Insight on the News
No Evolving in Womb
● At one time a prevailing idea of evolutionists was the ‘recapitulation theory.’ This held that the developing baby in its mother’s womb goes through mankind’s evolutionary history. Although this theory has been discarded by most evolutionists, any lingering doubts as to its validity should be laid to rest by the findings of new prenatal monitoring devices such as ultrasound scanners and tiny microscopes inserted into the womb to record the baby’s development. These, as United Press International reports, have “dispelled many myths of human development.”
The press service stated: “Monitoring methods such as fetoscopy and ultrasound scanners that reproduce the shape of an unborn fetus have shown that man does not go through the complete evolution of life—from a primitive one-celled organism to a fish-like water creature to man. . . . Every step in the fetal development process is specifically human.”
Church Losing Power
● Not long ago, the Roman Catholic Church totally dominated the affairs of the province of Quebec in Canada. But that situation has changed dramatically in the past two decades. “The Gazette” of Montreal recently carried this front-page headline: “How the Church lost its power over people.” It stated: “Roman Catholic priests no longer are the conscience of French Canada. Their power has been wrested. Their church brought to its knees.” The newspaper noted that power was now totally in the hands of the political authorities, and that “the power of the Church . . . is roughly nil.”
The newspaper showed that much of this change was due to the following: “There were too many church rules. Too many priests. Too many brothers and nuns. Too much power, too much money, but not enough mercy.”
Acknowledging this development, Archbishop Gilles Ouellet of Rimouski stated: “Quebec is no longer a Catholic society. I doubt you can even say it is a Christian society today.”
In Montreal, the largest diocese in Canada, Auxiliary Bishop Jean-Marie Lafontaine said that only 35 percent of the 1,695,000 Catholics there show up in church with any regularity. At Longueuil, Bishop Bernard Hubert said that of the half-million Catholics in his diocese only 20 to 25 percent attend Mass on Sunday anymore.
“The Gazette” commented that Le Grand Seminaire in Montreal “looks like an antique ready to be scraped down, polished up and given [a] new and more useful role. The number entering the priesthood has dropped [more than] 75 per cent in the last two decades—135 in 1960 to about 20 today.”
In varying degrees, a similar situation confronts not only Roman Catholicism, but most of the orthodox churches throughout many parts of the world. The power of these churches continues to wane as the power of antireligious forces grows.—Revelation (The Apocalypse), chap. 17.
No Clergy-Laity Division
● Presbyterian clergyman Thomas Gillespie of California writes in “Theology Today” that the setting apart of only the clergy for training and teaching as a “higher” order, with the laity classified as the “lower” order, “is foreign to the theological understanding of the laity in the Scriptures.”
Although noting that the Bible does show various leadership roles, Gillespie states that the entire “people of God” is commissioned to do God’s work. He says: “So far as this ministry to the peoples of the earth is concerned, there is not the slightest justification . . . for that ‘split-level’ distinction between ‘ordinary believer’ and ‘clergy,’ between ‘novice’ and ‘professional,’ which characterizes our contemporary use of the term ‘laity.’”
The clergyman says that there needs to be an “honoring of the biblical vision of the unity of the ‘laos’ [people, Greek] of God, of the ministry of all members.” He adds: “It will be realized only if the ‘nonclergy’ are willing to move up, if the ‘clergy’ are willing to move over, and if all God’s people are willing to move out.”
However, is such a willingness in evidence in any of the main religions of Christendom?