Saturday, July 04, 2009

Two false gospels: Daughters of Augustine, Part One

I've been looking into the doctrines of Calvinism off and on during this same time that I've also been studying Roman Catholicism, and today I again came across this statement about Calvinism here
by Pastor David Cloud of Way of Life Literature:

Thus, while I have not read every book on this subject that could be recommended by my readers, I have made a considerable effort to understand Calvinism properly and not to misrepresent it (though I have learned that a non-Calvinist will ALWAYS be charged with misrepresentation).

The Calvinist will doubtless argue that I simply don’t understand Calvinism properly, and to this I reply that if Calvinism is that complicated it can’t be the truth. If a reasonably intelligent preacher who has studied and taught the Bible diligently for 32 years and has published a Bible encyclopedia and many other Bible study books can study Calvinism with a desire to understand it properly and still not understand it, then it is far too complicated to be the truth! The apostle Paul warned that it is the devil that makes theology that complicated. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Of course, Calvinism is not simple by any means and this is one reason why it produces an elitist mentality. To understand Calvinism one must deal with compatibalism, monergism versus synergism, electing grace vs. irresistible grace, effectual calling vs. general calling, effective atonement vs. hypothetical atonement, libertarian free will vs. the bondage of the will, objective grace and subjective grace, natural ability and moral ability, mediate vs. immediate imputation of Adam’s sin, supralapsarianism, sublapsarianism, infralapsarianism, desiderative vs. decretive will, and antecedent hypothetical will, to name a few!


This statement reminded me of a statement I made to Elena (who is a Roman Catholic) about Roman Catholicism under the comment section on my post called 'Pastor Tony Bartolucci on Francis Beckwith: Drowning in the Tiber.' I had commented to Elena that I have been studying Roman Catholicism consistently for months, and on and off for several years, and she, apparently believing that Roman Catholicism is impossible to understand without years of study, or by those who do not adhere to it's tenets, said: " ooooo!! Months huh? Honey, you haven't even scratched the surface." My reply was:
That's arrogant, Elena. If it takes years to understand enough about the RCC to know whether or not it teaches the true gospel, then we are all hopeless, Elena. If the RCC teachings are so hard to understand that a normal person, a born again person like me, can't understand them when comparing them to scripture then the RCC teachings are definitely not the gospel, because the gospel is simple and concise. I don't need to study for twenty years and have an advanced degree in theology to be able to compare doctrines to scripture. All believers are told to do this, to beware of false teachings, and we all can do it in days or weeks if we prayerfully study with the help of the Spirit who teaches believers.


I have been coming to the conclusion that both Roman Catholicism and Calvinism are false doctrines, and both,coincidentally(?), descending at least in part from Augustine of Hippo.

163 comments:

Elena said...

I recently came across this problem in a college algebra book

ax2+bx+c=0

My son Sam understands this. But a mere 10 years ago he was just learning how to count!! And now he can do advanced algebra problems.

The fact that the problem is difficult for the normal person doesn't mean that it is impossible. It also doesn't mean that it's not a real algebra problem or an important algebreic concept.

Sam, as he has developed and grown in his understanding and maturity, is able to make more of this now than when he began.


And so it is with just about any topic you endeavor to understand.

And perhaps when you are more mature in your own understanding and maturity, you'll see that this is so.

Jennie said...

Elena,
The reason that I am able to see and understand the false doctrines of Roman Catholicism is exactly because of the principle which you illustrated above: since I was a little girl of 10, God has been 'adding precept upon precept, line upon line' and continues to teach me, until now as a more mature christian I am able to recognize false doctrine when I see it and compare it to the real gospel of scripture. It's the same principle used by those who are trained to recognize counterfeit money; they are trained by constantly studying and handling REAL money, so when they see and touch a fake bill, they immediately recognize it.
Roman Catholicism is big and has many doctrines and practices and aspects, but a person doesn't have to know everything about it to see the contradictions that are quickly apparent if he/she knows and accepts scripture as the final authority for christians.

Elena said...

Well Jennie, since I was a little girl (and I think it was earlier than 10 because I can certainly remember feeling the presence of God in church while I was sitting on my grandmother's lap during mass - so I'm gonna guess 3 or 4) God has been adding precept upon precept, line upon line and continues to teach me, until now,a s a more mature Christian (and I'm pretty sure I've got a few more years on you) I am able to recognize a false doctrine when I see it and compare it to the real Gospel of Scripture - which is why I chose 20 some years ago to remain a Catholic Christian.

Roman Catholicism is big and has many doctrines and practices. It is a very rich church with a deep culture and long history - deeper than any Protestant church can claim since Protestantism hasn't existed even half as long.

But the basics are there for even the children. I remember feeling it as a little one, and I have seen it in my own children, and even the Down's syndrome girl that attends mass each week.

And even they can see the folly and immediate contradiction in sola scriptura.


You want to go experience by experience, anecdote by anecdote I can beat it every time Jennie. Every time. effortlessly.

If you want to present something more challenging feel free to seek me out. If not, see ya.

Jennie said...

"I am able to recognize a false doctrine when I see it and compare it to the real Gospel of Scripture - which is why I chose 20 some years ago to remain a Catholic Christian."

Except you're not comparing to scripture alone, you are comparing to what the RCC has added to scripture. Truth mixed with a lie is wholly a lie. Adding to scripture makes it 'of no effect' to those who hear it.

"deeper than any Protestant church can claim since Protestantism hasn't existed even half as long."

Neither protestantism nor Roman catholicism is the oldest and original church; and ever since the beginnings of Roman catholicism there have been those who stood on God's word in dissent to false doctrines that crept in. Protestantism in the reformation was purer than catholicism, but never came completely out of it in some ways. All churches need to go back to the pure word of God, as Jesus calls us to do in Revelation. We can't be united under the errors of Rome or under the errors of protestantism; only under the pure uncorrupted word of God, which exists in scripture.
If you think deep and old makes something true, then just remember all the ancient religions, and remember satan has been lying to us since the beginning, and Jesus and the apostles compared false teachers to wolves in sheeps' clothing and angels of light. False teachings will seem and FEEL good and right, but we don't go by our feelings and hearts, but by God's word, the bible.

I have said before that there are true believers in all churches, if they have God's word to some extent. People can be saved anywhere if they hear the gospel, and if it isn't obscured so much by additions that they can't see it, then they can have faith in God and be saved. But many in all churches are unfortunately saved in spite of their church's teaching and not because of it, when they hear some grain of truth and accept it by faith. Then it's by God's mercy and grace if the word isn't choked out in their hearts by all the false things around it. This happens in baptist, methodist, presbyterian, and catholic churches, to name a few.
" And even they can see the folly and immediate contradiction in sola scriptura."
They see it as folly because they are taught to by those around them.
What is the immediate contradiction that you see, please?

"You want to go experience by experience, anecdote by anecdote I can beat it every time Jennie. Every time. effortlessly."

Experience is deceiving; only God's word is sure.

Elena said...

Oh what the heck - Let's see if I can take this one point by point before this load of laundry is done.

Except you're not comparing to scripture alone,

Scripture alone is unscriptural. Even with our little foray into Timothy your arguments supporting that stand are uncompelling and unreasonable. Until any protestant can make a compelling argument for scripture alone ( and good luck with that since the words 'scripture alone' together in a sentence even in the original languages does not exist! I will not discuss that topic again with you until something changes - I am not holding my breath.

you are comparing to what the RCC has added to scripture. Truth mixed with a lie is wholly a lie.

Strawman. The only lie I see here is the manmade doctrine of sola scriptura.



"deeper than any Protestant church can claim since Protestantism hasn't existed even half as long."

Neither protestantism nor Roman catholicism is the oldest and original church;

Wow Jennie - you sure have those strawmen, red herrings at the ready. I wasn't arguing that they were. But most certainly Protestantism is the new kid on the block at just slightly over 500 years old.



and ever since the beginnings of Roman catholicism there have been those who stood on God's word in dissent to false doctrines that crept in.

Yea. We call them heretics. Without the church to guide anyone can twist scripture to mean just about anything they want it to mean.


Protestantism in the reformation was purer than catholicism,

koff koff... hardly. And by the fractionated mess Protestantism has become it has gotten farther and farther from the original church as the decades go by.



All churches need to go back to the pure word of God, as Jesus calls us to do in Revelation.

So why don't you try it sometime? The Catholic church has safeguarded the original texts and the original languages. You wouldn't even have the "pure word of God" to beat over the heads of Catholics if it weren't for the Catholic church preserving it for you.

And as preserve the Catholic Church has also remained as the teacher and has preserved what we received from the apostles throughout the centuries.


If you think deep and old makes something true,


i see it's a reading comprehension thing as well. I brought out the deep and rich history as the parallel to your adjective of "big," which of course is an understatement.

Then of course this is another strawman fallacy because I never argued that age made something true.

False teachings will seem and FEEL good and right, but we don't go by our feelings and hearts, but by God's word, the bible.

Interestingly, Catholics get criticized a lot for the simplicity of the mass, while the mega churches with their lights, orchestras and music are there typically to insight "feelings." My niece, a new convert to Catholicism recently wrote on her blog:

"I also fear that I don't know how to grow in my faith without some of the crutches I had (the powerful music, lighting, and stages of many Protestant churches, for example, or their view of sin and suffering that kept my relationship with God dependent on the presence of drama in my life)"

Sigh...

Elena said...

" And even they can see the folly and immediate contradiction in sola scriptura."
They see it as folly because they are taught to by those around them.

Could I not say the same thing about you Jennie- oh daughter of the Pilgrim's?

Of course, I only mentioned the children because you wanted to go on and on about how difficult the Catholic church makes their teachings and yet I wanted to mention that is not true- children can and do get and understand the message of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. .


What is the immediate contradiction that you see, please?

The biggie of course is Sola Scriptura and the fruit of that- the gazillion Protestant denominations.

"You want to go experience by experience, anecdote by anecdote I can beat it every time Jennie. Every time. effortlessly."

Experience is deceiving; only God's word is sure.

I agree. So quit trying to use YOUR experiences and anecdotes in a debate because in this battle you are unarmed ma'm.

Jennie said...

Elena,
In Isaiah 1:20, it says "For the mouth of the LORD has spoken it." This isn't the only place the scriptures say something like that, of course. Would you agree that this could be said of the Bible? I will assume so, because if you don't agree then you can't claim christianity. Are there any other words besides the Bible which the Church can claim with certainty that 'the mouth of the LORD has spoken it'?

If there are not, then we should both agree that anything 'the mouth of the LORD has spoken' supercedes infinitely anything spoken by anyone else.
If the Church does claim that 'the mouth of the LORD has spoken' it's traditions which are not written in scripture, then the burden of proof is on them to show that these traditions agree with scripture because scripture IS THE WORD OF GOD AND BY DEFINITION MUST SUPERCEDE ANYTHING ELSE if you accept that God is supreme. There is no other answer unless the RCC would set themselves up as equal with or greater than God, and you know the author of that desire.

The burden of proof is not upon those who believe scripture is supreme, except because we care that those who don't accept this are in danger of judgment. The burden of proof is on the RCC because they are the ones who should fear for denying that His word takes precedence over their traditions and interpretations.
God has always given His word first to His prophets and Apostles and then they wrote it down for the future generations. There is nothing in the scriptures to support the idea of traditions added on to the scriptures being equal. Jesus condemned this, and said it 'made God's word to no effect' for them.

Jennie said...

Elena,
maybe you will respect the word of the church fathers, who had the understanding that, since the scriptures are God's word, then they are supreme.

Ambrose
"For how can we adopt those things which we do not find in the holy Scriptures?" - Ambrose (On the Duties of the Clergy, 1:23:102)

"The Arians, then, say that Christ is unlike the Father; we deny it. Nay, indeed, we shrink in dread from the word. Nevertheless I would not that your sacred Majesty should trust to argument and our disputation. Let us enquire of the Scriptures, of apostles, of prophets, of Christ. In a word, let us enquire of the Father...So, indeed, following the guidance of the Scriptures, our fathers [at the Council of Nicaea] declared, holding, moreover, that impious doctrines should be included in the record of their decrees, in order that the unbelief of Arius should discover itself, and not, as it were, mask itself with dye or face-paint." - Ambrose (Exposition of the Christian Faith, 1:6:43, 1:18:119)

Augustine
"In order to leave room for such profitable discussions of difficult questions, there is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. The authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles through the successions of bishops and the extension of the Church, and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims the submission of every faithful and pious mind....In the innumerable books that have been written latterly we may sometimes find the same truth as in Scripture, but there is not the same authority. Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself." - Augustine (Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, 11:5)

"Every sickness of the soul hath in Scripture its proper remedy." - Augustine (Expositions on the Psalms, 37:2)

Clement of Alexandria
"But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves." - Clement of Alexandria (The Stromata, 7:16)

Cyril of Jerusalem
"For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures." - Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, 4:17)

Dionysius of Alexandria
"Nor did we evade objections, but we endeavored as far as possible to hold to and confirm the things which lay before us, and if the reason given satisfied us, we were not ashamed to change our opinions and agree with others; but on the contrary, conscientiously and sincerely, and with hearts laid open before God, we accepted whatever was established by the proofs and teachings of the Holy Scriptures." - Dionysius of Alexandria (cited in the church history of Eusebius, 7:24)

Gregory of Nyssa
"we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings...And to those who are expert only in the technical methods of proof a mere demonstration suffices to convince; but as for ourselves, we were agreed that there is something more trustworthy than any of these artificial conclusions, namely, that which the teachings of Holy Scripture point to: and so I deem that it is necessary to inquire, in addition to what has been said, whether this inspired teaching harmonizes with it all. And who, she replied, could deny that truth is to be found only in that upon which the seal of Scriptural testimony is set?" - Macrina and Gregory of Nyssa (On the Soul and the Resurrection)

Jennie said...

Irenaeus
"They [heretics] gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures...We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith....It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and to demonstrate the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these heretics rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to 'the perfect' apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon to the Church, but if they should fall away, the direst calamity....proofs of the things which are contained in the Scriptures cannot be shown except from the Scriptures themselves." - Irenaeus (Against Heresies, 1:8:1, 3:1:1, 3:3:1, 3:12:9)

Jerome
"When, then, anything in my little work seems to you harsh, have regard not to my words, but to the Scripture, whence they are taken." - Jerome (Letter 48:20)

"I beg of you, my dear brother, to live among these books [scripture], to meditate upon them, to know nothing else, to seek nothing else." - Jerome (Letter 53:10)

"When Paula comes to be a little older and to increase like her Spouse in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man, let her go with her parents to the temple of her true Father but let her not come out of the temple with them. Let them seek her upon the world's highway amid the crowds and the throng of their kinsfolk, and let them find her nowhere but in the shrine of the scriptures" - Jerome (Letter 107:7)

Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr wrote:

"And now, if I say this to you, although I have repeated it many times, I know that it is not absurd so to do. For it is a ridiculous thing to see the sun, and the moon, and the other stars, continually keeping the same course, and bringing round the different seasons; and to see the computer who may be asked how many are twice two, because he has frequently said that they are four, not ceasing to say again that they are four; and equally so other things, which are confidently admitted, to be continually mentioned and admitted in like manner; yet that he who founds his discourse on the prophetic Scriptures should leave them and abstain from constantly referring to the same Scriptures, because it is thought he can bring forth something better than Scripture. The passage, then, by which I proved that God reveals that there are both angels and hosts in heaven is this: 'Praise the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the highest. Praise Him, all His angels: praise Him, all His hosts.'" (Dialogue with Trypho, 85)
(continued)

Jennie said...

Note from the commentator of the fathers:
A common Catholic response to such patristic passages is to argue that the church father in question was only referring to the importance of scripture, not its sufficiency. In other words, though Justin Martyr is correct that there's nothing better than scripture, he isn't denying that there can be other sources of *equal* authority, such as the traditions of Roman Catholicism.

But Justin criticizes those who would "leave" scripture, who wouldn't "constantly" look to it in their arguments. If we can't leave scripture, and we're to look to it constantly, what is that if not sola scriptura?

Another common Catholic response to such patristic passages is to claim that the church father was advocating the material sufficiency of scripture, but not its formal sufficiency. In other words, all doctrines can be derived from scripture, but we need the infallible Roman Catholic hierarchy to guide us, to tell us what is to be derived from the scriptures. But Justin doesn't say that. He doesn't refer to scripture being sufficient if accompanied by the interpretations of the Roman Catholic magisterium. Rather, he refers to scripture itself being sufficient. Just after his comments on the sufficiency of scripture, Justin goes on to quote a passage from the Psalms as proof for one of his arguments. Instead of quoting the Roman Catholic magisterium's interpretation of the Psalm, Justin tells us that the Psalm itself is the proof.

It doesn't seem, then, that Justin had material sufficiency in view. It seems that he was referring to the formal sufficiency of scripture. Even if he had been referring to material sufficiency, the popularity of material sufficiency in some Roman Catholic circles is of recent origin, and some Catholics still reject the concept.

If scripture is as insufficient, as unclear as Roman Catholics claim it is, one wonders why there wasn't some infallible interpreter of scripture in the Old Testament era, one to which both Justin Martyr and Trypho could have appealed in their disputes over the Messianic prophecies. Justin Martyr shows no knowledge of such an Old Testament infallible interpreter, nor does he show any knowledge of such an institution in this New Testament era.

Elena said...

We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures,

The bible as you know it did not exist when Ireneaus wrote this and clearly he was speaking of the ORAL TRADITION which was handed down via apostolic succession - he was also a big supporter of the papacy as were the other church fathers you quoted from. St. Justin Martyr is a particular favorite of mine and wrote about the Catholic Mass - which, if you had done your homework, you would know already.

So it's pretty much same ole same ole Jennie- nothing new, compelling or exciting and I remain unswayed and unimpressed.

Jennie said...

Elena,
they had all the written scriptures by then, if not in one book form. It says in the quote 'handed down to us in the Scriptures.' How can you say they didn't have them? They also had knowledge of which books were inspired and which weren't.
The papacy did not exist at that time. The bishop of Rome was just another bishop, and may have been asked for his advice on matters as the bishop in a large powerful city, but they were equals until they began to gain power later on, against the commands of Christ. The catholic church is the one who has revised history to suit their purposes. You've been told that the protestants have done this, but you've been lied to by your magisterium.
Justin Martyrs' description could apply to any church who worships simply, without the modern music and hype, which is a travesty.

Jennie said...

I know you aren't going to care, Elena, but for anyone else who is interested, here are some links on the supremacy of God's word.

http://www.christiantruth.com/bahnsen.html

http://www.mountzion.org/fgb/Fall94/FgbF6-94.html

http://www.reformedreader.org/ss01.htm

http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pt093.htm

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2004/04/ten-objections-to-sola-scriptura-1.html
http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2004/04/ten-objections-to-sola-scriptura-2.html

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/sola-scriptura-earlychurch.html

http://www.reformationtheology.com/2006/07/a_refutation_of_roman_catholic.php

Jennie said...

Deuteronomy 13:1-5
1 Corinthians 4:6

Barbara C. said...

I know I am probably wasting my time, but 2 points:

1. The Christian churches existed before the writings comprising the New Testament did. That alone proves that sola scriptura is false. Even if the early Christians believed in sola scriptura (which the Pharasaic Judaism in which Christianity is rooted did not) the references in the epistles referred to the Hebrew Scriptures. Furthermore, early Christians followed the Jewish model of Oral Tradition. Oral Tradition is what the Church looks in addition to the Written Tradition of Scripture.

2. The basic tenants of Catholicism are simple. However, the symbolism, the history, the layers of deeper understanding are as infinite as God himself just like all of God's creations.

Look at an artistic masterpiece. A child can look at Van Gogh's "Fourteen Sunflower in a Vase" and see that it is sunflowers, but an adult can look at the painting and appreciate deeper aspects of the work. And someone who has studied art can appreciate things that others wouldn't even notice. That is what makes it a masterpiece. And God is the ultimate Master.

Jennie said...

Barbara,
The Christian churches at the beginning had the Apostles, who gave the word orally and in written form. Sola Scriptura doesn't claim that the early church (while the Apostles still lived) believed the word could only be in written form. Sola Scriptura became the watch word of the reformers because they knew that there was NO LONGER any new revelation or word of God that was separate from the written word passed down by the Apostles. The scriptures alone are NOW God's word, even though at first it was spoken by the eyewitnesses that were directly taught and ordained by Christ. There are no more apostles since then.
There was no oral tradition that was not eventually, before the Apostles died, put into written form. The early fathers knew this. The RCC has only claimed this since she started adding to scripture and had to make excuse for this. There is ample evidence that none of the disputed doctrines existed at the beginning, but gradually were added. Someone who's not indoctrinated by the revised histories of Rome can see this clearly when they look into it.
The Israelites did not pass down God's word from generation to generation only by oral tradition. They had the scriptures, which of course grew as they were written ny the prophets, and carefully preserved them and taught them.
Every word of a prophet had to be compared to the scripture, and to be shown to be true; it had to come to pass AND not contadict scripture.

The basic tenets are simple, and I understand them; and I see that they contradict the gospel. The deeper you go the more they contradict.

Sue Bee said...

Two quick points:
1. The 5 Solas (including Sola Scriptura) are tenets of Calvinism/Reformed theology. If Calvinism is false doctrine then we have a baby & bathwater issue here, don't we? Are you trashing all of Reformed Theology or just the some of it? And how do you decide what stays and what goes?

2. Since we are saved by Grace through Faith, why is teaching by Scripture alone insufficent? What is wrong with the church basing its traditions on Scripture alone? How does Sola Scriptura threaten anyone's salvation?

Jennie said...

Sue Bee,
If you read the articles I linked to by David Cloud, you'll see what he believes to be the false doctrine of calvinism, which basically includes the 5 points of Calvinism or TULIP.
The solas are not specifically Calvin's teaching and are certainly scriptural.
Who is saying that scripture alone is insufficient, except for the catholics? I assume you must be asking them this 2nd question.
If their traditions WERE based on scripture and didn't contradict it, no one would care if they practiced them.

Jennie said...

You'll have to look under part two of this post to find the links I mentioned about calvinism.

Barbara C. said...

Actually, the Eastern Orthodox, also do not believe in Sola Scriptura. I don't know whether the poor Orthodox are slighted or lucky that they don't get so misrepresented, misunderstood, and generally harassed.

And the majority of our traditions ARE blatantly supported by scripture and none of them contradict scripture based on our interpretation of scripture.

Jennie said...

Barbara, The major problem that non-catholics see is that the traditions and interpretations have added to and twisted the doctrines of salvation so that people don't understand how to be saved, but think they must merit salvation by doing works and sacraments. that is why the reformers and others earlier stressed returning to scripture alone, so that people could hear the simple truth of the gospel that we are helpless sinners and must trust in Christ to cleanse us and forgive and renew us; apart from any works of our own, we are justified and washed and reborn by His Spirit by faith; that is the grace of God.

Jennie said...

See Romans 4 where it says, 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
David Celebrates the Same Truth

5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

Jennie said...

Please read all of Romans 4 to see what it says about righteousness by faith.
The passage goes on to say:

9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

Notice that Abraham's faith in God, which caused him to obey God by faith, was accounted to him as righteousness BEFORE he was circumcised. The passage goes on to say that the circumcision then was a SIGN and seal of the righteousness by faith which he already had before he was circumcised.
Abraham was accounted righteous by faith, which was SHOWN by his obedience to God's commands (God's word) and signified by his later circumcision, which is asign of the cutting off (death) of the flesh (sinful nature). today our baptism after we come to faith in Christ is a sign of the death and burial of our old sinful nature which by FAITH was nailed to the cross. We are not saved BY the sacraments; they are a sign that we are saved and are continuing in obedience (faith) to God. If we do not continue in obedience then that will be a sign (as James says) that our faith is not true faith, but dead.
Notice that first Abraham was called by God (as we all are:'If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me') and then he responded by saving faith. If he had just tried to do good things to justify himself without responding to God's call, he would have been lost. Jesus said 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.' We come to Him by faith, and His shed blood cleanses us, and His righteousness is imputed to us. We are reborn a new creation by the Holy Spirit, sealed for salvation. This is signified by water baptism, which is a visible sign that we are washed by the Spirit and reborn by faith. It is our first act of obedience to show our faith in God.

Barbara C. said...

The Catholic Church does not teach that one merits salvation "by doing works and sacraments". Salvation is through faith by the Grace of God. Just as works without faith are empty, faith without good works is dead. Hopefully, good works are a natural extension of one's faith. We are called by Jesus to do good works (acts of charity). At the same time, doing acts of charity can be a conduit for God's grace if God so chooses.

Sacraments are transmissions of God's grace that fortify one's faith, and also require faith in order to be fully valid. The mass murderer that truly repents at the eleventh hour and accepts the Grace of God can attain heaven just like the cradle Catholic who has always believed, done good works, and received sacraments. However, if the mass murderer then goes out and murders again, did he truly accept the Grace of God or was his declaration of faith just something to impress others? In the end only God truly knows a person's heart.

And Biblical interpretations are like elbows, every individual as a few (hence the never-ending number of Protestant denominations). And not surprisingly you are taking Romans 4 out of context. Romans 4 is part of the larger discussion about the "spirit of the law" versus the "letter of the law" as specifically relates to the necessity of circumcision for Gentile converts.

In the passage you quote, Paul uses a metaphor comparing one who follows the letter of the law without belief or understanding of its purpose to an employee who is just working for the money. This is not a reference to or discussion of whether a Christian is called to do good works.

Abraham was not justified because he followed the laws but because his faith led him to follow the laws. But in Romans 7:6, Paul makes it clear that the laws themselves are also holy, righteous, and good, even if people have allowed the laws to lead them to sin and erroneous thinking.

Jesus is clear that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Jesus tells us that when we help the least of his people we are helping him. He commands us to "love our neighbors". Love is an action not just a feeling.

So when we do good works we are following Jesus' commands. Salvation by good works is NOT a teaching of the Catholic Church, even though the Catholic Church sees good works as an important part of living the Gospel.

Barbara C. said...

"We are not saved BY the sacraments; they are a sign that we are saved and are continuing in obedience (faith) to God. If we do not continue in obedience then that will be a sign (as James says) that our faith is not true faith, but dead."

Again, this is what the Catholic Church teaches with the understanding that God CAN use sacraments and good works to call a person to him, just as God can use other means, because He is all-powerful.

So why harass Catholics for placing importance on receiving the Sacraments or doing good works if they are signs of obedience to God? Again, only God can look into another person's heart and know what their true motive or understanding is. Again to paraphrase Romans 7:6, just because the laws have been misconstrued and possibly led people to sin that does not mean that the laws are wrong.

Jennie said...

Barbara,
"And not surprisingly you are taking Romans 4 out of context. Romans 4 is part of the larger discussion about the "spirit of the law" versus the "letter of the law" as specifically relates to the necessity of circumcision for Gentile converts."
No, you are taking Romans out of context; out of its context of the entire scriptures, that is. And you can't say that Romans' message of justification by faith instead of by works does not apply to us as well as to those to whom Paul originally wrote it.

Jennie said...

Barbara,
is it not true that the RCC teaches that a persons justification is an ongoing process rather than being accomplished when the person comes to faith in Christ? The bible teaches that a person is first justified by faith in Christ's sacrifice, which is accompanied by repentance, and at this time is washed and reborn and has eternal life.

Jennie said...

Has the Council of Trent been repudiated? Because what you described sounds like protestant doctrine, but what is held to by the overall teaching and practice of the RCC is different than what you said.

Jennie said...

http://www.justforcatholics.org/ecumenism.htm
Here is an article from Just for Catholics that speaks briefly on the subject of the difference between catholic and protestant teaching on justification, etc. He has many other articles on specific subjects of question.

Jennie said...

Hi everyone,
Talking to you all and searching the scriptures, as well as reading what other Christians have to say on the subject, is helping me to understand and to learn to share the gospel with others better. I hope you who are catholic don't think I just enjoy picking a fight, because I am doing this first of all to record my own thoughts and the things I've found that have helped me understand the differences between the catholic and protestant and biblical teachings (since as I've said, some protestant teachings are very suspect, though not justification by faith alone). I have been driven to do this lately because of the conflicting messages I have gotten on what the RCC really teaches, and how it compares to the bible; as well as what really happened historically, because there are conflicting stories there, too. I also get conflicting messages from individual catholics and from the teachings and pronouncements of the RCC. For instance, why should
Trent not be considered by protestants as representative of what the RCC teaches? It was a 'planted flag' for the RCC against the reformers, and its' anathemas spell out what they hated about the reformers' teaching.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Dear Jennie,

I think what is happening is that God is working with people, regardless of their denominational background to draw them closer to Him. We are now living in a time when God is seeking for people who are willing to focus on Him and Him only, and not be mislead by false teachers and false doctrines. He is going to accomplish this whether the church denominations cooperate or not!

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold,and one shepherd." (John 10: 16).

Jesus is calling us all into His true eternal Church of the heavenly realm. Not a church or temple made with hands, but a spiritual building of faith, of which Christ is the chief cornerstone.

Elena said...

I have gotten on what the RCC really teaches, and how it compares to the bible;

Get a copy of the catechism and the compendium and go through it with the bible... why is that so hard to convince someone who wants to understand this stuff that this is the best, easiest, most complete way to do it?

