"Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium" (ECT) is the title of a programmatic statement composed by eight Protestants (leader, Charles Colson) and seven Roman Catholics (leader, Richard John Neuhaus) and endorsed by 12 more Protestants and 13 more Roman Catholics. It appeared in the journal First Things in May of this year and, shortened, in the Spring edition of Touchstone.
The statement is not, of course, official, nor has it any more authority than the personal credit of those who have put their names to it. It does not commit the churches, institutions, and organizations to which they belong: each subscriber speaks simply for himself. The hope, however, clearly is that the document will make waves and change established behavior patterns. In this way its strategic importance could be far-reaching, for the lead it gives has not been given before.
The plot-line of its 8,000 words is simply summarized. After stating that its concern is with "the relationship between evangelicals and Catholics, who constitute the growing edge of missionary expansion at present and, most likely, in the century ahead," it announces its composers' agreement on the Apostles' Creed and on the proposition that "we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ"; it affirms a commitment to seek more love, less misrepresentation and misunderstanding, and more clarity about continuing doctrinal differences between the two constituencies; then it declares war on anti-Christian statism and specifies social values that must be fought for; and it sketches out a purpose of nonproselytizing joint action for the conversion and nurture of outsiders. Grassroots "co-belligerence," ...1
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