The Silence of the Lambs

Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Atonement, Catholicism, Exegesis, Featured, Hebrews, Paradigms, Presbyterianism, Protestantism | 102 comments

I admit I am at a bit of a loss regarding where to go with this series on the atonement. The whole reason we initially delved into the Old Testament and its Levitical sacrifices was to lay some groundwork for turning to the Epistle to the Hebrews, since that is the New Testament’s locus classicus  when it comes to the idea of priestly sacrifice. But as I look over the epistle and consider its relevant texts, I can’t seem to find a passage that even hints mildly at the idea that one of the ways that Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant was by receiving the divine punishment for man’s guilt and sin. Like, the idea is nowhere to be found in the whole letter, there’s not even a 50/50 passage that could conceivably be taken in that direction that I could consider and show how to interpret it in a more Catholic way.

The letter’s Catholic already, it’s almost as if a Catholic wrote it or something. . . .

For example, the sequence of events at Calvary, as portrayed by Hebrews, consisted simply of Jesus offering himself as a sacrifice, followed by our sin being expiated by God:

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. . . . Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (2:9-10, 14-15).

The tasting of death for every man in this passage results directly in the bringing of many sons to glory. The more statements like this we consider, the more it almost sounds automatic, as though the offering as such, all by itself, was satisfying enough to accomplish this feat, even without divine fury being rained down upon it.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek (5:7-10).

We see here something similar to what I highlighted in the post on the way Jesus and the apostles spoke of the crucifixion in the Gospels and Acts: The only role the Father is mentioned as having in the crucifixion is that of allowing the actions of wicked men to accomplish their purpose, and then to come to the Son’s rescue in the resurrection. But more to the point, in this passage we again get the idea that the suffering and sacrifice of Christ, in and of themselves, are effectual for securing eternal salvation. Nothing has to be done to the offering in order for it to expiate sin in the form of unleashing divine wrath. It’s accepted as is.

But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (9:26).

Again, the sacrifice as offered  is enough to put away sin. The obedience and humiliation of Christ displayed throughout his earthly life were not merely to prep the sacrifice so as to make it fitting for wrath-bearing. The sacrifice is inherently worthy (“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain…”) and therefore effectual for putting sin away.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. (9:11-15).

What was it that secured eternal redemption? It was the entrance of Jesus into the Holy of Holies with his own blood to offer. As the writer says, the blood of Christ purifies our consciences, and his death redeems us from previously committed transgressions.

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. . . . But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (9:24, 26b).

We see again that according to the inspired author, the appearance of Jesus as the Lamb in the heavenly sanctuary is what expiated sin. no mention here of that sacrifice bearing divine wrath.

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (10:8-10).

What is it that sanctifies us? The mere offering of  the body of Christ — his sacrifice, as given and not as punished. Finally,

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (10:11-14).

So sufficient was Jesus’ sacrifice that, when offered, he could sit down at the Father’s right hand, knowing that his single offering perfects for all time those who embrace it.

My point in adducing all these passages is to highlight the fact that, despite being the most relevant texts in the NT’s most relevant book when it comes to this matter, none of them mentions, or even breathes a hint of, the idea that a central component in the sacrifice of Christ was his bearing the guilt of man and wrath of his Father. Now is this in some sense an argument from silence? Yes, it is. But it is a significant silence, much like the silence we observed from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts about this issue. It is a silence that Catholics expect but Protestants need to explain, for if penal substitution were true, silence about it in Hebrews is embarrassing, while if it’s false, such silence is  j u s t  what you’d expect.

 

102 Comments

  1. I see penal substitution and atonement in ‘suffering’ and ‘redeem’. I know you say Christ is only suffering due to evil men, but what makes more sense? Suffering unjustified wrath from evil men is an integral component of Christ’s sacrifice expiating our sin, or suffering righteous wrath from the Father being an integral component of Christ’s sacrifice propitiating for our sin?

    In your view, could Christ have lived a violence-free life on earth and died quickly of natural causes, and the humiliation of incarnation be sufficient sacrifice? What’s the difference between Christ’s martyrdom on a cross, and Peter’s martyrdom on a cross?

  2. In particular “taste death for everyone” — our sins deserve the punishment death, Christ took death for us to save us from that punishment — how is that not penal substitution?

  3. Rube,

    I see penal substitution and atonement in ‘suffering’ and ‘redeem’. I know you say Christ is only suffering due to evil men, but what makes more sense? Suffering unjustified wrath from evil men is an integral component of Christ’s sacrifice expiating our sin, or suffering righteous wrath from the Father being an integral component of Christ’s sacrifice propitiating for our sin?

    But as a Protestant, do you get to just “see” doctrines wherever you want? Don’t they actually have to be taught in those places where you see them?

    As to what makes more sense, I think Jonathan has demonstrated that p-sub as Protestants define it is logically impossible. A divine person cannot be justly judged a guilty sinner, full stop. A just judgment is a true judgment, after all.

    In your view, could Christ have lived a violence-free life on earth and died quickly of natural causes, and the humiliation of incarnation be sufficient sacrifice? What’s the difference between Christ’s martyrdom on a cross, and Peter’s martyrdom on a cross?

    While it is pointless to speak of potentialities and counterfactuals, Hebrews does say that there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood, which would rule out Jesus dying of a heart attack.

    In particular “taste death for everyone” — our sins deserve the punishment death, Christ took death for us to save us from that punishment — how is that not penal substitution?

    There is nothing objectionable in that paragraph at all. That’s the thing, you guys don’t even need the objectionable part in the first place, since half the time you unwittingly leave it out when defining your own view.

    Catholics believe that the cross quenches wrath, that Jesus died as a Substitute, and that he bore our curse and took what we deserve. But none of that necessitates the logical contradiction and Trinitarian impossibility of the Father judging the Son a guilty sinner. Hebrews never teaches it, and as we already saw, all of the (many) descriptions of the cross in the Gospels and Acts omit the idea as well.

  4. Catholics believe that the cross quenches wrath, that Jesus died as a Substitute, and that he bore our curse and took what we deserve.

    If it walks like penal substitution, and quacks like penal substitution…

  5. A divine person cannot be justly judged a guilty sinner, full stop. A just judgment is a true judgment, after all.

    So then how can a guilty sinner non-divine person be justly judged as righteous? I guess in your version, the Great Exchange is only 50% as great; Christ absorbs the punishment end, and leaves the righteousness end up to us (with the help of the Holy Spirit)

  6. Comment

  7. Oopx, premature submission…

    So would you say that the Reformed notion that God is not the author of sin, though he sovereignly works through secondary causes, is analogous to the Father not directly punishing the Son, but uses as secondary causes the works of evil men?

  8. Rube,

    I wrote, “A divine person cannot be justly judged a guilty sinner, full stop. A just judgment is a true judgment, after all.” You responded:

    So then how can a guilty sinner non-divine person be justly judged as righteous? I guess in your version, the Great Exchange is only 50% as great; Christ absorbs the punishment end, and leaves the righteousness end up to us (with the help of the Holy Spirit)

    If you don’t understand my position, which you clearly don’t, then just ask me (rather than making up what you “guess” is the answer, which is just embarrassing).

    How can God justly judge a sinner righteous? If you’ve been following the conversation you know this is a red herring, since we can even grant imputation of alien righteousness for the sake of argument to answer it. There is nothing inherently contradictory about that, like there is with the idea that God can judge Christ guilty. The latter cannot happen, while the former could.

    But the better Catholic argument is that God makes us righteous, enabling himself to consider us righteous on the last day. When the Lord says “Well done, good and faithful servant” he is not crossing his fingers.

    So would you say that the Reformed notion that God is not the author of sin, though he sovereignly works through secondary causes, is analogous to the Father not directly punishing the Son, but uses as secondary causes the works of evil men?

    Yes, exactly. It’s one of those “what men meant for evil God meant for good” type of things. You see this in Acts, where Peter lays the blame for the crucifixion at the feet of the Jewish authorities, but then talks about how despite their wickedness, God raised Jesus from the dead.

  9. But the better Catholic argument is that God makes us righteous, enabling himself to consider us righteous on the last day.

    Yay! I guessed right!

    And speaking of eerie silences, where’s everybody else? It’s feeling like it rubs the lotion on itself up in here…

  10. where’s everybody else?

    I truly cannot think of anything to add ….. makes perfect sense to me.
    Jason, you are brilliantly whittling this down to no argument at all. Thank you.

  11. Jason,

    Thanks for another thought-provoking post. I am chewing on it and would like to give some counter-evidence to your claims about Hebrews, Mark, and John, but that will not happen until later tonight due to a softball game (i.e. it is likely Robert or others will post counter-evidence long before then). Below is one point I’ve wanted to make.

    You said:

    I think Jonathan has demonstrated that p-sub as Protestants define it is logically impossible. A divine person cannot be justly judged a guilty sinner, full stop. A just judgment is a true judgment, after all.

    If the Reformed doctrine of the union of Christ with His elect is ignored, then this indeed appears to be a logical impossibility. However, if Christ is in union with the elect on the cross, then we have the curious case of the most righteous man whoever lived standing in the same place (as opposed to side by side) as guilty men.

    Let X = Christ and X&E be the Union of Christ and His elect. If X is judged guilty on the cross, then the contradiction is entailed because a just God cannot judge unjustly. But if X&E is judged guilty on the cross, then the apparent contradiction is solved.

    Peace,
    John D.

  12. Yes, but if persons commit sins then persons are the objects of judgment. So uniting Christ and the elect doesn’t change the fact that Protestant p-sub has a divine Person being justly condemned as a guilty sinner.

  13. Rube,

    I know you say Christ is only suffering due to evil men, but what makes more sense? Suffering unjustified wrath from evil men is an integral component of Christ’s sacrifice expiating our sin, or suffering righteous wrath from the Father being an integral component of Christ’s sacrifice propitiating for our sin?

    I haven’t read every comment in the last few entries of Jason’s regarding atonement, and maybe this point has been made in other strings. Here’ goes… Knowing that God is perfectly just, for him to pour out his wrath on one who is perfectly innocent, would be impossible. His justice would not be perfect if it was unleashed on one who is innocent. Pouring out his wrath on Jesus would be completely unjust and completely unrighteous.

  14. Right, Brian. And to be clear, we’re NOT saying the same about God imputing righteousness to sinners. There’s nothing inherently contradictory about that, but there is about God justly condemning an innocent man, especially if it’s the second Person of the Godhead.

  15. @Brian,

    JJS’s repeated assertion notwithstanding, I don’t see why it doesn’t work the same in the other direction, i.e. Knowing that God is perfectly just, for him to vindicate one who is perfectly guilty, would be impossible. is justice would not be perfect if it was not unleashed on one who is guilty. Not pouring out his wrath on us would be completely unjust and completely unrighteous.

    BUT, (Rom 3) God himself put forth his Son to be a propitiation; to show His righteousness, to show that he is Just, and the Justifier.

    He is Justifier in justifying our sinful selves, there I think we agree (although we don’t agree what justification means). So how does God demonstrate his righteousness Just-ness in this scenario?

  16. Brian,

    Is the concept of imputed liability such that a parent is held responsible if his son takes the car out and hits somebody unjust. This occurs in our human legal system. If it is unjust, why? If not, why would it be unjust for God to do something similar?

  17. A blogger by the name of Michael Taylor made the rather obvious point, that I personally had not seen before, that under the old covenant to be exiled from the camp was itself punishment for guilt. Clearly, the book of Hebrews and a great deal of the New Testament operate with the Day of Atonement in mind. On the Day of Atonement, the sins of the people were put on the Azazel goat which was then sent out of the camp into the wilderness. Whether they killed the goat outside the gate is itself is immaterial, to be banished from the camp in itself was a divine judgment by God.

    I haven’t looked at the book of Hebrews today, but since the author of Hebrews expects the people to be familiar with the OT cult, there is not necessarily any reason to state explicitly penal substitution. (I’m not saying that he doesn’t. I’m just saying that if he doesn’t, there is no reason for him to if the people know the cultic background). Being cut off from one’s people is divine judgment/punishment for sin. If Christ is the true Azazel goat, the true bull, the true Lamb, etc. etc., then divine punishment for sin is part of what is happening in the atonement. He’s cut off from the camp, after all. In fact, to point that out explicitly would be almost a waste of space. What would be more necessary is to show why Christ’s sacrifice actually effects the cleansing and turning away of wrath/forgiveness where the blood of bulls and goats did not. Surprise, surprise, that is exactly Hebrews does!

  18. I don’t think the analogy works, because the kid is inherently guilty, and Christ is not.

    Note, we do use the category of inherent/imputed, native/alien.

    Just as we are inherently guilty, but are judged based on Christ’s righteousness, which is alien to us, Christ is inherently innocent, but was judged based on our sin, alien to him, imputed to him.

    The former is mocked as ‘legal fiction’ by RC, so I guess the whole thing is ‘double legal fiction’.

  19. JJS will sez: (a) there was no penal substitution in the OT, and (b) Christ did suffer, substitute, take the curse we deserved, quench wrath, but (c) he was not declared guilty.

    JJS: is there a difference between accepting punishment, being punished, and being declared guilty?

  20. And to be clear, we’re NOT saying the same about God imputing righteousness to sinners. There’s nothing inherently contradictory about that, but there is about God justly condemning an innocent man, especially if it’s the second Person of the Godhead.

    Why did you add “especially…” there? Would it be unjust for God to condemn an innocent person? (or an innocent bull or goat?)

    If all you’re really saying is there’s an asymmetry in that God can justly be extra lenient, but cannot justly be extra strict, why do you need the “especially…” intra-trinitarian argument?

  21. Imputing righteousness to sinners involves no categorical mistake, since there’s nothing logically incompatible with being a human person and being righteous (we were initially made that way, I’m told). But there is a categorical mistake when it comes to imputing sinfulness and guilt to a divine Person, for reasons too obvious to go into again.

  22. Robert,

    You said: “the author of Hebrews expects the people to be familiar with the OT cult, there is not necessarily any reason to state explicitly penal substitution. (I’m not saying that he doesn’t. I’m just saying that if he doesn’t, there is no reason for him to if the people know the cultic background). Being cut off from one’s people is divine judgment/punishment for sin.”

    This kind talk, in my mind, basically gives away the farm. It comes down to implicitly admitting that there aren’t any good/direct/plain texts in the NT, and in this case Hebrews specifically, that advocate PSub, so the doctrine must be assumed true.

    And while I totally agree that the author of Hebrews expects the readers to be familiar with the OT sacrificial system, Jason’s whole point in focusing on Hebrews is that Hebrews is the fundamental NT text on discussing the OT Sacrificial system, and it ‘just so happens’ that Hebrews knew nothing about the heart of the Gospel, PSub.

