Skip to comments.An Evangelical Looks at Pope Benedict XVI
Posted on 02/12/2013 7:33:29 AM PST by robowombat
An Evangelical Looks at Pope Benedict XVI
With Pope Benedict XVIs shocking resignation this week, evangelical Christians might be tempted to see this the way a college football fan might view the departure of his rival teams head coach. But the global stakes are much, much higher. As Pope Benedict steps down, I think its important for us to recognize the legacy of the last two bishops of Rome that we ought to honor and conserve: an emphasis on human dignity.
As a Baptist Christian, I disagree with Rome on many things, of course, and some of those things relate to the nature of the Petrine ministry, the relationship of the Bishop of Rome to the rest of the church, the merging of civil and ecclesial power, and so on. It might surprise previous generations of Protestants, though, that one of the primary emphases of the Vatican in the last generation has been on the dignity and liberty of the human person.
When the world was threatened by Soviet totalitarianism, Benedicts predecessor, John Paul II, communicated a vision of human flourishing and freedom that sparked resistance movements in his native Poland, throughout occupied Eastern Europe, and to the rest of the world. Benedict, then a cardinal, worked internally to root out Marxist mash-ups with Catholicism in the so-called liberation theology movements of Latin America and elsewhere.
Since assuming the papacy, Benedict has called for a counter-witness to the bloody persecution of Christians by Islamic authoritarian regimes in Africa and the Middle East, to the church-outlawing police states of China and North Korea, and to the soul-decaying secularism of Western Europe and, increasingly, the United States of America.
Benedict has countered the sexual revolution with an Augustinian view of the meaning of human personhood. A human person, he has reminded the world, is not a machine. We are not merely collections of nerve endings, that spark with sensation when rubbed together. Instead a human person is directed toward a one-flesh union, which is personal and spiritual. Destroying the ecology of marriage and family isnt simply about tearing down old moralities, he has reminded us, but about a revolt against the web of nature in which human beings thrive.
And Benedict has stood against the nihilism that defines human worth in terms of power and usefulness. He has constantly spoken for those whose lives are seen as a burden to society: the baby with Down syndrome, the woman with advanced Alzheimers, the child starving in the desert, the prisoner being tortured. These lives arent things, he has said, but images of God, and for them we will give an account. When society wants to dehumanize with language: embryo, fetus, anchor baby, illegal alien, collateral damage, and so on, Benedict has stood firmly to point to the human faces the world is seeking to wipe away.
As Protestant Christians, we will disagree with this Pope, and with the next one, on all sorts of things. Here we stand, we can do no other; God help us. But lets pray the next Pope, like this one, will remember what it means to be human, and will remind the rest of us when we forget.
Russell Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004) and Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, May 2009). Visit his website at RussellMoore.com.
After reading some of the trash thrown about yesterday by fellow Freepers I’d say this is welcome and refreshing.
I am not a Catholic but think it is appalling how the Godless people are coming against the Pope and the Catholic Church and what they stand for. Anything to do with God is being critized regardless of the church denomination by those who do not believe in God or the Bible. Christians, it will get worse before it gets better.
20 And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23 Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets.
This is very good. Thanks