Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mohler on Pope Benedict XVI

I just read an article by Dr. Albert Mohler (president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY) on Pope Benedict XVI's present visit to the US. You can access the article by clicking here. Mohler is thoroughly biblical and has, in this (short) article, concisely given his take on the pope and his present and future involvement in Christianity as a whole. At the end of the day, although Mohler applauds the Pope in his steadfast conviction, he does not foresee the Roman Catholic Church, under Benedict's leadership, making the changes that we Protestants feel convicted are necessary.

Here is a little blurb from the article:

"Perhaps the most clarifying moment since his election came last July when the Vatican released the document known as "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church" – a document that reasserted the claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church.

The secular press and a good many non-Catholic church leaders expressed outrage and offense at the Pope's comments – assuming that such teachings were simply out of place in the modern world. But Benedict was restating the tradition and teaching of his church – and he did so because he cared for those he believes are outside the blessings of grace he is certain are given to those in the communion of his church – and to that communion alone.

I actually appreciated the Pope's concern. If he is right, we are endangering our souls and the souls of our church members. Yet, I am convinced that he is not right -- not right on the papacy, not right on the sacraments, not right on the priesthood, not right on the Gospel, not right in understanding the church."

I am not a Catholic-hater or anything like that (in fact, I have Catholic friends), but I can say that the Scriptures lambaste any doctrine which teaches that people are saved (or disqualified from being saved) for any reason other than faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict clearly teaches that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church. He expresses concern for anyone who rejects the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Well, I guess I fall in that boat. With Luther I cry out my allegiance to Christ and his word. I affirm the Catholic Church in so far as they have faithfully interpreted and applied the Scriptures, but I knowingly separate ties where they part ways with the Scriptures.

I am not one of those who says that you cannot possibly be a Christian if you are a part of the Catholic Church, however I can say that you cannot possibly be a Christian if your hope (confidence) of salvation lies anywhere but in Christ and what he has won for you on the cross.


Tom 1st said...

This is a really interesting quote by Mohler. I must admit, I thought he would be a lot more 'against' the Catholic Church. I'm glad he took a more balanced perspective, understanding that there are really good Catholic Christians...many of whom I know very well.

The interesting thing about the pope's comments is that, really, they're no different than what the CC has always stated.

While I think he's wrong, I'd say we protestants have something to learn from them - that is, we too often think salvation is possible apart from the church (notice the lowercase 'c') - and it's not! We cannot claim to be a part of Christ and neglect fellowship in his body.

all that to say - while i disagree with the pope, I think we go too far in the opposite direction.

Jimmy Snowden said...


I agree with you. I also believe that Mohler would agree with you as well.


Jessy said...


Luke Snowden said...


Thank you for the humility you expressed in this post. In times past, both you and I would have been a bit more pugnacious about this issue. Your softness, I am happy to say, is not the result of a sort of theological relativism, but of a meek and humble assessment. Thank you for your example.