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“Here at the cross is the man who loves his enemies, the man whose righteousness is greater than that of the Pharisees, who being rich became poor, who gives his robe to those who took his cloak, who prays for those who despitefully use him.  The cross is not a detour or a hurdle on the way to the kingdom, nor is it even the way to the kingdom; it is the kingdom come.”[1]                                               John Howard Yoder

 

Today the Roman Pontifex Maximus has publicly made the claim that Yeshua ended his life in failure at the cross.  Given the faith which he pretends to represent, nothing could be a more brazen denunciation and attempted mockery of that faith than his own words:

“If at times our efforts and works seem to fail and not produce fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ, and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.”  September 25, 2015, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Dear Francis, methinks thou dost hasten too much.  You are clearly in a race to abandon every tenet of faith that ever stood under the people of your institution.  You are in a race to reach that lowest common denominator of faith before the world unites in its orgy of globalism without you.  Yes, you are so anxious to be the matchmaker uniting all the ecclesiastical sluts into one seraglio with yourself as trusted eunuch over them so that you can reap the reward of delivering them to the global tyrant.

It is broadly recognized that the Pontifex assigns no value to the sacrifice of Yeshua upon the cross, as he credits those who discount the cross – Muslims, Jews, sodomites, and atheists – as having the same access to divine mercy as those who hold the life and sacrifice of Yeshua to be the doorway to life itself.  For the Pontifex, what matters is simply a certain sentiment of the heart, implying that Yeshua, in going to the cross, was but a master of melodrama.  If only Yeshua had recognized that human rebellion against God is but a little thing, then he might have lived a longer life…wearing purple and scarlet and gold…perhaps even with a little villa on one of the hills of Rome.

This leads us to consider a vision of what Francis sees as the inconsequential gravity of belief of every kind.  Yes, Francis is an advocate of belief, but belief of a special and well- tempered quality.  We are all to have our beliefs, but, according to the Roman Pontifex, we are to hold them so lightly that they never occupy a stance counter to the varied beliefs of others.

In other words, we are expected to maintain private beliefs, never presuming to set a hand to the awkward rigidity of  “universal” or “ incontrovertible” truth.

There is a church in Hyde Park called University Church, in front of which a sign is posted.  Upon this sign they boast that they “Have No Creed.”  I am sure that, if questioned, everyone who frequents the church would admit to believing certain things, but when they say, “We have no creed,” they are saying, “We do not publicly own any creed.”  Their beliefs are discreet and personal. This is what the Pontifex wants, for without this discretion the diverse people of earth cannot be brought into alignment in a One World Religion, that over which he or his successor may soon attempt to place himself.

We may believe whatever we want in the privacy of our own thoughts, but we are not to take ownership and stand publicly for the universal and incontrovertible truth of anything, even if we see our brothers and sisters drowning in half- truths, in misconceptions, in outright lies, grieving to know one day of honesty before they perish in a sea of mediocrity adrift with platitudes.

Yeshua, the Messiah, the Anointed King of Israel, went by his own choice, by his own carefully crafted purpose, to stand in the breach, to go to the cross in the greatest act of love in all the history of God and man.  He took upon himself the cost of human rebellion against our God: Yeshua, the king, standing in for his people.

In the talks which ended World War II, the Allies questioned the share that France should receive, claiming that, while England struggled, France was compromised under the Vichy government.  De Gaulle stood up to the table and declared, “I fought the Resistance.  France fought the Resistance.”  He commanded that the valour of his people be reckoned the same as the proven valour of their leader.  So stands Yeshua before the throne of God.  Having paid the price of sin, being king over his people, and being the true and only Son of God, none can protest his achievement of the mercy of the Father.

Yes, traditionally, even Catholics have shared this belief.  But the Pontifex of Rome judges the ponderous groan of love at the cross to be nothing but the complaint of human failure.

A child runs into the street, is about to be stuck by a car.  A bystander, placing absolute value on the life of the child, runs into the street, sets out his own life in danger of loss, pushes the child out of the way, but himself is struck and killed.  For Francis is this life, in human terms, a failure?

Actually I suspect that even the heart of blackest stone would not call such a life a failure.  My belief is that the Pontifex actually has no idea what happened at the cross, or, worse yet, that he is wedded to the enemies of God, the sleepers at the heart of the New Roman Babylon, who will in the coming years be cast down, due to that very victory of our king at the cross.

In fact, it is only the cross which offends the world.  The primas and primos of popular culture never reach to insult Hinduism or Buddhism or Shintoism or Humanism or Theosophy or Islam or even Judaism.  They mock the cross.  They mock Yeshua the true Messiah of transcendent Israel.  Because the cross alone demands that mankind recognize its rebellion and self absorption.  At the cross God incontrovertibly enters history and declares that we are not our own, that he has a claim on the purpose of time and on the purposes of each man’s soul.  The cross is the looming fact of history upon which the world stumbles, and Francis the Pontifex Maximus of the Roman power has placed himself foremost among the fallen.

“And war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting with the dragon; the dragon and his angels also fought, but they failed, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer.  So the huge dragon was thrown down – that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, the seducer of the whole world – thrown down to earth, and his angels thrown down along with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now has it come, the salvation and power, the reign of our God and the authority of his Christ! – for the Accuser of our brothers is thrown down, who accused them day and night before our God.  But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they had to die for it, but they did not cling to life.  Rejoice for this, O heavens and ye that dwell in them!  But woe to earth and sea!  The devil has descended to you in fierce anger, knowing that his time is short.’[2]

“So he bore me away rapt in the Spirit to the desert, and there I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet Beast covered with blasphemous titles… In her hand was a golden cup full of all earth’s abominations and impurities of vice, and on her forehead a name was written by way of symbol, ‘Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of all abominations on earth.’  I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus… As for the Beast…to perdition he shall go.  As for the ten horns you have seen, they are ten kings who…receive royal authority…along with the Beast;…They shall wage war on the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – the Lamb and the elect, the chosen, the faithful who are with him….As for the woman you have seen, she is the great City which reigns over the kings of the earth.’[3]

 

 

[1] The Politics of Jesus, p. 51, by John Howard Yoder

[2] Revelation 12.7-12

[3] Revelation 17.3-18 excerpts

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