Item description for Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences by Norman L. Geisler & Ralph E. MacKenzie...
Overview In this careful comparison of the historical development and current expression of Catholic and Protestant theologies, Geisler and MacKenzie reveal much common ground, even in such an unlikely area as justification by faith. The authors are evangelical scholars who appreciate the work done by Roman theologians and philosophers.
Publishers Description Protestants and Roman Catholics find they are not as separated thelogically as they may have thought in this comparative study of beliefs.
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Studio: Baker Academic
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6" Width: 8.9" Height: 1.3" Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 1995
Publisher Baker Academic
ISBN 0801038758 ISBN13 9780801038754
Availability 0 units.
More About Norman L. Geisler & Ralph E. MacKenzie
Dr. Norman Geisler, PhD, is a prolific author, veteran professor, speaker, lecturer, traveler, philosopher, apologist, evangelist, and theologian. To those who ask, "Who is Norm Geisler?" some have suggested, "Well, imagine a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham and you're not too far off."
Norm has authored/coauthored over 80 books and hundreds of articles. He has taught theology, philosophy, and apologetics on the college or graduate level for over 50 years. He has served as a professor at some of the finest Seminaries in the United States, including Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Dallas Seminary, and Southern Evangelical Seminary. He now lends his talents to Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Murrieta, California, as the Distinguished Professor of Apologetics.
Norman has been married for 57 years (as of 2013) to wife Barbara Jean, graduate of Fort Wayne Bible College (Taylor University)
Dr. and Mrs. Geisler have six children, fifteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren
SPANISH BIO: Norman Geisler (PhD, Loyola University) es presidente del Seminario Evangelico del Sur y autor de mas de cincuenta libros, entre los que se destacan Decide For Yourself, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics y When Skeptics Ask. Fue tambien coeditor de Is Your Church Ready? Un libro asociado a Quien creo a Dios?
Norman L. Geisler currently resides in Weddington, in the state of North Carolina.
Reviews - What do customers think about Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences?
Worth studying Jan 30, 2007
Catholics will likely find the second section of this book too critical, while Evangelicals will likely find the third section far too liberal. Imagine Catholicism is a house, and Dr.Geisler is an expert building inspector. He examines the house and concludes the foundation is sinking, the walls are infested with terminites, the water pipes leak, the roof is full of gaping holes, the wiring is exposed, the windows are broken, the sewer line is full of roots, and there's a gas leak. In fact the house is so dilapidated you might be safer in a cave or a tree house. He strongly warns, but still approves the permit and allows the house to be occupied---apparently on the theory that most people 500 years ago or more lived in lousy housing---so somehow it's acceptable today.
To understand Dr. Geisler's view, it might help to read his Systematic Theology, Vol. 3 on the fourteen explicit and implicit conditions to believe to be saved. For example, he states that one need not (explicitly or implicitly) believe in Christ's bodily ascension, his present session (intercession), or his bodily second coming in order to be saved. Of the other conditions, he states one need not explicitly believe in Christ's virgin birth, his sinlessness, his humanity, or the Trinity, so long as one doesn't actually deny them. He affirms one must explicitly belive in the necessity of grace and faith, but denies one must believe in their sufficiency---which explains how he ends up approving the house permit.
In other words, a bare minimal gospel, which both sides would likely find insufficient allows him to include believing Catholics. Essentially, he denies the necessity of belief in faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone (forensic justification), while absolutely believing this to be correct. He believes this is the way God actually saves whomever he saves whether they believe it or not. If faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone is an essential part of the gospel as he admits, then how can belief in this be neither explicitly nor implicitly necessary to be saved? If it is absolutely true and essential, then how can anyone who explicitly denies it be saved? Logically it seems Dr. Geisler should acknowledge that forensic justification must implicitly be believed to be saved, or at an absolute minimum not be denied. Catholicism neither explicitly nor implicitly believes this but explicitly denied it at Trent, thus meriting it the title of an apostate church in the eyes of the Reformers.
Disappointment Nov 23, 2006
For at least twenty five years, I have become increasingly aware of the damage to Christ's body due to the often bitter infighting between Catholics and Evangelicals. Although Christ cannot be crucified again, this has not stopped various Christian factions from drawing and quartering His body, the church.
Upon discovering this book in a local book store I was intrigued by the title. My interest was further piqued by the forward written by Howard Brown. Brown stated something I have known to be true for some time, namely, that orthodox Roman Catholics and conservative Evangelicals have more in common with each other than they have with their modernists, revisionists components within their own groups. He went further to point out that Catholics and Evangelicals often find themselves standing together fighting common enemies. Reading further into the introduction the authors state their purpose, "to examine some of our common spiritual roots and see if we have any theological or moral bridges upon which we can both travel." What a grand endeavor! I purchased the book and started to read it from cover to cover. My initial delight, however, was soon replaced with grief and sorrow.
