Back to work: Catholics and Evangelicals

The biggest part of our house painting project is complete.  We have primed and painted an entire two story house.  We still have to do all of the staining and varnishing but that is easy in comparison.  Hew, my body is killing me.  Boy is my wife a trooper!  She puts up with this and she works her hind end off.  Thanks honey.

Anyway, it is time to get back to work, no not with my day job but on this blog.  I started this blog to discuss issues between Catholics and Evangelicals and other issues of faith.  It is time to get busy on that topic.

I want to start by recommending a book on this topic. The best book I have ever read on the topic is Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences by Norman L. Geisler.

Here are a few reviews…

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A much needed book,

Reviewer: Timotheus Josephus (Wisconsin, USA)

As an evangelical, I found this book to be very helpful in providing a fair treatment of this topic. Rather than trying to paint Catholics in a negative light, Geisler attempts to sort through the theologies of Catholics and evangelicals in order to find out what things we agree on and also those things with which we disagree. Unlike some evangelicals, Geisler doesn’t appear to be on a ‘witch hunt’. He seems sincere in trying to have honest dialogue with Catholics and I think this is the main strength of this book.

Some of the differences addressed in this book are the canon of Scripture, papal infallibility, the role of sacraments, the role of Mary, purgatory, and justification. Geisler highlights areas of theological agreement and those practical areas such as evangelizing non-Christians, social reform, and education where evangelicals and Catholics can find common ground.

This book contains a wealth of information that would benefit Catholics and evangelicals along with helping us to better understand each other. Geisler and MacKenzie have given all of us a great resource for further dialogue. Buy this book if you are the least bit interested in getting to know the ‘other side’ in a more accurate light. This goes for Catholics and evangelicals.

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Charitable and Fair – but I’m still Catholic :),

Reviewer: "francisdesales@catholic.org" (Portland, ME United States)

I bought this book on a whim one day while browsing books, and I was very pleased with what I found. I had previously read Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating, as well as some books by Scott Hahn, Stephen Ray, among others. Reading those works, I became familiar with the arguments, and subsequently, the critiques of less than fair polemic works.

The positive comments from Catholics on the back cover (no less a figure than James Akin praised the work for its fairness) made me give in and buy it. The first section was wonderful, presenting the great amount of agreement we have in very charitable terms. The second section, where differences are discussed, the authors seem to go out of their way to "get it right." Most Catholic arguments for a given position are presented, and then refuted in generally kind, charitable terms. There are some exceptions though, where they leave out the most convincing arguments for the Catholic position. One glowing example is the chapter on justification. On page 227, some Catholic Scriptural arguments for their position are presented, and they cite such things as Matthew 5:12, 25:34, Romans 2:6, among others. Curiously missing from this, and hence never discussed, is James 2. One has to wonder why they would decline to interact with the one verse in the whole Bible that contains the clause "faith alone", and condemns it (James 2:24).

While I think that many of their arguments are very inadequate, and at times they seem to apply a double standard when quoting the fathers (depending on if the fathers seem to support or refute their positions), others are very well presented. In fact, their chapter on baptism got me thinking very, very hard. Wonderful stuff indeed.

This work stands miles apart from other works that are often used to refute Catholicism. In general, other books written in opposition to Catholicism lack scholarship, as if the authors don’t want their readers to check the sources, but rather just accept what they’re presented as fact (oftentimes fabricated out of thin air). Further, some authors show no interest in presenting the Catholic defense of a given doctrine. Geisler and MacKenzie go out of their way to footnote everything, present facts fairly, and make a genuine effort to initiate REAL discussion about the issues, and that is something that is greatly needed. Readers who are truly interested can easily identify and consult the source documents in their own time.

This is the book I give to my staunch Protestant friends who need to learn what the Church really teaches, but won’t trust Catholic sources.

The actual arguments and methodology contained within only merit 4 stars from a scholarly and logically consistent point of view, however, given that this book sets a new standard in dialogue, I have to give it 5. I truly hope this sets an example for the future of dialogue between Catholics and Evangelicals.

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What I am going to do is recommend that you get this book and read it. I will be starting a series based on this book. I will be discussing the practical issues that I run into all the time as I have conversations with both Catholics and evangelicals. Go get the book!

Join in on the conversation.

Have a great day! Wayne Moran

Find the complete series here.

waynem

About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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