It has often been my complaint that John McArthur was a bit wishy-washy, but he gets real serious, and dare I say, very “fundamental” in this [podcasted sermon] message. If there are any Romanists reading this, you definitely need to hear this message, as pastor McArthur deals with the subject of whether evangelicals should regard Romanists as brothers and sisters in the Faith, or as unbelievers who should be evangelized.
I really don't have anything new to say about the Muslim anger over what Benedict said; I will merely reiterate that he cited one dialogue between an Emporer and a Muslim that touched on the nature of God and reason, and that he did not try to make that Muslim a representation of all of Islam. For the best (from what I've seen) source on what the Pope really meant, go here. (HT: Amy Welborn)
Now as fun as it is to pontificate on faith and reason, and the clash of civilizations or lack thereof, Christians in the Middle East and North Africa have been sorely pressed for a long time, and if it wasn't this statement of Benedict that sparked the current round of church-burnings and shootings, it would have been something else in the near future.
I urge you to support groups like CNEWA or Aid to the Church in Need; I know from personal experience that you can set up monthly automatic donations with CNEWA (either a general donation or a specific sponsorship of a child, seminarian or novice religious).
Importantly, CNEWA also helps education Americans about the Eastern Churches–it may be surprising to many Republicans that some Palestinians are Christian, and they are getting the greasy end of the stick from Muslim and Israeli alike.
CNEWA's ecumenical outreaches may mean that they'll be helping the Orthodox Palestinians rebuild their churches that were damaged in this most recent outbreak of violence.
My recent post questioning unwavering support for the State of Israel generated a lot of discussion, much of which was off topic, involving religious tolerance, confessional governments, and whether or not anyone has a natural right to be wrong. Being off topic doesn’t make the discussion irrelevant or uninteresting, though. So, in order to “purify” the original comment thread and continue the other conversations, I’ve moved the distracting comments here.
“Christianity demands, IMHO, religious tolerance, respect for justice, liberty, and human dignity. Modern or not, I think a very strong case can be made that those values are products of Christianity, and intrinsic to the practice of true religion.”
In the past half-century, relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have been growing ever closer and oriented ever more toward possible reunion. Perhaps the greatest hope of the late Holy Father John Paul II, of happy memory, was the reunion of these two oldest Churches of Christendom. In his many efforts to bridge the doctrinal and cultural divides which separate the Churches, he was successful in fostering much greater mutual respect, if not any actual reunification. Understandably, the steps taken by the Holy Father’s predecessor have excited much hope for reunion. However, it is my belief that the steps taken, on each side, toward the noble goal of rebuilding the single pre-schism Church, truly amount to little more than window-dressing, with no substantial gains made.
Not to be a party-pooper, but there is a huge list of very important things that need to be cleared up before reunion can be effected.
In compiling this list, I have provided a brief summary of each point. In order to shorten this article to a readable length, I have eliminated source citations. If you would like a citation on a particular point, please let me know in the comments section or via e-mail.
"Jason, Scott, Bret, and Gene (Fide-O) — On their blog is a picture of a Rottweiler over a quote that begins “Be meek for the meek shall inherit the earth.” If your confused by such a dissonant juxtaposition keep in mind that these guys are to the Five Solas what the Jesuits are to the Pope. (And now that I’ve used them in a comparison with Catholics I’ll probably need to enter the Godbloggers Relocation Program.)
Does he mean the Jesuits of old or modern Jesuits? If the Fide-O folks are faithful 5-point Calvinists, they should probably take umbrage at the comparison to the Jesuits. Anyhow, I wonder if we could convince them to trade in their rottweiller for a German shepherd. 😉
"St. Blog’s Parish — With such numbers on their side you’d think the Catholic wing of the Godblogosphere would be primed to invade on evangelical turf like the Bloods moving in on the Crips (or at least the Sharks invading the space of the Jets). But we hear nary a peep out of them. We could even throw out vicious insults—’The Pope wears a funny hat.’–but they wouldn’t even notice since they don’t read our blogs. It’s almost like we don’t exist or something. This apathy toward us may explain why we end up squabbling with each other, rather than with those Christians we might have substantial disagreements with. (By the way, he really does. The Pope. His hat. It’s kinda big and goofy.)"