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Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom

Is the Reformation Over?

Well, if you have to ask …

Where once evangelicals had been united in a consistent critique of Roman Catholicism, today evangelical attitudes have become diverse in the extreme. These attitudes range from unilateral rejection through intense theological criticism to varieties of cautious acceptance and partnership. Some evangelicals have even responded to the contemporary Roman Catholic Church by converting. These positions—as antagonists, critics, partners, and converts—define a broad spectrum, yet each one also reveals something significant about strengths and weaknesses within evangelicalism itself.


Evangelicals who continue to reject Catholicism in toto feel that they have history on their side. They may not be fully informed about the details, but they are troubled about Catholic domination over civil affairs (as claimed, for example, in Unam Sanctam [1302], when Pope Boniface VIII asserted ultimate papal authority over both spiritual and temporal realms). They often know about the anathemas of the Council of Trent (1545—63), when Rome directly attacked key Reformation doctrines such as justification by faith alone through grace alone.1 They invariably know about the Catholic claim of papal infallibility from 1870, though they may not understand how that declaration was qualified.

In addition, all-out antagonists enjoy an immense reservoir of voices from the history of Protestantism on which they can draw for warnings about the dangers of Catholicism. The twenty-fifth chapter of the 1647 edition of the Westminster Confession, for example, describes the Roman pontiff as "that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition."2 A. J. Gordon (1836—95), a devout Baptist who founded institutions that became Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, declared, "It is Satan who is the real Pope and his subordinate demons who are the real cardinals."3 Though sometimes less vitriolic, evangelicals who espoused J. N. Darby's premillennial dispensationalism regularly saw the Roman Catholic Church as the ten-horned beast of Revelation 17. Harry Ironside, who became pastor of Chicago's Moody Church in 1930, assured his audience that the papacy would be revived and would once again clothe itself with royal purple and ecclesiastical scarlet, "riding the Beast."4 Bible teacher Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895—1960), in his commentary on Revelation (first published serially 1934—42), wrote that "in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation God speaks of religious Babylon and identifies it with the Roman ecclesiastical system."5 A few decades later, evangelicals registered their concern at the prospect of electing Catholics to American national office. Thus, evangelicals today who reject the Roman Catholic Church without qualification as a minion of Satan carry on a long tradition.

In the world of ordinary, nonlearned evangelicals, atavistic anti-Catholicism remains as colorful and unmistakable as ever. A representative is Jack Chick, a mysterious writer or team of writers responsible for some 400 million copies of cartoon booklets (Chicklets) in 70 languages.6 Typical is "Last Rites," where John, a hapless Catholic, is hit by a car, receives last rites, and dies. After several attempts to bargain his way into heaven, he asks of Jesus, "Don't you love the Roman Catholic Church?" A faceless Jesus replies, "How could I, John. Her false teachings are why you are going to the lake of fire."7 In the tract "Are Roman Catholics Christians?" Chick traces the life story of Helen, a devout Catholic. After her first Communion, Chick asks, "What does Jesus think of the Roman Catholic Institution?" Answer: "He calls her the great whore." Chick speaks of the Catholic mass as making Jesus a liar8 and the Communion wafer as the "death cookie."9 It would be easy to dismiss Chicklets as an aberration except for the reception of these booklets. Catholic scholar Mark S. Massa notes that one Chick comic touches more people than most theologians and preachers hope to reach in a lifetime.10

But rejecting Catholicism is not limited to evangelicals who are paranoid or ignorant. In the heat of the debate after twenty evangelicals signed the first Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) document, R. C. Sproul, then a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Florida, declared, "I am convinced as were the Reformers, that justification by faith alone is essential to the gospel and that Rome clearly rejects it."11 A few years earlier, John Green, a Catholic and an undergraduate at evangelical Wheaton College, had to wonder why his world religion professor lumped Buddhism, Islam, and Catholicism together as non-Christian faiths. (Green graduated with two degrees from Wheaton and remained a Catholic.)12 A Wheaton faculty member who had signed ECT 1 received a letter from a high school friend, with quotations attached from the Council of Trent and the judgment that Catholicism "is a false gospel—a terrible gospel, a gospel if believed and followed will damn a person to hell."13

Mission fields remain sites where mutual rejection between Catholics and evangelicals is strongest. When in the wake of ECT 1, articles in Christianity Today reviewed recent changes among Catholics, one letter writer complained, "Why did neither Colson nor McGrath urge us to consider Catholics as an evangelistic field desperately in need of the gospel?"14 The region that bears special witness to this kind of mutual rejection is Latin America, although some parts of southern Europe also continue to witness harsh evangelical-Catholic antagonism. The extent to which firsthand experiences of hegemonic, mechanical Catholicism can overpower recent openings to dialogue was indicated dramatically by events at the Seventh Assembly of the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) at Heddson, England, in March 1980. When the general secretary of the fellowship invited two Roman Catholics (one a well-known charismatic) to the gathering as observers, consternation resulted among the Southern European representatives to the WEF. The Italian Evangelical Alliance withdrew, and the Spanish Alliance suspended its participation.15 Meanwhile, in Latin America, despite the mutual respect initiated by Catholic and Pentecostal ecumenical dialogues, evangelical entry into Catholic territory still can lead to church-sanctioned violence. In sum, rejection of the Catholic faith as a less than Christian religion comes in many forms from many kinds of evangelicals for a variety of reasons.


However many evangelicals of however many stripes continue to regard the Catholic Church as a dangerous enemy of the gospel, many other evangelicals are now on record with a variety of more moderate criticisms. That variety can be summarized in the following categories.

First are those evangelicals who have taken careful note of recent Catholic professions about justification by faith but who just cannot believe they could be genuine. Such voices sometimes argue that so long as Trent remains a part of respected Catholic tradition, it is impossible to take seriously Catholics who profess to accept salvation by grace alone.16 Others are not satisfied unless and until Catholics affirm the exact shape of Martin Luther's or John Calvin's definition of objective justification before God.17 Still others say that if the Catholic Church maintains its traditional practices and teaching concerning Mary, it cannot truly affirm justification by faith.18 Yet others worry that the recent declarations on justification represent the victory of a will to unity over a reliance on truth.

Justification by faith remains at the center of evangelical concern. While ecumenical dialogues, especially between Lutherans and Catholics, have made enormous progress on this doctrine, many evangelicals remain less than satisfied. When the first ECT document appeared in May 1994, much of the criticism from evangelicals focused on perceived fudging about this doctrine. As a partial response, an Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals published "The Cambridge Declaration" on April 20, 1996. This document, signed by roughly one hundred evangelical leaders, including several college presidents, emphasized the five soli of the Reformation: sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli deo gloria. Each paragraph of the statement concludes with "We reaffirm ... We deny ... " In these statements, the central matter of evangelical interest is obvious. For example: "We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church." Yet the Cambridge Declaration was considerably more than merely an anti-Catholic document. It also contained strong medicine for evangelicals, including warnings against marketing the gospel in terms of health and wealth, worship as entertainment for the self-centered, and church growth defined by sociological standards instead of the biblical gospel.19

Another flurry of reactions came in December 1997 after the publication of ECT 2 ("The Gift of Salvation"). Although this document emphasized that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone (yet with its terminology nuanced to fit both Catholic and evangelical understandings of these terms), certain evangelical leaders felt that, to preserve evangelical unity, a separate counterstatement was required. The result was "The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration" framed by a fifteen-member drafting committee, published in March 1999, and signed by 114 notable evangelicals.20 Yet this document, which criticized the ECT process, was not without its own critics. On one side, members of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals refused to sign it because to do so "may be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together."21 On the other side, Roger E. Olson of Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University criticized the document for making a forensic view of salvation essential to the gospel itself, therefore pushing Anabaptists (not to mention Catholics) beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy.22 The evangelical Congregationalist Gabriel Fackre cautioned that "accent on the penal and personal so dominates the text that other classical Christian teachings are muted or missing."23 Similar criticism appeared in letters to the editor of Christianity Today, including one signed jointly by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., John G. Stackhouse, Jr., and Nicholas Wolterstorff, who objected that this new evangelical statement "focuses so much on justification and so little on sanctification." These scholars also expressed surprise at "the affirmation that 'saving faith includes mental assent to the content of the gospel.' We wonder how God saves infants and mentally retarded people."24 Such controversy might sound like inconsequential infighting within the evangelical debating club, but it was important as indicating the altered theological situation brought about by the engagement of evangelicals with the Catholic Church.

Some evangelical criticism stimulated by these discussions was not gentle. R. C. Sproul, for example, dealt more harshly with his evangelical colleagues who had joined Catholics in ways he considered inappropriate than with the Catholic Church itself. Beginning with the premise that the historic evangelical and official Catholic doctrines of justification were fundamentally irreconcilable, he assumed that "no matter what the authors' intentions ECT involves a tacit betrayal of the gospel."25 He concluded that "the light of the Reformation is waning," and the "evangelical house totters on the brink of collapse."26 Sproul implied that evangelicals who supported Catholic-evangelical initiatives such as ECT might fall under Paul's censure of the false teachers who were troubling the Galatian church and perverting the gospel.27 Likewise, John MacArthur, Jr. cautioned fellow evangelicals that the moral solidarity pursued by ECT 1, though legitimate and in some ways salutary, could easily undermine essential Christian teaching.28

In the colorful controversy among evangelicals following the publication of ECT 1, letters to Christianity Today reflected considerable theological wariness, often directed toward the evangelical signers. For example, "Social activism ... is not worth putting aside ... the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, as revealed through Scriptures alone by the Holy Spirit. My hat is off to Mr. Colson for his zeal for unity, social activism, and spreading the gospel. However, to minimize the fact that evangelicals and official Rome preach two different gospels, which are mutually exclusive, is to deny reality."29 Or, again, "I was appalled at Packer's condescending attitude toward those who don't buy his Catholic love affair. ... He puts aside Scripture in favor of his agenda."30

In response, J. I. Packer outlined the six major criticisms that he perceived among evangelicals worried about evangelical-Catholic rapprochement: (1) Catholic brotherhood with evangelicals is a mirage, (2) Catholics think that the Holy Spirit interprets Scripture through decisions of the church, (3) Catholics do not believe in salvation by faith alone, (4) Catholics see conversion as both initial turning and also a lifelong process, (5) many individual Catholic churches lack adequate biblical teaching to guide spiritual maturity, and (6) signers of ECT are illegitimately seeking organic unity with the church of Rome.31 Packer felt that these fears could be allayed. Yet his list nonetheless summarized points of major theological concern among evangelicals who remained skeptical about engagement with Catholics.

Nevertheless, as recently underscored by Gerald Bray, the Anglican professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School, even evangelicals who remain firm critics of the Catholic system of belief and the Catholic Church are certain that individual Catholics may be saved "in spite of the system." In Bray's words, "They look at Catholics (as at everyone else) as individuals, and make up their minds accordingly. Of course, they will usually try to persuade converted Catholics to leave the Catholic Church and join an Evangelical congregation somewhere, but this is so that they can be properly fed spiritually, and not (usually) because they are just bigoted Protestants. They would say exactly the same thing to a Methodist, a Presbyterian, or a Baptist who was attending the wrong church."32


Many evangelicals, though aware of continuing theological differences, are ready, as a response to Christ's prayer for unity among his people, to partner with Catholics on many fronts. These fronts include social-political cobelligerency, the affirmation of "mere Christianity," a common enjoyment of historic roots, the sharing of mission and ministry, and agreement on spiritual formation.


ECT 1 rested substantially on a desire for social-political cobelligerency. About half of the 8,000-word document was a general call to unity among those who bear the name of Christ. Of the remainder, gospel witness received 1,300 words (and most of the subsequent criticism). Civic participation got nearly 2,400 words.33 This emphasis was not surprising since ECT initiators Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus remain well known for their leadership in America's culture wars. Cobelligerency is a term popularized among evangelicals by Francis Schaeffer and frequently used by J. I. Packer to speak of Christians linked with one another against forces of evil in contemporary society.34 In a similar view, Timothy George, Southern Baptist theologian at Beeson Divinity School, has spoken of an "ecumenism of the trenches."35 Even Carl F. H. Henry, who would not sign ECT 1 because of doctrinal reservations, nonetheless supported the effort by evangelicals and Catholics to combat moral problems together.36

Advocacy for pro-life causes is probably the theme that most unites evangelicals and Catholics. David Neff, editor of Christianity Today, has written, "Today, classic theological liberalism is no longer the church's main threat. As we enter a post-Christian world, one driven by consumer culture and the entertainment industry, we face more basic challenges, such as the radical devaluation of human life. In this context, we find ourselves standing with Catholic and Orthodox believers on key social issues."37 While pro-life is often shorthand for a stand against abortion, thoughtful pro-life Christians (both evangelical and Catholic) also advocate care for the aging, medical care for the poor, adequate housing for all, and compassionate standards for immigration. Sometimes pro-life is extended to advocacy for peace, although Catholic ecumenical scholar Jeffrey Gros has noted that evangelicals tend to be less enthusiastic than Catholics about these broader expressions of pro-life.38 Keith A. Fournier, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (affiliated with Pat Robertson), has argued that "Protestants and Catholics [need] to cooperate in their fight against the culture of death. ... We Christians, regardless of our different confessions and traditions, desperately need to become allies to push back the darkness with the light of the Evangel and the empowerment of His Spirit."39 Pat Robertson has made a similar point: "I know that people of faith were under attack as never before by common enemies so virulent that it was essential that we lay aside certain concerns over legitimate theological differences to join together and support things upon which we all agree, such as the sanctity of human life."40 Of these evangelical affirmations of social-cultural cobelligerency, Catholic Jeffrey Gros asks provocatively, "Should it not be Jesus Christ that draws his disciples together, and not just a common enemy?"41

Mere Christianity

In defending participation in ECT 1, J. I. Packer enumerated his substantial disagreements with Catholic theology but then outlined a basic Christian faith that evangelicals and Catholics can hold in common—but which various liberal theologies reject:

The drafters of ect declare that they accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, affirm the Apostles' Creed, "are justified by grace through faith because of Christ," understand the Christian life from first to last as personal conversion to Jesus Christ and communion with him, know that they must "teach and live in obedience to the divinely inspired Scriptures, which are the infallible Word of God," and on this basis are "brothers and sisters in Christ." ... Do we recognize that good evangelical Protestants and good Roman Catholics—good, I mean, in terms of their own church's stated ideal of spiritual life—are Christians together? We ought to recognize this, for it is true.42

Packer's sense that many evangelicals and Catholics share what C. S. Lewis famously called "mere Christianity" has become much more common over the last forty years. San Diego Christian Forum, based in Mount Soledad Presbyterian Church, provides one example of such an evangelical-Catholic affirmation. This church offers conferences on subjects vital to Christian thinkers that feature both evangelical and Catholic speakers. The vision statement of this church-sponsored forum reads in part, "While the form of the message of the conferences is irenic and inclusive, the content is Orthodox Christianity—what C. S. Lewis termed 'Mere Christianity.' "43

"Mere Christianity" becomes personal when an evangelical and a Catholic join in marriage. For Elizabeth and Karl Wirth, this kind of marriage represented a positive ecumenical statement but also brought a number of problems. Accepting each others' "mere Christianity" did not diminish the salience of unresolved questions:

Is the Protestant formula of sola scriptura a proper guide to church doctrine? Has God consistently led the Catholic Church through his Holy Spirit, or are the Magisterium and papal infallibility serious heresies? How is a person saved? Are we saved in the present tense at all? Is the order of Christian worship fixed—centered on a feast on the real body and blood of Christ, or centered on the proclamation of the Word? ... Can a group of friends just start a church, or is the church only to be led by those ordained by bishops in communion with the pope?44

Answers to such questions remained elusive for this couple, but the experience of a Catholic-evangelical marriage did highlight the need each tradition has for the other: "Not much in the Catholic culture helps a believer to progress beyond an eighth-grade understanding of the faith. ... For their part, Protestants need Catholics to help them avoid becoming shallow and rootless. The Catholic Church brings two thousand years of theological reflection on every aspect of faith and culture." Despite such breakthroughs in understanding, the Wirths still grieve that when their son gets older they will need to explain "why Mommy goes to Communion and Daddy doesn't."45

Shared Historic Roots

"Why should Christians today care about what the church fathers ... had to say?" asked Christian History magazine of evangelical theologian Christopher Hall. His reply: " 'The Holy Spirit has a history.' The church does not thrive in the first century, fail in the second, then revive in the sixteenth. The Spirit never deserts the church."46 This sense of continuity in the church and of the work of God across the centuries has encouraged many evangelicals to seek out the historic roots of Christian faith.

For many, that search leads to the Catholic Church or at least to the Catholic Church before the Reformation. It can even encourage gratitude to the Protestant Reformers for leading the way. David Steinmetz of Duke Divinity School elaborates: "The Reformation is [in part] about the early fathers, whom the Protestants wanted to claim."47 In his 1536 preface to the Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin tried to demonstrate to the Catholic king of France that his teachings were in complete harmony with the fathers. Steinmetz continues, "Calvin and [Philip] Melanchthon both believed it was a strong argument against a given theological position if you couldn't find authorization for it in the Fathers. All the Reformers loved Augustine (Luther, remember, was an Augustinian friar)."48

As Steinmetz and other scholars of early Protestantism have explained, Reformers such as Calvin used early church fathers such as John Chrysostom because they appreciated these early figures as models and because they wanted to be connected to their spiritual ancestors. Since the Reformers too regarded innovation as heresy, in Steinmetz's phrase, "The Reformation was not an argument about everything, but about just some things. It was not, for example about the Trinity or the two natures of Christ. ... If we ask where these accepted doctrines came from—they came from the Fathers' reflections on the Bible."49

Some evangelicals with a theological bent imitate their Reformation forebears by tracing theological precepts through a thousand years of medieval monasticism, back through 500 years of the patristic period, eventually finding solid foundation in the New Testament, and then even deeper roots in ancient Judaism (as portrayed in Rom. 9—11). Protestant, Catholic, Jew: Christians enjoy a shared history with intertwining roots.

Richard Foster, a Quaker who attends an Evangelical Presbyterian Church, has been an important promoter of these deep, pre-Reformation Christian roots. His books Devotional Classics50 and Spiritual Classics51 provide readings drawn from the entire range of Christian history and from a variety of Christian faith traditions. Nearly half of the readings in each volume come from Catholic writers, with about half of these Catholic writings prior to the Reformation. The accompanying Scripture readings, prayers, and suggestions for practice offer spiritual nurture to evangelicals and Catholics alike.

