By Amanda Casanova
Denny Burk, professor of Biblical Studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said that he was “disappointed” in the Pope’s speech to Congress because he did not mention Jesus in his speech to the United States Congress.
The professor was speaking in response to the Pope’s visit to America, recently.
“He stands before the United States Congress—a platform that commands the attention of the world—and he says nothing about the heart of the Christian gospel,” Burke wrote in a column for his site. “Nothing about Jesus Christ crucified and raised for sinners. Nothing about the Kingdom of God and the renewal of all things in Christ.”
According to the survey from LifeWay Research, half of preachers do not value the Pope’s opinion on theological issues.
About 4 in 10 Protestant pastors believe Pope Francis has positively impacted views on the Catholic Church.
The survey included responses from 1,000 pastors.
TheBlaze.com reported that 63 percent believe the Pope is a Christian, while 22 percent do not. Sixteen percent said they aren’t sure.
The survey was during the Pope’s first visit to the U.S.
In his historic speech to a joint meeting of Congress, Pope Francis seemed to heed warnings to tame his often fiery rhetoric on topics such as capitalism and climate change. But his State of the Union-style address — the first ever to the House and Senate by a Roman pontiff — was in the end cold comfort to conservatives who had hoped their sharp criticisms might influence his agenda.
Instead, in a nearly hourlong speech, Francis carefully laid out a vision of political cooperation for the common good — one that highlighted economic injustice as a chief threat to family life, that stressed the moral imperative to care for the environment, that denounced profits “drenched in blood” from the arms industry and that forcefully argued for America to welcome, not reject, immigrants.
“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners,” Francis told a packed House chamber, reminding those present that most of them are descendants of immigrants and that he, too, is the son of Italian immigrants who fled Benito Mussolini’s fascism to settle in Argentina.
“(W)hen the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,” Francis said, referring to anti-immigrant episodes in America’s history. “We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our ‘neighbors’ and everything around us.”
“Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility,” the pope said, speaking at the podium where the president delivers his annual State of the Union speech.
Along the way, Francis also called for the abolition of the death penalty and signaled support for the Obama administration’s diplomatic breakthroughs with Iran and Cuba — the latter a development that the pope helped broker, and both of which have been strongly criticized by Republicans.
And despite expectations, and hopes among some that Francis might sharpen his talk with a clear denunciation of abortion and euthanasia — two issues in the news thanks to the controversy over secret Planned Parenthood videos and a right-to-die bill in California — the pope made only a passing reference to those issues.
“The golden rule,” he said, “also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.” He also seemed to nod at the issue of gay marriage, lamenting that “fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.”
Yet that language paled compared with his denunciation, for example, of gun violence and the weapons industry: