Italian Pentecostals Not Buying Pope's 'Unity'

The pope is romancing diplomats and world leaders in his campaign to get everyone to just be nice and all get along —on his terms, or course. 

Pope Francis continued his campaign to sweet talk the world into his "unity" web by making an "unprecedented" visit to a Pentecostal church in Caserta, Italy. In his apology he asked for forgiveness for "Catholic brothers and sisters who didn`t know and were tempted by the devil," when they persecuted Pentecostals during the fascist regime that ruled Italy for much of the first half of the 20th century.

The Associated Press quoted Francis: "Someone will be surprised: 'The pope went to visit the evangelicals?` But he went to see his brothers."

However, the majority of Italian Pentecostal leaders are not buying the new label. Italian church planter Leonardo De Chirico observed that, "There is much naiveté and superficiality in analyzing the pope`s seemingly evangelical language."

Shortly before the pope`s visit, the Assemblies of God, the Italian Evangelical Alliance, and most of the other Pentecostals in Italy, signed a statement to provide "biblical standards to assess the mounting ecumenical pressure coming from the Roman Catholic Church to expand its catholicity at the expense of biblical truth."

The statement noted "insurmountable" doctrinal obstacles and rightly pointed out that: "it is incompatible with the teaching of Scripture to have a church that operates as mediator of salvation and that presents other figures as mediators of grace since God`s grace comes to us by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8) and without the agency of other mediators (1 Timothy 2:5)....What appear to be similarities with the Evangelical faith and spirituality of sectors of Roman Catholicism are not in themselves reasons for hope in a true change."

So, what would "true change" look like? The leaders of the Reformation put their finger on it as the Evangelicals statement points out: salvation does not come through the church but by "faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone." All other mediators are "another Christ" promoting "another gospel." The statement also found that it was: "incompatible with biblical teaching to have a church that took the liberty to add dogmas (such as the Marian dogmas) to the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3; Revelation 22:18)."

Their statement concluded with a resounding call: "They invite all evangelicals at the national and international levels to exercise a healthy biblical discernment (1 John 4:1) without falling into unionist initiatives that are contrary to Scripture and instead renew their commitment to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20).

Now, when the pope claimed that he went to see his evangelical "brothers," that is a long way from "heretics" of past generations. But who moved? Catholicism has not changed any of its unbiblical doctrines, only its attitude toward Protestants.
And the Evangelicals in Italy are "increasingly puzzled" by the response of the U.S. evangelicals given to the new pope. Where the majority of Italian Evangelicals are objecting to the pope`s overtures, few in the U.S. have raised the issue. The outgoing leader of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Geoff Tunnicliffe, even responded to the pope`s advances with an apology for Protestant discrimination against Catholics.

So many have bought the idea that popery is just another "Christian denomination" with a different worship style, ignoring the unbiblical RC doctrines of wafer god, Virgin Mary goddess worship, forgiveness through confession to priests, priestcraft, papal infallibility, etc.

The tragedy is that evangelicals have ceased to win Catholics to freedom in Christ from their pagan idolatry. Chick Publications has published many tracts, books and comics exposing the subtle deception of this cult.

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