The Need for Perfect Law-Keeping, Part 3

Posted by on August 17, 2014 in Covenant Theology, Exegesis, Featured, Gospel, Imputation, Justification, Law, Presbyterianism, Protestantism, Reformed Theology, Sola Fide | 457 comments

This third (and final) post of this series will extend the look at Imputed Righteousness in Paul’s Epistles  by focusing on two of the most popular Reformed prooftexts of the doctrine: Philippians 3:9 and 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Before addressing these texts, a brief look at the Biblical definition of “righteousness” is helpful.

According to Scripture, the term “righteousness” simply refers to doing good actions (e.g. Deut 24:13; 2 Sam 22:21; Ps 106:3; Mt 6:1; Acts 10:35; Eph 6:1; 1 Th 2:10; 1 Jn 3:7, 12) or having an upright quality about your character (e.g. Lev 19:5; Mt 1:19; Mt 5:20; Lk 1:6; 1 Tim 1:9; 1 Pt 3:14). Note that none of these texts referenced suggest perfect obedience, nor is such an ‘impossible demand’ ever imposed on fallen mankind. Having the proper understanding of what it means to be “righteous” explains how the Bible can say Abraham personally kept all of God’s commands (Gen 26:4-5), David personally kept all of God’s commands (1 Kings 15:5; 3:6; 9:4), Elizabeth and Zechariah each personally kept all of God’s commands (Lk 1:5-6), and Paul personally kept the law flawlessly (Phil 3:6) – despite the fact we all know they had moral failings in their lives. With this in mind, while it is true that Jesus never sinned and kept the commandments perfectly, this perfect obedience isn’t what “righteousness” refers to in reference to Jesus saving us. This is especially confirmed by the fact that when the Bible speaks of Christ’s work done on our behalf, the only aspects of Christ’s life that are highlighted (in the contexts of Justification) are His Incarnation, Suffering, and Resurrection.

In Philippians 3, Paul begins by explaining how he had all the qualities a “good Jew” should have. But he then makes an abrupt transition, explaining that none of this ultimately matters now that Jesus has come. In 3:9, Paul declares that he does not want “a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,” which is one of the most misunderstood statements in Scripture. Many Reformed would read this as Paul admitting he truly wasn’t good enough to live a perfectly holy life, and so he had to turn to Jesus to live that perfectly holy life and “impute” this perfect obedience to Paul. But according to 3:6, Paul did in fact have this righteousness of the [Mosaic] law, including blessed lineage, circumcision, zeal, and devotion (cf Acts 22:3). So the point couldn’t be that Paul wasn’t good enough or was deluded in thinking he kept the law perfectly when he really had not. Rather, the issue was that the righteousness which comes from God was a different righteousness from which the Mosaic Law could give. (The Mosaic Law only promised temporal blessings for keeping it, such as long life, children, and wealth, Deut 28, so even keeping the “works of the law” perfectly could not grant you salvation.) In fact, Paul emphasizes this dichotomy in a bold statement in Galatians 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose!” Notice that Christ’s death is contrasted with keeping the law; it’s an either/or proposition, not a both/and. It’s hard to see how Christ keeping the law in our place (as a specific condition to our being declared perfect law-keepers before God) can be squared with this verse.

Going back to Philippians 3:9, Paul immediately explains to us what this “righteousness from God” that he desires consists of: “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” What Paul is describing here is not about being found before God as having been perfectly obedient, but rather about being reconciled back to God, the restoring of a broken communion caused by sin in this world. Paul wants to know the “power of his resurrection” and “share in his sufferings,” such that being conformed to His death, Paul might also be conformed to His resurrection. There is nothing here or in the context regarding Christ keeping the law in Paul’s place, but there is a strong emphasis on a transformed life by the inner working power of God (a feat beyond man’s natural human abilities, not by works, but grace).

Now onto 2 Corinthians 5:21.

The standard Reformed interpretation of 2 Corinthians 5:21 is that of a “double imputation”: Our sins are imputed to Christ, while Christ’s perfect obedience (i.e. Christ’s righteousness) is imputed to us; He “became sin” so that we might “become righteous”. Though this interpretation is understandable, it is ultimately untenable. Here are some reasons why: First, Paul was well aware of the term “impute,” using it many times in his writings, but Paul didn’t use the term here. That’s noteworthy, because if Paul was speaking of imputation, you’d think he would use the term at this important verse. Second, the Greek terms “made [sin]” and “become [the righteousness of God]” are not the same Greek words, so there’s no reason to assume a parallelism here (i.e. two imputations). Rather, Paul is simply stating a cause-and-effect scenario: Jesus did X “so that” Y would take place. [1] Third, the context is plainly speaking of reconciliation being God’s goal here, with the forgiveness of sins as the main characteristic. Verses 5:18-20 sets this up by Paul explaining he is an ambassador of Christ, calling us to be “reconciled to God.” The concept of reconciliation is that of restoring a broken friendship (cf 1 Cor 7:10-11).  The implication is that we are restored to communion with God as Adam was originally in communion, otherwise there’s no reference point of a relationship break requiring reconciliation. Recognizing this ‘big picture’ goes directly against the idea of an “imputation of Christ’s Righteousness” theme, because reconciling is about restoring what was lost, not supplying something new that was never possessed.

Lastly, verse 5:19 gives another important detail, for it tells us that this reconciliation was done by “not imputing their sins,” which refers to forgiving sin, since Romans 4:7-8 use ‘not impute sin’ in that very manner. Thus, using context as a guide, it’s reasonable to conclude that “becoming the righteousness of God” must refer to being reconciled to God and having sins forgiven through the Sacrifice of Christ. Otherwise, “becoming the righteousness of God” refers to something not spoken of within the context, which makes it automatically an unlikely interpretation.

In conclusion, after having examined key portions of Paul’s writings in this series, it can definitely be said that the doctrine of the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness doesn’t really fit into the Gospel message. But the bigger lesson to take away from this series is that this “Justification Debate” is much more than just quoting texts of Scripture, much more than ‘faith versus works’, and much more than ‘James versus Paul’, but rather all about understanding each side is reading the same texts with different interpretive glasses on. Knowing where each side is coming from will help evaluate whether a given theological claim has merit or not while also avoiding misrepresentation. Obviously since this is a Catholic apologetics series, the conclusions favor the Catholic position, but hopefully the reader will see this case against Imputation is based on substantive arguments and honest exegesis, not mere assertions or emotional appeals.

***

[1] A brief note on Christ’s being “made sin”. While it could be argued that Christ being “made sin” refers specifically to Christ being “made a sin offering” (cf Hebrews 10:6 uses the Greek term “sin” to mean “sin offering”), the Church Fathers make a more compelling case that this refers to the Incarnation, with their favorite Scripture-interprets-Scripture text being Romans 8:3, which speaks of God making the Son to be sin by “sending Him in the likeness of sinful flesh”. And this fits with the overall theme that Christ came to restore and heal us, not to live a life of perfect obedience in our place. So there’s no need to read “made sin” as referring to ‘sin imputed to Christ’, especially since the Bible never speaks of imputing sin to another, and especially not to a pure sacrifice.

457 Comments

  1. ERIC August 28, 2014 at 6:33 am
    NO, De Maria, he DID NOT.
    You were very kind to read those concepts in, however, I’m sure he was most grateful.

    They certainly aren’t Protestant concepts based upon justification by faith alone. Let me show you:

    >>ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ON MERIT
    Knowing these things then, let us fortify ourselves with virtue on all sides, and thus we shall avert the wrath of God, and let us make the members of the body instruments of righteousness; . . .
    (Homily IV on the Statues, to the People of Antioch, 12; NPNF1-9)<<

    Notice the words:

    fortify ourselves
    with virtue
    and avert the wrath of God
    Let us make (ourselves) instruments of righteousness.

    This all applies t the doctrine of doing good works before God for salvation and to cooperation with our salvation. All of which is based upon the merit of our works.

    For as he who is living in iniquity, even before hell, hath punishment, being stung by his conscience; so the man who is rich in good works, even before the kingdom, will have the benefit of exceeding joy, in that he is nourished with blessed hopes.
    (Homily XVI on the Statues, to the People of Antioch, 13; NPNF1-9)

    Again,

    living in iniquity or sin, they shall have punishment in hell

    but the man who does good will be rewarded with joy and blessed hope even before he enters the kingdom of heaven.

    For this reason, the greater the good works we do, the less let us say of ourselves; this being the way to reap the greatest glory both with men and with God. Or rather, not only glory from God, but a reward, yea, a great recompense. Demand not therefore a reward that thou mayest receive a reward. Confess thyself to be saved by grace, that He may profess Himself a debtor to thee; and not for thy good works only, but also for such rightness of mind.
    (Homily III on Matthew 1:1 [Introduction], 8; NPNF1-10)

    And then he teaches humility…

    For this reason, the greater the good works we do, the less let us say of ourselves;

    Unlike Protestants who claim to have a great faith to salvation. But he says, remain humble and your reward will be greater.

    Or rather, not only glory from God, but a reward, yea, a great recompense. Demand not therefore a reward that thou mayest receive a reward.

    And then, he says, let God be your Judge:

    Confess thyself to be saved by grace, that He may profess Himself a debtor to thee; and not for thy good works only, but also for such rightness of mind.

    Do not claim any merit for yourself and God will give you the merit of your works.

    Its all there. And there is nothing Protestant about any of it. Protestant doctrine had not yet been conceived.

  2. +JMJ+

    Jason Loh wrote:

    Robert wrote:

    Chrysostom wrote:
    .
    For scripture says that faith saves us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all. Faith‘s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What is then Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that He has forbidden us to be justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent.

    Sounds Protestant to me. Where’s the notion of congruent merit here or the increase in justification?

    In all honesty, Chrysostom sounds Protestant to me too!

    If Chrysostom is presupposing Baptismal Regeneration (and ex opere operato Sacramentalism in general), then this comment’s contextual signficance is wholly different than if he is not.

  3. Author: Wosbald
    Comment:
    +JMJ+

    Jason Loh wrote:

    Robert wrote:

    Chrysostom wrote:
    .
    For scripture says that faith saves us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all. Faith‘s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What is then Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that He has forbidden us to be justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent.

    Sounds Protestant to me. Where’s the notion of congruent merit here or the increase in justification?

    In all honesty, Chrysostom sounds Protestant to me too!

    If Chrysostom is presupposing Baptismal Regeneration (and ex opere operato Sacramentalism in general), then this comment’s contextual signficance is wholly different than if he is not.

    Precisely! Doers of the Law are justified, by the grace of God, through faith, in the Sacraments!

    Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    Jesus Christ established the Sacraments so that we might be saved by Him through them. Therefore, any Christian who ignores the Sacraments makes Jesus sacrifice void. Why? Because we are justified in the Sacraments. We are justified in Baptism by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. We are further justified everytime we partake of the Eucharist. And we justified again when we are freed from our sins in Confession. All of these are outpourings of the Holy Spirit by which we are brought to righteousness before God. Therefore any Christian who wants to be justified by keeping the Commandments but ignores or denies the power of God in the Sacraments, that Christian is frustrating the grace of God:

    Galatians 2:21
    King James Version (KJV)
    21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    Mark 16:16
    King James Version (KJV)
    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

  4. “Only monergism and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness preserve grace. Without them, your system boils down to you entering heaven because you took advantage of God’s help. Salvation is by grace, but not by grace alone in Rome’s system.”

    So we equate the gospel with monergism which the early church never did (even during controversies that would easily give focus to it, such as Pelagianism and monoenergism/monothelitism) and Arminian theology is just as gospel-denying as Rome and East.
    So Chrysostom now was a monergist extra nos imputationist, or a confused heretic who didn’t understand true grace.

    http://www.academia.edu/5610613/The_Superiority_of_Faith_John_Chrysostoms_Eastern_Theology_of_Justification

    http://books.google.com/books?id=y_OelcqTZJUC&pg=PA47

    Confused heretic I guess.

  5. Eric,

    “We do not ceaselessly sin grievously, consciously, intentionally. We do ceaselessly sin. So do you. We do not CONTINUE to sin. We do not keep on keeping on, in deliberate sin.”

    Words have meaning. To ceaselessly sin is to continue to sin. And you just again made the distinction between deliberate and non-deliberate sin in distinguishing genuine believers from false believers, which you emphatically said above wasn’t a distinction.

    “Your way of explaining those verses explains away your very real continuance in sin. No, no, we don’t sin…it’s just concupiscence and imperfections. Yeah, right, keep telling yourself that. Just don’t tell other people that. They won’t believe another word you have to say.”

    But they will believe when you say “You ceaselessly sin, but you don’t continue to sin”. If venial sin wasn’t a species of sin, why would we need forgiveness from it? And I think people can understand and see as reasonable the difference between a temptation/inclination to sin and the actual act/commission potentially resulting from that, rather than a system that conflates everything.

    “If we find ourselves not particularly sorry for our deliberate sins, but enjoying them and going with the flow, we have cause for evaluating the authenticity of our faith.”

    Again we see the deliberate/non-deliberate distinction you said above wasn’t a distinction.

    “For the elect, no sin–no matter how severe, how repetitive, or how consciously intentional–threatens to separate us from Christ. But if we find ourselves in constant, serious, deliberate sin, we must check to see that we truly are in Christ and have not tricked ourselves into thinking so.”

    More humpty dumptiness. No sin – no matter how severe, repetitive, or intentional – can separate us. But if that sin is serious, constant, deliberate – we actually might not be in Christ in the first place. Very comforting.

    “This is a whole different way of thinking than making the venial-mortal distinction. You Catholics can lose and then regain grace. We cannot. If we find we are without it, we never truly had it.”

    Now I see the confusion. The whole point of my questioning is not to say Calvinists believe that some sin can remove you from grace. I was very clear in how I was wording my statements above and never implied such. The point of my questioning is, again, the following:
    A professing believer can commit sin (even habitual) that does not indicate he is not saved, and is also not worthy of church discipline.
    A professing believer can commit sin (even habitual) that can indicate he was never saved in the first place and/or is worthy of church discipline.

    So you are already distinguishing between kinds/degrees of sin that are compatible with a genuine believer vs those that are not compatible with genuine belief and indicate the offender never truly had grace. RCism makes a similar type of distinction (for the latter, we just say the offender did have grace but separated from it). The issue of severing from grace is separate – the issue I’m concerned with is the distinction between sin. So, again, you need to explain how your distinctions do not fall prey to the same criticisms you level against the mortal/venial sin distinction (again, this does not mean I think Calvinists consider certain types/patterns of sin to separate you from grace; it DOES mean that I think Calvinists consider certain types/patterns of sin to show you never were in grace in the first place, which you agree with).

  6. Wosbald–

    I fail to see, even if what you say is true, how it would make any difference in the interpretation of Chrysostom here. For even if Chrysostom is saying that we are saved by faith in conjunction with the sacraments, he is still denying that works play any part in justification.

  7. James–

    There you go, again, willfully trying NOT to comprehend what I have told you.

    Yes, words have meaning. And continuing to venially sin is also a continuation of sin. So you can quit Catholicism and adopt some form of perfectionism, or you can agree that my interpretation is just as valid as yours in relation to the straightforward meaning of the text.

    No, no, and no. There is NO distinction of sin of any kind that can definitively show one to be regenerate or unregenerate. The distinction is the authenticity of one’s repentance, known to God and God alone.

  8. Donald–

    Who ya tryin’ to kid, kid?

    Cue the music to “Fiddler on the Roof’s” rousing tune…TRADITION!! TRADITION!!

    You went to where the words of Jesus mattered? To where they were honored?

    TRADITION!! TRADITION!!

    Horse Hockey! Talk about laugh-out-loud, ludicrous assertions. My, my, my goodness! Have you no shame?

    TRADITION!! TRADITION!! TRADITION!! TRADITION!!

    If Scripture ever dares to conflict with Sacred Tradition, we know full well which one gets the boot. I, on the other hand, constantly amend my paradigm to bring it in line with Scripture. I don’t impose any system or tradition upon it. Conversely, Scripture informs and reforms my paradigm.

  9. James,

    So Chrysostom now was a monergist extra nos imputationist, or a confused heretic who didn’t understand true grace.

    Cut the you know what. Chrysostom was not a monergist, nor was most of the early church save Augustine who was certainly a monergist with respect to the elect (Grant what thou commands and command what thy will). Nobody is arguing that he is. My point is that apart from monergism and well-definied extra now imputation, the confession of salvation by grace alone is inconsistent at best and impossible at worst. Hence, Arminians are inconsistent because they deny works a place in justification but remain synergists, and Rome is heretical because it denies that salvation is by grace alone explicitly.

    Synergism ultimately undermines salvation by grace alone, and those who take it to its logical end end up doing so. Trent took synergism to its logical end, or at least to the point right before it. Most Arminians are happily inconsistent. I’d say the same with someone like Chrysostom.

    There is not one great theologian who hasn’t been confused about something.

  10. Kenneth,

    Protestant historical apologetic 101 AKA “muddying the waters”. Ohhhhh the early church was really just such a mess, who could ever understand what those guys believed? They werent really protestant or catholic or anything they were just a kind of murky shadowy blob. PUH-LEASE! You make church history out to be some confusing mess and then, once convenient, everything snaps back into perfect clarity. Oh how can i know for sure that the canon is reliable? Well early church tradition of course! Is the canon murky, shadowy, confusing, and ambiguous like everything else the early church believed? Oh noooooo on this every thing is chrystal clear. Same with the Trnity, the hypostatic union, etc etc. It sounds so ridiculous when everytime you are in dialog with a Catholic history is an ambiguous mess but then, when convenient and there are no catholics in the room, I read article after article after article appealing to the super staunch defenders of orthodoxy that made up the ECFs and read all these books on how reliable they are on the New testament. You cant have it both ways

    Give me a break. Your “muddying the waters” is no less “muddying” when you call it “development of doctrine.” Or have you not noticed how the papacy, the assumption of Mary, transubstantiation, and a whole host of other RC dogmas that no one in their right mind would say are found in the earliest tradition, much less confusion about them.

    You don’t see any more consistency among those who have gone before us than we do. Nobody said the ECFs are hopelessly confused. What was said is that on some issues it is hard to know because they aren’t addressing the same questions we are.

    “Development of Doctrine” in RCism equals “We can’t find this belief anywhere in the fathers, so lets try as much as we can to find the streams that MIGHT anticipate it and ignore all the rest that we don’t like.” Hey, that sounds exactly what you all accuse US of doing.

    What I find particularly said is that you guys will muddy the waters all you can for the Bible, which you (sorta) affirm is inspired but then make Chrysostom, Athanasius, and Leo Tridentine RCs who were selling indulgences, wearing scapulars, and so on. Give me a break.

  11. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Wosbald–
    .
    I fail to see, even if what you say is true, how it would make any difference in the interpretation of Chrysostom here.

    Because then, Chrysostom’s reference to “works” would contextually signify only the material, impersonal and unrational works of Scrupulous (Perfect) Law-Keeping. That is … the kind of works by which, according to classically Reformed claims, Christ saved us, because He did them with perfectly unbroken scrupulosity.

  12. Just got back from Confession on this magnificent celebration of St. Augustine!

    And the Priest said,

    “God the Father of mercies,
    through the death and resurrection of His Beloved Son,
    has reconciled the world to Himself
    and sent the Holy Spirit among us for
    the forgiveness of sins.
    Through the ministry of the church, may God grant you pardon and peace. And I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

  13. Eric,
    No, I meant the words explicitly, exactly, perfectly as I quoted them from Holy Scripture. It is the Word of God.

    Why is is that whenever I say something is purely Catholic that you happen to like or agree with you say that I’m not being very Catholic or that I am confused.

    I am assuming you are good on the ‘deeds’ part of the following (in other words deeds are so important for our time on earth, souls have bodies and we’ve got to do something with these bodies, hence deeds):

    “But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought IN (and not, IN COOPERATION WITH) God.”

    So tell me, how are deeds wrought IN God? What is your take on it? (I bet we’re not far off from one another even though you will probably want to make it so)

  14. One day, in the summer of 386, St. Augustine heard a childlike voice chanting “Tolle, lege” (“Take, read”).
    He took this as a divine command and opened the Bible randomly to Romans 13:13-14:
    “Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

    Augustine was cut to the heart, and his conversion began in earnest. He was converted by his aversion to his sins.

    “Behold my heart, O Lord, behold my heart upon which you had mercy in the depths of the pit.
    Behold, now let my heart tell you what it looked for there, that I should be evil without purpose and that there should be no cause for my evil but evil itself.
    Foul was the evil, and I loved it.” [Confessions 2:4:9]

  15. Eric,

    “willfully trying NOT to comprehend what I have told you.”

    Enough with the “you are intentionally trying to misunderstand me” schtick. I am trying to make sense of your words – it’s not easy when they keep changing every few replies.

    “And continuing to venially sin is also a continuation of sin. So you can quit Catholicism and adopt some form of perfectionism, or you can agree that my interpretation is just as valid as yours in relation to the straightforward meaning of the text.”

    Progress. Yes, true believers sin – not news to either side. We both have interpretations that reconcile 1 Jn 2:4, 3:6-10, 4:8, 5:4, 5:18, etc on one side along with 1 Jn 1:8-10, Rom 7, Jas 5:20, 1 Pt 4:8, Matt 18:20, Matt 6:12, Prov 24:16, etc on the other. RCism does it via the venial/mortal sin distinction. You do it via the sins-that-demonstrate-one-is-not-elect (habitual-and-deliberate) vs sins-that-do-not-demonstrate-one-is-not-elect (habitual-and-non-deliberate or deliberate-but-not-habitual). That you even have this distinction is the point (again). I don’t care about the validity of either interpretation – I care about the type of distinction in sin (or behavior between true and false believers) that your interpretation makes in light of your criticisms.

    “No, no, and no. There is NO distinction of sin of any kind that can definitively show one to be regenerate or unregenerate. The distinction is the authenticity of one’s repentance, known to God and God alone.”

    So I guess the vaunted assurance of Calvinism goes out the window. Only God knows. Comforting.
    Anyways, yes, I am aware of this – I don’t care about “definitively” showing or demonstrating one is regenerate or not – never been the point. Is the authenticity of one’s repentance informed by the distinctions you repeatedly bring out of intentionality/awareness and frequency in sin? It seems to be – as you said:

    “We do not ceaselessly sin grievously, consciously, intentionally. We do ceaselessly sin. So do you. We do not CONTINUE to sin. We do not keep on keeping on, in deliberate sin.”

    “For the elect, no sin–no matter how severe, how repetitive, or how consciously intentional–threatens to separate us from Christ. But if we find ourselves in constant, serious, deliberate sin, we must check to see that we truly are in Christ and have not tricked ourselves into thinking so.”

    “We interpret 1 John 5 as referring to unrelenting, deliberate rebellion, incommensurate with Christian faith: in other words, apostasy. ”

    “Intermittent deliberate sins are handled as they come. If deliberate sins become habitual, then and only then can we discuss the possiblility of insincere faith based on the evidence of unrepentent sin.”

    So, again:
    A professing believer can commit sin (even habitual) that does not indicate he is not saved.
    A professing believer can commit sin (even habitual) that can indicate he was never saved in the first place.

    If this is true of your position, and I see no reason why it isn’t given what I cited from you, then you’ll again have to explain why your position is not liable to the same criticisms you make towards RCism about the venial/mortal distinction (again I note the issue you have with mortal sin severing us from grace is irrelevant – the issue is distinction of types/patterns of sin in true vs false believers).

  16. Eric,

    Which justification? Initial? Progressive? Or final? If he denied works are not part of progressive or final justification, he went against scripture.

  17. Eric,

    So you did peruse Tim’s blog. You say you saw the postings from a snarky fellow who by some strange coincidence shares my name.

    Did you also see postings of a shameless and embarrassing sycophant? Should Tim, like Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:12, refuse such worship?

    By the way Eric, Tim’s stuff is not directed at Protestants. It is directed at Catholics who share his mother’s devotional life. Most Protestants don’t even understand the significance of some of his postings.

  18. Wosbald–

    Nice assertion. How so?

  19. Debbie–

    We are not far apart at all…and it is not me who is being stubborn in taking up the slack. Over and over again, I have challenged Catholics to admit that even our efforts in cooperation with grace are themselves of grace.

    Yes, they will say. Oh, yes.

    So, then, I will continue…salvation is all of grace…100%. Right?

    Yeah, you betcha, comes the reply.

    So none of it is of works?

    Well, no, we didn’t exactly say THAT. Our works must be involved, as well.

    So, which is it?

    It’s both. Like Christ is both 100% man and 100% God. You know. Paradox.

    Kind of like Christ 100% rose from the dead and 100% stayed in the grave??? You can’t just proclaim a paradox every time you feel like it.

    So, anyway, Debbie. We’re not that far apart. But nobody wants to move….

    (Works IN Christ are just like what Catholics speak of…Spirit-wrought works of love.)

  20. ERIC August 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm
    Debbie–
    We are not far apart at all…and it is not me who is being stubborn in taking up the slack. Over and over again, I have challenged Catholics to admit that even our efforts in cooperation with grace are themselves of grace.
    Yes, they will say. Oh, yes.
    So, then, I will continue…salvation is all of grace…100%. Right?
    Yeah, you betcha, comes the reply.
    So none of it is of works?
    Well, no, we didn’t exactly say THAT. Our works must be involved, as well.
    So, which is it?
    It’s both. Like Christ is both 100% man and 100% God. You know. Paradox.
    Kind of like Christ 100% rose from the dead and 100% stayed in the grave??? You can’t just proclaim a paradox every time you feel like it.
    So, anyway, Debbie. We’re not that far apart. But nobody wants to move….
    (Works IN Christ are just like what Catholics speak of…Spirit-wrought works of love.)

    We didn’t proclaim the paradox, God did. And its in Scripture:

    Philippians 2:12-13King James Version (KJV)

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

    13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    Not that it makes any difference to you.

  21. Eric,

    When I asked you, “So tell me, how are deeds wrought IN God?”

    Instead of answering openly and in great dialog you put in parenthesis one sentence at the end of your critique of what you thought the Catholic answer would be.

    (Works IN Christ are just like what Catholics speak of…Spirit-wrought works of love.)

    That doesn’t get me very excited to respond to you with all the passion and enthusiasm I feel so deeply in my heart for those who do what is true and come to the light so that it may be CLEARLY seen that their deeds have been wrought in God.

    So I’ll get back to you tomorrow, but I think it is crucial when reading Holy Scripture to take notice of how our Lord is addressed… i.e. is it Eternal Father, the name of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ (Christ not being His last name – wink), God, The power of the Most High etc…

    You know I am a firm believer that ‘grace’ is the life of the Holy Trinity (the relationship of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) and how we are touched by it. Every word written about ‘God’ is particularly describing some aspect of this Divine Reality and how we are affected by it.

    WROUGHT –
    1. Put together; created: a carefully wrought plan.
    2. Shaped by hammering with tools.
    3. Made delicately or elaborately.

    “I have challenged Catholics to admit that even our efforts in cooperation with grace are themselves of grace.” – and I have said this also many times, basically Eric, you’re breathing because God is saying, “breathe”.

  22. Eric,

    Apply your post to Debbie to your doctrine of progressive sanctification. I guess the mockery of paradox and tension will be conveniently hand waved away in that case. And yeah we cant appeal to paradox to justify any willy nilly doctrine which is exactly what I said in the other thread. DM just supplied one example of scriptural witness – many more can be adduced.

  23. “Mockery of paradox” (basically, mockery of the parables) reminds me of why
    Protestants (I will specifically point to Calvinists) don’t deal much with the 4 Gospels. They tend to study St. Paul almost exclusively.

    It is so clear that St. Paul’s Epistles are for teaching believers how to LIVE the life of faith. We are to believe in Jesus Christ – not believe IN St. Paul, who is a witness and servant of our Lord. He is one of the many great witnesses to a life of faith, the transforming salvation of God.

    Real faith comes in believing in the foolishness of the Cross and following our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

    Doesn’t sound like learning to live a good life (the rich young man already did that). It sounds like a journey home to me.

    The rich young man might have believed it, but he didn’t want to live it. He went away sad.

  24. “The rich young ruler mighf have believed but he didnt want to live it” its was the exact opposite, he had kept the law his whole lfe and thought he had lacked one work, and Jesus said repent and believe. He wenr away. And the Jesus said with man ( Roman cooperation gospel) it is impossible but with God all things are possible. You show the mind of a pharisee. Calvin said the Romanist would crucify Paul if he were here, the very words we adopt. Where do you think he got his gospel. You hate Paul but he teaches the same gospel Jesus taught in the .gospels.

  25. Eric asked you a question yesterday. And you said I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Always hiding. Why are you ashamed to say you agree with the Trent gospel which says as God gives you air you must cooperate and breathe. Unless you fall to your knees and repent of the Trent gospel and believe Paul’s you will find the same outcome as the rich ruler. It must be all him Paul said. Rom. 4:16, if a Catholic wants to be saved by grace alone it will have to be by faith alone. God bless maam

  26. I’ve contacted Jason about Freegift aka Kevin.

  27. Blessed St. Paul, who labored so zealously for the conversion of the Gentiles in many lands, obtain for me a perpetual zeal for the salvation of souls and especially in the conversion of our separated brethren. Ever mindful of the interest that our Divine Lord, the Good Shepherd, has for the other sheep not of His fold, I now beg your intercession and obtain for me the gift of the true faith for those who I love, yet hate your Catholic Church.

    May God grant this request so close to my heart and thus enable me to extend to another what I so richly enjoy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Amen

  28. Since nothing I write is deduced properly by some, I might as well quote Shakespeare:

    “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
    Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.”

  29. Jim/Debbie–

    I didn’t mock anything. I disagreed with an inappropriate use of “paradox” as an explanation. Very inappropriate. You simply cannot employ it in this case.

  30. Jim/Debbie–

    Besides that, using paradox here merely puts you in league with double justification and opposed to Trent.

  31. Debbie–

    We rebuke you all for willfully ignoring Paul when it suits your fancy, and suddenly all we read is Paul.

    We do no such thing. We do not ignore the Gospels in favor of Paul. We simply take the time to read them BOTH…and honor the whole of Scripture by fitting them together.

  32. James,

    Apply your post to Debbie to your doctrine of progressive sanctification. I guess the mockery of paradox and tension will be conveniently hand waved away in that case. And yeah we cant appeal to paradox to justify any willy nilly doctrine which is exactly what I said in the other thread. DM just supplied one example of scriptural witness – many more can be adduced.

    But there is no paradox in what Paul wrote that De Maria cited. He doesn’t say, “work out your own initial salvation so that you may achieve your final salvation” (Roman Catholicism). And elsewhere he explicitly says we are saved in order to do good works, not so that by our good works we can merit final salvation.

    Salvation is only paradoxically the work of God and the work of man if you ignore what Paul says elsewhere about imputation, works as the evidence of justification, and so on.

    In other words, to read Paul as a paradox, you have to introduce a distinction between initial and final justification that is foreign to Paul. There is simply no way that those who are initially justified will fail to be finally justified. Romans 8:28–30 says as much.

    Again, only monergism preserves this. If some who are justified will not be glorified, then justification depends finally not on the grace of God but on how well we cooperate with it because you guys certainly don’t seem to want to admit monergism even for the elect.

  33. Debbie,

    Blessed St. Paul, who labored so zealously for the conversion of the Gentiles in many lands, obtain for me a perpetual zeal for the salvation of souls and especially in the conversion of our separated brethren. Ever mindful of the interest that our Divine Lord, the Good Shepherd, has for the other sheep not of His fold, I now beg your intercession and obtain for me the gift of the true faith for those who I love, yet hate your Catholic Church.
    May God grant this request so close to my heart and thus enable me to extend to another what I so richly enjoy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Amen

    Paul is too busy enjoying the beatific vision to hear you. And he’s not omniscient. He’s still a creature. Being in heaven doesn’t give him the ability to simultaneously deal with a billion RCs.

  34. Eric,
    I’ve had an unfortunate interruption this morning, something about hiding …..

    This is our judgement:

    “that it may be clearly seen that his (our deeds/yours and mine) deeds have been wrought in God.”

    In the end, if you can’t see it, it won’t be clear. If it’s bad fruit, it will spoil. God knocks, we let Him in to work in us and through us for others. If our works aren’t wrought in God (not by God or in cooperation with God), but IN Him, it will be clear. No one has seen the Father except the Son; who by His passion, death and resurrection have given us access to the Father through the Holy Spirit. We have to be all IN.

    If people say they are ‘in Christ,’ without being ‘new creatures, and ‘new creatures’ without casting ‘old things’ away – it will be very clear. All things will come to the Light. It must be seen, shown clearly, non-reputable because of proof etc….

    And God wants it this way, has willed it this way – it will be our judgement. To be found in Him and Him in us. He has set us free by being in Him. This is life giving, it is our hope, it takes faith, and must be clear that it has happened. God will not abandon his people. This is how we are loved – to be found in Him.

    God’s children love the light to give Him the praise and the glory forever. All pray all men return.

  35. Robert,

    “Paul is too busy enjoying the beatific vision to hear you”.

    I think because he is enjoying the beatific vision he would especially hear me. What do you think people do in heaven, sit around and watch the beatific vision like a Sunday football game?

    Peace

  36. ” Since nothing I say is properly deduced by by some” Same old thing Im misunderstood. We understand you just fine. You got the story of the rich young ruler opposite. Its the same reason you are unwilling to see Trents gospel for what it is, a complete opposite teaching of the gospel Rom. 11:6. You say Calvinist dont teach Jesus of the gospels, but your Roman glasses wont allow you to see tha Evertime Jesus heals someone or coomends them on their deeds He says yourFAITH has saved you. In the parrable of the workers the man who comes later gets the same wage as the ones first, Just remember Debbie if you live by Rome’s gospel, which is not the gospel of the early catholic church which we belong, your righteouness will have to exceed that of the Pharisees. The Roman sacraments are a statement of no faith because they cant save unless you are willing to let Him off the cross to be Lord and savior. Dont pray to Paul he cant save you, only Christ, all Him or nothing. God bless

  37. James–

    In (Protestant) justification, we are dead in our sins and are brought to life purely by the hand of God. We cannot even metaphorically take responsibility for birthing ourselves. In (Protestant) sanctification, Scripture directly states the paradox: that we continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling…for it is God at work within us both to will and to act to fulfill his purposes.

    Once again, the key difference between us is the permanence or impermanence of initial justification. If it is permanent, it doesn’t matter whether sanctification is monergistic or synergistic or some mystical/paradoxical combination of the two. It’s totally irrelevant. Salvation is already a done deal.

  38. Debbie, quit praying to Paul. He said there is ONe mediator between man and God Jesus. Mary canr save you, Paul cant save, and what you will find out some day is the medieval Roman church you worship as Christ cant save you, only faith alone in Christ alone. All those friends of yours, you know the Catholic intelects with all the Titles behind their name who laugh at me, they will bow their knee someday and confess Him as Lorf. God’s enemy are those who think they are righteous. He came for sinners, not the righteous. We Calvinist obey Him out of a complete understanding the He saved us, all Him, its a gift, and you dont have to cooperate for it.

  39. Debbie–

    If it’s like an NFL football game, I bet the Saints win….

    Who dat!

  40. Jason, I prayed for you today. That God would save you from that church you worship and return you to the simplicity of and purity of devotion to Him. 2 Cor. 11:3. As Paul was stricken down on the Damascus road I pray you will have the veil removed from your eyes. I love you Jason, even though you want to silence me preacing the gospel of free grace.

  41. Debbie–

    But if that IS your judgment (without all sorts of qualifiers), then you are very, very Protestant…and you have repudiated Trent.

  42. Kevin–

    Quit already!

    Email me and explain what’s going on with you.

    I care. I’ll listen.

  43. Eric,

    Ha, I do love though Saints!

    And I do love St. Paul because he witnessed his salvation to me! I have the freedom of asking anyone in Christ to pray for me and with me, to give glory to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. There are a lot of other people in Christ besides me, what are we suppose to do just stand around and look at their name tags?

    Nah, we love each other, we are in love, literally IN LOVE.

  44. James, I want to tell you I love you. You have a c sincere heart. But James you are caught up in the inner mechanics and minutia. Read John 5:24, 1:12, and 2 Cor 11:3. We have been given all the fulness of grace upon grace. Its a free gift. All we can do is receive it. Sanctification is a work of God. We just live the miracle. So there that frees you up to hop on the mercy train, its going to Zion. God bless

  45. Eric, im fine, I sent you my phone number. Call me.

  46. Jason, I will go. Thanks for the charity from all here. God Bless.

  47. Another favorite of mine is St. Stephen, he love St. Paul too.

    When we are in God, we are in love, living in love. God is love. He proved it to us by the incarnation of His only begotten Son.

    Catholics do all things, all things, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And we can do this because of the cross of Christ and the salvation granted to us. We always make an outward sign and honor the love of our savior on the cross. The cross is our life and our mercy train. Amen.

  48. Eric August 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    “Donald–

    Who ya tryin’ to kid, kid? (kid? hubris!)

    Cue the music to “Fiddler on the Roof’s” rousing tune…TRADITION!! TRADITION!!

    You went to where the words of Jesus mattered? To where they were honored?

    TRADITION!! TRADITION!!

    Horse Hockey! Talk about laugh-out-loud, ludicrous assertions. My, my, my goodness! Have you no shame? (more hubris!)

    TRADITION!! TRADITION!! TRADITION!! TRADITION!!

    If Scripture ever dares to conflict with Sacred Tradition, we know full well which one gets the boot. I, on the other hand, constantly amend my paradigm to bring it in line with Scripture. I don’t impose any system or tradition upon it. Conversely, Scripture informs and reforms my paradigm.”

    I have to admit you got me. I am a member of the Church that Jesus founded back in Palestine on the apostles. You are a member of a church founded by John Calvin, born July 10, 1509 in France, died May 27, 1564 in Switzerland. How could I ever hope to pull the wool over your eyes? You are much too intelligent for me to do that.

    And I am regularly reminded that Augustine would be a Calvinist if he reappeared today. Never mind that he wrote “where Peter is, there is the Church,” or that he noted that “I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.” But then those people who claim Augustine seem to neglect that fact that he dealt with heresies, such as the Donatists and Pelagianism. Smart is as smart does. The smart people claim that Augustine would be theirs without regard for Augustine himself. (In this he is rather like our Lord, Who is also claimed by people who ignore what He said. Can one ignore the person involved and still claim him? One has to be smart to do that and get away with it. I have to give credit where it is due. I could not do that. I am not that smart.)

    But there are real smart people, able to invent new religions whole cloth, and they don’t need my permission to do so. So Luther jumps ship and people who don’t follow him still claim him, even when his followers don’t claim them. Then Zwingli does his thing, which doesn’t quite conform with Luther per the Colloquy of Marburg. Then Calvin, a lawyer, comes along inventing his own thing which is not Luther’s thing; and claiming some but not all of the councils since it suits him to do so, and it allows him to claim people such as Augustine. It is always nice to have an ancient authority such as Augustine along for the ride, especially one who cannot defend himself because he is not alive to speak to the matter at hand. It is such a catch-all for smart people who need incentives to buy in; all claiming sola scriptura to justify not only the split from Catholicism but from one another. You have to be much smarter than me to be able to juggle those balls without dropping any.

    Can one disregard the fact that Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church? Yes. There are lots of smart people who have exactly that, so disregarding Jesus’ own words in scripture is pretty common. It is largely handled by those who don’t like what He said. Actually it reads like John 6 where people grumbled about what He said, then they left Him. They knew exactly what He said, they did not like it and they departed. I guess I am not that smart.

    And I only managed to arrive at the Catholic Church because of scripture. Amazing. Not overly clever, certainly not smart, but the good news is that He brought me to Himself in the Church He established. He is responsible for the scripture that got me here. How astute of Him to use scripture in that way so even one as relatively ungifted as me could find Him.

    For the record, I am nearer the end of my life than the beginning as my assertion on Wade-Roe which occurred in 1973, and the specified fact that Protestants were not aboard against abortion from the beginning should cause one to realize. I actually thought you smarter than that. This is a mere calendar event, no hard thinking there. Now it could be that you are angry at being called on your response about the Protestants being involved from the beginning. They were, but largely on the wrong side of the issue. They did not want to be seen supporting Catholics or Catholic positions, even if the Catholics or the Catholic position was right. I was ashamed to be a Protestant over that.

    I don’t have to be ashamed to be a Catholic and since I haven’t lied to you, I have no reason to be ashamed about lying to you. So nothing to be ashamed about there.

    I was ashamed about the sexual abuse scandals but that did not destroy my faith in Jesus operating through His Church.

    I haven’t lied about Protestantism either, whether you agree or not, so no reason to be ashamed about my descriptions of Protestantism.

    Your fear of sacred tradition conflicts with Paul who wrote “hold fast to the traditions, even as I delivered them to you” is not my problem, it is yours.

    I don’t believe that you were of voting age in the early 70s nor do I believe that you had an opinion about abortion at that point in time. There was a phrase I believe I heard, “call them as I see them” that would seem to apply here.

    You are still having a problem with hubris in dealing with people with whom you disagree. Examine that conscience. You undo yourself.

    If the defense of Calvin is so important, your smartness not withstanding, you don’t appear to have had much traction at this website. Could it be that the Catholics here have a real clue about Catholicism, about Calvinism, and about Protestantism in general? Or is it that maybe you just need a good argument every day as you try to work out your salvation in fear and trembling?

    Maybe you can get Jason or Scott Hahn to come back to Calvinism? Wouldn’t that be a coup? But of course, if you are going to pursue that tack, you are open to discoveries you are currently unwilling to make that have been presented to you here. Unless you are closed off completely because you have written us off as unknowledgeable, or lacking in smarts, or some such excuse to avoid what you are seeing.

  49. ROBERT August 29, 2014 at 8:21 am
    Debbie,

    Paul is too busy enjoying the beatific vision to hear you. And he’s not omniscient. He’s still a creature. Being in heaven doesn’t give him the ability to simultaneously deal with a billion RCs.

    On the contrary, he is right beside us, witnessing everything we say and do.

    Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, ….

    He and the rest of the Saints, will welcome us, those of us who pray with them, into eternal tents:

    1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

  50. Jim–

    On his blog, Tim states the following:

    “My passion is to warn Christ’s sheep of the danger of Roman Catholicism, and to equip them to defend the faith and refute Rome’s many errors.”

    In other words, his purpose is to warn those Protestants who find Catholicism appealing to stay far, far away. Furthermore, he wishes to equip Protestants with the ability to defend the faith by refuting Rome’s arguments. Sounds like he’s addressing Protestants to me.

    Shouldn’t we take him at his word?

  51. Robert,

    “But there is no paradox in what Paul wrote that De Maria cited. He doesn’t say, “work out your own initial salvation so that you may achieve your final salvation” (Roman Catholicism). And elsewhere he explicitly says we are saved in order to do good works, not so that by our good works we can merit final salvation.”

    Yes we are saved to do good works – we can’t do supernaturally good works before initial justification as Trent explicitly states. And the paradox (perhaps better, mystery) is that we cooperate with grace, but our cooperation is itself of grace – if you ignore the paradox, you end up reducing synergism to Pelagianism – which is exactly what your side does for the most part.

    “Salvation is only paradoxically the work of God and the work of man if you ignore what Paul says elsewhere about imputation, works as the evidence of justification, and so on.”

    Is sanctification part of salvation? Is sanctification paradoxically the work of God and the work of man? Do you cooperate/resist? Doesn’t that mean you negate sola gratia?

    “In other words, to read Paul as a paradox, you have to introduce a distinction between initial and final justification that is foreign to Paul.”

    Yes, and reducing his warning passages to “well he doesn’t mean it for the elect” isn’t foreign to Paul.

    “There is simply no way that those who are initially justified will fail to be finally justified. Romans 8:28–30 says as much.”

    Amazing how that clear meaning escaped 1000+ years of christians. Amazing how Paul likens his journey to a race, not a foregone trophy ceremony.

    Eric,

    “In (Protestant) justification, we are dead in our sins and are brought to life purely by the hand of God.”

    Initial justification is unmerited in RCism.

    “In (Protestant) sanctification, Scripture directly states the paradox: that we continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling…for it is God at work within us both to will and to act to fulfill his purposes.”

    Exactly right. So you appeal to paradox concerning grace and cooperation in sanctification, but to employ similar mechanics (not identical, since again it’s unmerited, but it is still cooperative) for initial justification results in derision and likening the paradox to Christ being dead and alive.

    “Once again, the key difference between us is the permanence or impermanence of initial justification. If it is permanent, it doesn’t matter whether sanctification is monergistic or synergistic or some mystical/paradoxical combination of the two. It’s totally irrelevant. Salvation is already a done deal.”

    Salvation is a done deal for the elect. That doesn’t necessitate a lack of cooperation, or the denial one can sever ones self from grace. And the point I was making with sanctification is that cooperation doesn’t necessitate a negation of grace or sola gratia – remember your zero-sum table pounding in the other thread? Now we see it conveniently vanish (“it doesn’t matter whether sanctification is synergistic”), just as the mockery of paradox vanishes.

  52. James,

    Yes we are saved to do good works – we can’t do supernaturally good works before initial justification as Trent explicitly states. And the paradox (perhaps better, mystery) is that we cooperate with grace, but our cooperation is itself of grace – if you ignore the paradox, you end up reducing synergism to Pelagianism – which is exactly what your side does for the most part.

    Without monergism, our cooperation is not finally and fully of grace. Which means you guys should at least affirm monergism for the elect, but you don’t and won’t.

    Is sanctification part of salvation? Is sanctification paradoxically the work of God and the work of man? Do you cooperate/resist? Doesn’t that mean you negate sola gratis?

    Sanctification is undergirded by thoroughgoing monergism. Our cooperation is not finally of ourselves in any sense of the word. Synergism denies that, and thus it finally denies grace. Further, our sanctification doesn’t get us into heaven. Your final justification gets you into heaven and that final justification is dependent on how well you cooperate with grace.

    Yes, and reducing his warning passages to “well he doesn’t mean it for the elect” isn’t foreign to Paul.

    Um, even Rome says that the elect cannot finally fall away, so the “well he doesn’t mean it for the elect” fits just as well with Romanism, at least Romanism of the Thomistic variety.

    Further, that’s not what they are “reduced to.” Those passages are for the elect as well, but they for the elect they are part of God’s effectual means to keep them in faith.

    Amazing how that clear meaning escaped 1000+ years of christians. Amazing how Paul likens his journey to a race, not a foregone trophy ceremony.

    Oh please. It’s amazing how the clear meaning of the papacy escaped 1000+ years of Christians. I guess that means the papacy must be rejected. Oh wait, development of doctrine covers a multitude of sins for thee but not for me. I forgot.

    If all those whom God justifies he glorifies, its a race with a foregone conclusion.

  53. Donald–

    The line–who ya tryin’ to kid, kid?–was not a remark about your age. It is a lyric from a 1982 song by Steve Taylor, which includes the following verse:

    “You save the whales.
    You save the seals.
    You save whatever’s cute and squeals,
    But you kill “that thing” that’s in the womb:
    Would not want no baby boom.”

    I was indeed of voting age in the early 1970’s. I never, ever heard a single Evangelical pastor, mentor, or teacher espouse even a moderately pro-choice position. When I read now that there were indeed a few “Evangelical” leaders who did, I spit on them. I violently repudiate them and distance myself from their shameful hypocrisy. I and my entire family were pro-life before, during, and after Roe v. Wade. And we certainly weren’t the only ones.

    Here is an article concerning the vanguard of Evangelical activists in the fight against Roe v. Wade. These guys began their activities immediately or shortly after the decision came down:

    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/how-the-evangelical-church-awoke-to-the-abortion-issue-the-convergent-labors-of.php

  54. Freegift,
    Please go. And stay gone. We know where to find you if we need to communicate with you. We love you to smithereens too. Just go.

  55. James–

    Robert already said most of what I would have replied to you, except the following:

    Synergism translates to de facto Pelagianism because, as Scripture says, “a little leaven leavens the whole loaf.”

    If you put up a “smoking section” in a restaurant, the smoke itself doesn’t obey the sign. Everyone is forced to breathe it in. (That’s why some have likened it to putting up a “urination section” in a swimming pool!)

  56. ERIC August 29, 2014 at 11:58 am
    James–
    Robert already said most of what I would have replied to you, except the following:
    Synergism translates to de facto Pelagianism because, as Scripture says, “a little leaven leavens the whole loaf.”

    None of that makes sense.

    Synergism is precisely what the Scripture teaches. It is us, working with God:

    1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

    If you put up a “smoking section” in a restaurant, the smoke itself doesn’t obey the sign. Everyone is forced to breathe it in.

    Smoke is not a sentient being. We, the people of God, are sentient beings who make a free will choice to allow God to work through us:

    Romans 6:19…. even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

    (That’s why some have likened it to putting up a “urination section” in a swimming pool!)

    That is what Protestants have done in their swimming pool.

    But in the Catholic Church, the water is perfectly clean. Because the Catholic Church obeys the Will of God:

    1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 [Full Chapter]
    For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

  57. Robert–

    Only a very small percentage of the world’s 1.2 billion “Catholics” bother to pray to the saints. An even smaller percentage pick on Paul (a rather obscure name in Catholicdom, far more churches are named after St. Vincent de Paul). So he’s hardly inundated with mundane requests. Mary, on the other hand, could use a few administrative assistants to keep up with the demand on her time. She’s busier than Jesus.

    Catholic churches have a huge “nominal member” problem. Look at the info for just about any American town on city-data.com. By far the largest divergence between percentage of churches in a given vicinity and the percentage of adherents is for the Catholics. Here in my little village of 95+% Catholics, there are two–count ’em–two Catholic churches. On any given Sunday, only 10% of the community is at Mass.

    All that to say, Paul’s job is probably not all that difficult…at least not here in the U.S. Maybe in Nigeria the traffic is different.

    😉

  58. De Maria–

    How right you are! “Smoke,” in my previous comment, was not a sentient being; it was a metaphor for Pelagianism, which is nothing more than full-blown synergism. A little bit of synergism applied to justification leavens the whole loaf. No matter how careful you are, it will not, indeed, cannot stay within prescribed boundaries.

  59. Eric,

    Let sleeping dogs lie. Let sleeping dogs lie.

  60. James–

    You wrote:

    “Salvation is a done deal for the elect. That doesn’t necessitate a lack of cooperation, or the denial that one can sever oneself from grace.”

    What it does necessitate is that cooperation has no part in the final justification of the elect and that the elect cannot possibly sever themselves from grace. Being able to sever themselves would do irreparable harm to the words “done deal.” Kind of make them, like, untrue, ya know?

