You Can't Escape God, 1978
The roles of the Church:
THAT THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IS GOD'S CHIEF INSTRUMENT for the performing of a special but strictly limited pedagogical mission in our modern World was certified by no less an authority than the Deity's Son. Thus, our study of theological and moral truth must now include an analysis-in-depth of the ecclesiastical institution which Jesus founded -- what it has been, what it is, and what it should be.
Accordingly, we proceed by initially recognizing again that God's program for Mankind provides for every member of our species to experience a one-stage or, if necessary, a two-stage process of learning how to guide all conduct by motivations of love, and of learning to be invariably and voluntarily responsive thereto. The objectives of such learning, as we have noted, are to enable every human soul to win admission to Heaven and to enable humanity to obtain a preliminary byproduct of peace and optimum happiness on Earth.
Next, let us recognize again that long before the Church was founded God had already determined what its functions should be. Thus, he had determined there should be two non-conflicting parts in the earthly phase of Mankind's training but that only one of these should be within the province of the Church. This was to be the part which would be religious in nature, providing Man with instructional assistance relating to theology and to the fundamentals of morality while also exhorting humanity to learn by non-ecclesiastical efforts how to translate and apply the basic moral precepts into the terms requisite for the circumstances of earthly life. In turn, the other part of the knowledge-acquiring process was divinely intended to be wholly secular in nature; hence, this portion of the Deity's program provided for Man to use wholly human cerebral efforts in wholly non-ecclesiastical procedures for the translating and applying of the basic moral precepts into the more complex terms for good conduct in the World's economic-social-political life.
That God did provide for such a cleavage of Man's learning process is an inescapable conclusion derived from two related points of evidence. First, as we have earlier deduced, his aim was in part to prevent Mankind from becoming mere puppets of divine controls. Second, the fact that the Church was never divinely provided with a totality of theological or moral knowledge shows it was never intended to exercise any dominating controls; thus, that Man would have a great deal to learn by processes reserved for his non-ecclesiastical efforts.
Accordingly, it was inevitable that Jesus established his Church to take chiefly upon itself only the religious portion of God's plan for the advancement of Mankind. On one hand, it would teach of Man's relationship to God. On the other hand, it would also teach the basic moral precepts for the relationships among our human species. But to be in accord with the Deity's plans, it is certain that Jesus withheld from the Church any authority to stretch its morality teachings to any point at which it or its clergy would encroach upon the functions which God intended to be reserved for secular society -- the so-called "State."
Later in our study we shall examine some of the specific details of what the relationships between Church and State were divinely intended to be; also the extent to which they have been violated and what the consequences of such violations have been or continue to be. Presently, however, we must deal with the reasons that made it imperative for both theology and the fundamentals of morality to be put into a single curricular package for the Christian ecclesiastical institution to teach. In other words, we now must refute sundry challenges that theology is irrelevant to moral progress, that the entirely of morality could be better learned either by separating it from theology or in a condition in which theology would be totally ignored.
Thus, to see how important it must be for theological truth and the basics of morality to be taught in combination let us perceive what the results would be if the whole World were caused suddenly to reject all concepts of a post-Earth life characterized by rewards for qualified souls and by penalties for persons whose preparations for Heaven were not completed during their life on Earth. To pose such a hypothetical case, of course, we shall need to depict a condition in which there would not be even a subconscious carry-over for the second-life concept from abandoned previous theological teachings. On the other hand, we shall realistically allow that there would be a gradual, rather than sudden, impact from such a theological void upon whatever level of morality among men and nations that was already existing.
Let us perceive, therefore, that with a total rejection of any concept of even a possibility of a second life, the inescapable alternative concept of all Mankind would be that earthly death is an irreversible condition of non-conscious non-life, incapable of experiencing either pleasant or unpleasant post-Earth conditions. Thus, on that basis, Man could regard himself only as a time-limited creature with no more of any eternally enduring purpose or consciousness than a time-limited cabbage or a time-limited cat.
Hence, the supposedly time-limited Man would individually become dominated by an urge to obtain whatever quantity of self-pleasure that might be within his irreligious power to cram into his individually time-limited life span. That urge would become coupled, in turn, with a consistent contention that as a means of obtaining self-pleasure a person could commit even a maximum injury to others without sustaining any post-Earth penalties against himself; likewise, he could consistently argue that even if he avoided doing injury to others he would not thereby gain any subsequent reward in a supposedly non-existent Heaven. Accordingly, everyone would ultimately conclude -- either as a matter of necessity or of perverted desire -- that he should also make himself immune to any earthly penalties for injuries done to others in his pursuit of pleasure and survival by simply making himself cunning enough or strong enough, either individually or by alliance with others, to ensure him protection against earthly reprisals.
The worst impact of such a condition of irreligion would come, however, from the gradual loss of any human capacity to feel remorse, even as a lion feels no remorse in killing a zebra or another lion. Thus, cynics would engage in a conscious or subconscious causistry of contending that even in a case of murder the only value to a potential murder victim of being left un-murdered would exist only as long as the intended victim continued to possess a consciousness of still being alive; that even a victim of murder would not suffer a reality of injury because a corpse could have no post-death consciousness of the life-value that had been taken from it.
Let us perceive, therefore, that as increasing numbers of people responded to a World-wide rejection of the theological truth of a post-Earth life, the cynical attitude toward the maximum form of property stealing called murder would be preceded by a similar vanishing of all moral inhibitions against all other forms of stealing bodily or non-bodily property. In other words, like common animals and like the Proto-men of our own species, Man would become gradually motivated to a ruthlessness of conduct not only as a matter of non-inhibited volition but also as a self-protective response to the ruthlessness of others. Of course, we do not imply that such a reversion would begin with a universal rash of murders. Rather, it would begin with the increasing of a thousand lesser forms of stealing -- predicated, however, on the same fallacious premise that Man is no more than a freak-of-nature whose "success" in a time-limited life is attained not by responding to any code of morality but only to the exertion of his cunning or force.
Moreover, in the early stage of such a reversion to the animalism of Proto-man, some forms of stealing would be so cunningly white-washed by ideological sophistries set forth by demagogs to appease the most ignorant or most ruthless members of society that most people would be performing hidden acts of stealing without even an awareness of any immoral conduct being involved. Indeed, much of the stealing would be with neither the robbers knowing their victims nor the victims knowing by whom they were robbed. Hence, to whatever extent Man needed to salve any vestiges of conscience, he would account for his injuries to others by the pretext that he was "just getting even" for being a victim himself.
Of course, even with a decrease of moral inhibitions, some people would tend to refrain from doing injury to others; instead, they would be primarily concerned only with defending themselves. In turn, however, with such defenders pitted against uninhibited aggressors, the result would be small-scale wars escalating into large-scale wars until there would be an international conflict using weapons which would leave only a small remnant of our species as living survivors.
Now let it not be foolishly argued that Man is "too intelligent" to allow such a succession of events from happening. The fact is, as everyone knows, that -- even in a World in which most men presently have at least a minimal conscious or subconscious expectation of a second life -- such a train of events has already been moving toward such a showdown. Such being the case, however, does not this mean that the teaching of Christian theology is ineffective or irrelevant as an accompaniment to the Church's parallel teachings of the basics of morality? Not so! What it proves is simply that such theology has not been taught to a sufficient number of people and that even among those to whom it has been taught it has lacked certain elements needed to make it wholly convincing. In other words, when perhaps only twenty percent of Mankind has a total confidence that Man's soul is truly immortal, and when another twenty percent believe that deathly death is final, and when the remaining sixty percent don't think about it one way or the other, it is evident that the impact of Christianity's theological teachings simply has not been widespread enough and persuasive enough to dissuade most of humanity from a cynical view concerning both of the Church's theological and morality teachings.
Thus, the conclusion is inescapable that the World needs to be taught the truths of Christian theology as amplified and corrected in our present study and that this is just as surely a critical need as for Mankind to continue to be also taught the fundamentals of morality -- so that secular society will be adequately impelled to discover and adopt the love motivation rules for economic-social-political conduct whereby to win the admission of souls to Heaven while simultaneously achieving the byproduct of peace and optimum happiness on Earth. Accordingly, we perceive the perfect reasons still existing today that Jesus had when he provided for his Church not only to teach a gradually advancing body of theological truth but also to teach morality at its fundamental levels. Similarly, it is significant that God himself combined certain primary truths of theology with the fundamentals of morality when he set forth the Ten Commandments.
Also significant of the same conclusions, the same logic explains why Jesus founded his Church in the time of the Roman Empire rather than waiting until later. Under Roman rule, most people rendered a blind obedience to the State in matters of conduct; in turn, the State demanded worship of non-existent pagan gods. Thus, Jesus knew the Roman concepts of theology -- even if they sometimes suggested that there were occasional cases of life after death -- not only in imagining the existence of non-existent gods while being unaware of the actual existence of the one true God but also could not provide an adequate logical support even for the occasional inclusion of a possible second-life theory.
Worse yet, as Jesus also knew, as long as pagan theologians could invent imaginary gods there would continue to be nothing to prevent the inventing of limitless numbers of additional false gods who could be credited with the privilege of authorizing immoral actions on behalf of anyone who might choose to have immoral conduct "sanctified" in such a manner. For example, a "god of fertility" could be depicted as recommending sexual licentiousness. Another false god could demand the sacrificial death of numbers of infants and children. Still another could approve banditry and murder as a way of life. Indeed, as was the case in ancient Rome, even a merely human political leader could have himself proclaimed as a god and thus be deemed to possess a "divine right" to commit whatever deeds that he might choose to do.
At the same time, Jesus also realized that -- although the Hebrew people had preserved the most basic truths of monotheism for some previous four thousand years -- the World had reached a point at which it needed certain expansions of theological truth so that the resulting theology would be persuasive enough to gradually roll back the tide of non-Hebrew atheism, agnosticism, and paganism. Thus, in particular what the World needed was some new corroboration of the existence of the one God and a demonstration of the truth of a second life for human souls -- so as to cause a gradual termination of such atheism, agnosticism, and paganism, and of the related cynicism which assumed that Man was only a time-limited creature not to be inhibited by an religious or irreligious teachings from whatever animalistic conduct he might choose in an animalistic pursuit of hedonistic pleasure.
Hence, even the timing of Jesus' life on Earth involved a significant combining of the teaching of both theology and the fundamentals of morality -- not only to give Man a greater acceptance of humanity's relationship to the one true God but also to fortify and increase the human motivation for developing and obeying the principles of morality in the economic-social-political relationships of modern as well as ancient Mankind.
But why did Jesus provide for the principal responsibility for the teaching of such a combination of theological and moral fundamentals to be divinely assigned just to one institution; in other words, why didn't he restrict the Church to just one or the other? Obviously, the answer is that he wanted the combination task to be undertaken chiefly by a single specially authorized institution so that the relationship between the truths of theology and the basics of morality would be stressed by the combining itself; also, he wanted to be sure that neither of these topics would be down-graded by relation to the other -- such as would have been the case if humanity had been confronted by competitive institutions teaching, respectively, only a single specialty.
In turn, let us perceive that Jesus had perfect reasons -- still applicable today -- for providing that the Church's principal teaching should be done by professional teachers -- a clergy. In the first place, he knew there would be a need for a pedagogical elite to be specially trained in the factual knowledge and in the skills requisite for persuasive teaching. In the second place, he knew that a clergy would be requisite to provide the zeal necessary to keep the Church self-perpetuating. In the third place, he knew that the knowledge of theological truth and of the moral fundamentals would tend to become diluted with the passage of time if humanity were left dependent upon self-teaching.
