Part II – Understanding Christ’s Cry of Abandonment

Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Atonement, Catholicism, Death, Deification, Exegesis, Gospel, Imputation, Incarnation, Justification, Love, Perspicuity of Scripture, Protestantism, Redemptive History, Reformed Theology, Romans, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Theology of the Cross | 2,727 comments

In response to the last post (Understanding Christ’s Cry of Abandonment), I have been asked about Pope Saint John Paul’s II comment on Christ’s cry, taken from one his Encyclical On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering:

One can say that these words on abandonment are born at the level of that inseparable union of the Son with the Father, and are born because the Father “laid on him the iniquity of us all”. They also foreshadow the words of Saint Paul: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin”. Together with this horrible weight, encompassing the “entire” evil of the turning away from God which is contained in sin, Christ, through the divine depth of his filial union with the Father, perceives in a humanly inexpressible way this suffering which is the separation, the rejection by the Father, the estrangement from God.

The question posed to me is whether this quote is teaching that the Protestant Penal Substitutionary understanding of Christ’s cry of abandonment does indeed have some validity within the Catholic understanding of the atonement. That is a good question, and I think the best place to turn for an answer is to other comments made by Popes John Paul II and Benedict on this very issue.

The following are some excerpts from the handful of times each Pope has commented specifically upon this verse. Note: I have trimmed down many of these quotes to hopefully shorten the length of this post, as well as underlined the portions that apply to us, while putting in bold the portions that apply to Christ.

John Paul II: At the same time the dying Redeemer’s entreaty rings out in the liturgy: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27: 46; Mk 15: 34). We often feel this cry of suffering as “our own” in the painful situations of life which can cause deep distress and give rise to worry and uncertainty. In moments of loneliness and bewilderment, which are not unusual in human life, a believer’s heart can exclaim: the Lord has abandoned me! However, Christ’s Passion and his glorification on the tree of the Cross offer a different key for reading these events. On Golgotha the Father, at the height of his Only-begotten Son’s sacrifice, does not abandon him, but brings to completion his plan of salvation for all humanity. In his Passion, Death and Resurrection, we are shown that the last word in human existence is not death but God’s victory over death. [General Audience, Wednesday 19 April, 2000]

This is precisely the theme/lesson I had brought up in the previous post. The cry is essentially a “Why?” prayer to God about suffering, which we know as Christians is answered in Christ’s Resurrection, when God shows that He does hear our prayers and does bring good out of the suffering we endure in life.

 John Paul II: When he is on the Cross, the spectators will sarcastically remind him of his declaration:  “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, “I am the Son of God’” (Mt 27: 43). But at that hour the Father was silent in his regard, so that he could show his full solidarity with sinners and redeem them. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:  “Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned. But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin” (n. 603). On the cross Jesus actually continues his intimate dialogue with the Father, living it with the full force of his lacerated and suffering humanity, never losing the trusting attitude of the Son who is “one” with the Father. On the one hand, there is the Father’s mysterious silence, accompanied by cosmic darkness and pierced by the cry (Mt 27: 46). On the other hand, Psalm 22, quoted here by Jesus, ends with a hymn to the sovereign Lord of the world and of history. [General Audience, Wednesday 3 May, 2000]

 This quote is significant because it both identifies the “abandonment” as the Father’s “silence,” and it also quotes a key portion of the Catechism on this matter, paragraph 603. Jesus is showing “solidarity with sinners,” not taking their punishment in their place, not being forsaken by God in their place, but rather ‘feeling what they feel’. Our ‘state of waywardness’ is living in this fallen world, surrounded by evil and suffering, which Jesus chose to enter into. The Pope calls Christ’s cry an “intimate dialog with the Father,” which is odd if (as Protestants say) this is the epitome of the Father’s wrath upon Christ.

John Paul II: Then Jesus adds: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mt 27:46; cf. Ps 22:2). These words of the Psalm are his prayer. Despite their tone, these words reveal the depths of his union with the Father. In the last moments of his life on earth, Jesus thinks of the Father. [Good Friday, Stations of the Cross, 2000]

This is a common theme throughout these quotes: What has been called “Jesus’ cry” is more accurately Jesus praying to the Father. This is a prayer, it isn’t an expression of pain simply vocalized for the audience. The prayer signifies Christ’s intimate union with the Father, hence why He says “My” God. Jesus is praying from the heart; He is not suffering wrath.

John Paul II: Jesus’ cry on the Cross, dear Brothers and Sisters, is not the cry of anguish of a man without hope, but the prayer of the Son who offers his life to the Father in love, for the salvation of all. At the very moment when he identifies with our sin, “abandoned” by the Father, he “abandons” himself into the hands of the Father. His eyes remain fixed on the Father. Precisely because of the knowledge and experience of the Father which he alone has, even at this moment of darkness he sees clearly the gravity of sin and suffers because of it. He alone, who sees the Father and rejoices fully in him, can understand completely what it means to resist the Father’s love by sin. Faced with this mystery, we are greatly helped not only by theological investigation but also by that great heritage which is the “lived theology” of the saints. The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit, or even through their personal experience of those terrible states of trial which the mystical tradition describes as the “dark night”. Not infrequently the saints have undergone something akin to Jesus’ experience on the Cross in the paradoxical blending of bliss and pain. In the Dialogue of Divine Providence, God the Father shows Catherine of Siena how joy and suffering can be present together in holy souls: “Thus the soul is blissful and afflicted: afflicted on account of the sins of its neighbour, blissful on account of the union and the affection of charity which it has inwardly received. These souls imitate the spotless Lamb, my Only-begotten Son, who on the Cross was both blissful and afflicted“. In the same way, Thérèse of Lisieux lived her agony in communion with the agony of Jesus, “experiencing” in herself the very paradox of Jesus’s own bliss and anguish: “In the Garden of Olives our Lord was blessed with all the joys of the Trinity, yet his dying was no less harsh. It is a mystery, but I assure you that, on the basis of what I myself am feeling, I can understand something of it“. What an illuminating testimony! [Apostolic Letter NOVO MILLENNIO INEUNTE]

This is a powerful insight by the Pope because he says Christ’s cry of abandonment is akin to “the dark night of the soul,” wherein the saints experienced both God’s joy and suffering, even spiritual dryness. How could the Pope even say this if he understood Christ’s words to be suffering damnation in place of the believer?

Benedict XVI: Christ’s prayer reaches its culmination on the Cross. It is expressed in those last words which the Evangelists have recorded. Where he seems to utter a cry of despair: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27: 46; Mk 15: 34; cf. Ps 22: 1), Christ was actually making his own the invocation of someone beset by enemies with no escape, who has no one other than God to turn to and, over and above any human possibilities, experiences his grace and salvation. With these words of the Psalm, first of a man who is suffering, then of the People of God in their suffering, caused by God’s apparent absence, Jesus made his own this cry of humanity that suffers from God’s apparent absence, and carried this cry to the Father’s heart. So, by praying in this ultimate solitude together with the whole of humanity, he opens the Heart of God to us. There is no contradiction between these words in Psalm 22 and the words full of filial trust: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23: 46; cf. Ps 31: 5). These words, also taken from Psalm 31, are the dramatic imploration of a person who, abandoned by all, is sure he can entrust himself to God. The prayer of supplication full of hope is consequently the leitmotif of Lent and enables us to experience God as the only anchor of salvation.  [Ash Wednesday, 2008]

Jesus identifies with mankind in experiencing “God’s apparent absence” when man cries out to God in the midst of their suffering. But given that Jesus was praying from the heart here, this prayer touched the Father’s heart, which in turn “opens the heart of God to us.” This is how Jesus is making atonement and interceding for us, not by taking our punishment in the Penal Substitutionary sense. The Pope even goes onto say Jesus’ prayer “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” is saying the same thing as “My God, why have you abandoned me,” and yet we know the former cannot be construed to mean the Father’s wrath, so neither can the latter (since they are both ultimately saying the same prayer).

Pope Benedict XVI: Jesus, with the cry of his prayer, shows that with the burden of suffering and death in which there seems to be abandonment, the absence of God, Jesus is utterly certain of the closeness of the Father who approves this supreme act of love, the total gift of himself, although the voice from on high is not heard, as it was on other occasions. This also happens in our relationship with the Lord: when we face the most difficult and painful situations, when it seems that God does not hear, we must not be afraid to entrust the whole weight of our overburdened hearts to him, we must not fear to cry out to him in our suffering, we must be convinced that God is close, even if he seems silent. However a question arises within us: how is it possible that such a powerful God does not intervene to save his Son from this terrible trial? It is important to understand that Jesus’ prayer is not the cry of one who meets death with despair, nor is it the cry of one who knows he has been forsaken. At this moment Jesus makes his own the whole of Psalm 22, the Psalm of the suffering People of Israel. In this way he takes upon himself not only the sin of his people, but also that of all men and women who are suffering from the oppression of evil and, at the same time, he places all this before God’s own heart, in the certainty that his cry will be heard in the Resurrection. In this prayer of Jesus are contained his extreme trust and his abandonment into God’s hands, even when God seems absent, even when he seems to be silent, complying with a plan incomprehensible to us. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read: “in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (n. 603). His is a suffering in communion with us and for us, which derives from love and already bears within it redemption, the victory of love. At the supreme moment, Jesus gives vent to his heart’s grief, but at the same time makes clear the meaning of the Father’s presence and his consent to the Father’s plan of salvation of humanity. (GENERAL AUDIENCE, Wednesday, 8 February 2012 – Homily on Christ’s cry of abandonment]

Unlike other times when the voice of the Father boomed from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son,” no such confirmation came here, which certainly was a hard reality to bear. Yet even in the midst of Jesus saying God has abandoned Him, the Pope explains that Jesus knows the Father is indeed near. The abandonment is only apparent. And as with John Paul II above, here we see Benedict explicitly quoting CCC#603, showing that there’s no wrath or Penal Substitution component to it.

Benedict XVI: Often we cannot understand why God refrains from intervening. Yet he does not prevent us from crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). We should continue asking this question in prayerful dialogue before his face. Our protest is not meant to challenge God, or to suggest that error, weakness or indifference can be found in him. Instead, our crying out is, as it was for Jesus on the Cross, the deepest and most radical way of affirming our faith in his sovereign power. Even in their bewilderment and failure to understand the world around them, Christians continue to believe in the “goodness and loving kindness of God” (Tit 3:4). Immersed like everyone else in the dramatic complexity of historical events, they remain unshakably certain that God is our Father and loves us, even when his silence remains incomprehensible. [Deus Caritas Est]

This lesson is the essence of a spiritually mature person: the one who knows suffering is all part of God’s plan and that God indeed does hear us, and does still love us, even if He is not answering us – especially during the truly rough times.

Benedict XVI: This Psalm presents the figure of an innocent man, persecuted and surrounded by adversaries who clamour for his death; and he turns to God with a sorrowful lament which, in the certainty of his faith, opens mysteriously to praise. His initial cry is an appeal addressed to a God who appears remote, who does not answer and seems to have abandoned him: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest” (vv. 3-4). God is silent and this silence pierces the soul of the person praying, who ceaselessly calls but receives no answer. Day and night succeed one another in an unflagging quest for a word, for help that does not come, God seems so distant, so forgetful, so absent. The prayer asks to be heard, to be answered, it begs for contact, seeks a relationship that can give comfort and salvation. And like the oppressed righteous man in the Book of Wisdom (cf. 2:12-20), like Jesus on Calvary (cf. Mt 27:39-43), the Psalmist saw his own relationship with the Lord called into question in the cruel and sarcastic emphasis of what is causing him to suffer: God’s silence, his apparent absence. And yet God was present with an indisputable tenderness in the life of the person praying. This is a cry that opens the Heavens, because it proclaims a faith, a certainty that goes beyond all doubt, all darkness and all desolation. And the lament is transformed, it gives way to praise in the acceptance of salvation: “He has heard… I will tell of your name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you” (vv. 22c-23). Dear brothers and sisters, this Psalm has taken us to Golgotha, to the foot of the cross of Jesus, to relive his passion and to share the fruitful joy of the resurrection. Let us therefore allow ourselves to be invaded by the light of the paschal mystery even in God’s apparent absence, even in God’s silence, and, like the disciples of Emmaus, let us learn to discern the true reality beyond appearances, recognizing humiliation itself as the way to exaltation, and the cross as the full manifestation of life in earth. [General Audience, 14 September, 2011 – Homily on Psalm 22:1]

The Pope says Jesus’ cry is “a cry that opens the Heavens”! That’s quite strange if this cry is the cry of someone undergoing the Father’s wrath! Rather, this cry of abandonment is actually a demonstration of such confidence that God will deliver (He just isn’t at the moment), that God looks upon this act of confidence very favorably.

From these quotes, we can get a pretty good idea of how Christ’s cry of abandonment is to be understood from the Catholic perspective. Notice that nowhere is there any mention of God’s wrath being poured out upon Jesus. Nowhere is the Protestant notion of Penal Substitution being expressed here. Quite the opposite, in fact. Christ is praying to the Father here, not getting hurt by the Father, and His prayer expresses confidence that God will make everything right, rather than being about desolation.

Before I conclude, I think it’s very beneficial to us all that the Popes spoke upon paragraph 603 in the Catechism, which quotes Christ’s cry of abandonment and is at the heart of the section on the Atonement. (I invite all readers to actually read the whole section of the Catechism on this matter, it’s a relatively short read.) In reading the whole section, one will see that nowhere is Christ’s work on the Cross ever described in terms of Jesus undergoing the Father’s wrath. In fact, we see many signs of just the opposite idea. The Catechism states that “sinners were the authors and ministers of all the sufferings” Jesus endured (598), and that the only role God played was indirect, i.e., “God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness” (600) and “the Father handed his Son over to sinners” (614). This is impossible if (as Protestants say) the chief suffering was directly by the Father, invisibly undergoing His wrath.

Indeed, the very context of #603 ties in with the original quote in question:

For our sake God made him to be sin

602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. . . with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.” Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death. By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned. But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”406 Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all“, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.

Notice these two paragraphs fall under the heading of “for our sake God made him to be sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), which I had shown in a prior article has nothing to do with Protestant Imputation, but rather the Incarnation. The Logos takes on our fallen humanity, as the Catechism says: “sending his own son in the form of a fallen humanity,” which is a direct reference to Romans 8:3. This is the context from which flows paragraph 603. And note that Romans 8:32 is also quoted here in explanation of the abandonment, namely that God “delivered up” Jesus into the hands of sinners and doesn’t rescue Him from this miserable situation, which is precisely how the Church Fathers interpret the abandonment.

Now we can get a better idea of the original quote of Saint John Paul II. Jesus is not suffering the Father’s wrath or ‘spiritual abandonment’, but rather the natural consequences of a fallen world and fallen humanity. Jesus “sees” the ugliness of what offending God really means, particularly since sin by its very act is a ‘turning away’ from God. Christ assumed our humanity so that He could heal it, which is precisely the point of the Encyclical. The Encyclical says nothing of God’s wrath, but rather focuses on the issue of human suffering from a ‘medicinal’ perspective, and how Christ’s suffering gives meaning to our own, especially in how we are called to participate in redemptive suffering. This is why in context he says: “in a certain sense He annihilates this evil in the spiritual space of the relationship between God and humanity, and fills this space with good”. So no, Jesus did “did not experience [abandonment] as if he himself had sinned,” but through the Incarnation he partook in the misery we partaking in and transformed it, turning it into something bearable and having meaning, even a “ladder to Heaven.”

 

2,727 Comments

  1. @Eric:

    My wife has the impression that in a bygone age, you would have enjoyed roasting Protestants, ecstasy dancing in your eyes as the flames engulfed our bodies. She thinks you show nothing even resembling compassion.

    Exactly. We’re supposed to be past that. That’s why Victorian-style anti-Catholic bigots ought to be out of existence by now. There are differences between Catholics and Protestants. They have nothing to do with Catholics “earning salvation” or “worshipping Mary.” Yet we still have people spewing hate against us, as if we believe in works righteousness or any of that nonsense.

    You are the ones spreading hate by completely failing to understand that the Reformation was, by and large, not about those things. The real reasons behind the situation are finally coming to light through centuries of historical research, but some people just want to live in the dark. And, with the exception of radical traditionalist reactionaries, those people aren’t Catholic. They are hatemongers like MacArthur and Sproul.

  2. Eric,

    In suicide, death often happens immediately after the murder. In successful suicide, it always does. Your point is that the successful ones always go to hell?

    You probably already know this. For a sin to be mortal it must have as its object grave matter which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.

    Murder and suicide are grave and I think everyone knows that they are sinful. As for suicide the will is not always under the control of the person due to mental illness. So not in every case would it be mortal.

  3. Lane, we believe rightly no sin separates a believer from his God. All sins are already atoned for, even if I killed my neighbor, died of a heart attack, and didn’t have an opportunity to repent. Decadent on the salvation on the instalment plan. He paid it all, even for that murder. Peter denied Christ 3 times, did he lose his salvation 3 times. No, scripture says it is God who justifies, who can bring a charge against God’s elect. No one, not even you lane. K

  4. Eric,

    Why are you asking me about the troll? Couldn’t you think of a better example? ( I will never forget the time you defended him as a “sweet guy”. Ha! )

    What would you have to do to get kicked out of whatever you are? Swedish Banglican, right?
    I know you never paid attention but I told you about what happens in Baptism more than once. Besides the soul being filled with sanctifying grace and all the virtues, a seal is given. That seal can never be lost, even in hell. The grace and virtues can indeed be lost.

    Baptism is a dying, a branding, a marking, a tattooing. It leaves an indelible quality. That mark can be dirties but not erased. In the case of the Roman soldier, it was a mark of pride if the soldier was loyal to the emperor. If he deserted, it was a mark of shame that he had to hide.
    That is why the true Church has never re-baptized. One is born to a life only once. One cannot be born to the same order twice. Even Nicodemus knew that.

    So, a son that beats his mother, abuses his siblings and steals from his father is still the father’s son. But he is dead to the father just as the prodigal son was, at least until he is restored by penance.

    So, what would the troll have to do to you to lose that sweet guy status? Oh, for sure, he will always be your fellow Calvinist. Even in hell should one or both of you be mistaken about your election. But in this life, what would or could he do to you to make you find him as grotesque him as I do?

    ( PS- I see you are sucking up to him, trying to do damage control for chiding him about his spelling a couple of weeks ago, siding with the rest of us. Now that he is back to stay, you had better sue for peace with him { make satisfaction } Thanks, now we all know that as embarrassing as you might have found him then, it was only on the surface. Again, alle ist klar. )

  5. Jonathan,

    “That’s why Victorian-style anti-Catholic bigots ought to be out of existence by now.”

    The Know-Nothing Society was not exactly what you would call “Victorian” was it? I don’t recall reading Dagger John Hughes used that particular term for the American bigots terrorizing Irish women and children in New York.

    Anyway, how can we get the bigot off this blog? He seems to be working his way back into the hearts of Eric an Robert. Even a couple of Catholic guys caved and have read/commented on his toilet graffiti. Looks like he knows time is on his side, eh?

  6. Eric,

    Before asking Jonathan, you asked me, ( seems like you were pleased with your own rhetoric ),

    “My wife has the impression that in a bygone age, you would have enjoyed roasting Protestants, ecstasy dancing in your eyes as the flames engulfed our bodies. She thinks you show nothing even resembling compassion.”

    Do you really want to put your wife on the firing line? Do you want me to do unto her as your “sweet guy” does Debbie?

    I didn’t think so. Now, why don’t you get off the damn computer and go give her a hand with those kids?

  7. Jonathan, if Horton, MacArthur, Sproul and every other great Reformed theologian and ALL our confessions are correct that Romes gospel can’t save, and the Papacy is antichrist then they are hero’s and not hatemongers. In yoursadd naivity you fail to realise that to beware of false teaching and keep ourselves from idols is a command to believers to this day. We refuse to enter the home of Catholic apologetics and check our shoes at the door and conceed your points. The Reformation is still alive. K

  8. then you need to read your Bible.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/01/12/interpretive-pluralism-doesnt-require-tolerance-as-long-as-youre-willing-to-accuse-everyone-else-of-wicked-intent/

    Good to see someone (Fred Clark) raise the obvious truth, the elephant hiding under the rug in today’s Christianity, even though he has no solution to offer for this state of affairs.

  9. Jonathan,
    Over on Nick’s own blog, there is a statement saying the troll is blocked out.
    Can’t we put do something like that on this blog too? I mean, he is just as icky here as he was there.

  10. Eric,

    Thought about what I said? Scary, huh?
    Men abusing women is ugly, isn’t it? ( Of course I am much too chivalrous to follow through on my threat. We Catholics see women as daughters of Mary. I realize you don’t understand that, but that explains why we are so gallant and you guys are not. )

    Speaking of Debbie, why have you never told “Sweet Guy” to go easy on her? Are you a cad too? ( You just tried hiding behind your own wife’s skirts to take a pot shot at me ).

  11. Gosh Eric,

    Since my last post I have gone outside and climbed onto a ladder to do some bouganvilla pruning. So, I am not obsessed, glued to my keyboard but am a well rounded health ( and chivalrous ) human being.

    All the while I was being jabbed by the thorns my mind kept going back to your wife. (You brought her up, I didn’t. )
    I gotta ask, how does she feel about the “Death Wafer”? Did you ever bother to tell her how I came to be the angry bastard you have made me out to be? Is the lady as cavalier as you are about the “sweet guy” ‘s taunt?

    Is she as cool and open minded as you are? I mean everything is relative, right?
    One man’s sweet guy is another man’s mean son of a bitch, right. We are both right, huh?

  12. Eric,

    Blessed Sacrament or death wafer, what’s the difference? Ask your better half.

  13. Eric,

    Tell your wife what a mensch I am. I had to cut my last comment short because I got a call from the very old man across the street. He has habit of falling down and not being able to get up. Good neighbor that I am, I am happy to help out even though he is bigger than I am and really hard to get upright.

    Let us end this business of your wife’s attitude towards me by saying, if she is anything like my wife, she wishes you would spend less time blogging and ignoring her and more time listening to what she is saying. She resents your pie in the sky preoccupation with prevenient and irresistible grace when the kids have poopy diapers to change. She wishes you were as concerned about her needs as you are about the “sweet guy”‘s self inflicted and well deserved banning.

    And my wife and I don’t have three little kids in our house so yours must really be sick of your nonsense.

    PS, and do ask her how she would like some persona non gratis to keep walking in her front door, sitting his nasty ass down and putting his feet up on the table after he has repeatedly been asked to stay away.

  14. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Debbie–
    .
    Patience. I’ve started looking. I have no responsibility to defend MacArthur. Do you defend Robert Sungenis’s geocentrism?

    This Black Legend of the Pre-Modern Worldview getting wearisome. Geocentrism and Heliocentrism are akin to the relationship between Banezianism and Molinism: they are both equivalent, though they situate themselves according to divergent perpectival viewpoints. Thus, their distinctives are not compatible within the same systematic, but they do, indeed, find their mutual compatibility and complementarity when they converge in the Real. Neither view is “embarrassing” except to those who either reify post-Enlightenment methodology to the expense of that of the Pre-Modern period or vice versa.

    So, if Sungenis (and his Pre-Enlightenment forebears) err, it would be solely in thinking that Geocentrism is absolutely true to the exclusion of the Heliocentric narrative, when they ought to be serenely acknowledging them both in their equal participation in the Real and in their mutually enriching applications within their respective demesnes. The same applies mutatis mutandis to Moderns who would triumphantly cling to “The Truth™” of Heliocentrism. (NOTE: I’m not sure if Sungenis commits this Reification Fallacy, but that seems to be the word on the street.)

    One thing which hasn’t changed in humanity’s history is the exclusionary intransigence of the conceiving mind, and if the zealous excess of this promethean impulse could have been earlier tamed, the devastation wrought by Reformo-Enlightenment reductionism might have been preemptively aborted. The fact that history had to wait until the last half of the 20th Century for Postmodernism to do the work which authentically human thinkers (i.e. Realists) should have been doing for 500 years is a crying shame.

  15. Wosbald,

    Tell us which ism is in relationship with Catholicism. I mean which ism is equivalent with Catholicism, though they situate themselves according to divergent perpectival viewpoints. Which ism finds mutual compatibility and complementarity with Catholicism as they converge in the Real ?

  16. ERIC May 16, 2015 at 8:43 pm
    Mateo–
    I said that you wouldn’t understand, and you didn’t. I don’t get the impression that you even tried.

    Eric, you said you wouldn’t want to be caught without the ability to sin in case you need it. Here are your words:

    ERIC May 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm
    Lane–
    You’re missing the point of the ability to “sin bravely.” It’s like an insurance policy. It’s always there even though we never expect to use it. We hope it’ll never be needed, but we wouldn’t want to be caught without it either…..

    What are you doing? Storing up wrath for the day of judgment? It makes no sense to cherish the ability to sin.

    Romans 6:2
    God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    Regenerate Christians spend their energy avoiding sins, not reveling in the notion they can commit as many as they want.

    Nor cherishing the ability to sin for the day they need it. Why in the world does one need to commit sin? In order to go to perdition?

    In 1992, the U.S. put together the “Dream Team” in basketball for the summer Olympics. It included such luminaries as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. They won by an average of 44 points.
    No matter how badly any of them would have played, no one would have dropped them from the team. Bird averaged only 8 points per game. Jordan went 4 for 19 from three-point range. No one came close to suggesting they should be sent packing. But there was no “Antinomianism” going on.

    Did any of them intend to miss those points?

    Do you think they were storing up bad games for the time they needed them?

    There is no comparison between those players and the person who stores up sins for the time they need them. A better comparison would be a boxer who takes a fall for money or a basketball player who misses shots in order to win money on his own games.

    No was trying to miss free throws or commit turnovers or foul out. They COULD do so without fearing dismissal. But that’s simply not what the game’s about!

    Well, we who believe that the elect can be assured of their salvation would say pretty much the exact same thing: “Sinning that grace may abound” is not what our life in Christ is all about!

    Lol! My, my, my. You’re a secret “works salvation” believer, aren’t you? What you have just described is “merit”. What you are saying is that those folks have so much merit stored up in their basketball treasury, that they would not be condemned by the basketball divines for any games wherein they played poorly.

    And, you are insinuating that Calvinists have so much merit stored up in the heavenly treasury that God will look the other way when they commit sins that they feel they need to commit.

    Either that, or you’re simply saying that it doesn’t matter what the Elect do, God will save them. But that contradicts the example you gave of Bird and Michael and Magic. Because they earned their Elite positions.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  17. FRED May 17, 2015 at 7:28 am
    DeMaria said ” Then what does it mean ” worthy of Him” it strongly suggests merit.” No, it doesn’t. Christians are justified by faith alone. ….

    Don’t change the subject, Fred. If it isn’t merit to say, “worthy of Him”, then what is it?

    mer·it
    ?mer?t/
    noun
    1.
    the quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward.
    “composers of outstanding merit”
    synonyms: excellence, quality, caliber, worth, worthiness, credit, value, distinction, eminence
    “composers of outstanding merit”
    antonyms: inferiority
    a feature or fact that deserves praise or reward.
    plural noun: merits
    “the relative merits of both approaches have to be considered”
    synonyms: good point, strong point, advantage, benefit, value, asset, plus
    “the merits of the scheme”
    BRITISH
    a pass grade in an examination denoting above-average performance.
    “if you expect to pass, why not go for a merit or a distinction?”
    LAW
    the intrinsic rights and wrongs of a case, outside of any other considerations.
    plural noun: merits
    “a plaintiff who has a good arguable case on the merits”
    THEOLOGY
    good deeds regarded as entitling someone to a future reward from God.
    plural noun: merits
    verb
    verb: merit; 3rd person present: merits; past tense: merited; past participle: merited; gerund or present participle: meriting
    1.
    deserve or be worthy of (something, especially reward, punishment, or attention).
    “the results have been encouraging enough to merit further investigation”
    synonyms: deserve, earn, be deserving of, warrant, rate, justify, be worthy of, be worth, be entitled to, have a right to, have a claim to/on
    “the accusation did not merit a response”

    Focus, Fred. Focus. What does it mean to “be worthy of Him”?

  18. Mateo–

    We don’t cherish the “ability to sin” but the assurance that we will be forgiven. But then, you already knew that.

    So Bird and Magic gave themselves athletic talent and grew themselves to be 6 feet 9 inches tall? Merit. All merit, you say. (For the sake of the analogy, let’s just call them “freaks of nature” who never had to practice or train a single day of their lives. Happy now? No merit involved.)

  19. Jim–

    For all I know, your actual persona is the one who helps old men out of the goodness of your heart. But your rhetoric here is not the slightest tad above that which you call “toilet graffiti.” I informed you of my wife’s thoughts as a last ditch effort to ascertain whether you own a conscience in terms of this blog. You don’t.

    I have asked Kevin TO GO publicly and privately. He says he will but then always reneges. I have asked him to treat Debbie with greater decency and respect. He somehow thinks “playing hardball” is the way to a woman’s heart. I don’t get it.

    Go take Kevin up on his offer of an authentic spaghetti dinner. Sit down with him and then let the rest of us know how dastardly or sweet he really is. In the meantime, you don’t know him, so shut the hell up.

  20. That next to last comment of mine should have been addressed to De Maria rather than Mateo. Sorry, guys.

  21. Lane–

    Very few if any attempters of suicide would get a clean bill of mental health. But the exact same thing would hold true of most murderers, wouldn’t it?

  22. Wosbald–

    When considering the Earth’s position in relation to the Solar System, one’s perspective hardly matters. The center of the Solar System never shifts. Heliocentricism is correct, and geocentrism is wrong. End of story.

  23. Jonathan–

    I started off giving Catholics the benefit of the doubt. It is through Catholics themselves, in describing and practicing their own beliefs, that I have come to believe that one side of their clearly two-sided soteriology is indeed steeped in “works righteousness.” And for all the tenacious denials of Marion worship, the proof is in the pudding. At one time I believed your denials. I no longer believe you guys.

    That’s not hatred or bigotry. That’s just the facing of facts. I vehemently wish it were not so.

  24. Eric,

    No thanks, I’ll pass. Send your wife in my stead to dine with the troll you call a “sweet guy”. I am particular who I eat with. ( I think he eats out of a trough. Maybe I am mistaken. I do remember him posting that Catholics receive the Eucharist from a trough. Ask your bride if she is good with that sort of rhetoric. )

    By the way, we don’t worship Marion. Marion was John Wayne’s real name, wasn’t it? He became a Catholic on his deathbed He has not been canonized so we don’t even pray to him.

  25. Eric,

    Notice your sweet guy is laying low. He can’t deny what I have been saying so he is hiding out, letting you plead for him.
    HA! You two deserve each other. You go have that candlelight dinner with your sweet guy.

  26. Eric,

    “I have asked Kevin TO GO publicly and privately…

    Go take Kevin up on his offer of an authentic spaghetti dinner… In the meantime, you don’t know him, so shut the hell up.”

    I think this is giving with the right hand and taking with the left or what is known as “talking out of both sides of your mouth”.

    Why should the guy go? Because of his bad spelling? Bad breath? Failure to use an apostrophe? Because his boorishness embarrasses your nice Anglican style?
    Sheeeeesh! I can live with that stuff. No should go because of one very specific reason that you keep ignoring.
    You see Eric, it’s not about me. It’s not a beauty contest between me and the troll. It’s not because he has been especially rude to me because he has not (he has been just as offensive to every Catholic on the blog whether they know it or not ).

