Giving A Whole New Meaning to Church Universal

While Jason Stellman is trying to exegete his way back to Trent, I wonder in what part of the Bible or early church fathers you would read a statement like this from Pope Francis (yesterday):

“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”

“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

Now I guess conservative Protestants are not supposed to notice affirmations like this. So far Jason and the Callers have not been as fired up about Francis as they were in the initial after glow of the Conclave. Then again, their blogs do go to sleep sometimes.

Still, how exactly do you pull tradition, the church that Christ founded, and conservative Christianity out of this? Have the Protestant converts to Rome really accepted the notion that Roman Catholicism is above liberalism, as if modernism doesn’t happen there, as if Pascendi Dominici Gregis was foisted on the Vatican by William Jennings Bryan and William Bell Riley?

Between Francis’ apparent sympathies to liberation theology and his universalism, the task of selling Rome as the conservative answer to Protestant disarray is going to be almost as hard as making a movie about Edgardo Mortara.

Advertisements

187 thoughts on “Giving A Whole New Meaning to Church Universal

  1. So now the Pope’s talking about walls, too. Like HAL 9000, the more all of this goes along the more I can feel my mind going…

    Like

  2. I need to call the priest at St. Thomas Aquinas here in town and ask them when their merger with the local Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship will be completed.

    Like

  3. Quick, somebody get a list of all the popes who sent armies off to Jerusalem. It’s a hermenuetic of continuity/reform but without rupture. Somebody else grab the authority spectacles to see where in the paradigm of RC binding authority that the phrase; “To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.” falls in the spectrum of mortal blasphemy, venial blasphemy, pastoral consideration blasphemy, we really mean it blasphemy, signed in the papal office while wearing the fisherman’s ring blasphemy, we were just throwing back a few and talking blasphemy……………

    Like

  4. Sounds kinda like the Lutheran doctrine of Universal Justification.

    here’s a quote

    “In the discussions in the 50s between the old American Lutheran Church and the LCMS concerning justification, the ALC wanted to teach that God had secured and provided salvation for all people. This is objective or universal redemption, not objective justification. The LCMS along with the WELS insisted on the words, that God has not only secured and provided salvation for all, but that God has declared the whole world righteous in Christ Jesus. This they called objective Justification. (A term that is preferred over universal justification, which can cause some misunderstandings.) By only saying “secured and provided salvation” the door is open for some cooperation or contributions on the part on man. Good, God has provided it, how do I get it? But by insisting on the term God has DECLARED the whole world righteous, all works or cooperation on man’s part are removed. “

    Like

  5. The Pope has a point. Jesus did purchase people of every nation with his blood. We are indeed to do good by loving God and our neighbor, and we must conform to his image.

    But there is one small admission: Jesus died for those who call on his name and trust his sacrifice alone for their righteousness, the once and for all attonement. (Note, once and for all?)

    God the Father has written the list of Christ’s Heritage. The atheist can go and do all the good he wants, but “all our righteousness is like filthy rags”.

    He must first accept his need of Christ’s sacrifice. To do this, he must have faith. Faith is the gift of God.

    That is a very very narrow little eye to shove the camel of universal justification through.

    Like

  6. I saw this yesterday and found it amusing. Just like most so called protestant churches in America, Rome is out calling a righteous world to just do good works and meet in Heaven.

    Of course there is one problem with that, as Mr. Cross could tell us in about 500 words, the premise assumes a fallacy – there are no righteous!

    Like

  7. Jason Stellman has already started to mount a defense of the pope’s words.

    Since we have to interpret Francis’ meaning for ourselves, I guess we’ll never have a principled means for discovering what he really meant. Where is the ecclesiastically infallible interpretation when you need it!

    Like

  8. True, this the RCC prays for–universal reconciliation, apokatastasis in the
    Greek. Not that there is no hell, but that it be empty.

    I for one am glad it’s in God’s hands and not my fellow man’s, some of whom get the smuglies at the idea of other people in hell.

    “Eternal damnation remains a possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it.”–John Paul II

    RCC Catechism:

    1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: ‘Lord, let
    me never be parted from you.’ If it is true that no one can save
    himself, it is also true that God ‘desires all men to be saved’ (1 Tim
    2:4), and that for him ‘all things are possible’ (Mt 19:26).

    1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by
    God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each
    one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere ‘to the end’
    and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good
    works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays
    for ‘all men to be saved.’

    Like

  9. It’s not only the liberal Lutherans who teach an “universal objective atonement”. It’s also conservative Lutherans, and these Lutherans often form alliances with a Marrow view of the “universal sufficiency” of the atonement. The result of is a new covenant which is not conditioned on Christ alone, but which is conditioned on what God does in the sinner.

    The Lutheran Jacob Preus (in hisbook Just Words: Understanding the Fullness of the Gospel (Concordia, 2000). writes: “Faith is necessary to appropriate the reconciliation of Christ. However, our faith does not make Christ’s work effective. It is effective even if no one approves it, even if no one is saved.” (p140).

    This book has a lot of talk about sacramental objectivity and it also teaches an “objective reconciliation” that often does not reconcile. Even if you say that grace has to overcome the bondage of your will to “take it”, there are two problems with this Protestant version of universalism.

    One, there is no good news here that Christ’s death purchased the work of the Spirit and faith for the elect. Even if God by grace gives the faith, that faith is not a certain result of Christ’s work, even though the Bible teaches that it is (I Peter 1:21;II Peter 1:1; Eph 4:7-8; Phil 1:29).

    Two, Lutherans miss the federalist truth of a penalty for specific sins imputed, and therefore they end up with a propitiation that does not propitiate. Preus himself limits the concept of reconciliation to the sinner’s enmity to God, and not to God’s enmity to unjustified sinners.

    But of course no Lutheran (or conditional Reformed person) who teaches an universal objective atonement can dare talk about the imputation of the guilt of the elect to Christ. Preus explains that the ransom “should NOT be understood to be only for some and not for others (p84).

    Like

  10. Was Jason fighting the universalism of Norman Shepherd? Shepherd’s book Call of the Gospel was premised on the idea that covenant and election are two distinct matters.

    Norman Shepherd: The covenant is not founded on or governed by election. God makes His covenant with all baptized infants alike but conditionally. Baptism does not merely bring people into the pale of the gospel. Baptism effects union with God in Christ. Baptism is not just the offer of union.

    Norman Shepherd: The New Testament as well as the Old makes our eternal welfare contingent in some way and to some extent on what we do.

    Not of Works (Shepherd and His Critics), 2012, Ralph Boersma

    Like

  11. Christ did die for all. Jesus forgave ALL from the Cross. This is true. The Bible tells us so.

    But not all who are died for, who are forgiven, will hear and come to faith.

    Why not? That’s God’s business. He will save whom He will save.

    I’d like to ask the Pope, “Then why bother with any of this?”

    Like

  12. Ah, but as Mr. Stellman has been so forward to inform us in the past, protestants necessarily can only attain to fallible personal opinion. Essentially then, any opinions N.B. here on the pope’s latest are just that and can be blithely disregarded.
    As they surely will be by the CtC apologists for the alternative universe of Byrome.

    But what of “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one”?
    Not so fast, that was Paul writing to Rome, not Peter in and upon the throne.

    Aren’t you glad you asked?

    Like

  13. Steve,

    We’re Calvinists. The “L” in TULIP stands for “Limited Atonement”, but I suspect you knew that. Since Richard isn’t around I don’t know if you’ll find anyone with the energy to argue with you, though. Maybe Mark.

    The problem with Jesus dying for all is that he becomes an ineffectual savior. I don’t know if I favor the concept of the God of the Universe being ineffectual. His being effectual is kind of essential to my being able to get out of bed in the morning, but maybe that’s just me.

    Like

  14. Erik,

    It’s ok to argue. I’m just repeating what the Scriptures say about it (in many ways and in many places).

    I, for one, could not imagine telling someone with whom I am speaking to about Jesus, that “He may have died for you.”

    I can say, with honesty and surety, that “He does love you. He did die for your sins.”

    After that, it’s up to the Holy Spirit to create faith in that person…or not.

    Like

  15. Steve – I’m just repeating what the Scriptures say about it (in many ways and in many places).

    Erik – Such as?

    If Jesus died for all, but the Holy Spirit is only creating faith in some, wouldn’t that reveal disharmony in the Trinity?

    Like

  16. Christians act as if limited atonement is an unthinkable doctrine, but we are talking about the same God who wiped out all but Noah and his family in a flood and made a Covenant with Abraham and one small, holy nation of Israel. The concept is not unprecedented in Scripture. God appears to have never been one for Universalism.

    Like

  17. Steve, will you keep telling those who perish them of this “love” after they perish? Noah of course had this sign outside of the ark—God loves you. Also Noah loves you, because Noah is telling you that God loves you…..

    Will God’s love for them run out, if they don’t reciprocate? Won’t the sacrament still be the sacrament for them, even after their second death?

    Yes, it’s God’s business that God gives faith to His elect, which is why God has in this instance revealed His character, His business, His intent, His success.

    Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

    Like

  18. Erik,

    Here are some:

    “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

    “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22).

    “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

    “. . . God . . . desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all . . .” (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not” (Matthew 23:37)!

    “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all” (Romans 11:32).

    “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them . . .” (2 Corinthians).

    “He [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

    __

    I think we get into trouble when we try and apply our reason to who and why God chooses.

    He did die for ALL. He did (does) forgive ALL. But that grace has to be accessed through faith. Not all who hear will really hear and come to faith. It’s a mystery why…or why not. God does call and choose us, that is for sure. But He loves ALL and desires that ALL come to repentance and faith.

    At the same time, He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. But we cannot throw out the clear words of Scripture because it doesn’t fit with our human reason.

    Methinks.

    Thanks, Erik.

    Like

  19. Tom, Good to see you tanned, rested, back on your meds.

    Oh, I remain quite appalled by all this, Erik. But if you’re going to sneer at Pope Francis and at the RCC’s–and many other Christians’–hope that all men will be saved by Christ’s sacrifice, then you should at least sneer at the real thing.

    Francis’s exhortation to the atheists is perfectly in harmony with Matthew 21:28–31. Frankly, y’all of the self-appointed elect should mind your own business, lest you turn out to be the first son in the story.

    Respectfully submitted.

    Like

  20. Good to come home from a very hectic day at work and sit down and see someone hit a Reformed board with a scattered handful of verses to back up a non-Reformed argument…

    Like

  21. Kent, since the Original Post was a slam on Pope Francis’ theology, an explanation/clarification/rebuttal was perfectly in order. You may now return to your usual program if it makes you happy.

    Like

  22. Steve,

    Just putting ALL in ALL CAPS a bunch of times does not an argument make.

    On what grounds do you interpret “world” as everyone?

    R. Scott Clark addresses this error on the Heidelcast:

    http://heidelblog.net/2013/01/hb-classic-what-does-world-mean-in-john-316/

    Substitute “the elect” for “world” and you can interpret these passages in a way that allows you to be consistent with all that Scripture teaches about election (the “U” in TULIP).

    How do you answer my objection about your view setting the Holy Spirit against Jesus?

    Like

  23. Francis: We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

    Tom: Francis’s exhortation to the atheists is perfectly in harmony with Matthew 21:28–31

    Erik: What? So Jesus teaches all we have to do is do good to get to heaven? Who needs Rome, then?

    Every time Rome lowers the bar I’m sure the accountants in the Vatican shake their heads.

    Like

  24. Don’t worry about other people so much, Erik. If you’re elected and they’re going to hell, it’s no skin off your nose. I write for who’s ever reading this, not you. Your salvation is in the bag.

    Matthew 21:28-31
    1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

    28 ¶ [a]But what think ye? A certain man had two sons, and came to the elder, and said, Son, go and work today in my vineyard.
    29 But he answered, and said, I will not: yet afterward he repented himself, and went.
    30 Then came he to the second, and said likewise. And he answered, and said, I will, Sir: yet he went not.
    31 Whether of them twain did the will of the father? They said unto him, The first. Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the Publicans and the harlots [b]go before you into the kingdom of God.
    _______________
    Footnotes:

    Matthew 21:28 It is no new thing to see them to be the worst of all men, which ought to show the way of godliness to others.

    Like

  25. Erik, apparently Colbert, as a practicing RC, shares your incredulity. He’s decided to start worshipping his stapler. His stapler told him it didn’t care, it was a Buddhist hoping to come back as a fax machine in its next manifestation as office equipment.

    Like

  26. Erik,

    Oh brother. Not the ‘world’ doesn’t really mean ‘the world’ argument.

    Look at the totality of all those other verses I cited. “Father forgive them”. Not some of them. Not only those who will eventually come to faith.

    Do you not EVER use voice inflection or highlight certain words by your tone? That’s why I use caps in certain places. Too bad it couldn’t make the argument. It’s be a LOT easier :D.

    Like

  27. Erik, I’ll jump in on this one.

    Steve, this is where a good dose of biblical theology would do you well. Proof-texting doesn’t win arguments because there are verses that appear to support both sides:

    John 3:36
    whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

    As I understand it, Jesus placated God’s wrath at the cross, but according to the not-so-limited-atonement scheme one run into problems when one encounters verses like John 3:36. If you don’t believe, you’re under God’s wrath (i.e., no atonement). If you believe, your sins have been atoned for. No either or here.

    The reason I say you need some good biblical theology is because you have to synthesize many apparently disparate portions of scripture, even among particular authors (John, for example). The problem with non-limited-atonement (Arminianism? Semi-Pelagianism? Etc…) is when you try and synthesize it with the whole witness of scripture (including what Erik points out) you run into serious exegetical problems.

    Like

  28. Tom, now you’re trusting your own interpretation of the Bible over the Catholic Encyclopedia?

    From the moment, however, that anti-Origenism prevailed, the doctrine of the apokatastasis was definitely abandoned. St. Augustine protests more strongly than any other writer against an error so contrary to the doctrine of the necessity of grace. See, especially, his “De gestis Pelagii”, I: “In Origene dignissime detestatur Ecclesia, quod et iam illi quos Dominus dicit æterno supplicio puniendos, et ipse diabolus et angeli eius, post tempus licet prolixum purgati liberabuntur a poenis, et sanctis cum Deo regnantibus societate beatitudinis adhærebunt.” Augustine here alludes to the sentence pronounced against Pelagius by the Council of Diospolis, in 415 (P.L., XLIV, col. 325). He moreover recurs to the subject in many passages of his writings, and in City of God XXI sets himself earnestly to prove the eternity of punishment as against the Platonist and Origenist error concerning its intrinsically purgatorial character. We note, further, that the doctrine of the apokatastasis was held in the East, not only by St. Gregory of Nyssa, but also by St. Gregory of Nazianzus as well; “De seipso”, 566 (P.G., XXXVII, col. 1010), but the latter, though he asks the question, finally decides neither for nor against it, but rather leaves the answer to God. Köstlin, in the “Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie” (Leipzig, 1896), I, 617, art. “Apokatastasis”, names Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia as having also held the doctrine of apokatastasis, but cites no passage in support of his statement. In any case, the doctrine was formally condemned in the first of the famous anathemas pronounced at the Council of Constantinople in 543: Ei tis ten teratode apokatastasis presbeuei anathema esto [See, also, Justinian, Liber adversus Originem, anathemas 7 and 9.] The doctrine was thenceforth looked on as heterodox by the Church.

    It was destined, nevertheless, to be revived in the works of ecclesiastical writers, and it would be interesting to verify Köstlin’s and Bardenhewer’s statement that it is to be traced in Bar Sudaili, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, Scotus Erigena, and Amalric of Bena. It reappears at the Reformation in the writings of Denk (d. 1527), and Harnack has not hesitated to assert that nearly all the Reformers were apocatastasists at heart, and that it accounts for their aversion to the traditional teaching concerning the sacraments (Dogmengeschichte, III, 661). The doctrine of apokatastasis viewed as a belief in a universal salvation is found among the Anabaptists, the Moravian Brethren, the Christadelphians, among rationalistic Protestants, and finally among the professed Universalists. It has been held, also, by such philosophic Protestants as Schleiermacher, and by a few theologians, Farrar, for instance, in England, Eckstein and Pfister in Germany, Matter in France. Consult Köstlin, art. cit., and Grétillut, “Exposé de théologie systématique” (Paris, 1890), IV, 603.

    Like

  29. Darryl, are you playing the internet “Catholic Encyclopedia” against sola scriptura? This isn’t a game. Pope Francis and the Bible are in harmony. And if you love your neighbor as yourself, you’d want to see him next in heaven, not in hell.

    Matthew 21:28-31
    1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

    28 ¶ [a]But what think ye? A certain man had two sons, and came to the elder, and said, Son, go and work today in my vineyard.
    29 But he answered, and said, I will not: yet afterward he repented himself, and went.
    30 Then came he to the second, and said likewise. And he answered, and said, I will, Sir: yet he went not.
    31 Whether of them twain did the will of the father? They said unto him, The first. Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the Publicans and the harlots [b]go before you into the kingdom of God.
    _______________
    Footnotes:

    Matthew 21:28 It is no new thing to see them to be the worst of all men, which ought to show the way of godliness to others.

    Like

  30. Tom, if you recall, you appealed to the encyclopedia to say I didn’t know what I was talking about regarding Unam Sanctam. Now you don’t believe the Encyclopedia when it says that the Roman Catholic church has historically condemned universalism?

    This is not a game. The Bible does not teach universalism. You’re quoting a few verses doesn’t prove it. And if you know anything about church history it was only the strange fringe (John Murray and the Universalsits) who taught it until folks like Barth started to make it more plausible.

    Like

  31. Pershall: Semi-Pelagianism

    Aha. The only way natural law might work per Romans, not that man is good, but that man might be able to recognize what is good when it hits him over the head.

    Phillip E. Johnson, in a Review of Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law by J. Budziszewski says concerning natural law:

    Paul wrote in Romans 2:15 that gentiles who know nothing of Moses or Christ may nonetheless show by their deeds “that the requirements of the Law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” J. Budziszewski, who teaches in the Departments of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas, and whose work frequently appears in First Things and other journals, explains that this law is what philosophers call the “natural law.” It is the bedrock moral understanding that we can’t not know, however hard we try to evade that knowledge, because our consciences bear witness to it.

    [Boldface mine.]
    _______________

    P.S.—Jed, did you give a final report on your blessed event? I sort of had to bail around comment 500 of the past thread.

    Like

  32. Nate,

    No proof texting…and then you do it. I provided many verses in many different contexts. Theology is what we Lutherans do. And, I might add, better, we believe, than the rest because we are not hung up on reason.

    “Father forgive them….for they know not what they do.” Does that sound like a prayer for the elect only? Not to me it doesn’t.

    With your understanding, you have to lie to people or not tell them that Christ died for them. We believe Scripture when it tells us that God desires that all would come to Him. That they all don’t is another issue.

    Lutherans are anything but Arminians and semi-Pelagians. Ww have real assurance in the external Word and the sacraments and do not have to go fishing around within ourselves for proof that we are the elect.

    Our theology is just better.

    G’nite. Going on vacation up to Sequoia National Park in the morning. So let me have it…but good.

    Ciao.

    Like

  33. Tom, if you recall, you appealed to the encyclopedia

    Darryl, I “appeal” to sources such as the “Catholic Encyclopedia” or Wikipedia when the other fellow has absolutely zero idea of the facts. Let us not insult each other’s intelligence, OK? You were off the mark on the “Two Swords” bit. I let you off the hook. You want to re-litigate it, then keep calling me out and we’ll do it.

    I gave my own explanation–not the “Catholic Encyclopedia’s”—of the Papal encyclical “Unam Sanctam,” that it was written for a time and place where all the rulers and “magistrates” were members of the Roman Catholic Church, and it was on that basis that the Church claimed authority on their consciences. It is not necessarily germane in the 21st century about your “radical” 2K.

    And now your surrogate Erik Charter’s reflexive appeal to “Calvinism” and TULIP is much more problematic if not embarrassing to your theology, Darryl. Every Christian should want everyone saved by Christ’s sacrifice, if he truly loves his neighbor as himself.

    Matthew 22:36-40
    1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

    36 Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?
    37 Jesus said to him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    38 This is the first and the great commandment.
    39 And the second is like unto this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
    40 On these two commandments hangeth the whole Law and the Prophets.

    If it turns out that God has made everyone “Elect,” each according to his Will, that should bring us all nothing but joy, brother.

    Like

  34. Tom, how could Unam Sanctam be irrelevant to the 21st century when it is part of the magisterium? It requires fancy footwork akin to modernism to say that it no longer applies, as if Boniface gets a mulligan. It is also a tad awkward to have editors of encyclopedias determining what was really true and what was only an expression of a certain historical moment. That sort of upends the idea of having an authoritative figure who steers the church clear of Protestantism’s mere opinions. It seems to me you really haven’t thought through the claims of the popes or the modern RC church’s efforts to maintain constancy while changing.

    As for universalism, are you making a point about my affections, as if I’m not Edwardsean enough about Francis’ homily? Or are you really going to tell us that universalism is accepted teaching in the historic church? Please check your own intellect here and what a myriad of popes, canon law, and theologians have said about hell before Francis.

    And how exactly, btw, is it embarrassing to appeal to limited atonement? You know that Beza also believed in predestination and limited atonement. And yet you without embarrassment (an ignorant kind) appeal to Beza to say that Calvinism supported the American Revolution. That is the same Calvinism that denied universalism? Why aren’t you embarrassed?

    Like

  35. Tom, how could Unam Sanctam be irrelevant to the 21st century when it is part of the magisterium?

    Asked and answered. For the second time, Darryl, or perhaps the third, Unum Sanctum was a papal bull written in 1302. It was written for a time and place where all the rulers and “magistrates” were members of the Roman Catholic Church, and it was on that basis that the Church claimed authority on their consciences. You’re not taking it in proper context.

    I’m as tired of you trying to hold the Roman church to a foolish consistency as you are having illiterates argue the Bible against the Bible–as we all are tired of having illiterates argue the Bible against the Bible. Pope Francis’s address to the atheists is a good one and Biblically sound, for reasons given.

    And if we love our neighbor as ourselves, we should want to see him in heaven, and pray that he & God work it out between them to make it so.

    I’ve come to like the Geneva Bible 1599 very much. I shall consult it from here on in on these things.

    Footnotes:

    Matthew 20:1 God is bound to no man, and therefore he calleth whomsoever and whensoever he listeth. This only every man ought to take heed of, and hereupon bestow his whole endeavor, that he go forward and come to the mark without all stopping or staggering, and not curiously to examine other men’s doings, or the judgments of God.

    Like

  36. It’s hard to tell what Frances meant from a few translated soundbites – and even the translation of the entire – fairly short – homily may not help in this particular.

    However, the RC does distinguish between redemption and salvation, so maybe his position wasn’t actually what it’s being portrayed as.

    Like

  37. Random: If the caricatures of the conservative Reformed (TR, Muscovites, Old Schoolers, etc)
    were true wouldn’t our defectors become Muslims instead of Papists?

    Like

  38. Erik, it’s possible both to affirm limited atonement and say that Jesus died for all. The Reformed distinction is between all without exception (denied) and all without distinction (affirmed).

    Like

  39. Whenever I hear things like what Francis says in this quote, I begin to formulate a version of Pascal’s Wager argument. Why should I convert to Roman Catholicism when Rome itself teaches that I will eventually get to heaven even if I remain a Reformed Christian? The payoff is not high enough when measured against the fact that, if Rome is wrong and the Reformed view is correct, embracing the gospel preached by Rome puts my soul in danger of eternal condemnation.

    Like

  40. “Why should I convert to Roman Catholicism when Rome itself teaches that I will eventually get to heaven even if I remain a Reformed Christian?”

    They enter the Octagon thinking their system is a flagpole in concrete, then they get knocked out in 2 seconds on this forum by people grounded in Scripture, Creed and Confession, and Reformed theology.

    [So grounded that the antagonists cannot imagine how deep it is, even the least read believer that was grilled and admitted into serious Reformed church membership is high level in the world of religion.]

    Instead of admitting their system isn’t all that, they then take off like a bird into the sky and keep pretending this loss never happened Just smile and fly away to their happy place and clean the slate of conscience and start again believing they have a perfect system before God.

    Like

  41. Tom, in case you missed it, the entire claim of “the church does not err” implies some kind of consistency. And last I checked rulers and magistrates are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Think John Kerry. What has changed about that? One is that the pope no longer is a European monarch or prince. But he still has authority over all sorts of people. And I don’t know what I’m talking about? What rock do you live under?

    Btw, the proper context for Unam Sanctam went all the way down to 1870 when the Vatican had its temporal power pried from its hands thanks to Italian unification efforts.

    You didn’t answer about your embarrassment in claiming Beza as the inspiration for the American Revolution, the one who did not believe in universalism even if you do.

    What in the world does your “liking” the Geneva Bible have to do with anything?

    Like

  42. Andy, that is the question and a related one is why folks like Stellman think they have moved into a superior faith when they didn’t even need to move.

    Like

  43. “Why should I convert to Roman Catholicism when Rome itself teaches that I will eventually get to heaven even if I remain a Reformed Christian?”

    Yup.

    If they are right and I am wrong, I don’t lose.

    If they are wrong and I am right, they are in serious peril.

    Like

  44. Darryl, you’ll like this, they move because they claim they get to keep all the best parts of what they used to believe like when a Jew becomes a completed Jew(messianic). It’s bells and whistles and sleeping better at night because they believe what the church believes. I fought the church and the church won.

    Like

  45. It should be considered an honour that the Pope’s views are taken seriously enough here to sift them.

    From my experience, barely any people in his Church could possibly care less about what he has to say, let alone apply it to their real daily existence.

    Like

  46. Andy, bingo. The irony is in how the Reformed have a higher view of the church (as in no salvation outside her) than those who have an infallible one (as in separated brethren).

    Like

  47. Darryl, irony of ironies, they are those solo scripturists they like to lampoon, at heart. They’ve read the bible, read the documents and are certain they’ve got ’em reconciled and found something here. Never mind a guy like Kung, who was there crafting the documents or Wallis or Duffy or any number of cradles, or religious who try to give them what the dinner table conversation really is, they are the prot-catholics and they’re going to do RC right this time, which is of course what it always was. If there’s a hair’s width difference between these guys and bible thumping, tea party conservatives I’ll eat my hat. They even put on the self-righteous demeanor and feign offense. In cradle RC parochial school circles we used to beat it out of those kids who wore the scapular on the outside at recess.

    Like

  48. Zrim, when you say “no salvation outside of the church”, you forgot to say “ordinarily”, didn’t you???Because, at the end of the day, after the distinctions between invisible and external have all made (ie, covenant in some senses not election), I am not a member of any church that you would call “the church”. You were not saved before you migrated to the “proper administration of the sacraments”? And yet neither you nor Sean (given the sacrament by Roman Catholics) have been baptized yet after arriving in true church?

    I know my question doesn’t sound like a question, but I really don’t remember the details.

    Bonhoffer—The Pauline question whether circumcision is a condition of justification seems to me in present day terms to be whether religion is a condition of salvation.

    or whether being a member of a church that baptizes infants is a condition of salvation

    or whether loving your country as a boy scout is a condition of salvation

    Like

  49. DGHART May 23, 2013 at 9:45 pm
    Jason, funny, funny, funny. But if what the pope says is biblical, then why not stay in the PCA and keep the commandments with the Visionaries?

    JASON STELLMAN May 24, 2013 at 12:12 am
    I shaved off my soulpatch and suddenly found myself a misfit. Plus, I like stained glass and the occasional whiff of insence.

    CHORTLES WEAKLY May 24, 2013 at 5:11 am
    Jason, I assume you’re being cheeky here, but I believe you’ve said more than you meant to say. Visuals, smells, bells, robes, polyphonic choirs, and insence (sic) have more to do with some of these “conversions” than many imagine. Calvin was right: proper worship is as important as proper doctrine and we often mistake which is actually driving our particular bus. Sorry yours ran off into the Tiber.

    Like

  50. Steve – Theology is what we Lutherans do. And, I might add, better, we believe, than the rest because we are not hung up on reason.

    Erik – Yeah, you and Pope Francis, apparently.

    In Stellman’s blast against Hart he refers to him as “online skeptic Darryl Hart”. Would that make Jason “online Kool-Aid drinker Jason Stellman”?

    Like

  51. Chris – However, the RC does distinguish between redemption and salvation, so maybe his position wasn’t actually what it’s being portrayed as.

    Erik – Those unsaved in hell will take great comfort in their redemption, kind of like this looper:

    Like

  52. Steve – We have real assurance in the external Word and the sacraments and do not have to go fishing around within ourselves for proof that we are the elect.

    Erik – That’s a false dichotomy that presumes all Presbyterian & Reformed people are Richard Smith.

    From your silence I assume you can’t reconcile how Christ died for all but the Holy Spirit only gives faith to some? It’s just one of those reasonable questions that you Lutherans are not hung up on?

    Like

  53. Tom – And now your surrogate Erik Charter’s reflexive appeal to “Calvinism” and TULIP is much more problematic if not embarrassing to your theology, Darryl. Every Christian should want everyone saved by Christ’s sacrifice, if he truly loves his neighbor as himself.

    Erik – How is what every Christian wants or doesn’t want relevant? Last I checked Christianity was a revealed religion. We don’t get to shape it into what we want (unless we become theological liberals).

    My point on election is that I think the Bible clearly teaches it. Once you accept election than limited atonement follows if the Trinity is truly unified and God is sovereign over all things. Most Christians accept neither because it is unacceptable to them a priori. They start with the idea that these doctrines can’t be true and then interpret Scripture in light of that. It’s an ass-backward way to interpret the Bible. If God is not sovereign I’ll just take up Golf on Sunday mornings.

