December 8, 2015

Pope Francis Says Muslims are His Brothers and Sisters

by Jordan Standridge

Pope Francis, in a sermon preached in front of many Muslims at a mosque in the Central African Republic, expressed very clearly his thoughts about Islam. He said that Muslims are our brothers and sisters. Later that day he posted this on Twitter:

It is time for born-again Christians to come to grips with the fact that this man worships a different God. Pope Francis MuslimsThere is simply no excuse for a born-again Christian to have further doubts. It is not new for this Pope to say controversial things. Recently, he claimed that Atheists would go to heaven too. He said “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!” Roman Catholic theology, because it is works based, puts a great emphasis on doing good, and therefore is not evangelistic. For many centuries the devil used the Roman Catholic Church to murder anyone who didn’t agree with them, but now it seems he has shifted his strategy to being ecumenical. Even Mother Theresa said:

“We never try to convert those who receive aid from Missionaries of Charity to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.”

Pope Francis, center, right, poses with South Korea's religious leaders at Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Jung Yeon-je, Pool)

This is a common belief within Roman Catholicism. A college roommate once told me that he was becoming Roman Catholic, because “faith alone is found nowhere in Scripture.” He went on to say that “of course, we will be shocked, by just how many people make it to heaven. The God of Roman Catholicism is much less likely to send people to hell” in response to a question about whether Mormons and Jehovah’s witness and even Muslims will be saved. Muslims and Christians couldn’t teach anything more different. They deny Jesus is God and teach that he didn’t actually die on the cross. If this is true then Jesus never resurrected and in 1 Cor. 15:12-19 Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”. It is impossible to go to heaven except through Christ (John 14:6) but not just any Christ, the actual Christ that is sitting at the right of the Father as we speak. I totally get it, in our nature we seek to want to make God less just, we want to make Him into a God in our own image. We do this in what is masked as love and a desire for all to be saved, in an attempt to be liked by all people. In doing so we end up trashing Christ, His sacrifice and His word.

When will Christians wake up? When will we start evangelizing our Catholic friends? How many more outrageous statements does this Pope have to make before you wake up to realize Roman Catholics and evangelicals cannot be together?

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at surrender.us.
  • karolekay

    So true. Ecumenical universalism seems to be on track for the religion of the One World religion of the Tribulation. While this pope may be the most vocal in promoting it, this heresy has overtaken many, many denominations, ministries and “believers” through interfaith organizations and social gospel outreaches fulfilling the Lord’s words of Matthew 7:22-24. We need to keep the gospel simple and let the power of the Word plant the seeds of truth in those who don’t know it. Maranatha!

  • What a false teacher. Yes, we should try to get along, but no, we aren’t brothers and sisters in the Christian sense of the word. John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Not Christian = not a child of God. Don’t like that? Take it up with God. The “Islam and Christianity worship the same God” lie is so transparently false you
    can refute it in a single Tweet: Denying Jesus’ deity is a heresy in Christianity. Affirming it is a blasphemy in Islam. #notthesame

  • fundamentals

    The shipwreck of Catholicism.

  • KPM

    I certainly agree that Protestants ought to evangelize Catholics, but I think we ought to a bit slower in drawing conclusions about what Pope Francis meant by what he said. In other words, we ought to make an effort to actually understand his position before we criticize him. This Pope has a tendency to make theologically vague and off-the-cuff statements, but the old joke, “is the Pope Catholic?” still holds true, though he has even confused many conservative Catholics from time to time.

    I’m not 100% sure what the Pope meant by what he said, but it might not be what you think. For example, the Catholic Church does not teach limited atonement, but they also do not teach universal salvation. When Catholics say that Jesus redeemed all men, they are referencing verses like 1 John 2:2. Here’s a summary:

    Calvinist: Limited Atonement, Limited Application
    Catholic, Arminian, and Lutheran: Unlimited Atonement, Limited Application
    Universalist: Unlimited Atonement, Unlimited Application

    The first two positions preserve the exclusivity of the gospel and the necessity to believe. The third position denies the exclusivity of the gospel and the need for personal faith.

    As far as his comment about Christians and Muslims being brothers and sisters, he clarified that somewhat by saying that we were CREATED by the same God, but he did not say that we WORSHIP the same God. He also went on to say that he wished people would not commit acts of violence in the name of God, because that is contrary to the nature of true religion. I don’t have a problem with anything he said there.

    The Pope may indeed be a universalist, but I think we would be wise to hold our judgments without having all of the facts.

