Howard was a shining star among Protestant Evangelicals until his conversion to Catholicism in the 1980s, and that conversion is described and explained in this book. His decision shocked his former Evangelical compatriots, some of whom attacked him rather severely for it. Howard had already written several books on Christian themes--some dealing with his hero, C.S. Lewis--and has continued in recent years to write books discussing aspects of the Catholic faith. This work is a fascinating apologetic about the limitations of Evangelicalism and the fullness of liturgical Christianity. It has much within its pages that will benefit Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Howard's gift for making complicated issues clear has led some to call him "America's answer to C.S. Lewis."
Howard makes it clear that he still has a great love and respect for his Evangelical roots: this is by no means an anti-Evangelical book. He found, however, that despite all the passionate zeal that he felt earlier in his life, there was still something missing--something that he discovered could only be found (much to his surprise) in the liturgy. One of Howard's strengths is his ability to anticipate the objections that Protestants hold regarding each topic, which allows him to explain liturgical Christianity with greater clarity while still retaining what is good about the Evangelical approach. The fact that he once shared these objections gives added weight and open-mindedness to his discussion. It is clear that Howard's interest is to find the Truth, not to take sides in a partisan theological debate, and in that sense this book is perhaps something of a spiritual thriller. His tone is always optimistic, sympathetic, passionate, and informative. He brings to this book a clear love for Christianity that readers of any faith will likely find contagious. Catholics will come away with a greater understanding of the beauty and grandeur of their ancient faith, while non-Catholics will better understand why liturgical Christianity is the fullest expression of the faith as Christ intended.
If you have heard a lot of bad things about the Catholic faith but want to find out more for yourself, Howard's later book (_On Being Catholic_) is a better place to start. If, however, you are interested in learning why yet another prominent Protestant made a carefully reasoned and heartfelt decision to embrace liturgical Christianity, _Evangelical is Not Enough_ is the book for you. Howard is a clear, insightful and penetrating writer of great learning who believes very strongly in his subject, and his enthusiasm is evident on every page. He brings with him all the excitement and wonder of a convert who has discovered for the first time the Catholic faith as it really is, finding that it is a far different thing from what he had always heard and assumed. His surprise at what he found is evident, which is what makes this such an honest and touching account.
Tom Howard has written an excellent book here. It does not have to be read by a Catholic in order to gain great meaning from the work. As an evangelical, I can identify with what he discusses as lacking in the Church. He does a good job at identifying exactly the issues he sets out to work with: worshipping God in liturgy and sacrament. It is not a This-Is-Why-You-Should-Be-Catholic book, or at least does not necessarily have to be taken as a work of Catholic apologetics. He is aiming at the need in ANY church to identify its roots and appreciate 2,000 years of history in the communion of saints.
It was valuable to learn about the reason behind many traditions. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who sees the traditional liturgy as rote memorization, boring and irrelevant to their life. Tom Howard breaths life into doctrines and practices of the Church, both traditional evangelical and Catholic, that many people can lose sight of.
What I liked, though, is that he took it to the next step, claiming that worshipping God is not entirely subjective, i.e. it is objectively GOOD to have roots in tradition. So often Christians are comfortable with "whatever size fits" in worship, and don't consider that WHAT they do may be as important as how they FEEL when doing it.