Commissions

ERT Apr 2018 Vol 42 No 2

Now available
Paternoster Periodicals, c/- 8-9 Vanguard Court, Preston Farm, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 3TR UK
Email periodicals@alphagraphics.co.uk

Theme: A Global Forum

Contents:

  1. Editor's Introduction
  2. ‘Scripture and Tradition’ and ‘the Church in Salvation’: Catholics and Evangelicals Explore Challenges and Opportunities
  3. Public Witness in Secular and Multi-Religious Societies: The Dialogue between the World Evangelical Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity by Rolf Hille
  4. Pursuing a Hermeneutic of Trust in Evangelical–Catholic Dialog by Joel Elowsky
  5. Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and Re-evangelizing Europe by Thomas K. Johnson
  6. Potential Land Mines in Protestant-Catholic Dialogues by John Bugay
  7. Apprentices or Pupils? An Analysis of Teaching in the New Testament by Russell L. Huizing and Kye James
  8. Overcoming Invented Ogres: African Traditional Religions and World Religions in African Christian Perspective by Jim Harries
  9. Book Reviews

Editor's Introduction

In 1979, as a new Christian looking for solid fellowship while home from college for the summer, I attended a local Catholic charismatic prayer group, even though I had never been nor intended to become Catholic. That summer, I experienced each Wednesday night precisely what Tom Johnson describes in his contribution to this issue of ERT: Catholics who sounded just like me, except that they (1) repeated the Ave Maria at the end of their meetings while I abstained and (2) possessed far more spiritual maturity and biblical knowledge than I did.

Those unforgettable prayer meetings reinforced experientially what I already knew theoretically: God can and does work powerfully through people who belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

The World Evangelical Alliance has grappled deeply with the issue of how to relate to the Catholic Church or to individual Catholics. This issue of ERT features one major product of that engagement: a report summarizing a consultation between Vatican and WEA representatives from 2009 to 2016. The document has also been published by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

This report is neither a record of heated debates nor a mealy-mouthed compromise statement. After articulating the urgency of and the challenges entailed in maintaining mutual respect and trust between these two branches of Christianity, the document presents points of agreement and encouragement, followed by tough questions posed by each side to the other.

Doubtless, many readers will wish that the document also included each side’s answers to the other side’s questions, but that might have taken another three years. Instead, answering those questions, as my math books used to say, is left as an exercise to the reader. One goal of the consultation report is to promote dialogue and collegiality in local settings all over the world as evangelicals and Catholics alike work out their own answers and pursue better mutual understanding.

We present four articles related to the Vatican-WEA document. First, Rolf Hille and Joel Elowsky, the two evangelical representatives on the document’s drafting committee, comment on their experience and its theological and practical implications. We also include the message that Tom Johnson, the WEA’s ambassador to the Vatican, delivered to the European Evangelical Alliance in October 2017, as he sought to build on this milestone in evangelical–Catholic relationships. Finally, John Bugay, a Reformed blogger and former Catholic, offers a well-informed, mildly sceptical outsider’s perspective.

In other articles, Russell Huizing and Kye James argue biblically why Christian instruction should look more like apprenticeship than pupilship, and frequent contributor Jim Harries returns with a provocative examination, inspired by his personal experience in Africa, of the undesirable consequences that can result from classifying Christianity as one of many ‘world religions’.

Happy reading!

Bruce Barron, Executive Editor
Thomas Schirrmacher, General Editor
Rosalee Velloso Ewell, Director of the Theological Commission