Daniel and the Universal Kingdom

Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Apologetics, Catholicism, Church History, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Featured, History, Protestantism, Redemptive History | 1,677 comments

Daniel 2 contains a fascinating prophecy which speaks of God’s plan to set up a Kingdom upon earth that is not of human origin and will come to cover the whole earth. Christians as far back as the Early Church Fathers have interpreted this prophecy as referring to the Catholic Church being established by Christ, expanding all over the world, and lasting forever. After reflecting upon the prophecy, I see no other plausible interpretation. Let me explain my thoughts.

Back at the Babylonian Exile, God caused the Emperor Nebuchadnezzar to have a mysterious dream which only the Prophet Daniel could explain. In verses 2:31-45, Daniel interprets the dream in some pretty plain terms.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was of a large statue that was divided into Five Sections: the statue’s Head was made of Gold, the Chest was made of Silver, the Lower Torso was made of Bronze, the Legs were made of Iron, and the Feet were made of an Iron-Clay mix (2:31-33). Then he saw “a stone not cut by human hands” was hurled down from the sky and struck the statue at the Feet, reducing it to pieces, and this stone went on to become “a great mountain that filled the whole earth” (2:34-35).

That was the dream which Daniel was then given the task to explain.

Daniel begins by telling King Nebuchadnezzar that he and his Babylonian Empire are the Head made of Gold (2:37-38). Then Daniel says another Empire will arise, not as fancy as Gold (i.e. Silver), and this second Empire will take over and become the new world super power. After that, a third Empire, the Kingdom of Bronze will succeed the Kingdom of Silver. This third Empire will be succeeded by a Kingdom of Iron, followed lastly by a Kingdom of Iron-Clay, which signifies “a divided kingdom” (2:41), partly strong and partly weak (2:42). And it will be in the time of this Iron-Clay divided Empire that God will set up His Kingdom which will never be destroyed, and in fact will shatter all kingdoms that stand in its way (2:43-45).

It really isn’t difficult to make a coherent interpretation of what Daniel is talking about. We know from the text that the sections of the Body represent a succession of world Empires and that the clock starts with the Babylonian Empire. We also know from other parts of the Bible as well as undisputed world history that the Persian Empire came in and replaced Babylon, and after that Alexander the Great came in and replaced the Persian Empire with his Greek Empire. The next big Empire to immediately come along was the Roman Empire, which we all know was the big dog at the time of Christ. As the Roman Empire began to erode, it eventually broke into two Empires, an Eastern (Byzantine) and a Western (Latin), starting around the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325AD. It was about this time that Christianity began making huge growth in the public sphere such that we see Christianity as a force to be reckoned with among the pagan remnants. And as we know, Christianity ended up long outlasting the Roman Empire(s) and that Christianity grew and grew to spread all over the world.

For apologetics purposes, we should note that the only “candidate” that fits this prophecy/interpretation is the Catholic Church. We see how the Catholic Church was around at this time and that this is the time when the Catholic Church began to grow in influence. There is no Protestant denomination that really fits as even a possible candidate. No Protestant denomination was around at the time frame of AD300-400, and Protestantism usually explains the Reformation was necessary because the Gospel started to become more and more lost over the centuries as Catholicism grew — despite the fact this Prophecy says these “dark ages” were going to be the time when the Church really begins to spread its wings!

The only ways I see a Protestant not being indicted by this Prophecy is to try and claim a different timeline or different Empires, but this is too tall of an order to fill. For example, what succession of Empires comes close to fitting the Five that were just mentioned? And the way the timeline goes, if you start the Kingdom of God too late down the centuries, e.g. starting at the time of the Reformation, then you have to both explain away the influence of Christianity during the “dark ages” of AD400-1400, as well as explain which Protestant denomination really comes close to modeling an united heavenly Kingdom that spreads all over the world. For those Protestants who say the Church went underground all this time, that certainly doesn’t fit the description that this Kingdom would be like a huge mountain that covers the earth, an image impossible for anyone to not see!

In conclusion, any attempts to get around the plain, straightforward traditional Catholic interpretation will cause more problems than it solves, leaving the Catholic Church as the most obvious candidate of this Scriptural Prophecy.

***

END NOTE: The above apologetic also works very effectively against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who officially teach the same succession as the above, but they say the Iron-Clay Empire represents the British-American Empire, which is when the Watchtower comes on the scene. This interpretation suffers from the flaw of leaving a 1500 year gap between the last two Empires, conveniently side-stepping the disastrous implications to JW theology. To add to this, the JW interpretation has never produced a Church that fits the description of one which will cover the whole world, putting them in a similar dilemma to any given Protestant denomination.

1,677 Comments

  1. De Maria,

    The best proof for your hardness is the repeated silence over my Vicar related comments. Hard to ignore the record.

  2. That’s proof of my patience. I’m waiting for that light bulb to go off in your head. I’ve learned from experience that you don’t listen to reason.

  3. Jesus, the only Head of the Church ! No greater light in the head. It’s opposed to reason to refuse Jesus this glory.

  4. Eric,
    So many things wrong with this, not sure where to begin but . .

    1) I’m first tempted to ask, where is the Eric who wrote the following and what have you done with him (or possibly Eric didn’t write this)? “For me, experientially, it is a banquet with the Lord. It is a bone-crunching embrace from my Redeemer. Christ dwells within me through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I am united with him, connected to him at all times, but not in the same way as in communion. Heaven is not somewhere “way up there” in the Constellation Orion. It is juxtaposed with our time and space. Angels worship with us. … I can have more (along the lines of) face-to-face time with my blessed Jesus! During that time, he nourishes me. He feeds me…with spiritual food…with himself. I don’t begin to understand how this can be. It is mystical and mysterious, but oh, so very real. It is really him. It is not a symbol that I am loved by God. It is God palpably loving me.”

    2) “We Reformed, on the other hand, go to where Christ is. There is one Christ in one place, feeding his flock.”
    Eric, this HIGHLY DOUBTFUL, unless you have been graced like St. Paul and get a glimpse of the 3rd Heaven – bordering on heresy.

    3) Do you or do you not believe that Jesus Christ turned water into wine; multiplied bread and fish, raised the dead, gave sight to man born blind etc….
    Why would you even question that he can give us His body from heaven ESPECIALLY when He is the Bread of Life. Do you believe that manna was real?

    4) “How can the Eucharist be fleshly when you consume the whole Christ (body, blood, soul, and divinity) when you eat the bread…or the whole Christ (body, blood, soul, and divinity) when you drink the wine, but not two Christ’s when you take communion in both kinds. And your congregation is not consuming 350 or so Christs.”
    Using the most basic example I can think of on a purely elementary human level, I could conceivably place one drop of my blood in every city in the world and truly say that part of my body was there. Not alive, but unequivocal true. Now what if the Holy Spirit was involved, can you just begin to imagine …….

    5) On a teenager’s level, how can I be on facetime with 350 different people and still be where I am?

    You’re right it it a mystery, but not the biggest one by a long shot. Once a person has excepted by faith that – 257 “O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!”God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the “plan of his loving kindness”, conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: “He destined us in love to be his sons” and “to be conformed to the image of his Son”, through “the spirit of sonship”. This plan is a “grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”, stemming immediately from Trinitarian love. It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church,

    not much else is difficult.

  5. Debbie–

    You more or less described as “highly doubtful” in #2 the same image you yourself expressed in #5.

    You as much as fully admitted that the Catholic Eucharist is mediated spiritually and mysteriously rather than carnally. Thanks for agreeing with me!

    Well, that was easy….

  6. Well my job is done now . . .

    You have at least heard and read an authentic experiential witness of what Catholics believe and someday you will know to be true.

    Peace.

  7. Michael,

    Feel free to reply or not – I didn’t want to pollute the other thread and I don’t care if I have the last word but I’ll continue to reply as I think it useful.

    “They’re not even *roughly* the same thing.”

    They’re not the same thing – if they were those same people wouldn’t hold to ongoing extra nos imputation at judgment.

    “The idea that the righteousness that comes from without (extra nos) eventually soaks has deep roots in Reformed theology. It’s our way of talking about inner renewal and moral transformation. But it’s not a “substance” that can increase or decrease. Nor is there any formula for meriting more of it (or demeriting less of it).”

    Grace is not a substance in RCism. We grow in righteousness; our participation and union may deepen and our capacity grow. I don’t know what “formula” you think RCism presents. Do you deny as you grow in sanctification through your good works and cooperation that your union with Christ deepens and “soaks” more with “deep roots” strengthening?

    “God can reward us for the quality of our deeds themselves and not the “holiness” that they produce in us.”

    Does the quality of the deeds derive from your union with Christ? As you cooperate and grow in faith, does your holiness deepen or remain stagnant?

    “Edwards is talking about the differences in rewards among the elect in heaven and the differences in degree to which we reflect heavenly glory.”

    Yes – and the difference in degrees of holiness amongst the saints. Which you denied. Again, “The glory of the saints above will be in some proportion to their eminency in holiness and good works here….there will be different degrees of both holiness and happiness according to the measure of each one’s capacity.”

    “as if we were the cause of our own degree of glory.”

    RCs are not Pelagians. When Augustine says God crowns his own gifts when He crowns our merits, the merits are still *ours*. Again, this entails God’s reward is completely arbitrary amongst the elect.

    “Paul’s argument to say that God can only fashion the clay insofar as the clay is malleable (cooperative) with the Potter’s designs.”

    You were in an earlier thread a few months back that discussed Thomist views of grace that you seem to be forgetting. WCF also says you must “be diligent in stirring up grace” – does that mean God can only fashion you as much as you let him through your diligence (or lack thereof) in stirring up?

    “but this verse has *nothing* to do with Romanism’s doctrine of gratia co-operans.”

    Odd that it is cited by Trent/CCC and others when discussing cooperation then.

    “In Romanism, co-operative grace accompanies an act of free will. For Paul, it is the other way around. God gives grace so that we will act for his good pleasure. Reread the passage and weep. The command to work out your salvation is grounded on, and therefore logically subsequent to, the fact that it is God who works in us. Put another way, if God wasn’t already at work, there could be no working it out.”

    Once again we see the characterization of RCism cooperation as Pelagian when the exact opposite is true. And again we see the amnesia when it comes to Thomist views of grace and election, so there’s no need for “weeping” – they cite those same passages of Paul quite frequently in supporting their arguments.

    “Paul is a died-in-the-wool monergist.”

    That everyone missed for 1000+ years.

    “Grace isn’t dependent upon human cooperation. It may coincide with it, but grace isn’t made efficacious by our will or exertion. If anything, it is the other way around. His grace energizes our work. But grace is one thing, and our work is quite another.”

    Again with the Thomist amnesia. Intrinsically efficacious grace is not anathema to RCism.

    “Rome’s cooperation actually puts the Potter in the hands of the clay. He can only make us into what we permit him to do.”

    Does your cooperation (and associated reward) in sanctification put the Potter in your hands? If sanctification is not monergistic, by your logic, it must.

    “So long as free will cooperation is assisted by grace rather than the result of a prior work of grace”

    More caricatures. CCC: “The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, “since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:””

    “The issue is not whether or not we need divine assistance to do good.”

    You made it the issue – “Are we saved by grace alone? Or are we saved by assisting grace that works in concert with our freewill cooperation?”

    “All parties affirm this.”

    So presumably you agree you cooperate with grace in sanctification. So are you exalting yourself and robbing God of glory when you do that? If you don’t cooperate with grace in sanctification, please explain what is happening when you sin in sanctification – God must not have given you sufficient grace in that case.

    “It’s whether or not the good we do is essential to our sanctification. What does the clay contribute to its salvation except for its sin?”

    So man’s cooperation in sanctification (which is part of salvation) is not rewarded since it’s only sin. So there’s no reward in heaven (or loss of reward due to sin and your resistance/lack of cooperation), or God is just arbitrarily doling it out.

  8. ERIC W January 31, 2015 at 1:17 pm
    Jesus, the only Head of the Church ! No greater light in the head. It’s opposed to reason to refuse Jesus this glory.

    I don’t refuse Jesus anything. It is He who appointed Peter to Shepherd His flock.

    John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    You are refusing Jesus the glory of obedience to His command. You would rather obey your man made traditions.

  9. James,

    Just two brief comments

    That everyone missed for 1000+ years.

    Even if that were true, and it’s not, it hardly proves anything. Are you going to reject theistic evolution now taught by the Vatican even though everyone missed it for 1,000 plus years.? What about papal infallibility that everyone missed for some 1500 years or so. (And I’m being generous here).

    More caricatures. CCC: “The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, “since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:””

    If this were true, monergism wouldn’t be such a problem for you all, at least for the elect. Without monergism, God brings to completion finally because we give him permission to do so. So we’re the completing agent. Without our uncaused say-so, God’s hands are tied.

  10. ROBERT January 31, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Even if that were true, and it’s not, it hardly proves anything. Are you going to reject theistic evolution now taught by the Vatican even though everyone missed it for 1,000 plus years.?

    Does Theistic evolution have anything to do with salvation? If so, please elaborate.

    What about papal infallibility that everyone missed for some 1500 years or so. (And I’m being generous here).

    You’re being wrong. It was understood from the time that Jesus said:

    Matthew 16:18-19King James Version (KJV)

    18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    If this were true, monergism wouldn’t be such a problem for you all, at least for the elect.

    It is true and monergism is false. When it comes to salvation, God wants our participation.

    Without monergism, God brings to completion finally because we give him permission to do so.

    In a sense, that is true. If a person does not want the grace of God, he can refuse it:

    Trent VI
    Canon 4.
    If anyone says that man’s free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God’s call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.

    So we’re the completing agent.

    No. God is. We can’t do it. He has to. All we do is give our assent.

    Without our uncaused say-so, God’s hands are tied.

    Uncaused? That word makes no sense there.

    However, it is God who disposes and arouses us to do His will. But He permits us the freedom to refuse.

    CHAPTER VI
    THE MANNER OF PREPARATION

    Now, they [the adults] are disposed to that justice when, aroused and aided by divine grace, receiving faith by hearing,[21] they are moved freely toward God, believing to be true what has been divinely revealed and promised, especially that the sinner is justified by God by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;[22] and when, understanding themselves to be sinners, they, by turning themselves from the fear of divine justice, by which they are salutarily aroused, to consider the mercy of God, are raised to hope, trusting that God will be propitious to them for Christ’s sake; and they begin to love Him as the fountain of all justice, and on that account are moved against sin by a certain hatred and detestation, that is, by that repentance that must be performed before baptism;[23] finally, when they resolve to receive baptism, to begin a new life and to keep the commandments of God.

    Canon 1.
    If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law,[110] without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

  11. De Maria, you wrote:
    You are refusing Jesus the glory of obedience to His command. You would rather obey your man made traditions.

    Response:
    The first and most obvious problem with this is the lack of “command” and Jesus never had a successor. I’m not saying you teach Jesus had a successor. I’m saying that no Jesus successor compared to successors of Peter show discontinuity. That discontinuity favors my position and not yours. But, in clear contradistinction to Jesus’ headship, you want us to think Peter as head had successors. Each successor would be universal Shepherd like Peter. What about Paul ? Paul the Apostle doesn’t call Peter the Head, yet he managed to squeeze out a glorious confession of Jesus as Head. (Col.1:18)

    Col.1:18 provides a rule against universal Shepherd and headship of the Pope of Rome. You can, with severe hardness, talk all day about Vicarship. That’s not the crux of the rule in Col.1:18. My confession of Jesus, the only Head of the Church, is even open to Peter being a universal Shepherd with the flock during his stay here on earth. A very limited stay and confined universality. Of course, that’s within Peter being equal with the Apostles. Headship is out for Peter. You have much more to prove because more than Peter is offered in your position.

  12. Debbie/De Maria–

    Just because Jesus is God Almighty doesn’t mean there isn’t anything they he cannot do…or anything that he will not do. His miracles all had a purpose beyond simply showing his power.

    Obviously, God CANNOT create an object heavier than he can lift. He cannot make a square circle. And on and on. Your answers that “Well, God can do anything” just don’t cut it. The fact that Jesus can multiply fish or turn water into wine or even make the sun stand still alter the processes of nature. But they don’t make mockery of nature (except perhaps the sun thingy where the earth doesn’t fly off out the solar system, as a result).

    Here on earth–in a natural sense–accidents cannot occur without some substance to back them up, and similarly substances without accidents cannot exist. With the Eucharist, we have Christ’s accidents hidden and the bread’s accidents totally retained, down to the molecular level and the wine’s accidents retained, down to the level of its inebriating effects. Thus, we have two sets of accidents, one under the other, and one substance to support them both. That strikes me as putting a square peg through a round hole.

  13. @James
    They’re not the same thing –

    Then why mention “infused righteousness” at all if you already knew that we don’t mean the same thing by those terms? I get the feeling you’re trying to make Reformed theology say something it does not say–namely sanctification = grace + works. But that’s not our view for sanctification any more than it is for justification, which means we mean something else entirely by the word “cooperation.” The key to our concept is to think the relationship between the means to the end. God uses means. But the means don’t get the credit, nor are they in any way the efficient cause–only God is. In Romanism, your works are not just integral to, but also essential to your salvation. In Protestantism (at least historical Reformation orthodoxy) our works are incidental (and non-essential) to our salvation. The accompany it, they don’t contribute to it. That’s a completely different understanding of cooperation. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Grace is not a substance in RCism. We grow in righteousness; our participation and union may deepen and our capacity grow.

    We disagree. Rome, building off of Thomas, is realist, not nominalist, in its understanding of the orders of grace. Grace is not primarily understood as divine favor, but rather it is a “thing” that you can have more or less of and even lose. This turning of grace into a “thing” (i.e, the “reification” of grace) is a holdover from the medieval Aristotelian synthesis. You allude to this this when you say we “grow in righteousness.”

    While both sides can affirm that language, qualifications need to be made. For example, is “righteousness” an ontological quality of the soul? Does a substantial change in the soul occur once righteousness adheres in it? If so, then “righteousness” is a substance, just as grace is.

    But when we look at the Bible, we see that the term “righteousness” can be used in a number of different ways. It can used to describe legally observant Jews of high moral character, without implying that they are sinless. But when used of Christ, it implies all of this and sinlessness. It implies a perfect fulfillment of the demands of the law.

    If we are “in Christ,” then God considers Christ’s righteousness (which truly exists) to be ours by way of imputation. That is why God can declare us righteous without contradiction. God is simply adding to us a description we did not possess before because the grace is coming from outside of us.

    In Romanism, by contrast, you conceive of God simply describing what he sees when he finds us. If we lack the infusion of righteousness (i.e., faith, hope and love), then he can’t pronounce us righteous because when he looks at us he will not find what he’s looking for. But after baptism, he can pronounce us righteous because when he looks at us he finds righteousness there.

    Do you deny as you grow in sanctification through your good works and cooperation…

    Depends upon what is met by “cooperation.” My good works can be used by God as he sanctifies me progressively. But they are not the thing that produce the growth. My works cannot be fused with God’s grace in any “growth formula” you might wish to concoct. It just doesn’t work that way for us. There is no sanctification by works in Reformed theology.

    Does the quality of the deeds derive from your union with Christ?

    No. God renders to us according to our works. The “quality” of them is based on the “materials” that went into them (cf, 1 Cor. 3: 10-15). Wood is wood, gold is gold, stubble is stubble. My union with Christ doesn’t change the nature of the works themselves; rather it determines which kinds of materials I’m more likely to perform. In other words, if a regenerate person offers you a cup of cold water and an unregenerate person does–there is no qualitative difference in the deed. It’s still a cup of cold water. Union with Christ doesn’t change that.

    does your holiness deepen or remain stagnant?

    Depends upon what you mean by “holiness.” If we are in Christ, and if he is maximally holy and maximally righteous, then clearly there is a sense in which it is impossible to by any more holy or any more righteous. On the other hand, I think there is a way of using both of those words (holy and righteous) to describe the progress we make as the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. The distinction is between that perfect righteousness/holiness we have by imputation and our personal righteousness/holiness we grow into as the Holy Spirit progressively applies Christ’s righteousness to us, transforming us little by little.

    Yes – and the difference in degrees of holiness amongst the saints. Which you denied.

    Again, it depends upon what sense of holiness is being used. Can you get any more holy than Christ? No. And if we have his holiness than we’re all the same. But do we all reflect that holiness equally? No. That was Edward’s point, which is why I said, apples and oranges where you think it’s just apples.

    RCs are not Pelagians.

    Never said otherwise. (Why bring Pelagius into this conversation?)

    When Augustine says God crowns his own gifts when He crowns our merits, the merits are still *ours*.

    We have no merits, neither condign nor congruous, that have any bearing on our salvation. Rather the “merits” in question are always God’s rewards to his elect–those already saved.

    Again, this entails God’s reward is completely arbitrary amongst the elect.

    I should think there is nothing at all arbitrary about the way He rewards. If he says, “well done good and faithful servant,” that will be because he’s rewarding a job well done.

    You were in an earlier thread a few months back that discussed Thomist views of grace that you seem to be forgetting.

    Could you be more specific? I am unware of anything I said there that contradicts what I’m saying here. (Any chance you may be misunderstanding me?)

    WCF also says you must “be diligent in stirring up grace” – does that mean God can only fashion you as much as you let him through your diligence (or lack thereof) in stirring up?

    Of course not. The commands in scripture to stir faith into flame (echoed here by the WCF) and other similar commands are all the means by which God faithfully reminds his elect of their calling. Because God’s word is efficacious, accomplishing the purpose for which it was sent (cf, Isa 55:11), the elect will do as they are told, heed warnings, obey commands and strive to live godly lives. So it will be God–through the instrumentality of his word–who completes the work that he began in us. All glory to him. Remember, God is the potter who fashions the vessel as he sees fit. Nothing in that analogy implies that the vessel has any say in what it’s going to be.

    Odd that it is cited by Trent/CCC and others when discussing cooperation then.

    Rome and the CCC claim all kinds of verses for their theology. But that doesn’t mean the verses in question actually teach what Rome claims they teach.

    Once again we see the characterization of RCism cooperation as Pelagian when the exact opposite is true.

    No. It may be closer to Semi-Pelagian if we’re going to import those terms. My point was the priority of free will in your system. Even in Thomism, there is always a focus on preserving free will.

    That everyone missed for 1000+ years.

    Believe what you want to believe about the historical record. I don’t see the silence that you do. But if lateness is the bugaboo for you, then why do you hold to beliefs that are *even later* than this?

    Again with the Thomist amnesia. Intrinsically efficacious grace is not anathema to RCism.

    No, of course not. Trent, however, didn’t teach intrinsically efficacious grace its doctrine of justification. You have to be prepare for the initial grace and of course, you can lose it through mortal sin. Thomists speak of intrinsically efficacious grace with respect to election. If God grants electing grace, and if this is election to grace and glory (and not merely to grace), then because of the kind of grace it is, it will ensure that the person in question dies in the state of grace. But Trent wasn’t dealing with the doctrine of election. It was dealing with justification and therefore its decrees are descriptive of many who will be baptized, but who will never persevere to final glory. More apples and oranges.

    Does your cooperation (and associated reward) in sanctification put the Potter in your hands? If sanctification is not monergistic, by your logic, it must.

    I’m not following your logic here. God is free to reward as he sees fit. Presumably he rewards us according to the quality of our deeds. Presumably he is the one who determines what that quality is. Presumably he is the one who enabled us to do those quality deeds in the first place.

    More caricatures. CCC: “The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, “since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:””

    Except you believe this grace is resistible. So grace prepares us for grace. But the grace that prepares us for grace is still resistible. It still requires your free will before it can be efficacious, right?

    So presumably you agree you cooperate with grace in sanctification.

    Depends upon what you mean by “cooperate.” I certainly don’t “co-operate” in Rome’s sense of the word–where my freewill act it accompanied by an enabling grace. That’s me sanctifying me and using grace as my scrub brush. I turn that on end and see God sanctifying me with his grace and the “bath tub” I’m sitting in is this world in which we live as I go about it trying to do some good in it.

    If you don’t cooperate with grace in sanctification, please explain what is happening when you sin in sanctification – God must not have given you sufficient grace in that case.

    I’m not big into would have/should have. It’s moot. If I sin, it’s my fault. I don’t blame God for not having kept me from it, (though certainly he could have). You sound like Paul’ objector. “Why then does he find fault?”

    So man’s cooperation in sanctification (which is part of salvation) is not rewarded since it’s only sin.

    I contribute nothing to my salvation except my sin. Any work that I do while in the body is for God’s glory. If he wants to reward that later, he is free to do so. Any personal growth in grace or holiness on my part is entirely his doing anyway.

    So there’s no reward in heaven

    Of course there is.

    or God is just arbitrarily doling it out?

    The question presupposes access to a standard of justice to which you have no access and therefore no right to invoke. You can’t accuse God of being arbitrary, for that is the same as accusing him of being unjust. All you can claim in humility is that you are not privy to the Trinity’s reasons for choosing one, rejecting another, rewarding one or punishing another. All we can safely say is that God is rational and just and therefore he will reward and punish in a way consistent with his character.

  14. De Maria,

    No. God is. We can’t do it. He has to. All we do is give our assent.

    Unless God convinces you in such a way that you cannot finally refuse to give your assent, then He isn’t completing anything. You are. Grace didn’t overcome your will. You chose. Your salvation is due finally to your making the right choice. Good for you. God got the help from you he wanted.

  15. ERIC W February 1, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Response:
    The first and most obvious problem with this is the lack of “command” and Jesus never had a successor.

    Vicar doesn’t mean successor.

    I’m not saying you teach Jesus had a successor.

    Then why’d you bring it up?

    I’m saying that no Jesus successor compared to successors of Peter show discontinuity.

    You’re not saying anything. You’re confused and confusing. And Satan is the father of confusion.

    Pray. You really need it.

  16. De Maria, you wrote:
    You’re not saying anything. You’re confused and confusing. And Satan is the father of confusion.

    Translation:
    I’m not allowed to think outside my RC box. I don’t understand Eric W because my doctrine causes confusion. Satan is someone we know very well.

    Your Petrine doctrine causes confusion and destroys truth. Keep reading for proof.
    ———————————-

    Roman Catholics,

    I confessed Jesus, the only head of the church. (Col.1:18)

    De Maria asked:
    Do you see there any rule saying that Christ is forbidden from appointing a Vicar to represent Him?
    ——————————–

    I confess God the Father, the only head of Jesus.(1Cor. 11:3)

    Like De Maria, let’s ask a clever question:
    Do you see there any rule saying that God the Father is forbidden from appointing a Vicar to represent Him ?
    ——————————–

    Based on the question, we are free to think that God the Father is not forbidden to appoint a Vicar between Jesus and Himself. If Col.1:18 doesn’t forbid a Vicar between Jesus and the Church, then 1Cor.11:3 doesn’t forbid a Vicar between Jesus and the Father.

    RCs,

    You don’t need to harden your heart. Handle these verses directly and see the implications. Often times, we ask questions that give us answers we want. Petrine questions get Petrine answers. Christian questions get Christian answers. I challenge any Petrine bishop-god follower to answer my clever question. I promise light if you enter the challenge. I’m Light in the Lord. (Eph.5:8) We, the true Light in the Lord, magnify Jesus, the only Head of the Church.

    Elect of God,

    Here’s the visible church: But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light. for everything that becomes visible is light. (Eph.5:13)

    For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” (Eph.5:14)

  17. +JMJ+

    Eric W wrote:

    I challenge any Petrine bishop-god follower [Catholic] to answer my clever question. I promise light if you enter the challenge. I’m Light in the Lord. (Eph.5:8) We, the true Light in the Lord, magnify Jesus, the only Head of the Church.

    Finally! A Protestant claims Authority! This is a red-letter day! You promise the gift of Christian Identity (Illumination/New Life/Regeneration) to those who approach you and petition you for entrance.

    Wow. It’s the only way that the Protestant dynamic can make any sort of real-world sense, of course. The only way that it can ever intersect Reality. But still … wow.

  18. Eric W,
    Sorry, one verse never quite says enough:

    Ephesians 5: 1-17

    “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And WALK IN LOVE, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
    But immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, tht no covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of DISOBEDIENCE. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are LIGHT IN THE LORD; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is GOOD AND RIGHT AND TRUE), and try to learn what is PLEASING to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful WORKS of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret, but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for any thing that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”
    Look carefully then how you WALK, not as unwise men but as wise, making the MOST OF THE TIME, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

  19. Debbie–

    Yes, and that one verse placed in its context says far too much for the RC cause!

    Notice that the passage does NOT say, “Walk, O dead man, walk” or “Obey, O dead woman, obey.”

    No, it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

    What would have happened if, instead of Jesus, an unbelieving Pharisee had called out to Lazarus in his tomb, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead”? Nothing, right? This is a command which must have the power to accomplish it inherent in the command itself. Lazarus had no power whatsoever to raise himself from the grave. Neither do we have the power to transform ourselves and become new creatures of light who WALK in the ways of the Lord and SEEK TO PLEASE him. We cannot prepare for it. We cannot “build” on our fleshly nature. All we can do is await the powerful voice of Jesus the Christ.

  20. ERIC February 2, 2015 at 9:15 am
    Debbie–
    Yes, and that one verse placed in its context says far too much for the RC cause!
    Notice that the passage does NOT say, “Walk, O dead man, walk” or “Obey, O dead woman, obey.”
    No, it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”
    What would have happened if, instead of Jesus, an unbelieving Pharisee had called out to Lazarus in his tomb, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead”? Nothing, right? This is a command which must have the power to accomplish it inherent in the command itself. Lazarus had no power whatsoever to raise himself from the grave. Neither do we have the power to transform ourselves and become new creatures of light who WALK in the ways of the Lord and SEEK TO PLEASE him. We cannot prepare for it. We cannot “build” on our fleshly nature. All we can do is await the powerful voice of Jesus the Christ.

    But Christ speaks through the Catholic Church.

    2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

    When the Catholic Church administers the Sacraments, it is Christ who administers them, through the Church.

    When the Pope speaks from the Chair of Peter, it is Christ who speaks through him.

    Christ has the power. And it is Christ who works through His Church.

  21. De Maria–

    Christ does indeed speak through his church. But which church is his church?

    My point to Debbie was that this passage does not back up Roman contentions to be the true church.

  22. Michael,

    “In Protestantism (at least historical Reformation orthodoxy) our works are incidental (and non-essential) to our salvation.”

    If sanctification is essential to salvation, and works are an essential component to sanctification, it seems works are essential to salvation. As you said, if one isn’t performing good works – “Should we examine ourselves to see whether or not we are in the faith? (2 Cor. 13:5) Or was Paul just whistling Dixie?”

    “Grace is not primarily understood as divine favor, but rather it is a “thing” that you can have more or less of and even lose.”

    Do you grow in grace in sanctification? How does one grow in divine favor? Do you pray for more divine favor? Was Mary and other believers full of divine favor? Your view of grace is anemic – grace is partaking of the divine nature and participating in the life of the Trinity that indwells the regenerate.

    “This turning of grace into a “thing” (i.e, the “reification” of grace) is a holdover from the medieval Aristotelian synthesis.”

    Theosis is hardly dependent upon medieval categories. Scripture attests to it and the EO certainly weren’t beholden to the scholastics.

    “Does a substantial change in the soul occur once righteousness adheres in it?”

    Interesting you keep nuking notions of union and infusion at every turn. You apparently affirm some notion of “infused righteousness” along with your tradition. So what exactly is it given your qualifications? What would be different in your characterizations if you actually didn’t hold to infusion at all and imputed righteousness only?

    “God is simply adding to us a description we did not possess before because the grace is coming from outside of us.”

    Yes and so you remain nominally righteous (which apparently you have no problem given your criticism of the RC notion of grace above as non-nominalist) and hence the legal fiction.

    “In Romanism, by contrast, you conceive of God simply describing what he sees when he finds us.”

    Hence no legal fiction.

    “There is no sanctification by works in Reformed theology.”

    Yes so apply that same logic to RCism instead of assuming any notion of cooperation and merit entails we are a bunch of works-righteous judaizers.

    “rather it determines which kinds of materials I’m more likely to perform.”

    Right – so it affects the quality of your deeds.

    “In other words, if a regenerate person offers you a cup of cold water and an unregenerate person does–there is no qualitative difference in the deed. It’s still a cup of cold water. Union with Christ doesn’t change that.”

    Of course union with christ changes it – that’s why Christ rewards such an act with eternal life to Christians and not to god-hating grave sinners who give homeless people water at a soup kitchen on the weekends.

    “The distinction is between that perfect righteousness/holiness we have by imputation and our personal righteousness/holiness we grow into as the Holy Spirit progressively applies Christ’s righteousness to us, transforming us little by little.”

    Correct – hence the difference in degrees in holiness amongst the elect. That difference due to your synergistic cooperation with grace.

    “Never said otherwise. (Why bring Pelagius into this conversation?)”

    Um, because you say things like “as if we were the cause of our own degree of glory.” and “Put another way, if God wasn’t already at work, there could be no working it out.” in criticizing RCism.

    “Rather the “merits” in question are always God’s rewards to his elect–those already saved.”

    Yes – and they are still *your* merits. That’s why the elect differ in degree of glory and holiness; it is not arbitrary reward.

    “Remember, God is the potter who fashions the vessel as he sees fit. Nothing in that analogy implies that the vessel has any say in what it’s going to be.”

    So when you sin in sanctification, did God give you sufficient grace to not sin that you resisted or not?

    “Even in Thomism, there is always a focus on preserving free will.”

    The intrinsically efficacious grace works according to our nature and hence our will (that Christ shares – hence the sixth ecumenical council’s condemnations) – someone still retains the ability to resist intrinsically efficacious grace, but they infallibly will not and so will consent.

    “Trent, however, didn’t teach intrinsically efficacious grace its doctrine of justification. ”

    So Thomists are all defying Trent? Trent which had the Summa open during its deliberations? Come on – Aquinas and Thomists talk about justification all the time in their discussions on grace’s relationship to all aspects of salvation, not just election.

    “Does your cooperation (and associated reward) in sanctification put the Potter in your hands? If sanctification is not monergistic, by your logic, it must.

    -I’m not following your logic here. God is free to reward as he sees fit. Presumably he rewards us according to the quality of our deeds. Presumably he is the one who determines what that quality is. Presumably he is the one who enabled us to do those quality deeds in the first place.”

    If sanctification is synergistic and you can cooperate (for reward and growth in righteousness and restoring the light of God’s countenance) or resist (for sin and loss of reward and falling under God’s fatherly displeasure), then by the logic of your criticisms you must be putting the Potter in your hands.

    “It still requires your free will before it can be efficacious, right? ”

    Just because grace is resistable does not mean we *will* resist it. That’s one of the points of the Thomist model of intrinsically efficacious grace – such a person will *not* resist it, although they could. Does grace in sanctification still require your free will before it can be efficacious?

    “I certainly don’t “co-operate” in Rome’s sense of the word–where my freewill act it accompanied by an enabling grace.”

    Hmm so you said “The issue is not whether or not we need divine assistance to do good….All parties affirm this.” Now you apparently don’t affirm that – or you are redefining “assistance” as something else. Again, I ask if you don’t cooperate as you say above, then what happens when you sin in sanctification – did God not give you sufficient grace to resist that sin?

    “If you don’t cooperate with grace in sanctification, please explain what is happening when you sin in sanctification – God must not have given you sufficient grace in that case.

    -I’m not big into would have/should have. It’s moot. If I sin, it’s my fault. I don’t blame God for not having kept me from it”

    This is an evasion. Did God give you sufficient grace you resisted in sinning, or did he not and that resulted in sin?

    “I contribute nothing to my salvation except my sin. Any work that I do while in the body is for God’s glory. If he wants to reward that later, he is free to do so. Any personal growth in grace or holiness on my part is entirely his doing anyway.”

    Yes and you are rewarded based on your “contributions” – otherwise everyone would be rewarded exactly the same in heaven. But if you only contribute sin, God wouldn’t reward that. So you either have no reward, or God just gives everyone the exact same reward or reward that is completely independent of your life/work on earth.

  23. ERIC February 2, 2015 at 11:51 pm
    De Maria–
    Christ does indeed speak through his church. But which church is his church?

    The Catholic Church.

    My point to Debbie was that this passage does not back up Roman contentions to be the true church.

    It certainly backs up the Catholic Church’s contentions. It is a call for sinners to repent and do the works which God commanded.

    It doesn’t back up Protestant contentions of faith alone, however.

  24. ROBERT February 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm
    De Maria,
    Unless God convinces you in such a way that you cannot finally refuse to give your assent, then He isn’t completing anything. You are. Grace didn’t overcome your will. You chose. Your salvation is due finally to your making the right choice. Good for you. God got the help from you he wanted.

    It really doesn’t matter how you look at it, Robert. The fact is that we do our part and God does His. When you can tell me how you wash your soul of sin, then you will convince me that you understand what you are talking about. Until that time, I will hope in God, who is the finisher of my faith. Because only He can cleanse my soul of sin.

    Whether you like it or not.

  25. James,

    Just because grace is resistable does not mean we *will* resist it. That’s one of the points of the Thomist model of intrinsically efficacious grace – such a person will *not* resist it, although they could. Does grace in sanctification still require your free will before it can be efficacious?

    So your problem with Calvinistic irresistible grace is what then? Or maybe you have no problem with it? Because the point of irresistible grace is that it is FINALLY irresistible and will achieve all that it sets out to achieve, not that it is completely resistible in every sense of the word.

  26. De Maria said:

    It really doesn’t matter how you look at it, Robert. The fact is that we do our part and God does His.

    And RCs wonder why it so easy for others to view them as having a “God helps those who helps themselves” view of salvation. Amazing.

  27. Robert,

    So what’s your problem with Thomism then? Or do you not have one? Of course you do, even if there may be some shared aspects. Jansenism was about as close as Calvinism could ever get to making inroads within Catholicism, but insurmountable obstacles on its view of grace still remained, hence its condemnation.

  28. Robert–

    I don’t really think the problem is saying, “We do our part, and God does his.” We would all say that in one way or another. Jonathan Edwards famously observed, “God does all, and we do all.”

    But what do we MEAN by our words? Neither side means that we co-pilot with God. We’re not in a two-man canoe alternating oar strokes. Most of us will speak of “secondary causes,” but again, what exactly do we mean?

    The Catholics didn’t like my analogy of someone vigorously swimming laps in a pool on deck a cruise ship…I’m guessing because there is no perceived connection between the swimming and reaching the ship’s destination. They’re probably correct on that. But the only analogy they offered in return was the Parable of the Talents, where the landlord provides the materials and then leaves them to their own resources. That, of course, is incredibly problematic. That makes grace into a substance that we shape and mold to produce the desired result.

    Here’s a possible option from a theologian named Joe Rigney:

    The other thing I’ll say on that note is that there is a great quote. This is Edwards talking about efficacious grace, but I think it applies to his overall perspective on how God as ultimate cause and creator relates to all of the other subsequent actions. He talks about how we’re not merely passive, but it is not that God does some and that we do some, a 50–50 split. But it is that God does all of it and we do all of it, but he wants to distinguish. God produces all of it, and we act all of it, because what he produces are our acts. And so he wants to get this overlap. There’s coherence, a concurrence, so that God is not just the biggest billiard ball that knocks everything. He 100% does everything, because he is writing the story. And yet because he is the one writing the story, that is why we do everything that we do.

    That is why when I teach on this I will often draw in the author-story analogy as a way of thinking about God. I think the Bible points us in that direction with: all the days ordained for me were written in a book before one of them came to be. There is God writing a book about my life, all of my days, but it is his writing of the book that accounts for my action in the book. That is why I am doing anything I do, and there is no competition between them.

    Have you ever seen the film, “Stranger than Fiction,” starring Will Farrell of all people? It’s actually fairly well done. At any rate, it develops this analogy. (And, of course, C.S. Lewis speaks of it, as well.)

  29. James–

    Condemnation by whom, James?

    JDDJ acknowledged the acceptability of JBFA. B16 acknowledged the acceptability of JBFA, as long as it didn’t exclude charity, which it doesn’t. Peter Kreeft and Francis Beckwith, both popular with conservative Catholics, clearly embrace the acceptability of JBFA.

    Ofttimes Calvinism is raked over the coals in Catholicism because it is totally misunderstood even by its brightest lights. Jansenists paid no attention to their condemnation from Rome because Rome totally distorted the teachings of Jansen. Jansenism wasn’t condemned. A parody of Jansenism was condemned.

    Peter Kreeft, who is a philosopher at Boston University last I checked, describes Thomism as compatibilistic, astonishingly unaware that Calvinism is compatibilistic!

    Here he is:

    Calvin was a rationalist.  He had a very rational mind, and his theology follows in perfect logical order, and he didn’t have much of a sensibility for paradox as his favorite theologian Augustine did.  So he didn’t see how predestination and free will could possibly both be true.  So he picked predestination.  But they are both true.  The Church teaches they’re both true; they’re both in the Bible.

    If students ask how can they both be true, my favorite analogy is the author.  How come we’re creative; how come we make stories?  Because we’re made in the image of the creator.  We’re God’s story, and then we make other stories.  Alright; let’s say Shakespeare is writing a play.  Let’s say he’s writing Hamlet (probably the greatest play ever written).  If I wrote Hamlet, Hamlet would sound like a Boston philosophy professor.  But Hamlet doesn’t sound like an Elizabethan dramatist because Shakespeare is so creative, he gives Hamlet free will to be himself.  And Hamlet’s not a robot.  Hamlet’s real, although he’s only fictional.  Now, is there predestination in Hamlet?  Of course; Shakespeare is in control of every syllable.  Does Hamlet really have free will, or is he just a robot?  Oh, he really has free will.

    Well, we’re God’s Hamlet.  So we’re predestined to have free will.  If that still doesn’t make sense, you know you have to believe both of them, because every story ever told — every story anybody has ever told — has those two ingredients in it.  If there’s no predestination, it’s not a story; it’s a mess.  If there’s no free will, it’s boring; it’s a scientific formula.  So we know they’re both true.  So Calvin just didn’t have that ability to embrace the two halves of the paradox.

    The only problem with this is that Calvin DID EMBRACE both halves of the paradox, as do all Calvinists to this day.

    In other words, Kreeft DOES NOT condemn Calvinism, but only a caricature of it.

  30. James–

    Kreeft, who just published a book on the Summa Theologica, says this about Aquinas’ take on predestination and free will:

    Aquinas reconciles freedom with predestination by saying that God’s love is so powerful that he not only gets what he wants but he also gets it in the way that he wants. Not only is everything done that God wills to be done, but it is also done in the way he wants it to be done. It happens without freedom in the case of natural things like falling rain and freely in the case of human choices. A power a little less than total may get what it wants without getting it in the way that it wants it. But omnipotence gets both. And the way omnipotence wants human acts done is freely.

    In other words, freedom and predestination are two sides of one coin. The omnipotent author chose to write a story about free human beings, not just trees or machines. That means we are really free. We are free precisely because God is all-powerful.

    This description is Calvinistic in every sense of the term.

    So, you can tell me Kreeft is wrong and you are right. But I’m guessing his credentials trump yours in the Catholic world. Far from being reviled or even controversial among Catholics, Kreeft is highly revered, beloved even.

    My conclusion is that Catholicism does not (and indeed cannot) condemn Calvinistic soteriology without condemning itself. As for you, you’re just a mean-spirited schismatic behind the times,

  31. Eric,

    Wonderful – so RC theology of soteriology and grace is acceptable and within the bounds of orthodoxy then according to you right? Who are you trying to convince and of what?

  32. Eric,

    “As for you, you’re just a mean-spirited schismatic behind the times,”

    This coming from the man who calls RCs Pelagians and mockers of grace at every turn. Seriously?

  33. Eric,

    “Aquinas reconciles freedom with predestination by saying that God’s love is so powerful that he not only gets what he wants but he also gets it in the way that he wants. Not only is everything done that God wills to be done, but it is also done in the way he wants it to be done. It happens without freedom in the case of natural things like falling rain and freely in the case of human choices. A power a little less than total may get what it wants without getting it in the way that it wants it. But omnipotence gets both. And the way omnipotence wants human acts done is freely.”

    Bingo. The way God wants is to work with our libertarian freedom, not rube goldberg machines. Kreeft doesn’t play the zero-sum game you do.

    “In other words, freedom and predestination are two sides of one coin. The omnipotent author chose to write a story about free human beings, not just trees or machines. That means we are really free. We are free precisely because God is all-powerful.”

    Bingo again. This is exactly what was meant by Kimel’s article(s) I linked you to a month or so ago discussing synergism where he cites McCabe, Farrer, and others saying the exact same thing. The article(s) that you just
    dismissed as useless:
    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/double-agency-conceiving-divine-and-creaturely-causality/
    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/rowboating-with-god-the-mystery-of-synergism/
    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/mysteriouser-and-mysteriouser-divine-agency-and-human-freedom/

  34. James,

    So what’s your problem with Thomism then? Or do you not have one? Of course you do, even if there may be some shared aspects. Jansenism was about as close as Calvinism could ever get to making inroads within Catholicism, but insurmountable obstacles on its view of grace still remained, hence its condemnation.

    My main problem with Thomism is that it makes things needlessly complex in order to maintain:

    1) The view of evil as privation (ontological) and not moral/legal rebellion. This simply cannot be sustained on the basis of Scripture. It requires a full-scale adoption of Platonic and Aristotelian notions of being.

    2) It makes things needlessly complex in order to maintain some degree of autonomy for the human will.

    3) It makes things needlessly complex in order to defend God from any charges of evil.

    Calvin and others cut through all of the pile-ons in order to make one very simple point and to admit mystery where Scripture admits mystery: God ordains whatsoever comes to pass not based on the passive intake of knowledge either of himself or of his world and human beings remain fully responsible for their sin.

    At the end of the day, if you draw a distinction between sufficient and efficient grace and then hold that efficient grace is not given to all but is inherently effectual to those whom it is given, being also necessary for salvation, then you’ve adopted the essential view of grace held by Luther, Calvin, et al. Which seems to be what you are saying. We’d quibble over the distinction between sufficient and efficient grace as unnecessary, confusing, and so on, but for all the attempted qualifications in Thomism, nobody can be saved at the end of the day without efficient grace and everybody to whom efficient grace is given will be saved, which is almost exactly what the Reformed would say.

    The fact that Trent had the Summa opened as it deliberated these matters impresses me not at all when the Roman Church later refuses to take a position either way on what makes efficient grace efficient. If you have efficient grace, then you have the essence of total depravity, which is just the Reformed way of putting the “non posse non peccare” of Augustine. Trouble is that with the refusal to condemn Molina and statements like the following from Trent, I see no awareness on Rome’s part that man is not able not to sin apart from divine grace:

    If anyone says that all works done before justification, in whatever manner they may be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins, let him be anathema.

    At best, Rome’s pronouncements on this are confusing. Here you have an “ecumenical council” condemning this who believe that all works prior to justification “in whatever manner they may be done” are sins. What about those works done without grace, hmm?

    To even allow that efficient grace is not inherently efficacious in itself betrays a friendliness to semi-Pelagianism. Would Augustine or Aquinas really have said that grace for the elect is not inherently efficacious?

  35. James–

    You have an extremely selective memory. No, I did NOT dismiss these links as useless. In fact, I said that they were in basic conformity with Sola Gratia. Yes, I did go on to observe that other articles on the site were not compatible with these. What’s new? Every one of you seems to take back with one hand what you give with then other.

    The articles accurately describe monergism (though he calls it “synergism”) and refer to the single agency of God working in and through us as “double agency.” The two “agencies” are working on completely different planes of being and cannot be so interlinked. Taking Kreeft’s analogy of Hamlet, there is only one agency working in the production of that play: Shakespeare. Hamlet has no personal freedom of thought or action which is not granted him by the playwright. Shakespeare singlehandedly produces Hamlet’s freedom, indeed, creates it out of whole cloth. Toward the end of the third link, the blogger says as much, ascribing the extent of our freedom to the extent of our dependence on God. He CREATES our freedom. He IS our freedom. We are not in competition with him.

    Over and over again, I have reached out in rapprochement concerning the extraordinary similarities between our soteriologies. Again and again, I have been viciously shot down. Why is such ferocious animosity exhibited? Why do the nukes come out and the artillery fire rain down when someone suggests there may not be as much difference between our positions as it first appears?

    My only guess is that your citations of Aquinas and Augustine are but so many smoke screens to obscure your deep-seated hemi-semi-demi-Pelagianism* which is thoroughly based on modern philosophy and not on ancient theology.

    I contend only with your blatant inconsistencies. I’m trying to figure them out, to discover your motivations for holding them. Your antagonism toward Calvinism pales in comparison with that of the Eastern Orthodox. Thomist opposition pales in comparison to Molinist opposition. Why? As far as I can tell, underneath it all, Molinists and EO’s are farther along the P/sP scale . You’re about even with Arminians.

    (*Hemi-semi-demi-quavers are thirty-second notes musically. Half of a half of a half of a quarter note.)

  36. ROBERT said: February 3, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    And RCs wonder why it so easy for others to view them as having a “God helps those who helps themselves” view of salvation. Amazing.

    It’s Biblical,

    Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    That’s better than the “I save myself by my faith alone” salvation of the Protestants.

    James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

  37. ERIC February 4, 2015 at 8:29 am
    Robert–
    I don’t really think the problem is saying, ….We’re not in a two-man canoe alternating oar strokes. ….

    We’re on St. Peter’s Barque, the Catholic Church. And God is the Admiral who gives the Pope instructions. The Pope passes them on to us and we obey. The Priests prepare our meals and channel to us God’s grace, which gives us the strength to accomplish God’s will.

    There was also a mutiny. The Protestants could not overcome the Captain (the Pope) and decided to jump ship. They took several rafts and dinghies and took off in many directions.

    Have you ever seen the film, “Stranger than Fiction,” starring Will Farrell of all people? It’s actually fairly well done. At any rate, it develops this analogy. (And, of course, C.S. Lewis speaks of it, as well.)

    Really? You claim to believe in Scripture alone but you get your theology from Will Farrell movies?

  38. De Maria–

    In the film, Will Farrell is a character in a book who breaks into real life. The author, who usually kills off her main characters, must decide what to do when he finds her and begs for his life.

    There’s nothing particularly theological about the film. It is a drama, not a comedy, in spite of Farrell’s starring role. It explores the relationship between an author and her characters, that’s all. Plenty or Catholics play around with the author-character analogy for the sovereignty/ free will dilemma. Do they take their theology from this movie, as well? (Or are you just being a stereotypically oppositional Catholic?)

    You, in the other hand, get your theology from Peter Pan…or is it “Mutiny on the Bounty”?

  39. De Maria,

    Reminds me of the Vision of St. John Bosco’s Two Pillars: https://icxcmary.wordpress.com/st-john-boscos-vision/

  40. Eric,

    “He CREATES our freedom. He IS our freedom. We are not in competition with him.”

    Exactly right. Which is what your belief in monergism denies – he’s just the super-duper link in a causal chain, rather than being the transcendent cause. Monergism only makes sense and is necessitated when you bring God down to our causal plane – part of the point of the article series is to show why that is a wrong-headed approach. Hence your misunderstanding of Kreeft.

    “Over and over again, I have reached out in rapprochement concerning the extraordinary similarities between our soteriologies. Again and again, I have been viciously shot down.”

    Here’s a tip for the future. Reaching out in rapprochement by calling RC theology Pelagian or deniers/mockers of grace or “schizoid” or “smoke and mirrors” and telling people who disagree with such characterizations to “stay the heck quiet” and “stick it in your pipe and smoke it” probably isn’t the best way to do it.

    And again, as I said above, who are you trying to convince and of what? If you actually buy what you’re selling above about JBFA, misunderstandings of Calvinism, synergism is actually misunderstood monergism, etc then most of your criticisms of and antagonism towards RCism should fall to the wayside (and we’d have much different conversations). Talk about being inconsistent.

  41. James,

    Exactly right. Which is what your belief in monergism denies – he’s just the super-duper link in a causal chain, rather than being the transcendent cause. Monergism only makes sense and is necessitated when you bring God down to our causal plane – part of the point of the article series is to show why that is a wrong-headed approach. Hence your misunderstanding of Kreeft.

    So, God is the transcendent provider of human freedom but he doesn’t guarantee that the elect will choose him?

  42. Robert,

    By creating the elect, God guarantees they will choose him.

    Does God guarantee the elect won’t sin in sanctification? How does he guarantee when they do sin vs when they do not sin in sanctification?

  43. James,

    By creating the elect, God guarantees they will choose him.

    So God determined that the elect would choose Him. Welcome to monergism, my friend. That is, of course, unless you believe divine election is based on foreknowledge of choices, sort of like God looking at a movie screen. In which case you’d no longer be following Aquinas, at least as far as I understand him.

    How does God determine the elect? According to Aquinas it is solely by the divine will. Welcome to monergism.

    Does God guarantee the elect won’t sin in sanctification?

    No.

    How does he guarantee when they do sin vs when they do not sin in sanctification?

    God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, including free decisions of His creatures. Some things He determines necessarily, some things contingently, and some things freely.

    But in any case, it seems most likely to me that any choice to do evil, whether in sanctification or not, is in some sense a contingent result of God’s choice to save the elect. If God choose to save and is not a passive respondent, then His choice to send Christ ultimately determined that the fall into sin would occur, otherwise there would be no choice to send Christ to purchase salvation.

  44. Robert,

    Creation of the elect does not entail monergism. I already cited Aquinas in the other thread – God works with libertarian freedom to achieve his ends. Your read of Aquinas is the same read Eric is doing of Kreeft and the Kimel articles, thus missing the point. That was the purpose of my question on your view of sanctification – by your logic of what entails monergism, you would also have to say the same thing of sanctification and your resistance or cooperation with grace in that sphere, but you demur.

  45. James–

    You seem to be the one misunderstanding your own paradigm. Why is the only reason I can ever agree with Kreeft or Aquinas or Augustine or whomever is because I don’t understand them? You make no sense.

    You don’t seem to understand what libertarian freedom is…God has no involvement in such freedom. Political libertarianism tries its best to erase government. Theological libertarianism tries its best to erase God.

    We DO say that sanctification is monergistic. Our cooperation in sanctification is brought about entirely by his grace. Because we DO cooperate, some speak of it as synergistic…but it is not. God CREATES our freedom. God IS our freedom. I misunderstood nothing.

  46. James–

    And I don’t care if I called you a filthy papist follower of the infamous Whore of Babylon or that you listen to that Argentinian reggae band, “Francis and the Anti-Christs.” If you can’t subordinate your emotional response enough to contribute an objectively reasonable reply to sincere rapprochement, then of what value are you to this discussion?

    You haven’t always been the quintessence of decorum and sensitivity yourself. Ecumenical dialogue tends to bring out the worst in people. My own contentiousness stems from my frustration in dealing with a whole group of folks (ostensibly representing Catholicism) who for the life of them cannot argue in good faith. Most likely I sound inconsistent because I am interacting with an extremely inconsistent ecclesiastical community.

  47. James,

    Creation of the elect does not entail monergism. I already cited Aquinas in the other thread – God works with libertarian freedom to achieve his ends. Your read of Aquinas is the same read Eric is doing of Kreeft and the Kimel articles, thus missing the point. That was the purpose of my question on your view of sanctification – by your logic of what entails monergism, you would also have to say the same thing of sanctification and your resistance or cooperation with grace in that sphere, but you demur.

    By definition the elect cannot finally say no to God’s offer of salvation. It’s because God won’t let them. They don’t have the ability to choose otherwise. That’s monergism. I’m happy to say the same thing of sanctification. Every single “success” one has in sanctification is finally because of divine determination and its sovereign outworking. If in every sense of the word “want” God “wants” you to achieve x in your sanctification, you will certainly choose x. It cannot be any other way. God’s will is freer than my will.

    If election is not based on God’s knowledge of what we will do or on anything else in us (Aquinas), then you have monergism at least with respect to the salvation of the elect. They simply cannot choose otherwise. That is all monergism is really trying to say.

    Thomists make things far too complicated by loading layer upon layer upon layer of different graces simply to deny a compatibilistic view of human freedom. They are unsuccessful at it.

    Yes, God works with our freedom to achieve his ends, but he always achieves his ends. That is Reformed theology. But if God always achieves our ends and we are sinners, then he is in some way determining our will. This doesn’t have to be some kind of robotic thing as several of you think it is. God is all wise. He knows how to reveal Himself to each of His elect in the precise way that will convince them. He knows how to gently reach in and reset the heart. You all don’t like the idea of God changing our hearts without us asking him first, but the Thomistic system can’t entirely get rid of the idea because it is still too influenced by biblical teaching. Intrinsically efficacious grace IS monergism. That’s the whole point of Reformed theology. Grace gets what grace wants every time because it is inherently able to achieve its ends in even those who put up the biggest fight against it.

  48. DEBBIE February 4, 2015 at 5:27 pm
    De Maria,
    Reminds me of the Vision of St. John Bosco’s Two Pillars: https://icxcmary.wordpress.com/st-john-boscos-vision/

    I’m pretty sure that is what I had in mind. But it had been a long, long time since I’d read about it.

  49. ERIC February 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm
    De Maria–
    ….
    You, in the other hand, get your theology from Peter Pan…or is it “Mutiny on the Bounty”?

    You liked that didn’t you? Are you angry because it blew your swimming in the boat analogy out of the water?

  50. De Maria–

    Angry? Nah, sorry, no such emotion on this occasion.

    Blown out of the water? Hardly. Might need some minor tweeking, but that’s about it.

  51. Eric,

    “Why is the only reason I can ever agree with Kreeft or Aquinas or Augustine or whomever is because I don’t understand them?”

    If Kreeft and Kimel meant what you take them to meant, and you agreed with them, I wouldn’t care. But you outlined why you agreed with them (based on their supposed misunderstandings of Calvinism) and those reasons demonstrated you weren’t understanding them.

    “You don’t seem to understand what libertarian freedom is…God has no involvement in such freedom.”

    And this is exactly why you misunderstand them. Disabuse yourself of this misinformation and then re-evaluate. Here’s for starters – do you deny God has libertarian freedom? Or Christ, the saints in heaven, pre-fall man, pre-fall angels? (and please no “but God can’t sin!” – that would be further misunderstanding because libertarian freedom does not posit one can choose just anything, just there’s a plurality of choices – the principle of alternative possibility). Many of your own apologists assert LFW for God – odd that they didn’t get the memo they were adopting atheistic presuppositions.

    “We DO say that sanctification is monergistic. Our cooperation in sanctification is brought about entirely by his grace. Because we DO cooperate, some speak of it as synergistic…but it is not.”

    So when you sin in sanctification, did God not give you sufficient grace to resist that temptation/sin then?

    “God CREATES our freedom. God IS our freedom. I misunderstood nothing.”

    If you didn’t misunderstand anything, you wouldn’t claim Kreeft and Kimel are embracing monergism unbeknownst to them by affirming God creates and is the transcendent cause of our freedom.

  52. Robert,

    “By definition the elect cannot finally say no to God’s offer of salvation. It’s because God won’t let them. They don’t have the ability to choose otherwise.”

    The elect have the ability to choose otherwise. They infallibly will not. A subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless that Calvinism and its metaphysics of determinism/necessity denies.

    “They simply cannot choose otherwise. That is all monergism is really trying to say.”

    Yes and you conflate “cannot choose otherwise” with “will not choose otherwise” when they are not the same. Hence your mistaken assertion “Intrinsically efficacious grace IS monergism.”

    “Yes, God works with our freedom to achieve his ends, but he always achieves his ends. That is Reformed theology.”

    Because you redefine freedom as “if I act without having a gun to my head” so that humans as rube goldberg machines have “freedom”. Apply this to Christ and you see why the sixth ecumenical council happened.

    “Intrinsically efficacious grace IS monergism.”

    No, because intrinsically efficacious grace still works according to our operation and mode of will (the same that Christ shared with humanity).

    “Grace gets what grace wants every time”

    So when you sin in sanctification, you weren’t given sufficient grace to resist temptation/sin then correct?

  53. James,

    The elect have the ability to choose otherwise. They infallibly will not. A subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless that Calvinism and its metaphysics of determinism/necessity denies.

    That you keep saying this shows that you simply do not understand Calvinism. Any one of the elect can fall away at any time. God won’t let them.

    Yes and you conflate “cannot choose otherwise” with “will not choose otherwise” when they are not the same. Hence your mistaken assertion “Intrinsically efficacious grace IS monergism.”

    If the reason why the elect will not choose otherwise is because God finally keeps them from choosing otherwise, then the difference between will and can is largely semantic. But be that as it may, to put it in more RC/Thomistic categories if intrinsically efficacious grace always achieves its will in the elect and the elect don’t possess any inherent ability to choose the supernatural good, much less concupiscence, you have monergism. You’re just not calling it that.

    Because you redefine freedom as “if I act without having a gun to my head” so that humans as rube goldberg machines have “freedom”. Apply this to Christ and you see why the sixth ecumenical council happened.

    Compatibilism isn’t a redefinition of freedom unless you assume that human beings have a kind of libertarian freedom that even God doesn’t have. As far as the sixth ecumenical council, if God the Son willed to go to the cross according to his divine will prior to the incarnation, then there was no possible way that his human will could have done any differently, unless you want to posit a real ability in Christ to sin or to be schizophrenic. So you can keep on being creative with this all you want, but if God the Son determined from all eternity to go to the cross, that finally determined what He would choose according to His human will. You can say it was determined contingently, indirectly, I don’t care what you call it, it was determined. There was no possible way it could have been otherwise. Welcome to compatibilism.

    No, because intrinsically efficacious grace still works according to our operation and mode of will (the same that Christ shared with humanity).

    If grace gets what grace wants, then you have divine determinism. You don’t have determinism in the sense of absolute necessity but you have determinism. As William Ames, one of the Westminster Divines wrote:

    The will of God does not imply a necessity in all future things, but only a certainty in regard to the event. Thus the event was certain that Christ’s bones should not be broken, because God willed that they should not be. But there was no necessity imposed upon the soldiers, their spears, and other secondary causes then present. From J.V. Fesko’s book The Theology of the Westminster Standards, p. 106

    You simply don’t seem to know what confessional Reformed theology is trying to say. On matters of necessity and contingency in the decree, I just don’t see where it is significantly different than anything Augustine or Aquinas ever said.

    So when you sin in sanctification, you weren’t given sufficient grace to resist temptation/sin then correct?

    The distinction between sufficient grace and efficient grace isn’t biblical, and it doesn’t even preserve the kind of freedom you think it does because sufficient grace is never enough to do what you think it can do. If it were, there would be no need for efficient grace. I appreciate what Thomists are trying to do, but it doesn’t answer the question as to how God cannot be morally responsible for our choice to sin or to reject Christ. At some point you just have to say God is sovereign, human beings are responsible, and I can’t figure out exactly how all that can be true at the same time. All Thomism does in my mind is to add layer upon layer upon layer of qualification that doesn’t answer the question anyway.

  54. @Nick,

    It really isn’t difficult to make a coherent interpretation of what Daniel is talking about. We know from the text that the sections of the Body represent a succession of world Empires and that the clock starts with the Babylonian Empire. We also know from other parts of the Bible as well as undisputed world history that the Persian Empire came in and replaced Babylon, and after that Alexander the Great came in and replaced the Persian Empire with his Greek Empire. The next big Empire to immediately come along was the Roman Empire….

    And yet most Roman Catholic exegetes hold for the following succession of kingdoms:

    1 Babylon (the Lion)
    2. Media (the Bear)
    3. Persia (the Leopard)
    4. Greece (the iron/clay mix)

    It may be that they hold this view because they’re liberal and because they deny predictive prophecy and accordingly believe that Daniel was written around 200 B.C. But a number of conservative Evangelicals also defend this view and hold to the pre-exhilic dating of Daniel. The fact of the matter is that the data of history is more plausibly explained by this arrangement than the older Roman hypothesis first suggested by Jerome.

    1. No one disputes Babylon as the first kingdom.
    2 Media is in view because how could it not be? Would Daniel just skip an entire empire? It was of equal land mass as Babylon. It conquered three minor kingdoms in Asia Minor (the “ribs” in the bear’s mouth). It married off daughters to Nebuchadnezzar and the Persians, providing an excellent “bridge” between Babylon and Persia. The offspring of the marriage to Persia produced Cyrus.
    3. Persia is in view because it too was a major player. Cyrus conquered with rapid expansion, thus explaining the wings of the leopard. The four heads of the leopard can be explained as the four Persian kings mentioned in Daniel 11:2.
    4. Finally there is Greece, unlike any other before it, as it was the only “Western” empire, the others being “oriental.” It swallows up Persia and everything that was the territory of Babylon and Media. (Rome never got that far East, stopped cold by the Parthians, unlike Alexander’s Greece that defeated all previous empires and was unstoppable until Alexander’s men refused to go any further). The split between clay and iron probably envisions the the split between the Seleucids in the north (the iron) and the Ptolemaic Egypt in the south (the weaker clay, eventually conquered by the Seleucids.
    5. By the end of the third century B.C., the former territory of Alexander’s empire was divided into ten independent kingdoms (the ten horns). (Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucia, Macedon, Pergamum, Pontus, Bithynia, Cappadocia, Armenia, Parthia, and Bactria).
    6. Prior to that, however, it was four factions (the four horns), thus recalling the four generals who were the immediate successors of Alexander ( Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy)
    7. That makes the “little horn” Antiochus Epiphanes.
    8. The Roman empire simply isn’t in view, much less its split into East and West.

    By the time John writes Revelation, however, all of these images are reworked into a conglomerate super empire which is Rome and the false religious system that goes with it. And right there we do have a prophetic prediction of the Roman Catholic church which is undoubtedly part (if not the major player) in the that false religious system.

    So, somewhat ironically, I find myself agreeing with you. Daniel’s fourth kingdom, once reinterpreted by Revelation, becomes a picture of Rome and Romanism.

  55. James–

    1. Your assertions waste my time. If I misunderstood Kimmel or Kreeft, tell me how.

    2. Libertarian Free Will involves two concepts: a.) The power of contrary choice and b.) Autonomy in the face of determining forces.

    God does not sit around weighing options. He does take time to “make up his mind.” So, essentially, he does not have the power of contrary choice. God IS the ultimate determining source. He cannot be said to have authority over himself (except perhaps in the Incarnation). At any rate, he is not free from himself. So he does not have Libertarian Free Will (which is a human concept anyhow…and not one which affords much true freedom).

    There are plenty of Catholics who describe Aquinas as holding to compatibilism. Even Molinism, properly understood, is (when all is said and done) basically compatibilistic.

    Certain compatibilists limit our choices to our stronger desire between any two choices, but many do not. Our only choice that should be described as irresistible is our choice for God. And there is no coercion even in that choice. We COULD choose differently, but we WILL not. Heck, we COULD choose to walk away from God, but we WILL not.

    3. There is no such thing as “sufficient” grace in Calvinism (except theoretically, God is always powerful enough). Our God is efficient in all that he does. Our ups and downs in sanctification serve the greater good.

    4. Kreeft and Kimel belong to an ecclesiastical community which employs “synergism” incorrectly. What can I say? It’s not so much that THEY are wrong, but that YOU ALL are wrong.

  56. James–

    Here, I believe, are the relevant passages from the Summa Theologica. They do appear to vindicate you rather than (what I remember of) Jonathan’s reply.

    Question 23, Article 6:

    The crown may be said to belong to a person in two ways; first, by God’s predestination, and thus no one loses his crown: secondly, by the merit of grace; for what we merit, in a certain way is ours; and thus anyone may lose his crown by mortal sin. Another person receives that crown thus lost, inasmuch as he takes the former’s place. For God does not permit some to fall, without raising others; according to Job 34:24: “He shall break in pieces many and innumerable, and make others to stand in their stead.” Thus men are substituted in the place of the fallen angels; and the Gentiles in that of the Jews. He who is substituted for another in the state of grace, also receives the crown of the fallen in that in eternal life he will rejoice at the good the other has done, in which life he will rejoice at all good whether done by himself or by others.

    It seems clear he is talking about election to glory, which cannot be lost, as opposed to election to grace, which can. The whole “somebody substituting for someone else” seems forced, however. The alternate, sitting on the bench, waiting for his chance to get into the game whenever a teammate fouls out, has been elect to glory before the foundations of the world. So, he’s not really taking anyone’s place or crown. The person who comes out of the game never really had a place or a crown. (That’s how we see it at any rate. For it seems downright silly to speak of those chosen for reception of certain of God’s graces in this life in the same breath as one would speak of those chosen for reception of everlasting life. Serious apples and oranges!)

    Here is even more clarity from Article 7:

    I answer that, The number of the predestined is certain. Some have said that it was formally, but not materially certain; as if we were to say that it was certain that a hundred or a thousand would be saved; not however these or those individuals. But this destroys the certainty of predestination; of which we spoke above (Article 6). Therefore we must say that to God the number of the predestined is certain, not only formally, but also materially. It must, however, be observed that the number of the predestined is said to be certain to God, not by reason of His knowledge, because, that is to say, He knows how many will be saved (for in this way the number of drops of rain and the sands of the sea are certain to God); but by reason of His deliberate choice and determination.

    Not only is the number of the elect fixed, but the exact same persons to be later found in glory are selected ahead of time. This is the Calvinistic concept of election. Those elect to glory CANNOT apostatize.

  57. Wosbald wrote:
    Finally! A Protestant claims Authority! This is a red-letter day! You promise the gift of Christian Identity (Illumination/New Life/Regeneration) to those who approach you and petition you for entrance.
    Wow. It’s the only way that the Protestant dynamic can make any sort of real-world sense, of course. The only way that it can ever intersect Reality. But still … wow.

    Response:
    Focus on “those who…petition you for entrance”. Behold, a very fine Papalistic gloss of a real-world including Eric W ! Wosbald was shocked by my words. I inserted Eric W “I” with great force. What punishment did I receive for the insertion ? Wosbald wrote: A Protestant claims Authority!

    Papalistic gloss is very narrow in scope. When I challenged their “I”, they were quick to distance themselves from any charge of self-authority.

    How does it feel Wosbald ?

    You say, “I am Catholic.”

    I reply, ” Finally! A Catholic claims Authority! This is a red-letter day! You promise the gift of Christian Identity (Illumination/New Life/Regeneration) [ every time you apply Eph.5:8 to your authoritative Self ] to those who approach you and petition you for entrance. Wow. It’s the only way that the lay-Catholic dynamic can make any sort of real-world sense, of course. The only way that it can ever intersect Reality. But still … wow.
    ————————–

    Wosbald,
    I’m a terror to your unrighteousness. Your thoughts were taken captive by Eric W ! The lay-Catholic and the Protestant are forever entangled by my words. If you die, we die. If we die, you die. If you can’t beat ‘em, then hold ‘em hostage. My hostage comment is limited to lay, fallible Catholics without the teaching gift of infallibility.

  58. Eric,

    Libertarian Free Will involves two concepts: a.) The power of contrary choice and b.) Autonomy in the face of determining forces.

    From my discussions with James, it seems that he limits libertarian free will simply to the ability to make non-determined choices among a variety of options. Certainly, that is part of the definition, and if the only options that one can choose are good, then of course we could say God has libertarian freedom in that sense. The saints in heaven have that freedom (though as a Calvinist, I would still affirm that those choices are determined. I’m talking more about the freedom to make choices that are inevitably good. That is the ultimate freedom because it is the freedom that is the most analogous to God’s, though our choices are still determined by God’s decree in a compatibilistic sense. IOW, God ordains free choices freely, but that makes them no less ordained.)

    In most discussions of freedom in Calvinistic discussions, we affirm that libertarian freedom is the freedom to make contrary choices. What is ironic is that I’ve been criticized for holding such a view and calling it libertarianism, but ultimately the RCs hold that view of libertarian freedom as well because they hold that we can choose against our nature. Maybe it is better to say they believe in autonomous freedom before and after the fall.

    It’s rather confusing after a while. At the end of the day, however, their aversion is to determinism. God simply cannot determine free choices in a manner that is truly free. That’s assumed rather than argued for, as is true of most those who hold to libertarian free will. But in any case, the kind of libertarian freedom they posit that we have at least after the fall is a kind of freedom that not even God has, because God cannot choose to sin. At the end of the day it is a system full of contradiction. To be truly free after the fall, we have to be equally able to choose good or evil in a non-compatibilistic sense. But in heaven, we are truly free even though we simply are not capable of choosing evil. They need to make up their mind.

