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166 of 175 people found the following review helpful
If Devin Rose played in the NBA: A Review of The Protestant’s DilemmaMarch 20 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
If Devin Rose played in the NBA, I would give him the Most Improved Player Award, and maybe even MVP. When I was at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and trying not to become Catholic, I saw If Protestantism is True pop up in my search results. Because I was starting to realize the inconsistencies ofmy beliefs and church history, the book terrified me. My stomach tightened, my pulse quickened, and I decided I wouldn’t read that book until I’d studied a lot more apologetics for my Protestant beliefs. A couple months later, after deciding to leave seminary but still enrolled, I opened up the book and began to read, with relief, what Devin had eloquently written down–a full book expanding upon the nagging doubts of my mind.
Now, under the title of The Protestant’s Dilemma and published through Catholic Answers press, the book has been remarkably changed and improved. In my opinion, The Protestant’s Dilemma is a triumph for both Devin Rose and Catholic Answers Press, and a real tribute to the power of a publishing team’s direction compared to the limits of self-publishing.
So what’s changed? A lot. For those who haven’t read the original book, the concept behind If Protestantism is True was to take the many presuppositions of Protestantism, such as “God just wants us to live by the Bible alone,” and to expose how fallacious those statements are in light of church history, the Bible, and logic. This is a must for conversations with Protestants who perhaps have never met a Catholic well-versed in the Bible or church history, and think the Catholic system of Mary and statues is silly and the Protestant one built on solid rock.
In The Protestant’s Dilemma, many original arguments are deleted, reworked, expanded, collapsed–honestly it felt like I was reading an entirely different book. The new insights into Martin Luther and the early Protestant Reformer’s writings and thoughts were perhaps the most noticeable and helpful, and it’s probably these sections that I’ll read again soon–I hadn’t seen this research in other books.
The overall structure of the book, though, is what moved The Protestant’s Dilemma from “good” to “buying this for friends with questions.” Structure matters, readability matters, and, at the suggestion of Catholic Answers, Devin added three subheadings to every chapter. “If Protestantism is true” lays out the fallacies, “Because Catholicism is true” demonstrates the consistency of Catholic thought, and “The Protestant’s dilemma” wraps up each chapter with the problem presented. It’s easier to read than before, more accessible than before, and more people and parishes will benefit as a result.
D-Rose has written a good book, and I highly recommend it.
128 of 135 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a "Dilemma" that you will want to have!March 11 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
In my 27 years of studying the Faith, Devin Rose's method of explaining his intellectual journey from Protestantism to Catholicism stands out as truly unique: For each element of Christian Faith under consideration, he asks the reader to assume that Protestantism is true and then to follow that belief to its logical conclusion. (Sounds simple, right? But when employed by someone with the knowledge base and logical, conversational writing style of Rose; its effects are akin to an earthquake's.) Time and time again, for 34 separate issues, Rose demonstrates how the position of the Protestant Reformers ends in a denial of Scripture, history, and/or reason. I'll give a brief example:
Rose asks readers to consider what it means if the Reformers were correct in their removal of seven books (Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Tobit,) from the Old Testament. First Rose calls attention to the historical fact that the seven books in question were part of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT used by the apostles and quoted throughout the New Testament. He goes on to discuss how the Jewish canon (list of books recognized as inspired), appealed to as authoritative by the Reformers, was not settled upon until the end of the first century, if not later. The Christian Church, however, had always used a Bible containing the works rejected by the Reformers, reading them at the Sunday liturgy and quoting from them in her teaching. Rose then asks readers to come to grips with what the Reformers' rejection of these books means:
"If Protestantism is true, then for 1500 years all of Christianity used an Old Testament that contained seven fully disposable, possibly deceptive books that God did not inspire. He did, however, allow the early Church to designate these books as Sacred Scripture and derive false teachings such as purgatory from their contents. Eventually, God's chosen Reformer, Martin Luther, was able to straighten out this tragic error, even though his similar abridgement of the New Testament [his attempt to remove James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation] was a mistake." (p.74)
Put in those terms, one can understand the title of this book. Unbeknownst to them, sincere Christians, born into communities stemming from the Reformers, have either a) been wrongly deprived of seven books of Holy Scripture; or b) the Holy Spirit allowed the apostles and the entire Church to use a defective Bible and be deceived. It was Rose's realization that (b) was unthinkable for an orthodox Christian, and (a) matched the details of history, that moved him to the Catholic acceptance of these seven books. And that acceptance enriched his experience of Christ!
