :
“ The Spirit expressly warns us that in the latter times some shall revolt .from the faith ; they will give heed to deluding spirits, and to doctrines devil-taught, trapped by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.“-1 TIM. iv. I-Z (Way).
In presenting ” the case for the cults,” Gerald E. Richter makes a challenging statement to which we must reluctantly give our assent. “ Some phases of the ’ cults’ ’ operations,” he writes, ” might well be emulated by their non-productive critics. They believe strongly in what they profess, They sacrifice of their slender means to a far greater degree than the more pros- perous members of more orthodox faiths. They publish literature expounding their views literally by the ton, and devote hours, days, weeks of gratuitous service in its circulation, that others may be told and share with them the satisfying experiences into which they have
entered. How different are the ‘ activities ’ of the more respected churches, if they may be judged by the announcements published under that heading-suppers, shows, parties, dances.” While the church cannot be charged with the full responsibility for the phenomenal growth of the cults, she is not free from blame, and for that reason, if for no
other, we should endeavour to help and instruct those
who, through lack of teaching or the neglect of Christians
have fallen into ” the snare of the devil.”
The desire “ either to tell or to hear some new
thing ” is not peculiar to the Athenians. From time
immemorial there have been those who have a
penchant for the bizarre and mysterious, and to such
certain cults, e.g. Theosophy and Spiritism, makes a
special appeal. In a world of suffering both in body
and estate, the pursuit of health and prosperity have
ever claimed a large and tragic following, as witness the adherents of Christian Science and Unity. As a
release from the great emotional stress under which so many live to-day, yet other cults have gained earnest
A study of the chief of these modern heresies reveals not only a substantial identity with certain of those which
distressed the early church, but also a striking, almost
monotonous similarity, in their denials of the great
essentials of the Christian faith. Very few of them can
claim originality in their main tenets. In order that
readers may trace for themselves the development of the cults, a very brief synopsis of some of the main
heresies of ancient times is given, as well as a brief state-ment
of the doctrines usually held by the orthodox evangelical churches.
Accurate statistics concerning the cults are difficult
to arrive at, but if the figures put forward are even “ within co-ee ” of the truth, they are sufficient to give
us serious pause. It would not be difficult to establish
the truth of the assertion that many of the cults are
gaining adherents at a much faster rate than the churches.
This much is certain-the Church has failed to success-fully
indoctrinate its members so that they are in a
position to intelligently meet and combat the pretensions
of the heresiarchs. It is the author’s aim in this volume to provide Christian workers with a non-technical and brief but accurate
treatment of the origin, history and peculiar doctrinal
errors of several of the major cults, supported by docu-mented
quotations from their own writings. Copious
Scripture references are given throughout in refutation
of the errors promulgated by each false system. The.INTRODUCTION II
attitude adopted is warranted by the statement in
Isa. viii. 20 :
“ To the law and to the testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,”
and by St. John’s test of the spirit of error :
“ Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God. . . . Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.“–I JOHN iv. 1-3.
If there appears in places to be a touch of acerbity in the treatment, let it be remembered that we are not
dealing with personalities, but are endeavouring to expose the subtlety and hatred of a foe who is implacable
in his hostility alike to Christ and those who are united
to Him by faith. Any Christian who has lost the power
to become indignant when the sacredness of our Lord’s
person and work is desecrated by ruthless theological
vandals, has drifted a long way from the Master and His
apostles. Hear their words in this connection, and imbibe their spirit. Jesus said, “ Beware of false $YojfA&, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves ” (Matt. vii. IS). ‘I Take heed
I est any man deceive you : for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many. . . .
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall
show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible,
the very elect ” (Mark xiii. 5, 22).
Listen to St. Paul’s denunciation of the false teachers :
” For I know this, that after my departing, shall grievous
ZQJOZWS enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts
xx. 29).
“ But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any
other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let
him be accused. As we said before, so say I now again,
If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. i. 8, 9).
“ I would that they were even czlt 08 which trouble you ”
(Gal. v. 12). “ There are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision : whose
mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses,.12 INTRODUCTION
teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s
sake” (Tit. i. IO, II).
St. Peter speaks in similar strain : “ There shall be
false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in
damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought
them and bring upon them swift destruction. And
many shall follow their pernicious ways, by whom the
way of truth shall be evil spoken of . . . whose judgment
now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not ” (z Pet. ii. 1-3).
Lastly, Jude the brother of our Lord uttered his warning in no uncertain terms : “ There are certain men
crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of
God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ ” (Jude 4)..I
HE Apostle Paul exhorted us to ” hold fast the form
of sound words in faith and love which are in
Christ Jesus,” and from ancient times the Apostles’ Creed
has been of great assistance to the Church in obeying his
injunction. Although formulated about the second
century, it has held an honoured position throughout
succeeding centuries, and is probably still the most
widely used of all the confessions of faith. It presents
in concise language and in consecutive order the great
verities of the Christian faith. Here it is :
I believe
In God the Father Almighty
Maker of heaven and earth :
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead and buried,
He descended into hell ;
The third day He rose again from the dead,
He ascended into heaven, and
Sitteth on the riaht hand of God the Father
A l m i g h t y ; ”
From thence He shall come to judge the quick and
the dead.
I believe
In the Holy Ghost ;
The Holy Catholic Church ;
The forgiveness of sins ;
The Resurrection of the body, and
The life everlasting.
Perhaps it will be helpful to set these truths out in a little more detail. The following statement is substanti- ally the view of evangelical Christians, although there
may be divergence on minor points on the part of some.
We believe in the Old and New Testament Scriptures
as plenarily inspired of God and wholly trustworthy,
and that they are of supreme and final authority in
faith and life.
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons-Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy
Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and
true man, inseparably joined in one Person for ever.
We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical
death, but also spiritual death, which is separation from
God ; and that all have sinned and come short of the
glory of God.
We believe in the personality and malignity of the devil,
and the universality and heinousness of sin.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures as a substitutionary sacrifice ;
and that all who believe in Him are justified on the
ground of His shed blood.
We believe that salvation is by grace, through faith, and that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become
children of God.
We believe in the physical resurrection of our Lord, in
His ascension into heaven, and in His present life there
for us, as High Priest and Advocate.
We believe in the personal return of our Lord Jesus
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the
unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the
everlasting con:;cious punishment of the finally impenitent.
We believe that the Church is the company of all who
have been born again and have been formed by His
Spirit into one body of which He is the Head, and the.AKCIENT HERESIES AND AN ANCIENT CREED 15
Church is commissioned to go into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature.
With these confessions of faith before us, we shall
examine some of the heresies current in the early years of the Christian Church, but before doing so, we should have a clear idea of what the word “ heresy ” connotes.
According to Webster it is, “ a doctrine or opinion that
is contrary to the fundamental doctrine or creed of any
particular church ; an error of opinion respecting some
fundamental doctrine of religion ; an opinion or doctrine
tending to create division ; an unsound or untenable
doctrine of any kind.” A heretic is “ one whose errors
are doctrinal, and usually of a malignant character,
tending to subvert the true faith.” The word “ cult ”
means simply a “ system of religious worship,” but has
come to be associated largely with systems of religious worship which are heterodox. It will be observed that in the following heresies, the touchstone of doctrine is the Person and Work of Christ. This is the rock on which they all split. The Ebionites or “ poor people ” were a Judaising sect
of the second century, whose error was a denial of the
reality of the divine nature of Jesus Christ, They im-pugned
His supernatural birth, maintaining that He was
the natural son of Joseph and Mary, but conceded that a
divine power descended on Him at His baptism. He was
distinguished from other men by a holy life, the endow-ment
of divine gifts, and an unmeasured fullness of the Divine Spirit. According to Jerome, they believed in the
personal reign of our Lord for a thousand years as the Jewish Messiah. Their fundamental error amounted to a denial of the true deity of Christ.
The Cerinthians were followers of one, Cerinthus, whom tradition stigmatises as the chief antagonist of St. John
in Ephesus. Cerinthianism was an offshoot of Ebionism,
both having in common the belief that the deity of
Christ was based on His baptism and enduement of the
Spirit rather than on His supernatural birth. He was
distinguished from other men, however, only by His.16 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
superiority in justice, prudence and wisdom. Their contention was that there was no real and essential union of the two natures of Christ before His baptism. At His baptism the heavenly Christ descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and on the eve of His passion, the Christ again left Jesus, so that Jesus died and rose again, but the Christ, being spiritual, did not suffer.
The Arians, who derived their name from Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, maintained that our Lord was subordinate to the Father essentially, having been created by Him, and not possessing inherent and eternal self- existence. They ascribed pre-existence to Him, but not eternity ; divinity but not deity. To them He was a super-angelic creature, through whom all other creatures were made. Their error found its rise in a mis-interpre- tation of the Scriptures relating to Christ’ s humiliation, and in mistaking His temporary subordination to the Father for the purpose of His mediatorial work, with an original and permanent inequality. The Gnostics, againstwhose teachings St. John contended in his first Epistle, promulgated what has been called the distinctive heresy of the second century. According to Dr. Gwatkin it is “ Christianity perverted by learn- ing and speculation.” It puts knowledge (gnosis) in the place which belongs alone to Christian faith. Pro- fessor James Or-r describes it as “ the fantastic product of the blending of certain Christian ideas, with specula- tions derived from a medley of sources-philosophies, religions, theosophies, mysteries-jumbled together in an unimaginable welter,” and his description of Gnosti- cism is singularly appropriate to many of the present-day heresies we are about to study. The effect of the findings of the Gnostics was to reduce our Lord’ s life on earth to an illusion, and to maintain that He was neither born nor did He die. Matter was essentially evil, and the source of all evil. Not only did they discount the true humanity of Christ, but they denied alike the personality of the Supreme God and the free will of man. It is this heresy which accounts for the polemical nature of the first Epistle of St. John..ANCIENT HERESIES AND AN ANCIENT CREED I7
The APPolli~arialzs, with Appollinarius, Bishop of
Laodicea as their champion, in their laudable eagerness
to oppose Arianism in its denial of the deity of Christ, denied the existence of a rational soul in His human
nature. His body was merely the case in which the Divine Person of the Son replaced the spiritual part of man.
He had merely a body and an animal soul. Since the
human soul was regarded as the seat of sin, Christ could
not have possessed a human soul. It would necessarily
follow that He was not “ tempted in all points like as
we are, ” nor was He “ made like unto His brethren.”
The Nestorians, followers of Nestorius, Bishop of Con-stantinople,
denied the unique personality of Christ by
dividing Him into two persons. They contended that
the two natures of Christ constituted separate and
distinct personalities. In their zeal to correct the error
of designating Mary as “ Mother of God,” without limitation, they fell into the opposite error of dual per-sonality.
The Eutychians embraced the doctrine of Eutyches, Abbot of Constantinople, who, desiring to avoid a duality
of persons in Christ, fell into the opposite error of merging
the human nature of our Lord into the Divine. He thus
denied the integrity of our Lord’s two natures, and held
the mingling of both into a third nature neither human nor
Such were some of the ancient heresies which con-fronted
the apologists of the Early Church, and they were
combated with energy and skill by those who desired to preserve the doctrine of our Lord and His apostles
from the encroachments of error. As we face the modern heresies, and discover that all are astray on one or more
aspects of the Person and Work of our Lord, we too
must meet the challenge by the intelligent use of “ the
word of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” We have
been expressly commanded to “ contend earnestly for
the faith once for all delivered to saints,” and we must
be faithful to our trust.
E place Roman Catholicism at the head of the list
of heresies, since it is the largest and most in-fluential
of them all. Its emissaries circle the globe,
claiming that their Church alone has universal sovereignty
over the souls of men, and having as their avowed objec-tive
the bringing of every creature into subjection to the Roman Pontiff.
There is a notion widely current that the Roman
Catholic and Protestant Churches are simply different
branches of the same Church, each leading, although
by different routes, to the same goal. They stand, how- ever, for totally, fundamentally, irreconcilably different
religions which lead to goals as far separated as hell is
from heaven. Experience has proved that the vast
majority of Protestants, if challenged, can give no
reasoned basis for their non-adherence to the tenets of
the Roman Church, and it is with a view to supplying
this lack that we propose to advance seven reasons why no Bible-believing Christian can intelligently be or
become a Roman Catholic. First, let it be understood that we have no desire to
speak against Romanists as individuals, for many of them
are amiable in disposition and estimable in character.
Nor do we doubt that among their priests and nuns,
there are men and women who sincerely, though mis-takenly,
seek to live holy lives. A slight acquaintance
with Church history would be sufficient to dispel the idea that there are no true believers within the Roman fold.
But these concessions in no way prove that the religious
system with which they are united is sanctioned by
Scripture or that it enjoys the Divine approval.
Next, let us remember that there is much we hold in.20 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
common with the Roman Church, which, to its credit,
has never wavered in its adherence to the great funda-mental
doctrines of Holy Writ. With us, she tenaciously
holds such doctrines as the plenary inspiration and
authority of the Scriptures, the Virgin birth and deity
of our Lord, His substitutionary death, physical resur- rection and ascension, the fact of sin and the certainty
of future retribution. In these matters we are more at one with her than with the advanced Modernist. “ If you have so much in common with Rome,” it
might be objected, “ why not, for the sake of unity, con-centrate
on that which you hold in common, and forget
those points on which you differ ? ”
Why not ? If what has been stated above were all,
perhaps the difficulty of taking such a course would not
be insurmountable. But the truth is that there is scarcely
one of these doctrines which Rome has not emasculated
or so encrusted with the traditions of her councils, as to
almost nullify them. We think you will agree that this is the case before we conclude this paper.
I. Because of her attitude to the Scriptwes.
The writer of the Apocalypse gives solemn warning
in these words :
“ If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.“–REV. xxii, 18.
How does Rome heed this warning ? Pope Pius IV. answers for us in his creed. “ I most steadfastly admit and embrace apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions. . . .
I also admit the Holy Scriptures, according to that sense which our holy mother the Church has held . . .”
The Council of Trent, while receiving the Scriptures,
adds, ” . . . and also the traditions relating as well to
faith as to morals. . . .”Thus the door is left wide open
for the addition to the Word of God of anything the Church
may desire..ROMANISM REFUTED 21
Hear what the Lord had to say to the Pharisees who adopted the same attitude to Scripture :
“ Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tra&ion ? Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.“-MATT. xv. 3, 6.
A Roman Catholic may have the Bible, but always
plus the traditions of the Church and the interpretations
of the Fathers. Pope Pius IV. maintained that, “ it is
manifest by experience, that if the Holy Bible in the vulgar tongue be suffered to be read everywhere without distinction, moye evil than good arises.” In countries where Romanism is in the saddle, Bible
burning is still practised. As recently as 1936 a nun
in Canada endeavoured to obtain a Protestant Gospel
of John from a Catholic, so that she might burn what
she was pleased to call “ a pack of lies.”
In view of these incontrovertible and documented
facts, we could never unite with a Church which denied
us the God-given right of possessing, reading and inter-preting
for ourselves, under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit, the Sacred Scriptures.
II. Becawe of her demand of submission to the Pope as an indispensable condition of salvation.
The attitude of the Roman Catholic to the Papacy,
the words of Dr. Hugh Pope, himself a Catholic, make
abundantly clear. “ For a Catholic, the Papacy is the
key to the whole religious question. For, to put it con-cisely,
we believe the doctrines of our faith, not because
we fancy we discover them set forth in the New Testa-ment,
nor because a vague entity called ‘ the Church ’
has held them, but because the visible teaching Church-the
Corpus Christi or body of Christ-has taught them,
and continues to teach them, through its Head on earth,
the Pope, the Successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ.” l
The claim of Rome that, having a Pontificate of about
twenty-five years, from A.D. 42-67, Peter was the first
1 The Papacy, being Papers from the Summer School of Catholic Studies held at Cambridge, August 7-10, 1923..22 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
Pope, is without a shred of historical evidence to support
it. Luke, the reliable historian, has given us a history
of the Church from its founding until thirty years after
the resurrection, but there is no record of Peter, the
apostle to the circumcision, ever having set foot in Europe.
When Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans in A.D. $3,
he sent salutations to twenty-seven Christians there, but Peter was not among them. Is this omission conceivable
if Peter was at. that time the Bishop of Rome ? In not one of the six epistles he wrote from Rome does he mention Peter, nor is there any record of Peter having
visited Paul while he was in prison-surely an inexcusable
neglect of his “ beloved brother Paul.” Strange, too,
that Peter himself wrote no epistles either to or from
Unum Sanctum, the Bull of Pope Boniface VIII.
declared by Cardinal Manning to be “ Infallible and
beyond all doubt an act ‘ ex cathedra,’ ” states : “ We
declare, affirm, define and pronounce it to be necessary
to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” In his book,l published in 19×6, Rev. A. Bonnar contends that this decree is ” not a
document which the Holy See has in any way retracted.” So this preposterous demand of Rome is not out of
date. In support of this view, Pope Pius IX. blasphemously
asserted, “ I alone, despite my unworthiness, am the
successor of the apostles, the Vicar of Jesus Christ. . . .
I am the way, the truth, and the life.” If this be the
truth, then submission to him would be most reasonable.
But is it the truth ?
Even the Roman Catholic Scriptures teach that salva- tion consists in submission, not to the Pope of Rome,
but to the Lord of Glory.
“ Neither is there salvation in any other ; for there is none
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.“-AcTs iv. 12.
“ No man comet11 unto the Father but by IMe.“–JOHN xiv. 6.
1 Church and State..ROMANISM REFUTED 23
This being the case, we do not propose to entrust our
salvation to a fallible Roman priest or Pope, but to our
Great High Priest who in heaven still bears in His hands
the evidences of our redemption.
III. Because Romanism teaches a gradation in sin which
is foreign to Scrijbture.
Sins, Rome teaches, are divided into mortal-grievous sins bringing everlasting death, and venial-smaller
sins, not meriting eternal punishment.
I n h i s book,l published with the imprimatur of C a r d i n a l Cullen of Dublin, Furniss writes : “ It is a
venial sin to steal a little. It is a mortal sin to steal
much. . . . If you steal often a little, when the little
sums come to make altogether a large sum, it becomes
a mortal sin.”
Think of it ! Sin is condoned and glossed over by a
distinction which is unknown either to Scripture or to
reason. Sin is either sin or it is not sin. An ethically
perfect God must demand ethical perfection of His creatures, and anything in which we fall short of that
perfection is sin, and requires atonement. If venial sins are sins, they need forgiveness. If they are not sins, they need no forgiveness, nor do they require purgatory to expunge them.
The clear, explicit teaching of Scripture is that “ the
wages of sin “-all sin-“ is death ” (Rom. vi. 23). We
refuse to subscribe to such an immoral doctrine as that
set out above.
IV. Because Romanism denies the @ivilege of confession direct to Christ, without a priest as intermediary.
Rome’s contention that confession in order to be effec- tive, must be made into the ear of a human priest, is
entirely without Scriptural support. Our sins are not
forgiven merely because we confess them, else there
would be merit in our very confession. They are
1 What every Christian Should Know and Do..24 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
forgiven because Christ died for them and expiated their
“ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.“-1 JOHN i. g.
” I will confess my transgressions unto ths Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.“-Ps. xxxii. 5,
“ If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.“-r JOHN ii. 2.
Although the publican poured his confession into the ear of no priest, we are assured that “he went down to
his house justified” (Luke xviii. 14). The dying thief enjoyed no privileges of priestly mediation, ,and yet
immediately at death, he entered Paradise with his new-found
We will not surrender to Rome the blessed, blood-bought
right of confessing direct to the One against
whom we have sinned, and of receiving absolution at
His hand. The tyranny which the priesthood exercises over the
Roman Catholic laity is one of the dark blots on its history.
On one occasion Dr. G. F. Pentecost was urged to visit
a dying Roman Catholic woman in Boston. She had neglected her religious duties and had fallen out with
the priest, who retaliated by refusing to visit her in her
dying hour. When Dr. Pentecost came he apprised her of the fact that she had not long to live. She said she
knew it, and what could she do ?The priest would not
come, and even if he did, she was too ill to do any penance.
How then could she make her peace with God ?
The minister told her that she did not have to make
her peace with God, for Christ had already made that
peace for her, through the blood of His cross (Col. i. 20).
He instructed her with such verses as Eph. ii. 14 ;
Isa. xxvi. 3 ; Rom. viii. I, and pointed her to Christ as the One who alone could grant her absolution of her sins.
The dying woman turned her face to the wall and was
silent for a time. Then she said, “ Oh ! to think of that !
That Christ should have made peace for the likes of me ! ”
But for the timely visit of the messenger of the Cross,.ROMANISM REFUTED 25
this woman would have spent her last moments in fear
of purgatory, and would have passed out into the
unrelieved darkness of a lost eternity.
V. Because Romanism admits of many mediators, wherea?
the teaching of Scripture is unequivocally clear :
“ For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.“-1 TIM. ii. 5.
In spite of this clear statement of Scripture, Mary and
the saints are interposed between the soul of the Catholic,
and Christ. One of the best-known writers on this
subject, Liguori,l gives us statements of recognised
Catholic saints.Here are some of them :
“ We often obtain more promptly what we ask by
calling on the name of Mary, than by invoking that of
J esus.”
“ If my Redeemer rejects me on account of my sins
and drives me from His sacred feet, I will cast myself at those of His beloved mother, Mary . . . until she has obtained my forgiveness.” “ 0 immaculate Virgin, prevent thy beloved Son, who
is irritated by our sins, from abandoning us to the power of the devil.”
What a ghastly travesty of the character of the Christ
who loved us enough to give Himself for us ! But not
content with this, Romanists place the love of Mary on
the same level as the love of God ! Saint Bonaventure
actually says : “ Mary so loved the world that she gave
her only begotten son.” What blasphemous dishonour to
God and His Son !
No sincere believer in the Deity of Christ would tolerate
for a moment the intrusion of even a glorified human being between the soul and God. “ There is ONE mediator.”
VI. Because Romanism denies the $naJity of Christ’ s atoning sacrifice.
She teaches that the holy eucharist is the real body and
blood of Christ, under the outward appearance of the
sacrifice of the Cross-a perpetual sacrifice, indispensable to salvation. In the mass, the elements are changed into
the veritable body and blood of Christ.
Thus is the simple memorial feast in which we proclaim
the Lord’s death, till He come, perverted and miscon-strued.
On no point do the Scriptures speak with greater
clarity and emphasis than on the completeness and
finality of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
“ Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the High Priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others ; For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world ; but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.“-HEB. ix. 25, 26.
“ By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all. But this man, after He had once offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.“–HE& x. IO, 12.
With these, and many other passages of Holy Writ to
support us, we refute this objectionable and irrational
dogma of Rome, and affirm that when Christ cried “ It
is finished,” He was proclaiming a blessed and emanci-pating
truth. His sacrifice was accepted by God, as
evidenced in His resurrection from the dead, and needs
no repetition.
VII. Because Romanism, for its own pro$t, promulgates
the unscri@wal dogma of purgatory.
This dogma arises out of the belief that after the pardon of eternal punishment, there still remains a guilt
of temporal punishment to be expiated in purgatory,
where the soul makes satisfaction for sins committed
after baptism, by suffering a longer or shorter time
according to the degree of guilt. ‘ I All who die at peace
with the church but are not perfect, pass into purgatory.”
“ The teaching of the Catholic Church,” writes Rev. P.
Ryan1 “ is that there are three states in the other lifc-heaven,
where those go who die, having no sins upon
their souls ; hell to which those who die in mortal sin go
1 Catholic Doctrines Explained and Proved..ROMANISM REFUTED 27
for ever and ever. . . . There is also a middle state
where those go who die having venial sins upon their
souls, or who have not expiated the temporal punishment
due to their mortal sins.”
One would surely expect that for such a terrifying conception, there would be a formidable array of Scripture proofs. But is this the case ? In the Catholic Dictionary,l we read, “ We would appeal to those general principles
of Scripture, rather than to particular texts often alleged
in proof of purgatory. We doubt if they contain an explicit
and direct reference to it.” (Italics ours.)
Is heaven mentioned in Scripture ? Many times. And
hell ? Many times. And purgatory ? NOT ONCE. N or
was the idea introduced until the end of the sixth century.
It was not decreed as an article of faith of the Roman
church until 14×9 at the Council of Florence. Does it
not seem strange that the Scriptures are silent con-cerning
it, the early Church knew nothing of it, and
fourteen centuries elapsed before even the Roman church adopted this coffer-filling belief ? Do you wonder that
Hugh Latimer designated it “ Pick-purse Purgatory ” ?
Protestants do not fully realise that even the devout
and faithful, except in rare cases (and even then no one
can be sure), must experience the purgatorial fires, “ the
pains of which are more grievous than all the pains of
this world ” (Thomas Aquinas).
Even the truly saintly Faber describes it thus :
“ In pain beyond all earthly pains, Favourites of Jesus, there they lie, Letting the fire burn out their stains And worshipping God’ s purity.”
Is this the way Christ treats His favourites ? Is this what
He meant when He said :
“ Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”-MATT. xi. 28.
“ Let not your heart be troubled. , . , I go to prepare a place
for you.”- J OHN xiv. I, 2.
1 Catholic Dictionury, 1928, p. 704..a 8 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
Is purgatory the promised rest, the prepared place ? Is this the prospect Paul had in view when he had such a desire to depart and be with Christ, which he maintained
was far better ? (Phil. i. 23). A thousand times, No !
Even a devout Roman Catholic lives in fear of death,
but our Lord partook of flesh and blood for the express
purpose of delivering them “ who through fear of death
were all their lifetime subject to bondage ” (Heb. ii. IS).
The dogma of purgatory gives the Roman Church the
strangle-hold in death as in life. It has led to the
iniquitous system of indulgences which is by no means a
relic of bygone centuries.
On p.44 of the booklet, Spiritual Bouquet ofered to
souls in Purgatory, the Saviour is pictured as coming in a vision to St. Gregory, and saying, “ My friend, I
wish to bestow on you a unique privilege-that is, every
soul in purgatory for whom shall be offered thirty masses
in your honour, without interruption, shall be delivered
immediately, whatsoever be its debt towards me, and moreover, I shall not wait till the masses are said, but
shall deliver that soul as soon as the offering is made.”
Thus, by paying a lump sum, release can be effected.
We refuse to submit to this religion of superstition and
fear, which puts the dead at the mercy of the living. We have not received “ the spirit of bondage again to fear,”
for “ perfect love casts out fear.” With complete confidence in an inspired and infallible
Bible, conscious as we are of having deeply sinned, we confess our sin to Christ, our one and only Mediator,
and commit our souls to His keeping in the sure and
certain confidence that He is faithful to His promise
and has cleansed us in the true purgatory, His own
blood, “ which cleanseth from all sin.”.III
NE baneful outcome of World War No. I was the
recrudescence of Spiritism-the attempt to hold
communication with the spirits of the dead. In those
tragic days there were myriads of tables with an empty
chair, and scarcely a home without a broken heart over
a son, husband or lover who had failed to return. To the
wistful heart, Spiritism held out some prospect of com-munion
with the loved one. Now that World War No. II is over, such conditions are being repeated, and we
desire to raise a sympathetic and yet strong warning, lest
any, in their hour of sorrow and bereavement, turn to the wrecker’ s lights of Spiritism, instead to the God of all comfort. The revival of Spiritism need not surprise us if we heed
the prophecy of St. Paul :
“ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits . . . speaking hypocritically.“–I TIM. iv. 1-2.
It is not without its solemn significance that most
spiritists are those who have had some background of
spiritual experience. Himself an ex-medium, Rev. W. H.
Claggett said, “ I have yet to meet the first spiritualist of whom I did not find one of two things to be true-either
they were renegade church members who had given
up their faith, or they were persons who had at one time been under deep conviction from the Holy Spirit, and
had driven away their convictions.” 1
The association of many eminent scientists and literary
men with the cult, has given it a prestige it ill-deserves.
But be that as it may, we cannot lightly dismiss the
appeal it has made to a section of the community,
1 The Mask Torn Off, p. 5..30 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
Curiosity. There are many who delight in dabbling in the mysterious and occult. To such, anything sensa-tional
or “ spooky” has the attraction of the candle for
the moth, and the semi-darkness of the seance affords a
welcome field of experiment. Many, doubtless, are
innocent in their approach, but innocence of motive is
not necessarily a safeguard. Said Hugh Benson : ” To
go into seances with good intentions is like holding a
smoking concert in a powder magazine, on behalf of an
orphan asylum.It is not the least protection to open the
concert with prayer : we have no business to be there at all. We are blown up just the same.”
Bereavement. The movement has received its greatest impulse from the large number of bereaved who have
sought consolation from its teaching. Is their loved one happy ? Is he conscious of happenings on earth ? Our
sympathy goes out to all in such cases. But the tragedy and wrong are when the bereaved one resorts to that
which is absolutely forbidden by the Word of God. The
Church is blameworthy in this matter in that she has not
sounded a clear warning note, nor has she brought the
Divine panacea for aching hearts to the great masses of
suffering mankind. Psychic Research. Not a few have embarked upon
scientific investigation of the phenomena of Spiritism,
only to find that in transgressing the explicit command
of God, they have involved themselves in unexpectedly
serious consequences.
