Kevin J. Vanhoozer writes about the need for Christians to be evangelical and catholic in his book The Drama of Doctrine. I thought I would share this excellent paragraph:
“Catholicity” signifies the church as the whole people of God, spread out over space, across cultures, and through time. “We believe in one…catholic church.” The evangelical unity of the church is compatible with the catholic diversity. To say that theology must be catholic, then, is to affirm the necessity of involving the whole church in the project of theology. No single denomination “owns” catholicity: catholicity is no more the exclusive domain of the Roman Church than the gospel is the private domain of evangelicals. Catholic and evangelical belong together. To be precise: “catholic” qualifies “evangelical”. The gospel designates a determined word: catholicity, the scope of its reception. “Evangelical” is the central notion, but “catholic” add a crucial antireductionist qualifier that prohibits any one reception of the gospel from becoming paramount.”
In the context of this chapter Vanhoozer does not argue that all receptions of the gospel are equal. Rather, he sees the gospel as something that does find “more or less faithful” responses throughout the history of the church that we must recognize as often being legitimate receptions of the gospel for that place and time. We cannot act as if we got the gospel right just now. We can learn much from the reception history of the gospel by the church over the centuries.