Understanding Roman Catholicism
By Rick Jones
Chick Publications, 1995, 224 pages
Note: I received this book as a gift. I don’t endorse materials from Chick Publications.
On the one hand, I enjoyed reading Understanding Roman Catholicism by Rick Jones. The book covers a lot of ground (42 chapters in 224 pages) by concisely comparing Catholic doctrines as presented in its official 1994 catechism with the teachings of the Bible. Jones’s arguments in support of the Gospel of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE compared to Rome’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit are compelling on a certain level and his chapter-ending appeals to the reader to choose Christ over works-righteousness Catholicism are excellent. In addition, the book doesn’t contain any outrageous worldwide Jesuit conspiracy theories that you’ll find in most Chick Publications.
However, Jones doesn’t present Catholic teachings altogether accurately or fairly. If given the opportunity, Catholic apologists could provide many scriptural references in support of their catechismal precepts. I certainly would not agree with most Catholic interpretations of Scripture but Jones sets up one straw man after another by presenting the Catholic positions as if they were based solely on tradition.
Also, the Catholic (and Christian) reader of this book will wonder who exactly is Rick Jones. The author provides only scant biographical information and few credentials for his Catholic readers who are, by and large, quite obsessed with credentials and authority. True, God is no respecter of persons, but Catholics are not God.
Finally, because this book was published by controversial Chick Publications many Catholics (and Christians) would never get past the cover. Chick has blamed every major historical calamity on the Jesuits since the founding of that religious order in 1540. In hindsight, Chick’s outrageously conspiratorial approach to Catholicism (including the infamous “Alberto” comic book series) did serious harm to the effectiveness of responsible Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics.