Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #102

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Luke 13:10-17 on “Love Not Legalism.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Luke 2:40-49 on “Priorities.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, September 5th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Love, Not Legalism

Pastor Cody Andrews – Priorities

Catholic Republic: Wacko Catholic fundamentalism, but with one very cogent point

Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome
By Timothy Gordon
Crisis Publications, 2019, 288 pp.

1 Star

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The vast majority of adult Americans are familiar with the above words penned by Thomas Jefferson as part of the Declaration of Independence of 1776. However, most Americans are not aware of the historical context; that America’s founders were strongly influenced by the philosophers of the Enlightenment including John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In “Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome,” fundamentalist Catholic philosopher, Timothy Gordon, argues that Enlightenment thinkers plagerized many of their ideas from Catholic Natural Law, a syncretic “christianization” of Aristotelian philosophy, most notably by Italian Catholic friar, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).

A Catholic source defines Natural Law as “a system of principles that guides human life in accordance with our nature and our good, insofar as those can be known by natural reason. It thereby promotes life the way it evidently ought to be, based on what we are and how the world is, from the standpoint of an intelligent, thoughtful, and well-intentioned person. It’s much the same, at least in basic concept, as what classical Western thinkers called life in accordance with nature and reason…We might think of it as a system that aims at moral and social health and well-being—which, like physical health, can at least in principle be largely understood apart from revelation.”

America’s Enlightenment-influenced founders were largely deists, not evangelical Christians. As Gordon points out, the concept that God endows men with the unalienable (i.e., impossible to take away or give up) “rights” of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Gordon states this third right should actually be property ownership) is contrary to Protestant understanding of Biblical teaching. Neither Luther, Calvin, or Zwingli would have endorsed Jefferson’s statement on the “unalienable rights” of men. The Reformers correctly declared that men are morally depraved because of sin and that all of nature is in a fallen state due to sin. The Catholic church, in contrast, teaches men are only “spiritually wounded” and are able to achieve great personal and community virtue with the assistance of the “hospital” Roman Catholic church.

Gordon argues that the American republic is declining because it is based on the founders’ bastardized, crypto-Catholic, “Prot-Enlight” (Protestant-Enlightenment) version of Natural Law and that for the nation to survive its citizens must turn to the Roman Catholic church and its sacraments.

I selected this book because as I was searching through our library’s website the ridiculously audacious cover illustration (a statue of Mary atop the U.S. Capitol Building) and title caught my attention. The author’s main argument, that America must turn to the Roman Catholic church in order to survive as a republic, is wacko Catholic fundamentalism, a specialty of Crisis Publications. The American Catholic bishops can’t convince the majority of the U.S.’s 70 million Catholics to attend mandatory Sunday mass let alone “convert” the nation. That said, the author’s argument that Jefferson’s declaration on the unalienable rights of men is contrary to Gospel Christianity is cogent and well-taken. American Christian Nationalist believers must incongruously juggle both Jefferson’s highly-revered, but un-Biblical declaration on unalienable rights and citizen virtue and the Bible’s teaching that no one is “endowed” with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (or ownership of property) as God-given “rights.”

What Gordon guilefully neglects to mention is that the Roman Catholic church was largely opposed to the concept of republican government well into the 20th Century. In his 1899 encyclical, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, Pope Leo XIII condemned the heresy of Americanism, specifically the concepts of separation of church and state and freedom of religion (aka freedom of conscience). The Roman Catholic church historically preferred sympathetic monarchies and dictatorships that guaranteed the Catholic church’s privileges and prerogatives.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/18/21

Pope Francis’ recent clampdown on the Latin mass continues to draw the ire of conservative and traditionalist Catholics. I became an altar boy while in fifth grade and had to memorize all of the Latin responses for the mass liturgy. When I was in seventh or eighth grade the parish switched over to the “Novus Ordo” English mass liturgy. This article reminded me of the very popular joke told by Catholic children when all masses were said in Latin and phone numbers at the time had word prefixes:

Question: What’s God’s phone number?
Answer: Et cum spirit 2-2-0.

That was a play upon the Latin exchange between priest and congregation at mass:

Priest: Dominus vobiscum (The Lord be with you)
Congregants: Et cum spiritu tuo (And with your spirit)

Funny yet sad because we Catholic children never heard the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone at mass or at parochial school.

