So I watched the media’s 24/7 coverage of the election of a new Catholic pope with mild interest. By far, the most interesting thing about the whole affair was the debate about changes the new pope might bring. Would he finally crack down on pedophile priests? Would he ordain women? Would he endorse same-sex marriage? While some fear such changes, others pine for them.
Like CNN anchor Erin Burnett. Here’s what Burnett admitted, rather candidly, after the nomination of Pope Francis (video link HERE):
I do not practice [Catholicism] now. I am ecumenical, and I’m not alone. Many people I know who were raised Catholic no longer attend Mass and many aren’t raising their children Catholic, either. Whether it’s because of the sex scandal, the Church’s views on women, perhaps it’s openness to other ideas, like homosexuality. The Catholic Church has a lot of issues but it does a lot of good for a lot of people. The Church helps the poor and the lonely, and I bet there are a lot of people who might return to the Church if it changed. After tonight’s celebrations are over the big question will be whether Pope Francis will be that change. (bold mine)
It must be enticing for the Catholic Church to learn that such “high profile” people as CNN news anchors “might return to the Church if it changed.” Just think of all those prodigals wandering, waiting for the Church to change? But should it? Should it matter WHO will return to the Church if it changed? Is the Church responsible to change its opinions about women in ministry (or whatever) so that the Erin Burnetts of the world will return?
I’m not a Catholic, nor a Catholic basher. But this mindset, this expectation, is so prevalent toward the Christian Church as to be ubiquitous. But how much should the Church change to suit culture?
- Should the Church change its beliefs about hell because some people don’t like them?
- Should the Church change its beliefs about the exclusivity of Christ because some people don’t like them?
- Should the Church change its beliefs about the Divinity of Christ because some people don’t like them?
- Should the Church change its beliefs about original sin because some people don’t like them?
- Should the Church change its beliefs about sexuality because some people don’t like them?
- Should the Church change its beliefs about future judgment because some people don’t like them?
- Should the Church change its beliefs about Scripture because some people don’t like them?
Of course, there’s a difference between negotiables and non-negotiables. Doctrinally speaking. Changing what the Church believes about electric guitars being used for worship is a lot different than changing beliefs about the nature of God or the virgin birth. Nevertheless, when the Church yields to public pressure to change any core doctrine or foundational principle, irrelevance is inevitable.
But isn’t this exactly what Erin Burnett is asking?
The Christian Church is the last politically-incorrect institution in America. Government, academia, the arts, business will all bend to cultural pressure. And well they should. There are no unbending, non-negotiable, transcendent laws which bind them. They are a product of democracy.
This cannot be true of the Church.
Once the Church acquiesces to public pressure to change its positions, then it abandons a God-breathed, preeminent center. It becomes little more than your local WalMart. Only in this case, the products that are shelved are doctrines endorsed by its patrons. Homosexual marriage might not be biblical, but it “sells.”
Here, I give Erin Burnett props. Rather than remain in the Church and gripe, she left. Kudos, lapsed Catholics.
Now, hopefully, the Church will not change to suit you.