Some Books I’ve Read Recently on Roman Catholicism

It would be good for me to keep readers updated on what I’ve been reading in the field of Roman Catholicism. Over the last four months or so, I’ve read the following nine volumes: Catholicism, by Robert Barron; Catholicism: East of Eden, by Richard Bennett; The Church of Rome at the Bar of History, by William Webster; The Reformation’s Conflict With Rome, by Robert Reymond; The Roman Catholic Controversy, by James White; Roman Catholicism, by Loraine Boettner; Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Karl Keating; Ecumenism and Philosophy, by Charles Morerod; and Are We Together? by R.C. Sproul. I’ll give some brief thoughts on each volume.

The book by Robert Barron is a very well-written book indeed. Barron is a Roman Catholic priest who has written a book that seeks to get at the heart of Roman Catholicism. It is not a polemical book. He touches only briefly on matters related to apologetics. It is instead a constructive book. There are chapters of straight doctrinal explanation, but there are also many stories and biographies whereby he seeks to illustrate the earlier chapters of exposition. He posits that the great principle of Catholicism is the Incarnation (p. 1). In answer to the question of how this is distinct from Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy, he answers that they don’t “embrace the doctrine in its fullness” (p. 3). In his view, the entire Incarnation includes the church via the doctrine of the totus Christus: “Mary is the summation of Israel” (p. 6). He is entirely up-front about the syncretistic nature of Roman Catholicism (although he would almost certainly not use this word): “Part of the genius of the Catholic tradition is that it never throws anything out!” (p. 8). There are many fascinating insights into the nature of Roman Catholicism in this book, even though it cannot be reckoned a comprehensive study of Roman Catholicism.

Loraine Boettner’s book has been the mainstay of Protestant apologetics vis-a-vis Rome ever since it was published. It is a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are many powerful arguments against Roman Catholicism in its pages, arguments that Roman Catholic apologists almost universally ignore in their assiduity in pointing out Boettner’s errors. There are definitely errors in Boettner’s book, errors that seriously hamper the particular arguments connected with them. Probably the most glaring error is the sources quoted, which are not mainstream Roman Catholic sources usually, but often sensationalist literature. However, in his favor, as I said, there are many powerful arguments that the Roman Catholic apologists have not answered.

Karl Keating’s book was rather disappointing. The bugaboo here is the definition of “fundamentalism.” Sometimes the way he uses the term is something with which I can agree. At other times, he paints the Reformed faith with fundamentalism’s colors when they do NOT agree, thus producing some rather severe distortions. Plus, he only attacks Boettner’s problems, and never gets around to addressing Boettner’s strong arguments, of which there are many.

Richard Bennett’s book is one of the two very best books from a Protestant perspective that I have so far read (the other being Sproul’s book). Not only is Bennett a former Roman Catholic, and thus someone in the know, and able to describe the system from within, but also he is not bitter about his experience. There is no trace of the bombastic bitterness so characteristic of many others who have left the Roman Catholic church.

William Webster’s book is also written by an ex-Roman Catholic, and is especially good at the historical aspects of the debate, as you might expect from the title. Webster deals with biblical and systematic theological arguments in other volumes (which I will note in further posts, most likely).

Robert Reymond’s book has some good points, but also some illogical points that will turn some readers off. For instance, in his review of Sungenis’s book Not By Faith Alone, he criticizes Sungenis for not dealing with Mary, saints, relics in the Vatican document released on August 6, 2000 “Declaration ‘Dominus Iesus’ On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church.” But Sungenis’s book was on justification, not on these other topics. Also, he criticizes Sungenis for attempting such a work when his only degree is an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary! This is highly illogical. A Ph.D. is a piece of paper signifying that someone can do research. By no means does it prove that a person can do good research. Conversely, a person without a Ph.D. can sometimes do far better research than someone with more letters after their name. Not my first recommendation for a Protestant book on the subject, though he still has some good points to make.

