The Lion and the Lamb: Evangelicals and Catholics in America

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One of the most intriguing questions in contemporary American Christianity is whether the recent warming of relations between Catholics and conservative evangelicals promises a thaw in the ice age that has lasted since the sixteenth century. American evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics have hated and suspected one another since colonial times. In the twentieth century, however, each community has experienced radical change, and this has led to a change in the relationship between the two.
In this book William Shea examines the history of this troubled relationship and the signs of potential reconciliation. His springboard is the recent publicity given to the 1993 document Evangelicals and Catholics Together, in which several well-known figures from each camp, acting as individuals, signed a statement affirming much more common theological and social ground than any other American Catholic-evangelical group had ever done. Looking back, Shea surveys the long and very bitter history of published recriminations that have flown back and forth between Catholics and many kinds of Protestants since the 16th century. He makes the case that Catholics and conservative Protestants reacted along parallel lines to western "modernity" - especially naturalistic evolution and higher criticism of the Bible). That deeper history leads him to the more recent history that has partially overcome the severe Catholic-evangelical antagonisms. Here he focuses on the rise of "neo-evangelicals" associated with Billy Graham and the National Association of Evangelicals and on the changes with the Catholic church since Vatican II. He goes on to offer systematic interpretations of recent evangelical literature on Catholics and Catholic literature on evangelicals.
The book ends with some historical, but also theological, social and personal conclusions. This accessible, groundbreaking, and timely study will be indispensable reading for all interested in the religious landscape of America today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A welcome historical treatment of an issue that shows no signs of declining in importance, given the ever more public role for the Catholic and evangelical faithful in American politics." —Journal of Religion

"...a unique, very personal, and well-researched cultural analysis. A significant contribution to an ever expanding and engaging conversation." —Theological Studies

"A major achievement...the effect of this weighty, warm-hearted volume will surely be to clear the decks for quality theological action."—Books & Culture

"For a penetrating look at the faith and foolishness that has marked so much of their respective histories, both groups [Catholics and evangelicals] would do well to consult Shea's book."—National Catholic Reporter

Most often the Catholic dialogue with conservative Protestant evangelicals comes from conservative Catholics. But in this book William Shea, a first rate Catholic scholar from a liberal perspective with a broad and deep knowledge of history, American culture, and theology, makes an important and original contribution to this dialogue. With admirable fairness and even-handedness, Shea traces the historical relationship between evangelicals and Catholics in the United States. He makes a convincing case for both Christian communities to move from polemics to a mutual recognition of each other as Christian communities and to engage in a critical dialogue in which both can learn much.——Charles E. Curran, Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Willam M. Shea takes on a subject that has often brought out the worst in Catholics and evangelicals alike and applies to it his unique blend of wit, grace, and profound spiritual reflection. He leaves no doubt that a mature American Christianity depends on a more authentic engagement at the boundaries of the these formidable traditions. —James T. Fisher, author of Communion of Immigrants: A History of Catholics in America

"William Shea's book combines solid history with a powerful theological treatment of the character, idiosyncrasies, sins, and prospects of Catholic-evangelical engagement. Its analysis of 'the Myths' and 'the Outlines' by which evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics have described each other over the century is especially compelling. Just as good is Sheas sympathetic, yet still critical, account of recent breakthroughs between some Catholics and some evangelicals. For its general assessment of relations between 'biblical Christianity' (evangelicals) and 'liturgical Christianity' (Catholics), this is a landmark volume."—Mark A. Noll, author of America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

"It is a hard thing really to master a complex tradition of belief and behavior. It is harder still to master two traditions, and if the two have been implacably hostile to one another, well, difficulties abound. The Lion and the Lamb is a demonstration of what mastery is all about and a model for responsible analysis of the fault lines that run through modern culture. Since between them Catholics and Evangelicals do most of the heavy lifting in the day-to-day life of American Christianity, this particular fault line merits the closest attention. The writing is powerful, serious and good-humored, and so are the lessons it teaches. This is a book that deserves readers beyond those in the academy. Anyone seriously interested in the past, present and future of religion in American culture has something to learn here."— Michael J. Lacey, Director Emeritus of the American Program and Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195139860
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 416
  • Lexile: 1500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William M. Shea is Director of the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross and the author of Naturalists and the Supernatural: Studies in American Philosophy of Religion.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The Landscape of a Quarrel
1 Terminology, Myth, and Tribes 3
2 The Perils of Modernity 29
3 Nativism and Politics 55
Pt. II Paul Speaks of Peter
4 Roots 85
5 The National Protest: Beginning in the Middle 103
6 Three Presbyterians and Three Congregationalists 123
7 Hard Evangelicals and the Apostate Church 141
8 Soft Evangelicals and the Heretical Church 161
Pt. III Peter Speaks of Paul
9 The Nineteenth-Century Bishops and Anti-Catholicism 189
10 John Hughes and Kirwan in New York 211
11 James Gibbons of Baltimore 225
12 What Have Catholic Theologians Made of Biblical Christianity? 241
13 Bishops Again and the Vatican 269
14 Conclusion: The Lion and the Lamb 279
Notes 311
Index 379
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