I turned on the news last night specifically to hear about what happened to the 717 who were trampled to death in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj. Instead, Live news was put on hold so we could watch the arrival of Pope Francis to New York City and his subsequent drive to the Cathedral in his Pope-mobile. Everything in me wanted to cry as I watched the swarms of people screaming, crying, and holding their phones up for pictures of this man. My husband demanded I change the channel and that was the end of the news for us last night.
It has been extremely difficult for me to watch in silence the events surrounding the Pope’s visit. I’ve wanted to put to words my reasons behind WHY it bothers me so much, so today, I’m going to give it my best shot.
I have no doubt that Pope Francis is a different kind of Pope. I also see that he has made great strides in making the Catholic church more appealing, especially to the next generation. He is definitely friendly, humble, and strikingly different than preceding Popes.
However – it’s these differences that I take issue with.
Satan is the Master Deceiver and he does his absolute best to twist absolutely everything around until all of a sudden, up is down and down is up and left is right and right is left and everyone is so confused, they can’t even figure out how to fix it anymore, so they just assume it’s now all correct and leave it. The mess gets bigger and bigger until the True Light becomes all but a pinpoint in the distance – so far away that it looks more like an illusion than the sun itself.
The Pope has been so busy trying to make the church more appealing to the younger generation that he has become a sort of god in his own mind. Catholicism in general neglects to take into account most of Scripture. It’s so sad, too, because the freedom offered in Christ is so much better than what the Pope is offering in the Catholic church. See? Satanic deception. People think they’re getting the better end of the deal and instead, they’re missing the real thing.
The Word of God makes it clear that only God can forgive sin. One of the best stories is in Mark 2. Friends bring a paralyzed man to Jesus. Unable to reach Him through the door of the building, they lower him through the roof. Jesus first addresses the man’s bigger issue: his sin. After forgiving his sin, Jesus listens to the religious leaders’ thoughts and says, “Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’?” He then goes on to prove that He can, in fact, forgive sin by having the paralyzed man get up, take his mat, and go home.
Compare this to the Pope. People are so desperate for him to heal them, to forgive them, to bless them and their children. They are convinced that he has the power to forgive sin and to make them get out of their wheelchairs. Yet, where is the proof? The crowd burst into applause last night when he merely touched a lady in a wheelchair in the Cathedral – yet, she didn’t even attempt to get out of her chair. Jesus didn’t have to touch the paralyzed man, or even be in the house to raise the dead girl, and it happened. He said He could heal, He said He could forgive sin – He can obviously do both because healing is way harder than just saying some words.
Can the Pope do either, I ask?
The children running to the Pope is so reminiscent of them running to Jesus. Parents bringing their children to Jesus for a blessing. The Pope is obviously a kind and gentle man, of that I do not doubt. But, has healed the children? Has he held them on his lap and told the crowd to become like a child to enter heaven? Or does he merely listen to them, pat them on the head, take a selfie, and walk off?
Thousands upon thousands of people are cheering this man as he arrives in a humble car. Can’t you hear the crowds cheering for Jesus as He arrived on a donkey? However, when Jesus arrived at the Temple, He was furious that it was a place for buying and selling and no longer a House of Prayer. The Pope praised the new grandiose new Cathedral in New York and was enthralled by the riches of the wealthy who paid for it.
The Pope had the opportunity to stand before Congress yesterday and make a worthwhile speech specifically condoning the atrocities of Planned Parenthood. The Catholics are ravenously pro-life and anti-abortion. The things Planned Parenthood has been doing are disgusting and needs to end. The Pope had the power in his hands to stop all that – and he didn’t even touch on it.
Jesus was never afraid to touch a controversial topic. He even called the leaders in His time “hypocrites” and “broods of vipers.” He spoke the truth because “the truth will set you free.” The Pope will not speak the absolute truth because it could cost him his reputation and attendees of the Catholic church.
We are told repeatedly in Scripture not to worship another human being. In fact, we always know that someone is truly sent from the Lord because they command those that bow down to get up and NOT worship them (ie – Daniel and Peter); worship is only for the Lord God . People are worshiping the Pope this week – taking their kids out of school to meet him, crying when he passes by, cheering when he waves at them, begging him to bless their child. How can we look at that and be okay with it? Worse yet, how can we look at that and desire to be a part of it?
The Bible warns about False Teachers. Look at Jude 4: “…some godless people have wormed their way in among you, saying that God’s forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” More warnings are spread throughout Scripture. We are to be on the lookout because they’ll sound great – maybe even quotable! They’ll look righteous and religious. But, if they are not preaching Christ and Him crucified – salvation through faith and grace ALONE – not of works so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9), then it is a false Gospel and a false teacher, no matter how white the robes or how great the following.
The Pope may be a good guy with good intentions, but do not be deceived. He is not God. He is not God’s Son. He is not doctrinally correct. He is not building up GOD’S church; he is building the Catholic church and those are two very different things.
Watch everything he says. Compare all of it with the Word of God. If it doesn’t line up, run. The second he says he has the power to forgive sins, get out of there. Who alone can forgive sin? Jesus Christ. The Son of the Living God.
We have been warned over and over that those preaching in Jesus’ name will come and wow, will they look legit! When you begin to wonder if it’s too good to be true, open that Bible up and study it out. If he doesn’t line up, he is not for real. Satan lives to deceive and he’s doing a great job right now. Bow to no man. Worship none other than the Living God. Follow His teachings alone. Salvation by grace through faith. It is the GIFT of God, not of works, so that no man can boast. You cannot earn it, you cannot be given it by another person because we all need it. Run straight to God Himself, not the Pope.
I urge you, church, do not be deceived by flowery words and humble living. If you know Christ as Savior, then you bow to no man but the Son of Man.