The Basis for Unity

What if Protestants are actually orthodox by Roman Catholic standards? After all, both sets of western Christians affirm the Nicene Creed and some of us actually use it as the basis for catechetical instruction. Is the difference simply that Protestants are not in fellowship with the Bishop of Rome? And is it that Protestants will not engage in acts of devotion prescribed by the pope and his bishops?

This doesn’t seem to bother one convert to Roman Catholicism who is not as intent on proving the inferiority of Protestants as some are (it must be a boomer thing):

The following questions do not divide Protestants and Catholics—and they are the most important questions of all—but they do divide the orthodox from the Modernist in both churches:

Is God a transcendent, supernatural, personal, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, providential, loving, just Creator? Or is God an immanent cosmic force evolving in nature and man?

Do miracles really happen? Or has science refuted them? A transcendent God can perform miracles; a merely immanent, naturalistic God cannot. The three great miracles essential to orthodox Christianity are the Incarnation, the Resurrection and the new birth.

Is there a heaven? Or is heaven just all the good on earth?

Does God really love me? Or is that just a helpful sentiment?

Does God forgive my sins through Christ? Or is sin an outdated concept? In other words, is Christ a mere human example or a Savior from sin?

Is Christ divine, eternal, from the beginning? Or is he only divine “as all men are divine”?

Did he physically rise from the dead? Or is the Resurrection only a myth, a beautiful symbol?

Must we be born again from above to be saved, to have God as our Father? Or is everyone saved automatically? Does everyone have God as Father simply by being born as a human being, or by being reasonably nice during life?

Is Scripture God’s word to us? Or is it human words about God? Does it have divine or human authority behind it? And can an ordinary Christian understand its true meaning without reading German theologians?

Most important of all, can I really meet God in Christ? If I ask him to be my Lord, the Lord of my life, will he really do it? Or is this just a “religious experience”? This question is really one with the question: Did Christ really rise from the dead? That is, is he alive now? Can I say: “You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart!”?

Affirmative answers to these questions constitute the most important kind of unity already: not unity of thought but unity of being, the new being, being “in Christ”.

If Protestants are “in Christ,” why do so many Roman Catholic apologists try to make their brothers look bad or foolish (or both)?

A more pressing question is if Christ and the sovereign work of God are so important for life’s big questions, then why do descriptions of Roman Catholicism say so little about Jesus? Take the priests’ exposition of Roman Catholicism for the Dummies’ series. Here’s a snapshot of the 9 Essentials of Being a Catholic:

Being a devout Catholic means abiding by Catholic teachings, attending Mass every Sunday (or Saturday night) as well as on holy days of obligation, seizing opportunities to receive sacraments, avoiding sin, and practicing Catholic virtues. As a devout Catholic, you need to know key Catholic prayers, have a working knowledge of the Ten Commandments, and take an active part in your parish.

Basic Beliefs of Catholicism
Catholics are, first and foremost, Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Catholicism shares some beliefs with other Christian practices, but essential Catholic beliefs include the [MORE…]

Basic Requirements for Catholics
As a Catholic, basically you’re required to live a Christian life, pray daily, participate in the sacraments, obey the moral law, and accept the teachings of Christ and his Church. Following are the minimum [MORE…]

The Seven Sacraments of Catholicism
A sacrament in the Catholic Church is a rite Catholics believe was established by Jesus Christ. The seven sacraments of the Catholic Church are its most sacred and ancient rites of worship. Receiving a [MORE…]

A Look at Key Catholic Prayers
Catholics say many of the same prayers other religions do, with some variations. The key Catholic prayers are either part of the Mass, during which many prayers are sung, or part of praying the rosary. [MORE…]

Holy Days of Obligation in the Catholic Church
On holy days of obligation, Catholics are obliged to participate in Mass. Every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, as are six other days throughout the year. In the United States, these holy days of obligation [MORE…]

Catholicism and the Ten Commandments
According to Exodus in the Old Testament, God issued his own set of laws (the Ten Commandments) to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments are considered [MORE…]

Cardinal Virtues of the Catholic Church
A virtue is a habit that perfects the powers of the soul and disposes you to do good. Catholics believe that divine grace is offered to the soul, because without God’s help, humans can’t do good on their [MORE…]

Mortal and Venial Sins in the Catholic Church
In the Catholic Church, sins come in two basic types: mortal sins that imperil your soul and venial sins, which are less serious breaches of God’s law. The Church believes that if you commit a mortal sin [MORE…]

The Role of the Laity in the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church operates on a hierarchy with the pope at the top and laity at the bottom. Despite the bottom-rung status, the laity compose the majority of the Church. [MORE…]

Before, vd, t concludes yet again that I am the real dummie, I did notice that this list begins with Jesus Christ as the son of God. But why don’t the priests talk about Jesus Christ as savior the way Kreeft does? Here’s the rest of the page on basic beliefs:

Catholics are, first and foremost, Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Catholicism shares some beliefs with other Christian practices, but essential Catholic beliefs include the following:

The Bible is the inspired, error-free, and revealed word of God.

