Friday, August 21, 2009

Exploring Christian Identity: Can You Be Catholic and Evangelical?

(Update: Apparently, not everyone is thrilled about my article. See, for instance, this commentary. File this under: "More Catholic than the Pope.")

Chis Castaldo, Pastor of Outreach and Church Planting at College Church (Wheaton, Illinois), is moderating my public dialogue with Timothy George on September 3 at Wheaton College (Edman Chapel, 7 pm). Below is a video promo of the event. It is produced by Pastor Castaldo. (He plays all the characters).

Speaking of Evangelical Catholicism, I just published an article in the Josephinum Journal of Theology, "Evangelical and Catholic." You can find it on my website here. The article is adapted from portions of Return to Rome. You can find out more about the Wheaton College event here.

1 comment:

Principium Unitatis said...


The whole ETS controversy about Catholic membership, after your departure, is a wake-up call for Evangelicals. It reminds me of breaking a color barrier. If every non-Catholic who meets the stated conditions can be a member, then why this ad hoc restriction barring Catholics? What does that tell Evangelicals about themselves? On what grounds is anti-Catholicism intrinsic to Evangelicalism? That the Catholic Church claims that there is more? Well then Evangelicals have to compose another dogma stating that there are no other dogmas; but that would go too far, because such minimalism would eliminate many (most) of their own members. So either ETS should add the anti-Catholic "No Catholics allowed" to the membership criteria, or open the door to Catholics.

But ironically the effect of opening that door would not be to let Catholics into the ETS, but rather to let Evangelicals into the Catholic Church, because that door leads straight to this question: "If Catholics can meet our Evangelical membership criteria, then why are we still separated from Rome after almost 500 years of schism?"

So, they are strapped with this dilemma. They can't make anti-Catholicism intrinsic to Evangelical identity without coming off as bigots, but they can't open the door to Catholics, without significantly undermining their justification for remaining separated from the Catholic Church. That's the Matthew 21:25 ("was the baptism of John from heaven or from men") situation in which they find themselves, due to your conversion.

It was all a lot simpler when Protestants agreed that the Pope was the Antichrist, and the Catholic Church the whore of Babylon. Just as there is no middle position regarding Christ, so there is no middle position regarding His Body, the Church.

"He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters." (Matthew 12:30)

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan