Baptism and Sola Fide

Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Baptism, Catholicism, Early Church Fathers, Ecclesiology, Featured, Federal Vision, Gospel, Justification, Means of Grace, Ordo Salutis, Paradigms, Protestantism, Reformed Theology, Sacraments, Sola Fide | 1,158 comments

Today Catholics celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, and most likely heard a homily on the topic of baptism accompanying the prayers, hymns, and readings that focused on this topic. As I sat in Mass this morning I was thinking about baptism and what a messy topic it was for me as a Reformed Protestant minister. On the one hand we have the teachings of the New Testament — teachings which are quite clear — about how “Baptism now saves you,” “Be baptized and wash away your sins,” “Be baptized for the forgiveness of sins,” and “All of us who have been baptized … have been united with [Christ].” An even cursory reading of the New Testament would give no other impression than that baptism actually imparts divine life to all who receive it.

On the other hand, however, Calvinists insist that the sole instrument by which justification occurs is faith, and that baptism per se  accomplishes nothing. While it is a sign and seal of the righteousness we receive through faith alone, without faith baptism is ineffective.

As anyone familiar with the Federal Vision controversy surely knows, navigating between the seemingly obvious teachings of the New Testament and the doctrine of Sola Fide  is anything but easy. In order to stay faithful to the Reformed confessions and catechisms, one’s affirmation of the biblical texts must come with severe qualifications: “Yes, I believe that all who are baptized are united with Christ, but in that statement ‘all’ doesn’t really mean ‘all.’ What Paul means there is that all the elect who have exercised faith in Christ for justification can be said to be united to Christ by their infant baptisms, even though that union did not really occur until much later. And likewise, all the reprobate who were baptized as infants received no saving blessings from their baptisms whatsoever, even though there were surely reprobates among the Romans to whom Paul’s epistle was addressed, to whom his statements did not apply.”

I hate to have to play the Paradigm Card™ again (just kidding, I love it), but I have a hard time understanding how the apostles, if they held that the sole instrument through which saving blessings are received is faith (with baptism itself being a powerless and empty ritual), could have written the things they indeed wrote in the New Testament.

But on the other hand, if the early church understood baptism, as such, to confer divine life, well, they pretty much would have said things exactly the way they in fact did say them.

And while I’m at it, I have a hard time understanding how to defend the idea that the early church fathers wrongly  taught baptismal regeneration using the exact same language with which their predecessors the apostles rightly  denied it.

1,158 Comments

  1. Kevin wrote:
    Erick Ybarra wrote:
    Erick, Im sorry, let me address that. If Abraham had saving faith in Genesis 12 then Paul missed the memo. Because Paul said in Genesis 15…

    St. Paul said that Abraham responded by faith when he obeyed God. Faith and obedience or faith and works is what you and Robert previously described as saving faith.

    But apparently there is a difference between simple faith or faith alone and saving faith. What is that difference? And how do Protestants know when they have saving faith as opposed to non-saving faith?

    This might be a good time to take Eric’s advice and ignore my message. I doubt if you or ANY Protestant can answer the question coherently.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  2. Kevin, you write:

    Matteo, put a baby in the place of Nicodemas when Jesus is telling him that unless you are born again you won’t see the kingdom of heaven. The baby says Goo-Dada Goo. And Jesus says looks like it won’t happen today.

    Kevin, I honestly have no idea of what point you are trying to make with these words. If you would, please clarify.

    Where in the world did you get that faith for the Reformed is mental ascent to theological propositions.

    I got the idea from listening to members of “Reformed” sects tell me what they believe constitutes saving faith.

    Faith is trust in Christ’s righteousness alone for our salvation.

    That is a theological proposition about Christ. It seems to me, that you are claiming that I must give my intellectual assent to this theological proposition in order to be saved. Kevin, if I am to be saved, what must I do besides giving my intellectual assent to this theological proposition? Is living a godly life in any way necessary if I am to avoid damnation? Or can I give my intellectual assent to the theological proposition that you have articulated, live my life as an unrepentant sinner, and expect to enter into Heaven when I die?

    And we don’t make faith to be the word obedience.

    Who, exactly, are the persons that “make faith to be the word obedience”? St. Paul speaks about the “obedience of faith” that comes from accepting the gospel, and I believe that I understand what St. Paul means by the phrase the “obdeience of faith”. Kevin, what do you think Paul means by the phrase the “obedience of faith”?

    Hebrews says it is without faith it is impossible to please Him, not love.

    Where, exactly, does the author of Hebrews say that it is possible to please God without loving God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might? Where, exactly, does the author of Hebrews say that it is possible to please God without loving your neighbor as yourself?

  3. Mateo, so a faith that doesn’t save is real faith? Whats real about it? Its real ineffective, or real weak? Or really it belongs to my mother when i was born and applied to me? So the belief that the Demons have is real faith? Boy that RCIA program, 27 things you have to do before being justified. Take 1 year and fulfill the Law and then you can be justified by baptism. Can you tell me Rome’s definition of faith? If a baby can have it, how would you define it?Osmosis? I’ll do you one better all you love lovers. Hebrews says without faith it is impossible to please him. So i might be nothing without love, but i can’t please God without faith. So faith is obedience? Romans 5:1 “having been justified by obedience?”Well of course we disagree on how a man is born again? Paul says faith is the entry way into this holistic salvation and you say faith formed in love( sanctification). You don’t believe a man is born again, you believe an infant is born again.

  4. DeMaria, what you do speaks so loud we don’t hear what you say. Your a guy that writes diatribes on the importance of works in your justification, and you offend me blatantly and i’ve asked you for an apology and you ignore it.

  5. Kevin, if it were anyone but you or Eric, I might be hurt or concerned. But…

    KEVIN January 11, 2014 at 6:50 am
    Eric, I want to call this DeMaria guy an idiot but I’m going to hold off. ….

    If you thought that I wouldn’t read that, you’re an idiot Kevin. And I mean exactly what I’m saying to you.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  6. DeMaria, if you remember i apologized for that.

  7. I don’t remember your apologizing to me.

  8. Erick, I heard Michael Horton say one time that faith has no virtue that would merit God’s acceptance. I think this is a great view of the great doctrine of justification. Augustine fought the Pelagian heresy only to see it raise itself in semi pelagianism in the church again.

  9. Kevin.

    That is not argument.

  10. De Maria,

    Do you really think that if people fail to interact with you it is because you are a most worthy and intimidating opponent? You need to re-read your “na ahhh” and “’cause my church said so” crap through the eyes of others and you may understand how you merely succeed in being annoying. Others don’t interact with you because you write like a teenage fundamentalist on steroids. Grow up, write like a man (that is, if you are indeed an adult) and own up to the fact that you don’t hold a candle to most people on this blog, whatever their denomination. You do however think highly of yourself and it comes off as smug and self-righteous, so as to turn off anyone looking at joining your group. To be winsome is to love others. Therefore I imagine you to be a very hateful, sad human being. Look into that before you self-destruct. Seriously.

  11. OK, let’s tone it down, people.

  12. De Maria–

    You said:

    “I don’t remember your apologizing to me.”

    You used possessive case before a gerund…excellent!!! I take back all the mean things I’ve said about you lately. A very good friend of mine–a veritable “grammar Nazi”–had the ubiquitous non-use of possessives before gerunds as one of her prime pet peeves. I mean, practically no one uses them in normal speech any more. They has been relegated to formal writing.

    Thanks for making my day…. 🙂

  13. Sorry…they HAVE been relegated….

    (It’s embarrassing to make a grammar mistake in a post concerning grammar. I switched the pronoun from “it” to “they” and forgot to correct for agreement. Whoops!)

  14. De Maria–

    Absolutely zero confessional Protestants believe that either of the two Sacraments are mere signs or symbols. And yes, I believe, together with the Catholic church, that adult baptism is sacramentally effectual.

    1. Protestant-style “regeneration” is what I said it is: something rather similar to the Catholic “conversion of the baptized” or “second conversion.”

    2. No, a confession of faith by itself does not bring into effect the washing away of sins…or regeneration by the Spirit. But I am not hung up on the order of events, for God is timeless in his dealings with us. As for marriage, I actually believe it fulfills many of the characteristics of a Sacrament.

    3. All genuine faith is “saving faith.” It basically includes the virtues of hope and love and obedience. Augustine, for example, observed that love was directly attached to faith. Aquinas stated that “love was the form of faith that quickened the act of faith.” Hebrews 11 states that faith is the substance of things hoped for. 1 Corinthians 13 divides faith, hope, and love up rhetorically, but the three are connected at the hip. Faith alone, as I have told you on a number of occasions, is short for “justification by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone for the glory of God alone.” The focal “sola” for soteriology in that list is actually not “sola fide” but “solus Christus” (Christ alone).

  15. DeMaria, For me when I read Romans 10:9″ “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. I take Paul at his word. If baptism were necessary for salvation, it would violate this verse. Paul says if you do these two things you will be saved. Absolutely Baptism is commanded, and I believe it is not just a sign but a seal and confirmation of God’s grace. We look back on our baptism as a means of God’s grace. But if Paul said that Christ did not send him to baptize but preach the gospel, and the scripture specifically says in Romans 10, 1 Peter 1:23, James1:18 that faith comes thru the hearing the word of God thru the Spirit, then i would reject baptism as be a lever for regeneration.

  16. Kevin,

    The problem is that you are assuming that Paul is intending to exclude repentance, baptism, the imposition of hands, and the Holy Eucharist when he says “believe on the Lord and you shall be saved”. What Paul is doing is making salvation through faith exclusive to the Mosaic Law. If this latter case is the reality, then it is fine that he only speaks of “Faith” for salvation, because when Paul says “faith”, it is a code word that implicitly includes baptism.

    That you might hand wave at this is only my expectation. Especially with verses from Romans 4, 1 Cor 1 “Christ sent me not to baptize”, etc,etc.

    However, no hand waving is going to be effective in this specific regard until you explain how Paul went off the rails in Acts 19. I mean, truly, if he had your view, he would not have interacted with these Jews in this way. Please provide an explanation how Paul can connect water faith, baptism, laying on of hands in ORDER to receive the Holy Spirit? He just blew it did he not?

  17. Erick, your reading those things into that verse, I’m only reading what the verse says. How are we to speculate on an inclusion outside of what he said. But your point is instructive, how things are piled on in the RC. If we were born on a desert Island and Romans 10:9 came washing up, and we read it and believed, would we be saved? And incidentally James isn’t talking about how faith is obtained, but how it s shown. When he talks about his justification before God and ( a more distant faith) he quotes Genesis 15, and when he wants to show how faith is shown( blepis) Physically he uses Genesis 22. The key verse is 18 where he uses the word show twice. IOW James is simply saying good works follow justification or faith is justified( shown) by its works. My answer on Acts 19 to follow.

  18. Erick, Acts 19, well we know this can’t mean baptism was the reason for their salvation because it would violate Acts 2 and 10 where they had received the Spirit before baptism. The key here after hearing the men say in whom( tis) where you baptized and hearing they had not known about the Holy Spirt, Paul being the great evangelist that he is tells them John baptized telling them in whom to believe( the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit)in Him, Jesus. They believed and were baptized and received the Holy Spirit. Here again , just like Mary being the mother of Jesus turns into the fourth member of the trinity, You the RC tries to take versus like this and read baptism ex opere operato. It aint there. They believed, received the Holy Spirit and were baptized. Faith. Not Faith as its formed in love. Faith has no virtue that would merit God’s acceptance. Romans 10:9 retrains all those who believe in some way baptism is causal in regeneration and salvation. Just like in Hebrews 10:18 restrains the Catholic mass ever being anything but a fictitious sacrifice.

  19. Eric, when you say that baptism is sacramentally effectual like the Catholic church, do you believe by doing the Lord’s super it is effectual ( efficacious) in salvation? “A confession of faith by itself doesn’t bring into effect the washing away of sins?”Are you sure? Romans 10:9 would say otherwise. Am i losing you bro. You following Jason to Rome. I hope not. Your my mentor. LK

  20. Jason, As I thought about it last night i realized that even though thats how i feel, it was wrong for me to make a value judgment. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. But I want to challenge you. I thought about you as I prayed for you last night for you that you were a man who once fought along the side guys like Horton, Eric, and all Reformed for this statement “Faith has no virtue that would merit God’s acceptance.”I want to challenge you to ask yourself,after all you went through and all you did to leave for Rome, did you do the right thing? Eric made a very wise statement that we don’t always know all the reasons we do what we do. Man can I relate to that. I’m not expecting a public answer.

  21. Kevin–

    I haven’t even worked it all out for myself. Most Reformed Baptists I know are not sacramental when it comes to baptism. (The people who submit themselves for baptism are already “saved.” How can the water be anything other than a symbol of their new status in Christ?) But for Presbyterians–because the infants do not exhibit faith–baptism is a sign and a seal of their covenant relationship in Christ. Though it awaits their eventual conversion, it is thought of as effectual. Not universally effectual–not ex opere operato–but dependent on the child’s incipient faith.

    Reformed Baptists also often don’t think of the Eucharist as sacramental. Many come over from dispensational Baptist circles which view the sacraments as mere ordinances, something ordained by Christ which we should obey and having emotional power but nothing terribly spiritual per se. It becomes a mere add on to the service which centers around the sermon. Actually, there isn’t much more than a sermon and a bunch of praise choruses. I don’t happen to buy into that whole “Baptist” culture. It’s so contemporary (ignoring any historical connection to the church across time) and consumerist (catering to the individual, to show him or her a “good” time or to give him or her excellent advice on their marriage/family/career) rather than being centered on Christ.

    I gotta go. Screaming babies. I’ll continue later.

  22. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    I thought about you as I prayed for you last night for you that you were a man who once fought along the side guys like Horton, Eric, and all Reformed for this statement “Faith has no virtue that would merit God’s acceptance.”

    Jason Stellman, in “What ‘Counted’ as Abraham’s Righteousness?”, wrote:
    .
    We now turn to the *locus classicus* of the Reformed doctrine of the imputation of alien righteousness, Rom. 4.
    Now, a lot can be said about this chapter, and I do hope to return to it in my next post. For example, what exactly does *logizomai* mean (the Greek word from which we get the English term “impute” or “reckon”)? What does Paul mean by “the one who does not work”? What does the appeal to David teach us about justification? What was the nature of Abraham’s faith? Et cetera, et cetera.
    .
    …we need to ask ourselves one simple question: What, according to Paul, was “reckoned to” Abraham as his righteousness?
    .
    The answer is quite simple: Abraham’s *faith* is what was considered by God as his righteousness…
    .
    So why am I belaboring a point I insist is so obvious? Because the Protestant/Reformed understanding of Paul’s words says that the apostle is most assuredly *not* saying that Abraham’s faith was counted as his righteousness, but rather, it was by faith that Abraham received what was really counted as his righteousness, namely, the alien righteousness of Christ (an interpretation that even Charles Hodge admitted was somewhat forced). But it sure seems to me that Paul could not be more clear: *Elogisthe to Abraam he pistis eis dikaiosunen* (“Faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness”).
    .
    My question, then, is this: If Paul was operating from a paradigm that said that it was not Abraham’s faith itself that was counted as his righteousness, then how likely is it that he would have written (in the most important section in all of his writings on the subject) that “Abraham’s faith was counted as his righteousness”?

  23. Eric, I can totally relate. I actually have no problem with infant baptism as long as it isn’t ex opere operato. The separation for me in a sacrament was heavily influenced by my understanding Paul’s teaching on circumcision and the sheer lack of evidence for anything other than faith coming thru hearing the word of God as being causal. Horton makes a compelling case, if not convincing, about how God does everything ex nihilo thru his word and Spirit. Let there be….. Let the earth bring forth ( sanctify.). And the Reformed view of the sacraments as being God’s giving to us, or confirming to us his presence thru faith, the word and the Spirit, instead of the work of man to obtain or purchase forgiveness for himself, which the Reformers thought abominable. This is a hard line for me. I do agree that evangelicals or dispensationalist don’t appreciate the importance of the seal and confirmation of grace, but it is difficult for me to see the abuse in the other direction with the RC as the Spirit being contained in a sacrament for the distribution of by a human secondary cause. Horton is right, God works on the conscious of man and brings salvation to his heart thru his Spirit and his word, not the church or secondary causes. The church and a priest can’t usurp the work of the Trinity. This does not mean however that the word and sacrament, thru the church is not a means of free grace. Warfield was leery of all secondary causes as being human in nature. Incidentally, on the Westminster calif website there is a great article by Fesko on the resurrection of believers thru our faith and justification that is compelling. He is along the lines with Vos. Hamish, Harris, and Harry active this morning?

  24. Wosbald, one word Wosbald, you appear in the language of your heartthrob Jason. You got any of your own thoughts bro? The reason Jason is wrong is because in Romans 4: Paul speaks immediately of something external(wage) being credited to our account, instead of something internal(faith). If Paul’s conceptual framework were that verse 3 implies to Paul that the credited righteousness consists of faith, then why would it enter Paul’s mind to illustrate with the words “To the one who works, his wage is not credited according to grace but according to debt”? Why would he speak of a wage or a gift from outside ourselves. He would say “to the one who works, his work is credited as his righteousness according to debt.”But this isn’t Paul’s conceptual framework. He jumps from” Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” to ” a worker doesn’t get his earnings according to grace but according to debt. In verse 4 the grammar is different than verse 3. The external reward is the subject of a passive verb and is, therefore , the thing credited. This external reward is credited either to a “worker” as a wage according to debt, or to “one who believes” as a gift “according to grace. Would not the wording of verse 4 rather tell us that in Paul’s mind “faith being credited for righteousness” is shorthand for faith being the way an external righteousness is received as credited to us by God.-namely, not by working but by trusting him who justifies the ungodly. Paul’s conceptual framework for imputation in verses 4 and 5 would, therefore, not be God’s crediting something we have for righteousness, but God’s crediting a righteousness we don’t have to be ours by grace through faith. What else is Jason thinking today Wosbald.

  25. Kevin–

    “Ex nihilo” is fine and all, but how would one go about baptizing only “elect” infants? For God not only said there was light, but THERE WAS light! Baptizing the children of believers is not quite random–for they have the benefit of growing up in Christian homes–but still. Why don’t we just baptize all right-handed babies (if we could infallibly determine such: I am unsure of the handedness of Hamish and Hubert and Harris) since we know that left-handers are sinister and gauche and headed for the bad place?

  26. Kevin–

    I wrote a continuation to my earlier reply but have not been able to get it to go through. I might divide it up or something since other posts (like this one) are going through.

  27. Kevin–

    Here is the first “installment” (hopefully):

    Presbyterian and other Reformed churches DO see the Lord’s Supper as a “means of grace,” using the same terminology as the Catholics but signifying something slightly different. It is strength for sanctification but definitely NOT part of the justification “process.” (Actually, the principal difference between us and them soteriologically is that for us it’s a done deal. We still go through many of the same things spiritually. Many Evangelical churches, especially those from the post-conservative Emergent Movement, are starting to see conversion as more of a process rather than a momentary point-in-time decision. I cannot stand the Emergent Movement as a whole (they’re just a liberalizing trend within Evangelicalism, allowing for “believers” to follow the changing of societal morality–pro-choice, same-sex marriage–without supposedly trading in their “born-again” status). They do place more emphasis on caring for the poor. A good thing if they actually knew how to benefit the poor. At any rate, I think they’re probably right in seeing it more as a process (which actually brings them more in line with many if not most confessional Protestants).

  28. Kevin–

    Yippee! I got part of it to go! Here’s another segment:

    Catholics are right in that baptism is spoken of biblically as effecting the washing away of sins. I don’t think there is anything to the ordering of events in God’s economy. Some people get saved and go for many years without getting baptized. Some people get baptized as adults and yet go for many years before actually getting saved. Confession of faith might well bring one into Union with Christ, but you are still missing the effects and benefits of baptism: it is something you need to do. (The thief on the cross next to Jesus obviously wasn’t baptized. That’s part of the reason why Catholics posit a “baptism of desire.” He would have gotten baptized were he able.) Everything goes together, and God doesn’t rely on our getting everything strictly in order. Some in Scripture received the Holy Spirit BEFORE getting baptized.

    Things were messy in the early church. Standards were not in place. Many variants existed. For the most part, this doesn’t seem to have created a problem within orthodoxy. (Yes, there were blatantly heretical sects which had to be avoided.) But Johannine communities were fairly separate from Petrine or Pauline or Andrine or Thomasine communities. They were united by genuine faith in the risen Christ and NOT by conformity to exact rituals and authority structures.

  29. Kevin–

    So far, I can’t get it to take the final two paragraphs. Once more into the breach!

    The reason many Catholics hold onto baptismal regeneration for dear life is that they have no palpable relationship with Christ himself. They would despair otherwise. You need have no fear that I will join Jason in swimming the Tiber. My experience of Catholicism is of a hollowed out shell bereft of the Spirit. Ninety percent of Catholics I meet are nominal at best. If they are spiritual at all, it is composed of superstition or ritualism or New Age (and other mythic) crap. They have “the form of godliness” while “denying the power thereof.” Like other liberal churches, they borrow praise choruses from Evangelical churches and classic Protestant hymns (even “A Mighty Fortress is our God”), trying to appeal to young people and Protestant converts, I guess.

  30. Eric, on board with everything you said. I’m left handed however, and it made me a high school basketball star( he says with all humility). Maybe it was because i’m 6″4 and shot like Larry Bird( he says again humbly)too. Eric, check out my response to one word Wosbald against what i believe is a faulty interpretation on Jason’s part of Romans 4. Let me know what you think?

  31. Kevin–

    Only one little snippet left. Leave your wife, become a priest, pray a Mass for me, and throw a scapular over your left shoulder….

    Of course, Protestants sometimes do the same sort of thing, singing choruses from heretical (conservative and liberal) groups and old Catholic hymns dripping with idolatry. Many Evangelical churches have begun the process of assimilating with the culture. We may be a generation or two from their fading from the scene.

    I will not be following Jason to Rome, but I do wish to be catholic. There IS one church. It just doesn’t have the least thing in common with Rome spiritually.

  32. Kevin–

    Finally! It WORKED!!! (You didn’t actually do all that stuff, did you?) 🙂

  33. Eric, wow, what a post on Romanism. I might have to write that down. You nailed it bro!

  34. Ohhhh brother…. We haven’t had someone this raw and fired up for a long time.

    Kevin (buckle up newbie),

    (I will respond to your posts in the polite point by point fashion)

    Kenneth, funny i feel the same way about your position on baptismal regeneration. It has no historical support.It didn’t exist in the OT or the NT. I to couldn’t stomach the fact that the bible never talks about baptism being regenerative. Especially Romans 10, 1 Peter 1:23. James 1:18 tell ingme faith comes through hearing the word of God by the Spirit. Especially when I look at Paul’s explanation on Circumcision being a sign of faith. Since Paul tells me the biggest sacrament in the OT came after Abraham’s faith, i will trust Paul when he tells me that Christ didn’t send him to baptize but preach the word. Because had Christ sent Paul to baptize, we would have a bunch of unsaved people. They would be washed clean on the outside, but having not heard the word, they would be unregenerate.

    Baptismal regeneration has no historical support? Not according to JND Kelly. Not if we read Schaff. Not to Pelikan. Not even according to King and Webster (and thats really saying something)! Where are you getting your information from? Your exegesis of scripture is interesting but you find yourself in stark disagreement with men Like…. Martin Luther! John Wesley, Augustine, Aquinas, Jerome and many other of the best exegestes in history. Is this a shameless appeal to authority? Yes. But it should at least give you pause. To say definitely that “it is found NOWHERE in scripture” is to place a lot of faith in your own abilities as an exegete over and against the all time greats. I’ll side with Aquinas and Augustine. Thanks but no thanks. You keep on going onand on about circumcision being a sign….. yes it was! It was also useless for salvation…. We all agree with you. You insisting that baptism must be the exact same in every way as circumcision is like me insisting that Christs sacrifice must be the exact same in every way as that of a goat or a lamb. Nonsense.

    Kenneth, Eric said it best. We believe if Augustine was dropped down into the Reformation he would have agreed with us, but if that weren’t the case, we are not under any dream and that would change the fact that God sent Luther to save the Apostles and the Early church from this giant error. Calvin rightly asserted that if we added up all the proofs of the early fathers they would overwhelmingly fall on our side.

    You believe that God sent Luther (the prophet?) to save the Church from the giant error that if added up all together falls overwhelmingly on your side? Got it. lol!

    Kenneth, To say that the church fathers were not affected by the the culture at their time, namely pagan philosophy or practices ,is just flat naive. It has nothing to do with protestants playing bait and switch. Your post is a great look into the mind of a Roman Catholic. To you a church father can’t be right and wrong,only infallible. The fact that he might be a mere man like you and I isn’t reasonable. We have a different term for the Reformed being able to look at the works of the fathers and appreciate their contribution, and still see where they may have errors. Its not called bait and switch, its called the fallibility of man and human tradition. Again i posit to you an infallible bishop of the church selling forgiveness. These were sinful men like you and me. The Pharisees thought they were infallible. It should be instructive to you that when Jesus confronted the religious historical church of His day, He didn’t commend them. He told them that in vain glory do they worship him, they taught as doctrines the commandments of men. Well we know one thing, that in the end the Roman church will be judged like all other churches. The Reformers thought that the Roman church was the fulfillment of the antichrist in Thessalonians. Luther believed that the prophecies of Daniel, Jude, Revelation could only be speaking of your church. These men had the courage, unlike a lot of so called Reformed today, at the risk of their lives to call Rome what they thought it was.

    The Church has always felt the effect of pagan cultures and practices. We have had crises and controversies, bad popes etc. There have been Popes that taught heresy. There have been Popes that wrongly excommunicated saints. You are correct though, we do have different methods of determining what the early church fathers contribution is to the sacred deposit. RCs appeal to Sacred Tradition, Scripture and the official teaching of the magisterium. You accept as a contribution whatever happens to align with your personal interpretations. Luther and Calvin were heretics no different than Arius or the Donatists. You follow them at your own risk. Hope you are having a wonderful afternoon

  35. Eric, Ya i just got off the phone with my wife. She actually wasn’t that bothered with the leave your wife part. Ha! Ha!. Ya tell me about the evangelical church. Of course i was one of those guys in LA on the fast track and went to Grace community church and MacArthur was preaching on Mathew 7 that day. The rest is History. My problem with the evangelical church is the same as Horton’s, the focus on the moral to do’s, as opposed to teaching the great doctrines, like justification by Faith.Becoming more reformed has really made me focus on the purpose of the church and the word and sacrament.

  36. Eric,

    I understand the Anglican position to be very similar to the RCC on the issue of baptism. My LCMS parish held a similar view with only minor alterations necessary. Just so I can know…. do you consider yourself to be in the Anglican or reformed tradition? Seems like you switch back and forth

  37. Kevin–

    My youngest brother was 6’5″, a lefty, and a starter on his H.S. basketball team that went to the “elite eight” in Illinois. They lost to a team with at least three starters being Division I recruits, including the top recruit in the country. THAT’S whom my brother guarded: he “held” him to a measly 25 points, too!

    I don’t have time at the moment to delve into Romans 4. I do know that the Catholics believe there is a difference between “works of debt” and “works of grace.”

  38. Christ, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. More to follow. Enjoying reading your response Kenneth.

  39. Kenneth–

    I follow my own “personal interpretation” of the biblical text and church tradition. I seek after God with all my heart and mind and soul and believe “derivative” methods like yours to be unspiritual and ignoble. You don’t trust yourself to find God in all his truth simply because others haven’t. Finding truth is supposed to be hard!

    I would describe myself as Reformed, within the Evangelical wing of the Anglican Communion, albeit a bit more liturgical, as well as credo-baptistic. Or variantly, as a high-church (liturgical/sacramental) Reformed Baptist.

    There aren’t too many of us. Timothy George–at Beeson Divinity in Birmingham, Alabama–is something quite similar.

  40. Kenneth–

    By the by, the Donatists were fully orthodox in their beliefs. They were, however, rigoristic (if that’s a word) and schismatic. Augustine thought quite highly of Tyconius, a brilliant Donatist exegete, actually using some of his insights in combating the schismatic group.