    Like

  54. Tom – Asked and answered. For the second time, Darryl, or perhaps the third, Unum Sanctum was a papal bull written in 1302. It was written for a time and place where all the rulers and “magistrates” were members of the Roman Catholic Church, and it was on that basis that the Church claimed authority on their consciences. You’re not taking it in proper context.

    Erik – Run this by Bryan Cross

    Like

  55. It’s interesting when people make a big point about what THEY can or want to tell other people. As if the truth did not matter, but only what you WANT to be true, as if somehow you were more loving than God is. And since of course you can’t say this, you reason that surely God is no less loving than you yourself are.

    And then I hear people saying, I wish God were an universalist but a reasonable approach to understanding the Bible prevents me from doing that. I am bothered not only by Steve’s flight into the nonrational but also by the attitude that cares nothing about the honor of God’s glory in doing what God wants to do, and prefers one’s own “love” toward the faceless masses.

    Were the Elder Brother and the Prodigal Brothers really brothers? Those who assume that all humans are brothers like to focus on the elder brother’s refusal to say that the one who came home was his brother. My question: WERE they brothers? If the elder brother goes on never repenting of his legalism, is he in the family of God?

    Though Cain and Abel are brothers in the flesh, both creatures of God, made in the image of God, both are not saved from God’s wrath for their sins.

    Like

  56. Marky Mark, I didn’t forget, it was short hand in service of a larger point. But the Reformed know there are sheep without (and wolves within). We just respect Trent more than V2, as well as affirm Roman baptisms. So much for being anti-Catholic.

    Like

  57. “With your understanding, you have to lie to people or not tell them that Christ died for them.”

    Hi Steve, I know you’re on vacation, but if you get a chance: Throughout Acts, whether in public preaching to unbelievers (Acts 13, 17), or one-on-one evangelism (Acts 16), the apostles never tell unbelievers that Christ died for them. They only preach to believe on the Lord Jesus to be saved. The gospel is never – Jesus died for you…instead, it is what Jesus did historically, and how you can appropriate this salvation – faith. There is not one time in any of the evangelistic preaching in Scripture where an unbeliever is told Christ died for them. So there is no need to lie to say anything, it simply is not for us to say (“Christ died for you”), as the apostolic witness demonstrates.

    “We believe Scripture when it tells us that God desires that all would come to Him.”

    So do Calvinists. Scripture demonstrates different kinds of desires (wills) of God (sorry Mark).

    Like

  58. Andy Wilson,
    Why should I convert to Roman Catholicism when Rome itself teaches that I will eventually get to heaven even if I remain a Reformed Christian? The payoff is not high enough when measured against the fact that, if Rome is wrong and the Reformed view is correct, embracing the gospel preached by Rome puts my soul in danger of eternal condemnation.
    I know what you mean here. I had a conversation with my sister a while back which I’m sure others have heard what she brought up too. She said speaking of the idea that Christainity being the only true religion not making sense to her. Or a least she was bringing her doubt about it by saying something to this affect, “What about people over in pagan cultures that have never heard of Christ. I don’t think it makes sense for God to condemn them for that.”
    My reply was similar to what it would be to your thought above. I told her, “It is not what God has given them as understanding and knowledge that I am accountable to react with faith to. It is what He has revealed me that I am accountable to Him to answer for.”

    I think the word’s of Christ saying,”to whom much is given much will be required,” falls right in line here. If being a faithful disciple and student of what God calls you to you truly continue to believe the Catholic understanding of the Faith is against Christ and is not His true Church, he has not reveal a truth for you to react differently to. Therefore your salvation remains a possibility, as the Church teaches. But if you by God’s grace gain understanding and knowledge of the truth of the Catholic Church being the visibly unified, set apart, universal, Apostolic authorized Church and refuse to do all possible to understand more and enter full communion, then you have abandoned faith in God and rejected His call.
    Hebrews may give some light here:
    “But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God, must believe that He is, and is a rewarder to them that seek Him. 7By faith Noah, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world; and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith.”
    Let us put a name Christ gave of Himself in part of that verse to see some light.
    For he that comes to Truth, must believe that Truth is, and is a rewarder to them that seek Truth.
    So basically if you truly seek to know of the Church is true or not and come to conclude it is in the “not true” category, then God has not revealed that to you and your conscience has nothing to react to, yet if that is not the case and it appears the Church may be Christ Church then in the faith and mercy of God we must move forward or reject God. We know separation from God is true when we hear His voice and we say no I will not listen and follow You. So to walk in to a truth understanding of the faith that maintains a “danger of eternal damnation” is much better than rejecting God and knowing we remain condemned because we have not believe God.

    Hope that give you a little of this Catholic mind,
    MichaelTX

    Like

  59. Michael,

    You remind me of what I’ve heard, “God alone is the Lord of the conscience.” There’s more to say, and less that I know. But good to hear from you. Stick around. And how’s that flood? Had me worried about you, dude.

    Like

  60. Hart per your 8:54 am to Andy,
    I personally have a Pauline “woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel” thing going on over here. Not really a “I didn’t need to, so I have more faith than you” type thing.
    Just so you know,
    MichaelTX

    Like

  61. We had a bit of a surfin’ area for a while, but we have it under control. Of course I do have three rooms’ carpets hanging out to dry. Guess I’ll be figuring out a way to get them back in the next few days or so.
    Peace,
    Mike

    Like

  62. Kent per your 9:00 am,
    From my experience, barely any people in his Church could possibly care less about what he has to say, let alone apply it to their real daily existence.
    I agree at least to a degree. Seems like me a Sean were touching on some of that the other day.
    Peace brother,
    Michael

    Like

  63. Erik,

    One for the road.

    “From your silence I assume you can’t reconcile how Christ died for all but the Holy Spirit only gives faith to some? It’s just one of those reasonable questions that you Lutherans are not hung up on?”

    Exactly, Erik.

    There are the things above…and the things below. Why God forgave (forgives all) and died for all, but that not all come to a living faith in Him s none of our business. Unless we presume to know as much as God.

    Like

  64. Erik,
    I’ll take a bit of your Steve question,
    From your silence I assume you can’t reconcile how Christ died for all but the Holy Spirit only gives faith to some? Yes, not hung up on what God has not revealed here. Don’t the hidden things belong to the Lord? If not I wish you could explain to me why Adam and Eve in from their original state decided to Sin? Or, why the perfectly created angel Lucifer trade humility for pride? Or even why I do? This is why iniquity is called a mystery, right? So also are the ways of the Spirit in salvation.

    Like

  65. Andy,
    Rome itself teaches that I will eventually get to heaven even if I remain a Reformed Christian
    For clarities sake this is not the full picture of Catholic teaching. These two quotes from V II’s dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, must be looked at together:

    Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.

    Along with this:

    All men are called to be part of this catholic unity of the people of God which in promoting universal peace presages it. And there belong to or are related to it in various ways, the Catholic faithful, all who believe in Christ, and indeed the whole of mankind, for all men are called by the grace of God to salvation.
    14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.
    They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ…

    This part from the first quote is extremely important to wonder about:

    Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church

    With all of that you may have a clearer understanding of the actual Catholic teaching on all of this.
    Peace,
    MichaelTX

    Like

  66. Tom,

    Is there any evidence that any pope before the last 200 years or so thought that Unam Sanctum only applied when the magistrates were Roman Catholics? Was the document written with that intent, or are you reading your later explanation back into the document and ignoring its intent. IE, how do you know what the pope intended to say?

    Like

  67. Andy,
    Sorry about that garbled last paragraph on my first post to you. Here is how all that should have worked out,
    So basically, if you truly seek to know if the Church is true or not and come then to the conclude it is in the “not true” category, then God has not revealed that to you and your conscience has nothing to react to. Yet, if that is not the case and it appears the Church may be Christ Church, then in the faith and mercy of God we must move forward or reject God and Truth. We know separation from God is true or inevitable when we hear His voice and we say, “No, I will not listen and follow You.” So to walk into a true understanding of the faith that maintains a “danger of eternal damnation” is much better than rejecting God and knowing we remain condemned, because we know we have not believe God.

    Hope that is clearer. Sorry again,
    MichaelTX

    Like

  68. It’s always interesting to hear anti-rational people attempt to talk about things we can’t know. It turns out that they always know exactly what we can’t know!

    For example, they say, we know this. And we know this. But since they contradict each other, then we must not be able to know how the two things go together. They are simply too arrogant to go back and examine if the two things they think they know are true. Thus Steve just “knows” that Christ died in love for the non-chosen. Thus Todd (with many others) collapses law and gospel by reading God’s commands as if they were God’s wishes (“will” in a second sense)

    Todd, I don’t know if you were sincere with you “sorry”, but I confess I still am glad to think I am correct. To give an example of this kind or presumption, let me give an example of a credobaptist quoting another credobaptist:

    “However, as is the case with Spurgeon, I am not willing to change the meaning of Scripture just to satisfy my theological convictions.”

    There is a difference between “biblicism” and the presumption of folks like Steve that what they read from the bible is the plain and obvious meaning of Scripture. Spurgeon took the Arminian view of I Timothy 2:4 but instead of arguing for that view, he simply assumed his reading to be true.

    Spurgeon: You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. “All men,” they say,–”that is some men”: as if the Holy Ghost could not have said “some men” if he had meant some men. “All men,” say they; that is, some of all sorts of men”; as if the Lord could not have said “All sorts of men” if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written “all men,” and unquestionably he means all men. . . .

    mark: forget Calvin, forget the scholastic tradition, take my word—unquestionably, as in? (inconceivable, the Princess Bride) to disagree with me is to show yourself to be old and hyper…

    Spurgeon: As it is my wish that it should be so, as it is your wish that it might be so, so it is God’s wish that all men should be saved; for, assuredly, he is not less benevolent than we are. . . . It is God’s wish that the sick should not suffer. Do you doubt it? Is it not your own wish? And yet the Lord does not work a miracle to heal every sick person. It is God’s wish that his creatures should be happy. Do you deny that? He does not interpose by any miraculous agency to make us all happy, and yet it would be wicked to suppose that he does not wish the happiness of all the creatures that he has made.”

    mark: First, it’s unquestionable. Second, it’s sinful to disagree with Banner of Truth, John Murray, Ian Murray, and Spurgeon’s notion of two wills?