    Lastly, the “being cut off” as it pertains to the Scapegoat is inaccurate. The Hebrew term for being ‘cut off’ from the Tribe is not the same term used in regards to the Scapegoat. So it’s a textbook case of the word-concept fallacy.

    The nail in the coffin of the Scapegoat-as-PSub argument is the parallel example of Leviticus 14:1-8 and Leviticus 14:49-53. The words and instructions found here are virtually parallel to that of the Day of Atonement. Of two birds that are taken for the atonement process, one is killed and the other is released into the air – without any implication the bird is being released to it’s death or “cut off” from the Tribe. That’s how you let Scripture-interpret-Scripture.

  23. Imputing righteousness to sinners involves no categorical mistake…

    I don’t think that answers my question (and I’m not sure you were responding to me), so I’ll ask again; is there an asymmetry in God’s justice, such that he can justly withhold wrath from a guilty man, but cannot justly punish an innocent man? It would seem to be the case if you say “There’s nothing inherently contradictory about that [justifying a guilty man], but there is about God justly condemning an innocent man”. I know you follow that with “especially…” but if the sentence is true with the extra intensifying clause, it’s also true without it.

  24. Rube,

    It would seem asymmetrical if not for the cross. Because the sacrifice offered on Calvary made restitution for sins, such that the Father is more pleased with that gift than he was displeased by our sin, then yes, God can then forgive our sins without having to vent his wrath because of them. The reason God is just in doing so is, as I said, that the cross has appeased him and inaugurated the context for the gospel and the forgiveness of sins.

    But this is different from imputing guilt and sinfulness and damnation to the divine Person of his Son. In the former, God is recapitulating, restoring things to how they once were. That’s not the case with the latter, since the Trinity has for all eternity willed to be sinless.

  25. But you still haven’t grabbed my question; could it be possible/just for God to punish an innocent non-divine man?

  26. Nick,

    I don’t have the Hebrew in front of me, but if you are right, then you are actually committing the word-concept fallacy. The Word-concept fallacy in its elementary form assumes that if the same word is used in two places, the meaning of the word must be the same. You are committing the word-concept fallacy backwards and assuming that if two different words are used, two different concepts are in view.

    As far as the birds—one of them is still killed.

    As far as Scripture interpreting Scripture, the Roman Catholic paradigm actually prohibits you from doing that. If Rome actually practiced it, there could be no veneration of the saints, defending the RC priesthood based on Levitical law, and so much more.

  27. Ruberad, could you show your hand? I’m curious what your point is. I do admit I’m still trying to grasp what your arguing against, but how would your position not pose even more problematic?

    What Jason is presenting is at least still open to possibility, though I am slow to understand how it all works out.

    If your arguing its problematic for God to leave the guilty unpunished, why would you take up the position that God does punish the innocent?

    I just dont see how your position is proactive, rather it seems you left defending a scenario that is less plausible.

    I’m honestly not trying to disprove your premise, rather trying to understand if your view could better explain this whole atonement dialogue.

    Hunter

  28. Comment

  29. Jason,

    You said:

    So uniting Christ and the elect doesn’t change the fact that Protestant p-sub has a divine Person being justly condemned as a guilty sinner.

    And you said:

    There is a categorical mistake when it comes to imputing sinfulness and guilt to a divine Person, for reasons too obvious to go into again.

    I apologize for bringing this up again. If it has been discussed exhaustively in previous threads and you could point me to the comment #’s I will go back and read them.

    However, I don’t see any problem with Christ assuming the guilt of the elect where guilt is viewed as the debt of punishment. The WCF states “Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full satisfaction to His Father’s justice in their behalf.”The doctrine of imputation does not entail that Christ is considered by God to have committed all the sins of the elect (since obviously that would mean God is considering falsely, a contradiction). But, is there incompatibility in Christ assuming the debt of punishment due to the elect? Any apparent incompatibility is eliminated when the union of Christ with His elect is also affirmed.

    In summary: The elect commit sins that deserve punishment. Christ becomes united to the elect so that they can be said to be seated together in the heavenly places and to have died together on the cross. Christ endures the punishment the elect deserved so that they might be perfected and live with God forever.

    Peace,
    John D.

  30. Hunter,

    I think that the point that Ruberad is getting at is whether or not God could have an innocent human being suffer the wrath for the sins of another person. It is a significant issue in light of the broader discussion going on.

    Jason and Jonathan have both said that it is impossible for Christ to have suffered God’s wrath for His sin because He is a divine person and you cannot metaphysically, legally, or otherwise impute guilt to a divine person. It’s a purportedly Trinitarian argument that penal substitution creates a rift between the persons of the Trinity. There is something unique about divine personhood that means guilt cannot be imputed to Christ in any sense.

    I have contended that all they are doing is rehashing the old “legal fiction” charge against Protestants that guilt and righteousness cannot be transferred without changing the person to whom it is transferred, and that God cannot consider someone legally guilty or righteous unless he actually and personally guilty or righteous in what he does.

    The way that Ruberad’s question is answered will go a long way to undermining their purportedly Trinitarian argument either way. If Jason says that, yes, God could justly execute His wrath on an innocent person for the guilt of another even though the innocent person remains personally sinless, then he is left with explaining why that would not be possible for God. If Jason says that, no, God cannot justly execute His wrath on an innocent person for the guilt of another even though the innocent person remains personally sinless, then their argument is revealed for what it is:

    God cannot justly punish any sinless person for the sin of another.

    If so, there is nothing unique about God’s imputation of guilt to His Son in a forensic sense. There is nothing inherent to the divine person that keeps God from imputing guilt to Him, the issue is imputing guilt to any non-guilty person, divine or otherwise. This would essentially destroy the repeated and ill-founded claim that penal substitution violates the Trinity in some kind of unique way.

    Make sense?

  31. Ruberad,

    I am trying to read your hand, so forgive me if this is wrong. The famous Ruberad question is:

    Could it be possible/just for God to punish an innocent non-divine man?

    This *may* place the non-Reformed christian on the horns of a dilemma.

    If someone answers yes, then it what sense can God be called perfectly just. If it is perfect justice to punish innocent men, then this creates all kinds of ethical absurdities. Would it then be just for the civil magistrate to punish innocent men since they are supposed to follow God’s law and rule by His statutes? This cannot be the answer and is certainly contradicted by Scripture.

    If someone answers no, then they preserve God’s perfect justice. However, can this same person then argue God’s wrath against sin is satisfied by a loving sacrifice that outweighs the debt of punishment, thus eliminating the punishment owed by sinners? Only if this person also grants that God’s justice is asymmetrical. That is, it is possible for God not to punish the guilty (because of Christ the mediator), but it is impossible for God to punish the innocent. Can a person asserting such an asymmetry still really be sure God cannot punish the innocent? How does he/she know that there is not an exception which would allow God to punish the innocent?

    Perhaps Ruberad has other thoughts in mind.

  32. Robert,

    Thanks for the reply. I do get whats at stake here, just trying to get at why this is an issue.

    Why couldn’t p-sub remain problematic to the doctrine of the trinity if God could not punish a “hypothetical” sinless person for the sins of another. I don’t see how this is issue with the claims above.

    In other words if God could not punish a sinless person for the sins of another, why cant it be impossible for God to punish Christ because He is a divine person. Why would one negate the other? Or how is this an issue?

    Thanks

    Hunter

  33. Hey all,

    I had to take time off to get home, eat dinner, etc.

    Sorry to tantalize and disappoint, but I actually had no “hand”. I was mostly curious as to the logical connections inside JJS’s statement “there’s nothing inherently contradictory about [imputing righteousness to sinners], but there is about God justly condemning an innocent man, especially if it’s the second Person of the Godhead.”

    That first part, without the especially, is not an assertion I had seen made or defended yet (although I must confess I have not been following this atonement series closely), and if JJS meant to assert it, and it is true, then this whole trinity argument is unnecessary.

    I like where you guys are running with my hand though, keep going!

    However, here is maybe a thought that could be related.

    I have heard before a criticism of psub, that if true, and God didn’t spare his only begotten son, then why is he asking us to do what he is unwilling to do himself, which is to just plain forgive?

    JJS’ statement seems to make sense to our human experience; for instance, if you go into a store and there’s a price tag on an item, nobody would be surprised if the owner of the store said at the checkout “I’m going to knock 10% off” either because there’s a sale that starts tomorrow, or you’re buying two items instead of just one, or just because he’s feeling generous. Grateful, certainly, but not really surprised. But if the owner tried to charge a price even one penny higher than the number on the tag, any customer would be completely shocked and outraged.

    So between our human selves, we are accustomed to a rule that it’s OK to deviate from pure justice in the direction of leniency; but not in the direction of strictness. Why wouldn’t our moral compass here be a reliable indicator of God’s nature?

    But (as I see it), that is because we have a ground to forgive; we are instructed very clearly to forgive because we have been forgiven (Lord’s prayer, parable of the large debt vs the small debtor, etc.). But God does not have that ground; he has no ground for just forgiveness; it is impossible for him to be forgiven (who among us can incur a debt from God?)

    Also, we are sinners, so mote and beam etc, do not judge, etc. we do not have the standing to apply unflinching justice. God of course being perfectly righteous could perfectly righteously judge and condemn all.

    So God wills to save some (i.e. he wills to be a Justifier), but he is perfectly Just, so he can’t just forgive and leave his Justice unfulfilled. So penal substitution accords with God’s nature; in order to save men, God willed, and undertook a sacrificial system whereby he established a substitute to receive punishment (aka wrath, I see no difference).

    In whatever system JJS is selling, God’s Justice is never fulfilled. Rather his wrath for sin is distracted like SQUIRREL those dogs in Up. Hey, that sacrifice over there is pretty awesome, I like that a lot. What was I so mad about? Hey, you know what, I was going to give you death, and then Christ over there just went and died — what a coincidence! I guess we’ll just call it even?

  34. As for ‘legal fiction’, maybe I’m not sufficiently Reformed, but I’ve never actually considered that a bad thing. As I mentioned above, we maintain the distinction between inherent and imputed; between native and alien.

    Inherently, Christ is righteous. But our alien sinfulness is imputed to him, and he is punished for it (and it is his plan and mission within the trinity to accept this punishment, it is not forced upon him). Does that mean the Father actually considers him guilty? There are senses. In a deep sense (does the word ‘ontological’ fit here?) Christ was, is, and always will be perfectly righteous. God is not fooled. But in a practical sense, Father and Son agree to make Christ sin, to make Christ the curse, and to apply punishment. Is it a legal fiction? Sure, why not?

    Vice versa we are inherently sinful, but CHrist’s alien righteousness is imputed to us and we are rewarded for it (and it is his plan and mission to be righteous for us). Does this mean the Father actually considers us innocent? There are senses. In a deep sense, we were, are, and until glorification will be, sinners. God is not fooled. But in a practical sense, Father and Son agree to impute Christ’s righteousness to us, and treat us accordingly. Is it a legal fiction? Sure, why not? Simul Iustus et Peccator.

  35. Rube,

    So God wills to save some (i.e. he wills to be a Justifier), but he is perfectly Just, so he can’t just forgive and leave his Justice unfulfilled. So penal substitution accords with God’s nature; in order to save men, God willed, and undertook a sacrificial system whereby he established a substitute to receive punishment (aka wrath, I see no difference).

    In whatever system JJS is selling, God’s Justice is never fulfilled. Rather his wrath for sin is distracted like SQUIRREL those dogs in Up. Hey, that sacrifice over there is pretty awesome, I like that a lot. What was I so mad about? Hey, you know what, I was going to give you death, and then Christ over there just went and died — what a coincidence! I guess we’ll just call it even?

    You need to demonstrate that it would be unjust for God to forgive sins without venting his wrath on Christ. That idea has been challenged here for a while now. I have shown that the idea of vicarious wrath-bearing is completely foreign to the way the OT speaks of atonement, as well as to the Levitical system of sacrifices and offerings. You need to reckon with those points before you can just state your contrary view.

    Or, you could simply suggest a passage of Scripture that either specifically teaches that the Father judged Christ a sinner, or generally teaches that God cannot forgive sins simply in response to the sacrifice of the cross.

    Moreover, your position seems to me to be quite blasphemous toward Christ. For you to equate my position that Jesus’ life of humiliation and obedience, culminating in his death on the cross, are in and of themselves infinitely satisfying to the Father with the Father getting distracted by something trivial, is absolutely unbelievable to me. For how much Reformed people accuse Catholics of devaluing the cross, it’s ironic that you would say such a thing. We are the ones insisting (echoing Hebrews, by the way) that Jesus’ sacrifice, as such, is sufficient. You are the ones denying that, and saying instead that something needed to be added to it, namely, the Father’s anger.

  36. Good question at the very beginning:

    What’s the difference between Christ’s martyrdom on a cross, and Peter’s martyrdom on a cross?

    Christ was a divine person who did not owe his existence to Adam. His sacrifice was therefore worth infinitely more as being offered by both God and man.

    Not so good question:

    But you still haven’t grabbed my question; could it be possible/just for God to punish an innocent non-divine man?

    Depends on what you mean. Unbaptized infants, for example, aren’t damned, so it seems to be impossible that God would condemn or damn based on the judgment of a soul of any innocent person. There are cases of temporal punishment, however, where innocents suffer with the guilty collectively. It just doesn’t happen with the judgment of souls, which is more absolute.

    Robert’s question is in the middle:

    There is something unique about divine personhood that means guilt cannot be imputed to Christ in any sense.

    I have contended that all they are doing is rehashing the old “legal fiction” charge against Protestants that guilt and righteousness cannot be transferred without changing the person to whom it is transferred, and that God cannot consider someone legally guilty or righteous unless he actually and personally guilty or righteous in what he does.

    Actually, what I said was that sin and righteousness are fundamental metaphysical categories of person and nature and that God can’t pass a Law that would conflict with the natural law. So God can’t say, for example, that an innocent person is guilty, because that conflicts with the natural law. But the natural law does make provision for the forgiveness of sins, so it is possible for someone who was guilty to later be judged innocent if the sin is removed. The asymmetry is in the metaphysical nature of sin itself; sin is non-being that is in no sense created by God, while God’s positive creative decrees cannot be similarly annulled (which is why God cannot judge as guilty the creation that He called “good”).

    In other words, the asymmetry is that God is the creator of all that is good, but the author of nothing that is evil. That is why God need not judge or punish sin; it does not contradict His creative decree simply to eradicate it. That is Catholic dogma going over a millennium back, all the way to the Second Synod of Orange.

  37. Unbaptized infants, for example, aren’t damned

    Really? Then why did this happen?

    God need not judge or punish sin; it does not contradict His creative decree simply to eradicate it.

