Written June 2013.
In his message at his inauguration on March 19th Pope Francis spoke of the need for the church to be protector of ‘all creation, the beauty of the created world… respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live … protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.’ He said that with so many Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant communities present at his inauguration March 19, he felt even more strongly the call to work and pray for Christian unity and determined to ‘continue the path of ecumenical dialogue and ‘take part in an even more urgent fashion the prayer for the unity of all believers in Christ.’
He has also reached out to leaders of other religions saying at a meeting with the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Jain delegations: ‘For the good of all people, the care of the poor and the future of the Earth, religions must cooperate in reminding modern men and women that God exists and has a plan for their lives and their behaviour. The Catholic Church knows the importance of promoting friendship and respect among men and women of different religious traditions.’ He made a special point of saying that he believes that Muslims worship and pray to the ‘one God, living and merciful’ that he also worships. He said it was time to ‘to intensify dialogue’ with other religions, and that he was ‘thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.’
During that same ecumenical meeting, Pope Francis also made it a point to state that he feels ‘close’ to those who do not belong ‘to any religious tradition.’ Going even further down the line of inclusivity he said in a homily on May 22nd in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae, that even atheists are included as ‘children of God.’ ‘We are all children of God – all of us. And God loves us – all of us. The Lord has redeemed us all with the blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,’ he said. Some may ask, ‘‘Father, even the atheists?’ Them, too. Everyone.’ He said that the saving blood of Christ ‘makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good.’
The Pope appears to be giving a universalist message that we are all children of God and must do good to bring peace to the world. No one can question that we should do good rather than evil, but underlying all this we can see an agenda which is aimed at uniting religions with an ‘all roads lead to the same God’ philosophy, which has the hallmark of the one world religion that powerful forces within the UN and world religious networks have been seeking to build toward for decades.
This may sound good to some people, but it is not the message of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament makes it clear that we are not all ‘children of God’ by nature and by birth nor do our good deeds make us ‘children of God’. To become children of God we must be ‘born again’ of the Holy Spirit by receiving Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. ‘As many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ John 1.10-13. ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’ Ephesians 2.8-9.
To say, as the Pope did, that the Lord has redeemed us all through the blood of Jesus, even atheists, shows a complete lack of understanding of the teaching of the Apostles, which is rather serious since the Pope claims to be the successor to the Apostle Peter. Peter said to be saved, we must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2.38) and that ‘there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’ Acts 4.12.
Only those who repent and believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord can be redeemed. We receive forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation through His blood which was shed for us at the cross. The significance of the blood of Jesus is basic to the message of the Gospel. The blood of Jesus ‘cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1.7). Hebrews 9.22 tells us that ‘without the shedding of blood there is no remission (of sins).’ See also Ephesians 2.13, Colossians 1.13-14, Hebrews 9.14, 1 Peter 1.19.
The Lord Jesus who is without sin, shed His blood as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, paying the price which was acceptable to God for our sins. In this way He redeemed us and made it possible for us to be accepted by God and forgiven for our sins. The condition on our part is to repent and believe in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. Until we do that we remain in our sins and under the judgement of God. If we die in our sins without receiving salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus, we are still in our sins and under the wrath of God and going to a lost eternity in hell. To say that those who don’t believe are somehow covered by the blood of Jesus, is to deny the whole meaning of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
The pope has also said that the Muslims worship the ‘one God’ that he worships. Allah is emphatically not the same God as the God of the Bible. Islam denies that God is a tri-unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that Jesus is the Son of God who became man in order to redeem us. ‘Do not say, ‘Three’; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son.’ The Quran says that Jesus is only a prophet and was not crucified. ‘[Jesus] said, ‘Indeed, I am the servant of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet,’ (Quran 19:30). Islam also denies that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. ’And [for] their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain,’ (Quran 4:157).
Muslims believe that Jesus was taken straight up to heaven without dying on the cross and someone who looked like him was put on the cross in his place. In believing this Islam rips out the heart of the Gospel, that Messiah died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day. This qualifies it for being an antichrist and the product of false prophecy according to 1 John 2.18-23 and 2 Peter 2.1-3. ‘Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah)? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.’
