The convert chronicles his pilgrimage to Rome.
Why would a well-known evangelical writer and English professor at Gordon College become a Roman Catholic? To answer that question, CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked John D. Woodbridge, professor of church history and the history of Christian thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, to interview Thomas Howard.
Howard possesses strong evangelical credentials. He is a graduate of Wheaton (Ill.) College; a son of Philip Howard, the late editor of the Sunday School Times; and a brother of David Howard and Elisabeth Elliot.
His conversion to Catholicism last month represented the final step in a spiritual pilgrimage that began years ago. In Christ the Tiger (Harold Shaw) and Evangelical Is Not Enough (Thomas Nelson), Howard chronicled his growing disenchantment with a perceived shallowness in evangelicalism. He seemed to find luminous descriptions of the spirituality that he sought in the writings of Anglicans and Roman Catholics like C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and G. K. Chesterton. He encountered the symbolism and worship practices he so esteemed in the Eucharistic liturgy and The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church—the church he joined before becoming a Catholic.
In the abridged interview that follows, Howard discusses the factors that led him to embrace the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
When did you decide to become a Roman Catholic?
My becoming a Catholic is the fruition of a 20-year pilgrimage. During these last 20 years of reading Scripture and theology and church history, I had never known that I was going to end up being a Roman Catholic. That certainly had not been my plan. However, some time during this last fall I became aware that the ground had ...1
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