Next in the present stage of our analysis of the Church we must recognize that it has a divine obligation to achieve an optimum of efficiency in the performance of its pedagogical responsibilities. Certainly all Christians will agree it will not suffice for the Church to get no more than perhaps a twenty percent result from its productive efforts. Yet, in the face of its commission to teach all men and nations and despite some 20 centuries of efforts, we know that it has actually won hardly more than twenty percent of Mankind to Christianity. Indeed, in our modern World, the numbers of non-Christians have been increasing faster than the numbers of Christians. Moreover, it is common knowledge that many persons are Christians only in name. Seldom or never participating in the learning processes which the Church supplies, such as these let themselves be dependent on the unreliability of a kind of osmosis for acquiring a knowledge of moral fundamentals at the same time that they escape the Church's exhortations for secular advancements and secular obedience to the morality principles; likewise, such as these let themselves remain dubious or indifferent not only to the inescapability of a second life for human souls but also even to the existence of God himself.
The reasons for such a stage of ecclesiastical inefficiency are wholly obvious. In the first place, even the basic composite of Christian theology has inherited or otherwise acquired so many voids and errors that its larger content of truth has been inadequate and unpersuasive. For example, even in a science-minded modern World the Church has clung to the false notion that God came into existence in advance of the formation of cosmic substance; consequently, the Christian theological teachings have been increasingly unpersuasive even of the fact that there is a God. Likewise, the church has lacked any knowledge to explain what the human soul really is or to explain how Jesus originated in Heaven and how he thereafter was born to an earthly virgin in a demonstration of a reincarnation process analogous to the reincarnation which our souls will experience in Heaven. On the other hand, the Church and its clergy should not be scolded for the fact that many theological truths that had to remain undisclosed or unexplained until such time as Man himself had advanced sufficiently in general knowledge to be able to make the related discoveries and to explain them.
A related factor in the Church's low degree of pedagogical efficiency has been the theological disunity among its several hundreds of denominations. For example, in reciting the Lord's Prayer, some groups refer to "Our Father, which . . . ." while others address themselves to "Our Father, who . . . ." Thus, such disunity sabotages the Church's efficiency even at this primary level by reflecting uncertainty as to whether God is an embodied person or merely a nebulous force.
In addition, as many Christians have long realized, the denominational disunity of the Church has injured its efficiency by causing a vast overlapping of ecclesiastical efforts. For example, there are untold thousands of localities where several rival denominations have local units with a combined membership sufficient for the adequate functioning of no more than one.
Further, the church's low degree of efficiency has been due in part to mistrust by the laity and by secular society in general of the Clericalism practiced by numerous clergy. In other words, such clergy have endeavored to stretch their authority to "teach" to a point at which they have endeavored to do the translating of the basics of morality into the terms applicable to the complex economic-social-political affairs of modern Mankind -- whereas it was the intent of God and his Son that such translating should be a responsibility of secular society alone. Thus, numerous non-Christians have refused to become Christians and numerous Christians have withdrawn from the Church itself because of the knowledge that in many cases the practitioners of Clericalism have misled secular society in modern as well as ancient times into some of the gravest economic-social-political blunders which the World has ever known.
Thus, having taken a preliminary look at the specifically limited functional authority of the Church and to some of the problems it has encountered, let us perceive that for it to fulfill its future obligation to achieve a far greater efficiency than ever before it will need to attain a status of unity in four basic categories. First, it will need to acquire a unity of truth in theological teachings which have been sufficiently expanded to be wholly convincing. Second, it will need to acquire a unity of strict adherence to the divinely-intended limits for its morality teachings. Third, it will need to acquire a unity in the use of whatever pedagogical techniques that will be most productive. Fourth, it will need to achieve a unity of its World-wide organizational structure.
Accordingly, in the following chapters of our study we shall proceed as follows:
1) Because we have already dealt in earlier chapters with the chief elements of theological truth for which a future Christian unity will be needed, there now remain only a few more matters in this category still to be analyzed and we shall examine these in the immediately following chapter.
2) In the same following chapter we shall be dealing primarily, however, with the basics requisite for Christian unity in respect to the Church's pedagogical methods. This will mean that we shall be analyzing such topics as the mechanisms and efficacy of prayer, the mechanisms and purposes of the Christian sacraments, the function of liturgy and ceremonials, the role of architecture and ornamental symbolism, the role of music in religion, the functions of sermons, and the methods for introducing children and adult non-Christians to full-fledged participation in the Christian religion.
