The pope’s visit

Dear Friends,

I’ve found myself surprised by the amount of coverage the pope’s visit is getting. It is a really big event! I probably shouldn’t be surprised, given that is is the first state visit by a pope to Britain. Given the coverage, it is almost bound to be a topic of conversation among people we meet this week. What are we to say when they ask us, or even when we ask them, “So, what do you make of the pope’s visit?”

It seems to me we want to try to talk about gospel issues. So, I would want to stay away from the controversies such as what the visit is costing, the child sex abuse scandal, and the differences between Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church – not that they’re not each important – at least unless I’m directly asked about them. Instead, I think I would want to focus on issues that are more directly related to the gospel: The pope seems convinced that there is such a thing as absolute truth, both for what we believe and the way we behave, when we as a country seem to have lost confidence in that. He also thinks that that truth has been revealed by God, rather than discovered by human beings, and that it is unchanging, even in a changing world.

I would be hoping to get the opportunity to say that we would expect there to be absolute truth if God is there, and we know he is there because he has shown himself in Christ. Also, Christianity is about what happened in history (the death and resurrection of Jesus) and what that means, both of which are unchanging. And Christianity is about what God has revealed to us of himself, rather than what we think of him … And then ask them what they think. Or something like that! Well, it’s at least worth a try…

Yours in Christ
Chris Hobbs