Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Two New Reviews of "More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism"

I was happy to discover these tonight. I regard More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism as my "lost book," so to speak. It tends to fall between the cracks of A Biblical Defense of Catholicism and The Catholic Verses. The latter two were published by Sophia Institute Press, but this one was essentially self-published via AuthorHouse. From 1996 to 2003, when five or six publishers rejected my first book, I had to decide to get my writings out in the marketplace for sale somehow, to help pay my bills and "justify" (in one sense) all my time spent writing apologetics, so I went this route. I would like to self-publish several more of my books: nine are currently available only in electronic versions (you can still purchase 11 of my e-books for $25: see my sidebar for details).

I think (as you'd expect) that it is a decent book, so I am delighted to see two more reviews on amazon, bringing the total to seven. "The Banana Republican" is a Protestant (considering conversion), so that always makes for an interesting read.

The reviews average 4 stars out of 5. If it weren't for a ridiculous, hostile one-star review written by a liberal, More would have averaged 4.67 stars (presumably rounded out to 5 stars). That hack piece follows (for entertainment purposes, and to understand the liberal mindset, in how it views apologetics), and then I have pasted the other two:

*****

7 of 74 people found the following review helpful:

[1 star] More Catholic Fundamentalism, June 11, 2002

Reviewer: A reader

Like the first book, this book suffers from the same weaknesses. Dave is to be commended for his zeal for the Catholic Church, but he needs to develop a more nuanced and sophisticated approach to Catholicism. This is more of the same - Catholic fundamentalism posing as orthodoxy. I put Dave in the same boat as James Akin, Karl Keating, Bob Sungenis, and the other fundamentalist Catholic apologists (fundapologists). Save your money and buy the Catechism of the Catholic Church is you want to learn about Catholicism. If it's biblical exegesis that interests you, pick up anything by the best Catholic scripture scholar of all time - Raymond E. Brown.

***

[5 stars] Full of Strength and Straightforwardness, February 26, 2006

Reviewer: Robert J. Sledz (Elk Grove Village, IL United States) (REAL NAME)

This edition is very useful to Catholics and Non-Catholics alike because it helps generate discussions and more understanding about what Catholics believe. I would rather have a book that deals in any religion truthfully and disagree with it honestly, than have a book paint a broad brush and leave the reader "wandering" about for the "Real Answer". We all need to be honest with each other and that is how greater respect in each other starts!

***

[5 stars] An intriguing, well-written primer on Catholicism, March 14, 2006

Reviewer: The Banana Republican "WRH" (USA) - See all my reviews

Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong's great book "More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism" is clear, concise, and readable, with easy-to-understand language. The Protestant vs. Catholic dialogues culled from Armstrong's Internet debates do a good job of showing Protestant fallacies and supporting Catholic claims. Armstrong uses very sound logic throughout the book. The Apocrypha, or Deuterocanon, is mentioned in Appendix Three (see below), but does not have a chapter of its own. Here are the contents of the chapters, and then the appendices:

Chapter One defines the Gospel, defends sacramentalism from a Biblical perspective, and argues that the Catholic view of justification (infused, actual, internal, and transformational) is correct, as opposed to the Protestant view (extrinsic, imputed, forensic, and external).

Chapter Two contains three short dialogues concerning Sola Scriptura, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and penance.

Chapter Three denies the claim that Catholicism is half-pagan, borrowing rituals and practices from pre-Christian Romans, Babylonians, and Persians, with attention paid specifically to holidays like Christmas and Easter, and devotional practices such as praying the Rosary.

Chapter Four refutes the notion that sin and sinners in the Catholic Church disprove its ecclesiological authority.

Chapter Five points out that, unlike early Protestantism, Protestant Christians today often take a "quasi-relativistic" and "unbiblical" view that key doctrinal differences are "not only permissible but healthy and to be expected."

