The Top Ten Mistakes by the Church: 10-8
by Jonathan Wilson
The Church has failed to be a witness to God's character and love.
This carries on from "Virtual Reality." I want to be honest with how the Church has failed, for I know many for whom the Church has failed so miserably they have departed from its walls and even from faith in God.
As a pastor in an evangelical denomination, I want to apologize for your hurt and disillusionment. I offer to you now what I consider the Top Ten Mistakes of the Church, and with each one, the opposite lie which back-lashes have created. Some of these mistakes are doctrinal, some are spiritual in that sin was allowed to distract the Church from God's will, and some are intellectual. I have two goals: To help you see that in each case the back-lash is as false as the Church's own error, and, to help you see that millions of Christians in the Church have recognized and repented of these errors.
10. The Doctrines of Mary.
These have grown over time and now include some patently unBiblical and unreasoned blasphemies, to wit: 1. That Mary was herself conceived by a virgin. This is what is meant by "the immaculate conception." 2. That Mary herself remained a perpetual virgin. 3. That Mary was "assumed" directly into Heaven without dying.
The opposite lie: Jesus was conceived by a human father, so that Mary was not a virgin when she became pregnant.
The Bible clearly states that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant, and, that Mary had normal marital relations and other children by Joseph after Jesus was born. It is grievous that the doctrines of perpetual virginity, immaculate conception and assumption continue to be espoused by the Roman Catholic Church.
9. The Role of the Pope.
This also grew over time, so that the Pope is now construed to be infallible and the "Vicar of Christ."
The opposite lie: The Pope is suppressing the truth about the real heir to Jesus Christ.
The opposite lie has been thoroughly debunked in this website. In no way do I support Dan Brown's depiction of "the Vatican" as a sinister power-broker historically capable of what Dan Brown insists. However, as to the claim of papal infallibity itself: How can the Pope become infallible when no apostle of Christ ever claimed to be infallible?
8. Division over Disputable Doctrine
Hundreds of Christian denominations have now formed since the Reformation. Some have formed over substantive differences, such as, the work and role of the Holy Spirit within the church. Some have formed over insubstantive differences, such as, a personality conflict between ambitious leaders.
The opposite lie: Denominationalism is itself a sin and everyone should return to the Mother Church. The Reformation was a mistake.
When disputable matters cause division, the witness of Christ in the world is harmed. The creation of the Southern Methodist denomination in the USA over the issue of slavery, when Methodist founder John Wesley was himself an abolitionist, is a primary example of the inherent, self-serving sinfulness of this kind of division. However, when the "Mother Church" substantively departs from the sound witness of Jesus Christ, reformation is necessary. Thus, the Reformation was necessary.
Protestant denominations will continue until the substantial errors of the Roman Catholic Church concerning Mary, the Pope (and, for that matter, the medieval alchemy that informed the doctrine of transubstantiation) are addressed. This does not mean that Roman Catholics are not Christian - millions of Catholics are Christians! What it DOES mean is that the True Church established by Jesus Christ does not depend on only one hierarchy to extend the witness and ministry of the Kingdom of God.