ADVERTISING
 
Monday, August 20   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
New season
What kind of contents do you enjoy most?






SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Leonardo de Chirico
 

Should Evangelicals Love Pope Francis?

Peter Wehner, a columnist for the New York Times, wrote an interesting and thought provoking article titled "Why Evangelicals Should Love the Pope."

VATICAN FILES AUTHOR Leonardo de Chirico 13 APRIL 2015 13:12 h GMT+1
pope, NYT, Wehner, Chirico Peter Wehner's article on the New York Times website. / NYT

(This Vatican File was written together with Reid Karr, a dear friend and a colleague in Gospel ministry in Rome)



On the day before Easter Peter Wehner, a columnist for the New York Times, wrote an interesting and thought provoking article titled "Why Evangelicals Should Love the Pope." Three main concerns about it can be raised and briefly presented.



 



The Straw Man



Pitting Franklin Graham against Pope Francis on how to address the moral crisis of our time is very easy but totally arbitrary. With his seemingly harsh language and judgmental arguments against homosexuality, Franklin Graham represents a still significant portion of US Evangelicals, yet a minority of Evangelicals globally considered. In speaking to the US context, Graham may have right-wing political overtones that do not fit  the whole Evangelical family. North American socio-political categories are not useful to account for its complexity. Lots of Evangelicals, both inside and outside of the US, deal with the same issues with a different attitude and language. On the other hand, Pope Francis speaks on the same issues in more pastoral terms and in doing so he is able to overlook specific situations. When he does address concrete cases, he does so using strong language. For instance, in his recent visit to the Philippines (Jan 16, 2015), he spoke about the prospect of introducing same-sex marriage as an “ideological colonization” of family life to resist and to fight against. Not exactly the tender tone that Wehner wants us to believe. Francis may seem softer and milder only because he speaks about these issues “in general” and in a more pastoral tone. Before contrasting Graham and Pope Francis, Wehner should wait until the Pope visits the US this coming September when he will speak at the World Meeting of Families. Is he so sure that Francis will speak merciful words only? Until then, he should have instead compared Franklin Graham and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the staunch Archbishop of New York. Perhaps the difference between the two is not so sharp as it appears to be between Graham and the Pope. In the article Graham is depicted as the Shakespearean fool and Francis as the wise man of the story: a much too simplistic picture of reality to be true.  



 



The Tip of the Iceberg



In calling Evangelicals to love the Pope, the NYT article has a sentimentalized view of the Pope. It focuses on some aspects of the papal language, but fails to give readers the fuller picture. In the same period in which Francis met with prisoners and social outcasts, he also presided over pompous Easter celebrations in St Peter’s basilica with all the richness and power of the Roman Catholic church on full display. Where was Francis’ humility in all these splendorous liturgies and costly events? Moreover, about the same time in which Francis spoke about the church being a “field hospital”, he confirmed and reinforced the existence and necessity of the Vatican bank which is a world-wide power structure that deals with all sorts of financial activity. Wehner highlighted the “loving” words of the Pope and overlooked the rest. This is a common practice in the religious analysis of the papacy: a carefully selected picture of the Pope becomes his full representation, thus failing to provide an accurate account of the whole. The humble and frugal aspects of the Pope as a person have little to do with the political and imperial aspects of his role. Below the surface and the tip of the iceberg is the iceberg itself, which in this case is the last absolutist monarchy that can be found on earth. Serious reflection should be devoted to the reality of the iceberg rather than focusing on the tip only.



 



What About the Gospel?



“Welcoming all”, “showing compassion”, “all inclusive” seem to be the mainstream and politically correct expressions of the "gospel of the day." Pope Francis is a champion of this kind of gospel presentation. Many secular people, as well as many Evangelicals, are fascinated by the seemingly generous scope of his message. In his article Wehner quotes Pope Francis as saying, "Without mercy, we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of ‘wounded’ persons in need of understanding, forgiveness and love.” Truer words could not be spoken. But this statement represents the tip of the iceberg. We should be responsible and look below the surface and identify what is giving form to and supporting the Pope's words and actions.



 



Where does sin fit into the Pope’s view? What about repentance and faith in Christ alone? What about turning back from idolatry and following Christ wholeheartedly? What about putting the Word of God first? After visiting the prisoners in Naples and speaking words of mercy and forgiveness, the Pope went to the city cathedral to kiss the liquefied blood of St. Gennaro, a medieval practice related to the beseeching of a blessing of the patron saint upon the city. Where is the biblical gospel in this?



What should concern every Christian above all else is the salvation of those who don't know Christ as Savior. We can talk about mercy and forgiveness and love and taking Christ to the farthest and darkest places of the earth all we want, but what really matters is the message we proclaim and embody to the lost and hurting we encounter. What then is the message of salvation? If asked how one is forgiven and saved from his or her sins, how would Pope Francis respond? The article does not delve into these controversial waters. He and other Evangelicals who share his sentiments would do well to examine what's below the tip of the iceberg.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Should Evangelicals Love Pope Francis?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
VIDEO Video
 
How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

 
Being a peacemaker Being a peacemaker

Ken Sande, Founder and President of Relational Wisdom 360, develops a practical systematic theology for pursuing peace and resolving the conflicts of real life. 

 
“No one should have to leave their values at the door” “No one should have to leave their values at the door”

Author Krish Kandiah talks with politician Tim Farron about the Christian faith, politics and secularism.

 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.