All Law is Not Created Equal

Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Catholicism, Covenant Theology, Exegesis, Featured, Gospel, Holy Spirit, James, John, Justification, Law, Love, peter, Presbyterianism, Protestantism, Reformed Theology, Romans, Sola Fide, Westminster Seminary California | 1,111 comments

There is no small amount of confusion in Catholic/Protestant discussions over the issue of God’s law. Protestants constantly accuse Catholics of teaching some sort of salvation by law or works, and regardless of how often or how strongly Catholics insist that they believe no such thing, the charges continue.

Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that many Protestants — especially Lutherans or those Reformed who lean that way — tend to think of law with a capital L. Law, we often hear, is any command, any verb in the imperative mood. There is no real difference, according to this way of thinking, between the Decalogue’s command not to lie on the one hand, and Paul’s command to love our neighbor on the other. Both are Law, neither is sufficiently keepable, and therefore neither can contribute in any way to one’s final salvation.

Even as a Reformed seminarian I found this position to be biblically untenable and theologically damaging. It both ignores the difference between the Old and New covenants as well as flattens out Scripture’s redemptive-historical message of salvation (post-lapsum, it’s all just “different administrations of the covenant of grace” and all that business).

A far more biblical approach (which, I eventually came to discover, is exactly what the Augustinian/Catholic tradition has always taught) is to follow Paul by recognizing (at least) two types of law. We read of them in Rom. 8:2:

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.

According to the apostle here, there was one law that enslaved and another that set him free. The first appearance of “law” here, then, is not referring to some oppressive or accusatory source of condemnation, but rather it is the exact opposite. Paul says something similar earlier in Romans:

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith (3:27).

While some translations render the Greek word nomos  (which is almost always translated “law” in Paul) as “principle,” understanding the word in its normal sense works perfectly: The “law of works” (understood in context to be the Mosaic law) cannot eliminate boasting, since it is not even ultimately keepable in the first place, and to whatever degree it is keepable it is not accompanied by the power of the Spirit. The “law of faith,” on the other hand, is the very “law of the Spirit” referred to in chapter 8, and is not merely engraven on stone but internally inscribed on our hearts. This is the promise of the New Covenant that the prophets foretold. In fact, the first few verses of Romans 8 are simply Paul’s way of saying what Jeremiah had prophesied centuries prior, namely, that the day would come when God, by the Spirit, would enable us by his divine power to fulfill the righteousness of the law, resulting in there being now no condemnation for those who walk according to the Spirit.

And all this is reiterated quite plainly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1965 The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity: “I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel.… I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

 

1966 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful through faith in Christ. It works through charity; it uses the Sermon on the Mount to teach us what must be done and makes use of the sacraments to give us the grace to do it:

 

If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, he will doubtless find there … the perfect way of the Christian life.… This sermon contains … all the precepts needed to shape one’s life.

 

1967 The Law of the Gospel “fulfills,” refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection. In the Beatitudes, the New Law fulfills the divine promises by elevating and orienting them toward the “kingdom of heaven.” It is addressed to those open to accepting this new hope with faith—the poor, the humble, the afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ—and so marks out the surprising ways of the Kingdom.

 

1968 The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law. The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure, where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues. The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity.

 

1969 The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the “Father who sees in secret,” in contrast with the desire to “be seen by men.” Its prayer is the Our Father.

 

1970 The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between “the two ways” and to put into practice the words of the Lord. It is summed up in the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets.”

 

The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us.

In a word, if the Catholic insistence that our Spirit-wrought works graciously qualify us for final justification is tantamount to believing in salvation by law or salvation by works, we’re in pretty good company, since this is nothing less than the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John.

 

1,111 Comments

  1. Jim,

    You may feel you wasted your time with Eric W, but let me tell you’ve given me and I’m sure others a better understanding of church history and doctrine which is invaluable. There are many lurkers out there!

  2. CK, In response to Kevin’s allegation, “The predominant practice in the early church was adult baptism” we could point him to Tertullian who said Christians Baptize on the 8th day as Jews circumcise then.

    But we both know, Kevin is going to pass right over anything we say..

  3. CK, I may be wrong on that statement. Tertullian might have said we don’t wait until the 8th day but Baptize sooner.
    What difference does it make with Kevin? Who cares about historical or biblical accuracy. The guy, within a day or so is going to make the same allegations, accusations and ask the same asinine questions.
    It’s like talking to the wall with this guy.

  4. CK, ( I am shunning Kevin ), tell Kevin, in response to his, “CK, the question should be asked where does it say to baptize infants. it doesn’t. ”

    what Martin Luther said on this issue. ( He Baptized babies ).
    He said there is no place in the Bible where we see a woman receive Communion either. Should we therefore refuse them the Lord’s Supper?

  5. Jim,

    That’s Cyprian of Carthage. The quote I asked Kevin to read if he was short on time. What he was addressing in his letters wasn’t wether or not to baptize children but if one should wait until the eighth day. His council believed you should baptize ASAP

  6. Lovers of Vatican II,

    Jim wrote:
    Since one cannot not be and be in the Church at the same time, ….
    Son, if you aren’t in union with Francis, you ain’t saved!

    Jim loves to reason without telling us why he is a truth-teller. Why should we believe his conclusions ?
    Is he right ? You have a wild boar in the vineyard of VII !

  7. Jim asked:

    Have you been Baptized into the Church Peter was talking about? Do you submit to his rule?

    Was your pope baptized into the Chuch Peter was talking about ? Does your pope submit ?

    …nor yet AS LORDING IT OVER those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
    (1Peter 5:3)

  8. Jim wrote:
    Where in the Bible is salvation one to one? It is always corporate

    ONE saved soul named Jim needed to tell me this.
    —————————

    Jim wrote:
    Did I understand correctly? Are you a lapsed Catholic? I think Kevin said so.
    I had no idea. You are a write off. I have wasted my time casting pearls before someone whose problem is spiritual. You need to get to a Confessional, not a blog like this.
    You little &^%$#@. You wasted my energy.

    Response:
    Jim is a silly sychophant of Francis. Did he think I would lay down as a sacrifice to his Molech ? Am I his crown, joy and work ? I am little, but the Lord of my confession will rebuke your jealous demon.

  9. Erick, you wrote:

    Now, the question is whether entering the “visible church” is the necessary condition of entering the “Christ” Himself.

    Who are you to ask questions ? Why are you a truth-teller ? Who sent you to speak to us ? When did Christ commission you to teach us ?

  10. Roman Catholics,

    You believed, therefore speak. If your speech is more than mere confession, then establish your credibility. To prove me wrong is not the same as proving yourselves to be right. Why are YOU not deceived or deceiving ?

    Protestants,

    Did you know that RCs are not subject to this test. The command to test all things actually doesn’t apply to them. If they are found liars, then they say let God and the Church be true. If they are found telling the truth, then this is proof for credibility. They are offended by my questions because they are gods ! The Lord rebukes satan, but our RESISTANCE makes him flee.

  11. Kevin, Didn’t I warn you about the jealous spirit in the house ? Hate evil, love good…(Amos 5:15) Sometimes their love is evil.

  12. Eric W, best line of the year, ” was your pope baptized into the church Peter was talking about”

  13. Eric W, Yes you warned me. Yeah I know all to well their love, like you have found. I hope you go read Timothy Kauffman’s last post on his site “Throwing God off the cliff”

  14. Jim, “It is a trustworthy statement, that Christ came into the world to save sinners” Its in the bible. The Philippians jailer wasn’t thinking about his corporate badge.

  15. Eric W , Jim is also a sycophant of the RC caricature of Mary too. He has her name sewn in his Portuguese robes.

  16. Eric W, if the Pope took a wife tomorrow against the doctrine of the church, would he be disciplined? IOW if he was in obedience to scripture in taking a wife, but was against the RC, Would he still be vicar?

  17. Eric W, Jim said to you, ” If you ain’t in union with Francis you ain’t saved” I guess union with Christ thru faith isn’t necessary, just union with Francis. They worship a church, a man , a woman, sacraments, and a piece of bread. Scary. 1 Corinthians 1: ” Now I make known to you, brethren, he gospel that i preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which you were saved” Thank God we were saved by receiving the Gospel, and not Francis.

  18. Kevin/ Igor, Am I supposed to understand this, “Eric W , Jim is also a sycophant of the RC caricature of Mary too. He has her name sewn in his Portuguese robes.” ???

    I am a child of Mary. Yes.

    Speaking of sycophants, Kevin, Kauffman is using you. He isn’t your, “Reformed Brother”. He is a Catholic, a lapsed Catholic. He knows you are unstable. He has you blaspheming and sinning. As one of the guys who sat in on one of Luther’s Table Talks said, “He has surrounded himself with sycophants who think that every time he ( Luther ) breaks wind it is a revelation from God”.

    Kevin, quit polishing Kauffman’s apples and let him argue for himself. Let him say the evil things he has you wound up saying. Are you willing to go to hell for him? He just might go back to the Church before he dies. He is bitter about something. When he gets over it, you are going to have to answer for your tongue without him.

    Quit kissing his nasty arse!

  19. Kevin, speaking of Luther, are you a Lutheran? No? Why not?

    What gives you the authority to interpret and sit in judgement on Luther? You believe in some things of his and not others. Explain this.

    Luther believed in hating the Pope. You agree.
    Luther baptized babies. You disagree.
    Luther denounced works. You agree.
    Luther said Mary remained a virgin. You disagree.
    Luther was gross. You are too.
    Luther believed in the Real Presence. You disagree.
    Luther said Faith Alone. You agree.
    Luther was a windbag. You are too.
    Luther had a foul mouth. You do too.
    Luther said Mary was sinless. You disagree.
    Luther added and subtracted from the Bible. You agree.
    Luther made no sense. You don’t either.

    Like the Bible itself, you pick and choose. You must be infallible, huh?

  20. Eric W babbled something about, “Jim loves to reason without telling us why he is a truth-teller. Why should we believe his conclusions ?”

    Everyone, if I say anything not in sync with the Catholic Church, just consider it the whiskey talking.

    Whatever Eric W says, just consider it the whiskey talking.

  21. CK, Thanks for the clarification. I have the 3 volumes of Jurgens kicking around here but was to lazy to look it up.

  22. Well after weeks/months of going back and forth it goes back to an observation I made early on. Protestants are their own pope and Catholics have their pope sitting on the chair of Peter.

    What I don’t understand is why Protestants refuse to admit that they are their own popes. All belief comes down to your final approval. Jim’s example about Luther’s beliefs and what today’s Protestant believe is perfect. You pick and choose what you believe as individuals at a point in time.

  23. Debbie, I left this link on Kauffman’s blog for you but I am posting it here too. It is about Fatima, JPII, Russia, Theology of the Body.

    It is a bunch of different speakers at a pro-life conference in Fatima last Summer. The video I hope you watch is the one by Christopher West.
    Some folks say Fatima is not private revelation. Check it out.
    http://tobinternationalsymposia.com/?p=361

  24. Jim, Why should we listen to you and your Pope, you have a false gospel and are under the anathema of Galatians 1.

  25. Kevin, why we should we listen to you and your pope kauffman?

  26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM8DGAnUq2k

    19:19 to 21:06

    especially: 19:30-19:44

  27. All,

    I have asked Kevin to take a step away from the blog for the time being. I think there are Protestant commenters and lurkers here who do a far better job of making their case, with less heat and more light.

    JJS

  28. CK, No you are wrong. Protestants submit to their leaders and their church and ultimately to our head Jesus Christ. Christ is the head of his church according to Colossians 1, so the Pope cannot be head thereof. In no sense can the Pope usurp the the position of the trinity by calling himself holy father ( a name Jesus said was reserved for God), or by calling himself head of the church ( a position reserved for Christ), or vicar ( a position reserved for the Spirit).Nor can the Roman church substitute itself for the natural body of Christ. Christ is in heaven as God man ruling his church. We simply can worship him in Spirit and truth. The church nor the Pope can usurp the work of the Trinity.

  29. Jason, I’m sorry. I misunderstood you the other day. I thought no one was banned. But I will step away. K

  30. Thanks, Kevin. And it’s not a “ban.” It’s just that your presence tends to have an inflammatory and derailing effect. I hope you understand, and no hard feelings.

  31. What a beautiful Sunday! Catholics all over the world in every church and in every village are listening to the readings today of Ez 37:12-14, Rom 8:8-11, and the Gospel, Jn 11:1-45 –

    Every Catholic stands on their feet for the reading of the Gospel, the Good News, and makes the sign of the cross (in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) over their head for knowledge of the Word, over their mouth to proclaim the Word, and over their heart to love the Word.
    All for the glory of God!

    Every single practicing Catholic, all 500,000,000 from babies to the dying, heard these 3 readings. It is what unites us in the Body of Christ, a collective reception of the Word of God. No one, no one who goes to mass anywhere in the world today will hear anything else but these wonderous scriptures of Good News!

    Every singe one witnessed today the Love our Heavnely Father has for His people, the sacrificial Love of His Son on the Cross, and the outpouring of Love from the Holy Spirit. Collectively, we say yes, we believe as Martha and Mary did – all for the Glory of God.

    I’m so pleased and thankful that we have Pope Francis. He in humble sincerity states “I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”
    And in the boldness of his faith and position can state,
    “I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else – God is in this person’s life. You can – you must – try to seek God in every human life.”

    I’m off till after Easter, Peace.

  32. Jason, I understand, absolutely no hard feelings. God bless you.

  33. CK, you wrote:

    Well after weeks/months of going back and forth it goes back to an observation I made early on. Protestants are their own pope and Catholics have their pope sitting on the chair of Peter….You pick and choose what you believe as individuals at a point in time.

    Response:
    Protestants who pick and choose are heretics. Catholics hold all revealed truths by the infused virtue of faith. Is this a revealed truth from the deposit of faith ?

    CK is a believer by the infused virtue of faith.

    Any RC is free to answer…

    ________ is a believer by the infused virtue of faith.

  34. Eric – Not sure what your asking. Maybe someone else does.

    You also said – Protestants who pick and choose are heretics.

    How do you know who’s picking or choosing or following what they believe is the Holy Spirit? Who in a Protestant denomination gets to decide? If your elder starts to teach something contrary to what you think is biblical, who has the final say? From what I understand you do in the end. You wouldn’t go against your conscience, right? Or maybe you decide it’s not essential and roll with it. In the end though, you make the final decision based on your interpretation of the bible whether or not a teaching is biblical.

  35. CK,

    You think certain things are necessary:

    1) The one who gets to decide.

  36. Ck,

    sorry…continued

    2) The one with final say.

    These are designed to protect and make known the deposit of faith. The deposit consists of all revealed truths. Without 1 & 2, Prot. are troubled with protecting and knowing the deposit. This is Prot. “lack of what is necessary.”

    How does the RC or Prot measure what is and is not lacking ? The standard RC answer is what the church teaches. It is a rule of faith. Prot lack 1 & 2; therefore, Prot are reduced to ignorance of revealed truth. They are forced to pick and choose.

    You measure or rule your faith. There is apparent security for the RC because objective truth is firm and fixed. You have what’s necessary. Let’s use it…

    Revealed truths according to the rule of Faith:

    1) Faith is a subjective virture infused by God as a gift.
    2) Faith holds its object(s), namely God and His revealed truths.

    Without faith, you would be ignorant of these revealed truths. They tell you how someone gets linked to the truth. I’m asking you to take a walk on the subjective side. Let’s explore. How do you know this infused virtue is in you ? Identify it.

    CK is a believer by the infused virtue of faith.

    Is it true ? A revealed truth, perhaps ? How do you know this is true ? Pope or rule of faith, maybe ?

    Can you distinguish it from this ?

    CK is a heretic by picking and choosing.
    ——————————

    I maintain a simple position against the RC. The RC MUST identify themselves as a subject endowed with a revealed truth(s). This brings YOU into the world of identifying objective revealed truths. As a RC, there are necessary means able to identify objective revealed truths. CK is NOT one of those “means.” Until infallible identification takes place, CK and the world remain less than certain about CK being a believer. I would argue that you are in fact reduced to the level of your opponents.

  37. Eric W

    I think I understand what you are asking and its a good question. I’ll need to think this through and possibly simplify the answer for my sake 🙂

  38. CK,
    Just popped back in for a minute and can’t understand a word of this poppycock (get it HA)! Slick, slippery, schlick.

    “Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church is often labeled today as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, look like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards.”

    – Pope Benedict XVI

  39. Eric W, this coming from a person who said a piece of God was in everyone and everything yesterday. Relativism. I’m banned Eric W. I’m praying for you.

  40. +JMJ+

    CK wrote:

    Eric W wrote:
    .
    I maintain a simple position against the RC. The RC MUST identify themselves as a subject endowed with a revealed truth(s). This brings YOU into the world of identifying objective revealed truths. As a RC, there are necessary means able to identify objective revealed truths. CK is NOT one of those “means.” Until infallible identification takes place, CK and the world remain less than certain about CK being a believer. I would argue that you are in fact reduced to the level of your opponents.

    I think I understand what you are asking and its a good question. I’ll need to think this through and possibly simplify the answer for my sake.

    To recap what one of my posts on the last page, what Eric W is essentially saying is that impossible for the Natural Man to encounter Jesus.

    This is intimately tied up with Protestantism’s inherent impotence to mount a positive apologetic to the Natural Man. All they have left to them is to discredit the very possibility of a positive apologetic in the eyes of the Seeker and to, thus, stop him from petitioning the RCC for initiation. In contradistinction, what is it that Protestantism claims that it can positively offer the Seeker? Nothing.

    The Reformed Gospel Call: “You can’t know Jesus. You can’t meet Jesus. And if the RCC claims to be able to introduce you to Him, they’re liars. He’s unknowable (at least, to you).”

  41. Well, this explains why we are on different pages. You don’t agree with this; Col 1:15-20

    “For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all thing wwere created by Him and for Him.
    He is before all things, and in Him ALL THINGS HOLD TOGEHTER.
    And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that in every thing He might have the supremacy.
    For God was please to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to HImself all thigns, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.

    There isn’t anything outside of God, many things unreconciled, BUT there isn’t anything outside of God.
    There is only GOD!
    So you think when you ‘save someone’ you infuse God into them? Give them God?
    He’s there, asking, waiting for them to say yes. We just give them faith to SEE HIM.
    Where did you get your theology?

  42. Sorry, that was specifically for Kevin.

  43. Kev,
    I know you have to be scarce for a while and I really don’t have the time for the next couple of weeks, so maybe we can pick this up later.
    I’m sincerely sorry all to have jumped in when I can’t really stick around. This blogging can really get addictive! I have to be out of sight to get you all out of mind (I think that is a good thing).
    Peace,
    Debbie

  44. “There is only God. There is nothing outside of God.” many things unreconciled” Nonsense. Where did you get your theology? Sinners are enemies of God, the scripture is clear. God hated Esau. Jesus spoke more on hell than any other subject. In Mathew 7 He says “narrow is the gate( turnstile) into heaven, few enter” “Unreconciled” is outside of God. You said ” I have a dogmatic certainty God is in every person’s life” This is asinine and against scripture. This reaks of JPII who calls us separated and schismatics, but kisses the Koran and says all Muslims and do gooders are in. Hogwash! I can’t be here. Later

  45. That was Pope Francis, not me.

    I don’t think you read what I write, you obviously misunderstood – go back and try to read it again slowly. It is pure Catholicism.

  46. ” And in his boldness of his faith and position can state” Nice try, don’t back away from this. If you didn’t believe his position you wouldn’t be pea cocking it. Incidentally you quote Colossians 1 that says Christ is the head of his church. Do you believe this? The Pope says he is? Which is it for you?

  47. Oh, I absolutely believe all of it, it is all true.

    I thought you thought I didn’t – that there was something I didn’t believe. There isn’t.

    I sleep well at night knowing that the Bible and the Catholic Church, every tiny bit of it, is true.
    I don’t understand it all, but I don’t need to, I have great peace.

    Seriously, I’ve got to go, see you later, Happy Easter to all!

  48. ” Every tiny bit of it ” Finally, after year you have the guts to finally say it. You believe it all. No kidding. So after a year you finally fess up that you believe that ” doing the sacraments of the new law are necessary to be justified finally before God.” Faith plus works . Got it. Note it, you have been fully warned about the gospel and are without excuse.

  49. Wosbald,

    This is intimately tied up with Protestantism’s inherent impotence to mount a positive apologetic to the Natural Man. All they have left to them is to discredit the very possibility of a positive apologetic in the eyes of the Seeker and to, thus, stop him from petitioning the RCC for initiation. In contradistinction, what is it that Protestantism claims that it can positively offer the Seeker? Nothing.
    The Reformed Gospel Call: “You can’t know Jesus. You can’t meet Jesus. And if the RCC claims to be able to introduce you to Him, they’re liars. He’s unknowable (at least, to you).”

    Ridiculous. We give a positive apologetic all the time. Have you never read any of the scores of Protestant apologetic works?

    All the Reformed are saying is that the only people who truly seek God are those whom God is drawing, and God doesn’t draw everybody. There are a lot of people who look like they’re seeking God, but they want God’s benefits and not God Himself. This really should not be hard to grasp even if you don’t agree.

    What can we offer anybody is the gospel, that if you repent of your sin and believe Jesus died and rose again to pay the full penalty for your sin, you will have eternal life. Whether the person to whom we offer it is truly seeking it, well, we don’t know that and it’s up to God.

    Because it’s also possible that those who are seeking when they encounter the RCC aren’t really seeking God at all. Lot’s of people put up a good front.

  50. Romans 3″10 ” there is none righteous, there is none who understands, there is none who seek for God. It is impossible for the natural man to understand the things of God. So much for Wosbald’s theory man is basically good and able to choose God. He, and Debbie, and dear humble Pope Francis believe there is a piece of god in everybody. Just have to find it.

  51. Kevin, I have asked you to please step away from this site. I will delete comments if you refuse to respect my wishes on this. Thank you.

  52. Robert, You said,

    “All the Reformed are saying is that the only people who truly seek God are those whom God is drawing, and God doesn’t draw everybody. There are a lot of people who look like they’re seeking God, but they want God’s benefits and not God Himself. This really should not be hard to grasp even if you don’t agree.”

    You go on, “What can we offer anybody is the gospel, that if you repent of your sin…”

    You say God does not even want all men to repent or seek after Him yet you say is angry at a sinner’s non repentance and refusal to seek.

    It seems that there are 3 classes of people for the Reformed;
    #1 Those who hear the Gospel and are called/saved.
    #2 Those who never hear the Gospel and are lost for their sin
    #3 Those who hear the Gospel preached but are not called.
    These folks get a hotter place in hell than the people in #2 because they heard
    but did not repent.

    Am I being fair to your position? What am I missing?

  53. Back to the topic of this thread.

    Jason Stellman writes:

    … many Protestants — especially Lutherans or those Reformed who lean that way — tend to think of law with a capital L. Law, we often hear, is any command, any verb in the imperative mood. There is no real difference, according to this way of thinking, between the Decalogue’s command not to lie on the one hand, and Paul’s command to love our neighbor on the other. Both are Law, neither is sufficiently keepable, and therefore neither can contribute in any way to one’s final salvation.

    Jason further writes:

    The “law of works” (understood in context to be the Mosaic law) cannot eliminate boasting, since it is not even ultimately keepable in the first place, and to whatever degree it is keepable it is not accompanied by the power of the Spirit. The “law of faith,” on the other hand, is the very “law of the Spirit” referred to in chapter 8, and is not merely engraven on stone but internally inscribed on our hearts. This is the promise of the New Covenant that the prophets foretold. In fact, the first few verses of Romans 8 are simply Paul’s way of saying what Jeremiah had prophesied centuries prior, namely, that the day would come when God, by the Spirit, would enable us by his divine power to fulfill the righteousness of the law, resulting in there being now no condemnation for those who walk according to the Spirit.

    Jason makes two points that I want to comment on:

    1) Both Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists believe that human beings, without the power of the Holy Spirit, cannot keep the moral precepts of the Mosaic Law, that is: “The ‘law of works’ (understood in context to be the Mosaic law) cannot eliminate boasting, since it is not even ultimately keepable in the first place, and to whatever degree it is keepable it is not accompanied by the power of the Spirit.”

    2) Catholics, unlike Lutherans and Calvinists, believe that there is a law that humans must keep if they are to be saved, the “law of faith”. No Catholic can boast in keeping the “law of faith” since the law of faith is only keepable through the power of the Holy Spirit : “… the first few verses of Romans 8 are simply Paul’s way of saying what Jeremiah had prophesied centuries prior, namely, that the day would come when God, by the Spirit, would enable us by his divine power to fulfill the righteousness of the law, resulting in there being now no condemnation for those who walk according to the Spirit.”

    What would keeping the “law of faith” like? (Or said another way, what would keeping the “law of the Gospel” look like?) Jason quotes the CCC:

    The Law of the Gospel fulfills the [moral] commandments of the [Mosaic] Law.
    .
    The Law of the Gospel requires us to … put into practice the words of the Lord. It is summed up in the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets.”
    .
    The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us.

    The thesis, as I see it, is that the moral precepts prescribed by the Mosaic Law are, in fact, keepeable, but only by men that cooperate with the power of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, no man can love as Jesus loved; and loving as Jesus loved is the fulfilling of the moral precepts of the Mosaic Law. Which is exactly what Paul taught in Romans:

    … he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
    Romans 13:8

    The point here is that agape (charity) fulfills the moral precepts that are binding on all human beings, and that men that live lives of unrepentant immorality have no reason to believe that they will be saved.

    Lutherans and Calvinists historically have preached that men must live moral lives to be saved, but they need to reconcile that belief with Luther’s novelty of Justification By Faith Alone (JBFA). The real question that Jason is bringing to the fore, in my opinion, is how do Lutherans and Calvinists avoid antinomianism?

    If Luther’s JBFA doctrine is to be interpreted to mean that all that is necessary for an adult to be saved is for the adult to give mere intellectual assent to theological propositions about Jesus, then one could reconcile JBFA doctrine with a belief that it isn’t necessary for an adult to be saved by fulfilling the moral precepts of the Mosaic Law. Certainly, living a moral life is a good thing to strive for, it just isn’t a necessary thing for one’s salvation. But thinking that way entails the embrace of antinomianism, and if one believes in antinomianism, one must also believe that a man could live a life of unrepentant moral degeneracy and still be saved.

    The question that needs to be discussed is how Lutherans and Calvinists avoid the heresy of antinomianism.

  54. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Ridiculous. We give a positive apologetic all the time. Have you never read any of the scores of Protestant apologetic works?

    If you can’t Regenerate the Seeker, then no, you can’t mount a positive apologetic. You can’t give him a positive avenue to find what he’s seeking. All you can do is tease him with the knowledge that, somewhere out there, there’s a Jesus that he can’t find.

  55. Wosbald wrote:

    All they have left to them is to discredit the very possibility of a positive apologetic in the eyes of the Seeker and to, thus, stop him from petitioning the RCC for initiation.

    Response:

    Wosbald knows that answering my question(s) will reveal his hypocrisy. He says Prot. act like popes, but he doesn’t. He will not attempt to identify a revealed truth(s), yet nestled deep in his heart is the BELIEF that he is a believer. He has no rule of faith for this belief, so he remains silent.

    I didn’t leave the natural man out. NO NO NO ! You leave him out ! Watch everybody, even the natural man is part of the deposit of faith….

    (a) All have sinned in Adam. (explicit revealed truth)
    (b) Wosbald contracted original sin. (formally revealed implicitly)

    Search the RC rule of faith…. (a) is easy to show (b) not so easy to show

    Wosbald, come out of the corners….is (b) a revealed truth of the deposit of faith ? Natural man is SO important to you until we talk about an INDIVIDUAL natural man. You deduce the TRUTH of (b) from (a) without infallibility. Pure hypocrisy !

  56. Debbie wrote to CK:

    Just popped back in for a minute and can’t understand a word of this poppycock (get it HA)! Slick, slippery, schlick.

    Is this true or false ?

    Debbie is a believer.

  57. Mateo, How do we reconcile the idea that the OT law couldn’t be kept and St. Paul saying he had kept it scrupulously?
    Doesn’t it mean that the OT ceremonies were incapable of justifying as they were mere shadows of the sacraments yet to come? They may have been occasions of grace ( as are Protestant ordinances ) but they didn’t contain grace.

