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October 16, 2011

If Protestanism is True

I just finished reading Devin Roses “If Protestantism is True” (amazon link to the Kindle book), the book accomplishes a task that in many ways has been missing from discussions about the Catholic faith. There are a number of books that attempt to take on the objections that Protestants bring up about Catholicism, I have a good number of them myself. But very few actually helped me with my conversion process, and while Devin’s book is certainly a blessing. It could have saved me time and heart ache while converting to Catholicism, for anyone looking at the Catholic church coming from a Protestant background, Devin’s book a must read.

Devin takes on the core issues with the Protestant churches, the largest of which is the canon of scripture and the Protestant belief in Sola Scriptura. In this respect the author does a good job in laying out just how hollow and circular the whole Sola Scriptura concept really is. What I liked so much about his approach is just how balanced and condensed the information is, it’s not a deeply theological or apologetical book, but it is approachable and well laid out.

My only real issues are that sometimes Devin’s polemic wears a little thin, the title of book gets used more than it should and seems to missing from some areas and used more heavily in others. I also felt that the section on Catholic Doctrine regarding the ‘Rules’ of the church, was pretty weak. A year ago I would have dismissed it out of hand as another failed attempt to explain how the church is actually different than the Pharisees and Scribes.

I tend to be very critical of Apologists, I was taught that when you argue a point about theology, being irenic was a vastly better way to approach the issue. I tend to lump Apologist into three types:

1. Polemics like Calvin, who go to war over every little issue.
2. Irenic, those who take the time to understand the other sides position and explain it with clarity.
3. Polishers, those can’t seem to admit any doubt about their statements, everything is simple and rosy in their explanations.

Of the three types, I vastly prefer option 2, I find that I learn more, and that their approach is more charitable. Jimmy Akin falls squarely into this category, and now Devin Rose. Just to be clear, types one and three are not wrong or bad per se. You need some polemics to make your case, and you need to be careful with how you present your argument. But in my opinion most apologists don’t even get close to being Irenic, and in their zeal to present their case lose site of how information can impact the reader.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it’s only $2.99 on Amazon and worth every penny.


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