Did the Pope say the Bible is outdated and called for a new Bible? - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Thursday, 25 February 2021

Did the Pope say the Bible is outdated and called for a new Bible?

...Nigerian Christian leaders respond


 By Paul Ukpabio

 

Whatever the Pope of the Catholic Church says or does must be weighty! And that apparently must be the reason why a claim said to have been made by Pope Francis the head of the Catholic Church has refused to go away, since 2018 when it was first alleged.

A version of the story, links the Pope’s purported call for a new Bible, to a Kenyan website that published the headline: “End time: Is this why Pope Francis has rejected the bible” April 2018. And the story undoubtedly went viral because of its sensitive topic.


But surprisingly, the Vatican did not react to website story. And that led to more rumours about the story being authentic that Pope had truly called for the cancellation of the Bible, opting for a new one.


Perhaps the Vatican chose to ignore the post counting it as irrelevant or not needing attention of reaction. But the rumour as it later became, gathered momentum and Christians in different parts of the world, wondered what might become of the Bible as we know it, since Bible holds a central place in Christianity itself as a religion.


But when the matter re-echoed in July 2020, ‘authorities’ felt the need to put the truth in the right perspective.


One of such condemnation came from News 24 which disagreed with Kenyan website and labeled the news as fake, that Pope Francis has not cancelled the Bible to create a new one. That if it were to be true, and accurate, news of the Bible’s cancellation would have been widely reported across the world.


But that didn’t stop the spread of the news that Pope Francis the global head of the Catholic Church has cancelled the bible and proposes to create a new book! And the social media became saturated with that claim adduced to the Pope.


But eventually, a rebuttal of the claims came via the Catholic Diocese of Manzini, which took to its Facebook page, to declare the claims as Fake news!


And that was a reprieve for many.


The second version of the story relates how an online post that featured “a photo of Pope Francis and a screenshot of an article from April 2018, with an headlined: Pope Francis cancels The Bible and proposes to create a new book.”


It was dated April 2, 2018, reads, “Pope Francis has surprised the world today by announcing that The Bible is totally outdated and needs radical change, so The Bible is officially canceled and it’s announced a meeting between the highest personalities of the church where it will be decided the book that will be replace it, its name and its content.”


According to a source on the internet, it is said that, “post was shared by a Facebook user in Fiji to the public group Adventist Living, which is described as dedicated to Seventh-Day Adventist living to spread the gospel and the good news through the principles taught in the Bible. The group has more than 69,000 members.”


And ofcousre, it elicited a huge response with many condemning the post as false, while others accepted that a change of the bible was long overdue, more so with many changes that has taken place globally, like the acceptance of child prostitution in some countries, gay rights, and incest tolerated in a country in Europe and so on.


But there has been no response from the Vatican still except that the Vatican echoed the fact that, the Pope continues to quote from the Bible and uses it for his homilies.  

 

More confusing is the fact also that many know Pope Francis to be a reformer of sort.


According to an online platform, AAP Fact check, “Since becoming pope in 2013, Pope Francis has embarked on a reform agenda within the Vatican and more widely the Catholic Church, drawing criticism from conservative church figures for his stance on issues such as same-sex civil unions.”


And that of course could be why many may readily accept that he must have made the comment.


Still according to AAP Fact check, Dr Scott Kirkland, lecturer in practical theology and ethics at Trinity College, University of Melbourne, said the post’s article is a “fake story”. And goes ahead to sensitize the public that the site that posted the comment about the Pope, is a mere humour site.


“Dr Kirkland said the post plays on anxieties about the papacy, and it appeals to an Adventist school of belief in which the antichrist is an important precursor to Christ’s return.”


“Reverend Dr Kevin Waldie, a biblical studies lecturer at the Catholic Good Shepherd College in Auckland, said the post completely misrepresents the Pope’s public stance on the authority of the Bible.


“Anyone familiar with the documentation that Pope Francis has been issuing in recent times would see that quite clearly his thinking is based on the biblical text itself,” Dr Waldie told AAP FactCheck in a phone interview.

 

He said the post had more to do with something deep-seated in evangelical fundamentalism’s view of Catholicism.


“There’s something there that lacks respect, possibly, for the tradition that is witnessed through the spoken word of Pope Francis and through the documentation.


