Roman Catholicism Plus Islam (What Some Have Dubbed Chrislam)
Roman Catholic Popes have always attracted a disproportionate share of media attention, but not quite like Pope Francis. It seems like everything he does and everywhere he goes generates global publicity. Once again he is making headlines. On Monday, May 23rd, 2016, Pope Francis met with the Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, who is widely recognized as Sunni Islam’s premier authority and spokesperson.
This was the first time that the Papacy had invited a high-ranking Muslim (Sunni or Shi’ite) cleric to the Vatican. Pope Francis told Sheikh al-Tayeb, “Our meeting is the message.”
Clearly, this comment was also for the media’s benefit … meaning what was actually discussed between these two global religious leaders wasn’t nearly as important as the meeting itself. In keeping with Pope Francis’ words to Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb, there were no significant ground-breaking words exchanged between the two religious leaders. There was no need; the meeting said it all.
However, just a few days before this historic conference, Pope Francis did make some shocking statements in an interview with the French Catholic news source, La Croix, in obvious preparation for the meeting with Imam al-Tayeb. Such as:
“It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”
Unbelievable! In no uncertain terms, Pope Francis made a contemptible comparison and calculated concession to Islamic Jihad (forced subjugation of Christians and Jews) by equating Muslim objectives of world domination and establishment of a global Caliphate to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ—to evangelize the world with the Gospel of salvation.
To be sure, the Pope provided a small window of escape, by interjecting the disclaimer, “it is also possible to interpret…” In anticipation, I suppose, that some would disagree with his incredible correlation between spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through violence in like manner that Islam has been forced on entire nations by the sword. However, it’s all too evident that his absurd association was an attempt to placate Muslims—even to the extent of cleverly explaining Islamic tactics of terrorism, by suggesting that Jesus (might have) endorsed the very same strategies of “conquest.”
(Pope Francis & Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb)
If Pope Francis is alluding to the misguided and misinformed Crusades and Crusaders or to the Roman Catholic Inquisitions, then he has a point. If so, his finger pointing should and would be directed against the Roman Catholic Church itself, including all Popes, now and then; as the so-called infallible representatives of Jesus Christ on this earth (Vicars). Because it was Catholic kings, knights, and common citizens of European nations that launched these unholy and unbiblical campaigns against both Muslims and Jews.
Whether he intentionally or inadvertently was referring to the Crusades and Inquisitions, the last thing he should have done was to quote the Bible, especially the very words of Jesus. Why? Because the entire ministry of Jesus as recorded in the gospels plus the tenets of the true Christian faith as consolidated by the Apostles Paul, Peter, and John in their epistles neither say nor imply that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be promulgated through conquest.
That is simply not the way or means of spreading the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I repeat for emphasis: nowhere does Scripture state or even infer that God’s plan of salvation is to be forced on anyone—at any time, by any means, in any place.
Here is an excerpt from the Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, A Religion of Peace, Part I, posted 4-11-15.
But for sake of this week’s and next week’s Part II article, we want to focus on the goals of Islamic conquest by forced conversion (or death) versus the universal spread of the Christian Gospel (Good News) through individual voluntary heart-felt response of accepting Jesus as one’s personal Savior. In other words, the true and living God of Scripture does not force anyone to believe and receive the atoning sacrifice of his precious Son. True, Scripture emphatically explains the eternal destiny of all who reject so great a salvation that Jesus purchased with so great a sacrifice; but nowhere in the Bible does God demand (forced) conversion of the unsaved. Instead, he appeals to every person on earth out of love and concern for the personal destiny of all … heaven or hell.
Then from A Religion of Peace, Part II, posted 4-18-15:
The three Crusade campaigns in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries of so-called Christians against primarily Muslim controlled Jerusalem and the Holy Land that also included killing of Jews along the way, have caused great consternation with both Jews and Muslims even in modern times. Recently the Crusades have been cited by Muslim clerics, by Christian and Jewish liberals, and even by heads of state (including President Obama) as a morally equivalent example of extremist’s behavior in the name of religion.
First, the vast majority of these Crusaders were acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and French and English Kings who were, for the most part, subject to the Pope. These crusades in no way, shape, or form represented the essence of Jesus Christ or Scripture. Which is to spread the Good News of salvation to all mankind, with the crystal clear understanding that this is not done through violence or even by duress. Just the opposite: As any kind, caring parent wants their child to respond to their love with love and appreciation from the child (not out of threat or even obligation), so does our great God and Messiah Jesus give us the same choice. Thus, it’s a matter of the heart, not of the sword. An issue of gratitude, not attitude (brashness and arrogance that leads to compulsive compliance).