    The problem arises when

  59. Robert–

    God can do whatever he likes whenever he likes with no one to gainsay him, so in that sense he has LFW. But he is not human (except in the Incarnation, which presents its own problems) and his choice making can never be made analogous to ours. Whatever we end up calling him in our nomenclature is almost certainly inaccurate.

  60. Libertarian Free Will?

    Really? Are you Protestants, Muslims now? It is Muslims who claim that God will do whatever He feels like doing at the time.

    Catholicism says that God is Love and all which He does is governed by Love.

    Anyway, thanks for providing another point of divergence between Protestantism and Catholicism.

  61. De Maria–

    With all due respect, you clearly haven’t been following the conversation.


  62. ERIC February 7, 2015 at 10:06 am
    De Maria–
    With all due respect, you clearly haven’t been following the conversation.

    Libertarian Free Will speaks for itself. Or is this one of those Protestant doctrines with misleading titles?

  63. De Maria,

    Really? Are you Protestants, Muslims now? It is Muslims who claim that God will do whatever He feels like doing at the time.

    No. We believe that Muslims are heretics for denying the deity of Christ ant the Trinity. Since V2, however, Rome thinks they’re all going to heaven.

    As Eric said, you haven’t been following the conversation because Eric certainly doesn’t believe God can do evil.

    Further, since we’ve been routinely mocked for saying that there was a certain necessity to the crucifixion, that God can’t save us at the expense of His justice, its actually the RCs here that view God as the Islamic Allah. The Islamic Allah doesn’t reveal Himself and is entirely arbitrary. That is specifically what penal substitutionary atonement denies. And as far as I can tell, one can be an orthodox RC and not believe that God must save people without compromising his justice, that God could have just waved his hand and saved us if he would have like to. That’s the arbitrary Allah, not the Yahweh of Scripture who is always true to His unchanging character.

  64. ROBERT February 7, 2015 at 10:16 am

    No. We believe that Muslims are heretics for denying the deity of Christ ant the Trinity. Since V2, however, Rome thinks they’re all going to heaven.

    Lol! Come on, Robert. You keep repeating that line as though you think that repeating a lie, it will suddenly come true. The best evidence against that claim is that the Catholic Church doesn’t even guarantee Catholics will go to heaven. Therefore, why would She claim anyone else is assured of heaven?

    As Eric said, you haven’t been following the conversation because Eric certainly doesn’t believe God can do evil.

    But YOU and Eric claim that God is libertarian. Therefore, you believe that God is arbitrary.

    Further, since we’ve been routinely mocked for saying that there was a certain necessity to the crucifixion,

    That’s not true, Robert. We also believe there was a necessity to the Crucifixion. You have been debunked in your idea that God the Father poured out His wrath upon His only begotten Son. And also the claim that God condemned His Son to hell.

    that God can’t save us at the expense of His justice,

    Expense of His Justice? I have no idea what that means. However, your claim that Jesus Christ was judged guilty of our sins, is also a heretical lie.

    its actually the RCs here that view God as the Islamic Allah. The Islamic Allah doesn’t reveal Himself and is entirely arbitrary.

    But God the Father did reveal the reason why Jesus Christ had to become man and die upon the Cross. It is plainly revealed in many places in Scripture.

    Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

    That is specifically what penal substitutionary atonement denies.

    Penal substitution is a heretical doctrine straight from the bowels of hell.

    And as far as I can tell, one can be an orthodox RC and not believe that God must save people without compromising his justice, that God could have just waved his hand and saved us if he would have like to. That’s the arbitrary Allah, not the Yahweh of Scripture who is always true to His unchanging character.

    God gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He is the innocent lamb of God. Not the sin of God.

    You people are seriously confused.

  65. Robert,

    “Any one of the elect can fall away at any time. God won’t let them.”

    You just said above “They don’t have the ability to choose otherwise.”

    “you have monergism. You’re just not calling it that.”

    Great. Then you shouldn’t have a problem with the sufficient/intrinsically efficacious grace distinction.

    “Compatibilism isn’t a redefinition of freedom unless you assume that human beings have a kind of libertarian freedom that even God doesn’t have.”

    God is not a rube goldberg machine. Humans are according to Calvinism – the culpable act is necessitated and determined by the intents/desires/motives/etc of the agent which themselves are all determined. God could have chosen not to create, not to redeem, etc – those acts were not necessitated.

    “There was no possible way it could have been otherwise.”

    So Christ’s human will was subordinated and determined by the divine will, rather than being self-determined. Hello 6th ecumenical council – http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2014/01/23/why-i-stopped-being-a-calvinist-part-5-a-deformed-christology/

    “If grace gets what grace wants, then you have divine determinism. You don’t have determinism in the sense of absolute necessity but you have determinism.”

    Please explain the difference between determinism and “absolute necessity”. Please explain why grace must move the will irresistibly in order to be grace.

    “The distinction between sufficient grace and efficient grace isn’t biblical, and it doesn’t even preserve the kind of freedom you think it does because sufficient grace is never enough to do what you think it can do.”

    Okay so I’ll rephrase the question. So when you sin in sanctification, you weren’t given *grace* to resist the temptation/sin then correct?

  66. Eric,

    “If I misunderstood Kimmel or Kreeft, tell me how.”

    I’m trying to, by showing your misunderstanding of LFW. The first is in reading Robert’s comment – “From my discussions with James, it seems that he limits libertarian free will simply to the ability to make non-determined choices among a variety of options. Certainly, that is part of the definition, and if the only options that one can choose are good, then of course we could say God has libertarian freedom in that sense.”

    “So, essentially, he does not have the power of contrary choice.”

    So God’s acts of creation, redemption, etc were all necessitated. That’s kind of a red-line for orthodoxy. (Note: this is also why attempts to ground determinism in God’s foreknowledge fail)

    “So he does not have Libertarian Free Will (which is a human concept anyhow…and not one which affords much true freedom).”

    Oh and compatiblism and determinism isn’t a “human concept”? No philosophical influence whatsoever? Here’s James White: ““Let it be fully understood. The Bible teaches absolute libertarianism—the free will of God. Man’s will is a creaturely will, that, since Adam, is the slave of sin.” White recognizes the trouble your perspective leads to.

    So God’s will is determined and his acts necessitated – no LFW according to you. Does that also apply to pre-fall man, angels, Christ, and saints in heaven?

    “Certain compatibilists limit our choices to our stronger desire between any two choices, but many do not.”

    Yes most still follow Edwards whose question-begging circularity on the issue of motive has been engaged many times over by non-determinists past and present. Regardless, if the causal link necessitating your “choice” is itself all determined (desires, motives, intent, etc) the fact that you “choose” without a gun at your head (ie coercion) is not much a reflection of “freedom”.

    “There is no such thing as “sufficient” grace in Calvinism (except theoretically, God is always powerful enough). Our God is efficient in all that he does. Our ups and downs in sanctification serve the greater good.”

    You and Robert are of a feather. So I’ll rephrase my question – So when you sin in sanctification, you weren’t given *grace* to resist the temptation/sin then correct?

    “Kreeft and Kimel belong to an ecclesiastical community which employs “synergism” incorrectly. What can I say? It’s not so much that THEY are wrong, but that YOU ALL are wrong.”

    Did the 6th ecumenical council also get synergism wrong and really meant monergism – http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2014/01/23/why-i-stopped-being-a-calvinist-part-5-a-deformed-christology/

  67. James,

    Robert,

    You just said above “They don’t have the ability to choose otherwise.”

    I think it is largely a matter of philosophical games to distinguish between could and would. If God will keep us in His grace, in what sense do we have the ability to fall away besides in a hypothetical sense? I’m not much concerned with hypotheticals.

    Great. Then you shouldn’t have a problem with the sufficient/intrinsically efficacious grace distinction.

    Here are my problems with the distinction:

    1. Sufficient grace isn’t truly sufficient. You need something more for salvation.
    2. Sufficient grace doesn’t answer the question as to how God is not morally culpable for sin, despite the best efforts of the Thomists to say otherwise.
    3. Sufficient grace vs. efficient grace add layers of complexity to Scripture that aren’t there.

    God is not a rube goldberg machine. Humans are according to Calvinism – the culpable act is necessitated and determined by the intents/desires/motives/etc of the agent which themselves are all determined. God could have chosen not to create, not to redeem, etc – those acts were not necessitated.

    God doesn’t have the freedom to do evil. That is what I mean. Humans are freer than God is. Only humans in a libertarian system have the true power of contrary choice. God is limited in what he can choose to only good options.

    Human beings do not have an autonomous will. Only God has that. Non-deterministic systems make human beings into God, essentially. But Thomas’ system isn’t effectively non-deterministic. God determines the number of the elect based not on anything in themselves, and the elect will most certainly come to faith and persevere

    So Christ’s human will was subordinated and determined by the divine will, rather than being self-determined. Hello 6th ecumenical council –

    http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2014/01/23/why-i-stopped-being-a-calvinist-part-5-a-deformed-christology/

    The blogpost is largely an exercise in missing the point, not least of which is the fact that it clearly doesn’t understand what Calvinists are saying by irresistible grace. And the post also assumes without defending the idea that compatibilism isn’t true freedom.

    The divine person of Christ determines the divine will just as the divine person of Christ determines the human will. There is no such thing as will that determines itself. The idea of a self-determining will pushes one in a Nestorian direction.

    The divine person determined in eternity past to go to the cross. That determines the human will as well. Could Jesus actually determine to do otherwise than what the Son of God had determined to do from all eternity?

    But in any case, everything is subordinate to the divine will. It’s called divine sovereignty. God’s will is always done. This is true even when you say God wills to permit sin.

    But what is most hilarious is that the author of the blog basically accuses the entire Latin West of being wrong on this point. There goes Augustine and Aquinas as well.

    Please explain the difference between determinism and “absolute necessity”.

    Absolute necessity would eliminate hypotheticals and contingency. Reformed determinism does not. Human beings aren’t machines.

    Please explain why grace must move the will irresistibly in order to be grace.

    Because if I can truly say no, in every sense of the word, then it is my assent that makes grace efficacious, and if it is my assent that makes grace efficacious then it is by works, and works are the antithesis of grace.

    “The distinction between sufficient grace and efficient grace isn’t biblical, and it doesn’t even preserve the kind of freedom you think it does because sufficient grace is never enough to do what you think it can do.”
    Okay so I’ll rephrase the question. So when you sin in sanctification, you weren’t given *grace* to resist the temptation/sin then correct?

    Grace always accomplishes what grace intends. If grace doesn’t intend (in every sense of the word) for me to fully resist a particular sin on Tuesday, I won’t finally resist it. But that is not grace’s fault but my own. The sufficient/efficient grace distinction says almost exactly the same thing.

  68. De Maria–

    Actually, I quite explicitly said that God did NOT have LIbertarian Free Will. That’s why we said you were not following the conversation. Because you weren’t.

  69. De Maria,

    Lol! Come on, Robert. You keep repeating that line as though you think that repeating a lie, it will suddenly come true. The best evidence against that claim is that the Catholic Church doesn’t even guarantee Catholics will go to heaven. Therefore, why would She claim anyone else is assured of heaven?

    Since V2, everyone no matter what they believe will be in heaven as long as they follow the light that they have the best they know how. All they have to do is avoid mortal sin, which they can get out of anyway if they are sincerely sorry enough. You can hate the Trinity and go to heaven as long as your ignorance is invincible, and by praying with Muslims, your pope basically acts as if everyone’s ignorance is invincible.

    But YOU and Eric claim that God is libertarian. Therefore, you believe that God is arbitrary.

    I specifically DENY that God has libertarian free will in the sense you give it to human beings. God can’t choose evil. That makes you freer than God is. Congratulations.

    That’s not true, Robert. We also believe there was a necessity to the Crucifixion. You have been debunked in your idea that God the Father poured out His wrath upon His only begotten Son. And also the claim that God condemned His Son to hell.

    I’ve been specifically told by Jonathan and others that God could have forgiven us without sending His Son to die on the cross. As far as God pouring out his wrath, go learn what the term propitiation means.

    Expense of His Justice? I have no idea what that means. However, your claim that Jesus Christ was judged guilty of our sins, is also a heretical lie.

    If Christ bore our sins in His body on the tree, the guilt went with it and He bore our guilt. He was not judged personally guilty of any sin because He had no sin of His own. It was entirely vicarious. He was punished for our sin. He died. Death is the punishment for sin.

    Penal substitution is a heretical doctrine straight from the bowels of hell.

    Many of your own theologians affirm penal substitution, including Aquinas.

    God gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He is the innocent lamb of God.

    Yes He is. Entirely innocent. Never sinned once. Perfectly righteous. Without blemish. But our sins were imputed to Him, and He bore our sins and our guilt under the wrath of God as our representative. That’s why we don’t save ourselves. Jesus paid it all. Not just some. Not just most. Not just only the eternal consequences. He paid it all.

    Not the sin of God.

    What is the “sin of God”?

  70. James–

    You seem incredibly scattered. You are railing against determinism in spite of the fact that both Augustine and Aquinas were compatibilists (or as they like to say nowadays, “soft determinists”). Are you really disavowing these two?

    God’s simplicity and his immutability demand that he be a Creator from the word go. He didn’t get up in the morning one Sunday and decide to create. You’re the one who doesn’t understand orthodoxy. He always picks the wisest, most loving option. He simply doesn’t need or want our sense of freedom. He has his own. You have anthropomorphized God for some reason.

    God is totally free, but not in a libertarian sense…which isn’t really free at all…LFW more or less necessitates slavery to sin. I called LFW a human concept because it is an unbiblical one.

    Not only do I not have a gun to my head, I can pick anything I wish anytime I wish. In sanctification, I have often been granted grace without availing myself of it.

    The Third Council of Constantinople dealt with mono-energism NOT monergism, but then, you already knew that. You just wanted to throw out a red herring. Calvinists categorically reject monoenergism, monothelitism, and monophysitism.

    Christ’s human nature is part of the Second Person of the Trinity. Something tells me ours is not. This stark difference will necessitate major differences between the man Jesus’ relationship to God and our relationship to God.

    I highly doubt that the Magisterium endorses LFW, but I will take the time to look into it.

  71. ERIC February 7, 2015 at 8:49 pm
    De Maria–
    Actually, I quite explicitly said that God did NOT have LIbertarian Free Will. That’s why we said you were not following the conversation. Because you weren’t.

    Here’s what you said.

    ERIC February 7, 2015 at 9:11 am
    Robert–
    God can do whatever he likes whenever he likes with no one to gainsay him, so in that sense he has LFW.

    How is that an explicit denial that God has LFW?

  72. De Maria–

    On February 6, at 5:33 pm, I wrote:

    “God does not sit around weighing options. He does not take time to “make up his mind.” So, essentially, he does not have the power of contrary choice. God IS the ultimate determining source. He cannot be said to have authority over himself (except perhaps in the Incarnation). At any rate, he is not free from himself. So God’does not have Libertarian Free Will….”

    When someone tells you you haven’t been following the converstation, it might behoove you to look back over the conversation before responding back.

  73. ROBERT February 7, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Since V2, everyone no matter what they believe will be in heaven as long as they follow the light that they have the best they know how. All they have to do is avoid mortal sin, which they can get out of anyway if they are sincerely sorry enough. You can hate the Trinity and go to heaven as long as your ignorance is invincible,

    That is true. And it is from Scripture:

    Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

    It is also a far cry from that which you claimed earlier, “Rome thinks they’re all going to heaven.

    and by praying with Muslims, your pope basically acts as if everyone’s ignorance is invincible.

    Of course, your hatred of the Catholic Church compels you to lie. I don’t think you can stop yourself.

    As Our Lord Himself said:

    Mark 9:40
    For he that is not against us is on our part.

    We strive to live in peace with all men. Again, Scripture says:

    Romans 12:18
    If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

    But you are Protestant and don’t understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether you and the Trinity hating Muslims are invincibly ignorant, only God can judge.

    I specifically DENY that God has libertarian free will in the sense you give it to human beings. God can’t choose evil. That makes you freer than God is. Congratulations.

    Thanks for that point of departure from Catholic Doctrine. The Catholic Church teaches that those who choose to do evil are the ones who are bound and enslaved by Satan. Those are free, who imitate God and Christ and become perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect.

    I’ve been specifically told by Jonathan and others that God could have forgiven us without sending His Son to die on the cross. As far as God pouring out his wrath, go learn what the term propitiation means.

    It doesn’t mean “to pour out one’s wrath”. Propitiation means appeasement.

    If Christ bore our sins in His body on the tree, the guilt went with it and He bore our guilt.

    That is the Protestant heresy. But Christ did not commit any sins, therefore was not guilty of sin.

    He was not judged personally guilty of any sin

    Thank you.

    because He had no sin of His own. It was entirely vicarious. He was punished for our sin. He died. Death is the punishment for sin.

    He was sacrificed for our sins and He layed down His life for our sins. God the Father did not pour out upon Him His wrath nor did He judge Him guilty nor did He send Him to Hell.

    There’s a big difference between that Protestant doctrine of Satan and the Satisfaction Doctrine.

    Many of your own theologians affirm penal substitution, including Aquinas.

    You can’t help lying, can you?

    Wikipedia

    So the function of satisfaction for Aquinas is not to placate a wrathful God or in some other way remove the constraints which compel God to damn sinners. Instead, the function of satisfaction is to restore a sinner to a state of harmony with God by repairing or restoring in the sinner what sin has damaged. [13]This is Aquinas’ major difference with Anselm. Rather than seeing the debt as one of honor, he sees the debt as a moral injustice to be righted.
    In his section on the Incarnation, Aquinas argues that Christ’s death satisfies the penalty owed by sin,[14] and that it was Christ’s Passion specifically that was needed to pay the debt of man’s sin.[15] For Aquinas, the Passion of Jesus provided the merit needed to pay for sin: “Consequently Christ by His Passion merited salvation, not only for Himself, but likewise for all His members,”[16] and that the atonement consisted in Christ’s giving to God more “than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race.” So, Aquinas believes that the atonement is God’s solution to two problems. Christ’s passion and death, insofar as they serve to make satisfaction, are the solution to the problem of past sin; and, insofar as Christ merits grace by his passion and death, they are the solution to the problem of future sin. [17] In this way, Aquinas articulated the formal beginning of the idea of a superabundance of merit, which became the basis for the Catholic concept of the Treasury of Merit (see Indulgence).

    Yes He is. Entirely innocent. Never sinned once. Perfectly righteous. Without blemish. But our sins were imputed to Him, and He bore our sins and our guilt under the wrath of God as our representative. That’s why we don’t save ourselves. Jesus paid it all. Not just some. Not just most. Not just only the eternal consequences. He paid it all.
    Not the sin of God.
    What is the “sin of God”?

    You claim that Christ bore our guilt. Therefore you are making Him a sinner who is responsible for our sins.

    God does not hate Himself. The doctrine of penal substitution comes straight from the bowels of hell.

  74. “God does not hate Himself. The doctrine of penal substitution comes straight from the bowels of hell.”

    AMEN.

  75. De Maria,

    From the good Angelic Doctor:

    Then we must observe that in the order of justice sin should be punished by a penalty. We see how cases of injustice are handled in human courts, that the judge takes from the one who has too much through grabbing what belongs to another and gives it to the one who has less. Anyone who sins over-indulges his appetite, and in satisfying it transgresses the order of reason and of divine law. For that person to be brought back to the order of justice something must be taken from what he wants; that is done by punishing him or by taking the goods he wanted to have or by imposing the bad things he refused to suffer.

    This restoration of justice by penalty sometimes is done by the will of the one who is punished, when he imposes the penalty on himself so as to return to justice. Other times it is done against his will, and in that case he does not return to a state of justice, but justice is carried out in him.

    The whole human race was subject to sin. To be restored to the state of justice, there would have to be a penalty which man would take upon himself in order to fulfil the order of divine justice. But no mere man could satisfy God sufficiently by accepting some voluntary punishment, even for his own sin, to say nothing of the sin of the whole human race. For when man sins he transgresses the law of God and tries, were he able, to do injury to the God of infinite majesty. The greater the person offended, the greater the crime; we see, for instance, that someone who strikes a soldier is punished more than someone who strikes a farmer, and much more if he strikes a king or prince. Therefore a sin committed against the law of God is somehow an infinite offence.

    Again we must observe that the dignity of the person making reparation is also to be considered. For example, one word of a king asking for pardon of an offence is considered greater than if someone lower went on his knees and showed any other sign of humiliation to beg pardon from the one who suffered the injury. But no mere man has the infinite dignity required to satisfy justly an offence against God. Therefore there had to be a man of infinite dignity who would undergo the penalty for all so as to satisfy fully for the sins of the whole world.Therefore the only-begotten Word of God, true God and Son of God, assumed a human nature and willed to suffer death in it so as to purify the whole human race indebted by sin. Thus Peter says (1 Pet 3:18): “Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty.”

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/islam/rationes.htm#7

    Christ bore the penalty for sin. Welcome to penal substitution.

  76. De Maria/Debbie–

    1. The doctrine of hyperdulia comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    2. The doctrine of purgatory comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    3. The doctrine of progressive justification comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    4. The doctrine of the immaculate conception comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    5. The doctrine of papal infallibility comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    6. The doctrine of transubstantiation comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    I thought we had sworn off this crap. Let’s agree to disagree without getting surly, can we? (St, Jim of Portugal doesn’t like it when we get insensitive concerning each other’s shibboleths!)

  77. Its hard to believe in penal substitution when the bread of the supper is the sacrifice for your sins. He was numbered with sinners, pierced through for our transgressions. He became sin, and we became the righteousness of God in Him. Catholics, the more you see your utter sinfulness, the clearer it will be to you that Christ died in our place and gave us the GIFT of eternal life. Spurgeon said He came to put us in a saved state, not a savable state.

  78. ROBERT February 8, 2015 at 10:20 am
    De Maria,
    From the good Angelic Doctor:
    Then we must observe that in the order of justice sin should be punished by a penalty. We see how cases of injustice are handled in human courts, that the judge takes from the one who has too much through grabbing what belongs to another and gives it to the one who has less. Anyone who sins over-indulges his appetite, and in satisfying it transgresses the order of reason and of divine law. For that person to be brought back to the order of justice something must be taken from what he wants; that is done by punishing him or by taking the goods he wanted to have or by imposing the bad things he refused to suffer.
    This restoration of justice by penalty sometimes is done by the will of the one who is punished, when he imposes the penalty on himself so as to return to justice. Other times it is done against his will, and in that case he does not return to a state of justice, but justice is carried out in him.
    The whole human race was subject to sin. To be restored to the state of justice, there would have to be a penalty which man would take upon himself in order to fulfil the order of divine justice. But no mere man could satisfy God sufficiently by accepting some voluntary punishment, even for his own sin, to say nothing of the sin of the whole human race. For when man sins he transgresses the law of God and tries, were he able, to do injury to the God of infinite majesty. The greater the person offended, the greater the crime; we see, for instance, that someone who strikes a soldier is punished more than someone who strikes a farmer, and much more if he strikes a king or prince. Therefore a sin committed against the law of God is somehow an infinite offence.
    Again we must observe that the dignity of the person making reparation is also to be considered. For example, one word of a king asking for pardon of an offence is considered greater than if someone lower went on his knees and showed any other sign of humiliation to beg pardon from the one who suffered the injury. But no mere man has the infinite dignity required to satisfy justly an offence against God. Therefore there had to be a man of infinite dignity who would undergo the penalty for all so as to satisfy fully for the sins of the whole world.Therefore the only-begotten Word of God, true God and Son of God, assumed a human nature and willed to suffer death in it so as to purify the whole human race indebted by sin. Thus Peter says (1 Pet 3:18): “Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty.”

    Excellent summary of substitutionary satisfaction. Where does it say that the WRATH OF GOD was poured out upon God? I don’t see that part.

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/islam/rationes.htm#7
    Christ bore the penalty for sin. Welcome to penal substitution.