    Also, certain people, Noe, Joseph, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, 14 in all, are called just/holy/righteous law keepers. Evidently, holy people could fulfill the law’s requirements.

    Your comments please.

    The Law’s rites couldn’t justify as they were designed for Jews only. The Church accepted gentiles.

  58. Robert, I know that you know that Catholics know that God created the world and all that is in it. And that God sustains the world in being. Ergo, all that we have that is ours comes from God. You know Catholics know it. We don’t rob God of anything.

    Okay, we also know that God is complete within the Trinity and does not need our praise. We can neither take from nor add to God’s glory.
    Of course, as God can have no cause outside of Himself, we must say He created the world for His own glory. Yet as He gains nothing from this Ad Extra glory, we see that we creatures benefit from praising God and He doesn’t.

    My question is, why are you Calvinists so concerned about protecting God’s glory, guarding His honor and sovereignty, making sure we Catholics don’t claim for ourselves what is His? Who appointed you to do what he doesn’t need you to do?

    God wants to share being,goodness, honor and glory with us. He doesn’t want to hoard what can’t be taken from Him.

    You guys are so opposed to our cooperation in salvation or our having free will in order to choose. Why? Unless God is a puppet master who ordains everything we do, you say His sovereignty is threatened. Couldn’t He freely choose to let us cooperate? Why is He angry at sin if He ordains it? Are earthly sovereigns threatened by allowing there subjects freedom to dress, eat or marry as they please? Don’t earthly sovereigns let their subjects be free to violate or obey the laws and then deal with them. Aren’t they still sovereign?

  59. Wosbald,

    If you can’t Regenerate the Seeker, then no, you can’t mount a positive apologetic. You can’t give him a positive avenue to find what he’s seeking. All you can do is tease him with the knowledge that, somewhere out there, there’s a Jesus that he can’t find.

    This is just so much hand waving and, begging the question, that there is such a thing as a natural man who truly seeks God.

  60. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    If you can’t Regenerate the Seeker, then no, you can’t mount a positive apologetic. You can’t give him a positive avenue to find what he’s seeking. All you can do is tease him with the knowledge that, somewhere out there, there’s a Jesus that he can’t find.

    This is just so much hand waving and, begging the question, that there is such a thing as a natural man who truly seeks God.

    Q.E.D.

  61. Catholic bloggers, On previous occasins I have encouraged you to come over and visit another blog where we have been arguing the Marian doctrines. With the sole exception of Debbie, none of you have weighed in and this is fine.
    However,we have started a new topic on Timothy Kauffman’s “out of his mouth” blog. A lapsed Catholic named Walt has thrown down the gauntlet on why we Catholics don’t put the Church under the Bible . Of course this is just the question we love to answer! Click on http://www.whitehorseblog.com/2014/04/03/mother-mary-speaks-to-me-pt1/#comment-677 and scroll down to the comment section on the thread called “Mother Mary Speaks to Me 1”.
    PS Alas, our friend Kevin is a frequent contributor there. However, he is a bit toned down so don’t let him keep you away. Just scroll past him and weigh in on this great topic.

  62. Jim, you asked me:

    Mateo, How do we reconcile the idea that the OT law couldn’t be kept and St. Paul saying he had kept it scrupulously?

    Jim you also correctly point out that “certain people, Noe, Joseph, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, 14 in all, are called just/holy/righteous law keepers. Evidently, holy people could fulfill the law’s requirements.”

    A couple of points need to be made before I answer your question.

    First point, the Mosaic law is composed of both moral law and ritual law.
    Examples of the moral law would be the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) and the two great commandments of love:

    “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
    Deuteronomy 6:4-5
    .
    “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD”.
    Leviticus 19:18

    If one fulfills the demands imposed on humans by the two great commandments of love, one fulfills all of what is prescribed in the moral commandments of the Mosaic law. What I read Jason saying (and I agree with him) is that fallen man, without grace (i.e. without the power of the Holy Spirit) cannot meet what is demanded of him by the two great commandments of love. That said, it does not follow that in the pre-Christian era that no one could act with charity. The thesis being advanced is that without grace, the two great commandments cannot not be kept, and that is true in both the OT era and the NT era. So yes, there were people in the OT era that acted with charity, but that is only because they did not reject that grace that God gave to them under the Old Covenant.

    The second point I want to make is about the ritual law. Paul teaches that the ritual laws were laws that were added for transgressions:

    Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made …
    Galatians 3:19

    The laws that were added for transgressions were things such as the kosher dietary laws, and the requirement of the circumcision of the flesh. These laws were only binding on the Jews until the “offspring” (Christ) appeared.

    Avoiding eating pork is not keeping a moral commandment, it is merely keeping a ritual commandment that can be kept by a fallen man who is not in a state of grace. When Paul said that as a Pharisee that he scrupulously kept the law, he was referring to the ritual law.

    Paul explicitly states that he could not could keep the moral law of the OT:

    … if it had not been for the law, I should not have known sin. I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, wrought in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died; the very commandment which promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and by it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
    Romans 7:7-15

    In these verses, Paul is describing his life as Saul the Pharisee. Saul the Pharisee was incapable of meeting the moral commandment that forbade him to covet, since Saul the Pharisee was a fallen man born in original sin.

    Doesn’t it mean that the OT ceremonies were incapable of justifying as they were mere shadows of the sacraments yet to come?

    I suppose that depends on how one is defining “justifying”. Both the moral law of the OT and ritual law imposed on the Jews were commanded by God Almighty. The honorable Jew that was trying his best to do what was commanded by him would be seen by God as a righteous man, or a just man.

    Would that honorable Jew have within his soul the sanctifying graces bestowed by the Sacraments? No, and that is why the righteous Jews did not go to Heaven when they died. Instead, they descended to the abode of the dead where they waited in the bosom of Abraham for what was promised by the prophets.

  63. Jim wrote:
    Just scroll past him and weigh in on this great topic.

    You tell catholic bloggers to do what Jason told you to do. You didn’t listen Jason, but you act like Jason.

  64. Mateo, Thanks. It helps but I am not sure if the just men in the OT did not have sanctifying grace. I will ponder what you said and get back to you.
    Take care.

  65. @Mateo:
    I actually made the same mistake re: the saints in the Old Testament, and Bryan Cross helpfully corrected me on the matter. I believe this lecture, to which Dr. Cross referred me, will be very helpful in that regard:
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/04/the-harrowing-of-hell/

    When the Church teaches that the bosom of the Abraham is the “Limbo of the Just,” She means it in the same sense that we ourselves receive justice in our justification. They are not justified BY the Jewish obedience, because no one is justified by the Law, but they are rightly called just for the same reason we are. There is no sin keeping them from Heaven individually. The only thing lacking in the Messiah who restores the supernatural relationship between humanity and God, removing the condition of separation which prevailed after Adam’s sin (setting the captives free, though not from bondage to sin) and providing the vision of God to these just souls.

    St. Paul speaks to this indirectly in Romans 3:
    [21] But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it,
    [22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction;
    [23] since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    [24] they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,
    [25] whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins;
    [26] it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

    The “former sins” in question were precisely those of the righteous Jews of the Old Testament, those in the bosom of Abraham, who saw the Lord’s Day (John 8:56). In other words, Paul is telling us here that there were people who apparently had their sins forgiven, who were seen by God as righteous. But the basis for this justice, which was NOT the Law, was unknown, although the Law and Prophets testified to it.

    Paul also testifies to how Christ did this in Ephesians 4:
    [8] Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
    and he gave gifts to men.”
    [9] (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth?
    [10] He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    There were likewise righteous Gentiles who were saved in this manner even though they did not obey the Law.

    1 Pet. 3
    [18] For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;
    [19] in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison,
    [20] who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.

    So the point is that these souls are really just, in the power of the Holy Spirit, but they are being unjustly imprisoned by the Devil’s kingdom on account of his dominion over the earth after Adam’s sin. So when Christ ransacks the strong man’s house, he is taking back what is rightly His, not in the sense that He reclaims all of creation, but in the sense that He is freeing His faithful servants.

    Speaking as one who was similarly confused, I would say this is one of the more conceptually difficult doctrines the Church teaches, but I was glad to learn about it. It really makes sense once you think about it, but it’s not obvious.

  66. Jonathan, That was a major help. I appreciate it. I also think what you say is important for our discussion with our Calvinist friends on Penal Substitution/ Christ’s descent to the netherworld to suffer as one damned.
    Ciao

  67. Mateo,

    The real question that Jason is bringing to the fore, in my opinion, is how do Lutherans and Calvinists avoid antinomianism?

    Actually the question is this: If Rome truly preaches the gospel that Paul preached, why is Rome making the same charge against the Protestant Reformers that Paul knew would be made against His? (Romans 6).

    There is nothing in the Roman gospel to suggest that it could ever be charged with antinomianism. The whole get in by grace, stay in by cooperating with grace is exactly the Judaism that Paul came out of and precisely what He rails against as it was infecting the early church.

  68. Jim,

    First, you are indeed right that God doesn’t need us to defend His honor or glory. But you guys do because you essentially deny that justifying faith is an empty hand.

    You guys are so opposed to our cooperation in salvation or our having free will in order to choose. Why? Unless God is a puppet master who ordains everything we do, you say His sovereignty is threatened. Couldn’t He freely choose to let us cooperate? Why is He angry at sin if He ordains it? Are earthly sovereigns threatened by allowing there subjects freedom to dress, eat or marry as they please? Don’t earthly sovereigns let their subjects be free to violate or obey the laws and then deal with them. Aren’t they still sovereign?

    Couple of things:

    1. We’re not opposed to having free will. We do have free will. We just don’t have it in the libertarian sense. No one forces people to reject the Lord. People hate Him apart from regeneration.
    2. Whether God could freely choose to let us cooperate could be answered in a number of different ways. In the abstract, I suppose the answer is yes, but the abstract doesn’t really matter. We have to go by what He has revealed, and what He has revealed is that we do not cooperate in our justification in any sense. There is a sense in which we cooperate in our sanctification, but that is a different matter. Justification by faith alone must always remain in logical priority, otherwise this is what happens:

    From Jesuit scholar and Father John O’Malley’s book Trent: What Really Happened at the Council:

    For all Trent’s insistence on the determining role of grace in justification and for all the later success of the Jansenists, it seems clear that what to a considerable extent prevailed in post-Trent Catholicism was a persuasion that doing one’s best was a prerequisite for God to give his grace. Catholics in their own view and in the view of their enemies stood for “good works.”

    3. Why is God angry at sin if He ordains it? Because God is able to ordain something He hates without being morally responsible for it. That’s the best answer I can give because it is the biblical answer. When Paul discusses the whole issue of God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, he doesn’t say that the Lord permitted him to sin by “bare” permission, and He anticipates the objection as to divine justice without answering it to his interlocutor’s satisfaction. He simply asserts the justice of God and says that creatures have no right to question His justice in the matter of hardening and reprobation. That’s not a popular answer around these parts, but it is what Paul gives us. At some point we have to be content with what the Lord has given us.

    4. I could ask the same question: How is God angry at sin if He permits it knowing that some will in fact sin? He could just as well not permitted it.

    5. God is not a passive observer of His creation. I’m happy to say God permits sin, because the Bible is very clear that God’s relationship to sin in His eternal decree is not the same as His relationship to goodness, but we cannot view His permission as “bare” permission. God’s permission guarantees what happens, otherwise God ceases to be pure act. He is not a passive observer of sin. I know that makes people uncomfortable. It has made me uncomfortable at times. But I have to go with what Scripture says, and Scripture does not shy away from saying that God is involved in evil in a non-morally responsible way. How that can be, I do not know, but God’s ways are not my ways. Better to reject the Bible if you don’t like what it teaches than to create elaborate systems that pretend to solve the problem but end up raising the same questions.

    6. As far as earthly sovereigns being threatened—God isn’t an earthly sovereign, so the analogy breaks down rather quickly. God is self-existent and the creator of all. An earthly ruler’s permission does not guarantee any outcome. God’s permission does, even if all He does is foresee the future passively.

    7. As far as God being threatened. No Calvinist believes God is “threatened” by humans. The one’s threatened are those who believe they contribute to their justification, because Paul is emphatic that those who believe such a thing are believing a gospel contrary to his.

  69. Jim,
    I actually disagree with you about visiting Timothy Kauffman’s blog.
    It is only a couple of months old, and I really believe his sole purpose is to build his base to sell more books. The bloggin world is all about how many people visit your site – $$ can be involed, advertising etc….
    Anyway, his whole outlook is to attack. Nothing else. You can get anybody riled up when you attack.
    I have personally decided to ignore.
    He knew how popular the Creed Code Cult blog was and wanted a piece of the action.
    He is very smart about this –
    just my opinion,
    Debbie

    PS He keeps referring to all the ‘lurkers that might be out there’ as if he wanted as many as possible,

  70. +JMJ+

    To recap …

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    [Protestantism has an] inherent impotence to mount a positive apologetic to the Natural Man.

    Ridiculous. We give a positive apologetic all the time [to the Natural Man].

    If you can’t Regenerate the Seeker, then no, you can’t mount a positive apologetic. You can’t give [the Natural Man] a positive avenue to find what he’s seeking.

    There is [no] such a thing as a natural man who truly seeks God.

    So, Reformism proffers a “positive” avenue to one who is inherently incapable of taking it. It is like making a positive apologetic to a squirrel, a tree, or a rock.

    How is this a positive apologetic in any meaningful sense of the term? How is it unfair to say that Reformism has absolutely nothing to offer, absolutely nothing to say, to the Natural Man?

  71. And, the other reason I choose to ignore.

  72. Debbie, I had no idea. I don’t want to help the guy sell any of his diabolical stuff.
    Did you read in what of his rebuttals to me how he is teaching his little boy that his mom/The boy’s grandmother worships bread?
    I don’t hesitate to say that when a person apostatizes from the Church and starts a campaign to destroy the Faith of others, there is something really bad afoot. There always seems to be an attack on their family. Compare it to all the great converts to our side that continue to love their folks and the denomination that was so good to them.
    A cradle Protestant is different. He has never been a Catholic so I don’t get the same creepy feeling from them.
    Thanks for letting us all know.

  73. Robert,
    I know the debate between James White and Steve Gregg is hard to find but I clicked around and see it is on media.theos.org, james white calvinism.

    The Calvinist and the Arminian debated for five days. I wish you would give it a listen and get back to me on this blog. It is the only debate I have ever heard where James White is totally bested and shows it by loosing his cool.

    You wrote,”We have to go by what He has revealed, and what He has revealed is that we do not cooperate in our justification in any sense.”. You absolutely have got to hear these square off over whether or not Arminianism/free will is the “default position” of the Bible.

    You go on,” Why is God angry at sin if He ordains it? Because God is able to ordain something He hates without being morally responsible for it. That’s the best answer I can give because it is the biblical answer. When Paul discusses the whole issue of God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart,…”

    Robert and other bloggers, I would be guilty of plagiarizing the Arminian guy’s material if I quoted it here. All of your/Robert’s objections are addressed by Gregg.
    I really think his stuff is solid.
    Non Catholics don’t have to worry as both men on this debate series are not Catholic. White is anti catholic. Both men have even debated against Catholic Tim Staples.

    I am a bit embarrassed to be referring folks to a Protestant site but I really thing this stuff is well worth listening to.

  74. Wosbald,

    So, Reformism proffers a “positive” avenue to one who is inherently incapable of taking it. It is like making a positive apologetic to a squirrel, a tree, or a rock.
    How is this a positive apologetic in any meaningful sense of the term? How is it unfair to say that Reformism has absolutely nothing to offer, absolutely nothing to say, to the Natural Man?

    I guess it depends on how you view “positive.” The natural man, apart from God’s grace, can resonate with the apologetic offered because despite his fallenness, He is made in God’s image. In fact, He knows Christianity is true, He just hates it. I can throw all the information and all the apologetics I can at Him, but if God isn’t drawing Him, He’s going to keep hating the God who is. In such cases, the hardening of heart on the part of the reprobate is a positive thing from the perspective of God’s plan.

    If God is drawing the person, the individual will not only recognize the truth of the apologetic, he will come to love it and the God it represents.

    What I’m saying is that there is no such thing as a natural man who seeks God apart from grace. Even you guys have a category for this and make grace a prerequisite for salvation. The problem is that your view of grace isn’t strong enough. There’s no such thing as enabling grace (or whatever you want to call it) that merely causes a person to seek God but does not guarantee His belief.

  75. Jim,

    I just found the debate, thanks. I’ll try and listen to it when I get a chance.

  76. again, the other reason I choose to ignore …

    “he takes issue with you worshiping bread in deceitful and sinful.”

    Kevin, oh if you only knew what this means, but you don’t, so I can truly forgive and love you because you don’t know what you are doing.

    I would say this is what this season is all about.

    “I pray that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21

  77. We are united to Christ and his humanity thru the Spirit. He left us with the Spirit, his body is at the right hand of God, not in Roman tabernacle. Twisted. I have to go, I promised Jason.

  78. Robert,

    “Better to reject the Bible if you don’t like what it teaches than to create elaborate systems that pretend to solve the problem but end up raising the same questions.”

    Here’s the elaborate system:
    Man’s condemnation is all of his own. Man’s salvation is all of God. Not very complicated nor requires rejection of the Bible.

    The problem it “solves” is the one of allowing the condemned man to have an excuse before God – he has none because he was offered sufficient grace, contra the view you present. So it doesn’t raise the same questions because it grounds certain kinds of questions from launching off the bat. And yes, it is freely admitted we push onto the edges of mystery here.

    “The problem is that your view of grace isn’t strong enough. There’s no such thing as enabling grace (or whatever you want to call it) that merely causes a person to seek God but does not guarantee His belief.”

    But there is such a thing as enabling grace that merely causes a person to be able to resist sin/cooperate with it in progressive sanctification, but does not guarantee His cooperation. That view of grace is strong enough though.

  79. James,

    The problem it “solves” is the one of allowing the condemned man to have an excuse before God – he has none because he was offered sufficient grace, contra the view you present. So it doesn’t raise the same questions because it grounds certain kinds of questions from launching off the bat. And yes, it is freely admitted we push onto the edges of mystery here.

    The problem is that Paul doesn’t say this in Roman 9. No one would object to God’s justice under a non-Calvinist scheme. God gives everyone sufficient grace to make them the final determining agent in their salvation or damnation. Okay, Paul, that sounds fair.

    What, pray tell, seems unfair about God giving everyone sufficient grace because Paul certainly expects the opponents of his position to question God’s fairness and justice? If your position won’t generate the same kind of questions the apostles expect their teaching to generate, you might have missed their point.

    And again there is this assumption that without sufficient grace, men have a legitimate excuse before God. Where does Paul say that again?

    And sufficient grace is an incoherent concept in any case. It isn’t sufficient to save anyone, otherwise efficient grace would not be necessary, but I’m assuming you guys still want to say efficient grace is necessary for salvation. I’m not even sure how the Thomist scheme is supposed to deflect questions about divine justice. If you won’t be saved without efficient grace, and God doesn’t give efficient grace to everyone, who can resist his will?

  80. James,

    Man’s condemnation is all of his own. Man’s salvation is all of God. Not very complicated nor requires rejection of the Bible.

    Oh please. Because the ST doesn’t add all these distinctions in grace to say that. And BTW, the Calvinist believes the same thing, we just don’t deny the impassibility of God and deny He is pure act to get there.

  81. Jim you write:

    Mateo, Thanks. It helps but I am not sure if the just men in the OT did not have sanctifying grace.

    The OT saints did have sanctifying grace, but I believe that they didn’t have the sanctifying grace that is specific to the Sacramental graces that are bestowed by a valid reception of the Sacraments of Initiation

    What do I mean that? First, let us examine the word “sanctify”. To sanctify means to make holy. If there were holy OT saints (and there were), then they must have received sanctifying grace, otherwise they would have become holy through some sort of Jewish Pelagian law keeping, which is not how they became sanctified. Johnathan Prejean makes that point when he writes: “They [the OT saints] are not justified BY the Jewish obedience, because no one is justified by the Law …”. My point is not that the OT saints did not receive sanctifying grace, my point is that the OT saints did not receive the fulness of sanctifying grace that is bestowed by the Sacraments of Initiation.

    Is is possible for a man to be sanctified without receiving the Sacraments of Initiation? I believe that the answer to that is “yes”, and pre-Fall Adam is the example I would use to make that case. In the state of original justice, Adam was justified and sanctified, and that was only because Adam was given sanctifying grace when he was created. And that raises a question for me. Was the state of grace of pre-Fall Adam greater, lesser, or the same as, the state of grace of a baptized person? From what learned priests have told me, the baptized person is in a higher state of grace than pre-Fall Adam. That makes sense to me, because Adam was in a state of grace without the Incarnation having occurred, but those who are baptized are in a state of grace because of the Incarnation.

    If Adam could receive sanctifying grace without receiving the Sacraments of Initiation, could the OT saints also receive sanctifying grace without receiving the Sacraments of Initiation? Obviously I think that they could, but that raises the same question I had about Adam. Was the state of grace of the OT saints greater, lesser, or the same, as the state of grace of a baptized person? I think that they were in a lesser state of grace than the baptized person, and it is this teaching of Jesus that makes me say that:

    Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
    Matthew 11:11

    To me, this is an amazing thing for Jesus to say. John the Baptist is greater that all the OT saints (except Adam who was not born of woman), and yet, a person that is baptized (which makes him or her a member of the kingdom of heaven) is greater than every OT saint! How can that be? The greatness of John the Baptist and the OT saints was due to the greatness of the gift of grace that had been given to them. The reason why the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than the OT saints, is that the graces that Jesus gives through the Sacraments of Initiation are an even greater gift than what was received by the OT saints.

    What is it that makes the NT graces so much greater than what was received by the OT saints? I believe the answer to that question involves the gift of the Indwelling, or the Abiding Presence. When a person is baptized into the kingdom of heaven, he or she becomes indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe that any OT saint had the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, not even the saints in the bosom of Abraham.

    Now obviously the Prophets had some connection to the Holy Spirit, or they wouldn’t have been able to prophesy. But I believe that the Prophets could only prophesy when they were Overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and that no OT saint had the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Overshadowing is fundamentally different than the Indwelling.

    The Abiding Presence, the Indwelling of God in the soul, is the “promise of the Father”. The Prophets prophesied about the “promise of the Father”, even though they did not completely understand what they were prophesying about. For the OT Prophets, the “promise of the Father” was something that was to come in the future, and the holy OT Jews put their faith in that promise being someday fulfilled (even for them in some mysterious manner).

    Jesus spoke of the “promise of the Father” to the disciples he met on the road to Emmaus, and to the disciples he was with forty days before Pentecost:

    Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.
    .
    To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
    Acts 1:3-5

    The promise of the Father is the Indwelling of God, and with the Indwelling, the least member of the kingdom of heaven becomes clothed with power from on high. After Peter was clothed with power from on high on the Day of Pentecost, he teaches the Jews:

    … “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: `And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. … This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear.

    To sum up, the New Covenant brings to baptized men and women the Indwelling, a gift that no OT saint ever received. The indwelling only became possible for humanity when God the Son became Incarnate. Through the hypostatic union, (the union of God the Son’s human nature and God the Son’s divine nature), all men in a state of grace can partake of the divine nature through their union with Christ.

    Before the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit could dwell with man, after the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit could dwell in man.

    And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
    John 14:16-17

  82. @Mateo:
    I’d only distinguish it slightly by saying that there is an ambiguity in the term “indwelling.” For there to be sanctifying grace in the soul, the Holy Spirit must be there, but I agree that it is a different mode of presence than the New Covenant. One can certainly say that it is not indwelling in the same sense. You’ve made the right point with the sacraments of initiation; the presence of the Holy Spirit is not an on/off switch but a matter of degrees in how initimately the Spirit is wedded to the soul.

    When you spoke of the OT saints not having the “sanctifying grace of the Sacraments,” it sounded like you were making a distinction of kind and not degree, so that was my misunderstanding. We are all on the same page, I think.

  83. Mateo and Jonathan,

    Greetings. We do indeed know that people can be regenerated, spirit filled, justified, before the sacrament of Baptism is given. Cornelius is an example of this.
    Maybe the Ethiopian Eunuch, Lydia, those in Acts already baptized into John’s
    baptism, etc. were too.
    What Christian Baptism gives is the indelible seal, the “Tau”, the dying, pickling, branding, tattooing for eternity into Christ’s priestly death.
    This mark is what calls down particular graces of Christ’s Baptism. The Character of Confirmation does too. Married people get graces non married don’t. Ordination’s mark, like Baptism and Confirmation. also.
    Grace can be lost. The seals, no.

    Mateo, you implied this when you spoke the specific graces of the Sacraments.
    Gott ago but let’s go deeper into this later. Ciao for now

  84. Jonathan, Mateo, James,

    I’m glad to see that you guys recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in the OT saints, and Jonathan is indeed correct to note that it is a matter of degree and not of kind.

    Now it is just a step more to see that what that means is that justification cannot involve works. David had the Spirit and was justified apart from works of the law. Works of the law don’t cease to be works of the law just because someone has the Spirit; in fact, the promise that the law would be written on the heart proves it. The very law the prophets are talking about is the Mosaic law, or more specifically the moral law of God of which the law of Moses was but a form, which law cannot justify even when done in faith and by the power of the Spirit. David had love, but He wasn’t justified via that love in any sense.

  85. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    So, Reformism proffers a “positive” avenue to one who is inherently incapable of taking it. It is like making a positive apologetic to a squirrel, a tree, or a rock.
    How is this a positive apologetic in any meaningful sense of the term? How is it unfair to say that Reformism has absolutely nothing to offer, absolutely nothing to say, to the Natural Man?

    I guess it depends on how you view “positive.” The natural man, apart from God’s grace, can resonate with the apologetic offered because despite his fallenness, He is made in God’s image. In fact, He knows Christianity is true, He just hates it. I can throw all the information and all the apologetics I can at Him, but if God isn’t drawing Him, He’s going to keep hating the God who is. In such cases, the hardening of heart on the part of the reprobate is a positive thing from the perspective of God’s plan.
    .
    If God is drawing the person, the individual [a Natural Man?] will not only recognize the truth of the apologetic, he will come to love it and the God it represents.

    So, this second case, this “individual”, is also a Natural Man? Are there two categories of Men: 1) “Natural Men with Grace” and 2) “Natural Men without Grace”?

  86. Wosbald,

    There is no category of Natural Man a la what you are saying. There are only fallen men who hate God as long as they are in Adam. Some of these God regenerates; some of these He does not. Even unregenerate man, to some degree, can recognize the truth of Christianity, they just don’t like it. Since mankind is made in the image of God, His message gets through. It resonates because it is what we were made for. With those whom God regenerates, it resonates unto salvation. With those whom God does not regenerate, it resonates unto suppression, denial, and rejection.

    You can give people all the information and all the reason to believe that you want—the positive apologetic, if you will—but they will not believe unto salvation unless God regenerates; in fact, they cannot believe unto salvation, though that doesn’t mean they can’t recognize the truth.

    By way of personal experience (take it for what it’s worth), I’ve known people who have heard the gospel and acknowledged it is true, but they won’t submit to it because they know it would mean turning from their sins. The positive apologetic got through, but it was ultimately rejected.

  87. Robert,

    Catholics believe that supernatural intervention is required for man to “believe unto Salvation”.

  88. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    So, Reformism proffers a “positive” avenue to one who is inherently incapable of taking it. It is like making a positive apologetic to a squirrel, a tree, or a rock.
    How is this a positive apologetic in any meaningful sense of the term? How is it unfair to say that Reformism has absolutely nothing to offer, absolutely nothing to say, to the Natural Man?

    I guess it depends on how you view “positive.” …
    .
    If God is drawing the person, the individual [a Natural Man?] will not only recognize the truth of the apologetic, he will come to love it and the God it represents. …
    .
    There is no category of Natural Man a la what you are saying. There are only fallen men who hate God as long as they are in Adam. Some of these God regenerates; some of these He does not.

