Item description for The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants by Dave Armstrong...
Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation by tacking ninety-five anti-Catholic theses to a church door in Germany. Now Dave Armstrong counters with ninety-five pro-Catholic passages from an authority far greater than Luther: the Bible itself.
Protestants (and even many Catholics) will be surprised to see Catholicism so strongly supported by these Catholic verses. With humility and care, Dave Armstrong here explains ninety-five key bible passages that confound all who would use Scripture to criticize the Church and her doctrines. These are the verses that have drawn so many serious believers -- including Armstrong -- out of their Protestant congregations and into the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Verses is essential reading for all persons seeking to understand God's word in the Bible and to discover the Church that continues to preach His word faithfully today.
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Studio: Sophia Institute Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.04" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.77" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2004
Publisher Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 1928832733 ISBN13 9781928832737
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More About Dave Armstrong
Armstrong was a Protestant campus missionary before he became a Catholic in 1991. He has written many articles on the Faith for Catholic periodicals.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants?
Great stepping stone to the Church Sep 6, 2008
I believe God was working through my friend who cajoled me into reading this. Thanks to Dave Armstrong, I am now seriously looking into the Catholic faith in a new light. This book presents a well organized scriptual defense of the key doctrines dividing Catholics and most Protestants. The thing I like about it is how is refutes all the common counter-arguments, bringing us to the final winner (in most cases): the Catholic Church. There are much more than 95 Catholic verses in the Bible; but this book is a great way to both introduce Protestants and arm beginner apologists.
On Balance A Thought-Provoking, Interesting Read With Some Originality... May 6, 2008
The theme of this book is an interesting one -covering ninety-five biblical verses as a kind of symbolic response to Fr. Martin Luther's 95 Theses tacked by legend to the door of the Wittenburg cathedral in late 1517. And the manifested intention to demonstrate that there can be plausibly argued from a biblical standpoint for many of what Mr. Armstrong calls "Catholic distinctives" is amply sustained -though there is a variegated quality of his arguments in the book notwithstanding of course. This was unquestionably a very ambitious undertaking on the part of the author and for that fact alone he deserves some credit.
This book has a few weaknesses which affect the overall text. For one thing, it is very choppy in spots with the manuscript needing improvement by smoothing out some of the rough structural barbs. I should in fairness note in stating this criticism that part of that is perhaps inevitable if one looks at the pattern of the book and its intentions. For example, as the book is based on specific verses, there will be inexorably a greater degree of commentary interspersed with other sources. And of course the aforementioned commentary and use of sources will also bring to it certain unspoken and unsubstantiated presuppositions of the author no matter how one tries to avoid this -and the latter cannot be done justice in a volume such as this.
But that point noted, Mr. Armstrong is usually good at recognizing the principle that more formally developed concepts need not be present in later fullness in earlier periods of time: what Catholics refer to as development of doctrine. Mr. Armstrong understands the concept better than most but it is nonetheless one with its limits and not the magical "one size fits all" remedy that he at times appears to think it is. Mr. Armstrong also has a tendency to overplay his hand a bit through the use of statements of a more absolute nature where theologically there is more room than he appears to presume. But this criticism is one that is hardly applicable to him alone -I note it here nonetheless because it needs to be accounted for by the reader to receive a fuller picture of the author's work itself.
Despite the manifested intention to avoid triumphalist tonalities in the book, Mr. Armstrong while generally succeeding in this area nonetheless does involve a bit of sardonic phrasing in spots -seemingly at the points where either his arguments are the weakest or the internal contradictions of some of the sources he critically interacts with happen to be. John Calvin is a particular target in this area but considering the snide way Calvin approaches a number of subjects in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, it is hard to fault Mr. Armstrong for taking a bit of schadenfraude in puncturing the balloons of bombast common to Calvin's methodology even if in other areas one could find it easier for this criticism to have a bit more weight. (And I emphasize "a bit more" because on balance this book is light on explicit triumphalism: something which is to Mr. Armstrong's credit.)
On specific matters, to compile a detailed sketch would take more time than I have so I will note what is particularly well done section by section. The sections on The Church, Bible and Tradition, Papacy, Communion of Saints, and Prayers for the Dead are all despite the overall structural weaknesses noted earlier very solid in content and argumentation. (Likewise the sections on Baptism and Eucharist.) I could quibble with a few additional bits but they would not detract from my view of these sections at all so I will leave it be for now. The Communion of Saints section also possesses some nice nuances to it which someone familiar with the boilerplate elements of this subject could well appreciate -the same is the case for the section on Prayers for the Dead.
