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Posted August 15, 2000
Shortly after the reformation and Counter-Reformation, a vivid difference existed between Lutheran and Roman Catholic confessions on the doctrine of justification. One needs only to look a Martin Chemnitz' four giant tomes on the examination of the Council of Trent to know this was true--and widely known. Nevertheless, today, many Lutherans and Catholics claim that the difference between their confessions is really not such a giant chasm. Dr. Robert Preus, however, would disagree that true differences between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism no longer exist. In this, his final book before his death in November 1995, Dr. Robert Preus shows through recent documents and scholarship that true agreement has not really been reached between these two churches. Dr. Preus shows that the priority in dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics is 'external unity and external peace among the churches.' (pg. 106) He brings to the fore that new definitions to define old terms have taken place instead of true agreement: 'an amalgam of the old Lutheran and Roman Catholic definitions, or rather, a pasting together of the two disparate sets of definitions--sort of like a treaty.' (pg. 111) Preus unmasks that agreements like the Joint Declaration are really vehicles that explain away true doctrinal differences as mere non-divisive differences. Nevertheless, true differences do exist between Roman Catholicism and confession, orthodox Lutheranism. Here are a few for starters: 1) the authority of Scripture, 2) the doctrine of justification, the focus of this book, 3) the authority of the pope, 4) the number and the nature of the sacraments, and 5) the role of the Virgin Mary and the saints. Buy the book to read the searing truth told in a non-vehement way. For 'when two parties say they depend upon the saving grace of God for salvation, and by grace one party (the Lutherans) means the saving, loving disposition of God and the other party (the Roman Catholics) means an infused quality, can they be said to share a common confession?' (p. 54.) If you want to believe that no doctrinal differences exist and you like plugging your ears and singing happy melodies, then avoid this book. However, all truth seekers need to buy this book while it is still in print!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.