No Pope for All Christians

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“Why believers of all stripes should care about the new head of the Catholic Church,” begins Timothy C. Morgan in his Christianity Today article A Pope for All Christians. Historically there has never been a pope for all Christians and there is not today. Rome begs to differ, of course, claiming themselves the one true church that holds the keys to the Kingdom making the pope head of all Christendom. According to Rome, all other churches are not even true churches.

Morgan claims the health of Roman Catholicism affects all Christians because of globalization. Globalization is knocking down walls that separate “Catholics from Orthodox, mainline Protestants, evangelicals, and Pentecostals.” Morgan also points out the common moral failures between Rome and Protestants as if one should find comfort in a misery loves company sort of bonding. He goes so far to say that Protestants “want to help Christians everywhere comprehend that a healthy and gospel-proclaiming Catholic body greatly benefits all churches—and the cause of Christ.”

The problem is those walls of separation still exist. I, and all Protestants, are still anathema according to the great wall Rome calls The Council of Trent. I truly would love a “healthy and gospel-proclaiming Catholic body,” but as it stands, Protestants and Roman Catholics don’t agree on the gospel so how can they stand together for the cause of Christ?

Morgan applauds the social and political work the Catholic Church has done. Make no mistake, the Roman Catholic Church has done great work education, healthcare, and other important social areas. Protestants can definitely learn from and be motivated by Catholics in those areas. Yet, admiring goods works is no reason to join two different gospels together pretending they are one.

There is a difference in aligning with someone for a cause vs. aligning with them because. I can vote with conservative atheists and religious people of all types for a cause both socially and politically. However, I cannot vote with those same people both socially and politically because of the gospel. I can stand with certain atheists and Muslims for a cause, though it is because of the gospel that we will foundationally divide.

Interesting how Morgan notes how the Vatican reached out to disenfranchised Episcopalians to help them. Apparently there is a similar Catholic outreach for Lutherans in Germany, too. But what is the true aim of Roman Catholic ecumenism?

Morgan calls Protestants and Catholics to work together in the areas of “the authority of Scripture, the atoning work of Christ, the need for individual salvation and conversion, and the expression of the gospel through evangelism and social action.” He does not explain how this partnership can even begin when Catholics and Protestants don’t agree on the authority of Scripture nor on the finished atoning for of Christ. Nor does he explain how can two different gospels work together in individual salvation or put forward a common expression in evangelism and social action.

So here Protestants and Catholics are 500 words later, the same place they are 500 years later – at odds over the gospel. The partnership of good works in social and political realms cannot change the foundational disagreement. We can work together and love one another because neighbors don’t have to be brothers and sisters. Though we can’t substitute one gospel for another.

“That’s why even non-Catholics are praying fervently for the new pope,” concludes Morgan. I don’t agree with the “why” though many Protestants are praying fervently for the new pope to reform in his heart so that he may reform his church.

For the Kingdom…

Mark

Tags: , , , ; Categories: apologetics,Christianity,Culture,Gospel,relativism,roman catholic,theology
The above article was posted on March 14, 2013 by Mark Lamprecht.
© 2004-2013. All rights reserved.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Beth Giffee March 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I am a convert to the Catholic faith from the United Church of Christ. When I was a young girl, the UCC was reverent and scripture was center front. Then the church I attended closed. As a young adult I began a search for a church. After various Protestant, Lutheran, Baptist visits I went to the Catholic Church with a friend. Jesus was there. I didn’t want to find him there. From an upbringing full of anti Catholic teachings and misunderstandings I spewed nasty comments and arguments in an attempt to protect myself from this evil cult. God has a great sense of humor and let me love a Catholic man. 15 years of patience and prayer on his part miraculously led me to give up my prideful arrogance and to embrace Jesus who is The Bread of Life and the Mass which is so full of Old and New Testament.

Mark, you speak of Gospel differences. Which one are you referring to? Mathew? Mark? Luke? John? The Council of Trent changed the Bible? No. It was held to explore dogmatics and church doctrine being questioned by forming Protestant communities.

The ecumenical and evangelizing goal is this: to bring Jesus Christ to all. A common goal of all Christans of worth.

A pope for all? How could a man so humble to live in his own apartment, cook his own meals and ride a bus to work, kiss the feet of the poor no be an inspiring role model for

We share our Jewish roots in Jesus Christ our Lord. Why should we not share our common Christian good?

God bless you and may the Holy Spirit open your heart!

2 Mark March 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Beth, thanks for stopping by. I have a similar story of coming out of RLDS (semi-Mormonism) though I experienced true salvation the doctrines were objectively different. It was not my experience that lead me out, but objective biblical, gospel truth.

Ironically, you write that you “give up my prideful arrogance” to join the Catholic church; yet, you sign off you comment with “may the Holy Spirit open your heart!” Maybe I misunderstand, but I certainly read some pride in your final statement.

Do you really not know the gospel differences between Protestants and Rome given your background? Why did current popes hold that only the RCC is the true church and all others are not?

If you would read the former pope’s words on the goal with the disenfranchised Anglicans you can see it was ultimately to bring them into full communion with Rome.

There are/were other non-Christian religious leaders who displayed great humility in their actions, but they would not make good role models either. The issue is not purely one of character, but of the gospel.

As I understand it, the anathema statements of Trent are considered infallible. Those statements that are against Protestant doctrines concerning the gospel such as justification cannot be changed which means Catholics and Protestants will remain at odds in their understanding of salvation. It just can’t work.

3 Beth Giffee March 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Define gospel differences. No pride intended. I pray that the Holy Spirit open my heart as well.

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