    Regardless of the terms you want to use, you still seem to be saying that there are two kinds of men 1) Men given Grace and 2) Men not given Grace. So, there’s no way to offer a positive apologetic to the men not given grace. (I’m defining “positive” as an avenue offered to someone who is inherently capable of taking it.)

  89. Erick Y.,

    Catholics believe that supernatural intervention is required for man to “believe unto Salvation”.

    I understand that, and I’m not intending to deny that, so if I’m coming across like that I’m sorry.

    The issue is whether grace is merely enabling or actually regenerative in those to whom it is given.

  90. Wosbald,

    No, there’s no way to offer a positive apologetic to the men not given grace.

    If by positive you mean a case that those not given grace will accept unto salvation, then that is correct.

    (I’m defining “positive” as an avenue offered to someone who is inherently capable of taking it.)

    Fair enough. But the issue is whether there are people post-fall who are inherently capable of taking it. What I’m saying is that there is no such person who is capable in every sense of the word. Intellectually capable? Yes. Morally capable—no, not apart from regenerating grace, which is not given to all.

  91. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Fair enough. But the issue is whether there are people post-fall who are inherently capable of taking it. What I’m saying is that there is no such person who is capable in every sense of the word. Intellectually capable? Yes. Morally capable—no, not apart from regenerating grace, which is not given to all.

    That’s fine. But this just goes back to my original point that, for the Reformed, there are two kinds of men, and that Reformism literally has nothing positive to offer to that kind of man who is not given grace.

  92. Johnathan P, you write:

    Mateo:
    I’d only distinguish it slightly by saying that there is an ambiguity in the term “indwelling.” For there to be sanctifying grace in the soul, the Holy Spirit must be there, but I agree that it is a different mode of presence than the New Covenant. One can certainly say that it is not indwelling in the same sense.

    A point well made. I am having some difficulty trying to convey what I mean because I am at the limits of my vocabulary. Your point about the difference in the “mode” of the indwelling is what I am trying to get at. I would like to talk about “mode” for a moment.

    The Eucharist is one of the Sacraments of Initiation, and to understand the doctrine of the Real Presence, one must understand how the mode of Christ’s presence is unique in the Eucharist. The CCC teaches this about the mode of Christ’s presence:

    CCC 1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”

    The CCC is teaching that the mode of Christ’s presence in a validly consecrated host is unique. An unconsecrated host also has the presence of God, but the mode of God’s presence in an unconsecrated host is the mode of the presence of immensity. That is, because God is omnipresent, God is present everywhere, including being present in an unconsecrated host. So if one wanted to argue that God “indwells” an unconsecrated host via the mode of the presence of immensity, I would concede that point. And that brings me to what I am trying to say about the OT saints that were alive on earth and alive in the bosom of Abraham. These OT Saints did not have the mode of Christ’s presence that comes from receiving Sacraments of Initiation.

    Jim you write:

    We do indeed know that people can be regenerated, spirit filled, justified, before the sacrament of Baptism is given. Cornelius is an example of this.

    Here, I have to disagree with you about Cornelius and his household.
    The Gentiles in Cornelius’ household began speaking in tongues before they became baptized, and they were able to do this because the Spirit was poured out on them. But the fact that they could manifest a charism of the Holy Spirit does not mean that they were regenerated before they became baptized.

    The Prophets of the Old Testament could also manifest charisms of the Holy Spirit (the charism of prophesy obviously), but that does not mean that the OT prophets had received the graces of the Sacrament of Baptism that made them “born again”, or regenerated. Even today some men and women manifest the charism of speaking in tongues before the become regenerated by reception of a valid Sacrament of Baptism. This happens in the Protestant Pentecostal sects that confess the Trinity. In these Pentecostal sects, no one receives the Sacrament of Baptism until they “show the evidence” (which is typically means speaking in tongues). Once a man or woman “shows the evidence”, that is taken as proof that they have found favor with God and he or she can be baptized. Which is not unlike what happened to Peter when he preached the Gospel to Cornelius and his household:

    While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Acts 10:44-48

    A further point that I want to make along these lines is that Christ teaches that a man can be among the damned and still manifest the charisms of the Holy Spirit:

    “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    Matthew 7:21-22

  93. Johnathan P, you write:

    Mateo:
    I’d only distinguish it slightly by saying that there is an ambiguity in the term “indwelling.” For there to be sanctifying grace in the soul, the Holy Spirit must be there, but I agree that it is a different mode of presence than the New Covenant. One can certainly say that it is not indwelling in the same sense.

    A point well made. I am having some difficulty trying to convey what I mean because I am at the limits of my vocabulary. Your point about the difference in the “mode” of the indwelling is what I am trying to get at. I would like to talk about “mode” for a moment.

    The Eucharist is one of the Sacraments of Initiation, and to understand the doctrine of the Real Presence, one must understand how the mode of Christ’s presence is unique in the Eucharist. The CCC teaches this about the mode of Christ’s presence:

    CCC 1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”

    The CCC is teaching that the mode of Christ’s presence in a validly consecrated host is unique. An unconsecrated host also has the presence of God, but the mode of God’s presence in an unconsecrated host is the mode of the presence of immensity. That is, because God is omnipresent, God is present everywhere, including being present in an unconsecrated host. So if one wanted to argue that God “indwells” an unconsecrated host via the mode of the presence of immensity, I would concede that point. And that brings me to what I am trying to say about the OT saints that were alive on earth and alive in the bosom of Abraham. These OT Saints did not have the mode of Christ’s presence that comes from receiving Sacraments of Initiation.

    Jim you write:

    We do indeed know that people can be regenerated, spirit filled, justified, before the sacrament of Baptism is given. Cornelius is an example of this.

    Here, I have to respectfully disagree with you about Cornelius and his household.
    The Gentiles in Cornelius’ household began speaking in tongues before they became baptized, and they were able to do this because the Spirit was poured out on them. But the fact that they could manifest a charism of the Holy Spirit does not mean that they were regenerated before they became baptized.

    The Prophets of the Old Testament could also manifest charisms of the Holy Spirit (the charism of prophesy obviously), but that does not mean that the OT prophets had received the graces of the Sacrament of Baptism that made them “born again”, or regenerated. Even today some men and women manifest the charism of speaking in tongues before the become regenerated by reception of a valid Sacrament of Baptism. This happens in the Protestant Pentecostal sects that confess the Trinity. In these Pentecostal sects, no one receives the Sacrament of Baptism until they “show the evidence” (which is typically means speaking in tongues). Once a man or woman “shows the evidence”, that is taken as proof that they have found favor with God and he or she can be baptized. Which is not unlike what happened to Peter when he preached the Gospel to Cornelius and his household:

    While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Acts 10:44-48

    A further point that I want to make along these lines is that Christ teaches that a man can be among the damned and still manifest the charisms of the Holy Spirit:

    “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    Matthew 7:21-22

  94. Robert you write:

    I’m glad to see that you guys recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in the OT saints, and Jonathan is indeed correct to note that it is a matter of degree and not of kind.

    Now it is just a step more to see that what that means is that justification cannot involve works.

    Robert, no Catholic on this blog is arguing that a man can receive his initial justification because of his works. Infants that receive the Sacrament of Baptism are justified by the reception of that Sacrament of Initiation, and obviously they are incapable of doing works of any kind, good or evil.

    To be justified is to be in right standing with God’s justice. The heresy of Calvinism is that Calvinism teaches that right standing with God (justification) cannot be lost by committing mortal sin, which is a work of evil. Which brings me back to my point about the mode of Indwelling that is received by those who are validly baptized. That Indwelling can be lost. Before I make that point, I want to comment on what Johnathan P and James explained to you about “eternal life”, and bring the discussion back to the topic of Jason Stellman’s post about the “law of faith”.

    Johnathan P wrote:

    Scripture uses “eternal life” in two separate ways: the present possession of divine life (e.g., Rom. 5:21, John 3:36, John 17:3, 1 John 5:13) and living forever in Heaven, the reward for possession of eternal life in time that is also referred to as the “attainment of eternal life.” Concerning Rom. 5:21, Fr. Fitzmyer describes the former in the NJBC 51:61 as follows: “The risen Kyrios beings to humanity a share in ‘eternal life,’ the life of the Son of God. The adj[ective] ‘eternal’ indicates the quality of that life rather than its duration; it is the life of God himself.” Because of this ambiguity in Biblical terminology, the canon distinguishes between eternal life, the former, and the attainment of eternal life, the latter.

    James wrote:

    … when distinguishing between unmerited initial justification and meriting eternal life before, I have said Christ himself is eternal life. We merit further participation in Christ himself, in the divine life. If we could merit eternal life as you characterize, that means Trent would be contradicting itself when it talks about how initial justification/restoration cannot be merited. That should clue you in that the definition of “eternal life” has more nuance than you are allowing.

    James makes the point that “Christ himself is eternal life”, and that point is explicitly taught in scriptures:

    That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us — that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
    1 John 1:1-3

    The Apostle John is explicitly teaching that “Christ himself is eternal life”. The man that receives a valid Sacrament of Baptism has Christ abiding in him, or said another way, the man that has received a valid Sacrament of Baptism has eternal life abiding in him. The Calvinists deny that the regenerated man can lose this eternal life, but that Protestant heresy is explicitly contradicted by what the Apostle John teaches in his first epistle.

    Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
    1 John 3:15

    Hatred is a work of evil, and if a Christian hates his brother, he has no eternal live abiding in him. Can a regenerated man lose eternal life? Yes he can, all it takes to do that is to hate a brother. On the other hand, to not lose eternal life, one must avoid committing mortal sin and love as Christ loves. Which is also what the Apostle John teaches:

    No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God commits sin; <b.for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother.
    1 John 3:6-12

    The “law of faith” is the law of love, and the Christian that does not practice the law of love has no eternal life abiding in him.

    Robert, you write:

    The very law the prophets are talking about is the Mosaic law, or more specifically the moral law of God of which the law of Moses was but a form, which law cannot justify even when done in faith and by the power of the Spirit.

    You recognize that the Mosaic law contained explicit commandments concerning the moral law, and I assume that you do not disagree with Jesus that all the moral commandments in the Mosaic law are summed up in the two great commandments of love (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 & Leviticus 19:18). You then assert that keeping the two commandments of love (the law of faith) do NOT make a man righteous (justified) in the eyes of God, even when the law of love is kept through the power of the Holy Spirit. But that assertion is an explicit denial of what John the Apostle is teaching: “ Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil …”

    To be righteous, one must do what is right. That is what scriptures teach, and that is what Calvinism denies.

  95. Mateo,

    To be righteous, one must do what is right.

    True, as long as you are clear that such means perfect, all the time, without fail, with all of your effort.

    That is what scriptures teach, and that is what Calvinism denies.

    We deny that one can achieve perfection on this side of heaven—along with John, BTW—and affirm that the Bible distinguishes between inherent and imputed righteousness.

    And yes I know that you all deny works in initial justification. But you sure make a big place for them in final justification. Our point is that from start to last, if you are going to involve your works in any sense in justification, you have to have never failed God in any way, even “venially.”

  96. Robert,

    “I’m glad to see that you guys recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in the OT saints, and Jonathan is indeed correct to note that it is a matter of degree and not of kind.”

    RC soteriology wouldn’t make much sense otherwise.

    “Now it is just a step more to see that what that means is that justification cannot involve works. David had the Spirit and was justified apart from works of the law. Works of the law don’t cease to be works of the law just because someone has the Spirit; in fact, the promise that the law would be written on the heart proves it. The very law the prophets are talking about is the Mosaic law, or more specifically the moral law of God of which the law of Moses was but a form, which law cannot justify even when done in faith and by the power of the Spirit. David had love, but He wasn’t justified via that love in any sense.”

    David was justified by faith formed by love – he had sanctifying grace. The law of faith/christ does not equal the law of works or the mosaic law (Abraham was also saved the same way). Until you move on from equivocating on that and conflating the covenants, you will not see the third option that lies outside that one must be dispensationalist or that one must think the OC and NC are “basically the same”. This was all addressed in my post at April 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm in this thread which you did not reply to.

  97. Mateo, I was not making a dogmatic statement about Cornelius or the other being regenerated bfore Baptism. One cannot make a statement that their being Spirit filled was ONLY the charism of speaking in tongues either. What we do know is Peter could find no cause to refuse them the Sacrament and reception into the Church. ( John the Baptist was regenerated by being filled with the Spirit in Elizabeth’s womb).

    Catechumens can be regenerated prior to the Sacrament if they have perfect Charity. However, since nobody can say with assurance they have perfect Charity…
    Also, should a regenerated person ( hypothetically ) refuse the water of Baptism, he would lose justification as perfect Charity implies a desire, if only implicit, for the Sacrament.

    Think of Confession. A penitent can be in a state of grace before getting to the priest if he has perfect contrition. Perfect Contrition implies a desire for the Sacrament though. If only imperfect contrition, forgiveness takes place in the Confessional only. The Sacrament supplies for the lack.

    Finally, Brother, being in a state of grace is not sufficient for reception of Communion, marriage, absolution, Confirmation, etc. The seal of Baptism is the door way into the Body of Christ. That is why the good people who had received John’s baptism only needed Christian Baptism before being Confirmed.
    Non Catholics if in a state of grace can be attached to the Church in a mysterious way. But the seal is necessary to be 100%.

  98. Guys, The OT rite of circumcision was an occasion of grace. Baptism contains grace.
    The mark of circumcision was outward and for Jews only.

    Baptism’s mark is much more. Remember, Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire suffice for heaven, But not to receive the other Sacraments. The seal is need for that. Maybe this indelible mark and its graces is what were prophecied in the OT?

    One more thing not directly about OT saints but important. People can get into heaven without the seal of baptism, But not without grace. This was hashed out at the time of Fr. Feeney.

  99. Robert, congratulations you survived the cut. Eric is gone, Eric W is gone, I got booted. Just you and the smugglers.

  100. +JMJ+

    Time to purge out the old Kevin. Er … I mean “leaven”.

  101. Robert, I wrote:

    To be righteous, one must do what is right.

    You responded:

    True, as long as you are clear that such means perfect, all the time, without fail, with all of your effort.

    Robert, an assertion is not an argument. There is no need for me to accept your definition of what perfection in charity looks like this side of heaven.

    We deny that one can achieve perfection on this side of heaven—along with John, BTW—and affirm that the Bible distinguishes between inherent and imputed righteousness.

    The Apostle John nowhere teaches that Christians are incapable of doing what Jesus commands:

    You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    Matthew 5:48

    It is question begging to assert that the Bible distinguishes between inherent and imputed righteousness when you have never been able to show that it does.

    In regards to perfection in charity, the problem is that you have an unbiblical understanding of what constitutes perfection in charity. We could argue that point again for the umpteenth time, but I would rather not do that.

    What I will note is that you are NOT addressing the scriptures that I quoted (1 John 3:15) where the Apostle John explicitly teaches that if a Christian hates a brother, the Christian has no eternal life abiding in him. Instead of responding to this scripture and giving your Calvinist interpretation of 1 John 3:15, you have simply asserted Calvinist doctrine as being true, which is, again, merely question begging.

    Robert, show me that Calvinism affirms that hating a brother entails the loss of eternal life abiding within, and then I will concede that Calvinism does not deny the teaching of the Apostle John: that to be righteous, one must do what is right.

  102. Kevin, scram! Go back to Kauffman’s blog where you can say” death wafer” and other stupidities like you did yesterday.

  103. Mateo and Jonathan,

    I was think about what we were discussing yesterday, the difference between OT justification and NT justification. I think it is important to realize that we Christians don’t just pray TO Christ. We pray IN Christ. Being Baptized into Christ’s death,we share in His priesthood ( of the laity ). Therefore we “offer up prayers, supplication, thanksgivings, and intercessions for all men”.
    Notice that our prayers are mostly in the plural. We pray in the Church. One Our Father or Hail Mary, being prayers of the Church, even said by rote, take on a power that comes from being a prayer of the entire Mystical Body. Of course, reams could be written on the prayer of the Mass.
    So, while Old Testament saints had to have had sanctifying grace, they couldn’t have had ( unless I am mistaken ) the actual graces specific to the 7 Sacraments that flow out from the Incarnation.

    We aren’t Baptized to have our sins removed only. Baptism of Desire can do that. OT saints had their sins forgiven without Baptism.

    We are Baptized to have our sins forgiven IN Christ. Baptism is a PHYSICAL link to Christ’s humanity. Grace flows from His humanity to us.
    Cornelius was filled with the Spirit after hearing Peter preach. But to have the Spirit abide forever, that comes from Baptism.

    I don’t mean to come off as the Pope to you guys. But this is something well worth delving into. Remember, even in hell, the Baptized will be identifiable from the mark of Baptism. Just as Roman soldiers were branded with Caesar’s mark, we are branded with Christ’s cross ( Ez 9:4 ). Just as the soldier could flee the battlefield, making the brand a mark of shame, the Christian can lose the Spirit but His brand mark will remain forever.
    We should not consider ourselves as having been Baptized. We ARE Baptized.

    I am open to feedback/correction/discussion as I too am seeking. If I am off, help me tweek it into place.

  104. Mateo,

    Robert, show me that Calvinism affirms that hating a brother entails the loss of eternal life abiding within, and then I will concede that Calvinism does not deny the teaching of the Apostle John: that to be righteous, one must do what is right.

    Mateo, show me that a regenerate person can impenitently hate his brother, and I will concede that you haven’t missed John’s point.

    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19).

    Hate your brother impenitently, and you were never a Christian to begin with.

    The Apostle John nowhere teaches that Christians are incapable of doing what Jesus commands:

    Oh, I don’t know. He seems pretty sure that we’ll continue to sin until our glorification:

    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8–10)

    Then, of course, there is Paul:

    7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

    13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

    21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    To say nothing good dwells in me seems awfully, shall we say, inconsistent with making inherent righteousness the grounds for justification.

    Then, of course, Paul says this after a lifetime of serving Christ:

    15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

    And then there is James 2:10:

    For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

    One minor sin and you’re toast—if you are counting on inherent righteousness to get you over the finish line.

    No, we cannot do what Jesus commands to the full extent He commands. There is even an implicit recognition of this in RC via the unbiblical mortal/venial sin distinction. Given this reality, there are two choices. 1. Define perfection differently and place satisfaction for sin in the hands of man via the sacramental system. 2. Keep the definition of perfection as being, you know, perfection and run to the righteousness of Christ alone as an alien righteousness.

  105. Kevin, skat! Shoo! Go back to the other site where you can say “Catholics have replaced the savior with the DEATH WAFER”. Go on. I’ll call the dog catcher if you don’t take your fleas and go over where you belong!

    He wrote a book called “Graven Bread”. He thinks your “Death Wafer” term is cute.
    I say it reminds me of St. Paul saying that disrespect to the Blessed Sacrament leads to condemnation ( 1 Cor 11;23-26 )

  106. Kevin,

    I have asked you repeatedly to please step away, and now I am being forced to delete comments. Show some respect and do what I am asking.

    Thank you.

  107. Jason, your right, I start reading posts and it has been hard to restrain myself. I apologize. I will stay away away. Im pushing the 70 x 7 thing.

  108. Mateo, I was thinking about our discussion earlier today and I remembered the angels were created in grace from the beginning of Creation. This includes those who were later to fall because of Lucifer’s envy of the Incarnation.

    By the way, Robert, Hi. You don’t believe the angels had grace do you? Not anymore than Adam did. Grace, for Calvinists is just “non come-uppance” for sins, right? That is why Mary could not be “full of grace”, huh?
    How does a Protestant deal with verses that say some saints increased in grace. How does one increase in Non-punishment? ( I am not putting words in your mouth, am I? )

  109. Robert,

    “Oh, I don’t know. He seems pretty sure that we’ll continue to sin until our glorification:
    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8–10)”

    Indeed. Believers don’t pray the lord’s prayer for show. Of course John also says
    “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.”
    “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”

    So we have to reconcile this. RCism does so by the mortal/venial sin distinction. You do it by…well I’m actually not sure. You claim the regenerate don’t practice habitual sin anymore, but then you affirm you continue to sin and break the 2GC every second of your life which seems like a habitual lifestyle. You say you feel bad about it (or that you feel bad about your lacking of or inadequacy of feeling bad), but I’m unaware of where the bible defines repentance as only remorse without amendment, and it doesn’t seem you’re amending if you’re continuing to do it every second of your life, even in your best works, until death.

    “To say nothing good dwells in me seems awfully, shall we say, inconsistent with making inherent righteousness the grounds for justification.”

    Your interpretation of Paul and Rom 7 man is, as far as I know, unknown nor anticipated for over 1000 years. It was always interpreted as either concupiscence in regenerate man, or speaking of natural man. That might be a red flag your interpretation is not knock-down inevitable or obvious.

  110. Jim, you wrote:

    So, while Old Testament saints had to have had sanctifying grace, they couldn’t have had ( unless I am mistaken ) the actual graces specific to the 7 Sacraments that flow out from the Incarnation.

    Jim, I would like to comment on this, because it is germane to what I am trying to say about the abiding presence of eternal life in the soul of the baptized man or woman.

    First, a comment about actual grace. The Catholic Church makes a distinction between actual grace and sanctifying grace. All men can receive actual grace apart from the Sacraments. For example, the adult that is not baptized cannot even desire to be baptized unless God first gives to him the actual grace of operating grace (prevenient grace). The grace that is specific to the Sacrament of Baptism is not actual graces but sanctifying grace, also called habitual grace.

    Father John Hardon gives these definitions of habitual grace and actual grace:

    HABITUAL GRACE. Constant supernatural quality of the soul which sanctifies a person inherently and makes him or her just and pleasing to God. Also called sanctifying grace or justifying grace.
    .
    ACTUAL GRACE. Temporary supernatural intervention by God to enlighten the mind or strengthen the will to perform supernatural actions that lead to heaven. Actual grace is therefore a transient divine assistance to enable man to obtain, retain, or grow in supernatural grace and the life of God.
    .
    Reference: A pocket Catholic Dictionary
    http://www.therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl

    The word habitual, and habitat come from the same Latin root word: habit?re, to dwell. (A habitat is a dwelling place). The Sacramental Grace of Baptism forgives all sin and all temporal punishment due to sin (which transforms the baptized man or woman into a sanctified habitat; a temple; a dwelling place for the Spirit). With the cleansing of the temple through the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit inhabits (dwells) in the sanctified temple. And that is the point that I am trying to make. The Habitual Grace of the Sacrament of Baptism did not come to men until the after the Resurrection.

    The holy saints of the OT era had the Holy Spirit dwelling with them, but the saints of the NT have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Jesus speaks about this in the upper room just before he, as high priest, offered up the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world:

    I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
    John 14:16-17

    God the Father will give you another Counselor (future tense), and the Holy Spirit will be in you (future tense). These things could not come to pass until after the Resurrection.

    Jim you write:

    I think it is important to realize that we Christians don’t just pray TO Christ. We pray IN Christ.

    Exactly! The OT saints could not pray in the Spirit, but they could pray with the Spirit. Which is why Jesus tells the woman at the well “… the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth …”. Again, praying and worshiping the Father in the Spirit was to come after Jesus resurrected from the dead.

    We aren’t Baptized to have our sins removed only.

    I agree, the forgiveness of sins is not an end to itself. Sanctification is necessary to have the Indwelling of the Spirit, which is necessary for men to behold the beatific vision. Which was why the OT saints could not go to heaven when they died, since heaven is the beholding of the beatific vision. The OT saints in the limbus patrum needed to receive the habitual grace that flows from the cross and is bestowed by the Sacrament of Baptism to the NT saints.

    OT saints had their sins forgiven without Baptism.

    Jesus is both the high priest and the victim that is offered up as a sacrifice to the Father. Until the Lamb of God was offered up, sins could be forgiven, but the effects of sin could not be taken away. The state of being of the righteous men in the bosom of Abraham was a state of being that needed to be elevated before these saints could behold the beatific vision. The OT saints were in need of the habitual grace bestowed by the Sacrament of Baptism.

    I agree that in the OT era a repentant heart could bring about justification apart from the Sacrament of Confession, for Jesus explicitly taught:

    “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
    Luke 18:10-14

    The tax collector went home justified, but not regenerated, and not with the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit that is brought about by receiving the habitual graces specific to the Sacrament of Baptism.

    What I have written above is my understanding of scriptures. Like you, I am open to correction if I am saying anything that is wrong.

  111. James,

    So we have to reconcile this. RCism does so by the mortal/venial sin distinction. You do it by…well I’m actually not sure. You claim the regenerate don’t practice habitual sin anymore, but then you affirm you continue to sin and break the 2GC every second of your life which seems like a habitual lifestyle. You say you feel bad about it (or that you feel bad about your lacking of or inadequacy of feeling bad), but I’m unaware of where the bible defines repentance as only remorse without amendment, and it doesn’t seem you’re amending if you’re continuing to do it every second of your life, even in your best works, until death.

    The regenerate person is not defined by habitual, impenitent, willful sin. That doesn’t mean that anyone who commits a willful sin is thereby automatically regenerate. Impenitence is the key.

    Much of the regenerate person’s failure to love God and neighbor with his whole heart arises out of such things as ignorance and is not willful, at least in the same sense as the unregenerate person’s. But we are ultimately culpable for our ignorance. In Adam, we chose to put ourselves in this predicament.

    And true remorse bears fruit in amendment, insofar as amendment is possible. Sometimes it’s not. The repentant person expresses sorrow for sin, asks God for assistance, and knows that there will always be areas of his life that are not fully up to God’s standard. It’s one reason why we need imputation.

    Rome tries to solve the problem, as all perfectionistic systems do, by redefining sin and saying some sins aren’t worthy of eternal punishment.

    Your interpretation of Paul and Rom 7 man is, as far as I know, unknown nor anticipated for over 1000 years. It was always interpreted as either concupiscence in regenerate man, or speaking of natural man.

    And that would be fine as long as we are clear that concupiscence itself is sin. The problem is that you guys deny that, at least as far as I am aware.

  112. Robert, I wrote:

    Robert, show me that Calvinism affirms that hating a brother entails the loss of eternal life abiding within, and then I will concede that Calvinism does not deny the teaching of the Apostle John: that to be righteous, one must do what is right.

    Your Calvinist interpretation of 1 John 3:15 is this:

    Hate your brother impenitently, and you were never a Christian to begin with.

    The Apostle John never mentioned the word “impenitently” that you are putting into John’s mouth with your Calvinist interpretation of 1 John 3:15. What John actually wrote is this:

    Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
    1 John 3:15

    The Apostle John teaches that hatred of a brother brings about the loss of eternal life abiding within. The Apostle John is not saying here that if you hate your brother that you were never a Christian to begin with!

    Your Calvinist interpretation of 1 John 3:15 is merely a convoluted attempt to explain away the perspicuous meaning of this verse. Even if your Calvinist interpretation were true, then it means that the True Christian must do right to be right, that is, the True Christian must never hate a brother impenitently or he would not be justified with God. But that contradicts what you wrote earlier when you asserted, “if you are going to involve your works in any sense in justification, you have to have never failed God in any way”.

  113. Robert,

    “The regenerate person is not defined by habitual, impenitent, willful sin. That doesn’t mean that anyone who commits a willful sin is thereby automatically regenerate. Impenitence is the key.”

    Yes, and by sinning against the 2GC every second, and recognizing and admitting you do so, and continuing to do so in the same manner both before and after recognition and admittance, how that is not habitual, impenitent, and willful escapes me. If one was not impenitent, how would it be any different? Just that he didn’t feel bad about it? Again, I fail to see where Scripture defines repentance as remorse/sorrow without amendment.

    “And true remorse bears fruit in amendment, insofar as amendment is possible. Sometimes it’s not.”

    See above. It seems true remorse never bears fruit in amendment for most spheres of your life if you are continuing to sin, and recognize you are, against the 2GC every second of your life until death. And any “fruit in amendment” remains ever-defiled with sin, so I still fail to see how there was any actual amendment.
    You recognize you can do much more to obey the 2GC – so go ahead and do it. Stop making excuses. Would you allow a serial adulterer or thief to remain in your church if he just said amendment isn’t possible?

    “Rome tries to solve the problem, as all perfectionistic systems do, by redefining sin and saying some sins aren’t worthy of eternal punishment.”

