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Comment By Torchlight

The Battle for the Mind

Many voices clamour for a hearing today. As the media of communication multiply so does the babel of voices. Every cause has its propagandists and modern methods of publicity project its interests. From press, radio and television a ceaseless stream descends upon a bewildered public. Propaganda, now an established science, frequently gains adherents to a cause - or sells the article - by subtle and dubious devices. Gimmicks are the order of the day.

This is not only true in secular affairs but also in the spiritual realm. Extravagant and false claims by sects and cults are supported by the most modern publicity methods. Alas, gimmickry and sensationalism are sometimes employed under the guise of preaching the gospel! The battle for the mind rages all around us. Divine protection is needed, and this is provided for us by the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6.17). The citadel of thought is secure only when this part of the Christian's armour is in place.

A simple test of our discipleship may be applied in our Lord's words:

"If ye abide in My word, then are ye truly My disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8.31.32).

Here lies our safety. From the twists and turns of human thought, from its speculations and half-truths, we must withdraw into the haven of our Lord's own words, and there remain. His own utterances and those spoken through His apostles (Jude 17) are summed up in the inclusive phrase "My word". His word remains, authoritative and pure, untarnished by the passage of time.

In moments of doubt and despondency, sometimes because of the declension of others who walk no more with us, the question our Lord put to His disciples, "Would ye also go away?", may well arise in our hearts. Go away! Surely the only reply to this question is that voiced by Simon Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6.68).

"0 Lord, 0 Master, help us

To walk apart with Thee,

Outside the camp, where only

Thy beauty we may see;

Far from the world's loud turmoil,

Far from its busy din,

Far from its praise and honour,

Its unbelief and sin."

The "new Pentecostalism"

In the year 1882 a pamphlet was issued entitled: "The church, and the churches of God: a suggestive outline of truth", by F.A. Banks. This pamphlet was hailed by many competent and godly students of the Scriptures as a great step forward in the understanding of New Testament doctrine regarding the basis of gathering for Cod's people. Using the New Testament as the sole basis of truth, Banks cut right across many of the traditional ideas on church constitution and practice. In particular he exposed the erroneous view, prevalent at that time, that the basis of gathering for believers was solely on the ground of the "one Body". He showed clearly that the Church which is Christ's Body is not synonymous with churches of God, and then proceeded to define the pattern of the churches of God in apostolic days.

We refer here once more to this important aspect of truth because of the increasing departure from New Testament teaching on church constitution which is prevalent today. Our attention has recently been drawn to what appears to be a new development of the theory of unity on the ground of the "one Body". This relates to what is being termed the "new Pentecostalism" and is described by one of its leading exponents as "the third force in the Body of Christ".

Space does not permit detailed treatment of this extraordinary theory. We can only quote some statements by the exponent of the theory mentioned above. He says that the "new Pentecostalism" is on the whole "uniting Christians of different traditions, whose hearts are open to it, in a remarkable way. At one meeting there were Roman Catholics present and I later spoke at a house meeting arranged by Roman Catholic lay people who have been filled with the Holy Spirit. There were three Jesuit priests present at this meeting. Denominational walls are crumbling-age-old traditions and shibboleths are forgotten as the Holy Spirit moves."

It is not surprising that in the following issue of the magazine from which the above extract is culled, a converted Roman Catholic joined issue with a challenging letter which included the following paragraph: "When it is realised that the Jesuit order of the Roman Catholic priesthood was formed expressly to stamp out the Reformed Faith, the presence of three Jesuit priests at the meeting in question is very significant indeed. If the 'age-old traditions and shibboleths' (which the writer states are being forgotten) are the New Testament doctrines for which the Reformation martyrs laid down their lives, then it is difficult to comprehend how anyone who claims to be filled with the Holy Spirit could be so unfaithful to the word of God, and so lacking in spiritual discernment."

Weighty words!