Can a Church Apologize?

I really don’t remember what I was going to write about this morning.  Recent news events about the Catholic Church and allegations of ties to Pope Benedict have crowded out whatever I was thinking about.

The Pope made a statement recently – an apology of sorts.  Many are calling it not enough.  Many, perhaps most, see it as just another cover-up.  It is viewed by these people as a way of looking pious without really doing anything.

But, of course, there is a trap when a church – any church – does wrong in the eyes of its followers.  How can a church claim to represent the truth, humility and righteousness and yet admit it is wrong?

Obviously, I don’t believe that the Catholic Church will implode tomorrow.  However, when we look at prophecy, is this part of the divisiveness we see in the “iron mixed with clay”?  Could scandals and controversies cause a transformation of the Catholic Church that leads to a very different (yet the same at its core) church that seems to embrace other religious beliefs and goals?  Could scandals and controversy continue through the end times until the Beast has to throw off the Harlot to survive?

There are more important considerations than prophetic speculation, though.  Can a Church of God do wrong and not repent of sin?  Can sin be lying “at the door” and be ready to master even the house of the faithful?  Can sin fester and boil until God has to step in and take care of the problem?

You know, I can remember people saying that if the Church was wrong then God would take care of it.  That’s the wrong answer!  Yes, God will take care of it, but is that what we really want?

God is not going to take away our free will.  He will allow us to make wrong choices, and that includes corporate entities made of human beings.

What is an individual supposed to do when he or she sins?  What makes a corporate entity any different?

If an individual says they are wrong, does it make him or her look weak?  If a church says they are wrong, does it make it look weak?

If an individual is required to change, then why would an organization be required to change as well?

If an individual is supposed to repent, then why wouldn’t a church desire to repent?

 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:31, King James Version)

There are those that misuse Rev 2 – 3 to condemn others.  Look instead at the overall message and realize Jesus is calling us all to repent!  He said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”, meaning individually and collectively we should be looking at ourselves to see if we are falling short and need to repent.

So, some of you are probably wondering which group, which church, I am really talking about.  That part is easy.  If the shoe fits, wear it.  Or, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”.


  1. Hmmmm — I remember someone in Pasadena issuing apologies in behalf of a Church of God several years ago.

    Some of us thought it was a Christian thing to do, understood and accepted it. But a large number of people thought no apology was necessary. They walked out in, uh, protest.

    And has the church which made the apology ever really recovered?

  2. John D Carmack

    @Richard: Fair enough, but was it the apology that broke the church or was it what the apology was about? Can you apologize for the wrong thing?

    More on topic, is that what corporate COGs fear today?

    My take on it is that people will always get upset and walk out. They did so about Sunday Pentecost. They did so about D&R. They did so about 1975. They did so because of an apology issued about 1975. They did so because the apology about 1975 wasn't "good enough". However, the Church did survive beyond 1975.

    So, are these good reasons to not apologize, i.e., to "not divide the Church"? Or, should the Church lead by example?