Protestant pastors quizzed over pope

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

A survey of Protestant pastors in America reveals that their view of the pope is vastly different from that of their Protestant forerunners in centuries past.  

At the same timel interest in Pope Francis in the U.S. centers on social justice.

Shortly before Pope Francis visited the United States, LifeWay Research polled 1,000 Protestant pastors in the U.S. LifeWay Research executive director Ed Stetzer tells OneNewsNow about one of the questions they posed.

Stetzer, Ed (LifeWay Research)"We asked them, 'Do you view Pope Francis as a genuine Christian and your brother in Christ?’” he tells OneNewsNow.  “Sixty-three percent said, 'Yes.' It was a little lower among the evangelical Protestants but still a strong majority." 

Fifty-eight percent of the evangelicals agreed that the pope is a genuine Christian. Stetzer finds that response interesting coming from Protestant pastors, in light of the fact that the name Protestant comes from the Protestant Reformation, which began in protest of Catholicism and the pope in Rome.

"Luther, Spurgeon, Wesley all would call the pope antichrist, not the Antichrist, but antichrist, as in pushing away from the gospel,” Stetzer says. “And to go in just a few centuries from the pope being seen as antichrist to being a brother in Christ is a big shift."

Stetzer suggests that shift is probably worthy of more reflection.

In other findings, 90 percent of Protestant pastors agree Catholics can be "born-again Christians." 

Meanwhile, nearly four in 10 Protestant pastors say the pope, known for his humility and concern for the poor, has had a positive impact on their opinions of the Catholic Church. However, half of Protestant pastors say they do not value Pope Francis' opinion on matters of theology.

A researcher for the Institute on Religion and Democracy notes that the pope’s recent visit to the U.S. was highlighted by emphasis on various social justice causes rather than Christian theology. Religious leaders from all kinds of faiths took the opportunity to highlight their favorite cause.

The Washington National Cathedral hosted an interfaith climate change event while Pope Francis was on U.S. soil.

Joseph Rossell, a research analyst for the Institute on Religion and Democracy, explains that officials with the Episcopal Church and other mainstream denominations failed to present the Good News of Christ in their promotion of climate activism.  

"The danger of elevating the earth, elevating any social justice cause to a very high level, is that you forget the gospel and are not focusing on what the church is supposed to be doing," Rossell says. 

He tells OneNewsNow that church leaders attending the event were taking harsh stances on scientific issues that are still in dispute.

"You have comments from the Episcopal Church (and) other denominations saying basically if you don't agree on the science you're sinning,” he says. “So I think it is a very dangerous position to take to say someone's opinion or someone's scientific views are actually sinful."

Rossell says several Protestant denominations have a long history of seizing on to climate issues.

Comments

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

FEATURED PODCAST

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

If I had to choose one thing I like about the just-passed 'pandemic relief' bill, it would be …

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

‘Choppy waters’ await Navy as virus strikes aircraft carrier
In Iran, false belief a poison fights virus kills hundreds
Virus prevention measures turn violent in parts of Africa
US eyes new outbreaks as infections worldwide top 590,000
States impose new restrictions on travelers from New York
No games, big losses: Money crisis faces US Olympic sports
Trump seeks to force General Motors to produce ventilators

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Coronavirus kills one person every 17 minutes in New York
Video: Tony Perkins responds to New York Times op-ed that blames Christians for spread of coronavirus
National Rifle Association blasts L.A. County Sheriff's 'reckless decision' to close down gun shops
Trump defends trip to Va. to see off Navy hospital ship, says he won't be 'jumping around in a huddle'
Hillary Clinton makes joke out of coronavirus: Trump did promise 'America first'

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
Pope taken to task for immigration remarks

An immigration enforcement advocacy organization says the pope is pushing an immigration policy that advocates being charitable with other people's resources.