The book by James White is characteristic of White’s work: thoughtful, not bombastic, workmanlike. White tends to focus on narrower issues. As a result, he is a good resource for individual issues like Sola Scriptura, not so much for seeing Roman Catholicism as a whole. The organization of this book is not nearly as good as some of his other books. The treatment of Sola Scripture, for instance, though good, is split up into varying and unconnected chapters!

Charles Morerod’s book spends most of its time seeking to delineate the idea of paradigm, and then applying that idea to ecumenical dialogue. There are definitely important insights here, though none of them were new to me. I am quite familiar with Popper and Kuhn, and I also already believed that Roman Catholicism was a completely different paradigm from Protestantism. Describing that difference of paradigms will be a major challenge, of course.

Sproul’s book is most certainly the best short book from the Protestant perspective that I have read. Sproul’s trademark getting-to-the-gist of things quickly and memorably is on magnificent display in this volume. I am fairly confident (and have already received indications from Roman Catholics) that Roman Catholicism is not caricatured in this book. This makes it especially valuable as a book to give to Protestants and Roman Catholics who are curious about the differences. I have yet to see a Roman Catholic book that gets Protestantism correct without caricature. And I have seen plenty of Protestant caricatures of Roman Catholicism, too. But here is a real gem.

I am currently reading Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Ludwig Ott; the Summa Theologiae, by Thomas Aquinas, and The Catechism of the Catholic Church, all of which are very slow reads indeed. Ott and Aquinas are both very dense, of course. My reading of the Catechism is slow because I am looking up every single marginal cross-reference to other parts of the Catechism, which means that I am reading the catechism at least twice.


  1. Dennis said,

    October 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm


    It sounds like all the reading is giving you a better understanding of Catholicism.

    Just wanted to mention that Fr. Robert Barron did a series of videos last year called Catholicism that was recently on PBS. I was a little leery when I first saw it was going to be aired as it was on PBS but it turned out to be excellent.

  2. Hugh said,

    October 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Also, for general discussions:

    Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us, 1998, ed. John Armstrong, and

    Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, 1995, eds. Geisler & MacKenzie.

    And don’t forget to read Henry Hudson’s Papal Power, and Ecclesiastical Megalomania: The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church by John Robbins. Both on sale:

  3. Hugh said,

    October 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm


  4. October 31, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I appreciate all your good work here, since I don’t have the time to do all this reading. You motivate me to get Sproul’s book

  5. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Dennis, does the video series expand much on the book, or is it pretty much a verbal version of the book?

  6. olivianus said,

    October 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Readings on Rome are incomplete without stuff from the older perspective:

    1. The Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome by
    Edward Stillingfleet notes by W. Cunningham

    2. Dialogue Between a Popish priest and an English Protestant by Matthew Poole

    3. Vatican Assassins by Eric Phelps

  7. olivianus said,

    October 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Oh and I forgot the main one:

    Ancient Christianity by Isaac Taylor

  8. October 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm


    The DVD set is breathtakingly beautiful. Or satanically dystopic, depending on your point of view, I guess.

  9. infanttheology said,

    October 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm


    “Sproul’s book is most certainly the best short book from the Protestant perspective that I have read.”

    I would submit that *the* Protestant perspective is probably not the best way to be talking.

    Ah, why are we Lutherans so invisible in these matters of ecclesiology?

    My attempt to remedy in a big way…onward with the (very) conservative Reformation:

    ~Nathan Rinne

  10. Dennis said,

    October 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm


    I have not read the book but from what I understand, the book and the video go hand in hand. From reading some of the reviews of the book on Amazon, they said the video makes the book easier to understand as he’s actually talking about Jesus’ birth at the sight of the Nativity.

    I haven’t seen the whole video (ten DVDs–one for each chapter?) only the part that was shown on the air. If you want a preview, EWTN is showing a portion this week on Saturday at 11:00 pm EDT.

    Like Jason said…breathtakingly beautiful.

  11. Kathrin said,

    October 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Granted, I did not read all the books on your list, but here is my observation:
    The majority of Protestant writers from the United States seems to afflict advance that there is only one flavor of Protestantism, namely the US-American. At the same time it seems to be completely unknown to them, that there is not only in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.
    This distorts the outlook in both directions. This planet has more continents than North America and on these continents Protestant theology is taught.
    Protestants in Europe do not know the “special doctrines” of the US-American Protestants. Here biblical texts and reformatory ideas are interpreted more liberally. Calvinist and Puritan ideas have much less influence on the theology and even less on people’s everyday lives. So, I learned a lot from James White (i.e.) on us-American perceptions and lifestyle and fears, but nothing about Protestantism as a whole, and certainly nothing about the Catholic Church, These authors seem rather defend their very specific and clear us-based beliefs and have very little idea of the diversity of Protestant theology.

  12. Hugh said,

    October 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Jason @ #8,

    Not having seen any of the series, I’d venture to guess it’s both/and, not either/or.

  13. October 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm


    Wow, a Catholic gets dealt a “both/and card” by a Protestant. Well played, sir. Well. Played.

  14. Bob S said,

    October 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Hmphhmm, 11. Have you said your rosary yet today? If not why not? How about your scapular? Are you wearing it at all times, even in the shower? (Yeah, they’re only supposed to be for the religious, but we had when we were kids.) Signed up for the Knights of Columbus vigil of the sacrament yet? You know, the monstrance thing with the little glass door for the wafer. It looks like a Babylonian stylized sunburst in brass and everybody kneels before it and says prayers. Didn’t think so.

    I must say though, if brevity is the soul of the combox hit, you at least got that covered compared to our other J, but at least I don’t have to ask him to get up to theological speed, just editing.


  15. Bob S said,

    October 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Excuse me, where were we? Oh, books?
    Well, I enjoyed Reymond’s title the most of the ones listed, though I missed what GB picked up on.
    Others would include the reprint of Poole.
    The Free Presbyterians also put out something on Pope Benedict on the occasion of his visit to the UK.

    But the one that takes the cake in light of the recent CtC fixation on celebrity conversions is Chiniquy’s Fifty Years in the Church of Rome and his followup of Forty Years in the Church of Christ.

    Charles Chiniquy (1809-99) was a French Canadian, brought up on the Bible from a child who became a priest in Quebec. Known as the Apostle of Temperance in the North, he ended up moving his flock to Illinois and when he and his church left Rome, Abraham Lincoln was their attorney in the suit against the Bishop of Chicago to get their property back. Eventually they joined the Presbyterian Church of Canada and Chiniquy spoke and preached in Europe, America, Canada and Australia at times accompanied by Romish mobs and stones. All in all an interesting biography from someone well acquainted with both the Christian church and its counterfeit.

  16. Pete Holter said,

    October 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Greetings in Christ, GreenBaggins!

    Father Barron puts out a lot of short videos on his website,, under the WOF TV tab. I’m not sure how much he gets into “authority” in the Catholicism Project, but here’s a video of his on “Protestantism and Authority” that you might like to think about:

    Have a blessed day!

    In Christ,

  17. October 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    As for Boettner, his book was published in 1962 – just before Vatican II got underway. So, in some senses, his book was already out of date when it was published.

    As for Reymond’s strange remark about M.Divs publishing books – I guess, in his view, F. F. Bruce shouldn’t have written any books because he didn’t have a Ph.D! or Calvin, either!

  18. Wayne Sparkman said,

    October 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    It would be an interesting project if you would next review the long OPC history of speaking to Roman Catholicism, from Van Til on through Strimple, Olinger and others.

  19. Hugh said,

    October 31, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Pete #16,

    Rev Barron says his “Catholic soul balked” at McGrath’s thesis of gradual consensus. “Somehow, it seems to me,” Barron bemoans, “we do need a voice, finally, that can determine for us the truth of things, when there is this tremendous disagreement.”

    He trumps Anglican McGrath with beatified ex-Anglican Newman. Both pine[d] for a standard to adjudicate all matters. “A living voice,” as Padre Barron reiterates.

    That’s the rub – is John 17 speaking of outward, external, liturgical, confessional, governmental uniformity / mere carnal conformity?

    Newman said a living voice is “indispensible,” acc. to Fr B. Because the religious crave assurance they have the right church with the right organization, right doctrine, all matters pertaining to faith and practice. Tidy.

    That’ll lead you either to Rome, Constantinople, or a cult.

  20. andrew b said,

    October 31, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Wow, helpful post, GB.


  21. November 1, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Ott is a good resource on dogma. That said, Ott’s Thomism is way too conservative for what passes for theology today in Catholic seminaries.

  22. Nathanael said,

    November 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    If you want to know what is being taught in American Catholic seminaries these days I would recommend Francis Schüssler Fiorenza and John P. Galvin, eds., Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives. (This is the book that they assign at Marquette and I’ve heard it is assigned elsewhere.) I think the liberal Catholic book that Wayne Grudem recommends is Catholicism, by Richard P. McBrien.

  23. Sean Patrick said,

    November 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    “However, in his favor, as I said, there are many powerful arguments that the Roman Catholic apologists have not answered.”

    I’ve read Boettner’s book and I can’t think of any argument that he makes that is particulary challenging to the Catholic position. Maybe you could highlight the aruguments you find powerful at some point?

  24. Hugh said,

    November 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Having read Keating, but not Boettner, I have a negative view of the latter’s work on RCism.

    Lane, what are L.B.’s strong points?
    Link to something available?

  25. Hugh said,

    November 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I note in reading Far From Rome, Near to God or The Truth Set Us Free,

    vs. Journeys Home, Hahn’s Sweet Rome, & Surprised by Truth,

    that the former testimonies are calls to Christ (and hence, salvation) via conversion (passive),

    as opposed to calls to join Rome (and hence, doubt) via converting (active).

    The ex-priests and nuns were converted to Chist, while the ex-whatevers (Prots, Jews, atheists, etc.) chose to convert to Romanism.

    [This isn’t peculiar to Roman Catholic conversions – Eastern Orthodox conversion stories are similar.]

  26. greenbaggins said,

    November 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Hugh and Sean, I’ll write a separate blog post about L.B.’s strong points.

  27. greenbaggins said,

    November 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Wayne, would you be willing to compile a reading list of those OPC authors you mention, as well as others who might be relevant to such an avenue of exploration?

  28. infanttheology said,

    November 2, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Hello all,

    So I have been following this conversation. I know that this post has nothing to do with Lutherans, but I am very curious as to whether any of you have ever considered the Lutherans and their claims and if not, why not.

    I am curious to learn, even as I do not want to hi-jack this thread. Please ignore my question if you think now is not the proper time or place.

    Thank you.

    greenbaggins – looking forward to that post!

    +Nathan Rinne

  29. Hugh said,

    November 2, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Greenbag @26 – Thanks!

    BabyTheo @ 28 – There are two types of Christians:
    [1] Lutherans, and
    [2] those who wish they were Lutheran. :)

    We can discuss this via email if you wish.
    Hugh McCann
    hughmc5 hotmail

  30. Hugh said,

    November 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Sean @23,

    Have you found any Prot argument anywhere that is “particulary challenging to the Catholic position”?

    You CTC guys seem dialed in with authority, transub., and afterlife issues (Mary, merit, purgatory). A veritable fortress impenetrable.

    Happy All Souls’ Day,* BTW!

    * Correct me, Sean: Is not All Souls’ Day to celebrate Mass & pray for souls in purgatory ~who’ve not yet attained the beatific vision in Heaven~ while Saints’ is to commemorate those who have?

    In the low-church Anglican tradition, All Saints’ is to commemorate saints & martyrs w/o special days assigned them. We pray for God’s “grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living.” But not to pray to the deceased.

    All Souls’ (for Anglo-Prots) is to remember those who have entered the hereafter and to “bless God’s holy hame for all his servants departed this life in His faith and fear.” But not to pray for the dead.

  31. Wayne Sparkman said,

    November 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm


    Be glad to. Have it for you next week.

  32. johnbugay said,

    November 6, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Infanttheology #28: This is probably one of the more popular and even-handed Reformed blogs, and many of the readers here are either pastors or seminary students.

    In response to your question, “I am very curious as to whether any of you have ever considered the Lutherans and their claims and if not, why not” — I’ve been participating in a limited discussion on Facebook between Lutherans and Reformed folks (more heavily weighted Lutheran), and I am surprised at the intensity with which some Lutherans dislike some Reformed doctrines. For example, Question 1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism came up: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God” — I know (now) that Lutherans are fond of Luther’s contrast of “Theologians of the Cross” and “Theologians of Glory”, but this brief statement from the WSC seemed to take some heavy fire. Also, the Reformed doctrine of election takes a beating, and also Calvin’s views of the sacraments. They also take some issue with the RPW.

    At least one of the commenters there is the pastor of a church. But the statement from Hugh on “two types of Christians” in 29 above, seems very descriptive of the way the Lutherans in this discussion seem to think about things.

  33. Sean said,

    November 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm


    # 32. But none of those differences between Lutherans and Presbyterians are ‘essential’ right? (See discussion on Lane’s post about “Boettner’s Good Points”)

  34. Hugh said,

    November 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    John.32 & Nathan.28 – is there a forum online to discuss our diffs? I appreciate much of both Luther & Calvin. But this is not the time or place…

  35. Hugh said,

    November 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Will you please answer my question in post 30?

  36. Hugh said,

    November 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Dear Lane,

    I know this will read cliche and even trite, but as every Prot here knows, the ironically named epistle of Paul to the Romans is the best anti-Roman Catholic book in the world.

    Add to it the likes of Galatians and Hebrews, and with those three strikes, she’s out.

    Our shield and sword are the Word of God, not men. Colossians 2, too!

  37. johnbugay said,

    November 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Hugh 34, the forum is called the “Lutheran and Reformed Discussion/Debate Group”. It was started by and is run by Andrew Clover. I’d think you could search his name on FB and find it.

  38. johnbugay said,

    November 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Sean 33: any disagreements between the Reformed and Lutherans are minor in character compared with the massive errors of Rome. Rome’s errors are of a whole different order.

  39. Hugh said,

    November 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    37.johnbugay – Thanks!

    38.johnbugay – Amen!

    Looks like Sean’s retreated into CTC shell…

  40. David Meyer said,

    November 13, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Hugh #19,
    “That’s the rub – is John 17 speaking of outward, external, liturgical, confessional, governmental uniformity…”



    The Catholicism series is a really polished production made for television (think PBS/Nova style). I highly reccommend it. I think of Fr. Barron is similar in style to R.C. Sproul, very nice, never rude or arrogant, and they have the rare ability to explain a complex doctrine to a child or a scholar, sometimes to both at the same time. They are also philosophers to start, which helps them to give a broad picture of things, and to give very clear analogies and explainations. The Catholicism series is excellent for another reason, which is Catholics are proud to have a religion they see as being for the five senses in perhaps a more forceful way than much of Protestantism. A polished series like this is a good way to show things a book cannot. (although we don’t have smell-o-vision yet unfortunately).
    It is available to download via Bittorrent if you are inclined.
    The public library may even have it, and many local Catholic parishes have it and would lend it.

  41. Hugh said,

    November 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Dear Deceived David @40,

    Nay, but read the whole of John 17. All that remains is the ingathering of those who have yet to “hear, believe, call on the Lord & be saved” (cf. Rom. 10:8-14). Then, these become one with we who have been made one with the Father and with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The rest of Christ’s high priestly prayer has been answered in the affirmative in his redemption of his elect:

    He is glorified, he keeps us, his joy is fulfilled in us,
    we are kept from the evil [one], we ARE one,
    he has given us his glory, and we are loved.
    Savingly & certainly;
    not potentially if we join the “rite” church, receive the pope as Vicarius Christi, attend Mass, make confession, pray Pater Nosters, Ave Marias, The Regina Caeli, etc., ad nauseam.

    There IS complete unity and love in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and the regenerate elect. Nothing stands between us, as Christ has propitiated for our sins. At least, in the biblical system.

    David, be as “proud” of your “religion” as you may, it cannot save. Solus Christus, man, solus Christus. Come back to Christ, per Rev. 2:4f.

  42. Hugh said,

    November 13, 2012 at 10:51 am


    I recommend Tyndale’s The Obedience of the Christian Man!

  43. Hugh said,

    November 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Re: Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua, J.N. Darby wrote:

    The secret of the course of Dr. Newman’s mind is this — it is sensuous; and so is Romanism. He never possessed the truth, nor, in the process he describes, sought it: he had never found rest or peace in his own soul, nor sought it where it is to be found, according to the holiness of God. He sank into that system where the mind often finds quiet from restless search after repose, when wearied in judging for itself, but never peace with God. This is positively denied and denounced in the Roman Catholic system. In his search he was never — and this difference is all-important — on the true ground or principle of true faith at all. These things his book shews.

  44. David Meyer said,

    November 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Like I said, apologists like R.C. Sproul and Father Barron are few and far between. I have been exposed to a boatload of each of their teaching, and never would they stoop to namecalling and bellitleing. I didn’t even bother to read the rest of your comment.

  45. Hugh said,

    November 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks, David. I urged you to come back to Christ (Rev. 2:4f).

    Comparing Sproul to your Barron is also namecalling and belittling. The latter is a bona fide false teacher. Oh yeah, you only read perjorative comments by your own.

  46. Hugh said,

    November 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Lane, David, et. al.,

    Sproul saith:

  47. Dennis said,

    November 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm


    Do you actually read the posts or do you just come on here to comment?

    Lane gave his review of this book in the post. I’m quite sure he appreciates your recommendation though.

    Lane, while you’re at it, you should check out Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott. LOL.


  48. Hugh said,

    November 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks D.,

    (1) I read the post (but ’twas weeks ago).

    (2) Was trying to be inclusive.

    (3) Don’t read Protestants.

  49. Bob S said,

    November 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    43 Source for that quote, Hugh? It’s pretty good.
    Wouldn’t expect something like that from the founder of the Plymouth Brethren, but he was originally an Anglican back in the day when it was more of an orthodox protestant church.

  50. Hugh said,

    November 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Bob S ~

    Volume 18
    Analysis of Dr. Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua: with a glance at the history of Popes, Councils, and the Church: 1 2 3

    From Part one:

  51. Bob S said,

    November 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    50. Whoa. Wait a minute. Darby’s criticism of the two Newman brothers, one who became atheist, the other popish:

    One thing is striking in both; they seek to persuade us by shewing, in their respective books, that they were wrong, and had each of them to give up everything he held on the points in question. This is singular. Each of these books shews us a mind step by step giving up what they held as true, and finding they were wrong at each step. This has an air of candour. But did it lead them to distrust themselves? Quite the contrary. They would have us embrace the conclusions they have come to, and in which they profess to have the greatest confidence, though in every previous step they had found themselves wrong. . . . . It does seem to me that this shews, not confidence in the truth (for what they supposed such they gave up), but the attaching an immense importance to their own views — I am afraid I must say, to themselves, meaning by that, to the processes of their own minds.

    Deja vu you know who, a couple of philosophical brothers CtC or three.

    Another way of saying it might be that Romanism is the height of arrogance for private judgement in its assertion of the pope’s private judgement over Christ, if not Scripture, reason and history.

    Plymouth Brethren notwithstanding, so far this guy is a lot sounder than some of our PCA seminary graduates/award winning exegetes.

  52. Hugh McCann said,

    November 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Amen, Bob S. Ironically, the CTC-ers and other converts or reverts all decry the Protestant conscience, immoratilzed in Luther’s great stand @ Worms. Yet they exalt their reason, conscience, intellect, insight, etc. as sufficient to lead them to Rome’s “light.”

  53. sean said,

    November 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Darby’s criticism is profound.

