WHEN the old dudes in fancy frocks gathered in the Vatican recently to choose their new Pope, America’s “most famous pastor” Rick Warren, of the Saddleback mega-church in California, enjoined his followers on Twitter, numbering over 900,000, to:
Join me today in fasting and prayer for the 115 Cardinals seeking God’s Will in a new leader.
Well, this turned out to be a prayer too far for Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries of Dallas, Texas, who told Christian News Network that he was particularly disappointed by Warren’s comment.
I’m very concerned because what this does is it confuses the average evangelical. Right now, the Body of Christ doesn’t know whether to evangelize Roman Catholics or to join hands with them to go out and evangelize the world, [and] it’s because of people like Rick Warrren who either don’t know how exclusive the Gospel of grace is, or he’s not aware of the false and fatal Gospel of the Roman Catholic religion.
Gendron, a former Roman Catholic, added:
Ultimately, it’s a real tragedy. It’s unfortunate because we have a ministry that is dedicated to equipping and encouraging the Body of Christ to reach out to Roman Catholics, and it’s because of people like Rick Warren and other highly visible evangelicals that are signing unity accords with Roman Catholics … that we are getting friendly fire from the evangelical Church.
Gendron believes that many evangelicals are wrongfully being led to believe that Roman Catholicism is “a valid expression of Christianity.” He advised that it is also unbiblical for Warren to assert that it is “God’s will” that there be a pope in the first place.
It goes against the Bible. It goes against Scriptural authority. In Matthew, Jesus said [not to] be like the Gentiles, which have a hierarchical structure to rule over people, and when you look at the Bible, the authority is Christ and His word.
Every evangelical church is to submit to the authority of Christ and His word, and the leadership of each church is made up of deacons and elders. In fact, Peter, who Catholics believe to be the first pope, declared himself to be a fellow elder. He never once referred to himself as the head of the church, nor did he ever in Scripture have the authority to rule over anybody. He submitted to the Scriptures.
Gendron then urged his fellow fundies to regard shenanigans within the Catholic Church as an “evangelistic opportunity”.
I would encourage [readers] to use this as a platform to engage Catholics with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is much confusion among Roman Catholics now. They’ve lost their leader. There are scandals that are spread wide throughout the world — not only the sex scandals, but also the Vatican bank scandal. … Catholics are fed up with what’s going on and they’re looking for other options.
I would encourage Christians to [reach out to] Roman Catholics and point them to the true head of the Church — the Lord Jesus Christ. Catholics must repent of everything they’re doing to save themselves, and put all of their hope and all of their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is sufficient to save sinners completely and forever.
Nearly twelve hours after releasing his call to prayer and fasting, Warren posted a cryptic message on Twitter, declaring:
Not everything that is different is demonic. Learn to appreciate differences. Obviously God loves variety!
It is not known whether Warren’s Tweet related to his previous post.
One of Warren’s Twitter followers was just as appalled as Gedron, and asked after the first Tweet:
Mr Warren, what would the point be? Let’s pray for the heretics [to] tone down on their heresy?
Meanwhile, a very English spat has broken out over the remains of King Richard III, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. His bones were found under the tarmac of a Leicester car park.
A campaign calling for the monarch to be reburied in York began after it emerged he would be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. When York Minster agreed that Leicester should get the bones, it began receiving “abusive” letters, and the police were brought in to investigate.
The controversy took a fresh turn when Dr John Ashdown-Hill, from Colchester, was reported as saying yesterday that King Richard would want a Catholic burial.
Ashdown-Hill, according to this report, claims Richard was:
A very religious man. There is a lot of evidence that Richard III had a very serious personal faith.
But he conceded it was impossible to know what Richard III would have made of plans for burial at a non-Catholic site at York or Leicester.
Leicester Cathedral acting dean Barry Naylor said:
It is normal practice that if a body is exhumed it is re-interred in the nearest consecrated grounds. I can assure people there will be the finest of liturgy and we will be very happy to incorporate elements from Catholic tradition and perhaps Latin plain chant in the services that take place.
Leicester Cathedral is doing its utmost to ensure that Richard is re-interred with honour and respect here at the heart of our city of Leicester.
He added that the cathedral had prepared a brief for its architects and more on the plans for Richard III’s tomb was expected in July.
Hat tip: Agent Cormac (dem bones report)