Why does Pope Francis talk about the Devil so much?

Good thoughts from Micah (which should be the name of his blog)- (and I didn’t know he had a blog).

catholics without coats

Pope Francis has recently caused some people to scratch their heads over his comments about the real existence of the Devil. For example, on Sunday June 1, the Pope made a speech to over 50,000 people about the way the Devil wants to destroy the family: “Let us pray to the Lord and ask Him to protect the family in the crisis with which the Devil wants to destroy it.” (http://bit.ly/1rGTUis). On May 10, Anthony Faiola in the Washington Post had a long article exploring Francis’ frequent references to the Devil and some reaction to them within the Vatican (http://wapo.st/1j8bpti). Such views raise eyebrows in western culture, where personal autonomy, belief in free will, and a modern, scientific mindset all proscribe a personified evil being like Satan or the Devil. There are reasons, however, that I think we should consider why Pope Francis talks this way…

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Pope Francis: He’s the Reason Exorcisms Are on the Rise

Francis comes on the scene and demonic activity increases… coincidence?  I don’t think so

The “Pope Francis effect” has been credited with encouraging a resurgence in faith among rank-and-file Catholics but it has also had a more unexpected consequence – a boom in the demand for exorcisms. The Argentinian pontiff’s fire-and-brimstone language and frequent references to the Devil have helped propel belief in Beelzebub back into the mainstream of the Catholic Church, where once it was an embarrassment. Dioceses in the UK, Italy, Spain and elsewhere have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people claiming to be possessed and have responded by training more priests in the dark arts of how to perform exorcisms.  A week-long exorcism conference, held this week at the Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum in Rome and endorsed by the Vatican, is being attended by around 160 Catholic priests from around the world, who insist that demonic possession is very real.

‘The dark arts….’ Now that’s a reporter who has spent more time reading Harry Potter than he has the Bible.  Anyway, thanks Pope Franky, for stirring up the papal hordes.

[PS- demon possession is real.  Look at Congress.  That right there is all the proof you need that demons inhabit human beings]

The Candler School of Theology Centennial Conference

As part of the Centennial, Candler School of Theology presented Prophetic Voices: Confronting Theological Challenges of the Next Century on March 18-20, 2015. The three-day conference brought together a dozen renowned theologians to discuss theological challenges facing the church, the world and the shape of theological education in the next century.

The conference sought to be prophetic—in the sense of truth-speaking rather than future forecasting—about the pressing theological issues facing the world in the next 100 years, and the resources for engaging them.

Candler faculty delivered five major addresses, each followed by panel presentations by guest scholars. The program included times for worship and discussion among participants.

Visit here for the videos. Here’s my favorite:

Luke Timothy Johnson, "Meeting the Theological Challenges of the New Century" – Prophetic Voices Centennial Academic Conference from Candler School of Theology on Vimeo.

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Calvin, on Absent Thomas

opitz_calvinThough [the disciples] are less courageous than they ought to have been, still they do not give way to their weakness. True, they seek concealment for the sake of avoiding danger, but they gather courage so far as to remain together; otherwise they would have been scattered hither and thither, and no man would have ventured to look at his neighbour. In this manner we ought to struggle against the weakness of our flesh, and not to indulge fear, which tempts us to apostacy.

Christ also blesses their zeal, when he appears to them while they are assembled; and Thomas is justly deprived of the favour bestowed on all his brethren, because, like a wandering soldier, he had withdrawn from the standard of union. Here, then, is a lesson for those who are excessively timid, to sharpen and encourage themselves to correct their carnal fear; and particularly they ought to beware lest fear should cause them to scatter.  — John Calvin (On John 20).

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I Told You So

Years ago, I warned you that you were rendering yourselves irrelevant, dear academics.  And now they’ve proven it.

