Church historian John D. Woodbridge evaluates Thomas Howard’s decision to become a Catholic.
Despite Thomas Howard’s conversion to Catholicism, his deep appreciation for his godly forbears and Protestant evangelicals in general remains. He lauds their commitment to many of the great tenets of the Christian faith, and he heartily commends their lifestyles and intrepid evangelism. Nonetheless, his analysis of the Christian faith encompasses an extensive critique of evangelical Protestant faith.
Howard faults evangelicalism on two fronts. First, he says, Protestantism does not have an infallible teaching office to guarantee an infallible understanding of the Christian faith. Second, he says, Protestantism is stricken by a poverty of authentic spirituality and meaningful worship.
It is true that many evangelicals sense a need for more meaningful worship in the life of their churches. Rather than clearing the mind’s eye to perceive more fully the resplendent glory of Almighty God, evangelical worship services on occasion can dim spiritual vision by focusing on displays of the trite, and even the tawdry.
Be that as it may, Howard misspeaks when he says “the soul can’t feed” on Reformation Protestantism. If comparisons must be made, the writings of many seventeenth-century Puritan divines reflect a profundity of spirituality that matches that of Catholic mystics of the same period. Many evangelicals have had their souls supremely well nourished by feasting on the Word of God. And the worship services in numerous evangelical churches throughout the world do not compare unfavorably for a sense of worship with services in Roman Catholic churches. The complaint that an overweening poverty of worship ...1
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