Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences
By Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie
Baker Academic, 1995, 538 pages
This is a strange book. I mean, REALLY strange. On the one hand Evangelical scholar, Norman Geisler, cites many areas in which Roman Catholicism is not in accord with the New Testament Gospel: justification by works, sacramentalism, Mariolatry, sacerdotalism, purgatory, etc. Then from the other side of his mouth Geisler insinuates that Catholicism is Christian; e.g. “(the Jesuits’) original mission concerned preaching Christ to the unconverted in the world. They became great missionaries, winning many to Christ in Africa, Asia, and the New World. Many were martyred for their faith” – p.444. Really, Professor Geisler? Did the Jesuits preach Christ or did they preach a works-based religion masquerading as “Christianity”? How exactly is teaching people they must merit their salvation “winning” souls to Christ?
The “gospel” preached by the Catholic church claims salvation comes through its clergy-administered sacraments and by obedience to the Law. But Geisler argues, even quite adamantly, for the true Gospel message of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. So which is it, Professor Geisler? Grace or works? It can’t be both.
“And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” – Romans 11:6.
Geisler, a passionate devotee of Catholic priest and theologian, Thomas Aquinas, struggles schizophrenically to cut Catholicism as much slack as possible while also upholding the Gospel of the Reformers. When it comes to Rome, Catholic-friendly Evangelicals like Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Richard Land, Bill Bright, Os Guinness, Mark Noll, J. I. Packer, Harold O. J. Brown, Max Lucado, Timothy George, and Roman Geisler are all simply delusional (Colson, Bright, and Brown are now deceased).
How is it that Catholic apologists are never shy about claiming theirs is the “one true church” with the fullness of the gospel while many accommodating Evangelical apologists and pastors meekly tiptoe around the all-important justification “issue” that separates Catholicism from the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone?