Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #19

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 #19: I am a Catholic because of what the Bible tells me

In this chapter, Kreeft argues that the Bible validates the Roman Catholic church and vice versa. Beginning with the presupposition that all “genuine” Christians believe the New Testament is infallible, Kreeft presents three premises:

  1. The RCC was both the efficient cause (the author) and the formal cause (the definer) of the New Testament.
  2. No effect can be greater than its cause.
  3. The RCC is either fallible or infallible.

From these three premises, Kreeft makes the argument that A) because the RCC is the author and definer of the infallible New Testament, then B) the RCC must itself be infallible.

Kreeft then does a U-Turn and qualifies the Bible’s infallibility, saying it’s “infallible in its religious teachings, but not in its grammar or science or math” (p. 67). Likewise, he states, the RCC “is fallible in everything except her authoritative religious dogmas.” Kreeft presents the RCC’s bloody Inquisition and its opposition to Galileo’s theory of heliocentrism as examples of blunders committed outside of the church’s infallible, ex cathedra, dogmatic teaching authority.

Response

Premise #1 of Kreeft’s argument is patently false. The RCC is not the efficient cause (the author) nor the formal cause (the definer) of the New Testament. The writers of the New Testament were not Roman Catholics. After the early Christian church was legalized and adopted as the official state religion, it became increasingly institutionalized, patterning itself after the Roman imperial model, and gradually devolved into Roman Catholicism. Church councils did not canonize Scripture, but merely endorsed what the Holy Spirit had already made evident. The 39 books of the Hebrew Old Testament were Scripture without benefit of any church council, a fact that Catholic apologists avoid.

Kreeft then pulls the rug out from beneath his own argument by parroting the dichotomous, modern RC view that the Bible is both infallible and fallible. Kreeft asserts that the Bible is full of “contradictions and errors” (p. 67), so for him and the RCC to continue to claim that the Bible is “infallible” is itself a glaring contradiction. In the four gospels, Jesus Christ referred to numerous Old Testament events as factual that most of today’s RC theologians and prelates dismiss as pre-scientific fables.

Catholic apologists self-servingly categorize the numerous sinister historical actions of the church (the Crusades, the Inquisition, persecution of Protestants, forced baptisms, selling of indulgences, systematic anti-Semitism, systematic cover-up of priest sexual abuse, the absolute corruption of numerous popes and prelates, the competing factions of the Great Western Schism, etc.) as being outside the boundaries of ex cathedra church dogma. Yet all of these actions involved “faith and morals,” the necessary condition of ex cathedra teaching. The RCC claims divine, infallible teaching authority, yet is forced to disavow much of its history, as Kreeft does here, as the fallible, unauthorized whimsy of popes and prelates.

Next week: Claim #20: I am a Catholic because of my friends and my family – my spiritual family

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #18

Today, we continue our weekly series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018). Thanks for joining me.

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Claim #18: I am a Catholic because of the angels, and their invisible and anonymous mediation

In this chapter, Kreeft expresses his gratitude for his guardian angel, whom he speculates played a major role in his “conversion” to Roman Catholicism, “as well as in many other good things that..happened in (his) life” (p. 63). Kreeft then expresses his pity for Protestants because they’re not “at home” with angels the way Catholics are.

Response

Angels are powerful spiritual beings referenced in both the Old and New Testaments. Angels (from the Greek: angelos: “messenger”) serve as messengers and agents of God. The Catholic church has created an extensive angelology based upon extra-biblical myths, legends, and speculation. Catholicism’s tradition of a personal guardian angel for every individual is an extrapolation of Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” But does that verse actually teach a personal guardian angel for every individual as Kreeft and RC-ism claim? No, it does not. See the article below for an excellent exegesis of Matthew 18:10. As a Catholic grammar school student in the 1960s, the nuns taught us quite a bit about our alleged guardian angels, how they actively helped and protected us. This took the focus off of God in much the same way as Catholicism’s veneration/worship of Mary. God’s angels would certainly want our focus to be on God, not on them.

Down through the centuries, Catholic artists portrayed angels as fanciful, winged beings, often with little or no clothing. Angel art was used as a sanctioned opportunity to present nude or semi-nude figures to pruriently curious viewers. See the works of “devout” French-Catholic painter, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), as just one example.

Got Questions: Do we have guardian angels?
https://www.gotquestions.org/guardian-angels.html

Next week: Claim #19: I am a Catholic because of what the Bible tells me

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

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 #17: I am a Catholic because of my mother

The reader might mistakenly assume from the title of this chapter that Kreeft is going to give credit to his Dutch Reformed mother for his initial “conversion” to Roman Catholicism and his continuation as a member. Such is not the case. By “mother,” Kreeft is referring to Mary, who Catholics venerate/worship as their spiritual mother. He writes, “(Mary) loves me and watches over me as any good mother does her child” (p. 59). Kreeft cites John 19:27, “Behold, your mother!,” which is Roman Catholicism’s primary scriptural “proof-text” for Mary’s exalted status as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix.* Kreeft continues by citing Mary’s humble obedience, as recorded in the initial passages of Luke, as the example for all Catholics. He also claims the Roman church shares with Mary (or rather, is endowed by Mary with) the role of spiritual mother as “Mother Church.”

Response

The mother goddess was one of the most exalted deities in Greek, Roman, and Mesopotamian pagan religions as the patron of fertility and motherly nurture. The increasingly institutionalized early Christian church regrettably adapted many pagan beliefs and practices, including worship of the mother goddess. The Collyridian sect introduced Marian veneration/worship into the church in the 4th Century, and Marian devotion quickly spread (see “The Virgin” (1976) by noted historian, Geoffrey Ashe). Marian devotees extrapolated from John 19:27 and a few other Bible passages a complex Mariology, which semi-deifies Mary and exalts her as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. Catholics ascribe to Mary the offices held solely by Jesus Christ as Mediator and Redeemer. Mary plays a large/co-preeminent role in Catholic soteriology (salvation system) as many Catholics pray to Mary, futilely seeking her assistance, as they attempt to merit Heaven.

In Scripture, Mary is an example of humble obedience to the Lord and she would be horrified by Rome’s blasphemous semi-deification of her. The Holy Spirit included two passages in Scripture that specifically counter the very type of veneration/worship that Catholicism accords to Mary:

“As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’” – Luke 11:27-28.

“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” – Matthew 12:46-50

When I read the New Testament for the first time as a Roman Catholic, I was absolutely shocked to see that Mary, with her co-preeminent status in RC theology, is not mentioned at all after Acts 1:14! If Mary is the all-important “Mediatrix of all graces” and “Co-Redemptrix” with Christ as Rome claims, then why didn’t Paul and the other apostles, as guided by the Holy Spirit, mention her at all in their epistles? Marian devotion is a prime example of Catholic “sacred tradition” subverting and supplanting God’s Word. The Roman Catholic church’s exaltation and veneration/worship of Mary is a distinguishing heretical mark of its total apostasy.

*Although the RCC has not officially defined the dogma of Mary as Co-Redemptrix in deference to ecumenism, the doctrine is prevalent throughout Catholicism. Pope John Paul II publicly referred to Mary as Co-Redemptrix at least six times (see here).

Next week: Claim #18: I am a Catholic because of the angels, and their invisible and anonymous mediation

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #16

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 #16: I am a Catholic because gratitude is a necessary precondition of all religion

Kreeft begins this chapter by telling the story of a Jesuit priest who journeyed to Tibet and visited with Buddhist monks. When the question, “What is the first requirement for any religion at all?,” was posed to the Jesuit and four Buddhist monks, all answered that gratitude for the things that constitute life is the first requirement of religion. The Jesuit then asked the Buddhist monks WHO they were grateful to? Since Buddhists do not believe in God, they could not answer. The Jesuit then condescendingly stated that he and his fellow Catholics knew who they were grateful to. Kreeft continues by asserting “it would be insanely ungrateful for me to refuse the incredible gift Christ left us; His own body, by which He redeems the world – on the Cross, in the Church, and in the Eucharist” (p. 56).

Response

Asserting that gratitude is the necessary precondition of all religion – as all works religionists do – is putting the cart before the horse. The necessary precondition of the only genuine religion – Bible Christianity – is for a person to understand their sinful depraved state before a Holy God and their absolute need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The helpless sinner must then accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

The unsaved – religious and non-religious – enjoy God’s common grace blessings and may have a nebulous sense of gratitude, but they must repent/turn to Christ to settle their overriding sin problem. Kreeft refers to the Catholic salvation system – the church and its sacraments – as a “gift.” That is Catholic double-speak. Roman Catholics are taught they must ultimately merit their salvation by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. Catholicism’s salvation system is NOT a gift, but an impossibly steep legalistic religious treadmill.

It’s revealing that Roman Catholics, Buddhists, and all other works-righteousness religionists would cite gratitude as THE necessary precondition of all religion, as Kreeft points out in this chapter. Works-righteousness religionists believe they are already in a relatively good spiritual state that they can improve upon through their merits. In contrast, genuine Christians came to the realization, through God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that they were depraved sinners without one, single plea and on their way to judgement and they trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Jesus Christ Himself contrasted the mindsets of the grateful religious self-righteous person with the desperate sinner seeking the Savior in His parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Next week: Claim #17: I am a Catholic because of my mother

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #15

Today, we continue our weekly series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018). Thanks for joining me.

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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”

The “one thing” Kreeft is referring to above is his impending death. He rejects atheism as implausible and so asks himself if he would he rather face God after death without Christ or with Christ as Mediator and Savior? He chooses the latter and then asks if he would rather meet God as a Protestant Christian with a deficient Christianity or as a Roman Catholic Christian, allegedly already incorporated into the Body of Christ, the RC church, via the RCC’s sacraments. He affirms the later and hopes the reader will agree.

Response

While Kreeft refers to Jesus Christ as Mediator and Savior, the Roman Catholic church usurps Christ’s offices by presenting its priests as in persona Christi (Latin: “in the place of Christ”) who mediate on behalf of Catholic souls through the administration of the church’s sacraments. The RCC teaches souls are born-again when they are baptized and must continue to receive the sacraments in order to successfully obey the Ten Commandments so as to hopefully merit Heaven. Catholics are not “in Christ” as Kreeft claims, because they have not trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, but are instead relying on the RCC’s sacraments and their ability to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!). Kreeft and fellow Catholics are still in their sins and will remain in their sins unless they turn from their church’s sacramental and merit-based salvation system and accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

Implied in Kreeft’s remarks is the Roman Catholic belief that all religionists – Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, etc., and even atheists – can also merit Heaven if they practice their religion sincerely, follow their conscience, and are “good.” That’s Universalism, not Christianity. As in previous chapters, Kreeft takes the opportunity once again to denigrate Protestantism, which is quite ironic because many misguided evangelical apologists are deferential when it comes to Catholicism.

Next week: Claim #16: I am a Catholic because gratitude is a necessary precondition of all religion

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”

Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity: Same Words, Different Worlds

Same Words, Different Worlds: Do Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Believe the Same Gospel?
By Leonardo De Chirico
Inter-Varsity Press, 2021, 145 pp.

5 Stars

One week after receiving, reading, and reviewing Gregg Allison’s excellent new book, “40 Questions About Roman Catholicism,” came Leonardo De Chirico’s “Same Words, Different Worlds” in the mailbox.

