A Modern Heresy

Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 9:45 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “Unless You Are Born Again” in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart I read 1 John 1-2:6 (ESV).

Introduction to 1 John: Excerpt (Zondervan NIV Life Application Study Bible)

“The main problem confronting the church of this time was declining commitment: many believers were conforming to the world’s standards, failing to stand up for Christ, and compromising their faith. False teachers were plentiful, and they were accelerating the church’s downward slide away from the Christian faith.

“John wrote this letter to put believers back on track, to show the difference between light and darkness (truth and error), and to encourage the church to grow in genuine love for God and for one another.”

Truth vs. Error

I quoted this section of this introduction to 1 John because I believe it speaks accurately of where we are as a church here in America today, and perhaps in other nations throughout the world, as well, which is a critical spiritual issue facing the church. I also believe the Lord Jesus would have me address a very serious false teaching of global proportions that has recently surfaced out of the Roman Catholic Church, because many throughout the world – believers in Jesus Christ, non-Catholics and non-believers, alike – are being captivated by its message and many are “falling in love” with the messenger, the “New World Pope,” as he was titled by Time Magazine when he appeared on the cover of the magazine in March of this year. He came to the forefront again today as Time Magazine named Pope Francis - the “New World Pope” - as “Person of the Year.” So, I did some research on the pope.

I read Pope Francis’ Letter to La Repubblica: “An open dialogue with non-believers,” dated September 11, 2013. He was responding, apparently, to a letter the founder of the magazine had addressed to the pope publicly in the July 7th edition of the magazine. Then I read “The Pope: how the Church will change,” dated Oct 1, 2013, which was written by the magazine’s founder, “Eugenio Scalfari,” and which supposedly represented a face-to-face dialogue he had with the pope. I will just hit some of the highlights of these two articles, because there is just so much there, and so much of it is written or spoken in such an obscure manner that it was difficult for me, in places, to discern where the pope was headed or what he really meant, as it seemed to jump around quite a bit.

To the pope, the “most urgent problem” facing the church today was two-fold: 1) “youth unemployment,” and 2) “loneliness of the old.” He believed this to be the “most urgent” and the “most dramatic” of all the problems the church faces. Wow! When the atheist founder of the magazine suggested to him that his friends thought the pope might try to convert him (to Christianity and to faith in Jesus Christ), the pope said, “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the more important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”

Proselytism “refers to the attempt of any religion or religious individuals to convert people to their beliefs, or any attempt to convert people to a different point of view, religious or not” (Wikipedia). So, youth unemployment and lonely old people is “most urgent,” according to the pope, but trying to lead people to saving faith in Jesus Christ is “solemn nonsense.” Wow! And, not only that, but he said we need to expand our thinking, as long as it leads toward “the Good.” When asked of the magazine founder the “single vision” of the Good, and to tell who decides what is good, the pope reportedly replied, “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is good… Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.” Again, Wow! Is not the “single vision” of what is good God? And, is he not the one who decides what is good and what is evil, and not man?

[Disclaimer: After much outside criticism of these remarks purportedly made by the pope, the Vatican has removed the magazine’s write-up of the conversation from their website, and apparently the pope is saying his words may have been misunderstood. As well, the magazine founder is stating publicly that perhaps he may have written words supposedly from the pope that may not have been his. But why did they wait until after the write-up of the interview had been met with much criticism before coming out with these “disclaimers,” and why did they post the interview on the Vatican’s website to begin with?]

Then, the pope went on to define “agape love” as “love of others, as our Lord preached. It is not proselytizing, it is love. Love for one’s neighbor, that leavening that serves the common good.” He continued, “The Son of God became incarnate in order to instill the feeling of brotherhood in the souls of men. All are brothers and all children of God… Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes.” Again, Wow!

