A Personal Introduction and an Example of the Richness of Catholic Theology
One force that pushed my conversion towards Catholicism from non-Catholic, Stone-Campbellite Christianity was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s theology, who is already our former pope. Of course, such interest antagonized my low-church Fundamentalist sensibilities. Though he haunted me, I enjoyed every moment, and am now attempting to illustrate the richness of Catholic theology by focusing on only one question: When did the Church begin?
I have had hundreds of conversations with Restorationists who insist they are not Protestant. True, they are not Protestant (proper); their communities were created after the sixteenth century, but they are certainly Protestant (as an adjective). They were born out of Protestantism, they adopted the Protestant-developed canon of Scripture, and they absorbed Protestant-developed beliefs. For clarity and not disparagement, throughout this book I will refer to the Catholic Church by one of her ancient names: The Church of Christ, and I will refer to Restorationist groups that have assumed her ancient name for themselves as the Protestant Church(es) of Christ.
This book is written in letter form. In style, I am addressing members of the Protestant Church of Christ, but this book is also ideal for Catholic Christians who are targeted for conversion. I had to decide which protests—which differences—to address, so I chose subjects that are, in my experience, more often brought up by Restorationists when they attack Catholicism: subjects I believe are intrinsic to the most important principles non-Catholic Christians rarely consider. Therefore, unfortunately, there are many additional subjects I cannot include in a single manageably-sized book. I simply cannot write about every particular attack; subjects like the Eucharist, our veneration of Mary, canon formation, purgatory, prayers, and on and on. Perhaps I will add a volume in the future. This is a start. It should be sufficient to encourage any theologically-curious member of the Protestant Church of Christ to realize that the real Church of Christ is Catholic. And more importantly, this book provides Catholics with Stone-Campbell Restorationists’ best and most indicative attacks; and shows how Catholic Christianity is always more reasonable, more biblical, more Christian, more plausibly true.
Every use of “baptism”, “baptisms”, “baptize”, “baptized”, and “baptizing” in the English New Testament (New International Version); with possible contextual modal indications.
NIV chosen because it is an accepted and popular version within the Protestant Church of Christ.