    Really? Then why is there eternal hell, instead of annihilation? If God does not need to punish sin, it seems incredibly unmerciful and vindictive to keep administering wrath, instead of just eradicating the damned.

  38. JJS: I am pinning God’s need to exercise his wrath to “Just, and the Justifier”, which is steeped in the context of the cross. I’d still like to hear how your system sees God as Just in his Justifying. Since I’m getting pretty good at guessing your answers, I’ll take a stab: God Justly reckons Christ’s sacrifice to be more good than our sins are bad.

    My problem is that your system seems all higgledy-piggledy; a debt was owed, and Christ paid it, but not in kind.

    Here’s another analogy that you probably won’t like. Say I had a child, and not a very good one: surly, rebellious, not that smart or attractive. But hey, he’s my child and I love him. Then he gets killed by a drunk driver, say, your brother. I naturally demand justice. But you, incredibly sacrificial person that you are, desire to save your brother and propitiate my wrath, so you give me all of your children, who are sweet and obedient and clever and attractive. Sure, it’s a great sacrifice, much better than what I lost, but where’s the Justice?

    And before you “Reform” that scenario, and change it so you go before the judge and plead guilty and accept jail or death in his place, and ask where’s the justice in that? Of course I say that’s the glorious mystery of the Gospel, that Father and Son conspired to do just this for me, and that’s enough to satisfy God’s justice. In my case, I don’t love your brother enough to conspire with you to save him in that way; if you sacrificed yourself in his place, I would not be impressed; my desire for justice would not be satisfied. But God does love his elect that much. Amen!

    Further to the scenario, when you enter a plea of guilty and the judge bangs the gavel, are you guilty or innocent? Intrinsically, inherently, you are innocent, and deserve no punishment. But legally, effectively, and practically, you are guilty, and receive punishment. See, legal fiction! It works!

  39. Ruberad

    Really? Then why is there eternal hell, instead of annihilation? If God does not need to punish sin, it seems incredibly unmerciful and vindictive to keep administering wrath, instead of just eradicating the damned.

    One wonders how much longer Roman Catholicism will keep a doctrine of eternal conscious punishment. The church is now essentially universalistic or, perhaps better, inclusivistic. You and I are separated brethren, not heretics under the curse of God. Even if you reject Christ, you are okay as long as you do so out of invincible ignorance. Of course, that raises the question as to how one draws the line between vincible and invincible ignorance and whether the concept of invincible ignorance is even biblical.

    As sort of an aside but related, generally speaking, those who are most zealous to convince others of the truth of Roman Catholicism, at least in my experience, are Protestant converts who have not really left their Protestantism behind. If everyone is going to be saved by Jesus as long as they follow the light that they do have, what’s the point of taking the gospel to the world. If anything, it does more harm than good because it could take the invincible ignorance away from people who would otherwise be going to heaven. I guess mercy doesn’t triumph after all.

  40. While it is pointless to speak of potentialities and counterfactuals, Hebrews does say that there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood, which would rule out Jesus dying of a heart attack.

    I don’t think that’s necessarily true; blood=life (Gen 9:4, Lev 17, etc), I think that’s a figurative way of saying “there is no remission of sins without death”. Christ, in order to fulfill his mission of earning remission of sins, had to die. Why? Because the wages (punishment) of sin is death. We sin, and that issue must be resolved by a punishment of death. Originally aimed at us, graciously relocated to Christ.

    (a) Death was our punishment, (b) Christ received death, (c) Christ received our punishment, (d) Christ was punished, (e) Christ was declared guilty.

    A-B are uncontested. Do you start rejecting at C or D or just E? As you know, I see no difference.

    Also, I don’t know if you want to get into it here, or if you are reserving these for a future post in this series, but what does it mean that Christ was “made sin for us”, and “made a curse for us”; not merely “made a sinner” (which would still reinforce the Reformed paradigm), not merely “made accursed” (which may leave room for your system), but actually “made sin” and “made a curse”. Christ was made evil, and God judges and destroys evil.

  41. Robert,

    you said, Even if you reject Christ, you are okay as long as you do so out of invincible ignorance. Of course, that raises the question as to how one draws the line between vincible and invincible ignorance and whether the concept of invincible ignorance is even biblical.

    To my knowledge that has never been the teaching. It says, “may,” not “will.”

    You said, “If everyone is going to be saved by Jesus as long as they follow the light that they do have, what’s the point of taking the gospel to the world. If anything, it does more harm than good because it could take the invincible ignorance away from people who would otherwise be going to heaven.”

    Again, “may,” not “will.”

    Hypothetically speaking if only 1% of ignorant people would be saved, would taking the Gospel to the world under what you said still be more harm than good?

    Also, this logic seems to imply the goal is only to get to heaven, rather than knowing Christ and living in Christian communion with others.

    Hunter

  42. Thinking a little more, I take that back, blood does seem to be special. A natural death would not suffice; an unnatural, violent, sacrificial death was required. The rest stands.

  43. Sorry guys, I just reread my comments. I seem to be helping the direction shift off the topic of the article.

    Robert, could you address my question above. I really am curious to your thoughts on this.

    You said, “There is nothing inherent to the divine person that keeps God from imputing guilt to Him, the issue is imputing guilt to any non-guilty person, divine or otherwise. This would essentially destroy the repeated and ill-founded claim that penal substitution violates the Trinity in some kind of unique way.”

    Why would the fact that God could not punish a sinless person for the sins of another, lead to what you said above? Why could they not be individually unique, and non contradictory?

    Or could anyone else address this?

    Thanks

    Hunter

  44. @Ruberad:
    Unbaptized infants aren’t damned. They may be deprived of the beatific vision, but they aren’t damned. That’s one of St. Augustine’s rare mistakes that was eventually corrected.

    As to why there is an eternal Hell, that fits in nicely with JohnS’s point earlier. The union of Christ with humanity is based on common nature. The defeat of death is not a defeat of death for the elect; it is a defeat of death, period. That’s why even the damned are immortal; God created rational beings with immortal souls, and God’s creative will, the good that He creates, is never taken back. With respect to death, it’s not union with the elect but union with all of humanity that brings salvation. The natural consequences of sin are undone for everyone; nobody dies for good anymore. 1 Cor. 15:22 is literally true on its face; all die in Adam, and all are resurrected in Christ. God does not eradicate what He has created; He only eradicates what He did not create (sin, death, non-being).

    So that’s the universal aspect of the atonement, which can’t be limited. There is also a personal aspect in the severance of the relationship with God, which we call death of the soul. That is an inherited condition, likewise incurred by our personal origin from Adam, that is worsened by personal sin. This is the part that can only be cured by God; it is what Christ’s martyrdom does that Peter’s never could, why it matters that He is God. That is the part that is addressed in salvation and damnation; by contrast, death is only a “punishment” by analogy. Note that Christians still die, and if Christ had vicariously suffered the punishment for sin on our behalf, we shouldn’t die just as we shouldn’t be damned. So there’s already a difference between death and damnation that everyone understands; it’s just a matter of proper formulation.

    That’s why the ultimate result of the atonement is a matter of person and will. The common nature means that the nature is saved; death will be defeated, and the fallen will now has the path to full communion by conformity to the image of Christ. But just as Adam had that original capacity of the will, but did not exercise it, so does Christ’s deification of the human will as a faculty require personal engagement.

    Hence, the union of the elect with Christ is personalized and made efficacious by the personal act of will; likewise, damnation results from an act of refusal. And as with the angels, that ultimate choice is eternal; once life ends, the will is fixed in its exercise. That is why Christ’s atonement is universally sufficient but only particularly efficient. It by its very nature defeats death and restores the capacity of the human will for deification, but it does not provide the personal exercise of that capacity, which only individual grace can do. And election is about that individual grace to conform one to Christ and to apply the Cross, not the Cross itself, which relates to the common nature and is therefore universally sufficient.

    That’s why I say that this is all about nature and person. The union of Christ provides a path to salvation through the human nature, both by providing a path through death to resurrection and by providing a path through the will to communion with God and deification. To say that Christ is united to individual sins twists the entire system; it makes the union personal rather than natural on the exact point where personal union would not be possible (i.e., sin). That is why penal substitution, particularly through confusion of death and damnation, throws the entire patristic separation of nature and person out the window.

  45. I think the analogy of light may help with understanding the slightly asymmetrical nature of imputation occurring in one direction but not quite in the other.

    “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~ John 1:4

    Catholics understand fallen man to be in darkness by virtue of being born without the light of sanctifying grace in their souls. Thus, we are like torches which have been extinguished by sin. When the Holy Spirit overshadowed the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the eternal Light of heaven became incarnate as a spark and grew and matured into a pure and fully developed flame. That flame, having become perfect has been passed on to as many “torches” as would receive it. If any torch receives the light of Christ, darkness is expelled from that soul and is illuminated with sanctifying grace. Thus God can declare that torch “luminous” because it actually is luminous. It is no longer dark.

    But the reality of darkness being infused with light does not necessitate that the opposite can also be true (we have “flashlights” but we do not have “flashdarks”). Darkness does not drive out light. Rather, through willful negligence or through an act of determined force, the light can be extinguished in man through mortal sin. If this should occur, one must once again run to the Light of the world to have the torch of his soul rekindled with the Light of sanctifying grace.

    To say this a bit differently, just because the Light of grace can be extinguished in man through a deliberate act of the will, the Eternal Light of the world can never be extinguished by anything; not even by an act of the divine will (for that would require God to sin). Thus God the Father CAN NEVER justly declare His only begotten Son to be anything other than what He actually is: luminosity itself; the fountain and source of sanctifying grace. And the second Person of the Holy Trinity can never be considered by the Father to be anything other than His beloved Son with Whom He is well pleased.

    There is no such thing as “simul iustus et peccator” anymore than there is a such thing as “simul lux et tenebras.”

  46. Rube,

    I am pinning God’s need to exercise his wrath to “Just, and the Justifier”, which is steeped in the context of the cross.

    So you’re “pinning” your entire theory on four words which teach no such thing except by eisegesis and inference by you?

    I’d still like to hear how your system sees God as Just in his Justifying. Since I’m getting pretty good at guessing your answers, I’ll take a stab: God Justly reckons Christ’s sacrifice to be more good than our sins are bad.

    The same question could be asked about how God could justly stop his plague after the golden calf episode simply because Aaron offered incense in the camp. Or about how God could justly accept atonement for sin from the offering of a bag of flour. The answer is that God gets to tell us what appeases him, and what he has said is that he is appeased by the self-sacrifice of his Son. The fact that you don’t consider the offering to be all that impressive just reveals how dishonoring to Christ your position is.

    I mean seriously, the moment you liken the Father’s pleasure with the Son’s sacrifice to a dog being distracted by a squirrel is the moment you may want to consider where your theory has gone wrong.

    My problem is that your system seems all higgledy-piggledy; a debt was owed, and Christ paid it, but not in kind.

    If you understood the entire OT economy and the way sacrifices worked, you would have no problem with what I am saying. But as long as you import into the Bible the idea that a bag of flour was suffering divine wrath in the sin offering, or that God could not have been appeased by Aaron’s offering of incense, then yeah, my view will sound off to you, as will those passages.

    Here’s another analogy that you probably won’t like. Say I had a child, and not a very good one: surly, rebellious, not that smart or attractive. But hey, he’s my child and I love him. Then he gets killed by a drunk driver, say, your brother. I naturally demand justice. But you, incredibly sacrificial person that you are, desire to save your brother and propitiate my wrath, so you give me all of your children, who are sweet and obedient and clever and attractive. Sure, it’s a great sacrifice, much better than what I lost, but where’s the Justice?

    Again, you’re just dictating to God about what is just, and insulting Christ in the process. I am making a long and detailed case that the cross is what inaugurated the grace of the gospel, a case that you are just ignoring by offering objections that fail to take into account anything that has been said heretofore.

    Please, feel free to either interact with some of the passages I have already brought up, or adduce a new one that actually teaches your view (and no, “pinning” it all on four words from Rom. 3 doesn’t count!).

  47. Just came across this passage in Ott:

    When Holy Scripture designates Christ’s precious blood, or the giving up of His life, as a ransom-price for our sins, the basic thought is that the atonement offered is of equal value to the guilt of the sins. Cf. 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Tim. 2:6.

    The intrinsic reason of the adequacy of Christ’s atonement lies in the Hypostatic Union. Christ’s actions possess an intrinsic infinite value, because the principium quod is the Divine Person of the Logos. Thus Christ’s atonement was, through its intrinsic value, sufficient to counterbalance the infinite insult offered to God, which is inherent in sin. According to the teaching of the Scotists and the Nominalists, it was adequate only by virtue of God’s external acceptance.

    Ott, L. (1957). Fundamentals of Catholic dogma (pp. 187–188). St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company.

  48. So you’re “pinning” your entire theory on four words which teach no such thing except by eisegesis and inference by you?

    Nice try. I deliberately eschewed the word “entire”. I’m pinning it on the entirety of the greatest paragraph in scripture, which is all about the cross; also on “made sin for us” and “becoming a curse for us”, and also how those passages bear on everything in Hebrews you quoted.

    If you understood the entire OT economy and the way sacrifices worked…

    It’s all just circular; the OT sacrifices were all types and shadows of Christ’s sacrifice; they all had no meaning at all except in light of Christ’s sacrifice, so the fact that some OT sacrifices did not involve blood is neither here nor there.

    @Jonathan: I can’t even understand all those words you said. I guess I’m just not smart enough to be a Cat’lick.

    [Robert sez] “those who are most zealous to convince others of the truth of Roman Catholicism, at least in my experience, are Protestant converts”

    I don’t think that’s very significant; the most zealous Reformed I know are either converted Even Jellyfishes or Roamin Cat Lickers.

    Please, feel free to either interact with some of the passages I have already brought up

    Nah, I figger I’ve said my piece, and gotten all the answers I’ll get. I’ll duck out now and wait for your treatment of “made him to be sin” and “becoming a curse for us”.

    Ciao for niao…

  49. Schopenhauer was correct when he opined, exercises like this eristic dialectic, is mainly concerned with promulgating dishonest stratagems, 38 to be exact. Only logic pursues truth while the eristic dialect has no objective truth in view, but only the appearance of it, and it pays no regard to truth itself because it aims at only victory.
    AMF yoyo.

  50. @Ruberad:
    Oh, is that all? “Made him to be sin” means “made him to be a sin offering,” and “becoming a curse for us” means “suffering the curse of the law,” i.e., undergoing a shameful death.

  51. OK, that’s an interesting way to use words. Where does ‘offering’ come from, and how does ‘sin’ move from the accusative (object of ‘be’) to a modifier for ‘offering’? Also, I think you mispronounced, it’s not “accursed”, it’s “a curse”.

    I’ll wait for another post though. This thread has taken up too much of my time already.