    So, rather than ranting about how nasty I am because I am not taken with your prissy and pissy style, {I vehemently wish…tenacious denials…} tell us why the troll should go. Not once or twice in mousey way that says he should go but we should dine with him but as forcefully as you speak to me. C’mon Eric, do it now.

  27. Eric,

    I should have said, “tell him to go as vehemently and tenaciously” as you tell me to go. And do it as often. And do it without needing to be prodded.
    Oh, yeah, and be sure to hit him with what your wife has to say also. Bring her on board just to really nail it down.

    You are sooooo transparently false. You say I am as nasty as the troll. Really? I was not aware that you find the troll all that nasty. He can’t be too aweful if we should sit down and enjoy a bottle of chianti and some breads ticks with the man.

  28. Maybe that should read “bread sticks”. Either way, I don’t wish to to share one with the bigoted troll you privately email to recant the stinging rebukes you almost give him on this blog. ( since he is reading this diatribe, I don’t doubt he is mailing you on the QT to tell you he understands if you have to go through the motions of denouncing him to appease me and look good for the other Marion worshipers ).

  29. DeMaria, would you please refrain from responding to Kevin? Just scroll past his comments without reading them.

    Jim, you are showing us that Kevin still has power over you.

  30. Mateo wrote:
    Jim, you are showing us that Kevin still has power over you.

    Big CCC lie !

    promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. – 2Pet 2:19

    Jim’s feet are firmly planted in CCC soil. That soil is full of nourishing papal obedience. Jim is showing us that the Pope still has power over him. Kevin never makes cool and audacious authority claims like Jim’s master. All CCC battles are battles of the will, so Jim is angry at Fred because he will not submit to his master. Or he will not submit to the master’s spokesman ? The real slavery of corruption is the catholic’s desire to participate in the cool and audacious. Iron deposits discovered in CCC soil ! Read all about it !

    “The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. – Deut. 28:23

  31. Jim,

    Doesn’t that make Christ to be nothing more than a technicality? I mean, Christ doesn’t real save anybody. He just makes it look official on paper.

    I’m not really sure what this line of argument means here. You’d have to flesh it out more.

    Anyway, the best (or worst )part is the stuff where R.C. Sproul mocks some poor damned Arminian for adding to the finished work of Christ by adding Faith to it. Despite claiming otherwise, R.C. says the Arminian thinks that his faith makes the cross satisfactory to the Father. No matter how the Arminian insists that Faith is only a condition and not a cause, R.C. presses him with the fact that universal atonement saves nobody until faith is added to the mix.

    And Sproul is exactly right. The difference really is this—does the atonement guarantee faith in those who will come to faith or not. It seems to me that the non-Calvinist position is that the atonement really guarantees absolutely nothing except maybe that it is a good example that we should imitate.

    In truth, Christ merited the graces needed for repentance. Think about it, if nobody repents, has the Father been satisfied? I mean, if it’s just a transaction between the Father and the Son, what has been accomplished? God could just as easily placated his wrath by sending us all to hell, right? Why would he care if anyone repents or not? IOW, the Father is satisfied by being loved.*

    Sure, God could have easily placated His wrath by sending us all to hell. As to why He cares if anyone repents or not, He has chosen to love a particular people and to give that people to His Son as His inheritance. So God really does care.

    Until a sinner repents, he is still offending God right? Chocking up more debt of punishment all the time. Now, we know that sin doesn’t actually take anything away from God as he is in himself. It only robs God of what theologians call “accidental glory” or the honor created beings give him. And for sure, God doesn’t need that.

    So, since God doesn’t need our praise, and sin doesn’t hurt God, what was the objective atonement on Calvary all about if not the subjective redemption?
    God wants us to repent although he doesn’t benefit by our repentance. We do. And of course, we need grace to do that, the grace merited on Calvary to free us from Satan’s power.

    In large measure I agree, however, this has to be qualified. If God really doesn’t care to be glorified through repentance, than hell is an awfully strong consequence for failure.

    Punishing sin in the Person of his Son does nothing for the Father. He is no better off afterwards. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t want to punish us. He takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner but wants him to repent and live.

    But this has to be qualified. God takes no pleasure in the punishment per se or punishment considered in itself. He takes pleasure in the manifestation of His justice. The fact of the matter is that the Bible often says that God wants to bring punishment. Eli’s sons did not repent because it was the will of the Lord to destroy them.

    Calvary is about us, for our good. Like the OT sacrificial system, the atonement is about restoring us to ourselves, each other, and of course, to God.

    It is certainly about that, but it is about more than that.

    Finally, God wants US to repent. Not somebody else. Changing our very nature makes someone else repent, not us. Just as the J.W. doctrine that says the archangel changing his nature to the man Jesus who later changes his nature to be a spirit means three altogether different persons rather than the same one.

    But God doesn’t change us from being human to something else. He steps in an stops sin from controlling us so that we may repent.

    *Christ’s death did not appease the Father’s wrath because punishment had been meted out according to the Law as a penal substitute. Christ’s love, his obedience unto death satisfied the Father in lieu of punishment. It merited our change of heart. That satisfies the Father and wipes out punishment.

    I don’t mean to be dense here, but I’m still trying to figure out why Christ’s death was necessary or meritorious in Roman Catholicism. There are many loving acts I can think of that would be a better show of love than an ordinary death that doesn’t involve the wrath of God.

  32. DeMaria, You need to focus. We are talking about justification. No one denies that someone who isn’t willing to follow Christ isn’t worthy of Him. But we aren’t freed from the penalty of our sin by our worthiness, only his. Hence, this scripture is about sanctification, which comes after justification in Christianity. ALL of our sins are already stoned for, unlike for you where you are making satisfaction for temporal punishment on the instalment plan. K

  33. Catholic friends, this may seem obvious to you, but this very topic is the game changer for Protestants. All of our sin, eternal punishment and temporal punishment, guilt , penalty was paid and taken care of in Christ’s ONE sacrifice. We make no allowance for you making satisfaction of reparations for your sins and for others. We deny the Mass as the greatest sacrilege that ever was, undermining the one perfect sacrifice that took sin away. Anything less would be to pollute the rivers of faith, which alone applies the finished work of Christ immediately to the believer. There isn’t a salvation on the instalment plan in scripture. Those meriting the merit of Christ, making satisfaction for their own temporal punishment are not saved. We call God’s elect out of your system to true faith, which is the alone instrument that brings our justification to the heart. K

  34. Hi Jim, go easy on Eric, he is a nice guy. Jim, I been meaning to talk to you about the language you use here. Do you eat with the same mouth you talk with? Lol Hope your well. You friend the troll. K

  35. Robert,

    Honestly now, if Christ came for the elect and only the elect, and election was decided before any foreseen merits or decision, how can you say the elect were ever anything but saved all along, even before the cross?

    You ask,
    “—does the atonement guarantee faith in those who will come to faith or not.”

    You tell me. It seems they were elected to Faith long before the Incarnation, yes?

    You opine,
    “It seems to me that the non-Calvinist position is that the atonement really guarantees absolutely nothing except maybe that it is a good example that we should imitate.”

    It is indeed an example we should imitate as Peter says in his reference to Isaiah’s Suffering Servant. Yes ,indeed. But you missed what I wrote about Christ meriting our restoration to the grace lost in Adam.

    You say God does not change us from being human to another species. Actually, you guys deny our humanity. If we don’t have free will, I am no more human than my cat.

    Finally, you ask why the cross. You say,
    “There are many loving acts I can think of that would be a better show of love…”.
    Really? Could you share it with us?

    Again, Christ merited enough grace to redeem us in the first instant of the Incarnation. Yet God was not satisfied with doing that. He wanted to leave no doubt in our minds. He wanted to shed his blood, every drop.

  36. Mateo,

    The troll might have control over me if I actually read his brayings. I don’t. I already know it is something I don’t want to see. Like the scrawlings on the door or a latrine, I avert my eyes.

    Eric’s wife, based on information supplied her by her husband, has decided I am an ogre who would like to roast her alive. I merely want her to know I help oldsters get up after falling, take in stray kittens and love little children.

    I am a little tired of telling Eric I don’t worship Mary ( whose name he can’t even bother to get right;”Marion”!). I don’t appreciate him calling me a liar.

    The man comes on a Catholic blog and demands we stop living out our Faith. He finds our dulia offensive to the point of “gagging”. ( His word, to date un-retracted or apologized for ).

    I don’t know about Eric’s mother, but mine is a Queen. Not a sinful silly wench but a holy saint who knows how many children she has and Who His Father is.
    She is not a demoness or pagan goddess like Kali or Isis. I neither offer sacrifice, incense or latria to her. I don’t care to be*VEHEMENTLY* told I do right after telling the man I don’t.

    As for the troll, he should not be posting here. He should not be responded to or invited into the discussion. I should not have to be scrolling past the intruder and looking away so as not to see his slurs.
    To say, “Jim, if you don’t like it, maybe you should go elsewhere” is a bad as saying, “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one”.

    Unless some way is found to dump him, the blog should be shut down. No Catholic blog worthy of the name should be a platform for mockery of the Blessed Sacrament or the Mother of God. Please, refresh yourself of the Fatima message.
    If Eric can’t get that through his head, too bad. But he and his wife should not be calling me names because I don’t relish having the Eucharist and my Mother dragged through the mud.

  37. Jim,

    Honestly now, if Christ came for the elect and only the elect, and election was decided before any foreseen merits or decision, how can you say the elect were ever anything but saved all along, even before the cross?

    Ask Augustine and Aquinas the same question. In fact, the question applies to anyone who believes in omniscience, regardless of the extent of the atonement. God has always known who would be saved and who wouldn’t be saved, so we were saved all along, right?

    This is what I’m talking about with regard to critiques that apply equally well to Roman Catholicism.

    But in any case, although one could say in a sense that we were saved from the foundation of the world. The actual means of salvation take place in tim, first in the incarnation, life, and death of Christ and then in our subjective appropriation of those benefits.

    You tell me. It seems they were elected to Faith long before the Incarnation, yes?

    Sure, just as Aquinas and Augustine said. Now, please tell me why they’re not heretics but Calvin is. I’m still waiting for someone to explain how Calvin and Luther and Westminster can take the same essential position on unconditional election and be heretics, but these other guys not so much. Do they get a pass because of their nominal assent to the pope? If so, then critique us on that and not for having the same position on unconditional election as those doctors of the church. We’re just following them, and we’re doing so because they’re following Scripture.

    It is indeed an example we should imitate as Peter says in his reference to Isaiah’s Suffering Servant. Yes ,indeed. But you missed what I wrote about Christ meriting our restoration to the grace lost in Adam.

    Okay, but why is death necessary to merit the restoration?

    You say God does not change us from being human to another species. Actually, you guys deny our humanity. If we don’t have free will, I am no more human than my cat.

    We don’t deny free will. We deny autonomous human free will that is not subject to God’s sovereign decree. We don’t believe God is just a really, really good chess player but that He works out all things according to His will, which precedes us.

    Really? Could you share it with us?

    The cross, in your view, happens in only a limited time span. Endless suffering that doesn’t culminate in death would seem to be a far greater show of love than a death that is minus divine wrath. If there is no divine wrath going on in the death of Christ, he’s suffering for what, at most 24 hours or so. Very hard to see how that is better than most of the martyrs who suffered for far longer.

    Again, Christ merited enough grace to redeem us in the first instant of the Incarnation. Yet God was not satisfied with doing that.

    If God wasn’t satisfied, then he didn’t merit enough grace.

    He wanted to leave no doubt in our minds. He wanted to shed his blood, every drop.

    Okay, but why? How does that leave us no doubt if no wrath is involved? There are more painful ways to die, longer periods of torture, etc., all of which are greater shows of love if wrath is not involved in the death of Christ. If God’s wrath is not involved, Jesus’ death is not even that much of a better example than any other crucified person.

    In taking God’s wrath out of the equation, you end up making the martyrs braver than Christ and who show God’s love even more. Lots of people suffer for a lot longer period of time than Christ did. I don’t mean to be sacrilegious. Just want to point out that if Christ’s death doesn’t involve divine wrath, it’s really hard to see what makes it so special. Lots of innocent people die.

  38. Jim,

    If Eric can’t get that through his head, too bad. But he and his wife should not be calling me names because I don’t relish having the Eucharist and my Mother dragged through the mud.

    Again with the faux outrage. Why is that insulting to you for real, but its not insulting to us for real to be called meat puppets who worship a moral monster?

  39. Robert,

    Because you view us as meat puppets too. We are not calling you meat puppets. We say you consider yourselves and us both to be puppets.
    In fact, neither you or we are meat puppets. Your will is as free as ours whether you believe it or not.

  40. Robert,

    “This is what I’m talking about with regard to critiques that apply equally well to Roman Catholicism.”

    Great comment. Really. It speaks to why I, for the most part, sit out discussions between Kenneth, James, Jonathan and you on this topic. I don’t consider myself a Thomist, Augustinian, Molinist, Banezian, etc. etc. ( I do reject Calvinism through ).
    While I have a copy of Garrigou La Grand’s Predestination and have read it( just as I have a copy of Lorraine Boettner’s book of the same title and find it silly ), I will leave that to you boys who flatter yourselves into thinking you are going to resolve how God really and truly wants all men saved and knows all events past, present and future, and yet all men are not saved due to their own free choices.

    I am a rank and file Catholic, that’s all. Neither Dominican nor Jesuit ( although I was member of the Dominican Third Order and attended a Jesuit school ).
    I believe that God wants all men saved. That he died for them all. That he knows everything. That men are free. That he loves us all and gives us all the grace needed to get to heaven. I also believe he loves some people more than others ( Mary for instance ). But he by no means passes anyone over to perdition just to demonstrate sovereign justice. You juggle all that.

    I don’t care to argue you into Arminianism. If the issue does not have a specifically Catholic twist to it, I am out. The Church has said one be be Jesuit or Dominican. For me, that says it.

  41. DeMaria, focus on Romans 5:10 “we are saved by HIS life” Let’s say it together, all Catholics join in, 1, 2,3 everybody together, ” we are saved by HIS life” de merited favor. He reconciled and justified us past tense while we were helpless and ungodly and yet sinners. That why Paayul says we have present tense peace in Romans 5:1, because we have already been justified and are friends and adopted children. Knowing this, please focus on the “worthiness of merit Honolulu are trying to extract from picking up our cross. This can only be descriptive of an already justified believer. It’s a command to believers to be holy, but it isn’t the way we are freely accepted by God. We are saved by HIS life. That’s why John can tell us by simply trusting in Him alone we are children eternal with God. No lay away . K

  42. All Catholics great and small, ( Protestants can take 5, the smoking lamp is lit )

    Robert and Eric seem to think there is some friction between the trollish fellow and myself, that I have some vendetta against the man.

    Perhaps now is a good time to refresh our memories of just what the pontificate of JPII and the message of Fatima was all about.
    Without getting off track arguing about whether or not it can be dismissed as a private revelation, let’s assume JP II and several other popes knew what they were doing when they signed onto the message of Fatima, okay?

    From the first visits from the angel carrying the Host to Lucia in Aljustrel to the apparition in Tuy Spain in 1925, the message was about outrages against the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mockery against images of Mary, her Perpetual Virginity, her Divine Maternity and Maternity of men, and FAILURE TO TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT HER are serious sins that must be addressed.

    Slurs made on this blog and elsewhere by the troll should be given zero tolerance by Catholics who view themselves as defenders of the Faith, devotees of Mary and who profess faith in the Eucharist.
    Of course evil must sometimes be tolerated for a higher good. Blogging is hardly a “higher good”.

    Should any Catholic think he can save the troll’s soul he should dialogue with him on Tim Kauffman’s site. That site is set up specifically to mock the Mother of God and the Eucharist. It is what Fatima was all about.
    I thought I could make a difference and enjoyed the ‘hot and spicy” repartee there until I finally got a snoot full of “Death Wafer” slurs and snickers about Mary’s sex life. I left and came here. The troll stalked me here. Without a Catholic seeing his slurs his life has no purpose and he will dry up and die.

    So please, far be it from me to tell you you shouldn’t follow your conscience. Just do it on Kauffman’s, please, as I came here to escape the man.

    Should Eric be eavesdropping on this message to Catholics, that applies to him too. He can fellowship with his friend to kingdom come over on that blog, just not here.

  43. Jim, Robert said the other day to you ” The cult of Mary” and he is dead on, the Catholic church elevates Mary above Christ and God. JP 2 at his death committed the whole church into the her hands. We have learned from the greek that the three major translation mistakes of Jeromes Latin vulgate were, penance, make righteous, and Mary ful of Grace. We now know the words are repentance, declare righteous, Maryy favored one. As you can see repentance is turning in faith from sin , not doing satisfaction for sin. Justification was forensic, not works righteousness. And Mery received favor from God, not a minister of Grace. Romans 5tells us sin came through Adam by hereditary right, but Grace and righteousness came through Christ. When the greek came from the east to the west and Erasmus learned these things, Rome should’ve recanted. We are still waiting. K

  44. “If anyone causes one of these little ones, those who believe in me, to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

    I don’t think this is even touching mortal sin.

    And we’re back to the age old problem of Protestantism; me, myself, and I.

    Sin never is just about a person and God. It affects the whole Body.

    So to die in an unrepentant state of mortal sin is death itself.

    Mortal sin is adultery with Satan.

    To not confess and repent is making God a liar.

  45. Catholics,

    Do you guys believe Robert is being honest when he says the term “meat puppet” offends him on a par of the way “hocus pocus, death wafer, Mass trough, graven bread, breadolotry, wafer worship,”, etc. etc. does us? Or is he scrambling desperately for something, anything, to be offended by?

    Has anyone ever stored up God’s wrath by calling someone a meat puppet? Yet how many people now in hell aligned themselves with the seed of the serpent against the seed of the Woman of Gen 3:15?

    Robert and Eric are not believers. I guess I have been beating myself against a wall trying to make them understand. It has all been to no avail. Remember, these guys are followers of men who trampled the Host under foot, fed it to pigs and donkeys and reviled it in every conceivable way. They are the scions of Judas and those who walked away from the “hard saying” of Jesus in Jn 6. They are probably sincere. I don’t know. I can’t tell. But even if they are sincere in their unbelief and even hatred of the Blessed Sacrament, this is OUR blog. By “OUR” I mean a Catholic owned and operated blog, right? They can revile the Sacrament Christ established at the Last Supper to their hearts content on THEIR blog. They can snicker and guffaw about our Mother all the way to hell, but on THEIR blog, yes?

    Anyway, I have tried explaining to Eric and Robert til I am blue in the face why words like “puppet” and “robot” are small potatoes compared to mockery of the Christ in the Eucharist and the Mother of God.
    If you can think of some way to get through to them, please try. I give up.

  46. Jim,

    Do you guys believe Robert is being honest when he says the term “meat puppet” offends him on a par of the way “hocus pocus, death wafer, Mass trough, graven bread, breadolotry, wafer worship,”, etc. etc. does us? Or is he scrambling desperately for something, anything, to be offended by?

    More faux outrage. Why do you automatically assume that all of that stuff, none of which I have said, I believe, is MORE offensive to you than “meat puppet” is to us. You are taking it way too seriously. Yeah, I get that the Eucharist is the most holy, or at least one of the most holy things in creation to you. I don’t get the “Deformation, Martin Luther is a devil, Meat Puppets, ha, ha, ha” alongside the “Somebody said we worship Mary, how dare he!”

    At worst, the Protestant is speaking out of invincible ignorance, right?

  47. Jim,

    Great comment. Really. It speaks to why I, for the most part, sit out discussions between Kenneth, James, Jonathan and you on this topic. I don’t consider myself a Thomist, Augustinian, Molinist, Banezian, etc. etc. ( I do reject Calvinism through ).
    While I have a copy of Garrigou La Grand’s Predestination and have read it( just as I have a copy of Lorraine Boettner’s book of the same title and find it silly ), I will leave that to you boys who flatter yourselves into thinking you are going to resolve how God really and truly wants all men saved and knows all events past, present and future, and yet all men are not saved due to their own free choices.
    I am a rank and file Catholic, that’s all. Neither Dominican nor Jesuit ( although I was member of the Dominican Third Order and attended a Jesuit school ).
    I believe that God wants all men saved. That he died for them all. That he knows everything. That men are free. That he loves us all and gives us all the grace needed to get to heaven. I also believe he loves some people more than others ( Mary for instance ). But he by no means passes anyone over to perdition just to demonstrate sovereign justice. You juggle all that.
    I don’t care to argue you into Arminianism. If the issue does not have a specifically Catholic twist to it, I am out. The Church has said one be be Jesuit or Dominican. For me, that says it.

    I appreciate your sentiments in many ways on this. I will admit, however, that one of my big beefs with Rome in this regard is that there is a ton more in divine revelation on the aforementioned topics than there are on topics such as the Assumption of Mary. Yet what does Rome define? The Assumption of Mary while leaving the rest up in the air. What gives?

  48. Robert,

    You said to Jim:

    But in any case, although one could say in a sense that we were saved from the foundation of the world. The actual means of salvation take place in tim[e], first in the incarnation, life, and death of Christ and then in our subjective appropriation of those benefits.

    Right, the means. Why stop with “our subjective appropriation” (~first manifestation of Faith?)? Why not include the entire life lived as a Christian as also apart of those means? The salvation is actually in your position until you possess it. Otherwise you were saved before the foundations of the world, and it isn’t even by Faith Alone. It is simply by God’s knowledge. So why stop at your first signs of Faith, seems arbitrary to me. The whole of your life is apart of the means of God’s providence.

    Jim: It is indeed an example we should imitate as Peter says in his reference to Isaiah’s Suffering Servant. Yes ,indeed. But you missed what I wrote about Christ meriting our restoration to the grace lost in Adam.
    You: Okay, but why is death necessary to merit the restoration?

    Nothing about Christ’s work is “necessary”; His work abounds in superabundant overflowing extravagant dizzyingly glorious gift!

    Very hard to see how that is better than most of the martyrs who suffered for far longer.

    Except that it wasn’t simply any human saint, it was the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE who humbled Himself to become man and suffer on our behaves. A human saint suffering the torture and cross that Jesus did a 1000 times over would not merit a single drop of sanctifying grace needed to approach God for even himself, let alone all of creation. It’s the incarnation, not the suffering that matters most. Only God can bridge the gap between natural man and God, no amount of merit or suffering on natural’s man part can do it.

  49. opps ” The salvation is actually in your position until you possess it. ” should read:
    “Salvation is not actually in your possession until you possess it.”

  50. Robert,

    “Still waiting for a validation of the assumption that God’s ordination of evil makes Him the author of evil. Until you can demonstrate that ordination=authorship, the charge is vacuous”

    As you say later: “it’s what He actively determined for them to do … Very active language here.”

    In your system, God actively determines good for saints as well right – very active language in those cases too? Given you hold ordination=determinism, you have either: God is author of sin and author of good, or He is author of neither.

    “Well to start with, contingency as in no absolute necessity. As in God could just have ordained for things to fall out another way. It’s absolutely necessary for God to be good and to exist. Nothing else in creation is absolutely necessary.”

    Okay. So whenever I’ve equated determining with necessitating and you and Michael get all up in arms about what “necessitating” means by pleading such necessity is “contingent”, we now see that qualification really doesn’t amount to anything. Just wrapping your version of “freedom” in the language of “contingent necessity” doesn’t do anything – it’s rube goldberg and determinism all the way down.

    “There’s plenty of asymmetry. At least two points offhand:
    1. God never does evil Himself, but He Himself does good.”

    Please explain how He does not do evil Himself and How he does do good in your system, given that both are determined and secondary causes/means are at work in both cases.

    “2. God ordains evil such that the evil is the proper work only of the evildoer, while the good is the proper work only of God.”

    Please explain how God determines/necessitates evil in such a way that the evil is only the proper work of the evildoer, while God determines/necessitates good in such a way that it is only the proper of work of God.

    “Where the asymmetry is NOT found is in the idea that God only ordains good and not evil.”

    Which is what ends up being the equivalent of “Where the asymmetry is NOT found is in the idea that God only authors good and not evil” in your system, given your definition of “ordains”.

    “Probably another case of it blundering big time when it comes to Protestantism in order to preserve its own power and self-exaltation. ”

    Sproul Jr: “I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that He created sin”.

    “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”

    Evil has a purpose, which is why He permits it.

    “it’s what He actively determined for them to do … Very active language here.”

    And in your system, God actively determines good for saints as well right – very active language in those cases too? So you just – unsurprisingly given the underpinnings of your system – argued against your previous assertion that “There’s plenty of asymmetry”.

    “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive, as they are today.”

    Yeah, evil people have evil intentions that birth their evil acts as Scripture attests. God works those evil acts for His own good purposes and good intent.

    “But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Chisholm.-Divine-Hardening.pdf coupled with the Augustine citation above emphasizing divine hardening is always to be read as an act of justice in response to man’s own evil.

    “Please explain how it would be evil for God to ordain evil on any basis besides the fact that our ordaining of evil would be evil so therefore God’s ordaining of evil must be evil.”

    Because defining “ordain evil” as “determine/necessitate” evil violates the ample Scriptural witness to the nature of God’s omnibenevolence and relation to evil already adduced.
    Further, it makes Him the author and proper worker of sin, despite protestations to the contrary that He is not author or proper worker of sin even as He actively determines/necessitates it because … He is not author or proper worker of sin.

  51. Robert,

    You most certainly did not say ANY of those offensive slurs. Let me be clear on that. YOU HAVE NEVER ENGAGED (to date ) IN MOCKERY OF THE EUCHARIST to my knowledge.
    However, you trivialize the issue when you compare the flea bite of “meat puppet” with just about the most blasphemous thing a person could say.

    Now, let me add a bit to Lane’s explanation of satisfaction.
    Christ’s satisfaction was based on 1. his Charity 2. the dignity of his person and 3. the amount he suffered.

    1. Charity is the basis for both merit and satisfaction. Christ had the fullness from the moment of his Conception.

    2. If I insult a head of a European state, an imperfect satisfaction can be made by punishing me. However, if Obama steps in on my behalf and formally apologizes*, one head of state to another, humbling himself, a more more satisfaction is made for the offense. Christ’s obedience was more pleasing than Adam’s ( and our ) disobedience.
    3. You can google a mediation written by Cardinal Newman on the sufferings of Christ. He suffered more than everyone in the world combined.

    * Notice, Obama is not punished in my stead.

  52. OOPS!

    A more “perfect” satisfaction is made.

  53. Robert,

    If so, then critique us on that and not for having the same position on unconditional election as those doctors of the church. We’re just following them, and we’re doing so because they’re following Scripture.

    Calvinism isn’t a heresy because of it teaches unconditional election. As no doubt you have noticed, you have errors: in how you attribute evil to God, in how you characterize free will, how the atonement works, limited atonement, and how you Hope is really presumption. There are probably more reasons, and more theologically precise reasons, ask Jonathan. If I remember correctly, he has listed several theological items (on several occasions) that cause Calvinism to be heretical.

    However, I would echo what Jim said about himself. While I feel most comfortable with Thomism, because of my background, I don’t actually ascribe to any particular systematic set of theology trying to hold together all of the revealed truths in this area. And I’m a little wary to do so, since even the Church hasn’t done so even after several centuries of people much smarter than me talking arguing about it.

    I will admit, however, that one of my big beefs with Rome in this regard is that there is a ton more in divine revelation on the aforementioned topics than there are on topics such as the Assumption of Mary. Yet what does Rome define? The Assumption of Mary while leaving the rest up in the air. What gives?

    I don’t know “what gives”. Maybe we have probed as deeply as we are going to be able to do on topics surrounding God’s providence and human freedom. It is a deep mystery after all. Dogmas about Mary aren’t even in the same league with that one.

    Regardless, the pope doesn’t have a special conduit from God dictating dogmas. His and the magisterium’s protection from error of their teaching authority is a negative charisma, not a positive one. They through study of Scripture, Tradition, human reasoning, experience, ect. plumb the depths of Revelation and if they uncover a new truth they will be permitted by the Holy Spirit to promulgate it to the Church universal. They aren’t so much given new truth positively to teach, they are blocked from teaching error. Or at least, this is how I understand it.

    As for the Assumption, the best argument that I ever heard for it – that should appeal to your biases against Catholicism – is that there are no relics of Mary. Seriously, no relics? Think about it. Look at how much Catholics love their relics of everything. We even have relics that are relics simply because they were touched by other relics! And there are none of Mary? Mary who we supposedly worship along with the saints, that Mary? We have plenty of relics of the saints, but not her. If she would have left a body, WE would know where it was; I guarantee that.

  54. Lane,

    Yeah.
    I read an account of Saints Timotheus and his wife Maura. They were crucified together and lived for 9 days encouraging each other.
    Their sufferings were alleviated by thinking of Christ’s sufferings were willed sufferings.
    Same goes for Lawrence on the gridiron.

    Here is a link to a great book on how Mary participated in the 4 aspects of our salvation; The sacrifice, the ransom, merit and satisfaction.
    The book is on Mary but it is the best explanation of how Christ made atonement that I have ever seen.
    http://www.motherofallpeoples.com/author/fr-cornelis-freithoff

  55. OOPS again! This machine is acting up.
    Christ’s suffering were willed. Nothing alleviated them.

  56. Jim, you write:

    I am a little tired of telling Eric I don’t worship Mary …

    All the Catholics posting to this board are all tired Eric’s accusations of Catholics worshiping Mary, especially since it has been explained to Eric in excruciating detail the difference between dulia, hyperdulia and latria. But this is only more proof of Eric’s lack of intellectual integrity – Eric can only offer the straw man arguments of a close minded anti-Catholic bigot, and all intelligent people can see it for what it is.

    The man comes on a Catholic blog and demands we stop living out our Faith.

    Eric has an agenda, to be sure. Eric thinks that there is “not a dimes worth of difference” (to use his own words) between what Anglicans believe, what Lutherans believe, what Presbyterians believe and what fundamentalist Baptists believe. (The inconvenient facts about the role that conflicting Calvinist and Anglican religious belief played in the English civil war don’t count as evidence that Eric could be wrong, because Eric is never wrong about anything.)

    Eric’s problem is that Catholic won’t listen to Eric, because for some reason Catholics find it highly implausible that Eric is the only man on the face of the earth that is being guided by the Holy Spirit. Which is proof to Eric that Catholics have left their minds at the door, since we don’t think that this Lone Ranger is the fallible (but really infallible) interpreter of Sacred Scripture.

    Who can understand why Catholics think that Jesus Christ actually intended men listen to the church that he personally founded? Why do Catholics think that Jesus Christ really wants Christians to know the difference between orthodox belief and pernicious heresy? How crazy is that? To think that we are supposed to live by faith, and to actually know what we are supposed to believe by faith … oh, those nutty Catholics!

    To say, “Jim, if you don’t like it, maybe you should go elsewhere” is a bad as …

    I am not saying that. What I am suggesting is that you don’t write more posts with references to Kevin, because you are not doing anything but drawing more attention to Kevin, which I think is wrong. Most of us posting here are doing our best to ignore Kevin completely, and you are making that more difficult than it needs to be. (And here I am, writing a post that concerns Kevin!)

  57. Robert,

    I said: “Still waiting for a validation of the assumption that God’s ordination of evil makes Him the author of evil. Until you can demonstrate that ordination=authorship, the charge is vacuous”

    You replied: As you say later: “it’s what He actively determined for them to do … Very active language here.”

    In your system, God actively determines good for saints as well right – very active language in those cases too? Given you hold ordination=determinism, you have either: God is author of sin and author of good, or He is author of neither.

    You haven’t demonstrated that ordination equals authorship; all you’ve said is “But you said, active ordination.” That’s the crux of the argument, but you’ve yet been unable to prove that ordination=authorship. I don’t think you can.

    What I’ve said repeatedly is that I cannot explain how God’s ordination of evil doesn’t make Him morally responsible for it. At this point, I’d be happy if you all could just admit that you can’t explain either how God’s passive bare permission of evil doesn’t make Him morally responsible for it.

    Okay. So whenever I’ve equated determining with necessitating and you and Michael get all up in arms about what “necessitating” means by pleading such necessity is “contingent”, we now see that qualification really doesn’t amount to anything. Just wrapping your version of “freedom” in the language of “contingent necessity” doesn’t do anything – it’s rube goldberg and determinism all the way down.

    It’s “rube Goldberg” determinism then all the way down for Aquinas as well, since if God permits what He knows will certainly happen, it will certainly happen. Hello contingent necessity.

    Please explain how He does not do evil Himself and How he does do good in your system, given that both are determined and secondary causes/means are at work in both cases.

    This is like asking me to describe the difference between omnipotence and omniscience given God’s simplicity. The basic answer is that I cannot fully explain it, just as you cannot explain how God can passively determine evil and still be pure act, except that passivity and pure act are full-on contradictions vs. the paradox of God determining evil one way and His determining good another, even though secondary causes are still involved on some level.

    Please explain how God determines/necessitates evil in such a way that the evil is only the proper work of the evildoer, while God determines/necessitates good in such a way that it is only the proper of work of God.

    When God explains exactly how this is the case, I’ll be glad to share. Again, I cannot explain how God does this. All I can do is note that the Bible says God ordains evil no less than He ordains good. All of your jumping through hoops only serves to deny flat out that God ordains evil, though the text says that He does. If you cared really about what Scripture says, you’d affirm both that God ordains evil and that God is good because Scripture says both. That’s what I’m, and indeed all Calvinists are trying to good.

    Which is what ends up being the equivalent of “Where the asymmetry is NOT found is in the idea that God only authors good and not evil” in your system, given your definition of “ordains”.

    “Ordains” is a term that can encompass a wide variety of things. God ordains both good and evil, though not in the same way. To use a bare-bottom definition of ordain that would encompass both realities, it is something like “establish will certainly happen.” Which is what any orthodox Christian will have to affirm if He affirms God’s omniscience and permission. If God permits what He knows will occur, it will certainly occur.

    So again, when you can come up with a critique that actually doesn’t touch Romanism just as much as it touches Calvinism, I’d be glad to hear it.

    God establishes that evil will certainly happen no less than He establishes that good will certainly happen, but apart from the barest suggestions of Scripture, I can’t say very much about how they differ. All I know is that Scripture says that they do, and that is enough.

    “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
    Evil has a purpose, which is why He permits it.

    There’s nothing about “permission” in the verse. God is specifically making the wicked for the purpose of judging it. You are ignoring the grammar of the text for the sake of preconceived philosophy.

    If the text supported your position, it would have to be God making the day of judgment for the wicked.

    And in your system, God actively determines good for saints as well right – very active language in those cases too? So you just – unsurprisingly given the underpinnings of your system – argued against your previous assertion that “There’s plenty of asymmetry”.

    What I’ve said is that the asymmetry is not to be found in that God ordains the one and not the other or that God is standing back and twiddling His thumbs in one but not the other.

    Yeah, evil people have evil intentions that birth their evil acts as Scripture attests. God works those evil acts for His own good purposes and good intent.

    Translation: God’s a really good chess player that’s one step ahead of the brothers.

    The verse says God intended the evil in those acts for a specific purpose. Nothing about permission. God meant for Joseph to be stripped, sold into slavery, and to languish in an unjust prison. All evil things, considered in themselves. God intended them to happen; on at least some level he wanted them to happen. This is not simply God allowing them to happen. The text says nothing about allowing/permission.

    “But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”
    http://evangelicalarminians.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Chisholm.-Divine-Hardening.pdf coupled with the Augustine citation above emphasizing divine hardening is always to be read as an act of justice in response to man’s own evil.

    The text in question says nothing about God acting in response to Pharaoh’s evil. God promises to harden even before Pharaoh shows any inclination of persisting in his evil.

    Because defining “ordain evil” as “determine/necessitate” evil violates the ample Scriptural witness to the nature of God’s omnibenevolence and relation to evil already adduced.

    Further, it makes Him the author and proper worker of sin, despite protestations to the contrary that He is not author or proper worker of sin even as He actively determines/necessitates it because … He is not author or proper worker of sin.

    I want the “how” this violates it. Simply listing a bunch of verses with no attempt at exegesis even at the level of English grammar is insufficient. How is it inconsistent for an omnibenevolent God to ordain the fall? What about ordaining the fall makes Him the author of sin, biblically speaking. No philosophy. Exegesis. Where does the Bible say that if God ordains evil, He has authored evil in a morally responsible way? That’s the question you need to answer.

    You haven’t done anything with the ample Scriptural witness except list a bunch of verses in which God is said to be good. That’s fine, but for some reason you think I disagree, which I don’t.

    The only consistent reason I see for you believing that ordain=author is that in the human parallel, ordain=author. Prove that such is true on the divine level using the actual text of Scripture. But you are going to have to do so using the actual grammar of the text, not by saying “God allows” when the text most plainly DOES NOT say that.

  58. That last one was meant for James.

  59. I never did fully respond to W.A. Scott ….

    W.A. Scott, you write:

    I agree that the WCF can’t be reconciled with what the Anglican reformer Latimer said or what the Anglican Formularies said regarding deadly sin.

    Thank you for admitting that the WCF cannot be reconciled with the “Anglican Formularies”. So what do you believe? The novelties taught in the WCF, or the teaching of Latimer, which coincides with the teaching that all Christians believed before the Calvinists denied the distinction between sin that is mortal and sin that is not mortal.

    Of course, walking in the light of God is, as I’m sure you’d agree, is not walking in the puffed up confidence of one’s own holiness or worthiness before God …

    I believe that, but a Calvinist cannot believe that. To be a Calvinist, one must be a vain and presumptuous heretic that has convinced himself that he cannot commit unrepentant mortal sin.

    From the Council of Trent, The Sixth Session, Chapter IX – Against the vain confidence of Heretics:

    “But, although it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted, nor ever were remitted save gratuitously by the mercy of God for Christ’s sake; yet is it not to be said, that sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven, to any one who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and rests on that alone; seeing that it may exist, yea does in our day exist, amongst heretics and schismatics; and with great vehemence is this vain confidence, and one alien from all godliness, preached up in opposition to the Catholic Church. But neither is this to be asserted,-that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubting whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified, but he that believes for certain that he is absolved and justified; and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone: as though whoso has not this belief, doubts of the promises of God, and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.”

  60. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Wosbald–
    .
    When considering the Earth’s position in relation to the Solar System, one’s perspective hardly matters. The center of the Solar System never shifts. Heliocentricism is correct, and geocentrism is wrong. End of story.

    But then again, all facts are theory-laden (a proposition which you, yourself, had earlier given “a hearty ‘amen'”).

  61. Lane said to Robert , ” and if you have noticed you have errors, …….. hope that really is presumption, just ask Jonathan. ” Lane I have known you for a long time. Your hatred for a believers assurance is a fixation.. This all stems for your dismissal of the gospel of pure Grace, demerited favor. You think sinners who accept the free gift and trust in Christ alone for salvation are cheating, because they aren’t earning their keep. You believe those of the works righteousness of Rome are truly deserving. You believe to have the true assurance scripture offers is a short cut. That s why election taught by scripture violates everything v about salvation. Let’s do an exercise. Remove your security blankets, Jonathan, Catholic church. Next , we put a bible in your hand, God’s infallible word. We add the Spirit of truth. Then we have you look at these verses. Romans 5:1, justified by faith past tense with present tense peace, 5:9-10 reconciled past tense saved by HIS life. 1 John 5:13 those who believe can KNOW they have eternal life. Romans 4:16 the promise is guaranteed to those of faith. And Ephesians 2:8 saved by Grace thru faith no works, nothing coming from yourselves. Now we give you amnesia to all the false Roman worthiness of merit gospel you thought saved you, and you only remember these truths. You would no longer cause those who believe in biblical assurance of presumption. Lane, to those of us who understand our utter sinfulness, our assurance is sweet music. And it’s right there in scripture. K

  62. This was written as a response to Michael Taylor. Seems that I need to break it up into smaller pieces too …

    Michael Taylor, you write:

    So operative grace is resistible?

    No, operative grace cannot be resisted.

    God enables us to choose with a prevenient grace that we cannot resist, but then thereafter offers us sufficient grace which we can resist. … How am I doing so far?

    You are getting closer, but you still don’t understand the difference between the actual graces of prevenient grace (aka operative grace) and quickening and assisting grace (aka cooperative grace).

  63. Michael Taylor

    The Council of Trent, The Sixth Session, Chapter V, “On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds” :

    “The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.”

  64. Lane,

    Calvinism isn’t a heresy because of it teaches unconditional election. As no doubt you have noticed, you have errors: in how you attribute evil to God, in how you characterize free will, how the atonement works, limited atonement, and how you Hope is really presumption. There are probably more reasons, and more theologically precise reasons, ask Jonathan. If I remember correctly, he has listed several theological items (on several occasions) that cause Calvinism to be heretical.

    1. Jonathan has proven himself a liar with regard to me in particular and, more generally almost wholly unreliable in his reading of history and Calvinism.

    2. We don’t attribute evil to God any more than Roman Catholicism does. If God allows evil and gives men the power to cause evil, then he’s at best only slightly “less guilty.

    3. Our view of free will isn’t any different substantially than Augustine’s, but he’s not a heretic.

    4. Assurance of salvation isn’t presumption. Presumption would be believing one is saved apart from any evidence in one’s life of a heart change, which is exactly what Calvinism has always denied.

    5. Limited atonement—plenty of anticipations of this in church history.

    However, I would echo what Jim said about himself. While I feel most comfortable with Thomism, because of my background, I don’t actually ascribe to any particular systematic set of theology trying to hold together all of the revealed truths in this area. And I’m a little wary to do so, since even the Church hasn’t done so even after several centuries of people much smarter than me talking arguing about it.

    Okay.

    Regardless, the pope doesn’t have a special conduit from God dictating dogmas. His and the magisterium’s protection from error of their teaching authority is a negative charisma, not a positive one. They through study of Scripture, Tradition, human reasoning, experience, ect. plumb the depths of Revelation and if they uncover a new truth they will be permitted by the Holy Spirit to promulgate it to the Church universal. They aren’t so much given new truth positively to teach, they are blocked from teaching error. Or at least, this is how I understand it.

    From what I understand of the RC teaching on the Magisterium, that would seem to be correct. The problem, however, is that we have the depths of revelation (Scripture), and we can even be generous with tradition. Nothing about Mary’s assumption is said for hundreds and hundreds of years. This isn’t an evidence of plumbing depths. Its an instance of making stuff up based on Rome’s absorption of almost anything it can—except of course Calvinism. Calvinism must still be heresy even where it is in substantial agreement with doctors of the church. Why? Just cause Rome says so.

    As for the Assumption, the best argument that I ever heard for it – that should appeal to your biases against Catholicism – is that there are no relics of Mary. Seriously, no relics? Think about it. Look at how much Catholics love their relics of everything. We even have relics that are relics simply because they were touched by other relics! And there are none of Mary? Mary who we supposedly worship along with the saints, that Mary? We have plenty of relics of the saints, but not her. If she would have left a body, WE would know where it was; I guarantee that.

    But the problem with this argument is that you are building a case on a negative. We don’t have the bodily remains of millions of people, but that doesn’t prove that they were bodily assumed into heaven. Besides that, the case for so many relics that we do have is notoriously poor. You have to first accept that Rome is the expert on all things historical with regards to the saints to then believe that if anyone would know what happened to Mary, Rome would. Maybe just maybe we don’t have evidence for what happened to her because God really doesn’t care for us to know it. Why is that never an option?

  65. Mateo,

    No, operative grace cannot be resisted.

    But De Maria said that it is resistible. Maybe he’s wrong, but perhaps you can sympathize with how hard it is to pin you guys down on this.

  66. Michael Taylor

    With operative grace (prevenient grace) an adult hears the call to conversion. Adults are NOT enabled to choose to respond to the call by operative grace, and that is the mistake that you are making.

    Operative grace is monergistic. Cooperative grace, on the other hand, is synergistic.

    Adults are enabled to choose after “they are called” by receiving “quickening and assisting grace”, and this actual grace is synergistic, not monergistic. This actual grace is sufficient to bring about what it is intended to effect, but only if an adult chooses to cooperate with this grace. That is exactly what the Council of Trent is saying:

    “[Adults] who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.

  67. Michael Taylor

    From this section of the Council of Trent we can get from these solemnly defined Dogmas of the Catholic Church the following:

    1) An adult is “not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.” (No to Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism)

    2) [Adults] who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with quickening and assisting grace. (Yes to synergism, no to meat puppetry).

    3) Adults who receive quickening and assisting grace are able to exercise their free will to reject this grace, in which case, the sufficient grace that was given to them is not efficacious for them because it was freely rejected. (Affirmation of free will, and an acknowledgement that no one needs grace to reject grace.)

    Michael Taylor, an adult is not regenerated with the actual graces of prevenient and quickening and assisting grace. These graces are given to adults so that the adult is prepared to receive the Sacrament of Baptism – the Sacrament that bestows the grace that justifies the adult by forgiving all his sins, the sacrament that bestows the grace that regenerates the adult that is responding to the call that he received with prevenient grace.

  68. Robert, you write:

    We don’t attribute evil to God any more than Roman Catholicism does.

    Hogwash! You believe that God decrees evil, and by decree, you don’t mean permit – you mean that God causes the evil to actualize through the meat puppets that God has chosen to implement the evil that God has ordained.

    When God decrees that the baby has to be raped, the baby will be raped, and the man that has to rape the baby had no choice in the matter because it was decreed that this will happen before the rapist and the victims were ever born.

    The god of Calvinism is a monster.

  69. Lane–

    You wrote:

    “Except that it wasn’t simply any human saint, it was the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE who humbled Himself to become man and suffer on our behalves. A human saint suffering the torture and cross that Jesus did a 1000 times over would not merit a single drop of sanctifying grace needed to approach God for even himself, let alone all of creation. It’s the incarnation, not the suffering that matters most. Only God can bridge the gap between natural man and God, no amount of merit or suffering on natural’s man part can do it.”

    I still haven’t figured out why it’s so difficult for Catholics to answer these questions: 1. But why this particular type of death, why this incredible amount of pain? 2. If he died “on our behalf,” in what way did he do so?

    If what mattered was the Incarnation, then why submit to such a painful death? St. Teresa of Avila accurately observed that this human life is like “a bad night in a bad inn.” Merely deigning to live this treacherous life and subject himself to its indignities should be sufficient according to you. Death on a Cross was completely unnecessary. Owing to his majesty and worth, a simple paper cut would have done the trick.

    Give me a scenario in which one human dies for another but not “in their place.” Could you possibly “die for my sake”? What would it look like?

    De Maria is the only Catholic who has taken a stab at answering this particular question, and he seemed to imply that Jesus was the first martyr, dying for the cause of Christendom. Is this your understanding?

    If I were persecuted for my faith and died for the kingdom, as a result, in exactly what way would I be dying for Lane? Wouldn’t I be dying for Christ himself? Do you understand my dilemma?

  70. Jim, instead of worrying about what I say about bowing to bread and wine, or praying to someone other than God, both blatant idolatry, you should be concerned of how to be right with the God of the universe. There is only one acceptable worship, in Spirit and in truth through faith alone in Christ alone. Sacerdotalism will be rejected. Instead of hating me and calling me a troll, think of me as Paul Revere warning you the British are coming. God will only send you so many warnings Jim. Repent and believe the gospel, and you will be saved. You can have this assurance today Jimbo. God bless. ” He saved us, not on the basis of righteous deeds, but according to His mercy.” Titus 3:5. K

  71. Mateo’s God impotently sits around on his butt, watching little babies get raped. Does he wring his hands and moan and weep, Mateo, wishing he could do something but lacking the means?

    Now THAT’S a God of tremendous nobility and sensitivity and compassion! I am oh, so inspired to worship this God of yours…who is no monster, but instead, very much like us: not wanting to get involved, not willing to pay the price, not capable of making much of a difference.

  72. Robert,

    Jonathan has proven himself a liar with regard to me in particular and, more generally almost wholly unreliable in his reading of history and Calvinism.

    Give me a break! With all the different feuds on here, the one between you and Jonathan seems the least substantive (on both sides) to me. I was surprised by his outburst at you, and am surprised by your current stance against him now. I haven’t been present for the years(?) you guys have been arguing, maybe it is just frustration that has built up over that time, I don’t know. But from what I’ve seen, it all seems petty to me.

  73. Eric,

    Yes, yes, I know. Any explanation that doesn’t have the Father binding His Son over His lap and spanking Him to death and then casting Him into hell for the sins committed for only the elect will simply not do for you.

    I’m no theologian, but there might be a reason theologically that He had to die (maybe to fully identify with sinful flesh, which dies), but the gruesomeness of the method, the torture beforehand, and the humiliation still seem unnecessarily over the top for an infinite being. All of these seem to attribute to higher satisfaction, not to the to “needed” punishment.

    Here is a question that I honestly have. Tell me why on your system did the Son have to go to hell for 3 days; why so long; why so short? If the divine person is taking our punishment, and our punishment includes an eternity in hell, why is He not still there suffering in our place? He suffered infinitely in that short time, I guess would be your answer. But why did He go for so long, if He could have done infinite suffering and infinitesimally short period of time?

  74. I mean:
    “…could have done infinite suffering [in an] infinitesimally short period of time?”

  75. Mateo,

    Hogwash! You believe that God decrees evil, and by decree, you don’t mean permit – you mean that God causes the evil to actualize through the meat puppets that God has chosen to implement the evil that God has ordained.
    When God decrees that the baby has to be raped, the baby will be raped, and the man that has to rape the baby had no choice in the matter because it was decreed that this will happen before the rapist and the victims were ever born.

    So much is wrong here. But Eric’s response to you above is golden.

    The substantive point I’ve been trying to make is this one—Why does permission make God “less” of a moral monster than ordaining it. If I were to stand by and let such a crime happen even if it was well within my power to stop it, why am I in trouble but God isn’t?

  76. Robert,

    “If I were to stand by and let such a crime happen even if it was well within my power to stop it, why am I in trouble but God isn’t?”

    There are many examples where you permitting a crime you could prevent does not mean you are “in trouble” or just as responsible and morally culpable for it as the agent performing the crime.

  77. The substantive point I’ve been trying to make is this one—Why does permission make God “less” of a moral monster than ordaining it. If I were to stand by and let such a crime happen even if it was well within my power to stop it, why am I in trouble but God isn’t?

    Because God is in a place to KNOW the Good that WILL come from permitting it, and you murder don’t. Also, when a murder is allowed to murder by God, the murder as the author of that sin, is justly punished for it by a Just and Good God. And the victims will also be Justly compensated. God causing you to murder to create a Good and then punishing you for Him causing you to sin, simply isn’t Just. Your god authors not only all the Goods, but all the Evils as well. If God doesn’t care about free will, as yours seems to, He could create Goods without evil – your God simply doesn’t want to. Which is why the goodness of your god gets questioned.

    Free willed creatures who have a capacity for choosing great goods, will also have to have the capacity for choosing great evils. Since we are allowed to exist at all by a Good God. I can only surmise that the ultimate Goods that God is creating, known only to God, involves free willed creatures. The lows of the Fall will be justified by the pinnacles reached at the Restoration, revealed to us at the End.

  78. Eric,

    “I still haven’t figured out why it’s so difficult for Catholics to answer these questions: 1. But why this particular type of death, why this incredible amount of pain? 2. If he died “on our behalf,” in what way did he do so?”

    I can’t figure out why it is so difficult for to you to grasp the answer. We keep telling you but you are not satisfied.

  79. Mateo,

    Eric smeared the God who made him and will judge him with,

    “Mateo’s God impotently sits around on his butt, watching little babies get raped. Does he wring his hands and moan and weep, Mateo, wishing he could do something but lacking the means?”

    WOW. Didn’t Calvin say, in so many words, that his god sovereignly decreed this, even putting it in their hearts or some such blasphemy?
    Luther laughed it off with his horse with two riders blasphemy.

  80. Lane–

    I’m not expecting you as a Catholic to conform to my explanation for Christ’s death. But it seems awfully odd to me that you don’t even HAVE an explanation of your own.

    The Greek of the Nicene Creed has Christ descending into Hades, not Hell, the place of the dead, not the place of eternal torment. (Scripture just has him preaching to the spirits “in prison,” whatever that means.) He didn’t suffer the second death because his purpose was to defeat death. Just as he died and rose again, we will die and rise again.

    I don’t get you Catholics. The Republicans talk about the “Eleventh Commandment”: Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans. You Catholics seem to follow a similar ethic. In the feud between Robert and Jonathan, as far as I can tell, Jonathan is the aggressor, basing his animosity on things that have been said elsewhere, on other blogs and articles. But even if they share blame somewhat equally, why would you–who don’t know anything about either man–come down solely on Robert? The phenomenon makes me feel as if Catholics, in general, lack any real sense of integrity. I have called my fellow Calvinists on the carpet on numerous occasions. Go thou and do likewise.

  81. Jim–

    I didn’t smear the God who made me. I smeared the Roman God who is much too weak to have made anybody. (But he’s good at doing impressions of Pontius Pilate: washing his hands of blame as he stands by and watches evil happen.)

  82. Jim–

    I haven’t seen anything approaching a reasonable answer issue from your [digital] lips. Apparently, neither has Lane. Help the neophyte out with your blazing wisdom!

  83. Eric,

    So either you want God to be blameworthy for evil, or you want Him to remain blameless even as He actively determines and creates evil.

    I thought Calvinists were all about “permission” in relation to evil – can you give me an example when you permit someone to do wrong that does not involve you standing by and watching that person do wrong?

  84. ERIC May 17, 2015 at 7:52 pm
    Mateo–
    We don’t cherish the “ability to sin” but the assurance that we will be forgiven.

    If you repent. Repentance is key.

    But then, you already knew that.

    No, I don’t. Now, you are saying you don’t cherish the ability to sin. But you know you will be forgiven IF you sin. That is totally different. And that is Catholic Doctrine. We also believe that God will forgive us, when we repent of our sins.

    So Bird and Magic gave themselves athletic talent

    Yes. They are both known as hard workers who would practice longer hours than their contemporaries.

    and grew themselves to be 6 feet 9 inches tall?

    Are you insinuating that any man who is 6 foot 9 inches tall would be considered an all star in the NBA and NCAA?

    What we have here is an example of synergism. Even if God had given them all the ability in the world, they would still have to put that into practice and show up for the games and do the things they needed to do to win. They did what they had to do to win their perishable crowns.

    Merit. All merit, you say.

    That is correct. They merited their position in the NCAA and NBA. There were plenty of other people 6 feet 9 inches tall who were not even considered for these positions.

    (For the sake of the analogy, let’s just call them “freaks of nature” who never had to practice or train a single day of their lives. Happy now? No merit involved.)

    Did they have to show up for the games? Did they have to run and play and master their positions? Yeah. There’s merit involved.

  85. Lane wrote:
    Free willed creatures who have a capacity for choosing great goods, will also have to have the capacity for choosing great evils. Since we are allowed to exist at all by a Good God. I can only surmise that the ultimate Goods that God is creating, known only to God, involves free willed creatures. The lows of the Fall will be justified by the pinnacles reached at the Restoration, revealed to us at the End.

    Response:
    Such a happy ending ! Focus on “will also have to have the capacity for choosing great evils.” Make peace with the capacity if you want free willed creatures at the End. Please tell us how the capacity will not become sins at the End. Why no fall after the Restoration ?

  86. Jim–

    In other words, you keep telling me that you have kept telling me without actually telling me in the first place. I must admit, it’s an ingenious ploy for those times when you don’t really know the answer!

  87. James–

    It’s a matter of whether or not you stand by and watch for a good purpose…or just because you cannot do anything about it. When our State Department refuses to negotiate with terrorists so as not to inspire further terrorism, this would be an example of standing by and watching to good purpose (despite the capability of freeing the current victim).

    God ordains evil in order to bring about greater good (as with the Crucifixion of Christ). This is the authorship of GOOD, employing the [permissive] ordination of evil.

  88. De Maria–

    You wrote:

    “Did they have to show up for the games? Did they have to run and play and master their positions? Yeah. There’s merit involved.”

    Someone held a gun to their heads and forced them to show up. They learned their positions by osmosis. There was absolutely no merit involved.

  89. Eric,

    “It’s a matter of whether or not you stand by and watch for a good purpose”

    Congratulations. You’ve just described the orthodox understanding of divine permission of evil espoused by all non-Calvinists.

    “this would be an example of standing by and watching to good purpose”

    Right so all permission involves standing by and watching. The implied qualifier of “helplessly” you and your cohorts continue to charge any non-Calvinist position with remains unwarranted.

  90. James–

    It depends on whether God works in an ad hoc manner, cleaning up messes after they’ve been made, or whether the aforesaid “good purpose” was intended beforehand (i.e., it was ordained).

    What we intend for evil, he intends for good…even for us. You do seem to have him helplessly standing by, dependent on our free decisions, especially when it comes to how those decisions affect us ourselves.

  91. Eric,

    It depends on whether God works in an ad hoc manner, cleaning up messes after they’ve been made, or whether the aforesaid “good purpose” was intended beforehand (i.e., it was ordained).

    What we intend for evil, he intends for good…even for us. You do seem to have him helplessly standing by, dependent on our free decisions, especially when it comes to how those decisions affect us ourselves.

    Ding ding ding.

    Much of it goes back to the unwillingness of the Romanists to affirm finally irresistible grace. If grace isn’t finally irresistible, then it really comes down to God being dependent on our “free” decisions. Perhaps it is not fair to say that God just stands by, but it is certainly fair to say that the most God ever does is beg and plead with us to do what is good. He doesn’t work irresistibly, ever. So it isn’t grace that finally does it. It’s that little bit of good left in us that decides to acquiesce to grace because remember, grace is never finally irresistible.

    Gotta protect that autonomous freedom. At all costs. Its the sunnum bonus of existence. Nothing is more important to God than creaturely autonomous free will, not even our salvation. He’d rather see us in hell than effectually save us from first to last.

  92. MATEO May 18, 2015 at 1:41 am
    DeMaria, would you please refrain from responding to Kevin? Just scroll past his comments without reading them.

    Hi Mateo,

    Well, I don’t think that tactic is working. We’ve been ignoring him for a long time and the guy is still here. All that this tactic is doing is allowing him to take his potshots at the Catholic Church without rebuttal.

    Until someone starts moderating this board, I think it is better served if we show his errors, rather than letting it appear as though his errors hold sway.

    At least, that’s the tactic I’m going to follow.

  93. FRED May 18, 2015 at 5:11 am
    DeMaria, You need to focus.

    No, Fred, you do. You’re changing the subject again. Here’s my response again. Simply answer the question.

    DE MARIA May 17, 2015 at 7:20 pm
    FRED May 17, 2015 at 7:28 am
    DeMaria said ” Then what does it mean ” worthy of Him” it strongly suggests merit.” No, it doesn’t. Christians are justified by faith alone. ….

    Don’t change the subject, Fred. If it isn’t merit to say, “worthy of Him”, then what is it?
    mer·it
    ?mer?t/
    noun
    1.
    the quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward.
    “composers of outstanding merit”
    synonyms: excellence, quality, caliber, worth, worthiness, credit, value, distinction, eminence
    “composers of outstanding merit”
    antonyms: inferiority
    a feature or fact that deserves praise or reward.
    plural noun: merits
    “the relative merits of both approaches have to be considered”
    synonyms: good point, strong point, advantage, benefit, value, asset, plus
    “the merits of the scheme”
    BRITISH
    a pass grade in an examination denoting above-average performance.
    “if you expect to pass, why not go for a merit or a distinction?”
    LAW
    the intrinsic rights and wrongs of a case, outside of any other considerations.
    plural noun: merits
    “a plaintiff who has a good arguable case on the merits”
    THEOLOGY
    good deeds regarded as entitling someone to a future reward from God.
    plural noun: merits
    verb
    verb: merit; 3rd person present: merits; past tense: merited; past participle: merited; gerund or present participle: meriting
    1.
    deserve or be worthy of (something, especially reward, punishment, or attention).
    “the results have been encouraging enough to merit further investigation”
    synonyms: deserve, earn, be deserving of, warrant, rate, justify, be worthy of, be worth, be entitled to, have a right to, have a claim to/on
    “the accusation did not merit a response”

    Focus, Fred. Focus. What does it mean to “be worthy of Him”?

    We are talking about justification.

    Yeah and you brought up taking up our cross. And you claimed it was descriptive and not prescriptive. But it sounds prescriptive.

    No one denies that someone who isn’t willing to follow Christ isn’t worthy of Him.

    What does that mean, Fred?

    But we aren’t freed from the penalty of our sin by our worthiness, only his.

    Then what does it mean to be worthy of Him? Why is that unimportant? That sentence says that the only way to be worthy in God’s eyes is to take up our cross and follow Him. It sounds very much like the only way to merit salvation is to take up our cross and follow Him.

    Hence, this scripture is about sanctification, which comes after justification in Christianity. ALL of our sins are already stoned for, unlike for you where you are making satisfaction for temporal punishment on the instalment plan. K

    You are still avoiding the question, K. What does it mean to be “worthy of Him”? If it doesn’t have anything to do with merit, why is the word “worth” used there?

  94. ERIC May 18, 2015 at 3:51 pm
    De Maria–
    You wrote:
    “Did they have to show up for the games? Did they have to run and play and master their positions? Yeah. There’s merit involved.”
    Someone held a gun to their heads and forced them to show up. They learned their positions by osmosis. There was absolutely no merit involved.

    Lol! You absolutely don’t get it. Even if they were forced to show up. Even if they learned their positions by osmosis. They still had to perform.

    Your example absolutely demolishes monergism and faith alone.

  95. De Maria, you write:

    Until someone starts moderating this board, I think it is better served if we show his errors, rather than letting it appear as though his errors hold sway.
    At least, that’s the tactic I’m going to follow.

    I can see that what you are doing is well intentioned. But Jesus also said we are not to cast our pearls before swine, which I have learned to mean that there are some people that Jesus doesn’t want us to interact with if we can avoid it (i.e. the swine that Jesus speaks about, the wicked ones that Paul speaks about) .

    I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber — not even to eat with such a one.
    … “Drive out the wicked person from among you.” 1 Cor. 5:11-13

    I just ask you to pray about this before you have any more interaction with Kevin. As for me, I know what God wants of me – he wants me to have nothing to do with Kevin, to not even to read his posts.

  96. De Maria and Mateo and all Catholics,

    I have done both and much more, and I can’t say what works that we do or don’t do with Kevin.

    But this might be the time to tell you all something. For what it is worth, God is listening.

    I have seen it.

    There was a Eucharistic miracle not 3 blocks from his house that involved 5 total strangers who were led by the Holy Spirit to pray for Kevin about a month ago.

    I live half away across the country, but was there.

    Crazy Unfathomable Divine Mercy is out to convert him and he doesn’t even know it is happening. But I have seen it.

    I wonder if this grace will be irresistible, Robert? We can all watch and see. It could be the conversion of all conversions. But I warn you, we just might all be dead before we see it.

