Hey! Randy

By the Authority of a Horse of the Wrong Color

Posted by heyrandy on September 24, 2010

Catholicism and Fundamentalism The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, 1988, 343 pg.

I was told that the claims of the Roman Catholic Church to be the only legitimate successor to primitive Christianity is like a horse that changes color after it has left the barn. The trail leads to the horse, but the black horse that left the barn is not the white horse we find. So it is with the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever the legitimacy of its claims to be the true successor to the apostles, it does not resemble what we find in the Bible. Keating attempts to prove otherwise.

Keating quotes numerous critics of the Roman church. There are a lot. This is to be expected. Any organization with the size and worldwide presence of the Roman Catholic Church will have an abundance of critics. Some of these critics are former priests, but most of those Keating uses are Protestants who are writing to expose the Church’s deviation from the Bible. Hence the subtitle of the book. Keating has an easy time with some of these critics. It is always easy to overturn arguments that misstated what they are trying to criticize.

Keating real struggle comes in defending his Church’s teachings by using only Scripture. The author’s core principle is that the Church is infallible in its official pronouncement of doctrine and morals. Keating advocates a dual standard of truth: the Bible and an infallible church. It does not work. This is what started the Reformation. The points of contention have not changed.

Keating surveys the major Church teaching and offers a rebuttal to those who raise biblical objections. Keating tries to use scripture to make his case, but his interpretations are often forced. He claims that Peter was ordained the first Pope by Christ when Jesus spoke in Mt. 16 about Peter being a rock and that Christ would build his church upon this rock. Keating acknowledges that the Greek words used of Peter and of the rock upon which Christ would build His church are different in gender and meaning, but he tries to translate the Greek backwards into Aramaic because “the Aramaic original” does not have such a difference. That Aramaic was commonly spoken in New Testament era Palestine is not in dispute. It is the idea of Aramaic originals that is the problem with Keating solution. What Aramaic originals? There is no evidence for them. There has been speculation about them, but there is no evidence for them.

Keating justifies the placing of the Bible on the Index of Forbidden Books by saying it was because heretics were using it. No real Bible was placed on the Index (p. 91), only corrupt versions. Under those criteria the Bible should still be there. Where did the Church get the authority to forbid the Bible? Satan used the Bible against Christ (Mt. 4:6); does this mean that the Old Testament should not have been allowed in synagogues of that day? Keating doesn’t say.

Once the presupposition of an infallible church is granted the boundaries are eliminated. Anything can now be declared Truth.

Keating book is worthwhile because it gives us a summary of Catholic teaching. It is good to get the facts. When writing about something, first understand it. Keating also points out that some of the language used by the anti-Catholics is harsh. He is correct: tone it down. He is also right that many critics who insist on using only the Bible as the basis for Christianity are guilty of not understanding the Book. He notes that there is extensive ignorance of the Bible in both Protestant and Catholic churches. They have an excuse, we don’t. Fix this.

The horse is still the wrong color. Keating does nothing to change this fundamental issue. Until this happens, I will be riding the horse of the Biblical color.

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