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In this book, D. G. Hart investigates what was at stake in the sixteenth century and why Protestantism still matters. Of note is the author's recognition that the Reformers addressed the most basic question that confronts all human beings: How can a sinner be right with and worship in good conscience a righteous God who demands sinless perfection? Protestants used to belie In this book, D. G. Hart investigates what was at stake in the sixteenth century and why Protestantism still matters. Of note is the author's recognition that the Reformers addressed the most basic question that confronts all human beings: How can a sinner be right with and worship in good conscience a righteous God who demands sinless perfection? Protestants used to believe that this question, along with the kind of life that followed from answers to it, was at the heart of their disagreement with Rome. Still Protesting arises from the conviction that the Reformers' answers to life's most important questions, based on their study of the Bible and theological reflection, are as superior today as they were when they provided the grounds for Christians in the West to abandon the bishop of Rome.


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In this book, D. G. Hart investigates what was at stake in the sixteenth century and why Protestantism still matters. Of note is the author's recognition that the Reformers addressed the most basic question that confronts all human beings: How can a sinner be right with and worship in good conscience a righteous God who demands sinless perfection? Protestants used to belie In this book, D. G. Hart investigates what was at stake in the sixteenth century and why Protestantism still matters. Of note is the author's recognition that the Reformers addressed the most basic question that confronts all human beings: How can a sinner be right with and worship in good conscience a righteous God who demands sinless perfection? Protestants used to believe that this question, along with the kind of life that followed from answers to it, was at the heart of their disagreement with Rome. Still Protesting arises from the conviction that the Reformers' answers to life's most important questions, based on their study of the Bible and theological reflection, are as superior today as they were when they provided the grounds for Christians in the West to abandon the bishop of Rome.

36 review for Still Protesting: Why the Reformation Still Matters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zack

    D.G. Hart does not disappoint in his lucid, focused, and helpful theological critique of Roman Catholicism and defense of Protestantism. His purpose was to present the enduring strengths of Protestantism as a critique of the decaying Western church of the late Middle Ages. The first part of the book covers the essential aspects of Protestantism and Christendom. The second part of the book refutes common/popular objections to Protestantism from proponents of (and converts to) Roman Catholicism. H D.G. Hart does not disappoint in his lucid, focused, and helpful theological critique of Roman Catholicism and defense of Protestantism. His purpose was to present the enduring strengths of Protestantism as a critique of the decaying Western church of the late Middle Ages. The first part of the book covers the essential aspects of Protestantism and Christendom. The second part of the book refutes common/popular objections to Protestantism from proponents of (and converts to) Roman Catholicism. He is exceedingly (even excessively) careful to present an undiluted theological critique of Romanism, to the exclusion of any political critique. Instead, he focuses on the "theological, liturgical, and ecclesial faultlines" (14). Strengths: - He rightly distinguishes between latitudinarian/liberal and confessional/classical expressions of both Protestantism and Romanism. Insofar as we are able to distinguish and define matters, the issues are theological/creedal, not cultural, social, psychological, or political. - Throughout the book, he provides correctives to both Romanism and downgraded Evangelicalism. - He makes important historical observations. For example, he makes the important polemical point that "Scripture is both early church and word of God" (110). That is, we must not fail to recognize that the New Testament record of the early church is true history, and ought to regulate subsequent church history. - In discussing the apparent unity of the Roman Catholic Church, Hart remains focused on the complexities of language(s), polity/government, and big historical contingencies (e.g. the rise of Islam). He makes the insightful observation that unitarian polity breeds division when powerful leaders are flawed (127-8). - In comparing Protestant and Roman Catholic aesthetics, he relates austerity/plainness in architecture to profundity in piety. Protestants were/are committed to "serving God in the common affairs of life" (142), "an affirmation of the common" (143), and "a recovery of the ordinary" (144). - Through a consideration of Vatican II, he dismantles the illusion of the Roman Catholic Church as a unified, conservative voice (180). Weaknesses: - Though arguably outside of the scope of this volume, Hart fails to address the appeal of Eastern Orthodoxy. I mention this as a weakness because he brings up Eastern Orthodoxy without commenting on its appeal and shortcomings (114-5). - He fails to contrast religious externalism/formalism and true heart/experimental religion. - His discussion of music (145-6) lacks positive commentary on Protestant masters of music. Instead, he generically attacks Roman Catholic music. - He overstates political/politicized Protestantism (151, 155, 163). In fact, there were thoroughgoing Protestant theological critiques of Romanism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. - He fails to acknowledge true degrees and differentials of holiness from one Christian to another (192; compare to WCF 13 & 17). - He gives no discussion at all to "evangelical Catholics," "Jansenists," or the possibility/anomaly of being a sincere follower of Jesus Christ and yet a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Is this possible? Hart does not give a clear answer, though one would be justified in thinking that his answer is "no."

