Doing, Being, and the Function of Faith

Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Baptism, Catholicism, Ecclesiology, Featured, Gospel, Law, Presbyterianism, Protestantism, Reformed Theology, Sacraments, Sola Fide | 718 comments

This is going to sound very strange, but what if I told you that Catholics believe in Justification by faith alone while (Reformed) Protestants are actually the ones who believe in Justification by works? A statement that outrageous surely requires an explanation, so that’s what I want to provide. This post won’t be so much about exegesis as it is about simply helping people to understand where each side is coming from.

In the Protestant view, for man to enter Heaven he needs to have kept God’s Law perfectly. This means Salvation for the Protestant is purely based upon human “works,” the catch is that since sin has tainted all we do, it’s impossible for man to keep God’s Law perfectly. This is why Protestants say we need Jesus to keep God’s Law perfectly for us, and impute this “work” to us as if we did all this “work” ourselves. Hence why Protestants say our only hope to stand before God and be seen as “righteous” (i.e. a perfect keeper of the Law) is to trust in “Christ’s finished work” alone. So what does any of this have to do with faith alone? Protestants say the way we ‘receive’ this “work” that Christ did is through ‘the empty hand of faith,’ which reaches out and lays hold of and applies that work to our account.

In the Catholic view, for man to enter Heaven requires that he be in communion with God before he passes from this life. For Catholics, Salvation is not so much about ‘doing’ as it is about ‘being’. Communion with God is principally characterized by being “in a state of grace,” that means us possessing the divine gifts of faith, hope, and charity, as well as the Indwelling of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our souls. In this view, faith implies the possession of all these other divine gifts for the Catholic. And the means by which a person first acquires all these is through “the washing of regeneration,” also known as Baptism.

Though this is a brief description of each side, I believe each summary to be true to the Reformed and Catholic positions. The views really are quite different, and hopefully it is clear the issue isn’t simply a matter of “faith versus works,” which never really was the issue. Given this overview, I hope it provides the casual reader with a ‘lens’ by which they can properly study and properly dialogue when it comes to the essence of Catholic-Protestant disagreements.

Knowing where each side is coming from can help prevent a lot of misunderstanding and wasted time. For example, a Catholic should be able to see why Baptism doesn’t save in the Protestant view, because it makes little sense to say Baptism is what passes on to us the “work” Christ did for us. On the flip side, a Protestant should be able to see the role that Baptism plays in the Catholic view, not as one of many “works” that must be done to get a perfect score on our Law keeping test, but as a door by which we enter into God’s family.

These two ‘world views’ should be kept in mind especially when reading Paul, because it will help explain why Protestants and Catholics have their own ‘favorite verses’ they like to quote. When a Protestant quotes a Pauline text which says we are saved by faith not by works, this is understood very differently when a Catholic reads it. The Protestant sees Paul as teaching that the “works” do in fact save us, but that we need Christ to keep it for us, and apply that “work” to us by faith. The Catholic sees Paul as teaching that one does not enter into communion through the Mosaic Law, but rather he enters (and stays) in communion with God by possessing the divine (not human) gifts, stated simply as ‘having faith’.

718 Comments

  1. Or maybe we can just believe Paul that Abraham was justified in Genesis 15 since thats what he used. Whats more astonishing is he specifically says its to the one who does not work but believes. But we have to deal with additional justification including one’s works. And then when he says you are saved “not that of yourselves” we have to explain how that means it has nothing to do with you.

  2. Bob,
    The name change question opens a good discussion. The covenant and name change are explicit in Gen.17, but seems to be implicit in Gen.12. Some parts of Paul’s “re-reading” of the OT suggests this in my opinion. Why the name change ? I guess the answer can go in many directions. Does something stand out for you ?

  3. Faith wrote:
    Whats more astonishing is he specifically says its to the one who does not work but believes

    Faith bring us back to Faith, and NOT works.

  4. Eric W. you just have a way with words. !!!

  5. Eric W, You know 1:17 says ” For in it the righteousness of God is revealed form faith to faith Lol

  6. I have heard you mention that Anglicanism is growing here in Africa. Ehmm. Better check that report again. It is being decimated by Pentecostalism.

    July 23, 2014. 4:50 am.

    13% of the entire population. Probably at least 20% of the Christian areas in the south. Decimated? Or growing by leaps and bounds? Where do you live again? We’re friends here. You can be honest.

  7. Bob,

    Just one comment on the Epistle of James.
    You said, “This is the plain text written by the Bishop of Jerusalem James, who is also considered the brother of our Lord Jesus.”

    Of course we know James, the Bishop of Jerusalem was a Levite as were Mary’s kinsmen Zachary and Elizabeth. Jesus, Mary and Joseph were of David’s line. They had priestly relatives, a.k.a.”brothers”.

    So the “brother” was not a uterine brother to Jesus. No more than Jude, listed as a brother of James and therefore also of Jesus, would have identified himself as a brother of James in Jude 1:1 to establish his credentials rather than naming his more important brother ( Jesus) if he were indeed a uterine brother of Jesus.

    Okay. Just thought we should nip any misunderstanding in the bud. We don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea of Jesus being just one of several children of Mary. ( Perpetual Virginity probably being the default position on Jason’s blog ).

    Continue with your explanation of James/works/ faith and justification. I find your post to E.W. interesting.

  8. Nick–

    Just for novelty’s sake, let me harken back to your opening shot. I think you have a legitimate point in a twisted sort of way. Protestants do indeed believe in justification by works if one is speaking of the work of Christ as a necessary component in salvation. If his perfect life and atoning death, not to mention his physical resurrection from the dead, are superfluous-nice enough in their own way, but hardly requisite, a little infused agape (without all that selfless, sacrificial theatrics) would have done the trick. Agape, agape, agape, agape…the Gospel in one word is agape. No need for actual perfected inherent righteousness. No need for inside-out transformation. No need for a new creation. Any loving approximation will do. Just so we keep moving forward–or not, depending on how we feel at the moment–inch by effortless inch, with a happy smile plastered on our face, put there by agape…toward eventual divinization…eons from now, after a lengthy stay at the purgatorial spa. Love, love, love, love. Happy, happy, happy. Good works and personal righteousness are really not that important. Love is all that matters.

  9. @Eric:
    The “quote” from Clement is actually a gloss by John Gill on two lines (in ch. 1 and ch. 8) of 1 Clement. Apparently, Michael Horton took that excerpt from Gill as a quote in one of his books (way to research there!), and through the magic of the Internet, it’s now become a quote from Clement. “Don’t believe quotes from the Internet.” — Abraham Lincoln

    I’ve read Packer’s essay before. I don’t get it. I understand it, but I don’t get it. The Calvinist concept of God’s sovereignty seems to fit better with Zeus or Odin than a loving God. I see more Roman mythology in Geneva than I do in Rome.

  10. Jonathan,” The Calvinist concept of God’s sovereignty seems to fit better with Zeus or Odin than a loving God. Question Jonathan. Is God as just as he is loving? Or is he fully just and fully loving?

  11. PS, did it not matter that Jesus was the God-man fulfilling the law and not a human person?

  12. @Kevin:
    Sure, he’s just and loving. But perfect obedience to the law is not an absolute standard of justice. There are many possible standards of justice; the law of Christ, the law of love, is a different standard than the law. It’s not any less just; it fulfills the just requirement of the law without imposing the standard of absolute holiness on everyone. There is no violation of God’s justice, because God isn’t bound to enforce the law as the standard. The law binds us (until we are freed from it), but it doesn’t bind God.

  13. JIM–

    I really don’t have a problem with the perpetual virginity of Mary. The miracle of the Incarnation(the Creator becoming the created…!!!) is so huge I believe God could have done that with Mary. I have read the explanation from both sides on this issue and both have merit.

    I also have read somewhere, I don’t recall where, that when Mary was born, she was dedicated to the Temple. Jewish tradition dictates that when that happened, Mary was to remain a virgin in service to the Temple for the rest of her life. So when Joseph was betrothed to her, it was not in a traditional family sense, but rather as her “covering” or protector, if you will. So sexual relations were not required for that kind of “marriage”.

    Now that being said, I cannot confirm or deny any truth to that story, but it does sound logical. And since the dogma of the perpetual virginity is not contrary to any bible teaching, I don’t have the knowledge to say that Rome is wrong about it.

    And since I am not Catholic and out of Rome’s jurisdiction, and since the United Methodist Church has not specifically condemned the dogma, I am free to believe either way. It’s kinda like Adam and Eve having apes as cousins, as you say.

  14. Bob, ” and the dogma of perpetual virginity is not contrary to any bible teaching.” Only if you pretend that the ten verses in the Gospels when she’s with her kids aren’t there. And when you pretend that she didn’t call Jesus here Lord and SAVIOR in her Magnificat you can say she is sinless. So when Romans says “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, thats not true either.

  15. Eric & Kevin,

    Eric first,
    “. Agape, agape, agape, agape…the Gospel in one word is agape. No need for actual perfected inherent righteousness. No need for inside-out transformation. No need for a new creation. Any loving approximation will do. Just so we keep moving forward–or not,”

    Agape is inside-out transformation/new creation. Calvinism says this is not really needed as the is (1) elect and really saved from all eternity and (2) since Christ was punished in his stead, he is in like flint anyway.

    Kevin,

    Bob and I were discussing the Biblical doctrine of Mary Virginity and Jesus’ brothers.

    You took it as a spring board to call her a sinner. Do you have something you are hankering to get after?

  16. Kevin–

    The perpetual virginity of Mary is not contrary to Scripture, and a number of the major Reformers held to it. Of course, neither is it evidenced by Scripture. The Greek term used can bear both meanings, siblings or cousins. Don’t pick fights where they are unnecessary.

    Her sinlessness, as you point out, is not corroborated by Scripture.

  17. Kevin–

    Regarding Mary’s sinlessness, I think it incumbent upon Protestants to at least come up with an explanation as to why her sin was not passed along from mother to child.

    Thomas Aquinas believed something along the lines of her having been made sinless in utero, not from conception. I am unclear as to why, but it had to do with his finding a reason to proclaim her need for a savior in order to retain Christ’s claims to universal redemption.

    Here is a quote from St. Thomas on her need:

    “Certainly Mary was conceived with original sin, as is natural. . . . If she would not have been born with original sin, she would not have needed to be redeemed by Christ, and, this being so, Christ would not be the universal Redeemer of men, which would abolish the dignity of Christ.”

    Chapter CCXXXII bis. Thomas Aquinas, Compendio do Teologia, Barcelona, 1985.

    Perhaps Jonathan can check on its authenticity.

  18. Jonathan, The Law was given to the Israelites thru Moses and required perfect obedience for them to attain eternal life. And thus it provided the moral backdrop without which the Pentateuch’s sin atoning provisions and ultimately Christ’s sacrifice would be unintelligible, Lev. 18:5, Deut 32:45-47, Romans 10:5, Galatians 3:10-12, James 2:10. But the Law multiplied transgressions Romans 5:20, 4:15. Justification can’t come thru the Law Gal2:21, Acts 13:38-39. God provided in Christ what God demanded from us in the Law. Galatians 3:12 says the Law is not of faith. 2 facets of Christ’s of Christ’s substitution are crucial 1. We have failed to keep God’s Law and so we should die. 2> His blood must replace our blood. Our pardon is an act of justice based on Jesus bearing our sins 1 Peter 2:24.

  19. Bob,

    Good analogy, the evolution issue.

    Actually though, Mary’s Perpetual Virginity can be established by reading the Bible.
    The term “Brother” does not prove anything. Jude is referred to both the brother and the son of James. It is any male relative. Just as “sister” is any female kinswoman. Under the cross stood Mary and her sister Mary. Do you think Joachim and Ann named two daughters the same name? I could give more example s proving my case but lets stop here.

    As for those called Jesus’ brothers, James, Joses, Simon and Jude,, I could demonstrate that they are not uterine brothers but would rather not type a lot
    now.

    When Jesus was 12 or 13 He went with Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem. No mention of any other kids. Do you know of any woman who gave birth to a child, was infertile for a dozen years, and then exploded out a brood of kids?

    Jesus would have violated the Law by giving His mother to to a non-family members on Calvary if there were living brothers.

    This is not a peripheral doctrine Bob. It has major implications. Kevin knows it that is why he cannot, like you say we Catholics say, “it is like evolution from monkeys. Who knows, who cares? It doesn’t matter either way.”

    Hope to talk with you more on this sublime topic.

  20. Eric, good points . Go to Tim Kauffman’s site and read his article I think its called” Removing Jesus.” He deals with this whole idea of the pertinence of why Jesus was nurtured in a sinners womb. It is a great argument against how Rome is robbing us of the true incarnation who condescend in every way to be with sinners whom he saved. Rome tries to make it like heaven by putting Mary in a tabernacle of perfection and remove his full condescension to sinners, even being born in the womb of one.. He was made like us in all ways except for sin. Then Joseph had to be sinless, the Apostles etc. It is an amazing article.

  21. Eric, that should read putting Jesus in a tabernacle of perfection. I’m tired.

  22. Jonathan/Kevin–

    I apologize. Sometimes these days I simply don’t have the time, the resources, or the energy to run down citations. I just threw it out there. I meant to get back to it when I had time. How was I to know Horton was that lazy? Perhaps, we should cut him a little slack since he was only 27 when he published “Putting the Amazing Back into Grace.” Why didn’t an editor catch this? Don’t they bother to do their jobs?

    It appears to be commentary on 1 Clement 8:5. I see no content from chapter one, Jonathan.

    It’s been a long time since I read 1 Clement. I glanced over it again. He’s not a resource for either side. He displays the same ambiguity inherent in Scripture on this topic. (Not surprising from someone who includes so many direct NT quotes.)

  23. Boys,

    Actually Mary’s sinlessness is corroborated by scripture. If you concede the Woman of Gn 3:15 ( the same Woman is Rev 12 ) is the mother of Jesus.

    As our Orthodox friend Trebor can attest to, the Greek Fathers believed Mary’s sinlessness was proved by her Perpetual Virginity. ( To bear other children would have meant she was not the the woman of Gen 3:15 ).

    We could add the words of the Angel to Mary here but as I don’t read Greek, I would just refer you to anyone who does.

    As for the Magnificat’s ” My savior” business, so what? Do a word search of how many times “savior” is used in the Bible in a not salvific sense.

    Besides, “Savior” and “Redeemer” are not synonymous terms. Mary was saved from Original sin. She was never under the Devil’s bondage so she would not have been redeemed as we were.

    As for Aquinas, EVERYBODY KNOWS he got it wrong. But, yeah, any input from Jonathan would be great.

  24. I’m half way around the world at the moment, so almost everywhere!

    Prayers Prayers Prayers for everyone participating on this blog.

