Ministry to the Partially Evangelized

Angela’s Ashes is the autobiography of Frank McCourt, who describes his life in Ireland during the 1930s and 1940s. His family lived in a hovel with one bare light bulb and bedbugs, on a dirt lane, and shared one outdoor toilet with all the neighbors. Because dad was an alcoholic and seldom found work, they subsisted on unemployment payments. For many painful years the family lived on bread and tea.

In the early part of the film, Frank’s mother, Angela, loses her three babies—Margaret-Mary, Eugene, and Oliver—to “consumption,” the dreaded disease which plagued the poor. As I sat with my heart glued to the screen, I wondered how the McCourts would draw from the resources of their Christian heritage to persevere through the dark valley of suffering. In various scenes, the family addressed God by means of candles, veneration, and other sacramental rituals. Yet in their variegated approach, Jesus and the gospel were noticeably missing.

Who Are the Partially Evangelized?

Trials, such as the McCourt’s, can be illuminating. They often display the substance of one’s character, or lack thereof. But struggles aren’t the only metric for identifying the nature of one’s faith. Other measurements include generous giving to ministry, gospel witness, and spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible reading, and participation in a local church. The last of these is especially revealing us as we consider the contours of religious commitment in the United States.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, there are more than 132 million Americans who identify with the mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox traditions. We are told by sociologists of religion that three of every four of these individuals neglect church participation, meaning there are more than 99 million men and women in this category. While these people generally describe themselves as Christian, they are in fact only “partially evangelized,” as the person and work of Jesus remain absent or ancillary to their life. Despite exposure to the Christian tradition, the gospel (and its effects of new life in Christ, respect for the authority of Scripture, and an active commitment to outreach) is conspicuously missing. This is precisely the need that evangelicals are poised to serve.

Engaging the Partially Evangelized

Let me introduce you to a partially evangelized person. Under the portico on Via Cavazzoni, I met Rosa in northern Italy. Because her café was directly across the street from my residence, I visited often. Given Rosa’s outgoing personality, it was easy to discuss God, especially when I learned that she and her husband haled from Catania, Sicily, my grandparents’ hometown. In much of southern Italy, there’s a social Catholicism well-acquainted with cathedrals, rosaries, and festivals. Rosa described these customs at length.

The cannoli, cornetti, and Napoletani rivaled the artistic quality of the Sistine Chapel. Before biting into something lovely that I couldn’t quite pronounce, I asked Rosa about her relationship with Jesus. Her answer was fascinating. “My spiritual beliefs are private,” she said. “The Bible I don’t believe because it was written by men.” She also had some rather pointed words for the Catholic clergy. Finally, and for most of her answer, she described a certain Sicilian parade dedicated to the patron saint of fishing.

Having established a bit of rapport with Rosa, I possessed enough relational currency to ask a few follow-up questions. So I started:

Chris: “Now that’s a fish parade I want to see! I wonder, is the cross of Jesus depicted in any particular way?”

Rosa: “Yes, Monsignor Giuseppe carries the crucifix, elevated high for everyone to behold.”

Chris: “And what’s the significance of the crucifix?”

Rosa: “It shows the death of Jesus Christ wearing the crown of thorns with drops of blood marking his face.”

At this point in the conversation I asked Rosa a few simple questions intended to elucidate the love and justice of God and the personal significance of Jesus’ passion for Rosa in particular. It was brief but meaningful. My goal was to connect the dots between Rosa’s limited understanding of the Christian story and the particular truths of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and inaugurated kingdom. There was no dramatic conversion, but I would like to think that she was in some way drawn closer to the Savior.

The Opportunity Before Us

Reflecting upon my conversation with Rosa brings to mind a few principles for serving the partially evangelized with the gospel. The sequential ordering of these points is not essential beyond the first one.

The initial step must be to recognize that we ourselves, despite our theological pedigree or best intentions, are partially evangelized, and desperately so. Let me assure you, the word desperately is not for rhetorical affect. There is, even on our “best” days, a sizable disparity between the holiness, peace, and love of Christ and our pattern of life. We are entirely dependent upon God, and, therefore, we must proactively “evangelize” ourselves, remembering the old life that is now behind us and the new creation that has come.

