Friday, January 2, 2015

Pope Francis' Visit To Idolatrous Philippines: Impetus for God's Wrath

The excitement alone by millions - plus the unprecedented hype - and include the panic the Catholic clergy in the Philippines have to endure to see to it that the visit of "Christ's official representative on earth" goes well as planned - are tell tale signs that the country is up for a herculean task of hosting arguably its most important guest in decades. The guest who will arrive on the 15th of January is by no means of lesser stature than any known individual past and present. If Obama is called by many as the most powerful man on the planet, Pope Francis on the other hand officially carries a variety of titles ranging from "the most holy father", "Christ's representative on earth", "the head of state of the Vatican" among others, and is being addressed as "his holiness".  

Worldwide media coverage will certainly bring the Philippines once more onto the world stage.  So basically we can see why all the hysteria left, right and center. It's like the  heavens will essentially come down to the Philippines - and heavenly stairways will be lowered down for all devout Catholics who could only wish the Pope stays forever.

A bit of trivia: The Philippines is home to over 80% Catholics and is widely considered to be the "only predominantly Christian nation in Asia" - at least according to what we read in our public school books. 

As for the title "the most holy father" the Pope officially carries, let's see if the Bible approves of such title - only for the sake of biblical truth:

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." ~ Matthew 6:9

"And do not call anyone on earth 'father', for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." ~ Matthew 23: 9

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." ~ Revelation 4:8

From the Bible verses above, it is clear that only God is holy because God does not sin - and He tells us not to call anyone father on earth (well, i think with the exception of our biological father), because He is our 'only' Father which is in heaven.

The pope: a symbol of 'unity'

The oncoming 5-day papal visit to the Philippines is unprecedented in history - given the massive support and positive reactions even from other denominations and the gay community in general. His popularity among non-Catholics is such that he is being portrayed as a unifying figure to a fragmented world at large. And who would forget his popular "who am I to judge" banner that has sealed his 'hero status' among gay communities? Needless to say, it catapulted him to a world phenom status whose message of peace, acceptance and tolerance has been put forth as antidote to an ailing world. In his less than two years of tenure to the papacy, Pope Francis has shown tremendous resolve to unite all religions by propagating acceptance of one another and encouraging them into a "meaningful dialogue".

It is no surprise that the pope has gained tremendous popularity worldwide and his incomparable charisma has drawn people to him because of his no-nonsense approach to issues that are of great significance to all. From overhauling some of centuries-old Catholic-held tradition in the name of acceptance and inclusiveness to reaching out to homosexuals and atheists as though heaven is easily accessible to all without preconditions - all in the name of false peace and unity. Here is why:

On atheists:

Pope Francis got the best applause yet from atheists when he famously proclaimed in September 2013 that atheists do not necessarily have to believe in God to go to heaven - as long as they follow their own conscience. (And there goes John 3:16!) He made it clear that atheists do not have to be confused as to who reigns supreme over whom, and or if these so-called gods do really exist - as long as he keeps his ability to follow his own conscience. So if atheists are really pissed off seeing a cross planted aloft certain private lands and that their conscience tells them it is highly offensive, then by all means he can sue the city council and demand to take it down - and still go to heaven. I think that's the message that does really endear him to atheists who have penchant for suing almost everything that offends them especially Christians.

And what the Bible says about those who do not believe in God, let alone in Jesus the Son of God:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" ~ John 3:16

"He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." ~ John 3:18

"He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life." ~ 1 John 5:12

"Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me" ~ John 14:6

The Bible is crystal clear - it speaks in plain language that even a child who has the Spirit of God is able to understand. But the Pope who might be having difficulty understanding let alone believing the Word of God is not having it at all. 

Jesus said: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You shall know them by their fruits..." ~ Matthew 7: 15,16

"Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in you name cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity." ~ Matthew 7: 21-23

The Pope's view on Islam:

In his unsurprisingly shocking pronouncement yet, Pope Francis emphatically warned that equating Islam with violence is wrong, and that he has so much respect for Islam as being peaceful and will do all efforts to make peace through dialogues with Muslims. Okay, that is his impression or conviction, whatever you call it, if only for the sake of publicity or political correctness so that he wins the applause of the entire world. But what does the Quran "the book of peace" advocate for all Muslims?

"Fight and slay the pagans (Christians) wherever ye find them and seize them, confine them, and lie in wait for them in every place of ambush" - Surah 9:5

"O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people" - Surah 5:54

"Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme." - Surah 8:39

"Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter." - Surah 2:191

"Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it." - Surah 2:216

And the stark contradiction is that, the Bible is replete with commands to "love your neighbor,  love and pray for your enemy" -  promises of abounding grace, love that endures forever, unmerited favor, God's forgiveness for a repentant soul, new life in Christ, and I could go on and on.