  25. Hi Jim. How are you doing?

    Sorry for the late response.

  26. Jim, Savior does not mean Savior when Mary call Jesus her Lord and Savior. And humble bondservant I guess that has the Vulgate translation Queen of heaven. So lets review, Savior means not salvific, to declare righteous means to make righteous, and children mean means kinsmen. And one mediator means many, and one sacrifice means representation. Lets apply my principle. Read Roman Catholic Catholic doctrine and believe the opposite and arrive at biblical truth.

  27. Alrighty.

    Erico, you are actually a very good sport. Keep coming back for more. Who would have thought that?

    So let the lessons begin. Again.

    Eric:
    13% of the entire population. Probably at least 20% of the Christian areas in the south. Decimated? Or growing by leaps and bounds? Where do you live again? We’re friends here. You can be honest.

    Me:

    There will be two parts to today’s class. Calculus and Dimensional Analysis.

    First Class: Calculus. You know about it? Differentia and integral Calculus? We would ignore the integral form for now and concentrate just on the differential aspect. And for ease of comprehension I am just sticking to the basics.

    So let’s say a car moved from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. Let the distance covered be ‘BA’. Let the time taken to cover this distance ‘BA’ be ‘t’. The speed of the car over this distance is given by the expression ‘BA/t’.

    Now this is the average speed over the entire distance ‘BA’. To obtain the instantaneous speed at any given time is a bit outside the purview of algebra. That is where differential calculus comes in.

    Differential calculus allows us to obtain a determination of the instantaneous rate of change of displacement with time. Notice I have changed from distance to displacement. Because we are now dealing with vector quantities (magnitude and direction).

    So using differential calculus we can obtain instantaneous rate of change of a dependent variable in relation to the independent variable, especial for non-uniform systems, i.e. in the car example above, consider a situation where the car didn’t maintain a constant speed during its transit from point ‘A’ to ‘B’. Differential Calculus helps us have a firm handle on the concept of rate of change.

    Second Class: Dimensional Analysis. A bit over the top for the purpose of this class but it is essentially about the relationship between physical quantities with regards to the their fundamental dimensions (length, mass, time) and units of measure (km, miles, kg, lb) in its simplest form it seeks to maintain consistency in the dimensions of physical quantities.

    Let’s now use an example to buttress the lessons from these two classes. If a man told you his car is very fast and on asking him how fast, he replies 100km (that will be 62miles to you), what will you do? Most likely a self-professed grammar Nazi like you will ask him if he meant 100km per hour. If the man keeps insisting on 100km, you would then assume that sitting in the sun for a long time had probably affected his neural pathways.

    The man has failed to consider rate of change (differential calculus) and units (dimensional analysis).

    Well it so happens that, you Erico, are that man.

  28. Eric:
    13% of the entire population. Probably at least 20% of the Christian areas in the south. Decimated? Or growing by leaps and bounds? Where do you live again? We’re friends here. You can be honest.

    Me:
    The word ‘growing’ denotes a rate of change. In this case the number of Anglicans in Nigeria over a specified time. The unit for population growth rate is not %. It is % per specified time frame.

    So saying “13% of entire population or 20% of Christians in the south” does not show Anglicans “growing by leaps and bounds” as you elect to put it. It simply tells you how many Anglicans are purported to be in Nigeria. You have not shown any evidence for your statement “growing by leaps and bounds”. So bringing this up as evidence for the ‘growing by leaps and bounds’ fable that you have been propagating on this blog is not presenting evidence. What you have just presented is evidence of either your ignorance of basic knowledge and/or your facility/flexibility with facts.

    Now let me tell you what you need to present that will amount to pertinent evidence.

    1. Show the population P1 of Anglicans at a time t1. Show the population of Anglicans P2 at another time t2. Preferable let the interval between t2 and t1 be a least a decade.

    2. Get the rate of growth over this period. You do that subtracting P2 from P1 and dividing the difference by time interval t2 subtracted from t1.

    Like this: (P2 – P1)/(t2-t1). That will give you an idea of the yearly growth rate of Anglicanism.

    3. Get the figures for the yearly population growth rate for the entire Country of Nigeria.

    4. Compare the two. The result will tell you if Anglicanism is ‘growing by leaps and bounds’.

    5. To have a much better picture repeat these steps for the entire Christian population and for the Confessional and Pentecostals. Compare with what you got in step 2 and 3.

    Having done that you will also have to factor my arguments on the issues. And they are:

    1. Due to the fluidity caused by a lack of distinction between ‘confessional’ and Pentecostals in Nigeria, an Anglican/Baptist youth doesn’t see any difference between his parent church and the Helicopter of Christ Church. So lots of youths are drifting and are already Pentecostals in outlook.

    2. The “Confessional” Protestant Churches are already morphing their outlook to match that of the Pentecostal. So you have Anglican/Baptist churches that are Pentecostals in outlook (Health, prosperity and security from demonic and ancestral spirit attack preaching, miracles services, seed sowing, flashy, used car salesman talking type pastors, empty doctrines, etc.)

    Finally you have to account for the intangibles and peculiarities of my country. The last census figure in my country stated that there were more men than women and that the population of Lagos was about 11 million or so. It was so widely laughed at and ridiculed that the government quietly stopped using it. Though it took some years.

    So account for all these, make your findings and report back to me.

  29. Eric W–
    [ The name change question opens a good discussion. The covenant and name change are explicit in Gen.17, but seems to be implicit in Gen.12. Some parts of Paul’s “re-reading” of the OT suggests this in my opinion. Why the name change ? I guess the answer can go in many directions. Does something stand out for you ?]

    The only reason I can think of why God changes names is that he is establishing something with that person.
    He established a multitude of monotheistic peoples with Abraham–Abram (exhaulted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). Sarah became the matriarch–Sarai (princess) to Sarah (nobelwoman).

    God established a people of His own who would endure with Jacob–Jacob (supplanter, layer of snares) to Israel (persevere with God and men). Come to find out, they are a very stiff necked people who still endure today.

    Jesus established His church with Peter–Simon (hearing of acceptance) to Peter (“rock”= a soul which is hard and unyielding).

  30. The truth is about your sudden questioning of my nationality has nothing to do with the number of Anglicans in Nigeria or the price of date palms in Timbuktu. The real reason is perfectly encapsulated in this statement made by Robert but originally generated by you:

    “If your first inclination is to cry out for Mary to help you when you’re in a car wreck, you’ve just kicked Christ off his throne. As Eric pointed out, it devolves into actual worship of the saints, and all one has to do is go to a Third-World country to see that is the case”.

    You were the one who first started the lunacy about the third world being populated by dolts who in trying to adore Mary and the saints get confused and start worshipping instead. All three of you (Robert, Eric, Kevin) have shown this attribute. And by the way you will have to excuse me whilst I attend to Kevin for a second.

    Kevin. I am addressing you now. The third world is not populated only by spear throwing Zulus. Zulus are from South Africa. I am a Nigerian.

    And you see that spear you have being asking me to drop. Look at me now Kevin. Are you looking? See I am dropping it now. By planting it firmly on your cloven foot! Stupid semi-illiterate cow!

    Back to you Erico. So the three of you have all displayed a certain characterization of the third world that can only be called racist. But I don’t believe anybody is racist. I just know that what people called racism is actually ignorant stupidity. And there is a common denominator to the three of you. You are all Calvinist. And you are all elected to heaven.

    Can I see that election card again? The one you have been hoarding since time immemorial? I bet you I can make a forgery of it so good, I will get to heaven before you and your pack of ignoramuses. You know that besides generalized stupidity and a lack of knowledge of adoration and worship, we are also master forgers.

  31. Erico,

    Your one dimensional thought process already holds strongly to the Third world being full of dolts theory. Along comes a certain Mikel from the Third world and he doesn’t fit the stereotype burnt into your one track mind. So when faced with real life evidence that doesn’t fit the theory in your head what do you do? You simply rebrand the evidence to fit the theory.

    So Mikel can’t be a Nigerian. Every time any member of your team tangles with him, you guys come off with the short end of the stick. Something about Mikel sticks in the craw eh? Who is Mikel? How many nights have you woken in cold sweat, screaming “Mikel, Mikel who is Mikel?” Mikel can’t be from the third world. The guys in the third world are still in the Palaeolithic age. They still live in trees and are still hunting and gathering. This Mikel is handing our rear to us in “steam letting off” exercises. It can’t be.

    You are educated aren’t you? You spent thousands of pounds or is it dollars on schools? Let me let you in on a little secret. You could have gotten the same education simply by spending time at the local library, watching national Geographic and Discovery Channels on cable and reading Wikipedia. And not in that particular order at that. You would have saved thousands. Thousands that you could have invested in an institution for teaching people the wonderful, time honoured activity of “whistling”. You would have grown by now and be renowned worldwide as the world’s foremost expert on whistling.

    Instead see with your education has made you:

    1. Someone who makes blanket generalized statements. The Catholic Church is a dead Church, third world people can’t tell the difference between worship and adoration.

    2. Insulting a married woman on a public forum.

    3. Inability to stand by what you vow. How many times now have you vowed to either leave this blog or never talk to me?

    4. Someone who believes public dialogue should accommodate “letting off of steam”, but then cower and cry out for help when others join him in “letting off of steam”.

    5. Someone who believes ecumenism involves searching for “these patient Catholics” who will allow you “experience the same kind of love” that involves you insulting Catholics and their beliefs with impunity.

  32. Mikel calls me” stupid, semi illiterate cow” If you want people to respect you then shut your pie hole and quit calling them names.

  33. Eric W–
    [ The name change question opens a good discussion. The covenant and name change are explicit in Gen.17, but seems to be implicit in Gen.12. Some parts of Paul’s “re-reading” of the OT suggests this in my opinion. Why the name change ? I guess the answer can go in many directions. Does something stand out for you ?]

    The only reason I can think of why God changes names is that he is establishing something with that person.
    He established a multitude of monotheistic peoples with Abraham–Abram (exhaulted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). Sarah became the matriarch–Sarai (princess) to Sarah (nobelwoman).

    God established a people of His own who would endure with Jacob–Jacob (supplanter, layer of snares) to Israel (persevere with God and men). Come to find out, they are a very stiff necked people who still endure today.

    Jesus established His church with Peter–Simon (hearing of acceptance) to Peter (“rock”= a soul which is hard and unyielding). The meanings of all these names came from Thayer’s Lexicon.

  34. Kevin,

    I know you are seriously handicapped with regards to self-awareness. You lack the ability to understand action and reactions, cause and effects. You seem to only notice reactions without being aware that you started the action.

    You know what I want you to do for me? Meet a member of your pack and let them reset you. The switch is at you back, just out of reach of your hand. Let someone assist in resetting you because you are stuck in a loop. You keep going round and round that you always give a headache.

    Save me this pain eh? Kevin?

  35. Kevin,

    “Mikel calls me” stupid, semi illiterate cow” If you want people to respect you then shut your pie hole and quit calling them names.”

    Shut your pie hole and quit saying Mikel still has Jesus on the cross, worships bread, “smuggles” his works into salvation, has collapsed the head into the body, has magic baptismal water, etc.. If you want people to respect you or give a ding dog if people call you names.

    Go Mikel! What is sauce for the goose…

  36. Mikel, you got anything nice to say. How about a little love. Joy is the absence of fear. Paul says rejoice, again I say rejoice. He repeats it. Those trusting in Christ alone are joyful because we are on the mercy train and its going to Zion, not purgatory. So Mikel, all aboard, change trains, and rejoice again always again I say rejoice. Paul gave us so much hope of the Gospel. Is it a wonder that we hold on dearly to his words. God bless and have a good day Mikel

  37. Kevin,

    “My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
    For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
    For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.”

    Where does it say, “saved from SIN”? It says God saved her from “lowliness”.

    Where does it say, “redeemed” or bought back from the devil?

    By the way, when was the last time you called blessed?

  38. Mikel,

    Brother, be careful. Tone down. Kevin deserves no quarter and would give you none. But we just may have a double standard on this blog. He can trash you but remember what Kenneth said about loving Kevin to pieces.

    Forget him and go for his belief system’s throat instead. I am still relishing the question you stuck to the Calvinists some weeks ago; “Why didn’t God just create us already in heaven or hell?”

    None of them have answered it yet.

  39. Mikel,

    Kevin can’t use an apostrophe (ever ) and Eric is sulking because he didn’t know what a saxon genitive is when he tried schooling me on my grammar.

    But they call someone a 3rd Worlder and think they get a free pass?

  40. Kevin&Eric,

    You know, since according to Calvinism God decrees all that comes to pass, doesn’t that make us no more than characters in a novel?

    God wrote a book, assigned everyone their role, and it all reads out exactly as written. The characters never do anything not written into their roles.

    I mean, it isn’t as though the characters are really alive, is it?

    Lads, it is 3 days on and I am still waiting for either of you to respond to what I wrote on Eric’s, ” rudimentary essentials of Calvinism” that he says we are all too dull to understand.
    Eric did say my post was “tongue in cheek”. No. It was spot on.

  41. Jim said ” Why didn’t God just create us already in heaven or hell.” In a sense He did. Ephesians says “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” and ” He predestined us to adoption as sons thru Christ. God used a grand theatre to portray His Story for His Glory. Its about Gods glory. You guys have made a god out of merit and inherent righteousness. Its bout God’s glory and election. Romans 9 says He endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for the day of destruction and did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He also called. IOW but out and be thankful. He says in Isaiah 48, my glory I share with no one.

  42. Jim, I studied music and speech communications in college. I once took a class in the benefit of run-on sentences. Punctuation is way overrated.

  43. Kevin,

    “Jim said ” Why didn’t God just create us already in heaven or hell.” In a sense He did. Ephesians says “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” and ” He predestined us to adoption as sons thru Christ.. You guys have made a god out of merit and inherent righteousness.”

    God predestined us IN Jesus. You Calvinist think He predestined us TO BE in Jesus. The Church is predestined but no one is predestined too be in that Church.

    My wife’s orchestra is going to China. If my wife is still in the orchestra, she will go to China. If she takes early retirement for the orchestra, she won’t go to China.

    It’s a no brainer. What is so hard for you Calvinists to understand Biblical election?

    By the way, thanks for telling me we Catholics made a God out of merit and inherent righteousness. I didn’t know. I really appreciate your catechesis. I have learned more about the Faith I was raised in from you than I did from the nuns and priests. Ever think of writing a book for all these stupid Catholics on this blog? I mean, they still have Jesus strapped to their cross for crying out loud. And they don’t even know it!

  44. Jason, Mateo, Nick, Jonathan,

    Kevin wants Jesus off the Cross. He knows you guys have him there. He has demanded that Jesus be taken off the Catholic cross maybe 50 times or so since July 14 when he came back on the blog.

    Please, for the rest of us, either LET JESUS OFF THE CROSS or tell him to shut up.

    People ( Trebor or Donald and I ) have tried to tell Kevin Jesus is not on our cross. But he knows otherwise.
    Please, do you know anything about this? Can you get Jesus down from the cross for Kevin before he drives the rest of us nuts?

  45. Predestination. I picture a road map. For the sake of making the story not too long, let’s say the roads lead to heaven and to hell.
    The destinations are set—either they lead to heaven or they lead to hell. Don’t confuse the destinations with the roads. The roads are only the paths to that destination.

    And like a road map, the roads branch many times to eventually lead to one destination or the other. Some paths are straighter than others. They can lead straight to heaven or straight to hell depending on the fork in the road you choose. Some paths are not so straight. They can meander thoughout the map with many, many forks leading in two directions. Some towards heaven sometimes and some toward hell sometimes. But eventually you will come to your destination at the end of your journey.

    There is an interesting property specific to this map. At any time throughout your journey, you may realize that you are on the path that will lead you to hell. The next fork ahead offers you a choice. One path still leads to hell, the other path marks the direction for heaven. And the closer you get to hell, there are still forks that can direct you to heaven. Even at the city limit for Hell, there is a path marked for Heaven. We’ll call the city limit your death bed.

    In the same way, you may find yourself on the road to heaven. The next fork in the road will have the same two choices. But for some reason, the path to hell at every fork you come to seems more appealing. It could be a wider road. The pavement could be a lot smoother. The scenery could be just breathtaking. And in the same way, the closer you get to heaven, there are still forks in the road that can lead you to hell—even at the city limits of Heaven.

    Now then. God created this map with all the roads and the two destinations complete before He put it into use. And He put all the travellers on the map at the same time He created it. And since God can see the map in its entirety, from the beginning of time to its end, all of the travellers have reached their destination. And since we, as travellers, cannot see the end from the beginning, we see God as omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He has revealed to us our destination ahead of time(pre-destination), though, like looking through a glass darkly. We can’t know for sure what our true destination is, “for man cannot knoweth what the next moment bringeth”. But we can have a sense of what path we are on and can make choices accordingly.

    A rudimentary explanation, I know. But it is the only analogy I know that can show predestination working with our own free will.

    Anybody got a better idea? I’d love to hear it.

  46. Jim, You are going back to that pace again overblowing things, you are S–t stirrer. So I will be taking the advice of the leadership here and promise to Jason and will not be engaging you anymore, or Mikel. I’m not getting kicked off because of you again. God bless you.

  47. Aaaawwwww! And just when it was getting funny reading all those remarks. I love comic relief.

  48. Bob said ” don’t confuse the destinations with the road” ” depending on the fork in the road you choose.” Bob, read Ephesians, He chose us before the foundation of the world and predestined us to be adoption as sons. Romans 1:16 says that the Gospel is the power of GOD to salvation, not to you or me, or our will, or a church. Jesus says He loses none that are His. There is nothing I can do to separate myself from the love of God. My sins are forgiven past, present and future, the cross is a blanket across history. Romans 10: 9-10 simply says if we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart God raised him form the dead we WILL be saved. For with the heart man believes RESULTING in righteousness and with the mouth one confesses RESULTING in salvation. This eschatological reality cannot be altered. The one who places faith in Christ is righteous and saved and nothing can change that. There are no works in that verse because our sanctification is a work of god like the rest of salvation. Ephesians 2; 8 says we are SAVED thru faith and it isn’t of works and it isn’t of ourselves. Our works are simply the fruit of our faith and not the condition of our salvation. The Roman Catholic church does not believe this. They make final acceptance before God partly dependent on Him and partly dependent on you. Thats why they have Purgatory, a safety net. At no time in this life will we ever be free from sin, just read 1 John 1 which says if we say we have no sin we make god a liar and his truth is not in us. Bob when we believe in Christ we are regenerated. In Catholicism you are never quite regenerated and must go to Sacraments to get more regeneration. Romans 5:1 say we HAVE BEEN justified and reconciled by His faith and Hid blood. We needed a substitute to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He had to fulfill the law in our place and His blood replaced ours. And we are simply to accept this by faith and be thankful. God bless

  49. KEVIN–

    Did you even read all of my post, or are you in automated electronic response mode again?

  50. Bob–

    It sounds like you’re relegating predestination to mere foreknowledge. If you want other alternatives, study compatibilism (Calvinism) and middle knowledge/counterfactuals/possible worlds theory (Molinism).

  51. Jonathan,

    did it not matter that Jesus was the God-man fulfilling the law and not a human person?

    Sure it does, but the divine person fulfills the law as a man. He died as a man, was circumcised as a man, kept the Torah as a man, etc. etc. As the Son of God, he had no need to be circumcised, for example. But as a man he did. Man sinned, only man can save him or better, God could not save him without becoming a man. God didn’t commit suicide by dying on the cross. The Son of God wasn’t tempted as God, for God cannot be tempted. But He was tempted as a man and persevered in it. I could go on.

    The point is that Jesus was not like superman with bullets bouncing off of him. The way you have talked about temptation in the past, for example, makes it sound as if Jesus walked around with some kind of Holy Spirit forcefield so that the temptations he faced weren’t real or bounced off him, and that he made no true effort to overcome them.

  52. Eric–
    [It sounds like you’re relegating predestination to mere foreknowledge. If you want other alternatives, study compatibilism (Calvinism) and middle knowledge/counterfactuals/possible worlds theory (Molinism).]

    Yeah, I’ve read articles from this and they always have critics that say the opposite and the language is always loftier that I can comprehend completely.

    I’m looking for an analogy that those with only a Bachelors of Business Administration can understand.

  53. Jonathan,

    That’s not basic Christian theology; it’s basic Pelagian theology, and that’s why everything you’ve said (or linked, by the way) is essentially just an admission of the fact. You are saying that Adam was in fellowship with God “[b]y virtue of being made in God’s image and likeness.” But all men are created in God’s image (or image and likeness, if you are arguing that they are the same thing), so that would mean every man must be in fellowship with God by virtue of created human, which is obviously false. Conversely, if the image and likeness is lost in the fall, that would mean that men are incapable of being in fellowship with God by nature, meaning that salvation is absolutely impossible.

    And again you don’t read anything that has been said because you are deadset on making Calvinists into Pelagians. You complain about Pelagius not making a distinction between pre and post-fall Adam, but everything you just said presupposes no distinction pre-fall and post-fall. What I said about Adam does not apply to anyone after Adam except for Jesus. Man is still made in God’s image and likeness, yes, but it is a marred image and likeness, and therefore he is not in fellowship with God from his creation. The image is there, but it is not what it once was.

    Therefore, Adam’s fellowship with God and probationary period could not possibly have been a result of being created in the image and likeness of God. The easiest way to see that is that even the angels needed grace to see God. The reason you give is exactly why Pelagius thought that man must necessarily have the ability to reach God, i.e., because we were created in his image and likeness. But for purposes of Pelagianism, the pre-fall/post-fall distinction is irrelevant, because pre-fall and post-fall men are both created in the image of God. Also, for exactly the reason that you gave, i.e., that communion with God can be disrupted by the fall, that communion cannot be an element of nature. It’s not a question of capability, as if the law were the correct standard, but fallen man is incapable of fulfilling it. Rather, the error of Pelagianism is in thinking that the law is God’s standard for human obedience in the first place or that any standard of human obedience creates standing before God, for that matter.

    Your anthropological problem is that you don’t believe the fall had any effect on human nature, which is self-evidently false and proven by the fact that we die, that some human beings are born with physical and mental defects, etc. etc. etc.

    It isn’t a matter of obedience creating a standing before God in the case of Adam. He had the standing by virtue of his creation. Obedience would have confirmed it. To say otherwise is to make any doctrine of the fall nonsensical.

    You continue to think that what Jim is describing (lack of the preternatural gift of integrity) is a bad thing, precisely because you see the ability to obey God as an essential element of being “upright.” But as Perry pointed out in the linked article, natural goodness and moral goodness aren’t the same thing. Lack of integrity, the instability that Augustine pointed out, doesn’t mean that you *will* sin, only that you *might* sin under the right circumstances. But because you have that Pelagian instinct that goodness means that we need to be able to obey God, that strikes you as a metaphysical deficiency, an evil, as opposed to merely vein a creaturely limitation.

    Exegetically, God’s identification of Adam’s goodness is both moral and natural. I’d invite you to come back to the Bible and show me where it is not. Until you can, such distinctions are worthless, more philosophical speculation invited to justify sacerdotal salvation.

    If God commands us to obey him, and he does, we’re not good if we’re unable because we cannot reach the end for which he designed us. And talk about Pelagianism. You all are the ones that swear up and down that God can’t be good unless he gives us sufficient enabling grace. I guess goodness really is dependent upon us having some kind of ability to obey him.

    Yes, and that’s exactly what Trent says. One must obey the law to be justified, but grace, not obedience to the law, is the basis for this obedience being effective. It is also a completely different standard than the standard of the law, which was absolute perfection, and that is because the basis for the relationship is not obedience (the law) but grace. That is why there is a distinction between initial justification (how one gains the status in the first place) and how justification operates.

    The problem is that when Paul and Jesus talking about obedience saving a person, they are talking about absolute perfection, not the winking at sin and the change in God’s standards from the old covenant to the new that we find in RCism.

    In by grace, brought home by grace-enabled works. I thought you had a problem with that distinction? It’s finally up to you to cooperate with grace to make grace effective. Grace in itself doesn’t really do anything except enable you to finish the job.

  54. Robert, Exactly, and maybe he even condescended to sinful man all the way by being born in a sinners womb. He was truly incarnate, and had to become like us in everything but sin. All he became to us he redeemed, thats why we will become all that he became to us, and not who He is.

  55. Bob,

    Lots of good thoughts from you. Since you are building a teaching analogy for predestination, I won’t comment on whether it is the best I ‘ve ever seen or not. However, I think your parable could prove useful…..especially with a few improvements.

    One example. I believe your parable is strong on freedom, but very weak on grace. Perhaps you could add a whole bunch of roadside assistance ( God) along the way for the food, fuel, repairs, wrecks, wrong turns, directions, and on, and on, and on.

    What do you think about that?

  56. Bob, Calvin said to you. ” I believe your parable is little strong on freedom and a little weak on grace” Ya Bob, Please try to hit that Catholic cooperative middle and pay attention to these roadblocks ” not of works” not of yourselves” if its by grace it is no longer by works, or grace is no longer grace” You wouldn’t want the gospel knocking you down. Bob, its all by grace. Even our sanctification, our obedience is a work of God. You said ” though we can’t know what our true destination is ” for man cannot knoweth what the next moment bringeth” We most certainly know what our destination is 1 John5:13, and Romans 5:1,9 brings true shalom to the believer.

  57. Jonathan and Robert,

    I have been following your exchange. May I ask and/or add something?

    I think you guys have both used the phrase “image and likeness” of God without clarifying one important point. ( Jonathan, I don;t mean to be giving fire on the right when you are locked in mortal combat ).

    But, unless I have been mistaken for centuries, the Imago Dei is our rational nature. That is 100% intact ( although some say wounded by lack of the preternatural gifts ). Genesis and JPII say the image remains just fine..

    By likeness or similtude we mean sanctifying grace. The soul God breathed into Adam was both a rational soul and one infused with God’s life of grace.

    Adam lost the likeness but not the image when he sinned.

    Okay, that is all I wanted to clarify. You may proceed.

  58. Calvin–
    [ I believe your parable is strong on freedom, but very weak on grace. Perhaps you could add a whole bunch of roadside assistance ( God) along the way for the food, fuel, repairs, wrecks, wrong turns, directions, and on, and on, and on. What do you think about that?]

    Yeah, already ahead of you on that. The grace is in the details. Road signs that tell you what direction and how far. Billboards that teach you right from wrong. Billboards that lure you to the wrong path. You come to an intersection and the Spirit is urging you to turn right not left. The Spirit gives you the wisdom to make the right decisions. The Spirit gives you the boldness to take “the road not taken”. The Spirit gives you the prudence to not speed, even when the weather is great and the road is smooth and the traffic is light. All of these things were laid out before you even got there to see them. You didn’t build them. You didn’t make your own path. You can’t see very far down the road, so you really don’t know what’s right around the next bend.

    The possibilities are endless.

    I need an analogy like that for Kevin’s way of looking at things so that I may better understand his meaning.
    Whaddayasay, Kevin?

  59. Bob, I liked allot of what you said. Certainly the Spirit of God is giving us wisdom as we negotiate the roadblocks of life. And I agree the Spirit gives us the strength and wisdom to take the road not taken and make decisions. And you know sometimes we make bad decisions because we think its the Spirit leading us and we do it in the flesh. Read Romans 7 Bob. I like Augustine think this is one of the most mature believers in the bible. He describes the battle the christian has with the flesh, even saying the very things I want to do I don’t, and the very things I don’t want to do. Then he Paul says wretched man that I am, who will set me free from this body of death” Thanks be to God thru Jesus christ our Lord”And then the greatest therefore in the bible, meaning in light of all I just said. Chapter 8, verse 1, There is then therefore no condemnation for those in Christ. Or reversely stated, there is NOW justification for those in Christ. This is the peace Bob. Condemnation is not a statement about ontology ( the route thru the map of life) but its a declaration about our status before God. This assurance ( justification) undergirds the rest of salvation. Its allot more assured to pick up our cross and follow Him when you know that you have passed out of judgment and out of death into life. John 5:24. K

  60. I haven’t been able to keep up with the hundreds of comments, so if anyone had any questions directed at me, please ask.

  61. @Eric:

    It appears to be commentary on 1 Clement 8:5. I see no content from chapter one, Jonathan.

    No sweat on the misquote; it’s Horton’s fault. Gill also sort of quotes the back half of this sentence from 1 Clement 1: “For who ever dwelt even for a short time among you, and did not find your faith to be as fruitful of virtue as it was firmly established?”

    I’ve been thinking about something you said about the emphasis on agape, and it occurred to me that this may be the massive disconnect. The Fathers took extremely seriously the assertion in Scripture that “whoever does not know love does not know God, because God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). From their perspective, seeing agape over and over is the same as seeing “God” over and over. It wasn’t until relatively late medieval philosophy that there arose this kind of compulsive need to categorize and dissect divine love into these tiny little slices, this kind of love and that kind of love, this attribute and that attribute. So the idea that God’s love and justice were different simply would never have arisen. It’s all love; everything ties back to that.

    You’re exactly right that “the Gospel in one word is Love.” Heck, God in one word is Love, and that is the best news there is or could be.

  62. Nick–

    I did have a comment directed toward your OP. July 23, 2014. 7:07 pm.

