Guest / Limited Access /

Since Joseph Ratzinger's writings on Roman Catholic doctrine have been prominent throughout his term as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, now that he's Pope Benedict XVI, he's "a known quantity," says Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

But evangelicals are known to him, too, says Land's denominational cohort, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler: "In his previous writings, this new pope has indicated a clear and genuine understanding of what evangelicals believe. As a matter of fact, he may be the most well-informed pope in history, in terms of evangelical conviction and theological commitments. That is not to say that the pope is in any way sympathetic to those convictions. This much is clear—this papacy is likely to be both interesting and challenging."

Mohler says there's an irony in Benedict's election and the way evangelicals should view it. "The conservatism that leads Ratzinger to defend historic Catholic positions on abortion, euthanasia, and a host of other issues go hand-in-hand with his defense of the papacy, magisterial authority, and the evolving body of Catholic doctrine."

It's common these days to articulate it this way: Evangelicals and Catholics are most united on issues of culture and society, and most divided on matters of ecclesiology.

The view is too simplistic, and ignores the point that evangelicals and Catholics are united on social issues because they share common theological convictions. When articulating arguments against abortion or gay marriage in Western society, it's sometimes more helpful to talk in sociological terms than to quote Scripture. But the tie between doctrine has ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Strange Encouragement of the Church’s Appalling History
Subscriber Access Only The Strange Encouragement of the Church’s Appalling History
The lives of our greatest heroes often undermined the gospel they so eloquently preached.
RecommendedThe Love Shack
Subscriber Access Only The Love Shack
William Paul Young explains the theology behind his best-selling novels and why he's no longer at war with himself.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickThere's No Crying on Social Media!
There's No Crying on Social Media!
Young adults are desperate not to let peers see any signs of weakness or failure.
Christianity Today
Ratzinger's New 'Impossible Job'
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.