In my New Year's Resolution post one of my goals for 2014 was to read a greater variety of books and at Christmas Eve Mass I received a copy of this book as a Christmas gift, so here it is my first book of 2014, a Christian testimony. *Spoiler Alert* I'm Catholic, so this may not be the most objective review.
Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism by Scott Hahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from my church as a Christmas gift this past Christmas, I am sure I would have never read this book if I had not received a free copy, but I am glad that this story has crossed my path.
Scott and Kimberly Hahn were passionate protestants and very anti-Catholic, even working to turn people away from the Catholic faith and referring to the church as the "the whore of Rome." Scott had not grown up in an overly religious family, discovering religion while in high school and participating in Young Life. He eventually decides to study theology and become a Presbyterian minister. Kimberly was raised in a very religious family, her father was a prominent Presbyterian minister and her brothers eventually became ministers, her dream was to be a pastors wife and minister along side her husband. Both their dreams and plans were shattered as Scott's studies in Theology gradually convince him that the Catholic Church is Scripturally accurate and again and again comes up with the right answer.
Two issues are at the heart of Scott's research Sola Fida and Sola Scriptura, two very Protestant beliefs. The first that faith alone with save you and the second that the Bible along is the christian authority. Scott presents thoughtful, scriptural evidence to prove that the Catholic idea that faith and works will save you as well that the scriptures do not teach that the Bible is the sole Christian authority, instead, we must "hold fast to tradition, both written and oral." Scott also struggled with the term "the church" continually mentioned through out the bible, what church? He watched as Protestant churches continued to split and divide, and gave the stat that five new Protestant churches are formed each week. Which church was the true church and who had the truth?
Kimberly had the most resistance to becoming Catholic, however, oddly it was her research into contraception that began Scotts research into Catholic Theology. Kimberly's biggest struggle was embracing Mary, viewing Catholics admiration of Mary as a vulgar worship, but eventually through Scripture seeing that Mary is honored as being the Mother of God, not worshipped, but revered as the a sin-free women who was given a great honor and as the mother of us all.
The two things I found most interesting in this book were Scott's research into the Covenant and the Scriptural evidence for the Pope as well as the start of the Church. Scott cites Matthew 16:17-19 as well as the Old Testament passage Isaiah 22:20-22 as Jesus establishing a prime minister of sorts, to guide and govern his church. This also supports the view of the Covenant or the church as a family, led by the Pope, bishops, priests etc. This also support his argument against Sola Scriptura and supporting Sola Verbum Dei, or the word of God alone, the Catholic principle.
I learned about as much about Protestant theology as I learned about Catholic theology while reading this book, one area that really stood out was Scott's discussion regarding the very Protestant phrases, "born again" and "accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior." Two phrases that I personally don't care for and don't understand. Scott's explanation from both perspectives helped me to see both sides clearly and understand why those two phrases have bothered me as much as they have and to see that the belief I have held is backed by scriptural evidence.
This book was a very informative and quick read and I would recommend it to any one wanting to learn more about Catholicism and to develop an deeper understanding of how Scripture gives basis for all aspects of Catholic theology and doctrine. I definitely developed a deeper appreciation for the tradition of the Catholic Church as well as learning a great deal about Protestant theology.
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