A reading of ancient history, both sacred and profane,
reveals that Spiritism was practised in the very early days of the human race.In the Old Testament, no
fewer than nineteen words are used to express its various
One of the earliest of modern spiritists was Andrew
Jackson Davis (1826) who, when hypnotised, gave out
spirit messages. In 1846 he published some of these.THE SNARE OF SPIRITISM 31
under the title, The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations and a Voice to Mankind. Its modern revival, however, is attributable to Margaret
and Kate Fox, twelve and nine years of age respectively, who in 1848 were the first exponents of table-rappings, etc.
Their fame rapidly spread, and Spiritism was re-born.
Space forbids any extended reference to them, but suffice
it to say that in later life both repudiated the cult of which
they had been the unwitting founders, and confessed
that the whole thing was the outcome of a hoax. Mr.
C. W. Ferguson in his Confusion of Tongues informs us
that their repudiation is on record in the book, The Deathblow of Spiritism, by Reuben Briggs Davenport.
The Scripture statement of its origin is clear and
explicit. “ In the latter days some shall . . . give heed to
seducing spirits and doctrines of demons ” (I Tim. iv. I-Z)
who are fallen angels in the service of the devil. If ever
the devil manifests himself as “an angel of light,” it is
at the Spiritistic seance.
Much that passes coin as supernatural in the seance
is nothing more than sleight of hand. Lavish use is
made of modern discoveries in the producing of fake
phenomena, When The Scienti$c American o f f e r e d
$5000 for a proved case of psychic phenomenon, a host of
mediums announced their intention of competing for it.
But when it was announced that the Chairman of the Committee of Investigation would be Houdini, the
greatest master of legerdemain in the world, most of
them withdrew ! Incidentally the $5000 still remains
unclaimed. Houdini himself spent many years in study-ing
and investigating the claims of spiritistic mediums,
and dismissed them as utterly unfounded. In his book,l
Houdini sums up his conclusions in these devastating
words : “ I have not found one incident that savoured
of the genuine. If there had been any real unalloyed
demonstration to work on, one that did not reek of fraud,
one that could not be reproduced by earthly powers, then
IHoudini, A Magician Among the Sfiiuits..32 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
there would be something of a foundation. But up to the present time everything I have investigated has been the
result of deluded brains, or those who were too actively
willing to believe.” Another magazine, Science and Invention, carried a standing offer of $ZI,OOO for any phenomenon that could
not be explained, or duplicated by natural or scientific
means. This, too, remains unclaimed.
Dr. Felton, former president of Harvard University,
once attended a Boston seance, and invoked the spirit
of the Greek statesman, Pericles, about whom he had
written a learned classic. In due course the spirit of
Pericles took possession of the medium. “ I put to him
a series of questions about Athens of his time,” said
Dr. Felton,“ but he had not only lost all knowledge of
all that he had ever done during the forty years of his
administration, but he had even forgotten his mother
tongue. I could only exclaim with Hamlet : ‘ Alas,
poor ghost,’ and turn to my books.” But while admitting that there is a great deal of
chicanery among mediums, we would be going beyond both Scripture and prudence in asserting that Spiritism
is all fraudulent. We categorically deny, however, that
there is any Scriptural support for the assertion that the
spirits of the dead can communicate with the living.
From Luke xvi. 26 two things are clear : first, that the
wicked dead cannot communicate with the living ; second,
that the righteous dead may not do so. Those who seek to establish such communication, only succeed in making
themselves the prey of evil spirits who feign to be the spirit of the departed dead.
Even when there is absolute honesty on the part of the
medium, there is no guarantee that, as Conan Doyle confessed, they may not get into touch with “ naughty
spirits ” which aim to deceive, or that the medium may
not be misled by the spirit “ control.”
A classic illustration of this is cited by Dr. H. A.
Ironside. A well-known Los Angeles medium, Helen
Templeman. sent him a message purporting to come
from Dwight L. Moody, in which the evangelist was.THE SNARE OF SPIRITISM 33
supposed to say that he had utterly misunderstood the divine plan when on earth, but was now learning slowly.
“ My father was the culprit,” the message continued.
” He never deviated from the old path, and brought me
up that way. But my father was not to blame when I
became of age. He was a doer, but had no light on the
laws of ‘ spirit return.’ ” Unfortunately for the medium
and her message, Moody’s father died when he was a
tiny child ! So much for the bona jides of the spirit-or
of the medium. But with the evidence before us of such a sane scientist as Sir William Crookes, who testified, ” I have talked
with the spirit of Katie King scores and scores of times,
saw her form appear and disappear, and photographed
her forty times with five different cameras,” and who
declared that every scientific test was applied to eliminate
every possibility of fraud, and each experiment was
confirmed by other equally prominent scientific men who
were present, we cannot lightly say that Spiritism has no basis in fact.
Christ spoke an eternal truth when He said, “ By their
fruits ye shall know them.”Judged by its fruits, Spiritism
has little to offer the seeker.On the contrary, the effects on its devotees have been disastrous.
Physical.-Mediums are frequently overpowered by the controlling spirit, and as in Christ’s day, fall down
and foam at the mouth. “ Their work renders them
more and more nervous, more and more excitable, and
its only logical sequence is insanity.” Sir William Crookes
acknowledged that the painful nervous and bodily
prostration accompanying the work of the medium,
involved a great drain on the vital forces. Is this the
effect of true Christianity on its adherents ?
Mental.-Still worse are the effects of Spiritism on the minds of its followers. “ Tens of thousands of persons
are confined in lunatic asylums on account of having
tampered with the supernatural,” says Dr. Forbes
Winslow, the noted alienist. A well-known scientist
claims that mediumship has identical pathological
symptoms with lunacy. The sphygmograph records
absolute similarity between a violent maniac and a
spirit medium in the trance state. Dr. A. T. Schofield,
the Harley Street brain specialist, stated from a wide experience that professional mediums suffer terribly in
body and mind. Another authority states that fifty-eight per cent. of all insanity can be traced to the fatally
destructive processes of Satanic possession, of which
mediumship is the quickest and most direct method.
But is not the mark of true spirituality the possession of
“ a sound mind ? ”
Mom?.-“ It is the sublime mission of Spiritism to
deliver humanity from the thraldom of matrimony, and
to establish sexual emancipation ” (Mrs. Woodhull,
President of the Spiritist Societies in America). Can a
system which permits and encourages such sentiments
fail to produce fruit after its kind ? Should it find a
place within the Christian communion ? SpiritztaL-It is here that its most devastating effects
are seen. “What is virtue ? ” asks Dr. Child. “ Virtue
is good, and sin is good. The woman . . . at Sychar
was just as pure in spirit before she met Christ, even
though she was a harlot, as she was afterwards when she
went to live a different life. There is no difference
between Herod, murderer of babes and Christ the Saviour
of men.” Can aught but evil result to the spiritual life
of medium or sitter from such blatant blasphemy ?
EterrcaL-Most serious of all, its consequences extend
to the world to come. “Sorcerers . . . shall have their
part in the lake of fire which is the second death ” (Rev. xxi. 8). “ Without are . . . sorcerers” (Rev. xxii.
IS)* Heaven is closed and hell is open to those who traffic with evil spirits. Well did Dr. A. T. Pierson utter his warning : “ To
meddle with this awful realm of spirits, may bring us under the sway of malignant supernatural agents and
forces. Not only God, but wicked spirits wield weapons
which, to us, are superhuman and supernatural. . . . The
devil can sway man by powers which belong to a higher.THE SNARE OF SPIRITISM 35
realm ; and to dare to invade those forbidden precincts
is to venture into an unknown territory, and run corres-ponding
risks, risks which are proportionate to the
success of our experiment ! ”
One of the greatest of human temptations is to en-deavour
to lift the veil and penetrate the unseen world, but against this curiosity God’s people were solemnly
warned. “ There shall not be found among you anyone
. . . . that useth divination . . . or an enchanter, or a
witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar .s$irits,
or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord ” (Deut. xviii.
10-12). The passage proceeds to state that it was for
this most serious sin and affront to God that the nations
of Canaan were to be destroyed.
The practice of Spiritism is roundly condemned and
strictly forbidden (Isa. viii. 19, 20). It was to be punished by death (Ex. xxii. 18, rg ; Lev. xix. 26, 31 ; xx. 26, 27 ;
Num. xxiii. 23 ; Deut. xxxii. 17 ; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 6 ;
Ps. cvi. 37). The New Testament is no less vocal than the Old in
its warnings. Our Lord cites many instances of foul and
unclean spirits dominating men (Mark i. 23, 24 ; ix, 25,
26). Two instances are given of possession by more than
one demon (Luke viii. 2, 30). The power of spirits to
work miracles is acknowledged (Rev. xvi. 14). The account is given of the exorcising of a spirit from a
medium by the Apostle Paul (Acts xvi. 16-18). The
modern rise of Spiritism is one of the predicted signs of
the last days, concerning which express warning is given
by the Holy Spirit ( I Tim. iv. I, 2). The Witch of Endor. One of the foundation passages of the Spiritist position is I Sam. xxviii. 3-25 ; but
rightly interpreted,this incident becomes a liability
rather than an asset.The paragraph records the solitary
instance in which the spirit of a dead person reappeared
on earth. Disregarding the explicit command of God
to which he had previously rendered obedience, Saul.36 HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
had resorted to the medium at Endor for comfort, for he
was now out of touch with God. He asked for Samuel
to be brought up. To the amazement and dismay of
both medium and king, God interrupted the seance by
causing not an impersonating spirit, but Samuel in person
to appear. It is to be noted that the record plainly says,
“ Samuel said to Saul,”thus precluding the possibility
of an evil spirit impersonating Samuel. It would seem that God-as He had every right to do-had permitted Samuel to appear to Saul, in order to deliver to him the last terrible message of God’s rejection.
In support of this view, one relevant factor was the
evident terror and surprise of the medium at the unex-pected
appearance of Samuel, while another was the exact
fulfilment of Samuel’s prophecy in the death of Saul.
It is clear from the record that Samuel did not appear
at the call of the medium, else why should she be so
astonished, and cry with a loud voice ? God does not
permit the spirits of the departed to be at the command
of godless mediums on earth. In any case this solitary instance would be slender evidence on which to base the whole superstructure of the Spiritistic system.
We reject Spiritism because of-Its
attitude to the Bible.
” To assert that it is a holy and divine book, that God
inspired the writers to make known His divine will, is a
gross outrage on and misleading to the public.” l
For answer, see I Cor. ii. g-q ; 2 Tim. iii. 16 ; Heb.
x. 15 ; I Pet. i. 23-25 ; 2 Pet. i. 20, 21.
Its Concefition of God.
In The Physical Phenomena in S$iritualism Revealed,
this frank admission of the Spiritist’s pantheistic con-ception
of God occurs :
sonal God.”
“ We abrogate the idea of a per-The
extent to which they are prepared
1 Oullines of Spiritualism, p. 13..THE SNARE OF SPIRITISM 37
to go in their denunciation of the orthodox conception
of God, becomes evident in this quotati0n.l
Question, by Mrs. Connant, medium : ” Do you know
of any such spirit as a person we call the devil ? ”
Answer, through the controlling spirit at the seance :
“ We certainly do, and yet this same devil is our God,
our Father.”
For answer, see Gen. i. I ; xvii. I ; Deut. vi. 4 ; xxxiii. 27 ; Ps. xciv. g, IO ; cxlvii. II ; Jer. x. IO ; I Thess. i. g.
Its Dethroning of Christ.
” What is the meaning of the word Christ ? It is not, as is generally supposed, the Son of the Creator of all
things. Any just and perfect being is Christ.”
“ The miraculous conception of Christ is merely a
fabulous tale.” 2
“ It is an absurd idea that Jesus was more divine than
any other man.” “ Christ was a medium and reformer
in Judea. He now is an advanced spirit in the sixth
sphere.” “ Tom Paine is in the seventh sphere, one
above our Lord ” (Dr. Weisse, noted spiritist).3
For answer, see John i. I, 14 ; Phil. ii. ~–II ; Heb. i. 3, 5, 8 ; I John ii. 22 ; iv. 1-3 ; 2 John vii.
Its Rejection of Blood Atonement.
“ One can see no justice in a vicarious atonement, nor in the God who could be placated by such means.” 4
“ Your atonement is the very climax of a deranged
imagination, and one that is of the most unrighteous and
immoral tendency ” (A. J. Davis).
“ Advanced spirits do not teach the atonement of Christ ” (Nicholas).
For forty years Dr. A. C. Dixon challenged mediums in all parts of the world as to whether they believed in the atoning work of Christ for salvation. In not one case did they do so.
1 The Banner of Light, November 4, 1865. B .S@&d Telegraph, No. 37. a Demonology or Spiritualism, p. 147. d A. Conan Doyle, The New Revelation, p. 55..38 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
For answer, see Rom. iii. 24 ; v. II ; I Cor. xi. 23-26 ;
z Cor. v. 14-21 ; Eph. i. vii ; Col. i. 20-22 ; IIeb. ix.
26-28 ; I Pet. ii. 24 ; iii. 18 ; I John i. 7 ; ii. 2.
Its Advocacy of Salvation by Works.
“ Man is his own saviour ” (Rev. W. Stainton Moses).
” In the Spiritualistic hymn-book and prayers the name
of Jesus is omitted, and the motto of many is, ‘ Every man his own saviour ’ ” l (Rev. F. Fielding Ould). For answer, see Rom. iv. 2-5 ; v. I ; vi. 23 ; Eph. ii.
8, g.
Its Denial of a Devil, Evil S$irits ad Hell.
” There is no devil and no evil spirits.” “All spirit
people of wisdom know that there is no burning hell,
no fearful devil.” 2
” All spirits in the other world are nothing else but
the souls of those who have lived here.” 3
The inference from this is, of course, that since there are no angels or evil spirits, communications can be
carried on between departed spirits of men and women, For answers, see Job. i. 6 ; Jer. xxvii. g-10 ; Zech. iii.
I . Matt. iv. I ; viii. zg ; xvii. 18 ; Mark v. g-13 ; Acts. .: . xm. 7-12 ; xvi. 16, 18 ; I John iv. I.
Its Minimising of Sin.
“ What is evil ? Evil does not exist, evil is good. A
lie is the truth intrinsically ; it holds a lawful place in
creation, it is a necessity. What is virtue ? Virtue is
good, sin is good.”
“ Vice is sandpaper to the soul.”“ The degradation
of prostitution is a phantom of materialism that belongs
to self-righteousness.”
“ There has been no deed in the catalogue of crime that has not been a valuable experience to the inner being of
the man who committed it.” 4
1 Light, July 12, 1919.
a Outlines of Spiritualism. 8 I.anslots, Spiritualism Unveiled. p. 36.
4 Dr. A. B. Childs, Whatever Is, Is Right..THE SNARE OF SPIRITISM 39
” Never was there any evidence of a fall ” (A. Conan
For answer, see Matt. xv. 18 ; John iii. 3 ; Rom. vi.
* vii. 5-24 ; I Cor. ii, 14 ; Gal . v. Ig-2 1 ; C ol . ii. 13 ;
2eL. iii. 13 ; I John iii. 4.
Its Belittling of the Church.
“ Spiritualism is vastly more firmly fixed than the rock on which it has been falsely said that Jesus Christ founded His church. . . . If Spiritualism is to live,
Christianity must die. They are the antithesis of each
other. . . . Modern Spiritualism has come to give it its co@ de grace.” 1 For answer, see Rom. xii. 4-8 ; I Cor. xii. 28 ; Eph. i.
3-14 ; v. 23-27 ; Col. i. 18-24 ; Heb. xiii. 17 ; Jas. v. 14.
Its Degrading of Motherhood.
“ I will exercise that dearest of all rights . . . the right of maternity-in the way which to me seemeth right ; and no man, nor set of men, no Church, no State, shall withhold me from the realisation of that purest of all inspirations inherent in every true woman, the right to beget myself when, and by whom, and under such circumstances as to me seem fit and best ” (J. M. Spear) .a
For answer see Deut. xvii. 17 ; Matt. v. 27, 28 ;
xix. 4-8 ; Gal. v. Ig ; I Tim. iii. 2.
We will not pain our readers with more of such blatantly
blasphemous quotations. Sufficient are given to demon-strate
that Spiritism is inherently and aggressively
It would be strange indeed if God had left us with no infallible test of the nature of this pseudo-religion. “ Believe not every spirit,” counsels the aged John, ” but test the spirits, whether they be of God ” (I John
iv. I). How can we test them ?
Do they speak according to and in harmony with the Word
1 Editor of Mind and Matter, June 1880. a Waggoner, Modern .!$iritualism, p. 147..40 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
of God? (Isa. viii. rg-zo). With the above quotations
before us, to ask this question is to answer it.
Do they confess that Jews Christ is come in the JEesh ?
(I John iv. 3). If not, they are not of God, but are the
spirit of antichrist. In other words, the test is, a con-fession
of the full deity and true humanity of Christ.
The test question should be addressed, not to the medium,
but to the spirit-control. Such was our Lord’s method.
Dr. William McAlpine, a medical man, says1 “ One day, at eight o’clock in the morning, I was called to see
a brilliant University girl of twenty-eight. I knew her
well. She had a fine appearance. When I arrived her father took me up to her room where she was lying, as
white as death, with her hands together. She said :
‘ Doctor, have you come at last to save me ? ’ I leaned
against the bedroom door, and looked at her. Remem-bering
John, first epistle, chapter iv. verses 1-4, I applied
the test for the spirits, the confession that Jesus Christ
is come in the flesh. She cried out : ‘ Doctor, they won’t
let me say it ! ’ The demon in possession said, ’ Dr.
William McAlpine, you kneel before me ! ’ My reply was,
‘ By the blood of Christ and the victory of Calvary, I
command you to come out of her.’ At last the girl was delivered, and gloriously converted.”
We think sufficient evidence has been adduced to cause any sincere seeker after truth to shun any connection
with Spiritism whatever, whether as participant or
observer. To those who may be ensnared by it, God’s
word is, “ Come out from among them, and be ye separate,
and touch not the unclean thing ” (2 Cor. vi. 17).
1 Prophetic News, October 1935..IV
HRISTIAN Science has probably attracted a larger
proportion of the wealthy and cultured than has
any other of the modern mushroom cults. In its ranks
are to be found many genial and benevolent citizens who
cherish lofty ideals and live apparently serene lives.
Even Mark Twain in his satirical volume, Christian Science, makes this concession : “ Personally, I have not
known a (Christian) Scientist who did not seem serene,
contented, unharassed.”
Christian Science is not all bad. We do not deny that some have obtained from it a measure of help on the material plane. As Holmes said, “ A pseudo-science does not necessarily consist wholly of lies. It contains many
truths, and even valuable ones. The rottenest bank
starts with a little specie. It puts out a thousand
promises to pay on the strength of a single dollar, but
the dollar is very commonly a good one.” So with the
heresy under review.
In every city the doors of their well-built churches and
attractive reading-rooms invite the unwary to enter.
In Boston, the home of the movement, is the Mother
Church, a magnificent pile of marble and granite, which was erected at a cost of 7,000,000 dollars. The promise of healing of the ills common to modern civilisation,
allures many who are vainly searching after health. A
close examination of its teachings, however, will con- vince any honest investigator that one could not be at
the same time a New Testament Christian and a Christian
This heresy has been defined as a system of healing
based upon the old philosophical concept of the non-existence
of matter. Its leading principle is that there 4=.42 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
is nothing material in the universe ; matter does not
exist. “ Mind is all ; matter is naught.”
Because of its Misleading Name.
As has been frequently stated, it is neither Christian,
nor is it Science. Mrs. Eddy, the founder, said, “ In
1866 I discovered the science of metaphysical healing, and named it Christian Science.” ‘The fact is that she
neither discovered it nor named it, as we shall show later.
It is not Christian, for it denies every fundamental truth of Christianity, and indeed, the reality of Christ Himself. Since, according to Christian Science, there is
no such thing as sin, there is no need of a Saviour. And
yet, was not the mission of Christ to seek and save the
lost ? (Luke xix. IO). How can such a system style
itself Christian ?
It is not Science, for it repudiates the findings of science,
and substitutes its own incoherent hallucinations. The
aid of medical science is spurned, and denounced as
positively harmful. The only satisfactory explanation of the fascination
this cult has for apparently intelligent people, is that they have become I‘ vain in their reasonings ” and have
” exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” (Rom. i. 18). In
view of the fact that seventy-five per cent. of its adherents
are women, the word of Paul becomes singularly apposite :
“ These are they that creep into houses, and take captive
silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts,
ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge
of the truth ” (2 Tim. iii. 6, 7),
Because of its Heretical Origin.
While professing to be very new, it is nothing but a
recrudescence of the Gnostic heresy of the first century.
One of the original editors of Mrs. Eddy’s Science and Health, Mr. J. H. Wiggins said, “Christian Science, on
its theological side, is an ignorant revival of one form.CHRISTIAN SCIENCE OR MODERN GNOSTICISM 43
of ancient Gnosticism.” It shares the pantheism of Theosophy and Buddhism, while employing much of the terminology of Christianity. That famous Indian woman, Pandita Ramabai, a high caste Brahmin, converted to Christ, and the only woman upon whom the honoured title of Pandita has ever been conferred, wrote :
“ On my arrival in New York I was told that a new philosophy was being taught in the United States, and that it had won many disciples. The philosophy was called Christian Science, and when I asked what its teaching was, I recognised it as being the same philosophy that has been taught among my people for four thousand years. It has wrecked millions of lives and caused im- measurable suffering and sorrow in my land, for it is based on selfishness and knows no sympathy or compassion. It means just this, the philosophy of nothingness. You are to view the whole universe as nothing but falsehood. You are to think it does not exist. You do not exist. I do not exist. The birds and beasts that you see do not exist. When you realise that you have no personality whatever, then you will have attained the highest per- fection of what is called ‘ Yoga,’ and that gives you liberation, and you are liberated from your body and you become like him without any personality.”
If this be the background of Christian Science, then as Christians, we cannot but oppose it.
Because of the Dissimz~lation of its Founder.
The character and conduct of its leaders are a good index to the nature of any movement. Of Mrs. Eddy a great deal could be said which would reflect little credit on her as a self-styled ” inspired prophetess.” We confine ourselves to a few facts which speak for themselves. Mrs. Eddy’ s claim to have discovered and named “ Christian Science,” in 1866, is contrary to fact. Phineas P, Quimby, from whom she copied very largely her system of mental healing, gave the name “ Christian Science ” as early as 1865. “ A comparison of the Wentworth.44 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
copy of Mrs. Eddy’s manuscript from which she taught,”
says Dr. W. E. Biederwolf, “ with Quimby’s manuscript,
‘ Questions and Answers,’ will dissipate forever any doubt anyone might have as to the truth of our state-ment.”
Again, she states in her autobiography that she joined
the Tilton Congregational church at the age of twelve,
which age she chose to parallel the Lord Jesus when He
entered the temple, whereas the clerk of that church
declares that she was seventeen years old, and not twelve. She divorced her second husband, Dr. Patterson, in 1873
and married Asa G. Eddy in 1877. She then gave her
age as forty, although actually fifty-six.
It could not be said of her, as one writer remarked,
that she carried out Christ’s command, “ Heal the
sick . . . freely ye have received, freely give.” Her
religious activities could hardly be termed altruistic.
She charged 300 dollars for a course of twelve lessons.
At her death, the sales of the 440 editions of Science and
Health had netted 2,000,000 dollars for her. In Igo7
she made a sworn statement that her taxable property
amounted to 19,000 dollars, while its real value was
I,OOO,OOO dollars.
Her views on marriage were not such as are calculated
to inspire confidence in those who believe in the sacred-ness
of the marriage tie. “ Marriage is a temporary
engagement to be regarded only as long as we believe
in mortal mind.” In June Igo she described marriage as “ legalised lust.” This is surely not far removed from
free-love. Such facts do not tend to inspire faith in her integrity, divine inspiration and mission.
Because of its Antichristian Doctrine.
Dr. A. T. Schofield, the eminent Harley Street physician,
after exhaustively investigating this movement, gave as
his opinion ; “ I know, indeed, no other ‘ religion ’ which
goes to such lengths in denying the fundamentals of our
faith as this ‘ science.’ I have not come across any cuIt
that denies that Christ died at all.”.CHRISTIAN SCIENCE OR MODERN GNOSTICISM 45
That philosophy of life which calls itself Christian
Science, has been thus summarised by Dr. Radford :
“ All is one ; the One is Supreme Being, is God. There-fore
all is Mind. Therefore Mind alone is real, and
Matter is not real ; we only think it is. Think differently
and the disease will disappear. All our ideas of the
reality of these things come from something in our nature
which is called ‘ mortal mind,’ a sort of perverted
intelligence. These wrong ideas we must destroy by
simply disbelieving them, and then evil, whether as sin
or disease, will disappear and all will be well.”
Let us examine some of its tenets, and compare them
with Scripture. Quotations given are from the 1913
edition of Science and Health, unless otherwise stated,
concerning which text-book the Rt. Hon. H. A. Fisher
has this to say : “ Of arrangement and orderly progress
there is not a vestige. There is no reason why the first
chapter should not be the last, nor the last first. There is generally no reason why one sentence should follow and not precede another.”
Here are some of its errors :
As to the Bible.
“ The Bible has been my only guide ” (20).
“ We take the ’ inspired word ’ of the Bible ” (493).
“ The material record of the Bible is no more important
to our well-being than the history of Europe and America.” 1
“ Gen. ii. 7. Is this addition to His creation real or
unreal ? Is it the truth, or is it a lie concerning man and
God ? It must be a lie, for God presently curses the
ground ” (45).
“ The second chapter of Genesis contains a statement
. . . which is the exact opposite of scientific truth ”
(521, 1906 edition).
Such glaringly contradictory statements hardly require
comment. Christian Science, while claiming the Bible
as its authority, asserts that in it errors and contradictory
readings abound, that it is unscientific and mixed with
1 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 170..46 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
falsehood. Science and Health, however, is the one book that contains truth unmixed with error, and is the only infallible key to the Scriptures !
For answer see Isa. v. 20 ; John x. 3.5 ; 2 Tim. iii. 16.
As to God.
“ The Jewish tribal Jehovah was a Man-projected God, liable to wrath, repentance and human changeablc- ness.” “ God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite, mind, spirit, soul, principle, life, truth, love.” 1 “ God is divine principle (mind) ” (7, 21, 33). “ God is identical with Nature ” (13).
“ Belief in the trinity is heathenish‘ ” (152).
“ God is definitely individual and not personal.” 2 “ God is principle, not person ” (317, 191o edition). Here is plain denial of the personality and trinity of God. The Christian Scientist worships an impersonal God, a principle “ as impersonal as the principle of mathematics.” He is a pantheist, for his God is identical with Nature. His God is the prisoner of His own creation. For answer see Gen. i. I ; xiv. 22 ; xvii. I ; Dcut. xxxiii. 27 ; Job xxxi. 14 ; Isa. xlv. 22 ; 2 Cor. i. 3 ; Eph. ii. 12 ; 1 Pet. iii. 12.
As to Christ.
“ Christ is incorporeal, spiritual ” (332, 1906 edition). “ Jesus was the offspring of Mary’ s self-conscious communion with God ” (335). “ The virgin mother conceived an idea of God, and gave to her idea the name of Jesus ” (334). “ Jesus made concessions to popular ignorance ” (396). “ Jesus is not the Christ.” 3 “ Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea ” (473, 1917 edition). Christian Science makes a distinction between Christ and Jesus. Christ has always existed. Jesus was only
1 MisrelIunro~c~ Writicgs, rqry edition, p. 4 6 5.
a Rudinzsntuq~ Scicwce, p. 8.
3 Miscellaneous Writings, ryr7 edition, p. 84..CHRISTIAN SCIENCE OR MODERN GNOSTICISM 47
a phantom, living in what was only apparently a body. Thus His real humanity is denied. Apply the test of
John i. 14 ; I John iv. 1-3 ; 2 John vii.
It also denies His deity. “Jesus Christ is not God, as
Jesus Himself declared, but the Son of God ” (361, 1909
edition). To accept these teachings is to deny the personality,
incarnation, corporeality, deity, death, resurrection, high-priestly
ministry and second advent of Christ.
For answer, see Matt. iii. 17 ; John i. I ; xii. 33 ;
xix. 33 ; Rom. v. 6, 8, IO ; vi. z ; viii. 3 ; I Cor. xv. 20 ;
I Tim. iii. 16 ; I John ii. zz.
As to the Holy Spirit.
“ Christian Science is the Holy Comforter ” (227). “ Receiving the Holy Spirit means an enlarged under- standing of Christian Science ” (351). “ The Holy Spirit is the Science of Christianity” (167).
The Christian Scientist thus airily disposes of the abundant Scripture proof of the personality and deity of
the Spirit. He is only “ Christian Science.”
For answer, see John xiv. 26 ; xvi. 7-11 ; Acts viii. 29 ;
xvi. 7 ; Rom. viii. II.
As to Man.
