The Pope, Homosexuality And False Teaching
In a widely reported story today, Chilean abuse victim, Juan Carlos Cruz revealed to El Pais that Pope Francis had told him during a meeting this month: “The fact that you are gay does not matter.” Cruz said Francis had also told him: “God made you this way and loves you this way, and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you this way, you must be happy the way you are.” If this story is confirmed, the Pope, once again, is exposed as a liar.
It seems to me that this is one of those questions that determines whether we Christians are genuine followers, lovers of, and believers in the true Jesus, or whether we are listening to false preachers who have come to preach another Jesus. Churches in the West tell their members that God loves everyone, that all sin is forgiven and everyone that believes in Jesus will go to heaven.
There is so much falsehood in that statement that we should know with certainty that the messenger is a false profit. Paul understood the dark forces that would seek to deceive his pupils the moment that he turned his back. He wrote to the Corinthians to warn them of his fear that they would be easily beguiled:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4
The Pope certainly is beguiling people into receiving another spirit. Sadly though, it isn’t just the Pope. What he and many other churches do not tell their members is that God’s love is conditional. This is not something that people want to hear so they are happy to go along with “another gospel” that teaches something more palatable. Yet the unassailable fact is, God loves those that love Him and only those that love Him. How does God judge whether or not we love Him? By our love or otherwise for His son.
For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.
Well that’s not so bad you might think! So long as Juan Carlos Cruz loves Jesus, God will love him. So goes the argument that I’ve heard all day today on Christian blogs and in the media. The Pope, they say, is right – provided a homosexual loves Jesus he can carry on being a homosexual. Right? Wrong! Here’s the problem. The judgement as to whether or not we love Jesus is not ours, it is his. Human reasoning is emotional, sentimental and irrational, but that is not God’s way:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God’s rules are not subject to the winds of fashion, culture or time. Think about what effect that would have were it so. In the UK, the US and in many other countries around the world, homosexuality has become wholly acceptable, including it seems to the Pope. This begs the question, where does that leave the billions of people who died in those countries before the 1960s who were assiduously opposed to the practice – were they wrong? If God has become more accepting of homosexuality than the Bible suggests, what of those Christians in many other places in the world today, such as Africa and Russia, who are still often vehemently opposed to homosexuals? Are they wrong? Will God punish them for their judgemental, unforgiving, unloving attitudes? Double standards cannot be the basis of divine judgement. Fortunately we don’t need to think about that for a second longer because the Bible is clear:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.
In other words, whatever the Bible says, that you can rely on. If someone – anyone – tells you something that is not of the Bible, then they are a false teacher. In these days of celebrity many are tempted to turn to the well-known preacher who turns up frequently on CNN or the BBC whenever some religious question arises. Jesus offered some guidance about them:
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
So, we know that the judgement as to whether or not we love Christ is his and his alone. We know that his judgement will not have changed in any way since it was recorded in the Bible. So what measure does Jesus use to determine if we love him? Five words:
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
If anyone is in any doubt about from whom Jesus feels love, he reminds us again six verses later.
Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.
There seems little room for debate here. If you do not do what Jesus commands then you do not love him and God will not love you.
Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me.
I’ve used the ISV translation to ensure there is no doubt about what the relevant commandment is. Notice that the judgement that is referenced is both past, as in Sodom and Gomorrah, and future at the white throne Judgement (Rev 20:11).
Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them, which like them committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities, serve as an example of the punishment of eternal fire.
To remove any doubt as to Christ’s attitude to homosexual practices, here are two more quotes.
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
1 Timothy 1:8-11
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
This absolutely clear message cannot be confused. Jesus will love those who sin in any way, provided they turn away from that sin. Jesus does not judge a homosexual any more than he judges a thief or a murderer.
If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.
In God’s eyes all these are sins. A thief who stops stealing is no less a thief. A murderer who repents of his killings is no less a murderer. God loves homosexuals, but they must not act on their desires. Humans are tempted to sin in countless ways and will always be flawed, but our task is to resist. It is through our relationship with His son that God makes that resistance to sin possible:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Thus it is our task to strengthen that relationship until we gain the power to resist.
You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
In this, Juan Carlos Cruz is no different to the rest of us. It is not our right to condemn or judge him, but it is our duty to point out what the word of God has to say about his situation. If the reports are true (and given other Papal pronouncements that seems likely), then the Pope may well fall into the category of false teacher with all that means for him:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2 Peter 2:1-3
We must pray for Juan Carlos Cruz and his abuser whose actions seem to be responsible for the trial that now faces Juan. We must also (however hard it is for me to say) pray for the Pope who, along with the Synod of the heretical Church of England seem, and this may be no pun, hell-bent on denying the Word of God.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.