  63. @Kevin:

    The Law was given to the Israelites thru Moses and required perfect obedience for them to attain eternal life.

    That belief is exactly what the Judaizers wrongly thought. It is also exactly the view that Galatians was written to refute. The Law was never intended to grant eternal life, and important, God never said that it was intended to grant eternal life.

    And thus it provided the moral backdrop without which the Pentateuch’s sin atoning provisions and ultimately Christ’s sacrifice would be unintelligible,

    On the contrary, it was merely foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice. The moral backdrop for that sacrifice was human nature, common to Gentile and Jew, not the Law.

    Justification can’t come thru the Law

    Exactly. For the same reason, eternal life cannot come through the Law. And it didn’t.

    God provided in Christ what God demanded from us in the Law.

    In the immortal words of Tonto to the Lone Ranger when they were captured by Indians, “What do you mean ‘us,’ white man?” I’m a Gentile; God never demanded anything from me in the Law. The Judaizers thought this, but that’s never been a Christian belief. Jesus fulfilled the purpose for which God put the Law on Israel, but it was never some kind of universal moral requirement or standard.

    We have failed to keep God’s Law and so we should die.

    Sure, but that’s the standard of the (natural) moral law. It has nothing to do with the need to fulfill the Mosaic law, although the Mosaic law does include guidance on the moral law as well (hence, it increased transgressions by pointing them out, acting as a tutor).

    Our pardon is an act of justice based on Jesus bearing our sins

    Again, sure, but that’s not because it’s a requirement of the Mosaic Law.

  64. Jonathan–

    The word ‘love’ these days is sore abused, passed by on the side of the road bruised and bloodied, left for dead even. I don’t hear ‘agape’ in all its power and beauty when I hear “infused agape” or “agape paradigm.” I hear ‘love’ in one of its modern, muddled senses…sans all mystery and excellence.

    Are you implying at all that you are not unaware that the perfection of Christ’s obedient fulfillment of the law, the perfection of his atoning, sacrificial death, the perfection of his rising from the dead, the perfection of his LOVE…may indeed be compatible with some sort or a ‘list paradigm’?

  65. Jonathan said to Eric ” Its all about love, it all ties back to that” The writers of Hebrews might disagree with you. He said without faith it is impossible to please Him” not love. As important as love is it is always second in natural order and stretches out. Faith receives the Word thats what it justifies and is the entry way into this holistic salvation. i am a jazz musician and in my industry we say no blues, no jazz. Blues came first. Likewise no faith, no love bro.

  66. That should read thats why it justifies.

  67. @Robert:

    And again you don’t read anything that has been said because you are deadset on making Calvinists into Pelagians. You complain about Pelagius not making a distinction between pre and post-fall Adam, but everything you just said presupposes no distinction pre-fall and post-fall. What I said about Adam does not apply to anyone after Adam except for Jesus. Man is still made in God’s image and likeness, yes, but it is a marred image and likeness, and therefore he is not in fellowship with God from his creation. The image is there, but it is not what it once was.

    Pelagius was entirely right to say that human nature doesn’t change before and after the fall. The condition of the nature changes, but the natural powers are the same. If man had the power to be in fellowship with God by nature, whether by being made in the image of God or otherwise, then man would have that power before or after the fall. And Pelagius believed that man did possess that power, both before and after the fall. That is the definition of Pelagianism: the belief that human nature includes the power to be in fellowship with God. Human nature is compatible with being in fellowship with God, but human nature does not have the power to be in fellowship with God.

    Your anthropological problem is that you don’t believe the fall had any effect on human nature, which is self-evidently false and proven by the fact that we die, that some human beings are born with physical and mental defects, etc. etc. etc.

    Not at all. I simply don’t believe that those effects include the loss of a power to be in fellowship with God that never existed.

    It isn’t a matter of obedience creating a standing before God in the case of Adam. He had the standing by virtue of his creation. Obedience would have confirmed it. To say otherwise is to make any doctrine of the fall nonsensical.

    Exegetically, God’s identification of Adam’s goodness is both moral and natural. I’d invite you to come back to the Bible and show me where it is not. Until you can, such distinctions are worthless, more philosophical speculation invited to justify sacerdotal salvation.

    If God commands us to obey him, and he does, we’re not good if we’re unable because we cannot reach the end for which he designed us. And talk about Pelagianism. You all are the ones that swear up and down that God can’t be good unless he gives us sufficient enabling grace. I guess goodness really is dependent upon us having some kind of ability to obey him.

    The problem is that when Paul and Jesus talking about obedience saving a person, they are talking about absolute perfection, not the winking at sin and the change in God’s standards from the old covenant to the new that we find in RCism.

    All of this is silly and self-contradictory, and it seems to me that if you simply think through it in a rigorous way, it should be apparent to you that it is silly and self-contradictory. Obedience, as a moral characteristic, requires that somebody *do* something, i.e., to take a moral action. It can’t be infused (or imputed) without personal action.

    Exegetically, the animals were said to be created good as well, but they clearly weren’t morally good. So to say that “good” means “morally good” in Genesis is simply eisegetically reading your philosophy into the term. The Bible, in saying “good,” doesn’t mean what you are reading into it. Since “good” clearly doesn’t mean “moral and good” with respect to the animals, there is no reason that we should think the same word should magically take on the meaning “moral and good” just because that is theologically convenient for you. Just like the animals, Adam was created good (very good, in fact, because his nature was superior to theirs), but he was not yet moral, because he had not taken any morally significant action. By grace, he was given the opportunity to take a morally significant action, including all the grace necessary to exercise his free will just as the angels did. And he blew it.

    There’s no reason to posit that Adam was somehow morally good before he had actually obeyed anything, that his obedience was mere confirmation of a morally good status (a situation that doesn’t occur with anything else), or that the natural laws were completely rewritten post fall, which would mean that we don’t even have the same nature. The standards, which are natural standards, are the same all the way from Adam to now.

    That’s why it makes absolutely no sense to view the Law as a natural moral standard; it can’t possibly be, because it hasn’t even been in effect for the entirety of humanity. It was the mistake of the Judaizers to think that this was the point of the Law; it wasn’t. The moral standard is what it was all the way back to Adam; every rational being must make a meaningful moral choice in favor of God in order to be fit for communion with Him, no matter how excellent that creature’s nature may be. Those are the moral rules built into (and based on) ontology. The idea that Adam’s failure (or fall) was merely moral and not ontological runs in the face of these basic facts of creation.

    The problem is that you view law and obedience as something that God demands arbitrarily as confirmation or proof or whatever. The Catholic (and Orthodox) view sees God’s commands as being directly tied to nature, so God only asks for what is required by the arrangement of creation, making no demands beyond that. It’s that difference between God demanding what He wants (will) and God only asking for what is reasonably needed (reason) that separates classical Christian belief (realism) from late medieval nominalism.

    There is an alien philosophy at work here, but that alien philosophy is this idea that God makes covenants in which He demands some specific dog-and-pony show in order to be satisfied or confirmed with the creature’s performance. God doesn’t have requirements of us, and He doesn’t need anything from us. Those are imposed by our own nature, by the way in which we were created as we are.

    The real idea that you have to let go is that God’s standards are God’s requirements for us. They aren’t. He is simply telling us what we are and how our nature fits into the cosmos.

  68. Jonathan, Romans 7:10 ” and this commandment , which was to RESULT in life, proved to result in death to me.” The commandment shows a way of life in the righteousness of God and was given that in order that by keeping it one might obtain eternal life. Here is the distinguishing between the character of the Law and our wickedness. Its thru our corruption that the law became a curse to us. Thats why the Law condemns man and increased sin. Its unambiguous that the gentiles were accountable thru the Law of Moses. Look at Sodom and Gomorra, 2 Peter 2: 6″ and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorra to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would ungodly lives thereafter. We are accountable to God’s Law, and it requires perfection. Yes the Law points us to Christ because thru the law came the knowledge of sin. Romans 3 says all men are shut up Jew and gentile ” Now we know that whatever the Law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that no flesh will be justified in His sight: for thru the law comes the knowledge of sin.

  69. @Eric:

    The word ‘love’ these days is sore abused, passed by on the side of the road bruised and bloodied, left for dead even. I don’t hear ‘agape’ in all its power and beauty when I hear “infused agape” or “agape paradigm.” I hear ‘love’ in one of its modern, muddled senses…sans all mystery and excellence.

    Then you don’t know what the Eucharist, the love feast, actually is, or you don’t understand it. Either way, you don’t believe. You may believe that Christ did something in the past, and you may even believe that Christ changes hearts today, but you don’t seem to believe in the kind of love that turns the entire universe on its head. Compared to that, I’m nothing. I can talk all day, I can be pious, and I can help my neighbor, but everything I am is completely overwhelmed by the importance of that moment.

    That’s God’s love and God’s power and God’s sovereignty, and this is nothing. Until when you realize that all of that is done for nothing else other than the salvation of souls, that is. Then you start to get a grasp of what the magnitude of that love really is, and if you’ve ever looked at the stars at night and really pondered the scale and felt your place in that, then agape, and the awe you ought to feel at the Eucharist, should dwarf that feeling. And if you don’t have that, then I don’t care how much you read or dialogue or study; you don’t get Catholicism or Orthodoxy at all (and plenty of Catholics don’t, by the way).

    Are you implying at all that you are not unaware that the perfection of Christ’s obedient fulfillment of the law, the perfection of his atoning, sacrificial death, the perfection of his rising from the dead, the perfection of his LOVE…may indeed be compatible with some sort or a ‘list paradigm’?

    No, it’s not, and the reason it isn’t is that the “list paradigm” is ostensibly a list of God’s requirements. And the whole point of the agape paradigm is that God didn’t do this at all for Him but entirely for us, which actually demonstrates His glory because it is something He absolutely didn’t need to do, but He did it in this amazing and glorious and unimaginable way. That’s why it’s perfect; it was completely free of any requirements, so it was done wholly and completely out of love. God doesn’t need to do anything, but He did anyway for nothing else but to show us how much He loved us.

    The idea that God needed to do this to redeem us, that there was a “consequent absolute necessity” on account of sin or whatever, actually cheapens the act of God’s love. It is precisely because it wasn’t something that He needed to do that makes it what it is.

  70. @Kevin:

    The commandment shows a way of life in the righteousness of God and was given that in order that by keeping it one might obtain eternal life.

    Show me a Scripture where the Law promises eternal life.

    Its thru our corruption that the law became a curse to us. Thats why the Law condemns man and increased sin.

    Agreed.

    unambiguous that the gentiles were accountable thru the Law of Moses. Look at Sodom and Gomorra, 2 Peter 2: 6? and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorra to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would ungodly lives thereafter.

    Yes, and the verse immediately before that talks about the flood before there was a law. It proves my point; the purpose of the law wasn’t to provide a standard for judging ungodliness. That was in place before the Law ever was. Sin is the reason for judgment, and sin isn’t created by the law. The law merely points it out.

    Again, it was the Judaizers that though the Law brought eternal life. And Paul (OK, Paul’s scribes) spilled a lot of ink refuting that idea. That’s the whole point of holding up Abraham as the exemplar before the Law ever was. The law of grace and justification, and the natural law concerning sin, has been the same since Adam. But Christ had to bring back that path to God that was lost by Adam’s sin, to restore what was in the beginning.

  71. Jonathan–

    So, if God did all this on our account, did he do so on our terms or on his? Are we the embodiment of all truth…or is he?

    We have never said that he somehow NEEDED to save us. Instead, we speak of what is NEEDED, in God’s economy, to actually save us.

    By the way, we have those Van Gogh stars on an ongoing basis, and not just when we experience the Eucharist. Then we have the Hubbel…

  72. Bob,

    As a Methodist, didn’t your mother warn you about talking to those Calvinists about predestination?

    Avoid them. Especially the one who clicks into “automated response mode”. ( I love it! ) no matter what you ask him.
    His constant misuse of Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves,” should be looked at. For starters,, the “saved” Paul is speaking of means initial justification or entry into the Church only. Not final salvation. Next it obscures Ephesians 1 where we see it is Christ who has primacy in God’s mind, not us.

    Calvinists start with God electing some to glory and others to damnation. The compatibilist types try to soften this horrible image of God by a slight of hand that has got passing men over and merely letting them have the hell they have “freely” chosen although the couldn’t have done otherwise.
    Don’t listen to this humbug!

    First thing is to ask yourself why God became man. Then look at the sequence of events that fulfill this. Ask yourself if the Incarnation, God’s greatest work, was motivated by man’s sin.
    The Calvinists says the Incarnation/Redemption was only to confirm the elect in salvation and the reprobate in damnation. It is really unnecessary as it is the eternal decree of election is what really saves. The elect were never truly lost.

    Colossians 1:15 says Jesus is ” Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.”16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”.

    IOW, the Incarnation has primacy even over the Redemption.

    Ephesians 1 and even that other Calvinist favorite, Romans 8:29, “the firstborn of many brothers” puts Christ first, not second, in the order of intention. We exist for Christ and not the other way around.

    God willed the Incarnation before the Redemption. Jesus is the One mediator between God and man in the Incarnation. Through the Incarnation, grace flows from the Sacred heart of Jesus to ALL men. Every man, woman and child who ever shared in the same human nature assumed by Christ is loved by God. God wants all men ( who want to be with Him )in heaven, not just some as the Calvinist thinks.

    Now for the Fall. The Calvinist try damage control of their ghoulish system by using the Fall to transfer all of humanity into the great Massa Damnata. This says all men hate God and love sin by a totally corrupted nature incapable of doing any real good. God then, according to Calvinists, “lovingly” picks some men at random for salvation out of this fetid slop of humanity. He merely passes the others over, leaving them to their “free” choice of hell (although they couldn’t have chosen otherwise.) It’s all so nice and neat. They think it saves God from being a monster.

    Don’t fall for it Bob! The Bible says God locked all men up in sin so He could HAVE MERCY ON THEM ALL.
    God wants all men saved. Christ died for all. Salvation is a free gift offered to all. Salvation cannot be be “earned” and yet the “wages of sin is death”.

    Going back to the primacy of Christ and the Incarnation, the Fall and Redemption are seen differently. The ” Happy Fault” of Adam’s sin becomes a means of communicating grace and is not a cause of God ( impossible anyway ) sending His Son. Our participation in our salvation and of others is a gift that lets us share in the Firstborn to an even greater degree than the Incarnation.

    Lot’s more can be said but I have a big drive ahead of me and have to get going. But I want to slip a word about Mary’s place in predestination here since the “automatic response fellow” made such an issue of her sinlessness yesterday.

