Rome, Geneva, and the Incarnation’s Native Soil

Dec 30th, 2013 | By | Category: Blog Posts

nativity

This is a cross-post from my own website, Creed Code Cult, in which I’d like to summarize some of the points I have been making lately about the Catholic Church’s emphasis on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and why this dogma is more at home in a Catholic context than a Protestant one.

1. If there is a connection between Christology and Ecclesiology (Umm, hellooo ? The Church is the Body of which Christ is the Head, so I’d label this connection as “uncontroversial”), then the idea that the eternal Son assumed human nature and took on a real, flesh-and-blood body just like ours, is more consistent in a visible-church paradigm than in an invisible-church paradigm. The physical body of Christ was visible; you could point him out in a crowd or identify him with a kiss as Judas did for the Roman soldiers. And likewise, the Catholic paradigm posits a visible church that is as identifiable (in a “Look, it’s right there”  sense) as the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth was.

Protestantism, on the contrary, posits an invisible church that is more or less visible depending on the circumstances. The purer the church — whether universal or local — the more visible the church is. When it slips into impurity, its visibility fades. Like the siblings in Marty McFly’s family photograph in Back to the Future, the visible church in the Protestant paradigm can begin to disappear one minute only to reappear the next. If this dynamic of the so-called visible Protestant church were applied to the body of Jesus of Nazareth, we’d have a Christology that is more Docetic than orthodox.

2. A similar dynamic exists in the Protestant understanding of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Is Christ present at the Table or not? Like with the question “Is the church visible or not,” the answer here is, “It depends.” If the worshiper is a worthy receiver, then yes, he indeed feeds spiritually and truly upon the body and blood of Christ. But if the worshiper is unworthy and faithless, then what he is eating and drinking is not Christ’s body and blood, but simply ordinary bread and wine. This also smacks of Docetism, as if Jesus of Nazareth could have been truly present with Zaccheus, partially present with Nicodemus, and completely absent with Judas, even though they were all standing right in front of him in the flesh.

3. Moreover, the Catholic paradigm makes much better sense of the Incarnation by its gospel demonstrating the need for the ongoing and continual humanity of Christ. If salvation consists largely (almost exclusively to hear some Protestants tell it) in the forensic imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ by which the sinner is legally justified in the divine court, then the need for Jesus’ humanity can be said to have expired after the ascension. But if, as the Catholic Church maintains (echoing the fathers), salvation consists primarily in the deifying participation of humanity in the divine nature, which happens by means of Christ’s glorified humanity and risen flesh, then what happened at the Incarnation was a much bigger deal than some Protestants realize.

The Son didn’t don flesh for the purpose of the atonement only to shed it later, but he ever exists in that glorified flesh. Protestants, of course, will agree with this statement. But the forensic emphasis of their gospel, and their hand-wringing over anything that smacks of ontological participation in the Godhead, only shows how much more at home the mystery of the Incarnation is in a Catholic context. In fact, the insistence that the only “intersection” possible between the human and the divine happens by means of covenant and not by ontological participation not only ignores the Incarnation (which sure seems like a meeting of the human and divine to me), but it also calls the dogma altogether into question. I mean, if it’s true that God and man only meet covenantally and not ontologically, then it follows that either the Incarnation was not intended to bridge the gap between divinity and humanity, or that the Son only assumed humanity covenantally and not ontologically (which, of course, just mucks up the Incarnation beyond repair).

It seems to me, therefore, that while Protestants and Catholics affirm what we celebrate this time of year, the dogma of the Incarnation simply grows better and more healthily in Roman soil than in Genevan.

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  1. Dei Verbum makes the same point concerning the inspiration of Sacred Scripture. And, I think there are several other elements of the Faith that exhibit the pattern of the Incarnation. Just my own personal opinion now, I think you can see it in the relationship between faith and works, faith and reason, grace and free will.

    As an inquirer, I found this harmony held together by the dogma of the Incarnation extremely persuasive. The Incarnation is very tightly integrated in Catholicism, and less so in the alternatives. In Catholicism, everything is *Incarnational*, and in the world of the Fathers, people seemed to expect this kind of harmony, both its protagonists and its antagonists. For example, “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.” Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to Smyrnaeans, 7,1 (c. A.D. 110).

  2. re ‘look it’s right there’, there is often significant equivocation in protestant usage of ‘The Church’. When ‘the’ refers to, say, one’s local congregation then the definite article is being correctly used. However, usage often slides over to ‘The Church’ where only God knows what ‘The’ definitely is. Blackaby’s ‘Experiencing God’ is a good example, especially the latter half of that book. It is well worth asking whenever ‘the’ preceded the word ‘Church’, is it clear what the definite article is asserting or is the article merely propaganda?

  3. David,

    As an inquirer, I found this harmony held together by the dogma of the Incarnation extremely persuasive. The Incarnation is very tightly integrated in Catholicism, and less so in the alternatives. In Catholicism, everything is *Incarnational*. . .

    Yes, I found the same to be true. The whole “grace perfects nature” idea is built upon the Incarnation and the relationship between Christ’s divinity and humanity, and that rubric comes into play in almost every discussion of the faith we find ourselves in.

  4. Jason, We reformed have an ontological model, its completely different from the RCC one. In any relationship there are legal aspects and ( adopting a child) and participatory aspects. Adoption is legal, justification legal and forensic declaration( Romans 5:1 , 8:1 crystal clear and not statements about ontology), sanctification our spirit led works, then glorified bodies where we don’t become divine but truly human. So our participation in the divine nature Peter explains as fellowship and escaping corruption in the world by lusts. Redemption from sin. We groan with the saints to put on our glorified humanity fully in all righteousness and holiness. We look back on the incarnation and shout with the church Amen!, while we have a vital, intimate relationship with our saviour thru the Spirit that is described as looking in a mirror now but the we will see face to face. It isn’t about participating in an ongoing incarnation by the acts of the church trafficking in the divine. There is no absorption or fusion or commingling of the Spirit with our spirit. ” The Spirit bears witness with our spirit”. But we will see Him as he is and worship Him and put on immortality in all holiness and righteousness, and we will be like Him. ” Even as our outer body is wasting away our inner is being renewed each day. and just as Joshua was clothed in righteousness of Christ, we are clothed the same( 2 cor 5:21, 1 Cor. 1:30) Jeremiah 23 says His name will be called ” the Lord is our righteousness. We can say with paul we became the righteousness of God in Him. And that righteousness becomes ours through the spirit. Jason the burden of proof is on you and your intelegencia to show us where in god breathed scripture we are told that we participate in divine activities. You have 2 verses Peter, and Psalm 82 and you misinterpret both. Elohim in Psalm 82 clearly means ruler , judge because the next verse says you have judged the wicked wrongly. We will not accept the lofty claims those church fathers, who were as bitten by sola philosophia as you are, were correct in this. and we wont be convinced by Plato or Aristotle. we will maintain Paul’s disdain and rejection of greek philosophy he had in 1 cor 1: 12-18. Show us in the scripture as Luther said , otherwise it is a tale and speculation. Thx

  5. kevin:
    St. Paul makes it very clear that we as members of his mystical body indeed partipate in divine activities. Otherwise, this following verse makes no sense, and quite honestly, as a Protestant believer, I pretty much ignored it. I have never heard a satisfactory explanation for this verse until I converted.

    ESV ” Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

  6. Kevin,

    We reformed have an ontological model, its completely different from the RCC one.

    Would you then disagree with the unanimous testimony of the fathers that the end of our redemption is our “becoming God,” or being divinized?

    Jason the burden of proof is on you and your intelegencia to show us where in god breathed scripture we are told that we participate in divine activities.

    OK, Jesus is our sole Mediator, and yet I participate in that mediatorship by praying for others. Jesus is our great High Priest, and yet I participate in that priesthood by bearing others’ burdens. Jesus bore the cross, and yet I participate in that cross-bearing as I take up mine and follow. Jesus calls God his Father, and I participate in that sonship by adoption.

    In fact, I can’t think of a single aspect of the Christian life that’s NOT an example of my graciously participating in divine activities.

  7. Russ, with all due respect, that is not what that verse is talking about. He just finished telling them that Christ alone was sufficient to reconcile us to God in verses 1: 20-23. The Colossians heretics were teaching human works necessary for salvation. So Paul was hardly turning around and supporting the error. Paul is talking about his physical pain. This verse is consistent from a broader hermeneutical view Phil. 3:10,1:29,Romans 8:17, 2 Cor 4:17. In my flesh refers to Paul’s physical pain. When he says ” i do my share” he is indicating that physical pain he endures at the hands of the Christ hating persecutors: is the result of what he hopes to benefit and build up the church. You got to do better than that. Again the burden is on you guys to show from scripture we participate in divine activities.

  8. Jason, where does it say that by praying for others we are participating in his mediatorship. We pray, he mediates. There is one mediator and you and i can’t share in that office according to Paul. Yes we can offer up prayer and thanksgiving and supplication but we can’t mediate its crystal clear. ” there is one mediator between man and God , Christ. That position is filled. You and i can’t have that Job. And i think He is doing just fine, How about you Jason? Just like we can’t participate in his kingship, his mediatorship, or as the lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. Its not about becoming divine its about becoming truly human when we are glorified. Ya i disagree with Athanatius and i hold to the incarnation, ascension, parousia model. The RCC has lost the ascension and the second coming, because the Catholic church has substituted itself for the historical body of Christ and the incarnation and the kingdom are being played out in the church through the acts of the church. Thats why Ratzinger can say the Eucharist is the church and the church is Christ. Collapsing the head into the body. Absorbed into one totus Christus. A corporate faith which now includes muslims etc. Jesus said he wouldn’t eat with us until he comes again. There is a permanence in that separation. But Jason cosmic Jesus everywhere is Jesus of Nazareth nowhere. Augustine said the church has been deprived of the body of Christ until he comes again. So instead of the church being a collection of individuals who share gifts with each other it becomes one absorption. but i digress. And i don’t think you want to say we are members of the trinity, we are adopted into the family, have intimate vital fellowship with Him and someday will put on immortality and be truly human and all that was intended to be. Jason would you agree that we can’t ignore verses like Isaiah 48 ” my glory i will not share with another.I do agree with you in taking up our cross and following him, and bearing one anothers burdens. But that is analogous in fellowship, but i wouldn’t say I’m participating in His priesthood. See Jason its like the Marian ego that has flew in the church. She went from being the mother of Jesus to sort of a 4th member of the trinity. For the reformed we don’t see this in scripture and think it is carried away. Well i can think of one aspect, you didn’t die on a cross for the world, and aren’t mediating or interceding for sinners. But you think you are sadly. Thx bro

  9. Kevin (re: #8),

    Yes we can offer up prayer and thanksgiving and supplication but we can’t mediate its crystal clear.

    So, if someone prays for a brother in Christ, and that brother in Christ is better off in some way (strengthened, consoled, etc.) as a result, then isn’t it the case that the person praying is mediating in some sense? Of course, Christ is the only mediator between God and the human race in the sense that He alone could cause sinful men to be in right relationship with God. But, it doesn’t follow from that that we can’t participate in His mediatorship here and now.

    you didn’t die on a cross for the world, and aren’t mediating or interceding for sinners. But you think you are sadly.

    I don’t think Jason thinks he died on a cross for the world. And if he is not ever mediating for sinners in any sense, then what do you call it when he prays for his brothers who are sinners?

    Peace,
    John D.

  10. Kevin, We sinners do not participate in the objective redemption that took place on Calvary. But we do take part in its application. The Bible says if we call an errant brother back, we save him and ourselves.
    Just to make this more interesting, let me assert that although we sinners don’t share in the objective Redemption of the human race, Mary did in a subordinate way. Gen 3:15 says the Woman will crush the serpents head ( elsewhere scripture says believers will trod on the devil ). It also says the Woman and her seed will share the same enmity with the serpent and its seed Simeon said a sword would pass through Mary’s soul for the rise and fall of many. There’s more, but that should do for starters.

  11. Jason–

    It’s not that the purer the church, the more visible it is. Rather, the purer the congregation/denomination, the more church-like the visible entity is. It’s not that Michael J. Fox’s visage blurs in and out, but that the visible image looks sometimes more, sometimes less like the Parkinson’s spokesperson.

    In other words, we believe confessional Protestant churches more visibly resemble Christ’s body (due to our Christic purity) than a Catholic church which has a pedigree, a resume, a label (or whatever you would like to call it) but bears no ontological resemblance to the Savior. (It’s not less Docetic to be physical/visible if you’re not visibly the CHURCH.)

  12. John D, Well i mean let’s face Paul didn’t even understand it fully. I mean he says I’ve been crucified with Christ, it is no longer i who live, nevertheless i live. I mean he didn’t fully get it and none of us will till we see face to face. I mean, I’m going to stick to what the scriptures teach about bodily glorification. You see the point isn’t becoming divine its becoming fully human. We can’t go beyond what we are told. When Peter describes participation in the divine nature the word specifically means fellowship, like a married couple, or a monarch and his people. But i don’t think we should let greek philosophers define it. But see John D you believe that that participation is meritorious in justification and of course we believe you miss the forensics of the relationship. I continue to say when Paul uses dikaiousinae in no way could he have had infant baptism in mind. See for you guys this participation is the ongoing process of cooperating in the incarnation to perfection, justification and divinity. So really you guys take it beyond the things you are mentioning. I wouldn’t call Jason praying for sinners or brothers mediating, i would call it praying. The words mean different things. We are told anything we ask in his name, he will give to us, according to his will. We must ask in his name and according to his will. We pray, he mediates.

  13. Kevin (re: #12),

    When Peter describes participation in the divine nature the word specifically means fellowship, like a married couple, or a monarch and his people.

    Even if that’s the case, it is not incompatible with the type of participation Jason describes. Fellowship and unity as in marriage are not mutually exclusive with ontological participation.

    But see John D you believe that that participation is meritorious in justification and of course we believe you miss the forensics of the relationship.

    I am a novice in understanding both Catholic and Reformed doctrine. Nonetheless, if you are unwilling to make the distinctions Catholics makes in explaining different senses of merit and justification, then you can make “participation is meritorious in justification” sound like “we justify ourselves through works of law”.

    I wouldn’t call Jason praying for sinners or brothers mediating, i would call it praying. The words mean different things. We are told anything we ask in his name, he will give to us, according to his will. We must ask in his name and according to his will. We pray, he mediates.

    If you are unwilling to distinguish different senses of mediation, priesthood, sonship, etc. then you are talking right by Jason’s point in #6

    OK, Jesus is our sole Mediator, and yet I participate in that mediatorship by praying for others. Jesus is our great High Priest, and yet I participate in that priesthood by bearing others’ burdens. Jesus bore the cross, and yet I participate in that cross-bearing as I take up mine and follow. Jesus calls God his Father, and I participate in that sonship by adoption.

    Peace,
    John D.

  14. John D, But for the RCC guys to take their position in trafficking in the divine they have to collapse the head into the body. They have to minimize the incarnation, ascension, parousia. We see this start with Augustine and Athanatious. And i’ve always felt the Roman Catholic Church had a faulty view of the trinity. All the absorption and commingling and and elevation of Mary into a mediatrix role in my opinion changes how God chose to participate with us. But Hebrews is very clear about the jews needing the same thing as RCC, a visible altar, sacrifice, visible priesthood. Right people need the physical to have faith. And in a very straight forward way the writer of Hebrews says Christ’s altar, priesthood were in heaven and his sacrifice was done once and it perfected for all time those for whom he died. He says the first covenant has become obsolete. Jesus sits down after making satisfaction for sins. This idea of finality. But the jews don’t get it. And the writer tells them that their need for the visible is a shrinking back in their faith. For the Catholic mind it isn’t reasonable a finished act in history. The church can’t replace the Spirit, or the historical body of Christ. The church receives God’s grace it does not dispense it. The Spirit distributes all the spoils of Christ’s victory to us. John D, the scripture never talks about different senses of mediation, just one. And you must remember that Catholics in their ontological process are participating in their intercession and propitiation and their justification. So its more about that then just praying for someone. For the reformers there were two types of people covenant makers and covenant breakers. God condescended to man to redeem him and restore his full humanity not to make him a god. But the burden still is on them to show where the scripture teaches that we participate in the divine. Many of the fathers were under the influence of the greek model of a virtue treadmill out of nature into the divine. Thats where this comes from. It does not exist in scripture.

  15. Kevin (#14), You say that the burden is on Catholics to show where Scripture says we participate in the divine.

    The verse you are looking for is 2 Peter 1:4: “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

    If we participate in the divine nature, it follows that we participate in the divine mediation. It does not have to be understood as different “types” of mediation, for there is only one. It only needs to be understood that, though mediation has one type and one head, it nevertheless has several members with differing roles, in the same way Paul talks about the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

  16. For Catholics, Christ died as their head. For Calvinists, Christ died in their stead. And then, according to the Reformed, He died only for some. No free will, no choice, no participation in one’s own let alone anyone else’ salvation.
    The theological virtue of Faith is reduced to an empty hand that receives the alien righteousness of Christ. The saved are mute bystanders, not participants in the process.
    It makes one wonder why Christ became incarnate, suffered, died, and set up a Church. God could have just snapped His fingers and forgiven humanity. No need for all the hassle. God is nothing more than a puppet master.

  17. Jim, calling an errant brother back certainly we are doing God’s work on this earth. But are we mediating in any sense?, no. Why, Because we are specifically told there is one mediator. I might bring a new customer to my neighbor who is a shoe salesman but he does the sale with the person and gets the credit. Mary called herself a sinner in her magnificat, and specifically when she tried to enter jesus’s affairs He put her in her place. When the people said “behold your mother” He said rather these are my mother and brothers. Did Mary suffer when her son was dying, yes, but she didn’t die on a cross and take away the sins of the world. She does not qualify for any mediatorship. In fact Jesus called her woman,” woman what does this have to do with me” and through Jewish custom puts her in her place. Mary hasn’t heard a prayer since she died and would be offended at the horrific exaltation given to her. I mean the RCC has her responsible for everything. Praying to Mary is a serious offense to God. We protestants believe all this elevation, the pope, saints, Mary, themselves in one’s own works are a abomination to God and won’t go well for them. To God be the glory and the fact that he has condescend to man to redeem him and ultimately make us truly human in our glorified bodies is a gift. the saving purposes of God soar over the vicissitudes of obedience and disobedience. Its about looking back at a finished act and singing the amen! Not about continuing the incarnation through the acts of the church through a Platonic model of being. After 15 posts now I’m still waiting for the RCC guys to show us in scripture were we participate in divine activities. I know Jason and I have a difference of opinion on what mediating is. But if Paul tells us in Timothy there is one mediator then guess what you can’t have that job in any sense. Thx

  18. Jason,

    You wrote:

    If the worshiper is a worthy receiver, then yes, he indeed feeds spiritually and truly upon the body and blood of Christ. But if the worshiper is unworthy and faithless, then what he is eating and drinking is not Christ’s body and blood, but simply ordinary bread and wine. This also smacks of Docetism, as if Jesus of Nazareth could have been truly present with Zaccheus, partially present with Nicodemus, and completely absent with Judas, even though they were all standing right in front of him in the flesh.

    Doesn’t that first sentence apply just as much to the Catholic as to the Reformed? Also, could the fact that Catholics hold Christ’s real presence is ineffectual for those in mortal sin serve as evidence that Christ is not present in the way they think? Since, wherever Christ is present, He is always effective. This is similar to James White’s argument in both Mass Debates with Sungenis that: The sacrifice of the mass can’t be the sacrifice of Christ because the sacrifice of Christ actually perfects those for whom it is made. The corollary argument being: Christ can’t be substantially present in every wafer, since if He was, then He would always be effective.

    How would you respond?

    Peace,
    John D.

  19. Kevin (re#17) you wrote:

    Mary called herself a sinner in her magnificat, and specifically when she tried to enter jesus’s affairs He put her in her place… [I]n fact Jesus called her woman,” woman what does this have to do with me” and through Jewish custom puts her in her place.

    1. Mary nowhere calls herself a sinner in the Magnificat prayer. She does give thanks to God “her Saviour”, but we are all saved from original sin through Christ. Mary was saved at the moment of her conception, rather than in Baptism. In this way, she was made a fitting Ark for the Word made flesh, and could be united to the Holy Spirit because she was “full of grace” (since nothing unclean can enter into union with God).

    2. Jesus would have violated the 4th Commandment in speaking so curtly and disrespectfully to his mother. You are hearing that word “woman” with modern, worldly ears. Hear it instead with the ears of faith: “this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken”. In the New Creation, Jesus is the new Adam – and Mary is the new Eve. Jesus’ reference to Mary as “woman” is an acknowledgement of this role, and just as sin entered the world through a woman, now redemption enters the world through the womb of Mary.

    You seem to have overlooked that Jesus did, in fact, perform the miracle at Mary’s behest – the first recorded instance of Mary serving as intercessor.

    Pax Christi,
    Frank La Rocca

  20. Kevin Failoni continues to say that the burden of proof is on the Catholics to show in sacred scripture where we participate in Christ’s redemptive work. It seems to me that numerous comments have very charitably done just that. I think the bigger question involves turning the table around and asking Kevin to prove where scripture supports the idea of “sola scriptura”, which is what he mistakenly seems to assent to. I apologize if this comment is tangential.

  21. Lee (re: #20)

    Welcome to CTC. Under the ‘About’ tab above, you’ll see a “Posting Guidelines” page. There you’ll see that we ask all those who wish to comment here to abide by certain guidelines, among which is the requirement that other participants be addressed in the second person, rather than in the third person. So, please, in future comments address fellow participants directly, rather than talking about them as though they are not ‘present.’ Thanks very much for helping us keep our comment box an environment conducive for fruitful, authentic dialogue!

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  22. Eirik,

    It’s not that the purer the church, the more visible it is. Rather, the purer the congregation/denomination, the more church-like the visible entity is. It’s not that Michael J. Fox’s visage blurs in and out, but that the visible image looks sometimes more, sometimes less like the Parkinson’s spokesperson.

    In other words, we believe confessional Protestant churches more visibly resemble Christ’s body (due to our Christic purity) than a Catholic church which has a pedigree, a resume, a label (or whatever you would like to call it) but bears no ontological resemblance to the Savior. (It’s not less Docetic to be physical/visible if you’re not visibly the CHURCH.)

    You say that “confessional Protestant churches” better resemble Christ’s body. How many bodies did Jesus of Nazareth have? And how many ecclesial bodies does he have? Of how many hierarchically-organized visible bodies is he the Head?

    I would maintain that Jesus’ high-priestly prayer (as well as the teachings of the apostles) demonstrate that there was one visible church (many congregations throughout the world, but one visible church). “I believe in ONE holy catholic and and apostolic church.”

    Where is that visible church in Protestantism? You can’t say “the visible church consists of all the baptized,” because the presence of 100 baptized people in a town does not constitute a visible church in that town without some form of hierarchical government and structure. Well arguing from the lesser to the greater, if 100 baptized people living in a town do not mean there’s a visible church in that town, then neither do all the baptized on earth constitute the visible church on earth.

    The best Protestantism can do is point to an invisible church, and to visible churches. But what you can’t do, I would maintain, is speak meaningfully of a single visible church.

  23. Lee, Let there be……, Let the earth bring forth…… In the beginning was the Word. the word was before the church. You guys will never get that. You guys acknowledged the cannon that was already there. Well thanks. you put the already existing known cannon in a binder for us . Again thank you. “Faith comes thru hearing and hearing through the word of God.” God brought forth the Earth and salvation through his Word and his Spirit. 1 Peter 1:23, James 1:18. He called Lazurus out with his Word. The word creates the church not vice versa. You cannot. Its totally fair to ask where the scripture teaches we participate in divine activities since it is God breathed. and since Plato didn’t posses the Holy Spirit. Can someone answer for me, Why Aquinas didn’t reject the greek pagan philosophers like Paul did in 1 Cor 1:12-18. Paul completely dismisses sola philosophia as a way of coming to the truth. Lee i don’t think that the burden has been met at all. The verse in Peter simply means fellowship and partaking in the sense of escaping the corruption that is in the world by lust. IOW redemption. And Psalm 82 in context is talking about rulers judges because of its context. Nowhere in scripture does it say we mediate or intercede or traffic in the divine. In fact the scripture says that we don’t mediate because in timothy it is clear there is one mediator between man and God. Not you or me or Mary but Christ. In fact we don’t become divine but truly human in our glorified state. thx

  24. God causes relations between himself and his creatures. Those relations are real in us, but not in God. We change and he remains unchanged. It seems that the legal relation, as opposed to the ontological, displays more God-likeness in the creature. Neither are changed.

    Eric

  25. Frank, Mary was a sinner like you and I. And incidentally she was saved through faith not infant baptism. The marian ego went crazy in the 13th century. She went from being the mother of Jesus in the scripture to the fourth member of the trinity. She is not qualified for mediation because she didn’t die on a cross for the sins of the world. And she wasn’t assumed in to heaven in 1958 . The only time the term queen of heaven is used in scripture is with a pagan kingdom, did you know that frank. The horrific exaltation of Mary in the catholic church above Christ and God is very dangerous. I mean you guys have her responsible for everything. and if you will take all the scriptures with Mary in them in the Gospels, you will see a pattern of Jesus separating himself from her by a jewish custom of respect. He calls he woman. When she tries to get involved in his ministry, He says ” Woman what does this have to do with you”. And when someone said Lord behold your mother, he said rather here is my mother, brother, sister. Redemption did not come from Mary. She did not die on a cross. ” Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”She called herself his bond slave and rejoiced in her savior.

  26. Jason, If i may correct you and Calvin rightly points out, it is not in the original creed i believe in one holy catholic church. It is i believe one holy catholic church. I believe in God the father, in the son, in the spirit, and i believe one holy catholic church. Incidentally you would get an argument from the church of Jerusalem and others( greek) that existed before. Just because Rome claims home office means nothing. The reformers maintained wherever the word is preached and the sacraments are administered rightly constitutes the church. With all due respect Jason, Rome is certainly right about the unity of he church, but it is wrong by thinking that unity means anything with the wrong gospel. When Rome changed the Gospel we believe it stopped being a church. There is one visible church and its constituted by all who are trusting in Christ alone. But Christ’s physical body is in heaven for he says i will not eat again with you until i return. He had a body like ours and it is contained in one place. When Steven was taken up he saw Jesus standing. His ecclesial body is not the Roman church as substitute of his historical body, but we are his ecclesial body, all who put faith in Christ alone andposses the Holy Spirit. You kep asking where is the visible church in protestantism. Where were the churches of the new testament Corinth, Phillipi, Rome, etc. Fly to Scottsdale and ill take you to the visible church with me. What in the world do you mean Jason that 100 christians in one town don’t constitute a church because there isn’t a governmental hierarchy. The spirit blows where and when he wills Jesus said.

  27. @Kevin Failoni

    You said,

    When Rome changed the Gospel we believe it stopped being a church. There is one visible church and its constituted by all who are trusting in Christ alone.

    Why should I trust you or your particular religious community and what they say is the Gospel or what isn’t? Why should I even accept that you speak authoritatively on the subject?

    What in the world do you mean Jason that 100 christians in one town don’t constitute a church because there isn’t a governmental hierarchy. The spirit blows where and when he wills Jesus said.

    It’s not just about the governmental hierarchy as if simply having it somehow constitutes the Church. Rather, it is that this clergy are connected to those who have the power and authority vested in them by virtue of succession that makes the sacraments valid, the tradition valid, and the liturgy valid. When I go to my local parish I am connected to the true Church of Christ through all of these. If I were to go to the local non-denominational community I am merely in the midst of a congregation of people who have taken our book and speak from it. That is not to say they don’t speak well and at times speak true, but they miss everything else.

    I like what Iraneus said in Against Heresies:

    “The true knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere”

  28. Kevin (#(25)

    Since you did not engage any of the points I made with evidence or argument, but instead simply extended and continued your “rant”, I do not see fruitful dialogue with you as a possibility for now.

    May God guide you into all truth and lead you to his One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church.

    Frank

  29. Hi Kevin

    You stated- After 15 posts now I’m still waiting for the RCC guys to show us in scripture were we participate in divine activities. Scott Alt responded in Comment 15- 2 Pt 1:4 “by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature”. Not sure what your interpretation of this verse is but it seems very clear to me.

    Also, the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary was declared by Pius XII in 1950, not 1958.

  30. Jason,

    How does the Roman Catholic Church establish its own infallible authority? If the Roman Catholic Church believes that infallible authorities (like the Scriptures) require external authentication, then to what authority does the church turn to establish the grounds for its own infallible authority? Here is where the Roman Catholic model runs into some difficulties. There are three options for how to answer this question:

    (1) The church could claim that its infallible authority is authenticated by (and derived from) the Scriptures. But this proves to be rather vicious circular reasoning. If the Scriptures cannot be known and authenticated without the authority of the church, then you cannot establish the authority of the church on the basis of the Scriptures. You cannot have it both ways. Moreover, on an exegetical level, one would be hard-pressed to find much scriptural support for an infallible church (but we cannot enter into this question here).

    (2) The church could claim that its infallible authority is authenticated by external evidence from the history of the church: the origins of the church, the character of the church, the progress of the church, and so forth. However, these are not infallible grounds by which the church’s infallibility could be established. In addition, the history of the Roman Church is not a pure one – the abuses, corruption, documented papal errors, and the like do not naturally lead one to conclude that the church is infallible regarding ‘faith and morals.’

    (3) It seems that the only option left to the Catholic model is to declare that the church’s authority is self-authenticating and needs no external authority to validate it. Or, more bluntly put, we ought to believe in the infallibility of the Roman Catholic church because it says so. The Catholic Church, then, finds itself in the awkward place of having chided the Reformers for having a self-authenticating authority (sola scriptura), when all the while it has engaged in the very same activity by setting itself up as the self-authenticating authority (sola ecclesia). On the Catholic model, the Scripture’s own claims should not be received on their own authority, but apparently the church’s own claims should be received on their own authority. The Roman Catholic Church, functionally speaking, is committed to sola ecclesia.”

    How are you in a better position than when you embraced sola scriptura?

  31. Erik,

    Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the actual post, if you don’t mind. If you’d like to whittle this one down to something pertinent, I will address it when I can.

    Thanks.

  32. Same goes for you, Kevin. This is not a catch-all thread for every last thing about the CC that you don’t like. Comments that stray too far off-topic will not be approved.

  33. Kevin (re: #4)

    So our participation in the divine nature Peter explains as fellowship and escaping corruption in the world by lusts. Redemption from sin. We groan with the saints to put on our glorified humanity fully in all righteousness and holiness. We look back on the incarnation and shout with the church Amen!, while we have a vital, intimate relationship with our saviour thru the Spirit that is described as looking in a mirror now but the we will see face to face.

    What do you think of the problems I pointed out with R. Scott Clark’s position (quite similar to yours), in comment #347 in the “Imputation and Paradigms” thread?

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  34. Jason,

    You wrote:

    But the forensic emphasis of their gospel, and their hand-wringing over anything that smacks of ontological participation in the Godhead, only shows how much more at home the mystery of the Incarnation is in a Catholic context.

    You then later go on to say:

    I mean, if it’s true that God and man only meet covenantally and not ontologically

    My question to you, is where do you get the idea that Protestants believe that God and man only meet covenantally and not ontologically?

    To me, the two citations above represents a non-sequitur in your blog post. In other words, in your writing here, the forensic aspect of justification does not mean what you think it means.

    Regards,
    Andrew

  35. Daniel, why should we accept a church that preaches a gospel that is opposed to the one Paul preaches, whose words we adopt? You may trust who you wish.The scripture says “Faith comes through hearing and hearing through the word of God”. 1 Peter 1:23, James 1:18. The spirit brings salvation through the Word. God is the bearing on man’s conscience not the church. The spirit dispenses Christ’s victory spoils and his grace not the church ex opere operato We reformed believe the church is wherever the word is preached rightly and the sacraments administered rightly. That is Apostolic succession. We reject Romanist gospel as a false gospel. The true church has always known this and has separated themselves from this community and even suffered death. We reject the twisted list of so called popes and antipopes and revised lists so twisted it would be a bad story. We reject a false priesthood. For the word priest (Heirus) never appears in the new testament and Hebrews is clear the old sacrifice by a priest on an altar has passed away. We reject a life of sacramental efficacy as justifying a man for heaven. We accept Paul at at his word that faith alone justifies a man. We reject that Paul could have ever, ever had in mind infant baptism with the word dikaiousinae. And we believe as the great London preacher that of all the dreams that have ever deluded men and of all the blasphemies that have been uttered in all manner of absurdity is the Bishop of Rome could be the head of the church on earth. No these popes die and if its head were dead how could the church live. But Christ is the head of His church and the church forever lives in Him. christ did not come to earth and pour out his life to have the pope come in and steal the glory. He didn’t die on a cross and pour out his blood for his people. That a mere sinful man like ourselves should be put up as the vicar of God. How do those reasons work for you Daniel?

  36. I will try to be better at sticking to the thread Jason.my apologies everyone.

  37. Andrew (re: #34)

    My question to you, is where do you get the idea that Protestants believe that God and man only meet covenantally and not ontologically?

    See footnote 14 in “Nature, Grace, and Man’s Supernatural End: Feingold, Kline, and Clark.” See also “Horton on being made “One Flesh with Christ”.”

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  38. Bryan,

    Ok, thanks, that is new to me. I may need to look more into the book you cited.

    Some protestants (i.e. me) affirm this:

    Q. 66. What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
    A. The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.

    So I take exception to the notion that protestants believe that God and man do not meet ontologically. But this bears looking into. Thanks again.

    Regards,
    Andrew

  39. Andrew (re: #38)

    So I take exception to the notion that protestants believe that God and man do not meet ontologically.

    My response to your making this claim would be the same response I gave to “RefProt” in comments #45, #66, #81, #87, and #92 in the “Habitual Sin and the Grace of the Sacraments” thread.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  40. Jason,

    In #30 I am responding to your comment in #22:

    “The best Protestantism can do is point to an invisible church, and to visible churches. But what you can’t do, I would maintain, is speak meaningfully of a single visible church.”

    If you guys bring up stuff unrelated to the post you should be willing to be challenged on it.

    You seem to take for granted that it is Christ’s intention that there be one visible church
    (administratively) on earth. I don’t grant you that a priori. Prove it to me.

    I guess if you delete your own comment at #22 I can withdraw mine.

    Jason – A similar dynamic exists in the Protestant understanding of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Is Christ present at the Table or not? Like with the question “Is the church visible or not,” the answer here is, “It depends.” If the worshiper is a worthy receiver, then yes, he indeed feeds spiritually and truly upon the body and blood of Christ. But if the worshiper is unworthy and faithless, then what he is eating and drinking is not Christ’s body and blood, but simply ordinary bread and wine.

    Erik – Reconcile this statement with Belgic 35 , especially:

    “Moreover, though the sacraments and thing signified are joined together, not all receive both of them. The wicked person certainly takes the sacrament, to his condemnation, but does not receive the truth of the sacrament, just as Judas and Simon the Sorcerer both indeed received the sacrament, but not Christ, who was signified by it. He is communicated only to believers.

    How is it “ordinary bread and wine” if they are taking the sacrament to their condemnation?

    Jason – Moreover, the Catholic paradigm makes much better sense of the Incarnation by its gospel demonstrating the need for the ongoing and continual humanity of Christ.

    Erik – Reconcile this with Belgic 19, specifically:

    “These are the reasons why we confess him to be true God and true man– true God in order to conquer death by his power, and true man that he might die for us in the weakness of his flesh.”

    We also affirm Jesus’ continuing humanity in Belgic 26:

    “And further, to encourage us more to approach him he says, “Since we have a high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has entered into heaven, we maintain our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to have compassion for our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in all things, just as we are, except for sin. Let us go then with confidence to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace, in order to be helped.”^

    Your site appears to be aimed at Reformed Protestants. It would be helpful if you would reference Reformed understandings of these doctrines and not just some generic “Protestantism”. The Three Forms of Unity & The Westminster Standards are always at your disposal.

  41. Bryan, sorry it took me awhile to read go back and read all that. The righteousness of Christ that Paul says we become in Christ by imputation in 2 Cor 5:21. comes from outside of us right. Good news. News comes form the outside. But it doesnt stay outside of us. It becomes ours through the Spirit. Its implanted in us. Paul says that each day as the outer is wasting away the inner is being renewed. We are a new creature, behold the old has passed away, the new has come. In every relationship there are legal aspects and participatory aspects. Justification, adoption legal, declared, like adopting a child. Peter says it is an inheritance that can not fade away guaranteed by the Spirit, ( Roman 5:1, 8:1 crystal clear judgments , not statements of nature or ontology) from which springs sanctification and the bodily glory which is not becoming divine but truly human, in all that God intended our humanity to be. The reformed rightly concluded that the RCC locating a need for sanctifying grace in pre fall Adam shifted the blame for sin from man to God. We believe Adam was created upright with all the capacity to fulfill God’s commands. He said all I have created is Good. We believe that mans created nature is good because otherwise God would created something flawed needing infused habits. after the fall all of man is corrupted. Of course the RCC adopted the great theologian aristottle’s model that the reason survived pristine. And so we have a different model on sin. We believe for this reason Paul says not even deeds done in righteousness can stand before God because they are tainted by our sine. He is clear in Romans there are none righteous. God transferred the Law to Christ and he fulfilled it allowing us to be declared righteous. One great church father called it the Oh sweet exchange. We see the cloaking metaphor all over scripture. Read the account of Joshua. God cloaks him with the white robes of righteousness while he was dirty and being accused by Satan. Etc. I hope i addressed your points.

  42. Frank, Im sorry you feel that i didn’t address your points on Mary. I thought i had. And i am a member of the one holy universal catholic church. And I can say with the apostle Paul ” For by grace i have been saved thru faith and that not of myself, it is a gift of god, not a result of works, lest any man should boast. i am not saved by baptism, nor sacraments, nor works, but by faith in my savior. And i can affirm the Aposte Johns confirmation to me in 1 john 5:13 ” these things have been written unto you who believe in the son of God that you have eternal life. For Christ is the end of the law to those who believe. And i have received the free gift of righteousness in Romans 5:17, and i have been perfected by him ( hebrews 10:14). and i have been made complete in colossians. And i have been transferred fro m the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, forgiven, justified , redeemed. John says to mer ” truly, truly, i say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me , has eternal life,and does not come into judgment, but has passed(past tense) out of death into life. Amen Frank.

  43. Kevin (re: #4)

    So our participation in the divine nature Peter explains as fellowship

    I agree that participation includes and is ordered to fellowship, but there can be no fellowship with God without participation, because a creature cannot have fellowship with God without grace. (See “Pelagian Westminster?“) Fellowship with God is not merely loving Him as Creator, but loving Him as Father. And that involves loving Him with the Love by which He loves Himself. Our participation in that Love by which God Loves Himself is what is called agape. And as St. Thomas explains in Summa Theologica I-II Q.110 a.3, grace is not the same thing as agape, or faith or hope. Rather, faith, hope, and agape are said to be supernatural infused virtues (i.e. excellencies), that direct us to that supernatural end (of knowing and loving God as He knows and loves Himself). But they cannot be excellencies within us in relation to *our* human nature, because that would elide the Creator-creature distinction, which is the error of Pelagianism, as I have explained here. As St. Thomas explains, faith, hope, and agape can be excellencies for us only if by grace we are made sharers in the divine nature. Hence he writes:

    But it is manifest that the virtues acquired by human acts of which we spoke above (55, seqq.) are dispositions, whereby a man is fittingly disposed with reference to the nature whereby he is a man; whereas infused virtues dispose man in a higher manner and towards a higher end, and consequently in relation to some higher nature, i.e. in relation to a participation of the Divine Nature, according to 2 Peter 1:4: “He hath given us most great and most precious promises; that by these you may be made partakers of the Divine Nature.” And it is in respect of receiving this nature that we are said to be born again sons of God.

    And thus, even as the natural light of reason is something besides the acquired virtues, which are ordained to this natural light, so also the light of grace which is a participation of the Divine Nature is something besides the infused virtues which are derived from and are ordained to this light, hence the Apostle says (Ephesians 5:8): “For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light.” For as the acquired virtues enable a man to walk, in accordance with the natural light of reason, so do the infused virtues enable a man to walk as befits the light of grace.

    So the infused virtues (i.e. faith, hope, and agape) dispose us to that supernatural end, but they do so as virtues in relation to a nature, one by which these are virtues, and to which these virtues are directed. In the case of natural virtues, we have our natural powers through our human nature, and our natural virtues are directed to the end or telos of human nature. But because of the Creator-creature distinction, our natural end is not God’s perfect divine life; we are not God. So in order to share in God’s perfect divine life, we need grace, by which we are made participants in the divine nature, such that we can enter into the divine life. This is why even Adam and Eve needed grace *before* the Fall in order to have fellowship with God. To deny this is to deny the Creator-creature distinction, and thus either fall into polytheism (i.e. by treating man’s given nature as equivalent to God’s) or atheism (i.e. by reducing God’s nature to that of a mere man).

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  44. […] Stellman continues his brief for Roman Catholic superiority with the twist of posting at his own blog and, making his membership in Jason and the Callers […]

  45. Kevin,
    To pare this down to its most simple, yet sublime form would be to ask the basic question, “what is grace”?
    Of course Adam and Eve had grace before the fall . . . grace is participation in life of the Trinity. Hence after the fall, God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish, but have eternal Life ……. follow all of John 3. With this paradigm of grace as participation in the life of the Holy Trinity – it so simply follows how throughout history God is continually beckoning to us and providing for us the Way, the Truth and the Life to come back to Eden, to the eternal life we were created to have. As we just celebrated the glorious Incarnation of our Savior, may we pray that all men may hear the words of Love and believe in Him, and then most joyously, begin on our journey to the fulfillment of His Salvation.
    Peace and blessings

  46. Bryan,

    Fellowship with God is not merely loving Him as Creator, but loving Him as Father. And that involves loving Him with the Love by which He loves Himself. Our participation in that Love by which God Loves Himself is what is called agape.

    Okay, I don’t really have much problem with that. But if we love Him with the love by which He loves Himself, that love will persevere because God’s love for Himself is perfect and unfailing. If He gives it to us, we can’t lose it, otherwise He never gave us His perfect love and thus, the agape of which he speaks.

    Which basically destroys Roman soteriology and the notion that one can be truly saved at one point and yet not persevere until the end.

  47. Jason,

    The purer the church — whether universal or local — the more visible the church is.

    You speak of this as if it is not a RC belief as well, but I don’t see how that follows. You might speak of it differently, speaking of the fullness of the faith being most expressed in the RC Church even though the EO and even Protestant communions are also visible churches. So I don’t see how your charge of docetism does not apply to Rome as well. Surely Rome is purer than Constantinople. Surely the truth of the apostolic faith is more visible in Rome than in Constantinople according to Rome’s own view of itself.

    But if the worshiper is unworthy and faithless, then what he is eating and drinking is not Christ’s body and blood, but simply ordinary bread and wine.

    Erik addressed this well, but surely you know that one can faithlessly eat and drink of Christ unto judgment, as the Reformed confessions—and Paul—indicate.

    If salvation consists largely (almost exclusively to hear some Protestants tell it) in the forensic imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ by which the sinner is legally justified in the divine court, then the need for Jesus’ humanity can be said to have expired after the ascension. But if, as the Catholic Church maintains (echoing the fathers), salvation consists primarily in the deifying participation of humanity in the divine nature, which happens by means of Christ’s glorified humanity and risen flesh, then what happened at the Incarnation was a much bigger deal than some Protestants realize.

    Among some Protestants, there is certainly a neglect of the incarnation. But none of the above follows. First, which Reformed confession says that salvation is “largely” forensic. It includes the forensic, and there is an emphasis on the forensic since the Reformation—we have Rome’s errors to thank for that, IMO—but the confessions don’t speak of it as “largely” forensic, and they devoted significant attention to the other key elements of salvation such as sanctification, adoption, and glorification. Thus, this assertion that the humanity of Christ can be set aside is bogus. We need His ongoing humanity for our sanctification, adoption, and glorification as well. His humanity remains His example. We continually draw strength from both His humanity and deity in the Lord’s Supper. Continual participation in His glorified flesh contributes to our eventual glorification.

    I mean, if it’s true that God and man only meet covenantally and not ontologically, then it follows that either the Incarnation was not intended to bridge the gap between divinity and humanity, or that the Son only assumed humanity covenantally and not ontologically (which, of course, just mucks up the Incarnation beyond repair).

    Well, Calvin spoke of us being deified, so the idea of ontological meeting is not foreign to the Reformed tradition. It all depends on what you mean by an ontological meeting. Further, even if one were to deny an ontological meeting and posit an exclusively covenantal meeting, that doesn’t really do anything to the Incarnation. One could say that God assumed our flesh ontologically so that He could meet with fallen people covenantally. He could not truly meet with us covenantally without it, given the barrier of sin, so He had to condemn sin in the flesh and take on a pure, unfallen human nature, in order to meet with us truly once more.

    What I’m saying is that your critique doesn’t seem to recognize the basic parameters of Reformed thought on the incarnation or salvation.

  48. Bryan, The bible does not speak of any of this mechanical hair splitting of grace. And the scripture down not speak of infused substance. What is ironic Bryan is Paul vociferously rejects any greek wisdom or pagan attempt to get to the truth in 1 Corinthians 1:18-26 So my question to you if Paul says they did not come to the truth through human wisdom why do you adopt a model that attempts to marry a christian faith to a pagan philosophy? grace is simply undeserved favor given to a sinner. It redeems nature. It does not elevate outside of itself. the things you mention faith, hope, and love are all a work of the Spirit in us through the word. And the legal justification is by faith leading to the rest of the ordo. We don’t become divine through the acts of the church on a lifelong treadmill to perfection where by we continue to receive this substance ex opere operato. None of this nonsense can be located in scripture. There are no depositions for God’s grace. Grace is a free gift in scripture. If God gave grace as a result of a human action or ability it would be a reward, not a gift. As i have said before for RCC justification is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward, and for Paul it was opposite, it was a declaration of someone who was completely unqualified. Salvation and participation isn’t a lifelong virtuous climb fetching all the do gooders back to the Godhead. The saints are groaning to put on their true glorified humanity which will be like Him in all holiness and righteousness. This is all a work of the Spirit. The Spirit brings grace to the heart of man. Regeneration is a work of the spirit through God’s word and brings all the other graces. I reject the scholastic model which was semi pelagian. And now that Pope John Paul would extend salvation to muslims who live a good life and kiss the koran, and at the same time call us seperate brethren, the RCC has become more pelagian. Finally Bryan grace is opposed to sin not nature. Grace redeems nature or renews it, it does not elevate it out of itself. To say Adam and Eve needed infused substance before the fall is to say God created man flawed and locates sin on God , not man. God said all he made was good. We all agree Catholics and reformed that creation itself was a gracious act of God. But you guys continue to deny the forensic aspects of our relationship with God. You can’t change the language, imputation is all over it. We reformed have a vital participation with our Lord, intimate, through the spirit of God. We can finally move away from the medieval model of infused habits giving way to God working through speech acts( the Word) 1 Peter1: 23, James 1:18 by his Spirit, calling us regenerating us, faith. justification, sanctification, glorification.Roman 8:28-31. All Aorist past tense. Bryan i call on all you RCC guys to reject greek wisdom as Paul does as a mode of understanding the truth. ” For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not come to know God.” The medieval model is gone.

  49. Bryan, i misspelled disposition. Hope your having a good new Year.

  50. Kevin FailoniNo Gravatar December 30th, 2013 5:46 pm :
    Jason, We reformed have an ontological model, its completely different from the RCC one…..We will not accept the lofty claims those church fathers, who were as bitten by sola philosophia as you are, were correct in this. and we wont be convinced by Plato or Aristotle. we will maintain Paul’s disdain and rejection of greek philosophy he had in 1 cor 1: 12-18. Show us in the scripture as Luther said , otherwise it is a tale and speculation. Thx

    You’ve given us a very difficult standard. You’ve required of us something which you don’t require of your own doctrines. Protestant doctrines are not in Scripture. They contradict Scripture. Scripture does not say that everything will be shown from Scripture. Scripture says:

    Ephesians 3:10
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

    And again:
    Hebrews 13:7
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the [a]result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

    Scripture continually points to the Church as the Teacher of the Word of God and to Tradition as the Word of God which must be upheld alongside the Scripture.

    If Scripture does not insist on Scripture alone, why do you?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  51. I am a catholic for about 30 years and a protestant for about 34 years. I listen to protestant argue for their viewpoint. What I see is some strained camel always from Paul, never from Jesus. There are about 38,000 different sects all having a new understanding, unknown to the Catholic church, that raises a new church to the glory of Paul. These views from Paul are hidden knowledge, in the edges of what he says. Protestant claim they follow Jesus, but they choose instead the new theology of Paul over the simple theology of Christ. In protestant circles Christ seems not be up on Theology, but Paul is. If not why do they preach Paul every single Sunday, Christ hardly gets a nod. If you put Christ on a higher plain then Paul none of this would come up. Once saved always saved is an attack on the free will of God, by holding you mouth a certain way and saying some voodoo words you make God into a slave. He through Jesus says you must be perfect to be in heaven, voodoo says God can not see that you are sinner to be judged because he only sees Jesus. So heaven is full of less then perfect people and Christ is a liar. Paul is either a Catholic talking to Catholics who know because they were taught that 2+2=4, protestants think that those in the pews who do not have the Holy Spirit have a perfect right to claim that 2+2=5, or 6 what ever. Paul was given the Holy Spirit to teach all that Christ did in remembrance. In a protestant bible study does any one heard the rushing wind, seen the crowns of fire, or the total remembrance of all that Christ did? If not you do not have the Holy Spirit and you are just making it up, 38,000 sects making it up. I don’t have the Holy Spirit, I am the Ethiopian in the chariot waiting for Philip who is the Church to teach me, because the Church has the Holy Spirit.

  52. Bryan, Augustine, for all his great accomplishments as a theologian of grace, introduced a legacy of ontology significantly determined by neoplatonic sensibilities, a legacy refined by Aquinas. Unlike animals, human beings have certain capacities for instance, to learn languages or a capacity for generosity. These capacities are realized in action when particular human beings speak languages or perform generous actions. But between capacity and action there is an intermediate state possible. when we say that a man can speak french, we mean neither that he is actually speaking french, nor that speaking french is a mere logical possibly, States such as knowing french are dispositions. A disposition is halfway between a capacity and an action, between pure potentiality and actuality.For Aquinas regeneration is an infused habit or disposition that is somewhere between a mere logical possibility and a realized action: prevenient, but not actual grace.Auqinas writes” infuses the gift of justifying grace in such a way that, at the same time, he also moves the free choice to accept the gift of grace” the forgiveness of sins”. The case of infant baptism is paradigmatic for this process from infused justification to forgiveness of sins. Regeneration replaces imputation: God works in us is the basis of forgiveness. For Calvin we by contrast say” that justification consists in the remission of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. If we make regeneration to be the basis of the non imputation of sin, as Tomas had it, there remains no reason to distinguish between the two. Regeneration, after all, is sanctification viewed from the angle of an initiating moment rather than a larger process. Hence, Calvin insists on the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, in this development the decisive role was played for the reformed by Calvin’s response to challenge of a one-time Lutheran ny the name of Osiander. Byan salvation is ethical and juridicial as opposed to ontological and mystical. Calvin held that the righteousness of Christ is not a substance but his active obedience in fulfillment of the law and passive obedience on the cross. Calvin made a significant contribution in the distinction between essential righteousness and acquired righteousness, not only to the reformed but also to Protetantism in general. ” Whomever God receives into grace, on them he at the same time bestows the spirit of adoption, by whose power he remakes them to his own image. Calvin makes justification to be logically prior to and the foundation of that bestowal of the Spirit of adoption by means of which the believer is regenerated. Regeneration is the logical consequence of the divine verdict registered in justification. Calvins understanding is strictly forensic and judicial in character. Its a matter of divine judgment, a verdict of aquital. Imputation accomplishes this. For Calvin not only justification is forensic: union with Christ is also regarded as first of all forensic and consequentially transformative. Imputation is capable of closing the door with finality upon the Medieval Catholic view.

  53. Kevin FailoniNo Gravatar January 1st, 2014 1:40 pm :
    Bryan, Augustine, for all his great accomplishments as a theologian of grace, introduced a legacy of ontology significantly determined by neoplatonic sensibilities, a legacy refined by Aquinas. Unlike animals, human beings have certain capacities for instance, to learn languages or a capacity for generosity….

    You are making things a bit complicated. Augustine and Aquinas, like any other Catholic Theologians, are consummately biblical. They both teach that we are justified by faith and works. I think the part that confuses you is the part that confused Luther. It is the teaching of St. Paul where he said, “Romans 3:28
    For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

    Luther translated this to mean, “Justified by faith allein (i.e. alone).” But that contradicts the Scripture which says:

    James 2:24
    You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

    So, then, if St. Paul did not mean “faith alone” when he wrote Romans 3:28, what did he mean?

    He was speaking about one certain part of our faith where we present ourselves to God, without works, and ask Him to wash away our sins while calling on His name. He meant the Sacraments.

    This is what St. Paul meant by justification apart from works. Romans 2:13 explains it precisely and succinctly:

    Romans 2:13
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    13 for it is not the hearers [a]of the Law who are [b]just before God,

    You can’t just claim to hear the word of God and be saved.

    but the doers [c]of the Law will be justified.

    God will only save those who do what He commands.

    In the Sacraments, God justifies us according to our faith.

    Does that mean that our works are of no avail? Not according to St. Paul:

    Hebrews 6:10
    For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

    Scripture tells us that we are justified by grace through faith and apart from works, in the Sacraments. But we are ultimately saved by works and not by faith alone, in the final judgment.

    Note that Scripture effectively takes judgment about our spiritual condition out of our hands. Thus the Catholic response to the frequently asked Protestant question, “Are you saved?” The Catholic answer, “I don’t know.” Why? Because God is our judge. A famous saint was asked the same question in a court of law, many centuries ago:

    CCC#2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved. However, according to the Lord’s words “Thus you will know them by their fruits”- reflection on God’s blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.

    A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: “Asked if she knew that she was in God’s grace, she replied: ‘If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.’”

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  54. Robert, (re: #46)

    But if we love Him with the love by which He loves Himself, that love will persevere because God’s love for Himself is perfect and unfailing. If He gives it to us, we can’t lose it, otherwise He never gave us His perfect love and thus, the agape of which he speaks.

    That’s a good objection. The answer to that objection lies in the very nature of participation, as I explained in comment #45 in the “Imputation and Infusion” thread, back in 2011. There I wrote:

    The divine nature is eternal, but the participation itself is not, since the creature participating in the divine nature is not eternal. Yet, the object of the participation is God. So, the creature, by this participation, does ‘get’ something “in God,” namely, he participates in the divine nature, as St. Peter says in 2 Peter 1:4.

    Participation in God is not the same as God; otherwise, there would be no Creator-creature distinction. Participation is created; God is uncreated. Hence participation can be lost (through mortal sin) by that which is participating. Hence though the Love by which through grace we love Him is a participation in God’s Love for Himself, we can lose this Love through mortal sin, precisely because this Love in us is a participation.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  55. DeMaria, Pistis and fiducia does not mean sacraments. There are only 4 verses on the Lord’s supper in the Epistles. The entry point into this holistic salvation is faith and it justifies past tense. Romans 5:1 and 8:1 are crystal clear. They are judgments rendered legally, not a lifetime of sacramental efficacy or statements about nature or ontology. And the whole problem the reformers had with the RCC was that the sacrament was a work on the part of the believer meriting grace and justice as opposed to the real meaning of a sacrament where we receive the seal of grace through faith the spirit and the Word. It was God giving to us, not a work on the part of man. You need to get hip on RCC understanding of James 2 because your theologians are now saying the RCC position can’t be maintained. You must understand Romans 2 in context of the culmination in Romans 3:19. The point he was making to the Jews is everyone is shut up and there are none righteous who can can be justified keep law.He was telling them you get on the gentiles and you are hypocrites. Then Romans 2:13, which he is saying you don’t keep the law because its the doers not the hearers who will be justified. In other words you don’t keep the Law. The Law was never intended to justify a man. Paul says ” cursed is anyone who does not abide in all things of the law. Law and grace are opposed for Paul. You can’t mix them. Law and Gospel are the very antithesis for Paul. ” christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” The judaizers believed you needed grace and in Galations 5:1-4 Paul told them if they add one work or merit to faith to obtain the favor of God they would be severed form Christ and fall from grace. Jason you have to have the same rules for your guys. You have to allow us to respond to their points when they are off subject to.

  56. Lynn, also God sending his son to die in our place didn’t just return us to the garden to leave us there, but he transferred the law to Christ and Christ fulfilled the law in us, so that when he was raised so were we. He is the first fruits and the rest of the harvest will follow. Colossians said he rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his glorious son. Jesus says he loses none that are his. Lynn i submit to you salvation is not a lifetime climd to virtue and perfection trafficking in the divine, but the simple trust that saved the philippians jailer. When the jailer asked How can i be saved? Paul simply said believe on the Lord jesus and you will be saved. He didn’t tell him find the one holy and apostolic church and begin an ontological climb through doing the sacraments. The Spirit the scripture says blows where and will he wants bringing the salvation thru God’s word bringing people to faith. its all a work of God. God’s saint purposes fly high above the visicitudes of obedience and disobedience of our daily lives. Thats why Law and gospel are diametrically opposed by Paul. As Christ told the rich young ruler its all me or nothing. Lynn go look up Hebrews 10:14 a most amazing verse ” for by one offering ( once) he perfected for all time those for whom he died. Thats why Jesus said a child could understand it. Simple faith. The scripture says ” for the righteous shall live by faith” I am are you. Happy new year Lynn!

  57. Re: Kevin (#52)

    Hi Kevin,

    Unlike you and some of the CtC guys, I have not studied Calvin in depth. I’m wondering, what is Calvin’s argument that justification is “logically prior to” regeneration? Titus 3:5-7 seems to indicate the opposite – that regeneration (by grace) is the means by which He justifies us:

    he saved us [...] by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit [... ] so that we might be justified by his grace

  58. Jason–

    Say we have 5 astronomy organizations in a town:

    1. TheWorld Astronomy Club, founded by Tycho Brahe himself, but now devoted almost exclusively to the admiration of his mother, Beate (who is buried, by the way, on the other side of a line of hills from my own grandmother’s hometown in southern Sweden!) For the most part, these old codgers don’t bother studying stars anymore.

    2. The International Association of Astronomers, a legitimate group of star gazers who do not claim any provenance of note (no Kepler, no Galileo), but they have fun studying the stars, nonetheless.

    3. The Global Sky Watchers, a group that has extensively studied the lives of the great astronomers and model their group upon their example.

    4. Defenders of the Milky Way, a slightly off-the-wall organization that keeps an eye on our galaxy 24/7.

    5. The Brightest Stars, a group that publishes a tabloid on the lives of Hollywood’s most popular personalities.

    Further, let’s say that groups #2 through 4 belong to an umbrella organization, United Astronomers, a loose association of Astronomical clubs.

    With his dying breath, Tycho Brahe called for the demonstrable unity of all astronomers everywhere.

    There are exactly 100 bona fide astronomers in town: 15 (out of 150) in the first group, 38 (out of 42) in the second group, 41 (out of 48) in the third group, 5 (out of 10) in the fourth group, and 1 (out of 75) in the last group.

    Which represents the best fulfillment of Tycho Brahe’s wishes?

    The 150 members of the World Astronomy Club?

    The 100 members of the United Astronomers association?

    The 100 bona fide astronomers?

    The 75 members of the Brightest Stars?

    Wouldn’t we all agree that the United Astronomers, despite their lack of heritage, would come closest to letting Brahe rest easy in his grave?

    Provenance doesn’t mean anything without continuity of purpose and character. If Protestants formally united, headquartered themselves in Augsburg or Geneva, and claimed unbroken continuity with the Early Church, you would not jump into the water to swim back across the muddy Tiber. You are not where you are at based on superior unity. You believe the Catholic church is more Christ-like (for which belief I question your sanity). Plus, there’s no good argument to say that one seamless organization is NECESSARILY more unified than an umbrella association of organizations.

  59. Hi Jason,

    I’m afraid I’m not seeing your Roman Catholic visiblity:

    … the Catholic paradigm posits a visible church that is as identifiable (in a “Look, it’s right there” sense) as the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth was.

    When is a Roman Catholic church visible, as in a “it’s right there” sense, but only when it locally gathers for its worship service?

  60. Jonathan, I think i said in my previous post that both the new birth and new life are a work of the Spirit through the Word which brings forth faith and justification. Calvin Comments” we must also observe that for of expression, to believe through the word,, which means that faith springs from hearing, because outward preaching of men is the instrument by which God draws us to faith.” Romans 10:17 the efficacy of preaching. This is an amazing passage. Against the medieval doctrine of justification of infused habits the reformers insisted on the mediation of the word. Regeneration is the supernatural act of God whereby a new and divine life is infused into the elect person, spiritually dead, and that from the incorruptible seed of the word of God, made fruitful by the infinite power of the spirit. We can speak of new qualities in fused as log as it is a figure of speech for the unilateral gift of faith and new birth though the gospel. Regeneration and effectual calling happens to someone who do not have the capacity to convert themselves, yet it not only happens to them, but inside them. The source of this inner renewal is not an infused principle but the spirit working through the word. Like ex-nihilo creation, justification is not a process of transforming an already existing state of affairs. it is eschatological rather than organic. When God externally declares the wicked to be righteous only for the sake of Christ, he also inwardly declares those dead in sins to be alive in christ by the spirit.

  61. @Kevin (#52):
    I will try to keep this to the specific topic of participation, so if I don’t follow every thread here, please understand that I can’t comment on everything.

    Bryan, Augustine, for all his great accomplishments as a theologian of grace, introduced a legacy of ontology significantly determined by neoplatonic sensibilities, a legacy refined by Aquinas.

    Bryan can speak for himself, but I just want to say that this idea of that Augustine introduced a legacy of ontology significantly determined by Neoplatonic sensibilities has been essentially dismissed by modern scholarship (see Lewis Ayres and Michel Rene Barnes among Catholic scholars and Maarten Wisse among Reformed scholars). The same (i.e., that the doctrine of participation was Biblical and not fundamentally Neoplatonic) has been abundantly clear among scholars of the Eastern Fathers for many years. So if your critique is based on such dated and inaccurate characterizations, it is hard to take seriously. In any case, it is extremely clear that the pro-Nicene account that supported conciliar Christianity was based on exactly this concept of participation, articulated in terms of the person/nature distinction. Therefore, your argument would prove too much, in that it would tar the entire history of Christianity with the Neoplatonic brush.

    Unlike animals, human beings have certain capacities for instance, to learn languages or a capacity for generosity. These capacities are realized in action when particular human beings speak languages or perform generous actions. But between capacity and action there is an intermediate state possible. when we say that a man can speak french, we mean neither that he is actually speaking french, nor that speaking french is a mere logical possibly, States such as knowing french are dispositions. A disposition is halfway between a capacity and an action, between pure potentiality and actuality.For Aquinas regeneration is an infused habit or disposition that is somewhere between a mere logical possibility and a realized action: prevenient, but not actual grace.Auqinas writes” infuses the gift of justifying grace in such a way that, at the same time, he also moves the free choice to accept the gift of grace” the forgiveness of sins”. The case of infant baptism is paradigmatic for this process from infused justification to forgiveness of sins. Regeneration replaces imputation: God works in us is the basis of forgiveness.

    Exactly, and orthodox Christianity formulates that distinction in terms of nature (capacity) versus person (exercise). So long as the capacity is supernatural, its exercise cannot possibly be the work of the person. But this does not imply that the person does not actualize it, i.e., that God does not work through the person. So Aquinas’s distinction is well-grounded in the categories historically articulated by conciliar Christianity.

    For Calvin we by contrast say” that justification consists in the remission of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. If we make regeneration to be the basis of the non imputation of sin, as Tomas had it, there remains no reason to distinguish between the two. Regeneration, after all, is sanctification viewed from the angle of an initiating moment rather than a larger process. Hence, Calvin insists on the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, in this development the decisive role was played for the reformed by Calvin’s response to challenge of a one-time Lutheran ny the name of Osiander. Byan salvation is ethical and juridicial as opposed to ontological and mystical. Calvin held that the righteousness of Christ is not a substance but his active obedience in fulfillment of the law and passive obedience on the cross. Calvin made a significant contribution in the distinction between essential righteousness and acquired righteousness, not only to the reformed but also to Protetantism in general. ”

    I agree with you that Calvin’s position was an innovation that he himself introduced. And that innovation would rightly be characterized as a contradiction or a corruption of the nature/person distinction, rather than a development. As we saw above with your characterization of Aquinas, you have essentially collapsed the nature/person distinction that is fundamental to understanding Aquinas’s position. This collapse of the nature/person distinction was characteristic of the late medieval nominalism in which Calvin was steeped, so he had to invent a completely new category to account for it, which was this idea of ethical/juridical/covenantal salvation. Unfortunately, that category is itself contradictory of the metaphysical account of participation (nature and person) on which conciliar Christianity was built. So while you claim not to be introducing philosophical concepts, you are in fact relying on a philosophy (late medieval nominalism) that cannot be reconciled with Christianity.

    By contrast, history has shown that conciliar Christianity used the categories of nature and person *without* relying on the underlying Neoplatonic philosophy; it legitimately transformed the philosophical categories to fit the Biblical categories. In fact, the heretics like Arius, Eunomius, and Nestorius were the ones who relied on philosophical categories to negate Biblical teaching, so the orthodox Fathers were actually the ones opposing the misuse of philosophy. This is the same method that Paul used in the Areopagus, and indeed, one of the most influential Christian saints was actually believed to be the same Dionysius the Areopagite mentioned in the Bible. Ironically, you are setting Calvin’s philosophical invention (the concept of free-standing juridical/legal salvation) against the dogmas taught by the very people who opposed the Neoplatonizing of the Gospel, the orthodox Fathers of the Church. Nor does Biblical scholarship support this idea of justification as juridical/legal salvation being separate from sanctification, as numerous Catholic Biblical scholars have pointed out. This isn’t to say that juridical/legal salvation plays no role, but it is grounded in the fundamental categories of the Incarnation, nature and person.

    Absent that artificial separation, one would not read Bible verses as you do. For example, one would not view Peter’s communion with the divine nature as a purely covenantal category, even though that is clearly an aspect of the communion described therein. Likewise, one would understand the sense of “perfection” in Hebrews in terms of participation rather than a purely legal category, so those who are saved are legitimately perfected when they are baptized, even though that perfection can still be lost. Rather than reading the Bible through the philosophical categories of Calvin, which you admit that he invented, I would encourage you to put the late medieval nominalism aside and instead read the Bible through the categories of the Fathers who fought against the philosophers and defended the Biblical teaching.

  62. Frank, Let me address your point better. Jesus want breaking a commandment in addressing his mother. This was a jewish custom of emphasis best exampled in this verse which the catholic should make note in all repentance of elevating his mother. Luke 11:27,28 ” While Jesus was saying these things, one of the woman in the crowd raised her voice and said ti Him, ” Blessed isa the womb that bore You and the breasts at which you nursed.”But he said, ” On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Frank as you can see Jesus was emphatic his mother had nothing to do with Salvation. Happy New Year Frank

  63. Jason, I was interested to know having been a reformed Pastor when your defense of jbfa became a trust in your grace enabled works for final justification? Thx Kevin Happy New year

  64. Bryan, thank you for referring me back to the Posting Guidelines.

    I apologize for not addressing my comment (#20) directly to you, Kevin, and I meant no disrespect.

  65. Jonathan, Also baptism can’t be forced on to Titus 3:5 because the verse allows for no work not even a righteous one. Also God is the subject and the Spirit the cause of the washing through the word and renewal. Not baptism. Baptism is never spoken of as washing. Not even to nicodemas, this referred to the cleansing power of the word. So the work of regeneration is that of the Spirit thru the word which brings faith, justification, sanctification, glorification. All moergistic. Romans 8:28 etc.

  66. Erik,

    There’s a huge problem with your metaphor. Tycho Brahe is not God. When Jesus said, “the gates of hell will not prevail against my Church.” By virtue of His authority as God, this prophecy is infallible.

    You can believe Tycho if you want. We believe Jesus Christ.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  67. Scott, the verse in Timothy isn’t speaking about mediation, its says there is one mediator, so you and I can’t participate. We can agree in life that a mediation may have different people involved but not here, because he isn’t speaking of mediation, he is telling us he is the only mediator. You me and Mary can’t participate in his mediation. We participate in fellowship thru the Spirit where we will be like Him in our humanity not fetched back to the godhead. Again not one Cathloic on this site has addressed my question of why they don’t completely reject greek human wisdom as a way to get to the truth as Paul does in 1 corinthians 1:18-26? Why didn’t Aquinas reject and denounce it as Paul did? And why don’t the men on this site step up now and renounce greek human wisdom as our dear Apostle did as not of not coming to know God? Who will be the first to jump on the team with Paul and I? ” For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. Its all right here in this verse. You cannot come to know God thru greek human wisdom, through the foolishness of the message to save those who believe. How does God regenerate and save people, through the preached message and faith. All a work of the Spirit. Who will jump on the sola Paulhatesgrrekphilosophiain1corintians1 wagon with me. Which one of you guys who love autonomous reason will tell me why Paul rejected greek human wisdom as a way of getting to the truth?

  68. Jonathan, And where would that metaphysical model of participation be found in scripture? Secondly would you join Paul and I in his complete denouncement of greek human wisdom as of way of getting to Gods ruth? And also Jonathan would you agree with dear Paul in the rest of the verse 1 Corinthians 1:21 “God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe? IOW does God save thru his word and faith outside of any metaphysical understanding or greek wisdom as Paul says?

  69. Jonathan, let me first say that you seem to be very informed and have a great grasp of the english language for which i have great appreciation. Also Happy New Year. Now If i could make some corrections. To say that the orthodox fathers were not bitten by Neoplatonism is naive. I don’t know where you get the idea that reformed don’t believe justification doesn’t embrace sanctification because we have always maintained that.. However the scripture is very clear the entry point into this holistic salvation for Paul is faith. And its more clear that it comes through the word of God by the work of the Spirit, and not by an ontological virtuous climb through sacraments ex opere operato. There is no life of sacramental efficacy replacing dikaiousinae,( hashav), pistis, in the scripture as justifying. In fact the antithesis between law and gospel and works and gospel is stunning. He teaches clearly it alone justifies. And I’m more fond of the use perfected in Hebrews, which seems to escape you guys, so ill remind you of the verse. 10:14 ” For by one offering he perfected for all time those for whom he died.” Now Jonathan through your vast understanding of the language we can clearly see the finality in this act and that it perfected us. Hebrews goes on to say that the old covenant is obsolete and chapter 9 says he put sin away. The incarnation is a finished act. NowIf you were honest you would admit that the nature of justification was never really exegeted in the church until the God sent the fat little German to stop the selling of forgiveness and to refute the rampant greek pagan philosophy that had mesmerized the scholastics, they embraced as gospel against the renunciation of Paul in 1 corinthians 1: 18-26. of all human wisdom leading to the truth. That seems pretty definitive, don’t you think man. Paul says through all there reason they autonomous reason they could not come to the knowledge of the truth. And thats why Calvin rightly said if you want to add up all the fathers teachings the proof would fall way on our side. Go read what Pope Gelasius thought of justification. You say Calvin invented new categories, and i say he and Luther rescued the apostles and the early church from these hair splitting academics who fell in love with the exact thing Paul warned against.

  70. Kevin, I agree with you 100% that Hebrews 10:14 is an amazing verse . . . although to that I would also say read the whole book and this 68 page commentary and you might find something truly amazing. (http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getwork.cfm?worknum=85)
    Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe wisdom, understanding and knowledge into your heart and mind.

    Peace in the fullness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior – to Him be all the Glory!

  71. Kevin (#62):

    You wrote:

    Frank, Let me address your point better. Jesus want breaking a commandment in addressing his mother. This was a jewish custom of emphasis best exampled in this verse which the catholic should make note in all repentance of elevating his mother. Luke 11:27,28 ” While Jesus was saying these things, one of the woman in the crowd raised her voice and said ti Him, ” Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which you nursed.”But he said, ” On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

    The Reformed exegetical traditions always seem to emphasize an “either/or” approach. The Catholic Tradition is different, emphasizing primarily a “both/and” approach. This is a perfect example of how those two approaches yield different readings of Scripture. Here, the Church teaches that Jesus is emphasizing the superiority of membership in his spiritual family (“those who hear the word of God and observe it”) over purely a biological one. But, Kevin, Mary has membership in both. She is the biological Mother of Jesus – the second Person of the Trinity – and is the greatest example of those who “hear the word of God and observe it”, viz. Luke 1:38, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.”

    It is by Mary’s “fiat” that the Incarnation occurs. God always respects free will. God’s activity in Salvation history is synergistic, not monergistic. In this way, the obedience of His creatures is always out of love, not coercion, and is therefore pleasing to Him – and meritorious on our part when we are motivated by agape. Just think of Noah, Abraham, David – the convenant makers with God. Those covenants are always “I will do this if you will do that” – cooperation with an offer of grace, not a dictatorial imposition of the will of God.

    Pax Christi,
    Frank

  72. Lynn, the commentary you sent me does not even address Hebrews 10:14, did you read it yourself?. So maybe you should let the Spirit illumine you a bit more. Also this Catholic commentator on Hebrews 7:27 says Jesus is not allowed to die again and yet he is immolated again and again on a Catholic altar. The scripture says without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Lynn Jesus lasts words were it is finished. Revelation s 1:17 Jesus said ” i was dead and now i am alive forever more. Paul said in Romans 6 that he is never to die again. The incarnation is over. He is resurrected and sits at the right hand of God interceding for us. He left us the Spirit and the scripture says His Spirit bears witness with our Spirit we are children of God. We aren’t all be fetched back to the Godhead through Platonic virtuous elevator of “doing all we can”from potentiality to actuality. Im still waiting for these well educated RCC guys on this site to explain how they can embrace philosophy so strongly when the most prolific writing apostle condemns and denounces greek pagan wisdom as a way to God’s truth. Its pretty silent out there.

  73. Frank, you can’t mean what you just said, can you. Its by Mary’s fiat that the incarnation occurs. I believe last time i checked its by God’s will the incarnation occurred. No one denies that Mary was blessed and she is a member of the kingdom. But Frank she is no different than me or you. She called god her savior and she had a bunch of kids.Although the RCC tries to substitute the word cousin for son, which is a joke because they couldn’t be more different terms. Nowhere in scripture is she called the mother of God, only the mother of Jesus. She calls herself his a handmade of the Lord. Frank you did not address that verse well. Jesus completely rejects the mention of his mother having anything to do with salvation. In the RCC Jesus is a God is a tough guy and transcendent and Jesus he is tough to, so Catholics go to Mary because she can soften him up. But this strikes at the compassionate heart of Jesus a loving and understanding savior. Frank many would say Jesus was the best example of those who hear the word and observe it. In all candor Isaiah 48 says that ” my glory i share with no other”. Catholics would be wise to be attentive to this thought. Exalting a mere sinner like ourselves whether the Pope or Mary i believe is dangerous. Just my view Frank

  74. Kevin (#73):

    ““Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.”

    Who speaks those words? When does the Incarnation occur in time, before or after those words are spoken?
    Please address my questions directly. Thank you.

    Frank

  75. Kevin, I would politely suggest your tone be a bit more loving and curious, I actually had written much more in my last response but it was sorely lacking the charity that you deserve.
    Hence, silence isn’t always a bad thing . . . gives one a chance for prayer, wisdom and understanding.
    These “guys” on this site also deserve something much more than you have been able to show up to this point, and they probably all have other duties that require their most ardent devotion and attention. You saying that “Christ is immolated again and again on a Catholic altar” is SO farfetched and wrong that it behooves anyone to slice that apart for you.

    Do you not notice that every time someone answers one of your points, you don’t respond and then hurl another dart? Gets very tiresome, and it is blatantly obvious that you are cutting and pasting away. At least use your own voice or give credit to those you are copying. When we sign off with the peace of Christ, we mean it.

    True dialog can be so energizing!

  76. Lynn, ok i thought i have been rely loving but ill do better. sorry Lynn.

  77. Lynn, I know I’m reminded of my utter sinfulness each day and i know i deserve no charity. The fact that he chose me died in my place and gave me the gift of righteousness drives me to my knees each day. I can only thank him for the free gift.

  78. Jonathan, frankly Protestants dispensed of the ecclesiastical machinery which was largely human in origin and conception.

  79. Kevin (#72)

    Unlike many of the contributors to CTC, I have no training in Philosophy, other than what I have learned from my own reading. So I would imagine they are better equipped to answer your challenge about St. Paul and Philosophy.

    I will, instead, direct you to this work of John Davenant, English Protestant, and one of the leading figures at the Council of Dordt. Note that what he critiques is precisely the distorted understanding you present of what Philosophy actually is. You are imposing a flawed understanding onto the words of St. Paul, resulting in a flawed understanding of the value of Philosophy rightly understood. The great Doctors of the Church always affirmed the limits of the use of reason, but did not reject the use of God-given reason, yet always affirmed that only Revelation can bring the fullness of the truths of God to man – precisely the point St. Paul is making in 1 Corinthians.

    Here’s the link to Davenant.

    Pax Christi,
    Frank

  80. Amen to that dear brother! I pray that we may preserve in integrity the gift of faith and walk in the path of salvation that our Lord has traced for us. In Him we are also being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

    Remember this site is Called to Communion,
    Lynn

  81. Frank, I appreciate your comments much. But no, Paul rejected any human wisdom as a way to get to the truth. But having studied philosophy the better part of my life and making 1 Corinthians my life study, i can tell you unequivocally Paul is addressing philosophy head on. He was being challenged by the so called greek wisdom of his time and his point is not guarded.He flatly says that no one can come to the truth through human wisdom. He was saying that the God made foolish the wisdom of the world. He goes on to say that through so called human wisdom they were unable to come to the truth. why? The gospel is unreasonable to them. Then Paul makes an interesting statement. God was well pleased to bring people to faith through the gospel, the word. If you take anything away from what i am saying it is this, the reformers dispensed of the ecclesiastical machinery which was largely human in origin and conception. The philosophers of this age will tell you different. Also in all humility i’ve got degrees upon degrees and have gone toe to toe with guys like Jonathan my whole life. And here is the truth just like secular counseling has contributed next to nothing in the healing of a soul, human wisdom has contributed nothing to the message of the Gospel. and Paul says it! ” just like an incarnation as a finished historical act cannot be made reasonable to the philosophers, being justified by simple faith can’t either. 2 Corinthians 11:3 ” But i am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and pure devotion of the gospel. Even a child can understand it.

  82. Kevin (#81)

    …just like an incarnation as a finished historical act cannot be made reasonable to the philosophers…

    I wonder whether the status of the incarnation isn’t just a matter of words, Kevin. ‘Incarnation’ is just Latin for ‘enfleshment’ or something like that. It doesn’t seem to me to have anything to do with philosophy to say that the Church being called the Body of Christ is another way of saying it is the continuation of His enfleshment.

    Perhaps I am just being a sort of naive literalist?

    jj

  83. De Maria–

    If Tycho WERE God, then it wouldn’t be a metaphor, now, would it?

    The metaphor is intended to explore what a visible and unified church should look like. Don’t press it past that intention and you won’t get into trouble.

    From our point of view, the fact that “the gates of hell” have indeed prevailed against the hollowed out shell you call a church is all the evidence we need to dismiss its “authority” as having been derived from God.

  84. Kevin (#81)

    Define “truth,” please.

    And, though I know you are in conversation many folks here, please get around to a reply to my #74 whenever you get a chance.

    Thanks.

    F

  85. Hi John, I say finished because the RCC has substituted itself for the historical body of Christ and the incarnation carries on in the church by the actualization of the person who do the acts of the church participating in their own salvation. Our faith is in a finished act on the cross that we look back on in faith and say the Amen!, and we believe the physical body of Christ is in heaven. ” The words i say are Spirit the flesh profits nothing.” He ascended and said he will not eat with us physically until he returns. Augustine and Athanatious were bitten by this platonic model and blurred the incarnation, ascension, parousia view so cosmic Jesus everywhere is Jesus of Nazareth nowhere. salvation to the RCC is an ontological climb by the person to perfection by doing sacraments. The RCC collapses the head into the body, so the church, the eucharist and the believer are a total christ as Augustine defined it. A corporate faith. We reformed recognize the church as a group of individuals forming his body. . He left us with the spirit and we enjoy a vital intimate relationship with him through the Spirit. The church in the RCC is the visible hierarchy, it considers itself Jacobs ladder with the Pope at the top and lesser saints down the ladder. We believe that the RCC has a faulty view of the Trinity. We believe that the church is the recipient of God’s grace not the provider of it. We believe the scripture tells us the Spirit blows where and when he wills . We believe that God is the bearing on man’s conscience not the church. And we believe Paul when he says ” Faith comes thru hearing and hearing through the word of God.” The Spirit brings us to faith, salvation through God’s word and not through any work like baptism, sacramental efficacy, Mary, ones own works etc. John, Augustine said astutely later on in his life the physical body of Christ we have been deprived of until the second coming. He did not believe in transubstantiation which didn’t come into the church until 1200, i believe. He believed that Christ wasn’t in the bread but the one taking the bread. The Catholic church is not the physical historical body of Christ. thats in heaven interceding for us. when Steven was taken up heaven opened up and he saw Christ.

  86. Kevin (#85)

    We reformed recognize the church as a group of individuals forming his body.

    OK – but isn’t that just a way of saying in English that you are the continuation of the Incarnation?

    jj

  87. Frank, Salvation, the knowledge of the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 19 these were direct references to Isaiah where the philosophers thought they had the situation figured out and God embarrassed them all. Faith and biblical understanding has always been solely the work of the Spirit. You cannot come to God’s truth through human wisdom. I mean i say this with all love but the RCC is really a system that developed thru pagan philosophy with some christianity sprinkled in. Until the reformers dispensed of the ecclesiastical machinery which was largely a result of human origin wisdom and conception. Jonathan says that Aquinas distinctions were grounded in biblical christianity. But this isn’t so. Aquinas attempted to marry a christian faith ethic with a pagan philosophical model and it became ecclesiastical mechanics which none of the apostles would have been familiar. It was just another arising of semi-pelagianism in the church. Calvin told Osiander that if we relied on our inherent righteousness we would in all moments stand before God’s tribunal condemned. As we rightfully condemn ourselves for our our own inherent righteousness Calvin reminds him Luther’s brilliant saying ” at the same time justified and sinner.

  88. Kevin –

    In your response to Frank, you define salvation as “Knowledge of the Gospel.” In order to be saved, do I need to have my mind go through a particular mental process? Can somebody be saved apart from a knowledge of protestant soteriology?

  89. John Thayer, We don’t believe that we are his physical historical body.And we don’t believe that the work of the incarnation is still going on in the acts of the church. He said it is finished. He said “the father is seeking those who worship him in Spirit and in truth. We are his body through the Spirit. He is the head. The RCC collapses the head into the body. He said ” the words i speak to you are spirit, the flesh profits nothing. We like the saints are groaning for our glorified bodies which will be righteous and Holy. We shall be like Him. we won’t be divine but truly human.

  90. Kevin #72, You said that this commentary doesn’t even address Hebrews 10:14.

    Uhmmmmm – since it is 68 pages long, I was a little surprised that you read it all that quickly and made this declaration. For a later date, this might be something you should read with greater seriousness, I have brought at least the following to your attention:

    The law was only a foreshadowing, and not a very good one, for the image it gave was far short of that which was to come. For the old sacrifices could only remove involuntary sins, and not voluntary sins (9. 7). The latter remained even after the Day of Atonement.

    Jesus cleansed once for all, and by one offering “He made forever (eis to dienekes) perfect those who are being sanctified.” Does it mean no Christian sins? Of course not. And he said earlier (4. 16) let us go with confidence to the throne of Mercy. If sinless there would be no need of mercy.

    What this means is that the old ceremonies were only for sanctifying of the flesh, and were temporary – repeated every year – in the new regime, the sanctification is of consciences as well, and is by nature permanent, is continual, it lasts on and on (eis to dienekes). That is, of course, unless we throw it away by sin. The perfection given is justification, which in itself lasts forever, and constitutes a ticket to enter the Father’s house, if only we do not throw away that ticket. We did not have to earn it, but we could forfeit it. That is justification by faith, taking faith in the Pauline sense.

    The old sacrifices left behind a recollection (10. 3) of sin, inasmuch as they took away only involuntary sins, or sins of ignorance (cf. 9. 7 above), not voluntary sins. The voluntary sins remained, until the one perfect sacrifice came to take them away, in such a way that the guilt and liability would not revive – though a person might commit new sins, of course.

    The thought pattern here is much like that seen in 1 John 3. 9 where we read: “Every one who is born of God does not commit sin, for His seed remains within him. And he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” St. Paul speaks in a similar pattern in Romans chapter 8 of the Church as a fail-safe mechanism to bring final salvation. Paul also described in Romans 8. 7-8 the opposite situation: “The wisdom of the flesh is hostile to God, it is not subject to the law of God, for it is unable. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” In all these texts we see an almost abstract way of thinking: being in the flesh, as such, cannot produce any good. But being a son of God, as such, cannot produce any sin.

    Since we might cast it away by sin, for that reason, in His very first appearance to the Apostles after the completion of His sacrifice and resurrection, even though they had been sanctified “once for all”, He told them: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them.”

    We note too, as we explained more fully in comments on chapter 9, we can speak of a once-for-all offering in that His interior obedience which constitutes the heart of the Mass, is not repeated, it is continuous (cf. eis to dienekes), since the moment of conception: Heb 10. 7.

    Further, Hebrews stresses the need of faith. But as we saw above (on 3. 19) faith includes obedience.

    The chief reason God was displeased with the old sacrifices was the lack of the interior, which should have been obedience. But Jesus from the start makes obedience the program of His life. The quote is from Psalm 40. 7-9 (Septuagint version). the words could not have applied literally to David, or to a later Psalmist, and so our author takes them to refer to Jesus – not improperly, for all the prophets stressed the need of interior obedience without which the outer forms of sacrifice were worthless. Especially Isaiah 53. 11 said: “By His obedience, my servant shall justify many (rabbim) ” (We translate daetho not as knowledge, but as obedience since the infinitive of yada as a noun should have these same breadth of meaning as the root verb yada does, which includes both mind and will).

    Clearly, then, one cannot expect to cultivate disobedience, even to fornication and murder a thousand times a day, and still be perfect as a result of the obedience of Jesus.

    Jesus was literally able to have that obedience within His soul at the first moment of conception, for the Church teaches that from that first instant, his human soul saw the vision of God, in which all knowledge is present. He saw in that vision with merciless clarity and infallibility everything He would have to suffer, and He embraced it all, in obedience. He let us see inside Him as it were a few times later. In Lk 12. 50 he said: “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished.” That is, I must be plunged into a sea of suffering and I feel in a tight place, constricted, unable to get comfortable, until I get it over with. The same appears in John 12. 37: “Now my heart is troubled. What shall I say? Father save me from this hour.” (On the vision in the soul of Jesus, cf. Wm. Most, The Consciousness of Christ, Christendom College Press, 1980.

    Finally the author exhorts them to draw near with confidence to the throne of mercy – language he had use previously in 4. 16. Jesus our great priest, has pierced the inner veil for us, opening the way to the Father. But we must do this with a true heart. So there is no hint here that after the once-for-all sacrifice all can sin as much as they will, or that they are all finally perfect.

  91. Kevin (#87)

    So, “truth” is “salvation, the knowledge of the Gospel”? You mean, then, knowledge that comes by Revelation?

    Do you recognize a distinction between “natural” truth (2+2=4) and “revealed” truth (“you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”)?

    “Yes” or “no” will be sufficient.

    Frank

  92. Lynn, what it means is the law was transferred to Christ and he fulfilled it in us. What it means when it says he perfected us is that we stand righteous before God because he is our substitute. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ” He made himwho knew no sin to become sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus became sin not inherently but it was imputed to him. And watch what the apostle says, we don’t become righteous inherently but he says we become ” the righteousness of God” in Him.” Catholics don’t get the forensic nature of justification. Jerimiah 23 says ” His name shall be called “the Lord is our righteousness” Romans 5:17 calls it ” the gift of righteousness”. Its called good news for a reason News comes from outside of us. It wouldn’t be goo news if it were inherent because you and i would stand in judgment every moment of every day because we sin. But Paul can say in Colossians ” that we have been made complete” and in 1 corinthians 1:30 “by his doing you are in Christ who became(past tense) to us wisdom RIGHTEOUSNESS, sanctification and redemption. And Romans 5:19 says thru one mans disobedience came sin and death and thru one mans obedience the many will be constituted righteous. This is imputation. Lynn the language Paul uses is all forensic, legal. And thats why in Romans 5:1 it says ” therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God. A lifetime of salvation on the installment plan working your way to perfection doesn;t provide peace. Roman 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those in Christ( this isn’t a statement of nature or ontology but a judgment rendered). When we trust in Christ alone which is the definition of biblical faith John says we pass out of judgment into life. In Colossians is says we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light having been forgiven redeemed. And when he was raised i was raised and Peter says it is an inheritance(adoption) that is imperishable and won’t fade away. Romans 10:4 Lynn says that Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to those who believe. Amen!

  93. Lynn, Romans 4:5 says to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly his faith is counted for righteousness. No works, only faith, God justifies ungodly people. Ungodly people don’t have inherent righteousness or grace in them. He does not justify as the priest said ” we are are all on a long journey to perfection”. Well if he is on a long journey to perfection that aint good news. But god justifies ungodly people by faith. One great church father called it Oh sweet exchange. He got the life we lived and we got the life he lived!

  94. Frank, Romans 1 all truth in creation comes from God. We are talking about getting to the truth thru autonomous reason, Paul says no.

  95. Lynn, Faith leads to obedience but biblical faith is the word pistis or fiducia which is trust. Obedience is a different word. Paul says God justifies the one who does not work( Rom.4:5). so no works in justification.

  96. @Kevin:
    I suspect that I am being damned with faint praise in order to reinforce your anti-intellectual rhetoric, which is really just poorly-hidden nominalism. If you honestly believe that there is no such thing as Christian philosophy, then the whole discussion is pointless, but nominalism has that effect of devolving philosophy into pure rhetoric and debate. That exercise is not something in which I am interested.

    What may be helpful is to show how your anti-intellectual method is affecting your exegetical method. Your paraphrase of Hebrew 10:14, which you claimed to have quoted before in your paraphrase, doesn’t actually say the words that you quoted. That just goes to show how your anti-intellectual approach is corrupting your reading of Scripture. You made a similar misrepresentation of Titus 3:5; a perfectly consistent explanation is that Paul considers baptism to be the work of God, not of man, which you could see if you weren’t playing rhetorical games. Lastly, everyone agrees that Paul disdains Greek philosophy in 1 Corinthians, but your interpretation is so extreme that it would reject even Hebrew wisdom literature about natural knowledge. That approach is contradicted in Acts 17:22-34, where Paul was willing to credit Greek religion and philosophy with reaching some true conclusions, while still challenging their belief that they know it all (in particular, their denial of the resurrection). This illustrates that you aren’t taking your philosophical method from Scripture but rather reading the nominalist denial of philosophy back into Scripture.

    If you want to understand more about the Christian philosophical method of the Fathers, as opposed to Neoplatonism, then maybe you should read the work of your highly learned countrymen, Luigi Gioia and Giulio Maspero. They know more about the Bible and the Fathers than you or I ever will.

  97. Lynn, also Paul was acused of being antinomian and had to address it so when i get accused of it i feel in good company. Someone who has true faith will obey God. But those works are not meritorious in our justification. How do we know this? Paul tells us in Romans 4:5, Ephesians 2:8. Titus 3:5 says not by holy works. So this rules out final justification in the RCC by a life time of cooperation thru sacraments to perfection. Faith has always been the entry point into salvation and it justifies. John says it in John 5:24. Jesus says he loses none he saves. So the true believer will believe until the end. But grace enabled works are not the basis of final justification nor is faith formed in love. Love is a grace of God and it is shed abroad in every believer, but it doesn’t justify. ” The righteous shall live by faith. I don’t sit around worrying about my position with God. Ephesians 1:13 says i have the Spirit as a guarantee and romans 8:1 tells me i not condemned. can you see why protestants believe that is good news. Where is the peace or the good news for the Catholic who has to wait for and outcome in purgatory to be perfected? Where is the assurance? You can go to 10000 masses and not have enough sanctifying grace to go to heaven. The catholic mass is an imperfect sacrifice. Hebrews 10:14 tells me my Lord did it once, and it perfected me, and i have the guarantee of heaven because i live by faith in what he did not in what i do. God bless you Lynn

  98. Hi Kevin,

    Speaking of the incarnation and “native soil”, I think it would appropriate to bring up the growing parables. I think you would agree that the parable of the Vine and the Branches in John 15 show the relationship between Christ and the Church. How does a vine grow? It grows from the seed and only while it is attached to the root of the vine. Christ is the seed which was planted into the earth and died; He is the root of the vine. The work of Christ is “finished” in that the grower has finished the planting, the vine has sprung forth from the soil.

    But what is unfinished is the growing (and, at some point, the harvest). We are in the growing time, and this is the time in which the Church, who subsists in the many branches of the vine, participates in the life of Christ which springs forth from the seed and the root. It is by this participation in the life of Christ that the Church can bear good fruit.

    Christ and the Church are one in many ways. Christ and the Church are one as the Bride and the Bridegroom are one body. Christ and the Church are one as the life in the seed is the life of the vine. And after the seed has sprung into life, the vine is inseparable from the seed. The life of the Church is the life of Christ. What the Church does (the sacraments) is what Christ does, just as what a Body does it what a Head does. Just as the world is saved by a seed falling into the earth and dying, the world is saved by the vine springing forth and growing into abundance. In this way, the life of the Church, the sacraments, are the good fruit and God’s chosen means for the salvation of the world.

    When we say salvation is by grace alone, we mean that salvation comes by grace through the life of Christ, the Word, the seed, the root of the vine, who is embodied in His Church, which springs from this seed and this root. Circumcision was a work of the Mosaic Law; but the good fruit of the Church are not works of the old law. These works are the good fruit of a people which _already_ share in the divine life. What the Church does by grace is a participation in the life of God.

    The sacraments are the divine life of the Church. When the Church baptizes, she is bearing good fruit by participation in the baptism of Christ, by which He purified the waters. When the Church offers the mass, she is bearing good fruit by participation in the one and only, eternal sacrifice of Christ, by which He atoned for for the sins of the whole world. These sacraments are one with the work of Christ; because our life is one with His. In the sacraments, God meets man in a divine life.

    Hopefully you can see the following points.
    * Christ’s work is finished, but His divine life continues in the life of the Church and in the “good fruit” which are the sacraments.
    * Having one body and one life with Christ does not mean the head has “collapsed” into the Body just as a married man and woman share one body and one life, but still have a head.
    * The sacraments are not a “work of the Law”, the sacraments are a participation in Christ’s divine life. There is no way the sacraments could be “works of the Law”, because the sacraments were not revealed when the Law was revealed. The sacraments were revealed by Christ and so are part of His divine life.
    * No one is saved by baptizing Himself. It is God’s grace working through Church who baptizes as an instrument of God’s grace.
    * Just as Christ is God’s instrument for the salvation of the world; it is the Church which carries that salvation into the whole world by sharing in His life.
    * Salvation and the divine life is more than knowing the “truths of the gospel”. Proclamation and Truth is fundamental, but Christ didn’t come to transform just what we know, He came to transform our whole selves. We are people who live and act; the spirit of Christ transforms our life and actions (habits).

    You may not agree with these points, but I hope these points will help you understand the Catholic faith, so you can criticize what we actually believe rather than what you are presenting here.

  99. Kevin,

    I’d like to make a suggestion (couple of them, in fact).

    First, I would ask that you lessen the amount of comments you are submitting. From reading them, it is obvious that you do not have a firm grasp of the Catholic position on many issues (nor is it clear that you want to have one. You seem to just state your position over and over, demonstrating little to no awareness that the verses you cite have other interpretations than your own).

    Also, I would maybe choose one dialogue partner, maybe two, and just stick with interacting with them.

  100. Jonathan, Turretin rightly said theology cannot be subsumed in metaphysics. It is about redemption, the cross. Luther called it the difference between ” the theology of the cross” and the theology of glory” One makes man a servant of God and the other is concerned in an ontological climb( acts of the church) trafficking in the divine. We reformed believe that God sent men like Luther Calvin etc. to dispense of the ecclesiastical machinery that was largely human in origin and conception. You are willing to allow a distinction between nature/ person but not justification and sanctification. Because of the ethical fault, transgression of the covenant, humanity can only attain the consummation now being united to Christ, the new Adam, who has successfully completed the trial as our covenant head. Whatever convergences we may find therefore between reformed treatments of glorification and notions of deification will exclude any suggestion of transcending our humanity. The total person is the subject of glorification; there is no elevation of a privileged aspect of humanity. ( viz. the soul)above its own created nature. Ireneaus, Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria support this. Often Eastern writers rad back into the early writers wrongly theosis. For Calvin certainly justification was paramount, but union with Chrisst was a strong motif. He can speak freely of the other gifts that we have in christ. Of course the east made distinctions between essence and energies. calvin was a bit more friendly to the the eastern thought although focusing on the economy of grace instead of speculation. He said “they are mad who seek to discover what god is.” but he maintained we can describe God’s attributes as they are revealed in the works of creation, providence and redemption interpreted through the eyes of scripture. He shows us his powers not as he is himself but as he is towards us. Jonathan my friend theology treats God not like metaphysics as a being or as he can be known from the light of nature, but as the creator and redeemer made known by revelation. Rather than being motivated by nominalism , these Reformed scholastics were actually reacting to the univocity of being as introduced by Francis Suarez among others. They went further than Thomas by emphasizing that we can know God not by probing his essence ( the hidden majesty that would destroy us), but only according to his works( the revealed economy of grace). This is why covenant becomes the critical site where God’s being is revealed for our benefit. i hope this helps.

  101. Kevin (#89)
    What you seem to me to do is simply constantly to repeat what you believe. That’s fine, but assertions aren’t arguments. Just saying:

    John Thayer, We don’t believe that we are his physical historical body.And we don’t believe that the work of the incarnation is still going on in the acts of the church. He said it is finished.

    is a statement of what you believe – rather of what you don’t believe. But it seems to me you would need to show that His Words on the Cross “it is finished” mean “the incarnation does not continue in the Church, His Body.” Certainly His natural Body is not the Church, but no Catholic believes that. We believe that the Church is His mystical Body – and we do believe that the work of the Incarnation continues in the acts of the Church. That is why St Paul can rightly say that he is ‘making complete’ the sufferings of Christ in his own sufferings – and many other passages of the New Testament.

    I have some sympathy with what I imagine to be your concern about saying the Church is the continuation of the Incarnation – your words about ‘collapsing the Head into the Body’ seem to me to suggest that you think there is a danger that the Church can easily fall into imagining that just because some member of the Church acts in a certain way, it must ipso facto mean that those actions are carried out in the Will of God (since, after all, the Church is His Body).

    I think there is certainly such a very real danger, but I don’t think you avoid it by avoiding the doctrine. As a Protestant I was often tempted to think that my actions must be God’s Will since I had His Spirit living in me (which, after all, is the heart of what is meant by saying the Church is His Body) – but when I was a Protestant, I shuddered at the idea that the Catholic Church believed itself to be the continuation of the Incarnation – the Church thinks it is God in the flesh??!! But the danger was still there.

    I think it would be helpful if you actually argued for your position instead of just repeatedly stating it.

    jj

  102. Jason, ya will do. Iget something in my head and run to the computer. Ill take more time and less posts. Forgive me. K

  103. No worries, bro. I just think that brevity and precision may be your friend here.

  104. Kevin,
    I would love to know whose thoughts you are quoting so often – mind telling? I am trying to organize all your comments to me for some type of response but it is very difficult not knowing who, how, why, and what intellectual background is writing to me. So after reading Jason’s suggestions to you, I will be bowing out for now. I leave you with a beautiful prayer from Pope Xi:

    Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
    I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
    I love you: let me love you more and more.
    I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

    I worship you as my first beginning,
    I long for you as my last end,
    I praise you as my constant helper,
    And call on you as my loving protector.

    Guide me by your wisdom,
    Correct me with your justice,
    Comfort me with your mercy,
    Protect me with your power.

    I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
    My words: to have you for their theme;
    My actions: to reflect my love for you;
    My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

    I want to do what you ask of me:
    In the way you ask,
    For as long as you ask,
    Because you ask it.

    Lord, enlighten my understanding,
    Strengthen my will,
    Purify my heart,
    and make me holy.

    Help me to repent of my past sins
    And to resist temptation in the future.
    Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
    And to grow stronger as a Christian.

    Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
    And see myself as I really am:
    A pilgrim in this world,
    A Christian called to respect and love
    All whose lives I touch,
    Those under my authority,
    My friends and my enemies.

    Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
    Greed by generosity,
    Apathy by fervor.
    Help me to forget myself
    And reach out toward others.

    Make me prudent in planning,
    Courageous in taking risks.
    Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

    Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
    Temperate in food and drink,
    Diligent in my work,
    Firm in my good intentions.

    Let my conscience be clear,
    My conduct without fault,
    My speech blameless,
    My life well-ordered.
    Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
    Let me cherish your love for me,
    Keep your law,
    And come at last to your salvation.

    Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
    That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
    That life on earth is short,
    And the life to come eternal.

    Help me to prepare for death
    With a proper fear of judgment,
    But a greater trust in your goodness.
    Lead me safely through death
    To the endless joy of heaven.

    Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  105. Jonathan, You say ” In this way, the life of the church, the sacraments, are the good fruit and God’s means of salvation of the World. Isn’t simple faith God’s means of salvation of the World? Thats what he told the Phillipians jailer. ” The righteous shall live by faith” There are more mentions of faith and believe than sacraments aren’t there? I mean there are only 4 verses on the Lords supper in the Epistles. Also you say that “when we say salvation is by grace alone, we mean that salvation comes through the life of Christ, the Word, the seed, the root of the vine, who is embodied in his church, which springs from this seed and this root.”But when we say salvation is by grace alone we mean unmerited favor give to sinners through simple faith, not putting sacramental efficacy up in the place of atonement. We don’t substitute and usurp Christ and the Spirit’s work with secondary causes the church, priests, sacraments ex opere operato. We believe the church is the recipient of God’s grace Jonathan not the provider. We believe salvation comes directly thru the Word by work of the Spirit. God has claim on man’s conscience not the church. The Spirit distributes the victory spoils of Christ to us, not the church. We are recipients. You and Jason just accused me of a lot of things always of which is i don’t want to understand catholic teaching. But you cannot be naive to think i am the only one who thinks Rome has a false Gospel. You must know, although you don’t agree, that many theologians think that the Roman gospel is exactly what Paul speaks about in Galations 1. You must know that the Reformers thought they were dispensing of the ecclesiastical machinery that was mostly human in origin and conception. You must know that Paul directly says that human wisdom is not a way to know God’s truth. I would love to hear you address my pointsJonathan. I respect you and will listen with open ears and try to understand your position better.

  106. Hi,

    I see that brevity and precision are to be reckoned as friends here.

    Didn’t get a response to #59.

  107. Jonathan, couple other questions, The scripture says the holy Spirit blows where and how he wills. Do you believe this or do you believe he works through the behest of a priest, or responds ex opere operate in a sacrament? My second question is grace a free gift, or is it given ” by the working of the works”through a sacrifice? so is it gift or a reward. And lastly having read the doctrine of Trent, is the sacraments of the New Law necessary to be justified as your church says, or does God justify ungodly people by faith counting the righteous? Seriously help me understand.

  108. Sorry, it was Pope Clement XI, written in 1721.

    Many blessings!

  109. Kevin (#94)

    I’ll give this one more try.

    If you were a student in one of my classes, I’d be telling you to answer the question as asked, in order to focus your thinking the specific issue the question addresses. So (and to help you, I’ll use biblical references) – do you recognize the existence of both “natural” truth (Romans 1:19 – where the existence of God can be known through nature, therefore through the senses and the power of natural reason) and “revealed” truth (Mt. 16:16 – “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God”) which can only be known through divine revelation (“for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”)?

    Do you or do you not acknowledge these two kinds of truth?

    Thanks,
    Frank

  110. Frank yes to your question, now can you answer mine. Do you agree with Paul that you can’t get to the the truth of the Gospel thru human wisdom or reason? Certain things can be known through natural creation, but according to Paul they could not come to the knowledge of the truth because it wasn’t reasonable.

  111. Jonathan, Jason, can you respond to this description of the Roman church. I’ll sit back and listen. “The visible church is the son of GodJesus Christ incarnate and the substituted object of faith as he continually appears and repeats Himself, and eternally renews his youth among men in Human form. It is His perennial incarnation. It is to the church that men must look to salvation, it is from the church and its sacraments alone that salvation is communicated to men, in a word, it is to the church rather than Christ or the grace of god that salvation of men is immediately ascribed. Only “through the most Holy sacraments” that all true justice begins, or being begun is increased, or being lost repaired. It makes the sinner fall into the hand of man, rather than all merciful God. We look to God for salvation, but we are referred to an institution which in spite of its lofty claims is to manifestly leavened and controlled by the thoughts of men like ourselves. Te radical error of the Roman system was the visible church, which is human as much as divine, and which has become increasingly more human, has thrust itself in the place of God and the Savior. Men being required to thus themselves to Human Laws as the condition of obtaining salvation.” These are the words of the great theologian B.B.Warfield My last post. I’ll wait for a response.

  112. Kevin,
    I think you might want to ask Frank what he teaches, you might be pleasantly surprised.
    Actually I would dare to guess that most of those, myself excluded, you have been dialoging with on this blog you would wait many hours of great anticipation to have lunch with. Enjoy!

  113. Kevin (#110)

    “The truth of the Gospel” encompasses many, many things. But if we can agree that by that phrase what is meant is, in essence, that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and only through Him can we come to the Father, my answer to your question is “yes.” This is the same answer that would have been given by Aquinas, Anselm, Athanasius, Augustine – and that’s just the A’s in the alphabet – because they recognized what could and could not be known by the light of natural reason.

    Once revealed, however, elements of the Christian faith can be very helpfully illuminated by what originated as pagan philosophical concepts – such as substance and essence and accidents – the metaphysics of Aristotle. NOT the conclusions of Artistotle regarding the existence of God as we know Him in Christ Jesus, but the philosophical concepts, absolutely.

    There were many things about God’s nature I could not understand in my years as a Presbyterian that are now much clearer, thanks to Catholic theologians – most of all Aquinas. And because of that, my faith is much more alive and active in my daily walk with God. But that’s probably because of how God made me to know things. I do not maintain that this philosophical knowledge is necessary to be saved – for that we have Faith and Baptism.

    Blessings to you,
    Frank

  114. Kevin,

    You asked for my response to these words of Warfield’s:

    “The visible church is the son of God Jesus Christ incarnate and the substituted object of faith as he continually appears and repeats Himself, and eternally renews his youth among men in Human form. It is His perennial incarnation. It is to the church that men must look to salvation, it is from the church and its sacraments alone that salvation is communicated to men, in a word, it is to the church rather than Christ or the grace of god that salvation of men is immediately ascribed. Only “through the most Holy sacraments” that all true justice begins, or being begun is increased, or being lost repaired. It makes the sinner fall into the hand of man, rather than all merciful God. We look to God for salvation, but we are referred to an institution which in spite of its lofty claims is to manifestly leavened and controlled by the thoughts of men like ourselves. Te radical error of the Roman system was the visible church, which is human as much as divine, and which has become increasingly more human, has thrust itself in the place of God and the Savior. Men being required to thus themselves to Human Laws as the condition of obtaining salvation.”

    Some thoughts:

    1. Not sure what he means by saying the church “is the Son of God Incarnate.”

    2. To say that the church is “the substituted object of faith” creates a false dilemma for the Catholic. We don’t substitute anything for Christ. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, and I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.

    3. Same with the whole “it is to the church rather than to Christ” bit. That’s like saying that since I ask you to pray for me, I ask you to pray for me instead of asking Christ.

    4. By pitting men against God in the context of the church is also a false dilemma. It’s like saying that since Matthew was a man, his gospel can’t be the words of God, or if Christ was a man, he couldn’t have been divine.

    In short, a better understanding of the Incarnation—of the two natures in the one divine Person of Christ—would solve all the problems with this caricature. So it kind of proves my whole point in this post. If Protestants focused more on Christ, and less on the supposed forensic elements you claim to find in Paul, you would see past the false dilemmas.

    It all comes down to Christology, in my opinion.

    PS – The next step, I think, needs to be for you to follow up and ask one of us why those dilemmas are false.

  115. Jason thanks for your response. Thats not true. He said that men obtain salvation through secondary causes the church, the priest, the sacraments. The scripture is clear the Spirit blows where and how he wills bringing salvation to men through his Word” faith comes thru hearing and hearing thru the word of God” ( 1 Peter 1:23, James 1:18). God delivers salvation directly to the heart of man through the spirit working through the word to bring forth faith. The spirit doesn’t work at the behest of a fallible man ( priest, secondary cause). You must know that Rome teaches whithout the sacraments of the new law you cannot be justified or saved. Lets start here. Do you look to the church and the acts of the church ex opera operato for salvation?

  116. Frank, IMHO theology can’t be subsumed into metaphysics. Its about the cross, redemption and God’s economy of grace to the sinner. Luther said it was the theology of the cross which makes men servants of God compared to the theology of Glory which men are seeking to take a secret road to see God nude. We however understand each other. I submit to you that aquinas tried to marry a christian faith ethic to a pagan system and came up with asemi pelagian ecclesiastical machinery that is far form the gospel of Christ. And God sent Luther to save the apostles and the early church from these hair splitting academics. Just my opinion. Thx Frank Have a good wkend

  117. Jason (#114),

    You wrote:
    2. To say that the church is “the substituted object of faith” creates a false dilemma for the Catholic. We don’t substitute anything for Christ. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, and I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.

    Response:
    I understand these were some quick thoughts, so there is room for more explanation. Using “IN” for both objects of faith is precisely the substitution you deny.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  118. Lynn, The great London preacher Spurgeon once said ” in those days there were many titles pious doctor, learned scribe, and there were many doctors of Divinity much like there are now. And they went around calling each other by those fine names until they believed they meant something. . Dear sir its hard to receive honor and expect it. For soon their eyes are covered with the incense that burns in the church with self deceit and they can no longer see and they cover the cross behind them. I have as many degrees as the men here and i give each one here respect for their opinion, but degrees means nothing. We are all here to share and learn. My father used to say its what you learn after you think you know it all that matters. I have learned much on this site from men, many of whom i disagree. I would go to lunch with all of them, but not because of any title. In all love Lynn.

  119. Hi Kevin, (Re: 107)

    You asked me what I think of this verse:

    The righteous shall live by faith.

    I suspect you differ from the Catholic in your concept of “living faith”. When I read this verse, I see a man whose character is changed by God’s grace such that his life is ordered towards faithful obedience to the God he loves. Bryan describes the Catholic concept of faith here:
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/09/does-the-bible-teach-sola-fide/

    You objected to the sacraments being “instruments of God’s grace”, and said:

    salvation comes directly thru the Word by work of the Spirit

    But earlier, you pointed out Romans 10, which says:

    How are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?

    What I am saying about the sacraments being instruments of God’s grace is in a similar way true of proclamation of the gospel. Proclamation is an instrument of grace, so when the Church proclaims the gospel, she is participating in the supernatural life of Christ, who is the Word and first proclaimed the gospel. This is another example by which grace comes to sinners through the divine life of the Church.

    But the Church would not be proclaiming the gospel in its fullness if she stopped with proclamation and did not administer the sacraments. The sinner who has heard the gospel and been cut to the heart asks “what must I do?” because he desires a new life. Peter’s answer is “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. We need the gift of the sacraments because we long not only for knowledge, but also for new life. We need the sacraments because we need not only to know God, but also to meet Him. We need to die with Christ so that we can live with Him.

    Finally, you asked if grace is a free gift, or does grace come through the sacraments. To the Catholic, this is a false dichotomy. Grace is free and grace comes through the sacraments. The sacraments themselves are free gifts to the people of God.

    Note that grace comes through the sacraments as the ordinary means instituted by Christ. But the Church affirms that God’s grace is found not only in the sacraments. In fact, the sacraments themselves can come to people in extraordinary ways. For instance, there is the ordinary form of baptism, but also baptism of desire, and baptism of blood. There is an ordinary form of reconciliation, but reconciliation happens about whenever we experience contrition and repentance for our sins out of love for God. in which the Holy Spirit works where He wants to work.

  120. @Kevin (especially #67, 100 and 111):
    On Warfield, I share Jason’s concerns. Warfield seems to simultaneously affirm that we participate in the Incarnation and yet to put a wedge between Christ and those participating in Him.

    Just as a general concern, one big problem is that you are distinguishing the work of Christ and the work of the Spirit, which is impossible if we are to affirm the unity of the Trinity (one divine nature, one divine operation). None of the Trinity work separately. Another is that you are distinguishing the Sacraments from the work of God, and you are suggesting that God did not choose to work through the Sacraments, as if the priests are somehow forcing God to do something. This is why you are thinking of the work of the Spirit through the Word as being an internal effect of hearing Scripture. The entire point is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all simultaneously working from the effectual call (the drawing of the Father, the preaching of the Word of God, the internal movement of the Holy Spirit) to the participation in the Sacraments both in initial justification (the work of God, which grants faith). The reason that I reject the justification/sanctification distinction is precisely that I reject this nominalist idea that different words mean different realities. The distinct terms refer to one reality, so that when I see references to faith working in love or the work of God in the soul, I refer them to the one reality of the shared life of God, just as the Fathers did. The same is true of justification, as Catholic Biblical scholars like Joseph Fitzmyer, Brendan Byrne, and Margaret Mitchell all maintained. They do not chop the work of God into pieces, which actually would deny the unity of the divine economy, but they affirm that it is a single reality granted in the Trinitarian work of the Incarnation.

    As to the Fathers, I agree that we do not turn into non-human beings in the Incarnation. But there is a difference between that and purely ethical/juridical participation, and reading that account back into the Fathers would be completely anachronistic. That’s the part that you do not seem to have gleaned from the Fathers you cited, and the failure to grasp the concept of anachronism (a common fault of the time) is why Calvin misreads them badly.

    On philosophy, again, we, Aquinas, and the Fathers all agree that one can know God only by what is revealed in His works and not by comprehensive knowledge of His essence. You’ve even correctly identified the cause; the nominalist response was answering the radical univocity of late scholasticism (as opposed to the moderate univocity of Scotus, something that the Catholic Brad Gregory gets badly wrong). But the correct response is to go back to the sources and to correct the original mistake (radical univocity), not to read the later solution (nominalism) back into the Fathers. Nor is it to rely on Scripture to solve the problem, because as I have pointed out, anachronistically reading nominalism back into the Scriptures eisegetically will not produce answers, only further confusion. Instead, one must view salvation, justification, and sanctification as a single reality with different aspects, which prevents all of the divisions that you (and Warfield) are introducing.

  121. Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

    Kevin, surely you can admit that this verse specifically states that we will share in the attribute of Christ’s Kingship (and it notes, in the same way He shares in the Father’s Kingship). It has also been noted in this thread that as a Christian we participate (i.e. share) in Christ’s body – which is the Church. We share in Christ’s priesthood by being a kingdom of priests. As noted earlier, our entire existence as Christians is an existence owing to our participation in Christ. It is through our participation in Christ that we become adopted sons (and daughters) in the Son. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me.

  122. Jonathan, I would whole heartily agree the trinity works in unison in salvation. And lets get something out of the way. True saving faith leads to obedience in the life of a believer. James 2 says this. He was addressing someone who says they have faith and have no works. But Augustine says rightly Paul and James don’t contradict each other good works follow justification. Love follows justification. Jonathan you are correct you cannot separate justification from sanctification. One embraces the other. For Calvin without union with Christ there is no justification. And without the one who is truly justified will be sanctified.We believe these are all a work go God who brings us Christ through the Spirit and his word. When the RCC started to add more sacraments and say that a sacrament was a work of man instead of God giving of pledging to us. When they made the mass a sacrifice and the work of man it became clear. There is no misunderstanding Paul in the book of Romans or Galations. Gospel and Law are opposed in justification. No man will be justified by observing the law. Faith is not only the entry point but the life of a believer. ” For the righteous shall live by faith” Paul had to address accusations of antinomianism. Here is what it comes down to, 2 things. We believe in a finished historical act ( the incarnation). You believe it is still going on and you are participating in it ( doing all that is within you) cooperating your way to salvation. Faith in the RCC is mental ascent, kind of a staring point. We believe the bible teaches faith is complete trust. The second thing is we believe grace is a free gift and your doctrine says it is a reward. So for the RCC it is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward. But for Paul it was the opposite. It was a declaration of someone completely unqualified. As far as Philosophy, to be sure , although Thomas rejected the essence-energies distinction , he strongly affirmed analogy over univocity. Whether this is sufficient to guard the Creator- Creature distinction remains in question, however. Turretin, summarizing the reformed consensus, refused to consider God merely as “diety” ( in abstracto)- view he attributes to Thomas- but rather as triune God who has ” covenanted in Christ” ( in concerto). Theology can’t be subsumed under metaphysics, Otherwise, the knowledge of God would be “deadly” since it could only reveal God’s majesty(law) rather than God’s mercy(gospel). Apart from Christ the word God can only instill fear, given not only the Creator- Creature distinction, but also the covenant-breakers encounter with the infinitely Holy God. We see a somewhat different rationale for the denial of access to God’s hidden essence among the reformed, with Luther’s influence discerned. It is not simply not simply because go God’s incomprehensibility and transcendence but because of God is for sinners a consuming fire( Heb. 12:29)that we are to keep our feet on the ground and find God only where he has found us. Those who attempt to ascend the ladder of speculation, mystical experience, and merit will only find the devil rather than God.,because the devil disguises himself as an angel of light. Wolfgang Musculus said ” with the most mighty unsearchable Majesty of God on one side and the necessity of our salvation on the other.” In contrast to the self’s ascending, the emphasis of this version of the beatific vision falls on the shepherd’s gathering of scattered sheep in communion of love that has been the Triune’s purpose from eternity.

  123. Jonathan, Jason, and Frank, thanks for your concise responses.

  124. Jonathan, I had one question, You said that the sacraments are free to the people. And that grace is free and yet your doctrine says the accumulation of justice or sanctifying grace is ex opere operato. Is this not a work? Also can you reconcile these two for me. Trent” To the one who works well to the end salvation is to be offered, not only as a gist, but as a reward to their merits and good works. Romans 4:5 ” to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. Paul says the one who does not work and yet Trent says a reward to their works? Thx

  125. Jonathan one more question, and then i’ll sit back. You said that the church would not be proclaiming the gospel in its fulness if she stopped with proclamation and didn’t administer the sacraments.” Yet the tax collector in Luke 18 cried for mercy, believed and Jesus said he went home righteous. No sacraments. And when the Phillipians jailer asked Paul how to be saved, he says simply believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. No mention of sacraments. John says in John 5:24 those who believe don’t come into judgment and have passed out of death into life. No sacraments there either. Hasn’t the RCC by requiring the sacraments of the new law for justification put sacramental efficacy up in the place of the atonement? Thx

  126. Jacques, Last time i checked the entry point for Paul into this holistic salvation is faith which brings forth justification and adoption and all the other blessings. He says “The righteous shall live by faith.”In Hebrews 11 it says without faith it is impossible to please Him. Not through our participation in Christ. In any relationship their are legal aspects and participatory aspects. Justification and adoption, inheritance just like adopting a child are legal. Romans 8:1 is crystal clear therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ. That is a legal judgment on me, not a participatory (ontological) statement or a statement about nature. Whe Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 ” He made him who knew no sin to become sin that we might brome the righteousness of God in Him. Christ does not become sin ontologically but by imputation. And the apostle does not say we become righteous inherently but we become ” the righteousness of God”. One church father called it the great exchange, he gets the life we lived and we get the life he lived. God transferred the Law to Christ and he fulfilled it because we couldn’t. In fact Hebrews 10: 14 says that he perfected us with one sacrifice. No need fro an imperfect sacrifice of a mass. Colossians says we have been made complete in Him. He calls us all saints. And he told the rag tag Corinthians the were sanctified past tense. Those of faith alone have been resurrected when he was resurrected. We stand between the already not yet and are sure to collect on the promise, for he cannot lie and he says he loses none of his. As far as a royal priesthood, yes Peter says we are, but that word means cleras, clergy. We are God’s clergy offering up praise and thanksgiving to God. I take the scripture at its word, because the people here always say they are participating in His mediation, but Timothy says only one mediator!. So you and I can’t have the job. Just like Jesus says call no man on earth father, and yet all your guys are called father. Let alone Holy Father which Christ reserved for God the father. So that a mere sinner a mere man like ourselves Jacques can be put up as the vicar of Christ on earth is blasphemous. No these popes die and how could the church live if its head were dead. But Christ is the head of his church and we forever live in him.

  127. Jason, Eric brings up a good point that saying you believe “in” one Holy catholic church” proves my point about substituting secondary human causes for Christ. Incidentally Calvin’s whole point is in the creed it said we believe in God the Father, in the Son, in the Spirit, but we believe Holy catholic church. The word in is not in the original manuscripts?

  128. Kevin (#125)

    It’s staring you right in the face, but you can’t see it: “for those in Christ”. That is participation described in one word. “In” is not a spatial description here, nor a legal description – it is an ontological description (unless you’re going to pull a “Clinton” on us : ).

    Blessings,
    Frank

  129. If we say we are justified by ‘faith,’ the question I always ask is, ‘faith in what?’ Other religions also have ‘faith’ in something – thus, what they believe.
    So as Christians we are justified by ‘faith in Jesus Christ.’ The Christian faith is not a void faith or to say, it is not a faith without substance, but rather, faith in Jesus Christ. (Gal. 2:16,20; 2 Tim 3:15; Col 2:5; Phil 3:8-9; Rev 14:12 etc.)
    Now having faith in Jesus Christ means, believing in Him and if we believe we will obey. Therefore it can never be possible or it should not be possible for a Christian to claim to have faith (faith in Jesus Christ) and sees obedience as not necessary. Faith and obedience can not and should not be separated. This is what Hebrews 11 brings out and which James 2: 14-26 clearly brings out to us, and reading James 2 alone should explain everything as it’s clear as it could be.
    Apostle Paul states in Romans 1:5 “Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will BELIEVE and OBEY him, bringing glory to his name.” I say it again that, faith in Jesus Christ is to believe in Him and to believe in Him is to obey Him.
    Now, if we truly have faith in Jesus Christ, then we will believe in His words. He said in John 6:63 “……… And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
    So the one whom our faith is in, says, “……..Only those who actually do the will of my Father in Heaven will enter.” (Matt 7:21)
    I genuinely wonder, how can one really read the letters of Apostle/ST. Paul in context and claim that, he teaches ‘faith alone.’
    For me, these Bible verses really do explain much clearly about grace and what grace is suppose to cause in our lives when we become Christians or to say, children of God through faith in Christ Jesus: (Ezekiel 36 :25-27; Ephesians 2-10 with emphasis on verse 10; Titus 2:14; Acts 26:20).

    Concerning, not to call anyone on earth ‘father’, the priests are only called ‘Fathers’ mainly because they derive their fatherhood from the one and only true God who is our Father in Heaven.
    Anyway, Apostle/St. Paul calls himself, ‘Your Spiritual Father.’ and ‘Your Father in Christ Jesus.’ (1 Corinthians 4:15-16 “For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me.”)

    All said and done, I will end with Ephesians 5:6 “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.”

  130. Kevin (#125)

    But Christ is the head of his church and we forever live in him.

    Precisely – which is what is meant by the Church being the continuation of the Incarnation. A lot of the comments in this post seem to have got away from the topic of the post – the Catholic Church as the natural locus of the Incarnation in the world today. I really wonder, Kevin, whether you haven’t a distorted idea of what the Catholic Church means by this idea – indeed, of what the Scriptures mean by calling the Church the Body of Christ.

    jj

  131. @ Kevin
    just to mention that my initial comment was a response to Kevin.

  132. CtC writers,

    Echoing Jonathan Prejean’s insights in comments #61 and #96, which I think are spot-on, I would like to suggest a future article written explicitly about the role that late-Medieval Nominalism has played in Reformed theology and in Protestantism in general. A growing recognition of the deleterious affects of Nominalist philosophy on my own theological understanding played a major role in my leaving Protestantism, and I’m sure it would be helpful to other inquirers. I know that there are books out there on this, but a concise article here would be a real service.

  133. I would like to second dp’s suggestion for an article about the role of nominalism. That very issue and my desire to understand it (I encountered it in Bouyer’s “Spirit and Forms of Protestantism’) is what motivated me to begin a program of self-education in philosophy, which led me, in turn, to CTC.

    Thank you,
    Frank

  134. EirikNo Gravatar January 2nd, 2014 6:28 pm :
    De Maria–

    If Tycho WERE God, then it wouldn’t be a metaphor, now, would it?

    Yes, it would be a metaphor. Do you know the definition of metaphor? In the metaphor you portrayed Trycho as representing Jesus. But you forgot that Jesus is omnipotent God. Therefore, your metaphor fails.

    The metaphor is intended to explore what a visible and unified church should look like. Don’t press it past that intention and you won’t get into trouble.

    Your metaphor fails because you failed to consider that Jesus is omnipotent God and when He said that the His Church would never fail, it could therefore never fail. We have faith in His promise.

    From our point of view, the fact that “the gates of hell” have indeed prevailed against the hollowed out shell you call a church is all the evidence we need to dismiss its “authority” as having been derived from God.

    The Catholic Church is still here, still one and still Teaching infallibly. It is your organizations which have fallen to the gates of hell.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  135. John, From a reformation perspective, to say that scripture is the sole norm of faith and practice is simply to assert the sole lordship off Christ over the church.Christ reigns from heaven by his spirit through his canon. Only in this way can the church be said to truly to be the creation of the gospel rather than the other way around.god begets and multiplies hi church only by means of his word, Calvin insisted. It is the preaching of the grace of God that the church is kept from perishing. The church is not only the sum total of the people who are saved but the place where evangelism happens. But tis is not to say that the church is the effectual agent, much less the founder and authorizer of preaching and sacrament. Just as an ambassador’s speech conveys the policy of a nation without initiating it or causing it to take effect, the church’s ministry is a means rather than than a cause of divine action. Also like an ambassador, the church cannot invent its own practices, its own means of grace, God has promised to be truly active in saving mercy,but at the place and through the means of God’s own choosing. Once again ecclesiologies that confuse the head with the body, the extra nos of redemption with the in nobis of sanctification, extrinsic justification with intrinsic renewal, cannot do justice to the fact that the church is a recipient of God’s grace. High church versions collapse Christ in the community. They give insufficient attention to the free majesty of God. The gracious or miraculous character of the church, its sheer difference over against the perfect work of God which brings it into being, is often in some measure compromised by the easy, unproblematic way in which the language of participation is often employed. The Hegelian cast of much of modern ecclesiology is very much in evidence, and meets little resistance from those who interweave ecclesiology and the doctrine of God, a draft into divine immanence . Emphasizing the agency of the church as in some sense actualizing or continuing Christ’s incarnation and redemptive work rather than witnessing to it., such ecclesiologies lead to the conclusion that “the holiness of the church is no longer sheerly alien, no longer the result of the word’s declaration, but in some sense infused into the church by the church’s koinonia with God, its perichoretic relation to the holy trinity. If the gospel creates the church, then the gospel preserves the church as something other than the world( including a christian agency of some sort). Were it not for the irruption of pure grace, which comes from outside ourselves and is first of all extrinsic righteousness, , there could be no possibility of intrinsic holiness in the believer or the church. It is the word that keeps the church from being assimilated again into the history of this passing age. Instead of defining the church according to the gospel, ecclesiology is being allowed to define the gospel itself. Here, justification is no longer primarily seen in forensic terms but rather ontological terms which many call the triumph of the community.

  136. Kevin FailoniNo Gravatar January 1st, 2014 6:56 pm :
    DeMaria, Pistis and fiducia does not mean sacraments. There are only 4 verses on the Lord’s supper in the Epistles. The entry point into this holistic salvation is faith and it justifies past tense. Romans 5:1 and 8:1 are crystal clear. They are judgments rendered legally, not a lifetime of sacramental efficacy or statements about nature or ontology. And the whole problem the reformers had with the RCC was that the sacrament was a work on the part of the believer meriting grace and justice as opposed to the real meaning of a sacrament where we receive the seal of grace through faith the spirit and the Word. It was God giving to us, not a work on the part of man.

    The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacraments are the works of God.
    CCC#740 These “mighty works of God,” offered to believers in the sacraments of the Church, bear their fruit in the new life in Christ, according to the Spirit. (This will be the topic of Part Three.)

    You need to get hip on RCC understanding of James 2 because your theologians are now saying the RCC position can’t be maintained.

    Any theologians who disagree with the Catholic Church are either Protestant or on their way to becoming Protestant.

    You must understand Romans 2 in context of the culmination in Romans 3:19. The point he was making to the Jews is everyone is shut up and there are none righteous who can can be justified keep law.He was telling them you get on the gentiles and you are hypocrites. Then Romans 2:13, which he is saying you don’t keep the law because its the doers not the hearers who will be justified. In other words you don’t keep the Law. The Law was never intended to justify a man. Paul says ” cursed is anyone who does not abide in all things of the law. Law and grace are opposed for Paul. You can’t mix them. Law and Gospel are the very antithesis for Paul. ” christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” The judaizers believed you needed grace and in Galations 5:1-4 Paul told them if they add one work or merit to faith to obtain the favor of God they would be severed form Christ and fall from grace. Jason you have to have the same rules for your guys. You have to allow us to respond to their points when they are off subject to.

    Romans 2 is perfectly clear and it agrees with St. James. Doers of the Word are justified.

    Here’s one of the major problems with Protestant soteriology, both St. James and St. Paul focus upon the justification of Abraham. If we take a look at Abraham’s justification, he wasn’t forensically justified by faith alone at one point in time. Scripture shows that he came to faith in Genesis 12. St. Paul says, “Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”

    But no, Protestants don’t teach that he is justified until many years later, in Genesis 15.

    But St. James teaches that he was justified even later than that, in Genesis 21, when he offers up Isaac. “James 2:21
    Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?”

    So, Protestant soteriology is completely out of sync with the Bible. But Catholic soteriology fits perfectly. Catholic Doctrine of continuing justification and perfection fits completely a man coming to faith when young and being perfected throughout his life.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  137. Kay, no one denies that faith leads to obedience. Paul says in Ephesians 2:8 ” For by grace you have been saved thru faith, it is not that of yourselves, it is a free gift of God, not a result of works”. 2:9 ” for we have been saved unto good works. The position of works in salvation is everything. It is the difference between going to heaven and hell. Paul says in this verse that we are saved by grace,thru faith, not a result of works, it is gift. In fact the whole book of Galations is this message works can play no part in our justification. He says” The righteous shall live by faith”. ” No one will be justified by observing the law. The RCC puts merit and cooperation and good works into there justification. Go read Galations 5:1-4,Paul is addressing judaizers who believed grace was necessary for justification butt were tying to add one merit, just one work to faith to attain the favor of God and Paul says they have been severed from Christ and have fallen from grace. Th RCC adds many things to faith to be justified. Do you get to heaven through baptism, sacraments, works, Mary, indulgences, no. You get to heave by faith. Works are the result of justification as Paul and James so aptly teach. Kay read Romans 4:5 ” to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted to him as righteousness. Kay, God justifies ungodly people by faith. Ungodly people don’t have justice or grace in them. He imputes the righteousness of Christ to them. Not because they are inherently righteous but that he docent count their sins against them. I heard a priest once say ” We are all on a long journey to perfection”. Well that aint good news. God does not justify someone who is perfect at the end of their life, he justifies an ungodly person at the moment he believes. This is the gospel of Christ. Kay read Romans 9:30 – 10:4 a perfect verse for Catholics IMHO.

  138. DeMaria, sometimes its really difficult to talk to Catholics with their shoddy hermeneutics. Its not Protestants that teach that he was justified in Chapter 15, its Paul. Romans 4:1-6. Abraham did many righteous works in his life but none of them were meritorious before God. How do we know? Well lets let Paul speak for himself. Starting in Romans 4:2″For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD AND IT WAS COUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS”. Now to the one who works his wage is not credited as a favor, but what is due. But to the one WHO DOES NOT WORK, but believes in Him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is counted as righteousness. Can it be any plainer deMaria. Not sacraments, not Mary, not infant baptism, not works, not cooperation, not grace enabled works at the end of your life, not the substance of sanctifying grace, but faith justifies a man.. Also Romans 2 can only be understood in context of the first 3 chapters, you have to read on. Paul’s whole point was that everybody is shut up under sin. No one can keep the Law. The law was never intended to justify anyone. Paul says the law was given to show us our sin. The law didn’t come for 430 years after the promise through faith.Pauls point in Romans 2 is Jews you are hypocrites you judge the gentiles and you do the same things yourself. He reminds them that the doers of the law not just the phony hearers which they were. But then he goes on to say no one can be justified by law because it requires perfect obedience.( Galations 3:10)” Cursed is anyone who does not abide in ALL things of the law. Te point was culminated in chapter 3 no law. Law and Gospel were opposed for Paul in justification. Our works do us no good, God doesn’t need them, they are for our neighbor.

  139. Demaria, you don’t really believe your church is infallible do you. There have been so many changes, mistakes and Popes correcting other popes in doctrine. They added sacraments subtracted them. Mary wasn’t assumed into heaven until 1950. One pope burnt Joan of arc as Heretic, 20 years later another pope pardoned her, and 40 years later a third pope made her a saint. The vote on papal infallibility ex cathedra was a split vote. I mean please.

  140. Dear Kevin, (@137)

    My time to write is somewhat limited but your recent comment was sufficient to prompt the following thoughts.

    [Y]ou don’t really believe your church is infallible do you[?]

    You do know there are 1.2 billion Catholics who disagree with you, right? I can assure you that De Maria does, in fact, believe in ecclesial infallibility as do lots of other really smart persons. “Smart” does not automatically equate to “correct”, obviously, but your tone reads as one dismissive of the mere possibility of ecclesial infallibility. Perhaps, given the number of really smart persons that are now Catholic (much less historical persons who were Catholic), an attitude of dismissiveness isn’t appropriate.

    There have been so many changes, mistakes and Popes correcting other popes in doctrine.

