Ask RC: Why is it acceptable for the church to change historical doctrines such as condoning birth control?

Posted By on February 12, 2014

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Because the church can err. The church is the Bride of Christ. He has promised to be with us. He sent His Spirit to guide us, gave His perfect Word to direct us. He is about the business of removing from us every blot and blemish. But that must needs remind us that we have blots and blemishes, that we can and do err.

We live in an age that shows little respect for the bride of Christ, even among those who make up the bride of Christ. We are given to autonomy, individualism. We see the church as a mere social club, devoid of commitment or authority. I fear our low view of the church not only has but will bring nothing but heartache and judgment upon us. The solution, however, to a low view of the church is not to affirm that the church is beyond error.

All of us face the temptation of embracing the spirit of the age. When we look back over the history of the church we should not be surprised that her errors often reflect the errors of the surrounding culture. For two hundred years the church struggled with various forms of racism, not coincidentally at the same time that Darwinism spread the same racism in the broader culture.

In like manner, Saint Augustine, though surely the greatest theologian of the first millennium after Christ, did not escape the baleful influence of the Gnosticism in taking the view that the marital act was a “necessary evil.”

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Recommended Resources

BIRTH CONTROL: How Did We Get Here?
The Baby War: Defenders and Defectors
Naturally Healthy Pregnancy
Naturally Healthy Woman

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