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Pope's letter to non-believers in Italian paper La Repubblica
Vatican Radio ^ | September 11, 2013

Posted on 09/11/2013 4:52:10 PM PDT by NYer

(Vatican Radio) Does God forgive non-believers? Does absolute truth exist? And is God merely a creation of the human mind?
In a lengthy letter to the former editor of the Italian daily ‘La Repubblica’, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis shares reflections on these three questions and urges all non-believers to engage with Christians in an open and sincere conversation.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report: RealAudioMP3

In the letter published on Wednesday, the Pope laments the impasse that has grown up over the centuries with those who see Christianity as ‘dark and superstitious,’ in opposition to the ‘light of reason’.
Quoting from the recent encyclical ‘Lumen Fidei’, the Pope stresses that, on the contrary, faith must never be intransigent or arrogant, but rather humble and able to grow in relationship with others.


Responding to the three questions posed by the Italian journalist and writer, the Pope says the key issue for non-believers is that of “obeying their consciences” when faced with choices of good or evil. God’s mercy, he stresses, “has no limits” for those who seek him with a sincere and contrite heart.


Reflecting on the question of absolute truth, Pope Francis says he prefers to describe the truth in terms of a dynamic relationship between each Christian and Jesus, who said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. The truth of God’s love, the Pope insists, is not subjective, but it is only experienced and expressed as a journey, a living relationship with each one of us, in our different social and cultural contexts.


Thirdly, Pope Francis considers the question of God as a creation of the human mind, who will thus disappear when human beings cease to exist on earth. In my experience, he says - and in that of so many other Christians past and present – God is not merely an idea but is a “Reality” of infinite goodness and mercy, revealed to us through his son, Jesus of Nazareth.


Reflecting on the originality of the Christian faith in relations to other religions, the Pope stresses the role of Jesus who renders us all sons and daughters of God, therefore also brothers and sisters to each other. Our arduous task, he says, is that of communicating God’s love to all, not in a superior way, but rather through service to all people especially those on the margins of our societies.


Finally the Pope spoke of his deep respect and friendship for people of Jewish faith – especially those with whom he worked so closely in his native Argentina. Reflecting on the terrible experience of the Shoah, he said, we can never be grateful enough to the Jews who maintained their faith in God, thus teaching us too to remain always open to his infinite love.



TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS:
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1 posted on 09/11/2013 4:52:10 PM PDT by NYer
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To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 09/11/2013 4:52:37 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Of course God forgives non believers, otherwise they could never become believers.

When he says “non believers” what does he mean?


3 posted on 09/11/2013 4:59:30 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: NYer; metmom; F15Eagle; BibChr; The Ignorant Fisherman
Pope Francis assures sceptics: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

"Given – and this is the fundamental thing – that God's mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart," the pope wrote, "the question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience. There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one's conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one's mind about what is good and evil."

Wow.

Just wow.

4 posted on 09/11/2013 6:22:04 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: NYer

“Reflecting on the terrible experience of the Shoah, he said, we can never be grateful enough to the Jews who maintained their faith in God, thus teaching us too to remain always open to his infinite love.”

Interesting. So the heretical “dual covenant” hypothesis is alive and kicking. Didn’t the apostles give up their lives attempting to convert both Jews and Gentiles to Christianity?


5 posted on 09/11/2013 6:32:41 PM PDT by ebb tide
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To: NYer
Well Mr. Bergoglio, you obviously either don't know your Bible very well or you're trying to rewrite God's Word!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. - Romans 10:9

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

It's a good thing you're not the pope or anything... (...sheesh).

6 posted on 09/11/2013 6:34:38 PM PDT by Up Yours Marxists
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To: SkyPilot
"Given – and this is the fundamental thing – that God's mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart," the pope wrote, "the question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience. There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one's conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one's mind about what is good and evil."

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God will not grant blanket forgiveness to those who don't want it. You have to confess and repent. And you have to believe that God IS.

If you don't believe that God is, then you are not going to be confessing anything.

