The popularity of pope Francis

This past Wednesday, Pew Research released the findings of its recent poll regarding thepfj popularity of pope Francis (see article below). According to the poll, 70% of Americans give the pope a favorable rating. For specific groups, 87% of Catholics have a favorable opinion, 72% of White mainline Protestants have a favorable opinion, and 53% of White evangelicals have a favorable opinion.

It’s a sad thing that 53% of (White) professing believers favorably view a man who is leading millions to hell through the anti-Scriptural dogmas of Roman Catholicism. 16% of White evangelicals say they have no opinion of the pope and 31% say they have an unfavorable opinion.

I love pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio. He’s a sinner in need of the Savior. Unfortunately, he leads a 1.2 billion-member religious institution that teaches people are saved through its sacraments and through obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules.

If Pew Research pollsters could get into a time machine and go back 100 years and conduct the same poll, what would they find? They would probably find that close to 100% of evangelical Christians in 1917 had an unfavorable opinion of the pope at that time, Benedict XV. Would they have rated the pope unfavorably because they had personal animosity toward the man? It’s my opinion that believers of 100 years ago were much more steeped in God’s Word than many of today’s doctrine-lite evangelicals who are led by weak, accommodating, and compromising pastors. Evangelicals of 1917 were much more aware that the pope taught a false gospel of sacraments and merit rather than the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

I will continue to pray for Jorge Bergoglio and for all Roman Catholics. My prayer is that they will renounce their religious ritualism and legalism and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior through faith alone.

Is it…

“No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion (i.e. baptism). Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can then merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph # 2027

or is it…

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

It can’t be both!

U.S. Catholics, non-Catholics continue to view Pope Francis favorably

Who is pope Francis and why is he important to evangelical Christians?


Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the pope of the Roman Catholic church on March 13, 2013, the very first Jesuit priest to hold the papal office. Pope Francis has endeared himself to the world for his simplicity (compared to previous popes) and for his many off-the-cuff remarks that seem to emphasize charity over doctrinalism. However, conservative Catholic clergy have become increasingly disenchanted with Francis, especially after his Amoris Laetitia encyclical, which, in essence, lifted the ban on communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Why should evangelical Christians care about Francis? In spite of all the headlines and controversies that surround Francis the main focus of his tenure has been the reunification of all (c)hristians under the mantel of Rome. He and the previous popes beginning with John XXIII have done a remarkable job of overcoming objections and preparing for reunification. One hundred years ago there were no evangelical pastors who considered the pope, with his gospel of sacramental grace and merit, to be their brother in Christ. But in a 2015 survey, 58% of evangelical pastors considered Francis to be their brother in Christ. What changed? Rome might have altered some of its window dressing but it certainly hasn’t changed any of its core doctrines. No, it’s evangelicalism that’s changed, from defending the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone to embracing error in a spirit of “tolerance” and “love.” Young men are graduating from evangelical seminaries and becoming pastors and leaders of ministries thinking the pope is a Christian and that unity with Rome is desirable. Chances are your current pastor or the next one will be preaching what a wonderful fellow the pope is and that Catholicism teaches the same gospel.

Above is a 28-minute video featuring Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries giving some interesting background information on pope Francis.

Below is a link to the Proclaiming the Gospel website.

Showdown: Rising tensions within Catholic hierarchy could lead to crisis

We’re currently witnessing a struggle of historic proportions in the chambers of the Roman Catholicrb hierarchy although most Catholics and evangelicals aren’t even paying attention.

At the center of the controversy is the mass, the centerpiece of the Catholic religion. Catholics are obligated to attend mass every Sunday where priests allegedly change bread wafers and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Supplicants ingest the Jesus wafer and wine, believing they receive graces which help them avoid mortal sin so they are able to merit Heaven.

For century after century, the popes and Catholic hierarchy taught that Catholics who had divorced and remarried without an annulment of the first marriage were living  in a state of open adultery and were forbidden from receiving communion. That wasn’t a problem when divorce among Catholics was relatively rare, but in current times, with Catholic divorce rates at 50% mirroring the rest of society, the restrictive communion policy was alienating a large portion of the membership and many were dropping away.

In an effort to stanch the exodus, pope Francis the pragmatist issued the Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) apostolic exhortation last April, which, among other things, ambiguously left it up to parish priests to decide whether a remarried Catholic could receive communion or not, thus countermanding a doctrine that had been taught by other equally “infallible” popes for over a millennia.

