Somewhere in Pope Francis’s office is a document that could alter the course of Christian history. It declares an end to hostilities between Catholics and Evangelicals and says the two traditions are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel”. The Holy Father is thinking of signing the text in 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, alongside Evangelical leaders representing roughly one in four Christians in the world today.
Francis is convinced that the Reformation is already over. He believes it ended in 1999, the year the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation issued a joint declaration on justification, the doctrine at the heart of Luther’s protest.
The German firebrand had accused the Catholic Church of teaching that man was saved by faith and good works, rather than “by faith alone”.
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