Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: Are We Together? #RomanCatholicism

Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism. By R.C. Sproul. Sanford, Florida: Reformation Trust Publishing. pp. 125. 2012. ($17.00 Hardcover)

Five Stars | Highly Recommended!
The Roman Catholic Church claims more than one billion adherents. As a Protestant, that’s not something I can overlook. Are we all of one faith, with our own particular differences and idiosyncrasies, but a common gospel? The Reformers who birthed Protestantism came to the conclusion that Rome had departed from the biblical gospel. Are things different today?

R.C. Sproul sets out to answer that question with his book Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism. It’s no surprise that Sproul doesn’t think we are together, and each of his chapters address the six main points of difference between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. This is probably his biggest service to readers, focusing on the main issues and not addressing each and every point of difference ad nauseum.

His chapters are:
  1. Scripture
  2. Justification
  3. The Church
  4. The Sacraments
  5. The Papacy
  6. Mary
It is in the chapter on Mary (which was also the most interesting chapter) that Sproul summarizes the greatest difference between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism:
The biggest issue in the whole Mariology debate is the sufficiency of Christ. In truth, this is the issue with Roman Catholic theology from beginning to end. It is the issue with Rome’s doctrine of Scripture, its doctrine of justification, and even here, with its doctrine of Mary. Is Christ alone our perfect sacrifice? Does He offer Himself for the sins of His people or is He offered by His mother? Does He alone achieve our redemption or does He have to depend upon the cooperation of His mother? Protestants believe that Christ alone is our justification. (p.115)
It is vitally important that Protestants like myself really understand what the sufficiency of Christ really means and how this differs from Roman Catholic teaching. Although any random person who self-identifies as Roman Catholic may or may not know or believe the official doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, Protestants should be aware of what they themselves believe. This is a good introduction to this very important issue, and I highly recommend it, especially for those who work with and minister to those who claim to follow Rome.

I received this book from the publisher for purposes of review.

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