Jennie said...

Hi Hillary (Daughter of Wisdom),
I think you are right. And I believe the urgency I feel to call people to go back to the purity of God's word is part of this. His grace and mercy is always at work.

I'm glad if some catholics are getting the message of the gospel by whatever means. I know the scriptures are used in services and many are attending bible studies. Any time God's word is given, it can lead people to Him. But I still see confusion there and unless this changes, most are not understanding the gospel and are being lost. That's my concern.

Jennie said...

Elena,
"Get a copy of the catechism and the compendium and go through it with the bible... why is that so hard to convince someone who wants to understand this stuff that this is the best, easiest, most complete way to do it?"

The reason I don't think reading the catechism is going to help (though I have read some, but it's really boring, and I don't see the point of rewriting everything if reading the bible is better. It does add things to scripture too.) is because of what I already said about there being a mixed message. The catechism says one thing that sounds pretty close to the bible, but then there are other teachings and practices that are added on that contradict the scriptures, as well as the councils and stands against bible believers; and the stance that the Church is equal in authority to the scriptures, which in effect makes the bride equal in authority with Christ. Then as I've already said, they teach that justification is ongoing by good works and sacraments rather than by grace through faith apart from works. The bible teaches faith all the way from justification (rebirth) through sanctification by God's word and the Spirit in us. Our good works don't justify us or make us holy. God does by his grace through our faith in Him. We obey Him by abiding in Him by His word and prayer (not contemplative prayer which is TM). We do good works as a result of our faith, not to merit salvation. Oops, I'm preaching again...

Jennie said...

Got to add one more thought. We do not make ourselves holy after justification by doing good works and doing church things. We are made holy by the Holy Spirit working in us through His word. 'Sanctify them by thy Truth. Thy word is Truth.' 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'

Kelly said...

Even at the time the Church was condemning the idea of salvation by faith alone, it took the time to also condemn salvation by works.

Canon 1.
If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

Wow! The very first canon, huh? Must be important.


From a Trent heavy post at VTC.

http://mdcalexatestblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/anathemas-part-iii.html

Jennie said...

Kelly,
"If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ,"
This is more confusion. It says in effect, 'If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works without divine grace through Jesus Christ' if you leave out the phrase in the middle which doesn't change the meaning of it at all. We are not justified by our own works with help from God's grace; we are justified by God's grace through faith APART from any works at all.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Okay, I see where some of the confusion comes in. In Romans 2: 13 Paul says, "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified".

In Romans 3:28, he however says, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law".

Hmmm. Seems confusing and contradictory at a glance and with casual reading. If we however start to read this epistle from the beginning, i.e chapter 1, then we can understand how Paul came to this conclusion in Chapter 3, and what he was really saying.

In Chapter 1 he dealt with knowledge of God being known to both Jews and Gentiles alike, through observation of the natural world and the laws of nature (see vss.16-32). In Chapter 2 Paul talks about God's law as the standard by which all will be judged, whether or not they have an actual copy of the law in their possession, or whether or not they have been taught the law. That is because the law of God is "written in their hearts" (vs. 15). Therefore Gentiles who break God's law are without excuse. They cannot claim ignorance because the law is written in their hearts. That is why universally people know not to kill, steal, lie, commit adultery, etc. EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT CHRISTIANS OR HAVE NEVER READ A BIBLE.

In Chapter 3 Paul is saying the righteousness can be attained without a person ever reading a Bible because it is acquired by faith. Abraham was counted righteous because he believed God, even though he had no real knowledge of God's law at the time when he was called out of Mesopotamia.

Paul was making this point to show that one does not have to be a student of the law to be saved, as many Jews taught at the time. He was saying that even Gentiles who did not at that time have access to God's written law, could be saved and justified just on the belief and faith only that Jesus died for their sins, because the Gentiles also knew within their hearts what was sin, based upon God's law written in their hearts.

I think this is what Paul was saying. He was not trying to create a new doctrine, but was showing the justice of God against sinners - Jew or Gentile alike, because all have sinned and come short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). He was also showing how God could save to the utmost, even Gentile sinners who knew not the law, but who had an intuitive understanding of it, how they could be led to repentance and faith in Christ, because of His law, which is written in their hearts.

Jennie said...

"Abraham was not justified because he followed the laws but because his faith led him to follow the laws. But in Romans 7:6, Paul makes it clear that the laws themselves are also holy, righteous, and good, even if people have allowed the laws to lead them to sin and erroneous thinking."
Barbara, I wanted to go back to this statement because I thought it needed comment.

Romans 7:5-6 says 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

You said that Abraham was not justified because he followed the laws, but because his faith led him to follow the laws. The bible doesn't say that. It says 'Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Abraham's faith (his belief in God's word of promise and trust in Him to do as He said He would) was accounted to him for righteousness. His faith led him to obey God's call and leave all that he knew to go to the promised land. Secondly, there WAS no law yet given when Abaham was called. He didn't follow a law, but a promise, and he was saved not by what he did but by his faith in God. His faith led him to obey God who called him.
The passage in Romans 7 says first of all that while we are still in the flesh, before we are reborn, the law only inflames our desire to sin, because we are rebellious. The law only shows us that we are sinners, because we cannot keep it in our hearts or our actions. But when we come to faith in Christ, we die to sin and the letter of the law, and the law is written in our hearts by the Spirit when He regenerates us. We can serve God from our hearts by his Spirit.
Abraham walked by faith because he wholly trusted in God's word (God's promise and call), and all he did showed that he knew God told him the truth.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Abraham by the way was not mentioned in Chapter 3, but in chapter 4. I just used him as an example for chapter 3.

Chapter 4 is a remarkable chapter that describes the justification of Abraham based upon faith, that occurred while Abraham was not yet a law-keeper.

Jennie said...

Oops. Are we clashing on our ideas of God writing His law in our hearts? No I think the Romans 1 mention of this is different than what I mentioned about being reborn. I was thinking of the following passage in Hebrews, which is quoting from Jeremiah 31:33:

Hebrews 8:10 (New King James Version)
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

This is clearly talking about the people having a new heart that is able to follow His law for love and not obligation. The Romans 1 passage is talking about our conscience that even unregenerate people have that knows right and wrong, even though they have no ability to do right from a pure heart because they are dead in sin.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

My conclusion to the whole matter is this:

We have all sinned, because God's law which is written in our hearts, even if we do not have a Bible that tells us so. Abraham had God's law in his heart, even before he became saved and justified. He believed in God's promises of salvation, accepted God's plan, and was justified on that belief. Do you really think God was just promising Abraham the land of Canaan? Read Hebrews 11:8-16 what it says about Abraham's hope.

"For he looked for a city which hath foundations builder and maker is God...these having died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country... But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11: 10,13,14,16).

Abraham however did not become known as father of the faithful just on this one act alone, but he went on to live a life of faith, doing good and righteous works, and living in obedience in the sight of God.

We must not let our initial encounter of salvation with God be the only time we show faith. As Christians, we are called upon to live a CONTINUOUS LIFE OF FAITH, until the day we die. A life of faith is filled with good works (loving your neighbor as yourself), obedience (obeying God's law), and trusting in every word that comes from God.

Paul said...

Jennie,
Protestant James White will be debating/discussing The Papacy with R.C Apologist Matthew Bellisario Thurs. July 09 at 7 p.m on his webcast.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

No we are not really clashing. Hebrews 8:10 is dealing with the old covenant that God made with Israel that was based upon the written law. This written law had to be studied to be known because it was not intuitive. It contained not only the Ten Commandments, but also the statutes and judgments contained in the law of Moses.

The New Covenant is based upon the law of God written in our hearts, which is intuitive to all peoples. God will then work through our hearts to perfect us in this new covenant.

Under the old covenant, the law was an academic exercise where the students became quite skillful at dodging and getting around the law, because it was not done from the heart.

Under the new system, which by the way has always existed but was not practiced often, God places greater emphasis on what is done from the heart, and gives us a heart that can be obedient to His laws.

Jennie said...

Thanks, Hillary (Daughter of Wisdom)
I think we're in agreement.

Paul, thanks for the info and for stopping by. James White is very knowledgeable, though sometimes his attitude seems to offend people. I would be interested in hearing what he has to say, though.

Elena said...

The reason I don't think reading the catechism is going to help

How can you possibly hope to understand Catholicism if you don't care to study the sole repository of all that the Catholic church teaches?

Well you want to go back and look at what you think the COuncil of Trent says - when you could go to the catechism, and get all of the trent references and the explanations in a modern language.

You're attempts are amateurish and you will never ever "win over" a well-catechized Catholic with them. You might get the typical sorta Catholic with one foot out the church and the other on a banana peel, but really, where's the fun in that?

Elena said...

"Then as I've already said, they teach that justification is ongoing by good works and sacraments rather than by grace through faith apart from works."

Where specifically does it say that in the Catechism of the Catholic Church jennie? Which paragraph?

Jennie said...

"You're attempts are amateurish and you will never ever "win over" a well-catechized Catholic with them. You might get the typical sorta Catholic with one foot out the church and the other on a banana peel, but really, where's the fun in that?"
Whose side are you on, anyway?

OK Elena, I've looked a little at the catechism, and will read some more; but what I've seen so far (and I've seen alot of this before but it's been a while, so I need a review) shows me that, while what I've said imay not be stated in one paragraph anywhere, the overall effect of the teachings is that you must work to gain salvation and to maintain or regain it if justification is lost.
I don't know if you really want me to do this, because protestants have studied all this and showed that the teachings, in effect, are making people work to try to gain salvation. It also shows that the catechism is designed to make it seem initially that you are saved by grace, but later you find that you must maintain it by works. This is false and deceptive.

Elena said...

Nope. Doesn't work Jennie. You're making a claim that the Catholic church is saying that justification is ongoing by good works and sacraments rather than by grace through faith - I think you need to put up or shut up. Where precisely does it say that in the catechism?

Kelly said...

CCC #161: Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. "Since "without faith it is impossible to please [God]" and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life 'But he who endures to the end.'"

#169: Salvation comes from God alone

#1741: Liberation and salvation. By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. "For freedom Christ has set us free." In him we have communion with the "truth that makes us free." The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Already we glory in the "liberty of the children of God."

#620: Our salvation flows from God's initiative of love for us, because "he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (1 Jn 4:10). "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor 5:19).


CCC #1427 It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life.

#2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved. However, according to the Lord's words "Thus you will know them by their fruits"- reflection on God's blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.

However, the Catechism is a book of doctrines that we hold, not refutations, so I can't actually produce a paragraph saying that we don't believe in works salvation.

Jennie said...

"However, the Catechism is a book of doctrines that we hold, not refutations, so I can't actually produce a paragraph saying that we don't believe in works salvation."
Yes, and I don't expect there to be one paragraph that says you do, either. But that's not a requirement in order to show that it's true. If it can be shown that the teachings are saying this overall, and that there are confusing, contradictory messages being given, then that is sufficient.

Elena said...

Kelly!!! Thanks for posting that but I wanted Jennie to actually do the delving. I sort of think that if someone says they want to fix a turkey dinner they have to actually put their hands into the bird and get the guts out!

But that's not a requirement in order to show that it's true.

yea, it is Jennie. The Catechism is "the sure norm" of what Catholics believe. If the Catholic Church teaches it, it's in there, and you should be able to produce it.

But that said, Kelly saved your butt Jennie. And if you had any sense - now would be the time to start feeling a bit foolish.

Show of hands from Catholics who find it all "confusing and contradictory." The catechism was one of the tools that helped me revert back to my Catholic faith. I appreciated that it took the richness of the faith and condensed it down into readable bite sized chunks. But maybe that's just me. Kelly, Barbara... do you guys see it as "confusing

Paul said...

"The Roman Catholic Church teaches that justification is by grace through faith on account of Jesus Christ. This sounds quite orthodox, but on closer examination it becomes clear that the meaning of the terms faith, justification and grace are defined differently by the Roman Catholic Church from that of the Protestant. Though the two churches use the same terms they do not mean the same things by them. This is similar historically to the Pelagian controversy in the early 5th century. Pelagius was a heretic vigorously opposed by Augustine and the orthodox Church of his day. But both Pelagius and Augustine would have passed the test for unity as proscribed by the proponents of ECT 1 and 2. Both men affirmed the truth of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and the fourth century Councils. Was Augustine then wrong in opposing him?"

source:

Saving Faith: How does Rome Define It?

Is There a Basis for Unity Between Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism?

by William Webster

http://www.christiantruth.com/savingfaithandrome.html

Kelly said...

Kelly!!! Thanks for posting that but I wanted Jennie to actually do the delving.

I know, but I am limited to what I can cut and paste with one hand while nursing. I have about two minutes right now to type.

I don't know if you really want me to do this, because protestants have studied all this and showed that the teachings, in effect, are making people work to try to gain salvation. It also shows that the catechism is designed to make it seem initially that you are saved by grace, but later you find that you must maintain it by works. This is false and deceptive.

Do you realize how condescending and just plain ol' insulting this is?

At what point will Elena, Barbara and I find that we must maintain our salvation by works? Do you know any Level One Catholic which have actually received this information? If all the Catholics you have met don't believe in salvation by works, then at what point will you admit that it isn't the teaching of the Church.

Furthermore, if it is some sort of secret teaching, but very few Catholics actually believe it, then does it matter? Because I thought it was what we believed that effected our salvation, not our official membership in a church with has secret teachings. Oh, and if they are secret, then why have the clever protestants been able to discover and refute them?

Let me turn the tables on you in order to illustrate what you are saying:

Catholics have studied protestant teaching and shown that while they claim they believe in salvation by grace or faith, they actually do not. If you study the writings of protestants, or even talk to them, they say they attained salvation "when I accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour," "when I said the sinner's prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart," "when I turned away from sin and began to follow Jesus."

None of these doctrines places the moment of salvation in the proper contest of Jesus or God, but it is all what a person does to save himself.

Time's up, baby's crying. Gotta go.

Jennie said...

Elena,
Me: "But that's not a requirement in order to show that it's true."

You: "yea, it is Jennie. The Catechism is "the sure norm" of what Catholics believe. If the Catholic Church teaches it, it's in there, and you should be able to produce it."

I said its not a requirement that i find it stated in ONE paragraph.Meaning that the accumulated teachings have the effect of teaching works salvation.
I'll try to do a post on it.

Paul said...

#162
"Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since ‘without faith it is impossible to please [God]' and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘but he who endures to the end.'"43

# 2027
" No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

Notice that "we can merit for ourselves" what is "needed to attain eternal life"

#2025

We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.

Note: Merit is ascribed both to Man and to God

Jennie said...

