I try to keep an eye out for new books about Roman Catholicism from evangelical authors and last night I came across “The Unfinished Reformation: What Unites and Divides Catholics and Protestants After 500 Years” by Gregg Allison and Christopher Castaldo, which is due out on September 12, 2016. Preliminary remarks about the book are provided below.
“Five hundred years ago, a Catholic monk nailed a list of grievances on the door of a church in Germany and launched a revolution in the history of Christianity. Today there continues to be a number of unresolved issues between the Protestant and Catholic churches, and many experience this ongoing division within their family and among friends and neighbors.
Written in an accessible and informative style, Gregg Allison and Chris Castaldo provide a brief and clear guide to the key points of unity and divergence between Protestants and Catholics today. They write to encourage fruitful conversation about the key theological and sociological differences between the two largest branches of the Christian Church.
From the revolutionary events 500 years ago that sparked the Reformation to today, Unfinished Reformation takes a nuanced and thoughtful look at doctrine, practice, and how Protestants and Catholics can have fruitful discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ.” – from Amazon.com
I’ve reviewed books about Catholicism by Castaldo and Allison in the past. See here, here, and here. As a general observation I would say that, while these gentlemen certainly do distinguish between the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and Catholicism’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit, they are a bit too deferential in their approach. You definitely won’t mistake their material with the no-compromise tack of a James McCarthy, a James White, or a John MacArthur. Castaldo and Allison are more about “dialoguing” with Catholics rather than confronting them head-on with the Gospel. One could make a case, which I have done many times, that beating around the bush doesn’t really help the Catholic. They naturally interpret accommodation by evangelicals to mean approval and acceptance of their religious system. We’ve seen that this “dialogue” approach has even led some evangelicals to jettison right doctrine altogether and to declare Catholicism to be “Close enough!”
On the other hand we’ve also seen how Jesuit conspiracy theorists (e.g., Chick Publications) and other extreme viewpoints (e.g., Ruckmanism) have weakened responsible efforts to reach Roman Catholics with the Gospel.
I wish Castaldo and Allison were more forthright in their apologetics but in this era of ecumenical apostasy and wholesale betrayal of the Gospel I’m grateful that they differentiate between the Gospel of grace and Rome’s gospel of works and invite Catholics to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. I look forward to reading this book and presenting a review.
To pre-order “The Unfinished Reformation: What Unites and Divides Catholics and Protestants After 500 Years,” see here.