InterVarsity Press's Ancient Christian Commentary series is another evangelically sponsored venture that both feeds and develops evangelical interest in historic roots.52 This series presents what seventy Christian teachers of the first 600 years had to say about each text of the Bible. The resulting commentaries allow today's readers to see Scripture through the various lenses of early (all pre-Protestant) teachers who studied these texts.

Another example of appreciation for pre-Protestant grounding is evangelical attachment to The Imitation of Christ, which was written a century before the start of the Reformation. Thomas à Kempis, a devout monk in the Brotherhood of Common Life situated in what is now the Netherlands, may have been the book's copyist, its compiler, its editor, or (most likely) its author. Almost from the beginning of the Reformation, this guide to Christlike living has crossed the boundaries between Protestant and Catholic. It is available today in more than one hundred languages and has been read by more than one billion people. It has been called "the second-best selling religious book of all time"—second only to the Bible.53 Despite the obvious monastic setting of the book, evangelicals freely bring its spiritual challenges into their own time and space. That phenomenon, when joined to a growing interest in other pre-Protestant Christian literature, only strengthens the sense of a shared spiritual heritage.

Ministry and Mission

Local ministries that bring Catholics and evangelicals together now dot the globe and illustrate the potential of evangelical-Catholic partnership. A small sample illustrates these possibilities. John Armstrong, a Baptist from Carol Stream, Illinois, heads up Reformation and Revival Ministries. This organization sponsors conferences and publishes a periodical, Reformation and Revival Journal. Its speakers and writers come from both sides of the Reformation divide.54 Nearby in Chicago, John Green, a Catholic, works as founder and executive director of Emmaus Ministries, which cares for sexually exploited men. Emmaus Ministries is supported by foundations, churches, and individuals representing a broad spectrum of both evangelicals and Catholics.55 Logos Ministry in Southern California and Arizona reaches six thousand people each week in intensive two-hour sessions of Bible study. Catholic Bill Creasy, who teaches the Bible as literature at UCLA, heads up this ministry, but he attributes the work's vision to evangelical Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee. A spinoff of Logos Ministry is Life Teen, founded by Monsignor Dale Fushek. This evangelism program has gone nationwide in eight hundred Catholic parishes throughout the United States, Canada, and eleven other countries. In Phoenix, Life Teen's success among Catholic youth has drawn evangelical churches into the mix. Evangelicals there created their own systems of youth ministry based on the Catholic Life Teen model.56

Older evangelical ministries have also caught a similar vision for sharing their efforts with Catholics. Campus Crusade for Christ's cooperation with the Light and Life Movement in Poland offers one exemplary instance. In Florence, Italy, another Campus Crusade team was asked by a priest to assist parish staff in guiding a system of women's and youth Bible studies, which eventually touched hundreds of families in that city. Another Italian Catholic ministry, Alpha-Omega, borrowed concepts from Campus Crusade's "Four Spiritual Laws" and created a similar document to use for Catholic evangelization.57 Youth with a Mission (YWAM) has created shared ministry with Catholic-evangelical staff in Malta, Ghana, Uganda, Austria, the Philippines, and elsewhere.58

Similarly, Young Life, an evangelical youth ministry headquartered in Colorado Springs, has been working on partnered relationships with Catholic youth ministries for some time. In 1991, Dan Ponsetto, a Catholic campus minister from Boston College, created a manual for Young Life workers aimed at helping them guide Catholic teens in their Young Life groups. It stressed particularly the different concepts of conversion at work and instructed Young Life workers in recognizing that Catholics view conversion as a lifelong process: "It is confusing or even insulting to talk to a young Catholic about becoming a Christian when he or she has been involved in years of weekly worship, religious education, retreats, and has made a conscious decision to receive the sacrament of confirmation."59 Not all Young Life groups function in this way, but in some areas Catholics and Young Life staff partner well in bringing the gospel of Jesus to teens.

The large evangelical relief agency World Vision once had a rocky relationship with the Catholic Church, marked by charges of proselytizing and countercharges of libel. In the early 1990s, World Vision began to change direction by looking for ways to work with local Catholic churches in needy areas. World Vision's work in the Philippines, for example, is guided by the World Vision Development Foundation, whose vice president in the year 2000 was Deogracias Iniguez, the Catholic bishop of Iba (Zambeles).60

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical campus ministry, co-sponsors an annual conference on theology. In 2002, that conference, held at Wheaton College, paired evangelical and Catholic scholars addressing related subjects. Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, was among the speakers. Even though sponsors and hosts were solidly evangelical, Catholic Thomas Rausch could write, "Most impressive was the good will of all those present: speakers, participants and hosts. ... At the end of the conference, the participants gathered for a 'Closing Worship.' They joined in prayer and response without any awkwardness or hesitation in a service that from a Catholic perspective seemed a combination of elements from the Liturgy of Hours and the Mass's Liturgy of the Word. It was good to pray together. We should do it more often."61

When mission and ministry unite, it is not always with evangelical predominance. David E. Bjork, an evangelical missionary to France, writes of such an experience. He and his family arrived in Normandy in 1979 with the challenge to plant an evangelical church that could become self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. Bjork began in typical evangelical fashion by inviting new acquaintances to study the Bible with him—which Marc and Henri did. Then his new Bible students invited him to visit their church. Bjork was startled to find more than 600 Catholics worshiping "in the presence of God's Spirit." Puzzled, he agreed to meet with the local priest. Over a period of more than three years, he came to recognize "Father Norbert as my brother in Christ." The next question became obvious: "Is it really necessary for me to establish a 'new church' in France?" David Bjork then made the difficult decision to merge his ministry into the local Catholic church.62

Bjork's example, an evangelical finding a cooperative ministry with Roman Catholics, is still not the norm. But it has become so common in so many places as to demand deliberation, not on whether it should take place but on the protocols to govern such activity as it occurs.

Spiritual Formation

Some evangelicals who read Catholic writers discover spiritual disciplines unfamiliar to their own evangelical heritage, including the disciplines of silence, contemplation, and deep devotion to Christ. For many in the fast-paced world of evangelicalism, these spiritual disciplines have offered a welcome respite. Evangelical groups now practice ancient lectio divina, a meditative prayerful way of reading Scripture and listening for God's revelation through it.63 Evangelical retreat speaker Jan Johnson is among those who have created a Protestantized version of this Catholic tradition.64 Christopher Hall invites evangelicals to practice Praying with the Church Fathers, even if they must use the ancient sources with a measure of selectivity.65 Other evangelicals avail themselves of the opportunities presented by softening relationships between evangelicals and Catholics to take retreats in monasteries for spiritual direction and refreshment. The growing prominence of evangelical spiritual directors also fosters closer connections with Catholics, since many of these directors receive their training from Catholics who draw on centuries of experience in these disciplines.66


Some evangelicals make the next big step. They They go "home to Rome." Then, as so often with converts, some become zealous advocates of the church they once opposed.

Thomas Howard was born into an evangelical family filled with pastors and missionaries, including his sister, the noted author Elizabeth Elliot. Howard was a professor of English at Gordon College when he converted to Catholicism on Holy Saturday in 1985; two days later he resigned his faculty position. It had been a twenty-year journey, begun during undergraduate days at Wheaton College, where he grew to love liturgical worship. Interviewed by Christianity Today shortly after converting to Catholicism, Howard said that for him the key was "the question of unity between Christ and his church." This concern led him to a revised picture of authority, which he saw as residing within the Catholic Church, a position that grew from his study of ancient Christianity. In his words, "It's clear historically why and how and when the doctrine of the papacy developed early on."67

Howard was convinced that becoming a Catholic did not make him less an evangelical. Indeed, he has called himself an evangelical Catholic. But he did sense personal gains and losses resulting from his conversion. On the positive side, he gained a sense of the mystery of the church, he was able to dip into deeper reaches of Christian spirituality, and he was able to reclaim the Eucharist for what he saw as its real worth. Yet even as Howard expressed relief at finally being rid of what he called "the desperate, barren, parched nature of evangelical worship," he also admitted, with some longing, that he missed the companionship of a "biblically literate laity."68

Dennis Martin, associate professor of historical theology at Loyola University in Chicago, began as a Mennonite with a historical conscience. During high school, he was stirred by Frederick W. Faber's hymn "Faith of Our Fathers." Even then, "I was looking for recognizable and tangible historical ancestors in the faith with whom I could identify."69 Only later did he discover that the lyrics "Faith of our fathers, living still, in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword" did not refer to Reformation-era Anabaptists persecuted for their beliefs on baptism, or Protestants persecuted by Catholics. The key was discovering a verse of the hymn consistently omitted by Protestants: "Faith of our fathers, Mary's prayers / Shall win our country back to thee; / And through the truth that comes from God, / England shall then indeed be free." When Martin realized that Frederick Faber was a nineteenth-century Catholic who wrote the hymn to memorialize Catholics persecuted by Protestants, it was a portent of things to come.

Martin's studies of church history led him to medieval monasticism and the history of liturgy, which both strengthened and challenged him: "I simply could not see my way clear to massage the patristic and medieval evidence into a Free Church Model." Meanwhile, he began to experience frustration with Mennonite church government by consensus. He had to ask if this democratic form of church polity led to truth or merely to popularity. He also began to question how far beyond the Mennonite borders the "True Church" extended. And so to Rome.

Nine years into his life as a Catholic, Martin could write with a sense of certainty, "Catholicism ... [possesses] codified liturgy, sacraments, priesthood, doctrine and law, permitting adult converts faithfully adhering to these structures to know that they belong." He appreciates "sacramental confession" as "a very effective path to spiritual growth, a truly fruitful way to confront one's sins and overcome them." And he values his part in the Catholic Church with "its stubborn insistence on an identifiable True Church." Yet Martin also is aware of losses, as he says wistfully, "I miss the four-part a cappella congregational singing immensely, but one may doubt how well that will be preserved in coming generations."

Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, began his spiritual sojourn as a Dutch Reformed Calvinist. After graduating from a Christian Reformed high school and from Calvin College, Kreeft became a Roman Catholic while a graduate student at Yale. It was primarily "history" that drew Kreeft to Rome: "I developed a strong intellectual and aesthetic love for things medieval: Gregorian chant, Gothic architecture, Thomistic philosophy, illuminated manuscripts."70 But this love was not merely a matter of taste: "I discovered in the early Church such Catholic elements as the centrality of the Eucharist, the Real Presence, prayers to saints, devotion to Mary, an insistence on visible unity, and apostolic succession. Furthermore, the Church Fathers just 'smelled' more Catholic than Protestant." Kreeft's study of history led him to a revised view of how Scripture and church relate to each other: "I was impressed by the argument that 'the Church wrote the Bible': Christianity was preached by the Church before the New Testament was written—that is simply a historical fact. It is also a fact that the apostles wrote the New Testament and the Church canonized it, decided which books were divinely inspired." With church and history combined, Kreeft came to the conclusion that "Christ founded the Catholic Church; that there is historical continuity." About the point of decision he writes, "I seemed to sense my heroes Augustine and Aquinas and thousands of other saints and sages calling out to me from the great ark, 'Come aboard! We are really here. We still live. Join us. Here is the Body of Christ.' "

What does Kreeft feel he lost and gained? He gained an appreciation for the richness of God's mystery. Having come to think of Protestant theology as overly infected with Descartes' scientific view of reason, Kreeft learned to appreciate "wisdom rather than mere logical consistency, insight rather than mere calculation." He also learned to worship God through all of his senses, not merely the mouth and ears of Protestantism. Perhaps most important, he found himself swimming within the two-thousand-year stream of historical Christianity. But Kreeft also speaks of losses. He inherited from his evangelical roots a serious concern for truth that he finds sadly missing among many Catholics. For example, although he finds Catholic theology quite clear on the subject of justification by grace through faith, "well over 90 percent of the students I have polled ... expect to go to Heaven because they tried, or did their best, or had compassionate feelings to everyone, or were sincere. They hardly ever mention Jesus." And he misses music. He remembers evangelical worship with "beautiful hymns, for which I would gladly exchange the new, flat, unmusical, wimpy 'liturgical responses' no one sings in our masses." Kreeft envisions a time when all of these losses will be redeemed. "I think in Heaven, Protestants will teach Catholics to sing and Catholics will teach Protestants to dance and sculpt."

