Standing Room Only: A Contemporary Exposé of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Agreement
By Philip De Courcy
Ambassador-Emerald International, 1999, 386 pages
Well known evangelical, Chuck Colson, and Roman Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus, forged an alliance back in the early 1990s that eventually included several others from their respective “camps” under the ecumenical umbrella called “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT). In the group’s first declaration, published in 1994, both sides recognized each other as Christians and laid the groundwork for future rapprochement and cooperation.
Many evangelicals reacted swiftly to ECT’s stark compromise and betrayal of the Gospel. Several books were published including this one by Philip De Courcy who currently pastors in Southern California.
De Courcy does a good job of examining the claims of ECT in comparison to Scripture and historical Protestantism. Areas that are examined include:
- The current lack of discernment within evangelicalism regarding Catholicism.
- The authority of Scripture versus Catholicism’s reliance on tradition and its magisterium.
- Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for sin on Calvary compared to Catholicism’s ongoing sacrifice of the mass.
- Catholicism’s sacerdotal priesthood
- The pope
- Justification through the imputed righteous of Jesus Christ versus Catholicism’s teaching of the infusion of sacramental grace leading to higher levels of sanctification and subjective justification.
This book was very informative and would be helpful for anyone interested in learning the differences between Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. One criticism I have is the chapter headings could have been more sharply focused to assist the reader (e.g., the chapter on purgatory is titled “Heaven By The Back Door”), but this is a minor issue.
While most evangelicals were unaware of ECT and its ecumenical efforts back in 1994, some theologians, pastors, and para-church leaders were swayed. Thanks to ECT and other ecumenical initiatives, the emphasis gradually shifted from evangelizing Catholics to “dialoguing” with them in order to “better understand and learn from each other.” The compromise and betrayal continues, but there are still many faithful pastors and Christians out there who have not bent the knee to Rome.
Used copies of “Standing Room Only: A Contemporary Exposé of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Agreement” are available from Amazon, here.