What Will The Pope Kiss Next?
By Paul Mooney
(Adapted by permission from a message preached at the Mid-America Revival Conference 9/02)
Text: Acts 20:20-38
A few Sunday nights ago I preached a message entitled, “What Will the Pope Kiss Next?” I was accused of not really answering the question in my sermon, so tonight I am here to answer the question. The answer is: I DON’T CARE!
The controversial picture up on the screen is that of the pope kissing the Koran in 1999. Obviously, the kiss of the pope is considered to be very significant because whatever the pope kisses is supposed to be blessed. In the picture you see the pope kissing a leather-bound, embossed copy of the Koran given to him by some Islamic nation or group. This was the kiss of ecumenicalism.
We are living in a world today that feels it doesn’t matter how you attempt to get to God because there is no specific way to be baptized and really no specific idea of God. So you can do your own thing. The Roman Catholic Church would like to embrace all faiths under one umbrella so they could control all the dimensions of spiritual life throughout the world. There is an agenda that is in place and you might not think that it affects you-safe in your snug
Pentecostal world-but it does!
I like what Brother Kenneth Haney preached last night-that we need to be bold and strong. He said, “Weakness will not get the job done!” So I am going to be bold and strong tonight, and let me start out by saying that there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is one God above all, through all, and in you all.
Paul said nothing moved or persuaded him. There were trials, persecutions, enemies, and suffering-not only from the outside but even from among the brethren. Be warned! Deception is not just something the world has to deal with. Every true Oneness apostolic Pentecostal person has to be awake and be conscious that there are some who would deceive, manipulate, and come against this doctrine. Why? Because they want to draw disciples unto themselves. We need some committed apostolic preachers in this home stretch, in the last days. We’ve come too far to turn our backs on the Acts 2:38, one God message. I still believe you must be born again of the water and the Spirit!
We’ve got to find young ministers in these last days who can say, “Nothing moves me! I’m not influenced by anything. I’m not intrigued by anything. I am not in love with personalities or celebrities, but I have my hand on that book called the Bible and I plan to preach it regardless of what the pope kisses.
The pope can kiss the Koran all he wants to but that does not make it the truth. If I were to step over here and kiss my wife that would be okay because she is my wife. But if I were to kiss some other woman, it wouldn’t make her my wife, and it would even be a form of betrayal to my own wife. So it doesn’t matter what the pope kisses next – I don’t care! He can kiss the Koran, or New Ageism, or humanism, or pantheism but it doesn’t transform it or make it right, or truth, or salvation.
I ‘m glad Brother Haney gave us license last night to be tough! It is time to stay the course, preach the truth, be consistent, don’t look back, and keep our eyes on the Savior.
Personally I have no desire to meet anybody at a table of ecumenicalism. Do whatever you want to do, I’m not going. Weakness won’t get it, folks! Uncertainty won’t get it. Paul said, “I know about all the attacks and the difficulties but none of these things move me.”
Two Schools of Thought
There are two schools of thought developing within Christianity (in the broadest context of defining the church). In the first category are those who say it doesn’t matter about doctrine, or how you are baptized. They don’t have to defend any doctrinal position. We are all just one big family — Catholics, Protestants, and all the little groups. They say it is time to embrace otherforms of spiritual thought, be more broadminded, and stop being so narrow. But when you preach Christ you are going to be forced into a category of narrowness and exclusivism. If we lift up the name of Jesus, He said we would be hated of all men! So it doesn’t matter what men think about it, I’ve got to stay with the name and preach it regardless of what anyone thinks. This may sound old fashioned, but I feel radical tonight!
The pope can kiss all these “spiritual streams” that some say are coming into a confluence to provide the people the opportunity to explore their human potential. Folks will hardly come to church anymore unless you’re preaching about their “potential.” But if you are not under the blood of Jesus Christ, buried in His name, and filled with His Spirit, there is no hope for you regardless of potential. You have to stay in this, and love this, and preach this. Don’t quit now!
People are fascinated with Category One because it puts us all together. But let me say that compromise is not the way to win the world! Ecumenicalism is not the way to win the world! You have got to be apostolic from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. You can’t bend, bow, or waver. You don’t have to be mean, but you do have to be strong.
The story of Nehemiah illustrates this point well. He was working on the wall and his enemies were trying to entice him to stop the rebuilding and come down and meet with them. His reply: “I can’t come down! I am doing a great work!” Nehemiah was like Paul-bound by a calling and sense of responsibility. He had a vision and a ministry. Let’s take encouragement from Nehemiah: let the pope can kiss whatever he wants to, but we are not coming down!
Then there is Category Two. These are the people who believe the Bible has a definitive message, a form of doctrine, and a faith that was once delivered to the saints. They realize that some things are not to be altered, that there are absolutes, that doctrine is not to be thrown away in exchange for manifestation.” All we have is by and through the doctrine of Jesus Christ. When we begin to lust after popularity and money, we set ourselves up to be deceived.
Paul said, “I never curried your favor or tried to please men. No man’s blood is
on my hands, and no charge can be laid at my feet.”
If we don’t keep our heads we will be steamrolled in these last days by a spirit that says doctrine doesn’t matter, and holiness doesn’t matter. Some want to play in this nebulous, fuzzy theological pool because they can sell a lot of tapes and books in there. But this is not about big programs, markets, personalities, or making money, but preaching the Word of God. One thing they hate out there in the world is someone with convictions about holiness and righteousness.
If we take our message to Rome and the pope kisses it, so what? Now I am not advocating a “faith-in-a-bottle,” fort mentality, but you can bring anything you want to the pope to kiss and bless but it won’t change anything. All of our doctrines, our ideas, our concepts have to be weighed against the “shekel of the sanctuary,” not the approval of the pope. All that we do and preach has to be measured by the standard set forth in the Book.
There is one thing that binds apostolics together worldwide: an established doctrinal position that we all hold dear. We fight for it, and contend for it, and we judge (don’t be afraid of that word) things by that doctrine. As for me and my house, we are going to stick by the Book. I even like the word Oneness. One God, one Lord, one faith, and if that offends you, you are offended by Christ. There is no such thing as the trinity or a triune God. The pope can kiss your little organization, or your book, or endorse your religion, but it really doesn’t matter. We should be so focused that nothing moves us.
Some say we can’t win the world with this message, but I say you can’t win them without it! Regardless of what some say, we are bound to preach this apostolic message and we need to pray for one another that we can finish in the faith, in the Spirit, and in the doctrine. Die with your boots on, with your convictions in place. A prominent Charismatic author said recently that when we have a few more funerals perhaps the younger men will be more ready to embrace the trinity
doctrine. But if every old man on this platform died tonight, there are young men who will pick up the torch and take us into the next battle and they will win! Truth will triumph! What will the pope kiss next? It may matter to the world, but it doesn’t matter to us because we’ve found our place in Him.
Much will happen in the next decade, but don’t be discouraged in preaching this message. Don’t be weary in well-doing. It will be a decade of cultural and theological wars, and somebody’s ideas will prevail. You will have to guard yourself. It would be a shame if the spiritual terrorists-the Madison Avenue types who have no concept of absolutism, who don’t care how this thing turns out–drive us off the highway of doctrine and holiness. How sad that would be. Let’s don’t let that happen.
Let’s go back and start an apostolic revival in our city. We can face the world with our message, but don’t ever be weak or inconsistent. Hold up the banner of Jesus Christ. Be bold. Be fearless. That is what will attract the world.
And God will honor His Word!
The Above Material Was Published By The Apostolic Christians Library Builder, Fall 2002, Pages 1, 24, 25. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.