Charlie Campbell/Always Be Ready Apologetics - "Roman Catholicism"

Good morning, all. I was recently presented with a video called “Roman Catholicism” by Charlie Campbell, who is associated with Calvary Chapel. Anyone familiar with this? I need to mount a response and have started by reading Alan Schreck’s “Catholic & Christian” and, of course, Karl Keating’s “Catholicism and Fundamentalism.” Good starting points for answering many of the charges. (Although Keating is a bit on the snarky side for me to just give the book to the person who showed me the Campbell video. Shreck’s tone is much more accessible to an evangelical, I think.)

So far I haven’t found anything particularly concise-yet-detailed (I know, I know… asking too much?) on Church history, which is the first thing Campbell hits in his video. Any thoughts?

If interested, the audio track is available on Campbell’s website (which I don’t care to link).

Time to get ready for Mass, so I’ll be back later. Thanks to any who can assist.

I didn’t take the time to listen to the link and won’t because what he will be saying is nothing new. Just the same old anti-Catholic drivel.

He will undoubtedly refer to Catholic beliefs as “unbiblical”

Instead I would go to his statement of beliefs, which are also posted on the website. When one looks at that, it’s pretty easy to see where he is coming from and that it is his beliefs that are “unbiblical”.

Ex: Scripture alone, 66 book canon (notice he doesn’t tell the reader how he came to that number), premillennial view of revelation, baptism not necessary, etc…

Sure: go the other direction - detailed, and making no attempt whatsoever at being concise, because that just omits data.

If you want to discuss Church history with someone, do not learn a little about it: learn everything you can about it. Then, when you come to discuss it with people, you will not be repeating others’ summaries; instead, you will be speaking from the position of having read the source material yourself, and will be able to say, “Actually, no, X does not say that. He says this. Y says that, but he was born three hundred years after the event, and so is hardly reliable, really.”

As for the specific charges which are made in the video, go to people who are already studying this stuff (there should be a seminary near you) and ask them where you can find material about it. Most academics are geeks, and thus very happy to help people with esoteric enquiries.

Since few of have ever heard of this guy and Calvary Chapel is generally pretty anti-Catholic (else why waste time preaching about us when what the world needs is the gospel call to conversion?) why don’t you just take particular assertions that he makes and post them in individual threads here in Apologetics and we can then discuss and dissect them and so help you respond…

If you think Karl Keating is “snarky” (I disagree with you on that by the way, but :shrug:…) then you have never spoken with someone from CC in person about our most holy faith. :rolleyes: Been there, done that, and there ain’t no tee shirt.

Hi, Ron. Thanks for the response.

As you suspect, it’s mostly the typical stuff. I’ve been reading “Catholicism and Fundamentalism,” and most of the theological points seem to be covered there. I think that, once I get to that part, I’ll have some good resources.

In the first part of the video, Campbell takes a direction I didn’t expect as much. He doesn’t get into the scriptural analysis of, for example, Matthew 16:18 and the Petros/petra thing; in fact, he doesn’t even address that at all. Essentially, he argues that Catholic history is untrue.

About seven minutes in, he starts with: “Most scholars, outside of the Catholic Church,” he says," reject the popular teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, that the church at Rome was established by Christ Himself through the apostle Peter." Following are Campbell’s basic points:

[LIST] No record of Peter as bishop of Rome.
[list]Irenaeus’ list of “the first twelve leaders of the church of Rome… Peter’s name does not appear. Irenaeus says that the first leader of the church in Rome was actually a man by the name of Linus.”[/list]
[list]Eusebius “never mentions Peter as the Bishop of Rome. He does tell us that Peter came to Rome ‘about the end of his days’ and was crucified there.” (emphasis his)[/list]
[list]Paul doesn’t name Peter in his greetings in the letter to the Romans. “That would be a strange omission if Peter was living in Rome, and especially if he was the overseer of the church there.”[/list]
I found Irenaeus’ “Against Heresies,” Book III Ch. 3, and it’s easy to see where he left out the part about Peter and Paul “hand[ing] over the office of the episcopate to Linus.” I also found Eusebius’ “Church History,” Book III Ch. 4, that says that Linus was “Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there.” So while it’s not explicit (i.e., “Peter was the Bishop of Rome”), I think it’s hard to be the successor of someone who wasn’t in that position. It does raise a question that I’d like to be able to head off: Eusebius says that Clement was the third bishop, but shouldn’t he be fourth? Irenaeus lists Linus (2), Anacletus (3), and Clement (4).

[list]Next up: “Most scholars date the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church at 590 A.D…” My question: Where’s this date from?[/list]
[list]Then: “Rome’s claim to supremacy and legal jurisdiction was vigorously resisted by other church leaders and could never be enforce in the eastern portion of the Empire.” Then dissension remained between Rome and Constantinople, culminating in the big split in 1054.[/list]
So I guess what I’m hoping to find here is some direction in the historical realm. I want to set up some context for the rest of my response to the video (as well as mostly follow his form) by establishing the history and therefore the Church’s authority, which I think will set the table for the rest of the response as I work through the doctrinal sections. (And of course I’ll check back here if I get stuck.)

