Pope Francis, TIME's Person of the Year, and What Evangelicals Might Learn

The world recognizes social justice, humility, and honesty.

On Wednesday, December 11, TIME Magazine named Pope Francis their “Person of the Year.” Soon after, the new Pope was named the number one news story of the year by vote of the Religion Newswriters Association.

The immediate evangelical responses to the TIME story were interesting to watch. Some evangelicals the Pope, only to be criticized by other evangelicals for compromising. Some took the time to point out all the ways they disagreed with Catholicism. Others just said nothing.

Now, I am a Protestant and I think the Reformation mattered. But that does not keep me from asking, “What can we learn in this moment?” Choosing to ask that question does not mean I agree with Roman Catholic theology or some of the Pope’s recent pronouncements. However, I can learn that Pope’s care for the poor, humility, and honesty is catching the attention of today’s world. Perhaps we call can learn from the moment and I hope we don’t miss the opportunity.

As such, I think that the Pope’s selection as “Person of the Year” and other responses deserves some reflection, even from those of us who are Protestants. Actually, at this moment in evangelicalism, it might even be particularly helpful. As such, I thought I’d share three thoughts.

First, the World Notices a Faith that Cares for the Poor.

Pope Francis has a reputation for being one of the most social-justice-focused Popes. Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias write about the Pope, “To Francis, poverty isn’t simply about charity; it’s also about justice. The church, by extension, should not reflect Rome; it should mirror the poor.”

Source: Christianity Today


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