Evangelicals and a Yorkshire Pudding
What do you think these two well-known men have in common, apparently, with someone else much less well-known – me?
In case, for any reason, you’re not sure who they are (!), the first is UK Baptist Minister, Steve Chalke and the one in the middle is Pope Benedict XVI who has just announced his retirement.
What they have in common with me is that in recent days they have both been described as evangelical - a term which I used to use of myself but am increasingly reluctant and even embarrassed to do so.
Steve Chalke some years ago caused a storm by denying penal substitution and now has come out in favour of “permanent, faithful, homosexual relationships”, even admitting that he has conducted a dedication and blessing service following the civil partnership of two gay Christians. (see his article here).
Of course, given the Bible’s very clear and unequivocal condemnation of homosexual activity, Chalke has to do some quite impressive and genuinely unbelievable hermeneutical gymnastics to justify his unbiblical position. But here’s what really bothers and alarms me – he is still being described, sometimes by those who really ought to know better, as “an evangelical church leader”. Sorry, but if a man – whoever he is – denies penal substitution and condones homosexual relations, to describe him as an evangelical is to enter an Alice in Wonderland world where we make any word mean whatever we want it to mean and so rob it of any meaningful meaning altogether.
Then last week, in an article on their blog, Baker Book House described the retiring Pope as “a wonderful Pope”, and when I commented on this approbation from what I thought was an evangelical publishing house, another blog reader entered into some online discussion with me and said, ” “evangelical” would actually apply completely to Pope Benedict’s theology”. Baker themselves justified their own comment by pointing to the Protestant endorsements of a book about Ratzinger’s theology they had publshed. One of these endorsements describes the outgoing Pope as “arguably the world’s most important contemporary theologian” and goes on to say that “The parallels between the biblical theology of the pope and of evangelicals, together with their respective attempts to interpret Scripture theologically in an age marked by modern biblical criticism, are particularly fascinating.” Another says, “In spite of differences, Protestants need to read this book to understand how deeply we can agree on the primacy of Christ and the Word.”
In fact the reations of so many protestants to the Pope’s dramatic announcement led Christianity Today to write an article entitled, “Why Evangelical Leaders Love Pope Benedict XVI (And His resignation).
Am I missing something here or is there a great spiritual deception being played out. I admit that I haven’t read Ratzinger’s theology but, unless I am very much mistaken he has not repudiated the blasphemy of the mass, he hasn’t condemned mariolatry and prayers to the saints, he hasn’t revoked the Church’s teaching on purgatory, he has not acknowledged the reformation tenet of justification by faith and he hasn’t publicly submitted to the ultimate authority of God’s word over all church teaching, tradition and Councils. If he has done all these things then why has he not left the Roman Catholic Church and joined a truly biblical and evangelical one? Or maybe that’s the actual reason why he is retiring!
What does “the primacy of Christ and the Word” mean when you deny the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, teach that you need to be a member of the Roman Catholic church to be saved and shroud the words of the Word under all the spiritual smoke and mirrors of Catholic teaching?
If, in fact, this Pope’s theology is so biblical and Christ-centred, perhaps, after all, Luther, Calvin, Knox and the rest of them were all misguided in their reforming endeavours and we should all convert and join the truly evangelical church – the church of Rome.
The truth is that whatever he may or may not believe privately, he takes to himself the title of Christ’s representative on earth and heads up an ecclesiastical system that blinds men and women to the saving truths of the gospel and therefore, in spiritual terms, is, at least in my opinion, an accessory to murder.
The fact is – if Steve Chalke and the Pope are truly evangelicals then I ‘m a yorkshire pudding!
|Print article||This entry was posted by John on February 18, 2013 at 8:04 am, and is filed under Monday's Miscellany. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|