Guest / Limited Access /
Why Pope Francis Excites (Most) Evangelical Leaders
Image: Dmitry Lovetsky / AP
Why Pope Francis Excites (Most) Evangelical Leaders

Editor's note: CT has also gathered reactions from Argentine evangelical leaders (who describe Bergoglio as an "answer to our prayers") and evangelist Luis Palau, who has a personal friendship with Bergoglio.

Pope Francis has drawn much attention for being the first pope to come from the ranks of the Americas and the Jesuits, as well as take the name Francis. But evangelical observers highlight other reasons for enthusiasm for yesterday's precedent-setting election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, former archbishop of Buenos Aires, to replace Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI after his surprising resignation.

Though the pope doesn't speak for Protestant Christians, he holds an important role as one of the most public faces of Christianity, said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

"Around the world, there are millions of people who don't grasp the differences between Protestants and Catholics," he said. "To them, Christians are Christians and the pope speaks for Christians."

However, American evangelicals will benefit from Francis's conservative stance on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, said Anderson. Meanwhile, the new pope's focus on poverty and his ascetic personal habits could also start a needed discussion about the global poor.

"There's been a lot of talk [in America] about the middle class and the rich, but little about the poor," said Anderson. "Perhaps Pope Francis can bring us back to the biblical and Christian care for the poor and vulnerable."

Because Protestantism is common in Argentina and the rest of South America, Francis is situated to better understand Protestantism than his predecessor, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWhy Every Christian Should Be Ambitious
Subscriber Access Only Why Every Christian Should Be Ambitious
How drive and dogged pursuit are aspects of bearing God's image. An adapted excerpt from 'A Woman’s Place.'
Current Issue'The Culture' Doesn't Exist
Subscriber Access Only 'The Culture' Doesn't Exist
We should spend less time engaging "it" and more time loving our flesh-and-blood neighbor.
RecommendedWhy are Protestant and Catholic Bibles different?
Why are Protestant and Catholic Bibles different?
To find the answer, we must look to the Councils of Jamnia...
TrendingWho’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
The Republican candidate finally names his campaign’s evangelical connections.
Editor's PickGo Ahead, Evangelicals: Use the P-Word
Go Ahead, Evangelicals: Use the P-Word
Only some believers are ordained. But all are priests.
Christianity Today
Why Pope Francis Excites (Most) Evangelical Leaders
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.