  52. RUBERAD July 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    OK, that’s an interesting way to use words. Where does ‘offering’ come from,

    From Scripture:
    Hebrews 10:10
    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    and how does ‘sin’ move from the accusative (object of ‘be’) to a modifier for ‘offering’?

    It certainly doesn’t mean “to commit sin” for us. That would contradict Scripture:
    Hebrews 4:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    Therefore, it can only mean that He was made a “sin offering” for us, since Scripture expressly says so elsewhere.

    Also, I think you mispronounced, it’s not “accursed”, it’s “a curse”.

    No. You said that on RUBERAD July 23, 2013 at 8:32 am. I quote:

    Also, I don’t know if you want to get into it here, or if you are reserving these for a future post in this series, but what does it mean that Christ was “made sin for us”, and “made a curse for us”; not merely “made a sinner” (which would still reinforce the Reformed paradigm), not merely “made accursed” (which may leave room for your system), but actually “made sin” and “made a curse”. Christ was made evil, and God judges and destroys evil.

    We don’t believe that Jesus was made evil. He paid for our debt by suffering our curse.

    I’ll wait for another post though. This thread has taken up too much of my time already.

    Ok.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  53. Aaargh, I try to get out, but you pull me back in!

    De Maria, your reply goes no distance to addressing my questions.

    Where is ‘offering’ in the context of 2 Cor 5:21 (the word appears no where in 2 Cor, or 1 Cor for that matter) “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Is Christ made to be a sin [offering] so that we might become a righteousness [offering]?

    Concerning ‘a curse’ vs ‘accursed’; The bible says Gal 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us”. ‘curse’ acts here as a noun, the object of ‘becoming’. I never said ‘accursed’; I put those words in your mouth originally, and Jonathan confirmed that sense by claiming “becoming a curse” means “suffering the curse of the law”, i.e. “becoming accursed”.

    Please don’t reply with more of the same. I’m trying to wait for JJS to post separately.

  54. Robert,

    You said to me:

    I don’t have the Hebrew in front of me, but if you are right, then you are actually committing the word-concept fallacy. The Word-concept fallacy in its elementary form assumes that if the same word is used in two places, the meaning of the word must be the same. You are committing the word-concept fallacy backwards and assuming that if two different words are used, two different concepts are in view.

    I’m committing the word-concept fallacy “backwards”? This kind of argumentation destroys any hope of meaningful exegesis since you’re basically saying you get to decide what words mean by fiat.

    As far as the birds—one of them is still killed.

    Sorry, but your response doesn’t fly (pun intended). You missed the entire point of what I said in appealing to the parallel account in Lev 14, where there are two birds (just like there were two goats), one of them killed (like the first goat) and the other set free (like the scapegoat). That’s just one of the *many* parallels between Lev 14 and Lev 16.

  55. Nick,

    No, Nick. I am saying that you are assuming that just because two different words are used, that means that the two concepts must be the same. I am not deciding the meaning of words by fiat. What I am saying is that you have to actually prove that the words mean different things in their contexts. As is typical of most who commit exegetical fallacies, you haven’t done that.

    How many years of Hebrew have you had, by the way? And Greek?

  56. Nick,

    I missed the point of what you said because there is no point there. One dies. One is cut off from the camp.

  57. Robert,

    Our point is also that the fact that other things, such as sacks of flour, can also be used as sin offerings (things which are not fit to bear guilt and which cannot bear punishment), calls into question the overall idea that these sacrifices were bearing guilt and being punished in the first place.

    Just as with the aqeda, sacrifices are to be understood as gifts that are dear to the ones giving them. That paradigm makes much more sense of the OT data than p-sub does, for the reasons I have stated.

  58. Jason,

    Or you could just see the sack of flower as a gracious provision for the extremely poor who could not otherwise afford an animal of any kind since that is what Leviticus 5 actually says. Then, you could see that the OT sacrifices of any kind didn’t have any intrinsic efficacy of any kind, which is what Hebrews says. Then, you could see that even those who could only offer a sack of flour had to have their sins covered by the Day of Atonement ritual wherein the sins of the whole nation are atoned for. Of course, then you would actually truly have to believe what Hebrews saying that there is no forgiveness of sin possible without the shedding of blood.

  59. Robert,

    There is no indication the Free Bird was being cut-off or enduring some death sentence…especially because the issue at hand in Lev 14 is that of leprosy, not guilt from sin. So how does a disease warrant the death penalty? It doesn’t.

    And you actually touched upon something devastating to Psub. There were TWO goats that day for two events. Now Protestants would say each goat signified PSub…but that’s blatant double jeopardy! BOTH goats receiving the ONE guilt of the people and the ONE death penalty the people deserved.

    The only way out of that bind is to say one goat or the other wasn’t having the people’s guilt imputed and wasn’t dying in their place. But if you admit that, then you simply put yourself into another bind of having to explain why the slain goat wasn’t enduring PSub.

  60. Nick,

    Or you could not apply an anachronistic concept of double jeopardy which refers to the same person being tried twice for the same crime and not to two different individuals being punished for the same crime. Then, what you could do is realize that perhaps God used two different goats in order to depict the fullness of the atonement, which is not limited to propitiation but also includes expiation and other things. It might be wild to think that perhaps God gave many different kinds of animal sacrifices to prepare the people for what the death of one person would accomplish instead of just sending the one person to die without a context, but maybe that’s just what He did. Then what you could do is stop thinking that two passages necessarily have relevance to one another simply because they have a similar structure in some ways, particularly when the subjects of both passages are different.

    You simply cannot exegete your way into Roman Catholicism. In centuries past, asking the Magisterium where they found a teaching in the Bible could get yourself killed. Rome has lightened up on that, thankfully, but it remains anachronistic to try and prove Roman Catholicism by Scripture.

  61. Robert,

    I missed this last response to gave, but I’m confused about what you’re saying:

    I am saying that you are assuming that just because two different words are used, that means that the two concepts must be the same. I am not deciding the meaning of words by fiat. What I am saying is that you have to actually prove that the words mean different things in their contexts.

    My claim is that (a) nothing in the Leviticus 16 context indicates the Scapegoat is being “sending off” in the sense of being sent off to die, and (b) the terms used in Leviticus 16 are not the *standard* terms for “cut off” that is frequently mentioned throughout the Torah for people committing certain grave offenses.

    What the Protestant is doing is simply assuming that the “sending off” most certainly refers to the same “cutting off” of sinful Israelites. That’s a bare assertion without any basis in (a) context or (b) terminology.

    The Protestant approach in this case isn’t exegesis but rather agenda driven. And the Protestant really cannot back down and concede any truth/fairness about the Catholic claim here because of the slippery-slope they readily recognize that it puts them on.

  62. Robert,

    You said:

    Or you could not apply an anachronistic concept of double jeopardy which refers to the same person being tried twice for the same crime and not to two different individuals being punished for the same crime.

    That’s just word games, you surely understand what I’m saying: A substitute receives the guilt of a sinner and undergoes the death penalty in their place. Then a second substitute receives that same guilt of a sinner and undergoes the same death penalty in their place. Something is wrong with this picture, double jeopardy.

    Then, what you could do is realize that perhaps God used two different goats in order to depict the fullness of the atonement, which is not limited to propitiation but also includes expiation and other things.

    This is just what I said you’d be forced to do, which is concede that one of the goats didn’t model PSub! Now which of the goats wasn’t modeling Psub (or “propitiation” as you called it)? I’m sure if you answer that you’ll see the conundrum you’re in.

    Then what you could do is stop thinking that two passages necessarily have relevance to one another simply because they have a similar structure in some ways, particularly when the subjects of both passages are different.

    Are you sure you believe in Scripture-interprets-Scripture?

  63. something devastating to Psub. There were TWO goats that day for two events. Now Protestants would say each goat signified PSub…but that’s blatant double jeopardy! BOTH goats receiving the ONE guilt of the people and the ONE death penalty the people deserved.

    Neither goat actually receives guilt or acts as an effectual substitute. They are merely signs; they both merely signify different aspects of Christ’s singular sacrifice.

    This goes for the bag of flour as well, which is why Robert above (“…Of course, then you would actually truly have to believe what Hebrews saying that there is no forgiveness of sin possible without the shedding of blood.”) is devastating to this non-Psub argument.

  64. Note of course, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” I’m pretty sure it is also impossible for a bag of flour to take away sins.

  65. Rube,

    You said:

    Neither goat actually receives guilt or acts as an effectual substitute. They are merely signs; they both merely signify different aspects of Christ’s singular sacrifice.

    Whether the goat “actually receives” guilt is irrelevant. The ceremony itself had to be coherent.

    It would make no sense for the High Priest to figuratively transfer the guilt off of the people onto the first goat, slay it in place of the people, and then after that transfer the guilt AGAIN off of the people onto the second goat and have that goat killed in their place.

    As for the phrase “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins,” most Protestants rip this verse right out of context (nor do they even quote the full verse). The context is that of blood purifying and ratifying a covenant, nothing about the term “shedding of blood” necessitates Psub; that’s just a presumption.

  66. I am not using “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” to positively prove Psub; I am using it to negatively disprove the notion that the ‘bag of flour’ example is useful for limiting the scope of Christ’s atonement.

    I don’t see the problem with two goats in sequence. Don’t we receive Christ’s body, broken for our sins, and also Christ’s blood, shed for our salvation?

  67. The bag of flour example has a limited but useful purpose: to show that a sin offering could be made without killing. The Protestant notion that God cannot forgive without an innocent substitute getting punished is instantly disproved. The phrase “without the shedding of blood,” in context, is focused primarily on covenant inauguration.

    As for your comment:

    I don’t see the problem with two goats in sequence. Don’t we receive Christ’s body, broken for our sins, and also Christ’s blood, shed for our salvation?

    Christ’s body and blood are not akin to two goats.

  68. Nick,

    Again, you are missing the obvious. The bag of flour is a concession in God’s grace to those who were extremely poor.
    If it was normative that a bag of flour could take away sin, the rich man could have done it as well.

    And these people were covered anyway under the Day of Atonement when blood was shed for the entire nation. Even all you ever had to offer was a bag of flower, blood still had to be shed once a year in your behalf.

  69. RUBERAD July 24, 2013 at 7:28 am
    Aaargh, I try to get out, but you pull me back in!

    I someone twisting your arm?

    De Maria, your reply goes no distance to addressing my questions.

    I thought I addressed them very well. Let me reiterate:

    DE MARIA July 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm
    RUBERAD July 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    OK, that’s an interesting way to use words. Where does ‘offering’ come from,

    From Scripture:
    Hebrews 10:10
    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    and how does ‘sin’ move from the accusative (object of ‘be’) to a modifier for ‘offering’?

    It certainly doesn’t mean “to commit sin” for us. That would contradict Scripture:
    Hebrews 4:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    Therefore, it can only mean that He was made a “sin offering” for us, since Scripture expressly says so elsewhere.

    Also, I think you mispronounced, it’s not “accursed”, it’s “a curse”.

    No. You said that on

    RUBERAD July 23, 2013 at 8:32 am. I quote:
    Also, I don’t know if you want to get into it here, or if you are reserving these for a future post in this series, but what does it mean that Christ was “made sin for us”, and “made a curse for us”; not merely “made a sinner” (which would still reinforce the Reformed paradigm), not merely “made accursed” (which may leave room for your system), but actually “made sin” and “made a curse”. Christ was made evil, and God judges and destroys evil.

    We don’t believe that Jesus was made evil. He paid for our debt by suffering our curse.

    I’ll wait for another post though. This thread has taken up too much of my time already.

    Ok.

    Sincerely,
    De Maria

    Where is ‘offering’ in the context of 2 Cor 5:21 (the word appears no where in 2 Cor, or 1 Cor for that matter)

    “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

    The word “offering” does not need to be there in order for the sense of the word to be there. Do you believe that Jesus was made a sinner? If you do, then you contradict the Word of God:
    Hebrews 4:15
    For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    Is Christ made to be a sin [offering] so that we might become a righteousness [offering]?

    That is correct. Have you not read in Scripture?
    Romans 12:1
    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

    Concerning ‘a curse’ vs ‘accursed’; The bible says Gal 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us”. ‘curse’ acts here as a noun, the object of ‘becoming’. I never said ‘accursed’; I put those words in your mouth originally,

    1. That is unethical. Don’t put your words in my mouth.
    2. You have just admitted that we didn’t say it.
    3. You have also admitted that you said it.

    and Jonathan confirmed that sense by claiming “becoming a curse” means “suffering the curse of the law”, i.e. “becoming accursed”.

    Again,
    1. the words, “becoming accursed” are yours.
    2. you don’t seem to get the difference between suffering someone else’s curse and being cursed. Jesus was never cursed, therefore never accursed. Jesus suffered the curse due to us because of our sins in our stead.

    Big difference.

    Please don’t reply with more of the same. I’m trying to wait for JJS to post separately.

    All you’re going to get is the same because, unlike Protestants, we don’t make up our theology as we go along.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  70. Robert,

    The bag of flour is but ONE of MANY details the Bible, particularly Leviticus, gives for why the Sacrifices didn’t operate in a PSub framework. You seem to be under the impression that this is the strongest argument Catholics have and so we’re desperately clinging to it. Really, what this whole series is about is something much bigger and most significant, which is that there isn’t any good Biblical evidence of PSub, despite the fact it’s toted as the cornerstone of the Gospel. The unbiased observer will notice one trend throughout all these posts and comments, and that is they will see that Catholics are not forcing anything onto the Bible and letting it speak for itself.

    The glaring problem in this whole thread, which is an all too common occurrence, is that Jason’s Hebrews passages have been all but ignored, despite the fact 2:14-17 and 5:7-9 should be the most central. The Book of Hebrews is absolutely silent on PSub (and even ‘more silent’ on Active Obedience), leaving Protestants to respond with saying Psub is ‘presupposed’ and shallow ‘without the shedding of blood’ type comments.

  71. Jason,

    A while back you said

    Catholics believe that the cross quenches wrath, that Jesus died as a Substitute, and that he bore our curse and took what we deserve.

    I think you will have trouble reconciling that last portion with Catholic teaching. In what sense can it be said that Christ “took what we deserve”? There is no doubt Christ died a physical death, but there is also no doubt that we deserved much more punishment than just a physical death for our sin against God.

    So, I am honestly just curious if this is just a slip of the tongue or if there is a sense in which Catholics can affirm what you said. It seems like you still want to affirm the PSA phrases of “Christ taking what we deserve” and “Christ paying the penalty for our sin” while not endorsing the doctrine.

    Peace,
    John D.

  72. JOHND July 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm
    Jason,
    A while back you said

    Catholics believe that the cross quenches wrath, that Jesus died as a Substitute, and that he bore our curse and took what we deserve.