Each morning when I awake, I must preach the gospel to myself (after pouring a cup of coffee, that is). It is a privilege, as God’s sons and daughters, to enter the Father’s presence in the name of Jesus and remind ourselves that we are no longer defined by sin and shame, but, rather, by the perfect righteousness of Christ—although our sins be as scarlet, they are now white as snow. We also remind ourselves that God has poured forth his Holy Spirit into our hearts for us to embody and proclaim the good news to the world. In short, we can’t effectively evangelize others until we have first evangelized ourselves.

Second, it’s also necessary for us to see the partially evangelized—to the extent that such people ignore new life in Christ, the Bible, and ministry—as eternally lost. In this vein, one of my favorite quotes comes from the French theologian Yves Congar, who said of the missionary statesman Angelo Roncalli, “Here was the secret of his personality: he loved people more than power.” Such men have a way of seeing others not as a means to an end, but as those for whom Christ died. I also think of Francis Schaeffer who, according to his student Lane Dennis, would shed tears when describing those outside of Christ. This is exactly right.

Third, the leading edge of our approach t should be gradual and relational. Sometimes when we think about evangelism, we limit it to a particular method. For many, it’s the crusade approach made popular by D. L. Moody or Billy Graham. Accordingly, we think of evangelism as a full-blown gospel presentation that begins by explaining the human problem of sin, necessarily culminating in an invitation for one to receive Christ.

I don’t know about you, but most of my gospel encounters don’t allow for a full-orbed sermon. In a crusade, the goal of the evangelist is to clearly present the entire message and urge someone to make a decision. (There is a reason why the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s magazine is named Decision.) However, if you define all evangelism encounters this way, what happens when you have two minutes to talk to a colleague beside the water cooler during break? How do you witness to the checkout person in the supermarket, or to a family member who knows what you believe and is utterly disinterested in hearing any more sermons? The answer is—you don’t. You don’t say a thing. We can’t share in that kind of way without completely alienating ourselves; therefore, we don’t share at all. The outcome is the same as hiding our lamp beneath the proverbial table.

This principle is especially relevant to the partially evangelized because, at least in my experience, embracing the gospel is usually a process. This is not for a moment to minimize the fact that conversion is based upon the regenerative work of God; but it is to acknowledge that God often leads people through an existential journey in which they travel from darkness into the light. What we need, therefore, is to learn how to plant seeds of gospel truth that help the partially evangelized move from the borders of Christian tradition to the center, one incremental step at a time.

Finally, and most fundamentally, pray for the partially evangelized. What is now only a trickle of Christian identity, God desires to make a raging river of faith (Ezekiel 47); what is a small cloud, God wishes to develop into a torrential rain (1 Kings 18:44); what is a modest-sized lunch, God will multiply a thousand times over into a feast (John 6). Indeed, this is our hope, according to the life-changing power of the gospel.

  • Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Chris, thank you for this excellent article. Extremely well put!

    God bless.

  • Bryan

    Great article! I would like to comment on this portion of the article:

    “How do you witness to the checkout person in the supermarket, or to a family member who knows what you believe and is utterly disinterested in hearing any more sermons? The answer is—you don’t. You don’t say a thing. We can’t share in that kind of way without completely alienating ourselves; therefore, we don’t share at all. The outcome is the same as hiding our lamp beneath the proverbial table.”

    Call me old fashioned but gospel tracts work great. Many times we cannot sit down with people for 20 minutes plus to share the gospel, sometimes it’s just best to leave them with GOOD BIBLICAL gospel tracts. Check out for some of those….Just saying : -)

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  • Steve Coon

    I agree with the partialy evangelized people situation! This might help for the times you don’t have a lot of time to share the whole gospel with them. A start is how much time do I have here? A minute or 5 minutes? When it looks like I have less than a minute, I’ll ask them ‘have you made your reservation for heaven yet? Just remember Jesus said, all you have to believe is that Jesus died on the cross for all our sins and that after 3 days God raised Him from the dead, your have to believe it so strongly that you do what He says’. i have a 2 minute and a 5 minute simple gospel presentation that is very effective. Remember to pray when you wake up for God to prepare hearts to hear the gospel and for the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sins. and then after you have shared with them continue to pray for God to draw them to His salvation! Steve Coon

  • Rachael Starke

    I was so helped by how you reminded us of our constant state of being “partially evangelized”, and how you modelled that same sensitivity with Rosa. No disrespect meant to my brothers who pass out tracts, but your ability to weave the truth about Jesus into a conversation about a cultural ritual that was meaningful to Rosa seemed far more personal, more “customized” to where she was thinking and speaking in that moment. We belong to a God who died for each of us personally; our evangelism must reflect that.

  • Paul

    This is an excellent article. A lot of focus is often spent on the “unreached”, but it is painfully obvious that the areas we think are “reached” already are still shrouded in darkness. Your article captures this well. The concept of the gospel is not just to be “reached” but to become a fruit-bearing Christian.

    Europe, for example, falls into a category that has been reached but people are still spiritually dead. Latin America, likewise.

    Stats can be very unhelpful and misleading, but I like how you weave them in here.

  • Wes Wetherell

    Great post! I’m thankful that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and not me!

  • Brittani

    I think the best evangelism method is simple: pray, live your life openly and obviously for Christ, and be open to conversation about Him. God will send opportunities. Sometimes we will share the full gospel, sometimes just a sound bite. Sometimes the person will turn and accept Christ, sometimes just roll their eyes. In the end, our job is to share Christ without shame in whatever opportunity He sends.
    Thanks, Chris, for demonstrating simple, personal evangelism with Rosa, and for opening up this discussion.

    • Steve Coon

      I have found that using the Word of God to be the most effective! Being born from above, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever! 1Peter 1:23 By using the Word of God, we plant the seed, that the Holy Spirit will use to work in their lives

    • Brittani

      That’s a great point, Steve! It makes me think of the parable of the sower. The sower didn’t put a whole lot of thought into where he sowed and he didn’t tamper with the seed. He just threw it haphazardly, and it was often rejected, but where it took root, it had a miraculous yield.

      • John S

        There is part of your thought I agree with, however I would ask do you think you might be pressing this parable too deeply? As I understand it parables are to teach one main point, I believe that drawing out the idea that we needn’t ‘put a whole lot of thought’ into who and where we proclaim Christ from this parable is to take it beyond it’s intended purpose.

        I’d submit the parable is not about the sower but about the kind of hearts people have, telling us what we can expect and anticipate when we do ‘sow’. (An application of this truth might be to encourage us to not give up in evangelism, there are many who will not be saved but some will. Another might be that because an immediate change in a person does not mean a changed heart, we can be patient with folks and not aim just to get them to say a ‘sinner’s prayer’ but to water and pray toward the goal of making disciples with long term fruit.

        Anyway, i know that many have tried to make every detail in a parable mean something, sometimes with bizarre and dangerous doctrines coming from it. Not suggesting your idea is either, but just saying…

      • Brittani

        In a way, John, I think you and I are saying the same thing, but about different parts of the parable. We would both agree that the point of the parable is, as you said, “what we can expect.” You mentioned application – I meant what I said as an application of the main point, which we agree on. Does that make sense? Knowing what this parable tells me about what to expect, I believe the best evangelism is, to put it loosely, haphazard.
        Sorry for the confusion – and also for the delay in my response. I was just reading the comments at the end of the page and didn’t notice I’d been addressed directly! :)

  • Luke Dubbelman

    Great Thing to bring up and be challenged in!
    I think this idea of the “partially evangelized” is also very evident in non-christian nations that have had christian schools and influences present for over a century now. I am living over seas in east asia and have traveled over various parts of India, Thailand and Myanmar and I have met sooo many people who were raised in catholic or baptist schools and now all they take away from it is that they remember a few christmas carols and the virgin mary. It is the same story over and over, I tell someone I am a christian and they respond with singing “silent night holy night” or giving the sign of the cross and telling me they went to a christian school when they were young. This is both a frustrating realization of the failure christian schools are having in asian countries as well as it can be a good springboard into conversations about the true meaning of the gospel. But all in all you can find a good number of people who already are a little bit familiar with the gospel in a very foreign setting just because they went to a missionary run school. Imagine what those nations could look like if Christian schools started to really preach the gospel and good news more then just teaching christmas carols!!

  • Marcy

    “How do you witness to the checkout person in the supermarket, or to a family member who knows what you believe and is utterly disinterested in hearing any more sermons? The answer is—you don’t. You don’t say a thing. We can’t share in that kind of way without completely alienating ourselves; therefore, we don’t share at all. The outcome is the same as hiding our lamp beneath the proverbial table.” Chris, thank you for this excellent article. Would you please help me, though, with your preceding points? Because I have that family member who knows what I believe and is utterly disinterested in hearing any more sermons. Are you chastising or stating facts? So that we don’t hide our lamp, what are we to do?

