Sunday, June 11, 2006

Evangelicals, Catholics, and the Ecumenical Movement - PNCEA

The latest e-journal from PNCEA has this piece by Fr. Tom Ryan: Evangelicals, Catholics, and the Ecumenical Movement - PNCEA, reporting from the National Workshop on Christian Unity in May, mainly, the keynote by Rev. Dr. Richard J Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary.
“Evangelicals are not just a voice from the Christian margins in the U.S. The vast majority of Christians in Asia and Africa are evangelical. Their voice needs to be taken seriously in the ecumenical movement,”
[snip] On structural unity:
Mouw admitted that Evangelicals “don’t pay much attention to ecclesiology. Themes like ‘eucharistic fellowship’—or even ‘baptism’—are not hot topics. The great diversity among Evangelicals contributes to their lack of enthusiasm for structural unity.” At the same time, he queried, “What denomination does Philip Yancy, Chuck Colson, Billy Graham, or Pat Robertson belong to? Where’s the accountability/censurability when there is no structure? That’s a real problem.”

Other factors contributing to a lack of enthusiasm for structural unity are a strong localist impulse and strong support for local parachurch structures which seldom have been developed along denominational lines.
[snip] On relations with Catholics
In a later workshop focusing on the relationship between Evangelicals and Catholics in particular, Dr. Mouw said that the tensions often have little to do with theological questions and more to do with proselytizing Hispanics or how Young Life programs or Inter-Varsity Fellowship activities are pulling Catholic kids away from the offerings of Newman Centers. “When mutual cross-fertilization occurs, things get better,” he said, citing how some Evangelical youth accompanied Roman Catholics to World Youth Day in Denver and how a Catholic led a workshop at the Urbana Missions Convention.

“Some Evangelicals are happy to get to know Roman Catholics, and others still do not regard them as Christians,” he said.
Interesting reading. Especially for someone who thinks one can learn a lot from our evangelical sisters and brothers. I'm surprised there was not mention of ECT in the talk however.

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