The Drama of Salvation is the latest book from Jimmy Akin, senior apologist at Catholic Answers. The main aim of this book is to open a dialogue between Catholics and Protestants where they understand what the other is talking about. Akin hopes that Catholics and Protestants will stop talking at each other or past each other and instead engage in real and meaningful conversations, where they come to the realization that they either agree on some points or their disagreements aren't as drastic as often thought. There are nine chapters and seven bonus sections. The chapter titles are as follows:
1. The Drama of Salvation
2. Salvation Past, Present, and Future
3. Temporal and Eternal Salvation
4. Doing Penance
6. Faith, Works, and Boasting
7. Justification in Catholic Teaching
8. Justification and Ecumenism
9. Outside the Church, No Salvation?
The chapters were busting at the seams with information and very well organized. Akin used not only the Catechism to make his point, but relied heavily on Scripture. In his use of Scripture, he helped clarify key points regarding salvation that would make for effective dialogue with Protestants. I found this especially true in the chapters on justification. For the most part, Protestants have a view of salvation and justification being a one-time thing. They also believe that their salvation cannot be lost. Akin, with the use of Scripture, explains that Catholics believe that salvation is an ongoing process. He also shows how justification happened in the past, the present, and will in the future. Akin goes further to explain that the original Reformers actually had very Catholic beliefs about salvation and justification, and that ideas like "once saved always saved" are fairly new to the scene.
One of the most helpful chapters for me was the one on indulgences. As a former Protestant, I still struggle with this Church teaching. This chapter answered a lot of my questions, and made me feel a bit more at ease with the subject. I can't say that it was a light switch that flipped and I'm Mr. Indulgence now, but I do have a new understanding and respect for them and hope to slowly become more accepting of them and utilize them. This chapter is great for Protestants, converts, and even cradle Catholics. In addition to the nine chapters listed above, there are also bonus sections. I won't list them all out, but as a Pope Benedict XVI fan, it's no surprise my favorite one was "Pope Benedict XVI on St. Paul and the Doctrine of Justification."
I highly recommend this book for Catholics and Protestants. Most books written of this nature eventually turn into an attack on one side or the other. Instead, Mr. Akin does a masterful job of presenting just the facts in a way that both sides can better understand the other side. By doing this, he has provided a way for meaningful dialogue to occur. I know it is probably a pipe dream, but I would love to see this book written again, but replacing Protestantism with Eastern Orthodoxy. I often find myself wishing I could have better discussions with them, but maybe I am in the minority when it comes to that. Anyways, like I said earlier, I highly recommend this book, and recommend you buy it, read it, and re-read it. You won't be disappointed. I know I wasn't!
This book was provided to me for free by Catholic Answers in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!