It’s so very sadly true that the Crusaders were hell-bent to retake Israel from the Muslims and restore what they perceived as the Kingdom of Heaven in Jerusalem. They did so under the mantle of a romantic, but more-so mushy misguided mission that this must be done by conquest (Crusade). In fact, Roman Catholicism is a doctrinal distortion of true Christianity, disguised in the form of an institutional hierarchy that attempted to replace and replicate the once mighty Roman Empire, with the Holy Roman Empire. An empire that encompasses the Holy City of Jerusalem, one that must dominate both the Islamic kingdom and the Jewish remnant left over from the Roman induced Diaspora of the Jews.
We do not have God’s stated or implied permission to employ force in order to persuade unbelievers (no matter what their belief or lifestyle) to convert to Christianity or to otherwise give up their religion or agnosticism or decadent life. That’s between them and God … always has been, always will be. But we are commissioned to tell and show others the magnificent truth of the Gospel … salvation through believing and receiving God’s Son, Messiah Jesus. With understanding that only the Lord can radically change the human heart, not any religion and certainly not the radicals (or even moderates) of that religion.
If God, himself, gives every person the inherent right to voluntarily choose Jesus Christ as their personal Savior; thereby, choosing eternal life over eternal death, how can anyone, especially true Christians, think or do otherwise? Compulsory Christianity is not Christian in form or substance whatsoever. We preach, we teach, we give, we pray, we love because Jesus first loved us … all this because we are grateful for our salvation.
Irreconcilable Differences between the Bible and the Koran
Regarding the spread of Islam, there are two things the Koran stubbornly stresses: (1) absent any willing submission to Allah, the Koran demands that infidels—Jews and Christians—be conquered by force (including death). (2) The commands are directed to ALL Muslims, not just the militant among them. In fact, militant is merely an after-the-fact designation, based on the nature and extent of vicious rhetoric spoken or violent action taken by any given Muslim or sect of Islam
The only reason why so many, including heads of states the world over—not the least of which is our own US President—separate Muslims into two basic groups (violent and non-violent or “peaceful”) is because some Muslims aggressively enforce the commands of Allah through Jihad, and some do not. Those who are belligerent in their tactics are considered terrorists; they supposedly do not represent the “peaceful” tenants of Islam. When, in fact, violence is an integral part of Islamic doctrine as asserted unequivocally in the Koran.
At the very worst, Pope Francis’ comparison of Christianity to “the idea of conquest … inherent in the soul of Islam” is a deceitful analogy to achieve his fundamental goal of identifying and integrating the two religions with the same intentions. For example, early in his Papacy, Pope Francis authorized, “Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran” at the Vatican.
At the very least, Pope Francis is saying that Christians (presumably the Pope defines Christianity by and through the Roman Catholic Church) and Muslims worship the same God; therefore, their objectives and strategies would (might) be the same.
Although I and other Bible scholars and teachers have written much about the fundamental differences—of which there are many—between Allah and the true and living God of the Bible (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), let’s examine the text in Matthew that Pope Francis referred to … equating the promulgation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the militant advancement of Islam.
But first, a reminder that early in his ministry, Jesus told the Jewish religious leader Nicodemus that God’s magnificent plan of redemption to the human race was all-inclusive. Not by subjugation; rather this salvation was available only by a free choice decision. Not by force, but by an open, willing heart to believe (John 3:16).
Later, only a very short time before his crucifixion, Jesus then made what is probably one of the most well-known and definitive statements to the human race … demonstrating that salvation is inclusive of all who would believe in Jesus, but exclusively through him only:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The Apostle Peter affirmed both the inclusivity and exclusivity of the Gospel when he spoke to the Jewish religious leaders about Jesus Christ, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). *Note: By using the plural pronoun, we, with a universal connotation, Peter is including everyone. All people need Messiah Jesus, because redemption comes only through him.
Just before his amazing ascension back to heaven and after his remarkable resurrection from the dead which proved beyond any doubt that he was the Son of God and God the Son, Jesus said to his disciples (the passage referred to by Pope Francis):
“…I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-19).
For Pope Francis to propose that Jesus even implied that the gospel of salvation was to be forced on anyone is a complete misreading of this passage. And, from a pope no less! Worse, it’s a deliberate distortion or denial of all other Biblical passages that deal with redemption, free will, God’s all-inclusive invitation to believe in his Son as the only way to salvation, and the means of spreading the truth of the Gospel. But then, we shouldn’t be all that surprised. Ever since the Roman Catholic Church asserted the non-Biblical claim that it alone is the universal Church; popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests have created traditions and catechisms that are diametrically opposed to the Biblical truths of salvation and who or what a saint really is.
