Book Notes: Stunned by Scripture

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I’ve loved the Bible since my days as a child, when I read our family’s Picture Bible over and over and over again.

And in the nearly two decades of my Catholic adventure, I’ve loved finding out all the ways scripture is so intertwined with the Mass and how the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament.

Picking up Stunned by Scripture: How the Bible Made Me Catholic, by Dr. John Bergsma reminded me that there’s more to the Bible — a LOT more! — than the colorful illustrations of that old Picture Bible.

Dr. Bergsma begins by saying, “This is a book I never thought I’d write.” I knew then that I was about to embark on something super fun. 🙂

In the book’s seven chapters, Dr. Bergsma tackles some of the biggest issues in Catholic apologetics: the papacy, Mary, Confession, Eucharist, priesthood, sola scriptura, and sola fide. And yet, he manages to do it with a style that made me smile. Take, for instance, the titles of the chapters:

"Book Notes: Stunned by Scripture" by Sarah Reinhard (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2018 Sarah Reinhard. All rights reserved.

He presents the facts in a very conversational way. You’re getting a story and a lesson in apologetics, all for the price of your attention.

And oh, did I mention that it’s fun to read?

Dr. Bergsma is a teacher by trade, and it translates beautifully into the book.

For example, in the first chapter, Dr. Bergsma tackles the Bible and the papacy. He writes,

The world cannot see some airy-fairy “spiritual” unity behind forty thousand or more bickering denominations. The world needs to see visible unity in order to be moved to belief. That’s why the Reformation has crippled the evangelization of Western civilization, and it has been downhill for Christianity in the West ever since.

"Book Notes: Stunned by Scripture" by Sarah Reinhard (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2018 Sarah Reinhard. All rights reserved.

The case for the papacy is logical, Dr. Bergsma writes. He has six steps in his logic:

  1. Jesus desires visible unity of his Church.
  2. Visible unity requires, ultimately, one “senior pastor.”
  3. The job of “senior pastor” is to maintain unity.
  4. He can only maintain unity by stopping fights.
  5. He can only stop fights if his word is final.
  6. His word is final only if he can make an infallible judgement.

It makes sense, and as I read the explanation, I found myself nodding. The buck has to stop with someone. And that someone is the pope.

He’s not inventing anything or revealing anything that hasn’t already been said. However, he’s doing it in a way that’s particularly appealing to readers right now, I think.

We want snappy answers, for one thing, and we want logical reasoning. We also need a dose of history and perspective.

And we want to be entertained.

Lest I sound like I’m criticizing any of those things, I’m not. I’m as guilty as anyone.

Stunned by Scripture delivers on all counts. It’s a book you’ll want to highlight and share and, best of all, reread or even dip back into.

Highly recommended, for both you and your best friend!

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Copyright 2018 Sarah Reinhard
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About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Triple Take, from Our Sunday Visitor.

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