    I say if the Holy Spirit leads you to respond, do it. Or if you are directly attack by the spirits within him, be strong and don’t respond (I’m still struggling to let God be the deciding factor). By even writing this I have to be sure that this is what I should write . . . bien.

    God is in control. Through the mess of him, I have been strengthened, I believe he has affected all who read what he writes in one way or another.

    Peace and mercy be on all of us.

  97. Robert, you write:

    Perhaps it is not fair to say that God just stands by …

    Of course it is not fair for you to say that – that is a straw man that you are attacking, not something that I believe, or have ever said that I believe.

    God exists outside of time. Time, as we know it, is something that is created by God. God is transcendent of time as we perceive it – God is not a created being that is trapped in time. And yet, God is also immanent in every moment of time.

    God dwells in the eternal now, and if a man rapes an infant in one moment of time, God is there with the rapist permitting the rape to happen. But God is also standing at the rapist’s particular judgement as a just God that always punishes unrepentant acts of evil involving grave matter.

    What you can’t accept is that every instant of a man’s life is before God in the eternal now, which in our perception of time includes a man’s past, present and future. If a man rapes a baby and dies unrepentant for that sin, he is also standing before God in his particular judgement in the eternal now of God.

    God is not impotent when a unrepentant rapist is standing before him for his particular judgement. God’s just punishment for unrepentant rape is severe and everlasting – the second death in the lake of fire.

    Since we dwell in the time that God has created, it seems to us that God is just standing by letting a baby be raped with no response from God. But that isn’t true at all – that is merely an an illusion created in our minds because we don’t dwell in the eternal now of God. No one that dies unrepentant for mortal sin is also going to escape the justice of God. One must believe that by faith, if one is a Christian.

    Robert, unrepentant heresy and unrepentant blasphemy are sins that involve grave matter, just like unrepentant rape and unrepentant murder. Repent and be saved!

  98. Robert,

    Gotta protect that autonomous freedom. At all costs. Its the sunnum bonus of existence. Nothing is more important to God than creaturely autonomous free will, not even our salvation. He’d rather see us in hell than effectually save us from first to last.

    Interesting criticism from a Calvinist who thinks God predestines people for hell. Yes, he’d rather see us in hell, indeed.

  99. De Maria,

    So, if someone holds a gun to your head and you rake my yard as a result, I will owe you all sorts of kudos for the good turn you did me. Is that what you”re telling me?

    I”ll call the police to get that miserable gunman arrested, but you’ll be waiting a long time to receive thanks for all your hard work.

  100. Lane,

    Huh? God would rather see us in hell than not rely on our cooperation to save us? Can you see why, when it comes right down to it, we accuse you all of works righteousness? What else could it be called?

  101. Eric,
    So, if someone holds a gun to your head and you rake my yard as a result, I will owe you all sorts of kudos for the good turn you did me. Is that what you”re telling me?

    What was all that about Calvinists rejecting coercion as an apt illustration gain?

  102. De Maria,

    I”ve heard it said (in some location, at some point in time, by somebody or other) that the human psyche cannot hold to a contradiction without surrendering its rationality.

    If a gift is of grace, merit is ruled out.
    If a reward is merited, grace is ruled out.

    One cannot earn that which is freely given.
    One cannot receive free of charge that which one has earned.

  103. James,

    Took you awhile.

    I cannot set up a human analogy without making the subjects automatons of some sort.

    God, on the other hand, need not resort to such measures.

  104. James,

    In other words, the point of the analogy had nothing whatever to do with merit or lack of merit. It had to do with the acceptance of the elect not being conditional. De Maria was not responding to my point, but wheedling out of answering by illegitimately stretching the metaphor.

    No human relationship is entirely unconditional. But our relationship with God IS.

  105. Eric,
    “No human relationship is entirely unconditional. But our relationship with God IS.”

    I think you mean God’s love FOR US is unconditional.

    OUR relationship with Him is definitely conditional because we learn about God through human relationships is one form or another. No man is an island.

    God has always reached us through human relationships.

  106. Without knowing exactly how to explain this,
    I give you the importance of having a Church (and every layer of meaning church has) on this earth to minister to us His unconditional love.

  107. Debbie,

    There is always something we can do to screw up our earthly relationships. Even families and athletic teams and military “bands of brothers” have limits on what indignities they will endure.

    God does not have such limits.

  108. DeMaria,

    I must respectfully disagree with you.
    You have been blogging here for years. You have quite a bit of experience with the troll ( whom we should not even be referencing ). Do you honestly think dialogue is even possible with him? Be honest now.

    He was forgiven and allowed back on the blog on two occasions. After a period of feigned cooperation and pretending to debate the issues, he reverted back to form.

    As mentioned, Nick does not allow him to post on his own blog.
    You have a blog, right? Invite him over there.
    Or take a walk on the wild side and engage the troll on his turf, where the gloves are off. He may be a bit subdued here, on his best ( false ) behavior, but see him in his full glory over on Tim Kauffman’s.

    About a year ago, young Kenneth W. and I came to blows over the troll. Kenneth, himself a convert who once hated the Church, felt that we should allow the troll to blog. He felt that the troll is just venting or working through the same sort of problems he ( Kenneth ) himself had to go through and the love and patience of Catholics finally won out. Kenneth had his own ( excellent ) blog at the time. The troll and I came to loggerheads there over his slurring. I was the one sent away and the troll stayed.
    I have since heard Kenneth woke up to the fact that the troll is not a sincere Protestant. He is a troll. A troll just wants to heckle and irritate. I understand the troll no longer posts there. Ask Kenneth for the facts.

    Let me relate a Troll Tale to make my point.
    Last years I made my annual trip to Portland. I met Nick our host there. As is my custom, before leaving Portugal I drove to Fatima and bought a bag of cheap little wooden rosaries like the pastorinhos used to hand out as little gifts to folks in Portland. I gave a rosary or two(?) to Nick.
    I mentioned this on Kauffman’s blog ( I have offered to send Kauffman’s Catholic mom such a rosary but he won’t give me her address ).
    Anyway, the troll started mocking my “plastic ” rosaries. Not that I have anything against plastic rosaries*, I just happened to correct him by saying it was a wooden rosary.
    That was a mistake. He saw that I wanted the record to state I hand out WOODEN rosaries, not plastic ones. ( Actually, I am also a member of the Rosary Center in Portland that produces and sends out plastic rosaries all over the world ).

    From that point on, the troll went out of his way to interject the adjective “plastic” every time he mentioned the word “rosary” just because he (mistakenly ) thought it irritated me.
    This is classic troll behavior.

    Now, do you really think you are going to have a debate with the guy? He will grind you down to a pulp my friend. You are not debating an honest Protestant. The guys is not even a Protestant. He is a Jack Chick bigot.

    And you should not encourage his mockery of the Host for ANY reason on this blog. Invite him to yours. Please.

  109. Eric,

    For the umpteenth time, the Bibles says, “STRIVE for holiness without which no one will see God”.
    Striving, working, exerting, straining, doing, etc. do not take away from the gratuity of grace. Augustine was a Pelagian if it does.

    Grace does not merely free up the will, heal from sin, or move the will to act.
    Grace ELEVATES.
    No human striving can elevate. Not because human striving is shot through with sin, ( even sinless Adam needed grace ) but because we are talking about a totally different level of existing.

    The issue is not one of a difference between human effort vs freebie. The difference is all about nature and supernature.

    Lane or Mateo said above that Protestants don’t understand the different kinds of actual graces. Yes. They also don’t understand the difference between actual and SANCTIFYING grace.

  110. Class, Boys and Girls,

    How does grace justify? What is grace?

    Ever notice how you never tire of learning? Oh, for sure, yuor material brain gets weary from studying for a test. But your immaterial intellect never fills up. You always are curious to know more about the world.

    Nor does your immaterial ever love to full capacity. You never run out of love for your family and friends. You seem to have a capacity for the infinite. This is what the smart guys call an “obendencia potentialis “. It explains why only a rational creature can be elevated to participate in the divine nature.

    Grace elevates the soul. With it Faith, Hope and Charity given to the soul’s faculties of intellect and will. By Faith we can know God as he knows himself in the Trinity and not just as creator. Hope makes us strive for the attainable good of heaven.

    But they don’t actually sanctify. St. James says Faith can even exist after Charity is lost. Faith and Hope prepare us for justification and are necessary, but they are not justifying if alone.
    Why?

    Faith and Hope give us knowledge of God. Charity gives us God.
    Charity is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given as our heavenly guest.

    You Augustine quoters should know that he said that Charity is not God’s love for us. It is God’s love for himself given to us. It is not natural love of creature for creator.
    It is the Love of a child for a Father that cries out “Abba”.

    You will be tested on this material later. Got a train to catch.

  111. Mateo,

    So what you are saying is that its okay for God to do nothing to stop the criminal because one day he’ll judge the criminal?

    Okay, while there is truth in that somewhere, you are missing the larger point. Your criticism is that God ordained the crime and that if He does so, He’s a moral monster. But we also believe God ordained the judgment for the crime. You are now saying that if God does nothing to stop the crime its okay because one day he’ll judge the criminal.

    Tell me Mateo, in which system of human justice would a judge, just watch a murder happen when he could stop it but it be okay because he knew that one day he’d put that perpetrator away? How does that judge escape being a criminal or a moral monster?

    The only credible answer is “because that judge isn’t God.” Bingo. And that’s my answer. God can ordain the crime and the punishment without being morally guilty and without eliminating the integrity of the criminal because, wait for it, he’s God.

    Which just goes to show that the exact same charges you level at Calvinism regarding the justice of God and his moral monstrosity redound to your view.

  112. Jim,

    It is God’s love for himself given to us. It is not natural love of creature for creator.

    Exactly. And since God’s love never fails, if it is given to us, we will not fail to love God and we will certainly persevere.

  113. Lane,

    Interesting criticism from a Calvinist who thinks God predestines people for hell. Yes, he’d rather see us in hell, indeed.

    I’m not the one criticizing the other side for holding that God made some men for hell. The Roman Catholic position is no less open to that charge than the Calvinist position. My simple point is that in no system is God’s desire for all people to be saved the highest good He has set before Himself. That’s why the strutting on the RC side about God wanting all men to be saved while Calvinists don’t is really quite silly. In both systems, God clearly wants something more than He wants the salvation of all men. There’s a variety of ways this can be construed with respect to God’s will, but the point is the same.

    If God wanted the salvation of all men as the highest good, then all would be saved.

  114. Robert,
    In our system we can indeed say God wants all MEN saved.
    You need to get it straight what MEN are by definition.

    Men are free agents, persons, made in God’s image. God wants those beings saved. He wants them to exercise the power of choice that he gave them.

    You object to words like “puppet”” robot” or” automaton”. I like “character in a book”,the best but you don’t like that either.

    Not meaning to offend for sake of giving offense, I don’t know how else to say it. You have totally monkeyed with the definition of MAN in order to suit your system.

    God wants all men, qua men, saved.

  115. Robert,

    The Holy Spirit is, with Charity, our gift and guest. Not our hostage. He can be grieved. He can be driven out.

    Faith can be dead. Anything dead must have once been alive. St. James speaks orf”works” but he means”works of Charity”. The emphasis is on the Charity or principal behind the works. St. Paul says even the mightiest of works, without Charity, merit zero.

    Faith alone doesn’t save. Works alone don’t save. Faith and works alone don’t save.
    Charity saves.

    So, in this life, Faith can exist without Charity. But Charity cannot exist without Faith and Hope. Not in this life. “Charity believes all things, Hopes in all things” 1 Cor 13:7.
    In the next life, Charity will exist without Faith and Hope.

    Look, there is no Faith in heaven. How can there be an organic link between justification in this life and heaven if your Faith is not in both places?
    There is no imputed righteousness in heaven either. No empty hand of faith clinging to Christ’s righteousness.

    Charity is the same on earth and in heaven. Ask Saint Paul if you doubt me.

  116. Robert,

    Now, how are you going to get this Charity stuff? You can’t dredge it up out of your bowels. It has to given you from a source outside of you.

    The Holy Spirit brings it. Of course, where the Spirit is, outside of the Trinity, all Three Person are. But we appropriate this work specifically to the Spirit because he is the spiration, breath or kiss between the Father and the Son. He is the Love of God for God.

    So how are you going to get the Holy Spirit given to you?
    Give up?

    Baptism.

  117. Robert,

    God is everywhere. He is in the souls of the damned, of people in a state of mortal sin. He is present by way of his immensity.

    He is present especially to rational creatures who can reflect upon him.

    But none of that is what we mean by GRACE.

    Grace is not God’s gracious attitude towards us. Of course, that is required, but it doesn’t end there.
    And Grace is not the Holy Spirit. If it were, we could never behold the face of God in heaven. Another Person, the Holy Spirit, would behold God but we wouldn’t.

    Grace is when that capacity our rational nature has is elevated to the supernatural level by God.
    Grace, Faith, Hope, Charity, the virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice, along with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity indwell a justified person, even a newly baptized baby.

    Lunch time where I live.

  118. Debbie said ” our love for Him is definitely conditional” This can mean 2 things. 1. The Catholic false gospel of you do and God gives you more Grace. Or 2. Our love is so imperfect, the gospel of scripture that Jesus perfectly obeyed God in our place and offers it to us as a free gift thru faith, having fulfilled the law and justifying us as a gift by His Grace. We are saved by HIS life says Romans 5:10. Hey Debbie, have those 5 strangers in my neighborhood who you had do Eucharistic hocus pocus for me, meet me on a corner, ill share the gospel with them and free them from the stigmata that God could put on them for worshipping bread in His place. K

  119. Jim said ” men are free agent” Good, can you sign with a team in Timbuktu then. I heard they have great free agent contracts. Jesus said God sent Elijah in a 3year phamon to one widow and leoper , passing over 3000 widows and many leopers. He saved 2. You KNOW what that makes Him, God. God saves some and sends others to hell. Why? He’s God. God sent his son to the slaughter. Why? He is God and He showed his love for mankind. His son suffered a violent death according to the plan of the father. And it said this , PAID IN FULL. What Jonathan calls biblical child abuse, we call fulfilling justice and ransoming us out of slavery. Why would a Father send his son to be crucified, to take on sin and DIE. Payment for our sins. One time offering in time perfected those for whom He died. God made an innocent man to BE SIN, so that we become ” the righteousness of God” in Him. ” You Catholics make it into a metaphysical essay, but it’s simple, a child could understand it. He became sin, I became free. That’s love. K

  120. Jim,

    You have totally monkeyed with the definition of MAN in order to suit your system.

    If you can prove from Scripture that what makes human beings into human beings is the kind of libertarian autonomy that non-Calvinists believe is equivalent to free will, then I’ll be glad to listen.

    God wants all men, qua men, saved.

    Sure he does. Now prove that what makes men into men is the kind of free will you espouse. From divine revelation, please.

    The Holy Spirit is, with Charity, our gift and guest. Not our hostage. He can be grieved. He can be driven out.

    Then the charity that is given to us is NOT God’s love for Himself. We don’t actually have God’s love. We have our own love that we sorta kinda mix with his love. So it’s not God’s love that saves us, it is our own loving cooperation with His love.

    Faith can be dead. Anything dead must have once been alive. St. James speaks of “works” but he means”works of Charity”. The emphasis is on the Charity or principal behind the works. St. Paul says even the mightiest of works, without Charity, merit zero.

    Or you can accept the use of metaphor. The whole notion of faith being faith if it is dead is just bizarre. It’s like when JPII was lying in state. Was that JPII. Sure, in a sense. Was it really JPII in the full sense. No it wasn’t. Seems quite bizarre to insist it was truly him. So you can see why we think it bizarre to say “that’s true faith.” But then again, you guys think mere assensus before baptism is real faith, and Trent seemed to think that is what the Reformers meant by faith. Another blunder from that robber council.

    Charity saves.

    Where does Scripture say we are justified by charity?

    Look, there is no Faith in heaven. How can there be an organic link between justification in this life and heaven if your Faith is not in both places?

    There’s no faith in heaven because there is sight. But there is still trust in God, right? It’s the trust that actually justifies. So yes there is an “organic link.” Further, in heaven we don’t have any sin that would keep us from surviving the beatific vision. It’s all been removed. And on top of that, we have the righteousness of Christ covering us from first to last.

    There is no imputed righteousness in heaven either. No empty hand of faith clinging to Christ’s righteousness.

    So we’re not clinging to Christ in heaven? I’m going to be clinging to Him in heaven thank you very much.

    So how are you going to get the Holy Spirit given to you?
    Give up?
    Baptism.

    Now where does it say in Scripture that the rite of baptism is the ex opere operato means of bestowing the Spirit. From the examples in the book of Acts, the Spirit can come before or after the actual rite. Cornelius had the Holy Spirit before He was baptized.

    I asked a few days ago where it is said that baptism is the ex opere operato means of salvation. No one gave a pertinent example. All of them say something like “believe and be baptized” or “repent and be baptized.” The most friendly reading of those texts to your position, though it is still wrong, would say that baptism plus faith or baptism plus repentance is the means of salvation. Even that reading rules out ex opere operato sacramentalism. Without the faith or repentance, the baptism does no good for salvation, which is one of the reasons your particular conception of infant baptism is just bad.

    Grace is when that capacity our rational nature has is elevated to the supernatural level by God.
    Grace, Faith, Hope, Charity, the virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice, along with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity indwell a justified person, even a newly baptized baby.

    So the four pagan virtues are stuck onto Christianity via Thomas’s Aristotelian grid and then poured into us along with the three theological virtues. And you wonder why I say that so much of Roman Catholicism appears pagan? But in any case, where does Scripture say that grace, faith, hope, charity, etc. are poured into our hearts at baptism, let alone ex opere operato baptism?

  121. Robert,
    Now you are redefining Faith to include Hope and Charity. Paul very carefully separates them out saying the greatest is Charity.

    I do concede that the word “Faith” can be a synechdoche for all three.

    Please read what James said in a good translation. He does not say, ” your faith” or “that faith” or “that kind of faith” or a “said faith”. He asks, “Can faith save you?” w/o works. No qualifiers attached.

    By the way, those pagan Greek virtues are in my Greek canon, not in your pharisaical one.

  122. Robert,

    How many times is God mentioned in your version of Esther ( a.k.a. Ishtar )?

    Zero I believe as compared to about 30 in my Greek version.

    Be careful who you are calling pagan.

  123. Robert,

    Please, tell me why Faith is needed along with infant Baptism? Faith doesn’t actually justify does it? It is just an empty hand, right? Tell me you are not Arminian after all.

    Why is Faith necessary for an adult’s Baptism? What does Faith actually do?
    What was the purpose of a profession of Faith before Baptism?

  124. Robert,

    You said to Mateo:

    Okay, while there is truth in that somewhere, you are missing the larger point. Your criticism is that God ordained the crime and that if He does so, He’s a moral monster. But we also believe God ordained the judgment for the crime. You are now saying that if God does nothing to stop the crime its okay because one day he’ll judge the criminal.

    I think the problem is more that in your system the judge forces the “criminal” to do some crime for which the “criminal” will be punished. Here the punishment is unjust, because the “criminal” didn’t author the crime.

    Tell me Mateo, in which system of human justice would a judge, just watch a murder happen when he could stop it but it be okay because he knew that one day he’d put that perpetrator away? How does that judge escape being a criminal or a moral monster?

    The only credible answer is “because that judge isn’t God.” Bingo. And that’s my answer. God can ordain the crime and the punishment without being morally guilty and without eliminating the integrity of the criminal because, wait for it, he’s God.

    Nope. The moral monster charge is due to the way you describe the “freedom” of sinners. Sending sinners to hell for crimes that they were forced to do is the problem for me.

  125. Robert,

    ” Further, in heaven we don’t have any sin that would keep us from surviving the beatific vision. It’s all been removed. And on top of that, we have the righteousness of Christ covering us from first to last.”

    What?!?! Just removal of sin doesn’t justify, does it? That puts us back to ground zero only, right?
    In heaven we will have an imputed righteousness? Really? God can be tricked into seeing something that is not there?

    Back atcha’! you show me THAT in the Good Book.

  126. Lane,

    Sending sinners to hell for crimes that they were forced to do is the problem for me.

    God doesn’t force sinners to sin. They do exactly what they want to do. And, in fact, the impenitent would much rather be in hell than be in the presence of God.

  127. Robert,

    Hmmmmm?
    What did the Fathers have to say on Baptism? When did all this JBFA cockemamy business start?

    Don’t answer. Trick question only.

  128. Robert,

    Where does Scripture say we are justified by charity?

    And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

    Seems that Paul is saying which is most important here. Prophetic powers? No. Understanding? No. Knowledge? No. Faith? Suprisingly nope. Love? Yes, love is the goal, without it you are nothing. Probably not even fully human without it.

  129. Robert,
    WINK! You sly dog, you. You said to Lane, “God doesn’t force sinners to sin. They do exactly what they want to do. ” WINK! WINK!

    Of course, you didn’t tell Lane Calvinism’s little secret. God made them incapable of anything but sinning “exactly what they want to do”. WINK

    God made fish incapable of wanting to fly. Then he damned them for spending the whole day splashing about and frolicking in the water instead of obeying his command to fly like an eagle. WINK ( You slippery rascal you! )

  130. Lane,

    Robert said, “Where does Scripture say we are justified by charity?”

    I like it where Jesus tells the repentant woman, “Go in peace, your FAITH has saved you because you LOVE much”.

  131. Please read what James said in a good translation. He does not say, ” your faith” or “that faith” or “that kind of faith” or a “said faith”. He asks, “Can faith save you?” w/o works. No qualifiers attached.

    The antecedent is “says he has faith,” so James is referring to the mere profession of faith, as even many RC NT scholars now recognize.

    By the way, those pagan Greek virtues are in my Greek canon, not in your pharisaical one.

    Well, better the “pharisaical” canon that Jesus and the Apostles affirmed as being from God than the “Greek” one that they didn’t.

    How many times is God mentioned in your version of Esther ( a.k.a. Ishtar )?
    Zero I believe as compared to about 30 in my Greek version.
    Be careful who you are calling pagan.

    How many of the Apostles accepted the Greek version of Esther as being canonical. Zero.

    Please, tell me why Faith is needed along with infant Baptism? Faith doesn’t actually justify does it? It is just an empty hand, right? Tell me you are not Arminian after all.

    Faith is the instrumental means by which we lay hold of Christ. The empty hand analogy is just to note that we don’t bring anything deserving of salvation to Christ, contra Romanism.

    Why is Faith necessary for an adult’s Baptism? What does Faith actually do?
    What was the purpose of a profession of Faith before Baptism?

    Faith is the instrumental means of justification. The purpose of a profession of faith before baptism is to declare God before men, not to ask the church to give him something he already has, namely, faith. Again, contra Romanism.

    What?!?! Just removal of sin doesn’t justify, does it? That puts us back to ground zero only, right?

    Sure.

    In heaven we will have an imputed righteousness? Really? God can be tricked into seeing something that is not there?

    God is never “tricked.” Our union with Christ is so close, so magnificent, so indisturbable that what is His actually becomes ours. Christ really is there and His righteousness really has replaced my unrighteousness. We don’t believe in a “I love him, I love him not” union whereby Christ’s merit can’t ever really become ours until much later. It really is there, and it really is the basis of our justification. God never “pretends.” He just chooses to substitute Christ’s righteousness for my own. It’s a real substitution.

    Back atcha’! you show me THAT in the Good Book.

    Many, many passages. One of the clearest is 1 Cor. 1:30 wherein CHRIST becomes our righteousness, not our good works plus Christ. Titus 3 is also an excellent one wherein we are saved not by works done in holiness of heart. Of course, there is the standard Romans 4–5, where we are justified by Christ’s act of obedience, not our own. And on and on and on. It’s crystal clear that we are justified by Christ’s righteousness and not by our love for Him or by His love for Himself through us. Such a notion reflects a poor understanding of Scripture, and there’s been no excuse for its persistence since the Reformation.

  132. Robert,

    Without the faith or repentance, the baptism does no good for salvation, which is one of the reasons your particular conception of infant baptism is just bad.

    So your baptized babies can go to hell? Or are you suggesting infants are capable of repentance? Are infants capable of sin in the first place for which they should repent?

  133. Jim–

    It would help if you knew some Greek.

    Do the demons also have a genuine but dead (workless) faith? [James 2:19] Does their belief in Christ include trust in Christ?

  134. Jim,

    What did the Fathers have to say on Baptism?

    Many of them seem to affirm baptismal regeneration. They were wrong. They err. Many of them were very poorly acquainted with the Jewish background of the NT. Many of them say things that can be taken as baptismal regeneration or not. I don’t read Roman presuppositions into the fathers simply because they repeat language or use words that any Presbyterian can use and mean something different.

    All of us pick and choose. Even Roman Catholics. It’s why you guys can have such doctrines as the jurisdictional primacy of the papacy. Something almost entirely unknown to the Fathers.

    When did all this JBFA cockemamy business start?

    In the Old Testament, carried through to the New, appearing throughout church history in such places as Diogenetus, Clement, Chrysostom, and other writers that touch or allude to it here and there, and with newfound emphasis in the Reformation when the Reformers were fighting against the works-righteousness that had severely corrupted the church.

  135. Robert,

    “Now where does it say in Scripture that the rite of baptism is the ex opere operato means of bestowing the Spirit.”

    Where does it say it isn’t? ( Ha! Gotcha’ there Mr. Bible-Only-Man. )

    ” From the examples in the book of Acts, the Spirit can come before or after the actual rite. Cornelius had the Holy Spirit before He was baptized.”

    OOH! I got a snappy comeback for that’un. Robert, could Cornelius have gone on to receive the Eucharist prior ot being Baptized? ( Remember what I told you about the seal of Baptism? Grace can indeed be given pre-Sacrament. Happens all the time. But until Baptism, those folks are not yet fully Christian so they stop there in their growth ).

  136. Robert,

    The Fathers were unfamiliar with Jewish custom?

    Tell me, when did a Jewish boy become a Jew, before or after circumcision?

  137. Jim–

    When did all this JBFA business start?

    Paul.

  138. Robert said to Jim:

    Jim:What did the Fathers have to say on Baptism?

    Robert:Many of them seem to affirm baptismal regeneration. They were wrong. They err. Many of them were very poorly acquainted with the Jewish background of the NT.

    lol, the arrogance! Just like liberal textual critics think that they know better sitting thousands of years removed.

    What if we find more information as we more forward and gain further insight into the Jewish background of the NT and it turns out YOU are wrong today. Do we drop books and passages from the bible based on renewed understanding? Do we drop beliefs held for thousands of years?

  139. Robert, (html…)

    Jim:What did the Fathers have to say on Baptism?

    Robert:Many of them seem to affirm baptismal regeneration. They were wrong. They err. Many of them were very poorly acquainted with the Jewish background of the NT.

    lol, the arrogance! Just like liberal textual critics think that they know better sitting thousands of years removed.

    What if we find more information as we more forward and gain further insight into the Jewish background of the NT and it turns out YOU are wrong today. Do we drop books and passages from the bible based on renewed understanding? Do we drop beliefs held for thousands of years?

  140. Hi Eric,

    PSSST Keep this down but one of my posts didn’t go through about 45 minutes ago. Somebody else ( guess who ) was intruding at the same moment. His post appeared instead and hit me square between the running lights before I could look away. I saw some nasty business about by pet peeve but opted to obey blog rules and bit by tongue.
    Please scroll up and check it out. Maybe show it to your wife. Then you can address it via private email.
    Ask your wife if I just may have a teeny weeny bit of justification for my ire.
    I would appreciate it. Thanks so much.

  141. Robert,

    God doesn’t force sinners to sin.

    Oh good, then a sinner is free to choose not to sin then?

  142. Eric,

    Do you have a minute for a story? It is about about one of the darkest events in Lisbon’s history. Maybe your wife would be interested as it is a true story about a mob of crazed Catholics, much like myself, who went on a killing spree here in Lisbon about 500 years ago.

    The secular history books make a great deal out of it. One American ex-pat over here has written and lectured quite a bit about it both in Europe and America. His name is Zimmler, or Zimmerman or Ziegler or something.

    It seems that during a religious procession through the narrow streets of Lisbon, the faithful suddenly turned into a mob. Their Catholic piety, true to form, changed to fanaticism and turned ugly. They decided, out of the blue, to kill all the Jews of Lisbon. Just for a lark. ( You know how we are).

    What seems to be left out of the popular modern accounts of the event is this; A chamber pot was “accidentally” dumped out of the window at the very moment the Blessed Sacrament ( I think , if I have the story right ) was passing below.
    That was the last of a series of straws inflicted on an ordinarily passive populace.
    All the Jews, even the good ones were burnt up because of one troll er..I mean.. one… bad apple.

    Do try to see things through our eyes. Just once. Please.

  143. Lane,

    Oh good, then a sinner is free to choose not to sin then?

    He’s free physically, mentally, etc. Just not morally. Just as He isn’t free not to sin if God knows with certainty that He will sin.

  144. Lane,

    Knock it off! You are taunting Robert with,

    “Oh good, then a sinner is free to choose not to sin then?”

    Behave yourself!

  145. Robert,

    “Just as He isn’t free not to sin if God knows with certainty that He will sin.”

    Ha! Wink. Wink!

  146. Lane,

    lol, the arrogance! Just like liberal textual critics think that they know better sitting thousands of years removed.

    No, because “liberal” text critics don’t have good arguments, nor do they give the benefit of the doubt to what they study. I actually give the benefit of the doubt until something can be shown to be unscriptural.

    What if we find more information as we more forward and gain further insight into the Jewish background of the NT and it turns out YOU are wrong today. Do we drop books and passages from the bible based on renewed understanding? Do we drop beliefs held for thousands of years?

    If something can be proven wrong, we stop believing error. We don’t dogmatize error and then pretend as if the church has always believed something it hasn’t. We don’t hold up as truth things that contradict divine revelation simply because some non-inspired person whom we respect taught it.

    This notion that the fathers must be right because they are the fathers needs to die. Even Rome doesn’t believe the consensus of the fathers is always true. There’s all sorts of consensus beliefs that Rome ignores. Papacy being the best example.

  147. Jim,

    The Fathers were unfamiliar with Jewish custom?

    It’s pretty evident that a large degree of anti-Semitism early entered the church. Couple that with the failure of many of the fathers to know Hebrew plus an overwhelming tendency to see Scripture through a Greek philosophical grid and there you go. For example, Augustine, bless his soul, never entirely escaped his Neo-Platonism. The whole notion of being elevated beyond creaturehood and the fundamental incompatibility of body and soul apart from grace are not biblical concepts. They are pagan ones.

    At their best, the Fathers use Greek philosophy, transforming the meaning of certain concepts according to Scripture. But they don’t do this consistently. No theologian does, that is why there is a constant need for reformation according to Scripture.

  148. Jim,

    Robert, could Cornelius have gone on to receive the Eucharist prior ot being Baptized? ( Remember what I told you about the seal of Baptism? Grace can indeed be given pre-Sacrament. Happens all the time. But until Baptism, those folks are not yet fully Christian so they stop there in their growth ).

    I don’t even know what to respond to here as you are assuming the Apostles were operating with a fully developed medieval Roman Catholic sacramentology. That’s anachronistic beyond words.

    Biblically speaking, COULD Cornelius have gone on to receive the Eucharist prior to being baptized? If he was a Christian, sure. That’s not ordinarily the case, as baptism in the New Testament ordinarily happens upon the first profession of faith (for adults, anyway), but there’s no biblical reason I can see to refuse the Eucharist to a believer if he has true faith but for reasons outside of his control has not been able to be baptized yet.