Catholic priest and chaplain of the NYFD, Mychal Judge, was the first recorded casualty of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Judge had worked with HIV patients and was open about his homosexuality. Those advancing the LGBT agenda within the RCC are pressing the Vatican to canonize Judge.

It’s interesting how future-pope, cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s rise in status within the RCC hierarchy was partly the result of the reaction to 9/11.

When I was a young student at a Catholic parochial school back in the 1960s, the nuns regularly held up Ireland as a wonderful Catholic country where people took their religion very seriously. Irish public sentiment turned radically against the church with revelations of widespread abuse at church-run residences for unmarried mothers and their children.

The conflation of faith and nationalism has been an extremely popular paradigm in America ever since the Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony four-hundred years ago.

Back on August 30th, 2020, influential pastor, John MacArthur, of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles declared from the pulpit that “there is no (COVID-19) pandemic.” In the same statement, he told his congregation that public health safety mandates were largely a demonic-orchestrated effort “to shut down churches that preach the gospel.” Use of PPE and social distancing were discouraged at the church and associated ministries. Last December and January, Pastor MacArthur was absent from the pulpit for several weeks. It was announced that MacArthur just needed some rest and was preparing for a conference. On August 29th, 2021, MacArthur admitted to his congregation for the first time that the real reason for his extended absence eight months previous was because he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. That information had been deliberately suppressed in an effort to sustain the “there is no pandemic” paradigm at GCC. Such calculated deception is not praiseworthy.

Back on July 4th, I reported that Joe Burress, my former pastor at Victory Baptist Church in Henrietta, New York was arrested for sexually abusing two children and pled guilty to one charge (see here). On September 2nd, Burress was “sentenced” to six years of sex offender probation. Probation? People are routinely sent to jail/prison for crimes much less serious than the sexual abuse of children.

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #8

Today, we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018). Thanks for joining me.

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Claim #8: I am a Catholic because of cathedrals

In this short, one-and-a-half-page chapter, Kreeft asks the reader to consider cathedrals as a “proof” for Roman Catholicism. He suggests that the sheer magnificence and grandeur of cathedrals attest to the divine authenticity of Roman Catholicism. He states, “They (cathedrals) are the closest material approximation to Heaven that we have ever seen on earth” (p. 31). The magnificence of cathedrals is appropriate, he states, because they are “houses not for man but for God, for Jesus Christ, God incarnate, who is really present there in the Eucharist.”

Response

Readers of this particular installment would benefit from a little background. Six years ago, I watched a video of Peter Kreeft explain his “conversion” to Roman Catholicism (see here). When he was a boy, the Kreeft family of Paterson, New Jersey took the 20-mile trip into New York City to sightsee and whilst there, the family toured St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue. Young Kreeft was absolutely enthralled by the grandeur of the edifice, especially in comparison to the humble Dutch Reformed church he attended with his family back in Paterson. An interest in Catholicism was kindled and Kreeft eventually “converted” to RC-ism during his college years.

My reaction to cathedrals is quite different compared to that of wide-eyed Kreeft. Certainly, cathedrals are impressive structures. The most famous cathedral in the world, Notre Dame (“Our Lady”), in Paris, France was built over a span of ninety-seven years (1163-1260). The resources needed to build such a structure prior to modern construction methods boggles the mind. It’s extremely difficult to determine the cost of medieval European cathedrals in today’s dollars, but I have seen estimates ranging from $600M to $1.6B. The medieval craftsman and peasants who toiled decade after decade on the European cathedrals were led to believe that their labors would merit their salvation. Likewise, monarchs, the nobility, and even the humble farmer were told their financial contributions would help secure a place in Heaven.

As we’ve discussed in previous chapters, Roman Catholicism is a religion of the material/physical/natural, a “faith” of the sensory/tangible. In Catholicism, salvation is dispensed via physical water (baptismal regeneration). Bread wafers and wine are transformed into Jesus Christ and physically consumed. Sins are forgiven by the audible declaration of a priest. A wide array of physical sacramentals – holy water, statues, palm fronds, candles, incense, scapulars, crucifixes, rosary beads, etc. – are employed to fortify religious fervor. Cathedrals are the pinnacles of this very physical religion.

In the New Testament, we find that Christianity is not a religion of the physical, but of the spiritual.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – John 6:63

The simple yet sublime Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that was preached by Jesus Christ and the apostles is the antithesis of the worldly grandeur, pomp, and ceremony represented by cathedrals.

Can a genuine believer imagine the Lord, Jesus Christ, or even the apostle Paul approving of the base, worldly grandeur of cathedrals and of the empty rituals performed inside? Jesus had nowhere to lay his head during His earthly ministry (Luke 9:58). In contrast, Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops relished the magnificent worldly splendor of their cathedrals.

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:21-24

Yes, true worship focuses on the spiritual, not the physical. Jesus Christ was not impressed by grandiose religious structures. Such structures were snares in the path to true spiritual faith.

“Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” – Matthew 24:1-2

Kreeft and other Catholics believe their cathedrals and churches are actually God’s house, with God the Son allegedly residing in altar tabernacle boxes in the form of consecrated bread wafers.

23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matthew 24:23-27

Rather than being proofs of Roman Catholicism’s divine authenticity, cathedrals are proofs of RC-ism’s worldly and anti-spiritual nature. Mr. Kreeft, I am NOT a Catholic because of cathedrals and what they represent.

Postscript: Sadly, some evangelicals, like Joni Eareckson Tada, have also been overwhelmed by the worldly splendor of Catholic cathedrals (see here). The genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone has NEVER been preached in a Roman Catholic cathedral.

Grandeur or spiritual chains? A young Peter Kreeft was mesmirized by the worldly grandeur of St. Patrick’s Cathedral (above) in New York City.

Next week: Claim #9: I am a Catholic because the Catholic church is not Christ’s organization but his organism, his body

Throwback Thursday: “Holy doors” guaranteed to make your head spin

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on June 23, 2016 and has been revised.

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Yesterday I was listening to the April 21, 2016 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on The Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM out of Buffalo, New York with Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, and moderator, Steve Quebral, taking questions from listeners.

During the show, Kim from Rochester, New York called in with a question regarding the Catholic church’s “Holy Doors.” Before I get to Kim’s question, I need to give my evangelical friends some background on the holy doors. This gets a little complicated so please fasten your seat belts and stay with me.

Generally speaking, the Catholic church has designated specific doors in eight churches – four of the churches are in Rome – as “Holy Doors.” During “jubilee” years, which normally occur every 25 or 50 years, Catholics may walk through the specially blessed holy doors and receive a “plenary indulgence” for their sins. What is a plenary indulgence you ask? Catholics confess their mortal and venial sins to a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation, but what many Catholics don’t even realize is that while the priest may forgive all of the sins in the confessional, not all of the punishment for the sins is remitted. Any remaining (temporal) punishment for sins will be meted out in purgatory after death. How long someone must suffer in purgatory is sketchy business, but Catholic writers in the past spoke about the duration extending to even hundreds of years. But the church grants indulgences – remission of temporal punishment – if the Catholic performs certain acts. Partial indulgences remove some of the punishment while “plenary” (full) indulgences remove all of it. The church claims to be able to issue indulgences from its “treasury of merit” consisting of the superabundant spiritual merit of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. By making a pilgrimage and walking through one of the eight holy doors, a Catholic is granted a full, plenary indulgence.

Please note that the vast majority of Catholics would have no idea what you were talking about if you asked them about “partial and plenary indulgences” for “temporal punishment.”

Pope Francis declared November 2015 to December 2016 to be an Extraordinary Year of Mercy for the faithful. As part of this special jubilee year, church doors in dioceses around the world were designated and blessed as holy doors. Pilgrims don’t have to make the distant trip to Rome or to one of the other four locations this year, they can receive their full indulgence by walking through holy doors in their own diocese. Pictured are some Chicago Catholics waiting their turn to walk through designated holy doors at a local church to receive their indulgence.

Is everyone still with me? Good, now let’s get back to Kim’s question. Regarding the holy doors, Kim asked Rick, “Are you only supposed to walk through the doors once to receive the indulgences?” Evidently, this holy door business is too complicated even for pious Catholics. Rick laughed off the question, commenting that of course you only need to walk through the holy doors once to receive the plenary indulgence. But, he added, a person could make pilgrimages to holy door sites several times throughout the year and thereby keep up with any additional temporal punishment that had accumulated in their spiritual in-basket.

