of the Catholic faith"
Karl Keating is a lawyer turned Roman Catholic apologist for
the diocese of Los Angeles and is one of the brightest stars that the American
church has at its disposal.
I am informed, only agrees to debate selected speakers, on the condition that he opens
and closes such meetings. (Former Dominican priest, Richard Bennett of 26 years, once
told me this is why he won't debate him, yet James White has repeatedly challenged
Mr. Keating to a debate, only to be constantly shunned.)
The information used to compose this article, comes from a six-hour
video debate, which took place in January 1987, at the Bayview Baptist Church, San
Pedro (St. Peter), CA.
For this special one-off event, Karl Keating's opponent was Peter
Ruckman, a heavy weight of heavy weights.
As always, Dr. Ruckman pulls them in and gives the crowd an excellent
show. His passion and dedication, ever clear to see, was somewhat lost however, on
the lacklustre and wooden Karl Keating, and I suggest on most of the Catholics too,
which turned out to see the Peter and Karl show.
This smooth and well-polished lawyer would make an excellent spin-doctor
for any of Britain's major political parties, with Alastair Campbell or Andy Card
both doing well to get his number, should he ever leave his beloved church. Yet
what did the Apostle Paul say of his own ministry: "And my speech and my preaching
was not with enticing words of
man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." (1 Cor. 2:4.)
So spin he did, all of Rome's unpleasant and horrible history over
sixteen hundred years. For those that aren't well read or Bible believers, he might
have easily led people away from Biblical Christianity over to Rome, sweet
home. Yet Ruckman was always on hand to refute
his statements and give clear Biblical answers to some of his churches strange and
This article lists the major points of the debate:
Keating doesn't believe the Koran is inspired. Yet why then, did
Pope John Paul II kiss this non-inspired book?
He stated that the Bible was a dry and unmoving book in many parts.
He even said that it was a dead book.
Holds to the heresy that people can get to Heaven without believing
Ruckman points out the term Catholic (meaning universal) first
appears in 113AD by Ignatius.
Keating points out word Trinity was first used in 181AD.
Keating believed only the Apostle John understood his writings
to be inspired. Peter's mention of Paul's Epistles as being Scripture had to be pointed
out by Ruckman (2 Pet. 3:14-16.)
Due to Keating querying what should be considered canonical and
inspired, Ruckman correctly pointed out that 48 prophecies of Jesus Christ, written
4000 to 400 years before His birth, preserved in Scripture a head of time, with 500
prophecies still to be fulfilled at Second Coming, should have given the Bible more
respect and dignity than Keating afforded it - it didn't, he still wouldn't accept
the Bible as being inspired, without a council telling him so. And such a council
as Carthage in the 4th century, was cited as evidence by Ruckman that even when such
a gathering of noble men as this, they still erred dreadfully when they too
taught that the OT Apocrypha and
NT Apocrypha should
be included as being inspired and therefore canonical.
Ruckman points out to the congregation that the Body of Christ
had long agreed and understood what constituted the Canon of Scripture, hundreds of
years before Carthage.
He also mentions to congregation that Council of Trent (to get
round the Purgatory problem), had to re-affirm Apocrypha being
inspired, even though the Jews and Jesus Christ never acknowledged it was, for Luke
24:44 tells us what the Old Testament Canon was, long before any Church ever showed
up: the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. To
this day, every Jewish Bible in the world have these three sections in their Tenach.
The question of the numerous denominations was mentioned, with
Ruckman pointing out that in John 16:13, the Lord promised the Holy Spirit would lead
the believer into all areas of righteousness, but if the saint refuses to allow Him
to lead, than that is between God and the believer (Acts 15:39.)
Keating said something that I have heard priests say before, that
their official catechism has been lousy in recent years; hence why so many have left
their church and go elsewhere.
Jesus Christ is only Mediator between man and God. Keating says
he accepts this, then turns around as says, Jesus delegated to others (no Scripture
cited.) All he gave was Paul seeking saints to pray for him and others, but they were
alive not dead. My own analogy of dealing with the folly of Catholic intercession
is this: if the Queen of England personally told an individual that whenever they
wished to speak with her they could (24/7), and that she would always be available,
no matter what, why would that individual have to doubt her by making contact regularly
with her Prime Minister? With God, intercession
is ALWAYS available, so why in the world would we need to pray to inferior sources?
Question was asked about what we did before we had the Bible. Ruckman
quoted Romans 2:12 - man's conscience having light from God and accountability
at the Judgement.
Ruckman felt, after finding out that most of the Catholic present
didn't have their Bibles with them, needed to be reminded of Peter's commandment:
newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1
Keating attacks professional anti-Catholics who make their living
writing about his church, but nothing was said about Keating also making a living
attacking those that attack his church. (One wonders if either groups ever give tracts
out or witness to lost souls?)
Keating offered the view that the New Testament was somehow written
in Aramaic and later translated into Greek, but no evidence was offered to affirm
this. He said that because we have no original Greek manuscripts (we do have over
5,000 copies however) he didn't need to have original Aramaic to prove his hypotheses,
but what Keating didn't say is that NOBODY has EVER found ANY original or copies of
1st or 2nd century Aramaic manuscripts. We must also appreciate that the world in
the first century, outside of Israel, spoke Greek, and it was this language that God
commissioned for the New Testament. Once again, Catholics are putting their blind
faith in tradition.