My first hint that something was amiss can be found toward the end of the introduction, where the authors instruct Evangelicals to read through the whole book but they recommended that Catholic readers should skip the middle third of the book. This struck me as odd, since the implied purpose was to find common ground which implies a desire for open and frank discussion. I was later to discover why.
The first part of the book outlines very well areas of agreement between Catholics and Evangelicals. In this part are some very fundamental doctrines on faith and morals that are shared between Catholics and Evangelicals.
The second part is an entirely different matter. Instead of a balanced outline of the differences between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics it is a one-sided attack on various Catholic dogmas. Upon finishing this part of the book, I was convinced the whole purpose of the book was a veiled attempt to sugar coat a one-sided attack on Catholicism. This was no better than a highly polished version of the same anti-catholic comic books published by various Evangelical groups containing slanderous material. The authors entice Catholics who desire a union with other denominations to share a conversation with them, and then start shoveling upon them a pile of anti-catholic spite. I felt very much like an innocent child being invited into a car by dirty old man with promises of candy.
I expected instead a presentation of both sides of the issues to be placed in juxtaposition so that readers could understand the differences, in an even handed fashion. What I found instead were statements of Catholic dogma taken mostly out of a book by Dr. Ludwig Ott titled "The fundamentals of Catholic Dogma". Although a very good reference book, this is certainly not a current book of choice containing detailed explanations of various Catholic dogmas (it was first published in 1955). Nor is it the most complete source of `proof-text' from Scripture or Tradition. A more current and far better resource would be the most recent Catechism of the Catholic Church (first published in the USA in English in 1994). The most recent catechism was written not so much as a denial of other denominations nor as a defense of the Catholic beliefs, but instead provides a better description of what Catholics do believe. The principle task entrusted to those who wrote this book was `...not first of all to condemn the errors of the times, but above all to strive calmly to show the strength and beauty of the doctrine of faith..." (from the introduction by John Paul II).
The Catholic statements were followed by lengthy and often repetitious arguments against the Catholic viewpoint. (Does one really need to repeat for each examined dogma the sola scriptura argument, ignoring the fact that Catholics do not ascribe to this viewpoint, having a counter viewpoint of prima scriptura?) Many Catholic references attempt to discuss these matters with non-Catholics on their terms--by using scripture alone; this is done as a courtesy to find common grounds of discussion. The authors focus into Ott's book because it was one of the few attempts at the time to be more inclusive of writings of early church Fathers in a single book.
My main concern with this section is that there appears to be no real attempt to understand the Catholic viewpoint. If this section were a live conversation between the authors and a Catholic scholar, it would come across as if the authors have already formed a response to the Catholic's statement before even hearing him out. This is amazing since they obviously studied Ott's book in detail. The authors do not acknowledge that many honest, God-fearing, Catholics ascribe consciously to the Catholic faith. I shudder to think of the conversations had with one author's Catholic daughter-in-law. Statements like "we have examined carefully the catholic arguments...and found them all wanting" belie the authors stated attempt to `not be rancorous in spirit'. The authors would do well to ponder Paul's words: "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4).
The third section of the book does provide a more positive end to the book, outlining where both Catholics and Evangelicals can cooperate on a more personal and social level. However I'm not so sure the first and last sections prevail over the rancor of the middle section.
Pretends to be ecumenical, but... Mar 15, 2006
...fails remarkably. Can two Protestants actually have an honest discussion of Roman Catholicism? Not, apparently, when they're Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie. This book would be less offensive if it did not purport to be a fair dialogue between the opposing sides.
While I have some appreciation for the book's ultimate argument, that Christians must learn to set aside our differences in order to work towards our common goal, Geisler and MacKenzie could have, and should have, made that point without pretending to actually examine the issues which separate us.
The other reviews on this page deal well with the gaping holes in their discussion, but it is the nature of the discussion itself that is maddening. Geisler and MacKenzie present a bare-bones outline of a Catholic position, devoting the remainder of each chapter to refuting it. They never allow for a rebuttal, nor do they ever deal particularly adeptly or thoroughly with the Catholic position. Rather, they hang straw men and gleefully burn them, assuming the Protestant doctrines of sola scriptura and sola fide all the way.