Baptism, the rite of becoming a Christian, is necessary for salvation — whether the Baptism occurs by water, blood, or desire.

God’s Ten Commandments provide a moral compass — an ethical standard to live by.

The existence of the Holy Trinity — one God in three persons. Catholics embrace the belief that God, the one Supreme Being, is made up of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Catholics also believe that since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, all humans are born with original sin, which only Baptism removes. A happier belief is in grace, a totally free, unmerited gift from God. Grace is a sharing in the divine; the inspiration to do God’s will.

Catholics recognize the unity of body and soul for each human being. So the whole religion centers on the truth that humankind stands between the two worlds of matter and spirit. The physical world is considered part of God’s creation and is, therefore, inherently good until an individual misuses it.

For anyone calling on a Protestant to come home to Rome, that is, a Protestant with a sensibility similar to Kreeft’s about the significance of Christ, the supernatural, the word of God, and the need for salvation from sinfulness and its penalty, Christianity as a set of practices that allow you to function as a member of select group — think Mormons — isn’t going to have appeal. What is more, the Roman Catholic church doesn’t appear to be all that exclusive (and invites the old Groucho Marx joke, “would I want to belong to a club that would have me for a member?”).

The point is that a sufficient basis for unity might be a common concern for personal salvation, followed by some agreement on the accomplishment of that salvation. Without that, the appeal of the true, good, and beautiful, the persuasiveness of logic, or the reputation of novelists don’t go very far.

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63 thoughts on “The Basis for Unity

  1. The Mrs. says it’s the babdist upbringing, or just a general nerdy composition, but speaking vd’ t and our RC interlocutors, they inspire me to find protestant entertainment (don’t look now GtT), and I found this 1953 Martin Luther film produced in conjuction with the Lutheran church at the time. Make of this what you will, but yeah, the RC interlocutors just keep going, and I think we settled reformed protestants enjoy seeing what they bring to the table from their reading of websites, their tastes in sports, and their choice of avatars. In other words, who’s next?

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  2. Christology, Tom?

    I told you, if apostolic succession were an issue for me, I’d go EO.

    It’s not, so I aint.

    Just keep copy pasting links. We really can do this all day.

    [4]

    Next.

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  3. D.G. Hart,

    Vd, t? What does he do?

    He does what he wants. Loves us one day, calls us the bearded spock universe the next.

    I call it flailing, his band mates in the cookies may have a different story.

    It’s the same stuff.

    Different day.

    Who’s next?

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  4. As long as we keep the focus on our faith, and not on Christ’s effectual death (one act of obedience) for the elect alone, we probably might all get along against the antinomians

    As long as we keep talking about the “continuation” of the future righteousness of Christ (and us, in us), and not on the impetration, procurement and obtainment of all blessings for all the elect by Christ’s death completed once on earth, we most likely overlook small differences between us about the sacramental efficacy and agree that there is no salvation apart from the Trinitarian water dispensed by “the church”. Since there is only one gospel, there is only the one church. Since there is only one “my body” which we all eat, there is only the one church.

    Mark Jones explains—-the CONTINUATION of our justification depends on the continuing of Christ’s intercession since his intercession is the “virtual CONTINUATION OF HIS SACRIFICE” (Goodwin)….Though Christ’s death happened once, “YET IT IS TO BE DONE OVER EVERY MOMENT, for it is continued by acts of free Grace, and so renewed actually every moment” (Goodwin). Thus Christ is infinitely more interested in MAINTAINING the justification of his people than they can ever be. ….although faith is in itself the radical principle of all obedience… we are justified by faith…(Owen)

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/05/the-alone-in-justification.php#sthash.uiu2bhdR.dpuf

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  5. TVD to D.G. Hart:
    Always start with Aquinas. To be the best you have to beat the best.

    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Christology/Christology_025.htm>>>>>

    Even your best Protestant thinkers are heavily influenced by Thomas Aquinas. In fact, without him, they would be nothing. Thomas is the gold standard, even according to R.C. Sproul.

    http://verticallivingministries.com/2012/05/15/r-c-sproul-on-thomas-aquinas-was-he-the-most-brilliant-of-all-the-theologians/

    I was delighted to find out that Jonathan Edwards was heavily influenced by Thomas. When I finally got around to reading some of the Summa, I thought, man, that sounds like Edwards. Hmmm. It’s actually the other way around.

    So, if you don’t see a need to leave Protestantism, D.G. Hart, you can settle for second best and steep yourself in Edwards & Sproul, and I am sure that there are other closet Thomists among you.

