Will Pope Francis recognize essential unity between Catholics and evangelicals?

August 4, 2015

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina waves as he leaves after praying at basilica in RomeIs this true? If so, that will make the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation more interesting. The fact that it appears in a Catholic publication lends credence to it.

If the Catholic Church will recognize our essential unity in the Spirit in spite of important differences over biblical and ecclesial authority, the Marian dogmas, and the meaning of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, then I’m all for it.

Somewhere in Pope Francis’s office is a document that could alter the course of Christian history. It declares an end to hostilities between Catholics and Evangelicals and says the two traditions are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel”. The Holy Father is thinking of signing the text in 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, alongside Evangelical leaders representing roughly one in four Christians in the world today.

15 Responses to “Will Pope Francis recognize essential unity between Catholics and evangelicals?”

  1. Grant Essex Says:

    It would be a very good thing. I think most of laity, Protestant and Catholic, already think we have more to celebrate together, than we have to disagree and discord over.

    • brentwhite Says:

      Right. I’m not minimizing the differences. There are doctrines and dogmas that are unacceptable to me as a Protestant. And the worst part is that, officially at least, a dogma is something that all Christians in good standing are required to accept. If he could ease off that and enable us to share Communion, that would go a long way.

      • Grant Essex Says:

        Without meaning to be “smart alecy”, the laity of both do this all the time. Catholics visiting protestant churches during communion come forward, and vice-versa. Neither faith has guards checking the line. 🙂

      • brentwhite Says:

        Of course. One difference is that Methodists officially have an “open table,” as do Anglicans and others.

  2. Grant Essex Says:

    I think that is good. If a non-believer decides to partake, something amazing might just happen to them. I wonder why the Methodist preacher doesn’t say that during the preamble, you know, something like, “our table is open to all, and even if you are a non-believer, you are welcome to remember our Lord with us at the Communion Table”. I’m sure there are better words….

    Are there rules on that?

    • brentwhite Says:

      There are no rules about it. I have said that before early in my ministry and a couple of parishioners complained, so I chickened out. 😦

      One of my best Communion experiences, however, happened on a youth mission trip. One of the youth was a professing “agnostic” who was herself a lapsed Catholic. When I finished reciting the liturgy and invited people to come forward, she looked at me and said, “Is it ok?” And I said “absolutely!” The Spirit was definitely working through that experience.

  3. bobbob Says:

    I went looking for this item and found that it was put together last year. and the comments decried such a move as all but saying their precious church has been WRONG all these years. very sad. i am sure that Jesus us very sad at all the blood shed in his name. truth is RCC could brook no challenges to its power and tried to back it up with force. reminds me of the Muslim sect that is not recognized by either Sunni or Shiite. they wish it to die.


  4. Brent, I prefer to use the Lord’s Supper as an invitation, i.e. – “You may have never followed Jesus before, but by taking communion today, you can take your first steps following Jesus.” Or it can be a moment of return for those who have wandered away from the faith. This makes the Eucharist a “converting ordinance” and solidly frames it within the context of prevenient grace.

    Regarding the Marian dogmas, to me those are not so easily set aside because they strike at the heart of Christology, ascribing to Mary a role reserved for Jesus in the NT, namely, intercession (1 Timothy 2:5).

    • veritasvincit Says:

      On the contrary the Marian dogmas are all based upon and support a high Christology.

      Anyway, what do you think the Saints are doing up the rest? I hope they’re praying for us!!

      • brentwhite Says:

        What role, in your view, does Mary play in salvation? As for Mary and the other saints, the question is not simply what they’re doing, it’s how in heaven they are imbued with God-like omniscience such that they can hear Christians down here asking them to intercede for us. Why ask someone standing outside the throne room to ask the King to do something for us when, through the Holy Spirit, we can go directly to the King ourselves? It’s strikes us Protestants as a strange and highly speculative exercise—especially since it’s a practice without biblical warrant and unknown to the apostles themselves.

      • veritasvincit Says:

        I meant what are the Saints “doing up there?”

      • bobbob Says:

        i have a wee insight to the saints “having god-like omniscience”. read a sermon by an eastern priest who said that the Spirit “makes us God.” very disturbing. if you want whole transcript just email me. like i said, a wee insight.

      • brentwhite Says:

        The Eastern Church has always emphasized “divinization,” but I thought that merely referred to sanctification. Send me a link if you can.

  5. bobbob Says:

    it’s an email i would have to forward you.


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