Engaging with Thomas Aquinas. An Evangelical Approach

On the occasion of the 8th centenary of Thomas Aquinas, the book is a thoughtful introduction aimed at presenting the main contours of his complex legacy and critically evaluating it especially in areas where the “Roman Catholic” Thomas is more than the “classical” theologian who is attracting renewed attention in evangelical circles. 

The influence of Thomas Aquinas on Western theology is beyond dispute, but his is a contested legacy. In current evangelical studies there is an emerging infatuation with Thomas, especially as far as his theological metaphysics is concerned.

De Chirico offers the perplexed evangelical a framework to think through. The inquiring Roman Catholic reader will be invited to consider an alternative. The general reader may find answers to questions such as:

  • Are Thomas and Thomism(s) the same?
  • What does evangelical thought need to be aware about the strengths and dangers of Thomas Aquinas?
  • How can Rome’s chief doctor be at the same time a reference point for evangelical theology?

The book will address this whole debate by contributing a thoughtful analysis from an evangelical viewpoint. IVP Books.

Same Words, Different Worlds. Do Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Believe the Same Gospel?

Do Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics share a common orthodoxy, as promoted by initiatives such as Evangelicals and CatholicsTogether? Or do the profound differences between Evangelical and Catholic theology and how they view the doctrines of Christ, the Church and salvation mean they actually hold to very different gospels?

Same Words, Different Worlds explores whether Evangelicals and Catholics have the same gospel if they have core commitments that contradict. It lays out how the words used to understand the gospel are the same but differ drastically in their underlying theology.

With keen insight, Leonardo de Chirico looks at various aspects of Roman Catholic theology – including Mary, the intercession of the saints, purgatory and papal infallibility – from an Evangelical perspective to argue that theological framework of Roman Catholicism is not faithful to the biblical gospel. Only by understanding the real differences can genuine dialogue flourish.

Same Words, Different Worlds will deepen your understanding of the differences between Evangelical and Catholic theology, and how the Reformation is not over in the church today.


Just as Luther’s own debates with Rome clarified his theology, so this book helps evangelicals think more clearly about the gospel and so helps us be more truly evangelical… this book not only gives us wisdom: it takes us deep into the joy-giving world of the gospel. Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology

Leonardo De Chirico’s Same Words, Different Worlds is an authoritative, clear, and compelling account. He knows of what he speaks: fluffy-minded evangelicals confused about “contemporary” Roman Catholicism, read and learn. Dr. Josh Moody (Ph.D. University of Cambridge), Senior Pastor of College Church, President of God Centered Life Ministries

Laboring for the gospel in the shadow of the Vatican, Dr. De Chirico knows Roman Catholicism of the past and present, of its doctrine and practice, of its American and global identity. He then adds his deep knowledge of the historic orthodox Christian faith. And he then adds his winsome and gracious nature. The result is a book that with clarity and grace shows the profound difference between Roman Catholicism and Evangelicalism—and why that difference is of such ultimate, eternal significance. Stephen J. Nichols President of Reformation Bible College Chief Academic Officer of Ligonier Ministries Author of R. C. Sproul: A Life

How can I stand next to my Roman Catholic friend and say the words, “We believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic faith” and mean something completely different by the words: “We”, “believe”, “in”, “the one”, “holy”, Catholic”, “Apostolic” and “faith”?

De Chirico, an Italian National and church planter in Rome, is better placed than anyone to act as a bridge between evangelicals and Roman Catholics. This book provides the key to understanding these differences, avoiding pitfalls and communicating more effectively with Roman Catholics.

De Chirico’s book is a powerful tool to help us talk about the Jesus whom we love with the people in our lives whom we love who live in a world influenced by Roman Catholicism. Rev Dr Mark Gilbert, Catholic Evangelist, Sydney, Australia.

In current ecumenical dialogue the emphasis is on agreement, with disputed points either left to one side or treated as secondary. Dr De Chirico takes issue with this approach and argues that the questions that divided the Western Church in the sixteenth century have not gone away and must still be faced. Evangelicals and Catholics hold some things in common, but as this book shows, their differences are important and cannot be overlooked. Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, Alabama, USA, and Director of Research for the Latimer Trust.

