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Evangelical Theological Perspectives on post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism

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Leonardo De Chirico

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has forced Evangelical theology to rethink its own perception and analysis of Roman Catholicism. Many Evangelical theologians have attempted to grapple with the new Roman Catholic outlook and the ecumenical challenges it brings. After describing the theological contours of Evangelicalism, the book critically surveys the works on Roman Catholicism by Gerrit Berkouwer, Cornelius Van Til, David Wells, Donald Bloesch, Herbert Carson, John Stott, and two on-going international dialogues between Evangelicals and Catholics. The Evangelical appraisal of Roman Catholicism has in general suffered from a lack of systemic awareness in dealing with it. The prevailing approach has been marked by an interpretative atomism, and the last two chapters propose the formulation of an Evangelical systemic analysis. First, by supporting the feasibility of the category of system as applied to Roman Catholicism, thus developing the basic theological hermeneutics proposed by Abraham Kuyper. Second, by indicating in the Roman Catholic articulations of the relationship between nature and grace and in the ecclesiological self-understanding of the Roman Church the two main theological foci of the system.
Contents: Evangelical Theology: a Working Hypothesis – Roman Catholicism in the Works of Some Distinguished Evangelical Theologians: Gerrit C. Berkouwer, Cornelius Van Til, David Wells, Donald Boesch, Herbert Carson and John Scott – The Contribution of the WEF in the Shaping of an Evangelical Perspective on Roman Catholicism – Evangelical-Roman Catholic Common Statements – Towards a Critical Appraisal (I): the Problem of an Evangelical Hermeneutic of Roman Catholicism – Towards a Critical Appraisal (II): the Problem of an Evangelical Theological Evaluation of Roman Catholicism.