I Highly Recommend Mark Shea’s Apologetics Books

I Highly Recommend Mark Shea’s Apologetics Books September 3, 2017


Mark recently recommended mine and stated, “If you are looking for some useful apologetics material and want to help someone whose livelihood comes from serving the gospel, try these [books].” This is not the first time he has graciously recommended my work. He has a long history of it, and I would again like to express my gratitude, He has written in the past:

Let me just say again what a lovely site you’ve created. Way to go! (10-3-00)

If you want to know, I think you have one of the best sites on the web. It’s so amazingly thorough I’m dazzled (double dazzled, now that I know how much time it takes) at the incredible work you’ve put into it! Way to go! May God continue to bless the work of your hands, friend. (9-3-01)

That was back around the time that Mark asked me to drive him around metro Detroit when he visited. I manned his book table when he gave a talk, and he gave me several of his superb books. We attended Mass together and got along famously.

On 12 February 2012, Mark wrote an article entitled, “Ten must-see web resources for Catholics” (OSV Newsweekly). He stated:

[S]ome very valuable and industrious Catholic ministries have appeared, courtesy of some enormously industrious and generous people who have poured thousands of man hours into sites which provide the world with a massive amount of information about the Faith, as well as links to still other sources in case you can’t find what you need on their sites. Let’s take a look at just 10 of them . . .

He then wrote about all of them. My Biblical Evidence for Catholicism blog was listed first. Here is his entire entry:

Another product of the curious wave of mid-1980s conversions to the Church (curious in that they all seem to have happened independently of one another without anybody other than the Holy Spirit being aware of all the other conversions taking place), [actually, it was 1990 for me] Dave tells his story in the best-selling Surprised by Truth (Basilica Press, $13.99). Like many converts, Dave has been greatly influenced by that great (and unintentional) midwife to the Catholic faith, C.S. Lewis. Also greatly influenced by people like G.K. Chesterton and John Henry Newman, as well as Malcolm Muggeridge and Father John Hardon, Dave has gone on to be a prodigious writer and arguer about the Faith with countless people on the Web. His website offers a massive array of apologetics essays on everything under the sun (and over it). There is work on the sacraments, tradition (with replies to the great Protestant creation myth of sola scriptura, the Eucharist, conversations about the various scandals in the Church’s history, the Church’s relationship with non-Catholic and non-Christian religions, Romantic and Imaginative theology, patristics, ecumenism, salvation, saints (including the Blessed Virgin), radical traditionalism, Trinitarianism and Christology, the papacy, eschatology and a ton of other topics. St. Justin Martyr had two dialogues. Dave has 624 and counting. And the guy has written 24 e-books [by that time I had about eight books published by major Catholic publishes: not just “e-books”] and maintains a blog in which he merrily argues for the Faith with a wide variety of folks from all manner of backgrounds. If you want to see a lay apostle at work in the modern agora that is the Internet, check him out!

The other nine resources / ministries listed are: Bishop Barron, David M. Cheney, Deacon Steven Greydanus, Kevin Knight, Ed Peters, Scott Hahn, Stephen K. Ray, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, and Sherry Weddell.

I appreciate that. Thanks, Mark!

Of course, I have glowingly recommended his books all this time, too. As I have repeatedly stated, I consider Mark Shea’s apologetics among the very best of our time, and his writing, exceptionally stylish and eloquent. I have said that, as an apologetics writer, he is almost as good as Thomas Howard (probably the gold standard).

My 2007 paper, “Recommended Catholic Apologetic and Historical Books” included Mark’s books, By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition (1996), This is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence (1993), and  Making Senses Out of Scripture (1999), and my paper from the same year, “Top 50 Recommendations for Catholic Apologetics Books” included the first and third. By What Authority? was also included in my list of recommended books in my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (completed in 1996, self-published in 2001, and published by Sophia Institute Press in 2003). His other apologetics books are excellent as well, and I give them my highest recommendation:

The Heart of Catholic Prayer: Rediscovering the Our Father and the Hail Mary (2012)

The Work of Mercy: Being the Hands and Heart of Christ (2011)

Mary, Mother of the Son (2015)

Salt and Light: The Commandments, the Beatitudes, and a Joyful Life (2013)

Great apologetics and related theological / spiritual writing are always at a premium, and I always want to encourage apologists who work at such a high level as this to keep cranking out more of it, for the education and edification of all. Mark’s work along these lines has surely been responsible for many hundreds coming into the Church or returning to it. As he said about me, “Way to go!”

"The list is chronological. :-)"

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