Now that we are past the introductory humble-holy-man schtick, we are moving into the reality stage of what Pope Francis purports to represent. Is he a man merely of institutional religious public imagery and politics or is he a man of the Scriptures?
The papal progression underway somehow seems like deja’ vu all over again. The popes all seem to arrive on the public scene, all shiny and new, as “compassionate” champions of the common man. Then, oddly, no trenchant defense of the true Gospel message is heard again. No call goes forth to both great and small to repent of unbelief and lawlessness and to obey Jesus Christ through genuine faith and a full-orbed biblical understanding (Acts 17: 30-31). All we seem to get is a sort of politics of religion. Maybe Pope John Paul was a little different, but my memory of those years is bit sketchy now. I seem to recall he recognized lawlessness in its biblical sense when he saw it though.
So now we have a pope apparently imbued with the assumptions and worldview of “liberation theology”, an ecclesiastical Barrack Obama of radical leftism posing as a benefactor of men. He posits the belief that state power should forcibly eliminate any perceived inequities amongst men, ignoring the fact that many of those things might possibly be God-given for important reasons. So the state actually becomes God, defining the purpose, meaning, and worth of all men according to it’s own political dictates. What monstrous, presumptuous blindness.
Of course, “capitalism” becomes the all-purpose bogeyman of human suffering in these leftist formulations with “racism” waiting in the wings in case of a public relations emergency. Does anybody ever stop to think what the term “capitalism” actually means? Does it not simply mean that you must grow enough crops, not only to feed people, but also at a price and quantity that allows the purchase of tools, machinery, seed, fertilizer, and labor, i.e. capital, to grow next years crop? If someone does this well through industry, skill, intelligence, and innovation and prospers in his efforts, does that make him evil and not entitled to the fruits of his labor and ingenuity? Did the government teach him his skills and understanding and so gets to determine their worth? His physical and intellectual property and the fruit of his labor are not his own? Maybe they belong to God as creator and redeemer, but do they belong to the state? This is materialistic tyranny run amok.
And speaking of “evil” capitalists, how about we speak of evil parasites. Scripture gives no quarter to those who can work and will not (2 Thessalonians 3: 10, et. al.). No allowances are made for alleged racism, stacked decks, rigged systems, low self-esteem, or senses of entitlement. If we are going to talk about wickedness, how about covetousness, envy, and sloth. Are they not among the “7 deadly sins”? These are terrible things that gnaw at and destroy the lives of everyone they touch. Destroying someone who has more than you does not deliver you from these vicious things. What right do you have to devour the life and property of another because he has more than you? The problem is yourself and only the real, living Jesus can save you from yourself. Shouldn’t popes and other religious leaders address such matters and encourage the freedom people need to pursue their work and callings and be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor? Does not true generosity, gratitude, and deliverance from want come from the freedom to work at whatever God has given you grace and ability to do and to be secure in the possession of your property and the fruit of your labor? The state does not confer such things, nor can it. To believe so is pure idolatry.
The law of God is not merely a set of rules to follow. They are a representation of God’s very nature and how we, as creatures made in his image, are to be, likewise, respected and protected. No man consists of only his bare physical person. A person’s being and identity also include his personal relationships, his property and the fruit of his labor, his freedom of conscience, and his reputation. All of these are God-given. The state may protect such things but it cannot determine their meaning and importance apart from God without becoming a corrupting and deadly idol.
This article is not necessarily intended as a personal attack on Pope Francis, the Roman Catholic Church, or any other church structure, but as a call to Christian people everywhere to beware of the subtle deceits of leftist ideology and to seek to be faithful at all points to the genuine biblical view of man and his purpose. The “beast” of the leviathan state cannot be allowed to define us and hold us in bonds.