Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Major US News Magazine Notes that Evangelicals Are Becoming More Eucharistic!!

I have posted one entry of the always intriguing Anchoress this morning. I turn around and she has put another stellar post here at Tradition & Orthodoxy trending in all churches. This is of course the US News and World Report article(go to her site for the link) that has the a picture of the Latin Mass on the cover. However she hits on something that will perhaps escape a lot of attention that is in the piece. Newsweek says:
But this shift extends beyond the Roman Catholic Church. In Richardson, Texas, the congregation of Trinity Fellowship Church participates in something that would have been considered almost heretical in most evangelical Protestant churches five or 10 years ago: a weekly Communion service. An independent, nondenominational church of some 600 members, Trinity Fellowship is not the only evangelical congregation that is offering a weekly Eucharist, saying the Nicene or Apostles’ creeds, reading the early Church Fathers, or doing other things that seem downright Roman Catholic or at least high Episcopalian.

The Anchoress in comments to the piece says in part:
I am very interested in observing how organically some of these Protestant churches are coming to a Eucharistic mindset. I find that rather remarkable, and wonder what is the cause of it. The Holy Spirit, is never static - stirs and then ravishes.

I think this is a darn good question. In the end she gives the answer. That is the Holy Spirit. But how did the Holy Spirit do this? I will give my view as a convert from the Southern Baptist Christian tradition.

The Holy Spirit has been laying the groundwork for this in many areas. I think we are seeing the fruits of it now. What is often missed is what was happening in the Evangelical world back in the 80's and 90's. The mainstream press really missed the boat in many respects and so did the Catholic press too. Back in the 80's a curious things was happening with many Evangelicals. That is they were discovering the ancient Church. This was shown in a quite vivid way when some important members of the Campus of Crusade of Christ started a journey that ended in their finding their way to the Eastern Orthodox Church. The whole Evangelical to Orthodoxy story was one that was missed. I took note of it because it was happening at at time in which I had to choose the East or the West represented by Rome. The book Becoming Orthodox created some waves and it effects were noted in the Evangelical academy.

However it came home to me when I visited a local non Greek Orthodox Church right now here in the middle of the Bible Belt in Shreveport Louisiana. It started just a few years before yet was growing by leap and bounds. What was amazing was 80 percent of the Church were former Evangelicals.!!!! This in a area that had little Orthodox influence. This can be repeated many times all over the country. What was also missed was that many more chose Rome too and quite a few crossed some verson of the River Thames and became Orthodox Anglicans.

So what were the other reason? Let me briefly give them as I see it.

(1) As to the United States the mingling of Catholics and Evangelicals in the political realm in the 80's helped. This was the first time it happened on such a level in the nations history outside something related to war.

(2) Pope John Paul the II- In many ways he was the Pope of post Vatican II. He was a man that Evangelicals found common cause with and listened too. He also was steering the Catholic Church back to the Orthodoxy it so needed after the trauma of the late 60's and 70's. Trust me on this. Without Pope John Paul the II and the then Cardinal Ratzinger fighting liberation Theology and the radical feminist movement in the Church evangelicals would not be coming back.
In fact I think the early turmoil we saw was one reason why we saw many Evangelicals go East instead of West. Orthodoxy looked liked a sure bastion or fortress compared to when the people that read the National Catholic Reporter were running the show.

(3) The Internet and the explosion of Catholic apologetic works to the mainstream public-
When I converted it was right before the explosion of Catholic Apologetic works. I became Catholic largely because I found on dusty tomes about the Church Fathers written by Presbyterians in my University library. Now that information is everywhere. You can access the writings of the early Christians for Free almost in its entirety and translated too on the Internet.

(4) The emerging Church movement- The emerging Church movement is based in the Evangelical world. It is many different things and different movements so it is difficult to pin down. Some conservatives see this movement as just some form of liberalism. But it is truly not. Many of the emerging Christian Communities are now basically Anglicans. Many individuals found there way to Rome. Many are still evangelical but have combined their views with a healthy appreciations of Catholic Monks, community, and liturgy. I have many of them on my links.

For those that are interested I think the following is a good resource.

I think the Catholic Convert Blogger Historical Christian has a great understanding of this. I really recommend her posts located here. I think she hits it right on the head. I also should note I have several of those bloggers she mentions on my blogroll.

Anyway the Anchoress is the post of the day I think For Catholics in the net world.

Update- She has another great read. Go see this Carnival of links at Young people embracing traditional vocations

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