Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: Pope Francis and Atheists

Image A recent online article from The Telegraph reported that the recently elevated Pope of the Catholic church has made efforts to reach out to agnostics and atheists. (for Telegraph article, click here .)

His words were given in response to some editorials that had appeared in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. The paper’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari (an agnostic), had asked whether, “the Christian God forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith.”

In his response, Pope Francis wrote that “God forgives those who obey their conscience.” Consider the following quote from The Telegraph article, by Nick Squires:

The Pope wrote: “The question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against one’s conscience.

“To listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference between good and evil.”

He said that the “mercy of God has no limits” and encompassed even non-believers…

In a homily presented in May, he opined that even atheists could be welcomed into heaven. Last March he had made a similar statement of appeasement to homosexuals, saying, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

I have no qualms in pointing out that the Catholic church is apostate, and that the Catholic Pope has no legitimate claim to be a representative of Christ or any pure form of the Christian faith. Having said that, previous Popes throughout the history of the Catholic church have uniformly claimed that salvation comes only to those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Savior of mankind.

Consider the irony. Pope Francis, in the office of Catholic Pope, claims to be the vicar (earthly representative) of Jesus Christ on earth. Yet, his words directly contradict the words spoken by the One he purports to represent. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

While it is true that we are called to live as directed by our conscience (cf. Romans 14:23), this does not excuse one from unbelief, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Further, in contradicting what the Pope said, the apostle Paul clearly states the end of homosexuals to be eternal condemnation at the hand of a righteous God (cf. Romans 1:28-32).

Why would Pope Francis say such things? For the same reason that others have done so. He has rejected God’s word, and replaced it with his own reasoning. The wise man describes such as foolish and destructive, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

We are living in a time where men have turned all that is moral and right on its head. May we all heed the words of warning, penned by the prophet Isaiah,

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!

Isaiah 5:20-21