The National Catholic Reporter which is independent of the Catholic Church also lent its voice to the heated conversation. On September 30, 2020, an article by its reporter Junno Arocho Esteves stated that, at the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis urged all Christians to carry a pocket Bible and to read a few verses every day.


And another writer, Devin Watkins recalled that: “As the Church celebrates the 2nd Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis launched an appeal to all the faithful to keep the Sacred Scriptures close at all times and to read them frequently.


“One of the greatest gifts of our time is the rediscovery of Sacred Scripture in the life of the Church and the faithful,” he said at the Sunday Angelus address.


“Never before as today,” added the Pope, “has the Bible been so accessible to all and in all languages, now even in audiovisual and digital formats.”


And on the 24 January 2021, 13:04, the Vatican news posted that: “Pope Francis also recalled a saying of St. Jerome, the great 5th century Biblical scholar and Doctor of the Church: “Whoever ignores the Scriptures ignores Christ.”

Again, the Vatican news on 24/01/2021, reported with the headline: “Pope at Mass: God’s Word a love letter from the One who knows us best


The Joy of the Gospel: Pope Francis then thanked and encouraged the many parishes which seek to educate the faithful to listen to the Scriptures.


“May we never lose the joy of spreading the Gospel,” he said.


The Pope then repeated his frequent invitation for everyone to carry a small book of the Gospels in our pocket or purse.


And he urged us to read at least three or four verses of the Bible every day. And while saying it, Pope Francis held out the Holy Bible in his hands.


But what is the impression of the Pope’s supposed utterance on the Nigerian Christian? We asked some church leaders their opinion.


According to Bola Odeleke, first African female Bishop, Founder and General Overseer Power Pentecostal church in Lagos, “If the Pope truly calls for a change of the bible, then it will be a case of the blasphemy of the greatest order! Rev, 18 -19 the curse will be on His head if he does so. 2 Tim 3:16. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, Is he the Holy Spirit?”


Olufemi Iroh, the Bishop of Christ Unity Ministry, located in Isolo, “there are relevant bible verses that should be our guide as a Christians. Please peruse and draw your conclusion for we see in part and know also in part. Revelation 22:18-19 “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.  Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 12:32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. So my conclusion is in Matthew 24:24 which says that, ‘For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.’


Tayo Popoola, a university Don and Pastor had this to say: “The Pope is the global leader of Roman Catholic. I was born into Anglican Church and brought up by the Roman Catholic church. I don't want to be like, one of the sons of late founder of one of the big churches, who was accused of speaking against the church that brought him up. Having said that, l must not shy away from speaking the truth. The word of God can never be obsolete! In other words, the word of God can never be outdated. It is heresy to say the word of God is outdated when God has not said so. l speak to you as a prophet of God that God can never disown His words saying it is outdated. We need to be careful. I don't even belief the Pope can say so. lt must be the handiwork of the enemies.


And Adebayo Babalola the Presiding Bishop of Flaming Sword Ministries at Obalende, Lagos had this to say: “If the Pope does not deny this claim with all sense of responsibility, then one doubts if the Pope is a true Christian. The Bible is the Word of God and it never changes, never endless and does not need modification. It was divinely inspired and therefore can’t be faltered. Unlike the Papacy which is a human office. Indeed papal bulls and pontifications can be altered because they are subject to human foibles. But not the Bible!


Oscar Ossai, another Presiding Bishop, and Founder of the City of Refuge Ministries thought over the issue and calmly replied, defending the Pope altogether. “The Pontiff did not or could not have said so!


That is because, the Holy Father knows the Canon of the scripture. 2N Tim 3: 16 states that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness. The scripture is already given and is canonized and therefore cannot be given again. I can't see the Holy Father and do not think that the Pope should dabble into this.


And Johnny Ucheaga a legal practitioner and Knight of Lumbar in the Catholic Church caps it all with his reply: “The Pope definitely didn’t say so. That I know because, the Pope does not talk to just one person.


When the pope addresses a matter of such sensitivity, the entire world press will be on the issue and will report such globally and everyone will be talking about it at the same time. So I want to believe that it is the figment of imagination of the website that reported such. 


If the Pope needs to say such, he will say it addressing a world press and even the Vatican press will have it too on their website.      

 

 

 

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