  149. Robert,

    No, because “liberal” text critics don’t have good arguments, nor do they give the benefit of the doubt to what they study. I actually give the benefit of the doubt until something can be shown to be unscriptural.

    How uncharitable. They may have wrong premises (which lead them to wrong conclusions), but I think they (some at least) are doing what they believe to be the right thing with the Scriptures to pull out truths.

    If something can be proven wrong, we stop believing error. We don’t dogmatize error and then pretend as if the church has always believed something it hasn’t. We don’t hold up as truth things that contradict divine revelation simply because some non-inspired person whom we respect taught it.

    “We don’t dogmatize error”, exactly what a liberal text critic would say. They aren’t dogmatizing “errors” like inerrancy for example.

    They have errors in premises, you have errors in premises also. Your easy blowing off of early church fathers who sat at the feet of apostles (or their prized students) for one, based on your “better” understanding 20 centuries removed.

  150. Robert,

    “The whole notion of being elevated beyond creaturehood and the fundamental incompatibility of body and soul apart from grace are not biblical concepts. They are pagan ones.”

    Are you honestly going to tell me you need the Bible to realize all material creatures, composite as they are, are susceptible to decomposition ? ( The Bible does say something about treasures that will not rust or be eaten by moths ).
    So the material body is going to fall apart. Genesis points to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics ( stars shine at night ).

    The soul, however, is not material. It won’t decay. Even in hell, it is naturally immortal. It never dies or is burnt up. Explain how two such orders of natural being can exist in perfect harmony without a third element coming into play.

    You are being a great argument against Sola Scripture.

    “there’s no biblical reason I can see to refuse the Eucharist to a believer if he has true faith but for reasons outside of his control has not been able to be baptized yet.”

    This is the best argument against “Bible Only” thinking I have ever seen.
    By the way, the Fathers. especially Cyril of Jerusalem, left us a lot of info on the rite of Initiation and first Communion.

  151. “In the first book, Theophilus,
    I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
    until the day he was taken up,
    after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
    to the apostles whom he had chosen.
    He presented himself alive to them
    by many proofs after he had suffered,
    appearing to them during forty days
    and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:1-11

    Since Jesus “..speaking about the kingdom of God” to the Apostles is ORAL Tradition, I would think that ORAL Tradition of the first Apostles (carefully guarded by the early Church Fathers) and their understanding of Jesus’s teaching to them of the kingdom of God, would be pretty important to Christians 20 centuries later.

  152. Jim,

    Robert:“there’s no biblical reason I can see to refuse the Eucharist to a believer if he has true faith but for reasons outside of his control has not been able to be baptized yet.”

    Jim:This is the best argument against “Bible Only” thinking I have ever seen.

    No kidding!

  153. Jim,

    This is the best argument against “Bible Only” thinking I have ever seen.

    Translation: I don’t care that the Bible doesn’t give me a good reason not to refuse the Eucharist to a true but heretofore non-baptized believer. Rome said it, so who cares if God said it. Rome is in the place of God.

    By the way, the Fathers. especially Cyril of Jerusalem, left us a lot of info on the rite of Initiation and first Communion.

    Sure they did. And where those teachings cannot be supported by Apostolic revelation, they are not to be imposed as binding on the conscience.

  154. Lane,

    .How uncharitable. They may have wrong premises (which lead them to wrong conclusions), but I think they (some at least) are doing what they believe to be the right thing with the Scriptures to pull out truths.

    How is it being uncharitable to note that most liberal text scholars approach the text as agnostics and are therefore biased against concluding what Christians have said about such things?

    “We don’t dogmatize error”, exactly what a liberal text critic would say. They aren’t dogmatizing “errors” like inerrancy for example.

    Which liberal text scholar has made a credible argument, based on the text of Scripture, against inerrancy?

    They have errors in premises, you have errors in premises also. Your easy blowing off of early church fathers who sat at the feet of apostles (or their prized students) for one, based on your “better” understanding 20 centuries removed.

    We all have errors in our premises, every single one of us, including the fathers. I’m not blowing them off, I’m just noting what even Roman Catholic anthropology should nominally affirm, namely, that Augustine, Athanasius, Irenaeus, et al were fallible men.

    The fact of the matter is that Rome blows off the consensus of the fathers where it suits her. If you all really cared about consensus, the only view of the papacy you can derive from the consensus of the fathers is the EO view. You pick and choose what to accept from the fathers based on what the Magisterium of the moment says.

    Protestants, at their best, endeavor to pick and choose from he fathers based on what the actual Apostolic documents say. Does that mean we’re always successful? Not necessarily. But at least we aren’t playing the game of pretend as if Roman Catholic doctrine is what the fathers taught.

    We both do it, Protestants just admit it. Rome pretends otherwise. It’s all about the Magisterium of the moment. I’ve had Roman Catholics tell me that we know what Trent means by what the current pope says it means, and that we can essentially ignore all the historical documentation surrounding the council that might say the fathers intended something else. That’s not honest scholarship. That is sacrificing everything for the glory of whatever the current Magisterium says.

  155. Lane, Rome’s claim to the early father’s has been debunked without argument. Tim Kauffman ” Out of His mouth” and a blog called ” One fold blog” have put transubstantian and baptismal regeneration away as ever being taught in the early church. Not one Catholic Apologist, not Cross, or any here have gone there to engage the gross Catholic misinterpretations that have been debunked I ve followed the Reformed experts on the early church, and one thing we know for sure, the early father’s maintained their categories meticulously, bread was never offered to God, just to men, only praise and thanksgiving offered to God. And baptismal regeneration wasn’t taught. K

  156. Lane, you continue to reference beliefs taught to thousands of years. This isn’t true. None of the men at Nicea knew any about Roman Catholicisms errors that rose in 389. Forbidding of marriage, Worship of Mary, gospel of gracious merit,, saint worship, Papacy, transubstantiation bread worship, Rome’s brand of incarnationalism idolatry, sacrifice of the Mass. The true church, the woman, fled to the wilderness, as taught in Revelation. And Rome persecuted the Waldenses, Albigenses, Vadois, etc. YouTube has a 3 hour documentary everyone should see. ” A Lamp in the Dark” 30 popes claiming to be God. The truth can set you free Lane, if you are willing to truly open your eyes and look. God will never accept someone trying to be justified by the Roman Catholic sacraments, never. K

  157. Robert,

    4. Assurance of salvation isn’t presumption. Presumption would be believing one is saved apart from any evidence in one’s life of a heart change, which is exactly what Calvinism has always denied.

    Such as unrepentantly murdering someone? Which some on here think is entirely within the realm of options for an “elect” person ‘sinning bravely’. That line of thought I am going to call “presumption”. Am I wrong or are you also worried for the souls of people whose understanding of Revelation lead them to these conclusions?

  158. You guys get all worked up over Catholic worship, calling it “idolatry” and “blasphemy” – which I obviously don’t believe is true. If ‘sinning bravely’ can include such mortal sins as murder, why can’t it include “idolatry”? Or does the blood of Jesus not cover Catholics sinners, but only Reformed ones? If every sin is mortal, and all sins are forgiven for the elect, and the elect can’t fall away, I don’t understand what you guys are so worried about Catholic practice.

  159. Lane,

    Such as unrepentantly murdering someone? Which some on here think is entirely within the realm of options for an “elect” person ‘sinning bravely’.

    Who says this? I’ve seen people say something like it is possible to commit murder and then to get a heart attack immediately before the fruit of repentance can be seen, but I haven’t seen anyone think that someone can live a life free of repentance and be assured of salvation. The whole point of Luther’s “sin bravely,” is not to find one’s primary means of assurance in oneself but in the promises of God.

    I mean, do you really believe that God’s grace is so pathetic that one can commit mortal sin and then fall into a coma or something else and such and never be able to repent, and that’s it even though the fruit of the person’s life is overwhelmingly good? This is the problem, one lustful thought and everything done before that is absolutely forfeit. God’s grace is unable to overcome that mortal sin in some people. They either die immediately or are rendered brain damaged or such. Too bad for them.

    It’s a rather pathetic theology of sin, I’m afraid. We hear on and on from you guys about the love of God, but the slightest slip up and BOOM, God disowns you.

    If ‘sinning bravely’ can include such mortal sins as murder, why can’t it include “idolatry”? Or does the blood of Jesus not cover Catholics sinners, but only Reformed ones? If every sin is mortal, and all sins are forgiven for the elect, and the elect can’t fall away, I don’t understand what you guys are so worried about Catholic practice.

    Lane, this is where I have to question how well you understood Reformed doctrine. The sense that the elect cannot fall away by no means takes away God’s use of means, and God saves via the means of faith and repentance. The elect will repent. There is no such thing as an impenitent elect person. We’re not antinomians.

    God’s grace can cover idolatry. It better, or we’re all going to hell because every one of us is an idolater. All of us love some things more than we love God, at least on occasion. Rome’s problem is that it has made Mariolatry dogma that must be believed or you’re going to hell. And that robber council known as Trent decided to anathematize the gospel. All sorts of people are saved and have sin. No sinner is saved without the gospel.

    Rome doesn’t have the gospel. That’s the problem.

  160. Eric,

    I don’t get you Catholics. The Republicans talk about the “Eleventh Commandment”: Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans. You Catholics seem to follow a similar ethic. In the feud between Robert and Jonathan, as far as I can tell, Jonathan is the aggressor, basing his animosity on things that have been said elsewhere, on other blogs and articles. But even if they share blame somewhat equally, why would you–who don’t know anything about either man–come down solely on Robert? The phenomenon makes me feel as if Catholics, in general, lack any real sense of integrity. I have called my fellow Calvinists on the carpet on numerous occasions. Go thou and do likewise.

    I didn’t come down “solely” on Robert, I questioned both sides for lacking substance, go back and read my comment. I may have addressed my comment only to Robert, but that was because he is the one who threw the feud in my face. I was staying out of it, because I don’t know all that has transpired – which I stated. I would love the see them be able to dialogue again.

    When I first started commenting here, Jonathan jumped on Michael about how he spoke to me, and I defended Michael. I thought I deserved the rebuke from him, I’m not perfect, not all my comments are as charitable as they could be.

    I didn’t jump on Jim for his comments to Michael, first because I don’t have enough information about what goes on at seminaries one way or the other, but also Jonathan was pretty quick to jump on Jim about it. I didn’t see any need to pile on.

    I realize that people are going to frustrated and say uncharitable things from time to time, I would rather it not turn into long running feuds.

  161. Robert,

    <blcokquote<The whole point of Luther’s “sin bravely,” is not to find one’s primary means of assurance in oneself but in the promises of God.

    Where does God promise to save the person who cherishes the freedom to sin bravely? Of course people are going to sin, I don’t deny that. What I’m saying is there are really bad sins (and think everyone really knows this whether or not their theology notes the distinction), that you CAN avoid, but YOU decide not to avoid. You would rather do those sins than obey God. And Reformed theology seems to place the reason that YOU decide to sin on God, and not yourself – this is my problem. Don’t blame God for the grievous sins YOU could have avoided.

    I mean, do you really believe that God’s grace is so pathetic that one can commit mortal sin and then fall into a coma or something else and such and never be able to repent, and that’s it even though the fruit of the person’s life is overwhelmingly good?

    Of course God’s grace can cover mortal sins, you still need to be repentant.

    So we are judging a person life by good of their life?

    This is the problem, one lustful thought and everything done before that is absolutely forfeit.

    This is where mortal vs. venial distinction may help… Also this comment seems to suggest some sort of merit being built up before hand?

    God’s grace is unable to overcome that mortal sin in some people. They either die immediately or are rendered brain damaged or such. Too bad for them.

    No I’m suggesting that if an “elect” person thinks that they can choose to commit murder is either not Christian in the first place, or they are choosing to turn their back on God and falling away. The idea that you have the “freedom” to “safely” murder seems very problematic; this is not part of the Gospel.

    Lane, this is where I have to question how well you understood Reformed doctrine. The sense that the elect cannot fall away by no means takes away God’s use of means, and God saves via the means of faith and repentance. The elect will repent. There is no such thing as an impenitent elect person. We’re not antinomians.

    The elect will repent; the elect will go to confession; the elect will desire confession; the elect will not murder someone and die of a heart attack without repenting. All are means.

  162. Robert – opps that first section should have been:

    The whole point of Luther’s “sin bravely,” is not to find one’s primary means of assurance in oneself but in the promises of God.

    Where does God promise to save the person who cherishes the freedom to sin bravely? Of course people are going to sin, I don’t deny that. What I’m saying is there are really bad sins (and think everyone really knows this whether or not their theology notes the distinction), that you CAN avoid, but YOU decide not to avoid. You would rather do those sins than obey God. And Reformed theology seems to place the reason that YOU decide to sin on God, and not yourself – this is my problem. Don’t blame God for the grievous sins YOU could have avoided.

  163. Robert said to Lane ” Rome doesn’t have the gospel, and that’s the problem.” Bingo! And no greater example of this then Lanes posts. Never knowing your saved, the threat of a mortal sin throwing you out. Without Purgatory, Romanism is a hard sell. God helps them save themselves. Lane, Romans 5:10 says we are reconciled to God artist pat tense, and we will be saved by HIS life. What does that mean Lane? Saved by His life? A Catholic once made this statement here ” I’m not there yet, I becoming more justified everyday, my family isn’t there, we goto to get there. We aren’t there yet.” But here is what Paul said, ” Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God. 5:9, having been justified by His blood. I’m in whole agreement with Robert that Habit of a Christian life is confession and repentance. But scripture is clear Lane, we aren’t justified by anything coming from ourselves, not love, not confession, not repentance, we are justified by the righteousness imputed to bus by faith, HIS life. Lane, as Robert just rightly told you, your church doesn’t have the gospel. Turn from your idols and gospel of gracious merit and be saved. Repent and believe the gospel, the only thing that can save your soul. K

  164. Robert, you write:

    So what you are saying is that its okay for God to do nothing to stop the criminal because one day he’ll judge the criminal?

    Robert, I don’t presume that I am so exalted that I can sit in judgement of God and declare what he is doing is “okay” by me.

    Okay, while there is truth in that somewhere, you are missing the larger point.

    The larger truth that you seem to be missing is that men that die unrepentant for sins involving grave matter will never escape the justice of God.

    Your criticism is that God ordained the crime and that if He does so, He’s a moral monster.

    Robert, God does not write scripts of torture porn that meat puppet actors must perform in – some as victims and some as victimizers. I object to that view of God because it is blasphemous filth!

    But we also believe God ordained the judgment for the crime.

    You believe that your Calvinist god writes torture porn scripts, and at the end of the show, your capricious god vents his wrath upon the men that had no choice but to play the role of victimizer in the script that your god wrote. That is why your Calvinist god is a moral monster. There is no justice.

    Tell me Mateo, in which system of human justice would a judge, just watch a murder happen when he could stop it but it be okay because he knew that one day he’d put that perpetrator away? … How does that judge escape being a criminal or a moral monster?

    Robert, why doesn’t God step in and prevent you from sinning? Is God violating his justice by not turning you into a holy meat puppet that can never sin? God is patient with you because he is giving you time to repent of your blasphemy.

    Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4
    .
    The Lord … is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

    Robert, you take it for granted that God is not being unjust when he permits you to commit sin. So why would God be unjust when he permits someone else to commit sin?

    God desires that all sinners come to repentance, and he is forbearing towards us as rebellious sinners. But there is a limit to God’s forbearance. If you don’t repent of your blasphemy, you will see how God’s justice is applied to you.

    I also want to echo Lane’s response to your questions, where Lane writes:

    I think the problem is more that in your system the judge forces the “criminal” to do some crime for which the “criminal” will be punished. Here the punishment is unjust, because the “criminal” didn’t author the crime.

    The key point here is that your Calvinist god’s “justice” is unjust. We all know that this is true because the real God created us as men with consciences that informs us about what it means to be just.

    Robert, you write:

    The only credible answer is “because that judge isn’t God.” Bingo. And that’s my answer. God can ordain the crime and the punishment without being morally guilty and without eliminating the integrity of the criminal because, wait for it, he’s God.

    This is NOT the only credible answer, this is merely an assertion by you – an opinion that is without merit. An opinion that is also blasphemous in that it would require me to reject my conscience to believe this hogwash.

    Robert, you are saying that everything that your conscience informs you about what constitutes justice is can be ignored when it comes to God. Wrong! To believe what you are saying here, I would have to reject what my conscience informs me is true concerning justice, which is a sin that would lead to the shipwreck of my faith.

    By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith, among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 Tim 19-20

    Robert, by rejecting conscience and accusing God of authoring evil, you are committing the same sin of Hymenaeus and Alexander. If you don’t repent of your blasphemy, it is going to bring about the consequence of you being delivered to Satan.

  165. Lane, the whole point of Luther’s sin bravely is when we sin we know we are forgiven. All of our sins were paid for at the cross, past, present, future. You don’t believe this. You still have to deal with temporal punishment. And this Romish thinking is from a corruption of the atonement. You believe you make satisfaction for your sins and for others. Rome puts sacramental efficacy up in the place of the atonement. But this is a gross error and view of the atonement. Christ paid it all in one sacrifice on the cross. Hebrews says it perfected believers, ad it also says there remain no more sacrifices for sins. Tetelestai means paid in full. Finished. The continual sacrifice of the Mass is a denial of trust in the one sacrifice in time at the consummation of the ages that Hebrews 9 says put sin away for good. Roman Catholicism and it’s so called continuing incarnation undermines the finality and sufficiency of Christ’s death on the cross, and denies that finished work is applied thru the Spirit by faith alone. The merits of Christ are applied through faith alone, we don’t merit the merit of Christ ex opere operators. The gospel isn’t worthiness of merit, it’s free gift through faith alone in Christ alone. K

  166. Mateo,

    Robert, I don’t presume that I am so exalted that I can sit in judgement of God and declare what he is doing is “okay” by me.

    Sorry Mateo, but your entire response that God is just and not just sitting idly by consisted in the fact that God will one day sit in judgment. So God escapes moral monstrosity in your view because He is not only watching the crime but will judge it.

    The larger truth that you seem to be missing is that men that die unrepentant for sins involving grave matter will never escape the justice of God.

    And of course, I’ve never once denied that. The question is what happens to the person who sins gravely and has a heart attack before He can repent. Is there no place for God showing mercy because God knew He would repent if He had just lived a little longer? Apparently not.

    Robert, God does not write scripts of torture porn that meat puppet actors must perform in – some as victims and some as victimizers. I object to that view of God because it is blasphemous filth!

    Who “wrote the script” Mateo? God’s watching it all happen from all eternity, so the reality of what will happen exists in His mind. So either God wrote it or somehow we jumped out of time and wrote it or maybe chance. Which is it?

    The fact of the matter is that God knows what will certainly happen even before we exist. And if he knows what we will certainly do, in what sense are we free in the way you want us to be free?

    You believe that your Calvinist god writes torture porn scripts, and at the end of the show, your capricious god vents his wrath upon the men that had no choice but to play the role of victimizer in the script that your god wrote. That is why your Calvinist god is a moral monster. There is no justice.

    First, not one Calvinist believes that there is no sense in which man is able to do otherwise. Second, if God knows what will happen, there is a script at least in His mind. So who wrote it if not God?

    Robert, why doesn’t God step in and prevent you from sinning? Is God violating his justice by not turning you into a holy meat puppet that can never sin? God is patient with you because he is giving you time to repent of your blasphemy.

    No he’s not unjust. But you are complaining that God is unjust for “writing a ______ script” when all God is doing in your view is letting it happen and not stopping it, often knowing with certainty that the person in question will never repent, and then judging that person for something that God knows he will never do, when God could just as well have stopped the person from sinning or not creating him to begin with.

    What you can’t get through your head is that God isn’t any “nicer” if he creates people whom He knows will certainly go to hell when he could just as well not have created them. Which makes your criticism of Calvinism basically worthless. You have the same questions about God’s justice that you can’t answer.

    Robert, you take it for granted that God is not being unjust when he permits you to commit sin. So why would God be unjust when he permits someone else to commit sin?

    I’m not the one questioning God’s justice in regard to sin, you are. And you are denying that God is pure act with your notion of God just watching it happen, twiddling His thumbs, letting people get tortured and harmed the world over. But God’s still just even though He could stop it all. Give me a break. You haven’t adequately faced the criticism that the problem of evil raises, and until you do your response is laughable.

    God desires that all sinners come to repentance, and he is forbearing towards us as rebellious sinners. But there is a limit to God’s forbearance. If you don’t repent of your blasphemy, you will see how God’s justice is applied to you.

    And so, because God’s forbearance is not eternal, he does not truly want all people to repent. He prefers to finally show his justice to some than to give them an eternity to repent. Once again, you prove that even in your system, the idea that God wants all to repent must be qualified.

    The key point here is that your Calvinist god’s “justice” is unjust. We all know that this is true because the real God created us as men with consciences that informs us about what it means to be just.

    As long as you interpret God’s justice by what your conscience says is right and wrong, you will deny the God of Scripture. And go ask the criminal murderer what his conscience says.

    This is NOT the only credible answer, this is merely an assertion by you – an opinion that is without merit. An opinion that is also blasphemous in that it would require me to reject my conscience to believe this hogwash.

    Your conscience will not be the judge of God. Every time you rail about the God of Calvinism, whom you clearly do not understand, you take the place of the interlocutor in Romans 9.

    Robert, you are saying that everything that your conscience informs you about what constitutes justice is can be ignored when it comes to God. Wrong! To believe what you are saying here, I would have to reject what my conscience informs me is true concerning justice, which is a sin that would lead to the shipwreck of my faith.

    “Always let your conscience be your guide” is Disney theology, not biblical theology. Your conscience must be formed by the Word of God.

    Robert, by rejecting conscience and accusing God of authoring evil, you are committing the same sin of Hymenaeus and Alexander. If you don’t repent of your blasphemy, it is going to bring about the consequence of you being delivered to Satan.

    Still waiting for somebody to prove that God ordaining evil=God authoring evil. I’m not expecting anyone to be able to do that, because it would end up making Thomas and Augustine guilty of the same. And we know that whatever Calvin says that is no different than what they say, it must be wrong. Why? Because Rome says so.

  167. Lane–

    We get worked up over Catholic idolatry because we care about you guys. The elect are convicted of sin and repent, just as Michael saw the error of his ways and turned away from the Mass and toward God. Hopefully, one day, you too will see why we call the Catholic Eucharist “idolatry” and Marian devotion “blasphemy.” I pray that you are indeed elect and will soon cross back over the Tiber in the proper direction!

  168. Lane,

    Where does God promise to save the person who cherishes the freedom to sin bravely?

    It doesn’t, and Luther really never meant that God promises to save the person who cherishes the freedom to sin. He was using hyperbole to make a point, and that is that there is no sin so large that can put you fully outside of God’s grace. But that is precisely what Rome would have us believe, more or less. There are the bad sins, and then there are the REALLY bad sins.

    Of course people are going to sin, I don’t deny that. What I’m saying is there are really bad sins (and think everyone really knows this whether or not their theology notes the distinction), that you CAN avoid, but YOU decide not to avoid.

    And the issue with this is that it makes light of the “not-so-bad” sins you can avoid but you decide not to avoid. Talk about permission to sin boldly. The whole “don’t worry about venial sin” mentality leads to that.

    You would rather do those sins than obey God. And Reformed theology seems to place the reason that YOU decide to sin on God, and not yourself – this is my problem. Don’t blame God for the grievous sins YOU could have avoided.

    God’s decree governs all, but that doesn’t mean all that happens is his fault. If it does, then you all are in big trouble as well. In Roman Catholicism, God gives the ability to sin to people whom he knows will sin and we’re supposed to ignore that as if that does not somehow seem to place the reason for sin back on God. He could just as well created us perfect.

    This is the problem I have with the inconsistency. There’s plenty to attack Calvinism on that won’t finally undermine your own position. But this isn’t one of them.

    Of course God’s grace can cover mortal sins, you still need to be repentant.
    So we are judging a person life by good of their life?

    What I’m questioning is why a stray lustful thought will send someone straight to hell when the overall tenor of their life shows a deep love for God? It seems to me that even Rome sees this as wrong-headed. I’m sure there’s an out for people who die suddenly before they can repent. After all, there’s an out for Trinity-hating Muslims to go to heaven.

    The whole penitential system is fundamentally misguided. There are elements of it that in their barest form might be healthy, but the whole thing has “developed” into a monstrosity that makes sanctification more about avoiding the really bad stuff than about developing love for God and abiding confidence in His mercy. The whole system leads to a fear that God is going to boot you from the family for the first misdeed. And you all are the ones that talk about charity!

    This is where mortal vs. venial distinction may help… Also this comment seems to suggest some sort of merit being built up before hand?

    Lust is a mortal sin, is it not? The notion isn’t merit. The notion is why does one “mortal” sin disqualify you when the whole tenor of your life shows a deep love for God. Is the gracious God really going to boot you from the family because you slipped up and then died before you could repent? I don’t see how the theology of penance can honestly lead to any other answer than yes. But even Rome doesn’t seem to be consistent here. There’s an implicit recognition of the absurdity of it all, hence the softening of the position on suicide. But what won’t be done is to question the fundamental premise of the penitential system. Can’t do that, it would make people realize that the church isn’t the conduit of God’s grace in the way that Rome says it must be.

    No I’m suggesting that if an “elect” person thinks that they can choose to commit murder is either not Christian in the first place, or they are choosing to turn their back on God and falling away. The idea that you have the “freedom” to “safely” murder seems very problematic; this is not part of the Gospel.

    And no Calvinist I know actually believes that the Christian has the freedom to commit murder. The context of “sin bravely” was a deeply corrupt medieval church that was selling salvation in order to build the pope a palace. It’s hyperbole spoken to make a point in a particular context.

    Why does nobody blame the abuses of the medieval Roman church and actually take steps to address them? No, we get a laughable council convened to maintain Roman power that only papers over the problem with cosmetic reform.

    The elect will repent; the elect will go to confession; the elect will desire confession; the elect will not murder someone and die of a heart attack without repenting. All are means.

    So in no case will an elect person forget a mortal sin? What about an elect person who gets Alzheimer’s.

    The whole complaint seems to me to go back to the same fear that Paul faced, that if we talk about grace too much, people will take advantage of it. Paul’s response wasn’t to heap on complex mortal-venial sin distinctions and a bunch of other junk. His response was, “you’ve missed the point of grace.”

  169. Silly Lane, we don’t blame God for the grievous sins we could have avoided. Many little sins are habitual, and we can indeed rid ourselves of them. And grievous sins are not necessarily so easy to conquer as you imply.

    If you just get through cleaning and reloading your gun and have such a sense of accomplishment that you go hunt down your wife to show her all the shiny, shiny metal…but you find her in bed with a guy you thought was your best friend…you might have a little more trouble than most avoiding serious sin.

    Likewise, “sin boldly” is not a license to sin, it is a realization of the unfathomable love of Christ. We keep trying to please him and keep messing up. We know by rights he should abandon us, but he never does. Instead, he throws the family signet ring back on our finger and kills the fatted calf…and we are reduced to sobbing thankfulness.

  170. Eric,

    We get worked up over Catholic idolatry because we care about you guys.

    I care about you guys as well. That’s why I don’t want you to feel so confident as to think you can commit mortal sins with impunity. Indifference is the opposite of love.

    The elect are convicted of sin and repent,…

    I agree. The elect will be repentant.

    … just as Michael saw the error of his ways and turned away from the Mass and toward God.

    Turning away from the mass seems like turning away from God to me.

    Hopefully, one day, you too will see why we call the Catholic Eucharist “idolatry” and Marian devotion “blasphemy.” I pray that you are indeed elect and will soon cross back over the Tiber in the proper direction!

    I pray for the exact opposite for you. One of us is right, or maybe both wrong, but I pray for mercy for you and us all.

  171. Silly Lane, we don’t blame God for the grievous sins we could have avoided. Many little sins are habitual, and we can indeed rid ourselves of them. And grievous sins are not necessarily so easy to conquer as you imply.

    They aren’t easy to overcome, and they are impossible to overcome without God’s Grace. My point is not become comfortable with your perceived elect status and thus become comfortable with your sins.

    If you just get through cleaning and reloading your gun and have such a sense of accomplishment that you go hunt down your wife to show her all the shiny, shiny metal…but you find her in bed with a guy you thought was your best friend…you might have a little more trouble than most avoiding serious sin.

    Yes God is a Just Judge, and has perfect information about the context and how free you were in the moments you were making your moral choices.

    We keep trying to please him and keep messing up. We know by rights he should abandon us, but he never does. Instead, he throws the family signet ring back on our finger and kills the fatted calf…and we are reduced to sobbing thankfulness.

    Yes, after we repentantly come back to the family.

  172. Lane–

    In terms of murder–a stupid hypothetical that’s going to happen to someone who’s elect only once in a blue moon–what would you do with a devout Catholic who murders someone in a fit of passion and then, as frequently occurs, overcome with overwhelming grief and remorse, turns the gun on themselves?

    No confession to a priest, no penance or absolution, no spoken apology. Oh, well, off to hell with them, I guess.

    We’re not talking about cold-blooded murderers here. Folks who don’t have enough time left to feign regret and go through the motions of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We’re talking about good people who find themselves in horrible situations in life and end up not handling it well.

    “There but for the grace of God go I.”

    I get the impression that you believe you’re above certain sins no matter what. (I hope you never have to find out!)

  173. Robert, you write:

    Sorry Mateo, but your entire response that God is just and not just sitting idly by consisted in the fact that God will one day sit in judgment.

    This is hogwash Robert. I never said that God is sitting idly by doing nothing. That is just you being typical Robert, putting your words into my mouth so that you can have a straw man to attack.

    So God escapes moral monstrosity in your view because He is not only watching the crime but will judge it.

    Why don’t you try reading the Book of Job sometime? Job was a righteous man, and God allowed Satan to do evil to Job. Was God being unjust in permitting Satan to do evil to Job? Only a damn fool would say such a thing.

    Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:
    “Gird up your loins like a man;
    I will question you, and you declare to me.
    Will you even put me in the wrong?
    Will you condemn me that you may be justified?
    Job 40:6-7

    God is always beside us. Sometimes he prevents evil from happening to us, sometimes he allows evil to affect us, sometimes he immediately punishes sin, some times that punishment is delayed until the particular judgment … but at no time is God “sitting idly by” doing nothing.

    The question is what happens to the person who sins gravely and has a heart attack before He can repent.

    Kevin spoke about the man that “slips up” and commits adultery – and then dies from a heart attack during the act of adultery. In Kevin’s opinion, if the man was “elect”, he would go to straight to heaven as an unrepentant adulterer. If you really took sin seriously, you would know that deciding to cheat on your wife is not a sin that is done by “slipping up”.

    … because God’s forbearance is not eternal, he does not truly want all people to repent.

    Because you believe that God “does not truly want all people to repent”, it proves that you are a heretic with absolutely no understanding of the Gospel.

    For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
    John 3:16-17

  174. Lane–

    In embracing the concept of election, I have become far, far more aware of the pervasiveness off my sin. I haven’t become the slightest bit comfortable with it. There’s no arrogance that accompanies the “status.” Only an incomprehensible thankfulness and humility. God’s love for us doesn’t build up our ego. It elevates our admiration for him and all he stands for.

    One’s sense of repentance is thorough and constant. It becomes one’s most faithful companion.

