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Father James J. Martin is an American Jesuit priest, writer, and editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine America, the national Catholic magazine. In 2017, Pope Francis appointed Martin as a consultant to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications. He is particularly known for his bridge building with the homosexual community.
Not too long ago, Father Martin wrote a letter to Pope Francis and specifically asked him what he thought the most important thing L.G.B.T. people should know about God. In his response, the pope said, “God is the Father and he does not disown any of his children.”
The answer the pope gave is actually a true statement. The only problem is, it totally misrepresents the particular truth it purportedly seeks to address. It is actually true that God doesn’t disown any of His children. However, it gives an entirely false view of who God’s children are.
One of the serious flaws of virtually every form of “liberal Christian theology” (which is actually not Christian at all), is that it does not make a distinction between God’s family and God’s creation. It makes an assumption that every human being is a child of God, which is simply not true. Every human being is certainly a creation of God, made in His image, and deeply loved by Him. But entering into the family of God is an entirely different thing.
As sad as the truth is, the Bible is very clear that the vast majority of human beings on earth are not destined for eternity in relationship with God, but will be separated from Him. Matthew 7:13-14 states, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” NASB The pope’s answer to Father Martin has a false assumption built into it. It assumes that all human beings are God’s children.
While every single person on earth is eligible for entry into God’s family, most people will not make the step that allows them to enter. And it is not because God rejects them, but because they reject God. God will not fellowship with sin, and since all human beings are sinners, no one should have the opportunity to enter into a familial relationship with Him. But because of His great love for mankind, He provided a way to overcome the sin problem. To accomplish this, He incarnated on earth as the man Jesus Christ and lived a sinless life. As one who was worthy because of that, He then allowed Himself to become an atoning sacrifice by dying on the cross. In that act, he took the sins of all humanity on Himself, thus paying the penalty for mankind’s sin, so individual human’s didn’t have to pay it for themselves.
But the fact that Jesus did that does not mean that the penalty is automatically paid for every person. Only those who repent of their sin and willingly invite Christ into their lives have their sins forgiven and enter into God’s family as His child. All of those who do not, have not qualified to become one of His children.
To be sure, there is no sin that God is not able to forgive. All who recognize themselves as sinners, repent from their sin, and turn their life over to Him, will be forgiven and invited into His family. It doesn’t matter how horrible the sin – whether it be murder, some form of sexual sin, or anything else. But repentance means a person turns from their sin. Those who are not willing to do that have not met God’s qualifications and are not His children.
So yes, "God is the Father and he does not disown any of his children." By the same token, not every human being is a child of God. The pope does a great disservice to his followers when he does not clearly make this distinction.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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