Open Forum: Just how ‘subtle’ should a religious leader be?

Posted: October 21, 2013

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beast in the field.”

— Genesis 3:1

The battle of ideas is the greatest struggle of the human race. All other contests, whether they be on a battlefield, gridiron or boxing ring, are flimsy excuses of who or what is absolutely correct and are futile in the long run. It is the decisive battle of ideas that becomes the decisive factor of life for better or worse in time and eternity.

It is not my purpose to denigrate those who reverence one they call “pope,” or Pope Francis himself, but it is my desire to enter into an objective exchange of ideas with Maria Hileman in regard to her column, “A Subtle Message in Pope’s Words” (The Star, Oct. 1)

What is going on in the Roman Catholic Church is going on in most every “church” in America today. That is, the doctrines and dogmas are being shaped by modern-day culture and not the age-old, time-tested truths of God’s word. When you religious leader seeks a “new balance” as the column calls it, it is obviously not a better idea than what God the creator said about the divine design of marriage between a man and woman.

It is also, as the column says, not a “divisive moral issue” that arises when those who undermine the economy of sovereign God by demanding homosex, heterosex, same sex and even bestial sex and abortion on demand that deprecates sacred marriage, and they could not care less if this godly institution were dissolved altogether. This is not a “new” balance, but the same old argument fostered by the first preacher in Eden’s garden: “God hath not said!”

There is a dictionary definition of the word “Jesuitical,” the mindset of Hileman’s source of information, Jesuit Journal America. It means, “Subtle, or use of overly subtle meanings, crafty, sly, or intriguing.” An example of Jesuitism is given: “If a beggar asks you for five dollars (you want to dismiss him without a conscience), you respond by saying ‘I wish I had five dollars.’”

So, the column states, Francis was a Jesuit priest and he had a subtle message. Ignatius, the founder of “The Society,” is also mentioned, and it is true: He sanctioned the world-view capitulation of a once-firm believer who learns to move between “the perspective of details and the bigger picture.” But in the context of what God calls “evil,” this is a denial of the faith that Christ said, “Man lives by every word that precedes from the mouth of God.” You cannot get more detailed than that!

The same Star published the idea that alleged “high-profile poll-takers” estimated 50 percent of Virginia’s voters support same-sex marriage. “High-profile” means “international.” What a travesty of the use of words. Even godless countries such as Russia, China, North Korea, and 38 states in Africa have criminalized homosexuality. Poll-takers have been proven to be biased, but even if the whole world was deceived, God’s word and will shall prevail, “for all men are liars!” (Rom. 3:3-5).

This is by no means “criticism,” for criticism is a serious character flaw that is an inherent blot on a person’s soul. On the other hand, like it or not, we evangelists have a job to do, a job that gets us into trouble with the world view mentioned above. On the other hand, objective love for the lost that “rebukes the work of darkness” (Eph. 5:11), and “reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with love, long suffering and patience” is an injunction given to us from God in the context of eternal judgment that lies just around the corner for all of us (2 Tim. 3:19-4:18).

This is a terrific battle of ideas and unlike the great wars that have been fought in the past the peril and consequence of losing the battle for truth are eternal and more than a person can bear. It is refreshing that whether the editorial board of The Star deems what I say right or wrong, at least they allow free expression of ideas, and if what God says is right they are wise enough at the Star to not even attempt to “suppress the Truth of God” (Romans 1:18).

In light of what God said in Romans, we are going to be governed by chosen ideas, and we are making a choice between good-evil, and life-death. Yes, the serpent was very subtle: “He said you shall not die!” — but die they did.

Charles Walter Doughty is a resident  of Stephens City.