“ Man is not matter ; he is not made up of brain, bones and other material elements ” (45, rgro edition). “ There is neither a personal deity, a personal devil, nor a personal man ” (146). “ His origin, self-existent and eternal like God ” (619). “ Man is neither old nor young ; he has neither birth nor death ” (140).
“ Man originated not from dust.” l Really, Mrs. Eddy, this takes some believing I Adam and Moses and Christ never existed in mortal body at all ! Nobody has ever been ill, or has died ! Man is
already perfect !
“ Man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal ” (426).
’ Miscellaneous Writings, p. 57..48 HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
As we see man in the diabolical war which
terminated, Hitler for example-we wonder
Eddy’s conception of perfection.
For answer, see Gen. i. 27 ; I Cor. vi. 19 ;
v. 23.
has just
at Mrs.
I Thess.
As to Sin.
“ There is no sin ” (447, 17th edition).
“ Sin exists only in one’s belief ” (107).
“ If the soul could sin or be lost, then God’s existence
would cease ” (III).
“ Man is incapable of sin, sickness or death ” (475).
Here is the basic error of Christian Science. Everything
hinges on this. Since there is no sin, there is no judgment,
no accountability to God, no need for a Saviour. But
this unwarranted conclusion runs counter to both
Scripture and experience.
For answer, see Gen. vi. 5 ; Ps. xxxii. I ; Isa. i. 18 ; Ezek. xviii. 4 ; Matt. i. 21 ; Rom. iii. Ig> 23 ; I John i. 7, 8, I0 ; iii. 4 ; v. 17.
As to Atonement.
“ In Science Christ never died.” l
“ One sacrifice, however great, could not pay the debt
of sin ” (328), (which has already been shown to be non-existent).
“ Jesus’ blood was no more efficacious to cleanse from
sin when shed upon the cross, than when it was in His
veins ” (330). “ Jesus did not suffer on the cross to annul the divine sentence against sin ” (328). “ Salvation is not through faith in another’s vicarious sacrifice ” What a ‘ii;a$el ! Of course, if there be no sin, atone-ment
becomes unnecessary. Note the contradiction of
the non-existence of sin implied in the above statements.
Someone has well asked,“ How can there be any value
in an atonement which is not an atonement, connected
with suffering which is not suffering, in a body which is not a body, offered in expiation for sin which is not sin ? ” For answer, see Ex. xii. 13 ; Lev. xvii. II ; Matt. xxvi. 27,28 ; Col. i. 20 ; Heb. ix. 22-26 ; I Pet. i. Ig ; I John
i. 7 ; Rev. i. 5.
As to Heaven and Hell.
” Heaven is not a locality, but a state of mind ” (187). ” Hell is mortal belief, self-imposed agony ” (578). Thus the place of future punishment is simply and satisfactorily disposed of. Deny its existence, and it ceases to exist. Compare Mrs. Eddy’ s claims with the authoritative teaching of Christ. For answer, see Matt. viii. 12 ; xxv. 46 ; John xiv. 2,
3 ; 2 Thess. i. g ; Rev. xiv. IO, II ; xx. 12, 15 ; xxi. 8.
As to Prayer.
“ God cannot be moved to do more than He has already done ” (307-8). “ Audible prayer leads to temptation ” (312). “ The only beneficial effect is on the mind ” (317).
” If prayer nourishes the belief that sin is cancelled, and that man is made better merely by prayer, prayer is an evil ” (5). “ The danger from prayer is that it may lead us into temptation ” (5, 1917 edition). Prayer in Christian Science is a logical impossibility. If God be not personal but only principle, prayer ‘ is nothing but pious soliloquy or auto-suggestion. Prayer to a Christian Scientist never means prayer to a personal God, for “ prayer to a personal God is a hindrance.” It is noteworthy that apart from a travesty of the Lord’ s prayer, prayer is never offered in their worship. They never pray in the Biblical sense of the word. Compare the simplicity, dignity and profundity of the Lord’ s prayer with the confused jargon of Mrs. Eddy’ s spiritualising :
“ Our father ; Mother God, all harmonious, Adorable One, Thy kingdom is come ; Thou art ever present. Enable us to know-as in heaven, so on earth-God is
omnipotent, supreme. Give us grace for to-day ; feed
the famished affections ; and love is reflected in love ;
and God lead&h us not into temptation ; but delivereth us from sin, disease and death. For God is Infinite, all
Power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all and All.”
For answer, see Matt. vi. g ; John xiv. 13 ; xv. 7 ;
Acts vi. 4 ; ix. II ; xii. 12 ; Eph. vi. 18 ; Phil. iv. 6 ;
Heb. v. 7 ; Jas. v. 16.
As to Satan and Evil Spirits.
” Devil : A lie, a belief in sin, sickness, death ” (584).
I’ The supposition that there are good and evil spirits
is a mistake ” (70).
If there is no sin, was Jesus never tempted in the
wilderness ? What did Christ mean in His reference to
the betrayer ? (John xiii. 27). If there is no Satan, how
explain the Book of Revelation ? ” (Rev. xx. IO).
As to Sickness and Death.
“ Man is never sick ” (393, rgo6 edition). “ Sin, sickness and death are states of mortal mind-illusions
”(283, rgo6 edition).
“ Man is incapable of death ” (475, rgo6 edition).
We would all like to think this is true. Was Mrs. Eddy
ever sick ? Did she die ? To ask the question, is to
answer it.
As to Resurrection.
“ His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while He was
hidden in the sepulchre, whereas He was alive, demon-strating
within the narrow tomb the power of the Spirit to over-rule mortal material sense.” r “ Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that
Lazarus had never died, not by an admission that his
body had died and then lived again ” (45).
Mrs. Stetson, a leading Christian Scientist, claimed
on Mrs. Eddy’s decease that, “ the same situation exists
to-day as when Jesus of Nazareth died and was buried.
After three days He manifested Himself to prove there
1 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 170..CHRISTIAN SCIENCE OR MODERN GNOSTICISM 51
is life after death.Mrs. Eddy will do the same, for she
occupies in the world to-day precisely the same position
that Jesus did in His day.” What a contradiction !
There is no death, and yet Jesus demonstrated that there
was life after death.
For answer see Mark xvi. g ; Acts i. 22 ; xxiii. 8 ;
Rom. i. 4 ; I Cor. xv. 3-4, zo ; I Pet. i. 23 ; Rev. i. 2. ;
x x. 5.
In the preceding quotations, we have given abundant evidence that this blasphemous cult denies every funda- mental of the faith.The supreme aim of this heresy has
been summed up by Dr. I. M. Haldeman : “ Its aim is
to take away Jesus Christ as the alone Saviour of men.
It denies His actual birth, repudiates Him as the Christ,
makes Him to be as full of errors as other mortals, rejects
the atonement of the cross, says He never died, never
was buried and never rose, does not exalt His name
above every name, refuses to bow to Him as Lord and
God, teaches that He does not sit upon the infinite
throne, and that He is not in heaven at all. In short,
it turns His body into an apparition, His blood into
nothingness, His Cross to a myth, His death to a fiction,
His burial to a mockery and Himself to a personality that never was real and no longer exists.”
Becawe of its Unwbstantiated Pretensions.
That Christian Science has brought healing to many
is undoubted.That miraculous cures have been wrought,
we do not dispute, but we challenge the claim that the
God of the Bible is their author. See Matt. xxiv. 24 ;
z Thess. ii. 1-9. These cures are the result, not of divine
healing, but of mental healing, which has been paralleled
in Spiritualism, Dowieism, the Tongues Movement, at
Lourdes, etc. But none of the latter have gone so far
as to deny the reality of matter.
The cures effected are all of the “ functional ” order.
Organic diseases are not affected by either absent or
present treatment of Christian Science practitioners..52 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
“ Mrs. Eddy herself dropped contagious and infectious diseases, surgery and obstetrics from her list.” Its
cures can all be explained by the intluence of mind over
the body. The mind can be a powerful curative agency,
but only within limits.
Senator Works of California gave the U.S.A. Congress
an address of an hour and a half during a discussion on hygiene, when he quoted many Christian Science testi-monials.
The editor of The Continent selected eight of the most striking testimonies, and wrote to the eight doctors
quoted as having diagnosed the cases as hopeless, receiv- ing replies from seven of these physicians. In each case
the physician denied having made such a diagnosis with
the alleged conclusion. Such facts speak for themselves
and need no elaboration.
But even granting their claims that Christian Scientists
perform miracles of healing, it by no means follows that
such are performed through the power of God. We are warned that in these days there will be manifestations
of Satanic power : “Whose coming is after the working
of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders ”
(2 Thess. ii. g ; Rev. xiii. 2). Healing miracles were not
unknown in the ancient Greek temples, nor in the Buddhist temples of to-day.
Let us ever bear in mind the solemn warning which
fell from the lips of Incarnate Love, “ Many will say to
Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not done many
wonderful works ? And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you ; depart from Me, ye that work
Let us, too, heed the warning and exhortation given to
Timothy : “ 0 Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and
oppositions of science, falsely so called, which some professing, have erred concerning the faith ” (I Tim. vi.
20, 21)..V
N nothing have the sponsors of “The Unity School
of Christianity ” demonstrated their astuteness more
than in their selection of the word “ Unity ” for the
name of their organisation. Amid the welter of rival
religious movements, what is more to be desired than
unity ? And here is a movement which gives promise of such unity.But when we learn that it is to be attained at the cost of alliance with such pseudo-religions as
Theosophy, New Thought and Christian Science, we are reluctantly compelled to forego such a costly method of
attaining it. Since this movement claims to have
z,ooo,ooo followers, it is deserving of our investigation.
We shall endeavour to present its teachings from its own
literature, and to show wherein it is contrary to the
teaching of Scripture.
The movement was founded in Kansas City, Missouri in 1889 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, in which year
they published the magazine, Modern Thought. Fillmore
was at the time a cripple, his wife a consumptive and their
three children ailing.Through financial reverses, he W;LS
unable to provide for his dependents. At this crisis,
through listening to a lecture on mental healing, Myrtle
Fillmore saw a way out. She reasoned “ that there must be a supreme power ”–_I am quoting from the Unity
Daily Word of Feb. 1927 : “ operating upon fixed divine law, and that this law, applied in faith and faithfutly,
must of necessity set aside all negative or destructive
agencies.” Her theory worked.The family was cured,
and entered upon a new era of prosperity. In 1889 they
decided to devote their lives to a propagation of their
“ discovery.” Such was the origin of what has become
an organisation with a world-wide reach.
The promoters had unusual gifts of organisation, as
witness the present-day activities of the movement.
Here are some statistics, the latest we have been able to
obtain : 7600 letters are posted daily ; 8400 parcels
mailed monthly ; IOOO yearly subscriptions to Unity
periodicals daily ; z,ooo,ooo sheets of paper used each
month in the printing presses ; Silent Unity receives
IOOO requests daily for healing ; nearly 1,000,000
magazines monthly.Unity has its own broadcasting
station, and correspondence courses are conducted.
Their vegetarian caf6 is one of the most beautiful in the
world. One cannot but admire the efficiency and thoroughness
with which the tenets of the cult are promulgated.
A comparison of the teachings of Unity, Christian
Science, New Thought and Theosophy will reveal strik-ing
similarities, as well as marked differences. C. W. Ferguson asserts that “ Unity is undoubtedly joined to
the New Thought by an umbilical cord and sired by Christian Science.”All four are pantheistic in their
philosophy. Christian Science and Unity share a common
belief in the non-existence of sin or evil. “ Sin, disease
and death have no foundation in truth,” claims Mrs. Eddy.
“ There is no sin, sickness and death,” asserts Mr. Fillmore.
Both lay strong emphasis on mental healing. “ God is
infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle,” says Mrs. Eddy.
“ God is Principle, Law, Being, Mind, Spirit,” says
Mr. Fillmore. Both cults have absent treatment depart-ments
for disease.In “ Unity ” this branch of activity
is called Silent Unity. Unlike Christian Science, “ Unity ”
does admit the reality of bodily ills, but contends that
we are delivered from sickness by recognising our deity.
Unity and New Thought both emphasise that tem-poral
prosperity inevitably follows prosperous thinking..“ THE UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY ” 55
“ Through the power of God in Christ I am saved from
the thought of lack, and I am made rich in all my affairs.”
Like Theosophy, the reincarnation of the soul is one of
its tenets, as also is vegetarianism. Their refusal to eat
meat has its rise in their belief that the spirits which
indwell the animals are beginning a new cycle of life,
and are in process of attaining to the highest level of
existence-a human being. To kill the animal might
adversely affect the onward development of its spirit. Any religion can be judged by the company it keeps.
We cannot embrace “ Unity ” because of its :
(i) Decejfvhn. We object to the deceptive use of Biblical
terms, and of the Scriptures themselves. Orthodox
terminology is used, but it is entirely emptied of its
original content, and made to mean in many cases the
exact opposite of what the Scripture writers clearly
Listeners in America hear a clever broadcast from
Los Angeles, known simply as “ Frank and Ernest.” They treat of prophecy, and promote their magazine
DazeIn–the title of I). M. Panton’s prophetic monthly.
Although they do not reveal their identity-and in
this they are akin to Jehovah’s Witnesses-Keith L. Brooks asserts that they are promulgating the teachings of “ Unity.”
Members of “ Unity,” which is a “ School, not a
Church,” are not encouraged to establish separate
churches as are Christian Scientists, but rather to join
orthodox churches and quietly “ infiltrate.” In many
churches they have succeeded in this objective, and not
a few ill-instructed Christians have fallen into the snare.
(ii) Doctrine. The method of interpretation of ” Unity ” teachers is fundamentally unsound. It is spiritualising
run amok. Here are some glaring examples culled from their writings, as given by C. W. Ferguson :
Jerusnlem is not a city ; it “ signifies the heart centre of the individual consciousness.”
Peter was a fisherman and “ a fisherman is symbolical
of a consciousness that is open to and seeking new ideas.”
Samaria signifies “ the highest point of the intellectual.56 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
perception of truth, or the department of objective
consciousness that functions through the head.” The parable of Dives and Lazarus is represented as
speaking of one man, not of two-a Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde. Then again, in the realm of doctrine, we find most of
the fundamental doctrines either neutralised or denied.
Compare the statements of ” Unity ” with the Word of
God in reference to the following doctrines :
“ God is not a being or person having life. . . . God
is that invisible, intangible, but very real something that
we call life.” l
“ The author of Genesis was evidently a great meta-physician,
He being described as God, Lord God and Adam.” 2
“ God is the name we give to that unchangeable,
inexorable Principle at the source of all existence. . . .
He is Principle, impersonal.”
“ If God were a person. . . .” 3
Thus God is impersonal.
For answer, see Gen. i. I ; xi. 7 ; Deut. iv. 35 ; Matt. iii.
16-17 ; xxviii. Ig ; John iv. 24 ; I Tim. ii. 5.
” The Bible says that God so loved the world that He
gave His only Son, but the Bible does not here refer to Jesus of Nazareth, the outer man ; it refers to Christ,
the spiritual identity of Jesus, whom He acknowledged in all His ways, and brought forth into His outer, until
even the flesh of His body was lifted up, purified, spiritual-ised,
and redeemed. . . . And we are to follow Him, for in each of us is the Christ, the only begotten Son.” 4
” By Christ is not meant the man Jesus.” s Thus our
Lord was a mere man as we are.
For answer, see Isa. ix. 6, 7 ; John i. I , 14, 18 ;
1 Lessons in Truth. a Christian Healing, p. 217. 8 Lessons in Truth. p Unity, Vol. 57, No. 5, p. 464.
6 U ni ty, Vol. 48, No. z, p. 126..“ THE UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY ” 57
Acts xviii. 28 ; Col. i. 17 ; ii. g ; I Tim. iii. 16 ; Heb. ii.
14 ; I John ii. 2 2.
Holy SjGit.
” All is Spirit. The Spirit reigns in all the world.” Thus the Holy Spirit too is impersonal.
For answer, see John xiv. 26 ; xv. 26 ; xvi. 8, 13.
“ In his true estate, man is the Christ, the head of the
body. The ‘ I am ’ or Christ, goes through the body to
each centre, quickening, cleansing, purifying the con-sciousness
with the Word of Truth.” 1
“ Whatever Jesus of Nazareth did, it is likewise the
privilege of every man to do,” said Mr. Fillmore. But
we have not heard of his raising the dead or calming the
storm, or cleansing the leper !
“ I am the Son of God.”
” I am the only begotten Son, dwelling in the bosom of the Father.”
“ I am the Christ of God.” ” I am the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well- pleased.” 2
The foregoing are statements which followers of the
cult are instructed to make with a view to the Realisation of the Son of God.
Thus every man enjoys the same divinity as Christ.
For answer, see Rom. iii. 12 ; v. Ig-zr ; vii. 18 ; . . . vm. 7 ; I Cor. xv. 22 ; Eph. ii. 8, g.
“ God is good and God is all, hence there can be no
real condition but the good.” 3 “ There is no sin, sickness, or death.” a “ And since God Who sees and understands perfectly,
sees no evil because there is no evil, we, when we attain
1 Unity, Vol. 48, No. 2, p. 128.
* Christian Healing, p. 26. 8 Christian Healing.
p What Practical Christianity Stands For, p. 3..58 HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
perfect understanding, shall see clearly the unreality and the futility of appearances of evil to which through misunderstanding, men now attribute substance and reality.” l “ The metaphysician knows that sin, disease and evil
have no presence, no being, no reality and no existence
in absolute truth.” a
But even if there were such a thing as sin, how could
an impersonal God, such as they believe in, take cognisance
of it, and call the sinner to account ?
Thus, since there is no such thing as sin, man is
accountable to no one for his actions.
For answer, see Gen. viii. 21 ; Jer. xvii. g ; Matt. xv.
Ig ; John xvi. g ; Rom. iii. 23 ; xiv. 23 ; z Tim. iii. 13 ;
I Pet. ii. 12, 14 ; I John i. 8, IO ; iii. 4 ; v. 17.
The Devil.
” There is no personal devil. This is nothing but an adverse state of consciousness which has developed in man and which keeps on prompting him along the lines
of the character which he has given it.”
“ To know yourself as the Son of God is to overcome
devil-the personal self.”
For answer, see Job i. 1-3 ; Matt. iv. I-II ; John xiii.
27 ; Rev. xx. IO.
“ The atonement is the union of man with God the Father, in Christ. Stating it in terms of mind, we should
say that the atonement is the at-one-ment or agreement or reconciliation of man’s mind with Divine Mind through
the superconsciousness of Christ mind.” 3
” Forgiveness of sin is an erasure of mortal thoughts
from consciousness. This brings the inflow of divine love
after the mind has been cleansed by the denial of sin.”
Thus atonement is no more than the erasure from the
mind of a mistaken sense of guilt arising from sin which
1 Unity, Vol. 67, No. I, p. 32. B Unity Daily Word.
8 What Practical Christianity Stands For, p. 5..” THE UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY ” 59
does not exist. Then why the blood-shedding of the
Son of God ?
For answer, see Matt. xxvi. 28 ; Col. i. 20 ; Heb. ix. 22 ;
x. II, 14 ; I Pet. i. 18, Ig ; I John i. 7.
“ Jesus raised his body to the fourth dimension. Every cell of his organism became a purified monad. . . . He
has prepared a place for us in the heavens, the omnipresent
” The law of life is based on mind action, and through
the mind we resurrect ourselves from the dead.” 1
Thus resurrection of the body by the power of God is
For answer, see John vi. 40 ; Acts xiii. 30, 31 ; Rom.
viii. 11 ; I Cor. xv. 20.
“ Unity seems to teach that the body is God and that
you cannot be sick, because your body being God cannot
be sick. . . . Theologically described, Unity is essentially
materialistic pantheism ” (a subscriber to Unity Magazine,
endorsed by the Editor).
“ We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is
alive and in the world to-day. We believe that the
‘ more abundant life ’ which Jesus promised, is poured
into the race stream as a vitalising energy, and that
when accepted by faith, it purifies the life-flow in our bodies and makes us immune to all disease thoughts
and disease germ.” And yet many followers of ” Unity ” are sick, and none of them have escaped death. For answer, see Acts v. 31 ; vii. 55 ; Phil. ii. g-10 ;
Heb. ii. g.
” Being ‘ born again ’ is not a miraculous change that
takes place in a man ; it is the establishment in his
1 Christian Healing..60 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
consciousness of that which has always existed as the
main idea in Divine Mind.” l Thus man does not require a supernatural and divine
Saviour. l;or answer, see John iii. 3 ; I Cor. ii. 14 ; z Cor. v. 17 ;
1 P et . i. 23.
” We believe that all life is sacred and that man should
not kill or be party to killing of animals for food ; also
that cruelty, war, and wanton destruction of human life
will continue so long as men destroy animals.” 2
For answer, see Deut. xiv. 4-5 ; Acts x. g-16.
“ We believe the repeated incarnations of man to be a
merciful provision of our loving Father to the end that all may have opportunity to attain immortality through regeneration as did Jesus.” 3
For answer, see Ps. xvi. IO ; Acts xiii. 3.5 ; Heb. iv. 14 ; vii. 26 ; ix. 26, 27.
A study of the above quotations from authorised
publications of the cult, will convince any unbiased
reader, that whatever good there may be in some of the
teaching, and we do not deny that it has some very
attractive aspects, on the whole it is subversive of the
truth, and has no real basis for being classed as Christi-anity
at all. The Christ of “ Unity ” is only the old
Gnostic Christ, not the Christ of Paul and of the New Testament.
The main emphasis of “ Unity ” is on prosperity and
health, while the need for salvation, and the vicarious atonement of Christ are ignored.
Dr. Kenneth McKenzie has helpfully written in this connection, “ It is a preselzt-world cultus. It has no
perspective for the future. It deals exclusively with the
flesh-life. It demands the best that earth can give and
1 Unity Daily Word, October 19~5.
a Statement of Faith, No. ~8. 3 Unity’ s Statement of Faith, Art. 2 2..‘ I THE UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY ” 61
wants it for self-appropriation. . . . When the portals of
death open for the entrance of the bewildered soul into the solitude beyond, it has no note of cheer, no hope of immortality.”
“ Unity ” holds out great promises of prosperity, but it has neither ministry nor message to those who have failed. How unlike our Lord, for whom life brought not
prosperity but poverty, culminating in a crown of thorns,
a scourge and a cross ! How contrary to His teaching
that His disciples were to deny themselves and take up
their cross daily and follow Him ! How unlike the
teaching of St. Paul which involved him in stripes,
imprisonment, distresses !
We would say that the greatest danger in this move-ment
lies in the many beautiful and true sentiments
contained in its literature which would appeal to the uninstructed, leading them to believe that they are imbibing true Scripture teaching. Satan does his most
dangerous work when he is masquerading as an angel of light.
With an impersonal God, a Christ degraded to the level of man, and man elevated to deity, with a denial
of sin and consequent emasculation of the atonement,
with self-regeneration and the Hindu doctrine of re-incarnation,
we are amazed at the temerity of its promoters
in designating it a school of “ Christianity.”.VI
0 modern cult is more zealous in its proselytising
activities than this recrudescence of first century
Judaism. In almost every country where converts have
been won to Christ through the preaching bf the true
gospel of grace, will be found some of these modern
legalists who earnestly devote themselves to bringing these converts under the yoke of bondage in which they
themselves are entangled. We have met most sincere adherents of this movement, some of whom have un- doubtedly been truly Christian, but never have we met
one who enjoyed the true liberty of the Gospel.
The real founder of the sect was one William Milier
who was converted from sceptical deism in 1816, and
joined a Baptist Church, with which he was connected
for some time. Despite the fact that he was a man of
very poor education, he conceived the idea of laying aside all human writings on the Bible, and giving himself to an elaborate study of Bible prophecy. His motive
may have been good, but the result of his study brought
tragedy to many. He discovered, so he said, that the end of the world would come on October IO, 184.3,”
and induced many to his way of thinking. When the
day passed without the expected return of Christ, he
advanced the date to the autumn of 1844. When his
prediction again proved false, he advanced the date to
1845, but with the same dismal result.
At this point, Miller fades out of the picture, and two
of his followers, Elder and Mrs. E. G. White come into
prominence. Mrs. White, also a woman of very poor 63.64 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND IvlODRKN
education, was destined to become the prophetess of the
movement, her visions and writings being foundational
in their teachings. Adventists quote Mrs. White as we
would St. Paul, and a similar degree of inspiration is
claimed for her writings. And yet, according to W. C.
Irvine, Dr. William Russell, a chief physician in the
S.D.A. Sanatorium at Battle Creek, long an Adventist, wrote in 1869 that her visions were the result of a diseased organisation or condition of brain or nervous system. Another Adventist, Dr. Fairfield, stated in 1887 that he had
no doubt that her visions were simply hysterical trances.
The sincerity of their claims for inspiration of Mrs.
White’s writings is difficult to accept when one hears the testimony of D. M. Canright, one of the leaders of
the movement, who was “ delivered ” after twenty-eight
years of bondage. He later exposed its errors in
his valuable work, Seventh-Day Adventism Renounced.
(Adventists claim that Canright later recanted, but such
is not the case.) Hear what he says on the subject :
“ Mrs. White claims that the very words in which her visions are recorded are divinely inspired. I know they
are not, for she often changes what she has written, scratching out a whole page at times. She reads her manuscript to her husband, while he suggests changes which she makes. As she is ignorant of grammar, she has employed an accomplished writer to correct the
manuscript, improve its style, and polish it up generally.
She also copies largely from other writings.” Comparison
of later editions with the earlier, reveals a change on the
average of twenty-four words on each page. Colporteurs
comb the country with their high-priced literature, but
conceal their identity for as long as possible. It requires
very plain speaking, in many cases, to extract from the
colporteur the confession that he is an Adventist. Instead,
he will plead that he represents interdenominational
Missions, or give some other evasive answer. Readers
should know that publications of “ The Signs Publishing
Co.” are of Seventh-Day Adventist origin, as are the
broadcasts of “ The Voice of Prophecy,” and “ The Advent Church.”.SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM 65
In their radio broadcasts, the Adventists are at pains to conceal their peculiar doctrines. The casual listener would detect no difference between their broadcasts
and those of the Evangelical Church. But at the end,
listeners are invited to enrol for the free Twentietk-Century
Bible Course of thirty lessons. In order to
establish the orthodoxy of their teaching, the attractively-printed
folder advertising the course gives quotations
from Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon and Moody, but not a
word is said about there being any divergence between
the teaching of these men and that of the sponsors of
the course. Not until the reader has begun the course
does its heresy become apparent. Such subtlety and
duplicity is characteristic of the whole of the Adventist
movement, and has caused much searching of heart
among its more conscientious members.
A study of its literature will reveal that the scheme of Adventism is based on a false conception and inter-pretation
of prophecy, and a false system of doctrine.
Mrs. White’s “ revelations ” served a two-fold purpose,
First, to retrieve the movement from the disastrous
results of Miller’s faIse prophecy ; and second, as a valuable source of revenue, for when Elder and Mrs.
White identified themselves with the movement, Mrs.
White says in her Testimonies, Vol. I, p. 75, I‘ we entered
upon our work penniless.” When they died, both left large fortunes.
Canright sums up the main points of Adventist teaching
in all their books thus :
“ They hold to the materiality of all things ; believe
in the Sonship of Christ ; believe that they alone have a
correct understanding of the prophecies, to which they
give most of their attention ; that the end of the world
is to occur in this generation (written in 1889) ; that we
are now in the Judgment which began in 1884 ; that the
seventh day, Saturday, must be kept ; that keeping
Sunday is the mark of the beast ; that all should pay
tithes ; that Mrs. White is inspired as were the writers
of the Bible ; that the Bible must be interpreted to
harmonise with her writings ; that they are called of
God to give the last warning to the world ; that the
dead are unconscious ; that the devil and the wicked
will be annihilated ; that all the churches but their own
are Babylon and rejected of God ; that everybody but
themselves will soon become Spiritualists ; that when Christ comes only 144,000 out of all then living on the earth will be saved, and all these will be Seventh-Day
What an amazing conglomeration of truth and error, assumption and presumption !
Let us note in detail some of the more serious perver-sions
of truth propagated by the cult,
“ The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent
believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the
Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record.” 1
“ Christ did not make the atonement when He shed His blood upon the Cross. Let this fact be fixed forever in the mind.” 2
“ It is impossible to conclude that a complete work of
atoning for sin was wrought upon the Cross . . . the
work of the atonement must continue as long as pro- bationary time shall last.” 3
“ As in typical service there was a work of atonement
at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for
redemption of men is completed, there is a work of
atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary.
This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended ” (in 1844) .4
So, in reality, Christ was mistaken when He cried,
1 White, The Great C‘ ontroversy. a Smith, Looking unto Jesus, p. 237. *Watson, The Atoning Work of Christ, pp. 95, 113, ’ The Great Controversy..SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM 67
“ It is finished,”and the work of atonement is not yet
For answer see John xix. 30 ; Rom. v. IO, 11 ; 2 C ot -.
v. 18, rg ; Heb. vii. 27 ; ix. 14 ; x. IO ; I Pet. iii. 18 ;
I John i. 7 ; iv. IO.
Satan the Sin-bearer.