    I actually think the Roman system of penance breeds an indifference toward mortal sin. Study any list Catholics have set forth as possible mortal sins, and you’ll realize you’re committing them virtually every moment of your existence. Most of you speak of mortal sin as something you would never do…and you speak of venial sin as if it’s no big deal…as if it’s not really even sin. Put them both together, and you have a claim of near sinlessness….

  175. Mateo–

    Calvin explains God’s ordination of evil as incorporating two main divine strategies: allowing hardened sinners to wallow unperturbed in their own rebellion and/or delivering them over to Satan to have his way with them.

    If God is not “standing idly by,” then he is busy ordaining evil.

  176. Robert,

    And the issue with this is that it makes light of the “not-so-bad” sins you can avoid but you decide not to avoid. Talk about permission to sin boldly. The whole “don’t worry about venial sin” mentality leads to that.

    What about the whole “don’t worry about ANY sin” mentality? Yes I worry about venial sins, they can lead you to mortal ones! I worry about all my sins, not that I think they will all jeopardize my soul eternally, but because they offend God. But I don’t presume to commit grievous sins that I can avoid.

    Not to mention, sanctification is a necessary process that must be completed in Catholicism, unlike in your theology where it is just some good advice.

    After all, there’s an out for Trinity-hating Muslims to go to heaven.

    After all, there is NO out for Muslims who love God (as well as they can know Him), love their neighbor, and would probably respond to the Gospel if given the chance in your system? Maybe there are some who are given minuscule amounts of Grace, yet put you to shame with their response compared to the huge amounts of Grace you have been given. God will have Mercy on whom He will have Mercy.

    I acknowledge that there might be an out for non-Christians. What I don’t do is presume an out to commit grievous sins for myself.

    And no Calvinist I know actually believes that the Christian has the freedom to commit murder.

    Why not? Isn’t it just another mortal sin, just like all the others? Or are you admitting that there are some distinctions between sins.

    This is the problem I have with the inconsistency. There’s plenty to attack Calvinism on that won’t finally undermine your own position. But this isn’t one of them.

    Maybe, maybe not. I push the arguments so that I can see where we differ in actuality and where we differ rhetorically. Sometimes my argument is that we more or less believe the same thing but talk about it differently. I do appreciate the effort you go to in responding to me and others.

  177. Mateo,

    This is hogwash Robert. I never said that God is sitting idly by doing nothing. That is just you being typical Robert, putting your words into my mouth so that you can have a straw man to attack.

    You obviously didn’t read the response.

    Why don’t you try reading the Book of Job sometime? Job was a righteous man, and God allowed Satan to do evil to Job. Was God being unjust in permitting Satan to do evil to Job? Only a damn fool would say such a thing.
    Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:
    “Gird up your loins like a man;
    I will question you, and you declare to me.
    Will you even put me in the wrong?
    Will you condemn me that you may be justified?
    Job 40:6-7

    And note that God doesn’t say to Job, “I was just permitting Satan to do his thing.” Also note that the response to those who would question God’s justice in this matter applies equally as well to your charge of God being a moral monster. Anyone who says that God is morally guilty of sin if he ordains sin is a fool.

    God is always beside us. Sometimes he prevents evil from happening to us, sometimes he allows evil to affect us, sometimes he immediately punishes sin, some times that punishment is delayed until the particular judgment … but at no time is God “sitting idly by” doing nothing.

    If God doesn’t do anything while the sin is happening to stop it, He’s sitting idly by hoping some good will come out of it.

    Kevin spoke about the man that “slips up” and commits adultery – and then dies from a heart attack during the act of adultery. In Kevin’s opinion, if the man was “elect”, he would go to straight to heaven as an unrepentant adulterer. If you really took sin seriously, you would know that deciding to cheat on your wife is not a sin that is done by “slipping up”.

    Translation: Mateo thinks that some sins are impossible for him and that he would never commit under any circumstances. Unlike the rest of the world, that make stupid spur of the moment decisions all the time, often under the influence of other substances, Mateo won’t.

    If you really took sin seriously, you’d actually believe all sin is offensive to God and that His love isn’t scared away by it.

    Because you believe that God “does not truly want all people to repent”, it proves that you are a heretic with absolutely no understanding of the Gospel.

    1. God wants all to repent.
    2. Not all repent.

    Ergo.

    1. God is an utter failure or
    2. God wants something more, in the final analysis, than he wants all people to repent.

    For you, God would rather see someone in hell than for them to give up their autonomous liberty. So God really doesn’t want you in heaven, he just wants you to have freedom. As long as you have freedom, he’s satisfied. As long as you can merely choose one option or another, all is good. He certainly won’t guaranteed your choice. He’d rather see you in hell.

  178. Mateo–

    So, according to you, no man has ever cheated on his wife in the spur of the moment, after just finding out that she cheated on him. It’s always planned way in advance in cold-blooded fashion. It’s never done in anger and hurt, but always a matter of unrestrained lust.

  179. Lane,

    What about the whole “don’t worry about ANY sin” mentality?

    Who has that mentality? Not any Calvinist I know.

    Yes I worry about venial sins, they can lead you to mortal ones! I worry about all my sins, not that I think they will all jeopardize my soul eternally, but because they offend God. But I don’t presume to commit grievous sins that I can avoid.

    I’m not sure any Calvinist presumes to commit grievous sins that he can avoid. But Eric’s point above stands, we can avoid venial sin as well.

    Not to mention, sanctification is a necessary process that must be completed in Catholicism, unlike in your theology where it is just some good advice.

    Sanctification is necessary in Reformed thought, just not in the same way as it is necessary in Roman Catholicism.

    After all, there is NO out for Muslims who love God (as well as they can know Him), love their neighbor, and would probably respond to the Gospel if given the chance in your system? Maybe there are some who are given minuscule amounts of Grace, yet put you to shame with their response compared to the huge amounts of Grace you have been given. God will have Mercy on whom He will have Mercy.

    But how will they believe with out a preacher? And who will there be a preacher unless one is sent?

    The simple fact is that there is no evidence in Scripture that anyone who does not have faith in Christ loves God. If salvation were possible for those who never hear of Christ, there is no point to world missions. Let’s give all our money to the peace corps to develop clean water infrastructure. Who cares about gospel preaching?

    I acknowledge that there might be an out for non-Christians. What I don’t do is presume an out to commit grievous sins for myself.

    Again, I’m not sure who is presuming that they have an out to commit grievous sin. Those who commit grievous sin should rightly question whether they are in the faith or not.

    Why not? Isn’t it just another mortal sin, just like all the others? Or are you admitting that there are some distinctions between sins.

    I’ve long held that there are distinctions between sins, that some sins are worse than others. If the mortal-venial sin distinction were just that, it would be fine. But that’s not where Rome stops. We get some sins that kill grace and some that don’t. No sin is so minor that it does not merit eternal punishment and no sin is so grave that it is an automatic boot from the kingdom. God’s holiness and grace are much greater than that, which is why my fundamental problem with Rome is that it finally puts both into question. God overlooks some sins and disowns His children for others.

    Maybe, maybe not. I push the arguments so that I can see where we differ in actuality and where we differ rhetorically. Sometimes my argument is that we more or less believe the same thing but talk about it differently. I do appreciate the effort you go to in responding to me and others.

    And I agree and thank you as well.

  180. Lane–

    Catholic sanctification need be completed only after the process of purgation, which is true of Protestantism, as well. There is no possibility I am aware of to reject God’s ministrations in Purgatory. You’re stuck. (We believe in an instantaneous purgation resulting in glorification.)

    In a similar way for us Calvinists, the Holy Spirit works in us both to will and to do in the process of Sanctification. Sounds pretty necessary to me. There’s no way to opt out.

  181. Robert, you write:

    As long as you interpret God’s justice by what your conscience says is right and wrong, you will deny the God of Scripture. …Your conscience will not be the judge of God.

    You are attacking straw men of your own making. You did not address my point – that St. Paul teaches that the rejection of conscience makes a shipwreck of one’s faith.

    By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith, among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 Tim 19-20

    Will my conscience be the judge of God? I never said anything that stupid. Again, that is just you putting your words into my mouth to attack a straw man of your own making, instead of actually addressing the scriptures that I quoted.

    St. Paul teaches that a man’s conscience will convict him or excuse him:

    When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

    Romans 2:14-16

    Our consciences don’t judge God, our consciences convict us of the sins that we commit, so that we are without excuse when we commit them. You are without excuse in blaspheming God. Your conscience informs you that you are being blasphemous by accusing God of authoring evil, yet you commit this sin anyway.

  182. Eric, you write:

    So, according to you, no man has ever cheated on his wife in the spur of the moment, after just finding out that she cheated on him.

    Is this something that you would do if your wife cheated on you?

  183. Robert, you write:

    Sanctification is necessary in Reformed thought …

    Necessary for what? In Reformed thought, it is not necessary for one’s salvation. Or is it?

    If you were to die as an unrepentant Satan worshiper, would you go to heaven?

  184. Robert, you write:

    1. God wants all to repent.
    2. Not all repent.

    Ergo.

    1. God is an utter failure or
    2. God wants something more, in the final analysis, than he wants all people to repent.

    This is not a logical argument. Your conclusions are mere assertions that do not logically follow from your premises.

  185. Robert, and Eric, Lane and Debbie have no concept of biblical justification. And to be frank sometimes I feel like the only Protestant making a staunch defense of the stalworth doctrine of imputation is me. You guys are in a constant discussion with people who believe the are sanctified before they are justified. Forgive me, but I’m completely baffled how the both of you and Michael give a piss poor effort when it comes to imputation. It makes me wonder if you are among the Reformed moving toward Rome on this. Our confessions are clear that we are justified by nothing the Spirit does in us. And we have to look no further than Romans 9:32-10:4 to see the grave condition of the Catholics on this site. God bless. K

  186. Lane, you’re sounding pathetic with the whole Calvanist don’t care about sin shtick. We have told you NO sin can separate a believer from God. We understand the desperate state you are in, working your way to heaven. It’s a contest between You, Debbie, Jim, Mateo, DeMaria, who is the most pelagian. It’s amazing. It’s hard to say. Talk about steeped in works righteousness. You make the Judaizers look good. Please don’t make us feel guilty for the Joy we derive from biblical assurance offered in scripture. Don’t attack this blessing like your medieval popes did, robbing their people of full forgiveness And making them pay for salvation, impovershing the people of Europe. Paul says we are free indeed, from all that one couldn’t be FREE from in the law of Moses. Salvation is a gift, all of it. K

  187. Let me get this perfectly straight:
    1. God foreordains sin.
    2. He “ordains and governs” it; every specific sin, not just sin in general
    3. Sin is God’s will, even if it grieves him.

    That inexorably, ineluctably, inescapably makes God the author of sin and evil.
    That sullies God’s character OR makes sin not really sin.
    So in essence, sin is not sin, or God sins and is really the only sinner??
    Then the God of the Bible is not good in any meaningful sense.
    Then Jesus Christ is the ultimate sinner or sin is not really sin.

  188. Robert you write:

    The simple fact is that there is no evidence in Scripture that anyone who does not have faith in Christ loves God.

    The simple fact that this is just you making more of your assertions with no evidence to back it up.
    An assertion is not an argument.

    At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God.
    Acts 10:1-2

  189. Right Debbie. If sin is doing something against God’s will, and God wills all sin, there is no sin.

  190. Debbie, you write:

    Let me get this perfectly straight:
    1. God foreordains sin.
    2. He “ordains and governs” it; every specific sin, not just sin in general
    3. Sin is God’s will, even if it grieves him.

    That inexorably, ineluctably, inescapably makes God the author of sin and evil.
    That sullies God’s character OR makes sin not really sin.

    The conclusion you draw is valid, except I would say Calvinism both blasphemes God’s character AND it makes sin meaningless.

    If God is really writing writing scripts where the actors have to commit the sins that God “ordains”, and the actors have no choice but to commit the sin that God has ordained, then it is obvious that God is the author of sin that these men commit. For God to punish “sin” that men had not choice but to commit because God has decreed that the “sinners” commit these sins … well, that just empties the Gospel of all meaning. “Sin” becomes nothing more than a man doing the will of God, and “justice” is God capriciously punishing a man for doing what God has willed.

    Sin, justice, mercy, repentance, atonement – all meaningless concepts within Calvinism.

  191. Lane wrote:
    If every sin is mortal, and all sins are forgiven for the elect, and the elect can’t fall away, I don’t understand what you guys are so worried about Catholic practice.

    Response:
    No worries here…your own religion includes major parts of the truth that testify against you:

    1. The Catholic Bible says that Jesus is the only Head of the Church. (Col. 1:18)

    2. Eucharistic prayer….Father, accept this offering from your whole family. Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and COUNT US AMONG THOSE YOU HAVE CHOSEN. [Through Christ our Lord. Amen.]

    Now begin a better Reformation with the elect Jesus. Elect ! You who have ears to hear ! The Sheep will hear His voice. Catholics have no excuse after reading this. No blood on my hands.

  192. Robert you write:

    And note that God doesn’t say to Job, “I was just permitting Satan to do his thing.”

    No, I will not accede that point!

    If you ever have read the Book of Job, then you have read it with no comprehension whatsoever. The book opens with Satan claiming that the only reason that Job acts righteous is that Satan has been prevented by God from harming him. Satan claims he can make Job curse God to his face if he is allowed to torment Job. God permits Satan to test Job after being challenged by Satan.

    … the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
    .
    Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face.”
    .
    And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power …”
    Job 1:8-13

  193. Eric W.,
    I know, can you believe it?
    We want to be counted among those that are chosen – my question to you is,
    chosen for what?
    And while we are on it, what does it mean to be elect?

    Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  194. Debbie, you asked:
    Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Oh well….

  195. Mateo,

    You just said:

    Will my conscience be the judge of God? I never said anything that stupid.

    Earlier you said:

    Robert, you are saying that everything that your conscience informs you about what constitutes justice is can be ignored when it comes to God. Wrong! To believe what you are saying here, I would have to reject what my conscience informs me is true concerning justice, which is a sin that would lead to the shipwreck of my faith.

    Therefore, you are evaluating God’s justice by your conscience and sitting in judgment over God. You are critiquing what I am saying about God’s justice, telling me that your conscience tells you that it’s wrong. To put it simply, I care very little for what your conscience says. I care about the Word of God, and the Word of God is quite clear that there are some that God does not want to save, at least He does not want to save them in any sense:

    “But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.” (1 Sam. 2:25)

    The simple fact that this is just you making more of your assertions with no evidence to back it up.
    An assertion is not an argument.

    Cornelius was a God-fearer living at the time when old covenant was transferring to new, and He had access to special revelation. Try again. Nobody seeks God. Read Romans 3.

    You said this was an illogical argument:

    1. God wants all to repent.
    2. Not all repent.
    Ergo.
    1. God is an utter failure or
    2. God wants something more, in the final analysis, than he wants all people to repent.

    Why?.

    It is certainly true that God, in some sense, wants all to repent. And it is certainly true that not all repent (though maybe you are a universalist. Rome certainly would allow you to be one).

    So God doesn’t get what he wants, correct? Why?

    He’s either a failure or He wants something more. What’s the other option? You can say “free will” but that falls under God wanting something more. He would rather see you burn in hell than He would overcome your free will or whatever nonsense it is that you think Calvinists affirm.

    No, I will not accede that point!

    You better accede that point because God never tells JOB that he merely permitted Satan to do what He did. One would think that would be pertinent since the stuff happens to Job.

    If you ever have read the Book of Job, then you have read it with no comprehension whatsoever. The book opens with Satan claiming that the only reason that Job acts righteous is that Satan has been prevented by God from harming him. Satan claims he can make Job curse God to his face if he is allowed to torment Job. God permits Satan to test Job after being challenged by Satan.

    Sure it does. The book also says that Job never spoke falsely of God. Why don’t we see some of what Job said that was true:

    Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”[a] In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

    Job 1:10

    Apparently Job was correct to believe that the evil He suffered was from God. Not passively permitted by God. Sent from God.

  196. Robert,

    I have been meaning to point this out. You have mentioned God is pure act a couple of times:

    And you are denying that God is pure act with your notion of God just watching it happen, twiddling His thumbs, letting people get tortured and harmed the world over.

    And

    just as you cannot explain how God can passively determine evil and still be pure act, except that passivity and pure act are full-on contradictions

    Speaking of “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” God being pure act doesn’t have anything to do with Him not being active or passive in actions. It has to do with God being perfect in all His attributes. You have (or had at one time) the potential to be a father, when you become (or became) a father you have actualized that potential. Potential precedes actuality. God has no potential, He is fully actualized, thus He is “pure act”. Not active vs passive. Just thought you should know.

  197. Debbie,

    Let me get this perfectly straight:

    1. God knows for sure sin will happen and passively permits it when He could otherwise stop it..
    2. He “permits” it; every specific sin, not just sin in general, even though He could stop it.
    3. Sin is in God’s permissive will, even if it grieves him.
    4. God gives human beings causative power to do sin, knowing full well they will sin.

    Explain to me how God is not morally guilty of evil. When you can, then what is said about Calvinism might have some sticking power.

  198. Lane,

    You are certainly correct, but what you said is incomplete. God isn’t acted upon without Him being the first mover. Ergo, He can’t be passive with respect to anything. It’s part of Him having no potentiality.

  199. Lane,

    I’ll also note that without exception, I believe, the RCs here don’t seem to like it when we say that in their view, God is exercising bare passivity with respect to evil, i.e., bare permission, even though that is basically what the RC position advocated here entails.

  200. Robert,

    It means He is changeless, I certainly can’t change God. I’m not sure if I’m following your point.

  201. Mateo,

    “For God to punish “sin” that men had not choice but to commit because God has decreed that the “sinners” commit these sins … well, that just empties the Gospel of all meaning. “Sin” becomes nothing more than a man doing the will of God, and “justice” is God capriciously punishing a man for doing what God has willed.”

    Indeed. But wait, who are you o man? Move along.

    The attempt to create some type of moral equivalency between non-Calvinist permission of sin and Calvinist ordination of sin or to throw around double-standard charges is bizarre. I found this to be an amusing illustration showing the contrast between the two – https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/who-authored-the-crime/

  202. Robert,
    I can’t really communicate with you when you keep referring to God as a god, or rather some old man in Heaven keeping tabs on everyone with very human qualities. Same thing with grace.

    Your thought pattern on God has always been very bothersome and I have no base belief with you on which to dialog on.

    Sorry, truly.

  203. ERIC May 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm
    De Maria,
    So, if someone holds a gun to your head and you rake my yard as a result, I will owe you all sorts of kudos for the good turn you did me. Is that what you”re telling me?

    Eric, is God holding a gun to your head in order for you to do good? Because that is the comparison you’re making.

    You’re saying that God is holding a gun to your head in order for you to do good and therefore, you don’t deserve any merit for any good which you do.

    Whereas, we believe that we do good because we love God and God sees the good which we do and credits it to us as righteousness and rewards us with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

    I”ll call the police to get that miserable gunman arrested, but you’ll be waiting a long time to receive thanks for all your hard work.

    Well, its your metaphor, I guess you can do whatever you want. But your metaphor is nowhere near the truth of Scripture. It is totally against the Teaching of the Word of God.

  204. ERIC May 18, 2015 at 8:28 pm
    De Maria,
    I”ve heard it said (in some location, at some point in time, by somebody or other) that the human psyche cannot hold to a contradiction without surrendering its rationality.

    We are saved by faith alone but not by a faith which is alone.

    If a gift is of grace, merit is ruled out.

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

    If a reward is merited, grace is ruled out.

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

    One cannot earn that which is freely given.

    Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    One cannot receive free of charge that which one has earned.

    There’s a difference between earning and meriting. Those who merit something in the eyes of God, are deemed “worthy” of receiving His Gift.

    Luke 20:34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

    Matthew 10:37
    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Matthew 22:8
    Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

    Ephesians 4:1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    Those who earn it, merely work to repay a debt.

    Romans 11:6
    And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

  205. Fred is avoiding the question and so are the rest of the Protestants.

    What does it mean where Scripture says we need to be “worthy of” Him?

    Matthew 10:37
    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

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

    If we don’t merit salvation, why does Scripture say we must be worthy?

  206. Robert: The substantive point I’ve been trying to make is this one—Why does permission make God “less” of a moral monster than ordaining it. If I were to stand by and let such a crime happen even if it was well within my power to stop it, why am I in trouble but God isn’t????

    Me: A just question.

    James: “There are many examples where you permitting a crime you could prevent does not mean you are “in trouble” or just as responsible and morally culpable for it as the agent performing the crime.”

    Me: A lame answer. Why? Because it doesn’t address Robert’s point; rather it obfuscates. Face, it Romanists and Arminians, you’re not dealing with the force of this objection. If God is a monster for ordaining evil, then why isn’t He a monster for permitting it if he could have prevented it and simply chose not to? The only good answer that you could possibly give moves back in the direction of Calvinism. You’d have to say that God chooses to permit evil (thereby not preventing it when he could have) because he has a good and wise purpose for doing so. Welcome to Calvinism, for that is exactly what we mean by “ordain evil.” Remember, ordaining evil comes under the rubric of “ordains all things,” which is simply our preferred way of talking about Providence, which (allegedly) you all claim to endorse. But what is Providence, if not God directing “all things” to their divinely appointed ends? And God can direct things to their ends by “permitting” evil or by “preventing” it. The point is, if God decrees/ordains it, then it comes to pass, even if we’re the one’s who do it.

    Now back to James’ lame answer. Notice first of all that he says that if you could have prevented a crime and chose not to, then you’re not *as culpable* as the one who committed it. But you still would be culpable to some degree, and that is precisely Robert’s point. Thank you James for this fatal admission.

    Moving right along….If God is even *slightly culpable* for evil, per Robert’s example and James’ counter-example, then that would make Him morally responsible for it and therefore would destroy the goodness of God, making him equally monstrous as the common caricature of Calvin’s god. If God is a monster for destroying a city with an earthquake, then God is just as much a monster for not having prevented the earthquake in the first place. Of course, God isn’t a monster and no one debating this issue thinks so. But that doesn’t stop the likes of Mateo from accusing Calvinists of worshipping a monstrosity. More on this anon.

    Then James said this:

    “The attempt to create some type of moral equivalency between non-Calvinist permission of sin and Calvinist ordination of sin or to throw around double-standard charges is bizarre. I found this to be an amusing illustration showing the contrast between the two – https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/who-authored-the-crime/”

    Um, do read this everyone and put your thinking cap on. The basic error here (which is why James endorses it) is the assumption of equivalency between ordaining evil and authoring it. In the Arminian Bizarro World, and apparently in James’ world, there is no principled difference between ordaining something and directly willing and causing it to come about. But this overlooks secondary causality through human agency, which we Calvinist do affirm. So just like captain Justus in the illustration, we completely agree that the criminal who commits the crime is culpable even if he was in some sense “set up” to commit the crime. Nor do we say that God is morally obligated to prevent us from sinning, though he certainly is free to do so if He desires (as he did with Abimelech, in Genesis 20:6). But why? Why doesn’t God have to prevent us from sinning against him if in fact it is possible for him to do so? The answer may be because he has a sovereign purpose for the evil we do (Acts 4:27-28, again).

    Then, if you have time, read Case 2. It is essentially a version of James’ Rube Goldberg infinite loop objection and it is bogus for the same reasons James’ objection is. Why? Caricature framing. Both the illustration and James portray Calvinism as defining humanity in the hands of God as nothing more than meat puppetry (to borrow from Mateo’s parlance) and then suggest that God is awfully stupid (and unjust) for getting mad at his puppets for doing exactly what he programmed, caused, moved them to do. But why does no actual Calvinist recognize this as a valid objection? Answer: It is because we don’t see humanity as puppets on a string nor God as a puppeteer. But still we say, God ordains all things, causes all things to work together according to the purpose of his will, providentially directs all things toward their divinely appointed ends, and that in so doing he uses means—including the (relatively) free choices of men and angels. So once again, Acts 4:27-28, which James (nor any Arminian or Molinist) can read consistently with his system with anything like exegetical plausibility.

  207. Huh? Moderation?

    HALLELUJIA!

  208. Breaking this into chunks…

    @Mateo,

    Me talking to De Maria: So operative grace is resistible? No, operative grace cannot be resisted. God enables us to choose with a prevenient grace that we cannot resist, but then thereafter offers us sufficient grace which we can resist. … How am I doing so far?

    Mateo: You are getting closer, but you still don’t understand the difference between the actual graces of prevenient grace (aka operative grace) and quickening and assisting grace (aka cooperative grace).

    Actually, I do. But I just wanted to hear De Maria’s take on the matter. What I’m trying to show him is that operative grace is *not* resistible. But he won’t concede that. You, on the other hand, rightly acknowledge that it is not only irresistible, but also monergistic. You’re well on your way to Calvinism. All you have to do is be consistent with the implications of this.

    Mateo citing Trent: The Council of Trent, The Sixth Session, Chapter V, “On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds” “The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.

    Okay. There’s a lot here to digest, some of which I affirm, some of which I do not. Let’s go line-by-line:

    1. “On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds” “The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ….

    Comment: Just to be clear, I was originally talking about infant baptism with De Maria and why it is an example of “irresistible grace” in Romanism every bit as much as “operative grace” is. De Maria didn’t buy the idea that a valid baptism works ex-opere operato and that an infant is incapable of resisting its effects.

    Be that as it may, the important point is that Trent affirms a version of “prevenient grace.” The question is whether or not this prevenient grace is resistible. From what you go on to say, it appears that it is not. For the vocation of Christ (or what we Calvinists would call the “effectual call,” in fact accomplishes its purpose. For Trent, the purpose is limited: It “quickens” and “assists” man to be converted to his own justification. That means it *enables man to choose and cooperate,* otherwise man would not be able to be converted. But that is *all* it does. Quickening and assisting grace does not save. It is not regeneration; rather it is preparatory for regeneration. (For Calvinists, it doesn’t just quicken; it regenerates. But it is not given to everyone, but only the elect).

    continued

  209. @Mateo,

    Will get back to you soon. It won’t let me paste anything right now….

  210. Michael,

    Face, it Romanists and Arminians, you’re not dealing with the force of this objection. If God is a monster for ordaining evil, then why isn’t He a monster for permitting it if he could have prevented it and simply chose not to?

    He is monster if you causes you to sin and subsequently punishes you for it – for eternity. That is the objection.

    You’d have to say that God chooses to permit evil (thereby not preventing it when he could have) because he has a good and wise purpose for doing so. Welcome to Calvinism, for that is exactly what we mean by “ordain evil.”

    Welcome to Catholicism. The objection isn’t with the potential reasoning associated with God permitting evil, or that evil exists. That would be an objection commonly raised by atheists.

    The basic error here (which is why James endorses it) is the assumption of equivalency between ordaining evil and authoring it.

    The problem is how you describe ordaining with regard to human free will.

    But this overlooks secondary causality through human agency, which we Calvinist do affirm.

    But what do you mean by “human agency”?

    [(objecting to Rube Goldberg as a caricature.)]… But why does no actual Calvinist recognize this as a valid objection? Answer: It is because we don’t see humanity as puppets on a string nor God as a puppeteer.

    Because you don’t “see” humanity as puppets? Why because you don’t want to?

    [God] providentially directs all things toward their divinely appointed ends, and that in so doing he uses means—including the (relatively) free choices of men and angels.

    “Relatively” free choices. Unless a person COULD choose to not sin, then it seems unfair to punish him for that choice. But this is the very point that you guys will not concede, because you think it some how steps on God’s sovereignty. But the fact that you describe human “freedom” in this way you step on God’s benevolence.

  211. Michael, (try html again…)

    Face, it Romanists and Arminians, you’re not dealing with the force of this objection. If God is a monster for ordaining evil, then why isn’t He a monster for permitting it if he could have prevented it and simply chose not to?

    He is monster if He causes you to sin and subsequently punishes you for it – for eternity. That is the objection.

    You’d have to say that God chooses to permit evil (thereby not preventing it when he could have) because he has a good and wise purpose for doing so. Welcome to Calvinism, for that is exactly what we mean by “ordain evil.”

    Welcome to Catholicism. The objection isn’t with the potential reasoning associated with God permitting evil, or that evil exists. That would be an objection commonly raised by atheists.

    The basic error here (which is why James endorses it) is the assumption of equivalency between ordaining evil and authoring it.

    The problem is how you describe ordaining with regard to human free will.

    But this overlooks secondary causality through human agency, which we Calvinist do affirm.

    But what do you mean by “human agency”?

    [(objecting to Rube Goldberg as a caricature.)]… But why does no actual Calvinist recognize this as a valid objection? Answer: It is because we don’t see humanity as puppets on a string nor God as a puppeteer.

    Because you don’t “see” humanity as puppets? Why because you don’t want to?

    [God] providentially directs all things toward their divinely appointed ends, and that in so doing he uses means—including the (relatively) free choices of men and angels.

    “Relatively” free choices. Unless a person COULD choose to not sin, then it seems unfair to punish him for that choice. But this is the very point that you guys will not concede, because you think it some how steps on God’s sovereignty. But the fact that you describe human “freedom” in this way you step on God’s benevolence.

  212. “I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH”

    Paragraph 3. The Almighty

    268 Of all the divine attributes, only God’s omnipotence is named in the Creed: to confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God’s power is loving, for he is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it “is made perfect in weakness”.103

    “He does whatever he pleases”104

    269 The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God. He is called the “Mighty One of Jacob”, the “LORD of hosts”, the “strong and mighty” one. If God is almighty “in heaven and on earth”, it is because he made them.105 Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes his works according to his will.106 He is the Lord of the universe, whose order he established and which remains wholly subject to him and at his disposal. He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will: “It is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the strength of your arm?107

    “You are merciful to all, for you can do all things”108

    270 God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs; by the filial adoption that he gives us (“I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”):109 finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins.

    271 God’s almighty power is in no way arbitrary: “In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom, and justice are all identical. Nothing therefore can be in God’s power which could not be in his just will or his wise intellect.”110

    The mystery of God’s apparent powerlessness

    272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus “the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”111 It is in Christ’s Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth “the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe”.112

    273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ’s power.113 The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that “nothing will be impossible with God”, and was able to magnify the Lord: “For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”114

    274 “Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God’s almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe – even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature.”115

    IN BRIEF

    275 With Job, the just man, we confess: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

    276 Faithful to the witness of Scripture, the Church often addresses her prayer to the “almighty and eternal God” (“omnipotens sempiterne Deus. ..”), believing firmly that “nothing will be impossible with God” (Gen 18:14; Lk 1:37; Mt 19:26).

    277 God shows forth his almighty power by converting us from our sins and restoring us to his friendship by grace. “God, you show your almighty power above all in your mercy and forgiveness. . .” (Roman Missal, 26th Sunday, Opening Prayer).

    278 If we do not believe that God’s love is almighty, how can we believe that the Father could create us, the Son redeem us and the Holy Spirit sanctify us?

  213. Debbie,

    I can’t really communicate with you when you keep referring to God as a god, or rather some old man in Heaven keeping tabs on everyone with very human qualities. Same thing with grace.

    Your thought pattern on God has always been very bothersome and I have no base belief with you on which to dialog on.
    Sorry, truly.

    Huh?

  214. Lane,

    “Relatively” free choices. Unless a person COULD choose to not sin, then it seems unfair to punish him for that choice. But this is the very point that you guys will not concede, because you think it some how steps on God’s sovereignty. But the fact that you describe human “freedom” in this way you step on God’s benevolence.

    It all contains the meaning of the word “could.” Every Christian has to agree that in an ultimate sense we can’t choose against what God has chosen to ordain/permit. Otherwise, He’s not in control. How CAN I choose against what God has permitted me to do in a given instance when He knows what the outcome will be? It seems that the CAN or COULD reduces in some sense to mere theory. If I CAN but CERTAINLY WON’T, what is gained?