    The order of intention and execution in time need some tweeking but scripture tells us the decree to send the Incarnation in Gen 3:15 included the Savior and His mother in one and the same decree. Remember, intention precedes execution. ( I have already planned my trip and printed out my map to find some obscure mountain village before getting in my car. ) The Incarnation was decreed before the Fall. Mary was predestined before the Fall. The Woman of Gen 3:15 is as much at enmity with the Serpent as is her Son. In a sense, she is more at war than her Son as Jesus is God and can blink Satan out of existence if he so chooses.

    The Bible says sin came into the world by the envy of the Devil. Envy of what? Certainly not of God. The Devil knows he is a creature and so envy of God makes no sense. The Devil is envious of the Incarnation.
    In the order of creation Angels are higher on the totem pole than we are yet God did not choose an angelic nature to assume( actually, each angel is his own species anyway) but a human one.

    Like the Evolution stuff, Catholics are free to accept or not accept what I am going to tell you next.

    There is a tradition that says God partially revealed the plan of the Incarnation to the angels before creating the material world. Satan did not like the idea of serving the God-Man. But the clincher was when God revealed the Woman. Satan could bend his knee to God in the flesh but not to a pure 100% creature lower on the chain of creation than himself. He revolted and the battle in Rev 12 took place between Michael and the Devil. One third of the angles joined Lucifer’s rebellion. The Dragon of both Rev 12 and Gen 3:15 fell from the sky and went to make war on the Woman and wait for her Child.
    In the Garden, Lucifer saw what he mistakenly assumed to be the Savior and the Woman God had told him would be coming. He knew he couldn’t seduce God in the flesh, so he went for the woman. She could be tempted as she was only human.

    Lot’s more to be said on our predestination in Christ and Mary’s role in both the Incarnation and in overthrowing Satan’s dominion over mankind.. But I gotta hit the road.

    Listen to your mother Bob. Not the Calvinists.

  73. Bob ” this statement was made to you ” For the incarnation has primacy over redemption” Here is what Paul said in Timothy ” This is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of who I AM chief.” The incarnation was about redemption of man. Roman Catholicism sets aside redemption for an ontological club out of nature. Christ didn’t come to elevate nature outside of itself, He came to redeem it and renew it. When we are glorified we won’t become what He is but what He becomes to us in all righteousness and holiness. We won’t become divine but more truly human and all that God intended for Adam.

  74. Jonathan, Christ didn’t just return us to the Garden so we could achieve His favor with His help,, He lived the Law in our place and fulfilled all righteousness. Rome can only see the gospel as as that which enables believers to become righteous by obedience and that which is compensation for their lack, not realizing that the Law requires perfection. To confuse them is to corrupt faith at its core.

  75. Bob–

    Nobody ever told you, Bob, but your mother was a secret Calvinist…

    There is no such thing as a non-compatibilist Calvinist. And Catholic Thomists, though adamantly calling themselves “concurrentists,” are judged by many to be within a form of compatibilism. Though in practice, Molinism becomes de facto semi-Pelagianism, as it is dominated by its need to preserve libertarian free will, theoretically it could probably get classified as compatibilistic, as well. All of them seek to preserve a genuine free will and the associated moral responsibility with the absolute sovereignty of God.

    Only hyper-Calvinists (e.g., the Primitive Baptists, though some congregations are moving away from it) can unambiguously be called deterministic. The most deterministic form of mainstream Calvinism, such as that represented by Jonathan Edwards, posits that choices do not need to entail valid alternatives in order to be free. We generally make our choices based on stronger desire for one choice than another. We would make the same choice one hundred out of one hundred times, given then exact same circumstances. That’s the choice that we want, and we don’t feel at all unfree making it.

    That stance is sometimes called “soft determinism” since, though the feeling of freedom is present, valid choices between alternatives is not. Other forms, however, are far closer to Thomism, positing God’s intervention at times to secure his ends, but allowing for a fairly libertarian free will most of the time. Or it will allow for the concurrent coexistence of free will and divine sovereignty through an appeal to mystery…or as J.I. Packer does, through the claim of antinomy. I am in this last camp, and my contention with Thomism comes mostly as a consequence of their unease with any robust doctrine of assurance.

    Quite honestly, in terms of theory, there is not that much reason to follow any one over the others. Strict libertarianism must be rejected, as must strict determinism. For we cannot thwart the will of God, nor are we puppets on a string. My own opinion is that Calvinism has been rejected within Catholicism based on politics and ignorance, and nothing more. It doesn’t technically force them to give up any other dogma.

    If you haven’t had Molinism explained to you in laymen’s terms, it is really quite ingenious. It posits something called “middle knowledge” for God. He not only knows everything that has happened, is happening, and ever will happen, but he knows all counterfactuals to these events. He knows everything that ever could have happened but didn’t. He knows everything that ever could happen but won’t. He knows all of the possible worlds he could create using this middle knowledge, and he chooses to create the one in which, not only is every individual given complete libertarian free will, but his divine desired ends are accomplished. He is totally sovereign (though he is somewhat constrained in his choices) and man is totally free (though the particular scenario has been chosen for him).

    In talking to and reading Molinists, however, it becomes clear that their real obsession is with libertarian free will and NOT the sovereignty of God. They tend to sound like extreme Arminians, and they tend to be virulently anti-Calvinist. (I like William Lane Craig when he is busy proving the Resurrection, but at other times I’d just as soon he go away. My wife attended an apologetics seminar at a Baptist seminary and sat next to him. He didn’t realize she was a Calvinist since basically no one else in the room was. Evidently, he got rather caustic. She wasn’t impressed.)

    Classical Arminianism is also a form of compatibilism. Unfortunately, like Molinism, it tends towards semi-Pelagianism. Wesley himself, for example, strongly held to the total depravity of mankind. Most modern Methodists I have met think it to be heresy.

  76. Bob,

    I am stuck at home until the TV says the traffic in Lisbon is light enough to get out of town.

    Kevin write to you,
    “Bob ”,this statement was made to you ” For the incarnation has primacy over redemption” Here is what Paul said in Timothy ” This is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of who I AM chief.” The incarnation was about redemption of man. Roman Catholicism sets aside redemption for an ontological club out of nature. Christ didn’t come to elevate nature…”

    I most certainly did say what Kevin accuses me of. Kevin’s way is man centered. My way is God centered. The Incarnation/Redemption was not Plan B after God was surprised by Adam’s sin.
    Christ has Primacy in creation, not man.

    As for the Mary part, ( that is what Kevin really hates ), God chose Mary to crush ( in her Son ) the head of the proud Serpent Angel who refused to submit to God’s plan. All of the Church Fathers spoke of Mary as the New Eve. If Mary did not an equivalent role in the Redemption that Eve had in the Fall, Satan has not been 100% humbled. The Devil used a virgin to cooperate in Adam’s downfall. God used a Virgin to cooperate in restoring us to grace in a higher way than if Adam had not sinned. Both sexes played apart in the Fall so both sexes must play a part in Salvation.

    Oh Happy fault and Ave Maria!

    I think I am going to head out now. If I can get wi-fi access tonight I will address any questions you have.

  77. faith July 23, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Bob, ” and the dogma of perpetual virginity is not contrary to any bible teaching.” Only if you pretend that the ten verses in the Gospels when she’s with her kids aren’t there. And when you pretend that she didn’t call Jesus here Lord and SAVIOR in her Magnificat you can say she is sinless. So when Romans says “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, thats not true either.

    Faith, you’ve neglected to provide the citations for Mary with her “other” children. You might want to do that.

    Evil never touched our Lord. Never. Had Mary been conceived with original sin, then He would have been touched by evil through His mother. His gift to her from the moment of her conception was being freed from the stain of original sin. How profound was this? “Hail full of grace.” If something is full, then there is no room for anything else. Mary was full of grace.

    So when Paul writes that “all have sinned” she is the exception due to her Son and His action in her life.

  78. Donald wrote:
    How profound was this? “Hail full of grace.” If something is full, then there is no room for anything else. Mary was full of grace.

    This is your argument, but it’s conclusion doesn’t reach an object of faith. The first premise is a revealed truth from scripture. The second is a truth known through natural reason. The mixture cannot provide a revealed truth worthy of faith.

    You guys state the doctrine which is based on authority. After it’s stated, you make arguments that fall short of the certitude for the doctrine. Stop arguing and just declare.

  79. Donald, ” Evil never touched our Lord, ever” This is another Catholic lie! Jesus ate with sinners, Prostitutes, Tax Collectors. He condescended to SINNERS even drinking the milk from one. This is incarnation. Rome wants tp prohibit Him from being touched by sin. He came to save them and Hebrews said became like them in every was except sin.

  80. +JMJ+

    Faith wrote:

    This is another Catholic lie!

    🙄

  81. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Bob–
    .
    There is no such thing as a non-compatibilist Calvinist. And Catholic Thomists, though adamantly calling themselves “concurrentists,” are judged by many to be within a form of compatibilism. Though in practice, Molinism becomes de facto semi-Pelagianism, as it is dominated by its need to preserve libertarian free will, theoretically it could probably get classified as compatibilistic, as well.

    Still beating that horse, eh?

    Newsflash … Neither “Thomism” (i.e. Banezianism) nor Molinism are Compatibilistic. The “Freedom to be oneself”, when that “oneself” is defined as “Totally Depraved” or “evil by Nature”, is not Freedom. Neither is it Banezian nor Molinist. And it is certainly not Catholic.

    Yer welcome.

  82. Donald, I’m not going to get into a Mary discussion because some of these subjects are off limits. So this will be my last post on it. Here are your scriptures. Mathew 1:25 ” but kept her a virgin UNTIL she gave birth to a Son, and he called his name Jesus” Children references Mathew 12:46, 47, 13:55,56. Mark 3:31,32. Luke 2:7 ” And she gave birth to her firstborn” This meant there were others to come.

  83. Looks like the 100 years war is still raging on this websight.

    KEVIN–
    [Condemnation is not a statement about ontology ( the route thru the map of life) but its a declaration about our status before God. This assurance ( justification) undergirds the rest of salvation. Its allot more assured to pick up our cross and follow Him when you know that you have passed out of judgment and out of death into life. John 5:24. K]

    Ok, then, let’s not talk about justification but final salvation. Does God require any action on our part as far as good works or not? In the end, He will judge us according to our deeds. Are these not the deeds we do on our journey to our pre-destined end?

    In your own words, tell me how your belief plays out in your everyday activities. Please, no “canned response” citing bible verses and Christian authors and websight bloggers. I want you to tell me your experience.

  84. Wosbald,

    Newsflash … Neither “Thomism” (i.e. Banezianism) nor Molinism are Compatibilistic. The “Freedom to be oneself”, when that “oneself” is defined as “Totally Depraved” or “evil by Nature”, is not Freedom. Neither is it Banezian nor Molinist. And it is certainly not Catholic.
    Yer welcome.

    If, as in Thomism, there is a number of elect that will most certainly be saved and that this is due finally to grace and God’s sovereign election based on nothing in themselves, not even their right response to grace, then you have de fact compatibilism for the elect.

  85. Jonathan,

    No, it’s not, and the reason it isn’t is that the “list paradigm” is ostensibly a list of God’s requirements. And the whole point of the agape paradigm is that God didn’t do this at all for Him but entirely for us, which actually demonstrates His glory because it is something He absolutely didn’t need to do, but He did it in this amazing and glorious and unimaginable way. That’s why it’s perfect; it was completely free of any requirements, so it was done wholly and completely out of love. God doesn’t need to do anything, but He did anyway for nothing else but to show us how much He loved us.

    The idea that God needed to do this to redeem us, that there was a “consequent absolute necessity” on account of sin or whatever, actually cheapens the act of God’s love. It is precisely because it wasn’t something that He needed to do that makes it what it is.

    All consequent absolute necessity says that God did not need to save us but that if he freely chose to do so, he had to do so in a manner fitting with his own character. Until you can get that, a response like this bypasses the matter entirely and ends up making God entirely arbitrary a la Islam.

    God didn’t need to save anyone, but once he decided to, he had to do so in a way consistent with his holiness. If that’s not true, then God’s will is morally arbitrary. If that’s true, then there is no reason to believe he could not lie. God doesn’t change, and to deny consequent absolute necessity ends up denying that.

  86. Bob, the same righteousness ( His passive and active obedience transferred to our account) that we receive when we place our faith in Christ alone is the same righteousness that we have that allows us to pass thru judgment, John 5:24, Hebrews 9:28, 2 Corinthians 5:21. Our righteousness isn’t derived from his, it is His righteousness. Our works , or what Paul calls the obedience of faith is our reasonable service of worship. When Paul preached the this Gospel he was charged with antinomianism ( anti deeds). He said that our righteous standing does not give us the right to not obey God’s commandments but we are new creatures who have the Holy Spirit who motivates us to good works. We are to become holy as He is Holy. So I try to obey God’s law every day knowing that where I fall shot His righteousness makes up the difference. It is important to know the difference between positional righteousness and practical righteous. Positionally, we are justified permanently thru to glorification. Paul says in Romans 8:35 ” who can bring a charge against God’s elect? It is GOD who justifies. Thats why Paul says ” the righteous shall live by faith” Bob don’t fixate only on your works. Calvin told Cardinal Saldolleto its allot easier loving your neighbor when you know you don’t have to. He didn’t mean we aren’t called to love our neighbor but that we aren’t justified in any way by our deeds. Thats why I say justification ( Christ’s righteousness with which we pass thru judgment because we are “in Him ” thru faith) gives us the peace to pursue our sanctification knowing that even that is a gift and work of God. This is the most important thing you will ever be told and you won’t get that from these guys, who are rely great guys, but believe justification is a final evaluation based on the life lived in some way. And there destiny isn’t heaven but Purgatory. Bob, is that good news? The Gospel is good news! He is risen and so are we. Ephesians says we are seated already in the heavenly places with Him, sealed in the Spirit, adopted, heir, with an inheritance that is IMPERISHABLE and will never fade away.Why can he tell us that now. We aren’t righteous inside. He can tell us that because we possess the righteousness of Christ thru faith alone. K

  87. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    Newsflash … Neither “Thomism” (i.e. Banezianism) nor Molinism are Compatibilistic. The “Freedom to be oneself”, when that “oneself” is defined as “Totally Depraved” or “evil by Nature”, is not Freedom. Neither is it Banezian nor Molinist. And it is certainly not Catholic.

    If, as in Thomism, there is a number of elect that will most certainly be saved and that this is due finally to grace and God’s sovereign election based on nothing in themselves, not even their right response to grace, then you have de fact compatibilism for the elect.

    You hit upon a wonderful point. “Thomism”/Banezianism, in insisting that Man is not evil by Nature, recognizes an impediment to its own systemic closure. The terms can never be balanced to the degree that one term (either Grace or Free Will) becomes a function of the other. Instead, the Catholic Banezian must rest content with a system which is not wholly satisfying to the logical demands of the reflective mind.

