Disturbing remarks from Pope Francis appear to be in direct opposition to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ. While in Morocco recently, the leader of the Roman Catholic church departed from Scripture by telling believers in Rabat not to evangelize.
Of course, it’s easy to make headlines when you are the religious leader of millions worldwide, but this Pope has a way of making a mess of things in a hurry and leaving a theological tsunami in his wake.
Stop the Great Commission
There is a section in the Bible known as the Great Commission. It is the last recorded personal directive that Jesus made to his followers on earth. Matthew 28:18-20 reads:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”
In direct contradiction, Pope Francis told his Moroccan audience, “Please, no proselytizing.” Then he “warned Catholics against trying to convert people to their own belief,” saying this “always leads to an impasse.” This would mean the Great Commission applies to everyone everywhere save a small enclave of believers in Rabat. Essentially the Pontiff is saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (except in Morocco), baptizing them, etc. etc.”
Christians in Morocco number less than 25,000 in a country of an estimated 35 million Muslims. King Mohammed VI has kept Morocco one of the safest religious countries in the Mideast. You may think that’s not saying much, but the king does make an effort to promote religious moderation and avoid the Islamic fringe. This is – at the very least – the goal, even if it isn’t always the reality.
Still, being a religious minority is not a reason to avoid telling others about the One Christians believe to be the Savior of the world and God incarnate. The Great Commission does not carry caveats, i.e., “Go and make disciples unless you are outnumbered.” As such, the Pope’s comments are a real head-shaker to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the Bible. One of the things devout Christians despise is when Scripture is distorted, and the Holy Father managed to tread there as well when he said, “our mission … is not determined by the number or size of the space we occupy,” but “to bring about change and the spread of mercy.”
While mercy is a vital tenet of Christianity, it does not take precedence over discipleship. Jesus does not say, “If you are outnumbered, remember to be merciful and forget telling people about me.” Finally, the Pope finished off, “The problem is not when we are few, but when we are unimportant.”
What in the world does that mean?
It certainly appears these comments are a corruption of the Holy Scriptures. This is not the first time the Pontiff has engaged in this type of behavior, and Evangelicals far and wide have taken him on for his ability to part ways with what the Bible renders as truth. For those who do not hold to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, this Pope is “like a dream come true.” Remember when he intimated that do-gooder Atheists are redeemed? There are myriad examples of the Holy Father departing from Scripture. But to add insult to injury, he can’t seem to keep his nose out of politics, either. Back in 2016, he took on then-candidate Donald Trump and called for “bridges, not walls.”
Well, he doubled-down on that in Morocco this week:
“Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build,” he said. “I realize that with this problem, a government has a hot potato in its hands, but it must be resolved differently, humanely, not with razor wire.”
Though this writer is not Roman Catholic, as stated before, I am not anti-Catholic. But the Holy Father’s remarks make for continued controversy. And my guess is that both Roman Catholics and Protestants would have less to argue about regarding the Pope if he would just stop talking about that which he knows nothing and stop distorting the things he is supposed to understand.
As it is, Pope Francis has managed to make a mockery of the Bible and himself at the same time.