The only force and violence involved in God’s perfect plan of salvation was the torture and excruciating death of Messiah Jesus on the Cross. Moreover, this malicious murder was perpetrated by the religious Jews and the irreligious Romans. If anyone could give enough or do enough good deeds to merit God’s favor and pardon for sin, then Christ died for absolutely no reason.
More Incompatible Distinctions between Islam and Biblical Christianity
There are also discrepancies and fallacies in prior equivalency comparisons Pope Francis has made between Christianity and Islam. Such as his past statement that, “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”
Really? Try to convince Koran-reading, Allah-following Muslims of that. Try to tell them that the Koran must be hypocritically false when it says that Christian and Jewish infidels should submit to Allah, or be killed if they don’t. That Allah really didn’t mean that, nor did Mohammed try to enforce it (which of course he did, and quite brutally at that).
Referring to his disciples, Jesus said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:49-50).
They are those who belong to the family of the true and living God by virtue of simply believing in Christ and personally receiving his substitutionary sacrificial atonement on the Cross for their sins.
“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:29).
Which makes Pope Francis’ reference to Matthew Chapter 28 even more inexplicable and indefensible.
There are several references to the Triune God of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. In his parting words, Jesus specifically identified all three … The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Muslims vehemently deny that Allah has a son, and the Koran doesn’t even mention the Holy Spirit. This above all other differences between Islam and true Christianity is the reason that Muslims classify Christians as infidels. Even though non-Messianic Jews also believe that God is not one God in three Persons, they, too, are considered infidels because their God is not Allah.
Why the Pope or anyone else can say that the God of the Bible and Allah are the same God is beyond belief.
Moreover, Christian believers worship the same God of the Bible as do the Jews.
When God revealed himself to Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, it was to announce that he was the ONLY God, not just one of many (man-made) gods worshipped by pagans at that time.
To Moses, God identified himself as I AM who I AM—the God who had chosen Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the patriarchs of the Jewish people. God then proceeded to give the Law and Sacrificial System to the people, through Moses, as a means to separate the Jews from the pagan nations and their pantheism. But later, the Lord also announced through his prophets that a New Covenant would be implemented, which was accomplished through God’s Son, Messiah Jesus.
Not so, with Islam’s Allah. This god, Allah, didn’t choose anyone. Instead, Mohammed chose the moon-god Allah from among many other gods that the Arabs worshipped … to rival and replace the God of the Jews and Christians. Which is why Islam’s symbol is the crescent moon.
After Mohammed identified Allah as his god of choice, he claimed that Allah gave him revelations through the angel Gabriel … an angel that he obviously identified and then plagiarized from both the Old Testament and New Testament appearances of Gabriel.
Other Comments on the Pope’s Catering to Islam
It cannot be emphasized enough: Pope Francis’ attempt to establish a moral equivalency between the tactics of Islamic extremists (who are literally following the commands of the Koran) and Jesus’s Great Commission to spread the truth of the Gospel to all nations through similar methods of conquest is a deceitful distortion of the very core of Biblical salvation and evangelism.
After I began writing this week’s Eye of Prophecy article, I read an article by Raymond Ibrahim entitled, Pope Francis’ Jihad on Christianity posted in Breaking Israel News on 5-20-15, reprinted from another online site, Front Page Mag on 5-20-15, from which Mr. Ibrahim is a contributing author. Based on his comments, it’s fairly obvious that he (and others) are also deeply offended over Pope Francis’ illogical insinuation that Jesus Christ (may have) intended for his followers to forcibly convert unbelievers in the same manner as Mohammed and his followers have done.
Raymond Ibrahim writes about the Pope: “Only someone who is either very ignorant or hostile to Christianity can make such a claim. To state the obvious: Yes, both Christianity and Islam seek to win converts. However, Jesus’s call to his disciples to ‘go forth and make disciples of all nations,’ in Matthew’s Gospel was understood and practiced peacefully. Disciples preached, people converted. No violence, no coercion. In fact, it was Christians—chief among them disciples and evangelists—who were persecuted and killed simply for preaching Christ, first by the pagan Roman empire, later (and still) Islam.”
I would also add to what he said: Not only the ancient Roman Empire and the subsequent Johnny-come-lately religion of Islam, but the Roman Empire’s proxy replacement (Roman Catholic Church) also has persecuted and killed thousands of true believing Christians and Jews down through the centuries. Stopped only when the Protestant movement combined with European Heads of State finally exposed the corruption in the Catholic Church; thereby, weakening the power of the Papacy. Which is exactly what Pope Francis seems bent on restoring. Hence his incessant high council meetings with national leaders and with prominent Muslim clerics, and even his attempts to persuade Protestants, especially Pentecostals, that the Roman Catholic Church seeks unity (at whatever the cost, including truth itself) with her Evangelical “brothers and sisters.”
In that regard, here is an excerpt from the Eye of Prophecy article, Wiles of the Woman, published 4-5-14.
You might ask, “What’s so wrong with Christian unity? Answer: Absolutely nothing. If, that is, unity and love are based in and on the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And in the proverbial nutshell, that truth is encapsulated in and represented by Ephesians 2:8-9: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
And, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek … But the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1: 16-17). Which is what compelled a Catholic Priest by the name of Martin Luther to boldly protest against the Catholic doctrine that claims a person is ultimately justified through self-actions that merit and maintain righteousness, or the granting of indulgences. If you doubt that Catholic dogma has changed to the point of assenting to mainstream Protestant or Evangelical or even Pentecostal emphasis of the Christian faith, just go online and read, The Catechism of the Catholic Church. The facts are clear: Catholicism still endorses a sophisticated set of rules, actions, and conditions that all Catholics in good standing must adhere to, in order to even have the chance of (pre-qualify) obtaining salvation and admittance to heaven.
Why would non-Catholic religious leaders like Bishop Palmer and Kenneth Copeland reach back to the Pope and give him a spiritual hug; when, in fact, the very foundation of the Catholic Church is based on salvation through good works, keeping of non-Biblical sacraments, and God’s ultimate acceptance of the individual just because he or she is a baptized member of the Catholic Church? The answer is equally and sadly evident: Because some (actually many) Protestant leaders have also distorted the very gospel of Jesus Christ; replacing it with a system of man-made do(s) and don’t(s) that circumvent Biblical salvation of justification through faith in the substitutionary death of Christ, with a works-based, cultic, law-keeping self-righteousness that nullifies the very idea and sufficiency of God’s free gift of grace (through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son) to save us.
To further confirm that the Pope’s ultimate objective is to divide and conquer through the shroud of unity, listen to his statements on Islam made in Rome during an ecumenical style meeting of representatives from various religious groups, including Jews and Christians: “I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you….”
I applaud Raymond Ibrahim’s boldness in confronting the Pope. Not just because it tracks with what I’ve written in prior Eye of Prophecy articles (such as the excerpts quoted earlier in today’s article), but because it is the historical and contemporary truth.
Ibrahim also quotes the prophet Muhammad whose words were reprinted in The Al Qaeda Reader, page 12: “I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped—Allah who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my commandments.”
Raymond Ibrahim continues: “Unlike the spread of Christianity, Islam spread through the sword. This is a simple historical fact, acknowledged by more sober European leaders; the overwhelming majority of territory that today constitutes the ‘Muslim world’ was seized from non-Muslims by great violence and bloodshed. Two-thirds of Christendom—the Mideast and North Africa—was to be swallowed up by Islam a century after its founding.”
Antichrist Nero Will Take Full Advantage of a Roman Catholic/Islamic Liaison
As clearly seen, Pope Francis is making no pretense of trying to make Christianity (the Roman Catholic version) and Islam two sides of the same coin. However, this will not lead to a so-called One World Religion, as proposed by even well-meaning Bible students. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, One World Religion, posted 8-15-15. That article presents Biblically documented and detailed reasons why there will not be a single world religion during the Tribulation, either through the Antichrist or the False Prophet. However, Antichrist Nero will initially cater to and use Roman Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism (as well as occultism under the mantel of a “New Age”) to achieve his political agenda, through a seven-year treaty between these three religions and between Israel and Muslim nations.
Speaking of coins, may I also quote from the Eye of Prophecy article, Antichrist and the Vicar of Christ, Part I, published 9-5-15.
The better analogy is that Antichrist and the Vicar of Christ are two sides of the same coin. But even that will last for only a short time … most likely about half way through the tribulation. Nero will proclaim himself as God or as Messiah … the man/God. He will soon be worshipped by people all over the world as divine for one reason only: his astounding revival and return some two thousand years after he had died. With that kind of veneration, Nero will become the head of the coin; dragging the tail of the coin (the Pope) behind him. In fact, this coinage will soon become a coin with two heads, both of them Nero’s.
