Thursday, August 25, 2005

Karl Keating's hissy-fit

Karl Keating is having a hissy-fit over something that John MacArthur recently said:

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In a June letter to his ministry's supporters, MacArthur wrote about John Paul II and the "amazing release of emotion" that accompanied his death. "From politicians and media pundits to Hollywood celebrities and everyday citizens, everyone had praise for John Paul II, his gentle ways and his social and political achievements as a world leader and statesman. I can understand that.

"What I cannot understand," continued MacArthur, "is the response of some Evangelicals to what matters most about the pope: his beliefs about God and the gospel. ... Influential leaders embraced the deceased pope as a brother in Christ and the Catholic church as just another Christian denomination. ...

"During the Reformation, countless men and women died rather than deny the biblical truths of salvation. Countless others today are giving their lives as missionaries to people lost in the darkness and guilt of Catholicism."

MacArthur goes on to write about the "damning error" that is Catholicism and notes that he has released a new 90-minute lecture called "Unmasking the Pope and the Catholic System." He says that "the church I pastor is loaded with people who were saved out of the Catholic church. ... A longtime Grace to You board member and dear friend of mine is a former Catholic. He speaks with great emotion about the bondage he and his wife lived under."

http://www.catholic.com/newsletters/kke_050823.asp

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And the problem with that is what, exactly? Sounds fine to me.

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How many times have we heard these claims before? "The Catholic Church is not really Christian." "Catholics believe you 'earn' your salvation through good works." "Catholicism is based on guilt, not truth." "People are in 'bondage' to Catholicism--and we need to save them."

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Actually, this is not something we hear that often anymore. Kudos to MacArthur for standing firm in a wobbly world.

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Each Sunday 7,000 people attend MacArthur's church. This is what he tells them about an institution that was around for nineteen centuries before he was born and that is now headed by a man who shows not a hint of MacArthur's arrogance.

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Keating is now begging the question. Has his church been around for 1900 years? Why does the most popular Catholic apologist of our day peddle assertions in lieu of arguments?

And what was arrogant in MacArthur’s statement? Remember, Keating makes his living as a full-time Catholic apologist. Is he saying that it’s arrogant to render value-judgments about who’s right and who’s wrong?

***QUOTE***

It is MacArthur who claims a divine commission: "I do have a mandate from God to compare what others teach to the gospel of the Bible." He says, "'Does the pope teach the gospel?' is a valid question."

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And the problem with that is what, exactly? MacArthur is getting this from Scripture. If Keating disagrees, why not take issue with MacArthur’s exegesis or command of Catholic theology? Shouldn’t a professional apologist be able to compose an argument?

***QUOTE***

Rosalind Moss left John MacArthur's church because she realized that, yes, the pope really does teach the gospel--and that John MacArthur does not.

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Once again, the supporting argument is MIA.

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The Grace to You ministry's letterhead has this slogan at the bottom: "The Bible Teaching of John MacArthur." Benedict XVI is more modest in his claims. His letterhead does not have at the bottom "The Bible Teaching of Benedict XVI" because the Pope is not trying to push his own agenda.

***END-QUOTE***

More modest? MacArthur calls himself a Bible-teacher whereas Benedict XVI calls himself the Holy Father, Vicar of Christ, Successor of St. Peter—Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Summus Pontifex, Pontifex Maximus, &c.

These are all official papal titles. Yes, modest to a fault.

I have no particular opinion on the moral character of the present pontiff. For all I know, he may be a very humble man in private. The fact, though, that he has chosen to seek diplomatic immunity to shield himself from official complicity in the Catholic sex scandal does not inspire my confidence in his personal integrity.

***QUOTE***

Instead, he is the custodian of what has been passed down through the centuries. His job is not to refashion the Bible in his own image but to convey to us what each of his predecessors conveyed to the people of their time.

***END-QUOTE***

Once again, no argument is offered—just a self-serving claim. Where is the case for Catholicism?

***QUOTE***

Grace to You is built around one man. It may have many employees, but when John MacArthur dies, his ministry will die. His flock will scatter, taking with them the silly prejudices he has imbued them with.

When Benedict XVI dies there will be another pope to succeed him, and another, and another, until the end of time.

***END-QUOTE***

There may be some truth to this comparison, but in what direction is the comparison invidious?