In the course of just over 200 pages Rose repeats this thought exercise for 33 other points of contention between the Protestant Reformers and the Catholic Church - the papacy, ecumenical councils, the Scripture and Tradition, infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, marriage as a sacrament, the Eucharist, etc., etc. He continually and successfully shows readers the way out of the dilemma - the Catholic Faith, a seamless garment of Scripture and reason, consonant with the facts of history. And while doing this he maintains a sincere charity toward the Protestant Christian of today; his tone is never one of condescension or triumphalism. Rather, his purpose is to unite brothers and sisters in the visible unity for which Jesus prayed at the Last Supper. My hat is off to Mr. Rose!
85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
Dilemmas Resolved When Cool Natural Reason Meets Warm Christian CharityMarch 7 2014
Dr. Kevin G. Vost
- Published on Amazon.com
Devin Rose’s The Protestant Dilemma is superb in its method and its content, in the rigor of its cool logic, and in the warmth and respectful manner of its presentation. This book employs the logical method of the argument ad absurdum in a way that is neither argumentative nor absurd. It’s like a modern, streamlined, user-friendly version of the Socratic dialogue or the Scholastic dialectic methods of the give and take of questions and answers to root out errors and come to truth.
In 34 brief, but meaty chapters, the author starts with a section entitled “If Protestantism Is True” and proceeds to show the absurd or contradictory and false results that ensue if one follows a key tenet of Protestantism through to its logical implications and conclusions. Next, in a section entitled “Because Catholicism is True” he shows how the Catholic position makes sense, dissolves the absurd dilemma, and is grounded not only in sound reason, but in Scripture, as well as in sacred Tradition and the teaching of the Church’s Magisterium. Finally, to end each chapter, the author encapsulates the arguments in a pithy, one paragraph summary, quite fittingly for this book, labeled “The Protestant Dilemma.”
The overall structure of the book is divided into four parts on “The Church of Christ,” “The Bible and Tradition,” “The Sacraments,” and “Christian History and Practice.” Every topic is considered very thoughtfully and presented very clearly. As I read through the chapters I came across some interesting information about Protestantism that I had not fully realized, for example, in chapter 14 on “Misinterpreting the Great Commission.” I came across chapters with themes especially dear to me, for example, chapter 16 on “The Role of History and Tradition,” and found that the author had done a wonderful job of explaining the issue’s importance to a full understanding of what it is to be a Christian and to follow Christ. Other chapters, such as chapters 27 on “Sexual Morality,” and 28 on “Other Moral Issues,” bring home the fact that the issues in this book are no mere abstract, academic theological debates, but interpretations of Christ’s message that hit us where we live, with profound impact for better or for worse on the fate of our souls, of our families, of the born and the unborn, and of the culture at large.
Overall then, I have no hesitation in recommending this book to all apologists, and to all Christians, be they Protestant or Catholic. (Indeed, I don’t see why Orthodox, Coptic, or other Christians might not find plenty of value to ponder here as well.) St. Peter famously advised us to be ready to defend the hope that is in us in a gentle and reverent way. Devin Rose has heeded his advice in a truly remarkable way. Whether or not to read this book should produce no dilemma.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
The Protestant's Dilemma by Devin Rose: A ReviewMarch 19 2014
Scott E. Alt
- Published on Amazon.com
If a Protestant looking into the claims of Catholicism were to ask me, “What one book should I read, where I can find a quick answer to any question I have?” I would tell him to read Devin Rose’s new book The Protestant’s Dilemma. I would also recommend this book to Protestant apologists, even those of many years, well-skilled in polemics. It will remind them of the heavy burden of proof they face, and the weakness of their position on point after point. The truth may set them free and bring them home too. (It has happened.)
All this may seem like overstatement — the obligatory praise from one Catholic blogger to another. But it is not.
Consider first the range of issues this book takes up. There are thirty-six chapters, each one on a different topic, from the papacy to sola scriptura, from the canon of the Bible to Purgatory, from confession to Eucharist to infant baptism. If something about the Catholic Church troubles you, this book has the answer. If you think you have found the point on which Catholicism fails, this book will show you why it is one more point upon which Protestantism fails.
Consider also the brevity. The book is just over 200 pages long, which means that Mr. Rose’s answers get to the root of the question without a knot of academic detail. It is harder to do than it might seem. This is the book of a man who has spent a long time studying the questions that divide Protestants and Catholics, and who knows how to present his case in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. At the same time, the book is useful for the professional apologist, for it recalls his mind to the basics.
