Teachers of an Earthly Wisdom

When a church becomes decadent it is because spiritual power is no longer manifested whereby men are convinced of sin, impelled to repentance, and made steadfast in righteousness. The church then, feeling it is not steadfast, reaches out into statecraft for power to steady itself and to maintain control over men. It is to be noted, however, that love never needs to ask for control. Paul did not have to ask the aid of a Roman soldier to compel obedience from Timothy who loved him, from Eutychus whom he raised from the dead, nor, we might say, from the father of Publius whom he healed in Melita when the ship's company was cast ashore there.

Peter has been supposed to be the first bishop of Rome, and much political claim has been built on that supposition, but Peter did not invent the Holy Office to torture Dorcas so that she might give him due honor after he had raised her from the dead. He and John did not use methods of subtle inquisition to find out the inner thoughts of the lame man healed at the temple gate called Beautiful. This man followed them into the temple, "walking, and leaping, and praising God." They did not, evidently, demand that he think of God according to the formula of some cold-hearted theologian who knew nothing about healing the sick and yet declared that those who thought otherwise of God than as his formula set forth would "no doubt perish everlastingly."

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