Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Is Peter Kreeft a Catholic heretic?
An interesting passage from "The God Who Loves You" by Peter Kreeft.
[From the Chapter: The Twelve Most Profound Ideas I Have Ever Had]:
"7. The gift of God's love is ours for the taking.
I am a Roman Catholic. But the most liberating idea I have ever heard I first learned from Martin Luther. Pope John Paul II told the German Lutheran bishops that Luther was profoundly right about this idea. He said that Catholic teaching affirms it just as strongly and that there was no contradiction between Protestant and Catholic theology on this terribly important point, which was the central issue of the Protestant Reformation. I speak, of course, about "justification by faith" and its consequence, which Luther called "Christian Liberty" or "the liberty of a Christian" in his little gem of an essay by that name...
The point is amazingly simple, which is why so many of us just don't get it. Heaven is free because love is free. It is ours for the taking. The taking is faith. "If you believe, you will be saved." It is really that simple. If I offer you a gift, you have it if and only if you have faith to take it.
The primacy of faith does not discount or denigrate works but liberates them. Our good works can bow also be free - free from the worry and slavery and performance anxiety of having to buy Heaven with them. Our good works can now flow from genuine love of neighbor, not fear of Hell. nobody wants to be loved merely as a mean to build up the lover's merit pile. That attempt is ridiculous logically as well as psychologically. How much does Heaven cost? A thousand good works? Would 999 no do then? The very question shows its own absurdity. That absurdity comes from forgetting that God is love."
-Peter Kreeft. The God Who Loves You. pg 23-24.
Thoughts? I think he is wrong about the Protestant and Catholic agreement (or else someone owes Ridley, Latimer, De Bres, Cranmer, etc. a big apology for that whole burning at the stake thing). But if he really believes it, that prompts 3 possibilities: 1) Kreeft was being clever and vague - not use of "alone," even though he cites Luther. 2) Kreeft didn't understand what he was saying and has moved past it (thus his popularity among Catholics today) 3) Kreeft is an uncalled out heretic (Romanly speaking):