The forthcoming Vatican Council has brought into sharp focus the whole problem of the disagreements between Roman Catholics and Protestants on theological and ecclesiastical issues; the ecumenical fervor which has arisen in both camps has made necessary a fresh look at these long-standing controversies. To the extent that this ecumenical zeal brings all parties to the controversies back to the basic theological issues involved, the results of such conversations as are envisaged by both Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders can be very beneficial to all concerned.

The fact that great differences in theology do exist cannot, and should not, be denied by the most ardent ecumenists on either side, but neither should their existence blind those opposed to the ecumenical movement to the fact that there are broad areas of agreement between the Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant churches. The very intensity of the controversy between the Reformers and Rome tended to blind partisans on both sides to the fact that there is a body of theological truth derived from the Scriptures on which there was either whole or partial agreement and that this agreement centered in biblical truths which are the very essence of the Gospel message, and not peripheral to it.

Areas Of Agreement

At this point it is necessary to insist that there is a much broader area of theological agreement between evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholic theology as it emerged from the Council of Trent than there is between evangelical Protestantism and modern liberalism. Acknowledging this does not minimize the deep cleavages which existed between Rome and Wittenberg, or Rome and Geneva, and which continue to divide Rome and the evangelical descendants of Luther ...

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