Other sections which are also good (albeit not to the extent the ones already noted are) include the ones on Penance and Relics/Sacramentals. The problem with these sections that I discerned most is brevity primarily: they require a lot more exposition due to being more implied in the scripture than the others noted thus far. It is also questionable in my mind if including these subjects in the book was a good idea for those reasons but what is there is good so I will leave it at that.
The section on Divisions/Denominationalism is on balance good but it has more weaknesses to it than the other sections noted thus far. For one thing, it needs to emphasize that the only divisions Mr. Armstrong intends to be critical of are ones that pertain to faith. In failing to do this, it leaves Mr. Armstrong open to those who point out areas of diversity in Catholic philosophy, theology, application of moral/ethical principles, geopolitical matters, etc. as a presumed "refutation" of his position in this section. If he were to in a subsequent edition make this delineation clearer, it would vindicate this section from the sort of criticism I noted above.
The last quarter of the book is of markedly less quality than the parts covered thus far -in part because the subjects move to more peripheral or controverted nature. For the sake of presenting a stronger product it would have been better to have either covered them in greater detail or passed these matters over completely. The section on Celibacy is written from a western perspective which gives the impression that there is one traditional approach to this matter instead of two. It would do Mr. Armstrong well in subsequent editions of this work to add a bit in there about the eastern tradition which allows for married clergy much as certain extraordinary provisions in the western church in recent decades do. In both traditions there is (albeit in differing ways) a recognition of the biblical principle of clerical celibacy so this revision would only strengthen the latter section of this book.
The section on Divorce suffers from a lack of completion akin to the one on Celibacy though not to the same extent. The main weakness here is the lack of distinguishing between the concepts of divorce and annulment. The latter is often called "Catholic divorce" but that expression is not accurate at all and failing to note the distinction in this section after the passages pertaining to divorce weakens the presentation here.
The section on Contraception is the weakest one in the book for a variety of reasons. The first reason is that it is a derivative concept which as I noted earlier is harder to cover than a primary subject. The second is that it is based on so little Scriptural reference and implied ones at that: making it by nature involving a lot more commentary. The third is that there are other objections raised against the OT passage he cited being interpreted as Mr. Armstrong does that he gives no credence whatsoever to. There are other factors too on this one but my guess is that this being an issue that was of particular resonance to Mr. Armstrong in his conversion is what prompted him to include a section in this book on the topic in question. But to cover the latter subject with the detail required and accounting for all parameters (including certain presuppositions Mr. Armstrong unconsciously and uncritically accepts) would to make the book a lot longer which is why it would have been better to have passed over it completely in this treatment.
To summarize this review, Mr. Armstrong attempts to cover an entire spectrum of ideas with this book. In doing this there will be a variegation of success and on the lions share of the topics covered as well as overall presentation, this book is a worthwhile read. But there are also some topics of which it would have been better to have a bit more material on to insure a more correct presentation. And there is exactly one subject which would have by the nature of the subject in question have benefited from being passed over with the idea of focusing on the ones where the greater strength of demonstration and argument can be made.
In closing, I with minimal reservation recommend this work for those who have questions as to the presumed "unbiblical" nature of certain Catholic beliefs and practices. It would serve well to help them realize that (whether they agree with them or not) there are arguments that can be made from Scripture for many "Catholic distinctives" which non-Catholics may have been led to believe did not exist.
