The widely read author and philosopher Peter Kreeft presents a unique book that focuses on the important beliefs that Catholics and Protestants share in common. He says this book is inspired by Christ's high priestly prayer in the Gospel of John "that they may be one," and by St. John Paul II's ecumenical encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, which is also based on Christ's prayer for unity. While there are still significant differences, Kreeft says that there has been a radical step of agreement on the single most important issue, justification. Kreeft says the style of the book is that of Pascal, Nietzsche, Solomon, and Jesus: short answers, single points to ponder rather than long strings of argument. It is direct, simple, and confrontational, but vertically rather than horizontally, "directing arrows not against each other (Protestant or Catholic) but against our own hearts and minds and wills." It is timely because, as Pope St. John Paul II said, this next millennium is destined to be the millennium of Christian reunification as the first millennium was that of Christian unity, and the second one of Christian disunity. Above all, Kreeft says that this work is simple, not easy, or obvious, but condensed. It – like all of reality – is Christocentric. Its purpose is to be "like an Australian sheep dog, herding and hectoring Christ's separated sheep back to His face. For that is the only way they can ever return back to each other."
The widely read author and philosopher Peter Kreeft presents a unique book about the important beliefs that Catholics and Protestants share in common. Inspired by Christ's prayer for unity in the Gospel of John and Saint John Paul II's encyclical Ut Unum Sint, Kreeft demonstrates that Christian reunification is possible. While he acknowledges that there are still significant differences between Catholics and Protestants, he emphasizes that they agree on the single most important issue: justification. The style of this book is modeled on Pascal, Solomon, and Jesus: short answers and single points to ponder rather than long strings of argument. The writing is direct, simple, and confrontational, but vertically rather than horizontally by "directing arrows not against each other (Protestant or Catholic) but against our own hearts and minds and wills." The purpose of this book, writes Kreeft, is to be "like an Australian sheepdog, herding and hectoring Christ's separated sheep back to His face. For that is the only way they can ever return back to each other."
The question is often asked, "Which is right: Catholic or Protestant?" Catholics argue they have authority, based on their unbroken leadership chain to the Apostles. Protestants say they have authority, based on their unmediated direct access to the Bible. What you're about to read is an informal dialogue I had with Dr. Peter Kreeft on the historic healing happening within Christianity. I think you'll greatly enjoy this short, but powerful transcript, packed with insights. For years I was unsatisfied with the Catholic vs. Protestant debate because I saw Christ profoundly in both of Christianity’s two largest groups. It was especially puzzling when one group excelled in the other group’s gifts! For instance, Catholics boldly announce they have the fullness of truth, yet Protestants are almost single-handedly debating with atheists. And Protestants loudly insist that following the Bible results in unity, yet there are over 20,000 Protestant denominations. A few years ago when I was seeking God about this in prayer, I kept receiving a picture of a tree. The accompanying scripture was Jesus’ comment that the Kingdom of God would grow into the largest tree. (Luke 13:18) Of course, this miraculously happened in history. But then the Spirit highlighted to me that the Roman Catholics are more like the tree trunk and the Protestants are more like the tree branches. Most importantly: it’s the same tree! This view of the Father’s family tree helps explain the following: 1. Why Catholicism seems central, structural, immovable; and why Protestantism seems decentralized, flexible, and engaging. Both can suspiciously see each other as a kind of inadequate version of Christianity, mostly due to less familiarity. 2. How the tree is nourished by both water via the trunk and sunlight via the leaves. Catholics rely more on past revelation from others’ encounters with God to support the church universal; while Protestant branches rely more on direct encounters with God to support specific, personal connection. 3. That for living organisms (like the church), essential things remain over time, but non-essentials might naturally expire. Thus for Catholics, out-of-date traditions fall off as dead tree bark; and for Protestants, denominations extending out too far fall off as dead tree branches. The Spirit also showed me that the charismatic experiences (visions, healings, tongues) are God’s miracle grow for the entire tree, and this is why places receiving them produce spectacular expansion. (Of the approximate 600 million Christians specializing in charismatic gifts, about 100 million Catholics practice these, yet this fact is often concealed within the tree trunk.) I believe we lost this obvious perspective of the organic Church when the modern West slowly began worshiping its own mind, and became less animated by the Spirit. In other words, it turns out that ‘who is right?’ is the wrong question. It follows that Catholics are right on some things; Protestants on others. And that’s OK. Because we are not first about the laws of logic, but the life of love. So what do we do with this? We can start by giving God permission to release more of the unity we already have, most especially through manifesting common, supernatural prayer. The Spirit unites the Body. It’s always better to let the Holy Spirit reveal who we already are. (John 16:13) That’s how I got this image, which was really healing to me. No longer do I feel oppressively pressured to promote second things over first things. Enjoy this fascinating interaction!
