There is much speculation on what issues the Pope will address. Stephen Moore, a Catholic Consultant to the Conservative Freedom Works Organization offers these suggestions.
“The moral crisis of our time is not global warning, it is the Holocaust of millions of abortions in America each year. Free markets create wealth and it is the moral responsibility of all Christians to use our wealth in ways that help those in need. A benevolent government should enhance individual liberty, religious freedom and wealth. Christians must worship the Creator, not the created.”
Aside from our theological differences with Catholicism and the institution of the Papacy in the first place, it would be refreshing to hear a “religious leader” focus on issues of faith, instead of politics. The problem of our time continues to be sin. Our greatest need is forgiveness. And the answer is found in Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately churches, preachers and pastors often become side-tracked with social ills, environment concerns and secular problems. Christ commissioned the apostles to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mk 16:15). Paul instructed the young evangelist Timothy to “preach the Word.” The saving message of Jesus possesses the power to transform lives, provide peace, soothe the soul and eliminate guilt.
Interestingly, Pope Francis shocked some people a few weeks ago when he authorized Priests to forgive women who had abortions but expressed contrition and seek forgiveness. Francis wrote, “The forgiveness of God cannot be denied one who has repented.”
Three issues caught my attention regarding that edict.
(1) Sin is ultimately against God. (Ps 51:4). Man does not possess the power to absolve our sins. Only God offers pardon (Isa 55:7) through the one Mediator, His Son, Jesus Christ (1Tim 2:5).
(2) Jesus taught forgiveness far before there ever was a Pope. The constant theme of the Bible is God’s willingness to pardon people who genuinely repent of their sins. Regardless of the sin. (Heb 10:17; Eph 1:7). Jesus’ blood cleanses us of ALL unrighteousness. Lying. Fornication. Adultery. And even abortion (I John 1:7-10).
(3) Reaction to the Pope’s edict was met with disdain, disagreement, and even ridicule. Why? From many of the on-line posts and comments, it’s apparent that the notion of sin is scoffed at by many people, especially sexual sin. A “woman’s right,” personal freedom, and the philosophy of relativism, which says “there are no absolutes,” gives carte blanche to any kind of moral behavior one desires.
Disagreement with the Pope notwithstanding, Francis could do the world a favor by focusing on what’s really important–sin, grace, forgiveness and the spiritual Kingdom.
Regardless of the Pope’s message, those of us who preach and teach on “lesser platforms” can proclaim the Truth, let our light shine in our communities and accomplish God’s will.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman