Understanding Jesus’ Cry of Abandonment

Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Apologetics, Atonement, Catholicism, Imputation, John Piper, Justification, Nestorianism, Perspicuity of Scripture, Protestantism, Reformed Theology, Sola Fide, Suffering, Theology of the Cross | 563 comments

Now that Good Friday is fast approaching we can expect to see a surge in online discussion about Christ’s saving work on the Cross. In this post I want to discuss Christ’s ‘cry of abandonment’ from the Cross – “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34) – because I feel this is one of the most misunderstood texts in all of Scripture. The historical Protestant (mis)understanding of Christ’s Atonement, popularly known as Penal Substitution, has led them to (mis)interpret this passage as saying Jesus was spiritually alienated from God just as a sinner is spiritually alienated from God. They (incorrectly) reason that since the guilt of sin warrants eternal separation from God as its punishment, for Jesus to ‘save us’ requires that Jesus take this very guilt and punishment upon Himself.

This (mis)understanding is prevalent today in not only Reformed theology, but even in mainstream Evangelicalism. But rather than quote any modern pastors/theologians on this matter, many of whom are quite explicit that Jesus was “damned in our place,” I think it’s more important to establish that this is also precisely how Luther and Calvin interpreted this ‘cry of abandonment’.

In his Treatise on Preparing to Die, Martin Luther said this ‘cry of abandonment’ means Jesus “descended into hell for your sake and was forsaken by God as one eternally damned”. And in his Commentary on Psalm 22:1, John Calvin said: “As he [Jesus] became our representative, and took upon him our sins, it was certainly necessary that he should appear before the judgment-seat of God as a sinner. From this proceeded the terror and dread which constrained him to pray for deliverance from death; not that it was so grievous to him merely to depart from this life; but because there was before his eyes the curse of God, to which all who are sinners are exposed.” So the original Protestant leaders themselves clearly understood this ‘cry of abandonment’ to mean Jesus underwent not merely physical death, but rather more specifically spiritual death (spiritual abandonment), damnation, which is the epitome of God’s wrath being poured out upon a person.

While it is somewhat understandable to see how unlearned readers could come to this (mis)interpretation of Christ’s words, it is irresponsible and dangerous for learned men to emphasize this “interpretation,” since it is (materially) blasphemous and heretical to posit disunity between the Persons of the Trinity. Furthermore, such a notion is nowhere supported by any Scriptures, which is why so many Protestants desperate to salvage Faith Alone will cling desperately to this single verse, devoid of any context or openness to alternative interpretations.

To see why this widespread (mis)interpretation is way off base, I propose we look at the passage itself and see the many clues it gives us:

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

The passage begins by giving us the time of day, which cannot be an accidental detail. The Jewish day began at 6 a.m., which means the ‘sixth hour’ from that would be Noon, and thus the ‘ninth hour’ would be 3 p.m. (That’s what Catholics call “The Hour of Mercy”.) Now look at what the Apostles normally did at this time of day: “Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” (Acts 3:1) So Jesus uttered these words at the Jewish ‘hour of prayer’! This indicates Jesus wasn’t merely uttering some feelings He had, but rather was (also) praying in a formal way.

This ‘hour of prayer’ theme fits with Jesus speaking ‘liturgical Hebrew’, by saying “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” – which is why it had to be ‘translated’ to “My God, My God” by the Evangelists Matthew and Mark, which is one of the rare times they ‘translate’ something Jesus said.

These last two details fit perfectly with the fact Jesus was directly quoting Psalm 22:1, which some Protestants today stubbornly refuse to accept, even though others like Calvin recognized it without issue. In liturgical practice even up to this very day, it is customary to ‘Intone’ a formal prayer, which consists of reciting the opening words to alert people to what’s going on, e.g., when the Priest says “Our Father” we know he is specifically Intoning the Lord’s Prayer. To Intone means you have the entire prayer in mind, not just the first few words.

Psalm 22:1 begins with King David crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me?” Now it is clear that King David was not undergoing God’s wrath here, so why are we in any way forced to interpret these same words as Jesus undergoing God’s wrath? Logically speaking, there’s no reason at all. Rather, David was praying the prayer all men pray when times get rough: “God, where are you? Why wont you rescue me from my suffering?” In other words, God the Father allowed Jesus to fall into the hands of evil men, and did not rescue Him from their persecutions, even though God could have. (See Matt 26:53-54) This lesson was to teach us all that God sometimes lets bad things happen to us, even if we don’t deserve it, because He has a greater purpose in mind, just as God the Father allowed bad things to happen to His Beloved Son, Jesus.

The Psalm continues by pointing out unbelievers uttering the famous mocking words: “If he trusts in God, let God deliver him” (22:8), just as those at the foot of the Cross mocked. Later it says “they have pierced my hands and feet” (22:15), clearly a prophecy of the Roman nails. And even “they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (22:18), a prophecy which John explicitly references in his account of the Crucifixion (John 19:24). The Psalm even ends on a hopeful and triumphant note, with David knowing God will make everything right in the end. Why? Because even in the midst of this suffering, God “has not hidden his face” (22:24) from the suffering servant, even though many Protestants will say (directly contradicting this verse) that “God turned his face from Jesus.”

Further, in John 16:31, Jesus says: “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Now if the Father was also going to end up abandoning Jesus as the Apostles did, these words make no sense at all, for according to the Protestant reading the Father wont be with Jesus in Jesus’ darkest hour.

And how did the crowd react to these words? Their first thought is that Jesus was calling upon Elijah and wanted to see if Elijah would ‘come to take Him down’. Clearly, they believed in the Intercession of the Saints in some sense, and their thoughts were nowhere near “suffering God’s wrath”. Why would they think Elijah would come to save Jesus from God the Father? It only makes sense if Elijah would come rescue Jesus from the danger zone. And what about “suffering God’s wrath” would cause the Centurion to conclude Jesus was “truly the Son of God”? These reactions are non-sequitor for the Protestant understanding of the situation.

Finally, if Jesus’ cry of abandonment is the key text on understanding the Cross, as some Protestants will assert (and most would imply), then as I’ve said many times, John and Luke missed the most important lesson of the Cross, for they ‘forgot’ to record the ‘cry of abandonment’ in their Gospels! That’s pretty outrageous of a conclusion, and hopefully nobody really believes that. So, in the end, it is clear that the only thing needing to be completely abandoned is the Protestant “interpretation” of this passage.

 

563 Comments

  1. Robert,

    “If you don’t have “ongoing extra nos imputation,” you don’t really have JBFA.”

    You mean you don’t really have Protestant JBFA. Which is the point of me providing the Benedict citation (well, that and to get Eric to actually own up to his plea that “We have always unequivocally stated that it is a living faith”). Protestants don’t get a monopoly on what to define faith as.

    “If sufficient grace becomes efficient/efficacious only by cooperation with it, you don’t have intrinsically efficacious grace.”

    That’s by definition. That’s why not all RCs affirm intrinsically efficacious grace. Rejecting such does not entail a denial of sola gratia or result in boasting – http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/12/lawrence-feingold-on-sufficient-and-efficacious-grace/ from minute 40-64 (Feingold does not hold to int eff grace position).

  2. ROBERT April 8, 2015 at 3:31 am

    It’s not an “absolute abandonment,” nor have I ever said that it was. (I’m not sure you could ever speak of God absolutely abandoning anyone, as that has connotations of leaving someone totally alone, and God is present even in hell. God doesn’t leave anyone alone, but I digress.)

    You didn’t digress. You disproved your earlier comment.

    You are absolutely right. God can’t absolutely abandon anyone because by definition He is omnipresent. And by definition, Jesus is part of the Godhead and one in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, you have produced a second reason why God the Father did not abandon His Son.

    Christ spent His earthly life in full awareness of the Father

    His entire earthly life, including that which He spent upon the Cross.

    and with His approval.

    Because Jesus gave up His life. He laid it down. And then He took it back up.

    He experienced these things according to His humanity, His mind, heart, and will engaged with the Father.

    Key words, “engaged with the Father.”

    When the Father stops engaging Him as He bears the sins of the world, when He feels for the first time the Father’s displeasure at sin because sin is on His shoulders on the cross, how is that not an abandonment?

    I’ll let Jesus explain it to you.

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

    Jesus Christ has laid down His life “in obedience” to the Father. Therefore, He is doing precisely what the Father wants Him to do.

    Matthew 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

    Therefore, in laying down His life, He is “united to the Father”.

    Matthew 26:53King James Version (KJV)

    53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

    That is precisely what Protestants believe. You believe that Jesus went to the Cross against His will and that He cried to the Father to be saved, but the Father ignored His prayers.

    But Jesus, through the Catholic Church and Her Scriptures is telling you that Jesus laid down His life willingly, in obedience to the Father’s will and in so doing confirmed His love for the Father and the Father’s love for Him.

    Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

    So, with that in mind, let’s see what Pope John Paull the II actually meant in the words you quoted:

    Salvifici Doloris

    After the words in Gethsemane come the words uttered on Golgotha, words which bear witness to this depth unique in the history of the world–of the evil of the suffering experienced. When Christ says: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”, His words are not only an expression of that abandonment which many times found expression in the Old Testament, especially in the psalms and in particular in that Psalm 22(21) from which come the words quoted.[47]

    The words which Christ uttered from the Cross, are an expression of the abandonment which the Jews felt in the Old Testament. That is why He quoted the Old Testament.

    Note that he does not say they are an expression of Christ feeling abandoned by the Father.

    One can say that these words on abandonment are born at the level of that inseparable union of the Son with the Father, and are born because the Father “laid on him the iniquity of us all.”[48]

    We can therefore conclude, that although Jesus was never abandoned by the Father, since they are inseparably united, He was expressing the feeling of abandonment which we should have felt.

    They also foreshadow the words of St. Paul: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin.”[49] Together with this horrible weight, encompassing the “entire” evil of the turning away from God which is contained in sin, Christ, through the divine depth of His filial union with the Father, perceives in a humanly inexpressible way this suffering which us the separation, the rejection by the Father, the estrangement from God.

    These words also explain why St. Paul said that he was “made sin who had not sinned”. Because, although He is divinely united and always one with the Father, He learns by His obedience, the suffering which human beings will experience who turn away from God.

    But precisely through this suffering He accomplishes the Redemption, and can say as He breathes His last: “It is finished.”

    But it is precisely by His suffering that He redeems us to eternal life.

    By no means do we consider Pope St. John Paul II a heretic. His statement is thoroughly Catholic and you twist it unrecognizably when you attribute to it your false teachings. All you have to do is read the rest of the article to see that you have called us heretics for expressing these ideas in the past:

    With these and similar words the witnesses of the New Covenant speak of the greatness of the Redemption, accomplished through the suffering of Christ. The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.

  3. Robert, you write:

    … you deny that grace is intrinsically efficacious

    No, I do not. How are we defining “intrinsic”? The quote from James that I posted says this:

    Efficacious grace is offered within sufficient grace.

    I would say that efficacious grace is intrinsic to sufficient grace, because efficacious grace is offered within sufficient grace. Whether sufficient grace is going to be efficacious for you depends on whether or not you accept sufficient grace or resist sufficient grace.

    We can argue semantics over the meaning of “intrinsic”, but I believe that anyone can see the point that is being made about sufficient grace and synergism.

    I must never have read that comment and don’t know where it is now.

    Go read the last post James wrote for you in the thread “The Biblical Basis of Man-Made Liturgy”.

    … if the resisting of sufficient grace deprives of efficacious grace, then grace is not intrinsically efficacious

    Now you are arguing semantics. If a doctor has given a man a dose of penicillin to cure his disease, and the man throws the penicillin down the toilet, was the penicillin intrinsically efficacious or not? Define what you mean by intrinsic!

    Nor is it sufficient.

    The penicillin given to the sick man was sufficient to cure him. But it won’t cure him if he throws it down the toilet instead of taking the medicine. In one sense, the efficacy of the penicillin depends on the sick man’s personal choice to take the medicine or not take the medicine.

    So much for grace alone.

    I can affirm a belief in “grace alone” without having to believe that I am a puppet without free will.

    I can argue rationally that the man that takes the penicillin is cured by the penicillin alone. You want to argue that grace “alone” is analogous to being given a free gift of penicillin plus having it forced down your throat against your will. My analogy is being given a free gift of penicillin plus and making the choice to take it. Both analogies include penicillin plus something else. But my analogy is biblical, while your analogy is diabolical, since it involves being forced to do something against one’s will.

  4. Eric, you write:

    Calvinism doesn’t describe some particular level of holiness one must maintain to evidence election.

    How convenient for you! Anyone can presume that they are one of the “special people” by using this vacuous standard of behavior.

  5. Jim,

    I watched the video. Not seeing what you found problematic at minute 37. Was there something else at a different time you had in mind? I ask because R.C. was simply affirming that Christ became a curse on our behalf. In this he’s saying nothing more than scripture and many of the church Fathers said. So what exactly is your beef unless you’re thinking of some other segment of the video?

    Here’s something to chew on while your singing “La donna è mobile” or whatever…

    This is from Eusebius:

    And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? (Proof of the Gospel, vol. 2, Book 10, Chapter 1).

    So much for Calvinist inventions….

  6. Eric,

    “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;… I Peter 1: 15-17

  7. Part 2 of this ‘series’ is now up. It addresses the Papal/Magisterial teaching on Christ’s Cry of Abandonment:

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/part-ii-understanding-christs-cry-of-abandonment/

  8. Mateo,

    Intrinsically/inherently efficacious grace is grace that in itself brings about conversion. There’s no “asking” if we will take it or not. The bestowal of it guarantees that it will be received. My choice doesn’t make the grace efficacious, the efficacious grace guarantees my choice. The grace changes my will so that I willingly make the right decision. This is what you are denying.

    There is no inherently/intrinsically efficacious grace offered within sufficient grace if it depends on man’s choosing to make it effective. If it is offered in sufficient grace only to some, then you essentially have Calvinism.

    The fundamental problem with Roman anthropology comes out in the example you give. I’m not talking about a dying person who has enough power/will to go to the doctor and then take medicine. I’m talking about a stone cold dead person. You can offer that person penicillin or any other cure all you want. He isn’t going to take it.

    Your tradition denies the comprehensive nature of the fall. We’re weak, not dead in Roman Catholic theology. That drives the rest of Roman Catholic error.

  9. James,

    You mean you don’t really have Protestant JBFA. Which is the point of me providing the Benedict citation (well, that and to get Eric to actually own up to his plea that “We have always unequivocally stated that it is a living faith”). Protestants don’t get a monopoly on what to define faith as.

    Oh, so a Roman Catholic redefines the doctrine and says they believed it all along. I guess being so big makes that shell game convincing to somebody.

    That’s by definition. That’s why not all RCs affirm intrinsically efficacious grace. Rejecting such does not entail a denial of sola gratia or result in boasting.

    The fact that Rome allows people to deny intrinsically efficacious grace just goes to show that Rome’s claim to believe salvation by grace alone is false. And it logically results in boasting, just as it does in non-Calvinist Protestant systems. Whether people actually boast in practice may be a different matter. But if grace is not intrinsically efficacious, then we save ourselves with God’s help. Yay us!

  10. James–

    A good number of your co-religionists have indicted JBFA for heresy without specifying particular “formulations” of it (whatever that means). JBFA is little more than a restatement of Sola Gratia. There’s nothing all that complicated about it.

    “Extra nos” references that which is beyond ourselves (in other words, Sola Gratia again) and “imputation” refers to those aspects of our giftedness which we cannot in any sense claim for ourselves (in other words, Sola Gratia again). JBFA is the safeguarding of Sola Gratia to make sure it is espoused in more than name only. You seem to have real trouble with its being restricted in that way.

    I have no dog in the “sufficient grace” debate. As far as I can tell, there is no significant difference between that and the Reformed stance that Christ’s atonement was sufficient for all but efficient for the elect.

  11. Debbie–

    Are you somehow under the impression that we Calvinists even slightly downplay the importance of holiness in the Christian life?

  12. ERIC April 8, 2015 at 11:55 am

    If you had to fight to retain your presumption, perhaps it was because you were unconverted. Calvinism doesn’t describe some particular level of holiness one must maintain to evidence election. It describes an orientation toward God and away from sin. If you didn’t have that as a Calvinist, then you weren’t regenerate. And switching to Catholicism will do no good. They don’t disagree with us on that.

    You’re twisting the truth. Calvinism advances “presumption of salvation”. And that is a mortal sin in Catholic Doctrine.

    CHAPTER XII
    RASH PRESUMPTION OF PREDESTINATION IS TO BE AVOIDED

    No one, moreover, so long as he lives this mortal life, ought in regard to the sacred mystery of divine predestination, so far presume as to state with absolute certainty that he is among the number of the predestined,[74] as if it were true that the one justified either cannot sin any more, or, if he does sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance.

    For except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God has chosen to Himself.

    And also:

    Canon 9.
    If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone,[114] meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.

    Canon 10.
    If anyone says that men are justified without the justice of Christ,[115] whereby Her merited for us, or by that justice are formally just, let him be anathema.

    Canon 11.
    If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost,[116] and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.

    Canon 12.
    If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy,[117] which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.

    Canon 13.
    If anyone says that in order to obtain the remission of sins it is necessary for every man to believe with certainty and without any hesitation arising from his own weakness and indisposition that his sins are forgiven him, let him be anathema.

    Canon 14.
    If anyone says that man is absolved from his sins and justified because he firmly believes that he is absolved and justified,[118] or that no one is truly justified except him who believes himself justified, and that by this faith alone absolution and justification are effected, let him be anathema.

    Canon 15.
    If anyone says that a man who is born again and justified is bound ex fide to believe that he is certainly in the number of the predestined,[119] let him be anathema.

    Canon 16.
    If anyone says that he will for certain, with an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance even to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation,[120] let him be anathema.

    Canon 17.
    If anyone says that the grace of justification is shared by those only who are predestined to life, but that all others who are called are called indeed but receive not grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil, let him be anathema.

    Canon 18.
    If anyone says that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace,[121] impossible to observe, let him be anathema.

    Canon 19.
    If anyone says that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel, that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor forbidden, but free; or that the ten commandments in no way pertain to Christians, let him be anathema.

    Canon 20.
    If anyone says that a man who is justified and however perfect is not bound to observe the commandments of God and the Church, but only to believe,[122] as if the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life without the condition of observing the commandments, let him be anathema.

    Canon 21.
    If anyone says that Christ Jesus was given by God to men as a redeemer in whom to trust, and not also as a legislator whom to obey, let him be anathema.

    Canon 22.
    If anyone says that the one justified either can without the special help of God persevere in the justice received,[123] or that with that help he cannot, let him be anathema.

    Canon 23.
    If anyone says that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace,[124] and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or on the contrary, that he can during his whole life avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema.

    Canon 24.
    If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works,[125] but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema.

    Canon 25.
    If anyone says that in every good work the just man sins at least venially,[126] or, what is more intolerable, mortally, and hence merits eternal punishment, and that he is not damned for this reason only, because God does not impute these works into damnation, let him be anathema.

    Canon 26.
    If anyone says that the just ought not for the good works done in God[127] to expect and hope for an eternal reward from God through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if by doing well and by keeping the divine commandments they persevere to the end,[128] let him be anathema.

  13. ERIC April 8, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Are you somehow under the impression that we Calvinists even slightly downplay the importance of holiness in the Christian life?

    Yes.

    Calvinism teaches double predestination. They teach that the predestined to life, no matter what evil they do, will in the end be saved. Ask your fellow Calvinist, Robert. He has frequently said so.

    And Calvinism teaches that those who are predestined to eternal death, no matter what good they do, can do nothing to please God. This is the teaching of Calvinism.

  14. ERIC April 8, 2015 at 9:09 pm
    James–
    A good number of your co-religionists have indicted JBFA for heresy without specifying particular “formulations” of it (whatever that means).

    James is specifically mentioning the formulation of Pope Benedict. Perhaps you’re not familiar with it?

    For this reason Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love (cf. Gal 5: 14).

    JBFA is little more than a restatement of Sola Gratia. There’s nothing all that complicated about it….

    Pope Benedict specifically stated that Luther was wrong if he excluded works of love from justification by faith. Everyone knows that Protestants do exclude all good works from justification.

    And, the Pope did not address the false doctrine of sola gratia at all. And yes, the Protestant formulation of Sola Fide is a restatement of their formulation of their false doctrine of sola gratia. I agree.

  15. MICHAEL April 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm
    Jim,
    I watched the video. Not seeing what you found problematic at minute 37. Was there something else at a different time you had in mind? I ask because R.C. was simply affirming that Christ became a curse on our behalf. In this he’s saying nothing more than scripture and many of the church Fathers said. So what exactly is your beef unless you’re thinking of some other segment of the video?
    Here’s something to chew on while your singing “La donna è mobile” or whatever…
    This is from Eusebius:
    And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? (Proof of the Gospel, vol. 2, Book 10, Chapter 1).
    So much for Calvinist inventions….

    Eusebius is proclaiming Catholic Doctrine. Where does that say anything remotely resembling Penal Substitution? Where does that say that the Father hates the Son? Where does that say that He was cast into hell? Where does that say that the Son was abandoned by the Father?

    Eusebius is proclaiming Catholic Doctrine. The Catholic Church, by Scripture and Tradition, Teaches that Christ willingly submitted to and received our penalties. He, willingly, in obedience to the Father, “sacrificed” Himself for our sins.

    Big difference between what Eusebius said and Calvin’s inventions.

  16. Robert, you write:

    My choice doesn’t make the grace efficacious …

    Robert, you are a human being that has to make the right choices in order to be saved. You are not a puppet that is jerked around by strings labeled “irresistible grace”.

  17. Michael,

    I can’t improve upon what De Maria said other than to say that those passages saying Christ was sin, a curse, pierced for us can never be interpreted to mean Christ was ever abandoned by the Father, lost the Beatific Vision or despaired for his own salvation. To say so runs into major Trinitarian and Christological problems.

  18. Michael,

    Without doing any serious searching for ammo, this is the first thing I clicked on a minute ago; https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/955-did-christ-die-as-a-sinner-upon-the-cross

    The Catholics here are not making up caricatures of the Protestant position.

    Also, another thing that must be rejected in interpreting those passages about “IN YOUR STEAD” is anything that says there is nothing left for us to do.

    Christ suffered, yes. But we are heirs PROVIDED WE SUFFER WITH HIM.

    Eric often stresses how Protestant live lives of sanctification. Fine. But please don’t deny that the Protestant “In Your Stead” doctrine shut down the convents, did away with works of supererogation, dismissed works of piety and charity as “works righteousness”, at least until the Pietist movement came along anyway.
    Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were not known for their lives of prayer and charity. Rather, they “freed” folks up from all of this papistry. That is just a fact of history you can’t deny.

  19. De Maria,

    Robert, you are a human being that has to make the right choices in order to be saved.

    Agreed

    You are not a puppet that is jerked around by strings labeled “irresistible grace”.

    I’m not a puppet, nor am I “jerked around,” it is true. But if grace is intrinsically efficacious it is finally irresistible.

    And none of this implies that my choice is what makes grace efficacious, which is what you are affirming. So, you save yourself with God’s help. You are the final deciding factor in your redemption. That’s fine if you want to believe that (though it’s biblically wrong), just don’t call it grace. It’s Mateo saving himself. You need God, but God isn’t enough. You’ve got to help him out.

  20. That last comment was actually for Mateo

  21. Jim,

    Eric often stresses how Protestant live lives of sanctification. Fine. But please don’t deny that the Protestant “In Your Stead” doctrine shut down the convents, did away with works of supererogation,

    Well, we don’t deny that. Works of supererogation are heretical when linked to indulgences and there’s no biblical command for convents or monasteries, though I don’t think such things are necessarily wrong. They become wrong when the monastic life becomes holier than the life of a faithful believer in this world or when the Council of Women Religious becomes a group of neopagans advocating for sexual confusion (wait, already happened).

    dismissed works of piety and charity as “works righteousness”, at least until the Pietist movement came along anyway.

    What are you talking about. Protestants have founded hospitals, promoted education, so on and so forth. We just don’t believe those things justify us.

    Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were not known for their lives of prayer and charity.

    That’s demonstrably false in the case of Luther and Calvin, though not to say they were perfect men.

    How many popes owned slaves, engaged in sexual promiscuity, etc.? Let’s not have the pot calling the kettle black, shall we.

    Rather, they “freed” folks up from all of this papistry. That is just a fact of history you can’t deny.

    It is a fact of history that Protestantism has been used of God to free consciences where mere men—like the Magisterium—have bound them inappropriately.

  22. Robert,

    “What are you talking about. Protestants have founded hospitals, promoted education, so on and so forth. We just don’t believe those things justify us.”

    “We just don’t believe those things justify us”.

    St. James says they do when done in a pre-existing state of grace.

    We have been through this before when we talked about the Protestant “Johnny Come Lately” missionary work and the history of slavery in America and South Africa.

    Without reopening that discussion, suffice it to say, your view that “those things don’t justify us”/a.k.a. are little more than superfluous additions is due to your doctrine on the” once for all punishment of Christ in our stead that justifies us” business, is it not?

  23. Michael,

    How did you happen to know that La Donna e Mobile is probably the only piece I like enough to hum?

    Anyway, As for PS, you fans of Aquinas should know the difference between punishment and Satisfaction.
    Satisfaction is suffering accepted out of love. It is penance. If you want to call it punishment, it is punishment accepted with love.

    Strict punishment is meted out only when the sinner is not contrite.
    A sinner can have so much contrition that no actual punishment is meted out without there being any violation of justice.

    From the first moment of the Incarnation, Christ’s love knew no increase. He could have merited our salvation/made satisfaction superabundantly in the womb of Mary. The cross was over the top. It was fitting because, as Augustine said, it was the “pulpit from which he preached”. The cross teaches us to suffer. But Christ did not have to suffer. His love made every act he performed more than sufficient to satisfy for a million worlds.

  24. ROBERT April 9, 2015 at 3:39 am

    What are you talking about. Protestants have founded hospitals, promoted education, so on and so forth. We just don’t believe those things justify us.

    We know. That is a basic difference in our respective beliefs.

    Canon 3.
    If anyone says that without the predisposing inspiration of the Holy Ghost[111] and without His help, man can believe, hope, love or be repentant as he ought,[112] so that the grace of justification may be bestowed upon him, let him be anathema.

    Canon 4.
    If anyone says that man’s free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God’s call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.

    Canon 24.
    If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works,[125] but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema.

    Canon 26.
    If anyone says that the just ought not for the good works done in God[127] to expect and hope for an eternal reward from God through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if by doing well and by keeping the divine commandments they persevere to the end,[128] let him be anathema.

    Canon 31.
    If anyone says that the one justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal reward,[133] let him be anathema.

    Canon 32.
    If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema.

    Canon 33.
    If anyone says that the Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy council in the present decree, derogates in some respect from the glory of God or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and does not rather illustrate the truth of our faith and no less the glory of God and of Christ Jesus, let him be anathema.

  25. Eric,

    JBFA is the safeguarding of Sola Gratia to make sure it is espoused in more than name only.

    I noble intention.

    Are you somehow under the impression that we Calvinists even slightly downplay the importance of holiness in the Christian life?

    Yes, but maybe not intentionally. Just like you think Catholics espoused Sola Gratia in name only or at least downplay its importance.

  26. ROBERT April 9, 2015 at 3:32 am

    And none of this implies that my choice is what makes grace efficacious,

    That’s not true, Robert. Grace is efficacious because it is from God. Any choice we make, if it be without God, will be without effect. Have you not read in Scripture:

    Psalm 127 King James Version (KJV)

    127 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

    which is what you are affirming.

    Not true. You are simply twisting his words in order to win a straw man argument.

    So, you save yourself with God’s help.

    And Protestants proclaim themselves saved by their faith alone without God at all. They usurp for themselves the right of Judgment of their souls which is reserved for God alone.

    1 Corinthians 4:5King James Version (KJV)

    5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

    You are the final deciding factor in your redemption.

    On the contrary, we await God’s judgment. But God reveals that His final deciding factor is our producing the works of love which He requires:

    2 Corinthians 5:10King James Version (KJV)

    10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

    That’s fine if you want to believe that (though it’s biblically wrong),

    You don’t understand the Word of God in the Bible nor in the Traditions of Jesus Christ passed down in Tradition. You simply use the word “bible” as some people drop celebrity names.

    First, study the Bible and then compare your false doctrines to the Word of God.

    just don’t call it grace.

    We know the grace of God and what it accomplishes. Protestants have no idea of the grace of God nor what it is nor what it accomplishes in a man’s life. You believe you are snow covered dung hills who remain sinful and yet are brought into heaven by some Divine Lie. But God does not lie. God is always true.

    Romans 6:14-16King James Version (KJV)

    14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

    15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

    16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    It’s Mateo saving himself.

    On the contrary, it is Robert who proclaims himself saved by his faith alone.

    THAT is unbiblical:

    1 Corinthians 4:2-4King James Version (KJV)

    2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

    3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

    4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

    Mateo and all Catholics, await God’s judgment in fear and trembling, hoping in His saving grace. THAT is biblical:

    1 Corinthians 4:5King James Version (KJV)

    5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

    1 Thessalonians 5:8King James Version (KJV)

    8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

    You need God, but God isn’t enough. You’ve got to help him out.

    That is as God commands and thoroughly:

    Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    Where does the Bible say you can proclaim yourself saved to the exclusion of God’s judgment? Show me, chapter and verse.

  27. Robert,

    “How many popes owned slaves, engaged in sexual promiscuity, etc.? Let’s not have the pot calling the kettle black, shall we.”

    That’s the wrong question.
    It should be, “How many Popes taught that sin was okay, would not cost people their salvation, that people need not ‘strive for the holiness without which no man will see God’?”

    Now, how many Reformers taught that striving for sanctity was irrelevant if one had the alien righteousness of Christ applied to their accounts?

    Show me where the worst of the Medici or Borgia popes ever TAUGHT immorality or indifference to holiness. Luther’s spin on James’ Epistle should shut your mouth right up, Robert.

  28. St. James says they do when done in a pre-existing state of grace.

    Uh, no.

    We have been through this before when we talked about the Protestant “Johnny Come Lately” missionary work and the history of slavery in America and South Africa.

    What are you talking about, as if Roman Catholics didn’t own slaves or tolerate the practice. And all of the missionary work of the church up to the Reformation is as much a part of my history as is yours.

    Without reopening that discussion, suffice it to say, your view that “those things don’t justify us”/a.k.a. are little more than superfluous additions is due to your doctrine on the” once for all punishment of Christ in our stead that justifies us” business, is it not?

    Superfluous addition? Yeah, we deny that our good works are the righteousness that avails before God for eternal life, and we don’t believe that we have to help God save us. We’re not Romanists, after all.

    That’s the wrong question.
    It should be, “How many Popes taught that sin was okay, would not cost people their salvation, that people need not ‘strive for the holiness without which no man will see God’?”

    Well, all those popes evidently believed that their sin would not cost them their salvation, otherwise they wouldn’t have been such reprobates. Either that, or they were vehemently and vocally apostate. Either way, that doesn’t help your doctrine of the papacy.

    You have a religion that exists merely in theory. As long as a pope didn’t teach something ex cathedra (still waiting for an infallible list of those ex cathedra statements), it’s okay. Then, castigate Protestants for using private judgment but ignore the fact that the only things RCs have for figuring out what the pope has infallibly said is their private judgment.

    Papal sin does not in itself mean RCism is false. What it should do is get you off your high horse.

    Now, how many Reformers taught that striving for sanctity was irrelevant if one had the alien righteousness of Christ applied to their accounts?

    I’m not aware of any Reformer that said striving for sanctity was irrelevant. Even Luther. I’ll see people quoted out of context by radical traditionalist RCs, but no responsible RC historian is going to say that the Reformers taught striving for sanctity was irrelevant.

    Show me where the worst of the Medici or Borgia popes ever TAUGHT immorality or indifference to holiness. Luther’s spin on James’ Epistle should shut your mouth right up, Robert.

    Luther’s “spin” on James’ Epistle has been grossly exaggerated over the years, but in any case I’m not a Lutheran and even if I were, I would have no need to defend Him. We openly admit we’re not infallible and don’t have the high bar of trying to make past popes infallible even when they clearly were not.

    The distinction between mortal and venial sin in itself leads to indifference in holiness. Sin venially all you want, the worst that might happen is a couple million years of torture in purgatory, but you’ll still get out. And that’s only if you don’t buy the modern attempt to make purgatory a kindler and gentler place.

    Meanwhile, I could go to confession to many different priests and get as many different evaluations of which of my sins are mortal and which weren’t.

    When your doctrine of the church reduces to “somebody, somewhere knows the truth and so nominal confession of belief in everything that Rome teaches even when I don’t know everything Rome teaches” then you have serious problems.

  29. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    My choice doesn’t make the grace efficacious … But if grace is intrinsically efficacious it is finally irresistible.

    Thar be the rub.

    The Banezian …

    1) … would say that Man’s choice does not make the grace efficacious …

    2) … but cannot say that efficacious grace is (finally) irresistible.

    Behold one manifestation of the paradox, the limit, the core of incoherency/indeterminacy which is inherent to all orthodox Catholic theology. This is our glory. And it is your shame for transgressing it.

  30. Lane,

    You liked the Teresa the Little Flower video so you will like this Carmelite video also. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YukzJ-D4wrg
    We are talking about how Christ did not so much suffer in our stead but as our head.
    I was in Paris last week and saw in the churches commemorations to the martyrs of the Revolution. One especially moving one was the one to the Carmelites of Compiegne. They willingly went to the guillotine to end the Reign of Terror. Right after their murder, the killing stopped.

    Christ’s passion did not excuse them from suffering. Rather, it made theirs salutary.
    And it’s an opera for those who understand French.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsUYHnR0tmM

    PS Robert, Nuns are indeed biblical.

  31. Wosbald,

    Thar be the rub.
    The Banezian …
    1) … would say that Man’s choice does not make the grace efficacious …
    2) … but cannot say that efficacious grace is (finally) irresistible.
    Behold one manifestation of the paradox, the limit, the core of incoherency/indeterminacy which is inherent to all orthodox Catholic theology. This is our glory. And it is your shame for transgressing it.

    If efficacious grace is not finally irresistible, then it is man’s choice that makes it efficacious. You can have indeterminism if you want, but what it means is that God does His best and is only successful because some people decided to make the right choice. I guess God just got lucky.

    And yet, the Banzeian denies this. So we have God not making grace efficacious, and we have man’s choice not making grace efficacious. What’s left, blind chance? Looks like we’re back to paganism.

    You’ll forgive me for not glorying in a God who is finally ruled by blind chance.

  32. ROBERT April 9, 2015 at 6:41 am

    If efficacious grace is not finally irresistible,

    Where does Scripture say that grace is irresistible?

    Here’s what I read:

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

    The verse implies very strongly that some receive the grace of God in vain.

    1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

    This says that some who have received the grace of faith can make a mess of it.

    Ezekiel 18:24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

    Hebrews 6:4-6King James Version (KJV)

    4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    And even the elect may be lost, if they fall away.

    So, show me where Scripture says that grace is irresistible. Chapter and verse.

    then it is man’s choice that makes it efficacious.

    In his life. As the Scripture says:

    Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

    Acts 3:19
    Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

    Ezekiel 18:27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.

    You can have indeterminism if you want, but what it means is that God does His best and is only successful because some people decided to make the right choice. I guess God just got lucky.

    Call it what you will, we place our hope in God. We choose to obey Him and Him only and we leave our salvation in His hands.

    Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    And yet, the Banzeian denies this. So we have God not making grace efficacious, and we have man’s choice not making grace efficacious. What’s left, blind chance? Looks like we’re back to paganism.
    You’ll forgive me for not glorying in a God who is finally ruled by blind chance.

    As the Scripture says,

    1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    It is obvious that you have no spiritual discernment and therefore you belittle that which God has placed here for your salvation. But let it be clear:

    Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

  33. DeMaria,

    Lemme add this’n;

    Galatians 5:4 You have fallen from grace.

  34. De Maria–

    I take it then that you have absolutely no clue as to whether or not you’re in a state of grace. (Don’t want to risk presumption, now, do we?) Your fellow Catholics all speak of having assurance. Perhaps you should join them.

    We’ve spoken of this to such an extent by now that confusion on your part is not a possibility. I’ll leave it to you to figure out the other possibilities. Calvinists DO NOT advance the presumption of salvation. in fact, avoiding presumption is a key point in the definition of the Perseverance of the Saints.

  35. Lane–

    In what way whatsoever–intentionally or unintentionally–do the Reformed downplay holiness? The Puritans weren’t called the Puritans for their Antinomianism.

    If Catholics actually and unambiguously espouse Sola Gratia, then why would they ever denigrate JBFA?

  36. Jim–

    So you admit that the suffering of vicarious punishment accepted out of love could be categorized as Satisfaction?

    What are we arguing about then?

  37. @ Of Mary,

    Eusebius is proclaiming Catholic Doctrine.

    Yes. But he’s clearly not proclaiming post-Tridentine Roman Catholic doctrine.

    Where does that say anything remotely resembling Penal Substitution?

    Read the text. It’s right there.

    Where does that say that the Father hates the Son?

    It doesn’t say that. But that’s not Penal Substitution.

    Where does that say that He was cast into hell?

    It doesn’t say that either. But once again, that’s not Penal Substitution either. Some Reformers understood that Jesus descended into “Hell” because of the creed. But not even they thought God “cast him into hell” as if he were being punished there and not on the cross. Usually it is assumed that he was preaching his victory there.

    Where does that say that the Son was abandoned by the Father?

    Mark and Matthew record this in their Gospels accounts. Not sure why you would assume Eusebius would have to include that idea here. You’re focusing on what he didn’t say rather than what he did. But then again, that’s pretty typical of the way traditionalists do “exegesis” on your side of the Tiber.

    …. Teaches that Christ willingly submitted to and received our penalties.

    Right. And so do most Protestants, including the entire Reformed tradition.

    He, willingly, in obedience to the Father, “sacrificed” Himself for our sins.

    And we agree.

    Big difference between what Eusebius said and Calvin’s inventions.

    So go ahead and compare the differences between Eusebius from the text I provided and compare those to Calvin so that we might see what exactly those “big differences” are.

  38. @Jim,

    I can’t improve upon what De Maria said….

    De Maria utterly failed to interact with Eusebius, threw out a bunch of red herrings and continues to advance the same canards and caricatures that you do. Anyone with integrity could improve upon his words with just the tiniest bit of effort.

    …other than to say that those passages saying Christ was sin, a curse, pierced for us can never be interpreted to mean Christ was ever abandoned by the Father, lost the Beatific Vision or despaired for his own salvation. To say so runs into major Trinitarian and Christological problems.

    No one is saying he despaired of his own salvation. That would make him culpable for his own sin. We’re saying that in becoming sin, or in becoming the curse itself, he stands in as the condemned sinner by way of imputation. It’s not that he’s a sinner himself. You’ll later quote an article favorably that quotes Luther as saying Jesus became the greatest transgressor. I’d invite you to read his words in context so that you can get a proper feel for what he meant by them. It’s online: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.vi.html

    Scroll down to verse 13 and notice one of the very first things Luther says in this regard:

    Paul does not say that Christ was made a curse for Himself. The accent is on the two words “for us.” Christ is personally innocent. Personally, He did not deserve to be hanged for any crime of His own doing. But because Christ took the place of others who were sinners, He was hanged like any other transgressor.

    You and De Maria and many others are failing to make essential distinctions between Jesus “in his person” and Jesus as a corporate representative of his people. So long as you continue to do so, you’ll continue to misunderstand and therefore continue to misrepresent the Reformers on this issue.

    So my question back to you, which you’ve simply dodged as far as I am concerned, is what exactly in the R.C. Sproul vid (that you asked me to watch–so I did), was problematic for you? “What De Maria said” isn’t an answer.

    As for the opera stuff, shot in the dark. You might also try humming “Chi del gitano i giorni abbella?” from the Anvil Chorus of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Once that get’s in your head, good luck getting it out.

    Ciao

  39. De Maria–

    You wrote:

    “Calvinism teaches double predestination. They teach that the predestined to life, no matter what evil they do, will in the end be saved. Ask your fellow Calvinist, Robert. He has frequently said so.”

    Supralapsarian Calvinists, who are in the distinct minority, teach double predestination (even as Augustine did). Most present-day Calvinists do not. Robert does not. Catholicism teaches that those who repent in the end, no matter what mischief they do with the rest of their lives, will be saved.

    You also wrote:

    “And Calvinism teaches that those who are predestined to eternal death, no matter what good they do, can do nothing to please God. This is the teaching of Calvinism.”

    No, if they are able to do actual good, they are elect. The non-elect do not please God because nothing they do is from righteous motives. Good works are not overlooked. Good works are not produced.

  40. Eric,

    “A good number of your co-religionists have indicted JBFA for heresy without specifying particular “formulations” of it (whatever that means).”

    Where have they indicted Benedict’s affirmation of JBFA for heresy? None have that I’ve seen.

    “JBFA is little more than a restatement of Sola Gratia. There’s nothing all that complicated about it.”

    Great. And since you have “no real difficulty” with Trent and CCC soteriologically and approve of the ECT signatories, then Trent and CCC affirm sola gratia, along with Benedict’s statement right?
    So that could only mean that many of the RCs here are being unfaithful to Trent, CCC, and Benedict’s statement right?

    ““Extra nos” references that which is beyond ourselves (in other words, Sola Gratia again) and “imputation” refers to those aspects of our giftedness which we cannot in any sense claim for ourselves (in other words, Sola Gratia again). JBFA is the safeguarding of Sola Gratia to make sure it is espoused in more than name only. You seem to have real trouble with its being restricted in that way.”

    I only have trouble when the formulation of it necessitates ongoing extra nos imputed righteousness (the Horton cartoon again), or when it entails we are justified by faith apart from love but which necessarily results in love – http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/09/does-the-bible-teach-sola-fide/.

    “I have no dog in the “sufficient grace” debate.”

    Robert apparently thinks you’re a grace denying heretic in your sanctification since you affirm sufficient resistible cooperative grace in that sphere. You sanctify yourself with God’s help. Yay Eric!

  41. Robert,

    “Oh, so a Roman Catholic redefines the doctrine and says they believed it all along. ”

    Trent condemned a particular formulation of JBFA (If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean…). That’s why Benedict and other theologians have no problem affirming other formulations of JBFA – the ones that say we are saved by a faith formed in love. You better have a no-brainer slam-dunk case to show your formulation (that one is saved by a faith apart from love but that necessarily results in love – otherwise you would affirm Benedict’s statement) is worth and justifies ongoing schism then.

    “The fact that Rome allows people to deny intrinsically efficacious grace just goes to show that Rome’s claim to believe salvation by grace alone is false.”

    Did you even bother listening to the 20-min lecture segment I pointed out? Pay attention to the prime moving, St Francis, and unprofitable servants illustrations. Thomists can’t boast. Molinists can’t boast.

    “And it logically results in boasting, just as it does in non-Calvinist Protestant systems. Whether people actually boast in practice may be a different matter. But if grace is not intrinsically efficacious, then we save ourselves with God’s help. Yay us!”

    Right. So grace is irresistible and monergistic in sanctification right? Otherwise you can boast in your sanctification. But you’ve already stated (and many in your tradition affirm likewise) that sanctification is synergistic and irresistible grace only applies to regeneration. So you sanctify yourself with God’s help (or you just stew in cognitive dissonance with your own logic). Yay Robert!

  42. “Calvinism teaches double predestination.”

    So does Rome, depending upon what you mean by the term. The question is not whether double predestination is true or not, but rather in what way it is “double.”

    Niether Calvinism nor Romanism teach an absolute predestination to hell (or reprobation). There is a condition that must first be filled, namely one needs to be an impenitent sinner. In other words, God does not unconditionally reprobate; rather God sends people to hell because of their sin, withholding from these the saving grace needed for salvation. But God only unconditionally predestines to heaven (so Calvin, so Thomas Aquinas and Augustine, but not Molina and not Arminius).

    So a Roman Catholic can believe in unconditional election + conditional reprobation or conditional election + conditional reprobation. But no one holds for an unconditional reprobation, as that would be equivalent to God condemning someone for no justifiable reason. In other words, all parties agree that there must be something in the person that merits condemnation.

    But we don’t all agree that there must be something in the person to merit eternal reward. God can graciously choose those who don’t deserve heaven without them having to fulfill certain conditions in order to be chosen.

  43. James,

    I think the cognitive dissonance is yours, not ours. You keep trying to import a synergistic sanctification into our soteriology. That’s because you think that we think of our cooperation with grace in the same way (and apparently the same categories) as you do. But we don’t.

    We look at our cooperation as a means/end issue. In other words, our cooperation is the very means by which God sanctifies us. So the move–whether you agree with it or not–is to distance ourselves from the idea that our post-regenerational works are in any way the cause of our own sanctification.. It’s still all by monergistic grace. But grace uses means. It’s not magical.

    So, for example, one often hears in Reformed theology that the preaching of the Gospel saves. But by this we mean to say that the it is the means by which or through which God’s regenerating grace is given to the elect.

    The same can be said of our progressive sanctification. God uses means–our cooperation, the means of grace (“sacraments”), scripture reading, prayers, good works etc as that which, by grace, we are made holy, conformed to his likeness etc.

    For you, that clearly implies that “we do something,” and therefore we’re part of the synergism. But we don’t see any of the things we do as triggering, causing, bringing down, meriting, God’s grace. Rather it is just the opposite. God monergistically gives grace, and the result is the fruit that the elect bear. In other words, the emphasis is entirely on God the sanctifier and not on us as the active agent in our own sanctification.

    But now I think we’re splitting the hairs all too fine. Perhaps you have heard some of the Reformed saying sanctification is “synergistic.” I can understand why some would be tempted to use that language. But I would counsel against it because it leads to confusion. The same language is used by many to say that even regeneration is synergistic.

    But, if what I’m hearing from you Thomists is really true, then it seems to me that Aquinas held to a doctrine of monergism with respect to operative grace. This makes sense given his doctrine of providence and election. So a Thomist can say, at the end of the day, the reason why some are saved and some are not is reducible to the fact that God gives efficient grace to some, but not others and that the reason why some receive efficient grace and not others is ultimately reducible to predilection–namely that God wills a higher good for some than others and that because He loves some qualitatively differently than others.

    I really don’t see how the Calvinist tradition differs with this when you boil it all down. Your ultimate destiny is determined by God, not you. But if you find yourself damned, rest assured that God took your choices into account and that you’re in hell because God chose to honor your choice to go there. Alternatively, if you find yourself in heaven, it is because God willed that you would be there and your good choices that are descriptive of the elect are ultimately a consequence of God’s prior electing love, without which, you would never have chosen to obey him and so live.

  44. James,

    Right. So grace is irresistible and monergistic in sanctification right? Otherwise you can boast in your sanctification. But you’ve already stated (and many in your tradition affirm likewise) that sanctification is synergistic and irresistible grace only applies to regeneration. So you sanctify yourself with God’s help (or you just stew in cognitive dissonance with your own logic). Yay Robert!

    What Michael said.

    Trent condemned a particular formulation of JBFA (If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean…). That’s why Benedict and other theologians have no problem affirming other formulations of JBFA – the ones that say we are saved by a faith formed in love. You better have a no-brainer slam-dunk case to show your formulation (that one is saved by a faith apart from love but that necessarily results in love – otherwise you would affirm Benedict’s statement) is worth and justifies ongoing schism then.

    The justification for Rome’s ongoing schism form the orthodox Western church is Rome’s apparent refusal to take works of love out of justification.

    So let me ask you—are you justified by your works of love or not? If yes, Benedict’s “acceptance” is no acceptance of JBFA at all.

    JBFA entails believing that all have attained the same righteous status in justification. IE, you aren’t more justified after living a holy life than you were at conversion.

  45. Michael,

    You said to James,

    We look at our cooperation as a means/end issue. In other words, our cooperation is the very means by which God sanctifies us. … But grace uses means. It’s not magical.

    And,

    The same can be said of our progressive sanctification. God uses means–our cooperation, the means of grace (“sacraments”), scripture reading, prayers, good works etc as that which, by grace, we are made holy, conformed to his likeness etc.

    For you, that clearly implies that “we do something,” and therefore we’re part of the synergism. But we don’t see any of the things we do as triggering, causing, bringing down, meriting, God’s grace. Rather it is just the opposite. God monergistically gives grace, and the result is the fruit that the elect bear. In other words, the emphasis is entirely on God the sanctifier and not on us as the active agent in our own sanctification.

    Yes of course Grace uses means. Like you said, “we do something”. The means is our cooperation, therefore you must cooperate. If you aren’t cooperating, then there is a problem.

    I don’t really have much of a problem with what are saying here other than insisting on the use of the term “monergistic” over against the term “synergistic”. If “monergistic” in you book includes the fact that God through His Grace uses our cooperation as a means, fine. Call whatever you want.

  46. Robert, you write:

    … if grace is intrinsically efficacious it is finally irresistible …

    Robert, you are a human being that can make choices that are sinful. With God’s grace, you can also make choices to avoid sin. To deny that you can make sinful choices is insane. You are man, not an “elect” meat-puppet that is controlled by strings labeled “intrinsically efficacious grace that cannot be resisted”.

  47. ” If “monergistic” in you book includes the fact that God through His Grace uses our cooperation as a means …”

    But that is just a ridiculous redefinition of the word “monergism”, and it does nothing but obfuscate the issue under debate.

  48. JMJ

    Michael,

    Just to make sure we are talkinga bout the same video, here is is again.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aevd8djlc9E

    Now, go to point 37:08. Christ was cursed. The lamb of God was a curse. Then Sproul furthers his errors by saying Jesus became the scapegoat. At 45:25 he utters the blasphemy about Jesus being forsaken by the Father.
    Yadda yadda yadda.

    Now, you say, “No one is saying he despaired of his own salvation.”

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/christdecended.html

    Please scroll down to #12 of Calvin’s commentary and read, “For they hold it incongruous for him to fear for the salvation of his soul. ”

    As for Eusebius, the Fathers predate Anselm’s Satisfaction theory which in turn predates Aquinas which in turn predates Calvin and Luther. Therefore, we can conclude he was not a Calvinist before Calvin. Nor would he have known of the gospel Luther called “my gospel” before Luther.

    By the way, while I have your attention, Luther said, “”Be Peter the denier;
    Paul the persecutor, blasphemer, and assaulter; David the adulterer; the
    sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; the thief on the cross. In short, be
    the person of all men, the one who has committed the sins of all men. And
    see to it that You pay and make satisfaction for them.”
    That’s from http://www.lutherquest.org/walther/articles/600/jmc.633.htm

    ( Of course, the same Luther asserted that Christ committed adultery with the 1 the woman at the well, 2 Mary Magdalene, 3 the woman taken in adultery so what does he know know about Christology, right? )

  49. JMJ
    Michael,

    You wrote,
    “Niether Calvinism nor Romanism teach an absolute predestination to hell (or reprobation). There is a condition that must first be filled, namely one needs to be an impenitent sinner. In other words, God does not unconditionally reprobate; rather God sends people to hell because of their sin, withholding from these the saving grace needed for salvation.”

    C’mon! Stop with the game playing! The god of Calvinism makes sure those sinners are impenitent, then sits back and says, ” I didn’t do nothin’ wrong”.

    Then in your next post you said,

    “We look at our cooperation as a means/end issue. In other words, our cooperation is the very means by which God sanctifies us. So the move–whether you agree with it or not–is to distance ourselves from the idea that our post-regenerational works are in any way the cause of our own sanctification.. It’s still all by monergistic grace. But grace uses means. It’s not magical.”

    You go on,
    “The same can be said of our progressive sanctification. God uses means–our cooperation, the means of grace (“sacraments”), scripture reading, prayers, good works etc as that which, by grace, we are made holy, conformed to his likeness etc.
    For you, that clearly implies that “we do something,” and therefore we’re part of the synergism. But we don’t see any of the things we do as triggering, causing, bringing down, meriting, God’s grace. Rather it is just the opposite. God monergistically gives grace, and the result is the fruit that the elect bear. In other words, the emphasis is entirely on God the sanctifier and not on us as the active agent in our own sanctification.”

    Hmmmmm? We have already seen your confrere Eric, over the course of several months, argue full circle to a Catholic understanding of sanctification all the while claiming it for Calvinism. Could you be doing a bit of the same?

    You do indeed say,

    “But now I think we’re splitting the hairs all too fine. Perhaps you have heard some of the Reformed saying sanctification is “synergistic.” I can understand why some would be tempted to use that language. But I would counsel against it because it leads to confusion. The same language is used by many to say that even regeneration is synergistic.”

    Which makes me ask, are you putting forth what all or most Calvinist would say? Or are you white-washing Calvinism’s strident doctrines a bit? Some of the stuff you say sure seems to soften the same message other Calvinists put forth.

  50. Lane,

    I warned you about apologetics. Mateo will try to knock that syncretism out. I, on the other hand, think it’s firmly rooted.

    Mateo,
    But that is just a ridiculous redefinition of the word “monergism”, and it does nothing but obfuscate the issue under debate.

  51. Mateo,

    Robert, you are a human being that can make choices that are sinful.

    Yes I am.

    With God’s grace, you can also make choices to avoid sin.

    Yes I can.

    To deny that you can make sinful choices is insane.

    Which is why I don’t deny that.

    You are man, not an “elect” meat-puppet that is controlled by strings labeled “intrinsically efficacious grace that cannot be resisted”.

    Not one Calvinist commenting here believes we are “controlled” by strings labeled “intrinsically efficacious grace,” so I don’t know what you are talking about. We believe that grace guarantees cooperation and that our decisions aren’t what give grace its power in conversion or anything else. Apparently you disagree. Apparently God can’t effectively save you unless you make the right decision to cooperate with grace. Which means grace doesn’t have the most power. You do.

    Just own up to it. It’s wrong, but just admit that you save yourself because you made the right decision, that the most God ever does is “help” you.

  52. Jim,

    C’mon! Stop with the game playing! The god of Calvinism makes sure those sinners are impenitent, then sits back and says, ” I didn’t do nothin’ wrong”.

    The God of Romanism makes sure those sinners are impenitent by standing back by not guaranteeing their cooperation. Come up with an argument that can be uniquely hurled at Calvinism, otherwise you defeat your own position.

    Now, go to point 37:08. Christ was cursed. The lamb of God was a curse

    That’s what Paul says: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Sproul isn’t just making it up.

    Then Sproul furthers his errors by saying Jesus became the scapegoat.

    The book of Hebrews says that Jesus bore the reproach outside the camp, a clear reference to the scapegoat on whom sins were put to be carried out of the holy place.

    At 45:25 he utters the blasphemy about Jesus being forsaken by the Father.

    But according to other RCs like Jonathan, we all agree that Jesus was forsaken in some sense. So you have to prove how this statement was blasphemy. Use the Bible, please.

    The more I think about it, the more I think Michael is right. You all have no real category for Jesus as a corporate person, as the representative of His people. I’m not really sure what Jesus does for you all at the end of the day. There’s every evidence in popular RC piety that the really important figure is Mary. Thank goodness she said yes. Jesus doesn’t pay all of the penalty for your sin, you’ve got to do some of that in purgatory. God’s grace doesn’t go so far as to take care of everything. Jesus is the great sympathizer with mankind, not a meaningful atonement for sin. One starts to wonder what the point of Jesus is in your system.

  53. @Lane,

    I don’t really have much of a problem with what are saying here other than insisting on the use of the term “monergistic” over against the term “synergistic”. If “monergistic” in you book includes the fact that God through His Grace uses our cooperation as a means, fine. Call whatever you want.

    But it’s not just semantics, Lane. The real issue is whether your salvation in anyway *depends* upon your cooperation and if it does, how?

    Our view is that it depends entirely on God and not us. But that doesn’t mean we’re “passive” or that we “don’t do anything.” It means what Paul meant when he said: “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16) echoing what he said a few verses earlier: “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls” (Romans 9:11).

    Pay close attention to the binaries there: What’s in the “not” column? Answer: free will, effort, works. What’s in the “yes” column? Answer: God’s mercy, God’s effectual call.

    In other words, salvation by grace alone, sola gratia. The minute you mix and match columns, you have synergism. Romanism is just one variety of the synergist heresy. But clearly Paul’s language doesn’t permit the blending of the two. A not B doesn’t support your theory of A + B. It’s that simple.

    Consider too John’s language from the prologue: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

    Again, what’s in the “not” column? Answer: Blood relations, free will, human choice. What’s in the “yes” column? Answer: God.

    Salvation is of the Lord from start to finish. Anything we do is *coincidental* to our salvation as the means are to the ends If God has ordained your salvation, you will be saved because *solely* because it is “God’s purpose of election” (Romans 9:11). Your choices and good deeds aren’t even a factor. Rather it is His love, His predilection, His grace, His mercy, His sovereign purpose that accomplishes it all.

    No, that doesn’t mean you’re an automaton. It just means it isn’t about you. It’s about Him.

  54. Eric.

    As I have repeatedly stated over the past few days, salvation falls under 4 different facets;
    Redemption/Ransom
    Satisfaction
    Merit
    Sacrifice/Atonement

    None of which are Penal Substitution.

  55. Michael,

    So when you sin in sanctification, did God give you sufficient resistible cooperative grace that you resisted? Or did he not give you such grace at all? If he did not give you grace at all, grace in sanctification is monergistic and irresisitible correct? In which case, where’s the difference between regeneration and sanctification?

    “In other words, the emphasis is entirely on God the sanctifier and not on us as the active agent in our own sanctification….Perhaps you have heard some of the Reformed saying sanctification is “synergistic.”"

    WCF:
    “And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure”

    “God does continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall from the sate of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.”

    “Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of His good pleasure: yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.”

    A.A. Hodge: “It must be remembered that while the subject is passive with respect to that divine act of grace whereby he is regenerated, after he is regenerated he cooperates with the Holy Ghost in the work of sanctification. The Holy Ghost gives the grace, and prompts and directs in its exercise, and the soul exercises it. Thus while sanctification is a grace, it is also a duty; and the soul is both bound and encouraged to use with diligence, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, all the means for its spiritual renovation, and to form those habits resisting evil and of right action in which sanctification so largely consists.”

    “The evangelical doctrine of sanctification common to the Lutheran and Reformed Churches includes the following points: The soul after regeneration continues dependent upon the constant gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, but is, through grace, able to co-operate with them”

    Boettner: “many people confuse regeneration and sanctification. Regeneration is exclusively God’s work, and it is an act of His free grace in which He implants a new principle of spiritual life in the soul. It is performed by supernatural power and is complete in an instant. On the other hand, sanctification is a process through which the remains of sin in the outward life are gradually removed … It is a joint work of God and man”

    Packer: “Regeneration was a momentary monergistic act of quickening the spiritually dead. As such, it was God’s work alone. Sanctification, however, is in one sense synergistic – it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate persons, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience. God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14).”

    WGT Shedd: “The believer cooperates with God the Spirit in the use of the means of sanctification. Sanctification is both a grace and a duty….. Regeneration, being a sole work of God is not a duty. It is nowhere enjoined upon man to regenerate himself”

    Berkhof: “When it is said that man takes part in the work of sanctification, this does not mean that man is an independent agent in the work, so as to make it partly the work of God and partly the work of man; but merely, that God effects the work in part through the instrumentality of man as a rational being, by requiring of him prayerful and intelligent cooperation with the Spirit. That man must cooperate with the Spirit of God follows: (a) from the repeated warnings against evils and temptations, which clearly imply that man must be active in avoiding the pitfalls of life … and (b) from the constant exhortations to holy living. These imply that the believer must be diligent in the employment of the means at his command for the moral and spiritual improvement of his life…”

    “It is a supernatural work of God. Some have the mistaken notion that sanctification consists merely in the drawing out of new life, implanted in the soul by regeneration, in a persuasive way by presenting motives to the will. But this is not true. It consists fundamentally and primarily in a Divine operation in the soul, whereby the holy disposition born in regeneration is strengthened and its holy exercises are increased. It is essentially a work of God, though in so far as He employs means, man can and is expected to co-operated by the proper use of the means.”

    JC Ryle: “Sanctification … is a thing for which every believer is responsible…. Whose fault is it if they [believers] are not holy, but their own? On whom can they throw the blame if they are not sanctified, but themselves? God, who has given them grace and a new heart, and a new nature, has deprived them of all excuse if they do not live for his praise.”

    Sproul: “As part of the process of sanctification, perseverance is a synergistic work. This means it is a cooperative effort between God and us. We persevere and he preserves. ”

    Edwards: “In efficacious grace we are not merely passive, nor yet does God do some and we do the rest. But God does all, and we do all. God produces all, we act all. For that is what he produces, viz. [namely] our own acts. God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors. We are in different respects, wholly passive and wholly active.”

    Gaffin: “Here is what may be fairly called a synergy but it is not a 50/50 undertaking (not even 99.9% God and 0.1% ourselves). Involved here is the ‘mysterious math’ of the creator and his image-bearing creature, whereby 100% plus 100% =100%. Sanctification is 100% the work of God, and for that reason, is to engage the full 100% activity of the believer.”

    Calvin: “As it is an arduous work and of immense labour, to put off the corruption which is in us, he bids us to strive and make every effort for this purpose. He intimates that no place is to be given in this case to sloth, and that we ought to obey God calling us, not slowly or carelessly, but that there is need of alacrity; as though he had said, “Put forth every effort, and make your exertions manifest to all.”

    Turretin: “The question does not concern the second stage of conversion in which it is certain that man is not merely passive, but cooperates with God (or rather operates under him). Indeed he actually believes and converts himself to God; moves himself to the exercise of new life. Rather the question concerns the first moment when he is converted and receives new life in regeneration. We contend that he is merely passive in this, as a receiving subject and not as an active principle.”

    Brakel: “Man, being thus moved by the influence of God’s Spirit, moves, sanctifies himself, engages in that activity which his new nature desires and is inclined toward, and does that which he knows to be his duty … make an earnest effort to purify yourself from all the pollutions of the flesh and of the mind, perfecting yours sanctification in the fear of God. Permit me to stir you up to this holy work; incline your ear and permit these exhortations addressed to you to enter your heart.”

    Charles Hodge: “When Christ opened the eyes of the blind no second cause interposed between his volition and the effect. But men work out their own salvation, while it is God who worketh in them to will and to do, according to his own good pleasure. In the work of regeneration, the soul is passive. It cannot cooperate in the communication of spiritual life. But in conversion, repentance, faith, and growth in grace, all its powers are called into exercise. As, however, the effects produced transcend the efficiency of our fallen nature, and are due to the agency of the Spirit, sanctification does not cease to be supernatural, or a work of grace, because the soul is active and cooperating in the process.”

    Roger Nicole: “Regeneration is monergistic…. Sanctification, on the other hand, is synergistic. That is, God wants to associate us with himself in accomplishing this work. He has not said, ‘I am going to clean your junky house up by myself. When you come back you will find it entirely free of all the things that are unworthy.’ God has said, ‘I want you to have a part in this great work. I want you to bring your will into conformity with my will. I want you to yield yourself to the life I have implanted in you.’ Instead of doing the work by himself, without taking account of our will, co-operation and labours, God involves us as co-laborers with him, in the same way in which in the propagation of the gospel God involves human beings as fellow-workers ”

    Grudem: “Some (such as John Murray)? object to saying that God and man “cooperate” in sanctification, because they want to insist that God’s work is primary and our work in sanctification is only a secondary one. However, if we explain the nature of God’s role and our role in sanctification clearly, it does not seem inappropriate to say that God and man cooperate in sanctification. God works in our sanctification and we work as well, and we work for the same purpose. We are not saying that we have equal roles in sanctification or that we both work in the same way, but simply that we cooperate with God in ways that are appropriate to our status as God’s creatures. And the fact that Scripture emphasizes the role that we play in sanctification (with all the moral commands of the New Testament), makes it appropriate to teach that God calls us to cooperate with him in this activity.?.. The role that we play in sanctification is both a passive one in which we depend on God to sanctify us, and an active one in which we strive to obey God and take steps that will increase our sanctification.”

  56. Michael (cont),

    “That’s because you think that we think of our cooperation with grace in the same way (and apparently the same categories) as you do. But we don’t.”

    Now can you please tell me how RCism affirms a cooperation with grace that differs from the conception these Reformed lights above outline? And why the RC version denies sola gratia and entails boasting while the Reformed version doesn’t?

    “then it seems to me that Aquinas held to a doctrine of monergism with respect to operative grace.”

    Operative grace is not a Thomist-exclusive. Molinists affirm operative and cooperative grace (see the Feingold lecture I linked to – Feingold follows the Molinist position). So again, given BOTH operative and cooperative grace are always in play during any RC concept of synergism, how does RC synergism deny sola gratia and entail boasting but Reformed “synergism” (or “cooperative monergism” or “monergistic resistible grace” or whatever idiosyncratic euphemism you want to label it) does not?

  57. Robert,

    There were two goats. One was Barabbas. One was Jesus. One was sacrificed. One was let go.

    The Lamb was cursed? Can you give me a scripture quote?

    You say, “. You all have no real category for Jesus as a corporate person, as the representative of His people.”
    WRONG! But we don’t say he was the substitute in our stead meaning there is no place for our incorporation or cooperation.

    Purgatory? Did you read Michael’s post on the various ways God works out our sanctification. Throw purgatory in the mix.

  58. Robert,

    “What Michael said.”

    What I answered. By the logic of your own argument, you still sanctify yourself with God’s help (or you just stew in cognitive dissonance with your own logic by affirming sanctification is synergistic, but it’s monergistic and grace is irresistible, but it’s not, but it is). Yay Robert!

    “The justification for Rome’s ongoing schism form the orthodox Western church is Rome’s apparent refusal to take works of love out of justification. So let me ask you—are you justified by your works of love or not? If yes, Benedict’s “acceptance” is no acceptance of JBFA at all.”

    Babies and deathbeds have a faith formed in love infused into them. They do not have works. And that’s perfectly compatible with Benedict’s affirmation of JBFA. So schism’s over right?

    “JBFA entails believing that all have attained the same righteous status in justification.”

    Right, and all who have sanctifying grace infused are saved. They all have the same status before God. And if differing degrees of holiness or participation negates JBFA, your sanctification must not be by faith alone then as that varies amongst all the elect.

  59. Robert, you write:

    Not one Calvinist commenting here believes we are “controlled” by strings labeled “intrinsically efficacious grace,” so I don’t know what you are talking about.

    Everyone that is not a Calvinist can draw the logical implications from your bald assertion that you cannot resist “intrinsically efficacious grace”. It is nothing less than a claim that you are not a man with free will that can make choices for, or against, God. Rather, it is an insane claim that you are a puppet without free will that is controlled by grace that cannot be resisted. Everything else that you say to deny this is obvious logical inference is just double-talk.

  60. ERIC April 9, 2015 at 9:10 am
    De Maria–
    I take it then that you have absolutely no clue as to whether or not you’re in a state of grace. (Don’t want to risk presumption, now, do we?)

    Do you speak English? I’m serious. Because I have frequently repeated that Catholics adhere to the Apostolic Teaching which says:

    1 Corinthians 4:3-5 King James Version (KJV)

    3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

    Here, let me give you a simplified version of Scripture:

    1 Corinthians 4:3-5New English Translation (NET Bible)

    3 So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this. The one who judges me is the Lord. 5 So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God.

    And I also frequently mentioned putting on the helmet of hope.

    1 Thessalonians 5:8 But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation.

    But, perhaps you don’t consider hope to be a feeling of assurance? Oh, right. Protestants don’t read the Bible. I forgot.

    Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

    Are you still having trouble grasping the concept of the assurance of hope which I hold in accordance with Catholic Teaching and which all Catholics hold?

    Your fellow Catholics all speak of having assurance. Perhaps you should join them.

    Perhaps you should actually read what I am saying and address my arguments rather than your straw men.

    We’ve spoken of this to such an extent by now that confusion on your part is not a possibility. I’ll leave it to you to figure out the other possibilities. Calvinists DO NOT advance the presumption of salvation. in fact, avoiding presumption is a key point in the definition of the Perseverance of the Saints.

    Calvin speaks all kinds of self contradicting mumbo jumbo. But its very easy to prove you, and he, wrong. Just answer these questions. Do you consider yourself saved? Do you do this on the basis of Calvin’s doctrines? If you do, then you are presuming your salvation apart from the Judgment of all mighty God. The end.

  61. @ Anti-Psubbers,

    I want to go back to this quote from Eusebius:

    And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? (Proof of the Gospel, vol. 2, Book 10, Chapter 1).

    Just a few observations:

    1. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Jesus was punished on our behalf. Like Aquinas, he affirms that he suffered a “penalty.”

    2. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Christ didn’t owe this penalty, but rather that we owed it.

    3. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Christ paid this penalty by means of transferring all punishment that was due to us to himself.

    4. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Christ became a curse “for us.”

    What, if any of this, can Rome affirm? And if Rome can’t affirm what Eusebius clearly does, what does one make of the claim that Eusebius was a “good Roman Catholic” given that his soteriology, at least in this snippet, looks far more Reformed than Roman?

  62. @James,

    Thanks for all the quotes. That must have taken a long time to type. And my reaction: Right. I agree with all of them, but not necessarily the use of the “syn” word. But as I said before, I wouldn’t call any of that “synergism” in the way you mean it. Sure, a couple of the authors used the term. But it’s what they meant by it that counts. What they were not saying was that sanctification is dependent upon human effort as if we could sanctify ourselves by trying harder to avail ourselves of the means of grace.

    After all, it is God who enables the will to work in us and so, once again, the sense of “synergism” that is being articulated in all of these quotes is the instrumental or means/ends understanding whereby our cooperation is the means by which God makes us perfect. Nowhere is it hinted that God is unable to perfect the elect unless they sovereignly and autonomously allow God to do so. But nor is it affirmed that God simply cleans house while we’re merrily going about our business, completely passive and oblivious before his commands to be holy. No, God wants us fully engaged and uses our willing cooperation as the means by which He sanctifies us.

    Is that different than your view? Yes. Because, finally, grace in your system can’t get the job done without your permission. You’ve reversed the Psalmist’s priority on Divine agency:

    Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
    Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain (Psalm 127:1).

    Notice both what is affirmed and denied. The primary agent is God who both builds the city and watches over it. That, however, doesn’t negate the fact that there are human agents involved. So there are both human builders and human watchmen. But to which agency does the Psalmist attribute the controlling priority, the human or the divine? Clearly the divine.

    There is no hint here that the Lord could not build the city or watch over it **unless** the builders and watchers consent to cooperate with the Lord’s plans. On the contrary, it is because the Lord builds and watches that human builders and watchmen are able to succeed in their endeavors.

    It seems to me that Reformed soteriology puts the proper emphasis on Divine agency in sanctification, while human agency, much like the builders and watchmen of the psalm, is instrumental or coincidental to God’s project of sanctification. So it’s not that we have no role in our sanctification, as every quote your provided clearly affirms. Rather, the emphasis is on God who ensures that our cooperation will be successful, as just about every quote you provided likewise affirms.

    Not so, Rome, not so. God would love to sanctify us if we would just allow him to do so. God would love to save us, if we would just allow him to do so. God would love to build a city, if only some builders would step up. God would love to watch over that city, if only he could find a few good men to stand guard.

    So “synergism” here is a bit of weasel word. I submit that our “synergism” of the sort we find in Psalm 127:1, whereas your synergism makes God’s success subject to human willingness. In other words, God can only save us if we empower Him to save us. That seems to be your kind of synergism.

  63. @Jim

    This is rich:

    C’mon! Stop with the game playing! The god of Calvinism makes sure those sinners are impenitent, then sits back and says, ” I didn’t do nothin’ wrong”.

    And so is this:

    Which makes me ask, are you putting forth what all or most Calvinist would say? Or are you white-washing Calvinism’s strident doctrines a bit?

    There’s no winning with you. We’re caught between the Scylla of your caricatures and the Charybdis of accusations of white-washing. What’s the point of dialogue if you’re just going to plug your ears like a child and say nah, nah?

    Speaking for myself, if what you portray as Calvinism is even partially true, I would never have become a Calvinist. But I recognize virtually nothing of what you say as belonging to the Reformed tradition. So when we call you out on your lies, misrepresentations, canards and caricatures, you accuse of us “white-washing” the truth.

    I mean, it’s like your the Roman version of Jack Chick. Can you draw? I ask because you could make some serious cha-ching marketing your nonsense to your own traditionalist niche. They’d eat it up with a spoon, imagining us poor, deluded Calvinists worshipping a sadistic monster who tortured his own son to death just so he could let a few people into heaven without losing face. Meanwhile, he must absolutely delight in creating millions of souls for the sole and express purpose of condemning them to an eternity in hellfire, commanding them to repent and believe, on the one hand, but sadistically withholding from them the very means to do so, on the other.

    It’s almost like a reverse form of Munchausen Syndrome whereby God deliberately infects his creation with a terminal disease just so he can get them all to beg him to nurse them back to health, thereby giving him the attention he craves. But then, for reasons unknown, he magnanimously helps some, while schizophrenically neglecting the vast majority on the grounds that their sickness is their own fault.

    And for this God we poor Reformed implausibly labor go to seminary, learn Greek and Hebrew, memorize his Word, study theology, read church history, go on missions, preach the Gospel and risk life and limb and ridicule all because we’ve lost the infallible guidance of Mother Church ™.

    It will sell, I tell you! If you can draw, you’ll make enough money to put every one of us on an Alitalia flight to Rome, nonstop, and first class. Do it Jim. Take the drawing lessons. You’ve already go the written material down cold.

  64. ERIC April 9, 2015 at 9:24 am
    Lane–
    In what way whatsoever–intentionally or unintentionally–do the Reformed downplay holiness?

    They downplay holiness when they say that men can not stop sinning. They downplay holiness when they say that men are totally depraved.

    The Puritans weren’t called the Puritans for their Antinomianism.

    Yes, actually. They were called Puritans because they sought to divest themselves of all the Sacraments which, as you perhaps know, constitute the new Law of grace.

    Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    If Catholics actually and unambiguously espouse Sola Gratia, then why would they ever denigrate JBFA?

    Sola Gratia is a false doctrine which Protestants invented in order to divest themselves of the Sacraments, the hierarchy of the Church and all other things which Jesus Christ taught.

    Justification by faith alone is also a false doctrine invented by Martin Luther in order to justify his rebellion against Christ and His Church.

  65. MICHAEL April 9, 2015 at 9:30 am
    @ Of Mary,

    Yes. But he’s clearly not proclaiming post-Tridentine Roman Catholic doctrine.

    Yes, he is.

    Read the text. It’s right there.

    It is your contention which you need to prove.

    It doesn’t say that. But that’s not Penal Substitution.

    It doesn’t say that either. But once again, that’s not Penal Substitution either. Some Reformers understood that Jesus descended into “Hell” because of the creed.

    Do you deny that Jesus descended into hell?

    But not even they thought God “cast him into hell” as if he were being punished there and not on the cross. Usually it is assumed that he was preaching his victory there.

    And He set the captives free.

    Mark and Matthew record this in their Gospels accounts.

    But where does Eusebius say such a thing?

    Not sure why you would assume Eusebius would have to include that idea here.

    Because it is part of “penal substitution” theory.

    But you are claiming that all the points of p sub which other Protestants have been asserting are not actually true. So, why don’t you define “penal substitution” so that we can compare it to that which Eusebius is saying.

    You’re focusing on what he didn’t say rather than what he did.

    Because he expounded Catholic Doctrine and did not expound Protestant error.

    But then again, that’s pretty typical of the way traditionalists do “exegesis” on your side of the Tiber.

    Examining and explaining the teachings of Eusebius are not exegesis.

    Right. And so do most Protestants, including the entire Reformed tradition.

    On the contrary, you have all been asserting that Jesus was complaining about being abandoned by the Father. You have all asserted that God the Father turned His back on His Son. You have all been asserting that the Father poured out His wrath upon His only begotten Son. You have all been asserting that the Father separated Himself from His Son.

    And we agree.

    No, you don’t. If you do, then explain why you believe that God the Father abandoned His beloved Son and poured out His wrath upon Him.

    So go ahead and compare the differences between Eusebius from the text I provided and compare those to Calvin so that we might see what exactly those “big differences” are.

    I’ve done so above and in this message as well. All you’ve done is denied what I said without providing a shred of evidence to support your denials.

  66. ERIC April 9, 2015 at 9:28 am
    Jim–
    So you admit that the suffering of vicarious punishment accepted out of love could be categorized as Satisfaction?
    What are we arguing about then?

    The error known as Penal substitution.

    Satisfaction is the Catholic Doctrine.

  67. MICHAEL April 9, 2015 at 9:51 am
    @Jim,
    I can’t improve upon what De Maria said….
    De Maria utterly failed to interact with Eusebius, threw out a bunch of red herrings and continues to advance the same canards and caricatures that you do. Anyone with integrity could improve upon his words with just the tiniest bit of effort.

    This is from Eusebius:
    And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? (Proof of the Gospel, vol. 2, Book 10, Chapter 1).

    Note the following:

    suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins;

    Jesus Christ was not guilty of our sins and yet paid for them. That is the Satisfaction doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas and mentioned in Scripture:

    Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety (guarantor) of a better testament.

    Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

    And what is that but the price of our souls?

    And this is the Ransom doctrine of atonement taught by the early Church Fathers and mentioned in Scripture:

    Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    Where does Eusebius say anything about the wrath of God being poured out upon the Son? He doesn’t. Why? Because he is expounding Catholic Doctrine, not Protestant error.

  68. Michael said

    You and De Maria and many others are failing to make essential distinctions between Jesus “in his person” and Jesus as a corporate representative of his people. So long as you continue to do so, you’ll continue to misunderstand and therefore continue to misrepresent the Reformers on this issue.

    On the contrary, you, Protestants, seem to be unaware that the Catholic Doctrine of atonement is concerned with satisfaction. You seem to believe that “satisfaction” is a Protestant word. But it isn’t. The atonement is concerned with the satisfaction of God’s justice and the outpouring of His grace and mercy by the sacrifice of His Son upon the Cross..

    Penal substitution may also be concerned with satisfaction, but it is concerned the satisfaction of the Father’s wrath by an unjust outpouring against His innocent Son. This is a complete twisting of the Word of God and portrays God as an unholy and unjust Magistrate who punishes the innocent and frees the guilty.

  69. Michael,

    I can draw a bit.
    You wrote,

    “Meanwhile, he must absolutely delight in creating millions of souls for the sole and express purpose of condemning them to an eternity in hellfire, commanding them to repent and believe, on the one hand, but sadistically withholding from them the very means to do so, on the other.
    It’s almost like a reverse form of Munchausen Syndrome whereby God deliberately infects his creation with a terminal disease just so he can get them all to beg him to nurse them back to health, thereby giving him the attention he craves. But then, for reasons unknown, he magnanimously helps some, while schizophrenically neglecting the vast majority on the grounds that their sickness is their own fault.”

    This is a caricature?
    Are you saved Michael? One of the elect? You need not answer, I already know you will answer in the affirmative.
    No, you are not a victim of Munchhausen Syndrome. You are a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. You know, the the Patty Hearst mindset where a group of people are taking hostage by a bad guy and picks out terrified individual to fetch his water, watch the cops out of the window for him and even hold the gun on the other poor bastards while he uses the bathroom. The lacky is so scared and so grateful not to be sharing the fate of his fellows that he falls in love with his captor.
    What choice does the lackey have? He dreads being one of the hapless hostages who are randomly selected to be shot every hour.
    Later, after the bad guy is taken captive by the SWAT team and securely in handcuffs, the lackey snaps out of his stupor, he rushes past the cops in fury and scratches the eyes out of the ogre who had degraded him into cooperating in evil.

    Why is it people who believe in your system just so happen to be the same people who have an absolute assurance they are not one of those losers who their god toys with by giving them a merely temporary faith?

  70. Just a few observations:
    1. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Jesus was punished on our behalf.

    In other words, Jesus received our punishment. That’s Catholic Doctrine. Let me show you:

    615 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who “makes himself an offering for sin”, when “he bore the sin of many”, and who “shall make many to be accounted righteous”, for “he shall bear their iniquities”. Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.

    Like Aquinas, he affirms that he suffered a “penalty.”

    Our penalty. Not His own. Jesus was not guilty of any sin but offered Himself in payment for our sins.

    2. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Christ didn’t owe this penalty, but rather that we owed it.

    Not like the Reformers. Like the good Catholic which he is. That is also Catholic Doctrine.

    3. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Christ paid this penalty by means of transferring all punishment that was due to us to himself.

    Again, Jesus suffered our punishment. That remains Catholic Doctrine.

    4. Like the Reformers, Eusebius affirms that Christ became a curse “for us.”

    Again, that is Catholic Doctrine as it is reflected in the Catechism and in the Bible.

    602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. . . with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.”402 Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.403 By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”404

    What, if any of this, can Rome affirm?

    All of it.

    And if Rome can’t affirm what Eusebius clearly does, what does one make of the claim that Eusebius was a “good Roman Catholic” given that his soteriology, at least in this snippet, looks far more Reformed than Roman?

    Lol! You simply don’t understand the Word of God in Scripture nor in Tradition.

    Note that Eusebius makes no mention of God the Father pouring out His wrath upon His Son. Note that Eusebius makes no mention of God the Father abandoning His Son. Note that Eusebius makes no mention nor does he affirm any of the particulars which the Reformers profess.

  71. Michael:

    Is that different than your view? Yes. Because, finally, grace in your system can’t get the job done without your permission. You’ve reversed the Psalmist’s priority on Divine agency:

    Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
    Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain (Psalm 127:1).

    Nope. You’ve simply twisted the meaning of the verse. The verse does not say that the Lord will build the house without the men’s labor. That would be monergism.

    But it says that God works through the men’s labor. And that is the reason why our works are so important. Because we work together with God. This is the quintessential description of synergism.

    The Catholic Church does not deny God’s priority. The Catholic Church decreed that Pelagianism is a heresy. Pelagianism is the idea that man can accomplish anything good without God, in other words, that men can labour and build the house without God’s grace.

  72. Michael,
    Thank you so much for putting a nickel in me with,
    “Speaking for myself, if what you portray as Calvinism is even partially true, I would never have become a Calvinist. ”

    I didn’t respond to this above because I wanted to savor it and give it the attention it deserves.

    Let me ask you a question. Did you become convinced of Calvinism’s arguments while still a nominal Catholic? Or had you already become disillusioned with the selling of indulgences or whatever, had drifted away and were searching when you met a guy who told you about Jesus for the first time?

    Which came first, Calvinism filling the gap of a lost faith or Calvinism’s arguments toppling the belief system that led you to seminary and the diaconate?

    Do you study Calvinism? Or do the doctrines all come to you from out of the blue?

    I think I mentioned on this blog a month or two ago, in response to you or someone defending you, that I used to be acquainted with Bill Webster and his devoted student, Father Richard Bennett, both fallen away Catholics.
    The thing that fascinated me about them is that when I would ask Bennett a question, he would have to run to Webster for the answer.
    ??? Why would a priest be learning from a layman why the Church was wrong? Wouldn’t he know as he had already opted to apostatize? Shouldn’t the former Dominican be mentoring the other former”devoted” Catholic?
    ( That’s another thing, why are the Tim Kauffmans, John Bugays, William Websters, etc. all former “devoted” Catholics? Why were they never luke warm or poorly catechized? )

    Please don’t tell me you left the Church because you found her arguments to be so shallow. Or that you didn’t see any heroic sanctity in any of her members. And please don’t run that crap about the homosexual priesthood past me again.

    Let me close by saying I live close to a Kingdom Hall and find myself chatting with the Witnesses on a regular basis. If they are not kids, I always ask them if they are former Catholics and they always say they were once so but left because the Trinity made no sense or had been refused a Bible or some other nonsense you know they have been coached into saying.

    I ask them how the Trinity made no sense but the idea that Jesus is also St. Michael gives them no problem. I press them by asking how the other doctrines given them by their parents, who loved and cared for them, can be so cavalierly jettisoned in favor of the teachings of two frumpy people carrying a bad translation of the Bible and a copy of the Watchtower who just so happened to show up at their door one day out of the blue.