Scott and Kimberly Hahn moved along slightly different paths. Scott, assistant professor of theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, is also founder and director of the Institute of Applied Biblical Studies and editor of the Bulletin of Applied Biblical Studies. In the past twenty years, he has given more than 600 talks, many of them available through a widely used system of tape distribution. Meanwhile, Kimberly, who holds a master's degree in theology from Gordon-Conwell, cares for their six children—and also fills frequent speaking engagements. They tell their tandem stories in an autobiographical book titled Rome Sweet Home.71

Scott began his life in a nominal Presbyterian home, was steered away from delinquency by a Young Life worker, and then was deeply and thoroughly converted to Jesus Christ. After graduating from Grove City College, Scott, now married to Kimberly, attended Gordon-Conwell Seminary, from which he graduated in 1982.72 He then began his career as pastor of a Presbyterian church, taught at a local Presbyterian seminary, and kept up a voracious reading program. Hahn maintains that it was Scripture itself, particularly as it speaks of God's covenant, that led him to the Catholic Church: "I wanted to see people fired up about the Old Testament and its relationship to the New—the Old flowing into the New. ... As I dug deeper in my study, a disturbing pattern began to emerge: the novel ideas I thought I had discovered had actually been anticipated by the early Church Fathers." Hahn's intense study of Scripture also led him to think about Scripture itself: "I began to see how important liturgy was for the covenant, especially in Hebrews." On Scripture and authority: "I kept pushing [on sola scriptura]. 'Isn't this ironic? We insist that Christians can believe only what the Bible teaches. But the Bible doesn't teach that it is our only authority.' " Then he was led to other doctrines such as the Eucharist: "Why would it have offended the Jews so much if Jesus was only talking about faith and a symbolic sacrifice of his flesh and blood?" To the pain of his parents, his professors, his former church, and his wife, Scott Hahn converted to Catholicism at the Easter Vigil of 1986.

Kimberly Hahn's journey began earlier and progressed longer but ended the same way. She was raised in a sturdy evangelical family, early on made a personal decision for Christ, worked with Scott at Grove City in his Young Life ministry, and married him shortly after graduation. At Gordon-Conwell, she supported pro-life causes while studying theology. This combination of interests led her to wonder if abortion and contraception were in some way connected. In typical evangelical fashion, she headed to Scripture to find out. Her conclusion: "Fertility, in Scripture, was presented as something to be prized and celebrated rather than as a disease to be avoided at all costs." Later she would conclude that in this small but important area of her life she was already becoming Catholic. Sacraments provided another tug. Much later, as she reluctantly stood by as their daughter Hannah was baptized into the Catholic Church, Kimberly said, "I was not prepared for the beauty of the baptismal liturgy. It was everything I would have prayed for my daughter." At Easter of 1990, Kimberly also entered the Catholic Church.

What do the Hahns feel they gained and lost? Scott is convinced that Scripture teaches the essentials of Catholic theology and that the early Christian fathers rightly created the foundation of true Christian faith. Kimberly has come to value Mary. She accepts the Catholic belief that when Jesus gave his mother to John, the act prefigured his giving of her to each beloved disciple: "Instead of seeing Mary as a tremendous obstacle to me, I was beginning to see her as a precious gift from the Lord—one who loved me, cared for me and prayed for me with a mother's heart."

But like most who cross the chasm of the Reformation, the Hahns experience loss as well as gain. Kimberly misses the sense of community in evangelical churches: "When we would go to Mass, people would come in and leave their coats on, looking like they were ready to bolt as soon as they received the Host. (I would never go to dinner at someone's house and leave my coat on!) For an evangelical Protestant used to fellowship and friendly conversation after the service, it was a shock to discover that most people did not intend to stay and greet one another." Similarly, Scott writes:

When evangelical Protestants convert to the Catholic Church, they often enter into a kind of "ecclesiastical culture shock." They leave robust congregational singing, practical biblical preaching, a conservative pro-family political voice in the pulpit and a vital sense of community, with various prayer meetings, fellowships, and Bible studies to choose from each week. In contrast, the average Catholic parish usually finds itself lacking in these areas. While these converts typically feel that they have "come home" by becoming Catholics, they do not always feel "at home" in their new parish families.

Much of Scott Hahn's ministry now works to encourage Catholics to experience a spiritual discipleship of the sort he experienced as a young evangelical. At other times he is wooing evangelicals to join him in coming to Rome.

Not all evangelicals who convert to Rome do so after intensive study. The conversion of popular singer John Michael Talbot came after disillusioning experiences with both rock 'n' roll music and Protestant fundamentalist religion. In the midst of crises, Talbot was greatly assisted by Father Martin of Alverna, a Franciscan retreat center. Under Father Martin's tutelage, Talbot became a Roman Catholic and then went on to perform music that appeals to great numbers of modern American Christians of all sorts. Talbot's appeal has been neatly captured by Scot McKnight, an evangelical theologian who published an important article on evangelicals who became Catholics73:

I once attended one of his concerts, at a small monastery in Wisconsin. John Michael walked in with a background vocalist, took a seat on a stool, tuned his guitar quickly, closed his eyes, sang his songs for 1 hour and 45 minutes, stood up and said, "May the peace of the Lord be with you!" The more liturgically trained, and we were not among them, knew what to say next. He then exited the front. I have never been in a more worshipful setting.

McKnight interviewed thirty evangelicals who became Roman Catholic and then analyzed reasons for their conversions. Four principle causes emerged—certainty, history, unity, and authority—all of which have been intimated in the personal accounts already examined. McKnight's description of reasons for converting to Catholicism is important in itself, but it also offers to contemporary evangelicals a clearer picture of their own strengths and weaknesses.

Among McKnight's subjects, an unmet desire for certainty was an important spur to conversion. Kristine Franklin, an evangelical missionary to illiterate people, mused, "I had to be absolutely sure, before God, that what I was telling them was, in fact, the Christian Faith, free from error. It had to be one hundred percent Truth. The problem was, using my 'Bible alone' principle, I had no way to be absolutely sure." Another evangelical, Bob Sungenis, fretted, "We were in and out of five different Presbyterian churches within the next five years, each move being due to disagreements on the pastor's interpretation of the Bible." For evangelicals operating under such pressures, certitude from a higher source offers welcome relief.

