Half a millennium of contention and division
October 31st 2017 marked the 500th anniversary of the beginning of a period in the history of Christianity commonly known as the Protestant Reformation. According to the traditional accounts, Martin Luther drafted and nailed a set of 95 theses or propositions for theological debate to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.
Even if Luther didn’t actually nail his 95 theses to a church door, it is an undisputed fact that he lies at the epicenter of a chain of events that radically transformed the face of Christendom back in the 16th century. His influence is enormous and practically impossible to dispense with. As a result, the division between Catholics and Protestants have been with us ever since.
An up-to-date defense of the Catholic Faith
Trent Horn, staff apologist with Catholic Answers, recently released his first book with Ignatius Press titled “The case for Catholicism: Answers to classic and contemporary Protestant objections”
Trent has accomplished a remarkable feat in this book by doing two things. First, over the course of 16 chapters that can be read fairly quickly he has touched on all the major points of division between Catholics and Protestants; from the issue of ecclesial authority to the burning question of how people are saved.
Trent’s points and arguments can be easily understood even if you’re not particularly well-read in the field of Catholic apologetics. For example, this quotation from chapter 1 “Sola Scriptura”
“Given that Protestants hold contradictory positions on mutually exclusive issues (such as whether baptism takes away sin), this shows that many who defend sola scriptura do not understand what they are reading” (emphasis in original)
Second, as Trent indicates in the preface of the book, he has incorporated many findings of Protestant scholarship that support arguments made in favor of Catholicism. The strength of this feature of the book should not be underestimated. It means that the evidence Trent has marshaled cannot be dismissed due to a perceived bias. It demands to be wrestled with.
The narrow gate of adherence to the truth
The path to the full and visible reunification of all Christians lies in the heartfelt commitment to dialogue between the disagreeing parties. As more and more Christians become aware of the scandal that their division brings and the damage it inflicts on the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is my hope that Trent Horn’s work, and similar ones, will help the ecumenical initiative bear much fruit for the greater glory of God.