Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #4

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 #4: “I am a Catholic because the Catholic religion is from God, not just from man”

Kreeft opens this chapter by asserting the Roman Catholic church’s claim that it is the ONLY divinely authorized church. Is such uniqueness unprecedented? Kreeft points to the Jews as God’s chosen people. History has confirmed the uniqueness of the Jews by their survival in the face of unparalleled hatred and persecution. Kreeft then points to Jesus Christ as the unique God-Man. Kreeft argues that, just as the Jews and Jesus Christ were distinct in their position/roles, the Roman Catholic church is “the one true, authoritative, visible Church that Christ Himself founded and authorized to teach His truth, in His name, with His infallible authority” (p. 18).

Response

It’s certainly true that the Israelites (later, the Jews) were God’s chosen people and that Jesus Christ was/is the unique God-Man. By presenting these divinely-authorized examples as validations/confirmations of Catholicism’s claims to authority, Kreeft is employing some philosophical sleight of hand in the manner of if A=C, and B=C, then D=C.

The early church was persecuted throughout the Roman Empire until 313 when Constantine legalized Christianity. In 380, Theodosius I signed a decree making Christianity the religion of the state. The young church became increasingly institutionalized and conformed to the Roman imperial model. The church’s hierarchy developed according to the Roman political pattern.

“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.'” – Matthew 20:25-26

Pagan religions were outlawed and their practitioners were persecuted. However, elements of Roman pagan religion were borrowed and adapted. The simple yet sublime Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone proclaimed by God in His Word was gradually transformed into a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit, tightly controlled by the increasingly powerful prelates and their priests. See historian, Alistair Kee’s “Constantine Versus Christ: The Triumph of Ideology” (see here) for how the early church spiraled into formalism and corruption following Emperor Constantine’s patronage. Rather than clinging to Sacred Scripture as its sole guide, the evolving Roman church produced tradition after anti-Biblical tradition. The church’s magisterium (the pope and his bishops) declared itself and its traditions on par with Scripture, both eventually superceding Scripture.

“In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” – Matthew 15:9

Divine authority is not found in a worldly religious institution, but is found in God’s unchanging Word. Genuine Christians gather in local churches that teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Christians the world over are members of the Body of Christ, the truly “catholic” (universal) church. Jesus Christ is our Head and the Holy Spirit is our Guide. It’s messy. It’s not organized like the RCC. But within the patchwork quilt of evangelical Christianity is where the Holy Spirit works, not in the worldly grandeur of Roman Catholicism, a faux church with its faux gospel.

Mr. Kreeft, I am NOT a Catholic because the Catholic religion is NOT from God. It’s a counterfeit Christianity created by men. It’s understandable that Kreeft doesn’t address the current conflict within the RCC between pope Francis and his progressive allies and conservative and traditionalist prelates and priests. I would ask Kreeft if pope Francis’ Catholicism is the one that’s divinely authorized or is it the conservative Catholicism of cardinals Burke, Müller, and Sarah? The two are not the same. Why does Kreeft even quibble about the alleged authority of the RCC since it officially proclaims that all religionists and even atheists may also merit their salvation?

As in his previous three chapters, Kreeft does not base any of his arguments on Scripture.

Next week: Claim # 5: I am a Catholic because of the unprecedented historical fact that the church has never once lowered her standards, never changed her teaching

24 thoughts on “Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #4

  1. Peter Kreeft: The Roman Church is the one true, authoritative, visible Church that Christ Himself founded and authorized to teach His truth, in His name, with His infallible authority

    Muslim: Islam is the one true, authoritative, visible religion that God Himself established, and authorized Muhammad, the seal of the prophets, to teach His truth, in His name, with His infallible authority

    XYZ religionist: The XYZ religion is the one true, authoritative, visible religion that God/Christ Himself founded and authorized to teach His truth, in His name, with His infallible authority

    If we the truth were determined by who talks the biggest and boasts the loudest, Peter Kreeft and Romanism aren’t the only claimants.

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    1. Yes, and the fact that Kreeft’s RCC accepts all religions as legitimate pathways to guide proves (according to Scripture) that it is an apostate “church.”

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  2. Sounds like another question begging attempt by Kreeft; how he can say things like that with modern internet that shows the discrepency of this pope and also papal history is beyond me

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    1. Absolutely agree. Kreeft’s history-denying sophistry reminds me of Soviet “double-speak,” i.e., “liberating” the proletariat while killing them by the millions.

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      1. Good analogy; since there’s deep spiritually damning doctrines your analogy does have weight; frightening to think of how people like Kreeft market a sanitized Catholicism that has horrible eternal consequences.

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      2. RE: people like Kreeft market a sanitized Catholicism

        A famous quote by a Catholic cardinal states “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant” while the exact opposite is true.

