For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why the Pope is Dangerous

That headline ought to get me on some watch list somewhere! But all I'm trying to point out is the danger of a “popular” pope to an American church that is already so wishy washy that it doesn't know what it stands for, if anything.

Obviously, I'm writing this because Pope Francis is visiting these United States.  It's a big deal for a lot of folks.  It has huge political ramifications.  But I'm not smart enough to address all that.  So I'll simply stick with the theological ramifications.

Folks, the pope is not a biblically orthodox Christian.  He denies salvation by grace, opting for the centuries old works salvation the Roman Catholic Church teaches.  He's an idolater:  While he hasn't been as brazen about Mary worship as his predecessor, he still holds to the same doctrines which elevate a godly servant, Mary, to the level of deity/co-redeemer with Christ.  He doesn't believe in the sufficiency of God's Holy Word, resting instead on centuries of tradition, and so on. 

You know the arguments.  They are the same ones Protestants and Catholics have divided over for a hundreds of years.  And that's the very reason why all this hoopla over the pope and his visit to the US is so dangerous.

By all accounts, Francis is a genuinely nice guy.  He helps the poor.  He seems concerned with injustice.  All admirable things.  Things that tempt some tepid Christians to forget all those theologically significant differences I just mentioned, along with a host of others.  And that's dangerous.

Dangerous, because when we stop relying on salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, then we have just left the realm of biblical truth and started following the whims of men once again.  And when we do that, we are on dangerous ground indeed. Eternally dangerous. 

But, alas, this is the same American church that follows after false teachers like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.  This is the same American church where survey after survey shows a serious lack of biblical knowledge.  So why shouldn't they flock to listen to one more false teacher?  Because, truth is still truth.  Scripture is still Scripture.  And God is the One who sets the standard, not men.

Of course, we're not the first to let down our guard and accept watered down papal teachings.  Charles Spurgeon cried out in his day:  "I am astonished, and yet more astonished when I come to turn it over, at the want of earnestness that there is in the Protestantism of the present age... The Protestants; and the Protestantism of England is the pay-master of the Pope. I am ashamed that sons of the Reformers...should bow themselves before the beast, and give so much as a single farthing to the shrine of the devil’s firstborn son. Take heed to yourselves, ye Protestants, lest ye be partakers of her plagues; touch her not, lest ye be defiled. Give a drachm to her, or a grain of incense to her censors, ye shall be partakers of her adulteries and partakers of her plagues."

And you thought I was being a little rough!  Take heed indeed, brothers.  Please, appreciate a guy who helps the poor and cries against injustice.  But, also, please don't be taken in by the false gospel he proclaims.  Remember the blood of martyrs shed to stand against that false gospel. The pope's Christ is not the Christ of Scripture.  And there is “no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” but the true Christ.