Tuesday, October 17, 2017

“Roman but Not Catholic” is released today

Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years after the Reformation
Why Walls and Collins are not Roman Catholics
Today is the official release date for “Roman but Not Catholic”, a book by Jerry Walls and Ken Collins. The original title of the book was to be “Why I’m Not a Roman Catholic”, through the Brazos publishing house (a division of Baker Books) – perhaps a part of a pair of books which also featured “Why I’m Not a Protestant” (and similar to the “Why I’m Not a Calvinist/Arminian” pair in which Walls was one of the authors). But as the authors began to write, it soon became apparent that the subject matter was going to be too great for just a small book. So the book was moved to the Baker Academic division, and now at 464 pages, I think the intention is for this work to become a kind of textbook for seminary students.

I think this is highly appropriate. The late Fulton Sheen made the statement that “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.” (Foreword to Radio Replies Vol. 1, (1938) page ix”). While contesting Sheen’s numbers, I think it has to be admitted that very many Protestants don’t know what Roman Catholicism claims, nor what it is all about. Just to be fair, it seems that, in the era of “Pope Francis”, many Roman Catholics, too, show evidence of not knowing what “the Catholic Church” really is all about.

Here is the main point:

This work is preeminently about Roman Catholicism; it is not about Protestantism, at least not directly. Accordingly, we can save some of the Roman Catholic apologists, authors, and bloggers much wasted effort in pointing out that we are humbly, honestly, and forthrightly aware of many of the faults and missteps of Protestant theological traditions. However, that is not our topic. Therefore, to point out repeatedly the weaknesses of Protestantism in the face of serious reflection on Roman Catholicism, as some apologists are wont to do, is in our judgment just another way of changing the conversation, even shutting it down, so that the very real problems of the Roman Catholic tradition are never actually faced. We avoid such an egregious error. Thus Roman Catholicism (and its many claims) is after all the topic of this book, and we unswervingly pursue this throughout. To be sure, this subject is well worth the focus and effort, as the unfolding of the book will clearly demonstrate. It constitutes much of why neither of us is a Roman Catholic even today.

Jerry Walls and Kenneth Collins, Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years after the Reformation. Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition (from the Introduction).

My intention is to write a much larger review of this work, both here at Triablogue and also at Amazon.com. I also hope to do a deeper dive into several of the topics that deserve a more thorough treatment. (Ken Collins mentions in the introduction that each of the topics they discuss briefly could be, and in fact has been, the subject of intensive monographs on those topics, and in fact, I mentioned to Jerry Walls that his treatment of Newman was one of the best and most accessible that I had seen.)

But for now, I just want to bring it to everyone’s attention that this book exists, and that it is worth reading and knowing – especially for those who have concerns about things that Roman Catholic convert apologists have been saying over the years.

My name is mentioned early in the acknowledgements by co-author Ken Collins: “I am also grateful to John Bugay, Reformed apologist, who read the work and offered well-received and much-appreciated counsel.” I believed in this book project when I first heard about it, for all of the many reasons that I will (Lord willing) outline in the days to come, and I was eager to make myself available to the co-authors in any way that I could.

Disclaimer: The link above to the book is an Amazon affiliate link, and if you’d like to buy the book, you can help me to earn a commission by buying the book through that link – jb.


  1. Never thought I would buy a book authored by Jerry Walls.

  2. It's a pretty good book. Really good, in fact. About the only thing I disagree with is the level of charitably they give to Rome in spite of the things they have to say on the various issues throughout. But even with that, they arrive at some fairly biting conclusions.

  3. Thanks for letting us know about this book John, it looks great. I’m looking forward to reading it. Right now, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I’m reading Alister McGrath’s Christianity’s Dangerous Idea and Gregg Allison’s Roman Catholic Theology And Practice. Roman But Not Catholic would be a great reading after a finish those two. God bless.