The Unfinished Reformation

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9780310527930_imageToday marks the official release of The Unfinished Reformation, which I’ve had the privilege of coauthoring with Dr. Gregg Allison. It’s been a delight to work with Gregg, who exemplifies the uncommon calling of the pastor-theologian. Here is a synopsis of the book, followed by descriptions from some early reviewers. We pray that it will inspire and equip you to embody the life-changing message of the gospel.

Five hundred years ago, a Catholic monk nailed a list of grievances on the door of a church in Germany and launched a revolution in the history of Christianity. Today there continues to be a number of unresolved issues between the Protestant and Catholic churches, and many experience this ongoing division within their family and among friends and neighbors. In view of these challenges, we seek to provide a brief and clear guide to the key points of unity and divergence between Protestants and Catholics today. We write to encourage fruitful conversation about the key theological and sociological differences between the two largest branches of Christianity. From the revolutionary events 500 years ago that sparked the Reformation to today, The Unfinished Reformation takes a careful look at doctrine, practice, and how Protestants and Catholics can have fruitful discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What Gregg Allison and Chris Castaldo have done in this important book is unique: they carefully explore the many areas where Protestants and Catholics agree but also disagree. I’ve seen exhortations to unity, and I’ve seen polemics for division, but I’ve never seen one volume deal so well with both commonality and also disagreement. Knowing their personal ministry, though, I’m not surprised that Allison and Castaldo exhibit such grace alongside truth.

Collin Hansen, editorial director, the Gospel Coalition, and author, Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church

This book is a model of gracious and principled dialogue, as much for its tone as its content. I heartily recommended it for all who care about theology and the particular conversation between evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Gerald Hiestand, Executive Director, the Center for Pastor Theologians

This book blows a welcome breeze into the stifling and oppressive debates between Protestants and Catholics. Too often each side labels the other a “false church” and refuses to see the good the other tradition offers. Allison and Castaldo refuse to be this simplistic—not to mention unchar- itable—in their approach. Congenial in their tolerance while never obscuring real differences, the authors lay out the main points of disagree- ment between these two Christian traditions. If you are a Protestant with a Catholic in your life, or vice versa, you need this book in your library.

Bryan Litfin, Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute

The Unfinished Reformation is an accessible, well-written explanation of Catholic beliefs, Protestant beliefs, and how the two relate. The layperson can read this book and feel equipped to have well-rounded conversations about faith with his Catholic or Protestant neighbor.

Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair, Wheaton College

Many Christians are aware that there are fundamental differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics but are unsure exactly what these differences are or how much they really matter. Some may regard them as trivial, while others may struggle to see how there can be Christians in both groups. The Unfinished Reformation sets out clearly and simply where the differences lie. The differences are not minimized, nor are they magnified. Where Protestants have often mis- represented Roman Catholics—this is pointed out. At the same time there is no pretense that no differences exist. This book is to be warmly commended to those wishing to understand these issues better.

Tony Lane, Professor of Historical Theology, London School of Theology

This is the best treatment I have read on understanding what contin- ues to unite and divide Catholics and Protestants. While considering the historic roots of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, Gregg Allison and Chris Castaldo also remain sensitive to the significant doc- trinal shifts of the twentieth century and our contemporary context. They are informed but not pedantic, accessible but not simplistic. Both scholar and layperson will benefit. I heartily recommend this book to Catholics and Protestants alike who desire an honest and thoughtful way to approach the other side of the “divided family.”

Rev. Dr. Camden M. Bucey, President, Reformed Forum; Pastor, Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Grayslake, Illinois

Allison and Castaldo have provided a book that is both timely and thoughtful—a book that at the same time looks fondly on the Reformation yet asks the important question of these reforms for today. Their approach is especially sensitive to the realities of divided fami- lies, one Catholic and one Protestant, yet aware of how Catholics and Protestants find themselves united on struggles to end abortion. This is a book that will educate the novice and provoke thought in the expert.

Ryan M. Reeves, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Dean of Jacksonville Campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

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