I have said many, many times over the years that evangelicals need to be very, very cautious when it comes to Roman Catholicism. Catholics use many of the same terms as evangelicals – grace, faith, Savior, gospel, etc. – but what they mean by those terms is something entirely different from Gospel Christians. As just one example, when evangelicals speak about their “faith,” they’re generally referring to their belief and trust in God, encompassing their initial salvation in Christ Jesus and their continuing walk with Him. When Catholics refer to “faith” they’re largely referring to their trust in their institutional church and its sacramental salvation system to assist them in the possibility of meriting their salvation. In this book, De Chirico, one of evangelicalism’s most knowledgeable scholars on Roman Catholicism, fleshes out this idea of “same words, different worlds” much better than I could.

Throughout the book, De Chirico cite’s Allison’s hypotheses regarding Roman Catholicism’s two fundamental theological constructs, the nature-grace interdependence, whereby the RCC claims God uses nature/physical/material to confer grace (e.g., priests, water, oil, incantations, etc.) and the Christ-Church interconnection, whereby the RCC claims that it is the prolongation of the incarnation of Christ.

De Chirico examines both Catholic doctrine and church history to demonstrate that the RCC means something quite different from Gospel Christianity when it uses various Biblical terms. As the author points out, many unwary evangelicals have been duped into believing the common parlance represents shared beliefs. De Chirico comments on the current state of the RCC with pope Francis creating great confusion with his doctrine-bending, pragmatic progressivism.

This is such a good book, folks; a very accessible counterbalance to Allison’s more academic, theologically-focused book. I can’t recommend “Same Words, Different Worlds” highly enough. Order from Amazon here.

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

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 # 13: I am a Catholic because I want the strongest reason to believe the Bible

In this chapter, Kreeft claims the Catholic church is superior to the Bible because:

  1. The RCC wrote the Bible and defined it (canonized particular books).
  2. Jesus Christ endowed the RCC with infallible teaching authority that supercedes the Bible, because the RCC is needed to interpret the Bible correctly. The Protestant tenet of Sola scriptura has resulted in twenty thousand heretical Protestant denominations.
  3. “It is the Bible that calls not itself but the Church ‘the pillar and bulwark of the truth’ (1 Tim. 3:15).”
  4. The RCC not the Bible defined the dogmas of the Trinity and Purgatory.

Response

  1. The Holy Spirit, not the Roman Catholic church, gave us the Bible. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The entire Old Testament was written before the church age. Regarding the New Testament, conciliar canonization rubber stamped what was already in place.
  2. Untethered from biblical authority, the RCC’s magisterium (teaching authority) has introduced thousands of “sacred traditions” that are un-biblical or even anti-biblical. Kreeft repeats the canard of 20,000 Protestant denominations in his argument that Sola scriptura has wrought “chaos.” Actually, the RCC’s spurious “sacred traditions” have wrought spiritual chaos. Gospel Christianity obeys the Bible (Luke 22:24-27) by not adhering to a centralized ecclesiastical authority. Kreeft guilefully implies the RCC is unified in its beliefs while currently many conservative Catholics consider progressive pope Francis to be a heretic because of his doctrine-bending reforms.
  3. RC apologists extrapolate outrageous claims from 1 Tim. 3:15, when the verse simply intends that the church supports the truth of God’s Word (see here for a more thorough exposition). The church is clearly NOT the foundation of truth, as the RCC contends.
  4. Although the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible, the doctrine of the Trinity is taught explicitly in Scripture (see here). It’s interesting that Kreeft implicitly appeals to the conciliar definition of the Trinity at the pre-Roman Catholic First Council of Nicea in 325 AD. The Roman Emperor, Constantine, presided over that council rather than the bishop of Rome. Kreeft is absolutely correct that purgatory is not taught in Scripture (unless one appeals to the apocryphal 2 Maccabees 12:42–45). The RCC first officially defined Purgatory as a dogma at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274. Purgatory is an excellent example of the how the RCC subverted Scripture with its “sacred traditions.”

By placing itself above Scripture, the RCC has introduced a plethora of heretical, anti-Biblical doctrines.