Opposition to the pope’s new teaching has been swelling within the ranks of traditionalist cardinals, bishops, priests, and laity for the past eight months. Recently, four cardinals including American cardinal, Raymond Burke (pictured), formally requested that Francis “clarify” his remarks in Amoris Laetitia in light of previous infallible church teaching. The pope has declined to respond to the appeal. Burke is now suggesting the cardinals could possibly issue a “formal act of correction,” a declaration that Francis is teaching heresy (see articles below).

As I stated previously, most Catholics are oblivious to the dramatic tug-of-war taking place between Francis and his allies and church traditionalists over Amoris Laetitia and other reforms. What’s at stake is Catholicism’s claim to the infallibility of popes on teachings of faith and morals. The great irony here – don’t miss this – is traditionalists are willing to concede the current pope is fallible and in error in order to preserve the teaching of previous infallible popes! Francis winks at “infallible” doctrines in an effort to keep people in the pews.

All men are fallible. Even casual students of the history of the Catholic church are aware of the tragic failings of popes and other high church officials down through the ages. The only Rock we have is Jesus Christ. Accept Christ as your Savior and then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

Is papal infallibility biblical?

947 East Avenue – Rank has its privileges

Readers of the New Testament know Peter and the apostles were mainly uneducated,bh working class men. But the Good News! they declared, the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, was of greater value than the combined knowledge and riches of the entire ancient world.

Early Christianity faced great persecution but eventually was legalized by the Roman Empire and then adopted as the official state religion. Unfortunately, the church, with its simple, saving Gospel of grace, devolved into a religious institution with an increasingly powerful hierarchy. The bishops of Rome consolidated their control in the West and, as the self-proclaimed vicars of Christ, indulged themselves at a level of pomp and extravagance that hadn’t been seen since the Caesars.

Last week I came across the article far below regarding Francis’ plan to transform the papal Summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, into a tourist stop . Has anyone else seen photos of this place? Unbelievable! Francis has definitely down-sized his personal living spaces but this may be more of an accommodation to the scrutiny of an increasingly incredulous public than a desire for less ostentatious trappings.

If popes deported themselves as emperors, their subordinate bishops acted as princes. Their wealth matched and often surpassed that of temporal rulers. Centuries passed and bishops still retained a level of affluence that would have shocked and disgusted Peter, James, and John. Here in Rochester, New York, James E. Kearney (Bishop of Rochester, 1937-1966, d. 1977) resided at a mansion located at 947 East Avenue (see photo), just a stone’s throw from the estate of Kodak founder, George Eastman.

I was already vaguely familiar with the bishop’s mansion but I drove by yesterday to reacquaint myself with the grandiose structure. Rochester’s working-class Catholic families donated their hard-earned money every week so Kearney could live like a capitalist tycoon. The pastor of our parish drove a Chrysler Imperial. Anyone else remember those? It was Chrysler’s version of the Cadillac. I recall many negative comments about the priest driving a car that cost twice or triple the amount his parishioners paid for their cars. But he probably thought, “Hey, if the bishop can live in a mansion on East Avenue, I can drive an Imperial.”

But Kearney wasn’t alone. It was standard practice for Catholic bishops to locate their mansions on the same street as the wealthiest citizens of the diocesan see (seat). Bishops were always favored with places of honor at civic functions. Catholics and even non-Catholics formally greeted a bishop by kissing his episcopal ring and addressing him as “Your Excellency.” Traditionalists still consider it proper form to kiss a bishop’s ring but many bishops now discourage the practice although the “Your Excellency” title is still  de rigueur.

Some contemporary bishops are following Francis’ lead and selling their mansions and moving into less ostentatious quarters while TBN’s prosperity preachers (Myers, Copeland, Duplantis, etc.) are exceeding the opulence of yesteryear’s Catholic bishops. Very strange. Jesus had no place to lay his head.

“But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk'” – Acts 3:6

“When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am a man.’” – Acts 10:25-16

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” – Matthew 20:25-28

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24

Postscript: Bishop Kearney’s former palatial digs at 947 East Ave. has been divided up into nine 800-square-foot condos.

I love pope Francis!