“ It was seen also that while the sin-offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented
Christ as Mediator, the Scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent
will finally be placed . . . he will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the
wicked.” 1
Thus Satan becomes our Saviour ! Satan takes our
blessed Lord’s place, and bears away our sin.
For answer see Lev. xvi. IO, 21, 22 ; Isa. liii. 6 ; Heb.
ix. 28 ; *’* x111. 12, 13 ; I Pet. ii. 24 ; iii. 18.
Christ not Sinless.
“ In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen
nature. If not, then He was not ‘ made like unto His
brethren ’ . . . On His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits-a sinful nature.” a
For answer see Luke i. 35 ; Acts. iv. 27 ; Rom. viii. 3 ;
2 Cor. v. ZI ; Heb. iv. 15 ; vii. 26 ; I Pet. ii. 22 ; I John . . . 111. 3.
Salvation not by Faith.
“ Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their
conversion, should never be taught to say or feel that they
are saved. This is misleading.” 3
‘I Jesus has purchased redemption for us. It is ourb but we are placed here on probation to see if we wil
prove worthy of eternal life.” 4
1 The Great Controversy, pp. 419, 422, 485, 486. 3 Bible Readings for the Home Circle, p. rrg.
3 Christ’ s Object Lessons, p. 155.
4 Testimolzins for the Church, Vol. I, p. Igg..68 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
For answer see John i. 12 ; x. 2 4-2 8 ; Eph. ii. 8, g ;
2 Tim. i. g ; Tit. iii. 5 ; I John v. 13.
Salvation by Obedience to Law.
“ The condition of eternal life is now just what it
always has been . . . perfect obedience to the law of God.” l
For answer see Rom. iii. 28 ; iv. 5 ; x. 4 ; Gal. ii.
4, 5 ; iii. 10-14 ; C al . ii. 14.
The Dead Unconscious.
“ Upon the fundamental error of natural immortality
rests the doctrine of consciousness in death, a doctrine
like eternal torment, opposed to the teaching of Scripture.” For answer see Luke xvi. 25, 26 ; xxiii. 43 ; I Cor.
xv. 51 ; z Cor. v. 8 ; Phil. i. 23 ; I Thess. iv. 14.
The Wicked Annihilated.
For answer see Matt. xxv. 4x-46 ; Mark ix. 42-48 ;
Rev. xiv. IO, I I.
Sunday Observance the Mark of the Beast.
“ The sign or seal of God is revealed in the observance
of the seventh-day sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of
c r e a t i o n . . . . The mark of the beast is the opposite of
this-the observance of the first day of the week.” 2
And Rev. xiv. g-II pronounces that if any man receives the mark of the beast, he “ shall be tormented with fire and brimstone . . . for ever and ever.” With this as one of the main planks of their platform, it is not difficult
to see how their followers are bound to the cult by fear
of the consequences of repudiating it.We have seen adherents of this cult literally trembling and weeping
with fear of the curses which Mrs. White has pronounced
will fall on those who secede.
In this connection Mrs. White wrote : “ I saw that the
Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the Cross.” 3
Rut how does this tally with Col. ii. 14, I6 ?
1 Ste$s to Christ, pp. 65, 67. a I‘ Pstimonies foor the Chucrh. Vol. 8. p. 117. a Enrly Wrztzngs, p. 33..SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM
Lord’ s Day OY Sabbath ?
We would heartily recommend to any desiring a full
treatment of this question, a book of the above name
written by Mr. Norman Deck. Some of the main positions
taken by Adventists on this point are :
That the keeping of the Sabbath is commanded in the
decalogue. That the decalogue is binding on all men for all time. That the churches have changed a seventh-day Sabbath into a first-day Sabbath.
That Sabbath-keeping in addition to faith, is essential
to salvation. That the ceremonial and civil law of Israel are abolished,
but not the moral law.
In answer to these unwarranted assumptions we would
state :
I. Sabbath-keeping was enjoined only on Israel, to
whom alone it was given as a sign from God (Ex. xxxi. 13, 17). We are neither Israel nor Jews ( I Cor. x. 32).
See also Ex. xx. 9-11 ; Neh. ix. 13, 14. 2. The decalogue, as a code of laws, is limited to the
Jewish nation and to the land of Palestine in its juris-diction,
although it contains principles which apply to
all ages. See Deut. v. 14, 15 ; Ex. xx. IZ. Read in its
context Exodus chapters xix.-xxiv., where the decalogue
is plainly seen to be inseparably connected with the
Sinaitic or old covenant.
3. Believers to-day are not under the old covenant of
law, which included the decalogue (Rom. vii. 7), but under the new covenant of grace. See Rom. vi. 14, 15 ; x. 4-9 ; Gal. iii. 24, 25 ; iv. r-7 ; v. 13, 14. 4. In the New Testament, each of the commandments
is reiterated and even expanded, except the fourth,
which is nowhere mentioned. See Col. ii. 14, 17 ; Gal.
i v . 10, 11 ; Rom. xiv. 17. This is surely an amazing
thing if its observance is so absolutely essential..70 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
5. Scripture expressly declares that Sabbath-keeping
is lzot obligatory on the Christian. See Col. ii. 16, 17.
Nor is there any Scriptural example of Sabbath-observ-ance
by a believer in the Epistles. 6. In reality, instead of resulting in salvation, the
keeping of the Sabbath results in its keeper coming under
a curse ! (Num. xv. 32-36). See Gal. iii. IO.
7. Exact observance of the Sabbath is physically impos-sible.
In this connection, Dr. K. L. Brooks says : “ Dr.
John Wallis suggests that all sticklers for the Jewish
Sabbath should make a voyage around the world, ‘ going
out of the Atlantic Ocean westward by the Straits of
Magellan to the East Indies and then from the East,
returning by the Cape of Good Hope homeward, and let
them keep their Sabbath all the way. When they get
back to England they will find their Saturday to fall on Sunday, and they can thenceforth continue to observe
their Saturday Sabbath on the same day with us.’ ”
Another problem which they conveniently ignore, is that in 1582 Gregory XIII. found a miscalculation, and
decreed to drop October 5-q and to drop three leap
years in every century. In England eleven days
(Ses’)te‘mber 3-1.3) were, dropped in 1752.
. No inspired writer makes any distinction between
’ moral ’ and ’ ceremonial ’ law. The Sabbath, in its
nature, is itself a ceremonial law, and is therefore passed away with the rest. The moral law is all law which appeals to the conscience, and needs no written revela- tion. . . . I as a Christian obey all law that is moral in the decalogue, not because it is in the law, but because it is in the Gospel ” (D. M. Panton).
g. No Pope or Church council changed the days. The early Church Fathers testify with one voice that among
Christians it was the first day which was recognised,
e.g., Ignatius, A.D. IOO ; Barnabas, A.D. 120 ; Justin
Martyr, A.D. 180 ; Dionysius, A.D. 170 ; etc.
Reasons for Observing the First Day.
It was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. The Feast
of First-fruits (Lev. xxiii. 15-16), typifies Christ’s resur-.SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM 71
rection, followed after fifty days by the Feast of Pentecost,
typical of the descent of the Spirit.
It commemorates the resurrection of Christ (Matt.
xxviii. x-3). After His resurrection our Lord met with
His people on the first day. See Luke xxiv. 13-31 ;
John xx. 19-26.
It was on the first day that the Spirit descended to constitute the New Testament Church.
It was on the first day that the New Testament Church worshipped (Acts xx. 7 ; I Cor. xvi. z ; Rev. i. IO).
This is corroborated by the witness of the Fathers given
above. Clement (A.D. 194) said, “ The old Sabbath day
has become nothing more than a working day,” and Irenaeus (A.D. 178), “ The mystery of the Lord’s resurrec-tion
may not be celebrated on any other day than the
Lord’s Day.” J t us as the Passover gave place to the
Lord’s Supper, so the Jewish Sabbath yielded to the
Lord’s Day.
God’s blessing rests on the observance of the first day, but the observance of the seventh day results in legalism
and bondage, as many who have seceded from this cult have testified. Hear the testimony of D. M. Canright : “ The Sabbath theory seems all right, but put to the test it fails. Fifty
years ago in my young enthusiasm I believed that theory,
as they all did.Later I was sent to state after state to
work among Sabbath-keepers where it had been kept for
from ten to twenty years. What did I find ? Many of
the old churches had died out entirely, or only a few
scattering, discouraged ones were left. In others, many
were cold, lifeless, often in trials among themselves, some
backslidden, some stingy, dishonest, quarrelsome, etc. Here is a quotation from my own diary just as I wrote
it then : ‘ Woodhull, Mich., April 5, 1865. Found them
all here half dead and half alive, quarrelling among themselves, neglecting their meetings,’ etc. Yet all were
keeping the Sabbath ! I am glad to say these were in
the minority.But these cases do show that keeping the
Sabbath is no proof that a person is a Christian, for
thousands keep it who are not Christians at all..72 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
“ As the years went by and our numbers increased,
these difficulties increased. Many of the evils of which
we accused the ‘ popular churches ’ I found in plenty among our own churches, all keeping the Sa.bbath too. I am compelled to see that our beautiful theory did not
hold out in actual practice. It was not because we did
not try hard to have our people all holy. No, the theory itself was wrong. It could not be made to work out what
we had expected and promised. Finally I gradually lost
my zeal, my courage and my confidence in the work, and
quit. The foundation of their error, I believe, is the idea
that ’ the Law ’ in all the strictness of the old letter is
binding on Christians. Hence their constant theme is
law, law, law. They preach it ten times as much as they
preach Christ.”
In conclusion, it would be justifiable, in view of their
claims, to ask some questions of our Adventist friends.
For example, do they strictly keep the whole law of the Sabbath themselves ? Do they stone any who gather sticks, etc., on the Sabbath ? Do they keep the other sabbaths of Israel ? Do they observe circumcision
which is the other sign of the Divine covenant with
them ? If not, Gal. iii. IO pronounces a curse on them.
Let us praise God for the liberty of the Gospel, and
resting on Rom. xiv. 4-6 and Col. ii. 16, let us refuse to
allow Adventist or any other to replace on our shoulders
a yoke of bondage from which the cross of Christ has for ever delivered us..VII
HIS modern heresy has of late achieved unenviable notoriety in the British Empire, through being
banned on account of its fifth column activities. It
masquerades under many aliases : Miliennial Dawn,
International Bible Students Association, Metropolitan
Pulpit, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Brooklyn
Tabernacle Pulpit, and of late years, Jehovah’s Wit-nesses.
We cannot but feel that these titles have been
ingeniously rather than ingenuously selected. Each
bears a cIose resemblance to some honoured evangelical institution. Compare I.B.S.A. with I.B.R.A. (Inter- national Bible Reading Association). Compare Brooklyn Tabernacle Pulpit with that of the great T. de Witt Talmadge. Compare Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
with Spurgeon’s great church and his many publications
under that title. This subtle ruse has obviously been
adopted to deceive the unwary and ignorant and to give
a semblance of orthodoxy to a movement which is
thoroughly heterodox. The impression is given that the
self-styled ” Pastor Russell ” was successor to Spurgeon
or Talmadge. Truth has never found it necessary to adopt the tactics of the chameleon.
It has been claimed that in 1932 no fewer than
22,213,639 copies of the books of Judge Rutherford, successor to Pastor Russell were sold. If these realised a
profit of only one penny per copy, this would provide the author with an income of ~90,000. The Judge claimed that he sold 130,000,000 copies every ten years,
no fewer than 5000 full-time sales agents being employed.
It is obvious that a vast organisation is at work behind
these phenomenal figures, and that the venture has not
proved wholly unprofitable to its sponsors. It is an
amazing fact that in 1942 when even Bibles were
rationed, Jehovah’s Witnesses imported into 13ritain in
three months no less than 189 tons of books and magazines.
In addition to their activities in literature, the radio is
exploited, and gramophones with amplifiers blare forth
in the streets the teaching of Russell and Rutherford.
We have every right to demand from this movement
its credentials. What are they ?
Charles Taze Russell, of Pittsburgh, U.S.A., proprietor
of a chain of drapery stores, assuming the title of
” Pastor,” finding no existing religion to his liking,
founded one of his own, the most attractive plank of
which was the non-existence of hell. As a child he had
been haunted by a fear of hell, and warned others to
escape it. An atheist with whom he later came into
contact, however, set his fears at rest on this score, and
ever after he became the enthusiastic apostle of “ no hell.” One would expect that the man who boldly pro- claimed that the whole church and her ministers were
wrong in their teaching, would at least be truthful. But no.
When under oath in the Court at Hamilton, Ontario, he was asked, “ Do you know Greek ? ” He replied, “ Oh yes.” When handed a Greek New Testament, he proved unable to read the letters of the Greek alphabet. “ Now,” asked Mr. Staunton,“ are you familiar with
the Greek language ? ” Russell unblushingly answered, “ No.” He then admitted that he knew neither Latin
nor Hebrew. Nor had he taken any course in Theology. And yet this is the man who pronounces all Bible transla- tions unreliable ! 1
His domestic relationships were anything but happy,
ending in divorce. In giving judgment, the Court found that his conduct towards his wife was so insulting and domineering that“ necessarily would render the life
of any sensitive Christian woman a burden and make
her condition intolerable.”He was ordered to pay E8
1 What Say the Scriptures about Nell ? p. I I..JEHOVAH’ S WITNESSES OR RUSSELLISM 75
per month alimony, but to avoid payments, transferred
his property, worth L60,ooo to himself under the name of
“ The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.” And what of his successor, Judge Frederick Ratherford ?
He was born in 1869 and was granted a licence to practise law in 1892, but his title of “ Judge ” is assumed, as he was never elected to that office. When Russell died,
Rutherford, who had been his lawyer, was completing a
term in the Atlanta Gaol for seditious utterances.
A writer to the Saturday Evening Post on September
14, rg4o said concerning Rutherford’s spectacular rise
to the leadership of this huge organisation : “ T he
general assumption seemed to be that, after Atlanta,
Rutherford and his cause would languish. Quite the
opposite happened.He had skirted the fringe of martyr-dom,
and snatched back, he was acclaimed. . . . His
words were not accepted as the law and the prophets.
They are accepted as more than that. The Witnesses rely on what the Bible says. But they count on ’ Judge ’
Rutherford to tell them what it means by what it says.
The latter role is obviously more important.” Ruther- ford passed away in 1941, but there appears to be no
slackening in the activities of his followers.
And these are the men who have foisted on a gullible
public a spate of antichristian and profane literature,
and are hailed as the successors of St. Paul !
It was not until 1931 that at Rutherford’s instigation, the name Jehovah’s Witnesses was adopted. They have
no salaried ministers, each witness being bound to give
his witness and pay his own expenses. While they have no recognised ordained ministry, a card of identification is given to one who gives evidence that he is fully devoted
to God and His kingdom, showing that he is recognised
by the body of Christians composing the Society, and is
an unordained minister and servant of the Lord.
They show considerable astuteness, if not deception,
in their relation to the laws of the State. As their books
are “ offered for a donation,” not sold, their agents are
able to hawk them from door to door without a hawker’s
licence. As they are gifts, not articles for sale, they can.76 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
be sold on Sundays. As “ Jehovah’s Witnesses ” is
incorporated as a religious and charitable organisstion,
the sales are not taxable.
Even if the credentials of its founders be doubtful,
it cannot be said that the claims of the movement con- cerning either its founder or its literature are excessive
in their modesty.Russell has this to say concerning his six volumes,1 Studies on the Scriptures, “ People cannot see the divine plan by studying the Bible by itself. We
find also that if anyone lays the Scripture studies aside,
even after he has become familiar with them, if he lays
them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone,
our experience shows that within two years he goes into
darkness. On the other hand, if he has merely read the
Scriptures studies with their references, and has not read
a page of the Bible as such, he would be in the light at
the end of two years.”
On page 348 of his first volume he concludes : “ Be
it known that no other system of theology ever claims or ever has attempted to harmonise in itself every state-ment
of the Bible, and yet nothing short of this we can claim. ”
A nai’ve explanation of Rev. viii. 3 is given.2 ” This
verse shows that, though Pastor Russell has passed beyond
the veil, he is still managing every feature of the Harvest Work.” The seventh angel of Rev. x., as well as the
angel mentioned in Rev. i. I, zz ; vi. and xix. 9, IO also
find their fulfilment in the “ Pastor,” according to page
r6g of the same book.
The literature of the movement abounds in crude and farcical interpretations.Take these exarnples from Vol. 7 :
The evil servant of Matt. xxiv. 48 is said to have been
a Mr. Barbour of Rochester, N.Y. (pp. 54, 386).
’ Watch Tower, September 15, ry~o.
a The Finished Mystery, p. 144..JEHOVAH’ S WITNESSES OR RUSSELLISM 77
The key to the bottomless pit is said to mean the key
to “ nothing and nowhere,” and John Wesley was given
this key (p..156). The tails of the locusts mentioned in Rev. ix. 3-10 are said to mean Methodist class leaders (p. 159).
The lice that troubled Pharoah and Egypt are under-stood
to represent The Bible Students’ Mo&hly, because
this publication causes the people of the world, the
Devil, and the clergy to “ scratch their heads many a
time, wondering how to deal with a plague which they
cannot duplicate ” (p. 238).
No less ludicrous is the interpretation of Luke xvi.
19-31. The rich man, according to “ Russellism,” means
the Jew, the tribes of Benjamin and Judah ; and the
five brothers refer to the ten tribes, making each brother
represent two tribes, without a word of Scripture for it.
Lazarus represents the Gentiles, when the fact is that the Gentiles were the rich folk of that day and the Jews were the persecuted poor. The Roman world was robbing the Jews, and the Gentiles were being enriched. Mr.
Russell thinks that the cry of the rich man for a drop of
water was partially fulfilled in the appeal of the United
States for the relief of the Jewish population.
The final test of any movement is the Scripturalness
or otherwise of its creed. Let us apply this test, giving
quotations from their literature, and relevant Scriptures. In order that the substantial identity of the teaching of
Russell and Rutherford may be seen, we give quotations from the works of both. Rutherford’s books from which
we quote are : Reconciliation, Riches, Prophecy, Harp
of God, Creation and Deliverance, while the volume and
page of Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures are also given.
As to the Trinity.
“There is no authority in the Word of God for the
doctrine of the Trinity of the Godhead.” 1 “ Nimrod
married his mother, Semiramis, so that in a sense he was
’ Vol. 5. pp. 54, Go..78 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
his own father, and his own son. Here was the origin of the trinity doctrine.” 1 “ There are some clergymen, no doubt, who are really sincere in thinking that Jesus was His own father, and that the Almighty is the son of Himself, and that each of these two is a third person, who is the same as the other two, and yet different from them.” a For answer see Matt. iii. 16, 17 ; xxviii. rg : z. Cor. . . . xni. 14.
As to Christ.
“ As chief of the angels and next to the Father, he was known as the Archangel, whose name Michael signifies,
’ Who as God ’ or God’ s representative. As He was the highest of all Jehovah’ s creation . . .” 3
“ Jesus is a god, but not God.” 4 “ When Jesus was on earth, He was a perfect man, nothing more and nothing less.” 5 “ Jesus was not God the Son.” * “ Christ Jesus the divine was born three days after the Crucifixion.” 7 “ He did not receive a divine nature until his death.” * For answer see Isa. vii. 14 ; ix. 6 ; John i. I, 14 ;
x. 30 ; xiv. g ; xvii. 5 ; xx. 31 ; Acts xvii. 31 ; Rom. ix. 5 ; Phil. ii. 6-8 ; Col. i. 13, xg ; I Tim. ii. 5 ; iii. 16 ; Heb. i. 8-10 ; vii. 24 ; I John v. 20.
As to the Holy Spirit.
“ The Holy Spirit is not a person in the Godhead.” s ” There is no personal Holy Spirit,” 10 “ The Spirit of God is any power or influence which God may be pleased to exercise.” l1 “ The Holy Spirit is not a person, and is therefore not one of the Gods of the Trinity.” la In IOOO pages of Russell’ s volume, there is only one
’ Vol. 7. p. 414. 2 Pennock, Things the Clergy Never Tells. 3 Vol. 5, p. 84. d Vol. 5, pp. 55, 84, 134. s Reconciliation, p. I II. B Ibid., p. 113. Creation, p. 58. 7 Deliverance, p. 245. 8Vol. 1, p. 179.
9 Vol. 5, p. 169. IO Vol. 5, p. 210.
I1 Deliverance, p. 150. Ia Reconciliation, p. I 15..JEHOVAH’ S WITNESSES OR RUSSELLISM 79
casual reference to the Spirit of God-surely a significant
omission. For answer see John xiv. x6-18, 26 ; x v. 26, 27 ; xvi.
As to the Atonement.
“ One unforfeited life could redeem one forfeited life,
but no more. The Man Christ Jesus redeems Adam.” l
” It was His flesh, His life as a man, His humanity,
that was sacrificed for our redemption.” a
“ As a human being He gave Himself a ransom for
men.” 3
“ The ransom does not guarantee everlasting life to
any man, but guarantees a second chance.” 4
For answer see John x. 30 ; Rom. iii. 21-26 ; v. I-II ;
Tit. iii. 5-7 ; Heb. ix. 22 ; x. 12-17 ; I Pet. i. 18, rg ;
I John ii. 2.
As to the Resurrection.
“ He was put to death a man but was raised from the dead a spirit being of the highest order of the divine
nature. . . . The man Jesus is dead, dead for ever.” 6
“ We know nothing of what became of it (our Lord’s
body), except that it did not decay or corrupt. . . .
Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still
preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God’s
love . . . no one knows.” 6 “ The man Jesus must remain dead for ever if he is
to be a substitute for Adam.By that is meant he could not be raised up out of death as a man and still provide
the redemption price for fallen man.” ’ “ God raised up Jesus out of death, not as a man, but
as a spirit creature, divine and immortal, never again
subject to death.” *
“ The Scriptures do not reveal what became of that
body.” g
‘vol. I, p. 133. avo1. 2, p. 129.
a Vol. 2, pp. 107, 129. 4 Vol. 1, p. 150.
‘Vol. 5, PP. 153, 154. 0 Vol. 2, p. rzg.
7 Reconciliation, p. 128. B Riches, p. 38.
g Harp of God, p. 172..80 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
For answer see Luke xxiv. 3g ; John ii. rg, zz ; Acts
i…3 ; v. 30-32 ; vii. 55, 56 ; I Cor. xv. 19, 44 ; Heb.
x111. 20 ; 1 Pet. i. 3.
As to the Ascension.
“ Our Lord Jesus who is now exalted to the divine
nature . . . is no longer a man but a spirit being, whom
no man hath seen nor can see without a miracle.” l
i& answer see Acts i II
esus is no longer human but divine.” 2
* > * I Tim. ii. 5.
As to Sin.
“ Man by reason of present experience with sin, will
be fully forewarned, and when granted a second chance,
we may be sure only a few will receive the penalty, annihilation.” 3
“ Man by sin did not lose a heavenly paradise, but only
an earthly one.” p
For answer see John iii. 18, 36 ; v. 24 ; Rom. vi. 23.
As to Salvation.
” Each for himself may have a full chance to prove,
by obedience or disobedience, their worthiness of life
eternal,” 6
“ Men will be given a second chance for salvation during the millennium.” 6
“ All will enjoy during the millennium a full oppor- tunity to gain everlasting life under favourable terms.” 7
“ Second trial will be more favourable than the first.” 8
“ Christ’s work on the Cross simply guarantees a second
chance.” Q “ The purpose of the trial (judgment) will be to offer
each and every one an opportunity to be reconciled to
God and live.” lo For answer see Matt. xxv. 46 ; Luke xvi. 19-31 ;
’ Vol. 2, p. *31. 2 Harp of God, p. 224.
* Vol. I, p. 150. ‘ Vol. I, p. 177.
6 Vol. I, p. 158. eVol. I, pp. 106. 107, III, 129.
‘Vol. I, p. 130. *vol. I, p. 143.
@ Vol. I, p. 150. 10 Reconciliation, p. 311..JEHOVAH’ S WITNESSES OR RUSSELLISM 81
John v. 28, 29 ; 2 Thess. i. 7-10 ; ii. 9-13 ; Heb. ix. 27 ;
Rev. xx. 5.
As to Hell.
“ God is too good to sustain an everlasting hell.” I
“ Eternal torture is nowhere taught in the Bible.” a
“ The penalty of the second chance for life will be the
second death, which is annihilation.” 3
“ The doctrine of eternal torment is as false as its
author, the devil.” 4
“ The grave and physical death are the only hell.” 5
For answer see Dan. xii. 2 ; Matt. xxv. 46 ; Mark ix. 44-46 ; Luke xvi. ~3-24 ; John iii. IS, 16 ; v. 29 ;
Rev. xx. IO, 15.
As to the Church.
“ The fixed number of the elect is 144,000,” 6 and they
are, of course, all “ Jehovah’s Witnesses ” !
” The calling of the ‘ little flock ’ works no injury to
the non-elect who are in no sense further condemned
because not called.” 7
“ The ecclesiastical systems, Catholic and Protestant,
are under the supervision of the devil . . . and therefore
constitute the antichrist.” 8 “ Clergymen, forming a part of the world, are therefore
enemies of God.” v
For answer see Rev. v. 9, IO ; vii. 9.
As to the Second Advent.
“ We have no hesitation in announcing the heart-cheering
intelligence that the Master is again present,
though His glorious person is graciously veiled from
human sight.” I0 “ The harvest of this age began with the presence of
1 Vol. 1, p. 127. 2 Vol. 128. I, p. aVol. 1, p. 151. 4 CWatiOn, p. 341. 6 Reconciliation, p. 289. ‘\‘Ol. 6. p. 179. ’ Vol. 6, 164. p. 8 Deliverance, pp. 222, 226, 230. Q Deliverance, p. 91. lo Vol. 166. 2, p. 6.a2 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
our Lord . . . in 1874, and ends with the overthrow of
Gentile power in A.D. 1914.” l
“ He came to earth in 1874 and the saints were raised
in 1878.” 2 “ In 1914 all the dead will be raised again.” a
“ In many places in our Bible referring to the second
coming of the Lord, the word translated into the English
as ‘ coming ’ is properly translated ’ presence ’ . . . and
refers to the invisible presence of the Lord.” 4
For answer, see Matt. xxiv. 30, 36, 44 ; x x v. 13, 31 ;
Mark xiii. 32 ; Luke xii. 40-46 ; Acts i. II ; I Cor. xv.
51, 52 ; I Thess. iv. 16, 17 ; Rev. i. 7.
Other heterodox views held are that the earth is man’ s heaven and there will be no other.s Man has no soul, only body.s Christ is not the Mediator for Jehovah’ s witnesses, they need none ; they are Christ’ s body.7 Christ’ s sacrifice is not complete, but is being completed by the Witnesses (His body members) who are being perse- cuted to-day.s When the Scriptures refer to “ that day,” they meant 1914, for the world came to an end that year.#
Out of their own mouths we have demonstrated that Russell, Rutherford and their followers leave hardly a
tenet of the faith intact. Here are some of their errors :
Denial of the Trinity.
Christ was created and not divine until His resurrection.
His was merely a human atonement. His body was not raised from the dead. His second advent took place in 1874. The saints were raised up in 1878.
There is no personal Holy Spirit. The Lord is now a purely Spirit being.
The Christian Church was rejected of God in 1878. A second probation for the wicked.
Denial of future punishment.
Three additional relevant notes are appended.
1 Vol. 2, p. 234. aVo1. 2, pp. 188, 189, x96.
8 Do You Know? 4 Hare of God, p. 225.
6 Deliverance. pp. 335-344. 6 Reconciliation. p. 78. 7 Reconciliation, p. 2 2 2. 8 Reconciliation, pp. 160, 2×9.
Rutherford and Russell.
Judge Rutherford, the successor to Pastor Russell, like
his predecessor has been a prolific writer. Although
adherents maintain that “ Russellites ” and “ Jehovah
Witnesses ” are not the same, a comparison of their
literature reveals a substantial identity of doctrine.
Granting that there is some divergence in detail, each of
the above errors reappears in Rutherfordism.
The Test of a Profihet.
Deut. xviii. zz says : I‘ When a prophet speaketh in
the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken,
but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously ; thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
“ Mr. Russell prophesied that our churches, schools,
banks and governments would be completely destroyed
by October 1914. Later, the destruction was promised in
instalments ending in 1925. Vol. 4, p, 622, says of the
kingdom of God : ‘ Its influence and work will result in
the complete destruction of the ” the powers that be ”
of ‘ I this present evil world,” political, financial, ecclesi-astical-
by the close of the “ times of the Gentiles,”
October A.D. 1914.’ In Vol. 2, p. gg, he says : ‘ The final
end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establish-ment
of the kingdom of God, will be accomplished by
the end of A . D . rgrq.’ Please observe that in these
prophecies the words complete, final end and full establish- ment do not admit of any range of option for the events.
In an edition of these books showing publisher’s date of
1923 the words ‘ by the close ’ in the first quotation are
changed to ‘ about the close,’ and the word; ’ by the end ’
in the second quotation are changed to ‘n e ar the end.’ Even with these changes the fulfilment is long overdue ”
(B. H. Shadduck).
Prophecies with Movable Dates.
