Sarah Pulliam Bailey – Evangelicals and Catholics Together marks 20 years

Archbishop Welby and Pope Francis
Pope Francis and Justin Welby

When evangelicals and Catholics set aside centuries of mutual suspicion 20 years ago, the idea was fairly simple: Even if we can’t always work together, at least let’s not work against each other.

Now, two decades after the launch of the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together, relations between the two groups appear stronger than ever, forged by shared battles over abortion, same-sex marriage, religious freedom and immigration.

A new pope is finding crossover appeal among evangelicals who share Pope Francis’ emphasis on evangelism and his distaste for the fancier trappings and authoritarianism of the papacy.

“The first affirmation of Evangelicals and Catholics Together is that Jesus Christ is Lord, and there’s the source of our hope,” Catholic theologian Matthew Levering of Mundelein Seminary outside Chicago told the recent Q conference of evangelical movers and shakers in Nashville, Tenn.

“This was an anchor for when they began to discover that we share the same gospel.”

The movement was spearheaded by former Nixon aide Charles Colson and the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, founder of the ecumenical magazine First Things. Together, the two men — who have since died — held out the promise that there was more that united the two groups than divided them.

(Read HERE the entire article.)

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You may also read HERE Scot McKnight’s comment on this 20 years anniversary of the Evangelicals & Catholics Together process. Here it is:

I appreciate this discussion over the years; I especially like Matthew Levering’s observation below; but what disturbs is that what unites these two groups is the shared battles found in politics, not the gospel. There is a gospel grounding for much greater cooperation. The next generation might find a message of hope in this, and that’s good, but until the Pope and principal authorities (are there any?) of evangelicalism can sit down and talk principal doctrines, the unity will remain “shared battles.”

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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