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Pope Francis Strikes Down "Great Commission" Mandate

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  • Pope Francis Strikes Down "Great Commission" Mandate

    OK, yeah, the title is clickbait.

    But I'm still trying to figure out what he's up to...

    Pope Francis Urges Christians to ‘Never Proselytize’

    ROME — Pope Francis urged the Christians of Cyprus Friday to bear witness to Jesus Christ but never to proselytize.

    Proselytism — or the attempt to convert others to one’s faith — is different from evangelization, the pope suggested, which is the joyful witness of one’s experience of Christ.

    Speaking at Mass in Nicosia, the pontiff reflected on the day’s gospel reading that recounts the healing of two blind men, who, despite being “sternly” warned by Jesus not to talk about their cure, spread the news throughout the region.

    “There is a bit of irony in this fact: Jesus had told them not to tell anyone, but they do the exact opposite,” the pope noted. “From the story, however, we understand that it is not their intention to disobey the Lord; they simply cannot contain the enthusiasm of having been healed, the joy of their encounter with him.”

    “And here there is another distinctive sign of the Christian: the joy of the Gospel, which is irrepressible,” Francis added, insisting that “the joy of the Gospel frees us from the risk of a privatized, serious, plaintive faith, and introduces us to the dynamism of witness.”

    In his homily, the pope praised his hearers for “joyfully living the liberating proclamation of the Gospel.”

    “I thank you for that,” he said. “This is not about proselytizing — please, never proselytize! — but of testimony; not of moralism that judges — ‘no, don’t do it’ — but of mercy that embraces; not of external worship, but of lived love.”

    Like the two blind men of the gospel, “let us go out of ourselves without fear to witness Him to those we meet!” Francis said. “Let’s go out to bring the light we have received, let’s go out to illuminate the night that often surrounds us!”

    “Brothers and sisters, there is a need for Christians who are enlightened but above all luminous,” he said. These are Christians who “touch with tenderness the blindness of the brothers” and “with gestures and words of consolation turn on lights of hope in the dark.”

    On Saturday morning, the pope will depart from Cyprus and travel to Athens, Greece. On Sunday, he will visit the Greek island of Lesbos (Lesvos), where he will meet with migrants and refugees before returning to Rome on Monday.


    The Great Commission


    Matt 28:16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

  • #2
    I'm shocked.

    Shocked, I say.


    Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mossrose View Post
      I'm shocked.

      Shocked, I say.
      I really don't mind the idea that he seems to be telling Catholics not to recruit.
      The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

        I really don't mind the idea that he seems to be telling Catholics not to recruit.
        I don't either. But his whole premise is so wrong that it just shows, once again, the error so prevalent in the RCC.


        Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mossrose View Post

          I don't either. But his whole premise is so wrong that it just shows, once again, the error so prevalent in the RCC.
          I've read it several times, hoping maybe there was something that got lost in translation, but... I don't see it.
          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

            I've read it several times, hoping maybe there was something that got lost in translation, but... I don't see it.


            Yuh.


            Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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            • #7
              A few things come to mind:

              -- It's reminiscent of the old saying, "What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say."

              -- I believe it has become official RC teaching that unbelievers can enter Heaven, so it may reflect that.

              -- It may also reflect the idea that the "Great Commission" was delivered only to the Apostles, so it may only be applicable to those relatively directly in "Apostolic succession."

              -- I am sympathetic to the notion that ideally, evangelism should proceed from a full heart and personal experience of relationship, not just duty and rote proclamation.
              Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

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              "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

              Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

              Let's go, Brandon

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              • #8
                Seems to be more about what is said during proselytization than proselytization itself.

                not of moralism that judges — ‘no, don’t do it’ — but of mercy that embraces; not of external worship, but of lived love


                That said, has there ever been a Pope who sends so many mixed messages that require numerous later explanations and interpretations?

                I'm always still in trouble again

                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post
                  A few things come to mind:

                  -- It's reminiscent of the old saying, "What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say."
                  Yeah, then there's the “But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

                  'What we do" needs to be so very clear that it will cause others to ask about it.

                  -- I believe it has become official RC teaching that unbelievers can enter Heaven, so it may reflect that.
                  Didn't know that, but not surprised.

                  -- It may also reflect the idea that the "Great Commission" was delivered only to the Apostles, so it may only be applicable to those relatively directly in "Apostolic succession."
                  Hmmmm

                  -- I am sympathetic to the notion that ideally, evangelism should proceed from a full heart and personal experience of relationship, not just duty and rote proclamation.
                  Absolutely! the "good works" that come from being Saved -- the "verse 10" after the "Ephesians 2:8-9".

                  The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe he thinks proselytize means "force" like the muslims do? Or it got lost in translation?

