But first, we answer questions from listeners and subscribers in this segment entitled Contending for the Faith. Our question this week is: “What do you think of the book Ecumenical Jihad by Peter Kreeft and the endorsements by leading evangelicals on the back?
Dave:Well Ecumenical Jihad is an interesting title. Jihad of course is a religious war. For the Muslims it’s their only way of getting to heaven really, being sure that you die in jihad.
Tom: Oh wait a minute. We had somebody write to us with a correction. They said the other way for a Muslim to get to heaven is to die on his way to Meccaor on a religious pilgrimage.
Dave:That could be yes. But he is out for ecumenism and he’s working very hard for it. First of all, Peter Kreeft, Dr. Kreeft is a philosophy professor at Boston University which is a Catholic university. He was a former evangelical supposedly. He’s a convert to Catholicism. He has written a number of books. Some of them have been published by Intervarsity Press and in his books he even acknowledges—he says that he asked his Catholic students, these are the University students now. They are Roman Catholics; they have been raised in Catholicism, they have gone through—
Dave:—and grammar school and junior high and high school and now they’re in a Catholic university. He says he asked them how they hoped to get to heaven. And he says that almost all of them don’t have a clue. He says most of them don’t even mention Jesus. He doesn’t tell us what all they say about how Mary will get them there or what. But you were a Catholic and you can imagine many of the ideas these people would have. But now he wants to bring all religions together. It ecumenism. We used to think of it as well the Methodists and the Presbyterians and the so forth—we’ll all get together. The World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches—that was an ecumenical movement to bring all the denominations back together. The Catholics were never part of it and in their wildest imagination they never thought the Buddhists, and Muslims and Hindus and so forth being involved. So this is pretty much what Peter Kreeft is advocating here in this book.
Tom: Dave let me back up just a second. These young Catholics, his students, these he’s interviewing—what does he say? I mean he was an evangelical and now he’s a Roman Catholic. What does he recommend? What is he suggesting?
Dave: Well as a former Catholic you know that really isn’t all that serious. So long as you are in the church, you’ve been baptized and you go to Mass and you’re ingesting the body and blood of Jesus each Sunday. And you’re involved in sacraments—you’re okay. So he’s sort of bemoaning that they don’t understand the basis of their faith, but of course this is not, as you would know, this is not their faith. They don’t believe in the evangelical gospel. Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. They don’t believe that. But as a former Protestant, I don’t know that he was an evangelical. I mean he at least had some understanding of that; some concern.
Tom: So this book, lays out that premise, that thesis of ecumenism and the concern here of this writer, the person who wrote to us with the question is we have evangelicals endorsing him.
Dave: Well Kreeft first of all, is one of the Catholic signers of the ECT and ECT 11, Evangelicals and Catholics Together. So he’s in there on the same page with Colson and Packer, and Bill Bright, Pat Robertson and other evangelical leaders. And in fact, this book is endorsed by two of them: J. I. Packard and Chuck Colson. On page 96, this is Ecumenical Jihad now, he has Confucius quote, “In the outskirts of heaven, the place you call Purgatory. ON the way to heaven, the Catholic way of course through Purgatory, Buddha and Muhammad are already in heaven.” That’s pages 96-111 that I am quoting from. “Having been God’s prophets all along and many of their followers. Muhammad for example, he hopes that most of his pious followers will make it, that’s page 105. They are also Crypto-Christians. He says that Gorbachev is a Crypto-Christian. Now I studied cryptography.
Dave:Cryptography is a secret message, so I presume this would be a secret Christian.
Tom:They don’t even know that they are Christians themselves. Gorbachev doesn’t know that he’s a Christian, in fact he claims to be an atheist. Kreeft considers these guys: Buddha, Muhammad and Confucius and so forth to be Crypto-Christians. In fact he says Buddha and Muhammad are already in heaven. They will be around the throne of the Lamb. This is the Lamb of God that they rejected; that they didn’t know. Jesus said whoever climbs up another way, tries to climb up other ways is a thief and a robber. He’s not going to get there. But Peter Kreeft has them getting there. Muhammad of course—the reason Muhammad he’s sure is in heaven already is because of his veneration of Mary. She is mentioned thirty-four times in the Qur’an and he speaks of these pagans—pagan religious leaders as being “closer in spirit to the touchstone of Catholic truth than most Protestants.
Tom:Well we would agree with that, but not closer to God’s Word.
Dave:He suggested that there is “a hidden Christ in Hinduism.” You would find that on pages 156-160, and a hidden Christ in other pagan religions and that pagans and even atheists and agnostics, may be secret believers in Jesus without knowing it.”
And finally, he opts for tale-hog-de-shardance, the transubstantiation effected by Catholic priests in the Eucharist is inexorably transforming the entire universe into one giant cosmic Eucharistic Christ.” You find that on page 158 and that ultimately everyone including even evangelicals will be united in the Eucharist and in Mary.” You would get that on pages 145-155.
Now this is about as outrageous as you can possibly get as much opposed—you know Jesus said—the disciples asked him, “Master are there many that be saved?” Jesus said, “Very few. He said strive to enter at the strait gate for strait [that means tight in the old English] strait is the gate and narrow is the way that lead to life and few there be that find it for broad is the road that leads to destruction and many there be that go in there after.” And in contradiction in the face of the clear words of Jesus Christ who ought to know, Peter Kreeft said no, they’re all going to make it.
Tom, here’s how ridiculous it is. It’s like saying that Khrushchev was a Crypto-Republican. It’s like saying that Mao Se Tung was really at his heart, he was really a Democrat. I mean that’s so ludicrous—and he didn’t even know it. But what he really espoused was democracy.
Dave:And yet these vicious dictators— Now what is most shocking is then how can J.I. Packer and Charles Colson give their enthusiastic stamp of approval on the back cover of this book?
Tom:You see the responsibility—I mean even if you say well these men had their reason. If they are going to put their name on something it’s going to advance the book, the cause, the video, whatever it might be. And they are leading believers down this path.
Dave:That’s right and they’re leading non-believers to remain in their unbelief and their false religions and they’re going to be okay in the end. That’s deadly.