"This is not your job, dude. That is not up to you to make that decision," declared Whoopi Goldberg in response to Roman Catholic archbishop Salvatore Cordileone banning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from communion. Pelosi was banned for her passionate and vocal support for unrestricted abortion rights, which is against Catholic teaching.
Goldberg is dead wrong. In the same way the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church of God in Christ can decide who can be members of their churches and receive communion, so the archbishop can make that decision for his congregations.
Strangely, Goldberg seems to think the state should have some involvement in the matter, saying, "The abortion issue is starting to blur the lines between church and state." Really? In what way?
The right for churches to govern their own affairs without government interference is guaranteed by the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof.”
The problem for Goldberg, and so many caught up in this furor, is their institutionalized concept of Christianity. When Christianity becomes institutionalized, God becomes identified with the organizational structures of the church, its rituals, and its formalities. People are made to think they can only come to God through the institution and its religious apparatus.
The truth is that neither the archbishop, the pope, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, nor any church leader can keep anyone from God. They may keep you from their communion table and membership in their denomination, but they cannot keep you from having a relationship with the Living God.
The Bible is very clear that there is only one mediator between God and humanity, and it is not the pope, a Protestant pastor, or any Christian leader. It is Jesus Christ! I Timothy 2:5 says, For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. Jesus Himself declared in in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Also, there is nothing in Scripture that forbids any true follower of Christ from serving communion. I have close friends—a married couple--and the wife has been diagnosed with cancer. They take communion every day in their home as an expression of their faith in believing God for victory.
If Ms. Pelosi is a true follower of Jesus Christ, she can bypass the archbishop’s ban and share communion in an informal setting with a few Christian friends. But if she is committed to an institutionalized form of Christianity, then it will be a power struggle and she will search for a Catholic priest or bishop who will take her side and give her communion.
Despite the furor, if Ms. Pelosi’s ban from Catholic communion can provoke a fresh conversation on the nature of church, communion, and how one may have a personal relationship with God, it could well play a role in igniting a genuine spiritual awakening in all denominations.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, Bible teacher, and ordained minister with over 50 years of ministerial experience in many parts of the world. His books are available from Amazon and his website at http://eddiehyatt.com.