  2. 4 out of 5

    An Idler

    A brief, direct book about the current status of Protestant-Catholic relations. Hart opens with recent overtures of reconciliation between liberal-leaning Protestants (mostly Evangelical and Lutheran) and Rome. I expected Hart to mention Evangelicalism's increasingly Catholic aesthetic - e.g. sacerdotal worship - but he restricts himself to joint statements and testimonies of converts from Protestantism to Rome. It's still enough to establish the relevance of the topic. Hart then summarizes the Re A brief, direct book about the current status of Protestant-Catholic relations. Hart opens with recent overtures of reconciliation between liberal-leaning Protestants (mostly Evangelical and Lutheran) and Rome. I expected Hart to mention Evangelicalism's increasingly Catholic aesthetic - e.g. sacerdotal worship - but he restricts himself to joint statements and testimonies of converts from Protestantism to Rome. It's still enough to establish the relevance of the topic. Hart then summarizes the Reformation's main objections to Rome. The following chapters hang a series of essays on those pegs. These essays emphasize the continued disagreement between Protestants and Catholics, answer the polemics of Catholic apologists, and expose the inconsistencies in the claim of ex-Protestant converts. In general Hart's argument is that reconciliation between Protestants and Rome is premature - Catholics have not given ground on any of the core issues of the Reformation. The Reformation "still matters", as the title says. Hart is an academic (and usually very acerbic), but this is clearly for general audiences. A good primer - or refresher, as the case may be.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob Hayton

