Catholics need to hear gospel
Re “Pope Francis: What this new leader means for evangelicals” (Viewpoint, May). As a former Roman Catholic, I am deeply disturbed by Harold Jantz’s Viewpoint. In spite of Pope Francis’s PR abilities, he is the infallible head of the Catholic (universal) church, a role for which there is no biblical basis. Jesus Christ is the only head of the body. Roman Catholic dogma states that salvation is merit-based, dependent on personal works. The good news of the gospel – salvation by faith, a free gift because of Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice – is not part of that dogma.
The Roman Catholic priesthood remains another serious issue. According to the book of Hebrews, our only priest is the Lord Jesus Christ. To him, we confess our sins, and he forgives us. His death was once and for all, and is not to be repeated over and over as is pretended in the celebration of the mass.
The emptiness of Roman Catholic ritual has left a spiritual void in Quebec and a spiritual backlash that produced a widespread and hardened atheism. Roman Catholics are in dire need of hearing the gospel, and knowing the Christ of Scripture. For all the changes made in their vocabulary, they have not made the corresponding changes in their dogma or in the meaning of their rituals. I plead with you to not lose sight of this reality.
Don’t judge by appearance
Re “When prodigal children don’t return home” (Features, May). A photo of a young man with a facial piercing and a red bandana accompanied the article to illustrate the concept of a prodigal child. In that picture, I saw one of my worship leaders, one of my youth leaders, and a number of my youth – all who passionately love and serve the Lord. It hurt me to think we still make assumptions about who has fallen away from the faith, based purely on appearance.
Knowing the editorial staff of the Herald, I understand this wasn’t the intention, but the fact that this picture made sense to illustrate the article is an unfortunate sign of how we can easily still look at things.
When God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the new king of Israel, Samuel naturally chose the one who looked most like a king. However, God quickly rejected Eliab with these words from 1 Samuel 16:7: “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NLT).
I offer this as a caution, but I guess this starts with me, because I too make assumptions based on what I see. God, I pray for the wisdom to look at the heart first and foremost.
No question about Adam and Eve
Re “Were Adam and Eve real?” (Letters, May). Gary Wiebe is disappointed the board of faith and life (BFL) statement on creation (March 2013) “implied Adam and Eve were historical persons”; I would have been disappointed in any other stance from the BFL.
The BFL is in excellent company. The writer of 1 Chronicles gives the genealogy of Abraham, Jacob, and David – ancestors of Jesus – starting with Adam and his son Seth. The prophet Hosea mentions Adam by name as a transgressor. Luke’s genealogy of Messiah (Luke 3) traces all the way back to Adam. The apostle Paul refers to Adam many times. Jude says Enoch was the seventh from Adam, a distinctly “historical” way of describing him.
As Mennonite Brethren, we confess: “We believe that the entire Bible was inspired by God…. We accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God.”
“Did God really say…?”
Re “Were Adam and Eve real?” (Letters, May). Gary Wiebe indicates surprise that the BFL, in its statement on creation, implied Adam and Eve were historical persons.
It seems to me that disbelieving the reality of Adam and Eve is just the tip of the iceberg for some. It brings up the question first asked in the garden of Eden: “Did God really say…?” (Note: I am not saying there were six 24-hour creation days, nor that the earth is only 6,000 years old.)
Jesus said he regarded the whole of the Old Testament Scripture to be valid, right down to the smallest letter or punctuation mark (Matthew 5:17–18).
Paul clearly believes that Adam and Eve were the first humans. And when they attempted to become as wise as (or wiser than) God, they polluted the whole human race with sin (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Let’s keep our minds and hearts open to truth from God. And let’s keep on praying for one another and dialoguing in love.