    Which, not coincidentally, is exactly the case with Molinism. That’s why they’re both Catholic.

    Of course, this is not the case with Calvinism. By insisting upon a “de facto” [your words] consequence, the Calvinist insists upon reifying theological systematics. He insists that his system must have its own existence “in fact”, an real existence which excludes the truth of all other systematics.

    If the Calvinist would simply admit that his personal proclivity for describing the Mystery from the viewpoint of Divine Sovereignty is only an insufficient provisional apprehension which is incapable of exhausting the element of Mystery and, thus, admit the existence of a true Free Will even though this makes his system logically irreducible, he’d make a solid Banezian and an orthodox Catholic.

  88. Eric–
    [non-compatibilist Calvinist Catholic Thomists, “concurrentists,”compatibilismMolinism semi-Pelagianism, libertarian free will, hyper-Calvinists deterministic “soft determinism” Thomism, doctrine of assurance…blah blah blah.]

    That comes across to me like this would to you: “The trajectory of the 150 grain .308 diameter spitzer bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2735 fps using IMR 4350 would still give you the same terminal energy of the 180 grain round nose using H4895 but would be flatter with not as much drop at 300 yards even though the sectional density of each bullet is nearly the same. So you see that the burn rates of the slower burning powders, even though they are quite similar to each other have a slightly different effect as far as wind drift is concerned. But either one will have the same devastating effect on deer but not on grizzly bear.”

    [If you haven’t had Molinism explained to you in laymen’s terms, it is really quite ingenious…. chosen for him).]

    Now that paragraph was informative at least.

    [Classical Arminianism is also a form of compatibilism. Unfortunately, like Molinism, it tends towards semi-Pelagianism. Wesley himself, for example, strongly held to the total depravity of mankind. Most modern Methodists I have met think it to be heresy.]

    Huh? I only have a business degree. Tell me what this stuff does in the practical world and I’ll see if I am included in the “most modern Methodists” category.

  89. Jonathan,

    Pelagius was entirely right to say that human nature doesn’t change before and after the fall. The condition of the nature changes, but the natural powers are the same. If man had the power to be in fellowship with God by nature, whether by being made in the image of God or otherwise, then man would have that power before or after the fall. And Pelagius believed that man did possess that power, both before and after the fall. That is the definition of Pelagianism: the belief that human nature includes the power to be in fellowship with God. Human nature is compatible with being in fellowship with God, but human nature does not have the power to be in fellowship with God.

    Why is it wrong, exegetically, to say that God created us in fellowship with Him as part of what it means to be truly human? Apparently you believe that relationship with God is irrelevant to our flourishing as human creatures, that we could have flourished according to our original design had that extra grace never been infused..

    Why is it wrong, exegetically, to say that God created us with the “power” to be in fellowship with him. I don’t even know if “power” is the right word to use here because I’m thinking of a power to compel God to do anything. All I’m saying is that God created mankind in fellowship with him and that man does not have to transcend his creaturehood in order to be truly in fellowship with God. If man must transcend his creaturehood, then there goes all meaningful use of analogy in theology or in our relationship with him. Its inherently contradictory.

    All of this is silly and self-contradictory, and it seems to me that if you simply think through it in a rigorous way, it should be apparent to you that it is silly and self-contradictory. Obedience, as a moral characteristic, requires that somebody *do* something, i.e., to take a moral action. It can’t be infused (or imputed) without personal action.

    Well off the top of my head, the personal action is called faith, trusting in God’s Word alone. Adam had to do that in the garden, we have to do that now. When Adam rested in God’s Word and refrained from eating, He maintained his relationship to the Lord, and that would have been confirmed had he passed the probation. This should not be hard to grasp unless you believe Adam was under a perpetual probation that would never have ended.

    Exegetically, the animals were said to be created good as well, but they clearly weren’t morally good. So to say that “good” means “morally good” in Genesis is simply eisegetically reading your philosophy into the term. The Bible, in saying “good,” doesn’t mean what you are reading into it. Since “good” clearly doesn’t mean “moral and good” with respect to the animals, there is no reason that we should think the same word should magically take on the meaning “moral and good” just because that is theologically convenient for you. Just like the animals, Adam was created good (very good, in fact, because his nature was superior to theirs), but he was not yet moral, because he had not taken any morally significant action. By grace, he was given the opportunity to take a morally significant action, including all the grace necessary to exercise his free will just as the angels did. And he blew it.

    So you believe human beings are just animals? Now make an exegetical case for that.

    The morally significant action is faith, and Adam was created upright, meaning at the very least that He had faith at the moment He first existed.

    There’s no reason to posit that Adam was somehow morally good before he had actually obeyed anything, that his obedience was mere confirmation of a morally good status (a situation that doesn’t occur with anything else), or that the natural laws were completely rewritten post fall, which would mean that we don’t even have the same nature. The standards, which are natural standards, are the same all the way from Adam to now.

    Who said natural laws were completely rewritten post fall?

    Adam’s situation is not identical to our own. This is so clear from the Bible. You can’t look at how things are for us and then read the identical thing back into Adam before sin affected us in any way.

    Adam was morally good from the moment he was created because from the moment he was created he trusted in God. That is one thing that makes the fall so abhorrent, namely, that Adam knew perfect fellowship born of perfect trust and then threw that trust away. There was room for moral improvement. Obeying God and not eating of the tree gave Him an additional mark of obedience that He did not have before the command was given, but that in no way entails that God could not create a man who was morally good from the moment of creation when faith and obedience was constituent of what He is and what it means to be truly and fully human. We call certain people subhuman because of their actions, which are ultimately disobedience to the Lord. What you are essentially saying is that man as he was originally created was subhuman. This makes created ontology not very good and not even good at all.

    That’s why it makes absolutely no sense to view the Law as a natural moral standard; it can’t possibly be, because it hasn’t even been in effect for the entirety of humanity. It was the mistake of the Judaizers to think that this was the point of the Law; it wasn’t. The moral standard is what it was all the way back to Adam; every rational being must make a meaningful moral choice in favor of God in order to be fit for communion with Him, no matter how excellent that creature’s nature may be. Those are the moral rules built into (and based on) ontology. The idea that Adam’s failure (or fall) was merely moral and not ontological runs in the face of these basic facts of creation.

    Thank you for getting to the heart of the issue and that is your belief that being a created being is a bad thing. We’re ontologically defective, made with the intent to be in relationship with God but not capable of truly relating to him as long as our bad physical nature is at war with our good spiritual nature. Thank goodness for that infused grace that takes us out of bad, bad creaturehood.

    Of course, in this you also admit that God’s moral law does not reflect his nature and that all he demands is some vague “making a choice in favor of him” in order to be fit for communion with him. This, of course, is ultimately a natural power in your view because grace does not ensure that it happens. Grace has to amplify our natural powers or something. With your natural powers you can say no or you can say yes.

    So Adam failed because he did not grasp and Godhood. Yeah, that’s in Genesis 1.

    And it is nonsense to say that the law has not been in place since the beginning. What you are saying is that it would have been okay for Adam to commit murder and adultery in the garden as long as he stayed away from the tree. It also makes a lie out of all the biblical imagery of marriage, for example, that tells us the laws for marriage, which God apparently made up after the fall in your view, reflect the very character of God Himself.

    The problem is that you view law and obedience as something that God demands arbitrarily as confirmation or proof or whatever.

    Of course, I explicitly deny that God demands anything arbitrarily. What he demands reflects His own perfect moral nature.

    The Catholic (and Orthodox) view sees God’s commands as being directly tied to nature, so God only asks for what is required by the arrangement of creation, making no demands beyond that.

    I’m not even sure what this means. If God’s moral commands don’t reflect his moral nature, then they are tied to creation and thus wholly arbirtrary. He could have created a different moral law. Tell me how this differs from Islam?

    It’s that difference between God demanding what He wants (will) and God only asking for what is reasonably needed (reason) that separates classical Christian belief (realism) from late medieval nominalism.

    Again, I don’t know what you are saying here. God surely demands what He wants, but what He wants is always in accord with His nature. The realist basis of His law is Himself, not the arbitrary moral law of creation that you apparently believe he created. Does God demand what He doesn’t want or what is not pleasing to him?

    Even so, we have to ask how we know what is reasonably needed. I’ll go to Scripture even if you stick with Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus.

    There is an alien philosophy at work here, but that alien philosophy is this idea that God makes covenants in which He demands some specific dog-and-pony show in order to be satisfied or confirmed with the creature’s performance.

    So God lied in making the covenant with Israel through Moses, and Jesus lied when he made the new covenant and made faith and obedience a requirement for persevering therein?

    God doesn’t have requirements of us,

    Great, so now I can break the law and steal and go to heaven.

    But I thought mortal sin got me out of the kingdom, or something

    and He doesn’t need anything from us.

    Yes

    Those are imposed by our own nature, by the way in which we were created as we are. The real idea that you have to let go is that God’s standards are God’s requirements for us. They aren’t. He is simply telling us what we are and how our nature fits into the cosmos.

    So God could have created a cosmos in which adultery, murder, theft, and idolatry are okay. Got it. I’m still trying to figure out how this does not make God arbitrary and why he can be trusted. That is not computing here.

  90. Wosbald,

    So according to Thomas, there are elect persons who won’t be saved. Because that is what has to happen for what you are saying.

    And the appeal to mystery is not convincing because you are “solving” the mystery by appealing to a nebulous concept of free will.

  91. Bob, Reformed theology teaches that scripture teaches that man is dead in sins and cannot save himself in any way. Man’s nature was corrupted thru the fall, all of it,, mind, will, body, etc. Not all fully, but comprehensively. Roman theology attached a Christian faith ethic with a pagan philosophy, Aquinas enamored with making Aristotle’s dreams come true. They changed the gospel by making it more palpable to the natural man. They say only the lower appetites of man fell and not reason and will. They survived pristine. But Paul refutes this soundly. Reformed believe that we were dead in sins and only God can make us alive thru His Spirit and the word. In Rome they are not dead in sin in need of a savior, they are only sick in red of a little medicine. This all results in philosophy’s high view of oneself, the philosophers getting lost in their little globes and confusing heaven and earth. and the Medieval scholastics making Scripture into a metaphysic easy. They had no idea of their depravity. Lombard and his mates looked to locate their pollution in the creation of God instead of their own wickedness. The Gospel radically transforms and isn’t just the special juju to help you save yourself. Robert can do allot better job than me if you have any questions.

  92. KEVIN–
    [Our works , or what Paul calls the obedience of faith is our reasonable service of worship. When Paul preached the this Gospel he was charged with antinomianism ( anti deeds). He said that our righteous standing does not give us the right to not obey God’s commandments but we are new creatures who have the Holy Spirit who motivates us to good works.]

    So, OUR good works, “quickened” by the Holy Spirit, is OUR reasonable service of worship. And if WE don’t do those works, by heeding the Holy Spirit, then WE are not worshipping God as we ought and WE are not standing righteous before God. So, if God is just, then He won’t let us into Heaven, right?

    [We are to become holy as He is Holy. So I try to obey God’s law every day knowing that where I fall short His righteousness makes up the difference.]

    So Jesus is our safety net when we fall by purging us from the uncleanness of our sins and nailing them to the Cross, so that we can, therefore, stand righteous before God, right?

    [And there destiny isn’t heaven but Purgatory.]

    I thought Purgatory was a state of cleansing, as if through fire, before one enters Heaven. Isn’t that what is taught about Purgatory? I didn’t think it was a destiny. You may be confusing Purgatory with Limbo. Limbo is a really “out there” idea, but I wouldn’t know how to explain it either.

    [its a lot easier loving your neighbour when you know you don’t have to. He didn’t mean we aren’t called to love our neighbour but that we aren’t justified in any way by our deeds. That’s why I say justification ( Christ’s righteousness with which we pass thru judgment because we are “in Him ” thru faith) gives us the peace to pursue our sanctification knowing that even that is a gift and work of God.]

    So it’s not so much of a sacrifice for us. I see. So Jesus’ yolk is not strenuous because His burden is light. As my Dad used to say, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, ‘sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’.”

    So how do you, KEVIN, present your body as a living sacrifice acceptable to God like in Romans 12? No sermon please, just tell me your experience.

  93. KEVIN–
    [ Reformed theology teaches that scripture teaches that man is dead in sins and cannot save himself in any way. Man’s nature was corrupted thru the fall, all of it,, mind, will, body, etc. Not all fully, but comprehensively.]

    Ok, I don’t know what that means “Not all fully, but comprehensively.” The first part I understand. Yet there seem to be some exceptions in Scripture. Enoch was one. He was taken up body and soul to Heaven without having to suffer death. The others seem to be described as “blameless before God”. This is pre-Incarnation before the Blood could be applied. Can you explain that?

    [Robert can do a lot better job than me if you have any questions.]

    Yeah, but Robert is awful verbose. And he seems to talk a lot, too.

  94. Bob,

    Yeah, but Robert is awful verbose. And he seems to talk a lot, too.

    Well, I don’t mean to be verbose. 🙂

    Sometimes verbosity is called for (though I’m not saying it has always been called for when I am verbose). That is due largely around here to people tarring Reformed thought as Pelagian and Nestorian and nominalistic based on some surface level analogies that one can draw. To explain why that is not the case sometimes takes many words, especially when those making such charges have been refuted by others—and in a far better way—before me.

  95. Bob,

    Ok, I don’t know what that means “Not all fully, but comprehensively.” The first part I understand.

    Kevin just means that although every part of us is tainted by sin, we are not as bad as we could be. All of us could be worse sinners than we actually are. Even Hitler could have been more evil than he was.

    Yet there seem to be some exceptions in Scripture. Enoch was one. He was taken up body and soul to Heaven without having to suffer death. The others seem to be described as “blameless before God”. This is pre-Incarnation before the Blood could be applied. Can you explain that?

    Blameless does not mean sinless in Scripture because the same individuals spoken of as blameless had to offer sacrifices for sin. In any case, anyone who is saved before or after the incarnation is saved by the blood of Christ. I don’t think RCism would disagree with that.

    It’s possible for a Christian to attain a high degree of personal righteousness in this life, but we don’t go to heaven because of this righteousness or because our righteousness is grace-enabled, contra RCism. Salvation by Christ alone means that Christ does all the work for us and that any of the work that he does in or through us does not avail for us being declared righteous before God because even our best works are tainted by sin.

  96. JIM–
    [ The Devil used a virgin to cooperate in Adam’s downfall.]

    Eve was a virgin? What, were Adam and Eve using NFP? Am I missing something here? Did not Adam consummate there union as one flesh?

