Making Shipwreck of the Faith:
Evangelicals and Roman Catholics Together
By Kevin Reed
Protestant Heritage Press, 1995, 96 pages
When Chuck Colson and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus released their “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” ecumenical declaration in 1994, with the signatures of several prominent evangelical leaders attached, it wasn’t a complete shock. Several evangelicals had been pushing for recognition of Rome as a legitimate Christian church for decades, with Billy Graham being the most prominent. But many other evangelicals were stunned by the declaration and several books were written challenging this betrayal of the Gospel of grace.
In this short book, Reformed author, Kevin Reed, briefly evaluates ECT in light of God’s Word. This book is short on details but very long on rants against contemporary evangelicalism. I’m not a huge fan of much that passes for evangelicalism these days either but Reed makes me look like a TBN televangelist in comparison. He’s a huge critic of “decisionalism” – the saying of a short prayer or coming forward in response to an invitation to “accept” Christ. Hyper-Calvinist Reed says “accepting” Christ is Arminan heresy, but that it’s okay for the person being drawn by the Holy Spirit to “trust” or “rest” in Christ. Yes, I agree many people make shallow, disingenuous professions of Christ that never result in any fruit, but making a distinction between “accepting” and “trusting” Christ is the kind of Nth degree nitpicking that’s sadly characteristic of Reformed (and other) fundamentalists. Many Christians are not fans of the “contemporary worship music” blasting through speakers in many evangelical churches on Sunday mornings these days but Reed even criticizes all old-school hymns as “heretical”! Singing psalms acapella is the only acceptable form of worship music according to Reed. The author makes some good points in this book but the sectarian baloney is unbearable.
Christians must be discerning. There’s some excellent resources out there that responsibly critique Roman Catholicism (see my Books and Links tabs) but there’s also a lot of bad stuff (e.g., Jack Chick, Peter Ruckman, etc.). I’ll file this book among the latter. Reed’s hyper-sectarianism strikes me as equally as repugnant as the ECT betrayal. For responsible reviews of ECT see “Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification” and “Getting the Gospel Right” by R. C. Sproul, “Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will To Discern” by John MacArthur, and “Romanism: The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ!” by Rob Zins.
Christians should lovingly cut their brothers and sisters in other churches some slack in regards to secondary doctrinal differences but the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone should NEVER be compromised the way it was done by the Judas supporters of ECT.
“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” – 1 Timothy 1:18-20