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Will God “Surprise” the Pope?

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In October, leaders of the Catholic Church held a two-week synod to discuss homosexuality, divorce, remarriage, and homosexual couples (Reuters, October 19, 2014). The goal of the synod was to enable the Roman church to develop more definitive doctrinal revisions on these family-related issues. During the synod, which was filled with heated debate, the pope commented “God is not afraid of new things. That is why he is continuously surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways” (ibid.). The pope also cautioned synod attendees to beware of “hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God” (BBC, October 18, 2014). Catholic religious writer John Thavis stated, “Pope Francis clearly placed the Church on a new path, toward an evangelizing style that is less focused on doctrine and more willing to invite people in, no matter what their status” (Reuters, October 19, 2014). 

The Bible reveals that God loves all people, but it plainly states that God does not love the sins of people and that He instructs sinners to stop sinning (John 5:14; 8:11; Colossians 3:5-10; Revelation 21:8). The Bible also indicates that God is predictable and not full of surprises. God states about himself, “I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). The New Testament states, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). While Christians should not “hate” anyone (Matthew 5:21-24), the Church of God must avoid adopting the increasingly sinful perspectives of human reasoning.

For more information on characteristics of God’s true Church, be sure to read our booklet Where Is God’s True Church Today?