Saturday, April 5, 2008

Book Review: "The Catholic Verses".

A few years ago (2004) I read this work by author Dave Armstrong which is a Roman Catholic apologetic piece sly'ly entitled, "The Catholic Verses, 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants" which is a play on words contra Luther's 95 nailed thesis.

It is a basic introduction to Catholic apologetics - I presume aimed for the Catholic layman since in depth notes, rigorous exegesis of the Greek text and/or pericope is missing and we are only given the most general introduction on key issues in the heated debates between Catholics and Protestants today.

Armstrong does however a good job wrestling with both Luther and Calvin (among others) on strong issues and I especially liked the small but concise entry on 'The Church' and her authority concerning the philosophy of hermeneutics. The discussion of justification is handled well and I particularly like Armstrong's citations of John Newman on this issue. Most other issues are likewise given small but able treatments but the weaker entries were the defense of the sacrament of penance, communion of the saints, purgatory and the prayers for the dead seemed a bit strecthed. Highlights of the book were the entries on Priestly celibacy, and the notorious "Sin of Onan" or in other words, contraception.

All in all, a good 'short' read and highly recommended for students new to Catholic apologetics. For the serious scholar look elsewhere.

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