    Hugh L. Williams, in his excellent article on Spurgeon sermon,“This is wrong. The Holy Spirit did not by the apostle write ‘all men.’ He wrote pantas anthropous. Now the question is what does the phrase mean.” Williams goes on to show that this means “all without distinction” rather than “all without exception.”

    But consider more of what Spurgeon knows that he knows: “God has an infinite benevolence which, nevertheless, is not in all points worked out by his infinite omnipotence; and if anybody asked me why it is not, I cannot tell…”

    Spurgeon thinks he can tell you dogmatically what the text means. When confronted with contradiction, instead of examining again his view, he praises the contradiction. Spurgeon labels those who do not accept that the Bible contains contradiction as rationalists: “Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelation. They are, without knowing it, following the lead of the rationalists. Those who receive by faith anything which they find in the Bible will receive two things, twenty things, ay, or twenty thousand things, though they cannot construct a theory which harmonizes them.”

    mark: Spurgeon goes the way of Kierkegaard and other pietists, because he thinks in the first place he knows some things which need to be harmonised but which can’t be. But what he needed to see was that the Bible itself does not present law as gospel and does not assume the “disharmony” that Spurgeon is assuming.

    So let’s examine what a “hyper Calvinist” says about I Tim 2:4. I quote John Calvin: “This passage of the apostle (1 Tim. ii. 4) was long ago brought forth by the Pelagians, and handled against us with all their might. . . . I have nevertheless extorted from Pighius this much: that no one but a man deprived of his common judgment can believe that salvation was ordained by the secret counsel of God equally and indiscriminately for all men. The true meaning of Paul, however, in this passage now under consideration is perfectly clear and intelligible to every one who is not determined on contention. The apostle is exhorting that all solemn “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: for kings and all that are in authority.” Who does not see that the apostle here is speaking of orders of men rather than of individuals?

    Calvin: “But Paul teaches us (continues Georgius) that God ‘would have all men to be saved.’ It follows, therefore, according to his understanding of that passage, either that God is disappointed in His wishes, or that all men without exception must be saved. If he should reply that God wills all men to be saved on His part, or as far as He is concerned, seeing that salvation is, nevertheless, left to the free will of each individual; I, in return, ask him why, if such be the case, God did not command the Gospel to be preached indiscriminately from the beginning of the world? why he suffered so many generations of men to wander for so many ages in all the darkness of death? …”

    Like

  69. Darryl, RC parochial school is a vicious cycle of violence. Beyond just repeating behavior we learned at the hands of our religious elders and betters. We also were aware, even then, that we were being graded on a curve. Sister Aloysius would beat us, ostensibly for our lack of RELATIVE impiety, so it become a matter of bringing the curve down to where we all had a chance at survival, or at least try to minimize the emotional scarring we would all end up carrying around with us as adults. Johnny with the hair parted just so, and scapular and St John’s cross showing was gonna need to go down, for the sake of us all. It was very messianic when you think about it. You know us catholics, we’re big on reenacting our Jesus moments; from the stations of the cross, to washing feet, to beating Johnny for trying to be more like Jesus. ‘Cept we knew he was just being a brown noser.

    Like

  70. Mark Mc,
    I have not come to the conclusion in my dealings with Steve that he is “anti-rational” or “too arrogant”, nor does he seem to lack a love for understanding what can be known from Scripture. How have you come to the conclusion that he is unfaithful, unteachable, or unavailable for Christ correcting him?

    Like

  71. Mark,
    Do we not have the Apostle Paul in Romans 11 doing what you fault Spurgeon for here,
    instead of examining again his view, he praises the contradiction.

    O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! 34For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? 35Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him? 36For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen.

    Though I doubt Paul or Spurgeon would use the word “contradiction”, knowing God has no falsehood He teaches, but does teach mysteries and paradoxes that are above the reason of man.

    Peace,
    Michael

    Like

  72. Mark,

    Probably not useful to get into the whole Calvinism vs. hyper-Calvinism debate again. And I actually agree with Calvin’s interpretation of I Tim 2:4 over Spurgeon’s. Nevertheless, what Turretin expresses below is standard Calvinist teaching, whether you agree or not.

    “Are There Two Wills in God?” by Francis Turretin

    Hence have arisen various distinctions of the will of God. The first and principal distinction is that of the decretive and preceptive will. The former means that which God wills to do or permit himself; the latter what he wills that we should do. The former relates to the futurition and the event of things and is the rule of God’s external acts; the latter is concerned with precepts and promises and is the rule of our action. The former cannot be resisted and is always fulfilled: “Who hath resisted his will?” (Rom. 9:19). The latter is often violated by men: “How often would I have gathered you together, and ye would not (Mt. 23:37).

    As there are various passages of Scripture in which the will of God is taken either for the decree (Rom. 9:19; Eph. 1:ll) or for the precept (Ps. 143:10; Rom. 12:2), so there are also some in which both wills of God are signified at the same time (i.e., Jn. 6:38, where Christ says, “I came down to do the will of him that sent me” [i.e., to fulfil the things decreed by God and to obey the command of the Father]). And when we say in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done,” we ask that our lives may correspond to his precepts and his decrees be fulfilled.

    Although the precept falls also under the decree as to proposition, still it does not fall as to execution. Thus they may be properly distinguished from each other, so as the will of decree may be that which determines the event of things, but the will of precept that which prescribes to man his duty. Therefore God can (without a contradiction) will as to precept what he does not will as to decree inasmuch as he wills to prescribe something to man, but does not will to effect it (as he willed Pharaoh to release the people, but yet nilled their actual release).

    Like

  73. Tom, in case you missed it, the entire claim of “the church does not err” implies some kind of consistency.

    Darryl, that’s not an honest or accurate way to put it. Non-normative theology is not necessarily heretical, and has been known to become normative at some later time.

    As for the current controversy, your whipping boys Called to Communion explain the theology for you, as I attempted to do–it’s not quite what you [or Michael Horton] understand, and it’s a recurring mistake for y’all to think RCC theology is simple or stupid as you make it out to be.

    I’ve had my say, thank you.

    Like

  74. TVD, it’s not that it’s simple or stupid. In fact, it’s overly convoluted quite often but you guys gotta lay off the whole ‘it’s in harmony with scripture’ bit, that’s even against your own paradigm. You have your ‘other’ apostolic tradition to reconcile to.

    Like

  75. Sean,
    I can’t speak to TVD. But to me, it is not the problem of “harmony with Scripture” & “Apostolic Tradition”, but “Scripture alone” & “Apostolic Tradition.” The first is the Catholic paradigm, the second is not. That does not mean the teachings of the Church do not or can not come from Scripture or be understood with Scripture, it means to limit it to Scripture alone is to do something the God of the Scripture has not required in those Scriptures nor in the Tradition. Therefore it works against the Scriptures to say so.
    Hey you get a chance to read over in “Unexpected Developement” yet?

    Like

  76. One obvious question for those of the universalist bent: If Jesus meant to save all, why did He teach in parables? The Bible doesn’t say the reason is that He wanted to make things easier to understand. Why would that be?

    Like

  77. Tom, since when did you become an expert on Roman Catholicism? So far, I’m not even sure you’ve mastered Reformed Protestantism at the time of the American Revolution. But you get high marks for chutzpah (even if you probably don’t know much about Judaism).

    Maybe you want to lay off the “stupid” remarks. Or maybe you can explain how a pope is infallible and then his truth no longer applies. As I’ve said, SSPXers don’t buy development of doctrine. Neither do Orthodox Presbyterians. But Presbyterians do believe that churches err. Rome didn’t. But now you’re telling me that Rome does believe churches err.

    I think we need Bryan Cross to help with your logic.

    Like

  78. MichaelTX, if it is not Scripture alone, then how is the tradition not arbitrary, as in it is what we tell you tradition is and we are the tradition. This is circular for one thing. But it also doesn’t do much with the idea of sinful and imperfect shapers of the tradition. Ultimately, you have no way of verifying the tradition or whether it’s authentic.

    I know that sounds modern and rationalistic. But how does tradition as you may construe not sound superstitious, as if you have a shaman who expresses divine truth and interprets it for you and you have no access to the revelation. The RC view of tradition does remind me of the way Mormons view the chief apostle.

    Like

  79. Michael I’m tracking with you right up to here; ………”it means to limit it to Scripture alone is to do something the God of the Scripture has not required in those Scriptures”-so sayeth you. When it regards infallible authority for cultic norms, we don’t have another source, contra RC “Tradition”. If canon goes with covenant than who else or which people has God particularly covenanted with that I might know these other sources or cultic tradition. Where’s your justification to add to the covenantal words? And from which infallible source do they originate and how do you know. I’ve got one covenantal enshrinement that is testated to by the God-man through the agency of his prophets and apostles, uncontested by both sides, where’s your like verification for the additional RC ‘Tradition’? No, I haven’t looked at the other post, I’ll take a peek.

    Like

  80. Sean, I’ll let you read the post. Oddly it gets at the heart of this.

    Hart, you may want to read over it too. But in essence, the fact of the covenant Scripture proves a Covenant Community which the Scriptures attest to. This is the fundamentally required part of capital “T” Tradition that I find inevitable from the mere existent of Scriptures witness to the Covenant formation to that living community in those Scriptures. Therefore to reject the covenant community, the Church, is to undermine the true witness the Scriptures give to that covenant formation in the that community and displayed it the Scriptures. This “T”radition is impossible for the Church indwelt and protected by the Spirit to deny about itself and therefore is often rejected for its claim to special status before God as His beloved bride.

    Like

  81. Michael, before I read anymore of your other post(read 1st part, it’s long), nobody denies church community or churchly authority. We deny Rome’s exclusive/primary church claims and further more deny Rome’s authority per a Roman-particular “T” tradition that contradicts canonical and apostolic authority. I know what Kline says and if the canon ‘births’ the community then of course community becomes an attestation of canonical existence and power but as he notes, community is under the authority of canon NOT over it, even if God is working through that community to preserve it. Gal 1:8 is still a problem for Rome as is 2 Tim 3:16 as is the substituting of churchly oversight-monarchial magisterium vs. ministerial that displaces the role of the Holy Spirit. Much more to say, in fact we could write a book or hundreds of them arguing the historical division out, pretty sure it’s been done too.

    Like

  82. Hart regarding:
    But it also doesn’t do much with the idea of sinful and imperfect shapers of the tradition. Ultimately, you have no way of verifying the tradition or whether it’s authentic.
    To a degree, as I understand it, you are correct here. But, this is no different than the faith required of the Israelite children who trusted for thousands of years that the exodus and the Sinai Covenants occurred to their people and by grace to no other peoples on the earth. Lose this type of faith in God’s protective hand and we lose our foundation in Father Abraham and the patriarchs of Judaism. Christ had this in knowledge what we must have in faith. It requires no more faith than coming to believe the Resurrection or the existence of Christ.

    Like

  83. Sean,
    Sorry I know it is long, but I hope you get a chance to read all the way through to see how I connect my understand with Kline’s. I completely believe the Church to be under the authority of Scripture, as I also am. I also see the Church and its Bishops under the direct order of Christ through the Apostles to do what Scripture says for them to do. Which is fundamental what Christ and the Apostles did, spread the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. God with us. They preached to their death the Kingdom brought about through the Crucifiction of Christ. Life to the dead bones by the Spirit. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

    So, I guess ultimately, as I see it. To reject Tradition is to reject the community for which the Scriptures witness to the covenantal formation of, therefor it also is to deny the gift of God to His people, the Spirit.

    Like

  84. Sean also, the Gal 1:18 from Paul is not so odd to me for someone authoritatively sent by Christ in the Church to say. I would say the same as a teacher. Heck to my kids I say the same thing when I teach the Scriptures to them. Paul knows he is not the Church. This does mean he comes with the message in the name of Christ. If my message in not God’s message then reject it. I told you this the other day when I said,“Weigh it and measure it. If it is found wanting, then reject it.” That doesn’t mean what I have said or will say in the future is to be untrue or that I don’t speak with absolute authority backing me. It just respects that God has made you to know the truth and He can do what only He can do in you, even if I fall away from the faith I have authoritatively preached, which the rejection of will lead to your ultimate separation from the God of the Gospel revealed in Christ.

    Like

  85. Michael, I fully plan to read it all the way through. Michael just a heads up on where this goes, the existence of a community doesn’t then spawn another extra-canonical, roman-particular tradition administered by peculiarly roman offices because, well, Rome claims it does. If Rome wants to have a sufficient, subordinate, fallible tradition of interpretation submitted to the infallible perspicuous canonical authority, then, welcome to the club. What Rome can’t have is a non-perspicuous canonical authority NECESSITATING the unwritten Roman “T” tradition which is itself administered by and even infallibly interpreted by a monarchial magisterium. They particularly can’t administer that salvation exclusively prior to Vat II then switch gears and avail it to those in schism, as seperated brethren, but in ignorant communion with the roman pontiff, and then engage the canonical authority per a higher-critical hermenuetic that not only denies the possibility but the knowability of infallible dogma and then diminishes the original apostolic written tradition as so much community enthusiast interloping, a hermenuetic they borrowed from german protestant liberalism because, well, they didn’t have one. And that by the way, is the dinner table conversation of the past 50 years that you converts weren’t privy to.

    Like

  86. Hi Dr. Hart, I know this is off topic but you mentioned something that has been a long interest of mine. You said that the Orthodox Presbyterians do not believe in doctrinal development. Could you recommend some book on this? Or could you help me understand how this works? It seems to me like at least our understanding of doctrine develops. I am happy to discuss this off the blog if you prefer this. Thanks
    Blessings,
    Michael

    Like

  87. Sean,
    I’m going to respond over there so we can keep our comments together. But, I understand your concerns and think after you read through it all you may catch what I’m talking in Kline.

    Like

  88. Bryan’s got the Pope’s back, taking on Michael Horton in the comments section here:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/05/pope-francis-atheists-and-the-evangelical-spirit/#more-14838

    Tom got as much response to his Scripture quotation as he did here.

    Someone might want to take the pope aside and ask him to be more clear when he speaks. It seems like most of the argument is over the meaning of “But do good: we will meet one another there”.

    Like

  89. If all he is saying is that Christians can share some common ground with atheists in what we 2Kers would refer to as “common” matters, then I stand with him against fundamentalists and others who would deny that. If that was his aim, though, why talk about it in the context of redemption? If I was Pope I wouldn’t be speaking a lot off the cuff.

    Like

  90. Tom’s not going to like this:

    Horton – Before Vatican II, the standard teaching was that ordinarily no one can be saved who does not submit to the magisterium and papal authority in particular. Especially in trouble were those who had been reared Roman Catholic and yet explicitly rejected the pope’s headship.

    Cross – That remains the Church’s teaching, for those who know the Catholic Church to be the Church Christ founded, and culpably reject her, as Tom Brown has explained in “VanDrunun on Catholic Inclusivity and Change.”

    Like

  91. Tom, since when did you become an expert on Roman Catholicism? So far, I’m not even sure you’ve mastered Reformed Protestantism at the time of the American Revolution. But you get high marks for chutzpah (even if you probably don’t know much about Judaism).

    Or maybe you can explain how a pope is infallible and then his truth no longer applies.

    Darryl, you know I don’t debate anything based on a false premise. I don’t know if you’re being disingenuous or are genuinely ignorant on the infallibility issue, but you need to straighten it out. Ask Bryan Cross to explain it to you. 😉

    As for Calvinist resistance theory during not just the American revolution but the English civil wars of the 1600s, I’m sure you can find better sources than me. I recommend Mark David Hall of George Fox University. Excellent scholar.

    And FTR, my Yiddish is probably better than yours: I married into it. Now if there’s nothing else, I have had my say and thank you for allowing me to have it. I do not know if all souls will be saved; I hope and I pray that they are, and remain unscandalized by Pope Francis’s remarks.

    Like

  92. Erik,

    You know we can ignore Mrs. Gates because she doesn’t speak ex cathedra or have a principled reason for rejecting the principled reason that the infallible pope gives when he applies his principled reason to reveal the motives of credibility for birth control.

    Or something like that…

    Like

  93. MichaelTX, the covenant community is not bound by the papacy. The Bible does not reveal this. Early church history does not attest to this. Believers in Antioch were as crucial to the covenant community as the bishop of Rome.

    Like

  94. MichaelT, and what I see in recent conversion narratives is ex-Prots attributing faith in God to faith in a pope who will adjudicate all controversies and solve all problems (all the while ignoring all the problems the papacy has created — e.g., Edgardo Mortara and Italian politics).

    Like

  95. Michael, all I meant is that when our doctrine changes, we change it. Look at the chapters on the magistrate in our Confession. The way some handle the so-called doctrine of development is that the truth of 1780 were always there in 1646 even if the words are completely different. Liberal Protestants were the first great proponents of doctrine of development. Jesus rose from the dead of course means today that Jesus did not rise from the dead but the “truth” was always there.

    Like

  96. Tom, someone who expects the pope to maintain the tradition of Peter, Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas might be scandalized. It’s like the U.S. Constitution. Only some people get to be American citizens even if you wish the whole world could be American.

    Like

  97. CTC and Trads lose credibility every time they happily embrace any and all favorable press the pope receives as proof of divine charism without qualification or explanation and potential pitfall but when the press is unfavorable there is nothing but unreserved defense without possibility of even unintended error. But such is the burden of a tradition that can’t stomach ‘councils may and do err’. It’s all an inappropriate and unjustified burden of supernatural faith.

    Like

  98. “[S]omeone who expects the pope to maintain the tradition of Peter, Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas might be scandalized. It’s like the U.S. Constitution. Only some people get to be American citizens even if you wish the whole world could be American.”

    I hope ridiculous statements like the section of Francis’s speech in the post will drive those who do follow the tradition of Peter, Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas away from the papacy and into faithful churches which properly distinguish law and gospel.

    “Confessional” papist (mostly Tridentine) still have their children memorize the following from the Baltimore Catechism:

    166. Are all obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved?
    All are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved.

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)

    167. What do we mean when we say, “Outside the Church there is no salvation?”
    When we say, “Outside the Church there is no salvation,” we mean that Christ made the Catholic Church a necessary means of salvation and commanded all to enter it, so that a person must be connected with the Church in some way to be saved.

    168. How can persons who are not members of the Catholic Church be saved?
    Persons who are not members of the Catholic Church can be saved if, through no fault of their own, they do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, but they love God and try to do His will, for in this way they are connected with the Church by desire.

    [I suppose Francis was elaborating on #168]

    Like

  99. Hart,
    I understand you believe the papacy or a Bishop of Rome has no role in the Church and that Scripture has nothing to say about it. This understand might be because of a unbiblical tradition of cessationism, or of an assumption of the promises given to the Apostles to someone who has not received those promises or prophesies. I also believe the community in Antioch to have been just as important. “Should the eye say to the foot,” right? But if the foot jumps ship the mouth can’t do anything about it other than say come back.

    Like

  100. Seeing CTC defend the Pope is interesting in light of where they have come from. Since these guys used to be Presbyterian & Reformed they presumably once held to the doctrine of limited atonement. Now they’re Catholic so they have no problem accepting the RCC’s teaching that Christ redeemed all (but only some achieve salvation). When they accepted limited atonement they presumably accepted the doctrine because they believed it was biblical, not just because their Presbyterian & Reformed churches told them it was so. Once you join the RCC apparently you just dive in, accept the church’s teachings whole-hog, and work out the biblical justification for what Rome teaches later when you have more time. This appears to be the stage that Stellman is in now.