Agape love is god-like love, i.e. it is loving others like God loves us, because it is rooted in God, not in man, and is not conditional based upon the one being loved, but is based in the love of God within the one doing the loving, i.e. God loving others through us. Yet, the pope excluded the preaching of the gospel of salvation from that love, but Jesus’ main mission was to save us from our sins and to free us to walk in his righteousness and holiness, which is the essence of the gospel. Only through faith in Christ can we have such a great salvation, so to exclude the preaching of the gospel (winning souls to Christ) from agape love is ludicrous! We are not all children of God. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ are his children. He also suggested that our goal should NOT be to try to win people to faith in Jesus Christ, their only hope of salvation, but we must restore hope to the young people, help the old, spread love, etc. But the love he is speaking of is not divine love, it is human love, and it is selfish in nature, not god-like, for it seeks to be one with the world and modern culture which feeds the sinful desires of humans, instead of seeking Christlikeness.

Then, he went on to deny the deity of Christ: “Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator.” This goes directly against Jesus’ own claims, as well as it goes against the teachings of the apostles, particularly here in 1 John 1 and in John 1 in which John makes it quite clear that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is also God, our creator, who was with God from the beginning, and who is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, he must not believe in the trinity, either. One of the biggest reasons Jesus was hated was because he claimed to be who he was – God. The other main reason he was hated was because he confronted people with their sins and he told them they must turn from them and that they must walk with him in submission and surrender if they want to have eternal life with God in heaven. Jesus was not hated and crucified because he was Mr. Nice Guy who just “loved” on everyone, as the pope and others like him seem to infer. The pope is a strong global voice for oneness of religion among many faiths and including non-believers (atheists), so watch out! He is not a voice of reason, but he is a tool of Satan to pull believers away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ.

Walking in the Light

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Again, God is not in everyone. We are not all God’s children. The primary way in which God demonstrated his love for us was in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He gave up his life for us so we could be free from the control of sin over our lives, free from slavery to self-pleasure, and so we could be free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. And, the only hope we have for our future is to trust him with our lives by humbling ourselves before him in turning from our lifestyles of living for self and sin, by being transformed (born again) of the Spirit of God, and by turning to God to walk in his purity and holiness the rest of our days, allowing him to live out his life through us. And, that is the only true hope for the future we have to give other people, too.

Yes, we should care for the poor and needy, and lift up the fallen, and help heal the sick and injured, and care for the lonely and the oppressed, but where is agape love if we deny our Lord Jesus and we refuse to share the only hope with the world that there is? We have no fellowship with God if we do not walk in the light of his word, his truth, his purity, righteousness, holiness and his love, and if we continue to walk in the sinfulness and selfishness of our own human flesh. We should not follow in the ways of the pope or in the ways of the self-created concept of the Jesus he would have us believe in, but we are to walk in the ways of Christ as recorded in God’s holy word, the Bible, as witnessed to and as written about by the apostles, and as demonstrated to us by the life of Jesus Christ and by his own words. That means we have a responsibility to not compromise, blend, or dilute the true gospel in favor of this one-world everybody love everybody religion that is absent of the only true hope there is. We need to hold fast to the truth of the gospel, not deny our Lord, and we need to keep sharing the gospel of salvation so people can be saved.

Unless You Are Born Again
An Original Work / November 3, 2013

Based off John 3:1-21

Nicodemus came to Jesus.
He acknowledged God was with Him.
Jesus said, “You can’t see heaven
Unless you are born again.”

“How can a man be born when he’s old?
Can he enter into his mother’s womb?”
Jesus answered, “Flesh is flesh,
So of the Spirit, you must be.”

Jesus said to Nicodemus,
“You’re a teacher, and yet you don’t
Understand of what I tell you,
Because you will not believe.

“For God so loved the world that He gave
His one and His only Son for your sin.
So, whoever believes in Him
Has eternal life in heav’n.

“Light has come into the world,
But human beings love the darkness,
Because their deeds are so evil,
So in truth, they stand condemned.

“Everyone who practices evil
Fears that the Light will expose his sin.
Yet, whoever lives his life by the Light
Does so through his God.”


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