  61. Hey, Mikel, how ya been?

    I was wondering whether that might bring you out….

    I was just joking around. Evangelicalism has a huge problem with nominalism, as well. We have spoken before of the fact that many, if not most, Evangelicals have NO problem with contraception, even if it is ABORTIFACIENT!! That’s because most Evangelicals aren’t Evangelical. I’m not surprised that some “Evangelical” leaders did not instantly understand the evil which is abortion. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  62. Eric,

    “Being able to sever themselves would do irreparable harm to the words “done deal.” Kind of make them, like, untrue, ya know?”

    Conflating can do with will do. Ability does not necessitate act, obviously. Does the possibility of being self-deceived about your salvation make the words about confidence/assurance kinda like untrue?

  63. James–

    In Luke 4, it says:

    And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

    “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
        to guard you,’

    and,

    “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
        lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

    And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

    We do not conflate “can” and “will” for ourselves, but for God.

    God has promised, and he cannot act against his own will.

    We, in and of our own selves, can and do rebel against God, and often walk away from him. But he will not allow our feet to stumble to our deaths. He is the Good Shepherd.

    It is a good thing that assurance is not cocksure arrogance or presumption. Our faith is to be in the Holy One, not in our own confidence that we are part of the elect. I never look for evidence of fruit in my own life. I look for the unmistakably loyal presence of the Holy Spirit, kicking me in the shins when I mess up, lifting me up when I fall, encouraging me on those few occasions when I do well.

    If the ability for the elect to fall away is merely hypothetical for you, then there isn’t a nickel’s worth of difference between us on that score. Neither do the elect, in that case, more than hypothetically contribute to their own justification.

  64. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    But there is no paradox in what Paul wrote that De Maria cited. He doesn’t say, “work out your own initial salvation so that you may achieve your final salvation” (Roman Catholicism).

    The people to whom he’s speaking have already worked out their initial Justification. (i.e. they’re all Baptised). They had already asked for Illumination and they had already received it. Now, he’s telling them that it’s time for them to get to work.

  65. Donald–

    I’m going to be delving into the whole “Evangelicals came late to the party” business. It was NOT true in my little corner of the world. That much I can tell you. In particular, I have never heard the excuse, “We can’t get involved in that; it’s a Catholic thing” in conjunction with any ethical issue whatsoever, not even contraception.

    My father, virulently anti-Catholic, was, nonetheless, pro-life from the get go. To my knowledge, he never read Brown or Schaeffer or Koop or Falwell. They were not his influences. There are other influences at work here that nobody has paid attention to.

    I have only seen evidence implicating a few leaders…on the periphery of Evangelicalism. What did Carl F. H. Henry have to say? What about Billy Graham?

    The very next Presidential election following the ruling was Ford-Carter. I voted for Ford partly because of his pro-life stance. Jimmy Carter, a self-identified Evangelical, got less than 50% of the Evangelical vote…he was pro-choice. I actually considered voting for him, even went to a rally. His position on abortion changed my mind. The notion that a majority of Evangelicals at the time were pro-choice simply will not stand.

    Here is Gerald Ford, in a letter to the Archbishop of Cincinnati, dated September 1976:

    One of the most controversial issues of our time and one in which we share a keen interest is the question of abortion. I have grave concern over the serious moral questions raised by this issue. Each new life is a miracle of creation. To interfere with that creative process is a most serious act.

    In my view, the Government has a very special role in this regard. Specifically, the Government has a responsibility to protect life–and indeed to provide legal guarantees for the weak and unprotected.

    It is within this context that I have consistently opposed the 1973 decision of the .Supreme Court. As President, I am sworn to uphold the laws of the land and I intend to carry out this responsibility. In my personal view, however, this court decision was unwise. I said then and I repeat today–abortion on demand is wrong.

    Since 1973 I have viewed as the most practical means of rectifying the situation created by the Court’s action a Constitutional amendment that would restore to each State the authority to enact abortion statutes which fit the concerns and views of its own citizens. This approach is entirely in keeping with the system of Federalism devised by the founders of our Nation. As Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, I co-sponsored an amendment which would restore this authority to the States, and I have consistently supported that position since that time.

    My position has been based on three fundamental convictions:
    –I am against abortion on demand.

    –The people of every State should have the Constitutional right to control abortion.
    –There is a need to recognize and provide for exceptional cases.

    I should also point out that the Republican Platform which I support is fully consistent with these views.

    I recognize that this abortion question is a matter of deep personal and moral conviction. Honorable people may disagree, but all of us must be concerned about an increased irreverence for life within advanced societies.

    Americans have benefited greatly by our rich spiritual heritage. The sound, sensible lessons of goodness imparted by religious teachers and devoted parents have done more than anything else to prepare our children for life.

    It is certainly true that many, many Evangelicals were politically apathetic before Roe v. Wade…and that the decision helped galvanize them into action. It is not true that, by and large, they were pro-choice.

    I will hunt down more evidence. But, in the end, it is my belief that you will have no choice but to eat your words.

  66. ERIC August 29, 2014 at 1:12 pm
    De Maria–
    How right you are! “Smoke,” in my previous comment, was not a sentient being; it was a metaphor for Pelagianism,

    I know. And your metaphor doesn’t make sense. Because it is sentient beings who spread pelagianism. And sentient beings who judged it a heresy.

    which is nothing more than full-blown synergism.

    Pelagianism leaves no room for the grace of God. Whereas, the Catholic Church teaches it is by the grace of God that we do good works.

    A little bit of synergism applied to justification leavens the whole loaf. No matter how careful you are, it will not, indeed, cannot stay within prescribed boundaries.

    The leaven of the Pharisees is that they thought they could work their way into heaven. The leaven of the Protestants is that they believe they can talk their way into heaven. They judge themselves saved by their faith alone without any works.

    The Catholic Church teaches it is God who judges whether a Protestant, Pelagianist or a Catholic are saved. And God judges their salvation by their faith and works. Not by works alone. Not by works alone. Only those who keep the Commandments will be judged worthy of being saved:

    Revelation 22:12-15King 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.

    Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

  67. Eric,

    “If the ability for the elect to fall away is merely hypothetical for you, then there isn’t a nickel’s worth of difference between us on that score.”

    Then why u mad bro? The elect cannot fall away by definition, even though they have the ability.

    “Neither do the elect, in that case, more than hypothetically contribute to their own justification.”

    Better to say we participate and cooperate in our justification, not contribute as if we bring something external. Do the elect contribute to their own sanctification? Do they contribute their cooperation for reward and their resistance for sin?

    As Kallistos Ware wrote from an Eastern perspective:
    “When we say that what God does is incomparably more important than what we humans do, this should not be taken to mean that our salvation is partly God’s work and partly our own—for example that it is sixty per cent the work of God and forty per cent our work; or eighty or ninety percent God’s work and twenty or ten per cent our own. Any attempt to compare in this way the respective contributions of the divine and the human partners, assigning percentages to each, is utterly misguided. Instead of thinking in terms of shares, equally or unequally distributed, we should consider that the work of our salvation is totally and entirely an act of divine grace, and yet in that act of divine grace we humans remain totally and entire free. ”

    Double agency does not necessitate zero-sum games. To think it does torpedoes your own view of sanctification (since you allow synergism as a valid option for it), and simply brings down God to the creaturely level and places His causal activities in our plane of existence and in the field of interacting causalities, rather than viewing Him as the transcendent cause of humans’ free actions. If one thinks of God and creatures as relating to each other as finite entities, then indeed your zero-sum game makes sense, for they would necessarily be involved in mutually-competitive activity. But of course this is unwarranted.

    Herbert McCabe:
    “Created causes compete with each other. The activity is due to me and to that extent it is not due to causes other than me. Usually an activity is due partly to me and partly to other causes. The other causes make a difference to my activity. My activity is like this, though it would have been like that but for the interference of some other causes. That is how we detect the operation of other causes. The more the other causes operate, the less the activity is due to me; the less responsible I am for it, the less it is a free action.
    The activity of God does not make any difference to my activity. It makes it what it is in the first place. It is because of the activity of the Creator that I have my own activity to begin with. God is not alongside me, competing with me, an alternative to me, taking up space that I could have occupied or doing things that I might have done. ”

    For more (and where I got above quotes from), I’d recommend excellent series by EO priest Al Kimel:
    http://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/double-agency-conceiving-divine-and-creaturely-causality/
    http://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/rowboating-with-god-the-mystery-of-synergism/
    http://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/mysteriouser-and-mysteriouser-divine-agency-and-human-freedom/

  68. James–

    Sounds to me as if your “double agency” is irrelevant to my “zero-sum game” and thus our argument stands…though not necessarily in opposition to yours.

    I’ll be glad to go through Father Kimel’s presentations. More than likely, something won’t jibe. Even if it does, I’ll still be mad…for the ludicrous Tridentine anathemas.

  69. freegift says–
    “All those friends of yours, you know the Catholic intelects with all the Titles behind their name who laugh at me, they will bow their knee someday and confess Him as Lorf.”

    LORF??!!Now thats just priceless.But you know,Kevein, you and me will never see eyetoeye because….well…your just not my typo. 😀

  70. test

  71. De Maria–

    Pelagianism does indeed leave room for grace, for in creation, God graces us with the ability to respond righteously. Though there is no need for ongoing grace (since it is front-loaded in), it is still there every step of the way. Almost sounds like Catholicism, doesn’t it? Man cooperates with the front-loaded (or ongoing assisting) grace. Cooperation, as opposed to lack of cooperation, leads eventually to salvation.

  72. ERIC August 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm
    De Maria–
    Pelagianism does indeed leave room for grace, for in creation, God graces us with the ability to respond righteously.

    Pelagianism would not say that God works through us to accomplish His will:

    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:”

    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.

    Though there is no need for ongoing grace (since it is front-loaded in),

    It is Protestants who teach front loading of grace. Once saved always saved, remember? The Catholic Church is the one that teaches ongoing justification.

    it is still there every step of the way. Almost sounds like Catholicism, doesn’t it?

    Not at all. Ever heard of ongoing justification? Ever heard of the Sacraments? Ever heard of praying for grace? Protestants ridicule these doctrines. You mock them. And now, you want to claim that the Church doesn’t teach ongoing justification and outpourings of grace from God?

    Man cooperates with the front-loaded (or ongoing assisting) grace.

    That is self contradicting. Which is it? Front-loaded as in once saved always saved? Or ongoing assisting grace, as in walking with God every step of the way?

    Cooperation, as opposed to lack of cooperation, leads eventually to salvation.

    You made a mistake when you used the term front-loaded grace in opposition to ongoing assisting grace. You have just shot yourself in the foot. You proved that OSAS and one time justification, which are doctrines of the Protestants, are pelagian doctrines.

  73. St. Paul said:

    Gal 2:21
    I do not frustrate the grace of God:….

    Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;….

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

    2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

    1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

    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.

    St. Paul said that we have the freedom to cooperate with grace. And said that he did so.

  74. Debbie–

    You wrote:

    “That doesn’t get me very excited to respond to you with all the passion and enthusiasm I feel so deeply in my heart for those who do what is true and come to the light so that it may be CLEARLY seen that their deeds have been wrought in God.”

    You were mad at me for basically agreeing with you…which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    You ended by saying that you, too, believe and have proclaimed that even our cooperative efforts are all of grace. That’s well and good. We are on the same page with that, You even went on to observe that I remain breathing only because God says, breathe!

    Again, very, very Protestant of you. What do you feel is the snag that keeps us separate soteriologically?

  75. De Maria–

    Confessional Protestants do NOT posit a front-loaded gracious ability to act righteously. Pelagianism does posit this, and Catholicism does something fairly similar with prevenient grace for the unbaptized and baptismal regeneration for the baptized.

    We also hold to an ongoing Providential grace, making our progressive sanctification even possible. Plus, we have no ability to obey God prior to conversion. So, all the way around, we are much less “front-loaded” than you when it comes to grace.

    When it comes to our life of faith, our acceptance in Christ (justification) is front-loaded, just as it is in Catholicism (initial justification). The fact that we retain his acceptance doesn’t make it any more front-loaded.

  76. De Maria–

    Also, do me the favor of remembering that OSAS is not a confessional Protestant tenet. Our view of election is very similar to yours, apart from the issue of assurance.

  77. ERIC August 29, 2014 at 6:56 pm
    De Maria–
    Confessional Protestants do NOT posit a front-loaded gracious ability to act righteously.

    Yes, it does. Or at the very least, you do, since you continually ridicule the idea of continuing justification. Therefore, you, Eric, preach a front-loaded gracious ability to act righteously. Remember, you preach that first you are saved and then you do good. You, Eric, preach pelagianism.

    Pelagianism does posit this, and Catholicism does something fairly similar with prevenient grace for the unbaptized and baptismal regeneration for the baptized.

