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Fascination with Francis stirs Protestant hearts
Nation Catholic Reporter ^ | 1-22-2014 | Bill Tammeus

Posted on 01/24/2014 3:54:59 PM PST by ebb tide

What has intrigued me most about Pope Francis is not the way in which Catholics -- well, most of them, anyway -- have embraced him but the way in which countless Protestants have moved into his fan club.

More is at play here than simple celebrity in our overwrought pop culture. At least, I hope so.

The Protestant fascination with him hasn't broken down the many theological, liturgical and structural barriers that still exist between Protestantism and Catholicism, but it has softened them a bit and it has caused some Protestants to want to figure out what makes Francis tick, what Jesuit theology is all about and what ground we Protestants might share in common with Catholics.

My own congregation is a good example of this phenomenon. Our pastor, Paul Rock, recently began a sermon series he's calling "Jesus, the Pope and a Protestant Walk Into a Bar." His sermons, which started Sunday, can be found here [1].

To alert people to this series, he posted this short video [2] on our church's website [1]. As Paul says in the video, "This is a pope who has become the people's pope. ... The fact that Pope Francis has been an inspiration to both Catholics and Protestants I think provides us a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at this Catholic-Protestant divide."

I suspect that the intense Protestant interest in Francis is a sign that deep in our protesting marrow, there is a yearning for unity and a latent sense of regret that it had to come to all that division in Martin Luther's time and that the divide has never been healed.

For good and sufficient reasons back then, insistent Catholic reformers broke away from Rome in what became known as the Protestant Reformation, and although countless feelings were hurt and vicious charges traded, it was surely a reluctant parting. The Luthers, the Ulrich Zwinglis and the John Calvins of the time first sought to fix what they thought had gone wrong in the church. But failing that, they felt they had no choice but to leave.

So off they went in a huff while the Catholics they left behind mostly shouted after them not to let the door slam them in the butt on the way out. It was sad, though perhaps avoidable, but we can't rewrite that history now.

No divorce happens because of what just one of the partners does, thinks or says. It's always a group failure, as it was in this case. But it's also true that no divorce happens without some residual regret.

Some of that residual regret is helping to fuel the Protestant fascination with Francis. Whether it will mean anything in the way of reconciliation over the long haul is unknown. But it's certain that no reconciliation will be possible if both Protestants and Catholics continue to deny the regret they feel and their hope for a different future.

To Protestants, one of the most attractive things about Francis is his humility, his willingness not to rely on, defend and protect all aspects of the hierarchical system of polity that has marked the papacy, especially in the time since Pope John XXIII. That system, at least to Protestant eyes, seems to be in tension with the idea straight from the mouth of Jesus that true leaders must first be servants.

Now Francis not only is saying exactly that, he's acting as if he believes it.

Protestant polity usually is more decentralized and democratic than the Roman system of governance, but that doesn't mean some Protestant leaders don't also fall into the trap of being insufferable monarchists and worldly kingdom-builders.

Today, however, when Protestants set aside that nonsense and focus on humbly seeking to follow the God of love revealed in Jesus Christ, they find they have been joined by a fellow pilgrim, Francis. And we should welcome each other on the journey.

[Bill Tammeus, a Presbyterian elder and former award-winning faith columnist for The Kansas City Star, writes the daily "Faith Matters" blog [3] for the Star's website and a monthly column for The Presbyterian Outlook. His latest book, co-authored with Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, is They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust [4]. Email him at wtammeus@gmail.com [5].]


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Charismatic Christian; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: francis; pcusa; protestant
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1 posted on 01/24/2014 3:55:00 PM PST by ebb tide
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To: piusv; BlatherNaut

Ping


2 posted on 01/24/2014 3:55:33 PM PST by ebb tide
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Typo error on source. It should be “National Catholic Reporter”.


3 posted on 01/24/2014 4:00:56 PM PST by ebb tide
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To: ebb tide

Sorry, folks. Any man that believes the doctrines of Rome, is not a “peoples pope” but a man believing errant theology. There are no 7 sacraments, no genuflecting, no paternosters, no “Roman Catholic Church” in the Scriptures. There is just the body of believers gathered by Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and rescued from themselves because they were elect before the foundation of the world.