    The 1999 “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” affirmed by both JPII and B16, effectively dispelled the mutual anathemas of Trent and Augsburg, at least on the topic of justification. Are you sure Luther is still considered a heretic? B16 spoke rather highly of him.

  41. Kenneth, Your right, unlike the RC who had a history of keeping not only the cup from the congregation, but also the word of God, we believe the scripture when it tells us that all scripture is inspired by God profitable for teaching, CORRECTION, and training in righteousness. so yes we make evaluations as the scripture urges us to, when we see apostasy. I noticed you listed tradition first ahead of Scripture, was that a freudian slip. You can’t blame Luther for putting his foot down when your church wanted to sell the very thing our Savior purchased with his life to offer as a free gift, can you. Im sure you being a man of God would have stepped in also and the expense of your life, am i correct. I mean we can at least agree that a man lead by the Holy Spirit couldn’t institute the selling of forgiveness ,at the expense of the poor, to build a basilica and put up gold in the church. I’m sure when he instituted this he was mindful of Pater and Paul saying ” Gold and silver i have none.” Incidentally does the RC still sell indulgences and masses? This is my understanding. But i’ll wait for your response. Kenneth, obviously you believe in infant baptism that developed thru tradition. Do you also support pedo- communion practiced in the church? The issue isn’t who one follows, its what gospel one follows. Unfortunately, the church has fought the Pelagious snake thru History and Augustine dealt with it, but those Roman school boys like yourself, restless with desire to fulfill Aristotle’s dream got carried away, and the old Pelagian head rose again in the semi pelagic mode. And those mischievous sophists, what did they do. Changed the gospel. The piled on the rubbish high. I’l go with the Reformers on the Gospel, since they were Catholic priests with inside knowledge. We adopt the words of Paul which are concrete for us. I also will respond in kind. Please read my refutation of Jason’s position on Romans 4 which i wrote to Wosbald. The Kenneth. God Bless

  42. Eric, wow unbelievable. I also played high school basketball in Illinois. My senior year we were beat in the sectionals by Venice. What school?

  43. Eric,

    Right after explaining how finding truth is easy…. You tell me how “there aren’t that many” that see things the way you do! lol! Whasup with that?

    Also, the Donatists were by no means “fully orthodox”. They had numerous heretical teachings not the least of which was the idea that a ministers sin could effect the efficacy of sacraments. The anathemas are not listed. The joint declaration carries no doctrinal weight. Its an “ecumenical” document. See here

    http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/did-the-catholic-church-come-around-to-the-lutheran-position-on-faith-justification-a

  44. Kenneth–

    I said finding the truth was HARD. (There are only a few of us “really smart” guys that have “caught on.” God can’t go around throwing his pearls to swine, now, can he?)

    Have you heard of “ex post facto” laws? I don’t believe the whole “priests’ sins cannot effect the efficacy of sacraments” was de fide until AFTER it came up with the Donatists.

    Yeah, I don’t believe that the anathemas made the final draft, but certainly, they were discussed. If the JDDJ carries no doctrinal weight, all that tells me is that Catholics do not dialogue in good faith.

  45. Kenneth–

    From you link:

    “It does not cover all that either church teaches about justification; it does encompass a consensus on basic truths of the doctrine of justification and shows that the remaining differences in its explication are no longer the occasion for doctrinal condemnations.

  46. Eric,

    The Declaration does say that…. but doesn’t effectively lift any of the anathemas. That document compromised both RC and Protestant doctrine and represents ecumenism at its worst. Although Im told the declaration did result in many converts to Rome which I suppose is wonderful…. Im not a fan of ecumenism in general. You will notice that the article says at the very beginning that neither side actually retracted their positions on justification.

    Kevin,

    I will happily get to Romans 4 later on tonight…. unfortunately I am low on time and so wil have to leave you with this link on indulgences…. I think you will find it helpful. God bless

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/primer-on-indulgences

  47. Kevin,

    Your explanation of Acts 19 is erroneous. It was not a matter of receiving the holy spirit through faith, and then they just happened to be baptized afterward. You appealed to Acts 2 and 10 saying that it would be a contradiction if the Jews in Acts 19 received the holy spirit through the laying on of hands. However, do you not recall the Samaritans who believed in the message of the gospel, and who were baptized in water (in the name of the Lord Jesus), and had yet to receive the Holy Spirit? Remember Peter and John had to go and “lay hands on them”?
    When the apostles received the Spirit and when the Gentiles received the Spirit in Acts 2,10…these were exceptional cases. In the first place, in Acts 2, there were no prior “hands” give bestow the Spirit. The 120 were the first to receive the Spirit in this way, and so it would make sense why they received it apart from any sacraments. The Gentiles were never to be baptized until the LORD made it clear that Gentiles are included into the covenant people. These two situations would have demanded a non-sacramental reception of the Spirit. However, Peter tell us the order is such “Repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:36). And then the situation of the Samaritans and the Jews in Acts 19 make it more reasonable to believe that was was normative was for people to receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands of the bishop.

  48. Kenneth–

    Oh, I know…JDDJ was mostly smoke and mirrors, but I just had to yank your chain. Groups like the LCMS and the Wisconsin Synod did not take part (for they are not members of the Lutheran World Federation) and were not at all taken in by it. They condemned it in the strongest possible terms as not representative of true Lutheranism.

    Why DOES the Roman church enter into dialogue with essentially apostate churches?

  49. Kevin, in your response to me, you did not answer even one of the questions that I posed to you. Instead, you went off on a tangent where you put words into my mouth, and then mocked me for the words that you put into my mouth.

    If you will start giving direct answers to the questions that are put to you, you will show me that you are truly interested in entering a respectful dialog with the Catholics that are posting here. If you can’t do even that much, then I have to ask you why you can’t be bothered to reply to the questions that are asked of you.

  50. Matteo, will give direct answers.

  51. Erick, Let me reiterate im a firm believer in baptism as seal and confirmation of God’s grace. But no external act is necessary for salvation. Acts 15 and Romans 4 give heavy weight to this. If it were necessary, we would expect to find it stressed whenever the gospel is preached, and this isn’t the case. Peter in his diatribe from Solomon’s Portico Acts 3:12-26 makes no reference to baptism it was so important. He links forgiveness of sins with repentance. Paul is meticulous in perching the gospel and yet he doesn’t preach baptism as necessary for salvation. Acts 22, when translated properly is calling on his name. acts 10:48 was the reception of the Holy Spirit before baptism. All the examples in the scripture of people saved without being baptized. I just don’t see the scriptures about new birth, salvation, forgiveness you provide as any proof for baptism being the laver of regeneration, let alone a baby ex opere operato. The Holy Spirit with the washing of the word is thru faith is regenerative. I’m sure when Jesus told Nicodemas that unless a man is born again he will not see the kingdom of heaven, in no way could he have meant baby baptism. The practice of the early church coming out of the new testament was predominantly adult baptism. We are told specifically by Paul that faith comes thru hearing and hearing thru the word. Peter tells us specifically that the external does not save she he says “not by the removal of dirt but by the appealing to God for a clear conscience. The baptism of the holy Spirit. Baptism is a sacrament like circumcision or like the rainbow God gave to Noah. A sacrament is not the cause, but it is a sign and seal and confirmation of God’s grace. Eric believes that baptism is effectual in the sense when real faith appears it is made in effect. Im ok with that. But to say it is not only necessary work for salvation and the leading cause of salvation, and to say it provides and infant faith, being born again, regeneration, its not there. The example you provide can’t make a convincing case against the evidence i just provided.

  52. KEVIN January 22, 2014 at 3:35 am
    DeMaria, For me when I read Romans 10:9? “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. I take Paul at his word. If baptism were necessary for salvation, it would violate this verse.

    Can you be saved without being raised to new life? How do you read this verse?
    Romans 6
    King James Version (KJV)
    1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
    6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

    Is there a difference between being saved and being raised to new life? Because I take St. Paul at his word and I believe that one must be baptized in order to be raised to new life.

    Paul says if you do these two things you will be saved. Absolutely Baptism is commanded, and I believe it is not just a sign but a seal and confirmation of God’s grace. We look back on our baptism as a means of God’s grace. But if Paul said that Christ did not send him to baptize but preach the gospel, and the scripture specifically says in Romans 10, 1 Peter 1:23, James1:18 that faith comes thru the hearing the word of God thru the Spirit, then i would reject baptism as be a lever for regeneration.

    Baptism means “to wash” and laver means “to wash”. To me, salvation is being united to Christ in His death. To me, salvation is being united to Christ in His resurrection.

    And St. Paul is not the only one saying that Baptism saves you. So does Jesus:
    Mark 16:16
    King James Version (KJV)
    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    So does St. Peter:
    1 Peter 3:21
    The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

    So does St. Luke:
    Acts 2:37-39
    King James Version (KJV)
    37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

    38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  53. DeMaria, Romans 6 is on sanctification. These verses are descriptive, nor prescriptive. This is how we are to live. Not how we are justified. This doesn’t violate Romans 10:9. Baptizo ( immersed into) is used in describing the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. You can’t read baptism into that verse. When we believe we are baptized by the Spirit into his death and regenerated. Peter tell us its isn’t external act ” the removal of dirt”but an appeal to God for a clean conscience. This is speaking of internal change. No DeMaria, it means to immerse into. Many times in the NT it is talking of the internal work of the Spirit. Paul preaches the gospel meticulously and never mentions baptism. We have so many examples of people that were saved without even being baptized. Peter tells that external washing does not save you, but the internal work of the Spirit thru faith. You can’t read baptism into those verses,sorry charlie.

  54. KEVIN January 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm
    DeMaria, Romans 6 is on sanctification.

    Romans 6 is on salvation. Salvation is being united to Christ. Salvation is being raised to new life.

    These verses are descriptive, nor prescriptive.

    The verses are prescriptive and descriptive. They prescribe baptism for those who want to be raised up to new life with Christ. They describe Baptism as union with Christ in His death in order to be raised with Him to new life. Not only that, but this is confirmed elsewhere:

    Colossians 2:12
    Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

    This is how we are to live. Not how we are justified.

    It is both how we are to live and how we are justified. Those who do the will of God are justified. Those who do good are justified.

    This doesn’t violate Romans 10:9. Baptizo ( immersed into) is used in describing the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

    Baptizo, washed, is used to describe two things, the action of the water on the skin which is a sign of the action of the Holy Spirit in regeneration:
    Titus 3:5
    King James Version (KJV)
    5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

    Scripture interprets Scripture. Baptism is the WASHING of regeneration. Not the immersion of regeneration.

    You can’t read baptism into that verse.

    It is descriptive of Baptism. It is what happens when a person appears before the Altar of God and asks Jesus Christ for salvation. That is why in Acts 16:31, St. Paul says the same in preparation to baptizing the jailer and his household. He is preparing him for baptism:

    Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

    28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

    30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

    When we believe we are baptized by the Spirit into his death and regenerated.

    Perhaps. The Catholic Church does not deny that the Holy Spirit blows where it will (CCC#1257; Acts 10:47). But the revealed, ordinary and necessary way to be washed and regenerated of the Holy Spirit is by Baptism. Anyone who wants to deny or reject baptism is on his own. and is not joined to the Church nor numbered amongst the elect:
    Acts 2:47
    Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    Peter tell us its isn’t external act ” the removal of dirt”but an appeal to God for a clean conscience.

    The washing of the skin by the water is the sign and indicator that the Holy Spirit has washed the soul of sins:
    1 Peter 3:21
    The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

    This is speaking of internal change.

    Effected by the Holy Spirit. It is not simply a covering up of sin as taught by Luther. The person does not remain unchanged and corrupt. But there is a true change and the person who truly believes in God and repents of his sins is washed of sins and regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

    No DeMaria, it means to immerse into.

    I don’t respond too well to authoritarian, say-so statements. I have shown you in previous messages that Baptism means “to wash” as well as “to immerse”. I have shown you that the Scripture (Titus 3:5) speaks of the washing of regeneration not the immersion of regeneration. So, until you can come up with something more substantial than your opinion, I’ll stick with Scripture.

    Many times in the NT it is talking of the internal work of the Spirit. Paul preaches the gospel meticulously and never mentions baptism.

    I’ve just quoted twice where he mentions baptism in Romans 6 and Col 2. He also mentions being baptized in Gal 3.

    Romans 6:3-4
    Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    Colossians 2:12
    Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

    Galatians 3:27
    For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    Why do you deny these verses?

    We have so many examples of people that were saved without even being baptized.

    We have plenty of time to go through each one. Lets see who these people are and how they were saved without baptism.

    Peter tells that external washing does not save you, but the internal work of the Spirit thru faith.

    That is Catholic Doctrine. You can dip yourself in water as many times as you want, but if you do not approach the font of grace which is the Sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church, with a disposition of faith and obedience to accept all that which God has promised, you are not saved.

    You can’t read baptism into those verses,sorry charlie.

    Nor can you write baptism out of every verse. Scripture is clear, Baptism now saves us. And it is clear, Jesus commands Baptism.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  55. Kevin,

    1) Your argument that Peter doesn’t mention baptism in some of his sermons does not prove that he excludes other conditions from salvation which were not mentioned. If he just says repent, can we say he did not include faith? If he says “believe”, can we say it does not include repentance? No. In the same way, the summary sermons that Luke gives is not intended to give the whole speech of the apostles, but the main point. Baptism is actually mentioned quite a bit in Acts, and it is most likely because it was the sacrament of forgiveness.

    2) You did not interact with Acts 19, kevin. Listen to the verses: When they heard this, they were baptized [b]in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Faith and water baptism preceded the reception of the Holy Spirit. How do you not see the monkey wrench to the reformed ordo saludis? In a similar way, what about the Samaritans? For it is said Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized [e]in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. These verses just go to show that the early apostles of our Lord did not know anything of the Calvinistic system of salvation.

    3) Your argument in Romans 4 about Abraham’s faith being credited for righteousness being parallel to an alien gift which is given from outside. Here are the reasons. A) The text of Genesis says that “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6), and the best way to read this is literally. Therefore, Abraham’s faith was credited as righteousness. B) Paul goes into a detailed description of Abraham’s faithfulness and hope in the promised word of God, something which is not outside of Abraham, as the reason for the imputation of his faith for righteousness (Romans 4:18-24). Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. (Rom 4:18-23). Did you read that at the end of the section? Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness BECAUSE Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. It is not “merit” in the strict sense because nothing Abraham did brought God into debt. However, God was pleased with Abraham’s faithfulness, and decided to credit it as righteousness, as pleasing to Him.

  56. Eric, do you ever feel like this is the movie Ground Hogs day?

  57. Erick, can you explain to me how a baby can be born again? Jesus said to Nicodemas that unless a MAN is born again he won’t see the kingdom of God.

  58. KEVIN January 22, 2014 at 8:02 pm
    Erick, can you explain to me how a baby can be born again?

    By the faith of the parents in the washing of regeneration we call Baptism.

    Jesus said to Nicodemas that unless a MAN is born again he won’t see the kingdom of God.

    Are you excluding women and children then?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  59. Erick, the issue isn’t that Peter excludes baptism. The issue is the Roman church makes it responsible ex opere operato for a person who isn’t able to comprehend the gospel. By the act of it a baby is born again, wiped of all original sin, said to have faith and initially justified. Rome won’t give the benefit of justification to an adult who consciously puts faith in Christ, but will confer by the external act of baptism that on a baby. Pedo- communion was practiced in the church too. Why was this not continued? I asked Kenneth that question but haven’t heard an answer. I told you that acts 19 are believers receiving the Spirit and being baptized. By your definition of ordering of things or not mentioning things we cannot read baptism ex opere operato in Acts 19. Yes God’s order in some situations may have been different, but thats not what we are talking about. Its about the existence of infant baptism and what is the laver of regeneration. And you have no weight in area. 1 Peter 1:23 ” For you have been born again not of a seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” This verse along with Romans 10:17 and James 1:18 is the death of the tradition Infant baptism being regenerative. No one has yet responded to my Romans 4 interpretation because they can’t. It is grammatically exact and exegeted properly. Your response didn’t even deal specifically deal with my points and frankly looked confusing and off the cuff.

  60. Kevin,

    What we need to do first, Kevin, is make your position rationally untenable. Once you see that your basic assumptions about what Paul said, and what Jesus said, and what the biblical authors are actually wrong, then we can go on to answer questions like “How can a baby be born again”? However, you are still operating from your basic assumptions, and so whatever answer I give to you will immediately register as an error in the machine of your mind. For you, being “born again” is a specific thing, and it is only something which can be exhibited in a grown adult. You have a mental picture of what being “born again” is, and this will not change until you examine your assumptions and compare them with the data of the NT. Once you see that your assumptions are erroneous, then you will be intellectually capable of examining a different set of assumptions, ones that conform to the biblical authors.

    I gave you 3 points. Take it line by line, and provide a refutation, such that your interpretive assumptions are vindicated.

  61. DeMaria, where in Scripture does it say that a baby is saved thru the faith of another?

  62. Erick, and your not operating from your assumptions.

  63. Kevin,

    Again, you are side stepping the issue. Especially when you said Yes God’s order in some situations may have been different, but thats not what we are talking about.. What happened here is that you notice that there is a kink in your biblical perspective, and so you will only allow this “sometimes”. . What you fail to realize is that the “order” which you see happening only “sometimes” is actually condemnatory by you. Do you realize that? You condemn the duly ordained bishops who lay hands on men, woman, & children for the reception of the Holy Spirit. You condemn ministers of who baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit IN ORDER that they might be regenerated into the life of the Trinity. You condemn these things. So it is not a matter of “you allowing God” to do it “sometimes”. These occasions are damned by you.

    Lastly, I did provide a refutation to your view of Romans 4. It is above. I will past it below

    Your argument in Romans 4 about Abraham’s faith being credited for righteousness being parallel to an alien gift which is given from outside. Here are the reasons. A) The text of Genesis says that “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6), and the best way to read this is literally. Therefore, Abraham’s faith was credited as righteousness. B) Paul goes into a detailed description of Abraham’s faithfulness and hope in the promised word of God, something which is not outside of Abraham, as the reason for the imputation of his faith for righteousness (Romans 4:18-24). Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. (Rom 4:18-23). Did you read that at the end of the section? Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness BECAUSE Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. It is not “merit” in the strict sense because nothing Abraham did brought God into debt. However, God was pleased with Abraham’s faithfulness, and decided to credit it as righteousness, as pleasing to Him.

  64. Erick, no the burden lies on you to show A. a baby being baptized in scripture B. On the faith of another. Just like burden lies on you to show in scripture that Mary is the co mediatrix. Luther had it right, fictitious divine worship.

  65. Kevin,

    One basic assumption you are working with in Romans 4 is that “righteousness” has to be a perfectly lived human life, absolutely sinless from the cradle to the grace. But then again, if one were to do this, would he/she ever die?

  66. Erick, do you realize you or DeMaria have never admitted any kink in your position. you don’t even admit what your theologians have admitted, that Infant baptism can’t be proved from scripture. They also have said that the assumption of Mary can’t be proved from scripture.

  67. Kevin,

    The debate was never specifically concerning “infant baptism”. The debate concerns whether baptism is required for justification. And we are seeking to deduce this from Scripture.

    As I said before, we have provided a number of challenges to some of your most treasured assumptions. Please interact with them, provide a cogent response, and argue a case otherwise. Until then, the burden is on you, per the focus of the debate, and if no interaction comes forward, I respectfully consider your position in the debate as defeated.

  68. Erick, there is no evidences that anything saves but faith that comes thru haring the word of God. Babies can’t hear the word and they can’t take communion. Baptism is commanded by Scripture and is a sacrament like circumcision which Paul was clear about, Abraham was saved before he was circumcised. Noah was a believer not because of the rainbow( sacrament) but because he believed. There is no virtue of Faith that can merit the acceptance of God. Not baptism, nor love. In fact the scripture says love is greater than faith, but it will never be first. Faith can be the only thing that receives God because he gets all the Glory. Psalms says salvation is from the Lord. Love even though greater will never take the place of faith being the entry point of salvation. Faith always results in love. But love will never replace faith as being the only instrument thru which salvation comes. Calvin was right, those who want to read works into Romans 4 and Romans 2 will get the just recompense they deserve. Erick, these aren’t my assumptions on baptism. Adult baptism was the practice of the NT and the first 200 years of the church. faith has always been the entry into salvation for Paul. Romans 10:9,17 really destroy and assumptions you may have. You have not explained Romans 10:9 to me. DeMaria says that means sacraments. You have to change the meaning of that verse to force baptism as being regenerative. Say it ain’t so Joe, say it ain’t so!

  69. Kenneth, just so I understand your post to me. You see the grand( OT)sacrament of circumcision as completely useless in salvation but the sacrament of baptism as the faith, elimination of original sin, and justification for a baby? Correct.

  70. Kenneth, and you don’t accept as contribution what meets with your interpretations? What does that mean? Does the Scripture tell us to accept the teaching of any church, infallibly? Doesn’t Paul a more important apostle than any pope who ever lived include himself or an Angel when he says, if anyone preaches another gospel , even myself, let him be accursed. Whether you believe Luther was right or wrong, did Luther have the obligation to call out indulgences? Some of my questions you don’t answer. I haven’t heard back from you since pdso communion was practiced in the church, you still believe in that? And I asked you if you thought the bishop responsible for coming up with selling forgiveness was lead by the Holy Spirit in that decision, and was that and was that an infallible aditition to the church? Please don’t give me links, how about your thoughts> Thx

  71. Kevin,

    I never said Romans 10:9 was a sacrament.

    And I think we are done. You merely repeat yourself, hand-wave, and re-assert your assumptions, which begs the question. As I alluded before, you have lost this debate.

    I pray that you are of the best intentions and will continue to seek the Lord with all your heart.

  72. Just one more thing,

    You said that adult baptism was the practice for 200 years after the Church? I assume what you mean is that from the year 30-33 AD until 230 AD, infants were not baptized, or that it would have seem strange to baptize infants?

    The correct view is that Adult baptism has been the practice for 2,000 years and infant baptism has also been practiced for 2,000 years.

    Origen tells us that the tradition of infant baptism goes back to the apostles. For a man who was born in 182 AD, catechized by his parents, and traveled a large part of that part of the earth to admit this when it was a heresy is quite astounding. This is not 200 years after the Church began.

    Likewise, Cyprian who lived before 230 AD, also testifies the apostolic tradition of infant baptism.

    Your numbers are off.

  73. The correct view is that Adult baptism has been the practice for 2,000 years and infant baptism has also been practiced for 2,000 years.

    I think the Phillippians jailer is good evidence that there must have been infant baptism back to the Apostles.

    He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. (Acts 16:33)

    I think this line shows us that you don’t necessarily have to “come to believe” first as the jailer’s family wouldn’t have necessarily all believed when they were baptized.

    Additionally, it’s reasonable to think there were children in the jailer’s family. And if the Phillippians jailer had additional children after he came to believe, he would have baptized them in their infancy.

    Moreso, this is likely not the ONLY case where whole families were baptized. I think as the father was baptized, he’d have his family baptized—to share in the promise of Christ along with all subsequent children…in their infancy.

    I don’t even know why this is an issue.

  74. Erick, most of the Reformed on herekn no your have never won a debate, certainly not against me. If thats all you got on infant baptism being regenerative and your silly retort on Romans 4, thats sad.

  75. Dennis, even if we were to concede household included infants ( which is speculation) it is certainly not ex opere operato apart from clear scripture saying salvation ( faith comes thru hearing the word of God. Roman 10:17. 1Peter 1:23, James 1:18. In fact there is a strong argument that God brings everything about by his word ex nihilo. He created the world, called abraham out of a moon worshiping family, Lazarus back from death. The Spirit Christ to us thru the word, effectual calling-regeneration. And we can finally put Thomas’s pagan medieval model on the shelf.

  76. Dennis, The Spirit brings us Christ through his word. and we can finally put Thomas’s pagan medieval model of infused habits on the shelf.

  77. Dennis, or maybe it was the jailer, his 90 year old mother and his wife, and when he went home they all believed and were baptized. Certainly Paul didn’t answer his questionWhat must i do to be saved? Well you need to go to the infallible church down the street and enroll in the RCIA program, and then after a year of doing 27 things you can be baptized and start a life long installment of doing sacraments, then when your done you must go to purgatory, scrub off the remaining temporal punishment, and then we’ll see. Oh but if you put a scapular on the right weekend you can skip all this. Could you please run and tell the tax collector in Luke and the thief on the cross, because our Lord forget to tell them. Dennis he said believe. Faith has no virtue that can merit the acceptance of God. Thx

  78. Erick, Im still waiting on my answer for pedo communion. Do you believe in this ex opere operato practiced in your church.

  79. Kevin,

    even if we were to concede household included infants ( which is speculation)

    I don’t think that’s speculation at all. I think it’s very reasonable to believe that if a person like the Philippians jailer had his family baptized, then had another baby, that baby would be baptized as well—in infancy. Same goes for Lydia in Acts 16:15.

    3000 people were baptized on the day of Pentecost. Those 3000 people all had families who would be baptized as well and those people would have babies. They would be baptized too.

    I wouldn’t call that “speculation” more like “reasonable assumption.”

    it is certainly not ex opere operato apart from clear scripture saying salvation ( faith comes thru hearing the word of God. Roman 10:17.

    I can concede that faith comes through hearing the word of God. But baptism brings us into Christ. It’s Baptism where we are saved as it’s “in Christ” that we are saved. If a child is brought “into Christ” then it’s the responsibility of the parents to nurture that child so that he/she is properly catechized.

    All of the Phillipians’ jailer’s family (or Lydia’s household) did not fully understand the faith before they were baptized. They were “reborn” in baptism i.e. they were infants. It’s the responsibility of the teachers—the catechizers to develop their faith after that. So that they hear the word of God and their faith comes to fruition.

    Faith is not a one time thing. My faith twenty years ago is drastically different than it is now and yet it’s still developing.

    Same for you. I think it’s reasonable to say that when you—Kevin—were first “saved” your faith has changed remarkably…and it’s still changing. You should be continuously growing in your faith until the day you die.

    So, the Catholic view is that once you are “reborn” in the faith (in Baptism), you nurture it as you are now an infant and you grow into a maturity of faith through love and obedience to God.

    Baptism can happen as an infant or as an adult but in either case, the faith still needs to be constantly developed and nurtured as “reborn” people are still infants and need to come to maturity.

  80. Dennis, consider this, the reason faith is the entry point and primary in regeneration is because only faith has the power to take up and seize what is offered, and by embracing it bring it to the one who believes. Only faith can reach out to receive the free gift. Love is more important, but love is God’s character and it stretches out forward and pours out all that good to our neighbor. Love goes out to another. Therefore since faith is that by which we first accept and take up the promise and mercy of God and Christ himself into our soul, it is not unwarranted that we may say that people are justified by faith, and not love, which in natural order follows faith. The most important isn’t always the first. Faith reaches up and grabs the free gift , namely Christ, then brings all the other graces. The scripture says salvation is from the Lord. The serious flaw in the Roman gospel is the failure to realize that all salvation comes from the hand of God. That is why love can’t replace or take away from faith in justification because only faith can receive Christ. Baptism does not have this function. Paul gives us the purpose in a sacrament clearly when he says the most important in the OT circumcision came after Abraham’s salvation. Why because faith was the only way to embrace it. Circumcision was the sign and seal of this reality. Whether the trees in the garden, the rainbow for Noah, circumcision, or baptism, or love, none have the power of faith to reach out and embrace salvation. So the power the Roman church gave to baptism is unfounded in scripture, and it usurps the intention of the gospel which was to save. Eric makes a wise statement that Catholics infant baptism is so important to them because they have no palpable relationship with Christ. if Paul tells us that faith comes thru hearing the word, then we must reject any other method ( external act) of embracing salvation. Dennis please look at my grammatically and exegetical breakdown of Romans 4 in a recent post to one word Wosbald correcting Jason’s interpretation. Thx

  81. Kevin,

    I apologize but I am having difficulty understanding your point above.

    I think the main reason why is because we might have different understandings of what faith is. So, for Kevin, what is faith?

