Posted by: stpowen | September 19, 2010

How Many Cheers For The Pope?

As a firm Protestant, Martin Marprelate would not normally dignify the visit of the Bishop of Rome to Britain with any comment.  He would not be found among the protestors, queueing up with the atheists and homosexuals to yell abuse at the poor old fellow.  This is a free country; as an E.U. citizen he has a right to be here and his supporters, misguided as they may be, have a right to see him if they want to.  His tendency would be to treat the event with a dignified silence.

However, given the huge amount of publicity the visit has generated, a few comments seem to be called for.  First of all, how revolting it is to see people bowing and scraping in front of him.  Since he claims to be the successor of the Apostle Peter, he should act as Peter did.  ‘As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him.  But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man”‘ (Acts 10:25-26).

On the other hand, his comments about the Secular Society were apposite.  There are certainly those who want to squeeze out all reference to Christianity in British Society and if the Bishop has done anything to oppose that, then I suppose it is welcome.  The trouble is that the Archdruid of Canterbury cuts such a pathetic figure and appears to have no Christian convictions to speak of, so the Bishop of Rome comes across as a superhero by contrast.  It is a sad day when a foreign prelate has to come to Britain and make a plea for freedom of religion in our land.   

Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the Act of Settlement that followed, each Monarch at his or her coronation has sworn to uphold the Protestant faith.  As a constitutional monarch, the Queen can only uphold that faith through her bishops.  Over the years, most non-conformists have been prepared to put up with the Church of England being the established church in the land on the basis that it stood as a bulwark against secularism, and indeed, against Popery.  Today, however, the Church of England as a body has nothing to say about anything.  There are a few good churches here and there, and I thank God for them, but where is the Anglican view on abortion, divorce, homosexuality, euthanasia?  The silence is deafening and the sad fact is that the Free churches are nearer to Rome on all these matters than to Canterbury.

So should we all become Roman Catholics then and let the ‘Pope’ speak for us?  God forbid!  The two things that were missing on the Papal tour were Christ and the Gospel.  Where was the clarion call to repentance and faith in Christ as an all-sufficient Saviour?  There wasn’t one.  There was no Gospel, because the Church of Rome has none to give.  Instead of proclaiming a Saviour who has offered one sacrifice for sins forever (Heb 10:11), Rome must sacrifice Him over and over again in the mass.  Instead of Christians themselves being a royal priesthood, Rome must place priests of her own between us and Christ.  And Rome can tell no one, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31), because Rome does not believe in Justification by faith Alone. 

The fact is that Christians can rely neither on Rome nor Canterbury for protection against secularism or anything else.  They must look to the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We need to be praying to Him to raise up preachers in our day like Whitefield and Wesley, who will take the Gospel of Christ up and down the land.  We also need Him also to raise up writers to defend our Reformed faith.  In seven years time it will be the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.  No doubt Rome is already planning books that will call for its abandonment.  We need books that will refute Eamonn Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars and set forth the glory of the Reformed faith.  Scripture alone; Christ alone; Grace alone; Faith alone; To the glory of God alone! 

How many cheers for the Pope?  Maybe one very small one if he has woken up the churches of Christ to their need to repent and to cry without ceasing to the true Head of the Church to have mercy on us and revive us again.

‘O Israel, hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption.  And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities’ (Psalm 130:7).


  1. It’s very hard to listen to a man who rebukes priests on their slow response to the sexual crimes done by other priests when he himself has been instrumental to the cover-ups of those crimes!

  2. Great blog!
    As much as this blog was talking about England in particular; I can’t help but think that much of the blog applies to all nations.

    “We need to be praying to Him to raise up preachers in our day like Whitefield and Wesley, who will take the Gospel of Christ up and down the land. We also need Him also to raise up writers to defend our Reformed faith. In seven years time it will be the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation. ”
    “Scripture alone; Christ alone; Grace alone; Faith alone; To the glory of God alone! ”

    Amen to that.

  3. Dear Mr Henderson,


    Abide in Me, and I in You…

    Jesus said:
    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

    You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

    I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

    If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:1-7)

    Wow! In those seven verses, the word ABIDE is mentioned seven times. The context of those verses provides us with a lot of light as to what is required of us by GOD for our eternal salvation.

    Jesus said:
    “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

    So we must not only ABIDE in Him but we must also strive to enter by the narrow gate. If we do not ABIDE in Him, then it is obvious that we are not on the path to the narrow gate of salvation, but on the path to the wide gate and to eternal destruction.

    So Jesus said that if we do not ABIDE in Him (the Vine) then we will be taken away from the Vine by the Father, and will be cast off only to wither, to be gathered, and then to be thrown into the fire and burned.

    Now that I have your attention, shouldn’t we now find the meaning of the word ABIDE?

    The theological meaning of ABIDE is to dwell within. Jesus would come and dwell in us and we likewise in Him. So as long as we do what Jesus requests of us then we are on the path to the narrow gate to salvation.

    So to assure that we are on right path, Jesus has commanded that we must ABIDE in Him.

    What is required in order to have Jesus ABIDE in us and we in Him?

    Can we do it:

    1. By accepting Him as our own personal Lord and Savior?
    No. Where does the Bible say that?

    2. By the grace of GOD only? Sola Gracias?
    No. Where does the Bible say that?

    3. By faith in GOD alone? Sola Fides?
    No. Where does the Bible say that?

    It is simple common sense that since He commanded that we must do something, then doesn’t it stand to reason that He would also tell us how to do it?

    Jesus was very clear in what we must do in order to have Him ABIDE in us and we in Him.

    Jesus left this command for us in John 6:53-57.

    53 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (the taken away branch);

    54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.


    57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”

  4. Dear Michael,

    You addressed your message “Dear Mr Henderson”, but as far as I can see, no one of that name has posted on this thread. Ther three before yours were from stpowen, Jade, and Tom Hardy. I’m not complaining in any way, just asking for clarification. Thanks!


  5. Hello Mr Boyston,
    Like David, I’m not quite sure whom you are addressing. There is no ‘Mr Henderson’ on this blog.

    You will get no argument from me that Christians need to ‘abide’ in Christ. However we can only do that by the grace of God. ‘My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand’ (John 10:27-28). If anyone does not abide, that is proof that he is not one of Christ’s sheep (cf. also 1John 2:19).

    In reply to your various other assertions:-

    Can we do it:
    1. By accepting Him as our own personal Lord and Savior?
    No. Where does the Bible say that?

    ‘And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame’ (1Peter 2:6)

    2. By the grace of GOD only? Sola Gracias (sic)?
    No. Where does the Bible say that?

    ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast’ (Eph 2:8-9).

    3. By faith in GOD alone? Sola Fides (sic)?
    No. Where does the Bible say that?

    Sola Fide is faith in Christ alone. ‘Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name given among men by which you must be saved’ (Acts 4:12).

    I hope that is helpful to you.

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