Evangelicals and Catholics: Let's Celebrate Our Similarities
Jesus' life and mission. Another major area of agreement between Catholics and evangelicals is our beliefs about Jesus' life and purpose. Together we affirm the Virgin Birth and Jesus' sinless life, atoning death, bodily resurrection, and ascension. We all believe Christ will come again to judge humankind, and that we rely on God's grace for salvation.
The importance of Scripture. Perhaps less known to evangelicals is the Catholic view of Scripture. Yes, Catholics include some extra books in our Bible—often called the Apocrypha—because we believe the Reformers dropped these books from the original Bible. But that difference aside, both evangelicals and Catholics hold a high view of Scripture and inerrancy. We agree on the Bible's divine inspiration. I personally believe evangelicals hold the corner on effective ways to teach and study Scripture in small groups. However, it's important for evangelicals to realize that Scripture is a central aspect of Catholic worship. Every Catholic mass includes a significant amount of Scripture—typically one Old Testament, one New Testament, and one Gospel reading per service—and priests are instructed to preach on that day's Scripture reading, not a topic of their choosing. Also, most of the prayers and liturgy we recite are drawn from and based on Scripture. Overall I would say evangelicals and Catholics are equally matched in Bible teaching—we just go about it in different ways.
Ethics and morality. A positive comment I often hear from evangelicals about Catholics—and an area where we share interest—is our commitment to morality. Catholics have what we call a "womb to tomb" outlook on life that fights abortion, supports families, cares for the sick and homeless, and challenges capital punishment. If you've ever seen an abortion clinic protest, for example, you probably witnessed passionate Catholics praying for the mothers and babies. Worldwide, Catholics are leaders in outreach and missions work. Our commitment to these matters springs from and is centered on our faith in Christ—just like the admirable work evangelicals do in these areas.