>The Catholic Church and the Evangelization of Christians

>Christian Today is reporting that the Roman Catholic Church is defending its right and duty to spread its message to non-believers and to welcome converts, particularly from other Christian churches.

A document published by the Catholic Church says that bringing new members into the Catholic Church through evangelism is an effort to bring new people into the gift of full fellowship with Christ.

This new effort at converting other Christians through evangelism comes after the Catholic Church affirmed in July that Christian denominations outside the Roman Catholic Church were not full churches of Jesus Christ.

If the goal of the Catholic Church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ, and, if the Church desires to be fully obedient to the Great Commission, then the Church should develop a vigorous program of evangelism to reach the five billion people in the world who are not Christians.

Instead of fighting with each other, the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations should join in a common effort to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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2 Responses to >The Catholic Church and the Evangelization of Christians

  1. Blake Walter says:

    >It’s worth noting that this is one of the areas addressed by Evangelicals and Catholics Together, the ongoing discussion between Protestant evangelicals and Roman Catholics. To quote from the original article published in First Things:It is understandable that Christians who bear witness to the Gospel try to persuade others that their communities and traditions are more fully in accord with the Gospel. There is a necessary distinction between evangelizing and what is today commonly called proselytizing or “sheep stealing.” We condemn the practice of recruiting people from another community for purposes of denominational or institutional aggrandizement. At the same time, our commitment to full religious freedom compels us to defend the legal freedom to proselytize even as we call upon Christians to refrain from such activity. Three observations are in order in connection with proselytizing. First, as much as we might believe one community is more fully in accord with the Gospel than another, we as Evangelicals and Catholics affirm that opportunity and means for growth in Christian discipleship are available in our several communities. Second, the decision of the committed Christian with respect to his communal allegiance and participation must be assiduously respected. Third, in view of the large number of non- Christians in the world and the enormous challenge of our common evangelistic task, it is neither theologically legitimate nor a prudent use of resources for one Christian community to proselytize among active adherents of another Christian community. Christian witness must always be made in a spirit of love and humility.


  2. >Blake,Thank you for your comment. Thank you also for the link your provided in your comment.Any denomination has the right to bring unchurched people into the full fellowship of the church. However, it is high time that the church takes seriously its duty to evangelize the 5 billion people in the world who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.Claude Mariottini


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