The Catholic Church has a challenge. Their Pope, who is supposed to be the religious leader of over a billion people around the world, does not believe in proselytizing. It’s just the latest example of a radically progressive man of the cloth bestowing his own sensibilities upon his doctrine instead of following the true authority, the Bible.
Pope Francis was taking questions from high school students in Rome earlier this month when he went into a lengthy discussion about when and how we are to present the Gospel. It was part of his standard ecumenical stance, one that has gone beyond unification of Christianity and towards the unification of all faiths in a single world religion. Of note is how he explains why he doesn’t proselytize to non-believers and why nobody else should, either.
“In front of an unbeliever the last thing I have to do is try to convince him. Never. The last thing I have to do is speak. I have to live consistent with my faith. And it will be my testimony to awaken the curiosity of the other who says: “But why do you do this?” And yes, I can speak then. But listen: Never, never bring the gospel by proselytizing. If someone says they are a disciple of Jesus and comes to you with proselytism, they are not a disciple of Jesus. Proselytism is not done, the church does not grow by proselytism.” – Pope Francis
The Bible is crystal clear throughout, but Matthew 28:19-20 is arguably the most blatant example of the command by our Lord and Savior to spread the Gospel to all who will listen. What Pope Francis fails to understand is that we do not wait for people seeking out the faith. We are to bring the faith forward and find those who will listen if given the opportunity.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
As Adam Ford at Disrn notes, the Pope essentially condemns those who believe we are to be proactive in our spreading of the Gospel.
In a dialogue with Catholic high school students in Rome this weekend, Pope Francis responded to a question about how to deal with atheists and people of other faiths by saying that Christians should never proselytize — and any who do are not truly Christians.
The Pope’s lengthy answer, reprinted in full at the bottom of this article, contained numerous notable remarks illustrating the Pope’s views on evangelism.
Last year, Pope Francis told a grieving boy that his late father was in heaven, despite the fact that he was an atheist, because he had his children baptized.
The Pope is correct in one regard. We are not in the Crusades. Anyone who believes we are to try to convert non-believers at the point of a sword is wrong. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to proselytize. We should be as proactive as we are led. For some, this means preaching from the streets, exposing an uncaring world with the hope that someone will be touched among the masses. For others, it means going forth as missionaries, sharing the Gospel with those who have never had an opportunity to hear it. Even talking about the Gospel to individuals in our circle of influence or online can touch lives and point people in the right direction.
For the Pope to denounce proselytizing is actual subverting efforts to spread the Gospel. Catholics and Christians of all denominations should ignore his edicts. The more he pronounces them, the further away from the truth they become.
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