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Plain Truth Magazine
March 1962
Volume: Vol XXVII, No.3
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Lynn E Torrance   
Church of God

Born: 1918
Died: September 25, 2004
Member Since: 1953

Listen! Here is amazing proof that the God-rejecting theories of Evolution, Nazism, and Communism were inspired by the German Rationalists and the shocking undercover plot they are now perpetrating.

   GERMAN Rationalism has deceived the entire modern western world. This atheistic philosophy has wormed its way into modern science, education, and even into modern theology. Yet most educators and ministers do not know it!
   It has filled the churches with doubting skepticism about the inspiration of the Bible, and even the very existence of God. It has led this present generation to "abandon religion as a basis of life, and put its confidence in science" (Denver Post, June 4, 1960). It has filled our schools with the permissive modernism that is fast making our people a nation of rebellious criminals.
   You need to know why this philosophy has caused such famous men as Dr. Schubert M. Ogden, associate professor of PHILOSOPHICAL theology at Southern Methodist University, to teach his students that "the belief that only in Jesus Christ can man find salvation is MYTHOLOGICAL."

What Is "Rationalism"?

   Just what is German Rationalism?
   Hahn, a German Rationalist, defined Rationalism as "that manner of thought by which the human reason is considered to be the only source and the only judge of all kinds of knowledge" (Hahn, De Rationalsmi, 1827). In other words whatever seems reasonable to you is right!
   This implicit belief in human reason causes man to depend COMPLETELY upon himself.
   The Rationalist exalts human reason and declares that only through reason can man find the answers to life. This thinking denies the existence of Divine Revelation and the Truth of God's Word. It even tries to do away with God Himself.
   No wonder the German Rationalist Conrad Philip Henke, the Professor of THEOLOGY at the University of Helmstedt (1752-1809), taught his ministerial students that the inspiration of the Bible was superstition (Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, p. 377).
   Rationalism is not modern. The ancient Greeks had it. The early Catholics accepted it from the Greeks, and the Protestant Reformers took it from the early Catholic writers. From the Protestant Reformers, the modern form of Rationalism stems.
   Let's notice, now, the astounding development of ancient pagan rationalism into modern German Rationalism.

The Facts of History

   One of the early Catholic Church philosophers was Clement of Alexandria, Egypt. He said that all Greek philosophy came from God to man (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, p. 308). He taught that "PHILOSOPHY was given to the Greeks as a school-master to bring the Greek mind... to Christ," and that Greek philosophy is now a kind of training to bring men into the church through reason (p. 305).
   These early church leaders actually reasoned that to gain salvation one must study the PAGAN Greek philosophers (WHO THEMSELVES HAD REJECTED THE TRUE GOD)!
   They rationalized that it would be "good" to substitute the worship of Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. They reasoned that the holidays upon which the PAGANS worshipped SATAN would be "good" if they but CHANGED their NAMES and called them Christian rather than PAGAN which they really are.
   Origen rationalized that Christ never really performed any divine miracles of healing. He said the miracles of Christ were not real, but were only symbolic or allegorical. He said the miracle of healing the blind only meant that the spiritually blind now saw; the miracle of healing the deaf only meant that the spiritually deaf now heard; the healing of the lame man that the heart of the former heathen now leapt like a deer (Hagenbach, p. 80).
   Because these philosophical scholars were not performing any miracles of healing, they tried to RATIONALIZE that these supernatural, divine miracles never really happened.
   Understand then, that these early "Church Fathers" DECIDED that they had the right to call whatever philosophical speculation, and whatever heathen rite that seemed good to them the "truth of Jesus Christ."