    I think you will have trouble reconciling that last portion with Catholic teaching.

    Why? It is Catholic Teaching:
    2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:

    Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me. It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . .
    I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs. . . . You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen.

    In what sense can it be said that Christ “took what we deserve”?

    Christ is God and therefore, immortal. He accepted the physical death which is the wages of sin.

    There is no doubt Christ died a physical death, but there is also no doubt that we deserved much more punishment than just a physical death for our sin against God.

    The Protestant doctrine is based upon the idea that men are “totally depraved”.

    We don’t believe this doctrine. There are men who are wicked and they deserve to burn in hell. Jesus did not take their punishment. If they don’t repent, they will still burn in hell.

    1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary,….

    Jesus died for those who turn to Him and repent of their sins:
    Matthew 9:13
    But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    So, I am honestly just curious if this is just a slip of the tongue or if there is a sense in which Catholics can affirm what you said.

    I’m a Catholic and I affirm what Jason said.

    It seems like you still want to affirm the PSA phrases of “Christ taking what we deserve” and “Christ paying the penalty for our sin” while not endorsing the doctrine.

    I think there is something which Protestants are missing here. You probably think that Jesus died so that we live. It is true. But that saying is spiritual. He laid down His life and took it up again so that we could also die and live again.

    But there is another aspect which Protestants forget. Jesus didn’t die physically so that we wouldn’t die physically. Jesus didn’t take our punishment so that we would take our punishment. Jesus died on the Cross to give us an example how to die on our own cross:
    1 Peter 2:21
    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

    Only if we take our own punishment and die on our own cross will we rise with Christ to eternal life:

    618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”. But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”, for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.” In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.

    Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.

    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  73. De Maria,

    Thanks for your substantial reply. There is only one main point that I still think is unexplained on your view.

    You said,

    Christ is God and therefore, immortal. He accepted the physical death which is the wages of sin.

    Unfortunately, you missed the thrust of my post before when I said: There is no doubt Christ died a physical death, but there is also no doubt that we deserved much more punishment than just a physical death for our sin against God.

    Obviously, physical death is not the only problem facing humanity in Adam. It is not the case that they will die physically (in pain perhaps) but then afterward be ultimately satisfied in the presence of God. Human beings deserve physical death and spiritual death for their sin against God. So, if it is the case that Christ truly “took what we deserve”, then Christ would have to undergo a spiritual death (or something justly equivalent).

    My main point is that I don’t think Catholics affirm that last part, so therefore they don’t mean that Christ “took what we deserve”. Let me know what you think.

    Peace,
    John D.

  74. JOHND July 27, 2013 at 10:11 am
    De Maria,
    Thanks for your substantial reply.

    You’re welcome. Thank you for your courteous tone.

    There is only one main point that I still think is unexplained on your view.

    You said,

    Christ is God and therefore, immortal. He accepted the physical death which is the wages of sin.


    Unfortunately, you missed the thrust of my post before when I said: There is no doubt Christ died a physical death,

    Ok. There is no doubt that Christ died a physical death. We agree there.

    but there is also no doubt that we deserved much more punishment than just a physical death for our sin against God.

    Hm….I think I see what you mean. I think it is something we take for granted, both Catholic and Protestant.

    We call it “Original Sin”. You call it, “total depravity”.

    We believe we fell from grace and became separated from God when Adam committed the Original Sin. This is the spiritual punishment which all of humanity received for our sin. This is the damage which Jesus Christ repaired. He tore the veil asunder so that we could look at God face to face.

    Obviously, physical death is not the only problem facing humanity in Adam.

    Agreed. Adam lost Original Justice, the condition in which God created him. And he lost it not only for himself but for the rest of us as well.

    It is not the case that they will die physically (in pain perhaps) but then afterward be ultimately satisfied in the presence of God. Human beings deserve physical death and spiritual death for their sin against God.

    That is what God meant when He told Adam, “you will die the death.” Adam did not die physically immediately after he ate of the forbidden fruit. But he immediately died in the spirit so that he was no longer in communion with the source of eternal life.

    So, if it is the case that Christ truly “took what we deserve”, then Christ would have to undergo a spiritual death (or something justly equivalent).

    Then, I guess you are correct. We, Catholics, do not believe that Jesus received everything which we deserve. We do not believe that Jesus was ever not in communion with His Father. We do not believe that Jesus was ever separated from His Father. Although upon the Cross, He said, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We believe this was to point the Jews to the Scripture which says:
    Psalm 22:1
    My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?….

    But ends with these words:
    ….31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

    Thus informing them that they are murdering the Messiah.

    619 “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3).

    603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned.405 But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”406 Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.407

    My main point is that I don’t think Catholics affirm that last part, so therefore they don’t mean that Christ “took what we deserve”. Let me know what you think.

    I think I agree. I don’t think that Jesus received everything we deserve in that Jesus did not suffer the effects of Original Sin. Jesus was always in a state of Original Justice. That is why Scripture says:

    ebrews 4:15
    For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.


    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  75. John,

    I’m not sure I was clear. To be perfectly clear, we, Catholics, do not believe that Jesus ever died a spiritual death.

    My question is, do you believe that Jesus died a spiritual death?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  76. De Maria,

    In response to your question:

    1. Not all protestant Christians believe the same thing regarding the specific details of the atonement (nor do all Catholics?).

    2. Those who affirm PSA (mostly Reformed Christians) also affirm that Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the elect. That is, all people became guilty (initially in Adam) and then subsequently in their commission of various sins. This guilt can be understood in two senses: (1) the reatus culpa which is the disorder in the will resulting from the unlawful action and (2) the reatus poena which is the debt of punishment incurred from the unlawful action. [Note: I actually learned this distinction from Dr. Bryan Cross in the comment section of this link http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/04/catholic-and-reformed-conceptions-of-the-atonement/%5D

    3. So, the Reformed position is that Christ, in His suffering and death, took on the debt of punishment of the elect and paid it in full. The inner-workings of this payment (which is what your question centers on) is a more speculative theological question. The WCF states This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it; endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. That last part about Christ “seeing no corruption” speaks to the fact that He took the punishment (reatus poena) but did not have a disordered will that actuality committed sins (reatus culpa). Similarly, the Belgic Confession states So he paid back what he had not stolen, and he suffered–the “just for the unjust,” in both his body and his soul–in such a way that when he senses the horrible punishment required by our sins his sweat became like “big drops of blood falling on the ground.” He cried, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” And he endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.

    4. One objection to PSA is that the punishment endured by Christ is not identical to what the elect deserved, since Christ did not suffer eternally in Hell. However, this objection ignores the fact that the elect are mere human beings and Christ is the God-man. Although mere humans suffer eternal punishment when under God’s wrath, it does not follow that Christ (who suffers the same wrath according to PSA) must suffer eternally. In other words, the punishments do not need to be identical in their outer-workings as long as they are justly equivalent. So, I would affirm Christ underwent spiritual punishment as well as physical punishment that was justly equivalent to what human beings deserved, although He obviously did not suffer eternal torment.

    5. I do not believe Jesus died a spiritual death, though I would affirm He experienced spiritual punishment.

    Sorry for the long-winded answer to a straightforward question. I also think Jason is wrong to say Christ “paid the penalty for our sins” [see the comments in the previous post] is consistent with Catholic teaching.

    Peace,
    John D.

  77. JOHND July 28, 2013 at 11:36 am
    De Maria,
    In response to your question:

    Hi John,

    You said:
    Sorry for the long-winded answer to a straightforward question.

    No problem. However, I’d like to cut to the chase in order to more plainly produce an apples to apples comparison.

    I previously said:

    I’m not sure I was clear. To be perfectly clear, we, Catholics, do not believe that Jesus ever died a spiritual death.

    And then I asked:
    My question is, do you believe that Jesus died a spiritual death?

    Your direct reply to this question is:

    5. I do not believe Jesus died a spiritual death,

    Which, if you agree that spiritual death means being at odds with God or somehow separated from the love of God, then we agree.

    though I would affirm He experienced spiritual punishment.

    What, then, is your definition of spiritual punishment? Are you saying that the Divine Being of Jesus, Jesus the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was punished? For what crime?

    Here is what we believe of God:
    Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

    In order for Jesus to suffer spiritual punishment, he must first suffer spiritual separation from God. As I understand it, spiritual punishment is essentially the same as spiritual death. Again the Scripture says:
    Matthew 25:46
    And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:

    That is spiritual punishment. It is synonymous with the second death:
    Revelation 21:8
    But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    So, how do you define “spiritual punishment”?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  78. JOHND July 28, 2013 at 11:36 am
    De Maria,
    In response to your question:

    Hi John,
    this is a response to the rest of your points.

    1. Not all protestant Christians believe the same thing regarding the specific details of the atonement

    Agreed.

    (nor do all Catholics?).

    Its not a matter of what Catholics believe. It is a matter of what Catholics accept. We accept the Teaching of the Church and affirm its truth based upon our faith in Jesus Christ. That is true whether we understand it or not.

    In my opinion, Protestants frequently confound believe and understand. They think they must understand everything they believe. We don’t. We believe the teaching of the Church whether we understand it or not.

    For a Protestant, believing is understanding.
    For a Catholic, believing is faith.

    2. Those who affirm PSA (mostly Reformed Christians) also affirm that Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the elect. That is, all people became guilty (initially in Adam) and then subsequently in their commission of various sins. This guilt can be understood in two senses: (1) the reatus culpa which is the disorder in the will resulting from the unlawful action and (2) the reatus poena which is the debt of punishment incurred from the unlawful action. [Note: I actually learned this distinction from Dr. Bryan Cross in the comment section of this link http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/04/catholic-and-reformed-conceptions-of-the-atonement/

    I didn’t see any mention of Christ in his explanation. He used it in respect to a baptized infant:
    Guilt is an intrinsic disorder of the will. The reatus culpa [i.e. guilt] is the disorder in the will, and remains until the person is forgiven, by way of the reordering of the will back to God in love. And the reatus culpa is distinct from the reatus poena (i.e. debt of punishment) that also remains after the act, until the debt is forgiven or paid. The newborn infant, prior to baptism, has neither reatus culpa nor reatus poena. Rather, he lacks sanctifying grace and charity.

    Now, since we believe that Jesus is completely innocent, like a newborn infant, and has neither reatus culpa nor reatus poena. Further, Jesus does not lack sanctifying grace nor charity since He is the source of both:
    John 4:10
    Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

    3. So, the Reformed position is that Christ, in His suffering and death, took on the debt of punishment of the elect and paid it in full. The inner-workings of this payment (which is what your question centers on) is a more speculative theological question. The WCF states This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it; endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. That last part about Christ “seeing no corruption” speaks to the fact that He took the punishment (reatus poena) but did not have a disordered will that actuality committed sins (reatus culpa). Similarly, the Belgic Confession states So he paid back what he had not stolen, and he suffered–the “just for the unjust,” in both his body and his soul–in such a way that when he senses the horrible punishment required by our sins his sweat became like “big drops of blood falling on the ground.” He cried, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” And he endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.

    This gives me another opportunity to provide an apples to apples comparison on what Catholics believe on this matter. I’ll paraphrase what you said, but I’ll provide the Catholic position:

    So, the CATHOLIC position is that Christ, in His suffering and death, took on the debt of punishment of the WORLD and paid it in full. The inner-workings of this payment (which is what THE question centers on) is a more speculative theological question FOR PROTESTANTS. IT IS NOT SPECULATIVE AT ALL FOR CATHOLICS SINCE WE UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT IN THE HOLY TRINITY. The WCF states This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it; endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body;

    Here, I can’t simply paraphrase, but I must interject because it is a blatant error which can’t be resolved by a mere change of words. It must be explained.

    His body being a part of His soul. To a Catholic, the soul is the combination of body and spirit. Because His body suffered, His soul suffered. But His spirit never did.

    365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

    The spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit and thus God or Divinity. God can not suffer. God does not suffer:

    693 Besides the proper name of “Holy Spirit,” which is most frequently used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit of the promise, the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, and the Spirit of God – and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of glory.

    was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death,

    Again, I must interject. Jesus was never under the power of death. Death was always under the control of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the master of life and death. Jesus was not killed. He was not put to death. That is how it appeared to mortal men who lived in the flesh. But to the Spiritual man, it is understood that Jesus laid down His life and took it up again:

    John 10:17
    Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

    yet saw no corruption. That last part about Christ “seeing no corruption” speaks to the fact that He IS NOT GUIILTY ACCEPTED the punishment (reatus poena). HE did not have a disordered will that actuality committed sins (reatus culpa). Similarly, the Belgic Confession states So he paid back what he had not stolen, and he suffered–the “just for the unjust,” in both his body and his soul.

    BUT KNOWING THAT MANY WILL NOT ACCEPT HIS SACRIFICE BUT HE WILL SUFFER AND DIE IN VAIN FOR THEIR SINS–his sweat became like “big drops of blood falling on the ground.” AS A SIGN TO THE HEBREWS THAT THEY WERE MURDERING THE MESSIAH, He cried, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” IN ORDER TO POINT THEM TO THE SCRIPTURES, PSALM 21. YET he endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.

    4. One objection to PSA is that the punishment endured by Christ is not identical to what the elect deserved, since Christ did not suffer eternally in Hell.

    This is an objection? You would have God punished eternally in hell?

    PSA is already blasphemous enough without adding even further sin by demanding the eternal death of God. What are you thinking? !!!

    However, this objection ignores the fact that the elect are mere human beings and Christ is the God-man.

    PSA ignores that already. This further blasphemy is simply Satan seeing how far he can make you fall.

    Although mere humans suffer eternal punishment when under God’s wrath, it does not follow that Christ (who suffers the same wrath according to PSA) must suffer eternally.

    Christ is God and therefore it is absolutely stupid, and I say this in the nicest way, to say that God suffers God’s wrath. God is perfect. God is not a man that he should be schizophrenic.

    In other words, the punishments do not need to be identical in their outer-workings as long as they are justly equivalent.

    God determines what is just. Not you. God has said that His Son is beloved and without sin. The only just response is reward, not punishment.

    So, I would affirm Christ underwent spiritual punishment

    And here is where the Catholic Church parts ways with Protestants. We do not believe that Jesus was spiritually punished. We don’t believe that Jesus was punished AT ALL.

    Jesus laid down His physical life in order to take it up again. In order to show that He is God. In order to show that He is life:
    John 14:6
    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    Jesus accepted our punishment, not so that we would not be punished. But in order that we would learn how to accept the will of God and receive our punishment in union with Him:
    1 Peter 2:21
    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

    Jesus paid for the sins of all men. Not just the elect. But only the elect would accept His sacrifice and be saved.

    as well as physical punishment that was justly equivalent to what human beings deserved, although He obviously did not suffer eternal torment.