    For Catholics, we believe that Paul is describing something like this:

    1. Jesus Christ is God
    2. Do you believe?
    a. No…There is one God—or many gods
    b. Yes!

    If the response is Yes! Then from there, comes a radical shift in the person’s life. Faith isn’t just the Yes, Jesus Christ is God. It’s believing and following His commands. It’s to trust in Him for everything. It’s to seek His will above yours. Why? Because salvation lies within Christ.

    At that turning, at point 2.b., then yes, technically, the person is “justified.” But, that person believes and follows Christ and His commands. He is baptized—per the commandment of Christ. Why? Because it’s In Christ that we are reborn.

    If that person is already baptized as an infant, that person must still develop his faith (through the hearing of the word of God). Faith means believing and following His commands. (i.e. the “obedience of faith)

    Again, what does “faith” mean to you?

  82. Dennis, no need for apologies. Your the nicest Catholic on here IMHO. Your right the biblical definition of faith differs from Rome, although i would be interested to here your’s. The word “pistes” means firm trust, embracing, leaning on. Vermigli says it is the firm and constant assent of the soul to the words of God. But faith has no virtue that can merit the acceptance of God. Yes salvation lies with Christ but love, sanctification, cannot grasp Christ because love goes out towards another. Thats why we are justified by faith alone. Because only faith can take up and cease Christ. Love cannot be include in this, because love is something we do and is not first in the natural order. Hebrews 11 says without faith it is impossible to please him. It does not say without love. Why? Because his salvation only can be grasped by faith. And then Paul gives an interesting command. ” the righteous shall live by faith, not by love. Love is more important but it cannot be apart of justification. Paul uses justification in a whole other way than James. For James it was used demonstratively. Was not Abraham……. when he…… and was not Rahab…… But then James returns to the far previous faith when he references Paul’ point “Abraham believed God …….. Dennis what Sungenis does not understand is when a man stands righteous before God in the OT, it isn’t because of a moral act or a work not yet done, its because he is reckoned so by God’s grace. Galations 3:6. Yes I agree a truly justified man will obey God and is commanded to be baptized, but baptism or love wasn’t ordained by God to do what only faith can do, justify a man.

  83. Kevin, I am still waiting for your response to the questions that I posed for you in my post of Jan 21.

    Thanks,
    mateo

  84. Matteo, ok get right on it.

  85. Matteo, please read my last post to Dennis. It actually could be written to you in answer to your questions because i talk about saving faith, but i will expound. Your characterization of faith being a theological proposition about Christ is just that your characterization. Its a faulty claim. Faith is the instrument by which we take up and cease Christ. fI you ask why that receiving Christ unattributed not to love but to faith i respond as follows. It is the power of faith to take up and seize what is offered, and by embracing it bring it to the one who believes. But the nature of love, is derived from the one who loves, is always to draw out, stretch forth, and pour out in abundance something that is always goo to others, it abides wholly in sharing good things we have with our neighbors. Therefore since faith is that by which we first accept and take up the promise and mercy of God and Christ himself into our soul, it is not unwarranted that we say people are justified by faith. Faith has no virtue that can merit the acceptance of Christ. Why? Because it is used by Paul as an antithesis to any works, or anything as coming from ourselves including love ( your way of including sanctification in justification).” But to the one who does not work but believes” believing is in complete antithesis for Paul to works as justifying. Your questions about the obedience of faith leave the smell of Rome about and the charges of antinomianism that Paul bore. We adopt his words and wear those charges as a badge of his being accused. Obedience of faith is exactly that. It doesn’t say obedience is faith. Faith produces love and obedience but does not justify a man before God. Your theologians like Sungenis fail to understand that when a man is righteous before God in the OT it isn’t because of some moral act of yet to be done love or work, but because God reckons him such by his grace before the bar. Please read my post to Wosbald exegeting Romans 4 correctly and putting to bed Jason’s faulty understanding of that passage. Vermigli defines “pisis” faith as the constant and firm assent of the soul to the words of God. It does not include obedience. and if you bring up the only verse you guys have in James, i give a clear understanding to Dennis how James uses justification demonstratively when he wants to show that our faith is justified by its works, but refers to Abraham 15:6 when he talks of the older faith that justifies before God. If i missed anything let me know.

  86. Kevin,

    I gave you my definition of faith. It’s to believe and then be obedient in all things.

    Faith is man’s response to God. God calls us and then man responds. How man responds is his faith. Yes, it’s the constant assent but that “assent” is through man’s obedience to God—in love.

    So, in Christianity, God’s call is His cross which is the one perfect sacrifice and man responds by coming to His cross and partaking in the one sacrifice. Being united to Christ in His one sacrifice and rising with Him in new life.

    So, your constant claim that man is justified by “faith alone” is read by a Catholic as:

    Man is justified by fully coming to Christ and responding to His death on the cross by being united to Him on the cross and being obedient to Christ in all things. In unity with Christ, we find newness in life through His resurrection.

    A Catholic would agree to that above statement. If we come to His cross and feed on Him, if we are obedient to Christ in all things and believe that He is God, we are justified.

    This is what’s found in Scripture. This is what Paul is talking about.

  87. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 3:55 am
    DeMaria, where in Scripture does it say that a baby is saved thru the faith of another?

    Luke 8:41-56

    The miracles of Jesus were prefigurings of the Sacraments. Jesus raised Tabitha to life by the faith of her parents. Jesus will also raise children to eternal life by the faith of their parents in Baptism.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  88. Kevin,

    Kenneth, just so I understand your post to me. You see the grand( OT)sacrament of circumcision as completely useless in salvation but the sacrament of baptism as the faith, elimination of original sin, and justification for a baby? Correct.

    Yes. Baptism regenerates. Circumcision did not.

    Kenneth, and you don’t accept as contribution what meets with your interpretations? What does that mean? Does the Scripture tell us to accept the teaching of any church, infallibly? Doesn’t Paul a more important apostle than any pope who ever lived include himself or an Angel when he says, if anyone preaches another gospel , even myself, let him be accursed. Whether you believe Luther was right or wrong, did Luther have the obligation to call out indulgences? Some of my questions you don’t answer. I haven’t heard back from you since pdso communion was practiced in the church, you still believe in that? And I asked you if you thought the bishop responsible for coming up with selling forgiveness was lead by the Holy Spirit in that decision, and was that and was that an infallible aditition to the church? Please don’t give me links, how about your thoughts> Thx

    No. I accept as a contribution 1. The unanimous consent of the fathers 2. Sacred Tradition and 3. dogmatic pronouncements given by the pope and magesterium in general.

    No. The scripture does not teach that we should accept the teachings of *any* churchas infallible.

    Yes. Paul enjoyed a special and unique authority in that he was actually speaking and writing God breathed and inspired words. Modern Popes and the magesterium do not give inspired teaching.

    Yes. Luther did have an obligation and duty to call out the abuse of selling indulgences.

    Adult baptism was thought to be *preferable* to infant baptism for Tertullian because he didn’t want to waste baptisms regenerative powers on an infant who would still have their whole lives to commit mortal sin. Thats why he writes that it MAY be better to baptize adults. Tertullian did not have a proper understanding of confession and forgiveness of sins post baptism. He would later become a schismatic and join the ultra legalistic montanists. His life and theological views are far removed from your own. He had a good grasp on the Sacred and unanimous Tradition of regenerative baptism…. but had a poor grasp on confession and absolution of mortal sins post baptism. The theological framework of the early church better supports infant baptism than “believers baptism”since it is thought to be actually effective and regenerative on the soul and not merely an outward sign.

    Could you please name the bishop who invented the selling of indulgences? Just curious….

  89. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 4:00 am
    Erick, no the burden lies on you to show A. a baby being baptized in scripture B. On the faith of another. Just like burden lies on you to show in scripture that Mary is the co mediatrix. Luther had it right, fictitious divine worship.

    1. Your changing the subject because:
    a. You haven’t been able to prove Sola Scriptura from Scripture. Whereas, we have proven that Scripture is a form of Tradition. And that the Church is authoritative.

    b. You have not been able to prove that faith alone saves. In fact, you agreed with Robert, another Protestant, that faith alone is dead. And that is the Catholic Doctrine.

    So, now you want to deny that infants can be saved in Baptism. But you have nothing in Scripture denying that infants can be saved in Baptism. All you have is your opinion. Whereas Scripture shows Jesus saving children based upon the faith of the parents, several times.

    And then, you ask how this can happen. As though you doubt that Jesus has the wherewithal and the power to do so with but a word.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  90. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 5:51 am
    Kenneth, just so I understand your post to me. You see the grand( OT)sacrament of circumcision as completely useless in salvation but the sacrament of baptism as the faith, elimination of original sin, and justification for a baby? Correct.

    I’m puzzled by this line of questioning? Are you implying that you find circumcision to be useful in salvation?

    Galatians 5:2
    Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

    Or are you saying that baptism is not useful for salvation because circumcision is not useful for salvation? If that is the case, I remind you that St. Paul said:

    Colossians 2:11-13
    King James Version (KJV)
    11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

    12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

    13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

    So that, if Baptism effects our union with Christ and our being raised from the dead, it is certainly not useless unto salvation.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  91. Dennis, I understand you described the Roman gospel well. No way Paul could have ever meant all those contingencies when he said “If its is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works. otherwise grace wouldn’t be grace. When you say faith means man’s response in obedience to God in love, you fail to see the antithesis Paul defends with all of his being between works and faith. Paul simply says “He is the just and justifier of those who have faith in Jesus.” How could that ever mean a life of sacraments and obedience to see whats in the box at the end. Romans 5:1 says we have been justified past tense and have peace with God. Dennis, If Abraham had to wait to the end of his life to see if he was inherently righteous enough before God, then how could god declare him such at the moment he believed. He wasn’t inherently righteous. Maybe God could have declared him 1/3 righteous or 1/2 righteous, but Abraham believed God and god counted him righteous. It had to be imputation. Thx for the exchange

  92. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    If Abraham had to wait to the end of his life to see if he was inherently righteous enough before God…

    *facepalm*

  93. Kenneth, Bishop of Rome 1343 Clement v1, think he’s in heaven. You still haven’t told me if you support pedo communion ex opera operato practiced in the church ? Thx Kenneth

  94. DeMaria, no i think circumcision is what Paul said it was, a sign and seal of God’s grace of faith. And baptism is the same thing. Paul says faith comes thru hearing the word of God. Babies can’t hear the word of God. do you believe in Pedo communion to ex opere operato that developed in the church?

  95. Wosbald, one word Wosbald, you came out form your smoke. Didn’t see your response to my exegesis of Romans 4. You still hiding under a rock. You won’t go near that i understand. Maybe you can give me Jason’s thoughts on it?

  96. Guys–

    It might be a wise investment of time to listen to the following talk by Peter Kreeft:

    http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/43_faith-works/peter-kreeft_faith-works.mp3

    He talks not only on the different interpretations of the word “faith” in the NT, but also on the proper way to approach ecumenical discussions.

    He says that the Protestant “faith alone” is based on the type of faith Paul discusses in Romans and Galatians: a fully-orbed faith, a committed faith, a “saving” faith (the “YES!” to which Dennis is referring). Kreeft calls it Romeo meeting Juliet.

    Similarly, he says that Catholics tend to reject “faith alone” based on the faith spoken of by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 and by James in the second chapter of his epistle. This is mere intellectual assent–an uncommitted belief. (In other words, NOT a genuine faith…unless the faith of demons can be identified as “genuine.”)

    Paul speaks of faith, hope, and love as if they could be isolated from one another. (As I commented earlier, Augustine wrote of love being directly attached to faith.) Kreeft calls isolated “faith” the root of the plant, isolated “hope” as its stem, and isolated “love” as its flower. Isolated “faith” (or mere belief) is NOTHING (useless/dead, per James) without love, without works. It is a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. It is a seed that never sprouts. On the other hand, love without faith is certainly not the “greatest of these.” (For it would be a rootless flower. Cut flowers last a few days and then wither.) Paul is saying that the whole living plant is greater than the sum of its parts. Protestants could probably even say “justification by love alone” if we were employing this Pauline usage: love as fully-orbed faith.

    In the Parable of the Sower and the Seed (or as some modern interpreters like to say, the Parable of the Soils, since that is where the difference in outcomes lies), some of the unsuccessful plants have roots and stems. We are not told whether or not they flower, but we are told that they bear no fruit. Successful plants may or may not go through many of the same things as the unsuccessful plants: tribulation, persecution, the stress of “the cares of this world” the deceitfulness of riches, and the temptation of desirable but sinful things. But because they have deep roots which go down into good soil, they both survive and eventually thrive.

    However one wishes to interpret this last (concerning roots and soil)–that they are grounded in the Word, that their faith is deep and strong and sure to mature, that their hearts are pliable and teachable and bonded to the Savior–this image illustrates what Protestants are speaking of when they say that justification is by faith alone: once rooted in good soil, the production of a crop is inevitable. It is as if the harvest were already complete. God may cultivate 30, 60, or 100 fold, but when it comes to us, he will not be blowing chaff away or burning dead stalks down or hacking tares to pieces.

    The whole process of salvation, of God’s growing his crops, includes love and hope and good works in the fullest possible way. But the crucial points are roots and soil (i.e., genuine faith): if you got that right, the rest might as well be history, for nothing can go wrong. Our focus, therefore, should be faith, for with the strongest faith come the loveliest flowers. If we focus on love (on the flower) rather than on faith (the root), we may end up with no flower at all, one that buds but doesn’t open, or one that quickly fades, producing no fruit. In light of this, we Protestants believe in faith alone in order that love may be excellent. Transcendent love is the glorious bloom, the bountiful harvest of JBFA.

  97. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm
    DeMaria, no i think circumcision is what Paul said it was, a sign and seal of God’s grace of faith.

    So, you don’t believe circumcision saves us. Good.

    And baptism is the same thing.

    That is not what St. Paul says:
    Romans 6:4
    Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    Nor does St. Peter:
    1 Peter 3:21
    The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

    Paul says faith comes thru hearing the word of God.

    Which effectively nullifies “Sola Scriptura”. But has nothing to do with infant Baptism nor with Baptism in general. Unless you are now claiming that one is regenerated the moment he hears the word of God? Are you?

    Babies can’t hear the word of God.

    But their parents can. And it is by the faith of their parents that God can justify and regenerate their children from the death of original sin and bring them into the Church.

    do you believe in Pedo communion to ex opere operato that developed in the church?

    Pedo as in “infant” communion? Yes, actually. But I am obedient to my Bishop (Heb 13:17) and he doesn’t permit it. My Bishop also does not practice “infant Confirmation”, except in the case of the children of converts. Infant Confirmation is far more prevalent in the world than “infant communion”. As far as I know, it is up to the Bishop at what age children are permitted to participate in the Sacraments.

    Are you making some particular point? Or are you simply changing the subject again? Have you finally accepted that God can regenerate an infant the same as He can regenerate an adult? Do you stilll deny that God can save an infant by the faith of the parents?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  98. Eric, phenomenal!

  99. Eric,

    Your logic falls apart.

    A well rounded faith which includes works could not be described as JBFA (i.e. Justified by faith alone). St. Paul did not use the word “alone” for the very good reason that his Teaching can be described as justified by love alone. But love equals faith and works of love. That is the Catholic Teaching and the one to which you and Kevin object.

    Anyway, if you guys admit that works must be included in faith in order to have a well rounded faith which justifies, then you have again admitted that faith and works justify. And you have contradicted your previous statement that works are the fruit of justification by faith alone.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  100. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm
    Eric, phenomenal!

    Does that mean that you guys are going to join Peter Kreeft and become Catholic? That would be phenomenal!

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  101. DeMaria, not every time baptize is used it refers to the external act of baptism. And Romans 6 is one of those times. This means spiritually buried with Him and raised. Absolutely God brings us Christ thru the Spirit working the word in us, the effectual call/ regeneration. James 1:18 ” In the exercise of His will he brought us forth by the WORD of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among his creatures. Hear is where Eric nails it! There is no cutting of the first fruits. 1 Peter 1:23 ” For you have been born again not of a seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is , thru the living word of God. Get that this seed is imperishable. We can dismiss infused medicine ( infused habits) Thomas’s medieval model as fictitious. The Spirit brings us all of salvation, calls regenerates, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and someday glorifies. The righteousness that comes from outside us becomes ours thru the Spirit and we are born anew. Having put on Christ, the eschaton is moved up for the believer. His justification is our justification Romans 4:25, 1Timothy 3:16. Listen to Romans 1:4 “who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of Holiness, Jesus Christ the Lord. Highly eschatologically charged! God DECLARED him Son of God ( wow!),just, thru the resurrection. When he was raised, we were raised. We pass thru the judgment and the quickening of our glorification will be amazing. We have the Spirit as a guarantee. “Today you will be with me in paradise! Praise the Lord!

  102. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    Wosbald, one word Wosbald, you came out form your smoke. Didn’t see your response to my exegesis of Romans 4. You still hiding under a rock. You won’t go near that i understand. Maybe you can give me Jason’s thoughts on it?

    Because your argument was that “Abraham’s faith was counted as righteousness” was Paul’s code or “shorthand” for Abraham’s faith not counting as righteousness. Seemed pretty self-explanatory. Yeah, you can make it fit of course, with the right set of glasses. And that’s okay.

    But as Jason noted, if Paul knew this to be the heart of the gospel upon which the whole sola scriptura church would hang, then how likely is it that he would’ve mucked it up that badly?

  103. De Maria–

    Kreeft has said over and over again that JBFA is an acceptable way to describe justification. Both he and Francis Beckwith have said that Trent does not conflict with JBFA. So what’s YOUR excuse? Why so surly?

  104. De Maria–

    When the only two options for justification are 1. by faith and 2. by faith and works, then when Paul states that justification is by faith apart from works, his statement is tantamount to faith “alone” (which a good number of Catholic exegetes endorse). Saying that the word “alone” is not there just shows ignorance concerning the art of translation.

  105. DeMaria, We belong to the true catholic church thru faith alone. No we wont be leaving for the medieval false gospel that Trent embraced. we will follow Paul ” The righteous shall live by faith.”And as we hear his word by faith and as he walks along the ground in our supper with him thru faith, the word, and the spirit, we will freely receive the gift of eternal life John 1:12. And we will look back on our baptism as God confirms our faith and his grace to us. And we will look back on the incarnation “at the consummation of the ages”and with the rest of the true church sing the Amen! We will not be joining a lifetime of meriting an increase of grace or attaining our salvation thru our works and doing sacraments ex opere operato. We believe him in Romans 10;9 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED. Jump on the mercy train guys there is plenty of room!

  106. DeMaria, every time Paul speaks of justification by faith the owrd faith is alone.

  107. ERIC January 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm
    De Maria–
    Kreeft has said over and over again that JBFA is an acceptable way to describe justification. Both he and Francis Beckwith have said that Trent does not conflict with JBFA. So what’s YOUR excuse?

    Read my message again. I didn’t say anything about Kreeft. Nor about Beckwith. I said, and I quote:

    A well rounded faith which includes works could not be described as JBFA (i.e. Justified by faith alone). St. Paul did not use the word “alone” for the very good reason that his Teaching can be described as justified by love alone. But love equals faith and works of love. That is the Catholic Teaching and the one to which you and Kevin object.
    Anyway, if you guys admit that works must be included in faith in order to have a well rounded faith which justifies, then you have again admitted that faith and works justify. And you have contradicted your previous statement that works are the fruit of justification by faith alone.

    If you’re saying that you follow Kreeft, why don’t you follow him right into the Catholic Church?

    Why so surly?

    Lol! Trying to pick a fight? It is very predictable of you. You couldn’t respond to the question so you try to change the subject. But, I insist. How is it that a well rounded faith, which includes works, can result in justification if you insist that works are the fruit of justification? Hm?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  108. Eric,

    The Catholic view of justification is simply far different than the reformed, despite how Dr. Kreeft wishes to make it not seem so. Now, on a practical level, there might not be much of a difference. For my experience in a reformed baptist church was anything but a grace-filled assurance. The pastor was consistently preaching on repentance, sin, judgement, etc,etc. Having assurance of salvation was rare, but JBFA was a dogma nonetheless, oddly enough.

    The real difference between the reformed vs Catholic view of justification is the understanding of how Adam’s sin affected the whole race. It begins there. And the ultimate conclusions are vastly different.

  109. Wosbald, thats it buddy, the right set of glasses you can see it. I think the veil is coming off?

  110. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm
    DeMaria, every time Paul speaks of justification by faith the owrd faith is alone.

    Hm? Really? What about the hundred or so words that surround it?

  111. Erick and DeMaria, Why you cats hangin on to those works so hard for justification? Just trust Paul when he says “to the one who does not work, but believes.” And after you are trusting Christ alone for your salvation go out and work up a storm. Get after it. We all got work to do!

  112. DeMaria, your like a magic show man. Obedience means faith. Faith means love. Romans 10:9 means sacraments. Love equals faith and faith equals works and love. The Roman church wrote the bible. Christ healed a baby which means my faith will suffice for my chidden. Cmon DeMaria

  113. ERIC January 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    De Maria–
    When the only two options for justification are 1. by faith and 2. by faith and works, then when Paul states that justification is by faith apart from works, his statement is tantamount to faith “alone” (which a good number of Catholic exegetes endorse). Saying that the word “alone” is not there just shows ignorance concerning the art of translation.

    You’re lucky I’m not Kevin or I’d be demanding a personal apology for calling me ignorant that insult. But as I said before, I’m used to your ad hominems. If you didn’t have them, you’d have no response at all.

    When the only two options for justification are 1. by faith and 2. by faith and works, then when Paul states that justification is by faith apart from works, his statement is tantamount to faith “alone” .

    Only if you’re interpreting his word apart from Tradition, Scripture, Jewish Culture and Christian history. If you interpret his words in context of the world in which He lived, the New Testament Scriptures and the society which Jesus established, then the only thing he could have meant is the disposition of the believer in the Sacraments.

    (which a good number of Catholic exegetes endorse)

    So? If you mean people like Peter Kreeft, I didn’t hear him say that works are the fruit of justification. I heard him say that we are justified by a well rounded faith which includes works of love.

    Saying that the word “alone” is not there just shows ignorance concerning the art of translation.

    Actually, it shows clarity and truth. The word “alone” is not there. Nor can it be read into the Scripture based upon the context of Roman 2 wherein St. Paul says:
    Romans 2:13
    King James Version (KJV)
    13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  114. Kevin,

    You cannot take one verse out of context and build your theology around it. You keep doing that.

    You read Ephesians 2:8 and ignore the rest of Ephesians.

    You read Romans 5:1 and ignore the rest of Romans. This is bad theology.

    Abraham is righteous because he heard God and was obedient to God. Read Genesis and see what Abraham does. Paul’s point is that Abraham hears God and responds in faith to God’s command. Likewise, we must hear God and respond in faith. We must be obedient like Abraham. If we are like Abraham, we will be obedient. We will be willing to sacrifice our beloved for God. We will be righteous before God.

    It’s in faith that Abraham heard God and responded. He’s declared righteous from his faith but it’s in love that he responds to God. Abraham is the example we must aspire to.

  115. Kevin,

    It is unbelievable that you could read what I said about Romans 4 and be absolutely silent about it. You just assume that you have the right interpretation. I exposed the very presupposition that you have when reading the text, namely, that because Paul compares “righteousness” which was imputed to Abraham’s faith with the gift that one receives in exchange for free. It is still Abraham’s faith that is counted for righteousness. And the rest of Romans 4 goes on to describe that Abraham’s faith was one of perseverance in God’s word of promise. Had he not believed in God the way he did, he was not be justified.

  116. Wosbald, one man’s muck up is another man’s treasure. I hope you find our treasure some day.

  117. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm
    Erick and DeMaria, Why you cats hangin on to those works so hard for justification?

    Revelation 22:12-15
    King James Version (KJV)
    12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

    13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

    14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

    Just trust Paul when he says “to the one who does not work, but believes.”

    I do trust St. Paul:
    Romans 2:13
    King James Version (KJV)
    13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    And after you are trusting Christ alone for your salvation go out and work up a storm. Get after it. We all got work to do!

    You believe you have to work for your salvation? Since when? Or have you again admitted the truth of Catholic Doctrine?

    Philippians 2:12
    Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  118. Erick, oh sorry bro, I thought we were done. I wrote the correct exegesis on Romans 4 to Wosbald and you responded. Did you want to go on. I thought we were done, but i’ll reply.

  119. DENNIS January 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm
    Kevin,
    You cannot take one verse out of context and build your theology around it. You keep doing that….

    Uh oh! Sounds like you’re about to get on Kevin’s bad side. Jump right in, the water’s fine on this side of the Tiber. ; )

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  120. Kevin,

    I have a question for you. Considering all of your posts, do you consider your comments to be intellectually rigorous or a mere catina of verses with a crammed version of what you think it means, without providing any proof? It seems to me that the latter is the case. I can’t think of a refutation that you have given to any argument that has been presented.

  121. Kevin,

    When I saw “we were done”, I meant that I am done providing arguments. Feel free to give your own arguments, and when I see that it actually interacts with mine, I will respond. Remember to not forget

    1) Acts 19
    2) Gal 3:28
    3) Romans 4
    4) James 2

  122. Dennis, I don’t think I do that. But correct hermeneutic is to work your way out from a verse. But what we don’t do Dennis is read verses that aren’t talking about justification into those that are. You are like Mr Sungenis, you don’t understand that when a man is righteous before God in the OT it is not because of a moral act or a work he has not yet done. It is because God declares him righteous before the judicial bar of God based solely on his grace and mercy. Dennis, i can’t imagine after reading the antithesis between faith and works concerning Abraham in Romans 4, that you can turn around and say he was justified by faith and works. Eric just gave you Kreft’s explanation throwing a bone our way, that jbfa was plausible in Paul. The whole point of Romans 4 is that Abraham’s obedience had nothing to do with his justification, and then you turn around and say the opposite. Paul takes the righteous hero of the Jews and says he is ungodly and every work he has done don’t mean squat to god in justification. And then he says ‘ to the one who does not work but believes”, then you turn around and tell me works. Who is not understanding context. I think you.

  123. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    DeMaria, We belong to the true catholic church thru faith alone.

    That is not what Scripture says:
    Acts 2:
    38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost….

    41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls….47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    No we wont be leaving for the medieval false gospel that Trent embraced. we will follow Paul ” The righteous shall live by faith.

    That is Catholic Teaching. You are following Luther, “salvation by faith alone”.

    And as we hear his word by faith and as he walks along the ground in our supper with him thru faith, the word, and the spirit, we will freely receive the gift of eternal life John 1:12.

    If you are baptized.
    Acts 22:16
    And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

    And we will look back on our baptism as God confirms our faith and his grace to us. And we will look back on the incarnation “at the consummation of the ages”and with the rest of the true church sing the Amen! We will not be joining a lifetime of meriting an increase of grace or attaining our salvation thru our works and doing sacraments ex opere operato. We believe him in Romans 10;9 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED. Jump on the mercy train guys there is plenty of room!

    Good luck doing it without God.

    1 Corinthians 4:4-5
    King James Version (KJV)
    4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

    5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

    For the Word of God is clear:
    2 Corinthians 5:9-11
    King James Version (KJV)
    9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

    10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

    11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  124. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm
    DeMaria, your like a magic show man. Obedience means faith.

    Ephesians 2:8
    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    Hebrews 5:9
    And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    If those who obey are saved. And those who have faith are saved, then obedience is the evidence of faith.

    Romans 16:26
    But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

    Faith means love.

    If you have trouble with that one, maybe Protestant Eric (without a k) can explain it to you. He said:

    ERIC January 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm
    Guys–
    It might be a wise investment of time….Paul is saying that the whole living plant is greater than the sum of its parts. Protestants could probably even say “justification by love alone” if we were employing this Pauline usage: love as fully-orbed faith.

    Romans 10:9 means sacraments.

    Correct. He is describing the disposition of the believer in the Sacrament of Baptism.

    Love equals faith and faith equals works and love.

    See Eric’s statement above.

    The Roman church wrote the bible.

    The Catholic Church wrote the New Testament and put the canon of the Bible together.

    Christ healed a baby which means my faith will suffice for my chidden.

    Christ healed a baby by the faith of the parents and that is a prefiguring of the Sacrament of Baptism wherein we bring our children to Christ that He may bring them from death to eternal life.

