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Religions in a Nutshell

There's a lengthy article in Christianity Today about ongoing dialogue between Catholics and Evangelicals. The article is upbeat about the process, especially with regard to beating back the secularism that is trying to outflank both sides. The piece is worth a look. Below is a nice “nutshell” description of theological differences that the writer provides toward the end. It's nothing extraordinarily insightful, but we thought it a nice summary for those who want a handy reference.

"Catholics see the church as the extension of the incarnation, whose councils and human head have been graced with the didactic infallibility of its divine head, and whose sacramental ministry of grace, mediated through priests in the apostolic succession of orders, is the ordinary means of a sinner's salvation, inasmuch as the rites themselves, duly administered, will convey the blessings they signify unless they meet active unbelief. In the Mass, the priest offers to God transubstantiated bread and wine to renew the blessing of Christ's atoning sacrifice for his people's sins. Believers outside come to be fully in the church through communion with its priestly leadership, ultimately with the Bishop of Rome."

"Evangelicals see the church as the extension of the resurrection, the community of the faithful linked in solidarity to each other in Christ because each is linked personally by the Holy Spirit to Christ. Word and sacrament become means of the grace that evokes and sustains the self- abandoning faith that casts itself on Christ. The eucharist is a memorial thanksgiving through which the living Lord makes himself known to those who are alive in him. Leaders emerge from the fellowship and are commissioned by the Lord within the fellowship, but no hierarchical inner structure is of the essence of the church's being."