Evangelical Catholicism – an interesting read..

Devotional/Discussion point of the Day:

A friend on Facebook recently put a couple of quotes from a book he was reading on his feed, noting the title. Looking at the reviews, the book intrigued me, and I started reading it yesterday at lunch.  Technically, it seeks to document how the Roman Catholic Church is negotiating between the rock and hard places in the last century.  The Rock being the counter-reformation and its simplistic catachesis and demand of obedience, and the modern progressive views which would demean and dismiss scripture in view of modern philosophy and practice.

It is a similar path to that which some of us navigate in my own denominaiton – as on one side legalism, and the other the extremes of Church Growth theorists.  In my opinion, which isn’t much, I see the same issue on both sides – they would reduce the walk of faith with Christ to a simple programmatic practice. I’ve been on both sides.

I am probably going to go through this book slowly – much slower than others, trying to see how much is applicable.  After all, Lutheran theologians and the Lutheran Church was originally known, as “evangelical catholics..”  I will probably have to sift a bit of this book – as I do with those from evangelical proteestants, but I have a feeling it will be..beneficial

At any rate – here is the first quote that really stood out:

“The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies, inspires, and fuses men and women together into a new human community, the Church. Through each of its members, and in them as a whole, the Church is the Body of Christ on earth. Paul, Barnabas, and all who have been truly converted to Christ— such that friendship with Christ and extension of the possibility of friendship with Christ to others has become the basic dynamic of their lives— have become something different. Radically converted Christians have become men and women marked by tongues of fire, animated by the Spirit, whose abiding presence they recognize in the liturgy by their common prayer, their exchange of the peace of Christ, and their common reception of the Lord’s body and blood.” (1)

I like this statement, especially the italicized portion.  It seeks neither to dismiss our liturgy and those communal, sacramental, incarnational practice, nor does it diminish our intimate dance with the Holy Spirit in them.  (I use dance purposefully, for dancing uses our hearts and minds and bodies – all at once – which the Holy Spirit does engage.)

I also resonate with the three specifics mentioned

– a life of prayer – together – as the early church did. (see Acts 2)  From the cry for forgiveness, to the Kyrie, to the prayers of the church and the prayer Christ taught, the church comes alive when in conversation with God.

– the exchange of the peace of Christ – what a way to describe this!  (much stronger than the passing of the peace!)  This has become a hallmark of my present congregation – the point in the service, where assured that the peace of Christ is with us, we confirm that it is also among us, that God’s peace is… uniting us, breaking down the walls – infusing mercy, and the desire and act of reconciling us to each other.  This is not just a time for a casual greeting.. but a time where tears of joy, and sorrow are shed, where peace is created by God among us in a powerful, transforming way.

and lastly….

their common reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood!  Do I have to explain how the Spirit revives and renews us, in this simple act of incredible…significance?  To know we are welcome to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice – realizing we are welcomed at this table, that together we are having a feast that is the most significant meal of our lives?  The words can’t express what it means to partake of the Lamb of God, to see and taste salvation…

Occaisonally, I will add a post to my blog about the book – not replacing the devotions, but perhaps helping navigate these waters, as we try to be neither legalists, nor faithless moralists.


(1)Weigel, George (2013-02-05). Evangelical Catholicism (Kindle Locations 489-494). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on February 21, 2013, in Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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