Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Christian Partnership Bears Fruit

On the Square - A Christian Partnership Bears Fruit by Timothy George and Thomas G. Guarino
...It is unlikely that Huckabee’s fraternal solidarity with Catholics would have been quite so ardently stated a few decades ago. After all, Evangelicals and Catholics, the two largest religious groups in the United States, had never been close Christian companions. On the contrary, they often regarded each other as opponents, with Evangelicals seeing Catholics as captive to strange, unbiblical traditions such as the worship of Mary and the veneration of saints and relics. Catholics, for their part, saw Evangelicals as fundamentalist yahoos, little familiar with the great tradition of theological development through the centuries.
Those attitudes began to change with the establishment of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) by Chuck Colson and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus some twenty years ago. While their first public statement was not released until 1994, the initial meeting on the question of Evangelical-Catholic relations occurred in September 1992, when the issue at hand was the fractious relationship between Protestant and Catholic Christians in Latin America. As Neuhaus and Colson later wrote, they were hoping to avoid “a Belfast of religious warfare” south of the Rio Grande. But how could they speak a useful word to South American Christians if they had not seriously addressed the theological questions of common belief and mission?
Thus began the careful clearing away of prejudices that had developed over decades, with the purpose of showing that Evangelicals and Catholics, for all their differences, still share basic theological premises: a firm belief in the one God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob uniquely revealed in Jesus Christ; a consistent adherence to biblically based morality; and a determined commitment to ordered liberty wherein the church, while respecting the state’s proper sphere of competence, never bows the knee to the government on religious matters...
Related Post - Timothy George's Evangelicals and Nicene Faith
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