John Paul 2: 1920 – 2005

The media outlets are beginning to report that the pope has died at the age of 85. His death (presuming that the reports are true) comes, of course, at the end of a very long illness that had him in and out of hospital (mostly in) for many months.

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As of 1:45 PM EST, CNN is reporting that the pope’s brain has ceased functioning but his heart is still beating. Drudgereport was reporting that he died, but has no backtracked to say that reports indicate he may have died.

Now I wonder…is Terri Schiavo’s death going to be forgotten now that the pope has also died, or will her death overshadow the pope’s, at least in the United States? I can’t help but draw a comparison to when Mother Teresa’s death went almost unnoticed among all the fury and media attention surrounding the death of Princess Diana.

James White writes, “Now a Vatican representative is saying that Mary has opened wide the door to heaven to John Paul, who dedicated himself to Mary (a reference to the Papal motto, Totus tuus, “totally yours,” addressed not to Jesus, but to Mary). If you are likewise watching, do not hold your breath waiting to hear about repentance from sin, the perfection of the work of Christ, the imputed righteousness of Christ. But you will hear much of Mary, far more than of Jesus. The true faith of Rome is on display in this situation. American Roman Catholic apologists seek to diminish the centrality of Mary in Roman theology, but here you see how foundational Mary is to the piety of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome itself.”

3:15 PM – White, once again, says what I am too timid to say. “We are hearing a great deal about the Pope dying in peace. And for what reason? Because he has suffered. You will be able to see, and hear, just how badly understood the gospel is amongst evangelicals and others as you listen to the commentary on the Pope. The specifics of the gospel will be buried under the emotionalism of death. The Pope’s salvation will be guaranteed not because his faith is fixed solely upon the finished work of Christ (which, in light of the devotion to Mary, belief in the Mass, purgatory, etc., it clearly is not), but because of his suffering, his “goodness,” a goodness not determined by reference to God’s holiness, of course, but by reference to other men.
I wonder…how many evangelical leaders will honor God rather than men and say what needs to be said? “Unless the Pope believed the gospel, he, like any other person on the planet, died under the wrath of God, outside of the only way of salvation God has provided in Jesus Christ!” And how many will cave in to the fear of the face of men and do what society demands by compromising the gospel, showing a greater love of the acclaim of men rather than the approval of God? Remember, friends: Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I agree that this is a time when we will see what evangelical leaders are made of!