New Resource Page: On Roman Catholicism

From time to time, evangelicals and a few from the confessional Presbyterian and Reformed churches to convert to Romanism. They do so for a variety of reasons but one commonality among them is ignorance of the history of the Western church, the rise of Romanism, and the genuine differences between Romanism and the Reformation. Thus, it is important for evangelical and Reformed folk to be informed about what Romanism is, why the Reformation happened, and why the Reformation is still right about Rome, about the papacy, about the sacraments, and about the solas.

To encourage the reader on toward further study I have compiled the HB resources on Romanism and added a bibliography for further study.

Resources On Roman Catholicism

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. This is a really helpful resource page. Thanks for collating that together!

    De Chirico’s pocket guide books on the papacy and Mary are also good introductions if people know very little about the topics. Although it’s definitely not perfect, Gregg Alison’s crossway book on RC is also a helpful explanation of the RC catechism.

  2. Dr Clark, thank you for this resource page, and the references therein. You have given me two surprises:
    1. You don’t list 19th Century Old High Church Anglican Bishop Christopher Wordsworth’s two monographs, “Is the Papacy Predicted by St.Paul?: An Inquiry” and “Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Book of Revelation?”. They are excellent at explaining, amongst other things, how Man of Sin and Son of Perdition is an office occupied by one person at a time, and denotes both the office and its current occupant. Wordsworth’s erroneous belief in direct Apostolic Succession is no more than detectable, and does not invalidate his other points. I recognise that the idea that the Man of Sin remains in place until the Second Coming may not be acceptable to some postmillenialists, even though Paul does say that he will (only) be destroyed at Christ’s coming.
    2. You do list Adrian Fortescue as a recorder of early papal history without special comment, even though he lists early elders like the Apostle Peter and Linus as popes, whereas they were nothing of the kind – They were not even sole bishop of Rome. (I decided to look into Fortescue because his name was familiar to me as the author of a Forward/Preface/introduction to a pre-Vatican II missal that had been owned and sometime used by my grandmother).

  3. I have an online acquaintance met through various spoken Latin & Greek Course who was just such a convert. I’ve tried a time or two to dialogue with him on FB, but it’s pretty much impossible, partly because his only “knowledge” of the Reformers and their theology comes from Trastevere, through “sources” like absurd hack-job The Facts About Luther (kinda like getting the facts about Christians from Christopher Hitchens). So, one of his knockout blows was “Protestants just have no way of dealing with James 2!!!!” He had no awareness that there has been a consistent interpretation of that passage from Luther to Sproul, from the most academic theologians like Calvin and Turretin to the (faithful) local Reformed or Presbyterian pastor last Sunday. He got very offended when I told him he must not have been much of a Protestant…
    He also posted some snarky nonsense about Luther and Calvin on the Festival of the Holy Cross, about how those guys were motivated by worldly glory and so of course hated the offense of the cross. I just posted Luther’s most pointed comments from the Heidelberg Disputation.
    The ignorance of most “Protestants” is abysmal, but they’re really much better considered Evangelical rather than Protestant, since their categories of thinking come from the 2nd Great Awakening and later (e.g., Azusa) and have little or no real roots in historical, confessional Reformed theology.
    A major irony is how unethical and uncharitable so many of the tranatantes are: in spite of their belief that faith needs to be formed by love, their default setting is a walking violation of the ninth commandment, even as explicated by their own catechism (in which it is the eighth).

    “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

    ‘Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. and if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.’ (Ignatius of Loyola)”

    Sorry for the length, there’s not really anyone around here to commiserate on this topic!

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