[143 pages; published by Sophia Institute Press in May 2007]
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Helpful Supplementary Information
Review by Carl E. Olson [National Catholic Register, 8-21-07]
“This is one of the most easily-understandable, easy to retain, powerfully and concisely written books in my entire apologetics library. If you do not have this book yet, get it, ASAP. If you disagree with me, I’ll buy it back from you. This is one of the two best books Dave has written and it is one of the three or four best apologetics books in print. Period!”
— Patrick McNally: unsolicited recommendation on my Facebook page (3-5-13)
Table of Contents
[blue-colored text = link to online excerpt]
Common Protestant claims about:
The Catholic Church added illegitimate books to the Bible
We can know which books belong in the Bible simply by reading them
Catholics are taught not to read the Bible for themselves
The notion of bishops and a hierarchical Church is unbiblical
Catholicism is a half-pagan religion, blending non-Christian beliefs and practices with the gospel
Miracles and the supernatural gifts ceased after the death of the Apostles
The Catholic Church believes it can damn people to hell by excommunication
The Church can contain only the holy and saved
Denominationalism is not condemned in Scripture
The Galileo incident proves that the Catholic Church isn’t infallible
Jesus didn’t make Peter the leader of the Apostles
Peter himself is not the “rock” to which Jesus referred
Paul rebuked Peter
How can a mere man be infallible?
The case of Pope Honorius proves that popes are not infallible
Celibacy for priests is both unnatural and unbiblical
The Catholic Church’s male-only priesthood is sexist
Holy Communion was meant to be a symbolic rite only
The Catholic Mass is an abomination in the sight of God
The Catholic Mass is a form of idolatry
It is wrong for Catholics not to allow everyone to receive Holy Communion
Baptism is merely a symbolic rite
Infants cannot be baptized because they’re not able to choose Jesus
The Catholic Church teaches that a baby who dies unbaptized will go to hell
Confession to a priest is an unbiblical concept
The Catholic system of “merit” is no different from works-salvation
True Christian believers cannot fall away from salvation
Justification is external and imputed, not internal or “infused”
There is no difference between “mortal” and “venial” sins
Original sin is not taught in the Bible
Eternal hellfire is not taught in the Bible
The Church teaches that all non-Catholics will go to hell
The Bible says nothing of a third state besides heaven and hell
Our sufferings have nothing to do with those of Jesus
Theology of God
The Holy Spirit is neither a person nor God
God could not have become a man
Jesus had to grow into the understanding that He was God
Mary and the Saints
Mary had other children besides Jesus
Calling Mary the “Mother of God” makes her greater than God
Mary could not have been “assumed” into heaven
Calling Mary the “Mediatrix” of graces makes her equal to Jesus
There’s no reason for Christians to pray for the dead
Praying to saints is wrong
“Venerating” the saints through statues or icons is idolatry
Formal ritual worship is opposed to a vibrant spiritual life
The Rosary is “vain repetition”
Crucifixes prove that Catholics believe Jesus is not yet glorified in heaven
Catholic “sacramentals” and relics are unbiblical magic
Marriage is not absolutely indissoluble
“Annulments” are just the Catholic rationalization for divorce
The Catholic ban on contraception is an arbitrary, unbiblical restriction
Introduction to the Book
This book continues what might be called a “Bible and Catholicism” trilogy (the previous two volumes being A Biblical Defense of Catholicism and The Catholic Verses).
The first was geared more towards a “catechetical” approach: a positive presentation of the basic teachings of Catholics that are different from most Protestant denominations, along with the biblical rationale for them (our proof texts, so to speak).
The second dealt with a similar theme, but with a twist: it focused on how prominent Protestant commentators have traditionally tried to deal with texts which we feel support our position, and how these (oftentimes quite desperate) counter-explanations fail in many ways to meet the mark or overcome the Catholic interpretations of the same passages. It was more “polemical” and featured reactions to Catholicism and our replies.
In this work I have sought to show how Catholics can easily, decisively answer non-Catholic “garden-variety” objections to Catholicism. To do so, I have adopted a standard format (very vaguely reminiscent of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica) throughout the entire book:
1. Topics (in the form of possible objections to Catholic teaching) are stated in two lines in the title.
2. Short and extensive replies to the objection.
3. “A Protestant Might Further Object” and counter-reply.
4. A relevant citation (often from a Protestant, such as Luther or C.S. Lewis).
5. This is all done in no more than two pages for each topic.
Once again I have happily been made quite aware of both the extraordinary riches of Holy Scripture itself (I discovered many “new” and exciting passages which gave further support to Catholic views), and how compellingly its teachings harmonize with the Catholic faith. This is one of the somewhat unique blessings of the Catholic apologist. During the course of defending the Church and her teachings, the apologist sees more and more that our explanations make perfect sense and that opposing ones are weighed down and made implausible or incoherent by serious deficiencies (both biblical and logical).
As a former Protestant, this continues to particularly delight me (as I suspect is the case for other converts and also lifelong Catholics who have had a lot of contact with Protestants or familiarity with Protestant distinctives), For many years I had assumed that Protestantism was “obviously” more biblically-grounded than Catholicism.
My goal has been to provide readers with a handy, concise reference work to be used in the proverbial “encounter with an evangelist at the door” or at the workplace, or with non-Catholic relatives, etc. If and when a non-Catholic inquires about or strongly opposes some Catholic teaching; this “pocketbook” hopefully may be of some practical usefulness.
It should be noted that my use of the word “Protestant” is very broad. Usually I have in mind more traditional, conservative, or evangelical Protestants, but in relatively few instances the term applies (in context) to more progressive or “liberal” strains of the spectrum (encompassing an array of belief all the way up to and including Unitarianism: a theological system that even rejects the Holy Trinity).
I’ve been known, in some Internet circles, for writing lengthy tomes on my website and blog. I don’t regret doing that at all, but I must say that I now more fully appreciate the importance and utility of short treatments as well, in order to effectively provide Catholic replies to the usual arguments that we encounter against our faith. I hope and pray that the present effort will be helpful in that way, and that my answers provide a lot of “meat” and substance within the brief format.
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