How does Jesuit philosophy drive Pope Francis' theology?
Pope Francis has quickly established himself among the masses as a very popular religious leader, but at the same time, he has generated strong resistance from key Catholic leaders. Much of the controversy he has caused is due to his tendency to make off-the-wall comments that produce widespread confusion.
Who is this Pope? Where did he come from? And what is he up to? We've asked these questions of Mike Gendron, the founder and director of a ministry in the Dallas, Texas area called Proclaiming the Gospel. Driven by a deep compassion for Roman Catholics, Mike brings the Gospel of grace to those who are victimized by the deception of Roman Catholicism.
Profile on Pope Francis
Dr. Reagan: Pope Francis has quickly established himself as a very popular figure among the Catholic masses. There are several reasons for that. One reason is his dismissal of the majestic trappings of the papacy, at least some of them. Another reason was his condemnation of corruption in the Catholic Curia. Another reason would be his promotion of Socialism. Another reason would be his questioning of some of the Church's most questionable or at least most unpopular doctrines.
On the negative side, he appears to be a loose cannon. And thus, every time he speaks out on an issue, the Vatican calls a press conference very quickly and says, "He didn't mean what he said!" They begin to explain away what he said.
What in the world is Pope Francis up to? Where did he come from? What is his background? Can you give us any kind of insights about him?
Mike Gendron: Yes, Pope Francis is a very fascinating man. He came out of Argentina. He is a Jesuit, and many people have studied under the Jesuits. Francis is the first ever Jesuit Pope.
A lot of people don't know the background of the Jesuits. At the Reformation in the 16th Century, the Council of Trent was the beginning of the Counter Reformation. There they recognized that a lot of Catholics were leaving after studying the Bible. The truth was setting them free. And so, the Catholic Church established a Counter Reformation. Part of its leadership was led by Ignatius Loyola who founded the Jesuits. The purpose of the Jesuits at that time was to do anything to thwart the Protestant Reformation. If you look at Church history, they took some pretty drastic measures, including the Inquisition.
Dr. Reagan: So the Jesuits became the defenders of the Catholic Church?
Mike Gendron: They really did. They tried to thwart the exodus of Roman Catholics that were leaving because they'd found out the truth in the Bible. As a result of that great departure from the Catholic Church, the Jesuit's agenda was to unite the whole world under the power and the influence of the Papacy.
This new Jesuit Pope, Pope Francis, the first one ever, he's accelerating the Ecumenical Movement to bring all Christians under the Catholic banner like never before. Today's movement started in 1965 with Vatican Council II.
Pope Francis made a statement recently that I want to read to you:
"There are many people who share our faith in Christ but belong to other faith confessions or traditions. Throughout history this has been a cause of conflict and suffering. But now it is possible to work toward reconciliation and full communion. We ought to accentuate that which unites us, Jesus, and the richness of His love."
Ecumenism is the major thrust of his agenda. Francis' goal is to unite not only all separated brethren, which would be you and me, but also all the religions of the world. He is actively building bridges with non-Christian religions.
As followers of Christ, we need to make sure that people understand that we are not united in the love of Christ, but we are united by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There can be no unity outside of the Gospel.
Dr. Reagan: And yet, there seems to be many Evangelicals even who think that there can be a united Church.
Mike Gendron: There are. In fact, if you look at the recent months, the Pope is looking for soft spots in the Evangelical world in order to build bridges to the Evangelical Church. This pope has accelerated the Ecumenical Movement.
We need to recognize that he is teaching a false and fatal Gospel. He is not interested in doctrine, he is interested in people who love Jesus. But, and here's the problem, a lot of Evangelicals don't know that Catholics worship and trust a different Jesus! The Catholic Jesus is different from the one that is revealed in the Bible.
Dr. Reagan: What do you mean by that when you say a "different Jesus"?
Mike Gendron: The Roman Catholic Jesus is called down from Heaven every day to be offered again and again as a sin offering by the priest on an altar. Transubstantiation happens, Catholics say, to appease the wrath of God. Divine justice is served every day on a Catholic altar. This is not the Jesus of Scripture.
The Jesus of Scripture entered Heaven having obtained eternal redemption. He died once for all for all time. There are no more offerings for sin. We need to point this out to Roman Catholics, and point them to the Christ of the Bible. He is sufficient to save them completely and forever.
Dr. Reagan: It seems that many in the Evangelical world have actually overlooked the differences that brought about the split in the first place, as if the Reformation was of no consequence. All these Protestants who died being burned at the stake or whatever ridiculous loss of life at the hands of the Catholic Church, they're saying there wasn't that much difference in beliefs the first place. But, that's not true at all, is it?
Mike Gendron: It's really heart-breaking to see Evangelicals forget what the Reformers died for. They were brutally tortured and burned at the stake because they stood on the sound rock of the Bible. The Bible was their authority for faith. They would not bow their knee to the Pope.
But now we see Evangelicals going to Pope Francis, and they are forgetting what the Reformation was all about. The Reformation was about how people are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, all for the glory of God alone. But, this Pope is teaching a gospel of works, a gospel that encourages people to receive sacraments in order to obtain eternal life. Catholics do not have the assurance of eternal life because their work of redemption is carried out every day on a Catholic altar.
In the third segment of my interview of Mike Gendron on Pope Francis, we'll look at the many off-the-wall quotes the Pope has made.