by Eric Svendsen
Reformation Press, 1999, 248 pages
In this 1999 publication author Eric Svendsen provides sound Evangelical answers to the arguments of the most vocal Catholic apologists at the time including Karl Keating, Patrick Madrid, Scott Hahn, Gerry Matatics, Bob Sungenis, and Mark Shea.
Svendsen draws upon Scripture, the church “fathers,” and the history of Christianity in his arguments against Catholicism.
Chapter headings are as follows:
- Infallibility of the Catholic Church
- The Nature of the Church
- Apostolic Succession
- The Canon
- The Sufficiency of Scripture
- Old Testament Israel – A Story of the Catholic Church
- The Myth of Catholic Unity
- Beliefs About Mary
- The Catholic Priesthood
- The Eucharist and the Mass
Incomprehensibly, Svendsen barely touches upon the MOST important issue dividing Evangelicals and Catholics; justification. Evangelicals believe in salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE while Catholics believe in salvation through sacramental grace and works. For the author to have omitted a chapter dealing with justification in a book such as this is an oversight of absolutely incredible proportions.
In light of the serious drawback mentioned above I wouldn’t generally recommend this book although Svendsen does a fine job with the differences he does choose to address, even if he tends toward an academic style. For a THOROUGH critique of Catholicism, INCLUDING the issue of justification, with a less pedantic approach I would suggest James McCarthy’s “The Gospel According to Rome.”
A slew of excellent books examining Roman Catholicism were published in the 1990s and early 2000s by such Evangelical authors as James White, William Webster, Svendsen, Rob Zins, and James McCarthy. Sadly, we’re seeing a smaller number of similar publications in recent years. See my Books tab for a long list of books which examine Roman Catholicism.