What Does It Mean When the Pope Gets His Theology Wrong?

A while back, the current pope erred greatly in his theology. In the first case, he denied the existence of hell. In the second case, he counseled a grieving little boy that his atheist father was a good man, and good people go to heaven.

Of course, the Pope’s teaching contradicts the Bible on these two points. Although both stories made international news, there is never much protest when perversions of doctrine, or even practice, scandalizes the Roman Catholic Church. The reason for that is the size and breadth of this global organization.

Of the thirteen biblical references to hell, eleven of them are made by our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, ironically, to the church at Rome, and quoted the Old Testament, which tells us that no one is good, not even one (Rom 3:10–11).

So what does it mean when the leader of the Romish Church lies to a little boy and to his atheist friend? One has to believe that the lies were intended to comfort his hearers. Of course, it becomes a bit more disturbing when others hear of these deceptions, especially those who actually believe the Bible.

In centuries past, from Protestants to Puritans, the Pope was identified as the anti-Christ of the Bible — a man of deception (2 Thess 2). In this assessment, it appears that the current Pope certainly meets the criteria with these two incidences. From a Protestant perspective, it is baffling why anyone raised Roman Catholic would remain Roman Catholic because of both doctrinal errors and practical perversions (ie. pedophile priests, financial corruption, political corruption, etc.).

In essence, the simple meaning, derived from false teaching, is merely unbelief. Men who deny the teaching of the Bible simply do not believe the Bible. This is true for atheist and pontiff alike. The history of the papacy includes any number of believers and unbelievers, who have held the position. Being the Pope does not make a man infallible, nor does it make him a believer. The Pope is as inclined as anyone to get wrong theology and adhere to teachings, both true and false.

For the Christian, the meaning of the papal errors, in doctrine, serve as reminders to trust in Jesus Christ alone. Putting confidence in man is dissuaded because we are not supposed to put our confidence in the flesh, whether rich or poor, famous or obscure, ourselves or another.

For the world and even faithful Roman Catholics, these issues warrant a yawn or a shrug before moving on with one’s day. Maybe the more important question than, “What does it mean when the Pope gets his theology wrong?” is “What does it mean when people don’t care about right doctrine?” or “What does it mean when people continue to follow a deceiver?”

Those questions reveal the scope of unbelief in the world and in the Roman Catholic Church. So the question is heightened still further, “What does it mean when someone does not believe the Word of God?” The answer is eternal damnation in eternal fiery hell. God has spoken, and all men are commanded to believe what God has said in His Word. Unlike the Pope, who is now obviously known to deceive, as the international news has reported, the true believer would never comfort others with a lie or deception.

The Bible is clear that hell is real, literal, and a place of dark torment for unbelieving sinners. There is no universal salvation by default of there being no hell. The Bible is also clear that no man is good, but all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Thus, as we correct these papal errors, please be assured that if you read my articles, I will labor (even when it is wildly unpopular) to be in alignment with the Bible, which I believe is the Word of truth of the one true God. Even though I am no Pope, I hope that means something to you.

David Norczyk

Seattle, Washington

July 31, 2021

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher