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The Protestant's Dilemma: How the Reformation's Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism Paperback – Feb 27 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Catholic Answers (Feb. 27 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938983610
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938983610
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By raymond langdon on Nov. 18 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well written and emphasize the truth. As an historic person , I found this myself .
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Amazon.com: 102 reviews
131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
If Devin Rose played in the NBA: A Review of The Protestant’s Dilemma March 20 2014
By Anthony - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
107 of 112 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a "Dilemma" that you will want to have! March 11 2014
By Shane Kapler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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!
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Dilemmas Resolved When Cool Natural Reason Meets Warm Christian Charity March 7 2014
By Dr. Kevin G. Vost - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The Protestant's Dilemma by Devin Rose: A Review March 19 2014
By Scott E. Alt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
It's a starting point for those wishing to convert to the Catholic Church March 16 2014
By R. Luczak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.


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