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

40 Questions About Roman Catholicism

40 Questions About Roman Catholicism
By Gregg R. Allison
Kregal Academic, 2021, 326 pp.

5 Stars

Is Roman Catholicism Christian? Such a question is repugnant to many evangelicals in this era of undiscerning pluralism. But how well do you really know Roman Catholicism and what it teaches?

In his previous book, “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” (2014), evangelical theologian, Gregg Allison, posited that the Roman Catholic church operates according to two basic constructs:

  • The Nature-Grace Interdependence, which claims the concrete 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.
  • The Christ-Church Interconnection, whereby the Catholic church presents itself as the prolongation of the incarnation of Christ.

In this outstanding new book, published as part of Kregal Academic’s “40 Questions” series, Allison examines most of the major Roman Catholic doctrines and how they align within the Nature-Grace and Christ-Church constructs. The Catholic view on a particular doctrine is presented quite objectively followed by a Protestant/Biblical response. I would have loved to have listed the titles of all forty chapters to give you an idea of the scope of this examination, but I realize that few would have labored through it. Suffice to say Allison addresses the major doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity, most importantly, the opposing views on justification (infusion of sacramental grace and meritorious obedience vs. the imputation of Christ’s perfect righteousness) and salvation (by sacramental grace and merit vs. by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone). Merit was unabashedly taught as a component of Catholicism’s salvation system back when I was a young Catholic parochial school student, but the term has fallen out of favor within RC-ism because of its blatant anti-Gospel connotations and has been replaced with such sophistical phrases as “cooperating with grace” and “maintaining friendship with God,” but Allison accurately identifies merit as the bottom line of RC soteriology.

I wish there was more historical context in this book, but I realize Allison is writing from a theologian’s perspective rather than a historian’s. Allison’s tone is irenic almost to a fault, which comports with his view that confrontational evangelism is not effective. Praise God for a book such as this in 2021 when ecumenism with Rome is rampant within big tent evangelicalism. Much thanks to Dr. Allison and Kregal Academic Publishing. I’ve reviewed over 120 books on Roman Catholicism over the last six years and this one is easily one of the best. Be forewarned that this book is aimed towards academics, it’s not a breezy read for the beach.

“40 Questions About Roman Catholicism” can be ordered from Amazon here.

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #12

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.

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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).

  1. The divine and infallible teaching authority of the RCC, not sola scriptura.
  2. The need for charitable works in salvation, not sola fide.
  3. Grace perfects and utilizes nature (including free will), not sola gratia.
  4. The appeal to Peter and his successors, the bishops of Rome, as the final authority.
  5. Christianity as a social/ecclesiastical institution embodied in the RCC, not individuals.
  6. The historical “fact” of apostolic succession passed on sacramentally via ordination.
  7. “The literal, full, Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist” (p.42).
  8. The power and authority of priests to forgive sins.
  9. The existence of Purgatory
  10. The rightness of praying to saints
  11. The rightness of seeking Mary’s intercession and recognizing her as “the Second Eve,” “the Mother of God,” and “the Immaculate Conception.”
  12. The “fact” that all seven sacraments confer actual grace to the supplicant.
  13. The infallibility and authority of the Church to define which books are Scripture.

Response

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:

  1. Neither the pope or the notion of papal infallibility is found in the New Testament. The RCC didn’t define papal infallibility until 1870.
  2. The New Testament teaches salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
  3. 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.
  4. The New Testament does not teach the bishop of Rome is the final authority.
  5. The New Testament warns against ecclesiastical institutionalism (Matthew 20:20-28).
  6. The New Testament doesn’t refer to apostolic succession.
  7. The New Testament doesn’t teach a literal “transubstantiation” of the Jesus wafer.
  8. 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).
  9. The notions of purgatory and indulgences are not found in the New Testament.
  10. The New Testament does not teach praying to saints.
  11. The New Testament does not authorize worshiping/venerating Mary.
  12. The New Testament does not refer to the seven sacraments, although it does teach the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
  13. 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