    Catholicism isn’t falsified by the mere presence of changes but by contradictions in infallibly taught doctrines. “Changes” and “mistakes” are not by themselves sufficient to falsify Catholicism, though. If you can demonstrate that Popes have corrected other Popes in [infallibly taught] doctrines, then that would falsify Catholicism. But to do so you’ll have to 1) Provide an infallibly taught doctrine asserting x, and 2) provide an infallibly taught doctrine asserting ~x (that is, “not-x”). If you can do that, then Catholicism is false. I (frankly) doubt you can, but I’d be interested in hearing that argument if you’d care to make it.

    They added sacraments subtracted them. (sic)

    If you can demonstrate both A) At time T the Catholic Church infallibly declared there were X number of sacraments and B) At time T+(some later time) the Catholic Church infallibly declared there were not X number of sacraments, then Catholicism is false. I’m not an expert in such matters but in the standard Protestant polemics I’ve read nobody has alleged this against Catholicism, so you might be a bit off the beaten path here. But if you want to argue this, feel free to go ahead and do so and I promise I’ll give it serious consideration.

    Mary wasn’t assumed into heaven until 1950. One pope burnt Joan of arc as Heretic, 20 years later another pope pardoned her, and 40 years later a third pope made her a saint.

    That a doctrine wasn’t infallibly defined until 1950 doesn’t falsify Catholicism (and if you know about its history, it had been a pious belief [although not a dogma] since around 600AD). Hardly out-of-the-blue, as it were. I know nothing about Joan of Arc but my 5 minutes of Wikipedia research ;-) suggests that her execution wasn’t a Papal act. The Nullification Trial found that her original conviction had not been in accord with canon law and so her conviction was posthumously overturned. None of this demonstrates the falsity of Catholicism, though.

    The vote on papal infallibility ex cathedra was a split vote. I mean please.

    If memory serves correct ~90% of Bishops were in favor of it and ~10% were opposed (some on pragmatic rather than doctrinal grounds). If that counts as a “split vote” and is sufficient to make the doctrine suspect then I wonder if you say the same about Nicene and Chalcedonian Christology (which, again if memory serves correct, were also “split votes”). Your last sentence strikes a disdainful tone that seems, frankly, inappropriate. Catholicism may be wrong (although it’s not), but it ain’t stupid. Think of all the geniuses (both historical and contemporary) that are Catholic. Catholicism is a intellectually serious option that consequently deserves to be taken seriously. Failure to do so is an intellectual injustice of no small significance.

    Yours Sincerely,
    ~Benjamin Keil

  141. Kevin,

    Its not Protestants that teach that he was justified in Chapter 15, its Paul.

    Catholics too, in agreement with St. Paul, believe that Abraham was justified by the act of faith described in Genesis 15:6. But the biblical data makes that a problem for a Reformed soteriology, though not for Catholic soteriology, as I explain in the last seven paragraphs of comment #140 of the “Imputation and Paradigms” post.

    (I’m sorry I haven’t been active on the thread lately; I’ve had to attend to other responsibilities.)

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  142. Kevin,
    My goodness, if one was to by chance read this post, one would undeniably come to the conclusion that the whole “gospel” you claim to know is not one of love – yikes (by the way, I haven’t heard you use Christ’s words in defending any claims, only Paul’s). How would one know you are Christian if not for your love in proclaiming Christ? You may dismiss this lightly, but I have found it to be the only enlightening point of an authentic annointing as God’s children. Scourging someone with Holy scripture and ranting with sarcasm just doesn’t fit the bill – period (nor does once in a blue moon saying “in love” suffice #76, #77). At a couple of junctures your curiosity gets the better of you and we hear your humble call to understand, so many people are responding. I even tried to entice you to know that these “guys” are people of profound faith (NOT just their titles) and lead very interesting lives you might have something in common with.
    We all fall short, but one must move beyond faith into hope, and most importantly, into love. I don’t deny you know scripture, but what you do with it……
    Many prayers

  143. Bryan, But Paul excludes all works and law from justification initial or final ( in your language). The Judaizers believed grace was necessary in Galations. But Paul said if they add one merit or work to faith they fall from grace and are severed from Christ. Paul says ” to the one who does not work God justifies the ungodly. The adding in of the necessity of doing sacraments, cooperation, one’s own grace enabled works isn’t going to go well. Titus 3:5 says not even Holy deeds can be a part of our being justified before God.

  144. Benjamin, even your younger theologians are maintaining that this cannot be sustained.

  145. It just occurred to me,
    You think you can attack the Roman Catholic Church and not be attacking a Catholic. So no problem for you to be disrespectful whenever you talk about the RCC. So I apologize for being so hard on you, truly.
    But Kevin, WE are the body of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church. You are attacking our family, one of ours ….

  146. Hey everyone i found this quote by B.B. Warfield that i thought was awesome and i wanted to share. ” When faith is thus not the ground or condition, but the evidence of salvation, our external bliss is no longer suspended on aught that we are to do, but hangs solely on Christ doing His fathers will. Faith , even faith, as the ground or condition of salvation, may also be the ground of despair; but faith as a proof of salvation is the charter of assured though humble hope” Amen

  147. Kevin,

    But Paul excludes all works and law from justification initial or final ( in your language).

    This reply side-steps the problem I just pointed out. If Abram left Ur “by faith,” and faith is sufficient for justification, and justification is only a once-in-a-lifetime event, then he could not be justified again in Gen 15:6. But he was justified in the act of faith described in Gen 15:6. So there’s a problem in your theology.

    The Judaizers believed grace was necessary in Galations. But Paul said if they add one merit or work to faith they fall from grace and are severed from Christ. Paul says ” to the one who does not work God justifies the ungodly. The adding in of the necessity of doing sacraments, cooperation, one’s own grace enabled works isn’t going to go well. Titus 3:5 says not even Holy deeds can be a part of our being justified before God.

    You are presupposing here an unqualified conception of ‘work.’ And that presupposition is doing all the underlying work in your argument. But as St. Augustine explains (see “St. Augustine on Law and Grace“), the work in view is work done on our own, by our own natural power, and not done by the grace that comes to us from and through Christ. If you don’t recognize the distinction between natural righteousness, and supernatural righteousness, then you won’t recognize that St. Paul is speaking of natural righteousness in Titus 3:5. Of course we are not brought to a state of grace by works of supernatural righteousness either, because that would be a contradiction; a person not in a state of grace cannot do works of supernatural righteousness. But the point in Titus 3:5 is that we are brought to a state of grace not by works, but by baptism. (For evidence that the laver of regeneration is understood by all the Fathers to be baptism, see here.) If your response is that all the Church Fathers are wrong, and you are right, then I would note that such a reply presupposes ecclesial deism (and all its consequences), and then hold up the alternative paradigm in “The Tradition and the Lexicon” post.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  148. Lynn, Im sorry let me share some of the Lord’s own words. John 5:24 ” Truly , truly i say to you , he who hears my word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Past tense Lynn. No need to go to Mary to soften Him up, He is a compassionate savior, the only mediator, who says he loses none he saves. Simple faith. In fact Jesus says in Mark that unless we come as a child, humble trusting dependance, having achieved nothing of value or virtue. “The righteous shall live by faith”. Faith in the RCC is mental ascent but in scripture it means trust.

    Lynn, with all do respect, I have heeded Jason’s words and have been kind and respectful to everyone. I love all the people on this site and pray for them. It wouldn’t be any fun to just talk among yourselves. Its the thing i respect about Jason providing a site where we can disagree and learn. Lynn their can be nothing more unloving than to let someone perish in a false system. If you haven’t realized by now we believe Rome has no claim on being a true church when it has a false Gospel. If you get the message wrong, the claim to unity means nothing. We believe that the reformers came to dispense of the ecclesiastical machinery that developed in the church which was largely human in origin and conception. Thats why this site is so important and this topic. Jason knows what he is doing and i salute him for it. Either one gets to heaven by simple trust in Christ and his imputed righteousness, or one gets to heaven by grace and works thru sacraments and inherent righteousness. Those are the choices and they ain’t the same. Lynn Luther wanted so bad to reconcile the church, he didn’t want the split. But trent was obstinate and unbending unfortunately. Luther said this ” the pope has exalted himself above and against all that Christ is because he will not permit men to be saved. In all humility Lynn thx for our exchange and I’m returning to the discussion in hand.

  149. Lynn, with all do respect, I have heeded Jason’s words and have been kind and respectful to everyone. I love all the people on this site and pray for them. It wouldn’t be any fun to just talk among yourselves. Its the thing i respect about Jason providing a site where we can disagree and learn. Lynn their can be nothing more unloving than to let someone perish in a false system. If you haven’t realized by now we believe Rome has no claim on being a true church when it has a false Gospel. If you get the message wrong, the claim to unity means nothing. We believe that the reformers came to dispense of the ecclesiastical machinery that developed in the church which was largely human in origin and conception. Thats why this site is so important and this topic. Jason knows what he is doing and i salute him for it. Either one gets to heaven by simple trust in Christ and his imputed righteousness, or one gets to heaven by grace and works thru sacraments and inherent righteousness. Those are the choices and they ain’t the same. Lynn Luther wanted so bad to reconcile the church, he didn’t want the split. But trent was obstinate and unbending unfortunately. Luther said this ” the pope has exalted himself above and against all that Christ is because he will not permit to be saved. In all humility Lynn thx for our exchange and I’m returning to the discussion in hand.

  150. That Luther quote “he will not permit men to be saved”

  151. Kevin,

    Please refrain from using the rhetorical “I’m sorry, but …” [because 'sorry' is here not referring to something you have done or said, and thus you are not truly sorry at all, so it means "I pity you for your error, because now I have to correct you in front of everyone" which is condescending] and “with all due respect.” Let your respect be shown in your manner of speaking, rather than by explicitly pointing out that you are giving the respect due, before criticizing someone. Thank you.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  152. Bryan, fair point. You can correct me in front of anyone Bryan. I appreciate the rebuke. But i know you want to be even handed. And i was answering a judgment Lynn was making on me. But you I’m sure you will read her post and do the same with her. You have read her post to me haven’t you.

  153. Lynn, the most loving thing you can do is to tell someone the truth. I no you don’t like what what i have said to you , so you accuse me of being unloving. But number one you don’t know me. And number 2, false doctrine always cries unlove and disunity.

  154. Kevin (#135)
    I’m not sure if your comment here was addressed to mine at #130 – might be helpful if you indicated which comment you were replying to. Indeed, it is only your addressing your comment to ‘John’ that makes me assume you are referring to me.

    But if you are, I haven’t been able to see how you were responding to what I said. Perhaps I wasn’t clear. You had said:

    But Christ is the head of his church and we forever live in him.

    And I had replied:

    Precisely – which is what is meant by the Church being the continuation of the Incarnation. A lot of the comments in this post seem to have got away from the topic of the post – the Catholic Church as the natural locus of the Incarnation in the world today. I really wonder, Kevin, whether you haven’t a distorted idea of what the Catholic Church means by this idea – indeed, of what the Scriptures mean by calling the Church the Body of Christ.

    So to make my point clearer, I am contending that your statement above is precisely what the Church means by its being the continuation of the Incarnation. So if you don’t think – and I presume you do not :-) – that, after all, you and the Catholic Church are in agreement on this point, could you explain why saying that our forever living in Christ somehow does not come down to saying that the we are the continuation of the Incarnation? Frank La Rocca, at #128 made exactly the same point:

    It’s staring you right in the face, but you can’t see it: “for those in Christ”. That is participation described in one word. “In” is not a spatial description here, nor a legal description – it is an ontological description…

    So it would be helpful if you would address this idea – that at least two of us think that your statement, about our being in Christ – forever, indeed! – somehow doesn’t mean the same as the Church’s being the continuation of the Incarnation.

    And as I said, please let us know which comment you are responding to – it has just occurred to me that perhaps you are responding to ‘JohnD’ – in which case I apologise for interrupting!

    jj

  155. John,155 And that is the difference. The incarnation is finished John The book of John is a history of the incarnation. Although Catholics think it is a metaphysical essay. Jesus said he came to do all that the Father had given Him and when He was done he said he accomplished all that he was given him. He said it is finished. And Hebrews tells us it did away with sin, it perfected for all time those who believe, it made the old covenant obsolete. It tells us Jesus sat down after making satisfaction for sin. He said he wouldn’t eat again with us until he returns again. Paul says he died and is to never die again. This would include Catholic immolation. Revelations 1:17 Jesus said i was dead now i live forever more. You guys are supposedly participating in an unfinished incarnation( by doing all that is within you) that continues through the acts of the church. The personality is being actualized thru a virtuous platonic climb of the mind and soul out of nature into the divine. But Christ came to redeem our humanity and he already accomplished that. He was the trial run and we will become not what he is but what he became to us in all humanity. The Roman Catholic Church cannot substitute itself as the object of faith for Christ and it cannot substitute itself for the holy Spirit. God works from heaven through his spirit and his canon. There are no human secondary causes. The church is the recipient of God’s grace not the regent of it. And the church or the pope cannot usurp the work of the trinity. The Spirit brings salvation to man’s heart through the word not the church. In fact the scripture tells us the spirit blows and where and how he wills. We forever live in Christ through the Spirit. 1 Timothy 6:16 is an interesting verse which Catholics should note ” who alone possess immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion !amen Forever living in Christ is participation with Him by the Spirit by faith. He is making us holy and righteous, the culmination of which will not happen till the resurrection where we become truly human in our Glorified body. Eternal life is shedding this body of sin and being like Him in his glorified humanity. But it is not an ontological climb in merit to inherent perfection and final justification. We have been justified by his obedient life and his and his death on the cross. Romans 4:25.” he was delivered over for our transgressions and raised for our justification.. Paul calls us righteous. For the righteous shall live by faith. We will be collecting for something that is already been done.

  156. Kevin (#155)
    So does your statement that “The incarnation is finished” mean that being in Christ somehow does not constitute being part of His flesh? For that is what incarnation means. I am puzzled how you can say we are in Christ, yet, somehow, not in His flesh.

    jj

  157. Kevin,
    Returning to the discussion at hand, the core of what Jason is posting is this:

    “Jesus Christ ever exists in His glorified flesh. Protestants, of course, will agree with this statement. But the forensic emphasis of their gospel, and their hand-wringing over anything that smacks of ontological participation in the Godhead, only shows HOW MUCH MORE AT HOME the mystery of the Incarnation is in a Catholic context.”

    So the real discussion is about the Eternal Incarnation and how, as an adopted son or daughter, we can best participate in it. You have stated many times the Incarnation is finished. Jesus said “it” is finished, not I am finished. The gospel is that God has saved us; true belief consists in faithfully believing, praising, and participating (being nourished) eternally with Him.
    I.E. a wedding only begins a marriage as birth only begins a life; so beautifully expressed by Jonathan in#98, and of course by Jason many times, but especially in #4.

    You demonstrate very clearly that you believe in Salvation and at one point in your life made a decision to believe – the question would be how you get to live it out for eternity (or at least on this side of heaven). The Catholic Church enables a christian to most completely (not only past, present but into eternity) love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength because of the multifaceted dimension of being fully the body of Christ (womb to tomb if you will).

    To pare it down in anyway leaves one staring through a foggy window into the truth of the Incarnation; yes they see it, but not in its fullness, let alone growing inside it.

  158. Kevin,

    #153 “false doctrine always cries unlove and disunity”

    I’m totally baffled by what you mean by this
    – but how I understand this is exactly what I was trying to say to you. We are not separated from you, you are separated from the RCC. There is no unlove and disunity and certainly not separation within the Holy Trinity.
    Someone left the boat.

  159. John (#156),

    If part of His flesh, then one in spirit (1Cor. 6:17). Flesh and spirit constitute human nature, and we know the Divine Person assumed a human nature. If the incarnation continues in those who are in Christ, then each of them is assumed. This establishes equal dignity between the Divine Person and those in Christ. How can your questions/comments not lead to this ?

    Eric

  160. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I left the boat in my younger days and tried swim (I’m a very good swimmer) all on my own with my personal Lord and Savior. This was a sure way I thought to be so close to our Lord. He had to teach me slowly that the for the salvation of men (not just me personally), we need to be in the Ark with one another to really understand and experience the Love of the Holy Trinity. He created us all with great care, not to be lost, but to be a whole unified body of perfection and love.

    He is the Vine and we are the branches.

  161. Kevin FailoniNo Gravatar January 5th, 2014 1:34 am :
    DeMaria, sometimes its really difficult to talk to Catholics with their shoddy hermeneutics.

    It is Protestants whose hermeneutics are shoddy. Understand this, burn it into your brain. Jesus Christ established the Church and commanded the Church to teach his Traditions.

    If you do not understand Catholic Traditions, you will never understand the Scriptures. It is on the basis of Catholic Tradition that the New Testament was written.

    Its not Protestants that teach that he was justified in Chapter 15, its Paul.

    It is Catholics that teach the entire New Testament. Because St. Paul and all the rest of the authors of the New Testament were Catholic.

    Romans 4:1-6. Abraham did many righteous works in his life but none of them were meritorious before God. How do we know? Well lets let Paul speak for himself. Starting in Romans 4:2″For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD AND IT WAS COUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS”. Now to the one who works his wage is not credited as a favor, but what is due. But to the one WHO DOES NOT WORK, but believes in Him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is counted as righteousness. Can it be any plainer deMaria.

    No it can’t! But you have left out a very important part of Scripture. You have left out the key to understanding Romans 4.

    James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [s]as a result of the works, faith was [t]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.

    Unless, you claim that James and Paul disagree, St. James is here telling you that Abraham was reckoned righteous when he offered Isaac upon the altar. That is Genesis 22.

    Not sacraments,

    Yes this is about the sacraments. In the sacraments, God justifies us according to our faith. When Abraham offered Isaac upon the altar, God justified him according to faith. He believed, therefore he was justified. He believed, therefore he worked. Romans 2 is recalled, the doers of the word. Romans 4 is also recalled, ” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness.”

    We are justified in the sacraments according to our faith.

    , not Mary, not infant baptism, not works, not cooperation, not grace enabled works at the end of your life, not the substance of sanctifying grace,

    We are not talking about those subjects. Please stick to the point.

    but faith justifies a man..

    God justifies the man in accordance with his faith.

    Also Romans 2 can only be understood in context of the first 3 chapters, you have to read on. Paul’s whole point was that everybody is shut up under sin. No one can keep the Law. The law was never intended to justify anyone. Paul says the law was given to show us our sin. The law didn’t come for 430 years after the promise through faith.Pauls point in Romans 2 is Jews you are hypocrites you judge the gentiles and you do the same things yourself. He reminds them that the doers of the law not just the phony hearers which they were. But then he goes on to say no one can be justified by law because it requires perfect obedience.( Galations 3:10)” Cursed is anyone who does not abide in ALL things of the law. Te point was culminated in chapter 3 no law. Law and Gospel were opposed for Paul in justification. Our works do us no good, God doesn’t need them, they are for our neighbor.

    Too much shoddy hermeneutics in that paragraph. First of all, Romans 2 is understood in the context of the gospel. Jesus Christ taught justification by faith and works. Read Matthew 25:31 to 46.

    St. Paul did not teach differently. Read Romans 2:1 to 13.

    And then continue to read the entire Bible. From beginning to end, you will find that one of the biggest lessons is the necessity of keeping the commandments.

    Revelation 22:12-15
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man [a]according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

    14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

  162. Lynn, you want to know what Paul said to participate with Christ. Through the Spirit of Christ, the only way we have been given to participate. Though his word. Though the Lord’s supper. And thru faith. ” the righteous sill live by faith”. Yes he communicates all his blessings to us through his spirit He communicates his humanity to us through the Spirit and someday we will shed this body of sin and put on his glorified humanity in full. We will be not why he is but what he became to us. The book of John is a history of the incarnation and Christ said he came to do the will of his Father and when he was done he said he accomplished it. The RCC reads everything like a metaphysics essay. I’ll tell you what is not happening. The incarnation is not still going on in the church through your redemptive acts, or the acts of the church. You can’t participate in his divinity( 1 Tim. 6:16, Heb 12:29)only his glorified humanity. He became what we are but we can’t become what he is, divine. He came to redeem humanity and restore it to all it should be. We will be like Him in all of his glorified humanity. We will shed our flesh of sin and collect on the promise we have now because he died in our place and fulfilled the law and gave us the right for us to enter in the Holy of Holies. This happens through the economy of Grace and not by a platonic vitue climb of the soul and mind into divinity, some preferential part of man. He redeemed the whole man, not just a privileged part. And frankly the fact that you want to intrude on his mediatorship, or ascribe that to his mother, or think you can propitiate your own temporal punishment by your cooperation with grace ain’t going to go well. Thats right jesus said it is finished, meaning his work is done, so stop trying to do it. He sat down at the right hand of God having made satisfaction for sin. Hebrews 9 says he put sin away. So quit trying to do his job. Stop working your way to heaven by finishing his work. All you can do is accept it. John the consummate evangelist said ” to as many who receive him, He gave the right to be become children of God.” “For if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, or else grace would no longer be grace.” Stop working your way to heaven and jump on the mercy train, for faith in Christ alone is the only way to heaven. Anyone who is climbing the ladder in merit, mysticism, and speculation will find outer darkness. Have great week Lynn. God loves you and so do I.

  163. Kevin FailoniNo Gravatar January 5th, 2014 1:41 am :
    Demaria, you don’t really believe your church is infallible do you. There have been so many changes, mistakes and Popes correcting other popes in doctrine. They added sacraments subtracted them. Mary wasn’t assumed into heaven until 1950. One pope burnt Joan of arc as Heretic, 20 years later another pope pardoned her, and 40 years later a third pope made her a saint. The vote on papal infallibility ex cathedra was a split vote. I mean please.

    Yes Kevin, the Catholic Church is infallible. I believe that with all my heart. Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church and promised that his church would not fall to the gates of hell. I believe Jesus.

    Proof of the Catholic churches infallibility, is the doctrine of justification which Protestants have totally misunderstood. St. Paul was teaching us about Sacraments. This is also why he mentions David. David, was the first man to go to confession. David confessed his sins to a Prophet. And that Prophet informed him that he was forgiven but that he would still have to expiate his sin with further suffering.

    The Catholic Church is the teacher of God’s wisdom (Ephesians 3:10).

    You might want to brush up on St. Joan of Arc. You’ve got that all wrong. You need to quit listening to the anti-Catholic hype and begin to study real Church history.

  164. De Maria, (re: #163)

    You might want to brush up on St. Joan of Arc. You’ve got that all wrong. You need to quit listening to the anti-Catholic hype and begin to study real Church history.

    This kind of rhetoric is both uncharitable and unhelpful, and won’t be permitted here at CTC.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  165. Eric (#159)

    If part of His flesh, then one in spirit (1Cor. 6:17). Flesh and spirit constitute human nature, and we know the Divine Person assumed a human nature. If the incarnation continues in those who are in Christ, then each of them is assumed. This establishes equal dignity between the Divine Person and those in Christ. How can your questions/comments not lead to this?

    It doesn’t seem to me that it does. The Second Person of the Trinity assumed flesh; we are already flesh and our spirits are created spirits. By the infilling of the Holy Spirit – Who is One with the Second Person – our spirits are united to His – and thus, indeed, partake of His dignity, but of course by adoption, rather than by begetting. Thus we have a true union with Christ – and thus constitute His mystical Body, and, do, indeed, partake of His Nature – but in a created fashion.

    So I’m not certain what problem you see in this. I suppose it is true, in a sense, that we have equal dignity with Him – that is what adoption means – but it is a created dignity, not a begotten dignity.

    I am no theologian and must leave deeper exposition of this to those who are theologically trained. My only point was that if one believes we are in Christ, then it seems to me that one is saying that we are certainly in some sense sharing in the Incarnation.

    jj

  166. 162# “So quit trying to do his job. Stop working your way to heaven by finishing his work. All you can do is accept it. ”

    No Kevin, all you have to do is believe it. Big difference. True belief requires action with every fiber of your being.

    “Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

    You are in my prayers dear brother, Peace.

  167. DeMaria, burn this on your brain the Word was before the church, the Word was before the church. I understand Catholic traditions Jesus addressed them in gospels ” for in vain glory do they worship, as doctrines the commandments of men. ” And here is what Augustine said about your little rant on James 2 ” how was Abraham justified, the apostle tells us how, Abraham was justified by faith, Paul and James don’t contradict each other good works follow justification”. Paul says ” to the one who does not work” no works!. You don’t get to heaven by sacraments, baptism, Mary, works, cooperation, but faith. it is all over scripture. ” But if it is by grace, it is no longer by works, or else grace wouldn’t be grace.”There are so many errors in your last statement i don’t know where to start. God bless you

  168. Hi Kevin,

    You said that the sacraments are free to the people. And that grace is free and yet your doctrine says the accumulation of justice or sanctifying grace is ex opere operato. Is this not a work?

    My understanding of “Ex opere operando” is that this phrase affirms that the efficacy of the sacrament comes not by the meritorious action of the priest, but from God, whom we encounter in the sacrament. So I think the meaning of this phrase is the opposite of what you are trying to prove.

    Here is an idea which may help you understand. You can think of participation in a sacrament much like the woman who reached out and touched the hem of Christ’s garment. Indeed, it was a gift of faith which led her to Christ, but the action itself was significant, because it was the action of a living faith. She had faith before the act of touching His robe, but her faith came to life in the action of touching his robe. She wasn’t healed before the act. She was healed from the act of touching the robe. Therefore, it was both her faith, and the object of her faith that she was healed. It wasn’t faith _alone_ which healed her; the power of healing flowed from Christ in the actual touch.

    When a man is moved by faith to be baptized, he is saved through faith. But it is also true that he is saved through baptism, because it is in baptism that his sins are cleansed and he emerges as a new creature.

    You said that the church would not be proclaiming the gospel in its fullness if she stopped with proclamation and didn’t administer the sacraments.

    Yes, because the command to administer the sacraments is part of the gospel. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Eucharist: “Do this in remembrance of me” Reconciliation: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven”, and “Confess your sins to one another”, etc. Again I will point out that when someone receives the gospel, they receive not just knowledge, but a new life.

    In your example of the tax collector, this example points out the Catholic teaching that it is possible to have living faith without an ordinary baptism. Ordinary baptism is the ordinary instrument of regeneration, but not the only instrument of regeneration. Also, I think the Church did not baptize until after Pentecost, because it was only at Pentecost that we received the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

    As for Paul and the jailer, “believing on the Lord Jesus” ordinarily leads to baptism. If the jailer came to faith, then he would have received baptism, even if only a “baptism of desire” (if he never again saw another Christian). Also, we know that Paul did baptize in order to bring about the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 19)

  169. Kevin, (re: #167)

    burn this on your brain … your little rant …

    I know you’re still new here, but CTC is not an absolutely open forum like other websites. Persons who want to participate here must be civil and respectful to one another. Rhetoric like the above is unacceptable here. If you continue it, your comments will be deleted.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  170. Bryan, I’m sorry.

  171. Jonathan,#171 The problem is your doctrine says that those sacraments are necessary “without the sacraments of the new law one cannot be justified finally. Ex opere operato means by the act of doing the sacrament it brings more justice. It is a work on the part of the participant. Thats what the reformers had a fit with. ” For if it is by grace it is no longer by works, or else grace would no longer be grace.” Grace in your system is a reward. If God gave grace as the result of an act or ability it would no longer be a gift but a reward. You have to learn your doctrine.

  172. Jonathan, but those things are descriptive and not prescriptive. This is where the RC has confused the gospel. You make those things necessary in justification when Paul clearly teaches faith alone justifies. The position of these works are everything. Listen to Paul in Titus 3:5 ” He saved us not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness but according to his great mercy. None of the things you mention can be in a man’s heart to attain the justification or favor of God. Romans 9:30 says the gentiles were not looking for salvation but they found it because they came by faith, yet the Jews who were pursuing it never found it because they pursued it by works. The Jews believed in God’s grace but they tried to add merit and were rejected by God. Paul’s next verse 10:1 says My prayer for the is that they would be saved. Those who were adding merit were not saved. And then he says ” christ is the end of the for righteousness to all those who believe. Even Holy deeds cannot be a part of being just before God. Romans 4:1 says Abraham had nothing to boast about before God in his works. You can’t add anything to faith t be justified. A sacrament is God’s seal and pledge to us of his grace. But without the Spirit, Word and faith it would be an empty sign. But in your church it is a work on the part of the participant to merit more grace. The judaizers in Galations believed grace was necessary. But when they tried to add one merit Paul called them ” you who would be justified by law” and told them they were severed form Christ and fallen from grace. Jonathan that was just one thing added and you gave me a list of many things. Thx

  173. Kevin,

    I listened to a great little audio clip by Peter Kreeft on the Catholic Protestant dialogue around faith and works. You can listen to it here: http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/43_faith-works/peter-kreeft_faith-works.mp3
    It isn’t very long and I’d love to hear what you think.

    Kind Regards,
    Jacques

  174. Kevin,

    Regarding Titus 3:5, you believe that there is no sacrament there. I mentioned this over on Jason’s blog and you really haven’t responded.

    I’m curious as to what “he saved us through the bath of rebirth” (Titus 3:5) means from a Reformed perspective. Can you please give me some insight?

    I explained to you that from a Catholic view, Paul is specifically referencing baptism. So, what he’s saying in Titus 3:5 is that we are saved through our baptism. What does it mean to you?

  175. Kevin,

    In #167, you wrote to De Maria:

    And here is what Augustine said about your little rant on James 2 ” how was Abraham justified, the apostle tells us how, Abraham was justified by faith, Paul and James don’t contradict each other good works follow justification”. Paul says ” to the one who does not work” no works!. You don’t get to heaven by sacraments, baptism, Mary, works, cooperation, but faith. it is all over scripture. ”

    Kevin, weeks ago, over at Jason Stellman’s blog, I provided you with *numerous passages* from the works of St. Augustine which show that he believes baptism to be a crucial part of salvation. In fact, he believes that baptism actually regenerates and justifies and saves infants. He *also* believes that when we are older, we must put our faith in Christ alone, *when* we are sufficiently conscious (in terms of awareness of our need for Him) to be able to do so. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church– the same Church without which St. Augustine said he would not have believed the Gospel. (He literally said those very words.)

    As I asked you repeatedly at Jason’s blog, when you quoted Augustine on Romans 4, *if* he believes your interpretation of St. Paul in this chapter, then why does he (Augustine) *also* teach that baptism regenerates and saves? Doesn’t this teaching contradict justification by faith alone?

    In the interest of a profitable discussion for all of us here, please take the time to carefully read this article, brother– even if doing so means that you have to comment a bit less here while you read it. This article will help you to comment in an informed way about the early Church’s stance on justification. It shows that St. Augustine, *and* every other early Church Father, believed that baptism is part of salvation, and that justification is *not* by faith alone. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/the-church-fathers-on-baptismal-regeneration/

    As for JBFA being “all over Scripture,” I also provided you with numerous passages from Scripture which teach that perseverance is actually part of our salvation, not just an evidence that we have already been irrevocably justified by faith alone.

    Matthew 25:31-46: Jesus clearly ties our works of love for others, or the lack thereof, to our eternal salvation or damnation. Notably, He does not say that these works are only an evidence of whether or not we are sheep, having been justified by faith alone. He teaches just the opposite– that our works actually play a role in whether we go to Heaven or Hell.

    31 “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/matthew/passage.aspx?q=matthew+25:31-46)

    Romans 11:20-24: St Paul clearly addresses Christians here, and he says that if we do not “continue in God’s kindness,” we will be “cut off” by Him, just as the Jews of Christ’s time who rejected Him were “cut off” for their unbelief. Yes, St. Paul does say that believers “stand fast only through faith”– but if justification is by faith alone, then why does St. Paul *also* clearly teach that believers will be “cut off” for failing to “continue in His kindness”?

    19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/romans/passage.aspx?q=romans+11:19-24)

    St. James clearly states that justification is not by faith alone; he could not say it any more clearly. Like Jesus and St. Paul, James also does *not* teach that works are merely the evidence of believers already having been justified by faith alone.

    14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

    (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/james/passage.aspx?q=james+2:14-26)

    Similarly to your comments at Jason’s blog, you have mentioned Romans 4 here and its statements about Abraham on justification, *as if* those statements indisputably teach justification by faith alone. However, I repeatedly replied to you there and asked you to read Romans 3, which gives the context for Romans 4– i.e. the question of circumcision or uncircumcision being necessary for salvation. St. Paul says that it is not necessary, and that Abraham was counted righteous by faith, by God, before he was ever circumcised.

    In the above passages from St. James, he explicitly explains what it *means* to be “counted righteous,” by God, through faith. James explicitly teaches that it involves works. He explicitly teaches *against* the concept of justification by faith alone. He actually calls anyone who would believe this concept “foolish.”

    Of course, I know that you believe works are a crucial *evidence” of being justified by faith alone, i.e. in your view, of being a Christian. However, Jesus, St. Paul, and St. James do not teach this view in Scripture. Again, as I’ve written to you before, I once passionately believed that this teaching *is* actually found in Scripture, “all over Scripture,” in fact.

    I made a serious interpretive mistake. I misread St. Paul on justification, and then I read everyone else’s teachings in the Bible, including those of Jesus Himself, *through* my misreading of Paul. Jesus and James and all of the other Biblical teachers clearly teach against justification by faith alone. Only St. Paul really *seems* to teach it– until one studies his passages on justification and works very carefully, in context, and sees that he is not referring to literally being justified by faith *alone*, with no works involved at all, but simply saying that certain kinds of works are not necessary for salvation, such as circumcision.

    Again, if St. Paul believed in JBFA, why would he also say that believers must continue in God’s kindness, lest they be “cut off” by Him? How can a person be “cut off” by the God to Whom they were never truly joined in faith in the first place?

