In the interest of playing well with other churches in Omaha, we at Coram Deo have not said much about the Luis Palau festival which took place last weekend. Though Palau’s methodology is vastly different from ours, it seems that God in his grace often brings good even out of these sorts of events. If there’s one thing we know from Scripture, it’s that God is capable of making himself known through some less-than-orthodox means (see Numbers 22).
However, late last week, I became aware of some troubling developments that have bothered my conscience all weekend – specifically, the fact that the Archdiocese of Omaha was going to have a “confessional tent” at the Palau festival where priests would take confessions from festival-goers. When the Catholic archbishop endorses an evangelistic event, thoughtful Christians should ask why. So it’s time to open Pandora’s box.
According to the Catholic Voice newspaper, Palau reached out to the Roman Catholics and asked them to be involved in the festival. This is apparently a “first” for the Palau organization, and those who agree with it are defending it on the premise of “unity.”
I love my Roman Catholic friends, and we have much to learn from their leadership on social justice and human rights issues. But anyone who has studied Roman Catholic theology should know that the gospel is one thing we do NOT agree on. Unity at the expense of the gospel is not biblical unity. And it’s time someone stood up and said so. What more confusing message could we send to our city than to say, “Luis Palau, Catholics, Evangelicals, and liberal Protestants all agree on the essential message of the gospel?”
My friend in the gospel Erik Reymond did an interview with NPR on this issue last week… they unfairly represented his point of view, but I appreciate him for speaking out and being the “contrarian” on this issue. Read his blog for more. Let us be willing to go against the grain (even disagreeing with our evangelical brethren) when faithfulness to the biblical gospel requires it!