Considerations of history have also drawn many evangelicals toward Rome. Neophyte evangelical students of church history are almost always startled to find that Christians of the early centuries were Catholic. As they study, they create spiritual friendships with Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Augustine, and wonder what and who else they have missed. Catholic convert Marcus Grodi commented, "The more I read church history and Scripture the less I could comfortably remain Protestant." If these students also sampled liturgical worship with its ancient hymns and creeds, they sensed a long-missed rootedness with early believers who sang and said the same words. In McKnight's phrase, "It is no trivial matter that evangelicals have quartered Church history and excluded the first three-quarters." To these evangelicals, the antidote to historical shortsightedness is the Catholic Church.

The ideal of unity is also a force drawing evangelicals to Rome, especially since it exploits favored evangelical images for the church: communion of saints, body of Christ, community of believers. Evangelicals can wince at Peter Cram's description of Protestantism as "one long, continuous line of protesters protesting against their fellow protesters, generating thousands of denominations, para-churches, and 'free churches,' which are simply one-church denominations."74 Longing for an end to these endless divisions, disillusioned evangelicals such as Cram seek out the Catholic Church, where they can enter the mass in Hong Kong or Nairobi, São Paulo or Vancouver, and find roughly the same liturgy, the same Scripture passages, the same sacraments, and the same beliefs.

A principle of authority can also create restful security for evangelicals weary of constantly reinventing the theological wheel. Even though evangelicals enjoy many strong traditions for interpreting Scripture, the responsibility for interpreting and responding remains individual. As McKnight states the problem, "This democratization of Scriptural interpretation, leading inevitably to the authority of the individual conscience, is intolerable for some evangelicals, because everyone gets to believe what he or she wants." Catholic convert David Lowry expressed the relief many converts feel. "Why this greater joy? Because I do not have to be the judge in judgment of the Catholic Church, of the Scriptures, or even of myself. It's not my job."75

Most other evangelicals who also long with similar intensity for certainty, history, unity, and authority do not become Catholics. For them, the objections to Rome remain weightier than what Catholicism offers. Yet to observe why some evangelicals become Roman Catholics is certainly to gain a better sense of contemporary Catholic-evangelical terrain and of weaknesses in evangelicalism that require attention.

Taking Stock

Evangelicals respond to Catholics in many ways ranging from outright rejection to conversion. Most evangelicals who enter into greater contact with Catholics, however, practice various forms of partnership pointing toward mutual acceptance. The dramatic religious and cultural shifts of the past forty years have increased the sense of a shared Christian faith—shared but not identical. Differences remain and deserve to be faced. But where those differences do not preclude joined efforts, more and more evangelicals and Catholics are joining to serve God together with as much creativity as God-given skills and divinely appointed limitations allow. The needy of the world care little whether the Christian before them is evangelical or Catholic but much whether they might encounter the love of Christ and the truth of the gospel that can redeem the soul.

Meanwhile, evangelicals who remain highly critical of Catholic theology and practice have much to teach members of both traditions. Their persistence in criticism points to genuine weaknesses within Catholicism as well as to outdated prejudices. Both bodies can also become self-corrective as they listen to firsthand accounts of conversion. To tell the full story, it would be important to hear from the many who convert from Catholicism to various branches of Protestantism. Heeding the reasons why people find Christ or see Christ more clearly in one tradition instead of the other involves questions of great importance. But this shared love of Christ also prepares for eternity, where, at least in the hopes expressed by Peter Kreeft, evangelicals will teach Catholics to sing and Catholics will teach evangelicals to sculpt and to dance—all in praise of God.

Mark Noll is McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College. Carolyn Nystrom is a writer in Wheaton, Illinois. This essay is excerpted from their book Is the Reformation Over?, just published by Baker. Copyright 2005 by Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom. Used by permission of Baker Books.

1. For example, "The Decree Concerning Justification" from the sixth session of the Council of Trent (1547). This decree is reprinted in many places, including Mark A. Noll, ed., Confessions and Catechisms of the Reformation (Baker, 1991), pp. 173-88.

2. Quoted in Donald W. Sweeting, "From Conflict to Cooperation? Changing American Evangelical Attitudes towards Roman Catholics: 1960-1998" (Ph.D. diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1998), p. 7. Sweeting's dissertation is an excellent source of information on its subject. Also helpful are Jennifer V. Suvada, "A Study of the Evangelical Protestant Reception of the Document, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, from Its Release in March 1994 through December 1996, Including a Case Study of the Southern Baptist Convention" (M.A. thesis, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1997); and Nathan Andrew Baxter, "Toward a Decorous Rhetoric of Public Theology: Evangelicals and Catholics Together—Betrayal, Alliance, or Good Beginning" (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1999).

3. A. J. Gordon, "Modern Delusions," a speech given at the International Prophetic Conference, Chicago, November 1886, in Prophetic Studies of the International Prophetic Conference (Revell, 1886), p. 67.

4. Harry Ironside, Looking Backward over a Third of a Century of Prophetic Fulfillment (Loizeaux Brothers, 1931), quoted in Sweeting, "From Conflict to Cooperation?" pp. 65-66.

5. Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Zondervan, 1971), p. 335.

6. Mark S. Massa, S.J., Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice (Crossroad, 2003), p. 100.

7. "Last Rites," www.chick.com/titlesavailable (1994).

8. "Are Roman Catholics Christians?" www.chick.com/titlesavailable (1985).

9. Massa, Anti-Catholicism in America, p. 106.

10. Ibid., p. 109.

11. R. C. Sproul, Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification (Baker, 1995), p. 39.

12. Jeremy Webber, "Catholicism and Wheaton: A Mixed Experience," Wheaton College Record, December 12, 2003, p. 9.

13. Private letter to Mark Noll, June 20, 2001.

14. Thomas F. Neagle, "Letters to the Editor," Christianity Today, February 6, 1995, p. 6.

15. A Contemporary Evangelical Perspective on Roman Catholicism (World Evangelical Fellowship, 1986), p. 7.

16. For example, Sproul, Faith Alone.

17. For example, Michael Horton, "What's All the Fuss About? The State of the Justification Debate," Modern Reformation, March/April 2002, pp. 17-21.

18. For example, S. Lewis Johnson Jr., "Mary, the Saints, and Sacredotalism," in Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us, ed. John Armstrong, pp. 119-40 (Moody, 1994).

