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Jim Berry

You are so right, Ivy. As a Roman Catholic I have certainly had my disagreements with John Paul II on some issues of discipline and theology, but no one could quarrel with the sincerity or charism of the man. By all accounts it was totally captivating to be in his presence. I believe that the allure of John Paul II was his holiness. And that may be the problem with the churches today...they fail to live in or exude holiness. And is that not what people are seeking; an experience of the holy? God's grace abounds throughout the world and if people can more readily experience it in the square than in the church...well the Holy Spirit moves where the Holy Spirit may. John Paul may in the end prove to have been a rare gift from God; it is fortunate that so many millions recognized the gift.

Sean

Hey guys, check this out. This is from James White's site. Can you believe that some people would actually think that the Pope was apostate when in fact the whole world loved him?! I mean most unbelievers liked him alot. I imagine even the Jews in Christ's day would have never gone after this Pope. He was so accepting and well liked by everyone. Read this though:

"Documenting the Apostasy
One of the first things I said last week regarding the death of John Paul II was, "Sit back and start taking notes. How many, anywhere, even in 'Christian media,' will address the only relevant issue regarding the death of John Paul II?" I was such an optimist! I hadn't yet realized that not only would the gospel be ignored, it would be thrown under the bus. Well, maybe I should rephrase that. You can't throw something under the bus that you don't possess, and evidently, a very, very large portion of "evangelicalism" surely does not count the cross, the resurrection, justification, faith, atonement, substitution---sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria---as something "precious." In fact, they act as if they've never even heard of it.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is a splinter group from the Southern Baptist Convention. I was just directed to "Pope John Paul II - A Baptist Response" found here. Some of the more revealing comments:


As Baptist Christians we give thanks to God for the life and legacy of Pope John Paul II. His devotion to Jesus Christ has inspired and challenged multitudes....In this hour of loss, those of us in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship offer our prayers for our sisters and brothers in the Catholic Church. We also offer our hand of Christian fellowship in serving Christ’s Kingdom.
Just a few observations: obviously, devotion to Christ can co-exist, in Daniel Vestal's mind, with Marian devotion of the highest order, as seen not only in the Papal Coat of Arms' sporting the "TT" of "Totus Tuus," but also in his casket, with the large "M" engraved on the lid. So, devotion to Jesus Christ, for Daniel Vestal, is not singular devotion to Jesus Christ. One's devotion can be divided and varied. Secondly, as we have now seen repeatedly, the gospel does not define brotherhood and sisterhood in the faith (anyone recalling a certain debate I did last November in Los Angeles? Yeah, that consistency thing again).
On the same page we find these "suggestions" for churches:

# Provide time in worship this coming Sunday (or the following Sunday) for corporate prayer. Give thanks for the life and legacy of Pope John Paul II and intercede for our Catholic brothers and sisters.
# If you have a relationship with a Catholic church in your community, communicate with them personally. If you do not have a relationship with a Catholic church, use this event as an opportunity to get acquainted.
# Encourage your members to communicate personally with friends and neighbors who are Catholic and offer condolences and friendship.
# Encourage your members to engage in conversation with one another and with friends and neighbors about their own faith using this event as an introduction.
# Pray that the life of Pope John Paul II and the events of this week would be a continuing witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom of hope, righteousness and reconciliation.

Very warm and friendly sounding, but, did you notice what is missing? Yeah, this one:

# Take this opportunity to share with your Roman Catholic friends and neighbors the life-changing, peace-bringing gospel of the finished and perfect work of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary."

James Creasman

I also wonder if the phenomenal interest in the Pope's funeral says something else about our fixation with mega-events and the power of mass media to create interest?

Not to take away from people's admiration from the Pope, but I doubt many of them would be willing to attend weekly church services that he was officiating.

Let's face it, going to weekly worship services in a church can be kind of boring in and of itself, unless there is something more rewarding about the experience than the service itself.

Whitewave

Ivy,
I do believe you nailed it! Squarely!

When I was watching the news reports after he died, I heard the reporters buzzing the idea of disatisfaction with his fixation on outreach and lack of shepherding towards the Church herself. I couldn't believe my ears. Man! If he would have gone the other way and spent all his time gazing at the Catholic navel the world would have blown up years ago from all the pent up angst and collective projection! Geeeze!

But I think James is right about the media. It finds the point of duality and exploits it.

Jim,
I think I know what you mean by holiness. I regret that I've become jaded about that word. I'm truly sorry. I wish it weren't so. I would say that John Paul could percieve the movments of God in the world and when he had the strength, on behalf of the Catholic Church, he moved in tune with God's movements. The World felt God's movement. The Church wasn't as capable of percieving as he was. Oh, well.

I hope that the new Pope does deal with the probs in the Priesthood. That is serious work and will compliment the work of John Paul. Together, those two things will strengthen the message of the Gospel.

M Burke

"I imagine even the Jews in Christ's day would have never gone after this Pope. He was so accepting and well liked by everyone." <---

Yet they crucified the Lord... how telling.

RickDeez

Ivy,
I must ask, after reading your article, if you have read the book of Romans and Galatians in that book...the Bible? Paul wrote that if anyone taught another "gospel" that they were anathema/cursed of God.

If you can make a case for Roman Catholicism being a church that teaches the true gospel, I would surely be surprised. I think we can all admit that the former pope did some good stuff. Since he was so famous, his good stuff became well known. But when has doing some good stuff been enough to counter all of the bad stuff?
I think that, if you are honest, you must admit that the Bible condemns a lot of what the pope/Rome teaches and would not allow us to give a positive overall comment on the life of the former pope or his church.

Remember, the gospel is too important for us to shrug our shoulders and dismiss errors made against it.
Let us submit to the Word of God and draw our opinions about people and events from it. To the glory of God alone. Rick

bob wylie

I think that Ivy's statements lead us to believe that what a person does is all important and that what one believes is not that important. I am sure she does not believe that, but I guess, it seems like it.

If I had tatoos on my arms that said, "I love Teresa",
but was married to Janet, I don't think that Janet would appreciate it.

What do you think Jesus thinks/thought of a pope who had "Totus tuus" on his robe/shirt/or whatever...and the statement totally yours was meant for Mary and not for Jesus? I do not think that Jesus would be too impressed. Although, it is a good thing to love and honor the mother of Jesus, I don't think it is a good thing to say that I am totally Mary's. That seems to me to be almost blasphemous...or am I just over reacting to the fact that Jesus said we must be willing to leave everything and follow Him. Oh, maybe he really meant, "follow me AND my mother"?
Anyway, I think the point I am trying to make has been made. Let us keep thinking, Bob W

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