    Cmon DeMaria

    Do you deny that Christ can do that? C’mon Kevin. What is the problem? Where is that faith that you boast about so much?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  125. Eric,

    Thank you for that comment. We really aren’t that far off.

    I did listen to Kreeft’s podcast. I like him and heard him talk once at a local church.

    He says that the Protestant “faith alone” is based on the type of faith Paul discusses in Romans and Galatians: a fully-orbed faith, a committed faith, a “saving” faith (the “YES!” to which Dennis is referring). Kreeft calls it Romeo meeting Juliet.

    No. I think what he said was Juliet’s “yes” to Romeo. Not Romeo meeting Juliet. That’s a big difference in understanding.

    When I first met my wife, a lot of things had to happen before we spent our lives together. We had to have attraction, we had to date, etc. Romeo first meeting Juliet, a lot of things had to happen before betrothal occurred…

    When I married my wife, her “yes” was a commitment that we will be married for the rest of our lives. ‘Til death do us part. It’s a promise to be loving and faithful. Kreeft is explaining that our “yes” to Christ is similar to my wife saying “yes” to me on our wedding day. (or rather Juliet saying “yes” to Romeo in marriage).

    Paul speaks of faith, hope, and love as if they could be isolated from one another…

    This is pretty good.

    In the Parable of the Sower and the Seed…

    I’m not sure we’re seeing this the same way. Here’s a Catholic’s understanding:

    The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. (v. 19)

    This is the type of person who goes to Church but doesn’t really “get it.” Goes to Church on Sunday and screws his neighbor over on Monday. The “seed” never sinks in and the evil one has taken him away.

    The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. (v. 20-21)

    This is a person who is swept away by the pomp and circumstance of Church –perhaps they really enjoy the liturgy or the music but also doesn’t really “get it.” They have a shallowness to them and when push comes to shove, when their faith is shaken, they “fall away.”

    The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. (v. 22)

    These are the people who may (or may not ) go to Church but are more interested in their worldy possessions…or worldy opinions and succumb to the peer pressures. They go to Church but their worldly lifestyles interest them more than truly loving God or loving their neighbor so they don’t “produce fruit.” i.e. they aren’t loving. They’re not kind. They’re not merciful. They’re more interested in their clothes than they are in clothing the naked.

    But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold (v.23)

    This is the properly catechized Christian. One who goes to Church and understands their faith. Partakes in the Sacraments and emulates Christ. This person truly loves God and their neighbor. They bear fruit. They feed the hungry. They clothe the naked. They share God with everyone they meet. This person “produces fruit” (which is works) which are pleasing to God.

    So, what happens to the others who go to Church but don’t “get it” and fall away or don’t produce fruit because they are seduced by wealth or the worldly lifestyle (which produces a selfishness)?

    Jesus continues with another parable in Matthew 13:24-30. Some will be wheat and some will be weeds. They will grow together in the same field. They will go to Church together. God will separate them at the time of judgment. Some will go into the barn and some will go into the fire.

    So, what Jesus is explaining is that you want to produce fruit. You want to hear God’s word and understand. If you do, you will love God, love your neighbor and produce fruit hundredfold.

    If you don’t produce fruit. If the worldly attraction takes you away or if you hear but don’t understand, then you may become a weed and get thrown in the fire.

    We should all pray that we are wheat and produce fruit.

  126. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm
    Dennis, I don’t think I do that. But correct hermeneutic is to work your way out from a verse….

    Why are you always trying to tell people how to exegete Scripture? What makes you the authority over Scripture that we should listen to you?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  127. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm
    Wosbald, thats it buddy, the right set of glasses you can see it. I think the veil is coming off?

    But yours remain. Perhaps one day, you will see as clearly as the Woz. Keep trying.

    KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 3:11 pm
    Wosbald, one man’s muck up is another man’s treasure. I hope you find our treasure some day.

    You’re right that your treasure is a muck up. It was mucked up by Luther. But our Treasure is the Word of God as taught by the Catholic Church and we will hold on to that Treasure for dear life.

    I hope that YOU find our Treasure one day.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  128. Kevin, thank for taking the time to respond to my questions.

    There as some things that I would like you to clarify. You write:

    Your characterization of faith being a theological proposition about Christ is just that your characterization.

    That is not actually what I said. Let me try again. It is my impression from talking to members of Protestant Reformed sects that they believe that saving faith is nothing more than the mere intellectual assent to theological propositions about Jesus. For example, you have laid before me this theological proposition about Jesus the Christ:

    Faith is trust in Christ’s righteousness alone for our salvation.

    I can either give my intellectual assent to this theological proposition, or I can withhold it. If I give my intellectual assent, I would do so by saying with sincerity that, yes, I believe that this is true. Certainly you don’t deny that I must give my intellectual assent to this proposition in order to have saving faith as you understand it.

    Intellectual assent is a good thing, but is it the only thing that brings about saving faith? My next three questions to you were intended to open up a discussion about this point. My three questions to you were:

    Kevin, if I am to be saved, what must I do besides giving my intellectual assent to this theological proposition?
    .
    Is living a godly life in any way necessary if I am to avoid damnation?
    .
    … can I give my intellectual assent to the theological proposition that you have articulated, live my life as an unrepentant sinner, and expect to enter into Heaven when I die?

    Kevin, if you would, please answer those questions.

    I would like to respond to a question that you asked of me:

    Mateo, so a faith that doesn’t save is real faith?

    Let me try to explain why a Catholic believes that a man can have real faith without that faith being necessarily enough to save him. I will use St. Paul’s example of Christian men that were having sex with prostitutes, and why St. Paul severely rebuked these men of Corinth.

    St. Paul teaches that each Christian is the temple in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, and that God will destroy the Christian that destroys the temple:

    Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.

    Paul is making a typological argument here. The stone temple on Mount Moriah was an Old Testament type that finds its antitype fulfilled in the body of the Christian. The stone temple was a sanctified sacred space consecrated to God, a place where the Holy Spirit dwelt in a special way in the inner sanctuary called the Holy of Holies. St. Paul is saying that the Christian is now the true temple upon the earth, and that the Holy Spirit indwells his sanctified temple (the temple = the sanctified body of the Christian that is consecrated and set aside for God).

    Please note this: Paul also says that the Christian that destroys the temple will be destroyed by God. But how, exactly, would a Christian destroy the temple (his body)? In the Old Testament, the temple could be defiled by bringing into the temple the “abomination of desolation ”. Desolate means “uninhabited”, which is why the Holy Spirit did not inhabit the stone temple when the abomination of desolation was brought into the temple. That gives us a clue as to how a Christian would destroy the temple –by bringing into his temple a desolating abomination that would cause the Holy Spirit to no longer indwell his temple.

    St. Paul gives us a specific example of a “desolating abomination” that would cause the Holy Spirit to no longer indwell the Christian: having sex with whores.

    Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two shall become one flesh.” But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
    1 Cor 6:15-20

    When the Christian man joins himself with a prostitute, he becomes “one body” with the whore he is having sex with. The Holy Spirit cannot indwell this impure “one body”, which is why this sin is an abomination that makes desolate the temple.

    What has all this to do with faith? Is the Christian man that is having sex with a whore exhibiting a lack of faith? Not necessarily. He may believe what he has always intellectually believed as a Christian, but he is now committing an abominable sin that will cause the Holy Spirit to no longer indwell in him. Such a man would be united to the Church by faith, but not by in charity. The Christian man that has destroyed his temple by fornicating may indeed have faith, but his being joined to the Christ’s church in faith, but not in charity, would not bring about his salvation.

    Of course the man may come to his senses after he has destroyed his temple. He might turn to God with true contrition and repentance and seek reconciliation with Christ and his church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. By faith, the man that has destroyed his temple could cleanse his temple through the shed blood of Jesus, just as the stone temple could be sanctified after it was defiled by the red heifer sacrifice.

  129. Eric, Sometimes you seem to be massaging these guys with the faith love thing. I don’t mean to lecture you, your much smarter than me. But when they talk about faith formed in love stuff, they mean the same old thing justification plus sanctification. Protestants could say justification “love alone”if it was Pauline fully orbed faith.” Eric , the weakest faith can apprehend and seize Christ, Vermigli says ( thx for suggesting the book) If you ask why that receiving of Christ is attributed not to love but faith we will respond as follows. It is the power of faith to take up and seize what is offered and by embracing it to bring it to the one who believes. But the nature of love ‘ which is derived from the one who loves, is always to draw out, stretch forth, and pour out in abundance something that is always good to others, and it abides wholly in sharing the good things with neighbor. Therefore since faith is that by which we first accept and take up the promise and mercy of God and Christ himself into our soul , it is not unwarranted to say that people are justified by faith and not love, which is the natural order follows after faith. Love is of paramount importance to God, but it has no place in justification. I’ve listened to Kreft’s stuff. I always been taught to keep listening with false teaching. J.C. Ryle says its subtle. Hidden. Sounds all right sometimes. You always have to keep listening as he is throwing us a bone. He wants to say we are not that far off. We are. But Paul fought for this distinction. The antithesis is unquestionable in Paul. Luther was adamant and said we won’t let Rome rob from faith and give to love, what was only intended for faith. I have no problem telling these guys that faith has no virtue that merits the acceptance of God. A saving faith that grabs Christ, however weak or flawed, if it is never formed in love ( Rome’s pretty way of saying faith plus works) will save a man. We will tell them the truth and if they want to take their “formed in love ” to the eschaton, we will pray for their sole. Thx for indulging me this. Your my dear brother, and if i judged wrongly i apologize.

  130. Eric, I miss spoke on one statement. A saving faith that grabs Christ, however weak or flawed, if it is never allowed to form in love ( someone dies ) will save a man.

  131. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm
    Eric, Sometimes you seem to be massaging these guys with the faith love thing. …A saving faith that grabs Christ, however weak or flawed, if it is never formed in love ( Rome’s pretty way of saying faith plus works) will save a man. We will tell them the truth and if they want to take their “formed in love ” to the eschaton, we will pray for their sole. Thx for indulging me this. Your my dear brother, and if i judged wrongly i apologize.

    I agree with you Kevin. This is precisely how I understand Luther as well. And precisely why I reject Luther:

    1 Corinthians 13
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    The Gift of Love

    1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

    1 Thessalonians 5:8
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
    But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

    1 Timothy 2:15
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
    Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

    1 Timothy 6:10-12
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    10 For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

    The Good Fight of Faith

    11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

    Galatians 5:5-7
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?

    James 2:4-5
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?

    1 John 5:1-3
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    Faith Conquers the World

    5 Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

    You go right on ahead and follow Luther. I will follow Jesus:
    John 14:21
    He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  132. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm
    Eric, Sometimes you seem to be massaging these guys with the faith love thing. ….

    Lol! A little more to the left, Eric.

    No, no. Eric doesn’t massage Catholics. But he does a lot of massaging to Protestant doctrine trying to make it more believable. And I agree with Eric. Protestant doctrine needs a lot of massaging.

    Eric believes that:
    1. Justification is by faith alone. This faith must be a saving, fully orbed faith which includes works.

    The logical conclusion is that we are justified by a saving faith which includes works.

    2. But…no…, it turns out that Eric also believes that works are the fruit of justification. Ipso facto, it is impossible to be justified by a fully orbed faith which includes works. Because one doesn’t do good works until after one is justified.

    It takes a lot of massaging to reconcile those two contradicting ideas.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  133. DeMaria, you are being dishonest in your cut and paste. I corrected that phrase. I said a man who has saving faith, however weak and fragile, if it is never allowed to form in love, if someone dies after the moment of faith. Because for all the rest true faith will form in love, but in no way does love have any part in man’s justification before God. Paul constrains you when he says. “justified freely apart for works”eliminating all human effort.

  134. +JMJ+

    De Maria wrote:

    Eric believes that:
    .
    1. Justification is by faith alone. This faith must be a saving, fully orbed faith which includes works.
    The logical conclusion is that we are justified by a saving faith which includes works.
    .
    2. But…no…, it turns out that Eric also believes that works are the fruit of justification. Ipso facto, it is impossible to be justified by a fully orbed faith which includes works. Because one doesn’t do good works until after one is justified.
    .
    It takes a lot of massaging to reconcile those two contradicting ideas.

    Bingo.

  135. DeMaria, love as important as it is will never replace faith as being first and only thing to grasp Christ and the promise of his mercy. Faith receives, love gives, so love cannot receive salvation only faith can reach up and grasp the free gift. And faith sustains our whole life as a christian” For the righteous shall live by faith”. It never loses its place to love and doesn’t need love to seize Christ and salvation. Romans 3:26 ” that he might be just and justifier of those who have FAITH in Jesus. No love bro in justification, just in sanctification. Often time our faith is fragile and weak but it never loses grasp of the promise because it gives the Glory to God. The Roman Catholic religion takes the glory for man, it is man centered religion seeking its own place in atonement and mediation and justification and salvation. You rob from Christ his Glory and ascribe to yourself a part in saving yourself. Sad.

  136. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 5:58 pm
    DeMaria, you are being dishonest in your cut and paste. I corrected that phrase. I said a man who has saving faith, however weak and fragile, if it is never allowed to form in love, if someone dies after the moment of faith.

    Huh? So, you corrected it to say that love is not necessary for justification? And where exactly am I being dishonest? That is precisely what I quoted you saying.

    Because for all the rest true faith will form in love, but in no way does love have any part in man’s justification before God. Paul constrains you when he says. “justified freely apart for works”eliminating all human effort.

    I don’t know how many people have told you that you are making a Gospel out of one verse which you read out of context and in contradiction to the rest of Scripture.

    “Justified freely apart from works” refers to our disposition before God in the Sacraments. It does not refer to an absence of love for God. Anyone who has no love for God when he presents himself to be justified by God will find himself out on his kiester and as the Scripture says: “there will gnawing and grinding of teeth”. If a man has faith and no love, he is nothing in the eyes of God.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  137. DeMaria and Wosbald, Eric forgot more about theology than you’ll ever know. His approach at sharing the truth is a little different than mine. Eric knows exactly what he believes and he tries to put it in a way so you as a Catholic understand. I have no problem telling you that if your going to try to be justified by faith and works ( faith formed in love) you will be in Hell. DeMaria you say you follow Jesus and I follow Luther. Here is what Jesus said ” Truly Truly i say to you, he who hears my word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but passed out of death into life. You ain’t following Jesus with your faith plus works salvation.

  138. Kevin said:

    No love bro in justification, just in sanctification.

    That contradicts the Word of God.

    John 13:34-36
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    34 A new commandment[a] I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    You can not be Christ’s disciple. You can not be Baptized into the Lord, if you do not first, have love in your heart:
    Matthew 28:19
    Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  139. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm
    DeMaria and Wosbald, Eric forgot more about theology than you’ll ever know. ….

    Yeah, right. And love isn’t important for justification. Your word carries very little weight. But that is good. It illustrates the errors of Protestant doctrine. Keep talking. The deeper hole you dig, the less we have to say.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  140. Kevin,

    Let me ask you this. Is sanctification optional? In other words, could I boast in the cross and the glory of God as the only cause and finisher of my salvation while I rev up my life in the flesh? Could I do that?

    Of course I assume you would answer no. But your answer is that all of those who are justified by free grace do not have the free will to choose evil. Once they are justified, God controls their wills so that they are always progressing in holiness. It’s automatic. Once justified, permanently unavoidably irrevocably sanctified. No will could combat the force that God puts in the will to choose holiness.

    This is not good news, for when I was reformed, I was well aware of my sin and daily saw my wickedness. I always had to resort to “well, at least I’m trying to live a good life, and I despise my sin, I am broken….I’m ok. Phew!”. And when times where my sin became so vivid in my mind, I thought to myself, “I thought sanctification is the necessary evidence of my justification, yet how much sanctification is necessary to prove it?”. And the fact of the matter is each reformed believer has a different way of answering this last question, and depending on what it is, that is the degree they struggle with assurance or have assurance.

    With much better reason, the Catholic reads verses such as Heb 6:11-12 “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence [j]so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” and realize that if we do not wake up and run the race of salvation, and 12 Therefore, [g]strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.we will not attain to the promises of God, but will fall away as those Israelites who hardened their hearts.

    kevin, if you think that by repenting, turning from sin to righteousness, by confessing sins, by persevering in holiness, and running the race with endurance is robbing God of his glory, then why does he command us to do so?

  141. Kevin,

    you need to keep reading after that verse in John

    25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [f]the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

    Is this “good deeds” a mere hypothetical nonsense? If it is merely descriptive, then why bring it up in the context of judgement? If the “evil deeds” descriptive and not meritorious for judgement? If not, then the good deeds are meritorious for life, for it is in contrasting parallelism to the evil deeds, which are not purely descriptive without being meritorious.

  142. Erick,”He who began a good work in you will perfect it til the day of Christ,” My God saves completely, your God helps you to save yourself. ” Now if we sin my children we have and advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”Can you explain 1 Corinthians 5 where there is a christian in mortal sin, who Paul says his immorality was worse than the gentiles because he had his father’s wife, and Paul delivered him over to Satan that his soul would be saved in the day of Christ. Trust me i am well aware of my sin and confess my sin daily. The closer we get to God the more we see our sinfulness ( Romans 7 man), but verse 8:1 is coming Amen!

  143. Erick, absolutely those who are truly justified will be sanctified. But God doesn’t need our works, we don’t need them, they are for our neighbor. God commands us to the obedience of faith. But we all fail badly as you said. Thats why we live by faith. At any time we stand condemned before God in inherent righteousness. Thx be to God that he made him who knew no sin to be sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him. He never sinned and yet our sin was transferred to him, and in the same way we were never inherently righteous and god transfers his righteousness to me. Makes me cry and eternally grateful.

  144. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm
    Erick,”He who began a good work in you will perfect it til the day of Christ,” My God saves completely, your God helps you to save yourself. ” Now if we sin my children we have and advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”Can you explain 1 Corinthians 5 where there is a christian in mortal sin, who Paul says his immorality was worse than the gentiles because he had his father’s wife, and Paul delivered him over to Satan that his soul would be saved in the day of Christ. Trust me i am well aware of my sin and confess my sin daily. The closer we get to God the more we see our sinfulness ( Romans 7 man), but verse 8:1 is coming Amen!

    And then come Romans 8:2 and on and on

    Romans 8
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    Life in the Spirit

    1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[a] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    9 But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.

    What do you do with the rest of those verses? You throw them out with the rest of your bible?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  145. De Maria–

    “Ignorant” (just in case you’re ignorant of its definition) just means that one doesn’t know something. If I were to call YOU ignorant, that would imply that your education is lacking across the board, not merely in terms of the art of translation. It is rather uncharitable of you to infer negative connotations inappropriately applied to the context of my post. I happen to have a graduate degree in Linguistics. My guess is that your preparation in the field is a tad less than mine. It is nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t understand how translation works.

    The fact of the matter is that you simply cannot translate a passage from one language to another without adding a word here or dropping a word there. A wooden word-for-word translation is virtually unreadable. Languages simply do not line up very well lexically and syntactically. The King James Version used to italicize all the words in the English text which did not appear in the original language.

  146. Erick, praise God verse 25 came first, we receive our rewards and throw the back at his feet in thanksgiving. Psalms says “Salvation is from the Lord.

  147. Eric, you have a graduate degree in linguistics and i spell the word soul, sole , in my post to you. Oh my!

  148. ERIC January 23, 2014 at 7:25 pm
    De Maria–
    “Ignorant” (just in case you’re ignorant of its definition) just means that one doesn’t know something. If I were to call YOU ignorant, that would imply that your education is lacking across the board, not merely in terms of the art of translation. It is rather uncharitable of you to infer negative connotations inappropriately applied to the context of my post. I happen to have a graduate degree in Linguistics. My guess is that your preparation in the field is a tad less than mine. It is nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t understand how translation works.

    Its funny how you make such subtle distinctions when you insult people. But when others say the same things about you, you sink so low as to begin to insult their children. Yeah, well, don’t cry to loudly when I tell you that is precisely the opposite. It is you who is utterly ignorant in the art of translation.

    The fact of the matter is that you simply cannot translate a passage from one language to another without adding a word here or dropping a word there. A wooden word-for-word translation is virtually unreadable. Languages simply do not line up very well lexically and syntactically. The King James Version used to italicize all the words in the English text which did not appear in the original language.

    As I consider you ignorant in the art of translation, I see no purpose in discussing with you the methods of translation.

    By the way, we are discussing theology. But, of course, it serves your purpose to distract from the questions asked of you and your inconsistencies in the ideas you believe. However, I must insist upon an answer. How are works the fruit of justification when you now claim that one is justified by a faith which includes works?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  149. DeMaria, take some time with the Reformed guys on this sit and learn some things about Reformed theology. Eric has been kind to you and patient. And you can’t respect him. Justification and no condemnation only for those in Christ. You Catholics can’t seem to get that along with the spirit of Christ comes declaration of the justification, adoption, and a relationship with Him in the Spirit. Ephesians says we have the spirit as a guarantee. DeMaria, do you think god would guarantee something and take it away. No.Peter says it is an inheritance that is reserved in heaven and won’t fade away. You think the dude in 1 corinthians 5 who had his father’s wife is glad that verse was written, like any of us. Paul delivered him to Satan for death that he would be saved in the day of the Lord. I haven’t heard one of you guys touch that verse.You still haven’t answered my question if you believe in Pedo communion ex opera operato that was practiced in the church?

  150. DeMaria, you are a hypocrite man. You go on and on how important works are in your salvation, but you have never apologized and you call someone ignorant. You are utterly unteachable and prideful. I hope Jason see’s your post. He won’t put up with that. You should apologize to Eric for that behavior.

  151. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm
    DeMaria, you are a hypocrite man. You go on and on how important works are in your salvation, but you have never apologized

    The man who insults someone and does not apologize demands an apology for an insult he imagines? That’s odd.

    and you call someone ignorant. You are utterly unteachable and prideful. I hope Jason see’s your post. He won’t put up with that. You should apologize to Eric for that behavior.

    Apparently, you didn’t understand the distinction which Eric himself made. I used the word with respect to him, in precisely the same way in which he used it towards me.

    Hey, Eric, perhaps you ought to educate Kevin on the subtleties of the use of the word, “ignorant”.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  152. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm
    DeMaria, you are a hypocrite man.

    You’re good Kevin. Good at insulting people, I mean. That insult nearly escaped me. But again, ad hominems are all that you are reduced to because you have no response for the contradictions and inconsistencies which have been identified in your beliefs.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  153. KEVIN January 23, 2014 at 7:45 pm
    DeMaria, take some time with the Reformed guys on this sit and learn some things about Reformed theology. Eric has been kind….

    Eric is a man. I think Eric can speak for himself. But, you are one of the Reformed guys on this forum and your theology is lacking. You complain because every Catholic on this site has mentioned that you don’t address their legitimate questions. And more than one has noted that you take one verse out of context and make a gospel out of it which contradicts the whole of Scripture.

    We back up our theology with Scripture. You back up your theology with your opinion. The most memorable is the one where you said that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura need not be in Scripture. It is common sense. Really? The doctrine that says that doctrines which are not in Scripture are not valid, is itself not in Scripture and yet you consider it valid?

    Wow!?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  154. Kevin–

    You need to learn to keep your thinking black and white where that is appropriate and allow for shades of gray in other places. Kreeft is, I believe, of Dutch ancestry and grew up Reformed. He got into philosophy rather than theology and thinks as a philosopher. Meet him sometime. He is humble and approachable and genuine. He means it when he says he’s committed to ecumenism. (I do not sense even a scrap of that humility at C2C. I call it “Called to Assimilation” [Resistance is Futile] because it is so clearly a my-way-or-the-highway philosophy over there. To his credit, Bryan has written that that is not the case. But that mindset is still pervasive over there, as far as I have been able to discern.)

    Have you listened to the talk? He is adamant that true ecumenism NOT involve any compromise of convictions. He speaks about JDDJ and ECT, which Horton and others have appropriately warned us of as dangerous but at the same time have inappropriately written off as unacceptable. Strides were indeed made in terms of clarifying terminology so that we are not incessantly speaking past one another. Faith can be taken broadly or narrowly. Salvation can be taken broadly or narrowly. Kreeft is right about that. Seeing this can bring the sides closer together. What Kreeft gets wrong is that he thinks the impasse is thereby broken, the gap is bridged. Not so. (I will not be swimming the Tiber anytime soon.) Before Trent, Protestants and Catholics of good will tried to reach a compromise. They came up with something called double justification (which more or less just combines the two systems: we are justified by faith alone AND by faith and works). Not very satisfying. Still, I believe Calvin was close to signing on. The Catholic hierarchy, however, was completely inflexible. Double justification is more or less what the Anglo-Catholics believe to this day. A few theologians attempted to bring it up at Trent and were shot down. Had they been more persuasive, they might have averted a good deal of bloodshed. JBFA was not heretical before Trent. Had it been left that way, the Wars of Religion might have been fought in words rather than by the clash of swords. Actually, once the political crises were past, JBFA showed itself in some Italian Augustinian circles without incident. Vermigli might have been able to remain in the homeland had he been born a couple of generations later.

    Soteriologically, Kevin, we do hold a lot in common with at least the Thomists. Jason admits that even our cooperation with cooperative grace is gracious. If the Catholics will but acknowledge that all is of grace across the board–and not muck it up with caveats–then we are all but agreed on JBFA. They may not wish to call it that, but that is what it is. We object to their system because it only inconsistently holds to salvation by grace alone. They want to push OUR participation into the mix.

    Fine. How about this? Salvation by grace alone…through faith alone…on account of Christ alone…for the glory of God alone…involving the Spirit’s gracious gifts of participation and love and obedience. If I see even the faintest hint of “me” shoe-horned in there, I will go ballistic! If there is one thing I know absolutely, without the slightest smidgen of a doubt, is that grace does not come from me. I will participate with Christ whenever he allows me with tremendous honor. But when it comes time to approach the pearly gate–and I am asked, “What have you done that you should be allowed in?”–I will prostrate myself abjectly and shout, “NOTHING!!!” I will point with quivering arm, firmly at Christ and sob, “HE has done it all!

    “You know, Mother, that I have always wanted to be become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passersby.

    Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new. It is your arms, Jesus, which are the lift to carry me to heaven, And so there is no need for me to grow up. In fact, just the opposite: I must stay little and become less and less.”

    –Ste Therese of Lisieux

  155. Kevin,

    The whole point of Romans 4 is that Abraham’s obedience had nothing to do with his justification, and then you turn around and say the opposite. Paul takes the righteous hero of the Jews and says he is ungodly and every work he has done don’t mean squat to god in justification. And then he says ‘ to the one who does not work but believes”, then you turn around and tell me works. Who is not understanding context. I think you.

    I think I should explain how I as a Catholic understand Romans 4 and Abraham.

    The key is found in Romans 4: 18-21

    He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “Thus shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body as [already] dead (for he was almost a hundred years old) and the dead womb of Sarah. He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do. That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    Throughout Genesis, Abraham is commanded to do many things and he followed and obeyed God. Finally, God promises to Abraham that he will be “the father of many nations.”

    Abraham believes God in this promise and this is what is credited to him as righteousness. Why?

    Well, Abraham has Isaac, his beloved son and God tells him to sacrifice his beloved son. Think about that. If Abraham sacrifices Isaac, how can he become the “Father of Nations”? He can’t. His (legitimate) bloodline ends and Sarah is old. Becoming the “Father of Nations” would be impossible.

    Ah! but Abraham has faith. He trusts God and goes up to the mount prepared to sacrifice his beloved son and still trust God in that promise that he will be the “Father of nations.” Despite the dillemma, Abraham remains obedient.

    It’s that trust in God and obedience of faith in willlingness to sacrifice his beloved son that credits him with righteousness.

    If Abraham didn’t have that faith, he would have challenged God. He would have questioned him. Maybe he would have hidden Isaac and sacrificed the goat instead and been disobedient. Maybe he would have placed his love for his son before his love for God.

    If that would have been the case, Abraham wouldn’t have had that righteousness. And his faith would have been lacking.

    So, what does God want from us? He wants that faith. He wants us as Christians to trust in His promise. He wants us to be obedient to Him in all things and to place our love for Him above everything and everybody else. He wants us to be like Abraham.