    • Jane Hildebrand

      If we are all brothers and sisters because we were simply created by God, why did Jesus call the Pharisees the children of the devil in John 8:44? The Pope’s ignorance of the scriptures is simply astounding to me.

      • KPM

        I think there is a such thing as “the brotherhood of mankind,” in the sense that we ought to love our neighbor and seek their greatest good. We share in the common experiences of humanity and we are all created in the image of God. While the modern conservative may recoil at the idea of “the brotherhood of mankind,” because they way in which that term has been sentimentalized and abused, I do think there is some truth in that.

        You’re right that in one sense there is enmity between those who are of the devil, and those who are of the Lord, but “they” really are not our enemies. The devil is.

        Likewise, we may have biological brothers and sisters who do not believe the gospel, and therefore are not our Christian brothers and sisters, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call them brother or sister.

        Clint just posted about women in combat roles in the military. I was in the Army for a few years, and I consider the members of the military my brothers in arms, members of the same team, members of the same fight. We are not brothers and sisters in the gospel, but that does not mean that we are not brothers and sisters in another sense.

        I don’t think that saying that means I’m ignorant of scripture.

        • Jane Hildebrand

          I think you’re missing the point that when the Pope said that we are brothers and sisters, he cited two separate “religions”, Christianity and Muslim. That is a problem. We are not brothers and sisters of a religion that has inscribed on it’s Dome, “Far be it for God to have a son.” Our loyalty is to Christ and our message to Muslims is the gospel. The ecumenical wordplay of the pope does nothing to advance the gospel, nor bring about the salvation of souls.

    • John Byde

      I think we are a long way past giving this man the benefit of the doubt. We’ve had months now of “did he really mean that?” We shouldn’t be asking, “Is the pope catholic?” but “Is the pope Christian?” And it’s a question that has become rhetorical. Thank God for the reformation!

    • KPM

      Sorry for a long post. Please allow me to eat humble pie.

      Here’s the Catholic Church’s reinterpretation of the idea that, “Outside the Church there is no salvation.”

      Traditionally, this meant that the church has the gospel, and without the gospel, there is no salvation, so…”outside the church there is no salvation.”

      The Catholic Church has abandoned this position, in favor of the following:

      846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

      Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

      847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

      Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

      848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”338

      Not only does the Pope appear to be a universalist, so does the entire Catholic Church. I stand corrected.

      • EJ Boston

        I might say “Inclusivist” rather than “Universalist.” But I appreciate your humility in this whole discussion, and your attempt to be generous. And I still agree with your former comments RE: the Pope making ‘vague’ statements. He is of the Franciscan order–known primarily for actions, not theology; sometimes people say things out of ignorance–the question Roman Catholicism has to answer is: “What kind of Vicar, with which strengths, should lead the Roman Catholic Church right now?” It is telling that they chose a Franciscan, and may even be more hopeful for Protestant evangelization because of it! Reformed Theology can give the impetus and answers to those who ‘do’ without the dissenting theology clanging like a cymbal.

      • Rachel

        Yes I saw that the other day as well, while looking for something else.

        It is a system that offers multiple ways to heaven for sure (considering Mary, indulgences, treasury of merit, blood of martyrs etc are offered as savior-type options), even if they prefer you enter through the front door, when there is a side door and back door it can be said that in its attempt to be “inclusive” (which is counter Christianity) and a friend of the world, it is in actuality Universalist, but isn’t that what the beloved Mother Teresa was after all, a Catholic, New Age, Mystic, Pantheist …Pretty sure the Vatican never corrected her theology as much as it attempts to clarify and re clarify this Pope’s. Satan is more than will to accommodate what you believe as long as it isn’t the Exclusive Gospel of the Biblical Christ.

  • Doug Evans

    By stating that Muslims are his brothers and sisters, Mr. Pope is simply iterating the catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 841:
    The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day

    • John Byde

      Unfortunately, Doug, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” is, as usual, at variance with the teachings of Jesus. I’ll stick with the original, thanks!

    • KPM

      That’s interesting. I didn’t know that was in the catechism of the Catholic Church.

      • Rachel

        yes if you go digging you will find a lot, they prefer you don’t and if you do, there is a simple way of explaining it. Because they hold to an Authority higher than what God Himself has said…and they will then proceed to quote church “fathers” for why they believe what contradicts Scripture…

    • WillysJeepMan

      In a seminar that I teach on Catholicism, I point out that section of the CCC to explain one of the many ways that Catholicism is different from Evangelical Christianity. Even those who consider themselves Catholic didn’t know that this is what their church teaches.

      That says that Catholicism worships the same god as muslims do.

  • Amen. This makes me glad to have had the opportunity to call a Roman Catholic priest to repentance Saturday during street evangelism…which reminds me, Jordan – where are you on attending the Super Bowl Outreach? I’d love to chat about it. 🙂

    • Jordan Standridge

      I would love to but I’m not sure I can afford it and take the days off from work/family.

  • John Byde

    This pope is hopeless. Truly a pope for our age but not for our times. Sad.

    • Felicia Simon

      As long as he still lives he can step down from such a position, repent and believe. But I don’t remember any pope doing that.

      • Ira Pistos

        What a beautiful thing that would be.

  • tovlogos

    “The God of Roman Catholicism is much less likely to send people to hell”.

    But not the God of the Bible.
    So, When will Christians wake up? Fair question — for some, never. We don’t know who will; all we can do is continue doing His will by keeping our steady gaze on His Son. We Follow Him as He leads us through this experience.
    In the mean time political correctness is having it day; the truth is assaulted.
    Jesus said, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4;19). Many will not follow; and entwined in the Thorns and Thistles. ( I pray I can stay constantly focused).
    A Jehovahs Witness wrote a booklet years ago, describing her painful departure from the Watch Tower. It took her 12 years to break free “from within” — “after” she knew for a fact that the hold it had on her was demonic. She succeeded b/c she kept “following”.
    Muslims are still upset about the Ishmael/Isaac Genesis story. They are becoming much harder to reach — They believe Jesus, Moses, et al, are Muslims.

    • Fibber MaGee

      “When will Christians wake up?” What does that mean?

      What Muslim believes Jesus and Moses were Muslim? There were no Muslims untill Muhammed wrote the Qur’an around 610 AD.

      • tovlogos

        Right – I was in a mosque in Brooklyn NY by the invitation of a friend who was making the transition to Islam (hoping he could show me the “way”; and I hoped I could show him the differences in the Bible) where I was told that Islam is an ideology; and Jesus was ideologically Muslim. I didn’t argue the point, though I told him I disagree based on Biblical truth.

        “When will Christians wake up?” You don’t understand what that means? Really?
        “God is light” (1 John 1:5). Have you seen the light in your heart?

        • wiseopinion

          I have seen bumper stickers that say Jesus is Muslim…www.islam-guide.com

          • tovlogos

            The problem is, I don’t see Islam as a legitimate religion. It is a reworking of Judeo-Christian theology to suit themselves. Killing us will not legitimize it.

        • Fibber MaGee

          No, I really don’t understand and you still haven’t explained it.

          • tovlogos

            Cheer up, my friend.

  • Corey Fleig

    I had a slightly different reaction to this, but I hope I don’t get anyone confused here. I don’t believe for a moment that Mr. Bergoglio is saved. No possible way, on Biblical grounds.

    However, I began to wonder, what spin will the Vatican apply? They might very well say, “The pope means to say that muslims are our brothers just like all of humanity are our brothers.” If he meant it that way, then there will be a flurry of conservative cardinals attempting to save Bergoglio from looking foolish.

    This is what happened with the “atheists are our brothers” comment. There was a nuance to his meaning that had to be promoted in order to save him.

    We know the system is bankrupt. What I get annoyed with is how easily
    the Vatican says, “Well I said this, but I m-e-a-n-t this…” You can’t pin down Catholic theologians long enough for them to admit their error.

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  • Corey Fleig

    BTW – the quote concerning what Bergoglio said about muslims… I found an article on Huffington Religion that shared the story. Is there an official online article from the Vatican to demonstrate what Bergoglio said? Anyone know?

    I ask because you know that unofficial Catholic apologists are going to try and re-cast the comment… Jimmy Akin will be perfect for skewing it further.

  • wiseopinion

    Trying to evangelize a modern day, progressive Catholic is almost impossible these days…especially if we are seen as “evangelical” believers. We are the ignorant, dimwitted, and easily led fools that believe that the Word and all of the Word is Truth and God breathed. They will tell you they are Christians and belong to the TRUE FIRST church and the only true faith that after all these years is still unified as one denomination, unlike us “evangelicals” that have fractured into so many different denominations that we don’t know what we believe. They feel no need to discuss the differences because they are the one true church and their Pope is infallible. Doesn’t mean we give up and stop trying to speak the truth to them…but wow, what a brick wall.

  • EJ Boston

    Source/Reference for the Mother Theresa quote?

    • Jordan Standridge

      Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers (pages 81,82)

  • That, my brothers and sisters, is why there was a Reformation, now mostly forgotten.

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