A river pours out of the Vatican that empties into the sea of Reformed Protestantism. There is also, however, a trickle of converts from Reformed Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. Though the numbers do not appear to be very significant, the noise generated in blogdom is pretty high. What is more, as Reformed Churches tend to be fairly small, when a member leaves the church for Rome, it causes a lot of pain and confusion.
When I first started encountering people converting to Roman Catholicism a couple years ago, I found myself dependent solely upon books and literature responding to the waves caused in the 1980’s and 1990’s from conversions like those of Scott Hahn and Gerry Matatics. While there are some fine resources from that era that are still directly relevant to the current wave, the “internet driven” approach of this wave seems to be calling for an “internet driven” response.
Though we (ironically) are fairly critical of internet research here at the Reformed Reader, the Roman Catholic apologetics blogs are constantly posting arguments, responses and rebuttals. Print media is not able to keep up with “real time” responses like apologetics confrontations often demand. So while the internet should not be a replacement for a good shelf of books on Roman Catholicism, the internet can be an indispensable resource for putting out the confrontational fires sparked by the apologists.
And so in this post, I’ll share some blogs and websites that I have found helpful as I’ve been studying the tactics of Roman Catholic apologists actively wooing Reformed Christians to Rome. This list is not exhaustive. In fact, I would be grateful for suggestions of more sites in the comments. Perhaps I will update the post periodically that it might serve as a sort of annotated “bibliography of blogs” on this topic.
Turretin Fan is the anonymous blogger who writes this blog. Though not everything he posts is helpful, his posts responding to Roman Catholicism are top notch. Posts dealing with the early Church Fathers and point-by-point responses to several arguments made on the more prominent Roman Catholic apologetics blogs are noteworthy. Another helpful tool is his series of index posts linking to responses to several individual Roman Catholic apologists. On this blog, Keith Mathison has posted his 50+ page rejoinder to Roman Catholic apologists who accused his book, The Shape of Sola Scriptura, of making an artificial distinction between sola scriptura, the historical position of the Reformation, and solo scriptura, the individualistic position of most anabaptistic groups who completely eschew the value of creeds and tradition. I have spent hours perusing the archives of Turretin Fan’s blog and when I come across an issue in Roman Catholic apologetics, his search widget is one of the first that I hit.
Triablogue is a group blog, co-written by several people who have different areas of apologetics interest and expertise. The overall quality of the blog content varies, but posts concerning Roman Catholic apologetics are consistently good. While several of the bloggers write about Roman Catholicism from time to time, John Bugay has been especially active of late responding to the current batch of Roman Catholic apologists. His posts are thorough and well written, ranging from philosophical/epistemological responses to historical studies of the early church fathers. Recent posts examining the purported antiquity of the Roman papacy are especially excellent. I rarely skip one of John’s posts and tend to read them in their entirety. This blog is also one of my first stops when looking into an internet apologetics issue.
The primary blogger at Beggars All is fellow member of the URCNA, James Swan. James is joined sometimes by guest posters (e.g., Rhology), who are also well versed in the tactics of the Roman Catholic apologists. James has a special interest in Luther and has dedicated several posts to misquotations of Luther that appear in Roman Catholic literature.
Lane Keister has blogged on a number of topics over the past several years. Of note is his sustained and thorough engagement with Federal Vision theology. Of late, due to the conversion of a co-laborer in the P.C.A., Lane has begun blogging more regularly about Roman Catholicism. While Lane not only presents readers with a broad range of reading material, his comment box is especially lively, attracting some of the “big names” in Roman Catholic apologetics and many from the Reformed side who like to respond. This blog is especially excellent for those who learn most from extended comment threads.
Darryl G. Hart is a preeminent church historian of Christianity in America. His posts, engaging frequently with some of the latest wave of Roman Catholic apologists, expose the lack of historical substance to many of the claims being made against the Reformation. Not only does Hart do a nice job drawing attention to the views of the scholarly guild within Roman Catholicism – something often (conveniently?) overlooked by the Roman Catholic apologists – the comment boxes are a place for some very enlightening conversation. I tend to dislike reading comment threads, but I almost always read them at Old Life.
Several other blogs touch on Roman Catholicism from time to time. The blog at Alpha and Omega Ministries (James White), Pros Apologian, is one. (Note that aomin.org has an especially excellent collection of web articles on Roman Catholicism.)
R. Scott Clark, professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California, also blogs fairly regularly on Roman Catholicism on his blog, The Heidelblog. (Click here for posts tagged as dealing with Roman Catholicism.) Likewise, his website has a helpful list of Resources on Roman Catholicism.
The anonymous blogger at Reformed Apologist has posted some excellent critiques in the past couple of months.
Likewise, Daniel Chew, a Westminster Seminary California student, has some posts on his blog Daniel’s Place – (Reformata et semper reformanda) from a few months back where he dismantles some of the recent “conversion stories” of converts to Roman Catholicism from confessionally Reformed churches.
Again, this list is not exhaustive by any stretch. I believe it is, however, a sufficient place to start for someone who wants help understanding the issues. It will also help Reformed Christians to see through the rhetorical sleight of hand used by Roman Catholic apologists. My colleague at Christ Reformed Church, Kim Riddlebarger, has often exhorted people: “Never underestimate the appeal of Rome.” It is important that we not get lax about why the Reformation happened. Let us never simply assume that Rome is wrong. When people are unprepared, they are potential candidates for getting sucked in by the apologetic rhetoric.
Christ Reformed Church