The Gospel as Perfect Love Casting Out Fear

Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Assurance, Exegesis, Featured, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Imputation, John, Justification, Law, Love, Paradigms, Reformed Theology, Sanctification, Sola Fide | 102 comments

We have seen throughout this section of our series on gospel paradigms that all of the principal NT figures spoke and wrote as though their basic understanding of the gospel was that salvation comes through the New Covenant gift of the Spirit who accomplishes in God’s people what the law of Moses could not by enabling us to display the love of God and neighbor that the Father has desired all along.

I have traced all of these elements in the preaching of Jesus and in the writings of Paul, Peter, and James. Last of all is John who, unsurprisingly, echoes the others by connecting all the same dots:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. . . . So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother (I John 4:7, 11-13, 16-21).

Some points to consider:

1. As throughout the Johannine corpus, love of God and neighbor is paramount here.

2. The foundation of our love of neighbor is God’s prior love for us.

3. There is a qualitative nature to the agape  discussed here (much like the “righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees” is not just greater in quantity or more of the same kind of righteousness, but is of another quality altogether).

4. The way John describes this superlative quality of agape  is by describing it as “perfect love” that is “perfected in us” (2x), and we “perfected in it” (1x).

5. Building upon #s 3 and 4, the issue here is not our having kept a list of Mosaic commands, and neither is it that God has replaced the demand for perfect law-keeping with the demand for perfect loving (which, being impossible, serves to condemn us as the law did). Rather, this love not just demanded but becomes a reality in us, “because he has given us his Spirit.” This agape , then, is covenantally contextualized as it was by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and James.

6. The result of possessing this perfect love is a lack of fear concerning the day of judgment, which parallels the other NT figures we have considered, all of whom see the Spirit-wrought fruit of love as contributing to our final salvation on the last day.

I should also point out another passage in which John clearly sets forth the dual command of love in its New Covenant context:

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining (I John 2:7-8).

Here we see that despite the command to love God and neighbor having been operative under the Mosaic law, the command as it comes to us through Christ is indeed “new” because it is now accompanied by the power of the new age, the light of which is “already shining” by the Holy Spirit.

The problem for the Reformed is not that they don’t believe these words of the beloved disciple, or that they have no room for them in their system. The problem is that if the gospel hinges upon the extrinsic imputation of alien righteousness, then the gospel is conspicuously absent from anything John wrote, whereas if the gospel is about the Father creating in us through Christ by the Spirit the divine love that fulfills the law and sufficiently pleases him, then that gospel message is not just found on every page of John’s writings, but it is the exact message preached by Jesus, James, Peter, and Paul as well.

102 Comments

  1. The “new commandment”, exposes us, as well.

    Sure, we have our moments…but for the most part we want to serve ourselves, before, or instead of our brothers and sisters.

    This Maundy Thursday sermon, lays it all out there, Jesus’ commands, Jesus’ example, much better than I have ever heard before:

    http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/the-last-day-of-jesus-life.mp3

    Give it a go, and then let me know your thoughts, with respect to Jason’s post here.

    Thanks.

  2. TOA, you really have a knack for repeating your talking points while ignoring everything anyone says that disagrees with you. I would love to be a fly on the wall during an argument with your wife sometime!

  3. Jason,

    I’ll say it again. Love is a work of the law and that insofar as Abraham and David exhibited this love they did so by the power of the Spirit and were thereby partakers of the eschatological age. You agree with at least the second part of that statement, and the first part comes from the law’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lev. 19:18). Nevertheless, Paul says by works of the law, no one will be justified.

    The coming of the Spirit does not make love less a work of the law. It may make it more, but it does not make it less or take it away from being a work of the law because love remains a command of God. The Spirit enables us to love, it enables us to fulfill the law, but by works of the law, no flesh will be justified. And before you throw out Rom. 2:13 again, there are many scholars who would not see that verse as hypothetical or whatever else you want to call it but nevertheless deny that even our Spirit-wrought works justify us.

    You are arguing from silence as to imputation and justification. Even Paul does not talk about imputation and justification in all of His letters. For someone who is so fond of building a paradigm or going in search for what you think an apostle would or would not have said had they held a given paradigm, you pass right over 1 John 2:2 where the apostle speaks of propitiation, which you know is a key part of the Reformed understanding of imputation and justification. So to say John makes no reference to extrinsic imputation in regards to our justification is simply laughable. Such “exegesis” might win you friends from existing Roman Catholics, but it is not going to convince any Reformed believer who has actually researched the topic.

    Now, you might be able to argue that the Reformed have misunderstood the nature of propitiation, but if you are going to do that you are going to have to refute Leon Morris, Roger Nicole, and many, many others. Forgive me for doubting seriously that you are up to that task.

  4. +JMJ+

    Jason Stellman wrote:

    5. Building upon #s 3 and 4, the issue here is not our having kept a list of Mosaic commands, and neither is it that God has replaced the demand for perfect law-keeping with the demand for perfect loving (which, being impossible, serves to condemn us as the law did). Rather, this love not just demanded but becomes a reality in us, “because he has given us his Spirit.” This agape , then, is covenantally contextualized as it was by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and James.

    Boom goes the dynamite!

    This qualitative aspect of Agape is something that simply escapes those who kneejerkedly run everything through the quantitative, particularized filter that is perfect law-keeping. Christ fulfilled the law at all times and by His very Being simply because He radiated, as it were, Divine Love.

  5. Jason,

    You are like the pot calling the kettle black.

    You come back tome and time again to the same themes. ‘Yes we can, with God’s help’…and we need to.’ Love, works, whatever.

    So, quite naturally, I argue with you. ‘No we can’t.’ More than that… ‘No we don’t want to’.

  6. Hello Jason,

    You concluded, “The problem is that if the gospel hinges upon the extrinsic imputation of alien righteousness, then the gospel is conspicuously absent from anything John wrote, whereas if the gospel is about the Father creating in us through Christ by the Spirit the divine love that fulfills the law and sufficiently pleases him, then that gospel message is not just found on every page of John’s writings, but it is the exact message preached by Jesus, James, Peter, and Paul as well.”

    (1) This is not a strong argument. Just because the Reformer’s language of “extrinsic imputation of alien righteousness” is not present in John’s gospel does not mean John didn’t preach a Reformed gospel. The Reformed would argue that the Gospel is summed up in John 3:16-18; all those who persevere in belief and come to Christ will have life in His name, whereas all others stand condemned already. It is summed up in John 6 and John 10 when Jesus says He will lose none of what the Father has given Him and will lay down His life for His sheep, so that they may have life in Him.

    (2) Someone could just as easily say we don’t see [insert some technical language the RCC uses] in Mark’s Gospel.

    (3) The Reformed do not deny there is a sense in which the commandment is new in that the God sends his spirit to enable believers do keep the law, to desire to keep the law, and to love the law.

    (4) I don’t mean to get off topic, but how do you understand Matthew 5:17-19. I know I have asked you about “Christ fulfills the law” but I’m interested in your take on that whole passage. If that’s too off topic no need to respond.

  7. Adam,
    Does the Holy Spirit have any transformative power to cause us to want to–to want to in such a way that we will do and then reap from what we do? What do you do with Rom. 8.3-4, with Gal. 6.8, and with the words of our Lord Jesus to the churches in the opening chapter of Rev? What of all his talk regarding their works’ not being complete, his emphasis on their returning to the works they were doing before, his talk of some being worthy etc? What of our judgment according to works–where those who have done good will rise to the resurrection of life while those who have done evil will be condemned (John 5.28-29)?
    Look, “law” for Paul does not mean “anything we might do”; it means Mosaic Law. The problem with doing the Mosaic Law wasn’t “doing” per se; it was doing “the Mosaic Law.” For if we sow according to the Spirit we will reap. So Paul (and others) isn’t contrasting some timeless dichotomy of doing vs. non-doing. He (and others) is contrasting the old age of the Law with the new age of the Spirit.
    So, with regard to John’s emphasis on love, is it so hard to see that the New Covenant has arrived, in which the Spirit has written Christ’s law on our hearts?
    Paradigms are at the root of all this, my friend. If you persist in a paradigm that squelches Scriptures’ commands and commendations of our Spirit-wrought works as mere hypotheticals and in paradigms that leave us enslaved to sin, then you will be blocked from the message Scripture is screaming at us. In Christ, we are not under the Law; we serve in the new way of the Spirit. Study the contrast of Rom. 7 and Rom. 8 sometime. It’s a contrast of the old age of the Law and the new age of the Spirit. Your gospel has to incorporate that.
    Please don’t hear a tone of harshness in this. That’s not my intent.

    Peace.

  8. Shawn,

    The Holy Spirit had power. And He does change us. And He does inspire us to do good things.

    But those things don’t win for us anything that the Cross of Christ hasn’t already won for us. We get no points. And if we think we do then our motive is shot to hell, anyway.

    We are fully saints (by faith) and we are fully sinners (in fact). And that’s the way it is for us, all throughout our lives.

    When Paul speaks of law, he is speaking to ANY demand that our existence places upon us. Law is ‘what we do’ or ‘don’t do.

    Gospel is a free gift given to sinners…totally accomplished for us, and totally apart from anything we do…or say…or feel…or think.

    God is actually a real God and is perfectly capable of creating new life in you and I. A phony little bitty god would need our help.

  9. Robert and TOA,

    Regarding love as a “work of the law” and “what we do” or “don’t do”, what of faith? Is faith similarly a work as you say love is? Or is faith intertwined with the gospel as a free gift apart from any contribution on our part? Consider John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent.”

    I see you making distinctions, as if to say to Jason that he’s miscategorized love, but that faith is a free gift that God bestows on us without need of response on our part. This verse above seems to cast into doubt your understanding of “love” as Jason explains it as well as casts into doubt your understanding of faith apart from works. It clearly says faith is a work! If as you say, TOA, the “Gospel is a free gift given to sinners…totally accomplished for us, and totally apart from anything we do…or say…or feel…or think,” and faith is how we appropriate that gift, then it’s not totally apart from anything we do. That’s why Catholics say “Sola Gratia” and not “Sola Fide.”

  10. Brian,

    I commented this on another post, but Paul opposes faith and law in a way that he does not oppose law and love. He says explicitly that “the law is not of faith” in Galatians 3 and then says fulfill the law through love in many passages.

    Faith is not apart from what we do in the sense that we do not exercise faith. Of course we do! It is apart we do in the sense that it is the gift of God that is sovereignly gifted and sustained in the believer. It is apart from what we do in that it brings us before Christ and says “I am wholly undeserving of eternal life, I must rest in you alone to gain this life” and not “I was wholly undeserving of eternal life, but now that you have initially justified me, I am bringing before you my good works done in you to complete that initial justification and secure my place in heaven.”

    Sola gratia is not sola gratia if you have to add works to it to secure your right standing before God. It is grace plus works. At the end of the day, Rome and the Reformed have very different understandings of grace. For Rome, grace depends finally and ultimately on the assent and cooperation of the believer to bring about salvation. For the Reformed, grace guarantees salvation for all those to whom it has been given. It performs a true resurrection so that all those to whom God shows salvific grace will be saved. We just deny that God gives salvific grace to everyone, even to everyone who has been baptized.

  11. “I was wholly undeserving of eternal life, but now that you have initially justified me, I am bringing before you my good works done in you to complete that initial justification and secure my place in heaven.”

    This is a complete misrepresentation:

    The servants in Luke 17:10 do not say anything other than this: we are unworthy servants only doing our duty. One can make every effort to be holy, fully knowing that without holiness no one will see the Lord, and also not rely on what one has done for salvation.

    We just deny that God gives salvific grace to everyone, even to everyone who has been baptized.

    God does not give a talent (something of immeasurable value, i.e., His Grace) to a servant, expect him to be fruitful with that grace, and then cast him in hell for not being one of the people he did not give salvific grace to. This is so illogical it beggars belief.

  12. Brian,

    “Faith is a gift”.

    It is given to us. Totally apart from anything we do, say, feel, or think.

    When it comes to ‘our loving’…we are all totally mixed bags. Unable to love as we ought.

    So…we need a Savior who will be merciful and gracious to us. Faith is the conduit that accesses that grace. And thanks be to God that is ALL His doing, as well.

  13. I’m not kidding. That sermon that I posted the link to (above) is one of the best mirrors that could be held up in front of us regarding just how well we are doing with respect to loving one another. Not to mention loving our enemies…as Jesus tells us to do, as well.

  14. Brian,

    This one is excellent on the topic of how faith works:

    http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/i-believe-that-i-cannot-believe.mp3

    Give it 5 min. and you’ll start to see what I mean.