In fact according to 2 Peter 2.2 both Roman Catholicism and Islam qualify as the products of false teaching and prophecy: ‘But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.’ The Lord Jesus ‘bought’ us (redeemed us) through His once and for all sacrifice for sin at the cross. When He had finished the work of redemption He cried out from the cross ‘It is finished, and bowing His head He gave up His spirit.’ (John 19.30). This means that He had finished the work of redemption and so there was no need for Him to stay on the cross any longer. He gave up His Spirit, saying ‘Father into Your hand I commend My spirit.’ (Luke 23.46). He was buried and on the third day He rose again demonstrating that He had defeated sin, death and the devil and that through faith in Him all who believe can receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
Because the work of redeeming us was complete nothing more can be added to it. However according to the Roman Catholicism Jesus needs to be sacrificed continually through the Mass as it is claimed (wrongly) that the bread and the wine are changed literally into the body and blood of Jesus (Article 267 of the Catechism). Article 278 of the Catechism says: ‘The Holy Mass is one and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ who offered himself, a bleeding victim on the Cross to his heavenly Father, continues to offer himself in an unbloody manner on the altar through the ministry of his priests.’
The teaching of the Mass is actually ‘denying the Lord who bought us’, saying that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient, but needs to be made over and over again through the supposed sacrifice of the Mass. The book of Hebrews emphasizes the finality and completeness of Jesus’ sacrifice by showing that it does not need to be done over and over again: ‘Now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.’ Hebrews 9.26-28.
Islam also denies ‘the Lord who bought us’ since it claims (wrongly!) that Jesus did not die on the cross and rise again from the dead. Therefore He did not redeem us through His blood shed for our sins. Between them these two religions have a huge influence over almost half the world’s population for whom they shut up the way to the kingdom of God by their false teaching. Jesus spoke of false christs and false prophets coming to lead many astray as a sign of the last days of this age.
Many Protestant and evangelical Christians are welcoming the new pope and talking of ecumenical unity. Holy Trinity Brompton is a church which describes itself as a vibrant church in the heart of London with a vision to play our part in the re-evangelisation of the nations and the transformation of society. Out of it came the Alpha Course which is widely used in Anglican and Catholic churches. Its leadership conference at the Albert Hall in May was attended by many of the leading lights in the new evangelicalism.
It was also addressed by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who was himself widely tipped as a possible successor to Pope Benedict. He said he had personally had two “strong signs” that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was “the chosen one” in the run up to vote. He said only divine intervention could explain the speed with which the Argentine Cardinal – who did not feature on any of the main lists of likely candidates compiled by Vatican experts – was elected as pope.
He went on to say that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, had a “strange similarity” to the new Pope. He said that the two elections were a “little miracle” and a “sign from the Lord” that the two churches should work towards closer unity. ‘It is as if the Lord would say to the world ‘come home, I wait for you’.”
This appeal to ‘come home’ is the classic Roman Catholic appeal for the ‘separated brethren’ (Protestants) to come ‘home to Rome’. The Cardinal was addressing the Leadership Conference of Holy Trinity Brompton in the Royal Albert Hall. The congregation applauded this Catholic input after Alpha Course founder, Nicky Gumbel, had opened with the classic ecumenical appeal based on Jesus’ words in John 17 that ‘they all may be one’.
It is worth pointing out that Pope Francis is a Jesuit, an order founded in 1534 to spread Roman Catholicism throughout the world and to counter the Protestant Reformation. In the past the Jesuits used all manner of means, including infiltration and deception as well as the murderous activities of the Inquisition, to bring the ‘separated brethren’ (Protestants) back to the ‘Mother Church.’ The Jesuit oath contained the words: ‘I do further declare the doctrine of the Church of England, of the Calvinists, the Huguenots and other Protestants to be damnable and those to be damned who will not forsake the same … I do further declare that I will … do my utmost to extirpate (exterminate) the heretical Protestant doctrine and to destroy all their pretended power.’
Roger Oakland says that the Jesuit Agenda is now to bring about ‘ecumenism and a one-world religion. He writes, ‘According to Bible prophecy, a one-world religion that will offer the promise of peace throughout the world is going to commence prior to Christ’s return. To most, this global body will seem like a wonderful thing and very possibly will be a pseudo-Christianity (coming in the name of ‘Christ’); however, contrary to how the masses will view it, it will actually help establish and set up the antichrist and his one world government.’ ‘The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical Church’ http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c97.shtml
The Book of Revelation describes the religious system of the last days in not very flattering terms: ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’ So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marvelled with great amazement.’
The call to faithful Christians is to come out of this harlot church not to join up with it.