With reference to changes in later editions in the
books which have been made to cover failures in the.84 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
fulfilment of prophecy, Dr. Shadduck writes : “ I will not weary the reader with the many prophecies that had movable dates, but I would caution persons having copies of the books that an early publisher’s date does not prove that the clumsy revisions that were evidently
thrust into a type page already set up were prepared
by Mr. Russell before that time. In many cases the
revision is so calculated and measured that it fits into a
line without disturbing the first and last words of the
line, and rarely does it disturb the hues above and below,
though there are a very few places where a new paragraph
is set in. Vol. 2, with a publisher’s date 1923 shows a
chart on p. 247 that dates the destruction of nominal
Christendom for 1915. Vol. 7, with a publisher’s date
five years earlier, has the same chart on p. 595, with the date three years later. Thus it is clear that the earlier
publisher’s dates may be consorting with the later viewpoint.”
In view of the above facts and quotations, we maintain that only a blind credulity and an absolute ignoring of
the Scriptures would allow any of our readers to embrace
this erroneous teaching..VIII
HE name appropriated by this Society is certainly a happy one, compounded as it is from the two
Greek words “ Theos,” God, and “ sophia,” wisdom. If its name were true expression of its character, it would
inevitably lead to Christ who is “ the wisdom of God ”
(I Cor. i. 24). But as we shall see, such is by no means
its tendency, in spite of Mrs. Besant’s claim in the second
chapter of her book, Popular Lecbzwes on Tlzeosophy.
Here it is : “.Occult Science (the teachings of Theosophy),
takes in the whole of the vast series of changes which
begin with the descent of Spirit to embody itself in
matter, traces the evolution of forms through stages of
ever-increasing beauty, complexity and capacity, so that,
within all, the evolving involved life is seen. I have
called these stages, these grades, ‘ The Ladder of Lives.’ These living forms occupy successive steps on the ladder,
from the mineral to the throne of the LOGOS Himself. It is a veritable Jacob’s Ladder, with its foot in the mire of earth and its highest point lost in divine
God is to be found, according to this pseudo-religion,
not through the devout study of His Word, but by
looking within ourselves.
“ Go then, within, and not without, plunge fearlessly
into the depths of your own being ; seek in the cavity
of your own heart the hidden mystery-the mystery which verily is worthy to be enquired into-and there, there only, you will find Him.” The founders of the cult
have apparently never heard the confession wrung from
St. Paul, “ In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good
thing,” nor have they heeded the sobering statement of
our Lord, “ For from withe, out of the heart of men,.86 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
proceed evil thoughts . . . wickedness, deceit, pride,
foolishness ” (Mark vii. 21, 22).
Unlike many other cults, Theosophy bad its birth both
outside the white races, and outside the Church. It is a
Western adaptation of Hinduism, and was transplanted
to Europe by Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. An
examination of its strangely mixed tenets reveals that it
is a re-hashing of the ancient mystery religions of India,
Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. To these has been
added something of the European philosophies of the
Middle Ages and the occult teachings of the Mahatmas,
the whole being piously sweetened with the language of
Scripture. One writer claims that it is “ a mixture of
ancient Hinduism, modern Spiritism, Gnosticism and
Scriptural phraseology.” Referring to its Gnostic ten- dencies, D. M. Panton asserted that, like Gnosticism, it is
a Christian truth disintegrated under a deadly dissolving acid, which distilled by the demonic philosophies of the
hoary East, rots away all the heart, while it maintains
the husk, of the revelations of God.
Its Hindu origin was frankly owned by Mrs. Annie
Besant, Madame Blavatsky’s successor, in a Daily
Chronicle interview. Here are her words : “ I confined
myself to the Hindu scriptures, and in all cases I stated
that I regarded these scriptures and the Hindu religion
as the origin of all the scriptures and all religions, This
was the position learned from Madame Blavatsky, and which I have held since I joined the Theosophical Society.”
The Society was founded in New York in 1875 by
Madame Blavatsky, supported by Col. H. S. Olcott and W. Q. Judge. To-day it claims to have more than 1400
branches throughout the world. At the time, the founder
said, “ It is the same Spiritualism, but under another name! ”
The source of Theosophy may be judged from the fact
that both of its outstanding leaders were Spiritualists,
and that Spiritualistic books are included in the Cataloguc of Theosophical Publications..THEOSOPHY AND REINCARNATION 87
These are succinctly stated by Cooper in his Theoso$hy Sim&jted, p. I.
I. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of
Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste
or colour.
2. To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science. 3. To investigate the unexplained laws of Nature, and the powers latent in man. To these objectives as stated, little exception can be
taken, except that it throws the door wide open to every creed, or to no creed. But do these three exhaust its
objectives and operations ? We leave readers to judge.
It rather immodestly claims to be the only system which
gives a satisfactory solution of such problems as :
The object, use and inhabitation of other planets than
the earth. The geological cataclysms, the differences between the various races of men, the line of future development.
The contrasts and unisons of the world’s faiths. The existence of evil and of sorrow.
The inequalities of society.
The possession by individuals of psychic powers.
A brief reference to its sponsors is relevant here, and
tells its own tale.
Madame Blavatsky, a Russian spiritist medium, was
born in 1831. When seventeen she married General
Blavatsky, a man of nearly seventy, but deserted him
after three months.Since Russian law made no pro-vision
for divorce, she “ lived a Bohemian life ” until she remarried at forty-nine a boy of sixteen who went mad
the day after the marriage. Between 1848 and 1857 she
claimed to have visited Tibet where she learned the
secret of the Mahatmas, of which more later. In 1871
she established a Spiritistic society in Cairo, but en-countered
trouble for tricking the public. Concerning.88 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
her, her fellow-worker, Olcott said, “ If there ever existed
a person in history who was a greater conglomeration of
good and bad, light and shadow, wisdom and indis-cretion,
spiritual insight and lack of commonsense, I
cannot recall the name, the circumstances, or the epoch.” l In r884 she was accused of trickery by the Psychical
Research Society who had sent a deputation to India to
enquire into Theosophy.
Mrs. Annie Besant led “ a rather tempestuous life ” as
a girl. A daughter of the manse, she found it hard to
embrace orthodox religion and was constantly assailed
by doubts, which were for a time allayed by her marriage
to a young clergyman. The marriage was, however, ill-starred
and was later dissolved. She then joined Brad-laugh
in his rationalistic crusade, dabbling in Spiritism
as a sideline. Incidentally, Mrs. Besant and Bradlaugh
were both convicted by the law as publishers of immoral literature, and escaped the penalty only through a legal
quibble. When she came into contact with Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society, she found what
she had been long seeking, and ultimately became its leader. One of the Societies which she sponsored and introduced to England was “ The Order of the Star of the East,” whose Declaration of Principles was as follows :
I. We believe that a great Teacher will soon appear
in the world, and we wish so to live now that we may
be worthy to know Him when He comes.
2. We shall try, therefore, to keep Him in our minds
always and to do in His name, and therefore to the
best of our ability, all the work which comes to us in
our daily occupations.
3. As far as our ordinary duties allow, we shall
endeavour to devote a portion of our time each day to some definite work which may help to prepare for His coming.
4. We shall seek to make Devotion, Steadfastness and Gentleness prominent characteristics of our dally life.
5. We shall try to begin and end each day with a short
period devoted to the asking of His blessing upon all that
we try to do for Him and in His name,
’ Old Diary Leaves, Foreword, vii..THEOSOPHY AND REINCARNATION 89
6. We regard it as our special duty to try to recognise
and reverence greatness in whomsoever shown, and to
strive to co-operate as far as we can with those whom
we feel to be spirituahy our superiors. These might be noble aims, were it not that the Great
Teacher who has already come is ignored or reduced to the level of Buddha and Confucius. Observe how clever
a counterfeit this is of the Scriptural teaching concerning
our Lord’s Second Advent. In rgo8 she “ discovered ” Krishnamurti, the coming
World Teacher, the Messiah, who, alas, sadly disappointed
her hopes.
Theosophy does not concede the pre-eminence of
Christianity over all other religions. Rather does it
reduce it to the level of the other religions of the
“ Theosophy comes to the world then as a peacemaker. Why should we quarrel ? God is the Centre, and from any point of the circumference you can direct your steps
towards Him ; yet in stepping, each will take a different direction towards the Centre, according to the point
from which he starts.So it is with all the various religions ; they are all ways to God.” l Mrs. Besant contends that each religion has a note of its own which
it contributes to the world. When blended together they
give the whiteness of truth, and a mighty chord of
perfection. Such a contention is refuted by Gal. i. 8 ;
2 John x. II.
The character of any religious system can be tested by
its relation to the great central facts of Christianity. Let us apply this test to Theosophy. What does it teach concerning God.
“ The next matter impressed on the student of
Theosophy is the denial of a personal God.”
“ In Theology, Theosophy is pantheistic-God is all,
and all is God.” a
1 Popdar Lectures on Theosophy. a Besant, Exposition of Theosophy, p. 28..90 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
In the Key to Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky is asked,
” Do you believe in God, the God of a Christian ? ” The
answer is : “ In such a God we do not believe ; we
reject the idea of a personal extra-cosmic and anthropo-morphic
God, who is but the gigantic shadow of a man,
and not of man at his best-this God is a bundle of
contradictions and a logical impossibility.” To one who
protested that if her pantheistic idea of God were true,
God would be in the ash of a cigar, just as in the soul
of a man, she replied, “ To be sure, God is in the ash just
as in my soul.”
“ We do not at all deny the charge of atheism, the word
being used in the ordinary theistic sense.” r
Theosophy has a trinity, but it is only “ a threefold
manifestation of Power or Will, Wisdom and Activity.”
The trinity of the Theosophist consists of :
The great unknowable, unknown God, corresponding
to the Father.
The unmanifested God-the great primeval cause of
The manifested Logos. To these may be added“ a Fourth Person, or in some religions called a second trinity, feminine, the Mother.”
For answer see Gen. xvii. I ; Ps. ciii. 13 ; Eph. i.
9, 11; I Thess. i. 9 ; I Tim. vi. 16 ; Heb. xi. 6.
” This word ‘ the Christ ’ means to us more than the
name of one, however lofty or however holy, and to us
the Christ is less an external Saviour, than a living
Presence in the human spirit, a presence by which the
human spirit unfolds its innate divinity, so that in time all men become Christs.” “ He is the Master to whom the Christian should turn. But . . . there are other Divine Teachers in other
faiths, and they occupy to the millions of souls who
worship them the same position of Divine-human teachers
as the great Master, Jesus, holds in the Christian Church.” a
1 The Theosophist, September 1882.
a Besant, Is Theosophy Antichristian, pp. 16, 11..THEOSOPHY AND REINCARNATION 91
Thus Theosophy drags the Son of God from His exalted
throne and aligns Him with Osiris, Zoroaster and Krishna !
For answer see Isa. ix. 6 ; John i. I, 14 ; xvii. 5 ; Col.
i. 17 ; ii. g ; Heb. ii. 14.
Theosophy has discovered that man consists of one
spirit, Atma. Three souls, Buddahi, Manas and Kamar-upha.
A life principle, Prana. Two bodies, the astral
and physical. T h e Atma is the reincarnating ego,
which is the permanent individuality. Man’s spirit
is pre-existent. He must work out his own salvation,
through many incarnations.
“ He, man, is not born, nor doth he die, nor having been,
ceaseth he any more to be.” l
For answer see Rom. iii. 12 ; v. Ig–21 ; I Cor. xv. 22 :
Eph. ii. 8-g ; Tit. iii. 5.
Tt%e Bible.
“ I confined myself to the Hindu Scriptures, and in all cases I stated that I regarded these Scriptures and the
Hindu religion as the origin of all the Scriptures and all the religions ” 2 (Annie Besant).
“ The Bible is only one of many revelations.”
But to the Christian who accepts the authority of the
Scriptures, God has spoken His final word in Christ,
We will look in vain for any new revelation than that
which is already given in the Bible.
For answer see Isa. viii. 19, 20 ; Matt. iv. I-II ; v.
18 ; John xii. 48 ; 2 Tim. iii. 16 ; Heb. iv. 12 ; Rev.
xxii. 18, 19.
“ The fall of man does not mean, as commonly supposed,
the lapse, through a specific act, of particular individuals from a state of original perfection.” 3
For answer see Gen. iii. 6, 7 ; Rom. v. 12.
1 Cooper, Theosophy Simplijied. p. 30. g The Daily Chronicle, April g, 1894. The Perfect Way, p. 215..92 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
Vicarious Atonement.
” The atonement wrought by Christ lies not in the
substitution of one individual for another, but in the
identity of nature between the divine man, and men who
are becoming divine.” l
“ We believe neither vicarious atonement, nor in the
possibility of the remission of the smallest sin by any
god, not even by a personal Absolute or Infinite, if such
a thing could have existence.” 2 For answer see Matt. xx. 28 ; xxvi. 28 ; John iv.
&55 ; x. 11; 2 Cor. v. 21 ; Gal. iii. IO , 13 ; I Tim.
* I Pet. ii. 24. . ,
The Devil.
“ There is no personal devil. That which mystically
is called the Devil, is the negation and opposite of God.
And whereas God is I AM or positive Being, the Devil is
“ The Devil is not to be confounded with ‘ Satan,’
though they are sometimes spoken of in Scripture as if
they were identical.In such cases, however, Scripture
presents but the popular belief.” 3
For answer see Matt. iv. 1-4 ; Rev. xx. 2, IO.
“ Whether the person pray to Buddha, to Vishnu,
to Christ, to the Father, it matters not at all.” ,1
For answer see John xiv. 13, 14 ; xv. 7 ; xvi. 24 ;
Heb. xi. 6.
“ If this (Luke xiii. 23, 24) be applied in the ordinary
Protestant way to salvation from everlasting hell-fire, the statement becomes incredible, shocking.” s
’ 1 s Theosophy Antichristian, p. 15.
2 Key of Theosophy, p. 135.
3 The Perfect Way, pp. 69-71.
4 Besant. The Seven Principles of Mm, p. 58.
6 Besant, Esoteric Christianity, p. 42..THEoSoPHY AND REINCARNATION 93
For answer see Matt. xxv. 4x,46 ; John iii. 36 ; z Thess.
i. g ; Rev. xx. 14, 15.
Such are Theosophy’s direct denials of the faith. But in addition, there are certain Buddhist accretions which do violence alike to Scripture and to common sense. Chief among these are the teachings concerning :
Theosophy’s basic belief is the doctrine of the evolution
of the soul by repeated incarnations. The idea behind
this doctrine is that, if each action produces eternal
results, then there must be some existence in which
these results manifest themselves. As we admittedly
do not experience the results of all our actions in this
life, there must be other lives in which those rest&s come
forth. Each action in this life issues in an experience in
the life to come.There may be a transmigration of soul
to the form of a plant, or a lower animal, or a human being, according to the merit or demerit of the past life. When
Mrs. Besant first met Bradlaugh, she said, “ I know
that our instinctive friendliness was in very truth an
outgrowth of friendship in other lives, and that on that
August day we took up again that ancient tie, and did
not begin a new one.” 1
“ Reincarnation is taken for granted in the whole of
this teaching.”
The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia sum-marises
the Theosophical teaching on reincarnation :
“ The unfoldment of man’s powers is slow and gradual ;
hence the necessity of repeated incarnations, each life on earth being like a day in school. At death a man
drops his physical body, and clothed in his subtle bodies, lives a life of purification, rest and bliss, rich and full in proportion to his stage in evolution and the needs of
the life just ended.This is the time when he assimilates
the experiences of that life, changing them into faculties.
As this work is being done, he drops one after the other
his worn-out astral bodies, and finally, having enjoyed
1 An Autobiography, p. 136..94 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
all the bliss to which his achievements entitle him, he
clothes himself in new bodies and returns to earth to take up the earth existence where he had left it, each life
being thus a progress on the preceding one.”
For such a doctrine they produce not one scintilla of
evidence. Mrs. Besant herself admits that “ the only
proof of the doctrine must in the nature of things lie in
the future, if it exists at all.” l
For answer see Heb. ix. 26, 27.
In place of the soul-satisfying Christian doctrine of
forgiveness of sins through the atonement of Christ,
the Theosophist is offered the myth of reincarnation,
which has a twin-principle in the Buddhist idea of
“ Karma.” The Theosophist is always trying to “ make
good Karma ‘I–i.e. to add to his store of merit. Karma
is defined as“ action, deed, effect, fate.” It is the law
of sowing and reaping. If you do not wish to reap, then
do not sow. If you wish to avoid an effect, refrain from
doing that which would cause that effect. What a man
reaps in his present life, he has sown in some previous
existence. In his book on India (p. 364) J. P. Jones
defines the word as meaning, “ actions pursuing the
soul through successive births, and compelling it to reveal by its conditions and reflect by its experiences the previous birth.” But as Van Baalen points out, all suffering is not the outcome of evil deeds, nor is there anything ethical, or purging in suffering for evil deeds of which one has no memory. Indeed, much of our suffering comes through the evil deeds of others. For answer see Isa. i. 18 ; I John i. g.
Madame Blavatsky claimed to have penetrated Tibet,
and there to have held communion with the Mahatmas,
or Brotherhood of Teachers, men of superior wisdom,
“ the finished product of human evolution,” as far above
ordinary mankind as man is above the insects of the
1 Why I Became a Theosophist..THEOSOPHY AND REINCARNATION 95
fields. According to Mrs. Besant, a Mahatma is “ a living
man who has evolved more rapidly than the vast majority of the human race, and has reached a stage of mental, moral and spiritual development which will be attained by the race in the future only at the end of millenniums of years.” l
The great objective of the Theosophist is, by the purging of successive incarnations, to become an initiate, and be
welcomed by this great Brotherhood of Teachers. These
Mahatmas are the source of the knowledge of occult matters claimed by Theos0phy.s
“ If there are no Masters,” asserted Mrs. Besant,
“ then the Theosophical Society is an absurdity.”
Supreme over the Mahatmas is the Great World Teacher who will, when he finds a suitable medium, give to
the world a greater and higher revelation. For answer see Matt. xxiv. 24-26.
Theosophy thoroughly discredited itself and irremedi- ably “ lost face ” over its claims concerning Jiddu Krishnamurti, a young Hindu whom Mrs. Besant adopted, asserting him to be the incarnation of the expected World
Teacher, and widely announcing him as their Messiah.
His teachings, purporting to have been received from the Great Teacher are recorded in his book, At the Feet
of the Master. Vast gatherings were held at Ommen, Holland, which he made his headquarters. In 1928 he was still convinced of his divine mission, and as reported
in The New York Sun, April g, said, “ I am the voice of the Great Teacher. I have the Spirit. You may not believe it. I don’ t care ; it makes no difference to me.” In 1931, however, much to the dismay of his devotees, he publicly renounced his Messianic pretensions. “ I am
not an actor,” he said, “ I refuse to wear the robes of a Messiah.” The Order of the Star of the East which sponsored him has been disbanded.
With the above documented statements before him, the
1 Exfiosition of Theosofihy, p. 19. a Lucifer, December 15, 1890..96 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
Christian is in a position to form an estimate of this cult. Its heathen and Spiritistic origin, the character of
its founders, the antichristian nature of its doctrines,
and the abdication of its heralded Messiah, combine to
convince that the whole movement is not of God, and
should be both shunned and exposed..IX
HE writer has good reason to so describe the heresy which is the subject of our present study. In the days when the “ Keswick ” Movement had its beginnings-about 1875–his grandparents were keen and zealous Christians, rejoicing in full salvation. Each
morning the grandfather could be heard walking up and down the drawing-room singing F. R. Havergal’ s con-secration
hymn ere the work of the day began. In their
thirst for Bible knowledge they were somehow brought
into touch with some Christadelphians who were indeed
diligent Bible students. Bibles were brought out in
the evenings, and studied till the early hours of the morning. Soon they became zealous propagators of the “ new light ” which had come to them. Some time later, the grandmother perceived where she had been led astray
and utterly renounced Christadelphianism and all its works, but not until her excursion into this false faith had exerted a tragic effect on some members of her family. The grandfather never withdrew from their
communion, but lost all the glow and promise of his
earlier years, although he was never a thoroughly “ orthodox ” Christadelphian.
That the following is a substantially correct setting forth of the Christadelphian beliefs is borne out by a
letter received when this study first appeared in a magazine. The writer of the letter, a Christadelphian of forty years’ standing, said, “ In the main, and as far as it goes, you have fairly stated our beliefs, with two exceptions.” The present article has been amended to correct the two points to which exception was taken.
Two of their outstanding characteristics are :
The zeal with which they pursue their study is worthy of a better cause, and might well be emulated by those of us who, while perceiving their errors, give so little time to searching of the Scriptures. And their zeal is no less evident in their “ compassing land and sea to make
one proselyte.” A prospective convert is most assidu- ously cultivated, and does not easily escape their clutches.
It is noticeable, however, that they are not outstanding
in their zeal in endeavouring to reach the outcasts and
sinful of our cities.
In common with other cults, the adherents of this one
un-church all others. In Who are Christadelphians ? pp. 3, 6, 8, the following passages occur : “ Convinced that this is the only Scriptural constitution of the ’ one body,’ of which Jesus Christ is alone the head, and Who has no personal representative on earth, we repudiate the popular churches, and all their adjuncts, as no part thereof, and affirm that there is no salvation within the
pale of any of t h e m. For we hold that the religious opinions and sacramentalism of all orders and classes of
men in ‘Christendom ’ so-called are nothing more than
that ‘ strong delusion ’ sent of God upon all mankind that they should believe a lie, that they might all be
condemned. We object to the fundamental doctrines of Chtristendom ; the religion of the churches and chapels is a negation of Bible teaching on almost all points. We hold it to be ‘ the abominations of the earth ’ with all dissenting names and denominations, aggregately styled
‘ names of blasphemy,’ of which the European body politic, symbolised by the eight-headed, scarlet-coloured
beFast i~,s~~~o,o~si~~l~~~i~Rev. xvii. 3).
From the above quotation it is seen that Christa-delphianism
denies all the doctrines which the Church.THE COUNTERFEIT OF CHRISTADELPHIANISM 99
holds as essential to the Christian faith. While posing
as its champions, they are in reality among the greatest
enemies of the truth, a statement which we shall proceed
to prove.
The Trinity.
Christadelphianism denies the Scriptural doctrine of the
Trinity. “ There were not two or three eternal persons before ’ the man Christ Jesus,’ but om+–God the Father,
whose relation to the Son was afterwards exemplified in
the event related by Luke (i, 35), by which was estab-lished
what Paul styles’ the mystery of godliness ’
( I Tim. iii. 16).” “ Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not
the ‘ second person ’ of an eternal Trinity of Gods, but
the manifestation of the ONE ETERNAL CREATOR.”
In this way the teaching of the Church on the Trinity
is travestied. What intelligent believer has ever thought
of “an eternal Trinity of Gods,” which would be but a form of polytheism ? For answer, see Isa. lxiii. 8-10 ; Matt. xxviii. 19.
Jesus Christ.
Christadelphianism denies that Christ is the eternal,
incarnate Son of God.
“ Jesus had no existence prior to His birth by Mary.”
“ Jesus is the name of the virgin’s Son, and not that
of an eternally pre-existent God Who came down from
heaven, and in some mysterious way became incarnate
in the Flesh.” l
“ The Father was manifest in the flesh, not a pre- existent co-eternal Son, which is impossible.” 2 “ The Son is a manifestation of the Father in a man
begotten by the Spirit.” 3 “ That Christ’s nature was immaculate ” is among the
doctrines to be rejected.4
1 Is It Blasphemy ? p. 19.
2 Walker, Truth about the Trinity, p. 13. 8 R. Roberts, Christendom Astray, p. 108.
4 Constitution of the Christadelphian Ecclesia, p. 13,..100 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
Quoting Rom. viii. 3, R. Roberts says1 “ It was the
same flesh, full of the same propensities, and the same
&sires, in Christ as in us ; for sinful Aesh and the likeness
of sinful flesh mean the same thing.” “ Deriving from His mother both the propensities that
lead to sin and the sentence of death that was passed because of sin, He was absolutely sinless as to disobedience,
whilst subject to the impulses and consequences of sin.
For it was necessary that He should appear in the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature.” 2
“ Christadelphians do not worship the Lord Jesus Christ
in the same way that they worship the Father.“ 3
Further quotations from their literature are unnecessary
to establish that they deny His eternal Sonship and deity,
leaving us with a sinful Christ, who came “ under the
beneficial operation of His own death.”
In this connection, D. M. Panton wrote, “ The Jews
stumbled nineteen hundred years ago exactly where the Christadelphians stumble to-day. ‘ And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and
mother we know ? How doth He now say, I am come grE;Jr:;;+-; ‘&hn, vi. 42). Awful and eternal is th?
. Except ye believe that I am He -the pre-existent One-‘ ye shall die in your sins ’
(John viii. 24). The pre-existence of the Eternal Son of God is a matter of life and death. No one who denies
our Lord’s deity can be forgiven (John v. 23).”
For answer, see John i. r-3, 14; viii. 58 ; xvii. 5 ;
xx. 28 ; Rom. ix. 5 ; Heb. i. 3, 6, 8.
The Holy Spirit.
Christadelphianism denies the personality of the Spirit. “ The Spirit is not a personal God distinct from the
Father, but the radiant invisible power or energy from
the Father, filling universal space and forming the
medium of His omniscient perceptions, and the instru-ment
of His omnipotent behests, whether in creation or
1 The Slain Lamb, p. 21. = Blood of Christ, p. 26.
For answer, see Matt. xxviii. 19 ; John vii. 39 ; xiv.
16, 17, 26 ; x v. 26 ; xvi. 7, 13 ; I Cor. xii. II .
The Devil.
Christadelphianism denies the existence of a personal devil.
“ The Devil is not (as is commonly supposed) a personal
supernatural agent of evil, and in fact there is no such
being in existence. The devil is a scriptural manifesta-tion
of sin in the flesh in its several phases of manifesta-tion
. . . after the style of metaphor which speaks of
wisdom as a woman, riches as mammon and Satan as
God of this world, sin as a master, etc.”
For answer, see Job i. 6-12 ; Zech. iii. 1-2 ; Matt. iv.
I-II ; Acts v. 3 ; Rev. xx. 1-3.
The Atonement.
Christadelphianism emasculates the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. “ The idea that Christ has borne our punishment and
paid our debts, and that His righteousness is placed to
our credit, and that all we have to do is to believe
it, is demoralising. Blighting results are to be witnessed
in all communities where the doctrine of a substitu-tionary
sacrifice and an imputed righteousness holds
sway.” l
“ Christ has given no satisfaction, paid no debt.” 2
“ If the blood of Christ could be found, it would not be of any spiritual value.” 3
“ The death of Christ was not to appease the wrath of
an offended Deity, but to express the love of the Father
in a necessary sacrifice for sin, that the law of sin and
death . . . might be nullified.”
For answer, see Isa. liii. 5 ; Matt. xx. 28 ; Rom. v. 9 ;
I Cor. xv. 3 ; 2 Cor. v. 21 ; I Pet. ii. 24 ; iii. 18 ; I John i. 7.
1 R. Roberts, The Blood of Christ, p. zg. 1 R. Roberts, The Slain Lamb, p. 21.
8 The Blood of Christ, p. 7..102 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
“ Earth, and not ’ heaven above the skies,’ is the
inheritance of the saints.” “ The belief in question is not only erroneous in sup-posing
that the dead go to such places as the popular heaven or hell immediately after death, but in thinking
that they ever go there at any time.” “ This going to heaven is a purely gratuitous
speculation.” l
For answer, see Luke xxiii. 43 ; John xiv. 1-3 ; z Cor.
v. 8 ; Phil. ii, 23 ; I Thess. iv. 17.
Christadelphianism denies the doctrine of the eternal
future punishment of the wicked, and for it they substitute
a system of conditional immortality.
“ It also follows of necessity that the popular theory
of hell and ‘ eternal torments ’ is a fiction.”
” Death, the extinction of being, is the predetermined issue of a sinful course.”
“ We are explicitly informed by other testimonies, that while aionian punishment ends in death, the life to be
conferred in that same aion is inextinguishable.” 2
Mr. A. J. Pollock makes the following cryptic comment
on this statement : “ That is to say that aionian, the
Greek adjective for eternal, means eternal in one part of
the verse, and not in the other part of the verse. What
confidence can the reader have in any reasoning of
Mr. Roberts, or indeed in his honesty, when he can
make words suit his fancy, and call white black and black white.”
For answer, see Matt. x. 28 ; x x v. 46 ; Luke xii. 4, 5 ;
xvi. 19-31 ; Rev. xx. 10-15.
Christadelphianism denies the validity of any baptism
other than their own.
1 Roberts, Christendom Astray, pp. 44, 45. *Ibid., pp. 49, 68..THE COUNTERFEIT OF CHRISTADELPHIANISM ‘103
“ We recognise as brethren and welcome to our fellow- ship, all who have been immersed after their accefitance of
our doctrines and $wecepts.”
Among doctrines to be rejected is, “ That a knowledge of the (Christadelphian) truth is not necessary to make
baptism valid.” 1
“ Baptism by water is the ceremony by which believing
men and women are united to Christ, and constituted
heirs of the life everlasting.”
To them, baptism is essential to salvation. ” To such
(believers) it (baptism) is the means of that present
union with Christ, which is preparatory to perfect
assimilation at the resurrection. It is, therefore, necessary
to salvation.”
“ A man may believe in all the glorious promises of
God, and yet not be a participator in them. He must
be baptized.” 2
For answer, see John iii. 36 ; I Pet. iii. 20, 21; I John
v. 13.
Christadelphians promulgate a doctrine of auto-soterism.
“ The belief of the Gospel described by the Spirit of
God as ‘ the things concerning the kingdom of God and
the name of Jesus Christ,’ together with baptism, and the obedience to the commandments of Christ, are indis- pensable to eternal life.” 3
“ To sum up the whole matter, a person instructed in
‘ the word of the kingdom,’ enquiring what must he do
to be saved, has only one Scriptural answer to receive :
‘ Repent and be baptised into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ’ (Acts ii. 38). When he has yielded this ‘ obedience of faith,’ he is ‘ born of water ’
through the inceptive influence of the truth ; and having
entered ‘ The Name,’ his sins are ‘ covered ’ ; his trans-gression
‘ hid ’ ; his whole past life is cancelled, and he
1 Constitution of the Christadelfihian Ecclesia. pp. 1-13, * Roberts, Christendom Astray, pp. 1×9, 302. 8 Bible Fingerposts, p. 243..104 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
has commenced a life of probation in which he is a lawful
candidate for that ‘ birth of the spirit ’ from the grave
which will finally constitute him a ‘son of God, being
the children of the resurrection ’ (Luke xx. 36). . . .
Bzlt his ultimate acceptance will depend upon the character
he develops in this new relation.” l (Italics ours.)
The best Christadelphianism can offer a sinner bowed
beneath a burden of sin, is yet another period of probation. No assurance of salvation is theirs.
For answer, see Rom. iii. 24, 28 ; iv. 4, 5 ; Eph. ii. 8, 9. Thus Christadelphianism, on its own statements, is
proved to be a counterfeit of true Christianity. It sub-stitutes
a modified Unitarianism for Trinitarianism ; it
robs Christ of His pre-existence and deity and sinlessness ;
degrades the Holy Spirit to the level of an impersonal
power ; denies personality to the Devil ; caricatures the
atonement, denies eternal punishment, and leaves us to
take care of our own salvation.
Who that knows “ the truth as it is in Jesus ” would
be prepared to barter it for such an empty and heartless tissue of negations ?
1 Roberts. Christendom Astray, p. 306..X
HAT Mormonism is indeed a menace even in the
British Dominions, is evidenced by the manner in
which it has closed the ear of a large section of the noble
New Zealand Maoris to the preaching of the true Gospel. Aggressive Mormon propaganda has been carried on
among them, but it has only turned them away from the truth as it is in Jesus. We have no quarrel with Mormons as individuals, many of whom are estimable
people, but this must not blind us to the blasphemy and error of their teaching. If ever St. Paul’s pro- nouncement concerning the Judaising heresy was
applicable, it is appropriate to Mormonism for there
is no identity whatever between St. Paul’s gospel and
that of Mormonism. “ If any man preach any other
gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
accursed ” (Gal. i. 9). To read an account of the rise and history of this cult
is to be staggered at the credulity of so large a number
of our fellow-men. George A. Combs gives an appraisal
of the movement which is not belied by the facts of the
case. Here it is : “ For climacteric comicality, Mor-monism
should be awarded the palm. Its romancing is
refreshing in its very audaciousness. Jules Verne dream-ing
is here eclipsed. Baron Munchausen marvels seem
commonplace. Of absurdities, Pelions are piled on Ossas, but the pile rises even higher. Untruth was never more
picturesque. From first to last the history of this cult
is dramatic and spectacular. One feels that he has
stumbled upon a scene in the Arabian Nights, rather
than upon a sober chapter of a real religion.” ‘ 05.106 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
The first name associated prominently with this
” ism ” is that of JoseprZ .Smit/z, an illiterate fellow, who,
according to his own mother, was hardly able to read
until manhood, and knew practically nothing of the
Bible. He was apparently unfortunate in his parentage,
for his father and mother, both of them ignorant and fanatical, laid great emphasis on the relevance of dreams and visions. And who knows but that his subsequent career was not the self-fulfilment of their prophecy that
their son Joseph would found a new religion ? Concerning Smith, Dr. Edmund Fairfield, President of
Michigan College wrote, when in Palmyra, N.Y. “ Three
were mentioned to me who had been intimately acquainted
with Joseph Smith from the age of ten years to twenty-five
and upwards. The testimony of these men was
given under no stress of any kind. It was clear, decided,
unequivocal testimony, in which they all agreed. ‘ Joseph Smith is simply a notorious liar.’ ‘T h e things for which
Joseph was most notorious, were his vulgar speech and his life of unspeakable lewdness.’ ”
Through some fortuitous circumstance he was thrown
into contact with an unfrocked Baptist minister Sidney
Rigdon who had subsequently thrown in his lot with the
Campbellites until he fell foul of Campbell. Rigdon
conceived the idea, that if Campbell could secure such a
following, he could become still more famous by going
beyond the Bible, and giving the world a totally new revelation. In Joseph Smith he found a ready instrument
and willing collaborator.The fruit of this unholy union
was the so-called Book of Mormon.
Their story was that on Se&ember 21, 1823, Smith
had an angel visitant, Moron; by name, who revealed to him that in A.D. 420 there had been secreted in the
hill Cumorah, near Palmyra N.Y., several golden plates
on which was inscribed the history of the Nephites who
came to America from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. Joseph, who had early evinced a penchant for occultism, went
to the spot, and lo, there were the golden plates ! Nay,.THE MENACE OF MORMONISM =Q?
more, a large pair of spectacles-Urim and Thummin
he called them–by the aid of which he was enabled to decipher and translate into English the mystic hiero-glyphics,
which, he claimed, were “ Reformed Egyptian.”
Concerning this claim, Professor Charles Anthon, a
noted linguist, made the following comment : “ a very
brief investigation convinced me that it was a mere hoax,
and a very clumsy one too. The characters were arranged
in columns like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented
the most singular medley I ever beheld. Greek, Hebrew, and all sorts of letters more or less distorted, either
through unskilfulness or from actual design, were inter-mingled
with sundry delineations of half-moons, stars
and other natural objects, and the whole ended in a rude
representation of the Mexican zodiac.”
The true story is as follows : A Presbyterian preacher
Solomon Spaulding by name wrote an imaginary history
of the people who inhabited America in the early days,
entitled, Manuscri$t Found. His effort not being accepted
for publication, he left it with a printer at Pittsburgh,
Patterson by name, and died two years later. The
aforementioned Rigdon, who frequented Patterson’s
shop, came on the old manuscript in which he saw a
short-cut to fame. With this as a basis, he compiled the
Book of Mormon, and with the help of Parley P. Pratt and Joseph Smith, perpetrated one of the greatest religious
hoaxes of the century. Pratt was a worthy companion
for Smith, coming to an untimely end through being shot
by an enraged husband whose wife Pratt had seduced and taken to Utah as one of his wives.
The degree of credulity required to accept the Mormon
version of the origin of their holy book seems inexplicable
unless it be that, “ because they received not the love of
the truth. . . . God sent them strong delusion, that
they should believe a lie ” (2 Thess. ii. IO, II).
The growth of the movement has however, in spite of its obvious absurdity, been phenomenal. It is essentially
missionary in character, and to-day boasts more than half
a million members. After Joseph Smith’s death at the hand of an infuriated.IO8 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
armed mob at Carthage in 1844, his place of leadership
was assumed by Brigham Young, who led the immigra-tion
of the Mormons to Utah, in order to escape the arm
of the law. He died thirty years later, leaving a fortune
of ~400,000, seventeen wives, (eight had preceded him
in death) and fifty-six children.
Mention must here be made of “ The Reorganised
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” or
“ Josephites,” an offshoot of the Mother Church. When Brigham Young was elected to the leadership, a minority, loyal to the Smith family, maintained that Joseph’s son was his rightful successor. They accordingly broke
away, setting up rival headquarters at Wisconsin in 1853.
To their credit be it said that they denounced polygamy,
which doctrine they attributed to Young, and renounced
the orthodox “ Adam-God ” teaching. The reorganised
Church, however, has not made great headway.
In his Chaos of Cults, Rev. J. K. Van Baalen identifies
with Mormonism, ” The Church of Christ, Headquarters
on the Temple Lot, Independence, MO.” with its official
organ, Zion’s Advocate. This group accepts the authority
of the Boo12 of Mormon, while disclaiming connection with the parent group. Such in brief is the origin of the movement and the history of some of its leaders.
If it be asked why we reject Mormonism, the answer
is three-fold :
I t is Antichristian. While concealing its errors under
the terminology of Christianity, it either perverts or denies
all the foundational truths of Christianity. God is a man
of flesh-Adam. Christ’s atonement has to do only with
the sins of Adam. Salvation is by works, and through
baptism. Christ is the Son of the Adam-God and Mary, not born of the Virgin. The Holy Spirit is a divine fluid.
Sin was necessary. All these points are substantiated
later from their own writings.
It is Anti-Moral. Polygamy was undoubtedly practised
among Mormons at least from 1852, when the public.THE MENACE OF MORMONISM 109
announcement of polygamy was made in Utah,l until it
was abandoned, officially in 1889, but only after a pro-tracted
legal battle.Even after this, it was practised in
secret. If Mormon missionaries are pressed to-day on
the point, they will say that while they believe in it, they
do not practise it. As recently as 1945, a score of Mormons
in America were convicted of practising polygamy. So
far from admitting regret or repentance, they persisted
in justifying their practice. Rev. D. H. C. Bartlett of
Nailsea, England, testified that in 1907 Mormon elders taught four English youths in his parish texts from the
Bible which they contended upheld polygamy, and
circulated among girls, Ready References, in which polyg-amy
is defended and taught.
For answer see Matt xix. 4-6 ; Eph. v. 24-33 ; I T i m. iii. 2 ; Tit. i. 6.
But whatever their present practice, it cannot be gain-said
that polygamy is an integral part of their doctrine.
“ If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent ; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no
other man, then he is justified ; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him . . . and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannct
commit adultery, for they belong to him. . . .” a
Much could be said under this heading. While the
reorganised church repudiates polygamy, even they
cannot deny that it was practised by all their original
twelve apostles.The fact that polygamy was tolerated
at all, is sufficient to condemn the whole system.
It is Anti-Democratic. “ The Kingdom of God (or
Mormon priesthood) is an order of government established
by Divine authority. . . . All other governments are
illegal and unauthorised.Any people attempting to
govern themselves by laws of their own making and by officers of their own appointment, are in direct rebellion
against the Kingdom of God.” 3
They make the boId cIaim that the priesthood (Mormon)
* Wife No. 19, p. 65. s Doctrine and Covenants, Section cxxxii.
8 Orson Pratt’ s Works, p. 41..110 HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
holds the power and right to give laws and command-ments
to individuals, churches, rulers, nations and the
world, to appoint kings, presidents, governors or judges,
a claim certainly not lacking in modesty.
The spectacular growth of the movement finds its cause,
in part, in the virile and vigorous leadership it ha.s
enjoyed since its earliest days. Its leaders have ever
been dynamic men of foresight and no mean executive
ability. Its autocratic organisation has been superb. The very persecutions they have endured have gained for their doctrines a sympathetic ear, while their “ miracles of healing ” drew many adherents from the
ranks of suffering humanity. To-day, radio audiences
the world over are accustomed to hear Alexander Shriner
at the organ, J. Spencer Cornwall leading the beautiful
choir, and Richard Evans giving the spoken word. This
popular broadcast has gained them a great deal of good-will
from a public which is ignorant of the deadly poison
which lies behind the honeyed words.
Among the many counterfeits of this cult, we may
enumerate three :
A Counterfeit Bible, the Book of Mormon, the origin of
which has been already indicated. Among many proofs
of its spurious nature, we may point out these convincing
facts. Of those who witnessed to the authenticity of the
book, the first three, Cowdry, Whitmer and Harris were
given three days to clear out of the church, and were
denounced by Mormons as thieves, liars and blacklegs,
conspiring to deceive and cheat the saints of their
property. Three of the second group of witnesses later repudiated Mormonism. Again, to anyone familiar with the Campbellite doctrines and phraseology, the presence
of their peculiar tenets and expressions in the book is to
say the least suspicious.
Another interesting though condemning fact is that
the hundreds of direct quotations from Old and New
Testaments are all from the Authorised Version, although.THE MENACE OF MORMONISM I II
the golden plates were written twelve hundred years
before King James authorised that version ! I t abounds
in modern words, expressions and discoveries. Shake-speare’s
well-known phrase, “ the undiscovered country
from whose bourne no traveller returns,” was used in
2 Nephi i. 14, two thousand years before Shakespeare’s birth ! Such is the Mormon Bible.
Fundamental to the Mormon system is the dogma of continuous revelation, which necessarily robs the Bible of any final or authoritative voice in matters of faith and practice, and vests such authority in any self-styled
prophet who may arise.
A Counterfeit Apostolate. The Mormons do not claim apostolic succession, but rather apostolic restoration,
since all other priesthoods save their own have failed.
They have their twelve apostles. If as exhorted in
Rev. ii. 2 we “ try them that call themselves apostles,
and they are not,” we find them wanting, for the Scrip-tural
requirements for apostleship are : acquaintance with Christ before crucifixion ; seeing Christ after His
resurrection ; reception of commission direct from Him,
the Head of the Church ; ability to work miracles. “ Such men are false apostles, deceitful workers,
fashioning themselves into the apostles of Christ ” (2 Cor.
xi. 13). A Counterfeit Priesthood. Their priesthood alone has
divine authority to act for God and is answerable only to
God, and their followers implicitly bow to their dictates.
And yet there is no recognition among them that in Christ
our High Priest all priesthood was fully and for ever
fulfilled, and that every believer now forms part of a
Kingdom of priests.
This is embodied in their Articles of Faith, some of which are given below, and on which we comment.
Article I. “ We believe in God the Eternal Father,
and His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”
But what do they believe about the members of the
Unlike Christian Science, which gives us an impersonal
God, Mormonism degrades Him to the level of a magnified
man. “ God himself was once as we are now, and is an
exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens ;
it is the first principle of the Gospel to know that He
was once a man like us ” (Joseph Smith).
To a Mormon, God is Adam. ” When our Father Adam
came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a
celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives with
him. . . . He is our Father and our God, and the only
God with whom we have to do.” 1 “ We believe in the plurality of Gods.” 2
“ We worship a God Who has both body and parts, who has mouth, eyes and ears ; who speaks ” (Orson
“ God created man as we create our children : for there
is no other process of creation.” 3
For answer see Deut. vi. 4 ; Matt. xxii. 24-130 ; Mark
xii. 24, 32 ; John iv. 24.
“ The fleshly body of Jesus required a mother as well as a father. Therefore the father and mother of Jesus
according to the flesh must have been associated together in the capacity of husband and wife ; hence the Virgin Mary must have been for the time being the lawful
wife of God the Father.” 4
“ He was not begotten of the Holy Ghost.” 6
“ We say it was Jesus Christ who was married (at
Cana) to the Marys and Martha, whereby He could see His seed before He was crucified.” 6
“ If He was never married, His intimacy with Mary
and Martha, and the other Mary also, must have been
’ Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 50.
a Mormon Doctrine of Deity, p. II.
a Journal of Discoveries, Vol. II, p. 122.
4 The Seer,
5 Journal o D%scourses. Vol. r, p. 50. f’ f59. 6 Orson Hyde, Journal, Vol. 2, p. 80..THE MENACE OF MORMONISM II3
highly unbecoming and improper, to say the best of it.” ’
For answer see Matt. i. 18 ; Luke i. 35.
” The purest, most refined and subtle of all these
substances (such as electricity, galvanism, magnetism)
is that substance called the Holy Spirit.” a “ Divine
nuidl.” *For answer, see John xiv. 17 ; xvi. 13, 14, 15 ; Acts
x111. 2 ; xvi. 6 ; I John v. 7.
Article II. “ We believe that men will be punished for
their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.”
“ What God was once, we are now ; what God is now,
we shall be ” (Brigham Young).” They who have obeyed
the laws of the Gospel . . . shall have thrones, dominion
and endless increase ; they shall be Gods creating and
governing worlds and peopling them with their own
offspring.” s
“ Was it necessary that Adam should partake of the
forbidden fruit ? Yes, unless he had done so, he would
not have known good and evil here, neither could he
have mortal posterity.” 4 “ We ought to consider the
fall of our first parents as one of the great steps to eternal
exaltation and happiness.” 6 “ Adam and Eve rejoiced
and praised God when they sinned.” For answer, see Gen. ii. 7 ; Rom. v. 12 ; vi. 23 ; .*. Vlll. 7 ; I John i. 8.
Article III. I‘ We believe that through the atonement
of Jesus Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
1 Orson Hyde, ,Jouvnal, Vol. 4, p. 259, 2 Key to the Science of Theology, p. 39. o &fWUal, 1901-1902, Part I, p. 5 2. 4 Mormon Cathechism.
= Ibid.
They first rob Christ of His power to offer atonement
by classing him as a polygamist, son of the Adam-God and Mary, and then claim to believe that through His
atonement mankind may be saved. What atonement
could such a creature make ? In any case, say they, the
atonement of Christ does not save souls, but only delivers
the earth from the power of death.
For answer, see Acts xiii. 39 ; Rom. iv. 25 ; Gal. i. 4.
“ Redemption from personal sins can only be obtained
through obedience to the requirements of the Gospel
(Mormon ceremonies) and a life of good works.” “ He
that receives the message (of the Book of Mormon) a nd
endures to the end shall be saved; he that rejects it shall
be damned.” l Thus, the atonement of Christ is nullified,
and salvation reduced to a system of good works plus a belief in the fraud of Joseph Smith.
For answer, see Eph. ii. 8, 9 ; Tit. iii. 5, 6.
Article IV. “ We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Bible are : First, Faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ ; Second, Repentance ; Third, Baptism by
immersion for the remission of Sins ; Fourth, Laying on
of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost,”
The Cerinthian heresy of baptism for the dead is perpetuated. I‘ A man may be baptised as proxy for and in behalf of the dead.” a “ Baptism is necessary to salvation.” 3 This unscriptural assertion necessarily
cancels out justification by faith alone, which Talmadge
asserts “ has exercised an influence for evil since the
early days of Christianity.” 4 The reception of the Holy
Spirit is not possible except at the hands of a Mormon
For answer, see I Cor. i. 14 with I Cor. iv. 15.
Article VI. ‘ I We believe in the same organisation that
1 Pratt’ s Works, Paper I. 8 House of the Lord, p. 77. * Talmadge, Articles of Faith, p. 130. 4 Ibid., p. 120..THE MENACE OF MORMONISM 115
existed in the primitive church, namely apostles, prophets,
pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.”
Note that the Mormon Church claims to be the sole Church of the Living God. “ All the churches preach false doctrine and are under the curse of God ” (Orson
Pratt). “ All their creeds were an abominations in my
sight, corrupt professors. . . .” l
Article VII. “We believe in the gift of tongues,
prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, etc.”
‘I Contemporary evidence proves that the supernatural
was really present among the early Mormons,” says
D. M. Panton. ” In the first two years of the sect,
citizens of Jackson County issued a statement in which they refer to the‘ contemptible gibberish with which
they habitually profane the sabbath and which they dignify with the appellation of unknown tongues.’ ” a They regard miracles as the credentials of the Christian,
and the fact (?) that they are possessed by every Mormon
and not by others proves Mormonism the only true religion.
For answer, see z Thess. ii. 9-11 ; Rev. xvi. 14.
Article VIII. ” We believe the Bible to be the Word
of God, so far as it is correctly translated ; we also believe
the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.”
“ Wilford Woodruff is a prophet . . . and he can make Scriptures as good as those in the Bible ” (Apostle
J. W. Taylor, Conference, Salt Lake, April 5, 1897). “ The
living oracles (modern priestly revelations), are worth
more to the Latter-Day Saints than all the Bibles.”
Once again we would point out features in this cult
which appear in several others : Writings which rank as
of equal authority with the Scriptures ; denial of most
of the fundamental truths of the Scripture ; salvation
1 ‘The Mormons, p. 24. 1 The Mormons, p. 69..116 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
by works ; inconsistency in life of its founders ; exclusion
of members of all other sects from the number of the
The command of Scripture concerning such is clear :
“ From such, turn away.”.XI
HE word “ bypath ” is used advisedly, for while it
would be both untrue and unfair to place British-Israelism
in the same category as Christian Science and
Spiritism, it is nevertheless true that in most cases it
effectively sidetracks those who embrace it. Spiritism
is anti-Christian, British-Israelism, extra-Christian. It is
nationalistic rather than Christo-centric. We hasten to
add that many convinced adherents of this theory are
loyal evangelicals who would never think of denying any
fundamental truth of the faith, and for this reason what
follows is entirely without rancour, and has reference to
the theory rather than to those who embrace it. One of its most abIe opponents, Rev. Samuel H.
Wilkinson of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, in his
examination of the claims of British-Israelism, conceded
that “ It has developed a considerable literature, some of
it is very able ; and has indeed established a very plausible
primafaciecasewhich deservesand demandsexamination.”
“ British-Israelism is not capable of argument,” said
the charitable Dr. F. B. Meyer, “ it is a kind of infatua-tion.”
And argument is useless with one who is infatuated. There are some theories which are so
palpably astray, that argument is at once impossible and unnecessary. When the verdict of scholarship and history and the voice of large tracts of Scripture is
ignored, no common basis for argument exists. We shall, therefore, endeavour to present positive evidence
that this is done in British-Israelism, and leave it to the
reader to draw his own conclusions.
The origin of British Israelism is variously ascribed
to the French Magistrate, Counsellor Le Loyer, who “7.118 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
w r o t e , The Ten Lost ‘ Tribes Found, in r5go ; to Dr.
Abbadie of Amsterdam who wrote in 1723, ‘I The ten
tribes must be sought for in the North and West and in
the British Isles ” ; to Richard Brothers, who in I&Z
published a book, The Invasion of England by the Saxons. Towards the end of last century its ablest apologists
were Edward Hine and Tohn Wilson, to whom much of
the popularity and growth of the movement must be attributed. Later, C. Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer-Royal
for Scotland, linked the pyramid measurements to the
British-Israel myth, thus confusing the issue, and still
further justifying Dr. Meyer’s remark quoted above.
The Rev. Pascoe Goard’s gracious personality and able
presentation of his case was a strength to the movement.
The adoption of the belief by Pentecostal groups has also
secured for it many ardent if not able adherents.
In brief, the main teachings of the movement are these :
The lost ten tribes have reappeared in the English- speaking peoples.
King George VI. is a true descendant of King David. The promises to Israel are being or will be fulfilled
nationally in the English-speaking peoples.
There is a vital distinction in Scripture between Israel
and the Jews, each having a different destiny. The word “ Jew ” refers to Judah and Benjamin alone, while
“ Israel ” refers to the Ten Tribes. Dr. J. J. Mountain, one of the ablest apologists of the movement, expressed it thus : “ We Anglo-Saxons are
the lineal descendants of the Ten Tribes, we are the national posterity of Israel, and we inherit the wonderful
promises made to them.
nationally. These promises we possess
But we can become individually Israel’s
spiritual posterity only by being born again.” If it
were suggested that to the English-speaking nations had
been entrusted the spiritual heritage which in olden
times was the sacred trust of Israel, we could see much
to support such a view, but with reference to the national-.BRITISH-ISRAELISM A BYPATH 119
istic claims of British-Israelites, we will find no supporting
evidence. On the contrary, we submit that :
SCHOLASTICALLY, i t is Discredited.
The court of secular scholarship is the last to which the believer would appeal for a decision on purely
spiritual truth, for spiritual things are only spiritually
discerned. But this theory is concerned rather with
history, ethnology, philology and anthropology, all. of
which can be tested by secular scholarship. And what is
the verdict of competent scholars ?
Professor R. W. Chambers, M.A., D.Litt., who holds
the chair of the English Language in the London Univer-sity,
replied to a letter from Mr. George Goodman in the
following terms :
“ I do not believe that there is any reason for regarding the West Germanic peoples as descendants of the Tribes of Israel which were scattered from Palestine during the early captivities.
I. The racial characteristics are quite different. The present-day Jew is typically different from the English-man,
Dutchman or German. If he resembles them, it is generally because he is not of pure Jewish descent.
z. There is no trace of Judaism in Germanic folk lore.
3. The Germanic languages are absolutely distinct from
the Semitic.
4. So are the old Germanic laws.”
The Encyclo$edia Britannica, in an article on the
subject states,“ The theory of Anglo-Israelism rests on premises which are deemed by scholars, both theological and anthropological, to be utterly unsound.”
Chambers’ Encyclopedia characterises it as, I‘ A theory
that setsat defianceallethnologicalandlinguisticevidence.”
To all but those already committed to the theory, such
weighty and impartial statements should certainly give
FACTUALLY, i t is erroneous.
Tested by fact, British-Israelism makes a poor showing.
In the realm of philology, there is no more affinity.I20 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
between English and Hebrew than there is between
English and Chinese.
As to physiognomy, there is strong contrast rather than
striking similarity between the large-boned, fair-haired,
blue-eyed Briton and the thick-set, swarthy, brown-eyed
In the matter of graphology, Israel has always written
from right to left, while the Anglo-Saxons have always
written from left to right. Such a radical change would
be impossible except by direct compulsion, but evidence
of such a change is totally lacking.
Racially, the British, and Americans even more so,
are extraordinarily mixed. Unlike the Hebrews, they
have freely intermingled with other races, and to a large
extent racial identity has been lost. Unlike the Hebrews,
too, they are uncircumcised, and have therefore forfeited
any claim to blessing under the covenant (Gen. xvii.
14 ; Gal. vi. 15).
Of Israel it was said, “ Israel shall abide many days
without a King ” (Hos. iii. 4, 5). Is this true of Britain ?
“ The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be
reckoned among the nations,” prophesied Balaam under
divine compulsion (Num. xxiii. 9). Is this fulfilled in
Britain ?
“ They shall be wanderers among the nations ” (Hos.
ix. 17). Is this characteristic of Britain ?
British-Israelites claim, again in the words of Dr.
J. J. Mountain, that ” the Anglo-Saxon race have come
under the New Covenant by the acceptance of Christian
faith.” Unfortunately, this is not a fact. Nationally,
it would be far more true to say that we have rejected
the Christian faith, if current statistics mean anything.
” It is a tremendous strain on the doctrine of election,”
says Rev. J. A. McMillan, “ to imagine that, out of the
hordes of Jutes, Saxons, Danes, Norsemen, and later
Norman-French, those only who came into the British
Isles and maintained there their footing by right of
conquest, were the descendants of the roving ten tribes,
and that others of the above-named races who did not
come into Britain were not Israelites. It is hard to.BRITISI-I-ISRAELISM A BYPATH I21
accept the theory that of the masses who invaded various parts of Europe, a certain elect group were kept separate
from the rest as a people of God, to be made manifest in a land of His choosing.”
H ISTORICALLY , it is Unwbstantiated.
The theory is thoroughly untenable on historical
grounds. So far as we are aware, no competent and
reputable historian has identified himself with the
movement. Some of the “ missing links ” in genealogical
tables in support of British-Israelism which we have
perused, would utterly discredit any historian who
sponsored it. Let us examine some of their historic claims.
I. The Ten Tribes weye lost, and have reappeared in the British and American nations. We submit that there
is not a scintilla of evidence in either sacred or profane
history to substantiate this claim, but there is very much
to the contrary. The main point at issue centres around the whereabouts and identification of the ten tribes, who
were carried off into captivity. British-Israelites assert
that the British people are the descendants of the ten-tribed
kingdom which was deported to Assyria, and
thence migrated westward to the British Isles and
America. Let us examine this contention.
I‘ The captivity ” was not an event, but a long series
of events extending over 150 years, from 730 B.C. under
T&lath-Pileser (z Kings xv. 29) until 586 B.C. under
Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. Iii. 28-30). Between these dates, several deportations were made, the numbers being
approximately as follows :
Tiglath-Pileser . . . . zoo,ooo
Sennacherii : : : : CGZ%~:~~
Nebuchadnezzar. . . . IOO,OOO
By the latter date, the Jewish community in Assyria
must have been approaching 2,000,000. At any rate they
were so numerous that Petronius, Roman Legate of.1 22 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
Syria, deemed it dangerous to excite in them a hostile
disposition towards Rome.
Recent research has however established the fact that
the Israel of the captivity included not only those from
the ten tribes, but also many exiles from Judah and
Benjamin. During the two hundred years from the first
deportation, these groups had become so thoroughly amalgamated that they were never again separated. Just as the captivity extended over a long period, so did the return from exile. Under Zerubbabel and Ezra,
we gather from the record that probably more than
150,000 returned to Palestine and settled in Judea. In
addition to these, there were doubtless unrecorded
migrations to the land, of exiles who had settled in
Galilee and Samaria, which had been depopulated by
Tiglath-Pileser. That they were free thus to return, is
clear from the inscription by Cyrus which showed this to
be his settled policy for all his dominions.
