Sola Christus

Mark Shea channels his former Protestant self:

December is the month of Advent and Advent is about not just the First Advent at Christmas but the Second Advent on the Last Day. Accordingly, it confronts us with the reality of Judgment.

Lots of folks wonder how to get ready for the Last Judgment. Everything in your life and mine, as well as in all the rest of the Universe, is moving inexorably toward That Day. Yet when we look at the saints, we find some remarkably unconventional advice. St. Therese of Lisieux, for instance, when asked what she would do if you knew the world was about to end, said, “I would have confidence.”

The question, of course, is “In what would she have confidence?” and the answer was light years from what our culture places its trust in.

After all, consider: When some inspirational Oprah video smears the air with a schmaltzy soundtrack and we are breathily invited to “Believe” what instantly follows that word?

“…in yourself!” Again and again, when our culture talks about “confidence” what it invariably means is “self-confidence”. Our kids are, likewise, constantly taught to “believe in themselves” and “feel good about themselves”.

For Therese, all this self-help prattle was nonsense. For her, the only place for confidence was Jesus Christ. She knew herself as a sinner, so she simply threw herself into his arms like a child knowing that, while she could never get to heaven on her own steam, she could not fail to get there if he carried her.

This sort of Christian trust is (to a person like Therese) simplicity itself. To people like you and me, maybe not so much. We can play games. We can, for instance, tell ourselves “So long as I am doing good things in Department X of my life, God will forgive all the bad stuff I’m doing in Department Y.”

This is the trick that Jesus warns against when he tells us:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

So what’s up with all the clutter?


7 thoughts on “Sola Christus

  1. Well since you all do like to pick on the RCC here figure today we should do hat’s off to Francis. Appears that he was the major broker behind Cuba and the USA restoring diplomatic relations and they all agree since the final meeting was at the vatican… About as non-2K as you can get, having the Pope act like a secular diplomat but a big win is a win.

    So… congrads to Jason and the Callers.


  2. …so she simply threw herself into his arms like a child…

    How sweet ! Children burning in purgatorial arms…what a hot mess


  3. And what is the will the Father?

    “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40

    But hey, is that really enough? I’m sure some indulgences will take a little weight off God’s shoulders whilst placating those pernicious purgatorial un-pleasantries. ASSUME THE ASSUMPTION.



  4. @Andrew

    Not sure you mean grammatically or justification issue (i.e. “through Christ alone” or “”by Christ alone”). If you mean the justification issue, I’m not going to get into a discussion of justification on a Reformed blog. I was a plain old normal baptist. Which means I was raised paying lip service to Arminianism while being functionally Semipelagian. I still have an untroubled relationship with the theology of justification. I honestly kinda like the Mormon theology of justification which is explicitly semi-pelagian. But compared to you all I’d say I’m ignorant on the topic.

    If you mean grammatically both are right. Probably the proto-reformers used both.


  5. CD-Host,

    Just curious for your thoughts, is all. Thanks.

    I agree with Darryl that there’s a little too much clutter for my taste, in theology blogs these days. His is a rare exception.

    Take care,


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