The Irony Of The Pope’s Bible Thumping
A Top 10 Blog Article
Pope Francis stunned the world again. Since he became Pope, he created frequent controversies with his statements. His comments on political commentary, evolution, and belief in God provoked Vatican dismay.
One time, Pope Francis even misapplied the Bible. He joined politicians and religious leaders in a new wave of Bible thumpers. Like others, the Pope attempted to use the Bible to support his reform agenda.
To the astonishment of many, those who reject the Bible as true and authoritative for life and ban it from public forums, quote Jesus to reinforce their arguments and influence approval of their programs. Jesus rides a new wave of popularity!
The Pope’s recent use of Jesus’ quotes exploits Christ and His message. Pope Francis’ inaccuracies developed these revolutionary Papal errors to reject.
The Story Behind the Story
Pope Francis used the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19.1-10 to suggest “legitimate redistribution” of money to the poor. (1) A brief explanation of the story changes the erroneous use of this story by Pope Francis.
Zacchaeus belonged to a profession called publicans. According to Roman Law, publicans could tax Jews as they chose. They levied exorbitant taxes by frequent use of fraud and extortion, angering the Jews. (2)
Luke described the time that Jesus visited Zacchaeus’ hometown of Jericho. Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ home when He saw him sitting in a tree to get a good view of Jesus.
As a result of their meeting, Zacchaeus repaid those whom he had cheated. In addition, he gave substantial funds to the poor.
Pope Francis’ Misuse of the Bible
In part, Zacchaeus repaid his victims as retribution according to Biblical Law. He provided the other gifts to the poor out of concern for their lot.
At no point in the account does Luke indicate coercion or requirement from the government for him to make his payments to those whom he defrauded or to the poor.
Further, nowhere does the Bible direct government to assume these responsibilities. In fact, God warned Israel, when they desired a king, that the king would extract taxes from them, contrary to God’s plans. (3)
Pope Francis’ misinterprets this story to support his call for the government to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. The facts of the story reveal revolutionary Papal errors to reject.
God’s Plan to Care For The Poor
Similar to Pope Francis, many misinterpret and misapply sayings of Jesus when they relate to care for the poor.
The Bible explains God’s plan on how to care for the poor. He commands families to provide for their family member’s needs (not wants).
When the poor cannot receive sufficient help from their families, the Bible teaches that other individuals and the Church express their love for God by contributing to their needs.
This story conforms to the Biblical pattern of personal responsibility in financial matters and care for the poor. Zacchaeus met his obligations to those whom he defrauded and to the deprived.
Christians and the Church neglect Biblical mandates to care for the poor. However, two wrongs do not make it right. The Church and believers must assume their accountabilities for the unfortunate.
Effects of Biblical Misuse
The misuse of Biblical texts always leads to false conclusions, twisting the truth of the totality of the Bible. A text out of context distorts its true meaning. Another abuse twists the sense of a statement from its clear significance.
Misuse of Biblical texts leads to hypocrisy in the lives of those who dare to use the Bible to support their personal agendas. While they put words into Jesus’ mouth for their positions, they discard His clear directions on others.
Jesus did make commands for all people to follow, which the Pope and others overlook or reject. One cannot pick those parts of the Bible that appear to support a personal plan and reject those that they do not like.
- Jesus condemned sexual immorality of all kinds, including homosexuality. (4)
- Jesus vilified hypocrisy in those who feigned belief in the Bible. (5)
- He outlined marriage between a man and a woman. (6)
Those quick to take words from the Bible and Jesus out of context reject these and other clear statements from the Bible.
Jesus presented Himself as the only Savior for sinners. He offered eternal life, His life, to all who would believe upon him. (7) He confirmed His offer by saying that He would accept everyone who came to Him. (8)
Millions of people, including me, have taken Jesus at His word and trusted upon Him. We have found Him faithful to His promises.
Perhaps, you have never heard of Jesus’ offer for people like you and me. Or, maybe you have accepted the popular but inaccurate interpretations of the Bible and Christ’s message. It results in the misapplication and misuse of them to your eternal detriment.
In any event, you can begin a new life today. I pray that God’s Holy Spirit will come to you today, give you that new life, and enable you to trust the clear statements of Jesus.
- See this link for further information on Pope Francis’ comments: http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/pope-francis-zacchaeus-and-un
- WORDsearch Bible Software v. 10. “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “Tax; Taxing.”
- 1 Samuel 8.1-18.
- Matthew 15.19-20.
- Matthew 23.
- Matthew 19.3-6.
- John 3.16; 5.24.
- John 6.37.
© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.