  54. November 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm


    As promised (finally), here is a beginning list of readings in the OPC apologetic towards Roman Catholicism. I’m sure much more could be added, and I’ve probably overlooked an especially important title or two. For your reading, I would suggest starting with the Olinger articles.

    Roman Catholicism and the OPC Apologetic

    Olinger, Danny, “How Evangelical Is Rome? Van Til, Strimple, and Roman Catholicism,” in Confident of Better Things: Essays Commemorating Seventy-Five Years of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Willow Grove, PA: The Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2011. pp. 25-48.
    This is an important introduction to the OPC apologetic in regard to Roman Catholicism. See also Olinger’s initial sparing partner for this article, William Shea, The Lion and the Lamb: Evangelicals and Catholics in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    ____________, “A Primer on Vatican II,” in Ordained Servant. October 2010, pp. 80-87. []
    “An overview of Vatican II and its theological implications from a Reformed perspective.”

    Hart, Darryl G.
    “An Old Protestant on Americanist Christianity,” in Regeneration Quarterly, 1.1 (Winter 1995): 27-29.

    Strimple, Robert
    “Roman Catholic Theology Today,” in Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us. Edited by John Armstrong. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), pp. 85-117.

    “The Relationship between Scripture and Tradition in Contemporary Roman Catholic Theology,” Westminster Theological Journal, 40.1 (Fall 1977): 22-38.

    Van Til, Cornelius
    Van Til speaks to various issues within Roman Catholicism throughout his many works, often in passing as he deals with other matters. For example, see Apologetics, (P&R, 1976), p. 9. But for fuller treatments or lengthier sections, see the following:

    “Autonomy Plus Authority: Roman Catholicism,” in A Christian Theory of Knowledge. P&R, 1969, pp. 156-193.

    The Reformed Pastor and Modern Thought. Nutley, NJ: P&R, 1971. See esp. “The Reformed pastor and Traditional Roman Catholicism, pp. 73-106 and “The Reformed Pastor and Modern Roman Catholicism,” pp. 189-224.

    “The Roman Catholic View of Scripture,” in The Protestant Doctrine of Scripture, Vol. 1 of the series, In Defense of Biblical Christianity, pp. 31-35. See also Appendix, pp. 112-115.

    In Christianity and Barthianism (P&R, 1962), see “Medieval Dialecticism,” pp. 203-239; “Hans urs Von Balthasar,” pp. 319-357; and “Hans Kung, pp. 358-386.

    More for the guy in the pew, about twenty-five articles appeared on the pages of The Presbyterian Guardian during that periodical’s tenure. See the Dennison index available on the OPC web site for further information on those articles.

  55. Richard Cronin said,

    December 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Mr Baggins (Mr??)

    I’ve read a good few of the books mentioned here and i find they all fall – to some degree – on reading Catholicism through protestant lens. As a protestant I of course land on the protestant end of the debate but there is a way to read Catholicism in a catholic way and still disagree with it. To my mind then you need to get a hold of Leonardo Di Chirico’s book on Catholicism.

    De Chirico writes for Ref21 on Catholicism, he’s a Italian evangelical and well read. His basic thesis is that our understandings of Catholicism fail to take in the systemic nature of Catholicism, with the nature- grace motif wrapped around an ecclesiology that holds together many of what we protestants see as contradictory. As such he advocates that we likewise develop a critique of the system as opposed to the individual parts that we disagree with.

  56. Hugh McCann said,

    December 3, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Expensive tome, Richard! We prefer Ref21 sound-bites. :)

    Still, De Chirico’s a bit -how shall we say- circuitous? pedantic? obtuse?

  57. December 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    […] was very excited to see this book recommended to me, as I have been thinking along these lines for a while now. I agree with Richard […]

  58. December 6, 2012 at 6:18 am

    […] just recently, a commenter at Green Baggins recommended a work by Dr. Leonardo De Chirico, who is now a commentator for Reformation21, entitled […]

  59. MikeTX said,

    January 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

    A good selection to add to readings for grasping Catholicism’s understanding of itself is “The Spirit of Catholicism” by Karl Adam. He has some works available in text format in EWTN’s online library.

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