Pre-Evangelicals and Catholics Together

Growing into Union: Proposals for forming a
United Church in England
published 1970

The Anglo-Catholic authors were E.L. Mascall, the well-known systematic theologian, and Graham Leonard, the Bishop of Willesden at the time of publication.

The Evangelical authors were Colin Buchanan, a liturgical and sacramental theologian, and J.I. Packer, a scholar of Reformed
and Puritan theology. There was a remarkable degree of con-
sensus among these four men on issues of theology, as well as
the way forward ecumenically in their context.

The participation of Packer is noteworthy, especially in light of the surprise in some American quarters with regard to his signing of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) in 1994.

While this later document involved Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, it shared many issues in common with Packer’s ecumenical work with Anglo-Catholics in the quarter century prior, as well as his publications in the later 1960s on Roman Catholic and Anglican relations…

History of ECT: Evangelicals and Catholics Together
by Dr. Brian Green

    (a) The World Council of Churches
    In 1960 the Pope sent Catholic observers to the New Delhi Assembly of the WCC, and since that time the Catholic Church has taken an active role as observer in many of the agencies of the WCC.

    (b) The Vatican Council II (1962-1965)
    Some have concluded that the main purpose of this modern-day council was ecumenism. It was from this council that Rome began speaking about “separated brethren”, and in section 3 of the Decree on Ecumenism “men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are brought into a certain, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church”.

    (c) The Picket Lines
    Evangelicals have already acted together over many religious and social concerns. The persecuted church in the communist countries, children’s rights, anti-abortion, a pro-life ecumenism, euthanasia, embryo experimentation and human rights are some of the issues on which, protesting vigorously, Evangelicals and Catholics have worked together.

    (d) The Billy Graham Contribution
    In the 1960’s, Graham started his co-operative evangelicalism, with Catholics making up a considerable portion of those who attend his meetings and who if they make a response are sent back to the Catholic Church for counselling.

    A crusade was held in American Catholics’ most hallowed location—the football stadium of Notre Dame University, in 1977, where Graham received a doctorate. He was entertained by the Abbot of the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Poland in 1978, and in 1981 Pope John Paul II granted him an audience at the Vatican.

    (e) The Charismatic Renewal
    Mark Noll of Wheaton College writes in his contribution: “The spread of the Charismatic Movement has done a great deal to reduce the barriers between Catholics and Evangelicals.”

    Dr. Packer writes: “Charismatic gatherings, where the distinction between Protestant and Catholic vanishes in a Christ-centred unity of worship, fellowship and joy, are a further example working side by side.”

History of ECT: First Meeting, 1985

    “The genesis of the meeting seems to go back to a meeting at the De Moss House of the Prison Fellowship. In 1985 Charles Colson, who founded the Prison Fellowship Ministries, as Chairman invited Rev Richard Neuhaus, a former Lutheran, but now a foremost Jesuit priest, and Carl Henry, the long-time editor and founder of Christianity Today, to address a gathering of Christian leaders. At that meeting they sensed “the Holy Spirit was moving them to do more”.

    “There was a common acceptance the Christian culture was no longer an influence on modern society, that envy, greed and hatred rules people’s lives and that crime without conscience has caused violence to increase to alarming proportions. To add to this, religion had become an irrelevancy to the majority of people…”—Dr. Brian Green


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