Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's all good

I have rescinded some of my comments concerning this post due to my error in the facts. I will keep the post online as there is a valuable theological point brought up and discussed.

Vatican forgives John Lennon for Jesus quip
Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:17pm EST(Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican's newspaper has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a "boast" by a young man grappling with sudden fame.

The comment by Lennon to a London newspaper in 1966 infuriated Christians, particularly in the United States, some of whom burned Beatles' albums in huge pyres. But time apparently heals all wounds.

"The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a 'boast' by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll," Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said.

The article, marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' "The White Album," went on to praise the pop band. "The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians," it said. Lennon was murdered in New York in 1980.

It's strangely unbiblical to forgive a person who was not repentant and thus not seeking forgiveness, but it's especially unusual since the man was steadfastly anti-Christian when he was alive. Now, 28 years after Lennon died, the Vatican felt it important to forgive the dead, unrepentant, "source of inspiration form more than one generation of pop musicians"? How lame and discrediting of Rome.

Who else will the Vatican forgive for spewing hatred against our Lord ? Lennon's comments in 1966 were relatively benign compared to those of recent pop musicians like Madonna. Will she get a pardon 30 years after her death also? What does this accomplish? Was Lennon in purgatory and thus released to heaven now that he has been forgiven for his statement. His full quote from 1966 is- "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity." How nice of the Vatican to forgive him. The great, newly forgiven philosopher Lennon also said- "I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."

Hey, it's all good now, right?


Jim said...

I've never understood the controversy over John's statement. I don't recall Jesus ever caring about being "famous," and as a description of reality, I suspect that among a certain class of youth at the time, the Beatles were in fact "more famous" than Jesus.

But I see that as the church's problem, not the Beatles'.

Besides, do you really believe that God's forgiveness is conditioned on repentance (Mt 5.44-48, Mk 11.25).

tom kessler said...

Maybe, I need to understand this a little better.

From - "The Catholic Church is firm in teaching the reality of hell. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs (CCC 1035)."

So if Mr. Lennon was in hell, does the Pope forgiving him of a mortal sin trump God's decision to send him there? Wow, I don't think I would want the power of the Pope.

Reepicheep said...

Do I think God's forgiveness is conditioned upon repentance?


I agree with the Westminster Catechism's summation of the biblical data-

QUESTION 87. What is repentance unto life?

ANSWER: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.


Why is the repentance, described in the answer called repentance unto life?

Because being a saving grace, it is inseparably connected with salvation, of which it is a part; and likewise to distinguish it from the "sorrow of the world," which "worketh death," 2 Cor. 7:10.

Now, it must be understood, Repentance is a saving grace, meaning it is a gift from God as Act 11:18 shows. But yes, one must repent of his/her sins to be forgiven...absolutely.

Zach said...

I know that it's great fun to hammer the Catholic Church, but this seems to be a particularly sloppy attempt to do so. Let me make three important points that seem to have slipped through the cracks:

1) All of this article's language about "forgiveness" emanates from Reuters' colorful editorializing. None of the direct quotes from "the Vatican" even touch upon the topic of forgiveness.

2) In fact, the quotations don't come from "the Vatican" at all, but rather from a newspaper that covers Vatican affairs. It's hard to understand how what a newspaper might have written (or in this case seems to have not written) could be described as "lame and discrediting of Rome."

3) Frankly, there's not a whole lot that's objectionable about the excerpts from this Vatican newspaper. And I'd think that anyone who has nice things to say about Metallica would cut some slack to an expression of appreciation for the artistry of the Beatles. :)

Roger Mann said...

Besides, do you really believe that God's forgiveness is conditioned on repentance (Mt 5.44-48, Mk 11.25)

Jim, where do these passages imply that God’s forgiveness is not conditioned on repentance? They teach nothing of the sort. In fact, if anything, they teach that we must do more than merely repent if we are to be forgiven by God -- we must love our enemies and forgive those who have sinned against us. Yet, regarding our duty to repent in order to receive God’s forgiveness, Scripture states:

“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24)

“I tell you…unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.” (Acts 8:22)

“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Rick Calohan said...

From the time I was ten years old, which was roughly seven years after The Beatles broke up through my adolescence and even now The Beatles remain my favorite group and Paul was my favorite Beatle who I have seen in concert in Kansas City in 1993, St. Louis in 2002, and Omaha in 2005.