    This is Paul’s point. If we are obedient to Christ in all things…if we love Him with all our hearts and love our neighbors, we can trust in His promise that we will have salvation. We will be saved. This is the Catholic understanding.

  156. De Maria–

    I cannot recall the exact context of our exchange on children…but I am sincerely sorry if you took what I said seriously! It was meant as a joke (though obviously a bad one). I am very sorry.

    I believe you–or somebody else–suggested that my unbaptized children were bound for hell if they happened to die unbaptized. That may be your (or their) actual belief, so I will not take it as uncharitable…but it is insensitive nonetheless. Let’s leave our kids out of this from now on, shall we?

    As to your question:

    “How are works the fruit of justification when you now claim that one is justified by a faith which includes works?”

    That’s a good question, De Maria. Think of faith as an acorn. Within that acorn is the complete design of a towering oak replete with clumps of hanging acorns of its own. (My back yard, growing up, had three huge White Oak trees that shaded both the yard and our house. I fell asleep every night listening to the wind through their branches.) Genuine faith–the faith of the new creature regenerated by God–is an acorn which never fails to sprout, always grows into a sapling, and continues to shoot skyward and stretch forth its branches, unfurling its leaves….

    So works (those hanging clumps of acorns) are the fruit of genuine faith (the original acorn) through which we are justified. Therefore, we are justified by a living, growing faith which (incipiently) includes works. We are not justified by our works, for–long before they first appeared–we were already safe in Christ.

  157. Dennis–

    You said:

    “This is Paul’s point. If we are obedient to Christ in all things…if we love Him with all our hearts and love our neighbors, we can trust in His promise that we will have salvation. We will be saved. This is the Catholic understanding.”

    As a Protestant, I would create a firestorm if I were to say what you just said and claimed it to be the “Catholic understanding.” Look at it again: If we do enough of this, and if we do enough of that…if we show that we are loving and kind and patient and wise and giving and cheerful and brave…we will be saved. Though all of these things are wonderful–though we would all like to display them as often as we can–can’t you see that such a mindset sounds Pharisaical? This is precisely the reason we insist on sola fide. We can never do enough to merit salvation. Jesus’ arms are the “lift” to carry us to heaven!

  158. Kevin–

    Please refrain from calling any of our Catholic friends ignorant, hypocritical, unteachable, or prideful.

    1. We won’t exactly score any points that way.

    2. They will merely be more resistant to persuasion if you offend them or make them feel like they have to defend themselves.

    3. They are adults, and you will not directly be able to change them. You can only directly change yourself.

    4. You will never change anyone’s mind merely with logical arguments. They must trust you before they will listen to you. Be kind…even if it just about kills you!

  159. De Maria–

    I didn’t make it clear. Though I don’t think I meant anything negative by using the word “ignorant,” I should have been more diligent. So incredibly often, it does indeed have negative connotations. I apologize.

  160. Eric, good point, thx bro.

  161. Eric,

    Apology accepted. Sorry for the consternation I have caused in turn.

    Kevin,

    I apologize to you as well.

    As for this thread, I think it has run its course. I don’t see any real answers coming from the Protestant side and I’m pretty much repeating myself, over and over. So, I’ll await Jason’s next thread.

    Adios!

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  162. Kevin,

    Where is your address of the verses I ask you to explain?

  163. Eric, as always your post to me was incredibly informative. Fesko makes the argument that the magisterium has gotten more pelagian over the recent decade. i would have to agree. We have to be careful with Rome. They morph. They are whatever they need to be at the time. The so called New Evangelization in my view is about fetching the corporate everybody back to Rome and the Totus Christus. I am all for the unity of the church and the scripture is clear. But you and I know it can’t come from a lot of recent attempts by theologians to come up with a joint statement that is really a combining of two very different systems of salvation, in my view. It is a false church, it has a false priesthood, a false source of revelation thru tradition and the magisterium, illegitimate power granted to it by that magisterium, engages in idolatry by the worship of saints and veneration of angels, conducts a horrific exultation of Mary above Christ and even God, conducts a twisted sacrifice of the mass where Jesus is sacrificed again and again, it offers false forgiveness thru the confessional, motivated by money it invented purgatory, indulgences selling forgiveness for money, false gospel of works where you participate in your salvation by your works, Papacy, putting a mere man like ourselves up in the place of Christ as the head of the church. Eric, this is an apostate church and the true church has always known that and has separated itself from it. Spurgeon said we can have no peace with Rome. They can’t have peace with us and we can’t have peace with them. He said war. Eric, these men knew something we don’t. I’m sure they lived many attempts to reconcile. You see the possibility to reconcile, these men saw it as a front for the kingdom of Satan, an apostate church, a false gospel. On th along war on the truth, the most relentless enemy has been Roman Catholicism. In Italian we have a phrase, ” la storia si ripeta sempre”if we don’t look at the men who went before us, many of whom tried to reconcile with Rome, lost their lives because Rome will never relent. It can’t, its infallible. It can’t be corrected. Clever system, huh. This site is a glimpse of that. It is a false church, and as Luther believed, the very fulfillment Daniel, Thessalonians, Revelation, John, Jude. After this men will come on here and say i make sectarian arguments, but i don’t care. Some think us unloving. But to the men who fell to the knife of Rome it wasn’t sectarian. Be careful Eric when these men from Rome come with the ecumenical spirit. I took your post to heart my friend. Thx

  164. +JMJ+

    Erick Ybarra wrote:

    Kevin,
    Where is your address of the verses I ask you to explain?

    Keep watching this space.

    You might want to get a barcalounger.

  165. Eric, i will refrain from bad behavior like i think i have lately. Im finally starting to mature at 56!

  166. Erick, ill get to them. Its 6 am in the west!

  167. Wosbald, He would, but your always laying on it with a smoke, thinking of your next word to post.

  168. Kevin,

    What is your goal in ranting on how the Catholic Church is a demonic religion? If that is your view, perhaps you should take your time over to a puritan board or a reformed protestant blog. The more time you spend here, it seems you grow frustrated that people don’t agree with you, and it appears you end up having to apologize over and over for going beyond the limit.

  169. Erick, that post was to Eric. No I’m totally ok that people don’t agree with me. And in all fairness Erick, I have been on good behavior. But I see no reconciliation with Rome. I personally think these recent attempts by theologians to get together and forging documents that really is like trying to mix oil and water. I view it somewhat differently than Eric, which is ok. He is my brother in Christ. My goal is to learn more about Romanism and how you guys think, and then i think guys like Eric, protestants who have a good understanding and pulse on Rome, have something i can take away. My only problem with protestants other than their doctrinal lack of knowledge, is their apathy and lack of courage. And to be honest I rely respect guys that call things for what they are. Sproul, MacArthur, Horton, guys unwilling to throw away 400 years of history to sign some useless document, where nothing changed. I think sometimes our theologians don’t realize that Rome won’t change, it can’t. They are infallible. All the young Catholic theologians that see forensic justification have no bearing on the magisterium. Its a hierarchy, a wealthy machine, like it has always been. Its like the emperor in his new clothes. In the end one gospel is right and one is wrong.

  170. Dennis, your post again is a great description of RC gospel. You didn’t refute my exegesis of Romans 4 and no one else except Erick attempted and he failed. The one passage you site in Abraham is simply he showed his faith by his works. But fatally what you miss is faith is the first and only thing that can reach up and seize Christ and bring Him to the heart of a believer. Love can’t do that. Love goes forward, it goes out to our neighbor. It cannot be the receptor of the promise. That has been given to faith. And that is why it justifies alone. Thats why Paul uses all those verses “not that of yourself”, to the one who does not work”, He is the just and justifier of those who have faith in Jesus.”, free gift., not a result of works, if its by grace it is no longer on the basis of works and on and on. The scripture says. Salvation is from God. If justification involved our love, that wouldn’t be true. Only faith is the receptor that can receive the promise of mercy. The rich young ruler had kept all the Law since his youth. He thought he was good and righteous.. But he knew he lacked something and came and fell at the feet of Christ. He wanted to bring his good works with him, and Jesus rejected him. Why? Because Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. He told him to sell everything and give it to the poor. In other words, salvation is only thru faith in Me. your works can’t come. Yes our works will be judged as to rewards, but our standing right before the throne is because we will be standing only in the righteousness of God thru faith.

  171. Gentleman,

    We can only love because He first loved us.
    We are commanded by Him who first loved us to love. period.
    This is the work of our salvation. To not love, is to not work.
    This is undoubtedly the hardest work of all and, in the end, will be the proof of our faith that saves us.

    Now love takes a lot of work, every second of every day, every moment we are alive we are commanded (not asked) to love. We can’t possibly do this without grace, we need grace every second of every day to love. How, where, when to we get filled up with grace? How do we keep our lamps full of oil so that we will be among the 5 that welcome the bridegroom?

    The fullness of this gospel message has been handed down through the ages in the Catholic Church. The fullness of grace can only be found in the Catholic Church. The gates of hell will never prevail against the Catholic Church.

    Many of our brothers have transplanted these seeds from the Tree of Life. I’m always praying for them that their faith survives and grows.

  172. Eric,

    Though all of these things are wonderful–though we would all like to display them as often as we can–can’t you see that such a mindset sounds Pharisaical?

    OK. From a Protestant perspective, that might seem Pharisaical but it’s not.

    Christ’s problem with the Pharisees wasn’t that they were doing “works.” It’s that they lacked love in their heart. They thought that they could “follow the law” of God and be justified. They thought if the law required them to fast once a week, then they should fast twice a week and be doubly justified. This is a bad approach and what Paul is chastising.

    Because of that lack of charity, their hearts were stone and when they saw Christ, they could not recognize Him. They nailed Him to a tree while acknowledging their self-righteousness.

    So, what Paul is saying is that it’s not the “works” that we do that makes us righteous. It’s our interior conversion. It’s the love that’s in our hearts that makes us righteous. If we believe Christ (and His message to love God and love your neighbor), we will be justified…not because we are loving but because we have this love for God that the Pharisees lacked.

    So, do we do obey the law? Yes! But not be saved but out of love for God. And His law is simple. Love God and love your neighbor. It’s not circumcision that’s important anymore. It’s to love God. Do we fast? Do we give alms to the poor? Do we go to Church on Sunday? Yes! But not to be saved. It’s to love God.

    Going to Church on Sunday doesn’t “save” me. Loving God saves me. But we are saved when we believe in the message…and technically, it’s in Baptism when we are united to Christ in death and reborn in new life that we are saved. Why? Because Christ commanded it. It’s in eating His Body that we partake in His divine nature that we receive additional grace to become more Christ like. Why? Because Christ commands it.

    So, we partake in these sacraments to receive the grace to be more Christ like. We receive grace and grow more in love with the help of the Holy Spirit. And after a long fruitful life, we can trust in God’s message and be saved.

  173. Lynn, Hebrews 11, without faith it is impossible to please Him. If getting in depended on how much we love we would all fail, how much is enough.?None of us can love enough. Thats why it depends on faith. Faith is the only thing that can reach up and seize and receive the free gift of eternal life and bring it to the heart of man. Love stretches out to our neighbor. It is our works, it it can’t receive the gift of Christ and his free grace and mercy. And it could never justify us because we can never be inherently righteous enough. Thats why 2 Corinthians says ” For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin that we might become “the righteousness of god in Him.”God transferred our sin to a sinless man and gave his righteousness to a sinful man. It does not say we become righteous, but we become “the righteousness of God” in Him. Romans 4:5 says ” to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Lynn god doesn’t justify someone who is on a treadmill of Love and good works to perfection at the end of their life, but he justifies and declares righteous an ungodly man by faith apart from works. Ungodly people have no grace or righteousness in them. Surely true faith produces love and good works, but only faith in the perfect, one time sacrifice of Christ can justify us before God. I heard a priest say the other day, ” we are all on a long journey to perfection.” Well if he’s on a long journey to perfection, that isn’t good news.The bible calls the gospel good news, why?News comes from the outside, not the inside. Romans 5: 1 ” Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God. and Paul says ” the righteous shall live by faith.”Faith alone is the only way to heaven Lynn. Martin Luther said, “We cannot allow Rome to take from faith and give to love what God intended for faith.” Faith alone is the way into salvation. It brings true peace. Justification with Paul is always past tense in the greek. Its something we look back on and smile. Ephesians says we have the Spirit as a guarantee. and Peter says we have been adopted, given an inheritance that can’t fade away, reserved in heaven for us. He never take back his promise to those of faith. God doesn’t need our works, we don’t need them, they are for our neighbor. At the moment i believed, i was resurrected with Him. Ephesians says we have been seated in the heavenly place with Him. Listen to John 5:24 Lynn. ‘Truly, Truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes him who sentMe, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Pass tense Lynn, its a done deal to those who simply believe. You don’t have to earn your salvation cooperating with grace over a lifetime of sacraments, that is not the gospel. We are saved, not because we are righteous inside, but that he declares us so based on the obedient life of Christ and his death. Romans 4:25 says ” He was delivered over for our transgressions and raised for our justification. Praise the Lord

  174. Dennis, ummm, the whole problem with the judaizers was that they were trying to add their works to faith in order to be saved. And Paul wouldn’t have it. Rome and your description Dennis is exactly what Paul is fighting against. Look, the issue in Galatians wasn’t that they didn’t believe grace was necessary to be justified( like Rome, they did believe grace was necessary), it wasn’t because the lacked love, it was because they were tying to add works to grace and undermine the gospel of justification by faith alone. In Galations 5:1-4 Paul said those who add one work are trying to be justified by Law and have fallen from grace and been severed from Christ. Your trying to add a lifetime of love and works to grace to be justified, and god will reject it. We are justified by faith, not faith formed in Love( Catholic code for works and sanctification). If anyone tries to add one work to attain the favor of God, or justification, they will find outer darkness according to Paul. God save christians thru faith alone, and Catholics believe He helps them save themselves. False gospel Dennis. Before you go to bed tonight read Romans 9:30- 10:4 very slowly! Thx bro

  175. Kevin,

    In Galations 5:1-4 Paul said those who add one work are trying to be justified by Law and have fallen from grace and been severed from Christ.

    And you happen to ignore Galatians 5:6 where he SPECIFICALLY says that it’s faith working through love which is what I just summarized is part of the gospel.

    You’re missing the point of the Judaizers. The Judaizers were trying to tell the Galatians that they had to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic law to be saved. Paul is telling them that they don’t have to do that. Circumcision (and the Mosaic law) is of no avail. The Mosaic law has been fulfilled. He tells us in Romans that love is the “new law” and that now what’s important is “faith working through love.”

    We are justified by faith, not faith formed in Love( Catholic code for works and sanctification).

    Again, PLEASE READ Galatians 5:6. It specifically CONTRADICTS faith alone.

    Kevin, I’m reading what you write it is heartbreaking. You’re still not grasping what the gospel is and see Catholicism as this ugly monster. Please take a step back from what you think you know and look at it with fresh eyes.

  176. Dennis, no I don’t ignore Galtians 5:6, but you must interpret that in context. He just told us in verse 1 past tense that we HAVE BEEN justified by faith. So faith working thru love has to be sanctification since we are already justified in verse1. And incidentally that is the Aorist past participle. Done deal. Dennis, Paul says later on that if you accept circumcision you are obligated to the whole Law. It is one unit. Every time Paul speaks of works of Law it includes all the Law. Sometimes he says works, Romans 11:6, Eph.2:8, Titus 3:5, sometimes Law, Gal. 5:3,4., sometimes works of Law. He excludes boasting and says the knowledge of sin came thru it. The knowledge of sin didn’t come thru dietary laws or circumcision. ” if it is by grace it is no longer on the basis of works, or grace is no longer grace. 1200 verses on no works and no effort in justification and you go to Galatians 5:6 telling us that true faith works thru love. We know that, but again love can’t replace faith in natural order and it can’t receive Christ because faith receives and love gives. As much as you want to replace or add faith in justification with love, it aint there. You guys have to be involved in your justification don’t you. Its the only way you can deal with it. For you to trust someone else alone, you can’t do it. Man centered religion. You a nice guy Dennis, but you just don’t see it. Ok

  177. Kevin,

    Okay, here’s where our understandings of faith are different.

    Your definition of faith is ” firm and constant assent of the soul to the words of God” (per Vermigli)

    So, when you say, “we have been justified by faith” you mean “we have been justified by a ‘firm and constant assent of the soul to the words of God.'”

    Can you expound on that because it’s still not making sense to me?

  178. Kevin, you write:

    Look, the issue in Galatians wasn’t that they didn’t believe grace was necessary to be justified …

    No, the issue that Paul is addressing in his Letter to the Galatians is that of the Judaizers that were trying to impose the “works of the law” upon the Gentile converts in Galatia:

    We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.
    Galatians 2:15-16

    What were “the works of the law” that are no longer binding upon Gentile converts according to Paul? Is it every law that one finds written down in the Torah? Absolutely not! The “works of the law” that are no longer binding upon the Gentiles were the laws that were added for the transgressions of the Jews:

    Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained by angels through an intermediary.
    Galatians 3:19

    The laws that were added for transgressions were laws mandating the circumcision of the flesh, the kosher laws, etc. – works of the law that are indeed found written down in the Torah. But in no way is Paul preaching a “gospel” that all one must do to be saved is give mere intellectual assent to theological propositions about Jesus, and less yet is Paul preaching a “faith alone” gospel that asserts that the Christian has been freed from having to obey even the moral laws written in the Torah. For if that was the gospel that Paul preached, then the Gentile Christians of Galatia would no longer have to obey the Ten Commandments found as they are explicated in the Torah, nor would the Gentiles be bound by these two laws found in the Torah that sum up the whole of the moral law:

    … you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
    Deut 6:5

    … you shall love your neighbor as yourself
    Lev 19:18

    Paul says later on that if you accept circumcision you are obligated to the whole Law. It is one unit. Every time Paul speaks of works of Law it includes all the Law.

    Kevin, you are dead wrong in making that assertion, because you are asserting that the Christian has been set free from having to obey every law written down in the Torah, which would include all the moral laws written down in the Torah. Paul explicitly rejects what you are asserting when he writes:

    Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
    Romans 13:9-10

    Paul is not preaching a gospel of Protestant antinomianism – the false doctrine that Christians have been set free from having to love God and to love one another, or that Christians have been set free from the moral law prohibiting adultery, theft and murder!

    … God save Christians thru faith alone

    Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that a man is “saved” by giving mere intellectual assent to theological propositions about Jesus. And nowhere in the New Testament is it written that Christians have been set free from the moral laws found in the Torah. If that were true, then after one act of faith, Christians are free to rape, murder and steal without any condemnation from God!

    Christ came to free men from their bondage to sin, and that is the gospel that Paul preached. Paul did not preach that Christ came to give us a license to sin, or that Christ came to give us a coping mechanism to free us from our guilty feelings when we commit sin.

    What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, 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.” … the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
    Romans 7:7 & 7:12

  179. Dennis, faith isn’t a momentary thing, although at the moment we have faith we are justified. The biblical meaning of the word pistis or fiducia is trust, to lean on. It is a constant trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. Calvin said sometimes faith is weak, fragile, it doubts, but even a fragile faith trusts god and his promises. There is nothing in faith that cam merit the acceptance of God. It is solely the instrument by which we receive Christ. Thats why it justifies when it receives the gift of Christ’s righteousness. Love does not have that function. We can even say love is more important in some sense but it can’t replace faith in the order and it can’t justify. However John MacArthur says” faith works”. Get it Although we would never ascribe to love what faith does, namely receives the gift with an empty hand, faith aways loves, or works. But the reason Paul excludes every human effort from justification and only says faith justifies because salvation is wholly from the Lord, it says in Psalms and brought about wholly thru the word and his Spirit. Now where you and I will agree, we are called to obedience of faith and to be Holy as he is, and no one can say they have been justified and not be sanctified, but where we fall short in our righteousness he makes up, because his righteousness stands in our place as having justified us. So then when Paul says “the righteous shall lvd by faith”it is a constant trust in Christ and that we stand righteous before him, not because we are, but because he declared us that way by his grace thru faith. Dennis, go read 2 Corinthians 5:21 closely and Romans 5:12-19. 2 Cor.5:21 He made a sinless person sin and made a sinner righteous. How? Did Christ become a sinner or did we become righteous no, he imputed our sin to Him and in parallel in that passage, in the same way, imputed his righteousness to us. But this for the one who is in Christ. So that we walk by the Spirit, and along with being in Christ came all the legal parts of a relationship, justification, adoption, inheritance. Thats why Paul can say there is no condemnation for those in Christ. and then 8:28 Who can bring a charge against us? It is God who justifies. We stand positionally righteous before God’s bar because there is a third person in the room that stands in our place. Thats why it isn’t a legal fiction. Dennis God could not proclaim us righteous dikaiou and justified based on inherent righteousness because we always stand condemned being imperfect in our life. So why is he able to make that proclamation in the present, because thru christ we have been reckoned just. He says a very interesting thing in 1 Cor. 15, ” if Christ wasn’t raised your faith is worthless and you still in your sins. This is total eschatology. He was raised and we aren’t in our sins.

  180. Mateo, NPP isn’t going to cut it. Whenever Paul speaks of works of law, he is talking about the whole law. Some times s he says works Eph2:8, Rom. 11:6, sometimes he says Law Galations 3:10, 5:1-4, and some time works of Law. Romans 3, he says boasting and the knowledge of sin came thru the the Law.That has to mean the moral law also. The knowledge of sin doesn’t come thru some dietary law or circumcision. He says in Galatians if you receive circumcision you are obligated to the whole Law. Its a unit. You can’t break it up. Paul excludes all Law and works and human effort. No Matteo, thru the Law came the knowledge of sin. The knowledge of sin comes thru the ten commandments, not a dietary Law. Read Galatians 3:10, he quotes Duet.( about the moral law) and says ” Cursed is anyone who does not abide in ALL things of the Law. You want to be justified by the ten commandments in some way, your toast, abide in all of it or else. In Galatians 5 he says if you add one bit of merit to be justified, you are severed from Christ and fallen from grace, YOU WHO WOULD BE JUSTIFIED BY LAW. Also the antithesis between faith and Law( works) for Paul is profound and the center of his argument. Romans 11:6 ” If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of WORKS, or grace is no longer grace.”Faith in Roman Catholicism is mental assent but not for the Reformed. It is a constant trust in Christ alone for our salvation. Read my post to Dennis on faith. Our faith produces good works, or as John MacArthur says “faith works”. But only faith can reach up and seize Christ and bring him to the soul. Thats why we are justified by faith. Love stretches forward and can’t not have first place or that function. It follows in natural order. Matteo, are you alive, Paul, like us had to answer accusations of antinomianism. He address it in Romans 6 amongst other places. Thats why when you accuse us of antinomianism we thank you and walk with Paul. Im not sure where you got the idea that faith in for the Reformed is intellectual assent.. I describe it to Dennis, go read it. Mateo where are you getting this stuff. True faith produces a desire to obey God. But go look at what happened to the the guy in 1 Corinthians 5, some guy in mortal sin, and report back to me what you learned.

  181. Eric, the little baptism book by Letham is really good. Im half way through. Thx

  182. Mateo, Romans 10:4 ” For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to all those who believe.”Paul said he died to the Law and lives to Christ. So the antithesis isn’t Law/New Law , its Law/Gospel.

  183. Kevin,
    I challenge you to back up one thing you’ve said over the last month with 3 verses from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ out of any of the four gospels. Only 3 verses will do. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Way means the eternal never ending way, the Truth means the eternal never ending Truth, and the Life means the eternal never ending Life.

  184. Kevin,

    Your understanding of faith is still not clear. So faith is constant and yet we are justified one time?

    The problem I have is it conflicts with Scripture.

    For example, you asked me to read 2 Cor. 5: 21. OK.

    I am going to ask you to read 2 Cor. 5: 10. I want to know how this fits in your understanding of Scripture:

    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil (2 Cor. 5:10)

    My understanding is that we will all stand before Christ and He will judge us as to how fruitful we were as Christians. All the good we did and all the bad we did. And we will receive a wage according to what we did.

    How do you interpret 2 Corinthians 5:10?

  185. Dennis, Luther proposed a radically different definition of faith ” Receiving and resting in Christ and his finished work in place of trust and obey. and he proposed a radically different definition of Grace “unearned divine favor in place of infused medicine.

  186. Dennis–

    Just wanna say that, in general, I appreciate your humble spirit. I feel like you actually listen, like you’re not in this as some sort of competition. It’s refreshing….

    Here’s some of what you said to me last:

    “So, what Paul is saying is that it’s not the “works” that we do that makes us righteous. It’s our interior conversion. It’s the love that’s in our hearts that makes us righteous. If we believe Christ (and His message to love God and love your neighbor), we will be justified…not because we are loving but because we have this love for God that the Pharisees lacked.

    So, do we do obey the law? Yes! But not be saved but out of love for God. And His law is simple. Love God and love your neighbor. It’s not circumcision that’s important anymore. It’s to love God. Do we fast? Do we give alms to the poor? Do we go to Church on Sunday? Yes! But not to be saved. It’s to love God.”

    I get the impression that THIS is what you actually believe (and it is straightforward JBFA): loving, trusting, faithful reliance on Jesus Christ and on him alone for your salvation. But earlier, you very clearly articulated that you were justified by your faithful obedience. Yes, we are to obey (ever better, stronger, wiser)…but it is our submission, our dependence, our reliance upon Christ which justifies us. We cannot save ourselves, not even a little bit.

  187. Dennis, Well you tell me. Paul uses justification in the past tense doesn’t he? So that must mean the declaration is at the moment of faith. Saving faith is something Paul tells us to live by. Peter says our faith will increase. How is that in conflict with a declaration. it isn’t. You teach that with a baby who hasn’t exercised faith. He is initially justified right. The difference is you wrongly have a final justification based partly on your works. So God is helping you save yourself and you must wait. It is justification on the installment plan. We believe Hebrews 10:14 when it says by one sacrifice , once, he perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. So we look back on our justification and have peace with God that Romans 5:1 gives us. Of course our understandings differ because in Romanism you must be inherently righteous yourself to be saved. So you must become perfect. And even though you attend 10000 masses in your life you’ll probably have to go to purgatory because Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t perfect enough. But we believe in imputed righteousness. I think you understand this just fine. How could God declare Abraham righteous when he believed in 15:6? He wasn’t inherently righteous. In fact Paul sys he was ungodly in Romans 4. So in your system you have to be inherently righteous before justified, but how can God declare an ungodly man who isn’t inherently righteous righteous? 2 Corinthians 5:10 is a parallel passage to 1 corinthian 15 and Paul is looking forward to the resurrection. He talks in both about clothing ourselves and about our resurrected bodies. We will be judged according to our deeds not on the basis of our deeds. True faith will stand because because it produces good works and Christ’s merits have justified us. When I was growing up i used to talk to this priest who lived near my house and he always told me that in the end God weighs up the goods and the bads and if the goods outweigh the bass your in and vice versa your out. You just told me the same thing. Why do you trust yourself instead of Christ for your salvation. We believe he actually did what he said he did. ” He saved us ( past tense) not on the basis of deeds done in holiness but by his mercy. According to this verse Dennis your system of being justified by your works won’t survive. There is only one way in, jump on the mercy train.

  188. Dennis–

    Concerning 2 Corinthians 5:10 and similar verses, you are aware, are you not, that Protestants believe in heavenly rewards for the good we have done on earth? We also believe in a sort of purgation (we have not excised 1 Corinthians 3 from our Bibles) though we see it as more or less instantaneous with glorification.

  189. Dennis, also you said your understanding has always been you will stand before the judge and you will receive a wage on how you did. But remember thats what Paul’s example in Romans 4 was, the gift isn’t like a man earning a wage, getting paid for what he did. The gift is free and received by faith, not works of any kind. Trust me you really don’t want to stand before God and expect a wage for what you did. I can tell you what my wage would be. Go to hell! you sluggard. If we had to be good Dennis, how good would we have to be? Perfect. If God was on one side of the grand canyon and you, me and Eric on the other, and we had to save ourself by jumping to the other side, how far would we get? You might go ten feet, Eric might go twelve, and i might go twenty(HA!) but none of us can make it. Thats how far our sin has separated us from God. But now Christ comes and lays down the bridge so that we may cross over. And we are saved. 1 corinthians 1:30″For by his doing you are in Christ, who became to us wisdom righteousness, sanctification and redemption.