As an evangelical Protestant, I read the book and knew it was often illogical and overwhelmingly unfair. I remember guiltily presenting its anti-Catholic arguments, aware that I was not offering good historical analysis and that the answers I gave, lifted straight from this book (it is probably best used as an apology for Protestantism), were incomplete.
Having come face-to-face with Sacred Scripture (particularly the verses Geisler and MacKenzie blithely ignore), historical fact, and the actualy beliefs of the Early Church, I converted to Catholicism. The sections of this book that used to cause guilt now stir up irritation, as I know they will be used to further the anti-authority, anti-Catholicism, under-informed attitude so prevalent in America.
Yes, the book has been recommended by prominent Catholics -- so long as it's read with the Catechism in the other hand. You'll need it, if you want to know what the Catholic Church actually believes, and why.
Take this book for what it is: a defense of modern American Protestantism. Look elsewhere, if you really desire ecumenical dialogue.
Scholarly, fair, excellent ground for an honest interdenominational discussion Nov 21, 2005
Before I state my opinion about the book, allow me to swiftly present my background: I was born of an Eastern Orthodox father (thus I am officially an Orthodox), raised as a Catholic by my mother and my school, and I've recently getting quite acquainted with the Protestant doctrines. So I can safely say I am not blindly biased toward any of those three main Christian lines of thoughts, as I cherish them all and think each has a good reason why it exists.
As for this book, it was written by two highly respected "moderate" evangelicals in an effort to present the Catholic faith along side the Protestant one and compare them.
In the first part, the areas of doctrinal agreements are presented. This was a much needed part as people nowadays tend to only concentrate on the differences making the two faith seems like at a bitter war, neglecting the deep agreements on THE most essential doctrines such as the revelation of the bible, the notion of God and his character, the fall of mankind, Christ and his God-Man central place in our salvation, the role of the church, ethics, and the general thought about the last days. Plus it underlines their common heritage and common stand in our society. It was a pure pleasure to read this part, as it shows you that the foundation and basis of our Christian faith is ONE! I was even amazed at how much alike their doctrine of justification is, knowing that this is one of the crucial topics where the debate rages between Catholics and Evangelicals.
In the second part comes the area of doctrinal differences. Here the authors discuss the apocrypha (is it sound to include the apocrypha as canon of the old testament?), the scripture (what should dictate our doctrines: scripture alone or scripture plus tradition?), the infallibility of the Pope (is he the earthly head of the church with infallible decisions?), the doctrine of justification (are we saved by our faith alone, or by faith and works?), the sacraments (did Christ establish seven or two sacraments, and are they means of receiving grace or simply symbols of grace?), the system of the church (does the new testament establish priesthood or does it teach that all believers are priests and thus can approach God directly?) , Mariology (Is Mary our mediatrix, co-redemptrix, queen of heaven? Is it biblical to pray to her, to saints, to venerate relics?), and finally the purgatory (Heaven/Hell, or Heaven/Purgatory/Hell?). Each topic is first presented from the Catholic point of view with the corresponding scriptures to back their doctrine and the tradition and literature of some of the early church fathers as support. Then the authors present their refutation of each of the points then go to build a positive case for their evangelical doctrine. The presentation was honest and most importantly extremely gentlemanly; the authors talk with a sincere and appropriate language, avoiding any bashing or fanatic sarcasm. Although the book is biased (it's impossible for such a book to be neutral), it is really hard not to agree with the authors on many points. I am afraid a lot of the catholic doctrines have simply drifted from the scriptural truth and have been reshaped a lot along history especially with the accumulation of so called infallible decisions. Catholic doctrines do suffer a lot when faced with scripture. And also, contrary to what many people believe, many highly respected early church fathers taught contrary to the current catholic doctrines and were more along the evangelical line of thought.
The last part of the book deals with the areas of practical cooperation. Being divided along many areas shouldn't let us forget the many agreements and the single stand of both faiths: proclaiming the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. Social action, educational goals, spiritual heritage and evangelism are but few of the points where both can work hand in hand.
At the end of the book, there is also many minor appendixes dealing with some subjects such as the churches of the east, liberalism, reformation,.....
This book deserves a 5 star for being so complete in its approach, so scholarly in its presentation and most importantly for being truly well spirited. It is such books that should be the basis of debating and discussion, not like many others that picture the other side as an ugly devil. The Christian faith is ONE with different toppings :).
Honest and moderate Author Jul 12, 2001
As a Theologian myself, I see this book very moderate and good to read. .... But for those deeper, more serious, and for schoolar readers, I suggest these most briliant books listed below ...:
1. Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating 2. What Catholic really believe by Karl Keating 3. Catholic for a reason by Scott Hahn 4. Refuting the Attack on Mary by Mateo