Pope Benedict XVI and the United Kingdom,
Free Presbyterian Publications, 2010, 108pp.
This publication has been timed to coincide with the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI (16-19 September). During his time in the UK the Pope will meet the Queen at Holyrood Palace, Scotland. He will address a gathering of both Houses of Parliament. Also Joseph Ratzinger will beatify Cardinal Newman, making him the first Englishman to be made a “saint” since the Reformation.
The impending visit has already caused some controversy, not least due to Ratzinger’s failure to deal with the problem of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Before becoming Pope he was Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Rome’s disciplinary body (formerly called The Inquisition). It is alleged that as Prefect he knew what was going on, but did little to prevent children being abused by paedophile priests.
Evangelicals might feel a little unhappy concerning the high honours that will be accorded to such a man. But it seems that by and large we have given up the fight when it comes to the controversy with Rome. We appear to have forgotten what the Reformation was all about. The aim of this book is to set out the influence of Protestantism on our national life and to expose Roman Catholic false teachings.
The Pope presides over a system of sacramental salvation. He claims to be head of the visible Church, with supreme and universal power over the people of God. Since 1870 Rome has regarded the Pope’s ex cathdera pronouncements as infallible, elevating his authority to the level of Holy Scripture. The Virgin Mary is regarded as “co-mediatrix” alongside Jesus, compromising the unique saving value of Christ’s finished work. The Reformers were right to battle against unbiblical Roman Catholic doctrine in their day. Still we must contend for vital, gospel-centred Christianity in opposition to the errors of Rome.
Not all readers will agree with the authors’ Presbyterian views on Church Establishment or that the Pope is the Antichrist. But here is a timely reminder that the man who is due to visit these shores in September is a powerful leader of a false religion. Roman Catholicism robs our Lord Jesus of his unrivalled role as head of the Church and the only mediator between God and men.
Perhaps the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI will give Evangelical Protestants a fresh opportunity to graciously explain the differences between Rome and genuine, biblical Christianity.
* Reviewed for September edition of Evangelicals Now.