Pope Benedict XVI held his first full mass as the new Pope, and the world, superficial as always, has moved on to other things. But I think it still matters to consider the significance of these changes we have seen in the Roman Catholic Church, especially as it might pertain to God’s will in the Final Days.
Non-believers often sneer at Christians for believing we are living in the last days of this world. 2nd Peter warns us, “They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4) , also “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. “ (2 Peter 3:8-9). Small wonder then, that so many would mock the Roman Catholic Church, the most visible and enduring of the denominations on this earth. Where we see stability, the mockers see intransigence. Where we see faithfulness, the mockers see a defiance against their ‘superior’ humanism. It is a hard thing, to be faithful in public to a faith so derided. On this point, Roman Catholics and Protestant Evangelicals can see eye to eye, and points of debate between the two denominations fade to insignificance in the light of our common hope and faith through Jesus Christ.
These are the ‘Final Days’, because Christ has already come the first time, and accomplished what He set out to do. Now, like a good farmer, the Lord is merely waiting for the planting to bear fruit, for the harvest of righteousness on the Earth.
What this has to do with the new Pope, is the role we play as followers of Christ. And while there are many areas of doctrine where I do not agree with the Roman Catholic Church, I agree completely that the Pope, of all people, should represent the RCC as it is. He is the figurehead of the RCC, and if you believe the RCC dogma, the Vicar of Christ. For my end of the pew, there seem to be far too many Evangelicals willing to cater to the secular culture, to change their message to ‘package’ it for the masses, believing that the Gospel needs human improvements on the original message.
Seems to me, we ought to keep an eye on the basics:
1. Believe in Christ
2. Follow His example as best we are able
3. Explain what we believe gladly to anyone who asks
4. Don’t give up our ‘first love’
Time to be fruitful.