In this helpful book, my friend Leonardo De Chirico proves why he is one of the preeminent Protestant scholars of Roman Catholicism. He accomplishes just what he sets out to prove: that even though Protestants and Catholics may use similar words, they believe in very different gospels. As he accomplishes this, he displays his characteristic wisdom, charity, kindness, and expansive knowledge of both Protestant and Catholic doctrine. Tim Challies,

This book is easily the most profound analysis of the Roman Catholic ‘world’ available today. The fact that it is also the most lucid and accessible makes it remarkable. In a measured and eirenic way the author peels back the subtle deceptions through which, over the best part of two millennia, the Papacy has mis-represented the Chistian faith” Ranald Macaulay, Founder, Christian Heritage

When Vatican II met at Rome 1962-1965, global Protestants were helped to assess the developments taking place there through ‘observers’, invited from various communions. In more recent times, this service has been admirably fulfilled by Leonardo De Chirico, who by his on-site residence and his digesting of fresh Papal pronouncements and activity today serves as the eyes and ears of evangelical Protestants globally. Now, in Same Words: Different Worlds, De Chirico offers us a fine distillation of his observations. – Kenneth J. Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College

This is a challenging read which sets out the crucial doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, especially those hiding within some apparent verbal similarities. It is a provocative counter-point to the sometimes naive ecumenical thrust of much modern discussion on inter-church relations. Dr Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society and author of Light after Darkness: How the Reformers Regained, Retold, and Relied On the Gospel of Grace.

I am thrilled to see this new book by Leonardo De Chirico. I benefitted immensely from reading De Chirico’s doctoral thesis several years ago on Roman Catholicism. As one who teaches theology, including a course on the church fathers and medieval theology, it is tempting to say that Rome and Protestantism simply agree on many things. But I have been persuaded by De Chirico’s analysis that central tenets of Roman Catholicism put even seemingly common theological territory in a different light. If you want to understand the deep principles of Roman Catholic theology, I strongly encourage the reading of this book. Bradley G. Green, Professor of Theological Studies, Union University, Jackson (TN).

Evangelical Theological Perspectives on post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism

Leonardo De Chirico, Evangelical Theological Perspectives on post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism,
Series: Religions and Discourse – Volume 19.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Wien, Peter Lang 2003. 337 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03910-145-0 pb. (Softcover).


The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has forced Evangelical theology to rethink its own perception and analysis of Roman Catholicism. Many Evangelical theologians have attempted to grapple with the new Roman Catholic outlook and the ecumenical challenges it brings. Book Cover.After describing the theological contours of Evangelicalism, the book critically surveys the works on Roman Catholicism by Gerrit Berkouwer, Cornelius Van Til, David Wells, Donald Bloesch, Herbert Carson, John Stott, and two on-going international dialogues between Evangelicals and Catholics. The Evangelical appraisal of Roman Catholicism has in general suffered from a lack of systemic awareness in dealing with it. The prevailing approach has been marked by an interpretative atomism, and the last two chapters propose the formulation of an Evangelical systemic analysis. First, by supporting the feasibility of the category of system as applied to Roman Catholicism, thus developing the basic theological hermeneutics proposed by Abraham Kuyper. Second, by indicating in the Roman Catholic articulations of the relationship between nature and grace and in the ecclesiological self-understanding of the Roman Church the two main theological foci of the system.


This is an essential resource for an Evangelical understanding of contemporary Roman Catholicism.

-David McKay, Reformed Theological Journal

…the book is an excellent contribution to the process of constructive evangelical-Roman Catholic dialogue and critique but also to all those interested in applied Neo-Calvinist thinking.

-Jason Zuidema, Calvin Theological Journal

It is a good, informative and worthwhile reading.

-PG Pandimakil, Mission

This book deserves to be widely read and circulated, for it makes a genuine and fresh contribution to current ecumenical affairs.

-Gerald Bray, Churchman

Man kann dem Autor fur diese wichtige Dissertation uber den remischen Katholizismus nur dankbar sein. Auf deutscher Seite gibt es augenscheinlich kein vergleichbares umfassendes Werk. […] Die Anschaffung der Arbeit von De Chirico ist jedem evangelikalen theologischen Seminar und allen an remisch-katholischer Theologie interessierten Christen sehr zu empfehlen.

-Jochen Eber, Jahrbuch fur evangelikale Theologie

A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Papacy: Its origin and role in the 21st century

by Leonardo De Chirico
Pages: 128
Trim: Pocket paperback (178 x 110mm)
Isbn 13: 9781781912997
List Price: £4.99
Originally Released: January 2014
Last Reprinted: January 2014
Imprint: Christian Focus
Category: Church Life > Protestant Denominations

  • Comprehensive introduction to the Catholic Church’s doctrine
  • Unpacks the mystery of the Papacy
  • Investigates the topic biblically


Who are the Popes and how does the Roman Catholic Church define their role? What about the present day Popes? What is the ecumenical significance of the Papacy and what are its prospects in the global world? These and other questions are tackled as Leonardo De Chirico explores the Biblical, historical, and theological fabric of the Papacy.