Wow, more responses as I was typing. Thank you!

I don’t personally think Keating is particularly snarky, but maybe I’m just being a little sensitive to the person who showed me the video. On the other hand, I did have to sit through the video, and Campbell could easily be described as such.

Thanks for the suggestions; I’ll look into some of the other threads/forums for the specific questions.

If he likes the church fathers, perhaps you should look at The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. Very good book. I highly doubt Campbell has consulted that one.

I noticed on his page instead he looks to guys like john MacArthur and Matt slick. Hardly authorities when it comes to catholicism

Ron, thanks for the book recommendation. I will take a look at that.

I’ve created a separate thread for this section on “Church History” questions here:

Just a thought here…

Ultimately, it comes doen to his interpretation of scripture vs the Catholic interpretation of scripture, and trying to figure out which is correct. A review of the extra-biblical writings of the first three centuries of Christianity shows the presence of pretty much every uniquely Catholic doctrine, and a complete lack of any uniquely Protestant doctrines.

So, irregardless of whether a church was founded in 590 AD that might have called itself Catholic (I’m being generous here and taking his claim at face value), doctrinally, there was no Christian interpretation of scripture that was in accord with Protestantism and not Catholic.

If Catholicism wasn’t founded until 590, then that makes the original Christianity Orthodox Christianity (Eastern or Oriental). Highly doubt he’d want to admit that, but that’s the reality.

Most scholars? Can he cite just one reputable scholar that says this?

It’s just a guess, but Pope St. Gregory the Great became Pope (quite reluctantly) in 590 AD. Despite his true desire to remain a simple monk, Gregory was a very effective leader, and he reasserted the authority of the Holy See in areas where its influence had grown weak.

His Wikipedia article says

Throughout the Middle Ages he was known as “the Father of Christian Worship” because of his exceptional efforts in revising the Roman worship of his day.

But protestants have not historically been opposed to Gregory. In Book 4 of his Institutes, John Calvin said he was the “last good Pope” (he seems to have overlooked, at least, Pope St. Nicholas-1). There has never been any controversy that Gregory was not the “real Pope” or any such thing.

Other than getting a new Pope, not much was going on in 590. The last Ecumenical Council had been 37 years prior, and the next would be 90 years hence.

<< Most scholars? Can he cite just one reputable scholar that says this? >>

"To identify orthodox doctrine, one had to identify its locus, which was the catholic church, neither Eastern nor Western, neither Greek nor Latin, but universal throughout the civilized world (oikoumene). This church was the repository of truth, the dispenser of grace, the guarantee of salvation, the matrix of acceptable worship. Only here did God accept sacrifices, only here was there confident intercession for those who were in error, only here were good works fruitful, only here did the powerful bond of love hold men together and ‘only from the catholic church does truth shine forth.’ " (Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition [1971], volume 1, 334-335)

We’ll let him get away with that because he is Orthodox (but Lutheran at the time).

“The society was well known and unmistakable. Its doctrine was everywhere the same; its worship, with rich diversity of forms, centered around one Eucharistic memorial. It had an organized hierarchy for worship and for the pastorate of souls. This hierarchy maintained union between the local branches, and did so in the name and by the authority of Christ. However far back the history is traced, no date can be assigned, however roughly, for the appearance of Catholicism in the Church. The Church was Catholic from the outset.” (AJ Mason, cited in The Church and Infallibility [1954] by BC Butler, page 37-38)

Darn, that one won’t work either. Anglican Canon A.J. Mason. How about:

“If art is the organization of materials, the Roman Catholic Church is among the most imposing masterpieces of history. Through nineteen centuries, each heavy with crisis, she has held her faithful together, following them with her ministrations to the ends of the earth, forming their minds, molding their morals, encouraging their fertility, solemnizing their marriages, consoling their bereavements, lifting their momentary lives into eternal drama, harvesting their gifts, surviving every heresy and revolt, and patiently building again every broken support of her power.” (Durant, Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith [volume 4, 1950], page 44)

Oops Will Durant, secular historian. 1950 minus nineteen centuries = about 50 AD. And one more for good measure…

“The Roman Catholic Church traces its beginnings to about A.D. 30, when Jesus Christ instructed the apostles, His followers, to spread His teaching about the Kingdom of God.” (World Book Encyclopedia, volume 16 [2000 edition], page 403)

Secular sources won’t do him any good. And finally:

“We must ask: What Church existing today descends in an unbroken line from the apostles of Jesus Christ (and possesses the other essential marks of the true Church of which the Creed speaks)? Further, what Church existing today is headed by a single, recognized, designated leader under the headship of Peter? To ask these questions is to answer them. Any entity claiming to be the Church of Christ – his body! – must demonstrate its apostolicity, its organic link with the original apostles, on whom Christ manifestly established his Church. Nothing less can qualify as the apostolic Church that Jesus founded.” (Kenneth Whitehead, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic: The Early Church was the Catholic Church [Ignatius Press, 2000], page 36)

Biased! :thumbsup:


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