In the BP story, “Vatican document reasserts Catholicism as superior to the other faith expressions,” the 16th through 18th paragraphs can be replaced by the following updated paragraphs:
Timothy George, dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala., and a leader in the “Catholics and Evangelical Together” movement whose 1994 and 1997 documents sparked ardent opposition in various Southern Baptist and evangelical quarters, said Bible-believing Protestants and faithful Roman Catholics share “a commitment to the core of orthodox Christian belief” and have more in common with one another than with those who deny the deity of Christ, the miracles of Jesus, the Holy Trinity or the second coming of Christ.
“Evangelicals who care about the gospel should welcome the Vatican’s spurning of religious relativism and its reassertion that Jesus Christ is the one and only redeemer for all peoples everywhere,” George said. “We certainly do not agree on the role of the papacy and this remains a barrier to full Christian unity, as Pope John Paul II himself has acknowledged.
“But evangelicals believe that God is able to work in, with and under faulty church structures to bring lost men and women into a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. While only God can read anyone’s heart, I dare to say that there are countless Roman Catholics who know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, just as there are no doubt many Southern Baptists who have been duly dunked but are still spiritually dead. There is no place for either Catholic-baiting or Baptist-bashing among true believers in Jesus. And it behooves all of us to pray for and seek genuine reformation and revival within our own ranks before throwing too many stones at others,” George said.
Jerry Moser, a Louisiana Baptist pastor who has taken an active role in opposing Catholic-evangelical dialogues over Catholicism’s embrace of a sacrament-based approach to salvation, said:
“Evangelicals should take note that in spite of the past 30 years of ecumenical dialogue and official conversations with Roman Catholic leaders, Rome has not changed its errant doctrines or corrected its false and perverted gospel. Any real change seems to be on the other side of the table … many evangelicals today are accepting sacramental faith as a valid form of Christian discipleship, as is expressed in the foundational ECT statement [in 1994]. …
“Why would Roman Catholics even be interested in working together with evangelicals in ‘evangelization’ if evangelicals ‘suffer from defects’ in practice and theology?” Moser asked. “Perhaps, though, the real question is, Why would evangelicals want to reach across confessional (theological) divides to embrace another gospel in our efforts to win the lost?”
A statement requested by Baptist Press from another key Southern Baptist proponent of Catholic-evangelical dialogue, Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, was not received when BP’s deadline arrived Sept. 7.