…Professor De Chirico investigate the phenomenon of Roman Catholic hierarchy using biblical exegesis, fascinating historical data, and basic theological insights to inform our view…engaging, clearly written, polemical in the best sense, and resolutely Scriptural, this is easily the best shorter guide for those wanting to know how to evaluate the institution of the papacy and related matters.

-William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

How readable! How fascinating! How important! This book is a page-turner. I kept thinking, “I have it, to whom can I give it?”…Right at the heart of Roman Catholicism there is this giant delusion. You don’t believe me? Then read this fascinating and brief book and think for yourself.

-Geoff Thomas, Aberystwyth Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales

In terms of an introduction to the Catholic Church’s doctrine and exercise of the papacy, this book is unmatched! Read this book and you will gain essential insights into what for many Christians is a mystery, now unpacked by a trusted evangelical theologian and pastor.

-Gregg R. Allison, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

Few evangelicals will wish to read a long book about Popes, but here is a marcellously short one which will serve us well in conversing with Roman Catholic contacts and in understanding a significant religious celebrity of the modern world

-James Dudley-Smith, Evangelicals Now

De Chirico’s book is excellent. Not only is it well researched, thorough, and clear, its lessons hold crucial importance in this historical moment. In a day when the pope is featured on the cover of Time magazine and when unchurched pundits use phrases like “the Francis factor” (speaking of Pope Francis’s popularity in the mainstream), it’s important for us to have an informed perspective on the papacy. This volume, more than any other I’ve read, provides such perspective and therefore should be added to one’s bookshelf

-Chris Castaldo,

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book. Make sure you get a copy!

A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary: Mother of God?

Pages: 128
Trim: Pocket paperback (178 x 110mm)
Isbn 13: 9781527100602
List Price: £4.99

Preview contents page (PDF)

Preview sample (PDF)

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  • Latest in the Christian’s Pocket Guide series
  • A small study on the theology of Mary
  • Her life, character, and impact


The Bible is full of inspiring characters and astonishing events. But, although Mary has without question one of the most wonderful stories, she can often be ignored – to be remembered only once a year at Christmas. This Pocket Guide title looks at the life and character of Mary – and her unique significance in the gospel story.


Leonardo De Chirico, one of the leading evangelical thinkers on Roman Catholicism, including its post-Vatican II phase, knows all the ins and outs of the history and theology of Catholicism, from years of study and first-hand experience in Padua and Rome. Against the temptation to think Mariology is just a side-show in Catholicism, he shows how it fits hand in glove with the Roman Church’s doctrine of grace.

-Paul Wells, Emeritus Professor, Faculté Jean Calvin, France, Editor in Chief of Unio cum Christo

This is the book I have been searching for! De Chirico’s A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary is unique in clearly and succinctly bringing together in one place Mary in the Scriptures and Mary in the history of Christian thought and practice, right up to the present day.

-Rachel Ciano, Lecturer in Church History at Sydney Missionary and Bible College; church-planter in a multicultural, urban area of Sydney.

Never before have I read a more masterfully written book on the subject. Leonardo De Chirico marries scholarship with an easily readable style that makes the book extremely useful both for personal and group studies. It is a concise and well researched masterpiece from one of the world’s leading experts on Roman Catholicism and recommendable both to Catholics and Protestants who want to understand one of the most misunderstood and controversial issues in Church History.

-José Hutter, Chairman of the Theological Commission of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance

Leonardo De Chirico is one of my most trusted authorities on Roman Catholic doctrine. He has gained my confidence because he is always equally charitable, winsome, and well-informed. In this short book he demonstrates what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about Mary and aptly proves why so much of it is opposed to the plain teaching of the Bible. I heartily commend it to you.

-Tim Challies, Blogger at

Quale unità cristiana? L’ecumenismo in discussione

Caltanissetta, Alfa & Omega 2016, pp. 153
ISBN: 9788899295721

Nel mantenere gli interrogativi sul movimento ecumenico nella sua accezione ampia, gli evangelicali talvolta corrono il rischio di dimenticare che l’unità cristiana non è un’invenzione diabolica, ma un dono divino.

Questo libro vuole contribuire al discernimento evangelico in un tempo in cui l’unità cristiana viene promossa con sempre maggiore enfasi e da sempre più soggetti come un programma prioritario su tutto il resto. Il suo obbiettivo è di offrire strumenti essenziali per orientarsi nell’universo complesso dell’ecumenismo contemporaneo possibilmente senza superficialità storiche o ingenuità teologiche. Nel fornire una lettura delle direzioni principali del movimento ecumenico, non mancherà di sottolineare le sue criticità irrisolte e di indicarne le questioni aperte.

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