  15. Adam,

    No one is talking about helping God. What I’m talking about is how God is actually able to make us his own children who walk like he does and talk like he does (albeit ever confessing and repenting) such that we can be recognized as his children on the last day–all by his grace.

    And, of course, to be able to sow to the Spirit and reap eternal life is all because of what Jesus accomplished in his death, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Comforter.

    3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
    4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
    13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom. 8)

    So, is verse 13 just “law”? A dreaded “doing” verse that we can wave away with a “gospel” wand because it links doing with living? No, it’s Gospel–the good news that Jesus is King, who has sent his Spirit so that we can live like the adopted sons we are. Again, it’s not a timeless principle of generic works vs. non-works. It’s old age vs. new age. The Law vs. the Spirit/Christ. Those who do the Law are stuck in an old age that will not yield eschatological life. Those who walk by the Spirit will reap life in the age to come.

    It does not rob God of anything to say that what we do, by his grace, will result in our reaping eternal life. If you think this statement is blasphemous, take it up with the Apostle. It does rob God of something if we cannot incorporate passages like the above in our articulation of the Gospel.

    And to Robert: Study Galatians 3 carefully in the context of chapter 4 especially. When Paul says the Law is not of faith, he’s contrasting ages, not principles. You’ll notice that Paul equates faith with Christ in his comments toward the end of chapter 3 (“Before faith/Christ came”). He’s saying you can’t have Christ and also have the Law of Moses. You can’t live in the age of promise/the Spirit and live in the age of the flesh/Law (the opening of Gal. 3). If what he’s saying is that doing has no place in the New Covenant with respect to eternal life, then he forgot that point by the time he got to chapter 6:

    7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
    8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
    9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

    Peace

  16. Shawn,

    He adopted you and me in our Baptisms.

    That’s how He recognizes us. Romans 6.

    He knows us better than we know ourselves. We belong to Him. Gal. 4:4 “Those of you who have been baptized have put on Christ”.

    There it is. “We are born not of the will of man (anything that we do)…but of God.” Gospel of John.

    Relax. And enjoy the FACT that you belong to Him. You are declared holy and righteous for Jesus’ sake. That’s the good news!

    How good of news would it be (especially knowing what we know about ourselves) if we had to muster up enough good works and refrain from all those secret sins that we all commit on a regular basis?

  17. Gotta hit the hay. Up at 4am for more fun and games at the grocery store.

    If there really is a purgatory…then I must be in it…

  18. All,

    Just walked in the door. Apparently I no longer get email notifications of new comments, so I had no idea that this many had been posted. I’ll respond to the worthwhile ones in the late morning.

  19. SS,

    The servants in Luke 17:10 do not say anything other than this: we are unworthy servants only doing our duty. One can make every effort to be holy, fully knowing that without holiness no one will see the Lord, and also not rely on what one has done for salvation.

    We are discussing the “Roman Catholic paradigm” here, and with the Reformers, I recognize that apart from the various qualifications Rome has offered over the years, at the end of the day they are relying on grace PLUS good works to get into heaven. I would say the same for you. No one will see the Lord without holiness, yes, but is our holiness enough to get us there? Until you can offer an adequate explanation of Matt. 5:48 and similar passages, the answer is no, you cannot “earn, merit, deserve, gain—or whatever word you want to use—heaven.

    Will we get to heaven without sancitification? No. But our final standing before God cannot be based on what we have done, lest He violate his demand for perfection. And that demand is found throughout Scripture. At the same time, no one will get into heaven without good works produced in his or her sanctification, but those works do not merit our entrance. They are a sign that Christ is sanctifying us, and as I have noted, Hebrews tells us that he has perfected for all time those who are even now being sanctified by Christ.

    God does not give a talent (something of immeasurable value, i.e., His Grace) to a servant, expect him to be fruitful with that grace, and then cast him in hell for not being one of the people he did not give salvific grace to. This is so illogical it beggars belief.

    No, what is illogical is that you keep going back to certain parables as if they somehow overthrow other promises of God to keep His elect and that He does not give faith to everyone. You keep going back to them as if passages in which Jesus says He never knew certain professing believers are null and void. Furthermore, a talent does not represent something of immeasurable value because the fact is, we know how much a talent was worth in the ancient world. So to equate that with his salvific grace is wrong-headed.

    God does not cast anyone into hell because He did not give them salvific grace. He casts people into hell for their sin, for rejecting him in Adam. If God gives the same grace to two people and only one of them perseveres, he finally does so because he made the right choice. In that case, one cannot claim he is unworthy. He or she made the right choice while another did not. He or she cast the deciding vote in salvation. However much God “helped,” it was not in itself enough to guarantee salvation.

    You are attempting to save yourself, my friend. Good luck with that.

  20. Robert,

    In your previous post, you wrote that the Catholic Church teaches grace plus works. But in looking at the Catechism, I’m not sure this is accurate:

    2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, “since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:”50 (490)

    Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.51

    I’m not Catholic, so if I’ve got this wrong, I hope someone here will correct me. But if I’ve understood this correctly, then I don’t see how Rome is teaching “grace + good works” when it affirms that good works are the result of grace.

  21. P.S. I didn’t format the previous post, so just for clarity’s sake: the first and last paragraphs are my own, and the other two are from the Catechism.

  22. Justin,

    I know what Rome says, but thanks for pointing it out anyway. According to Rome’s definition of grace, they could and would make some kind of claim of sola gratia. But the debate in the Reformation was not over the necessity of grace but rather the sufficiency of grace. In Rome, grace given in baptism affords us the possibility of salvation or final justification, but this justification cannot be pronounced without cooperation, without works that we do in obedience to grace.

    Now, I’m not denying that God requires obedience or that he gives us the power to obey. What I am saying is that grace is sufficient and that salvific grace guarantees perseverance. To say that, I have to deny that God gives salvific grace to everyone in baptism, and so I do deny that, but because I believe that is what the New Testament teaches. I also deny that our grace-inspired works, however well-intentioned, are always missing something in regards to what God actually demands. Even if post-conversion Spirit-wrought works were perfect, however, there is still a lack, because there is a whole lot done before conversion that must be atoned for, that must be covered by the law-keeping of another. My works can play no role in my justification because then God is allowing me to stand in His presence based on something less than perfection. Given passages such as Matt. 5:48 and the fact that God is both just and the justifier of those who believe, as well as simple things like us being kicked out of the garden for one sin, I just don’t see how the Lord does not require perfection of us.

    Rome uses slippery language, inventing terms such as “condign merit” and “congruous merit” and inventing false distinctions between “latria,” “dulia,” and “hyper-dulia” in order to preserve its sacramental system and make it seem as if it does not violate Scripture.

    Or, to put it more simply, I deny that Rome’s definition of grace is the biblical definition of grace.

  23. Robert,

    Whatever constrains you to divorce works in any form from God’s justifying us did not constrain James. Also, whatever constrains you to deny that grace is given to all the duly baptized did not constrain Paul. Does it not trouble you at least a little bit that your system will not allow you to read the baptismal texts of Rom. 6, 1 Co. 10 & 12, Gal. 3 without qualifying them to death by walking them through the TULIP garden? Your system launches itself from a few choice texts but would find a better launching pad were it stabilized by a more holistic look at the way Scripture actually speaks.

    You keep talking about Jesus’ call for perfection in Matt. 5 and then from there you leap to imputation. Aside from the fact that the call is to “maturity/completion” more accurately speaking, you’re stuck in this exegetical chasm: The Scripture nowhere locates our righteousness in Jesus’ perfect law-keeping. It locates it in our union in his death and resurrection, yes, but not in the imputation of his law-keeping to us. If Jesus’ law-keeping were imputed to me, I’d still be stuck in the old age. But because I am united to Jesus in his death and resurrection through baptism (Rom. 6), he bore my sin away and communicates to me his new resurrection life–the kind of life that will avail in the age to come. It’s that life that works out in me the righteous requirement that the Law was aiming at but could never deliver.

    And Adam, who’s stressed out? Not me. But I do work out my salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who is at work in me through the gracious presence and work of his Spirit.

    Peace

  24. John D,

    I wrote, “The problem is that if the gospel hinges upon the extrinsic imputation of alien righteousness, then the gospel is conspicuously absent from anything John wrote, whereas if the gospel is about the Father creating in us through Christ by the Spirit the divine love that fulfills the law and sufficiently pleases him, then that gospel message is not just found on every page of John’s writings, but it is the exact message preached by Jesus, James, Peter, and Paul as well.” You responded:

    (1) This is not a strong argument. Just because the Reformer’s language of “extrinsic imputation of alien righteousness” is not present in John’s gospel does not mean John didn’t preach a Reformed gospel. The Reformed would argue that the Gospel is summed up in John 3:16-18; all those who persevere in belief and come to Christ will have life in His name, whereas all others stand condemned already. It is summed up in John 6 and John 10 when Jesus says He will lose none of what the Father has given Him and will lay down His life for His sheep, so that they may have life in Him.

    My point was more specific than that. It does the Reformed no good to say that John preaches a generic gospel, the benign statements of which can be agreed to by all Christians everywhere. Remember, all the reformers spurned the authority of their bishops and of the Church into which they were all baptized, so if they were going to be that extreme (doing something akin to an OT prophet deciding that since Israel was so corrupted that God would refocus the redemptive line not through the family of Abraham but through himself and those who follow his interpretation of Scripture), then it had better be because the apostles all taught a gospel whose basics (especially imputation) had been lost by the powers that be. But those basics are only found in (highly disputed interpretations of) two letters of Paul. So while the Reformed can agree with the statements of John’s that you list, there’s nothing about them that is uniquely Reformed.

    (2) Someone could just as easily say we don’t see [insert some technical language the RCC uses] in Mark’s Gospel.

    They could, but since Catholics don’t truncate the faith to what is explicitly (or by good and necessary consequence) found in the Bible, the objection would be meaningless.

    (3) The Reformed do not deny there is a sense in which the commandment is new in that the God sends his spirit to enable believers do keep the law, to desire to keep the law, and to love the law.

    Not all of them do (I certainly didn’t when I was Reformed). The reason I included that bit is because Robert continues to classify Spirit-wrought love of God and neighbor as a “work of the law,” which completely ruins Paul’s (and the entire NT’s) covenant theology.

    (4) I don’t mean to get off topic, but how do you understand Matthew 5:17-19. I know I have asked you about “Christ fulfills the law” but I’m interested in your take on that whole passage. If that’s too off topic no need to respond.

    Just as a quick stab, I would say that Jesus is the telos and terminus of the law, that the entire purpose of the law comes to a head in him. To put it a different way, OC Judaism is not a distinct religion from Christianity, but that entire economy was provisional and only comes to its full flowering in Christ.

  25. To put it a different way, OC Judaism is not a distinct religion from Christianity, but that entire economy was provisional and only comes to its full flowering in Christ.

    +1000

  26. Thanks for the bonus points, SS. As an aside, this understanding also helps to answer Protestant objections about why the OC community had no, and apparently needed no, infallible Magisterium. But I digress.

  27. Shawn,

    “Stressed out” maybe isn’t the right term, but we don’t need to earn anything or engage in holiness projects. We can relax, in that sense. Our holiness, righteousness, sanctification, has been accomplished, is being accomplished, and will yet be accomplished…for us…by our Lord Jesus.

    That’s what I meant.

  28. Jason,

    1. What Reformed theologian says that imputation of an alien righteousness and its converse, our imputation of sin to Christ on the cross, is an idea found only in Paul? The Reformed doctrine of imputation is not based exclusively on two of Paul’s letters even if they are typically are our starting point. You know better than that.

    2. Why would every apostle have to describe imputation in any case? If, as most biblical scholars agree, Paul’s letters were written before most if not all of the rest of the NT, why would the other apostles think they would need to be so “clear” about it? You can think that they should have, but the apostles were not governed by what you think they should have written.

  29. Jason,

    You are applying a double standard when you demand imputation be taught clearly on the lips of all the apostles and yet give your own church a pass when it makes the Eucharist the center of piety even though whole swaths of the NT fail to mention it.

    To go against bishops and the medieval church’s teaching of justification based on 2 letters of Paul, in any case, is entirely justifiable if what the bishops and medieval church taught denied Paul. When Paul and bishops disagree, Paul wins. Now I know that your “paradigm” says the church never contradicts the NT because the church never contradicts the NT, but that’s a poor argument that, wait for it, wait for it, begs the question or at least assumes the conclusion.

