Evangelicals, Pope to Work Together on Religious Freedom
Pope Francis and representatives of a global evangelical network have pledged to fight together against persecution and for religious freedom, and acknowledging to work together despite theological differences.
This agreement was reached during a meting held by the two parties at the Vatican last week.
According to the Christian Post, Bishop Efraim Tendero, secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance, WEA, which represents over 600 million believers in 129 nations, talked at the meeting with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity about the importance of cooperation.
“We want to see this world to be a place where peace, justice and righteousness reign, where everyone has a decent standard of living, and where Jesus Christ is recognized as Lord of all,” Tendero said.
Vatican Radio pointed out that the WEA and the Pontifical Council completed seven years of dialogue, where they admitted that “major theological differences” remain, but at the same time they are coming to an understanding that a common agenda is needed.
Tendero said that such cooperation is needed in the wake of so many challenges for Christians around the world, rather than a “focus on what differs and what pulls us apart.”
According to Tendero, the Catholic church and evangelicals there work together on problems, including human trafficking, combating climate change, fighting corruption, promoting peace, and providing disaster relief.
The Rev. Thomas K. Johnson, the WEA’s religious freedom ambassador to the Vatican, highlighted the increasing persecution of Christians around the world, with the last three years potentially becoming the worst in history for believers.
Johnson said that no major pronouncements are expected from Thursday’s meeting, but said that Catholics and evangelicals are looking into publishing “education materials that we’ve developed together.”
He said that the message to come away with is that “Christians of all varieties need to be protecting each other in the public square.”