    On the contrary, welcome to substitutionary satisfaction. I don’t see ANY reference to the WRATH OF GOD being poured out upon the Son. Feel free to point it out.

  79. ERIC February 8, 2015 at 10:21 am
    De Maria/Debbie–
    1. The doctrine of hyperdulia comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    On the contrary, God Himself praised Mary through His Angel (Luke 1:28). No amount of honor which we give to Mary can approach the honor which God already heaped upon Mary.

    2. The doctrine of purgatory comes straight from the bowels of hell.
    3. The doctrine of progressive justification comes straight from the bowels of hell.
    4. The doctrine of the immaculate conception comes straight from the bowels of hell.
    5. The doctrine of papal infallibility comes straight from the bowels of hell.
    6. The doctrine of transubstantiation comes straight from the bowels of hell.

    Lol! Oh, I see what you’re doing. You’re upset because you can’t provide any Scripture to justify any of your man made doctrines. But all Catholic Doctrines are in Scripture.

    Here we go:

    First, Jesus Christ appointed a Pastor as head of the entire Church:
    John 21:17
    He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    I see only a few Churches with such a Pastor. Further, Jesus Christ said that the Pastor over His Church would be infallible:

    Matthew 16:17-19 (King James Version)
    17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    The list of Churches accept this teaching gets smaller. Certainly, all Protestant denominations can now be eliminated.

    Jesus Christ not only said that the Pastor was infallible but Scripture describes the Church as infallible:
    Ephesians 3:10
    To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    The list remains the same, but now I can certainly eliminate all Protestant denominations.

    Back to Matt 16:18, Scripture says that Jesus Christ established one Church. History shows that all the Churches sprang from the Church which is frequently described as the Mother Church. The Catholic Church.

    So, even using just a few verses we can eliminate the Protestants. None of their denominations even come close to being in Scripture. But we can continue to find Catholic indicators throughout the Bible:

    The Church which is infallible (1 Tim 3:15; Eph 3:10).
    The Church which is united (Eph 4:5).
    The doctrines of the Catholic Church which are distinctive from other churches:
    Purgatory (1 Cor 3:15).
    Eucharist (1 Cor 11:23-27).
    Communion of Saints (Rom 12:12-20).
    The Mass and the necessity to attend (Heb 10:25-31).
    The Sacrament of Confession (Heb 13:17).
    The Sacrament of Holy Orders (1 Tim 4:14).
    The Sacrament of Baptism (Titus 3:5).
    Justification and salvation by faith and works (Rom 2:1-13).

    And we find that the Protestant doctrinal pillars all contradict Scripture. For instance:

    Sola Scriptura contradicts 2 Thess 2:152 Thessalonians 2:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    Sola Fide contradicts James 2:24
    James 2:24
    King James Version (KJV)
    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    OSAS contradicts Heb 6:4-6
    Hebrews 6:4-6
    King James Version (KJV)
    4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

    5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

    6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    Salvation by grace alone contradicts:
    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.

    and also:
    Romans 6:16
    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    Penal substitution contradicts Scripture:
    Luke 3:22
    And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

    Every Protestant doctrine which contradicts the Catholic Church also contradicts the Word of God in the Bible.

    I thought we had sworn off this crap. Let’s agree to disagree without getting surly, can we? (St, Jim of Portugal doesn’t like it when we get insensitive concerning each other’s shibboleths!)

    I’m not surly. The fact is that your doctrine of penal substitution is from the bowels of hell. That is just a fact.

  80. De Maria–

    You wrote:

    “Lol! Oh, I see what you’re doing. You’re upset because you can’t provide any Scripture to justify any of your man made doctrines. But all Catholic Doctrines are in Scripture.”

    No, De Maria, you DIDN’T see what I was doing. I was merely pointing you and Debbie out as crassly discourteous…which I thought perhaps we had all thought better of and sworn off.

    I guess not.

  81. De Maria,

    On the contrary, welcome to substitutionary satisfaction. I don’t see ANY reference to the WRATH OF GOD being poured out upon the Son. Feel free to point it out.

    Aquinas specifically says that Christ voluntarily took the penalty of sin upon himself. If you can read the Bible and not see that the penalty for sin is the wrath of God, you just aren’t reading very carefully. Moreover, Aquinas repeatedly talks about PUNISHMENT in the quote I just gave.

    The fact is that your doctrine of penal substitution is from the bowels of hell.

    On the contrary, penal substitution means that Jesus paid the entire price for sin. Penal substitution exalts Christ who was willing to go to the utmost lengths to save His people. Your Christ isn’t big enough.

  82. “Your Christ isn’t big enough.”

    I would respond with, your Christ isn’t small enough.

    Its the things you can’t see (small/invisible/imperceptable/disguised/) that you are missing.

  83. Debbie–

    What is it about Christ that you feel we are missing?

  84. ERIC February 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    No, De Maria, you DIDN’T see what I was doing. I was merely pointing you and Debbie out as crassly discourteous…which I thought perhaps we had all thought better of and sworn off.
    I guess not.

    It is you who said that it isn’t discourteous to speak frankly. Nor do I believe that to be so. The discourtesy is in your claims which you can’t back up. I, however, can back up the fact that “penal substitution” contradicts the Word of God. We can go through Scripture whenever you’re ready.

  85. ROBERT February 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Aquinas specifically says that Christ voluntarily took the penalty of sin upon himself.

    That’s Catholic Doctrine.

    If you can read the Bible and not see that the penalty for sin is the wrath of God, you just aren’t reading very carefully.

    Point it out. The wrath of God is poured out upon UNREPENTANT sinners. I don’t see the wrath of God poured out upon the innocent nor upon repentant sinners.

    Come on. Show me from Scripture. Chapter and verse.

    Moreover, Aquinas repeatedly talks about PUNISHMENT in the quote I just gave.

    But not upon Jesus Christ. Nor the wrath of God poured out upon Jesus Christ. In fact, he is speaking about punishment voluntarily accepted by the repentant sinner and thus acquiring the merits of Jesus Christ.

    Come on. Quit beating around the bush. Show me the wrath of God poured out upon the Son.

    On the contrary, penal substitution means that Jesus paid the entire price for sin. Penal substitution exalts Christ who was willing to go to the utmost lengths to save His people. Your Christ isn’t big enough.

    On the contrary, it is because Jesus is God that He sacrificed Himself and laid down His life thus substituting Himself for our sins in order to pay a price superabundantly acceptable to the Father. No other sacrifice would do. No one’s punishment would do. Only God, dying upon the Cross, would satisfy the debt of love owed to God.

  86. ERIC February 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm
    Debbie–
    What is it about Christ that you feel we are missing?

    His immeasurable love for His Father which led Him to sacrifice Himself in order to pay our debt of love to the source of all which is good.

  87. Debbie–

    Which of these do you really believe we are missing?

    1. Jesus’ immeasurable love for his Father? (Yeah, right, you can be sure that we deny that!)

    2. Jesus’ quintessential sacrifice for us? (Who are you trying to kid?)

    3. Jesus’ payment of all we owe? (This isn’t looking so good for you.)

    4. That the Father is the source for all that is good? (You went 0 for 4. Care to try again?)

    And to what do YOU ascribe your recent discourteousness? Did you draw that out of Jesus’ immeasurable love for you? Did you excise “Love your enemies” from Holy Writ?

  88. Sorry, Debbie, I’m a complete idiot. I thought it was you answering me back flippantly. (Alas, it was merely De Maria.)

  89. De Maria,

    Romans 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; and 1 John 4:10 all identify Jesus as the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation appeases justice by having the just wrath due sinners executed on a substitute. This is basic stuff.

    Isa. 53:4–5

    Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

    God smote Jesus on the cross. God inflicted upon Him the punishment that we were due. Jesus voluntarily took this on his shoulders. There’s wrath all over the place. It’s so evident in Scripture that death is the PUNISHMENT for sin and that Jesus died in our place. He died in our place because He was bearing the PUNISHMENT for sin. That’s penal substitution. Penal is related to the word penalty for crying out loud.

    I know why you RCs don’t like it. If you hold to it consistently, there goes purgatory, indulgences, well, everything that makes Romanism Romanism. But don’t pretend its not in Scripture or that you don’t find it in Aquinas.

  90. De Maria, do you deny that the cup which Jesus asked to let pass is not a direct reference in the OT to the cup of God’s fierce judgment? And what does it mean to be numbered with the transgressors? Why would it please God to crush His son for our iniquities if the payment weren’t full? Wouldn’t He have to crush us partly and Jesus partly if it were Catholic paradigm? Thanks for your time. T

  91. ERIC February 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm
    Debbie–
    Which of these do you really believe we are missing?

    All of them.

    1. Jesus’ immeasurable love for his Father? (Yeah, right, you can be sure that we deny that!)

    You accuse Jesus of being guilty for our sins.

    2. Jesus’ quintessential sacrifice for us? (Who are you trying to kid?)

    You claim He is guilty of our sins and the wrath of God is poured out upon Him.

    3. Jesus’ payment of all we owe? (This isn’t looking so good for you.)

    You claim He is punished by the Father. Not that He voluntarily laid down His life and sacrificed Himself for us.

    4. That the Father is the source for all that is good?

    You claim that the Father is the source of sin and that He is libertarian.

    (You went 0 for 4. Care to try again?)

    As I see it, it is 4 for 4.

    And to what do YOU ascribe your recent discourteousness?

    To your lying and twisting of the truth. Frankness is not discourtesy.

    Did you draw that out of Jesus’ immeasurable love for you? Did you excise “Love your enemies” from Holy Writ?

    It is not love to lie to my enemy. It is love to show you your errors and your heresies in order that you might correct yourself and come into line with the Will of God.

  92. ERIC February 8, 2015 at 6:10 pm
    Sorry, Debbie, I’m a complete idiot.

    Remember that it is you who said it.

    I thought it was you answering me back flippantly. (Alas, it was merely De Maria.)

    It was not flippant. If it were, you could have proven it wrong. But since you can’t disprove it, you want to grandstand and make people forget that your claims are anti-biblical.

  93. Terry,
    It is the 4th cup of the Passover meal which Jesus asked to pass.
    The following article will help you understand the significance of this cup.

    The first cup is called the kadush. It’s the blessing that is pronounced over the first cup. The second one actually initiates the Passover liturgy in a technical way. The second cup of wine is drunk after you do the singing of Psalm 113, which is known as the Little Hillel Psalm and then the third cup, which is called the cup of blessing is drunk after grace is given. This is also done in conjunction with the prayer that is spoken over the bread. But what is so significant about this is that after the third cup but before the fourth and final cup, the Hillel Psalms are sung. It’s one great hallelujah Psalm. We get the word hallelujah from hillel which means praise yah, yahweh, hallel-u-yah. And the Hillel Psalms 114 through 118 constitute a gorgeous and majestic Psalm of praise to Yahweh.

    As soon as the third cup is drunk, you go ahead and sing that Psalm of the Hillel Psalms and then you proceed to the fourth cup of consummation, which is the climax of the Passover. What’s so odd and what many scholars have noticed is that Jesus — it says, “They sang a hymn, which is obvious, the Hillel Psalm, there’s really no disputing that point. You know Jews who read this expect them to go on to drink the fourth cup. But it says, “They went out into the night.” And right after they drank that third cup and right before they sang that Psalm, the Hillel Psalms, Jesus said, “I’m not going to drink of the fruit of the vine again until the kingdom is come.”

    Now there are actually some scholars who suggest that Jesus botched it. Maybe He was just so anxious. But to botch the liturgy at this point would be a disaster. It would be like a priest saying High Mass alongside the Pope and forgetting to say the words of consecration. Sure, Jesus is anxious but the disciples would have stopped Him. There would have been something else, I think. Well, somebody could still say, “Well, you know, maybe He was just too fearful.”

    Well, I would suggest otherwise, and if we go on a little bit further in the Gospel of Mark, I think we have a good reason to believe that Jesus did this deliberately. He interrupted the Passover liturgy right at its climactic moment. For what purpose? Well, in Mark 14, verse 32 , it goes on to read, “And they went to a place which was called Gethsemani and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ And He took with Him Peter, James and John and went up a little farther. Greatly distressed and troubled, He said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death. Remain here and watch.’ And going a little further He fell on the ground and He prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass from Him. And what does He say? He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee.” (Remove this cup.) “Remove this cup from me, yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.’”

    What cup? I thought He was scared about dying. Why does he refer to his suffering and death as a “cup”? Hmm. Careful Jewish/Christian readers would see a connection. Why hasn’t He partaken of the fourth cup? Why did He interrupt the holiest moment of the liturgy? Why does He go out into the night after the Hillel Psalms are sung? Why does He fall down on the ground and then ask the Lord to ‘take this cup’ away. Well, somebody could say it’s a reference to some prophecy Psalm of Isaiah and Jeremiah regarding the cup of suffering, and I think that it does have a secondary reference to those. But if we are following closely the deliberate motions of our Lord, I think it’s very plausible to draw a connection between the interrupted Passover liturgy and this anguished prayer of our Lord in the Garden.

    Now you know how it goes on from here. He’s arrested. He’s beaten. He’s mocked. He’s tried and then He’s convicted and sent out to Calvary. Remember when He was carrying his cross what happened? Mark 15, verse 23 says, “On the way up Calvary they offered Him wine mingled with myrrh,” which is like an opiate, a great and powerful pain killer; but He didn’t take it. After all He said, I won’t drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom comes.” And it hasn’t come at that point, right?

    Then, all of a sudden, we go on and we discover something I think very, very significant. In John 19 we’re told that Jesus seeing that all was now finished, He said in order to fulfill the scripture, “I thirst.” Now He’s racked with pain. It’s an agonizing death but He still has presence of mind. In order to fulfill the scripture, He says, “I thirst.” Now do you think that man was not thirsty before now? Seconds before His death, is He just noticing, “Boy, I could use a drink?” No, I mean that would be to trivialize the matter. Jesus says in order to fulfill the scripture, “I thirst.” John is depicting all this in very beautiful terms.

    John (the Baptist) is the one who introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God in the first chapter, and now Jesus has become the High Priest, the sacrifice as well as the victim-sacrifice. How do we know? Well, for one thing, John records how Jesus had a linen garment that was without seam. A seamless linen garment is exactly what the priest was supposed to wear as he sacrificed the Passover lamb. And we also know that the hour of sacrifice was the hour when the Passover lamb was slain. We also read on in John 19 and we discover that the two thieves had their legs broken, but Jesus didn’t because he had already died, thus to fulfill the scripture, “not a bone shall be broken.” And if you trace it all the way back to the Old Testament origin of this, “not a bone of his shall be broken,” you go through the Psalms back to Exodus and you discover that the Passover lamb’s bones were not allowed to be broken. If your lamb had a broken bone, you had to chuck it and find another one.

    Priest and victim and it’s all according to a divine plan. And so Jesus says in order to fulfill the scripture, “I thirst.” And just by coincidence, there’s a little sour wine down there, a vinegar-like substance and a man takes a hyssop branch, which incidentally and coincidentally was what you use to sprinkle the lamb’s blood over the door post, he takes a hyssop branch with a sponge at the end with the sour wine dipped in it and he lifts it up to Christ and Christ says, “No, I’m not going to drink of the fruit of the vine?” No, he doesn’t say that. This time He receives it and He says, “It is finished.”

    What is it? The Passover begun in the Upper Room. It is now consummated. The fourth cup, the cup of God’s wrath, the cup of consummation wasn’t drunk in the Upper Room. The reason why Jesus does this, I believe, is to show us that the Passover sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the firstborn son and the priest begins not at the foot of Calvary but in the Upper Room when the Old Testament Passover begins to be transformed by our Lord into the New Covenant Eucharist.

    You could also say it this way: that if the Passover isn’t finished until Calvary, I would suggest that Calvary is really begun in the Upper Room with the Eucharist. When does Jesus’ sacrifice really begin? Well, He insists on the fact that His life is not being taken away from Him. He is laying it down. Now in the trial, in the passion, it’s being taken away; but in the Upper Room, prior to all of that, Jesus lays it down. He says, “This is my body. This cup is the blood of the New Covenant.”

    What happens when you differentiate and separate body and blood? You signify death. When your body and your blood are separated, death begins. That’s obvious, I think. So Jesus is symbolically and actually beginning the sacrifice. St. Augustine has said that Our Lord held himself in his own hands and commenced the sacrifice of the New Covenant Passover as He was transforming the old. Calvary really began in the Old Testament Passover being celebrated in the Upper Room, when the Eucharist was instituted and the Passover Eucharist of the New Covenant really isn’t over until Calvary, when He says, “It is finished.”

    But wait a second. You’ve got to say one more thing because way back in Egypt, fifteen hundred years before, if you had slain a lamb and sprinkled the blood according to Moses’ command and say to yourself, “Well, thereby my firstborn son will be saved,” and you went to bed, you’d be wrong, dead wrong.

    You’d wake up and he’d be dead. Why? Because one other thing had to take place. You didn’t just have to take a lamb without blemish without broken bones, then sacrifice him and sprinkle his blood. You had to eat the lamb. You HAD to eat the lamb. I mean, even if you hate mutton, you had to eat the lamb.

    So, in a sense, “It is finished,” what is the “it?” The bloody death sacrifice. But is that all sacrifice is? Sometimes non-Catholics find it easy to think that way until they go back into the Old Testament, and as I went back into the Old Testament, it dawned on me that that’s really only the first half of the sacrifice. And it really isn’t even the goal or the end of the sacrifice. The second half of the sacrifice is really what it’s all about. God doesn’t just want dead bodies with drained blood. He wants peace and He wants love. He wants to restore communion.

    How is that symbolically enacted in the Old Testament? By eating the victim in a sacrificial meal, because that is what restores family communion and that’s what the covenant is all about. So Jesus says, “It is finished.” What is the “it?” The bloody death sacrifice of the Passover victim and the priest of the New Covenant. And so, as Catholics we have always said that He does not die again. He does not continue to suffer. He does not continue to bleed. “It” is finished. That whole dimension of sacrifice is finished. What began in the Upper Room is now finished on the cross and so He gives up his breath and He dies. He gives up his spirit and He dies. But the sacrifice of Passover is not complete until you eat the lamb.

    No wonder St. Paul says in 1st Corinthians 5, “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed for us.” Therefore, what? Therefore we don’t have any more sacrificial offerings or ceremonies or feasts and so on to celebrate because all those ceremonies are outdated and done with? No. He says, “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed; therefore, let us keep the feast.” And he goes on to talk about how we take out the leaven of insincerity and we have this unleavened bread. What’s he talking about? Christ, our Passover has been sacrificed; therefore, we’ve got to achieve the whole goal of that sacrifice, the second half is communion where we eat the lamb.

    Now you can’t eat a lamb cookie in Egypt. If you didn’t like lamb, you couldn’t have your wife make lamb bread, little biscuits in the shape of a lamb and say, “God, you understand, we just can’t stand the stuff.” No, you do that, your firstborn would die. You had to eat the lamb. Jesus Christ has said to us, “My flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life.”

    Let’s turn to John 6 and see the context in which he says that. John 6, verse 4 tells us, “Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews was at hand.” So everything that transpires within John 6 is within the context of the Passover. Jesus is talking to them now. At the time of the Passover, after multiplying these loaves, ending up filling twelve baskets with the fragments from the five barley loaves, He uses that as his point of departure for one of the most important sermons that He ever preaches and also one of the most disastrous from a human perspective.

    He goes on talking about this bread and He goes on talking about Moses in context with that bread. For instance, in verse 32, “Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’” Welfare state! “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall not thirst.’” And He goes on talking about this some more. The Jews would then murmur at him in verse 41 because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”

    They’re thinking, “What is He talking about? This guy is Joseph’s son. How does He say, ‘I’ve come down from heaven?’” They only look at it from a human perspective. They don’t see that He’s the divine Son of God. Verse 47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven.’”

    How often did they eat the manna? Every day. How often do we receive the Bread of Life? Every day. This is not a once for all sacrifice, like many anti-Catholics allege in the sense that Christ is sacrificed and now there’s nothing more to be done. Jesus Christ is sacrificed as priest and as victim, as lamb and as firstborn son and as the Bread of Life, he gives himself to us as well as the unleavened bread of the Passover meal, which commenced, of course, the whole feast of unleavened bread the week after the Passover celebration. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, the unleavened bread of God which came down from heaven which the Israelites received every day, the manna of the New Covenant.

    Christ through the Holy Spirit makes himself available as the Lamb of God to be consumed continuously. That’s the whole point of the Resurrection, incidentally. The Holy Spirit raises up that body and glorifies it so supernaturally that body and blood which is glorified may be internationally distributed through the elders and priests of the Church so that all of God’s children can be bound back to the Father in the New Covenant sacrifice of Christ. He didn’t die again. He’s not bleeding and he’s not suffering. He’s reigning in glory and giving us his own flesh and blood.

    Where do you get that? From the Old Testament — the manna, the Passover, the sacrifice as it’s described on Calvary as it’s initiated in the Upper Room and as he states right here in verse 51. “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Jews stop, wait a second. Hold the phone. “John, what do you mean ‘my flesh?’” Verse 52, “The Jews then disputed among themselves saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” Cannibalism, paganism, barbarism, sin in the highest degree.

    So Jesus said to them, “I didn’t mean it, guys. I was just kind of, you know, using hyperbole or metaphor.” No. He actually intensifies the scandal. He actually raises the obstacle even higher. “He said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood,’ which Leviticus condemns, the drinking of blood, ‘unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.’”

    He said that four times in four different ways. How else can you get a point across? As a non-Catholic preacher, I used to enjoy preaching from John 3 where Jesus says, “You must be born again,” or born anew, born from above. But he only says that one time. And we’ve heard it a million times in the last century. Because all the non- Catholic evangelists stress that rightly. We need to be reborn from the Holy Spirit, but Jesus said it once. Here he says four times, “You have to eat my flesh and drink my blood. My flesh is food indeed. My blood is drink indeed.”

    Four times. It bothered me that I had never preached a sermon on this before, nor heard one. After years and years and years of hearing sermons from the New Testament, I began to figure out why. Because Jesus made it so clear. He is the manna. He is the sacrifice. He is the priest. He is the victim. He is the firstborn son. He is the lamb. He is all of it wrapped up in one and then He says so scandalously, “Eat my flesh and drink my blood,” knowing what offense they would take. But He doesn’t back off. In verse 60, “Many of His disciples when they heard it said, ‘This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?’” That is an understatement. “Jesus, however, knowing in Himself that His disciples murmured at it,” get it, the disciples, now, the followers, the spiritual protégés, not just the crowd now, the disciples themselves are taking offense at this and murmuring and grumbling! “And He said to them, ‘Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the son of man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’”

    Well, some people try to use that verse to nullify everything which is so patently obvious in the preceding verses. I used to as well until I tried to deal as honestly and prayerfully as possible with that passage. I’m talking about verse 63. If the disciples had just proceeded to take the flesh off the body of Christ right there and drink His blood, they would have done nothing supernaturally beneficial. Jesus is saying, “It’s the Spirit that gives life,” and so wait until the Spirit is given. When I breath my spirit upon the Cross. When the Spirit comes down at Pentecost, but especially when the spirit of Christ raises the body of Christ from the dead, it will be the Holy Spirit that makes Christ’s flesh and blood holy, glorious and powerful as food for our souls and bodies. Not just the flesh alone.

    “And the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” What words? That you’ve got to eat my flesh and drink my blood, those words. So we can’t just say, “Well, the words themselves are all we need;” because if the words alone are all we take, we’re disobeying the words themselves. Did you catch that? I used to always say to these Catholics in Bible studies, “Look at verse 63. It’s the words of Christ that give life.” The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. That’s right, but what are those words? If you just simply take the words without the Eucharist, you’re disobeying the words because the words say, “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.” And it’s because of the Holy Spirit that we receive life in that flesh and now it all comes together. There’s no either/or; there’s a both/and.