    Michael, unlike some of guys on this blog who enjoy an intellectual tete a tete with you, I think I am on to you.
    You don’t need someone to explain Aquinas to you or cut through the Molina/Banez debates or tell you how sufficient grace is really sufficient or whatever you pretend to find so perplexing. No, you don’t need a sparring partner to amuse yourself with.
    You need a priest. Today.
    Cheers!

  73. JMJ

    Catholic Guys,

    About my “tete a tete” comments, please, by all means, if anyone enjoys the repartee or wants to hone their apologetic skills by engaging Michael, go right ahead. And I certainly don’t claim that Michael is beyond reverting.
    It is not that I am cynical. I just don’t believe anyone who has been involved with the Church to the degree Michael says he has, leaves the Catholic Church for Calvinism because they have found something better in that system.

    I guess I am just a bit like the Father Finn character ( complete with grease spot upon his vest ) in Flannery O’Connor’s short story, The Enduring Chill.

  74. Michael,
    “There’s no winning with you. We’re caught between the Scylla of your caricatures and the Charybdis of accusations of white-washing.”

    And I am caught between the Scylla of your claiming we are using a caricature of ” the Father venting”, but when I post a link in which R.C. Sproul says as much, you trot out the Charybdis of defending what he says as the Biblica view.
    You qualify Luther’s brayings to make them seem to jive with what we Catholics believe and out of the other side of your neck defend him against us.
    Which is it?

    As DeMaria has posted two, maybe three times, we Catholics do indeed believe in Jesus’ work on Calvary’s cross for us. We just refuse to buy into your Penal Substitution errors.

    You have insisted Calvinists do not believe PS has the Trinitarian implications it is accused of. Please. tell me how Jesus was abandoned. Was it just his humanity that was abandoned? Or was he abandoned? I can’t tell with you.

    You challenge us with,
    “And if Rome can’t affirm what Eusebius clearly does, what does one make of the claim that Eusebius was a “good Roman Catholic” given that his soteriology, at least in this snippet, looks far more Reformed than Roman?”

    You say E. taught the Reformed view. Which Reformed view Michael? The “biblical one that Sproul teaches? Or the Luther one that you predicted I would quote, the one you qualify as not saying what Sproul so clearly says on the video?

  75. Jim wrote to Michael:
    You have insisted Calvinists do not believe PS has the Trinitarian implications it is accused of. Please. tell me how Jesus was abandoned. Was it just his humanity that was abandoned? Or was he abandoned? I can’t tell with you.

    Response:
    I repeat what I wrote to you. Maybe you missed it:

    Even if damnation is separation from God, it doesn’t follow that it would be “ontological undoing.” It seems to me that the natural “opposition” between the Persons of the Trinity can ground (when we consider it conceptually) any “separation” of the economic Trinity.

    Here’s your chance to talk about it. It’s this very “opposition” that makes the incarnation possible. The other Persons didn’t incarnate. Consider the whole Christ being abandoned as we consider the whole Christ incarnating. I think both must depend on the “opposition” between them.

  76. Protestant Guys,

    To say Christ was made sin means Christ was a sin offering. There is plenty of support for that in scripture and Tradition.

    To say everyone is cursed who hangs on a tree does not mean Christ was cursed by God.

    To say the Suffering Servant healed us by his stripes means that his patient bearing of injustice merited grace for us and made satisfaction due the love involved, not as a Penal Substitute punished in our stead.

    To say Christ bore our punishment does mean punished in our stead. The High Priest bore the sins of the people and was not punished in the stead of Israel. It means he made a sacrifice of satisfaction for the people.

    To say Christ bore our punishment of death means he assumed a mortal body like ours. The punishment for Adam’s sin was the loss of the preternatural gift of immortality.

    Moving right along, let me assert that the OT sacrificial system was NOT one of Penal Substitution in which an innocent critter died for the sinner. Capitol crimes could not even be atoned for by an animal sacrifice in the first place.

    Not all sacrifices were sin offerings. Yet most included a blood sacrifice. Explain that.
    Sometimes a sack of flour could be used in lieu of an animal.

    Robert’s scapegoat did not “suffer outside the camp”. That goat did not suffer inside the camp. It didn’t suffer at all. As a matter of fact, the other goat is the one that was sacrificed. The scapegoat went scot free.

    Sacrifices were gifts of appeasement. The blood was used to show God and man shared life and were At-ONE ( that’s what “atonement” means. )

    Calvin, Luther, Sproul, John MacArthur, Lorraine Boettner, etc. all used the language of ‘venting” that Michael says is a Catholic caricature.

    Christ was the one “who gave himself for our sins” (Galatians 1:4). Is in our Bibles too.

    So is, Christ “bore our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).

    And Romans 15:3. And Romans 5:6. And even 2 Cor 5:21 is as I said above.
    We just don’t believe any of them teach your doctrine of the great exchange that says Christ was imputed as a sinner so we can be imputed as righteous.

    And we even have Is 53 ( although we use the LXX version ).

    We just deny the unbiblical doctrine of Penal Substitution.

    Okay, so that is where we stand.

  77. Eric W,

    “I repeat what I wrote to you. Maybe you missed it:”

    Yeah, I did miss it. And I want to keep it that way until you start using Standard American English and cease with your cryptic little riddles, trick questions, and secret codes.
    As I have told you many times before, it is hard enough, on a blog like this where facial expressions and voice intonations don’t exist, to not misunderstand the other guy. You intentionally post weird comments that nobody can decipher for reasons known only to yourself. I haven’t the patience for your monkeyshines.
    Adios.

    PS Go pester Wosbald. He enjoys you. I don’t.

  78. +JMJ+

    Jim wrote:

    Catholic Guys,
    .
    About my “tete a tete” comments, please, by all means, if anyone enjoys the repartee or wants to hone their apologetic skills by engaging Michael, go right ahead. And I certainly don’t claim that Michael is beyond reverting.
    .
    It is not that I am cynical. I just don’t believe anyone who has been involved with the Church to the degree Michael says he has, leaves the Catholic Church for Calvinism because they have found something better in that system.

    I’m still waiting for Michael to address his Prelapsarian Anthropology and his Christology. (See the beginning of the comments section on the “Clothed in Christ” thread …)
    .
    http://www.creedcodecult.com/clothed-in-christ/comment-page-1/#comments
    .
    Here’s the relevant quotes straight from Michael’s site:

    Calvinists do agree that Adam had a genuinely “free” will.

    The “except sin” clause is huge here, because that means that there are significant differences between Jesus and us–not simply what he did in his person, but what he was like in his nature. Ephesians 2:3 says that we are “by nature children of wrath.” If Christ’s nature is identical to ours in every way, then he too must be “by nature” a child of wrath.

    Maybe you (or someone) can get an answer from him. I’ve been waiting for more than 2 months, but still no dice.

  79. Wosbald,

    Maybe Michael will answer, but here are my two cents:

    1. Calvinists agree that we have a genuine “free” will in the compatibilistic sense. We deny that we have autonomous libertarian freedom.

    2. Christ’s nature is not tainted by sin. Ours is. It’s identical in that it is fully human. It is not fully identical in that it is subject to the bondage of sin like ours is.

    If you don’t believe that human beings are dead in sin and bound to transgression, which is basically Roman anthropology as far as I can tell, you won’t agree.

  80. Robert,

    Catholics say people are born Totally Deprived. You say Totally Depraved.
    Later, when they come to Faith and are Baptized, we say people have righteousness imparted to them. You say it is imputed.

    Jesus was born with the fullness of grace imparted to his human soul. He was neither deprived nor depraved.

  81. Jim,

    Catholics say people are born Totally Deprived. You say Totally Depraved.
    Later, when they come to Faith and are Baptized, we say people have righteousness imparted to them. You say it is imputed.

    I know, except how can infants come to faith? If the baptism imparts grace in itself, I don’t see how that doesn’t make baptism into a rite of magic.

    Jesus was born with the fullness of grace imparted to his human soul. He was neither deprived nor depraved.

    Sure, though I would deny that we need grace to lift us out of our creaturehood as if our creaturehood was inherently defective (i.e., war between lower and higher appetites needing to be suppressed or put in harmony by grace).

  82. +JMJ+

    Jim,

    Just my 2¢, but I suggest ignoring Robert (for now, at least). Whether he intends to do so or not, he’s effectually running interference for Michael.

  83. ERIC W April 10, 2015 at 3:20 am
    Jim :

    I repeat what I wrote to you. Maybe you missed it:
    Even if damnation is separation from God, it doesn’t follow that it would be “ontological undoing.” It seems to me that the natural “opposition” between the Persons of the Trinity can ground (when we consider it conceptually) any “separation” of the economic Trinity.
    Here’s your chance to talk about it. It’s this very “opposition” that makes the incarnation possible. The other Persons didn’t incarnate. Consider the whole Christ being abandoned as we consider the whole Christ incarnating. I think both must depend on the “opposition” between them.

    So, you’re saying that Jesus became incarnate in opposition to the Father and the Holy Spirit?

    Let me ask you this as well, do you believe that the Father and the Holy Spirit are in the incarnate Christ? Yes or no?

  84. Michael,

    Good I’m glad you agree with the citations and expected you to do so. Your presupposed agreement was why I asked my questions regarding RC model of cooperation to you.

    “But as I said before, I wouldn’t call any of that “synergism” in the way you mean it.”

    The problem is you think the “way I mean it” is endorsing Pelagianism. Please cite from Trent or the CCC where the RC model of cooperation differs from the “synergism” affirmed in the citations provided.

    Hoeksema: “It is not true that God works our sanctification and that we work also, and that these two aspects of the work of salvation stand independently from each other or must be conceived as an irreconcilable contradiction. Nor is it true that God alone accomplishes sanctification and that He drags us along the way as stock and blocks, as is the presentation of the antinomians. Still less is it true that the relation between God’s work and our work is such that we must work, and that if we work, God will help us, as is the view of the Pelagians.”

    “After all, it is God who enables the will to work in us and so, once again,”

    Can you please cite from CCC/Trent where this is rejected? Phil 2:12-13 is explicitly quoted by Trent and the same sense is emphasized in CCC section on grace and cooperation.

    “Nowhere is it hinted that God is unable to perfect the elect unless they sovereignly and autonomously allow God to do so.”

    Can you please cite from CCC/Trent where we “sovereignly and autonomously allow God to sanctify us”?

    And I’ll ask you again since you must have missed it – So when you sin in sanctification, did God give you sufficient resistible cooperative grace that you resisted? Or did he not give you such grace at all? If he did not give you grace at all, grace in sanctification is monergistic and irresisitible correct? In which case, where’s the difference between regeneration and sanctification?

    AA Hodge: “The act of grace which regenerates, operating within the spontaneous energies of the soul and changing their character, can neither be co-operated with nor resisted. But the instant the soul is regenerated it begins to co-operate with and sometimes, alas! also to resist subsequent gracious influences prevenient and co-operative.”

    Was Hodge affirming that we “sovereingly and autonomously allow God” to sanctify us because he affirmed we can and do resist grace in sanctification?

    Owen: “He does not so work our mortification in us as not to keep it still an act of our obedience. The Holy Ghost works in us and upon us, as we are fit to be wrought in and upon; that is, so as to preserve our own liberty and free obedience. He works upon our understandings, wills, consciences, and affections, agreeably to their own natures; he works in us and with us, not against us or without us; so that his assistance is an encouragement as to the facilitation of the work, and no occasion of neglect as to the work itself”

    Was Owen affirming we “sovereignly and autonomously allow God” to sanctify us because he affirmed God cooperates with us so as to preserve our liberty and freedom agreeable to our nature?

    “Because, finally, grace in your system can’t get the job done without your permission.”

    So when you sin in sanctification, God didn’t give you grace right?

    “But to which agency does the Psalmist attribute the controlling priority, the human or the divine? Clearly the divine.”

    Of course. Where does CCC or Trent deny God’s initiative? Where do Molinists deny God as the prime mover?

    “There is no hint here that the Lord could not build the city or watch over it **unless** the builders and watchers consent to cooperate with the Lord’s plans.”

    So if you don’t cooperate in your sanctification, you’re still sanctified? Secondly, see DM’s answer – RCs don’t believe what you think they believe.

    “In other words, God can only save us if we empower Him to save us. That seems to be your kind of synergism.”

    I don’t know how after all your time here you can conclude this is an accurate description. To disabuse yourself of this notion, here’s a prescription:

    Read Trent and the CCC and Orange on grace and cooperation.

    Then listen to Feingold’s lectures on grace: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/11/lawrence-feingold-on-sanctifying-grace-and-actual-grace/ (the 2nd one entitled Actual Grace and Our Cooperation is more pertinent than the first) and http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/12/lawrence-feingold-on-sufficient-and-efficacious-grace/

    After that, your fears that either Thomism or Molinism entail boasting should be assuaged as well as your fears that only Thomism affirms operative grace.

    Then read RGL’s work http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/gracegarrlagr.HTM

    Then read Kimel’s series on synergism: https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/double-agency-conceiving-divine-and-creaturely-causality/
    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/rowboating-with-god-the-mystery-of-synergism/
    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/mysteriouser-and-mysteriouser-divine-agency-and-human-freedom/

    Then read Kettenring’s (Protestant) book on synergism/cooperation in sanctification – especially useful is his summary of various model analogies on pg 33 which you can read on google books – http://books.google.com/books?id=mTUk_f6e_PkC&pg=PA33

    Then reread the Reformed citations I provided in the original post and added to in this post.

    Then answer my question “Now can you please tell me how RCism affirms a cooperation with grace that differs from the conception these Reformed lights above outline? And why the RC version denies sola gratia and entails boasting while the Reformed version doesn’t? … So again, given BOTH operative and cooperative grace are always in play during any RC concept of synergism, how does RC synergism deny sola gratia and entail boasting but Reformed “synergism” (or “cooperative monergism” or “monergistic resistible grace” or whatever idiosyncratic euphemism you want to label it) does not?”

  85. Guys,

    Maybe we should talk about just how the Catholic Church says Christ brought about our salvation.
    For starters, it must be said that God, as the injured party, was free to forgive mankind without Christ suffering or even becoming Incarnate. This would have not violated justice.
    God was also free to accept any payment he wanted as the price needed to save us. He could even have accepted an apology from a designated human on behalf of the human race had he so chosen.
    However, it was FITTING to save as as he did.

    Below are the four facets of our salvation.

    1. Christ ransomed or redeemed us from the unjust power of the Devil. The ransom price of his blood also purchased us for himself. Although not all lists place this one first, it is first in the logical order.

    2. Christ made satisfaction for us by offering the Father something greater than the offense of our sins. Adam’s was a sin of disobedience. Christ obeyed.
    Now, satisfaction gets its power from love. As we Catholics know from the Sacrament of Reconciliation a.k.a. Penance, the more sorrow we have, the less we actually suffer in doing our penance. The more contrition, the smaller the penance.
    The difference between strict punishment and satisfaction is love. Satisfaction is suffering or even punishment embraced out of love and a desire to set things right.

    Sin carries a need to make reparation and it carries guilt. If one takes something of value that does not belong to them, it must be restored to make reparation. If a pleasure is taken, suffering against one’s will is demanded. Punishment or suffering against one’s will is required to balance the scales.
    The guilt of sin is addressed by conversion and contrition.
    Punishment embraced out of contrition is no longer punishment. It becomes satisfaction. Remember the words of the Act of Contrition, “…I detest all my sins because of thy just punishment but most of all…who art all good and worthy of all my love”. Perfect love of contrition at death means no purgatory.
    Sin doesn’t actually deprive God of anything in himself but it does rob him of what theologians call his “accidental glory or honor”. By contrition we address the guilt and make satisfaction both by restoring God’s accidental glory or the esteem we have for God and his honor.

    Satisfaction can be made for another. Christ, as head of the Mystical Body made superabundant satisfaction for us. His love and obedience was so great suffering was not strictly necessary. One tear drop as a baby would have more than suffice to satisfy justice.
    But Christ went beyond sufficiency and poured out every drop of his blood.

    3. Christ merited for us as man due to the grace in his soul. Grace is the principle of merit. He never grew in sanctifying grace as he had it in an infinite degree from conception because of the Hypostatic Union. So he merited for us as Head of the Church all the graces lost by Adam’s sin.

    4. Christ offered a sacrifice for us as both priest and victim. Sacrifice is a gift made to God to acknowledge his sovereignty and restore his honor. This made atonement and restored us to familial fellowship with God.

    Notice, Penal Substitution is not mentioned. Christ made satisfaction, superabundant satisfaction, for us because of the intensity of his obedience, grace and love. He was not punished in our place.

  86. Wosbald,

    What exactly is your question? You’ve quoted me accurately. It’s in English. What more do you require, sir?

  87. +JMJ+

    Michael Taylor wrote:

    Wosbald,
    .
    What exactly is your question? You’ve quoted me accurately. It’s in English. What more do you require, sir?

    You had seemed to implicitly accuse me of misrepresenting your position. …

    Michael Taylor wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    OTOH, you’re the dude who explicitly says that Christ did not share the same Nature as all men and that neither Christ’s Human Will nor (prelapsarian) Adam’s Will were truly free.

    You must have me confused with someone else. Adam’s will was free prior to the fall. And Christ was like us in all think “except sin.”

    And so, if you do think that I misrepresented you, then I’d like you to explain exactly how I did so, in light of your own words. …

    Calvinists do agree that Adam had a genuinely “free” will.

    The “except sin” clause is huge here, because that means that there are significant differences between Jesus and us–not simply what he did in his person, but what he was like in his nature. Ephesians 2:3 says that we are “by nature children of wrath.” If Christ’s nature is identical to ours in every way, then he too must be “by nature” a child of wrath.

  88. Robert, you write:

    Calvinists agree that we have a genuine “free” will in the compatibilistic sense.

    I note that you put quotes around “free”. This is just more double talk from you. Let us look at what you really believe.

    John Calvin taught that all men are born as God haters, therefore, you were once a God hater. (The fact that I don’t have any memory of ever being a God hater is discounted as evidence against Calvinism. If John Calvin said I was once a God hater, then I must have once been a God hater just like you.)

    God makes God-haters become God-lovers by forcing grace upon the God-haters that cannot be resisted. That is, men who have a will totally opposed to God are forced by God to change their will against their will. (But of course God never twisted your arm to become a God-lover, or anything like that, but that is just more double-talk from you).

    God-haters are saved, because God makes God-haters become God-lovers against their will. Which doesn’t sound all that bad, because who wants to be sent to hell … but consider the God-haters that God doesn’t save. They can’t be saved, because God doesn’t force them to become God-lovers like the “special people” that he has capriciously picked to save by forcing irresistible grace upon them.

    For anyone not a Calvinist, it is obvious what Calvinism is really teaching – that the Calvinists presume that they are the “special people” that God loves more than he loves others. That the god of Calvinism is a monster that creates people for hell, and then punishes them with the fires of everlasting hell because the god of Calvinism did not force them to become one of the “special people”.

    Lane is correct. Calvinism is “a diabolically simple system, which breeds presumption to people’s ruin, casts God as the source of sin …”

  89. Jim–

    Sounds to me like you’re declaring the crucifixion to have been superfluous. That would appear to render the Eucharist superfluous, as well.

  90. Mateo,

    I note that you put quotes around “free”. This is just more double talk from you. Let us look at what you really believe.

    I put quotes around free will because I know when you say free will you mean “autonomous, exclusively self-determined, God-has-no-say-in-my-choices will.” That’s not what Calvinists affirm. Your major error is thinking that your view of free will is the only one taught theologically or philosophically.

    John Calvin taught that all men are born as God haters, therefore, you were once a God hater. (The fact that I don’t have any memory of ever being a God hater is discounted as evidence against Calvinism. If John Calvin said I was once a God hater, then I must have once been a God hater just like you.)

    I don’t know your history. But let me put it this way. A warm feeling toward God is no proof that you are a God-lover or not a God-hater. As an example, the orthodox Muslim who has a warm feeling of love for Allah is a God-hater.

    Basically, anybody who is not a Christian is a God-hater regardless of what they feel like in their hearts.

    God makes God-haters become God-lovers by forcing grace upon the God-haters that cannot be resisted. That is, men who have a will totally opposed to God are forced by God to change their will against their will. (But of course God never twisted your arm to become a God-lover, or anything like that, but that is just more double-talk from you).

    Not double-talk. If God forced me or twisted my arm I would feel violated. I simply don’t feel violated, and Scripture doesn’t say that God’s monergistic work is a violation. It’s a resurrection. Your problem is you don’t think human beings are really dead in sin.

    God-haters are saved, because God makes God-haters become God-lovers against their will.

    No.

    Which doesn’t sound all that bad, because who wants to be sent to hell … but consider the God-haters that God doesn’t save. They can’t be saved, because God doesn’t force them to become God-lovers like the “special people” that he has capriciously picked to save by forcing irresistible grace upon them.

    Presumes that God owes sinners grace. That is the driving presumption of your particular version of Roman Catholicism. It really kind of drives your whole system.

    And in any case, Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin do not differ on the issue of unconditional election. So be consistent. Accuse those other luminaries of being heretics.

    For anyone not a Calvinist, it is obvious what Calvinism is really teaching – that the Calvinists presume that they are the “special people” that God loves more than he loves others. That the god of Calvinism is a monster that creates people for hell, and then punishes them with the fires of everlasting hell because the god of Calvinism did not force them to become one of the “special people”.

    If this were true, no one would ever become a Calvinist. And again, if in your system God knows people will go to hell and he makes them anyway, He’s making them for hell at least as a proximate end. Which is actually what Calvinism says about God making people for hell—it’s a proximate end. The real end is His glory.

    Lane is correct. Calvinism is “a diabolically simple system, which breeds presumption to people’s ruin, casts God as the source of sin …”

    Since Lane has yet to really portray any orthodox statement of Reformed theology accurately, he’s not really a trustworthy source on what Calvinists believe. He’s a fairly good source about what former professing Calvinists never understood about Calvinism, however.

  91. ROBERT April 10, 2015 at 7:38 am
    Jim,
    I know, except how can infants come to faith?

    The same way as everyone else:

    Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    In the infant’s case, the preacher is their parent.

    For example, St. Timothy:

    2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

    He learned his faith from his mother:

    2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

    If the baptism imparts grace in itself, I don’t see how that doesn’t make baptism into a rite of magic.

    It is Christ who imparts grace to the faithful through His Sacraments. That includes Baptism:

    1074 “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows.” It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. “Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men.”

    Sure, though I would deny that we need grace to lift us out of our creaturehood as if our creaturehood was inherently defective (i.e., war between lower and higher appetites needing to be suppressed or put in harmony by grace).

    That, is because you don’t know Scripture. The Word of God is clear:

    Romans 7:23-25

    23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

  92. Mateo–

    Catholics engage in ancestor worship and stick pins in kewpie dolls and read horoscopes for spiritual guidance. Don’t bother to tell me it’s not true. I’ve gotten my facts from the trustworthiest of cult-fighting sources.

    Catholics. They’re the ones who hate science, too, right? Didn’t they kill Galileo? And Matthew Shepard? Didn’t they hunt down and burn 1oo million witches or so? They’re such bad, bad people. I heard Hitler was a Catholic. Do all Catholics discriminate against Jews?

  93. ERIC April 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm
    Jim–
    Sounds to me like you’re declaring the crucifixion to have been superfluous. That would appear to render the Eucharist superfluous, as well.

    Lol! Jim used the phrase, “more than sufficient”. You use the word, “superfluous” implying “unnecessary”.

    You’re supposed to be an expert in language. But, it is obvious, that you are either, not an expert in language or you are not debating in good faith.

  94. Jim, you write:

    Not all sacrifices were sin offerings. Yet most included a blood sacrifice. Explain that.

    That is an important point that does require an explanation.

    In the OT, there were two types of sacrifices offered to God, the bloody sacrifices and the unbloody sacrifices.

    The bloody sacrifices were the sin offerings:

    He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering; he shall wring its head from its neck, but shall not sever it, and he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering.
    Lev 5:8-9

    Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
    Hebrews 9:22

    The unbloody sacrifices were the todah offerings, the thanksgiving offerings.

    O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    his steadfast love endures for ever!
    Psalm 118:1

    If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thank offering unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of fine flour well mixed with oil.
    Lev 7:12

    The Eucharist is a thanksgiving offering. It is an unbloody sacrifice offered to God the Father.

    On Calvary, Christ our high priest, offered up to the Father the bloody sacrifice of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. With the shedding of the blood of the paschal lamb, mankind received the forgiveness of sin.

  95. Robert you write:

    Basically, anybody who is not a Christian is a God-hater regardless of what they feel like in their hearts.

    What nonsense! Making an assertion does not make the assertion true.

    … the orthodox Muslim who has a warm feeling of love for Allah is a God-hater.

    You are a religious bigot, that is coming through loud and clear.

    If God forced me or twisted my arm I would feel violated. I simply don’t feel violated …

    You don’t feel violated because you were never violated. God never made you become a God lover against your will. You were never a God hater – your testimony is bunk.

    …and Scripture doesn’t say that God’s monergistic work is a violation.

    Scripture nowhere says that salvation is “monergistic work”! More bald assertions from you with no facts to back it up.

    Your problem is you don’t think human beings are really dead in sin.</blockquote

    I was a prodigal son. In the story of the prodigal son, the father explicitly says that his prodigal son was dead. So, no, I don't have a problem with human beings being dead in sin, since I was once dead in my sin. It is not me, but you, that has a problem that men can be dead in their sins, because you are a heretic that denies that a Christian can commit mortal sin.

    Presumes that God owes sinners grace.

    Not so. Presumes that the scriptures do not lie when it teaches that God desires all men to be saved, and that no man can be saved apart from grace.

    If this were true, no one would ever become a Calvinist.

    What I laid out as a summary of Calvinism is true, and you just hand-waved it away without addressing anything that I said. Which is typical of you the way you argue – make a bunch of assertions with no facts to back up your assertions, attack straw men of your own making, and never address the contradictions of Calvinism that are plainly obvious to the men and women who are not Calvinists.

  96. Sorry Wosbald,

    But I can’t let Robert get away with this,

    “Basically, anybody who is not a Christian is a God-hater”

    What?!?!
    Well, I guess it fits with your belief system. But it is truly shocking.

    ” Your problem is you don’t think human beings are really dead in sin.”

    It seems you don’t either. You seem to think they are very much alive in their sinfulness. Dead men don’t act at all.
    Anyway, the prodigal Son was dead yet retained the ability to come to his senses.

  97. Eric, you write:

    Catholics engage in ancestor worship and stick pins in kewpie dolls and read horoscopes for spiritual guidance …

    Eric, are you surprised that I had my doubts about your sincerity when you when you wrote on April 7th on this thread these words:

    My beloved Catholics– I apologize for those times when my words come across as polemics. I’m honestly only after the truth.

  98. JMJ

    Eric,
    “That would appear to render the Eucharist superfluous, as well.”

    God is not bound by the Sacraments. He can give grace outside of them.
    Also Eric, we should never attribute necessity to God. He is the only necessary being. Everything else is not.

    Let me reiterate what i said that got your attention.
    If a human judge forgave a thief without demanding that he restore the stolen property to the owner, that would be an injustice.
    If the thief stole from the judge, the judge could let the theft pass without doing any injustice.
    God is that judge.

    All of Christ’s acts were of infinite value due to his Person. And all of his acts were for the purpose of saving us. And as I said above, Christ did not increase in Charity but had it in the fullness at his conception. Charity is the principle of merit. So, no one act was more meritorious than any other.

    So why the cross if man and God could have been reconciled in the womb of Mary ( as the Greek Fathers come close to saying )?
    St. Augustine said the cross was a pulpit from which Christ taught us by his own example.
    It also shows us how bad sin is and to what lengths God is willing to go to show his love for us.

    As Fr.Most said, just one drop of blood would have been of infinite value, yet God went beyond infinity in shedding all of it. He added infinity to infinity. Then he added the unfathomable ( but finite ) merits of Mary in the price of our redemption.
    Infinity+Infinity+Unfathomable=how much God loves us and is willing to go to give us claims on grace.

    Superfluous? Everything but God is superfluous in a way, isn’t it?

  99. Eric,

    Mateo has a point.
    You were cap in hand a few days ago. It is easy to forget our good resolutions, isn’t it?
    Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start fresh.

  100. Mateo,

    I said: Basically, anybody who is not a Christian is a God-hater regardless of what they feel like in their hearts.
    You replied: What nonsense! Making an assertion does not make the assertion true.

    So God ordered the destruction of all the Canaanites because even though they worshiped idols and sacrificed babies with warm feelings in their hearts toward God as they imagined him, those Canaanites were NOT God-haters?

    But it’s not a mere assertion anyway:

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Rom. 1)

    Paul is talking about everyone outside of Christ in Romans 1–3. Don’t argue with me, argue with the Apostle. Your church has eviscerated what Scripture says about people outside of Christ and gone all postmodern “we all really worship the same God anyway” on us. A sign of apostasy.

    You are a religious bigot, that is coming through loud and clear.

    Ah yes, the bigot card. The sign of having no argument.

    You don’t feel violated because you were never violated. God never made you become a God lover against your will. You were never a God hater – your testimony is bunk.

    So my testimony is bunk but yours that you never felt like a God-hater isn’t?

    Scripture nowhere says that salvation is “monergistic work”! More bald assertions from you with no facts to back it up.

    GOD made us alive when we were dead (Eph. 2). Where’s the synergism?

    I was a prodigal son. In the story of the prodigal son, the father explicitly says that his prodigal son was dead.

    And of course the story of the prodigal son has absolutely nothing to do with regeneration. Just because a passage uses the word “dead” doesn’t mean it is actually pertinent to the issue at hand.

    This is a common problem I see with RC exegesis. I was reading Ludwig Ott earlier and in his discussion of justification he includes all manner of texts that don’t speak to justification at all. Many of them don’t even have the word righteousness in it. You’re doing the same thing.

    So, no, I don’t have a problem with human beings being dead in sin, since I was once dead in my sin.

    As long as you define death as meaning that you are alive just enough to make a totally uninfluenced, you yourself alone choice.

    It is not me, but you, that has a problem that men can be dead in their sins, because you are a heretic that denies that a Christian can commit mortal sin.

    I’m not a heretic. I’m a separated brother, fully orthodox except not being in communion. Depending on the pope or bishop, I might have a legitimate church or not. Heck, if we take Francis as our authority, even an atheist is a separated brother.

    Not so. Presumes that the scriptures do not lie when it teaches that God desires all men to be saved, and that no man can be saved apart from grace.

    And I deny neither of those points. In fact, I can freely speak of God desiring all men to be saved, it’s just that He desires something more—to manifest His justice as well as His grace to His glory. By the way, you agree that while God desires all to be saved, he wants something more. He wants you to maintain your autonomous freedom. He would rather see you burn in hell then act effectually to save you. Doesn’t sound very loving to me.

    What I laid out as a summary of Calvinism is true, and you just hand-waved it away without addressing anything that I said. Which is typical of you the way you argue – make a bunch of assertions with no facts to back up your assertions, attack straw men of your own making, and never address the contradictions of Calvinism that are plainly obvious to the men and women who are not Calvinists.

    I didn’t wave it away as much as I am pointing out that if Calvinism was as irrational and contradictory and evil as you say it is, then no one would ever choose it according to your own anthropology. If man is just weak, not totally depraved, Calvinism would appeal to no one. He’d be good enough and wise enough to recognize it for what it is. That people actually choose Calvinism is a point in favor of our anthropology.

    So no, these facts are not “plainly obvious” to those who are not Calvinists. If they were, no non-Calvinist would ever become a Calvinist. They’re only “plainly obvious” to those who prize their own control over their destinies more than God’s control over them.

  101. @Jim,

    To say Christ was made sin means Christ was a sin offering. There is plenty of support for that in scripture and Tradition.

    No one really disputes that, Jim. So depending upon what you mean by a “sin offering,” P-subbers could affirm that as well. In fact, the language of 2 Cor. 5:21 doesn’t say “sin offering,” but just “sin” sans the “offering.” But you can argue that the idea of an “offering” is still implied. I would have no problem with that, so long as you include the idea that he was also “made sin,” which is what the text actually says. Are those two ideas incompatible? I don’t think so. Just as Christ can be both the offer-er (priest) and the offer-ing (victim), so too he can be both the corporate embodiment of His people’s sin (by imputation) and the offering that propitiates their sin. They’re not contradictory concepts but rather complimentary.

    To say everyone is cursed who hangs on a tree does not mean Christ was cursed by God.

    Um, yes it does. The “curse” language comes from the OT and there it is God who delivers the curse. “his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God (Deut. 21:23). You can’t arbitrarily change the agency behind the curse to suit your preconceived ideas.

    To say the Suffering Servant healed us by his stripes means that his patient bearing of injustice merited grace for us and made satisfaction due the love involved, not as a Penal Substitute punished in our stead.

    It’s both, as Aquinas showed. He would not make satisfaction without penalty (ST, III, 47, 3, reply 1). And the penalty was his death, the bearing of the curse, the bearing of sin, and all of that.

    To say Christ bore our punishment does [not?] mean punished in our stead.

    But that’s exactly what it meant, as Eusebius clearly showed. All the insults and punishments due to us were “transferred” (his language, not mine) to Christ who was made a curse for us.

    The High Priest bore the sins of the people and was not punished in the stead of Israel.

    Nor was the high priest himself the offering. So you’re applying the wrong type to this situation. Remember, Jesus is both the priest and the victim. Don’t confuse those two categories. So the Jewish high priest didn’t offer himself, but rather an animal. So the animal received what the people should have received for their sins—death. That’s the very definition of penal substitution. No way around it, Jim.

    It means he made a sacrifice of satisfaction for the people.

    Of course. The sacrifice was himself. Satisfaction was rendered because he suffered in their place paying the penalty that they owed. Again, that’s PSA. You’re confusing the ends with the means. Satisfaction is the result of PSA. Because PSA takes place, satisfaction is achieved. You cannot have one without the other.

    To say Christ bore our punishment of death means he assumed a mortal body like ours. The punishment for Adam’s sin was the loss of the preternatural gift of immortality.

    So your view means Christ was a penal substitute for original sin, but not for actual sins. Brilliant, Jim!

    Moving right along, let me assert that the OT sacrificial system was NOT one of Penal Substitution in which an innocent critter died for the sinner.

    It was not *only* this. But surely this was one aspect of the OT sacrificial system. The unblemished animal had to die in order to make atonement. One of the purposes for killing the animal was substitutionary place-taking. But there were other purposes too: forgiveness, purification, redemption, steak dinner.

    Capitol crimes could not even be atoned for by an animal sacrifice in the first place.

    Red herring. That doesn’t change the fact of substitutionary place taking in other cases.

    Not all sacrifices were sin offerings.

    Red herring. Who is saying they were?

    Robert’s scapegoat did not “suffer outside the camp”. That goat did not suffer inside the camp. It didn’t suffer at all. As a matter of fact, the other goat is the one that was sacrificed. The scapegoat went scot free.

    Um, yes it did. It was sent to Azazel where it was expected to die, bearing the sins of the people. Send a domesticated animal out into a desert wilderness (or to a demon?) and see how long it’s going to make it without feed and water. Not long.

    Sacrifices were gifts of appeasement. The blood was used to show God and man shared life and were At-ONE ( that’s what “atonement” means. )

    Again, appeasement (better, propitiation) is one aspect of atonement. Atonement does not mean “at-one.” That’s a silly canard that keeps getting repeated by the ignorant. Atonement is the English translation of the KPR word-group in Hebrew. Never does that root mean “at one.” It means redeem, ransom, purify, forgive.

    Calvin, Luther, Sproul, John MacArthur, Lorraine Boettner, etc. all used the language of ‘venting” that Michael says is a Catholic caricature.

    It is caricature. Every time I’ve seen you cite a source to prove your innocence of caricature, you cite it out of context and/or show yourself not to have properly understood what they meant. Did you go back and read Luther on Galatians 3:13—the whole thing from the primary source (in translation) rather than as a quote taken from another book, as the article you linked to does?

    Christ was the one “who gave himself for our sins” (Galatians 1:4). Is in our Bibles too.

    Red herring. This has ever has been in dispute.

    So is, Christ “bore our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).

    But you can’t really affirm this because you just said above, “To say Christ bore our punishment does [not?] mean punished in our stead,” which cannot be reconciled with the idea that Christ “bore our sins in his own body.” To bear sin is to be held responsible for it. That’s what sin-bearing means. If he bore our sins, then he was punished for our sins. Those are equivalent concepts. Nick takes a similar tack as you do. But I’d invite you to consider how one might reply to his arguments:

    http://fallibility.blogspot.ca/2013/06/leviticus-16-and-and-penal.html

    http://fallibility.blogspot.ca/2013/07/a-reply-to-catholic-dude-on-leviticus.html

    We just don’t believe any of them teach your doctrine of the great exchange that says Christ was imputed as a sinner so we can be imputed as righteous.

    The Word perceived that corruption could not be got rid of otherwise than through death; yet He Himself, as the Word, being immortal and the Father’s Son, was such as could not die. For this reason, therefore, He assumed a body capable of death, in order that it, through belonging to the Word Who is above all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all, and, itself remaining incorruptible through His indwelling, might thereafter put an end to corruption for all others as well, by the grace of the resurrection.

    It was by surrendering to death the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that He forthwith abolished death for His human brethren by the offering of the equivalent. For naturally, since the Word of God was above all, when He offered His own temple and bodily instrument as a substitute for the life of all, He fulfilled in death all that was required. (Athanasius, On the Incarnation, section 9).

    We just deny the unbiblical doctrine of Penal Substitution.

    Funny choice of words, as the doctrine you keep attributing to us is in fact an“unbiblical” caricature of the real thing. We actually deny that “doctrine” (so-called) too. But we do affirm the *biblical* doctrine of PSA, just as surely as Athanasius did. And I think the better part of your tradition does as well.

  102. @Wosbald,

    I’m no closer to understanding what your beef than after you attempted to clarify it. I don’t recall accusing you of misrepresentation. I affirm that Christ is fully human. I deny that his human nature is in ever respect like ours because he was without sin and we are not. So, “like us in all ways except sin” is something I would affirm. How about you, sir?

  103. Jim,

    “Superfluous? Everything but God is superfluous in a way, isn’t it?”

    Yes, everything is gift! Amen.

  104. ROBERT April 10, 2015 at 2:21 pm
    Mateo,
    I said: Basically, anybody who is not a Christian is a God-hater regardless of what they feel like in their hearts.
    You replied: What nonsense! Making an assertion does not make the assertion true.
    So God ordered the destruction of all the Canaanites because even though they worshiped idols and sacrificed babies with warm feelings in their hearts toward God as they imagined him, those Canaanites were NOT God-haters?

    You’re mixing issues. Canaanites do not represent all non-Christians.

    But it’s not a mere assertion anyway:

    Yes, it is. The verse which follows is not about all non-Christians. In fact, some of them could be baptized Christians. Nothing in the verse says that they are exclusively non-Christians. Read it yourself. Focus on verse 32.

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Rom. 1)

    Christians know God’s righteous decrees and are therefore not exempted from this teaching.

    Paul is talking about everyone outside of Christ in Romans 1–3.

    Nope. Read verse 18:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    He is talking about those who know the truth, but still live unrighteously.

    Don’t argue with me, argue with the Apostle.

    It is you who is contradicting the Apostle.

    Your church has eviscerated what Scripture says about people outside of Christ and gone all postmodern “we all really worship the same God anyway” on us. A sign of apostasy.

    You’re making that up. Show me, from an official document, where the Catholic Church says we all worship the same God.

    Ah yes, the bigot card. The sign of having no argument.

    He didn’t need one. He provided your quotes as evidence to support his observation. The evidence is clear that he is correct.

    So my testimony is bunk but yours that you never felt like a God-hater isn’t?

    No. His isn’t. He is accurately portraying how he felt. And he didn’t feel like a God hater.

    GOD made us alive when we were dead (Eph. 2). Where’s the synergism?

    Where we repent and ask for Baptism:

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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

    Where we turn to Him and live:
    2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

    And of course the story of the prodigal son has absolutely nothing to do with regeneration.

    That is his point Robert. Here’s the exact quote:

    I was a prodigal son. In the story of the prodigal son, the father explicitly says that his prodigal son was dead. So, no, I don’t have a problem with human beings being dead in sin, since I was once dead in my sin.

    Remember that you don’t really believe in regeneration. You don’t believe that Baptism does anything to you. You folks believe you are snow covered dung heaps.

    Just because a passage uses the word “dead” doesn’t mean it is actually pertinent to the issue at hand.

    Except that in the Prodigal Son, the statement is explicity:

    Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

    This is a common problem I see with RC exegesis. I was reading Ludwig Ott earlier and in his discussion of justification he includes all manner of texts that don’t speak to justification at all. Many of them don’t even have the word righteousness in it.

    In your opinion. We disagree with your opinion.

    You’re doing the same thing.

    If he is doing the same thing as Ludwig Ott, then that is actually a compliment.

    As long as you define death as meaning that you are alive just enough to make a totally uninfluenced, you yourself alone choice.

    There you go with your strawmen. It is Catholic Doctrine that grace precedes every good decision and every good act.

    I’m not a heretic.

    Yes, yes you are.

    I’m a separated brother,

    And a heretic. Show me where the Catholic Church says that separated brethren can’t be heretics.

    fully orthodox except not being in communion.

    ROFL! The reason you’re not in communion is because you’re not orthodox.

    Depending on the pope or bishop, I might have a legitimate church or not. Heck, if we take Francis as our authority, even an atheist is a separated brother.

    Are you denying that God is the Father of all mankind?

    Ephesians 4:6King James Version (KJV)

    6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    And I deny neither of those points. In fact, I can freely speak of God desiring all men to be saved,

    That’s a first. I could’ve sworn you have argued against that idea most vehemently. You accused God of failing to do what He intended to do. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was you.

    it’s just that He desires something more—to manifest His justice as well as His grace to His glory.

    That’s Catholic Teaching.

    By the way, you agree that while God desires all to be saved, he wants something more. He wants you to maintain your autonomous freedom. He would rather see you burn in hell then act effectually to save you. Doesn’t sound very loving to me.

    There you go contradicting yourself.

    So, then, what about those who are not saved in your paradigm. Was God loving them?

    I didn’t wave it away as much as I am pointing out that if Calvinism was as irrational and contradictory and evil as you say it is, then no one would ever choose it according to your own anthropology.

    It is as irrational and contradictory and evil as he said and still many choose it. Which goes to proving free will.

    If man is just weak, not totally depraved, Calvinism would appeal to no one. He’d be good enough and wise enough to recognize it for what it is.

    Are you saying that one must be totally depraved in order to choose Calvinism?

    That people actually choose Calvinism is a point in favor of our anthropology.

    That people choose Calvinism only proves that men are fallible. It proves nothing about your anthropology, which I suppose is a reference to the idea of total depravity.

    So no, these facts are not “plainly obvious” to those who are not Calvinists. If they were, no non-Calvinist would ever become a Calvinist. They’re only “plainly obvious” to those who prize their own control over their destinies more than God’s control over them.

    Robert, Robert, Robert,

    The Catholic Doctrine does not deny that some men are totally depraved. There is no doctrine that all men are equally sinful. The Doctrine says that men have a fallen nature. Some to a greater degree than others.

    You have made a great point in your statement that only those who are “totally depraved” would choose Calvinism though. Yep. You made a great point there.

  105. MICHAEL April 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm
    @Jim,

    To say everyone is cursed who hangs on a tree does not mean Christ was cursed by God.

    Um, yes it does.

    No, it doesn’t. Unless you deny that Jesus is God. But we deny that God has cursed Himself.

    The “curse” language comes from the OT

    True.

    and there it is God who delivers the curse. “his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God (Deut. 21:23).

    Also true.

    There is an assumption in that verse, that the hanged man is a criminal and therefore is cursed for disobeying God’s commands. God does not curse the innocent.

    You can’t arbitrarily change the agency behind the curse to suit your preconceived ideas.

    He isn’t doing any such thing. You are simply reading the verse in 20th century English without any understanding of the context nor the spiritual depth of the reading. It is typical of Protestants though:

    1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    The mind boggles. Protestants actually believe that God cursed Himself. Where does the foolishness end?

  106. +JMJ+

    Michael wrote:

    I affirm that Christ is fully human. I deny that his human nature is in ever respect like ours …

    Playing upon the word “fully” just like upon the word “free”?

    Fully, but not fully fully.

    Perhaps you need to put scare quotes around “fully”.

  107. Michael:
    To say the Suffering Servant healed us by his stripes means that his patient bearing of injustice merited grace for us and made satisfaction due the love involved, not as a Penal Substitute punished in our stead.

    It’s both, as Aquinas showed. He would not make satisfaction without penalty (ST, III, 47, 3, reply 1). And the penalty was his death, the bearing of the curse, the bearing of sin, and all of that.

    You, Michael, and all P Subbers, are confuse and confute the idea that Jesus took upon Himself our punishment (the Catholic Doctrine which St. Thomas Aquinas teaches) with the idea that Jesus was punished by the Father (P Sub).

    Reply to Objection 1. It is indeed a wicked and cruel act to hand over an innocent man to torment and to death against his will. Yet God the Father did not so deliver up Christ, but inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. God’s “severity” (cf. Romans 11:22) is thereby shown, for He would not remit sin without penalty: and the Apostle indicates this when (Romans 8:32) he says: “God spared not even His own Son.” Likewise His “goodness” (Romans 11:22) shines forth, since by no penalty endured could man pay Him enough satisfaction: and the Apostle denotes this when he says: “He delivered Him up for us all”: and, again (Romans 3:25): “Whom”–that is to say, Christ–God “hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith in His blood.”

    Reply to Objection 2. Christ as God delivered Himself up to death by the same will and action as that by which the Father delivered Him up; but as man He gave Himself up by a will inspired of the Father. Consequently there is no contrariety in the Father delivering Him up and in Christ delivering Himself up.

    Reply to Objection 3. The same act, for good or evil, is judged differently, accordingly as it proceeds from a different source. The Father delivered up Christ, and Christ surrendered Himself, from charity, and consequently we give praise to both: but Judas betrayed Christ from greed, the Jews from envy, and Pilate from worldly fear, for he stood in fear of Caesar; and these accordingly are held guilty.

    The Father and the Son both willed the same thing and were not in opposition to one another. Christ, an innocent Being, suffered our penalty, not His own. God the Father sacrificed His Son and the Son sacrificed Himself for love of all mankind.

  108. @James,

    The problem is you think the “way I mean it” is endorsing Pelagianism.

    Nope. Glad we can clarify that. You’re not a Pelagian.

    Please cite from Trent or the CCC where the RC model of cooperation differs from the “synergism” affirmed in the citations provided.

    Nope. Not doing research tonight. So let’s cut to the chase. The essential difference is that in your system, you can opt out of salvation by failing to cooperate with grace. So there is a condition to be met: unless you cooperate, God can’t save you. In mine it’s the other way around: Unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate.

    Can you please cite from CCC/Trent where this is rejected?

    Nope. No need. I’m not accusing you or Trent of rejecting this. My affirmation of this doesn’t entail your negation.

    Can you please cite from CCC/Trent where we “sovereignly and autonomously allow God to sanctify us”?

    Yes. But I’m not going to. I’m just going to say that unless we cooperate with grace, we cannot be saved. That’s your view, is it not? The view of the will in your system is autonomous libertarian freedom, is it not? You have the power to derail your own salvation. God’s grace will not overpower your resistance to it if you really would rather not be saved, right? So that is where we differ in our understanding of grace and cooperation. We just don’t see our cooperation as essential to our salvation/sanctification, but rather coincidental to it. To put it in real simple terms: works are the fruit, not the root of salvation. This, finally, is the difference between us, is it not?

    And I’ll ask you again since you must have missed it –

    Didn’t miss it. Just didn’t get it and I still don’t.

    So when you sin in sanctification, did God give you sufficient resistible cooperative grace that you resisted?

    I don’t understand.

    Or did he not give you such grace at all? If he did not give you grace at all, grace in sanctification is monergistic and irresisitible correct? In which case, where’s the difference between regeneration and sanctification?

    Yeah, still not getting it.

    I can only surmise that you’re attributing to us the view that if we sin after regeneration it was because God’s grace failed to prevent us from sinning. No one I know of would hold that view in our circles, so that’s why I’m not tracking with you. Or is that you think our position logically entails this conclusion? If that’s your view, make an argument. Lay it out premise by premise so I can try to follow after your thoughts on this one.

    AA Hodge: “The act of grace which regenerates, operating within the spontaneous energies of the soul and changing their character, can neither be co-operated with nor resisted. But the instant the soul is regenerated it begins to co-operate with and sometimes, alas! also to resist subsequent gracious influences prevenient and co-operative.”

    Of course. We can sin after regeneration. Who is denying this, James? But somehow that means to you that if we sin then such constitutes a failure on the part of grace to head off that sin at the pass. That’s the point at which I begin to think you and I live in different universes. In my world, God can and often does retrain sin and can even prevent us from sinning against him if he so chooses. But he doesn’t retrain every sin. He allows only that which he is pleased to allow. So if I sin, it isn’t God’s fault for not restraining me. It’s my fault. But if I resist temptation and avoid sin, it isn’t me, but the he who works in me, as I’m sure you would agree.

    So when you sin in sanctification, God didn’t give you grace right?

    So it’s God’s fault if I sin? Is that what you think our view entails?

    “But to which agency does the Psalmist attribute the controlling priority, the human or the divine? Clearly the divine.”

    Of course.

    Glad you agree. But I think you’re missing the point. In your view, God is the prime mover. But He is still dependent upon on your cooperation. So the emphasis really isn’t on God the prime mover, but upon us who cooperate. So God can give you sufficient grace. But you can resist it. And he can’t really overrule your decision to resist it, because far more important to God is that he respect your autonomy and not impose his will upon you.

    “There is no hint here that the Lord could not build the city or watch over it **unless** the builders and watchers consent to cooperate with the Lord’s plans.”

    So if you don’t cooperate in your sanctification, you’re still sanctified?

    This situation never really obtains in our system, because anyone who doesn’t cooperate isn’t regenerate in the first place and therefore is both unable and unwilling to cooperate anyway. But here you seem to be smuggling in the idea that cooperation rules out sin and failure on our part.

    “In other words, God can only save us if we empower Him to save us. That seems to be your kind of synergism.”

    I don’t know how after all your time here you can conclude this is an accurate description.

    Because that is your view. Once God puts us in the state of grace, we have the power to get out of it and stay out of it. God can’t keep us in it unless we allow him to do so. Getting in the state of grace isn’t enough. You have to stay there too. Sure, God can give you the grace of final perseverance. But he only gives that grace to the willing. That’s why, at the end of the day, your system puts the ball of salvation in man’s court. We have the final say on whether or not we’re going to be saved. If you think God has the final say, then welcome to Calvinism. Even in Thomism, which comes close to Calvinism, final say still has to go to man. So God cannot impose any sort of necessity on the elect to cooperate without building-in contingency, which means, at the end of the day, free will has the deciding vote in final salvation. Or am I reading this wrong:

    The salvation of a predestined man is ensured by a necessity which is likewise conditional, in that it permits freedom of choice. (ST I, Q, 23, a4, r3)

    While it isn’t clear to me how free will is really preserved under the rubric of necessity, it does seem that Thomas here is trying to say that God takes our choices into account and that whatever necessity he imposes, has those choices factored in. So here I imagine we have a can/will distinction. Sure, even the elect *can* fall from grace. But they *won’t.* And the reverse is true: Sure, even the reprobate *can* repent on time. But they *won’t.* But if the necessity that God imposes is conditional, then it seems to me that even in Thomism God has given the final say in one’s salvation to man. The elect say “yes,” and the reprobate say “no,” and in view of that, God imposes a providential necessity that works out those ends.

    Then answer my question “Now can you please tell me how RCism affirms a cooperation with grace that differs from the conception these Reformed lights above outline?

    1. The RC position makes cooperation essential to salvation. The Reformed position makes it coincidental.
    2. The RC position makes grace-empowered cooperation the means by which man actualizes saving grace. The Reformed position makes effectual grace the means by which man effectively cooperates in his sanctification.
    3. The RC position allows for man to move from regeneration to degeneration. The Reformed position says we can stumble, but not so as to fall from grace.
    4. The RC position allows for God to predestine some (perhaps the majority) to grace but not glory. The Reformed position says that God predestines the end (glory) and then the means to that end (grace), so that all who are now in grace are ipso facto predestined to glory.
    5. The RC position sees man as meriting his own salvation. The Reformed position sees Jesus as meriting salvation for his people.

    And why the RC version denies sola gratia and entails boasting while the Reformed version doesn’t?

    Who said anything about boasting? Must have me confused without someone else. But no, I don’t think the RC position can really embrace sola gratia. Feel free to use the term if you wish. Heck, you’re using all our slogans these days. But just as I balk with “synergism,” I think you’d be wiser to beg off the language of “faith alone” and “sola scriptura as material sufficiency” and “sola gratia as including cooperation” and such. It just seems to muddy the waters. There are real, essential differences between our systems. I don’t want to draw the differences too widely where they ought not be drawn, and so maybe you’re right that “synergism in sanctification” isn’t necessarily a huge divide between us. But I still feel as if it would be wiser to err on the side of clarity.

    We simply don’t mean the same things by sanctification. (At least I don’t think we do.) And I think that’s because we have different conceptions of the interplay between Divine Sovereignty and human responsibility. At the end of the day, I think all of Rome’s systems, for all their fine distinctions and sophistication, still give the deciding vote to man in his own salvation. So, finally, you believe that God has set up the rules in such a way as to give us not only a true say in our final destiny, but the final say. In other words, this is a sort of Divine self-limitation–The king letting his subjects decide.

    But we say the Potter is sovereign over the clay and that it is the Potter who decides what the clay will be. That, I think, is the ultimate difference between us. In all our hair-splitting around this issues, let’s not take our eye off that ball, but rather keep it front and center.

  109. @Wosbald,

    Are you going to answer my question now? How can you say Jesus’ humanity is in every way like ours if at the same time you affirm that he was without sin? I mean, if to be human is to be a child of wrath, as scripture says, then does that mean Jesus was a child of wrath? More specifically, scripture says we are “by nature” children of wrath. So unless you have some sort of exemption clause for sinlessness, I don’t see how you can affirm that Jesus’ humanity was like ours in every respect.

  110. Robert, you write:

    Paul is talking about everyone outside of Christ in Romans 1–3.

    Paul is most certainly NOT saying that everyone that is not a Christian is a God hater! Can a man become a God hater? Sure he can, and the people that Paul are talking about are the men and women that acted against what their consciences told them was righteous behavior, and “who by their wickedness suppress the truth.”

    Cornelius was not a God hater, Abraham was not a God hater, …

    Let us look more closely at the sloppy argument that you are making about God-haters. John Calvin said that every man is born a God hater. Therefore, you argue that you were once a God hater. And I must have been a God hater at one time, just like you, because every man is born a God hater. But when I say that I have no memory of every being a God hater, and I have never had any feelings of being a God hater, you argue that I cannot trust my feelings. Even if I have no feelings of every being a God hater, or no memory of being a God hater, I was once a God hater because John Calvin has said so.

    You then claim that by using monergistic irresistible grace upon you, God made you change you from being a God hater with a will dead set against the will of God, into being a God lover. But then when I say that this obviously means that God must have forced you into being a God lover against your will, you claim that God didn’t force you to become a God lover by twisting your arm or anything like that. And what evidence do you present for making that claim? You said “If God forced me or twisted my arm I would feel violated. I simply don’t feel violated.”

    You are flip-flopping in your argumentation. When I say I have no memory of being a God hater, and have never had any feelings of being a God hater, you claim that this is no evidence that I was never a God hater. No, I simply cannot trust my feelings about this, nor can I offer my feelings as evidence against what you are saying about me being a God hater.

    But when you say that God never forced you to become a God lover, the basis of your claim is that you have no feelings of ever being violated.

    Feelings count as evidence when it supports the claims of Calvinism, but feelings do not count as evidence when it contradicts the claims of Calvinism. Flip-flop.

    The reality is this. You are correct that your feelings of never having been violated by God is evidence that God did not force you to become a lover of God. But it is equally true that the fact that I have no feelings of ever having been a God hater is evidence that I have never been a God hater.

    So my testimony is bunk but yours that you never felt like a God-hater isn’t?

    Yes, your testimony is bunk, because you are only arguing that you were a God hater because John Calvin says that every man is born a God hater. But I know that it is load of bunk that I have never been a God hater, not even when I was an apostate dead in my sins.

    Just because a passage uses the word “dead” doesn’t mean it is actually pertinent to the issue at hand.

    The issue at hand is why the Calvinist version of OSAS is heresy, and why it is evil to teach that Christians cannot fall away by committing unrepentant mortal sin. The Calvinists deny that a “son” can commit mortal sin, and the story of the prodigal son is teaching the exact opposite of this false claim of Calvinism.

    I’m not a heretic.

    You brazenly deny that a Christian can commit mortal sin and lose their salvation. That make you a material heretic.

    … you agree that while God desires all to be saved, he wants something more. He wants you to maintain your autonomous freedom.

    No, I am arguing that God saves men, not robots. If God destroys my free will with irresistible grace in order to save me, then God has not saved a man, he has saved a robot that only looks like a man.

    I didn’t wave it away as much as I am pointing out that if Calvinism was as irrational and contradictory and evil as you say it is, then no one would ever choose it according to your own anthropology.

    Calvinism is, in fact, an irrational religion, and I have made the case for why this is so. Does the fact that Calvinism is irrational mean that men cannot freely choose to be irrational Calvinists? Not at all. God knows that Calvinists are acting irrational, and that the Calvinists are committing a very great sin when they act irrationally.

    Acts of irrationality are evil acts.

  111. +JMJ+

    Michael wrote:

    @Wosbald,
    .
    Are you going to answer my question now?

    I wasn’t planning on it. I was simply establishing your position that Christ’s Human Nature was not like ours in every respect (and which would also seem to entail that Prelapsarian Adam’s Nature was not like ours in every respect, lest he have been created as a child of wrath).

    ——————————————————————————

    Michael wrote:

    I mean, if to be human is to be a child of wrath, as scripture says, then does that mean Jesus was a child of wrath? More specifically, scripture says we are “by nature” children of wrath. So unless you have some sort of exemption clause for sinlessness, I don’t see how you can affirm that Jesus’ humanity was like ours in every respect.

    I wonder why the Reformed will, on the one hand, deride Greek philosophical categories as a Roman imposition hostile to the biblical context, whilst on the other hand, will insist upon reading Paul as if he is speaking in terms of Greek philosophical categories.

  112. De Maria, you asked:
    So, you’re saying that Jesus became incarnate in opposition to the Father and the Holy Spirit?

    I understand “in opposition to” to be that natural opposition between each Person in the Godhead. A Trinitarian answers with a big fat YES.
    ———————————-

    You asked:
    Let me ask you this as well, do you believe that the Father and the Holy Spirit are in the incarnate Christ? Yes or no?

    Yes, unless you think “in the incarnate Christ” means the Father and/or the Holy Spirit incarnated. If you think the Father and/or the Holy Spirit incarnated, then my answer is no.

  113. ERIC W April 10, 2015 at 7:56 pm
    De Maria, you asked:
    So, you’re saying that Jesus became incarnate in opposition to the Father and the Holy Spirit?

    I understand “in opposition to” to be that natural opposition between each Person in the Godhead. A Trinitarian answers with a big fat YES.

    You believe there is a “natural opposition” between each Person of the Godhead?

    Where do you get that from?

  114. @Wosbald,

    I wonder why the Reformed will, on the one hand, deride Greek philosophical categories as a Roman imposition hostile to the biblical context, whilst on the other hand, will insist upon reading Paul as if he is speaking in terms of Greek philosophical categories.

    So you’re not going to answer the question. Why, then, should I answer your questions?

    As an aside, “Greek philosophical categories” hasn’t cornered the market on the word “nature.” The Bible uses it too. And it happens to be the same Greek word, “?????.” So how do you explain Paul’s statement that we are “by nature” children of wrath? Clearly Paul thinks we’re born that way. Our natural state is to be under God’s wrath. That is because, for Paul, all of humanity is in either of one of two camps: The “in Adam” crowd or the “in Christ” crowd. There’s no tertium quid.

    An interesting question, then, is whether Paul thought of Jesus being “in Adam.” My sense is that Paul doesn’t put Jesus in that category because Christ is without sin and therefore not encumbered by what Paul calls, “the flesh.”

    Again, Paul is very much a binary thinker. One either lives “in the flesh,” or “in the Spirit.” Likewise salvation is by grace alone and not by works. Flesh and Spirit don’t mix. Neither do grace and works. Neither does Christ and sin. So when I affirm Christ shares our “nature,” I am referring to that which is originally constitutive of our humanity. Sin is a corruption of our humanity. Christ doesn’t share in that corruption, ergo his sinless humanity is not the same as our sinful humanity. Can I get an amen? Time to take a stand, Wosbald. It’s show time. Put up or shut up. Flush or get off the pot. No more sniping from the shadows. Come into the light and take a stand. It’s okay. We won’t laugh at you. We’re all chums here. Can you tell us categorically that Jesus wasn’t a child of wrath “by nature?”

  115. MICHAEL April 10, 2015 at 5:20 pm
    @James,

    Please cite from Trent or the CCC where the RC model of cooperation differs from the “synergism” affirmed in the citations provided.

    Nope. Not doing research tonight. So let’s cut to the chase. The essential difference is that in your system, you can opt out of salvation by failing to cooperate with grace. So there is a condition to be met: unless you cooperate, God can’t save you. In mine it’s the other way around: Unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate.

    So, let’s compare to Scripture.

    Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    Unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate.

    Interesting. Does God save you before you have faith in Him?

  116. “phusis”

    The Greek font apparently doesn’t work here.

  117. Can you tell us categorically that Jesus wasn’t a child of wrath “by nature?”

    Yes. Have you ever heard of the Immaculate Conception? Because Mary were immaculately conceived, Jesus was not born a child of wrath, that is, in Original Sin.

  118. Michael

    “Atonement” is used by the ignorant but because we don’t understand the Hebrew “Kaphar”, eh?

    Gen 32:20 uses Kaphar to describe the gift of appeasement Jacob sent Esau. He made atonement by so doing?

    The O.T. ate the sins of the people. That means they ate the sin offerings.

    “So the animal received what the people should have received for their sins—death. That’s the very definition of penal substitution. No way around it, Jim.”

    Did the Passover Lamb? Or the bags of flour?

    By the way, Michael, the scapegoat was not SACRIFICED!!!
    Jesus was not loaded down with our sins only to be released into the wilderness.

    I would only be repeating myself to comment further on your post. I will just accuse you again of both accusing Catholics of caricature and defending that same caricature as biblical. You do say Christ was cursed by God, right? Or am I caricaturizing you by saying so?

    Kaphar

  119. Michael you ask:

    So how do you explain Paul’s statement that we are “by nature” children of wrath?

    Paul is saying that when a woman in the Fallen world gives natural child birth, she brings forth a child that is born in a state of original sin. By nature (natural child birth) we are children of the wrath.

    Jesus was not born in a state of original sin, nor was Mary. Adam and Eve did not come into being via natural child birth, of course, but they were not created by God as children of wrath.

    Adam, Eve, Jesus, Mary and myself all have human natures. But I was born one of the “children of the wrath”, and the other four were not. I was, however, born again through baptismal regeneration. The Sacrament of Baptism did not make me lose my human nature, nor did it give me a new human nature.

    ] Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    John 3:4-5

    “That which is born of flesh” = a woman giving birth to a child in the fallen world.

    “unless one is born of water and the Spirit” = baptismal regeneration

  120. oops! The O.T. priests ate the sins of the people.

    Since I am posting again, I will kick in a couple more points disproving PS.

    Paul says folks for whom Christ shed his blood can fall away. How does that square with PS?

    Also, Christ died for all men. If PS is true, all men are saved.

  121. J.M.J.

    Michael,

    Mateo and DeMaria have brought Mary into the discussion so maybe this is a good time to interject this;

    Last evening ( my time ) I listed the four aspects of our salvation; Ransom/redemption, Satisfaction, Merit, Sacrifice

    I said PS is not any of them.

    Mary participated in 1. paying the ransom price ( Jesus’ blood ). She could do this as the Woman of Gen 3:15 which shows her 100% enmity with Satan. She never had to be ransomed back from the Devil ( she was saved, not redeemed ). 2.Because she had no sins of her own to make up for, she participated in making satisfaction for us.
    4. She congruously merited what Jesus condignly merits for us and 4. It was Mary’s Lamb that was offered in Sacrifice.

    Of course, I could delve into all four of these points, and would love to. Suffice it to say again, there is no Penal Substitution here.

    And as I posted minutes ago, Penal Substitution’s wicked bedfellow, Limited Atonement, is so unbiblical that it in itself should undo PS for any normal person.

    When you were the “devout” Catholic all you guys claim to have been, do you remember Mary ever passing over anybody in her intercession?* Weren’t you taught that, while she is Mother of all the Baptized in a special way, she is Mother of all who share the human nature her Divine Son assumed and died for?

    Now, for your Eusebius business, the Fathers called Mary the New Eve and said she participated in salvation to the degree that Eve had in the fall of Adam.
    IOW, she was a co-redemptress subordinate to Jesus. Eusebius and the Athanasius you also mention would have shared in this New Eve belief, would they not have?
    Please square PS with the Patristic doctrine of Mary being the New Eve.

    * I remember reading a pious thought of someone who said none of the Turks killed at Lepanto went to hell as Mary prayed for them too.

  122. Michael,

    Since you insist that the O.T. Sacrificial system and Calvary operated on the principle of Penal Substitution, could you point out which animal was whipped, spat upon or had his beard plucked out? The goat maybe? He had a beard.
    Did the Levite heckle or mock the dumb brute prior to dispatching it? Was the hapless beast buffeted and cursed in the ceremony that was the type and shadow of Christ’s offering?

    Or was the victim the best of the flock and considered to be holy? Was not the Passover Lamb taken into the home and treated as a pet for days before its death?Even today, doesn’t the production of kosher meat require the animal to have its throat cut in a quick and painless manner so as to avoid the animal experiencing even any fear?

    Or why not show me in Leviticus which offenses were punishable by crucifixion.
    Jesus was flogged. Did the Jews even use that form of punishment?

    Penal Substitution is an invention of the Deformers. The Jews knew nothing of it in their sacrificial given to them by God.

  123. De Maria, you asked:
    You believe there is a “natural opposition” between each Person of the Godhead?
    Where do you get that from?

    From the fact that the Persons of the Godhead are a trinity or plurality. The relations show the opposition. The best way to see it is when we say things like the Father is NOT the Son or the Son is NOT the Holy Spirit, etc.

  124. Michael wrote to Wosbald,
    So you’re not going to answer the question. Why, then, should I answer your questions?

    Response:
    You can’t ask questions to this higher mind shrouded in mystery. Wosbald’s theology is beginning to catch up to his psychology, or should I say his psyche. Answering questions belongs to the body. That’s where Protestants landed after reduction oriented question-asking class ended. In short, Wosbald can’t be subjected to the reduction in any real way.

  125. Michael,

    You have said that I have displayed ignorance of the Deformed Doctrine of Penal Substitution.

    Here is a link to Nick’s Catholic Blog.
    http://catholicnick.blogspot.pt/

    Please avail yourself of Nick’s “ignorance” too by checking out the copious references he has to the Deformers themselves plus oodles of statements made by modern day proponents of your profound yet lofty doctrine of Jesus being abandoned by the Father, the doctrine you feel is too far beyond we mere mortal Catholics.
    If my position does not jive with Nick’s, show me where and I will bow to his expertise in this area.

    When you have finished perusing. do get back to me on what you think is Nick’s caricature or misunderstanding of your hallowed Reformed position.
    ( Actually Michael, I question your understanding or at least, your presentation, of the the Reformed position. )

    By the way since you have ratcheted up with the nastiness, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for jumping the Catholic ship BEFORE ordination. I would hate to think that a pastor of souls, one who hears Confessions and is commissioned to helping Catholics get to heaven, should be so weak in their understanding of the Faith as to leave it for a system that teaches Limited Atonement and then return to a Catholic blog to infect Catholics with the same heresy they suffer from.
    The colorful and provocative Vin Lewis of A.R.M. once told me that priests make for the worst apologists. He said they lack what it takes to go for the jugular and try to smash the other guy’s defenses. He said priests are too busy trying to save the other guy and be charitable to really be good a polemicists. Meanness is bred out of them in seminary.
    Judging by your comments, I don’t think you would have made for a good priest. Not if Vin Lewis is right, anyway.

  126. +JMJ+

    Michael wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    I wonder why the Reformed will, on the one hand, deride Greek philosophical categories as a Roman imposition hostile to the biblical context, whilst on the other hand, will insist upon reading Paul as if he is speaking in terms of Greek philosophical categories.

    So you’re not going to answer the question. Why, then, should I answer your questions?

    I don’t see a question mark behind my post. I was just wondering aloud. Musing. Riffing, if you will.

    ——————————————————————————

    Michael wrote:

    Again, Paul is very much a binary thinker. One either lives “in the flesh,” or “in the Spirit.” Likewise salvation is by grace alone and not by works. Flesh and Spirit don’t mix. Neither do grace and works. Neither does Christ and sin. So when I affirm Christ shares our “nature,” I am referring to that which is originally constitutive of our humanity. Sin is a corruption of our humanity. Christ doesn’t share in that corruption, ergo his sinless humanity is not the same as our sinful humanity. Can I get an amen? Time to take a stand, Wosbald. It’s show time. Put up or shut up. Flush or get off the pot. No more sniping from the shadows. Come into the light and take a stand. It’s okay. We won’t laugh at you. We’re all chums here. Can you tell us categorically that Jesus wasn’t a child of wrath “by nature?”

    So, you get to set up the pins and I’m supposed to try to knock ‘em over?

    Let’s try setting them up in another manner. …

    Christ shared our Human Nature in every respect whatsoever. Period.

    That given, how could he share our Nature in every way and, yet, not be a child of wrath?

    And what interpretive implications might this have for Paul’s use of the term “nature”?

    You have 30 seconds. Go!

    See? Two can play your game. As long as I get to bogart the “conversation”, I can paint you into any corner I want. Fun, eh? Doesn’t elevate the dialogue, of course, but it does help the snark to fly.

    Of course, my questions might be good ones for you to silently ponder, but only if you, even provisionally, were to consider the premise.

  127. Wosbald wrote to Michael:
    Playing upon the word “fully” just like upon the word “free”?
    Fully, but not fully fully.
    Perhaps you need to put scare quotes around “fully”.

    Response:
    You ungrateful son of a gun. Take a particular church not in communion with Rome. Is it Catholic ? or Fully Catholic ? After reclaiming it for communion, is it more Catholic like a fully fully Catholic thing ? They overcame divisions so that must be greater than particular churches that never divided. Oh happy fault !

    Wosbald affirms that divided particular churches are catholic. He denies that their ecclesial nature is in ever respect fully catholic. Perhaps we should put scare quotes around “Wosbald”.

  128. This is the most catholic thing Wosbald ever wrote:

    Christ shared our Human Nature in every respect whatsoever. Period.

  129. Michael,

    Thank you for not being like this guy. ( If you think he is spooky on video, try sitting across from him vis a vis! )

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VKiv3ZGAWo

  130. Michael,

    Just so you know, I did indeed click on your links. How is PS shown in the case of Phineas? It was Phineas’ zeal that propitiated God, not the blood of the two fornicators.

  131. ERIC W April 11, 2015 at 3:27 am
    De Maria, you asked:
    You believe there is a “natural opposition” between each Person of the Godhead?
    Where do you get that from?
    From the fact that the Persons of the Godhead are a trinity or plurality. The relations show the opposition. The best way to see it is when we say things like the Father is NOT the Son or the Son is NOT the Holy Spirit, etc.

    That’s not opposition, that’s distinction.

    PS puts God and the Son in opposition because PS says that the God “pours out His wrath” upon the Son and punishes Him.

    In Catholic Doctrine, God the Father is distinct from God the Son. But God the Father is not opposed to God the Son nor is God the Son opposed to God the Father.

  132. Protestants,

    When St. Paul said that Jesus Christ was like us in every way but sin, he was teaching us that Christ did not share in our “fallen nature”. Christ’s human nature possessed the original justice which Adam and Eve possessed before the Fall.

    That is why Jesus was not a child of wrath.

    Do any of you disagree?

  133. De Maria, you wrote:
    That’s not opposition, that’s distinction…..In Catholic Doctrine, God the Father is distinct from God the Son. But God the Father is not opposed to God the Son nor is God the Son opposed to God the Father.

    Response:
    We are very close to the time when you ignore me. You will ignore me because I refuted you. This one is for free, but next time you pay.

    Emphasis mine (you know the non-catholic)
    But there is no OPPOSITION to assign save that by way of origin. Hence, there must be an OPPOSITION of origin between the Son and Holy Spirit so that the one is from the other. – Thomas Aquinas
    —————————–

    Focus on “In Catholic Doctrine”. See what I mean…Catholic begets completely Catholic.

    Martyr, don’t you know that you are right even when you are wrong ? Something Catholic will correct you. The one problem I see is a non-catholic correcting you with something Catholic. How’s that even possible ?

  134. Mateo,

    Paul is most certainly NOT saying that everyone that is not a Christian is a God hater! Can a man become a God hater? Sure he can, and the people that Paul are talking about are the men and women that acted against what their consciences told them was righteous behavior, and “who by their wickedness suppress the truth.”

    Paul says everyone by their wickedness suppresses the truth. He does not have the Roman Catholic idea that we’re all basically good and on our way to God, whoever each person thinks he may be. Personal faith in Christ is altogether superfluous in Roman Catholicism as far as I can tell. It certainly isn’t necessary. Trust in the church or trust in whatever you think God is and you’ll be good. Vatican 2 says so.

    Cornelius was not a God hater, Abraham was not a God hater, …

    Paul says that everybody outside of Christ is a God hater. Everybody suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. You need to deal with all of Romans 1–3, especially at the end when Paul says no one seeks for God.

    Let us look more closely at the sloppy argument that you are making about God-haters. John Calvin said that every man is born a God hater. Therefore, you argue that you were once a God hater. And I must have been a God hater at one time, just like you, because every man is born a God hater. But when I say that I have no memory of every being a God hater, and I have never had any feelings of being a God hater, you argue that I cannot trust my feelings. Even if I have no feelings of every being a God hater, or no memory of being a God hater, I was once a God hater because John Calvin has said so.

    You then claim that by using monergistic irresistible grace upon you, God made you change you from being a God hater with a will dead set against the will of God, into being a God lover. But then when I say that this obviously means that God must have forced you into being a God lover against your will, you claim that God didn’t force you to become a God lover by twisting your arm or anything like that. And what evidence do you present for making that claim? You said “If God forced me or twisted my arm I would feel violated. I simply don’t feel violated.”
    You are flip-flopping in your argumentation. When I say I have no memory of being a God hater, and have never had any feelings of being a God hater, you claim that this is no evidence that I was never a God hater. No, I simply cannot trust my feelings about this, nor can I offer my feelings as evidence against what you are saying about me being a God hater.

    When your feelings line up with what Scripture says, you can trust them. So, the fact that you never felt like you were a God hater is irrelevant. Paul says that you were. From what I can tell, you probably still are given the way you talk about biblical doctrines such as monergism and original sin.

    But when you say that God never forced you to become a God lover, the basis of your claim is that you have no feelings of ever being violated.

    Feelings count as evidence when it supports the claims of Calvinism, but feelings do not count as evidence when it contradicts the claims of Calvinism. Flip-flop.

    Feelings count as evidence when they line up with what Scripture says.

    The reality is this. You are correct that your feelings of never having been violated by God is evidence that God did not force you to become a lover of God. But it is equally true that the fact that I have no feelings of ever having been a God hater is evidence that I have never been a God hater.

    And as I’ve said repeatedly, God never forced me to do anything. God effectually persuaded me. When the gospel came to me at the point at which God wanted to convert me, He would let me resist Him no longer. You don’t like the fact that God effectually persuades people because you want to have the final say.

    Yes, your testimony is bunk, because you are only arguing that you were a God hater because John Calvin says that every man is born a God hater. But I know that it is load of bunk that I have never been a God hater, not even when I was an apostate dead in my sins.

    From what I can tell, you are probably a God hater right now given how you twist Romans 1–3.

    The issue at hand is why the Calvinist version of OSAS is heresy, and why it is evil to teach that Christians cannot fall away by committing unrepentant mortal sin. The Calvinists deny that a “son” can commit mortal sin, and the story of the prodigal son is teaching the exact opposite of this false claim of Calvinism.

    Prodigal son has nothing to do with justification or regeneration, which is what we are talking about.

    You brazenly deny that a Christian can commit mortal sin and lose their salvation. That make you a material heretic.

    No, I’m a separated brother. If even Christ-hating Muslims can go to heaven, I’m golden. Stop being a hater.

    No, I am arguing that God saves men, not robots. If God destroys my free will with irresistible grace in order to save me, then God has not saved a man, he has saved a robot that only looks like a man.

    God doesn’t destroy anyone’s free will, you just insist on autonomous libertarian freedom, which is a pagan notion. Autonomous libertarian freedom is certainly not the only definition of free will.

    Calvinism is, in fact, an irrational religion, and I have made the case for why this is so. Does the fact that Calvinism is irrational mean that men cannot freely choose to be irrational Calvinists? Not at all. God knows that Calvinists are acting irrational, and that the Calvinists are committing a very great sin when they act irrationally.
    Acts of irrationality are evil acts.

    You’ve made no case except that you have no understanding of the various philosophical and theological debates regarding the nature of free will. You should at least understand compatibilistic freedom before you denigrate it, but I see no evidence that you are even aware of the concept.

  135. De Maria,

    My fans wanted a slam dunk.

    From the fact that in God there is unity of essence and distinction of relations it becomes manifest that nothing stops one’s [Eric W] finding OPPOSITES in the one God, at least those OPPOSITES which follow the distinction of relation…. – Our Friend, Thomas Aquinas

  136. Michael!

    Ya’ gotta’ hear this ” Catholic caricature” of the Reformed position by R.C. Sproul!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjqkhyTaGeE

    Forward to 4:48.

    Bt the way, Luther said,
    “All the prophets saw this, that Christ was to become the greatest, thief, murders robber, adulterer, desecrator, blasphemer there has ever been in the whole world… WA 2,517
    And then he says,” they are as much Christ’s as if he committed them. In short, our sins must be Christ’s or we perish eternally”. WA 40,434

    I know, I know, I am taking Luther out of context, right?
    Please tell me just what context could ever be appropriate for such blasphemy?

    Oh, and one more thing about that scapegoat; on the Day of Atonement, a lamb was also sacrificed. It could not have been a penal substitute because the sins of the people were laid on the scapegoat, not the lamb.

  137. ERIC W April 11, 2015 at 9:31 am
    De Maria, you wrote:
    That’s not opposition, that’s distinction…..In Catholic Doctrine, God the Father is distinct from God the Son. But God the Father is not opposed to God the Son nor is God the Son opposed to God the Father.
    Response:
    We are very close to the time when you ignore me. You will ignore me because I refuted you. This one is for free, but next time you pay.

    On the contrary, Eric W. I ignore you when you start making your silly, incomprehensible babblings. This one makes some sense.

    Emphasis mine (you know the non-catholic)
    But there is no OPPOSITION to assign save that by way of origin. Hence, there must be an OPPOSITION of origin between the Son and Holy Spirit so that the one is from the other. – Thomas Aquinas

    St. Thomas is here using the word “opposition” in the sense of “distinction”. Not in the sense used by P Subbers who claim that God the Father poured out His wrath upon His Son in obvious opposition to Him. As revealed above by Michael, P Subbers believe that Jesus was a child of wrath in opposition to the Father. A child born in opposition to the Father because those born in Original Sin are born in a fallen nature.

    Here is the entire statement by St. Thomas Aquinas:

    I answer that, It must be said that the Holy Ghost is from the Son. For if He were not from Him, He could in no wise be personally distinguished from Him; as appears from what has been said above (28, 3; 30, 2). For it cannot be said that the divine Persons are distinguished from each other in any absolute sense; for it would follow that there would not be one essence of the three persons: since everything that is spoken of God in an absolute sense, belongs to the unity of essence. Therefore it must be said that the divine persons are distinguished from each other only by the relations. Now the relations cannot distinguish the persons except forasmuch as they are opposite relations; which appears from the fact that the Father has two relations, by one of which He is related to the Son, and by the other to the Holy Ghost; but these are not opposite relations, and therefore they do not make two persons, but belong only to the one person of the Father. If therefore in the Son and the Holy Ghost there were two relations only, whereby each of them were related to the Father, these relations would not be opposite to each other, as neither would be the two relations whereby the Father is related to them. Hence, as the person of the Father is one, it would follow that the person of the Son and of the Holy Ghost would be one, having two relations opposed to the two relations of the Father. But this is heretical since it destroys the Faith in the Trinity. Therefore the Son and the Holy Ghost must be related to each other by opposite relations. Now there cannot be in God any relations opposed to each other, except relations of origin, as proved above (Question 28, Article 44). And opposite relations of origin are to be understood as of a “principle,” and of what is “from the principle.” Therefore we must conclude that it is necessary to say that either the Son is from the Holy Ghost; which no one says; or that the Holy Ghost is from the Son, as we confess.

    Focus on “In Catholic Doctrine”. See what I mean…Catholic begets completely Catholic.
    Martyr, don’t you know that you are right even when you are wrong ? Something Catholic will correct you.

    C’mon Satanist, learn to understand the nuances of the language. A Catholic is completely Catholic by virtue of his Baptism. But a Catholic does not necessarily hold or communicate doctrines completely in line with the Catholic Church, 100% of the time.

    The one problem I see is a non-catholic correcting you with something Catholic. How’s that even possible ?

    Its possible. But that is not what is happening between you and I, right now.

  138. De Maria, you wrote:
    PS puts God and the Son in opposition because PS says that the God “pours out His wrath” upon the Son and punishes Him.

    Response:
    Quiet down fans, let’s get back to work. The distinction of relation puts God and the Son in opposition. Finally, I can go back to what I wrote to Jim.

    I wrote:
    It seems to me that the natural “opposition” between the Persons of the Trinity can ground (when we consider it conceptually) any “separation” of the economic Trinity.

    Here’s your chance to talk about it. It’s this very “opposition” that makes the incarnation possible. The other Persons didn’t incarnate. Consider the whole Christ being abandoned as we consider the whole Christ incarnating. I think both must depend on the “opposition” between them.

  139. ERIC W April 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm
    De Maria,
    My fans wanted a slam dunk.

    Sorry to disappoint them.

    From the fact that in God there is unity of essence and distinction of relations it becomes manifest that nothing stops one’s [Eric W] finding OPPOSITES in the one God, at least those OPPOSITES which follow the distinction of relation…. – Our Friend, Thomas Aquinas

    You were talking about “opposition”, one to the other. Not opposites. Not distinctions.

    Another slam dunk for the Catholic!

  140. ERIC W April 11, 2015 at 2:08 pm
    De Maria, you wrote:
    PS puts God and the Son in opposition because PS says that the God “pours out His wrath” upon the Son and punishes Him.
    Response:
    Quiet down fans, let’s get back to work. The distinction of relation puts God and the Son in opposition. Finally, I can go back to what I wrote to Jim.
    I wrote:
    It seems to me that the natural “opposition” between the Persons of the Trinity can ground (when we consider it conceptually) any “separation” of the economic Trinity.
    Here’s your chance to talk about it. It’s this very “opposition” that makes the incarnation possible. The other Persons didn’t incarnate. Consider the whole Christ being abandoned as we consider the whole Christ incarnating. I think both must depend on the “opposition” between them.

    Again, there’s no opposition in the sense of one against the other. Only a distinction in offices, as St. Thomas Aquinas said:

    I answer that, It must be said that the Holy Ghost is from the Son. For if He were not from Him, He could in no wise be personally distinguished from Him; as appears from what has been said above (28, 3; 30, 2). For it cannot be said that the divine Persons are distinguished from each other in any absolute sense; for it would follow that there would not be one essence of the three persons: since everything that is spoken of God in an absolute sense, belongs to the unity of essence. Therefore it must be said that the divine persons are distinguished from each other only by the relations…..

