Protesting For Christ

The attention of the world is focused on the Vatican. The passing of Pope John Paul II is major news because he was head of a religion with hundreds of millions of adherents. Even non-Catholics have watched with fascination the events surrounding his funeral. The interest will continue for many more days as the conclave chooses his successor.
It has been interesting to see how others have responded to all of this. The presence of some Muslims and Jews has been reported, and we’ve seen mourners who regard themselves as Protestant. But there has been no visible protest. It appears that Catholicism for the moment is in favor with unlikely persons.
Before he was Pope John Paul II he was Karol Wojtyla, born in Poland in 1920. He appeared to follow admirable goals like fairness and compassion. As a leader who impacted global politics, his record might be assessed as good. As a human being his death is to be mourned.
But on behalf of Christ, we protest the practices of those who disregard scripture and instead promote human tradition.
It was Jesus Christ who said, “Do not call anyone on earth your father, for one is your father, he who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9, NKJV). “Pope” is a word that points to a human as supreme father, or “Holy Father” as he is often called. Whom should we heed in this matter?
It was the apostle Paul who warned, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith . . . forbidding to marry . . .” (1 Timothy 4:1,3). This, however, is a religion that forbids its priests from marrying. Again we are confronted with a choice: Do we protest or not? To whom should we give greater allegiance?
It was the apostle Peter (claimed to be the first pope) who said to all Christians, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood . . .” (1 Peter 2:9) Yet this religion regards only a small segment of their church to be priests. Whom do we believe? Do we accept Peter’s view that all Christians are priests, or later tradition that shrinks the group considerably?
It is not our intention to judge nor condemn (though many will likely view our purpose as such). Our devotion is first and foremost to Jesus Christ, to whom all authority has been given (Matthew 28:18). Until Jesus reveals that his authority has been delegated to a human being, we will continue to protest practices and beliefs that are contrary to his will.

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