    Like

  101. Nice find, Katy.

    RCC evangelism should probably consist of dropping leaflets into pagan places exhorting people to “love God and try to do his will” with no mention of the RCC. After all, if people learn about the RCC and reject it, they’re toast. If they don’t know and just do good things, they’re in.

    Like

  102. If the Pope was elaborating on #168 and an atheist heard him, #168 no longer applies because the message came from the Pope. The atheist is aware of the RCC at that point. Nice going, Mr. Pope.

    Like

  103. Yeah, you prots and your invincible ignorance, and unbeknownst to you, double secret communion with Rome rock to hide behind. Never mind, I’ll just take em down by myself, since y’all are good.

    Like

  104. My favorite is how the CTCers and Stellman attack the perspicacity of Scripture and then act as if Francis’ statements are perfectly clear. Would it be so hard, if it were so, to say that the pope was not advocating universalism but that he was off his game in that homily? I mean, the homily is not an ex cathedra statement, is it?

    Like

  105. Funny, I posted a comment last night at the CtC thread that Eric links to above. It has yet to have made it through the comment moderation process. Is it in comment purgatory? Here it is:

    “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

    We will meet everyone where? Just there… What, in the doing of good? The context seems to point to redemption by the blood of Christ, i.e. those bought back from sin unto salvation by the blood of Christ, not to the mere doing of good. One need not be redeemed in order to do a kind or good work to his neighbor. One only needs be created in the image of God, even if fallen. And if the media is hearing universalism, then at a minimum Francis is garbling the message of salvation. Redemption conflated with the doing good, resulting in what(?) even to the one who doesn’t believe? Has it ever been controversial that any human, though fallen, can do good to his neighbor? No. So it would seem fair to surmise that Francis is saying something more here, unless he is just stating that which has always been obvious to believer and unbeliever throughout all time. But then why…?

    – And why do all the links of each commenter’s name lead to the CtC homepage rather than to one’s blog or website? Not a lot of back and forth being encouraged over there…

    Like

  106. What self-respecting church would parade a convert as a superstar mere days after announcing a sudden conversion.

    As a former mediocre chess player I find it amusing that poker players insist their game is very skilled when someone can win a major tourny after just playing poker for less than a year…

    Like

  107. I cannot accept that Judas Iscariot or Pharaoh of the days of Moses are going to spend eternity in heaven.

    As a child under Dispy teaching I felt sorry at times for Pharaoh because it seemed he honestly meant to repent, but it wasn’t going to be allowed.

    Like

  108. It happens, Jack. Email Dr. Cross if you need to. He’s nice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here with us at old life as well. I’ve found, personally, just to stay away from them. More I could say about my encounters there. Point is, readers, don’t go flocking to their comboxes, unless you like playing poorly.designed golf courses. For what its worth.

    Like

  109. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not of work, lest any man should boast.

    And the witness is this that he who has the Son of God has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have not life. I John 5:11-12

    SIMPLE TRUTH

    Like

  110. “And why do all the links of each commenter’s name lead to the CtC homepage rather than to one’s blog or website? Not a lot of back and forth being encouraged over there…”

    I’ve played with the idea of how website rules reflect the theology or other distinctives of their hosts. Over at Bayly commenter fawn & agree or get excommunicated. The puritan blog requires membership and then there’s tight moderation. CtC refers to itself and, if you are on to something, wants to highlight where everyone agrees in The Faith. And so forth.

    Like

  111. The PuritanBoard takes ANYBODY on who applies.

    Tight moderation? You mean 3 people who let their friends say anything and ban everyone who remotely disagrees with them?

    Like

  112. Kent, you seem a little touchy about the Puritan Board. They may have their reasons for what they do, but, yes, I would say there is pretty tight moderation. There are frequent warnings about where the conversation is headed, cut-offs of conversations and so forth. And application for membership along with necessary identification of name and church (I think) are a higher level of disclosure than is required most places.

    But since you may be familiar with them, I have a simple question. Would they be fine with someone handing around promoting 2K? I’m just curious.

    Like

  113. mikel…

    Yes, I was on the PB, proud to be banned, joining hundreds of others who did nothing except engage in 3 digit IQ conversations and question of the admins, who brook no difference.

    It is good for a laugh, one member remains who contributes regularly and has something useful to say, CM are his initials. The rest have been banned or washed their hands of it.

    The church affiliations of several members have nothing to do with confessional churches.

    2K is despised by the majority rule at the PB.

    Like

  114. No problem mikelmann, you used to be on there, right?

    The board is a mix of all Reformed sorts, tendentious in their views, and they have zero respect for the thoughts coming out of Escondido.

    Like

  115. Kent, I never was a member of the Puritan Board but I’ve occasionally bumped into their conversations when googling. Scott Clark used to be on there but I can’t say if he still is.

    I was a big Puritan guy at one time. If I was more clever I would update Bunyan’s allegory in 2k fashion. Among the temptations along the way would be Puritan Nitpick Thicket.

    Like

  116. My mistake mikelmann, your avatar was also used by a former member who was one of the good ones on there, long gone…

    Scott Clark announces his show on the PB, on occasion he will give a very good answer to a question, but he is completely ignored or attacked by the main heavies these days.

    There is a theonomic-as-they-feel-like-being-at-this-moment edge that is impossible to read on that board. Makes for a great laugh every day though.

    Like

  117. Speaking of Puritan Board, this morning I bumped into Mark Vander Molen at church. He was in town for his son’s graduation. First it’s getting together with Mikelmann, now Mark. What’s next, running into Richard Smith at the supermarket? Bumping into D.G. Hart at Petco? Crossing paths with Tim Bayly at a Promise Keepers rally?

    Like

  118. Impossible. Bryan never leaves CTC headquarters in the van down by the Mississippi river near St. Louis. It’s like a nuclear launch facility. The hats are ordered in.

    Like

  119. I thought a hat was mandatory for rock stars with certain challenges…

    Erik, the PB is now basically run by the Viking and is populated by those he kisses up to and those who kiss up to him, seems to be the only apparent standard.

    MVDM hasn’t been there for many moons.

    Like

  120. Kent,

    Yes. I don’t think Mark was one with the Viking during his time there. I have interacted more with Mark on Dr. K’s blog, where the Viking was also known to appear from time-to-time. Mark is a solid guy, although more of the Neocalvinist persuasion than I.

    Like

  121. The PB used to be awesome, a handful of solid beloved Reformed bloggers and men of academic distinction ruled.

    And then… BAM!!!!

    Right around the time Phil Johnson packed it in at Pyromaniacs.

    Coincidence?

    I’ll give an extra prayer tonight for those who are captive in the hull of the Viking’s war ship, rowing the oar to his one string banjo tune 24/7.

    Like

  122. On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.'”

    The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

    Like

  123. Boy, modernity is gonna wear these poor guys out. They may want to rethink Francis’ twitter account. As if the tension wasn’t already palpable, you wonder how long a conservative, by appointment-think supreme court nominees, CDF and a ‘religious’ pope who eschews much of the pageant and ornamentation and is steeped in Jesuit liberation theology are going to be able to harmoniously exist. I think he’ll end up a moderate and keep moving center. But, It’ll be interesting to watch the trads do their gymnastics and morph into ‘we were always here’ RC’s. This ain’t Ratzinger. Francis is gonna require a lot more flexibility and limberness on the part of CTCers. Jesuits, yet another group the CTCers don’t really know, cuz, they weren’t there. The CTCers ‘dinner table’ conversation looks more and more like a table of one, just outside of the kitchen door, passing out tracks where the cradle RC’s take their smoke breaks.

    Like

  124. What does it say about me that I would probably hit it off more with these atheists than with the Catholics? I don’t know if this article makes me want to laugh or throw up:

    Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate
    By Dan Merica, CNN

    (CNN) -– American atheists welcomed Pope Francis’ comments that God redeems nonbelievers, saying that the new pontiff’s historic outreach is helping to topple longstanding barriers.

    “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at morning Mass on Wednesday. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”

    Francis continued, “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

    Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said that although he has been skeptical of Francis’ outreach to the nonreligious, he welcomed Wednesday’s comments.

    “I gather from this statement that his view of the world’s religious and philosophical diversity is expanding,” Speckhardt said. “While humanists have been saying for years that one can be good without a god, hearing this from the leader of the Catholic Church is quite heartening.”

    He continued, “If other religious leaders join him, it could do much to reduce the automatic distrust and discrimination that atheists, humanists, and other nontheists so regularly face. “

    Francis’ comments received a great deal of attention on social media, with a number of people asking whether the Catholic leader believes that atheists and agnostics go to heaven, too.

    On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.'”

    The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

    At the same time, Rosica writes, “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”

    Rosica also said that Francis had “no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation,” during his homily on Wednesday.

    Although the pope’s comments about salvation surprised some, bishops and experts in Catholicism say Francis was expressing a core tenant of the faith.

    “Francis was clear that whatever graces are offered to atheists (such that they may be saved) are from Christ,” the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic priest, wrote on his blog.

    “He was clear that salvation is only through Christ’s Sacrifice. In other words, he is not suggesting – and I think some are taking it this way – that you can be saved, get to heaven, without Christ.”

    Chad Pecknold, an assistant professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, agreed with Zuhlsdorf, pointing out that the pope’s comments came on the Feast of Saint Rita, the Catholic patron saint of impossible things.

    “The remarks about atheists show that there is even a saint for atheists,” Pecknold said. “Including all of humanity, on this day especially, remarks like that are almost called for.”

    “To stress that the gospel redeems all people, including atheists, is the teaching of the church,” he added. “This is an objective fact that the church believes.”

    Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, said Francis’ comments reflect “the interfaith and inter-community work many of us nontheists are dedicated to.”

    That said, Epstein hopes that lay Catholics are listening.

    “I hope Catholics, and all people hearing the pope’s statement, will recognize that his words about atheists need to symbolize much more than just a curiosity or an exception to the rule,” Epstein said. “If someone thinks there are only a few atheists out there doing good just like Catholics do, that’s a major misunderstanding that can lead to prejudice and discrimination.”

