Friday, July 3, 2020

POPE FRANCIS’ CONDEMNATIONS




Is it fair to call us “haters” if we hate sin? The pope seems to think SO. He had reserved his strongest condemnations for traditional Catholics:

·       During his general audience at the Vatican today, Pope Francis condemned Catholics who go to church every day but “go on hating” their fellow men. He said it “is better” that they not go. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-its-better-to-be-atheist-than-attend-daily-mass-as-hypocrite

·       “How many times have we witnessed the scandal of those who go to church and spend all day there or attend every day, and later go on hating others or speaking ill of people. This is a scandal,” the Argentine pontiff said.

While Francis is correct that Christians shouldn’t hate others, even those who do things regarded as repugnant, it seems that he also regards their traditional beliefs as “rigid.” To make this point, LifeSiteNews.com cites Catholic blogger Laurence English’s “The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults”:

·       These [condemnations] include: “superficial Christian,” “climbers...attached to money,” and "fomenters of coprophagia!" The pope has regularly referred to some traditionalist Catholics as "rigid."

However, it is clear that God hates sin and hypocrisy:

·       “Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1:14)

Therefore, we too are to hate evil:

·       The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

·       you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 97:10)

This is true even of NT teachings:

·       Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9)

However, we are not to seek revenge. This is because God will avenge for us:

·       Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

·       For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30-31)

Is this teaching troubling? It should be, and we shouldn’t hide it if we really care about the ultimate destiny of our friends and family.

While we are to love the sinner, we must hate their sins (even our own) and expose them (Ephesians 5:11). But we will be called “hypocrites” because we too are sinners.

However, Scripture makes an important distinction between those who confess and seek to turn from their sins and those who gladly continue in their sins without repentance:

·       “Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD.’” (Jeremiah 3:12-13)

Of course, if we refuse to repent of our sins, we have no right to tell others to repent. Therefore, Paul had added this condition:

·       Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

When we sincerely confess our sins, we are restored to holiness and spirituality. Consequently, we then can correct the wayward. We have first taken the medicine, which we are to administer to others. We have removed the blinding log from our own eyes (Matthew 7:1-5).

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