    It locates sin in the will (vs concupiscence) for the regenerate. It also distinguishes between actions that are contrary to our last/highest end (destroying charity) versus those that are disordered in relation to it (offending/weakening charity).
    Aquinas:
    “Therefore when the soul is so disordered by sin as to turn away from its last end, viz. God, to Whom it is united by charity, there is mortal sin; but when it is disordered without turning away from God, there is venial sin. For even as in the body, the disorder of death which results from the destruction of the principle of life, is irreparable according to nature, while the disorder of sickness can be repaired by reason of the vital principle being preserved, so it is in matters concerning the soul. Because, in speculative matters, it is impossible to convince one who errs in the principles, whereas one who errs, but retains the principles, can be brought back to the truth by means of the principles. Likewise in practical matters, he who, by sinning, turns away from his last end, if we consider the nature of his sin, falls irreparably, and therefore is said to sin mortally and to deserve eternal punishment: whereas when a man sins without turning away from God, by the very nature of his sin, his disorder can be repaired, because the principle of the order is not destroyed; wherefore he is said to sin venially, because, to wit, he does not sin so as to deserve to be punished eternally.”

    “And that would be fine as long as we are clear that concupiscence itself is sin. The problem is that you guys deny that, at least as far as I am aware.”

    The problem is that all the interpretations of the Rom 7 man that held to it reflecting concupiscence also did not hold concupiscence was sin proper, as Protestants do, but that it was the “tinder for sin” as James 1:14-15 echoes. So the point remains.
    It can be called sin in the sense that it originates from (original) sin and so often results in sin, but it does not have the nature of sin proper. And no, characterizing concupiscence not as sin proper does not give a weakened view of sin. Because one does not hold someone with cancer to be at fault, that does not weaken the gravity of cancer. If concupiscence is sin proper, then one conflates the inclination to sin with sin itself that results from consent to that inclination which seems an invalid move.

  114. James, since Jesus said if you look on a woman you have committed adultery, we would be kicking the male population out for you know what. Our faith continues to feed on forgiveness of sin 70 x 70 x70 x70 x7. Some Christians deal with habitual sin for years. Men understand this.

  115. James, 1 Timothy 1:16 ” Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost ( currently Paul considers himself the foremost sinner)Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example to those who believe in Him for eternal life. There is no condemnation for those in Christ.

  116. Kevin,

    Yeah – we went over this before. I don’t get why your church will kick out/discipline serial fornicators or thieves or family abandoners etc. but not admitted serial 2 GC breakers. It’s ad hoc and inconsistent and part of why I consider the Protestant position incoherent and a failure at reconciling John’s statements. To respect Jason’s wishes, I won’t engage you further.

  117. James, thx I have to go. I promised Jason. I understand. You have always been very friendly to me James. Thx for your kindness. James you are welcome at my home for spaghetti any time. James the only thing I would say is that John says that if we simply confess our sins He is faithful to forgive us. The word means say the same as. To agree with God. Repentance involves turning from our sin and walking the other way. The whole Christian life is continual confession and turning from sin. There are sins i have been struggling with for years, although the is a decreasing in my life of them. Thats why I think its important for the Christian to know what Paul said when he said “of which I am foremost. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see our sinfulness, the more we understand his constant mercy and grace he gives us by simple faith. K

  118. Mateo, You said a lot of good stuff. One thing though I would like to clarity about Baptism. You said the grace specific to baptism is habitiual or sanctifying grace. Indeed. However, I still think that the Character given in Baptism continues to call down certain graces that the non Baptized don’t get, even if justified via perfect contrition/Charity.
    I was at a dinner party with my wife the other night and the topic of abortion and Obama came up (they love him over here ). We found ourselves confessing our faith in a way that our Anglican fellow guests were afraid to do in the politically correct environment of that evening. Driving home, we concluded that our bold witness was due to the Sacrament of Confirmation received half a century ago.
    Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination give a Character. By coincidence, I read John Hardon’s Catechism just yesterday too. He says the reason why a Christian can confer marriage on another Christian is because of the priestly power of the Baptismal Character ( not its grace ).
    While not giving a Character, marriage does bring special graces that single people don’t get. But those special graces proper only to the married state hinge on the Baptismal Character.

    I suggest that the special outpouring of grace, gifts, virtues, and Holy Ghost in the New Covenant all relate back to what was lacking in the Old Covenant, the Character, seal, mark, non-repeatable dying, pickling or tattooing given in Baptism.
    Ciao

  119. James, You keep putting it back on us that we are breaking the 2GC very second of every moment. But you have not answered our charges of how RC eradicates the flesh from the life of a believer by minimizing sin in the light of Paul calling himself the foremost sinner as a believer in 1 Timothy and describing the intense battle he continuously goes thru in Romans. We have no problem reconciling this position of the flesh and the Spirit working contrary in the life of a believer. Thats why a statement of past justification by Paul has to be imputation, because at any time we stand condemned in the flesh. The only other way to deal with this is eradicate the flesh and create a a final purging zone. Neither of which has a hint of evidence in scripture. Thats whats wrong with the synergistic view. Allot of gymnastics.

  120. Jason, I would like to apply for reinstatement on the basis that my behavior has been respectful and i have asked for forgiveness. Can you treat me like the brother who returned home and throw me a feast by allowing back in. I really enjoy it. Thx Kevin

  121. James, I will form a pact with you never to speak to him either on this site. Every day, on the other site he uses the slur, “death wafer” showing his contempt for Catholics. Then he makes his cameo appearances here and expects to be welcome.

  122. Jim, you write:

    You said the grace specific to baptism is habitual or sanctifying grace. Indeed. However, I still think that the Character given in Baptism continues to call down certain graces that the non Baptized don’t get, even if justified via perfect contrition/Charity.

    I think that you are correct, but I would like to discuss for a moment how the CCC uses the term “character” with respect to the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation:

    1280 Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the character, which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship. Because of the character Baptism cannot be repeated (cf. DS 1609 and DS 1624).
    .
    1304 & 1305 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness. This “character” perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and “the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi Ex officio).”

    The “character” is “the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high.” The power released by the Sacraments of Initiation is the very power of the Holy Spirit. With power from on high, the Catholic can participate in the Spirit in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king.

    To be “clothed with power from on high” is to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the promise of the Father:

    And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”
    Luke 24:49
    .
    And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
    .
    CCC 1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

    Can those who have not received valid Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, while alive on this earth, receive apart from the Sacraments, all the Sacramental graces that are bestowed by these Sacraments? I don’t think so, otherwise these Sacraments would be superfluous, which is essentially the idea expressed in the anti-Sacramentalism of many Protestant sects – i.e. all I need is Jesus and my Protestant bible, everything else is non-essential.

    Jim you write with regard to you and your wife’s witnessing:

    … we concluded that our bold witness was due to the Sacrament of Confirmation received half a century ago

    That is exactly what the CCC teaches: “the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi Ex officio).”

    Jim, you write:

    I suggest that the special outpouring of grace, gifts, virtues, and Holy Ghost in the New Covenant all relate back to what was lacking in the Old Covenant …

    Exactly! There are unique graces conferred by the Sacraments of Initiation to members of the true church, graces that were not given through the Old Covenant. For example, Baptism and Confirmation consecrate the Catholic into the one priesthood of Christ, which is a greater priesthood than the priesthood of Levi and Aaron:

    1533 Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ’s disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for the life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on the march towards the homeland.
    .
    1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.”

  123. Bring Kevin back !

  124. Mateo,

    The Apostle John never mentioned the word “impenitently” that you are putting into John’s mouth with your Calvinist interpretation of 1 John 3:15.

    Your RC interpretation fails to note the verb tense in the Greek, ongoing present and not an aorist, which can indicate completed action, past action, one-time action.

    John is very clearly talking about ongoing, persistent hatred. He’s not saying that the second you feel hatred for a person you have to run and get your grace sacramentally restored.

    And indeed, there is a true sense in which we must do right to be right. But that is a relative righteousness that always has sin mixed in there. Good luck standing before a holy God with that kind of rigteousness—the same God who ordered capital punishment for a person gathering sticks on the Sabbath, the same God who struck Uzzah dead for trying to steady the ark, the same God who required atonement for unintentional sins lest his wrath break out, the same God who oppressed various rulers because they took Sarah for a wife even though they didn’t know better. . .

  125. Eric W,

    You want Kevin back on this blog? I am opposed. Kevin continues to say on Kauffman’s blog the same expressions, designed only to give offense, that he was eighty-sixed from this blog for. You know that as you have teamed up with him over there.
    He and Kauffman say hocus pocus and “death wafer” daily. I find you as offensive as them for even suggesting that Kevin be welcomed on a Catholic blog knowing what he has been saying elsewhere.

    I welcome ecumenical dialogue, even spirited debate. I don’t think that freedom of expression or ecumenism means that we Catholics must be door mats for a bigot.

    I did a Holy Hour today in front of the “death wafer” exposed. I am not so schizoid that I offer adoration to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in the morning and then dispassionately put up with someone blaspheming that same Host in the evening?

    His cynical pretense of asking for forgiveness of Jason as a brother is reminiscent of Judas’ kiss. And you know it as you are blogging together with him on Kauffman’s site. Shame on you for your duplicity.

    I have sent you the answer on that site as to how Catholics prove the papacy that you requested from me. I hope you find it satisfying and will be over there shortly to discuss it with you.
    I suggest we not discuss this blog there.

  126. Eric W, there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

  127. Robert, you write:

    John is very clearly talking about ongoing, persistent hatred.

    Your point is bogus because you are trying make a distinction between two kinds of hatred, impenitent hatred and some other kind of hatred (penitent hatred?) If one is repentant for his hatred, then one is no longer hating. The ONLY kind of hatred is impenitent hatred.

    He’s not saying that the second you feel hatred for a person you have to run and get your grace sacramentally restored.

    The Apostle John was a Catholic, not a Protestant, and Catholics have always understood the difference between concupiscence, a temptation to hatred, and the mortal sin of willful hatred. You are trying to make a case that a Christian can willfully hate another Christian for some unspecified period of time, and while he is full of hatred for his brother, that he would still has eternal life abiding within. But that is just plain contradicting what is written in John’s first epistle.

    He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still.
    1 John 2:9

    Robert, you write:

    And indeed, there is a true sense in which we must do right to be right.

    Are you finally acknowledging that the Apostle John is teaching what is found throughout the scriptures, that a man that lives a life of unrepentant immorality cannot be saved? That to be righteous one must do what is right. Or are you still waffling on that point?

    But that is a relative righteousness that always has sin mixed in there.

    If you would give up your Calvinism and accept the reality that the Apostle John makes the explicit point in his first epistle between sin that is mortal and sin that is not mortal, then you would be orthodox. But as long as you continue to
    assert Calvinist doctrine that teaches that every moment of your life is characterized by constantly committing damnable sin, then you will continue to contradict yourself. The man that is constantly committing damnable sin is certainly not doing what is right!

  128. Robert, Not meaning to gang up on you but would you please tell Mateo what you told me some weeks ago about the case of King David? I had asked you if David was lost while he was philandering with Bathsheba and murdering her husband.

    I will let you say it rather than misquoting you.

    Also, while I have you attention, I would like to ask you something about Baptism as we Catholics have been discussing its Character.

    You are a Presbyterian, correct? I remember 30 years ago hearing R.C. Sproul give a good talk on non-immersion. The example he gave was that of the two doves sacrificed in a the OT. He read how one dove was to have its head snapped off and the other one Baptized in its blood. As one dove could not possibly supply sufficient blood for the immersion of the other, it was not necessary to immerse.

    I have also seen his defense of pedobaptism against Baptist John MacArthur. He explains that it brings the baby into the Covenant but does not regenerate.

    Last week I sent you sort of a “gotcha ” question on hearing the gospel but not being called. I would like to expand that a bit.

    If a baby is Baptized into the Covenant but not called, is his plight in hell worse than a person who was neither Baptized or called for rejecting the grace of the Covenant?

    Ciao

  129. Jim,

    Kevin belongs to a prophetic train. He imitates apocalyptic language.

    The practice of describing things by their real, as opposed to their professed or apparent character, is one that peculiarly distinguishes the Apocalyptic imagery. -Patrick Fairbairn

    Jason didn’t ban Kevin. He allowed him to ban himself by making it impossible to stay.

  130. Eric W,

    “apocalyptic language.”? “prophetic train.”? Are we talking about the same guy?

    Would you say Lenny Bruce, Louis Farrakhan or Howard Stern were in this “prophetic train”?

    I remember about 5 years ago when a Princeton professor named P.Z. Myers desecrated a Consecrated Host on utube. Was he a prophet too Eric?

    Hmmmmm? Maybe I was too hasty in my judgments. I thought it was slurs against JESUS CHRIST IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR!

    Maybe we should take your advice and invite him back so he can scream more of what you deem to be “prophetic train”.

  131. Eric W,

    People can disagree without being insulting. Kevin spends too much time throwing stones and saying he’s sorry as he’s throwing stones. Try going to some atheist site where they take the same approach towards God/Jesus as Kevin takes towards Catholics. It’s not good enough for them to say God doesn’t exist or Jesus is a fictional character and argue their point. They have to add crude comments about God and Jesus just to let you know how much they don’t believe it (as if saying so is not enough), to insult the Christian and impress their friends. That’s Kevin approach in a nutshell.

    Oh and I forgot, continuing with my atheist example, you can prove Jesus the man who Christians say was raised from the dead actually existed using texts outside the bible and the atheist proven wrong, ignores your evidence and continues to push Jesus is a myth mantra. This is the same approach Kevin takes with Catholics.

    So what’s my conclusion? Kevin comes here not to learn about Catholicism but to push his vision of it, otherwise he wouldn’t continue to misrepresent what we believe after being corrected several times. Telling us we are a cult, the Eucharist is not the body of Jesus, etc… and argue those points is not enough. He must insult and be crude to those that disagree with him to impress himself and his Calvinist friends. In a word he’s an agitator.

  132. towards Catholics should say towards Catholic belief

  133. Mateo,

    Your point is bogus because you are trying make a distinction between two kinds of hatred, impenitent hatred and some other kind of hatred (penitent hatred?) If one is repentant for his hatred, then one is no longer hating. The ONLY kind of hatred is impenitent hatred.

    There’s a difference between someone who hates his brother and doesn’t care and the person who is angry with his brother, knows it is wrong, is asking the Lord for forgiveness, and seeking to change but isn’t quite there yet and still has trouble feeling love for his brother. Sanctification is a process and doesn’t just happen because you go to a priest.

    Further, even the highest quality repentance needs to be repented for. I was reading Augustine the other day, and he said that we will never have full, perfect love for God with our soul until we are in heaven. Guess what, that means even your best works are tainted with sin.

    The Apostle John was a Catholic, not a Protestant, and Catholics have always understood the difference between concupiscence, a temptation to hatred, and the mortal sin of willful hatred.

    No, he was actually a Jewish believer in Jesus the Messiah, a Christian. He wasn’t RC or Protestant.

    You are trying to make a case that a Christian can willfully hate another Christian for some unspecified period of time, and while he is full of hatred for his brother, that he would still has eternal life abiding within. But that is just plain contradicting what is written in John’s first epistle.

    A true Christian will not willfully hate another Christian and not care about it. And further, any doctrine of election in the end amounts to saying that the elect retain eternal life while they are hating. Otherwise, they’d need to be reconverted and rebaptized every time they repent.

    What I’m saying is that God’s grace is not so pathetically weak and dependent on me to complete it that if I get into a fight with my brother and die 30 seconds into it, that that is going to disqualify me from heaven.

    Are you finally acknowledging that the Apostle John is teaching what is found throughout the scriptures, that a man that lives a life of unrepentant immorality cannot be saved? That to be righteous one must do what is right. Or are you still waffling on that point?

    First, I’ve never said that a man who lives a life of unrepentant immorality is saved. All I’ve said is that you can’t judge a man unconverted or absolutely fallen from grace for committing one “mortal sin.” Second, I have always said that to be righteous one must do right, but that no one can meet the perfection God requires.

    If you would give up your Calvinism and accept the reality that the Apostle John makes the explicit point in his first epistle between sin that is mortal and sin that is not mortal, then you would be orthodox. But as long as you continue to
    assert Calvinist doctrine that teaches that every moment of your life is characterized by constantly committing damnable sin, then you will continue to contradict yourself. The man that is constantly committing damnable sin is certainly not doing what is right!

    There is no such sin that is so small that it does not merit God’s eternal hatred and no sin so grand that God cannot pardon it. The issue is that you think some sins aren’t really sins. That might make you feel better when you tell a little white lie, but God sends people to hell for telling little white lies.

    John does talk about a mortal sin, but he doesn’t talk about a list of mortal sins, which sins Rome has never fully and infallibly defined. There’s only one mortal sin, and that’s the sin of impenitence. The only question is whether a regenerate person can commit it. So, committing adultery does not automatically send one to hell. Failure to repent for it, however, will.

    God’s not up in heaven trying to save people. Those whom He wants to save in every sense of the world always get saved.

  134. Jim,

    Not meaning to gang up on you but would you please tell Mateo what you told me some weeks ago about the case of King David? I had asked you if David was lost while he was philandering with Bathsheba and murdering her husband.

    No he wasn’t, and the proof of that is his repentance. Further, under any view of election, he wasn’t truly lost even in the RC view because he was elect and his repentance was therefore inevitable. You want David to be truly lost, deny that he was elect.

    If a baby is Baptized into the Covenant but not called, is his plight in hell worse than a person who was neither Baptized or called for rejecting the grace of the Covenant?

    A baby baptized who never improves on his baptism (as the WCF) by coming to personal faith in Christ would be worse off assuming that the baby was raised in the church. As far as someone who is baptized as a baby and then never darkens the door of the church again, I’m not sure.

  135. CK, let the person without sin cast the first stone. You came on this site attacking me continually. I never called for your ban.

  136. Jutstified, adopted, heir vs transfusion of dna needed to be kept in tact. Forensic, declarative, imputed vs justification by transformative infused love? Sealed in the Spirit, seated in heaven, glorified vs an argument of inner mechanics and loss of the Spirit. His righteousness vs our righteousness. Focus on his resurrection vs turning inward to find good. Justification of the ungodly vs justification of the love keepers. ? Gospel vs ?

  137. C K,

    “People can disagree without being insulting. Kevin spends too much time throwing stones and saying he’s sorry as he’s throwing stones. Try going to some atheist site where they take the same approach towards God/Jesus as Kevin takes towards Catholics. It’s not good enough for them to say God doesn’t exist or Jesus is a fictional character and argue their point. They have to add crude comments about God and Jesus just to let you know how much they don’t believe it (as if saying so is not enough), to insult the Christian and impress their friends. That’s Kevin approach in a nutshell.”

    You took the words right out of my mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  138. Jim, my only aim was to proclaim the gospel : that God pronounces unrighteous people righteous: by faith. All of us know that sanctification can only and always be partial in this life. Thats why justification, adoption, and becoming heir can only be his obedience being transferred to our account as we embrace Him in faith.

  139. Robert, Thanks for your post. You are mistaken about the Catholic view of David. I have heard more than once if David had died in the state of mortal sin he would have been lost.
    I know your response is to say that God would never have let that happen but you are wrong to say that that is also the Catholic view.

    We do not start with election of individuals ( I may tweek this for Mary according to the Franciscan view ). Christ is elect and he sincerely wants all men to be saved in His Body. ( St Augustine’s view here was never accepted by the Church. ) The fall was permitted to “lock up all men in trespass so he could have mercy on them all”. All men who share the human nature assumed by Christ are redeemed. objectively.

    So, before any human merits are seen, all are elect. The fall was so God could have mercy and not to get most men into the Massa Damnata.
    Next, as the wages of sin is death. God looks at demerits and final impenitence.
    We are all elect in Christ ( either in full membership in the Church or mystically ).
    Christ’s Body, Bride, Church is elect but no one is forced to be in or stay in that Body. Election is in Christ who is a corporate entity of Head and Body.

    I am troubled by, “A baby baptized who never improves on his baptism (as the WCF) by coming to personal faith in Christ would be worse off assuming that the baby was raised in the church.” because if personal faith is given only after monergistic regeneration, it appears as if God is playing games by calling the person in Baptism and sealing him with the Character of His death, but not sincerely wanting them regenerated and given faith to make that Baptismal Character bear fruit.

    okay, thanks.

  140. C K, you wrote about our banned friend, “Telling us we are a cult, the Eucharist is not the body of Jesus, etc… and argue those points is not enough. He must insult and be crude to those that disagree with him to impress himself and his Calvinist friends. In a word he’s an agitator”.

    I agree. I don’t demand that a non Catholic violate their conscience and affirm our belief in the Real Presence. That wouldn’t be honest.
    But “hocus pocus” and “death wafer” are deal breakers. Especially after being pleaded with to stop using those hurtful terms.
    Like you, I don’t want to hear his insincere apologies as he has been using those same terms on another blog with impunity all along, even while feigning contrition here.
    He is not being deprived of anything necessary for life by being banned. He will survive. No violins. No more chances. I wish him luck but adios.

  141. Jim,

    As far as election goes, as far as I am aware, there is no official RC position on divine election. You’ve got Augustinians, Thomists, Molinists, etc. On an Augustinian or Thomistic view of election, God would most certainly not allow the elect to die in a state of mortal sin, so I’m not sure there is a RC position on this.

    As far as God not wanting the baptized person to be saved; I would have to say that there is a sense in which God wants the baptized person to be saved but also a sense in which he does not. Essentially, I would agree with Aquinas that God loves all men in some ways but only some men in all ways. I could just as well say it is God teasing RCs who are baptized but whom He does not love unto salvation.

  142. Robert,

    “I was reading Augustine the other day, and he said that we will never have full, perfect love for God with our soul until we are in heaven. Guess what, that means even your best works are tainted with sin”

    No it means although wayfarers on earth can have perfect charity and perform acts that fulfill the law, that does not mean they love God as much as humanly possible or have perfect conformity to Christ or do not have an ever-greater perfection yet to attain while on earth. Perfect conformity awaits until heaven.
    As Aquinas says “charity of the wayfarer cannot attain to the perfection of the charity of heaven” and elsewhere,
    “On the part of the person who loves, charity is perfect, when he loves as much as he can. This happens in three ways. First, so that a man’s whole heart is always actually borne towards God: this is the perfection of the charity of heaven, and is not possible in this life, wherein, by reason of the weakness of human life, it is impossible to think always actually of God, and to be moved by love towards Him. Secondly, so that man makes an earnest endeavor to give his time to God and Divine things, while scorning other things except in so far as the needs of the present life demand. This is the perfection of charity that is possible to a wayfarer; but is not common to all who have charity. Thirdly, so that a man gives his whole heart to God habitually, viz. by neither thinking nor desiring anything contrary to the love of God; and this perfection is common to all who have charity.”

    Aquinas is not Augustine, but Augustine holds to infused charity as habit (as Aquinas does above), merit, and to venial/mortal sin (venial sin is not incompatible with the habit of charity, but is incompatible with the perfection of heaven). You can read him your way if you like, but I find it similar to someone reading Aquinas’ statement that “charity of the wayfarer cannot attain to the perfection of the charity of heaven” means he believed all works are tainted with (mortal) sin in the manner you gloss.

  143. Robert,

    “I could just as well say it is God teasing RCs who are baptized but whom He does not love unto salvation”.

    I don’t think you can. Even in Augustine and especially Aquinas, depite all the say on grace, put reprobation solely in the lap of the sinner and not God.

    While Augustine says unbaptized babies go to a not so hot hell, Aquinas breaks completely with him by saying babies can’t go to hell. Maybe they can’t get into heaven for lack of grace, but no way have they earned hell by demerits or nature.

    This taps into God’s “will” to reprobate. It hi-lites why God permitted the Fall.
    The Bible says so God could have mercy on all. Calvin says to get them into the Massa Damnata so He can have mercy on a few.

    I mentioned yesterday that election is IN Christ, not prior to God’s plan for the Incarnation. The Incarnation/ Redemption is not Plan B after Adam mucked things up.

    The Plan of the Crucifixion/Redemption was before the Fall so grace could be earned by Christ in His human nature and because a gift given to the undeserving is mo noble than one given to the deserving. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRHADYYg1IY

    Have a nice Palm Sunday

  144. Just in case anybody is having second thoughts about a certain person who, like a drunken boor who has been asked to leave a party and after refusing, is shown to the door only to keep staggering back in through another back door or crawling in a window,

    This was posted on another blog last evening;

    Kevin Failoni
    APRIL 12, 2014 AT 6:44 PM
    Jim, You are right the “death wafer” is offensive, TO GOD.

    I rest my case.

  145. Jim wrote to Eric W:
    His cynical pretense of asking for forgiveness of Jason as a brother is reminiscent of Judas’ kiss. And you know it as you are blogging together with him on Kauffman’s site. Shame on you for your duplicity.

    I have sent you the answer on that site as to how Catholics prove the papacy that you requested from me. I hope you find it satisfying and will be over there shortly to discuss it with you.
    I suggest we not discuss this blog there.
    ————————————

    Jim wrote:
    This was posted on another blog last evening;

    Kevin Failoni
    APRIL 12, 2014 AT 6:44 PM
    Jim, You are right the “death wafer” is offensive, TO GOD.

    I rest my case.
    —————————-

    I guess we can discuss that blog here.

  146. Jim, As you continue to disparage my name with impunity, while I have no recourse, I would ask you to stop please. You have called me Igor, an Oaf, a Puke and many other names. I’m sure there won’t be a letter sent around asking for your repentance and dismissal. Maybe I ask for forgiveness so much because I know i am a sinner. Its a little hard to see your sin when you believe there is not much there. I have apologized for my mistakes, all of them, and I have behaved rightly, so please quit running me down.

  147. Eric W, We do,

    Kevin, about an hour ago you posted the following on that other blog established to refute this one;

    “you can support added revelation of worshiping bread as the incarnate savior, communicating with the dead, idolizing Mary, saints etc”

    A day doesn’t go by that someone, not just me, has to tell you Catholics don’t worship bread. You say it only to offend. Do you deny it?

    So, when you say on this blog, ” I have apologized for my mistakes, all of them, and I have behaved rightly, so please quit running me down.”

    I cannot buy your assertion that you have “behaved rightly”. Your apologies are, once again, as false as the KISS OF JUDAS!

    You cannot go one day without making slurs against the Blessed Sacrament. On the blog owned by the guy who uses the same terms as you and promotes his book titled GRAVEN BREAD you run amok with your slurs.
    Are Catholics on a Catholic blog supposed to be so “open minded”, “ecumenical”, supportive of “free speech” to welcome you and your disrespect toward them? Your loathing of the Real Presence wins you applause from Tim Kauffman on his blog. But this is not his blog.

  148. I don’t worship a piece of bread. I don’t know of anyone who worships a piece of bread.

    I – Adore – the – Eucharist

    If we could break this down and focus on what Adoration is, I believe all Christians can benefit from an hour of pure Adoration.

    Adoration is intense admiration culminating in reverence and worship, together with the outward acts and attitudes which accompany such reverence. It thus includes both the subjective sentiments, or feelings of the soul. Adoration is perhaps the highest type of worship, involving the reverent and rapt contemplation of the Divine perfections and prerogatives, the acknowledgment of them in words of praise, together with the visible symbols and postures that express the adoring attitude of the creature in the presence of his Creator. It is the expression of the soul’s mystical realization of God’s presence in His transcendent Greatness, Holiness and Lovingkindness.

    In the most sublime, mysterious, and reverential way, Catholics are being lifted up in their hearts, souls, minds and strength to LOVE.

    PS The word Eucharist means thanksgiving.

    Have a blessed Holy Week Everyone!

  149. The Apostle John writes:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
    John 3:16-20
    .
    He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still.
    1 John 2:9
    .
    Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
    1 John 3:15

    Robert, in discussing 1 John 3:15, you make this valid point about hatred:

    There’s a difference between someone who hates his brother and doesn’t care and the person who is angry with his brother, knows it is wrong, is asking the Lord for forgiveness, and seeking to change but isn’t quite there yet and still has trouble feeling love for his brother.

    I acknowledge this difference.

    If a Christian, by an act of his will, has hatred in his heart for his brother, he is committing the mortal sin of willful hatred. But if that Christian acknowledges that his willful hatred is an act of darkness and evil, and he is asking the Lord for forgiveness, and he is seeking to change by the grace of God; then that Christian is repenting of the sin of hatred, and is no longer committing the sin of hatred.

    Yes, the person that is repentant of the sin of hatred may be troubled by his lingering feelings, but repentance isn’t about feelings, it is about the act of the will to make a firm amendment, with the help of God’s grace, to no longer commit the sin that one is repenting of. The healing of the emotions typically comes after one repents, which anyone that has ever walked for a while in the Christian life already knows.

    So let us be crystal clear here, the Apostle John is talking about the Christian that is committing the mortal sin of willful hatred of a brother, and is unrepentant for his hatred. John is not talking about the Christian who is repentant for the sin of willful hatred in 1 John 3:15.

    Vine’s Expository Dictionary has this to say about the word “hatred” as it is used in 1 John 3:15:

    Note: In 1 John 3:15 he who hates is brother is called a murderer for that sin lies in the inward disposition, of which the act is only the outward expression

    The Christian that is committing the sin of unrepentant hatred has the same inward disposition as that of a willful murderer; the hate filled Christian hasn’t committed the act of murder, but his heart is full of murderous thoughts.

    The Apostle John takes it for granted that Christians would understand that an unrepentant murderer has no eternal life abiding within, and he is making the point that a Christian that has murder in his heart for another brother also has no eternal life abiding within. This is the point that you are rejecting by embracing Calvinism, which is exactly the same error that is made by the antinomian Protestant sects that preach “Once Saved, Always Saved, there is no sin that a Christian can possibly commit that would cause him to lose eternal life”. Both Calvinists and OSAS Protestants are dead wrong about that, because the Apostle John is explicitly naming two sins that will cause a Christian lose the eternal life abiding within his soul; the mortal sins of unrepentant murder and unrepentant hatred.

    A true Christian will not willfully hate another Christian and not care about it.

    Obviously a Christian shouldn’t hate another Christian, for if he does, the Apostle John teaches that he will lose eternal life abiding within. But what a Christian should do, and what a Christian does do, can be two entirely different things. Even you admit that you are capable of sinning.

    And further, any doctrine of election in the end amounts to saying that the elect retain eternal life while they are hating. Otherwise, they’d need to be reconverted and rebaptized every time they repent.

    John explicitly says that a Christian that hates a brother does NOT have eternal life abiding within him. It is irrational for you to say that a men that have no eternal life abiding within them, can “retain eternal life while they are hating”. You are clearly contradicting the Apostle John with your Calvinism.

    Sanctification is a process and doesn’t just happen because you go to a priest.

    Any sin can be forgiven, if one repents of that sin. In his Gospel, John speaks of the authority given to him by Christ to forgive sins:

    Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
    John 20:21-23

    In John’s first epistle, John teaches that sins that are confessed sins are sins that are forgiven:

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    1 John 1:9

    The Christian that commits mortal sin does not have to be rebaptized if he repents, but he does have to confess his mortal sin to be forgiven. There is a reason why Christ established the Sacrament of Confession for the baptized members of his church.

    What I’m saying is that God’s grace is not so pathetically weak and dependent on me to complete it that if I get into a fight with my brother and die 30 seconds into it, that that is going to disqualify me from heaven.

    You don’t even believe that the grace of God has freed you from your bondage to sin. According to the doctrine of Calvinism, everything that you do in your life on earth is defiled by damnable sin that deserves a just punishment of banishment to the everlasting flames of hell. If there is a weaker view of the power of grace in regards to sinning, what is it?

    Second, I have always said that to be righteous one must do right, but that no one can meet the perfection God requires.

    Which is just a lot of slick Calvinist double-talk. God sets the standard of righteousness, and if no one can ever meet that standard, then no one can ever do what is right.

    There is no such sin that is so small that it does not merit God’s eternal hatred and no sin so grand that God cannot pardon it.

    I am quite sure that there are no sins that are pleasing to God, and that there are no sins that cannot be pardoned if they are repented of.

    The issue is that you think some sins aren’t really sins.

    Please don’t put your words into my mouth. What, exactly, are the sins that I don’t think are sins?

    John does talk about a mortal sin, but he doesn’t talk about a list of mortal sins, which sins Rome has never fully and infallibly defined.

    We have been discussing two mortal sins that John explicitly mentions, the mortal sins of willful hatred and willful murder. Put those two sins on your list. John identified more mortal sins when he wrote the Book of Revelation:

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.
    Revelation 21:8

    Why would it be necessary for the Catholic Church to call an Ecumenical Council to solemnly define a complete list of all possible mortal sins? It is already a dogma of the Church that the canon of scriptures contain the inerrant, inspired word of God, and in the scriptures Jesus teaches that the whole of the moral law is contained in the two great commandments of love. Keep the two great commandments of love, and you won’t be committing mortal sin. There are more lists of mortal sins mentioned by the authors of sacred scripture, which are lists of specific ways that one can break the two great commandments of love. Here is another list of mortal sins, written by this time by the Apostle Paul:

    Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Galatians 5:19-20

    I now have a list of twenty mortal sins from just two verses of scriptures. A list of all possible ways to break the two great commandments of love would be how long? Millions of possible sins, billions of possible sins? Who would write it, and who would read it?

    John does talk about a mortal sin …

    John talks about both sin that is mortal and sin that is not mortal:

    If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.
    1 John 5:16-17

    Robert, are you ever going to admit that the Apostle John teaches that there is sin that is not mortal?

  150. Mateo, Romans 8:1 “therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. “Thru faith we are justified and are in union with Christ who is our righteousness and justification. We can’t be condemned for our sins, we are forgiven, sealed in the Spirit and seated in heaven. We are clothed in Christ and are friends with God. We can never lose this, and thats why we have peace. He declares unrighteous people righteous by faith in Christ because faith receives Christ who is our righteousness. This happens apart from works or any human effort. Our works are simply the result of our justification. Romans 9:16 ” So it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

  151. What if we don’t have good works? Does that mean we don’t have justification?

    If works are simply a result of justification, I’m not very justified. My works stink.

  152. Debbie wrote:

    My works stink.

    You confess this in order to refute Protestants. We confess this in order to refute ourselves. (Eph.2:9)
    We are violent men taking the kingdom by force. (Matt.11:12)

  153. Christ is our righteousness, amen.

    Good stuff from James Atkins:

    “When we become Christians and are first justified, we change from the state of sin and unrighteousness, which we inherited from Adam, and are transferred to a second state, one of righteousness and grace, which we inherit from the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. The basis of our justification is therefore our saving union with Christ.”

    “The basic meaning of the verb “to justify” is “to make righteous.” When we are justified, we receive a righteousness that we did not have before. Namely, we receive the righteousness of Christ or the righteousness of God.”

    “God gives us more than merely forensic righteousness—that the righteousness he gives us is more than a legal fiction, more than just an accounting procedure. Instead, when God justifies us he actually constitutes us in righteousness. He discharges our debt to the courts of heaven so that we are restored to a state of righteousness. We are now innocent, our penalty having been paid by Christ, so that we now no longer owe any debt to God’s eternal justice. Jesus paid it all. There may still be temporal factors to our sins that we have to deal with, but Christ fully paid the eternal price of our sins, and so we are restored to righteousness before God.
    Catholics, for their part, have no trouble saying that a person is legally righteous before God when they are justified. If God constitutes a person in righteousness—takes away the sin or guilt which was clinging to his soul, then automatically he is going to be deemed righteous before the bar of heaven. There is no problem with that at all.”

    “Furthermore, Catholics don’t need to have any problem with saying that our righteousness is brought about by a decree of God. The Catholic can be perfectly happy saying that when we are justified God declares us righteous and his declaration bring about what it says. He declares us righteous, and so our guilt is taken away and our righteousness is restored.”

    “First, you will recall that Protestants often say that we receive Christ’s own personal righteousness when we are justified. This is what they have in mind when they say that when we are justified God treats us just like Christ—that God looks at us and sees Christ instead.”

    “Now this is a metaphor that not all Protestants accept. Even Keith Green, the noted anti-Catholic, God rest his soul, rejected it. He recognized that when God looks at us he does not see Christ. There are good reasons for that. I don’t know if these are the reasons Keith Green use; I also don’t know how his rejection of the metaphor affected his understanding of the phrase “the righteousness of Christ,” but off the top of my head I can name two very good reasons why we do not receive Christ’s own personal righteousness when we are justified.”

    “First, if God simply saw us as Christ, if he gave us Christ’s own personal righteousness, then we would all be rewarded equally in heaven. We would all be as righteous as Christ and so we would all be rewarded equally. Since Scripture clearly teaches that there will be different degrees of reward in heaven (1Cor. 3:12-15), we must conclude that we will have different degrees of righteousness. We may all be free of any unrighteousness—by virtue of our sins having been taken away—but we will not all share the same degree of positive righteousness before God.

    “Second, and similarly, if we all received Christ’s own personal righteousness then we would all be rewarded equally with Christ. We would all have exactly the same level of glory as our Savior who went to the Cross for us. This is clearly unacceptable.

    To begin with, Scripture teaches that because Christ went to the Cross, God gave him “the name above every name” (Phil. 2:8-9; cf. Eph 1:20-21). Having the name above every name is therefore a unique blessing Christ has received because he alone went to the Cross. He alone did that righteous act that get him the name above every name.”

    But if we all received Christ’s own personal righteousness, then we would all receive names as glorious as Christ’s. So Christ would no longer have a name above everybody else’s. Our names would be just as blessed as Christ’s. “James Akin” would be a name equal in glory to that of Jesus of Nazareth. This is clearly unacceptable. Christ alone has that uniquely glorious name because Christ alone went to the Cross and Christ alone has the level of righteousness that comes from going to the Cross.”

    “Furthermore, Scripture states that Christ has the preeminence in all things (Col 1:18). But if we all received a level of glory equal to him then he would no longer be preeminent in all things. He might be preeminent in the sense that he alone is the God-man while we are just men, but he would not be preeminent in all things because he would not be preeminent in glory. All redeemed human beings would have the same level of glory that he will.

    “Finally, there are simply no verses in Scripture which state that we receive Christ’s own personal level of righteousness. None!”

    “Most Protestants don’t know this. They have heard so often the theory that we are given Christ’s own personal righteousness that they accept it without thinking about it, assuming Scripture teaches it, but in fact there are no passages anywhere in the New Testament which state that we are given Christ’s own personal righteousness.”

    “There are passages (such as Romans 5:12-20) which state that we are given the gift of righteousness and made righteous on account of Christ, but there are absolutely no passages which state that we receive Christ’s personal level of righteousness. The claim that we do is therefore refuted by the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura and, in view of its theologically unacceptable consequences, was rightly rejected by Trent.”

    “As a result, it is completely unacceptable on Biblical grounds to say that we receive Christ’s own personal righteousness when we are justified. We do receive the righteousness of Christ—that is, the righteousness which comes from Christ and which Christ merited for us—but we do not receive his own personal level of righteousness and reward.”

    “At the time God justifies us, both sides agree, God puts this love in our hearts. The difference is that Catholics use the term “justification” to include this putting of love in our hearts, while Protestants commonly do not.”

  154. Eric W,

    Yes, I would agree you are violent men taking the kingdom by force.

    “Yet wisom is justified by her deeds.”

  155. Mateo,
    I really enjoyed your last comment to Robert.
    And really Jason’t theme of All Law is Not Created Equal can be applied to many of the differences we have with our Christians brothers on several levels; sin, law, righteousness, justification, sanctification, grace.

    It seems to boil down to the depth of understanding (not my own mind you, I mean the RCC) and purpose which it holds fpr a believer’s soul.

  156. … poor spelling, can’t find my reading glasses.

  157. ” Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God” Romans 5:1 ” 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 credited to him as Righteousness” Romans 4:2-3 ” But to the one who DOES NOT work, but believes in Him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is credited as righteousness” Romans 4:5.

  158. I love this scripture, you seem to think I don’t get it or understand it.

    We all get it, it is our Creed, Code and Cult.
    (there’s that 3 thing again, fullness – we get it in fullness, 3-D, however you want to say it, we absolutely believe it!)

    Look at it all, not like a man who thinks the world is flat. The bible, the Word of God is NOT FLAT.

    Peace dear brother

  159. Trent ” To the one who WORKS well to the end and trusts in God, salvation is to be offered, not only as a gift, but as a REWARD to their merits and good works.” Do you get it? The first post is faith alone in Christ alone for justification. The second from Trent is partially a reward to your merits and good works.” You don’t get it. The difference between debt and gift. and salvation is a gift. Justification opposes faith and works and grace and works. Ephesians 2:8-9.

  160. +JMJ+

    *munches popcorn*

    Perhaps it’s time to block a couple of IPs. Just a thought. Carry on.

    *munches popcorn*

  161. I just did. Let’s move on to a more profitable and respectful version of conversation.

  162. I’ll leave with this imagery that I hope all musicians can appreciate and understand.

    Why would a person only want to hear notes when they can play songs, sing operas, and appreciate symphonies?

    “Salvation is to be offered, NOT ONLY AS A GIFT, but also as a REWARD to their merits and good works”.

    Our Lord is so generous and wants us (commands us) to imitate His generosity in Love.

    Love begets Love. Gifts beget gifts. Notes beget beautiful music.

    We are to beget all we receive.

    PS Kevin is a wonderful trumpet player.

  163. Oh dear, I fear that might have been taken as sacrasm.

    It is the honest truth, and I was appealing to the gift of a talented musician.

    He didn’t merit the gift, it was free free freely given to him by God.

    The reward came when he practiced, practiced, practiced.

    And that is Catholcism.

  164. Mateo,

    Robert, are you ever going to admit that the Apostle John teaches that there is sin that is not mortal?

    The sin that is not mortal is the sin that one repents over. So murder, not a mortal sin if one repents. Sassing your Mom, not a mortal sin if one repents. Drunkenness, not a mortal sin if one repents.

    Which is just a lot of slick Calvinist double-talk. God sets the standard of righteousness, and if no one can ever meet that standard, then no one can ever do what is right.

    Repentance after faith/baptism would not be necessary if we could do what is right in the fullest sense that God demands. Are you loving the Lord your God with all your heart right now? Are you absolutely certain that talking with me here is the best use of your time? I’m not saying its not, but what if it isn’t. What if you have other more pressing responsibilities that you are ignoring? What if it would be more pleasing to God to do something else? If this isn’t the absolute best use of your time right now, you are sinning, and I am sinning.

    John explicitly says that a Christian that hates a brother does NOT have eternal life abiding within him. It is irrational for you to say that a men that have no eternal life abiding within them, can “retain eternal life while they are hating”.

    So if I momentarily hate my brother and have a heart attack and die before I can repent, I’m going straight to hell? Even Rome has an out for this. Isn’t the desire for repentance enough? Isn’t it just this shy of dogma to believe that God will accept that person into heaven if God knew that the person would come to repent of his sin if given enough time? That’s certainly a common RC belief as far as I can tell.

    How is that meaningfully different than saying a person is not automatically kicked out of the kingdom for one feeling of hatred?

    What, exactly, are the sins that I don’t think are sins?

    A little girl sassing her mother, for one. Actually, I should have said that you think there are some sins that God just doesn’t really care all that much about—the venial sins.

    Aside from that, your entire response assumes that a regenerate person can commit unrepentant hatred. My contention is that he can’t or that yes he can, but God will never let him fall into that.

    Remember, John says many go out from us to show us that they were NEVER of us to begin with.

  165. Debbie,

    If works are simply a result of justification, I’m not very justified. My works stink.

    So, imperfect, stinky works can’t be a result of justification, but they can be a means by which you grow in the perfection of justification.

    There’s a disconnect there somewhere.

    The basic meaning of the verb “to justify” is “to make righteous.”

    Akin is wrong here, and even RC exegetes are noting that the meaning of “to justify” means to “declare” righteous. The difference between RCs and Protestants that remains is this one: Is the righteousness by which we are justified an alien righteousness imputed or a righteousness infused and inherent. Either way, justification is a legal declaration.

  166. Robert,

    Of course the word “justify” can mean “declare righteous”, and in many cases, especially in Paul, this is what it means. However, particularly in Paul, one is declared right or just by a process of redemption (Rom 3:24), and this redemption is that being set free from sin, death, and the law which comes through our participation in Christ. Paul says, after all, we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24). Of course, I know you know that, but here is what you are not able to reconcile. This “justification” by way of “redemption” by way of being “in Christ” is a highly regenerative event, wherein we are not just left to be the same old sinner in the process (where that alteration is left for another process called sanctification).

    Paul said once, “If during the process of our attempt to be justified in Christ we are found to actually be sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!” (Galatians 2:15-20). This is a Jewish charge to the Christian. To eat with the uncircumcised was a transgressing of the law, and therefore for Paul and Peter, both Jews, to sit and eat with gentiles in a fellowship meal, was a cause of scandal, wherein other Jews could be attempted to charge them with “guilt”.

    And yet Paul says that one is not “justified” only to be left a “sinner”. No, rather, justification brings us into the life of Christ who is living in and through us, causing us to be able to love supernaturally (Gal 5:5). This is what counts, not circumcision of the flesh.

  167. Erick,

    You are reading a process of our participation into Rom. 3:24 where none exists. It seems to me, that even Rome would have to concede this in regards to initial justification, which is what Romans 3 would have to be about.

    Of course we are justified by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, the redemption that is in His life and death. You’re reading a participation in His death by means other than faith or in addition to faith that just isn’t there. And in any case, the concession that justify means declare righteous is a significant concession that proves that Rome is not infallible. Justification in Paul simply does not mean “make righteous” and Rome for generations tried to make it that. Now something of RC theology can be preserved if that declaration is made based on something inherent in us, but even so you’re starting to get off of more traditional formulations of Romanism, as evidenced by Akin, a traditionalist RC convert who insists on maintaining the language of tradition.

    Justification does not leave us in the same “old position.” In fact it is the logical priority of justification that allows the HS to dwell within us, for God cannot stand the presence of sin. But if this sin is removed from our record by the free gift of grace apart from all works before and subsequent to justification, there is no problem.

    And yet Paul says that one is not “justified” only to be left a “sinner”. No, rather, justification brings us into the life of Christ who is living in and through us, causing us to be able to love supernaturally (Gal 5:5). This is what counts, not circumcision of the flesh.

    And of course I largely agree with this. The problem is that justification is not something one grows in, and its not something that our works somehow complete so that we can merit heaven when we are in a state of grace upon our death. The free gift of God is eternal life—you can’t speak of merit in any way, even in a heavily qualified way, when you are talking about free gifts.

  168. Robert said “The problem is that justification is not something one grows in, and its not something that our works somehow complete so that we can merit heaven when we are in a state of grace.”

    The real question is about being in a state of grace. This is what separates us – being in a ‘state of grace’ is a whole other ball game.

    “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”

    This obviously refers to the obedient servant who is being obedient WHEN the master return.
    This makes the master happy. However, such obedience only goes so far.

    The true servant in service to his master on his estate, is the one who has fully embraced the master’s vision and mission. That person is not just obedient, but can act with his master’s mind and heart in the man’s absence. That is a deeper sense of obedience and that is the sense we are called to.

    That is also the deeper sense of the State of Grace.

    And we absolutely cannot do anything to merit this. Confession of sin – over and over and over – is what keeps us in a state of Grace.

    Another interesting thing, the Holy Spirit absolutely cannot work fully when there is unconfessed sin. You can call this a spiritual formula or principle. We need the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, we need the Holy Spirit to move us to confess our sin, and then we need the Holy Spirit infuse us with Grace.

    “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Beloved Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sin.” Words of Absolution

    Goes back to this same theme of Jason’s; all grace is not equal ……

  169. Robert,

    “Are you loving the Lord your God with all your heart right now? Are you absolutely certain that talking with me here is the best use of your time? I’m not saying its not, but what if it isn’t. What if you have other more pressing responsibilities that you are ignoring? What if it would be more pleasing to God to do something else? If this isn’t the absolute best use of your time right now, you are sinning, and I am sinning.”

    Right, so by your own criteria you’re not actually repenting. You know it’s wrong, you feel bad about it, but you’re not actually making any firm purpose of amendment. You just chalk it up to as above that “And true remorse bears fruit in amendment, insofar as amendment is possible. Sometimes it’s not.” – i.e. amendment isn’t really possible for most sin.

    It seems true remorse never bears fruit in amendment for most spheres of your life if you are continuing to sin, and recognize you are, against the 2GC every second of your life until death.
    You recognize you can do much more to obey the 2GC – so go ahead and do it. Stop making excuses for laziness. Would you allow a serial adulterer or thief or murderer to remain in your church or not counsel that he may need to examine if he’s truly saved if he just said amendment isn’t possible and kept on doing it every second of his life?

    Or, the other option is that there’s another interpretation of how that command is to be taken where it is not connoting maximal possible effort/intensity.

  170. James,

    Right, so by your own criteria you’re not actually repenting. You know it’s wrong, you feel bad about it, but you’re not actually making any firm purpose of amendment.

    Sure I am. I’m doing it all the time, but I never follow through to the best of my ability and to the best of my effort. And neither do you. The difference between us is that I believe that is sin and you really don’t.

    You just chalk it up to as above that “And true remorse bears fruit in amendment, insofar as amendment is possible. Sometimes it’s not.” – i.e. amendment isn’t really possible for most sin.

    Insofar as I am able can be read in any number of ways. If I was cruel to a childhood friend and don’t repent until after that friend dies, how can I make amendment to that person? How does one make amendment to another woman’s husband if he lusted after that woman only in his mind? How does he make amendment to that woman. Do you really need to confess it to the person individually? Hmm seems like there is some wisdom needed there, wisdom that does not deny that you have truly sinned against those people even if they never know about it. That’s what the whole venial sin distinction does, even as you delude yourself into thinking your making amendment to those you have offended.

    It seems true remorse never bears fruit in amendment for most spheres of your life if you are continuing to sin, and recognize you are, against the 2GC every second of your life until death.
    You recognize you can do much more to obey the 2GC – so go ahead and do it. Stop making excuses for laziness. Would you allow a serial adulterer or thief or murderer to remain in your church or not counsel that he may need to examine if he’s truly saved if he just said amendment isn’t possible and kept on doing it every second of his life?

    The Bible says love covers a multitude of sins. It doesn’t say that some sins kill God’s love in your soul because, poor God, he just can’t handle it.

    I’m not making one excuse for laziness. I assure you that no one feels worse about or tries harder to stop my sins of the heart that no one else sees than I do. What I’m not doing is saying that God really doesn’t care all that much about those sins, or that what Jesus did not the cross wasn’t enough to pay for them. Which is what venial sin and purgatory does.

    What you are doing is turning one’s sanctification into a binary on/off switch, but you cannot even really do that consistently since if you persist in venial sin long enough, its going to become mortal.

    Or, the other option is that there’s another interpretation of how that command is to be taken where it is not connoting maximal possible effort/intensity.

    I have no problem with your interpretation in the proper context. Judicially speaking, however, it doesn’t work. If I have the best intentions to pay my taxes but don’t pay all of them, I’m not getting off the hook with the law because I really wanted to do it and even tried really hard. Law admits for no error and no failure. In an effort to exalt God as father, commendable though it may be, you end up denying that he is a judge. He can’t wear the robe of a judge and be your father at the same time. One or the other must go. I affirm both realities of God in all things, thereby not denying God’s simplicity, which is inevitable if he makes exceptions for some sins judicially.

  171. Robert,

    “Sure I am. I’m doing it all the time, but I never follow through to the best of my ability and to the best of my effort.”

    So you’re repenting all the time, but also continuing to commit mortal sin all the time. How is a serial murderer who continues to murder every second showing firm purpose of amendment?

    “The difference between us is that I believe that is sin and you really don’t.”

    Venial sin is still sin. Original sin resulting in concupiscence is still sin. An inclination to sin is not identical to sin that results from consent to that inclination, by definition.

    “If I was cruel to a childhood friend and don’t repent until after that friend dies, how can I make amendment to that person? How does one make amendment to another woman’s husband if he lusted after that woman only in his mind? How does he make amendment to that woman. Do you really need to confess it to the person individually?”

    By firm purpose of amendment, I mean that you have a firm purpose to turn away from that sin. If a murderer kills someone’s kid, they can’t bring the kid back. They can repent and be sorrowful and ask for forgiveness and amend not to commit murder again.

    “The Bible says love covers a multitude of sins. ”

    Exactly right.

    “I’m not making one excuse for laziness. I assure you that no one feels worse about or tries harder to stop my sins of the heart that no one else sees than I do.”

    Would you accept this defense from a church member who was fornicating every day? Or beating his wife every day? Why treat them any differently from serial 2GC breakers – which is your entire church?

    “What you are doing is turning one’s sanctification into a binary on/off switch, but you cannot even really do that consistently since if you persist in venial sin long enough, its going to become mortal.”

    I agree sanctification is a process – the struggle with concupiscence is ongoing. And yes persistent negligent venial sin weakens us and can cultivate mortal sin as much RC spiritual literature is keen to remind its readers.

    “I have no problem with your interpretation in the proper context. Judicially speaking, however, it doesn’t work. ”

    I don’t see how you don’t have a problem with my interpretation, even in the proper context. In your context, it remains a commandment that burdens and drives the believer to continually cling to Christ’s obedience/imputation, because it’s a commandment that demands ever-maximal possible effort/intensity.

  172. James,

    So you’re repenting all the time, but also continuing to commit mortal sin all the time. How is a serial murderer who continues to murder every second showing firm purpose of amendment?

    I deny the mortal/venial sin distinction, so the question is really irrelevant.

    I can show a firm purpose of amendment to speak more nicely to my wife but, gosh darn it, three days from now I might slip up again. That does not make my amendment any less true, nor does it make my failure any less deserving of eternal damnation.

    An inclination to sin is not identical to sin that results from consent to that inclination, by definition.

    It’s not identical, but it’s still sin. A little white lie and murder aren’t identical, but they’re both still sins. The basic problem is that you guys don’t think possessing an inclination to sin is itself sinful, but it is. We both chose in Adam to own that inclination.

    Would you accept this defense from a church member who was fornicating every day? Or beating his wife every day? Why treat them any differently from serial 2GC breakers – which is your entire church?

    The Bible is clear that you don’t treat all sins the same. There is such a thing as peccadilloes. But that doesn’t mean they are somehow less deserving of eternal wrath. You guys have a category of sin that really doesn’t merit eternal wrath. Tell that to the guy gathering sticks on the Sabbath in the Pentateuch who was put to death, or to Uzzah who with the best of intentions steadied the ark in 2 Samuel

    All sins merit eternal wrath. Some sins merit more intensity of wrath than others.

    I don’t see how you don’t have a problem with my interpretation, even in the proper context. In your context, it remains a commandment that burdens and drives the believer to continually cling to Christ’s obedience/imputation, because it’s a commandment that demands ever-maximal possible effort/intensity.

    So it’s a bad thing to cling to Christ in Roman Catholicism?

    You know what it is burdensome, it is knowing that ever-present venial sin is going to have to be purified out of me via torture in purgatory for untold thousands of years. (And please lets not pretend that this has not been the prevailing view of purgatory). You know what is not burdensome? Knowing that Christ is sufficient to pay my entire debt, enabling me to freely seek to serve God and not be afraid that my slip up is going to get me whacked even more in purgatory.

  173. Robert, you wrote this in response to my pointing out to you the verses where the Apostle John explicitly mentions sin that is mortal, and sin that is not mortal:

    I deny the mortal/venial sin distinction …

    and

    The sin that is not mortal is the sin that one repents over.

    Ahh yes … the standard Calvinist tactic of redefining words when Calvinists are shown that their doctrines contradict the scriptures. The Apostle John writes about “sin that is not mortal”, you have redefined that phase to mean “sin that one repents over”.

    Catholics would agree with you that any sin that is forgiven by God is not mortal or deadly in the sense that forgiven sin will not be punished with the second death. But the Calvinist idea that every sin is a mortal sin is a novelty that no one believed until the Calvinists came up their novel doctrine. And of course, the Calvinists don’t claim that their interpretation of 1 John 5:16-17 is infallible, it merely a disputable opinion.