    • Chris Castaldo

      Thanks, Marcy. Pardon the delayed response, I’ve been in transit all day. I find it’s generally best to take a long term view and approach with family. Seed planting over the course time (poignant questions and observations that stimulate thought about God) has great potential. I also like to share simple testimonies of God’s gracious activity in my experience of life to underscore that not only is God real; he is good. In this vein, there is also something powerful about family members noticing the change in your life. Precisely because they know you best, they have a front row seat to the Holy Spirit’s work in you soul. In short, it’s still an active approach that we take with family, but it’s crafted with sensitivity and patience according to the relational dynamics that are unique to families.

      • Marcy

        Thank you. Appreciate your wisdom. My daughter certainly has that “front row seat” to the Holy Spirit’s work in my soul. (And hallelujah to that!) So I will just keep doing what I’m doing, and pray, and trust in the Lord’s perfect timing!

        • Chris Castaldo

          God bless you, Marcy. In the case of children, there is also the opportunity to read through a book together and discuss the chapters… whatever will open up genuine conversation. In this instance, parents must do a lot of listening (resist being the teacher) but thankfully there are always opportunities to insert bits of truth.

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  • Deb

    Yes – use tracts
    Yes – use personal stories
    Yes – use the Word of God
    Yes -form relationships
    Yes – live it
    Whatever good works God has prepared for you then walk in that way. What a tapestry we are involved in weaving in the lives of individuals whom we know, meet and have other contacts with…just yes do it

  • Jimmy Justice


    Was wondering…
    What do you mean by “participation in a local church.”

    I would love to see lots of “Participation” in a “local church.”
    When I was a part of a so-called “local church” NOT much
    “participation” was allowed by those so-called leaders running the show.

    Seems according to 1 Cor 14:26-30, ALL can, and are expected to, “Participate.
    26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, *every one of you*
    hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation,
    hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

    But – I can’t seem to find “local church” in my antiquated KJV.
    And most of what goes on there today – is NOT in the Bible either.
    I mean, How many congregations, in the Bible, hire, and fire, Pastor/Reverends?
    In fact – Does anyone, in the Bible, have the “Title” Pastor or the “Title” Reverend?
    I could be wrong – maybe I missed it. ;-)

    And, there is NOT much “Participation” by those who do “attend a local church.”
    In my experience… Most are just “Spectators” very few “Participate.”

    That’s one of the main reasons I am part of “more than 99 million” “three of every four”
    who no longer support, financially and with my attendance, **the church of man,**
    “the local church,” “the mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox traditions.”

    They have put the Bible aside and rely on – commandments of men, doctrines of men,
    philosophys of men, precepts of men, and are now responsible for…
    “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition,.” Mark 7:13.

    Did you ever think – “the Partially Evangelized” are those in bondage to
    “The Broken Religious System” of today? And need to be set free?
    So they can “Participate” and NOT just “Spectate?”

    Did you ever think – the people who NO longer attend the “Local Church”
    are a lot more biblical then those who do attend the “Local Church?” ;-)
    And – they are free to “Participate” when they come together?

    Jer 50:6
    *My people* hath been *lost sheep:*
    “their shepherds” have caused them “to go astray”

  • Chris Castaldo

    I am sorry, Jimmy, that you have been burned. And as a pastor, please allow me to apologize on behalf of those who were responsible. But the solution is not to give up on the church. May it never be. Calvin was right when he echoed Cyprian–extra ecclesiam nulla salus– “outside the church there is no salvation.” If a person willfully blows off the church, the Bride of Christ, the community of faith appointed by God to provide teaching, the sacraments (or ordinances, if you prefer) and church discipline, there is serious reason to question whether such a person is in fact a Christian. Please, I beg you, lift your eyes above the horizon of fallen people and recognize that God doesn’t intend for you to be isolated; but, if you are a living stone, you belong to others with whom you are being built as God’s temple. (I’m several time zones away at the moment, and probably won’t get back to this until tomorrow evening, so please pardon the delay if I am asked to respond). God bless you Jimmy.

  • Ryan Over

    Great topic to discuss and think through. I grew up in a church that is only partially evangelized and God finished the work in me my freshman year at college. So, I understand well the question at hand. I would like to add a distinction that has been really helpful to me:

    Trying to evangelize family and friends is only one way we love them, not the whole of it.

    What I mean is this: are you friends with someone just because you want them to become a Christian? Do you love your family just because you want them to become Christians? I sincerely hope not. I did this last summer and it was horrible and ineffective. For, it is not us who will be the cause of their salvation but God and we are not living to please them, but God. Love your parents, love your friends just for them, get to know them better; if you are actually going through life with them opportunities will come (and naturally). Especially parents, think about all that they have done for you (not what they have not done): provide for you, raise you, give a lot of their lives just for you, etc. Love them and trust God to work on their hearts.