Having quoted all of the above, I doubt whether  the Pope actually reads the Bible. But fret not for we have the answer:

 "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit." ~ 1 Corinthians 2:14

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you." ~ John 14:17

On Homosexuality and same-sex-marriage:

While he remains pro-conventional marriage and anti-abortion, Pope Francis reserves the right to welcome the LGBT community to the Catholic fold but refuses to condemn the practice of homosexuality. He is sending a wrong message that practicing homosexuals are welcome to the church if they seek the Lord and have goodwill but stays short of rebuking them of their practice. So to him it is okay as long as they come to the church and intently seeking the Lord. But here's the irony of it all: how can one seek the Lord intently without him repudiating his works of iniquity? What kind of relationship does a sinful unrepentant man with a holy and righteous God? I think he didn't see any problem with that - after all "who am I to judge"? So, it's not surprising that he is well-loved by all.

"Who am I to judge" is a very soothing, feel-good message and lullaby to their ears - but isn't it we love them enough that we are called to warn them? If time and again they expostulate with Christians that Jesus in his lifetime never condemned the homosexual practice - in contrary this is what the Bible says:

"Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." ~ Leviticus 18:22

"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error." ~ Romans 1: 26, 27

"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves
 nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." ~ 1 Corinthians 6: 9,10

Ecumenism as the way forward

Paramount to the pope's visit apart from visiting the typhoon-ravaged province of Leyte will be a an inter-faith dialogue scheduled to be held at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila. Those expected to attend are selected invitees consisting of leaders of major religions in the Philippines - even members of the LGBT community are expected to be in attendance - this is all in the name of inclusiveness and tolerance advocated by the pope. But let's wait and see if there are Evangelicals or Pentecostals who will be in attendance. In the meantime, let's see how this partnerships fare in the light of the Word of God:

But "can two walk together, except they be agreed"? ~ Amos 3:3

"Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: fro what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?" ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14

Since ascending the throne, the pope has been a champion for initiating dialogue with other faiths. His goal is to extend his wrapping arms toward other religions, invite them to the Vatican and even started the unthinkable: the reading of the quran and a call to prayer by an imam inside the halls of the Vatican. He says he has profound respect for other religions and have no problem dining with other religious leaders who do not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. His charisma and popularity is such that he even got some  false prophets and teachers from the Evangelical Christianity to dine and high-five with him at the Vatican. If no one has briefed him that Muslims are being commanded not to make friends with Christians and Jews, and that they believe that the sin-less and holy Jesus is more inferior and lesser degree of a prophet than the warrior Mohammad who had married a six-year old girl and had sex with her when she hit nine - is already irrelevant when what motivates him is his thirst for world approval at the expense of God's truth.

What does the Pope's visit to the Philippines mean to Filipino Catholics?

Filipino Catholics are some of the most deeply religious people in the world. They would gladly self-flagellate on Holy Week - some go the extra mile by having themselves crucified so as to "share Christ's sufferings". The least devout may settle for kneel-walking from church's entrance to the altar; the fit and athletic ones may climb mountains on foot as their own brand of'sacrifice'. (I am so clueless how did all these 'penance' come about). Even famous personalities do their share of 'sacrifices' albeit on national television. A former vice-president and famous broadcast journalist has his tv company document live on air his death-defying exploits every time he battles with a sea of people to get a grip of the icon of the Black Nazarene when paraded every January in Manila. And the list goes on.

Tell it  lovingly to their face that it is a form of idolatry and that God hates idolatry and punishes idolatrous people - if not you will be running for your life the next. So how would these devout Catholics handle a situation wherein the "official representative of Christ on earth" will be appearing (as though a theophany) in their land and will be rubbing elbow with the 'downtrodden'? Even at this moment, replicas of the pope are being manufactured en masse, and million units of T-shirts are being printed for sale in order to accommodate the demand from those who love and worship the beast pope. 

While not every poor individual will get the chance to shake hand or touch the hemline of his garment - expect the rich and powerful, and the 'pious' to be seated close to him and get to converse, kiss his hands, and if he obliges which he usually does - do selfie with him. To most Catholics, this is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the pope in the flesh - and to them it's just like seeing God in the flesh. A high-ranking priest even called on every Catholic via national tv to bring in a Sto. Nino replica with them for a 'mass blessings' - so that if five million would come out to see the 'god in the flesh' - that would mean a hysterical round-the-clock mass production of the 'forever-baby Jesus' to the delight of those businesses specializing in manufacturing gods or idols.

Whether they heed or not, we still love our Catholic brothers and sisters so much so that we do not want them to continue treading this path while there is time. God in His word had cursed His own people up to the fourth generations after them because of idolatry. He will never give His glory to anyone. All that worship idols He will surely put to shame. Surely every Catholic at some point in their life has already heard the truth of God's word. But it is still up to that individual whether to heed the truth or not. Religion surely cannot save us - everyone believes that - but to many, religious tradition is just hard to let go and the simplicity and clarity of God's truth is just as equally as difficult to embrace. 

As for those belonging to the Body of Christ, we have been adequately warned:

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues." ~ Revelations 18:4

"He that has ears to hear, let him hear" ~ Matthew 11:15

"He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches." ~ Revelations 3:22

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