  176. John Thayer, United not fused. United like a man and a wife. They aren’t fused but share their humanity together. I’ll expound on Eric’s point. The part of his incarnation we can’t partake in is clear, we can’t mediate, and we can’t be divine. 1 Tim 2: 5 ” For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.” You and me and Mary, we’re out John. 1 Tim6:16 ” who alone possess immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be glory and honor. You can only be what he became to us , not what he is. That is what is meant by participating in the divine nature. ” His Sprit bears witness to our Spirit.” We are one with Christ not one Christ. And when the RC collapses the head into the body and substitutes itself for the natural body of Christ, and fuses everyone together, many into the one and collapsing it all into the eucharist and the church, then the church replaces the gospel and is no longer a witness in expectation of its savior, a servant to its master, but has become a human institution who has become Christ’s regent and the salvation is in human hands, taken out of the hands of God. ” This is a trustworthy statement Christ came into the world to save sinners” redeem nature and restore it and eventually glorify it when it sheds sinful flesh and becomes like Him in all righteousness and holiness. Israel was a united church, but due to inner strife and apostasy, it divided into the southern and northern kingdoms, with only a remnant preserved, and Judah itself followed them in breaking the covenant, provoking exile. Mercifully the church is not the gospel, but the recipient of the good news, despite its unfaithfulness, God will keep his promise. What remains in inviolable is “the election of grace” a gift of God rather than a given historical experience. God created nature good and the RC is wrong to ascribe fallenness to creatureliness. Sin brought the fall and corruption of our total person. And God sent his son to redeem nature and renew it, not to perfect it and elevate a privileged part of it into divinity, fetching all do gooders back to the Godhead. The bible isn’t a metaphysics essay, it is the story of redemption.

  177. Dennis, i explained it on the other thread. You can’t force infant baptism on this verse. First you misquoted the verse, next God is the subject, third it eliminates all human work. Next it is a merciful work of God through the washing of the word and the renewing of the Spirit. this is all a work of God thru the word and Spirit. Infant baptism isn’t the instrument cause of salvation, even your theologians say that there is no mention of infant baptism in scripture. People aren’t saved by baptism but faith that is clear. Baptism surely is God’s seal of this grace we have received. But Paul said he didn’t come to baptize, but preach the gospel. The Gospel was central for the reformers. god created the world by his Word, raised Lazarus, called Abraham out of a moon worshiping family. And scripture is very clear faith comes thru hearing and hearing the word of God. 1 Peter 1:23, James 1:18. The power is in the Spirit and the word. God brings delivers his son to us thru the action of the spirit calling us thru his word. Heberews says his word is more active than a two edged sword able to cut to the heart and the marrow of man. Speech acts rather than seeing.

  178. Kevin,

    Thank you for your response.

    I agree that you can’t force “infant baptism.” Paul’s not talking about “infant baptism.” He’s talking about baptism.

    Here is the NRSV translation. Can we agree on this translation?

    ” he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5) (NRSV)

    So, in reading this, he’s saying that God saved us through his mercy through the water of rebirth.

    You’re saying people aren’t saved by baptism but you keep skipping over the fact that Titus 3:5 says that God saves “through the water of rebirth.”

    So, if I am to understand what you wrote, you’re saying that “the water of rebirth” is God’s washing of the word.

    Do you have a translation that words it that way?

    There is always some active participation from man. Even in your example, “faith comes through hearing…” the fact that we have to “hear” should be a “work” in your eyes because now it’s not all from God, we still have to “hear.”

  179. Christopher, Im sure you know being a student of history, that infant baptism didn’t come into the church until the 4th century. Although Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world, it became of this world with Constantine merging the State with the church. The candles went up, the gospel went out. The gold and majestic churches and altars went up, the grace went out. Infant baptism was used by Constantine to monolithically christianize all babies for political purposes as members of the state. As you know there were laws enforcing it. Its really ironic because the word itself means immerse. Like Paul so eloquently deals with circumcision in Romans 4, saying its those who are inwardly circumcised and not outwardly who are true christians. Baptism is a sign and and seal of God’s grace. Faith is the instrumental cause of salvation. Many reformers held to infant baptism but not as the lever of regeneration. That is a work of the Spirit thru the word. You must have missed al the posts between Robert and myself about your young bright theologians who say the RCC can no longer the churches view on James 2. We both know all the arguments, so i’ll let you decide for yourself. But Augustine says Paul and James don’t contradict each other. Abraham was justified by faith, good works follow justification. What is amazing to we reformed Christopher is Paul wrote 13 epistles and makes justification by faith alone the central theme of his work and the entry point into this holistic salvation, yet you guys run to one verse in James which is clearly talking about a dead faith and a true faith which produces good works. Augustine had no problem understanding this. If you want to make your justification based somehow on your merit, go ahead. Paul says in Titus 3:5 not even by holy deeds. ” for if it is by grace it is no longer by works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. “How clear can that be.

  180. without the sacraments of the new law one cannot be justified finally

    Are you talking about where Trent states that baptism is necessary for final justification?

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. Baptism is truly necessary, because in baptism our sins are forgiven, we receive the Holy Spirit, faith is perfected through the pouring out of agape into our hearts, and we are reborn into the life of Christ.

    I suspect your objection to this is that you are thinking that Trent necessitates _water baptism_. But that’s not the case. Catholics affirm three types of baptism: ordinary water baptism, baptism of desire, and baptism of blood. The early church affirmed that catechumens who died before water baptism were in fact saved through a baptism of desire. The thief on the cross is another example of baptism of desire.

    If you believe that justification by faith happens at a moment in time, then put a name on that moment in time and call it “baptism”.

    Bryan linked to an article about the early church’s belief in baptismal regeneration. I am wondering, have you read this article? I think it may help you understand why the early church believed in the necessity of baptism.

  181. Dennis, your view is impossible. God is the subject of the verse. And the verse excludes all human work. ” not according to deeds which we have done in righteousness”. Sorry it excludes the Alter Christus. Its all a work of God.

  182. Hi Kevin,

    None of the things you mention can be in a man’s heart to attain the justification or favor of God.

    Do you agree that the woman was healed by faith in the moment of touching Jesus’s cloak? If you do, then how is that different from my belief that God gave me the gift of faith at the moment of my baptism?

    You asked about Galatians. The Galatians who advocated circumcision lacked faith. They didn’t believe in the promises of the gospel – rather, they believed that ritual works of the Mosaic Law were still necessary for salvation. So Paul very pointedly helped them realize that works of the Mosaic Law were not necessary. Rather, they needed to believe the promises of the gospel.

    However, this does not mean that the gospel promises faith through an act other than baptism. Nor does it mean that the gospel placed no demands on the life of faith. Paul specifically said “what counts is faith working through love”. Living faith must act, it is obedient to God’s will, faith avoids sin. And baptism is a necessary act of faith, because baptism perfects faith by conferring living faith. In baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and “freedom from sin”. (Romans 5, Romans 6).

    Also, please take a look at Acts 19. When Paul found out that some did not know the Holy Spirit and had not received it, he asked about their baptism. So he re-baptized them and laid his hands on them. And indeed, they received the Holy Spirit through that act of faith.

  183. Kevin (#176)

    United not fused. United like a man and a wife. They aren’t fused but share their humanity together.

    Excellent. So you do think that, just as man and wife become ‘one flesh,’ so the Church and Christ become ‘one flesh?’ This is precisely what I think, and what Paul means in Ephesians 5:25-33:

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    jj

  184. Jonathan, Trent explicitly says ” if someone says that the sacraments of the new law are not necessary unto salvation”. Go read it.

  185. Kevin,

    I agree that God is the subject.

    God saved us…through the water of rebirth…not through works.

    So, we are saved through our baptism but it’s not the actual washing of water that saves us but rather through God’s grace and His mercy.

    Jesus tells us in John 3:5 that no one can enter the kingdom of heaven without being reborn of water and spirit.

    Paul tells us in Titus 3:5 that God saves us through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

    Essentially, Paul is echoing Christ’s words. Now, it’s not the actual washing of water that saves us but rather it’s God’s grace that saves us but that grace is received through our baptism.

    This is what Paul (and Christ) are saying in Titus 3:5 (from a Catholic perspective).

    I know you don’t see it that way but it is not a twisting of Scripture and I think it’s reasonable (i.e. not impossible.)

  186. Jonathan , wrong the judaizers in Galations believed the necessity for grace, but they were trying to add works and Paul said no.

  187. Jaques, i listened to the Kreft thing and he’s a knowledgeable guy who had the arguments down. But i disagree with his conclusion. Against the ECT agreements which men like Sproul, Horton, and MacArthur would not sign and throw away 400 years of martyr dun for the truth, we are no closer in our gospels. In fact as your young theologians are now understanding the forensic nature of Paul’s language, the magisterium has become more pelagian, accepting all do goobers into the kingdom. John Paul kissed the Koran and proclaimed all muslims who live a good life as being fit for the kingdom. Until the magisterium repents ( which these mere sinful men would never occur to them because they are infallible) we will be far apart. we evangelize Catholics because we love them and believed they are in a false system which is mostly a mixture of pagan philosophy, human action, and some christianity sprinkled in. I say this in all love an in response to Kreft’s talk.

  188. John, yes but this is violate the creator creature distinction, no absorption or fusion. And this happens thru the spirit in redemption and restoration to our created humanity, which will someday be glorified. This is not a participation in the incarnation, but a participation thru the spirit with Christ as our federal head. We can’t mediate or atone our sins and we don’t become divine but truly human. I believe we become what he became to us not what he is.

  189. Kevin (188)

    John, yes but this is violate the creator creature distinction, no absorption or fusion. And this happens thru the spirit in redemption and restoration to our created humanity, which will someday be glorified. This is not a participation in the incarnation, but a participation thru the spirit with Christ as our federal head. We can’t mediate or atone our sins and we don’t become divine but truly human. I believe we become what he became to us not what he is.

    No one has said anything about absorption or fusion so I don’t know why you use these words. I have only your statement that our union with Christ is not a participation in the Incarnation. I wonder if you have any actual arguments for your position? Simply declaring something to the true (or, in this case, false) does not constitute an argument.

    Our union with Christ does not violate the Creator-creature distinction because it is a union of grace – a gift – not a union of nature. We are sons by grace. He is Son by nature. But our union – so the words seem to me to mean – St Paul’s words, indeed! – constitute us ‘one flesh’ with Him. That’s what is meant by the Church’s continuing the Incarnation – no more than that – but no less.

    jj

  190. Dennis, I hear your view. The parallel in John 3: 5is being born again. Since Nicodemas would have no knowledge of christian baptism ( because sit hadn’t happen yet). Jesus had to be associating it with Ezekiel 36:24-27, Nicodemas would have understood the washing clean from sin by the Holy Spirit as the same as the washing of the word, or being born again. But again Paul to ld the Philippians jailer when he asked specifically What must i do to be saved? And Paul too him to believe on the Lord Jesus. Physical baptism doesn’t save a person, faith does.Dennis watch what Peter says in Acts10:47 ” Surely no one can refuse them who have believed and received forgiveness of sins( verse 43) the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy spirit.

  191. John (#165),

    You wrote:
    My only point was that if one believes we are in Christ, then it seems to me that one is saying that we are certainly in some sense sharing in the Incarnation.

    Response:
    I combed through other comments to understand what you were saying. The participation in “one flesh” seems to be modest evidence for “the Church continues the incarnation”, or “the Church is natural locus of the Incarnation in the world today”. It is hard to argue against.

    Two problems remain: (a) The Church has the ‘mind of Christ” without the beatific vision (b) The disparity between the Church, as an ideal in Christ’s actual mind, and the Church of today’s world.

    Eric

  192. John Thayer, Here is what Michael Horton says “Nevertheless, it demands a more thorough critique of the infused habits ontology. It is precisely in the covenant of grace that we become to participate in this kind of humanity that Christ mediates, not by mere imitation nor by an ontological participation that would make the believer or the chuch an extension of the incarnation, but by sharing an inheritance that belongs to Christ bright and to us by gift. It is an inheritance communicated not directly but by the Spirit through the means of grace.Therefore the horticultural/organic images employed in the new testament “for our union and participation with Christ should be understood as metaphors that bear witness to the intimacy of that relation but misled if taken more literally. The juridical, accounting, clothing metaphors as well as the organic, familial , political, and bodily ones are analogies. Only a misunderstanding of the role of analogies would lead us to conclude that any one of them are less than true, but they must all be equally affirmed without reducing one set to the other. There is indeed an initiating of a new life, but it is the result of the justifying verdict that one receives though faith, by effectual calling of the Spirit. It is not as if Paul has no ontology, for him the ethical is itself ontological. which requires a covenant ontology. Insteasd of playing the forensic and the ontological off against each other, forensecism is itself deeply ontological.

  193. Kevin,

    It appears you tend to go to Paul extensively to explain Jesus. It would be interesting to see what kind of answer you would get if you went to Jesus to explain Paul. What comes to mind are the answers Jesus gave when he was asked what one must do to be saved. The catholic comes up with the same answer if we use Jesus words to explain Paul.

  194. Eric (191)

    Two problems remain: (a) The Church has the ‘mind of Christ” without the beatific vision (b) The disparity between the Church, as an ideal in Christ’s actual mind, and the Church of today’s world.

    Yes, I do think it is a problem – and I don’t know the solution. We believe that the Church is holy – and yet we certainly know that there is unholiness in the Church, or perhaps we should say ‘in its members.’ But then I think this is a problem for the individual believer as well. Cf. John’s first letter telling us that ‘he who is born of God does not sin’ – and on the other hand telling us what to do if we sin. Yes, I know, that ‘does not sin’ is present tense in Greek and could be translated as something like ‘does not (habitually) sin’ or something, but I doubt any of us feel the thing is merely a matter of language.

    Newman says somewhere that ‘a thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.’ It seems to me that to speak of the Church as the Body of Christ – not to mention Paul’s strong words in Ephesians 5 – means what it seems to mean. Then the difficulties that we see are, indeed, difficulties, but not reasons not to believe.

    This is probably not all that satisfactory; no doubt someone who knows theology could do better.

    jj

  195. Kevin (#192)
    Adding Michael Horton’s assertions to yours still just means assertion, not argument. I would only say that what he is saying is quite true – these are metaphors – and, indeed, there is nothing we can say about God that is not metaphorical. The question is, what is the reality that these metaphors point to? To say that the idea of the Church’s being the Body of Christ is metaphorical is true; that embodiment is, in fact, of a deeper reality even than the embodiment of your own parts as being your body – not less.

    But then that is just my assertion – more or less. I doubt there is much point in continuing throwing assertions at one another. The Scripture seems clear to me; that is enough for me. That you think taking Scripture at its words leads to unacceptable results – e.g. ‘works salvation’ – is your own take on it. The Scripture doesn’t say that.

    jj

  196. Kevin (re:#179),

    Thanks for the reply. You wrote to me:

    Christopher, Im sure you know being a student of history, that infant baptism didn’t come into the church until the 4th century. Although Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world, it became of this world with Constantine merging the State with the church. The candles went up, the gospel went out. The gold and majestic churches and altars went up, the grace went out. Infant baptism was used by Constantine to monolithically christianize all babies for political purposes as members of the state. As you know there were laws enforcing it. Its really ironic because the word itself means immerse. Like Paul so eloquently deals with circumcision in Romans 4, saying its those who are inwardly circumcised and not outwardly who are true christians. Baptism is a sign and and seal of God’s grace. Faith is the instrumental cause of salvation. Many reformers held to infant baptism but not as the lever of regeneration. That is a work of the Spirit thru the word. You must have missed al the posts between Robert and myself about your young bright theologians who say the RCC can no longer the churches view on James 2. We both know all the arguments, so i’ll let you decide for yourself. But Augustine says Paul and James don’t contradict each other. Abraham was justified by faith, good works follow justification. What is amazing to we reformed Christopher is Paul wrote 13 epistles and makes justification by faith alone the central theme of his work and the entry point into this holistic salvation, yet you guys run to one verse in James which is clearly talking about a dead faith and a true faith which produces good works. Augustine had no problem understanding this. If you want to make your justification based somehow on your merit, go ahead. Paul says in Titus 3:5 not even by holy deeds. ” for if it is by grace it is no longer by works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. “How clear can that be.

    Kevin, I wrote a lengthy comment to you with much more Scripture discussed in it than simply a verse or two from James 2. I pointed you to a lengthy article, with much documentation, about the early Church Fathers’ (including St. Augustine’s) view on baptism. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/the-church-fathers-on-baptismal-regeneration/ I also asked you some pointed questions for which I was, and am, still interested to hear serious, substantive answers.

    What I received from you was a series of assertions, not backed up with any substantive evidence and not even supported by any real argumentation– just assertions. That kind of response is just not conducive to a serious discussion, Kevin.

    You say that I and other Catholics run to James 2 and ignore other Scripture which, supposedly, provides more clear Biblical teaching on justification by faith alone. However, when I write a lengthy comment to you, dealing with Scripture (and not only James 2!) and the Church Fathers on *this very question*, you simply do not answer most of the arguments that I make and the questions that I raise. Why is that?

    It is historically inaccurate to say that infant baptism didn’t enter the Church until the 4th century. Again, please read the article on baptism in the early Church Fathers to which I linked above. Also, please see this: http://www.churchfathers.org/category/sacraments/infant-baptism/

    You continue to quote St. Augustine’s saying that good works follow justification, as if this somehow proves that he believed in justification by faith alone. The Catholic Church completely affirms that good works follow justification, because justification comes, initially, by baptism (for infants) and is followed by faith, which is followed by works.

    On St. Augustine’s view of justification, you have completely ignored all of the evidence I have given you, both over on Jason Stellman’s blog, and here, which shows that St. Augustine believed that baptism regenerates, justifies, and is an important part of salvation itself. Again, there is documentation of this fact in the above linked article, and at the Church Fathers.org site, and from many other historical sources.

    Believing that baptism regenerates, justifies, and is an important part of salvation is simply *incompatible* with holding to justification by faith alone– so why do you continue to repeat what St. Augustine says about good works following justification, since the Catholic Church already teaches that, *and* since St. Augustine did not even hold to justification by faith alone, which is conclusively shown by the sources that I have provided for you in this comment and in earlier comments, here and at Jason’s blog?

  197. John (#194),

    You wrote:
    Yes, I do think it is a problem – and I don’t know the solution. We believe that the Church is holy…..
    This is probably not all that satisfactory; no doubt someone who knows theology could do better.

    Response:
    As a Catholic, you are not obliged to confess expressions like “continuing Incarnation”. They belong to wild and wonderful world of theology and scripture interpretation. Did you really draw these expressions from scripture ? I think they serve as a bridge between Christ the invisible head ruling on earth through His visible Head. If His flesh on earth continuing in the Church, then surely His head.

    Eric

  198. @Christopher (#196) and Kevin (#122):
    I looked up the context of the quote from St. Augustine about good works following justification. In his second exposition of Psalm 34, he is explaining the dual errors, one being the belief that one is justified by good works before initial justification and one being the belief that one can sin with impunity after initial justification. Augustine says the following:

    Well, now, brothers and sisters, Abraham was justified by faith, but if no good works produces his justification, they certainly followed it.

    The two apostles [James and Paul] are not contradicting each other. James dwells on an action performed by Abraham that we all know about: he offered his son as a sacrifice. That is a great work, but it proceeded from faith. I have nothing but praise for the superstructure of action, but I see the foundation of faith; I admire the good work as a fruit, but I recognize that it springs from the root of faith. If Abraham had done it without right faith it would have profited him nothing, however noble the work was. On the other hand, if Abraham had been so complacent in his faith that, on hearing God’s command to offer his son as a sacrificial victim, he had said to himself, “No, I won’t. But I believe that God will set me free, even if I ignore His orders,” his faith would have been a dead faith because it did not issue in the right action, and it would have remained a barren, dried-up root that never produced fruit.

    The apostle [Paul] has an answer for us. “I told you this, stupid, to save you from the mistake of relying on your achievements and thinking that you earned the grace of faith by your works. Put no reliance on works accomplished before faith. You know well that when faith came to you it found you a sinner, and although it is true that once faith was given to you it made you righteous, it was an ungodly person that faith found to transform into a righteous one.”

    God does not mete out to you the punishment you deserved; he bestows on you the grace you do not deserve. He owed you retribution; he awards you forgiveness. So it is through being forgiven that you begin to live in faith; that faith gathers to itself hope and the decision to love and begins to express itself in good actions; but not even after that may you boast and preen yourself. Remember who planted you on the right road; remember how even with your strong, swift feet you were wandering off it; remember how you were sick and lying half-dead by the wayside you were lifted onto a mount and taken to the inn.

    You must pay careful attention to what I am saying, my friends, because otherwise you will hurl yourselves into that abyss I mentioned, assuming that you can sin with impunity. It won’t be my fault if you do, any more than it was the apostle’s [Paul's] fault when many people misunderstood him. They misunderstood on purpose, so that they would not need to produce any good work after justification. Do not be like those folk, my brothers and sisters. One of the psalms speaks about them (about all such people, but expressing it in the singular). “He refused to understand that he should act well [Ps. 35:4(36:3)].” Notice that it does not say, “He was unable to understand.” As for you, you must want to understand that you should act well. What you need to understand is perfectly clear, and well within your grasp. And what is this clear truth? That no one must boast of any good actions before faith, and no one must be lazy about performing good works once faith has been given. So then, God grants forgiveness to all the ungodly, justifying them on the basis of faith.

    I don’t know how one can take Augustine’s statements as implying that one cannot sin and lose justification after one is initially justified. He says exactly what he means; works before justification are of no profit, but works after justification clearly are. Moreover, justification can be lost by sin, and where it is lost, one must then turn from sin and will to confess it, which perfect contrition can bring forgiveness. Augustine says, “My confession had not yet reached my lips; I had only got as far as saying ‘I will declare against myself,’ yet God heard the voice of my heart. My words were not yet in my mouth, but already God’ ear was in my heart. ‘You have forgiven the impiety of my heart’ because I said, ‘I will declare [my sin against myself].’

    This is all thoroughly Catholic. Quotes are from John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., WSA, Part 3, Vol. 15, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Expositions of the Psalms 1-32, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, 2-4 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000).

  199. John, Here is the thing the incarnation was about redemption. Hebrews 10:18″ now where there is forgiveness of these there is no longer any offering for sin.” So you cannot participate in your redemption, its finished. It was completed by Christ. He said in John he came do do all that the father has given him, and then he says he accomplished that. So yes thru the Spirit Christ communicates all his benefits to us, through the economy of grace. THe only thing we can do is accept that. “THe righteous shall live by faith”. Yes we are called to the obedience of faith, and enjoy the Lord’s supper and fellowship with him. In the RC the incarnation is still going on in the sense that your doing the acts of the church and it is propitious for you. And this is a different gospel. 1Corinthians 1: 30 ” by His doing you are in Christ who became to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, glorification. John you should look at Jerremiah 23: His name shall be called the Lord is our righteousness. We believe in a finished redemptive act that justified us, and we are to trust in this our whole lives through faith, the word and through his Spirit. The RC tries to subordinate faith to love. Putting up sanctification in the place of faith. Luther believed the RC robbed what faith is by substituting love. Paul says we are to live by faith. And certainly love is the result of that. I agree John it was a good discussion and we understand each other. You seem like a really nice man. Thx for the interchange.

  200. Christopher, you would get an argument from the reformers who claimed Augustine for the reformed. You must know my dear friend Augustine was baptized as an ADULT. Im not going to get into a contest on statements of the early fathers because we can find those statements that we think support our position. And as Calvin rightly said if we added up all the statements the evidence would fall on our side. The instrumental cause for justification is faith not infant baptism. Fine, you believe in salvation on the installment plan where you are cooperating yourself to inherent perfection, heaven and final justification. We believe that simple faith justifies a man, and adopt the words of Paul that the righteous shall live by faith. Can you point me to an infant baptism in the scripture. Oh thats right its not there. There is a lot on faith justifying a man. Romans 3:26″ that he would be just and justifier of those who have faith in Jesus.” I missed the infant baptism in that statement. You are being diengenuis. We know you believe that good works follow justification. But the point is you believe they are necessary in what you call final justification. Don’t act like I’m the first person that disagrees with that. You, at some point have to stand behind your doctrine. The Catholic catechism calls merit ” recompense owed”. Have you read your catechism. I owe nothing to God. He gave it all to me in a gift, by faith. By life of love and obedience is thanksgiving for that gift. The thing that separate our gospels are. For a catholic justification is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward, and for Paul it was the opposite, it was a declaration about someone intrinsically and completely unqualified.

  201. Jonathan, Thanks for printing that, It almost made me cry. I read it somewhat different from you, but we canal agree the RC should have followed Augustine instead of Aquinas. For me the whole statement proves my point. Here Augustine is saying what James is saying God justifies the ungodly by faith. And that true faith produces good works. ” It is true, that when faith found you it found you a sinner, and although you know that when faith was given to you it made you righteous”, it was an ungodly person that faith found to transform into a righteous one. He was so on the right track. Can you imagine had he known Greek, or Hebrew, his position would on justification would have been totally forensic. No wonder the reformers held him so dear. The difference between justificare, and hashav put the RC in the wrong direction. Then came the scholastics, who read the scripture like a metaphysics essay and polluted all where Augustine was headed. But God sent Luther to bring it back to the course where Augustine was headed. What great man. No matter how we disagree thanks so much Jonathan for printing the whole quote, which i hadn’t read in a while.

  202. Hi Kevin,

    Rev. Brian W. Harrison wrote the following regarding our discussion on justification by faith and the relationship to baptism.

    Finally, St. Paul’s teaching regarding justification by faith rather than by works must not be taken in isolation from other Biblical passages which clearly speak of the sacramental aspect of justification. St. Paul certainly does not regard Baptism as one of the human “works of the law” which cannot justify us; rather it is a “work” of God Himself, which completes the process of justification for one who has never previously been baptized. St. Paul teaches that in Baptism we participate in Christ’s death, that this, we receive through this sacrament the grace that Jesus won on the Cross by his death on the Cross; and this enables us to live the new life of his resurrection (Rom 6:3-4). Paul, on one occasion, recalled his own conversion and the role Baptism played in it: Ananias, he recalls, exhorted him shortly after he came to believe in Jesus, saying, “And now why delay? It is time you were baptized and had your sins washed away while invoking his name” (Acts 22:16). St. Peter speaks of “the baptism which saves you now, and which is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pt 3:22. See also Jn 3:5; Mk 16:16).

    You should note, specifically, in Romans 6, how Paul refers to the grace of baptism as the instrument by which we receive a participation in the death of Christ and in the new life of His resurrection.

  203. Eric (#197)

    As a Catholic, you are not obliged to confess expressions like “continuing Incarnation”. They belong to wild and wonderful world of theology and scripture interpretation. Did you really draw these expressions from scripture ? I think they serve as a bridge between Christ the invisible head ruling on earth through His visible Head.

    So far as I know, you are correct in the sense that the Church hasn’t defined anything about it – though I could be wrong. However, yes, I definitely draw these expressions from Scripture. This idea seems to me so clearly what is meant by ‘vine and branches,’ ‘one flesh’ (Paul in Ephesians 5), the Church’s being the Body of Christ, that, in fact, it seems to me uncontroversial.

    About this:

    If His flesh on earth continuing in the Church, then surely His head.

    Except that the Scriptures I refer to seem to make a real difference between head and body, vine and branches, Christ and the Church, etc. So I don’t see the problem. It’s not a matter of taking a concept – ‘the Church is the continuation of the Incarnation’ – and then running with it. The Scriptural passages have more structure in them than that.

    jj

  204. Jonathan, We know the RC teaches that only baptism can remove original sin and restore divine life to the soul. You church describes the pouring of divine life into the soul as the infusion of sanctifying grace. The infant is considered reborn,adopted, incorporated into the RC in a state of grace. The RC teaches that this justifies the child as you know. The new testament word for justification is righteousness.THe bible says justification is a divine act Romans 8:33 ” God is the one who justifies”.Biblical justification issn act of God in which he declares an unworthy sinner to be righteous in his sight Romans 4:3. It is more than acquittal or forgiveness of sins, it includes the positive reckoning in which God credits to the sinner’s account the righteousness of God Romans3:22. 2 Corinthians 5:21 Oh sweet exchange! Romans says God justifies the one who has faith in JesusRomans 3:26. The Gospel is preached and some being persuaded place their trust in Jesus to save them. They are declared righteous in his sight. Romans 3:28 ” for we maintain that a man is justified by faith.” RC on the other hand teaches is by the sacrament of baptism. Your theologians attempt to show biblical basis for this belief by citing scriptures which speak of baptism in the same context as new birth, forgiveness, or salvation. They the identify baptism as the cause of those effects. Such indirect methods, however, can never negate the clear teaching of scripture that justification is by faith. The RC tries to connect infant baptism as the instrumental cause of justification saying the infant enters into a life of faith, the faith of the priest, parents etc., It helps the infant express his need of free grace, faith is dependent on community and so on. When we say an infant is incapable of faith, the we are told of the wonder working water. Why didn’t Jesus baptize anyone? John 4:2 The thief on the cross. Cornellius in Acts 10 received the holy Spirit before he was baptized. 1 Corinthians Paul said that Christ had not sent to baptize but preach the Gospel. Romans 1:16 “For I’m not ashamed of the Gospel it is the power of God to all those who believe.Infant baptism is a false hope unfortunately, John 1:12-13″ But as many as receive him, to them he gave the right to become chidden of God, even to those who believe in his name, who are not born of blood or thee will of man, but of god. Infant baptism misleads Catholics as to their true spiritual condition and need by producing a false hope. The church actually provides a baptismal certificate as if that justifies a man. in this way Catholics grow up convinced that they already have a right relationship with God and are on the road that leads to heaven. But their hope as we see, is without biblical support. Their baptismal certificates are worthless to God, for their faith is noy in the savior, but in a sacrament and in the minister of the sacraments, ThRCC.

  205. CK #196, Well here is what Jesus said is john 5:24″Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but passed out of death into life. Sounds a lot like Paul to me.

  206. Kevin doesn’t know that a person, baby or adult, who dies immediately after Baptism goes straight to heaven. No good works needed.
    Salvation through Baptism is not merited. Rather it is free gift. In the case of an adult, Faith and repentance are necessary due to sins previously committed and erroneous views previously held. A baby does not need faith or repentance because he does not have the obstacles of sin and error blocking the free infusion of sanctifying grace into his soul.
    As for St. Augustine, the catholic bishop held to the Marian dogmas, purgatory, necessity of faith working by charity, the papacy, the Mass, ability to lose salvation, marriage as a sacrament, etc. etc. If he was the Calvinist Kevin claims he was, he was a schizoid.

  207. Kevin (#200),

    You wrote to me:

    Christopher, you would get an argument from the reformers who claimed Augustine for the reformed. You must know my dear friend Augustine was baptized as an ADULT. Im not going to get into a contest on statements of the early fathers because we can find those statements that we think support our position. And as Calvin rightly said if we added up all the statements the evidence would fall on our side. The instrumental cause for justification is faith not infant baptism. Fine, you believe in salvation on the installment plan where you are cooperating yourself to inherent perfection, heaven and final justification. We believe that simple faith justifies a man, and adopt the words of Paul that the righteous shall live by faith. Can you point me to an infant baptism in the scripture. Oh thats right its not there. There is a lot on faith justifying a man. Romans 3:26″ that he would be just and justifier of those who have faith in Jesus.” I missed the infant baptism in that statement. You are being diengenuis. We know you believe that good works follow justification. But the point is you believe they are necessary in what you call final justification. Don’t act like I’m the first person that disagrees with that. You, at some point have to stand behind your doctrine. The Catholic catechism calls merit ” recompense owed”. Have you read your catechism. I owe nothing to God. He gave it all to me in a gift, by faith. By life of love and obedience is thanksgiving for that gift. The thing that separate our gospels are. For a catholic justification is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward, and for Paul it was the opposite, it was a declaration about someone intrinsically and completely unqualified.

    As can be seen above, your reply to me is marked by snark and insult, and that is, unfortunately, far from the first time that this has been the case between us. Therefore, after this response, I won’t be engaging with you anymore here or anywhere else on the internet. I truly have tried though, because I do genuinely care about you and your life, in this life and in eternity.

    Yes, it is true that St. Augustine was baptized as an adult, due to certain misunderstandings about baptism in his birth family. As a Catholic convert though, he defended infant baptism as being the historic practice of the Church.

    You mention Calvin saying that, added up together, the Church Fathers generally line up on the Reformed Protestant side, rather than on the Catholic side. That doesn’t help your argument regarding St. Augustine and baptism at all though, because like Augustine, Calvin strongly teaches, in his “Institutes,” that infant baptism is Biblical and is the historic practice of the Church.

    In a way, Calvin is actually far more extreme (on infant baptism) than St. Augustine and the Catholic Church though. In the 50-plus-page section of the “Institutes” on baptism, Calvin repeatedly speaks of credobaptists in the harshest possible terms. Unlike the Catholic Church, Calvin does not even consider credobaptists to be Christians! If you don’t believe me, read the “Institutes,” at length, on infant baptism.

    Yes, Kevin, in response to your “question”– I have read my Catechism. I know that it speaks of merit as “recompense owed.” Because I *have* read and studied my Catechism though, I also know that it teaches the following on merit:

    2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

    2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

    2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God’s gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us “co-heirs” with Christ and worthy of obtaining “the promised inheritance of eternal life.”60 The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.61 “Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God’s gifts.”62

    2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

    2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.

    After earth’s exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone. . . . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.63

    I truly hope that you carefully read and pondered all of those words from the Catechism, Kevin. If not though, I can at least say, again, as I said on Jason’s blog and here, that I tried. I wish you the best in Christ, my brother.

  208. Jonathan, also no one denies baptism as a sacrament for those who have placed their faith in Christ. It is the seal of God’s grace to us. But it is not the instrumental cause of justification. Faith is. Ephesians 2:8 says “For by grace we have been saved thru faith, not baptism. Baptism like circumcision was a sign and seal of faith. Remember Paul address this in regards to Abraham. He was justified before he was circumcised. Catholic theologians readily admit infant baptism is nowhere in scripture. Constantine wanted it to monolithically christianize all babies for political reasons.