    500 years ago the Reformation was transforming Europe. Politics and nation-states would be affected, but the relationship of the average Christian to the Church was forever altered. Protestant Evangelical Christians look back on the Reformation with gratitude. The Reformation recovered the Christian Gospel of grace after all. But the contemporary Church has wandered far from the faith of its fathers, and more than ever before calls for denominational unity and even ecumenical togetherness with R 500 years ago the Reformation was transforming Europe. Politics and nation-states would be affected, but the relationship of the average Christian to the Church was forever altered. Protestant Evangelical Christians look back on the Reformation with gratitude. The Reformation recovered the Christian Gospel of grace after all. But the contemporary Church has wandered far from the faith of its fathers, and more than ever before calls for denominational unity and even ecumenical togetherness with Rome are hitting home. Secularism is a threat to Catholic and confessing Protestant alike, so why not band together? How big, after all, are the points that separate us? Didn’t the Roman Catholic Church reform in the wake of the Reformation too? It is these questions and this concern that D. G. Hart addresses head on in his recent book "Still Protesting: Why the Reformation Matters" (Reformation Heritage, 2018). Hart expertly unfolds the history of the Reformation and evaluates key evangelical truths (including the important “5 Solas”) as compared to the historical Roman Catholicism of that day. He goes on to examine whether the Roman Catholic Church has truly changed in its stance on these points over time. In his case against Rome, Hart also finds liberal Protestantism and lackadaisical evangelicalism at fault as well. He argues that the Reformation is still needed and a return to the faith of our fathers may well help American Christianity as it faces its own cross-roads. An intriguing feature of the book is his examination of conservative political theory in America in relation to “anti-Catholic” sentiment. Historically, Protestants looked at the “golden age” of America as an advance in the history of the West (almost a postmillennial viewpoint) and lauded the rise of democracy and liberty. However “Roman Catholics saw those same developments negatively, as declension from an ideal time when church, government, society, and culture coexisted harmoniously under the sacred canopy of Christian influence” (p. 152). As progressive politics moved on to promote social change and “progress” in general – Catholicism’s opposition to unfettered equality and freedom became more in-step with conservatism’s resistance to progressive politics. For those who have wanted to “dissent from the logic and momentum of progressive politics” more help is found “for political conservatism in Roman Catholic sources” (p. 159). This leads to the pain-point that Hart is addressing: many political conservatives today claim that to be a true conservative, you must become a Roman Catholic. In response, Hart points to Abraham Kuyper (an evangelical leader and Prime Minister of The Netherlands) and J. Gresham Machen (founder of Westminster Theological Seminary) as examples of Protestant contributions to conservatism. What sparked my interest in that section of the book was his point that American Protestantism had developed a “form of patriotism that unhealthily equated the faith with democracy and liberty” (p. 159). Protestantism’s fight against Catholicism mirrored democracy’s fight against the Monarchy. The founders of our country very much fit in with this patriotic version of faith. Indeed, this patriotism must have enabled the onset of the “social gospel.” Today’s patriotic, “God and Country” version of evangelical “faith,” which is “unhealthy” and unbiblical, has a long history indeed. Those well-versed in the Reformation are sure to find new insights and connections in the pages of this book. Readers less familiar with the Reformation will also be helped. Anyone interested in what really separates Protestants from Catholics will find this book useful. I highly recommend it. Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    I listened to the audio recording from Christian Audio, and followed along in a printed copy. This was a fantastic book. The English style is enjoyable. The scholarship and reasoning are very good. The chapter on austerity vs. beauty in church architecture is particularly valuable as a bit of Reformation wisdom that still resides in some conservative Confessional Protestant circles but is largely lost to the free church American Evangelical tradition. The heritage of the Reformation and the Puri I listened to the audio recording from Christian Audio, and followed along in a printed copy. This was a fantastic book. The English style is enjoyable. The scholarship and reasoning are very good. The chapter on austerity vs. beauty in church architecture is particularly valuable as a bit of Reformation wisdom that still resides in some conservative Confessional Protestant circles but is largely lost to the free church American Evangelical tradition. The heritage of the Reformation and the Puritans is claimed by many who reject their wisdom in such things. Hart does a wonderful job commending a small part of that wealth of wisdom to us, and (as he does throughout the book) implicitly challenges those of us who are staunchly opposed to Catholicism to examine ourselves and discover that we may be more in danger of their same errors than we thought. This book is not deeply exegetical. It would not be my first choice for a method of approaching Roman Catholicism. But the specific purpose it returns to over and over again-- addressing the temptations that cause some to abandon Protestantism and the Biblical Gospel and enter the communion of the Roman Catholic Church--this it succeeds at superbly well. The Roman Catholic Church makes a pretense of being the one united church which Christ founded. Hard challenges those assertions and finds them wanting. More than that, this book invites the author to a deeper understanding and a fuller appreciation of the Biblical gospel, and the insights of the Reformers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mark Seeley

    I thought Dr. Hart did an admirable job in debunking Catholicism's claims in light of what the Protestant Reformers were trying to accomplish. Hart engages the Catholic converts, apologists and scholars with historical argument, debunking the myths that Protestant faith is new, divided, and responsible for modernity.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Justin Magdellini

    Fantastic book on understanding the fundamental differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Protestants who are tempted to convert to Roman Catholicism need to understand these differences and that they have eternal consequences. This book is helpful to that end.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Excellent account of the differences between Reformed theology and practice with that of Roman Catholicism. Hart not only traces the historical split but brings us to the present to show Protestants that Rome is not the answer to their quest to find the one, true church.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Great church history overview and the importance of the Reformation

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Sheth

  10. 5 out of 5

    E

  11. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sean Rhoades

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hobart

  14. 4 out of 5

    Camden

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  17. 5 out of 5

    David Dunlap

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andreas Jongeneel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  20. 4 out of 5

    Craig Sterk

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dave Jenkins

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Golden

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Clayton

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Woodard

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Ling

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Day

  29. 4 out of 5

    sam tannehill

  30. 4 out of 5

    Russ

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  32. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  33. 5 out of 5

    Eric Yap

  34. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Savas

  35. 5 out of 5

    Armando

  36. 5 out of 5

    Showmenicht

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