Recently, Pope Francis met with Pentecostals in Caserta, Italy. He apologized for Catholic lack of understanding and persecution by the church of Pentecostals under the fascist regime. Now, the head of the World Evangelical Alliance, Secretary General, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe has returned the apology for discrimination against Catholics. Tunnicliffe was also at the meeting with Pope Francis and other evangelical leaders, including Tony Palmer (now deceased), Kenneth Copeland and James Robison in June.
The meeting in Caserta involved more than 200 members of the Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation. The pontiff also met with the Catholic community in the area.
Tunnicliffe said in an interview with Vatican Radio, “I think Pope Francis reaching out to Evangelicals bodes well for future conversations, because that will allow us to go deeper in our interactions together.”
“Over recent years, the World Evangelical Alliance, which represents some 650 million Christians around the world, has had growing interaction with the Vatican and the Catholic Church,” Tunnicliffe also noted. “We’re just concluding our 2nd official theological dialogue which identifies areas of common concerns and areas where we still differ.”
Tunnicliffe commended the pope for taking public initiative in asking for forgiveness and added that though “we can disagree theologically, this should never lead to discrimination or persecution of the other… We all need to acknowledge all our failings,” and, following the Pontiff’s great example, he said, “ask each other for forgiveness.”
The ecumenical journey is a gradual process of building trust and respect, and ever deepening ecumenical dialogue, but ends in unity around papal oversight, if not full, sacramental unity. Ecumenism involves emphasis on doctrines held in common, while diminishing anything distinctive. This aims directly against God’s last message of the world to come out of Babylon. Instead evangelicals are plunging deeper.
Where is it all headed? “When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Great Controversy, page 445