Pope Benedict has resigned, and his successor must now be chosen. It's a story that has received much global attention. But how is this story of any relevance whatsoever to Protestants and evangelicals? That's the question John Stonestreet and two longtime evangelical friends and colleagues of Chuck Colson's tackle in this week's broadcast.
Chuck, who felt strongly that evangelicals must remain firm in their doctrinal convictions, also led groundbreaking efforts to work with Roman Catholics in support of our common concerns, such as the sanctity of life, the preservation of marriage and family, and the protection of religious freedom against government encroachment.
Indeed, the vast agreement between Western Christianity's two main branches had gone largely unemphasized and untapped for generations, both groups independently opposing many of the same social evils, and advancing the same God-given institutions and principles.
But beginning with the pro-life movement (which at first was led largely by Catholics) and later evangelical figures like Francis Schaeffer, a partnership began to develop which bore fruits in Evangelicals and Catholics Together in 1994, and eventually The Manhattan Declaration in 2009.
In keeping with this inter-communion cooperation, or "the ecumenism of the trenches" as Dr. Timothy George, co author of the Manhattan Declaration and Chairman of the Colson Center put it, the last two Bishops of Rome have been exceptionally open in their stance toward evangelicals. With a renewed emphasis on evangelization, personal conversion and biblical literacy, Pope Benedict XVI in particular will be remembered as a pontiff who carried forward the spirit of Vatican II and did wonders for relations between Catholics and Protestants. He will also likely go down in history as one of the key figures who paved the way not for doctrinal compromise on either side, but for a united Christian front against the swelling tide of secularism and liberal theology which threatens to rob the Church of its role as salt and light.
We hope you enjoy this week's broadcast, and will take the time to pray for the upcoming election of the next pope. We also hope you will visit some of our resources below, and join your voice with the efforts Chuck Colson and others began in uniting evangelicals and Catholics behind common causes.