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Catholics and Baptists Together
Catholics and Baptists Together

Always the same. While we're all now focused on the change that's about to happen in the Catholic Church as Pope Benedict XVI steps down, the Latin phrase semper eadem—always the same—is often invoked to describe the unchanging character of the Catholic Church.

Certain critics say no real change can take place in the Catholic Church, but change does take place, though it usually happens by indirection, reassessment, and development. The result is what Pope Benedict XVI has called a "hermeneutic of continuity and reform." This was evident in the 2012 Synod of Bishops, convened to consider "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."

I participated in this recent synod as a fraternal delegate representing the Baptist World Alliance. The conveners asked the fraternal delegates to make a brief presentation to the synod, offer written comments on the proceedings, and participate in small groups to help draft the final documents. Given the distant and even hostile relations between Catholics and evangelicals in the past, this represents a remarkable degree of openness on the part of the Catholic Church. Though Vatican II documents call non-Catholic Christians "separated brothers," the synod decidedly emphasized fraternity. This was evident in three major themes of the synod.

1. The centrality of the Bible. The synod recognized the importance of reading, studying, translating, and obeying the written Word of God as essential for evangelization. Lamar Vest of the American Bible Society made a special presentation to the pope and spoke of the collaborative work of spreading the Scriptures throughout the world. We should never minimize the transforming power ...

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Contra Mundum
Chuck Colson & Timothy George

Charles Colson was the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an outreach to convicts, victims of crime, and justice officers. Colson, who converted to Christianity before he was indicted on Watergate-related charges, became one of evangelicalism's most influential voices. His books included Born Again and How Now Shall We Live? A Christianity Today columnist since 1985, Colson died in 2012.

Timothy George is the dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and a member of Christianity Today's Editorial Council. His books include Reading Scripture with the Reformers and Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? Like Colson, George has been heavily involved in the Evangelicals and Catholics Together discussions. George began cowriting "Contra Mundum" with Colson in 2011.

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January/February 2013

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