In his attempt to reach atheists and gain sympathy from them, Pope Francis deliberately misinterpreted and misused the Bible and Jesus’ words in Mark 9:38-40. Here is what the verse says:
Mark 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us.
Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
There are two groups of characters here
First is the man who is casting out demons in Jesus’ name but do not belong to Jesus’ group. It is interesting to note here that this man believed in Jesus that is why he casted out demons in Jesus’ name.
Second are the disciples who were in Jesus’ inner circle and who also believed in Jesus and yet thought that casting out of demons should be done by them alone, i.e. those who are in Jesus’ group.
But Jesus corrected them by saying that even those who are not in their immediate company and yet are believing in His name are also eligible to do God’s will such as casting out of demons. Please note the “believing in Jesus name”, that’s the focal point here.
How Pope Francis misused Jesus’ words?
And this is how Pope Francis misused the verse as reported in Vatican Radio.
“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
Probably for now you can see the contrasting thoughts in Jesus’ words with how Pope Francis uses it.
The man who casted out demons in Jesus’ name, although did not belong to Jesus’ group, was a believer. The atheist, who of course can also do good, is not a believer. See the difference?
Non-believers can go to heaven for doing good deeds?
Now which of these will go to heaven? The Bible plainly tells us that “whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have an eternal life” (John 3:16) . But Pope Francis says otherwise: “But do good: we will meet one another there” (pertaining to atheists, non-believer).
The atheists intentionally and deliberately do not believe in Jesus. In contrast, they abhor and hate Him most of the time. So Pope Francis, the man whom they called as “the new world spiritual leader’, is out of context here. Once again, we see how the Papacy ignorantly or deliberately misused the Bible.
On the other hand, it is true that all humanity (including atheists) can do good. That’s how it should be. But to teach that non-believers can go to heaven by doing good deeds is non-biblical, after all doing good works is not the way to heaven. Moreover, to use Jesus’ words to justify his (Pope Francis) own theology is wrong, that’s misrepresentation and misleading.