Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Evangelical Catholicism

June 9th, 2013, Promulgated by Dominick Anthony Zarcone
Evangelical Catholicism

Evangelical Catholicism

DOES THE TERM ‘EVANGELICAL’ BEST REFLECT CATHOLICISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY CHURCH’S DEEP REFORM?

YES, AND

TO RECOGNIZE ANY REFORM AS FAITHFUL TO CATHOLICISM, WE MUST MEASURE ALL DEVELOPMENT BY ITS COURAGEOUS ADHERENCE TO TWO CRITERIA: TRUTH AND MISSION

This review of Mr. George Weigel’s “EVANGELICAL CATHOLICISM, DEEP REFORM IN THE 21ST CENTURY CHURCH” will attempt to address satisfactorily two issues. One is the use of the word ‘evangelical’; a term which has been used also by non-Catholics to identify themselves and their doctrinal distinctives. The other issue makes up the thrust of Weigel’s book: reform in the Catholic Church; a reform based on the Gospel itself; hence, use of the designation evangelical which indicates (all that pertains to) the good news announcement of salvation.

George Weigel’s book fearlessly points out serious, debilitating problems in the life and practice of late 20th and early 21st century Catholicism. However, with conviction and hope, this author goes forward offering solutions and remedies in order to address and correct that within the Church which isn’t true or faithful to Christ’s mission. Essential to the Church’s 21st century reform, according to Weigel, is acknowledgement that genuine friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ manifests itself in truth and mission as fruits of authentic Christian discipleship.

Before delving into Weigel’s most recent book, I want to describe briefly my own familiarity with the term ‘evangelical’, a word which can and does reflect the essence of Catholic faith.

Between 1980 and 1985, I worshipped, studied and served in two different Regular Baptist congregations which identified with the type of ‘evangelical fundamentalism’ derived from historic Calvinism. Within those two communities of ‘reformation’ faith, the words evangel, evangelium, euangelion, good news, gospel, euangelos, messenger, and evangelist were used often. The Baptists put high priority on heralding, proclaiming and announcing the grace of salvation through Jesus Christ. As such, they understood well the basic evangelistic essence and thrust of Christianity; but what they proclaimed reflected their own interpretation, their protestant tradition.

Once back in the Catholic Church (and convinced that the fullness of grace and truth subsisted in that Church founded by Christ), I learned from Karl Keating’s “Catholic Answers” that apologetics forms an essential aspect of catholic evangelization.

Soon I discovered Ralph Martin’s “Renewal Ministries” which helps Catholics appreciate the authentic call to holiness and mission; both of which are ‘evangelical’.

Then, of course, I could not help but be amazed by official documents of the Church and the prayers of her liturgy; all of which demonstrate, in fact, how evangelistic authentic Catholicism is and can become.

Lastly, toward the end of the 20th century, I became aware of an organization called “The Evangelical Catholic”. (access this link for essays and article about evangelical Catholicism now and in the past: evangelicalcatholic.com/evangelization-in-the-church

None of the above is offered as a defense per se for describing Catholicism by the word Evangelical. (That will come in reviewing Weigel’s work.) The point of my autobiographical digression is to give reason for a predisposition to and personal interest in George Weigel’s thesis.

No one needs have the same or similar journey of faith to be drawn to “EVANGELICAL CATHOLICISM Deep Reform in the 21st – Century Church”. Weigel will convince readers of both the soundness of the term evangelical and the fruitfulness of the Church’s reform. Our responsibility is fidelity. Do we have the courage to be Catholic?

George Weigel describes the awesome hope we have through the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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One Response to “Evangelical Catholicism”

  1. avatar christian says:

    You have made me interested in reading George Weigel’s book “Evangelical Catholicism” – Deep Reform in the 21st Century Church.

    Also, Dominick – in all sincerity – I think you could write a book of your own.


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