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More Christianity Paperback – July, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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From Publishers Weekly

One of a growing number of former evangelical Protestants who have converted to Catholicism, Longenecker takes a fresh approach to defending his chosen home in the church of Rome. Using C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity as a starting point, he challenges readers to look beyond the simple faith that Lewis described to discover "more Christianity." Although his expressed intent is not so much to convert as to help non-Catholic Christians understand the modern Catholic Church, Longenecker clearly believes that what Lewis called "mere Christianity" is most fully found in the Catholic Church. He asks for a new look at Catholicism and particularly its authority structure, which he says can defend core beliefs while still allowing cultural change, adaptation and growth. Lewis, he says, found such a bulwark in the Anglicanism of his day and Longenecker believes this is why the writer never left it for Catholicism, despite the influence of fellow author J.R.R. Tolkien. Longenecker, who was attracted to and embraced Anglicanism while an undergraduate at Bob Jones University, goes on to explain the facets of Catholic belief that are most troublesome to evangelicals, including the place of tradition, the role of the pope, the Virgin Mary and the relationship of works to salvation. Although this book will be of primary interest to Catholics, Longenecker's use of Lewis's signature work on Christianity provides an engaging point of reference that could be useful in ecumenical discussions with Protestants. It also will be helpful to Catholics seeking to understand evangelicals and their brand of Christianity.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor; 1st edition (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931709351
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931709354
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,563,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Carl E. Olson on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
It takes courage (some would say audacity) to write a book that plays on the title of C. S. Lewis's most famous work, Mere Christianity. But Longenecker has succeeded in writing a work of Catholic apologetics that pays homage to Mere Christianity and explains Catholic doctrine with verve and joy.
Longenecker is no stranger to both Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. He attended Bob Jones University, and while studying there became acquainted with the writings of C. S. Lewis. Longenecker eventually moved to England, attended Oxford, and became an Anglican priest. Years later, after much study and consideration, he entered the Catholic Church and has been writing about Catholicism and apologetics ever since.
The goal of More Christianity, Longenecker states, is "to help non-Catholic Christians who are interested in historic Christianity to understand the modern Catholic Church more easily." Clearly he has written his book with the curious, well-read Evangelical in mind - the sort of informed Protestant who relishes reading C. S. Lewis and has questions about the Catholic Church. "Now at the dawn of the twenty-first century," Longenecker argues, "that simple Gospel that Lewis branded `mere Christianity' and that Evangelicals call the `old, old story' is more fully and universally presented in the Catholic Church than anywhere else."
Longenecker understands that Mere Christianity was not meant to be promote a minimalist Christianity, as some critics suggest. "Lewis's Mere Christianity is good as far as it goes, and as a first step in Christian apologetics it probably has no equal. To be fair, Lewis denied that his use of `mere' in the title indicated the lowest common denominator." The major flaw of the famous book is its lacking ecclessiology.
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Format: Paperback
Note to fans of C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity: There's more. In this book, Longenecker ventures a good part of the way into the minefield of the 'More'. The book emerged from his own story, of finding his way to Rome, on a path that started out fundamentalist/evangelical Mennonite-influenced and led to Canterbury and Anglicanism and, eventually, to Catholicism. Unlike a lot of conversion stories, though, this one refrains utterly from even the least disparagement of Protestantism. Not once coming across as superior or sneering at the values of Protestant Christianity (in this respect he seems to have perfected the benevolent manner of C.S. Lewis, the eternal kindly uncle of evangelical Christianity), Longenecker writes with both perspicacity and genuine affection for the days of family altar, revival meetings, and youth camps in Pennsylvania. The hymns and stories remembered from his youth and favorite Scriptures, all become, in this rendition, an overture to something else deeper and more dynamic, like a great opera that is ready with the stage set and just waiting for the curtain to rise.
Somehow in the search for and propagation of 'mere' Christianity, a lot of Christians seem to have forgotten to ask what else there is to the Christian experience: to Longenecker this is an almost unimaginable pity, like walking away from a banquet after just sampling the hors d'oeuvres. 'More Christianity' orients the seeker of the More to historical Christianity in its full expression, in particular, as found in the Roman Catholic Church, and fully addresses the stereotypes and misgivings that Protestants have about Rome, without resorting to strident theological polemics.
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