Gene here: I want to correct a couple of points on this article. Statements about the pope being the "man of sin" and "the antichrists" were from Dr. Bob Jones Jr., then Chancellor of Bob Jones University. He wrote the first paragraph of the resolution voted on by the South Carolina Baptist Fellowship in support of my billboard project. While I enjoyed knowing Dr. Jones Jr. and considered him a friend, it was always my position to simply focus on Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Thesis, letting the Truth lead us to the final conclusion. (This was the first time Gandhian Philosophy impacted a decision of mine in a public way, as I told Dr. Jones Jr. that I did not feel comfortable moving away from quoting only the biblical text itself on the billboards. Dr. Jones wanted me to place commentary on the billboards. I rejected this because of my initial studies of Gandhian ideas to follow Truth Only. My interest was to find the Truth in the theological conflict.) I think this put Dr. Billy Graham in the odd position of having to take my side with the pope, in private, as his radio station could do nothing but report the fact that I was raising Luther's points. Years later, the Vatican took my position, as well, I understand: "Luther was correct on all points." Also, I had zero interest in who funded Pope John Paul II's visit to South Carolina.
FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP CONDEMNS POPE'S VISIT
Feb. 3, 1987 3:15 PM ET
LAURENS, S.C. (AP) _ Leaders of the 25,000-member South Carolina Baptist Fellowship have issued a resolution protesting the planned visit of Pope John Paul II to Columbia, calling him ''the man of sin'' and ''the Antichrist.''
A resolution approved at a meeting Monday also supported the Independent Baptist Billboard Mission's billboard campaign against Catholic doctrine. The mission's board includes pastors from the Baptist Fellowship.
The resolution challenged the pope's visit on grounds of separation of church and state, saying he would conduct an ecumenical prayer meeting at the University of South Carolina at taxpayers' expense.
The fellowship, an organization of 150 independent Baptist churches in South Carolina, is not affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the state's largest Baptist denomination with more than 1,700 member churches and 700,000 members. Baptist Convention leaders have said they welcome the pope's visit.
Last week, the billboard campaign's organizer, the Rev. Gene Chapman of Greenville, said he was trying to raise $100,000 to take the protest to all the U.S. cities the pope plans to visit in September.
A university spokeswoman said Monday that the Catholic Church would pay all expenses associated with the pope's address at the university's football stadium. Spokeswoman Debra Allen said she did not know if any costs would be incurred by the pope's visit with religious leaders at the home of USC President James B. Holderman.
USC's ''ecumenical year'' is also featuring visits from Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos and the Rev. Billy Graham. The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Robert Runcie, also has been invited.
The resolution said the fellowship members ''speak out vigorously in condemning the way in which apostate Baptists and so-called 'Protestant' religious leaders fawn over this papal figure who comes under the Biblical description of 'the man of sin' and 'Antichrist' and declare that those men are traitors against Almighty God and betrayers of the martyred saints who suffered and died under the heavy hand of the Roman Church which declares that it never changes ....''