Consider this scenario. Suppose I went on a short-term mission trip in January of 2004 and returned to the United States a month or so later. When my wife picks me up at the airport, she replies to my "What's new?" query with the following information: "Right after you left, a famous Hollywood actor and Academy-Award-winning director began promoting an R-rated motion picture about the crucifixion of Jesus. The star said his film reflects his conservative Roman Catholic understanding of the four gospels, the teachings of the Council of Trent, the mystical visions of three nuns, and the liturgy of his Latin Rite Church.
He considers it a very Marian film." I interrupt with, "So? Other than the distinct Catholic emphasis, biblical films are hardly new . . . . " Giving me a can't-believe-it-herself look, she replies, "Tighten your seatbelt. The movie may become the number-one box office hit of all time." My jaw drops. She adds, "There's more. The chief supporters of the movie are not Catholics but…evangelicals!" "No way," is all I can blurt out. "It's beyond what you can imagine," she says. "Throughout the country, evangelical churches of every size, shape, and denomination are buying hundreds of thousands of tickets and exhorting their members to pray for the film and take everyone they know to see it."
Had I actually been told such things upon returning from a short trip, I would have tried to convince myself that I had gotten caught in some kind of time warp. Sure, there has been widespread dialoguing between various evangelical denominations and the Church of Rome for years. And, yes, there has also been a growing resistance to evangelizing Catholics by most of the influential church leaders and pastors in the U.S. But nothing has developed (to my knowledge) to hasten the occurrence of such a mind-boggling event. Perhaps there's something I'm missing here.
What could possibly induce-almost overnight-evangelical shepherds all around the country to herd their flocks to feed on unabashedly Roman Catholic straw? How could this have happened? Furthermore, Catholicism is not the only critical element in all of this. Not by a long shot. Ecumenism, entertainment, and being weaned from the Scriptures all play substantial roles in the events taking place in the church today.