Photo from flickr by Reid Rosenberg (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Top 5 Catholics loved by evangelicals today

In response to the Bible's relentless call for Christian unity (John 17:23), ChristianWeek presents the top 5 Roman Catholics loved by evangelicals today:

Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen is a spiritual heavyweight. This Catholic Priest was also a professor at Yale Divinity School and a trained psychologist. He wrote over 40 books on life and spirituality, and is often hailed as a conflicted genius of steadfast and honest faith. He is one of the most accessible Christian writers of the 20th century and continues to fill libraries and bookstores across evangelical and protestant seminaries in North America. His writings reflect on themes such as suffering, joy, relationships, Christ, spiritual formation and countless others.

Pope Francis

A recent article by Loren Wilkinson in The Regent World, a publication of Regent College, a leading Canadian evangelical graduate school of theology in Vancouver, B.C., "concludes that the Pope could easily have studied at Regent" and that Francis' encyclical (Laudato Si’ ) "grows from the same deep roots 'evangelicals' have in common with true Catholicism." As a Jesuit Priest, Francis’ fervent commitment to reform the Roman Catholic Church through modelling humility, focusing on helping the poor and healing creation, and being open to dialoguing with the world, evokes the same sense of biblical discipleship, Spirit-led compassion, and Christ-centered ethics that evangelicalism was founded upon.

Saint Augustine

You might be wondering why Augustine is sitting third considering he is a western Church Father. He’s not as accessible to the everyday Christian like Nouwen and today’s Pope. Nonetheless, Augustine is a theological heavyweight who deeply influenced the development of Christianity in the western world. He is most known by evangelicals for his theology of original sin, his work in apologetics, and for his unique evangelical conversion, which he eloquently elucidates in his Confessions.

G.K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton wrote over 80 books and is one of the most quoted Catholic intellectuals. Most known by evangelicals as an apologist and writer, Chesterton was referred to by George Bernard Shaw—a "frenemy" of Chesterton’s— as a "colossal genius." His wit and stature, along with his brilliant yet, paradoxical writing style, made Chesterton one of the most famous Catholics of the 20th century. He is often quoted in sermons, and continues to be an influential Catholic voice among evangelicals today.

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert, the magnanimous host of The Late Show, is relevant, witty, authentic---a man of deep faith and not afraid to show it.  Whether he's witnessing about Christ in an interview with the New York Times, defending the divinity of Christ on the Colbert Report, or explaining the doctrine of Hell on NPR, Stephen Colbert---penned a "Catholic superstar" by Lorna Dueck, host of Context with Lorna Dueck---is one celebrity whose graceful posture and honesty makes him effective at sharing the Gospel in ways that society can digest. As a person of faith he's been able to avoid the self-righteous and rigid tone that has unfortunately characterized today's American evangelical celebrity culture. Perhaps that's why he's so admired by people everywhere, including Christians of every stripe.

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About the author

Josh Valley is a long-term care Chaplain and an award-winning writer who lives in Thunder Bay, ON.