Catholic friend, if the above seems outrageously complicated you would be right. God didn’t make salvation into this kind of religious calculus to be administered by ecclesiastical “experts.” Saving faith is trusting in Jesus with a child-like faith.

“And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:2-4

Purgatory, indulgences, temporal punishment, and holy doors are all man-made religious traditions. Walking through doors someone designates as “holy” won’t do a silly thing. Jesus Christ made salvation as simple as the plea of the thief on the cross. God is holy and we are sinners. We deserve eternal punishment for our sins. But God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. But Jesus rose from the grave and offers the gift of salvation to all who repent of their sin and accept Him as their Savior by faith. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Religious rituals and traditions don’t save. You can’t merit your way to Heaven. No one is good enough to merit Heaven, that is why Jesus died for us. After you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, ask Him to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches the Word of God without compromise.

http://www.gotquestions.org/sinners-prayer.html

Evangelical friend, when Catholics talk about Jesus and “faith,” we might get a warm fuzzy thinking we’re all on the same page, but when a Catholic refers to their “faith,” they’re talking about something entirely different from the Gospel we know. When a Catholic talks about faith they’re referring to their religious system which requires participation in church sacraments, obeying the Ten Commandments and church rules perfectly, along with a lot of extremely complicated ritualism such as this holy door practice. That is not the Gospel. A faithful Catholic won’t say they’re saved because – lip service to “grace” aside – they believe their salvation depends on how well THEY “cooperate with (sacramental) grace” and merit their own salvation right up until the moment of their death. That is not the Gospel.


See below for an example of a brochure handed out to pilgrims to one diocese’s holy doors.
http://www.stmatthewscathedral.org/docs/pilgrimage_to_the_holy_door_at_the_cathedral_2015.pdf

Note from 2021: Roman Catholicism has many anti-Biblical and ridiculous rituals, but in re-publishing this post, I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than this walking through designated “holy doors” to obtain indulgences.

First there was Watergate, now there’s Sheengate!

Time for a pop quiz. You have ten seconds. Name a Roman Catholic cleric besides the pope. Give up? Probably 95% of American non-Catholics would not be able to answer that question. But back in the 1950s and 60s, the majority of Americans knew the name of Fulton J. Sheen. The Catholic archbishop had two television shows, Life is Worth Living (1952-1957) on the DuMont Network and the syndicated The Fulton J. Sheen Program (1961-1968). On both shows, the foppishly-attired Sheen grinningly gave out “advice for living” as he propagated the Roman church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. He actually won two Emmy awards for Most Outstanding Television Personality.

Above: Fulton J. Sheen sells Catholicism on his 1950s television show

In the late 1950s, Sheen became entangled in a feud with his boss, cardinal Francis Spellman of New York City. The cardinal bided his time and in 1966 appointed (aka demoted) Sheen to the bishopric of humble Rochester, New York, where I write from. Sheen resigned in 1969 and died ten years later. The RCC fast-tracks famous Catholics for “sainthood” in an attempt to leverage their celebrity. The effort to canonize Sheen began immediately after his death, but was sidetracked by some Catholic internecine squabbling. Both the dioceses of New York City and Peoria, Illinois (under the sponsorship of Sheen’s niece), Sheen’s birthplace, claimed the future saint’s cadaver and the legal tug-of-war dragged on in the courts for five years (2014-2019). Sheen’s remains were eventually awarded to Peoria and canonization appeared imminent. But the Rochester diocese was simultaneously embroiled in its own legal tug-of-war with the survivors of priest sexual abuse and diocesan cover-up. Some of the legal research seemed to implicate former-bishop Sheen in the cover-up. What did Sheen know and when did he know it? In December 2019, Rochester bishop, Salvatore Matano, sent a message to the Vatican advising them to put the brakes on Sheen’s canonization pending clarification of his role in the alleged cover-up/s. It wouldn’t be good public relations for a canonized saint to be subsequently outed as an abuse enabler.

It’s been almost two years and Catholic officials in Peoria are still waiting impatiently for Sheen’s canonization to be given the green light (see article below). Around 300 people per week make the pilgrimage to Peoria to visit Sheen’s crypt seeking his intercession (photo above) and that number would skyrocket if Sheen were declared a saint.