MANY of the world’s most talented thinkers may be university professors, but sadly most of them are not shaping today’s public debates or influencing policies. Indeed, scholars often frown upon publishing in the popular media. “Running an opinion editorial to share my views with the public? Sounds like activism to me,” a professor recently noted at a conference, hosted by the University of Oxford. The absence of professors from shaping public debates and policies seems to have exacerbated in recent years, particularly in social sciences.

Etc.  Now get thee to relevance!   While you still can.

Dear ‘Marriage Equality’ Advocates- Please Boycott Every Christian Owned Business

When you do, they make a killing!

A pizzeria in Indiana that was forced to close after it faced arson and death threats by homosexual activists and advocates for expressing their biblical beliefs on marriage re-opened last week to a full house.

As previously reported, the matter began when reporter Alyssa Marino of ABC 57 News in South Bend set out to interview area business owners about their reaction to the controversy over the recently signed Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Among the businesses that she visited was Memories Pizza in Walkerton, a place that is decorated with crosses and quotes from Scripture, and begins each morning with prayer.  …

The story quickly went viral, and homosexual activists and advocates lashed out at O’Connor and Memories Pizza. Yelp was flooded with hundreds of negative reviews and vulgar photographs, and those angry about O’Connor’s response left messages on Facebook wishing bodily harm and death to the business owner.

“I pray to God all of you get food poisoning!” one commenter named Alex Ollmedo wrote.

“I pray your store burns to the ground with your family in it,” another named Jeff Green lashed out.

Police were called in when Jessica Dooley, a coach at an Elkhart County high school, Tweeted, “Who’s going to Walkerton with me to burn down Memories Pizza?”

The pizzeria soon closed shop and the O’Connor family went into hiding, fearing for their lives….

A GoFundMe campaign was soon launched by a Blaze news reporter to help “relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith.” While the original goal was $200,000, donations exceeded $800,000 within a few days.

On Thursday, Memories Pizza re-opened its doors to a full house. The Associated Press reports that “within an hour, all eight tables were filled and six people were waiting for carryout orders.” There were no protests.

So, gay activists, go forth and threaten!  You’re doing more for small business than the Republicans have in 8 years.

Don’t Buy the Lie: Abortion is Neither Safe nor Infallible

Just ask this Italian woman:

Stefania M, 40, began suffering abdominal pains, blood loss and a fever after undergoing an abortion at the San Camillo hospital in Rome.  Ten days after the procedure she woke up bleeding and went to the shower, where she gave birth to her dead fetus.  She was then rushed to Rome’s Gemelli hospital where the fetus was removed, Corriere della Sera reported.  The fetus, measuring 5.3cm long and still attached to an umbilical cord, was meant to have been removed at the San Camillo hospital. The woman had also undergone an ultrasound there to check the procedure had been a success, Corriere reported.  Her gynecologist, named by the newspaper as Marina De Cupis, is now facing charges of causing serious injury. Stefania M could have died as a result of the botched abortion, while she still suffers psychological problems following the traumatic experience, her lawyer said. Since the abortion in August 2013, lawyer Piergiorgio Assumma said his client has fallen into a depressive state and suffers from post-traumatic stress.  “Additionally, my client is terrified by the idea of having other pregnancies,” Assumma was quoted in Corriere as saying.

Abortion is safe?  Yeah, sure.  Until it isn’t.  It doesn’t leave emotional scars?  Yeah, sure.  Until it does.  But every murder has its price.

NB-  Isn’t it interesting that you never see stories like this in the American press.  You know these things happen- this Italian case isn’t the only one.  Abortion rights have become a sacred cow in this country which must never be attacked.

Sweden: The Atheist Holy Land

Britain is one of the least religious countries in Europe, but Sweden has them beat for least religious of all.  8 out of 10 Swedes are either irreligious or atheist.

Swedes’ beliefs contrast dramatically with the vast majority of most other nationalities on the planet, with more than six out of ten people surveyed across 65 different countries describing themselves as “religious”.  The study was carried out by polling firm WIN/Gallup International as part of its 2014 End of Year Survey, with the data on religious beliefs released on Monday.  A total of 63,398 people were questioned, with only China, Hong Kong and Japan appearing to have a greater proportion of atheists than Sweden.

