Catholics and Evangelicals: Past, Present, and Future | Carl E. Olson | Catholic World Report
An interview with Kenneth J. Collins, author of Power, Politics, and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism.
Kenneth J. Collins, PhD is professor of historical theology and Wesley Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of several books, including The Theology of John Wesley (Abingdon) and The Evangelical Moment (Baker). His most recent book, Power, Politics, and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism (InterVarsity Press, 2012), is a history of American Evangelicalism from the late 19th century to the present day, focusing on the cultural influence and political fortunes of Evangelical Protestants; it also addresses many facets of Catholic-Evangelical relations. Dr. Collins spoke recently with Carl E. Olson, the editor of Catholic World Report, about the history of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, Catholic and Evangelical relations, and the common challenges facing Christians in the United States today.
CWR: Many Catholics aren’t very familiar with ecumenical relations between Catholics and Evangelicals, or why such relations are important. How would you, as an Evangelical, address the significance of those relations?
Collins: I think there are a lot of ways that Catholics and Evangelicals can work together. I want to strengthen those connections. What we are facing in the days ahead is very important. Catholics are like canaries in a coal mine. We, as Christians, weren’t supposed to bump against a modern liberal democracy; it was supposed to be everyone choosing their own good. But the Catholic Church is bumping up against it, in terms of the contraceptive issue, but also in terms of what Catholic Charities faced in Massachusetts, where the collision between the state government and the Church forced the closure of Catholic Charities, which has had a wonderful history of service to the poor.
CWR: Let’s go back to the beginning, historically. There is a lot of confusion, isn’t there, with the term “Evangelical”? What are the roots of that term in US history?