7 posted on 09/11/2013 6:50:21 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: SkyPilot

Agreed
Wow, does not say enough.


8 posted on 09/11/2013 7:32:22 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: NYer

What does the fellow mean by this?
Really you don’t have to beleive in God?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-assures-sceptics-you-dont-have-to-believe-in-god-to-go-to-heaven-8810062.html


9 posted on 09/11/2013 7:32:57 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: Up Yours Marxists

Needs to be repeated:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. - Romans 10:9

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16


10 posted on 09/11/2013 7:33:59 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: svcw

“Of course God forgives non believers, otherwise they could never become believers.”

You bet they do! They become believers once they’re in Hell. One problem: it’s too late.


11 posted on 09/11/2013 7:34:35 PM PDT by ebb tide
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To: metmom

This man is the ultimate deceiver!

The Roman Catholic Church Is not a Christian Church
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=5110614627

Pope Francis Shows His True Colors
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owK8PsaoItk&feature=youtu.be

Antichrist - The Historic Protestant View
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=112801223644

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev 18:4)


12 posted on 09/11/2013 7:36:02 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: NYer
Is Francis "Peter the Roman" ??

Is he the last pope ??

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach

13 posted on 09/11/2013 7:46:09 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: metmom
God will not grant blanket forgiveness to those who don't want it. You have to confess and repent. And you have to believe that God IS. If you don't believe that God is, then you are not going to be confessing anything.

nonsense....there have been hundreds of millions of people that have lived on this Earth who hed no conception of what God was....good people, honest people, people who loved each other and their families.....do you really suppose that an all loving God would condemn them to hell......pathetic!

14 posted on 09/11/2013 7:53:40 PM PDT by terycarl
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To: .45 Long Colt
The Roman Catholic Church Is not a Christian Church

thanks for coming along 2,013 years after the fact and bringing us all up to date.....actually the Catholic church is the ONLY complete Christian church on Earth.....always has been, always will be....Christ said I will be with you until the end of time. I'll buy that....and the Catholics were the only Christian group on Earth at the time.....the only ones.

15 posted on 09/11/2013 8:00:30 PM PDT by terycarl
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To: terycarl

The word Catholic was invented centuries later, so that would be impossible. Christ had followers all over the old world when the establishment in Rome came about. Those were not “Catholic”.

New Testament churches are much more Christian than a bureaucratic organization that is based on performing rites and rituals and worshipping more than 10,000 unbiblical “Saints”.

There is one person we can pray to in order to reach God and that is Jesus. Not Peter, Paul or Mary, not the Pope.


16 posted on 09/11/2013 8:05:01 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: .45 Long Colt; terycarl

The One true Church and how to recognize it.

Use this guideline as a measure...

*It was founded by Jesus Christ Himself in Mt 16:18.
*It would be built on Simon Peter, Mt 16:18.
*It would be defended by GOD Himself, Mt 16:18-19.
*It would have authority given by Jesus Christ, Mt 16:19,18:17-18.
*It would be guided by the Holy Spirit who will dwell within it, Jn 14:15-17, Act 15:28,16:6.
*It would be one and undivided, Mk 3:24-25.
*It would have one fold and one shepherd, Jn 10:16.
*It would have Priests, Bishops, and Deacons, 1Tim 3:1-13.
*It must have the Holy Eucharist celebration, Jn 6:42-70, Act 2:42.
*It must be found in all nations, Mt 28:19.
*It must be found in all centuries, Mt 28:20.
*Jesus Christ said He would be with His Church every day, in every year, until the end of the world,   Mt 28:20. (This means no gaps in time.)


17 posted on 09/11/2013 8:07:04 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: terycarl

You are talking about two different things and you probably know it. The pope is talking about people with a complete conception of God who still chose to ignore him and follow their OWN conscience, which makes them their own god. But the pope and apparently you think that’s just ducky.

...what an ugly word ‘pathetic’ is. To use it in an accusing fashion under false circumstances is truly pathe...ahhh, forget it.


