Pope Francis was recently speaking with a group of high school students in Rome. He was asked about dealing with atheists and people of other faiths. His response was that Christians should never proselytize (usually defined as sharing one’s faith in the hope of converting others; Pope Francis seemed to be referring to this definition, as well as to force conversions in his remarks) and that those who do are “not a disciple of Jesus.” After all, he reasoned, “we are not in the time of the crusades,” “we are all children of God,” and “the church does not grow by proselytism.” “Rather,” he says, it grows by “attraction, by testimony.”
Now, I realize some may say he is just saying we need to be gentle, etc. in the way we do things. But using the word “proselytize” with its usual definition is, to me, a big concern. It should be noted that we judge all church leader’s worldviews (regardless of what denomination they belong to) against the authority of Scripture.
So, let’s compare what the Pope seems to be saying here against the infallible, inerrant, unchanging Word of God:
Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3)
God’s Word is clear—we’re to overtly share the message of the gospel with others
God’s Word is clear—we’re to share the message of the gospel with others overtly, understanding we will be in a battle. It’s the most important message anyone can hear because apart from the saving work of Christ, no one will see eternal life. Apart from him, we remain in our sins, headed for an eternity apart from God in a place called hell.
Let’s boldly (with gentleness and meekness) share the message of the gospel with others while praying that people from all backgrounds will repent and will put their faith and trust in Christ alone for salvation.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.