So I've come up with this theory based that apologetics have a big circle similar to rock-paper-scissors.
- Catholic apologetics tie Calvinism in knots.
- Calvinism biblically refutes Arminian credobaptists.
- Arminian credobaptists doesn't let Catholic apologetics get off the ground.
There really are about 5 principle arguments in Catholic apologetic.
- Sola scriptura is not taught in the bible, in fact the bible teaches a historic church.
- Protestants have to accept tradition on the question of canon and quite often on creed.
- The Reformation failed to produce a robust orthodoxy. That is sola scriptura doesn't produce a unified belief and any basis for a true church i.e. the "there are hundreds of Protestant denominations..."
- The key arguments some reformers had with the Catholic church: physical presence, Marian rites, infant baptism, special authority of bishops/pope go back very early. So the apostasy could not have been near the time of the reformation.
- Church authority is non-severable, the church cannot fall into apostasy. The gates of hell shall not prevail....
The Baptist response to those arguments is easy. In order:
- References to the church in the bible only apply to a local church. There is no further entity, thus no broad ecclesiology. The only church Jesus founded was the Jerusalem church, the one church he destroyed, to prevent the idolatry of tying a material church to God.
- Baptists reject the idea that canon comes from tradition. Rather they believe God raises up a bible for his faithful in their languages. So for example, the Wulfila, the Gothic bible, doesn't have the book of Acts yet most Baptists believe the Wulfila to have been the legitimate scriptures for that community.
- Baptists believe in a regenerate church. There will never be a broadly believed orthodoxy.
- They grant that the errant theology was early, but because they aren't tied to any churches beyond the 1st century they are able to clearly look at the history and see the origins accurately. Baptists, believe that the apostasy started early, almost always by the 2nd century. The Reformation didn't reconstruct the church, the Protestant churches are just as bad, rather it created the room for further reform.
- Many Baptists do believe that the Catholic church fell into a deep apostasy. They often believe in a faithful remnant existing inside or outside the church and quite often a restoration in the last 500 years.
- A direct Baptist / Catholic debate: Campbell / Purcell debate.
- In terms of addressing the argument of government, which is the core of the Neumann apologetic: Mell's book on church government and Savage's book on church government. More books of this type can be found on the Baptist History Homepage.
- Remember Lot's Wife, an example of the Baptist apologetic in response to an article lementing the disunity of the reformation.
- For a Baptist understanding of church history an easy to read and famous presentation to familiarize yourself with the Baptist mindset is Ellen White's Conflict of the Ages Volume 5 The Great Controversy. For material about the early church, Acts of the apostles (Vol 4) which discusses the early church. Especially her last few chapters of this volume address Catholic claims. As an aside these books are well written and a good read so, this would be where I'd start.
- A short introduction which contrast baptist theology with liturgical churches: Why be Baptist.