Amidst all of this, however, very many - and this is worrying when those commentators profess to be Biblical Christians - appear to have overlooked an essential point.
The Pope is a Roman Catholic.
Not only that, but his role is to advance the agenda - the doctrines and programmes - of the Roman Catholic Church. He is charged with the responsibility to make sure that distinctively Roman Catholic beliefs and practices are advanced in the world. That's not a side-effect of his role; that is his role.
Many secular commentators, who lack self-awareness, gloss over this because they are acting according to their world-view, which screens out the non-secular dimensions of whatever they're dealing with. Or, in the case of decided secularists, they screen that out deliberately, hoping to persuade their readers to also routinely do so.
When evangelicals do the same, though, it's tragic. The Pope has a special responsibility to advance the distinctive teachings and practices of Roman Catholicism, such as these:
- The insufficiency of Christ's work on the cross to purchase salvation for the elect; the necessity of the Roman priesthood for salvation, and of the continuation of Christ's offering in the Mass, and the completion of the work of dealing with sin in Purgatory.
- The insufficiency of the Bible for the instruction of the church; the necessity of new revelations and interpretations through the Roman hierarchy.
- The insufficiency of faith for appropriating the redemption which is in Christ; the necessity of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic church, from cradle to grave, in order to gain access to Christ's merits and reduce our time in Purgatory.
- The insufficiency of divine grace alone for salvation; the necessity of our contribution through good works.
According to the Bible, those are all completely ruinous errors. As such, whether the election of a new Pope advances pan-globalism, feminism, liberalism, conservatism, or any other manner of -isms is, in the ultimate analysis, nothing but a side-show. From an authentic Christian perspective, the main problem is that the Pope is going to be advancing the soul-destroying errors of Roman Catholicism. That's his job. And the job of Bible-believing Christians who hold teaching positions is to make sure that the flock are aware of that.