  141. De Maria, you wrote:
    Another slam dunk for the Catholic!

    Which Catholic ? Seriously, which one ?

    1.There are many who claim to be Catholic who do not espouse completely Catholic ideas.
    2. Some, in fact, advance anti-Catholic ideas.

    I know it’s #3 because De Maria told me.

    3.You should know, before you address me, that my opinion will be completely Catholic.

  142. De Maria, you wrote:
    Again, there’s no opposition in the sense of one against the other. Only a distinction in offices…

    You keep aiming your gun in the wrong direction. Stop wastin’ bullets.

  143. @Mateo,

    Paul is saying that when a woman in the Fallen world gives natural child birth, she brings forth a child that is born in a state of original sin. By nature (natural child birth) we are children of the wrath.
    Jesus was not born in a state of original sin, nor was Mary. Adam and Eve did not come into being via natural child birth, of course, but they were not created by God as children of wrath.

    Thank you for having the courage that Wosbald couldn’t muster. At least this is an answer. So in your view, at least four human beings were never “by nature, children of wrath.” So there indeed is something different about their humanity than ours.

    I was, however, born again through baptismal regeneration. The Sacrament of Baptism did not make me lose my human nature, nor did it give me a new human nature.

    When and if you were ever truly regenerated, you were given a new human nature, because you were made a “new creation” in Christ. That’s the very definition of a new nature. That, of course, does not mean you are not human. But it does mean the human nature that you already possess has been (or hopefully, will be) renewed.

    Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    John 3:4-5 “unless one is born of water and the Spirit” = baptismal regeneration

    You’re reading John in contradiction to John and you’re reading him anachronistically. If you go back to John 1:12-13, you’ll see that being “born of God” is a sovereign act of God that is juxtaposed to human choice and action. That rules out Christian baptism as the means by which one is born again, as baptism requires human agency.

    The emphasis is on God’s agency as suggested by the water-spirit [lower case] analogy. Since Jesus rebukes Nicodemus for not understanding this basic teaching, the proper understanding of “water and spirit” must be located in the Old Testament, as a “teacher of Israel” wouldn’t know anything of Christian baptism, which had not been instituted yet anyway.

    1. Nicodemus should have recognized God as having “begotten” Israel, given that Israel is frequently referred to as God’s “son.”’ (Ex. 4:22; Dt. 32:6; Ho. 11:1).

    2. Nicodemus should have understood that “spirit” is connected to God’s creation of life (e.g. Gn. 2:7; 6:3; Jb. 34:14).

    3. Nicodemus should have recalled that God’s “spirit” was to be poured out on “all flesh” (Joel 2:28) resulting in blessing and righteousness (Is. 32:15-20; 44:3; Ezk. 39:29) and renewal (Ezk. 11:19-20; 36:26-27).

    4. Nicodemus should have recalled that “water” is used figuratively for renewal and cleansing, especially when it is contextually connected to “spirit,” which is frequently described as being “poured out” (like water, cf, Nu. 19:17-19; Ps. 51:9-10; Is. 32:15; 44:3-5; 55:1-3; Je. 2:13; 17:13; Ezk. 47:9; Joel 2:28-29; Zc. 14:8).

    5. Finally, Nicodemus should have immediately recalled Ezekiel 36:25-27, where water and spirit signify purification and the giving of a new heart.

    In other words, Nicodemus should have known that regeneration is something only God can accomplish. To read sacramental baptism back into this passage is to make Jesus the most unreasonable of teachers and John the worst of story tellers. How in the world could either John or Jesus have expected Nicodemus to understand his need for baptism when Jesus had not yet instituted that sacrament? C’mon, Mateo, give Jesus and John a little credit.

  144. @Of Mary,

    In reaction to: Unless you cooperate, God can’t save you vs. Unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate
    You said:
    So, let’s compare to Scripture. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    What does the next verse say, bro? for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

    Notice the “for” which grounds the previous assertion. In other words, the imperative (“work out your salvation”) is grounded (“for”) on the indicative (“God works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure”).

    There is no “working it out” *unless* God is working in you. In other words, unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate. Thank you for making my point for me.

    You also cited:

    Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    You seem to be reading this as a conditional, such that “if we obey him, only then can he become the author of our eternal salvation.” Thus on your reading, we enable him to save us by means of our obedience. My, your confidence in the flesh is simply astounding!

    But there’s no need to read it that way. Instead try this: Because he is the author of our eternal salvation he will save all those who obey him. On this reading, obedience is *descriptive* of those who are saved. In other words, the saved will obey him. But it isn’t their obedience that causes them to be saved.

    One more…

    Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    Amen. Not sure what this verse has to do with the point at hand, but amen all the same. So unless you’re saying we save ourselves by sowing good works, I really have no idea what relevance this passage has to our discussion.

    Interesting. Does God save you before you have faith in Him?

    God begins to save us before we have faith in him. Salvation is a multifaceted concept, with past, ongoing and future dimensions. God most certainly regenerates us prior to our expression of faith: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8).

    Question: Is believing in God something that pleases Him? (Yes)
    Question: Is repenting of our sins something that pleases God? (Yes)
    Question: Can the unregenerate (“those who are in the flesh”) please God? (No)
    Question: Does it not therefore follow that the unregenerate “cannot” repent and believe the Gospel? (It looks that way to me.)

    So yes, unless God “makes alive” (Ephesians 2:5) the unregenerate, they cannot do anything that is spiritually pleasing to God. God, therefore, must first regenerate them. That’s the beginning of “redemption-applied.” Once we are made alive, then we can repent and believe and so please Him.

    Like I said:

    “Unless God saves you, you cannot cooperate.” That’s the Gospel.
    “Unless you cooperate, God can’t save you.” That’s the false gospel of Romanism.

    “Repent an believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15)

  145. Michael you write:

    So in your view, at least four human beings were never “by nature, children of wrath.” So there indeed is something different about their humanity than ours.</blockquote<

    What I am saying is that there are four human beings that were not conceived in original sin. No, I do not agree that these four human beings had a different human nature than my human nature.

    When and if you were ever truly regenerated, you were given a new human nature …

    I have been regenerated by the Sacrament of Baptism, and I did NOT receive a new human nature when I received the graces bestowed by the Sacrament of Baptism. If there were such a thing as a new human nature received after baptismal regeneration, then I would have become a different species than the human beings that are born by natural childbirth.

    You’re reading John in contradiction to John …

    Not so. I am reading John the way all orthodox Christians have been reading John for the last two thousand years.

  146. ERIC W April 11, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    3.You should know, before you address me, that my opinion will be completely Catholic.

    You should know that by experience, Eric W. I always provide Catholic documentation for my opinions.

    You keep aiming your gun in the wrong direction.

    And yet keep blowing you away. That is by God’s grace.

    Stop wastin’ bullets.

    Its not a waste to keep disproving Protestant errors.

  147. MICHAEL April 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm
    @Of Mary,
    In reaction to: Unless you cooperate, God can’t save you vs. Unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate
    You said:
    So, let’s compare to Scripture. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
    What does the next verse say, bro? for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

    Correct. That is why cooperating with God’s grace is so important. Because when we do the works which He foreordained, it is He who works through us to accomplish His good pleasure.

    Notice the “for” which grounds the previous assertion. In other words, the imperative (“work out your salvation”) is grounded (“for”) on the indicative (“God works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure”).
    There is no “working it out” *unless* God is working in you. In other words, unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate. Thank you for making my point for me.

    That is your explanation. But we don’t have to juxtapose salvation for works. Nor do we have to ignore “fear and trembling”. That verse says nothing near the idea of “unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate.”

    The verse is clear. Unless God works in you, you can’t do anything good.
    And God won’t work in you unless you obey.
    And therefore, you must “work out” your own salvation in the fear of God. Because, you can’t be certain that you are saved

    You also cited:
    Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    You seem to be reading this as a conditional, such that “if we obey him, only then can he become the author of our eternal salvation.”

    Correct.

    Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

    Thus on your reading, we enable him to save us by means of our obedience.

    Nope. We submit to His grace:

    Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

    My, your confidence in the flesh is simply astounding!

    It is confidence in God’s love and mercy. Remember, it is you who do not believe that God can truly regenerate a man. Protestants believe they are snow covered dung hills. We believe we are new creatures born again in the washing of regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

    But there’s no need to read it that way.

    There is if we want to arrive at truth.

    Instead try this: Because he is the author of our eternal salvation he will save all those who obey him.

    There’s no difference. Only those who chose to obey Christ will be saved.

    On this reading, obedience is *descriptive* of those who are saved. In other words, the saved will obey him. But it isn’t their obedience that causes them to be saved.

    The saved will obey Him. That is true. But the question is, when do they begin to obey Him. Before or after He saves them?

    For us, the question is simple. Without faith, men will not obey God. And without faith, men cannot please God. Therefore, men will not obey God until they believe in Him. And until they believe in Him, God will not save them.

    Faith is first. Obedience of faith, next. Obedience entails works. Only those who, in faith, obey God, will be saved.

    It is very clearly a conditional statement based upon each man’s obedience.

    One more…
    Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
    Amen. Not sure what this verse has to do with the point at hand, but amen all the same. So unless you’re saying we save ourselves by sowing good works, I really have no idea what relevance this passage has to our discussion.

    It is very clearly a conditional statement declaring that salvation is given to those who do good. Let me give you more context:

    Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

    Compare this to Rom 2:7-8
    Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

    Interesting. Does God save you before you have faith in Him?

    God begins to save us before we have faith in him. Salvation is a multifaceted concept, with past, ongoing and future dimensions. God most certainly regenerates us prior to our expression of faith: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8).
    Question: Is believing in God something that pleases Him? (Yes)
    Question: Is repenting of our sins something that pleases God? (Yes)
    Question: Can the unregenerate (“those who are in the flesh”) please God? (No)
    Question: Does it not therefore follow that the unregenerate “cannot” repent and believe the Gospel? (It looks that way to me.)

    Then what does this mean?

    Ezekiel 18:21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

    So yes, unless God “makes alive” (Ephesians 2:5) the unregenerate, they cannot do anything that is spiritually pleasing to God. God, therefore, must first regenerate them. That’s the beginning of “redemption-applied.” Once we are made alive, then we can repent and believe and so please Him.
    Like I said:
    “Unless God saves you, you cannot cooperate.” That’s the Gospel.

    In your opinion. But we understand the Gospel to say, unless you obey God, He will not save you:

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

    “Unless you cooperate, God can’t save you.” That’s the false gospel of Romanism.
    “Repent an believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15)

    The false Gospel is the one taught by the Protestants. Let’s look at another verse from the Gospel.

    Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

    Jesus doesn’t say that God will save them and they will repent. But in fact, that unless they repent, God will not save them.

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    And St. Peter doesn’t say, “You shall receive the Holy Spirit, and then you shall repent”. But in fact, repent and be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Spirit.

  148. Michael,

    “When and if you were ever truly regenerated, you were given a new human nature, because you were made a “new creation” in Christ. That’s the very definition of a new nature. That, of course, does not mean you are not human. But it does mean the human nature that you already possess has been (or hopefully, will be) renewed.”

    What happened to Mateo’s old nature? Does he now have two natures? ( Assuming of course, he is regenerated. If Mateo has a Baptismal Certificate, I think we can trust he has been. )

    Mateo’s nature has been elevated. His same old human nature, empowered by grace and the virtues, can now do supernatural things.

    And he has been given a tattoo. No, not one that says, “Death Before Dishonor”, “Semper Fi” or ” Born to Lose”. No mermaids, hearts or skulls and cross bones. It’s an invisible tattoo. And unlike the ones Kat Von D gives, this tattoo can’t be burnt off, not even in hell.

    Should Mateo ever, ( God forbid ) fall into sin or leave the Church, the tattoo will bug him. Just like having an old girlfriend’s name on your arm that bugs your wife to smithereens.

    You know, Michael, just like the ones you have from your Baptism and Confirmation. ( And id you say you are an ordained deacon? )

  149. J.M.J.

    Michael,

    “That rules out Christian baptism as the means by which one is born again, as baptism requires human agency.”

    Yup, it sure does. Just like the creation of an old nature does.
    You see Michael, if your Dad had never taken a hankering for your Mom, God would never have created your soul and you would not be on this blog trashing his Church.

    No, let me be even more outrageous. Let me say, God *COULD* NEVER HAVE CREATED YOUR SOUL.

    Generation and regeneration require human agency by God’s order of Creation and re-Creation.

  150. Michael,

    I think you are the same Michael I have argued about Creationism vs Traducianism with before. If not, and you do hold that God creates every human soul the moment the matter is disposed to receive a unifying and animating principle, my shocking assertion would include the souls of Adam and Christ as matter is required to be ensouled by definition.
    You could be a follower of Nemesius.. But only Mormons believe souls pre-exist their bodies and even then, they have a materialistic concept of both God and souls.

    We Catholics hold to PRO-Creation. We deny human reproduction. Rabbits and photocopy machines crank out reproductions.
    So, we don’t need to change the subject and go off on this tangent. ( Unless of course, you insist ).

  151. Michael,
    I sure am lavishing a lot of attention on you this morning, aren’t I?

    Yesterday you seemed to think I said Christ atoned for Original sin only but not our personal sins.

    This quote from Aquinas will show you my position.

    “The shutting of the gate is the obstacle which hinders men from entering in. But it is on account of sin that men were prevented from entering into the heavenly kingdom, since, according to Isaiah 35:8: “It shall be called the holy way, and the unclean shall not pass over it.” Now there is a twofold sin which prevents men from entering into the kingdom of heaven. The first is common to the whole race, for it is our first parents’ sin, and by that sin heaven’s entrance is closed to man. Hence we read in Genesis 3:24 that after our first parents’ sin God “placed . . . cherubim and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The other is the personal sin of each one of us, committed by our personal act.

    Now by Christ’s Passion we have been delivered not only from the common sin of the whole human race, both as to its guilt and as to the debt of punishment, for which He paid the penalty on our behalf; but, furthermore, from the personal sins of individuals, who share in His Passion by faith and charity and the sacraments of faith. Consequently, then the gate of heaven’s kingdom is thrown open to us through Christ’s Passion. This is precisely what the Apostle says (Hebrews 9:11-12): “Christ being come a high-priest of the good things to come . . . by His own blood entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption.”33

  152. Michael,

    “The essential difference is that in your system, you can opt out of salvation by failing to cooperate with grace. So there is a condition to be met: unless you cooperate, God can’t save you. In mine it’s the other way around: Unless God saves you, you can’t cooperate.”

    And the point I’ve been making is that your own arguments that RCism doesn’t preserve sola gratia undermine your own position on sanctification. You can opt out of a a degree of heavenly reward and growth in grace, or as WCF puts it – opt out of God’s fatherly pleasure and the light of his countenance – by failing to cooperate with grace in sanctification at a moment in time. So there is a condition to be met: unless you cooperate, God can’t sanctify you.

    “I’m not accusing you or Trent of rejecting this.”

    So you’re affirming Trent’s notion of cooperation is harmonious with Phil 2:12-13. Which is the passage you constantly refer to in support for the Reformed conception of cooperation. Couple that with your belief that “we’re splitting the hairs all too fine” and your apparent approval of the Thomist view of grace, why you then say things like “That’s the false gospel of Romanism” and “I don’t think the RC position can really embrace sola gratia” escapes me. Who are you trying to convince of what?

    “Yes. But I’m not going to.”

    This is pretty silly frankly.

    “I’m just going to say that unless we cooperate with grace, we cannot be saved. That’s your view, is it not?”

    I’m just going to say that unless we cooperate with grace, we cannot be sanctified. That’s your view, is it not?

    “You have the power to derail your own salvation. God’s grace will not overpower your resistance to it if you really would rather not be saved, right? ”

    You have the power to derail your own sanctification. God’s grace will not overpower your resistance to it if you really would rather not be sanctified, right?

    “We just don’t see our cooperation as essential to our salvation/sanctification, but rather coincidental to it.”

    Is cooperation necessary to your salvation/sanctification? Can it happen without cooperation? If not, seems necessary/essential to it.

    “I can only surmise that you’re attributing to us the view that if we sin after regeneration it was because God’s grace failed to prevent us from sinning. No one I know of would hold that view in our circles, so that’s why I’m not tracking with you.”

    Okay so you as a regenerate sin this afternoon. God’s grace did not fail to prevent you from sinning. So it seems there’s 2 options – God gave you sufficient grace that you resisted (so it wasn’t the grace’s failure) or God did not give you grace at all (so it wasn’t the grace’s failure as there was none). So which is it?

    “Of course. We can sin after regeneration. Who is denying this, James? But somehow that means to you that if we sin then such constitutes a failure on the part of grace to head off that sin at the pass.”

    How on earth did you conclude I think grace failed when you sinned? I am trying to get you (and Robert) to simply agree that the grace was sufficient and you resisted. The failure is on man’s part, not grace’s part. The question is not whether you deny you sin after regeneration, but whether you deny you resist sufficient grace after regeneration. Hodge had no problem affirming it.

    “So it’s God’s fault if I sin? Is that what you think our view entails?”

    I’m simply asking did God give you sufficient grace you resisted or no grace at all when you sin?

    “So the emphasis really isn’t on God the prime mover, but upon us who cooperate.”

    And our cooperation is itself of grace. And the Thomist view (which I affirm) accepts that such grace is intrinsically efficacious. My point was that Molinists no more deny sola gratia than Thomists do.

    “So God can give you sufficient grace. But you can resist it. And he can’t really overrule your decision to resist it, because far more important to God is that he respect your autonomy and not impose his will upon you.”

    So you don’t agree with Hodge after all. God doesn’t give regenerate grace you resist when you sin.

    “This situation never really obtains in our system, because anyone who doesn’t cooperate isn’t regenerate in the first place and therefore is both unable and unwilling to cooperate anyway.”

    So you always cooperate with grace then in sanctification. You never resist it. So Hodge didn’t get the memo. So God doesn’t give you grace you resist when you sin. Grace is irresistible in sanctification just as it is in regeneration. So where’s the difference?

    “While it isn’t clear to me how free will is really preserved under the rubric of necessity, it does seem that Thomas here is trying to say that God takes our choices into account and that whatever necessity he imposes, has those choices factored in.”

    So do you agree or disagree with my citation of Owen? Or did he deny the “rubric of necessity” as a good Calvinist?

    “The Reformed position says we can stumble, but not so as to fall from grace.”

    When you stumble, did you resist sufficient grace?

    “Who said anything about boasting?”

    So saying “That’s why, at the end of the day, your system puts the ball of salvation in man’s court. We have the final say on whether or not we’re going to be saved.” doesn’t entail boasting in your view?

    “And I think that’s because we have different conceptions of the interplay between Divine Sovereignty and human responsibility. ”

    I’m still waiting to see how the Reformed citations I offered demonstrate a different conception of the interplay between divine sovereignty and human responsibility than Rome’s conception of cooperation given operative and cooperative grace that all RC schools of thought affirm.

    “still give the deciding vote to man in his own salvation.”

    No more than the Reformed give the deciding vote to man in his own sanctification and degree of heavenly reward.

  153. James,

    Michael said to you,
    “So there is a condition to be met: unless you cooperate, God can’t save you.”

    What the Calvinists don’t understand is that this does not impugn God’s sovereignty. It the system He freely elected to put in place. Sovereignly elected, that is.
    God sovereignly chooses to damn anyone who doesn’t cooperate with grace.

    All sovereigns are not puppet masters.

  154. Jim,

    Well, apparently Calvinists do understand cooperation does not impugn God’s sovereignty when done in sanctification. Go figure.

  155. 1. The Father abandoned the Son
    2. The Son was abandoned by the Father.

    We say that the Father Himself is not called the Son by reason of the mystery of the Incarnation. Likewise, we can say that He who abandons is not called abandoned by reason of the same mystery. The mystery of the incarnation is grounded on the natural distinction between the Father and the Son.

    The relation of Father and Son shows an opposition of affirmation and negation. Opposites like Begotten and unbegotten are well known. This kind of opposition is natural. Now consider this opposition relatively, i.e., begetting and begotten.

    With the opposition considered relatively, we can say the Father loved the Son and the Son is beloved of the Father. Compare this to the Father abandoned the Son and Son was abandoned by the Father.

  156. Jim/James–

    You needn’t “go figure.” We’ve explained the difference in great detail. You’ve simply chosen to ignore the explanations. Go figure.

  157. @Michael:
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to move the discussion, because it seems to be stalled at this point. So let me grab a couple of examples you mentioned to see if we can get a new perspective.

    You said earlier:

    You and De Maria and many others are failing to make essential distinctions between Jesus “in his person” and Jesus as a corporate representative of his people. So long as you continue to do so, you’ll continue to misunderstand and therefore continue to misrepresent the Reformers on this issue.

    And Robert said:

    The more I think about it, the more I think Michael is right. You all have no real category for Jesus as a corporate person, as the representative of His people.

    And later on, you said:

    Just as Christ can be both the offer-er (priest) and the offer-ing (victim), so too he can be both the corporate embodiment of His people’s sin (by imputation) and the offering that propitiates their sin. They’re not contradictory concepts but rather complimentary.

    I think this is absolutely the key point, because any distinction between Jesus in His person and Jesus as corporate representative is necessarily Nestorian in Catholic Christology. In other words, it isn’t a matter of not understanding the distinction, but recognizing that it is impossible for Jesus to serve any personal role that is not the personal role of the Word of God. And if the question is “can the Second Person be the corporate embodiment of sin?,” the answer is clearly “no.”

    That is what the Biblical exception “like us in every way except sin” or “likeness of sinful flesh” rules out, not merely that He could not commit sin in His person but that sin absolutely cannot be associated with His person. He absolutely cannot be “like” us in that way in any sense. This is an explicit exception to the numerous other ability-related concerns that might be raised, so why this one specifically? In other words, it is apparent that there are all sorts of properties of divinity that are incompatible with human properties, but with respect to one specifically, impeccability, Christ is explicitly set at odds with human nature as it is. This is because the guilt of sin is metaphysically incompatible with being a divine person; it is literally impossible that He can be counted guilty of sin by God (which would require God holding Himself guilty of sin, an obvious contradiction in terms).

    The reason is just exactly what I gave above. The Bible is carving out this exception because it would be impossible for Jesus to be a divine person if He were capable of sin, and that is different than other inconsistent properties that He might have by assumption of the human nature. Thus, the Word of God can be mortal, finite, and the like by acting through the human nature, but the one thing that He cannot be under any possible circumstances is guilty of sin in God’s eyes.

    You’ve correctly noted that “made sin” or “bore our sins in His Body” must then refer to the sacrificial context, but that still can’t violate the underlying doctrine. It must be something that can happen via assumption of nature, but not something that would result in any kind of imputation of guilt. If sacrifice entails the imputation of guilt to the sacrifice, then the Word of God simply cannot be a sacrifice; it is that simple. So if we believe that Christ is our paschal lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), we need to inform our interpretation of sacrifice appropriately. In other words, we need to read the Old Testament in view of what we know more surely from the New Testament, rather than trying to build the New Testament out of the Old Testament.

    The critical distinction with the OT sacrifices is that the OT sacrifices were in themselves only symbolic, being given efficacy only as an expression of what they symbolized. That’s essentially the point of Romans 3:21-26, not to mention the entire letter to the Hebrews. So we know the sacrifice couldn’t have actually been punished for sins, meaning likewise that we know that the idea of sin-bearing does not require the mode of sacrifice to actually be punishment for sin. Thus, we cannot assume that is the case. Rather, the sacrifice is being offered in some way that symbolizes what the consequences of covenant breach are, death in some cases, exile in others (e.g., the scapegoat), or simply being “cut off” from the person’s possession in a more mundane sense (like burned up food offerings). But it symbolizes something, something that the God-man can endure by assumption of the human nature. What is it?

    Here we return to the concept of covenant and unite that concept with the knowledge that the Word of God assumed human nature. The covenant perspective opens up the notion that God suffers the covenantal consequences for His covenant partner, acting as a surety. As God is the Creator and as Jesus assumes human nature in its entirety, this is not any particular covenant with the Jewish people, but the covenant that God made with His entire creation in the act of creating humanity in the first place. This is the sense that we were “by nature children of wrath,” i.e., in the context of the creation history with Adam’s sin, and again, this is why it is absolutely critical for the Biblical teaching that Jesus be “without sin” and “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Jesus Himself cannot be in the position of covenant breaker and simultaneously redeemer.

    That’s why the Adamic “covenant of works” issue arises immediately; a defective concept of what the original covenant was results in a defective concept of what God was doing in the atonement. This is not to say that the particular covenants, the Noachide covenant and the Mosaic covenant, are irrelevant. But the point is that Christ is thereby showing Himself to be suffering the covenant consequences in the crucifixion. That is why His mode of death shows Him to be cut off from the covenant, under the curse. So the one who hangs on a tree is cursed by God, but as one who is merely taking on covenant consequences, Jesus is not cursed by God. Rather, He is suffering what would have been the curse of God for another. God is just to allow this to happen, allowing the covenant partner to accept the consequences, where He would not be just in actually inflicting the consequences personally.

    The inexorable context is that God simply did not bear our sin in the sense of imputed guilt, and there is simply nothing in the Scriptural context of sin-bearing by the sacrifice that suggests He did. Bearing the penalty or the punishment was according to a sacrificial mode appropriate to the punishment in question; it was never literally suffering the identical punishment due in the person’s place. It was sacrificial substitution, not literal substitution. So this is no reason to think that bearing sins by way of penalty involves suffering the identical punishment at the hands of the punisher; this is an alien concept that you have read into Scripture in contrast to Biblical Christology. The alien concept in question is equating God’s justice with His role as judge, which is not Scriptural. Indeed, much of Scripture is about translating God’s justice *from* the courtroom context into the family.

    The reason that I call this concept alien is that it takes legal standards for human judges and translates them to God. But even under God’s Law, the standards for human judges of His law are not the standards to which God Himself is bound. That is why only God has the authority (exousia) to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6, Mark 2:7). What is interesting is that the term exousia itself has connotations of free will, implying the choice that a ruler has by virtue of his power and substance (i.e., his ousia, the term later used by Nicaea for “nature”), and the term was used this way in Greek philosophy. The implication here is not that the Law is the definition of justice; on the contrary, God is likened to the ruler who is free to pardon people out of His justice, who is not bound by the law as His subjects are. You seem to be saying that it is unjust for a judge to fail to follow the law and punish the guilty, but the entire point is that these laws do not apply to the author of the Law, from whose authority even the Law derives.

    I’ll add a note about the “were by nature children of wrath” concept, because Paul there is not suggesting that our metaphysical nature is somehow corrupting us. We know that Paul doesn’t use this in the technical sense; in Gal. 2:15, he speaks of “Jews by nature” using the same term, and he obviously isn’t suggesting that Jews aren’t human beings. (By contrast, Paul does use the word “morphe” in what appears to be the more technical sense in Phil. 2.) So this is just a metonymy for the condition in which we were naturally born, not an assertion of metaphysical corruption to the point of being a different nature. And the reason that we know God is not like us in this respect is the same reason we know that He doesn’t share our sin in any respect; the Bible explicitly carves out “except sin” in Jesus and, with respect to the sinfulness of the flesh, refers to this as “likeness” in order to show that the identity is not so absolute that it must be taken in every sense.

    The reason that I think this happens is that you’ve adopted an artificially constrained view of Scriptural interpretation based on the criterion that all theology must be justifiable strictly and only by the content of Scripture. That requires you to fill in a large number of theological gaps, and we know how that plays out: expansion of the Law beyond its actual purposes. Those were the “traditions of men” that the Pharisees invented, and that was the position of the Judaizers. So we can see the same habits at work here, particularly in trying to make the Mosaic Law into the standard for divine justice and justification. That made Calvin a slave to the Law, a Judaizer, in his exegesis, just as Nestorius himself was, and I don’t really see anything else at work here.

    In summary, there is a Catholic view of Jesus bearing the penalty by sacrificial substitution and a Reformed view of Jesus bearing the penalty by literal substitution. Those two views are absolutely irreconcilable; the former is orthodox, and the latter is Nestorian. One can say that the differences aren’t that important, and indeed, there is an entire cottage industry of Reformed scholarship that tries to rehabilitate Nestorius’s view. But at the end of the day, only one actually teaches that Jesus of Nazareth was God in the flesh, and that strikes me as a much more important consideration than the doctrines of grace or soteriology. Trying to blur that distinction serves neither view.

  158. @Eric W:
    If relations of opposition actually meant dialectical opposition, then Photios’s criticism of the West in the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit was sound, and we should all be moving East. Unfortunately for your argument, relations of opposition DO NOT mean dialectical opposition, and your inference to (strong) penal substitution based on the relations of origin in the Trinity is equally false. In other words, you’ve proved that your view of penal substitution is based, at its root, on a heretical understanding of the Trinity. You either have to accept a Nestorian view (that Jesus is a corporate substitute in His humanity but not His divinity) or that there is a division in the Trinity, as you have suggested here.

    http://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/Filioque_en.html

    This is why I have such a problem with Calvinists who want to quibble about sola gratia and the authority of the papacy. Those are trivial issues compared to the fundamental question “Who do you say that I am?” You’re basically saying here that you don’t even know who Christ is, let alone what He did for us. But instead of focusing on that concern, the most important concern that anybody on Earth can have, you’re straining at gnats.

  159. Eric,

    Thanks.

  160. Robert,

    Read this along with the account of the two goats.

    The Lord said to Moses, 2 “These are the regulations for any diseased person at the time of their ceremonial cleansing, when they are brought to the priest: 3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine them. If they have been healed of their defiling skin disease,[a] 4 the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed. 5 Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. 6 He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. 7 Seven times he shall sprinkle the one to be cleansed of the defiling disease, and then pronounce them clean. After that, he is to release the live bird in the open fields.

  161. Robert,
    Now that you have read it, realize that in the account of the two goats, a similar principle is at work.

    If you check around, you will see there are various theories on the fate of the scapegoat;
    1. Released Scot free
    2. Released in the wilderness to be killed by wild animals
    3. Offered to a demon named Azazel
    4. Given to gentiles to be cast off a precipice.

    The thing is, this was only to make sure the animal did not come back home. Nothing more.
    It was not offered as a sacrifice as it was impure.

  162. Jonathan, you wrote:
    Unfortunately for your argument, relations of opposition DO NOT mean dialectical opposition, and your inference to (strong) penal substitution based on the relations of origin in the Trinity is equally false.

    Which part made you think it was dialectical opposition ? I gave no inference to penal substitution. You were right to anticipate a future argument for PS, but it remains in the future.

  163. @Michael or Robert:
    I also thought of a metaphysical question that just keeps coming up. You keep talking about people having “the final say” in salvation. How is that even possible? How can any created being even possibly have the “final say” in anything?

    Created beings don’t have a “say” at all. The creative will of God is from eternity, so it’s impossible for non-existent beings to speak up when it happens. The only Christian way in which such a claim was ever made was Origen’s belief in pre-existent souls, which no one today accepts.

    And by the way, don’t appeal to the fact that certain philosophers speak of “compatibilism,” because I am not convinced that the entire concept of compatibilism is based on similar metaphysical errors. In other words, if you’re going to appeal to a metaphysical argument, explain those premises.

    I am otherwise having an extremely difficult time understanding why you are so concerned about this “final say” problem that appears to be a figment of your imagination.

  164. Robert and Michael,

    As you are fond of quoting Augustine, you will be interested in how sadi Christ “became sin” for us.

    “The same Apostle says in another place, “He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” “Him who knew no sin:” Who is He who knew no sin, but He That said, “Behold the prince of the world comes, and shall find nothing in me? Him who knew no sin, made He sin for us;” even Christ Himself, who knew no sin, God made sin for us. What does this mean, Brethren? If it were said, “He made sin upon Him,” or, “He made Him to have sin;” it would seem intolerable; how do we tolerate what is said, “He made Him sin,” that Christ Himself should be sin? They who are acquainted with the Scriptures of the Old Testament recognise what I am saying. For it is not an expression once used, but repeatedly, very constantly, sacrifices for sins are called “sins.” A goat, for instance, was offered for sin, a ram, anything; the victim itself which was offered for sin was called “sin.” A sacrifice for sin then was called “sin;” so that in one place the Law says, “That the Priests are to lay their hands upon the sin.” “Him” then, “who knew no sin, He made sin for us;” that is, “He was made a sacrifice for sin.” (Sermon 84 on the New Testament)

    And elsewhere he writes:

    Accordingly the apostle says: “We beseech you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled unto God. For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21) God, therefore, to whom we are reconciled, has made Him to be sin for us—that is to say, a sacrifice by which our sins may be remitted; for by sins are designated the sacrifices for sins. And indeed He was sacrificed for our sins, the only one among men who had no sins, even as in those early times one was sought for among the flocks to prefigure the Faultless One who was to come to heal our offenses. (On the Grace of Christ and on Original Sin, Book II, chapter 37)

    And elsewhere he writes:

    And they, perchance not understanding this, and being blinded by the desire of misrepresentation, and ignorant of the number of ways in which the name of sin is accustomed to be used in the Holy Scriptures, declare that we affirm sin of Christ. Therefore we assert that Christ both had no sin—neither in soul nor in the body; and that, by taking upon Him flesh in the likeness of sinful flesh, in respect of sin He condemned sin. And this assertion, somewhat obscurely made by the apostle, is explained in two ways—either that the likenesses of things are accustomed to be called by the names of those things to which they are like, so that the apostle may be understood to have intended to call this likeness of sinful flesh by the name of “sin;” or else that the sacrifices for sins were under the law called “sins,” all which things were figures of the flesh of Christ, which is the true and only sacrifice for sins—not only for those which are all washed away in baptism, but also for those which afterwards creep in from the weakness of this life, on account of which the universal Church daily cries in prayer to God, “Forgive us our debts,” and they are forgiven us by means of that singular sacrifice for sins which the apostle, speaking according to the law, did not hesitate to call “sin.” Whence, moreover, is that much plainer passage of his, which is not uncertain by any twofold ambiguity, “We beseech you in Christ’s stead to be reconciled to God. He made Him to be sin for us, who had not known sin; that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21) For the passage which I have above mentioned, “In respect of sin, He condemned sin,” because it was not said, “In respect of his sin,” may be understood by any one, as if He said that He condemned sin in respect of the sin of the Jews; because in respect of their sin who crucified Him, it happened that He shed His blood for the remission of sins. But this passage, where God is said to have made Christ Himself “sin,” who had not known sin, does not seem to me to be more fittingly understood than that Christ was made a sacrifice for sins, and on this account was called “sin.” (Against Two Books of the Pelagians, Bk III, chapter 16)

  165. Jonathan,

    I also thought of a metaphysical question that just keeps coming up. You keep talking about people having “the final say” in salvation. How is that even possible? How can any created being even possibly have the “final say” in anything?

    Maybe some examples will suffice.

    Most Arminians hold to some kind of simple foreknowledge whereby God looks into the future, sees who will believe, and then chooses that person for salvation. The decisive vote in one’s eternal destiny in that scheme is the person’s decision. God’s choice to save that person is finally based on that person’s decision to say yes to God. I realize this is not Roman Catholic orthodoxy, but I think there is little doubt that it would be a popular view on the lay level even in Roman Catholicism.

    On a more Molinistic view (a la William Lane Craig), the basis for election is still pretty much the same except there is a consideration of possible worlds. So God considers all possible worlds, sees the one in which the most people say yes to Him, and chooses to actualize that world. That is de facto election based who will say yes and in what conditions.

    Perhaps “final say” isn’t the best way to say it. Maybe “decisive say” is better. If God’s election depends on what we will do, we have the decisive say in salvation. We’re saved because we made the self-determined choice to say yes. God can’t or won’t save us without our “yes.”

    We would say that God’s choice to save us guarantees our “yes,” so the choice is logically prior to His knowledge of what we will do.

    Without unconditional election, I do not see where we are not the ones with the decisive say in our salvation. And if you have unconditional election, you logically have monergism and irresistible grace. God’s choice is decisive, and there isn’t any way those whom He chooses will finally say “no.”

  166. @James,

    How on earth did you conclude I think grace failed when you sinned?

    Because you keep stating that if we sin after regeneration, then it was because monergistic sanctifying grace was resisted by us. In other words, we succeeded (in sinning/resisting) where grace failed to overcome. That, or I’m not understanding a word you’re saying.

    I am trying to get you (and Robert) to simply agree that the grace was sufficient and you resisted.

    I’m not much into contrary-to-fact speculation. If only we had taken the way out that scripture says God provides us, we would never have succumbed to temptation. That’s like saying, if only Pilate had listened to his wife, Jesus would never have been crucified. But then what does one do with, language like this?:

    for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4:27-28)

    As a thought experiment, we can imagine Pilate et alia having taken an alternative course of action. But if God is superintending every discreet act, then we can rule out the hypothetical counter-factual as relevant since all parties acted in accordance with what God’s “plan had predestined to take place.”

    And so it is in our lives. God the sanctifier no more fails to sanctify his elect than he does to regenerate them. But just as the elect can and do refuse the Word up to some point in there life (say, last Sunday), there does come a point (say this Sunday) at which grace overcomes their resistance. Enter monergism. But if the question (your question) arises, “but why didn’t the Word get through last Sunday” we can only surmise that it was because God hadn’t ordained that person’s regeneration last Sunday, but rather this Sunday.

    But now the person is regenerate. So will this person’s spiritual progress continue unabated until glory? Will he/she never sin again? No. By next Sunday, said person will most likely have sinned at least once. So does that mean God’s grace fails if we refuse/resist it?

    The answer depends upon the categories we’re using. You’re going with a sufficient/efficient distinction. That one doesn’t work for me. It still gives too much of the “deciding vote” to us. It basically says, grace is always available. But it’s up to us to make use of it. God sends boats and helicopters to rescue us. We’ve got to accept the help. God gives us plenty of bootstrap. We’ve got to pull them up. And on and on the analogies go.

    But that’s not what “grace” is in the Bible. It’s not an available power source that we tap into. It’s God’s power at work in us, as Philippians 2 says.

    In other words, if sufficient only becomes efficient grace because of my say so, then that basically means I sanctify myself using grace as the means to the end. But I look at it as grace sanctifying me, using my choices as a means to the end, including my bad ones. For that is the ultimate power of grace–that it can overcome even my most stubborn resistance in sanctification. That’s what I understand progressive sanctification to mean. It’s not upward ascending curve with no valleys. Rather it’s very much a two-steps forward, one-step backwards kind-of-thing. We press forward, stumble, get back up again and move on.

    The failure is on man’s part, not grace’s part.

    Right. But would you agree that if God wanted to prevent us from sinning he could?

    Then God said to him [Abimelech] in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her [Sarah]” (Genesis 20:6-7)

    Therefore it’s not a question of assigning blame for our failures to obey or the failure of grace to keep us from sinning; rather it is a question of God’s sovereign purpose in allowing us to sin when He could have just as easily kept us from doing so.

    To me, it’s too mechanistic to see this as a sufficient vs. efficient issue. Rather this is more of a compatibilistic issue–how our free agency can be superintended by God’s sovereignty for the working out of God’s sovereign purposes for our lives–whether those purposes permit or even prevent us from sinning against Him.

  167. @Jonathan,

    I don’t have the time today to do justice to your thoughtful reflection, but I can’t resist a quick comment on this:

    I think this is absolutely the key point, because any distinction between Jesus in His person and Jesus as corporate representative is necessarily Nestorian in Catholic Christology. In other words, it isn’t a matter of not understanding the distinction, but recognizing that it is impossible for Jesus to serve any personal role that is not the personal role of the Word of God. And if the question is “can the Second Person be the corporate embodiment of sin?,” the answer is clearly “no.”

    You’ve saddled up on the Nestorian horse and you’re off and running, while completely missing the issue. First, you’re using Christological categories of conciliar theology to frame this discussion. I’m using biblical categories. When I distinguish between corporate personality and the individual, I’m in thoroughly Hebrew worldview far removed from Nestorius and Nestorianism. H. Wheeler Robinson was one of the first to study this distinction in the Hebrew Bible. You can still find his work and it’s a quick read: http://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Personality-Ancient-Wheeler-Robinson/dp/056729109X

    If what you say is true, the the entire OT is Nestorian and so is much of the new with respect to passages such as Matthew 2:15, citing Hosea 11:1. “Out of Egypt I called my son.” What was said of the corporate “son” of God (the nation of Israel) is said of the individual “Son of God” (Jesus, who is True Israel). If the corporate/individual distinction entails Nestorianism, then the Bible is essentially a Nestorian document.

    So perhaps you rushed a bit to pounce on our (Robert’s and my) use of of “corporate” language with respect to Jesus bearing the sins of his people. And also keep in mind the Incarnation. One reason why the Second Person is able to corporately embody his people is because he, unlike the other members of the Trinity, incarnated. That’s a game-changer with respect to what can be predicated of the Second Person., right? I mean, Jesus can die. The Second Person (prior to the Incarnation) can’t. Jesus can bear the sins of his people, literally “becoming sin” on their behalf just as he can be “made a curse” for us. Being incarnate allows Jesus to be affected by death and sin, without becoming personally guilty of sin. If you’re theological categories can’t affirm what scripture plainly can, then the problem is with your categories. Find new ones if you have to.

    So to review:

    1. Jesus was made sin/curse on our behalf.
    2. His blood expiates sin.
    3. His blood propitiates wrath.
    4. His death satisfies justice.
    5. His death provides mercy for the sinner.
    6. His death redeems/ransoms a people.
    7. His death procures forgiveness of their sins.
    8. His death cleanses and purifies his people.
    9. I could probably go on….
    10. But I won’t….

    We think all that adds up to “penal substitution” as we define the term. Clearly most folks around here think “penal substitution” means something else. Whatever. I’m tried of being asked to defend views I don’t hold.

    Now back to Robert’s point. What exactly does Jesus do in your system? After all that has been said, his death seems quite incidental to your final salvation. (I know, you deny that. But we’re just saying that it sometimes seems that way.)

  168. Jonathan,

    Thanks for the link. I chuckled because my first Aquinas quote to De Maria was in the context of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Son.

