(CHARISMANEWS) — If you type "is Pope Francis antichrist" into Google, you'll get about 425,000 results in .37 seconds. By way of comparison, if you ask Google the same question about Pope Benedict you only get 137,000 and it takes a little longer—.47 seconds.
So why do so many people think—or at least ponder—that the Latin American pontiff is the Antichrist (or at least the end-time False Prophet mentioned in Revelation 19:20)? It could be for some of the same reasons his popularity is declining. His approval rating in the United States has dropped from 76 percent a year ago to 56 percent today, according to Gallup.
Indeed, even Roman Catholics are cooling off to Francis, the first-ever Jesuit pope who emerged as a darling among the evangelical community when he took over for the retiring Benedict. Some Pentecostal onlookers suggested he was Spirit-filled. And Kenneth Copeland and James Robison met privately with the pope in Rome and exchanged high-fives.
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So what gives? Reuters' Scott Malone points out: "The decline comes as Francis has changed the focus of his public remarks from that of his immediate predecessors, concentrating less on the Church's opposition to abortion and gay marriage and spending more of his time discussing social inequity and poverty."