Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

5 Oct 2015

The Pope’s Problem: A Reprise


popeThe pope is finally gone and I am happier for it. He has practically no redeeming qualities and has left a trail of carnage from the moment he arrived until the moment he left. Make no mistake: he is the incarnation and personification of the worst sort of evil imaginable. And he’s worse than any pope in a long time. Shame on you if you said from your pulpit, “The pope has his problems but…”

So what are the Pope’s problems? Let me enumerate them:

First and most obviously, the pope effectively claims to be God. I choose my words carefully, because he does not announce that he is God; still, he accrues to himself more than is due even a proxy or vicar of God (which he does claim): he actually assumes attributes and prerogatives that belong only to God so routinely that there can be no other conclusion that commends itself to the rational mind. I sat in traffic last week and heard the Archbishop of Detroit call the faithful to “cast their hosannas” at the feet of “his holiness,” as the pope was on his way to a “canonization” event. This was followed by a few snippets from women like to swoon with giddy delirium over the “literal” wave of peace and holiness that had overwhelmed them in Mark 5:30 fashion as he rode past. All this in the time it took me to move fifty feet on Interstate 94. Reality Check: The pope is the greatest purveyor of idolatry alive today. He is a living, breathing affront to God in the very most rudimentary, uncomplicated, and intentional of senses. There is no room for a “yes, but…” To think in such terms is to have one’s Christian sensibilities occluded. He is an unrepentant leader in leading millions into what is, at least in God’s terms, the very first and worst of all possible sins.

But second, this particular pope doesn’t even do common grace well. In past papal administrations, hopeful evangelicals have pushed for “co-belligerence” of evangelical and Catholic churches in matters of social concern. Mercifully, these appeals were more than usually muted for the duration of his visit. And that is because the current pope is not only morally ambivalent (saying almost nothing, say, about the vices of abortion and homosexuality), he’s also naïve to the fact of human depravity and rather stupid (imagining that the Communist experiment of the twentieth century actually has a promising future). But because he speaks for God, we actually have sycophants on both sides of the aisle fawning over his divine words. Reality Check: The pope is using his self-aggrandizing power both to threaten our nation and to effectively suppress biblical ethics with his deafening silence.

Put these two problems together, and we arrive at the pope’s unique problem, viz., that he simultaneously threatens both the civic and spiritual governments of God in rather a comprehensive way. The true church is regularly threatened from within by heresy and from without by civic structures that actively assault the church or fail to restrain those who do. But the pope has the unique power to threaten the church in both ways. And, oddly, the evangelical church often stands poised to accommodate him. Of course it is true that there are incidental points of practical agreement between the Roman Catholic and Christian worldviews that can from time-to-time render individual Catholics and Christians odd but legitimate bedfellows (i.e., the kind of cooperation that can occur incidentally between believers and almost any fellow human), but there can be no formal, Christian, or ecclesiastical co-belligerence between us.

The pope simply has too many problems. Ἀνάθεμα ἔστω.

9 Responses

  1. I was so angry at Fox News for their constant coverage of the Pope as well. He is not the leader of all religions or even all Christian sects. It was certainly clear that the majority of Fox News commentators are Catholics by the way they gushed over “the Holy Father!” and his every word. But the fact that the Pope spoke to a joint session of congress is clearly a violation of church and state. Now the joint sessions will have to have the Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Mufti of Jerusalem come and speak as well. But wasn’t that the point from the beginning. This is clearly the ABJ (Anyone But Jesus) movement. As a Jewish person who believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the ABJ group was one of the things that made me trust and believe that Jesus was/is Lord. All the earth is happy to pray and speak of Allah, Buddha, and any other “religious” leader. But the very name of Jesus makes people crazy. Only God in the flesh could make so many so angry with only the mention of His name. I believe that Acts 4:12 speaks tooth issue. Many the Lord of all Creation have mercy on those who have eyes and ears but fail to see and hear. BeShem Yeshua! (In the name of Jesus).

  2. Webster

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

    Robert, what part of that do you think having the pope speak before Congress violates?

  3. Doug Whittum

    Any pope, vicar, priest, minister, reverend, pastor who does not point people directly to Jesus and boldly teach His theology is either a false prophet, or, at best, a coward. Thank you for your commentary.

  4. Timothy K. Shoup

    Thanks so much for telling about the pope. It has been a long time that I have heard anyone say that the pope is in fact the personification of evil. The Evangelical Church has gone soft on false teachers and the apostate Catholic Church, you have done a great service to the Christian faith on calling out the false teachings of this pope as well as the Catholic church. And applying ( Rom.16:17 )