After the week that brought a new Pope and a new Archbishop of Canterbury, the most astute comment I heard came from John Stevens (National Director of FIEC). His post is well worth reading here.
As he says,
it is inescapable that both of these men will have a significant impact, for good or for ill, on my ministry and the cause of the gospel and honour of Jesus Christ in the UK and around the world. The vast majority of the world’s population are unaware of subtle differences in doctrine and belief between different churches, so to them the Pope is seen as the world leader of Christianity, whether I like it or not. In England the Archbishop of Canterbury is the public face of Christianity for the nation, and will have numerous opportunities to comment on issues in national life and to officiate at major national events, including almost inevitably the next Coronation. What these men say, and especially what they represent the Christian faith to be, will either provide a platform for evangelism, or an obstacle to evangelism that will need to be overcome
To summarise, John Stevens’ observations are:
- Christianity is a global movement, not just a declining, white, Western religion
- The ceremonies (with their pomp and vestments, which have nothing to do with New Testament Christianity) projected a false view of the church
- The Pope is a false teacher who needs to be converted [and here, I think, we do need to be careful to judge the false teaching rather than the heart of the man!]
- The Archbishop of Canterbury is a gospel man who will need courage to speak boldly and prophetically
- The gospel is a message of eternal salvation not the transformation of society
Do read the post in full!