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It began with a simple video message, recorded on a common smart phone. It was given to Tony Palmer, who is a bishop within a Protestant church. He carried it himself to Kenneth Copeland Ministries, where it was shown before an Evangelical/Pentecostal conference that was being held there. The short video message appears to be directed not just to this particular conference, but to all those whom the delegates represent. Therefore, I think it's safe to say the message is intended for all American Christians who would identify themselves as "Born Again." This would include America's Pentecostals, Charismatics, Evangelicals, Baptists as well as general "Bible Christians."
There is nothing in the message that is bargaining or propositional. The pope simply makes a heartfelt plea for "Born Again" Christians to recognise Catholic Christians as spiritual "brethren" and thus embrace each other as such. It is little more than an appeal to please recognise and acknowledge Catholics as Christians, and work together in the years ahead, to try to bring unity between us. There are no calls for conferences, or meetings, or ecumenical synods. It is simply a "first step." In the video the pope promises to pray for America's "Born Again" Christians and sends them his blessing. Likewise he asks for the same prayer and blessing in return. If you're a "Born Again" Christian (Evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Baptist, Bible, etc.) then this message is for you, I ask that you share this message with as many people as you can using the "share" social media icons below. If you're a Catholic, I ask you to share this message as well using the same method.
For those of you who are "Born Again" Christians, there are some common questions you may have about Catholic Christians. Perhaps some of these facts below will be of help...
- We Catholics are Christians. We are very ancient Christians from a very ancient Church.
- We Catholics only worship God as the Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). We do not worship anyone or anything else. We do not worship Mary. We do not worship the pope. Period.
- We Catholics trust in Jesus Christ as our one and only Savior and Lord. We regularly ask Jesus to live inside of us every week at holy mass.
- We Catholics do confess our sins to priests, but we ask for forgiveness from God. It's written right into our confessional rite. Just so you know.
- We Catholics do not believe we are saved by our good works apart from God's grace. We believe God's grace is present in everything, both our faith and our works, and that it is God alone who saves us through Jesus Christ.
- We Catholics do pray to Mary and the Saints, but when we do, we do so through the Holy Spirit, because we know that to the Christian "death has no sting" and that means the dead in Christ are not dead at all. They are just as connected to the Holy Spirit as we are, if not more so. It's an ancient practise that Christians have been doing since the early Church. Protestants may not agree with it, and that is fine, but there is nothing in the Bible against it, and in fact, there is evidence in the Bible supporting it.
- We Catholics acknowledge, as a matter of faith, that Protestants (those baptised in the name of the Trinity) are our spiritual brethren in Christ. This is written into our Catechism and the most important documents of the Church.
Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'
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