    The only ones who deserve eternal punishment are those who never repent of their sins.

    5. I do not believe Jesus died a spiritual death, though I would affirm He experienced spiritual punishment.

    That depends on how you define spiritual punishment. Spiritual punishment is not due to anyone who has not sinned.

    Sorry for the long-winded answer to a straightforward question. I also think Jason is wrong to say Christ “paid the penalty for our sins” [see the comments in the previous post] is consistent with Catholic teaching.

    I disagree. I think Jason was responding to a slightly different question. As was I, originally. But you went a bit deeper and that other level of depth is still answered more reasonably by the Catholic Church’s Teaching.


    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  79. De Maria,

    I did not have any ultra-precise definitions in mind, but the following are what I was thinking:

    Spiritual punishment = punishment that is not physical in nature

    Spiritual death = eternal punishment

    So, I consider spiritual death to be a type of spiritual punishment, but I would also think there are spiritual punishments that do not necessitate spiritual death. It then follows from these (imprecise?) definitions that Christ suffered spiritual punishment but not spiritual death on the cross.

    Peace,
    John D.

  80. De Maria,

    Thanks for the detailed reply. This is not a response to all that you said, but I just want to point out two places where some of the PSA language is sneaking into your explanations. Perhaps you have good reason to use the language and mean it in a different sense, but I still waiting for you or Jason to explain that to me.

    You said:

    Jesus accepted our punishment, not so that we would not be punished. But in order that we would learn how to accept the will of God and receive our punishment in union with Him

    And you said:

    Jesus paid for the sins of all men. Not just the elect. But only the elect would accept His sacrifice and be saved.

    My main point is still that “Jesus accepting our punishment” and “Jesus paying for our sins” sounds more like PSA to me than the (Catholic) Anselm-Aquinas satisfaction theory. I may be missing something, so please explain!

    For the record, I was not saying PSA demands that Jesus be punished eternally in Hell. Rather, objectors to PSA demand that Jesus must be consigned to Hell for eternity if that description of the atonement is to be consistent. I don’t think their objection is sound.

    Also, you are correct that Dr. Bryan Cross did not apply the reatus culpa/reatus poena distinction to Christ. I was just speaking to the fact that I learned to of the distinction in the meaning of ‘guilt’ from him, not that he agreed with PSA which obviously he doesn’t.

    Peace,
    John D.

  81. JOHND July 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm
    De Maria,
    I did not have any ultra-precise definitions in mind,

    Ok.

    but the following are what I was thinking:
    Spiritual punishment = punishment that is not physical in nature

    For instance, the suffering of Original Sin. A punishment which does not completely sever us from the grace of God. Although it results in a fallen nature.

    Spiritual death = eternal punishment

    Agreed.

    So, I consider spiritual death to be a type of spiritual punishment,

    Which we previously agreed that Jesus did not receive.

    but I would also think there are spiritual punishments that do not necessitate spiritual death.

    Such as the ones which we believe are received by the imperfect souls in purgatory.

    Where, when and why do you believe that one receives spiritual punishments?

    It then follows from these (imprecise?) definitions that Christ suffered spiritual punishment but not spiritual death on the cross.

    That is what you believe follows. But we see a different sequence. The existence of spiritual punishment does not necessitate that Jesus be spiritually punished. Jesus is innocent of any sin and Jesus is God. Two very good reasons why He should not be punished as though guilty of sin.

    First, who would spiritually punish Jesus? The only One capable of punishing Jesus spiritually is the Father. But that leads to the second question.

    Second, for what reason would God the Father punish His Son? God the Father is perfectly righteous and perfectly just. He would not punish an innocent person for anyone else’s sins. Least of all His Son.

    So, if you have God the Father spiritually punishing Jesus, then you have God the Father being unjust. We don’t believe that:
    Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

    If we look at Scripture, it is clear that God the Father did not kill Jesus. Jesus said:
    Luke 23:46
    And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

    Jesus gave His spirit to the Father. In so doing, He separated His spirit from His body and His body experienced human death. Jesus laid down His own life. Jesus gave His life to God in payment for our sins.

    Yes, by His stripes we are healed. But His stripes were not administered by God the Father. They were administered by men under the direction of their father, the devil. God the Father permitted this for the same reason He permitted Job to suffer. Not in punishment for any sin, but in order to show the perfection of their love. This is why the Scripture says:
    Hebrews 2:10
    For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

    When He suffered, it was not so that we would not suffer. It was to give us an example:

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

    In order that we would be made perfect by suffering:

    1 Peter 5:10
    But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

    Soooo…obviously, we have two different views, two different understandings of the Atonement. I can talk til I’m blue in the face, I doubt if I can convince you. And you can type til your fingers fall off, I doubt if you can convince me.

    I will tell you this though, I follow the Teaching of the Church which is described in Scripture. The Church which has one Shepherd appointed by Christ (John 21:17). The Church which believes that Baptism is efficacious (Mark 16:16). The Church which holds Tradition as well as Scripture (2 Thess 2:15). The Church which gives us the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:27) and insists upon attendance at Mass (Heb 10:25-31). And the Church which the Scripture describes as the Pillar of Truth (1 Tim 3:15) and the Teacher of the Wisdom of God (Eph 3:10).

    That is the Rock upon which I stand. Undoubtedly you’ll say, “I have Scripture!” My retort is, “I also have Scripture! But I also have Tradition and the Magisterium.”

    Anyway, we obviously have two different points of view. I think we have each explained them in a manner which can be compared and contrasted. Let the reader decide which he believes is more logical and more in line with the Word of God.

    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  82. Hi John, I was still studying your previous message and crafting a response, when I saw this one.

    JOHND July 28, 2013 at 5:31 pm
    De Maria,
    Thanks for the detailed reply. This is not a response to all that you said, but I just want to point out two places where some of the PSA language is sneaking into your explanations.

    We see that differently also John.

    The PSA is an error derived from the orthodox Catholic Doctrine of the atonement. Not the other way around. To put it in your language, “Atonement language is being used in the explanation of PSA.”

    Perhaps you have good reason to use the language and mean it in a different sense, but I still waiting for you or Jason to explain that to me.

    You’ll have to get that explanation from the authors of PSA. We believe that Jesus took our punishment. PSA is an embellishment on that basic doctrine. The embellishments include attributing sin or guilt to Jesus Christ. And attributing an outpouring of anger and rage from the Father to the Son.

    These are the embellishments and additions which Protestants need to explain. They are not supported by Scripture or Tradition.

    You said:

    Jesus accepted our punishment, not so that we would not be punished. But in order that we would learn how to accept the will of God and receive our punishment in union with Him

    And you said:

    Jesus paid for the sins of all men. Not just the elect. But only the elect would accept His sacrifice and be saved.

    My main point is still that “Jesus accepting our punishment” and “Jesus paying for our sins” sounds more like PSA to me than the (Catholic) Anselm-Aquinas satisfaction theory.

    I don’t know about Anselm, but have you actually read what St. Thomas Aquinas said on the matter? If you do, you will find that Jason is stating it almost exactly:

    Excerpt, Question 46. The passion of Christ, Article 3. Whether there was any more suitable way of delivering the human race than by Christ’s Passion?

    I answer that, Among means to an end that one is the more suitable whereby the various concurring means employed are themselves helpful to such end. But in this that man was delivered by Christ’s Passion, many other things besides deliverance from sin concurred for man’s salvation. In the first place, man knows thereby how much God loves him, and is thereby stirred to love Him in return, and herein lies the perfection of human salvation; hence the Apostle says (Romans 5:8): “God commendeth His charity towards us; for when as yet we were sinners . . . Christ died for us.” Secondly, because thereby He set us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in the Passion, which are requisite for man’s salvation. Hence it is written (1 Peter 2:21): “Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.” Thirdly, because Christ by His Passion not only delivered man from sin, but also merited justifying grace for him and the glory of bliss, as shall be shown later (48, 1; 49, 1, 5). Fourthly, because by this man is all the more bound to refrain from sin, according to 1 Corinthians 6:20: “You are bought with a great price: glorify and bear God in your body.” Fifthly, because it redounded to man’s greater dignity, that as man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be a man that should overthrow the devil; and as man deserved death, so a man by dying should vanquish death. Hence it is written (1 Corinthians 15:57): “Thanks be to God who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It was accordingly more fitting that we should be delivered by Christ’s Passion than simply by God’s good-will.

    I may be missing something, so please explain!

    I think what you’re missing is that you think that PSA is the original teaching and Atonement the derivation. But it is the other way around. PSA embellished upon the original Doctrine of atonement.

    For the record, I was not saying PSA demands that Jesus be punished eternally in Hell.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    Rather, objectors to PSA demand that Jesus must be consigned to Hell for eternity if that description of the atonement is to be consistent. I don’t think their objection is sound.

    Why? If Jesus were found guilty of sin, as PSA claims, wouldn’t that mean that He must be consigned to hell?

    In Catholicism we have mortal and venial sin. But Protestants assure me that all sin is mortal. There is no venial. Mortal sin means “death of the spirit”. Their explanation goes something like this. All sin is mortal because God is infinite, therefore any sin against God is infinite.

    Therefore, if Protestants believe that all sin leads to death of the spirit, then it follows that Jesus’ guilt would lead to eternal consignment in hell.

    Also, you are correct that Dr. Bryan Cross did not apply the reatus culpa/reatus poena distinction to Christ. I was just speaking to the fact that I learned to of the distinction in the meaning of ‘guilt’ from him, not that he agreed with PSA which obviously he doesn’t.

    Got it. I was wondering what that was about.

    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  83. De Maria,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your responses are exhaustive (exhausting?). There are always a couple things I wish I made clearer after hearing them. I will respond to a few things, and then we can probably wait for Jason’s post or until I show up on Nick’s blog comments again =)

    You said:

    The existence of spiritual punishment does not necessitate that Jesus be spiritually punished.

    Correct. I did not mean to say that it did. Rather, on PSA theory where Jesus does suffer spiritual punishment, he can do so without suffering spiritual death.

    You also said:

    For what reason would God the Father punish His Son? God the Father is perfectly righteous and perfectly just. He would not punish an innocent person for anyone else’s sins. Least of all His Son.
    So, if you have God the Father spiritually punishing Jesus, then you have God the Father being unjust. We don’t believe that..

    A lot of ink has been spilled on answering this in prior threads. I doubt I can do much better here again. If it is true that PSA necessitates that the Father is unjust or that the Trinity is split, then I would relinquish belief in PSA. However, I don’t think it requires such conclusions.

    You said:

    When He suffered, it was not so that we would not suffer. It was to give us an example

    I agree that He gave us an example of true love. In that sense, He suffered to show us how to suffer for others. In another sense, He suffered so that we would not have to suffer eternal punishment, which we deserved because of our sins.

    You keep saying:

    We believe that Jesus took our punishment. PSA is an embellishment on that basic doctrine.

    But we’ve already agreed you don’t believe this in the sense of Jesus taking all our punishment. Do you mean that “Jesus took our [physical] punishment”?

    You said:

    Have you actually read what St. Thomas Aquinas said on the matter? If you do, you will find that Jason is stating it almost exactly

    I will look at Aquinas more carefully, but I don’t recall him ever saying Jesus paid for our sins or took the punishment that we deserved.

    Lastly, you said:

    ..obviously, we have two different views, two different understandings of the Atonement. I can talk til I’m blue in the face, I doubt if I can convince you. And you can type til your fingers fall off, I doubt if you can convince me.

    I will tell you that the Lord has convinced me that Scripture is the God’s Word. If Scripture teaches an atonement that is contrary to PSA, I would be compelled to relinquish belief in PSA. I used to be a Roman Catholic. If Scripture compelled me to believe Roman Catholicism, then I would relinquish my belief in Reformed doctrine. So, perhaps I’m more easily convinced of things than you, but that is why I always find theological discussions worthwhile.

    Peace,
    John D.

  84. JohnD,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your responses are exhaustive (exhausting?).

    Lol!

    There are always a couple things I wish I made clearer after hearing them. I will respond to a few things, and then we can probably wait for Jason’s post or until I show up on Nick’s blog comments again =)

    Ok.

    Correct. I did not mean to say that it did. Rather, on PSA theory where Jesus does suffer spiritual punishment, he can do so without suffering spiritual death.

    Understood. Just to lay out an apples to apples comparison, that is not possible in Catholic theology because it would entail Jesus being guilty of sin.

    A lot of ink has been spilled on answering this in prior threads. I doubt I can do much better here again. If it is true that PSA necessitates that the Father is unjust or that the Trinity is split, then I would relinquish belief in PSA. However, I don’t think it requires such conclusions.

    Well, you haven’t explained why. You simply give an unsupported opinion. I will set beside your unsupported opinion, the Catholic reason why PSA makes the Father unjust. The reason is that the Word of God says that Jesus is not guilty of any sin. This is expressly taught in the Word of God. Yet, PSA has God holding Jesus guilty.

    I agree that He gave us an example of true love. In that sense, He suffered to show us how to suffer for others.

    You believe that we should suffer for others? That’s a first. That is a Catholic doctrine which Protestants zealously condemn.

    In another sense, He suffered so that we would not have to suffer eternal punishment, which we deserved because of our sins.

    Hm? Who decides what punishment men deserve, in your opinion? Do men decide or does God decide? Who is the just Judge?

    God says there are some who deserve eternal life:
    Revelation 22:
    King James Version (KJV)
    12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
    13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
    14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    So, why do Protestants think they have the right to put their judgment above God’s and claim that all men deserve eternal punishment? God says that the wicked deserve eternal punishment. And the righteous eternal life.

    But we’ve already agreed you don’t believe this in the sense of Jesus taking all our punishment. Do you mean that “Jesus took our [physical] punishment”?

    First, I want to note that you continually ride the fence on this issue.

    Let me explain. You have claimed, previously, that Jesus did not and should not suffer “eternal punishment”.

    Second, But you continually state that this is the punishment which men deserve.

    Third, it is not Catholic Doctrine which teaches that Jesus did not receive the punishment which men deserve. It is your version of PSA.

    So, I think you need to make up your mind. Do you believe that all men deserve “eternal punishment”? If so, then, do you also believe that Jesus must receive this punishment?

    Fourth. As for what you claim I said. I think another problem here is that you are assuming that we function under your presuppositions. You believe in “Totally Depravity” of all men. So, you believe that all men deserve to go to hell.

    We don’t.

    Yes, Jesus took upon Himself the penalty for sin. Death. He laid down His life and took it up again in order to show us that physical death is not the end. And in order to show us that He is the Master of life and death. Therefore, all who follow Him will rise again to eternal life.

    So, at the expense of being exhausting, let me respond to this question differently:

    But we’ve already agreed you don’t believe this in the sense of Jesus taking all our punishment.