    I have a choice. I can believe in a novel interpretation of 1 John 5:16-17 that is made by men that don’t claim to be infallible in their interpretations. Or … I can believe in the interpretation of 1 John 5:16-17 that was accepted by all Christians prior to the era when Calvinists began to walk on the earth.

    I will reject the Calvinist novelty and stick with what Christians have always believed in: the mortal sin/venial sin distinction.

  174. Mateo,

    Ahh yes … the standard Calvinist tactic of redefining words when Calvinists are shown that their doctrines contradict the scriptures. The Apostle John writes about “sin that is not mortal”, you have redefined that phrase to mean “sin that one repents over”.

    Ahh yes … the standard RC tactic of redefining words when RCs are shown that their doctrines contradict the Scriptures. The Apostle John writes about “sin that is not mortal,” you have redefined that phrase to mean the “sin that does not kill grace in the soul.” That must be in 1 John 6, I guess.

    I have a choice. I can believe in a novel interpretation of 1 John 5:16-17 that is made by men that don’t claim to be infallible in their interpretations. Or … I can believe in the interpretation of 1 John 5:16-17 that was accepted by all Christians prior to the era when Calvinists began to walk on the earth.
    I will reject the Calvinist novelty and stick with what Christians have always believed in: the mortal sin/venial sin distinction.

    Yes, because Clement, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and many others were Tridentine Roman Catholics. Please.

    And, of course, there’s the EO that has a tradition that is supposed to go back as far as yours:

    According to Fr. Allyne Smith, “While the Roman Catholic tradition has identified particular acts as ‘mortal’ sins, in the Orthodox tradition we see that only a sin for which we don’t repent is ‘mortal.'” (From Wikipedia’s page on mortal sin).

    Yes, no one ever thought of sin in these categories until Luther, Calvin, et al.

    And speaking of opinions, where’s that list of mortal sins that a pastorally responsible RC Church would provide. Apparently, promoting abortion on demand—murder—is not mortal, because Pelosi, Biden, et. al. are all in good standing and going to heaven. After all, no one has excommunicated them to protect their souls.

  175. Robert,

    “So you’re repenting all the time, but also continuing to commit mortal sin all the time. How is a serial murderer who continues to murder every second showing firm purpose of amendment?
    – I deny the mortal/venial sin distinction, so the question is really irrelevant.”

    I know you deny the distinction – ergo all sin is mortal. So the question is relevant.

    “I can show a firm purpose of amendment to speak more nicely to my wife but, gosh darn it, three days from now I might slip up again. That does not make my amendment any less true, nor does it make my failure any less deserving of eternal damnation.”

    What if instead of 3 days from now you “slip up”, you instead continue to mouth off to your wife every second of your life? Did that make your amendment less true? Because that is basically what you’re doing when you claim you are repenting of breaking the 2GC and yet continuing to break them every second.

    “It’s not identical, but it’s still sin. A little white lie and murder aren’t identical, but they’re both still sins.”

    Yes and the inclination to commit those sins and the resultant sin are not identical. A tendency to overeat or oversleep is not identical to overeating or oversleeping, even though overeating and oversleeping are not identical but both are excesses.

    “The basic problem is that you guys don’t think possessing an inclination to sin is itself sinful, but it is.”

    The inclination of sin is a result of sin – hence why we need forgiveness of original sin.

    “Would you accept this defense from a church member who was fornicating every day? Or beating his wife every day? Why treat them any differently from serial 2GC breakers – which is your entire church?
    – The Bible is clear that you don’t treat all sins the same. There is such a thing as peccadilloes. But that doesn’t mean they are somehow less deserving of eternal wrath….All sins merit eternal wrath. Some sins merit more intensity of wrath than others.”

    An evasion. If all sin deserves wrath and all sin is mortal (remember if you stumble in just one point, you’re guilty of it all), you shouldn’t just be giving all the serial every-second 2GC breakers in your church a pass. Your theology doesn’t warrant it by its own principles. Do you guys have elder meetings where you list out sins and how much intensity of discipline each one warrants – “serial murderer, he’s gone” – “serial fornicator, give him a few tries” – “serial never loves God with all his heart and mind and soul, well we all do it so it’s fine”. You deny the mortal-venial distinction, except then you end up practicing it.

    “So it’s a bad thing to cling to Christ in Roman Catholicism?”

    Of course not, which is why I qualified that statement linking it to imputed righteousness. But I suppose one can’t genuinely cling to christ unless they believe in extra nos imputation.

    “You know what it is burdensome, it is knowing that ever-present venial sin is going to have to be purified out of me via torture in purgatory for untold thousands of years. (And please lets not pretend that this has not been the prevailing view of purgatory). You know what is not burdensome? Knowing that Christ is sufficient to pay my entire debt, enabling me to freely seek to serve God and not be afraid that my slip up is going to get me whacked even more in purgatory.”

    So basically yeah, you cannot interpret that commandment in a non law-despairing way no matter what context it’s in. It’s just a constant burden to drive to imputation, just like matt 5:48 is and how Tchividjian applied it to the Good Samaritan parable.
    Purgatory is purification, not torture. You believe in post-death purification (however instantaneous) – you don’t equate that to torture.

  176. James,

    I know you deny the distinction – ergo all sin is mortal. So the question is relevant.

    Sorry, no dice. Sin does not kill grace in the soul, so the distinction is entirely irrelevant. The question is whether all sins are deserving of hell or not. Mateo says no. It seems RC theology would say that venial sins before conversion deserve hell but after they don’t. God apparently relaxes his judicial standards and doesn’t want all of you, or something, once you’ve been baptized. He overlooks that one area of your life that doesn’t meet his standards. He’s a dottering old judge and an indulgent father.

    What if instead of 3 days from now you “slip up”, you instead continue to mouth off to your wife every second of your life? Did that make your amendment less true?

    It makes my amendment false and never existent in the first place.

    Because that is basically what you’re doing when you claim you are repenting of breaking the 2GC and yet continuing to break them every second.

    No, it’s not. What I’m saying is that no matter how far I progress in this life, until I am glorified there is still part of me that is only halfheartedly committed to Christ. And I don’t pretend that God doesn’t care about that. That’s what the idea of venial sin does. If my lack of constant full bodied affection for the Lord does not offend His justice, why should I care? He’s just going to pat me on the head and say try better next time my son. I didn’t really mean it when I require you to love me with your whole soul.

    A tendency to overeat or oversleep is not identical to overeating or oversleeping, even though overeating and oversleeping are not identical but both are excesses.

    Of course they are not identical, but they are still sins. In RC, apparently, God doesn’t care about the tendency as long as when you indulge it you go to confession and go through the motions to lessen your time in purgatory. Its certainly not worthy of keeping you out of heaven. Sin is not so bad and God is not so mad.

    The inclination of sin is a result of sin – hence why we need forgiveness of original sin.

    The inclination to sin is sin. God forgives my sin, but the fact that I still have the tendency to not be as kind as I should be is still sin.

    An evasion. If all sin deserves wrath and all sin is mortal (remember if you stumble in just one point, you’re guilty of it all), you shouldn’t just be giving all the serial every-second 2GC breakers in your church a pass. Your theology doesn’t warrant it by its own principles. Do you guys have elder meetings where you list out sins and how much intensity of discipline each one warrants – “serial murderer, he’s gone” – “serial fornicator, give him a few tries” – “serial never loves God with all his heart and mind and soul, well we all do it so it’s fine”. You deny the mortal-venial distinction, except then you end up practicing it.

    Again, I deny the mortal/venial distinction so this is entirely irrelevant. I’m only using the language because you are.

    As far as elder meetings, wisdom is applied to determine how much discipline a sin warrants, just as the Bible demands. We have examples in Scripture, the most notable being 1 Cor. 5. God expects the elders of His church, who must be godly men and are to be rebuked before all if they’re not (which is what Rome denies as it moves grossly offensive priests around), to apply his standards with wisdom. That’s the principle, it’s entirely consistent with our theology. We don’t pretend we’re infallible. Elders err even in discipline at times.

    Of course not, which is why I qualified that statement linking it to imputed righteousness. But I suppose one can’t genuinely cling to christ unless they believe in extra nos imputation.

    To cling to Christ, you must deny that your works has anything to do with your justification. Lots of people have never heard of extra nos imputation but believe they contribute absolutely nothing to their justification, even people within Rome. Trent, well, not so much.

    So basically yeah, you cannot interpret that commandment in a non law-despairing way no matter what context it’s in. It’s just a constant burden to drive to imputation, just like matt 5:48 is and how Tchividjian applied it to the Good Samaritan parable.?

    First, Tchividjian took a flying exegetical leap into error with that interpretation. Second, law is a burden only in justification. It is a delight for the redeemed heart. You guys err by swallowing everything up in sanctification. Tchividjian tends toward the opposite extreme of swallowing everything up in justification.

    Purgatory is purification, not torture. You believe in post-death purification (however instantaneous) – you don’t equate that to torture.

    Oh please. You guys are paying off a debt in purgatory, and your church built St. Peter’s by convincing people that their relatives were suffering untold misery in purgatory that only buying indulgences could relieve them. The fear of pain in purgatory is historically what you all have used to keep people bound to the sacramental system, and don’t pretend that it hasn’t. Just because you guys have changed things recently and become nicer about purgatory, even not making indulgences about time (a true dogmatic change), doesn’t change the reality on the ground historically or in the present. If purgatory isn’t a place of intense suffering, people should look forward to it and not trying everything they can to get out of it.

  177. Robert,

    “Sorry, no dice. Sin does not kill grace in the soul, so the distinction is entirely irrelevant. The question is whether all sins are deserving of hell or not.”

    Yes, which is what I mean when I say you think all sin is mortal – you think all/any sin in the regenerate is worthy of damnation. The venial/mortal distinction applies to the regenerate since the distinction does not make sense when one does not have infused charity or has not been cleansed of original sin.

    “Because that is basically what you’re doing when you claim you are repenting of breaking the 2GC and yet continuing to break them every second.
    -No, it’s not. What I’m saying is that no matter how far I progress in this life, until I am glorified there is still part of me that is only halfheartedly committed to Christ.”

    Yeah so your half-heartedness is constant and habitual sin. So sounds like your amendment is false according to your own criteria you judged with the mouthing off to wife example.
    Here’s your “progress” – you go from breaking the 2 GC every second of your life in countless way at the start of conversion to still breaking the 2GC every second of your life in countless ways at death. Remember if you stumble in one point of the law, you’re guilty of it all. You’re still sinning like a madman.

    “And I don’t pretend that God doesn’t care about that.”

    Nor do RCs. If we pretended God didn’t care about venial sin and concupiscence, we wouldn’t have to pray for forgiveness constantly, pray for victory against concupiscence, nor would purgatory exist.

    “He’s just going to pat me on the head and say try better next time my son. I didn’t really mean it when I require you to love me with your whole soul.”

    He meant it, but not in the way you characterize as perpetual maximal possible effort/intensity. Just like when he said “be perfect as I am” he didn’t mean become uncreated and timeless and eternal and omnipotent and omniscient which are included in God’s perfection.

    “Of course they are not identical, but they are still sins. In RC, apparently, God doesn’t care about the tendency as long as when you indulge it you go to confession and go through the motions to lessen your time in purgatory. Its certainly not worthy of keeping you out of heaven. Sin is not so bad and God is not so mad.”

    If concupiscence and venial sin was not worthy of keeping us out of heaven, then those with it could enter heaven immediately without problem. But they cannot. Just as you cannot enter heaven without your final purification (however instantaneous).

    “The inclination to sin is sin. God forgives my sin, but the fact that I still have the tendency to not be as kind as I should be is still sin.”

    James 1:14-15. Now I will say there is not a clear line between when concupiscence ends and venial sin starts – hence the need for ongoing daily forgiveness and vigilance. Augustine prayed ““Pardon us for those things in which we have been drawn away by concupiscence; help us not to be drawn away by concupiscence; take away concupiscence from us” – that’s not a weak view or dismissal of the struggle with concupiscence just because it is not considered sin proper.

    “Again, I deny the mortal/venial distinction so this is entirely irrelevant. I’m only using the language because you are.”

    I’m aware you deny it – it’s relevant because although you deny it, you are then acting in practice with a similar distinction in how you view “not-so-bad” sins (God isn’t so mad) – for example your and your congregation’s constant every-second breaking of the 2GC.

    “That’s the principle, it’s entirely consistent with our theology. We don’t pretend we’re infallible. Elders err even in discipline at times.”

    The fact that elders err is irrelevant. It is not consistent for everyone in Protestantism to be cool with just shrugging their shoulders and accepting everyone that’s an admitted serial 2GC breaker, but then go counsel and/or discipline those who are committing those “bad” serial sins like murder, fornication, wifebeating, etc that they may not actually be saved or are to be removed. Your theology says all sins are equally damning (though the gravity of punishment in hell will vary) – you said it yourself, you deny the venial-mortal sin distinction. So prove it with your actions and congregation. Or, I guess maybe sin is not so bad and God is not so mad after all according to you.
    Kevin’s rationale was “well that would make our churches empty”. No kidding – that should be a clue something might be off with your theology.

    “First, Tchividjian took a flying exegetical leap into error with that interpretation.”

    Shame he didn’t consult you first.

    “Second, law is a burden only in justification. It is a delight for the redeemed heart”

    I agree law is a burden outside of justification, meant to drive to Christ, and those who are justified indeed do delight in it afterwards.
    It’s a delight for the redeemed according to you? “He’s just going to pat me on the head and say try better next time my son. I didn’t really mean it when I require you to love me with your whole soul.” That sounds like more law-despairing for His “sons”.

    “If purgatory isn’t a place of intense suffering, people should look forward to it and not trying everything they can to get out of it.”

    Purgatory is a cleansing that is proportionate to the state of the soul. I don’t look forward to going to a doctor’s operation and will try to avoid it by preemptive healthy habits, but if I do still have to go to it, I’m not going to think it’s torture, even if it might be subjectively uncomfortable due to my particular state.

  178. James,

    Yes, which is what I mean when I say you think all sin is mortal – you think all/any sin in the regenerate is worthy of damnation. The venial/mortal distinction applies to the regenerate since the distinction does not make sense when one does not have infused charity or has not been cleansed of original sin.

    So, venial sin is only damnable when the unregenerate do it, it’s not damnable anymore. God has one legal standard for the unregenerate and another completely different one for the regenerate. So, God is an indulgent dottering Father, got it. A just judge on the human level doesn’t give his own son a different sentence for the same crime that someone else committed.

    Yeah so your half-heartedness is constant and habitual sin. So sounds like your amendment is false according to your own criteria you judged with the mouthing off to wife example. ?Here’s your “progress” – you go from breaking the 2 GC every second of your life in countless way at the start of conversion to still breaking the 2GC every second of your life in countless ways at death. Remember if you stumble in one point of the law, you’re guilty of it all. You’re still sinning like a madman.

    My progress is that I love God more today than I did yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow. My progress is that I grow in my ability to love God with my soul, but I won’t do so perfectly until I’m glorified. This really shouldn’t be hard to grasp. You just think that halfhearted effort means the law has been kept. Go tell a human judge that the next time you stand before his court. See if he lowers or changes his standards for you. “I’m sorry your honor, I tried to pay the $30 ticket but I had to get lunch so I only have $25. That’s good enough, isn’t it? My intent was pure, so that means I didn’t break the law, right?”

    God doesn’t set his law aside when he forgives people. Apparently for you he does.

    Nor do RCs. If we pretended God didn’t care about venial sin and concupiscence, we wouldn’t have to pray for forgiveness constantly, pray for victory against concupiscence, nor would purgatory exist.

    God doesn’t care about venial sin to send anyone to hell over it. He doesn’t hate it enough to require perfect atonement for it. Or maybe it is too much for him that Jesus couldn’t handle it and needs us to make his atonement perfect. Or something.

    He meant it, but not in the way you characterize as perpetual maximal possible effort/intensity. Just like when he said “be perfect as I am” he didn’t mean become uncreated and timeless and eternal and omnipotent and omniscient which are included in God’s perfection.

    Sorry, no dice. If it doesn’t mean perpetual maximal possible effort/intensity, there could be no category for venial sin. There would be no reason for Augustine to say that we won’t love him with our whole soul until we are in heaven.

    “Be perfect” is a moral command that God means for humans to fulfill insofar as they are able. There’s nothing inherently divine about exerting maximal possible effort/intensity.

    You believe an overall orientation to the love of God is enough to meet his legal standard or you deny that God has a legal standard. It’s the only way the mortal/venial distinction works. Tell Uzzah that his orientation to the love of God is enough to meet God’s legal standard. He had the best of intentions trying to steady that ark.

    If concupiscence and venial sin was not worthy of keeping us out of heaven, then those with it could enter heaven immediately without problem. But they cannot. Just as you cannot enter heaven without your final purification (however instantaneous).

    Venial sin is not worthy of keeping you out of heaven. Adding purgatory doesn’t change that. Everyone with venial sin gets to heaven—eventually.

    One cannot enter heaven without perfect atonement being made for sin. Purgatory means imperfect atonement. Jesus did most, but not all. God doesn’t atone for all your sins.

    James 1:14-15. Now I will say there is not a clear line between when concupiscence ends and venial sin starts – hence the need for ongoing daily forgiveness and vigilance. Augustine prayed ““Pardon us for those things in which we have been drawn away by concupiscence; help us not to be drawn away by concupiscence; take away concupiscence from us” – that’s not a weak view or dismissal of the struggle with concupiscence just because it is not considered sin proper.

    Well, since God made us with concupiscence, since he created us inherently flawed and prone to evil by our very human nature, maybe your struggle is more real, or something. Course the Bible says God made everything very good. I’ll go with the Bible here.

    I’m aware you deny it – it’s relevant because although you deny it, you are then acting in practice with a similar distinction in how you view “not-so-bad” sins (God isn’t so mad) – for example your and your congregation’s constant every-second breaking of the 2GC.

    God has a legal standard that is fully met in our justification. I sin, but I’m covered with the perfect righteousness of Christ. The Bible does not call for the public discipline of all sins. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of hell.

    The fact that elders err is irrelevant. It is not consistent for everyone in Protestantism to be cool with just shrugging their shoulders and accepting everyone that’s an admitted serial 2GC breaker, but then go counsel and/or discipline those who are committing those “bad” serial sins like murder, fornication, wifebeating, etc that they may not actually be saved or are to be removed. Your theology says all sins are equally damning (though the gravity of punishment in hell will vary) – you said it yourself, you deny the venial-mortal sin distinction. So prove it with your actions and congregation. Or, I guess maybe sin is not so bad and God is not so mad after all according to you.?Kevin’s rationale was “well that would make our churches empty”. No kidding – that should be a clue something might be off with your theology.

    No one is shrugging their shoulders. Show me where the Bible calls the church to publicly discipline every sinner. Then, show me where the Bible says there is more than one mortal sin.

    Where the Bible tells us to discipline publicly, we discipline publicly. Rome can’t even do that. We’re fully consistent. Public discipline is not determined based on which sins are worthy of hell and which ones are not, and just because God doesn’t call for public discipline doesn’t mean he thinks the sin is not worthy of hell. The Bible never makes that connection.

    The principle for discipline is whatever Scripture says should be disciplined.

    I agree law is a burden outside of justification, meant to drive to Christ, and those who are justified indeed do delight in it afterwards.?It’s a delight for the redeemed according to you? “He’s just going to pat me on the head and say try better next time my son. I didn’t really mean it when I require you to love me with your whole soul.” That sounds like more law-despairing for His “sons”.

    Not despairing at all. I’m not counting on the quality of my obedience to get me into heaven. God isn’t out to kick me out of heaven for commiting a mortal sin that I can’t be sure of since his infallible church hasn’t given a list of mortal sins and because it would be so very easy for me to find two priests who will differ over whether a particular sin is mortal or not.

    We deny the get in by grace, merit your continuance in grace system of Rome. That’s why we don’t despair. I have no fear of how long I will have to be in puragatory. I have no need to concern that my friends and relatives will have to pay money on masses in my honor after I’m dead instead of on more worthy causes. I have no stress about making sure I follow the pope sincerely on Twitter to get an indulgence. I’m not forced to work as hard as I can so that I maybe, if God is in a good mood, reduce 5 minutes of my million-year sentence in purgatory.

    Purgatory is a cleansing that is proportionate to the state of the soul. I don’t look forward to going to a doctor’s operation and will try to avoid it by preemptive healthy habits, but if I do still have to go to it, I’m not going to think it’s torture, even if it might be subjectively uncomfortable due to my particular state.

    That’s a nice sanitized version of purgatory. Meanwhile your church has for centuries convinced the laity the saints that purgatory is a place of intense suffering. Its only recently you all have become more agnostic on it.

  179. Robert,

    “God has one legal standard for the unregenerate and another completely different one for the regenerate. So, God is an indulgent dottering Father, got it.”

    The regenerate are *adopted sons*. The unregenerate are not. I’m not sure why you disagree God’s disposition is different towards the regenerate and unregenerate.

    “The principle for discipline is whatever Scripture says should be disciplined.”

    What is the principle for doubting one’s salvation, or counseling a fellow believer he might not be saved? One should doubt their salvation if they are committing murder or wifebeating every second of their life right? Why shouldn’t one doubt their salvation if they are breaking the 2GC every second of their life? All sins are equally damning as you said (The Bible does not call for the public discipline of all sins. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of hell) and if you fail in one point, you break it all. This is what I mean by inconsistency.

    When would you scold a professed Christian with John’s statements that no one born of God continues to sin? And by what criteria are serial 2-GC breakers exempt from that scolding?

    And how do you know what sins the Bible says should be disciplined and which shouldn’t. Is there a list somewhere? Should lack/neglect of discipline be disciplined?

    “Tell Uzzah that his orientation to the love of God is enough to meet God’s legal standard. He had the best of intentions trying to steady that ark.”

    What do intentions have to do with sin? That’s a component, sure, but that’s not the end of it. Many sinners commit mortally sinful actions under good intentions/rationalizations.

    ““Be perfect” is a moral command that God means for humans to fulfill insofar as they are able. There’s nothing inherently divine about exerting maximal possible effort/intensity.”

    Only we can’t keep it according to you. Hence the constant drive to imputation and the constant every-second breaking of it. There’s no ultimate difference between your interpretation of it and the interpretation that it means for us to become uncreated and omnipotent – they both lead to the same outcome.

    ” Meanwhile your church has for centuries convinced the laity the saints that purgatory is a place of intense suffering.”

    Suffering is not equivalent to torture, which was your characterization. I can suffer intensely during an operation and its aftermath in the healing process. That doesn’t mean it was torture or that the suffering is just gratuitous.

  180. James,

    The regenerate are *adopted sons*. The unregenerate are not. I’m not sure why you disagree God’s disposition is different towards the regenerate and unregenerate.

    It’s not a matter of disposition. It’s a matter of justice. A just judge does not overlook the crimes of his own son or give him a different standard just because he has a disposition toward him that he doesn’t have toward others. What you have is a different law for the non-Son as for the Son. That’s called nepotism, and the Bible frowns on the king having one set of rules for his children and another for those who aren’t part of the family. The king and his family are not obligated to one set of moral laws. The mortal/venial sin distinction ultimately denies this and leads to, well, the Roman system in which clergy are effectively bound to a different law.

    Why shouldn’t one doubt their salvation if they are breaking the 2GC every second of their life?

    They shouldn’t doubt their salvation because God promises to save all those who repent and trust in Christ, who admit they have nothing to bring to Him to be declared righteous in His sight, because in acknowledging that they are repenting even over their imperfect repentance. They are recognizing that as long as sin abides, it corrupts everything. The second you stop believing that, well, you get the mass of confusion and coverup that Rome is renowned for even within its own ranks.

    If, as Augustine says, no one will love the Lord their God with their whole soul until after their deaths, then you are breaking the 2GC every second of your life.

    And how do you know what sins the Bible says should be disciplined and which shouldn’t. Is there a list somewhere? Should lack/neglect of discipline be disciplined?

    You apply Scripture with wisdom, which means you do the best you can, and sometimes you make mistakes. At least you try. Rome doesn’t try. Which is why I can be a board member of Planned Parenthood and teach RC theology at the local RC college with nary a peep from my bishop.

    We have many examples in Scripture, the most obvious example being 1 Cor. 5. Public sins most definitely get disciplined every time. Public sins that bring disrepute on the church are disciplined. (Again, Rome can’t even do this much. Your guy Francis keeps whining about how people have unfairly treated the church that sheltered pedophile priests.)

    Only we can’t keep it according to you. Hence the constant drive to imputation and the constant every-second breaking of it. There’s no ultimate difference between your interpretation of it and the interpretation that it means for us to become uncreated and omnipotent – they both lead to the same outcome.

    If you won’t love God with your whole soul until after death, you can’t keep it either. You are failing in everything you do because you still don’t love God with your whole heart.

    One doesn’t have to become uncreated and omnipotent to “be perfect.” Any perfection for creatures is finite perfection. And one is either perfect or he is not. One doesn’t become “more perfect.”

    Suffering is not equivalent to torture, which was your characterization. I can suffer intensely during an operation and its aftermath in the healing process. That doesn’t mean it was torture or that the suffering is just gratuitous.

    Yes, but in an operation I’m not punished for my sins, nor am I making satisfaction that shouldn’t be fully satisfactory because I don’t love God with my whole soul yet.

  181. Robert,

    “What you have is a different law for the non-Son as for the Son. That’s called nepotism, and the Bible frowns on the king having one set of rules for his children and another for those who aren’t part of the family. ”

    There are not 2 different laws. When the regenerate become adopted sons, they fulfill the law. Infused charity fulfills the law. The unregenerate do not and cannot fulfill the law. The mortal/venial distinction distinguishes between those acts that are contrary/destructive of charity vs those that are disordered to it. That does not deny anything.

    “They shouldn’t doubt their salvation because God promises to save all those who repent and trust in Christ, who admit they have nothing to bring to Him to be declared righteous in His sight, because in acknowledging that they are repenting even over their imperfect repentance. They are recognizing that as long as sin abides, it corrupts everything.”

    Okay so the serial murderer, wife-beater, adulterer shouldn’t doubt their salvation then? You still have not answered how, given your own theological principles, the serial 2GC-breaker is any different. All sin is equally damnable and if you stumble in one point, you are guilty of all.

    “You apply Scripture with wisdom, which means you do the best you can, and sometimes you make mistakes.”

    I see. So for mortal sin to have any value/weight, there needs to an exhaustive list provided by Rome. But for sins requiring discipline (which can be an important, perhaps vital, component in bringing a backslider to repentance in your system), it’s okay to just apply wisdom and principles and eh, we may get it wrong.

    You referenced 1Cor5 and the case of incest. Here Paul also writes:
    “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”

    Paul didn’t mention wifebeating or murder here. So do those sins not require discipline? Are serial 2GC breakers not greedy or idolaters?

    When would you scold a professed Christian with John’s statements that no one born of God continues to sin? And by what criteria are serial 2-GC breakers exempt from that scolding?

    “Public sins that bring disrepute on the church are disciplined. ”

    So only the image/reputation of the church matters. So if the serial wifebeater or fornicator keeps things in-check and quiet and only a few people know, it shouldn’t be disciplined. All Protestant confession/churches teach their members are serial 2GC-breakers. That’s public.

    “If you won’t love God with your whole soul until after death, you can’t keep it either. You are failing in everything you do because you still don’t love God with your whole heart.”

    No, we keep it via our infused charity. You keep thinking if we’re not obeying it with constant maximal possible effort/intensity (as we will in heaven when concupiscence is removed), we aren’t keeping it.
    Suffering will be removed in heaven as well, that doesn’t mean our suffering on earth is personally sinful (well, except in your perspective since we are damnably sinning every second – even in our very state of being since concupiscence is sin proper)

    “One doesn’t have to become uncreated and omnipotent to “be perfect.” Any perfection for creatures is finite perfection.”

    Christ said be perfect as your father is. I’m just interpreting him the way you interpret the 2GC. The point again is your interpretation is no different than the interpretation that he means for us to become omnipotent and omniscient. Both are unkeepable and unobtainable for the regenerate even for a second. The result is exactly the same.

    “And one is either perfect or he is not. One doesn’t become “more perfect.””