  215. You gotta love how brilliantly, succinctly and coherently the Catechism spells out the faith. Just what the world needed at this time in history.

    Thank you St. Pope John Paul II!

  216. @ Mateo,

    Continued….commenting on Trent:

    2 “….that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace….”

    Comment: So God freely brings spiritually dead sinners, by means of irresistible quickening and assisting grace to a spiritual half-life where they can now freely choose whether or not to be justified. That’s exactly what I told De Maria, but he vetoed my claim. Yet here I am reading it from the very words of Trent. Go figure.

    continued if it will let me paste….

  217. @ Mateo,

    Still commenting on that piece from Trent that you quoted:

    3. [Trent] “…in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.”

    Comment: So here is where Trent seems to hedge just a bit and why I think De Maria thinks prevenient grace is in fact resistible. What seems clear at this point is that God touches the human heart by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. That much cannot be resisted. But it isn’t enough to be illuminated (which seems to correspond to what Trent said earlier quickening and assisting grace); rather one has to do something with that illumination. And it can be resisted, hence the language, “able to reject it.” So I guess this means that God brings spiritually dead sinners to a spiritual half-life called “illumination” (which falls short of regeneration) which then must be either accepted or rejected. He can reject it. He can also accept it. But if he does accept it, it is only by God’s grace that he does so. Why? Because Trent says, “yet is he *not* able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.” So man can, by his own free will, reject the light (illumination) he has been given by grace. But he cannot, by his own free will, accept that light. To do that, he needs more grace, because he cannot “move himself.” (So why does this grace move some an not others? Why is it successful in some, but not everyone? The answer must be that grace, finally, is only made efficacious insofar as we allow it to be efficacious. And if we make that decision to allow grace to “win,” then the only thing that explains why we’re in heaven and someone else is not is the goodness in us which was better than the goodness in them, which, as it turns out, wasn’t good enough. Like we keep telling you, if you get to heaven, in your system, it will be because you saved you with God’s help. Yay you! But I digress…)

    Huh? So he (man) can “move himself” to reject the light that he was given. But he cannot “move himself” to accept it. Yet he has a “free will.” But what good is this free will, at this point in Trent’s argument, if it can only “freely” move in one direction—namely to reject illumination?

    So now the question is this: If man accepts the illumination he is given, it is presumably because he is both free to do so (free will) *and* because God is simultaneously moving him by grace to do so. Yet this isn’t “meat puppetry” as far as Rome is concerned. But if Geneva says essentially the same thing, but in other words, it’s called meat puppetry. In other words, if God moves his elect to choose him, you cry foul: “Determinism, meat-puppetry, Rube Goldberg, monster god….” Etc. But here you are saying the same thing: The elect only choose to cooperate because God has moved them to do so and you’re a-okay with this. Oh, but wait. That’s not it at all. It turns out that God cannot really move anyone by grace unless they cooperate because, after quickening/illumination by monergistic prevenient grace, only resistible grace is given. So let me get this straight. God will by-pass our free will to illuminate us by means of monergistic, quickening and assisting grace because it is oh-so important that we are enabled to cooperate so that we can covert ourselves to our own justification (read: save ourselves). But, God wouldn’t dare violate our free will to actually give us monergistic, operative grace that saves us to the uttermost, as the scriptures say. Got it. So God wants at all costs to make us savable. But He’s 50-50 on saving us. Rome’s “Gospel” in a nutshell. (And you call us heretics. Puh-leeze.)

  218. Frustrating…it won’t let me paste, so I typed it out by hand and it still rejected it. What gives?

  219. Michael,

    Sometimes it is buggy. Best to copy and paste in short chunks when that happens.

  220. @Lane,

    “He is monster if He causes you to sin and subsequently punishes you for it – for eternity. That is the objection.”

    But there’s the rub. God doesn’t “cause” us to sin. Presumably you understood that when you were a Calvinist. How on earth do you now accuse us of a holding a position that, when you were a Calvinist, you would have never recognized as your own? In other words, ordination is not authorship. Back to Acts 4:27-28, which, I still observe, not a single one of you has had the courage to forthrightly exegete for us. Here are the undeniable truths:

    1. God had a “predetermined plan” that included the free will decisions of Pilate, Herod, et alia. That plan resulted in the crucifixion of the Son of God.

    2. God didn’t crucify Jesus. They did.

    That’s what they text says, that’s what the Reformed tradition believes. We hold 1 and 2 together recognizing that the Biblical authors had no problem asserting both as true. But those who take a philosophical, rather than Biblical approach, effectively say that if God did 1, then he also did 2.

    So you all have a choice to make: Romanism/Arminianism/philosophy or the Bible. We take our stand on what the Word of God actually says. You can’t because you’re reading it through a philosophical overlay that thinks point 1 above must entail the negation of point 2.

  221. @Robert,

    Debbie: ? I can’t really communicate with you when you keep referring to God as a god, or rather some old man in Heaven keeping tabs on everyone with very human qualities. Same thing with grace.
    Your thought pattern on God has always been very bothersome and I have no base belief with you on which to dialog on.
    Sorry, truly.”

    Robert: “Huh?”

    Allow me to answer that by way of translation: “I really don’t have an answer for you whenever you make a salient theological point in plain English. So rather than admit that I’m at a loss for words, I’ll instead blame you for your annoying though pattern and pretend not to understand plain English so that I can maintain my false views in the face of the truth.” (Or, Romans 1:18 for the shorter version.)

  222. Robert,

    (I willing admit up front that this subject stretches the limits of my pay grade…)

    It all contains the meaning of the word “could.”

    :::head hits desk:::

    Every Christian has to agree that in an ultimate sense we can’t choose against what God has chosen to ordain/permit. Otherwise, He’s not in control. How CAN I choose against what God has permitted me to do in a given instance when He knows what the outcome will be? It seems that the CAN or COULD reduces in some sense to mere theory. If I CAN but CERTAINLY WON’T, what is gained?

    What is gained? Our freedom; our responsibility; our culpability.

    His knowledge doesn’t change the fact that you have freedom. God isn’t sitting at the beginning of time looking into the future at what will happen, from which time then moves forward from that moment. No. God is sitting outside of time, orthogonal to time. He is equally present at every moment of time; every moment of time is equally the present (as opposed to the future/past) for Him. God is pure act. When He permits me to do something, it wasn’t permitted millions of years ago; it was permitted in that very moment when I do the act. All those moments are equally real and present to God.

    My freedom to act contrary isn’t bound, at least not in every case. Yet I will never do something that will surprise God.

    If my choice in one instance is bound to where I can do nothing but sin, because that is God’s will for some mysteriously good reason, I do not believe that that particular sin will be judged against me. However, in those instances where I am allowed to freely sin, I will be judged, either through temporal consequences or at my particular judgment. I HAVE chosen to sin where not compelled by God (or by secondary causes/ Rube Goldberg machine forces), thus I AM a sinner – I have no excuse. Because of those instances I cling to the Mercy and Grace of God offered to me freely, that were won by the sacrifice made on my (all the world’s) behave by Jesus. Praise God for His Mercy to me a sinner.

  223. No, Michael, that is not what it translates to.

    This is what I mean (as noted above in the Catechism),

    278 If we do not believe that God’s love is almighty, how can we believe that the Father could create us, the Son redeem us and the Holy Spirit sanctify us?

    The Catechism uses the exact words to express my thoughts, that is why I quoted from it.

  224. Michael,

    But there’s the rub. God doesn’t “cause” us to sin. Presumably you understood that when you were a Calvinist. How on earth do you now accuse us of a holding a position that, when you were a Calvinist, you would have never recognized as your own?

    Do I think Calvinists, in general, think that they deny free will or at least describe it in such a way as to make humans lose culpability? No. Do they in reality? I think so. This is similar to you thinking that we worship Mary, you know that we think we don’t, but you believe in reality that we do. So don’t get too bent out of shape over this. I know what you think you claim, I just don’t think your explanations always meet your assertions.

  225. +JMJ+

    Lane wrote:

    Michael wrote:
    .
    [God] providentially directs all things toward their divinely appointed ends, and that in so doing he uses means—including the (relatively) free choices of men and angels.

    “Relatively” free choices. Unless a person COULD choose to not sin, then it seems unfair to punish him for that choice. But this is the very point that you guys will not concede, because you think it some how steps on God’s sovereignty. But the fact that you describe human “freedom” in this way you step on God’s benevolence.

    Michael’s use of “(relatively) free perfectly coincides in meaning with his formula …

    Michael, on his website, wrote:
    .
    Calvinists do agree that Adam had a genuinely “free” will.

    The Calvinist can either stand on the word “Genuine” and, thus, falsify the word “Free” or, else, standson the word “Free” and quietly slip “Relatively” in through the backdoor.

    The Calvinist formula is either Relatively Genuine or Genuinely Relative. But in neither case, is it Free.

  226. Lane,

    His knowledge doesn’t change the fact that you have freedom. God isn’t sitting at the beginning of time looking into the future at what will happen, from which time then moves forward from that moment. No. God is sitting outside of time, orthogonal to time. He is equally present at every moment of time; every moment of time is equally the present (as opposed to the future/past) for Him. God is pure act. When He permits me to do something, it wasn’t permitted millions of years ago; it was permitted in that very moment when I do the act. All those moments are equally real and present to God.

    Sure enough, more or less. However, God is also immanent and moves within time. Which means that what you will do today was just as much ordained yesterday as it is in the eternal now.

    My freedom to act contrary isn’t bound, at least not in every case. Yet I will never do something that will surprise God.

    There was a time that you were not. However, there was never a time in which God’s knowledge of what you would do was not. Given God’s relation to time as both its Lord and creator who stands outside of it, as well as one who can enter into and act in time, what you did was certain from the moment the timeline was created. It was even certain before then. But you weren’t there. Only God was.

    If my choice in one instance is bound to where I can do nothing but sin, because that is God’s will for some mysteriously good reason, I do not believe that that particular sin will be judged against me. However, in those instances where I am allowed to freely sin, I will be judged, either through temporal consequences or at my particular judgment. I HAVE chosen to sin where not compelled by God (or by secondary causes/ Rube Goldberg machine forces), thus I AM a sinner – I have no excuse. Because of those instances I cling to the Mercy and Grace of God offered to me freely, that were won by the sacrifice made on my (all the world’s) behave by Jesus. Praise God for His Mercy to me a sinner.

    God compels no one to sin. Everyone who sins does so freely and because they want to. What you all actually want, but you still don’t have, is the freedom to act contrary to God’s decree. But you don’t have that freedom without denying one of God’s attributes. This is the issue.

    God’s permission establishes what will certainly happen, if it doesn’t, He really isn’t sovereign over the event in the biblical sense of the word.

  227. Lane,

    Michael knows we don’t worship Mary. He was once one of us ( actually he still is, he just refuses to say so ).
    Now, if we could just get him to come clean and tell Robert and Eric we don’t worship Mary, but I don’t think he will. It wouldn’t fit their narrative.

  228. Robert,

    God compels no one to sin. Everyone who sins does so freely and because they want to. What you all actually want, but you still don’t have, is the freedom to act contrary to God’s decree. But you don’t have that freedom without denying one of God’s attributes. This is the issue.

    God’s permission establishes what will certainly happen, if it doesn’t, He really isn’t sovereign over the event in the biblical sense of the word.

    I don’t have freedom without denying God’s sovereignty? I disagree. God is powerful enough to create creatures with free will and still be in complete control. If you can’t image how it works, that doesn’t make it not true.

  229. Michael was saying about Catholicism,

    “…grace, finally, is only made efficacious insofar as we allow it to be efficacious…”

    Imagine, Christ on the Cross meriting two kinds of grace. One that is insufficient to save and another type of grace that is intrinsically efficient to save.

    Sufficient grace that is inherently worthless is not what anyone would seriously call”grace” is it?

    Then, imagine that Mary ( whom Michael knows we don’t worship ), as dispenser of all grace merited on Calvary, dispensing or interceding for worthless grace to be given her children.

    What kind of mother would feed her children food that she knows has absolutely no nutrients in it?

  230. Lane,

    I don’t have freedom without denying God’s sovereignty? I disagree. God is powerful enough to create creatures with free will and still be in complete control. If you can’t image how it works, that doesn’t make it not true.

    How is God in control of you if you, in every sense of the word, can act against His will? Because that is what is required to maintain the kind of freedom you think you have.

  231. @Wosmebald,

    “The Calvinist can either stand on the word “Genuine” and, thus, falsify the word “Free” or, else, standson the word “Free” and quietly slip “Relatively” in through the backdoor.”

    False dilemma. We can also distinguish, as I have many times, between Adam prior to the fall and humanity after the fall. Presumably Adam was not encumbered with concupiscence and so his will was much more “free” than ours. But we are encumbered by the flesh and so the will is enslaved to sin, Just as Jesus said. That means freedom is a matter of degrees. So long as you insist on a binary conception of the human will (i.e., either we’re 100%, absolutely free and autonomous *or* we’re meat puppets and automatons), you’ll never come close to the Biblical picture of our wills vis-a-vis the autonomy of God.

  232. Michael and Robert,

    Was Adam free enough to choice not to eat the fruit?

  233. Robert,

    How is God in control of you if you, in every sense of the word, can act against His will? Because that is what is required to maintain the kind of freedom you think you have.

    How is Jesus fully man in every sense of the word, yet is also fully God?

    Acting against His will, IS sin. You seem to think I can’t do that, therefore I can’t sin.

  234. @Lane,

    “This is similar to you thinking that we worship Mary, you know that we think we don’t, but you believe in reality that we do. So don’t get too bent out of shape over this. I know what you think you claim, I just don’t think your explanations always meet your assertions.”

    Actually, I thank you for this. I agree with your analogy up to appoint. (I’ll explain where that point is later). But the problem is that precisely *none* of you (you now being the sole exception) make this distinction. Instead, the rest of your co-relgionists simply attribute to us views we don’t hold. I’m all for saying that, *our claims notwithstanding* we end up logically committed to positions that entail a strong determinism (meat puppetry, Rube Godlberg, etc) and a denial of any meaningful “free will.” But when was the last time you’ve heard any say something charitable along the lines of, “While the Reformed claim that man is really and truly a free agent, meaning, that man can really do things on his own, the rest of their anthropology seems to mitigate against this claim, as does their high view of the sovereignty of God, which is why we still think that they fall in to the trap of determinism.” ????? You’d be the first person around here to make that sort of distinction since I’ve been posting here.

    That said, I fully understand that Mary worship is not compatible with Roman Catholic theology and that past popes have denounced excessive Marian piety wherever it is to be found. The problem is that it is to be found all over the place and that despite those denunciations, it continues unabated. So here is where your analogy breaks down. Sure, RCs don’t worship Mary–not with official authorization from the Church ™. But many, many baptized Roman Catholics do in fact worship Mary in actual practice.

    The question is, do they do this *despite* Church admonitions (of which they are most likely completely unaware), or do they do so *because* of the official Mariology that is taught by Rome? I’m inclined to the latter. In other words, there is something about *official* Mariology that simply lends itself to the sorts of excesses in Marian piety that we see all over the world.

    So how is this different than what you all are doing here? The difference is simple: You’re saying that we are determinists not just in practice, but also in theory. In other words, you think our official theology is deterministic. It’s not just a case of ignorant people taking Calvinism too far (like the Hyper-Calvinists do); rather the theology itself is flawed. It doesn’t just lend itself to misunderstanding. It is a misunderstanding.

    We, however, don’t claim that you claim to worship Mary. We know you claim otherwise, and for the most part, most of us here respect that distinction. (You won’t find too many of us saying that you worship Mary except in practice. But you will find a lot of people on your side accusing us of believing in a Puppet Master for a God.) I hope now you can see why I find your analogy only helpful to a point.

    That said, I’m perfectly willing to discuss with you whether or not the distinction between dulia/hyperdulia and latria is actually sustainable. I don’t think it is. I think it’s a distinction with no practical or meaningful distinction. But that doesn’t mean I’m about to call you a Mary-worshipper, because I know that you don’t believe you’re doing that even if I suspect you might be doing so, at least materially.

  235. Michael,

    “A lame answer. Why? Because it doesn’t address Robert’s point; rather it obfuscates… If God is a monster for ordaining evil, then why isn’t He a monster for permitting it if he could have prevented it and simply chose not to?”

    Talking about evasive lame answers. It’s easy to imagine many examples where permitting a crime does not make you morally guilty or culpable of the crime. I am hard-pressed to imagine any example where determining and rube-goldberging a crime does not make the mastermind morally guilty of the crime or as culpable as the performing agent. Maybe you can give one.

    “You’d have to say that God chooses to permit evil (thereby not preventing it when he could have) because he has a good and wise purpose for doing so. Welcome to Calvinism, for that is exactly what we mean by “ordain evil.””

    As I told Eric, saying God has a good purpose in permission of evil is not Calvinism which is why all orthodox non-Calvinists affirm it – saying God has a good purpose in determining evil is Calvinism.

    “Thank you James for this fatal admission.”

    I was merely responding to Robert’s own standard of criteria – he was drawing the moral equivalence – so even just showing a difference in degree is sufficient. But to clarify and if it makes you feel better, an undercover agent permitting a sting operation is not culpable at all for the target’s crime. That is just one example of many we can imagine where permission does not entail culpability, let alone a moral equivalency with the performing agent.

    “Um, do read this everyone and put your thinking cap on.”

    Yes, please do. It answers Robert’s question as to moral equivalency and double standards.

    “The basic error here (which is why James endorses it) is the assumption of equivalency between ordaining evil and authoring it.”

    As you said to Mateo, “You’re well on your way [to authorship] … All you have to do is be consistent with the implications of this [ordaining evil]”

    “there is no principled difference between ordaining something and directly willing and causing it to come about. But this overlooks secondary causality through human agency, which we Calvinist do affirm”

    Yes, and once again we see in your system, either God is the author of both good and evil, or He is the author of neither. Because “secondary causality through human agency” which apparently makes the difference between ordination and authorship applies to good as well in your system.

    “So just like captain Justus in the illustration, we completely agree that the criminal who commits the crime is culpable even if he was in some sense “set up” to commit the crime. Nor do we say that God is morally obligated to prevent us from sinning, though he certainly is free to do so if He desires (as he did with Abimelech, in Genesis 20:6). But why? Why doesn’t God have to prevent us from sinning against him if in fact it is possible for him to do so? The answer may be because he has a sovereign purpose for the evil we do (Acts 4:27-28, again). ”

    Great. You’ve just described and agreed with non-Calvinist permission of sin.

    “including the (relatively) free choices of men and angels. ”

    Where “free” is defined as determined. That’s the point of the guffinite injections and secondary means Chief Tenser uses to achieve his goals in case 2.

    “But why does no actual Calvinist recognize this as a valid objection? Answer: It is because we don’t see humanity as puppets on a string nor God as a puppeteer”

    Saying God works through secondary means at best removes the puppet charge – it does nothing for the rube goldberg charge. You love determinism, we get it – now “All you have to do is be consistent with the implications of this” instead of just hand-waving challenges in relation to evil as “this is lame because I don’t like it”.

    Robert,

    “God compels no one to sin. Everyone who sins does so freely and because they want to. ”

    And why they do want to? Because God determined and created and masterminded their evil desires, intents, motivations, thoughts in the causal chain to inexorably yield and necessitate the sin. Everyone who sins “freely” does so as much as someone being hypnotized to commit a crime “freely” does so.

  236. @Lane,

    “Was Adam free enough to choice[choose] not to eat the fruit?”

    Considered from the angle of moral ability, yes. Considered from the angle of Providence, the question is moot because it was –to borrow the language of Acts 4:28–“a predetermined plan” that he would eat it. The question of exactly how “free” he was in the moment of decision is speculative, depending upon how you construe freedom. My sense is that there were a number of factors external to Adam that simply overwhelmed his good judgment and inclined his will decisively to do what he knew he wasn’t supposed to do. But yes, I think Adam, prior to the Fall, had both the power not to sin and the power to sin. (You do remember the posse non peccare et posse peccare distinction from your days as a Calvinist, right?)

  237. Michael Taylor, you write:

    The question is whether or not this prevenient grace is resistible. From what you go on to say, it appears that it is not.

    The quote I gave from the Council of Trent speaks of prevenient grace, which is an actual grace that is not resistible. St. Thomas Aquinas uses the term “operative” grace when he speaks of the actual grace that St. Augustine called prevenient grace.

    If operative grace and coopertative grace are both resistible, then there is no distinction between operative grace and coopertative grace. But there is a difference between the actual graces of operative grace and cooperative grace. Operative grace is not resistible, and cooperative grace is resistible. The quote that De Maria gave by St. Thomas Aquinas makes that point, but De Maria seems to have misunderstood Aquinas :

    “…grace may be taken in two ways; first, as a Divine help, whereby God moves us to will and to act; secondly, as a habitual gift divinely bestowed on us.

    Now in both these ways grace is fittingly divided into operating and cooperating. For the operation of an effect is not attributed to the thing moved but to the mover. Hence in that effect in which our mind is moved and does not move, but in which God is the sole mover, the operation is attributed to God, and it is with reference to this that we speak of “operating grace.” But in that effect in which our mind both moves and is moved, the operation is not only attributed to God, but also to the soul; and it is with reference to this that we speak of “cooperating grace.”

    When God is the sole mover with the grace that he is giving to man, then God is giving a type of grace cannot be resisted – a type of grace that is, by definition, a monergistic grace. Operative grace is monergistic. God moves in man without man.

    There is another type of actual grace that is not monergistic, which St. Thomas calls cooperative grace. Cooperative grace is synergistic. When a man exercises his free will to cooperate with this grace of God, the cooperation brings about “that effect in which our mind both moves and is moved, the operation is not only attributed to God, but also to the soul …”.

    The combination of operative grace and cooperative grace is sufficient to bring about a response to the call to conversion, but this sufficient grace is only efficacious when the man exercises his free will to choose to cooperate with cooperating grace. If a man exercises his free will to not cooperate with the cooperative grace that has been given to him, he will not convert. But he will not be able to blame God for his rejection of the cooperative grace that would have led to his salvation, because that was his freely made choice, a choice against the response that God desires from him. His damnation is caused because he freely rejected the grace that was given to him, and not because God did not love him enough to save him as the Calvinists assert.

    Calvinism is a “blame God for evil” religion, which is why it is a degenerate and corrupt perversion of Christianity.

  238. Michael,

    “Considered from the angle of moral ability, yes. Considered from the angle of Providence, the question is moot ”

    The question is hardly moot if you’re claiming Adam had actual “moral” ability. This is why your side’s repeated “defense” of determinism by saying “what does it matter about the nature of our choices if God knows we make only one choice” or “what difference does the can/will distinction ultimately make” is less than helpful or compelling.

    “The question of exactly how “free” he was in the moment of decision is speculative, depending upon how you construe freedom … yes, I think Adam, prior to the Fall, had both the power not to sin and the power to sin.”

    And yet God was still sovereign this entire time. The universe didn’t spiral out of control and He wasn’t some enfeebled poor God suffering in the shadows of man’s exalted power. Hmmm.

  239. James,

    The question is hardly moot if you’re claiming Adam had actual “moral” ability. This is why your side’s repeated “defense” of determinism by saying “what does it matter about the nature of our choices if God knows we make only one choice” or “what difference does the can/will distinction ultimately make” is less than helpful or compelling.

    None of that is offered as a “defense.” It’s offered to show that your view of providence doesn’t give you the kind of freedom you think Calvinism lacks. That’s all.

    And yet God was still sovereign this entire time. The universe didn’t spiral out of control and He wasn’t some enfeebled poor God suffering in the shadows of man’s exalted power. Hmmm.

    It didn’t “spiral out of control” because even before the fall Adam couldn’t choose against Providence, which is what your view of freedom actually requires.

    The only way to have the kind of freedom you want is to deny omniscience and, really, omnipotence.

  240. James,

    You said to Michael:

    And yet God was still sovereign this entire time. The universe didn’t spiral out of control and He wasn’t some enfeebled poor God suffering in the shadows of man’s exalted power. Hmmm.

    Thank you. That was exactly my point for asking the question about Adam’s freedom.

  241. Robert,

    The only way to have the kind of freedom you want is to deny omniscience and, really, omnipotence.

    Nope. The freedom that I want (the freedom that I must have) is the freedom necessary to be culpable, since I defiantly am culpable.

  242. *definitely

  243. Lane–

    You wrote:

    “I don’t have freedom without denying God’s sovereignty? I disagree. God is powerful enough to create creatures with free will and still be in complete control. If you can’t image how it works, that doesn’t make it not true.”

    This is almost verbatim what I have written a time or two in defense of compatibilistic freedom (and was roundly excoriated by your cohorts each time).

    So when are you planning to come back over to our side? Next Easter would be nice….

  244. HA!

    “Calvinism is a “blame God for evil” religion, which is why it is a degenerate and corrupt perversion of Christianity”

    Gosh, I love that kind of talk!

    I like it almost as much as “Meat Puppet”. Seriously.

    It’s a refreshing “Back Atcha” for all the truly diabolical charges of idolatry, bread and Mary worship against us.

    The reason why Eric thinks Mateo, Jonathan, DeMaria, James, Wosbald and yours truly are so vicious is because he is not used to being spoken to in the manner Catholics have been spoken to since the Puritans landed in America. ( The last socially acceptable form of bigotry is anti-Catholicism ). He is so used to assuming snottiness is his Protestant prerogative while we are supposed to roll over and obediently bare our throats that he is taken aback when he is on the receiving end instead of dishing it out.

  245. Lane,

    The freedom that I want (the freedom that I must have) is the freedom necessary to be culpable, since I defiantly am culpable.

    Now you need to make a case for non-compatibilistic freedom as the kind of freedom necessary for culpability, incorporating Acts 4 wherein it is said that God determined the sinful acts of the men who crucified Christ.

  246. James–

    You wrote:

    “As I told Eric, saying God has a good purpose in permission of evil is not Calvinism which is why all orthodox non-Calvinists affirm it – saying God has a good purpose in determining evil is Calvinism.”

    And as I informed a number of you Catholics, Calvin does indeed define the ordination of evil as equalling permission (plus deliverance into the hands of Satan, which some of you have agreed to). (Quit making crap up, you worshipper of Mary. Quit making crap up, you worshipper of an incompetent, weak, weenie of a god. 😉 )

    The ordination of evil allows for the complete freedom of sinners to plan out and execute and relish the momentary pleasures of their sin. As Lane observed, this happens at the same time that God is in complete control, procuring the results he desired to occur. How this happens, neither Lane nor I can explain.

    From time to time, Michael and Robert SOUND deterministic enough to preclude actual culpability for sin. This is unbiblical.

    From time to time, Catholics SOUND so worshipful of Mary that no objective, outside witness would ever call it anything different. This is unbiblical.

  247. Michael Taylor, you write:

    Considered from the angle of moral ability, yes. Considered from the angle of Providence, the question is moot because it was –to borrow the language of Acts 4:28–”a predetermined plan” that he would eat it.

    What a load of double-talk. And so typical of the Calvinist. Adam was free to not sin against God, and at the same time, because God had predestined Adam to sin, Adam was not free at all – Adam had to commit his act of disobedience because God decreed it!

    To be a Calvinist is to commit to a lifetime of irrationality.

  248. Michael said,

    “. But many, many baptized Roman Catholics do in fact worship Mary in actual practice.”

    I have sought the elusive Mary worshiping Mackerel Snapper for nigh on 4 decades but the slippery varmint has out foxed me every time I thought I was closing in on him.
    I figure it is because he doesn’t really exist.
    Anyone can see from her images that May has arms, hands, hair, a front, sides, a top and the the other parts and angles that composite beings tend to have. Intuitively, rational beings ( including the Mackerel Snapper ) know composite beings are put together and can usually be dismantled. He knows composite beings, as all material beings are, have a beginning. And they have a source outside of themselves. Nobody, including the Zeus and Ishtar devotees ever made the mistake of thinking their gods were God.

    To the empty headed bozos who make the claim Catholics worship Mary, I gotta ask which apparition they are talking about.
    It can’t be Guadalupe. In that image, Mary has her own hands folded in prayer. ( Even those Olympian gods didn’t pray to God ).

    How about Lourdes? Or Fatima? In those images she is holding a rosary so she must be praying to herself, right?
    WRONG! Mary does not pray the Our Father nor the Hail Mary beads. She pray for her own deathbed conversion and she can’t ask to be forgiven trespasses she never committed. But she does pray the Glory Be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost as any other creature can.

    Line up all the authorized apparitions. List all the various devotions. None of them confuse Mary with God. Only an idiot would honestly think so. (There are liars who know we don’t but pretend we do in order to make Judas points with those honest idiots though. I can name one ) .

  249. Eric,

    “Calvin does indeed define the ordination of evil as equalling permission”

    Ordination = determinism to Calvin and all Calvinists here. So “permission” is just a meaningless euphemism. It’s still determinism. And to be honest, Robert and Michael are better representatives of orthodox Calvinism than you are given your idiosyncratic definition of compatibilism as some species of non-determinism which Robert rightly addressed, and other statements you’ve made where you do cafeteria-style picking from whatever traditions floats your boat to create some hodgepodge mix. So we have to take your statements with a grain of salt.

  250. Eric, you write:

    The ordination of evil allows for the complete freedom of sinners to plan out and execute and relish the momentary pleasures of their sin.

    Eric, do you have the capacity to commit mortal sin that will lead to your damnation? Or is God going to meat puppet you to make you behave?

  251. James,

    Ordination = determinism to Calvin and all Calvinists here. So “permission” is just a meaningless euphemism.

    Ordination=soft determinism. We have no problem with permission in order to note that the way in which God ordains sin is different than the way in which he ordains good. The point is that God never exercises bare permission or that God’s sovereign decree only incorporates some of what happens in history.

    Calvin railed against the “bare permission” advocated by many medieval theologians, the same “bare permission” that is apparently orthodox Romanism.

  252. Eric,

    No, not you. You are not the liar I spoke about. You are honestly and invincibly ignorant. You have to be. There is no other explanation for your mental blockage.
    Despite having been told 43 times by myself alone that worship is centered first and foremost in the mind, not the emotions, you continue to put your Buster Brown in your pie hole every time this subject comes up.

    I KNOW God created Mary. That says all I need to say.

    Now, I can say 10 Hail Marys to every Our Father all day long. I can have a warm fuzzy feeling towards Mary that I don’t have for God.

    As long as I K.N.O.W. the difference, there is absolutely no possibility of excessive prayer to Mary.

  253. Jim,

    None of them confuse Mary with God. Only an idiot would honestly think so.

    We know what RC theology says about worshipping Mary vs. adoring Mary. The problem is what is said can only go so far. The Israelites at the base of Mt. Sinai didn’t think they were committing idolatry or engaging in false worship. Muslims don’t think they are committing idolatry.

    What we’re doing isn’t defined by what we think we’re doing.

  254. James and Mateo,

    I am especially fond of the way Calvin’s forerunner put it,
    ” Man is a horse. Sometimes God mounts the saddle and…”.

  255. Ordination=soft determinism

    Hard or soft (whatever that distinction is supposed to mean!), ultimately, it is still determinism, and because it is determinism, that makes Calvinism a blasphemous “blame God for evil” religion.

  256. Robert,

    Nor is it defined by what YOU think we are doing.

  257. James is correct regarding the meaning of compatibilism. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

    Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/

    Basically, classic Reformed theology affirms compatibilism, more or less in line with much of what the mature Augustine said.

