Unless you haven’t turned on the TV, radio, or visited a website today, you’ve heard the news that a new leader of the Roman Catholic Church has been elected—a new pope, Francis I. Should we, as Lutherans, care who that leader is? After all, he’s not our leader and we don’t agree with many of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings.
We should care for at least one reason: how the world views biblical teachings on moral issues. Whether we like it or not, the news media often looks to papal teachings as representative of “conservative” Christianity. And, while we disagree with the pope on many serious areas of doctrine, we do often agree on teachings such as male ordination, abortion, homosexuality, and sex outside of marriage.
But far more important than the views of any earthly church leader, is God’s own Word. We’re reminded in Hebrews, Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7) What is most important for any Christian leader? That He speaks and teaches the true Word of God. Habemus papam? We have a pope? No, more importantly for all the world to hear is HABEMUS LIBERATOREM! – We have a Savior! That is, Jesus Christ and him alone!
Jesus Christ alone is the Lord of the Church. Jesus Christ alone is the hope for the world. Jesus Christ alone is the one who has made full atonement for all sin through his death at Calvary. Jesus Christ alone has risen and has assured all that through faith in him alone, apart from any works of man, salvation for eternity is a certainty!