    If I have a full cup of water that magically expanded to a larger cup full of water – it’s still perfectly full in both cases.

  182. James,

    There are not 2 different laws. When the regenerate become adopted sons, they fulfill the law. Infused charity fulfills the law. The unregenerate do not and cannot fulfill the law. The mortal/venial distinction distinguishes between those acts that are contrary/destructive of charity vs those that are disordered to it. That does not deny anything.

    Sorry. When an unregenerate person commits what Rome defines as a venial sin for the regenerate person, he will go to hell will he not, assuming there is no repentance? What you have is a different standard. What was mortal when you were unregenerate becomes venial once you are regenerate. A different standard based on relationship and status. God is not just in this paradigm, but he’s full-on into double standards.

    Okay so the serial murderer, wife-beater, adulterer shouldn’t doubt their salvation then? You still have not answered how, given your own theological principles, the serial 2GC-breaker is any different. All sin is equally damnable and if you stumble in one point, you are guilty of all.

    A serial murderer hasn’t repented. Nor has a serial liar. Here’s the issue, you guys want to have a checklist of when somebody crosses the line and when he doesn’t from venial sin to mortal sin, and then when we ask for it, all we get is crickets.

    My theological principle is that sin affects everything we do, which means even our repentance can be better in every case. Until one is glorified, sin affects all that they do. If you don’t believe that, you don’t know the depth of human sin.

    I see. So for mortal sin to have any value/weight, there needs to an exhaustive list provided by Rome. But for sins requiring discipline (which can be an important, perhaps vital, component in bringing a backslider to repentance in your system), it’s okay to just apply wisdom and principles and eh, we may get it wrong.

    Here’s the thing—when you have a proper ecclesiology, you recognize that though excommunication is to be taken very seriously, what it is saying is that from our limited perspective as creatures, it seems that the excommunicated person is unregenerate. But we’re not infallibly certain of that.

    On the other hand, Rome binds people’s consciences absolutely. You committed sin X. Check. That sin mortal? Check. You going to hell now because God’s grace can’t bear it? Check. Now repent and do penance. Check. The priest can never be wrong in this if your principles were consistent. But I imagine you admit that he can be wrong. If he is wrong, you’ve just placed an unbearable and unnecessary weight on the person’s shoulders. But you can’t question if he’s wrong, because maybe that becomes a mortal sin. And then, even if you do everything, you still don’t know if you are in a state of grace or not. You can’t know that. You can never know if you’ve done everything possible to be justified.

    The reason the mortal/venial distinction has no value is because its not Scriptural. It gives people false assurance that they’re probably okay with God—Hey, I’ve been to mass once or twice and I’ve lived a pretty good life. I’ve never done any of those really bad sins. Why wouldn’t God take me to heaven? It gives others false condemnation—I’ve really screwed up my life. I’ve killed charity so many times, there’s no hope for me.

    You guys build an entire distinction in sin based on one passage in John’s gospel about a sin leading to death without even knowing what that particular sin is. Then you create a list that no one agrees on and you bind consciences with it.

    When would you scold a professed Christian with John’s statements that no one born of God continues to sin? And by what criteria are serial 2-GC breakers exempt from that scolding?

    John wants us to live in tension between the “no one born of God continues to sin” and “if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves.” You impose an non biblical distinction to break the tension instead of letting it drive you back to Christ alone, forth to serve Him, back to Christ alone, forth to serve Him. And thus you end up with a system of perfectionism that leads the ordinary layperson to despair and never know for sure if they are in a state of grace or not, and creates a class of “super Christians” that are more in with God than anyone else and can ape Christ’s role as the sole mediator between God and men.

    But it keeps people enslaved to the sacramental treadmill, and that’s good for business

    So only the image/reputation of the church matters.

    No, we’re not RCs and don’t have to protect our reputation for infallibility by covering up priestly child abuse so that people don’t ask the harder questions about why you should trust a claim to infallibility when everything the church does undermines that claim.

    So if the serial wifebeater or fornicator keeps things in-check and quiet and only a few people know, it shouldn’t be disciplined. All Protestant confession/churches teach their members are serial 2GC-breakers. That’s public.

    Oh please. If venial sin doesn’t break the 2 GC, it isn’t sin.

    Christ said be perfect as your father is. I’m just interpreting him the way you interpret the 2GC. The point again is your interpretation is no different than the interpretation that he means for us to become omnipotent and omniscient. Both are unkeepable and unobtainable for the regenerate even for a second. The result is exactly the same.

    Wrong. We are to become analogically perfect. This is really rather simple stuff. There’s nothing impossible or non-creaturely about loving God with every part of our finiteness. Unless, of course, you believe as Rome does that creatureliness is equivalent to sin.

    It’s not unkeepable or unobtainable for the regenerate. What is possible is never fully realized because of remaining sin. If you want to tell me that you have absolutely no sin in your life, that you are fully aware of every place where you fall short, go right ahead.

    Infused charity does not fulfill the law—at least in its fullness—if we will not love God with our entire soul until after our death. Once you admit that, which you have, the mortal/venial distinction is meaningless. Infused charity isn’t filling up the small cup you have right now because you don’t love God with your whole soul. The problem isn’t really you can’t grow in your total capacity—the problem is that before you die, the cup you do have isn’t full. You don’t love God with your whole soul. You are breaking the commandment. There’s still a millimeter that is empty

    You can’t ignore exertion, which you are trying to do. Unless you want to tell me your cup is full. But if it is, then Augustine was wrong that we can’t love God with our whole soul until we are glorified.

  183. Robert

    “The reason the mortal/venial distinction has no value is because its not Scriptural”

    Wrong! The Bible does show degrees of sin. But even if it didn’t, this is a common sense issue. Jay walking and axe-murder are not the same.
    Happy Easter

  184. Robert,
    “So, venial sin is only damnable when the unregenerate do it, it’s not damnable anymore”

    Venial sin is not damnable. Period. The unregenerate are either pre-Baptism babies or adults who upon reaching the age of reason or thereafter, never make a choice for God. However, no one goes to hell for Original Sin. As “the wages of sin is death”, one must work their way into hell by their own efforts.

    A person can also be regenerate but lose the grace. Repentance does not regenerate again. One can be born to grace only once. It restores grace.
    In the case of the Baptized, a Character is also given. As for those regenerated outside of the Sacrament, by an act of perfect Charity, I don’t know how it works when they become restored to grace. Ask the other Catholics.

  185. Gentlemen–

    Christos anesti! (Alithos anesti!)

    So far, a rather glorious Resurrection Sunday. At any rate, Lent is over, and I am back (for better or for worse).

    The Catholics on the blog here can tell me what’s wrong with the following list and proffer a better one:

    http://www.followthissite.com/list-of-sins.php

    I think we will see pretty clearly when all the smoke clears that there’s not a speck of difference between mortal and venial sin. The exact same things are done venially as mortally, just with less insight and decisiveness.

    Though I will have to admit that run-of-the-mill Catholics (along with Charismatics and Fundamentalists) are toward the bottom of the list in terms of educated Christians (Episcopalians and Presbyterians rule that roost from what I remember), I still maintain they are bright enough to be rather willful in their sinning. When 80% of American Catholics believe contraception to be fully moral and 54% are openly pro-choice, we wouldn’t have to look too deep to find an unreconciled mortal sin within their “body of work.” My guess is that 100% of Roman Catholics die (at least technically) outside of a state of grace. (Hopefully, the Roman Catholic god is a bit more merciful than the Roman Catholic hierarchy and will let a few slip through!)

    This, I believe, is what Martin Luther so presciently perceived, and why, as a young monk, he worked so insanely hard to measure up. If I were Catholic, I myself would be on a Sacrament-of-Reconciliation treadmill trying desperately to keep up. Gerbils don’t wear out, but people do. I’d either convert back to Protestantism or keel over and die.

  186. Jim,

    Robert
    “The reason the mortal/venial distinction has no value is because its not Scriptural”
    Wrong! The Bible does show degrees of sin. But even if it didn’t, this is a common sense issue. Jay walking and axe-murder are not the same.
    Happy Easter

    Happy Easter to you as well, my friend.

    The Bible does show degrees of sin. Murdering somebody is less heinous than stealing a candy bar. Saying a cross word to one’s wife at the end of the day is less heinous than committing adultery.

    The question is where the degrees lie. Protestants, at least of the WCF variety, believe that all sins are worthy of damnation but that not all the sufferings in hell are equal. Adolf Hitler is getting a worse time of it than the person who never heard of Christ but the only sin they had was occasionally smarting off to their parents. But both are in hell. If you want me to explain exactly what that means, I can’t. I do know that the one who knew the master’s will and did not do it gets more beatings than the one who did do it. But they both get beatings. It isn’t that one gets beatings in one place temporarily and the other gets beatings in another place that last forever.

    Same with righteousness. The more obedient you are, the more rewards you will get in heaven, but those rewards you will just give back to God anyway. The difference is that everyone who truly believes in Christ gets into heaven, and they are assured of eternal life the moment they believe. They don’t, as Ott says, have uncertainty as to whether or not they have done everything necessary to be justified. Christ—and Christ alone—did it.

  187. Eric,

    Great link.

    My favorite is this: Excessive Wealth [in March, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI added the 8th Deadly Sin of ‘Excessive Wealth’ to the list of Deadly Sins.]

    Maybe our RC friends can tell us where this was pronounced and whether it was an ex cathedra statement. And then hopefully the RC Church will give some guidance. Is $1,000,000,000 okay but $1,000,000,000.01 not??

  188. In other words, all of you Catholics seem to be in a lovejoypeace-induced mental fog. You keep saying to yourselves, “I’ve got agape flowing through my veins, so everything I do, no matter how imperfectly good, is damn-well good enough. Not only does God teach crib courses but he grades them on a curve (kind of like BCS football schools do for star linebackers). I’ve got me a perfect 4.0 GPA, by gum!”

    What you seemingly forget is that there are also marks for comportment, and a failing grade on any of these can get you kicked out of school (perfect GPA notwithstanding). And all of you have “F’s” on at lest a few of these. You’re guilty of unrepentant mortal sin, and you know–deep down, at least–that you are…that you always have been…that you always will be.

    Granted, a few of you will not step forward and come clean. Psychosis is a very real thing.

    (By the by, I see some of you still harping on the whole Protestant all-sin-is-mortal-sin schtick. But the only reason you call venial sin “sin” is so’s you can wriggle out of 1 John 1:8. Come on, get real, you don’t really consider it sin at all, do you now? Thus, for the Catholic just as surely as for the Protestant, all sin is mortal sin.)

    The punches I’m throwing are all tongue in cheek (to mix metaphors). Just trying to make a point or two and have fun while doing so.

    Have a very happy Easter…Romanists and Reformists alike!! 🙂

  189. Robert–

    I wonder if B 16’s “8th deadly sin” can be corporate, as well as individual. Is there any institution on earth more excessively wealthy than the Roman church?

  190. Robert,

    “Sorry. When an unregenerate person commits what Rome defines as a venial sin for the regenerate person, he will go to hell will he not, assuming there is no repentance? ”

    The unregenerate person goes to hell for being unregenerate and devoid of agape/sanctifying grace.

    “What you have is a different standard. What was mortal when you were unregenerate becomes venial once you are regenerate. A different standard based on relationship and status. God is not just in this paradigm, but he’s full-on into double standards.”

    Are your rewards in sanctification based on relationship and status? What was mortal was not the venial sin, what was mortal was the absence of divine life in the soul.

    “A serial murderer hasn’t repented. Nor has a serial liar.”

    So why has a serial 2GC-breaker not repented then?

    “Here’s the issue, you guys want to have a checklist of when somebody crosses the line and when he doesn’t from venial sin to mortal sin, and then when we ask for it, all we get is crickets.”

    I don’t want a checklist. I just want to know how you reconcile your distinctions with serial 2GC-breakers without being inconsistent or ad hoc.

    “My theological principle is that sin affects everything we do, which means even our repentance can be better in every case. ”

    So you’re also a serial sinning-while-repenting. So why does that not mean you are unrepentant per the serial liar and murderer?

    “Until one is glorified, sin affects all that they do. If you don’t believe that, you don’t know the depth of human sin.”

    The struggle with sin affects all that we do.

    “You can never know if you’ve done everything possible to be justified.”

    One can have an assurance and confidence, not a metaphysical certainty – one is justified if in a state of grace – not just halfway justified that needs to be filled up with some arbitrary degree of merit or acts. In your system, you can never know you’re not self-deceived and won’t prove yourself to never have been elect before death.

    ” It gives people false assurance that they’re probably okay with God—Hey, I’ve been to mass once or twice and I’ve lived a pretty good life. I’ve never done any of those really bad sins. Why wouldn’t God take me to heaven? It gives others false condemnation—I’ve really screwed up my life. I’ve killed charity so many times, there’s no hope for me.”

    These are 2 sides of same coin that are often addressed in RCism. One is presumption, the other is scrupulosity. These issues are not exclusive to RCism. Protestants and Reformed experience it as well (negligence/dismissal of law due to gospel, or overemphasis on fruit-bearing and introspection).

    “You guys build an entire distinction in sin based on one passage in John’s gospel about a sin leading to death without even knowing what that particular sin is.”

    It’s not a particular single sin. It’s a type of sin.

    “And thus you end up with a system of perfectionism that leads the ordinary layperson to despair and never know for sure if they are in a state of grace or not”

    Then RCism is schizophrenic in saying only those who are in a state of grace should take communion, and those who are not should go to confession – that assumes a level of self-discernment. The commission of mortal sin has conditions – one of which is knowledge and consent – it’s not some gotcha game.

    “But it keeps people enslaved to the sacramental treadmill, and that’s good for business”

    I guess you are enslaved to the sanctification/fruit/commandments treadmill – such as praying, confessing sin, repenting, going to church, reading scripture, partaking of communion, obeying your leaders, obeying the commandments, being charitable, continuing to affirm the gospel, being diligent not to persist too long in any serious sin (well except for things like imperfect repentance and 2GC-breaking) and similarly being sure to love/obey enough since otherwise that would demonstrate your faith wasn’t ever genuine.

    “So if the serial wifebeater or fornicator keeps things in-check and quiet and only a few people know, it shouldn’t be disciplined. All Protestant confession/churches teach their members are serial 2GC-breakers. That’s public.
    -Oh please. If venial sin doesn’t break the 2 GC, it isn’t sin. ”

    So why aren’t the serial 2GC-breakers disciplined? If the serial wifebeater or fornicator who keeps things quiet should still be disciplined, why not them?

    “There’s nothing impossible or non-creaturely about loving God with every part of our finiteness.”

    You say it can never be kept, even for a second. That means it’s impossible to keep.

    “It’s not unkeepable or unobtainable for the regenerate. What is possible is never fully realized because of remaining sin. If you want to tell me that you have absolutely no sin in your life, that you are fully aware of every place where you fall short, go right ahead.”

    Please tell me how your first sentence is not contradicted by the rest of your statement.

    “Infused charity does not fulfill the law—at least in its fullness—if we will not love God with our entire soul until after our death. Once you admit that, which you have, the mortal/venial distinction is meaningless.”

    Does not follow. You are still ignoring the very distinction between acts that are venial vs mortal. We suffer on earth. Suffering will be removed in heaven. That does not mean suffering is opposed to/incompatible with charity because it doesn’t exist in heaven.

    “The problem isn’t really you can’t grow in your total capacity—the problem is that before you die, the cup you do have isn’t full. You don’t love God with your whole soul. You are breaking the commandment. There’s still a millimeter that is empty”

    No because the “breaking of the commandment” if venial is not opposed to charity. So we still fulfill the law. Our cup is still entirely full (though we weaken its growth in capacity). The other regenerate who has a much larger full cup has resisted concupiscence and fought off venial sin more than the person with the smaller full cup. Neither of them are short.

    “You can’t ignore exertion, which you are trying to do. Unless you want to tell me your cup is full. But if it is, then Augustine was wrong that we can’t love God with our whole soul until we are glorified.”

    No, Augustine wasn’t wrong, nor was Aquinas. They both held that, and they both held that the regenerate fulfill the law and are justified through infused charity, and they both held to the mortal/venial sin distinction. That might tell you something about your characterizations. As I said above when you referenced Augustine’s statement:
    No it means although wayfarers on earth can have perfect charity and perform acts that fulfill the law, that does not mean they love God as much as humanly possible or have perfect conformity to Christ or do not have an ever-greater perfection yet to attain while on earth. Perfect conformity awaits until heaven.
    As Aquinas says “charity of the wayfarer cannot attain to the perfection of the charity of heaven” and elsewhere,
    “On the part of the person who loves, charity is perfect, when he loves as much as he can. This happens in three ways. First, so that a man’s whole heart is always actually borne towards God: this is the perfection of the charity of heaven, and is not possible in this life, wherein, by reason of the weakness of human life, it is impossible to think always actually of God, and to be moved by love towards Him. Secondly, so that man makes an earnest endeavor to give his time to God and Divine things, while scorning other things except in so far as the needs of the present life demand. This is the perfection of charity that is possible to a wayfarer; but is not common to all who have charity. Thirdly, so that a man gives his whole heart to God habitually, viz. by neither thinking nor desiring anything contrary to the love of God; and this perfection is common to all who have charity.”

  191. James,

    I won’t respond to the whole thing because really it comes down to this:

    No because the “breaking of the commandment” if venial is not opposed to charity. So we still fulfill the law. Our cup is still entirely full (though we weaken its growth in capacity).

    If I sin venially, I am not loving God with my whole soul. Therefore, it is opposed to charity. Your cup is not entirely full. There’s a bit of you that is not loving God. This is what makes the distinction between mortal and venial sin untenable. All sin is a violation of charity, if it is not, it’s not sin. So what you have are some violations of charity that aren’t opposed to charity and some that are. But to violate charity is to violate charity.

    The regenerate fulfill the law, I agree. But not perfectly. That is obvious from human experience. What you end up doing is saying, in essence that “well, as long as you have an intent to fulfill the law, you’re fulfilling the law.” Tell that to Uzzah.

    I guess you are enslaved to the sanctification/fruit/commandments treadmill

    Not a treadmill. Justification cannot be lost and sanctification is inevitable, not merely possible.

    such as praying, confessing sin, repenting, going to church, reading scripture, partaking of communion, obeying your leaders, obeying the commandments, being charitable, continuing to affirm the gospel, being diligent not to persist too long in any serious sin (well except for things like imperfect repentance and 2GC-breaking) and similarly being sure to love/obey enough since otherwise that would demonstrate your faith wasn’t ever genuine.

    None of these things maintain or increase justification. They are fruit, inevitable fruit. We simply do not become more righteous, and there is nothing more necessary to attain a state of grace. If you can’t know you’ve done everything necessary for justification, and all who are in a state of grace are justified, then you can’t know you’ve done everything necessary to attain a state of grace.

  192. Eric,

    I wonder if B 16?s “8th deadly sin” can be corporate, as well as individual. Is there any institution on earth more excessively wealthy than the Roman church?

    Wait, you aren’t accusing Rome of having one standard for the average folk and another for the clergy. That’s impossible I say! 😉

  193. @Robert and Eric:

    If I sin venially, I am not loving God with my whole soul. Therefore, it is opposed to charity. Your cup is not entirely full. There’s a bit of you that is not loving God.

    That’s ultimately the Manichaean metaphysics. People aren’t mixes of good substance and evil substance. There’s no “bit of you” that’s not loving God, because there aren’t “bits” of stuff in people; souls don’t have parts. The fundamental orientation is good or evil (contrary to God’s law) as a whole. That is the teaching of the Church.

    What is interesting is that the same metaphysical belief was held by many Catholics during the Reformation. There were essentially three schools of justification: the Dominican, the Franciscan, and the Augustinian (the last of which being the group from which Luther emerged). That last group had the idea, exactly as you do, that sin was opposed to righteousness, so there was a kind of metaphysical continuum with perfect righteousness at one end and everyone else being less than perfectly righteous due to having some degree of sin. Thus, righteousness was complete cleansing of sin rather than a positive endowment.

    Based on this theory, they suggested a kind of “double justice,” in that most sins were actually cleansed during life, but the venial sins that remained were covered by the imputation of Christ. This was the view discussed at Regensburg, and that is the one of which Calvin wrote to Farel that Farel “would marvel … that our adversaries have conceded so much. For they have committed themselves to the essentials of what is our true teaching.” Those essentials were precisely this idea that sin and righteousness was a zero sum game.

    The problem is that this idea of the sin-righteousness continuum was condemned at Trent. Even though there were some faithful Catholics who believed this idea at the time, that view was condemned by the proposition that “the alone formal cause of justification is the justice of God. not that whereby He Himself is just, but whereby He makes us just.” In other words, this very idea that we were essentially working our way up the continuum to perfect acceptability was rejected; one is either just (possessing the righteousness of God by which He makes us just), or one is not.

    This whole concept of the sacramental treadmill is based on the view that one is trying to get rid of all venial sin to be acceptable to God. That is based on the old (and now condemned) medieval Augustinian belief that righteousness is the absence of any sin, as if we have to keep getting grace to offset venial sin to remain acceptable to God. But that’s not the Catholic view; it’s a heresy. And it wasn’t even the majority Catholic view when there were a significant number of Catholics who believed it.

    The doctrine of Trent says that justification is complete, regardless of venial sin. One can pile up as much venial sin as the day is long, yet no amount of venial sin ever compromises one’s fundamental justice. It does put obstacles to increase of grace, which may interfere with the increase of justification (degree of glory), but it does not change one’s fundamental justice.

    In short, you’re arguing against Catholicism based on a premise that Catholics deny. That would be called begging the question.

  194. Robert,

    “I won’t respond to the whole thing because really it comes down to this:”

    No what it boils down to is I’m still waiting for a coherent consistent explanation of how you view serial 2-GC breakers as different than serial murderers and liars given your principles on sin. Maybe RCism is totally wrong on concupiscence/venial/mortal sin but it’s at least coherent – it reconciles John’s statements. So now I’m still waiting for you to make a consistent case for your view of sin.

    “If I sin venially, I am not loving God with my whole soul. Therefore, it is opposed to charity.”

    Um, no. Your “therefore” just assumes your position.

    “The regenerate fulfill the law, I agree. But not perfectly. That is obvious from human experience. What you end up doing is saying, in essence that “well, as long as you have an intent to fulfill the law, you’re fulfilling the law.” Tell that to Uzzah.”

    No, as long as you have infused charity, you’re fulfilling the law. What’s obvious from human experience is the struggle with concupiscence. Good intentions can still lead to mortal sin, as said before.

    “Not a treadmill. Justification cannot be lost and sanctification is inevitable, not merely possible.”

    It sounded like your characterization of the treadmill was just “stuff you gotta keep doing”; I was merely replying by that standard Reformed theology falls under the same blade.

    “None of these things maintain or increase justification. They are fruit, inevitable fruit.”

    You still gotta keep doing them – if you don’t it is an indication you might not really be saved/elect. The sacraments in RCism are fruit – as is all merit.

    “We simply do not become more righteous”

    So no infused/inherent righteousness in sanctification I guess.

    “If you can’t know you’ve done everything necessary for justification, and all who are in a state of grace are justified, then you can’t know you’ve done everything necessary to attain a state of grace.”

    Why do you think RCs cannot know they’ve done everything necessary for justification? What’s necessary for justification is to be in a state of grace. And as I said above, RCism teaches one can know that/have confidence through its teachings on confession and partaking of the eucharist.
    Further, if you can’t know you’ve borne enough fruit to show your faith is genuine, then you can’t know you are elect. If you can’t know the future, then you can’t know you won’t end up falling away and showing you never had faith in the first place.

  195. James,

    Further, if you can’t know you’ve borne enough fruit to show your faith is genuine, then you can’t know you are elect. If you can’t know the future, then you can’t know you won’t end up falling away and showing you never had faith in the first place.

    It isn’t a matter of bearing “enough” fruit. There is no prescribed amount of fruit people are to bear. But there are prescribed obligatory feast and fast days, et al., that you all have to do to remain in a state of grace. There are prescribed works you have to do in penance to be reconfirmed in a state of grace.

    How do I know my faith is genuine? Because I have love for the biblical Christ in my heart. How do I know I have love for the biblical Christ in my heart? Well, there is the feeling of affection plus obedience to Him, but it’s not perfect obedience. Law does not admit for imperfection. You either have done the law or you haven’t.

    And all of this takes place in concert with the church and the preached and written Word of God. The Spirit does not operate apart from His Word.

    No what it boils down to is I’m still waiting for a coherent consistent explanation of how you view serial 2-GC breakers as different than serial murderers and liars given your principles on sin. Maybe RCism is totally wrong on concupiscence/venial/mortal sin but it’s at least coherent – it reconciles John’s statements. So now I’m still waiting for you to make a consistent case for your view of sin.

    It doesn’t reconcile anything. If the “if we say we have no sin…” is about venial sin, then there should be no possibility for repentance for the “sin that leads to death.” This, ironically, is why so many early Christians believed you could not repent and be forgiven of mortal sin, or at least that you could do it only once or twice. Notice how Rome completely ignores that as they claim continuity with the early church.

    And of course there are other passages such as Hebrews 6, which if interpreted in the RC framework, should preclude repentance for those who have trampled the blood of Christ underfoot by mortal sin.

    The Roman framework is not coherent within the totality of Scripture, even when you interpret certain passages as pertaining to losing one’s state of grace.

    You still gotta keep doing them – if you don’t it is an indication you might not really be saved/elect. The sacraments in RCism are fruit – as is all merit.

    But you don’t have to keep doing them to stay in a state of grace or to maintain your righteousness. You do them purely out of gratitude for what has been accomplished fully and finely by Christ.

    Why do you think RCs cannot know they’ve done everything necessary for justification? What’s necessary for justification is to be in a state of grace.

    And as I said above, RCism teaches one can know that/have confidence through its teachings on confession and partaking of the eucharist.

    Because Ott says that we can never know if we have done enough:

    The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this, that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the conditions that are necessary for achieving justification.

    You are telling me that if one is in a state of grace, one is justified. Fine. That should mean that by knowing you are in a state of grace —via confession, Eucharist, etc.—you can know you are justified. Ott here specifically says you can’t know that. If state of grace=justification, then knowing one entails knowing the other, but you can’t know the latter, or at least Ott didn’t think you could. The best you can have is a reasonable confidence that you are in a state of grace.

    Let’s assume for a moment that the Reformed doctrine of justification is not biblical. All you then have is the possibility of present assurance, present knowledge of one’s being in a state of grace. But Ott is saying you can’t even have that. The best you can have is a reasonable confidence. Those Protestants that can believe salvation can be lost will nonetheless affirm that they have infallible assurance of salvation in the present. Lutherans, Methodists, etc. They don’t just have a reasonable confidence. They know.

    To bring it back to the Reformed context, true assurance results inevitably in good works. See Romans 6 where Paul says that those who have been justified cannot live in sin any longer. Its just not possible.

    Reasonable confidence in the Roman system does not guarantee anything.

    As far as not knowing of one’s state of justification, you also have statements like these from O’Malley’s work on Trent:

    For all Trent’s insistence on the determining role of grace in justification and for all the later success of the Jansenists, it seems clear that what to a considerable extent prevailed in post-Trent Catholicism was a persuasion that doing one’s best was a prerequisite for God to give his grace. Catholics in their own view and in the view of their enemies stood for “good works.”

    This is a big problem. Even if Trent doesn’t teach this, you have RCs believing that it does, at least until recently. And you don’t have any correction from the Magisterium. The theological works that do appear make justification uncertain (Ott). Any change in this regard are probably more due to dialogue with Protestants than anything else. Even today, across the world, vast numbers of Roman Catholics continue to believe that doing one’s best is the prerequisite to receive God’s grace. When is Rome going to wonder whether its sacramental system and its documents foster such an opinion?

  196. Robert,

    “It isn’t a matter of bearing “enough” fruit. There is no prescribed amount of fruit people are to bear. But there are prescribed obligatory feast and fast days, et al., that you all have to do to remain in a state of grace.”

