Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
That needs proof. Rev. Dr. Briggs, a Presbyterian scholar, says that, "whilst there can be a unity of the Christian spirit without unity of authority, there can be no Church unity without unity of authority." Yet, as Rev. Dr. Goudge, Regius Professor of Anglican theology at Oxford, has clearly shown, the New Testament absolutely requires Church unity. The various sects adopt isolated aspects of Christianity. But Dr. Goudge rightly remarks that "Christianity a la carte will not do. The religion of Christ must be accepted or rejected as a whole."
We cannot make one Church merely by employing the influences of different Churches in the same direction. American troops fought beside British troops in France during the war of 1914-18. They worked together for the same end. But Britain and America were no nearer to forming one nation than before. There is no escaping from the fact of divided and conflicting Churches.
Because truth requires consistency, and God has a right to be believed when He reveals a definite doctrine. No one who understands the New Testament could entertain loose ideas on this subject. St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a Gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed." Gal. I., 8. To Timothy he wrote, "I desired thee to remain at Ephesus that thou mightest charge some not to teach otherwise." I Tim. I., 3. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing." I Tim. VI., 3. It is quite evident from the New Testament that differences in doctrine do matter very much, and that compromise in such things is impossible.
Since the Catholic religion denies that, you can scarcely think that there is room for the Catholic belief. However, let us take your general thought that all religions have a right to exist. Buddhism and Mahometanism are beliefs, yet does not Christianity exclude those? Or was Christ wrong in sending His Apostles to teach and to convert all nations, winning them from their previous beliefs to His doctrines? Christ would never have admitted that there is room for all beliefs. Again, your own remote ancestors were pagans. Had the early Christians accepted your principle that there is room for all beliefs, they would never have sent missionaries to your ancestors. They would have been left in their paganism, and you would have inherited their paganism only. Each link in the chain from them to you would have remained what he was born, and would have died such.
That is rather an extreme statement. You believe in the Christian religion, and the Christian religion excludes the idea that all paths lead to God. In fact, it teaches very definitely that some paths do not lead to God. Christ Himself distinguished between two roads, declaring the way leading to life to be narrow and restricted, whilst the way leading to destruction is broad and pleasant to those who are bent on self-satisfaction. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. VI., 9-10. We cannot therefore say that all paths lead to God.
We may hope that it will. We do not know that it will. When Christ put the question, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he suffers the loss of his soul?" Matt. XVI., 26, He at least implied the possibility of not attaining to the mountain top. He warned the Pharisees that their salvation was highly improbable. And of Judas He said, "It were better for him, if that man had not been born." Mk. XIV., 21.
On what grounds do you accept that? Truth is neither yours nor mine. It is independent of either of us. We hold things because they are true. They are not true because we happen to believe them. Again, truth is consistent. If you have the truth on a given subject, and my ideas conflict with yours, then I do not possess the truth. And if I am right, you haven't got the truth. If you wanted to go to a certain town by rail, but got into the wrong train, would you ignore the stationmaster's advice, and say, "Your truth is not my truth?" You would not. Why is that axiom valid only when it is a question of the way to heaven?