The Existence of Evil
By: Jim O'Brien
The year was 2012 when Glenn Beck had a meeting at the Vatican with the then Pope. He was clearly impressed with members of the Catholic hierarchy who candidly reported that the Catholic Church was in a fight for the soul of the church.
Pope Benedict was 85 years old with the expectation that his time on earth was short. He confessed his unrestrained distress by the drift in the Church from fundamental values essential to Christianity. His orthodox theology was the catalyst for him to elevate 33 conservative priests to be Cardinals, a move that followed a similar step several months prior. He was, in Beck's words, "packing the court". That is to say, he feared the liberal element would take over the church causing it to abandon its values unless there was a change in leadership,
The major case in point was abortion. U.S. politicians, that included many Catholics, were determined to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions even though the Catholic Church teaches that protecting life is central to their faith. Let’s face it, when a church teaches that it is a mortal sin to use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, how can they tolerate members voting to kill babies? The Pope was not unaware that 76 percent of Catholics in America voted for a man that was the most pro-abortion President in the history of the country. It frightened the Pope that over three quarters of the church voted for a man who is diametrically opposed to the values of the Church.
The pontiff saw the Church moving in a direction that opposes basic values. That isn’t unusual for a religious or political institution. In fact, Glenn Beck commented, "we are all Catholic now." Strange expression from a committed Mormon.
Were the concerns of Pope Benedict warranted? Twenty years later surveys have revealed that over 50 percent of abortions are performed on Christians. When Jesus was teaching on earth, He warned the skeptics that "You are of this world; I am NOT of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins" (John 8:23). The question today is whether the values of the average Christian are any different from those of the world.
The undeniable truth is that it was religious and political leaders of the day that killed Jesus. They murdered the One that they claimed to worship because they were more like the world than they were like God. Can a person who is intent on murder make a legitimate claim to be like God?
Maybe the real question today is not whether Congress is committed to the values of God—though that would certainly be good. But the larger question is whether "Christians" are committed to Christian values. In many elections, the number of votes it would take to sway the outcome is relatively small. If Christians voted values rather than politics abortion and infanticide would stop!
The problems of this world may well be caused by the Christians of this world. If Christians would repent, the world would change.
A Pew Research Poll once revealed a dramatic and chilling trend for our country. The major drift in the voting booth is a strong dichotomy between observant Christians and others. Non-Christians and non-committed Christians tend to vote one way and committed Christians vote the opposite. Graphs developed by the Pew Institute could not be clearer. There is growing animosity toward Christian values. They concluded that Christians who straddle the "value" fence for political reasons may be digging a grave for themselves.
When Jesus talked about conditions in the end time He said there would be persecution within our closest relationships. "Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death" (Matthew 10:21). It’s hard to envision a time when members of the same family would seek to kill their own parents. But Jesus continued, "And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake" (verse 22).
When America was fighting the Revolutionary War to establish our right to be a sovereign nation, Ben Franklin said, "We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Like it or not, there is a war going on now. We even sing the hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers. We’re marching off to war. We should heed Franklin’s advice to "hang together." Beck’s statement that "We’re all Catholic now" doesn’t mean we all have the same doctrines. It’s the value of life that is common to all Christians.
Until next time,
Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati
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