  97. ROBERT–
    [Kevin just means that although every part of us is tainted by sin, we are not as bad as we could be. All of us could be worse sinners than we actually are. Even Hitler could have been more evil than he was.]

    So not totally depraved–depraved meaning morally corrupt and wicked–not totally. Even Al Capone was responsible for starting the breadlines in Chicago during the Depression.

    [Blameless does not mean sinless in Scripture because the same individuals spoken of as blameless had to offer sacrifices for sin. In any case, anyone who is saved before or after the incarnation is saved by the blood of Christ. I don’t think RCism would disagree with that.]

    The wages of sin is death. Enoch did not suffer death. Explain please.

    [Salvation by Christ alone means that Christ does all the work for us and that any of the work that he does in or through us does not avail for us being declared righteous before God because even our best works are tainted by sin.]

    So when God judges us by our deeds, and even Christ’s work that he does through us is still tainted by sin, we still go to hell? Hmm. I think I am one of those “Most Modern Methodists” that thinks that is heresy.

  98. Bob, We get it your fixated on your works getting you into heaven, goo luck.

  99. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald,
    .
    So according to Thomas, there are elect persons who won’t be saved. Because that is what has to happen for what you are saying. [emphasis added]

    Thanks for proving my point [see my last post above: July 25 @ 10:07 am].

  100. Bob, ” And we don’t do those works by heeding the Holy Spirit……” Saving faith produces good works. But those works are not meritorious in salvation. The believer will be judged on his deeds for reward, but God will be crowning His own works, and we will pass thru judgment because of Christ’s righteousness, not ours. I refer you to my post on the new thread to Mateo. I just put up Augustines words, maybe if you hear it from a church father it you will believe it, but probably not.”… ….. so that we can stand righteous before God.” We have been forgiven of our sins past, present and future. We already stand righteous before God, if you are trusting in Christ alone. Read 1 corinthians 15, it says if Christ wasn’t raised our faith is useless and we are still in our sins. The point Paul is making is He is raised and we are no longer in our sins. Hebrews 9 says the next time He comes for believers it won’t be in regard to sin but to gather His people. Read a book called “Justification” by Fesko and it will cure your questions. Purgatory is a place where you go in the RC to get your temporal punishment burned off. Does that sound like the good news. No, we are already forgiven of all our sin, guilt, everything. Romans 5:1,9 say we have been reconciled and justified His blood and by faith. We look back on justification. Sounds like you have a final test on your works. How you doing with that? ” So how do you Kevin present your body a living sacrifice every day.” I wake up rejoice in the Lord always as Paul tells me, shout hallelujah thank you Lord, pick up my cross and follow Him, love my neighbor and keep His commandments. But I fail badly, badly every day. Robert, Eric, and Eric W, can tell you and they have never met me. I pray for all my Catholic friends ( I am down to 2) and all Catholics everywhere that God might open their eyes to see the Gospel. I pray for Eric, Robert, and Eric W, that God will continue to give them the boldness to defend the Reformed faith. I pray allot. Mostly thanksgiving for everything, that He saved a wretch like me, even while I was yet a sinner he died for me. And then I thank Him that it doesn’t depend on me to get in, but on Him, because if it depends on me, I’ll never make it. The closer I get to God, the more I see my sinfulness, the more its about Him and not me. K

  101. KEVIN–
    [I wake up rejoice in the Lord always as Paul tells me, shout hallelujah thank you Lord, pick up my cross and follow Him, love my neighbor and keep His commandments….I pray allot. Mostly thanksgiving for everything, that He saved a wretch like me…And then I thank Him …because if it depends on me, I’ll never make it…its about Him and not me.]

    Except for the “I pray for Eric, Robert, and Eric W, that God will continue to give them the boldness to defend the Reformed faith” part, what you said seems to be true with pretty much every Christian I talk with–Protestant and Catholic. In a nutshell, God searches the heart. And there won’t be a single one of us that can hide anything from Him. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.

  102. Yer welcome.

    faith July 25, 2014 at 8:45 am

    “Donald, I’m not going to get into a Mary discussion because some of these subjects are off limits. So this will be my last post on it. Here are your scriptures. Mathew 1:25 ” but kept her a virgin UNTIL she gave birth to a Son, and he called his name Jesus” Children references Mathew 12:46, 47, 13:55,56. Mark 3:31,32. Luke 2:7 ” And she gave birth to her firstborn” This meant there were others to come.”

    1. Who made these subjects off limits? I am truly interested in the answer to that question.
    2. Your reference to Jesus being Mary’s firstborn is good. Your references to Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not note that Mary is the mother of any of those children. You are putting an interpretation on scripture which it does not on the face of it imply.
    3. This meant that there were others to come. Strangely enough I agree with your words, but not with your interpretation. I am a son of Mary due to my relationship with her Son. His mother is now my mother.
    4. When Jesus was dying on the cross, He gave His mother to John, the brother of James. Why would He give His mother to His friend the apostle? She had no other children. There was no one to take care of her. So we read the famous passage about “mother behold your son” and “son behold your mother.” Jesus did not abandon her, rather He took care of her by entrusting her to His beloved friend.

  103. Donald, He gave his mother to John to take care of her. John was one of His most trusted men. Did you see my reference to Joseph didn’t have relations with here until……. The point is that many Protestants believe, including me, that Mary in her Magnificat called Christ her Lord and Savior. The scripture says for ” all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” We are always accused of shortchanging the incarnation when in Reality RC’s do that by not allowing Jesus to be fully incarnate.Tthey want to preclude Him from being touched by sin. But Hebrews says He was made like us in everything. Mary’s womb was higher than heaven to Catholics, so instead of Jesus coming down, He is being lifted back up to heaven.. He condescended to drink milk for a sinner’s breast and it came out the other end, as scripture says. what goes into a man…….Mary is mentioned very little and plays no prominent role in the early church, yet Rome has her responsible for everything. Paul simply says born of a woman in the Epistles. And Jesus refers to here as woman when he got into his ministry which was a polite way of saying ” woman what has this to do with me” IOW stay out of my work. When people tried to give her undo glory, Jesus wouldn’t have it. The crowd on a couple different occasions said “behold your mother …… and Jesus said on the contrary here is my mother brothers etc. Mary considered herself a bonds lave of her Lord, and not Queen of anything. The only mention of Queen of Heaven in the bible was a pagan Queen. The Marian ego has run wild in Rome. K

  104. faith July 26, 2014 at 7:06 am

    “We are always accused of shortchanging the incarnation when in Reality RC’s do that by not allowing Jesus to be fully incarnate.”

    If a Man born of a woman is not incarnate, then what is He? You are not thinking this stuff through.

    “They [Roman Catholics] want to preclude Him from being touched by sin. But Hebrews says He was made like us in everything.”

    I believe Hebrews notes that He is a man like us in all things but sin. You might want to go back and reference that citation.

    “Mary’s womb was higher than heaven to Catholics, so instead of Jesus coming down, He is being lifted back up to heaven..”

    Mary’s womb was here on earth when she conceived her Son. You are reaching again, putting ideas into Catholicism which do not exist. The truth is always best.

    For reference purposes, Mary is considered to be the Ark of the New Covenant because of Who came out of her. She is in heaven now.

  105. faith July 26, 2014 at 7:06 am

    “Mary considered herself a bonds lave of her Lord, and not Queen of anything. The only mention of Queen of Heaven in the bible was a pagan Queen. The Marian ego has run wild in Rome.”

    In Kings, when David had died, Solomon ascended the throne. His mother Bathsheba came to ask a favor of him. It is written that Solomon bowed low to his mother and had a throne brought for her. The function that evolved out of Solomon’s gesture included the queen (mother of the king) training the king’s household and the queen bringing the needs of Israel’s people to the king.

    In the gospel Mary fulfills that role at the wedding feast at Cana where she tells her Son that the married couple have no wine. In response to Mary’s notification, He works His first miracle. The beneficiaries are the newly married couple yet it is His mother who is honored, per the commandment, honor your father and your mother.

    Jesus is the King of the Jews and the King of all creation. His mother fulfills the role of the queen of the Jews and through her Son, the queen of Heaven, not to be mistaken for Ishtar.

    Your bias against Rome continues to show. You cannot make a good judgment if you are closed to the possibility of truth.

  106. Donald, I strongly suggest Tim Kaufman’s site “Out of his mouth” He is an ex Catholic who was lock stock and barrel into the Apparitions of Mary. He is an expert on all this stuff. Incidentally he goes thru how Jesus is actually the Arc of the Covenant from the bible and tradition, Check it out, then we can talk.

  107. Bob,

    The wages of sin is death. Enoch did not suffer death. Explain please.

    That no more means Enoch was sinless than it means those who are alive at Christ’s return are all going to be sinless. Elijah was taken to heaven, but we know he was a sinner.

    So when God judges us by our deeds, and even Christ’s work that he does through us is still tainted by sin, we still go to hell? Hmm. I think I am one of those “Most Modern Methodists” that thinks that is heresy.

    At the end of the day, Rome says that our works complete our justification, so they are part of the reason we get into heaven. We earn heaven because grace empowers us to do good works. There are all sorts of qualifications, but at the end of the day, they mix Christ’s merit with our tainted works, and we get to heaven because we do good ( though there will be time in purgatory before then to clean us up before then.) If you remember your Refirmation history, Rome has used that to sell salvation. St. Peter’s was built through the crass sale if indulgences to reduce the torture of God’s children in purgatory.

    In any case, the point is that when God justifies us and determines whether we have legal standing to be citizens of heaven, he looks only at Christ. As far as I know, that is what your forefather John Wesley said. Christ’s work alone gets us into heaven; our works determine the reward we get in heaven, as not everyone gets the same reward. But our works don’t get us in the door.

  108. Bob–

    This is from Jimmy Akin, a Thomist:

    Total depravity

    Despite its name, the doctrine of total depravity does not mean men are always and only sinful. Calvinists do not think we are as sinful as we possibly could be. They claim our free will has been injured by original sin to the point that, unless God gives us special grace, we cannot free ourselves from sin and choose to serve God in love. We might choose to serve him out of fear, but not out of unselfish love [9].

    What would a Catholic think of this teaching? While he would not use the term “total depravity” to describe the doctrine [10], he would actually agree with it. The accepted Catholic teaching is that, because of the fall of Adam, man cannot do anything out of supernatural love unless God gives him special grace to do so [11].

    Thomas Aquinas declared that special grace is necessary for man to do any supernaturally good act, to love God, to fulfill God’s commandments, to gain eternal life, to prepare for salvation, to rise from sin, to avoid sin, and to persevere [12].

  109. Bob–

    I’m pretty sure most Catholics believe in total depravity without knowing it.

    Is your mind less than perfect? Is your heart less than perfect? Is your will less than perfect? Is your speech less than perfect? Are your deeds less than perfect?

    This is all “total depravity” really means: our lack of perfection (depravity) is total (across the board). In other words, it affects every part of us.

  110. Bob, The fall hasn’t taken away our ability to will in the least, but only the moral ability to will which is acceptable to God. John 8:34 ” Truly, Truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” sounds kinda extreme, yet it plumbs the death of our condition. ” Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but the inside they are full of greed and self indulgence” ( Mat 23:25) We always here people say Oh her heart was in the right place. Medieval theology tended to see mind and soul as the unsoiled part of human nature. As you can see RC have missed the biblical mark. The more one understands their total bankruptcy, the clearer the one understands what Jon. 2:9 says ” Salvation is from the Lord”

  111. Bob–

    If I wanted to become a marksman, wouldn’t it behoove me to learn what “muzzle velocity” and “terminal energy” were? Shouldn’t I know that IMR is a manufacturer of gunpowder or that I should measure wind drift in minutes of arc (moa)? Shouldn’t I become aware of how slower and faster powder burn rates affect the trajectory of my bullet?

    Knowing those things comes in handy if you wish to take down a grizzly at a thousand yards with a stiff crosswind blowing. How much more important is it to know something about the study of God? Possessing only a BBA is no excuse. Take the time to read a few books. The amount of misinformation out there in the internet age is staggering. If you don’t want to be tricked and confused and manipulated, brush up on your theology. Your very soul may be riding on it!

  112. faith July 25, 2014 at 6:43 am

    “Donald, ” Evil never touched our Lord, ever” This is another Catholic lie! Jesus ate with sinners, Prostitutes, Tax Collectors. He condescended to SINNERS even drinking the milk from one. This is incarnation. Rome wants tp prohibit Him from being touched by sin. He came to save them and Hebrews said became like them in every was except sin.”

    He did not inherit sin through His mother, noting that He did not inherit original sin. He came to save sinners. There is a difference between the internal and the external. You are responding without thinking.

    faith July 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    “Donald, I strongly suggest Tim Kaufman’s site “Out of his mouth” He is an ex Catholic who was lock stock and barrel into the Apparitions of Mary. He is an expert on all this stuff. Incidentally he goes thru how Jesus is actually the Arc of the Covenant from the bible and tradition, Check it out, then we can talk.”

    Tim Kaufman does your thinking for you because you have accepted his claims.

    Should I now reference a bunch of former Calvinists who taught in Presbyterian or Reformed seminaries? How about former Calvinists who left Presbyterianism or the Reformed Churches as ordained ministers, including the founder of this site?

    These people I can reference have backgrounds (histories) that indicate excellence in their use of reason and scholarship to understand what they were part of, and why they left it behind. You can read about their schooling and the places that they taught at or pastored at before they departed for Rome.

    If you want those name, just ask. Once you have read them, we can talk.

  113. Bob,

    Eric tried pulling the wool over your eyes with this:

    “Total depravity
    Despite its name, the doctrine of total depravity does not mean men are always and only sinful. Calvinists do not think we are as sinful as we possibly could be. They claim our free will has been injured by original sin to the point that, unless God gives us special grace, we can….”

    Calvinists believe that at any given moment you deserve hell for your actual sin. They say man positevely hates God and would kill him if he could. He is not just in a neutral state, deprived of grace. Ask Robert. Eric is downplaying what they believe.

  114. Jason,

    Kevin wrote the following;

    “Donald, ” Evil never touched our Lord, ever” This is another Catholic lie! Jesus ate with sinners, Prostitutes, Tax Collectors. He condescended to SINNERS even drinking the milk from one. This is incarnation. Rome wants tp prohibit Him from being touched by sin.”

    I will give you money, name the amount, to dump this guy. You identify as a Catholic, right? He just called you a liar. He called us all liars. Why are you keeping him around. Not on my account I hope. Feel free to do the right thing and send him back to Kauffman’s.

  115. Jason,

    Since Kevin can call Catholics liars and the Mother of God a sinner (on a Catholic blog ) I guess I can call him a son of a bitch, huh?

    Let me know.

  116. Jason,

    I mean, to intentionally give offense with absolutely no interest in apologetics, argument or making a case for ones assertions is de riguere on this blog, right?

