Pope Nears Universalism: Says Atheists Can Go to Heaven

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I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn 14:6)

May 24, 2013 – Yesterday, the leader of the apostate Catholic Church Pope Francis boldly denied the exclusivity of Christ, stating that even atheists in complete rejection of biblical truth can be saved by performing good works. This occurred during a message he gave on a passage in Mark. This notion of justification by works is nothing new for the Catholic Church, and is in fact one of the motivating reasons for the Reformation (i.e. the sale of indulgences). However, the possibility of salvation for all is not nearly as ingrained in Catholic theology, and Francis’ view on salvation for atheists stands clearly against the teachings of the previous pope (Benedict XVI) on atheism:

As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny.[1]

With quite the differing opinion, Pope Francis stated,

The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation…The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.[2]

As one can clearly see, the Pope advocates possible salvation for all by good works

; however, that is a clear misunderstanding of the depravity of man and justification by faith alone. We will quickly look at both of these below.

 Being made in the likeness of God does not allow us to do good works, but now only gives us a sense of morality (Rom. 2:15). Before the fall, this morality would result in man truly desiring and being able to live God honoring lives. Unfortunately, the curse of the fall has yet to be lifted, and mankind is still enslaved to sin because of it (cf. Rom 6). No man, left to his own ways (e.g. atheists), can truly desire to honor God or do good works. Being enslaved to sin, no man truly seeks after God (Rom. 3:11. In fact, false religions are all an attempt to escape the true God in some form or another). Not only that, but those who have yet to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit cannot perform good works in the biblical sense of the word. Paul tells us in Romans 3:10-18:

There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
13 Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Apart from redemption, man cannot do good works because the standard is not our subjective opinion of what makes an act “good.” It is God’s perfect and holy standard that our works are compared against.[3] Because they do not match this standard, they are not good. This is echoed throughout all of Scripture. Isaiah states that the lost’s “righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Is 64:6). When one is saved by faith apart from works (Eph 2:8, 9), he then continues on to carry out good works prepared for him by God (Eph 2:10). So you see, our salvation is completely of God, and the righteous deeds we perform after salvation are also completely God’s handiwork. However this is a far more in depth look at Catholic theology than we desired to dive into here, so we will return to the topic at hand.

In stating that unrepentant, unregenerate atheists can do good works and be saved, the Pope has denied the very words of Christ Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn 14:6). The Gospel of Christ is the only way to salvation, anything else is a false gospel.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths  -2 Timothy 4:3-4

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Hobie Holden

Hobie is a graduate of Liberty University with a Bachelor's degree in Religion: Biblical and Theological Studies. He plans to serve the Lord in a full-time pastoral/teaching ministry after attending The Master's Seminary in California. His love for Scripture and understanding of God's call on his life is evident in his writing. He and his wife, Katrina, live in Colorado.

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