"Catholicism and Fundamentalism" (Karl Keating) as a framework?

This is partially inspired by some of the recent threads, about generalizations of “protestants” etc, but ultimately I figured it was better to put it in a new thread.

The book “Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on Romanism by Bible Christians” (by Karl Keating) has many significant insights – for example, the fact that the most blantant, shrill attacks against Catholics are not necessarily the most serious attacks. (In a later post I’ll give a list of other such insights.)

What I’m wondering is, whether these ideas might be extended into a general framework for understanding, not just Catholic-Fundamentalist, but Catholic-protestant relations in general and especially attacks (in both directions) …

I own the book.

Me too. Great resource.

Great for those wishing to enter the CC.

Since not all Protestants are fundamentalists, nor even agree with the fundamentalists, I would say it would be limited.

Not really. I find all of the major, or at least common arguments against Catholicism in this book. It may not apply as much to the major liturgical Protestant faith traditions, but it covers the rest pretty well.

Do fundamentalists call themselves that? I refer myself to Evangelical but not fundamentalist, because when I think “fundamentalist” I think of a street preacher telling everyone they’re going to Hell, believes in creationism and thinks the Pope is the antichrist.

I read it last month. A few decades have passed since its publication. There are still virulent attacks against anything traditional-Catholic, including the Pope and morality. In some areas, anti-Catholic rhetoric has toned down. Some “cults” used to say the Catholic Church is, well, a nasty thing described in the Bible (and Book of Mormon). But now these same cults seem to be saying that references to “the church of the devil” refer to a set of spiritually evil people rather than a Christian literal-“church” denomination.

Could you explain what you mean about extending the suggestions in the book to specifically Catholic-Protestant (presumably not “fundamenalist” as described in the book) relations??? And also about “attacks (in both directions)”? If I am attacking Catholics, Protestants, fundamentalists, or anyone, in the way that the fundamentalists Keating describes are doing, I want to know, so I can stop it.

The problem with the “fundamentalists” as described in Keating’s book is
(1) they don’t know what they are talking about

  • in terms of history
  • in terms of Catholic doctrine
  • in terms of Catholic “tradition”;
    (2) like good newspaper and television news reporters, they repeat what they have heard without checking the facts;
    (3) their fail to see the mote in their own belief system’s eye - the lack of historical integrity, the inconsistency of doctrine, and the violation of tradition, in their own institutions.

There may be more than this, but this is what I recall without leafing through the book. And putting things in threes always seems so neat and proper, doesn’t it?

I think of them as believing in creationism, certainly. Thinking the pope is the antichrist is getting less and less common among fundamentalists, in my experience, and I’ve never seen any of the fundamentalists I know tell everyone they are going to hell. But they are big into street preaching and handing out Gospel tracts that tell you how to be saved in order NOT to go to hell, which I guess could give some people the impression that they think most of the people they meet are going to hell.

But even them, I don’t see them calling themselves fundamentalists. Just Christians.

Granted, but maybe not as limited as you might think. Taking the aforementioned example --the fact that the most blantant, shrill attacks are not necessarily the most serious attacks – I find that highly generalizable.

Tarquin, I agree that we should not attack Protestants … Although I want to add that whether or not something is an “attack” is of course somewhat subjective.

Thanks, Peter.

What do you mean by attacks in both directions? Oh! Did you mean fundamentalists attacking in both directions?

I thought you meant fundamentalists attacking Catholics, and Catholics attacking fundamentalists.

I did … well except I’m thinking of Protestants in general, not just Fundamentalists. (I think some recent threads discuss attacks by Catholics against protestants.)

Several folks I know call themselves “fundamentalists” or “fundamental independents.” They eschew anything liturgical.

Me too.


great thread. I own the book and read the book and highly recommend it. I think the people that Karl was addressing and would call themselves fundamentalist would be more of the Bob Jones University type or the dispensationalists. I also think it could extend to quiver full movement as well. Usually those are the most anti-Catholic in the whole of Protestantism. Again, there could be some application towards some evangelicals, but even as one poster pointed out that considers himself that, not all evangelicals are anti-Catholic. I think the book has application to any Protestant that reads anti-Catholic type material. I also thought in the book, Karl addresses development of doctrine and how Catholic doctrine is misunderstand as “not biblical” but I think he did point out how fundamentalists are not biblical as opposed to Catholics. So, if someone in conversation brought up the usual anti-Catholic stuff, this book would be helpful in answering that person no matter what Protestant group they belong too.

The Protestants’ Dilema is great too

Yes. The arguments rebutted is comprehensive and includes those used by many non-fundamentalists. Great book. One of a half-dozen that lead to me being Catholic. I thank my FIL for sending me a copy.

I have not read the book, so forgive me. How does Keating define “Fundamentalist”? Does he even define it? I ask because I often read stuff where the authors just drop terms like Fundamentalist and evangelical without any attempt to spell out what they mean by those terms.

The way I understand the term “Fundamentalist” is from the definition given by scholars such as George Marsden. Marsden wrote that since the 1960s separate Baptist dispensationalists are really the only people who proudly call themselves Fundamentalists. Jerry Falwell would be a good example if one distinguishes his political career (in which he built a broad coalition of religious conservatives) from his church career (in which he was much less broad in his associations).

As to the OP’s question, I think it would make sense that Fundamentalist and non-Fundamentalists would use many of the same arguments against the Catholic Church because many of them are arguments and criticisms that have been recycled since the Reformation.

I have owned this book only a short time and have only gotten 1/4 of the way into it. But even in that short time I have noted that so far the Fundamentalist detractors never seem to reference Catholic writings and theology in general. But they all seem to depend and rely on one book in general. That book is ROMAN CATHOLICISM by Loraine Boettner (sp).

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