The "Dark Ages"

   This kind of religion became officially accepted when Constantine became sole emperor of the Roman Empire in A.D. 323.
   The heathen temples became the so-called "Christian churches."
   In the "Dark Ages" which followed, the Roman religion became saturated with licentiousness, corruption, and debauchery.
   The insolence and tyranny of church leaders, the crimes, ignorance, and moral depravity of priests and monks made men seek to reform this church the church they thought was the True Church, the church Satan had palmed off as the True Church (Mosheim, p. 599).
   The corruption and worldliness of this church of the Middle Ages forced men to accept as truth superstitious beliefs and observances that would have horrified the apostles Peter and Paul!
   The people of Europe began to cry out for relief from the political and financial tyranny of Rome. Men like Wyclif, Huss, and Savanarola, who attempted to reform the church from within, were killed.

Revolt Against Authority

   The principal cause of the Reformation was the obvious corruption of this pagan church.
   The Reformation was successful because by the time of Luther the power of the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire had declined, making it possible for nationalistic monarchs to oppose the power of the Pope of Rome.
   Most of the princes and nobility of Protestant Europe backed the Reformation because they wanted to be free from the authority of the Church (Alzog, p. 202) The Protestant revolt gave them what they considered a good excuse to plunder the monasteries and the cathedrals of Europe in order to enrich themselves.
   Martin Luther rebelled against doing the penance and the ritualistic "works" which the Catholic Church demanded. He became obsessed with the idea of getting around any need for obedience to these godless, pagan practices.
   Then Martin Luther let Satan deceive him into adding a word to Romans 1:17. He read, "the just shall live by faith" then rationalized that it would be good to add the word "ALONE." Luther thought that the idea of being saved by faith ALONE freed him from the tyranny of the Catholic Church. He merely replaced the authority of the Catholic Church with his own authority.

Rationalism in Protestantism

   The principle of Protestantism, the belief in freedom to decide for yourself what is truth, differs very little from the philosophy of Rationalism.
   The Reformers tried to reject what they believed to be error and superstition in the Catholic Church. They espoused sets of doctrines which the people would like and accept.
   These philosophical attempts to remodel doctrine, to reject the authority of the Catholic Church, to reject God's Truth and invent their own truth laid the foundation for modern Rationalism.
   Rationalism continued to develop, especially in Germany. German youths who studied theology were not taught to seek for Truth in the Scriptures.
   They were taught that to the "faculty" of reason belongs the privilege of deciding man's religious faith and his moral duty. They were taught to study the writings of the founders of their church and to accept whatever truth seemed good to them.
   Thus Rationalism continued to exalt human reason and declared it sufficient for all the necessities of life the same old thing that Satan taught Adam and Eve, "You can decide for yourself what is good and what is evil; you can be as God" (Gen. 3:4, 5).
   By palming off superstition as the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Satan instilled in thinking people a contempt for God and the Bible. There is a reason why Satan deceived his false church into teaching ridiculous superstitions which it claimed to be both scriptural and scientific truth. He knew that in the latter days, when knowledge increased, the men of science would be able to prove that these teachings of the Catholic Church assumed by the public to be the teachings of Christ were false.
   He knew that when these scholars proved these Catholic teachings to be false, they would also assume the SCRIPTURE was not true either.
   For example, Copernicus, in 1543, rediscovered that the earth revolved around the sun. Galileo and his telescope confirmed this fact.
   But the Catholic Church had claimed as scriptural truth the teaching of the Egyptian monk, Cosmas Indicipleustes, that the sun, moon, and stars were all set in a canopy in the sky, and all revolved around the earth.
   Pope Urban VIII in 1632 tortured Galileo until he "confessed" that he was wrong and the earth was flat, and the sun revolved around the earth (Schoel, Histoire de la Litterature Grecque, vol. vii, p. 37).
   Men of learning found such ignorance revolting!
   The discovery of America by Columbus and the voyage of Magellan (in1519) around the world was a great shock to professing Christians who had been taught that it was the revelation of Jesus Christ and Scripture that the world was flat. An undercurrent of skepticism developed.
   In the 17th and 18th centuries those thinkers who rejected Christian theology and the Bible were mainly influenced by the inconsistencies, contradictions, and absurd superstitions preached in the Middle Ages as the "Truth of God."
   Men of science soon made the teaching of the Catholic Saint, Isidore, look ridiculous. Isidore of Seville had given the church the doctrine that "bees are generated from decomposed veal, beetles from horseflesh, grasshoppers from mules, scorpions from crabs." He gave as "proof" the Biblical account that Nebuchadnezzar was changed into an animal for seven years (A. D. White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology, p. 55).
   Men of learning naturally assumed that Redi, who discovered that life can come only from life, had disproved the Biblical account, when actually all he had disproved was the ignorant superstition of the Middle Ages. These new rationalists never really looked into the Bible for themselves!

