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Greensboro, North Carolina
5 Stars Out Of 5
September 3, 2013
Greensboro, North Carolina
I expected this book to be a bit dry, as I was required to read it for a history class, but it was not. I enjoyed the frank analysis of the state of the evangalical vs. Catholic Church. Though the Church is greatly divided, this work gives us a realistic hope, yet keeps the reader grounded about reconciliation.
Once again, Mark Noll's excellent command of Christian history, broad and deep research, and sensitivity to the prayer of Jesus, that we may be one, has produced a book that is assured to enlighten and challenge readers on both sides of the Reformation. For readers who desire to understand more clearly the things that divide, as well as even-handed elucidation of Evangelical and Roman Catholic shortcomings, this book is a very good introduction and exhortation to further research and cooperation. While not directly answering his own question, "is the Reformation over," Noll clearly sees a small light beginning to dawn. With his obvious personal faith and hopes he lays a groundwork for more general agreement on "mere Christianity" and less antagonism. This is not a book for the closed or narrow minded coming with an agenda, but is a an excellent resource for those members of "the one holy catholic and apostolic church" who long for the message of redemption in Christ to take center stage, and proposes many avenues that we can honor God by being one with Him and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
A great resource for information regarding recent Ecumenical movements for reconciliation between Evangelicals and Catholics. As informative as this book is the author seems to start from the premise that Reformational Protestantism and Roman Catholicism should be both afforded the status of being Orthodox, but with remaining differences that are outweighed by common affirmations on many doctrines. His quote on Page 251 is as follows: "When, therefore, we evangelicals look at the situation as it has actually come to exist in the Roman Catholic Church - when, that is, we study the papal encyclicals of the last quarter century, read the ecumenical dialogues on justification by faith and on many other historically contentious topics, ponder the new Catholic Catechism, reflect on the use made by Catholics of Alpha and Jesus film, and consider the openness at many levels of the Catholic Church to a Bible-centered and Christ-focused religion that looks strangely like evangelical Christianity - the we are in a position to consider whether the Reformation is over". After reading pertinent parts of the new Catholic Catechism for myself, I find enough remaining serious differences that in my estimation overwhelm any "progress" in recent efforts towards reconciliation. If Mark Noll , and other likeminded evangelicals feel that the Reformation is essentially over, than I would counter that it is not over. In fact, I would suggest that it is evangelicalism itself that is in need of Reformation. If these trends continue without real reform on the part of the Catholic church itself, we could be left with an evangelicalism devoid of Biblical distinctives. If that happens then the Reformation would be truly over, with Protestanism surrendering to Catholicism. This is an important book to read, so do so, and decide for yourself.