    In 63 we discover why Christ’s flesh and blood will be so powerful and animating for supernatural life. Verse 66, “After this, many of His disciples drew back….” We get the impression that the vast majority of them said, “This is just too much.” “…and no longer went about with him. And Jesus turned to the twelve;” he didn’t apologize. He didn’t say, “Now that we’re down to twelve, I’ll tell you what I really meant.” He didn’t say that at all. In fact he is perfectly willing for this obstacle to remain scandalous even to the twelve. “Do you also wish to go away. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?’” Almost implying we would leave if there was somebody else that we could trust more than you because what you said is rather baffling. But he says, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

    Peter speaks of the truth for those true disciples because there was one disciple who didn’t have the integrity to leave. Next verse, the devil came to Judas because Judas, unlike the honest disciples who left, refused to leave although he disbelieved. This is where Judas really becomes the son of perdition. In a sense you’ve got to give more credit to the disciples who walked away.

    So we have reason to believe that this sacrifice of the New Covenant Passover begun in the Upper Room and consummated on Calvary and ultimately as 1st Corinthians 5 suggests continued and celebrated as a climactic communion on the altars of the Church around the world when we receive the Eucharist in Communion, all of this is right from the Bible but you’ve got to know your Bible. You’ve got to know John. You’ve got to know Matthew, Mark and Luke. You’ve got to know Exodus. You’ve got to know the Psalms. You’ve got to know Corinthians and you also have to know Revelation.

    Summary of the Lamb’s Supper

    Take a look at Revelation 5. In Revelation 5, there is a scroll with seven seals that nobody can break open and everybody is really upset. In fact John almost begins to cry. In 5, verse 2, “A strong angel proclaimed with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven and on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it.” What is the scroll? The word is biblion. Most likely it’s a reference to a covenant document, the New Covenant document that nobody is worthy to break open. “And I wept much, but no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it,” because this scroll would consummate and fulfill the promises of the Old Testament.

    “Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep not. Lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, he has conquered so that he can open the scroll and seven seals.’” You could almost feel the hallelujah rising up from within your soul. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, growl for me, King, you know. You turn. You look and John turns to look and what does he see in verse 6, ” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw,” what? Azlam, the lion? No. David crowned with glory? No. You’d think so, a lion and a king are the words used to describe it. “I turned and I saw a lamb standing, looking as though it had been slain.”

    Jesus Christ is the son of David and the king of the new and heavenly Jerusalem. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and He is the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, as it said elsewhere in Revelation. But here in heaven on the throne of glory, after His crucifixion, Hs resurrection, His ascension, His enthronement, He still looks like a lamb. He still looks as though He had been slain. Why not clean up the body? Why not wipe away the wounds? Why continue resembling a lamb? Because He’s continuing the Passover offerings, the sacrifice. Not by dying, not by bleeding and not by suffering but by continuing to offer up Himself as the firstborn and as the unblemished lamb, as the perpetual, timeless, everlasting sacrifice of praise to the Father.

    And what do the people do? They rejoice and they break out into a song. And what is the song, “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals for thou was slain.” Past tense, “And by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” And what has he done? He’s become a priest to be sure, but for what purpose? “He has made them a kingdom and priest to our God.” He has made those whom he has saved priests. And what do priests do? They offer sacrifice.

    Has Christ’s sacrifice ended all sacrifices? No. Christ’s sacrifice has ended all ineffective, bloody animal sacrifices that never did anything anyway. Now for the first time in history we can really begin to offer sacrifice to God. Romans 12 says, “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” And it wouldn’t be holy and acceptable except that it’s united to Christ’s perpetual sacrifice. He’s not bleeding. He’s not dying. He’s not suffering, but he is offering a sacrifice as a lamb does, as a priest king does continually, forever.

    And that’s what it’s all about. John wouldn’t see a lamb looking as though it had been slain if the whole kit and caboodle was completed and done. Past tense. Yeah, it’s completed and done, past tense, and it’s still going on present tense, and it’s going to go on forever in the future. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, as Hebrews tells us.

    Now, is this strange? Is this teaching novel? Well, let’s take a look at 1st Corinthians and see how natural it seems to the apostle Paul. We have already looked at 1st Corinthians 5, “Christ, our Passover,” that’s in verse 7, “Christ, our Paschal Lamb has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” What’s he talking about? Is he talking about leaven being like sin. No. He’s saying let us celebrate the feast with unleavened bread. What feast? The Eucharist! The sacrifice continues because communion must be celebrated. We’ve got to eat the lamb, the resurrected, glorified, enthroned lamb that still looks as though he’d been slain because he’s still giving himself to us.

    Turn over with me now to Corinthians, chapter 9, verse 13. He says, “Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings in the same way the Lord commanded. That those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” Now we might be tempted to read Corinthians 9, 13 and 14 and say, “Well, back in the Old Testament they did temple service and altar service and sacrifice, but now in the New Testament they only proclaim the word.”

    The problem with that is that Paul goes on to say, Corinthians 11, as we will see, how Christ’s death is proclaimed. Take a look with me at 1st Corinthians, 11:23-26. “For I received from the Lord what I shall deliver to you.” Interesting, he received it not from Peter and the apostles. When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus or perhaps at some other time, what did Jesus deliver to Paul? Instructions for the Eucharist. “I received from the Lord what I also deliver to you. That the Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup after supper saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant in my blood. Do this.” Commandment, imperative tense. “As often as you drink it in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

    by Dr. Scott Hahn

  94. Eric,

    One example of what Protestantism is missing is seen in Terry’s question,

    “Why would it please God to crush His son for our iniquities if the payment weren’t full?”

  95. ROBERT February 8, 2015 at 6:36 pm
    De Maria,
    Romans 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; and 1 John 4:10 all identify Jesus as the propitiation for our sins.

    Correct. But none of them say that God poured out His wrath upon His Son.

    Propitiation appeases justice

    That is correct. That is why Jesus laid down His life for our salvation. In order to appease His Father’s justice. He willingly laid down His life. He was not forced to do it. And the Father did not pour out His wrath upon the Son whom He loves so dearly.

    by having the just wrath due sinners executed on a substitute. This is basic stuff.

    That is basic heretical stuff which is taught by Protestants.

    To understand Christ’s passion, one needs to compare to Job’s passion. God permitted Job to suffer and be tested by Satan. Job was thus perfected in faith and love.

    Jesus suffering is the same.

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

    One also needs to understand that Jesus was obedient to God and man:

    Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

    As the Scripture says:

    John 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

    and one needs to understand that Jesus laid down His life. It was not taken from Him:

    John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

    God the Father did not take it from Him. The men who poured out their human wrath did not take it from Him. Satan, who inspired those men to attack Jesus, did not take it from Him. He laid it down for our salvation.

    Isa. 53:4–5
    Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

    That’s what you guys focus upon. But you don’t notice that it says that from human perspective He appears to be stricken of God. Yet, it continues and it says:

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    This is a reference to the scapegoat. God has laid upon Jesus, the Lamb of God, the sins of the community.

    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    And He, the Lamb of God, voluntarily laid down His life to be slaughtered and thus to repay our sins.

    8 He was taken from prison and from judgment:

    He was condemned by men.

    and who shall declare his generation?

    No one would give Him a second thought.

    for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    Because He died a criminals death.

    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    Yet He was completely innocent.

    10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him;

    Yet, God, the Father, was pleased by His sacrifice.

    he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

    Yet God was happy to offer Him as a sacrifice for our sins. That those who accept the sacrifice may live.

    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    By His suffering, many will be saved.

    12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

    God the Father knew His innocence. But human beings numbered Him amongst sinners and criminals.

    God smote Jesus on the cross. God inflicted upon Him the punishment that we were due.

    Satan inspired men to do so. God the Father permitted it in order to fulfill the promises of the Old Testament:

    Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

    and in order to establish the New Testament:

    2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

    Jesus voluntarily took this on his shoulders. There’s wrath all over the place.

    For Protestants. But we see love all over the place:

    John 17:23
    I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

    It’s so evident in Scripture that death is the PUNISHMENT for sin and that Jesus died in our place. He died in our place because He was bearing the PUNISHMENT for sin.

    Jesus died in our place in order that we would not be punished for our sins.

    Otherwise, why do we still die physically? The punishment for sin is eternal death. But we, who turn to the Son and obey Him, are born to eternal life.

    That’s penal substitution. Penal is related to the word penalty for crying out loud.

    Who cares? Its simply another Protestant false doctrine. Jesus purchased us with His life.

    1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    He was not penalized by God. But God accepted His offering for our penalty.

    I know why you RCs don’t like it. If you hold to it consistently, there goes purgatory, indulgences, well, everything that makes Romanism Romanism. But don’t pretend its not in Scripture or that you don’t find it in Aquinas.

    Let’s follow your line of reasoning. You say that Aquinas teaches this and that this teaching destroys both indulgences and purgatory. Which means that if St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this, he will not teach indulgences and purgatory. Let’s see:

    St. Thomas on Purgatory:

    Summa Theologica >
    Supplement (Appendix II)
    Purgatory

    Is there a Purgatory after this life?On the contrary, It is said (2 Maccabees 12:46): “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” Now there is no need to pray for the dead who are in heaven, for they are in no need; nor again for those who are in hell, because they cannot be loosed from sins. Therefore after this life, there are some not yet loosed from sins, who can be loosed therefrom; and the like have charity, without which sins cannot be loosed, for “charity covereth all sins” [Proverbs 10:12]. Hence they will not be consigned to everlasting death, since “he that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever” [John 11:26]: nor will they obtain glory without being cleansed, because nothing unclean shall obtain it, as stated in the last chapter of the Apocalypse (verse 14). Therefore some kind of cleansing remains after this life.

    Further, Gregory of Nyssa [De iis qui in fide dormiunt] says: “If one who loves and believes in Christ,” has failed to wash away his sins in this life, “he is set free after death by the fire of Purgatory.” Therefore there remains some kind of cleansing after this life.

    Now, let’s see if he teaches indulgences:

    Summa Theologica >
    Supplement >
    Question 25.
    Indulgences

    Does an indulgence remit any part of the punishment due for the satisfaction of sins?I answer that, All admit that indulgences have some value, for it would be blasphemy to say that the Church does anything in vain. But some say that they do not avail to free a man from the debt of punishment which he has deserved in Purgatory according to God’s judgment, and that they merely serve to free him from the obligation imposed on him by the priest as a punishment for his sins, or from the canonical penalties he has incurred. But this opinion does not seem to be true. First, because it is expressly opposed to the privilege granted to Peter, to whom it was said (Matthew 16:19) that whatsoever he should loose on earth should be loosed also in heaven. Wherefore whatever remission is granted in the court of the Church holds good in the court of God. Moreover the Church by granting such indulgences would do more harm than good, since, by remitting the punishment she had enjoined on a man, she would deliver him to be punished more severely in Purgatory.

    Hence we must say on the contrary that indulgences hold good both in the Church’s court and in the judgment of God, for the remission of the punishment which remains after contrition, absolution, and confession, whether this punishment be enjoined or not. The reason why they so avail is the oneness of the mystical body in which many have performed works of satisfaction exceeding the requirements of their debts; in which, too, many have patiently borne unjust tribulations whereby a multitude of punishments would have been paid, had they been incurred. So great is the quantity of such merits that it exceeds the entire debt of punishment due to those who are living at this moment: and this is especially due to the merits of Christ: for though He acts through the sacraments, yet His efficacy is nowise restricted to them, but infinitely surpasses their efficacy.

    Now one man can satisfy for another, as we have explained above (Question 13, Article 2). And the saints in whom this super-abundance of satisfactions is found, did not perform their good works for this or that particular person, who needs the remission of his punishment (else he would have received this remission without any indulgence at all), but they performed them for the whole Church in general, even as the Apostle declares that he fills up “those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ . . . for His body, which is the Church” to whom he wrote (Colossians 1:24). These merits, then, are the common property of the whole Church. Now those things which are the common property of a number are distributed to the various individuals according to the judgment of him who rules them all. Hence, just as one man would obtain the remission of his punishment if another were to satisfy for him, so would he too if another’s satisfactions be applied to him by one who has the power to do so.

    Therefore, you are wrong. St. Thomas does not teach “penal substitution”.

  96. Debbie–

    What is it that you are assuming Protestants would disagree with in Dr. Hahn’s article?

    You and De Maria seem to be strenuously objecting to the outpouring of God’s wrath on the Cross. And yet the article you serve up states the following:

    “What is it? The Passover begun in the Upper Room. It is now consummated. The fourth cup, the cup of God’s wrath, the cup of consummation, wasn’t drunk in the Upper Room.”

  97. Debbie, it was the custom when one says “let this cup pass” to really drink the cup fully, all of the dreggs. Jesus was saying let me drink the cup fully, that all would be poured out on Him for sin. He said to His father, ” why have you forsaken me.” God turned His back on His son. He took on Himself the sins of the world and made full payment to the justice of God for us. The doctrine of penal substitution was held by many in the Roman church. The word ransom means bought back out of slavery. He was a ransom for our sins, thus bought us out of slavery. Once a slave is free, he is free. He gives us everlasting life and loses none. It cannot be revoked or lost. Made by God by two immutable things, His promise and His oath. It is eternal. Thank you for you time. Terry

  98. TERRY February 8, 2015 at 7:34 pm
    De Maria, do you deny that the cup which Jesus asked to let pass is not a direct reference in the OT to the cup of God’s fierce judgment?

    Yes. Cup is a reference to fate.

    Psalm 16:5
    The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

    Psalm 23:5
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

    Jesus Christ knew that He was fated to die for the nation. He knew that He was fated to offer Himself for the nation.

    If the cup of which Jesus would drink were the cup of God’s wrath, why did Jesus say that the Apostles would also drink of it?

    Matthew 20:23
    And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

    All of us who love Christ, must lay down our lives for our brothers:

    John 15:13
    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    That sounds like blasphemy to Protestants. But it is straight from Scripture:

    Matthew 16:24
    Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

    And what does it mean to be numbered with the transgressors?

    That God took upon Himself flesh and became man:

    Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

    Why would it please God to crush His son for our iniquities if the payment weren’t full?

    I don’t see that in Scripture. Protestants read into it. God was pleased to ” bruise him”. Not to pour out His wrath upon Him. Although, men surely did pour out their wrath upon their God.

    Wouldn’t He have to crush us partly and Jesus partly if it were Catholic paradigm?

    God pours out His wrath upon unrepentant sinners. We, who believe in Christ, will also suffer willingly for our salvation as well as for the redemption of the Church.

    1 Peter 2:21
    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

    1 Peter 4:1
    Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

    Colossians 1:24
    Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

    Thanks for your time. T

    You’re welcome. Thanks for the courteous question.

  99. +JMJ+

    My Spidey-Sense™ is tinglin’. Terry may well be Kevin. Stay alert. Stay informed. Stay safe.

    We are now at DEFCON 3.

  100. Eric and Terry,

    Who do you think crucified Jesus Christ?

    God so loved the world that He sent Jesus Christ to be crucified. God the Father didn’t crucify His Son, He was given to us KNOWING men would crucify Him. A GIFT of love from our Father.

    God the son willing came to us, KNOWING men would crucify Him. A gift of love to His Father.

    God the Holy Spirit incarnated God the Son, KNOWING men would crucify Him. A GIFT of unity to the Father and Son for us.

    . . . . another couple of small things that are missing. (hint – l..o..v..e..)

  101. ERIC February 8, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    You and De Maria seem to be strenuously objecting to the outpouring of God’s wrath on the Cross.

    Correct.

    And yet the article you serve up states the following:
    “What is it? The Passover begun in the Upper Room. It is now consummated. The fourth cup, the cup of God’s wrath, the cup of consummation, wasn’t drunk in the Upper Room.”

    Scott Hahn uses the term “cup of God’s wrath” but means something totally different than PSub.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but PSub says that Jesus Christ alone drank of the cup of God’s wrath, right?

    Whereas, Scott Hahn says of God’s wrath that it is something in which all whom God loves, share:

    “Judgment, then, is not an impersonal, legalistic process. It is a matter of love, and it is something we choose for ourselves. Nor is punishment a vindictive act. God’s “curses” are not expressions of hatred, but of fatherly love and discipline. Like medicinal ointment, they hurt in order to heal. They impose suffering that is remedial, restorative, and redemptive. God’s wrath is an expression of His love for His wayward children.”
    ? Scott Hahn, The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth

    Therefore, when Jesus says to the Apostles:

    Matthew 20:23
    And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

    This is perfectly in line with the Catholic Doctrine. We all drink of what we prefer to call, the Cup of Suffering. We must all take up our Cross.

    Matthew 10:38
    And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

  102. TERRY February 8, 2015 at 9:36 pm
    Debbie, it was the custom when one says “let this cup pass” to really drink the cup fully, all of the dreggs…..

    Where and when? The statement doesn’t make sense.

  103. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
    John 15:13

    One other small detail; the FULLNESS of the Holy Trinity is in the man Jesus Christ.

    God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit ALLOWED/AGREED TO/CONSENTED to be ripped apart on the cross so that we could dwell forever within their love and be saved from the wrath of God the Father which is yet to come on that great and terrible day of the Lord.

    By the way guys, we aren’t in that day yet, we are still in the days of mercy.

    This is the good news.

  104. Debbie said ” so that we could be saved from the wrath of God the Father which is yet to come” This statement is why we can be sure the Catholic religion is a false gospel. It can’t give man the assurance the Bible freely gives simply by believing. Romans 5:9,10 tells us we have been justified past tense, reconciled past tense, and will be saved. We are no longer enemies of God, but friends. God poured out his wrath on his son, and we were freed. Ephesians tells us by grace we have been saved thru faith, with nothing coming from ourselves. This was accomplished on the cross and requires nothing from us but to believe. Its all a gift of God. In the Catholic church you are taught that your salvation depends on you. Grace is simply a tool to merit salvation. But scripture teaches otherwise. Thanks Terry

  105. De Maria–

    It depends upon what you mean by saying that Jesus Christ ALONE tastes the cup of God’s wrath. In the new birth, we are united to Christ and become painfully aware of his experiences. We learn from him the horror and gravity of our sin, responding in conviction and repentance and regret. We learn from him how to sacrifice for others, how to give over our lives lock, stock, and barrel…even unto death…in solidarity with him.

    Several times in the NT it speaks of our sharing in Christ’s sufferings, participating in Christ’s sufferings, knowing the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. We become “little Christ’s,” taking on God’s wrath intended for others, leading them to Christ, who alone can divest them of their sin.

    Dr. Hahn mistakes discipline for judgment. God DISCIPLINES those whom he loves. He JUDGES those who do not belong to him.

    To say that somehow we die in atonement for our own sins has no biblical backing whatever. Christ, and Christ alone, atoned for our sin, turning away the wrath of God. (In some sense, we do share in his atoning work–after all, he works in and through us–but it is for the sake of others. Our sin has been atoned for, once, for all time, through the efficient blood of our Redeemer.)

  106. Hi, De Maria, I would encourage you to do a deep study on the cup of God’s wrath in the OT. Then count the times Jesus uses the cup metaphor in the Gospels. And then a deep study of what it really meant to let the cup pass. What you will find is what Eric called the infinite Christ, He took it all on himself. He truly stood in our place and did for us what we could not do for ourselves. There is a new book out written by an Reformed Baptist named Allison ” Roman Catholicism Theology and practice. It simply is the best book written in 50 years. He deals with the 2 faulty axioms of the fallen human nature grace interconnection and the church as an ongoing incarnation. The Early Fathers would condemned Rome’s incarnationalissm as unbelief and idolatry. We are incorporated into Christ body and humanity thru the Spirit. Fallen nature, creation, humanity has no capacity to receive grace, or can it be prepared for it thru virtue, it is a supernatural work of the Spirit. Roman Catholicism is a faulty view of the Trinity in the end. Churches don’t connect us to God, but He comes to us in the Gospel when and where the Spirit blows. No church owns God. churches aren’t continuations of incarnation. They can pass on the message, obey Him, carry out his mission, imitate Him, but they cannot usurp His unique finished work. God bless you all, especially the Reformed who come on here every day and fight for true religion. Terry

  107. Terry,
    The moment I read your first sentence on your first post you revealed yourself. No one is quite like you – especially in their inability to understand LOVE. You honestly don’t SEE the love of God poured out to us in the Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    You might ask yourself, why is there the wrath of God and what is it?
    He obviously wants to save us from it, and believe me, it isn’t here yet.

  108. Debbie, which statement best describes the ” inability to SEE the love of God poured out in the precious blood of Christ. Someone who believed He paid it all, or someone who believed God’s wrath is yet to come for believers. I leave the answer to you, since you seem to know the most about love. Thanks for your time Terry.

  109. Not sure what a reformed Baptist is so I had to look it up, and I’m still not sure:

    Within this broad category there are many different types of Baptists who hold various views on soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and ecclesiology (church structure and governance). Some fundamentalist Baptist groups hold that the King James Version of the Bible is the only true, inspired version of the Bible in the English language. Other Baptist groups are so theologically liberal that they fall outside the boundaries of what is generally accepted as orthodox. All this to say that Baptists come in many different shapes and sizes, but nominally they are all unified on the doctrine of adult believer baptism.

    Baptist history is also a bit difficult to trace. The most commonly accepted view holds that Baptist tradition is traced back to the English Separatist movement of the early 17th century. The English Separatists were a group of individuals who were unsatisfied with the changes made during the English Reformation, which was part of the larger Reformation movement sweeping the Continent, and hence they separated from the Church of England. From this Separatist movement, two strains of Baptists emerged—General Baptists and Particular Baptists. This leads us to our second question: What does it mean to be Reformed?

    The Reformers believed that the Reformed in the more narrow sense refers to those groups that follow in the theological footsteps of John Calvin—in particular his doctrine of salvation. This is what separates the General Baptists from the Particular Baptists. The General Baptists are so called because they hold to a belief of general atonement—Jesus died to make all men, in a universal sense, savable. Particular Baptists hold to the Calvinistic understanding that Jesus died only for the elect, and He died to actually secure their salvation, i.e., particular atonement. Reformed Baptists flow out of this Particular Baptist stream.

    Today there is no official Reformed Baptist denomination, but there are several federations of Reformed Baptist churches, such as the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America (ARBCA). Most Reformed Baptist churches subscribe to the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) as their doctrinal standards; the 1689 LBCF is essentially the Westminster Confession of Faith reworded as it pertains to baptism.

    Eric, is this what you are?

  110. Debbie–

    Yes, the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in the man Jesus, but this does not mean what you think it means. It means that Jesus Christ was fully divine, not semi-divine as the Arians maintained. He was not “the firstborn of all creation” in the sense of having BEEN created but in terms of preeminence OVER creation. He was, in fact, Creator rather than creation. He is co-eternal WITH the Father, having been eternally begotten OF the Father.

    He and the Father are One, but he is NOT the Father. The Trinity was not put in hypostatic union with Christ’s human nature. The Second Person of the Trinity was.

    Here is St. Hippolytus, a third-century historian of the church, speaking on modalism, an early christological heresy:

    The Scriptures speak what is right; but Noetus is of a different mind from them … Theodotus employed when he sought to prove that Christ was a mere man. But neither has the one party nor the other understood the matter rightly, as the Scriptures themselves confute their senselessness, and attest the truth. See, brethren, what a rash and audacious dogma they have introduced, when they say without shame that the Father is Himself Christ, Himself the Son, Himself was born, Himself suffered, Himself raised Himself. But it is not so. The Scriptures speak what is right; but Noetus is of a different mind from them. (Against Noetus 3)

    To say that the Father directly suffered on the Cross is called Patripassianism. It indicates a modalistic form of the Trinity. It is and has been heretical from the early days of the church until now,

  111. This is interesting, because I didn’t say any of this or mean any of this and not sure how you would come to any of these conclusions.

    Are you a Reformed Baptist perhaps?

  112. Debbie–

    I’m more of a credo-baptist Reformed Anglican. The term “Baptist” comes loaded with a whole lot of baggage with which I don’t care to associate, Its history, as you showed, is fairly short, as well. I’m more a part of the Great Tradition of liturgical churches (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran). Most Reformed Baptists are neither sacramental nor liturgical (preferring free forms of worship and often subscribing to the Regulative Principle). Yes, there are Anglicans who are credo-baptist…and those who are Reformed. I am in an extreme minority, but hardly a Lone Ranger. (There is nothing new under the sun, so basically everybody has company.)

    I am a credo-baptist for two principal reasons. It seems closer to what Scripture teaches, overall, and it appears to have been the practice of the early church.

  113. Debbie–

    Then what is this?

    “One other small detail; the FULLNESS of the Holy Trinity is in the man Jesus Christ.

    God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit ALLOWED/AGREED TO/CONSENTED to be ripped apart on the cross so that we could dwell forever within their love and be saved from the wrath of God the Father which is yet to come on that great and terrible day of the Lord.”

    Did you mean that the fullness of the deity of the Trinity resided in Jesus? Did you mean that the persons of the Trinity were of one mind concerning the crucifixion? If so, let me know, because that is NOT what you said!

  114. “God is love”. We can only begin to comprehend this eternal exchange (action) of love in our limited space and time. Hence, we witnessed the fullness of the Holy Trinity/Love in the i n c a r n a t i o n , s u f f e r i n g , c r u c i f i x t i o n , d e a t h and the r e s e r r e c t i o n of the Son, Jesus the Christ.
    One in three, and three in one. Fully God, and fully human. “LOVE”.

    “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
    John 5:19

    “May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.

    22 I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one.

    23 With me in them and you in me, may they be so perfected in unity that the world will recognize that it was you who sent me and that you have loved them as you have loved me.

    24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

    25 Father, Upright One, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.

    26 I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.

  115. ERIC February 9, 2015 at 7:03 am
    De Maria–
    It depends upon what you mean by saying that Jesus Christ ALONE tastes the cup of God’s wrath.

    No, Eric, it depends upon what you mean, since Psub is a Protestant doctrine.

    In the new birth, we are united to Christ and become painfully aware of his experiences. We learn from him the horror and gravity of our sin, responding in conviction and repentance and regret. We learn from him how to sacrifice for others, how to give over our lives lock, stock, and barrel…even unto death…in solidarity with him.

    So far, you are propounding Catholic Doctrine:

    791 The body’s unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: “In the building up of Christ’s Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the Church.” The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: “From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice.” Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Several times in the NT it speaks of our sharing in Christ’s sufferings, participating in Christ’s sufferings, knowing the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. We become “little Christ’s,” taking on God’s wrath intended for others, leading them to Christ, who alone can divest them of their sin.

    Still Catholic Doctrine:

    790 Believers who respond to God’s word and become members of Christ’s Body, become intimately united with him: “In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification.” This is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ’s death and Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which “really sharing in the body of the Lord, . . . we are taken up into communion with him and with one another.”

    Dr. Hahn mistakes discipline for judgment. God DISCIPLINES those whom he loves. He JUDGES those who do not belong to him.

    Dr. Hahn expounds Catholic Teaching. You expound Psub. They are two very different things.

    Dr. Hahn does not mean the same thing you do when he speaks of God’s wrath.

    To say that somehow we die in atonement for our own sins has no biblical backing whatever.

    Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    James 1:15
    Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    Christ, and Christ alone, atoned for our sin, turning away the wrath of God. (In some sense, we do share in his atoning work–

    There you go, changing in midstream again. Is it by Christ alone or not? If it is by Christ alone, then there is no sense in which we share in His atoning work. But if we do share in His atoning work, then you are expounding Catholic Doctrine.

    after all, he works in and through us–but it is for the sake of others. Our sin has been atoned for, once, for all time, through the efficient blood of our Redeemer.)

    1 Peter 4:1
    Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

  116. Catholics–

    Just saw this, from one of your own:

    Moreover, there are several different ways to work out the details even of the “satisfaction” and “penal substitution” dimensions of Christ’s saving work. The way St. Thomas Aquinas worked it out was not exactly the same way that St. Anselm, St. Bernard or John Calvin understood this mystery. Nevertheless, I am convinced that common to them all is a central, gospel truth: that Jesus, the divine Son of God, paid the penalty for our sins on the Cross (i.e., He compensated or satisfied divine commutative justice for our sins) so that when we are united with Him through repentance and faith (nurtured in us especially by Baptism, sacramental Confession, and Holy Communion), then the merits of His sacrifice are fully applied to us. As St. Paul said in Romans (8:1, 6:22): “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. … But now that you have been set free from sin and have become [servants] of God, the return you get is sanctification, and its end, eternal life.”

    The author, Dr. Robert Stackpole, director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, also quotes John Stott, Anglican theologian, approvingly:

    It is the Judge who in this passion takes the place of those who ought to be judged, who in His passion allows Himself to be judged in their place. The passion of Jesus Christ is the judgement of God, in which the Judge Himself was judged. …

    For in giving His Son He was giving Himself. This being so, it is the Judge Himself who in holy love assumed the role of innocent victim, for in and through the person of His Son He Himself bore the penalty which He Himself inflicted. … For in order to save us in such a way as to satisfy Himself, God through Christ substituted Himself for us. … The cross was simultaneously an act of punishment and amnesty, severity and grace, justice and mercy.

    Seen thus, objections to substitutionary atonement evaporate. There is nothing even remotely immoral here, since the substitute for the law-breakers is none other than the divine Lawmaker Himself. There is no mechanical transaction either, since the self-sacrifice of love is the most personal of all actions. And what is achieved through the cross is no merely external exchange of legal status, since those who see God’s love there, and are united in Christ by His Spirit, become radically transformed in outlook and character. …

  117. Beautiful!
    Just put on your Catholic lens (or better yet, take off your Protestant lens) and it is so powerful.

    The key is to SEE GOD’S LOVE THERE. One must see God’s love there, they must see the unfathomable Divine Mercy and partake of it. That is the mystery from before the foundation of the world that we witness in Christ.

  118. Debbie,

    Beautiful!
    Just put on your Catholic lens (or better yet, take off your Protestant lens) and it is so powerful.
    The key is to SEE GOD’S LOVE THERE. One must see God’s love there, they must see the unfathomable Divine Mercy and partake of it. That is the mystery from before the foundation of the world that we witness in Christ.

    Which Protestant lens would that be, the one that doesn’t see PSub motivated by divine love and mercy. Wait, that lens isn’t in the Protestant drawer… it’s in the let’s completely mischaracterize everything any Protestant has ever said about Penal Substitution drawer.

  119. Debbie–

    The persons of the Holy Trinity work in concert, so yes, in that sense, we witnessed the fullness of the Trinity in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son. But the Father did not die on the Cross, the Son did. The Son did not raise himself from the grave, the Father did.

    What does “God is Love” have to do with any of this? You are such a girly-girl sometimes. :)

  120. Debbie–

    If we have anything at all in common, it is that God is Love. That is as much a cornerstone of our theology as it is yours. I would say, more.

    Try putting on your “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, Invisibly and Continuously Reformed to an Immaculate and Unified [in Faith] State” lens (i.e., your Protestant glasses) and read what Stackpole and
    Stott have to say. It’ll knock your socks off!!!

  121. De Maria–

    You come across as if you believe that the only reason for asserting that Dr. Hahn expounds Catholic teaching and that I do not…is that St. Scott is Catholic. If we switched our responses around and put my name to his thoughts, all of a sudden you would consider his mental meanderings to be inane and heretical instead of faithful and insightful.

    After your weak, almost non-existant, attempt at finding biblical evidence for any self-atonement on our part, I guess it’s safe to repeat that there IS NO such evidence. If our physical death atones for sin, then we’re all in good stead…except for Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps the Blessed Virgin. They’re out of luck.

  122. De Maria–

    From yet another Catholic website:

    Catholics agree He paid the price for our sins, which is “eternal” damnation. Perhaps we might look at it this way. If I was 10 years old and got into trouble with bullies and they were contemplating stabbing me to death because I stole something from them, my father would come and pay off those bullies so that I wouldn’t be killed (eternal damnation). My father would have “paid in full” the debt I owe. I would owe nothing. But when I got home, my father would probably give me some consequences, not because he hated me or because I owed him a debt, but because he loved me. It is no longer about “debt”, it’s about “discipline.” There is a difference.

    It’s no longer about debt and judgment…but discipline. This guy agrees with me against (how we were interpreting) Dr. Hahn. I doubt very much Hahn actually disagrees.

    Besides, we have Hebrews to fall back on. It’s not as if this is debatable:

    “My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him;  for the Lord disciplines those he loves and chastises every child whom he accepts. Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?  If you do not have the discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children; Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.(Heb12:5)

  123. Robert,

    “1. Sufficient grace isn’t truly sufficient. You need something more for salvation.”

    It’s truly sufficient. Sufficiency and efficacy are not identical.

    “2. Sufficient grace doesn’t answer the question as to how God is not morally culpable for sin, despite the best efforts of the Thomists to say otherwise.”

    If God gives someone sufficient grace and they resist it, that person is culpable for their resistance, not God. Permission is not causation. That’s why to be consistent with your view of sovereignty and monergism, God has to monergistically cause evil just as he monergistically causes justification.

    “3. Sufficient grace vs. efficient grace add layers of complexity to Scripture that aren’t there.”

    Here’s the “layers of complexity” – grace that works in us, without us and grace that works in us, with us. Additionally, God wills salvation of all, but not all are saved. Super complex.

    “”God doesn’t have the freedom to do evil. That is what I mean. Humans are freer than God is. Only humans in a libertarian system have the true power of contrary choice. God is limited in what he can choose to only good options.”

    Let’s play out this logic. Humans can’t create the universe. God is freer than humans I guess. Also, God can’t forget or not know things, nor can He shoot himself in the head, or damn himself to Hell in your system, so I guess humans are freer than God in Calvinism. That God is limited to only “good options” is perfectly compatible with lfw.

    “Non-deterministic systems make human beings into God, essentially.”

    God is the transcendent cause of our libertarian freedom – having libertarian freedom hardly entails humans are the transcendent cause of their freedom.

    “God’s will is always done.”

    Yes, and determinists claim this cannot be done synergistically or else the universe will fall apart.

    “This is true even when you say God wills to permit sin.”

    Which Aquinas affirmed in distinguishing between antecedent and consequent will and his example of the judge who hangs a criminal.

    “Human beings aren’t machines.”

    Are they rube goldberg machines? Is any act not necessitated by the causal chain determining such choice?

    “Because if I can truly say no, in every sense of the word, then it is my assent that makes grace efficacious, and if it is my assent that makes grace efficacious then it is by works, and works are the antithesis of grace.”

    So there’s only irresistible grace. In justification, sanctification, everything – all grace is irresistible and monergistic.

    “Okay so I’ll rephrase the question. So when you sin in sanctification, you weren’t given *grace* to resist the temptation/sin then correct?”
    Grace always accomplishes what grace intends. If grace doesn’t intend (in every sense of the word) for me to fully resist a particular sin on Tuesday, I won’t finally resist it. But that is not grace’s fault but my own. The sufficient/efficient grace distinction says almost exactly the same thing.”

    So instead of affirming a sufficient/efficient grace distinction, or operative and cooperative grace distinction, you affirm a grace-leading-to-not-sin and grace-leading-to-sin distinction. This apparently has biblical warrant and witness while the sufficient/efficient one doesn’t. Right.

  124. Eric,

    “You’re the one who doesn’t understand orthodoxy.”

    Neither does White or many others in your tradition apparently. God has libertarian will. His acts are not necessitated.

    “I called LFW a human concept because it is an unbiblical one.”

    The problem is you’re assuming your weird heretical view of LFW is actually what those affirming LFW hold. Of course your view is unbiblical – all libertarians would agree because it’s not what libertarians hold to.

    “Not only do I not have a gun to my head, I can pick anything I wish anytime I wish”

    Right but you only pick what you “wish” based on the rube goldberg setup of your external and internal factors such as intents/motives/desires/etc necessitating your ultimate choice.

    “The Third Council of Constantinople dealt with mono-energism NOT monergism, but then, you already knew that. You just wanted to throw out a red herring. Calvinists categorically reject monoenergism, monothelitism, and monophysitism.”

    Correct – it dealt with mono-energism and monothelitism. Now did it affirm synergism in Christ or not and just affirmed monergism while thinking it was synergism (as you persist in thinking Kreeft and Kimel do).

    “This stark difference will necessitate major differences between the man Jesus’ relationship to God and our relationship to God.”

    So Christ did not assume our human nature. Did he have libertarian will or not? Also, did pre-fall man, the saints in heaven, and pre-fall angels have libertarian will or not?

    “I highly doubt that the Magisterium endorses LFW, but I will take the time to look into it.”

    Certainly not your version of it.

  125. ERIC February 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm
    De Maria–
    You come across as if you believe that the only reason for asserting that Dr. Hahn expounds Catholic teaching and that I do not…is that St. Scott is Catholic. If we switched our responses around and put my name to his thoughts, all of a sudden you would consider his mental meanderings to be inane and heretical instead of faithful and insightful.

    That’s not true, Eric.

    The best way to explain it to you is to offer Robert as an example. He said,

    I know why you RCs don’t like it. If you hold to it consistently, there goes purgatory, indulgences, well, everything that makes Romanism Romanism. But don’t pretend its not in Scripture or that you don’t find it in Aquinas.

    And it makes sense. If one were teaching penal substitution, there would be no need for purgatory or indulgences. Therefore, in order to prove to him that St. Thomas Aquinas did not teach penal substitution, it was very simple to show that he teaches both purgatory and indulgences. The same is true of Scott Hahn.

    The fact is that we use similar language to describe our respective doctrines. And there are many things the two doctrines hold in common. Substitution, penalty, atonement. But there are grievous points of divergence.

    We do not believe that God numbered His Son amongst the wicked. We do not believe that God judged His Son guilty of sin. We do not believe that God cast His Son into hell.

    After your weak, almost non-existant, attempt at finding biblical evidence for any self-atonement on our part, I guess it’s safe to repeat that there IS NO such evidence.

    Almost non-existent? Then, you jump from that to there is not such evidence?

    Even if there were only one verse, that is all that it takes to disprove your idea that we don’t also atone for our sins. But there are many more than just one.

    Isaiah 40:2
    Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

    If our physical death atones for sin, then we’re all in good stead…except for Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps the Blessed Virgin. They’re out of luck.

    The Blessed Virgin had no sin for which to atone. And death does not atone for all sin. Have you ever heard of Purgatory?

  126. ERIC February 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm
    De Maria–
    From yet another Catholic website:
    Catholics agree He paid the price for our sins, which is “eternal” damnation. Perhaps we might look at it this way. If I was 10 years old and got into trouble with bullies and they were contemplating stabbing me to death because I stole something from them, my father would come and pay off those bullies so that I wouldn’t be killed (eternal damnation). My father would have “paid in full” the debt I owe. I would owe nothing. But when I got home, my father would probably give me some consequences, not because he hated me or because I owed him a debt, but because he loved me. It is no longer about “debt”, it’s about “discipline.” There is a difference.

    That is Catholic Doctrine.

    It’s no longer about debt and judgment…but discipline. This guy agrees with me against (how we were interpreting) Dr. Hahn. I doubt very much Hahn actually disagrees.
    Besides, we have Hebrews to fall back on. It’s not as if this is debatable:
    “My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; for the Lord disciplines those he loves and chastises every child whom he accepts. Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have the discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children; Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.(Heb12:5)

    That is also Catholic Doctrine.

    Here’s the difference.

    Scripture says:
    Nahum 1:2
    God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

    We don’t believe that God ever considered His Son His enemy and therefore, would never pour out His wrath upon His Son.

    FEBRUARY 9, 2015
    The Cup of God’s wrath vs Penal Substitution
    What is the cup of God’s wrath? How does it differ from the chastisement of God’s children?

    Penal Substitution says that God the Father poured out his wrath upon His beloved Son. Its hard for me to believe and it seems unbibilical so to say. Scripture says:
    Nahum 1:2
    God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
    But maybe if we study the difference between the wrath of God and the chastisement of God’s children, we will see what is that cup which Jesus drank and which the Apostles shared and that cup which is the called, “the cup of God’s wrath”.
    Scripture says that God reserves His wrath towards His enemies.

    First, as we see in Nahum, the wrath of God is reserved for God’s enemies.

    Also:
    John 3:35-36
    King James Version (KJV)
    35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
    36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    The wrath of God is reserved for those who do not believe the Son of God.
    Ephesians 5:6
    Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

    Jesus is known for obedience and thus, the wrath of God was not poured out on Him.
    Romans 5:19
    For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

    FEBRUARY 9, 2015
    The Cup of God’s wrath vs Penal Substitution
    What is the cup of God’s wrath? How does it differ from the chastisement of God’s children?

    Penal Substitution says that God the Father poured out his wrath upon His beloved Son. Its hard for me to believe and it seems unbibilical so to say. Scripture says:
    Nahum 1:2
    God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
    But maybe if we study the difference between the wrath of God and the chastisement of God’s children, we will see what is that cup which Jesus drank and which the Apostles shared and that cup which is the called, “the cup of God’s wrath”.
    Scripture says that God reserves His wrath towards His enemies.

    First, as we see in Nahum, the wrath of God is reserved for God’s enemies. Also:
    John 3:35-36
    King James Version (KJV)
    35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
    36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    The wrath of God is reserved for those who do not believe the Son of God.
    Ephesians 5:6
    Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

    Jesus is known for obedience and thus, the wrath of God was not poured out on Him.
    Romans 5:19
    For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
    And those who follow Christ are recognized by their obedience to Christ. Therefore they also shall not be the object of God’s wrath.

    Romans 6:16
    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    This pattern is followed throughout Scripture. Where ever the wrath of God is mentioned, it is directed at those who mock God and disobey His commands:

    Ezra 8:22
    For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

    2 Chronicles 36:16
    But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

    So, what cup did Jesus drink and the Apostles share?

    Matthew 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, ….

    If it was the cup of God’s wrath, then Jesus and the Apostles would be counted amongst God’s enemies. I think that has been established. However, both Jesus and the Apostles suffered for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

    Scripture says:

    Hebrews 2:10
    For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

    Surprisingly, the Scripture says that Jesus was made perfect through suffering.

    Acts 5:41
    And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

    And the Apostles rejoiced when they suffered for Christ.

    Romans 8:17
    And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    And we are all appointed to suffer with Christ, if we believe in Him. If we don’t suffer, we are bastard children:

    Hebrews 12:7-9
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

    There is a difference in between these two forms of suffering.

    Those who suffer God’s wrath and those who suffer God’s chastisement do not suffer the same thing. In both forms of suffering there is pain and frequently, death. However, I can’t find in the suffering of God’s wrath, any indication of a resurrection. And that is the difference between the suffering of God’s wrath and in suffering as God’s children in imitation of Christ.

    Christ suffered death in order to rise again. Christ suffered this death in order to give us an example to follow.

    This is why, the suffering which Christ suffered can’t be described as the Cup of God’s wrath.

    Romans 14:9
    For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

    2 Corinthians 5:14
    For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

    And this is the Catholic Doctrine which fits the Scriptures perfectly:

    616 It is love “to the end” that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

    All who live in Christ must first die in Christ:

    Romans 6:8
    Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
    562 Christ’s disciples are to conform themselves to him until he is formed in them (cf. Gal 4:19). “For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him” (LG 7 § 4).

    And Penal Substitution is proven a false doctrine which contradicts the Word of God.

  127. Eric,
    “Try putting on your “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, Invisibly and Continuously Reformed to an Immaculate and Unified [in Faith] State” lens (i.e., your Protestant glasses) and read what Stackpole and
    Stott have to say. It’ll knock your socks off!!!”

    I have studied under Dr. Stackpole at the St. John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy in Washington DC (I have mentioned briefly one of my experiences in that neck of the woods).
    I am an avid devotee of Divine Mercy and have stayed at Eden Hill in Stockbridge, MA and been taught by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. I have been to several Divine Mercy Conferences and I have ministered to many Christians with the ‘Holy Catholic’ theology of Divine Mercy, in particular to the dying. I think I’ll let the above quote pass . . . .

  128. Eric,
    Here is Dr. Stackpole on the Journey Home if you are interested:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYBd-wuf0j8

  129. Wosbald,

    Nice save! The give away for me was the spelling and the slur against the “bread”.

  130. Eric,

    You smooth talker, you. You tried feeding Debbie this line of baloney;

    “If we have anything at all in common, it is that God is Love. That is as much a cornerstone of our theology as it is yours.”

    God is love for some folks only in your system. Not all, not by a long shot. God makes some men for hell in Calvinism. That is not love no matter how you spin and parse it.

    If God is all loving, he must love all.

    Please don’t come back with some “crap” as you say about how God loves all men but in different ways. On the other thread, Robert and Michael Taylor have been arguing manfully for God hating Esau in his mother’s womb. He was loving to Jacob only.

  131. @Jim,

    God makes some men for hell in Calvinism. That is not love no matter how you spin and parse it.

    Translation: “I’m plugging my ears and saying, nah, nah, and refuse to believe anything a Calvinist says about Calvinism but will only believe what mommy Rome tells me to believe about Calvinism.”

    Besides, how do you escape the same charges? If you believe there is a hell (which you have to believe) and if you believe that anyone goes there (which, apparently you don’t have to believe–at least not since Vatican II), and if you believe in the omniscience of God (which you have to believe), then you believe in a God who knew ahead of time which souls would go to hell, but who decided to create them anyway when presumably he was *free* not to create them in the first place and *free* to grant them both efficacious grace and the grace of final perseverance *if* he were so inclined.

    Like I said: Your “god” toys with his prey before he sends them to hell. The real God, however, doesn’t dance around like this. He simply says, “Esau I hated” without apology, for he owes nothing to those who hate him and want nothing to do with him anyway.

    So much rage directed toward God. But where is your indignation toward those who hate Him?

  132. Jim,

    Please don’t come back with some “crap” as you say about how God loves all men but in different ways.

    Was Thomas Aquinas serving up crap when he said:

    God loves all men and all creatures, inasmuch as He wishes them all some good; but He does not wish every good to them all.
    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1023.htm

    We differ not a whit from Aquinas in our view of God loving men in different ways. So what you are railing against is actually a permissible view in your own communion.

  133. MICHAEL TAYLOR February 10, 2015 at 9:44 am
    @Jim,
    God makes some men for hell in Calvinism. That is not love no matter how you spin and parse it.
    Translation: “I’m plugging my ears and saying, nah, nah, and refuse to believe anything a Calvinist says about Calvinism but will only believe what mommy Rome tells me to believe about Calvinism.”
    Besides, how do you escape the same charges? ….

    Its kind of strange. The way you started out, I thought you were going to say that Jim was wrong and that Calvinism did not teach that God predestined some to hell. But, instead, you laid the same charge on Catholicism.

    So, apparently, you admit that Calvinism teaches that God predestines some souls to hell. Is that right?

    Here’s the difference between you and us. We actually believe the Word of God. We believe that God is omniscient and that He knows all. We also believe that:

    1 Timothy 2:4
    Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

    How the two, seemingly incompatible ideas, are true, we don’t pretend to know. But we believe God. We do not believe Calvin.

    So much rage directed toward God. But where is your indignation toward those who hate Him?

    We love God and the brethren. That’s why we keep the Commandments.

    1 John 3:16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

    Are you talking about Calvin and his followers?

  134. Jim–

    According to you then, a God who is all loving must love EVERYTHING, including wickedness and evil and slime. He must love the devil and all his demons.

    He sounds like a cross between Mr, Rogers and Joel Osteen.

  135. Debbie–

    Stackpole, for the article from which I quoted, was fairly harshly raked over the coals by fellow Catholics commenting on the piece. Are you fully endorsing the things he had to say?

    Divine Mercy is one of those grassroots devotions which serve as an end around to Rome’s bureaucratic high-handedness. I have listened to half of the JH program you linked us to. I really like the guy.

    To make “the merciful love of God” the peak of Catholic piety (rather than OUR love of God and neighbor or OUR fear of God’s retribution) is a move in a Protestant direction, even if you can’t see it yet.

  136. ERIC February 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    To make “the merciful love of God” the peak of Catholic piety (rather than OUR love of God and neighbor or OUR fear of God’s retribution) is a move in a Protestant direction, even if you can’t see it yet.

    lol! You guys have a flair for creating false dichotomies, even if you can’t see it.

    Really, you separate the merciful love of God and stand it opposed to Our love of God and neighbor?

    Wow? Satan has truly blinded you.

  137. Eric, I realize this is new to you, but you are not even close by a long shot.

    The Divine Mercy Devotion FOCUSES on the Merciful Love of God BECAUSE of the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection – a gift that His Son gave to the world, laying down His life for our salvation.

    On Calvary, Justice and Mercy kissed . . .

