Today, Pope Francis will make his historic visit to America. His plans include addressing Congress and the United Nations, presiding over worship services, taking part in parades, and visiting the homeless immigrants and those in prison.
Many are calling his visit a “world’s conversation game changer” because he also plans on discussing controversial topics such as same-sex marriage and immigration. But does it really matter? Should Christians care about what the Pope has to say?
Depending on your Catholic leanings, there may be varying responses to my question. Some may view the Pope’s words as being directly from God, others might say he is simply a powerful religious leader with an opinion, or others might say he is just another politician. Regardless of your perspective, how will God view the Pope’s discussion? How should Christians respond to what the Pope has to say?
Double-Check All Spiritual Discussion with the Bible
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
When it comes to spiritual “truth”, God has the final word. The Bible is inspired by God himself and is provided to us as a standard to measure and clarify His perfect and holy will. Therefore, it is critical when someone claims to speak on behalf of God (i.e. a pastor, preacher, or even a Pope), that their words are measured against God’s word. Any deviation from God’s word should be rejected regardless of who is talking.
God expects every Christian to participate in this type of comparison for both spiritual protection and to prevent false teaching from spreading. So make sure that you always ask and answer the question, “What does the Bible say?” when you hear the Pope talk about spiritual issues. If his words line up with the word of God, then what he has to say matters!
Don’t Compromise God’s Word in the Name of Relevancy
Hebrews 13:8-9 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings…
You may often hear that since times are changing, the church needs to be changing as well. On the surface, that sounds very rational. I mean who wants to be stuck in the past? The only problem with that perspective is that “truth” doesn’t change. In other words, if something is true, then it is true regardless of how things are changing around it. For example, if lying is a sin (Exodus 20:16), then lying will always be a sin regardless of how many people think lying is now okay.
When we start determining what is true and what isn’t based on relevancy, we take the place of God and start walking down that slippery slope toward heresy. So yes, it is important for Christians and the church to be relevant and changing in practice and approach, but not in redefining truth. So be careful about what you embrace in the name of “changing times”. God’s truth does not need updating and is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Does the Pope’s visit matter? I think we can clearly say yes from a socio-economic and political perspective. His statements and views will have a global impact on leaders around the world. But when it comes to spiritual matters and God’s truth, we will just have to wait and see…
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