Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics

Read about it...

"For as in Adam all have died, in Christ shall all be made alive." I Corinthians 15:22

Please be sure to read the article before commenting. A colleague once said to me..."Universalism? Why not? I mean, who WOULDN'T want that everyone be saved? Isn't that the heart of the Father?"


  1. Well, Calvinism's T.U.L.I.P. (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement--only for the elect--Irresistable grace, and the Perseverance of the saints) at first seem to be totally at odds with one another. But what the Pope said has similarities in a strange way, like traveling eastward from Charleston looking like the opposite of traveling westward from Charleston, but if you take it far enough you both will eventually meet in the same place (China). Irresistable grace...whether the atheist knows it or not, if he is one of the elect, there's nothing he can do about it. Can't you see an atheist being dragged kicking and screaming into the
    kingdom of God? Reminds me of C.S Lewis' The Great Divorce. Anyway, it shows how any doctrinal system is inadequate in explaining the mind of God. Like Fitz Allison said once, "If God wants to save everybody, what business is that of mine? But as for me, I'm going to preach the atonement." Our righteousness comes from Christ alone. And I don't think the Pope meant to say that our works will save us. I think he meant to say that good works, even those of an atheist, betray the presence of God within us all. An atheist, whether he wants to admit it or not, has been created in the image of God. Some who ascribe to total depravity (meaning that all have died in Adam) cannot reconcile themselves to the other side of the equation, which is "so in Christ have all been made alive." I Co. 15:22. Anyway, interesting times!

  2. "Surprising" coming from the Pope. This must be what has many Protestants "lovingly" pointing their finger at Catholics during sermons reminding us that we don't believe what they believe. How can we be one body when we've decided that we can't reconcile our divisions due to fundamental differences in doctrine or theology. The Calvary affiliation is very prominent in Hawaii. Their thorough coverage if Scripture and powerful sermons hit home. The only thing I have trouble with are the frequent mentions of how other denominations have gone astray. How we don't worship piety and works like Catholics, or false prophets like Mormons, or allow homosexual clergy like Episcopalians. What is worrisome for me about a preacher adamantly opposing "false teachers" is that he may be handing stones to church members who have not gone to seminary and understand little of what they think they oppose. This creates animosity and predjudice. It puts people on the offensive and defensive. It does not encourage unity but rather builds walls. Its heartbreaking because I'm not convinced that we are better equipped to recognize false teaching as much as we are being conditioned to avoid or attack what we have been taught is wrong.

  3. So I'm finding that this article causes some Christians major heartburn. I think some people think he is saying salvation through works but he's not saying that at all. The title of the article is rather unfortunate though because it seems to have misinterpreted the message of all humanity being redeemed and meeting in the common place of goodness. Also, it seems that most don't realize the difference between redemption and salvation (I didn't either until I looked it up). Jesus redeemed all of humanity whether they care or not and offers salvation to those who chose it. Though the world is redeemed, they are not saved until they accept salvation through Jesus Christ alone. I wonder how often theological terms get lost on us and misrepresent the faith...

    1. He was not saying "salvation through works', I agree. He was holding up works as evidence of basic goodness, and therefore as a place to meet. Many conservative Christians choke on this, too, though, arguing that there is no basic goodness in un-believing humanity because it is depraved and entirely dependent upon grace alone. They would also argue with your assertion that our salvation depends upon our accepting of redemption, because in our unsaved state we are in bondage to sin and unable to choose rightly. Which brings you back to grace, which brings you back to being "elect" (or not), which brings you to Wesley who wondered whether or not he was elect until he was starngely warmed, etc, etc. So we get to where we are "choking", "having heartburn", and "arguing" over who's in and who's out, when only God gets to judge. That's a problem when the doctrine of original sin gets taken out of the stack and turned into the packaging of all things religious. There is a whole segment of world-wide Christianity that recognizes, but doesn't prioritize, original sin and therefore can accept the image or stamp of God that exists within all men, but may be tarnished or covered over by sin, i.e.. the Eastern Orthodox. When I mentioned this fact once in a public setting it got back to me that a reformed calvinist-leaning person went around telling people that I was a "heretic". This is the stuff of seminary classrooms (the study of doctrine) and religious wars (heretic-branding). I prefer one of St. George's basic premises: "We accept you wherever you are in your faith journey, and trust that God will bring you to where He wants you to be in His time, and not ours." This gives us room to breathe.

  4. I John 3:20....If our own heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart.

  5. The more I explore Christianity the more I come to the conclusion that Christians are bigger enemies of the cross than the king of all lies. Christians focus so hard on the right way of getting to God and bent on correcting those who are "doing it all wrong" that the average unbeliever is completely turned off. The focus of so many sermons is how to keep ourselves in check far more often than how to be more loving and share the Good News rather than force the Good News on people. I'm concerned about false teachers, but honestly I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me and warn me against false teaching more than my own understanding of the Word. I feel like lately every where I turn around I hear Christians vehemently rebuking each other and accusing each other of being false teachers and watering down the Gospel or supporting views that are in opposition or detract from the Word of God. I see a lot of cherry picking Scripture and pointing at the Word. It makes me feel very uneasy because I feel like we are being tricked into wasting all of our time and energy on quibbling with fellow Christians. All this does is exhaust us, diminish our zeal for evangelism, distract us from our mission to share the Good News with those who don't know Jesus, and create tension and animosity towards our Christian family. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. :-(