  209. Jim,#208. Absolutely Kevin knows that babies go to heaven when they die. We can all agree on that. Thats not what Kevin said, Infant baptism does not justify anybody. Maybe you can explain the RICA program to all the reformed who may not know you have to go through a year of church works to become an elect. Im sure that program will remind them of the thief on the cross and the phillipians jailer, or the tax collector in Luke. Imagine Jesus putting them through RICA before they get in the door. Please. And Augustine did not believe in purgatory. And the passage that Jonathan sited was great evidence of where the church may have gone had they followed him instead of the so called scholastics. Infant baptism is required in the RCC to be saved. Paul says faith and you guys say infant baptism. Of course now days its all about fetching everybody back to the triumphant community, muslims, those who desire baptism, John Paul said stay where you are do the best you can, and kissed the Koran. Can you imagine Jesus kissing the Koran.

  210. Jim (re: #206)

    Please see what I said in comment #21 above about not referring to participating persons in the third person. Thank you.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  211. Kevin (re: #209)

    Throwing into this discussion the instance of Pope John Paul II kissing the Qu’ran is an example of sophistry, because it has nothing to do with the topic laid out in Jason’s post. That’s the throw-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-and-hope-something-sticks form of debate, which we don’t allow here, either by Catholics or Protestants. This is a forum for dialogue, not debate; see here if that distinction is not clear. Comments here should remain on the topic of Jason’s post. Off-topic comments will be deleted.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  212. Bryan, ok

  213. Christopher, sorry for my tone.

  214. Kevin- RCIA- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was practiced in the early church. St Justin Martyr in his First Apology gives us some insight into early christian initiation, ” 61. How we dedicated ourselves to God when we were made new through Christ I will explain, since it might seem to be unfair if I left this out from my exposition. Those who are persuaded and believe that the things we teach and say are true, and promise that they can live accordingly, are instructed to pray and beseech God with fasting for the remission of their past sins, while we pray and fast along with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are reborn by the same manner of rebirth by which we ourselves were reborn; for they are then washed in the water in the name of God the Father and Master of all, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. For Christ said, “Unless you are born again you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Interesting that they are born again in baptism.

    The Church today uses RCIA as a means to allow catechumens and candidates to grow more deeply in their relationship with Christ and His Church. I have seen tremendous changes in people who have gone through RCIA, physical and emotional healing, families unified, strong prayer lives, building community with one another. All of this is only possible when people’s lives are transformed by Jesus Christ! I think Jesus would be pleased when he saw what is happening.

    Just my two cents.

    Dave

  215. Bryan, fraternal correction acknowledged and appreciated.
    Kevin, it’s interesting that you mention the philippian jailer. If Baptism is such a non-essential, why was he Baptized immediately, in the middle of the night? And why is there no mention of the faith of his household?
    No mention of infant Baptism in the Bible? Well, mention is made of the necessity of being born from above by water and the Spirit. Do you believe that babies come into the world already fit for heaven?
    Further, scripture speaks of being Baptized into Christ, of putting on Christ. Election is in Christ. Baptism seals us with Christ’s death. That is not to say the grace of Baptism cannot be lost. But the seal can’t be. Perhaps a reflection on the fact that the word “baptize” referred to the non-repeatable process of pickling or dying might be of help. Baptism marks us, whether babies or adults, as Christians. Our Baptismal certificates prove we have been incorporated into Christ and that, at least once, were in a state of grace. But I know of no Catholic who ever points to that document as an assurance of salvation.

  216. PS Kevin, I should mention that Augustine held that Baptism was a sort of tattoo or brand received by soldiers. The mark was a sign that the soldier belonged to the emperor. It did not mean the soldier could not run away or disgrace his office. Like circumcision, Baptism seals one into a covenant but it does not assure one of being in good standing for life. In the case of adults, more may be required. What it does promise is, as long as no obstacles are erected, all the necessary graces needed for heaven will be supplied freely.

  217. I hope everyone involved with this conversation will forgive me, a first-time commenter, for inserting myself into this conversation, but I thought that a few points of clarification might be helpful, in order to move the conversation forward in a productive way, back within the context of Jason’s article..

    Kevin,
    I have followed this conversation closely and as you have focused much of your criticism of Catholicism on the issue of justification, I was hoping to show how your understanding of the Catholic Church’s position on justification is not correct. More importantly though, I wanted to point out, as the contributors on this blog have continually tried to establish in articles such as,
    Solo Scriptura, Sola Scriptura, and the Question of Interpretive Authority. ; The Catholic and Protestant Authority Paradigms Compared. ; & Mathison’s Reply to Cross and Judisch: A Largely Philosophical Critique. , that since, within the Protestant Interpretive Paradigm there is no principled means to distinguish between Divine Revelation (which is binding upon the consciences of Christians) and theological opinion (which cannot be conscience binding), the only intellectually honest response to what you believe the Catholic Church to teach regarding Justification, would be to say that you disagree with it. Because your IP forbids you to proclaim your particular interpretation of Scripture to be infallible, (which means that there is a possibility that your interpretation could be incorrect), you have no authority to stand on to proclaim Catholic Church teaching to be “a false gospel” (Comment #149). You cannot guarantee that your particular interpretation is 100% consistent with the Divine Revelation Jesus left with His Apostles. Furthermore, because of the Protestant belief that the Holy Spirit is guiding believers to a correct interpretation of Scripture, it is inconsistent and ad hoc of you to proclaim that gift for yourself, while denying it to Catholics; especially considering the wide diversity of theological opinion held within Protestantism itself.

    Regarding the teaching on Justification, and specifically St. Paul’s use of the terms “Justification” & “Salvation,”the Catholic Church recognizes a distinction between the past, present and future tenses of these terms utilized within Scripture such as:

    Past Event-
    Rom 8:24a – “For we were saved in this hope…” NKJV
    2 Tim 1:9 – “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,” NKJV
    Tit 3:5 – “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” NKJV

    Present process, as in Sanctification-
    Phil 2:12 – “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” NKJV

    And a future event-
    Mt 10:22b – “But he who endures to the end will be saved.” NKJV
    Mk 8:35b – “but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” NKJV
    Rom 13:11 – “for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” NKJV
    1 Pet 1:9 – “ receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” NKJV

    The Catholic Church has rightly condemned the heresy of Pelagianism, the belief that a person can come to God, on our own, without God’s grace first empowering us: and that our works, without first being made possible through Agape, can be meritorious or pleasing to God. The Catholic Church has recognized that, for instance, in Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Tim 1:9 &Titus 3:5, Paul is speaking of our initial Justification. The Catholic Church does not create a false dichotomy between faith and works, but recognizes that after our initial Justification, when God’s free gift of grace has called us out of darkness to be adopted as sons and daughters, a perfect synergy between faith and works must exist, as any relationship requires cooperation and participation to be fruitful. Clearly the works God created us to accomplish (Eph 2:10), and Christ empowers us to perform (Gal 2:20; Phil 4:13), become the way that we cooperate in this relationship as children of God. It’s interesting that in almost every verse dealing with the final judgment, Scripture speaks of people being rewarded for what we have done.

    Jn 5:28-29 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation..” NKJV

    Rom 2:6-7 “who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;” NKJV

    Gal 5:6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” NKJV

    1 Pet 1:17 “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;” NKJV

    Rev 20:12-13 “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.” NKJV

    It sure seems reasonable to me to believe that, once we have entered into a relationship with God, our works/deeds, empowered through Agape, play a vital role in both maintaining our relationship with Him, and affecting our salvation in the sense that those whose faith does not work through love will not be saved.

    Matt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” NKJV

    Matt 25:41-46 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” NKJV

    I hope you can appreciate that within your IP, the Catholic Church has as much ground to stand on as you, for a claim to the correct interpretation of Scripture. But, the Catholic Church does not hold to Sola Scriptura so it might be helpful, in the interest of productive dialogue, for you to go back and read the articles these gentlemen have written explaining the Catholic Interpretive Paradigm and why the CIP is more reasonable to hold than the PIP.

    Again, I apologize for straying from the topic at hand and also for not being able to say this in less words.
    Peace in Christ!
    Christopher

  218. PPS Kevin, Augustine believed in praying for his dead mother and father, St. Monica and Patricius ( Confessions 9:13). Monica, before her death, asked him to remember her at the altar (a.k.a. the sacrifice of the Mass). The City of God and his Enchiridion mention fires of purgation and temporal punishment.

  219. Jim, If you get a chance to read Martin Cheminitz on Trent. It is a complete outing historically of the RC. The mass was never a sacrifice. Augustine is clear he never believed in the sacrifice of the mass sand transubstantiation. Remembering her at the altar didn’t refer to immolate my savior again, because the once only sacrifice didn’t quite get the job done. As with the Marian ego of the 12 and 13the century so went the sacrifice of the mass. Augustine never believed in the true presence of Christ’s body in the bread. He didn’t believe in cosmic Jesus. He said ” the church has been deprived of the body of Christ until he comes again. Catholics don’t need to look for the second coming because his natural body and kingdom are already among you as the church. He renews himself is his youth everyday among you. Ratzinger says the Eucharist is the church. And the church is Christ ( collapsed head into the body). But the irony is you can go to 10000 masses and wind up in purgatory without enough substance to get to heaven. An imperfect sacrifice?

  220. Christopher, your argument does not stand. Since your post is so lengthy and this post isn’t on justification I’m not going to address every point. We are all priests, God’s cleras. Did you really say that “the protestant belief that the Holy Spirit is leading them to correct interpretation of Scripture”. Did Martin Luther have the authority from scripture to correct the magisterium. All scripture is profitable for correction and training. Supporting Luther’s claims that the Roman Gospel is false is not a gift i ascribe to myself. God sent Luther to save the apostles and the early church from the hair splitting academics who perverted the gospel. All believers have this obligation. Paul chided Peter when he was in error. The man you claim was your first pope was in error and was corrected for it. The apostles never claimed infallibility. Scripture will always be where we reformed look, not to councils, re councils, popes , antipopes. Sure we have much to be thankful to early councils for. But councils error. They are men Christopher. And many of them were not even believers, they were corrupt men. Reading the history of the Popes is like watching a corrupt movie. Many were Godly men. But mere men like you and I. Even Ratzinger acknowledges the democracy of the early bishops. Even your your own theologians Christopher say that this claim to infallibility can’t be maintained. The claim to the home office. I’ll be frank with you, its the difference between a theocentric view of the gospel and a anthropocentric view. We reformed believe the gospel is about God glorifying himself. We believe in a finished incarnation. We believe his atonement actually does why it says. You believe in a synergistic gospel, man centered, where you are partly atoning for yourself through your works. You have made a savior out of merit and inherent grace. Tell me that Paul knew anything of the tangled system of sanctifying grace, actual grace, condign merit, congruous merit, and all this ecclesiastical machinery. But God sent the reformers to dispense of this ecclesiastical machinery that was largely human in origin. How you can read the boo of Roman and conclude justification on the installment plan through the acts of the church we reformed will never understand. Romans 5:1 is in the Aorist past participle, ” therefore having been justified by faith” we have true shalom with God. Catholics don’t have that peace.

  221. Kevin (re: #219)

    The mass was never a sacrifice. Augustine is clear he never believed in the sacrifice of the mass sand transubstantiation.

    See the two quotations from St. Augustine in the section “e. Proofs of a Sacrificial Priesthood” of Tim Troutman’s article “Holy Orders and the Sacrificial Priesthood.”

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  222. Kevin, I forgive you. (I’m not God, of course, but you know what I mean!) :-) Thanks for the discussion. In my struggles with my own tone in internet discussions, I have found this article to be helpful (and much-needed): http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/06/virtue-and-dialogue-ecumenism-and-the-heart/

  223. Kevin,
    “Jim, If you get a chance to read Martin Cheminitz on Trent. It is a complete outing historically of the RC. The mass was never a sacrifice. Augustine is clear he never believed in the sacrifice of the mass sand transubstantiation… Augustine never believed in the true presence of Christ’s body in the bread…”

    Kevin, If you get a chance to read Chemnitz on The Lord’s Supper, it is a complete outing historically of the Zwinglians. Unlike Augustine, he didn’t believe in the sacrifice of the Mass but he did believe in the true presence of Christ in the bread. Strange you should invoke a Lutheran in this discussion.
    As for Augustine, he said that at the Last Supper, Christ held Himself in His own hands. Connecting Mary to the Mass he said, ” She gave milk to our Bread”. Think of it, Mary did not suckle a mere symbol. Rather, the very bread we eat in the Eucharistic is one with the Word Incarnate.

  224. Kevin (re: #219)

    Augustine is clear he never believed in the sacrifice of the mass sand transubstantiation.

    Regarding whether St. Augustine believed in transubstantiation, see the six quotations from St. Augustine in Tim Troutman’s other article titled “The Church Fathers on Transubstantiation.”

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  225. Dear Kevin et al (re: #219),

    Jim, If you get a chance to read Martin Cheminitz (sic) on Trent.

    This is actually a suggestion I’d make to anyone with sufficient time and interest to make a detailed scholarly search of the distinctions between Catholics & Confessional Lutherans. Chemnitz’s 2-volume “Examination of the Council of Trent” is an excellent work in two respects. First, it’s a contemporary disputation published by one of the greatest 2nd generation Lutheran systematic theologians (Chemnitz is still held in high regard by Confessional Lutherans). Second, the edition I got from our university library had the complete text of Trent followed by Chemnitz’ responses (broken into a few paragraphs of Trent followed by Chemnitz’s response to them, then a few more paragraphs of Trent, them Chemnitz’s response to them, etc). So by going through Chemnitz I actually read the complete text of Trent too. I’d never actually read Trent before (I’d read the anathemas having to do with JBFA, for instance, but what I never realized was that all the anathemas were preceded by significant explanatory and justificatory sections. Oddly enough, the anathemas make much more sense when read in light of Trent’s own explanations – and by not reading the earlier explanatory sections, I’d been shortchanging Catholicism’s best case).

    Regardless, if someone has the time and patience to wade through a 2-volume scholarly work, Kevin’s suggestion is a good one. (Try to get it through inter-library loan unless you have $60-$80 lying around). :-p Your mileage may vary, but I found Trent’s positions more compelling than Chemnitz’s responses – but inasmuch as Chemnitz is a strong representative of the Confessional Lutheran position, it’s definitely a work worth reading.

    Yours Sincerely,
    ~Benjamin Keil

  226. Christopher Bowen, The Roman Catholic Church annually prepares almost 2 million people adults and children over the age of seven for baptismal justification. Tragically, however, rather leading them to trust in Christ alone for salvation, the church leads them away, Through the Right of Chistian Initiation of Adults RICA, Roman Catholicism teaches people to approach God through their own righteousness and good works.This stands in direct contradiction to the bible, which teach God justifies by grace, not works, God justifies the ungodly, not the righteous. Despite scriptures teaching that God justifies sinners “as a gift of his grace”Romans 3:24 the RC says candidates seeking justification must perform good works.At the same time the church maintains that RC justification is a free gift saying the good works performed in preparation for just. are done under the influence of actual grace, the works themselves are works of grace. It says it is a gift and cannot be earned. Yet the person seeking justification must work long and hard, several years if necessary. The RICA candidates must demonstrate their conversion by acts of, loving and worshiping God, praying, fasting, loving one’s neighbor, practicing self renunciation, obeying the commandments, bearing witness to the catholic faith, following supernatural inspiration in deeds, confessing the major doctrines of the church.Telling a person who actually has met all these requirements that justification is free, unmerited gift would be meaningless. Such a person would have every right to be declared righteous by his own merit. the bible says”to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a gift, but what is due. Requiring even one good work for justification makes just., at least in part ann earned blessing. romans 3:24 “as gift by his grace”Romans 11:6 ” if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would not be grace”. Hypocrisy

  227. Bryan, Cheminitz has everything Augustine ever said on the mass, and it is the most comprehensive work ever done on the position of the fathers on the mass. It is a masterpiece, and he was probably the greatest theologian that ever lived. It is a complete indictment of Trent that is a must read for everybody, especially Catholics. With all due respect( because i don’t want to receive a reprimand from you), this is a subject that you as a catholic should run from because the twisted sacrifice of the mass was literally invented in the church. The history of the word sacrifice in the church had nothing to do with the current sacrificium in the church. O’brien says that the priest pulls Christ down out of Heaven as his regent and offers him up again as efficacious. Isn’t it also true that the participant offers himself up as a sacrifice? And that was the problem the reformers had that a sacrament was God’s giving and sealing to us and not all the preparation and work earning a merit, or more grace, or justice.

  228. Kevin, (re: #227)

    Bryan, Cheminitz has everything Augustine ever said on the mass, and it is the most comprehensive work ever done on the position of the fathers on the mass. It is a masterpiece, and he was probably the greatest theologian that ever lived. It is a complete indictment of Trent that is a must read for everybody, especially Catholics.

    I’ve read it. Here’s the problem. In comment #219 you claimed:

    The mass was never a sacrifice.

    In comment #221 I provided a link showing multiple Church Fathers stating directly and explicitly that the mass is a sacrifice.

    In comment #219 you claimed:

    Augustine is clear he never believed in the sacrifice of the mass sand transubstantiation.

    You provided no evidence whatsoever that St. Augustine never believed in the sacrifice of the mass, or transubstantiation. In comment #221 I directed you to two quotations from St. Augustine in which he directly affirms the sacrificial character of the mass. And then in comment #224 I provided a link to six quotations from St. Augustine showing that he did believe that the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ.

    The proper response here is, “Thanks Bryan, I see that I was mistaken about the mass never being thought of as a sacrifice, and St. Augustine not thinking of it as a sacrifice, and his not believing that the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ.” Instead, you responded by talking about Chemnitz, and thus entirely sidestepping the problem that the evidence I provided directly falsifies your assertions.

    Similarly, in comment #141, I pointed out a fatal problem for your position regarding justification, from the text of Genesis 12-15. Your response in #143 ignored the problem, and focused instead on claims by St. Paul. So in #147 I pointed out that you were sidestepping the problem I had pointed out in #141. But you continued commenting to others, without ever addressing the problem I had raised in #141.

    So the pattern I’m seeing from you here is that when I bring up a problem or evidence that falsifies a claim you make, you just change the subject. If that’s your m.o., then CTC is not the place for you. CTC is for persons who sincerely want the truth, and are willing to consider all the evidence; it is not for persons who change the subject when confronted with evidence that does not fit with their position. If you’re not willing to consider the evidence openly, with a sincere desire for the truth (whatever that truth may be), then you are not ready to participate at CTC.

    Next, you wrote:

    With all due respect …

    Regarding the use of the phrase “with all due respect,” see what I wrote to you in comment #151 above.

    this is a subject that you as a catholic should run from because the twisted sacrifice of the mass was literally invented in the church.

    As I already showed at the link in #221, the sacrificial character of the mass was something believed and taught by the Church Fathers. You have provided no evidence to support your mere assertion. Since I’m providing evidence for my claim, and you’re providing no evidence for yours, then evidentially, you should be running from the position that denies that the mass is sacrificial.

    The history of the word sacrifice in the church had nothing to do with the current sacrificium in the church.

    Mere assertions are easy; but they prove nothing. I suggest not wasting your words with mere assertions, because you won’t persuade anyone here by way of mere assertions. And CTC is not the place for that sort of exchange, but instead for reasoned dialogue in which the participating persons provide evidence and argumentation for their claims.

    O’brien says that the priest pulls Christ down out of Heaven as his regent and offers him up again as efficacious.

    So? You aren’t providing any reason or evidence to show that this is wrong.

    Isn’t it also true that the participant offers himself up as a sacrifice?

    Yes.

    And that was the problem the reformers had that a sacrament was God’s giving and sealing to us and not all the preparation and work earning a merit, or more grace, or justice.

    Anyone can “have a problem” with what is actually true. The Arians “had a problem” with the Christology of the Nicene Creed. But that only shows that they were in error; it doesn’t refute the Nicene Creed. Likewise, the fact that the reformers “had a problem” with some Catholic doctrine does not refute or falsify that Catholic doctrine, because it could just as well show that the reformers were mistaken.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  229. Kevin,

    Christopher, your argument does not stand. Since your post is so lengthy and this post isn’t on justification I’m not going to address every point.

    I only discussed 2 points in my previous post, and since you didn’t address either, my arguments remain standing. As others in this thread have made clear to you, assertions don’t defeat arguments. My first point was just to illustrate that the Catholic teaching on Justification, which you continue to misrepresent, is Biblically sound and actually makes better sense than SBFA. You may not agree with the Catholic interpretation, but as I stated in my second point, under the Protestant Interpretive Paradigm, with no principled means to distinguish between Divine Revelation (which is binding upon the consciences of Christians) and theological opinion (which cannot be conscience binding), the only intellectually honest response to what you believe the Catholic Church teaches on any doctrine would be only to say that you disagree with it. Again, because you have no way to guarantee that your interpretation of any doctrine is 100% consistent with the Divine Revelation Jesus left with His Apostles (i.e., infallible) your interpretation is just one theological opinion among the plethora of Protestant denominations.

    Did you really say that “the protestant belief that the Holy Spirit is leading them to correct interpretation of Scripture”.

    The Protestant belief that the Holy Spirit guides believers to the correct interpretation of Scripture has been the number one cause of the continual fracturing of denominations since the Protestant Reformation. My statement is not at all controversial. As a matter of fact, the large number of posts you’ve added to this thread, listing the number of Catholic teachings you believe to be wrong are a good indication that you also believe this to be true, since you are claiming to have the correct interpretation of Scripture. But, as the articles I linked to in my previous post have illustrated, under your Interpretive Paradigm, you have no principled means of distinguishing between true doctrine and false doctrine.

    Did Martin Luther have the authority from scripture to correct the magisterium.

    This is at the crux of my second point, Martin Luther had no more authority to correct the magisterium than you or I do. Scripture does not impart authority, it’s a book and books don’t do anything.

    Regarding the rest of your post, you continue to show that you have no real understanding of Catholic teaching, nor any understanding of Catholics in general. I think it’s great that you have continued to interact with Catholics on this site, but I have to ask, what do you hope to gain from these interactions? After following this blog for a couple of years, it’s become very apparent to me that the Catholics on this site, both contributors and commenters for the most part, have gone to great lengths to thoroughly understand the Protestant positions, so as to not misrepresent those positions. If I can offer a suggestion, in all charity and humility, before you spend any more time refuting what you think Catholics believe, take some time to discover what we actually believe. Only then will a productive dialogue be able to continue.
    Peace in Christ!
    Christopher

  230. John (#203),

    About this:
    If His flesh on earth continuing in the Church, then surely His head.

    You wrote:
    Except that the Scriptures I refer to seem to make a real difference between head and body, vine and branches, Christ and the Church, etc.
    —————–

    Please explain “make a real difference between”. I don’t understand what you mean.

    Eric

  231. Bryan, Augustine Faustas 6:5 ” While we consider it no longer a duty to offer sacrifices, we recognize sacrifices as a part of the mysteries of Revelation, by which the things prophesied were foreshadowed. For they were examples, and in many and various ways they all pointed to the ONE sacrifice which we now COMMEMORATE. Now that this sacrifice has been revealed, and has been offered in due time, sacrifice IS NO LONGER binding as an act of worship, while it retains its SYMBOLIC authority. Trent anathematised Augustine’s position on the Eucharist unfortunately. Faustus 20:18,20 ” The hebrews again, in their animal sacrifice, which they offered to god in many various forms, suitably to the significance of the institution, typified the sacrifice offered by Christ . This sacrifice is also commemorated by christians ” “in the passion of Christ the types were fulfilled by the true sacrifice. after the ascension of Christ , this sacrifice is COMMEMORATED in the sacrifice. Bryan don’t jump on me, i capitalized only to highlight.

  232. Eric (#230)

    About this:
    If His flesh on earth continuing in the Church, then surely His head.

    You wrote:
    Except that the Scriptures I refer to seem to make a real difference between head and body, vine and branches, Christ and the Church, etc.
    —————–

    Please explain “make a real difference between”. I don’t understand what you mean.

    I mean that the Scriptures I refer to do differentiate between Head and Body – and that therefore I infer that His flesh’s being (mystically; no one denies that Christ’s natural Body is in Heaven – whatever that means :-)) on earth does not have to entail the Head being on earth – which I take you to mean that it would mean the Church’s claim to be the continuation of the Incarnation might be a claim that makes the Church autonomous, autocephalous.

    jj

  233. Bryan, answering #141. I read your previous post and will reread it and engage. But first you have to acknowledge the historical fact that the fourth century fathers were working with the vulgate which used justificare ( to be made righteous) which was the Roman legal paradigm at the time which put the final justification at the end. These men knew no greek or Hebrew. The breakthrough of the reformers and we would say for the first time in the church Dikaiousinae and hashav( declare, count) were exegeted correctly. This dealt a fatal blow on Rome.

  234. Kevin (re: #231)

    The passage in Contra Faustum VI is about Old Testament animal sacrifices, as anyone can see who reads the whole of Book VI. Here is the meaning of that particular section, when you read it in context instead of proof-texting it out of context:

    To answer for ourselves in the first place, while we consider it no longer a duty to offer [animal] sacrifices, we recognize [animal] sacrifices as part of the mysteries of Revelation, by which the things prophesied were foreshadowed. For they were our examples, and in many and various ways they all pointed to the one sacrifice which we now commemorate [in the Eucharistic sacrifice]. Now that this sacrifice has been revealed, and has been offered in due time, [animal] sacrifice is no longer binding as an act of worship, while it retains its symbolic authority. (Contra Faustum VI.5)

    The problem for your position is that by taking this one passage of its context, so as to make St. Augustine appear to be denying the sacrificial character of the mass, you make him therefore contradict himself when he affirms the sacrificial character of the mass in the places I pointed out at the link in #221. The Catholic understanding of St. Augustine has no such problem. He was, after all, a Catholic bishop.

    Please do not use all caps to emphasize words; use bold font or italicize.

    But first you have to acknowledge the historical fact that the fourth century fathers were working with the vulgate which used justificare ( to be made righteous) which was the Roman legal paradigm at the time which put the final justification at the end. These men knew no greek or Hebrew. The breakthrough of the reformers and we would say for the first time in the church Dikaiousinae and hashav( declare, count) were exegeted correctly. This dealt a fatal blow on Rome.

    There are two problems with this argument. The first is that it presupposes precisely what it is attempting to show, namely, that those who used the term iustificare did not learn rightly from their predecessors what was the apostolic understanding of justification. So it simply begs the question. The second problem with the argument is that the Greeks who spoke and wrote Greek in linguistic continuity with the New Testatment authors, never held, nor to this day hold, the Protestant conception of justification. So, instead of this being a “fatal blow on Rome,” these two problems are “fatal blows” to the argument.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  235. Christopher (#229),

    You wrote this to Kevin,
    ….under the Protestant Interpretive Paradigm, with no principled means to distinguish between Divine Revelation (which is binding upon the consciences of Christians) and theological opinion (which cannot be conscience binding)…..
    ———————–

    The Holy Spirit is first in the order of interpreters and teachers. He inspired Scripture to function as a means of knowing Divine Revelation. Also, Scripture is an interpretation of Divine Revelation. The same Spirit who interprets, teaches and inspires will illuminate the understanding for salvation. Salvation and His glory are the goals for these principled means.

    Eric

  236. Bryan, nice try. the one sacrifice that we commemorate is the sacrifice on the cross. You inserted the word animal. The point is that no sacrifice is binding. The book of Hebrews is all about the finality of Christ’s sacrifice. If you gave Chemnitz book a fair reading, which i assume you did, he makes it abundantly clear. Church history doesnt support it. It violates Hebrews 10:14 ” For by one sacrifice he perfected for all time those for who he died. Where there is forgiveness of these there is no longer any sacrifice. The incarnation is finished. He said he accomplished all the Father had given him. The book of John is a history of the incarnation not a metaphysics essay. Revelation 1:17 ” I was dead and now i live forever more. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. The catholic mass as imperfect as it is cannot be.

  237. Kevin (re: #236)

    the one sacrifice that we commemorate is the sacrifice on the cross.

    I agree; nothing I said implied otherwise.

    You inserted the word animal.

    Only into those places where St. Augustine is referring to the OT animal sacrifices. (That’s the topic of St. Augustine’s discussion in Book VI of Contra Faustum.

    The point is that no sacrifice is binding.

    No *animal* sacrifice is binding. St. Augustine did believe that the Eucharistic sacrifice is binding; see the quotations at the link #221. And in no place in Contra Faustum (or any of his writings) does he say that the Eucharistic sacrifice is not binding.

    The book of Hebrews is all about the finality of Christ’s sacrifice.

    I agree. But the finality of Christ’s sacrifice does not exclude our present participation in that sacrifice through the gift of the Eucharistic sacrament.

    If you gave Chemnitz book a fair reading, which i assume you did, he makes it abundantly clear.

    It is one of the better books defending a Lutheran position, but when all the evidence is laid on the table, Chemnitz falls short. If you disagree, then instead of merely pointing to Chemnitz, you’ll need to deal in actual, specific, concrete evidence, rather than hand-waving with mere assertions.

    Church history doesnt support it.

    This is a mere hand-waving assertion. I’ve provided a good deal of evidence (at the link #221) showing that Church history *does* support it. The *only* evidence you have provided is a paragraph from St. Augustine, which you misinterpreted by taking his words out of context.

    It violates Hebrews 10:14 ” For by one sacrifice he perfected for all time those for who he died.”

    It violates *your interpretation* of Hebrews 10:14. Catholics fully affirm not only the truth of Heb 10:14, but its divine inspiration. There are not multiple sacrifices. There is *one* sacrifice, and in the Eucharist we participate in that one sacrifice. I have discussed Heb 10:14 in comments #77-90 of “Reformed Imputation and the Lord’s Prayer.”

    Where there is forgiveness of these there is no longer any sacrifice.

    Correct; Christ is not and does not have to be re-sacrificed. You’re conflating the distinction between participation in one sacrifice and repeating or re-sacrificing the victim. And that conflation is why your criticism is of a straw man. You’re treating the fact that Christ does not need to be re-sacrificed, as though that rules out present participation in His sacrifice. But that conclusion does not follow from that premise.

    The incarnation is finished.

    Here we finally get back to the point of Jason’s post, whether Protestant theology implies that Christ no longer needs to be incarnate.

    Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. The catholic mass as imperfect as it is cannot be.

    Again, you are presupposing that the Eucharist is not a participation in Christ’s one sacrifice; according to the Catholic Church the Eucharist is an unbloody participation in the one sacrifice that was bloody. So your criticism presupposes precisely what is in question, and thus commits the fallacy of begging the question, i.e. presupposing precisely what is in question between you and your interlocutor.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  238. It starts in the beginning. Adam and Eve were in relationship with God and perfect. They chose to not trust God. They chose to turn away from his commandments and thus experienced the consequence of being kicked out of Eden, etc. We forget that in the realm of God that there is no time. Scriptures says that a thousand years is like one day to God. As Catholics, we tap into the mystery of God and God’s time. Thus, Good Friday, Easter, sacred liturgy, heavenly banquet and the end of the world are all one event. We experience this at every Sacred liturgy. Through the ordination of the priest who is in the person of Jesus Christ, we tap into the heavenly realm where Jesus wants to help us get back to the state of grace from the beginning. Thus, through God’s grace we have the capacity to be ‘perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect’. God doesn’t cover over our sins. He wants us to be perfect as Adam and Eve in the beginning. Marriage is the icon of the Trinity in the world. Baptism empowers us to be priest, prophet and king in the world. Thus, we participate in life of the Trinity here on earth especially through marriage which is the primordial sacrament. As Catholics, we believe in one holy Catholic and Apostolic church. How can we believe in a church? Because the Church is the body of Christ. It is a person. Jesus. Just as the Bible is the word of God. Who is the word? Jesus. Thus, we can participate in the mystery of God through grace which is initiated through Baptism. Thus, God will use our prayers to bring his grace upon people. Thus, we can be an instrument of reconciliation. Thus, we can create new life through marriage. Thus, we can be the hands, feet and voice of Christ to a world that is such a need for redemption. We participate in the life of the Trinity. We are smack dab in the middle of it.

  239. Christopher, you said you guys have gone to great lengths to understand Protestant positions. I accept that. You must also give us the same respect as making every attempt to understand Roman Doctrine. But something you must accept radical differences from Reformed Luther tenants 1 He proposed a radically different hermeneutic Law/Gospel in place of Law /new Law 2. He proposed a radically different doctrine of justification Sola Grazia et Solo Fide in place of grace and cooperation with grace. 3. He proposed a radically different authority solo scripture in place of scripture normed by tradition. 4. He proposed a radically different definition of grace: unearned divine favor in place of infused medicine. 5. He proposed a radically different definition of Faith: Receiving and resting in Christ and his finished work in place of trusting and obeying. He said nature does not become grace and grace does not become nature. And he said grace does not perfect nature it renews it.

  240. Bryan, Why would you need to participate in a finished perfect work? You do believe in some way you are participating in your own atonement? You say that Christ does not need to be re sacrificed but thats what sacrificium is according to your doctrine a real sacrifice. You say i conflate this but you know your doctrine says this is a sacrifice that is efficacious for you and your dead friends, am i wrong. You know this. Do you agree with O’Brien that the priest pulls Christ down out of heaven and offers him up again? Is it true that if the priests intention isn’t right that the mass is invalid? And Why can you go to 10000 masses and wind up in purgatory without enough sanctifying grace? Is this an imperfect sacrifice? But without blood the is no efficacy. What doe it mean in Hebrews 9: He put sin away?

  241. Kevin, (re: #240)

    Bryan, Why would you need to participate in a finished perfect work?

    It is not about “need,” but rather about gift; we’re given the gift and dignity of participating in Christ’s sacrifice. Christianity is a revealed religion. We don’t make it according to what *we* want, but instead accept by faith what has been handed down from Christ through the Apostles and their successors.

    You do believe in some way you are participating in your own atonement?

    Through Christ’s atonement, we are granted the gift of participating in His sacrifice through union with Him. By this grace we participate in our own atonement, as Jesus teaches, “her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much” (Luke 7:47), and St. Peter teaches, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

    You say that Christ does not need to be re sacrificed but thats what sacrificium is according to your doctrine a real sacrifice.

