Saturday, August 22, 2009

Evangelicals and Catholic Together

Those in Chicagoland may want to mark Thursday, September 3, on their calendars. At 7 PM that night, in Edman Chapel at Wheaton College, Timothy George and Francis Beckwith will dialogue about Catholics and Evangelicals. Chris Castaldo, a pastor at College Church, will be moderating. The event is free and open to the public.

Castaldo is the author of a new book, Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic, being published by Zondervan next month.

Here are George's and Beckwith's endorsements for Castalodo's book:
"What an encouraging book from a fine young Christian leader! Chris Castaldo speaks from his own spiritual pilgrimage about the unity between believing Catholics and faithful Evangelicals, the important differences that still remain between us, and what all of this means to our witness in the world today. Great stuff!"

Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University; Senior Editor, Christianity Today

"In a culture in which theological disagreements are treated as no different than matters of taste, Christ Castaldo's Holy Ground is a refreshing change. He is a former Catholic turned Evangelical Protestant who shows respect for the tradition from which he departed while at the same time not shying away from the doctrinal issues over which Catholics and Protestants are in serious disagreement. He has a knack for clearly and charitably explaining to Evangelicals the diverse factions within Catholicism and how each thinks about its commitment to Scripture, Church, and walking with Christ. Although one may find oneself disagreeing with how Pastor Castaldo conveys or presents a particular doctrine or historical event, as I did on more than one occasion while reading this book, one cannot help but be impressed by his sincere effort to sincerely and graciously assess the issues that continue to divide, as well as unite, Protestants and Catholics."

Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University; author of Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic (Brazos, 2009)

Here are a few more of the blurbs:
"Because the accounts of a number of high-profile Evangelicals converting to Roman Catholicism have hit the press, we sometimes overlook the fact that statisticians tell us that in America, Catholics are becoming Evangelicals faster than the reverse by a ratio of about three to one. What do these converts find? How do they cope? How do they—how should they—relate to their Catholic families and friends? This is the best book I have read that chronicles such pilgrimages. And it is full of godly commonsense."

D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"I teach a seminary course on Roman Catholic theology and have been looking for a simple, practical, popular-level book for my students to read so they can understand two issues: what is it like for Catholics to become Evangelical followers of Jesus Christ, and how can these former Catholics live and share the good news with their Catholic relatives and friends? Chris Castaldo's Holy Ground is the book for which I have been searching!"

Gregg R. Allison, PhD, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

"Holy Ground is the best tool available for helping former Roman Catholics witness to friends and family members without causing needless offense or compromising the gospel. Chris Castaldo's love for other people and firm grasp of biblical principles for discipleship and evangelism come through on nearly every page. His honest, charitable approach to Protestant-Catholic relationships will help many people honor God and demonstrate the love of Jesus in the very way they share their faith."

Dr. Philip Ryken, Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia

"Principled and gracious, theological and practical, full of careful reasoning and warm illustrations—this is a book I will recommend to others. Even if you think Castaldo is too hard or too soft on Catholics here or there, you will surely benefit from his personal research and sensitive analysis. This book does a great service to the Evangelical church. And it just might help a few Catholics too."

Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan

"If you've had enough of Evangelical writers who make a straw man of the Roman Catholic Church and then proceed to knock it down, Holy Ground is for you. As a Catholic-turned-Evangelical, Chris Castaldo is perfectly positioned to offer honest critique of his former church home and to help Evangelicals see their own shortcomings as well. Written from an insider's perspective, this book dismantles stereotypes on both sides of the Tiber. Anyone trying to bridge the worlds of Evangelicalism and Catholicism will benefit from the wisdom Castaldo brings to the conversation."

Bryan M. Litfin, Associate Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute; Author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction

"I'm going to take this book and give it to my Catholic friends and ask them to underline what they most like and what they find most difficult. It will produce a wonderful discussion. Chris Castaldo has written with humility, reality and above all personal experience and here we see such issues as Luther and Loyola and why they matter; Scripture and why it's authoritative; grace and how it is experienced; church authority and why it's central. I thoroughly recommend this book as a great tool for those seeking to dialogue with Catholic friends, family and colleagues."

Rico Tice, Co-Author of Christianity Explored

"Admirably fair-minded, carefully documented, and pleasantly lucid and irenic—Holy Ground will grace the lives and relationships of those Evangelicals with Catholic heritages. An important read for Evangelicals and Catholics alike. Highly recommended."

R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church in Wheaton

Here are a couple of free online files that may be of interest: