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).
Claim #20: I am a Catholic because of my friends and my family – my spiritual family
In this chapter, Kreeft presents the Roman Catholic view that salvation is more of a corporate/social/communal endeavor rather than an individual one. He equates the Roman Catholic church to Noah’s ark, with the “faithfully departed saints” onboard, who are allegedly eager to intercede and mediate on behalf of the living church members who are still attempting to attain Heaven. Kreeft states that the Protestant notion of an individual trusting in Christ for salvation is an error. He states, “We are not first saved as individuals and then invited into the Church; that is the Protestant picture. We are saved by (author’s emphasis) being incorporated into the Church, the “ark of salvation,” the holy family, the fellowship, the Communion of Saints” (p. 71). Kreeft is propagating the Catholic view that salvation is a lifelong process that begins with baptism into the “one true church” and continues by receiving the church’s sacraments and the help of Mary and the canonized saints in order to obey the Ten Commandments and church precepts so as to hopefully merit Heaven (or at least Purgatory) at the moment of death. For Catholics, the RC church IS the means to salvation.
Is salvation a communal process under the auspices of the Roman Catholic church as Kreeft asserts or must each individual repent and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone? What does Scripture teach?
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12
The Jews also believed in a form of corporate/social/communal salvation in that they believed they were God’s children because of their common ethnicity. But John the Baptist condemned this wrong thinking:
“And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” – Matthew 3:9
If he were with us today, John the Baptist would tell Catholics, “Don’t presume you are going to Heaven because you are Catholic.” Many Catholics presume exactly that.
Billions of Catholics have died and gone to Hell because they believed, as their institutional church taught them, that salvation meant being a member of the Roman Catholic church, receiving the sacraments, seeking the intercession of Mary and the saints, and successfully obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!). The Catholic notion of saint mediators is blasphemous. There is not one example of a believer in either the Old or New Testament praying to a dead person.
While Kreeft makes claims for Roman Catholicism’s unique authority and exceptionalism, remember that the RCC also dichotomously teaches that all religionists – Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and even atheists – may also merit Heaven if they are sincere in their beliefs and follow their conscience.