While Pope Francis has been making secularists and religious liberals happy with his progressive ideas the conservatives have to be shocked. Just two weeks ago a committee of bishops selected and convened by Pope Francis released a draft report that urged the church to recognize "positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation." The church should with regards to homosexuals be "accepting and valuing their sexual orientation." This led to a revolt among conservative bishops. The English version of the policy statement was then revised to express a more traditional view.
Before I get into the latest bombshells I should address the issue some of my Catholic friends are undoubtedly thinking at this point: Why don't you mind your own (Baptist) business?! Well, you know I have already committed to discussing in this blog the two biggest conversational no-no's -religion and politics - and I am going to jolly-well continue to do so. And this latest Francis-ism is meaningful news for anyone concerned about Christian orthodoxy.
There are many things I disagree with in Roman Catholicism. I am an independent Baptist and I have arrived at my beliefs not by birth or by accident, but by faith and searching the scriptures. (And I acknowledge many Catholics and Protestants would claim the same thing.) I am also a student of church history and an observer of society. I have respected the Catholic church and its leaders where it has resisted popular movements in society that it viewed were contrary to scripture. The sanctity of life is a good example. I have supported and gladly worked with Catholic friends in the Pro-Life movement. (I will also admit there are many times that Protestant leaders - yes, even ones that claim to Baptist - greatly disappoint me in their apparent rejection of biblical truth.)
Now the pope comes out with some statements that take serious believers' breath away. So we don't lose our breath and faint let's take them one by one. First Pope Francis said, "When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so." Well, it is "not so" that God is a magician and uses a magic wand. Pope Francis got that right. Let's point out God uses His words. He spoke the world into existence.
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Ps. 33:9)
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Heb. 11:3)What is most worrisome about the the Pope's statement is the "...able to do everything. But that is not so." Oh, I hope this got lost in translation! God most certainly can do everything. Otherwise He would not be God. This is, of course, described by theologians as omnipotence. God's Word tells us:
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”(Matt. 19:26)
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? (Jer. 32:27)Pope Francis continued his explanation on creation..."God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life." Again, I would have to agree with part of his statement. God brought everything to life.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (Is 40:28)But Pope Francis' statement that God is not divine - surely this must be misreported, or mistranslated? Or it has to be named as heresy. Does it not? Catholic doctrine surely teaches the divinity of God, and without a recognition that God is divine we have no religion.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Col. 1:16)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, (2 Peter 1:3)
For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. (Romans 1:20).
So back to why should a baptist care about Pope Francis' statements? I care when society disregards God's truth. Is it expected that people will reject Truth? Yes, but not by the fellow who is recognized as the leader of the Roman Catholic church!
It seems that fundamental principles are now daily rejected. Truths are up for debate or they change with the fashions. Obvious good is now considered evil, and evil good. When more truths - such as God's divinity and omnipotence - are rejected it is to our peril.