The selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina as the next pope will have a significant impact on churches in Latin America–Catholic and Protestant. Latin America is home to roughly four in every 10 of the world’s Roman Catholics. Nonetheless, the Catholic Church in the region has been in decline for decades, a situation from which evangelicals have benefited.
Francis, by all accounts, is a humble man who loves the poor and who will seek spiritual renewal in the church, and particularly in Central and South America. If the pope can accomplish this–and I have seen the crushing influence of a dead church in South America–then all to the good. Protestants have done a great work in introducing their societies to the Savior, and that work will and must go on. But if they finally face a little friendly “competition” from their Catholic neighbors who are excited about Jesus, then everyone wins.
About Stan Guthrie
Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers.
Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's Tell Me More, WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio's New Day Florida. A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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