What’s Not to Like?

At Dave Armstrong’s blog, a post entitled: “Why is the Catholic Church so Hated?” caught my eye (to give you some background, Dave Armstrong is himself a papist). The format of the post is as follows:

1) A “Presbyterian” woman makes a claim that she sees a lot of “hatred” for “the Catholic Church.”

2) A former “former Presbyterian” woman responds by attributing the “hatred” to “hell” attempting to prevail against “the Catholic Church.”

3) Finally, Dave suggests that the “hatred” is a function of (1) the size of the target, (2) the widespread “misrepresentation,” and (3) the “very strict morality” taught by “Catholic Christianity.”

The post is interesting because it omits glaring reasons for true hatred and because it mistakes judgment for hatred.

Reasons for true hatred:

1) Association with Christianity. Rome claims to be Christian, and consequently receives some of the antipathy provided generally towards Christians by those who hate God.

2) History of Persecution: there are many folks that have not forgotten the history of persecution by the Vatican either in the form of Inquisitions, papal armies, and crusades or in the form of exhortations to “secular” rulers.

3) Scandals. There are people who truly hate the Vatican because of corrupt and scandalous activity by its priests and bishops – that can especially be the case for victims and their families.

4) Personal Experience. There are people who truly hate the Vatican because they have had a “bad experience” with Catholicism. This could be as simple as being rapped on the knuckles with a ruler by a nun in gradeschool or much more complicated, involving a priest taking sides in a family dispute.

These are all notable causes why there is true antipathy – true hatred toward the Vatican, which is often then directed to individual members of the church of Rome.

On the other hand, much of what is called “hatred” is not hatred at all. For example, most of what the first woman in Dave’s post viewed as “hatred” is actually an expression of judgment, namely that the Vatican does not preach the Gospel, and that faithful devotion to the religion taught by the Vatican does not lead to salvation.

The second woman improperly assumes that “the Catholic Church” is the true church, and that consequently any desire to be separate from that church must be hell-based. If her assumption were correct, it would be a reasonable line of thought. The problem, of course, is that it is not the case that the Church of Rome is the true church.

Dave’s own comments are not as far from the mark. Surely, part of the volume of negative things (all of which get labeled “hatred”) is a factor of the size of Catholicism. The errors of Ebionite heretics while heinous are not a significant voice on the scene. The errors of Rome, with its claimed billion plus members, are a significant voice.

It should be noted, though, that Islam is the target of similar “hatred” in the form of saying that Koran-observing Muslims are not saved, are not the true followers of Jesus, etc. (i.e. any negative comment, particularly about eternal things) Furthermore, it’s fair to say that most Christians in the English-speaking world know less about Islam than they know about Catholicism. As the number of Muslims rapidly increases in the English-speaking world, you can expect to see less emphasis on the errors of Rome in favor of emphasis on the errors of Mecca and Medina. And, of course, there are people who truly hate Islam because a 9/11 terrorist killed one of their friends or family members, or some similar reason.

Dave’s comment about misrepresentation is less accurate. Surely there are misrepresentations of the Church of Rome out there, but the true hatred is not based on those misrepresentations. Even the hatred-so-called – the negative comments – are for the most part based on the truth, not on misrepresentations.

Finally, there is a seed of truth in Dave’s comment about “very strict morality.” There are those who reject the Church of Rome because of its emphasis on works righteousness, and specifically its legalistic rules of “morality.” Surely there are people who hate the Church of Rome because she continues to acknowledge the truth that homosexual behavior is sinful, immoral, and should not be done. On the other hand, rejection of the legalism of the Vatican is Biblical and proper. It’s not hatred, but judgment.

All in all, the reason for this post is to highlight and differentiate the reasons for hatred of the church of Rome and the condemnation of the false doctrine and counterfeit gospel of Rome. The former is generally unjustified, though perhaps one might feel righteous indignation reading an account of the persecution of the Albigensians. The latter is fully properly, and is not hatred in the colloquial sense at all, but the exercise of godly discretion and wisdom – something with respect to which I’m afraid the nameless “Presbyterian woman” that Dave first mentions seems to be deficient.


(link to Dave’s post)

3 Responses to “What’s Not to Like?”

  1. natamllc Says:

    If would indeed be fair to say today there is God and God is hated.Be with God and be hated.Psa 44:4 You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! Psa 44:5 Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. Psa 44:6 For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. Psa 44:7 But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. Psa 44:8 In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah Be without God and God will hate your evil and be angry as God hates evil and is angry with the wicked every day.Psa 7:8 The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. Psa 7:9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous– you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! Psa 7:10 My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. Psa 7:11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. Psa 7:12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; Psa 7:13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Psa 7:14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. Psa 7:15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. Psa 7:16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. Psa 7:17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. andPsa 97:9 For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Psa 97:10 O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Psa 97:11 Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Psa 97:12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! andPro 8:12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. Pro 8:13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Seems clear to me, you? :)

  2. Turretinfan Says:

    Of course … But I remember an old explanation:1) If you are one of God’s disciples, Satan hates you and wants to see you suffer and perish.2) But if you are not one of God’s disciples, Satan still hates you and wants to see you suffer and perish.We can rejoice when we see Satan’s house divided against itself as we do, for example, in the fighting between secular atheists and Muslims.

  3. natamllc Says:

    Yes TF,here are a couple more reasons we can rejoice when we see Satan do them. Keep in mind these things Satan must do!:::>1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1Co 5:5 To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. and1Ti 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. Satan, hmmmmm, the one Scripture records will be cast into the “lake of Fire” must destroy one’s flesh that his spirit might be “saved” or teach others “not” to blaspheme!Oh, Satan, Satan, when will your day come?Now that the levity is out of the way, lest we forget that ancient foe:::>2Co 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. and of course:::>1Th 2:17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. 1Th 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. and:::>Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. I know you are not and I know I am not “making” light of the devil and what God allows him to do to oppose our Calling and Election.I find it eye opening that we see such diversity when it comes to his place and involvement with us one way and the other.Sobering reality, sobering!I also appreciate how you handle the Word of God! And how you conduct yourself in these debates, it is a lesson for any Man of God!thanks!!

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