    The pope’s comments come a few months after he told worshipers that Catholics should be close to all men and women, including those who don’t belong to any religious tradition.

    “In this we feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation,” Francis said shortly after his election as pope in March.

    Even atheists like David Silverman, president of American Atheists, who has had an antagonistic relationship with the Catholic church, welcomed the pope’s remarks.

    “While the concept of Jesus dying for atheists is wrong on many levels (especially given that Jesus himself promised hell for blasphemers), I can appreciate the pope’s `good faith’ effort to include atheists in the moral discussion,” Silverman said.

    “Atheists on the whole want no part in Catholicism, of course, but we are all interested in basic human rights.”

    Like

  125. My traditional Roman friends call Jesuits “Jebbies,” usually referring to the theological/ethical wastelands of Loyola or Georgetown. As in “I’d never send my kids to a school full of Jebbies.”

    My husband and I always got a kick out of some guy at the Vatican explaining what the Pope really meant when Benedict held the office (usually because he said something a little too uncomfortable or awkward for soundbites). So I guess our amusement will continue, just in a different way. Perhaps Francis is going to shoot his mouth off often, being a reg’lar guy.

    (Erik, we’re only arranging marriages within Augsburg Confession/Concordia, so let me know if you convert. My daughters are 5 and 1, sons are 4 and 3, for any lurking Lutherans out there.)

    Like

  126. Oh, and if any one has trouble believing Rome talks out both sides of her mouth, reread the Joint Declaration on Justification, a statement which whitewashed everything while capitulating nothing.

    Like

  127. Katy, Many who lack faith in Jesus accuse Him and the Scriptures of speaking from both side of His mouth too.

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    We get the same accusations, as Him, as we imitate Him holding firmly to the Truth while seeking unity, peace and understanding among the friends of Christ. I have great respect for confessional Lutherans.

    Just something to think about.
    Blessings,
    MichaelTX

    Like

  128. Katy – Erik, we’re only arranging marriages within Augsburg Confession/Concordia, so let me know if you convert. My daughters are 5 and 1, sons are 4 and 3, for any lurking Lutherans out there

    Erik – I’ll consider it. My daughter is marrying a Lutheran in just over two months so there is precedent. It’s either that or send my boys to Dordt or Calvin and that’s big bucks…

    Like

  129. Not a true Pope in my sight. The Post-Vatican II entertainment just gets worse. I wonder how a 12th century RC apologist would think of such statements.

    Like

  130. mark: I do not disagree with two wills, as expressed in Todd’s quotation from Turretin. Nothing I have ever said here disagrees with that distinction, which is one between law and gospel. I have disagreed with the idea that some Bible texts teach that God “desires” the non-elect to be saved. But nowadays it has become standard to lump those who agree with Calvin against this universal “divine wishing” for the non-elect to be saved together with the “hypers” who deny that God has an universal law for all creatures or that God commands all creatures to believe the gospel. The gospel does not say “God loves you” to all creatures.

    Turretin: The first and principal distinction is that of the decretive and preceptive will. The former means that which God wills to do or permit himself; the latter what he wills that we should do. The former relates to the futurition and the event of things and is the rule of God’s external acts; the latter is concerned with precepts and promises and is the rule of our action. The former cannot be resisted and is always fulfilled: “Who hath resisted his will?” (Rom. 9:19). The latter is often violated by men: “How often would I have gathered you together, and ye would not (Mt. 23:37).

    mark: now if Todd wishes to show where I have disagreed with this distinction, I am most eager to hear it. I deny the Lutheran “objective universal reconciliation”, because the Bible does not teach it. All sinners for whom Christ obtained reconciliation will receive it, first by imputation (Romans 5:11, 17) and then by hearing (believing) the gospel. God never loved the non-elect, nor are their works in any ways good or acceptable to God.

    Like

  131. There are some paradoxical persons who do not explain “the two wills” as the difference between law and gospel. Instead they explain the difference as between what has been revealed to us and what has been hidden from us. And of course both the law and the gospel have been revealed to us.

    Scott Clark writes:
    …the reason the well-meant offer has not been more persuasive is that its critics have not understood or sympathized with the fundamental assumption on which the doctrine…was premised: the distinction between theology as God knows it (theologia archetypa) and theology as it is revealed to and done by us (theologia ectypa).

    Like

  132. Looks like Francis got this honestly from John Paul II:

    [The Church’s] sole purpose has been care and responsibility for man, who has been entrusted to her by Christ himself: for this man, whom, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, is the only creature on earth which God willed for its own sake, and for which God has his plan, that is, a share in eternal salvation. We are not dealing here with man in the “abstract”, but with the real, “concrete”, “historical” man. We are dealing with each individual, since each one is included in the mystery of Redemption, and through this mystery Christ has united himself with each one forever. It follows that the Church cannot abandon man, and that “this man is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission … the way traced out by Christ himself, the way that leads invariably through the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption”.

    If I read that right, every person is “included in the mystery of Redemption” and united with Christ forever. Wow!

    Like

  133. Turns out (apparently, though the Vatican hasn’t denied it even while loser ken and lame fox think they can call the pope and get an interpretation of a biblical passage) that Pope Francis didn’t say that pets go to human heaven. But why was the quotation plausible in the first place?

    Like

  134. And here I was thinking The Vatican had served as theological consultant on that “All Dogs Go to Heaven” movie.

    Nothing would be too surprising. It’s not like Francis is lugging the Catechism around with him and consulting it diligently before he speaks off the cuff.

    Like

  135. Another window into the church universalist:

    Tauran, 72, is widely seen as one of the key Vatican officials closest to Pope Francis.

    Tauran also said that Christians, Jews, and Muslims have three challenges: “Identity, otherness, and sincerity of our intentions.”

    Sincerity, he said, is the knowledge that when religious dialogue occurs, it’s not with the intention of converting the other.

    “Interreligious dialogue can promote conversion, but that is not the goal,” Tauran said. “The purpose of the dialogue is to walk a piece of the path toward truth. It’s very exciting and delicate.”

    Tauran was participating in a panel called “Religions are part of the solution, they are not the problem,” which included Azzedine Gaci, rector of Othman Mosque in Villeurbanne, France, and Haim Koria, chief rabbi of France.

    “Tolerance is a term that implies almost surreptitiously the idea of acceptance and not sharing the idea of someone else,” said Koria.

    “We must take a step back and think instead about the need for the existence of the other as an essential condition for my own existence,” he said. “This is proof that the otherness enriches the human being and is a sine qua non for its existence.”

    Like

  136. Pope Francis: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! “

    Morning proof text: John 1:12

    Like

  137. Ali-

    Welcome to what I at least can only ascribe to modernism. The best I can do with it is to say he is employing potentially legitimate meanings to words in a misleading way (equivocating on “redeemed,” “atheist,” implying divine exception is the rule), intending to encourage conversion. I think the approach is a huge failure, and hope the RCC will judge it as such, and soon.

    Even the Catholic Encyclopedia tends toward abstraction on the subject, although I think is clear (once considered a moment):

    The Universalists’ contention that all should finally be saved lest Redemption be a failure is not only unsupported by, but also opposed to, the New Dispensation which far from suppressing the general laws of the natural order, places in the way of salvation many indispensable conditions or laws of a freely established supernatural order.

    On the other hand, it is fair to recognize that:

    We have no criterion whereby we can tell with certainty the success or failure of Redemption, and the mysterious influence of the Redeemer may reach farther than we think in the present as it certainly has a retroactive effect upon the past.

    There can be no other meaning to the very comprehensive terms of Revelation. The graces accorded by God to the countless generations preceding the Christian era, whether Jews or Pagans, were, by anticipation, the graces of Redemption.

    But it is the pope’s job to teach the faith without ambiguity. He can fail to do his job, but in doing so is not participating in the authority of the office (like a gov pushing an unjust law). Should he be reading, I offer this with all just deference and ask for clarification for the sake of the reputation of the RCC amongst readers here.

    Ambiguity forces those who care what the RCC teaches to use their private judgment and act as best they can in light of clear traditional teachings. Note this isn’t Protestant because it respects that it is the legitimate authorities of the RCC who will judge and right things at some better time in the future.

    In the mean time, there will be confusion, as always occurs when authorities don’t act firmly and in a straightforward manner.

    Like

  138. KN: Welcome to what I at least can only ascribe to modernism. The best I can do with it is to say he is employing potentially legitimate meanings to words in a misleading way (equivocating on “redeemed,” “atheist,” implying divine exception is the rule)

    Ding, ding

    Equivocation is the modernist (and postmodernist) tool of choice. Sometimes the reasons are benign (eg, humor, or conceptual lumping), but the theological liberals used equivocation to cloak unorthodox thoughts in orthodox language.

    KN: Ambiguity forces those who care what the RCC teaches to use their private judgment and act as best they can in light of clear traditional teachings.

    Ding again.

    KN: Note this isn’t Protestant because it respects that it is the legitimate authorities of the RCC who will judge and right things at some better time in the future.

    True, it’s not formally Protestant. But if the doctrine of “who is the head of the church” becomes one of the items subject to equivocation (ie, RCs got to Rome by equivocating on “this rock” and “head”), then Protestantism lurks in the wings.

    Like

  139. Jeff –

    the theological liberals used equivocation to cloak unorthodox thoughts in orthodox language.

    What is even more frustrating to me is seeing those who are struggling with the lousy cultural inheritance left all of us Americans (e.g., linguistic and conceptual) try to reason clearly and create intelligent beauty. It’s a struggle.

    True, it’s not formally Protestant. But if the doctrine of “who is the head of the church” becomes one of the items subject to equivocation (ie, RCs got to Rome by equivocating on “this rock” and “head”), then Protestantism lurks in the wings.

    Agreed that those who (under some set of conditions including pertinacity) call into question the structure of the RCC as it has come to us in history lose their status as members of the RCC, although I don’t think I’m seeing the tie between your parenthetical claim and your main point.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.