    Correct. Jesus was not conceived in Original Sin. Jesus was never in a condition of animosity towards God. Jesus was always in communion with God because Jesus is God.

    Original Sin is the spiritual punishment which Jesus did not take upon Himself.

    Do you mean that “Jesus took our [physical] punishment”?

    The death of the body is both spiritual and physical. The animating spirit is removed from its body. So, the death of the body has both spiritual and physical elements to it.

    Eternal punishment or eternal death is the punishment reserved for the wicked. Not all men are judged wicked by God. Only those who persevere in disobedience to the end. Only those who persevere in mortal sin to the end are judged wicked and condemned to eternal punishment by God. That is clearly repeated in Scripture, over and over again:
    1 Corinthians 6:8-10
    King James Version (KJV)
    8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    I will look at Aquinas more carefully, but I don’t recall him ever saying Jesus paid for our sins or took the punishment that we deserved.

    You are arguing against many proponents of PSA. Because many of them attribute PSA to St. Thomas Aquinas.

    But, lets see if we can isolate some explicit statement by St. Thomas concerning Jesus’ payment for our sins and taking on the punishment we deserve. Remembering that there is a difference between what you think we deserve and what the Word of God says is the penalty for sin.

    St. Thomas said (First Part of the Second Part
    Question: 87, article 7)

    Reply to Objection 3: Christ bore a satisfactory punishment, not for His, but for our sins.

    Now, to my mind, that short sentence expressly says that Christ bore the punishment of our sins and would seem to answer both of your objections.

    Very concisely, he says that Christ made “satisfaction” for our sins. Therefore, He paid the debt due to our sins. And He bore the punishment of our sins. Therefore, accepted the penalty we deserved.

    Again, I believe it is important to note here that Protestants differ with the Catholic Church as to who deserves eternal punishment. We believe only those whom God judges wicked at the end of time deserve eternal punishment.

    In other words, Scripture says the penalty for sin is death. That is the penalty we deserve. Christ accepted that.

    Whereas, you believe the penalty for sin is spiritual death, which is enmity with God. We believe only wicked men deserve that. And we do not believe that Jesus is wicked and therefore, we do not believe that Jesus received that.

    I will tell you that the Lord has convinced me that Scripture is the God’s Word.

    Just to lay our differences side by side, I’d like to note the following:

    1. That is Catholic Teaching. All Catholics must accept the Doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture.

    2. Whereas, many Protestants consider themselves free to deny the inerrancy of the Word of God. And many do so, in part or in full. Beginning with Luther who took out the Deuterocanonicals and ending with the many Protestants who deny the inspiration of Mark 16:16 and 1 John 5:7-8 (i.e. the Johanine Comma) and many others who consider the Scriptures to be a collection of myths.

    If Scripture teaches an atonement that is contrary to PSA, I would be compelled to relinquish belief in PSA.

    It does. PSA is not taught in Scripture. I challenge you to produce it if you claim that it is taught therein. Chapter and verse, please.

    I used to be a Roman Catholic. If Scripture compelled me to believe Roman Catholicism, then I would relinquish my belief in Reformed doctrine. So, perhaps I’m more easily convinced of things than you, but that is why I always find theological discussions worthwhile.

    Great attitude! May God continue to bless and guide you. Here’s a booklet to help you understand the difference between Catholic and Protestant reading of Scripture. I firmly believe that studying the Scriptures will lead people to the Catholic Church.


    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you John,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  85. De Maria,

    Thanks for the reply. I don’t have the time to comment on everything now, but one thing really raised some eyebrows for me.

    Do you believe 1 John 5:7 is inspired? Has the church issued a formal declaration on this?

    Also, does it appear in any Greek manuscript prior to 1000 AD?

    Peace,
    John D.

  86. JOHND July 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm
    De Maria,
    Thanks for the reply. I don’t have the time to comment on everything now, but one thing really raised some eyebrows for me.

    Do you believe 1 John 5:7 is inspired?

    Yes.

    Has the church issued a formal declaration on this?

    It is included in the official Catholic Bible. The Latin Vulgate:

    Decree Concerning The Edition And Use Of The Sacred Books

    Moreover, the same holy council considering that not a little advantage will accrue to the Church of God if it be made known which of all the Latin editions of the sacred books now in circulation is to be regarded as authentic, ordains and declares that the old Latin Vulgate Edition, which, in use for so many hundred years, has been approved by the Church, be in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions held as authentic, and that no one dare or presume under any pretext whatsoever to reject it.

    The Douay Rheims is the English translation of the Latin Vulgate:
    1 John 5:[7] And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.

    Therefore, no one has a right to reject the Johanine Comma.

    Also, does it appear in any Greek manuscript prior to 1000 AD?

    I don’t care. I am not a theologian nor a Bible expert. The Church is the institution which, by God’s authority, put the Bible together and the Church says that it is inspired. I believe the Church is the Teacher of God’s wisdom. Scripture says so:

    Eph 3: [10] That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church,

    That is a major difference between Catholics and Protestants. You discard the authority of the Church. We accept it. When you set aside the authority of the Church, you set aside the authority of the Word of God which the Church brings to every generation in the Traditions of Christ and in the Scriptures.

    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  87. De Maria,

    You do realize that Roman Catholic biblical scholars endorsed by the Vatican reject 1 John 5:7 as part of the original text, right. Most of them would also reject John 7:53–8:11.

    Why is Rome endorsing scholars who deny what you have said the church affirms?

  88. ROBERT July 29, 2013 at 8:14 pm
    De Maria,
    You do realize that Roman Catholic biblical scholars…reject 1 John 5:7….

    It is the Catholic Church which is infallible. Not any purportedly “Roman Catholic” scholars.

    endorsed by the Vatican reject 1 John 5:7 as part of the original text, right.

    If that is true it is because the Catholic Church is infinitely wise. That is why the Scriptures say that she is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth (1 Tim 3:15). Some of the early Church Fathers embraced heresies. But the Catholic Church does not embrace their heresies. The Catholic Church tests all things and holds on to the good. Have you ever heard of that concept before? (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    Most of them would also reject John 7:53–8:11.

    You live distracted by the world and caged up in your own false logic. God ahead and continue following those who are inspired by the prince of this world. I follow the Catholic Church which Jesus Christ appointed to lead men to salvation:

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

    Why is Rome endorsing scholars who deny what you have said the church affirms?

    That is your claim which I don’t believe. You make all sorts of unfounded claims, you twist the meaning of established terms, you make up your own theology, you claim things are in the Bible which are not and then pretend that your word is valid.

    Robert, your messages are a quagmire of lies and errors. On a scale of zero to ten, your credibility is zero.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  89. De Maria,

    I’m sorry, but the Pontifical Biblical Commission has a long history of appointing scholars who either deny what the Roman Catholic Church teaches is found in Scripture or that deny the accuracy of the biblical account. Stick your head in the sand if you must, but if you are interested, there is an abundance of testimony to these facts:

    http://www.americancatholic.org/news/raybrown/

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4071

    If you want to be a traditionalist Roman Catholic, that is great. But just be aware that the Vatican is fine with scholars who deny that Mary said the words of the Magnificat, that Matthew and John did not write the gospels that bear their name, and that the infancy stories are later accretions and have a tenuous link at best to original history.

    Blind zeal is no virtue. 95 percent of biblical scholars in the world today, Protestant and Roman Catholic alike, deny that John 7:53–8:11 and 1 John 5:7 are an original part of Scripture. They agree that they are later additions to what the Apostles actually wrote. I agree with their conclusions. The Vatican agrees by and large with their conclusions today, even if they won’t admit they were wrong in years past.

    Good luck getting any other Roman Catholic on this board to say 1 John 5:7 is from John’s hand.

  90. Robert,

    As I said, you live distracted by the world and caged up in your own false logic.

    I repeat, if what you say is true, it is because the Catholic Church is infinitely wise. That is why the Scriptures say that she is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth (1 Tim 3:15). Some of the early Church Fathers embraced heresies. But the Catholic Church does not embrace their heresies. The Catholic Church tests all things and holds on to the good. Have you ever heard of that concept before? (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    I guarantee you that the Catholic Church considers 1 John 5:7 the inspired Word of God. It doesn’t matter how many Bible scholars speak to the contrary, they are wrong and the Church, the Teacher of God’s Wisdom (Eph 3:10) is right.

    I am grateful for one thing, however, you have confirmed everything I said to John about the difference between Protestants and Catholics. You have proved that Protestants consider themselves free to deny the inerrancy of the Word of God. If it wasn’t for the Church’s guardianship, you would take the Scriptures apart word by word.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  91. Robert said:

    Blind zeal is no virtue.

    That knife cuts both ways. Blind zeal against the Catholic Church is also no virtue. And that is what you continually express. Relying upon your own false logic, you claim that you can see. It will not be until you submit to the Teaching of the Catholic Church that your blindness will be removed:
    John 9:39
    And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  92. Robert,

    De Maria is echoing St. Ignatius of Loyola:

    That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same [http://wps.ablongman.com/long_longman_lwcdemo_1/0,9493,1532993-,00.html]

    Peace,
    John D.

  93. JohnD,

    Indeed.

    Peace to you as well.

    Robert

  94. John,

    You said (JOHND July 30, 2013 at 10:19 am):

    Robert,
    De Maria is echoing St. Ignatius of Loyola:
    That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same [http://wps.ablongman.com/long_longman_lwcdemo_1/0,9493,1532993-,00.html]

    Have you read in Scripture:
    Corinthians 5:7
    For we walk by faith, not by sight:

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

    Do you understand those verses and many more like them to mean that we should put more faith in the teachings of men than in the Teachings of the Church?

    Yes, I believe exactly like St. Ignatius of Loyola. If the Church teaches that the Eucharist is actually the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, which appears to our eyes to be only bread. I believe the Church and not my eyes.

    If the Church teaches that the water of Baptism washes the sins from our soul which appears to our eyes to wash only our body. I believe the Church and not my eyes.

    That is the difference between Protestant and Catholic. We lean not upon our own understanding but upon the Wisdom of God which is taught to us by the Church.

    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  95. De Maria,

    You referenced the Council of Trent to defend the canonicity of 1 John 5:7.

    The relevant passage states:

    If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema.

    To me, this seems to set up two criteria for determining which of the books and their parts should be considered canonical. (1) They must “have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and (2) they must have been “contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition”.

    1 John 5:7 fails both of these criterion. First, it does not appear in the old Latin Vulgate if “old” is held to mean the Vulgate as it was originally translated and passed down. Second, it cannot be shown to have been read in the church because there is no extant copy of it prior to 1000 AD.

    At the very least, would you admit it is an open question in Catholicism whether 1 John 5:7 is Scripture?

    Peace,
    John D.

  96. OHND July 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm
    De Maria,
    You referenced the Council of Trent to defend the canonicity of 1 John 5:7.
    The relevant passage states:
    If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema.

    Corrrect, it also says:” declares that the old Latin Vulgate Edition, which, in use for so many hundred years, has been approved by the Church, ….

    This points directly to the Latin Vulgate translated by St. Jerome.

    To me, this seems to set up two criteria for determining which of the books and their parts should be considered canonical. (1) They must “have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and (2) they must have been “contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition”.

    And the approval of the Church.

    1 John 5:7 fails both of these criterion.

    I don’t agree.

    First, it does not appear in the old Latin Vulgate if “old” is held to mean the Vulgate as it was originally translated and passed down.

    Depending upon whom you believe.

    Second, it cannot be shown to have been read in the church because there is no extant copy of it prior to 1000 AD.

    a. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
    b. It is included in the Clementine Vulgate which dates to the late 3rd early 4th centuries.

    At the very least, would you admit it is an open question in Catholicism whether 1 John 5:7 is Scripture?

    I will admit that you have isolated another difference between Catholic and Protestant. You care ready and willing to declare a portion of the Bible in error. I am not. The difference in your attitude and mine is that you are Protestant and I am Catholic.

    The Catholic Church has used the Johanine Comma in its Liturgies from before I was born. As far as I can see, the Church does not dispute its authenticity. When or if the Catholic Church considers this a question important enough to address, I will stand by the Church’s declaration either way.

    Until that time, I don’t consider myself enough of an authority to go around disputing the infallibility of the Word of God in whole or in part.

    That is the difference between the Protestant attitude with respect to the Word of God and the Catholic attitude.

    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  97. De Maria,

    I too desire to submit to the infallibility of Scripture. I will not question Scripture’s authority. However, the question here is whether 1 John 5:7 is indeed Scripture.

    Apparently, the Catholic Church does deem this an open question, at least in its most recent comments on the issue.

    Catholic answers links to an article in the Catholic encyclopedia that echoes this position: thttp://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-is-the-johannine-gloss

    Also, it is my current understanding that the NAB is read in Catholic mass today in America, and that this bible does not contain the Johannine comma.

    Peace,
    John D.

  98. JOHNDT July 31, 2013 at 8:18 am
    De Maria,
    I too desire to submit to the infallibility of Scripture.

    Ok.

    I will not question Scripture’s authority.

    Ok.

    However, the question here is whether 1 John 5:7 is indeed Scripture.

    Isn’t that YOUR question? How is that NOT questioning Scripture’s authority?

    You’re a Protestant. Therefore you claim to believe in Scripture alone. The quintessential Protestant Bible, the KJV says:
    1 John 5:7
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

    Or, are you saying that the KJV is not an acceptable Bible?

    Do you decide for yourself, which version of the Bible is acceptable?

    In that case, are you the authority over the Word of God?

    Apparently, the Catholic Church does deem this an open question, at least in its most recent comments on the issue.
    Catholic answers links to an article in the Catholic encyclopedia that echoes this position: thttp://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-is-the-johannine-gloss

    The Catholic Church is infinitely wise. She knows that some Catholics would rather jump to their own conclusions rather than wait for her official proclamation. Therefore, since this is a a minor detail on the road to salvation, she will not hold it against them if they err in this regard (1 Corinthians 7:19).

    Also, it is my current understanding that the NAB is read in Catholic mass today in America, and that this bible does not contain the Johannine comma.

    1. But the Latin Mass has used it in the past and is still valid and still uses it.

    2. The Catholic Church has not declared either version to be in error.

    3. However, I find that to be a strange comment from a Protestant. Are you saying that you are following the Teaching of the Catholic Church in regards to this verse? But I thought you followed Scripture alone?

    4. Again, I want to highlight the readiness and eagerness of Protestants to declare certain parts of the Bible to be in error. Your insistence on this is a case in point.

    5. Whereas, Catholics, accept the Teaching of the Church.

    6. The Church has accepted the authenticity of the Clementine Vulgate which contains this verse. And the Church has used and continues to use the verse in its liturgies.