What’s a Christian to make of this? The Bible declares that everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone is a saint (Greek: hágios, “set apart”). Nowhere in the Bible do we find the Catholic notion of saints being super-holy people. This heterodox notion of super-sanctified people attaining Heaven by their merits is part and parcel of the Catholic salvation system of sacramental grace and merit. Neither in the Bible do we find the Catholic notion of praying to saints as intercessory mediators. That’s an anti-Biblical, blasphemous concept. The RCC’s cavalcade of patron saints is an unabashed plagiarism of pagan Rome’s pantheon of patron gods. See here.

Sheen may or may not be implicated in abuse cover-up. However, two years of silence is a long time, especially given that Sheen’s canonization is certainly at the top of the USCCB’s wish list. But the fact is that hundreds of American Catholic bishops systematically transferred predatory priests from parish to parish, knowingly endangering Catholic children. It was deemed that children were an acceptable sacrifice in maintaining the reputation of the church.

Vatican still silent about why Fulton Sheen sainthood effort delayed

Postscript: Ecumenist Billy Graham was a friend and outspoken admirer of false-gospel promulgator, Fulton J. Sheen.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #101

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring a new sermon from one of the brethren down under.

We have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, Arkansas preaching from Luke 12:49-59 on “Knowing the Time.” This sermon was delivered on Sunday, August 29th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Knowing the Time

My 2021 House Painting Campaign: D-O-N-E!

My parents’ large, two-story house had wooden shingles and I had to help my Dad paint it a few times back when I was a teenager. Ach. Definitely not a fun job. My wife and I moved into our first house in 1979. It was aluminum sided, which meant I didn’t have to paint the exterior for the 22 years we lived there. We moved into our current house in 2004 and it has wooden shingles. Double ach! What was I thinking? I’m still trying to figure out why warning rockets didn’t go off in my head as we contemplated buying. Well, the house was freshly painted at the time so the misery seemed 100 years away. But then I waited way too long. After nine years, the exterior was starting to look shabby. I had to do a tremendous amount of scraping and priming. The weathered shingles soaked up the paint like a thirsty deer drinking at a cool stream (Psalm 42:1). One coat wasn’t enough. I had to paint the entire house with two coats. I vowed to never let things get so out of hand again. I took a three-year break and put my new plan in place. I would paint a quarter of the house every summer with a one-summer break. Sure, there’s now painting almost every summer, but there’s very little prep work and it’s a much more manageable task including applying only one coat of paint.

The southeast quarter of the house (see photo above) was due for painting this summer. I procrastinated for as long as possible, but finally took a trip to Home Depot on August 11th, buying a can of primer, two cans of paint, and a few other supplies. Our house is a ranch, so, thankfully, there’s not a lot of extension ladder work. While there wasn’t a crazy amount of prepping, I did come across some fascia board that had some water rot. How did I miss it the last time I painted that area? I must have had a lazy streak that summer.

I began by cleaning, taping, scraping, and priming as needed. I then painted all of the trim and shingle crevice areas by brush. The aforementioned is all very slow and tedious work. After the trim was done, I rolled the shingles. Boy, a roller sure beats a brush. I then worked on the rotted fascia area. I didn’t replace the rotted wood, but covered it over with a sheet of galvanized sheet metal, formed to fit and thoroughly primed and painted. Looks great!

The process wasn’t as quick and easy as the one-paragraph summary above makes it seem. I had some major obstacles like rain, the heat, and my Friday through Sunday job (including recuperation). But I finally finished on September 9th, 4 weeks after I started.

One big change this year was I switched from flat paint to satin paint. Satin is more weather resistant than flat and “should” buy me one or two extra paint-free summers.

Ah! I can now relax for about six weeks until the oak leaves begin to fall in earnest the last week of October. 🍁 Huh? What’s that, dear? The to-do list? Argh!

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/11/21

Last weekend, we had an article about Jewish rabbis who were upset with pope Francis’ remarks in a recent homily in which he stated that the (Mosaic) Law does not give life. Francis has backpedaled, saying, Oh, you’re fine. The irony of Francis’ initial remarks on the Law is that the RCC teaches its members that they must obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to merit Heaven. The RCC formally recognized Judaism as a legitimate pathway to salvation at its Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

It’s wisely said that you can’t legislate morality, but I was pleased to see Texas pass legislation severely restricting abortions in that state.

Above is an interesting article from the Boston Globe, the newspaper that initially broke the pedophile priest and cover-up scandal twenty tears ago. As the article revealingly states, of the hundreds of U.S. bishops who enabled priest predators over the centuries or abused people themselves, “Uncle” Ted McCarrick is the only one to have lost his clerical status.

Troubled entertainer, Britney Spears’ legal battle to liberate herself from conservatorship has been on the television news for several months. Spears, a nominal Baptist, announced she’s now a Roman Catholic. Don’t expect any changes in her über-sexually suggestive stage routines.

I imagine most of the violence directed at Catholic churches is in reaction to Rome’s official refusal to bless same-sex marriages and its reprehensible track record in regards to the priest sexual abuse and cover-up scandal.

Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc from New Orleans to New York City. Climate change is impacting the planet in major ways. Amidst a pandemic surge and challenging manifestations of climate change (rising temperatures, fires, droughts, uptick in hurricanes, rising coastal waters, etc.) the Lord is our immovable Rock.

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #7

Thanks for joining me today as we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018).

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Claim #7: I am a Catholic because the Catholic church has been infallibly right about everything she has ever claimed to be infallibly right about.

In this, the book’s longest chapter, Kreeft lists twenty-two Catholic doctrines/policies which he claims the RCC is infallibly right about. I’ll summarize them and respond to them as briefly as I can. Excuse the length, but there’s no getting around it. It’s actually a VERY revealing list.

Claim: The RCC has been right about church-state relations, following a balanced course.
Truth: As history records, Roman Catholicism conflated church and state to an extreme degree.

Claim: The RCC has been right about war, espousing non-violence, but also allowing for just warfare.
Truth: As history testifies, the RCC encouraged military conquest of non-Catholic peoples, which included forced baptisms. As mentioned in our examination of the previous chapter, RCC history includes systematic anti-Semitism, the Inquisition, and the relentless persecution of Protestants.

Claim: The RCC has been right about the Trinity.
Truth: That is true, although the RCC ultimately denies the offices of Jesus Christ by substituting sacramentalism and merit for Christ the Savior. It also substitutes priests, Mary, and saints for Christ the Mediator. It’s a false paradigm to view the early church councils and their defense of the Trinity as Roman Catholic in the sense that Roman Catholicism has been understood the last 1000 years.

Claim: The RCC has been right about Christology.
Truth: The RCC does correctly teach that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, but also teaches he is locked away in RCC altar tabernacles as consecrated eucharist wafers.

Claim: The RCC has been right about the church being both visual/institutional and the spiritual Body of Christ.
Truth: The RCC is 100% institutional. No Catholic is genuinely born-again by following the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Claim: The RCC has been right about the sacraments.
Truth: The RCC’s sacramental salvation system (baptismal regeneration, communion, confession, confirmation, marriage, last rites, ordination) is a religious ceremonial ladder. Lots of ritual, but no genuine acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

Claim: The RCC has been right about Protestants, acknowledging they’re “separated brethren,” but lacking the full revelation of God.
Truth: The RCC flip-flopped on Protestants, viewing them as heretics prior to the Second Vatican Council. Evangelical Christians rightly view Scripture as their sole spiritual authority while RC-ism’s elevation of “sacred tradition” and its magisterium (papal and episcopal teaching authority) over Scripture has led to a myriad of heresies, fanciful myths, and superstitions.

Claim: The RCC has been right about man, avoiding spiritualism, materialism, and dualism.
Truth: The RCC is up to its eyeballs in church-sanctioned spiritualism (praying to dead saints) and materialism (no other church or religious institution compares with the worldly grandeur and pomp and ceremony of Roman Catholicism).

Claim: The RCC has been right about man being neither sinless or saintless.
Truth: The RCC views man as basically good, but “wounded” and the church, like a field hospital, helps him get back on his feet and achieve his mission (salvation). In contrast, God’s Word says there is none righteous. We are all depraved sinners and salvation is only by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Claim: The RCC has been right about affirming both predestination and free will.
Truth: The RCC is semi-Pelagian, “affirming” God’s grace (via the sacraments) as part of its salvation plan, but likewise affirming works and merit as the other component.

