Go ahead, ask Google, “is Pope Francis the antichrist?”
You will get about 532,000 results in 0.32 seconds.
Those stats are from today.
Welcome to the USA.
Yet there seems to be a line between what the older generation thought about the Pope and what Millenials think about him now.
Though Pope Francis hasn’t gone as far as changing church doctrine, his more tolerant attitude has struck a chord that resonate with younger Christians.
Christian Millennials are 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.
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.
There are thousands of protestant churches all over the West who are doing incredible work at home and on the mission field. They get no credit while serving beautifully.
But our message has mostly been hijacked by the political-religious rhetoric of us (Bible Believing Christians) versus them (Homosexuals, abortionists, liberals).
Smile however, for there is hope.
In the most unlikely of scenarios, Protestant Christianity in America could be saved if it started to behave a bit more like the Pope of the Catholic Church.
Because it feels like we have reached the generation that will comfortably say, “I am not a protestant anymore.”
Yes, we’re 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 and beautiful.
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.
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.
But, to the issue at hand.
According to 1 John 2:22 “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
Here are 7 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. “I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful … I see the church as a field hospital after battle.
5. “Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.”
6. “As disciples of Christ, how can we not be concerned for the good of the weakest?”
7. “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 know the Catholic church is far from perfect. Their handling of the multiple sexual abuse cases has been slow and sometimes corrupted. 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 sisters. We need our brothers in the mega churches. We need the underground church in China. We need the gospel sounds from the south. And we need one-billion Catholics to join hands together with us in solidarity, in prayer, and in faith.
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 there.
It’s obvious to me now that 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 for showing us a better way.
Share with your friends from other denominations and let’s accept the invitation for unity and joy.#DropTheStones