The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants
one reviewer wrote, “Armstrong seems full of a great deal of bitterness and negativity towards Protestants, and does a very poor job of remaining dispassionate. True, he makes a few formal *statements* about respect for those on the other side of the fence, and does quote Protestants extensively, but I find the entire tone and spirit of the book to be overwhelmingly bitter and defensive. The text is riddled with jabs, sarcasm, mockery, and derision toward Protestants that betray an obvious emotional investment in the subject and make it very difficult to focus on the theological content.” I AGREE completely – thus the GREEK must say no good. He claims he would like to see union for rc and eastern orthodoxy (and have wayward protestants return) but his writings are more master/slave, with a superior, arrogant attitude to boot!
Rating: 1 / 5
I bought this book largely based on the very positive reviews found here, and was surprised and disappointed to find it so different than other readers have found it. Specifically, my impressions are literally opposite to those in the second paragraph of Jonathan Prejean’s review.
Personally, I found the book to be VERY emotionally laden. Armstrong seems full of a great deal of bitterness and negativity towards Protestants, and does a very poor job of remaining dispassionate. True, he makes a few formal *statements* about respect for those on the other side of the fence, and does quote Protestants extensively, but I find the entire tone and spirit of the book to be overwhelmingly bitter and defensive. The text is riddled with jabs, sarcasm, mockery, and derision toward Protestants that betray an obvious emotional investment in the subject and make it very difficult to focus on the theological content.
For example, many passages of the book are dedicated not to theological discussion, but to the recounting of specific debates the author has had online with individual Protestants, where he attempts to illustrate in detail how he bested his opponents and made them to look like ridiculous fools. He also heaps a great deal of scorn on such famous protestant thinkers as Luther and Calvin. Far from demonstrating respect for their intelligence or humbly discussing “how reasonable men can disagree,” he very arrogantly attempts to portray them as intellectual idiots and as men motivated primarily by conceit and blind anti-Catholic hatred.
Overall, the impression that I got from this book was not that the author was attempting to teach his readers about spiritual truths of which he is convicted, but that his primary purpose was to demonstrate his own intelligence and skill in argument, and to malign and discredit Protestants both individually (whether Luther, Calvin, or the many “internet opponents” he so proudly shames), and as a collective “they.”
Despite this unfortunate tone, spirit, and style, I did still find some of the content to be valuable. Armstrong IS clearly intelligent, very well-read, and a logical thinker and good writer. I was raised Catholic and later converted to Protestantism based on personal convictions about doctrinal truths, and I did find the book helpful in understanding more about the scriptural basis for Catholic doctrine. He presents a number of cogent arguments in defense of specific Catholic beliefs — I just wish it were written without the emotional baggage. Catholics may not be bothered by the tone, but I would caution Protestants to read a few chapters before buying, because the style may make it difficult for you to remain emotionally detached and evaluate Armstrong’s arguments for their merit.
Rating: 2 / 5
`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.
Rating: 4 / 5
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.
Rating: 4 / 5
People tell you that Catholics aren’t Christians? Do they tell you what you believe as if they new? Do they talk about the bible as if they wrote it? This book can help.
Rating: 4 / 5
The book is indeed the most polemical of my 19 books: far more than even my book about Martin Luther. Incidentally (as a note of trivia), the original idea for it came from my publisher, not myself. The hard-hitting style has to do with its purpose: which is turning the tables against Protestants and citing the Bible against them (for a change).
That makes some folks angry who don’t understand these sorts of argument and the style employed. It’s understandable. It’s tough to have one’s beliefs strongly critiqued. Some people don’t seem to be able to process that as anything but personal animosity. If they spend much time on the Internet, I can see why, because it is filled with personal attacks under the guise of “rational discussion.”
But as usual with my critiques of Protestantism, I receive two completely contradictory criticisms at the same time: for some folks I am far too harsh, and lack civility and politeness, and seem to them somewhat “anti-Protestant” (which I’m not at all; I’m simply arguing from a Catholic perspective). But for one reviewer I am somehow (in this very same book) “seeking puppy-dog approval.” Perhaps someone can explain to me how both things can be true?
But then again, does this not show the highly subjective nature of reviews? Where does the real truth lie? I am an ecumenical Catholic who respects Protestants but at the same time can offer strong, no-holds-barred rebuttals against classic Protestant arguments against Catholicism. One can do both of those things without contradiction.
The same folks who object to criticism of Luther and Calvin seem to think it is fine and dandy for them to issue a mountain of slanderous insults towards Catholics. Why is that nifty, while we are not allowed to offer a response? Or we are allowed to do so but then are accused of being “anti-Protestant.” By and large, one doesn’t observe Catholics going around calling Protestants part of the “Whore of Babylon” or followers of antichrist, Pelagians, idolaters, pagans, etc. That’s what Luther and Calvin started, by and large.
I offer my arguments from the presupposition of the Bible, not hostile nonsense like that.
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