    At 3:00 o’clock every day, I stop and pray this prayer as do many many others who are overwhelmed in love and humility in the face of Divine Mercy.

    “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body, and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
    This next sentence is repeated over and over again (50 times throughout the chaplet)
    “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

    And I’m not sure if it was you or not, but someone keeps thinking and inserting that God the Father is going to judge us.

    No, Christ will judge us all and will tell us plainly whether He knows us or not.

    When you said, ” To make “the merciful love of God” the peak of Catholic piety (rather*** than OUR love of God and neighbor or OUR fear of God’s retribution)

    *** deciding to use the word RATHER here surely was a poor mistake.

  138. ” At 3:00 ….. ” Eternal Father, I offer you the body, and blood, and Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son……Repeated 50 times. Hebrews is clear He offered himself once for sins and it perfected true believers. The thought that you or anyone else is qualified to put Him on a cross and offer Him again is repulsive. Or to propitiate your own sins And to watch those nuns in repetitive prayer earning their salvation breaks my heart. We should pray for those women. Lost

  139. MITCH February 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm
    ” At 3:00 ….. ” Eternal Father, I offer you the body, and blood, and Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son……Repeated 50 times. Hebrews is clear He offered himself once for sins and it perfected true believers. The thought that you or anyone else is qualified to put Him on a cross and offer Him again is repulsive. Or to propitiate your own sins And to watch those nuns in repetitive prayer earning their salvation breaks my heart. We should pray for those women. Lost

    It is the only offering left for sin.

    Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

  140. Mitch
    “We should pray for those women. Lost”

    Are you saying that every woman since Pentecost (2,000 years ago) who has consecrated herself to our Lord, in other words, every NUN who has ever lived (we’re talking millions) is lost? Then you add to that all the Catholics, every one of them that has ever been to Mass since Pentecost (2,000 years ago) is lost?

    I understand that you think He is being put on a cross and it is repulsive to you. That alone should be a huge indicator that it can’t possibly what you think it is.

    Or worse yet, Lord forbid and have mercy on your soul, that you do really think all those millions of people, Church Fathers, the 1st Reformers before they rebelled (not because of the Mass by the way), the entire history of the Church and its members are lost and doomed to hell?

  141. Debbie–

    In the interview, Stackpole states that the “peak” for practitioners of Divine Mercy (because it was for St. Faustina) is the “merciful love of God.” It was Marcus Grodi who said RATHER than our fear of retribution or our love for God and neighbor.

    Was this a “poor mistake” on his part, or does he get a “pass” because he’s Catholic?

  142. Debbie–

    When it comes to repetitive prayers, I believe Mitch misspoke. Anglicans and Lutherans repeat the same liturgy Sunday after Sunday, and they’re good Protestants. The warning in Scripture is against repeating “empty words and phrases” which I doubt describes your chaplets.

    And then there is Jesus in Gethsemane:

    Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

  143. @Eric:

    According to you then, a God who is all loving must love EVERYTHING, including wickedness and evil and slime. He must love the devil and all his demons.

    You’re starting to get it.

    Ps. 139:8 “If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”

    Wis. 11:24 For thou lovest all things that exist, and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made, for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hadst hated it.

    That doesn’t mean that no one is in Hell. But even those who are damned are loved in some sense, and it is that sense in which they are loved (what we call sufficient grace) that distinguishes Thomism from Calvinism. Calvinism says that God gives the damned no special grace, but only common grace, and Thomism says that He gives them special grace, grace individually presented to their souls outside of ordinary Providence. This is because He loves them all, giving all some degree of special grace, though not to the same degree.

  144. One more quick comment for you, Eric:

    God’s simplicity and his immutability demand that he be a Creator from the word go. He didn’t get up in the morning one Sunday and decide to create. You’re the one who doesn’t understand orthodoxy. He always picks the wisest, most loving option. He simply doesn’t need or want our sense of freedom. He has his own. You have anthropomorphized God for some reason.

    James isn’t the heterodox one in that dialogue. Read Aquinas; he is very clear that divine simplicity should never be taken to say that it is necessary for God to be a creator in the same way that His existence is necessary. That is exactly what God not being a dependent being means; the definition of His transcendent relationship to creation precludes this. So James is doing exactly the opposite of what you accuse him of doing; he is affirming God’s transcendence and denying that God can in any sense be made to depend on creation. He is free in the most radical possible sense of being able to choose any possible good without needing to choose any of them. The idea that God is eternally and necessarily a Creator is the condemned heresy of Origenism.

  145. Eric,
    I’m going to go back and listen to the video, because I have a suspicion that you’re twisting things ‘a bit’.

    But nevertheless, mistakes are made all the time OR mistaken by some as to the intended meaning. I am a perfect example of this, especially in this blogging world. Having two Catholics use particular phrasing when speaking live of Catholic theology or even disagreeing slightly in the way it is presented, or even misunderstanding intended use is quite different than debating Protestant heresy.

    To be continued . . .

  146. Eric,
    You have taken the first VERY BRIEF introduction to Divine Mercy in the middle of this video and misconstrued the intent. I doubt you went any further. Again, this program is about why Dr. Robert Stackpole became Catholic, not the entire explanation of the theology of Divine Mercy.

    (beginning at the 23:14 mark on video)
    Marcus: … our separated brethren aren’t quite so familiar with that Devotion … give us a quick ONE MINUTE summary of the history behind the Divine Mercy …
    (Marcus is introducing this for non-Catholics, so all his comments are in this vein)

    Robert: … the very heart of the Catholic faith is the merciful love of God. If you want to see the whole lay of the land of the Catholic faith, stand on that peak, the merciful love of God and everything starts to fall into place….

    Marcus: It’s interesting, because you (an individual, not the Church) could make a peak (‘lens’ to view) the fear of God, or maybe OUR love of God or love of neighbor, or a variety of things . . . make those the peaks and you get a different flavor on everything.

    Robert: … if you’re going to make a good map of a country, you’ve got to have the best aerial photograph possible … the Divine Mercy, the merciful love of God, is a really good vantage point to see it all.

    Marcus: It certainly puts then the act of Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection, into a right perspective …

  147. ERIC February 10, 2015 at 6:44 pm
    Debbie–
    In the interview, Stackpole states that the “peak” for practitioners of Divine Mercy (because it was for St. Faustina) is the “merciful love of God.” It was Marcus Grodi who said RATHER than our fear of retribution or our love for God and neighbor.
    Was this a “poor mistake” on his part, or does he get a “pass” because he’s Catholic?

    Why do you consider it a mistake?

    2096 Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve,” says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy.

    Let me highlight it for you.

    To adore God is to acknowledge him as … merciful Love.

  148. Jonathan,

    To say that God creates the world out of necessity morphs into emanationism and then moves to full blown pantheism.

  149. Debbie and DeMaria,

    Please, please, please don’t encourage Kevin to stay by interacting with him as if he were a serious Christian. He just want to rant and insult.

    He might be using spellcheck but that is the old troll or I will eat my hat.

  150. Eric,

    Jonathan said:

    James isn’t the heterodox one in that dialogue. Read Aquinas; he is very clear that divine simplicity should never be taken to say that it is necessary for God to be a creator in the same way that His existence is necessary. That is exactly what God not being a dependent being means; the definition of His transcendent relationship to creation precludes this. So James is doing exactly the opposite of what you accuse him of doing; he is affirming God’s transcendence and denying that God can in any sense be made to depend on creation. He is free in the most radical possible sense of being able to choose any possible good without needing to choose any of them. The idea that God is eternally and necessarily a Creator is the condemned heresy of Origenism.

    In the interest of fairness, Jonathan and James are correct that it is not necessary for God to have created. That’s not just Aquinas’ view; it’s the view of the entire Christian tradition. The act of creation isn’t necessary, though it is compatible with God’s necessary existence as a being who is triune. God necessarily begets the Son, so creation is in some sense analogous to that. Obviously, there’s significant differences because the Son is eternally begotten and not created ex nihilo. It’s probably better to say that God’s existence as one who begets the Son enables Him to create. Apart from begetting, its hard to see why God would create, and it makes creation necessary for him to be a relational being. This is part of what makes the monad of Islam irrational. It’s hard to see why God would create in the first place because it doesn’t express even in an analogous way something that is necessary to His existence, while at the same time it makes creation necessary to the extent that Islam has the view of a personal God who is in relationship to His creatures. Thus, its easy to see why Islam vacillates between radical transcendence (traditional Islam) and radical immanence (Sufism). Christianity doesn’t have this problem because of the Trinity and how it both allows God to create as an expression or revelation of his nature and does not make Him dependent on creating in order to be relational.

  151. Eric,

    “According to you then, a God who is all loving must love EVERYTHING, including wickedness and evil and slime. He must love the devil and all his demons.”

    Yes, God loves all the above except wickedness. God loves everything that exists or it wouldn’t exist. Wickedness is a parasite on existence, the hole in the doughnut. It has no actual existence but is a negation of it.

  152. Robert,

    “God necessarily begets the Son, so creation is in some sense analogous to that. Obviously, there’s significant differences because the Son is eternally begotten and not created ex nihilo.”

    I am not sure but I think your ex nihilo stuff has nothing to do with it.

    The doctrine of the Trinity is a bulwark against emantionism/pantheism.
    Think of this, even theistic religions like Judaism and and Islam slipped into emantionism,/pantheism in the middle ages.

    The term “monegenes” predates Christianity and was used by the pagan to describe the world. The Christian doctrine that says Jesus is the only-begotten Son that proceeds from God nails the coffin on the world being an emanation from God.

    Ever wonder why science is a product of the West? In non-Christian cultures, chemistry couldn’t rise above alchemy, astronomy couldn’t shake free of astrology. If the planets and nature were gods, they could act capriciously so there was no use studying them for patterns of behavior.
    It was in the 1300 hundreds, when the Bishop pf Paris, Steven Tempier condemned Aristotle’s proposition that the world was eternal that science officially began.

    Google Stanly Jaki to learn more on this.

  153. Robert,

    I take it back. Maybe I misunderstood what you were getting at with the ex nihilo stuff.

  154. Jim,

    All I was trying to say, perhaps poorly, is that the act of creation makes sense as a natural, but not necessary, outflow of God’s nature only in light of an eternally triune being. Without the Trinity, creation is necessary or unexplainable.

  155. Jonathan and Robert–

    I’ll look into the whole natural vs necessary distinction. I didn’t intend to say that God was dependent on creation in any way.

    Unless there is a whole spectrum of highest “goods,” God is not free to choose amongst a plethora of (varying levels of) “goods.”

    Can one of you give me an Aquinas citation on this topic?

  156. De Maria–

    Debbie considered it a mistake for me to say “rather” when all I was doing was parroting back what Grodi said.

  157. Debbie–

    I listened to the entire video, and I have studied Divine Mercy on my own. What are you trying to say I misconstrued? All you did was to present a portion of the transcript of the interview, and they said what I said they said.

  158. Jonathan–

    I don’t have a background in philosophy so explain this to me. God did not sit around on his haunches twiddling his thumbs waiting to create. He is in his character a Creator and creators necessarily create. I don’t see how that makes them dependent on their creation. I also don’t see how that messes with ex nihilo creation (or in any way involves emanationism as Jim suggests). I am not suggesting that creation was co-eternal with the Trinity, but that it took place in time.

  159. Robert–

    Never feel hesitant to correct me. I am Reformed because I believe it to be true, not because I am on some sort of a “team” and wish to be faithful to my own “Band of Brothers” (even though, within limits, that’s not a bad thing to do).

    When Catholics are right, they are right. I have no problem with that.

  160. Eric, think about this. The irony of Stackpole and this whole notion of Divine Mercy in the RC. The most merciful thing God ever did was forgive us of our sins Acts 13:38, yet Stackpole sings the course of divine mercy ( hesed) joining a church that will deny men free grace and full forgiveness of sins. Paul said it is a trustworthy statement that Christ came into the world to save sinners of who he is present tense foremost. This is God’s real mercy. The fact that Stackpole bravado’s the ontological experience of God’s mercy while joining a church that denies it apart from one’s own merit, is no only amusing, but irony of the highest order. K

  161. ERIC February 12, 2015 at 9:13 am
    Debbie–
    I listened to the entire video, and I have studied Divine Mercy on my own. What are you trying to say I misconstrued? All you did was to present a portion of the transcript of the interview, and they said what I said they said.

    Really? Apparently, you have no idea what meaning your sentences convey.

    Let’s break down your own words in order that you may understand what you said.

    ERIC February 10, 2015 at 6:44 pm
    Debbie–
    In the interview, Stackpole states that the “peak” for practitioners of Divine Mercy (because it was for St. Faustina) is the “merciful love of God.” It was Marcus Grodi who said RATHER than our fear of retribution or our love for God and neighbor.

    Was this a “poor mistake” on his part, or does he get a “pass” because he’s Catholic?

    At the bottom of your message, your question insinuates that Stackpole made a mistake and that Debbie is letting it go because he’s Catholic.

    At the top of your message, you insinuate that the mistake is Stackpole saying that the “peak” or “summit” of our faith is the “merciful love of God”. Then you juxtapose that to Marcus Grodi agreeing by juxtaposing fear of retribution or love of God and neighbor.

    That implies that you believe that Stackpole and Grodi were mistaken when they agreed that the “merciful love of God” is the peak of our faith. I can only assume, because you’re a Protestant, that you believe this to be so because the Catholic Church calls the Eucharist the Source and Summit of our faith.

    Again, because you’re a Protestant, I can only assume that you came to this conclusion because it has never occurred to you that the Eucharist is the embodiment of the merciful love of God.

    1337 The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love.163 In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; “thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament.”164

  162. De Maria said ” were mistaken when they agreed that the merciful love of God is the peak of our faith” The Eucharist is not the object of our faith, nor is it the summit of our salvation. Christ is the object of our faith, who is our righteousness. We are incorporated into his body through the SPIRIT and we worship him in Spirit and in truth. We don’t worship the bread of the Supper. God feeds our faith spiritually in the Supper by reminding us of what He did for us. We offer up sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving from the altar of our heart, not to propitiate our sin, but in gratefulness for the free grace He offers by faith. We don’t worship the bread of the supper. The Eucharist is not the embodiment of the merciful love of God, Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the merciful love of God. He isn’t in the bread, but the one taking the bread. We are to look in our hearts for Christ were he is through his Spirit, not in created things. You are not to make for yourself graven image. The early church fathers rejected the incarnationalism of Rome as idolatry. K

  163. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

  164. Kevin–

    You are wrong to look at it that way. I see Divine Mercy as one of God’s ways of breaking down the walls Rome has erected against his “everlasting kindness.”

  165. De Maria–

    It is impossible to know what one’s words might theoretically convey to someone who so wholly misses their intended meaning.

    Grodi said, “Ah, the merciful love of God as the peak of our faith…rather than our fear of God or our love for God and neighbor.”

    HE said RATHER THAN, which I then repeated. Debbie called this “mistake” on my part. I asked her how this could be since I merely repeated what Grodi said. And since we were saying the EXACT same thing, was Grodi somehow getting a “pass” due to his Catholicism. I didn’t understand her criticism. I still don’t. She hasn’t explained it. I can only assume she misread me…as you did.

    Yes, many Protestants would expect Catholics to say that OUR love of God and neighbor is the peak of RC piety…rather than HIS abiding love for us. There is a reason for that. I keep shouting at the top of my lungs, “The mercy of the Lord! The mercy of the Lord! The mercy of the Lord!” And you all keep coming back, “No, Eric, “Our response to his mercy. Our RESPONSE!”

    Every Catholic convert to Protestantism I have ever met says the same thing: what drove them from Rome was the suffocating weight of legalism they encountered there. I know it is not intended as legalism, but hundreds of thousands, hundreds of millions even, of Catholics sitting in your pews see it that way. Here are the hoops I must jump through to maintain my State of Grace.

    I was not, by the way, even slightly critical of Stackpole. If he were not so mistaken on Mary and the Eucharist, I would have mistaken him for Protestant.

  166. Kevin–

    You must try to see things from a Catholic perspective now and again. Do they INTEND idolatry in their worship of the transubstantiated Eucharistic elements? NO! They are intending the worship of the very presence of the HOLY ONE, the same Lord we serve. Do they INTEND the worship of Mary in their prayers of intercession to her? NO! They are intending her veneration. If someone called your impassioned acts of worship “idolatry, how would YOU respond? Would you immediately reply, “Oh, yeah, I guess you’re right”?

    As I have said before, I tend to believe that God is getting the attention of the inflexible hierarchy of Rome through grassroots piety: the Charismatic renewal, the Marian apparitions, Divine Mercy and Sacred Heart devotions, the “little way” of Therese of Lisieux. Many of these center on what God is doing for us INSTEAD of what we must do for God. The Magisterium cannot simply turn a deaf ear to millions of faithful pilgrims and devotees to these events and movements.

  167. ERIC February 13, 2015 at 7:31 am
    De Maria–
    It is impossible to know what one’s words might theoretically convey to someone who so wholly misses their intended meaning…..Yes, many Protestants would expect Catholics to say that OUR love of God and neighbor is the peak of RC piety…..rather than HIS abiding love for us…..

    So, now you agree that Stackpole and Grodi were correct?

    There is a reason for that. I keep shouting at the top of my lungs, “The mercy of the Lord! The mercy of the Lord! The mercy of the Lord!” And you all keep coming back, “No, Eric, “Our response to his mercy. Our RESPONSE!”

    That’s not true. You keep shouting, “By y faith alone! My faith alone!” And we keep saying, “NO, ERIC! You must cooperate with God’s grace which He poured out from the Cross because of His great love and mercy!”

    Every Catholic convert to Protestantism I have ever met says the same thing: what drove them from Rome was the suffocating weight of legalism they encountered there. I know it is not intended as legalism, but hundreds of thousands, hundreds of millions even, of Catholics sitting in your pews see it that way. Here are the hoops I must jump through to maintain my State of Grace.

    And most of the converts to Catholicism from Protestantism say, “Protestants lied to us. If we had known the truth of Catholicism, we would have converted long ago.”

    I was not, by the way, even slightly critical of Stackpole. If he were not so mistaken on Mary and the Eucharist, I would have mistaken him for Protestant.

    And in so saying, you contradict yourself, yet again. Its your trademark.

  168. De Maria–

    1. I agreed with them the whole time. It wasn’t me who changed.

    2. What in tarnation do you think “faith alone” means?

    3. Most of Protestantism completely ignores the ECF’s, so if it was a lie, it was a lie of omission.

    4. How can I be contradicting what I wrote before? What I wrote before included no criticism of Stackpole whatever. That doesn’t mean I have no disagreements with the man. He IS a Catholic, after all.

  169. Come on, Kevin, think with that noodle a little bit! Aaron’s boys were struck down dead. Have current newspaper headlines reported the demise of millions and millions of Catholics? Catholics claim that things changed with the coming of the Incarnation. To some extent, they are probably right. Do you really believe that an illustrated Bible story book for toddlers is idolatrous? Some Calvinists do! No depictions of Jesus allowed. Some won’t even depict the Cross. In the Old Testament, no depictions of God were allowed. But God became flesh. We have seen God Incarnate with our own eyes.

    Even the Israelites under Jeroboam I weren’t struck down dead. They were condemned for erecting what were effectively symbols of the Presence of God. They didn’t even make likenesses of God. Just unauthorized figures of bulls for Yahweh to “ride” upon. They INTENDED the worship of God. But they were condemned nonetheless. I think Catholicism is wrong. I think they’re technically idolatrous. But I also believe they don’t intend to be. I don’t know exactly how God feels about that (other than being against it). And neither do you.

  170. Kevin–

    I didn’t see that you wrote me four comments in a row. I’ll answer the first three briefly.

    Would it be acceptable in your mind to bow down and worship Jesus as he walked this earth? If you agree that it would be, wasn’t he a union of creation and Creator?

    I’ll go and read the Kauffman article.

    Are sacraments just symbols for you? What do the ECF’s say to that?

    Catholics have a faulty view of the Trinity? How so? When Catholics charge us with deficient Trinitarianism, I say, “poppycock.” I say the same thing to your charges against them.

  171. ERIC February 13, 2015 at 12:41 pm
    De Maria–
    1. I agreed with them the whole time. It wasn’t me who changed.

    Lol! That’s not what you said. That’s what I mean that you don’t convey the meaning you intend. Then you blame everyone else for not understanding you.

    2. What in tarnation do you think “faith alone” means?

    It means that you believe you are saved by faith alone in Christ alone without any cooperative effort on your part.

    3. Most of Protestantism completely ignores the ECF’s, so if it was a lie, it was a lie of omission.

    And that makes it all better? I didn’t realize that Protestants believed that lying is a virtue.

    4. How can I be contradicting what I wrote before? What I wrote before included no criticism of Stackpole whatever. That doesn’t mean I have no disagreements with the man. He IS a Catholic, after all.

    You criticized the man in the very same breath that you claimed you did not have anything to criticize.

  172. De Maria–

    Are you the proverbial uncle at the family reunion whom everyone wishes they could disown? You are very hard to take seriously.

    1. I did indeed intend the meaning I conveyed. But I am not my internet interlocutor’s “keeper.” I can’t force you to grasp simple, straightforward communication.

    2. Faith Alone means, “The mercy of the Lord! The mercy of the Lord! (And nothing else but) the mercy of the Lord!”

    3. I don’t have hegemony over the far-flung Protestant community, or I’d correct the mistake. I don’t make excuses for Protestantism when it is in the wrong. It’s not infallible like some claim their communions to be.

    4. I acknowledged that there were minor things for which I could have criticisized him but that I had not done so. Your spin on that is simply mean-spirited pettiness,

  173. Kevin–

    Augustine said all sorts of different things about the Eucharist. Can you provide a citation for the one you gave?

    There may be unintentional consequences including effects on the Catholic concept of the Trinity involved in their sacramentology or soteriology. But that means they have a faulty view on the sacraments or on salvation, NOT on the Trinity.

    Have you actually sat down and read some of Ignatius’ letters, or are you just going by what Tim has to say on the matter?

    Christ’s body very much IS available to us in the Eucharist…in heaven. Yes, it’s by spiritual means. But it is corporeal nonetheless.

    If no one else does, I will strongly chide YOU if you maintain that Jesus’ body in the Incarnation or in the Resurrection or at the Second Coming isn’t physical. There’s nothing inherently wrong or unspiritual in physicality. We don’t say “Do not handle. Do not taste. Do not touch.”

  174. ERIC February 13, 2015 at 5:46 pm
    De Maria–
    Are you the proverbial uncle at the family reunion whom everyone wishes they could disown? You are very hard to take seriously…..

    This from the man who contradicts himself at every turn? We’ve already gone over the rest of the items in your message. No sense repeating them.

  175. De Maria–

    You’re right. There is no sense repeating them.

  176. I wanted to see if anything had changed since I last visited here. Nope.

    Eric W February 2, 2015 at 1:17 am

    “Based on the question, we are free to think that God the Father is not forbidden to appoint a Vicar between Jesus and Himself. If Col.1:18 doesn’t forbid a Vicar between Jesus and the Church, then 1Cor.11:3 doesn’t forbid a Vicar between Jesus and the Father.”

    Can God the Father pick a vicar between Himself and our Lord? Can our Lord place a vicar between Himself and God the Father? No idea. So far as I know, no where in scripture was such an idea posited.

    Can our Lord, Who is the King, pick a chamberlain or keeper of the keys? It would be what any of the kings of the Jews would do, that is pick a chamberlain and give him the keys. Scripture says that our Lord did exactly that. He picked a keeper of the keys for His Kingdom.

    It was Swift who noted that some people only get enough religion to hate, but not enough to love.

    There is a known quality on the internet known as a troll. Those people often display what Swift noted about people lacking enough religion to love. They are there to cause confusion and injury, to shout down their opponents, to deny their own failure, and to pretend that they are not blind.

    DeMaria, this is a waste of your time and energy. Jesus noted that some of these only come out with prayer and fasting. If you want something good for Eric, pray for him. Nothing you say to him here will benefit him. He lacks the capacity to receive what you have to offer him.

  177. Interesting in light of many thinking it is just a piece of ‘bread’.

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/bishop-of-ars-removes-blessed-sacrament-from-all-parishes/

    Somebody wants to not only steal it, but to desecrate it. Who would want to do a thing like that?

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