Ramon Arias | September 23, 2013
Recent statements made by Pope Francis have sent shock waves. I heard Catholic conservative commentators express shock and outrage, Protestants and Evangelicals commenting with disbelief and indignation. Others are celebrating that the pope is not against abortion, homosexual marriages and contraception; they welcome him as a man of our times.
What did the pope say? The following is according to the headlines of The New York Times: “Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control” and in the first paragraph the article says, “Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic church on Thursday with the publication of his remarks that the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he had chosen not to talk about those issues despite recriminations from critics.”
I took the time to research more facts to ensure I wouldn’t make comments without verifying them. Pope Francis agreed to a series of interviews with Catholic journalists back in August. America Magazine published the interview in its entirety in the English translation. After reading the interview it became clear to me that The New York Times took what the pope said out of context. No one should be really surprised. It’s the left-leaning New York Times after all which is not a friend to any brand of Christianity unless they are likeminded bedfellows.
In the sub heading “The Church as Field Hospital” and before he elaborates about abortion and homosexual marriage he said: “I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.”
In other words, offer a way out for the sinner, tell him or her about God’s redemptive work of Christ on the cross. I cannot argue against that, people are spiritually, mentally and intellectually sick. This is the very reason the world is dominated by evil because people without Christ cannot transform their lives by the renewing of their minds. So, they only do what is natural to them, evil. If a person is not reconciled to God through Christ, he or she is dead, dead, dead. Once an individual acknowledges the need for God’s quality of life and accepts the Savior, the process of teaching that person to become Christ-like begins, and a new creation develops with the entire God-given qualities to proceed to impact their world and make social and cultural changes.
Pay close attention to what the pope said about abortion and same sex marriage, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear.”
Those who are familiar with God’s Revealed Truth, the Bible, know with certainty what God’s position is when it comes to abortion [killing babies in the mother’s womb], the homosexual life style and all forms of moral perversion. I know many Protestants and Evangelicals like to proclaim “God hates the sin but loves the sinner,” of course, this can be misunderstood very easily because we cannot separate the person from the actions. Here, the urgent need is to be born-again. A new life in God means a new way of thinking and acting.
God’s judgment on a nation is in relation to people’s immoral lifestyle. The Bible and history are clear. When there are no righteous people making a difference in society, then comes a time for that society to reap the consequences of all the immorality it has sown. Remember Noah’s generation, and Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 6,18,19). Time after time Israel paid dearly for turning her back on God’s moral law. In modern times, at the beginning of the 20th century, the First World War engulfed the Christian European nations. Afterwards, Marxism triumphed in the land dominated by Christian Eastern Orthodox. And, who can forget Nazi Germany dominated by Protestants, Evangelicals and Catholics who, for the most part, supported Adolf Hitler. No person or nation can escape negative judicial sanctions when they are determined to do evil.
The Roman Catholics have the Pope as their principle leader. They have to sort out the millennial problems they have been carrying for over a thousand years. No one can deny that the Roman Catholic Church is a powerful religious, political and economic institution. Their influence is great in many nations and their doctrines have never been able to generate a just society. The opposite is true. The Catholic Church is in great need of another Biblical Reformation, bigger than the one in 1517. The Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Protestant and Evangelical Churches are in the same condition. It is imperative that the over 2 billion Christians in the world understand God through His Revealed Word, not man’s.
The world is sick and in need of healing. Religion is not the solution, it never has been. The God of the Bible and His Christ is the only source of healing and wellbeing. We have to pay attention not just to what a world leader says, but every person, regardless of his or her social status. We must process everything through the full counsel of God’s Word.