  190. Lynn–

    When you say that the fullness of the grace of the Gospel resides in the Catholic church, what do you mean? If I were to walk into any random parish, for example, how would I know? It isn’t preached from the pulpit. The parishioners are not catechized. I’m not allowed to partake of the Eucharist.

    I have visited at least a hundred Catholic churches. By and large, they are either secular and liberal, or ritualistic and superstitious. People sit on their hands. No one sings. No one smiles. No one greets anyone else, or if they do, certainly not a visitor. People seem like they are there out of a sense of duty, like they’d rather be anywhere else. There is no “life.” (The more life-like they appear, the more likely they have brazenly copied Protestant churches in their choice of music or in their allusions from the pulpit.)

    If the “gates of hell” were to prevail against the Catholic church, how would it look any different than it does now?

    (I exaggerate a bit. The Catholic church is not the LAST place on earth I would send someone seeking spiritual vitality. Try any of the mainline Protestant churches for that. But you guys are toward the bottom of the list.)

  191. Lynn, I just quoted you Jesus’s words from John 5:24. Jesus said John6:47 ” Truly,Truly I say to you he who BELIEVES has eternal life.”John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever BELIEVES in Him has eternal life. John 3:15″so that whoever BELIEVES will in him have eternal life. If you need more let me know. Salvation isn’t a lifetime of meriting and increase of grace thru 7 sacraments Lynn to find out whats in the box at the end, it is thru faith alone we are declared righteous before God. I’m going to guess your a lifetime Roman Catholic. When the Phillipians jailer asks Paul, What must i do to be saved? He told him “believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Thats all Lynn simple faith. He didn’t say, well run down the street to the infallible big church, join RCIA and take one year and do the 27 things necessary to be justified, then start a lifetime treadmill of meriting an increase of grace to perfection, and even though you went to 10000 masses in your life and Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t perfect enough to scrub off all your temporal punishment, I’m sorry you’ll have to go to purgatory. Lynn, he said believe and you will be saved. Jesus said its so simple a child could understand it. God Bless

  192. Lynn–

    Since when did the Pauline epistles become sub-canonical?

    When a gay activist smirks at you and demands confirmation of your anti-homosexual convictions straight from the words of Jesus in the Gospels, what do you do? Give up and say, “Well, I guess you’re right. Jesus didn’t say anything!”

  193. Eric,

    Just wanna say that, in general, I appreciate your humble spirit. I feel like you actually listen, like you’re not in this as some sort of competition. It’s refreshing….

    Thank you! I’d like to say that you seem to have come a long way in understanding Catholicism. I know you have no intention of converting and a lot of the problem is the people you see sitting in the pews. I can understand that. I’m on my parish’s Evangelization Committee and I feel we need to reach out to the people in our parish before going into the community. If our parish doesn’t understand the Gospel then we’re doing a bad job. Fortunately, our new priest (who is a former Protestant) is very good at proclaiming the Gospel.

    get the impression that THIS is what you actually believe (and it is straightforward JBFA): loving, trusting, faithful reliance on Jesus Christ and on him alone for your salvation. But earlier, you very clearly articulated that you were justified by your faithful obedience.

    It’s not the faithful obedience that necessarily saves. We’re saved by God’s grace and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we grow in God’s love and the love and obedience that comes forth is the fruit of our faith.

    Where we would likely disagree is that for Catholics, it is an assent. We cooperate with God’s grace and choose in our free will to do God’s will. We become docile to the Holy Spirit. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me…as I cooperate and do God’s will (even though my concupiscence urges me to resist.)

  194. Kevin, you write:

    Mateo, NPP isn’t going to cut it.

    What is NPP?

    Whenever Paul speaks of works of law, he is talking about the whole law.

    No, that is not true, for the reasons that I have already given you. Paul never preached antinomianism.

    The knowledge of sin doesn’t come thru some dietary law or circumcision.

    That is correct. But now you are jumping from Galatians into Romans and wrenching a verse out of context from Romans and applying it to Galatians.

    In his Letter to the Romans, Paul does teach that knowledge of the moral law brings about knowledge of what is sinful, and the example he uses is from the Decalogue. When Saul was a Pharisee, he knew from the divine revelation given to the Jews through the prophet Moses that it was a sin to covet. But that divinely revealed truth only awakened in Saul the awareness that although he agreed with his mind that it was a sin to covet, he was incapable of doing what the law demanded of him, because his flesh was at war with his spirit:

    For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.
    Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
    Romans 7:22-24

    How, exactly, was Saul the Pharisee set free from the state of being that he was trapped in; a state of being where he delighted in his inmost self about what divine revelation was teaching him, and at the same time being incapable of doing what the moral law required of him?

    The answer, of course, is that Jesus set him free from his bondage to sin, which is what Jesus came on earth to do for men.

    … the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death
    Romans 8:2

    In regards to being a hearer, and not a doer, Paul teaches exactly what James teaches, that one must be doer and not a hearer only:

    For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
    Romans 2:13

    But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
    James 1:22

    Kevin, you write:

    Faith in Roman Catholicism is mental assent but not for the Reformed. It is a constant trust in Christ alone for our salvation.

    Kevin, you have that exactly backwards. For Catholics, saving faith includes mental assent, but mental assent alone is incapable of saving a man, because, as St. Paul teaches, “it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

    For some Protestants, hearing theological propositions about Jesus, and then giving mental assent to these proposition is all that is needed to have “saving” faith. One does not need to be a doer to be justified, according to these Protestants, but that soteriology directly contradicts what Paul is preaching.

    Our faith produces good works, or as John MacArthur says “faith works”.

    Isn’t that the John MacArthur who raised the controversy within Protestantism of “Lordship Salvation vs. Non Lordship Salvation”? Why would you bring up John MacArthur, since he preaches against antinomianism and the corrupt Protestant gospel of “carnal Christianity”?

    But only faith can reach up and seize Christ and bring him to the soul.

    It seems to me that you are turning faith into a work of man. By the doing this work of faith, a man seizes Christ. But that is just Pelagianism, or at best, semi-Pelagianism.

    Matteo, are you alive, Paul, like us had to answer accusations of antinomianism.

    I am not accusing Paul of preaching antinomianism, I am trying to determine if you are preaching antinomianism! Kevin, do you agree with Paul when he teaches “it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

    I don’t think that you do believe that the righteous before God are the doers of the law. I don’t think that you believe that it is the “doers of the law who will be justified.” But I could be wrong about that, and I want you to correct me if I am wrong.

    Im not sure where you got the idea that faith in for the Reformed is intellectual assent.

    Why don’t you answer the three questions that I posed to you in my post to you dated January 21, 2014, and my post to you dated January 23, 2014? If you would directly address those three questions, I think that we can make a determination about whether or not you believe that saving faith is mere intellectual assent to propositions about Jesus.

    You have laid before me this theological proposition about Jesus the Christ:

    Faith is trust in Christ’s righteousness alone for our salvation.

    In regards to this theological proposition, I asked you these three questions:

    Kevin, if I am to be saved, what must I do besides giving my intellectual assent to this theological proposition?

    Is living a godly life in any way necessary if I am to avoid damnation?

    Can I give my intellectual assent to the theological proposition that you have articulated, live my life as an unrepentant sinner, and expect to enter into Heaven when I die?

    Kevin, if you would give us direct answer to those questions, I believe that we can determine if your understanding of saving faith entails something more than mere intellectual assent to theological propositions about Jesus Christ.

  195. Kevin,

    It is really difficult to understand your writing. I think it might help if you separate your thoughts into paragraphs. I am finding it difficult to follow your train of thought.

    2 Corinthians 5:10 is a parallel passage to 1 corinthian 15 and Paul is looking forward to the resurrection. He talks in both about clothing ourselves and about our resurrected bodies. We will be judged according to our deeds not on the basis of our deeds.

    I think Paul is echoing Jesus in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Please read Matthew 25: 31-46 and see how it parallels 2 Corinthians 5:10.

    Notice how Jesus separates Sheep from Goats. Now, I’m not a shepherd but one thing I do know is that sheep follow shepherds around. They’re docile and come when the shepherd calls. They know His voice.

    Goats on the other hand have a tendency to be stubborn. They don’t come when they’re called. They are disobedient.

    Now, He separates them. Sheep on the right and goats on the left. The sheep, He tells them to come and inherit the kingdom. Why? Because of the love they showed for others. They clothed the naked, they fed the hungry. They welcomed Christ.

    The goats on the left, are accursed. Doomed to Hell. Why? Because of their disobedience. They were not loving. They did not care for Christ.

    Paul is telling us the same thing. It’s what you do, the good and the bad that will be counted on judgment day. And the righteous are those who are sheep. Those who are docile. Those who are obedient to God. Those who love their neighbor.

  196. Dennis, I’ll be very frank with you. I, like Eric think your are a really nice guy. But unlike Eric I am under no illusions that you are close to JBFA and that you don’t understand well what we are telling you. Over time you have spelled out your theology to me. And it is basically Rome, what a surprise huh. All this being judged on goods and the bads in the end. Your justified in some way by love and by your deeds in some fashion. A person who is justified by faith alone according to Paul has peace, Dennis. How could you possibly have that having to wait for a judgment based on what you do in the end. Let me just tell you, if God is judging on what i do, that ain’t good news.The gospel is called good news. When I read Romans i smile all day long. You will never know true peace in Rome. Paul says “Rejoice again I say Rejoice” Joy is the absence of fear. We have that because we are trusting in Christ and his promise and not in ourselves in any way. The scripture says we have the Spirit of Adoption by which we cry Abba, Father. All the promises. i have often said that without purgatory Roman Catholicism is a hard sell. Never knowing your in,, knowing that a mortal sin ca throw you out again. I hope you find the peace we have Dennis.

  197. Mateo, Wrong, Romans 3:19 because by works of Law no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for THRU THE LAW COMES THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN. The knowledge of sin doesn’t come thru dietary Laws or circumcision. Verse 27″Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of Law? Of works? No, but by the Law of faith. He says the righteousness of God is revealed apart from Law, ALL LAW. You been boating about your dietary Laws lately? Every time Paul talks of works of Law, he includes all Law. 28 ” For we maintain that a man is justified apart from observing the Law.”Paul’s whole antithesis is Faith vs Law in justification. Paul said he died to the Law! and lives tbythe Spirit. He delights in the Law of God but not in a way to justify Him. Romans 7, he is a mature Christian understanding the struggle in him. The law is good he says and we should obey it. But we are no longer under it or its penalty. We are under grace. MacArthur teaches justification by faith alone. He does teach the Lordship of Christ. You can’t be a christian and not desire to obey God. But works have no part in justification but are part of our sanctification. All salvation comes from God by the Spirit thru His word. Even repentance and faith are gifts of God. It isn’t a work, it is the empty hand that receives the gift. Yes the doers of the Law and not the hearers. But no one can do the Law, thats his point. You have to read on because it culminates in 3:19. Every one of you shut up and all be accountable to God, that no man will be justified………The purpose of Romans 2 was that you hypocrites who been telling the gentiles to keep the Law, you don’t do it. no one can keep the Law. Mateo, the law was never meant to save. Thats the point. It was given to show men their sinfulness and drive them to faith. It didn’t come for 430 years after the promise and didn’t nullify the promise which is by faith. We are no longer under Law but grace. ” Romans 11″6 For if it is by grace, it no longer is on the basis of works, or grace is no longer grace.” You didn’t get the memo. ” Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to all who believe. We are no longer under Law. Paul says faith has no virtue that can merit the acceptance of God. It is resting and trusting in Christ and his finished work. The word fiducia means trust. Here is what Paul says you must do, NOTHING. “TO THE ONE WHO DOES NOT WORK, but BELIEVES in Him who justifies the ungodly his faith is reckoned as righteousness. Just believe Mateo,

  198. Kevin–

    Are we jumping from the North Rim or the South Rim? (FWIW, I’d trip and fall and gouge my head wide open before I even made it to the edge.)

    I obviously don’t have the right balance figured out. When do we confront people in their error and when do we attempt to find common ground? Ravi recently spoke at BYU and at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City without taking them to task on a single theological issue. He was merely building bridges. He got a lot of flack for not being more “in their face” because, ya know, people always convert as soon as you tell them they’re insane and stupid and wrong about everything!

    Do you personally know many Catholics? Even if the church is apostate, many church members are not. As Augustine remarked, “There are many wolves within and sheep without.” (Nowadays, there are many more wolves than sheep within, or at least it would seem.)

    We have required a tremendous amount of assistance in caring for.our triplets. Our own church has more or less completely forgotten about us for several months now. What good does it do us exactly for them to provide us decent teaching when they disappear once the rubber hits the road? The few people still helping out are almost all Catholic (not all that surprising, considering we live in an area that is about 90% RC). One lady in particular, a devout Catholic here in town, picks up a load of our kids’ dirty laundry nearly every evening and delivers it back to our doorstep the next morning, clean and dry and folded! Perhaps I can’t justify it, but somehow that means more to me right now than good theology. You understand what I’m saying?

  199. Kevin,

    Like Mateo I’m interested in your answer to those three questions he posed to you.

    Peace

  200. Eric,
    With the greatest respect, I am truly sorry for what you describe as your experience from the Catholic Church. It is so far removed from my life as an authentic Christian Catholic that it sounds like something out of a movie. It reminds me of someone from another country going to a favorite American pastime and trying to relate to it on a superficial level. I wouldn’t blame them a bit for their perceptions. The true litmus test for any Catholic (in case you want to quiz them) would come from a true belief in the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. I would dare say that this belief is what was unfortunately lacking in those you have encountered. On the other hand, those who have experienced the omnipotent and omnipresent Love showered on them in this sacrament will never abandon the Catholic Church. It is that simple, for they know as did Peter, “to whom else would we go”.
    So whenever you are speaking to any authentic Catholic – this is an added dimension, a third dimension as you will, to their faith given to them by grace. In fact, it reflects so eloquently, “to those who have much, more will be given.” They absolutely know they are nothing and only deserve mercy and the saving grace that comes from our Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed us and poured himself out for us from the cross.

    I’ll address your main question:

    “When you say that the fullness of the grace of the Gospel resides in the Catholic Church, what do you mean?”

    First off, any professing Christian (Catholic etc….) believes solely in the grace of God as the first point of connection and then the continual need for this grace throughout our lives. The question begs, what is grace? I think the simplest way to communicate grace is to call it the unmerited participation in the love of the Trinity within itself and toward man…. This is the Gospel (or Good News!), that in spite of our sinfulness, we have been given a way to take our place once again within the Holy Trinity. You will notice that I keep mentioning the Trinity. That may be where I’m losing you – this is the idea of fullness that is referred by many within the Catholic Church when describing the differences between Protestants and themselves. We did not leave you, you left us. When you left, you took with you many of the gifts given to the Church, the Body of Christ, but because you had to leave without the priesthood instituted by our Lord, you couldn’t take the Eucharist. Remember that Jesus gave his body and blood at the last supper (I am assuming you do believe at least that at this event it really was his body and blood). He did this BEFORE His crucifixion. What a miracle, what a beautiful sacrifice BEFORE His actual crucifixion. How did He do this ….. begs a lot of faith to believe this. Same way He turned water into wine, multiplied the fish and loaves etc…. by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    We believe that He instituted the Sacraments (we will stick to Baptism and the Eucharist for now) for our benefit and protection.
    As Jason began this post saying;

    “An even cursory reading of the New Testament would give no other impression than that baptism actually imparts divine life to all who receive it.”

    So that’s an honest heartfelt witness from a Christian who has been saved and washed clean by the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Catholic relishes this salvation, adores this salvation, covers themselves in this salvation and by the grace continually received in the sacraments, grows and matures in this salvation.

    In true peace dear brother,
    Lynn

    “Christian faith is thus faith in a perfect love, in its decisive power, in its ability to transform the world and to unfold its History.”We know and believe the love that God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16). In the love of God revealed in Jesus, faith perceives the foundation on which all reality and its final destiny rest.

    This fullness which Jesus brings to faith has another decisive aspect. In faith, Christ is not simply the one in whom we believe, the supreme manifestation of God’s love; He is also the one with whom we are united precisely in order to believe.

    Paul rejects the attitude of those who would consider themselves justified before God on the basis of their own works. Such people, even when they obey the commandments and do good works, are centered on themselves; they fail to realize that goodness comes from God. Those who live this way, who want to be the source of their own righteousness, find that the latter is soon depleted and that they are unable even to keep the law. They become closed in on themselves and isolated from the Lord and from others; their lives become futile and their works barren, like a tree far from water.”

    Only by being open to and acknowledging His gift can we be transformed, experience salvation and bear good fruit. Salvation by faith means recognizing the primacy of God’s gift. POPE FRANCIS

  201. Eric, ya thats a good point, thank God we are not all the same. God uses many different men. One time MacArthur got invited to speak on some Jewish political topic. they had not told him. He stood up at said Ladies and gentlemen i don’t know anything about the subject i was asked to speak on but I’m going to tell you why Jesus is the messiah. But Ravi is a neat man too, one of the great Christian thinkers of our day. It is a balance. Here is what i would say though. Sproul says people in our present culture always try to protect the relationship at the expense of the truth. I mean Luther probably didn’t want to tee off the men at Worms, but there are times when we have to do it. Tolerance can tolerate everything except intolerance, Sproul says. And one thing to remember Eric, untruth and false teaching always cries intolerance and disunity. i agree there are Catholics within the body of Christ. But my own thinking isn’t the ones who know and live by that system. I think there are many trusting in Christ alone. The friends i have that are Catholics i have confronted in love with the Gospel and it didn’t go well. My wife and my best friends are leaders in their Catholic community and devout Catholics. He is the principal of a Catholic High School. The nicest people I ever met. But when I approached them in love. It didn’t go well. 200 emails later she was praying a 2 thousand year exorcism prayer on me. The sweetest gal i’ve ever known next to my wife. But i told them I care more for your soul then our relationship. One of my basketball buddies, a same story. At some point we have to decide whether they are our co laborers or the mission field. For MacArthur, Sproul and Horton its obvious. Yes I understand what you just told me about how Catholics care for people, especially your family. This Catholic friend has treated my mother like her own, sits and rubs my mothers 90 year old arthritic arms. I lost my best friend, a guy who is wealthy, connected and treated me awesome. But listen Eric , think of it this way, whats the best thing you can do for that Lady who has been so kind to your family. Tell her the truth in love, if God gives you the opportunity.. Nothing can be more unloving than to let someone perish in a false system. You know the truth and you are highly effective because you understand it. Do you know how hard it was to bring up this topic with our best friends. My wife’s best friend. But Eric, let me ask you here is a wonderful woman meeting the needs of your family. What can you give her back. You can’t do her laundry. You might take her to dinner, Ok.. but you got the truth in your pocket. are you going to take it out and give her the gift of eternal life? Do i understand how much that means to you right now,yes. But its not about theology, its about her eternal soul. K

  202. Kevin, you said

    “This Catholic friend has treated my mother like her own, sits and rubs my mothers 90 year old arthritic arms. I lost my best friend, a guy who is wealthy, connected and treated me awesome.”

    I’m sorry to say this, Kevin, but what kind of friend were you that you stopped being their friends? Love is patient …… if they were such good friends why weren’t you in it for the long haul? This cannot be a true witness of Christian love – wow, my prayers go to you, I am completely blown away by this type of shallow conversion tactic. Unbelievable, and yes, I am being judgmental – wow. On this one God can judge me. What happened to the command to love our enemies, wow, but you can’t love your friends??

    I’ll respond your 3 verses tomorrow – this has totally upset me coming from a christian brother.

  203. Lynn, I have one simple question for you. You told Eric we left you. Do you know why we left? You were selling forgiveness, the very thing that our Lord payed his life for to provide it free to us. How do you defend as pristine and the true church ( “where else would we go”) a church that sold forgiveness and indulgences and still do it to this very day thru their masses and indulgences? Your words are eloquent in describing a church that has substituted itself for the trinity and usurped their place. The church is the recipient of God’s grace Lynn not the provider of it. The Spirit delivers all the victory spoils of Christ,his graces, not the church. In your church grace is a reward not a gift. If God gave grace in response to an action or an ability it wouldn’t be a gift but a reward. Maybe you believe in free grace and maybe you don’t know the official doctrines of your church. Here is what Trent says” To the one who works well to the end and believes in God, salvation is to be offered, not only as gift, but as reward to their merits and good works.” Here is what Paul said “To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is credited as righteousness.” That is nothing like what Trent said. Paul says God justifies an ungodly man by simple faith, by declaring him righteous. Your church says that God justifies a person who merits an increase of grace for a lifetime of doing sacraments to perfection. Which do you believe Lynn?

  204. Kevin,

    I wish you could know with certainty that your current mindset was me years ago. I also was into Mcarthur, Sproul, leonard Ravenhill, Richard Owen Roberts, Paul Washer, and all these “types”. I spent years going door-to-door evangelizing, hours every single Saturday. I have countless of hours of experience as a protestant, like yourself, seeking to prove and knock down arguments against the justification by faith alone view.

    I realized later how much in my heart I was deceived. It was a horrible process for me to realize this. I can imagine how much of a demonic pool you think taking the route of Catholicism would be, as I did initially (for years).

    Your whole “tell the truth” as the most loving thing in the world is admirable. But it can be a source of anger, jealousy, pride, outbursts of wrath, and a haughty spirit. Knowledge puffs up. This kind of mentality can easily be cloaked in “love”, and would continue to “cloak” itself in reminding oneself that one is speaking the truth, and after all I know the truth that will get people to heaven. What better thing to offer?

    Yes, yes, yes…I know this all too well.

    The only way to get out of your maze is to stay in your maze, and find you way out through the maze. This can only be done through the Holy Scripture for you. I urge you to listen to every audio that Jason Stellman has put up on his audio page. Be humble. Patient. Pray for guidance. Patiently write down your refutations….not in a fast haughty manner, but in a kind eloquent refutation. Get notebooks on each topic of disagreement, and let someone else be the teacher from the other perspective, instead of immediately putting someone else’s view through the X-ray of your own lens.

  205. Kevin,

    Dennis. How could you possibly have that having to wait for a judgment based on what you do in the end. Let me just tell you, if God is judging on what i do, that ain’t good news.The gospel is called good news.

    Your theology is frightening and is not traditional Christian theology. Christ will judge us because He tells us He will judge us.

    I can understand a Protestant goes by Scripture as their authority (not necessarily agree)…I don’t understand how a Protestant can ignore major portions of Scripture to justify their positions.

    Your theology ends up not being Sola Scriptura. It’s more like Sola Kevin.

  206. Lynn, Why do you believe the worst about us. We are still friends but it has been tough. We have been couple friends for 28 years. My point was it is worth risking a friendship to share the truth. For you love is more important than faith and truth. For Paul the truth is everything. Because only the truth can set you free. Lynn you are being pious and judgmental. It isn’t a tactic. It is a 30 year relationship. You don’t even know me. Nothing can be more unloving, Lynn, than to let someone perish in a false system. You didn’t answer my questionLynn. How can you defend a church that sold forgiveness? In light of the fact that the Lord poured his life out on a cross to purchase for us the free gift of forgiveness, do you think Luther was right standing up to this despicable practice of your church? Do you know they still do this Lynn? Sell masses and indulgences? What do you think about that? I responded to your questions. will i hear from you?

  207. Dennis, 5:24 ” Truly , Truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and DOES NOT COME INTO JUDGMENT, but passed out of death into life.”Are you sure it isn’t your theology that is frightening. and what was that about judgment for believers?

  208. Kevin,

    Keep reading

    25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [f]the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

  209. Kevin–

    What is the bottom line for you? How much theological detail must someone believe before they are a true believer? When we meet Christ in judgment, will he pull out his handy-dandy systematic and quiz us?

    The basics of the Nicene Creed are pretty much inviolable, but even there…what REALLY counts? For me, it is whether or not the person is united by faith to the Son of God…to the actual, true, one and only Holy One…and not some phony representation of him. This is the main reason to get theology right…so that you’re not following Nietsche (or Santa Claus or Mr. Clean) all the while calling him “Jesus.”

    I do not know much bad theology God will put up with from those of faith. Any Catholic who still believes that hyperdulia doesn’t go above and beyond the bounds of decency more times than not is not paying attention. Read through some of the copious prayers to Mary available online and anyone with any remnant of objectivity will shake their heads and mutter, “Idolatry.” No one is praying to her or to the saints as they would ask a dear friend to pray for them. Protection and wisdom and healing and salvation and patience and strength and endurance are sought from them directly, as gods and goddesses powerful enough to distribute such gifts. There is no pretense most times of their closeness to Christ, of their bending his ear, of their imploring his grace and mercy on our behalf. Such explanations are used when they wish to justify the practice and are seldom found within the practice itself.

    The Marian dogmas and Eucharistic adoration bother me more than their confused soteriology. (By the way, modern Catholics, at least on this blog and C2C, do NOT believe that the Mass involves a re-sacrifice. You are barking up the wrong tree there. They probably are not in conformity with Trent in this regard, but that is just one more place where they are entirely inconsistent.)

    Thomists actually have a decent soteriology for the most part. But in order to comply with established dogma, it remains thoroughly inconsistent logically. If Calvinism weren’t anathema, many would flood on over. Reformed theology is where their own concepts naturally lead.

    Almost certainly the biggest stumbling block standing between us is the doctrine of infallibility. It rips apart the healing tendency within the body. It is schismatic to the core.

    The best thing happening within the Roman Church are all the grassroots spiritual movements. The charismatic renewal and even the ubiquitous Apparitions of Mary allow run-of-the-mill believers to do an end around around the Magisterium. The Little Flower can even become a “Doctor of the Church,” spouting off unmistakable portions of JBFA. (She was thoroughly Catholic sacramentally, but her soteriology as a whole was clearly otherwise.) When I hear Catholics like Dennis and Lynn espousing JBFA tenets without knowing it, it gives me hope. Yeah, their thoughts are still way too mixed with dogmatic sludge. But I hear the distant beating of their Christian hearts.

  210. Erick–

    You told Kevin:

    “The only way to get out of your maze is to stay in your maze, and find you way out through the maze. This can only be done through the Holy Scripture for you. I urge you to listen to every audio that Jason Stellman has put up on his audio page. Be humble. Patient. Pray for guidance. Patiently write down your refutations….not in a fast haughty manner, but in a kind eloquent refutation. Get notebooks on each topic of disagreement, and let someone else be the teacher from the other perspective, instead of immediately putting someone else’s view through the X-ray of your own lens.”

    I think this is excellent advice. I suggest you and I and everyone else on here do something similar, as well.

    Realize this though. You are confident that humility and perseverance and a teachable spirit will yield a Catholic result. We are just as confident that it will not. I double-dog dare you to match determination with me. God can do anything he wants–for I am his unworthy servant–but my opinion at the moment is that if you find me convinced by Catholic arguments, you will also find a brain tumor behind the transformation.

  211. Eric,

    “…the distant beating of their christian heart”.

    So what identifies a Christian is whether they believe in JBFA?

    And if praying to Mary and the saints for intercession, which is the only proper way of addressing glorified human beings, is idolatry..well, the Holy Spirit did not protect His church from doing it for 1500 years prior to the reformation.

  212. Eric,

    If that is the case, then you “know” that Catholicism is wrong. And, it would follow you would not be “open” to dialogue about Catholic theology. And that ultimately leads to the question of what you are doing here on a catholic blog discussing Catholic theology with Catholics. From my perspective, I know exactly where you are coming from. I have a history with the Catholic church as well as protestantism. I have, at least, the benefit of knowing both worlds, with much depth. In your perspective, if I would be in good conscience, I simply have just not been as “smart” as you are.

  213. Kevin,

    You’re picking and choosing lines again. John 5:22 tells us that the Son has been given all judgment. John 5: 29 says that those who have done “good deeds” will have resurrection of new life and those who have done “wicked deeds” to condemnation.

    You ignore these verses because they don’t fit into your theology. Yes. We will be judged by our good deeds. You can’t get around it. If you truly adhere to Sola Scriptura, then you have to deal with these verses. It’s not just one verse. There are too many to ignore.

