Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not In My Lifetime

The Lord be with you

Most have heard by now of the results of the recent meeting of bishops and the pope. The Roman Catholic Church has, for now, decided to continue in their official position concerning marrying same-sex couples (that is, they don’t do it). However, the pope announced that the discussion is not closed. Based on the idea that God is not afraid of change and that the Roman Catholic Church needs to adapt to changing times and cultures, the conversation will continue.

In speaking with a Roman Catholic friend of mine, he said to me that the Roman Catholic Church would “not in my lifetime” marry same-gender couples. This got me to thinking about all the times I’ve heard “not in my lifetime” over the years.

First, it seems like a rather defeatist attitude. It is like one is saying, “sure, it is going to happen, I just hope it won’t be in the next forty years or so.” It is also like one is saying, “I don’t care about my children’s future, just as long as I personally don’t have to accept this, that or the other thing.”

To put this thought into the context of same-gender sexual relationships, it is saying “I don’t care if my children’s church endorses same-gender relationships, just as long as it doesn’t do so before I die.”

I have heard this “not in my lifetime” comment from people in other denominations. I’ve heard it about women pastors/priests. I’ve heard it about abortion. I’ve heard it about celibate avowed homosexual clergy. I’ve heard it about active avowed homosexual clergy. I’ve heard it about approving extramarital sexual activity. I’ve heard is about holding the Bible as the Word of God. In these other denominations I’m thinking of, the “not in my lifetime” members were wrong. These changes indeed did happen in their lifetime. Often times those who once said, “not in my lifetime” accepted the changes.

It makes me wonder, is there a line that can’t be crossed? Is there something, or some things, where we say, “Not in a church I’m a member”? To put it another way, if the leadership endorses “A” then I will leave this church.

In the end, I think this is something each believer should consider, and before the leadership of their denomination makes a troubling decision.

Pressure from our culture will not go away. No denomination is immune to it. As far as that goes, no individual Christian is immune either. Sometimes the pressure is correct (yes, that can and has happened). Often, though, it is either neutral or negative. (Neutral ideas can be accepted without damage to the historic Christian Faith as found expressed in places like the Nicene Creed or the Augsburg Confession.) Where do you draw the line?

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert


  1. Some of the early disciples of Jesus may have thought that the Gentiles would not received the gospel - "Not in my lifetime!" But they soon found that they were wrong. The working of the Word and the Holy Spirit brought thousands (now millions upon millions) to saving faith - it was not just for the Jews; Jesus died for ALL!