    If there are prescribed obligatory works you gotta do, the “amount” has nothing to do with it. And there are prescribed obligatory works you must do to prove your justification is genuine. Or should a person who disobeys the commandments, does not go to church, doesn’t affirm the gospel, isn’t charitable, doesn’t repent, doesn’t pray, doesn’t read Scripture, etc. not be considered to be showing signs he might not be elect?

    “How do I know my faith is genuine? Because I have love for the biblical Christ in my heart. How do I know I have love for the biblical Christ in my heart? Well, there is the feeling of affection plus obedience to Him, but it’s not perfect obedience.”

    But you have no certainty you aren’t deceiving yourself or won’t apostasize later, so you don’t actually know (if you knew, there wouldn’t be the possibility you might self-deceive and demonstrate that you actually didn’t know). Calvin says the ultimately lost can have the same affectations and internal feelings as the elect. So you can never be sure the love/feelings you have now indicates genuine faith, because you don’t know the future.

    “It doesn’t reconcile anything.”

    No one born of God continues to sin vs if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. RCism reconciles that. And I’m still waiting for you to make a positive case for the coherency/consistency of your system to reconcile them instead of just attacking RCism’s view.

    “But you don’t have to keep doing them to stay in a state of grace or to maintain your righteousness. You do them purely out of gratitude for what has been accomplished fully and finely by Christ. ”

    First, RCism does not teach our meritorious acts are not done out of gratitude – that’s why they cannot happen unless you’ve already been adopted as a son – they are a result of infusion from the vine as Trent says.
    Secondly, you still gotta do them. If you don’t do them, you’re probably not saved. As WCF says: “such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace” and “it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance”. You have a duty to obey and do them and love sincerely.

    “Because Ott says that we can never know if we have done enough:”

    Ott also says right afterwards: “The impossiblity of the certainty of faith, however, by no means excludes a high moral certainty by the testimony of conscience.”
    And I fail to see how your position offers anything different concerning its teaching on self-deception and ultimate apostasy. RCism has its teachings on the eucharist and confession which are directly tied to state of grace. You agree it teaches those. So I fail to see the problem.

    “They don’t just have a reasonable confidence. They know.”

    You don’t know, because you don’t know the future. Your side teaches self-deception and false assurance and temporary fading faith and internal/external blessings/fruit in the reprobate that can be indistinguishable from the elect. That means you can’t “know” – you can have a high moral confidence/assurance, not an absolute metaphysical certainty.

    “This is a big problem. Even if Trent doesn’t teach this, you have RCs believing that it does, at least until recently. And you don’t have any correction from the Magisterium. The theological works that do appear make justification uncertain (Ott).”

    Yes some RCs have erroneous views. Some think going to easter and christmas mass keeps them golden as you say. Doesn’t mean Trent nor the Catechism actually teach such.

    Anyways, I’m still waiting for the coherent/consistent case from you on why you view the serial 2GC-breakers as different than the serial liars and murderers given your position on sin.

  197. James, hi how are you? You said to Robert ” Why do you think that RC’s cannot know they have done everything for justification. Whats necessary for justification is to be in a state of grace.” No the bible says what is necessary for justification is simple faith in Christ. You would know you had justification if you weren’t occupied with the inner mechanics of your inherent righteousness. And you would know because we are justified by his righteousness alone. We don’t derive our righteousness from his, he is our righteousness. Romans 5:19, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21. We stand in his grace. All my sins ( which all sin is mortal because you can go to hell as a policeman or a prostitute) are forgiven, past, present and future. He became a curse for us and freed us form the penalty of the Law. We have been justified by faith and by his blood, its a done deal. Now true believes will persevere and obey, but not perfectly. ” If we are faithless, he remains faithful.” Have great evening James.

  198. James said to Robert ” The sacraments in RC’ism is fruit as is all merit” The dictionary says merit is doing good to receive a reward. The Roman sacramental system of doing a lifetime of sacraments to receive increase of grace and justice is directly opposed to the simple life of faith that Paul says justifies us now and forever. ” the righteous shall live by faith” He calls us righteous. In Galatians 3 Paul opposes works and hearing by faith in the procuring of salvation. 1:1-6 Did you receive the spirit by works of law or by hearing with faith, having begun by the spirit…., he who works miracles among you does he do it by works of the law or hewing with faith. In Philippians 3:9 Paul puts all his righteousness in one column and the righteousness that comes form outside us from God in another. If you deny imputed righteousness then you are trusting in your own righteousness to some extent and this is rejected. Roman church’s fatal error is confusing what God did “for us” with what God does ” in us”. A person with saving faith will never lose his salvation or leave the state of grace in which he stands because He possesses the spirit of Christ who is our righteousness. When we sin it does not change our position before God. Thats why Paul can tell the guy in 1 corinthians 5 who had his fathers wife his flesh would be destroyed but his soul would be saved. K

  199. James–

    I thought I’d weigh in on the discussion between you and Robert.

    You wrote that we need to reconcile these two notions:

    “No one born of God continues to sin vs. if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.”

    About this you say:

    “RCism [reconciles these seemingly conflicting statements in 1 John] by the mortal/venial sin distinction. You do it by…well I’m actually not sure. You claim the regenerate don’t practice habitual sin anymore, but then you affirm you continue to sin and break the 2GC every second of your life which seems like a habitual lifestyle. You say you feel bad about it (or that you feel bad about your lacking of or inadequacy of feeling bad), but I’m unaware of where the Bible defines repentance as only remorse without amendment, and it doesn’t seem you’re amending if you’re continuing to do it every second of your life, even in your best works, until death.”

    Actually, James, I believe we answer it in almost the same way that you answer it. You say there are two very different kinds of sin, and we say that there are two very different ways to sin. The two distinctions share much in common:

    1. We are not to sin “with a high hand” (i.e., knowingly and willfully).
    2. We are not to commit the same sin over and over again without remorse AND amendment of life.

    What we don’t share (and what looks to us like sophistry when Catholics attempt to explain it) is that there are very different levels of sin: you can say to your brother, “I hate you” but you cannot kill him as Abel did; you can lust after a woman in your heart, but you cannot sleep with a woman who isn’t your wife. (Yes, I realize that you would probably call ALL of these actions “mortal,” but why exactly? And would you still have done so if Jesus himself had not propounded on them? When is an infraction against the Decalogue “moderate” enough to be called “venial”? Ask 10 priests, and you will get 10 different answers.

    The other difference, of course, is that we don’t believe that continual, stubbornly unrepentant sin is a sign that one has gone out of a “state of grace” but that the high-handed sinner was never in a “state of grace” to begin with.

    For what it’s worth, you are probably correct that the Thomist and the Calvinist share about the same level of assurance and certainty. None of us has absolute certainty. (We would even term such a state as the sin of presumption. Paul himself was not absolutely certain and said so. The Perseverance of the Saints includes the vigorous efforts–the blood, sweat, and tears–of the pilgrim saint. It includes taking seriously the warnings against apostasy.

  200. Eric,

    “Actually, James, I believe we answer it in almost the same way that you answer it.”

    I agree which is what I’ve been noting – in practice you end up using a similar distinction. What I’ve been saying all along is that I do not see how such a position is consistent or coherent given your theology of sin.

    “You say there are two very different kinds of sin, and we say that there are two very different ways to sin. The two distinctions share much in common:
    1. We are not to sin “with a high hand” (i.e., knowingly and willfully).
    2. We are not to commit the same sin over and over again without remorse AND amendment of life.”

    Only, as I have been pointing out, you don’t seem to actually hold to point 2. Because you are constantly (mortally given all sin is equally damning) sinning against the 2GC every second of your life.

    “What we don’t share (and what looks to us like sophistry when Catholics attempt to explain it) is that there are very different levels of sin: you can say to your brother, “I hate you” but you cannot kill him as Abel did; you can lust after a woman in your heart, but you cannot sleep with a woman who isn’t your wife. (Yes, I realize that you would probably call ALL of these actions “mortal,” but why exactly?”

    Well you’ve admitted John makes 2 statements on the practice of sin that need to be reconciled. You may not like RCism’s theology, but you seem to admit it reconciles them coherently. What I’m waiting for from your side is how you reconcile them coherently. As to why, it’s not that difficult to see such a distinction in natural relationships. There are acts that may offend/weaken potential growth in relationships with your friend/wife but do not destroy the relationship – they are still compatible with you loving that person and placing them as your “chief end”. There are other acts however that would destroy friendship/marriage and are incompatible with the perpetrator claiming he actually does love his friend or spouse.

    “And would you still have done so if Jesus himself had not propounded on them?”

    Well RCism’s theology of sin is informed by Jesus as well, not just John.

    “When is an infraction against the Decalogue “moderate” enough to be called “venial”? Ask 10 priests, and you will get 10 different answers.”

    It is not clear-cut, true, just as the line between when concupiscence ends and venial sin starts is not clear-cut. The faithful must stay ever-vigilant – neglected venial sin can lead and dispose one towards mortal sin. Culpability is person-variable. The commission of mortal sin does not include only grave matter, but full knowledge and consent as well.

    “The other difference, of course, is that we don’t believe that continual, stubbornly unrepentant sin is a sign that one has gone out of a “state of grace” but that the high-handed sinner was never in a “state of grace” to begin with.”

    Yes, so again I’d like to know why you give yourself and members of your church a pass for knowingly and admittedly serially breaking 2GC every second, but you don’t give the same pass for the serial adulterer, wife-beater, murderer, etc. given your principles on sin.

    I appreciate the openness on the perseverance/assurance issue.

  201. James–

    Why is is coherent/consistent to say there are two different kinds/levels of sin but NOT coherent/consistent to say there are two very different ways to sin?

    We neither sin consciously nor willfully every second of the day, 24-7. But we know ourselves. We know the games our minds can play on us. We know the wiles of the still sinful flesh. We also know others. If we know them well, we can clearly see the ravages of sin in their lives (and that includes every single Catholic we have ever gotten to know well). Whatever you wish to call it, you also know that you fall short every moment of your life. You may call it venial sin (if it is not willful or knowing) instead of just sin. But we are really talking about very similar things.

    On the other hand, we would acknowledge that the situation breaks into consciousness and thus open rebellion before God more often than Catholics seem to be willing to admit (mainly because they would be constantly, constantly employing the Sacrament of Reconciliation).

    We are consistently in a state of contrition and repentance and amendment of life, and we find it a joy to be so. Thanksgiving fills our hearts as we ever remind ourselves of the power of the Cross. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, pervades our being. We (or perhaps I should say “I”) find nothing wrong with ritual and absolution (and our worship services usually include confession and absolution), but we work on a deeper level than that. I’m sure many Catholics do, as well. But you all often appear to rely on ritual rather than wrestling with the heart.

    We as Protestants constantly fall as we make our way toward the open arms of our Savior. Like toddlers struggling to take steps (which is the point at which my three 11-month-olds are now. Man, is it precious!), we keep getting back on our feet to resume our journey into his embrace. Serial liars and adulterers and murderers, on the other hand, are walking AWAY from his glorious face. There is a world of difference, even though both may suffer a similar number of scraped knees….

  202. James–

    While I’ll admit that the RC reconciliation of the conflicting statements in 1 John is coherent, I don’t believe it answers the question well.

    Frankly, the whole notion that venial sin is compatible with sanctifying grace seems to trivialize sin.

    Now, perhaps you are saying much the same thing we are: In our ongoing union with Christ, we are covered by his atoning blood. We are no longer held to the exacting standard we once were, but are, in a sense, graded on the curve (in terms of progressive sanctification into an inherent righteousness). As Bryan Cross likes to say (and which resonates with my own experience in grace), we are moving from perfection to perfection, i.e., from perfect to a greater perfection.

    You all are under the Law of Love due to agape courses through your veins. We are under the Law of Christ because our Savior has fulfilled the Law of Moses through his sinless life and atoning death. Neither of us is under any type of checklist.

    But you wrote the following:

    “Only, as I have been pointing out, you don’t seem to actually hold to point 2 [that we no longer sin over and over again without repentance and renewal]. Because you are constantly (mortally given all sin is equally damning) sinning against the 2GC every second of your life.”

    You must understand, James, that to us, all sin is mortal to the perishing and no sin is mortal to the regenerate. For the elect, all sin is analogous to your depiction of venial sin. In other words, it is all compatible with regeneration/justification (our forms of sanctifying grace).

    Thus, perhaps I have erred in designating venial “sin” as a trivializing of sin. Perhaps you take it as seriously as we take the discipline of the Lord in sanctification. There might not be that much light between us when held together for comparison…at least on sin.

    (You still need to explain to me what exactly it is in our reconciliation of the conflicting statements in 1 John which you find incoherent.)

  203. Eric,

    We as Protestants constantly fall as we make our way toward the open arms of our Savior. Like toddlers struggling to take steps (which is the point at which my three 11-month-olds are now. Man, is it precious!), we keep getting back on our feet to resume our journey into his embrace. Serial liars and adulterers and murderers, on the other hand, are walking AWAY from his glorious face. There is a world of difference, even though both may suffer a similar number of scraped knees….

    That’ll preach.

  204. Eric,

    “Why is is coherent/consistent to say there are two different kinds/levels of sin but NOT coherent/consistent to say there are two very different ways to sin?”

    Because when you say there are two very different ways to sin, you are still saying that the end-result is equally damning (no mortal/venial sin distinction). The various routes you can take to a destination doesn’t change the destination. If all sin stems from breaking the 2GC, then a murder/adulterer/wifebeater is breaking it just as the churchgoer who is breaking it every second of his life in both unknown and known ways. Remember, as is often put forth by your side, if you fail in one point, you’re guilty of all. Hence the ongoing need for imputation in the regenerate.

    “We neither sin consciously nor willfully every second of the day, 24-7. But we know ourselves. ”

    So you’re aware your sinning every second 24×7. Which means you’re aware you need to repent. Which means you’re aware you need to have firm purpose of amendment. Yet you continue to sin every second 24×7. So why the serial 2GC breakers get the pass but the serial murderers/adulterers don’t still escapes me.

    “Whatever you wish to call it, you also know that you fall short every moment of your life. You may call it venial sin (if it is not willful or knowing) instead of just sin.”

    Or we can also call it concupiscence which is the struggle all have with sin every moment of our lives. You hold that such is sin proper.

    “On the other hand, we would acknowledge that the situation breaks into consciousness and thus open rebellion before God more often than Catholics seem to be willing to admit (mainly because they would be constantly, constantly employing the Sacrament of Reconciliation).”

    Yes, that’s why we’re different. And that’s why I’m wondering why your practice is consistent with your theology of sin. This criticism about needing to go to confession 24×7 is consistent with your theology – no concupiscence/mortal/venial sin distinction. Treating serial 2GC breakers different than serial murderers/wifebeaters is not consistent as far as i can tell.

    “We are consistently in a state of contrition and repentance and amendment of life, and we find it a joy to be so.”

    Why cannot a serial 24×7 adulterer or murderer say the same thing and you accept them? What makes the serial 2GC breaker different?

    “Serial liars and adulterers and murderers, on the other hand, are walking AWAY from his glorious face. There is a world of difference, even though both may suffer a similar number of scraped knees….”

    Why is there a world of difference? That’s why I say it’s incoherent and inconsistent. Why is a serial 2GC breaker not walking away from his glorious face but serial liars and adulterers are?

    “Frankly, the whole notion that venial sin is compatible with sanctifying grace seems to trivialize sin.”

    Okay, so explain how serial 2GC-breaking is compatible with repentance and amendment of life, but serial liar/murderer/adultery is not, given your theology of sin.

    “We are no longer held to the exacting standard we once were, but are, in a sense, graded on the curve (in terms of progressive sanctification into an inherent righteousness)”

    Robert says you deny God’s justice and legal standards if you do that.

    ” Neither of us is under any type of checklist.”

    If you’re not under a checklist, then you wouldn’t interpret if you fail in one thing you are guilty of all like you do, nor would you interpret the 2GC or ‘be perfect’ or rich young ruler or other similar things as law-despairing commands for the regenerate that are impossible to actually keep and thus are meant to drive to imputation. If you don’t have the checklist, there’s no need for imputation.

    “You must understand, James, that to us, all sin is mortal to the perishing and no sin is mortal to the regenerate. For the elect, all sin is analogous to your depiction of venial sin. In other words, it is all compatible with regeneration/justification (our forms of sanctifying grace).”

    I do understand that. Your sin in regeneration is still objectively damning, but the imputed righteousness of Christ covers you and is ongoing for the regenerate. It’s analogous to venial sin only in the sense that it doesn’t prevent you from salvation (because of imputation). And that’s why your best works are also defiled with sin (and would be damnable if not for the imputation of Christ for God to overlook such defilement in accepting/rewarding them).

    “Thus, perhaps I have erred in designating venial “sin” as a trivializing of sin. Perhaps you take it as seriously as we take the discipline of the Lord in sanctification. ”

    Because there’s a distinction between concupiscence, venial, and mortal sin, that does not in any way “trivialize” sin. It distinguishes. RCs hold Rom 7 man refers to concupiscence – that is hardly a trivial or lighthearted passage.

    “(You still need to explain to me what exactly it is in our reconciliation of the conflicting statements in 1 John which you find incoherent.)”

    Explained above.

  205. James,

    Robert says you deny God’s justice and legal standards if you do that.

    Only in the matter of justification and the reason why you get into heaven in the first place. Since you guys confuse justification an sanctification, you say on the one hand that it is all of Christ and on the other that it is Christ plus your imperfections.

    If you’re not under a checklist, then you wouldn’t interpret if you fail in one thing you are guilty of all like you do, nor would you interpret the 2GC or ‘be perfect’ or rich young ruler or other similar things as law-despairing commands for the regenerate that are impossible to actually keep and thus are meant to drive to imputation. If you don’t have the checklist, there’s no need for imputation.

    If you’re not under a checklist, then you wouldn’t interpret that if you fail in one thing you would still have temporal punishment that Christ didn’t take care of to fulfill, nor would you have any notion of purgatory at all. As it stands, the “be perfect” is something that only the saints can fulfill and is thus meant to drive you to confession with the hope that maybe, just maybe, you can get a few years shaved off of purgatory. If you don’t have the checklist of venial vs. mortal sins—wait, you don’t have it infallibly declared but you have one in the back of your head and in the back of each priest’s head—there’s no need for purgatory.

    Why cannot a serial 24×7 adulterer or murderer say the same thing and you accept them? What makes the serial 2GC breaker different?

    What do you mean by a serial 24×7 murderer or adulterer?

    There’s a difference between moving toward God, stumbling, but continually moving toward God than between moving away from God, stumbling, but continually moving away from God. There’s a difference between having a desire to please God but not the full ability to do so and having no desire to please God and not the ability at all to do so. The former is true only of the regenerate—even the regenerate serial sinner.

    At the end of the day, only God and the individual know the state of the individual’s heart. The church is commanded to excommunicate only those who commit flagrant violations of God’s law, not all those who fall short of the love of God in the soul. Which, as I’ve said, even Augustine noted we won’t have perfectly until glory. Even those with infused agape don’t have perfect love.

    If you don’t like the distinction, take it up with God. The fact is that Paul can only say what he does about sin if, in fact, absolute perfection of effort is in view. Otherwise, there are a lot of pretty good old covenant saints who don’t need Christ and lots of pretty good people around the world who don’t need Him either.

  206. James,

    The issue with not viewing concupiscence as sin proper is problematic for many reasons, one of which is that I don’t see how it doesn’t lead to anything other than a “boys will be boys” mentality. Instead of trying to put it to death, you basically would seem to try your best to ignore it. And the fact that it is part of us inherently as created beings points again to a view of anthropology that sin is inevitable and necessary for created beings; that God can’t make a creature that is inherently good. But there’s no hint of that in the biblical creation narrative. No hint that God made this being that was prone by nature to fall but that he holds back by infusing grace. You just can’t find that in Scripture.

  207. James–

    I don’t have the strength to answer you fully, but I’ll make a few remarks:

    You wrote:

    Because when you say there are two very different ways to sin, you are still saying that the end-result is equally damning (no mortal/venial sin distinction). Remember, as is often put forth by your side, if you fail in one point, you’re guilty of all. Hence the ongoing need for imputation in the regenerate.

    No, James. The two different ways have very different destinations, only one of which is damning. Plus, for the regenerate, it would be more accurate to say that if we fail at every point, we are not guilty of any.

    1. To call your ongoing struggle with sin “concupiscence” is what we call a lack of repentance.
    2. We do confess, repent, and amend 24-7. We just don’t do it ritualistically, for the most part. Of course, the ongoing, detailed confession of specific subconscious sins would prove a little tricky (they’re SUBconscious, after all!). We confess our sinfulness in general until we are aware of specifics.
    3. Serial 2GC-breakers don’t get a pass that the serial rapists don’t. I’m setting before you a difference between stubborn, prideful, willful sin and falling-down, scrape-your-knee, “boo-boo” sin. Murder and adultery and the like (especially the serial sort) more often than not tend to be the former rather than the latter.
    4. Since Christ, in effect, takes our final exam for us, we are graded on an extreme curve, with which Robert would have no problem agreeing.
    5. You said that if we don’t have the checklist, there’s no need for imputation. Indeed, similarly, if there is no such thing as original sin, there is no need for an infusion of agape in baptism putting you into a state of grace. The difference of course, is that imputation covers all our sins, past, present, and future whereas infusion simply makes it possible for you to pretend to be Pelagian from there on out.. Christ has covered the checklist; we are not under it. Imputation has seen to it that there is no need for a checklist.
    6. Fitzmyer sees Romans 7 as referring to the indwelling sin of an unregenerate man, who still desires God in the inward parts but cannot follow. (In other words, kemosabe, what is this whole “RC’s believe such-and-such about Romans 7”?)
    7. Since I explained your one objection to our consistency and coherence, I assume you will drop the charge now. Right?

  208. James,

    Fitzmyer sees Romans 7 as referring to the indwelling sin of an unregenerate man, who still desires God in the inward parts but cannot follow. (In other words, kemosabe, what is this whole “RC’s believe such-and-such about Romans 7??)

    Eric makes an excellent point. Where has Rome infallibly defined the meaning of Romans 7?

  209. Eric,

    “1. To call your ongoing struggle with sin “concupiscence” is what we call a lack of repentance.”

    So please explain why the serial 2GC breaker who is aware of his struggle with sin is not lacking repentance then.

    “2. We do confess, repent, and amend 24-7.”

    See above. You repent and amend, but continue to break it 24-7 – and know/realize you are doing so. That seems contradictory to me. As for general/specifics and subsconscious – where has your side distinguished between knowing and unknowing sin or sin in the will versus that in the appetites? You conflate them which is part of your criticism of the RC tri-fold concupiscence/venial/mortal sin distinction.

    “3. Serial 2GC-breakers don’t get a pass that the serial rapists don’t. I’m setting before you a difference between stubborn, prideful, willful sin and falling-down, scrape-your-knee, “boo-boo” sin. Murder and adultery and the like (especially the serial sort) more often than not tend to be the former rather than the latter.”

    Yes but I’m wondering how you *justify* setting before me a difference between stubbon willful sin and “boo-boo” sin. This is exactly what I said in the beginning – in practice you end up making a similar distinction as the venial/mortal one, but then ignore that when criticizing RCism’s theology of sin. I fail to see how your distinction in practice is justified or consistent by your own theology of sin. A “boo-boo” sin is just as damning as prideful, willful sin according to your theological tenets. A habitual sin being committed 24×7 certainly seems more stubborn than the murderer who kills every month or so.

    “4. Since Christ, in effect, takes our final exam for us, we are graded on an extreme curve, with which Robert would have no problem agreeing.”

    So you’re graded on a curve because of imputation. So you’re not really graded on a curve, because imputation is necessary. That’s why your best works that are defiled with damnable sin are looked on as if they’re truly good through the lens of imputation.

    5. “Christ has covered the checklist; we are not under it. Imputation has seen to it that there is no need for a checklist.”

    You cast this as there is no need for a checklist anymore because imputation satisfies it (and continues to do so – hence its ongoing nature). So yes, you are under a checklist, hence necessitating imputation, contra your original assertion.

    “6. Fitzmyer sees Romans 7 as referring to the indwelling sin of an unregenerate man, who still desires God in the inward parts but cannot follow. (In other words, kemosabe, what is this whole “RC’s believe such-and-such about Romans 7??)”

    Correct. Both interpretations are permissible. Just traditionally, per Aquinas (who says both interpretations are permissible but prefers regenerate one) and later Augustine, it has been interpreted as regenerate man under concupiscence. What has no traditional support is the interpretation that it is sin proper or (mortal) sin plaguing the regenerate.

    “7. Since I explained your one objection to our consistency and coherence, I assume you will drop the charge now. Right?”

    I would if you actually showed your view to be consistent and coherent. As long as you continue to deny and criticize the RC distinctions, but then keep pulling them out in practice and violating your own theology of sin, I’ll have to sustain the charge. But I’m still open to correction so perhaps you can try again.

  210. James–

    1. & 2. My guess is that it is not my confusion between sin of the will as opposed to that of the appetites which is the problem, but your tri-fold “sophistry” which allows you to deny the presence of real sin as long as your mind can play enough tricks on you to make you think you weren’t completely aware or weren’t completely willing. (I put “sophistry” in quotes because I really, really don’t mean to be adversarial here. I remember as a young kid being quite proud of my unflagging honesty. I would literally fight anyone who called me a liar and make them eat those words. My every effort went into seeing to it that–at least within my own mind–my honesty deserved to be defended. My parents trusted me a great deal. They became used to relying on the fact that if I said something, it was so. It was only later that I realized what was happening internally: how often I lied to myself IN ORDER THAT I might lie to others by first lying to myself.)

    Can’t you see? The Catholic system is a perfect recipe for giving the sinful self an escape clause. It wasn’t really my fault because… I didn’t really rebel against God because… (I didn’t plan to hurt my neighbor; I didn’t intend to hurt my neighbor; I didn’t know that what I was doing was going to hurt my neighbor so much…things just got out of hand…things I said were taken wrongly…things I did were misinterpreted, etc., etc.)

    As I said before, we Protestant s are aware at all times that we must be sinning in some fashion or another, but we are often NOT aware of what that might be. We can repent in general (and we do), but it is kind of difficult to repent of particular sins we are committing but of which we are not yet aware. There’s not the slightest hypocrisy or inconsistency in such a stance. There is certainly no lack of repentance. There is constant, ongoing repentance. Somehow you think that if someone admits that they cannot completely overcome sin, then they are unrepentant. That’s ridiculous! It’s not as if there are not individual sins that we put behind us and never commit again. There are many, many such. You do not classify your own child as “unrepentant” if they have overcome sassing their teachers AND crossing the street without looking AND teasing their siblings AND pouting to get their own way, but still have some problems with cleaning their plate at dinner time or brushing their teeth before going to bed!

    3. Poppycock! Someone who fairly consistently forgets to put down the toilet seat because his wife would prefer it that way is NOT EVEN IN THE SAME CATEGORY of stubbornness as a monthly serial murderer…especially if the oversight has far more to do with preoccupation with a stressful job rather than insensitivity toward his wife.

    And I don’t ignore the similarity with the Catholic venial/mortal distinction. My goodness! I AM THE ONE WHO BROUGHT IT UP!!!

    4. Any time anyone is graded on a curve, grace is necessary. We have a grace that covers us entirely and sticks with us to the end. That’s imputation. You have a grace that makes progress in the faith possible if one applies oneself, but which expires the moment we turn and walk away. That’s infusion. But I’m not sitting here telling you that you’re not really graded on the curve because infusion is necessary. That’s what makes it grace for goodness’ sake! And I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that our good works are genuinely, inherently good! Without imputation, they are imperfect (just as yours are infected with concupiscence or venial sin).

    5. As I have already stated, grace is necessitated no matter which system we are under.

    6. If the regenerate Paul has so much gut-wrenching angst concerning mere concupiscence (and not genuine sin), he’s a bit off his noodle if you ask me….

    7. Look, I believe I most certainly HAVE shown our stance to be coherent (as well as consistent with our theory of sin). As far as I can see, you’re just being a touch obstinate. Plus, I do not criticize your Catholic distinctions in and of themselves. I simply think they are applied badly because of your view of the potential impermanence of regeneration.

    Thanks for the civil and serious and thought-provoking discussion, James. I truly appreciate it. Have a great day!

    (Now go…and sin no more).

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