    Furthermore, the Reformers were going against the present church in their day but not against tradition as virtually everything they said had antecedents in church history. This is even true of the insertion of the word “alone” in Galatians 3. Just consult the commentary on Romans by Joseph Fitzmeyer, perhaps the top ROMAN CATHOLIC New Testament scholar in the world. According to Fitzmeyer, Aquinas and several others thought it should be included when translating Romans 3:21–26 as well, not to mention other fathers.

  30. Robert,

    What Reformed theologian says that imputation of an alien righteousness and its converse, our imputation of sin to Christ on the cross, is an idea found only in Paul? The Reformed doctrine of imputation is not based exclusively on two of Paul’s letters even if they are typically are our starting point. You know better than that.

    There are a couple things to consider here. First, when I was posting about the teachings of Jesus, I constantly was told that we really need to move the discussion to Romans and Galatians. There was little patience on people’s part to consider Jesus’ words on their own terms. Secondly, the actual teaching of imputing anything saving to anyone is found only in Paul (unless you count James, but…). So my point is that the actual matter of the doctrine of imputation is found only in a few chapters in Paul. Outside of those, we just have general statements about salvation that we can all pretty much accept on their face.

    2. Why would every apostle have to describe imputation in any case? If, as most biblical scholars agree, Paul’s letters were written before most if not all of the rest of the NT, why would the other apostles think they would need to be so “clear” about it? You can think that they should have, but the apostles were not governed by what you think they should have written.

    It’s certainly possible that the entire gospel can “hinge” upon a doctrine that Paul only explicitly mentioned in a few chapters, and which, despite its centrality, was omitted by all the other NT writers, but my argument is that it is not likely (especially if, as you say, one’s entire eternal soul is hanging in the balance based upon acceptance or denial of this doctrine). Indeed, if a Reformed minister mentioned imputation in his sermons by the same slim ratio as the NT mentions it, he may find himself out of a job (unless he’s in the PCA, where his street cred is more tied to how often he cites Kuyper and tries really hard to redeem stuff).

    You are applying a double standard when you demand imputation be taught clearly on the lips of all the apostles and yet give your own church a pass when it makes the Eucharist the center of piety even though whole swaths of the NT fail to mention it.

    It’s not “applying a double standard” when there are in fact two distinct standards in play. The Catholic simply doesn’t need to worry about getting backed into that corner since he doesn’t truncate the gospel by reducing it to what is explicitly taught in Scripture (or deduced therefrom by good and necessary consequence). You guys are biting the Sola Scriptura bullet, not us.

    To go against bishops and the medieval church’s teaching of justification based on 2 letters of Paul, in any case, is entirely justifiable if what the bishops and medieval church taught denied Paul. When Paul and bishops disagree, Paul wins. Now I know that your “paradigm” says the church never contradicts the NT because the church never contradicts the NT, but that’s a poor argument that, wait for it, wait for it, begs the question or at least assumes the conclusion.

    This gets us too far afield from what we’re supposed to be discussing, but suffice it to say that yours is not a theologically neutral position, not to mention the fact that it reduces to “When the church denies my interpretation of Paul, my interpretation of Paul wins” (which is also circular since it assumes perspicuity to a degree that your opponents deny).

    Furthermore, the Reformers were going against the present church in their day but not against tradition as virtually everything they said had antecedents in church history. This is even true of the insertion of the word “alone” in Galatians 3. Just consult the commentary on Romans by Joseph Fitzmeyer, perhaps the top ROMAN CATHOLIC New Testament scholar in the world. According to Fitzmeyer, Aquinas and several others thought it should be included when translating Romans 3:21–26 as well, not to mention other fathers.

    This is a red herring. None of the Catholic inclusions of “alone” were intended to smuggle in Luther’s doctrine of imputation of alien righteousness, so the point is moot. Ratzinger also accepts the “alone,” provided it is understood in such a way as not to completely overturn what the Church teaches.

  31. What does the Council of Trent say about those who believe in faith, alone?

  32. Old Adam Lives,

    Loved the sermon you posted. Beautiful law/gospel preaching, highlighting Christ’s example and its meaning.

    Don’t let Jason Stellman’s comments disturb your sharing sermons. Jason’s generous and kind. Still, he is lucky to have Old Adam Lived on here as a guest star.

    And Jason, I’m certain you don’t mind. It does good things to your mind and heart to be gentle kicked by the pangs of Reformational Christianity now and again.

    I have enjoyed what you have said very much, especially in the past. You have wonderful communicative gifts. And you seem wise and kind-a decent cat.

    I will be buying your new book when funds allow. I’m a film student, so money is tight. Just because I’m a Presbyterian doesn’t mean I have not interacted with your written work.

    Thanks for the engaging post, Jason.

    And Old Adam Lives. Keep fighting! and punching for the Gospel my Lutheran brother.

  33. Thank you, David.

    I very much appreciate your kind words.

  34. Thanks, David.

  35. +JMJ+

    The Old Adam wrote:

    What does the Council of Trent say about those who believe in faith, alone?

    Off the cuff, I think it said something like, “if anyone says that Justification comes by faith alone in such a way as to mean ‘yada yada’, then anathema sit.”

    That means that if anyone says that Justification comes by faith alone, in such a way as to not mean ‘yada yada’, then they’re golden. At least, as far as Trent is concerned.

  36. Wosbald,

    OK.

    I thought something along those lines.

    If you are a faith, alone, guy…then it’s the fires of hell for you. If you can add something to that Cross (Church yada, yada, yada)…then you have a chance.

  37. TOA,

    Don’t forget that Rome doesn’t condemn us to hell anymore. Heck, they’ll even hire lesbian pagans who bash their church to teach theology at their universities. But the infallible Magisterium is the guardian of all that is good and holy, the only way for certainty in the world. Just ask the infallible Magisterium, they’ll tell you.

  38. Trent doesn’t consign anyone to hell, that’s not the way anathemas work.

  39. Good to know.

    I feel better already.

    Thanks.

  40. Just put some ice on it and walk it off, you’ll be sound as a pound.

  41. +JMJ+

    Jason Stellman wrote:

    Trent doesn’t consign anyone to hell, that’s not the way anathemas work.

    Aye.

    But that’s the way anathemas would work if the RCC understood ecclesiology in the same (but inverted) extrinsic, static and legalistic terms as Reformed ecclesiology (IOW, if the understanding of ‘true Church’ and ‘true Christians’ were carnalized instead of spriritualized). Then, one would have to make sure that one’s name remained, bureaucratically authorized, in the parish rolodex so that the legal transfer of perfect law-keeping would remain credited to one’s account.

  42. I hope all of you guys (and gals ?) have a blessed Holy Thurs, Good Friday, Holy Sat., and a joyous Easter.

    You know, we often don’t agree with each other, but I’m glad to know you all (online, at least).

    You’ve got a really good bunch here, Jason.

    Thanks.

  43. Ok. Sorry for the format errors on that one. Too bad I can’t delete it. Here goes another try:

    ROBERT March 26, 2013 at 7:05 am
    Justin,
    I know what Rome says, but thanks for pointing it out anyway. According to Rome’s definition of grace, they could and would make some kind of claim of sola gratia.

    No. The Catholic understanding is that “ALL” (that includes salvation) is by the grace of God. Not that it is by grace alone. As St. Augustine put it so well:
    He who made you without your help, will not justify you without your cooperation”[Sermons, 170, 11,13.].

    But the debate in the Reformation was not over the necessity of grace but rather the sufficiency of grace.

    That is a straw man argument. You are inferring that the Catholic Church was arguing about the necessity of grace. Which is absolute, by the way.

    But the Catholic Church teaches that grace is both necessary and sufficient. But God has given us the grace of a free will. Yes, the grace, the gift, the godlike power to choose whether we will love Him or not. And God does not contradict Himself.

    In Rome, grace given in baptism affords us the possibility of salvation

    Hm? Not quite. Baptism which is properly received with no obstacles to the grace poured into our soul, saves us now. It justifies us now. It is the washing of regeneration and we are born again new creatures in Christ. If we remain in this state of grace, we have received eternal life.
    Hebrews 12:21-24
    King James Version (KJV)
    21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
    22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
    23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
    24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

    or final justification,

    Final justification, I suppose is a reference to the Last Judgment. If one is granted the grace of perseverance to the end, one will be granted this final justification by God.

    but this justification cannot be pronounced without cooperation, without works that we do in obedience to grace.

    It is pronounced by God. We don’t pronounce ourselves either justified or saved. God is our Judge.

    Now, I’m not denying that God requires obedience

    Good. Because that would contradict the word of God.

    or that he gives us the power to obey.

    Wonderful!

    What I am saying is that grace is sufficient and that salvific grace guarantees perseverance.

    Please provide a quote from Scripture. Here is what I remember Scripture saying:
    1 Corinthians 15:10
    But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

    2 Corinthians 6:1
    We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

    If salvific grace guarantees perseverance, why does St. Paul seem to think that they may have received the grace of God in vain?

    To say that, I have to deny that God gives salvific grace to everyone in baptism, and so I do deny that, but because I believe that is what the New Testament teaches.

    Where? Please provide the Scripture and the verse.

    I also deny that our grace-inspired works, however well-intentioned, are always missing something in regards to what God actually demands. Even if post-conversion Spirit-wrought works were perfect, however, there is still a lack, because there is a whole lot done before conversion that must be atoned for, that must be covered by the law-keeping of another. My works can play no role in my justification because then God is allowing me to stand in His presence based on something less than perfection.

    Ok. Great! Thanks for sharing. We, Catholics, believe precisely the opposite. If I may, I’ll use your statement and simply change it in accordance with Catholic Teaching. Here is the Catholic Teaching:

    TRENT VI
    CHAPTER VIII?HOW THE GRATUITOUS JUSTIFICATION OF THE SINNER BY FAITH IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD
    But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely,[44] these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God[45] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.
    For, if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the Apostle says, grace is no more grace.[46]

    In other words, then, we would say:
    My works CAN play a role in my justification because then God, IN HIS GREAT MERCY, is allowing me to stand in His presence based on something less than perfection.

    Given passages such as Matt. 5:48 and the fact that God is both just and the justifier of those who believe, as well as simple things like us being kicked out of the garden for one sin, I just don’t see how the Lord does not require perfection of us.

    Have you ever considered repentance, confession, and reconciliation? This is precisely the reason why God created Purgatory.

    Rome uses slippery language, inventing terms such as “condign merit” and “congruous merit” and inventing false distinctions between “latria,” “dulia,” and “hyper-dulia” in order to preserve its sacramental system and make it seem as if it does not violate Scripture.

    Those terms were “invented” to explain difficult concepts.

    Or, to put it more simply, I deny that Rome’s definition of grace is the biblical definition of grace.

    I see it the other way. But let’s look at it together. Can you produce the verse which says that God’s salvific grace GUARANTEES perseverance? I believe you made that claim earlier. But if you didn’t, please provide the Scripture for your claims. And I will do my best to provide the Scripture for the Catholic claim and we can compare.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  44. Hi Jason and all,

    I’ve been following and enjoying your discussions and found myself unable to post. I wanted to join the discussions here, because you guys are actually considering each others’ remarks and delving into the Scripture.

    And I second Steve’s wishing everyone a blessed Holy Week.

    But its late. God willing, I’ll catch up to you guys on the other articles where my previous comments disappeared into the great big virtual world.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  45. Jason,

    Thanks for your reply. I have a couple follow-up comments.

    You said, “My point was more specific than that. It does the Reformed no good to say that John preaches a generic gospel, the benign statements of which can be agreed to by all Christians everywhere.”

    I wound’t say John preaches a generic gospel whose benign statements can be agreed upon by all Christians. Many Christians cannot explain John 6 when Jesus says that all that the Father has given to Him will come to Him, and that no one can come to Him unless that Father draws them.

    You also said, “…It had better be because the apostles all taught a gospel whose basics (especially imputation) had been lost by the powers that be. But those basics are only found in (highly disputed interpretations of) two letters of Paul…”

    I wouldn’t call the language of imputation “the basics.” That is a technical theological term. While there is evidence of “imputation” being discussed in the Fathers from the early period up through the centuries, I still would not call it “the basics” of the Reformed Gospel. Rather, I would say the language of being “in Christ” is more basic. Granted, Christians disagree of how we are “in Christ” and what this means. But, it is the basic Gospel that all of have sinned, but Christ died for our sins, and thus those who are “in Him” may live, whereas others will perish because he is the only way, truth, and life.

  46. TOA,
    Don’t forget that Rome doesn’t condemn us to hell anymore. Heck, they’ll even hire lesbian pagans who bash their church to teach theology at their universities. But the infallible Magisterium is the guardian of all that is good and holy, the only way for certainty in the world. Just ask the infallible Magisterium, they’ll tell you.

