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Can Catholics and Protestants Believe in the Same Gospel?

Peter Kreeft gives a lecture about Ecumenism Without Compromise.  

I think more discussion needs to be given to the topic of The New Ecumenism.  President of ACT 3, John H. Armstrong is a leader in this movement.  He has written a blog about it here.  He will also be coming out with a book very soon entitled, “Your Church Is Too Small” (published by Zondervan).  There is indeed a new, Christ-honoring, gospel-centered ecumenism in progress among theologically conservative Christians.  The ECT documents were signs of its beginning, not its end.  Unity in the gospel between Protestants and Catholics is not only becoming a real option; many Christians are arguing that where common gospel belief is present, it is a divine mandate.  God wants The Church unified wherever it exists.  

I would love to know what you think.  Can Catholics and Protestants believe in the same gospel?

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3 Comments

  1. Jason Ramage says:

    Wow… surprised I never heard of the New Ecumenism. Glad to hear there is a mutual desire for true ecumenism and not just the watered down “we basically believe the same thing” talk. Without treading too far that way myself, I venture to say that all Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) agree on the basic elements of the Gospel: salvation by grace alone through Christ alone, that Jesus is both fully God and fully man, the Trinity, and most of us confess the Nicene Creed without qualification. If we can rest on these truths and acknowledge that all who believe these things are fellow Christians, I believe we can then proceed into areas of disagreement.

    After all, why do Cathoilcs and Orthodox share a strong devotion to Mary? Because we believe she is the model Christian who lived on this earth for Christ alone to the glory of God alone. And why do nearly all Protestants reject devotion to Mary as authentic Christian behavior? Because they believe it is a distraction from Christ alone for the glory of God alone. Ironic, eh? 🙂 But, we can acknowledge that we share the same goal and then work back to why we use different practices to get there. It’s a long road, but we can’t lay down our sacrifice at the altar without going to our brothers to heal this wound. I’m excited to hear what Peter Kreeft and John Armstrong have to say on this.

  2. theophilogue says:

    Jason,

    Glad you are encouraged by the New Ecumenism. I appreciate your willingness to press toward a deeper unity.

    Of course … the Catholics have been working for ecumenical unity for a long time, so it’s the protestants who need more discussion about it. They are more often the one’s who stubbornly hold to a strong spirit of divisiveness with Rome. I have a feeling (hope?) it will become more and more talked about over the next 20-30 years.

    I would even say that before and after the doctrine of the trinity was “nailed down,” many who did not think about God in exactly the way the council of Nicea explicated it were and are still Christians. Gospel unity and agreement about the exact nature of the trinity are two different things in my mind. I think there will be many people in the new heaven’s and new earth who were heritics by the standards of the Nicean formula.

  3. Jason Ramage says:

    Good point. From the Catholic perspective, things are generally open to speculation until the Church makes a definitive statement, such as at the Council of Nicea. Obviously those gathered at the council all recognized each other as fellow Christians. However, today there is hardly any disagreement on the Trinity, save for some pseudo-Christians like Mormons and Oneness Pentecostals, which is part of the reason I specifically mentioned that doctrine as something that binds conservative Christianity. Maybe that explains a little better what I was getting at.

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