“Yeah, we believe the Bible, but…”

Answers to Catholic Claims: A Discussion of Biblical Authorityacc
by James R. White
Crowne Publications, 1990, 116 pages

If you were to ask 100 random evangelical Christians what’s the difference between Bible Christianity and Roman Catholicism you’d probably get a lot of blank stares and maybe even elicit some angry responses. “Catholics may have some quirky practices but they also believe in God, faith, and Jesus the Savior,” many would say. Evangelical Christians of only one or two generations ago were much more knowledgeable about the differences between Bible Christianity and Catholicism but in today’s era of ecumenism and the growing disfavor of “doctrinalism,” pretty much everyone who names the name of Jesus is embraced. The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is being watered down by shared religious experientialism.

In this short book, apologist, James White compares evangelical and Catholic views on the Bible. Both sides believe the Bible is God’s Word, but Catholics believe their church’s traditions and magisterium (teaching office of the pope and his bishops) are as equally inspired as the Bible. As a consequence, many non-Biblical and even anti-Biblical dogmas have crept into Catholic teaching such as salvation by sacramental grace and merit, the papacy, papal infallibility, praying to Mary and the saints, the immaculate conception of Mary and her assumption into Heaven, purgatory, priests, the sacrifice of the mass, etc.

The Catholic church claims it is responsible for the New Testament canon and that it has exclusive authority to correctly interpret the Bible. White answers all Catholic claims. The Bible, God’s Word, stands by itself and needs no church council to confirm its authority. The Old and New Testament writers, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Himself, proclaimed a high view of Scripture that puts Catholicism to shame. The early church devolved into a powerful and wealthy institution, patterning itself after the Roman imperial model. The church’s credulous followers were forced to accept its authoritarian leadership, which kept the Bible from them for centuries. But the Holy Spirit is like the wind, going wherever He will. He accomplished His work through the ragtag, patchwork of evangelical fellowships that accepted God’s Word as their sole authority and rose up in defiance of Rome.

This book is a good introduction to Biblical authority in comparison to Roman Catholic claims. Fortunately, White stays totally on topic, unlike his first book on Catholicism,”The Fatal Flaw.” “Answers to Catholic Claims: A Discussion of Biblical Authority” is available from Amazon as a Kindle download for only $0.99.

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