    That individual was not hired by the Catholic Church. She was hired by a certain college which purports to teach Catholic values. And she was hired despite what the Catholic Church teaches.

    Whereas, there are certain denominations in the Protestant world who approve of homosexual activity to the extent that they appoint them as Bishops over their flocks. And they do this with complete agreement by their religious leaders.

  47. De Maria,

    I’m sorry, but the whole excuse you just gave for the hiring of a lesbian pagan who hates the church just does not cut it. Boston College is a Jesuit Institution, and if it hiring people despite what the Roman church teaches, then what good is Rome?

    The issue really isn’t that such people are hired. The issue is that Roman Catholicism makes such a big deal about the visible church, its bishops, and so on being the guarantors of orthodoxy, the one true church, etc. etc. If you are going to do that, you really need to enforce Roman Catholic orthodoxy. But that doesn’t happen. Roman Catholic politicians who commit the mortal sin of promoting abortion with no restrictions (Pelosi and Biden to name but a few) remain in good standing in the Roman Church. They are even received and given the Eucharist at the installation of Pope Francis I. If you aren’t going to enforce your own standards, you aren’t guaranteeing orthodoxy, and no one who hasn’t already stuck his head in the sand for the sake of the certainty that Rome really cannot provide is going to believe that your church actually cares about the orthodoxy you say you promote.

    I assume you are talking about the Episcopal Church in America. Let me assure you that any Protestant committed to the apostolic view of human sexuality will regard large swaths of that church, if not the whole body, as completely apostate. There might be a handful of good churches, but Jefferts Schiori and her ilk are apostate Christians who need to repent. In any case, Protestants such as myself do not say that the bishop is the proof and guarantor of orthodoxy, that if you have some lineage you claim to go back to the apostolic church that you are the true church. You are the apostolic church if you follow apostolic doctrine, and Rome abandoned that long ago.

    I’ll refrain from talking extensively about the fact that Rome moved pedophile priests from diocese to diocese with the knowledge of men as high up as Ratzinger. If you want to stick your head in the sand and believe that the modern Roman Catholic Church has the courage of its convictions and is somehow guaranteeing orthodoxy, go ahead, but I don’t buy it.

  48. Robert & TOA,

    I agree that there is more that the church can do to clean house, but a hypocrite does not make what is being taught we

  49. Posted too soon. iPhone fail.

    “What is being taught is wrong”

  50. CK,

    You are exactly right, the character of the teacher does not necessarily mean what he or she is saying is wrong. If hypocrisy falsified everything, the only person who ever said anything true was Jesus. Many are converted under the preaching of men who later abandon the faith. That does not invalidate their conversion or the truth of what they said.

    But the key problem is that the Roman Catholic Church claims infallibility for itself, at least under certain circumstances. These issues would not be nearly so problematic if that claim did not exist or if Roman Catholic apologists did not make a big deal about the Magisterium being the guard of orthodoxy, finding the true church wherever one finds a duly ordained bishop who can trace a line of ordainers back to the apostles, and more. If all this guarantees orthodoxy, enforce it. If you don’t enforce it, you’re not guaranteeing orthodoxy but have a paper-thin unity papered over significant theological divisions that reach the very essence of the faith.

    Protestantism has its problems, but at least we realize that putting everyone in the same house doesn’t make us united if we disagree on so many things. And those that abide by Reformational (and biblical principles) at least make an attempt to discipline heretics and those who are in impenitent sin. Jason’s own experience with Leithart illustrates that. We’re not always successful and we don’t always do it well, but at least we try.

    An infallible magisterium cannot be reformed, especially when the only group that can accurately interpret the magisterium is the magisterium itself. That is effectively where Rome has put itself.

  51. Hi Robert,

    You said:

    ROBERT March 28, 2013 at 9:24 am
    De Maria,
    I’m sorry, but the whole excuse you just gave for the hiring of a lesbian pagan who hates the church just does not cut it. Boston College is a Jesuit Institution, and if it hiring people despite what the Roman church teaches, then what good is Rome?

    The Catholic Church teaches the truth infallibly (Eph 3:10).

    The issue really isn’t that such people are hired. The issue is that Roman Catholicism makes such a big deal about the visible church, its bishops, and so on being the guarantors of orthodoxy, the one true church, etc. etc. If you are going to do that, you really need to enforce Roman Catholic orthodoxy.

    The grace of infallibility guarantees that truth is taught. It does not guarantee that people will obey the Truth. Even Jesus did not guarantee that.

    But that doesn’t happen. Roman Catholic politicians who commit the mortal sin of promoting abortion with no restrictions (Pelosi and Biden to name but a few) remain in good standing in the Roman Church.

    Good standing? That reveals your ignorance of Catholic Doctrine. Have you ever heard of latae sententae? They have already been judged by God. The basis of that Teaching is found here:

    1 Corinthians 11:29
    For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

    They are even received and given the Eucharist at the installation of Pope Francis I.

    You believe everything you hear. If that were true, don’t you think there would be video of that being rerun all over the internet? But instead, all we have is the assurance of Biden’s office.

    As for me, I doubt it.

    If you aren’t going to enforce your own standards, you aren’t guaranteeing orthodoxy, and no one who hasn’t already stuck his head in the sand for the sake of the certainty that Rome really cannot provide is going to believe that your church actually cares about the orthodoxy you say you promote.

    If Jesus Christ could not guarantee orthodoxy. Nor could the Apostles. Why do you think the Church can do so today?

    However, the Church continues to teach the truth without error.

    I assume you are talking about the Episcopal Church in America. Let me assure you that any Protestant committed to the apostolic view of human sexuality will regard large swaths of that church, if not the whole body, as completely apostate. There might be a handful of good churches, but Jefferts Schiori and her ilk are apostate Christians who need to repent. In any case, Protestants such as myself do not say that the bishop is the proof and guarantor of orthodoxy, that if you have some lineage you claim to go back to the apostolic church that you are the true church. You are the apostolic church if you follow apostolic doctrine, and Rome abandoned that long ago.

    On the contrary, the Catholic Church is the guarantor of orthodoxy, if you obey her Teaching.

    But you have more than one problem in your statement:
    1. You deny the Church authority to judge the apostate. But you apparently feel quite empowered to wield that authority.

    2. You deny that the Church follows apostolic doctrine. But it is the Church which actively continues in the Apostolic Doctrines which your denominations abandoned long ago.

    But the problem here, runs deeper. You see, you fail to recognize that it is Catholic Tradition which is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the basis of the New.

    Yessir. Jesus did not write a word of Scripture. Jesus taught the Church how the Prophecies of the Old Testament pointed to Him:
    Luke 24:44-46
    King James Version (KJV)
    44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
    45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
    46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
    And He commanded the Church to pass this knowledge down to the whole world:
    Matthew 28:18-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
    19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
    The Church did so and by its own authority, also put the Bible together. Canonizing the Old Testament and writing the New.

    I’ll refrain from talking extensively about the fact that Rome moved pedophile priests from diocese to diocese with the knowledge of men as high up as Ratzinger. If you want to stick your head in the sand and believe that the modern Roman Catholic Church has the courage of its convictions and is somehow guaranteeing orthodoxy, go ahead, but I don’t buy it.

    It doesn’t matter to me how extensively you write. The difference between the Catholic situation and the Protestant, is this.
    a. Protestants have legitimized sins. Contraception, masturbation, adultery (i.e. divorce and remarriage), are no longer considered sins in the Protestant communities. From the lowest to the highest levels. They accept these sins. Some go further, as the episcopals which we have mentioned.

    b. Any sin committed by Catholics is a transgression of Catholic Doctrine. I don’t care if it is the Pope who commits the sin.

    Sincerely,
    De Maria

  52. What is being taught is RIGHT!

    But how we interpret the results is wrong.

    Our motives are shot, tainted, self-filled. And even then, we don’t love like we ought. Either God or the neighbor.

    We ought realize that we are exposed in all of this. And usually, the ones who are out there telling people that they SHOULD, OUGHT, or MUST be doing this, that and the other thing( to have a proper relationship with God, or to make themselves acceptable in God’s eyes)…are the worst offenders! They are ALL talk. More worried about you and your track record than they are about their own miserable record.

  53. De Maria–

    My parents (Lutherans) did not use any form of contraception. My wife and I (basically Reformed Baptists, but with a lot of qualifications) have never used contraception of any kind, and are vehemently opposed to any abortifacient forms (which includes almost all of them). I have never heard an evangelical who did not believe masturbation, adultery, and divorce to be sins. NFP is a form of contraception, by the way, and fully endorsed by Rome.

    Rome does not exercise proper church discipline, a mark of the true church. What it officially teaches is all but irrelevant in this country. I cannot go to any local parish and expect to hear teaching conforming to the catechism. I can be taught that masturbation, adultery, and annulment are just fine and hunky-dory. I can be taught all sorts of things contrary to any concept of orthodoxy held on this blog. Small Reformed denominations do a much better job of policing clerical doctrine. Just ask Jason.

  54. THE OLD ADAM March 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm
    What is being taught is RIGHT!….

    Whom are you addressing? Me?

  55. Hi Eric,

    ERIC March 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm
    De Maria–
    My parents (Lutherans) did not use any form of contraception. My wife and I (basically Reformed Baptists, but with a lot of qualifications) have never used contraception of any kind, and are vehemently opposed to any abortifacient forms (which includes almost all of them).

    But this is not precisely about you, is it?

    This website purports to be ELCA:

    A. Prevention of Unintended Pregnancies
    Prevention of unintended pregnancies is crucial in lessening the number of abortions. In addition to efforts within church and home, this church supports appropriate forms of sex education in schools, community pregnancy prevention programs, and parenting preparation classes. We recognize the need for contraceptives to be available, for voluntary sterilization to be considered, and for research and development of new forms of contraception.

    http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Social-Statements/Abortion.aspx

    I have never heard an evangelical who did not believe masturbation, adultery, and divorce to be sins.

    I’m shocked. But ok. Virtually all evangelicals I’ve ever spoken to take masturbation and divorce for granted. And also, divorce and remarriage, which Jesus Christ defines as adultery.

    NFP is a form of contraception, by the way, and fully endorsed by Rome.

    No. It isn’t. Contraception, by definition, means that one acts positively against the conception of a child. Whereas, NFP is simply the withholding of sexual relations. It is not an action but an inaction.

    Rome does not exercise proper church discipline, a mark of the true church.

    Lol! It is the Catholic Church which is organized to best achieve this discipline. No other Church compares.

    What it officially teaches is all but irrelevant in this country.

    So? The Truth is true whether anyone believes it or not. Christian teaching is passé in Islam. Does that mean that Christianity is false in Islam?

    I cannot go to any local parish and expect to hear teaching conforming to the catechism.

    Because you’re Lutheran. But if you were Catholic, you could expect it in every Parish.

    I can be taught that masturbation, adultery, and annulment are just fine and hunky-dory. I can be taught all sorts of things contrary to any concept of orthodoxy held on this blog. Small Reformed denominations do a much better job of policing clerical doctrine.

    I suppose those are your opinions. I follow the Teachings of the Church which Jesus Christ built. The Catholic Church.

    Just ask Jason.

    I’ve been reading what Jason has written, avidly. The man has a gift for explaining his beliefs. I’m happy to say that I mostly agree with them. And I agree with him completely on the essentials.

  56. ERIC March 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm?De Maria–?My parents (Lutherans) did not use any form of contraception. My wife and I (basically Reformed Baptists, but with a lot of qualifications) have never used contraception of any kind, and are vehemently opposed to any abortifacient forms (which includes almost all of them).

    But this is not precisely about you, is it?
    This website purports to be ELCA:
    A. Prevention of Unintended Pregnancies?Prevention of unintended pregnancies is crucial in lessening the number of abortions. In addition to efforts within church and home, this church supports appropriate forms of sex education in schools, community pregnancy prevention programs, and parenting preparation classes. We recognize the need for contraceptives to be available, for voluntary sterilization to be considered, and for research and development of new forms of contraception.
    http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Social-Statements/Abortion.aspx

    I have never heard an evangelical who did not believe masturbation, adultery, and divorce to be sins.

    I’m shocked. But ok. Virtually all evangelicals I’ve ever spoken to take masturbation and divorce for granted. And also, divorce and remarriage, which Jesus Christ defines as adultery.

    NFP is a form of contraception, by the way, and fully endorsed by Rome.

    No. It isn’t. Contraception, by definition, means that one acts positively against the conception of a child. Whereas, NFP is simply the withholding of sexual relations. It is not an action but an inaction.

    Rome does not exercise proper church discipline, a mark of the true church.

    Lol! It is the Catholic Church which is organized to best achieve this discipline. No other Church compares.

