Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pope John Paul I. A Centenary

Two months ago saw the centenary of the birth of Albino Luciani, better known as Pope John Paul I, who reigned for just thirty-three days in the late Summer of 1978, before dying suddenly and unexpectedly.
Much missed and much love, many understandably cannot help but wonder what sort of Pope he would have been had he lived longer, but as touched on in this piece, I think we have seen enough to suggest what sort of Pope he was and what he would have been like.
Aside from his various pronouncements in Illustrissimi, and indeed in the few Papal pronouncements he made, Pope John Paul gave enough to suggest that he was a Pope who knew how to not only simplify important doctrines for a general audience, but to combine the Prophetic and pastoral in such a way as to catch interest from his listeners and readers. Writing as a Christian, but as a non Catholic, I find there is much to learn from Pope John Paul I, namely

*His readiness to show love and friendliness wherever possible (Important for any church leader, echoing 1 Corinthians 13)

*Being delicate but not finching from telling things as he saw them and as he saw as his duty (As seen in some of his prounoncements on family life, social welfare, and the Third World in Illustrissimi and at least one of his General Audience speeches as Pope)

*Reiterating what he saw as important but being flexible where needed (His choice of name in part showing his commitment to the Second Vatican Council, and his comments over the birth of Louise Brown, the World's first test tube baby, showing a readiness to listen and agree where possible)

Albino Luciani, lived and breathed the Gospel in a way that few do, unflinching from the prophetic and engaging with the pastoral side of the Christian faith and this is something all Christians, both Catholic and non Catholic, should see as an example of Christ-like behaviour


Dale Mcalpine (Cumbria) said...

Hello, from a fellow "blogger" thanks for the post, I feel the need however to correct your assertion that the Roman Catholics are Christians.

I was a Roman Catholic for 36 years of my life and was not a Christian.

Christians do not pray to Mary, that is called idolatry and breaks the second commandment. Exodus 20:4-5

Christians do not believe in purgatory, it is appointed once for man to die then judgement Hebrews 9:27, no purgatory.

Christians do not believe that the communion bread is the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ (transubstantiation) that is just ridiculous. Jesus died once for all,Hebrews 7:27, no need for any more sacrifices, let alone His own.

True Christians need to stop confusing people and propagating the idea that Roman Catholics are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
They are a mission field and should be treated as such.

Give Rachael my regards.

dale mcalpine workington

Paul Burgin said...

If I theologically agreed with everything the Roman Catholic Church taught, I would be a Roman Catholic, as it is I am not!
That said, I thought a Christian was someone who believed that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, not whether they are Roman Catholic or not, as whilst I accept that some Roman Catholics are not Biblically understanding, I know of a number, inc some friends who follow the Apostles Creed, just as I do and just as I am sure you do! Romans Ch 10 Vs 9 I think is a wonderful example of what makes a Christian!
I am aware of a Conservative Evangelical Christian Minister who described the whole of West Cumbria (not just the Catholics) as a "Mission Field".
That being said, I think we need to be careful about how we use a term such as "Mission Field". Christian or not, people are human beings first and foremost, not evangelism fodder and I believe it is important that people are treated as such. When the Prodigal Son was still a long way off, the Father ran to hug Him. We should show people the same compassion.

Dale Mcalpine said...

Paul, thanks for the discussion. I hope you do not mind me pointing this out to you but it is clear from your reply that you are missing some very important elements of what it means to be a Christian, allow me to explain ;

You said; " I thought a Christian was someone who believed that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, not whether they are Roman Catholic or not, as whilst I accept that some Roman Catholics are not Biblically understanding, I know of a number, inc some friends who follow the Apostles Creed"

Giving mental assent and acknowledging that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, does not and never will make anyone a Christian, Mormons would be able to agree with Jesus dying and rising from the dead, and I hope we both know that the Mormon cult is not Christian.

Also following any creed or confession does not and never will make anyone a Christian Paul, people in Churches, (thinking of high Anglican in particular) up and down the country repeat these creeds week in week out and we know by their fruit that the number of true believers is in the minority.

You see Paul, Jesus Christ said, You must be born again John 3:3. The doctrine of regeneration where the God of the universe transforms a sinner into a saint, where He gives us a new heart with new desires, hearts that hate the sin they once loved and love the God of the Bible they once hated, has this happened to you Paul ?

Roman Catholics know nothing of this new birth, they are taught that their baptism saves them and this is when they believe they are born again, and that is a lie from the pit of hell.

Unless you are born again you cannot enter heaven Paul, that is what Jesus Christ (God in flesh) very clearly tells us, and unless you are a new creature in Christ, you are still under the wrath of a Holy and Just God and if you die in that state you will suffer for your sins in hell forever and ever, that is why Jesus said "Unless you repent you will perish!" Luke 13:3

So I reiterate Paul, Roman Catholics are not Christians, once you understand exactly what a Christian is, then you can make a clear judgement about the church of Rome and it's teachings.

I would reccomend you visit my blog, if you have not already, and watch some Paul Washer videos, he will help you understand what it means to be a Christian further.

God bless you

In Christ

Paul Burgin said...

The point I was trying to say is that we are saved by Grace, not by the total accuracy of our doctrine. I have met people who identify as Roman Catholics, yet who have personal faith in Jesus Christ, just as I have met people of like faith who are Anglicans, Methodists (of which I am one), Baptists, Pentecostals etc.. Equally you will have some in those denominations who attend church but have no personal faith!

Paul Burgin said...

As for my personal faith, of course I identify with John Ch 3 Vs 3, as would any Christian!

Dale Mcalpine said...

Paul said .."As for my personal faith, of course I identify with John Ch 3 Vs 3, as would any Christian!"

i'm not entirely sure what it means to "identify with John 3:3". But I suspect you are right, many would "identify" with it.

That is not the question, the question for everyone concerned about their eternal destiny is are they born again?, have they been supernatural changed by Almighty God into someone who hates their sin and loves God and His Word?, are they new creatures in Christ ?

That is all that matters.

For all who read this and have a desire for truth they need to "be all the more diligent to make their calling and election sure.."
2 Peter 1:10

There really is not anything more important!

Paul Burgin said...

Well I don't disagree. Incidentally I notice you left a comment regarding my interview with Derek Wyatt, the thing is though the interview was conducted some years back and he is no longer an MP

Dale Mcalpine said...

Sorry Paul but your views expressed on here are not consistent with someone who loves God and His Word. So when you say you "don't disagree" with my previous comments, I cannot help but wonder why the inconsistencies.

I clicked on Derek's link thinking it was his blog I was commenting on, and took the opportunity to ask him to vote against the hideous plan to redefine marriage thinking he still had influence as an mp.

Paul Burgin said...

Dale I see no inconsistencies, and refuse to say what makes a Christian to go along with someones theological beliefs and prejudices when I see my comments as consistent with scripture

Paul Burgin said...

Apologies if that was too harsh, but that is how I see it at the moment