Friday, February 21, 2014
History Is Made (And I'm Speechless)
The story almost reads like a joke. “So an Anglican, a Pentecostal and the Pope walked into a bar. . .” But what happened today is not a joke. Matter of fact, what I experienced on this day, “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes” (1 John 1:1), is nothing short of historic.
Three Christians, from three nations, from three cultures and three denominational traditions representing nearly three-quarters of the world’s Christians, came together as one. They loved each other. They blessed each other. They prayed for one another. They celebrated the Bible together. Heck, they sent personal videos to each other with iPhones! They praised one Lord together, Jesus Christ. And they called one another into complete unity so that the world would know the love of the Father.
I almost couldn’t believe my eyes, eyes that were wincing to try to understand what was going on and at the same time welling up with tears for what I was seeing. Let me introduce the characters:
A charismatic, Pentecostal preacher, a televangelist whose ministry and media empire (Kenneth Copeland Ministries) reaches millions around the world but also invites the scorn and skepticism of many (particularly amongst Catholics and mainline Protestants) for what they consider a “prosperity gospel.”
An Anglican bishop and member of the Anglican Episcopal Church of the CEEC (Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches). Palmer experienced a radical conversion in his early twenties and was introduced to Kenneth Copeland through evangelistic videos which inspired Palmer to share the gospel, door to door, with every household in his English suburb (took him 8 months). Palmer would later be invited by the Vatican to serve on the Catholic Ecumenical Delegation for Christian Unity and Reconciliation.
Certainly he needs no introduction. But before he was elected pope, Mario Jorge Bergoglio, then Archbishop of Buenos Ares, became a personal friend and spiritual mentor of Tony Palmer. Their friendship continued into his papacy, as you will see in the video.
You’ve just gotta see this for yourself (please, please, please trust me - it is WORTH the 45 minutes!).
If you’re a Catholic or mainline Protestant, bite your tongue and get through Copeland’s introduction (I'll admit, I almost stopped here). If you’re an academic, hold your judgment through Palmer’s beautiful, inspiring, yet at times academically imprecise message (I know, I know, doctrine does matter and Pelagianism was condemned in the 5th century). And if you’re an Evangelical, a Pentecostal or anybody skeptical of the Catholic Church, just wait for the incredible words, spoken in the “language of the heart,” of Pope Francis.
That they may be one. . .