3) In the then next two chapters we shall recognize candidly the specific cases, in modern as well as ancient times, in which large numbers of clergy have been practitioners of Clericalism, of violating the divinely authorized limits of the Church by attempting to dictate to secular society various false concepts of morality for application to humanity's economic-social-political relationships; thus, in this connection, we shall particularly examine also certain clerical claims of "infallibility" and certain clerical postures of "super-wisdom." Accordingly, we shall particularly examine the impacts of modern Clericalism in relation to the World's presently unchecked population explosion, the improper and misleading involvement of some clergy in the controversy between Individualism and Collectivism, and in secular society's efforts to deal correctly with crime and punishment. We shall also examine what Christian unity requires in relation to divorce and to non-marital and perverted sex.
4) In our penultimate chapter we shall analyze the provisions requisite to give the Church the efficiency of a World-wide organizational structure, including safeguard to prevent the arising of new causes for any resumed disunity.
5) Finally, we shall examine the processes and prospects for achieving Christian unity; also, we shall examine the processes and prospects for the acceptance of Christianity's new status of unity by several of the present non-Christian religions.
THE CHURCH'S NEED FOR A NUMEROUS CLERGY to perform its World-wide pedagogical task raises on more preliminary question for our study: What qualifications the Christian priesthood should be required to possess to ensure that the related teaching of men and nations will be correctly and efficiently done.
Thus, as a preliminary answer to be amplified in following chapters, we initially note that to possess such qualifications the clergy must be specially educated for its task, even as Jesus provided preparatory training for the Apostles. It follows, therefore, that the Church must operate seminaries where candidates for the clergy will be suitably schooled. In turn, the Church must apply sundry means for testing the competence of the candidates so that only those who are found to be adequately qualified will be certified by expert examiners as being fully authorized to perform one or all of the clerical functions. Indeed, there will be need for clerical candidates not only to be tested for the adequacy of their theological and moral knowledge but also to be screened for aptitude by psychological and psychiatric standards and even in terms of physical health.
In other words, the Church must withhold a certified status as full-fledged members of the clergy from candidates who fail to measure up to adequate standards; likewise, it must withdraw such certification from previously certified members of the clergy who deviate from their authorized functions either in the content of their teachings or in matters of personal conduct. For example, it does not make sense for the Church (i.e., its membership) to provide financial support and a pulpit for a man hired to preach that God is living if he then turns about to preach that "God is dead." Similarly, a certified member of the clergy who has been trained to preach instructive sermons but who becomes too lazy to prepare such sermons does not deserve to retain access to a pulpit from which he simply bores his listeners.
Our study does not imply, however, that only certified clergy should serve as teachers of the Christian religion. For example, it is obvious that Christian parents have an obligation to teach as much of theological and moral truth as they may possess to their own children. Likewise, a provision for there to be a certified clergy does not mean that persons functioning as uncertified clergy will be denied opportunity to preach even unauthorized doctrines from independent pulpits; rather, it means only that the public will realize that such preaching calls for more than ordinary scrutiny to determine whether it is correct or incorrect.