18 posted on 09/11/2013 8:07:21 PM PDT by bramps (Obama, Democrats, and Planned Parenthood: The biggest fans of chemical weapons on the planet)
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To: NYer

These comments make this pope seem like a clueless teenager.


19 posted on 09/11/2013 8:09:40 PM PDT by bramps (Obama, Democrats, and Planned Parenthood: The biggest fans of chemical weapons on the planet)
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To: svcw

What about the case of the Good Thief. He was a non-believer, but rebuked the other thief and only asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus entered his Kingdom.


20 posted on 09/11/2013 8:17:32 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: terycarl

You have been deceived, FRiend.

I challenge you to listen to the links I provided above with an open mind. I am sure my claims are hurtful to you, but I promise I take no joy in making them. Much of my own family is still caught in Satan’s snare known as Roman Catholicism and my heart breaks for them. They are just like those Israelites described by Paul in Romans 10, they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

Eternity is a really long time and hell is real. Surely you should take a bit of time to at least investigate why I believe as I do. Wouldn’t it be awful to find out after it’s too late that I was right? Can you imagine being haunted for eternity that you had the truth at hand yet you were so hard-hearted you failed to even consider it?

The Testimony of a Former Catholic Priest
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvID3lRyYIc&feature=relmfu


21 posted on 09/11/2013 8:17:42 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: Salvation

ah, What part of ask Jesus do yo not understand.
Its sometimes called a death bed confession or conversion.
WAS is the optimum word in your question.


22 posted on 09/11/2013 8:20:41 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: Salvation

Rubbish! You are perhaps the most deceived FReeper I have encountered. I pray for you often because I so fear for you.


23 posted on 09/11/2013 8:20:48 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: Salvation

Oh, yea forgot. What is a good thief?


24 posted on 09/11/2013 8:21:35 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. - Romans 10:9

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16


...there it is.
25 posted on 09/11/2013 8:28:41 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum -- "The Taliban is inside the building")
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To: svcw
Oh, yea forgot. What is a good thief?

One who robs the IRS. :-)
26 posted on 09/11/2013 8:34:15 PM PDT by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: .45 Long Colt
Do you have Luke in your Bible? Might want to re-read this passage!

Lk 6:20-26 Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man....... Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”

27 posted on 09/11/2013 8:43:02 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: wonkowasright

hahahah


28 posted on 09/11/2013 8:52:07 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: Salvation

I presume you mean Catholic.
Then why does the pope say you don’t have to be believer to go to heaven?


29 posted on 09/11/2013 8:54:46 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: Salvation

Lady, I don’t hate you. I am scared for you. I pity you!

Almost every day I see you heap more condemnation upon yourself by spreading propaganda for the ultimate false religion. I know from experience you refuse to even consider you might be woefully wrong. You refuse to consider that your soul is in grave danger. But it’s your life and your soul. All I can do is point the way. In the end I don’t expect to impact you or any of the other diehard Catholic FReepers, but as has been pointed out only today, we don’t know who might be lurking that will heed the warnings and respond to the truth.

I’m not anti-Catholic crusader. I’ve got much better things to do with my time. I would never utter a word about Catholicism on this site if it weren’t for all the Roman Catholic propagandists, of whom you are one of the most prolific. It simply must be countered because it’s deadly poison. And it has enough of the truth in it to fool the unsuspecting and unwise. I’ve got no agenda other than to spread the good news of Christ and His gospel of free grace, the only gospel that saves human souls.

Upon what specifically do you base your expectation of salvation?


30 posted on 09/11/2013 9:00:37 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: .45 Long Colt
Don't make this thread 'about' individual Freepers. That is also a form of "making it personal."

Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.

31 posted on 09/11/2013 9:04:45 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: bramps

I have read what the Pope said and did not see where he said that his statement applied to those people with a complete conception of God and still chose to ignore Him.

