I have, from time to time, been critical of Evangelical Protestants and Anglicans. I don’t apologize for this. I think it’s okay to criticize as long as you try honestly to see your own faults, and accept the criticism of others with good humor.
However, I also want to record the good stuff I received from Evangelicals and Anglicans. As a Catholic I regard my faith not as a negation of my Evangelical upbringing and my fifteen years within Anglicanism, but as a fulfillment of all that has gone before. I honestly and sincerely hope that I have not abandoned anything that was good, true, beautiful and loving within both of those great traditions. I try hard with Evangelicals and Anglicans to affirm what they affirm, while declining to deny what they deny.
From my Evangelical background I gained an enormous and wonderful inheritance. I learned more about the Bible than most Catholics can imagine, and I learned about the Bible within a tradition that still venerated the King James Version. I memorized the Word of God through one of the most beautiful forms of the word of men. I had before me the examples of godly men and women who were church workers, missionaries, Sunday School teachers and godly preachers. Most of all, I received a world view in which the supernatural was real. God really did become a man and died and rose again for our salvation. The next world was more real than this one, and all that really mattered in this life was how well you prepared for the next.
From the Anglicans I received an appreciation for the historic church. They taught me that the love of literature, art, architecture, music and drama was not only all right, but crucial to a full understanding of the faith. From the Anglicans I learned a whole new vocabulary of prayer and worship. I came to know and understand liturgical prayer, and was introduced to monasticism, meditation and the power of the Holy Spirit within the renewal movement. The Anglicans taught me how to be a liberal in the right sense. That is to say, they taught me respect for those with whom I disagreed. They taught me to listen to others, to see the other person’s point of view and how to pray for my enemies as a way to learning how to love them. Most of all, the dear, big, old beautiful Anglican Church planted in my heart a longing for the Church that is even bigger, older and more beautiful because it is more True.
So, while I sometimes criticize the Evangelicals and Anglicans, I also thank them for all they gave me on my journey.