Organizer, Nick Hall, anticipates one million people will gather at the National Mall inPappy Washington D.C. on July 16th to participate in his “Together 2016” event, which is being billed as “a day of unifying prayer.” This is an ecumenical event that will feature people of various denominational stripes. Pope Francis won’t be attending personally but he will be providing a video address to the crowd.

You thought you would never hear me say it, but I love pope Francis. I certainly do. He’s a sinner like all of us and he needs to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. Francis leads a 1.3 billion-member religious organization that teaches salvation is by sacramental grace and obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. Not a Catholic? No problem. Francis says people of all religions and even atheists can merit Heaven if they “follow the light they’ve been given” and are “good.” The only problem is none of the above is the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

I love Jorge Francis Bergoglio. I pray that he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior someday. I’m so sorry that he is leading hundreds of millions astray by teaching that people must earn their salvation by participating in his church’s sacraments and by “cooperating with grace.” I’m sorry for ecumenical events like “Together 2016,” where “well-meaning” evangelicals water down and compromise the Gospel of grace so much that it’s no longer the Gospel. I pray for all those who attend “Together 2016,” that they will hear the genuine Gospel from SOMEBODY at the event and will accept Christ as their Savior.

This could be a discouraging time for evangelical Christianity but the Lord is still on his throne and forever will be.

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8

Together 2016 aims to unify 1 million Christians in prayer on National Mall

Pope mulls over female deacons

Pope Francis has just announced that he will set up a commission to look atPOPPP the possibility of ordaining women as deacons in the Roman Catholic church (see story below).

This is fascinating news for evangelicals like myself who keep an eye on the Vatican. It’s just another example of how the “unchanging church” is constantly changing. Francis will push hard to make this radical change in the diaconate following his recent removal of the centuries-old, church-wide, arbitrary ban on communion for divorced and re-married Catholics.

There’s tremendous pressure on Francis and the church to increase the role of women. A survey from a few years ago revealed 59% of American Catholics favor the ordination of women to the priesthood. The drop in the number of men’s ordinations in the US over the last 40 years has been staggering – there were 59,000 priests in 1970 and only 38,000 in 2012 – resulting in parish mergers, closings, and the recruitment of foreign priests to fill vacancies. Ordaining women as deacons will be seen by church liberals as a positive first step in the ultimate goal of consecrating females as priests while conservatives will view Francis’ reevaluation of the diaconate as just one more example of his continuing assault on cherished church traditions. Francis is no “spring chicken” at the ripe age of 79 and is using a “take no prisoners” approach in rolling out his “reforms” over the objections of traditionalists.

My thoughts? Jesus Christ eliminated the need for a sacrificial priesthood with His once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross at Calvary. After Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire, the message of the church devolved from personal, saving faith in Jesus into ritualism, ceremony, and legalism. An increasingly powerful clergy jealousy advanced its privileges and authority. The Catholic priesthood became a continuation of the Levitical priesthood, with the sacrifice of the mass replacing animal sacrifices. There is absolutely no need for male priests or female priests. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and men. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16

But what about female deacons and pastors for evangelical churches? I’m in agreement with the article below:


Pope Francis Says Panel Will Study Whether Women May Serve as Deacons

The “unchanging” Catholic church changes once again

Catholics often boast that theirs is the unchanging, “one true church,” but even a casual student of church history knows that is not the case. And now we have another example.

In the past, any Catholic who divorced and remarried without obtaining an annulment was living in a state of mortal sin and was officially barred from receiving the eucharist. But in his new document, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), released last week, pope Francis tacitly suggests that it’s now up to the local parish priest to evaluate the circumstances of each parishioner and decide if they are able to receive the sacraments (see article below). With so many Catholics divorcing these days, Francis was compelled to change the policy in an effort to keep the church viable.

But this ex-Catholic, saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, has a couple of important questions regarding this new policy. First, what about all the divorced Catholics who remarried and died in a state of mortal sin prior to this change? Do they all now receive a “Get Out of Hell, Free” card or is the declaration not retroactive? Also, how could such an important doctrine affecting faith and morals that was upheld by all previous infallible popes now be so conveniently discarded? Catholics would rather not confront such questions.

I’m so grateful to the Lord for leading me out of Catholic legalism, ritualism, and man-made traditions. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and then ask the Lord to direct you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.


Pope Francis to church: Be more accepting of divorced Catholics, gays, and lesbians