More Christianity

Today I have been working on my lectures for the Belmont Abbey Apologetics Camp to be held next week at Camp Kahdalea near Brevard, NC. I’ll be working with Pat Madrid and Steve Wood, and my topic is More Christianity and Even More Christianity.

The idea of “more Christianity” is that Catholicism is the fullest expression of the Christian faith. Protestantism is just what it says it is–a protest movement–and protest movements are always a reaction against something. In this case, a reaction against Catholicism. Consequently, even the nicest sweetest and holiest Protestant has a deep down conviction that Catholicism is just plain wrong. They can’t help it. It’s written into the Protestant genetic code. It’s how they’re wired.

The concept of ‘more Christianity’ is therefore based on the little dictum by F.D.Maurice that “a man is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies.” Protestants, therefore, are right in what they affirm and wrong in what they deny. When they are affirming the truths of the faith they are usually right. When they are denying a tradition or truth of the Church they have lapsed into negativity and negation. More Christianity is a method of Catholic apologetics which simply points this out–agrees with Protestants when they are affirming, but not denying when they deny. Instead we ask them to examine what they are denying to find the truth and goodness in it.

So, for example, Protestants affirm that salvation is by grace through faith. We’re good. Catholics believe that too, but Protestants deny that sacraments or works have anything to do with it. They go so far as to deny the efficacy of sacraments and the need for good works. Catholics should say, “Why deny these things? It is possible to fully affirm that salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith, but that the faith has to be put into action, and that God’s grace comes in specific ways which we call ‘sacraments’. Sure,  it might be the case that some Catholics down through the ages have treated the sacraments like automatic salvation machines and they may have seemed to put too much of an emphasis on good works, but that calls for correction, not denial of the importance of these things completely.

More Christianity is therefore a winning and positive way to engage with Protestants in discussing the faith. It shifts arguments into agreement on many things and encourages the opponent to consider the fullness of the faith and the possibility of moving into a deeper and richer experience of their commitment to Christ.

Check out my book More Christianity–which goes into the whole subject in depth.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • Amy H.

    Love this positive approach to apologetics!

  • Anil Wang

    Essentially.

    Protestantism
    equals “Mere Christianity”
    equals “The simple gospel message”
    equals “Complicating ‘the gospel’ is a distraction that may doom people to hell”.

    Catholicism
    equals Most Christianity
    equals “The richness and fullness of the Revelation of Christ”
    equals “Denying any of the gifts bestowed our Lord and Savior may doom people to hell, especially the most miserable people who need all the help they can get.”


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