Hows This for a Roman Catholic Altar Call??
We spoke the other day about the Roman Church no using Altar Calls in any of their ceremonies, and thus, when could people not Christian be allowed space and be encouraged to convert?
Well, apparently yesterday, on the advise of several Cardinals in France, Pope Benedict decided to put out an extraordinary invitation. He invited all the heathern in France to gather out front of one of the central parisian Cathedrals...and decided to present them with a nearly ten min surmon I suppose you might call it. Designed to show that the Jewish would allow the heathen into the outter court of the temple, in order for them to ask questions, and maybe come to faith. He talks about being closer, and talking. He then asks them all to enter the Cathedral, and to offer a prayer, he recognises that some will know GOD, but some will be praying to "the unknown GOD" by this he isnt talking about a different religion, he's talking about a heathen being open and prepared to convert...but not actually having any knowledge of Jesus or Scripture
"as you walk together towards a new world seek the absoulute, Seek GOD, even for you, if he is the unknown GOD, and may this GOD, who loves each one of you, bless you, and keep you, he is counting on you to be concerned for each other, and for the future, and you can all count upon him"
If he extends this across the whole of Europe, you could see a tremendous revival. :frantics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjKHKkDuMoQ if you want to know what he said, its in the video. Who knows if this will be successful, but not even Mark Hughes can claim that Rome is not up for Evangelism on a large scale. Anyone would think the powers that be actually read this forum and respond :laugh:
...and just to proove he's serious...his surmon is of course IN FRENCH LOL
I hope he does continue to do this everywhere! :)
You know...I confess that this may also be a political stunt, spurred on by the fact that the Roman Census told the Pope that whilst the gain in the orient, they looose on their own front door....but GOD can work through Roman Politics, to bring the truth, whatever their motive.
Afterall...we know that Constentine The Great, who was the Emporar who built Constantinople (the New Rome) and changed the State Religion of the Entire Holy Roman Empire, overnight, from a mass of paganism, to Christian...probably never had a conversion of a spiritual nature...but only a political aim, to unite a fragile, and to big to govern empire. He knew that what everyone needed was Stability, and for that, Uniformity...and maybe even an elevation of HIS OWN Status (Divine Right of Kingship)
So his motive for Gospel Spreading was NOT to do Jesus Christ any Favour...and was an ultimate failiure...so much of a failiure, that his own founding of Constantinople in Turkey was what eventually challenged Rome and broke off as Byzantium...it also doesnt remain intact as a relic to this day.
Constantinople was a Great Beacon of Christian light...until it was overcome by the Sword of Islam.
BUT...that didnt stop people, average, everyday people, believing in Christ...it didnt stop later Excellent Empires from copying the religion, and adopting it, and thus spreading it. The Romans SO strongly believed, that when their Empire finally collapsed....they tried to re-conqure, completely on a spiritual level and not a collonial level at all...they went BACK to the same lands they had liberated in body, to re-liberate in mind. They held debates between the warring factions of the Early Church and its trillions of strange scriptures...and they spent many centuries trying to define Christianity.
Yes they got power hungry, yes they abused their status, yes they brought war to Israel, Yes they wrongly defied the Enlightenment, yes they killed who races that refused to bow the knee, yes they burned, or hanged, or brutally tortured many innocent people who they were uncertain about, yes they used dirty political tactics, yes they refuse to be in communion with the rest of Christendom. Yes their most central dogma might be supremely presumptious....I accept all of that.
But they try. GOD Bless them, they try. For all their faults, they aspire to something truely tremendous, and they dedicate their lives to that cause. When a Church does something like this...whatever the reason behind it...GOD can work through it, through their missgivings, through their selfish desires, and through their corruption.
So I congratulate the Vatican for this. I say they are striving to do Opus Dei, and I hope this project is a success...I hope even if it doesnt serve Rome, that it works to Serve GOD...even if it doesnt creat a single convert...it might plant a million seeds. Benedict, You, I...we're all the same...we cant cause anyone to become a Christian...all we can do is lead them to a place where Christ can do his work...This missleading idea about "leading people to Christ" is rot. Not a single person has ever Led another Sole to paradise. All they can do is spread the gospel and hope that Christ will meet them half way.
I tell you now, that even IF Roman Catholicism was some dreadful Sect....a Call like the invitation Benedict has put out can serve GOD. The Truth cant be corroded through questioning. The most mighty of athiest can only ever choose not to believe, he can not make the truth itself bend to his will. Thousands of individuals may hark this call...and the spirituality of the Pope is completely unrelated to what the Spirit may whisper into the ear of anyone who happens to listen, and hears....
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