[see the information page for this book, for full details and all purchase options]
(#1; completed in May 1996; self-published: Oct. 2001; Sophia version: June 2003; 297 pages)
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I started writing this in late 1990, right after I became a Catholic. I converted for reasons of moral theology and intense study of Church history, but right after that I felt led to start defending my newfound belief-system and explaining to all my Protestant friends the reasons why Catholic faith is plausible. Of course, with Protestants, they are always interested first and foremost in “biblical arguments” for a doctrine. So I started writing papers on the major theological topics which are “distinctives” of Catholicism. Thus began my biggest emphasis ever since, as an apologist (what I am most known for): “biblical evidence for Catholicism.”
I would write a chapter every few months (starting originally on a typewriter, before I had a computer), not even thinking it would eventually be a book. My friends convinced me to make it into a book. The original version was completed in 1994 and ran about 750 pages. I think I have posted most of the original “additional” book material, on my website. I was convinced, after the new catechism came out, to tighten it up and incorporate citations from the catechism, so I did that. The longer version had a great deal more of historical analysis. The revision restricts the arguments to biblical ones.
Then I waited for five years to get it accepted, and was turned down by several publishers (some of whom later published one of my books). Fed up, in 2001 I put it out on my own, managing to sell over 5,000 copies, as I recall, just by advertising from my website. In 2003, I decided to give it one last-ditch effort to persuade a “real” publisher to accept my volume. I wrote to Sophia Institute Books, a publisher that specializes in Catholic classics.
Apparently they were looking to publish a few more apologetics books, and I was the right guy at the right time. Todd Aglialoro was the editor and played a key role. He edited this one (a little; nothing major) and my next two for Sophia (I now have six); also two other books for two different publishers. Todd now works for Catholic Answers. I’ll always be grateful to him for his role in my career as an author and apologist. I have ten “officially” published books as of this writing.
Sophia Institute Press book blurb:
This exciting book shows that, far from straying from the Bible, Catholicism is eminently and thoroughly biblical. Indeed, Catholicism is the only Christian religion that is in full conformity with what the Bible clearly teaches.
To demonstrate this, Catholic author Dave Armstrong (a former Protestant campus missionary) focuses on those issues about which Catholics and Protestants disagree the most: the role of the Bible as a rule of faith, whether we are justified by faith alone, whether doctrine develops, what the Eucharist really is, veneration of Mary and prayer to the saints, the existence of purgatory, the role of penance in salvation, and the nature and infallibility of the papacy.
Working patiently, systematically, and, above all, charitably (and citing Church councils, the Church Fathers, canon law, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church), Armstrong begins his comprehensive examination of each of these disputed issues with an authoritative explanation of what the Catholic Church actually teaches.
Then, with skill and tenacity, he subjects each Catholic teaching to microscopic scrutiny, measuring its conformity with the Bible. Armstrong’s rigorous, Scripture-packed analysis relies on hundreds of Bible passages (including verses from 229 of the 259 chapters in the New Testament!), shedding light on the meaning of those passages as well as on the meaning and truth of the doctrines in question.
The result? With a mastery of Scripture equal to that of the most committed Protestants, Armstrong demonstrates that the Catholic Church is the “Bible Church par excellence,” and that many common Protestant doctrines (such as sola Scriptura) are in fact themselves not biblical.
Here is a book that challenges Protestants to reconsider their anti-Catholic assumptions; and that will lead Catholics to turn with greater confidence to Scripture, where they will find a powerful biblical defense of their Catholic faith.