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-Pope Warns that Evangelicals and Pentecostals are a Problem?

by Dr. D ~ September 27th, 2011

Pope Benedictus XVI

            (Image via Wikipedia)

While visiting a monastery in Germany, Pope Benedict warned the Lutherans of what he called a ‘new form of Christianity’ that was challenging mainstream Christian churches. While not saying so, it was obvious by his comments that he was referring to Evangelicals and Pentecostals:

"Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss."

"This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability. This worldwide phenomenon poses a question to us all: what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse?"

Response: I support most of the comments that Pope Benedict has made lately in his visits around the world, particularly when he is challenging the culture. Unfortunately we depart company on this one.

It is amazing to me that the Pope thinks that Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic churches and missions are a problem –especially since they are growing at an exponential rate and spreading the Gospel to every nation? I would think that it would be far more ‘frightening’ to the Devil than the Pope.

Meanwhile, his Catholic church and the liberal mainline denominations are in decline and have been for at least a generation. The main reason is because they have essentially departed from traditional Biblical teaching –‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’  Yet he calls the conservative Evangelical and Pentecostal churches ‘a new form of Christianity’?

The whole idea of these movements (Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic) is to recapture sound Biblical teaching and the original form of the New Testament church in the first century. It is the current mainline churches and Pope Benedict’s church that really represent ‘a new form of Christianity’ when compared to the church of the Apostles.

While we are at it, just where did all of that ‘institutional depth’ come from in the first place? Yes, I do know church history. But where do you find Priests, Monsignors, Archbishops, Cardinals, and Popes anywhere in the New Testament church?

The Pope asks: “what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse?"  Here’s the answer:

It’s time to get back to old time New Testament Gospel of Jesus and the Apostles and take the Great Commission serious.             *Top

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2 Responses to -Pope Warns that Evangelicals and Pentecostals are a Problem?

  1. Brian

    A couple of comments:

    (a) Evangelicals et al. are not a “new form of Christianity”. Even if one ignores the argument that Evangelicals et al. are closest to apostolic Christianity, then one nevertheless cannot ignore a continuous history going back to the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation (there were, actually, two radical wings – one on the continent gave birth to Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites and similar “Anabaptists”. The radical English wing gave birth to Baptists, and later to the entire American Evangelical/Charismatic/Pentecostal movement.) The Pope is misinformed.

    (b) I cannot cite a source for this statistic, but I read a few years back that 12 out of every 13 Christian missionaries was a representative of the American Evangelical/Charismatic/Pentacostal tradition, and only 1 in 13 represented mainstream Protestantism, or Catholicism. Yet this American evangelical tradition represents only perhaps 5% of the Christian population on Earth. Can you imagine how many missionaries there would be if other branches of Christianity embraced the Great Commission with the same enthusiasm? Perhaps, rather than complaining, the Pope should be striving to muster the resources of the Catholic church the match the effort?

    Brian

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks Brian,
    Your history is excellent -good comments. I believe your missionary stats are right on too.

    Also, I have talked to lots of missionaries that started out as ‘main stream’ that became far more ‘Pentecostal’ than they dare inform their mission boards. Those on the front lines still experience healings and miracles similar to the 1st century and nothing like their churches back home in Western countries. The form of Christianity in the mission fields is alive and dynamic and nothing like the staid institutional form of the church that the Pope and many in the West are use to.

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