By Joel Hess –
This past week many Christians, and even some Roman Catholics, were shocked by the Pope’s declaration that God does not use magic and divine creation is compatible with the present day teaching of evolution. O thank you, great one. Now we may safely say that you fail in both theology and science. As typical of an increasingly ignorant news media (CNN, Fox News, whatever), they reported the heir of the Medici family’s declaration as if Burt Reynolds rose from the dead and Jesus did not.
But this NEWS wasn’t news at all! Rome has been cool with evolution for years. The Argentine said absolutely nothing new. I actually feel terrible for Emperor Palpatine, I mean, Benedict. Francis is going around saying a lot of the same stuff he said, but the press makes him look like John Lennon; and Benedict looks like, well, Emperor Palpatine. Francis’ words, however, did betray the crassness of Rome’s position, if not outright disbelief! Francis apparently does not believe God can do something immediately? Miraculously? God can’t simply speak and it is so? Has someone informed God of this?
During the reformation, Luther and his buds not only had to refute the alien virus of works righteousness that had perverted the church but they also had to contend with a growing group of over reactionaries, which Luther called enthusiasts. This label, enthusiast, was given to those Christians who did not believe that the Spirit worked through the Word of God but instead, independently. The spirit works at the leisure of God’s hidden will, zapping people indiscriminately, revealing Himself in dreams and what not. The revealed Word of God, as written down in Holy Scripture, was nice but God has more to say. The Word is just words of men. It doesn’t do anything. God’s not a magician!
Today, perhaps, we might label Pentecostal or liberal churches, who chase the Holy Spirit and disregard the Bible, as being the heirs of enthusiasts. When you layout the spectrum of Christianity, it would seem that Pentecostalism and liberal Christian churches are on the opposite ends. Furthermore, when you think of Pentecostalism and Roman Catholicism, they too would seem to be on opposite sides of every theological debate. But you would be quite wrong! They are all enthusiasts! Rome and Benny Hinn have more in common with one another than Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan.
Luther called them out long ago when he wrote in the Smalcald Articles – Article VIII:
“And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may [thus] be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, and accordingly judge Scripture or the spoken Word, and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, as Muenzer did, and many still do at the present day, who wish to be acute judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet know not what they say or declare. For [indeed] the Papacy also is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, by which the Pope boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart, and whatever he decides and commands with [in] his church is spirit and right, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word.”
You see, the head of the Babylonian Captivity can say crap that contradicts Scripture all he wants, because he isn’t bound to it. He is an enthusiast who believes the Spirit is still speaking and evolving and revealing. What Jesus, Paul, Isaiah, etc. said is nice but it isn’t everything. This Pope is not any different than those of the last 800 or so years. So, relax liberal media who so much wants him to be your buddy. And don’t be surprised, Scripture believing Christians, that he ain’t yours. Rome follows the beat of its own drummer. But who is that drummer? Hmmm. Like I told some of my kids who were playing with a Ouija board (they just saw it as a silly game); I asked them, “To whom are you talking, if it is not God? And who is answering back?”
I know the voice of the Shepherd. I have learned to recognize his merciful speech by listening directly to Him as He speaks through His Word. To whom are you listening to?