Three European Alliances Warn Evangelical-Catholic Unity Is Going Too Far
January 30, 2018
World Evangelical Alliance explains why Italy, Spain, and Malta leaders shouldn’t fear that global group has fallen for the ‘Francis effect.’
During last year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation, many groups examined or asked: Is it over?
The loudest “no” has come from the conservative Protestants closest to Rome.
Last month, the national evangelical alliances of Italy, Spain, and Malta—all members of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)—wrote an 8-page open letter charging their parent organization with “moving away from its historic position” of holding the line against Catholic and liberal Protestant theology.
“In recent years we have sensed that the leadership of WEA has moved away from the outlined historic position of the Alliance on unity by endorsing a more ‘ecumenical’ attitude,” the three alliances stated in December. “Unity has become a blurred term to refer to any relationship even beyond the principles that have always characterized evangelicals. Leaders have become less cautious in talking about unity with the Catholic Church as such and have tended to bypass the historic boundaries.”
The alliances stated the result has been “undiscerning, wrong-headed, and emotionally-driven statements on Popes and ecumenical activities” that have “caused embarrassment in our constituencies.”
In fact, the national evangelical alliances of Italy, Spain, France, and Poland threw up a red flag to the WEA as early as October 2013, several months after Pope Francis’ election excited many evangelicals worldwide.
“We are concerned with some totally uncritical assessments that we are reading and that are coming from some provinces of the evangelical world,” the three alliances stated (excerpted in the December 2017 open letter). Francis uses language like “personal …