Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #14

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 #14: I am a Catholic because of what the church has not taught as well as because of what she has.

In this chapter, Kreeft extols Roman Catholicism for its positions on the relationship between the church and politics/state and the relationship between God’s grace and man’s free will. He writes, “Two things the Church has not taught are: (1) which political system is best and (2) how divine grace and human free will work together. She does not know or claim to know these things with clarity and certainty, and neither should we” (p.47).

Response

My jaw dropped in amazement at the audacity of Kreeft’s lies regarding the Roman Catholic church’s historical position on government/politics. For 1500 years, the Roman church propagated a symbiotic relationship between church and state/monarchy, with the church insisting on its divinely-granted prerogatives over the state/monarchy. The papal tiara has three crowns that symbolize the alleged triple powers of the pope: “father of kings, governor of the world, and Vicar of Christ” (see here). As nations shifted towards democratic forms of government, the RCC sought to maintain its privileges as well as the attendant limitations of the rights of non-Catholics via negotiated concordats. Only in the late-20th Century did the RCC move toward a more neutral position regarding the state and politics, a change dictated more by shifting socio-political/religious realities than by choice. Peter Kreeft is not an ignorant man. He’s fully aware of the RCC’s symbiotic relationship with states/monarchies for a millennia and a half. His decision to present to the readers of this book the last sixty-years of relative Catholic political neutrality as being representative of the RCC’s overall historical position is shamelessly deceitful.

Christians have been debating the proper “relationship” between the seemingly contradictory truths of God’s sovereignty and grace and man’s free will for two millennia. The Bible teaches both. In the early 5th Century, Augustine and Pelagius famously opposed each other in debate over this theological question. While the RCC has always presented itself as anti-Pelagian, teaching that sacramental grace (baptismal regeneration) is a necessary first-step in its salvation process, it is actually bottom-line Pelagian in its insistence that its members must ultimately merit their salvation by obeying the Ten Commandments and performing works of charity. Kreeft claims that the RCC does not know how God’s grace and human free will work together, but Rome has always taught a synergistic soteriology, with man and God allegedly “working together” towards the individual’s salvation.

Next week: Claim #15: “I am a Catholic because of one thing that that I know with certainty, that I do not need belief or faith for”

17 thoughts on “Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #14

    1. Thanks, David. People are inclined to “bend the truth” in order to present their arguments in the best possible light, but overlooking 1500 years of objective history is flushing the truth down the toilet.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Prov 17:15
    He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord .

    2 Thessalonians 2:9‭-‬12
    The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow so the church hasn’t gone over “how divine grace and human free will work together”? I think the church has a lot more to say about this matter than most modern Catholic has to say. And what the early church has to say is different than Romanism today.
    Also its strange Kreeft gives an argument for silence for Romanism

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I think Kreeft’s duplicit ambiguity reflects modern liberal theology much more than the Tridentine era. When Catholics do talk about God’s grace in reference to salvation it’s mostly in regards to sacramental grace, e.g., baptismal regeneration, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the RCC guilefully gives deference to evangelical/ecumenical sentiments. Back when I was a Catholic youth, the RCC was unabashedly all about MERIT.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lord God, Kreeft has to be joking with his political stance. The RCC ruled with an iron fist for much of history. Today, Francis has no problem showing people by his words and actions what political party/ideology to be aligned with. The fact that the Pope is also a head of a city/state makes by definition a political leader. I will agree way too many Christians are politicizing their beliefs/religion. Kreeft is blatantly dishonest in that he does not mention any of the child sexual abuse cases, issues etc; Kreeft is just so deceived about the RCC. The RCC does not distribute its power nor its wealth to others. I strongly dislike this man. He has created for himself a feel good religion. Kreeft has a brokenness and a longing for beauty that does not serve him well as a philosopher nor as an apologist for Rome. I disagree with his sentiments on free will and I am thankful that he did not pontificate on this point as much as I thought he might. Ultimately, Kreeft can admire RCC wisdom all he wants, but he is in for a rude awakening in the last judgment.

    Thank you for your thoughts on the RCC and politics which is vastly greater than mine! Kreeft is one of those people I pray I never meet because he is a fool. I do not say that lightly or in judgement. The tone and the brazenness and the willful deceit that he gives in this book is just abhorrent and it does not please God. Shame on this man for his dishonesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for weighing in, Mandy! Yes, anyone who has even a smattering of European history is aware of the RCC’s heavy-handed partnership with political rulers/governments. My jaw literally dropped when I began reading this chapter at the audacity of Kreeft’s lies.

      As I mentioned to you before, its a blessing to read your reactions because I’ve become a bit inured to the anti-Biblical outrageousness of RC apologetics.

      Liked by 1 person

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