For the sake of balance, there are good reasons why Catholics become evangelicals. Books & Culture’s “book notes” features a post by Mark Noll about a book written by Chris Castaldo who is on the staff of College Church in Wheaton. He writes,

Yet as a former Catholic who came spiritually alive only after a personal encounter with Christ and who has ministered in several evangelical settings to many Catholics who share his experience, Castaldo is not primarily concerned about high-level theological discussions. Rather, he wants to probe the spiritual pilgrimages of people in the pew; he seeks a ground-level angle on issues that continue to differentiate the Catholic and evangelical streams. In this effort the book is entirely successful.

Much of it recounts Castaldo’s own journey from faithful Catholic to energetic evangelical, and also the experience of others who have made the same journey. As a complement to these personal testimonies, the book also carefully examines the issues that continue to move a good number of Catholics toward evangelical churches. They include the importance of encountering Christ personally, the difficulties experienced in a church structure culminating in the papacy, and the experience of grace in day-to-day existence.

It is undeniable that many of the former Catholics I know left Rome for a faith that is both personally rooted in relationship to Jesus and rooted in a strong view of grace. If Jesus and grace are what Christianity is all about then a life in a church that misses these two is not simply unfortunate, but something that must be abandonded. Evangelicalism, even with all its warts, is nothing but if not consistent in emphasizing walking in these two. That surely is holy ground.

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