*Image: Saints Peter and Paul by El Greco, 1605-08 [Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden]
By Eduardo J. Echeverria, The Catholic Thing, Nov. 25, 2019
Note: Professor Echeverria examines – and rejects – an attitude all too common in the Church today, even at the highest levels: that our mode of evangelization should be more accompanying people than proposing truth – which generally results in little effective evangelization at all. At The Catholic Thing we’re happy to go along with people so long as we can speak freely about the highest, deepest, and most important things. We’re within sight of our fundraising goal now. We need a final push to get us over the finish line and make it possible for us to tell as much of the truth as we possibly can in the year to come. Please help. Contribute to The Catholic Thing. – Robert Royal
The message is not content-free and empty. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” (Eph 2: 4-6) “Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Phil 2: 11) “Christ is risen from the dead.” (1 Cor 15:20) “We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5: 20)
Other examples of truths that are asserted and held to be true in the evangelical encounter may be taken from First Timothy: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1:15). “God our Savior. . .desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2:3-4). “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (2:5).
Thus, a “personal encounter” with Christ involves a constitutive relation with beliefs, involving an assent of the mind to their truth, beliefs that we come to hold to be true.
Thus, there is no personal encounter with Jesus Christ that does not include certain beliefs about Him. Of course, how truth is authenticated – i.e., lived out, practiced, carried out – our lives cannot be reduced to being merely believed, asserted, and claimed. Benedict XVI understood this point very well in his 2013 Encyclical Lumen Fidei (§45). ….