Podcast Episode 3

Apr 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Podcast

In this episode, Tom Riello interviews Sean Patrick and Tim Troutman on the topics of their recent articles on Called to Communion: Soli Deo Gloria and Sola Gratia.

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  1. Another of your contributing authors, Bryan Cross, made a point elsewhere that made much sense to me regarding sola gratia and good works and our participation. He used the example of charity, and says that when some hear the term ‘charity’, they tend to think of good works done in charity. But, charity is first and fundamentally a virtue, a disposition of the will. Where do we get this disposition? It is a gift of God, through grace. And this grace comes from Christ. By this charism of charity, if you will, we are enabled to do good works. Non-Catholics assume that when Catholics speak of performing acts of charity and other good works, we are striving to earn salvation. But in the understanding that Bryan shared, one can easily see what Augustine meant when he described that by our good works, God crowns not our merits, but his own good gifts. One also sees why Catholics say faith and works are inseparable. As Tom said, God doesn’t believe for me. Nor, does he perform works of mercy and charity for me. It is only by his grace that I can do these works. (Hope I didn’t totally flub your point as I restated it Bryan.)

  2. Brian,

    Thanks for the comment! The Reformed get very upset at Rome’s talk of “works” yet no one has a problem that I must have “faith” and that faith is my own, God does not believe for me. Yet some in the Reformed Camp are so concerned over faith sounding like a work that they speak of faith as passive or a faith that rests, following the WCF. Yet Scripture says faith works through love, which does not communicate passivity, or Hebrews 5:8-9, “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,” which speaks of obedience as necessary for salvation. In fact, it can be fairly stated that for St. Paul faith is obedience as he himself writes the obedience of faith twice in Romans (1:5; 16:26).

  3. Non-Catholics at this point in the discussion may say, “Hey faith is NOT a work – you guys are talking apples and oranges, but glossing over the fact that faith is distinct and apart from works.” Consider John 6:28-29 “Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.'” Here we see Jesus telling us directly that faith, believing in Jesus as Lord, is indeed a work. This is just like the Catholic Church teaches… faith and works are inseparable. All is by God’s grace – sola gratia – but God doesn’t believe for me, nor does he do good works for me, yet all glory is due him for that which he does in me. A mystery? You bet.

  4. Nice job, Sean Patrick!


  5. Good point Brian.

  6. Just a suggestion, but you should make these podcasts available in downloadable MP3 format. Personally, I don’t sit at my computer and listen to this kind of thing, but I would while driving.

  7. JJS,

    We’re on ITUNES. Subscribe to podcast CALLED TO COMMUNION.

  8. JJS, thanks for the suggestion. Here you go:


  9. And another suggestion: make it so editors comments show up in the list of recent comments!

  10. Your request has been granted :)

    – CTC Staff (#1 in blogosphere customer service)

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