    I wrote to De Maria:
    But there is no opposition to assign save that by way of origin. Hence, there must be an opposition of origin between the Son and Holy Spirit so that the one is from the other. – Thomas Aquinas

  169. Michael,
    “We think all that adds up to “penal substitution” as we define the term. Clearly most folks around here think “penal substitution” means something else. Whatever. I’m tried of being asked to defend views I don’t hold.”

    Not as tired as I am of you, on one handing, defending R.C. Sproul’s easy to understand videos and 2. telling us how ignorant we are of Calvinism and how guilty we are of caricature.

    Sproul says Christ the Lamb was cursed by the Father. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

  170. Michael,

    “1. Jesus was made sin/curse on our behalf.”

    I assume you mean this in the same sense Sproul does. But I am not gonna ask for fear of being accused of either ignorance or caricature.

  171. @Jonthan,

    That is what the Biblical exception “like us in every way except sin” or “likeness of sinful flesh” rules out, not merely that He could not commit sin in His person but that sin absolutely cannot be associated with His person.

    I agree that Jesus could not commit sin. But the “association” piece needs to be unpacked a bit. Consider that Jesus had no problem touching sinners, eating with sinners, embracing sinners, teaching sinners, loving sinners. He identified himself with sinners and often healed (saved) them by laying his hands upon them. So the Incarnate-Second person had no problem “associating” himself with sinners.

    I fail to see why taking on their guilt would be a problem. If he could take on their infirmities, why not their sin? It’s not as if their sickness made him sickly. Why then should we worry that their sin would turn him into a sinner?

    I suspect the problem is with your concept of imputation. Clearly it’s not the same as our concept. You seem to think that if sin or guilt is imputed to Jesus, then Jesus himself becomes personally culpable. That may follow from a certain definition of imputation, but it’s most certainly not what we believe. Perhaps a simple analogy will do–one that we might use with a child. This one is popular at my church for explaining the relationship between scripture and tradition. If I put a filter labeled “tradition” on top of my Bible, then I will read the Bible through my filter and might miss some things. But if my Bible is the filter, then I can look to see where my tradition may need fixing/amending. (The visual is to put a filter on top of a Bible and then the Bible on top of the filter).

    It strikes me that analogy could work here too. On the cross, God looks at Jesus through our sin. (So sin is the “filter” placed upon Jesus). After the cross, God looks at sinners through Jesus. (So Jesus is the “filter” placed over the sinner).

    So it’s not that the “filter” of sin metaphysically changed Jesus into a sinner; rather he was considered that way because that’s what he “looked like” with the sins of the world laid upon him and the curse “by God” placed on the one hanging on the tree. (That’s what we we call the “Second Imputation”–the first being Adam’s sin to us).

    Then, after Redemption-Accomplished becomes Redemption-Applied, God looks at us through Jesus, the righteous one. Though sin still clings to us even after regeneration, God graciously considers us “in Christ” and so sees us as righteous in him. In other words, that’s what “we look like” now that we are in Christ. That’s the third and final imputation–his righteousness to us).

    Imputation, of course, is only one way of looking at all of this. But it is a valid and important one. Scripture uses many metaphors/images in its soteriology. But in this particular one, I don’t think the doctrine of the Ontological Trinity is touched here. I think the Economic Trinity is in view, which is why your cries of Nestorianism seem to be coming out of left field.

    …, but with respect to one specifically, impeccability, Christ is explicitly set at odds with human nature as it is. This is because the guilt of sin is metaphysically incompatible with being a divine person; it is literally impossible that He can be counted guilty of sin by God (which would require God holding Himself guilty of sin, an obvious contradiction in terms).

    This seems a bit over-the-top to me. First, “guilt” isn’t a metaphysical category. You don’t emit a glowing “guilt” aura. It’s a legal category from a Hebrew forensic setting, so you’re already anachronistically reading your scholasticism back into scripture. (You systematic guys…when will you learn?)

    “Death” is metaphysically incompatible with being a divine person. But Jesus died. So back to the drawing board, Jonathan.

    Besides, we’re using analogical language here, Jonathan, so it’s never going to be a perfect match for the reality. That said, God can consider Jesus vis-a-vis our guilt and Jesus can experience its full weight just as surely as he can enter into the human experience. Jesus will never know what it is like to experience the personal guilt of sin–no feelings of guilt, no regrets, so sorrow for sin, no need to repent, no urgent fear or anxiety for having injured another. Instead he feels the collective guilt, anxiety, fear, regret, sorrow, etc of every person he would ever redeem and so knows by solidarity (union) with us exactly what it means to be a sinner, though he himself is not one (ontologically or even existentially).

    The Bible is carving out this exception because it would be impossible for Jesus to be a divine person if He were capable of sin, and that is different than other inconsistent properties that He might have by assumption of the human nature. Thus, the Word of God can be mortal, finite, and the like by acting through the human nature, but the one thing that He cannot be under any possible circumstances is guilty of sin in God’s eyes.

    He, as an individual, cannot be seen as guilty in God’s eyes because he wasn’t a sinner. God would be seeing a fiction, an illusion. So when Jesus looks at Jesus qua Jesus, he sees his sinless Son. But when God looks at the crucified Jesus qua the corporate representative of his people (Israel/the Church), he sees (among other things) the embodiment of sin, guilt and the curse. “He made him who knew no sin to be sin”. We can’t really improve upon that language.

    But if we say that is all God sees in that moment, we limit the testimony of scripture to one dimension. Does not God also see innocent victim of Roman injustice? Doesn’t God also see the culmination of regicide by Israel? Does not God also see Christus victor? Does not God also see the blood that turns away his wrath from us? Does not God also see the self-sacrifice of the Servant? So many facets/dimensions to consider. Penal Substitution attempts to unite them all into one coherent theory. Satisfaction, if we reduce the cross to that, cuts out so many other valid ways of contemplating Redemption-Accomplished.

  172. @Jonthan

    If sacrifice entails the imputation of guilt to the sacrifice, then the Word of God simply cannot be a sacrifice; it is that simple. So if we believe that Christ is our paschal lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), we need to inform our interpretation of sacrifice appropriately.

    I think your dichotomy between the imputation of guilt and sacrifice is a false one. Why must it be one or the other?

    In other words, we need to read the Old Testament in view of what we know more surely from the New Testament, rather than trying to build the New Testament out of the Old Testament.

    Can I quote you on this for future reference? I ask because I’ve been saying this very thing to Nick for years. I’ve even shown him where Vatican II says this and I get no reply. And Jimbo seems to think that unless every single aspect of the OT type is present in its corresponding NT antitype, then no correspondence exists at all. (He seems not to grasp the fact that such an assumption nullifies every single typological correspondence in scripture).

    Now to mollify your concerns, rest assured that no one in my camp is reading the New through the Old. We’re good analogy-of-faith folks. So we see penal substitution in the New just as surely as we see it in the Old and we think the New is simply the more explicit fulfillment of what we find in the Old.

    The critical distinction with the OT sacrifices is that the OT sacrifices were in themselves only symbolic, being given efficacy only as an expression of what they symbolized.

    Yes. The blood of bulls could never really take away sin. So all the sacrificial rituals really were pointing forward to the cross.

    That’s essentially the point of Romans 3:21-26, not to mention the entire letter to the Hebrews.

    Righty-o.

    So we know the sacrifice couldn’t have actually been punished for sins,

    Um, I have a feeling your pulling a Jim-bo here. Again, let’s not assume that every single facet of PSA is going to be present in every single OT type. So, for example, the scapegoat wasn’t killed. (Though it was probably sent to its death). But sins were transferred to it and it was abandoned. It symbolized the taking away of sin. But the scapegoat alone doesn’t embody every facet of PSA. The Passover lamb also embodies some aspects of PSA, but not all of them. The lamb died in place of the first born (and by extension the nation they represented). But God didn’t transfer the sins of the nation to the Passover lamb. The Servant comes closest to embodying all aspects of PSA. But even here, we don’t get the full picture until the NT.

    meaning likewise that we know that the idea of sin-bearing does not require the mode of sacrifice to actually be punishment for sin.

    In fact, for deliberate sin and capital offenses, sacrifice wasn’t possible. Only blood could satisfy for blood. But the point is that God judges sin and requires something to make atonement for it. That’s all part of the “ingredients” that go into PSA. But don’t expect to see the full-blown theory united in one coherent system in the OT economy. That doesn’t allow for progressive, unfolding revelation–you know–the “development of doctrine” that you readily special plead for things like the Immaculate Conception and Papal infallibility and other Johnny-come-latelies to your tradition. As a courtesy, you might allow God the same latitude to take the strands of the OT and tie them together in the NT.

    This is the sense that we were “by nature children of wrath,” i.e., in the context of the creation history with Adam’s sin, and again, this is why it is absolutely critical for the Biblical teaching that Jesus be “without sin” and “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Jesus Himself cannot be in the position of covenant breaker and simultaneously redeemer.

    Jesus qua Jesus cannot be simul justus et peculator. But Jesus qua his people, can be. “He who knew no sin was made sin…” Again, we can’t really improve upon that language.

    That’s why the Adamic “covenant of works” issue arises immediately; a defective concept of what the original covenant was results in a defective concept of what God was doing in the atonement.

    Take that up with the Covenant Theologians. That’s not my area. As someone once said, Covenant Theology has its origin in Holland, not Heaven.

    This is not to say that the particular covenants, the Noachide covenant and the Mosaic covenant, are irrelevant. But the point is that Christ is thereby showing Himself to be suffering the covenant consequences in the crucifixion.

    Which explains the “curse” language of Galatians 3:13. But who has ever said otherwise?

    That is why His mode of death shows Him to be cut off from the covenant, under the curse. So the one who hangs on a tree is cursed by God, but as one who is merely taking on covenant consequences, Jesus is not cursed by God.

    Um, no. Your distinction won’t fly. Jesus accepts the covenant curses due to the people as their corporate representative. This is just another picture of corporate personality. The curse isn’t a mechanistic/automatic thing that just happens when the covenant is broken. God is always the one who imposes the curse. Hence the language of Deuteronomy 21:23 which says the one who hangs on a tree is cursed “by God.” So if your system can’t handle the Biblical language, it’s time to jettison the system, not the Bible. (Bible over system, not system over Bible.)

    Rather, He is suffering what would have been the curse of God for another. God is just to allow this to happen, allowing the covenant partner to accept the consequences, where He would not be just in actually inflicting the consequences personally.

    A distinction without a difference because the “consequences” aren’t mechanistic. They’re always imposed by the Suzerain, and the Suzerain is God. No way around that Johnny-cakes.

    More anon….Family friends coming over for supper. My part of New England hit a whopping 68 degrees today. Time to catch some rays!

  173. Jonathan, you wrote:
    In other words, you’ve proved that your view of penal substitution is based, at its root, on a heretical understanding of the Trinity. You either have to accept a Nestorian view (that Jesus is a corporate substitute in His humanity but not His divinity) or that there is a division in the Trinity, as you have suggested here.

    Response:
    I gave more thought to what you said. You are a heresy hunter. You didn’t gather a heretical understanding from my words. I know you didn’t because 80-100% was based on Aquinas. You, being paid by demonic spirits, insinuate evil by saying “suggested”. Did I write division ? No, I suggested it says the evil spirits.

    Your spirits are fearful about a strong Trinitarian foundation in PS. Feel free to avoid any reply to Eric W. I can see the demons who tempt you.
    —————————

    You wrote:
    You’re basically saying here that you don’t even know who Christ is, let alone what He did for us. But instead of focusing on that concern, the most important concern that anybody on Earth can have, you’re straining at gnats.

    Response:
    According to Jonathan’s interpretation of all things Catholic, heretics corrupt the TEACHINGS of Christ. Is there a greater teaching of Christ than the teaching about the Christ ? It all comes full circle. Jonathan is the gateway to the Christ. Antichrist spirits want it that way.

  174. @Jonathan,

    The inexorable context is that God simply did not bear our sin in the sense of imputed guilt, and there is simply nothing in the Scriptural context of sin-bearing by the sacrifice that suggests He did.

    Again, this objection seems to take an all-or-nothing approach. But PSA does not say in the first place that every OT sacrifice entails all aspects of the theory. So one could very well have a sacrifice without imputed guilt, but that doesn’t mean imputed guilt isn’t scriptural. We see it in the scapegoat ritual and in Isaiah 53. We also see that the priests could bear the iniquity of the congregation, thereby suggesting the idea of substitutionary atonement (cf, Lev. 10:17). But most importantly we see it in the idea of being cursed “in Adam.” In Adam, “all die.” That means guilt is imputed to those whose sin was not in the pattern or type of Adam. In union with Adam, his guilt is ours, hence the curse of mortality.

    Bearing the penalty or the punishment was according to a sacrificial mode appropriate to the punishment in question; it was never literally suffering the identical punishment due in the person’s place.

    Nor did it have to be. God was pleased to allow the people to use things that were readily available to them–animals, flour, etc. God didn’t require literal place-taking. That you think PSA requires this only shows your misunderstanding of PSA. But in some cases, atonement could *only* be made by means of a literal equivalent. So you couldn’t substitute flour for the life blood of an innocent. Life blood for life blood was the only equivalent means of making atonement in the case of capital offenses.

    It was sacrificial substitution, not literal substitution. So this is no reason to think that bearing sins by way of penalty involves suffering the identical punishment at the hands of the punisher; this is an alien concept that you have read into Scripture in contrast to Biblical Christology.

    But we don’t hold the view you’re attributing to us. We too agree that the OT sacrifices were symbolic substitutes that pointed to the real substitute, Christ. The idea that Christ had to suffer “identical punishment” is something you’re reading into our theology. Not to be pedantic or anything, but if you push that point far enough, you might as well say that Christ could only ever be the penal substitute for those who die by crucifixion and only males at that, and only Jewish males at that, and possibly only Galilean Jewish males by extension of your logic.

    The alien concept in question is equating God’s justice with His role as judge, which is not Scriptural. Indeed, much of Scripture is about translating God’s justice *from* the courtroom context into the family.

    Not sure what your’e getting at here. But surely you’re not denying that God judicially punishes sin and that sacrifice was a way to expiate the sin while propitiating the wrath that sin deserves. Perhaps you’ll explain more as I read further….

  175. @Jonathan,

    The reason that I call this concept alien is that it takes legal standards for human judges and translates them to God.

    Nope. What we’re doing is reading what God has disclosed about himself as Judge and decided that God gets to tell us what his standards are. If God’s word says that “he shall by no means acquit the guilty,” then whatever system we adopt better well be able to explain that principle. God has said this about Himself. We therefore can’t conclude, “But God can acquit the guilty if he so chooses, because he wrote the laws.” You’re making God disobedient to his own laws. But his laws flow from his own character. You’re introducing self-contradiction into your concept of God, all to salvage your system. Once gain: Superimpose Bible over system. Not system over Bible.

    But even under God’s Law, the standards for human judges of His law are not the standards to which God Himself is bound.

    God is bound to be self-consistent. God’s Law is an expression of himself. God cannot, without contradiction, unbind himself from his own law.

    That is why only God has the authority (exousia) to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6, Mark 2:7).

    No. Forgiving sin does not mean acquitting the guilty. You have to understand forgiveness in light of the principle that God does not acquit the guilty. By way of analogy, God can forgive debt. But the forgiveness of debt implies a net deficit. If God merely forgives debt, then there is still a debt that is owed. But if God Himself pays the debt, then he can both forgive the debt and pay it off at the same time. So justice and mercy kiss. Likewise, any forgiveness of guilt can only take place if God has made provision for bearing that guilt. If someone/something else can take that guilt away, then God can forgive it without violating his own standards. As it so happens, God has made provision for the substitutionary bearing of iniquity/guilt and therefore sin forgiveness comes at His expense just as surely as monetary forgiveness ensues when the bank forgives a debt. In every analogy where God is likened to a lender, the idea of debt forgiveness implies that the lender himself suffers the monetary loss. Since these debt analogies picture sin, then we can conclude that it is God himself that pays off the debt of sin. That’s how debt-forgiveness works. The sinner (debtor) goes free because his debt (of sin) has been paid (atoned for) by none other than God himself.

    You seem to be saying that it is unjust for a judge to fail to follow the law and punish the guilty, but the entire point is that these laws do not apply to the author of the Law, from whose authority even the Law derives.

    And herein lies the problem. The Law isn’t something external to God. It’s not a higher standard to which we or anyone else can hold God to, for there is nothing higher than God himself. But God’s Law is another name for God’s Word, which is yet another name for God himself. God and His law are one and the same, for His law is an expression of his mind, will and character. To argue as you do is to posit a sharp disjunction between God and His word. I think you might want to rethink this.

  176. @Jonathan

    I’ll add a note about the “were by nature children of wrath” concept, because Paul there is not suggesting that our metaphysical nature is somehow corrupting us.

    As I said, it means “born that way.” Paul isn’t being technical. But he is saying we are born under God’s wrath. That is equivalent to saying we are born outside of the state of grace. But I think when we wed that idea to what Paul elsewhere says about the state of creation, we can then safely conclude that, for Paul, Sin (personified) really does corrupt the creation, including our nature. If your system doesn’t allow for that conclusion, then once gain, it’s time to change your system.

    ….not an assertion of metaphysical corruption to the point of being a different nature.

    Difference is on a continuum. It admits of degrees. No one, as far as I can tell, is saying that sinless humanity is 100% different from sinful humanity. That would mean it is entirely different and therefore something else. But as you said earlier, the impeccability of Jesus does constitute a notable exception to our humanity. So now that you’re on record as admitting of some sort of “difference” between our fallen human nature and Jesus’ human nature perhaps you would be willing to admit that all of creation, including human nature which belongs to the created order, is in fact “in bondage to corruption” (to use Paul’s language in Romans 8:21).

  177. @Jonathan,

    So Calvin and Nestorius were Judiazers? Then what was Jesus (Matthew 5:18) and Paul (Romans 3:21)?

    Have you ever read Malachi 2:1-9? I ask because I my “spidy sense” is going off and I think for some reason you might benefit from it.

    We could all do with a healthy respect for God’s name and we could all do with having his instruction (i.e, Scripture) more readily available on our lips. It seems when the priests and teachers lose sense of their awe for God’s name and read more deeply outside his word than in it, things go wrong.

    I seem to recall a time when Aquinas was dumbstruck. Didn’t he say, toward the end of his life, that what he wrote was “straw?” (Fuzzy memories here.)

    Bible over system!

  178. +JMJ+

    Michael wrote:

    If God merely forgives debt, then there is still a debt that is owed.

    Michael wrote:

    The Law isn’t something external to God. It’s not a higher standard to which we or anyone else can hold God to, for there is nothing higher than God himself.

    These two quotes don’t go together.

    Just sayin’.

  179. Michael,

    I’m going to try to refocus the discussion because every time I think you are leaning one way, you swerve the other. First, you affirm “synergism” as reflected in the Reformed citations I offer. Then you affirm “monergistic sanctifying grace” and argue as if the regenerate no more cooperate with grace in sanctification than they cooperate in regeneration. First, you say you agree with Hodge’s statement that endorses the regenerate resist grace. Then you argue as if it is irresistible. First, you affirm regeneration and sanctification are different. Then you argue as if their interplay with man’s will are identical.

    So let’s refocus. I’m not arguing counterfactuals. I’m simply asking, when you or some regenerate sinned last or next week (in accordance with God’s providence), what happened? Did God give them sufficient grace that they resisted (so the failure was on man’s part, not the grace’s) or did God not give them grace at all (so the failure was on man’s part, not the grace’s that wasn’t offered in the first place)?

    “It still gives too much of the “deciding vote” to us. It basically says, grace is always available. But it’s up to us to make use of it. God sends boats and helicopters to rescue us. We’ve got to accept the help. God gives us plenty of bootstrap. We’ve got to pull them up. And on and on the analogies go.”

    You’re basically rehashing the old “god and me pulling the cart, He does 99%, we do 1%, etc” analogy. Which is why I pointed out Kimel’s series where he outlines the metaphysical considerations of synergism and the page from Kettenring’s book where he outlines John Frame’s (and Kettenring’s own) possible analogies in sanctification – all of the models affirm some type of cooperation, yet none are of the cart/rowboat variety. Or throw in the example of the Biblical writers working synergistically with God in penning Scripture or the countless examples of figures synergistically working with God (e.g. Peter walking on water). Further, personal agency and cooperation in sanctification is affirmed emphatically in the Reformed citations I offered. Which is why I keep asking you to point out where Trent or the CCC affirm a model of cooperation that contradicts the sense of those citations (which you ostensibly agree with).

    “But that’s not what “grace” is in the Bible. It’s not an available power source that we tap into. It’s God’s power at work in us, as Philippians 2 says.”

    And you already said above “I’m not accusing you or Trent of rejecting this.” where “this” referred to Phil 2. So which is it?

    “Then God said to him [Abimelech] in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her [Sarah]” (Genesis 20:6-7)”

    Right – God kept him from sinning. Now how was this done? Calvinism has an answer. Arminianism has an answer. Molinism has an answer. Thomism has an answer. As you said, “it is a question of God’s sovereign purpose in allowing us to sin when He could have just as easily kept us from doing so.” All sides affirm God’s providence works with his permission of sin. So just throwing out this verse doesn’t advance the discussion.

  180. Michael,

    “So it’s not that the “filter” of sin metaphysically changed Jesus into a sinner; rather he was considered that way because that’s what he “looked like” with the sins of the world laid upon him and the curse “by God” placed on the one hanging on the tree. (That’s what we we call the “Second Imputation”–the first being Adam’s sin to us).”

    Christ appeared to be a sinner, or as Luther said, ” a fornicator, murderer, thief, blasphemer, robber, adulterer,etc. ” to whom?

    And do we inherit Adam’s personal guilt or the consequences of his sin?

    You said so many things to Jonathan. Choosing what to comment on is as difficult as selecting a bon-bon when they all look sooo yummy.

    Oh well, I will just shut my eyes and pick this one, eeny meeny miny moe;

    ” That you think PSA requires this only shows your misunderstanding of PSA.”

    Michael, I bet 99.9% of Calvinists have the same misunderstanding. I sure think Mr. Sproul does.

    May I sample another tasty treat?.

    “It was sacrificial substitution, not literal substitution. So this is no reason to think that bearing sins by way of penalty involves suffering the identical punishment at the hands of the punisher; this is an alien concept that you have read into Scripture in contrast to Biblical Christology.”

    Of course the critter could suffer the same punishment in sacrifice. But we are talking about Christ’s sacrifice too. Calvin, ( who may not have understood PS as well as you do ), said Christ had to suffer exactly what the damned would. Remember the quote I sent you?

    “But we don’t hold the view you’re attributing to us.”

    Oh, my. That one tastes like the one I already tasted above.
    Where’s that one about why can’t Christ take the guilt of sin just as he touched physical sickness?

    Totally different categories, Michael. Apples and oranges. More like, apples and watermelon.

    How about this creamy one.

    “If God merely forgives debt, then there is still a debt that is owed.”

    You are confusing debt of punishment with guilt. Guilt cannot be forgiven without conversion. Debt is different. As our sins don’t actually rob God of his glory and hurt only ourselves ( according to Job ). the measure of debt of punishment is measure by the charity of contrition.

    I could gobble up all of your tantalizing bon-bons but will stop with this dark one over here;

    “Scripture over system”.

    MMMMMM! That one was the yummiest of them all! You system of IMPUTATION is not in scripture.

  181. oops!

    I must have had a nut in my teeth when I wrote. ‘ the critter could suffer the same…”. Fix it for me to say, “could not”.

  182. @James,

    I’m simply asking, when you or some regenerate sinned last or next week (in accordance with God’s providence), what happened? Did God give them sufficient grace that they resisted (so the failure was on man’s part, not the grace’s) or did God not give them grace at all (so the failure was on man’s part, not the grace’s that wasn’t offered in the first place)?

    I don’t know. I don’t use the categories of sufficient/efficient grace. It seems to me that such a distinction is foreign to the Bible where grace is never merely “sufficient,” but always efficient in that it accomplishes the purpose for which it is sent. God gives us clear commands and warnings. Sometimes we do not heed them. Is that a failure on the part of the command/warning? No. But are the warnings/commands the means by which God keeps his elect on the straight and narrow? Yes. How does those two ideas go together? Answer: I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t permit us to conclude that we will never sin after regeneration. But nor does it permit us to conclude that God will fail to preserve the elect. So presumably, when the elect fail to heed warnings/obey etc., God has a purpose for it in our sanctification. You keep wanting to read all of this through your Thomistic filter. I’m not playing that game. Frame it the way you want to. I’m not going there.

    You’re basically rehashing the old “god and me pulling the cart, He does 99%, we do 1%, etc” analogy.

    Nope. Doing nothing of the sort.

    Or throw in the example of the Biblical writers working synergistically with God in penning Scripture or the countless examples of figures synergistically working with God (e.g. Peter walking on water).

    Again, I don’t think Reformed writers are using “synergy” in the same sense you are. I’m not so sure of that. Yes, we all have a concept of God and man working together or cooperating or co-laboring. But I fear you’re theory goes far beyond anything that has been explicitly revealed. For us, scripture is determinative. So we see that divine superintendence and human agency are compatible. But we don’t split that atom and as exactly how that work mechanistically. My sense of efficient/sufficient grace is that it attempts to split the atom here, but in so doing end up being misnomers. If grace is merely sufficient, then clearly it isn’t really sufficient for the purpose it is given. It is only sufficient potentially, not actually. Thus sufficient grace is an oxymoron and efficient grace is redundant.

    Reframing this in compatibilistic terms changes the focus entirely God works and we work and somehow our free agency is preserved even as His super-intending agency works out all things according to the purpose of His will. How exactly that works, I don’t pretend to know. Scripture doesn’t explain how. It only says that it is so. I have my own way of picturing this reality. I imagine two different planes of activity: An earthly plane in which we are the agents and a heavenly plane in which God is. So Jesus was at once crucified at the hands of sinful men (Luke 24:7) and this was ordained by God (Acts 4:27-28). But how could God do this while preserving human responsibility? I don’t know. Clearly the crucifixion was predetermined. Clearly Herod, Pilate, et alia acted of their own free will. Both truths go together.

    So when you inquire about post-regenerational sin, I answer: “compatibilism.” We work and God works. I sin, not because God directly forced me to do so any more than he forced Pilate to crucify Christ, but rather because I disobeyed. And when I do obey and heed his warnings, presumably, I do so because God has enabled me to do so. So there is a bit of asymmetry going on here. No equal ultimacy. God gets the glory when I succeed and I get the blame when I fail. I succeed by His grace and fail all on my own. But even so, God super-intends even my failures so that they work to achieve his purpose. That’s the scriptural view. It holds those two ideas in tension. It doesn’t posit scholastic distinctions between sufficient and efficient grace. So I’m not going to stuff the Bible into that framework. That’s your calling. Not mine.

    “Then God said to him [Abimelech] in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her [Sarah]” (Genesis 20:6-7)”

    Right – God kept him from sinning. Now how was this done? Calvinism has an answer….

    Um, the Bible has the answer. Read the context. He sent him a dream. That was the means by which God warned Abimelech. The Bible doesn’t speculate at the metaphysical level as to the precise relationship between Abimelech’s free agency and God’s superintendence. We don’t know *how* it happened, only *that* it happened without contradiction. Why not leave it at that?

    But surely you’ll say that I’m already playing this game because I use terminology like “monergism.” That is true. But when I say “monergism” I am simply saying that God’s grace works because God makes it happen. It is the efficient work of “one” and never fails. So if I am sanctified by his grace, it is his agency alone that is responsible for my sanctification. That’s the divine plane. But on the human plane, I work too. I just don’t think His work depends upon mine. But I do think my work depends upon His. I believe most Reformed writers, including the ones you cite, would agree with that. That would be their understanding of “synergism.”

    But my understanding of Rome’s is that there is an interdependency or blending of the human and divine. So God’s grace works when we consent to let it work, and God’s grace remains only potential, when we resist it. That’s your kind of synergism, not mine.

  183. @Wosbald,

    These two quotes don’t go together,
    just sniping from the shadows again….

    Care to explain how they don’t go together? (No, I retract that. Of course you don’t.)

    I mean, at one level, I can see why. One statement uses the Biblical metaphor of debt. But other statement isn’t metaphorical. The Law really exists. That there is no higher standard than God follows form the definition of “God.” That a God-inspired metaphor would have implications, such as the non-payment of debt resulting in a net deficit, follows from the analogy God chose to use. So if God is the metaphorical lender in the parable, and if God forgives someone’s debt, then that person doesn’t have to pay. But the implication is that God is still owed something as any time a lender forgives debt, the lender takes a loss. People understood that in the ancient world and easily as they do in the modern.

    But if God himself is also the one who pays off the debt, then we have both justice (debt repayment) and mercy (debt forgiveness). Applied to sin (which surely the metaphor does apply to), we have a God who both forgives us our debts (Matthew 6:12)and pays off our debts eternally (Hebrews 9:12).

    Reformed theology can affirm this. Can Romanism?

  184. Jim/Mateo–

    Mateo wrote:

    “Eric, are you surprised that I had my doubts about your sincerity when you when you wrote on April 7th on this thread [words of apology]?”

    Well, hey, at least I WROTE an apology. I haven’t seen much of that coming from the Catholic side in terms of your own polemics!

    But, with that said, you misconstrued my words. I even tried to be way, WAY over the top so that you would recognize that I was using ironical irony in an ironic sort of manner. (I mean, at least I ASSUME you don’t actually worship your ancestors. You’re not secretly Shinto, are you?)

    My point was that I do not come close to recognizing my position in what you choose to write. It’s getting a bit old to attribute that to mere confusion. You are willfully employing misinformation. Something that might just call for an apology among more fastidiously respectful folks.

    I already know that I will NEVER get an apology out of either one of you. (Talk about surprises…I’d $&%# my pants!)

  185. With evil spirits called out, now we can return to our work.

    I asked anyone to compare:
    With the opposition considered relatively, we can say the Father loved the Son and the Son is beloved of the Father. Compare this to the Father abandoned the Son and Son was abandoned by the Father.

    I will compare. If we consider the Son receiving everything from the Father, then we should be ok with the Son receiving abandonment. I wonder if the Father abandoned by the same power he begot the Son. If so, then the Son was abandoned by a power He shares with the Father. What does it mean to say that the Son was abandoned by the same p0wer shared with the Father ? And what role does love play with this power ?

  186. Eric,
    I was going to apologize to you but I decided that if it going to make you $&%@ your pants, I had better hold off.

    Seriously, the only time I was really mean to you was last Xmas when I clicked on after some days absence and you were going on about predestination again. I had a meltdown but later tried to smooth things over. It was Christmas, after all.

    When do you think you are going to work up a little mea cupla over your defending a guy who mocks the Blessed Sacrament?

    Yeah, it will be a cold day in July for me too.

  187. Jim, you wrote to Eric:
    When do you think you are going to work up a little mea cupla over your defending a guy who mocks the Blessed Sacrament?

    I’m tired of you talking about your stupid, dumb sacrament. It has body parts (under…da da da…in heaven..da da da) but it can’t talk back to you. Idols were mocked by believers. You don’t believe and you seem to be as stupid and dumb as the idol. Well, the Bible does talk about idol worshipers becoming like the idol. I’m applying the Bible to you Jim, so don’t think I will be turned away from this site. I mean turned away with justice. Welcome to the “dark side” of the Reformation. King Josiah lives !

  188. Michael,

    “It seems to me that such a distinction is foreign to the Bible where grace is never merely “sufficient,””

    Isa. 5:4, Isa 63:10, Isa. 65:2, Matt. 23:37, Acts 7:51, 2 Cor 6:1, 1 Cor 10:13, Eph. 4:30, James 4:6-8, Rev 3:20 for starters.

    “but always efficient in that it accomplishes the purpose for which it is sent.”

    So when the regenerate sin in sanctification either A) “grace” was given which had the purpose to ensure the person sinned or B) no grace was given in order to ensure the person sinned. So which is it?

    “You keep wanting to read all of this through your Thomistic filter. I’m not playing that game. Frame it the way you want to. I’m not going there.”

    I’m not putting this through my “Thomistic filter”. I’m examining your own doctrine through your own Calvinist filter – you know, the one that keeps insisting monergism and irresistible grace is the only way sola gratia and sovereignty can be preserved but then tries to have it both ways and hems and haws when it comes to sanctification. A system needs to be self-consistent at the very least.

    “How exactly that works, I don’t pretend to know.”

    Nor do RCs – that’s part of the mystery. So reducing all RC views of synergism to helicopters and bootstraps while giving plenty of broad and forgiving latitude to the Calvinist view(s) is a bit unwarranted and unfair don’t you think?

    “We work and God works.”

    Yup.

    ” So there is a bit of asymmetry going on here…. God gets the glory when I succeed and I get the blame when I fail. I succeed by His grace and fail all on my own.”

    Yup. Salvation is all of God, damnation all of man. “Destruction is thy own, O Israel: thy help is only in Me.”

    ” The Bible doesn’t speculate at the metaphysical level as to the precise relationship between Abimelech’s free agency and God’s superintendence. ”

    Which was the point of my reply. I can read that He sent a dream, thanks.

    “I just don’t think His work depends upon mine.”

    Neither do RCs. Which is why I earlier said you keep acting like we’re Pelagians or SPs since you keep bringing up this type of objection to the RC notion of synergism as if it is even on target. Where in Trent or CCC or Orange is it affirmed that God’s work depends on mine?

  189. Michal Taylor, you write:

    It seems to me that such a distinction is foreign to the Bible where grace is never merely “sufficient,” but always efficient in that it accomplishes the purpose for which it is sent.

    This comment show lacks of comprehension of the parable of the servants and the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).

    The talents represent the sanctifying and charismatic graces that God gives to his servants to build up the master’s estate.

    The wicked servant was given one talent, and he failed to use that talent to build up the master’s estate. The wicked servant is the Christian that wastes the grace that he receives from the master and does nothing with it. That unused grace is not wasted, however, because God’s grace does not return void. The grace that was not used by the wicked servant is taken away from him and given to the servants that used the graces given to them to build up their master’s estate.

    So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’
    Matthew 25:28-29

    It is true that God’s grace “accomplishes the purpose for which it is sent”, because God’s grace is never wasted. It is not true that the worthless servant that does not use the graces given to him by God will not be punished for his willful sloth.

  190. @James,

    You listed a whole bunch of proof texts that allegedly demonstrate “sufficient grace.” I’ll start with the first:

    Isaiah 5:4:

    What more was there to do for my vineyard,
    that I have not done in it?
    When I looked for it to yield grapes,
    why did it yield wild grapes?

    [scratching head]. Not seeing sufficient grace here. Perhaps you can walk me through your reasoning process. You then go on to list Isaiah 63:10:

    But they rebelled
    and grieved his Holy Spirit;
    therefore he turned to be their enemy,
    and himself fought against them.

    Um…yeah, still not seeing “sufficient grace” here.

    Matthew 23:37:

    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing”

    Okay, you’re 0 for 3, here James. All of these passages point to human unwillingness. They are not didactic in nature but rather poetic laments. It looks like you’re reading in a later concept of “sufficient grace” and trying to make these passages fit into that schema. But I don’t really see how that works. Maybe if I keep reading the others you cited, it will become clear for me. But if these three are any indicator, I’m not seeing “sufficient grace.”

    Perhaps I’m just not understanding what you mean by the term. I suspect you mean that we have the power to resist God. Well, duh. That’s our default condition prior to the giving of grace. Stephen blasted Jerusalem for being stiff-necked and resisting the Holy Spirit. (Wait, let me check above. You might have included that in your catena….You did! [Acts 7:51].) Okay. I think I see where you’re going with all of this.

    But no, I don’t think this has anything to do with the resistance of “grace.” Grace isn’t even mentioned in these passages. It is precisely grace that overcomes the resistance to God’s prescriptive will in the hearts of rebellious sinners. So when God gives regenerating grace, it is precisely to turn someone like a Saul breathing thoughts of murder into a Paul the greatest of Apostles.

    You can multiply countless examples of people resisting God. That’s a sure sign of our total depravity and enmity with God. But that’s not “resistible grace.” That’s just rebellion against God. It is when God steps in and decisively overcomes our rebellion that we can say grace was at work.

    Wouldn’t your category for that be “operative grace?”

  191. Jim–

    How am I supposed to excuse your extraordinary blindness? You were only mean ONCE??? (You’d come a lot closer by saying you were only nice once.)

    As for your constant revisionism, what can I say? I consistently exhorted him-who-shall-not-be-named both in public and in private to watch his rhetoric. You have never once admonished Jonathan or Mateo or De Maria…or even Mikel. But, heaven knows, he only said to “go hang yourself,” he never challenged anyone’s quasi-idolatry.

    Oh, and of course, you all have never derided OUR concept of God. (“He’s a monster” was meant affectionately and in jest, right?)

    Your high horse is taller than anyone’s I have ever known. Yippee Ki-yay! And a Hi-yo, Silver!

    Away….

  192. Eric,

    “Amends are mine to make, not yours to take”. ( A.A. folks live by it )

    Every person on this blog has suffered through your half hearted apologies mixed with demands to be apologized to so many times that we all knew within a few days you would be back to your P & P old self.

  193. @Michael:
    Thanks for the extensive reply. I know these comprehensive discussions can get long, but I feel like this really helps as an exercise to promote understanding.

    You’ve saddled up on the Nestorian horse and you’re off and running, while completely missing the issue. First, you’re using Christological categories of conciliar theology to frame this discussion. I’m using biblical categories.

    It is my trusty steed, so I will own that. But I question whether the Nestorian controversy can truly be called unbiblical. After all, it is simply a question of whether Jesus is God or a human person in union with God. The Bible answers that question: Jesus is God. Nestorius tried to introduce non-biblical categories into the discussion, and St. Cyril gave a biblical response.

    When I distinguish between corporate personality and the individual, I’m in thoroughly Hebrew worldview far removed from Nestorius and Nestorianism. H. Wheeler Robinson was one of the first to study this distinction in the Hebrew Bible.

    I don’t think that corporate personality actually conflicts with what I’m saying. Grant Macaskill has a great survey of covenant corporate representation (including Robinson’s early work, which I should probably still read at some point). The question is whether this covenant is the pactum salutis of Reformed theology, the covenant between the Father and the Son (in His office as Mediator) for the elect, or the natural Creator-creature relationship of the Fathers, which is called a covenant by analogy. That idea of the covenant between the Father and the Son is the one that strikes me as fundamentally Nestorian, attributing Christ’s salvific activity to the “person of the Mediator” rather than the Word of God acting in the assumed human nature. In no sense am I dismissing your idea of the covenant, though. You’re just putting the cart before the horse.

    If what you say is true, the the entire OT is Nestorian and so is much of the new with respect to passages such as Matthew 2:15, citing Hosea 11:1. “Out of Egypt I called my son.” What was said of the corporate “son” of God (the nation of Israel) is said of the individual “Son of God” (Jesus, who is True Israel). If the corporate/individual distinction entails Nestorianism, then the Bible is essentially a Nestorian document.

    But that is not the problem. The problem is specifically what sense in which Jesus is alleged to serve as the corporate representative. Jesus shares our nature, but without the sin that causes it to be fallen. So Jesus can serve as our representative in the sense of other things, but not sin. He cannot have our sin imputed to Him, because He has no commonality with us in that respect.

    So perhaps you rushed a bit to pounce on our (Robert’s and my) use of of “corporate” language with respect to Jesus bearing the sins of his people. And also keep in mind the Incarnation. One reason why the Second Person is able to corporately embody his people is because he, unlike the other members of the Trinity, incarnated. That’s a game-changer with respect to what can be predicated of the Second Person., right? I mean, Jesus can die. The Second Person (prior to the Incarnation) can’t. Jesus can bear the sins of his people, literally “becoming sin” on their behalf just as he can be “made a curse” for us. Being incarnate allows Jesus to be affected by death and sin, without becoming personally guilty of sin. If you’re theological categories can’t affirm what scripture plainly can, then the problem is with your categories. Find new ones if you have to.

    Again, I don’t think the idea that Jesus is God, as opposed to the union of a human person with God, is unbiblical. But this particular condemnation of Nestorius is explicit in the biblical teaching that Jesus is like us in every way except sin. Jesus can bear the sins of the people in some sense, but there is another sense in which He simply cannot, as a divine person, serve as a corporate representative. That sense is actually being reckoned by God as being guilty, the sense of imputation. That is a function that Jesus cannot perform.

    So to review:
    1. Jesus was made sin/curse on our behalf.
    2. His blood expiates sin.
    3. His blood propitiates wrath.
    4. His death satisfies justice.
    5. His death provides mercy for the sinner.
    6. His death redeems/ransoms a people.
    7. His death procures forgiveness of their sins.
    8. His death cleanses and purifies his people.
    9. I could probably go on….
    10. But I won’t….
    We think all that adds up to “penal substitution” as we define the term. Clearly most folks around here think “penal substitution” means something else. Whatever. I’m tried of being asked to defend views I don’t hold.

    We actually agree that penal substitution in that sense is true. The problem is equivocation on the first point. This can’t be taken in a sense that violates Jesus being like us “except sin.” If, as you say, sin and righteousness has a forensic aspect to it, it is impossible that God should apply this category to Jesus in His courtroom. Jesus has immunity to sin; He can never be judged guilty of it. If being “made sin” in that sense is part of your view of penal substitution, then your view needs to be revised in view of the biblical teaching that Jesus is God. If your view includes imputation of sin to Christ, regardless of whether Jesus is viewed as actually guilty of anything or not, then you violate the biblical prohibition that God is like us “except sin,” which requires that sin cannot be part of our union with Him.

    The whole point of forgiveness in this context is that Christ *can* be united in a form of union, a covenant, that justly forgives sins without punishing them. So there is no question of God acquitting the guilty. The people in question aren’t guilty any more; they are justly forgiven. That is the ruler’s authority, but if the forgiveness were not given in justice, then it could still be arbitrary. But if just forgiveness is given, then the requirements of the Law no longer apply, which is exactly Paul’s point. It’s not that the Law has suddenly become bad; it’s just that it’s not the standard for justification.

    More later. For now, focus on the sense in which Jesus is acting as our corporate representative. It’s not as a whipping boy to be punished for our sins.

  194. Jim–

    And no one but no one has had to suffer through your apologies, half-hearted or otherwise.

    (How is it that you know me so well that you could possibly tell whether my apologies are fervent or tepid?)

