A few days before Kenneth Copeland and other evangelical leaders met with Pope Francis, Joel Osteen, evangelical pastor of the 16,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, paid a visit to see the pope. The meeting was in response to the pope’s invitation to evangelical leaders to discuss the question, “Can we find common ground in order to advance the life and ministry of Jesus so more people can experience the joy of Christian faith?”
Though the meeting was unofficial, Osteen said “it was a great honor to represent the pastors of America in the meeting with the pontiff.” Osteen described the pope as “full of joy.”
Also in the short meeting was U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, a Mormon, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and former Senator, Dirk Kempthorne, a Methodist, Tim Timmons, a pastor and author from Newport Beach, CA, Gayle D. Beebe, President of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, and 10 others. Osteen is pastor of the fastest growing mega-church in America and ministers to 52,000 people every week, and perhaps millions more through his books and TV ministry.
It is not hard to imagine the joy the pope would have over so many influential evangelical pastors and political leaders coming to Rome to meet him and work for unity. These are the people that have a lot of influence on their congregations and the American public at large. Osteen also attended Mass in St. Peter’s Square with approximately 100,000 people the day before the meeting. Also during their visit in Rome, the pope met with more than 50,000 Roman Catholic charismatics in Olympic Stadium.
“I like the fact that this pope is trying to make the church larger, not smaller,” Osteen said. “He’s not pushing people out, but making the church more inclusive. That resonated with me.”
Francis Rooney, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican said, “I think the Pope, in reaching out, is broadening the concept of ecumenical dialogue, and he’s reaching out to people who can touch other Christians…”
As usual the pope asked the group to pray for him and for peace in the Middle East. The International Foundation, the main organizer of the U.S. National Day of Prayer, arranged the multi-day visit to Rome to promote interfaith understanding and ecumenical prayer. Osteen also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and at dinner with another cardinal.
“For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast until the words of God shall be fulfilled,” Revelation 17:17.
For the nations to give their power and strength to the beast (Revelation 17:13), they need the support of religious leaders. The ecumenical movement is a powerful means of breaking down prejudice so that unity with Rome is possible. This will open the way for global leaders to give their kingdoms to the control of Rome.
Also, it should be noted that the group was a mix of political and religious leaders. Uniting church and state is what the Papacy is all about, and is described in the Bible as fornication. See Revelation 17:2.
“When Protestant churches shall unite with the secular power to sustain a false religion, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution, then will the papal sabbath be enforced by the combined authority of church and state. There will be a national apostasy, which will end only in national ruin,” Evangelism, page 235.
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him…” Revelation 13:8.