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Is the Reformation Over? : An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism
For the last few decades, Catholics and Protestants have been working to heal the wounds caused by centuries of mistrust. This book, a Christianity Today 2006 Book Award winner, provides an evaluation of contemporary Roman Catholicism and the changing relationship between Catholics and evangelicals. The authors examine past tensions, post-Vatican II ecumenical dialogues, and social/political issues that have brought Catholics and evangelicals together. While not ignoring significant differences that remain, the authors call evangelicals to gain a new appreciation for the current character of the Catholic Church. Written by Mark Noll, one of the premier church historians of our day, and Carolyn Nystrom, this book will appeal to those interested in the relationship between evangelicals and the Catholic Church.
The eminent evangelical historian Noll and journalist Nystrom offer a lucid and charitable account of the current state of evangelical-Catholic relations. Only scant decades ago, they point out, Protestants inveighed against "the formalism, the anthropocentric worship, the power mongering, and the egotism" of Rome. But now, they wryly observe, all those qualities "flourish on every hand within Protestant evangelicalism." This willingness to see the proverbial beam in one's own eye is one of the great strengths of this book, which has as much to say about the authors' own Christian tradition as about Rome. Surveying the changes in Catholicism since Vatican II, and documenting the numerous encounters that have ensued between Catholics and Protestants, Noll and Nystrom find "a dramatically altered terrain" that offers hope for further rapprochement. Catholics will appreciate the authors' focus on official teaching, especially their appreciative, though not uncritical, survey of the Church's Catechism. Not all readers will agree that on the crucial Reformation-era topic of justification, "Catholics and evangelicals now believe approximately the same thing," and Noll and Nystrom barely mention popular practices, like the cult of Guadalupe and the late Pope John Paul II's reinstatement of indulgences, that trouble evangelicals. Still, even if they never quite answer the question posed in their title, Noll and Nystrom certainly make the case that that question's time has come. (July)
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Baker Publishing Group
March 30, 2008
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