Peter Pike, a severe Presbyterian critic of mine, recently wrote in a combox on my site (on 9-24-10):
Dave goes on and on about me being an anti-Catholic. . . . I defy you to produce this cornucopia of anti-Catholic statements I've supposedly uttered. Your readers are all invited to read every single one of my posts no Roman Catholicism here and find anything that supports your claim that I'm an anti-Catholic. The fact is, you won't find it.
Okay; fair enough. Despite all his lying about me recently, I try to do good even to my proclaimed "enemies" (just as our Lord Jesus says we should in the Sermon on the Mount) and so I thought I owed it to Pike to at least check out his writings more carefully, to see if I should modify my opinion of him.
This post was at first a retraction of my contention that Peter Pike was an anti-Catholic, after I looked over a bunch of his posts on Catholicism and didn't find any solid proof there. It was originally entitled: "Retraction: Peter Pike is Not an Anti-Catholic." Hence the picture of the sad-eyed puppy, who is "sorry." I clarified where I thought my reasoning had gone awry, issued an apology as well, and had written:
So how do I proceed now? . . . I shall . . . go over my posts that mention Pike, and remove the designation of anti-Catholic in descriptions of him.
But lo and behold, when I was in the process of doing that I discovered proof from Pike that he was anti-Catholic after all (therefore, that this must have been part of my rationale in the first place). He never has apparently understood the meaning of the word. He seems to think that it is almost a synonym for "bigot" whereas my use has always been, "one who denies that Catholicism as a system is a species of Christianity".
So if he thinks that my classification of him as an anti-Catholic was simply a variant of calling him a bigot, then he was out to sea as to my basic meaning. I agree that I wasn't calling him an anti-Catholic in that sense, because I have never used it with the definition of "bigot" in the first place.
The proof occurs in a Cryablogue thread: "Making the Judaizers Orthodox" (written by anti-Catholic Jason Engwer and dated 9 December 2009): in Pike's combox remarks. Engwer wrote in the post itself:
Evangelicals and Catholics disagree significantly over what "died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3) means. As the book of Galatians illustrates, the adding of works to the gospel nullifies what Paul summarized in 1 Corinthians 15. As he puts it elsewhere in 1 Corinthians itself, the gospel involves the sufficiency of the crucified Christ (1 Corinthians 2:2). . . .
For an explanation of why the Roman Catholic gospel is false and why it should be considered to be under the anathema of Galatians 1, see posts # 94 and # 99 in the thread here.
The gist of the post and ensuing discussion was an analogy between the Judaizers and Catholicism: both supposedly believing in works-salvation, or Pelagianism (and elsewhere I think I have shown that the Judaizers, as the Bible describes them, were actually Christians). In the combox, Jason elaborated:
See the two posts I referenced in the Challies thread above for a further discussion of the degree to which the Judaizers' gospel was wrong and, by implication, the degree to which the Catholic gospel is wrong. . . .
For reasons I've explained already, such as in threads here and in the Challies thread linked above, the possibility that some Catholic and Orthodox signers of the Manhattan Declaration are justified in spite of their group's false gospel isn't sufficient to justify the language of the document about those groups. Individuals who attempt to be justified in a manner contrary to what their group prescribes shouldn't be considered representatives of their group's view of salvation. And the most natural way of reading the Manhattan Declaration, for reasons I've already explained, is that Catholicism and Orthodoxy are orthodox as groups, not just that some individuals within those groups are orthodox. When we judge the Catholic gospel, for example, we judge it in accordance with the assumption that people attempt to be justified through that gospel from the start. We don't assume that they believe the true gospel, then go astray after the Catholic gospel afterward. People who accept the true gospel are sometimes unfaithful to it, as we see with Peter and the Galatians. But we judge a group, like Catholicism, by its gospel alone, without an assumption that another gospel was first or later believed.
Pike made no protest against any of these notions. He responded to Truth Unites . . . and Divides ("TUAD"), who had been asking some penetrating questions, eliciting a query from TAO: "Do you believe that Rome proclaims a false gospel?" Pike then stated:
I think Jason actually addressed your question at the very end of his response when he said:
People who accept the true gospel are sometimes unfaithful to it, as we see with Peter and the Galatians. But we judge a group, like Catholicism, by its gospel alone, without an assumption that another gospel was first or later believed.
In other words, if you are to ask on an individual basis, is such-and-so Judaizer saved, then he very well could have been; but when you say "Were Judaizers as a group saved?" the answer is clearly no, as the Scripture Rhology quoted demonstrates.
The gospel of the Judaizers was a false gospel, and it would always be a false gospel even if some of its members believed in the real Gospel too. Those who believed what the Judaizers put forth would not have saving faith, but there are often people who identify themselves with a certain group without holding to all that that group maintains.