    What it officially teaches is all but irrelevant in this country.

    So? The Truth is true whether anyone believes it or not. Christian teaching is passé in Islam. Does that mean that Christianity is false in Islam?

    I cannot go to any local parish and expect to hear teaching conforming to the catechism.

    Because you’re Lutheran. But if you were Catholic, you could expect it in every Parish.

    I can be taught that masturbation, adultery, and annulment are just fine and hunky-dory. I can be taught all sorts of things contrary to any concept of orthodoxy held on this blog. Small Reformed denominations do a much better job of policing clerical doctrine.

    I suppose those are your opinions. I follow the Teachings of the Church which Jesus Christ built. The Catholic Church.

    Just ask Jason.

    I’ve been reading what Jason has written, avidly. The man has a gift for explaining his beliefs. I’m happy to say that I mostly agree with them. And I agree with him completely on the essentials.

  57. De Maria–

    Read a little more closely next time. I’m Reformed. My parents were Lutheran (well, actually, my dad was fairly fundamentalistic and Wesleyan, but he attended an ELCA church).

    You live in a happy, shiny world, where the Catholic church is on task and never hypocritical. I’m afraid I don’t live in your world.

    If anyone gathers in one of the scattered pockets of dogmatic truth within the Catholic church, it will only be because they have worked like the dickens to find it.

  58. “What is being taught is RIGHT!….”

    “Whom are you addressing? Me?”

    Everyone. The law must be given…in it’s fullness. It is right to teach and preach the law. We are to love God and our neighbor’s with everything we’ve got!

    Hopefully…hopefully…that hard word of law will bring some to their knees in repentance. The rest? We’ll they might need MORE law poured on them…and often. That might do the trick.
    Or it might just encase them even further in their pride (Pharisee in the Temple)…or it might drive them to the point where they eventually toss the whole thing overboard.

  59. +JMJ+

    The Old Adam wrote:

    The law must be given…in it’s fullness. It is right to teach and preach the law. We are to love God and our neighbor’s with everything we’ve got!
    Hopefully…hopefully…that hard word of law will bring some to their knees in repentance. The rest? We’ll they might need MORE law poured on them…and often. That might do the trick.
    Or it might just encase them even further in their pride (Pharisee in the Temple)…or it might drive them to the point where they eventually toss the whole thing overboard.

    My yoke is sweet and my burden light.

    That sure doesn’t sound crushing at all (unless Christ uttered these words in an insidiously ominous tone of voice, of course).

  60. ERIC March 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm
    De Maria–
    Read a little more closely next time. I’m Reformed.

    Did you miss the part where I said its not precisely about you? Perthaps you ought to go back and review.

    My parents were Lutheran (well, actually, my dad was fairly fundamentalistic and Wesleyan, but he attended an ELCA church).
    You live in a happy, shiny world, where the Catholic church is on task and never hypocritical. I’m afraid I don’t live in your world.
    If anyone gathers in one of the scattered pockets of dogmatic truth within the Catholic church, it will only be because they have worked like the dickens to find it.

    Really? This is what you call reasonable discussion? Ok. Let’s see, how should I respond?

    If anyone gathers in one of the scattered pockets of dogmatic truth within the reformed theology, it will only be because they have worked like the dickens to find it.

    Now, anytime you want to your theology to Scripture and Catholic Theology to Scripture, I’m ready.

  61. De Maria–

    You’re right. I was rude, and I am sorry.

    I didn’t know how to respond to statements such as this one:

    “Lol! It is the Catholic Church which is organized to best achieve this discipline. No other Church compares.”

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Catholic church has no discernible system of discipline. From the top on down, it is simply missing. Most Catholics I know are embarrassed by it. They keep hoping it will change. They are cheered by small steps forward like the censuring of the LCWR.

    Read a newspaper or two, and then we’ll talk….

  62. “My yoke is sweet and my burden light.”

    Exactly!

    That’s the yoke of grace through faith! Not obedience to the hard law of demand, or shoulds, oughts or musts.

    The yoke of faith is trusting that what He has done for you is enough.

    And it is. And it is sweet. Never having to worry if you’ve done enough and with the right motives. It’s very sweet.

  63. +JMJ+

    The Old Adam wrote:

    “My yoke is sweet and my burden light.”
    .
    Exactly!
    .
    That’s the yoke of grace through faith! Not obedience to the hard law of demand, or…

    But you just got through saying that the whole point of Christ’s Law of Love of God and Neighbor is to crush us and “drive us to our knees”.

  64. The obedience of faith (trusting in what He has done, is doing and will yet do) is totally different than the obedience to law (what we should be doing, that we so often refuse to do and that we don’t do with pure motives).

    God is looking for a repentant heart. He is looking for people who know their great need of a Savior.

    How well was the scumbag tax collector doing…vs. the righteous Pharisee in the Temple? Which one went away justified?

  65. +JMJ+

    The Old Adam wrote:

    The obedience of faith (trusting in what He has done, is doing and will yet do) is totally different than the obedience to law (what we should be doing, that we so often refuse to do and that we don’t do with pure motives).

    So, what you are saying is that, indeed, Christ imposed the Law of Love of God and Neighbor in order to crush us and “drive us to our knees” even though He said that his yoke and burden are sweet and light. Is that right?

  66. God gave the law in order that we might live together, as best we sinners can, and in order to show us our sin and drive us to Christ.

    The gospel ALWAYS trumps the law.

    When God gave the promises to Abraham, He did it in person. When God sent down the law, He sent it via a messenger boy, an angel.

    That we ought love and serve the neighbor is great. But it’s not gospel. The gospel is the good news that even though we are all derelict with regards to keeping the law, that God has reconciled us to Himself, on the cross and in our baptisms…for Jesus’ sake.

  67. Eric

    You said:

    ERIC March 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm
    De Maria–
    You’re right. I was rude, and I am sorry.

    Apology accepted.

    I didn’t know how to respond to statements such as this one:
    “Lol! It is the Catholic Church which is organized to best achieve this discipline. No other Church compares.”

    And I don’t know how to respond to statements such as these:

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Catholic church has no discernible system of discipline.

    On one quarter, we have anti-Catholics abusing the Church because she wields too much discipline. On the other, we have folks like you.

    This biblical ditty applies to anti-Catholics today:
    Matthew 11:16-19
    King James Version (KJV)
    16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

    17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

    18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

    19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

    From the top on down, it is simply missing. Most Catholics I know are embarrassed by it. They keep hoping it will change. They are cheered by small steps forward like the censuring of the LCWR.
    Read a newspaper or two, and then we’ll talk….

    You contradict yourself in one breath. How is it possible for an institution without any discipline to censure anyone? Please explain.

    You might want to reread those newspapers. You’ve missed the forest for the print.

  68. TOA, you said:

    THE OLD ADAM March 29, 2013 at 8:55 am
    God gave the law in order that we might live together, as best we sinners can, and in order to show us our sin and drive us to Christ.

    Agreed.

    The gospel ALWAYS trumps the law.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ reveals to us the Law of the Spirit. There are two laws:
    Romans 8:2
    For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    When God gave the promises to Abraham, He did it in person. When God sent down the law, He sent it via a messenger boy, an angel.

    That’s not what I remember:
    Exodus 31:18
    And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

    Deuteronomy 9:10
    And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.

    You must be misunderstanding St. Paul’s teaching:
    Galatians 3:18-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

    God promised Abraham an inheritance if he obeyed God. According to Scripture, Abraham met this requirement:
    Genesis 26:5
    Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

    Therefore, God’s promise stands.

    19 Wherefore then serveth the law?

    What is the purpose of the law? You answered the question above.

    It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made;

    You said:
    in order to show us our sin and drive us to Christ. and you are correct. You got that answer directly from Scripture.

    and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

    Ordained can mean commanded. It can also mean “organized”. Set in motion. The other “mediator” in this case, is Moses.

    20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one,

    The mediator represents many. He stands between two parties. One party is the Hebrew nation. The other party is God.

    but God is one.

    God is singular. He is one.

    The part that you misunderstood is where you said that God didn’t personally bring the Commandments. God wrote the Commandments with His own finger. They are the only Scriptures we have which God did not have written through a human mediator.

    That we ought love and serve the neighbor is great. But it’s not gospel.

    Yes. It is. It is the epitome of the Gospel and if you don’t get that, you are not understanding the Word of God, the Law of Christ nor the Will of the Father:

    1 John 5
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

    2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

    The gospel is the good news that even though we are all derelict with regards to keeping the law, that God has reconciled us to Himself, on the cross and in our baptisms…for Jesus’ sake.

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

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

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

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

  69. De Maria–

    I have never heard a single soul ever–anti-Catholic or otherwise–depict the Church as overbearing in its discipline. Why would they? The very notion is ludicrous on its face. People may say the Catholic church has too much power…but in this day and age of constant pedophile scandals…and the incredible embarrassment that has attended the hierarchy’s inability to do anything whatever to stem the tide…no one but no one can say with any credibility that the Church has “too much” discipline.

    The only possible exception to this may be in the random manner in which the Catholic church deals with divorce. Those who are well connected get the annulments they seek, while others hightail it to the nearest Episcopal church.

  70. De Maria,

    I’ve said this on other threads, but I’ll say it again. For many of us Protestants, it would, ironically, be easier for us to take Rome more seriously if it went back to its harsher days. At least then, there was some evidence that the Roman church actually cared about what it professes. But in a day when the church no longer believes you have to be visibly united to it, it is really hard to take claims of being the one true church and guarantor of the church seriously.

    Do you not see that it is the pretentious claims of Rome that make it so hard to think the gospel is present in the Roman Magisterium? We Reformed don’t claim you have to be visibly united to a Reformed church to be saved. We don’t claim that our Magisterium, if you could call it that, is infallible. Once you start making those claims, you have to start backing them up. And quite frankly, I don’t see how you as a Roman lay person can even make the judgment that your house needs some cleaning. If the Magisterium is the guardian of the gospel and they don’t think it needs cleaning—and it is rather obvious that they don’t—what right do you have to judge the church as lacking?

    When you have your church censuring men like Hans Kung who veers Protestant in some ways but moving pedophile priests and bishops around, turning a blind eye when Catholic institutions hire men and women who hate the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, kissing Qur’ans, opening heaven’s doors to Muslims, and many other abominations, what else can we conclude that but for Rome, the most important thing of all is that you not be too Protestant? That for Rome, all that matters is some kind of vague lip service to the importance of the Roman curia? That for Rome, all is good as long as you show up for mass every now and again and don’t make too much noise. That for Rome, it’s more important to protect the reputation of the church than it is to prevent its people from being abused. That for Rome, the highest levels of the magisterium are more concerned about preserving a false visible unity than on cracking down on heresy.

    Following in the tradition of Aquinas, Roman theology has traditionally placed a strong emphasis on reason. Why, then, do so many of you seem to throw your rational faculties out the window even when Rome doesn’t even TRY live up to its own claims?

    The Reformed aren’t perfect, but at least we are trying to be consistent with the claims we make about ourselves, claims that are far less pretentious and require “less faith” to accept. The more pretentious the claims, the more serious your church needs to be about actually living up to them.

  71. Eric

    You said “others hightail it to the nearest Episcopal church.”
    Are you saying that the Catholic Church is wrong for not allowing divorced people to remarry and thus people are seeking another Protestant Church that will allow them to do so

    well your problem started with Jesus He is the One who said that it is adulatory if a divorced man or woman get remarry Matt 19. So it is the Protestant Church that allows divorce and remarry is the one committing apostasy.

  72. Ok, can someone point to the church that has no skeletons in the closet? It’s like the wheels have just come off in this thread. I thought the question was which church/denomination teaches the truth. Not which leaders or members you think are more pious. Calvin/Luther/popes have all been hypocrites. Can we get back to talking about the bible?

  73. ERIC March 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    De Maria–
    I have never heard a single soul ever–anti-Catholic or otherwise–depict the Church as overbearing in its discipline.

    I do, continually. And I notice that you didn’t respond to my question. I asked:

    You contradict yourself in one breath. How is it possible for an institution without any discipline to censure anyone? Please explain.

    Why would they? The very notion is ludicrous on its face. People may say the Catholic church has too much power…but in this day and age of constant pedophile scandals…and the incredible embarrassment that has attended the hierarchy’s inability to do anything whatever to stem the tide…no one but no one can say with any credibility that the Church has “too much” discipline.

    Ok. Since you turned this into an opportunity to smear the Church. Let’s compare the Protestant ability to discipline, the Protestant will to discipline and the Catholic Church’s discipline.

    First, we see that not only have the Protestants lost virtually every ability to discipline anyone, they have actively legitimized sins. You claim its only one denomination. Then you claim that you don’t approve of their sins and that they are apostate. But, you have no authority to do anything about them.

    Second. You not only can’t do anything about them, but you must grant them the right to interpret Scripture anyway they want.

    Third. Now, you claim that your little bitty church can discipline far better than the Catholic Church. But, what authority have you actually? Do your people come to confess their sins to you? I doubt it, but please, correct me if I’m wrong.

    And so it is plain that you can do nothing about sin, you have no authority nor would you grant anyone authority to intercede for you on account of your sins.

    The only possible exception to this may be in the random manner in which the Catholic church deals with divorce. Those who are well connected get the annulments they seek, while others hightail it to the nearest Episcopal church.

    You still don’t get it. The Doctrines of the Church are by the authority of the Word of God. It doesn’t matter who it is that disregards them. If what you are saying is true, which I doubt and I realize that you are making statements out of your irrational hatred for the Church of Jesus Christ. But even if they are true, they are acting IN SPITE OF Catholic Teaching. Not because of it.

    I wonder why that is so hard for anti-Catholics to understand?

  74. Sorry Eric. That last paragraph should be thus:

    The only possible exception to this may be in the random manner in which the Catholic church deals with divorce. Those who are well connected get the annulments they seek, while others hightail it to the nearest Episcopal church.

    You still don’t get it. The Doctrines of the Church are by the authority of the Word of God. It doesn’t matter who it is that disregards them. If what you are saying is true, which I doubt and I realize that you are making statements out of your irrational hatred for the Church of Jesus Christ. But even if they are true, they are acting IN SPITE OF Catholic Teaching. Not because of it.

    I wonder why that is so hard for anti-Catholics to understand?

  75. ??? Ok. Let me try that again. Sorry Eric.

    The only possible exception to this may be in the random manner in which the Catholic church deals with divorce. Those who are well connected get the annulments they seek, while others hightail it to the nearest Episcopal church.

    You still don’t get it. The Doctrines of the Church are by the authority of the Word of God. It doesn’t matter who it is that disregards them. If what you are saying is true, which I doubt and I realize that you are making statements out of your irrational hatred for the Church of Jesus Christ. But even if they are true, they are acting IN SPITE OF Catholic Teaching. Not because of it.

    I wonder why that is so hard for anti-Catholics to understand?

    (Everything looks in order. Pressing submit now.)

  76. Robert,

    you said:

    ROBERT March 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm
    De Maria,
    I’ve said this on other threads, but I’ll say it again. For many of us Protestants, it would, ironically, be easier for us to take Rome more seriously if it went back to its harsher days. At least then, there was some evidence that the Roman church actually cared about what it professes. But in a day when the church no longer believes you have to be visibly united to it, it is really hard to take claims of being the one true church and guarantor of the church seriously.

    Obviously, this is personal opinion. As for me and all devout Catholics, we submit to the will of God and the judgment of the Church with no objections. The problem lies with disobedient people. Not with the Church.

    Do you not see that it is the pretentious claims of Rome that make it so hard to think the gospel is present in the Roman Magisterium?

    What I see in your response is someone who pridefully believes he is above all others in authority and who refuses to accept the authority of the Church which Jesus Christ established in the world. It is you who are pretentious. Not the Church.

    We Reformed don’t claim you have to be visibly united to a Reformed church to be saved.

    This is true. Because the Reformed recognize that they are not the Body of Christ. However, it is true from Scripture that we must be added to the Church to be saved:

    Acts 2:47
    Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    We don’t claim that our Magisterium, if you could call it that, is infallible.

    Because the teaching arm (magisterium) of the Protestant movement is not infallible. It is teaching error. And that only substantiates that they do not represent Christ. For Christ was certainly infallible and sent His Church out to teach infallibly:

    Ephesians 3:10
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    Matthew 28:18-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    John 20:20-23
    King James Version (KJV)
    20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

    Once you start making those claims, you have to start backing them up. And quite frankly, I don’t see how you as a Roman lay person can even make the judgment that your house needs some cleaning. If the Magisterium is the guardian of the gospel and they don’t think it needs cleaning—and it is rather obvious that they don’t—what right do you have to judge the church as lacking?

    It is you who say the Church is lacking. Not me. I have come to learn that the Catholic Church is the voice of God in this world.

    How did you turn that around on me?

    When you have your church censuring men like Hans Kung who veers Protestant in some ways

    I have no idea what that means. “veers” Protestants?

    As I remember, Hans Kung was preaching some error. That is why he was censured. Wasn’t it you and Eric who were objecting to the Church’s lack of discipline.

    I suppose then, you want to pick and choose whom the Church disciplines. Should the Pope have you on speed dial? Or do you merely want to be the Pope?

    but moving pedophile priests and bishops around,

    1. The Catholic Church believes in the motto, “innocent until proven guilty”.
    2. You seem to embrace the motto, “condemn them because I say so.”
    3. But the Catholic Church will continue to act reasonably and fairly today as she has throughout history.

    As for sins of any kind. Anyone who commits sin acts in disobedience to the Teachings of the Catholic Church. Whereas, Protestants have legitimized sin after sin and have their own pedophilia problem which they will not permit the world to see because they keep sweeping it under the rug:

    One of the most striking aspects of the Protestant clergy sex abuse pattern is that most people don’t realize it is a pattern. The Catholic Church has taken a well deserved beating in the courts and in the court of public opinion as former altar boys, orphans and ordinary parishioners come forward with appalling stories of sex abuse. Yet equally egregious violations by Protestant clergy fail to generate the same level of outrage. Why?

    You might answer that the problems in the Catholic Church are uniquely widespread, but that would be the wrong answer. Last week’s Eddie Long scandal, in which one of the nation’s most politically connected and homophobic mega-ministers was accused of strong-arming gay sex out of teens, was just one tip of an enormous Protestant iceberg.

    <blockquote? turning a blind eye when Catholic institutions hire men and women who hate the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, kissing Qur’ans, opening heaven’s doors to Muslims, and many other abominations, what else can we conclude that but for Rome, the most important thing of all is that you not be too Protestant?

    If the person is reasonable, they can conclude that the Church is run by human beings who can’t control everything that their purported adherents will do. If the person is reasonable, he will remember that Jesus Christ came into His own and His own rejected Him. And if they rejected Jesus Christ, the Church is not greater than her Master that her own will not also persecute her.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

    That for Rome, all that matters is some kind of vague lip service to the importance of the Roman curia? That for Rome, all is good as long as you show up for mass every now and again and don’t make too much noise. That for Rome, it’s more important to protect the reputation of the church than it is to prevent its people from being abused. That for Rome, the highest levels of the magisterium are more concerned about preserving a false visible unity than on cracking down on heresy.
    Following in the tradition of Aquinas, Roman theology has traditionally placed a strong emphasis on reason. Why, then, do so many of you seem to throw your rational faculties out the window even when Rome doesn’t even TRY live up to its own claims?
    The Reformed aren’t perfect, but at least we are trying to be consistent with the claims we make about ourselves, claims that are far less pretentious and require “less faith” to accept. The more pretentious the claims, the more serious your church needs to be about actually living up to them.

  77. Robert,

    I’m so sorry for all my errors. Habits are hard to break and I’m having to learn a whole new way of editing on this wordpress. But at least, I can now see my submissions. Here I go again:

    Robert,
    you said:

    ROBERT March 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm?De Maria,?I’ve said this on other threads, but I’ll say it again. For many of us Protestants, it would, ironically, be easier for us to take Rome more seriously if it went back to its harsher days. At least then, there was some evidence that the Roman church actually cared about what it professes. But in a day when the church no longer believes you have to be visibly united to it, it is really hard to take claims of being the one true church and guarantor of the church seriously.

    Obviously, this is personal opinion. As for me and all devout Catholics, we submit to the will of God and the judgment of the Church with no objections. The problem lies with disobedient people. Not with the Church.

    Do you not see that it is the pretentious claims of Rome that make it so hard to think the gospel is present in the Roman Magisterium?

    What I see in your response is someone who pridefully believes he is above all others in authority and who refuses to accept the authority of the Church which Jesus Christ established in the world. It is you who are pretentious. Not the Church.

    We Reformed don’t claim you have to be visibly united to a Reformed church to be saved.

    This is true. Because the Reformed recognize that they are not the Body of Christ. However, it is true from Scripture that we must be added to the Church to be saved:
    Acts 2:47?Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    We don’t claim that our Magisterium, if you could call it that, is infallible.

    Because the teaching arm (magisterium) of the Protestant movement is not infallible. It is teaching error. And that only substantiates that they do not represent Christ. For Christ was certainly infallible and sent His Church out to teach infallibly:
    Ephesians 3:10?King James Version (KJV)?10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    Matthew 28:18-20?King James Version (KJV)?18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    John 20:20-23?King James Version (KJV)?20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

    Once you start making those claims, you have to start backing them up. And quite frankly, I don’t see how you as a Roman lay person can even make the judgment that your house needs some cleaning. If the Magisterium is the guardian of the gospel and they don’t think it needs cleaning—and it is rather obvious that they don’t—what right do you have to judge the church as lacking?

    It is you who say the Church is lacking. Not me. I have come to learn that the Catholic Church is the voice of God in this world.
    How did you turn that around on me?

    When you have your church censuring men like Hans Kung who veers Protestant in some ways

    I have no idea what that means. “veers” Protestants?
    As I remember, Hans Kung was preaching some error. That is why he was censured. Wasn’t it you and Eric who were objecting to the Church’s lack of discipline.

    I suppose then, you want to pick and choose whom the Church disciplines. Should the Pope have you on speed dial? Or do you merely want to be the Pope?

    but moving pedophile priests and bishops around,

    1. The Catholic Church believes in the motto, “innocent until proven guilty”.?2. You seem to embrace the motto, “condemn them because I say so.”?3. But the Catholic Church will continue to act reasonably and fairly today as she has throughout history.

    As for sins of any kind. Anyone who commits sin acts in disobedience to the Teachings of the Catholic Church. Whereas, Protestants have legitimized sin after sin and have their own pedophilia problem which they will not permit the world to see because they keep sweeping it under the rug:

    One of the most striking aspects of the Protestant clergy sex abuse pattern is that most people don’t realize it is a pattern. The Catholic Church has taken a well deserved beating in the courts and in the court of public opinion as former altar boys, orphans and ordinary parishioners come forward with appalling stories of sex abuse. Yet equally egregious violations by Protestant clergy fail to generate the same level of outrage. Why?

    You might answer that the problems in the Catholic Church are uniquely widespread, but that would be the wrong answer. Last week’s Eddie Long scandal, in which one of the nation’s most politically connected and homophobic mega-ministers was accused of strong-arming gay sex out of teens, was just one tip of an enormous Protestant iceberg…..

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-tarico/the-protestant-clergy-sex_b_740853.html

    turning a blind eye when Catholic institutions hire men and women who hate the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, kissing Qur’ans, opening heaven’s doors to Muslims, and many other abominations, what else can we conclude that but for Rome, the most important thing of all is that you not be too Protestant?

    If the person is reasonable, they can conclude that the Church is run by human beings who can’t control everything that their purported adherents will do. If the person is reasonable, he will remember that Jesus Christ came into His own and His own rejected Him. And if they rejected Jesus Christ, the Church is not greater than her Master that her own will not also persecute her.

    That for Rome, all that matters is some kind of vague lip service to the importance of the Roman curia? ….

    Wow!!? Have you never read in Scripture:
    Matthew 7:3
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    Who are you to judge anyone? Especially the Church which Jesus Christ built. I suggest you pay more attention to your own relationship to Christ before you begin to condemn the Catholic Church.
    1 Thessalonians 4:11
    King James Version (KJV)
    11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

    The Reformed aren’t perfect, but at least we are trying to be consistent with the claims we make about ourselves, claims that are far less pretentious and require “less faith” to accept.

    You hit the nail on the head. You require less faith. But in the Catholic Church, we step in faith.
    2 Corinthians 5:7
    (For we walk by faith, not by sight:

    The more pretentious the claims, the more serious your church needs to be about actually living up to them.

    Our Church lives up to all Her claims. But you make claims about the Church which the Church never made.

    Sincerely,
    De Maria

  78. De Maria,

    I think you are misunderstanding Paul.

    Look at 2 Corinithians 3:7

    Paul calls the law, “the ministry of death”.

    “When the law came in, sin got worse.”

    When you mix law and gospel, you end up with a schizophrenic form of Christianity. Am I saved by grace…or am I saved by what I do? Or is it a little of both?

    It’s one or the other. And it’s not by what we do, or don’t do.

  79. CK,

    The issue isn’t that all churches have skeletons in their closets. The issue is that the Roman Catholic Church, historically, has professed to be the one true church that goes back to the apostles and is the guarantor that orthodoxy will remain. Historically, the Roman Catholic Church did take these claims more seriously. They excommunicated Luther. They even sent the Jesuits after many Protestants, and the end for those Protestants wasn’t pretty. I don’t think that such was the right approach, nor that Rome made the right choices. However, it does prove that they took their doctrine seriously.

    Rome claims infallibility. Rome claims to be the one true church. The Lutherans don’t claim that. The Reformed don’t claim that. You claim that. And its a claim not worthy of consideration if Rome does not believe in its doctrine highly enough to discipline. You have an ecclesiastical structure that should make it quite easy to kick out apostate priests and bishops, that should at least prevent lesbian pagans from being hired at your colleges and then, if they are hired, to get them off the faculty before they’ve taught there for 30 years!!!!

    Stop claiming infallibility, the objection has no weight. Start disciplining people, the objection has no weight.

    Protestants believe our churches are not infallible. Failure to discipline is a bad thing for us, but understandable. It’s not understandable for Rome if, in fact, she is infallible.

  80. THE OLD ADAM March 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm
    De Maria,
    I think you are misunderstanding Paul.
    Look at 2 Corinithians 3:7
    Paul calls the law, “the ministry of death”.
    “When the law came in, sin got worse.”

    It’s one or the other. And it’s not by what we do, or don’t do.

    That comes as no surprise. I think you are misunderstanding the Gospel.

    You’ve left out the complete idea being expressed in 2 Cor 3:7:

    7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

    Note that the ministration of death is glorious. There’s nothing wrong with it.

    Romans 7:12
    Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

    When you mix law and gospel, you end up with a schizophrenic form of Christianity. Am I saved by grace…or am I saved by what I do? Or is it a little of both?

    You’ve misunderstood the Gospel. We are not saved by what we do. We are saved by God. But God doesn’t save those who do not do His works. That is very simple and is taught throughout Scripture:

    Exodus 20:6
    And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

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

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

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

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

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

  81. Robert, you said:

    Protestants believe our churches are not infallible. Failure to discipline is a bad thing for us, but understandable. It’s not understandable for Rome if, in fact, she is infallible.

    Infallibility is not omniscience.

  82. Robert,

    Yes things didn’t end well for Protestants, things didn’t end well for catholics after the reformation. You leaving that part out tells me you want to win an argument not be an honest broker. Btw, things didn’t end well for “witches” either.

    Frankly, what your saying is protestants don’t guarantee Christians the truth, but we are better than catholics because at least we admit it. Well that’s not much of an answer.

  83. 35 years in the Roman Catholic Church, and I never heard the pure gospel preached. Not once. Not to say that there aren’t priests and laypersons who know what it is.

    Well, here it is, in case you have never heard it yourself;

    ‘Your sins are forgiven for Jesus sake’. That’s it. That’s the gospel.

    It starts at the cross…and it ends at the cross. We need go no farther than that to be reconciled to the Living God.

    No you don’t have any excuses. You have heard it. Whether or not you REALLY hear it, is up to the Holy Spirit.

    Sorry to be so rough. But it’s Good Friday. That death shouldn’t be in vain or a starting point for our religiosity. As Jesus said, “It is finished”. That means just what it says.

  84. CK,

    Professing Protestants have been guilty of atrocities as well. For those they need to repent. But Protestants do not claim their churches are infallible, and those denominations that have actually stayed mostly true to their confessions—such as the PCA—actually discipline people for teaching heresy.

    If Rome is infallible, she should not be tolerating lesbian pagans teaching theology in its institutions nor keeping politicians in good standing if they not only tolerate but promote the grossest forms of abortion on demand.

    The fact that Protestants do exercise church discipline does not in itself prove that we’re right. The failure to discipline does not in itself prove that you’re wrong. It does indicate that Rome cares very little for the true spiritual condition of its people, however. Jesus commanded his church to exercise discipline, and at the very least, your failure to discipline indicates a failure to follow the one whom you profess. You make a big deal about Rome guaranteeing orthdodoxy, of the pope being a true and necessary pastor. During the twentieth century and now into the twenty-first, your church has mostly abdicated that responsibility. Of course, if Rome is infallible, I don’t know how a Roman Catholic can actually complain about that. I guess you can infallibly fail to carry out what Christ has told you. But that sort of weakens the whole “visible Roman Catholic church is necessary” argument.

    Just saying.

  85. Robert
    So if one protestant church discipline a person can that person go to another protestant church and be in good stand with his new church since you guys have different sets rules?

    I mean he get kick out of one and go to another one

    and dose his standing with God and his salvation is impacted?

    what purpose dose indiscipline in protestant church achieve?

    you are choosing not to understand between Infallibility and discipline it is a tactic you are using to shift the discussion.

    The church has to infallible if it is the church that Christ establish because she speaks for Him. the church proclaims infallible dogma and doctrine that is binding on the believers (Matt 16 and 18). if any violate her teachings no matter who he or she is going to answer for that.

    if the Protestant church is fallible then how can you claim that people believe in her proclaimed doctrine is true and not leading to destruction?

    if you follow your logic you are proving too much. do you see God striking every single human being who chose to disobey him and sin ? does this suppose to tell you that God is not infallible?

  86. Hi,

    THE OLD ADAM March 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm
    35 years in the Roman Catholic Church, and I never heard the pure gospel preached. Not once.

    That’s because you disagree with the Catholic Church about what constitutes the pure Gospel.

    Not to say that there aren’t priests and laypersons who know what it is.

    Catholic Priests know what is the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Well, here it is, in case you have never heard it yourself;

    ‘Your sins are forgiven for Jesus sake’. That’s it. That’s the gospel.

    Nothing about repentance? Here’s what Jesus said:
    Matthew 9:13
    But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    It starts at the cross…and it ends at the cross. We need go no farther than that to be reconciled to the Living God.

    You’re right. Christ said:
    Mark 8:34
    And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

    Note how much we must do in order to follow Jesus to the Cross:
    Galatians 5:24
    And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

    No you don’t have any excuses. You have heard it. Whether or not you REALLY hear it, is up to the Holy Spirit.

    That’s true.

    Sorry to be so rough. But it’s Good Friday. That death shouldn’t be in vain or a starting point for our religiosity. As Jesus said, “It is finished”. That means just what it says.

    If that meant that all was finished, then what of the resurrection?
    1 Corinthians 15:12-14
    King James Version (KJV)
    12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead. 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

    If that meant all was finished, what of repentance?
    Matthew 3:8
    Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

    Acts 26:20
    But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

    The Gospel you preach is missing some very important elements.

  87. Wassan–

    If we as Protestants have to be accountable for every group calling itself “Protestant” that breaks away from the established confessions (WCF, Augsburg, 3FU), then you as Catholics are accountable for every group which has splintered away from you…including all Protestants and Protestant wannabe’s.

    What Robert was trying to relay to you was that infallibility does not mean a thing unless you enforce it. The catechism is just a piece of paper. (Kind of like the U.S. constitution has become just a piece of paper since the Courts declared that it meant whatever they decided it meant.)

    You said:

    “If any violate her teachings, no matter who he or she is, is going to answer for that.”

    That is just our point. One can violate the teachings of the Catholic church at will, and nothing will ever happen. Ex Corde Ecclesiae colleges and universities (e.g., Ave Maria, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland) follow Catholic teaching. But better known Catholic institutions (e.g., Notre Dame, Marquette, Boston College, Georgetown) are, by and large, Catholic in name only. Students who go in become much more secular by the time they graduate.

    Oh, and you’re actually wrong about Protestant discipline. The good churches check with your former church to see what happened. They often work together to see that discipline is carried through. Yes, one can always go to a liberal church (which aren’t actual churches if you ask me) or drop out of religion entirely. We’re not the government, for goodness’ sake.

    I’m a far better Catholic than Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden or John Kerry. Why are they communed? Why am I turned away? They stomp the teachings of Catholicism underfoot as a matter of public record! They glory in their anti-Catholicism…and get away with it. I, on the other hand, hold to St. Augustine’s soteriology rather than that of Rome. (Kill da bum!! Roast his anti-Catholic hide!!)

  88. Eric
    you said
    What Robert was trying to relay to you was that infallibility does not mean a thing unless you enforce it. The catechism is just a piece of paper. (Kind of like the U.S. constitution has become just a piece of paper since the Courts declared that it meant whatever they decided it meant.)

    follow this logic what good the word of God if God doesn’t strike us immediately when we go against his will and teaching is the bible is Just word on paper?

    you said
    That is just our point. One can violate the teachings of the Catholic church at will, and nothing will ever happen.

    I meant to say they will answer to God ( He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me). Church teaching is binding on earth and in heaven (Matt 16-18). there are a lot of Catholic who call themselves Catholic but are not. they themselves excommunicated themselves from the church

    you said
    I’m a far better Catholic than Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden or John Kerry. Why are they communed? Why am I turned away?

    neither you or the other folks you mention considered good Catholics . Good Catholic is the one who follow ALL Church teaching and be in union with her.

    you said
    They glory in their anti-Catholicism…and get away with it

    if you think that the Catholic Church teaching is binding in heaven then they can’t get away with their disobedience because they accrued condemnation for themselves on the last day.

    God Bless
    Happy Easter

  89. Wassan,

    I think you are missing the point Eric and I are trying to make. It is all fine and good to say that Roman Catholics who flaunt the churches’ teaching will be repaid on the last day. I believe all who openly repudiate Christ’s teaching will be repaid on the last day, and I also believe that Christ executes His authority through His church. When the church makes a declaration that conforms to the apostolic gospel, it is binding. You and I disagree over which church is apostolic, among other things, but we both agree the church has authority.

    The issue I have is that for all that Rome has said about the necessity of visible authority, the pontiff as the symbol of Christian unity, the ability of the Magisterium to draw lines in sand and define doctrine, etc., the modern Roman church does not act in a way that shows she really believes these things.

    If the pope and the bishops are the pastors of the church, and if pastors have a responsibility to care for the souls of their people, then your church is doing a grave, grave, grave disservice to people like Biden and Pelosi by allowing them to participate in the Eucharist. Yes, Biden and Pelosi are to some degree responsible themselves to know and abide by church teaching. But when they don’t, Rome allows them to heap more sin on themselves by committing the mortal sin of taking the Eucharist while they are committing the mortal sin of promoting abortion for any and all reasons.

    All the verbal warnings in the world are not much good if the church does not say excommunicate people. To say, “let God sort it all out on the last day” is a cop out because both Jesus and Paul tell the church to put people out for gross impenitent sin so that they might be SAVED on the last day (matt. 18; 1 cor. 5).

    Historically, Rome has made bold claims. Historically, Rome has used discipline to back them up. Today, Rome comes extremely close to saying “all dogs go to heaven.” The bolder the claim, the more that one needs to behave in a way that shows one might actually believe them.

    We Protestants have a lot more respect for those isolated Roman Catholic voices who are actually upset that the church does not do its job and call the church to repent than those who keep yelling about Rome guaranteeing unity and guaranteeing orthodoxy and dismissing the protests of those who know what Scripture says about discipline and pastoring the souls of a church’s people when the church turns a blind eye to its calling to care for their souls.

    It is beyond ironic that Protestants, who allow for more freedom in regards to personal biblical interpretation and Christian liberty than Rome, do a far better job of discipling people than does Rome. You’d think it would be the other way around. But you are going to find church discipline in any Protestant denomination that is trying to uphold its confessions. Just ask Jason. Meanwhile, you have people like Rosemary Ruether, Paul Knitter, Mary Daly, and many others teaching for decades at Roman Catholic institutions.

    I NEED the church to watch over my soul. Rome has abdicated this responsibility. If you all were more honest about that, it would be easier to respect Rome. Again, the failure to discipline does not automatically invalidate Rome’s claims, nor does the discipline we see in Protestantism automatically prove its claims. But the failure to discipline seriously weakens and makes laughable the former. Discipline people, and the problem goes away. Make humbler claims, and the problem goes away.

    Rome is trying to have its cake and eat it too while claiming to be the voice of God on earth, infallibility, the guarantor of unity and orthodoxy, and basically saying “nothing to see here” when Protestants raise the issue of Rome’s failure to discipline. Rome has historically held a high view of human reason. How in the world is any of this reasonable or credible?

  90. Robert and Eric,

    Please review the definition of infallibility. You will see that it doesn’t include anything about discipline.

    Robert, you ask:

    How in the world is any of this reasonable or credible?