The argument for Peter being the rock was debated, however many
verses were citied to disprove this (1 Pet. 2:6.)
Ruckman tells us that the word Simon means shifting sand in Greek,
and with Jesus calling him Satan, this rock of theirs isn't the best foundation to
build on (Matt. 7:26-28.)
Paul rebuking Peter was brought up and Paul uses the word Cephas
(Jesus gave him this title) to rebuke him, in front of everybody. My own research
in to this dark period of Church history is something like this: Paul rebukes Peter,
while visiting Antioch. With Paul in Tarsus and away from Jerusalem and the larger
community of Saints, Peter starts to buckle under pressure from 'outside influence.'
With Paul now in Antioch, he needs to takes firm action against Peter's backsliding,
halt the false gospel that Peter is guilty of advocating, and re-affirm that Gentiles
and Jews are one in Christ (Gal. 3:28), and that if anybody says otherwise, they are
cursed by God (Gal. 1:6-9.)
Keating thinks that Jesus wanted people to identity Himself with
a literal physical Church building or institution. Calvinists, for example, will
respond by saying that unsaved man has no desire for God nor will they seek after
Him, therefore such a view is unfounded.
Ruckman reminds the congregation that Luther dubbed the church
fathers, "church babies," for all the mistakes and heresies many were guilty of.
Infallibility was discussed, with Keating explaining that each
time a dead Catholic is Canonized (this means one can pray to them for intercession),
the Pope is infallible.
Priests forgiving sins was dealt with, but Ruckman made it quite
clear that the commission given to Peter (Matt. 16:18), was given to others too (Matt.
1818; John 20:22,23.) Paul, who was saved after this commission was given, demonstrated
in 2 Cor. 2:6, that he and all Saints could forgive people and their sins. What wasn't
mentioned what that God has ALREADY granted forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31; 13:38)
to those who respond to the Gospel (John 1:12.)
For the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist to be so (a literal
presence of Christ), Keating seemed to build his hypothesis once again on the NT originating
in Aramaic, which as already noted, never did.
It is interesting that this part of the Scripture (John 6) they
claim to take literally, but other parts of the Bible, are taken figuratively.
Ruckman points out the
many curses that the Council of Trent declared on people, are still applicable today:
one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean,
that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of
Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed
by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema" (Canon
"If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist
are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the
soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but
says that He is in it only as in a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema"
Keating tells us that this only means excommunication to those
that have left the Catholic Church. But a curse, dear boy, is still a curse - not
even Ron Hubbard or Sun Moon put curses on people.
The following quote came from Ruckman: "Catholics leaving the Church
are to be arrested, imprisoned or where necessary, executed by the secular civil authority"
(Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. VIII, pg. 261.)
Keating made clear his churches view in baptismal regeneration;
Ruckman mentioned that most of the Nazis were baptised Catholics!
Ruckman correctly pointed out, that in all of Pope John Paul II
foreign trips, not once did the Vicar of Christ ever mention Jesus' Second
The Second Commandment is missing from the Catholic Bible.
Hebrews 10:12-14 is missing from the Catholic Bible.
Keating's legal brain was unable to exegete Eph. 4:30.
Keating then goes on to misquote Scripture in another passage.
As a lawyer he should know better, for he does a terrible disservice to the word of
Ruckman points out that the verses which suggest a Christian can
be saved and then go to Hell, need to be re-read again, for Christians are sheep in
the Bible, and the dog returning to its vomit, is not a Christian.
Keating quotes more Bible verses when he argues for Mary's "perpetual
virginity," than any other subject that day.
Finally, at the end of the debate, it was interesting to note that
Karl wasn't praying, even though the whole congregation were praying, especially for
My overall opinion of Keating
was that he gave the Bible mere lip service, something that is so widespread in most
denominations today. I also came to the conclusion that Rome still wishes to be the
final authority and interpreter of the Bible. This is nothing new of course,
even with the ecumenical movement booming, they still like to take the reigns and
do so publicly.
Keating also made a weak
statement that Rome couldn't have been wrong for so long, without people noticing
such errors. This is not true. Many Catholics have spoken out, only to be excommunicated
for their troubles! And only in the last few hundred years or so, has the
average laymen been able to read and write, and certainly not Latin or Greek. Others
do not even bother to check their Bibles, so the level of ignorance and indifference
have always been a problem. For those that are educated,
such learned Catholics have been pre-conditioned and are biased to their Churches
teachings anyway, so the plain meaning of Scripture would probably have little or
no concern to them anyway.
Also because many Catholics are self-righteous, they don't like
the idea of a saved person being forever saved without the aid of the Catholic system.
The good works that many Catholics perform, tragically give them a false righteousness.
Nor do Catholics really understand what sin and forgiveness are. Their good works,
church attendence, the mass and Mary, simply cannot save them. And the Apostle
Paul penned this very fact, when he wrote about Israel's rejection of her Messiah,
and subsequent desire to be saved another way:
I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For
they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own
righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Rom.
Finally, Ruckman presented the imputed righteousness that every
sinner gets (and should be trusting in, not a wafer) when they believe on the Lord
is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Rom. 4:8.)
most of the Catholics present that day, what they heard may have been earth shattering
and I thank God for that. Because if my father and I hadn't heard the true gospel,
we would have remained in a false church, trusting them to be correct, with our souls
at stake! And what a terrible thought!
Our friends at www.warneveryone.com have
recently uploaded this full debate for all to view: