Pope doesn’t want to convert Evangelicals to Catholicism

Pope Francis has reportedly told a Protestant leader that he is not interested in converting evangelical Christians to Catholicism.

Writing of his recent visit to Pope Francis with other leaders, World Evangelical Alliance global ambassador Brian Stiller said he asked the Pontiff what he felt about evangelism.

Stiller said the Pope’s comment was: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community.”

“There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus,” the Pope reportedly told him.

Stiller referenced the Swiss Protestant theologian Oscar Cullman to Pope Francis: “We reflected how ‘reconciled diversity’ allows us to stand within our own understandings of how Christ effects salvation.”

“And then we press on to deal with global issues like religious freedom and justice and other matters, which affect our wellbeing,” Stiller said.

The probability that Rome is losing spiritual influence worldwide worries the Protestant leader.

“Given that 50 percent of those who call themselves Christian affiliate with Rome, when its spiritual and ethical authority is diminished it affects the entire world,” he said.

He praised Pope Francis for his “prophetic vision”, which is “cutting open hypocrisy of religious self-interest”.

The Pope also met Texas televangelists Kenneth Copeland and James Robison, just weeks after he met with another televangelist Joel Osteen.

Pope Francis reportedly gave Copeland a “high five”.

Copeland and Osteen have been criticised for preaching the “health and wealth” prosperity gospel, the belief that faith can increase one’s wealth.

“The prosperity gospel seems to be fundamentally opposed to the message that Francis has been spreading. But he has shown that he’s willing to meet with just about anyone,” said Michael Peppard, a professor of theology at Fordham University.

Ecumenical commentator Rev Wesley Granberg-Michaelson said Pentecostalism is growing in the global south at three times the rate of Catholicism, especially among the poor.

“My guess is that Francis knows this community can’t be ignored,” he said.


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