19. This document is available at a number of websites, including www.reformed .org/documents/cambridge.html.

20. Available in Pro Ecclesia, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring 2000), pp. 133-44.

21. "News," Moody, September/October 1999, p. 37.

22. Roger E. Olson, "Evangelical Essentials? Reservations and Reminders," The Christian Century, August 24-September 1, 1999, p. 817.

23. Gabriel Fackre, "Ecumenical Admonitions," The Christian Century, August 24-September 1, 1999, p. 818.

24. Letters to the Editor, "An Evangelical Consensus?" Christianity Today, October 4, 1999, p. 15.

25. Sproul, Faith Alone, p. 44.

26. Ibid., pp. 48, 183.

27. Ibid., pp. 187-88.

28. John MacArthur Jr., "A Personal Word," in Protestants and Catholics: Do They Now Agree?, ed. John Ankerberg and John Weldon (Harvest House, 1995), p. 11.

29. "Letters to the Editor," Christianity Today, January 9, 1995, p. 6.

30. "Letters to the Editor," Christianity Today, February 6, 1995, p. 6.

31. J. I. Packer, "Crosscurrents among Evangelicals," in Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission, ed. Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus (Word, 1995), pp. 154-56.

32. Gerald Bray, "Evangelicals, Salvation, and Church History," in Catholics and Evangelicals: Do They Share a Common Future?, ed. Thomas P. Rausch (InterVarsity, 2000), pp. 92-93.

33. Baxter, "Toward a Decorous Rhetoric of Public Theology," p. 32.

34. Brother Jeffrey Gros, fsc, review of Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, by Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie, One in Christ, Vol. 32, No. 1 (1996), pp. 90-93.

35. Timothy George, "Toward an Evangelical Ecclesiology," in Catholics and Evangelicals, p. 142.

36. Carl F. H. Henry, "The Vagrancy of the American Spirit," Faculty Dialogue: Journal of the Institute for Christian Leadership, Vol. 22 (Fall 1994), pp. 7-8.

37. David Neff, "A Call to Evangelical Unity," Christianity Today, June 14, 1999, p. 49.

38. Gros, review of Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, p. 92. For an evangelical response to Catholics' larger view of social concerns, see Kenneth S. Kantzer, "Pastoral Letters and the Realities of Life," Christianity Today, March 1, 1985, pp. 12-13. Kantzer respected and supported the Catholic bishops' "Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and Economy," November 1984. He agreed with Catholic desires to combat poverty, arms buildup, and materialism. He did, however, point to original sin as the root cause of these evils and suggested that government intervention may not be the way to solve them.

39. Keith A. Fournier with William D. Watkins, A House United? Evangelicals and Catholics Together (NavPress, 1994), p. 14.

40. Ibid., p. 7.

41. Jeffrey Gros, F.S.C., "Evangelical Relations: A Differentiated Catholic Perspective," Ecumenical Trends (January 2000), p. 2, referring to the quotation from Pat Robertson in Fournier, House United?, p. 7.

42. J. I. Packer, "Why I Signed It," Christianity Today, December 12, 1994, 35.

43. Ralph E. MacKenzie, "Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Evangelizing the Culture" (paper presented at Theology Conference, Wheaton College, April 2002), p. 15.

44. Elizabeth and Karl Wirth, "Two Churches, One Family," Re:Generation Quarterly, August 1, 2002, p. 9.

45. Ibid., p. 11.

46. "The Habits of Highly Effective Bible Readers: A Conversation with Christopher A. Hall," Christian History, No. 80 (2003), p. 9.

47. David Steinmetz, "Why the Reformers Read the Fathers," Christian History, No. 80 (2003), p. 10.

48. Ibid.

49. Ibid.

50. Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith, eds., Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups (HarperCollins, 1990).

51. Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin, eds., Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines (HarperCollins, 2000).

52. Thomas Oden and Christopher A. Hall, eds., Ancient Christian Commentary series (InterVarsity, 1998- ).

53. Carolyn Nystrom, Thomas à Kempis: Imitating Jesus (InterVarsity, 2002), p. 12.

54. MacKenzie, "Roman Catholics and Evangelicals," pp. 10-11.

55. Ibid., p. 10.

56. Ibid., pp. 11-12.

57. Thomas P. Rausch, "Catholic-Evangelical Relations: Signs of Progress," in Catholics and Evangelicals, p. 42, referring to Kalevi Lethinen, "Evidences of New Life in Europe: Problems Associated with European Missions" (unpublished Campus Crusade staff report).

58. Rausch, "Catholic-Evangelical Relations," p. 43.

59. Ibid., p. 44.

60. Ibid., pp. 45-47.

61. Thomas P. Rausch, "Another Step Forward," America, July 15-22, 2002, p. 9.

62. David E. Bjork, "When Obedience Leads Us into the Unknown," in Catholics and Evangelicals, pp. 149-70.

63. Lectio divina began with early monasticism prior to the sixth century. It became part of the Rule of St. Benedict, a guidebook for Benedictine monks, an order founded by Benedict of Nursia (480-547).

64. Jan Johnson, Listening to God: Using Scripture as a Path to God's Presence (NavPress, 1998).

65. David Neff, "Don't Read the Bible 'Alone,' " interview with Christopher Hall, Christianity Today, November 2003, p. 58.

66. For a new periodical organized mostly by Protestants that features insight into the spiritual disciplines, see Conversations: A Forum for Authentic Transformation, published biannually by Life Springs Resources in Atlanta.

67. John D. Woodbridge, "Why Did Thomas Howard Become a Roman Catholic?" Christianity Today, May 17, 1985, pp. 48, 58.

68. Ibid., p. 50.

69. Dennis Martin, "Retrospect and Apologia," Mennonite Quarterly Review, Vol. 78 (April 2003). goshen.edu/mqr/pastissues/apr03martin.html.

70. Peter Kreeft, "Hauled Aboard the Ark," www.peterkreeft.com/topics/hauled-aboard.htm (accessed February 27, 2004).

71. Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism (Ignatius Press, 1993).

72. Hahn later earned a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Marquette University.

73. Scot McKnight, "From Wheaton to Rome: Why Evangelicals Become Roman Catholic," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 45 (September 2002), pp. 451-472.

74. Ibid., p. 466-68.

74. Ibid., pp. 469.

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