Popish View of Christianity
Popish View of Christianity The supporters of this view regard the Church as the mediator between God and the individual: the Church (by which some of them seem to mean "the clergy") is a sort of chartered corporation, by belonging to or by being attached to which any given individual acquires certain privileges. The opponents of such a view regard it as a priest craft, because it lays the stress not on the relations of a man's heart towards God and Christ, as the Gospel does, but on something wholly artificial and formal-his belonging to a certain so-called Society; and thus, whether the Society be alive or dead, whether it really help the man in goodness or not, still it claims to step in and interpose itself, as the channel of grace and salvation, when it certainly is not the channel of salvation, because it is visibly and notoriously no sure channel of grace. The opponents of the popish views acknowledge that, where the Church is what it should be, it is so great a means of grace that its benefits are of the highest value; yet they regard relation to any Church as a thing quite subordinate and secondary, the salvation of a man's soul being effected by the change in his heart and life wrought by Christ's Spirit; and because all who go straight to Christ (their baptism into the communion of the Church being assumed) do "manifestly and visibly receive grace, and have the seal of his Spirit, and therefore are certainly heirs of salvation." They adopt this view of Christianity because it seems "simple and scriptural," while any other is complex in its character and human in its source. According to this view, all seems plain: "we are not to derive our salvation through or from the Church, but to be kept or strengthened in the way of salvation by the aid or example of our fellow- Christians, who are formed into societies for this very reason that they might help one another, and not leave each man to fight his own fight alone; the Scripture notion of the Church being that religious society should help a man to become better and holier, just as civil society helps us in civilization." SEE POPERY.