Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Review: "Let There Be No Divisions Among You"

With the subtitle, Why All Christians Should be Catholic, this book is the quintessential unapologetic apologetic! Originally penned in 1887, Let There Be No Divisions Among You, is throwback to the days before political correctness, to a time when people could speak frankly of their differences without fear of ending friendships or being accused of bigotry . It was also a time when people could be troubled to listen to multi-faceted arguments rather soundbites. I loved it. The author, an Irish priest by the name of Fr. John MacLaughlin, appears to have anticipated every possible objection to his points and responds with penetrating logic and whit. Kudos to Sophia Institute for making this available to today's audience.

What can you expect to find between this book's covers? From the Introduction:
When a man has gone so far as to regard religion a a mere matter of opinion, and consequently a matter of choice, he is not likely to choose a difficult one when an easy one will suit his purpose quite as well. Naturally, men are averse to having their intellect bound to definite doctrines and to having their will burdened by difficult obligations....The theory that one religion is as good as another is next neighbor to the theory that there is not much good in any religion at all.
The past century demonstrated the accuracy of Fr. MacLaughlin's analysis. The first section of the book employs reason and Revelation to prove that the specifics of our faith are of great importance to God. Because God is Truth, He cannot be indifferent to whether His people believe one creed or profess its opposite. The God Who gave such minute directives  for the construction of the Ark and Tabernacle under the Old Covenant did not go lax when His Son took flesh to complete that revelation in the New.  Father MacLaughlin demonstrates this point with individual chapters devoted to the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20), the conversion of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-48), and the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-35).

The second half of the book is devoted to helping readers identify which, of all the Christian bodies populating the landscape, is the one Church historically founded by Christ. He does so by pointing to two necessary marks of the Church - unity and universality, with chapter-length discussions of each.

My copy of this book has its fair share of highlighting. I have no doubt that every reader will come away with new insights and the sense that he/she is better equipped to converse with and charitably challenge those who champion the "Jesus without religion" mentality. Let There Be No Divisions Among You  (Sophia Institute Press, 2017) is a treasure trove.

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