The Pope Gets It Wrong Again!
By Dr. David Reagan
Ever since he was elected in 2013, Pope Francis has kept the Vatican working overtime calling press conferences to explain that he doesn’t really mean what he says.
Here are just a few examples of his off-the-wall statements:
– “I would be willing to baptize aliens if they came to the Vatican. Who are we to close doors to anyone — even Martians?” (May 2014).
– “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” (October 2014).
– “It is not true that to be a good Catholic, you have to be like rabbits” (January 2015).
– “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” (July 2013). And on another occasion, speaking to a gay Catholic: “God made you that way and your sexuality does not matter” (May 2018).
– “The ‘Big Bang’ that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God. On the contrary, it requires it” (October 2014).
– When a conference of bishops in October 2014 rejected proposed wording that would soften the Church’s stance toward homosexuality and divorce, the Pope declared that “God is not afraid of new things,” and he called on the church to adapt to “changing conditions in society.”
– “They [unbelievers] are not punished…those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. A hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists” (March 2018).
The Pope’s Newest Revelation
The Pope’s latest unbiblical declaration occurred in August of this year (2018) when he declared that the death penalty is wrong in all cases. Unlike the above off-the-cuff remarks to reporters, this pronouncement was an official declaration that has resulted in a change in the Catholic catechism.
Until now the Catholic Church has always recognized capital punishment as a just penalty for severe crimes, particularly murder. In 1997, Pope John Paul II narrowed the standards to approve the death penalty if it is “the only practical way” to defend life.
Pope Francis’ new rule outlaws the death penalty totally. In announcing the decision, he claimed that capital punishment is “inadmissible” because it constitutes an attack on the “dignity of man.”
As usual, the Pope did not present any scriptural basis for his decision, although a year earlier he had made the comment that in his opinion, “the death penalty is contrary to the Gospel.”
The Biblical View
The fact of the matter is that the Pope’s decision is thoroughly unbiblical. The sad thing is that most professing Christians are completely unaware of this.
Here’s the point. After the Noahic flood, God made a covenant with Noah that is recorded in Genesis 9:1-17. This is the covenant in which God promised that He would never again destroy the earth with water, and He gave the rainbow as a symbol of that promise. This was declared to be an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 9:16).
There were other provisions of this very important covenant that are often overlooked:
– Mankind was ordered to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1 & 7).
– All the animals of the earth were given an instinctive fear of humans (Genesis 9:2).
– Mankind was given permission henceforth to eat animals as food (the implication being that people were vegetarians prior to this time — Genesis 9:3).
– God commanded the death penalty for murder: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6).
People often respond to this covenant by saying, “But that’s a covenant God made with the Jewish people, and it is no longer valid today during the Church Age.” Not so! The Jewish people did not even exist when God made this covenant. The Jewish people are the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac, and Isaac was not born until 400 years after the flood.
The Noahic Covenant was a covenant with all Mankind, and, again, it was declared by God to be an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 9:16).
Subsequent Biblical Confirmations
The death penalty for murder was reaffirmed in the Mosaic Covenant that God made with Israel (Leviticus 24:17 and Numbers 35:30). And it was reconfirmed in the New Testament in Romans 13:1-7 where the Apostle Paul wrote in detail about civil government and the necessity of Christians to be in subjection to their governments. In verse 4, he pointed out that God has given civil government the right to “bear the sword” as “an avenger” of God “who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”
I think it is also important to note that the early Church recognized the continuing validity of the Noahic Covenant. When the leaders of the Church were faced with the issue of whether or not Gentile believers should be required to be circumcised, they decided against it, but they did decide that they were subject to the Noahic Covenant, and they, therefore, instructed them to refrain from eating blood (Acts 15:6-29).
So, Pope Francis has elevated his personal opinion above God’s Word. And the Bible presents grave warnings against those who do so (Revelation 22:18-19):
18) I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
We are living in a prophesied time of gross apostasy when the Church (both Catholic and Protestant) desires to be accepted by the world, despite what the Word of God says.