The head of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide, Pope Francis, has officially approved a change to the age long “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:13 replacing “lead us not into temptation” with “do not let us fall into temptation.”
The US Catholic reported on Monday that the Vatican enacted the change on May 22.
According to the Pope, he believes the new version is better because the first translation implies that God leads people into temptation, an action that is against his nature as a good and holy God.
“A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately,” Francis said of the line in question. “It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”
For years, Christians have wrestled with the actual meaning behind, “Lead us not.” After more than 16 years of study, some biblical researchers say a better translation of the scripture would be: “Abandon us not when in temptation.”
The late theologian Charles Spurgeon, as reported by the CBN News, had explained during a sermon in 1863 that the word “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 actually holds two meanings, both the temptation toward sin and the facing of trials and tribulations.
While, Spurgeon agrees that God does not tempt us, he does argue that God will send us into trials and situations in which temptation toward sin is ever-present.
“God tempts no man,” Spurgeon said. “For God to tempt in the sense of enticing to sin (is) inconsistent with his nature, and altogether contrary to his known character; but for God to lead us into those conflicts with evil which we call temptations, is not only possible but usual.”
The Catholic Church is using the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible to try to determine the best phrasing. But Spurgeon argues in his sermon that he believes the original Greek version, which says “lead us not” is best.
Dr. Corne Bekker of the Regent University School of Divinity agrees with Spurgeon’s analysis. He told CBN News he believes the bigger question is, “What is the purpose of temptation?”
“God allows us to be tempted, and I think two things happen. We get to know ourselves a little bit better, and of course what we learn is that we have no recourse against sin. But more importantly, we get to know God Himself. We have to remember the next phrase in the Lord’s Prayer – ‘and deliver us from all evil.’ He’s able to do that,” Bekker explained.
Experts after 16 years of research said they found a mistake in the current translation believing “it implied God can lead followers astray.”
“It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation,” Pope said.
But certain Christian followers are furious over the change and said the Pope should be “fired”.
One person wrote on Twitter: “This is like changing the declaration of independence.
“Raise your hand if you think someone should fire the pope.”
Another added: “You don’t change the Lord’s Prayer, only the Lord can do that.”
Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the changes are “deeply problematic.”
Mr Mohler told the Seattle Times: “I was shocked and appalled.
“This is the Lord’s Prayer. It is not, and has never been, the Pope’s prayer, and we have the very words of Jesus in the New Testament.
“It is those very words that the pope proposes to change. It is not only deeply problematic, it’s almost breathtaking.”
Philip Lawler, editor of Catholic World News, added: “Where does it stop.”
Mr Lawler told the New York Times: “Pope Francis has made a habit of saying things that throw people into confusion, and this is one of them.
“It just makes you wonder, where does it stop, what’s up for grabs. It’s a cumulative unease.”
Also reacting, a Bible scholar and teacher, Pastor Olu Odubanjo, in his interaction with Tribune Online, condemned the Pope’s action, which he said was not borne out of an inspired divine leading.
Pastor Odubanjo, who is the Training Director of Ibadan-based Charis Ministry Training Institute (CMTI), in his submission said: “My conclusion is that his motive is wrong – he is promoting the papacy delusion of rights that they (the Papacy) have the power of last statement and pronouncements.”