Sweden- the Japan of Europe.

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Something Exciting For the Creation v. Evolution People

dinoA Christian group in Idaho has unveiled plans for a new creation museum that would display scientific evidence for the Bible’s creation account and expose weaknesses in the evolutionary theory.

Northwest Science Museum is an organization headquartered in Boise that aspires to construct a large natural history museum with exhibits detailing the earth’s history according to the biblical worldview. If built, the museum would likely be located on Interstate 84, somewhere between Boise and Nampa.

“We want to show a lot of science that’s being censored and not presented to the public,” Doug Bennett, the museum’s executive director, told the Idaho Statesman.

Super exciting, right?  Right?

So Much of What the Church Does Has So Little to do With The Gospel


ומתכנעין עמי דאתקרי שׁמי עליהון ויעבדון תתובא ויצלון ויבעון מן־קדמי ויתובון מן אורחתהון בישׁיא ואנא אקבל מן שׁמיא תתובתהון ואשׁרי ואשׁבוק לחוביהון ואעיל אסותא לארעהון׃
(2Ch 7:14 TAR)

וְיִכָּנְע֙וּ עַמִּ֜י אֲשֶׁ֧ר נִֽקְרָא־שְׁמִ֣י עֲלֵיהֶ֗ם וְיִֽתְפַּֽלְלוּ֙ וִֽיבַקְשׁ֣וּ פָנַ֔י וְיָשֻׁ֖בוּ מִדַּרְכֵיהֶ֣ם הָרָעִ֑ים וַאֲנִי֙ אֶשְׁמַ֣ע מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְאֶסְלַח֙ לְחַטָּאתָ֔ם וְאֶרְפָּ֖א אֶת־אַרְצָֽם׃

Wenn dann mein Volk, über dem mein Namen genannt ist, sich demütigt, und sie beten und suchen mein Angesicht und wenden sich ab von ihren bösen Wegen, werde ich es vom Himmel her hören und ihre Sünde vergeben und ihr Land heilen. (ZUR)

If My people, upon whom My name is called, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (JPS)

καὶ ἐὰν ἐντραπῇ ὁ λαός μου ἐφ᾽ οὓς τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐπικέκληται ἐπ᾽ αὐτούς καὶ προσεύξωνται καὶ ζητήσωσιν τὸ πρόσωπόν μου καὶ ἀποστρέψωσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁδῶν αὐτῶν τῶν πονηρῶν καὶ ἐγὼ εἰσακούσομαι ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἵλεως ἔσομαι ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις αὐτῶν καὶ ἰάσομαι τὴν γῆν αὐτῶν (LXX)

conversus autem populus meus super quos invocatum est nomen meum deprecatus me fuerit et exquisierit faciem meam et egerit paenitentiam a viis suis pessimis et ego exaudiam de caelo et propitius ero peccatis eorum et sanabo terram eorum (VUL)

Se il mio popolo, sul quale è invocato il mio nome, si umilia, prega, cerca la mia faccia e si converte dalle sue vie malvagie, io lo esaudirò dal cielo, gli perdonerò i suoi peccati, e guarirò il suo paese. (NRV)

En het volk waarover mijn naam is afgeroepen zich vernedert, bidt en mijn aanschijn zoekt, en zich bekeert van zijn slechte wegen, dan zal Ik het in de hemel verhoren, Ik zal hun zonde vergeven en hun land genezen. (W95)

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A Gun, A 3 Year Old, and a Dead Baby

By now you’re familiar with the story….  because guns are everywhere and stupid people are allowed to own them.  And leave them out.  Loaded.  Where kids can get them.

But I suppose the NRA thinks that if the one year old had a gun it could have defended itself….

America doesn’t need to fear ISIS.  We’re doing a great job of killing off our own.