The Pope’s False Promise of Salvation Apart from Christ is Beyond Tragic

Bergoglio (the Pope)'s false promise could potentially mislead millions from the truth of salvation in Christ alone.

If you see the picture of young Emanuele sobbing as he tries to ask Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) if his atheist dad made it to heaven following his death, you can’t possibly feel anything but overwhelming sympathy.

Sympathy first for the soul of anyone who departs this earth without having accepted the free gift of salvation in Christ alone.

Sympathy second for the young boy who desperately wants to have his dad here with him, but at least to have the peace of knowing that he is in a better place.

And finally, sympathy for Bergoglio, who is being put in the often-challenging position of bearing witness to the truth that sometimes stings, while still exuding the enduring love and compassion of Christ.

Any believer watching this grief-filled moment or one like it fully understands why Jesus once wept standing amidst grieving mourners at the home of the (temporarily) deceased Lazarus – Christ knew it was all needless. “Whoever believes in me,” He said there, “will live even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never really die.”

In other words, young Emanuele’s father held all the chips in relieving the suffering and anguish his son now faces. That he chose not to do so is crushingly disappointing. The pain we see in that young boy’s face is what motivates those of us as believers to evangelize and desperately share the resurrection power of life in Christ regardless of what men say about us.

Yet in this very difficult exchange, Bergoglio tragically failed that mission, and only ensured more of these hopeless situations in the future.

“A boy that inherited the strength of his father also had the courage to cry in front of all of us,” the pope said. “If this man was able to create children like this, it’s true that he is a good man.”

“That man did not have the [gift] of faith, wasn’t a believer. But he had his children baptized. He had a good heart,” Francis added.

The pope said that God decides who goes to heaven, and that God has “the heart of a father.” He asked the young girls and boys in the audience if they thought God would abandon a father like Emanuele’s, who was a good man.

“No,” the children shouted back.

“There, Emanuele, that is the answer,” the pope said, according to a translation provided by the Catholic News Service.

No, that is not the answer. The answer is that salvation is found in no other name than Jesus. The answer is that none of us – not one – can consider ourselves “good.” Goodness is not determined by comparing ourselves to one another. God is goodness, and by that standard, none of us measure up. We all deserve death – if we received what we have earned we would be in Hell right now. Every second we continue breathing is but by the grace of God. And because of His inexplicable, surpassing, enduring love for each of us, God has offered us a free gift of redemption. If we choose it, we receive it. If we reject it, we don’t. That is the truth that every person who calls themselves a Christ-follower must bear witness to.

Why someone who claims to be the voice of Christ’s church on earth can’t do that is beyond alarming.

Would it have been appropriate for Bergoglio to address the eternal fate of those souls who reject Christ with this young boy? Of course not. Not there, not now. Effective Christian witness involves tact and grace. But that doesn't translate to it involving dishonesty and false teaching either. Bergoglio’s effort to offer hope to a heartbroken child is not the issue; him doing so through a false gospel of earned salvation through good works is.

What could he have done in that situation? Tell young Emanuele of the repentant thief on the cross and the fact that we don’t know what happened in his father’s heart at the end. Tell him that God never stops pursuing us and offering salvation, and that we can’t know but what his dad wasn’t receptive of that offer in the quiet moments before the end. Tell him that God loves him so very much and is close to the broken hearted. Tell him that even though we can’t know for certain what has occurred in a person’s heart, we can certainly offer a prayer for the dearly departed and for the peace of those left behind – and then do that.

But instead Bergoglio gave false hope that because of his platform will potentially mislead millions from the truth of salvation in Christ alone. That failure made an already heartbreaking situation all the more tragic.

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

On this topic, it isn't Peter Heck verses the Pope. It is Jesus verses the Pope. Either you believe Jesus or you don't. He didn't leave a mushy middle to occupy.

It is always important to confront false doctrine. Even if it is taught without intentional harm, it still must be called out. That is especially true when utter by a man that should be prepared and always have a ready defense, a man that is the religious leader of approximately 1/6th of the world's population.

No, we're not going to see him in heaven and heaven is better for it. The real question is why the father hated his son so damn much he never wanted to see him again. Why was he so arrogant and vain to think he knew it all? God's Kingdom has no use or room for such rank entitlement. You're not entitled to a spot in heaven because you believe in Jesus really hard. You can only get in through your acts of faith and if you can't even bring yourself to say "I accept" on your death bed, then you don't make the cut. This is the easiest freaking test on the planet, even murderers on death row get it right, and this boy's father flunked right out of the afterlife. Nice knowing yah.