The initiative in the return is ascribed to the men of Judah and Benjamin, but this is easily unclerstand-able,
for they were the most recent captives in whom national consciousness would be most clear and strong. As Dr. A Pieters points out, the ordinary term by which the people are designated, is not “ Judah,” or “ the
Jews,” but “ Israel.” In Ezra, ” Judah ” occurs five times, ” the Jews ” seven times, “ Israel,” forty-one
times-surely a satisfactory indication that the ancient
breach between Israel and Judah had been healed. The
sacrifices offered were “ twelve he-goats according to
the number of the tribes of Israel ” (Ezra vi. 17). Ezekiel employs the phrase, “ the whole house of
Israel,” to make it clear that the whole ten tribes as one
re-united nation, were intended (xxxvii. II ; xxxix. 25 ; Ixv. 6). In Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, “ Israel ” is sometimes placed in contrast to Judah
(e.g. Dan. ix. 7), sometimes refers to men of Judah
(e.g. Dan. i. 3), sometimes includes both Israel and
Judah (e.g. Dan. ix. 20).
In the book of Esther, there is no other name for the
xiles than ” the Jews,” who were scattered from India.BRITISH-ISRAELISM A BYPATH 123
to Ethiopia. From their number, distribution and
influence, it is clear that all Israelites are referred to.
Those to whom the execution of the decree for the exter- mination of the Jews was entrusted, would certainly
have a problem on their hands to distinguish between
those descended from the ten tribes and those descended
from Judah and Benjamin !
The clear and reasonable inference thus is, that the
later prophets and writers increasingly ignored any dis-tinction
between Israel and Judah, but used both terms for the re-united people. The New Testament record
agrees with this position. There is no reference anywhere
to the ten tribes as a separate group. On the contrary,
see Matt. xix. 28 ; Acts. xxvi. 7 ; Jas. i. I.
In order to identify Britain with Israel, it is essential
to the British-Israel scheme to identify with the Scythians,
the ten lost tribes, and the Norsemen with the Scythians,
and the British with the Norsemen. S. H. Wilkinson
has stated the argument thus : The ten tribes are stated in the Apocrypha to have migrated to Asareth, which
must have been the river and town of Sareth in the
Carpathians. The Scythians were in the same district
at the same time, therefore the two are identical. Sharon
Turner has suggested that the Saxons were migrants into N.-W. Europe from the Asiatic side of the Araxes. Paul du Chaillu sets out a “ fairly continuous history ” which represents the progenitors of the English-speaking people
as having migrated from the shores of the Black Sea. Therefore the Scythians were Israel, the Norsemen were
the Scythians, the British Empire was peopled from
Scandinavia and-the British are Israel. Such a fantastic
claim, surely requires a firmer foundation than their
unhistorical assertions afford.
2. The Throne of Britain is the Throne of David, and
King George VI, is a true descendant of David.
The assertion is that Jeremiah brought away the elder
daughter of Zedekiah, last King of Judah, Tea-Tephi
by name, first to Spain and then to Ireland, were in
580 B.C. she married a tribal chief. From then till A.D.
404 the line of David was continued there, and then.124 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
transferred to the Kings of Argyleshire, and later to the
Kings of Scotland, and later still to James I. Then,
through a king of Bohemia and a princess of Brunswick
to George I. and thence to George VI. !
Scripture, however, explicitly teaches that Israel’s
King is to sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem (Isa. ix.
7 ; Jer. iii. 17 ; Ezek. xlviii. 35).But even if the assertion
were true, it would create as many difficulties as it solved,
for the royal tribe was Judah, not one of the ten tribes, and our King would thus be disqualified.
Further, as the oldest Irish manuscript belongs to the tenth century A.D., and letters were not used there earlier
than the fifth century A.D., how could her pedigree be traced through various families, and in various countries ?
In this way, our British-Israelite friends, while claiming
to be Ephraim, appropriate to themselves Judah’s
King and throne.
To us the final appeal is to the Scriptures, and not
to fallible volumes of ancient history and genealogical trees.
3. The Great Pyramid has a $ro$hetic voice, and this voice corroborates their claim.We will not embarrass our friends by recalling the many unfulfilled predictions which have been based on the interior measurements of the pyramid. We will be content to state that the
pyramid was simply a pagan Egyptian tomb, with no
more spiritual significance than any of the other burial places of the Kings.
Sir W. Flinders Petrie who carefully measured the
whole of the interior of the Great Pyramid, tells in his
Seventy Years in Arch&ology how he found one of the
pyramid “ prophets ” busily filing away part of the interior of the Pyramid to make the Pyramid fit his theory about it !
The claim is based on Isa. xix. 18-21, to which please
refer. But an altar, to comply with divinely given pre-cepts,
must not be constructed of hewn stones (Ex. xx.
25-26). The pyramid breaks this precept. It is neither
a “ pillar,” nor an “ altar,” nor is it on ” the border of
Egypt.” These facts alone will be sufficient to convince.BRITISH-ISRAELISM A BYPATH x25
anyone with an unprejudiced mind that this is merely
another unfounded human speculation.
4. Language, physiognomy, customs. This aspect of the subject has already been touched on,
but we give the words of the late Rev. Joseph W. Kemp:
“ We are asked to believe, forsooth, that nearly three
million Israehtes poured into Britain, and that they
dropped their language, physiognomy, customs, records, their names and their memory ; and what is equally astonishing, that for two thousand years nobody seems to have suspected the astounding fact. The thing, of
course, never occurred, and I doubt if in the whole world
there could be found a historian of any note who would risk his reputation by averring it did. Synagogues and
customs (circumcision, for instance) mark to-day every
city to which the Jew has wandered. Further, that an
entire race, which once wrote from right to left should,
without leaving a single trace of the process behind,
revolutionise its penmanship by now writing from left to right, is impossible to conceive.”
That there are striking superficia1 resemblances between
the position of Britain in the world to-day, and that
which is prophesied of Israel, we do not deny. But such similarities existed, in measure, in Rome and Greece.
Only by ignoring such prophecies as Rom. xi. 19-35 and Hos. i. 4-6 and many others can such resemblances be
taken as proof of the theory.
SPIRITUALLY, i t is Sterile.
As has been suggested, the main appeal of British-Israelism
is to national pride rather than to spirituality.
We are not for a moment inferring that all adherents of
British-Israelism are unspiritual, but it is quite possible
to be a good British-Israelite without any experience of
the new birth. It is not essentially Christian, and can
cohabit happily with a denial of the fundamental truths
of the faith, while drawing much of its appeal from its
pseudo-religious background. We appreciate the fact
that some sections of the movement carefully safeguard
their membership..126 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
With few exceptions, British-Israelites become more
zealous in obtaining converts to their theory than in
winning converts to Christ. Many who were much used
of God become mere shadows of their former spiritual
selves. There is little life-changing evangelism among
them, their lectures being largely on the level of the
human intellect. They have little to their credit in the
way of missionary interest and achievement, even among
the large Jewish populations of the world. Even the incentive provided by their belief in the Second Advent of Christ appears to have little effect in stimulating them to
aggression in their soul-winning endeavours..XII
, ‘
CONSIDER what is called ‘ the work ’ of the Masonic lodge to be childish and foolish. I once took time
to study ‘ the work ’ of the lodges up to the Royal Arch
degree. At that time I knew exactly what they did,
and I could never understand how a serious-minded man
could give time to such tomfoolery. I could understand
a child’s doing it. When I hear Masons talking together
about ‘ the work ’ of the lodge, I can scarcely refrain
from laughing. It is difficult for me to see how any man
who has a proper amount of self-respect and manly
dignity, can go through what a man goes through when he
becomes a Master Mason and then ever go back to the
lodge again to take part in the initiation of another candidate. To my mind, it is belittling, degrading and
disgusting. My attention was called to it when I was
about twenty-two years of age, by a man who had been initiated at the Masonic lodge, but came out completely
disgusted with his experience and who never went back
to the lodge again. How any Christian minister can
submit to what a minister is compelled to submit to when
he is initiated into the Blue Lodge, I cannot understand.
I do not question that there are many excellent men who
are members of Masonic lodges, but to me it is incom-prehensible
how any Christian man can be.”
So wrote a world authority whose wide experience and
great talents entitled him to speak with an authoritative
voice, Dr. Reuben A. Torrey. His verdict is that Free- masonry is futile, and unworthy of the allegiance of grown men. But let us not condemn the Society unheard.
In his book,l J. S. M. Ward, himself a Mason, claims
that the Masonic Order is the oldest religious system in
1 Freemasonry and the Ancienl Gods.
the world and the custodian of the basic ideas common
to all religions. He traces its origin from the secret
societies of antiquity through the ages, to the present
orders. Since its rules, symbols and rites are much the
same as the ancient mysteries of paganism, there is little
doubt as to its heathenish source. Some of the degrees
in Masonry are supposed to be a continuation of orders
which date back to the Crusades.
The Encyclopedia Britannica, however, maintains that
Freemasonry had its rise not earlier than A.D. 1717.
To-day it boasts almost three million members through-out
the world, but not all of these are active members.
Its thirty-three degrees, through each of which a Mason
must pass before he attains the secrets of the Mystic
Shrine, are in three sections :
The Blue Lodge with its three degrees which must be
taken before further progress can be made.
The York Rite with its ten degrees, entitling the one
who has taken them to membership in the Mystic Shrine,
This rite is exclusively for (professing) Christians.
The Scottish Rite, consisting of degrees four to thirty-two
which entitle to the honorary thirty-third degree,
the Mystic Shrine. This rite is for Jews, Gentiles and Mohammedans.
No movement draws millions of men into its member- ship without some very real benefits to offer. What are
the special attractions afforded by the Masonic Order ?
There is first of all the social fellowship for which the
hearts of all men crave. Man is essentially a social
animal. Many find in the gatherings of their lodge the
satisfaction for their social instincts, although in some
cases time is spent in the lodge which had better been
spent within the family circle. Then, too, there are
commercial advantages which accrue to the members of
the fraternity. The loyalty of a Mason to his fellows
in the matter of business preference is proverbial. No
small proportion of members of the Order have had their eye more on the material benefits to be derived than on.FREEMASONRY ANTICHRISTIAN 129
t h e mastery of its mysteries. Tragically enough, it
appears that Christian ministers are attracted to the Order
by the supposed religious advancement it would secure
them. Without any hesitation we assert that it is always
a retrograde step for a man of God to join in any such
association from such motives.
Charles G. Finney, the greatest evangelist of the first
half of the last century, himself an ex-Mason, in writing
against the Freemasonry he had renounced said : “ The
fact is that Freemasonry is the most anomalous, absurd
and abominable institution that can exist in a Christian
country ; and is on the face of it, from the fact that it
will not allow its principles to be discussed and divulged,
a most dangerous thing in human society.”
There are not a few Masons who are sensitive about,
and a little ashamed of the rites of initiation into the
Order. From a book l which enshrines many Masonic
secrets, we learn that when the candidate is initiated in
the first degree, his own clothing is removed and he is
thinly clad in the clothes provided for him. Next he
kneels blindfolded before the Masonic altar, with a light
rope around his neck. Arranged on the altar are an open
Bible on which rests a square and compass. On either
side lighted candles are burning. He is then asked by
the Worshipful Master to repeat after him the first
Masonic oath, after which the covering is removed
from his eyes-and he has entered into the light of
Masonry I
Dr. A. C. Dixon, noted Pastor of the Moody Church
of Chicago, indicated his reaction to this initiation
ceremony. ‘ I I would be ashamed to describe the initia-tion.
I felt I had lost some of my influence by submitting
to the indignities of that initiation-such as boys would
go through and laugh over, but when men come down to
them, they are certainly indignities, if not insults.”
Some readers will find it difficult to believe that intelligent
Christians could submit to this foolish and humiliating
1 King Solomon and His Followers, No. 13.
ceremony, and take on their lips the horrible oaths to
which reference is made later. Nor is this initiation an empty performance to the true Mason. It has a religious significance. Hear the
words of A. G. Ma&y, Past General High Priest of the
General Grand Chapter of the United States, in this
connection : “ The shock of entrance is, then, the symbol
of the disruption of the candidate from the ties of the
world, and his introduction into the life of Masonry. It
is the symbol of the agonies of death and the throes of
the new birth.” l
The state of the initiate prior to the ceremony is
described in the same book, pp. 22, 23 : “ There he
stands without our portals, on the threshold of this new
Masonic life, in darkness, helplessness and ignorance. Having been wandering amid the errors and covered
over with the pollutions of the outer and profane world,
he comes inquiring to our doors, seeking the new birth,
and asking a withdrawal of the vail which conceals
divine truth from his uninitiated sight. . . . There is
to be, not simply a change for the future, but also an
extinction of the past ; for the initiation is, as it were,
a death to the world and a resurrection to new life.”
But is Masonry the source of the Christian’s liberation
from the past, his new birth, his death to the world and
resurrection to new life ? Such a claim by a system which
excludes Christ from its ritual, is nothing short of blasphemy.
Admittedly that is a strong word to use, but we submit
that it is no more strong than the case deserves, whether
we consider it from the national, ethical or spiritual
Think first of its blood-curdling oaths, for every Free-mason
must take oaths involving penalties which increase
in intensity as the degrees advance, In his book,2 James
Putt quoting from King Solonzon and His Followers,
’ Mackey’ s Masonic Ritualist, p. 24. B Freemasonry %p. 26..FREEMASONRY ANTICHRISTIAN 131
No. 13, gives the oath which is taken by every Mason,
as any honest member will admit. Here it is in all its
obnoxiousness :
“ Of my own free will and accord, in the presence of Almighty God and this worshioful lodge. erected to Him and dedicated to the Holy Saint John, do he;eby and hereon, most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, that I will always hail, forever conceal and never reveal, any of the secret arts,.parts, or points of the hidden mysteries of Masonry which may have been here- tofore or shall be at this time, or at any future time, communicated to me as such, to any person or persons whatsoever, except it be a true and lawful brother Mason, or within the body of a just and lawfully constituted lodge of Masons ; nor unto him or them, until by strict trial, due examination, or lawful informa- tion, I shall have found him or them as lawfullv entitled to them as I-am myself. .
“ I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not write, print, paint, stamp, stain, cut, carve, hue, make or engrave them on anything, movable or immovable, capable of receiving the least impression of a sign, word syllable, letter or character whereby they might become legible or intelhgible, to any person under the canopy of heaven, and the secrets of Masonry be thus unlawfullv obtained bv mv unworthiness. “ All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same, without the least equivocation, me&al reservation, or self-evasion whatsoever, binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots and buried in the sands of the sea, at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I in the least, knowingly or wittingly, violate or transgress this my Entered Apprentice obligation. So help me God and keep me steadfast.”
One Mason, on being faced with the serious implica-tions
of the oath, replied, “ That doesn’t mean anything. Of course, we go through the form, but it doesn’t mean anything.” Oaths taken on the Bible mean nothing !
If they mean nothing, then it is blasphemy to swear
them in the name of God. If they mean something and
are to be taken seriously and literally, how can a Christian
man take such oaths upon himself ? We cannot see that
such oaths are ever justifiable, even apart from t he Scriptures which specifically forbid it. See Matt. v.
14-16, 33-37 ; Jas. v. 12..132 HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
Then consider ifs SWOY~ secrecy. It is essentially a secret
society-secret signs, secret codes, secret meetings. Its
oaths are with a view to compelling absolute secrecy on its members. But why must it be secret ? Has Masonry
something to hide ? If not, its secrecy is illogical and
unnecessary. If so, then no self-respecting man, not to
say no Christian, should join it. Secrecy is opposed to
the whole spirit of Christianity, whose benefits are
extended not to a few favoured initiates, but to a whole
world. Its secrecy panders to the “ caste ” spirit which
is so alien to the ideal of the Christian life. Concealment
finds no place in the Christian message. If we have
something which is for the good of humanity, it is for us
to broadcast it, not to conceal it. Conversely, we should
not keep secret any bad thing which should be revealed.
Lastly, ponder the implications of these oaths of secrecy. The Masonic bond has been used on many occasions to protect wrongdoers and even major criminals from the
just reward of their ill-deeds. The Mason promises and swears “ that I will keep the secrets of a companion . . .
sacred and inviolable.” Can it ever be right to swear and promise beforehand and in ignorance to maintain
secrecy concerning events which might prove to be
morally and ethically wrong ? See Lev. v. 4, 5. One of the oaths taken involves all Masons in standing by
each other in everything, mztrder and treason excepted. But in a higher degree, the oath is with murder and treason
NOT excepted. Such oaths are ethically unjustifiable and judicially culpable. Dr. Torrey testified that in one city
where he lived, the proprietor of the vilest and most
notorious place in the city could not be touched by the
law because he was a Knight Templar. Every other
place of the sort was run out of the city. From the
purely civic point of view, this element of Masonry is an
abomination, and the Christian Mason is liable to become
partaker of other men’s sins.
Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity. Mackey
claims that its symbols and rites arc antecedent to.FREEMASONRY ANTICHRISTIAN r33
Christianity, and says,“ If Masonry were simply a
Christian institution, the Jew and the Moslem, the Brahmin and the Buddhist could not conscientiously
partake of its illumination. But its universality is its
boast. In its language citizens of every nation may
converse ; at its altar men of all religions may kneel ;
to its creed disciples of every faith may subscribe.” 1 Major Powell writes 2 . “ Christian saint, Moham-medan
mystic, Indian yogi,Buddhist lama, Greek
gnostic, Egyptian priest-each in his own way has borne
witness to the transcendental vision, where self and
personality are obliterated . , . where atonement is
established.” On p. 105 of the same book appears the
blatant autosoterism of Freemasonry : ” Before the soul
rises again in its glory, there must be Gethsemane and
Calvary. There is a loneliness, a desolation of bitterest
intensity ere the soul . . . can be itself, unaided by alzy- thing 01 any being outside itself, alone, aloof, a King in its own right.”
While Freemasonry pays lip-service to a god, it is not the God of the Bible, nor does it give to the Bible a place of pre-eminence over the Koran or the Vedas. God is patronisingly acknowledged as “ The Great Architect of the Universe,”but W. Hoste asserts that the God of
Masonry is“ a composite deity-Jehovah, Baal, and On,
or Osiris rolled into one, under the initials J.B.O. Noviti-ates
are kept in ignorance of this ; they hear the descrip-tive
title, ‘ the Divine Architect,’ and imagine that it is
the God of the Bible who is meant. Whereas if Free- masonry be true, the very idol that Jezebel set up in
defiance of Jehovah, and On-one of the Gods of Egypt against whom Jehovah ‘ executed judgment ‘-share the
Godhead with Him.” See Ex. xx. 3; Isa. lxii. 8.
It is a well-known fact that at least in the lower degrees,
the name of Christ is strictly excluded. When clergymen
are called on to lead the religious exercises of the lodge,
they are previously instructed not to use the name of
Jesus in their prayers, lest a Mohammedan or a Jew be
1 An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. p. I&Z a The Magic of Freemasonry, p. 194..I34 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
offended. In certain portions of the ritual where New Testament Scriptures are used, the name of Christ is
deliberately excised ; e.g., the words “ by Jesus Christ ”
are omitted from I Pet. ii. 5. When 2 Thess. ii. 6 is
quoted, the words,“ in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ ” are omitted, while the words “by our Lord
Jesus Christ ” do not appear in the quotation from
2 Thess. iii. 12. An ex-Rabbi, Max Wertheimer tells his experience in
the following words : ” Before I entered the lodge I was
told that I would not be required to believe in Jesus
Christ as my Saviour or Lord, for that was my objection
to joining it as a conscientious, unregenerated Jewish
Rabbi ! I entered it and became in a short-time Chaplain
of the Mystic Lodge (Dayton, Ohio) as a Master Mason.
When the Holy Spirit regenerated me, He also con-victed
me of my sin, and my sins, and the very reason that prompted me to join the lodge urged me to
forsake it.” But does the Scripture not say, “ Other foundation
can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
This being so, have we any right to bind ourselves by
oath to an order from which His sacred Name is excluded ?
If we truly love Him, will we frequent any place where
we must leave Him outside the door ?
If what is written above can be substantiated, and we
believe it can, the attitude of the Christian who recognises the authority of Scripture is not difficult to determine. Hear the Word of God :
“ Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of
darkness, but rather reprove them ” (Eph. v. II).
There are some who say they are strong enough to
resist any adverse influence of the lodge. Perhaps they
are strong, but to such St. Paul gives a relevant
“ Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours
become a stumbling-block to them that are weak, . . .
Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat.FREEMASONRY ANTICHRISTIAN I35
no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend ” (I Car. viii. g-13).
To the Mason whose conscience is uneasy on account of some features of the lodge, these words give helpful counsel :
“ Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from
every brother that walketh disorderly and not after the
tradition which he received of us ” (2 Thess. iii. 6).
The final and inescapable word is spoken by St. Paul :
“ Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers :
For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteous-ness
? And what communion hath light with darkness ?
And what concord hath Christ with Behal ? Or what
part hath he that believeth with an infidel ? And what
agreement hath the Temple of God with idols ? For ye are the temple of the Living God; as God hath said, I
will dwell in them and walk in them ; and I will be their
God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you.
And I will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty ” (z Cor. vi.
We close with the words of the late Dwight L. Moody
spoken in this connection :
“ I do not see how any Christian, most of all a Christian
minister, can go into these secret lodges with unbelievers.
They say they have more influence for good, but I say
they can have more influence for good by staying out of
them, and then reproving their evil deeds. Abraham
had more influence for good in Sodom than Lot had. If
twenty-five Christians go into a secret lodge with fifty
who are not Christians, the fifty can vote anything they
please, and the twenty-five will be partakers of their sins.
They are unequally yoked with unbelievers.”.XIII
N a world racked with suffering, it is little wonder that
great interest is being displayed in what is popularly
termed “ faith healing.” The Bible itself has much to
say on the subject. If Divine healing is universally
available through the atonement of Christ, as many are
teaching, then the Church is criminally guilty if she
withholds these glad tidings from suffering humanity.
If, on the other hand, healing is not thus universally
available, then those who encourage such a belief are
guilty of callous and cruel deceptron.
In his most sane and helpful book,l H. W. Frost writes in this connection : “ If a believer holds something
to be a privilege which God has never provided as such,
the non-attainment of it must necessarily produce reaction,
with disastrous results. Such an experience will mean
that the man of God will conclude, either that God for
some reason has forsaken him, or that he himself in some
particular has forsaken God, when as a matter of fact neither the one nor the other may be true. “ I have seen many such cases in connection with the
doctrine of miraculous healing, some of which have been unspeakably sad, where, because of the holding of an
unscriptural and unworkable theory, the saint in spite
of a complete life-consecration, was living in the darkness
of despondency, amounting in some cases to despair.
The only correction of such an experience is to come down
from the unwarranted position which has been assumed,
to solid Scripture ground, and there to abide. Such a
course may not make for a sense of peculiarity or for an
extra reputation of sanctity ; but it will certainly lead
to heart-rest and a true testimony before God and man.”
1 H. W. Frost, Mivaculous]Healing.
From personal experience as well as from observation
and investigation, the writer is convinced of the possi-bility
of Divine healing, both with and without external
means. Well-authenticated cases with which he is
familiar have convinced him of the undiminished efficacy
of Christ’s healing touch, and preclude a hostile approach
to the subject. There are, however, certain features of modern healing movements which require challenge.
In some cases the word “ hallucination ” is the kindest
term to use. In others, “ racket ” best describes their
First, let us briefly set out the Scripture teaching on the
Old Testament.
Early in Israel’s history, God revealed Himself thus :
“ I am the Lord that healeth thee ” (Ex. xv. 26). But even then His promise of healing was not unconditional.
“If thou wilt keep all the statutes, I will put none of
these diseases upon thee,” was the word. His statutes embodied many health laws which are advocated to-day
and which were designed to ensure their national health.
It is entirely gratuitous to assume that the reference here
is to miraculous healing. In his excellent book,l the late
Dr. R. V. Bingham enumerates six of the laws : Sanita-tion,
preventing infection (Deut. xxiii. 14) ; Sterilisation,
guarding against contagion (Lev. xi. 32, 39, 40) ; Quaran-tine,
isolating infectious diseases (Num. v. 4 ; xxxi.
zz, 23) ; Hygiene asd Dietetics (Lev. xi. ; xix. 7; Num. xi. 19, 20 ; Physical Culture ; each Israelite, even the
priest, worked his own lot (Deut. xvi, 16) ; Recufieration,
the seventh day and the seventh month reserved for rest. Faithful observance of these laws, even in our day,
would in very many cases dispense with the necessity for
miraculous intervention.
It is to be noted that it was God who permitted Satan
to afflict Job with disease, and that not because of his
1 The Bible and the Body..THE HEALING HALLUCINATION I39
sin, but because of his integrity ! (Job. i. 6-m ; ii. I-IO).
Perhaps it would be appropriate to make passing refer- ence to Ps. ciii. 3, “ Who healeth all thy diseases.” This
is taken as referring to physical healing, but the Psalmist
is careful to state that he is addressing his soul, not his
body. The soul has its diseases as well as the body.
And can the following verse, “ Thy youth is renewed like
the eagle’ s,” be referred to the body ? To be consistent,
it must refer to the renewing of the physical youth.
New Testament.
The outstandingly clear New Testament passage is Jas. v. 14-18. From it we learn : (a) The sick man is to take the initiative, and call for the elders. (b) The elders are to anoint the sufferer (apparently implying dedication and surrender), and to pray over him. (c)
The prayer of faith of the elders saves the sufferer. (All
prayer is not the prayer of faith.) We are convinced that this Scripture promise is largely neglected, to our own loss.
Here in brief are some of the main New Testament
teachings :
(a) The unchanging God does heal to-day, but nowhere does Scripture assert that He always wills to heal everyone. (b) The use of means, or consulting a doctor is not prohibited by God (2 Kings xx. 7 ; Isa. xxxvii. 21 ;
John ix. 6-11 ; Acts xix. II, 12 ; I Tim. v. 23 ; Matt. ix. 12). In the ultimate, all healing whether with or with- out means, is Divine healing. (c) The healings of Scripture contrary to most present-day
healings, were instantaneous, not gradual, e.g. Mark
i. 42; complete, not partial, e.g. Matt. viii. 15 ; per- manent, not temporary, e.g. Luke vii. 15.
(d) The Divine sovereignty is exercised in the healing of His creatures. With two exceptions, Christ healed only Jews. The twelve and seventy were forbidden to
heal any but Jews (Matt. x. 5-8). There were cases which
God did not choose to heal (Phil. ii. 25-30 ; I Tim. v.
; 2 Tim. iv. 20).
?Zal (2 Cor. xii. 7-10).
There was one case He refused to.140 HERESIBS : ANCIENT AND MODERN
(e) God delivers in sickness either by removing it, or
by strengthening to bear it ( I Cor. x. 13 ; z Cor. xii. 9).
(f) Christ did not always require faith on the part of
the sufferer (Matt. ix. 32 ; Mark vii. 35 ; Luke xxii. 51).
In fact in only one case out of every four recorded, was
personal faith present. Nor did He confine His ministry
to believers, as do many healers to-day (Matt. iv. 24 ;
viii. 16). Need, not faith, commanded His healing touch.
(g) While the God Who controls the laws of the universe can modify or suspend these at His will, it seems to be His method not to employ supernatural means when
natural means will effect the desired result. It is not a
question of what God can do, but what He is pleased to do.
(h) Amazingly enough, there is only one recorded case
of a Christian being healed-Paul himself-and his was
no ordinary case of blindness (Acts. ix 18).
Faith-healing movements are by no means modern developments. There have always been those who are
ready to profit by the misfortunes of others, and to
exploit one of the devil’s few true assertions : “ All that
a man hath will he give for his life ” (Job ii. 4).In saying
this, we do not imply that all who teach healing by faith are charlatans.
Modern healers have a flying start with their propa- ganda, since it is an established medical fact that seventy-five
per cent. of sick people recover normally through
Nature’s healing agency alone. Psychotherapy, or the
power of the mind over bodily functions, is being increas-ingly
employed by doctors. But long ago the medicine-man
of pagan tribes used this knowledge to their own advantage. Dr. J. L. Nevius of Korea asserts that
miraculous healing and speaking in tonguesare practised
to-day in absolutely heathen circles.
In the last century, Edward Irving gave fresh impetus
to the healing movement. Mormonism early adopted
healing as one of its planks, and proclaims many miracles.
