Jesus’s own disciples acknowledged that this is a hard teaching and that it’s hard to accept. (John 6:53-65) Jesus knew it was.
But Jesus also knew that it was crucial for people to understand that no one could come to the Father accept through Him, which is why He never wavered in saying so.
Never is this teaching harder to accept than when we must grapple with the possibility that someone we loved – perhaps even someone we thought was a good person – died and did not go to Heaven because they rejected Christ in their life. Those are the times when we want to believe that somehow, some way, God would make an exception for them. It’s hard for our human hearts to accept that someone we loved might be in Hell. We look for someone of some theological standing to tell us not to worry, because in their case God would overlook their disbelief and still welcome them into Heaven.
A true minister of the Gospel has to stand firm in the truth, difficult though it is at such a time. And granted, it would be a million times more difficult when it’s a heartbroken little boy who wants someone to tell him his atheist father isn’t in Hell. You want so badly to tell him what he wants to hear.
But if your calling is to preach the Gospel, you must not deny it just to make someone feel better, not even that heartbroken little boy. And tragically, that is exactly what Pope Francis did here:
As you can see, this is being widely shared on social media, with more than 3 million views. People are watching it, nodding their heads, patting their hearts and sharing it. It makes everyone feel better.
And it’s almost completely false.
The only thing the pope gets right here is when he says God decides who gets into Heaven. Of course He does. But God laid out very clearly in Scripture the basis on which He decides, and He did that because He wants all of us to understand how to be saved.
What the pope has done here is completely disregard what Scripture tells us, and come up with a man-made criteria that feels better to man, because it doesn’t require of us the one thing Scripture says is non-negotiable – that we acknowledge the lordship of Christ and receive His grace as forgiveness for our sins.
That is a lie. And when you look at the number of people who have shared this video, you quickly realize Pope Francis has put forward a deception that millions are embracing. It’s now on the record that the leader of the Catholic Church says you can get to Heaven while rejecting Christ and even while denying the existence of God.
Perhaps you could try to defend the pope by saying it would simply be too mean to tell that little boy his father is in Hell. The problem with that is twofold:
- Nothing justifies lying to the boy.
- Even if the pope did think it was justifiable to lie to the boy so as not to hurt his feelings, he could have just whispered the lie to the boy. Instead, he repeated the lie out loud to everyone..
How many of these people might have been open to the Gospel at some point in their lives, but will now say they don’t believe they need to accept Christ because even the pope said so.
That’s an awful lot of damage the pope just did so as not to hurt that boy’s feelings.
This is a perfect example of how Satan’s lies are so crafty. It’s hard to watch this video and not find it heartwarming, and not feel the pope handled the situation exactly as he should have given what the boy was going through.
But a serious theologian would not deny the Gospel in order to spare the boy’s feelings, and sadly that’s exactly what Pope Francis did.
I do not accept the authority of the papacy, so to me this is just one man – albeit a very influential man – engaging in some bad teaching. But for those who do accept the authority of the papacy, they were just given license to reject Jesus Christ and still expect a ticket into Heaven.
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Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)
Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)