John Lennon sort of, apologized in the aftermath of his statement when he said, “I was not saying whatever they're saying I was saying. I'm sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologize if that will make you happy. I still do not know quite what I've done. I've tried to tell you what I did do, but if you want me to apologize, if that will make you happy, then OK, I'm sorry.”

Now I am not defending John Lennon, and since I know that God has predestined before we came into being who would go where it is not my place to forgive or pardon his sin or presume his whereabouts in the hereafter. Nor will I pretend he is in a Rock n Roll heaven that has one hell of a band.

I think that once again the Vatican has issued a statement as if what the Vicar of Rome has pardoned has any bearing on the lives of Catholic Beatle fans. So fine, allow them to continue to believe they can absolve sin and let the masses fool themselves in believing their works bare any merit to their salvation. If they fall just shy of the mark and their 99% works and 1% grace is not sufficient enough then their family can buy indulges so that they can get of purgatory free. Better yet, in this life become a rock star, make a derogatory statement(s) against Christ and Christianity, and wait 38 years after your death to grant your pardon.

Rick Calohan said...

Perhaps the next Pope will call himself Pope John Paul Ringo George IV.

Jim said...

I trust it's not too churlish to note that the confessional quotations your provide do not in fact say that repentance is necessary for God's forgiveness.

The objective provision of forgiveness, and the subjective receipt of that forgiveness -- let alone the fruit of that forgiveness in our new life -- are distinct categories.

Lk 23.34, "But Jesus was saying, 'Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.'"

Ro 5.10 "For if WHILE we were enemies we WERE reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

Frontier Forest said...

Wow, his long-remembered, blasphemous statement fits right in with today’s “new age,” stinken’-thinken’. I remember when he made his profane proclamation, and even though I was not a believer at that time, it still shook me that anyone could be so brazenly arrogant. Even more preposterous than his venomous claim, is the Biblical ignorance of the Vatican to make the presumptuous claim, they have the power and authority to offer Christ’s vicarious sacrifice, His sovereign, preeminent forgiveness to a dead, unrepentant sinner. The Pope will someday, stand before our Lord, and give an answer for that one!

Reepicheep said...

I expected your response, but dude, there's no real defending this.

Metallica certainly needs to repent! Nevertheless they rock.


I trust Roger will handle your concerns.

Zach said...

Tony, "there's no real defending" what? I don't see why it's so difficult to properly connect the dots on this one.

You don't have a problem with what the Vatican said, because the Vatican didn't say anything. You don't even have a problem with what a Vatican newspaper editorial said. You have a problem with what Reuters, a secular news organization, said. Reuters seemingly made the bit about forgiveness out of whole cloth, and you fell for it, yet you persevere in directing your righteous indignation at the Catholic Church.

I guess if Reuters says that the Vatican has forgiven John Lennon, then it must be so! I suppose, however, that neither evidence nor common decency need be wasted on behalf of the Catholic Church.

Reepicheep said...

looks pretty official to me:

I check in to the full context of the quotes noted by Reuters soon.

I suppose it's possible only some rogue writer at the Vatican Information Source thought John Lennon was such an influence on a whole generation of pop stars, etc.....

Zach said...

I, too, had searched in vain for the original L'Osservatore Romano article and eagerly await its release on the web. It would have been nice, however, if you would have restrained your condemnation until having actually found some condemnable quotes.

As it is, there's not one word in the quotes presented by Reuters that addresses the topic of forgiveness, and I think you would do well to admit it. If I am wrong, and we find that the L'OR article contains juicy passages absolving John Lennon of his sins--excerpts that Reuters would have inexplicably rejected in favor of the bland, unobjectionable quotations that it presented--then I'll admit your clairvoyance and offer my apologies.

And I'll also note that L'OR is the official organ of the Vatican only insofar as it publishes the addresses and official appointments of the pope. Otherwise, it is an autonomous newspaper with an editorial board containing several non-Catholics -- an editorial board that has irked "The Vatican" on many occasions with its controversial articles. For that reason, and because I acknowledge that its presence on the Vatican website is confusing, I would prefer that its contents not appear there.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that the Lord and John Lennon have already hashed his comment out during that final interview and we will never know the final outcome. Do you suppose that John Lennon may have found some degree of humility and forgiveness?

Reepicheep said...

Zach, fair enough, I'll work to clarify the statement from the Vatican News source and I'll even retract my criticism should I find myself to be in error.

Frontier Forest said...

Some pretty vigors dialoging. I really like what the Anonymous said...