ROME — In his first-ever video declaring his “prayer intentions,” the Roman Catholic leader Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, called for dialogue and collaboration among those of the various world religions on Tuesday, asserting that they are simply “seeking or meeting God in different ways.”
“Most of the planet’s inhabitants declare themselves believers,” he states in the production released on the Feast of Epiphany. “This should lead to dialogue among religions. We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently.”
The video then features clips of those from different world religions declaring belief in their various deities.
“I have confidence in Buddha,” a female lama announces.
“I believe in God,” a rabbi affirms.
“I believe in Jesus Christ,” a priest states.
“I believe in Allah,” an Islamic leader declares.
Francis contends that all the religions of the world simply represent mankind’s diversity in seeking God. He says that despite the differing beliefs, everyone is a child of the same God.
“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways,” he states. “In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God.”
The video then provides footage of the pontiff meeting with and embracing those of various religions, including Buddhists, Islamists and Orthodox Jews. It again cuts to representatives of the world’s religions, who now declare the same statement: “I believe in love.”
“I hope you will spread my prayer request this month: that sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce fruits of peace and justice,” Francis states. “I have confidence in your prayers.”
But not everyone is supportive of the Vatican’s call for unity and common ground. Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries of Plano, Texas told Christian News Network that the pontiff’s assertions that all mankind is “seeking or meeting God in different ways,” and that all are children of the same God, are flawed.
“Tragically, those who do not know the Bible or who refuse to submit to it as the supreme authority for truth, will be deceived by the pope’s latest pronouncement,” he stated. “The pope’s assertion that all mankind meets with/seeks after the same God, just in different ways, is false according to the word of God. No one seeks for (the true) God (Rom. 3:11), but there are many who seek after false gods of their own imagination or false gods of their religious traditions. The only way to meet with the true God is His way, through the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).”
“The word of God reveals that the human race is made up of people who are either children of God or children of the devil (1 John 3:10),” Gendron explained. “The Lord Jesus soundly rebuked the religious leaders of His day for refusing to believe the truth of His Word (John 8:440-43). Jesus told them that their father was the devil, who is the father of lies (John 8:44).”
“This remains true today,” he continued. “The god of this world has created a variety of religions to blind all of his children from the light of the Gospel and the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4).”
Gedron said that in one sense—although not deliberately—Francis is correct as all are children of the darkness by nature, but man only becomes a child of God when he is reborn in Christ.
“Everyone is a child of the ‘god of this world’ until they exchange their religion for a relationship with the one true God through Jesus Christ,” he outlined. “Those who receive Jesus by believing in His name become children of God (John 1:12-13).”
Gendron, a former Roman Catholic, also opined that the pontiff’s ecumenicism is fulfilling prophesy about the formulation of a one world religion.
“As the pope continues to accelerate his ecumenical agenda to rebuild the religious tower of Babel, he will be fulfilling Bible prophecy. All the religions of the world already share a ‘works-righteousness’ salvation and they all are already united by a common spiritual bond,” he said.
“As we see the prophetic one-world religion forming, we know the children of the true God will have no part of it because they have been sanctified by the truth and sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Thes. 2:13),” Gendron stated.