What Evangelicals Can Learn From Catholics | Joseph Pavicic | Homiletic & Pastoral Review
The biggest thing that Evangelicals can learn from Catholics is how to worship … liturgy, when celebrated reverently, can also give worshipers a connection to the sacred that is just not available through the type of worship service … in Evangelical churches.
Several years ago, I wrote an article for HPR entitled: “What Catholics Can Learn from Evangelicals.” I argued that Evangelical Protestant churches do a better job of teaching Scripture to their congregations than most Catholic parishes. Evangelicals are also more comfortable with evangelizing their neighbors than are Catholics. These remain areas where the Catholics can learn to improve by emulating their Evangelical brethren. However, Evangelicals also have a lot to learn from Catholics.
The idea of Evangelicals learning from Catholics is not really a novel one. Many Evangelical missionaries study the history of Catholic missions to improve the effectiveness of their own missionary activity. Some Evangelicals, obeying St. Paul’s dictum to “test everything; hold on to what is good,” even study the writings of John Paul II on the theology of the body. But during the Evangelical heyday of the 1980s, it was possible for Evangelicals to view the Catholic Church as similar to the mainline Protestant churches—as an institution that was waning in influence. There was little reason to learn from a church that looked like it was losing relevance.
The intervening years, however, have shown that the Catholic Church did not suffer the same fate as the mainline Protestant denominations. Under the leadership of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Church was able to eliminate much of the confusion that prevailed in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Rather than becoming irrelevant, the Catholic Church has continued to boldly proclaim the uncompromising Christian message to a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs. Under these circumstances, it makes sense for Evangelicals to view Catholics as allies. Although there are many treasures within the Catholic Church, the two that Evangelicals might find most beneficial are liturgical worship and an emphasis on unity.
The biggest thing that Evangelicals can learn from Catholics is how to worship.