Still with Christianity Today, executive editor Timothy George said: “I hear far fewer sermons these days than I did when I was a kid about how the church of Rome is the harlot of Babylon and the pope is the current version of the Antichrist. You can still go to churches where you hear that sermon on Sunday, but it’s far less prominent in the evangelical subculture than it was 30 or 40 years ago. I think that’s partly due to Pope John Paul II” (Media Spotlight, Volume 28, Number 2, Redmond, Washington).
He got that right. John Paul II was the greatest PR man for the Vatican in history. He did more to convince gullible, spiritually blind “Protestants” that the Roman Catholic institution is a part of the Body of Christ than any other single individual. The carpet has been pulled out from under the feet of “Evangelicals.” They have cast aside the firm conviction of centuries, and for the most part no longer hold to what their own confessions of faith stated so clearly: that the pope of Rome is the Antichrist.
George then went on: “John Paul II has become a world figure and certainly within the Christian world in a way that evangelicals know him, appreciate his stand on many, many issues, resonate with his piety and spirituality, and know he’s a man of prayer and deep faith – even though we can’t follow him all the way into his Marian devotion.” Oh, so we’re supposed to simply shrug our shoulders at the fact that he was utterly devoted to the worship of Mary – the goddess of Roman Catholicism. It doesn’t seem to strike Mr George that his adoration and worship of Mary means that John Paul was a lost, deceived soul! In fact, there’s something very disconcerting about his statement that Evangelicals can’t follow the pope all the way into Marian devotion – it seems to hold out the possibility that they could follow him at least some of the way into Marian devotion! We are willing to accept that this may have been a simple slip of the tongue. But we wonder…
The United Bible Societies (UBS) is an umbrella organisation for over 140 national Bible societies. It has been ecumenical for a very, very long time now, and has willingly been involved in joint Bible projects involving Romanists and “Protestants”; but even for the UBS, this was a new low: a UBS representative participated in the funeral for the late pope, as well as the inauguration of the new pope. According to the UBS website itself, “Dr. Valdo Bertalot, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Italy (BSI), represented both the national Bible Society and the global UBS fellowship at the funeral… and at the inaugural mass…. He also took part the following day in Pope Benedict’s first audience, for foreign and non-Catholic guests. ‘I had the opportunity to greet the pope personally on behalf of UBS and BSI,’ said Dr. Bertalot, ‘offering him BSI’s latest ecumenical literary translation of the Gospel of Mark as an example of the UBS service to the churches.’ Mr. Wigglesworth said Dr. Bertalot’s presence at the events was ‘evidence of the standing of the UBS in the eyes of the Vatican, and a consequence of all the work that he – and his father before him – have done to establish close ties with the Vatican on behalf of UBS'” (Friday Church News Notes, July 22, 2005, Vol.6, Issue 29).
Then there was Pat Robertson: “I am deeply grieved as a great man passes from this world to his much deserved eternal reward…. It was my great honor to meet with him at the residence of my good friend, Cardinal O’Connor, in New York, and to sit in the Consistory during the mass he conducted in Central Park. I told him at the time how much the American people loved him, and he merely smiled” (Media Spotlight, Volume 28, Number 2, Redmond, Washington).
Yes, the pope would have smiled: smiled at the thought that America, with its rich Protestant heritage, had become to such an extent a Roman Catholic nation, in no small part thanks to the efforts of John Paul himself. Note how men like Robertson and others love to name-drop: they love to tell everyone about their excellent friendships with various high-ranking Papists. It’s good business sense, you see: it’s all about one’s career. These religious leaders are career religionists. They’re hirelings.
As for the pope having gone to his much deserved eternal reward: that’s true, but he did not go to the place Pat Robertson thinks he did.
But the comments of Jack Van Impe were among the most fawning of all. The language used by this man, once dubbed “the walking Bible” because of his quoting of the Scriptures, was more adoring of the pope than almost any other.
On April 16, 2005, on his TV show, Van Impe and his wife, Rexella, went on and on and on, ad infinitum and ad nauseum, about the pope of Rome. Here are just some of their fawning, sickening comments (taken from Media Spotlight, Volume 28, Number 2, Redmond, Washington):
Rexella said: “The pope graduated this life and he went home to heaven.” This is saying even more than Roman Catholics themselves admit! For according to official Roman Catholic teaching, for all anyone knows the pope did not go immediately to Heaven, he went to Purgatory. Yes, even popes supposedly go there! So she exceeded even official Papist doctrine in her statement. And besides that, it was just plain wrong anyhow: as the biblical “Son of Perdition” (2 Thess.2:3), the Antichrist (as all popes of Rome are), John Paul II went to hell – that is the desperate tragedy of all this, that whereas the Bible says he is in hell, “Protestants” are saying he’s in heaven!