Development of German Rationalism

   Germany became the first nation in Europe to grant religious liberty. THIS FACT MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR RATIONALISM TO DEVELOP IN THAT NATION before it could in any other.
   "Religious liberty" began in Germany when the Thirty Years' War was ended by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. It was left to the ruler of each German state to impose upon his subjects whichever of the three religions, Catholic, Lutheran, and the Reformed Church of Calvin and Zwingli, he chose.
   More religious liberty was granted in 1741 when Frederick the Great wrote that everyone should be allowed to get to heaven in his own way.
   Then full religious liberty was granted in 1794 when the Prussian Territorial Code guaranteed the unrestricted liberty of conscience.
   The human REASON was then allowed full sway to attack what the Rationalists called Christian mythology.
   The scholars deliberately tried to methodically undermine the authority of the Bible through historical criticism thinking this would do away with the superstitions and corruption of the Catholic Church.
   One of the first rationalists, Wolf, attempted to establish a system of natural religion based on the principle of reason entirely apart from revelation.
   John David Michaelis (1716-1791) tried to explain the miracles of Christ in a natural manner (Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, p. 367).
   John Solomon Semler (1725-1791), the Professor of Theology in the University of Halle, represented the Sacred Scriptures as being a local account of local events.
   He used the history of Catholic doctrines to show the changeableness of the doctrines of Christianity (Hagenbach, p. 368), and to claim these doctrines therefore could not be from God, who being perfect could never change!
   John Frederic Gruner (1723-1782) proved that the doctrines of the Catholic Church never originated from the Apostolic Church, and that the doctrines of the Apostolic Christianity had been exchanged at a very early date for the Platonic-oriental philosophy of the Alexandrian school (Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, p. 368).
   Later archeologists and geologists blindly accepted the rebellious concepts of this period.
   Conrad Philip Henke (1752-1809), the Professor of Theology at the University of Helmstedt, taught, but could not prove, that the belief in Christ and the inspiration of the Bible was superstition.
   Emmanuel Kant tried to subject the human understanding to what he called "searching examination." He represented the existence of God and immortality as the concoction of human reason (Hagenbach, p. 378).
   Schleiermacher even said, "Life to come... as actually conceived, is the last enemy which speculative criticism has yet to encounter, and if possible to overcome" (Christliche Glaubenslehre, vol. II, last section).
   The modern system of speculative philosophy, as we know it in the United States, first made its appearance in the University of Berlin when Fichte was the professor of philosophy (lived 1762-1814). Fichte's ideas were expanded by Hahn.
   Hahn defined Rationalism as "that mode of thought by which the human reason is considered as the only source and the only judge of all kinds of knowledge."
   Von Behlers loudly claimed that all the supernatural events performed by God contained in the Pentateuch are products of the imagination of unknown authors! But he had no proof!
   Finally Eichborn and Machaelis tried to degrade the Bible to the rank of the other oriental religious books.
   But how did German Rationalism worm its way into today's colleges and schools and churches? What are the new German Rationalists plotting today?
   And what are our own Ambassador Colleges doing about it?

(To be continued next issue)

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Plain Truth MagazineMarch 1962Vol XXVII, No.3
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