Sixty three percent of 1,000 "Protestant" pastors believe that Pope Francis is a genuine Christian and a "brother in Christ!" This Lifeway Research poll prompted the incredulous headline, "From Anti-Christ to Brother in Christ" in a Christianity Today article. So, who is right and what changed?
For four hundred years, "Protestants" firmly protested against the pope as anti-christ. "Anti" carries two meanings: an enemy against (Christ), or a imposter posing as Christ. And they argued that he fit both definitions.
In response, the popes spent centuries chasing them into caves, burning thousands at the stake trying to stamp out their preserved Bibles. The "protesters" turned to certain scriptures to prove their point. They could find no biblical basis for the system of priests and nuns, a wafer-Jesus, Virgin Mary veneration, indulgences, purgatory, infant baptism, and salvation only available in the "church." They staked their lives on the conclusion that this whole hierarchical edifice could only be the prostitute church of Revelation 17 and 18. They were certainly front row spectators while she shed a lot of the "blood of the saints."
So, did these "reformers" get it all wrong? Or, were they right at the time and now something`s changed?
While a majority of the senior pastors in the survey saw the pope as born again, only 42 percent agreed that they would look to the pope for matters of theology. If they do not trust the pope`s view of God, where is the disconnect?
The CT article contained a telling phrase: "Piety trumps doctrine." Doctrine, properly defined, rests on trust that there is, somewhere, solid, absolute Truth. Piety is more slippery. In the best sense, it is a "devout reverence for God." But the world is full of a false piety that is nothing but show biz. Jesus targeted the Pharisees for their long prayers, fancy dress and disdain for "sinners."
Piety thrives on tradition. Jesus faulted the Pharisees for making the word of God of none effect by their tradition. (See Mark 7:13.) In the pope`s recent visit to the U.S., the world saw a huge display of piety —and a lot of tradition. So, was the traditions behind the pope`s piety firmly supported by sound doctrine —the word of God?
The pope`s central tradition is the Mass, piously performed several times during his visit. Central to the Mass is the Eucharist, a wheat wafer which, after it is prayed over by an ordained priest, somehow becomes Jesus, "...present in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity," according to the official Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Once created, the "faithful" eat this wafer-turned-Jesus.
To the reformers, this introduced a pagan interpretation of the story of Jesus presenting the bread and wine to the disciples as a symbol of His coming sacrifice. Plus, it was viewed as a power trip excluding everyone from heaven who did not receive this wafer-Jesus on his tongue from "Mother Church."
Ultimately, before we surrender to the pope`s pompous piety, we must decide if the wafer-Jesus ritual is truly biblical, along with a dozen other "traditions" that the Reformers believed unbiblical —and died resisting. This winsome pope Francis must either represent an astounding reversal of a millennium and a half of vicious attacks on the Bible and Bible believers —or a smooth imposter with a new twist to the same, old diabolical plan.
The Reformers used their Bible to make a clear choice that the pope was not inspired by the Holy Spirit —but the spirit of Anti-Christ. Today, we have to make that choice all over again.
Chick Publications has taken a stand with the Reformers, trusting only their preserved Bible, the King James Version. Here on our website can be found the fruit of half a century of research on the subject. Before you decide to follow the crowd marching behind this pope toward a one world religion, please make sure you have the facts.