Roman But Not Catholic – Book Review – Part 2
“Roman But Not Catholic” is a great book. I love Catholics and I think that they are Christians. For they confess the main beliefs of the faith every single Sunday (The Apostles Creed).
Some people may wonder why then was a book like this one written. For the most part, the book was written as a ministry to those who are processing if they should become Roman Catholics or stay Evangelical. One of the authors (Walls), had been on the receiving end of many arguments and discussions to try to convert him to the Roman Catholic Church.Some of these by the greatest thinkers from the Roman side.
As a Pastor, I have noticed this as well. I have friends and family that have been on both sides of this discussion and I have been part of hundreds of hours of discussions on the topics with those who are thinking about the issues. I can say that a book like this is needed. Moreover, many of the evangelicals who have become Roman Catholic, are apt to share their testimony’s and bring more evangelicals with them.
In many ways, Wall’s sees some of these conversions as premature. Namely, they witnessed the dysfunctional things in evangelicalism and decided that Rome had greener grass. Walls makes the point that very often they have been given the strength of Roman Catholic teaching and shown the weaknesses of Evangelical teaching. He sees this as unfortunate. This book is at least in part, the answer to both scholarly and popular level teaching from Catholic Apologists. That at the end of the day, not all intellectual Protestants who are deep in church history will convert to Rome.
I must say that I do appreciate the back and forth discussion between Catholics and Evangelicals. That in a sense, minus half-baked approaches from either side, conversations on the details of Biblical teaching or that of Church history, are helpful for us all. Having to have better answers for why we believe what we believe, is helpful for Roman Catholics and Evangelicals alike. And, in many ways the more we discuss the more we see how close in the family we all are.
Walls and Collins point however, is that whether you are reading a popular Catholic thinker or listening to Relevant Radio, or spending time with your Catholic friends, they are getting off easy by engaging ill-prepared Evangelicals. This book seeks to answer the greatest challenges from the Roman Catholic side, and put a few of its own on the table for Catholics to consider. For me, I think that Roman Catholics and Evangelicals are part of the great Catholic faith, namely that of the body of Christ. Catholic of course, means universal or according to the whole. So for me, these discussions are intramural.
If you are engaging in dialogue and debate with your Catholic friends, remember to treat them with love and respect. They are people, Christians, and children of God that Christ gave his life for. So enjoy each other, and let the discussions begin. Moreover, be prepared to listen and learn from them too, they have much to teach us.
For the Universal Church