Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #27

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

Kreeft begins this chapter by defining metaphysics as the “division of philosophy that deals with being – all being, being as such. A popular name for it is ‘worldview.’ It means simply thinking about what is, and the real, essential nature of what is” (p. 91). Catholic metaphysics includes the belief that God confers grace through nature. Examples presented by Kreeft include 1) the alleged transubstantiation of bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ at the mass, 2) the assertion that God’s grace is conferred ex opere operato (Latin: “from the work performed”) via the Catholic sacraments, and 3) the Catholic doctrine of justification, which propagates the belief in the intrinsic, subjective, progressive sanctification of a Catholic unto holiness and righteousness as opposed to the Protestant doctrine of forensic righteousness – the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to the believer at the moment they accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

Response

The two foundational constructs of Roman Catholicism are 1) the Christ-Church Interconnection, whereby the Catholic church presents itself as the prolongation of the incarnation of Christ, and 2) the Nature-Grace Interdependence, whereby the RCC claims the actual conference of divine grace through nature, e.g., priests, water (baptism), oil (confirmation, last rites), laying of hands (ordination), bread (Jesus wafer), pilgrimage sites (healing), etc. In this chapter, Kreeft propagates and defends the latter construct.

Although Kreeft claims Catholic metaphysics, the reliance on the natural/physical/material, is the Biblical view, the New Testament teaches the opposite.

“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

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24

The physical/material plays no part in salvation and genuine spirituality.

Catholics put all of their trust in their institutional church with its priests, traditions, and sacraments (natural/physical/material) and are blind to true spirituality and the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Kreeft derides evangelical Protestantism and the genuine Gospel of grace again and again in this chapter. Why then are evangelicals so deferential when it comes to Roman Catholicism and its false gospel? Kreeft boasts about Catholicism’s Nature-Grace Interdependence construct and chides Protestants for their tactile-less religion, when the RCC’s construct actually marks it as an apostate church.

For more on the Catholic church’s Nature-Grace Interdependence, see my reviews of evangelical theologian Gregg Allison’s two excellent books, “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” and “40 Questions About Roman Catholicism.”

Next week: Claim #28: I am a Catholic because the Catholic Church alone in the world today is hard with courage in a world grown soft with self-indulgence, consumerist and sexual.

13 thoughts on “Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #27

    1. Thanks, David! Yup, RC-ism is so blatantly anti-Scriptural, putting all of the emphasis on the physical/material when it’s all about faith (in Christ as Savior) and the spiritual.

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  1. THis is rather a silly reason to be Catholic; Pagan Greeks contributed and have done metaphysics; does that mean one should be Pagan? ALso I think there are some philosophically minded who became a Romanist because of Catholic engagement with natural law and natrual theology with their philosophy; they eat it all up or something…there’s some nasty fights on different social media forum the past three months between Thomists and Presuppositionalists…sadly Thomists have become quite ecumenical crossing into Lutheran and Reformed camps…

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    1. Theologian Gregg Allison made an excellent contribution to the examination of RC-ism by positing the Christ-Church interconnection and Nature-Grace interdependence constructs as the foundation of Catholicism. RC metaphysics is all about the physical/natural/material (the institution and its rituals) conferring grace and redeeming souls. It wasn’t that Allison was proposing anything new, but his two constructs succinctly and perfectly summarized what Catholicism is all about. It’s hard to express the Catholic mindset to evangelicals, but Catholic “faith” is ALL about the material (the church building, statues, priest, liturgy, candles, liturgy, Jesus wafer, etc.). Yes, Catholic metaphysics is very dependent on Aristotelian philosophy. As Catholic school children, we were told by the nuns that priests studied Aristotle and Aquinas more than the Bible.

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      1. “we were told by the nuns that priests studied Aristotle and Aquinas more than the Bible.” Wow that sounds like some apologists I know that is Catholic friendly or becoming Catholics…and have become catholics =(

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  2. “Kreeft derides evangelical Protestantism and the genuine Gospel of grace again and again in this chapter. Why then are evangelicals so deferential when it comes to Roman Catholicism and its false gospel?” Isn’t that always the way it goes? Why is that? Sickening.

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    1. Yup, Kreeft has no compunctions about deriding the genuine Gospel and evangelicals throughout this book, but Heaven forbid an evangelical say anything “negative” about the RCC. As just one example, the evangelical community here at WordPress generally does not want to read any criticism of RC-ism. Too negative and divisive. Discernment is fading quickly.

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  3. I believe the “conference of divine nature” is evident in many Catholic practices – like the many shrines that are erected and believed to have divine power. When I went to the shrine of Fatima as a youth I couldn’t believe my eyes.
    But that whole realm belongs in witchcraft. Satan aims to draw man into idolatry and nature worship. Covens are very into nature and worshipping the elements.
    Good post Tom, I know you’re stirring hearts. May the Lord raise up a controversy in the heart of many Catholics.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth! Yup, the alleged conference of divine grace through nature/the physical/the material is a foundational construct of Roman Catholicism. The early-RCC adopted this theology from its pagan predecessors, as you refer to. It’s a total corruption of Christianity meant to appeal to the physical senses. I imagine early-Christianity was initially tempted to go this route and made concession after concession in an attempt to appeal to the former pagans and to make religion “understandable” (visual, tactile, carnal) to the uneducated masses.

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