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Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences Paperback – September 1, 1995

3.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norman L. Geisler (PhD, Loyola University of Chicago) has taught at top evangelical schools for over fifty years and is distinguished professor of apologetics and theology at Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Murrieta, California. He is the author of more than seventy books, including the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801038758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801038754
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book on a whim one day while browsing books, and I was very pleased with what I found. I had previously read Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating, as well as some books by Scott Hahn, Stephen Ray, among others. Reading those works, I became familiar with the arguments, and subsequently, the critiques of less than fair polemic works.
The positive comments from Catholics on the back cover (no less a figure than James Akin praised the work for its fairness) made me give in and buy it. The first section was wonderful, presenting the great amount of agreement we have in very charitable terms. The second section, where differences are discussed, the authors seem to go out of their way to "get it right." Most Catholic arguments for a given position are presented, and then refuted in generally kind, charitable terms. There are some exceptions though, where they leave out the most convincing arguments for the Catholic position. One glowing example is the chapter on justification. On page 227, some Catholic Scriptural arguments for their position are presented, and they cite such things as Matthew 5:12, 25:34, Romans 2:6, among others. Curiously missing from this, and hence never discussed, is James 2. One has to wonder why they would decline to interact with the one verse in the whole Bible that contains the clause "faith alone", and condemns it (James 2:24).
While I think that many of their arguments are very inadequate, and at times they seem to apply a double standard when quoting the fathers (depending on if the fathers seem to support or refute their positions), others are very well presented. In fact, their chapter on baptism got me thinking very, very hard. Wonderful stuff indeed.
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Format: Paperback
As an evangelical, I found this book to be very helpful in providing a fair treatment of this topic. Rather than trying to paint Catholics in a negative light, Geisler attempts to sort throught the theologies of Catholics and evangelicals in order to find out what things we agree on and also those things with which we disagree. Unlike some evangelicals, Geisler doesn't appear to be on a 'witch hunt'. He seems sincere in trying to have honest dialogue with Catholics and I think this is the main strength of this book.
Some of the differences addressed in this book are the canon of Scripture, papal infallibility, the role of sacraments, the role of Mary, purgatory, and justification. Geisler highlights areas of theological agreement and those practical areas such as evangelizing non-Christians, social reform, and education where evangelicals and Catholics can find common ground.
This book contains a wealth of information that would benefit Catholics and evangelicals along with helping us to better understand each other. Geisler and MacKenzie have given all of us a great resource for further dialogue. Buy this book if you are the least bit interested in getting to know the 'other side' in a more accurate light. This goes for Catholics and evangelicals.
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Format: Paperback
I am a Catholic, and I am in a position to tell you, that unlike most books written by Protestats about Catholicism, this one by Geisler is a very fair, charitable, and mostly accurate presentation of the differences between Catholic and evangelicals. Most Protestants writing about Catholicism (e.g. James White) adopt a condescending tone towards Catholics, and attempt to set Catholics straight about what we really believe. This book, however, allows Catholics to define for ourselves what Catholicism is all about, it allows Catholics to speak for themselves, it goes back to the original source documents, which is unusual for this kind of book, which usually rely on works by former Catholics, or non Catholics. I am afraid that I believe they misinterpret and distort some of the teachings of the early Fathers of the Church, plus there are a few minor factual errors in the text (i.e. the claim that the "apocryphal" books of the Old Testament were first recognized by the Council of Trent) so I am afraid that I must take away two stars for sloppiness. And, of course, I believe that in some cases they commit some serious logical errors and bad arguments. Overall, I would much pleased if evangelicals interested in Catholicism would turn to this book instead of, say, the intellectually dishonest works of Loraine Bottener.
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Format: Paperback
A recent balanced treatment of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical-Protestant debate from an Evangelical (and "baptistic") perspective, the book _Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences_ (Baker Books, 1995) by Norm Geisler/Ralph MacKenzie should retire older (and recent) sensationalist anti-Catholic works (as noted by Catholic apologist James Akin on the back cover) but it may take a few years given the vastness of the Internet and the many misunderstandings of Catholicism in Protestant thinking (especially among the more anti-Catholic Fundamentalists/Evangelicals).
The book is divided into two major sections: (1) Agreements that Catholics and Evangelicals have with each other; and (2) the Differences that (some) Evangelical Protestants have with the Catholic Church.
I generally agree with the Agreements section and appreciate the authors fairness in the book. The use of terms can be confusing or perhaps even in error (e.g. the term "Augustinian" as a synonym for salvation by grace: Evangelicals will be shocked just how "Roman Catholic" St. Augustine really was once they study his actual writings). The topics in the Agreements section on the historic Catholic and Christian creeds, the Trinity and Christology, the Bible, salvation, and other doctrinal issues are well done. We Catholics and Evangelicals do have a lot in common.
I have differences over the Differences section but that is to be expected given I am a Catholic reader but have been a big Catholic fan of Norm Geisler's work for many years.
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