    Roman Catholics deny compatibilism, except perhaps for some versions of Thomism.
    Eastern Orthodoxy denies compatibilism.
    Arminianism denies compatibilism.

  258. Hey, Eric and Robert,

    If they Church endorses Mary worship, why did she condemn the Collyridians?

  259. Mateo,

    In your view of [ermission (whatever that is supposed to mean!), ultimately, it is still the case that God gives free will to creatures whom He knows will certainly misuse it, and because God gives people the capacity to do evil knowing full well that he will do it, that makes Roman Catholicism a blasphemous “blame God for evil” religion.

  260. Robert,

    Dave Hunt says he grew up reading the Bible on his knees.
    Would you say he worships an idol of paper and ink?

    If it looks like a duck…

  261. Jim,

    Nor is it defined by what YOU think we are doing.

    You are exactly correct on this. It is defined by what the Bible says you are doing.

    Now, show us where the Bible allows us to pray to someone other than God and/or makes the dulia/latria distinction.

    If they Church endorses Mary worship, why did she condemn the Collyridians?

    The church doesn’t formally endorse Mary worship (yet). The church endorses hyperdulia. The question is whether, biblically speaking, there is such a category and whether it is something other than worship.

    The fact is that in Roman Catholic piety, Mary is given attributes of God, such as “font of all grace.” She’s a mediator between God and man. Those are all things that belong to God alone. So Rome can say all she want that such is not worship. If she wants to prove her case, she must demonstrate it according to the Apostolic witness. Not some “well, somebody in the church way back when started praying to Mary, so it must be good” like you all do with the Assumption.

  262. Robert,

    Looks like you are in our pincers, trying to argue on two fronts. I think I will bow out and go watch TV.

  263. Jim,

    Dave Hunt says he grew up reading the Bible on his knees.
    Would you say he worships an idol of paper and ink?

    1. I don’t really care what Dave Hunt does or says.
    2. Be that as it may, I can can guarantee that Dave Hunt never prayed to His Bible, called it Queen of Heaven, or asked it to intercede for him. It’s not the mere bowing/kneeling whatever that is in itself bad, its what that kneeling means and what you all do while you are kneeling.

  264. What is this victim mentality Catholics wallow in anyway? My goodness, you’ve got six out of nine Supreme Court justices. You’ve got the Vice-President, the Speaker of the House, and the Minority Leader of the House. You all CONTROL this godforsaken country!

    Every single church depicted on TV is Roman Catholic. Almost every pastor is either a Catholic or an Episcopalian priest. Heck, you’ve even got Seeley Booth!! All we Evangelicals have (even though we are fully one quarter of the population) is Ned Flanders and Duck Dynasty and Chick Fil-A.

    Calvinists, on the other hand, have absolutely zero presence in the wider culture. We have similar numbers with Jews (and, um, homosexuals). Jointly, they virtually own NYC and LA. Our sphere of influence doesn’t extend a single block past our seminary campus borders.

    Give us a break!

  265. OOPS! I saw that last post.

    Robert,

    “show us where the Bible allows us to pray to someone other than God and/or makes the dulia/latria distinction.”

    Depends on how you define “pray”. The Good Book is chock full o’ examples of men calling men “Lord” and bowing before them.

    “She’s a mediator between God and man. Those are all things that belong to God alone”

    And you don’t mediate? Not ever?
    She mediates between man and her Son. That’s not biblical? Ever hear on the Wedding Feast at Cana?

    Of Course Mary is assumed into Heaven, body as well as soul. That’s why she can be sent by her Son to earth as his ambassador in the flesh.

  266. Robert,

    The Israelites at the base of Mt. Sinai didn’t think they were committing idolatry or engaging in false worship.

    And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.(Exodus 32:4-6 ESV)blockquote>

    Where is Mary called a “god” where are sacrifices offered for her? The people of Israel did exactly that. You show me people offering sacrifices to Mary or calling her god, and I will show you idolaters.

  267. Eric,

    “What is this victim mentality Catholics wallow in anyway?’

    Good question coming from a white boy, a WASP.
    I have never seen DeMaria or Mateo. Judging by their names, they just might be Latinos or Puerto Rican.

    Not that anti-Catholicism need be mixed with racism ( as it is towards Mexicans )’ It is part of the warp and woof of U.S. history.

    Google the San Patricio Brigade. Google why Benedict Arnold betrayed Washington. Ask the computer what Samuel F.B Morse did with all that money he earned from inventing the telegraph. Go to IMAGES and click to Thomas Nast cartoons. Or read about Grant running on the anti Rum, Romanism and Rebellion ticket. Ever hear of the KKK? In Oregon, they didn’t scare blacks. ( There weren’t may ). They trashed Convents. In school, did you study the wars between Spain and England? Who was the good guy country and who was the bad one. Why? Do you know how abortion got legalized in America? Listen to Bernard Nathonson talk about playing”The Catholic Card”. Whose hospitals and orphages are being shut down by Obama? etc. etc. etc….

    Wasp Boy, you don’t know of what you speak.

  268. Oh,

    And check out the theory why Nagasaki and Hiroshima were targeted.

    And why Monte Casino was leveled along with all the innocent peasants taking shelter inside.

  269. Jim–

    Tell our Muslim lurkers that you believe Muhammad to have been an idiot since he believed that Christians worshipped Mary. (Then type out your full address to show us you have the “courage of your convictions”!)

    As far as I can tell, the Collyridians were never officially condemned. In fact, they might never have even existed. But from the description of them that comes down to us, they’d fit right in nowadays.

  270. Eric,

    Why don’t Catholic parents get a tax break for sending their kids to Catholic school like in every other county on the planet?

    While you are googling and thinking up smart alec remarks, I am going for the TV.

  271. Eric,

    You are the idiot. Not Muhamed.

    Muhamed was wrong. Dead wrong. Which makes the Koran wrong.

    I don’t approve of Charlie Hebdod hate. You and the green Troll do. While I hate the terrorists and hope they all are killed, I don’t approve of inflaming non violent and peaceful muslims just to entertain and anti Catholic bigot.

    Actually, Muhamed may have been possessed.

    I am the American who lives in S. Pedro do Estoril, about 200 meters from the beach. Just ask for “James” . Everybody knows and loves me. Anybody can find me at St. Mary’s on Sunday at 10:15 Mass on the Rua Murtal.

    Your creepy friends can get on the train in Lisbon and take the half hour commute along the Tejo. They will love it.

    https://www.google.pt/search?hl=pt-PT&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=911&bih=445&q=sao+pedro+de+estoril&oq=sao+pedro+de+es&gs_l=img.1.0.0i24.1834

    Warn them that I am meaner in the flesh than in cyberspace.

  272. Jim,

    Why don’t Catholic parents get a tax break for sending their kids to Catholic school like in every other county on the planet?

    Why do you think this a instance of anti-Catholic bigotry? Nobody in this country gets a tax break for sending their kids to private school except in the case of private universities where student loan tuition interest is in many cases tax deductible, or at least it used to be.

    I sent my daughter to a Protestant preschool and I didn’t get a tax break. And in this country, you get to deduct what you give to your local parish as much as anyone else gets to deduct to their church.

    We don’t have a state church, maybe these other countries get a tax break because Rome is, or at one time was, the state church.

    By the way, thank God we don’t have a state church.

    Muhamed was wrong. Dead wrong. Which makes the Koran wrong.

    Not, apparently, since V2. At least he’s not wrong enough to keep the pope from kissing the Qur’an or Muslims from praying in the Vatican.

  273. Where is Mary called a “god” where are sacrifices offered for her? The people of Israel did exactly that. You show me people offering sacrifices to Mary or calling her god, and I will show you idolaters.

    Where does the biblical definition of idolatry limited to calling something a “god” or offering sacrifices to it.

    The Israelites thought they were making images of the god who led them out of Israel. They didn’t think they were committing idolatry. NO idolater thinks he is committing idolatry. That is the point.

    The best we can say is that RCs don’t think they are committing idolatry. Many years ago I defending your practice to a Baptist on that basis. That was before I learned more about what your church actually teaches and allows. I would never make such a defense today. In reading Ott on justification and penance, what Rome allows is actually far worse than I ever imagined.

    But the fact that you don’t think what you are doing is idolatry is immaterial if what you are doing is actual idolatry. Prayer is part and parcel of sacrifice. It’s an act of worship. Tell me where Scripture allows you to pray to anyone other than God.

  274. Robert,

    “It didn’t “spiral out of control” because even before the fall Adam couldn’t choose against Providence, which is what your view of freedom actually requires.”

    Once again, you can’t help yourself in conflating can and will. Adam could have chosen otherwise – even Michael (thankfully) admits that much. That’s what my view of freedom actually requires. That’s what makes the *moral* ability Michael claims Adam had actually a *moral* ability.

    “The only way to have the kind of freedom you want is to deny omniscience and, really, omnipotence.”

    God’s omniscience and omnipotence was not denied when Adam sinned, when Satan sinned, or when God created, redeemed, etc. So I feel quite comfortable holding both to freedom and His attributes.

    “it is still the case that God gives free will to creatures whom He knows will certainly misuse it, and because God gives people the capacity to do evil knowing full well that he will do it, that makes Roman Catholicism a blasphemous “blame God for evil” religion.”

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/who-authored-the-crime/ (again)

  275. Michael and Mateo,

    Prevenient grace:

    From the Catechism:

    2094 One can sin against God’s love in various ways:
    – indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity; it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power…..

    Its very easy to show that the Catholic Church does not deem prevenient grace irresistible. The Church Teaches that God wants all men to be saved. Therefore, Christ died for all men.

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

    But not all men have turned to God. Have they?

    Therefore, the prevenient grace of conversion can be resisted.

  276. De Maria, the quote you gave from the CCC is not germane to the use of the term “prevenient grace” as it is used the English translation of the section of the Council of Trent that I posted.

    See Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma and the section about “actual grace”. This is my main source for my response to Michael Taylor.

    The Church Teaches that God wants all men to be saved. Therefore, Christ died for all men.

    Agree 100%. But that doesn’t negate the distinction between operative grace and cooperative grace. Again, see Ott on actual grace.

  277. James,

    Really, that’s supposed to be an analogy that proves that God isn’t “on the hook”? I actually expect somewhat better from you. That’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve read.

    1. Justus didn’t create Norton; God created us.
    2. Justus didn’t give Norton causative power; God gave us causative power.
    3. Justus could not be 100 percent sure of what Norton would do, as he’s not omniscient; God knew what we would do with certainty.

    Furthermore, you have the problem with viewing things as a sting operation when in reality, if you want to borrow the analogies, its more like entrapment, at least with Adam. There is no inclination to evil in Adam before the external temptation comes. Even in Romanism where man is inherently flawed from the get go because, you know, physical is bad and spiritual is good (just like the good Greek pagans taught), you still have all those preternatural gifts and what not that keep that concupiscence from overpowering the will. So no inclination to evil.

    The second analogy is bad because the author clearly has no clue about what Reformed theology actually teaches. Neither the WCF nor Calvin nor the London Baptist confession teach that God does an evil act like injecting people with an substance that will make them do evil things. Not one. God doesn’t do evil, and he doesn’t control minds.

    I’ve seen pathetic analogies before, but please.

    Let’s rehearse the facts:

    1. God gives creatures causative power to do great evil.
    2. God gives that causative power not only to those whom he knows will certainly do well with it but also to those whom he knows will certainly misuse it.
    3. God could just as well have not created those people/creatures who would misuse it, and if he didn’t, there would be no great evil.

    How is God not a moral monster? How is He not, if not the “author,” fully complicit in the crime as an aider and abetter. We’d certainly call an arms dealer who was supplying ISIS a moral monster. He’s giving them the ability to do great evil knowing full well they will do it. In fact, he might be less of a “monster” since, being a creature, he can only have a really good guess as to what ISIS will do with the arms. He doesn’t know for sure.

    There’s only one answer—“Because He’s God.” Good. Exactly what we’re saying.

    So if you want to say our view is unbiblical (as if you’ve even once tried to deal with Acts 4 where God plans and intends the greatest evil in history), that’s fine. Just stop pretending that your view somehow keeps God’s hands “clean.”

  278. @Mateo,

    “Load of double talk.”

    That’s your exegesis of Acts 4:27-28? God says he has a predetermined plan and you say “double talk”?

    “Adam was free to not sin against God,”

    Yes. (Posse non peccare = able not to sin).

    “and at the same time, because God had predestined Adam to sin,”

    No. God had predestined *that* Adam would sin all on his own.

    “Adam was not free at all – ”

    Invalid inference. God can Providentially intend good where we intend evil. That does not mitigate or take away from the freedom of the human agent. Joseph’s brothers. You do read the Bible, don’t you?

    “Adam had to commit his act of disobedience because God decreed it!”

    In one sense, yes. In another no. You have to distinguish between what Providence ordains to take place and the secondary causes Providence uses to bring about what it ordains. Those secondary causes can be necessary or contingent. Adam’s Fall was contingent upon his choice. But at the same time, it was part of the fabric of creation (that includes all things–including the free acts of men) that God spoke into existence and was therefore necessary.

    “Irrational”

    No more so than the Thomism you claim to embrace. Try reading Thomas’ 4 questions on Providence. He says the same thing.

  279. +JMJ+

    Michael wrote:

    God had predestined *that* Adam would sin “all on his own”.

    Fixed it for ya.

    😆

  280. @Robert,

    “That’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve read.”

    Indeed, especially the second case. The first case, however, has initial plausibility as a defeater to the idea that God would be a moral monster if he chose not to prevent an evil that he could have. So the “sting operation” seems to be one such counter-example in which God would be justified in permitting evil without being vulnerable to the charge of culpable negligence.

    Where I think it breaks down is that it trades on the assumption that ordination = authorship. So if God authors/ordains the “sting,” then as the defense lawyer argues, mutatis mutandis, God would be essentially manipulating all the factors to induce us to sin. That’s the Rube-Godlberg infinite loop that James can’t get out of.

    But the illustration gives the same answer to that charge as we Calvinists do: God wasn’t required in the first place to prevent the sin from taking place, even if he could have, and even if he was responsible for setting up the conditions that facilitated the sin. That’s because ordination is *not* equal to authorship. But James is being tendentious on that point, and being caught in the infinite loop that he’s in, he can only cycle back to the original charge. In fact it is James who sounds almost exactly like Moriarty’s defense attorney.

    Another problem with the sting analogy is this. By its very nature it is intended to execute justice. But crime prevention, by its very nature, is intended to execute mercy. The Bible depicts God doing both, and so both are true.

    James’ point is only to argue that there are some scenarios in which God would not be a moral monster for doing nothing to prevent evil. Superficially, it looks like he’s made his point. But scratch the surface and I think you’ll see something else is going on here.

    First, the far greater evil would be for God to not execute his justice against the likes of Moriarty who stands in the place of the reprobate sinner. So preventing Moriarty from sinning in the first place would have in fact been a unjust act given the duty of law enforcement officers to fight crime. One does not help society by tipping off the criminal before he commits the crime only to allow him to try again. Yet, we read in the Genesis 20, that God did tip off Abimilech by means of a dream. Superficially, these seem like similar cases. But scratch the surface and you’ll see that they’re not. Abimilech wanted to take Sarah as a wife out of the “integrity of his heart.” It was never his intention to commit a crime. He thought Sarah was single because that’s what Abraham told him. The ruse worked. And if God had not stepped in Abimelech would have become an adulterer, albeit without evil intent. Does that describe Moriarty? No. Moriarty is described has having evil intent. He wants to commit a crime. Abimelech didn’t. So if God prevents Abimelech from sinning against him, He (God) is acting consistent with his character and is in no way a moral monster. But if God were to tip off Moriarty ahead of time, then God would be complicit in aiding and abetting a known criminal. Sure, a crime would have been prevented. But an even greater evil would have resulted insofar as a suspected master-mind criminal would still be on the loose and a dedicated law enforcement agent (the highest one of all!) would be morally responsible for having effectively acquitted the guilty. That would have made God a moral monster for *not* running the sting. S

    I like your arms dealer analogy. A police officer who says, “I didn’t force the thief to steal, I just left the door open for him knowing that he would probably come” is indeed not culpable. But what about the arms dealer who says, “I just supply the weapons, but I do not condone their use against non-combatants, even though I knew ahead of time that that’s probably what they would be used for” ? My intuition is that the arms dealer is morally culpable.

    The question we have to ask our Arminian/Romanist brethren is this. If God gave human beings “free will,” knowing full well ahead of time that every single one of them would misuse it for evil, how is God not at least indirectly responsible for evil? Is it too much to hope for a straight answer to this question? Is it too much to hope that one of them will actually engage Acts 4:27-28 and show us how an exegesis of this text harmonizes with Molinims or Thomism? So far, it seems like an ill-founded hope as there haven’t been any takers.

  281. Robert–

    I kind of doubt we disagree on substance, but if free will is compatible with determinism, then determinism would have to be compatible with free will, as well. So you can call it “soft” determinism if you like, but honesty should compel you to concede that it could just as easily be called “soft” libertarianism.

  282. Michael,

    Good words indeed. I want to comment specifically on this:

    The question we have to ask our Arminian/Romanist brethren is this. If God gave human beings “free will,” knowing full well ahead of time that every single one of them would misuse it for evil, how is God not at least indirectly responsible for evil? Is it too much to hope for a straight answer to this question?

    At this point, I’d be happy with “I don’t know how he is not indirectly responsible for evil, I just know that he’s not.” That’s actually the most honest answer that could be given, but in the many discussions we’ve had about this here, the Romanist/Arminian will never say that. Instead we get analogies and haphazard exegesis and quotes from Augustine and Thomas and on and on and on. There’s certainly a place for all that, but at rock bottom, the answer has to be “I don’t know how, I just know that he’s not.” That’s ultimately the answer that we Calvinists have to give. I suspect that is why they won’t just be honest and say that they really don’t know how, they just know that God is not morally responsible for evil. Remember rule number one of Roman Catholic critiques of Calvinism—If Calvinists say it, it must be wrong.

    Is it too much to hope that one of them will actually engage Acts 4:27-28 and show us how an exegesis of this text harmonizes with Molinims or Thomism? So far, it seems like an ill-founded hope as there haven’t been any takers.

    I honestly don’t think there will be one. The most substantive answers I’ve seen here on Romans 9has been that the interlocutor in Romans 9 is complaining that God gave us free will, not questioning divine justice. With exegesis like that, I can’t expect even a halfway competent attempt to actually deal with Acts 4.

    The whole conversation is illuminating. For those who want to evaluate God by their intuition of what it is right and wrong for human beings to do, the Bible will remain a closed book.

  283. Eric,

    Perhaps. If soft libertarianism means the freedom to choose among a variety of options, then sure. If it means the freedom to choose contrary to one’s nature, then no.

    But I agree. We don’t really disagree on substance. A lot of these discussions between the two camps and even within the same camps hinge a lot on the inability of human language to capture the reality. I can’t think of a earthly example where I can guarantee that my argument will be persuasive without somehow “forcing” the audience, so a lot of these discussions end up using terminology such as “make” or “compel,” and people automatically read into it all the negatives we associate with those terms. But God can persuade without “forcing” the agent. I don’t see any reason to object to that except that it means that there are some people that God just doesn’t want to persuade, at least not in every sense. But as I’ve noted to Mateo, even Roman Catholicism has to leave a place for that. The only alternatives are universalism or that God is a failure.

  284. MATEO May 20, 2015 at 5:35 pm
    De Maria, the quote you gave from the CCC is not germane to the use of the term “prevenient grace” as it is used the English translation of the section of the Council of Trent that I posted.

    I beg to differ.

    See Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma and the section about “actual grace”.

    The Catechism and the Council of Trent both supersede Ott.

    This is my main source for my response to Michael Taylor.
    The Church Teaches that God wants all men to be saved. Therefore, Christ died for all men.
    Agree 100%. But that doesn’t negate the distinction between operative grace and cooperative grace. Again, see Ott on actual grace.

    Let’s not mix arguments. Yours and Michael’s discussion is hard to follow. Which one of you said that prevenient grace is “irresistible”?

    Whoever said that, is wrong. The proof is in the text you provided from Trent.

    MATEO May 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm
    Michael Taylor …
    The Council of Trent, The Sixth Session, Chapter V, “On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds” :
    “The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.”

    Read the bold print at the end of that blockquote. If we can reject “prevenient” grace, then it is resistible, by definition.

    And you also made this comment:

    If operative grace and coopertative grace are both resistible, then there is no distinction between operative grace and coopertative grace.

    Its not two different graces. Its the same grace looked at in two different ways.

    But there is a difference between the actual graces of operative grace and cooperative grace.

    From our perspective only.

    Operative grace is not resistible, and cooperative grace is resistible.

    It is one and the same grace. If anything, its the other way around. Because Cooperative grace is the grace of not resisting Operative grace. It is the grace of cooperating.

    The quote that De Maria gave by St. Thomas Aquinas makes that point, but De Maria seems to have misunderstood Aquinas :

    We’ll see who misunderstood what.

    “…grace may be taken in two ways;

    Did you see that? How do you understand it?

    first, as a Divine help, whereby God moves us to will and to act; secondly, as a habitual gift divinely bestowed on us.
    Now in both these ways grace is fittingly divided into operating and cooperating.

    Did you get that?

    For the operation of an effect is not attributed to the thing moved but to the mover. Hence in that effect in which our mind is moved and does not move, but in which God is the sole mover, the operation is attributed to God, and it is with reference to this that we speak of “operating grace.” But in that effect in which our mind both moves and is moved, the operation is not only attributed to God, but also to the soul; and it is with reference to this that we speak of “cooperating grace.”

    We only “speak of” operating and cooperating grace. But it is merely looking at the same grace from two different perspectives.

    When God is the sole mover with the grace that he is giving to man, then God is giving a type of grace cannot be resisted – a type of grace that is, by definition, a monergistic grace.

    Its almost exactly the opposite.

    This is what St. Thomas said:
    Now in both these ways grace is fittingly divided into operating and cooperating. For the operation of an effect is not attributed to the thing moved but to the mover. Hence in that effect in which our mind is moved and does not move,

    The mind is moved BUT DOES NOT MOVE. The grace is resisted. What is this grace called?

    but in which God is the sole mover, the operation is attributed to God, and it is with reference to this that we speak of “operating grace.”

    This grace, which is resisted, is called “operating grace.”

    But in that effect in which our mind both moves and is moved, the operation is not only attributed to God, but also to the soul; and it is with reference to this that we speak of “cooperating grace.”….

    When the mind both moves and is moved by the grace of God, this very same grace is called “cooperating grace”.

    Operative grace is monergistic. God moves in man without man.

    No. Operative grace is resisted grace. God gives man the grace to do something and the man resists that grace. This is free will.

    Cooperating grace is the very same grace. Except now, the man cooperates and is moved. This is free will.

    Both are examples of synergism. God made us without us, monergism in creation. But God does not will to save us without us, synergism in salvation.

  285. James–

    That which you consider “orthodox” Calvinism you also consider completely irrational and incoherent. So your opinion as to what orthodoxy consists of is likewise totally unimpressive.

    As for my alleged idiosyncrasies, name a single point of the WCF which I reject. (I have no set position on the RPW or on paedobaptism, but I do not reject them and would have no serious objection to conforming.)

  286. Mateo & DeMaria,

    That first or operating grace enlightens the mind. It does not move the will. Not if the sinner resists. It lets even the most hardened sinner know he should act.
    The Holy Ghost is knocking at the door and asking Eric and Robert if he can come in. But they kick against the goad. They know what they should do but don’t want to go there.

  287. Robert,

    You are impressed with,

    “If God gave human beings “free will,” knowing full well ahead of time that every single one of them would misuse it for evil, how is God not at least indirectly responsible for evil? Is it too much to hope for a straight answer to this question?”

    “Knowing …ahead of time”? What does that mean? We are talking about God who lives outside of time, in an eternal NOW, aren’t we.

  288. Robert,

    That is where Aquinas stopped. He did not try to unravel it just how the future can be present to God.

    You really are impressed with Michael, huh?

    ” God will by-pass our free will to illuminate us by means of monergistic, quickening and assisting grace because it is oh-so important that we are enabled to cooperate so that we can covert ourselves to our own justification (read: save ourselves). But, God wouldn’t dare violate our free will to actually give us monergistic, operative grace that saves us to the uttermost, as the scriptures say. Got it.”

    Read my previous two posts.

  289. DeMaria & Mateo,

    Here is what Augustine said,
    “God begins his influence by working in us THAT WE MAY HAVE THE WILL, and he completes it by working with us WHEN WE HAVE the will.”

    By the way, let us not forget that Augustine’s was not the only theory. ALL THE GREEK FATHERS were big on predestination before foreseen merits.

    Here is a good Bible quotes( from our Bible ),

    ecclesiasticus 31:8-11

    8 Blessed is the rich person who is found blameless,
    and who does not go after gold.
    9 Who is he, that we may praise him?
    For he has done wonders among his people.
    10 Who has been tested by it and been found perfect?
    Let it be for him a ground for boasting.
    ***Who has had the power to transgress and did not transgress,
    and to do evil and did not do it?***
    11 His prosperity will be established,
    and the assembly will proclaim his acts of charity.

    NOTICE; The guy had the power to transgress but did not.

  290. James,

    Eric is talking about “orthodox” Calvinism. HA! He, Robert, and Michael digress from R.C. Sproul on Penal Sub and the Father punishing the Son.

    I think it was Robert ( maybe Eric ) who denied MacArthur and Sproul are “kingpins” in Calvinist circles only a week or so ago.

    Some weeks ago I was amused to see, over on Green Baggins, our troll being told he was misrepresenting the Reformed position by fellow Calvinists.

  291. Mateo & DM,

    Prevenient or Operating grace is always efficacious. When Jesus stands at the door and knocks, we always hear the knocking and know we should open. It’s like when a match is struck in a dark room. You cannot resist noticing the light.

    Cooperating grace moves us to open. Unlike the above grace which is monergistic, this one demands free consent of the will.

    ( I am just asking. Does my idea pass muster with you guys? )

    Anyway, I might add that only Mary and Baptized babies who die are predestined BEFORE any foreseen merits.

    Mary was predestined along with Christ. The Franciscans kinda’ place Rev. 12 before Gen. 3:15 in the mind of God. Satan fell out of envy for Jesus and Mary when God revealed to him the plan of the Incarnation. Later, in the Garden, he mistakenly thought Adam and Eve were Jesus and Mary. Knowing he couldn’t cause the God-man to sin, he went for the woman.
    Anyway, now I digress.

  292. Jim wrote:
    He was once one of us ( actually he still is, he just refuses to say so ).

    Response:
    Beware of dialogue with Roman Catholics because they speak with forked tongue. They say this in front of their leaders:

    They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are NOT OF US. – 1 John 2:19

  293. De Maria wrote:
    If we don’t merit salvation, why does Scripture say we must be worthy?

    Response:
    The Scripture says we must be worthy in order for the Apostle Paul to lament and leave.

    And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. – Act 13:46
    ———————–

    I lament but will not leave. De Maria is worthy of eternal life because his very own Catholic Bible and Liturgical prayers testify against him. The deal seems sealed when HE JUDGES himself unworthy. Even Satan is God’s Satan in the synagogue of Satan.

  294. Comment

  295. Jim,

    .He, Robert, and Michael digress from R.C. Sproul on Penal Sub and the Father punishing the Son.

    No I don’t.

    I think it was Robert ( maybe Eric ) who denied MacArthur and Sproul are “kingpins” in Calvinist circles only a week or so ago.

    That wasn’t me.

    “Knowing …ahead of time”? What does that mean? We are talking about God who lives outside of time, in an eternal NOW, aren’t we.

    Sure, but once God creates time and enters into time, it’s not wrong to speak of God knowing things ahead of time, from our perspective. When God entered history in the person of Jesus Christ, He knew what I would do two thousand years later.

  296. Robert,

    Yeah, but you were elect long before the Incarnation. That was when he just may have taken your merits into account. ( assuming, of course, you are in fact elect ).

  297. PS,
    Thanks for unintentionally conceding that Calvary is somehow present now in the Mass.

  298. Jim,

    Yeah, but you were elect long before the Incarnation. That was when he just may have taken your merits into account. ( assuming, of course, you are in fact elect ).

    If election is according to my merits, then I am not saved by grace.

    Thanks for unintentionally conceding that Calvary is somehow present now in the Mass.

    Come again?

  299. @De Maria,

    “Read the bold print at the end of that blockquote. If we can reject “prevenient” grace, then it is resistible, by definition.”

    Re-read it please. What is resistible is the state of illumination that the irresistible prevenient grace brings. Here’s the order:

    1. Man is in the dark (outside of the state of grace) and *unable* to turn toward the light.
    2. God gives prevenient grace that both quickens and assists man. Result: He is now in light (illuminated). So far no resistance is possible. Man is automatically illuminated by this sort of grace.
    3. But now he has to do something with the light he has been given. He doesn’t have to walk in the light. He can resist it. He can go back to the dark.
    4. If he goes to the dark side, then it is an act of his own free will.
    5. But if he goes deeper into to the light side (“converting himself to his own justification”) then something more than free will is needed. He also needs to be “moved by grace.” This isn’t the prevenient grace that enlightens all men. This is a special, actual grace that moves one to convert oneself to one’s own justification.

    Conclusion: The first grace in this chain is the prevenient grace that brings us into the light and is irresistible. Mateo and I are on agreement with this against you.

  300. Robert,

    Where does the biblical definition of idolatry limited to calling something a “god” or offering sacrifices to it.

    Virtually every place in the OT worship includes offering sacrifices. Even the first instance of recorded worship includes Cain and Abel making a sacrifice to God. What was first thing Noah did once he got off the ark? He built an altar to the Lord and made a sacrifice. What did Abram do when God showed him the land his offspring will be given? He built an altar and made a sacrifice. The first place I saw the word “worship” is in Gen 22 when referring to making a burnt offering. And on and on it goes. Making a sacrifice is integral to worship.

    But you are suggesting that asking for prayer and giving someone honor is necessarily worship and thus idolatry.

    The best we can say is that RCs don’t think they are committing idolatry.

    The best we can say is that Protestants don’t know how insufficient their worship is.

    Is giving honor to other people worship? I’m commanded to honor my parents, is that worship – clearly not. Aaron was to have sacred garments made that were to give him dignity and honor – not worship. We are told to give respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due (Rom 13:7). Are the saints in heaven not due honor and respect? We are told to honor all men and love the brotherhood (1 Pet 2:17). Are the saints in heaven not part of the brotherhood any longer? We are told that presbyters who rule well are worthy of double honor (1 Tim 5:17). Saints lived well and are also due honor. If someone pays my child a compliment, am I not, as a parent, also honored? These are my brothers and sisters, we are family! I don’t offer them sacrifices. And I certainly don’t think they are gods. I recognize the magnificent things done for them by God, and the incredibly well lived lives of faith they had. I want everyone’s prayer, including my older brothers and sisters.

    Prayer is part and parcel of sacrifice. It’s an act of worship. Tell me where Scripture allows you to pray to anyone other than God.

    You are the Bible only man; you show me where it says in Scripture that I can’t ask saints in heaven to pray for me. We are clearly exhorted to pray for one another (1 Tim. 2:1–4). The saints in heaven aren’t dead but alive. Do saints in heaven not pray to God? Do the saints in heaven not care about us, their family? Are saints in heaven not aware of us? They are described as a cloud of witnesses! So again, show me where I can’t ask them for prayer.

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