Full Text for CTM Miscellanea 7-7 (Text)

v€' been one of those tragic figures that are drawn hither and thither by conflicting motives, without rea.ching tha,t inner peace and harmony for which the human heart yearns. Luther essentially was right, tha,t a.ppea,rs to ha,ve' b€'en his con- viction; but he deplored Luther's vehemence and uncompromising course, and he felt that, afte'r all, not e>verything in the Church was wrong. And so he' drifted, now ma,intaining this, now that position, unwilling to become an a.dherent of Luther and yet unable to remain an a,rdent son of thel Roman Church. How little' h€' understood Luther became e,vident especially when in 1524 he published his diatribe The Freedom of the Will, in which he assailed Luther's position, only to be answered in the. latter's annihilating work 01. the Servitude of the Will. We JJutherans may well remind ourselves of the grea,t services which Erasmus, enemy of Luther though he was a,fter the Reformer in his De Servo Arbitrio had com- pletely unhorsed him, indirectly rendered the canse of the Reformation. He in 1516 printed the text of the Greek New Testament; together with the Greek text he issued a, Latin translation of his own, which in a Humber o-f instance's was more faithful to the original than the Vulgate; he added notes in this edition which often criti('ized current >views awl existing Miscellanea. 535 conditions; he published paTa.phrases on the books of the New Testament, making them better understood; he edited and printed the writings. of Church Fa,thers, and some of their Greek works he translated into L~tin and thus made accurate, historica1 resea,rch easier; in numerous phil- ological writings he furnished theologians some of the equipment they needed to penetra.te to the heart of Scripture'-passages and to defend the true meaning against adversaries; in many works (especially in his Oolloquia and his famous Laus Stultitiae) he castiga,ted the sins and the ignorance of the priests and monks and even of their superiors and helped to destroy the halo with which superstition had invested them. In looking over this list, one can understand the taunt of the enemies of Erasmus in his own camp, "Erasmus laid the egg which Luther ha,tched." A. What Others Think of Kagawa. The following paragraphs appeared in the Evangelical Student, as reported in the Episcopal Recorder of January, 1936. "A Christian student and member of the League of Evangelical Students has written a sharp letter challenging a cursory remark made in a previous editorial which classed Toyohiko Kagawa as a Modernist. 'I 'challenge you to prove one statement or else retract it. Prove that Toyohiko Kagawa is a 1110dernist or the H-- Chapter of the League will be smaller by at least two members.' This defense of Kagawa was made in the interest of the Student Volunteer Movement, which engaged Kagawa as one of its main speakers at its recent quadrennial convention in Indianapolis.!) The reaction of this student indicates the wide·spread delusion that prevails in America, concerning Kagawa and, incidentally, concerning the Student Volunteer Moyement. When we consider the large number of speaking engagements before American student bodies that have been arranged for Dr. Kagawa, it becomes important for students to be informed whether Kagawa is an evangelical or a Modernist. "The philosophy of Toyohiko Kagawa has been set forth in two of his popular books: The Religion ot J eSU8 and Love the Law of Life. The whole approach of these books is a thoroughly naturalistic one. Jesus is treated as a mere human creature'. Man is not felt to be in need of a supernatural salvation either objectively in the death of Christ or subjectively in the regeneration of his sinful heart. The teaching of Kagawa on certain cardinal points of the Christian faith bears this out clea.rly. vVhat is Kagawa's conception of the person of Christ? 'Jesus experienced God as the forgiver of sins.2) Speaking of redemption, Kagawa says: 'Jesus Christ actually experienced it.3) This makes Christ a sinner. Historic Christianity says Christ 'knew no sin.' What is Kagawa's view of the atonement? 'Some people think that the death of Jesus was a bribe ... for reconciliation with God. But I take the meaning of Jesus' death humanistically and personally. Tlle true, deep meaning of redemption is that Jesus apologized to God for all the failures and sins of mankind, taking responsibility for them upon Himself.' 4) Christ said He was to 1) The s.tudent haSl since become convinced of his, erTor. 2) Toyohiko Kagawa, The Religion oj Jesus, p.35. 3) Ibid, p.56. 4) Ibid, p.57. 536 Miscellanea. die' for the remission (pardon) of sins.' Paul taught: 'We were recon- ciled to God by the death of His Son.' Kagawa discredits the bodily resulTection of Jesus. 'We do not know in what form the resurrection did corne. Whether it was in the flesh, as the gospels teach, or in the spiritual body, as Paul tells us, it makes no difference.' 5) After His resulTootion Christ said: 'A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have.' Kagawa's teaching on the nature of man is just as anti- Christian as his teachings on the person and work of Ohrist. Man is not at all in need of regeneration. He is inherently good and simply needs to believe in the evolutionary development of himself into divinity. 'Belief in evolution is a bolder faith than Abraham's belief in the Promised Land. His land was the lean count1"y of Palestine; the Promised Land of evolution is growth from electron to divinity.' 6) God's Word says: 'All have sinned and come far short of the glory of God.' Christ said: 'Ye must be born again.' It is the privilege of Dr. Kagawa to prefer his naturalistic philosophy to that of supernatural Ohristianity. But Dr. Kagawa does not have any rightful claim to the name 'evangelical.' And the fact of his being invited to speak to the one-time-evangelical Student Volunteer Movement, far from assuring us of the orthodoxy of Dr. Kagawa, convinces us of the unorthodoxy of any oragnization that welcomes his message." Strange to say, the Luthemn Companion of April 18, 1936, has the following short article, signed by C. A.Wendell: - "This Man Kagawa. - It looks as if Pietists, orthodoxists, Funda- mentalists, and proflteers had entered into an agreement to squash every effort of this Kagawa of Japan. As for me, if I may venture to add a word to the tumult, I have only this to say: When I have suffered half as much for my Savior as Kagawa has; when I have surrendered every worldly preferment rather than deny Christ; when I have become humble enough to be 'Ohrist's fool, a public laughing-stock' (see Axling's Kagawa, p. 70); when I have 'ticked off, in tears, day after day, half my life' out of sympathy for suffering humanity; when I can call myself 'Ohrist's captive, a slave of the Oross,' determined to abandon everything that bears the mark of this world; when I have given up every luxury and every comfort and gone down into the slums, not merely to visit their inhabitants now and then, but to live among them that so I may tell them the more effectively of the love of Christ; when I have been beaten and bruised and kicked and imprisoned because of my determina- tion to follow in the footsteps of Christ and have come out of it with my heart still full of love and compassion; when I have done all this, as Kagawa has, then maybe I shall feel justified in joining the pack and helping to hound him, - if that be the Christian thing to do, - but till then I shall let others do the judging." (C. A. WENDELL, Lutheran Com- panion, April 18, 1936.) 5) Ibid, p.l03. 6) Toyhiko Kagawa, Love the Law of Life, p.299.