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.
Claim #12: I am a Catholic because I want to believe the same things that Jesus taught and that his disciples and their successors and every single Christian in the world believed for fifteen-hundred years
Kreeft lists thirteen Catholic beliefs, briefly summarized below, that he contends were held in common by all Christians “until Protestant ‘reformers’ started to cut branches off the tree of the Catholic faith” (p.41).
- The divine and infallible teaching authority of the RCC, not sola scriptura.
- The need for charitable works in salvation, not sola fide.
- Grace perfects and utilizes nature (including free will), not sola gratia.
- The appeal to Peter and his successors, the bishops of Rome, as the final authority.
- Christianity as a social/ecclesiastical institution embodied in the RCC, not individuals.
- The historical “fact” of apostolic succession passed on sacramentally via ordination.
- “The literal, full, Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist” (p.42).
- The power and authority of priests to forgive sins.
- The existence of Purgatory
- The rightness of praying to saints
- The rightness of seeking Mary’s intercession and recognizing her as “the Second Eve,” “the Mother of God,” and “the Immaculate Conception.”
- The “fact” that all seven sacraments confer actual grace to the supplicant.
- The infallibility and authority of the Church to define which books are Scripture.
Christianity was legalized in 313 AD and adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380 AD. As the early church became increasingly institutionalized and followed the Roman imperial model, it abandoned the simple Gospel of grace in favor of sacramentalism administered by the progressively powerful and authoritarian hierarchy and clergy. Scripture is our sole authority and we appeal to Scripture rather than the Catholic church’s spurious “sacred traditions,” which evolved over time. Untethered from Scripture, the RCC advanced its prerogatives and fabricated hundreds of heterodox, vain doctrines. For Kreeft to claim Christians believed all thirteen of these Catholics doctrines for fifteen-hundred years is gross deceit. Let’s briefly respond to Kreeft’s fraudulent allegations:
- Neither the pope or the notion of papal infallibility is found in the New Testament. The RCC didn’t define papal infallibility until 1870.
- The New Testament teaches salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
- Nature, including man, is fallen. Nature is not trustworthy. It is the Holy Spirit Who draws souls to salvation in Christ through the preaching of the Word.
- The New Testament does not teach the bishop of Rome is the final authority.
- The New Testament warns against ecclesiastical institutionalism (Matthew 20:20-28).
- The New Testament doesn’t refer to apostolic succession.
- The New Testament doesn’t teach a literal “transubstantiation” of the Jesus wafer.
- The New Testament doesn’t speak of a sacerdotal priesthood for the church or of priests forgiving sins. In contrast, the New Testament declares priests and sacrifice were done away with by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:11-14).
- The notions of purgatory and indulgences are not found in the New Testament.
- The New Testament does not teach praying to saints.
- The New Testament does not authorize worshiping/venerating Mary.
- The New Testament does not refer to the seven sacraments, although it does teach the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- Scripture (the Old Testament) existed before the church. The Holy Spirit defines Scripture, not the RCC.
Praise God the Reformers returned the church to New Testament teaching and the genuine Good News of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
Next week: Claim # 13: I am a Catholic because I want the strongest reason to believe the Bible