Sunday, September 30, 2007

Boettner: Anti-Catholic Bigot

There's really no other way to describe the man responsible for what I've read so far in Roman Catholicism. I don't know why, but I had this silly hope that perhaps the book might be characterized by scholarly detachment. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth (and, so far, this book could not be further from the truth, either).

Here are some choice examples.
One of the first and most important results of the Reformation was that the Bible was given to the people in their own languages. Previously the Bible had been kept from them, on the pretext that only the church speaking through the priest could interpret it correctly (p. 2).
A conveniently self-serving distortion. Setting aside the fact that a wide variety of translations were made prior to the Reformation, literacy was far from widespread, and there was comparatively little demand for literacy either (thanks to the high cost of producing copies of books). The Reformation had the benefit of the arrival of Gutenberg's printing press, but previous generations did not. It is ridiculous to claim that "the Bible had been kept from them." Secondly, it would seem that there was genuine wisdom in the Church's concern about just anyone producing copies of the Bible - as the errors of the Reformers amply testify.
Our American freedoms are being threatened today by two totalitarian systems, Communism and Roman Catholicism. And of the two in our country Romanism is growing faster than is Communism and is the more dangerous...(p. 3)
Uhh...yeah. So the Catholic Church is worse than the Communists. Obviously Boettner never met anyone who was a victim of Marxism. This is so ignorant as to barely be worthy of comment. Perhaps he read The Gulag Archipelago before he died, and so was enlightened as to the errors here. Let's hope so.

Here's a gem of real scholarly value:
The present writer is in receipt of a letter from a missionary in Bolivia who writes: 'The Roman Catholic Church in Bolivia is not a Christian church at all but an unholy device for keeping the people in ignorance and poverty.' He added that Romanism the world over is one unified system, all under the control of the pope in Rome, and that it probably would be as bad in the United States if it were not for the restraining influence of the evangelical churches (p. 13f).
Ah, yes. We are expected to believe that an unnamed missionary is such an authority that he can tell us Profound Things about the Bolivian Church, and we ought to believe them because he is an Expert. And we don't need to know his name; we should just take Boettner's word for the whole thing. Unfortunately I'm reminded here of a certain scene:
My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.
But as to the [cough] substance of the report that Boettner reports: I don't know what the conditions were like in Bolivia in the early 1960s, and I sure as heck am not going to take this guy's word for anything. But even if they were bad: well, the Church has never denied that evil has been done by people in authority in every institution - including, unfortunately, the Church. Including, unfortunately, Protestant groups, too. And as for the "...unified system, all under the control of the Pope..."'s crassly put, but still worthy of a "Duh!" The Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: hence the unity. And this unity is characterized by faithful communion with the Pope.

I'm reading this so as to familiarize myself with what Boettner has to say. My intent was to post on at least some of the points in the book, but if it's all as bad as this, I might not be able to bring myself to do it.

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