New Reformation Books – Review – C. Castaldo

In today’s post we return to a Reformation 500 book theme – only a few weeks left in our year-long commemoration of the great Reformation of the 16th century!

In Christianity Today’s book review section pastor Chris Castaldo recently reviewed two new books that treat Catholic-Protestant relations in connection with the Reformation. About such a subject he has this to say by way of introduction:

During this 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses—the Reformation’s start by traditional reckoning—we see extremes. Some Christians are foaming at the mouth like pit bulls, going for the jugular of their Catholic or Protestant opponents. Others are so open-minded that their brains fall out of their heads. Such variety is reflected in books, conferences, and in general discussion of things Catholic and Protestant. Two books published this year offer bright shining examples of how the conversation should be engaged—with warm hearts, respectful attitudes, and seriousness about theological detail.

We will skip the first one (treating Peter Kreeft’s Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other?), and look at the second one, since that is also one recently added to the seminary library (after a profitable trip to Baker Book House in Grand Rapids).

Roman-not-Catholic-2017This is how Castaldo starts his treatment of the second book:

The second book is Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years after the Reformation by Kenneth J. Collins and Jerry L. Walls, both evangelical Protestants. They share Kreeft’s gift for conveying theological substance with clarity, and their work is extraordinary for its far-ranging scope and depth of analysis. Focusing preeminently on Roman Catholicism, it is written to help Catholics become more informed and to encourage Protestants to more earnestly embrace their rich catholic heritage.

In another paragraph the reviewer summarizes the key points of the book:

Roman but Not Catholic addresses the most important questions in the opening chapters: What do Roman Catholics and Protestants share in common? How does Catholic tradition relate to the church’s various traditions? What is the role of Scripture? And is Rome necessary to enjoy the fullness of apostolic faith? Following from these important chapters are 16 more that probe the most significant topics, including church authority, revelation, sacraments, priesthood, papacy, popular Catholic apologetics, Mary, justification, and more. The conclusion, with the book’s title in mind, asserts that Rome’s exclusive claims inevitably lead to “sola Roma,” a self-referential position that detracts from the genuine catholicity of the church.

This looks to be a good read to me, but I am not sure when I will get at this book. But perhaps you will have time, and if this is the type of Reformation 500 book that interests you, Roman But Not Catholic may be the place to start. For the rest of the reviews of these books, use the link above.

I have read the reviewer’s own book on Protestant-Catholic relations (he is a convert from Roman Catholicism; cf. his Talking with Catholics about the Gospel), and found it profitable. If you are interested in more by him, He blogs at www.chriscastaldo.com.

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