Sunday, November 05, 2017

“A well-reasoned, informative, and truly helpful book about Roman Catholicism”

Fred Sanders TGC Review Roman but Not Catholic
Fred Sanders has written a very positive review of “Roman but Not Catholic” for The Gospel Coalition (TGC) website.

Acknowledging that “There’s a real need for clear and honest polemical literature about serious Christian differences”, he suggests that Collins and Walls have “raised the standard for how they should be written”:

What they can’t accept is simple: they object to the exclusive claims of the Church of Rome to be the one true church, and the only ecclesial entity deserving the title of catholic. With this focus, Collins and Walls work through the various doctrines and traditions that are distinctively Roman Catholic (in the areas of sacraments, priesthood, papacy, Mariology, and justification), citing the church’s own authoritative texts and respected spokesmen (the 1994 Catechism shows up a lot, and John Henry Newman is a recurring voice). They call in support from the Eastern churches to illustrate the areas in which Rome is peculiarly isolated in her truth claims. And throughout, Collins and Walls go deeper into the argument than any book I know of.

For example, I thought Jerry Walls’s treatment of Newman’s Doctrine of Development was the best I’d ever seen, and Sanders came to the same conclusion: “The caliber of the arguments and interlocutors in this chapter is impressive. This is no defensively short-sighted attempt to fend off Rome’s claims, but a real wrestling with the underlying issues, with considerable depth and refinement.”

The book is hefty enough and deep enough in its understanding that Sanders believes it will be less useful for the person in the pew struggling with these issues, and “more useful for pastors and teachers to read for themselves so they can replicate, mobilize, and contextualize the arguments in it.”

I would have appreciated having this book in 1983.

The key is that the authors do have a definite interest in convincing Roman Catholics to cease and desist immediately from their groundless boasting that the only way to be part of the universal church is to pledge allegiance to the Roman church….

As they explain in the introduction, Collins and Walls were moved to write the book because of the significant number of Protestant friends who were troubled by Roman Catholic claims.

In that sense, it’s a thorough and well-argued manual contra the Roman Catholic apologists of our era. Check out the full review and then “buy the book for your pastor or church library”.

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