  195. @ Michael

    You and De Maria and many others are failing to make essential distinctions between Jesus “in his person” and Jesus as a corporate representative of his people. So long as you continue to do so, you’ll continue to misunderstand and therefore continue to misrepresent the Reformers on this issue.

    Not so.

    Catholicism teaches that God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, took upon Himself human flesh, in order that he would represent mankind. Ecce Homo.

    But we do not believe in Substitutionary atonement. But not in Penal Substitution.

  196. Jonathan,

    That idea of the covenant between the Father and the Son is the one that strikes me as fundamentally Nestorian, attributing Christ’s salvific activity to the “person of the Mediator” rather than the Word of God acting in the assumed human nature.

    I don’t understand this at all. The person of the Mediator is the Word of God acting in the assumed human nature according to Reformed theology. There is no Mediator (at least in time) until the incarnation and the incarnation is of the second divine person who takes on a human nature.

    If your view includes imputation of sin to Christ, regardless of whether Jesus is viewed as actually guilty of anything or not, then you violate the biblical prohibition that God is like us “except sin,” which requires that sin cannot be part of our union with Him.

    If this is true, then there should be no distinction between mortal and venial sin. If we are not united to God as sinners, then any sin should break us off from that union. But that’s not what Rome teaches. We don’t lose participation by venial sin; God is still united to us and sin is part of that union. I suppose you could say that you’re only half-united to Christ or something when you sin venially, but that doesn’t seem to be the Roman position either. The position seems to be a weakening, not a destruction of the union (if I understand it correctly). If that is so, the person is still fully united to Christ even in His sin.

    But in any case, the incarnation does change things. Scripture also says that God cannot be tempted by sin, and yet Hebrews and the temptation narratives in the Synoptic Gospels say that Jesus suffered temptation. We know that that this temptation never took root in the sense of Christ having a desire to commit sin; it never became an inward desire and He never had an inward desire that welled up independently of external temptation. I don’t see any good reason why one cannot draw some sort of analogy between that and the imputation of sin to Christ.

    IOW, since Jesus was truly tempted by sin and He never Himself became a sinner so as to violate His standing before God, there’s no reason why sin cannot be imputed to Christ such that He never Himself became a sinner so as to violate His standing before God.

    The whole point of forgiveness in this context is that Christ *can* be united in a form of union, a covenant, that justly forgives sins without punishing them. So there is no question of God acquitting the guilty. The people in question aren’t guilty any more; they are justly forgiven. That is the ruler’s authority, but if the forgiveness were not given in justice, then it could still be arbitrary. But if just forgiveness is given, then the requirements of the Law no longer apply, which is exactly Paul’s point. It’s not that the Law has suddenly become bad; it’s just that it’s not the standard for justification.

    But justice has not been done without a sentence being carried out. That is the whole point. It seems that in what you are saying is that God simply waves sin away. And the statement is not that God acquits the guilty, the statement that God justifies the guilty. Justifying includes acquittal, but it is more than that. It is a legal declaration of righteousness. The only people really disputing that are the new persepective guys, and their view ultimately entails justification not even being acquittal.

  197. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:
    .
    God justifies the guilty. Justifying includes acquittal …

    But just a little earlier, Michael wrote:
    .
    What we’re doing is reading what God has disclosed about himself as Judge and decided that God gets to tell us what his standards are. If God’s word says that “he shall by no means acquit the guilty,” then whatever system we adopt better well be able to explain that principle.

    Things That Make You Go Hmmm …

  198. @ Robert,

    But in any case, the incarnation does change things. Scripture also says that God cannot be tempted by sin, and yet Hebrews and the temptation narratives in the Synoptic Gospels say that Jesus suffered temptation.

    Provide the chapter and verse.

    IOW, since Jesus was truly tempted by sin

    Satan tempted Jesus.
    But Jesus was not tempted.

    and He never Himself became a sinner so as to violate His standing before God,

    Correct.

    there’s no reason why sin cannot be imputed to Christ

    Imputed means “credited”. There are many reasons why sin cannot be imputed to Christ. The main reason is that anyone who imputes sin to Christ would be a liar.

    such that He never Himself became a sinner so as to violate His standing before God.

    Therefore, sin can not be imputed to Christ.

  199. Wosbald,

    There’s no problem. Penal substitution says God justifies the ungodly because of the imputed righteousness of Christ.

    Ashoka’s Christomonic dharma available to the natural man via reason infused with supernatural faith in the incarnational church of whatever Rome says it is today can’t deal with the issue.

  200. PSubbers,

    The quintessential prefiguring of Christ’s sacrifice is the episode where Abraham sacrificed Isaac on the mountain.

    Abraham did not pour out his wrath upon his son, but loved his son.

    Another prefiguring of Christ’s suffering was the innocent suffering of Job. God did not pour out His wrath upon Job but permitted Satan to test him.

    You are adding to Scripture when you claim that God the Father poured out His wrath upon God the Son. You are adding to Scripture when you say that God the Father imputed sin to Christ.

  201. De Maria,

    Satan tempted Jesus.
    But Jesus was not tempted

    Are you even reading what you are writing. If Satan tempted Jesus, then Jesus was tempted. Temptation in itself is not sin. Giving into temptation is.

    For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Heb. 2:18)

    For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)

    hen Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt. 4:1)

    And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (Mark 1:13)

    Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

  202. The quintessential prefiguring of Christ’s sacrifice is the episode where Abraham sacrificed Isaac on the mountain.
    Abraham did not pour out his wrath upon his son, but loved his son.
    Another prefiguring of Christ’s suffering was the innocent suffering of Job. God did not pour out His wrath upon Job but permitted Satan to test him.
    You are adding to Scripture when you claim that God the Father poured out His wrath upon God the Son. You are adding to Scripture when you say that God the Father imputed sin to Christ.

    Another prefigurement of Christ’s sacrifice is the day of atonement, on which two goats were imputed with sin, one to be killed and one to be led out to the wilderness to die.

    Another prefigurement of Christ’s sacrifice is the Passover, where because the blood of the Lamb was on the doors of the Israelites, the angel of death didn’t execute judgment in blood on the Israelites.

    Another prefigurement of Christ’s sacrifice is Isa. 53 where we are told it was God’s pleasure to bruise Him (God doing the bruising) and that by the punishment of the suffering servant we are healed.

  203. ROBERT April 14, 2015 at 8:12 am
    De Maria,
    Satan tempted Jesus.
    But Jesus was not tempted
    Are you even reading what you are writing.

    Are you thinking about that which you are writing?

    If Satan tempted Jesus, then Jesus was tempted.

    No, Robert. Let me give you an example.

    I don’t like coconut. So, you can tempt me all you like with coconut, I won’t be tempted. In the same way, Satan offered Jesus the opportunity to sin. Thus, he tempted Jesus. But Jesus was not tempted to sin.

    Temptation in itself is not sin.

    I didn’t say it was.

    Giving into temptation is.

    True.

    For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Heb. 2:18)

    You are reading sin into that verse, Robert. It does not say that He was tempted to sin. This is a reference to the Passion at the Garden of Gethsemene, where Jesus was tempted to bypass the suffering which He was about to experience and said, “Father may this cup pass from me.”

    For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)

    That means that temptations were offered by the world and the devil. But Christ was born immaculate and therefore, there would be no temptations from His own flesh.

    Jesus Christ was not a child of wrath.

    When Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt. 4:1)
    And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (Mark 1:13)
    Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

    Again, temptations were offered by Satan. But Christ was not tempted.

  204. ROBERT April 14, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Another prefigurement of Christ’s sacrifice is the day of atonement, on which two goats were imputed with sin,

    Imputed? Imputed means credited. Who claimed that the goats had sinned?

    one to be killed and one to be led out to the wilderness to die.

    Who poured out their wrath upon the goats?

    Another prefigurement of Christ’s sacrifice is the Passover, where because the blood of the Lamb was on the doors of the Israelites, the angel of death didn’t execute judgment in blood on the Israelites.

    Correct. Upon whom was the wrath of God poured out? The guilty or the innocent.

    Another prefigurement of Christ’s sacrifice is Isa. 53 where we are told it was God’s pleasure to bruise Him (God doing the bruising) and that by the punishment of the suffering servant we are healed.

    Because it is God the Father who offered Him up as a Holy Sacrifice:

    Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

    God offered Himself up for our sins.

    God the Father offered up the Son.
    The Son offered Himself to the Father.

    It was a love offering in both directions. There was no outpouring of wrath.

    Hm. You and Michael were speaking of the corporate representation of Christ and yet you miss the whole picture. If you understood the Eucharist and the rest of the Sacraments of Jesus Christ, you would understand.

    In the Eucharist, there is an element of water put into the wine. This water, represents us. The bread itself is a representation of each grain crushed together. The grains, represent us.

    When Jesus offered Himself to the Father, He offered us to the Father as well. In His human nature, He represented us. But not one of us would have done it. And even if we had, it would not have been efficacious because it took the death of the Author of the Old Testament to die for the redemption of sin and to release the promises (Heb 9:15).

    And when God the Father offered up His Son. He offered Himself, His Love to us.

    Yeah, that is why it is called the “Agape” feast. Because all that was exchanged that day, before the Father and the Son was love. And all that was poured out that day from the Father, was His mercy upon mankind.

  205. Mateo,

    Your reading of the parable of the talents is full-blown Pelagianism as well as eisegetical nonsense.

    This comment show lacks of comprehension of the parable of the servants and the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The talents represent the sanctifying and charismatic graces that God gives to his servants to build up the master’s estate.

    Um, no. Nothing about the gifts suggests any supernatural origin. Servants are entrusted with generous sums of money, according to their natural ability, that should be invested wisely because the master is a taskmaster. It’s difficult to imagine drawing a one-to-one correlation to Jesus given the obviously description of the master as a greedy taskmaster Investing with interest was illegal according to God’s law and sowing where one does not reap describes a win-at-all-costs personality that is nothing like Jesus. So something else is going on here.

    First, whatever the talents represent, they belong entirely to the master. They are “his property” not natural abilities, and they’re certainly not supernatural “gifts” or “graces” since there is no indication that the laborers were to enjoy any of the fruits of their investment, nor any indication that the master would help in the development/growing of these gifts.

    The story shows us that they were left entire to their own devices, and thus the emphasis is upon the varying degrees of responsibility with which they had been entrusted. This is not a story about synergism. If you try to read it that way you end up with not even Semi-Pelagianism, but rather full-blown Pelagianism. Why? Because after an initial deposit (the talents) each person is all on his own to make the most of what he’s been given. If this is a story about grace, it’s a Pelagian story.

    Consider too how much 5 talents really is. It’s an amazingly large some of money—at least 5,000 days’ wages. Yet the master says of that servant that he was only faithful over “a little.” That would have caused a bit of dissonance for the original hearers who would have never seen a sum as much as 5 talents, much less 10. To call that sum “a little” makes the Master seem all that much more demanding. And that is precisely the point:

    You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest (Matthew 25:26-27).

    The point of comparison in the parable is the contrast between the responsibility entrusted to all human beings (the “servants’) vis-à-vis their creator’s (the Master’s) high standards. Even though the “Master” is portrayed negatively (he’s demanding, greedy and without mercy), that is all to emphasize the urgency of our personal responsibility. (Recall that elsewhere Jesus compares himself to a “thief” who comes in the night to emphasize his sudden and unexpected return and the robber who breaks into the strongman’s [Satan’s] house to “plunder” his goods. So, given the parabolic genre, there is nothing wrong in portraying God as a demanding taskmaster for the purposes of emphasizing our personal responsibility.)

    That unused grace is not wasted, however, because God’s grace does not return void.

    No. This is a misapplication of Isaiah 55:11, which is not in view. The point of handing over the buried talent to the one who made ten is found in the saying that Jesus quotes: “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29).

    In other words, God rewards our good works and punishes our sins. If we squander the opportunities we have been given, if we shirk our responsibilities in this life, we will be declared to be “wicked and slothful servants.” Jesus is here making a general statement about all of humanity (“servants” with varying degrees of natural ability). We are all, professing believer or not, responsible for the life we have been given and we will be judged accordingly. At stake is our ultimate destiny, hence the language: “Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).

    The parable teaches us, among other things, that

    1. there will be an eschatological day of judgment.
    2. hell is real
    3. human beings are responsible to their maker.
    4. that our good works will be rewarded
    5. that our sins of omission, not just commission, will be punished

    It does not teach us

    1. That God is a greedy taskmaster
    2. That servants are only professing members of the church
    3. That “talents” are natural abilities
    4. That “talents” are graces or spiritual gifts
    5. That grace is monergistic or synergistic
    6. The precise relationship between grace and works
    7. The precise relationship between human responsibility and divine sovereignty

    The grace that was not used by the wicked servant is taken away from him and given to the servants that used the graces given to them to build up their master’s estate.

    Enter the eiesegetical nonsense. If God were to give you a special grace, say, the gift of wisdom, and if you fail to use it properly, will he then take it away and give it to another, leaving you as a babbling fool and making someone else all the more prudent and erudite? I ask because I see no biblical precedent for God giving spiritual gifts only to revoke them in order to give them to someone else! Faith is a gift. Is God going to take away your faith and give it to someone else? I mean, isn’t God rich enough to just give that person his or her own faith? “The gifts and the calling of God are *irrevocable*” (Romans 11:20).

    It is true that God’s grace “accomplishes the purpose for which it is sent”, because God’s grace is never wasted.

    But not in the way you imagine it. You think it’s “not wasted,” not because it can’t fail, but rather because God will simply recycle it when it does.

    It is not true that the worthless servant that does not use the graces given to him by God will not be punished for his willful sloth.

    Er…or put more simply, he will be punished for not using the talents with which he was entrusted. Yes, we agree. His punishment will be eternal because he is a “wicked and slothful servant.” His failure to invest his talents *at all* merely explains why he is called wicked.

    So back to the original point, which you have not really addressed. God’s grace is efficacious. It is never not efficacious. God doesn’t “offer it” or make it “available” to anyone who just so happens to be interested in tapping into it. God gives grace in the same way the potter shapes clay. If he gives it, it’s to make something happen and it will happen because God doesn’t fail. The clay doesn’t successfully resist the potter. We are putty in his hands. Grace overcomes our natural resistance.

    What you and James and folks on your side keep calling “grace,” isn’t really “grace” at all. The whole idea of “sufficient grace” is laughable when you think about it. Sufficient for what? Sufficient to just sit there like a bump on a log and not actually doing anything? Sufficient, like potential energy rather than kinetic energy?

    As far as I am concerned, Rome doesn’t really have “sufficient grace” because grace is never really sufficient to get the job done. Rome has “necessary grace,” in that you can’t get the job done without the help of grace. But clearly grace alone doesn’t get the job done. So how can grace truly be “sufficient” if it requires works to complete it? But what does the Apostle say when you try to mix works with grace? He says that grace is “nullified” by works (cf, Galatians 2:21). That rules out all forms of synergism right there because the law is the prescriptive basis for all good works. Law + grace = false Gospel. That’s Romanism in a nutshell.

    Now Paul is not saying we don’t “do anything.” Nor is he saying, a la James, that therefore grace fails if we sin after regeneration. That’s not what Paul means by “grace.” It’s not a mechanistic force that takes control over the will and forces us into compliance. It’s God’s favor to us. It’s God’s promise that, even when we sin, He is faithful and will cause all things to work together for our good (cf, Rom. 8:28). “Al things” means just that. So it’s not that grace is defeated every time we sin; rather in our defeat (sin) grace is shown victorious in that it overcomes, not just in spite of our moral failures, but perhaps even because of them.

  206. De Maria,

    That means that temptations were offered by the world and the devil. But Christ was born immaculate and therefore, there would be no temptations from His own flesh.

    Agreed, so I don’t get your beef except that you like to be contrary.

    You are using “tempt” in a way that is not tenable. If you are not tempted by coconut because you do not like coconut, then that means the only thing that can be a temptation is something you like or are inclined to. Apply that to Jesus and you make him a sinner. According to your definition, for Jesus’ temptations to be true, He would have had an inclination not to rely on God, to get the reward of the world’s kingdoms by worshipping the devil, not by suffering, etc.

    So according to your example, you actually make Jesus one who is inclined to sin. So I would suggest rephrasing it or adopting a view of temptation that DOESN’T mean something is a temptation only if we have a predisposition to it.

  207. ROBERT April 14, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Agreed, so I don’t get your beef except that you like to be contrary.

    No, you don’t agree. You claim that Jesus Christ felt tempted. As though He had to fight off temptation. But He did not. He was not born with concupiscence that sin might appear agreeable to Him.

    You are using “tempt” in a way that is not tenable.

    Nope.

    tempt
    tem(p)t/Submit
    verb
    1. entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial.
    “don’t allow impatience to tempt you into overexposure and sunburn”
    synonyms: entice, persuade, convince, inveigle, induce, cajole, coax, woo; informalsweet-talk
    “the manager tried to tempt him to stay”
    antonyms: discourage, deter
    2. have an urge or inclination to do something.
    “I was tempted to look at my watch, but didn’t dare”
    3. attract; allure.
    “he was tempted out of retirement to save the team”
    synonyms: allure, attract, appeal to, whet the appetite of; More

    I am using in the first and second senses above.

    The Devil tempted Jesus in the first sense. Therefore, it is said that Jesus was tempted by Satan.

    But Jesus did not feel tempted in the second sense. Jesus did not feel an urge nor an inclination to sin.

    If you are not tempted by coconut because you do not like coconut, then that means the only thing that can be a temptation is something you like or are inclined to.

    Exactly!

    Jesus was not born with the inclination to sin which we call “concupiscense”.

    Apply that to Jesus and you make him a sinner.

    Lol! That is a non sequitur. Applying that to Jesus makes Him impeccable. Incapable of sin.

    According to your definition, for Jesus’ temptations to be true,

    ROBERT! It is you who claim Jesus was tempted. Not me.

    Wow! You’re so accustomed to twisting people’s words, you do it in your sleep. Wake up!

    He would have had an inclination not to rely on God,

    That makes no sense.

    He did not have an inclination to sin therefore He had an inclination to rely upon God.

    to get the reward of the world’s kingdoms by worshipping the devil, not by suffering, etc.

    Lol! Robert, Jesus was not tempted. Adam was. And Adam fell to his temptation. The Devil tempted Him but Jesus was not tempted and He did not succumb to si

    So according to your example, you actually make Jesus one who is inclined to sin. So I would suggest rephrasing it or adopting a view of temptation that DOESN’T mean something is a temptation only if we have a predisposition to it.

    No, Robert. According to yours.

    But I’m glad you wrote this. It is amazing how twisted Protestants can be. You actually turned my words into the exact opposite of what I said. No wonder you believe that only the most depraved humans can be Calvinists. That is proof.

  208. MICHAEL April 14, 2015 at 9:30 am
    Mateo,
    Your reading of the parable of the talents is full-blown Pelagianism as well as eisegetical nonsense.

    This comment show lacks of comprehension of the parable of the servants and the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The talents represent the sanctifying and charismatic graces that God gives to his servants to build up the master’s estate.

    Um, no. Nothing about the gifts suggests any supernatural origin. Servants are entrusted with generous sums of money, according to their natural ability, that should be invested wisely because the master is a taskmaster. It’s difficult to imagine drawing a one-to-one correlation to Jesus given the obviously description of the master as a greedy taskmaster Investing with interest was illegal according to God’s law and sowing where one does not reap describes a win-at-all-costs personality that is nothing like Jesus. So something else is going on here.
    First, whatever the talents represent, they belong entirely to the master. They are “his property” not natural abilities, and they’re certainly not supernatural “gifts” or “graces” since there is no indication that the laborers were to enjoy any of the fruits of their investment, nor any indication that the master would help in the development/growing of these gifts.
    The story shows us that they were left entire to their own devices, and thus the emphasis is upon the varying degrees of responsibility with which they had been entrusted. This is not a story about synergism. If you try to read it that way you end up with not even Semi-Pelagianism, but rather full-blown Pelagianism. Why? Because after an initial deposit (the talents) each person is all on his own to make the most of what he’s been given. If this is a story about grace, it’s a Pelagian story…..

    Michael. The coins represent grace. This story is about men putting grace to work. Specifically the grace of faith.

    Mateo is right.

    However, having viewed your interpretation of this verse. How do you understand this one?

    Luke 16 King James Version (KJV)

    1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods

    2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

    3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

    4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

    5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?

    6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

    7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

    8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

    9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

    10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

    11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

    12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

    13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

  209. De Maria,

    Oh boy.

    You claim that Jesus Christ felt tempted. As though He had to fight off temptation. But He did not.

    What in the world are you talking about? “Felt” tempted? If by that you mean that when Jesus saw an attractive woman He felt lustful toward her, then no I don’t mean that, I have never meant that, and I would never mean that. I don’t even recall saying that Jesus “felt” tempted, whatever “felt” might mean.

    He was not born with concupiscence that sin might appear agreeable to Him.

    Jesus was not born with a fallen nature, it is true.

    I said: You are using “tempt” in a way that is not tenable.
    You replied: Nope.
    tempt
    tem(p)t/Submit
    verb
    1. entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial.
    “don’t allow impatience to tempt you into overexposure and sunburn”
    synonyms: entice, persuade, convince, inveigle, induce, cajole, coax, woo; informalsweet-talk
    “the manager tried to tempt him to stay”
    antonyms: discourage, deter
    2. have an urge or inclination to do something.
    “I was tempted to look at my watch, but didn’t dare”
    3. attract; allure.
    “he was tempted out of retirement to save the team”
    synonyms: allure, attract, appeal to, whet the appetite of; More

    I am using in the first and second senses above.

    1) You should not trust an English dictionary to give you definitions of words used in the Bible. The Bible wasn’t written in English.

    The Devil tempted Jesus in the first sense. Therefore, it is said that Jesus was tempted by Satan.

    2) Then Jesus is a sinner in your view, because I would deny that Jesus was tempted even in the sense of #1. If you are attracted to something that you know is wrong, you are already a sinner.

    But Jesus did not feel tempted in the second sense. Jesus did not feel an urge nor an inclination to sin.

    Agreed 100%

    ROBERT! It is you who claim Jesus was tempted. Not me.

    You’ve just told me that Jesus was tempted in the first sense of the definition above. And meanwhile, I’m not the one claiming Jesus was tempted. The Bible is.

    Try and follow the argument I am making.

    1) You said that you could only be tempted by a coconut if you like coconuts; therefore, you believe a temptation only occurs if one is already inclined to like what is offered.
    2) You have said that Jesus was tempted.
    3) Therefore, according to your principles, Jesus had to have already been inclined to what the devil offered him in order for it to be a true temptation.

    So you have two choices here if you don’t want Jesus to be a sinner. First, contradict Scripture and deny that Jesus was truly tempted, which is what other RCs have said here. Two, change your definition of temptation.

    I’m the one adopting an understanding of true temptation that does not require an existing inclination to sin, thereby preserving Jesus’ innocence.

    You said Jesus was tempted in this sense: “entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial.”

    That would mean that Jesus found the worship of Satan to be attractive but not beneficial. The problem is that once you find the worship of Satan attractive, you are guilty of sin. So congratulations on making Jesus a sinner. Unless, of course, you want to change your view.

  210. Michael,

    “What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
    [scratching head]. Not seeing sufficient grace here. Perhaps you can walk me through your reasoning process.”

    RGL: “For if God ought not to do anything more, then His help is truly sufficient. However, in this text it does not say: “What is there that I could do more,” and we shall see that God can do more, although not bound to do so.”

    Which is echoed in “I have spread forth My hands all the day to an unbelieving people, who walk in a way that is not good after their own thoughts”. Which is further echoed in Matt 13 and the parable of the sower – the same seed was scattered but the soils were different (although God does distribute graces unequally).

    “But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit;
    Um…yeah, still not seeing “sufficient grace” here.”

    Does the Holy Spirit actively and purposely grieve Himself by refusing to give irresistible sanctifying grace necessary for some believers to overcome certain sins?

    “It looks like you’re reading in a later concept of “sufficient grace” and trying to make these passages fit into that schema.”

    It says they resisted God. Sufficient grace doctrine posits man can resist God by resisting his sufficient graces.

    “I suspect you mean that we have the power to resist God. Well, duh.”

    So when regenerate resist God and sin, they weren’t offered grace then right? Because otherwise (since all grace is irresistible and efficacious), they wouldn’t sin right?

    “Grace isn’t even mentioned in these passages.”

    I figured this might be an avenue, which is why I also provided:

    “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.”

    Grace is mentioned.

    “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

    Presumably to overcome sin/temptation, grace is required I would think you agree. Which we see echoed in my other reference:

    “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

    Grace is mentioned.

    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me”

    Which is addressed to “those whom I love” – apparently when the regenerate sin, God wasn’t knocking at all.

    “So when God gives regenerating grace”

    Another avenue I figured you might take, which is why I also listed passages dealing with regenerate believers. This discussion has been focusing on the Reformed view of sanctification, not regeneration.

  211. Michael Taylor you write:

    Your reading of the parable of the talents is full-blown Pelagianism as well as eisegetical nonsense.

    Since I said that the talents represent charismatic graces, I can hardly be accused of Pelagianism!

    Servants are entrusted with generous sums of money, according to their natural ability, that should be invested wisely because the master is a taskmaster. … The story shows us that they were left entire to their own devices, and thus the emphasis is upon the varying degrees of responsibility with which they had been entrusted.

    Now that is hardcore Pelagianism!

    It’s difficult to imagine drawing a one-to-one correlation to Jesus given the obviously description of the master as a greedy taskmaster …

    Where does the parable say the master was guilty of the vice of greed? Nowhere.

    Jesus is Lord, and the Christians are his servants. The Lord’s servants have been given the great commission to build up the kingdom of God, and the servants can’t do that by using their natural abilities alone. The Lord sends the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit gives to the Lord’s servants the supernatural gifts of the charismatic graces. The graces are given so that the servants are equipped to do the work that they are called to do in building up the kingdom of God.

    First, whatever the talents represent …

    You admit that you are clueless as to what the talents actually represent, and then you accuse me of propounding “eisegetical nonsense.” Incredible!

    Consider too how much 5 talents really is. It’s an amazingly large some of money—at least 5,000 days’ wages. Yet the master says of that servant that he was only faithful over “a little.”

    The charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit are supernatural gifts, and that makes them more valuable than any amount of money. But consider how St. Paul speaks about the charismatic spiritual gifts, and how some are greater than others, that is, there is a hierarchy of gifts from greater to lesser. Consider why the charismatic gifts are given, and consider that the charismatic gifts are unequally apportioned by the Holy Spirit. Consider all this, and then you will see why my interpretation of the “talents” makes perfect sense, and why yours makes little sense.

    Now in regard to spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware. …There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. … Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
    .
    1 Cor chapter 12

    Michael Taylor, your problem is that you are a Calvinist, and Calvinists generally believe that the charismatic spiritual gifts are no longer received by Christians. The heresy of cessationism.

    Michael Taylor you write:

    It [the parable of the talents] does not teach us
    3. That “talents” are natural abilities
    4. That “talents” are graces or spiritual gifts
    5. That grace is monergistic or synergistic

    Grace builds on nature. The charismatic gifts build upon the natural abilities that God has given his servants. You are completely wrong, the charismatic gifts are indeed synergistic, and if you had ever exercised any of the charismatic gifts, then you would know that beyond a shadow of doubt. There is a reason why St. Paul commands Christians to not “quench the Spirit”. If the charismatic graces were monergistic, it would be impossible to quench the Spirit.

    NAB footnotes to Corinthian chapter 12:
    “There are some features common to all charisms, despite their diversity: all are gifts (charismata), grace from outside ourselves; all are forms of service (diakoniai), an expression of their purpose and effect; and all are workings (energ?mata), in which God is at work. Paul associates each of these aspects with what later theology will call one of the persons of the Trinity, an early example of ‘appropriation.’
    .
    First, apostles: apostleship was not mentioned in 1 Cor 12:8–10, nor is it at issue in these chapters, but Paul gives it pride of place in his listing. It is not just one gift among others but a prior and fuller gift that includes the others. They are all demonstrated in Paul’s apostolate, but he may have developed his theology of charisms by reflecting first of all on his own grace of apostleship.”

    If God were to give you a special grace, say, the gift of wisdom, and if you fail to use it properly, will he then take it away and give it to another, leaving you as a babbling fool and making someone else all the more prudent and erudite?

    Have you ever heard the charismatic gift of prophesy exercised within a charismatic prayer group? If God gives you a prophetic word, you need to speak it out. But you can always choose not to do that (which is common among newbie charismatics – they are afraid to speak a prophetic word, because they doubt God is really giving them a prophetic word.) If you quench the Spirit when the Spirit gives you a prophetic word, God will then gift the prophetic word to someone else, and the prophecy will then be given to the community.

    God’s grace is not wasted, but Christians are quite capable of quenching the Spirit.

    Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying … (1 Thes 5:19)

    Michael Taylor you write:

    So back to the original point, which you have not really addressed. God’s grace is efficacious. It is never not efficacious. … If he gives it, it’s to make something happen and it will happen because God doesn’t fail.

    I have addressed this point. You simply refuse to accept that Christians are capable of quenching the Spirit. Your real problem is that you will not accept what is taught in the scriptures, but instead, choose to embrace the heretical novelties of John Calvin – and that drives all your fallible, and incorrect, interpretations of the scriptures.

  212. Mateo,
    I have been giving much thought as to why some people can’t wrap their minds around the fullness of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

    I think you hit on something when you were describing what happens in a charismatic prayer group.

    I don’t think they are actually around ‘holy’ ‘spirit-filled’ people who have very palpable interior lives. Because if they were aware of how even some of these feeble humans can live, they would’t have any trouble with some of the concepts of the interior life of Jesus.

    I remember the times that I read about some of the great saints for the first time and was astonished by their faith and how they lived almost totally in a state of grace.

    For example:

    “The cry of Jesus as He died, “I thirst”, echoed every moment in my soul; inflaming my heart with a bruning love. I longed to satisfy His thirst for souls; I was consumed myself with this same thirst, and yearned to save them from the everlasting fires of Hell, no matter what the cost.” St. Therese of Lisieux

    or

    “Oh fire, oh abyss of charity? You are a fire ever burning but not consuming. You are filled with gladness, with rejoicing, with gentleness. To the heart pierced by this arrow, all bitterness seems sweet, every heavy burden becomes light. ” St. Catherine of Siena

    In other words, if a person hasn’t witnessed this kind of faith, hope, and love . . .

    the earth remains flat. They can only imagine, dream and believe as big as they know.

    I’ll say it again, those who leave the Catholic Church have never experienced our Lord in the Eucharist, or our Lord on the Cross out of Love for us.

  213. @James,

    It says they resisted God.

    A point we do not dispute.

    Sufficient grace doctrine posits man can resist God by resisting his sufficient graces.

    If that means people can resist God, then fine. But it’s still an oxymoron as far as I’m concerned. Use whatever category floats your boat.

    By the way, when I said those passages didn’t even mention grace, I was limiting myself to the first three I saw on your list. I didn’t even bother with the rest as I wasn’t seeing sufficient grace in the first three. But now that I know “sufficient grace” really means “able to resist God” in your language, I’m good with those passages. I quite agree they all state or imply that we can resist God.

  214. @Wosbald,

    Things That Make You Go Hmmm …

    Only when you lack a doctrine of union with Christ and imputation of righteousness, as you do.

    When the sinner is counted righteous in Christ, God can justify the ungodly. When Christ is counted as condemned in our place, then by no means does God acquit the guilty.

    Only our understanding of the cross and justification can actually do justice to all the biblical data. Your side pretty much has to marginalize whatever doesn’t fit your system. In fact, I don’t see how you can affirm that God justifies the ungodly at all. That would be a “legal fiction” for you. And yet the language is right there in scripture for anyone to read. No infallible magisterium necessary. It’s that clear.

  215. Jim,

    “Penal Substitution’s wicked bedfellow, Limited Atonement, is so unbiblical that it in itself should undo PS for any normal person.”

    Right, exactly. PS does have many facets, many of them completely orthodox. Whichever part leads to the idea of limited atonement must be wrong. However, now this is just a theory, I would wager that the true sacred cow of interpretation that can’t be questioned, is Perseverance of the Saints.

    To persevere, one’s future sins must not cause you to fall. Those sins must already be have been punished and thus are “forgiven” (noting that forgiveness seems can only come from punishment). Therefore, Jesus must have taken my personal punishment for all my sins past and future. Therefore, there is nothing for me to be punished for. However, since everyone isn’t saved, the atonement must me limited. So the necessity of Perseverance of the Saints begets, both limited atonement and the heretical parts of PS.

    What do you think?

  216. +JMJ+

    Michael wrote:
    .
    When the sinner is counted righteous in Christ, God can justify the ungodly [guilty?]. When Christ is counted as condemned in our place, then by no means does God acquit the guilty.

    Robert wrote:
    .
    Justifying includes acquittal …

    Major Premise: God justifies the guilty (the ungodly).

    Minor Premise: Justifying includes acquittal.

    Conclusion: God acquits the guilty.

    .

    MYTH BUSTED:
    .
    What we’re doing is reading what God has disclosed about himself as Judge and decided that God gets to tell us what his standards are. If God’s word says that “he shall by no means acquit the guilty,” then whatever system we adopt better well be able to explain that principle.

  217. @Wosbald,

    Major Premise: God justifies the guilty (the ungodly).

    Yes. The guilty who are “in Christ.”

    Minor Premise: Justifying includes acquittal.

    Justifying of the those who are “in Christ” includes acquittal.

    Conclusion: God acquits the guilty.

    God acquits the guilty insofar as they are “in Christ.” That is because they are treated as not guilty because of Christ. So they are guilty when considered apart from Christ, but not guilty when considered in Christ.

    So there is no contradiction when you have union and imputation together. Your logic fails at every premise because you’re leaving gout important qualifications. But you don’t really seem interested in being anything but contrarian so that hardly surprises.

  218. Lane, you write:

    … the necessity of Perseverance of the Saints begets, both limited atonement and the heretical parts of PS …

    I am convinced that the central doctrine of Calvinism is the Calvinist version of “Once Saved, Always Saved” which is known by the Calvinists the doctrine of the “Perseverance of the Saints.” Calvinist OSAS must be held sacrosanct at whatever the cost, even if it spawns a hideous theology where God is the author of evil, human beings are nothing more than puppets manipulated by the great puppet master in the sky, justification is a legal fiction, Christians can’t quench the Holy Spirit, the bible doesn’t teach anything about mortal sin, sanctification is not really that important because besetting sin can never be overcome while living on this earth, etc.

    The same problems plague the Southern Baptists because their central doctrine that must be preserved at whatever the cost is their version of “Once Saved, Always Saved.”

    OSAS isn’t the Gospel, it is the utter destruction of the Gospel.

  219. JMJ

    Wosbald,

    Michael tried bamboozling you with,

    “Major Premise: God justifies the guilty (the ungodly).
    Yes. The guilty who are “in Christ.”

    What he forgets is that one is not IN Christ prior to justification. To say otherwise is to say the elect never really were unsaved.

  220. Mateo,

    Stand by to be upbraided by our resident stickler for minutia, Eric.

    He is going to scoff and discount your post as revealing how little you understand Calvinism.

    He is going to insist OSAS is not orthodox Calvinism as the debate between Dave Hunt and James White tries to show.

    Actually, you are spot-on. The hair splitting difference between OSAS and Preservation of the Saints is a distinction without an important difference. At the end of the day, they both say a justified person is in-like-flint and on easy street from then on.

    Just brace yourself for Eric’s sarcastic broadside.

  221. JMJ

    Lane,

    Yes, you are right and Calvinists do tie them together.

    But don’t look for that same logical consistency outside of Calvinism.
    Click on the utube debate between James White and Dave Hunt. Rabidly Anti-Catholic Dave Hunt denies emphatically limited atonement, unconditional election and total depravity although he believes in OSAS.*

    And there are Arminians who believe in Penal Substitution. Supposedly Arminius did himself.

    *Hunt places OSAS in the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit rather than the whole TULIP ball of wax.

  222. Jim,

    “But don’t look for that same logical consistency outside of Calvinism.”

    Yes, this is what I meant previously by the logically consistency of the TULIP portion of Calvinism. Other protestant sects believe the doctrine OSAS, but think the ideas of TULIP to be abhorrent and not reflected in Biblical revelation. All the while not realizing that OSAS itself is from Calvinism and makes no sense without the other premises of Calvinism.

    I wonder, if when you are talking with a non/anti-Calvinist, making arguments along these lines might have some success. In essence, saying that your beliefs only make sense if you are a Calvinist, knowing that Calvinism is completely unacceptable to them. In a Similar fashion, I have had some success talking with atheists arguing that their beliefs only make sense if they are a nihilist, knowing that nihilism is completely unacceptable to them. Just a thought.

  223. Lane,

    The best debates between a Calvinist and a non Calvinist I have ever heard are those between Arminian Steve Gregg and James White. There are a series of 5. Steve Gregg also has a good lecture series of about 9 talks on Calvinism. Click on his site and listen to some.

    Now, about that consistency you mention, I don’t understand how any Arminian ( like our Methodist friend Bob ) can argue against Catholicism and the Sacraments once they get over the fact that man must cooperate in his own salvation.

    Yet, you can also hear Steve Gregg argue against Tim Staples in a 5 debate series on his site.

  224. Jim–

    This may surprise you, but some theological phrases are locked into particular meanings through common usage. “Once Saved, Always Saved” is capitalized because it is a particular Baptist understanding of final perseverance. Calvinists do indeed believe that once we are saved, we are forever thereafter ensured salvation. But we also believe that regeneration and the remission of sins are tied into baptism. It’s in the ecumenical creeds, for goodness’ sake, not to mention Scripture itself. But you will never hear us speak of “Baptismal Regeneration” because that is a distinctly Catholic dogma.

    What’s so difficult about speaking of the Perseverance of the Saints, to which we actually hold?

  225. Jim–

    Michael obviously means those guilty who lose their guilt by coming into Union with Christ:

    “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
    And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”

  226. Jim–

    Guilt here on earth is a permanent characteristic. Once one has committed murder, one will always be considered a murderer. But that is not how it is with God, who removes our sin from us, as far as the east is from the west.

    If we say the children are bathed, they remain children even after their baths. If we say the dirty are bathed, they emerge as clean, dirty no more.

    The guilty are justified, and then–as justified individuals–they are no longer guilty.

  227. Jim,

    Now, about that consistency you mention, I don’t understand how any Arminian ( like our Methodist friend Bob ) can argue against Catholicism and the Sacraments once they get over the fact that man must cooperate in his own salvation.

    This is indeed correct. Arminians don’t really have a leg to stand on as far as their basic soteriology goes. It’s as synergistic as anything Rome has dreamed up.

  228. Lane, you write:

    … this is what I meant previously by the logically consistency of the TULIP portion of Calvinism. Other protestant sects believe the doctrine OSAS, but think the ideas of TULIP to be abhorrent and not reflected in Biblical revelation. All the while not realizing that OSAS itself is from Calvinism and makes no sense without the other premises of Calvinism.

    These are good points, but I would say that OSAS really has its roots in a logical outworking of the defects in Luther’s false doctrine of JBFA. The reason I say that can be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Antinomianism, quotes from which follow.

    Antinomianism

    (anti, against, and nomos, law)

    The heretical doctrine that Christians are exempt from the obligations of moral law. The term first came into use at the Protestant Reformation, when it was employed by Martin Luther to designate the teachings of Johannes Agricola and his sectaries, who, pushing a mistaken and perverted interpretation of the Reformer’s doctrine of justification by faith alone to a far-reaching but logical conclusion, asserted that, as good works do not promote salvation, so neither do evil works hinder it; and, as all Christians are necessarily sanctified by their very vocation and profession, so as justified Christians, they are incapable of losing their spiritual holiness, justification, and final salvation by any act of disobedience to, or even by any direct violation of the law of God.

    … Doubtless a confused understanding of the Mosaic ceremonial precepts and the fundamental moral law embodied in the Mosaic code was to no small extent operative in allowing the conception of true Christian liberty to grow beyond all reasonable bounds, and to take the form of a theoretical doctrine of unlimited licentiousness.

    Although the term designating this error came into use only in the sixteenth century, the doctrine itself can be traced in the teaching of the earlier heresies. Certain of the Gnostic sect — possibly, for example, Marcion and his followers, in their antithesis of the Old and New Testament, or the Carpoeratians, in their doctrine of the indifference of good works and their contempt for all human laws — held Antinomian or quasi-Antinomian views. …

    Antinomianism reappeared definitely, as a variant of the Protestant doctrine of faith, early in the history of the German Reformation. At this point it is of interest to note the sharp controversy that it provoked between the leader of the reforming movement in Germany and his disciple and fellow townsman, Johannes Agricola. …

    St. Alphonsus Liguori states that after Luther’s death Agricola went to Berlin, commenced teaching his blasphemies again, and died there, at the age of seventy-four, without any sign of repentance; also, that Florinundus calls the Antinomians “Atheists who believe in neither God nor the devil.” So much for the origin and growth of the Antinomian heresy in the Lutheran body. Among the high Calvinists also the doctrine was to be found in the teaching that the elect do not sin by the commission of actions that in themselves are contrary to the precepts of the moral law, which the Anabaptists of Munster had no scruple in putting these theories into actual practice.

  229. Eric, you write:

    Calvinists do indeed believe that once we are saved, we are forever thereafter ensured salvation.

    Which proves Jim’s point, “The hair splitting difference between OSAS and Preservation of the Saints is a distinction without an important difference.”

  230. Mateo,

    Paul was accused of being an antinomian as well. Rome would NEVER be accused of it. That should clue you in that your understanding of grace is probably defective.

  231. Debbie, you write:

    … if they were aware of how even some of these feeble humans can live, they wouldn’t have any trouble with some of the concepts of the interior life of Jesus …

    I agree. To experience the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit removes all doubts about the orthodoxy of the doctrine of synergism. That said, experiencing the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit does not put one on the same spiritual level as the saint that has gone through the dark night of the soul, the saint that has the interior life of one living in the transforming union. From the spiritual life of the great saints I can know by the “intuition of faith” what Christ meant by his cry of abandonment.

