Book Review: Crossing the Threshold of Hope

{Disclaimer: I am not sure why I need a disclaimer, but for those who may be thinking I am on the Road to Rome for reading this book , I assure you that I am a happy Protestant and will be to the end of my days.}

In the fifteenth year of the papacy of John Paul II, Vitorio Messori posed a series of question to present pope of Rome. These questions and answers form the content of this 230-page book.

In light of the Auburn Avenue Conference, 2010 on the Necessity of the Reformation—which, was a scathing critique of Roman and Orthodox theologies and practices–I thought I’d pick up and read this unique book on my shelf for educational purposes. I confess I learned quite a bit more than I expected from John Paul II.[1] The questions range from the authority of the pope in the Catholic world to the Catholic answer to religious pluralism.

John Paul II was a highly trained scholar. He contributed unique philosophical insights, as well as insights into marriage. Many of the questions centered on deep existential concerns such as “If God Exists, why does He appear to be hiding?” and “Is there really hope in the young?”

Concerning the deep philosophical questions of the existence of God, John Paul II argued not only on the basis of the Thomistic arguments, but he also details a long line of philosophical traditions in answering this question proving his vast knowledge of the Christian history of philosophy.

In many ways, John Paul II answered these philosophical questions with the same precision as many evangelical apologists in our day. I find this similarity perturbing, since in my opinion classical apologists have in many ways capitulated to the Roman Catholic apologetic methodology, yet they criticize Roman Catholicism with great vigor. Van Tillianism is a distinctly Reformed response to the apologetic of the Roman pope, as well as to the evangelical courtship—perhaps marriage—to these classical arguments, which cherish neutrality.

The pope expresses great hope in the youth of the day. His papacy was spent largely in the presence of youth stirring them to love the church and to not fall prey to the moral corruptions offered in the world. The repercussions are many, especially in relationship to the abortion issue; a topic that is very high on the Roman Catholic agenda.

Conclusion

Evangelicals and Catholics share much in common. Apart from the Creedal commitment, we also share many of the same objectives on the moral reformation of our society. We should join in their efforts to bring about moral reform (one reason why I signed the Manhattan Declaration). However, we should be cautious with the cult of Mary made explicit in the latter part of this book, and John Paul’s deep conviction that Christ will save this world through Mary. This is biblically preposterous! May we not fall prey to the Roman liturgy trap.


[1] I prefer to use his name, since I do not have any allegiance to his role as pope of the Roman Church.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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2 Responses to Book Review: Crossing the Threshold of Hope

  1. Brandon Vogt says:

    This is not biblically preposterous. This is precisely what occurs in Revelation. The only description we have of Jesus saving the world is in Revelation, and there we see a woman alongside him, crowned Queen of the Universe.

    Beyond that the opening chapters of Luke tells us how Christ saved the world through Mary: Mary brought Jesus to us! Salvation comes to us through Jesus, and Jesus comes to us through his Mother.

  2. Uri Brito says:

    A = B does not follow…Mary bore Jesus as a chosen servant…bearing is not equivalent to co-savior…

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