A Catholic once confided to me: “I know Catholicism is true, but when I read Paul’s Romans and Galatians, I secretly worry that the Protestants may be correct after all.” A Protestant friend also told me: “I would be open to Catholicism, but Paul simply doesn’t sound Catholic.”
On June 29, 2008 Pope Benedict XVI began the jubilee year of Saint Paul with the conviction that “the Pauline year assumes a special ecumenical character.” My manuscript would be the first book to take up the Holy Father’s ecumenical challenge by systematically explaining Catholic doctrine in light of Saint Paul’s epistles.
Protestants (and even some Catholics) often assume that Paul’s theology cannot be reconciled with the teaching of the Catholic Church. They have presumed that his theology is neither ecclesial nor sacramental. The Catholic Perspective on Paul shows that Paul was a Catholic theologian. Another way of expressing this is to say that the Catholic Church is deeply Pauline.
The first chapter (corresponding to podcast Episode 2) examines the latent anti-Catholicism that has existed in Pauline studies beginning with Martin Luther and climaxing in the liberal historical-critical scholarship of F. C. Baur in the nineteenth century. Subsequent chapters focus on Paul’s emphasis on the believer’s “union with Christ” and “participation in Christ”. These two concepts reveal how Catholics understand the four marks of the Church, justification, the sacraments (particularly the Eucharist), and Paul’s notion of priesthood and ecclesial leadership (including Paul’s high view of celibacy). The volume also highlights Saint Paul’s desire to travel to Rome and the significance of why the book of Acts concludes with Paul in Rome. The final chapter emphasizes Paul’s doctrine of redemptive suffering and the Catholic significance of his martyrdom in Rome. The book also includes a topical concordance of Paul’s doctrine.
Whether you spend time on this site listening to the mp3 audio files or simply browsing the articles, I hope that you find the material helpful as you seek to serve and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment.