Craig Carter (no relation) teaches theology and ethics at an evangelical college in Canada. In a recent class on marriage he had his students read Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body by John Paul II. He relates the effect it had on his students :

They were mostly surprised to be reading a biblical-theological study by a Roman Catholic that seemed to them to be informed by a high view of Scriptural authority and a deep engagement with the text. They found him to be Evangelical in his view and very convincing.

By the end of the class about half were convinced that artificial contraception is wrong and most of the rest were very open to the idea of Natural Family Planning. All found John Paul II’s arguments to be impressive and not to be dismissed lightly. In fact, I have arranged for a speaker from the Couple to Couple League to come to campus on Feb. 4 to make a presentation on the practical questions surrounding NFP.

My experience is that the problem is simply ignorance. Evangelicals and Roman Catholics live in “two solitudes” and communication is bad . . . . But John Paul II is bigger than Roman Catholicism, if I might be permitted to put it that way. He represents the Tradition and he also represents the apostolic message of Scripture as the fount of that Tradition. I have a student doing an honours thesis this year on how John Paul II’s TOB differs from the teaching of St. Augustine, which is a very interesting topic. The TOB is for the whole church. I believe it is a gift given by God now for the post-sexual revolution Church in the West and I agree with George Weigel’s famous prediction that it is a time bomb set to go off some time in the third millennium with great blessings for the entire world.

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