    Christ’s sacrifice is a real sacrifice. But a real sacrifice is not necessarily a re-sacrifice.

    You say i conflate this but you know your doctrine says this is a sacrifice that is efficacious for you and your dead friends, am i wrong.

    It is efficacious because it is a participation in Christ’s sacrifice, which is efficacious.

    Do you agree with O’Brien that the priest pulls Christ down out of heaven and offers him up again?

    Christ comes freely, in answer to His promise to do so when the person He has authorized says the words of consecration. So yes, the bread and wine become Christ’s Body and Blood, and in offering them to God we are participating in Christ’s one sacrifice.

    Is it true that if the priests intention isn’t right that the mass is invalid?

    Now you’re going down another rabbit trail. Yes, of course the priest has to have the right intention.

    And Why can you go to 10000 masses and wind up in purgatory without enough sanctifying grace?

    Purgatory is not about some deficiency in sanctifying grace (you don’t gain sanctifying grace while in purgatory), but about paying temporal debt.

    Is this an imperfect sacrifice?

    No.

    What doe it mean in Hebrews 9: He put sin away?

    By His sacrifice, we receive the sanctifying grace and agape by which we die to sin, and live to righteousness. Our heart is turned away from sin in repentance, and to God in love.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  242. Kevin (re: #240),

    This is not a criticism, but just a funny aside. It almost seems like you are going through James White’s cross-examination transcript from his 2 mass debates with Robert Sungenis.

    For those interested who haven’t seen:

    Mass Debate #1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGXjOVQKEdw

    Mass Debate #2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KawQeXiyLps

    Peace,
    John D.

  243. Bryan, who told you that God gave you the gift of participating in his sacrifice. You are not qualified to participate in his sacrifice. Remember we got bit by the snake. Furthermore the scripture is clear one mediator. There is qualifications for being that mediator, perfect obedience and death on the cross, and an assignment from the Father. None of which you are or I are qualified. Through Christ’s atonement we are granted the right to participate in his sacrifice by union? Really. Where is the scripture reference for that? Through Christ atonement I was justified and forgiven, inherited, adopted, but i missed the part where I’m supposed to help him to do his job in atonement which incidentally was perfect and sufficient. Hebrews says” he is able to save to the uttermost those who come to him. Did his atonement actually atone me, or just help me get started in my own atonement? Your playing switcharoo on me. We aren’t talking about Christ’s sacrifice, your doctrine says your mass is a real sacrifice. You agree? Is it a sacrifice like your church says or isn’t it? If it is efficacious it must be a real sacrifice right? O’Brien says the Priest pulls Christ down out of heaven as his regent, you agree or no? When you say I’m going down another rabbit trail, what does that mean? I read your doctrine and I’m under the assumption that the intention of the priest has bearing on the validity of the mass. Yes or No? Let me rephrase a question. Why after going to 10000 masses would one go to purgatory? Wouldn’t this indicate the mass didn’t do what it was supposed to. How could this sacrifice be imperfect? He put sin away means we receive the sanctifying grace and agape necessary by which we die to sin? It says he put sin away. Bryan Hebrews 10:18 says ” where there is forgiveness of these there is no more offering for sin.”do you agree with this statement by the withers of Hebrews or is the sacrifice of the mass necessary?

  244. John (#232),

    I am glad I asked. An autonomus or autocephalus Church was not intended. You would say, I presume, that His flesh on earth does entail His head being on earth through the pope.

    The Word assumed a human nature, so I can only understand “continuing Incarnation” as the Word remains Incarnate. I believe the Church, as a new creation, participates in the whole Christ like effects in their causes. Any other meaning seems to come to close to the Word assuming the mystical body.

  245. Kevin,
    I find it odd that you endorse Martin Chemnitz. The following quote demonstrates that he believed Christ to be present in the Eucharist from the words of institution. Other Lutherans said Christ was present only at the reception, contingent upon the faith of the recipient. Chemnitz’ belief was more more in sync with the Council of Trent than you seem to realize on this point.

    “The meaning is not that the blessed bread which is divided, which is offered, and which the
    apostles received from the hand of Christ was not the body of Christ but becomes the body of
    Christ when the eating of it is begun. For the whole action of the institution hangs together, and
    the words, “This is My body,” belong to the entire action…Christ, God and man, is present in the
    total action of the Supper instituted by Him.6″

    For Lutherans like Chemnitz, the issue of the sacrificial nature of the Mass was the problem due to their mistaken view of sacrifice being penal substitution. Since we are suggesting reading material to one another, may I suggest you peruse the Marburg Colloquey, a dialogue between Luther and Zwingli on the Real Presence.
    As an interesting aside, before the two heresiarchs started their argument, they had a test to make sure they both interpreted scripture properly. The test of orthodoxy was determined on how they interpreted the phrase “brothers of the lord”. They had to agree that it did not take away from Mary’s Perpetual Virginity. WOW! Modern Protestantism has drifted so far from its moorings.

  246. Kevin, (re: #243)

    Bryan, who told you that God gave you the gift of participating in his sacrifice.

    The Church Christ founded. (I understand you don’t agree; but what else do you expect a Catholic to say in answer to that sort of question?) While you’re asking “who told you” questions, who told you that you were qualified to stand in judgment over the doctrine of the Church Christ founded, on the basis of your own interpretation of Scripture? The “who told you” question is an authority question. Are you sure you want to raise the authority question? If so, there are other threads here at CTC devoted to that subject.

    You are not qualified to participate in his sacrifice. Remember we got bit by the snake. Furthermore the scripture is clear one mediator. There is qualifications for being that mediator, perfect obedience and death on the cross, and an assignment from the Father. None of which you are or I are qualified.

    The assertion that I am not qualified to participate in Christ’s sacrifice simply begs the question, i.e. presupposes precisely what is in question. Regarding the “one mediator” passage of Scripture, the sense in which Christ is the “one mediator” is fully compatible with there being other mediators mediating in senses other than the sense in which Christ mediates. Hence, for example, my interceding for you is not made impossible by Christ’s unique mediation on your behalf. Moreover, we already know that Mary’s fiat (“Let it be to me according to your word” – Luke 1:38) is fully compatible with 1 Tim 2:5, and thus with Christ’s unique mediation. And yet, by her fiat, Mary mediated between God and man, by making way for the union of the divine and human natures in the Person of the Logos. Abraham likewise interceded for the people of Sodom, and Moses did the same for the Hebrews. So the 1 Tim 2:5 passage cannot be interpreted as excluding without qualification all other sorts of mediation between God and man, and thus any other mediators. Rather, it should be interpreted as affirming the uniqueness of Christ’s mediation, as the unique sacrifice that satisfies the justice of God regarding the sin of the world. The doctrine that Jesus is the sole Mediator between God and man is referring to that by which grace is merited for us, and our eternal debt of our sin is paid. Only the God-man Jesus Christ could do that, and has done that. But that does not mean that Christ can use no other person as an instrument by which to bring that grace to us, through their prayers and intercessions; nor does it mean that no one else can aid us with respect to temporal debt; nor does it mean or entail that those who by this grace are united to Him cannot participate in His sacrifice in derivative ways, say, by offering Him to the Father (since the Son gives Himself to us to be offered to the Father), and by offering ourselves and our actions, in union with Christ’s offering, to the Father.

    Through Christ’s atonement we are granted the right to participate in his sacrifice by union? Really. Where is the scripture reference for that? Through Christ atonement I was justified and forgiven, inherited, adopted, but i missed the part where I’m supposed to help him to do his job in atonement which incidentally was perfect and sufficient.

    If you’re assuming sola scriptura, then you are begging the question (i.e. presupposing what is in question), for the reason I explain in “VIII. Scripture and Tradition.” And if you believe that Christ has already done everything, such that there is nothing left for you to do, then the rest of your life here on earth is meaningless, for reasons I explain here.

    Hebrews says” he is able to save to the uttermost those who come to him. Did his atonement actually atone me, or just help me get started in my own atonement?

    That’s a false dilemma, because it conflates the distinction between the unique role and work of Christ, and the participatory opportunity we are given through Christ’s work.

    We aren’t talking about Christ’s sacrifice, your doctrine says your mass is a real sacrifice. You agree?

    Of course it is a real sacrifice, because Christ’s sacrifice is real, not fake.

    Is it a sacrifice like your church says or isn’t it?

    It is, as I have already explained.

    If it is efficacious it must be a real sacrifice right?

    Again, yes, of course. But “real sacrifice” does not mean “re-sacrifice.” It is, as I’ve already explained, a participation in Christ’s sacrifice.

    O’Brien says the Priest pulls Christ down out of heaven as his regent, you agree or no?

    I already answered that question in my previous comment to you (i.e. comment #241).

    When you say I’m going down another rabbit trail, what does that mean?

    Google can help answer questions of that sort. The intention of the priest during the mass is not the topic of Jason’s post.

    I read your doctrine and I’m under the assumption that the intention of the priest has bearing on the validity of the mass. Yes or No?

    I already answered that question in comment #241.

    Let me rephrase a question. Why after going to 10000 masses would one go to purgatory?

    I already answered this question in comment #241. If you keep asking questions I’ve already answered, it shows either that you aren’t reading my replies carefully, or you’re just playing games. CTC is not for playing games; it is for careful, serious, sincere dialogue.

    Wouldn’t this indicate the mass didn’t do what it was supposed to.

    No, it wouldn’t, just as in your theology Christ’s perfect sacrifice does not mean that you are now fully and perfectly sanctified.

    How could this sacrifice be imperfect?

    It is not.

    He put sin away means we receive the sanctifying grace and agape necessary by which we die to sin?

    Yes.

    Bryan Hebrews 10:18 says ” where there is forgiveness of these there is no more offering for sin.”do you agree with this statement by the withers of Hebrews or is the sacrifice of the mass necessary?

    That’s another false dilemma, because we don’t have to choose between the truth of Hebrews 10:18 and the necessity of the mass. The meaning of these verses in Hebrews is that there is no need to sacrifice more victims; they are not excluding perpetual sacramental participation in the one perfect sacrifice of Christ.

    There is a much better way to dialogue. And that is to slow down, focus on one topic at a time, and set aside all the rhetoric and hand-waving. The topic here in this thread is the subject specified in Jason’s post. So if you wish to participate here, please stay on-topic.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  247. Bryan, I am a member of the Church Christ founded and we don’t believe that at all. You wasted alot of space, you intercede for me ( you mean you pray for me) wow thanks we know that, we were talking about atoning your sins. Can you atone your sins? Yes or No? He offered himself to the Father through the Spirt. Where does scripture ask you to offer him again? Wasn’t his offer perfect? Hebrews says it perfected us. He sat down after make satisfaction for sin. Must he now get up at the behest of a priest come down to an altar and do it again? Where can you point me in scripture to tell me we can participate in christ’s work? And here is what i am asking you. When you say participation in Christ’s work do you mean you can in some way atone for your sins? Yes or no? If the mass is a real sacrifice and each time it is efficacious each time, then wouldn’t it be a re-sacrrifice? How many times does one need to re offer Christ to finally get to heaven? Is there a number? Or just an estimate? In biblical theology one does not have to be fully sanctified to go to heaven. Once one believes like the thief and the Philippians jailer and the tax collector and the people in John 5:24, we are in. Is one ever fully sanctified Bryan? When could i start to get an idea as a Catholic that i might get there 200 masses, 500 masses? Is this a fair statement, justification in for a Catholic is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward and for the Paul it was the opposite a declaration about someone who is completely unqualified? Few more questions. You skirted Hebrews 10:18 so let me be more direct, It says there is no more offering for sin! Is this not a complete contradiction of a continual offering by a priest of Christ? If there is no more offering and he put sin away, and he perfected for all time by one offering, does not make the Catholic sacrifice a violation of scripture? Hebrews says His altar is in heaven, his ministry is in heaven, he is interceding in in heaven. Is it a violation of scripture for a human to control that altar, ministry, and sacrifice on earth? Should a priest be a regent of Christ or a servant and a witness? Wouldn’t you say Bryan to give the power of commanding Christ to sacrifice on earth again to a man was over stepping your bounds? Thanks for your patient answers.

  248. JohnD, Certainly White makes good arguments against the mass, but I am making my own arguments. The greatest diatribe ever, in my opinion against the mass was given by John Owen in front of the Catholic leaders. He says rightfully that the mass “invented by the brain of a man and not the commandment of God.” He cites 1 Samuel 1:13 where Saul, in difficult circumstances makes the sacrifice on the mountain in place of Samuel the High Priest, and despite all his excuses, God is fuming and Israel forfeits all the blessings. Everyone should read that diatribe.

  249. Eric (#244)

    I am glad I asked. An autonomus or autocephalus Church was not intended. You would say, I presume, that His flesh on earth does entail His head being on earth through the pope.

    No. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ – but in fact Christ’s presence in the earth is through the Church.

    The Word assumed a human nature, so I can only understand “continuing Incarnation” as the Word remains Incarnate. I believe the Church, as a new creation, participates in the whole Christ like effects in their causes. Any other meaning seems to come to close to the Word assuming the mystical body.

    The Word does remain Incarnate. He is embodied for all eternity – and that means both His natural body and his mystical body.

    This is not my sort of area – I am a lowly system administrator :-) – ask me about my Powershell scripts and I can help you more.

    In any case, I am about to leave for a three-day trip up north to the Hokianga Harbour and won’t be near a computer for that time, so if anyone wants a comment from me, it will have to wait!

    jj

  250. Kevin (re: #247)

    I don’t answer rhetorical questions, let alone twenty of them (yes, I counted). If you have one question you would like to ask, I’d be glad to answer it.

    There is another, better way, to engage in dialogue, and we will not be able to overcome our disagreements until we choose to enter the more noble truth-seeking, unity-seeking way of dialogue.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  251. Eric (#235)

    You said,

    The Holy Spirit is first in the order of interpreters and teachers. He inspired Scripture to function as a means of knowing Divine Revelation. Also, Scripture is an interpretation of Divine Revelation. The same Spirit who interprets, teaches and inspires will illuminate the understanding for salvation. Salvation and His glory are the goals for these principled means.

    I agree that without the Holy Spirit, we cannot come to know Divine Revelation, but within the Protestant Interpretive Paradigm, there’s no principled means to determine who exactly is being guided to Divine Revelation correctly. Scripture is not an interpretation of Divine Revelation, it is one part of Divine Revelation that rightly requires an authoritative interpreter to give an authoritative interpretation which is binding upon the consciences of Christians. I’m not saying that Protestants cannot interpret Scripture correctly, what I’m saying is that even if their interpretation is correct, there is presently no principled way to know whether it is 100% consistent with the Divine Revelation Jesus left with His Apostles.

    If Jesus did not leave Christians with a principled means to distinguish between Divine Revelation and mere theological opinion, then he left us alone to wade through a sea of theological relativism, which is essentially what the thousands of Protestant denominations have produced. Every denomination claiming to be guided by the Holy Spirit, yet each coming to different and often contradictory interpretations. What the contributors at CtC have done in the articles I referenced in comment #217, among others, is to show that the Catholic Interpretive Paradigm is a more reasonable answer to this problem, giving just such a principled means for coming to know Divine Revelation with certainty.

    Might I suggest that we move this conversation over to the comments section of one of those articles, like this one Mathison’s Reply to Cross and Judisch: A Largely Philosophical Critique , since what we’re discussing is not directly connected to the topic of Jason’s article.
    Peace in Christ!
    Christopher

  252. Thank you Jason for this article.

    I’ve been reading CtC for over 2 years now. I pray for Bryan and other authors here at CtC for their patience, charity, and faith in engaging a dialogue to our bible believing Christians brothers and sisters.

    Pax Christi.

  253. Bryan, John Knox said that Hebrews 10:18 ” there are no more sacrifices or offering for sins” leaves the RC with no escape. This eliminates any sacrifice other than the perfect one time only one by the Savior?

  254. Kevin (re: #246)

    I answered that question (briefly) in #246. The verse is talking about the inefficacy of the animal sacrifices, which were incapable of forgiving sins. When, however, a sacrifice that actually forgives sins is offered (i.e. Christ’s), there is no need for additional, subsequent sacrifices. But that does not exclude sacramental participation in that one perfect sacrifice. The verse is not about *participation* in that one sacrifice, let alone denying the need for sacramental participation in that one sacrifice, but is instead about the non-necessity of additional blood sacrifices, which were types. And the Catholic Church believes that there is no need for additional animal sacrifices, for the forgiveness of sins. So the verse is fully compatible with Catholic doctrine.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  255. Christopher (#251),

    Moving to
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/02/mathisons-reply-to-cross-and-judisch-a-largely-philosophical-critique/

    Thanks,
    Eric

  256. Bryan, your answer is false. Hebrews 10:18, you cannot escape. after saying in 10:14 the one time offer perfected for all time those for whom he died. He then gives you no escape. There is no longer any offering for sin. Not just animal, but any. The Roman church cannot escape this dilemma. The sacrifice of the mass according to your doctrine is a real sacrifice, efficacious. in fact Trent anathematizes anyone who says it isn’t a real sacrifice. It is an old testament animal sacrifice, because it does not save anyone. And its done over and over with no result. Christ said no one takes my life by i give of my own accord. So your mass is a violation of scripture. Thx

  257. Kevin (re: #256)

    Bryan, your answer is false.

    If assertions were sufficient to establish their own truth, then I would establish the truth of my position by asserting that it is true. But since you would agree that I cannot establish the truth of my position by asserting it to be true, so you cannot establish the falsity of my answer by merely asserting it.

    Hebrews 10:18, you cannot escape.

    I don’t need to “escape” it. I affirm it. It is fully compatible with everything I’ve said.

    after saying in 10:14 the one time offer perfected for all time those for whom he died. He then gives you no escape. There is no longer any offering for sin. Not just animal, but any.

    You are reading into the passage the denial of participation in the one sacrifice. The author of Hebrews does not here (or anywhere) say that there is no sacramental participation in the one sacrifice of Christ.

    The sacrifice of the mass according to your doctrine is a real sacrifice, efficacious. in fact Trent anathematizes anyone who says it isn’t a real sacrifice.

    I agree. It is a real sacrifice, because it is Christ’s sacrifice, which is real.

    It is an old testament animal sacrifice, because it does not save anyone.

    That’s a question-begging assertion. Again, if you think assertions are sufficient to establish their own truth, then I’ll just assert the truth of my position, and thereby establish its truth. If you don’t understand that assertions are not self-substantiating, then you’re not ready to participate in dialogue, and thus not ready to participate here at CTC.

    Christ said no one takes my life by i give of my own accord. So your mass is a violation of scripture.

    That conclusion would follow only if the mass were a re-sacrifice of Christ. But again, as I’ve explained multiple times above, the notion that the Catholic position is that Christ is re-sacrificed, is a straw man of the Catholic doctrine. If the Catholic mass is a participation in the one sacrifice of Christ, the one that He made of His own accord, then the mass is not a violation of Scripture, at least not that statement of Christ’s. So your argument is based on a straw man of the Catholic doctrine, and therefore the conclusion does not follow.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  258. Kevin, (re. #239)

    You must also give us the same respect as making every attempt to understand Roman Doctrine.

    The problem with this, is that it doesn’t seen as if you are interested in truly coming to understand Catholic doctrine. Even after a number of people have tried to show you that your understanding of Catholic teaching is mistaken (like Bryan’s recent attempts), it seems that your focus is so intent to prove Catholic teaching false, that it is preventing you from being able to see that you don’t understand Catholic teaching.

    Take your repeated criticisms of the Catholic Mass, which stem ultimately from the fact that Martin Luther had absolutely no understanding of the nature of Jewish sacrifice, and specifically the Passover sacrifice as a typological shadow of Christ’s sacrifice. As Bryan has repeatedly stated, the Mass is a real sacrifice precisely because Christ’s sacrifice is a real sacrifice. In the Mass, Jesus’s perfect sacrifice, which once and for all did away with the need for all animal sacrifice, is made present on the altar and offered to the Father for the sins of mankind, just the way Malachi 1:11 prophesied.

    To better understand this, one needs to have an understanding of the Jewish conception of remembrance. On Passover, the Jews weren’t just remembering the original Passover as an historical event, it was made present for them in a very real way. So much so that they ate the meal standing up, with their loins gird with staff in hand anticipating the new Moses (the Messiah) to lead them in a new Exodus.

    You asked Bryan in #240

    Bryan, Why would you need to participate in a finished perfect work?

    Where Martin Luther, the other “reformers” and modern-day Protestants such as yourself make the mistake is by misinterpreting and limiting the notion of sacrifice to strictly the death of the sacrificial animal, (Passion & death of Christ). According to Jewish law, the death of the animal was only the first part of the sacrifice, the second equally important aspect of the sacrifice was the people’s participation in that sacrifice by consuming the flesh of the animal. As a matter of fact, anyone who did not participate in that sacrificial participation could not partake of the covenant promises and was to be excommunicated.

    The Jewish Encyclopedia states:

    The paschal sacrifice belongs to the “shelamim,” thus forming one of the sacrifices in which the meal is the principal part and indicates the community between God and man. It is really a house or family sacrifice, and each household is regarded as constituting a small community in itself, not only because the lamb is eaten at home, but also because every member of the family is obliged to partake of the meal, on pain of excommunication.

    Jewish Encyclopedia

    In the Catholic Mass, Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross is made present, or re-presented, and the Holy Spirit transforms bread and wine into the body, blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ so that believers in every generation can partake of that one perfect sacrifice by consuming Jesus’ flesh; so that we can likewise, by grace through faith, partake of the New Covenant promises. Also, as the Israelites were nourished and strengthened by the manna, as they sojourned through the wilderness, we are nourished and strengthened by this miraculous true bread from heaven, Jesus Christ really and truly present in the Eucharist, until we enter into the Promised Land.

    If you’re interested in a more thorough explanation, I highly recommend Brant Pitre’s book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. He also goes on to more convincingly explain Jesus’s exclamation “it is finished” to be in reference to His drinking the fourth cup of the Passover meal on the cross, uniting the Last Supper with His sacrifice on Calvary.

    Again, Jason I apologize for hijacking your thread.
    Peace in Christ!
    Christopher

  259. Bryan, You try to get around it by saying it is a participation in the same sacrifice but Rome says it is a real sacrifice in and of itself, efficacious for sins. So even though you say it is a representation of the same sacrifice, it is a new sacrifice each time ( unbloody, which “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” the scripture says, and so it really according to scripture it can’t have any efficacious value.), an true offering for sin as you have acknowledged to me. Christ’s atonement is a blanket across history, perfect , sufficient. Because if it wasn’t then he isn’t perfect. Christ didn’t die to return us to the garden but seat us with him in the heavenly places, with the Spirit as a guarantee. Jesus says he loses none the father has given him. Romans 4:25 says he was delivered over for our transgressions and raised for our justification. When he was raised so was I. The scripture said he is the first fruits and the rest of the crop will follow.

  260. Christopher, it is your doctrine that anathematizes anyone who says it isn’t a real sacrifice in itself. How many times can the same sacrifice be done? And if there is no blood involved it can’t be efficacious according to scripture. ” Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins. Its not a matter of not understanding, its a matter of not agreeing. Don’t act like I’m the first who has a problem with a sacrifice at an altar that is a work of the participant to accrue more grace and justice of himself and his dead friends. And can you explain to me how you an belong to a church that has sold forgiveness thru the mass and indulgences for the living and the dead. Do you have a problem with this?

  261. Christopher, the issue isn’t the ritual of the old testament passover sacrifice, it is the finality of this new covenant sacrifice. Hebrews tells us , it was perfect and done once, it put sin away, there is no more offering for sin( that would include your sacrifice), the old covenant is obsolete. He sat down because the Job was done. In John he said he accomplished all the father gave him to do. And he said it is finished! The incarnation is finished. He said he won’t eat again with us until he returns. We are to worship him in Spirit and in truth. the flesh profits nothing. By your work at the mass do you really believe in some way you can atone for your own sin? You are imperfect.

  262. Kevin, (re: #259)

    Bryan, You try to get around it by saying it is a participation in the same sacrifice but Rome says it is a real sacrifice in and of itself, efficacious for sins.

    In order for this to be a problem, you would have to show that the Eucharist being both a participation and being real and efficacious are mutually exclusive. You have not done that. So you have not shown that there is anything to “get around.”

    So even though you say it is a representation of the same sacrifice, it is a new sacrifice each time

    A new *participation,* but not a new sacrifice. If you are claiming that it is a new sacrifice, and not merely a new participation, then you are simply criticizing a straw man of your own making.

    ( unbloody, which “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” the scripture says, and so it really according to scripture it can’t have any efficacious value.), an true offering for sin as you have acknowledged to me.

    That passage is not about sacramental participations in a bloody sacrifice, let alone denying their efficacy; precisely because these are participations in a *bloody* sacrifice, they are efficacious. You are assuming that because it says that the sacrifice must be bloody, therefore any genuine participation in it must also be bloody, in order for it to efficacious. But that’s not what the passage says; that’s an assumption you are bringing to and imposing on the passage.

    Christ’s atonement is a blanket across history, perfect , sufficient. Because if it wasn’t then he isn’t perfect. Christ didn’t die to return us to the garden but seat us with him in the heavenly places, with the Spirit as a guarantee. Jesus says he loses none the father has given him. Romans 4:25 says he was delivered over for our transgressions and raised for our justification. When he was raised so was I. The scripture said he is the first fruits and the rest of the crop will follow.

    I agree with all of that, and it is all compatible with what I said above.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  263. Kevin,

    Think of it this way: What Catholics believe is happening in the Mass is merely a sacramental and ritualistic portrayal of what you think is happening when you pray, “Forgive us our trespasses.” You are not re-killing Jesus to get the benefit of his once-for-all atonement, you are simply asking that its efficacy be applied to you afresh. Likewise in the Eucharist, Catholics are seeking the benefits of Jesus’ already-accomplished sacrifice to be applied to us.

    In short, if we can’t have the benefits of Calvary applied to us today without forfeiting its once-for-all-ness, then neither can you.

  264. Jason, so why does Trent your official doctrine anathematize anyone who says it isn’t a true and real sacrifice? Aren’t you soft pedaling and misleading your readers by not owning your official doctrine that says it is a true sacrifice in itself that is efficacious. How many of our members know that it is a real sacrifice on a real altar?

  265. Jason, with all due respect you are covering up for what the Roman mass is. It is the work of man ( ex opere operato) to purchase forgiveness thru a real sacrifice on a real altar. It is a place where the Catholic goes to do a work to get an increase in justice and grace. It is a place where you merit an increase in face and justice for the living and the dead. O’brien the great Catholic bishop said the priest pulls Christ down from heaven as his regent and offers him up again. The participant also offers himself up for his sins. Is this not the real description?

  266. Bryan. with all due respect, we aren’t talking about the participation in the sacrament. I said your doctrine says it is a true and real sacrifice re offered. The priest makes a true offering of Christ’s body that is efficacious for sins each time the person does the work of the sacrament. Correct? It is a work that merits and increase of justice and grace. It is efficacious. Your church says it is a real sacrifice. And your telling me its the reviewing of a movie. No Rome anathematizes anyone who says it isn’t a true and real sacrifice on an altar. It is an unbloody sacrifice at an altar. And it is a replay of the old testament sacrifice because it doesnt accomplish full atonement. It is an unperfect offering of our savior, is it not? Thx Bryan Kevin

  267. Kevin, (re: #266)

    I’ll try one last time, and then I think it is time for us to wrap up the discussion. You wrote:

    Bryan. with all due respect,

    Regarding your repeated use of the phrase “with all due respect,” please see what I wrote in #151 and #228.

    … we aren’t talking about the participation in the sacrament. I said your doctrine says it is a true and real sacrifice re offered.

    I agree. It is a true and real sacrifice, because Christ’s sacrifice is a true and real sacrifice, and the mass is a participation in that true and real sacrifice.

    The priest makes a true offering of Christ’s body that is efficacious for sins each time the person does the work of the sacrament. Correct? It is a work that merits and increase of justice and grace. It is efficacious. Your church says it is a real sacrifice. And your telling me its the reviewing of a movie.

    Of course I’ve never said it is “the reviewing of a movie.” That’s your own idea, because what I’m saying does not fit into your paradigm. In your mind, what happens in the mass is either “a real sacrifice” other than Christ’s sacrifice, or merely reviewing a movie. In your mind there is no possible middle position. But, in the Catholic paradigm there is a middle position, and that middle position is real sacramental participation in Christ’s one sacrifice, as I’ve been saying repeatedly. That’s why your criticism each time is of a straw man, rather than of the Catholic doctrine. Every time you pose the either “real sacrifice” separate from Christ’s sacrifice or “reviewing a movie” dilemma, you reveal that you haven’t yet even grasped the Catholic paradigm. And because you haven’t grasped it, you’re not in a position to criticize it. The best thing to do is take some time to study the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist. See, for example, A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist, by Abbot Vonier.

    May Christ bring us into full visible unity.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  268. Kevin, (Re. #260)

    You said:

    Its not a matter of not understanding, its a matter of not agreeing

    It is precisely because you don’t understand, that you don’t agree with Catholic teaching. Just the same as Bryan, Jason, the other contributors at CTC, and many of us who participate in the comments section didn’t agree with Catholic teaching when we were Protestants. Through humility, each of us were able recognize that what we thought we knew about Catholicism was simply nothing more than misunderstandings, mischaracterizations and misrepresentations of Catholic teaching, were then granted the graces to understand what the Catholic Church actually teaches and could, in good conscience, no longer remain Protestant.

    Do you have a problem with this?

    I don’t have a problem with anything the Catholic Church actually teaches. Nor is my deep love and appreciation for the Catholic Church negatively affected because of the reality that throughout Church history there is ample evidence of bad Catholics, even popes. Jesus said that until the final judgment, the wheat and tears/sheep and goats would be side-by-side in His Church, I take Him at his word.

    In comment #261 you said

    We are to worship him in Spirit and in truth. the flesh profits nothing.

    Amen, I agree wholeheartedly with this Scripture verse, just not your interpretation of it. “The flesh” in this instance is speaking of a worldly carnal way of thinking, not physical flesh. If it were speaking of physical flesh, Jesus would be saying that His suffering and physical death on the cross profited nothing.

    You are imperfect.

    I am imperfect, but thanks be to God He has provided a way through Jesus Christ His Son to be transformed by the free gift of His Grace. As it says in 2 Corinthians 3:18

    And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

    I enjoy nothing more than sharing the faith, but I’m afraid I’ve reached the end of this conversation. In the love and peace of Christ, I wish you all the best Kevin. I hope and will be praying that you will also come to truly understand the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith that has been handed down to us from His Apostles.
    Christopher

  269. Bryan, Thank you, you have answered my question honestly and directly for which I’m grateful.. My personal belief is making the Lord’s supper, a meal of remembrance, into another sacrifice of our Lord on an altar at the behest of a sinful man like ourselves, an a work of the person whereby he merits an increase in justice for himself and others ( the dead)is unspeakable. But i thank you and will move on to the another point.

  270. Thanks Kevin, (re: #269)

    My personal belief is making the Lord’s supper, a meal of remembrance, into another sacrifice of our Lord on an altar at the behest of a sinful man like ourselves, an a work of the person whereby he merits an increase in justice for himself and others ( the dead)is unspeakable.

    If I believed the Eucharist is “another sacrifice” rather than Christ’s one sacrifice, then I too would share your rejection of it. It is the same sacrifice, for the reasons I’ve explained in comment #188 of “The Church Fathers on Transubstantiation” thread. When one has been immersed in one paradigm for so long, it is very difficult even to see any other possible paradigm; one frames any other paradigm in the parameters of one’s own, as I explained in my previous comment. That’s why I recommended that you read Abbot Vonier’s book. The first step in resolving a disagreement is the deep and patient listening required for mutual understanding of each other’s positions.

    May Christ aid us in attaining unity of faith in full visible communion.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  271. Kevin,
    Another good source is Maurice de la Taille’s two volume work on the sacrificial nature of the Mass. The library at a Catholic university should have it. In a nutshell, the author stresses that a sacrifice needs both an immolation and and oblation. Without the Last Supper, the Crucifixion would have been an execution or a murder, but not a sacrifice. Christ is a priest forever as we see in the book of Hebrews. A priest must have something to offer. He is also a victim forever, as we see in the book of Revelation’s “Lamb standing as slain”. When Christ appeared to the apostles in the upper room, he showed them the wounds in his hands and the gaping chest wound that would have killed him if were not in a glorified state. At any given moment, from the east to the west, a pure offering is made by us, the gentiles, as the O.T. book of Malachy says, when the Mass is offered.

  272. Jim, will try to read thx.

  273. Bryan, Jim, He said no one takes his life from Him but he lays it down. He offered himself up thru the Spirit. This in itself is an objection to the nature of the Catholic mass in my opinion? He never considered himself a victim. Being immolated as a victim at the behest of a man begs the question? The last supper happened before the crucifixion. It is simple take eat and remember. There are only 4 verses on the Lord’s table and baptism in the Epistles, yet it is the summit of your worship. Yet Faith and believe are said by Paul a way of life. ” The righteous shall live by faith.” Frankly Jim so much focus on sacraments that have small mention as compared to faith seems misplaced. I have often believed that the RC has taken way from faith by its focus on baptism, the mass, and love. I hope Bryan you will allow my post to stand. I included you in it and it was in love. thx

  274. Kevin,
    As for the Real Presence/Transubstantiation, in the Bible ( Psalm 27:2 ), the phrase “to eat someone’s flesh” means to slander and revile them. As for drinking blood, it was forbidden. King David used the expression as a horrible thing that he would not do when he refused to drink water that his soldiers had risked their lives to get for him. Further, Our Lord said ( Jn6 ) that the bread he would give the listeners to eat was the same flesh he would give for the life of the world. The flesh that hung on the cross for the life of the world was not symbolic but real

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