Friday, May 30, 2008

Dave Hunt's A Woman Rides The Beast

Edit: As we've now had more of a Woman Rides The Beast post from Candy, I thought I'd bump this up the page.

I see that while Candy reports she has read a few more chapters of A Woman Rides The Beast, she hasn't posted specifically about it yet. Because there are many great Catholic resources available about this book, I thought I would include them all in a post, for future reference.

A Look At Dave Hunt, Leading Anti-Catholic Fundamentalist:

Rome is ever at the center of Hunt's thoughts. According to Hunt, the Catholic Church will play a crucially villainous role in uniting all the world's religions in the service of the anti-Jewish and totalitarian Antichrist. By that time, the true Christians will have been raptured into heaven; the Jews in Israel will then return to the center of the historical stage. The Antichrist will turn against the Whore of Babylon (the Catholic Church and her allies) and destroy her. Then the Jews will recognize Christ at last, and Christ will come on the clouds to establish His millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem. Such are the end times, according to Dave Hunt.

Strangely, Hunt is zealous in defending the Protestant Reformation but does not realize that his own emphasis on "deciding for Christ" inescapably implies the possibility of co-operating with the grace of justification — a possibility the Reformers constantly condemned but upon which the Catholic Church insists. Also, dispensationalism's radical distinction between Law and Grace, and its choice for the latter over the former, is implicitly an invitation to a lawless or antinomian spirit among Christians. Some dispensationalists even say that the Ten Commandments are not meant for gentile Christians in the present age. For this the dispensationalists are condemned as heretics by real Calvinists such as the late John Gerstner, who called dispensationalism "spurious Calvinism and dubious evangelicalism." Gerstner saw that the Church-Israel dichotomy caused dispensationalists to "retreat into a hyper-spiritual Gnosticism which spurns the structures of the visible church which God has graciously given His people."

A rebuttal of Mr. Hunt's statistics on the Spanish Inquisition:

James Hitchcock, a professor of history at St. Louis University, summarizes the conclusions of the best of modern Inquisition studies:

(1) The inquisitors tended to be professional legists and bureaucrats who adhered closely to rules and procedures rather than to whatever personal feelings they may have had on the subject.

(2) Those rules and procedures were not in themselves unjust. They required that evidence be presented, allowed the accused to defend themselves, and discarded dubious evidence.

(3) Thus in most cases the verdict was a "just" one in that it seemed to follow from the evidence.

(4) A number of cases were dismissed, or the proceedings terminated at some point, when the inquisitors became convinced that the evidence was not reliable.

(5) Torture was only used in a small minority of cases and was allowed only when there was strong evidence that the defendant was lying. In some instances there is no evidence of the use of torture.

(6) Only a small percentage of those convicted were executed -- at most one or two percent in a given region. Many more were sentenced to life in prison, but this was often commuted after a few years. The most common punishment was some form of public penance.

(7) The dreaded Spanish Inquisition in particular has been grossly exaggerated. It did not persecute millions of people, as is often claimed, but approximately 44,000 between 1540 and 1700, of whom less than two percent were executed.

Catholic Answer's Hunting The Whore of Babylon:

Some anti-Catholics claim the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18. Dave Hunt, in his 1994 book, A Woman Rides the Beast, presents nine arguments to try to prove this. His claims are a useful summary of those commonly used by Fundamentalists, and an examination of them shows why they don’t work.

Apparently, Candy's claim that Vicar of Christ = Anti-Christ originates from A Woman Rides The Beast. Biblical Truths For Baptists takes apart the origins:

Recall that in New Testament Greek, the principle meaning of the prefix 'anti-' is "against". Hence, the Greek 'antichristos' is translated as "opposed to the messiah". There is a secondary meaning of the Greek 'anti-', which connotes "substitution" or "correspondence". If you think that this is the meaning implied in Antichrist as used in the Bible (in the Iohannine epistles), then you are probably an antichrist yourself, as the text makes it clear that an antichrist is "opposed" to Christ, not His equivalent.

The Latin equivalent for the Greek prefix 'anti-' is, in fact, 'anti-'. That is because the Latin prefix 'anti-' is a direct loan-word from the Greek. Thus, the Latin translation of 'antichristos' is 'antichristus'.

In Latin, however, 'vicarius' is an adjective meaning "that which supplies the place of." Hence, the noun 'vicarius' means "substitute, proxy, place-holder, vicar," etc.,. The root of this word is 'vicis', "alternate".

The Greek equivalent of the Latin 'vicis' is 'eiko'. Hence, the Latin phrase 'vicarius Christi' might be literally translated into Greek as 'eikon Christou', or "icon of Christ," though I suppose a more apt translation might be found.

A book called Bearing False Witness?: An Introduction To The Christian Countercult by Douglas E. Cowan has some interesting sections on Dave Hunt and his writings. I don't think I'm permitted to excerpt from there, so I'll refrain. Look around page 165 for the Hunt section.

I couldn't resist including a link to the conversion story of Mark Connell, who credits Dave Hunt with leading him to the Catholic Church:

Every evening, my grudge against the Church was edged toward full-blown hatred as I reveled in the writings of professional anti-Catholics such as Dave Hunt and James G. McCarthy. Many a dark night slipped by as I continually "let the sun go down on my anger." Woe to the unprepared Catholic that crossed my path at this time! Woe to my Catholic family members! McCarthy and Hunt’s books allowed me to build an air tight case against the Church, but it seems that I never considered that if air could not get in or out, neither could the Light. And so, in the darkness of my prejudice, I grew as a misshapen plant. I bore bitter fruit on twisted branches. . .

I started reading "A Woman Rides the Beast" for a second time, but this time something was different. Whereas in the past this book made me feel smug about my escape from the "Whore of Babylon," it now caused my case to collapse in ruins. This book is so internally inconsistent and mean spirited, that I could only shake when I read it again. If Hunt had written in the same manner about the Jewish people, he would be termed an anti-Semite and be featured on Nightline. Consider the following quote from his book, "Those conditioned to believe that wine had become Christ’s blood were able to believe Hitler’s myth of blood as well." How could I be so blind to his prejudice?

As I studied this book, something else became apparent. In his rush to pummel Catholics, Hunt also wounded Luther. With his assault on Luther’s ‘heretical’ belief in the Real Presence, he shook my trust in sola scriptura. Why? Because Luther and Hunt both believe that Scripture alone should be used to determine doctrine. Yet, while using Scripture, both men were at opposite ends of the spectrum on what seemed to be a key doctrinal question: Is Christ physically present in the Eucharist? Hunt said this belief was "a fantasy" and "a foolish heresy" and cited many Scripture verses to support his belief. Luther disagreed . . .

Enjoy the reading!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Tracy said...

Excellent post Kelly!

Elena LaVictoire said...


Great post! Thanks for sharing these resources.

Kelly said...

Hey, I was calling everyday, trying to get them to fix my internet. At one point, they came out and broke the phone line, too! My provider is completely incompetent. And if I didn't think the other company was just as incompetent, I'd switch.

Elena LaVictoire said...

" Woe to the unprepared Catholic that crossed my path at this time! Woe to my Catholic family members! McCarthy and Hunt’s books allowed me to build an air tight case against the Church, but it seems that I never considered that if air could not get in or out, neither could the Light. And so, in the darkness of my prejudice, I grew as a misshapen plant. I bore bitter fruit on twisted branches. . ."

Unfortunately I think we have seen this exhibited all to often over on Candy's blog and on the blogs of her commenters. One of her followers wrote on her blog, "I hate the Catholic church, hate it."

Where is there room for love when the soul is so consumed with hate?

And in the darkness of their bitter anger, hatred and ignorance a mutant plant does grow. And the fruit it bears is nothing resembling the good fruit mentioned in the scriptures. It's a rotten fruit and I would say in a figurative sense is poisonous.

Anyway, good post Kelly. This is the type of thing we try to uproot over here at VTC - one mutant plant at a time.

Anonymous said...

I've been slowly making my way through Bearing False Witness?: An Introduction To The Christian Countercult .

I wish more people would do the same. There is little that gets me up in arms as much as willful ignorance.

Kelly said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the link to Bearing False Witness? I really like the Google Reader feature. I've been able to sample some really great books.

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly enough, my library has the book Bearing False Witness?: An Introduction To The Christian Countercult! Well, somewhere within the consortium of libraries the book is available anyway, so I ordered it and picked it up this morning. It will be easier to get into it without having to sit at the computer to read; that lasts only so long as I do it between work projects.

I like a lot of what I've read so far reading via Google reader.