Kelly,
"Do you realize how condescending and just plain ol' insulting this is?"
The 'I don't know if you really want me to do this' was directed at Elena, who seems to think all I have to do is read the catechism and I'll be convinced, but others have already done this and quickly found contradictions. I'm not meaning to be condescending, but sometimes I unconsciously answer Elena in her own tone.
It's not to be insulting that I say the catechism teaches false doctrine if I find false doctrine in it. And if it says in on place what sounds scriptural, but then later cancels this out by teaching works, then this IS deceptive.

Elena said...

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. I think if you are going to hate the Catholic church, you should hate it for what it really teaches, not for what YOU THINK it teaches. Make your conviction based on WHAT YOU KNOW not on what "others have already done." What makes "others" so much more authoritative anyway?

And you can copy my tone. I fully admit that I am in a really bad mood and I am letting you have the full brunt of it. So thanks for that. It's nothing personal.

Jennie said...

Thanks, Paul,
I have also seen that catholics and protestants use the same words but don't mean the same thing by them, which makes it confusing to have a conversation.
Thanks for the quotes and comments from the catechism. Those are some of the ones I've seen too. I think I need to read it some more because the teachings are spread out in many areas and its hard to pin it down.

Jennie said...

Elena, if someone has done a study on the catechism's teaching on justification, etc. then it is helpful for me to see what they said. When I read a section called CHAPTER THREE - GOD'S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE I saw several contradictions. I don't want to try to list them here, because it would take too long. I'm going to read some more and make a post soon.

I'm sorry; I'll try not to get irritated back at you. You're going through a bad time and I should remember that.

The Squirrel said...

RE: the CCC - "...teachings are spread out in many areas and its hard to pin it down."

Gee, I wonder if that's an accident?

~Squirrel

Jennie said...

Hi Squirrel!
Hurray, finally a Calvinist!
As you can see we haven't gotten into the Calvinism yet. Did you read that article I linked to?

No, I don't think it's an accident that it's hard to pin down catholic doctrine.

Kelly said...

It's not to be insulting that I say the catechism teaches false doctrine if I find false doctrine in it.

I know that you are not meaning to be, but remember that we believe that the Catholic Church was established by Jesus Himself. Jesus would not be misleading. He would not try to confuse, or have secret doctrines.

If you feel it is confusing, just consider what we are discussing. How could there be One God in three divine persons? How could God be made flesh, both fully human and fully divine?

What is necessary for salvation? God gives us the grace necessary for salvation. Then we turn to Him. Does He do everything? How much of our acceptance is work and how much is God? Can man initiate (semi-Pelagian) or is it only God? Are we co-operating with God, or not?

When we get to justification, is it imputed or infused? What type of grace are we talking here, sanctifying or actual?

To say that faith is simple is to oversimplify. There are a lot of possible variations, that that is why it seems complicated, and why we end up with so many beliefs among Christians.

I'm not very good at justification talk myself, but I recommend this link for some good higher level articles explaining the Catholic perspective.

Defining the terms is very important when you are discussing theology. Do not be scared, just because a word such as "merit" appears in the Catechism. You should not leap to the assumption that it means Catholics believe we earn our salvation. What you should do, is see what Catholics mean when they use the term.

There are two kinds of merit in Catholic doctrine, condign merit and congruous merit.

See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm for more information.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
I know that you are not meaning to be, but remember that we believe that the Catholic Church was established by Jesus Himself. Jesus would not be misleading. He would not try to confuse, or have secret doctrines.

Yes. and that's why when we see things that are misleading, we believe that this comes from another source than He. I'm sorry if it seems insulting to you, but I'd rather seem offensive than offend Him by changing His gospel for which He gave so much.

Elena said...

Elena, if someone has done a study on the catechism's teaching on justification, etc. then it is helpful for me to see what they said.

Why? So that you know what to think about it? Can't you read something and make up your own mind about it? or for that matter why would you ONLY read opinions from other Protestants who oppose Catholicism. Isn't that a lot like making your research fit your conclusions instead of the other way around?

Jennie said...

If you feel it is confusing, just consider what we are discussing. How could there be One God in three divine persons? How could God be made flesh, both fully human and fully divine?

The gospel itself is not confusing. There are certainly things about God that we will not understand, as He says in His word, but the gospel is simple.

What is necessary for salvation? God gives us the grace necessary for salvation. Then we turn to Him. Does He do everything? How much of our acceptance is work and how much is God? Can man initiate (semi-Pelagian) or is it only God? Are we co-operating with God, or not?

When we get to justification, is it imputed or infused? What type of grace are we talking here, sanctifying or actual?

To say that faith is simple is to oversimplify. There are a lot of possible variations, that that is why it seems complicated, and why we end up with so many beliefs among Christians.


That's the purpose of this post, to say that calvinism and catholicism have made things too complicated and have misunderstood and mistaught the gospel.FAITH IS NOT A WORK. We hear the gospel that we are sinners but that Christ died for us to save us and make us God's children if we believe. All we have to do is believe. Saving faith brings true repentance and the Spirit indwells us and makes us a new creature. Read the article I linked to about calvinism by Pastor Cloud in part two of this post. He explains the simplicity of the gospel compared to the complicated calvinistic doctrines.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I've got several posts on here based on reading catholic writings and then discussing them. I don't only read protestant opinions, but it is helpful to read them. I usually don't agree with everything protestants say, either. Don't you read alot of catholic materials to help you understand things such as apologetics?

Elena said...

Yes I do. But when I am trying to understand a different religion, let's say Buddhism, I would read Buddist stuff, written by Buddists.

The Squirrel said...

"Did you read that article I linked to?"

Sure have, and I'm working on a response. Stay tuned!

:o)

~Squirrel

Jennie said...

Oh good. I look forward to reading it. I have some more posts planned on the subject too.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

All this talk about different interpretations of grace and salvation has led me to examine these doctrines myself in "The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine" which I own. This is a Catholic Publication put out to explain Catholic doctrines to non-Catholics.

What I am reading is definitely different from the Prostestant interpretation. I have placed some excerpts along with the Prostestant position on these doctrines, to show the differences. Two different world views altogether!

"Q. How may man dispose himself for the grace of God?
A. Man disposes himself for the grace of God by observing the Law of God as far as he knows it, and by practicing charity towards his neighbor" (CCCD p. 66).

The Bible says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast"(Ephesians 2:8-9). Prostestants believe that grace is God's undeserved favor and mercy towards us while we are still in sin and lostness, so that we can be saved. There is nothing we can do to merit God's grace, but is His free gift to us because of His love and mercy. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost".

"Q. How may man obtain Sanctifying Grace?
A. Man may obtain Sanctifying Grace (1) By receiving the Sacraments; (2) By perfect sorrow for his sins and ardent desire to do whatever God has ordained for his salvation" (CCCD p. 66).

Prostestants teach that santification occurs when man's heart is changed by the Holy Spirit through the Truth of God's Word. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth"(John 17:17). "Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth"(John 16:13).

"Q. How does man lose Sanctifying Grace?
A. Man loses Sanctifying Grace by committing any mortal sin" (CCDC p. 66).

Prostestants teach that God's grace is always present whenever we sin, in order to restore us back into fellowship with Him. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need"(Hebrews 4:16).

"Q. How can man obtain the grace of God?
A. Man can obtain the grace of God by prayer, the devout reception of the Sacrament, and the pious use of the Sacramentals" (CCDC p. 67).

Protestants teach that God's grace for salvation is obtained through confession of faith. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved".

Excerpts taken from "The Converts Cathecism of Catholic Doctrine" by Rev. Peter Geiermann, C.SS.R, pp. 66, 67. Imprimatur John E. Ritter Archbishop of St. Louis.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Titus 3:5 is the reference for "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration of the Holy Ghost."

Kelly said...

Paul, I took a moment to look up your catechism references and see that you are quoting the bullet summary at the end, not the full explanation. Here is the section on Merit which your #2025 is summarizing.

If you read the full section, you will see that merit is not attributed to both God and man, as you said it was.



III. MERIT

You are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts.59

2006 The term "merit" refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.

2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God's gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us "co-heirs" with Christ and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of eternal life."60 The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.61 "Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God's gifts."62

2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

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

After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone. . . . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.63


What this is saying, if you remove the offensive word "merit" is that it is God who initializes that moment where we accept Jesus as our Saviour, thereby obtaining (or meriting) salvation. Does that seem more acceptable?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Again, the Prostestant view is quite different from the Catholic view of "merit."

Merit is defined as "deserving as reward or punishment" (see Webster's Dictionary). Prostestants believe that the only thing Man is deserving of is death, because "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," and that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23,Romans 6:23). We believe the only way Man can be saved is if God grants us an undeserved pardon for our sins. This undeserved pardon is what we call grace. Once we accept this undeserved pardon, we believe our faith is upheld by God's grace because God is the one who now works inside of us to change our very hearts from sinful to holy, and to change our lives from unrighteous to righteous. There is nothing we can do to change our hearts. It is all God's doing. There is nothing we have done to merit such a great love, but that God has chosen to do this thing for us, and thus we are humbled. The good works we do are a result of the changed heart that God has given us as believers. He makes us into new creatures that have been regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit.

We do believe that God has a system of rewards and punishments, but that rewards and punishments for the believer works differently than for the sinner. For the sinner, God may reward a sinner on earth with some good things because God is a good God who makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on both the good and the evil (Matthew 5:45). God will however punish the unrepentant sinner with eternal damnation at the final judgment, because the wages of sin or the reward of sin is death (Romans 6:23). For the believer, rewards are God's gifts to us which show us His love, and is not dependent upon us being deserving of those gifts, for we know we are not deserving. We do also believe that God rewards us for our faith, especially through trials and tribulations, but the reason why we are able to overcome trials and tribulations is not because of any inherent strength we have that is deserving of being rewarded, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, and empowers us. Yes, we do have to cooperate with the Spirit, and God is pleased when we do this, but even our cooperation is under the influence of the Holy Spirit, because under our old sinful, unregenerate state, we were resistant to God. As believers, we become united with the Spirit of God, where all our thoughts, words, and actions are under His influence. Our bodies, heart, and mind now belong to Him. We no longer stand alone. It is no longer "me" and what "I" do, but God through grace, i.e His undeserved favor and beneficience towards us, gives us salvation, regenerates our hearts and lives, gives us power to overcome sin in our lives, gives us the victory over trials and tribulations, and gives us eternal rewards. It's all about grace - God's grace.

Jennie said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.
Until I have a chance to read some more of the catechism and post about it, I am putting up a post with links to William Webster's website; one is an article on how Rome defines saving faith: http://www.christiantruth.com/savingfaithandrome.html
The other is called DID I REALLY LEAVE
THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH?
http://www.christiantruth.com/Testimony.html

I believe these articles make it clear how the RCC differs from biblical Christianity.

Leo said...

Jennie,

Please answer this for me. How exactly did Jesus say that He would separate the sheep from the goats?

Jennie said...

Hi Leo,
First of all, that passage in Matthew is not talking about the final judgment, just to clarify that. It says it takes place at the end of the age, which is when Jesus comes back to earth. The final judgment is after the next age, the 1000 year reign of Christ.
There is more than one theory about this prophecy of Jesus, but one thing is clear; the people in this judgment are not believers; the believers have already been resurrected into their glorified bodies when they meet Him in the sky. Those in this judgment are people who are still alive on earth and who either showed mercy to God's people who were starving or imprisoned for the gospel's sake, or who did not show mercy to them. Those who showed mercy are allowed into Christ's millennial kingdom. those who did not are immediately sent to their punishment along with the wicked who have already been reaped from the earth. In all the judgments that are pictured in the bible, none of these include those who have trusted in Christ as savior. They are resurrected upon Christ's return to earth, and will never know sorrow again.

Leo said...

Hi Jennie,

Thanks for your response. I stumbled across your blog and was intrigued by the exchanges.

Anyway, I guess I find it interesting that you can glean such a precise and thorough interpretation, since I cannot seem to find that in Scripture alone. Please allow me to explain. You stated that these were not believers. Yet, did these same individuals not address Jesus as "Lord,Lord?" Doesn't that seem to imply faith in His Lordship? Also, as I am sure you know, there were no comparatives or superlatives. Thus, they repeated the name Lord for effect. Did they also not claim to have performed miracles in His name?

In fact, whenever Jesus condemns, He never says "Get thee away from me you unbelievers". He says "Get thee away from me you evildoers"...does He not? How does this square with "we are saved by faith alone?" Also, the only place in Scripture where the phrase "faith alone" appears, it is preceded by the phrase "not by". Your thoughts are appreciated.

Kelly said...

Merit is defined as "deserving as reward or punishment" (see Webster's Dictionary).

Because the Catholic Church is so ancient, it often uses words in their original meaning. The meaning of words drift over time. For example, you may have heard celibate used to mean "to abstain from s*xual relations" but the original definition, and the one the Catholic Church uses, is "to remain unmarried."

My unabridged Webster's Dictionary usually lists the Catholic meaning as either "eccl" or "R. Cath" in the definition.

Again, the Prostestant view is quite different from the Catholic view of "merit."

Not to be obtuse, but I'm extremely confused as to why you would say this. What you wrote is nearly identical to what I wrote. I could intersperse the comments and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

There is nothing we have done to merit such a great love, but that God has chosen to do this thing for us, and thus we are humbled.

With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

His undeserved favor and beneficience towards us, gives us salvation, regenerates our hearts and lives, gives us power to overcome sin in our lives, gives us the victory over trials and tribulations, and gives us eternal rewards.

Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion.

Man is deserving of is death, because "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," and that "the wages of sin is death"

All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself


As I said before, this is about vocabulary. Although Jennie says that the Catholic Church has greatly complicated a simple message, I feel that you all often take great convolutions to avoid prohibited vocabulary words.

Works are bad, but bearing fruits is good.

Meriting salvation is bad, but obtaining or being giving a salvation after an action is good.

Accepting/believing is not an action, despite being a verb, because actions are works, which are bad.

So, I find you guys confusing, too.

Now, this has been fun, but I'm afraid I can't devote more time than this one day to debate right now.

Thanks for being a gracious hostess Jennie. Nice blog you've got here. ;)

Leo said...

Jennie,

One of the problems when we talk about the faith is that we often make it too complicated. It is rich, yes, but not complicated. Allow me to explain.

1. We have been created in God's image to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, so we can live forever with Him in the next.

2. Christ founded a physical Church as His authority, which replaced the seat of Moses on which the Scribes and Pharisees sat. The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection and did not have the authority either. That's why they were sad you see(sorry for the indiscretion). Remember that Jesus said, "because the Scribes and Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses, you must do as they tell you. Just do not do as they do". He then goes on to call these same authority figures a wicked brood of vipers, whitewashed tombs, etc.

