Nothing in My Hand I Bring: Understanding the Differences Between Roman Catholic and Protestant Beliefs
By Ray Galea
Matthias Media, 2007, 121 pages
Over the past three and a half years, I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing many books that examined the differences between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism, but this little book is extremely well done.
Author and minister, Ray Galea, begins his testimony with his experiences growing up with his family as part of a Catholic community in Australia. Like most Catholics, Ray and his family participated in the rituals of their religion, but had no personal trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Ray began reading the Bible as a college student and discovered many differences between God’s Word and Catholicism. He eventually accepted Christ as Savior by faith alone and joined a conservative Anglican church, much to his family’s disappointment.
Ray’s testimony mirrors my own in many ways. When a Catholic first begins to understand the Gospel, they think about how accepting Christ as Savior will affect their relationships with their Catholic family and friends. For many Catholics, their religion is a big part of their “tribal” identity and when they accept Christ, they know they will face opposition from family and friends and be labeled a “Bible banger,” as one who “takes religion way too seriously,” and as a traitor to their church and parents. These are the chains of popularity and acceptance, but who would choose them over a sweet, saving relationship with the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? After accepting Christ, all such concerns are rendered inconsequential.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:37-39
Ray then addresses some of the major differences between Bible Christianity and Catholicism including short chapters on the mass, authority, justification, and Mary. The last chapter examines Catholicism’s relatively new ecumenical and interfaith approach, which teaches that people of all religions and even atheists can also merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they have been given,” whatever that means. Of course, the main difference between Catholicism and Bible Christianity is their respective gospels. Catholics believe in salvation by sacramental grace and merit while Bible Christians believe in the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE, without one, single claim of merit or entitlement of our own. Have YOU trusted in Christ as your Savior by faith alone?
Ray writes in a warm, inviting, personal style and covers the topics without using a lot of unnecessary theological jargon. This is a very good introductory book for Catholics who are curious about Biblical Christianity and for evangelicals who are curious about the main beliefs of Catholicism, but don’t care to wade through a 400-page tome. Highly recommended. Order from Matthias Media here. The publisher also offers two additional books about Catholicism, “Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories” (see my review here) and “The Road Once Travelled: Fresh Thoughts on Catholicism.”