Pope Francis’ Message to the SDA Church

The pontificate of Pope Francis has been nothing short of surprising. Coming after years of the highbrow and intellectual mannerisms of Benedict XVI, Francis is winning hearts and minds across the globe by insisting the church come down from its pedestal and engage humanity. In recent photos, Francis is seen hugging two disfigured men. Those pictures have gone viral. People are asking: Is he the “reincarnation” of Pope John Paul II?

In a statement today, Tuesday Nov 26 2013, Francis said:

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. … In her ongoing discernment, the Church can also come to see that certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated. Some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid to re-examine them. At the same time, the Church has rules or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time, but no longer have the same usefulness for directing and shaping people’s lives."

I was struck by how his vision for the Catholic Church is so relevant and applicable to the Adventist Church. This seems to be an inversion of roles. To those who still see the Papacy as “a beast,” it is undeniable that it is increasingly speaking more like a “lamb” than “dragon.” Meanwhile, the top levels of the SDA Church seems to be hunkering down in “obsessions and procedures,” in the words of Francis, which have little to do with its mission in the world. Ironically, the infamous “kingly power” of beastly religious leadership seems to apply less and less to the Catholic Church and more and more to those who fiercely criticize it.

Admittedly, we can’t expect Francis to be the “perfect” pope. He was seen over the weekend clutching a box full of bones purported to belong to saint Peter. Some things will never change, but at least I admire him for trying.

Francis continues:

"Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. … I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.”

Food for thought indeed.


Based on “Pope: No More Business as Usual” CNN’s Belief blog http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/26/pope-calls-for-big-changes-in-the-church/?hpt=hp_t2

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5661

“It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy.” Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894

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The author of this article says, " To those who still see the Papacy as ‘a beast,’ it is undeniable that it is increasingly speaking more like a ‘lamb’ than ‘dragon.’ " That is the equivalent to saying, to those who still believe in Bible prophecy, in Revelation 13.

Has the author never read from The Great Controversy: “The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High.” GC 571.

Case in point, excerpts from an article yesterday (October 26, 2014), “Who is Pope Francis?” in The Washington Blog:

Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis I) was one of the main supporters –within the Catholic hierarchy– of Argentina’s military dictatorship which came to power in a CIA supported coup in 1976.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio not only supported the dictatorship, he also played a direct and complicit role in the “Dirty War” (la guerra sucia”) in liaison with the military Junta headed by General Jorge Videla, leading to the arrest, imprisonment, torture and disappearance of progressive Catholic priests and laymen who were opposed to Argentina’s military rule.

…The accusations directed against Bergoglio regarding the two kidnapped Jesuit priests and six members of their parish are but the tip of the iceberg.

…According to lawyer Myriam Bregman: “Bergoglio’s own statements proved church officials knew from early on that the junta was torturing and killing its citizens”, and yet publicly endorsed the dictators. “The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support,” (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005 emphasis added)

…In endorsing the military Junta, the Catholic hierarchy was complicit in torture and mass killings, an estimated “22,000 dead and disappeared, from 1976 to 1978 … Thousands of additional victims were killed between 1978 and 1983 when the military was forced from power.” (National Security Archive, March 23, 2006).

…In Latin America, where a number of governments are now challenging US hegemony, one would expect –given Bergoglio’s track record– that the new Pontiff Francis I as leader of the Catholic Church, will play de facto, a discrete “undercover” political role on behalf of Washington.

Pope Francis clearly sounds far more like a beast and a dragon than a lamb to me in spite of the fair front he tries now to convey to the world. His record speaks for itself. We can always trust the word of God to know the truth! God doesn’t lie.

You are absolutely correct that God is totally trustworthy.
In The Grip Truth

Landmarks of prophecy series beginning in about 20mins. I’m pretty excited about it. Check it out at landmarksofprophecy.com

Should be relevant to the content of this thread. I really enjoy Doug’s preaching and it’s great to hear his perspectives. I recommend it to all Spectrumites.

If there are SDA Churches that are not involved with International and local Evangelism, then yes the above may partially apply. Is that the case with your Church? Be careful in admiration of the wolf. Satan and his workers will say anything or do anything to fool and win respect and admiration. This man is a loose cannon! Do we as people raised up by God need to harp on the past and beat a dead horse to death over and over? No, the generations that lit the fires that burned so many to death have died and holding a survivor of generations past responsible for actions not his or her own is not right nor Biblical. However, our protest is not over or resolved. Our time, in these last days needs to be used wisely and with a sense of urgency. Teach the truth, love and commit to spreading the Gospel and do what we are to be doing. Our discernment meters should be cranked up to “Critical”! This Pope has an agenda and it is more than meets the eye or hearing. It is truly diabolical including monetary gain and control and political corruption to its core. Be forewarned and remember what our Lord warned us of.


Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendency, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which has been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery, and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed. {GC88 563.1}
The defenders of popery declare that the church has been maligned; and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times, and plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her sentiments. {GC88 563.2}
Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put forth for eight hundred years by this haughty power? So far from being relinquished, this claim has been affirmed in the nineteenth century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome asserts that she “never erred, and never
can err,” how can she renounce the principles which governed her course in past ages? {GC88 563.3}
The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas, she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed, and Rome be re-instated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution. {GC88 564.1}

“Romanism” “popery” “claim to infallibility” “Rome”

Your terms betray your antipathy. “Catholicism” is the correct, and not only the correct but the respectful, term for the the Catholic church. “Popery” isn’t necessary. People are aware that the title of the leader of the Catholic church is Pope. “claim of infallibility”: you and I agree that noone is infallable, although a significant number of Adventists claim they will be “sinless” before the 2nd coming, (glass houses,throwing stones?) This Catholic doctrine is thrown around by some Adventists with little to no understanding of it. Catholic theologians who write about it, although they disagree about how often the claim of infallibility" could be applied to an encyclical,agree that the number can be counted on your fingers ( since it was claimed in the 1840s (I, think.) I am tempted to ask you to spread your vitriol among the other Orthodox and Protestant churches, since there are other doctrines outside of Roman Catholicism that you could go on about, but I advocate that this blog should ideally declared a be “vitriol-free zone.”

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