    Nick’s article Part II – Understanding Christ’s Cry of Abandonment has this quote from St. John Paul II that expresses far better than what I was trying to say earlier in this thread, that is, about what I intuit is a connection between the Christ’s agony in the garden and the what the saints experience in the dark night of the soul.

    He alone, who sees the Father and rejoices fully in him, can understand completely what it means to resist the Father’s love by sin. Faced with this mystery, we are greatly helped not only by theological investigation but also by that great heritage which is the “lived theology” of the saints. The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit, or even through their personal experience of those terrible states of trial which the mystical tradition describes as the “dark night”. Not infrequently the saints have undergone something akin to Jesus’ experience on the Cross in the paradoxical blending of bliss and pain. In the Dialogue of Divine Providence, God the Father shows Catherine of Siena how joy and suffering can be present together in holy souls: “Thus the soul is blissful and afflicted: afflicted on account of the sins of its neighbour, blissful on account of the union and the affection of charity which it has inwardly received. These souls imitate the spotless Lamb, my Only-begotten Son, who on the Cross was both blissful and afflicted“. In the same way, Thérèse of Lisieux lived her agony in communion with the agony of Jesus, “experiencing” in herself the very paradox of Jesus’s own bliss and anguish: “In the Garden of Olives our Lord was blessed with all the joys of the Trinity, yet his dying was no less harsh. It is a mystery, but I assure you that, on the basis of what I myself am feeling, I can understand something of it“. What an illuminating testimony!

  232. Robert you write:

    Paul was accused of being an antinomian as well.

    By whom?

  233. @Mateo,

    By whom?

    “Some people.”

    But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. (Romans 3:7-8, ESV)

  234. Mateo–

    Using that “logic,” hairsplitting between Protestant and Catholic concepts of Baptismal Regeneration would be a “distinction without an important difference.”

    Tremendous theological acumen you have there, Mateo.

  235. Mateo–

    And I’m guessing you would also hold to Catholic hairsplitting between orthodox “assurance” and heretical “presumption” (which Perseverance of the Saints safeguards against) being a “distinction without an important difference.”

  236. Mateo,

    These are good points, but I would say that OSAS really has its roots in a logical outworking of the defects in Luther’s false doctrine of JBFA. The reason I say that can be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Antinomianism, quotes from which follow.

    There might be a little “which came first the chicken or the egg” going on. JBFA for all the talk about trying to protect God’s sovereignty, is really to protect the right to claim infallibly your permanent saved/elect status. Of course, people were going to see through all the fancy nuance and see the primary points. Of course, it leads to antinomianism.

    BTW, thanks for the quotes on antinomianism. It mentioned the early gnostic heresy Marcionism. I remember reading a church history book a couple of years ago, written by a Presbyterian. In it when he brought up Marcionism, he lamented briefly how it was too bad that some his ideas were rejected so harshly. I remember getting a queasy reading him basically reminiscing about the heresy.

  237. Mateo–

    From your cited article on Antinomianism:

    “Among the high Calvinists also the doctrine was to be found in the teaching that the elect do not sin by the commission of actions that in themselves are contrary to the precepts of the moral law, which the Anabaptists of Munster had no scruple in putting these theories into actual practice.”

    So who exactly WERE these “high Calvinists”? Probably every single Anabaptist who has never lived has been Arminian to the core. John of Leiden and his lunatic cohorts, who took over in Muenster, were certainly no Calvinists, high, low, or otherwise.

    Ya gotta love that Catholic historical accuracy!

  238. Lane–

    Where is your evidence that JBFA leads to Antinomianism? I live in chain-smoking, blue-streak swearing, alcohol-drenched, sexually promiscuous Catholic land. Are there small enclaves hidden away somewhere where Catholicism leads to holy living?

    Who on earth was the “Presbyterian” who thought well of aspects of Marcion’s agenda? You have got to be freaking kidding me! Any PCA historian saying such a thing would be summarily excommunicated. Any liberal Presbyterian you wish to name is neither a Christian nor a Calvinist, and thus irrelevant.

  239. Robert–

    You wrote:

    “Paul was accused of being an Antinomian, as well. Rome would NEVER be accused of it. That should clue you in that your understanding of grace is probably defective.”

    I would just want to caution you not to go too far in this direction. Free Grace leaders will often say that there must be something wrong with a pastor’s presentation of the Gospel if congregants are not mistaking his comments in an Antinomian direction. The bene esse of the church calls for a clear-cut and appropriate balance between the Third Use of the Law and applications of grace.

  240. Eric,

    I agree. I’m sure the Corinthians called Paul a legalist as well.

    Maybe its better to say if you are NEVER accused of antinomianism and if you are NEVER accused of legalism, you’re probably not preaching the gospel.

  241. Robert,

    “Maybe its better to say if you are NEVER accused of antinomianism and if you are NEVER accused of legalism, you’re probably not preaching the gospel.”

    Well Eric has accused Catholicism of legalism and antinomianism just today. =)

  242. Eric,

    “Who on earth was the “Presbyterian” who thought well of aspects of Marcion’s agenda? You have got to be freaking kidding me! Any PCA historian saying such a thing would be summarily excommunicated. Any liberal Presbyterian you wish to name is neither a Christian nor a Calvinist, and thus irrelevant.”

    Oh it wasn’t all that bad, but he did make an off handed remark that the heresy caused an over reaction that may have overlapped with true ideas (read later protestant ideas). I borrowed the book and it was a while ago. I don’t remember the author or have the exact quote handy. If you really care, I will track it down for you.

  243. Eric, you ask:

    Where is your evidence that JBFA leads to Antinomianism?

    The evidence … all the so-called Evangelical Protestants that teach both the JBFA hersy and the OSAS heresy – the thousands of Protestants sects that teach that once a man gets himself “saved” by making an act of faith-alone, that there is no possible sin that he could ever commit that would lead to his damnation (which includes sins such as the sin of unrepentant Satan worshiping, unrepentant apostasy, unrepentant witchcraft, unrepentant murder, unrepentant adultery, unrepentant greed ….)

  244. Michael, did Paul ever successful defend himself against the accusation that he was antinomian by “some people”? Or did Paul preach JBFA and OSAS doctrine?

    JBFA and OSAS logically lead to a doctrine of antinomianism.

  245. Eric, you ask:

    So who exactly WERE these “high Calvinists”?

    They weren’t the Anabaptists of Munster. You are misreading what the quoted article actually says.

  246. Lane, you write:

    JBFA for all the talk about trying to protect God’s sovereignty, is really to protect the right to claim infallibly your permanent saved/elect status. Of course, people were going to see through all the fancy nuance and see the primary points. Of course, it leads to antinomianism.

    Agreed.

  247. Mateo,
    The Gethsemane Hours between 11 pm and 3 am on Thursday nights is one way to pray with our Lord in His agony. The amount of pure love experienced there is soul crushing – who can stand it?

  248. Mateo,

    The evidence … all the so-called Evangelical Protestants that teach both the JBFA hersy and the OSAS heresy – the thousands of Protestants sects that teach that once a man gets himself “saved” by making an act of faith-alone, that there is no possible sin that he could ever commit that would lead to his damnation (which includes sins such as the sin of unrepentant Satan worshiping, unrepentant apostasy, unrepentant witchcraft, unrepentant murder, unrepentant adultery, unrepentant greed ….)

    If you are a true antinomian, you aren’t teaching JBFA. If you teach that a man “gets Himself” saved, you aren’t teaching JBFA, you’re actually preaching something far closer to RCism. You know, your view, where God provides the help but its up to you to save yourself by cooperating of your own autonomous free will.

    And as far as could, there’s lots of sins that justified people could commit that will lead to damnation. It’s just that God won’t let them. He kinda loves people really strong like that. He’s not the helpless dad on the front porch weakly crying out, “come back son,” to his three year old as he runs into the road and gets hit by a car and then says, “oh well, didn’t want to violate the freedom of my son. It’s more important to me that he keep his free will and get killed than for me to get off my rear and keep him out of the street.”

    Thankfully, God has people like you to help him out. He just can’t get the job done by himself in your view. Nope, gotta protect that autonomy. Gotta make sure Mateo keeps the opportunity to run himself into hell. Thank goodness you retained a far greater piece of original righteousness than the rest of us and were able to make the right choice. Yay Mateo!!!

    Did Paul ever successful defend himself against the accusation that he was antinomian by “some people”? Or did Paul preach JBFA and OSAS doctrine?

    If by successful you mean that he got people to stop accusing his gospel of it, then no. You are living proof of that.

  249. @Robert

    You said:

    Try and follow the argument I am making.
    1) You said that you could only be tempted by a coconut if you like coconuts; therefore, you believe a temptation only occurs if one is already inclined to like what is offered.

    That is correct. I believe that one only feels tempted if one is inclined to like what is offered.

    2) You have said that Jesus was tempted.

    I said that Jesus was NOT tempted.

    DE MARIA April 14, 2015 at 8:00 am

    But Jesus was not tempted

    YOU said that Jesus was tempted.

    ROBERT April 14, 2015 at 8:12 am

    If Satan tempted Jesus, then Jesus was tempted.

    But in any case, the incarnation does change things. Scripture also says that God cannot be tempted by sin, and yet Hebrews and the temptation narratives in the Synoptic Gospels say that Jesus suffered temptation.

    3) Therefore, according to your principles,

    NO. According to yours.

    Jesus had to have already been inclined to what the devil offered him in order for it to be a true temptation.

    The Devil offered. But Jesus was not tempted.

    So you have two choices

    You have a choice. Try honest discourse for once.

  250. @Robert:
    I can’t believe you’re seriously quibbling with De Maria over this. He offered the following definition:
    1. entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial.

    The Devil attempted to entice Jesus with something that He would find attractive but know to be wrong or sinful. The Devil’s attempt obviously failed, because he didn’t even manage to find something attractive to Jesus, let alone actually get him to do or acquire such a thing. By the definition, an unsuccessful attempt to do this still qualifies as temptation.

    If Jesus had actually found it attractive but resisted on the basis that it was wrong or not beneficial, then He would have felt tempted. But He didn’t.

    The number of posts on this topic is ridiculous. Apparently, you’re both saying the same thing. Temptation refers only to external temptation, what the Devil tried to do, and not in any sense to internal temptation, meaning that Jesus never had the least desire to take what the Devil was offering Him.

  251. @Michael:
    On the parable of the talents, here’s an exegesis specifically addressing the weight of the talents that you mentioned:
    http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/article/the-parable-of-the-talents/4482/

    I fail to see why taking on their guilt would be a problem. If he could take on their infirmities, why not their sin? It’s not as if their sickness made him sickly. Why then should we worry that their sin would turn him into a sinner?

    As you say, sin and righteousness is a matter of standing before God, not a property that can be transferred. That’s why it’s excepted from the commonality between Christ’s nature and ours. The Word of God can’t participate in sin in any sense. That doesn’t mean He can’t commune with sinners; He very obviously does. But in that communion, He does not partake of their sin. That is why the charges of Jesus being a glutton and a wine-bibber were not true.

    It strikes me that analogy could work here too. On the cross, God looks at Jesus through our sin. (So sin is the “filter” placed upon Jesus). After the cross, God looks at sinners through Jesus. (So Jesus is the “filter” placed over the sinner).

    So it’s not that the “filter” of sin metaphysically changed Jesus into a sinner; rather he was considered that way because that’s what he “looked like” with the sins of the world laid upon him and the curse “by God” placed on the one hanging on the tree. (That’s what we we call the “Second Imputation”–the first being Adam’s sin to us).

    In the first place, God is omniscient, and as such, He is the original example of having no filter. He is by definition incapable of seeing anything in any way except as it truly is at all times. The impossibility of the analogy having any real referent is the first clue it’s inapposite.

    The second is the relationship in the Trinity. For there to be anything in Jesus to be seen differently by God, it would have to be something other than the Word of God. The fact that you think of God looking at Jesus and seeing something other than the Word of God would require that there be something in Jesus that is not the Word of God, which is Nestorianism.

    But in this particular one, I don’t think the doctrine of the Ontological Trinity is touched here. I think the Economic Trinity is in view, which is why your cries of Nestorianism seem to be coming out of left field.

    At the very least, Jesus acting in the Economy must be the identical person to the Word of God in the Ontological Trinity. Your distinction between the immanent and economic Trinity in this respect relies on God viewing Jesus in the economy as something beyond the person of the Word of God, which is Nestorianism.

    It’s a legal category from a Hebrew forensic setting, so you’re already anachronistically reading your scholasticism back into scripture. (You systematic guys…when will you learn?)

    On the contrary, because it is a personal category (which is what forensic categories are), that is exactly why the Word of God cannot fall in that category, even if He has a human nature.

    “Death” is metaphysically incompatible with being a divine person. But Jesus died. So back to the drawing board, Jonathan.

    No, death is incompatible with the divine nature. A divine person can (and did) die on the Cross according to His assumed humanity. But assuming humanity doesn’t make the Word of God a different person.

    Besides, we’re using analogical language here, Jonathan, so it’s never going to be a perfect match for the reality.

    I agree. That is why Scripture uses analogical language when it can’t literally apply either, which is exactly why you shouldn’t take the term “punishment” as meaning that God is literally sitting there doling out punishment. It’s a metaphor for God allowing the natural consequences to take place.

    That said, God can consider Jesus vis-a-vis our guilt and Jesus can experience its full weight just as surely as he can enter into the human experience.

    No, He really can’t. God can only consider things as they are; that’s what omniscience is.

    So when Jesus looks at Jesus qua Jesus, he sees his sinless Son. But when God looks at the crucified Jesus qua the corporate representative of his people (Israel/the Church), he sees (among other things) the embodiment of sin, guilt and the curse. “He made him who knew no sin to be sin”. We can’t really improve upon that language.

    Jesus qua Jesus is the only Person there. What you are saying is that Jesus qua Jesus can’t serve the role of Jesus qua the corporate representative of His people. In other words, these roles have to be completely compatible to avoid Nestorianism; it must be a role that the Word of God can perform. Hence, your interpretation of “made sin” needs work.

    But if we say that is all God sees in that moment, we limit the testimony of scripture to one dimension. Does not God also see innocent victim of Roman injustice? Doesn’t God also see the culmination of regicide by Israel? Does not God also see Christus victor? Does not God also see the blood that turns away his wrath from us? Does not God also see the self-sacrifice of the Servant? So many facets/dimensions to consider. Penal Substitution attempts to unite them all into one coherent theory.

    The facets can’t be incompatible with one another. God seeing Jesus as all of those other things is not incompatible with God seeing the Word of God. God seeing Jesus in corporate solidarity with the sin of others is incompatible with God seeing the Word of God.

    I think your dichotomy between the imputation of guilt and sacrifice is a false one. Why must it be one or the other?

    Because there’s no need or reason for imputation. It’s not even clear to me how imputation could possibly work, but the point is that sacrifice doesn’t need it, so there’s no reason to posit it.

    Now to mollify your concerns, rest assured that no one in my camp is reading the New through the Old. We’re good analogy-of-faith folks. So we see penal substitution in the New just as surely as we see it in the Old and we think the New is simply the more explicit fulfillment of what we find in the Old.

    It’s that “New is simply the more explicit fulfillment of what we find in the Old” that I find troubling. The sacrificial system is what it is. We understand its significance in terms of what happens later, but we don’t read the later back into the OT. That has the effect of making the OT into more than it is. That’s what Nick keeps trying to explain; we’re not trying to find the NT in the OT. We just have the benefit of knowing what the fulfillment is. That’s why there’s no real need to try to cram the atonement back into the OT, even though we know in the end what happens.

    But sins were transferred to it and it was abandoned. It symbolized the taking away of sin. But the scapegoat alone doesn’t embody every facet of PSA. The Passover lamb also embodies some aspects of PSA, but not all of them. The lamb died in place of the first born (and by extension the nation they represented). But God didn’t transfer the sins of the nation to the Passover lamb. The Servant comes closest to embodying all aspects of PSA. But even here, we don’t get the full picture until the NT.

    Our point is that there is no reason to think that the sacrificial system of the OT had anything to do with PSA, even if it turned out that PSA was the description of the Cross. We have no good reason to think that there was even a partial picture. This is one of the significant problems I have with G.K. Beale; he’s stretching all over the place to find where Biblical authors were presenting pictures of future things in order to avoid what he considers “speculation.” But that’s just as bad in its own way as speculative interpretations generally.

    The curse isn’t a mechanistic/automatic thing that just happens when the covenant is broken. God is always the one who imposes the curse.

    A distinction without a difference because the “consequences” aren’t mechanistic. They’re always imposed by the Suzerain, and the Suzerain is God. No way around that Johnny-cakes.

    First, the consequences of Adam’s sin were imposed naturally, no judge required. That is why nature is only a “covenant” by analogy. Second, the voluntary acceptance of a penalty doesn’t require anybody imposing it. You just do it. For example, if I pay a fine for someone, the judge doesn’t assess the fine against me. He just takes the money.

    But most importantly we see it in the idea of being cursed “in Adam.” In Adam, “all die.” That means guilt is imputed to those whose sin was not in the pattern or type of Adam. In union with Adam, his guilt is ours, hence the curse of mortality.

    As I said, death isn’t imposed as a sentence by God. That’s simply an analogy for the consequences. Therefore, I have no reason to believe that Adam’s guilt is imputed at all. Furthermore, if death is a punishment for imputed guilt, and our sins were punished on the Cross, then nobody who is saved should die.

    We too agree that the OT sacrifices were symbolic substitutes that pointed to the real substitute, Christ. The idea that Christ had to suffer “identical punishment” is something you’re reading into our theology. Not to be pedantic or anything, but if you push that point far enough, you might as well say that Christ could only ever be the penal substitute for those who die by crucifixion and only males at that, and only Jewish males at that, and possibly only Galilean Jewish males by extension of your logic.

    The idea that Christ has to suffer “identical punishment” comes from the fact that the guilty have to be punished. If Christ doesn’t suffer “identical punishment,” then someone who is guilty isn’t punished as he should have been. And that still leaves you to explain why anyone who is saved dies, because death is the penalty for sin, and God (allegedly) doesn’t see our sins anymore.

    You’re making God disobedient to his own laws. But his laws flow from his own character. You’re introducing self-contradiction into your concept of God, all to salvage your system.

    My point is much simpler; the laws aren’t on God, so the idea of Him disobeying them doesn’t even make sense. He imposes laws for humans dealing with humans and dealing with Him. It would be like saying God is violating His laws by making natural laws so that lions are carnivores without eating meat Himself. It’s a category error.

    God’s Law is an expression of himself. God cannot, without contradiction, unbind himself from his own law.

    Then it’s a good thing that He didn’t bind Himself to His laws for humans.

    Forgiving sin does not mean acquitting the guilty. You have to understand forgiveness in light of the principle that God does not acquit the guilty. By way of analogy, God can forgive debt. But the forgiveness of debt implies a net deficit. If God merely forgives debt, then there is still a debt that is owed. But if God Himself pays the debt, then he can both forgive the debt and pay it off at the same time. So justice and mercy kiss. Likewise, any forgiveness of guilt can only take place if God has made provision for bearing that guilt. If someone/something else can take that guilt away, then God can forgive it without violating his own standards. As it so happens, God has made provision for the substitutionary bearing of iniquity/guilt and therefore sin forgiveness comes at His expense just as surely as monetary forgiveness ensues when the bank forgives a debt. In every analogy where God is likened to a lender, the idea of debt forgiveness implies that the lender himself suffers the monetary loss. Since these debt analogies picture sin, then we can conclude that it is God himself that pays off the debt of sin. That’s how debt-forgiveness works. The sinner (debtor) goes free because his debt (of sin) has been paid (atoned for) by none other than God himself.

    That’s right. The sinner is no longer guilty, so He is acquitted. This is how God justifies the ungodly; He forgives them (justly) without punishing them, and acquits them.

    But God’s Law is another name for God’s Word, which is yet another name for God himself. God and His law are one and the same, for His law is an expression of his mind, will and character. To argue as you do is to posit a sharp disjunction between God and His word. I think you might want to rethink this.

    Yes, it’s an expression of God’s mind, will and character for what He wants humans to do. It’s not a binding set of principles on God.

    Difference is on a continuum. It admits of degrees. No one, as far as I can tell, is saying that sinless humanity is 100% different from sinful humanity. That would mean it is entirely different and therefore something else. But as you said earlier, the impeccability of Jesus does constitute a notable exception to our humanity. So now that you’re on record as admitting of some sort of “difference” between our fallen human nature and Jesus’ human nature perhaps you would be willing to admit that all of creation, including human nature which belongs to the created order, is in fact “in bondage to corruption” (to use Paul’s language in Romans 8:21).

    Chalcedonian Christology, at least, doesn’t admit of distinctions. Jesus is fully man. That means that sin must be excluded from nature, i.e., it must be personal, because Jesus doesn’t share it with us. Given that circumstance, with respect to matters of sin, the person of the Word of God cannot partake of it. There’s no sliding scale; it’s just flat out impossible. Either it’s in the common bucket (nature), in which case it’s all in, or it’s not, in which case it’s not in at all.

    So Calvin and Nestorius were Judiazers? Then what was Jesus (Matthew 5:18) and Paul (Romans 3:21)?

    Nestorius certainly was (he was explicitly called this in the Sixth Ecumenical Council). Jesus and Paul both supported the Law, but didn’t think that it was the eternal standard by which justification was measured. Calvin, unfortunately, did.

    Have you ever read Malachi 2:1-9? I ask because I my “spidy sense” is going off and I think for some reason you might benefit from it.

    I have indeed, but it never hurts to reread it, so thank you for suggesting it. As I mentioned on the other thread, it is by no means disrespect for God’s Word, but you’re trying to make pieces of God’s Word into everything. The Law serves its purpose in the whole; it is nothing in itself.

    It’s not Bible over system; it’s the system of the Bible. Dividing and dismissing mutilates the Scripture and kills its life. You speak of respect for the Word, but in your hands, it’s a dead thing with no life in it.

  252. Jonathan,

    The number of posts on this topic is ridiculous. Apparently, you’re both saying the same thing. Temptation refers only to external temptation, what the Devil tried to do, and not in any sense to internal temptation, meaning that Jesus never had the least desire to take what the Devil was offering Him.

    As is common, De Maria misses the point entirely. He’s the one going on and on about Jesus NOT being tempted and then telling me that his view of temptation is the first point, which says that the person knows something is wrong and is yet attracted to it. I agree with the italicized portion you just said about what temptation is.

    It’s that “New is simply the more explicit fulfillment of what we find in the Old” that I find troubling.

    Then you are, essentially, a dispensationalist in your approach to the relationship between the Old and New Testament.

    My point is much simpler; the laws aren’t on God, so the idea of Him disobeying them doesn’t even make sense. He imposes laws for humans dealing with humans and dealing with Him.

    So Jesus could have broken the law and succumbed to temptation and it would have been irrelevant? After all, the law isn’t on Him. He’s God.

    the consequences of Adam’s sin were imposed naturally, no judge required.

    Who established that the “consequences” of sin would be death? God Himself.

    Second, the voluntary acceptance of a penalty doesn’t require anybody imposing it.

    The analogy doesn’t work. The judge still imposes the penalty, it is just that someone else pays it. If the penalty weren’t paid, the person who owed the fine would go to jail or something. Because another bears the penalty, the debtor is okay. The penalty, properly speaking does not belong to the one paying it, but He takes it on as if if were His and pays it because He knows the actual debtor can’t pay it. Sounds like imputation to me.

    A better analogy might be in the case of co-signing a loan where if the original person defaults, the co-signer agrees to pay the penalty. The loan and its demands get transferred to the co-signer. Again, sounds like imputation to me. The co-signer isn’t actually viewed as a debtor until the first person defaults, and everybody knows that he was not the person who actually took out the debt. Nevertheless, because he signed for the loan, the debt becomes his debt and if he doesn’t pay it, the penalties are his.

  253. @Robert:

    He’s the one going on and on about Jesus NOT being tempted and then telling me that his view of temptation is the first point, which says that the person knows something is wrong and is yet attracted to it.

    Your exegesis of that definition is as bad as your Scriptural exegesis. It says that the tempter is attempting to entice the target by such a thing, not that such a thing exists. It says nothing at all about the target; it says something about the tempter attempting to find it. If no such thing exists, then the temptation will necessarily fail, but that doesn’t mean that the tempter hasn’t made an attempt to entice the target by trying to find such a thing.

    This is just your usual MO. You are so anti-Catholic that you can’t even apply intellectual charity. It is so clear that De Maria was referring to exactly what I just said that you’d have to be completely oblivious to basic social communication to read it the way you did. Unless you’ve got some kind of social disorder, like Asperger’s, that’s not understandable behavior.

    Then you are, essentially, a dispensationalist in your approach to the relationship between the Old and New Testament.

    No, because I am saying that there are common elements in both. I am also saying that obedience to the Mosaic Law is not one of those elements. It was given for a specific purpose at a specific time, and that purpose was not to justify people before God.

    So Jesus could have broken the law and succumbed to temptation and it would have been irrelevant? After all, the law isn’t on Him. He’s God.

    Jesus was also a human being. As a human being born into the Jewish people, He was subject to the Law. But He wasn’t justified before God based on His obedience to it.

    Who established that the “consequences” of sin would be death? God Himself.

    Sure, by creating human beings with a nature that operates in a certain way. Scripture doesn’t record God issuing commandments to the angels in order to be able to judge them unworthy. Their fall simply resulted from violating their own (singular) natures. God doesn’t need to judge in those cases; the effect is automatic and self-enforcing, just as the effect of falling off a building is self-enforcing when one jumps off. No need for a courtroom or judge for natural justice, although that metaphor is sometimes used.

    The analogy doesn’t work. The judge still imposes the penalty, it is just that someone else pays it. If the penalty weren’t paid, the person who owed the fine would go to jail or something. Because another bears the penalty, the debtor is okay. The penalty, properly speaking does not belong to the one paying it, but He takes it on as if if were His and pays it because He knows the actual debtor can’t pay it. Sounds like imputation to me.

    That’s exactly the opposite of imputation; the payor in no sense has the guilt of the person who owed the fine. It’s a perfect example of a judge justly allowing someone who was guilty to go free without imposing punishment on that person. That’s not imputation; it’s redemption.

    A better analogy might be in the case of co-signing a loan where if the original person defaults, the co-signer agrees to pay the penalty. The loan and its demands get transferred to the co-signer. Again, sounds like imputation to me. The co-signer isn’t actually viewed as a debtor until the first person defaults, and everybody knows that he was not the person who actually took out the debt.

    Except that he was. The co-signer has agreed to the obligations; he is also a debtor, just one with different contingent obligations. If the co-signer is listing his debts, he would have to list this one as well. If he didn’t, his listing would be fraudulent.

    That’s a good example of joint liability, which is somewhat analogous to the New Covenant. God gratuitously agrees to be jointly liable for our obligations, and once He does, they are assuredly paid. The closer analogy is actually to a family member, though, who is not obliged at all but who will inevitably step in when His children are in trouble. Hence, it is most like a parent who will step in for a child even when the child has done wrong.

  254. Your exegesis of that definition is as bad as your Scriptural exegesis. It says that the tempter is attempting to entice the target by such a thing, not that such a thing exists. It says nothing at all about the target; it says something about the tempter attempting to find it. If no such thing exists, then the temptation will necessarily fail, but that doesn’t mean that the tempter hasn’t made an attempt to entice the target by trying to find such a thing.

    This is just your usual MO. You are so anti-Catholic that you can’t even apply intellectual charity. It is so clear that De Maria was referring to exactly what I just said that you’d have to be completely oblivious to basic social communication to read it the way you did. Unless you’ve got some kind of social disorder, like Asperger’s, that’s not understandable behavior.

    Are you out of your mind? You and De Maria are so anti-Protestant that you aren’t even paying attention. De Maria was going on and on and on about something not being a real temptation for the person unless the person being tempted had an affinity for it. The specific example he gave was liking coconut, and he said that a person would not be tempted by coconut if he didn’t already like coconut, and he thereby used it to deny that Jesus was tempted. And I quote De Maria:

    “I don’t like coconut. So, you can tempt me all you like with coconut, I won’t be tempted. In the same way, Satan offered Jesus the opportunity to sin. Thus, he tempted Jesus. But Jesus was not tempted to sin.”

    Parallel: De Maria doesn’t like coconut, so De Maria won’t be tempted by coconut. Jesus didn’t like sin, therefore Jesus won’t be tempted by sin. Ergo, you get rid of even external temptation. And then he gives me this definition:

    “Entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial.”

    How in the world am I supposed to read him? Especially when I never once said that Jesus experienced internal temptations. Asperger’s? Are you this arrogant in real life?

    No, because I am saying that there are common elements in both. I am also saying that obedience to the Mosaic Law is not one of those elements. It was given for a specific purpose at a specific time, and that purpose was not to justify people before God.

    Romans 2:13: “13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; ”

    The purpose of the law, indeed, was not to justify sinners, because sinners can’t do the law. But if they could do the law, they would be justified it. The doers of the law will be justified. And Paul is talking very specifically about the Mosaic law.

    Sure, by creating human beings with a nature that operates in a certain way. Scripture doesn’t record God issuing commandments to the angels in order to be able to judge them unworthy.

    Scripture doesn’t record everything, particularly in regards to angel. But in any case, the Bible does talk about angels sinning. There’s no sin when there is no law or commandments. Sin is not an ontological defect.

    Their fall simply resulted from violating their own (singular) natures. God doesn’t need to judge in those cases; the effect is automatic and self-enforcing, just as the effect of falling off a building is self-enforcing when one jumps off. No need for a courtroom or judge for natural justice, although that metaphor is sometimes used.

    So now God’s actions with regards to His creation are impersonal forces like gravity. Sounds awfully deistic to
    me.

    That’s exactly the opposite of imputation; the payor in no sense has the guilt of the person who owed the fine. It’s a perfect example of a judge justly allowing someone who was guilty to go free without imposing punishment on that person. That’s not imputation; it’s redemption.

    If the person does not go free without the fine being paid, then you have both.

    Except that he was. The co-signer has agreed to the obligations; he is also a debtor, just one with different contingent obligations. If the co-signer is listing his debts, he would have to list this one as well. If he didn’t, his listing would be fraudulent.

    That’s a good example of joint liability, which is somewhat analogous to the New Covenant. God gratuitously agrees to be jointly liable for our obligations, and once He does, they are assuredly paid. The closer analogy is actually to a family member, though, who is not obliged at all but who will inevitably step in when His children are in trouble. Hence, it is most like a parent who will step in for a child even when the child has done wrong.

    But the law doesn’t come after the co-signer until the first person fails to pay. There is no perfect analogy between human doings and divine doings in these matters. Yet Scripture says both that God will not justify the wicked and that He will justify the ungodly. God doesn’t justify the ungodly in Roman Catholicism. He justifies the godly and only the godly.

  255. @Jonathan,

    As you say, sin and righteousness is a matter of standing before God, not a property that can be transferred.

    No, I don’t say that. That’s you putting words in my mouth.

    The Word of God can’t participate in sin in any sense. That doesn’t mean He can’t commune with sinners;

    Those two statements don’t go together. There is “a sense” in which the Word of God can do just that. To say otherwise is to deny the Incarnation. And that makes you a Docetist.

    God is omniscient, and as such, He is the original example of having no filter.

    Wrong application of category. Yes, God is omniscient. No, that doesn’t reduce reality to a single facet. So God can consider realities from multiple perspectives. Besides, no one is saying imputed righteousness or guilt “fools” or “tricks” God into seeing something that isn’t really there. That’s just a variation on the “legal fiction” objection that only arises because you’re denying our union with Christ. Without the union piece, it all falls apart. But that’s essentially what you have to do to sustain your objections.

    On the contrary, because it is a personal category (which is what forensic categories are), that is exactly why the Word of God cannot fall in that category, even if He has a human nature.

    Nope. Again, you’re superimposing all kinds of scholasticism onto the text. You have no way of affirming the simple language that God cursed him and that he was made sin. Whatever it means, says you, it can’t mean what it actually says.

    No, death is incompatible with the divine nature.

    Yes. And so is sin.

    A divine person can (and did) die on the Cross according to His assumed humanity.

    Yep. And a divine person can and did “become sin” and accept a “curse” because of his assumed humanity and union with his sinful people.

    But assuming humanity doesn’t make the Word of God a different person.

    Right. Is anyone saying he’s a different person?

    which is exactly why you shouldn’t take the term “punishment” as meaning that God is literally sitting there doling out punishment. It’s a metaphor for God allowing the natural consequences to take place.

    Nope. It may be analogical, but it certainly isn’t a metaphor for merely “allowing natural consequences” to take place. In the first place, the language doesn’t permit that conclusion. In the second, who is finally responsible for creating a world with those consequences in the first place? If God pushes you over the edge or simply let’s you fall, he’s still the one who invented gravity, right? So like I said, if you reduce curses and punishment to a natural, mechanistic process, you’re essentially a Deist. But the Bible doesn’t permit that conclusion precisely because it doesn’t use that sort of language when it well could have.

    Your squeamishness over divine causality with respect to evil is absolutely unbiblical. And it doesn’t even make common sense anyway, when you think it through. You end up creating more problems than you solve. Instead of a Father who disciplines his children, you have an absentee dad who let’s the chips fall where they may. Playing in the street? Oh well. If you get hit by a car, serves you right. I’m not going to punish you. I’ll let the car do it instead.

    No, He really can’t. God can only consider things as they are; that’s what omniscience is.

    Lame. You reduce reality to a single facet only and still labor under the illusion that imputation is an attempt to pull the wool over God’s eyes.

    It’s that “New is simply the more explicit fulfillment of what we find in the Old” that I find troubling.

    No progressive revelation? What? No New hidden in the Old and Old brought to light in the New a la Dei Verbum? No analogy of faith? You sound like a dispensationalist, not a Roman Catholic. But then again, Nick reads the OT that way too, so perhaps I’m missing something here.

    First, the consequences of Adam’s sin were imposed naturally, no judge required.

    Nope.

    To the woman he said,

    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
    Your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

    17 And to Adam he said,

    “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
    of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
    cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
    till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
    for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

    Genesis 3:16-19, ESV

    Go ahead and dismiss this as anthropomorphic metaphor if you wish—“divide and dismiss”. But as with all other curses, God is the active agent. The consequences in this case aren’t natural at all. They’re supernaturally imposed by a judge. Sin’s intrusion into the created order has introduced an aberration into that order. The creation is now “under the bondage of corruption” as Paul says in Romans 8:21.

    Second, the voluntary acceptance of a penalty doesn’t require anybody imposing it. You just do it. For example, if I pay a fine for someone, the judge doesn’t assess the fine against me. He just takes the money.

    Such an impoverished, unbiblical analogy. This reduces God to a bureaucratic functionary. Why see the judge at all? If all you have to do is pay the fine, a clerk will be sufficient. Heck, you can pay it online now and bypass the middleman altogether. So long as the bureaucracy get’s its money, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.

    As I said, death isn’t imposed as a sentence by God. That’s simply an analogy for the consequences.

    Nope.

    And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

    This is a death sentence.

    Therefore, I have no reason to believe that Adam’s guilt is imputed at all.

    I do.

    For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22).

    Death isn’t a “natural consequence.” It’s an unnatural consequence. It was imposed on every single one of us “in Adam.” We all sinned “in him.” But exactly how? Was his sin like a representative who casts his vote on behalf of the people (with all of us unanimously agreeing with the way he voted)? Or is there a sense in which we were really “there” when he sinned? I tend to think the latter. We were “in him” and therefore Adam’s sin is really our sin due to our incorporation in him. Adam means, after all, man of clay. So in a corporate sense, he was us and we were him. However exactly we try to parse “in Adam,” one thing is certain. Guilt is collectively shared among us all and that is why we die. The imposition of the death sentence goes from Adam to us all, not mechanistically and impersonally, but judicially and personally. We are simply born into this world as guilty sinners and therefore from the moment of conception we are at enmity with God. Only imputation can explain that, even if one wants to join other theories of transmission to that.

    Furthermore, if death is a punishment for imputed guilt, and our sins were punished on the Cross, then nobody who is saved should die.

    And no one who is saved finally will, because the death from which we are saved has been defeated at the cross, and because we will rise again.

    My point is much simpler; the laws aren’t on God, so the idea of Him disobeying them doesn’t even make sense.

    Obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Nope—God just makes law, but he has no intention of obeying them. What are you playing at Jonathan? Even earthly Fathers have more moral consistency than this.

    That’s right. The sinner is no longer guilty, so He is acquitted.

    Nope. The sinner is guilty and continues to be guilty because he continues to sin. He is acquitted only insofar as he is in Christ, because Christ is righteous and innocent. So God considers the sinner, not as he is in himself, but as he is in Christ. And don’t try the omniscience nonsense here, because this isn’t about God not knowing, but about God knowing and sovereignly deciding to show the sinner mercy rather than justice.

    This is how God justifies the ungodly; He forgives them (justly) without punishing them, and acquits them.

    Nope. If God justifies the ungodly by forgiving them, then he has unjustly acquitted the guilty—something God cannot do in principle. But if God first considers the ungodly as they are “in Christ,” then he can acquit them because now he has chosen to view them as united with Christ who is righteous. So they get Christ’s righteousness by way of imputation.

    Sin, on the other hand is still punished—or more precisely—the substitute who receives the punishment due to our sins. So forgiveness is just only when the debt of sin is satisfied. But God can’t punish an innocent without violation of justice. But if God sovereignly decides to consider the innocent as being “in us sinners,” then Christ gets our guilt by way of imputation. Of course, God can only “consider” these things if they in fact correspond to reality. And in this case they do because of our union with Adam and with Christ (if we are in fact “in Christ”). All your objections effectively deny our union with Christ and Adam.

  256. Robert, you write:

    And as far as could, there’s lots of sins that justified people could commit that will lead to damnation. It’s just that God won’t let them.

    Robert, God has made a man with free will that is going to be held accountable for the choices that you make between good and evil. You are not a puppet that is being jerked around by strings labeled “irresistible grace”.

  257. Michael you write:

    Death isn’t a “natural consequence.” It’s an unnatural consequence. It was imposed on every single one of us “in Adam.” We all sinned “in him.” But exactly how? Was his sin like a representative who casts his vote on behalf of the people (with all of us unanimously agreeing with the way he voted)? Or is there a sense in which we were really “there” when he sinned? I tend to think the latter.

    So, Michael, you really think that you were there with Adam in Paradise, and you personally participated in committing sin with him – a sin that you bear personal guilt for committing. This sounds insane to me from a Christian perspective, but if you can, please explain exactly how you were with Adam before you were ever born.

    Do Calvinists, in general, actually believe in reincarnation? Because that is what you are describing.

  258. Mateo,

    Robert, God has made a man with free will that is going to be held accountable for the choices that you make between good and evil.

    Of course. He just didn’t make man with autonomous libertarian free will such that He can’t save us unless we have the decisive say in salvation. God saves, not God PLUS my non-determined, Robert’s-libertarian-free-will-is-more-powerful-than-God’s-love decision.

    You are not a puppet that is being jerked around by strings labeled “irresistible grace”.

    No jerking around here. Irresistible grace simply means that all those whom God truly wants to persuade in every sense of the word “want” will be persuaded. You, on the other hand, believe that there are some people whom God really wants to persuade to choose Him but for some reason He just can’t. So that means He’s either not beautiful enough, or smart enough, or clever enough to figure out how to persuade some people or that those who are persuaded have a little bit of righteousness left in them that allows them to make the right decision. Either way, those who do choose rightly end up helping God out. What we end up with is not the God of the Bible who does what He pleases in heaven and earth but a god who does what He pleases only insofar as good people like you help him out. So in your drive to preserve our autonomous free will, you actually make that autonomous will the most glorious thing in all creation. God would much rather you be autonomous than He would save you. He actually loves your mere possession of free will more than He loves you. How impersonal.

  259. Mateo,

    So, Michael, you really think that you were there with Adam in Paradise, and you personally participated in committing sin with him – a sin that you bear personal guilt for committing. This sounds insane to me from a Christian perspective, but if you can, please explain exactly how you were with Adam before you were ever born.

    So now you are accusing the great Augustine of being insane, because Augustine held that we were all in Adam. He affirmed a more realistic view of physical presence (which undoubtedly has some truth to it because all of us go back genetically to Adam), which many Calvinists have held, although the majority view is that we were there federally. Adam represented us so perfectly that we were actually there in a federal/forensic/judicial sense. I don’t see any reason why both can’t be true.

  260. Robert,

    I would be interested in knowing if Augustine said we are in Adam during his period as a Traducinist.
    He later rejected this theory for creationism ( of the soul, not the universe ).

    T. makes for an easy explanation of how original Sin is transmitted.
    C. is better when explaining Originals Sin to be the privation of grace.

  261. Robert you write:

    He just didn’t make man with autonomous libertarian free will such that He can’t save us unless we have the decisive say in salvation.

    Decisive? You are claiming that the “special people” (like you!) don’t have any say in the matter, less yet a decisive say. If you don’t have any say in whether or not you accept Christ, or reject Christ, then you are nothing but a puppet that is being controlled by the puppet master with strings labeled irresistible grace.

    But you are not a puppet, you are a man that can make real choices for good or evil, and you are going to be held accountable by God for the good and bad choices that you make.

  262. Robert, you write:

    … the majority view [of Calvinists]is that we were there federally. Adam represented us so perfectly that we were actually there in a federal/forensic/judicial sense.

    Again, what do you mean when you say that you, the man named Robert, was once “actually there” in Paradise with Adam?

    This illustrates one of the major problems I have with Calvinism – I ask a question for a clarification about what Calvinists really believe, and then receive a response that is is a load of incomprehensible double-talk. Even worse, when I do my best to understand the logical implications of what has just been explained to me by a Calvinist, and then spell out what I see as the logical implications of the explanation, I get accused of “not understanding Calvinism”! What I don’t get is a straightforward answer to why the logic of my reasoning is wrong.

    Who can understand Calvinism if logic and reason have to be jettisoned in order to “understand” Calvinism?

  263. @Robert:

    He actually loves your mere possession of free will more than He loves you. How impersonal.

    On the contrary, that is intimately personal, and that is exactly the point of it being tied to free will. Otherwise, neither Lucifer nor Adam would have existed. In short, God thought it more important for them to be who they were than to change them so as to be someone who was saved.

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