Author: Francis J. Beckwith
Publisher: Brazos Press
Release Date: 2009-01-10
What does it mean to be evangelical? What does it mean to be Catholic? Can one consider oneself both simultaneously? Francis Beckwith has wrestled with these questions personally and professionally. He was baptized a Catholic, but his faith journey led him to Protestant evangelicalism. He became a philosophy professor at Baylor University and president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). And then, in 2007, after much prayer, counsel, and consideration, Beckwith decided to return to the Catholic church and step down as ETS president. This provocative book details Beckwith's journey, focusing on his internal dialogue between the Protestant theology he embraced for most of his adult life and Catholicism. He seeks to explain what prompted his decision and offers theological reflection on whether one can be evangelical and Catholic, affirming his belief that one can be both. EXCERPT It's difficult to explain why one moves from one Christian tradition to another. It is like trying to give an account to your friends why you chose to pursue for marriage this woman rather than that one, though both may have a variety of qualities that you found attractive. It seems to me then that any account of my return to the Catholic church, however authentic and compelling it is to me, will appear inadequate to anyone who is absolutely convinced that I was wrong. Conversely, my story will confirm in the minds of many devout Catholics that the supernatural power of the grace I received at baptism and confirmation as a youngster were instrumental in drawing me back to the Mother Church. Given these considerations, I confess that there is an awkwardness in sharing my journey as a published book, knowing that many fellow Christians will scrutinize and examine my reasons in ways that appear to some uncharitable and to others too charitable.
Author: R. C. Sproul
Publisher: Reformation Trust Publishing
Release Date: 2012
In Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism, Dr. R.C. Sproul takes his stand for the cardinal doctrines of Protestantism in opposition to the errors of the Roman Catholic Church. Sproul, a passionate defender of the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, cites the historic statements of the Protestant Reformers and the Roman Catholic authorities, then references modern doctrinal statements to show that the Roman Catholic Church has not altered its official positions. In light of this continuing gap, he writes, efforts by some in the evangelical camp to find common ground with Rome on matters at the heart of the gospel are nothing short of untrue to biblical teaching. In Sprouls estimation, the Reformation remains relevant.
Author: Andrew Henry Stern
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Release Date: 2012-11-30
Southern Crucifix, Southern Cross examines the complex and often overlooked relationships between Catholics and Protestants in the antebellum South. In sharp contrast to many long-standing presumptions about mistrust or animosity between these two groups, this study proposes that Catholic and Protestant interactions in the South were characterized more by cooperation than by conflict. Andrew H. M. Stern argues that Catholics worked to integrate themselves into southern society without compromising their religious beliefs and that many Protestants accepted and supported them. Catholic leaders demonstrated the compatibility of Catholicism with American ideals and institutions, and Protestants recognized Catholics as useful citizens, true Americans, and loyal southerners, in particular citing their support for slavery and their hatred of abolitionism. Mutual assistance between the two groups proved most clear in shared public spaces, with Catholics and Protestants participating in each other’s institutions and funding each other’s enterprises. Catholics and Protestants worshipped in each other’s churches, studied in each other’s schools, and recovered or died in each other’s hospitals. In many histories of southern religion, typically thought of as Protestant, Catholicism tends to be absent. Likewise, in studies of American Catholicism, Catholic relationships with Protestants, including southern Protestants, are rarely discussed. Southern Crucifix, Southern Cross is the first book to demonstrate in detail the ways in which many Protestants actively fostered the growth of American Catholicism. Stern complicates the dominant historical view of interreligious animosity and offers an unexpected model of religious pluralism that helped to shape southern culture as we know it today.
Author: Charles W. Colson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Incorporated
Release Date: 1995
In March 1994, several prominent evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders gathered together for one historic purpose--unity. As these leaders explored previously divisive issues, they developed an unprecedented and controversial statement of common mission, called "Evangelicals and Catholics Together". In the wake of this controversy, the authors have continued their partnership with this landmark book of the same name.
Catholicism or Protestantism: Where is the true Christian doctrine? A quick and easy guide to help Catholics answer common objections to Catholic teachings. A thorough discussion of the points of difference is what is chiefly required by bona fide inquirers from without the fold, and to such inquirers, this book is dedicated. It is hoped that to such inquirers no expression in this book will appear aggressive. In the impersonal atmosphere of a book of this kind, plain speaking is required and permissible, but there was far from the mind of the author any intention to be unkind or uncharitable. The attacks upon erroneous belief should not be misunderstood to be attacks on erroneous believers. Also to inquirers from within the fold this book will be helpful, in enlightening them upon important matters of faith, and in enabling them to enlighten others who, with a good will, ask them for information.
Author: Sandra L. Stanko
Publisher: Suncreek Books
Release Date: 2003-01-01
Genre: Family & Relationships
Statistics show that more than 11 million Americans will marry into a Catholic-Protestant union and will encounter debates that have been raging between Catholics and Protestants for hundreds of years. This is a much-needed resource for these couples. Each chapter is soundly grounded in Scripture, with references to the author's experiences and insights from Catholic and Protestant sources.
Five hundred years ago, a Catholic monk nailed a list of grievances on the door of a church in Germany and launched a revolution in the history of Christianity. Today there continues to be a number of unresolved issues between the Protestant and Catholic churches, and many experience this ongoing division within their family and among friends and neighbors.Written in an accessible and informative style, Gregg Allison and Chris Castaldo provide a brief and clear guide to the key points of unity and divergence between Protestants and Catholics today. They write to encourage fruitful conversation about the key theological and sociological differences between the two largest branches of Christianity.From the revolutionary events 500 years ago that sparked the Reformation to today, Unfinished Reformation takes a nuanced and thoughtful look at doctrine, practice, and how Protestants and Catholics can have fruitful discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Author: Paul Rock
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Release Date: 2015-09-16
Pope Francis has taken the world by storm, captivating Catholics, Protestants, and non-Christians alike. Sneaking out of the Vatican at night, washing the feet of inmates, and taking selfies with young fans is certainly unlike any religious leader we've seen in a while, and some of the religious establishment is uneasy about it. The revitalization Francis is bringing to the Catholic Church is not without precedent, however. Jesus had a similar effect in his day, drawing crowds with his humility, kindness, and wisdom--even as he drew the disapproval of established religious leaders. The things that have brought Francis such media attention are the same things that made Jesus so peculiar and attractive in his day. Thoughtful examination of Jesus' example and legacy, as well as an honest look at the similarities and differences between Catholic and Protestant faith, invites reflection on the heart of Christianity and how we relate to our fellow Christians. Readers will discover the power of heartfelt joy, radical love, and passion for justice to shake people out of religious complacency and into dynamic, contagious faith. Jesus, Pope Francis, and a Protestant Walk into a Bar looks at what is universal among Christians, what is unique to Catholics and Protestants, and how all Christians can practice understanding and cooperation across differences. Perfect for individual or group use, discussion questions are also included to encourage further thought and conversation.
Author: Christopher A. Castaldo
Release Date: 2015-03-31
In Talking with Catholics about Jesus, author Chris Castaldo provides an easy-to-follow introduction to basic Catholic belief and practice, equipping evangelical Protestants for more fruitful spiritual conversations. Written in accessible, non-technical language, this short book offers readers: A more informed awareness of Catholicism Encouragement to move from a combative posture to a gracious one Clarification of erroneous caricatures of Catholics in favor of a more constructive understanding Based in part on Castaldo's experience as a Catholic and time spent working professionally in the Catholic Church, Talking with Catholics about Jesus gives readers a framework for recognizing where lines of similarity and difference fall between Catholics and evangelical Protestants, along with handy tips for engaging in spiritual discussions. Readers will gain encouragement and practical insights for gracious and worthwhile discussions of faith with Catholic believers.
Author: Jerry L. Walls
Publisher: Baker Academic
Release Date: 2017-10-17
This book offers a clearly written, informative, and fair critique of Roman Catholicism in defense of the catholic faith. Two leading evangelical thinkers in church history and philosophy summarize the major points of contention between Protestants and Catholics, honestly acknowledging real differences while conveying mutual respect and charity. The authors address key historical, theological, and philosophical issues as they consider what remains at stake 500 years after the Reformation. They also present a hopeful way forward for future ecumenical relations.
Published to mark the 500th anniversary of the events of 1517, Reformation Divided explores the impact in England of the cataclysmic transformations of European Christianity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The religious revolution initiated by Martin Luther is usually referred to as 'The Reformation', a tendentious description implying that the shattering of the medieval religious foundations of Europe was a single process, in which a defective form of Christianity was replaced by one that was unequivocally benign, 'the midwife of the modern world'. The book challenges these assumptions by tracing the ways in which the project of reforming Christendom from within, initiated by Christian 'humanists' like Erasmus and Thomas More, broke apart into conflicting and often murderous energies and ideologies, dividing not only Catholic from Protestant, but creating deep internal rifts within all the churches which emerged from Europe's religious conflicts. The book is in three parts: In 'Thomas More and Heresy', Duffy examines how and why England's greatest humanist apparently abandoned the tolerant humanism of his youthful masterpiece Utopia, and became the bitterest opponent of the early Protestant movement. 'Counter-Reformation England' explores the ways in which post-Reformation English Catholics accommodated themselves to a complex new identity as persecuted religious dissidents within their own country, but in a European context, active participants in the global renewal of the Catholic Church. The book's final section 'The Godly and the Conversion of England' considers the ideals and difficulties of radical reformers attempting to transform the conventional Protestantism of post-Reformation England into something more ardent and committed. In addressing these subjects, Duffy shines new light on the fratricidal ideological conflicts which lasted for more than a century, and whose legacy continues to shape the modern world.