Spiritism boasts of its spirit-healings. Christian Science claims to have “ discovered the science of metaphysical.THE HEALING HALLUCINATION 141
healing.” New Thoztght was brought to the birth on its “ Phrenopathic method of cure.” Roman Catholicism makes much of miraculous cures through relics and pilgrimages to Lourdes, etc. Unity teaches “ Christian healing.” Pentecostalism is always associated with extreme teaching on healing, as seen, e.g., in the Smith- Wigglesworth and Jeffreys campaigns. On the other hand, to be perfectly fair, there have been many saintly men and women who have, with more sanity and restraint, been ardent advocates of Divine healing. Among them were Dr. A. J. Gordon, Dr. A. B. Simpson and Dr. Andrew Murray, each of whom wrote books on
the subject. The association of these honoured names with the movement has unfortunately identified them with much from which they would have vigorously dissociated themselves. But in this connection it is not out of place to record the fact that Drs. A. J. Gordon and A. B. Simpson, although both had previously experienced remarkable healings, at last succumbed to diseases from which they were not cured, Dr. Gordon died from bronchitis and pneumonia, and Dr. Simpson from arterio-sclerois. Although much prayer was offered for each of them by those who believed earnestly in Divine healing, such healing was not vouchsafed, and they passed away in suffering. Dr. Andrew Murray, too, fell ill towards the close of his life of the sickness from which he died, and resorted to medical aid. His attitude, as one would expect, was one of submission to the will of God. “ My child,” he said to his daughter, “ I would so much like to hold evangelistic meetings, but God does not see fit to heal me.” One question which demands an answer before it can be asserted that healing is a universal boon, has to do with the incidence of sickness.
To this, faith healers answer Yes, but without support-ing
Scripture authority. When the disciples of our Lord
inquired of Him as to the cause of the blindness of the.142 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
man in John ix., they said, “ Who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind ? ” Jesus answered,
“ Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that
the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
It is true that some sicknesses were recognised by our
Lord as coming from the devil, e.g., Luke xiii. 16 ; Acts x.
38 ; but the Bible also teaches that sickness is inflicted
by God, as e.g., the leprosy of Miriam, Uzziah and Gehazi.
As has already been remarked, Job’s affliction was
specifically the outcome of his piety, not of his sin, and it issued in the greater glory of God. It can with equal
assurance be affirmed that Hudson Taylor’s long-standing
heart trouble was not associated with sin, since both the
inception and the development of the great China Inland
Mission synchronised with his physical breakdowns. As Dr. Lockyer comments,“ Dr. Taylor’s times of physical
weakness were not times of spiritual declension, but
contrariwise, they were commonly the times of closest
communion with Christ.” The healing campaigns of to-day are entirely without
New Testament precedent or parallel. The applicants for
healing are generally “ weeded out ” and classified.
Usually Christians alone are “ healed,” and faith is
necessary to healing.Frequently, as with one “healer ‘- in Auckland, New Zealand, the sufferers, after laying on
of the healer’s hands, fall backwards on the floor, and twitch and mutter-a most unedifying spectacle, and entirely foreign to both the New Testament and decency.
When our Lord and the Apostles healed, there were no
disillusioned and disappointed crowds of sufferers turned
back uncured and embittered, as there are to-day. In
one healing service in America, conducted by Dr. Price,
a celebrated healer, only 40 out of 700 people were
selected to be healed 1
The keystone of the whole system is that healing is in
the atonement.
The key verse of this theory is Matt. viii. 17, “ Himself
took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” This verse.THE HEALING HALLUCINATION I43
is practically the sole warrant for such an a s s e r t i o n .
Strange indeed it is, that in not one Epistle is there even
a hint that there is healing for us in the atonement. All the apostles unite in declaring that Christ atoned for our
s&s on the cross, but none affirms that He atoned for
our sicknesses. See Rom. iii. 25 ; v. 6-11 ; 2 Cor. v.
18-21 ; I Pet. ii. 24.
Mrs. AimCe Semple McPherson taught that our healing
was purchased at the whipping-post, where “ by His
stripes we are healed.” Her words are, “ At the whipping-post
He purchased your healing “-thus teaching that
there were two atonements, one by the lash and the
other by the blood-shedding.
One recently formed “ Spiritual Healing Fellowship
Trust Board ” tampers with the atonement in another
way. We do not impugn the integrity of its sponsors in any way, because many of the objectionable features of other healing movements are absent in this case, but
we do say with emphasis that there is no Scriptural basis whatever for their claim that “ through the merits of His atoning death on Calvary, the curse of sin and
disease was removed once and for all,” nor for the asser-tion
that, “ Since Christ B O R E the sins of the whole
world and the sickness, man is not punished for his sins ;
man is punished by his sins. God could not punish
mankind for something He has removed for ever through the death of His Son.”This sounds specious, but how
does it tally with Rev. xx. 13-q ? “They were judged every man according to his works . . . and whosoever
was not found written in the book of life was cast into
the lake of fire.”That certainly sounds as though they
are punished for their sins.
Let us consider what is involved in the doctrine that
healing is in the atonement for all.
I. All sick saints are so because of sin, or being out of
communion with God. But what shall we say of children
who are sick ?Are they so because of sin ?
2. It takes away comfort from the sick-bed, and brands.I44 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
the sufferer with unbelief or positive wrongdoing. The invalid is so because of sin. 3. The use of medicine or other means, or the calling
of a doctor is an affront to God. 4. If disease is atoned for as well as sin, then healing
would be as eternal as salvation, and death would be
5. The atonement must be a failure, for everyone dies,
and most become sick and die.
We confidently affirm that nowhere does Scripture
assert that sickness requires atonement, or that sick-ness
is always or necessarily the result of sin. Sin was
the only thing demanding expiation by bl.ood. Let
sufferers who are confused on this issue, all the
comfort they can out of our Lord’s statement in John ix.
2, 3. Nor does Scripture encourage us to believe that the
atonement does away with the temporal effects of sin
(Kom. viii. 19-23).
Proponents of the healing-in-atonement theory have
some awkward cases to explain away.
Epaphroditus (Phil. ii. 27). Was his sickness the result
of his sin ? See Phil. ii. 30. Why did Paul who possessed
the gift of healing not heal him ? Trophimus (2 Tim. iv. 20). Why did not Paul, instead
of leaving him sick, urge him to claim his healing through the atonement ?
Timot/zy (I Tim. v. 23). Was Timothy out of touch
with God ? Why did not Paul pray the prayer of faith, instead of prescribing a medical remedy ?
Paul (2 Cor. xii. 7 ; Gal. iv. 13, 14). Healers maintain
that Paul’s “ thorn in the flesh ” was not sickness, but
the evidence is all to the contrary. Paul speaks of “ the infirmity of the flesh.” It is the body which becomes infirm, not the soul. Was Paul ignorant that healing
was in the atonement ? The denial of healing by God
only served to cause Paul to glory in his infirmity, that
the power of Christ might rest upon him..THE HEALING HALLUCINATION 145
If Matt. viii. 17 and Isa. liii. 4 do not teach that healing is in the atonement, what is their significance ? The word for “ griefs ” or “ disease,” though often
signifying physical disease is also used to signify soul-sickness
(Jer. vi. 7 ; x. Ig ; Isa. xvii. I I). The word for
“ sorrows ” or “ pains,” almost always signifies soul-distress
(Isa. lxv. 14 ; Ps. xxxii. I O, etc.). If Isa. liii. 4
is read in its context it will be seen beyond doubt that
it is sickness of the soul the prophet has in view-iniquities,
transgressions, sins. The figure of sickness
is used consistently throughout Isaiah’s prophecy, as
referring to a sinful condition. Peter’s quotation of the
same passage refers it to sin, and not a word is said about
sickness ( I Pet. ii. 24). It is our sins which are healed by His stripes, not our sicknesses. Further, it is to be noted that Matthew expressly says that this prophecy was fulfilled then and there, before Christ came to the Cross, in His early lifetime. Dr. Bingham points out that “ Matthew deliberately drops
the substitutionary word for I‘ bear ” which Isaiah uses,
and uses another word for “ bear ” which is never associ-ated
with propitiation or atonement. Who authorised
Matthew to make such a change unless he was guided
by the Holy Spirit ? . . . The word is used in Gal. vi. 2
to express sympathetic bearing, as also in Rom. xv. I.”
We conclude therefore, that that portion of Isaiah’s
prophecy as quoted by Matthew, was fulfilled by Christ bearing sympathetically in his spirit, during His lifetime,
the infirmities and pains of those He healed. He entered
into the suffering and sorrows of those He healed, as
witnessed by the statement, “ He perceived that virtue
had gone out of Him.”“ In all their aflictions He was
afflicted,” He was ” touched with the feeling of our
We firmly believe that there is healing for the believer,
within the limits of the will of God, but we base our belief
on other Scriptures than these. There is no Scriptural
precedent or warrant for the present-day healing services
in which auto-suggestion and hypnotic influences are the main factors, and which are followed by such baneful results. Impartial and scientific investigation has proved
that almost all of the supposed healings in such meetings are either spurious, are of functional disorders which could be achieved by auto-suggestion, or are purely natural healings. A final word of warning should be added. God is not the only healer, and therefore the fact of a healing is not necessarily evidence of the activity of God. The prophetic Scriptures clearly foretell that the closing days of this age will be characterised by a revival of supernatural phenomena. z Thess. ii. g, IO speaks of the advent of one “ whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Our Lord warned that “ there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders ; insomuch that,
if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold I have told you before ” (Matt. xxiv. 24, 25). Let us be alert to apply the test of the Word of God to every move- ment which specialises in the miraculous (I Tim. iv. I ;
I John iv. I, 2)..XIV

T HE metempsychosis of error and heresy is a
very curious thing. When the error or false
teaching has been dead for generations, so long that the volumes which entombed it are worm-eaten and the
fierce controversies which raged about it are deep in
oblivion, lo, the thing comes to life again. The ugly
chrysalis of unbelief is transformed into a brilliant butter-fly,
after which the would-be doubters of the day go
in hot and eager pursuit. By-and-by they grow weary
in their pursuit, and the butterfly itself loses its vitality
as the brilliant colours fade from its wings and it sinks
back into the earth whence it came. The new theologies
and the new conceptions of Christianity are new only
to the age which is beguiled into listening to them and
following after them. The history of Christianity shows
that in successive generations they have been looked upon
as new, whereas they are as old as human unbelief, and
that is as ancient as man.” Although written in a different connection, these
words are singularly applicable to Unitarianism, which
is but a recrudescence of some of the earliest heresies, such as Arianism. As its name suggests, its emphasis
is on the Uni-personality of God, in contrast to the Trinitarian view of “ One God, eternally existent in
three Persons.” The name is claimed to be derived from
the “ Uniti,” a society in Transylvania in support of
mutual tolerance between Calvinists, Romanists and the
Socinians, who were the Unitarians of that day. The
name came to be exclusively associated with the associates
of the divine Unity, as they were the most active and
aggressive members..148 HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
A Unitarian, as defined by Webster, is “ one who denies the doctrine of the Trinity, and regards the Father as
the only God.” Such a view necessarily involves its
sponsors in a denial of the deity of our Lord. Although
given the highest place as man, He is still less than God.
In LeafEet 15 of the British and Foreign Unitarian Associa-tion,
it is stated that a Unitarian is one who believes in
the simple unity of God, rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, and believing in the divine nature of man.
In course of time other heterodox features were added, which afforded the movement less and less claim to be
regarded as within the pale of Christianity.
On one occasion the great Daniel Webster was dining
with a company of literary men in Boston, a. Unitarian
stronghold, when conversation turned upon Christianity.
As the gathering was in honour of Mr. Webster, he was
expected to take a leading part in the conversation, and
he frankly stated his belief in the Godhood of Christ,
and his personal dependence on His atonement. A Unitarian minister opposite him said :
“ Mr. Webster, can you comprehend how Jesus Christ
could be both God and man ? ” Webster fixed his eye on him, and replied :
“ No, sir, I cannot comprehend it ; and I would be
ashamed to acknowledge Him as my Saviour if I could comprehend it.If I could comprehend Him, He could
be no greater than myself, and such is my conviction of
accountability to God, my sense of sinfulness before Him,
and my knowledge of my own incapacity to recover
myself, that I feel I need a superhuman Saviour.” With
Webster’s reply,all evangelical Christians will find themselves heartily in agreement.
The founder of Unitarianism in its modern form appears to have been Faustus Socinius, who was born
of a noble family in Sienna in the sixteenth century. A
student of both law and theology, he inherited the
papers of his uncle, Laelius Socinius, who adopted a
rationalistic approach to the Person of Christ. After.UNITARIANISM OR CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY 1 -4 9
l i v i n g f o r a c o n s i d e r a b l e p e r i o d i n F l o r e n c e , F a u s t u s migrated to Poland, where he ended his days. He found there many with Unitarian sympathies, who provided a
favourable culture-bed for his doctrines.
Gradually his name became associated with the move-ment,
and the majority of his views, as we shall show,
r e a p p e a r i n t h e U n i t a r i a n i sm o f t o -d a y . Hi s n e g a t i o n s
of evangelical truth included the denial of the doctrines
of the Trinity, t h e deity of Christ, the personality of the
devil, the total depravity of man, the vicarious atonement
o f C h r i s t , a n d t h e e t e r n i t y o f f u t u r e p u n i s hme n t . C o n- c e r n i n g t h e P e r s o n o f C h r i s t , t h e S o c i n i a n t h e o r y w a s
that Christ, while a divinely commissioned man, had no existence before He was miraculously and sinlessly con-ceived
by the Virgin Mary. H u m a n sin was the imi t a t i o n
of Adam’s sin, and human salvation was the imi t a t i o n and adoption of Christ’s virtue. He maintained that the
Bible was to be interpreted by human reason, and that its metaphors were not to be taken literally. S a t a n a n d
the incorrigibly wicked were to be finally annihilated. A
r e v i e w o f h i s t e a c h i n g s r e v e a l s t h e p a t t e r n w i t h w h i c h
we have become so familiar in the preceding studies. I n
1660 the Unitarian Church of the Socini in Poland was d e s t r o y e d b y p e r s e c u t i o n , b u t i n H u n g a r y t h e r e w e r e
still a hundred churches early in the present century.
Although the sect fell on evil days on the C o n t i n e n t , i t
reappeared and thrived in a moderate form in England
and America. In England, from 1 7 7 5 onwards, it enjoyed
a period of prosperity, numbering among its advocates
such able men as Theophilus Lindsay, Thomas Belsham
a n d J ame s Ma r t i n e a u, w h o b e c a m e o n e o f i t s mo s t
influential exponents. In passing, it is worthy of note
that after he had reached his eightieth year, Ma r t i n e a u
withdrew from the Unitarian church, although he never
formally united with any Trinitarian church.
In America, Uni t a r i a n i sm flourished most luxuriantly
in New England. As early as 1 7 5 0 , B o s t o n h a d a g r o u p
of ministers and laymen who embraced its tenets, The.=5o HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
most famous of their advocates was William Ellery
Channing (1780-1842)) whose blameless character and literary brilliance secured a great audience for his dis-torted
presentation of the fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man.It must be acknowledged that
among their members were a disproportionate number of
America’s eminent literary men, as Emerson and Holmes,
and noted jurists and statesmen, as Adams and Taft.
The growth of the sect resulted in a major cleavage in
the Congregational Church of America. Harvard College
was captured. Then a large number of cultured and influential people, to whom the Unitarian emphasis on
education and practical philanthropy was more palatable
than the evangelical advocacy of home and foreign
missions, threw in their lot with the popular new
religion. The tragedy of our day is that not all Unitarians are
to be found within the communion of that church. All
too many fill the pulpits of professedly evangelical
churches. It appears to be a matter of policy for a fifth-column
of ministers with Unitarian leanings to infiltrate
the churches, with a view to future conquest. One
minister who himself used to preach Unitarian doctrine,
although not formally identified with them, wrote that
“ although the Unitarians as a denomination are very
weak, the spirit of Unitarianism is very prevalent. There are thousands of churches that would resent being classed
in such company, but in reality they belong nowhere else. Their evangelism is nothing more than an appeal to the
will, and their gospel is a setting forth of the manhood of
Christ. If it were not for the left-over fire of a former
generation they would be as fruitless as the Unitarian
denomination itself.”
U n i t a r i a n i s m i s characterised not so much by its
beliefs as by its “ unbeliefs,” for it is a system of nega-tions,
Those truths which we deem fundamental to our
faith are ruthlessly rejected.
Dr. Charles W. Eliot, president-emeritus of Harvard.UNITARIANISM OR CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY 151
University, issued a statement of Unitarian belief,
portion of which follows :
“ We believe in a loving God, who inspires and vivifies
the universe, and to that God we attribute in an infinite
degree all the finest, noblest, sweetest, loveliest qualities
which human nature embodies and displays in infinite
forms. . . .
“ We Unitarians believe in the essential dignity and
goodness of human nature. We believe in goodwill, co-operation for common ends, and freedom from all restraints and subjections, except those involved in preserving the same freedom for thy neighbour.
“ We recognise that there are great evils in the world,
but refuse to accept them as inevitable, and we cornbat
them with every form of intelligent human effort, and
with every means which modern science puts into our
hands. . . .
“ We recognise that human wills are weak, and human
bodies and minds often defective ; but we do not infer
thence that the human race is depraved and is to be
controlled and redeemed only by fear and terror.
“ We believe that mankind would get along better
than they do now if it were positively known that the heaven of revelation had been burnt and hell quenched.”
A perusal of these “ beliefs ” reveals that they are in essence denials. There is among Unitarians a marked
hostility towards creeds or dogmatic statements, which
they contend, “ prison the mind, obstruct the progress
of truth, turn attention from plain duties to intellectual
and metaphysical subtleties.” Herman Randall goes so
far as to say, “ My own conviction is that if all creeds
and dogmas and paraphernalia of the churches in Christendom to-day could be set aside, nothing would be lost.” We shall now give attention to their teaching.
As to the Trinity.
On their own statement quoted above, while holding
the unity of God, they reject the doctrine of the Trinity,
maintaining that Trinitarians preach three Gods, not.152 HERESIES: ANCIENT AND MODERN
one. Actually they cannot claim a monopoly of belief
in the Unity of God, for Trinitarians share that view.
Their distinctive view is the Uni-personality of God.
The Holy Spirit is identified with God Himself, being
merely the holy influence which the mind of God exerts
on the mind of man.
As to Christ.
The assertion of the Uni-personality of God necessarily
has as its corollary a denial of the deity of Christ, who is
reduced to the level of the best of men. How can a system
which robs our Lord of His essential deity, possibly
expect to be classed as Christian ? Actually it classifies
itself when brought to the touchstone of Holy Writ.
In his epistles, John makes three categorical state-ments
concerning Jesus of Nazareth.
I. “ This is He who came . . . Jesus Christ,” or, more
accurately, “ This is the One COME, even Jesus Christ ”
(I John v. 6).
2. ” Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” or, “ This is
Jesus Christ COME Incarnate,” i.e. God Incarnate (I John
iv. 2).
3. “ Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” or “ This is
Jesus Christ COMING Incarnate ” (2 John 7.).
In the first, the incarnation is stated historically,
in the second, theologically and in the third, eschatologic-ally.
Unitarianism is prepared to concede the identity
of “ the Coming One ” with the historic person of Jesus
of Nazareth, but denies that He is either God Incarnate
COME, or COMING Incarnate again. And in what category
do these denials place it ? Let St. John himself answer.
“ Every spirit that confesseth not that this is Jesus
Christ COME incarnate, is not of God, and this is that
s$irit of alctichrist „(I John iv. 2). “ For many deceivers
are entered into the world, who confess not that this is
Jesus Christ COMING Incarnate. This is a deceiver and an
antichrist ” (2 John vii.).
And yet, in spite of the dishonour done to our Lord,
they call themselves Christians. In Unitarian Lea@
No. 13, their position is clearly stated..UNITARIANISM OR CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANJTY I.53
Question 5 : Are Unitarians Christians ?
Answer : Yes, but they differ from many, perhaps
most Christians, in holding that obedience to the spirit
of the teaching of Christ is more important than a correct
or uniform intellectual belief with regard to His nature
and official position. Question 6 : How can Unitarians be Christians while
denying the divinity of Jesus ?
Answer : They deny the deity of Jesus but not H is divinity. Indeed they specially emphasise His divinity
as a real and personal quality inherent in His humanity.
Dr. I;. S. C. Wicks stated that the dogma he denied
was the exclusive divinity of Jesus. He did not believe
that the Infinite could be compressed in the form of one
being, even so exalted a personality as Jesus.
In Savage’s Unitarian Cathechiswa the following ques-tions
and answers occur :
faZN;s;ion 15 : Did Jesus not say that God wa.s his
Answer : Yes ; and he also said that God was the father of all men.
Question 8 : Where was Jesus born ? Answer : Probably in Nazareth. . . .
Question g : Why do Matthew and Luke, then, say he was born in Bethlehem ?
Answer : These stories about his birth are very late
and of no authority.The Jews expected their Messiah
to be born in Bethlehem, so after people came to believe
that Jesus was the Messiah, this belief grew up.
Question 61 : Did he rise again from the dead ?
Answer : There is no reason to suppose that his body
lived again.
As to the Scriptures.
The supernatural character of the Bible is denied, and its interpretation is on the plane of pure reason.
Nothing in the nature of divine inspiration is recognised.
Its inspiration is on a level with that of Shakespeare.
The existence of God, e.g. is not a matter of revelation,
but a conclusion of reason. Since reason is their supreme.154 HERESIES ANCIENT AND MODERN
guide, the Bible is a source of kno\;rledge only in so far as it coincides with reason. Thus the reason of man and not the Word of the Living God becomes man’s final and supreme authority in matters of faith and conduct.
As to the Atonement.
The Socinian view of the atonement is still that held
by modern Unitarians. Socinius maintained that Christ’s
death was merely that of a martyr, and that men are
inspired to heroic struggle and victory by His unswerving
example of loyalty to truth, even though it led to His
death. Not God, but only man needs to be reconciled,
and since there is no obstacle to pardon in God, no
atonement is necessary. Man’s sense of sin, guilt and
condemnation is purely subjective. All God requires of man is repentance and reformation, which can be
effected by man’s unaided will. Such a view of the atonement, while embodying an
element of truth, ignores large tracts of Scripture. Jesus was a martyr in the cause of truth, but more, much more
than that. All the great and saving elements of the Gospel which have wrought such transformations down
the ages, are absent from such an inadequate presentation.
In summing up this theory, Dr. E. G. Robinson had this
to say, “ Unitarianism errs in giving a transforming power
to that which works beneficently only after the trans- formation has been wrought.” In other words, it ignores the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, which alone imparts the power to follow Christ.
As to Total Depravity.
The total depravity of man is strenuously denied.
On the contrary, “ the essential dignity and goodness
of human nature ” is preached. “ We do not infer that
the human race is depraved,” wrote Eliot.
Unitarians adhere to the Pelagian theory of man’s
natural innocence and freedom from depraved tendencies
-a theory which, of course, comes into violent conflict
with the Scriptures. The fall of man, too, is necessarily rejected, and for it is substituted what they are pleased.UNITARIANISM OR CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY 155
to designate,” the age-long rise of man,” whatever that
may connote.
Among other heretical views propagated are denial
of the sacraments : the purely human character of the
Church ; repudiation of the final judgment, the resurrec-tion
of the body and the everlasting punishment of the finally impenitent.Prayer is robbed of its potency and is explained on a purely rationalistic basis.
But does this belief, or unbelief, satisfy the Unitarian ?
Let James Martineau, brilliant man of letters answer :
“ For myself I own that the literature to which I turn
for the nurture and inspiration of faith, hope and love
is almost exclusively the product of orthodox versions of
the Christian religion. The hymns of Wesley, the prayers
of the Friends, the meditations of Law and Tauler, have
a quickening and elevating power which I rarely feel in
the books on our Unitarian shelves ” (Princeton Review,
190% P. 659). Professor Hale, son of the Dr. Edward Everett Hale,
eminent Unitarian preacher who in his old age said, “ i
do not see why so simple and democratic a religion as Unitarianism has not swept the country long ago,” tells
of his spiritual pilgrimage in these words :
“ The call of Christ I conceive to be that time in a
man’s life when an impulse comes to surrender everything
for Christ. We all come to a place in our lives when we
feel that there is something lacking in our life, and Christ
speaks to us in that still small voice, and if we accept
Him He brings us into the new life. That is what is
meant by hearing the call and giving ourselves to Christ.
“ Personally I had no expectation that the call of Christ would come to me.I think most who know me personally will agree with me that I was not the man you would
have expected to confess Christ. If you will pardon
these personal references, I will give a few reasons why.
I am of New England birth, and a New Englander is not
apt to be carried away by anything emotional. I am a man of books, of an intellectual life, associated constantly.156 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
with students, and such men do not take such steps
under enthusiasm. Most of you are aware of the fact
that I was a Unitarian, and that they are known as a sect which lay more stress on reason and intellect than
on the heart. Who would have thought that I would have been led to accept Christ in a revival meeting in a Methodist church ?
“ By my personal experience I can say that the way
to the Cross is through prayer. The first sermon preached
here by Dr. W. J. Dawson was one on prayer. and it was
almost by accident that I happened to go. I only thought
of hearing an excellent preacher. I did not find much I
had not thought of before ; but I said, what he says is
sensible, and I will try it ; and as I walked down from
church that day I prayed that God would give me the
best He had for me. Monday came, and I gave myself
to the ordinary duties of the week. I did not go to hear
Dr. Dawson at once again. It was not until Thursday
night that I came ; but during that time I continued this express prayer, and I must admit with a little more
interest than usual.I went to hear Dr. Dawson again
on Friday, Sunday and Monday, and during this time I
became conscious of a curious change which was going
on in myself, which I did not, and cannot now, explain.
Many things which had been much to me-indeed, all-had
ceased to interest me. Interest in life began to have
a curious dullness in regard to some things. I do not
mean in the carrying on of my regular college duties, but
in art, literature, nature, etc. I began to have a greater
love for others, for humanity. . . . On Monday night he
preached on the Greeks who came saying, ‘ We would
see Jesus,’ and he said that they found, not a philosopher,
not a leader, but One whose life had been a sacrifice for the salvation of the world. . . .”
Even a superficial knowledge of the doctrines of
Modernism will enable the reader to detect its blood-kinship
with Unitarianism, for Modernism IS Unitarianism.
The ethics of a minister holding Unitarian views and.UNITARIANISM OR CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY 157
yet remaining in an evangelical pulpit whence he can
disseminate his doctrinal poison, are denounced in no uncertain terms by a Unitarian writer. Referring to a
friend of his who each Lord’s day recited with his con-gregation
a creed which he no longer believed, he said that he thereby “ forfeited his self-respect,” and to this verdict we could add that he thereby merited the censure of every true man, and will certainly suffer the judgment
of God for preaching ” another gospel, which is not
One of the outstanding Unitarian-Modernists of
Australia was the late Professor S. Angus. A com-parison
of his creed, given below, with the teachings of
Unitarianism will leave the reader in no doubt as to the
similarity of the two.And yet for more than twenty
years, this man trained the ministers of three of the
evangelical denominations. That was surely a major
triumph for Unitarianism. Note the significant absences from his statement :
I. We believe in Jesus, the supreme Revealer of God
and of man, our only Lord, the Saviour of men.
2. We believe in God, who is Love, over all and in all,
the Father of Jesus and of all men.
3. We believe in the Divine Spirit, as the Spirit of God
and of the living Lord, dwelling in us, quickening our
spiritual natures,making us Christ-like, and so con-summating
our union with God.
4. We believe in Man, made in the image of God, to
show forth his Creator’s praise, as by his nature a child
of the Heavenly Father; we believe that he can realise his true being only by arising and coming to his Father. 5. We believe that all truth is of God, the ultimate
and supreme authority, who reveals His truth by His Spirit in the hearts and consciences of men. 6. We believe in the communion of all those who sincerely love the Lord Jesus, and in that visible form of
fellowship–the Church.
7. We believe in such means of grace, sacramental
acts, and tokens of fellowship as by experience have
proved of spiritual worth to individual believers and to.158 HERESIES : ANCIENT AND MODERN
the community of such, especially the books of the Old
and New Testaments interpreted in the light of Jesus ;
the assembling of ourselves together for edification and
united worship ; prayer as the communion of the soul
with God ; and the loyal acceptance of an obedience to
the will of our Heavenly Father. 8. We believe in Righteousness, Truth, Love, Holiness. Believing in Jesus, we believe that sin can and must be
overcome in human life by the grace of God and by the
will to choose with which God has endowed our nature.
g. We believe in the ultimate victory of Good over
Evil ; in God’s will being done on earth as in heaven, so
that God may be all in all.
IO. We believe in Life eternal as the present and ever-increasing
knowledge of God through Jesus Christ. In
such life there is no death.
This pious-sounding creed is devoid of all the saving
features of the Christian gospel, and condemns man to
be his own Saviour. The Apostle John had to deal with the Unitarians of his day, of whom Cerinthus was one with a large following. On one occasion when Cerinthus entered the public baths where he was bathing, John
immediately left the baths, lest God in judgment strike
the place. He wrote an epistle begging true brethren not to receive him or his into their houses. Such was his
abhorrence of an error which dethroned his Lord and
God. Let us, too, be jealous for His glory, and have no
fellowship with those who are following “ the spirit of
“ Thou art the Everlasting Word, The Father’ s only Son ; God manifestly seen and heard, And heaven’ s Beloved One ; Worthy 0 Lamb of God art Thou, That every knee to Thee should bow.
“ In Thee most perfectly expressed, The Father’ s glories shine,
Of the full Deity possessed, Eternally Divine ; Worthy 0 Lamb of God art Thou, That every knee to Thee should bow.”

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