  214. Erick–

    Look at some of the early prayers to Mary and the Saints, and there is a decided difference. The “Ave Maria,” for example, comes almost directly from Scripture, and it definitely uses her as an intercessor: pray for us now and in the hour of our death.

    I “know” that Catholicism is wrong, and you “know” that Catholicism is right. Somebody doesn’t know what they think they know. The Spirit does not sow confusion. Delve deeply enough earnestly enough, and the truth will out. (If with all your heart you truly seek him, you shall ever surely find him.) Are you flexible enough to bend to the words of the Spirit? What if coming BACK to Protestantism gave you ten times the joy and sense of “eureka” of the Spirit that leaving it did?

  215. Eric,

    I have had many temptations to go back to being a protestant. Such would be an act of schism, and therefore a lack of charity, and it would make all the more sense why temptations for it arise. I do have a hard time dealing with some wayward Catholics who do not love the Lord, nor follow him. But then again, I’ve also been in a church that was highly disciplinary (protestant), and excommunication was a normal process. We’d almost never see the person again, and we had to shun them if we saw them in public unless they wanted to repent. The church went through a difficult time, a rivalry with a neighboring baptist church unto which many excommunicants fled to, ignoring the “leadership authority” of the other baptist church. I also have years of experience, weekly evangelizing, often open air preaching, and interacting with people from afar to I personally think that within evangelicalism and reformed protestantism there are sons of the devil, as there are within the Catholic Church. And so the moral test does not bring me to any specific place.

    Ultimately, I want the truth. After years of study in the scriptures, studying men of diverse backgrounds (D.A. Carson, Douglas Moo, Moises Silva, puritans, etc,etc,etc), particularly within the Pauline epistles, I was able to see with clear eyes the truth of the Catholic gospel. If you wish to know any details I am open to share.

  216. Eric,

    When I hear Catholics like Dennis and Lynn espousing JBFA tenets without knowing it, it gives me hope. Yeah, their thoughts are still way too mixed with dogmatic sludge. But I hear the distant beating of their Christian hearts.

    I can assure you that everything I wrote is fully in line with Catholic teaching. If you want the CCC paragraph #’s to anything that sounds like it conflicts with Catholic teaching, please ask and I will provide.

    What I think you don’t realize is that we have more in common than you think. That Catholicism isn’t the caricature that most Protestants believe it is.

    Moreover, that Catholicism is far more beautiful than anything that Protestants have.

    I appreciate the dialogue between us. There’s a reason why what I write is difficult to engage in argument. There’s a reason it sounds attractive to you. Why you’re willing to adopt it as truth (and think it’s Protestant). It’s because it’s true. It’s what’s been taught in the Catholic Church for 2000 years. It’s the unadulterated truth that’s been protected by the Magisterium.

    Many years ago, I attended a retreat with a French monk who said the best way to argue with anyone (Protestant, atheists, non-Christian) is to simply lay down the Truth. It cannot be argued against. The Catholic Church holds the fullness of Truth. You lay it down in the argument and they won’t find a weakness.

    And not only will you win arguments, you can also win souls.

  217. “When I hear Catholics like Dennis and Lynn espousing JBFA tenets without knowing it, it gives me hope.”

    Okay, this was worth getting up at 12:40 am to read – made me smile with tender delight.

    Just so you know Kevin and Eric, I went to 5:30 pm mass tonight and brought you two with me. Put you up on the altar and prayed that the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ would cover you and your beautiful families and bring you into eternal life (the whole Catholic 9 yards!) – sleep well.

    Peace

  218. Eric, I agree we all have error in our theology. All of true faith have, error. Our faith as Calvin says is imperfect., weak at times, feeble. We all have pelagiast tendencies. Actually I sort of agree with you on the idolatry stuff. To worship a piece of bread and the Mother of Jesus is a serious thing. Someone asked Sproul one time, If you trust Christ alone and pray to Mary, could you go to hell. Sproul thought about it and said, maybe. It is a serious act of idolatry. Thats good to know about them not believing Trent’s real sacrifice. Actually they say 70 % of Catholics don’t even know its a sacrifice. Ill take your word on the Thomists. The problem is the magisterium. You are exactly right that the infallibility thing is paramount. And that is the question does Rome really want reconciliation. Only on there terms. Because in the end Rome is the substituted natural body of Christ and its all about the agenda, cooperate fetching home of everyone, Muslims, Japanese etc. to the Totus Christus. Ratzinger says the Eucharist is the church, and the Church is Christ, and the community is meshed in, and instead of a body of individual believers, its just one cooperate Christ. One big hierarchy, Jacobs ladder, with the pope as the visible head and various saints down the rungs. His replacement and His kingdom being live out in the church right now. Heck with second coming. I regress. Here is the bottom line for me because I’m an evangelist at heart. And i have talked to myriads of Catholics in my life about how they get to heaven. And inevitably they all say because I’m a good person, or like Dennis, God’s going to weigh the goods and the bads. Think about it Eric, we get the same answer from all of them. Ill get in some way at the end based on what i did. And whats my point? Bottom line. Wrong gospel. Instead of the New Evangelization, they need a new evangelization. Instead of finding common ground, lets be honest with them about the differences. We shall love their people, as you said there is a church within Rome. But we must not be naive Rome hasn’t changed and i believe it won’t. We must learn from the great men of the past that fought this giant error. And I believe the great Spurgeon was right we can’t have peace with Rome and with that gospel. We should pray every day he said that God would tie a millstone around their doctrines and throw it to the bottom of the sea. and we should turn our face toward Jesus when we pray. Eric your in a unique situation where you live. Forgive the people in your church for there failure to help your family. And give the Catholics who are loving on you the greatest gift, the Gospel. God bless you my dear most learned brother.

  219. Kevin, slow down and take a deep breath my friend. You seem to be totally misunderstanding what I am saying. You write:

    The knowledge of sin doesn’t come thru dietary Laws or circumcision.

    I agree with you Kevin, you are right about that. The knowledge of sin comes through knowledge of the moral law. For example, I know it is a sin to covet because the Decalogue tells me that it is a sin to covet.

    THRU THE LAW COMES THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN

    No need to shout. You are quite correct, and that is Paul’s point – that as a Pharisee, Saul came to know that coveting was a sin, because that is a part of the divine revelation found in the Decalogue. Saul also knew that as a Pharisee this knowledge didn’t prevent him from coveting.

    Every time Paul talks of works of Law, he includes all Law.

    That is not true. Sometimes when Paul speaks of the law he means the entire Torah, and sometimes when Paul speaks of the law, he means only the ritual law – the laws that were added for transgressions. That is why you can’t wrench verses out of context from Romans and insert them into Galatians.

    He delights in the Law of God but not in a way to justify Him.

    Kevin, do you understand that Paul is using the literary form of the diatribe in his Letter to the Romans? Paul is arguing against an imaginary Jewish interlocutor in this diatribe. That is, Paul the Christian is responding to objections that Saul the Pharisee is raising.

    You seem to be missing that point that it is Saul the Pharisee that raises this point: “I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.” This is true because the divine revelation of the moral law found in the Torah had a didactic function for the Jews. God gave this revelation to the Jews so that they would know not only what expected of them in terms of moral behavior, this divine revelation was given to them so that the Jews would come to the knowledge that they were unable to keep the moral law that had been divinely revealed to them. In other words, because of original sin, the Jews were incapable of keeping the moral law in a matter that is wholly pleasing to God. The Jews were sinners in need of a Savior.

    Did Saul the Pharisee lose his delight in the moral law in his inmost self when he became Paul the Christian? No! Paul had even more delight in the moral law as a Christian, because now not only did he know the moral law he already knew as a Pharisee, he could now do what the moral law commanded of him. Paul the Christian could keep the two great commandments of love the sum up the whole of the moral law, while Saul the Pharisee could not. Why was Paul now able to love God with all his heart, all his soul and all his might? Why was Paul able to love his neighbor as himself? Did that ability to love as Christ loves come from his mere intellectual assent to words written in a book? Of course not, since Saul the Pharisee already gave intellectual assent to the moral law that is summed up by the two great commandments of love. Intellectual assent to what constitutes righteous behavior before God never saved Saul the Pharisee, and mere intellectual assent was incapable of saving Paul the Christian. What saved Paul is what saves every Christian – a human partaking in the divine nature of the Trinity that was made possible by the hypostatic union.

    You can’t be a christian and not desire to obey God.

    Really? You are like every other Christian. You are quite capable of sinning, which is exactly the opposite of obeying God.

    Yes the doers of the Law and not the hearers. But no one can do the Law, thats his point.

    No, you are missing the entire point of the Gospel. Christ came to free us from the bondage to sin so that we can keep the two great commandments of love that are found in the Torah. Note how Jesus sums up this teaching about love:

    “You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

    But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    Matthew 5:43-48

    Jesus is commanding us to be perfect, and the standard of the perfection that Jesus raises for humans is the perfection of our Father in heaven. A high standard indeed! For a human to love as God loves is impossible for a man that is trying to do it out of his own effort. But with God, all things are possible, and through the Word made flesh, a human can partake in the inner life of God, which IS perfect love.

    Mateo, the law was never meant to save. Thats the point. It was given to show men their sinfulness and drive them to faith.

    I agree that a man striving out of his own effort cannot keep the two great commandments of love that sum up the whole of the moral law. And I agree that the Jews were given the two great commandments of love by God to show all men they are quite incapable of keeping these holy commandments. But God showed men their sinfulness not so that they could manifest intellectual assent to what the law commanded of them, but to drive them into the arms of their Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Kevin, think of the first step of a twelve step recovery program. A person, say a drug addict, wants to stop being an addict because he intellectually knows that the life he is living is sinful. The addict has to make a choice to want to get sober, but the first step in his recovery is admitting that he is powerless against his addiction. The recovery of an addict won’t happen until he wants to get sober and he quits trying to save himself. The addict will only recover when he admits he is powerless against his addiction and begins to trust in his higher power. In essence, that is really what St. Paul is teaching in Romans. Man is powerless against his addiction to sinning, and he can’t recover until he admits his powerlessness to quit sinning. To be saved, the sinner needs to get to the point where is he wants to obey the moral laws of God, and he must also admit that he is powerless to keep the two great commandments of love. Only when he partakes in the life of the Trinity, he can be saved from his addiction to sinning.

    To become sober, the addict cannot just do step one of a twelve step recovery program. He has to work all twelve steps, and that is not easy. We are all addicts to sin – that is Paul’s point. And we can’t overcome our addiction to sin by doing only step one, which is admitting that we need a Savior. No, we have to work all the steps to be saved, and that is hard work, which is why Paul tells us that we need to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

  220. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    To worship a piece of bread and the Mother of Jesus is a serious thing.

    You repeatedly say “Mother of Jesus” but you never seem to say “Mother of God”.

    Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

  221. Kevin,

    Your characterization of Catholicism is very common from reformed protestants. I myself agreed with you at one point. You are very misinformed, that is for sure. Be that as it may, you say you are here in order to learn about Catholicism….but it doesn’t sound like you are trying to learn….you already know what Catholics believe, despite what we tell you. So, it sounds like you just want to “shout” reformed theology, thinking that such is evangelism and love. Take some time to think about what your doing.

  222. Mateo, I agreed with a lot of what you said about why the Law was given. It was to show them the moral requirement and their sinfulness. My point is a true christian who is regenerated and has the Spirit of God will be moved to obey God. But the flesh is always waging war. Your trying to make and argument that faith and love are the same thing, because then you can you can make sanctification a part of justification. And you trying to do this by saying faith apart from love is only mental assent. But when Paul says the three greatest things faith, hope, love, he separates them. Faith and love are different. love follows faith in natural order but can’t achieve what only faith can achieve. Only faith can receive the gift of Christ. Love can’t receive it gives. It is our sanctification and not our justification. Faith always works thru love but love cannot justify a man or Paul would have said so. Jesus says in John many times believing saves you. John 3:16. Luther was very critical of Rome that they wanted to rob from faith and give to love what God intentioned for faith. If you can chow me a passage where we are told that we are justified by love, ill believe you. Galations 5:6 is sanctification. He already told us in 5:1 we have been justified by faith. before love eve comes faith has justified us. Your argument that faith can’t accomplish its purpose without love is incorrect. Faith is not mental ascent, it is a resting and trusting in Christ alone. it receives and love gives. Hebrews 11 does not say without love it is impossible to please Him but faith.

  223. Wosbald, Im only repeating scripture. The scripture never calls her the mother of God, only the mother of Jesus. The son of God existed long before Mary was ever born.

  224. Erick, well good we can be misinformed friends because I think you are misinformed.

  225. Erick, since your handing out judgments on me, allow me. Why are your here? To convince all the Reformed that you were once where they are and you saw the light, right? You say i don’t want to learn. You all say the same thing. God gives you grace to help you save yourself. If you talked of faith as much as you talk of love you might be saved. For you salvation is about your moral transformation. For the Reformed it is about the Glory of God. “Salvation is from the Lord.”Faith comes from God. You guys worship a church and we worship God. Go up and read Lynn’s post about how we left the church and on and on about “Where would we go.”Christ is a member of your congregation. You worship a church, the pope, sacraments, Mary, bread. etc. Would you kiss the ring of any man? Is any man infallible in his teaching?He’s a man. And Jude said the faith had been delivered over once and for all. Revelation prohibits added words to the bible. Your like the Mormon church. You reduce Christ to something less than the scripture says he is by saying His one time atonement wasn’t sufficient. You participate in your salvation by your works. And you have added false human revelation, like they have. I am not for one minute fooled that you are remotely close to the church of the NT.

  226. +JMJ+

    Kev is on a roll. Somebody call my momma!

  227. Mateo, Here is something that would help your confusion of faith and love. Galations 3:2 ” This is one thing i want to find out from you, did you receive the Spirit by works of Law, or by hearing with faith?” See Mateo, no love, no works, just hearing and receiving. Have a great day.

  228. Wosbald, look at Lynn and Erick, there the ones on a roll, judging me. Time for a smoke!

  229. Kevin,

    Nothing, nada, nowhere, ANYWHERE in scripture does anything trump Love. I see you jumping all over the place with this and I can’t follow – but again I say, nothing trumps love – period.
    This is non negotiable within the life of a Christian because God is Love.

  230. Scripture says all generations will call her blessed and that she magnifies The Lord. So why didn’t you call her the Blessed Mother of Jesus.? When was the last time you looked to Mary to magnify The Lord? Oh I forgot, that’s idolatry.

  231. Meant to start my post with “Kevin”

  232. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    Wosbald, Im only repeating scripture. The scripture never calls her the mother of God, only the mother of Jesus. The son of God existed long before Mary was ever born.

    Scripture calls Jesus “God”. Scripture calls Mary “Jesus’ Mother”. You do the math.

  233. Kevin, you said;

    “For you love is more important than faith and truth. For Paul the truth is everything. ”

    I stand guilty as charged, although I’m quite certain St. Paul wouldn’t stand for this.

  234. Lynn, The only way to God is faith . It will always be the entry way into this holistic salvation. Faith is first, it reaches out and receives the Gift of Christ and brings it to the soul and justifies a man before God. Then love comes and always follows in natural order. Love stretches out Lynn, and presses forward to give wholly to our neighbor. Faith is first and receives and then love gives. Open your bible and you will see Galatians 5:1 comes before Galatians 5:6. “Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God.”Aorist past tense. After the forgone conclusion of our justification faith is always working with love. Hebrews 11:2 ” For by faith men gained approval” verse 6 watch closely Lynn, “For without FAITH it is impossible to please Him.”The RC kicks faith to the curb by glorifying works in its place even though Paul says “For if it is by grace it is no longer on the basis of works, or grace is no longer grace”you make grace a reward instead of a gift. And your church sells this forgiveness, indulgences, masses ( still waiting on your response to my questions which I’m guessing won’t come Lynn), and your earn an increase of grace thru a sacrament that God intended to be free. You are cooperating your way to heaven when the bible specifically says faith “for the righteous shall live by faith.” You are unwilling to look at the true history of the Medieval Roman Synagog. Its a replay of Old Testament judaism that Hebrews said went away. You still have a physical altar, a physical sacrifice, and a physical priesthood even though Jesus altar is in heaven, his sacrifice is in heaven, his priesthood is in heaven. “The words i speak to you are Spirit, the flesh profits nothing.” Lynn, the writer of Hebrews talks to the Jews about going back to the old ways and he calls it shrinking back in faith. Martin Luther “We will not let you sell forgiveness and we will not let you rob what God intended for faith and give it to love.”

  235. CK, Isaiah 48 “My glory i share with no other.” That includes Mary, and you on your elevator out of your nature to divinity by the acts of the church. The divine medicine that is supposedly infused into you to elevate your nature out of itself into the divine, remember that verse. In Timothy it says there i ONE mediator between man and God, Jesus Christ. Mary hasn’t heard a prayer since the day she died. Yet you guys have more prayers to her in your prayer book than Jesus. You make her responsible for everything. The Marian ego has gone wild in the RC. God won’t deal lightly with that. You can call it whatever dullia you want, its idolatry. But the again you put up a mere sinful man like ourselves as the head of the church on earth even though these popes die , and how could the church live if it’s head were dead. Christ forever lives and the Church lives in him. Christ didn’t come form heaven to earth and pour his life out on a cross to have the pope come in and steal the glory. He didn’t come from heaven to earth, he didn’t shed his blood for his people. Of all the dreams that have ever deluded men, in all absurdity and manner of mischief, is to think that the bishop of Rome could be the head of the church on Earth.

  236. Lynn, Faith as feeble as it gets always keeps us connected to Christ. Paul says “the righteous shall live by faith. Love is something we fail at all the time. For example your a loving person, but look how you treated me last night. You judged me without even knowing me. You made accusations that were very unloving, but that didn’t change your faith. Calvin said to Cardinal Saldello(sp.) that its a lot easier to love your neighbor when you know your not obligated to. God forgives us thru faith and knows our failures and still declares us righteous. I mean look at the rag tag Corinthians who he calls sanctified (past tense)in his opening of the Epistle. The man that has his father’s wife(mortal sin) in 1 Corinthians 5 who Paul delivers over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his soul would be saved in the day of the Lord. Lynn nothing can separate those who are trusting in Christ alone for there salvation from the love of God, it says in Romans 8:30. “Who can bring a charge against us. It is God who justifies.”There is no condemnation for those in Christ” Even when we fail to love as sinful human beings our faith has justified us. Sure love is greater but it can never be first and it does not justify. ThxLynn

  237. Kevin,

    I/ Catholics make her responsible for everything? Where did you get that from? No need misrepresent. Remember Jesus didnt need to misrepresent to get people to follow him, the Devil needs to do that. You have some good points but when you mix in things that I know not to be catholic beliefs it makes me question your comments on topics I’m not familiar with. I’ll follow-up on saints not hearing our prayers later.

    Thanks

  238. Lynn, in all love you don’t need to put Eric and I up on the altar, Jesus blood already covers us. He took care of that on the cross. Hebrews10:14 ‘ For by one offering, once, he perfected for all time those for whom he died. 10:18 “now that there is forgiveness of these there is NO more offering for sin. We have faith in a finished act, Deb, as we sing the amen with the church, and we witness to that finished act, the perfect one time sacrifice of our savior who’s blood has been already sprinkled on our heart. The incarnation is finished, for he aid he had accomplished ALL that the Father gave him to accomplish. But thanks for the love.

  239. Dennis–

    At no point did I believe you went outside of Catholic teaching. I believe
    Catholic teaching conflicts with itself. Anything extraneous to grace alone negates grace alone (because it’s no longer alone).

    The fact of the matter is that I would expect an experience with idolatry to be extraordinarily “beautiful.” Satan can disguise himself as an exquisite “angel of light.” Christ himself is unfeigned beauty.

    Truth cannot be (successfully) argued against but Catholic teaching can. It is such a mish-mash that it really doesn’t even remind me of the truth. (Just being honest.)

  240. CK–

    Unlike Kevin, I am actually willing to entertain the notion that the saints in glory (all of them, not just the ones the Catholic church has singled out) may be able to make intercession for us. It would have to square with the rest of Scripture (the Intermediate State is notoriously difficult to pin down).

    Mary is actually given many times the emphasis in RC theology that she has in the NT. Muhammad was so confused, he thought Mary was a member of the Trinity rather than the Holy Ghost. JPII supposedly died with the words “totus thus” (totally yours) on his lips, referring, of course, to Mary…and NOT to Christ. You can see where we Protestants might get a mite confused!

  241. Lynn–

    Just so you know, 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration chapels are quite common in my area, but the practice has always struck me as superstitious and idolatrous rather than spiritual. The Eucharist itself has always been an ineffable experience for me without all the pomp and show.

    Thomas Howard, by the way, a well-known Evangelical convert to Catholicism who has studied Christian Education within the RC church, has said that 9 out of 10 parishes he goes into in the U.S. are inadequately catechized and basically secular.

  242. Lynn–

    What exactly does “love” mean to you? Can it be separated from genuine faith? Can it be separated from the Way, the Truth, and the Life?

  243. Lynn, Allow me to clear something up you said to Eric in your post to him. You said you talk of the trinity a lot and ” To take up our place again within the Holy trinity.”Lynn, i don’t know if you got the memo but you can’t be a member of the Trinity. We aren’t little tentacles of the Trinity. Ill explain why. Maybe you believe you have the gift of heeling, and you believe your a prophetess, and you can go to the altar and take me and Eric, like you said you did, and make sacrifices for our sins, and maybe you have been taught at baptism you were injected with a super medicine ( sanctifying grace) that will elevate you, thru doing the acts of the church (sacraments), out of your nature into the divine, right into the Godhead. And maybe you were taught that grace becomes nature and nature becomes grace. And maybe you have been taught we will just be one corporate Christ someday. You would be gravely mistaken. Grace does heal nature and elevate it thru the works of the church into the Godhead. It redeems and restore nature to what God intended it to be for Adam. When Peter talks of participating in the divine nature, he uses the word koininia which means fellowship, like a man and his wife. We don’t become one Christ, we become one with Christ. We aren’t fused candles in essence.Hebrews12:29. The scripture says God dwells in unapproachable light. When we are redeemed we become what he became to us, not what he is. Participation is about redemption not an ontological climb thru virtue and sacraments into the Godhead. The Roman model is broken and throws the purpose of our walk with God, namely redemption, aside for a model of climbing Jacob’s ladder in merit, mysticism, and speculation. That will find outer darkness Deb. Read the story of Jacob’s ladder, He never climbs the ladder but God comes to him while he is sleeping with all the blessings of salvation. Rome has a false gospel and it isn’t the gospel of scripture. thx

  244. Lynn, my one sentence should read grace does not heal nature and elevate it thru the acts of the church into the Godhead. Sorry for the mistake,

  245. Erick (and Dennis)–

    I would be excited to hear more details concerning both of your conversions to Catholicism. What you read. Who you talked to, listened to. What specific arguments impacted you most.

    It sounds as if Erick had an utterly horrific “Protestant” experience. Unfortunately, it is the case that much of so-called Protestantism is unadulterated crap!

  246. Eric,

    Exactly, you are catching on. Those can’t be divided, when they are, Love is not in fullness.

    Thanks for sending me to Thomas Howard, I love what I just read:

    The Sacrament of the Eucharist is, of course, one step away from the Incarnation itself, where the thing signified (The Word) and the signifier (Jesus) were absolutely one. Symbol and sign and metaphor strain towards this union; Sacrament presents it, but the Incarnation is that perfect union. Again, it is a scandal. God is not man, any more than bread is flesh. But faith overrides the implacable prudence of logic and chemistry and says “Lo!”

  247. Kevin, why do you keep calling me Deb?

  248. Kevin,

    I will respond when I have some idea of what your anti-catholic view of the Holy Trinity is.
    Keep in mind that Catholic Church has all the cards on this mystery. All of Christendom takes the foundation their knowledge from the Her.

  249. Kevin–

    Though I would like to read through your posts, I often find I do not have sufficient mental energy to do so. Someone suggested that you break your posts into paragraphs. That might well help. Or if you could type it out in WORD first with a spell check and some grammar helps. What you have to say is worthwhile: can you help make it less of a torture to read?

    Sorry to keep giving you grief. I sincerely value your contributions to the dialogue.

  250. Kevin, I’m finally getting back to your three verses from John. ” Truly,Truly I say to you he who BELIEVES has eternal life.”John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever BELIEVES in Him has eternal life. John 3:15″so that whoever BELIEVES will in him have eternal life.

    Surely you would agree that to believe is much more than recognizing Jesus as our Savior. To teach that nothing else is required is not only naive, but hazardous. I know you think that if any works are involved, a person is trying to earn their salvation. But to truly believe is so much more…. What Jesus meant by believing in Him included believing everything He said, believing everything He taught.
    After miraculously feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two small fish, the disciples gathered up 12 baskets of leftover food (John 6:5-13). “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world'”
    After Jesus departed from the scene, many of those who enjoyed the miraculous meal came searching for Him. They wanted Jesus to perform another miracle, saying that this would help them believe Him (verse 30).
    Rather than perform another miracle at this time, Jesus taught the people. He explained that, unlike the physical bread the crowd had recently eaten, He was the true bread from heaven who would give eternal life to the world (verses 32-33).
    He told them that His followers would need to “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood” (verse 53)— This would ultimately lead to eternal life (verse 54).
    Many of those listening to Jesus, including His own disciples, found this teaching difficult to understand (verse 60). Addressing this large group, Jesus then said, “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.” After this, “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (verses 64, 66).

  251. Eric,

    I can absolutely see where Protestant can be confused! I’ve been to churches where Mary was the main focus behind the altar and it made me uncomfortable because I felt those who were poorly catechized might get the wrong idea. And you are also right that RC gives her a lot of emphasis but that in itself does not mean worship. Can it lead to worship, I guess it can, but you can say that about many things ie., don’t have great music during service because people might decide to show up just for the music. As for Muhammad, he was confused about many things. The JPII thing is hearsay & only God knows his heart.

    My beef with Kevin is when he tells me I’m worshiping Mary (make her responsible for everything) when I know I don’t & the Church teaches no such thing. We have a catechism & it’s free online. He has some interesting takes on various topics, but it makes it hard to take him at face value on topics im not familiar with when he’s misrepresenting people’s beliefs. You wouldn’t buy a vaccum cleaner from a door salesman that you knew was not being truthful about the vaccum cleaner you currently own. You would doubt all great things he was telling you about his product.

  252. Eric, ya i need to knock the wind out of the wind bag. i’ll shorten. Thx

  253. Lynn, sorry freudian slip.

  254. Eric, actually i like when you give me grief because usually your right and i can try and fix it.

  255. Lynn, unfortunately the Catholic isn’t able to understand the distinction between justification and sanctification. Ephesians 2:8 ” For by grace you have been saved thru faith, it is not that of yourself, it is a gift of God, not a result of works, lest any man should boast. No, against the teaching of your church the bible says that salvation is a free gift and cannot be earned in any way. Faith is simply the empty hand that receives the gift. Nothing else is required to be right before God. Lynn, Romans 4:5 says unequivocally that God declares justified an ungodly man by faith,apart from works, buy crediting Christ’s righteousness to our account. It isn’t earning an increase in grace thru a lifetime of sacraments to find out if you made it in the end. Where is the good news in that gospel? We understand all of your code words Lynn. When you say surely to believe is much more than recognizing Jesus as our savior, what you really mean is it is a life time of earning an increase in grace thru sacraments to a final justification based partly on your merit and good works. What you fail to accept is that is the very gospel Paul preaches against in his Epistles. Paul could have no other gospel in mind in Galatians 1:9 than that of Rome.

  256. CK, but protestants aren’t calling music co mediatrix? And the our Bishops ardent having “Im totally yours Mary” hemmed into their robes and putting the whole church in the hands of Mary before Pope John Paul did

  257. CK–

    I have never heard anything absolutely definitive on JPII’s last words, but “totus tuus” was the official motto of his papacy. The Marian Cross, including a huge capital M, was emblazoned on his “coat of arms.” To be fair, the M is beneath an arm of the Cross of Christ and testifies to her presence at the crucifixion. I have little doubt that “totally yours” means something on the order of “totally buying into Mary’s utter submission to God.” But it is still confusing.