I believe he was referring to people who for various and sundry reasons were “invincibly ignorant”. And those who are invincibly ignorant have always been thought to be able to get to heaven. In a nutshell they lived Christlike lives and so could be considered to have arrived in heaven or journeyed back to the Father through Christ unaware.

If you did read the letter or interview and it stated what you said in your first paragraph,I would like to see it because it would make a considerable difference in my estimation of the Pope. Thank you.


32 posted on 09/11/2013 10:28:23 PM PDT by saradippity
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To: svcw

Wow! The pope is an anti Christ!!!


33 posted on 09/11/2013 10:50:56 PM PDT by dragonblustar
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To: terycarl

re: “.there have been hundreds of millions of people that have lived on this Earth who hed no conception of what God was....good people, honest people, people who loved each other and their families.....do you really suppose that an all loving God would condemn them to hell”

I know that from our human perspective, we tend to compare ourselves with other humans - because we are human beings. But, the difficulty with that is that we are to compare ourselves to God’s perfect righteousness, not fellow humans.

If we only compare ourselves to other humans, well, we and others might not look that bad.

But, from what the Bible says about God’s judgement (and there is that side of His character), is that we all stand condemned as sinners against God’s perfect Law. All of us have “missed the mark” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, no one is righteous enough to enter God’s heaven on their own merit.

I encourage you to read Romans chapters 1, 2, and 3. I think you’ll see Paul’s argument that man is without excuse as far as knowledge of God. Man turned away from God and He is under no obligation to forgive or “save” any of us from hell.

But, He took the initiative in becoming a man - God in human form. He showed us what God is through how He lived and taught, He provided the way (not “a” way, but “the one and only way”) of salvation/the forgiveness of sins - to restore our fellowship with Him. He paid the price for our disobedience. He took our punishment/judgement on Himself. By His resurrection He destroyed the power of sin and death over us - but, we have to receive His forgiveness. We have to confess our sin and our need of Him and accept His free gift of mercy.

If there was any other way people could enter heaven other than through Christ, then Jesus did NOT need to die on the cross.

If Jesus is really who He said He was, God incarnate, then He is the ONLY one who could pay the price of sin’s judgment upon us.

Jesus said that He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it. But, He also said that:

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
John 3:17-19

The truth is, the one and only way to forgiveness and salvation for mankind is through Jesus Christ. Pope Francis is tragically wrong in his statement. Following one’s conscience does not remove sin. It cannot save. If it could, then Jesus died needlessly.


34 posted on 09/12/2013 12:02:32 AM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: terycarl; All

Non-believers may be forgiven if not properly instructed or if they are illiterate and have not either been exposed to true teaching or haven’t had the time to do so because of their station in life -loneliness or have been immersed in false ideas. The current scandal of course is the 35, 000 different brands of the truth that exists when there is only one truth. The Catholic Church.

I can see Peter opening the Gates of Heaven to atheists and agnostics rather than the Jimmy Swaggarts, David Koreshes, Jim (Kool-Aid) Jones; Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wrights and the Rev. Benny Hinns and prosperity-gospel Joel Osteens of this world.

The atheists and agnostics who adopt the beaten, starving, and orphaned child has a better chance in Paradise that the “Carry the Bible in My Pocket” and quote “Scripture” crowd. Wasn’t this the lesson of the Good Samaritan? If this is what Pope Francis had in mind, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, he is true to the Sermon on the Mount.


35 posted on 09/12/2013 12:36:42 AM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: svcw

Jesus said... and that is what I believe.


36 posted on 09/12/2013 1:34:03 AM PDT by antceecee (Bless us Lord, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.)
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To: bramps

He is a Jesuit... very liberal...


37 posted on 09/12/2013 1:38:16 AM PDT by antceecee (Bless us Lord, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.)
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: antceecee; .45 Long Colt; Elsie; daniel1212; metmom; All
Get over yourself and realize that your interpretation of scripture is YOURS... and not necessarily acceptable to the rest of humanity.