Questions for Catholics May 6, 2008
Here's some interesting questions I would have for Catholics about the purity of their church from a very old text, "In the year AD fifty-five, Liberius was pope. He was banished, and Phelix was ordained to the papal chair, which caused a sanguinary war in which Phelix was overthrown and the banished pope, by force of arms, regained the throne. In face of all this bloodshed, it is surprising how these two bloodthirsty popes could have been sainted..in A.D. five hundred thirty-six, Vegilus and Silverus simultaneously held the papal chair..Now to the year A.D. seven hundred fifty-seven when, at the death of Paul the First, the Duke of Nepi compelled some bishops to consecrate his brother Constantine pope. Later, Stephen the Fourth was elected, and the unseated Constantine had his eyes burned out. Next come the year eight hundred seventy-two, finding John the Eighth pope, when one Formosus conspired against him and murdered him, for which foul deed, Formosus was excommunicated. But a few years later this murderer, Formosus, was elected pope. Then Stephen the Eighth was made pope, who began by having the body of Formosus exhumed, propped in a chair, tried, and convicted, and his dead body thrown into a river...In the year nine hundred five, Sergius the Third gained the papal chair by military force, which was followed by his lewd life with the prostitute Theodora, and her daughter Morioza, both of the underworld. Theodora caused one of her paramours, John the Tenth, to be made pope. Fourteen years later he was succeeded by John the Eleventh, whose life of immorality was no better than that of his predecessor. Then came the boy pope, John the Twelfth, whose lewd, immoral life incited the German clergy to protest. He was tried and convicted of adultery, concubinage, and turning the Lateran palace into a bawdy house, putting out the eyes of one prelate, and sterilizing another. He was finally deposed....In the year A.D. ten hundred thirty-three, Benedict and Sylvester were contending popes. Benedict eventually won out, then sold the papal chair to one John for fifteen hundred pounds, equivalent. John sold the papal chair at an auction, and Gregory the Sixth bought it. Then came the schism between the popes at Rome and Constantinople, each holding equal authority. In this strife, each pope excommunicated the other. The very singular thing is that the church has no answer except silence. Next, in the year thirteen hundred seventy-eight, Urban and Clement were contending popes. Clement was supported by Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, and Sicily, while Urban's supporters were Portugal, Germany, England, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. This abyss that, according to ecclesiastical history has never been bridged over...in the year fourteen hundred thirty-one, when Surgius and Felix were contending popes..divided Europe for fourteen years, which eventually resulted in inter-excommunications." Also, don't forget the "awful deeds under Opeda, in which the French Parliament acquiesced. Then the horrible slaughter of the Albigenses- one of the blackest pages in history. Then in the year twelve hundred thirty-nine, Dominic was appointed inquisitor general, and his emissaries were known as the 'Militia of Jesus,' resulting in such tortures as the rack, cutting chains, screw-clamps, and many, many kindred tortures worse than one may be expect among the grossest barbarians. Anything to stamp out those who differed in faith from Catholics came under this torture. In the church's efforts to stamp out Lutheranism, the mandate was to exterminate them even by applying fire. The French historian puts it, 'Se servir de remedes plus violens et de servir de feu!' Think of the fate of Joan of Arc, falling under the mandate, being burned at the stake. Next, think of those horrid crusades waged in the name of 'Christ and the Cross,' each one failing. Thinking it was attributable to the impurity of the crusaders, the children's crusade was inaugurated, sallying forth unarmed. The fatal result is too pathetic for words."
Illuminating but with a tarnished purpose. Jan 18, 2008
`The Catholic Verses' is a rather splendid example of the new genre of Catholic apologetics. For too long, Protestants have claimed spiritual possession of Sacred Scripture, usurping the name `Bible-based' and misquoting a handful of sporadic verses in an attempt to convince individuals that sixty-six of the books in the Bible are somehow divinely connected to the doctrinally disconnected rabble created by Luther and his ilk. Recently, however, Catholics have decided to end this travesty and put Scripture back into its proper context and home; that is, the Catholic Church
Using the accustomed Protestant apologist argument of `Scripture Alone', Dave Armstrong demonstrates that the Catholic religion can be entirely justified by `Sola Scriptura'. He provides ninety-five of such quotations (with irony at the expense of Martin Luther's anti-Catholic ninety-five thesis) and elucidates on each, establishing them firmly as bastions of Catholicism. The most common objectionable doctrines are covered, such as the Immaculate Conception, the importance of Tradition, the Papacy, Purgatory, and many others, showing that it is the Protestants who have not correctly read their Bibles.
The only problem presented in Mr. Armstrong's book is that, while he seems eager to convince Protestants of the Catholicity of the Bible, the `spirit of Vatican II' pervades much of his work. His constant, cosy references to Protestants as our `separated brethren'; our `brothers and sisters in Christ'; and as `shareholders' to the Scriptures undermines much of, what should be, his ultimate goal of bringing Protestants to the true religion of Jesus Christ rather than simply seeking puppy-dog approval.
Catholic Verses Dec 14, 2007
The author is very knowledgeable regarding the bible and very effectivly neutralizes many of the misconceptions about the Catholic Church's not following scripture in it's doctrines and practices. HE does this in a very readable form. For those Catholics who are constantly bombarded by negative comments about our faith,this book will help you dispel the nonsense from our supposed christian brothers.