Today I am going to venture out into a semi-controversial topic. I’ll tell you what I think the bible says about it and you can form your own opinion/beliefs. The topic is Universalism. The newly elected leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, said something that raised my eyebrows. Remember, this man is the head of the Catholic Church that has 1.2 billion members. See the conversation below:
Pope Francis went further in his sermon to say:
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
Wait a minute. Jesus died and shed his blood to forgive the sins of even the atheist, as long as they try to do good? Are you kidding me? So according to this pope, it doesn’t matter what we believe, do or put into practice here on Earth, as long as we TRY to do good, we will all go to heaven.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT through me”. So salvation must involve Jesus. I guess one could use this verse alone, and twist the meaning, and make a case that what Jesus did saved us all.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by Grace you have been saved, through FAITH - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Here is where I think the Universalism theory starts to fall apart. Let my math mind break this down for the pope. Grace + FAITH = Salvation. Grace + attempts at works does not equal salvation.
Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me”. Once again, God is making salvation available, through Jesus, but it would seem to me that he says “anyone that hears his voice” not “everyone who tries to do good”. Also, it would seem to me that it requires a purposeful action of “opening the door” to Him, not “trying to do good”.
Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it”. This is straight from the mouth of Jesus. Now I’m no great biblical philosopher, but it would seem that atheists that try to do good would not fall under the narrow gate description given by Jesus in Matthew’s version of the gospel.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 Paul says “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
I feel that this Universalism that the pope is pedaling is not sound doctrine. I also think that the myth that hell is not real, sold by Rob Bell, that Francis Chan debunks in Erasing Hell, is an example that Paul is describing in his letter to Timothy.
I truly believe that someone has to hear about Christ, and then make a decision about what to do with the grace he has given us.
Romans 10:13-15 says: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
We were so proud of Jared this week as he shared and prayed with some prisoners in Pallisa, and 20 of them “called on the name of the Lord”.
|List of the prisoners calling on the name of the Lord.|
I challenge you to stay vigilant and don’t give in to a message that “suits your own desires” or is what your “itching ears want to hear”. Dig into the Word and depend on the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the Truth.
In my humble, yet oft sarcastic, opinion, if we are all going to heaven, the New Testament could be much shorter. After the crucifixion and resurrection, the next page could say, “Just try to do good. You’re welcome”!