Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #9

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

In this short chapter, Kreeft argues that the Roman Catholic church is the Body of Jesus Christ. He claims that Jesus Christ gave His body, not just on the cross, but also “in the Eucharist and in the Church” (p. 33). For Kreeft and Catholics, salvation is not obtained solely by faith, in just a spiritual sense, but by physically consuming the consecrated Jesus wafer as a member of the institutional Roman Catholic church (and following the prescribed tenets). He cites Hinduism and Buddhism as inferior religions that rely only on mysticism and Kreeft also criticizes Protestantism for its allegedly deficient doctrine of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. He states that God would not have left us with a purely mystical religion, but meets us two-dimensional creatures with a two-dimensional, sensory/tangible religion comprised of the eucharist and the institutional RC church.

Response

The New Testament refers to the “church” (Greek: ekklesia, “called out assembly”) as a group of people in a particular city or region who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and gather together as a local fellowship. “Church” is also used in the New Testament in the universal sense of all those the world over who have accepted Christ as Savior by faith alone.

Nowhere in the New Testament do we find “church” referring to the RC institutional monstrosity that rivals many secular governments with layer upon layer of hierarchy and bureaucracy. The early Christian church gradually devolved into religious institutionalism. Genuine spirituality described in the New Testament was replaced by ritualism and formalism controlled by the increasingly powerful clergy. Membership in the institutional RC church ipso facto became THE THING, rather than trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, followed by discipleship in a Gospel-preaching local church. The Holy Spirit had/has no part in the Catholic institutional system.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8

“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

We’ve already examined how the RCC grievously misinterprets the Bread of Life discourse in John 6 and the Last Supper accounts in the four gospels to support the eating of the Jesus wafer as the “source and summit of Christian spirituality” (CCC 1324). See here.

In his book, ‘Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” (2014), Dr. Gregg Allison does an excellent job of examining Catholicism’s Christ-Church interconnection, whereby the RCC presents itself as the prolongation of the incarnation of Christ. See here.

Without God’s Word and the elucidation of the Holy Spirit, Roman Catholics cannot comprehend a non-institutional church like evangelical Protestantism.

Postscript: While the Roman Catholic church teaches that it alone is the authorized, two-dimensional, institutional Body of Christ, it incongruously grants that all religionists and even atheists may also merit Heaven if they sincerely follow their conscience.

Next week: Claim #10: I am a Catholic because only the Catholic church can save human civilization from spiritual and material destruction

17 thoughts on “Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #9

  1. “Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!” The tragedy is Kreeft’s tunnel vision, a right Biblical truth but terrible application.
    “Voodoo and Catholicism are totally compatible” said the Haitian president. Rome could not even send priests to Haiti until their state religion, Voodoo, was merged with Catholicism.
    That Catholicism can merge with many devilish religions makes it a prostitute of sorts. Agh!
    Have a good weekend brother!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth! I actually refer to that prostitute/Great Whore/Rev. 17 aspect of RC-ism in an upcoming “Forty Answers…” The fact that the RCC proclaims every religion is a pathway to God and takes the lead in most/all “interfaith” activities is indisputable.

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  2. This is totally not Biblical Gospel: “. For Kreeft and Catholics, salvation is not obtained solely by faith, in just a spiritual sense, but by physically consuming the consecrated Jesus wafer as a member of the institutional Roman Catholic church”
    This is also crazy: “but meets us two-dimensional creatures with a two-dimensional, sensory/tangible religion comprised of the eucharist and the institutional RC church.”
    We are not 2 dimensional beings.
    This is disappointing to see how a so called philosopher reason so badly

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, brother! I remember having this Catholic mindset that the RCC was the genuine body of Christ and so membership was the key to salvation. Of course Vatican II altered that by declaring those outside the church could also be saved, but those inside had a better chance because of the sacraments.

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      1. Very true. As RC-ism drifted into modernism/semi-Universalism in the 20th century it’s amazing that more conservative clerics didn’t publicly oppose it like Jesuit Leonard Feeney but it also makes sense because works-righteousness is the common bottom line for all false religions.

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  3. The first paragraph has actually rendered me speechless. We receive Christ’s mind through reading and studying Scripture first and foremost not through the Church’s teachings. A true Church teaches the Word of God in its correct historical-cultural context as well as giving priority to authorial intent. The Bible cannot mean what it did not mean to the original author and audience. I am eager to learn your thoughts on what Kreeft is talking about in regard to “body.”

    Out-of-body experience is how a person connects to Christ, seriously? It is not faith alone that we need but faith’s object which is Christ. “We don’t have faith in faith (that’s a hall of mirrors) but faith in Him” which he goes on to use an analogy of food being the solution to starvation. This is some serious mental cartwheels and somersaults. Why/How I am not a Catholic, because the Jesus Wafer is a symbol not the actual body of Christ!

    “Nowhere in the New Testament do we find “church” referring to the RC institutional monstrosity that rivals many secular governments with layer upon layer of hierarchy and bureaucracy.” AMEN and AMEN!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mandy. I had my doubts if satisfactorily rebutted Kreeft’s arguments in this chapter so I appreciate the opportunity to expound a bit more.

      When evangelicals speak of “the church” in the universal sense, we’re referring to all believers around the world as the Body of Christ under the headship of Christ.
      RC-ism teaches the “Body of Christ” is and only is the Roman Catholic church. They concede that Protestants may merit Heaven as well, but they are “tag alongs” and not officially within the genuine Body. So early Christianity eventually became institutionalized and being a member ipso facto meant being a Christian.

      Allison also gets into this Christ-Church interconnection in his new book. Yup, Catholics think totally differently about “the church” than do evangelicals.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for this reminder! I have encountered RCC folks who absolutely hold to the Body of Christ only being for those in the RCC. For the charismatic arm/branch of the RCC is speaking in tongues a requirement of salvation/being part of the Body of Christ? This thought came to me because Protestant charismatics view the church differently than evangelicals and Charismatics are growing in number all over the world and in various denominations. In some ways, charismania (my word) is replacing evangelicalism.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good question about Catholic charismatics! RC charismatics definitely don’t take it as far as Protestant charismatics/Pentecostals by insisting that glossolalia is a “proof” of regeneration. I’ve heard from former charismatic Catholics that instead of charismaticism drawing them away from the mass, Jesus wafer, Mary veneration, etc., they become more emotionally involved/attached.

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      3. Yeah, “mysticism” is/was a highly revered form of piety within historical Catholicism so the introduction of “spirit-controlled” Pentecostal practices in the late-60s wasn’t a huge leap. As just one example, Catherine of Siena, one of Catholicism’s most revered saints, fell into swoons (probably from starvation, she subsisted on a single Jesus wafer per day at the end of her life), and claimed many visits from Jesus. Also claimed to levitate. More hysteria than any Pentecostal service.

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      4. Some branches of Pentecostal are proponents of liberation/justice theology as well. When I was in Florida for my one and only seminary class in FL which was VERY Pentecostal, my professor wanted all of us to PEACE which in essence was the county’s ecumenical action committee. I was the only one who didn’t join. The whole “whoever isn’t against you is with you” concept needs to be re-examined. I’ve thought about blogging on this because as you point out numerous times a week there is too much unequally yoked evangelism today.

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