    Simple. You can’t have an inerrant Bible without an infallible intepreter.

    We know that the Church is teaching the Truth. Scripture tells us so:

    Ephesians 3:10
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    Infallibility is about teaching the Word of God without error. You guys are both making a straw man argument against the Church, perhaps to project upon her the weak and ineffective discipline of your own denomination.

    As weak as you might paint Catholic discipline. It is far more effective than anything in any Protestant denomination. Because Protestants refuse to submit to anyone’s authority. They submit only to their own personal interpretation of the Bible.

  91. De Maria–

    How can we have a civil conversation when you tell such whoppers?

    Out of 219 Catholic colleges and universities in the U.S., only 37 are compliant with “Ex Corde Ecclesiae.”

    Every single college and seminary affiliated with conservative Reformed denominations faithfully reflects church teaching.

    What kind of disconnect is going on in your brain?

    If you want to make the argument that there is a remnant within the American Catholic church that is faithful, I will listen to that. In other liberal U.S. denominations, it is the same. The PCUSA has a vibrant conservative minority (e.g., the Layman’s Organization). Similarly, the TEC (Episcopalians) has the Communion Partners; the ELCA has the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ; and United Methodism has the Confessing Movement.

    The Roman Catholic church is a liberal denomination here in the U.S., and no amount of rationalization on your part will change that.

  92. Robert,

    I understand where you are coming from, but the bottom line you don’t believe what the CC teaches whether they enforce their rules or not. Now because there is so many

  93. Robert,

    I understand where you are coming from, but the bottom line you don’t believe what the CC teaches whether they enforce their rules or not. Now because there are so many leaders looking the other way it causes catholics to leave the faith or Christianity all together and like the rest of us these leaders will be judged accordingly. Almost all Protestant churches I know of around where I live run a tight ship but the bottom line still is are what they are teaching true? What would you say to a catholic that started to question the trinity because the church failed to enforce its rules? Would you tell him that he is right and the church is wrong?

    So again, telling me the equivalent of “we’ve done bad but you did worse” doesn’t cut it. Who has the “full” truth is what I want to know. Btw, Robert, Jason and others you all have really opened my eyes to looking at scripture in a whole new way. Thanks!

  94. CK,

    To a certain extent you are right. Based on the doctrinal statements they currently have in place, I cannot believe that Rome is teaching anything close to the apostolic gospel. As I’ve tried, however poorly, to state, Rome’s gospel diminishes the holiness of God in favor of practices and beliefs you cannot find in Scripture, and it requires a naive reading of church history. The whole discipline issue is more of a respect thing. Maybe I’m just getting grouchy as I get older, but I just don’t like wishy-washiness. If one believes that one has the truth, one better at least try to live up to it. Rome’s failure to discipline does not in itself invalidate its claims and Protestantism’s attempt at discipline, at least in denominations that still believe their confessions, do not prove its claims. The failure does stretch the notion of credibility, especially when the Roman Catholic commenters here try to defend Rome’s actions. Why leave Protestantism for pastoral oversight when the church to which you go does not offer it? But then again, you really do surrender a lot of your rights to call Rome into question when you become a Roman Catholic. Rome is right because Rome is always right, and even when Rome is wrong she is right because she is right. For a community that supposedly upholds reason, it’s very irrational.

    But, of course, the real issue is, as you said, which side is teaching the truth. BTW, thank you for your kind words.

  95. ERIC April 1, 2013 at 4:47 am
    De Maria–
    How can we have a civil conversation when you tell such whoppers?
    Out of 219 Catholic colleges and universities in the U.S., only 37 are compliant with “Ex Corde Ecclesiae.”

    What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? I asked you to look up infallibility because:

    Please review the definition of infallibility. You will see that it doesn’t include anything about discipline.

    But you ignored that because you would rather make straw man arguments.

    Every single college and seminary affiliated with conservative Reformed denominations faithfully reflects church teaching.

    Erroneous teaching that has been contradicting the word of God for 5 centuries.

    What kind of disconnect is going on in your brain?

    What kind is going on in yours?

    If you want to make the argument that there is a remnant within the American Catholic church that is faithful, I will listen to that. In other liberal U.S. denominations, it is the same. The PCUSA has a vibrant conservative minority (e.g., the Layman’s Organization). Similarly, the TEC (Episcopalians) has the Communion Partners; the ELCA has the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ; and United Methodism has the Confessing Movement.
    The Roman Catholic church is a liberal denomination here in the U.S., and no amount of rationalization on your part will change that.

    Protestants blow every which the wind blows. There are as many liberal Protestants as there are conservative. Protestants are the ones that mainlined sins. They no longer consider many offenses against the Will of God to be sins. Divorce and remarriage, gay marriage, gay bishops, female clergy, masturbation, contraception and even abortion and euthanasia are being legitimized by Protestants.

    Catholics are neither liberal nor conservative. We follow the Teachings of the Catholic Church. We support helping the poor where conservatives try to deny them any assistance. We defend children in the womb when liberal promote abortion.

    There’s a world of difference between Catholic and Protestant. Suffice to say that Catholics are more in tune with the will of God.

  96. De Maria–

    Whose definition of “infallible” are we supposedly going by?

    I have indeed attacked your position at a vulnerable spot. I have not in any way misrepresented your beliefs. There are no straw men in sight.

    I don’t care how many liberal “Protestants” there are out there. I don’t give a flying flip what they do. They are neither Protestant nor Catholic, for they are not even Christian in any meaningful sense. I am not responsible for them in the slightest. They are not a result of the Protestant Reformation. They are a result of the Enlightenment.

    Trent erroneously evaluated Protestantism. There’s really no historical debate on that account.

    The Reformed have much tighter systems of belief than Catholics. So if we blow wherever the wind blows, I hate to think what that says about Catholicism.

    Divorce and remarriage are accepted in some sense, but they are clearly frowned upon and considered sin. They should be taken much more seriously, no doubt, but you cannot just throw people out of the church as the Catholics do. Shameful, shameful reaction….

    We do not accept divorced or remarried clergy. We do not ordain women, for the most part. (I do believe the CRC started doing so recently. They are considered to be in error, as a result.) We all adamantly oppose abortion and euthanasia.

    The vast majority of Catholics in this country are liberal. Wake up and smell the coffee!!! Over 50% of students graduating from Catholic colleges and universities are pro-choice!! The authority of Scripture has been seriously undermined by the theology departments at most Catholic schools. Entire Catholic seminaries have been reputed to have been taken over by active homosexuals.

    Don’t equate conservative theology with conservative politics. There is some overlap, but there’s also plenty of difference. The so-called “Religious Right” is not particularly biblical in its ethics. Read Tim Keller’s “Generous Justice” or Michael Gerson’s “City of Man.” Consider the ministries of Francis Chan and David Platt. Those who are genuinely conservative and Reformed do not neglect the poor.

    I guess I must assume, since you are strict in terms of helping the poor but opposing abortion, that you do not exercise your right (and your duty?) to vote.

  97. Author: Eric
    Comment:
    De Maria–

    Whose definition of “infallible” are we supposedly going by?

    The Catholic Church.

    I have indeed attacked your position at a vulnerable spot. I have not in any way misrepresented your beliefs. There are no straw men in sight.

    I’ve swept them all away. But all you keep producing is straw men.

    I don’t care how many liberal “Protestants” there are out there. I don’t give a flying flip what they do.

    That is part of your problem. You recognize that Protestants have a lower moral standard and you agree with it.

    They are neither Protestant nor Catholic, for they are not even Christian in any meaningful sense.

    They are indeed Protestant as you admitted above. And the reason they are not even Christian is because Protestant doctrine tends to self destruct.

    I am not responsible for them in the slightest. They are not a result of the Protestant Reformation. They are a result of the Enlightenment.

    They are very much a product of the Protestant revolution.

    Trent erroneously evaluated Protestantism.

    Trent was right on the money concerning the Protestants.

    There’s really no historical debate on that account.

    There is no debate at all. Trent identified all the Protestant errors and showed them to the world.

    The Reformed have much tighter systems of belief than Catholics.

    The problem is that they believe errors and have devolved into sin.

    So if we blow wherever the wind blows, I hate to think what that says about Catholicism.

    Catholicism is firmly built upon the Rock.

    Divorce and remarriage are accepted in some sense, but they are clearly frowned upon and considered sin.

    They are permitted and encouraged.

    They should be taken much more seriously, no doubt, but you cannot just throw people out of the church as the Catholics do. Shameful, shameful reaction….

    You’ve got it wrong on both counts.
    1. The Church does not throw anyone out.
    2. They leave the Church by deciding to live in sin.

    We do not accept divorced or remarried clergy.

    I doubt that:
    George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented:
    “While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.”
    According to the Dallas Morning News, a Dallas TX newspaper, the national study “raised eyebrows, sowed confusion, [and] even brought on a little holy anger.” This caused  George Barna to write a letter to his supporters, saying that he is standing by his data, even though it is upsetting. He said that “We rarely find substantial differences” between the moral behavior of Christians and non-Christians. Barna Project Director Meg Flammang said: “We would love to be able to report that Christians are living very distinct lives and impacting the community, but … in the area of divorce rates they continue to be the same.” Both statements seem to be projecting the belief that conservative Christians and liberal Christians have the same divorce rate. This disagrees with their own data.
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

    We do not ordain women, for the most part.

    But Protestants do.

    (I do believe the CRC started doing so recently. They are considered to be in error, as a result.) We all adamantly oppose abortion and euthanasia.

    Last week about 100,000 or more marched in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. This year they commemorated 40 years since the 1973 Supreme Court decision constitutionalizing abortion on demand.
    Supporting the march and the pro-life cause were leaders of America’s two largest religious communions, the 68 million-member Roman Catholic Church and the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention. Meanwhile, agencies for the third largest, the United Methodist Church, crafted a news release virtually celebrating Roe v. Wade. But 40 years ago, both Southern Baptists and United Methodists, at least officially, backed abortion rights.
    http://spectator.org/archives/2013/01/31/protestants-and-abortion

    The vast majority of Catholics in this country are liberal. Wake up and smell the coffee!!! Over 50% of students graduating from Catholic colleges and universities are pro-choice!! The authority of Scripture has been seriously undermined by the theology departments at most Catholic schools.

    Note the difference. Baptist and Evangelical leaders endorsed abortion in the past. Only recently did they change their position. Therefore, those Baptists and Evangelicals who endorse abortion in the past, were doing so with the full support of their religion.

    The United Methodist Church still supports abortion. So, Methodists who do so, do so with the full suppert of their denomination.

    But the Catholic Church has always opposed it. Any Catholic who supports abortion knows that the Catholic Church denounces it as the gravest of sins.

    Entire Catholic seminaries have been reputed to have been taken over by active homosexuals.

    That’s just anti-Catholic propaganda which feeds people like you who love to hate the Catholic Church.

    Don’t equate conservative theology with conservative politics. There is some overlap, but there’s also plenty of difference. The so-called “Religious Right” is not particularly biblical in its ethics. Read Tim Keller’s “Generous Justice” or Michael Gerson’s “City of Man.” Consider the ministries of Francis Chan and David Platt. Those who are genuinely conservative and Reformed do not neglect the poor.

    You’d love to make little bunny trails to get the onus off the fact that you have shot yourself in the foot. The fact remains that it is Protestants who can’t control Protestants. In fact, because of their belief in Scripture alone, they can’t control anything that any Protestants do.

    And because their congregations do not have to confess their sins. There is absolutely no discipline in any Protestant Church.

    I guess I must assume, since you are strict in terms of helping the poor but opposing abortion, that you do not exercise your right (and your duty?) to vote.

    I always vote against abortion, gay marriage and all the other sins which are being introduced into society. That is my Catholic duty.

    But I don’t need to vote for anyone in order to help the poor. That is also my Catholic duty.

    Protestants don’t know anything about that.

  98. De Maria–

    As your reply displays not one single element of coherence or verisimilitude, I will not dignify it.

  99. De Maria,

    Saying that the Roman Catholic Church is true because the Roman Catholic Church is true is a viciously circular argument.

  100. ERIC April 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm
    De Maria–
    As your reply displays not one single element of coherence or verisimilitude, I will not dignify it.

    I’ll let the readers decide between you and I who is coherent and who isn’t.

  101. ROBERT April 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm
    De Maria,
    Saying that the Roman Catholic Church is true because the Roman Catholic Church is true is a viciously circular argument.

    I didn’t say that Robert. I believe in Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. It is you who rejects Tradition, Church and adhere to the false doctrine of Scripture alone.

  102. De Maria–

    Well, I’ll let the readers decide between you and me who is grammatically correct and who is not. 🙂

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