Chapter Six explains why Catholicism is neither Pelagian (believing that humans have no original sin and can be righteous merely using free will) nor Semi-Palagian ("the first steps towards the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later").

Chapter Seven defends the thesis that the Eucharist is indeed Biblical and correct exegesis leads to transubstantiation.

Chapter Eight explains why the Catholic Mass is not idolatry, and why Mass is radically different from the Israeli worship of the golden calf in Exodus.

Chapter Nine shows why the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) is unbiblical and unhistorical.

Chapter Ten debunks the claim that the Catholic Church historically has suppressed Bible reading and opposed translations like an "avowed enemy of Holy Scripture."

Chapter Eleven demonstrates why Sola Scriptura is illogical, inconsistent, impractical, and improbable.

In Chapter Twelve Armstrong argues against the Protestant notion of a "perspicuous Apostolic message," pointing out that Protestants can't agree on TULIP, baptism the Eucharist, church government, regeneration, sanctification, whether Catholics are Christians, women clergy, divorce, the utility of reason, etc.

Chapter Thirteen argues that Catholic Church infallible authority is ultimately necessary and unavoidable. It argues against the Protestant dichotomy between Church authority and Biblical authority.

In Chapter Fourteen, Armstrong argues that Purgatory has a Biblical basis and that it does not deny the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. He examines the nature and duration of Purgatory.

In Chapter Fifteen Armstrong argues that it is not at all farfetched to say that Mary was without original sin (the Immaculate Conception) and was sinless for the rest of her life, is the Queen of Heaven, and is the Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix. Armstrong dissects Protestants' alleged Biblical disproofs of Mary's sinlessness, etc.

Chapter Sixteen defends the thesis that Catholic Mariology is in fact Christo-centric, and points out that the "Co" in Co-Redemptrix means cooperative and not having equal function, a common misinterpretation. The chapter quotes from the Lumen Gentium, stating, that Mary's role "neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the One Mediator." The chapter refers to Mary as a Blessed Virgin, but does not go into detail about why the Bible says she is a perpetual virgin.

In Appendix One Armstrong affirms his deep respect for Protestants.

Appendix Two is a transcript of a radio interview in which Armstrong talks about his conversion from evangelical Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.

Appendix Three lists 150 reasons to be Catholic as opposed to Protestant, backed up with over 300 Biblical citations. He undermines Protestantism, mentioning its "absurdly late appearance," lack of a way to definitively settle doctrinal issues (partly due to the lack of a definitive teaching authority), lack of priesthood, the false dichotomies it creates (e.g. between the Bible and Christian Tradition), false doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the intercession of saints, etc. He mentions many theological, moral, and spiritual strengths of Catholicism.

Appendix Four compares and contrasts Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy regarding ecclesiology, the papacy vs. caesaropapism, ecumenical councils, doctrinal development, modernity, contraception, and divorce.

I am a non-denominational Christian. I think it will take me at least a year's worth of thorough research to definitively decide which is true: Catholicism or Protestantism. However, this book, which should be a part of the libraries of both Catholics and Protestants, has given me a jump-start. I look forward to reading more of Dave Armstrong's work.

*****

This last person, "Will," has a blog called The Banana Republican, where he is currently (often) pondering various factors possibly leading to a conversion to Catholicism. It doesn't seem to have comments capacity, though. I can't imagine having a blog without comments. It seems to me like having a greenhouse without windows or a newspaper without letters to the editor. I noticed that the Lutheran blog Here We Stand recently shut off its comments, because the big cheese over there was fed up with the tenor and tone of some of the posts. 'Tis a pity . . .

That just makes me all the more proud (by contrast) of my regulars here, and indeed, virtually all commenters over the last two years. We continually prove that amiable, constructive discourse is possible, and able to be engaged in, on an ongoing basis - and between Catholics and Protestants, too. I command and congratulate you the readers for making that possible. We may not have the huge numbers in the threads, but I'll trade that anytime for the high level of discourse that we have here.

END

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