The thief on the cross next to Jesus simply said, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

So many here want to think that they know the only way to Heaven is to say a prayer, be baptized or confirmed by a church, no of which is required by God. No one on the blog knows the man’s heart but God. The man may have close to the kingdom of God than you scribes and Pharisees that look for ways to keep people out of Heaven, like its your own exclusive club and unless you know the secret prayer you don’t get in.

No man has gone to Heaven (John 3:13; Acts 2:29). If everybody ends up in Heaven, what need was there for Jesus, an already Immortal Being (John 1:1), to be resurrected? God's kingdom (or government) will be established, through Jesus Christ, here, on Earth(Rev. 5:10; 11:15).


It's unfortunate that people still put their "faith" in man, which God strictly forbids (Ex. 20:3-5; Is. 2:22; Ps. 146:3), especially one who, if he "represents" Christ, doesn't even read the Scriptures. The truth is the popes HAVE ALWAYS represented, and their confused, but loyal "flock", followed "a different christ"(2Cor. 11:4), and the church of Rome has ALWAYS PREACHED "a different gospel"(Gal. 1:6), following in the tradition (legacy) of Simon Magus, the sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24).


What scriptural authority does the pope have?? No where in scripture are believers taught to follow self proclaimed 'Vicars of Christ'.

"If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound[b] words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing." 1 Timothy 6:3-4

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" -Jesus (John 14:6)

Vatican II continues to be misinterpreted. Too many preach mercy without repentance.

Yeah, that would be a really great way to convert someone to Christianity: "No, kid. Your dad is rotting in hell. And if you want to avoid the same fate you'd better repent NOW!" This is how atheists are made.

A few years ago, I asked the same question of my minister in regards to a Jewish friend. His answer was that he doesn't get to decide who is "saved" and who isn't. That is up to God.

John 21:22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

I hear Jesus saying, if I allow a man into Heaven in a way different than you think is possible, what is that to you, you follow me and mind your own business. I know the heart of people and who trust in me. They may not have been baptized, confirmed, or walked down to the alter in a big stadium, but the faithfulness in good works was to my good, you fed me when I was hungry, you visited me in prison, when you did it to one of the least of these you did it into me.

Great article, Peter. Tough love, real love versus enabling. We are called to love our neighbors enough to tell them the truth, not to enable their sins and punch their first class tickets to hell. It was a shock to the world that a carpenter could challenge the scribes and pharisees of His day. Sometimes...God uses teachers in "tiny Midwest schools" to focus our eyes on the Cross, the crux of history, and the terrible price paid there for our sins. As my friend Ravi Zacharias wrote, " Never has it been more obvious that this world needs redemption—and that redemption is costly. The Cross more than ever, in our language and in our longings, is necessary to bridge the divide between God and us and between ourselves. Without the Cross, the chasm that separates us all from truth, love, justice, and forgiveness can never be crossed."


Wonderful response, the same response Billy Graham gave Barbara Bush when she asked about a friend.

"“No,” the children shouted back.
“There, Emanuele, that is the answer,” the pope said,"

Ahh, children voting on salvation, there's a new tack for the theologians to explain about what this pope is doing to his flock...

Wow, really? You think good works come in to this at all? The only means to salvation comes through the Cross, karma is for other religions to fret about. As for those that have not heard, Romans 2 does a pretty good job of telling us "that's God's to decide". This particular father doesn't have that excuse - he heard, we don't know whether he rejected or not, answer reverts to "we don't know" rather than schoolchildren voting for him to be in the Kingdom just because they have no idea what it means to be both a Just God and a Merciful God. The pope is appealing to the populace rather than being the spiritual leader of a large segment of the worldwide believing population.

And, by the way, "no cost" is saying Christ saved us on a whim at no cost to God Himself, that the disciples were tortured and killed for their trust in their Savior, that Fox's Book of Martyrs is full of cost unrelated to their faith. Might want to revisit your thinking on that matter.

I can not think of a major church that has not gone apostate in one way or another.


As a Catholic child in parochial schools, I was taught that only Catholics go to heaven ad I needed to get my friends to become Catholic. Amazing! Being baptized as an infant was all I needed! Later on in life, I stopped practicing an empty religion. Thankfully, I became friends with a couple that had the REAL answer, living relationship with the saving, redeeming Savior, Jesus. I grieve the millions misled by faulty doctrine. Now, It's infected the Pope! Perhaps it might cause a return to Truth.

The truth does not care about your feelings. It simply is. We can share the truth with empathy and compassion as best we can. We can lie about what the truth is to spare someone's feelings. We can avoid facing the reality of truth to spare our own feelings. None of that changes the truth.

Anyone who rejects God goes to hell. They didn't want to have any part with God, so why would they live with him eternally? This truth hurts us deeply, but never stops being true.