Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Are the “Focused” Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

Recently James Dobson has had to defend his conflicting alliances with Roman Catholicism and Albert Mohler, a member of the board of directors at Focus on the Family. In March 2000, Dr. Mohler told Larry King:

"I believe that the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel. And indeed, I believe that the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."

Mohler is, of course, correct; and he is to be commended for his stance on this. But Dobson has been courting Roman Catholics and publicly praising the pope—both former and current. Here is where Dobson looks rather mambly pambly, in fact, downright cowardly in terms of the gospel. If the pope, the head of the Roman Catholic church, can stand by his statements against Protestantism in Dominus Iesus—in which he states that Protestant denominations are "defective," and that they are not "proper churches"—then why can’t Dobson reciprocate? In his statements defending Mohler during his appearance on Hannity and Colmes, why did he dismiss Mohler’s statement by saying, “He's a Southern Baptist, for Pete's sake. You expect a Southern Baptist to say that he does not honor the pope in the same way the Catholics do. It's a different theology.” Why did he not say instead, “I agree with Mohler’s assessment of Roman Catholic theology. We are evangelicals, for Pete's sake, and evangelicals do not honor the pope, period”? Why didn’t he make it clear that the Roman Catholic denomination is “defective” and not a “proper church”? Why the need to downplay the differences in national press coverage and focus on “political agreements” instead? (You may be certain that the Roman Pontiff is certainly not focusing on agreements!).

Here’s why. Because evangelicals like James Dobson are more committed to politics than they are to the truth of the gospel. They think it's more important to get social laws passed to increase their own comfort in this life than to make sure that people are not deceived by a false gospel and perhaps increase the comfort of many in the next life. Dobson thinks he represents evangelicalism when he is interviewed by the national press; he thinks he represents the “evangelical agenda.” He doesn’t. Far worse, the national press thinks he represents evangelicalism. Dobson and his ilk are far, far removed from representing the concerns of true evangelicalism; namely, contending for the "once-for-all-time-delivered-to-the-saints faith." He buckles—and embarrassingly so—when asked to defend that kind of thing. He’d just rather not talk about it. He’d rather allow others to believe that the pope is just another Christian leader, that Roman Catholicism is just another Christian denomination, and that we are all just Christians fighting tother for the same political causes. If Dobson, Graham et al can’t get it right and can’t be faithful in defending the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ--when asked about it no less!--they should just stop making appearances on national media.