    The problem I have with an overemphasis on Mary is that it not only CAN lead to worship but invariably DOES on a huge scale. When I visited the National Basilica in Washington, DC, some of the statues of Mary (there are 30-some odd side altars) were so exquisite I MYSELF was tempted to worship. It was an incredibly beautiful and at the same time sickening and dirty experience. I felt like I should go home and take a shower. A seminary professor in Puerto Rico took a survey of his students and found that fully a third of them went beyond the bounds of hyperdulia into technical worship.

    In Numbers 21, Moses sets up a bronze serpent on a pole to cure the Israelites of snakebite. God had no recorded objection to this practice, which did indeed produce the needed cure. Later, however, when Hezekiah found his subjects actually worshiping this pole, he pulled it down!

    As a side note, RC Marian devotion makes it extremely difficult for Protestants to properly honor the “handmaiden of the Lord.” Her true worth as a model of humble submission is almost totally lost. As my wife and I are wont to say, “Mary is probably rolling over in her grave in sorrow, uncontrollably weeping, seeing how men have elevated her in relation to her Son.”

    Precious little separates hyperdulia from true worship. It is a needless distraction from the glory of the Son. Even if it were acceptable in and of itself (which I highly, highly, highly doubt), it is a completely unacceptable temptation to place in front of poorly catechized parishioners. In point of fact, it is shameful…even if no worship is intended.

  258. CK, please don’t be naive. The Marian ego has gone wild in the RC. Have you ever read De Laguardia’s book about 800 pages which your church has accepted as doctrine. Read it, it is pathetic. She is called co mediatrix, queen of heaven, gateway to redemption, mother of all graces.. You go into any catholic church you always see a big statue of Mary and never Jesus. Here is how important she was to Jesus in his ministry. Mathew 12:47 ” someone said your mother and your brothers are standing out side ( so much for perpetual virginity) seeking to speak to you. But jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said ” Who is my mother and who are my brothers.” And stretching out his hand to his disciples he said ‘behold my mother and my brothers.”In another verse, when she tried to get in the middle of his ministry he said ” Woman what does this have to do with you. There is a real distancing in the Gospels from his mother in the when he grows up and has to do His Fathers’s work.

  259. Kevin,
    How do you pick up your cross daily and follow Him? Bending down and picking up a cross takes work.
    How do you offer spiritual sacrifices? Taking the time even to pray takes work.
    How do you love your family? Doing anything for them is considered work.
    BUT when we do it with love, it ceases to be work for us – frees us to go even farther in love. We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. This takes work.

    Being patient with you takes work, actually gives me a headache, but I continually offer my irritation to our Lord in obedience and let HIM do the work of making it acceptable to the Father. After all, He is sitting at the right hand and interceding for me constantly (not only once – but eternally forever) BUT I am doing the work of spiritually praying for you and offering you to the Lord.
    The Holy Spirit seals me with the oil of gladness because of this offering. Remember, we are priest, prophet and king. I am priest by offering all I am to to our Lord, I am prophet by proclaiming this salvation, and I am a queen by the merits of the cross that I pick up daily – never doubt that there is only one way to the Father.
    We are members of a royal people – and yes we are part of the Love that is the holy union between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    I’m out for now, company coming –

  260. Eric, on his deathbed, JPII committed his whole life and the church into the hands of Mary. He wrote a book on his devotion to Mary. And I urge our catholic friends to read it. He had hemmed into all his garments inLatin”Im totally yours, Mary. It could be no less described as total worship. MacArthur’s series on the Catholic church an specifically the 3 parts on Mary are detailed, revealing, and stunning.

  261. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    The problem I have with an overemphasis on Mary is that it not only CAN lead to worship but invariably DOES on a huge scale.

    Although “worship” in contemporary context is linked exclusively with Adoration (latria), it’s probably good to point out that “worship” in a more archaic sense encompasses both Adoration and Veneration (dulia/hyperdulia), since in older sources the term “worship” is commonly used in reference to the Cult of the Saints.

    Eric wrote:

    As a side note, RC Marian devotion makes it extremely difficult for Protestants to properly honor the “handmaiden of the Lord.”

    I would say, rather, that the Protestant understanding of the Communion of Saints and, by extension, the Incarnation make it “difficult” (an understatement) to properly honor the Heros of the Faith.

  262. Okay,
    I’m being a prophet right now:

    Anyone that raises up against the Holy Mother of God WILL forever mourn their behavior and will spend eternity thanking God that in His Divine Mercy He has forgiven you.

    A Son always loves His Mother, don’t ever be neglectful. She taught Him how to talk, to pray, how to sing the Psalms, how to worship His Father …… she was at the foot of the Holy Cross of our Salvation, she took His precious body down from the cross, cleaned Him, she oh so gently PULLED the thorns out of His Sacred Head and gave Him kisses that I would die a thousand deaths to have.

    A child always love His Mother. And the greatest gift a Father can give their children is to Love their Mother.

  263. CK–

    I will do everything possible to represent Catholic teachings correctly. You have to understand, though, how difficult that can be. There are over a billion Catholics in the world, each with a slightly different take on what things mean. Even you yourself might not be completely and accurately catechized across the board. It is entirely theoretically plausible for me to be right rather than you upon occasion. The catechism is, after all, well written…and I can read.

  264. Lynn, I do it all out of utter thanksgiving that he forgave me my sins past, present, and future by one offering on the cross. I do it with utter thanksgiving that he declared me just, not based on my inherent righteousness, but based on his imputed righteousness to me thru simple faith. Colossians says we have been made complete in Him Lynn, and Hebrews 9 and 10 tell me that he perfected me and put sin away. I do it with utter thanksgiving that i am seated with Him in heaven, with the Ppirit of adoption in me, with an inheritance that Peter says won’t go away, reserved in heaven for me. And I do it with utter thanksgiving for the knowledge that i know i have eternal life 1 John 5:13. Thats how i pick up my cross each day and follow him in my call to holiness and love of my neighbor. Knowing what Romans 8 says i stand before him justified, not condemned. for nothing can separate me from the love of God, not even my sin Lynn. Go read about the man in 1 Coricthians 5, who although was in mortal sin and delivered by Paul to satan to lose his life, was saved. and each night when i pray, i am overcome by my utter sinfulness, yet even more overcome by the promise that where sin abounds, grace abounds the more. Where i fail in my righteous walk with my cross Lynn, his imputed righteousness makes up the difference. If you would have known my life as a professional musician, you would know i am the tax collector who fell to my knees and couldn’t even look up to heaven, crying for mercy. And he sent me home righteous to Lynn.God bless

  265. Eric, BINGO you said it. The wonderful mother of our Jesus, who should be praised for a confessive spirit and a humble heart gets exulted above Christ and even God. And they lose the appreciation for who she really was. Mary would be sad that she is treated that way . She hasn’t heard a prayer since the day she died.

  266. Kevin,

    I have never been to a Catholic Church that did not have at least a crucifix. So if you didn’t see Jesus, you weren’t looking very hard. Not only that, he is actually physically present in the Eucharist at your local Catholic Church. As for all those titles given to Mary Mother of Drew MarianGod have you taken time to understand what we mean by them? And you are right, I am not entirely chatechized across the board but I’m learning. Can’t the same be said about you and your interpretation of the bible? Could it be that a Catholic here might be right and you wrong on how a verse is intrepeted?

  267. Wosbald, love the Lord God with all of your heart, soul and mind. But Lord, could i just borrow a little dulllia from you and give it to…..! And you worried about honoring saints properly. Boy don’t forget to put that pope on the correct rung closer to heaven. Don’t forget to dullia that guy, and hyperdullia that other guy. Isaiah 48 “My glory i share with ho other.”Here is the Roman ladder of Dullia, Mary, God the Father, the Pope, many saints of honor, Christ, all people who do their best, protestants, Reformed protestants.

  268. Lynn, OK Im going to be a prophet right now, anyone who takes from our Lord the worship do Him and his compassionate heart and gives it to his mother is participating in idolatry! she was no different than you or me, a sinner in need of forgiveness. And listen, did she suffer watching her son die on a cross, absolutely, but she didn’t die on a cross for the sins of the world. See in the RC here’s how it works. God is a tough guy and really transcendent and Jesus he’s tough too, so you guys go to Mary because she is so understanding, and she goes to Jesus and softens him up. This violates the loving and compassionate nature of our Lord who said come unto me and i will give you rest.

  269. CK, no he is physically present in heaven. He ate fish after his resurrection and physically ascended into heaven. Augustine, who didn’t believe in the real presence, said we have been deprived of the body of Christ till he comes again. Transubstantiation was not even a word until 1200. Speaking of the crucifix. Isn’t it odd when the Pope in his thousand dollar gowns and his 3 tier hat full of diamonds walks around with that stick and there is little Jesus on the tip of it and he is towering over it. How ironic every time I see that. Friday’s here but Sunday’s coming. Oh Lord have mercy. You guys won’t let him off the crucifix and the priest has him strapped to the altar. Memo, he rose and is in heaven, praise the Lord!

  270. Kevin,
    Over at Called to Communion Bryan Cross included this beautiful post by R.C. Sproul.
    Thought you would enjoy dear brother in Christ

  271. CK and Kevin–

    Actually, Augustine is inconsistent on his portrayal of the Eucharist, sometimes inferring transubstantiation (Christ carried himself in his own hands at the Last Supper) and sometimes speaking in fairly Presbyterian sign/signified language. There is no question that Scripture makes it clear that Christ is physically present in heaven, but the Reformed believe we partake of his physical flesh and blood in our hearts with thanksgiving by faith: we are mystically transported through “space” to the right hand of the Father, where Jesus resides, much as the Catholic is mystically transported through “time” to the foot of the Cross. Both are mystical, both are physical (incarnational), and both are mediated by faith (one by the faith of the church and one by the faith of the receiver). The Protestant Eucharist is less of a temptation to idolatry mainly because it is effective during a temporary window of time whereas the Catholic Eucharist is permanent (and therefore held in reserve). There is nothing remaining in a Protestant church for anyone to tip their hat to.

  272. Eric,

    It makes no difference to you whether St. Augustine believed in the Eucharist or not. So please don’t both arguing that he did or did not believe in transubstantiation. Why not stick to the Scripture? St. Paul said “The cup that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10). Very clear that Paul believed in the real presence of Christ, especially since the idea of “participation” is parallel to real flesh sacrifices in Israel and in the pagan temples. We become one with the victim of sacrifice, and partake of the offering to our deity, God the Father.

    Kevin/Eric,

    Concerning Mary….you all “think” we worship Mary. Why not read the Catholic Catechism? Or the higher magesterial documents?

    Also, the divine promise of eternal redemption is promised to be through a conflict of the woman and her seed versus the serpent and his seed. The woman is not excluded from this promise, and is not some mere “tool” that gets thrown out.

  273. Lynn–

    Some of your language is loose, and I believe it would be questioned even by Catholics. We are in mystical Union with Christ. By means of the Holy Spirit, he indwells our hearts. So we are, quite decidedly, involved with the Holy Trinity and are certainly loved by them. Some of what you say, however, sounds panentheistic, as if we ontologically become part of the Trinity. This is a concept closer to Hinduism than Christianity.

    And frankly, it sounds weird (with a capital “W”) to say you would die a thousand deaths for some of Mary’s kisses. The Cult of Mary is not found in the very early church. In fact, it really didn’t take off until after the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD…when she was declared theotokos . Study the history sometime, and you may well be enlightened. Muhammad got his sense of Mary being part of the Trinity from heretical Gnostic sects living in the Hijaz (the West coast of the Arabian peninsula). Her prominence is indeed a Gnostic characteristic. Most religions in their period of formulation borrow ideas from pagan predecessors and from surrounding cultures. Muhammad had to disavow some polytheistic tendencies that crept into the early suras of the Qur’an.

    Many, many traditions are retreads. I remember going to the Mormon memorial in Carthage, Illinois where Joseph Smith died. They sat us down to a documentary of the life of the Prophet. Having just studied the Hadith (the traditional stories of Muhammad’s life) at university, we were stunned by the similarities! It was creepy. Catholicism has tons of accretions mixed into its traditions. You can turn a blind eye to it, or you can study.

    By the way, Mormonism also has a notion of the heavenly Mother, the Queen consort of the eternal Father!

  274. Erick–

    Why on earth would it make no difference to me what St. Augustine thought? The Bible was not written in a cultural, historical, philosphical, and linguistic vacuum! We Protestants filter Scripture through EVERYTHING which has been written about it. We study history and tradition with great intensity. We look at every commentary and systematic we can get our hands on. The interpretation of Scripture is a communal venture across the whole world and across all time. The Spirit has not left himself without a trace anywhere in history. We can follow the evidence of wisdom and integrity and love. We use our whole mind and our whole heart, and he does not disappoint!

    WE also believe in the Real Presence, so what are you arguing about?

  275. Erick–

    I clearly stated that the catechetical intention of hyperdulia (the enhanced veneration of Mary) is NOT the same as latria (adoration/worship).

  276. Eric and Lynn, And thats to the point. Ya we believe we are participating really thru the Spirit, word, and faith. And yes his altar, priesthood, and sacrifice are in heaven. RC is a replay of judaism. They have a physical altar, priest, and sacrifice. They go to the mass as a work to make a sacrifice of themselves and for their dead friends for their sins, to purchase an increase in grace and justice The writer of Hebrews told the Jews that the need for the physical was shrinking back in faith. Jesus said his Father was looking for worshipers who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. The word priest is hierus, mentioned 400 times in the OT, and never appears in the NT. God says faith comes from hearing. Interesting those who need the physical to believe. Have you ever seen a Catholic service where they are all staring ahead at worshiping the bread. They put it in the monstrance and march it around in the street. Flat out idolatry. For us Christ is off the cross and we are, like you say, transported to heaven. i always felt like Romanism was a faulty understanding of the trinity. The always say he left us the church. He left us the Spirit. we are the church.

  277. Erick–

    I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your seed and her seed;
    he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

    —Genesis 3:15

    This is a prophecy of the contention between Christ and Satan, and despite the mistranslation of the Douay-Rheims version, doesn’t postulate anything involving the woman in terms of bruising or crushing anyone.

  278. Erick, There is a difference. When we are taking the bread and the cup,we are being nourished by Christ through his body and blood spiritually, by faith. But we don’t worship the piece of bread because it is the true presence of his body. With the Marian ego already out of control inn 1300 or so, here comes the transubstantiation at the ringing of the bell, Jesus is pulled down from heaven and seated on the Lap of the church. they become his regent. Offered up as a victim again. Jesus said nobody takes my life, I lay down my own life thru the spirit. He never considered himself a victim.

  279. Eric, Thanks you beat me to it. The pronoun is masculine, he.

  280. Lynn, you never responded to me. You told Eric we left you. And I asked you if you knew why we left you. Because you were selling forgiveness, the very thing that the Lord gave his life for to give freely to us. And I asked you how you could defend the practice of selling forgiveness and indulgences? And do you know they took that selling into purgatory? And third did you know they still sell masses and indulgences? You said we left you. Good reason huh? Please don’t hide from this Lynn. I’m always interested in what devout catholics think about this? Thx

  281. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Lynn–
    Some of your language is loose, and I believe it would be questioned even by Catholics. We are in mystical Union with Christ. By means of the Holy Spirit, he indwells our hearts. So we are, quite decidedly, involved with the Holy Trinity and are certainly loved by them. Some of what you say, however, sounds panentheistic, as if we ontologically become part of the Trinity. This is a concept closer to Hinduism than Christianity.

    I love Hinduism (in a secondary sense, of course). And I must say that, in fairness to Hindus, it doesn’t “teach” (as much as it can even be said to teach unequivocal doctrines) Pantheism or Panentheism, though it is probably fair to say that most strains lean Pantheistic in mode-of-thought and some adherents may very well overextend aspects of Hindu wisdom into absolute Pantheism.

    Hinduism is almost impenetrable by outsiders, especially by those insistent on “categorizing” its teachings into simplistic, blanket formulae. It’s unsurprising that most Hindus don’t recognize their tradition in the way that it is presented by Westerners, most particularly, by the most rabid polemicists.

    Only those who are unduly scared of Pantheism (and, thus, incognizant of the full import of the revolutionary and category-shattering implications of Incarnation) feel the need to retreat into Reformism in order to inoculate themselves against the perceived threat. It’s infinitely better to be a little uneasy in the face of the unfathomably mysterious and awesome implications of Incarnation, rather than to build a wall in order to feel safe.

  282. Kevin,

    The doctrine of purgatory goes back to the ancient fathers. The idea is not “forgiveness” of guilt, but of temporal chastisement. Of course, many practices within the Church during the time before the reformation were heretical. Martin Luther was right in finding many problems within the Church, and would have been a saint, had he, like St. Athanasius, remained in communion with the Church and sought reform within.

    However, his mishandled exegesis of Romans & Galatians, as well as his high suspicion of Hebrews, James, and revelation, as well as his heretical view of predestination merited excommunication from the Church, and rightly so.

  283. Eric,

    You have access to all these commentaries and books, and yet you come out with your own version of Christianity……that doesn’t make you worried?

  284. Wosbald, Your view on the mysterious implications of the incarnation are nothing but speculation. You misunderstand the Reformation. It wasn’t about inoculation against a perceived threat. It was the outing of a system of false Christianity, and to save the early church and the Apostles from your hair splitting academics who got bit by the semi pelagian snake.. . Keep climbing that ontological ladder to the Godhead and you’ll find something other than your looking for. It won’t take long to light up your smoke.

  285. Erick, I appreciate an honest answer and assessment. A pleasant surprise.

  286. Erick, One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. One man’s heresy is another man’s Gospel.

  287. Kevin,

    That does not justify your failure to submit to Christ’s Church. Thus far, you’ve submitted to yourself, which is not the will of Christ.

  288. Erick, thats not Christ’s church. It docent have the true Gospel. What you don’t understand. Rome is correct in asserting the unity of the church. But it is gravely mistaken thinking that unity means anything with the wrong gospel. i have said this many times. The Reformers came to dispense of the ecclesiastical machinery that was largely human in origin and content.

  289. Erick, maybe I didn’t tell you I submit to my church and its teachings.

  290. Erick, you have had a few different versions of Christianity in your life, which is the real one?

  291. Kevin,

    I would normally be more surprised, but you seem to make a habit of hand waving the argument of others. If you go through this entire thread, I’ve given you many refutations to your arguments and you’ve never really refuted any of mine.

    For people like you, it was a “work of man” when they had to help Moses hold up his arms to sustain the Lord’s power in the Israeli battle.

  292. Erick, thats what you say to everybody. Either they don’t understand or they didn’t answer your points. Incidentally your refutation of my Romans 4 exegesis was weak.

  293. Kevin you write:

    Mateo, I agreed with a lot of what you said about why the Law was given. It was to show them the moral requirement and their sinfulness.

    Excellent, we have a starting point that we agree upon.

    My point is a true christian who is regenerated and has the Spirit of God will be moved to obey God.

    I agree. Because I am loved, I am moved to love in return. The man or woman who has been born again is translated away from a state of enmity with God. The regenerated man or woman is a child of God, a child who is moved by the Holy Spirit to cry out Abba! Father!

    But the flesh is always waging war.

    Yes, I agree. Catholics call the struggle against the flesh “concupiscence”. The difference between Saul the Pharisee, and Paul the Christian, was not that Paul the Christian had no concupiscence to struggle with . The difference was that Saul the Pharisee could not overcome his concupiscence, while Paul the Christian could, because Paul the Christian was set free from his bondage to sin by Christ.

    You’re trying to make and argument that faith and love are the same thing, because then you can you can make sanctification a part of justification.

    No, I am not trying to make that argument. A man can have faith with no infused agape in his soul, and a man can have faith with infused agape in his soul. Did you read my post to you dated January 23? The Christian men of Corinth that were having sex with whores had destroyed their temples, and because of their sin, the Holy Spirit no longer indwelt their temple – which means that these sinful men had no infused agape in their souls. The Christian men who had destroyed their temples through the abomination of fornication would not necessarily be men of no faith.

    And you trying to do this by saying faith apart from love is only mental assent.

    No, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that mental assent is necessary for faith. The faith of the Christian man in Corinth who had infused agape in his soul because he had not fornicated with a whore, and the faith of the Christian man in Corinth who did not have infused agape in his soul because he has chosen to fornicate with a whore is the same mental assent.

    If you or I commit some terrible sin, does it follow that we lost our faith the moment we committed the sin? No, that does not follow. We could believe by faith that if we repent of the sin we committed that we could be reconciled to God.

    … when Paul says the three greatest things faith, hope, love, he separates them. Faith and love are different

    Yes, I agree! But you continue to ignore the fact that Paul has explicitly stated that a man with great faith, and no love, is nothing before God.

    … if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
    1 Cor 13:2

    You also seem to be ignoring that of the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love, that the greatest of these virtues is not faith, but love.

    … faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
    1 Cor 13:13

    Kevin you write:

    love follows faith in natural order but can’t achieve what only faith can achieve. Only faith can receive the gift of Christ.

    I can’t agree with any of this. You did not manifest a work of faith which caused God to love you because you had done a work that is pleasing to God. No, God loved you while you were still a sinner, and it is God’s love for you that brought to you to the unmerited the gift of saving faith. God’s love for you preceded your faith in God.

    Love can’t receive it gives.

    I completely disagree. In the divine life of God, love is eternally given and received between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The regenerated man is partaking in the divine life of God, and because of that, he is both giving and receiving love.

    Faith always works thru love but love cannot justify a man or Paul would have said so.

    No, faith does NOT always work through love. The Christian men of Corinth had faith when they chose to have sex with whores, but that was not a faith that was working in love. If you have faith, but not love, you are nothing.

  294. Lynn, you do realize at the end of that passage in John 6 you quoted Jesus said the words I spoke to your are Sprit, the flesh profits nothing. I mean your interpretation would change had you read that verse into the context. He says he is the bread of life and eating of it is believing, there is that word again. Eating his flesh and drinking his blood is believing. He is called the door, that doesn’t make him a piece of wood. He’s called the good shepherd, it doesn’t mean he is going to show up at your door a shear little daisy. He is called Vine, it doesn’t mean he is growing in your back yard. I didn’t get the memo you are Priest, Prophet and Queen. I think Eric’s right, you are a little loose with the thinking. Last time i checked those were his offices. He can just step aside and you and Mary can just slip in at the top of the Trinity. Actually we are all priests in the sense that the word is” cleras” God’s clergy who can offer up praise and thanksgiving. But Lynn my dear you cannot atone for your own sins in any way. He was perfect at that.

  295. Mateo, I reject infused medicine. I’m guessing infused agape means sanctifying grace, the superman substance that elevates you out of nature into divine.. Galatians 3:2 says the Spirit came by hearing by faith. No infused super substance. And no way did the man who was a christian who had his Father’s wife lose the Spirit of God. The bible speaks in terms of the Spirit, not infused agape. God brings us to faith thru hearing the word of God ex nihilo. We are regenerate by the Spirit and posses Christ by means of the Holy Spirit. No infused habits. This medieval system has been rejected. Hebrews also says without faith it is impossible to please Him, not love. Love is the greatest. But the greatest isn’t always first ,is it? Love will always follow. When we are speaking of justification of a man, faith is the entry point for Paul and it justifies, not love. Again faith is the only instrument that can receive Christ and bring him to the soul and for that reason Paul says it alone justifies. Love cannot play that role. It stretches out to our neighbor. Faith is not a work, it is a gift of God that receives salvation and justifies a man. Again love is second for a man in natural order. We are never told that we are justified by love. And you seem to ignore the true meaning of faith by ascribing to love its characteristic and denigrating it. Whether you can agree or not, if we were justified by love Paul would say so. You know why it is this way. Because love is something we do. And only something we don’t do can reach up and embrace the gift. “Salvation is from the Lord” He excludes all works even love. It must all be of God. Mateo salvation for us Reformed is about the glory of God. For you its the glory of man. Love has to be give first before it is received. Faith receives first and thats why Hebrews said by it men gained approval. God Bless

  296. Erick–

    You said:

    “You have access to all these commentaries and books, and yet you come out with your own version of Christianity……that doesn’t make you worried?”

    As a matter of fact, Erick, no, it doesn’t make me nervous in the least little bit. All of my beliefs come from the mainstream of magisterial Protestantism, just in a slightly different combination than the usual. Many Reformed and Evangelical seminaries have their students write their very own personal “statements of faith” as a devotional exercise. I believe this is eminently healthy. In fact, I believe this is what we’re SUPPOSED to do: to make the faith our own rather than have it straight from a derived source without having to work it through to the nth detail. In this way we actually believe what we say we believe rather than just saying that we do.

    In your science classes, you believed things because through doing the labs you saw that they really worked. Or in your history classes, you went to primary sources and found that these either corroborated or conflicted with what your secondary sources were telling you. Your best teachers did not dictate answers. They knew that the truth would out. They were more concerned with teaching you how to think. (I only wish more of them actually knew how to think before presuming to teach others, but I digress.)

    There are no “divine interpreters.” We have to do the hard lifting ourselves. Come on. Get up off your duff. Quit being lazy! The Catholic church is but an artificial “authority” wishing to hang on to worldly power. For those who sincerely seek with all their might, the Holy Spirit writes in massive letters across the sky…impossible to miss!

    (Let me make it clear that I do not believe success or failure in this process relies on intellect: God reveals to babes what he withholds from the worldly wise. It is more a matter of truly WANTING to know. Over and over and over, I have been floored by the commonality of thinking between those who accept this adventure with a pure heart.)

  297. Eric, my gosh, Amen to that post!!!!!!!

  298. Eric,

    The Lord did not intend the transmission of the church’s gospel to be one of democracy. Titus 2:15 “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you”. On what authority? The NT? Wasn’t even written or fully compiled. When he tells Timothy to commit the gospel to other faithful men who would teach “no other doctrine”, he does not offer this to the scientific tests of other men. They either receive the apostolic witness which comes from the apostles and to their successors, or you are not qualified for ministry.

    And it is interesting how you speak of how simple it is to know the truth. He reveals it to babes, right? That’s interesting, because my former reformed baptist church would have excommunicated you believing baptism washes away sin. You would have been excommunicated from all the mainline churches from 33AD to 1550AD. You would be excommunicated by John Calvin and the prebyterians. You would be excommunicated by most of the Anglican divines for rejecting any necessary sacrament grace offered in the Eucharist (one’s that effect eternal life). You would be excommunicated by the anabaptists, who rejected sola fide and had some pretty strong views on the eschaton (which led to many divisions within). You’d be excommunicated by Martin Luther for denying the real presence of Christ with the Eucharist, the body, blood, soul, and divinity. This is not to mention you being excommunicated from many many other local churches led by “simple lambs” who seek the Lord in the “Spirit” who believe you have transgressed the essentials of the faith.

    You cannot use the modern day spirit of relativism, religious subjectivism, and the ecumenism to make a broad unity across the mainline protestant churches. The simple fact of the matter is that historically, as kevin pointed out (400 years), the denominations did not intermingle. The reason they do nowadays is we lost the concept of separation, which is clear to the ancients.

  299. Eric,

    And yet, if you were excommunicated from all these churches….God’s truth is so simple and is revealed to anyone who just looks up into the sky, right?

  300. Erick, your actually going to lecture Eric about entrusting the doctrine to faithful men who would yeah” no other doctrine.” What happened? The men of Nicea would recognize almost none of the added human revelation and ecclesiastical machinery added by your church. Under the auspices of a a false self claim to Apostolic succession and infallibility. Hah! Even Ratzinger recognizes the equality of the Bishops in the Early church. There is no greater teacher than the Spirit. And no greater source than scripture. We have been given the Spirit of adoption by which we cry Abba Father. Your talking about a church that its history was keeping the cup and the word away from the laity. Much of the time it was in a language they couldn’t understand. So we can’t rely on you to preach the word. And your church had a pope who killed Joan of Arc as a heretic, 20 years later the next pope pardoned her. And 40 years later the next pope made her a saint. Spurgeon said” call yourself a priest sir, when i consider all the evil, all the villainies and crimes concocted under a special priesthood, I would rather a man looked at me in the street and call me the devil than a priest.”We are united on the gospel and therefore members of the universal catholic church. You are united as a church and posses the wrong Gospel, so you aren’t a valid church.

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