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The awful truth is that so many protestants, evangelicals and charismatics still have nasty things to say about Pope Francis (and the Catholic church).

The beautiful truth is that things are changing.

According to Jennifer Declare, “Some of the most recognizable names in the charismatic movement had a private meeting with Pope Francis on Friday. Mike Bickle, Che Ahn, Kris Vallotton, Stacey Campbell and dozens of other Protestant leaders from North America and Europe gathered at the Vatican.”

According to Bickle, director of IHOP in Kansas City, the purpose of the meeting was to engage in an ongoing dialogue about the pontiff’s views on Jesus and Christianity.

“The meeting lasted a couple of hours. They gave us the opportunity to ask questions. The meeting was very warm and personal,” Bickle told Charisma News. “I asked him about his views on the serious error and deception of universalism that claims that ‘all paths lead to God’ and other religions being saved without receiving the grace of God that only comes through Jesus. He assured me that he believes that Jesus is the only way of salvation.”

Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church shared:

But go ahead, ask Google, “is Pope Francis the antichrist?”

You will get about 380,000 results in 0.32 seconds.

Those stats are from today.

Welcome to Christendom my friends.

There are multiple articles, opinions and suggestions about the Pope being one with Satan himself. An agent from the Illuminati. A deceitful man who is planning the one-world-religion that will destroy us all.

I will say something based on the testimony of people who have met Pope Francis in person. Multiple Christian leaders who I love and respect (especially my spiritual parents John and Carol Arnott) who have spent time with him and can tell that he loves Jesus like crazy.

And with that love, he is changing the world.

I know… there are many things I do differently from Pope Francis (and the rest of the Catholic family).

I do church, they do mass. I confess on Facebook, they confess in booth. I baptise old, they baptise new. I do jeans, they do robes. But in all the differences of look and style and tradition, we both preach Christ, and Him crucified.

And that’s glue enough for God.

For too long Christianity seemed like a religion of powerful white male leaders who were attentive to the wealthy and successful. And we could classify Pope Francis as one them.

But over and over again we see him in the news, washing the feet of the broken, being playful with children, welcoming refugees into his home, and basically doing the things we all love about our faith.

This generation is attracted to humility. They kind-of care about the environment. They stand with the Bible, but they don’t want to beat people with it. They are pro-life, but that means every life; from the innocent in the womb, to the refugees in the Middle East, to the criminal awaiting execution.

Unfortunately, our message has been hijacked by the political-religious rhetoric of “Bible Believing Christians” in contrast with the sound of homosexuals, abortionists, atheists and liberals (precisely the kind of people Jesus hanged out with.)

And the Pope’s more tolerant attitude resonates with younger Christians.

Honestly, it’s hard to find a believer in Christ younger than 30 that does not think the Pope is epic.

Yes, we’re still grateful for the journey the Church has taken since the 95 theses of Martin Luther.

But it’s been long enough.

The Protestant Reformation was an important argument within Christendom. It was dangerous, necessary, beautiful… and we honor the bravery of our church fathers in it.

However, we are due for a different kind of reformation. One that brings the church together, not one that keeps tearing it apart.

One that focuses not on big buildings, denominational agendas or man-made theologies, but on God’s love for people and the good news of salvation.

Calling ourselves Protestants has become like a prophetic expectation that keeps getting manifested in the horrible comment sections of our blogs and social media posts.

So I’m done with protesting. 

I’m a happy charismatic. One in heart with every Catholic, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist and all others in our family who celebrate the name (and ways) of Jesus Christ.

Now, according to 1 John 2:22, “This is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

Here are 5 quotes from the Pope that could help answer the question, “Is Pope Francis The Anti-Christ?” (You decide if they sound Anti-Christ or Pro-Jesus)

1. “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation.”

2. “The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

3. “Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads … to those who have quit or are indifferent.”

4. “Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.”

5. “In the roughest moments, remember: God is our Father; God does not abandon his children.”

What do you think? 

I believe that Jesus is the head of the church.

Not me. Not you. Not Francis.

But through us the prayer of Jesus will be answered: “That they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

I think Stacey Campbell said it best:

I know the Catholic church is far from perfect. But every denomination, in one way or another has been fraudulent and shameful.

That’s why we need to focus on Christ.

Because we ALL need salvation.

I’m a pastor in a modern Charismatic church. And I love our expression of the Christian faith. We like to worship with our hands held high and believe in the power of God for miracles today. I also love what God is doing in Bethel Redding, in IHOP Kansas City and in Catch the Fire Toronto. I have no doubts that our unique streams have their place in the great story of redemption.

But we are not enough.

We need our mainline traditional family. We need our brothers and sisters in the mega churches. We need the underground church in China. And we need one-billion Catholics to join hands together with us in solidarity, in prayer, and in service.

It’s true that I met Jesus in the most evangelical event possible (a Billy Graham crusade), but my life has been throughly enriched by not staying exclusively there.

Not one of us owns the full expression of the Christian faith. And maybe God made it so we would have to come together. 

To learn from each other.

To grow with each other.

And to stop calling each other anti-Christ.

Now that sounds properly, Pro-Christ.

Thank you Pope Francis, Mike Bickel, Kris Vallotton, John and Carol Arnott, Stacey Campbell and Che Ahn for showing us a better way.

Peace.

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”

– Pope Francis

+ Share with your friends from other denominations and let’s accept the invitation for unity and joy.

#DropTheStones

‣ If you want to expand your heart and knowledge read both: The Joy of the Gospel & Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church – Simple, beautiful, Christ-Centric, by Pope Francis.