                    I do know some types of Christians who go "overboard" with the hellfire and damnation aspect and forget about all of the love and hope aspect. Like some of those crazy street preachers who yell at passersby. Or my brother's last preacher who gave depressing sermons preaching hellfire and making everyone feel guilty and made God sound like a vengeful judge who just wanted to punish you for everything instead of wanting to pull you out of sin and save you. I felt depressed after every time I listened to him and I was already a Christian!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post



                      -- I believe it has become official RC teaching that unbelievers can enter Heaven, so it may reflect that.
                      It appears to be a view that Francis holds but the church as a whole as an official position... I'd like to see the Bull or Council decision proclaiming it.

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                        Maybe he thinks proselytize means "force" like the muslims do? Or it got lost in translation?
                        I was trying to allow for that, but I don't think so.

                        I do know some types of Christians who go "overboard" with the hellfire and damnation aspect and forget about all of the love and hope aspect. Like some of those crazy street preachers who yell at passersby. Or my brother's last preacher who gave depressing sermons preaching hellfire and making everyone feel guilty and made God sound like a vengeful judge who just wanted to punish you for everything instead of wanting to pull you out of sin and save you. I felt depressed after every time I listened to him and I was already a Christian!
                        Yeah, I'd FAR rather people sign up to live with Jesus than to buy "fire insurance" to escape Hell.

                        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                          I've read it several times, hoping maybe there was something that got lost in translation, but... I don't see it.
                          It seems to me that you're missing his intent by taking a sentence out of context. He has something of a point. His point is essentially that evangelization should be something that overflows from the heart, buoyed by the inner change wrought by Christ, not a mere attempt to win converts. (was intending to post this last night, but got called away)
                          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                            It seems to me that you're missing his intent by taking a sentence out of context. He has something of a point. His point is essentially that evangelization should be something that overflows from the heart, buoyed by the inner change wrought by Christ, not a mere attempt to win converts. (was intending to post this last night, but got called away)
                            I would like to think that - then there's stuff like this...

                            Pope says, if you try to convert an unbeliever, you are “not a disciple of Jesus”

                            In front of an unbeliever the last thing I have to do is try to convince him. Never. The last thing I have to do is speak. I have to live consistent with my faith. And it will be my testimony to awaken the curiosity of the other who says: “But why do you do this?” And yes, I can speak then. But listen: Never, never bring the gospel by proselytizing. If someone says they are a disciple of Jesus and comes to you with proselytism, they are not a disciple of Jesus. Proselytism is not done, the church does not grow by proselytism. Pope Benedict had said it, it grows by attraction, by testimony. Football teams proselytize, this can be done. Political parties, can be done there. But with faith there is no proselytism. And if someone says to me: “But why?” Read, read, read the Gospel, this is my faith. But without pressure.


                            I think the real question is 'what does he mean by proselytism?'

                            To be sure, “proselytize” has the connotation of evangelizing in the wrong way–high pressure, canned presentations, being manipulative, etc.–though simply telling people about Jesus is often branded as proselytizing. This is how it is taken in the growing number of countries with anti-proselytizing laws, which are often being used today to persecute Christians, something the Pope should be sensitive to.

                            But setting that aside, the Pope’s answer suggests what might be a useful tactic in evangelism: Wait to be asked. Instead of trying to convince your Muslim, Jewish, and atheist friends to become Christians–which might create big trouble for a contemporary European teenager–live out your faith so that they become curious and ask you about it. Then you can speak.

                            Fair enough. The problem, though, is that the Pope puts his prohibition about not trying to convince unbelievers and not proselytizing so strongly. Those who do so are not just well-intentioned but ineffective, or wrong-headed and naive. “They are not a disciple of Jesus.” Is he saying that if you try to convert someone to Christianity, you yourself are not a Christian?

                            Evangelical Christians are well-known for evangelizing, for “witnessing” to others about their faith, giving their “testimony” about their own coming to faith in the course of “sharing the Gospel.” In their recent ecumenical zeal, Catholics have finally accepted Protestants as Christians, though as “separated brethren.” But does the Pope believe that evangelicals and Pentecostals who try to win others to their faith “are not disciples of Jesus”?
                            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                              I would like to think that - then there's stuff like this...

                              Pope says, if you try to convert an unbeliever, you are “not a disciple of Jesus”

                              In front of an unbeliever the last thing I have to do is try to convince him. Never. The last thing I have to do is speak. I have to live consistent with my faith. And it will be my testimony to awaken the curiosity of the other who says: “But why do you do this?” And yes, I can speak then.
                              So far so good. It is an approach that has been effective in even the most resistant communities - to which the Baptist experience in Fukuoka attests.

                              At the risk of sounding like another denizen of this site: the hard part is trying to work out what precisely is meant by proselytism.
                              1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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