But Peter's answer (which I would put in Category D) is what every conservative anti-MD Protestant that I have read says. There are CHRISTIANS in a church/Church which teaches and preaches a false gospel, but they are not damned to Hell. So then it can't be (A) as Rhology asserts. Rather, it must be (D) as Peter argues (in so many words).
Earlier, TUAD had defined his position D as: "(D) Some Judaizers are damned to Hell. Some Judaizers are not damned to Hell. And damned if I know which Judaizer is going where." Pike then replied:
My position would not be your D) because your D) included "And damned if I know which Judaizer is going where." Maybe there are some we don't know the final destination on, but there's plenty of Biblical evidence that gives us the ability to accurately judge most of their states right now. So I can talk to a Catholic, for example, and often tell fairly quickly whether he or she is a Christian in a false church, or lost.
That nails it. That's the ironclad proof. This is classic anti-Catholicism, and is identical to the positions of Luther, Calvin, and James White. In other words, it is the belief that could be expressed as follows:
There are some real Christians in Catholicism, as in most false systems. Some Catholics are saved and will make it to heaven, but if they are, it is despite what their false "church" with its false "gospel" teaches, not because of it. The "Church" itself is a false, non-Christian system.
Hence, when Pike used the description "false church," he proved that he is anti-Catholic. The Catholic Church is a false church; i.e., it is not Christian. Individual Catholics are either "lost" (and Pike -- sadly like so many judgmental, holier-than-thou, Pharisaical anti-Catholics -- seems to think he knows about many folks' final destination, even though John Calvin said we couldn't know this for sure at all), or if they are Christian, it is despite the Catholic Church.
Thus, they are either damned or "a Christian in a false church." That is pure, unbridled anti-Catholicism. Case closed. The "lie" is not in my calling Pike what he is, but in his lying about what the Catholic Church is.
But if Pike has concluded that I am personally no Christian (since I gladly, joyfully, accept all that the Catholic Church teaches, and it is a "false church") and am, in fact, damned to hell, then that would go a long way in explaining his blistering personal attacks, wouldn't it?
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One bottom line question, for example, is to ask, in determining whether a person is an ant-Catholic:
Can a Catholic believe in ALL of the doctrines of the Catholic Church and be saved?
If the answer is yes, the person cannot possibly be an anti-Catholic. If it is no, then the person is anti-Catholic, because he is saying that being a consistent Catholic is inconsistent with salvation; it makes it impossible.
Therefore, if the system precludes the possibility of salvation (assuming it is being totally adhered to) it can't possibly be a Christian system (since it is opposed to the central goal of Christianity: to be saved). Therefore, the view reduces to "Catholicism is not a Christian system," which is precisely the doctrinal definition of anti-Catholicism. And that can be determined, pretty much, by one's answer to this single question. If the system precludes salvation, it is not Christian. Period.
I have run across undeniable evidence showing that Peter Pike would deny that a person can be saved, even abiding by the Catholic soteriological doctrines alone. It occurs in a Debate on Justification with the Catholic apologist Kevin Tierney (December 2002):
Man is saved through justification, . . . In order for justification to be biblically consistent, it must conform to the ideas that we saw above. Neither the Roman Catholic system, nor the system of belief of many mainstream Evangelicals today, is harmonic with the Scripture already presented. . . .
There was a time when people felt secure enough to proclaim this truth: what you believe about justification is what you believe about the Gospel! Now, in an effort to offend as few people as possible, any such statements are delegated to the roles of the theological madmen. I am such a madman, however; and let me loudly say that the Catholic idea of justification (and all the Protestant denominations that essentially agree with the Catholic view) is not a saving Gospel. This is not to say that all Catholics are damned, for I have met some Catholics who understand this issue and actually agree with the Reformed position, although why they remain in the Catholic Church is beyond me.
Any Gospel that does not have God doing all the work and man merely passively receiving salvation is not a Gospel of grace, but is instead one of works. It does not matter if the result is so magnificent compared to such trivial labor as faith-any work done by humans at all destroys grace. . . .
Suffice it to say that the historical Reformed Protestant position is both consistent with itself and consistent with Scripture. While there are a few passages that seem to hint, at first glance, at meanings opposite of the Reformed views, any meaningful exegesis of the text will prove that there are no counter-arguments against the Reformed position on the several positive texts that I can put forth, and there are several interpretations that are at least possible, if not likely, for the "tricky" verses that I can posit. I therefore submit that the Biblical Christian must accept the Reformed doctrine of justification or else abandon the term "Biblical" in his title. (Opening Statement; my bolding)