    There no rules of what can or cannot be said yet established, huh?

    Not for one obviously privileged fellow anyway.

    I guess if the Protestant goose can do it with abandon, what is to be expected of the Catholic gander?

  117. Donald,

    Thank you so much for loving our Faith, the Pearl of Great price, enough to object to this odious statement.

    ” This is another Catholic lie! Jesus ate with sinners, Prostitutes, Tax Collectors. He condescended to SINNERS even drinking the milk from one”

    Would that other Catholics on this blog had your “senses fidelium”.
    If we lived in a perfect world, the man who made this vile statement would have his forked tongue pulled out of his head by a pair of hot pincers. Alas, there in America, atheism and Protestantism are the default positions, not Catholicism as where I happily live.

    Think of it, to say God’s Mother was just another sinner, that she was under the dominion of the Devil, that she was a course, wretched and totally depraved wench is disgusting.. Worse, to say she hated her Son and was deserving of hell had it not been for an imputed righteousness applied to her account to rescue from her well deserved punishment is heart breaking..
    There is much iIcould say apologetically, from the Bible, Tradition and reason to refute this ugly remark, but I know the fellow who said it is not interested in the truth, the Bible or Tradition. He just wanted to post his slur on a Catholic blog as a way to spit in our faces.

    As you are new to this site, you probably don’t know I am posting from my home in Portugal. I spent this past weekend at a medieval walled city and castle standing since the days of the Moors for a combination music/ escargot festival. Portugal and Spain are covered with monuments dedicated to a time when the truths of our faith were not considered personal opinions but rather, objective facts worth fighting for. For 700 years Catholics and Moslems did not tolerate or compromise. They both believed in divine revelation and were not embarrassed of it. Today, all is relative.
    Of course I am not demanding the deranged fellow be physically harmed for his evil slur. We live in different times. I am just saddened that you, a convert and not a cradle Catholic, are the only one rending your garments and showing the indignation every Catholic should be showing when outraged. Remember, at Fatima, Mary said these attacks against her Immaculate Heart demanded reparation.
    This slur against God’s masterpiece of grace, was totally unnecessary. It was just a gratuitous slur slipped in to show that he can get away with under the blog owners’s nose. It had zero to do with the discussion. Besides, the blog owner has said he didn’t want the Kauffman’ blogs material posted here yet Kevin Falloni does it anyway. He has been given free reign on this blog and Catholics had better like it or lump it. ( I am standing by for my wrist slapping for my atrocious behavior when I should welcome the slur under the banner of “ecumenism”, “Christian Charity” or “Open Mindedness”. It will be a cold day in July before that happens!)
    Okay Donald, that is all I wanted to say.

  118. Jim July 28, 2014 at 4:10 am

    “Thank you so much for loving our Faith, the Pearl of Great price, enough to object to this odious statement.”

    Even when I was a Protestant I thought our Lord was worthy of my witness. I did recognize that there were Christians who held different beliefs than me, even if I could not figure out why they held those beliefs. I also recognized that our Lord, repeatedly, told anyone who was present (and those of us who read His words) that we must forgive our enemies, and do good to them. We must want them to be saved in the Catholic understanding of that word, meaning we must want them in heaven. Why is this so? Because He does and it is His will we are supposed to be conforming ourselves to.

    Forgive us our debts as we forgive those in debt to us. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

    Accordingly we are free to witness to the best of our ability, and indeed we should be willing to do so. Yet I have to believe that I was witnessed to by Catholics (there are at least a few of us who are evangelically inclined) and so far as I know, nothing happened that I was able to recognize. Yet here I am.

    The apostle noted that one plants, another cultivates and still another harvests. Someone somewhere will get some credit for having planted the seed in me that finds me a Catholic, thanks be to God. It may well be that something you have said or written will germinate and cause another to really stop and weigh the beliefs of the Church. If so, you’ll have a portion of the credit for that.

    I do know that there are people who cannot accept something from me. It may be my personality, my style of speech, the way I write, but whatever it is, I am absolutely the wrong person and they won’t receive anything from me. No problem. Since He wants them, He finds the way to get them to the point where they can open up and receive.

    So for you and some of you interlocutors. Once you have given them what you can, stop. Don’t give them more if they display an inability to accept what you have given. Let go of them by giving them to God Who loves them more than we ever will. Don’t be angry with them. Pray for them. If things are as bad as they seem, forgive them even as Jesus forgave His killers when He was dying on the cross. Since He told us to carry our crosses, if this is a cross for you, bear it for His sake by forgiving those people who make you angry.

    We never hear much about Mary, only snippets here and there. She bears in her heart wounds from Jesus’ earliest days when she is told that her own heart (a mother’s heart) will be pierced. She is being prepared for sorrow. When she meets her Son as He makes His way to His death (the stations of the cross), she does not discourage Him. She understands that His fate has laid a requirement on Him, and that she gets to bear a portion of that fate as His mother. She accepted her portion of His fate but never cursed the people who had harmed Him.

    When Europe was being laid waste by religious wars, He set her to Mexico to an Indian with a message. About seven million Indians were brought into the Church by the Mother of God who was sent by her Son. It was not hate He sent, it was His love brought to them by His mother who is capable of that.

    So it should be for you. Forgive them. If necessary make a good confession and get the grace that will give you. Then, when you respond, if you determine that you are the wrong person to continue the effort with this person or that, give them to God and offer a prayer for them. One plants, another cultivates, and another harvests. It does not matter where you are in that chain.

    Lastly there are lurkers here who want to know if Catholics can be good in the face of adversity. Jesus tells us to “be perfect.” That is not an easy thing, but is doable with grace. Teresa of India did good and in the end one might make the case that she was perfect. Her fidelity to Him was so intense that women left Hinduism to become Catholic nuns serving the poor.

    We want to imitate our Lord and bring love to His world and ours, even as a little Albanian nun did by seeing Him in the face of whatever person she was serving. You can do that, a bit at a time, by forgetting to be angry and seeing the wonder of creation, most especially in those who are made in His image and likeness.

    Go with God Jim.

  119. @Robert:

    Why is it wrong, exegetically, to say that God created us in fellowship with Him as part of what it means to be truly human? Apparently you believe that relationship with God is irrelevant to our flourishing as human creatures, that we could have flourished according to our original design had that extra grace never been infused..

    If God’s presence is essential for our flourishing as human beings or to be truly human, then this would be our natural due, and God would be unjust to deprive us of it. Consequently, we know that God’s presence cannot be necessary for us to flourish according to our nature, although not according to our higher purpose. One has to be very careful about our “need” for God; we are made to be able to have communion with God, but nothing in our nature compels this.

    All I’m saying is that God created mankind in fellowship with him and that man does not have to transcend his creaturehood in order to be truly in fellowship with God. If man must transcend his creaturehood, then there goes all meaningful use of analogy in theology or in our relationship with him. Its inherently contradictory.

    Then you need only avoid the dichotomy: human nature is consistent with fellowship with God, but it doesn’t have the inherent power for such fellowship, nor is the absence of such fellowship a lack in the nature itself.

    Well off the top of my head, the personal action is called faith, trusting in God’s Word alone. Adam had to do that in the garden, we have to do that now. When Adam rested in God’s Word and refrained from eating, He maintained his relationship to the Lord, and that would have been confirmed had he passed the probation. This should not be hard to grasp unless you believe Adam was under a perpetual probation that would never have ended.

    The question is why any probation at all was required. That would be both senseless and irrational if Adam was created in a state of righteousness. God doesn’t need “confirmation,” nor would Adam need to be “confirmed” in a state of righteousness if this were true. Also, if faith were sufficient to justify Adam, then he clearly had faith, so he should have been justified once for ever. It’s only in cases where justification is progressive that probation makes sense.

    So you believe human beings are just animals? Now make an exegetical case for that.

    I didn’t say that. I said that the natures of humans and the natures of animals are both called “good.” You’re assuming, without proof, that this must mean “morally good,” even though that is literally impossible before a man can do good or evil. Make a proof for this implausible claim.

    The morally significant action is faith, and Adam was created upright, meaning at the very least that He had faith at the moment He first existed.

    So you have justification by faith alone even before the Fall? Then how could Adam fall, if he was justified for once and all? You’re clearly struggling, and you should, because your view really has no explanation for why Adam was on probation or how he could fall.

    Who said natural laws were completely rewritten post fall?

    Adam’s situation is not identical to our own. This is so clear from the Bible. You can’t look at how things are for us and then read the identical thing back into Adam before sin affected us in any way.

    Of course not. What you can read back is everything concerning the nature, because Adam was a human being just like us. His nature and our nature was the same. His ultimate end and our ultimate end are the same.

    Adam was morally good from the moment he was created because from the moment he was created he trusted in God. That is one thing that makes the fall so abhorrent, namely, that Adam knew perfect fellowship born of perfect trust and then threw that trust away. There was room for moral improvement. Obeying God and not eating of the tree gave Him an additional mark of obedience that He did not have before the command was given, but that in no way entails that God could not create a man who was morally good from the moment of creation when faith and obedience was constituent of what He is and what it means to be truly and fully human. We call certain people subhuman because of their actions, which are ultimately disobedience to the Lord. What you are essentially saying is that man as he was originally created was subhuman. This makes created ontology not very good and not even good at all.

    I think you’ve just proved that trust in God, faith alone, was not sufficient to justify Adam, and that obedience beyond merely the activity of nature was required. And the reason we call people “subhuman” is that they betrayed their nature. If they were actually beasts, they wouldn’t be accountable for wrongdoing; they have to have a nature that is upright to violate it. And that is what Adam did; he violated his nature.

    Thank you for getting to the heart of the issue and that is your belief that being a created being is a bad thing. We’re ontologically defective, made with the intent to be in relationship with God but not capable of truly relating to him as long as our bad physical nature is at war with our good spiritual nature. Thank goodness for that infused grace that takes us out of bad, bad creaturehood.

    On the contrary, you are the one who are saying basically man must be in fellowship with God or evil. You leave no room for natural goods that are not evil. Fellowship with God is obviously a much greater good, but man can be good without it. We are made for fellowship with God, but we are not made to *need* fellowship with God to be good. There’s a big difference.

    Of course, in this you also admit that God’s moral law does not reflect his nature and that all he demands is some vague “making a choice in favor of him” in order to be fit for communion with him. This, of course, is ultimately a natural power in your view because grace does not ensure that it happens. Grace has to amplify our natural powers or something. With your natural powers you can say no or you can say yes.

    So Adam failed because he did not grasp and Godhood. Yeah, that’s in Genesis 1.

    That was completely senseless. It’s pretty obvious that you’re not thinking this through in any rigorous way.

    And it is nonsense to say that the law has not been in place since the beginning. What you are saying is that it would have been okay for Adam to commit murder and adultery in the garden as long as he stayed away from the tree. It also makes a lie out of all the biblical imagery of marriage, for example, that tells us the laws for marriage, which God apparently made up after the fall in your view, reflect the very character of God Himself.

    No, I’m saying that the law was built into how we were created. God doesn’t impose the law; it’s already there. It is not a God-made system, except to the extent that we were made. God does not issues edicts, at least not for that purpose.

    Of course, I explicitly deny that God demands anything arbitrarily. What he demands reflects His own perfect moral nature.

    Then since God doesn’t need to demand anything, He shouldn’t demand anything. And He doesn’t. God doesn’t make demands; He simply creates things to operate according to their natures.

    I’m not even sure what this means. If God’s moral commands don’t reflect his moral nature, then they are tied to creation and thus wholly arbirtrary. He could have created a different moral law. Tell me how this differs from Islam?

    Why would being tied to creation make them arbitrary? It creates a logical one-to-one correspondence between the nature of things and the natural law, so that the laws are anything but arbitrary. If God creates the human nature, then that nature includes certain natural laws that are invariant regardless of what the world around them is like. So yes, God could have created a different moral law, but not a different moral law for human beings. When He decides to create human beings, that class of creation has built into it a corresponding law. God doesn’t need to pass an edict of what the natural law is. It’s already there once He decides to create.

    Again, I don’t know what you are saying here. God surely demands what He wants, but what He wants is always in accord with His nature. The realist basis of His law is Himself, not the arbitrary moral law of creation that you apparently believe he created. Does God demand what He doesn’t want or what is not pleasing to him?

    What is pleasing to Him is reflected in what He creates. The act of creation itself defines what is pleasing to Him. He doesn’t need to demand anything for that to be the case.

    So God lied in making the covenant with Israel through Moses, and Jesus lied when he made the new covenant and made faith and obedience a requirement for persevering therein?

    No, but perservering in the Covenant wasn’t itself salvific. It didn’t give eternal life.

    Great, so now I can break the law and steal and go to heaven.

    But I thought mortal sin got me out of the kingdom, or something

    Yes, because sin violates our nature. That’s built in to us; it is not something that God imposes or demands from us.

    So God could have created a cosmos in which adultery, murder, theft, and idolatry are okay. Got it. I’m still trying to figure out how this does not make God arbitrary and why he can be trusted. That is not computing here.

    Because there’s a one-to-one correspondence between human nature and natural law. If God creates humans, with human nature, the natural law is locked in with the nature of those humans. God has no arbitrary laws, at least not pertaining to salvation. The Mosaic Law was arbitrary to some extent, in that it was intended to be a particular sign, but it wasn’t salvific either.

  120. Jonathan July 29, 2014 at 7:02 am

    @Robert:

    “Who said natural laws were completely rewritten post fall?”

    This is merely an observation. If there is documentation from before the fall, I haven’t heard of it or seen it.

    The best short exposition of the natural law I have seen is from CS Lewis’ little booklet, The Abolition of Man. The back of the book references several different civilizations in different locals at different times who often had no connection to one another but who all reached nearly identical recognitions about the natural (or moral) law. Worthy of a read and a place in one’s library.

    Lewis does identify the civilizations that displayed an understanding of the moral law (which does not mean that the authors or the civilizations lived up to what they recognized as “good” or avoided what the recognized as “bad”). None of those civilizations are understood to be “pre-fall” and one might genuinely wonder if there was a “pre-fall civilization.”

    One might also conjecture that there would be no need to understand the moral law if one were busy living it. If one is not failing the moral law, one has no need for it. To borrow a phrase, “you don’t call the doctor for the healthy person.”

    When Moses delivered the Law to the Jews, it came with blessings and curses. No need for curses if it is being adhered to. God was not hiding Himself from non-Jews, albeit that the non-Jews did not get the revelation of Who He is in the unique way that the Jews did, and part of His revelation of Himself included the moral law as guide to understanding good and evil, right and wrong. If one understands right and wrong, one might understand why one is being punished (cursed?) if one has done wrong. Divine correction is intended to bring us back around to the right way.

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