February 17: An Early Tract by Francis Schaeffer (1946)

 

Among the Papers of the Rev. Albert F. (“Bud”) Moginot, Jr., there is a modest collection of tracts, including some by the Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer. Each of these began as sermons delivered in the St. Louis church where he was pastor, and they were later published in tract form. Two of the tracts are Baptism and The Holy Catholic Church.  A third, Peter Versus the Papacy is the subject of our post today.I had not previously seen a copy of this tract. The PCA Historical Center has multiple copies of the first two tracts, whereas this third one appears to be scarce.

As with the other two tracts, this tract bears a date inside the front cover indicating when the message was originally delivered—in this case, February 17, 1946.

Rev. Schaeffer’s message in this case is shorter than that of the previous tracts. The tract prints out to just fourteen pages in length. And there are no printed subdivisions of the text, as there were with the others. Rev. Schaeffer opens the message in this way:

Tomorrow is February 18. This is a great date in the religious life of the world. It is a great date: (1) for the Roman Catholic Church, because the largest number of men ever to be named as Cardinals at one time will receive their official notification from the Pope; (2) for Protestants, although most Protestants do not seem to realize the significance of the day, because tomorrow marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther.

. . .The falling of these two events on a single day could not be by coincidence. Rather, Rome has chosen this time to name her Cardinals to join the issue once more between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Since Rome has so seen fit, our theme for this morning will be “Peter Versus the Papacy.”

The keystone of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is the primacy of Peter. Therefore, today let us see what the Word of God has to say concerning Peter and his teaching. . .

Physical aspects: The construction of the tract is similar to that of the other two. Four sheets of tan 30-35 lbs. paper, measuring 6″ h. x 7″ w. and duplex printed with dark brown ink, folded and assembled to form the signature, with a single saddle-stitch staple for binding. And as I mentioned before, the Moginot collection has copies of the “Holy Catholic Church” tract with this same tan colored paper, as well as with a salmon colored paper. That message was first printed in 1944 and the one on “Peter versus the Papacy” in 1946. Given the related topics, it is easy to see how there might have been a need to reprint the first title.

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