    7. However, Catholics accept the Teaching of the Church and if the Church ever declares this verse to be invalid, we will accept her authority. Scripture says:

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

    You claim to accept the teaching of Scripture. Why don’t you accept that?

    Peace,
    John D.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  99. De Maria,

    I will answer your questions and then wait until Jason’s next post. I thank you for responding to the 1 John 5:7 issue and it is something of which I desire to study further.

    You asked:

    Isn’t that YOUR question? How is that NOT questioning Scripture’s authority?

    That was the question of our short correspondence. I am not questioning Scripture’s authority because I stand ready to submit ti Scripture if 1 John 5:7 is Scripture.

    You asked:

    Or, are you saying that the KJV is not an acceptable Bible? Do you decide for yourself, which version of the Bible is acceptable? In that case, are you the authority over the Word of God?

    I am not saying the KJV is unacceptable. Thankfully, the Lord has preserved His text in such a way that virtually all bible versions are “acceptable” in that they reflect the original languages. I am not competent to rule on whether the ESV or NIV is more appropriate, but I do listen to authorities and arguments regarding select problems with the New World Translations, KJV, or others.

    You asked:

    Are you saying that you are following the Teaching of the Catholic Church in regards to this verse?

    No. I was pointing out that accepting or rejecting the verse is not a test of whether someone submits to the RC Church since the magisterium permits both positions.

    You said:

    The Church has accepted the authenticity of the Clementine Vulgate which contains this verse. And the Church has used and continues to use the verse in its liturgies.

    I would very much appreciate a source or link about the Clementine Vulgate, because I am unfamiliar with it. I am not questioning your facts. I am personally interested in the matter.

    You asked:

    You claim to accept the teaching of Scripture. Why don’t you accept that?

    I certainly accept the inspiration and authority of Ephesians 3:10. Protestants don’t deny that God’s wisdom is known and preached in the church. Here is a puritan’s essay on the what constitutes a true church: http://www.apuritansmind.com/puritan-favorites/francis-turretin/the-marks-of-a-true-church/.

    Peace,
    John D.

  100. JOHND July 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm
    De Maria,
    I will answer your questions and then wait until Jason’s next post.

    Ok.

    Here is a puritan’s essay on the what constitutes a true church: http://www.apuritansmind.com/puritan-favorites/francis-turretin/the-marks-of-a-true-church/.

    Lets see how it compares to Scripture.

    First, the Purtian’s say:

    And because the question can be twofold (the first concerning the true marks, which are asserted by us; the other concerning the false and adulterous which are obtruded by the Romanists),

    The four marks of the Church according to Catholic Teaching is that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.

    The reason being that Christ established one church. The Bible says:
    Matthew 16:18
    And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    Christ established it, so it is holy.
    Christ only established one.
    Christ established it on the foundation of Simon Bar Jonah, an Apostle, therefore it is Apostolic.

    And as for the Catholic mark, Catholic means universal and Christ gave the Church the Great Commission to preach the Gospel to the world:
    Matthew 28:18-19
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    Those are the Catholic marks of the Church. All can be found in Scripture.

    Now, lets see what all the Puritans have to say. Well, they make a lot of noise about marks but they don’t really discuss any until they get a long way down. Let me give you an example of the equivocation in this document. They clam the marks are important because:

    I. … salvation cannot be obtained except in communion with the true church and many glory in this sacred name who are destitute of its truth, it is of great value to know its true marks that we may be able to distinguish the true fold of Christ … we will discuss each separately and now treat of the first.

    Now we go to #II where they will discuss the first. But lo and behold:

    II. By marks, however, are commonly understood certain external signs striking the senses by which we arrive at the knowledge of a hidden thing, which are called by the Greeks gnorismata…. Others are necessary and essential (which are called tekmeria, ….Now we do not here treat of marks of the first order, but of the latter.

    So, what happened to treating of the first? I and II come and go and the marks are still not discussed. Let’s look at III:

    III. For the truth of a mark, various persons require various things. Some re­quire that it be essential, not accidental; proper and not common; certain, clear and sensible, not doubtful and unevident. Others (as Bellarmine) require that it be proper, somewhat known and inseparable. We think only two are required, to which the others are easily referred—that it be proper and that it be somewhat known. For if it is proper, it is also necessary, essential and inseparable; if some­what known, it is evident and sensible.

    Still nothing. Maybe they will discuss something in #IV:

    IV. (1) As the church can-be viewed either as to internal and mystical state and as invisible, or as to external state and as visible and instituted, it can be disputed in different ways about its marks….

    Really? So, the marks can be disputed? Is that an admission that they don’t know of any marks? IV continues:

    …Either inasmuch as it is invisible for recognizing the true elect and believers, in which sense it has for marks faith, hope and love put on by efficacious calling, from which each one is certain of his own calling (2 Pet. 1:10)

    That’s a twisting of Scripture. St. Peter condemns faith alone and OSAS by saying that one mast add many works to faith and maintain diligence in order to assure one’s calling and salvation. But they claim that he says one he proclaims one’s certainly. Let’s read the text:

    2 Peter 1:5 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:

    Note the big IF there. IF you do these things, you will not fall.

    And IV continues:

    and by which he renders it at least probably certain to others (Mt. 5:16; Jam. 2:18). But we do not treat of these marks here….

    So, they do not treat of these marks here either. Ok, maybe in V:

    For the sake of brevity, this paragraph simply says that one of the marks is the profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Which goes without saying since we are talking about the Church which Christ established. The Catholic Church was the first to profess faith in Christ and all other Church learned about Christ from the Catholic Church. So, we can move on to VI.

    Now, I had no idea the Puritan’s believed in the Sacraments but VI says:

    VI…..nor can the pure word of God be preached anywhere without the sacraments being also administered lawfully in the same place and the discipline prescribed in the word of God being observed and thriving, since these two flow from the word of God and are appendages of it.

    And the Catholic Church was the first to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, righteousness and holiness and the Sacraments and it is from the Catholic Church that all other denominations learned these things.

    So, lets move on to VII. Again for the sake of brevity, VII is not about the marks but about the quality of the marks. Some are more important than others, according to the Puritans.

    So, lets move on to VIII. VIII is about obedience. Apparently, the Puritans do not consider the Church to be the Church if there are disobedient elements in the Church. I guess they forgot what Christ said:

    Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:….30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    In #IX, they seek to justify the idea that the Church consists only of those who listen to Christ. They stand upon the verse which says that:
    “My sheep hear my voice and follow me” (Jn. 10:27).

    But Scripture makes them a lie when it says:
    Matthew 7:21
    King James Version (KJV)
    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    Many in Christ’s Church are not His sheep. They are goats. They call Him Lord but they will not be saved.

    In Paragraph X, they seek to distinguish between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven. Claiming that the true Church is only in heaven and not on earth. But, again, Scripture says:
    Acts 2:47
    Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    This is the Church on earth and the Scripture does not distinguish it from the heavenly Church. And in another verse:
    Hebrews 12:22-24
    King James Version (KJV)
    22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

    Indeed, this says that when we are members of the Church on earth, we are members of the heavenly Jerusalem, the heavenly Church.

    XI, the Puritans confirm one of the Four Marks taught by the Catholic Church. Apostolicity. The true Church can be traced to the Apostles. Puritanism can’t be traced to the Apostles. Catholicism can. Therefore they have disproved their own denomination.

    XII. They proclaim that any Church which teaches doctrines contrary to Scripture is a false Church. I guarantee you and we can go doctrine by doctrine. The Catholic Church is the only Church whose doctrines are completely in line with Scripture.

    I believe Purtitans proclaim the idea of justification by faith alone:
    James 2:24
    Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    and they also proclaim scripture alone:
    2 Thessalonians 2:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    Therefore, Puritan doctrine conflicts with Scripture.

    XIII. They reiterate the necessity of preaching and the administration of the Sacraments. Which again surprises me since I didn’t know they held the Sacraments.

    XIV. Says that the Church must teach the Word of God (i.e. Prophecy). The Catholic Church surely does that better than any other Church.

    XV. Here, the Puritans attempt to use the Early Church Fathers in support against the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for them, the Early Church Fathers are all priests of the Catholic Church who submit to the authority of the Pope and the Church. None of them would accept the Puritan religion.

    XVI.

    XVI. (8) Not a few Romanists are on our side here. Bellarmine places holiness of doctrine among the marks of the church and defines it “by a profession of the same Christian faith and participation of the same sacraments” (“De Ecclesia Militante,” 3.2 Opera [1857], 2:75). ….

    Its not as though Bellarmine ever heard of Puritans. In fact, Bellarmine would have been the first to condemn them as a heretical sect.

    XVI. cont’d I’ve never heard of this fellow, Driedo which they quote. But they quote him saying:

    Driedo: “The church is to be known and sought from the Scriptures” (“De ecclesiasticis scripturis et dogmatibus,” 4.4 Opera [1572], 1:239).

    That sounds fair. Let’s see:

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

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

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

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

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

    XVII. Says that those who falsely claim for themselves the marks of the Church are anti-Christs. And thus condemn themselves by their own words.

    XVIII, if I understand it correctly, says the don’t believe in Absolute Assurance, but do know absolutely which Assembly is the true Church. Which, I assume, they claim for themselves that title.

    XIX,

    XIX. Although the pure preaching of the word does not always prevail in the church, it does not follow that this mark is separable from the church and that it is therefore falsely said to be a mark….

    This, I think, contradicts paragraph VI, VIII and XII which respectively speak of preaching the gospel (I assumed that meant preaching it correctly), obedience to the Word of God which speaks of holding true doctrine, and especially XII in which they condemn any teaching contrary to Scripture.

    But, now, preaching in the Church does not need to be pure, which would mean that it doesn’t need to be correct nor true and therefore can be contrary to the Word of God which is without error.

    Go figger.

    XX. Although the dispensation of the word and sacraments are good and gifts to the church, still they are no less its marks since the one is not opposed to the other

    By the word, “word”, I think they mean Scripture. Because if they mean “preaching”, they are reiterating #VI. So, they must mean Scripture. In which case, they should know that the Catholic Church wrote the New Testament based upon the Traditions which Jesus Christ deposited with the Apostles. And it is the Catholic Church which canonized the Old Testament and put the Bible together.

    XXI. Is actually a very Catholic statement except for the introductory sentence. Yes, it is true that the Scripture has authority over the Church. So has Tradition. They, together, make up the Word of God. The Church is the servant of the Word of God. The introductory statement goes like this:

    Better known by nature is one thing; better known by us is another. Scripture is better known by nature than the church because it is the principle and foundation of the church.

    The WORD OF GOD is the principle and foundation of the Church. The WORD OF GOD is found in Scripture and Tradition. And the WORD OF GOD teaches that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15).

    XXII. The idea that doctrine must agree with Scripture is reiterated. And I reiterate that none of the Protestant doctrines which disagree with the Catholic Church are in agreement with Scripture. To put it another way, where a Protestant doctrine disagrees with the Catholic Teaching, it also disagrees with Scripture.

    XXIII. Denies the infallibility of any church and especially the Catholic Church. But Scripture says that the Church is the pillar of truth (1 Tim 3:15) and the Teacher of the Wisdom of God (Eph 3:10). And Scripture describes the Catholic Church.

    XXIV. Essentially says that the regular joe does not need the Catholic Church to determine truth.

    But if all men are fallible. And Scripture says the Church is infallible, as I maintain. Then, it is easy to see that fallible men definitely need the Infallible teaching of the Catholic Church to learn the Wisdom of God.

    XXV reiterates that doctrine should not contradict Scripture. But their Protestant doctrine frequently contradicts Scripture.

    XXVI reiterates that the Church is known by teaching proper doctrine. Which contradicts XIX.

    XXVII. Again, that doctrine should not contradict Scripture. But their doctrine contradicts Scripture, so they shoot themselves in the foot over and over again.

    XXVIII. I think this is still about doctrine and Scripture agreeing as a mark of the Church.

    XXIX. And, they seem to summarize by saying that there is only one mark. The agreement of doctrine and Scripture. And then they claim that the Catholic Church does not agree with Scripture.

    However, if anyone wants to go down the line, I can show you that every doctrine that the Catholic Church teaches is in agreement with Scripture. And every doctrine which Protestants teach in opposition to the Catholic Church, also disagrees with Scripture.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  101. This thread is a bit old, but it could still be possible that this contribution might be of use.

    That the atonement was not by Jesus substituting his punishment for ours, but by Jesus substituting his obedience for our disobedience, might be seen even more clearly by clarifying the meaning of OT sacrifices, specifically the concept of what in them pleased God. Was it the suffering, blood and death of the victim in themselves? Or was the obedience and love of the offerer? In other words, was YHWH acting like an Aztec blood-thirsty god, or was He acting as Love as the Apostle John defines Him in his 1st letter?

    The answer is in these two passages, which are essential for understanding the meaning of OT sacrifices, and therefore of Jesus’:

    And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam 15: 22)

    For I desire steadfast love (*) and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hos 6: 6)

    (*) “steadfast love” is the translation of “chesed” or “hesed”, which means love associated with both loyalty and kindness. Which was lived perfectly by Jesus in its two dimensions: loyal love to the Father, and in that love, kind, merciful love to us.

    So what pleased God was obedience and love, not the suffering and death of the victim “per se”. Which should make clear what the central component in Jesus’ sacrifice was, what was in it that pleased the Father infinitely and atoned for our faults: not his suffering, pouring of blood and death “per se”, but his obedient love to the Father “to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2: 8)

  102. JOHANNES September 25, 2013 at 8:57 am
    This thread is a bit old, but it could still be possible that this contribution might be of use.
    That the atonement was not by Jesus substituting his punishment for ours, but by Jesus substituting his obedience for our disobedience, might be seen even more clearly by clarifying the meaning of OT sacrifices, specifically the concept of what in them pleased God. Was it the suffering, blood and death of the victim in themselves? Or was the obedience and love of the offerer? In other words, was YHWH acting like an Aztec blood-thirsty god, or was He acting as Love as the Apostle John defines Him in his 1st letter?
    The answer is in these two passages, which are essential for understanding the meaning of OT sacrifices, and therefore of Jesus’:
    And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam 15: 22)
    For I desire steadfast love (*) and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hos 6: 6)
    (*) “steadfast love” is the translation of “chesed” or “hesed”, which means love associated with both loyalty and kindness. Which was lived perfectly by Jesus in its two dimensions: loyal love to the Father, and in that love, kind, merciful love to us.
    So what pleased God was obedience and love, not the suffering and death of the victim “per se”. Which should make clear what the central component in Jesus’ sacrifice was, what was in it that pleased the Father infinitely and atoned for our faults: not his suffering, pouring of blood and death “per se”, but his obedient love to the Father “to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2: 8)

    Bravo!

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