Pope Francis has spent quite a bit of effort and energy in an outreach to evangelicals. To what purpose this is being done is confusing to PopeWatch since the Pope has disclaimed any interest in converting these groups to Catholicism. Italian evangelicalss have indicated in a recent statement that if the Pope believes he is accomplishing anything by this outreach for Catholicism, he may wish to reassess that belief:
Following a round table promoted by the Italian Evangelical Alliance, the Federation of Pentecostal Churches, the Assemblies of God in Italy, the Apostolic Church and the Pentecostal Congregations held in Aversa on July 19, 2014, at the Pentecostal Faculty of Religious Sciences, on the theme: “Contemporary Catholicism: an evangelical perspective” the above cited organizations, following the evangelical opening on the part of evangelical circles and international and national Pentecostals, with regard to the Catholic Church and her present Pontiff, without expressing judgment on the faith of the individual faithful, remain incompatible with the teaching of Scripture a Church that proclaims herself to be the mediatrix of salvation and presents other figures as mediators of grace, given that the grace of God comes only through faith in Christ Jesus without works (Ephesians 2:8) and without the intervention of other mediators (1 Timothy 2:5).
Moreover, they remain incompatible with the teaching of Scripture a Church that assumes the responsibility of adding dogmas (like the Marian ones) to the faith once and forever transmitted to the saints (Jude 3; Apocalypse 22:18).
Finally they remain incompatible with the teaching of Scripture a Church that has its heart in a political state, a legacy of an “imperial” Church from which it assumed titles and prerogatives. Christian churches must be careful about imitating the “princes of nations” and follow the example of Jesus Who came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:42 – 45).
Therefore, they maintain that the apparent similarities with the evangelical faith and spirituality from sectors in Catholicism are not, in themselves, reasons to hope for a true change. Considering that irreconcilable and absolutely divergent theological and ethical differences still persist, they maintain they are unable to start and follow-up any initiative or ecumenical opening with regard to the Roman Catholic Church, inviting all evangelicals at the national and international level to exercise sound biblical discernment (1 John 4:1) without giving way to unionist anxieties contrary to Scripture, but rather renewing the commitment to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world.
Aversa (Caserta), July 19, 2014
Over the past half century the Church has wasted quite a bit of time on molehills while ignoring mountains. Perhaps the molehill most wasteful of the precisious commodity of time has been that molehill labeled Ecumenicalism.