But before that happens, there will be a titanic clash of two men vying for the personal loyalty of billions of people while trying to (unsuccessfully working together) accomplish their agenda each through their own vile systems. One is boldly and blatantly unholy. The other is hypocritically holy. Both will claim to be God and Christ on the earth.
Through the centuries, popes and kings have clashed; sometimes the pope prevailed, sometimes the king triumphed. This time the “divine monarch” and his ten-nation coalition with crush the ecclesiastical head of state who would dare assume political power as well as religious (Revelation 17:16).
In like manner, many Jews will at first acknowledge Nero as a messiah-type, or at least as a sovereign who God allowed to return to save the world. Thus, they will gladly enter into a seven-year treaty with Nero, who will facilitate the building of the third Temple and allow Jews to restore their sacrificial system of atonement.
Likewise with hundreds of millions of Muslims. Who can possibly argue with or fight against someone who bodily returns from the dead? They will conclude that it had to be Allah who performed such a miracle. They will concede Nero as their Mahdi (messiah).
By default, people from nations and religions the world over will give their allegiance to Nero immediately after he reappears from the Abyss. (See Revelation 13). So, too, will a good many of their political and religious leaders. But above all Nero will initially establish a liaison with the Vatican. After all: The Vatican is the embodiment of the Holy Roman Empire, the reincarnation of the once great Roman Empire which for fourteen years was ruled by none other than a man who had returned from the dead. Both dynasties were headquartered in Rome. Both empires purported to be the universal kingdom on earth; the first one politically and militarily, ruled by a supreme and divine emperor. The second through a religion that claims to be the universal church, headed by the infallible representative of Christ, himself. Both will seek to restore the glory that once was Rome’s.
There is simply no way that a One World Religion will develop during the Great Tribulation. Any more than its possible for adherents of Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, or other deviant sects of Christianity (such as Mormonism) to convert in great numbers from one of these religions to another.
The closest thing to a global religion will be world-wide worship of one man, Antichrist Nero; by force if necessary—the same kind of force ordered by the Koran and suggested by Pope Francis!
Nero couldn’t care less what religion those left behind belong to. Nowhere in the Old or New Testament do we find any evidence whatsoever that the Antichrist (or the False Prophet) attempts to form a world religion.
In fact, both Daniel (Chapter 11) and Paul (II Thessalonians Chapter 2) tell us that Antichrist shows great disdain to the point of defiance of any god, therefore, of any religion. Instead he will claim to be God himself. He will not require people to adopt any current religion, nor will he create a new religion (such as the New Age movement).
Instead, Nero will seek to exercise control through the conciliation, cooperation, and coordination between Roman Catholic Clergy, Muslim Imams, and Jewish Rabbis.
Recognition and reverence for Nero’s inconceivable return from the grave will be the reason that, “…The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast … who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4).
Nearly all papal activities since Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Francis) became Pope have been designed to reestablish the authority and influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Which makes his latest effort to appease Muslims another amazing fit of the prophetic puzzle.
Nero couldn’t ask for anything better to prepare the way for his Pax Romana. He will reappear to a world absent of any born-again believers (true Christians and true Christianity). A world in chaos will be ripe for someone who has the mystical (by virtue of rising from the dead) power to unite peoples from every race, country, and religion. But it will not be a One World Government, as many nations will oppose Nero.
Yet there will be just enough cooperation through an already conciliatory toleration among religious leaders and a political correctness among both religious and non-religious leaders to give Nero carte blanche authority to implement a treaty between Jews and Arabs. And among governments seeking a global two-state solution to the already despised and increasingly boycotted, divested, and sanctioned nation of Israel.
But beware nations of the earth. Israel is the apple of God’s eye.
Says the Lord, the God of Israel, “On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves” (Zechariah 12:3).
Things to Ponder
Did you know that one day there will be no more religions to confuse and corrupt entire peoples and nations?
Can I get an Amen on that!
However, there will finally be a One World Government! With a truly benevolent and caring King ruling over and judging between the nations. But only after the Lord vanquishes Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and all those who, “…refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them … Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10, 12).
This final conquest of evil through the use of force by Messiah Jesus is totally justified and necessary. “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war” (Revelation 19:11).
“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshipped” (Zechariah 14:9).
We love you Lord, because you first loved us.
We eagerly embrace and anxiously anticipate your return to make all things right.
“He (Yeshua) who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).