Claim: The RCC has been right about “grace always being absolutely prior to nature, but also validating, using, and perfecting nature rather than rivaling it or demeaning it.”
Truth: Catholics believe God uses nature (physical, material) as the means to salvation (e.g., the institutional church, priests, church buildings, sacraments, sacramentals, etc.). Gospel Christians know salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone as revealed in God’s Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” – John 6:63.

Claim: The RCC has been right about justification requiring both the root of faith and the fruit of love (obedience, charity, works).
Truth: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” – Ephesians 2:8-10. Evangelical ecumenists who misguidedly believe the RCC teaches the genuine Gospel need to take Catholics, like Kreeft, at their word.

Claim: The RCC has been right about morality, avoiding Jansenist and Puritan rigorism at one extreme and relativism and pragmatism at the other extreme.
Truth: The RCC is wrong because it teaches morality saves a person. Since Catholics believe they must ultimately merit their salvation, one would think they would want to outdo the most rigorous Jansenist. While there definitely was a lot of that in RC-ism (see monasteries, convents, and self-mortification practices), a great many Catholics today are not moralists to any degree (56% support abortion in all or most cases and 75% are in favor of unmarried cohabitation).

Claim: The RCC has been right about its enemies being both on the political Left (communism) and on the Right (fascism).
Truth: RC-ism has been a supporter of both the extreme Left (see Liberation Theology) and the extreme Right (see Fascism in 1920s-40s Europe and Clerico-Fascism in South America).

Claim: The RCC has been right in opposing totalitarianism in the East and consumerism and materialism in the West.
Truth: As stated above, the RCC was a friend and ally of 1920s-40s European Catholic fascist dictators, including Franco (Spain), Salazar (Portugal), Mussolini (Italy), Pavelic (Croatia), the Sanacja regime (Poland), Petain (Vichy France), Dollfus (Austria), and Degrelle (Belgium). As for materialism, one need only research the extravagant residences and other assets of popes and Catholic prelates throughout history.

Claim: The RCC has been right about Islam being both a heresy and a noble religion that worships the same God as Jews and Christians.
Truth: The RCC didn’t acknowledge Islam as a legitimate religion or that Allah is allegedly the same God as Yahweh/Jehovah of the Bible until the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Kreeft’s (and Catholicism’s) blatantly heretical claim above “should” give long pause to Rome-friendly, evangelical ecumenists.

Claim: The RCC has been right about Judaism, allowing that Jews worship the same God as Christians and can also merit salvation, but will become more Jewish/better Jews when they convert to Catholicism.
Truth: “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” – 1 John 5:10-12.

Claim: The RCC has been right about birth control.
Truth: There is nothing sinful with using non-abortifacient contraceptives. Life does not begin until conception. Catholic sources report that 98% of Catholic women have used some form of artificial birth control.

Claim: The RCC has been right about divorce.
Truth: Divorce except for adultery is certainly a sin, but Catholicism skirts around divorce with its fraudulent marriage annulment process.

Claim: The RCC has been right about spiritualism and materialism.
Truth: Huh? Kreeft already crossed this road.

Claim: The RCC has been right about both the dignity of homosexual persons and the indignity of homosexual acts.
Truth: Through the efforts of progressive Jesuit, James Martin, and others, the RCC is gradually coming around to accepting practicing LGBTers as members in good standing.

Claim: The RCC has been right about the destructiveness of the sexual revolution.
Truth: The RCC upholds morality without genuine salvation in Christ by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Roman Catholic priests, who admonish their parishioners at every mass to continue in meriting their salvation, have fueled a twenty-year-long sexual abuse scandal of tsunami proportions.

Kreeft began this chapter by asserting that the claims he would present were infallible teachings of the RCC. Kreeft is being underhandedly deceptive. Actually, no Catholic prelate would view these 22 claims as infallible save those referring to the Trinity, Christology, and the sacraments. Catholic theologians can only agree on three papal declarations as being infallible: 1) the immaculate conception of Mary (1854), 2) the declaration on papal infallibility (1870), and 3) the assumption of Mary into Heaven (1950).

Whew! I’m bushed! Kreeft made a bucketful of audaciously false claims, but his bucket does not hold any water.

Next week: Claim #8: I am a Catholic because of cathedrals