Acton Institute Powerblog

What Can Protestants Expect From The New Pope?

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In an excellent survey of the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger, Michael S. Horton explores some of the implications of the election of Pope Benedict XVI for Protestantism. After providing a brief background of the relationship between Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II, Horton addresses “some of the representative statements by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, to obtain a better idea of what we might expect from his pontificate. Hopefully we will see that there is much to appreciate in an age of increasing pressure to conform the church’s message to the spirit of the age, while also recognizing the distance that remains between genuinely evangelical churches and the Bishop of Rome.”

I find that the heart of the matter lies in the observation that “those who argue for orthopraxis over orthodoxy forget that with this ‘facile’ and ‘superficial slogan,’ that ‘the contents of orthopraxis, the love of neighbor, radically change (always, but today above all) in keeping with the manner and way orthodoxy is understood’ (23).” In this way, the proper understanding of the relationship between orthodoxy and orthopraxis acts as a check on the tendency to understand unity purely in practical terms, at the expense of doctrinal concord.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, where he also serves as executive editor the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has authored articles in academic publications such as The Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, and Journal of Scholarly Publishing, and has written popular pieces for newspapers including the Detroit News, Orange County Register, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2006, Jordan was profiled in the book, The Relevant Nation: 50 Activists, Artists And Innovators Who Are Changing The World Through Faith. Jordan's scholarly interests include Reformation studies, church-state relations, theological anthropology, social ethics, theology and economics, and research methodology. Jordan is a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), and he resides in Jenison, Michigan with his wife and three children.

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