Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #26

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 #26: I am a Catholic because I know I should treat other people as if they were Christ

Kreeft states that being a Roman Catholic is not like being a member of a club or a business or a secret society. In one of the rare times Kreeft has referred to Scripture to this point, he cites 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 to make the case that the Roman Catholic church is the mystical Body of Christ and that Catholics are organs of that Body. Being organs of the Body of Christ, Catholics are in Christ and are Christ. Individual Catholics, states Kreeft, acknowledge other Catholics as members of the Body and strive to love them and treat them accordingly. Kreeft cites ecumenical-evangelical favorite, Mother Teresa, as an example of this mindset. “She believed this, and when she looked at another person, she saw Jesus Christ” (p. 87). Kreeft states that having this mindset and treating other members with charity is saintly behavior and a part of sanctification that leads to salvation.

Kreeft argues that Protestants do not have the mindset mentioned above. “Protestants usually see the relationship between Christ and the Christian as legal and moral, personal and psychological, not metaphysical, just as most of them see justification salvation (sic) as legal. They say that salvation is just getting right with God, not really becoming a ‘new creature,’ becoming a saint; that faith alone saves you, not faith and works, the works of love; that God looks on you as if you were a saint and sends you to Heaven as long as you have faith in Christ; that you don’t really have to be a saint to get to Heaven, just a believer; that Christ has fulfilled the requirements of the law for us, and that’s why we get off. In other words, God is a lawyer. Of all the blasphemous insults and heresies in history!” (p.88).

Response

Gospel Christians certainly believe as Scripture states that all those who have genuinely trusted in Jesus Christ are members of the Body of Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we strive to love the brethren and sistren as fellow members of the Body. In bold contradiction of Kreeft’s citation, Mother Teresa, stated that when she looked at Hindus and Muslims, not just Catholics, she saw Christ! Mother Teresa advanced Catholic Universalism, not exceptionalism as Kreeft attempts to propagate here.

Many topics are touched upon in this chapter that we have examined previously. Catholicism teaches that individuals (usually as infants) are incorporated into the church via baptismal regeneration followed by continuing participation in the sacraments to receive grace so as to obey the Ten Commandments and perform acts of charity in order to merit salvation at the moment of death. Continuing obedience and good works (progressive sanctification) are the basis of the Catholic salvation system, but the RCC puts the cart before the horse. Trusting in Christ as Savior by faith alone and being reborn spiritually in Christ comes first, then comes following the Lord in obedience.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

We ex-Catholics know firsthand that Catholics generally do not practice what Kreeft describes above. Catholic church history and contemporary news headlines are rife (an understatement) with examples of Catholics, including “saints,” popes, prelates, priests, and nuns, scandalously mistreating and abusing fellow-Catholics and non-Catholics.

Kreeft derides the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone as the most “blasphemous insult” and “heresy” in recorded history. Yes, he did. I actually appreciate Kreeft’s honesty, candor, and forthrightness here for those ecumenical-leaning evangelicals who misguidedly and ignorantly declare, “Close enough,” in regards to the Roman Catholic church and its false gospel of salvation by sacramental pseudo-grace and merit.

Next week: Claim #27: I am a Catholic because Catholics still do metaphysics

14 thoughts on “Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #26

  1. Typical audacity shown by Kreeft. So, for Protestants it’s all about legalism, and that’s it? Ah, no need fretting about this, Kreeft is so deeply misguided, it’s not worth commenting on. Thanks again, Tom, for another insightful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David! Yup, Kreeft sadly has no clue regarding the genuine Gospel. I don’t know why he’s getting so worked up because the RCC officially teaches that all religions are legitimate pathways to God as long as the adherents are “sincere” and “good.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Re: faith alone as the most blasphemous insult and heresy

    But proclaiming that Allah is the same God is not blasphemous?

    Vatican II: But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Moslems, these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day. Nor is God Himself remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25–28), and since the Saviour wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4). Those who, who through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.Vatican Council II The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1980), Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium II:16, p. 367.

    Even though Allah is clearly and enemy of Christ:

    Revelation 19:16
    On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of Lords.

    Sahih al-Bukhari
    Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 224
    Narrated Abu Huraira:

    Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The most awful name in Allah’s sight on the Day of Resurrection, will be (that of) a man calling himself Malik Al-Amlak (the king of kings).

    The deluded soul Peter Kreeft justifies the wicked and condemns the righteous, thus he is an abomination to the Lord (Prov 17:15)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, SB! Yes, it’s incongruous for Kreeft to condemn the genuine Gospel as blasphemous and heretical when the RCC has declared Islam and all other religions are legitimate pathways to God.

      Like

  3. Another cringe chapter from Kreeft. Seeing Kreeft citing Mother Teresa favorably I wonder if Kreeft too advanced Catholic Universalism. How can a true Evangelical reading this think Rome is the same thing as Biblical Christianity? Good expose Tom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jimmy! It’s really strange reading Kreeft pushing Catholic exceptionalism in this book knowing he’s also fully on board with Catholic Universalism. One of these days I have to read his book, “Ecumenical Jihad.”

      Yup, I wish every Rome-friendly, ecumenical-leaning evangelical could read this chapter in which Kreeft takes the gloves off and blatantly disparages the genuine Gospel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, what a title. So incongruous. He touts Catholic exceptionalism in this “40 Reasons I Am a Catholic” book while rallying his religious “brethren” in the “Ecumenical Jihad” book. I looked up “Ecumenical Jihad” at Amazon and I saw Chuck Colson and J.I. Packer lent their very favorable endorsements. No surprise there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: Colson and Packer

        Vladimir Lenin called naïve Western sympathizers, “Polezni durak,” useful idiots, which applies to those two in regards to Rome.

        Liked by 1 person

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