What we have here is the difference between ascribed status and achieved status. Men like MacArthur and James Kennedy built their ministries from the ground up. They had no preexisting constituency. Folks follow them for what they say and do, not for what they are.

By contrast, the only reason that folks follow the Pope is because he’s the Pope. Who was reading the Bishop of Krakow before he became Pope? Who was reading the Bishop of Freising before he became the Prefect?

When looking for intellectual leadership, the intelligentsia was looking to the likes of Rahner, Brown, von Balthasar, and Maritain, and not their local bishop.

It is not for any intrinsic intellectual merit, but mere institutional standing that folks study what the Pope has to say. Like an incompetent five-star general, folks follow a Pope, however mediocre or corrupt, simply because he’s the Pope.

19 comments:

  1. You forgot "alter Christus", which is the role every Catholic priest assumes at any mass they perform. I wonder what people would say about Dr. MacArthur if he called himself "alter Christus"? Would it be arrogant?

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  2. And what would people say about Dr. MacArthur if he requested legal immunity from prosecution for covering for male subordinates seducing underage teenage boys?

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  3. Well argued, Steve.

    Keating offers hyperbole versus reasoning, nothing more. We aren't even offered the pro forma references to Matthew 16:18.

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  4. According to the RC Church, protestants don't even have churches, they have "ecclesial communities." This isn't something protestants should be offended about, I guess.

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  5. And, by the way, have you ever noticed that Catholic "apologists" never get too worked up over liberal protestants like Rowan Williams or the leftists who head the World Lutheran Federation that Rome dialogues with?

    The pope could meet 100 liberal pro-abortion protestants and praise them as his "brothers and sisters." That wouldn't bother the likes of Keating. It's only folks like MacArthur who offer some "competition" to Rome that gets Keating riled up.

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  6. Catholic's elevate Mary, the apostle's (Peter) the Pope and who knows who else, to a level of diety. The devil doesn't care who or what you worship, even if your worship is directed toward a character from the Bible. Worship anything, but the one true and living Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Of course the RC Church has lasted for centuries, who does the Bible say is the God of this world?

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  7. Hello, just visited your bible blog, I also have a bible related website, it's about some books which is helpful to understand the God's Words

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  8. "Remember, Keating makes his living as a full-time Catholic apologist."

    Yeah, Karl sure doesn't forget to pay himself with those contributions that people send to Catholic Answers. As you can see from the following tax return, the first $5,000 a week they receive goes right into Karl's pocket. The same can be said for his business partner, Philip Lenahan. Keating and Lenahan are, incidentally, the only two members on Catholic Answers Board of Directors. It must be nice to set your own salary when others are paying that salary.

    Click Here To See Catholic Answers' Latest Tax Return

    Incidentally, why is Karl, an author and a lawyer, paying a ghost writer $65,000 a year to write appeal letters for him?

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. "Hissy fit"? What level of civility and decorum are we aiming to achieve here? Relavant to this discussion are Steve Hays' critique of Philip Blosser's critique of sola scriptura, "By Scripture Alone," and Blosser's rebuttal, "Sola Scriptura revisited: a reply to Steve Hays (in 95 antitheses)."

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  11. Emmanuel Okorie9/27/2007 10:32 AM

    It is a free world, they say. Any body can attribute any title or assume any office to himself. In our world of today, nobody questions that because he/she is free. There will always be followers who want to hear what they want, to hear what appeals to them not necessary what is pleasing to God, becuase no one cares anymore. If the constitutions of various governments of the world protect people from being queried about their claims, why should I query such fellows? One thing I know is that definetely we shall answer for whatever we do, say or claim or assume before God. Dr. MacArthur, the priests, the Pope and anyone who falls into the category are no exceptions. But let your conscience judge whether you are deceiving people to make a living and sending them to hell or not.

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  12. Have you read Karl Keating's books? He does happen to give his arguments and reasons. Only if you can logically argue against them do you have grounds to do so.

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  13. North American Christianity has become so uniquely distinct from the rest of the world. What other culture has so many christian denominations at their disposal?
    I work in a protestant church. There are a lot of angry catholics there whom blame the church for their anger. I'm quick to point out that the sin of one man doesn't represent the doctrine of the church. They need to separate the two. Unfortunately protestants love catholic bashing. They love to be angry and hateful towards catholics. They love to pull the trigger on Mary worship and Saint worship without knowing the concrete facts. As a protestant, I have come to understand these allegations as simply untrue. Then I started reading my own history. Henry VIII, reformation and the act of supremacy. Wow!
    Talk about the sins of the protestant church. How about what the presbyterians were doing in Scotland?
    We don't understand catholicism because we chose not to. We chose to be aversive and ignorant. That is the north american way.
    I recommend Dr. Scott Hahn to everyone. A good read!!