    Also, one last thing for long term relationships (like family): it is God who will open their hearts, so pray and pay attention. Think about what it looks like when God’s Spirit is moving on someone’s heart: conviction for sin, interest in the bible, looking for answers, etc. When you see those things happening praise God and step in to help lead them to Christ. In the meantime, obey the commandments in Matthew 22:37-40 and relax.

  • Ryan Fishel

    Thoroughly enjoyed the article, Chris. And it wasn’t till I finished I realized you had written it. You’re book Holy Ground has been on my to-get list. Looking forward to it.

    Many thanks for your writings; they are spot-on with our ministry.

    Ryan Fishel
    Church-Planting in the R. of Ireland

    • Chris Castaldo

      Thanks, Ryan. I am just across the Irish Sea in London at the moment. I wish I could make it over to you to grab a beverage together. All the best, brother. Please keep in touch!

  • Marcy

    Thank you, Chris, and everyone else who commented. This family member is 32 so I won’t likely be reading a book with her :-); however, I am encouraged that I am doing many of the other things, by God’s grace. Thank you and blessings for your encouragement!

  • Rodrigo

    Thank you, Chris; what a blessing this article is. I was wondering about it today, as I sent a brief evangelistic devotional to a colleague about recognizing Jesus as one’s personal savior. He replied to me with a warmful but clearly “standard” response that ‘yes, we got to have faith in God to assist us on our journey’, but I know he could be described as you put ‘partially evangelized’ as new life in Christ, sanctification, etc, are not present. I was wondering how difficult it is to tell that he missed the point although his response was not 100% wrong, but wrong enough to be eternally lost.

    I totally agree with the relational approach for this kind of situations, and it automatically confronts me personally (which is a blessing) to battle for a better comprehension of the gospel by others through continuous relationship, instead of the take-it-or-leave-it approach. God bless you, Chris.

  • Jimmy Justice


    Your apology is much appreciated. Thank you.

    In the early 90’s I left “the Broken Religious System” through much pain, tears, and “Spiritual Abuse.”

    The benefit, “all things work together for good,” – the “Spiritual Abuse” caused me to go to Jesus, who
    said, “they shall be ALL taught of God.” Jn 6:45. the Holy Ghost… shall teach you all things. Jn 14:26
    My sheep hear My Voice and follow me. Jn 10:27 Every one that is of the truth hears My Voice. Jn 18:37

    Found out, Jesus is the best teacher – when you’re looking for truth – Yes?

    You write… “But the solution is not to give up on the church.” And I would agree with that.
    Because… Jesus, He is the head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out ones) the Church.

    I never gave up on “the Church of God.” I gave up on, and left, “the Religious System” I was a part of.
    But – I never left “the Church of God” the body of Christ. I never left Jesus. And He never left me.

    Jesus didn’t reform “the Corrupt Religious System” of His day. And that was the system He set up.
    Jesus left “the Religious System.” And “called out some” (the ekklesia) into a relationship with Him.

    I read a little of your blog, and we’re in agreement about… “to help the “partially evangelized” become
    fully devoted Christ followers.” I spend time with many who have rejected the Main Line Denoms and
    point them to Jesus. Their Rock and their Salvation. Ps 62:2.

    Much agreement when you write in the *First Paragraph* on your Gospel Renewal page…

    1 – “men and women thirst for a living relationship with Jesus, the water of life.”
    2 – “it is possible **to have membership in a church** without possessing this life.
    Such people are “partially evangelized”…

    Yes, that’s why I left “the System.” To find Jesus, to find the “Truth.” Found out most of what is taught
    on Sunday mornings is mostly “Tradtions of men” that nullify the word of God and NOT “Truth.”

    You quote George Barna on your Gospel Renewal page and he reports, in his book “Revolution” that from his research – most today who are leaving the Main Line Institutions – are more committed to Jesus, more on fire for God, more likely to study and trust in the scriptures – than those who are warming pews expecting someone to feed them.

    That’s been my real life experience since leaving “the Broken Religious System” I was in bondage too.
    Those I’ve met, outside of the Institution, “thirst for a living relationship with Jesus, the water of life.”
    And Jesus does not disappoint those who put their faith and trust in Him for eternal life, for salvation.

    What is popular is not always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is not always popular.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  • Chris Castaldo

    Jimmy, a Docetic ecclesiology is no ecclesiology.

  • Jimmy Justice



    Having to look up “Docetic.”

    Maybe you can help – What does “Docetic ecclesiology” mean to you.

    And can you please explain with words that I can understand. Sorry…

  • Jimmy Justice


    Found “Docetic” on Wikipedia. Thanks. I didn’t even know this belief existed.

    “In Christianity, docetism (from the Greek δοκέω dokeō, “to seem”) is the belief that Jesus’ physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die. This belief treats the sentence “the Word was made Flesh” (John 1:14) as merely figurative. Docetism has historically been regarded as heretical by most Christian theologians.”

    Well, that’s NOT me or my beliefs. I’ve always believed “the Word was made Flesh” John 1:14

    Real flesh, real blood, real crucifixion, real death, real resurrection…

  • Chris Castaldo

    Thanks, Jimmy. Just one more step and you’ll also have a real church.

  • Jimmy Justice


    Once again…
    Can you help – What does “Docetic ecclesiology” mean?
    Can you recommend any info or any place on the web that explains “Docetic ecclesiology?”

    There’s a good chance I might agree with you when you say…
    “a Docetic ecclesiology is no ecclesiology.”

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  • Jimmy Justice


    I was really hoping you had some information on “Docetic ecclesiology.” Seems the only people I can find talking about “Docetic ecclesiology” was one Greek Orthadox seminary and Roman Catholics. And the Catholics are saying that Protestant and Reformed ecclesiology is “Docetic ecclesiology.” Protestant and Reformed ecclesiology is NOT real…

    And only Catholic ecclesiology is correct. Only Catholics have an ecclesiology that is real.

    This is from a site titled – “Called to Communion.”

    ***This is the second and third paragraphs of this article and these Catholics say…
    **faith in Christ is not sufficient by itself to make a person a member of the body of Christ;**

    “In the Protestant paradigm, anyone who has true faith in Christ is ipso facto a member of the one Church that Christ founded. This Protestant paradigm does not acknowledge that Christ founded a visible hierarchically organized Body.1 By contrast, the Catholic Church for 2,000 years has believed and taught that the incarnate Christ founded a visible, hierarchically organized Body. In the Catholic paradigm, **faith in Christ is not sufficient by itself to make a person a member of this Body;** a believer is incorporated into this Body by valid baptism, but is removed from this Body either by heresy, apostasy, schism, or excommunication.

    The Reformed confessions affirm the visibility of the Church, so that raises a particular question: with respect to visibility, how is Reformed ecclesiology distinct both from the common Protestant ecclesial paradigm and from Catholic ecclesiology? In this article we first show that Christ founded His Church as a visible Body, and why He did so. Then we present the various positions and argue that **the Reformed ecclesiology** is equivalent in essence to the common **Protestant ecclesial** paradigm.”

    ***This is the 44th paragraph of this article…
    B. What Does Ecclesial Docetism Look Like in Practice?

    “In practice, **ecclesial docetism** entails *ecclesial consumerism,* because it eliminates the notion of finding and submitting to *the Church that Christ founded.* In the mindset of “ecclesial docetism,” what one looks for, insofar as one looks, is a community of persons who share one’s own interpretation of Scripture. In *ecclesial docetism* the identity of the Church is not determined by form and matter, but by form alone. Which form? The form of one’s own interpretation of Scripture. This reveals why there are so many different Protestant denominations, worship centers, and ecclesial communities, none of them sharing the three bonds of unity with any of the others. Just as the practical effect of docetism is a Christ of our own making, disconnected from the historical flesh-and-blood Christ, so the practical effect of *ecclesial docetism* is a Church made in the image of our own interpretation, disconnected from the historical Church.”

    Seems when the Catholics say – Docetic ecclesiology – They are saying – anything other then their beliefs, their church, what they seem to think is “The Historical Church” – is Doceitism, NOT real.

    Seems when the Catholics say – Docetic ecclesiology – Everything that is Protestant ecclesiology and Reformed ecclesiology – is Doceitism, NOT real.

    If this is NOT what you mean when you say “Docetic ecclesiology”…
    If you mean something other then – Protestant ecclesiology and Reformed ecclesiology – is Doceitism, NOT real…
    And – The Protestants and Reformed are “disconnected from the historical Church.”

    Please explain what you mean when you say – “a Docetic ecclesiology is no ecclesiology.”