Timothy George is my favourite Southern Baptist and with good reason.
First, check out his piece at First Things entitled, A Tale of Two Demons which is about Katherine Jefferts-Schori’s now infamous sermon. I blogged on her sermon earlier cause I thought it could be a Good Candidate for the Worst Sermon Ever. George makes a stark juxtaposition of Pope Francis and Bp Jefferts-Schori. George comments:
There is a wider angle to this tale of two demons. It is worth noting that Pope Francis came from the global South to the heart of Europe to confront demons, whereas Bishop Schori traveled from North America to Venezuela to cast the demons from the text—without the benefit of an exorcism. There is some irony in this: a prominent representative of the rarified, Enlightenment-based religion of the North peddling a domesticated version of the Gospel in the global South. As we know, the Christianity thriving there is increasingly Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Pope Franciscan-Catholic. Like the robust faith of the New Testament, this kind of affective Christianity embraces the charismatic, the visionary, and the apocalyptic. These are all held in deep suspicion by those who still find spiritual warmth in the dying embers of rationalist religion. As Kenya’s Musimbi Kanyoro wrote, “Those cultures which are far removed from biblical culture risk reading the Bible as fiction.”
Francis succeeds two men of genius in his papal role. John Paul II was the liberator who stared down communism by the force of his courage and prayers. Benedict XVI was the eminent teacher of the Catholic Church in recent history. Francis appears now as the pastor, a shepherd who knows and loves his sheep and wants to lead them in love and humility. The new Franciscan moment is the season of the shepherd. Catholics and evangelicals are the two largest faith communities in the body of Christ. Without forgetting the deep differences that divide us, now as never before we are called to stand and work together for the cause of Christ in a broken world. We can make a start by praying with Saint Francis: Most High, Glorious God, bring light to the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, insight and wisdom, so I can always observe your holy and true command. Amen.