I do not agree with Pope Francis on a list of issues before you even start talking theology. The man has no business trying to get in the economic discussion of American politics. He is out of his level of influence. He does not understand global economics on any level.
Pope Francis has been making some very bad statements about alot of things; many of them going against the New Testament of late. It is safe to say that I am not a fan of Pope Francis or as we call him, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
So I guess that the Pope made a surprise visit to Christian Fellowship of Caserta, a member of the Apostolic Fellowship International. It is a step in the right direction.
I am sure Mr. Pentecost, David du Plessis would have been pleased.
Pope Francis is asking forgiveness
According to the article, Pope Francis came with a message to the Pentecostals in Italy that would be true for all Pentecostal members globally. I do find it odd he gave it at a small church in Italy, not asking to address the General Council of the Assemblies of God that just happened a few weeks ago.
Among those who persecuted and denounced Pentecostals, almost as if they were crazy people trying to ruin the race, there were also Catholics…I am the pastor of Catholics, and I ask your forgiveness for those Catholic brothers and sisters who didn’t know and were tempted by the devil…We cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world…The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed… it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way.”
Some will read this as he is trying to organize the One World Church (I have my concerns myself) but I will take him at face value and assume that his motive are pure. I will also assume he understand the Pentecostals hold very different views on many issues and as Evangelicals, we believe that only once you accept Jesus as Savior by faith through grace you are born again. I know, I know, that is alot of assuming.
One other thing I know, having listen to John Arnott speak about the issue is that there is a booklet called Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Its opening statement in English states,
The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all those who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.
Again, we must take all of this at face value and assume the best, not prepare for the worst. In nothing else, he is trying to keep the Charismatic Catholic movement in the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis may not understand Pentecostal doctrine
Most Pentecostals, if not all, believe the the whore of Babylon in Revelation is the Roman Catholic Church. I am not sure that Jorge Mario Bergoglio actually understand this. He seems to be clueless that we think the Anti-Christ will come from his position in the Church.
If you want, you can add the fact that most Pentecostals consider Catholics to be deep in witchcraft and idolatry. We are not about to start praying to Mother Mary or to Saint Peter.
He might understand this a little but I question that he really gets that we have serious reservations about the Catholic Church by and large. We are not going to have open arms to Roman Catholicism in my lifetime. The divide is just too big and too far. You can call it the Grand Canyon.
Again, at this point, I take him at face value and from what the Arnotts have said. John believes that the Pope spoke from the heart of a man of God and he is a man of the heart. I trust the leadership of John and Carol. I am not saying I trust the Pope though.
What I will say is that admitting to the sins of the Catholic Church against Pentecostals is a big step in the right direction. I do not exactly what he motives are. I hold the position of Ronald Reagan, trust but verify.
Thoughts on Pope Francis meeting the Arnotts
John and Carol are leaders in the renewal movement. It was at their church in Toronto that the renewal broke out in 1994. The Holy Spirit was so strong in the meetings that John Wimber, that had cancer, kicked them out in order to save the Vineyard movement once he was gone.
I trust the John and Carol. I semi-trust Kenneth Copeland. I do agree with his theology but I think he is solid on salvation issues.
What I find interesting is Tony Palmer, the guy that pulled it all together and the link between Pope Francis and Kenneth Copeland and the Arnott was killed just weeks after the meetings in London.
While some will go nuts with it, I believe it was a murder because there is a history of anyone bringing change to the Catholic Church ends up dead. Don’t believe me, just ask President John F. Kennedy. The Jesuits and the Free Masons are a powerful bunch of people.
Just as the trust between whites and black in America will take a long time to heal; the division between the Catholics and the Pentecostals will not be healed overnight. The wounds run very deep. It is decades of slander and hatred that will have to be healed up. Pretending it is not there will not work either.
If the Catholic want to heal the relationship, it can. Pentecostals are forgiving (well, some of us) but it will take true repentance and a history of embrace.