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  14. Keating is spot on in all his facts, criticisms, and arguments. He is MORE than justified in "throwing a hissy fit." You deluded Protestants are in denial. It is that simple. Moreover, depending upon the denomination - you have hundreds of different sects which all bicker and disagree with each other as to doctrine - [Luther and Calvin both excommunicated each other - what a joke] you have a most inadequate - and I am putting that kindly - comprehension of the Scriptures and even worse - an abysmal understanding of the history of the Apostolic Church.

    The very word Reformation is a misnomer. Protestantism 'reformed' NOTHING. Reformation occurs from within, and whatever was wrong within the Church at the time was addressed and corrected at the Council of Trent. In fact, Protestantism is nothing more than rebellion against the Church and its founder - Jesus Christ - who handed the keys of authority to Peter and his successors.

    And don't be so quick to accuse Catholic priests of buggery - I have plenty of cases assembled in my own files where Protestant ministers have been charged and convicted for the same vile offence.

    People who live in glass houses ----that sort of thing.

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  15. Natalia left an excellent, well written comment.

    It is very tragic to see people still engaging in Catholic bashing. I can just as easily (and immaturely) lay into Protestants for Martin Luther's viciously anti-Jewish hatred (very Christ-like stuff) or his instigation of the Peasant's War.

    Like it or not, this is the guy you hail as a great theologian. But I do not indict Protestants for his errors.

    If anyone is arrogent, it is not an orthodox Catholic. We do not have the arrogance of many in, as Natalia puts it, North American Protestantism, to pronounce certainty of going to Heaven. When we die, it is up to God whether we are let into Heaven or sent to hell.

    We also do not say that non-Christians are definitely going to hell. We, as Catholics, believe that there is a concept of 'invincible ignorance' and that Baptism can, in limited circumstances, be granted by desire.

    Those accusing the Church of molestation, all I can say is read the book Pedophiles and Priests by Philip Jenkins, an Episcopalian. He goes through, in statistical form, the reality that the problem, while terrible, is no greater than in Protestant sects.

    Mr. Keating's apology method is the antithesis to hyperbole. Like the Church or not (and thus his arguments), he very logically argues his case. Emotion (hyperbole) is getting crowds riled up repeating the same five word sentence while holding up Catholic teaching literature in a disrespectful manner, as if our Tradition were some ebola monkey. I have personally seen Baptists do this and it is VERY offensive.

    It has been the Church that has worked very hard to pursue echumenism. Please remember that we are trying very hard to strengthen Christ's visible Church through honest and respectful dialogue.

    When Protestant preachers call our leader, the sucessor of St. Peter, terrible names, it is a grave offense and we therefore have a right to respond. And that response is not a hissy fit.

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  16. http://www.sangambayard-c-m.com

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  17. With All do respect to catholics. I am an ex catholic who went to catholic grammar school and Highschool. It's borderline hysterical to hear catholics say Protestants have wrong understanding of the Bible or that there interpretation of it is twisted. This is funny because if you go into any catholic church anywhere you cannot find one bible in any pue ever. Its also funny because protestants use scripture as thier authority and have thorough bible studies in Church every Sunday as where catholics do not. As a catholic we never had bible studies and were never even encouraged to study it. For a Catholic to say that protestants missinterpret the bible thats like looking at a red car and someone comes over and tells you its blue even though you know its red. And then he says to you, well, if you look at it in a different light it is and you reply no its red . If you paint than maybe it will be blue. The blue car guy is the catholic church. When I began to question Romes catechism and compare it to the Bible many things started to disturb me about catholicism. No one pushed me or brainwashed me . It was the comparison to the Scriptures that woke me up. I only hope catholics can start doing what I did so they can break free of these faulty traditions.

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  18. If you wanna see Karl keating really struggle in a debate and on the ropes getting frustrated watch him debate Dave Hunt. Hunt really got Him angry and not on purpose.

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  19. how many idols (saints as they term them) does the catholic church have again, I forget the hundreds they have.

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