Friday, July 21, 2017

Pope Francis Says "We're All Children of God" If He Says It, then It Must be True. Right? Not Quite!

A few days ago I saw an undated article on one of the Apologetics boards to which I am periodically contributing my posts. I will be sharing this post on there as a response to a statement made by Pope Francis about how God is the Father of all of us.  
Unfortunately, many people who concur with the papacy's proclamations, blindly think that whenever the pope says something on religious matters then it must be true. But is the pope right?
If the pope says that we are all children of God, is he correct?  This statement is the other side of the religious pluralism question of all religions saying the same thing. The thinking is that if we're all children of God, then all religions must be leading the same God and say the same thing. In this posting, I want to quickly assess the statement that "all people are children of God."  Before I do that, you need to see the statement so we have clarity on what I will be addressing,  
“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God,”[1] 
While every person has the knowledge of God in them, not all religions say the same thing, nor worship the same God. I have a posting on this subject of religious pluralism. So what would like to do in this posting is share with you where the pope and those who hold to religious pluralism are in error.  
First, while there is a kernel of truth to what the pope is trying to say in general, the biblical text say something different in particular.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that God the Father is only the Father of all spirits. We see this in letter to the Hebrews, where the writer tells us in context of chapter 12 and verses 7-9,  "Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? (verse 9)
Second, the Bible is perfectly clear on who is and who is not a child of God.  This is where the pope's statement is fundamentally in error.  The only way one can become a child of God is through trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone for their salvation and eternal life. (Romans 10:9). The Apostle confirms this for us, by telling the us in the very first chapter of his gospel and in verses 12-13, 
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right (exousia - authority) to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (emphasis mine)
Just because the present pope and popes in the past have made religious statements, it does not mean that those statements cannot be put to the test under the microscope of truth, the Word of God. Simply stated, just because someone is taking authority to make a religious statement or a public religious authority says something is true, it does not make it true until it is tested we can test it. 
The Bible is perfectly clear on the presenting the condition of man and his need for a redeemer. The lost, those who HAVE YET to trust in Christ's finished work, are never referred to as God's children (Ephesians 2:3). When we are born, we are born in a fallen world and with the problem of sin. Thank you Adam and Eve!
Instead of being born as God’s children, we are born in sin, which separates us from God and aligns us with Satan as God’s enemy (James 4:41 John 3:8). Jesus said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me” (John 8:42). Then a few verses later in John 8:44, Jesus told the Pharisees that they “belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.” The fact that those who are not saved are not children of God is also seen in 1 John 3:10: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”
If you are reading this and you embrace a religious worldview other than the Christian faith, I want you to know that I love for Jesus' sake and want you to come to the truth. 
The only way we can become God’s children is when we place our faith in Christ as our only Savior and Redeemer. It is only then that we are adopted into God’s family through our relationship with Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:5-6Ephesians 1:5). This can be clearly seen in verses like Romans 8:14-17: “…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Conclusion. 
So the next time someone says to you that we are all children of God, we need to understand that we need to be gracious to the person making the claim. While it may be true in general, it is only because God is the father of all spirits. However the statement is fundamentally false, that the only way we can become a child of God is through the risen Jesus Christ.  

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Notes

[1] Pope Francis said in his message, released Jan. 6, 2016 at the feast of the Epiphany. You can see   the video here, a minute-and-a-half long, the Pope cites the fact that the majority of the earth’s inhabitants profess some sort of religious belief.

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