That statement can be demonstrably wrong in fact. Humanity is a big group of people, of which I am one. I am sure there are others here. As a matter of fact, I know quite a few of them who have the same interpretation of Scripture. Almost daily I see these threads glorifying the Catholic Church, but giving short shrift to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You know, the guy that said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father, but by me”.

It is a shame that criticism is considered to be an attack. But, there are so many threads each day trying to drum up business for the Catholic Cult, that there are many of us who are determined that the truth from Scripture is seen just as much. If you check my history, I'm sure you'll see where I use Scripture quite often. After all, it was good enough for Jesus.

So we will not back off. We don't need to buy a clue because we already have the Holy Spirit in our lives, bringing all things to our remembrance. We have the promise made by Jesus that “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. We have the words of Paul throughout the New Testament affirming the liberty in our lives and the source of our salvation. It is not found in a hollow self-declared group, no matter how old they claim to be. You see, God is eternal, and God is a Spirit. He doesn't prance around in fancy garments making hollow promises that if you just do things our group tells you, and believe all the rhetoric that we teach you, that you may be able to at least get to purgatory, even if you're not the best of persons. But God will not be mocked.

Roman Catholics are free to believe in their church offering them salvation, but it is completely against what the word of God has to say. So, no, we will not be backing off from any confrontations with the falsehoods being propagated by the cult of Roman Catholicism.

Our mission is to spread the gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ came to earth in order to live a perfect life. No mortal man can complete the task. Jesus Christ was crucified, as a sacrifice so that we may live eternally. He was raised up on the third day as a sign to all of the world that death could not hold him. He ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the father.

So, there is no group on earth that can claim to speak for God. God is perfectly able to make it clear through his word, illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Graven images of a woman who gave birth to Christ, whom the Roman Catholics have elevated her to a position where she speaks to Christ for us, and graven images of dead men and women who are called saints who allegedly holds some special powers with God, are abomination to God.

Have a nice life on earth, but be sure to know that Peter does not make any decision about our future in eternity. Nor is there any man claiming to speak for him that can separate us from the love of God, according to Scripture. Believe it or not!

39 posted on 09/12/2013 2:10:54 AM PDT by WVKayaker ("So we're bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I'm the idiot?" - Sarah Palin)
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

To: WVKayaker

Thank you for proving my point so well and quickly.


44 posted on 09/12/2013 2:44:35 AM PDT by verga (Liberals, homeschoolers and protestants, not all that different if you look closely enough)
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: terycarl

We are all condemned before we are saved.

Nobody is saved for being good.

Why did man fall from grace initially?

He ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. All humans today are distracted away from our available fellowship with God because we are too busy discerning or judging good from evil, then confusedly seeking good or evil as a counterfeit substitute for what God provides for us.

The evidence of God is everywhere around us both physically and mentally.


46 posted on 09/12/2013 2:57:43 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: terycarl

Please read Romans 1.


47 posted on 09/12/2013 3:20:38 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: NYer
non-believers is that of “obeying their consciences” when faced with choices of good or evil

Oh really?

Wow.

The Roman Catholic Church is more heretical than I thought.

48 posted on 09/12/2013 4:05:54 AM PDT by Gamecock (Many Atheists take the stand: "There is no God AND I hate Him.")
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To: SkyPilot

Well...just when I was just getting around to respecting this pope...he pulls this stunt...”you don’t have to believe in God to go Heaven!” Or was something lost in translation?


49 posted on 09/12/2013 5:20:00 AM PDT by mdmathis6
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To: WVKayaker
Another one, by a poster who was not addressed, against a considerate posters who said ,

I would never utter a word about Catholicism on this site if it weren’t for all the Roman Catholic propagandists, of whom you are one of the most prolific. It simply must be countered because it’s deadly poison. And it has enough of the truth in it to fool the unsuspecting and unwise. I’ve got no agenda other than to spread the good news of Christ and His gospel of free grace, the only gospel that saves human souls.

50 posted on 09/12/2013 5:50:27 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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