Mr. Rose’s signature style is to take what Protestants claim and follow it through to its logical conclusion. By doing so, he reveals to the reader those consequences that apologists seldom want to admit, or even flat-out deny. On top of that, in each chapter Mr. Rose uses antithesis in order to prove the Catholic claim. Thus each one is divided into two sections: (1) If Protestantism is true, then x; (2) Because Catholicism is true, then y. At the end, y always looks to be the better of the two.
As one example of this, we should look at how Mr. Rose handles the question of authority in a chapter of less than six pages. Authority may be the one thing that most divides Catholics from Protestants. The Protestant looks to the Bible alone to tell him what is true. The Catholic looks to both the Bible and the teaching of the Church.
“If Protestantism is true,” chapter 12 begins, “we all decide for ourselves what God’s revelation means.” No Protestant will want to admit this. We do not decide for ourselves, he would say; the Bible is our guide. We are bound by what it says. But in one paragraph—one paragraph, think about that! — Mr. Rose shows why such a claim is false in practice:
"If, as Protestants believe, the Bible is the sole infallible rule of faith, God must have ensured that its meaning, at least on issues essential to salvation, would be clear to any Christian who reads it. He could not have allowed the Bible to be mysterious, obscure, or even slightly vague — even to people who weren’t fluent in Greek or Hebrew. This clarity would ensure unity of doctrine among all Bible-believing Christians throughout time. As we have seen, though, such unity does not exist. This is because, in the absence of an interpreting authority, every person is left to decide Scripture’s meaning for himself."
The Westminster Confession of Faith speaks of the “perspicuity” of Scripture, which means that the Bible is clear to any who take it up. If any one passage is not clear, related passages will clear it up for us. But to show why this is false, Mr. Rose cites two verses from 1 John. On the surface, they seem to be at odds with each other; he uses them to show why the Protestant is ultimately left to himself to decide how to reconcile them.
1 John 1:8 says that if we have no sin we deceive ourselves; but 1 John 3:6 says that if we remain in Christ we do not sin. Does that mean that no one remains in Christ? The Westminster formula can not tell us how to square the two. Each of us must make up his own answer. The chapter continues: "Because Catholicism is true, the Bible was not intended to be studied in isolation from the Apostolic Tradition and apart from the teaching authority of Christ’s Church."
Mr. Rose shows how Catholic tradition — in particular, the distinction between mortal and venial sin — helps to explain the two passages in a way that does not leave each of us to his own fallible authority, and which maintains the unity of the faith and the unity of the body as Christ intended. Christ did not mean to leave us to our own flawed intellect. He did not abandon us to division.
I wish I had had this book three years ago when I was on my way home to the Catholic Church. I had to piece together the proofs of Catholic teaching from a variety of sources, but Mr. Rose’s book contains all the issues that I struggled with in a single place. Moreover, it has the great strength of following Protestant claims to their logical consequences. It does not merely show why Catholicism is true, but also why Protestantism can not be true.
If you are a Protestant, and thinking about coming home to the Catholic Church; or, if you are a Catholic who wants to understand better how to defend your faith to your Protestant friends, then you must get this book and read this book today.
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
It's a starting point for those wishing to convert to the Catholic ChurchMarch 16 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I hope Mr. Rose has a second edition, expanded, in which he delves deeper into the history and tradition of the Catholic Church. I think there's a lot more to be said about the controversies that he discusses.
This book is at the "light" end of the spectrum measuring in-depth discussion of the topics. Yaroslav Pelikan's The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine" (5 volumes, about 1700 pages) is at the heavier, deep end of the spectrum (and this is not explicitly an apologetic for the Roman Catholic Church, although it turns out that way, on many issues). There are many excellent take-away lines in Pelikan's series, one of which applies here: "scriptura" Pelikan writes, has never been "sola."
Rose is dead-on is describing how Protestants have these non-scriptural assumptions that each person has the ability to understand scripture and that scripture is not that difficult to understand and apply to one's life. It would have been child's play to show how St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians is a prime example of how apostolic authority plays out, that he uses his authority to override those Corinthians who have gone astray in oh-so-many ways. Certainly, St. Paul doesn't encourage Corinthians to follow their own ideas in misinterpreting the gospel. Nor does St. Paul assert that he's covered everything that they need to know.