    Correct. The Catholic Church preaches that grace comes before, during and after in a continuing conversion and justification leading to perfection in Christ.

    2 Peter 1:5-10King James Version (KJV)

    5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

    6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

    7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

    8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

    10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

    Yeah, a continuing cooperation with the grace of God:

    Hebrews 13:20-22King James Version (KJV)

    20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

    21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

    We also hold to an ongoing Providential grace, making our progressive sanctification even possible.

    Also? But you ridicule us for that? So you are truly confused.

    Plus, we have no ability to obey God prior to conversion.

    No one obeys God before conversion. That is what conversion means? Turning to God. It is after conversion that men obey God. But conversion is not the same thing as justification. Abraham was converted to God in Gen 12. But he was not justified until Gen 21. In the interim, he had to prove his faith by his works.

    So, all the way around, we are much less “front-loaded” than you when it comes to grace.

    Lol! You contradict yourself all the way ’round. It is you who said, “If you put up a “smoking section” in a restaurant, the smoke itself doesn’t obey the sign. Everyone is forced to breathe it in. (That’s why some have likened it to putting up a “urination section” in a swimming pool!)”

    You have shot yourself in the foot again with your illogical rhetoric.

    When it comes to our life of faith, our acceptance in Christ (justification) is front-loaded, just as it is in Catholicism (initial justification).

    First its a bad thing, now its a good thing, now its a matter of degree. You can’t get your arguments straight.

    The fact that we retain his acceptance doesn’t make it any more front-loaded.

    Don’t look now, but there’s a yellow stain in your pool.

  78. OSAS by any other name is still OSAS. You believe in a one time conversion and you have argued along with Kevin that once you are a member of the elect, you can’t fall away. That’s OSAS.

  79. Eric,
    you asked, “What do you feel is the snag that keeps us separate soteriologically?

    To be honest, I don’t know you except for what you write, but I personally don’t think of us having any snag that separates us ‘soteriologically’. In other words, I think of you as a separated brother, because you were baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit outside of the Catholic Church (kind of like being born in American of American parents, but growing up and living in Italy your entire life – you are American by birthright, but have lived as an Italian). Of course if you told me that I had an invalid baptism, believed a false gospel, were in bondage to the anti-christ Pope, and were going to Hell to be forever damned because I receive the sacraments, it would be a different story (as if you joined the Italian army and attacked my home and my family in America). Hatred is not from the Holy Spirit, it from Satan.

    Eric, read my Creed. It is the original Creed from which all others were edited. We are from the same Creed. It is true that we are not all united – yet – but our Lord knew this would happen and prayed earnestly for all of us to be one – it will happen. Those who bow on their knees and profess Jesus as Lord will be one. Read each line carefully and tell me what snags you see.

    I believe in one God,
    the Father almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all things visible and invisible.

    I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
    the Only Begotten Son of God,
    born of the Father before all ages.
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
    through him all things were made.
    For us men and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven,
    and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
    and became man.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
    he suffered death and was buried,
    and rose again on the third day
    in accordance with the Scriptures.
    He ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory
    to judge the living and the dead
    and his kingdom will have no end.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
    who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
    who has spoken through the prophets.

    I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
    I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
    and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
    and the life of the world to come. Amen.

    And we can sing glory to God together as brethren;

    “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace to people of good will.
    We praise you, we bless you,
    we adore you, we glorify you,
    we give you thanks,
    for your great glory,
    Lord God, heavenly King,
    O God, almighty Father.

    Lord Jesus Christ,
    Only Begotten Son,
    Lord God, Lamb of God,
    Son of the Father,
    you take away the sins of the world,
    have mercy on us;
    you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
    you are seated at the right hand of the Father: have mercy on us.

    For you alone are the Holy One,
    you alone are the Lord,
    you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
    with the Holy Spirit,
    in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

  80. ERIC August 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm
    Debbie–
    You wrote:
    “That doesn’t get me very excited to respond to you with all the passion and enthusiasm I feel so deeply in my heart for those who do what is true and come to the light so that it may be CLEARLY seen that their deeds have been wrought in God.”
    You were mad at me for basically agreeing with you…which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
    You ended by saying that you, too, believe and have proclaimed that even our cooperative efforts are all of grace. That’s well and good. We are on the same page with that, You even went on to observe that I remain breathing only because God says, breathe!
    Again, very, very Protestant of you. What do you feel is the snag that keeps us separate soteriologically?

    Your pelagianist belief that you can save yourself by your faith alone. Your front loaded grace, as you call it.

  81. kk

  82. Debbie, the issue isn’t you receiving sacraments. Protestants receive sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper. The issue is the Roman church teaches that that sacraments is a work to earn a merit more grace and justice. Cant you understand this. It goes against Christ’s gospel. No works in justification. Jesus was asked what work must I do to inherit eternal life in John 6, and he said this is the work of God, that your believe. I asked you 50 times if you must do the sacraments of the church to be justified and you never answered me. This is what makes the Roman sacraments a violation of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. Sacraments aren’t vehicles for meriting increase of salvation, justification. This violates the gospel. And you by participating in them condone a salvation of faith plus works. Cant you give We aren’t separated brethren. You are in a different religion, a false one. And Debbie if you are going to make fun of my writing as anti traitor and my education, last time I checked I had a college degree and you didn’t finish a year of college. So lose the attitude.

  83. Demaria, I want to commend you on your honesty. You are a died in the wool Catholic and you make no excuses. Your lost, but you know what you. You admit that your are meriting by your works continuance in justification. You don’t misrepresent what the Roman Sacraments are like some others who try to hide it. You say we are saved by faith plus works. And you know what DeMaria your dead right. :” to the one who works well tot the end” “as a reward to their merits and good works” converted to their own justification” who truly merit eternal life” all statements from Trent. And Paul says “to the one who does not work, not that of yourselves” not of works” ” if its by grace it is no longer on the basis of works , or grace is no longer grace. The Gospel of Medieval Roman Catholicism isn’t close to the gospel of Scripture or the early catholic church. Notice DeMaria in the catholic creed that Debbie cited it does not say we believe IN Holy catholic church, it says we believe Holy catholic church. You guys believe in Roman Catholic church.

  84. Kevin–

    If you’re going to continue here anyway, how about answering the following question:

    If certain Roman Catholics admit to believing that EVERYTHING in salvation is all of grace, even the partaking of the sacraments, even the self effort involved in cooperating with cooperative grace and thereby producing good works…what then do you still object to?

  85. Eric, you are disingenuous. You don’t have the guts to tell Debbie that Rome has a false gospel. Why don’t you tell her what you think about the Roman Sacraments ex opere operato. Tell her what you think about the gospel of the church of Rome. If Debbie believed its all by grace she couldn’t stay in that church. But she gives it hearty approval. She has made no apologies for the sale of Christ’s merits ( indulgences) or Trent’s canons which pervert the gospel. She believes men are infallible. Do you know Eric that the Roman Magisterium has an official position on only ten verses of scripture. And yet they don’t know that, and give their implicit faith to it. God Bless

  86. De Maria–

    No Protestant is saved by faith alone, and no Protestant claims to be.

    We are saved by grace alone, meaning, quite simply, by Christ alone.

    Now, where exactly is the Pelagianism in THAT??

  87. Eric, I certainly believe there are believers in the Roman church but they are bad Catholics not good ones. You can’t know that gospel and willing believe it and be saved. Just my opinion shared by many others. A believer in the roman church I would say is a bad Catholic. There are definitely Catholics I know trusting in christ alone, most know little of the system.

  88. Kevin–

    The Thomist Gospel is not that far from the truth, tantalizingly close, in fact. Individual adherents would not need to get all that much wrong to stumble onto the true Messiah and his true Redemption.

    Why are you so sure that Debbie has not done so?

  89. Eric, before you make assumptions about someone’s salvation, which none of us can do, why don’t you ask her directly if she believes Catholic doctrine of salvation. I can tell you that she told me she believes every letter of it. Debbie always keeps things non direct, vague, so she dosen’t have to answer directly. She is a wiggler, sorta of the little wink two step she gave you last night, ” Ill get back to you in the morning” ” you make me not want to engage you” Very simple: lets ask Debbie a direct question. Do you believe that you continue to be justified by cooperating with grace to final justification as your church teaches? Seems like a simple question Eric, huh. She won’t answer it. Obviously she believes it.

  90. Frankly, Kevin, “ex opere operato” isn’t significantly different from Protestant sacramentology. Their sacraments are spiritually mediated, as are ours. Their sacraments grant benefits only to those of faith, as do ours. In the Eucharist, they feast on the true body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus the Lord Christ, as do we. They worship in his sacramental presence, as do we.

    What do you believe is so TERRIBLY different?

    (I haven’t gone over to the dark side, Luke. I still have plenty of reservations and disagreements and qualms and misgivings and convictions against Catholic sacramentology. But it would do me good to see you think it all through…rather than just come in with guns a blazing!)

  91. Eric, look, you said it today about Tim, he believes we are to warn RC’s of the error of their gospel. I don’t make a judgment on peoples salvation. I ain’t God. But I will tell them someone who believes in the Gospel of free grace can’t stay in that communion after knowing what they teach. Eric, they have not reneged on one item of Trent. Need I say more. You can’t be this naive. If I find someone who is trusting in Christ alone in that church. i tell them run as fast as you can. Do you believe a true believer can know what the Roman Mass is and participate in that, let alone give hearty approval? I don’t.

  92. Kevin–

    If Debbie and I ever get down to brass tacks, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, there will come a time when she runs out of wiggle room (if indeed that is what she is doing). When one is willing to struggle through these issues with Jesus, the truth will eventually out. I see nothing disingenuous in her yet. Shouldn’t I give her the benefit of the doubt?

    There’s obviously bad blood between you and her. That could compromise your objectivity just as easily as hers. I don’t know her at all really, and I don’t know you very well either. Give it time.

  93. Eric, your spending to may hours with Catholics and on this site. Rome calls the Mass ” the work of the people” Jesus when asked in John 6 what work must we do to be saved? and He said this is the work of God, that you believe in Him who I sent. Ex opere operato the “work that worked” What is so different is that their church a sacrament is a work to earn a merit and more grace and justice. Grace is the means of exchange on the church merit system. The writer of Hebrews saw the need for the physical altar, sacrifice, and Priesthood as a shrinking back in one;s faith. Eric, when you start asking me what the difference is I’m worried about you. You putting the boat in the water bro lol. I love you like a brother. If you step back you will see their soteriology and Christology are completely different. For example Their Christology is heretical. 1. Denying God’s exclusive role as mediator. 2> Making Mary co mediator denies the exclusivity of His redemptive work.3. Mary co redemptrix it credits Mary with a perpetual salvific role.She continues to to obtain by her constant intercession the graces needed for salvation. 4> Deny’s the sufficiency of His redemptive work. 5. Perpetually on the cross, its another Jesus. You want more.

  94. Eric, you know me. Trust me. You and i would be great friends if you lived here or I live there.

  95. Kevin–

    Let’s quit talking about Debbie, for this is just a general principle when speaking ecumenically: if you truly believe the other side is in mortal danger spiritually–if they are somehow like a distraught person on a ledge, threatening to jump–you don’t get in their face and yell at them about the risk of falling!!

    Nobody gets anywhere in these discussions without first gaining the opposition’s trust. For that to occur, you need to be painfully honest, respectfully sensitive, frightfully humble, genuinely caring, and painstakingly careful. You have to search out areas of commonality and slowly build bridges toward the areas of conflict. I have done a horrible job thus far…though I’m praying for the strength to do better.

  96. KEVIN AND ERIC–
    “Protestants receive sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper. The issue is the Roman church teaches that that sacraments is a work to earn a merit more grace and justice. Cant you understand this. It goes against Christ’s gospel. ”
    Frankly, Kevin, “ex opere operato” isn’t significantly different from Protestant sacramentology. Their sacraments are spiritually mediated, as are ours. Their sacraments grant benefits only to those of faith, as do ours. In the Eucharist, they feast on the true body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus the Lord Christ, as do we. They worship in his sacramental presence, as do we.”

    Find anything at all that you do not believe in the following:

    Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
    Lo! o’er ancient forms departing
    Newer rites of grace prevail;
    Faith for all defects supplying,
    Where the feeble senses fail.
    To the Everlasting Father,
    And the Son Who reigns on high
    With the Holy Ghost proceeding
    Forth from Each eternally,
    Be salvation, honour, blessing,
    Might, and endless majesty.
    Amen.
    ?. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
    ?. Having within it all sweetness.

    Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.

    ?. Amen.

  97. Kevin–

    My eyes are not closed. I understand full well how their beliefs on Mary permeate the whole rest of their of their sacramental and soteriological and christological systems. In point of fact, Mary is probably the biggest issue of conflict between the two churches. Many of our disagreements might fade away without this obstacle constantly confronting us. And you can see how sensitive they are on it. It is the core of their belief system, their very identity.

    I also understand that how they explain modern Catholic faith…and how Trent describes these exact same beliefs…do not appear to come anywhere near to matching up. But I will afford them every opportunity to explicate the apparent inconsistencies.

    Think on this, Kevin. How should one love one’s enemies?

    By doing everything in one’s power to make them FRIENDS.

  98. Debbie, your in a church that sells Christ’s merits. Need I say any more.

  99. Kevin,

    It’s not about the gospel, it never was … it’s all about you. You’re right; they are wrong. That’s what it’s all about.

    All you’re being asked is to merely to respect the wishes of the majority of the participants here, and not least the owner himself.

    That you obstinately refused to do so despite pledging otherwise.

    You are a Pharisee and a legalist and an enemy of the Reformation.

  100. Eric, as you can see from Debbie’s last post under the cover of antifreegift ( as if that isn’t prophetic). just pitted your saying that there was no difference between the Reformers view of sacraments and theirs as justification. You think it bothers here that Rome keeps Christ on the cross and that the sacraments she participates in are means of earning salvation. Trust me she doesn’t care. Do you think the re breaking of the Lord’s body bothers her. Their sacrifice for their sins Eric is not the cross but the bread of the supper. Can this save them. No it can’t. Ask her Eric direct question and you’ll find out she is Roman catholic. She hosts national Apparition of Mary events. They are big into the Marian Idolatry. Never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

  101. Jason, Mathew 11:12 figure it out. Why would I listen to a Lutheran turned Catholic. You sold your soul brother.

  102. Debbie–

    Ah, the “Gloria in excelsis, Deo.”

    Takes me back to my childhood, singing the Lutheran liturgy at the top of my lungs. They used to say that even as a first grader I tried to compete with the pastor in terms of volume!

    You must know that Italians do not necessarily agree that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. They do not particularly agree that Americans are right about everything.

    I will consider you a sister in Christ until that is no longer tenable. But there may come a time when, as a hot-blooded Italian, I will have no choice but to go to war with you YANKEE IMPERIALISTS!!!

    😉

    Gotta go to bed. Sleep well, my friend.

  103. Debbie, did you know the latin word for host means hostage. You have Him in the little box a prisoner, weak at the whim of man, and Mary high above mediating all graces. Can He leave the bread in the box?

  104. Jason, you call me a pharisee. You defend a church that teaches you are justified by faith as it is activated by your diking , your being, your loving. A works righteousness born out of love and merits and demerits. Whose the Pharisee. When Jesus was asked in John 6 what work must we do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus said this is the work of God, that you believe in the one He sent. Ex opere operato ” the work that worked”. You sold your soul Jason, like the emperor in his new clothes. They feel good.

  105. ERIC August 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm
    De Maria–
    No Protestant is saved by faith alone,

    I know.

    and no Protestant claims to be.

    This faith alone, when based upon the sure promises of God, must save us; as our text clearly explains. (Luther on Faith and coming to Christ, 1528).

    That disproves your first claim.

    We are saved by grace alone, meaning, quite simply, by Christ alone.

    Let me see that from Scripture.

    Here’s the Catholic Doctrine:

    1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ….

    1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

    Now, where exactly is the Pelagianism in THAT??

    In the fact you’ve made up your own doctrine which contradicts the Word of God. Show me from Scripture that it says that you are saved by grace alone through Christ alone. Because Scripture says that we labour together with God and that we save ourselves by our doctrine and many other things which contradict what you are saying.

    1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    1 Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

    2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    James 5:20

    20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

    Have you ever heard of Scripture? Show me from Scripture. Because all you have shown so far is your empty opinions and claims.

  106. Nice post series. I’ve always thought it strange that “righteousness” was so strictly defined in the doctrine of imputation, whereas it is used so loosely and applied so liberally to Saints in the Old Testament whose actions were so far from perfect (to say the least). David was also said to be a man after God’s own heart who obeyed the law at every point except for one exception (Bathsheba). Now if you know the story of David well, you know there were other occasions where he sinned, so this generous application of righteousness and law-keeping language always seemed to be out-of-step with the strict type of righteousness required by the doctrine of imputation.

  107. Theo, well there must have been a reason Paul blameless in the law didn’t want to be found in that righteousness ( his own) but the righteousness that comes from God thru faith. He puts all of his in one column and all of Christ’s in another.

  108. Theo, anytime any old testament believer is righteous its because he is declared righteous before the bar of God. Gal 3:6

  109. Kevin–

    The Latin word for “host” is “hostia” (which means ‘sacrifice’ or ‘victim’).

    The Latin word for “hostage” is “obses.”

  110. De Maria–

    Salvation by grace alone:

    1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.

    2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.

    –Catechism of the Catholic Church

  111. De Maria–

    You can ask Jason Loh if you wish, but Lutherans do not follow Luther as their authority. They subscribe to the Book of Concord.

  112. Has there ever been anybody as cracked up and totally lost as Kevin? It is almost unbelievable. Not even the smallest iota of integrity, decency or anything even remotely approaching common sense. This character needs massive mental help and should be in chains somewhere. Locked up and far from normal decent folks.

    But here he is. Posting incoherent and chaotic nonsense. Why is it so hard to get his lunatic leprous behind out of this site?

  113. Goodness, I went to bed singing the Gloria and wake up to this!

    FYI, the Gloria always exposes the dark side. Spiritual warfare 101.

    “For He alone is the Holy One, He alone is the Lord, He alone is the Most High, Jesus Christ” … always does it.

    Do I have to have my husband sign an affidavit that I have been asleep all night to prove that I am not some other person posting under this lovely name?

    “Eric, as you can see from Debbie’s last post under the cover of antifreegift ( as if that isn’t prophetic). just pitted your saying that there was no difference between the Reformers view of sacraments and theirs as justification. You think it bothers here that Rome keeps Christ on the cross and that the sacraments she participates in are means of earning salvation. Trust me she doesn’t care.”

    FYI, I would never write Amen like this, “?. Amen.” That would be physically and spiritually impossible for me to do.

    And I think it is so surprising and wonderfully benevolent of our Lord to allow prayers of great compassion, concern and mercy to abound on this blog! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

    I mean really, Freegift had to actually search, cut and paste a prayer of adoration and praise to our Lord in the Eucharist. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I read it with my own eyes. So if I was antifreegift, I would give a hearty Amen!

  114. “Do you believe that you continue to be justified by cooperating with grace to final justification as your church teaches?”

    Yes, I believe I am more justified today than I was yesterday and will be more justified tomorrow than today because I will be one step closer to heaven and I’m being lead, fed, protected by the Good Shepherd to my eternal home. I’m not in that home yet perfectly, I have to get there.

    But it is not only me; we, my family, those who I have been given to be in this time with, we all need to get there. The Body of Christ is a real body, not parts. You can’t separate the body and live. The branch cannot survive without the vine.

    To forget this is to be Protestant.

  115. “This character needs massive mental help and should be in chains somewhere. Locked up and far from normal decent folks.”

    Amen, Mikel. Kevin is demon-possessed …

    He is free to do what he likes doing here over at Green Baggins, Kenneth’s blog, Tim’s blog, etc. … IT’S NOT AS IF THERE ISN’T ANY SPACE FOR HIM … ON THE CONTRARY, HE DOESN’T WANT TO GIVE OTHERS THE SPACE … IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM …

  116. Yes, Debbie, Eric’s right … officially and formally, Lutherans do not subscribe to Luther’s writings but to the Book of Concord which were composed after Luther’s death.

  117. Kevin reminds me of Norman Osborne aka the Green Goblin. That’s who you are, Kevin … you and your ilk … self-righteous prigs who can’t even see that they’re demonic … you’re no different than the Anabaptist bent on the destruction of society through the reshaping of society according to their demonic image …

    As I’ve said before, Kevin … DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEART …

  118. ERIC August 29, 2014 at 11:33 am
    Donald–

    I was indeed of voting age in the early 1970?s. I never, ever heard a single Evangelical pastor, mentor, or teacher espouse even a moderately pro-choice position. When I read now that there were indeed a few “Evangelical” leaders who did, I spit on them. I violently repudiate them and distance myself from their shameful hypocrisy. I and my entire family were pro-life before, during, and after Roe v. Wade. And we certainly weren’t the only ones.
    Here is an article concerning the vanguard of Evangelical activists in the fight against Roe v. Wade. These guys began their activities immediately or shortly after the decision came down:

    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/how-the-evangelical-church-awoke-to-the-abortion-issue-the-convergent-labors-of.php

    I have a different view than you do. I believe that hatred of the Catholic Church was found to be more important than the value of human beings made in the image and likeness of God, hence the relative silence of Protestantism in face of abortion. You can easily weigh that against your own words at this website if you are able to objectively look at your position on Catholicity. Hate is easier than love.

    From the website of Presbyterians Pro-Life

    The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) currently has a policy on abortion which states that Presbyterians hold a variety of viewpoints about abortion and that there is disagreement among Presbyterians about when a human life begins. Like most mainline Protestant denominations, our denomination actively engages in abortion rights advocacy and is a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

    These are people who are at odds with their denomination over the value of human life.

    Someone to spit on?

  119. ERIC August 30, 2014 at 1:05 am
    De Maria–
    Salvation by grace alone:
    1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.
    2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.
    –Catechism of the Catholic Church

    You offer this as proof of your belief in “grace alone”?

    First, I don’t see the words “grace alone” in those paragraphs.
    Second, it speaks of “our merits before God.”
    Third, it speaks of “our acts and their merit before God”.
    Fourth, it speaks of the merit of the saints.

    The idea of merit before God is something which you mock and ridicule. It is certainly about synergism and not monergism. And if you call this “grace alone”, you have admitted that it is not pelagianism.

    And since you call yourself a linguist, I know you have communicated what you intended to say.

  120. ERIC August 30, 2014 at 1:09 am
    De Maria–
    You can ask Jason Loh if you wish, but Lutherans do not follow Luther as their authority. They subscribe to the Book of Concord.

    Read what I said again, Linguist. I didn’t say you follow Luther. You said that “no protestant believes he is saved by faith alone”. I offered that as proof that at least one Protestant, Luther, did believe he was saved by faith alone.

  121. Mikel, ” why is it so hard to get his lunatic leporous behind off this site” You a person who has threatened to spear everyone and the resident Nigerian nut case calling me names. I can assure you I’m a completely normal tax paying, house owning, church going believer, who stands against the errors and false gospel of Rome.

  122. Eric, read Debbie’s last post. And I don’t want to here any lectures from you anymore. Give her credit. She answered your question and your here trying to convince yourself Catholics are believers like you. And your just naive Eric. She answered the question. She believes in continual justification by her cooperation JUST LIKE HER CHURCH TEACHES. Enough said Eric. And incidentally if your now saying that Roman catholic sacraments are no different than Protestant ones, your even more naive than I thought. It was a major point in the Reformation.

  123. Thanks, Jason for the info. I’ve never read the Book of Concord, so I looked it up and found some answers to my questions. So interesting.

    What is a confessional Lutheran?

    A confessional Lutheran is a person who uses the documents contained in the Book of Concord to declare his faith to the world. The contents of the Book of Concord are cherished by such a person precisely because they are powerful means by which the correct teachings of Holy Scripture can be taught and shared with other people. The spirit of confessional Lutheranism is reflected well in the last words written in the Book of Concord: “In the sight of God and of all Christendom, we want to testify to those now living and those who will come after us. This declaration presented here about all the controverted articles mentioned and explained above-and no other-is our faith, doctrine, and confession. By God’s grace, with intrepid hearts, we are willing to appear before the judgment seat of Christ with this Confession and give an account of it (1 Peter 4:5). We will not speak or write anything contrary to this Confession, either publicly or privately. By the strength of God’s grace we intend to abide by it.” (FC SD XII 40).

    What is an “unconditional subscription” to the Confessions?

    Confessional Lutheran pastors are required to “subscribe,” that is, to pledge their agreement unconditionally with the Lutheran Confessions precisely because they are a pure exposition of the Word of God. This is the way our pastors, and all laypeople who confess belief in the Small Catechism, are able with great joy and without reservation or qualification to say what it is that they believe to be the truth of God’s Word.

    Why is an unconditional subscription to the Lutheran Confessions so important?

    Authentically Lutheran churches insist on a subscription to the Confessions because they agree with the Bible, not merely in so far as they agree with Scripture. Otherwise, there would be no objective way to make sure that there is faithful teaching and preaching of God’s Word. Everything would depend on each pastor’s private opinions, subjective interpretations, and personal feelings, rather than on objective truth as set forth in the Lutheran Confessions.

    Do all Lutheran churches have the same view of the Book of Concord?

