I am a pastor, a Protestant pastor. I would consider myself an evangelical. I don’t have a lot of history with Catholicism. My tradition is not predisposed to celebrate “the Church.” I had a reaction inside myself when I saw the new pope on the cover of Christianity Today magazine, and I cannot say that reaction was positive.
Then I started watching what Pope Francis is doing – speaking words of peace, washing the feet of prisoners. Then I considered a Pope from the 3rd world, one with a fresh perspective. Then I talked to one of my friends, a missionary, who a few years ago strategized with this man about how to carry the gospel to Argentina and Brazil. And this was before he was the pope. My friend, an evangelical through and through, gave a glowing report, commending the man’s character.
Finally, I read the Joy of the Gospel. And what a joy! Pope Francis’ spirit leaps off the pages. I found myself reminded about how happy we are to be as Christians. I am a church leader. I am supposed to give this message to people in the church. Here the Pope was giving it to me – filling me, blessing me.
There are points in the book that are particular to Catholics, but that took nothing away from it for me. I am so happy I read it. My review is a recommendation – Christians of all stripes, read this books. Read Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel. You’ll feel the happiness and fulfillment that should come with a true faith in Jesus Christ. And you’ll long to reach for that faith and for that joy in your own life.