By our Baptism, we are called to be men and women of the Gospel who are Christian disciples by conviction rather than mere Church members by convention. Being Evangelical Catholics requires that we know the Gospel, believe the Gospel, live the Gospel, and share the Gospel with others, and becoming Evangelical Catholics is a lifelong adventure of letting go of the various counterfeit catholicisms of our time (casual, cultural, cafeteria Catholicism) by accepting the liberating truth of the Word of God and living by grace through faith in the Son of God.
Evangelical Catholicism is not meant to be a movement within the Church, still less a sect or sub-set of Catholicism; it simply a way of understanding the vocation of every Christian to be a true disciple of and faithful witness to the Lord Jesus. I offer these principles as a catechetical tool…
The Principles of Evangelical Catholicism
1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the crucified and risen Savior of all mankind, and no human person can fully understand his life or find his dignity and destiny apart from a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. It is not enough to know who Jesus is; we must know Jesus.
2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is divine revelation, not human wisdom, and the Gospel is given to us in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which together constitute a single divine deposit of faith transmitted authentically and authoritatively by the Bishops in full communion with the Bishop of
As an Anglo-Catholic I would reword this to say: by Bishops in full agreement with the teaching & practice of the undivided church).
We must surrender our private judgments in all matters of faith and morals to the sacred teaching authority of the Church’s Magisterium if we are to receive the whole Gospel.
(Again I would reword this to say: the dogma of the undivided church instead of magisterium)
3. The seven Sacraments of the New Covenant are divinely instituted instruments of grace given to the Church as the ordinary means of sanctification for believers. Receiving the Sacraments regularly and worthily is essential to the life of grace, and for this reason, faithful attendance at Sunday Mass every week (serious illness and necessary work aside) and regular Confession of sins are absolutely required for a life of authentic discipleship.
4. Through Word and Sacrament we are drawn by grace into a transforming union with the Lord Jesus, and having been justified by faith we are called to sanctification and equipped by the Holy Spirit for the good works of the new creation. We must, therefore, learn to live as faithful disciples and to reject whatever is contrary to the Gospel, which is the Good News of the Father’s mercy and love revealed in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5. The sacred liturgy, through which the seven Sacraments are celebrated and the Hours of praise are prayed, makes present to us the saving mysteries of the Lord Jesus. The liturgy must therefore be celebrated in such a way that the truth of the Gospel, the beauty of sacred music, the dignity of ritual form, the solemnity of divine worship, and the fellowship of the baptized assembled to pray are kept together in organic unity.
6. Receiving the Sacraments without receiving the Gospel leads to superstition rather than living faith, and the Church must therefore take great care to ensure that those who receive the Sacraments also receive the Gospel in its integrity and entirety. Consequently, before Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, and Marriage are administered, there must be in those who request these Sacraments clear evidence of knowledge of the Gospel and a serious intention to live the Christian life.
7. Being a follower of Christ requires moving from being a Church member by convention to a Christian disciple by conviction. This transformation demands that we consciously accept the Gospel as the measure of our entire lives, rather than attempting to measure the Gospel by our experience. Personal knowledge of and devotion to Sacred Scripture is necessary for this transformation to occur through the obedience of faith, and there is no substitute for personal knowledge of the Bible. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
8. All the baptized are sent in the Great Commission to be witnesses of Christ to others and must be equipped by the Church to teach the Gospel in word and deed. An essential dimension of true discipleship is the willingness to invite others to follow the Lord Jesus and the readiness to explain His Gospel. (Jay Scott Newman, a priest of the Diocese of
For obvious reasons there is a great deal of movement out of Anglicanism and into other expressions of catholicity, & Fr. Newman is one example. He was raised in the Episcopal Church, & then converted into Roman Catholicism. What is most interesting to me about these converts is the contribution they bring to the church they enter. Because they have obviously have drank from other streams, when that other drinking blossoms we all benefit. One specific benefit that we all receive from these Anglicans is their evangelical kind of Catholicism.
There is a certain kind of fullness in these Evangelical Catholics that is not always visible in other expressions of Christianity.
Notice the motivation for presenting the gospel: no human person can fully understand his life or find his dignity and destiny apart from a personal relationship with the Lord.
Notice the basis doctrine: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which together constitute a single divine deposit of faith.
Notice the methodology: Through Word and Sacrament we are drawn by grace into a transforming union with the Lord Jesus.
And finally notice the charge: Being a follower of Christ requires moving from being a Church member by convention to a Christian disciple by conviction.
May the Lord bless His church with many more evangelical Catholics!