3. The main role of the Church is to preserve the deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles. It also gives us the Sacraments which are the ordinary means of God's grace. It was first called "Catholic" in Antioch at the turn of the 1st century...which was also where believers were first called "Christians" just a few years prior. Catholic simply means universal...nothing more, nothing less.

4. Nothing the Church teaches contradicts Scripture and vice versa.

5. Scripture is without error because the Holy Spirit protected the Gospel writers. However, it is written in a variety of literary styles.

6. The same Holy Spirit protects the Church from ever teaching error on Faith and Morals.

7. Truth is truth and Faith and Science cannot contradict each other either.

Jennie said...

Leo,
I believe you are confusing more than one passage. The people here only say 'Lord' which is understandable when standing before Christ, whether you are saved or not, don't you think:)
They also don't claim to have done anything in His name in this passage. It's only about whether they helped Him or not, which I believe refers to His people, not to Him directly. "If anyone does these things to the least of these, he does it unto Me."

I have come to an understanding about the passage in Matthew over time, after learning more and more about the bible, and gleaning from the opinions of others, also.
I see that it isn't believers because as I said, the bible teaches that the believers are resurrected when Christ returns and have their glorified bodies. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thess. 1:3-10.
I believe its in Revelation 20 that tells of the 1000 year reign in which te glorified saints will reign with Him, and then the final judgment of the wicked.

Jennie said...

Hi Kelly,
Thanks; I'm glad you like my blog.
I'm glad you came on.

Works are bad, but bearing fruits is good.

Meriting salvation is bad, but obtaining or being giving a salvation after an action is good.

Accepting/believing is not an action, despite being a verb, because actions are works, which are bad.


We don't think works are bad, but only that we can't merit or gain or keep salvation by them.
We don't consider faith a work or even an action, but a response to God, which produces works.
But, nobody said actions are bad, only that trying to be saved by them is useless. Even if faith is an action, it is not a work as the bible defines a work. It is, as I said, a response to God, and the only right response.

Jennie said...

Leo,
I believe you said the RCC doesn't teach anything contrary to scripture. Please go to my new post and read the two links by William Webster, who addresses this and related issues. He is a former Roman Catholic who has studied church history intensely, and concluded that the claims of the RCC are without foundation.

Jennie said...

Leo,
'faith alone' is just a shorthand for 'faith apart from works' which is taught in scripture.
James teaches that faith without works is dead, saying that true faith produces works, but not that works save us.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

First I would like to apologize if I had taken anyone's comment out of context. I just meant to show how Prostestants currently view grace and merit.

Next, I would like to say that we really should not be arguing over works, especially good works. By the grace of God, the world need more people who are willing to do good instead of bad.

As far as salvation is concerned, saved people will not think twice about doing good works. If God rewards us for good works we have done, the reward is not eternal life but other gifts, also called blessings. For example in Exodus 15:26 it says, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."

What this text is saying is that if we obey God, He will bless us with health. Multiple examples like these are found in the Bible where God promises certain specific blessings, if we are obedient to Him.

Now one thing is clear however, THE ONLY GOOD WORKS THAT RECOGNIZES IS GOOD WORKS DONE IN LOVE. Good works done for self-righteous purposes, for reward, or for show do not count.

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,and have not charity [love], it profiteth me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3).

Elena said...

Next, I would like to say that we really should not be arguing over works, especially good works. By the grace of God, the world need more people who are willing to do good instead of bad.

Resounding applause. I absolutely agree. It is with that attitude that all Christians can put down their differences and really be brothers and sisters in Christ.

Leo said...

Jennie,

I did read what he wrote and he is simply either mistaken or taking things out of context.

Leo said...

Jennie,

We are saved by grace indeed. However, as St. Paul said, he was working out his salvation in fear and trembling. Although it is true that God created us without our permission, it is also true that He will not save us without our cooperation.

Leo said...

Jennie,

You were correct that I used two passages earlier, but the point about condemnation because of what we have done or failed to do remains. Do you really believe that non-believers performed miracles in His name?

Let's try this. You quoted an individual who abandoned the Church. How would you feel if a non-Christian quoted Judas Iscariot to defend his view against the faith? Same concept.

Let me challenge you to come up with even 1 teaching on Faith and Morals where the Church has reversed course in the last 2000 years. I can show you plenty where every Protestant denomination changed core teachings pertaining to Faith and Morals.

The same is true for Scripture. All of Scripture is 100% compatible with Church teaching. I can easily show you plenty of areas which cannot be reconciled with Protestant teaching. Since the Church claims to teach Truth, it should be easy to prove me wrong.

It's like Jesus. He is either God or an evil person. There can be no in-between. So it is with the Catholic Church. It either has the fullness of Truth or it is an evil entity. There can be no compromise.

Did you ever notice how Protestants who become Catholic still cherish their roots where they met Jesus? Catholics who leave, on the other hand, tend to be bitter against the Church...usually because they really refused to obey certain teachings.

This is a friendly challenge for you, but I do have one request. Most people tend to look for support for their preconceived positions. I found this to be true of the ex-Catholic whom you posted. I believe that it is critical that we seek Truth without any preconceived notions as if to win an argument for example. Truth is not some thing. It is a person...Jesus Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity. May we agree to proceed on those terms?

Jennie said...

Ladies,
our discussion is not whether we should do good works, but whether we can be saved by them, and whether the Roman Catholic church teaches the truth about how to be saved.
I'm certainly happy when people want to try to do well. However,
this controversy has been going on for hundreds of years, and it hasn't been resolved, though everyday it's resolved in individuals who are drawn to the truth. So, it's easy to say we should all just get along, since we agree on so many things, like being anti-abortion, and conservative values, and so on, and we can get along in many ways, but the truth of the gospel is the central truth of history, and the way that God has planned to bring His people back to himself. Jesus says that the way is narrow, and few will find it, but also that He desires all men to be saved.
I see one thing in His word and another thing in Catholicism, so I have to fear that many of those in Catholicism don't know Him. I can't let it go at that.

Leo said...

Jennie,

One point I forgot to mention...As St. Jerome said, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."

The Church was placed here by Jesus to help us understand Scripture properly and to infallibly help us to apply Christ's teachings to new circumstances.

For example, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research, in-vitro fertilization, etc., are new technologies and were not addressed in Scripture. These are all morally wrong and the Holy Spirit explains the beautiful logic behind it through Church teaching...ahead of the curve.

Jennie said...

Leo,
Do you really believe that non-believers performed miracles in His name?
Here is the passage:
Matt. 7
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

'That day' is a day of judgment for the wicked, whether it be the final day or the day of the Lord's return when many who think they should have been let in are not; those who are being judged thought they were saved somehow, but they were not. They did not enter in by the narrow gate, but tried to enter in some other way, by their own works. See the two following passages to show that there can be false miracles and lying wonders that deceive those who do not love the truth as revealed in His word:

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (New King James Version)
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Matt. 7:
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Jesus says 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.'

We must come to God through Him by faith in His sacrifice in which He bore our sins in His body on the cross. We must come to repentance because of the suffering He did for our sake and call on the name of the Lord for forgiveness. We just need to know that we need His sacrifice for sin, that it's all we need, and that if we believe, He will forgive us and make us new.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

The real key to salvation is whether or not a person is "born again." Jesus said, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Therefore:
1. Sinners will not enter heaven, even "good" sinners who do a lot of good things. God will reward them here on earth for their good deeds but they will not enter into heaven because they have not been born-again.
2. Church members who are not born-again will not enter heaven. They can still enjoy the benefits of church membership here on earth but they will not enter into heaven.
3. Church members who do a lot of "church work" such as teach Sunday School, and work in the church nursery but who are not born again will not enter heaven. Again the work they do is invaluable, but it is not a substitute for being born-again.
4. Believers who perform miracles, and prophesy but who on a personal level was never regenerated will not enter heaven. A good example of this was Balaam the prophet of God who wanted to curse God's people instead of blessing them (See Numbers 22 to 24). Balaam actually ended up succeeding in leading Israel into apostasy, and was later killed(Numbers 25&31). Another good example is Judas. Judas was a part of Jesus' ministry of healing, miracles, and prophecy but his heart was unregenerate and unrepentant. He frequently stole from the disciples' cash holdings and begrudged Jesus when a woman anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive aromatic oils. He too was lost.

Do you want to make your calling an election sure? You must be born again. The temporary benefits we receive here on earth are nothing to compare to the eternal joy that awaits us. We need to repent of our sins and ask Jesus to cleanse us of unrighteousness and fill us with His Holy Spirit who will make us new. When we are born-again we become like newborn creatures where the old person is gone and we stand in newness of life. Here are the words of Jesus taken from John 3: 4-7, NIV.

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You[c] must be born again.'

The key to being born-again is the Holy Spirit. How do we get the Holy Spirit? Repentance, faith in Jesus sacrifice as payment for our sins, faith in Jesus to purify our lives and make us righteous, and yes, water baptism.

I can personally testify that I felt the Holy Spirit enter into me immediately after my water baptism, and He has never left. He has changed my life tremendously, and He is making me into a better person daily. I see changes from the old me to the me that I am now. He has given me good gifts, especially gifts of a spiritual nature. There is therefore no need for any believer to struggle along on their own without the Holy Spirit. He is the key to the salvation process. You must be born-again.

Elena said...

Actually Jennie, this particular thread, that you started, was on whether something complicated could be true. I proved in my very first comment that it could.

The discussion has degraded from there.

Also Leo brought up a very good point and I am not willing to let you off the hook on it.

You said:

There is more than one theory about this prophecy of Jesus, but one thing is clear;

me interjecting - clear to whom?

the people in this judgment are not believers; the believers have already been resurrected into their glorified bodies when they meet Him in the sky. Those in this judgment are people who are still alive on earth and who either showed mercy to God's people who were starving or imprisoned for the gospel's sake, or who did not show mercy to them. Those who showed mercy are allowed into Christ's millennial kingdom. those who did not are immediately sent to their punishment along with the wicked who have already been reaped from the earth. In all the judgments that are pictured in the bible, none of these include those who have trusted in Christ as savior. They are resurrected upon Christ's return to earth, and will never know sorrow again.

Talk about confusing and complicated. And as Leo pointed out, how the heck did you get all of that from scripture alone?

And as I am going to be gone today I'll submit that of course, you didn't. As much as I bet you'll loathe to admit it, you are heavily influenced by the Protestant and anti-Catholic writers you read and you have picked up some of their "theories" as actually being scriptural.

Leo said...

As Daughter of Wisdom correctly said, we must be born of water and of the Spirit. Baptism is one of the 7 Sacraments and, as St. Peter said, we are saved through it. Before anyone gets carried away, please allow me to expound.

All of the 7 Sacraments are found in Scripture and they are the ordinary means of receiving God's grace. As an analogy, doctors and hospitals and pharmacies are the ordinary means of receiving God's physical healing. Does that mean that God cannot heal miraculously? Of course not. He often does. However, I challenge anyone who says we don't need the Church to not use doctors either. Why not go directly to Jesus? Ah, but you say, that is different. God works through doctors and prayer. Well, the same is true of the Church. He began by using sinful Apostles and gave them the same authority that the scribes and Pharisees once had...only with more power. He transferred His authority to Peter when He gave him the keys, and those keys have been handed down in succession to this day.

Let me say something about baptism first. Any Christian can baptize as long as they use the formula "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen". There is true power in this Sacrament as with all Sacraments. First of all, it restores our union with the Trinity which was broken as a result of original sin. I will also share one personal story with you here reflecting some of its power.

A dear friend who was Methodist and a male nurse at the time, was attending at the birth of a baby with severe medical issues. The heart, lungs, etc. were underdeveloped and the medical team was just going to try to save the child's life. They worked on the child for a long time, but were completely unsuccessful in getting the child to breathe and take life. They finally gave up, put a sheet over the tiny purple body and left to wash up. My friend Jeff took a cup of water, walked back to the child's body and poured the water on it, saying I baptize you in the name of the Father,and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The child coughed, turned pink and began to cry. He called the medical back and they were amazed. After a complete checkup, they now found all of the organs to be fully formed and complete and the child was perfectly healthy and normal.

Jeff eventually became Catholic, having personally witnessed the power of the Sacraments. He became a deacon and unfortunately passed away from kidney cancer just a few years ago. He is now with the Lord.

As I said, baptism is the ordinary means by which we enter the kingdom of heaven. There is also a baptism of desire, which the good thief received on the cross. He was actually the first Christian to enter heaven. He had no chance to actually be baptized with water, but God does not prevent us from entering heaven due to technicalities. In fact, anyone who is TRULY repentant and contrite at the moment of death will be saved, for this is God's desire for all mankind.

More to follow...

Jennie said...

Elena,
If you want to know where I got my ideas about the end times, read the passages I quoted to Leo after he asked me, along with Matthew 13 where it talks about the wheat and the tares, and Revelation 14:14-20 which teaches of the reaping of the earth. All these and probably others put together have shaped my views.

Jennie said...

Elena,
here's what I said to Leo about where I got my views:
I have come to an understanding about the passage in Matthew over time, after learning more and more about the bible, and gleaning from the opinions of others, also.
I see that it isn't believers because as I said, the bible teaches that the believers are resurrected when Christ returns and have their glorified bodies. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thess. 1:3-10.
I believe its in Revelation 20 that tells of the 1000 year reign in which te glorified saints will reign with Him, and then the final judgment of the wicked.

Jennie said...

Elena
I said the RCC teaching on the GOSPEL is too complicated to be true. The gospel is not complicated. The Roman Catholic teaching on salvation is very complicated.

Jennie said...

Here's a good sermon by my husband called 'Is Obeying God’s Law Working for Salvation?' http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/grace_obey.shtml

Jennie said...

Leo,
here is are some scriptures my husband listed on baptism along with a little commentary.
http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/baptismScriptures.shtml

Jennie said...

oops. here are.

Leo said...

Fennie,

Incidentally, millenialism is a relatively new interpretation of Scripture...~20th century. There are also those who teach premillenialism, postmillenialism and amillenialism. One of countless examples why Christ founded His Church...

Leo said...

Jennie,

How can you honestly say that the Catholic teaching on salvation is complicated? It is simple. We are given the Sacraments and we are called to accept God's grace and to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself.

I am saddened that you have not accepted my challenge to prove where the Church teaching contradicts Scripture. I gave you a real softball there. There is not a single verse that does not flow beautifully with Catholic teaching for 2000 years+.

Please at least accept my challenge to show how one small section of Scripture can be explained away logically in a Protestant way.

When Jesus returns with His resurrected body, He appears to the Apostles and breathes on them. This is the only time in the New Testament where God breathes on man. (He likewise only does it once in the Old Testament when He breathes life into Adam.)

That would seem to make it pretty important, no? Well, He said, "I give you the power to forgive men's sins. If you forgive them, they are forgiven. IF you hold them bound, they are held bound."

How can you possibly explain that away as anything OTHER than the institution of the Sacrament of Confession? This has nothing to do with forgiving each other. It also requires them to make judgement calls. It also requires them to hear what those sins are.

Anyway, if you feel uncomfortable defending Protestantism, I understand. But please know that I do not bite. If it makes you more comfortable, I will tell you a little about myself. I am a happily married man who has been blessed with 6 children...actually 7, since one went to be with the Lord before we ever saw her. My passion is Truth...who is Jesus Christ. My search has taken me across all religions. I would love to share what the Catholic faith handed down by the Apostles really is. It is truly the pearl of great price.

I look forward to your response.

Jennie said...

Hi Leo,
truth is, I'm simply tired this weekend; I'm only one person and I can't respond to 6 or 7 or more different people who have been asking me questions all over my blog posts for days since Elena linked to it, and also some people came over from Pastor Bartolucci's church, etc. I'm not used to this, so I'm taking a break as much as possible.
I know there are people in the Roman Catholic church who are saved, just as there are in all protestant denominations, because God's word is heard in all of them to some extent. I am glad you have a passion for the Jesus; so do I; I don't have any problem defending Biblical faith; I think protestants get things wrong too.
And I'm still trying to understand the relationship between catholicism and the true gospel.
You read Webster's articles so you must see there are things to be concerned about. The truth is, there are many things about catholicism that don't flow beautifully with scripture.
Please read some more of my blog and the links I give to see my views.

Jennie said...

Please also read my husband's sermons I linked to a few comments up, if you wish to see a little of what we believe.

Elena said...

and gleaning from the opinions of others, also.

Bingo. and also just as I suspected. Your views aren't totally based on sola scriptura but rather on the opinions of others.

I see that is a little contradictory.

Paul said...

Leo said...

Jennie,

I did read what he wrote and he is simply either mistaken or taking things out of context.
------------
Leo
Could you perhaps provide an example (in either article) where William Webster has taken things out of context?

Jennie said...

Elena,
sola scriptura just means everything must be based on scripture and in accordance with it, not that I can never learn from others that have already studied. The opinions I have accepted are those that I have seen to fit scripture. That's why I don't always completely agree with any one teacher I have heard, because I have to go back and study for myself, too. We are all still learning, but those that continue to compare their studies to scripture, throughout the whole scripture, come closest to understanding the meaning.
You think sola scriptura means we can't listen to preachers and teachers of scripture, many who are more knowledgeable than we are? That's ridiculous.

Leo said...

Paul,

Here's one quick example...

Webster wrote...
"Vatican I states that it is necessary for salvation that men and women not only believe all that is revealed in scripture but also everything which is defined and proposed by the Church as having been divinely revealed. To reject anything taught by the Roman Church is to reject saving faith and to forfeit justification and eternal life:

Further, all those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed. And since, without faith, it is impossible to please God, and to attain to the fellowship of his children, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will any one obtain eternal life unless he shall have persevered in faith unto the end (Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council, On Faith, Chapter III. Found in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (New York:Harper, 1877), Volume II, pp. 244-245).

He goes on to quote "theologians" in depth, but I will spare you. There is no such thing as a theologian by Protestant understanding in the Catholic Church. There have been no new revelations since the death of the last apostle and there can never be any change in any teaching on Faith and Morals, once defined. It can be further clarified or explained, but never contradicted. Truth is truth and never changes. If something is immoral today, it remains so for eternity. For example, when Pope John Paul II officially declared that the priesthood can never be open to women, he made it plain that neither he nor any pope has the authority to change that which has been believed from the time of Christ.

The simple fact is that the teaching he quoted applies to Catholics. First, you must come to believe that the Church is truly what she says she is. We are obliged to form our conscience properly and then to follow it. If a Jew is seeking God and studies and believes in his heart that Christianity is gravely mistaken, then it would be a mortal sin for him to go against what he believes in his heart of hearts...assuming he is seeking Truth above all things. That is why the Catholic Church has never condemned a single person and officially said they were in hell...not even Judas Iscariot. This surprises many but is why we cannot judge the condition of any person's soul--not even our own. Only God knows the hearts of men. We can and should judge actions, however.

This does not mean that we live in terror. We work out our salvation in fear and trembling, just as St. Paul did. Conversion is not a one time deal...it is a lifelong process. We must recommit ourselves daily to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and allow ourselves to be transformed by His grace to be perfected and made truly pure. The Eucharist is given to us to supernaturally empower us to do so.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I am one who advocates freedom of religion and for man to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. In this dispensation of grace, God has given man some leeway to pursue Truth according to conscience, and therefore no one should hinder anyone from pursuing that goal even though we may make mistakes along the way. As far as the rules of the Roman Church are concerned, if the Pope should choose the run his church a particular way, it is his right. God will be judge of all his actions and ours as well, because we all have to give an account to God.

Lots have been said on this blog about various church teachings, but my goal has always been to present what the Bible has to say, irrespective of any church teachings. I believe the word of God can stand alone without being endorsed or theorized by man. In saying that, I would like to leave some scriptures that speak to the New Testament role of the priesthood.

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession" (Hebrews 4:14).

"And yet it is yet far more evident for that after the similtude of Melchidedec there ariseth another priest, who is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life...And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangable priesthood. Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity, but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore" (Hebrews 7:15,16,23-28).

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

"And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever."(Revelation 1:5,6).

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

Leo said...

Paul,

And, to take it one step further, the teachings talk about apostasy and obstinately refusing to follow that which we believe to be true.

In other words, if we are given the grace to realize that only the Catholic Church has the fullness of Truth and is the necessary means of salvation yet obsinately refuse to join it, then we jeopardize our salvation. Also, if we come to believe that the Church, like Scripture, are protected from teaching error yet refuse to accept on Faith what has been revealed, we place our salvation in serious risk.

This does not mean that we must understand everything. We need accept in Faith and pray for wisdom and enlightenment. Please allow me to clarify.

When Jesus taught in John 6 "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you shall not have life within you...if you eat my flesh and drink my blood, I will raise you up on the last day."(going off memory here...)He unmistakeably used the word which meant 'to chew with your jaw like an animal would', and he repeated himself several different times.

Note that it is the ONLY time in the entire New Testament where His disciples abandoned Him over a teaching. Why? Cannibalism and the partaking of blood were strictly forbidden according to Jewish law. Notice that He did not say "Wait, I was only speaking figuratively". Notice also carefully here that He then turned to the twelve, which indicates that perhaps the entire crowd had abandoned Him. He did not tell the twelve that He was speaking figuratively either.

"He then turned to the twelve and asked, Are you going to leave me also?" So what happened now? DId they all say that they understood? Hardly...Peter alone was inspired by the Holy Spirit and said,"Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of everlasting life." He did not understand it either, but He knew that Jesus was the Way, the Truth and the Life, so he chose to accept the teaching because he knew the reliability of the source.

I hold that if any of the twelve had left at that point, they would have jeopardized their salvation. So it is with the Catholic Church founded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we know it in our hearts to be the "pillar and foundation of all truth"(1Timothy 3:15)and yet walk away because we do not like this or that teaching or we refuse to follow, then we indeed jeopardize our salvation. There is nothing wrong with questioning our faith and trying to grow and learn, since God simply wants us to come with a sincere and contrite heart.

By the way, you may be surprised to learn that Catholics are held to a different standard because of the graces given to us. When the Holy Father teaches, he addresses some things to Catholics and some things to Christians in general, since his role is to teach the entire body of the faithful.

Hope this helps.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I think the above passages are saying that ALL BELIEVERS are a part of the priesthood - the priesthood of believers, and that Christ is our High Priest.

Elena said...

Well I guess it depends on whose interpretatation of sola scriptura du jour I'm listening to. Now I know yours. Not every Protestant goes with that.

Still, your interpretation of that verse is just that. An EXTREME interpretation extrapolated from other verses mixed up with the theories and ideas that are extra-biblical.

Jennie said...

Paul,
since Leo mentioned earlier that catholics are initially saved by water baptism, what would you say to him about the biblical teaching on baptism?

Leo,
you said, We must recommit ourselves daily to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and allow ourselves to be transformed by His grace to be perfected and made truly pure. By what means are you transformed by His grace?

Jennie said...

Elena,
Still, your interpretation of that verse is just that. An EXTREME interpretation extrapolated from other verses mixed up with the theories and ideas that are extra-biblical.
My understanding of the passage on the sheep and the goats is not extreme, though if you walk up to someone on the street or even in a church, they may not answer that way, but that is the fault of a lack of bible teaching and study.
There is no extra-biblical idea there at all. If I got any ideas from others, they were based on bible teaching also. Sometimes people may make a judgment on the meaning without considering that their idea conflicts with another passage of scripture. So the more one learns from the whole bible the better understanding they will have.

Jennie said...

Leo,
on the John 6 passage, see my post called 'I am the bread of life' and remember also, that the last thing Peter said in that passage was, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus' entire focus in this passage was that He is the Word of God which equals the Bread of Life.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I'm glad you posted about the High priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of all believers.
That goes back to what Leo said about Jesus supposedly instituting the sacrament of priestly confession when He breathed on the Apostles.
There is no mention of people confessing to them. We are commanded to confess our sins to God and to each other. This was never a practice of the early church for hundreds of years.
Non of the things the Reformers objected to were practices or beliefs of the early church, until hundreds of years later. The Church teaches that they were, so the 'Church' is built on a foundation of lies. That's what William Webster was showing, and if you can just pass that off, then you are fooling yourself too.

Jennie said...

Leo,
Notice that He did not say "Wait, I was only speaking figuratively". Notice also carefully here that He then turned to the twelve, which indicates that perhaps the entire crowd had abandoned Him. He did not tell the twelve that He was speaking figuratively either.
Did Jesus ever run after people to explain things that they didn't understand because of unbelief? No; check for yourself.

Jesus told the twelve several times that He was speaking figuratively, though they didn't understand this until later. Read the passage and see how many times He says He is speaking 'not of the flesh, but of the Spirit,' or 'It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.' He didn't have to use the word 'figurative' in order to explain that He wasn't speaking literally of bread.

Leo said...

Jennie,

You said, "By what means are you transformed by His grace?"

Supernaturally...you explain the Trinity and I will explain that.

First of all, by eating the Body of Christ, we become the body of Christ. Christ literally shared our humanity with us so that we might share in His divinity. We are called to pray as if everything depends upon God and work as if everything depends upon us. WHen we do this, we grow in holiness. Prayer, fasting and alsmgiving all help to transform us. Jesus said, "If you love me, obey my commandments." When we are adopted into His family and are in a state of grace, our works help to purify us. We are saved by God's grace alone and let me reiterate that it is IMPOSSIBLE to merit heaven. However, it is also impossible to enter heaven unless we are perfect. Our lives on earth are meant to purify us. When we get married, we become less selfish. When we have children, we become even less selfish. That is one of the reasons why all intimate acts between the husband and wife must be open to both love and to the transmission of life. It is far easier to trust God with our finances than it is with our very bodies. Yet, He knows how many children He wants to bless us with to teach us how to love. That is what Purgatory is all about. It is the final purification to make us perfect...our sinfulness is not simply 'hidden' by grace. Think about it. Most people are honest and admit they are not perfect yet. Well, God gives us enough grace to actually be made worthy to enter heaven upon death. It is up to us whether we try to avoid His corrective actions.

We are also, in effect, co-redeemers with Christ. Please understand that this does not place us on any equal footing at all. It just means that our Lord allows us to participate in His act of redemption. Think of St. Paul when we says that he unites his sufferings with Christ's. For instance, when we share the Gospel and evangelize, others come to know Christ through us. Could He supernaturally share the Gospel individually with every human being? Of course He could, but He chooses to work through us.
I like to think of it as when a father carries a huge TV set and allows his little boy to carry the cord to help him participate (Wow, I helped my dad carry the TV!)

There are also different rewards in heaven given to the holy ones, often referred to as crowns. It is not just about getting in by the skin of our teeth.

Likewise, there are different degrees of happiness in heaven. How so? Imagine two people attending a symphonic/opera. One knows little about classical music and goes on a free ticket. Another is a lifelong music student who plays several instruments and intimately knows the background of the opera. Upon their exit they are asked how they enjoyed it and they both said, "Great!" Who do you think enjoyed it more?

My thoughts...I need to go pick up a couple of pizzas for the kiddos.

Leo said...

Precisely why Christ founded a Church...to explain the true meaning of Scripture and to avoid >30,000 different denominations of sincere believers at last count.

Leo said...

Jennie said,

"Jesus' entire focus in this passage was that He is the Word of God which equals the Bread of Life."

Yes, but He means that He literally becomes physically present in the Eucharist. That is why He said that unless we ate His flesh and drank His blood, we would not have His life within us.

Let's begin with John 6. As I shared in my earlier post, the verb used for 'eat' can only mean actual chewing with the jaws. Why on earth would this be the only teaching His disciples would leave Him? This is but another area where Protestants refuse to accept the literal meaning of Scripture. They say, "Sola Scriptura", but they refuse to accept what the Scriptures plainly say. What they should say is "Only Scripture according to our personal interpretation".


I can show you how this teaching has remained unchanged for 2000+ years.

Unfortunately, that would not satisfy you since it isn't 'all in Scripture'. However, there are many rich meanings in Scripture which were lost after the Reformation. Allow me to share some.

As you know, many things in the Old Testament are simply foreshadowings of something greater to come in the New Testament. You cannot miss the sybolism. It is rich beyond imagination.

First of all, the manna in the wilderness prefigured the Eucharist. Then you had the Passover. As you may recall, each family had to take a perfect unblemished lamb, with no broken bones(hence the reference at the crucifixion), they had to sacrifice it and then they had to eat the lamb. If they did everything but decided to eat beef and say that it 'represented the lamb' because they did not like mutton, their firstborn would be dead in the morning. If they did as requested, the angel of death would 'pass over' their home and spare them.

Well, Jesus is the new Passover lamb and this is why He is referred to as the Lamb of God in Revelation. That is also why we repeat 'Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world..." three times at every Mass before eating His Body and Blood. You see, we need to eat the Lamb of God to 'pass over' from this life into the next. At the beginnig of the Consecration, the priest says, "Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may beome for uss the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ." He then uses Christ's words and the bread and wine are changed in substance.

We know from Scripture that Jesus is a high priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. Well, the role of a priest is to offer sacrifice and He clearly reenacts this through the priest at each and every Mass. It is timeless with Calvary. You may remember that Melchizedek was unique in that he offered bread and wine. Even Abraham offered him a tithe. (Romans Ch 7&8, also Genesis 7:11)

Now Jesus also multiplied the loaves, indicating just as He multiplied the manna, He would also multiply Himself to feed everyone who came to Him.

He was also born in Bethlehem, which means 'House of Bread'.

He was likewise placed in manger specifically, which is where a higher being places food for a lower being (usually man for animals, but in this case God for man) and the lower being eats what is placed in the manger as food.

Are you at least beginning to see some of the rich symbolism God has placed throughout Scripture for us?
Everything has meaning and serves to point us to the LITERAL words in John 6. Hopefully that makes more sense now. Even St. Paul says that many were sick and dying because they profaned the Body and Blood of Christ.(If I stepped on a picture of your children, could I be condemned for abusing your children? Of course not)

I can also explain why Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant and show you from Scripture if you are interested.

Leo said...

Jennie said, "That goes back to what Leo said about Jesus supposedly instituting the sacrament of priestly confession when He breathed on the Apostles."

Jennie, that is a response I would expect from a liberal. A liberal is unable to argue their position because the truth is not on their side. Thus they resort to name calling or outright smearing as you just did and I quote, "the 'Church' is built on a foundation of lies". On top of that, you used everything BUT Scripture to tell me what we really believe and when we began believing it. If I did that, you would hide behind 'Sola Scriptura'. Please explain LOGICALLY what Christ meant when He breathed on the Apostles and said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you...Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Gee, if I read that the way it is written, I would think that Jesus is giving them the same authority to forgive sins that they had... We must seek the Truth at all cost.

Leo said...

Jennie wrote,"Jesus told the twelve several times that He was speaking figuratively, though they didn't understand this until later."

Jennie, that simply flies in the face of all logic. They would not all leave for figurative teaching. Jesus always explained misunderstandings to His apostles. And, the actual meanings of the words CANNOT be interpreted figuratively. That is why Jesus repeated Himself.

Kelly said...

Daughter of Wisdom wrote:
I think the above passages are saying that ALL BELIEVERS are a part of the priesthood - the priesthood of believers, and that Christ is our High Priest.

Catholics also believe in the baptism of all believers. Here is a passage from the Catechism:

Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ

1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church "a kingdom, priests for his God and Father."0 The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are "consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood."

1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, "each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ." While being "ordered one to another," they differ essentially. In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace --a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit--, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.


Jennie, I am also interested in how you interpret the "Jesus breathed on them" passage. You didn't say, and I, like Leo, always found it very clearly in favor of both an ordained priesthood, and of sacramental confession.

Kelly

Paul said...

Jennie said...

Paul,
since Leo mentioned earlier that catholics are initially saved by water baptism, what would you say to him about the biblical teaching on baptism?

---------------

Jennie,
that is actually two topics:
Regeneration
Pastor John Piper did an excellent 16 part sermon series on this. It is very thorough and as I recall there was very little I would disagree with.
"You Must Be Born Again"
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/BySeries/83/


Baptism
Since I am a Presbyterian I will quote from the Westminster Confession of Faith.
"CHAPTER 28
Of Baptism

1. Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church; but also, to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world.

2. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.

3. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.

4. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.

5. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it; or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.

6. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.

7. The sacrament of baptism is but once to be administered unto any person."

Here is a side by side comparison of the WCF and the LBCF (which Charles Spurgeon upheld).

http://www.proginosko.com/docs/wcf_lbcf.html#WCF28

Paul said...

Leo said:
Paul,

Here's one quick example...

Webster wrote...
"Vatican I states that it is necessary for salvation that men and women not only believe all that is revealed in scripture but also everything which is defined and proposed by the Church as having been divinely revealed. To reject anything taught by the Roman Church is to reject saving faith and to forfeit justification and eternal life:
--------

Leo,
Thank you for your response.
I am trying to address your post above.
Is your "one quick example" your disagreement :
"There is no such thing as a theologian by Protestant understanding in the Catholic Church." or is it...
"..there can never be any change in any teaching on Faith and Morals, once defined. It can be further clarified or explained, but never contradicted." Or both?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly,

I am glad to see that the Catholic church recognizes the priesthood of all believers, but what your quotes from the cathecism has shown is that the Catholic concept of priesthood is different from that of Prostestants. In Prostestant circles no distinction is made between the priesthood of the clergy and that of the laity. All have equal access to the throne of grace, and all have equal access to Jesus our High Priest. No need to confess to clergy when we can go directly to our High Priest, Jesus, with our confessions.

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37).

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4: 15-16).

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh" (Hebrews 10:19-20).

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Okay, now for John 20:21-23, NIV:

21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."


In this scene, Jesus was COMMISSIONING HIS DISCIPLES to take the gospel to the world. In vs. 21 He said,
"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (NIV).

This compares with the account given in Mark 16:14-15, where He said,
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (vs. 15).

Also compare Matthew 28:18-19,
"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore,and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,and of the Holy Ghost."

ALL THESE SAYINGS WERE SAID IN THE SAME SCENE, WITH JESUS APPEARING TO HIS DISCIPLES IN THE LOCKED ROOM.

Now for the controversial part which is vss. 22-23. In verse 22 Jesus breathed on the disciples and saith, "Receive the Holy Spirit." It should be noted that at that point THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS NOT YET GIVEN. The Holy Spirit was given later at Pentecost (See Acts 2). What Jesus was doing was anointing His disciples for service. He was ordaining them into the apostolic ministry. In His ordination of the apostles, Christ gave them a charge, which was, "whosever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" (KJV,vs. 23).

I don't think Jesus was here giving the apostles authority to forgive the personal sins of church members/followers. He was giving them a broader authority with respect to sins committed against the larger church body. For example, Ananias and Sapphira sinned against the church by lying to the Holy Spirit and were not forgiven (Acts 5:1-11). Saul, before he became the apostle Paul was one who had harmed the church, but who had received forgiveness from the apostles and the Christian brethren, once they saw his changed life. There are absolutely no examples in the Bible of the apostles forgiving or not forgiving personal sins, such as adultery, backbiting, jealousy, drunkeness, envy, malice, etc. As a matter of fact, when they encountered personal sin, they would admonish, give counsel and warnings, and tell the person to ask God for forgiveness. When Simon the magician sinned by wanting to purchase the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter said to him,
"Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart" (Acts 8:22, NIV).
The mandate of the apostles was therefore for the church as a whole, and not for the atonement of personal sins.

Leo said...

Jennie,

You wrote, "You think sola scriptura means we can't listen to preachers and teachers of scripture, many who are more knowledgeable than we are? That's ridiculous"

Well, let's think about that for a second. The Church has 2000+ years of interpretation and clarification of the meaning of Scripture and the passing down of the Faith and you are quick to throw all of that out with the bathwater for the sake of those who disagreed. Remember that the Church has NEVER changed any teaching on Faith and Morals despited what you may say. You quote dissenters and heretics and those who reference dissenters and heretics. Why not just quote Judas Iscariot as well? We could do the same with Scripture by taking verses out of context. The point is that the Church has protected what has been believed from the beginning. It is only when a core belief is challenged that a teaching is implemented. Jesus did the same thing. Why does He never mention abortion? Because everyone knew and believed it was gravely sinful. He only corrected the errors of the day.

I can show you countless quotes from the 1st century on, that rebut what Mr. Webster and others claim to be Gospel. That is not the point. The early Fathers were also not individually protected from error either, by the way. Even St. Thomas Aquinas had his errors, but he was not the pope. The Holy Father is the ONLY human being protected from officially teaching error on Faith and Morals.

He is capable of sin and, incidentally, goes to Confession at least once per week. He cannot forgive his own sins and must humble himself before another priest. However, even if a pope were a great sinner, they could not condone that sin officially. If a pope were a fornicator, the Holy Spirit would absolutely prevent him from ever teaching the faithful that this was acceptable.

Jennie said...

Thanks Hillary,
I think that's a good perspective, especially as there is apparently no mention in history or the bible of the Apostles or the presbyters (not the same as the RCC priest, but basically 'elders, bishops, presbyters, pastors, were the same thing at first) practicing auricular confession for many centuries. If it was not practiced by them, then they could not have been commissioned by Christ to do it. Apparently THEY understood this, for if He had meant auricular confession, they would have obeyed Him and done it.

Here is an article I found, which I had seen a while back:
http://www.neverthirsty.org/pp/corner/read/r00027.html

Jennie said...

Leo,
I'm going to ignore the 'liberal' comment, except to say that I don't think anyone else here would accept that, and if you read more of my posts and comments you would know that I am not. Not being catholic doesn't make me a liberal.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

What does the Bible say about how sin should be absolved?

1. All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). All our unrighteous acts against God and our fellow man are therefore sin. "Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases" (Psalm 103:1-3).

2. When people wrong us, or commit a fault against us, we need to forgive them, but they must also seek God's forgiveness as well. When David wronged Bathsheba by taking her into adultery and killing her husband, this was his prayer:
"Have mercy upon me, O God according to thy lovingkindness according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done evil in thy sight: that thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest" (Psalm 51: 1-4).

3. Sins committed against the church body. God grants authority to the church THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT to forgive or not forgive sins committed against the church. In the account of Ananias and Sapphira we see this being played out visibly. "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God...Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Holy Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. The fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband" (Acts 5: 4,9,10).

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 also had the power destroy persons who hindered the spread of the gospel by the church.
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth...And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven,that it rain not in the days of their prophesy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood,and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will" (Revelation 11: 3,5-6).

"Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" (John 20:22b-23).

Jennie said...

Leo,
I've been wanting for a while to write about Passover as a foreshadowing, so I'll get back to it; I don't know if I can make a short comment about it, so I may do a post.
By the way, I have a post about Mary as the Ark here: http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/2009/05/mary-as-ark-of-covenant.html

I'm very familiar with foreshadowing in the bible, and I'm constantly finding more places where I see it, as I read. I would say it's one of the gifts the Holy Spirit has given me. But all born again believers can find these things if they seek for Him diligently in His word.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

You know, for almost everything that is said here on this blog, I have a scripture for it. The scripture is TIMELESS, and is good for doctrine and faith regardless of the era or dispensation. The basic principles of the scriptures HAVE NEVER CHANGED.

Leo said...

Jennie posted an article from which I will post quotes.

from your source..."Then Jesus says, "Receive the Holy Spirit." This is a symbolic statement of a future event. They did not receive the Holy Spirit here at this time because the Holy Spirit was not yet living inside men and women."

This is typical of refusing to accept Scripture at face value. Scripture also says that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb, and Mary was likewise, as was her cousin Elizabeth. Just read Luke and see for yourself. The Holy Spirit is present in many forms and gives authority at His discretion in various ways. His gifts are not evenly distributed.

from your source..."Jesus was not giving the apostles divine authority. Jesus was allowing them to help others know that their sins were forgiven, if in fact they trusted in Jesus. The apostles were stating something that had already occurred. The Greek text makes this very clear."

You know, this is beginning to border on the absurd. Jesus said, "As the Father sent me, so I send you." He is absolutely giving them the authority to do what He did while on earth. He also said, "I give you the power to forgive sins. If you forgive them, they are forgiven, if you do not forgive them, they are held bound."

So now, I suppose Jesus made a big deal breathing on them to show His breath was fresh...

And, by the way, it is God who forgives through the priest just as it is God who performs miracles through believers.

This sounds a whole lot more like "My interpretura" than "Sola Scriptura" to me.

Jennie said...

Leo,
we have already seen that the Apostles and the early church did not practice auricular confession until many centuries later.
So this passage, though difficult, is not teaching that Jesus instituted auricular confession through a separate priesthood. IF the Apostles had a commission for forgiving sins, it is not in the way that the RCC teaches, and seems it must have ended with them. Their power to heal, etc. was not passed on in unbroken succession either.

Jennie said...

Leo,
Remember that the Church has NEVER changed any teaching on Faith and Morals despited what you may say.
They may not have changed any teaching on morals, but they certainly have changed the teachings on faith and salvation since the beginning of the N.T. church, though you can't see it. That's what the reformation was about, and many of the earlier dissenters. There are many historical sources to show this if you are interested, but all you really have to do is read the gospels and epistles and then go read what your catechism says about salvation and justification and see that they have added words and meanings that are not in scripture. But you can't see it if you are going to let the Church think for you instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you in His Word.

Jennie said...

Paul thanks for the info. on regeneration and baptism. I see in the points you listed from the confession that baptism is 'a sign and seal' of salvation, and that 'grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it; or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.' Also it says 'The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.' Am I correct in my understanding that this is saying it is the Holy Spirit who baptizes (washes and regenerates) us, but that the water baptism is a sign of this washing that has already occurred by the Spirit? And that if the washing by the Spirit has not occured by faith, then the baptism is not effective as a sign and seal?



on July 11, 6:53 pm

Jennie said...

Oops. I started to type that I had listed a link to my husband's info on baptism in a comment I posted above on July 11, 6:53 pm. I think it is helpful as it lists most or all of the scriptures on baptism.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

And here's the rest of the story...

While it is true that John the Baptist and others were filled with the Holy Spirit long before Pentecost, it is also true that the disciples were not filled with the Holy Spirit prior to Pentecost.
AFTER Jesus told the disciples "Peace be unto you...Receive ye the Holy Ghost," (John 20:21-22; Luke 24:36) He told the disciples,
"And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).

"And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should no depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." (Acts 1:4-5).

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place...and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues,as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2: 1,4).

Jennie said...

Leo,
we have too many subjects going here, but I wanted to go back to the 'By what means are we transformed by His grace?' question.
You answered First of all, by eating the Body of Christ, we become the body of Christ. Christ literally shared our humanity with us so that we might share in His divinity. We are called to pray as if everything depends upon God and work as if everything depends upon us. WHen we do this, we grow in holiness. Prayer, fasting and alsmgiving all help to transform us. Jesus said, "If you love me, obey my commandments."

Certainly I agree that the Lord's supper is a 'means of grace' in that when we take it in faith 'in remembrance of Me' as He commanded us, it constantly reminds us of the price He payed for us, and helps us to keep repentance always in mind. But scripture doesn't teach of the eucharist as the center of our faith. It teaches abiding in Him in His word and being sanctified by it. The word is the way in which we partake of the Bread of Life, and how we are made holy and like Christ.
See these scriptures which show this:
John 15:
. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
(notice 'and My words abide in you')
John 17:
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Matthew 4:4
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Jennie said...

May I add also that being transformed by His grace begins by hearing the Word of God, the gospel, and believing it. When we respond to His word in faith, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us and makes us a new creation. Then He remains with us to teach us and transform us by God's word. We can't transform ourselves outwardly by our works or obedience. Our obedience comes out from the inward transformation of the Spirit by the word. Our work is to abide in Him, as Mary and Martha learned.

Jennie said...

See my new post from yesterday to continue the theme of abiding and resting in Him, instead of trying to save ourselves by works outwardly.

Leo said...

Jennie wrote,

"'m going to ignore the 'liberal' comment, except to say that I don't think anyone else here would accept that, and if you read more of my posts and comments you would know that I am not."

Jennie, I was not calling you a liberal and the thought never even crossed my mind. I was simply saying that you were using an approach commonly used by liberals. When truth is not on their side, they cannot defend their positions with logic and reason, so they begin name calling and slandering. This is precisely what you did when you said that the Catholic Faith founded by Jesus Christ was based on lies. I realize your frustration at not being able to reasonably explain away the Scriptural passages on the transmission of the authority to forgive sins. This is because your position is untenable...not because you have not discovered "the right argument".

If you were offended because you thought I was calling you a liberal, please accept my sincere apologies. That was not my intention. However, I wanted you to see the way you came across by interjecting a little humor. And, by the way, your use of a dissenter to justify insinuating that the Church teaching was developed by liars is both unwarranted and ill-advised. If it is indeed of God, you are then aligning yourself against Him and His authority. Be careful not to attribute the authority of the Church to Beelzebub.

Jennie said...

Leo,
Thank you for your apology. I appreciate it, and I see what you are saying, but I think
Webster and others before him have shown the faulty foundation of the RCC.
I did not say 'that the Catholic Faith founded by Jesus Christ was based on lies'. The Roman Catholic church is not the church founded by Jesus Christ any more than the Southern Baptist Association was founded by Jesus Christ.
And you are ignoring what I and Webster stated, that auricular confession was not practiced until many hundred years later, so that could not be what the passage meant.

Jennie said...

I think we need to wrap this thread up so please quickly make a point if necessary and then lets move on.
I will post on the catechism and on passover as soon as I can, and I have a new post up.

Kelly said...

I think we need to wrap this thread up so please quickly make a point if necessary and then lets move on.

I had a little chuckle at this, because I remember when you came over to VTC, you would change topic with each comment. Mary . . . the saints . . . papacy . . . rosary . . . ;)

And you are ignoring what I and Webster stated, that auricular confession was not practiced until many hundred years later, so that could not be what the passage meant.

This is a clear appeal to tradition, which I didn't think you could make, according to your theology.

While there has always been believer's baptism for adult converts, Christian parents had their infants baptized from the earliest days of the church. There is no record of Christian parents not baptizing their children until hundreds of years later.

Similarly, there are written records which date from the earliest days of Christianity which attest to the belief of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

When Catholics make an appeal to tradition, you say where is that in Scripture? Now you say, Scripture can't mean what it means to say because there is no tradition for it.

"Father who knowest the hearts of all grant upon this Thy servant whom Thou hast chosen for the episcopate to feed Thy holy flock and serve as Thine high priest, that he may minister blamelessly by night and day, that he may unceasingly behold and appropriate Thy countenance and offer to Thee the gifts of Thy holy Church. And that by the high priestly Spirit he may have authority to forgive sins..." Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition, 3 (A.D. 215).

"The Pontifex Maximus--that is, the bishop of bishops--issues an edict: 'I remit, to such as have discharged (the requirements of) repentance, the sins both of adultery and of fornication.'" Tertullian, Modesty, 1 (A.D. 220).

"In addition to these there is also a seventh, albeit hard and laborious: the remission of sins through penance...when he does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord." Origen, Homilies on Leviticus, 2:4 (A.D. 248).

"For although in smaller sins sinners may do penance for a set time, and according to the rules of discipline come to public confession, and by imposition of the hand of the bishop and clergy receive the right of communion: now with their time still unfulfilled, while persecution is still raging, while the peace of the Church itself is not vet restored, they are admitted to communion, and their name is presented; and while the penitence is not yet performed, confession is not yet made, the hands Of the bishop and clergy are not yet laid upon them, the eucharist is given to them; although it is written, 'Whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.'" Cyprian, To the Clergy, 9 (16):2 (A.D. 250).


I will try to find my post on Webster, and bump it to the top at VTC for you.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
I'm trying to show that if Jesus had been commissioning the Apostles to practice auricular confession and to in turn commission others after them to do this, then why was it not practiced at all until hundreds of years later? This is not an appeal to tradition over scripture, it is looking at a historical fact and deducing that the RCC is misinterpreting this passage. There is no mention in this passage of people coming to them to confess, or of them passing it on to others.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
here is an article by Webster about Confession and Penance including historical development. It looks like the practice of confession of all sins to a priest, and the practice of penance, are more modern developments, and that the ancient practice was public confession before the assembly only for a very grave sin, and only to be done once in a lifetime.

Kelly said...

Jennie, I'm not seeing the link. Did you put it in a post? Just point me where to look and I'll read it tonight after bedtime for the children.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Yeah! I agree it is time we closed this thread. It is too long! We need to continue this discussion under another post addressing these issues of priestly confession, etc.

People need to be warned however that priestly confession is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR CONFESSING ONE'S SINS TO GOD DIRECTLY. Confessing your sin to a priest IS NOT the same as confessing it to God. The priest is not God but a man.

Under the Levitical priestly order, the priest would offer daily sacrifices for the sins of the people to God, but it was the people's responsiblity to confess their own sins to God (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:7). When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed, he still had to confess his sins to God, even though the priests of the day had offered up sacrifices on behalf of the people (Psalm 51). Numerous examples exist in the Bible of people making confession of sin to God directly, under the Levitical priesthood system.

Unconfessed sin is unforgiven sin!

Another thing: the quotes from the cathecism by Kelly are disturbing. It shows that very early in the church, man has sought to take over roles that belong solely to God. When did Christ abdicate His position as High Priest and give it over to man? When did Christ give over His authority to judge man and forgive sins over to man? Has man now become God that we should sit in judgment over each other's sins to decide who to forgive and not forgive? How well did Paul reference the coming time when there would be a "falling away" within the church, and how that falling away was already at work within the church of his day (2 Thessalonians 2: 3-7).

2 Thessalonians 2:3-7 (New King James Version):
"3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way."

The spirit of rebellion was already at work in the early church, but was held in check, until those with the responsibility of overseeing the church were taken away (either by death or exile).

We find John, the last apostle, in exile on the Isle of Patmos, giving prophetic counsel to the seven churches of Asia minor, because of their sins. These are the seven letters to the seven churches. These letters show a falling away from truth already in existence in the early church.

As I have said before, the earthly church organization is NOT GOD's TRUE CHURCH, but is an organization set up by God for the salvation of the souls of men, hence the influence of erroneous man is inescapable. That is because the organized church consists of "wheat" and "tares," which are true believers and false believers respectively. On the other hand, the true church is of a heavenly nature, and consists of a worldwide commnunity of true believers whose name are written in God's eternal church in heaven (Hebrews 12: 22-24).

Paul said...

Jennie said:
"Oops. I started to type that I had listed a link to my husband's info on baptism in a comment I posted above on July 11, 6:53 pm. I think it is helpful as it lists most or all of the scriptures on baptism."

Thanks Jennie,
I found the list and will go through it. Below is a 23 part lecture series from OPC Pastor Bill Shishko. He presents the view of a Presbyterian Covenant Theologian. Pastor Shishko debated this topic with his dear friend James White on Long Island in 2006.
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sid=12200485841

Leo said...

Jennie said,

"Mary is to be honored as Christ's mother and as a fellow believer. She represents us all: Israel bringing forth her own savior (God With Us), and the Church becoming the part of the Body of Christ by faith. But Mary is not herself the Woman clothed with the sun or the Shining Bride coming down from heaven. All of those in Christ are that bride.
If we lift Mary up too high we are in essence lifting ourselves up too high, as she is one of us and represents us (represents us not in the sense of mediating for us, but as a symbol, picture, or type)."

Actually, I am sure that this surprises you greatly, but I must again respectfully disagree with your diminution of our Blessed Mother's role in the history of salvation.

You actually began touching upon her role as the Ark of the New Covenant, and I was hoping that you would not retreat from your excursion into deeper Truths. Let me begin by making yet another key disclaimer to make sure that no one jumps to erroneous conclusions.

Mary is NOT God. She is NOT to be worshipped or adored. Her role is to always lead us to her Son. In fact, Catholics are STRONGLY cautioned by the Church not to even discuss Mary with non-Catholics if there is any danger of damaging their faith in Jesus Christ. However, I have confidence that anyone reading this blog has a strong enough relationship with our Lord to not be misled.

That being said, Mary is the greatest created being and has a special place as Queen of Heaven. She has been given to us as our spiritual Mother to lead us to Christ, to watch over us, and to intercede for us. She is also ever-virgin, meaning that she was a virgin before, during and after giving birth to Jesus.

There now...I love floating these softballs to non-Catholics who are by now shaking their heads in disbelief and muttering to themselves, "heresy, paganism, apostasy, I knew Catholics weren't really Christians, those poor deluded souls, He's really gone off the deep end now, blasphemy, etc.,etc.,etc."

You have hopefully seen by now that I mean no ill will in my comments and try to write tongue-in-cheek with a somewhat unique style and sense of humor.

I will continue with my explanation later. I just wanted to kick this topic off with a flourish.

Jennie said...

http://www.christiantruth.com/penancehistory.html
Here it is Kelly, I forgot to post it.

Jennie said...

Leo,
If you read the comments under my post on Mary and another one above it, you'll know my thoughts on it, and I don't think we need to go on in this thread anymore. Not that we can't discuss it in future, but frankly I'm rather tired of it after those posts.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Looks as if the role of the Holy Spirit has been delegated to Mary also.

John 14:16-18 (New Living Translation)
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

Romans 8:26 (New King James Version)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Leo said...

Ah, daughter of wisdom, the rest of the story indeed...

The Lord did indeed breathe on them and send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not limited to one entry into each person. He comes with different gifts and different authority at different times. Christ gave authority to forgive sins through the Holy Spirit. When Peter proclaimed, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God", He was filled with the Holy SPirit who spoke through him. Just so, we receive the Holy Spirit at baptism and again at Confirmation.

Leo said...

Jennie,

Let me clarify one thing. When you celebrate the "Lord's supper" at your church, you ARE just remembering Him. However, I believe I read that you were raised Catholic. If true, then you actually received the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. There is a huge difference. ONLY an ordained priest who uses the proper formula of words, can actually call down the Holy Spirit to transform the substance of bread and wine into Christ Himself. When Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of me", He meant for His priests to celebrate the Mass. The apostles gathered on the first day of each week to break the bread(celebrate Mass) and this is where the disciples recognized Him on the way to Emmaus.

Leo said...

Jennie,

You said, "I did not say 'that the Catholic Faith founded by Jesus Christ was based on lies'. The Roman Catholic church is not the church founded by Jesus Christ any more than the Southern Baptist Association was founded by Jesus Christ.
And you are ignoring what I and Webster stated, that auricular confession was not practiced until many hundred years later, so that could not be what the passage meant."

Actually, you did say the Catholic Church was based on lies. By saying so, you are attributing its origin to Beelzebub, the father of lies. My caution was sincere, lest you bring judgement upon yourself. It is your erroneous opinion that the Church was not founded by Jesus Christ Himself.

The Catholic Church is NOT a denomination like the Baptist church, whose origin we can trace. The fullness of Truth subsists within it and only vestiges of Truth exist in the 30M or so denominations. They only have Truth to the extent they agree with Church teaching.

Let's think about this logically and then I will address Confession. Work with me on this one. We know that the prayers of a righteous person are effective. Jesus prayed that all who come to believe in Him through the apostles would become one just as He and the Father are one. Clearly His prayer was answered. All devout Catholics believe exactly the same thing. When I get together with the admittedly few devout Catholics I know, we believe exactly the same thing in our heart of hearts. We truly are one with Jesus and the Father in that.

This is not so in the Protestant world. The prayer Jesus prayed was not answered there because of the huge number of denomination. There is clear division because each person is their own pope. I think we can agree that there are millions of sincere Christians who believe in Sola Scriptura and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Yet, they are not one in Faith. This is clearly a sign that this concept is not God' will.

At least acknowledge this. Would it not make sense for God to give us an infallible authority to guide us? It would make perfect sense to have a book written without error and such an authority to interpret it for the faithful. It would also make sense to guide the world on new issues such as in-vitro fertilization, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, etc. That is precisely why He gave us His Church.

On the next post, I will address Confession.

Jennie said...

Leo,
You're not listening, sir. I know you are on a roll, but I want to end this thread.
We've tried to solve the problems of the last two millenia here, and haven't made any progress; but you guys have given me subjects for at least three new studies, which I will try to post on (passover, the catechism, and now, auricular confession-good grief!) if I can.
So please save your comments, and use them when I post on the subject.
Thanks everyone!

Leo said...

Jennie,

Confession...the poor misunderstood Sacrament downtrodden by our Protestant brethren...and cistern...oh, well...

I think you will agree that the Church displayed a continual learning process throughout the New Testament. This did not stop there and continues to this day. Although revelation ceased with the death of the last apostle, depth of understanding did not. An example of that is understanding of the Trinity. It was not well defined in Scripture, but the Church clarified the teaching over time. This did not make it a novel teaching.

The other point has to do with discipline. The Church has the authority to change practices and disciplines as she deems necessary. Meatless Fridays is an example. We have always been compelled to perform some act of sacrifice or penance every Friday to remember our Lord's death on the cross. No meat was deemed the easiest way to make a visible reminder. However, so many Catholics never eat meat throughout the world or feast on non meat dishes, it was decided that any sacrifice was acceptable. Unfortunately, what resulted is that most Catholics only think of Friday now as weekend time off.

This was a similar issue with Confession. When the early Church started, people would give up everything and sell their goods to join. They would also confess their sins at Mass. Unfortunately, there was no Sacramental seal, so secrecy was an issue. Confession also resulted in public penance, depending on the sin and the sinners were expelled from the congregation. They would ask Mass attenders to pray for them. We also have clear records and writings from a number of early Church fathers from the second century on where individual confession was practiced first to bishops only, then to priests as well. In some places, the practice even fell away for awhile before returning. The Sacramental seal was added, whereby the Holy Spirit protects the priest from ever revealing what he has heard.

I believe that it is not short of a miracle. You know how many enemies the Church has had(such as yourself)lol, who would love to destroy it. Even priests have abandoned the Faith, yet there has never even been the hint of a scandal where something heard in Confession was ever made public.

That being said, the Church always had the power to forgive sins from when Jesus breathed on the apostles, but it took a while to learn how to use this authority. This is similar to the charismatic gifts which we are given at baptism, but it sometimes takes years before we realize we have them and we hone our ability to use them for the service of the Lord.

Leo said...

Well said, Kelly, well said...

Leo said...

No, I am just way behind...