Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pope Francis and consecration

I've been watching Pope Francis carefully since he was elected head of the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church. He is a remarkable man and lives and operates as no other pope I can recall.

He is a humble man and one who doesn't embrace the trappings of his ecclesiastical office. He goes amongst the common folks. He likes to ride the bus and lives simply. He has been more about demonstrating what Jesus did amongst the poor and underprivileged than railing against abortion and homosexuality. Protestant churches can take a lesson here.  Now he is still against those practices but the pope's emphasis has been more on social justice. Conservative Catholics have been upset. Liberal Catholic activists are encouraged. The average cultural Catholic pew sitter watches and goes along for the ride.

Two weeks ago Francis showed us he is most definitely Roman Catholic in his theology. Francis fully embraces Marian theology and practice.  On Sunday October 13, Francis dedicated the entire world to the immaculate heart of Mary. 

What does that mean?

The pope is following along with the dictates of the spiritual entity representing itself as Mary the mother of Jesus who appeared to three poor Portuguese children of Fatima in 1917. The entity representing itself as Mary warned of violent trials that would occur in the 20th century if people did not turn to her in personal devotion and prayers-- specifically the rosary--  and make reparations for sins. The entity specifically asked that Russia be dedicated to her immaculate heart  but the pope did one better by consecrating the entire world.

 Consecration to Mary, in addition to specific Catholic practices, involves acknowledging Mary as Queen of Heaven and entrusting all that one has and is to her and to have her reign over the individual. The one praying the consecration  also says "I want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and you and to call down upon this country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity." (taken from the National Catholic Reporter).

The spiritual entity asks people be dedicated to "Mary", a created being. In the three Fatima apparitions the entity also the children how to keep out of hell by consecrating themselves to her.  The Bible throughout its pages asks for people to be dedicated to God alone  for specific purposes.  The entity also says people can atone and make reparation for sins by doing "right". These are  deceptions. The Bible also says that Satan himself will also mask himself as an angel of light. Paul writes this:

 For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
(2 Corinthians 11:14-15 NKJV)

So why does it matter if Catholics do this?

It is unbiblical and speaks of "another Gospel" as Paul wrote of in Galatians 1. And it sounds good to the biblically ignorant.  Cultural Catholics and born-again non-Catholic Christians need to understand that  just because a person does things that are Christ-like in helping the poor, does not mean the person is a born-again believers and follower of Jesus.

 In the book of Revelation, Jesus calls out the Ephesian church in chapter 2, not for their good works and actions, but because that church abandoned or neglected the "first works", which is loving  the Lord their God first, dedicating themselves to Him and then sacrificially loving their neighbors as themselves. Despite all their good works, Jesus prescribes a penalty if they do not turn back to Him and do the first works. Jesus said:
"I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;  3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.  4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent. 
(Rev. 2:2-6 NKJV)          
What is the solution to avoid such deception?

  1. Become a biblical Christian by repenting of doing things your own way and ask Jesus Christ into your heart as Savior and Lord.
  2. Begin to read the Bible and believe it is what it says it is-- God's word to us.
  3. Trust the Holy Spirit to reveal what the scriptures say. Jesus said the Father would not give a rock when we ask for a piece of bread.
  4. Get into a bible-believing fellowship and surround yourselves with other born-again believers. The Proverb says there is safety in a number of counselors.
Jesus paid for all your sins past, present and future and covered them in His shed blood on the cross. You appropriate that by faith in Him. The only "reparation for sins" you need to make are confessing them to the Father and believing you are forgiven.
The biblical Gospel is simple. Heaven and hell are real. The Bad News is those who die without Jesus living within them as the Bible teaches go to Hell. There are no second chances and no alternate ways of getting there. Jesus is the Only Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).  The Good News is that once a person is born again he/she becomes a member of God's family. His guarantees eternal life for those who walk with Him. Salvation can't be earned. It is a free gift paid in full by the Savior Himself. Simple and direct.
Embrace Jesus. Embrace life and then  the good works Pope Francis has demonstrated will really mean something  and not just be a way to earn heaven,  for those works will proceed from a life of faith and will have been prompted by the Holy Spirit. They will be done in sacrificial agape love.
God bless.