Guest / Limited Access /

When Catholics debate evangelicals, the most common question they have is, Do evangelicals have a doctrine of the church? If so, what is it? Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and a senior adviser for CHRISTIANITY TODAY, found himself answering just those questions last year before a group of Catholic theologians, including representatives from the Vatican. His talk at this meeting of Evangelicals and Catholics Together addressed what many consider an oxymoron—evangelical ecclesiology. Here is a radically condensed version of that talk, which shows that evangelicals have good answers to these questions.

On July 29, 1928, a young evangelical pastor began his sermon on Paul's teaching on the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians with these words: "There is a word that, when a Catholic hears it, kindles all his feeling of love and bliss; that stirs all the depths of his religious sensibility, from dread and awe of the Last Judgment to the sweetness of God's presence; and that certainly awakens in him the feeling of home; the feeling that only a child has in relation to its mother, made up of gratitude, reverence, and devoted love . …

"And there is a word that to Protestants has the sound of something infinitely commonplace, more or less indifferent and superfluous, that does not make their heart beat faster; something with which a sense of boredom is so often associated. … And yet our fate is sealed, if we are unable again to attach a new, or perhaps a very old, meaning to it. Woe to us if that word does not become important to us soon again. … Yes, the word to which I am referring is Church."

So spoke Dietrich Bonhoeffer to a small German congregation in Barcelona. These ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedWhy Pope Francis is Right About Confession
Why Pope Francis is Right About Confession
I'm not planning to become Catholic, but I am grateful for the Pope's example
TrendingBill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
Bill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
(UPDATED) Popular seminar speaker: 'I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught.'
Editor's PickYou Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
You Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
It's not a travel guide. And Colton Burpo isn't the first Christian to have an ecstatic experience.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisJune 15 June 15

In the Magazine

June 15, 1998

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.