    No. Many Lutheran churches in the world today have been thoroughly influenced by the liberal theology that has taken over most so-called “mainline” Protestant denominations in North America and the large Protestant state churches in Europe, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. The foundation of much of modern theology is the view that the words of the Bible are not actually God’s words but merely human opinions and reflections of the personal feelings of those who wrote the words. Consequently, confessions that claim to be true explanations of God’s Word are now regarded more as historically conditioned human opinions, rather than as objective statements of truth. This would explain why some Lutheran churches enter into fellowship arrangements with non-Lutheran churches teaching things in direct conflict with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

    Do other churches have confessions like the Lutheran Church?

    Yes, they do. Most other churches have confessions scattered throughout various books. The Book of Concord is unique among all churches in the world, since it gathers together the Lutheran Church’s most normative expressions of the Christian faith into a single book that has been used for nearly five hundred years as a fixed point of reference for the Lutheran Church. Other churches have various catechisms and confessions they can point to, but few have as complete a collection of confessions that has received as much widespread use and support, for so long a time, as the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord of 1580.

    Summing things up…

    To be a Lutheran is to be one who honors the Word of God. That Word makes it clear that it is God’s desire for His Church to be in agreement about doctrine and to be of one mind, living at peace with one another (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11). It is for that reason that we so treasure the precious confession of Christian truth that we have in the Book of Concord. For confessional Lutherans, there is no other collection of documents, statements, or books that so clearly, accurately, and comfortingly presents the truths of God’s Word and reveals the biblical Gospel as does our Book of Concord. Hand in hand with our commitment to pure teaching and confession of the faith is, and always must be, an equally strong commitment to reaching out boldly with the Gospel and speaking God’s truth to the world. That is what confession of the faith is all about, in the final analysis. Indeed, “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13). This is what it means to be, and to remain, a genuine confessional Lutheran.

  124. Debbie, thank you. After 2 years of this you finally gave a straight answer. I can go now. Thanks for finally saying you are being justified more each day as you cooperate thru the Roman sacraments. Unfortunately Deb the scripture says this in Roman 10:1 ” Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for them is their salvation. For I testify they have a zeal for God , but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the END of the law to all who believe.” Deb, you have a zeal for God but its without knowledge. Paul says anyone trying to be justified by their own righteousness in anyway won’t make it. If you want to be in heaven you will and be saved by grace alone it will have to be by faith alone. Read romans 4:16. May God take your eyes off the box and put it on the scripture. Thanks for answering honestly.

  125. Testing, testing – Freegift, can you copy and paste and post the following back?

    “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace to people of good will.
    We praise you, we bless you,
    we adore you, we glorify you,
    we give you thanks,
    for your great glory,
    Lord God, heavenly King,
    O God, almighty Father.
    Lord Jesus Christ,
    Only Begotten Son,
    Lord God, Lamb of God,
    Son of the Father,
    you take away the sins of the world,
    have mercy on us;
    you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
    you are seated at the right hand of the Father: have mercy on us.
    For you alone are the Holy One,
    you alone are the Lord,
    you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
    with the Holy Spirit,
    in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

  126. All, I want to leave you with this John 6 28″ Therefore they said to Him ” What shall we do , so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them ” This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” Ex opere operato ” the work that worked” The Roman ongoing sacraments to earn salvation each day are a abomination to his finished work which saved us. Catholics my final plea. Let Him off the cross, and off the altar, and out of the little box, and let Him be Lord and savior which He is.

  127. Can’t paste the Gloria? Remember this is a true litmus test for Christians regardless of any differences. Prove to the world that you give Glory and Honor to God.

  128. Jason, You don’t even know me and yet you judge me. I hate a religion that has sent more men to hell than any other, The pope and his religion. I’m a Reformed Christian, not an anabaptist. Rome = grace is the medicine aid to earn. Salt Lake= grace is the medicine aid to earn. Get it.

  129. Jason, have you read the book of Concord. I think not. You are no Lutheran. The book of Concord CONDEMNS the Roman religion and its Pope. So if your going to claim Lutheranism read you confession!

  130. Freegift,
    Why aren’t you a confessional Lutheran?

    And, still can’t paste the Gloria?

  131. Debbie, pasting all these prayers and confessions to show prove to us how spiritual you are means nothing. If you aren’t trusting Christ alone for your salvation you won’t make it Deb and your family won’t either. Try to understand Romans 10:1-4. And then read Romans 10:9-10 its all their. Quit adoring a box with bread and turn to the Word the only thing that can save your soul. For the righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 3:26 ” He is just and justifier of those who have FAITH in Jesus. Faith alone in Christ alone. Deb your in a system that cannot save you, as you said trying to get there each day thru your works, but Paul says that God justifies the ” ungodly” by faith “apart from works”, by imputing the righteousness of christ to our account. Romans 4:5 is a death sentence for Rome ” To the one who does not work, but believes in Him that justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Debbie, God doesn’t justify someone who is trying to be more righteous each day thru doing sacraments and their cooperation and “trying to get there” Its the opposite He justifies the ungodly man by faith, apart from works. ” To the one who does not work”

  132. Darn, I thought you might actually do it. I felt like Lloyd praying, “so you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

    Your heart just can’t let you do it. It is too hard for you to praise our Lord if it means we might actually praise Him with the same words.

    Whose will is being done?

    May God have mercy upon your soul.

  133. FREEGIFT August 30, 2014 at 7:21 am “Let Him off the cross, and off the altar, and out of the little box, and let Him be Lord and savior which He is.”

    FREEGIFT August 30, 2014 at 7:25 am ” I hate a religion that has sent more men to hell than any other, The pope and his religion. I’m a Reformed Christian”

    FREEGIFT August 30, 2014 at 7:30 am ” have you read the book of Concord. I think not. You are no Lutheran. The book of Concord CONDEMNS the Roman religion and its Pope. So if your going to claim Lutheranism read you confession!”

    FREEGIFT August 30, 2014 at 7:54 am “[P]asting all these prayers and confessions to show prove to us how spiritual you are means nothing. If you aren’t trusting Christ alone for your salvation you won’t make it”

    Free, you read an awful lot like Faith or some other doppelganger name that is used at this site. And, to compound that consideration, you make the same judgments for which you have been called on and corrected repeatedly, making it seem that abysmal ignorance has found a home in you.

    If you are now running with another pseudonym it also implies a terrible dishonesty in you, something that does not comport with being a servant of Jesus. Jesus does not employ lies to arrive at the truth.

  134. Debbie, we don’t worship the same God. So when you say your heart can’t let you do it. Jesus said go behind your door and pray, not like the Pharisee who stands up in the from of the synagogue and prays to himself ( hint, wink). Debbie my Lord is off the cross and has been declared Son of God with power Romans 1:4, and has reconciled me 5:9, and has justified me 5:1, and has seated me in heaven Eph 1, and has given me the gift of eternal life 10:9, and adopted me, and given me an inheritance that can never fade away. Your Savior is still on the cross, dying daily, imperfect sacrifice and can’t justify anyone until he sees how you do at the end.

  135. Donald, There is no intention to deceive, they force me to use different names, everyone knows who I am.

  136. Debbie, God has already had mercy on me, he saved me, not on the basis of deeds I have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy. The difference between a Christian and a Catholic is you are working to merit the acceptance of God, I am living out an acceptance I already have.

  137. Kevin you are not normal. You are incredibly stupid. And very ill. No normal person will behave the way you have shamefully and embarrassingly done here. You are unable to write simple sentences. You can’t read. You don’t understand simply instructions. You can’t comprehend how decent humans behave. You smell like a corpse. Your life is a sorry case of everything abominable about people.

    I have placed a bet on you. On how long it will take before you hang yourself. Some of my friends say within 5 years. I say within a year. I say this because you are now degenerating at an exponential rate. Soon you will go over the brink.

    And when you are finally ready, give me a notice. I will kindly help you with a good quality rope.

    Stupid, semi-illiterate sick idiot.

  138. Jason said ” Kevin reminds me of Norman Osborne” Well Jason you reming me of Queen bloody Mary except worse. She wasn’t a chameleon. You come here and drop big english words on everyone but have not read the Lutheran book of concord which condemns Rome and its religion. But you come in and say your a Lutheran and defend the Roman religion. I would rather be what I am than a turncoat.

  139. Mikel said your to normal” It takes one to know one. Take the Spears off out of the backs of everyone you speared!

  140. “freegift August 30, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Mikel said your to normal” It takes one to know one.”

    What is the meaning of this nonsense you just wrote? You mind is such a mess.

    You are a disgrace to your old age. You are a disgrace to your family. You are a disgrace to anyone who associates with you. You are complete nuisance of the first order.

    Nobody wants you here. Nobody loves you. Even your wife secretly detests you. But she is helpless.

    Please do everyone and yourself a favour and hasten your exit from this world. It will make the world a much better place.

  141. Eric, Debbie said ” YES I believe I am becoming more justified everyday and one step closer to heaven. I have to get there. Not only me, but my family, we all need to get there, To forget this is to be Protestant.” Eric, are you still looking for Protestants in the Roman church? Does this sound like ” gaining been justified by faith, we have shalom with God. Wake up Eric, and smell the coffee.Your looking for living saints in a dead cemetery.

  142. Mikel, everyone know that Debbie is Mikel, Debbie, and Anti whatever I am. God sees your lies.

  143. Yeah everyone. Including your wife.

    Moron.

    Just go and hang yourself. Do it quickly. Time is running out.

  144. You wouldn’t say that to my face, I guarantee you.

  145. Kevin,

    You would NOT say what you said to Mikel face-to-face with him … I guarantee you that …

  146. Freegift/Kevin,

    Just use your real name. Dont pretend you care what Jason’s wishes are.

    You’ve been asked to leave, you said you would leave and promptly started posting again. You basically undo any progress the protestants make. Your comments reminds any Catholic that knows their faith how much of Protestant objections are based on ignorance and hatred.

  147. Have you seen Mikel? No, you haven’t? Have you seen me? Nope … what if I just rolled up my sleeves?

    How about if I took of my shirt?

  148. Your face? You don’t realise you are actually faceless?

    No I am saying it to the face of your wife.

    Stupid semi-illiterate cow!

  149. Now, leave, be gone, you demented Reformed Puritan prig …

  150. I will call up your wife and find out how she sleeps on the same bed with you. How do the two of you communicate? Given your established stupidity and lack of comprehension? What do the two of you do with yourselves? Daily?

  151. You are also very stupid and ill.

    Honestly in all seriousness, how does she live with you? I mean your wife? How?

    Or is she like you?

    Is that it?

    Both of you are the same specie of homo stupiduous?

  152. I am being helpful to you. I recognise you need help. To get the impetus to hang yourself. So I am giving you that final push.

    But selfish me I have not factored in your wife. What do you think is her thought on this very important issue?

    (I am certain she has been having dreams of the day she will dispose of your sorry self in a shallow grave)

    Unschooled fool!

  153. Jason!

    Careful! Don’t fall for Kevin Freegift’s offer to send you anything. He just wants your home address so he can show up at your door and start stalking you, you family, your dog,…

    The man is certifiable. And he is obsessed with talking about pedophilia. keep him away.

  154. Kevin,
    You said to Jason, ” You come here and drop big english words on everyone but have not read the Lutheran…”.

    I think you meant to address this to Eric, yes?

  155. Eric,
    You rightly said,
    “My eyes are not closed. I understand full well how their beliefs on Mary permeate the whole rest of their of their sacramental and soteriological and christological systems. In point of fact, Mary is probably the biggest issue of conflict between the two churches. Many of our disagreements might fade away without this obstacle constantly confronting us. And you can see how sensitive they are on it. It is the core of their belief system, their very identity.”

  156. Probably because an idiot like you is still posting here? Maybe if you hung yourself very soon things might become better on this blog.

    But then your wife might take your place here so there is no guarantee.

  157. What you write beside being utter crap, is made worse by your atrocious spelling, intermittent and inappropriate punctuations, embarrassing grammar and lack of the knowledge of what a paragraph is. So you assault peoples eyes with a solid block of chaotic writing that instantly puts one off and indicates the level of lunacy you posses.

    Your wife. How does she feel about your stupidity? Try asking her sometimes today. I would really like to hear what she has to say on that.

  158. FREEGIFT August 30, 2014 at 9:07 am
    “Donald, There is no intention to deceive, they force me to use different names, everyone knows who I am.”

    Of course you intend to deceive. If you did not intend to deceive you would not deceive. If you are deceiving, then you purposefully intend to deceive and deception of this sort is a lie. What is it that scripture says about lies and heaven? You should be able to cite that.

  159. Kevin,

    You are not typing challenged. You are just challenged. As a human being. Somebody who hated your ugly mug must have dropped you on your head as a baby to make you turn out so dysfunctional.

    The thing with you is that you are afflicted with a special kind of stupidity. Very unique. Nothing can be done for you. You are utterly beyond redemption. Bye bye.

    It is your wife I feel so pained for. Having the total bad luck of spending her life with a vomit like you.

    Be quick about it. Hang yourself.

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