Why The New Pope Matters

Early yesterday afternoon I met with a Catholic friend. He greeted me with: “This is probably not the most important part of our meeting, but we have a new pope!”

As a non-Catholic, I disagree with the Catholic Church in a number of areas. At the same time, Catholics and non-Catholics agree in many areas. For example, we all believe that our Lord was born of a virgin, performed miracles, spoke the message of God, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, was raised on the third day, and will one day return to the earth for His church and to judge the world at the end of the age. We also agree on many areas of behavior as well.

The election today of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was historic, surprising, and important.

It is historic because he is the first pope from the Americas and the first non-European in a millennium.

It is surprising because he is 76 years old. Most people believed the cardinals would turn to a younger, more vigorous leader. This was especially the thinking because Pope Benedict XVI resigned because of the rigors of the position.

Cardinal Bergoglio took the name of Pope Francis, associating himself with the 13th century Italian preacher.

The election is important because Pope Francis will become the leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics. How he leads will determine how Catholics understand the gospel and what they will see as important. Non-Catholic believers can hope and pray for a greater emphasis on the good news and a greater reliance on the Scripture.

It’s also important because we live in a world of persecution and secularism. All branches of the Christian faith need to proclaim the gospel message faithfully and urgently.

In America, it’s important because all those who hold to the name of Christ need to work together to promote life, religious freedom, the principle of biblical marriage, and the moral values found in the Bible.  I don’t have to tell you that all of these are under assault by many in the media and in the government, as well as the population at large. Click here to see an example of this in my post concerning Chick-fil-A. You might also want to read Today, I Am Catholic by clicking here.

Let us pray that God will be honored and the living Lord exalted to the ends of the earth.

If you wish, please leave a comment.

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  1. Ed Matthew
    Mar 14, 2013



  2. Melissa Dupre
    Mar 14, 2013

    AMEN!!!……So true

  3. David Hanna
    Mar 14, 2013

    It may matter in those terms, bit as long as they continue to pray to Mary and believe catholics can be prayed out of pergotory, seems to me it may mislead many people.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. — James 4:10 (NIV)