- Putin, the admirable “strong man”?
I mostly keep my mouth shut when it comes to political topics because I’ve frequently encouraged my fellow believers to think in terms of being sojourners and ambassadors in this world rather than being deeply-rooted temporal citizens, but please indulge me this paragraph. I’m 65 years old and I’ve seen a lot of things in my lifetime, but this ongoing, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and its 41 million citizens by Russia is one of the most despicable things I’ve ever witnessed. We’re also mindful that this invasion and the punishing retaliatory economic sanctions imposed on Russia have the very real potential to spiral into something “apocalyptical.” Immediately prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, a few American politicians and political commentators bizarrely referred to Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, as being “smart” and “savvy,” and the military buildup as being “genius.” As we’ve seen over the last ten days, rather than being “genius,” this unprovoked invasion was perhaps the dumbest and most insane thing Putin could have ever done, both in terms of the Ukrainian and the Russian people. Why this fawning over Putin? I did some research and discovered that a number of politically-minded “Christian” leaders are also on record, pre-invasion, for admiring Putin as a defender of “Christian moral values” in contrast to the declining “morality” of Western Europe. That is absolute craziness. Putin is an autocrat who has his political opponents jailed or assassinated. Putin is no friend of evangelical Christianity. In 2016, he directed the passage of a law criminalizing evangelical efforts outside of church walls. And now, Putin has the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians on his hands, not to mention the one-million-plus refugees who have fled Ukraine and the destruction of billions in infrastructure. The admiration and “rehabilitation” of Putin the murderer as some type of paternalistic defender of “morality” previous to the invasion is what happens when misguided Christians put “morality,” alleged “law and order,” and nationalism ahead of the Gospel. Shame on every individual who ever expressed admiration for mass murderer, “Vladimire” Putin.
- Departing from protocol, pope goes to Russian embassy over Ukraine
- Ukrainian Catholics hold prayer service in response to Russian attacks
Pope Francis’ visit to the Russian embassy in Rome on February 25th in an attempt to broker a peaceful conclusion to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was obviously not successful. However, I believe the world will someday turn to the pope for guidance and leadership in the face of some cataclysmic event. The religious unsaved around the world are praying for Ukrainians during this tragedy. They are a tragedy as well! The unsaved, religious and nonreligious, can only be made right with God by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.
The Roman Catholic church’s 40-day Lenten observations began this past Wednesday. During Lent, Catholics are forbidden from eating meat on Fridays under threat of eternal damnation. God’s Word addresses false teachers who forbid marriage and certain foods: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-5
Catholic apologists’ reflexively responded to the RCC’s twenty-year clerical sexual abuse scandal by claiming that the percentage of pedophiles in the priest population is no higher than that of public school teachers or Boy Scout leaders. Catholic sociologist and researcher, Richard Sipe, posited that the percentage of pedophiles within the priest population was double that of secular institutions and this report bears that out.
Incredulous Catholics continue to recoil at the blatantly inane, legalistic, picayune practices of their religion as recently demonstrated by the invalidations of thousands of baptisms because of the attending priest’s use of the wrong pronoun in the baptismal incantation. Nowhere in sight is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
Catholic apologists love to point out that anti-Catholicism was widespread in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. What they always avoid mentioning (or give only very short shrift to) was the papacy’s historical condemnation of religious freedom and democratic government, and the severe persecution of Protestants in Catholic-controlled countries in those times.