4 posted on 01/24/2014 4:01:28 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: Dutchboy88

No “pater noster”? Do you even know what that is? See Matthew 6:9-13.


5 posted on 01/24/2014 4:05:58 PM PST by ebb tide
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To: Dutchboy88; ebb tide
As mentioned on yesterday's posting of this article, the heart-stirred author and his church both belong to the uber-liberal PCUSA denomination.

Birds of a feather?

6 posted on 01/24/2014 4:07:20 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: ebb tide
Book: Mere Christianity
Author: C.S. Lewis
Macmillan, NY, pp. 190

Excerpt from Preface:

I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions — as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else.

It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall, I have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think preferable. It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into the room you will find that the long wait has done some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.

In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?”

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. This is one of the rules common to the whole house.

7 posted on 01/24/2014 4:10:54 PM PST by HangnJudge
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To: Alex Murphy; marshmallow; Religion Moderator

Sorry. Didn’t know this had already been posted.


8 posted on 01/24/2014 4:12:26 PM PST by ebb tide
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To: ebb tide

Do you know what it says????


9 posted on 01/24/2014 4:13:29 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: Dutchboy88

No Pater Noster? I’ll put Heaven on notice that the Our Father has been abrogated.


10 posted on 01/24/2014 4:22:39 PM PST by TheDandyMan
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To: ebb tide

Maybe ecumenical protestant hearts, but no born again Christian has any excitement for or about the Pope.


11 posted on 01/24/2014 4:23:20 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: Dutchboy88
We all know what it says, but for the sake of it, here it is from the KJV.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Having established that the verses in question contain what is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer and the Our Father...You just said there is no Our Father in the bible.

Would you care to expand a bit or your previous statement, or did you simply suffer a "senior moment"?

12 posted on 01/24/2014 4:24:23 PM PST by Wyrd bi ful ard (Also the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades)
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To: Dutchboy88

Yes,
I say it many times everyday. I say it at every Mass. Do you know what it says?


13 posted on 01/24/2014 4:24:33 PM PST by ebb tide
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To: ebb tide

There really is no “Protestant fascination” with Pope Francis. There is no fascination like that among Bible-believing Christians but there certainly could be some among liberal Protestants from denonimations like the Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran churches. Most of the Catholic Church has voted with liberal Protestants and atheists for decades in favor of secular humanism, so the step towards universalism that Francis just took makes sense.


14 posted on 01/24/2014 4:33:07 PM PST by Faith Presses On
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To: Wyrd bið ful aræd
"Would you care to expand a bit or your previous statement, or did you simply suffer a "senior moment"?"

Well, you almost got it right... If you check the best and earliest manuscripts of the Greek text, you will find that the last line of your quote is not really a part of the text. "For thine..."

But, you did not continue to read what Jesus actually said. The next line of his remarks are: For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Now, this may be a part of your errant theology (and that of your organization), but it is not a part of the Gospel that was ultimately delivered through Paul. What you are reading in the so-called Lord's Prayer, is a portion of the requirements of the Mosaic Law, my FRiend. The Gospel of grace is extended to Gentiles (probably you, certainly me) after the blood was shed (Eph. 2...read the whole chapter). Thus, a "paternoster" has no place in Christianity.

15 posted on 01/24/2014 4:38:00 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: ebb tide

ping to 15


16 posted on 01/24/2014 4:38:23 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: TheDandyMan

ping to 15


17 posted on 01/24/2014 4:38:46 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: knarf
Maybe ecumenical protestant hearts, but no born again Christian has any excitement for or about the Pope.

Popes come. Popes go.

18 posted on 01/24/2014 4:43:51 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means.")
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To: ebb tide

Is this author suggesting it was a “friendly divorce”

there were CENTURIES of religious wars..

not just the one in 1618-1648 ending in the Peace of Westphalia..


19 posted on 01/24/2014 4:44:02 PM PST by Tennessee Nana
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To: Faith Presses On
There really is no “Protestant fascination” with Pope Francis.

Why not? He's like putty in their hands.


20 posted on 01/24/2014 4:45:45 PM PST by ebb tide
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