Who is pope Francis and why is he important to evangelical Christians?


Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the pope of the Roman Catholic church on March 13, 2013, the very first Jesuit priest to hold the papal office. Pope Francis has endeared himself to the world for his simplicity (compared to previous popes) and for his many off-the-cuff remarks that seem to emphasize charity over doctrinalism. However, conservative Catholic clergy have become increasingly disenchanted with Francis, especially after his Amoris Laetitia encyclical, which, in essence, lifted the ban on communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Why should evangelical Christians care about Francis? In spite of all the headlines and controversies that surround Francis the main focus of his tenure has been the reunification of all (c)hristians under the mantel of Rome. He and the previous popes beginning with John XXIII have done a remarkable job of overcoming objections and preparing for reunification. One hundred years ago there were no evangelical pastors who considered the pope, with his gospel of sacramental grace and merit, to be their brother in Christ. But in a 2015 survey, 58% of evangelical pastors considered Francis to be their brother in Christ. What changed? Rome might have altered some of its window dressing but it certainly hasn’t changed any of its core doctrines. No, it’s evangelicalism that’s changed, from defending the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone to embracing error in a spirit of “tolerance” and “love.” Young men are graduating from evangelical seminaries and becoming pastors and leaders of ministries thinking the pope is a Christian and that unity with Rome is desirable. Chances are your current pastor or the next one will be preaching what a wonderful fellow the pope is and that Catholicism teaches the same gospel.

Above is a 28-minute video featuring Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries giving some interesting background information on pope Francis.

Below is a link to the Proclaiming the Gospel website.

5 thoughts on “Who is pope Francis and why is he important to evangelical Christians?

  1. Tom, Thank you so much for posting this video. It was really informative to me. I did not grow up in the Catholic faith or have ever been part of it. I have family members that have converted to Catholicism prior to marriage and quite frankly, we don’t agree on very much.

    I will continue to share Jesus Christ and His gospel with anyone that will listen. I love reading your blog, as it makes you stop, step back and think. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Carlene, Thank you for watching the video and for your comments! I have a real passion to put the truth out there about Catholicism – many of my family members and friends are Catholics. It’s sad that many evangelical leaders are embracing Rome. The differences between the Gospel and Rome’s teachings are so clear to those of us who have come out of Catholicism and accepted Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I appreciate Mike Gendron’s ministry and the stance he takes, even though some Christians unfortunately have even opposed him. He has even agreed to being interviewed on our blog some years back!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Jim. We can certainly understand why Catholics would not be sympathetic to Mike’s ministry but it’s so sad to me that many evangelical brothers and sisters do not welcome his message either. Of course, I find the same attitudes here at WordPress. I recently received a used copy of Mike’s book (love those Christmas gift cards!) and I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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