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  3. Hi, Papa Tom! Forgive my tardiness! The title of this chapter already has my feathers raised, so to speak. While his opening two sentences are a lot of hot air, I do appreciate the fact that Kreeft is not going to insult the Jewish people’s existence as being replaced by Rome!!! Kreeft makes a better case for me to become Jewish than Catholic (no worries, I am not leaving the faith!)! Kreeft really likes the phrase, “arrogant, egotistic” in this chapter, and that is what he is. I am incensed! How to account for the RCC’s wisdom, holiness survival etc is surely God’s grace to start and second God is going to judge Rome VERY severely when He sees fit. Yes, the RCC is unique in its way that it is leading people to hell hand over fist. It is unique in how it venerates the saints and Mary when the Bible clearly says this is idolatry and blasphemous. Kreeft is deluded/blinded by the history and tradition of the RCC to see that it does not pass the litmus test of what it means to be a sound, biblical, orthodox church. The RCC does stand above other churches in elevating the Pope to a position that is relegated to God the Father alone. No church is infallible and Kreeft comes across as suggesting that the RCC is infallible because Christ is infallible. Christ is sinless and there is not one person who has lived, is living who will ever live that is sinless other than Jesus. The RCC is from man and not from God. The RCC (and the church at large) have done horrible, terrible things to people that are a stain on Christ’s Name, mocking the Triune God of the Bible. Those atrocities come from man and not from God!

    “Kreeft argues that, just as the Jews and Jesus Christ were distinct in their position/roles, the Roman Catholic church is “the one true, authoritative, visible Church that Christ Himself founded and authorized to teach His truth, in His name, with His infallible authority” (p. 18).” This really does just disgust me. You are being way more gracious than me when it comes to his claim of Catholic Authority! The fact that Kreeft was once Protestant is just astounding to me. “Divine authority is not found in a worldly religious institution, but is found in God’s unchanging Word” to this I say, “Amen!” You are so right that Kreeft doesn’t use Scripture nor confront the glaring issues within the RCC itself. It is just so sad and for my family, your family and all those who are stuck in the cult of RCC I pray the Lord uses these posts to lead others by grace, through faith to the true Gospel, the true Christ.

    Happy painting and love and blessings to you and Corrine!!!

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    1. Thanks, Mandy! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this chapter.

      Kreeft’s comments on the Jews are quite ironic because the RCC taught replacement theology and strict amillennialism (not to mention severe anti-Semitism) for 1500 years. Yes, his accusations of arrogance are also ironic in light of his claims in this chapter and the other 39. Your point that Rome IS unique in its many heterdoxies is dead on! Kreeft officially entered the RCC as a college student so he hardly had a solid foundation as an alleged “evangelical.” He has told the story that his “conversion” actually began many years previously when his Dutch Reformed, “anti-Catholic” parents took him to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to see the architecture and he was absolutely enthralled with the overall grandeur and mystique of what he witnessed. That chapter is coming up in a few weeks.

      Yes, we need to pray much for Kreeft and the other 1.3 billion Catholic souls. Undiscerning evangelical pastors are of no help to Catholics or evangelicals with their pronouncements that Catholics are our siblings in Christ.
      About 90% done with the painting after much effort the last two hot days. Hope you’re staying cool during this hot streak!
      Thank you and love and blessings to you and Nathan!

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      1. It’s a shame our Sunday school teacher brought up Lewis and said “not that I endorse his theology” and proceeded to talk about the last narnia book and the lion’s kingdom (can’t remember didn’t read the books saw one movie and was done with that). I thought to myself, you didn’t need to bring up Lewis, arg! Barry truly knows better and I know doesn’t agree with Lewis’s theology but many folks in the class do not.

        Undiscerning and deceived are so many in the church at large and it hurts my heart so badly and I know it’s only going to get worse. Anyway, glad your painting is close to done and you are surviving the heat. Nathan is listening to a movie at Mach 10, normally I would complain but today’s events have put him over the edge. We are truly seeing the Bible unfold before our eyes! Praying work will be better than most Fridays!!!!

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      2. Yes, it’s sad to see how Lewis’ ecumenism (and other aberrant beliefs) has leavened evangelicalism. I cringe every time pastors quote him, and they quote him often.

        The news out of Kabul is terrible! Thanks! So glad to have the bulk of the painting behind me. Thanks for your prays for my Friday. My boss actually went to bat for me and told the week crew to shape up. I’ll see shortly.

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      3. Thanks. I was hoping things would change after my boss sent out an email last weekend, but yesterday morning walked into another catastrophe. So discouraging.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Love Kreeft’s writings. One of my favourites is “Back to Virtue”, an 1986 work published by Ignatius Press. Almost wore out a highlighter reading it.

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    1. It’s sad that evangelicals recommend books by a Roman Catholic who unabashedly propagates his church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

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