Indeed, the Church will need to concede that many men who do not even claim to be clergy may make some of the greatest contributions to the structure of Christian truth. For example, the non-clerical Galileo was chiefly instrumental in hastening the Church's clergy to recognize that our Earth revolves around the Sun -- a truth of theology as well as of astronomy. Championing the earlier findings by Copernicus, Galileo's arguments refuted the theological fallacy that the process of creation had made our Earth the center of the Universe; they also opened the first of many doors to a modern realization that the Universe and even God himself were created by the spontaneous laws of substance, by the Cosmic Formula of Force. Similarly, in very modern times, Albert Einstein was one of many men of science who, by showing the electronic composition of all substance and the nature of atomic fusion and fission, gave new truths to the realm of theology to account for the origin of the Universe, and for the origin of God. Yet, Einstein was neither a member of the clergy nor even a member of the Church. Moreover, no member of the human species in all the centuries since the Church was founded has ever made available to all religions, and in particular to Christianity, any theological truths of greater importance than did the non-clerical scientist Charles Darwin. As the principal co-discoverer and the earliest chief teacher of the principles of Evolution, it was Darwin who enabled Christian theology to begin its escape from the ancient erroneous belief that God had personally manufactured the prototypes of all earthly life. Thus, it was Darwin who chiefly made it possible for Christian theology to begin to accept the facts of Evolution by which to explain not only the Origin of Species but also, as hitched to other scientific truths, to account for the origin of life itself and even for the origin and inevitability of God. Footnote 1
We perceive, therefore, that there can be many teachers of theological truth other than certified members of the Christian clergy or men known as professional theologians. Yet, this does not detract from the fact that the Church will ever need a certified priesthood to be the principal custodians and disseminators of the truths of theology and the fundamentals of moral conduct for reasons which our continuing study will make increasingly apparent.
Now, however, we shall need to clarify the semantics of certain job-titles which pertain to the clergy. Superficially, this may appear a trivial matter; yet, many Christians need a better understanding of such terminology to rid themselves of emotional stumbling-blocks in the path of a regained Church unity. Let us perceive, therefore, that just as we have definitive job-titles for carpenters, plumbers, and electricians instead of simply calling them "builders," so do we need similar provisions for members of the clergy according to the specific functions which they perform.
Thus, when a man teaches theology or the fundamentals of morality by preaching sermons it is appropriate to call him a "preacher" instead of a teacher. Yet, it is hardly appropriate to call a clergyman a preacher except when he is preaching because normally he will also perform pedagogical functions by processes other than just preaching. For example, a clergyman will be teaching the moral principle of guiding conduct by love if he visits the sick or takes gifts to persons in economic distress. Hence, because such acts as these are forms of ministering we can describe a clergyman on such occasions as being a "minister." However, it is significant that anyone can be described as a preacher or minister if he preaches or ministers, even if he is not a member of the clergy. Thus, a politician speaking from a soap-box to contend that morality requires higher (or lower) taxes is thereby a "preacher" just as surely as is a clergyman who speaks from a pulpit to retell the story of the Good Samaritan. Similarly an ambulance attendant who supplies oxygen for a heart patient being rushed to a hospital is a "minister" just as surely as is a clergyman who counsels a psychopathic member of his congregation.
In contrast, however, there is no basis upon which a man can be correctly described as a "priest" unless he is a performer of certain priestly functions -- In particular, the sacramental rites of the Church. Accordingly, we should describe as a priest any person who is authorized to administer the Christian sacraments even though his clerical duties may require him additionally to minister and preach. Of course, some denominations of Christians have dealt with the job-title of "priest" as though the word itself connoted some form of black magic. Accordingly, these have preferred to describe their clergy as ministers or merely as preachers. Yet, every time such clergy have performed a baptism or officiated at a wedding the related function has been that of a priest. Thus, because anyone can preach or minister even if he is not a priest, whereas every priest normally also preaches and ministers, let us perceive that even as merely a matter of correct word-usage a clergyman authorized to perform priestly functions should be known as being a priest, not just as a preacher or as a minister.
Does this mean that only "certified" priests are divinely authorized to perform sacramental functions? Not so. For example, all denominations apparently agree that in an emergency even a layman can validly confer the sacrament of baptism. Likewise, we shall show in the following chapter that under some circumstances a marriage can possess a sacramental status even if it is performed without either a certified or uncertified priest.
On the other hand, all Christians should consider the pertinent significance of the case of Simon Magus, described in the Book of Acts. This man had been a professional magician among the people of Samaria. Further, he had been baptized along with a number of other Samaritans during a visit to that region by Philip the Evangelist. The Scripture records, however, that none of those so baptized had thereby received a sacramental infusion of the Holy Spirit, and that they did not receive such an infusion until the Apostles Peter and John laid their hands upon them.
Thus, quite obviously what that passage means is that, although the baptism itself was fully valid, the quantity of the Holy Spirit that was received thereby was too little to be perceptible until additional quantities were conferred by Peter and John. In other words, although Philip was performing the function of a priest his status as such did not enable him to perform the sacrament of baptism with as great an impact of the Holy Spirit as was at the command of the higher ranked Apostles. We perceive, therefore, that the act of Peter and John was really a conferment not of baptism but of the sacrament of confirmation.
In turn, however, when Simon asked Peter and John to give him a power like their own to confer the Holy Spirit, Simon was -- in effect -- making himself a candidate for a "certified" appointment to the clergy. Indeed, he was so anxious to achieve that status that he offered to pay money for the purchase of the appointment he sought. Even so, Peter and John realized that Simon's real objective was simply for personal gain. Thus, the second significance of this episode of early Christianity is that the Apostles refused to accept him into the certified Christian clergy because he lacked the proper qualifications. Of course, Simon could still have chosen to preach the Gospel in an uncertified preacher status. However, the Apostles refused to give him a certified authority even to the level, lesser than their own, such as was possessed by Philip.
Of course, our discussion of job titles for the clergy has been simply a ramification of the question of certified versus uncertified status as applied to the clergy; this, in turn, has related to the topic of what qualifications a member of the clergy should possess to qualify for an authorized certification.
Thus, we have earlier noted that a certified priest should have been highly educated in matters of theology and in the fundamentals of morality as required qualifications for the performing of his job functions. Likewise, we have made it clear that he should have been required to develop first class skills of pedagogical methodology. Further, we have seen that he should be psychologically and physically qualified for the efficient performance of his functions. Now, however, we add that he should also be required to possess a first class "general" education -- so that he will merit an all-around intellectual respect from those he teaches. In other words, the certified priest should possess from every angle the qualifications that will match the prestige of his vocation as a matter of job efficiency.
The importance of such prestige relates, of course, to the fact that because the Church's basic function is to help increase Mankind's accepted knowledge of the kind of wisdom which God desires every person to acquire it follows that the typical priest must be in very respect essentially a teacher. Thus, the efficiency of a priest in his functions as a teacher will require him to deserve the high esteem of those who are to be taught; in other words, a deserved prestige on the part of the teacher gives an important added impact to whatever is taught.
Accordingly, we are led to a final item of priestly qualifications. This concerns the maintenance of such prestige by an acknowledgement of it in the spoken or written words of Christian congregations. Such acknowledgement is already common among most denominations in the use of the term "reverend" -- meaning "highly respected" -- in formal references to members of the clergy. There is also, however, an only partly filled need for a similar acknowledgement of clerical prestige in a layman's face-to-face encounter with a priest of the Church.
Of course, there have been some clergy in some denominations with a misguided desire so great to be known as a "hail-fellow-well-met" that they deliberately discourage any worded acknowledgement of clerical prestige so as to get themselves on a "Hey, Joe!" basis. In the long run, however, this is poor psychology because it demeans their status.
On the other hand, there have been defects in the two terms which have been commonly used as a mark of respect by the laity in face-to-face meetings with members of the clergy. Thus, simply to address a clergyman as "mister" is lacking of any adequate recognition of the prestige of his religious status. Yet, the alternative practice of addressing a priest as "father" encounters certain other objections; if nothing else, it conflicts with the use of the same name to apply to God and it overlaps the meaning of ordinary male parenthood.
There is, however, another word that does acknowledge clerical prestige in face-to-face application without encountering any objections. This word is "pastor" -- which implies that, just as a shepherd has a responsibility to watch out for the safety of a flock of sheep, so does a member of the clergy have a much admired responsibility to guard the religious welfare of people. Of course, to consider whether it is better to address a priest as "mister," as "father," or as "pastor" may seem superficially to be a trivial matter; however, our logic holds that nothing is trivial which contributes to the Church's greater success in performing the responsibilities assigned to it by Jesus.
In any event, having perceived in the several immediately preceding pages what some of the qualifications of the Christian clergy should be, our study is now in a position to examine next some of the principal pedagogical methods which, for the sake of Mankind's advancement, the Church has chosen or should choose to apply.
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