    You won’t be happy until you taste the real thing, though. What was the secret of Thomas’ great wisdom and saintliness? Here is a clue.

    The Lord has taught us two truths, namely, the divinity of the Blessed Trinity and the humanity of Christ.
    – St. Thomas Aquinas

    Take care, dear brother – and I mean both personally and theologically Like I said at one time. I didn’t know it, but your OPC had a big impact on my life, and I think it was a good influence. No, I was never Presbyterian.

    I am not happy to see the direction that the largest Presbyterian denomination has gone, or the Church of Scotland for that matter. Maybe the OPC is a bit like espresso coffee. Little, but strong. I hope so. I like espresso. Well, when I’m not hoping you will come home to Rome, I’m hoping you will be strong. . 😉

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  6. Mark,

    Good stuff on justificaiton, I posted what the OPC Q&A has on the subject here, if you or anyone is interested. Grace and peace.

    I wonder..who’s next?

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  7. Tom,

    Please note you called Darryl “butch.”

    Please don’t call people names. It’s not nice. Every time you or someone else here calls someone a new, plan to call them out.

    Clean up your act, please. Thanks.

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  8. AB
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Please note you called Darryl “butch.”

    Please don’t call people names. It’s not nice. Every time you or someone else here calls someone a new, plan to call them out.

    Clean up your act, please. Thanks.

    As long as the gentleman calls me “vd,” I’m going to shame him by calling him Butch, which BTW, he once told me to be more “butch.” I thought it fit him much better, Calvinist tough guy that he is, beating up on these nice Catholic ladies and all.

    As for your own behavior, like when you’d hassle me about three comments a day when you can’t even keep to 3 comments an hour, you’re the wrong person to lecture anybody about anything. Good day.

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  9. Tom, your opinion of me and my behavior is noted. Thanks for the feedback.

    Darryl, note: interlocutor Thomas Van Dyke does not want you calling him vd’t. I think you should respect thisnrewuest and maybe rearrange the letters. TVD appears to be his preferred moniker.

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  10. We should respect people enough to honor their wishes if they ask to not be called something.

    At the accounting firm I worked at, hazing was common, name calling, etc. The elder at the OP in Goleta told me going to work there was like being in a frat.

    If tom is cool with Tommy, that’s fine. Tommy wants this house cleaned up, I agree a level of respect is due anyone who decides to hit the “post a comment ” button. I’m willing to pay that and defend it.

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  11. Tom’s a big boy, if he was so deeply hurt by being called “vd,t” I doubt he would comment so much here. He can dish just as well as he take.

    But to this quip: Always start with Aquinas. To be the best you have to beat the best.

    Or you just have to know who has beat him – the Reformed Scholastics. I loves me some Aquinas, and Western theology (Protestant or Catholic) owes a great deal to him, but he wasn’t infallible. I often wonder how he would have responded to the corruption of the late Medieval church and the Reformation. The papacy and the church weren’t quite in the same state of spiritual crisis during his time.

    BTW Tom, don’t know many guys named Butch that wear bowties and own cats – well at least not many straight ones.

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  12. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
    TVD to D.G. Hart:
    Always start with Aquinas. To be the best you have to beat the best.

    In the OPC, we always started (and end ) with the Word of God.

    Tommy wants me to stop commenting, tho. I probably should.

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  13. Jed,

    Thomas has no Christian profession as I am aware. He likes Thomas Aquinas. But does he have an opinion of who Jesus is and what Jesus did while in earth?

    He also says he wants to go to hell. J can get the comment, he knows of what I speak.

    In other words, take him at his word. If someone came to you off the street, told you they want to go to hell, and you started calling them names, linking them to venereal disease, I would have harsh words for your evangelistic approach, in other words.

    Tom, correct me on any of this. I disagree with you, I dont want you to go to hell. Sorry.

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  14. Jeff Cagle
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink
    Susan, I know you’re out for now. I’ll offer this up as food for future thought.

    “Susan: Jesus is the head of the church, but didn’t he give authority to people before He left?”

    Definitely.

    That creates an opening you could drive a Vatican City through. You’ve just conceded magisterium. Now it’s just a question of who and when. Acts, certainly. The Epistles.

    Unless you want to argue that “authority” ended there. The Early Church Fathers, problematic. Unanimity did not exist among them. After that, it gets even more forensic. Was Augustine right about everything, as infallible/inerrant as Paul?

    Susan: An authority that should be in continuity with the authority to whom He gave it.

    This point needs defending. It is a core tenet of the RC apologetic, and it suffers from three problems.

    (1) No support in Scripture. Why should authority have to be in continuity?

    This simply shifts [avoids all] burden of proof. Since the Reformation argues against the Catholic Church–which in 1517 was manifest for 1000 years if not the full 1500–the Reformation needs to successfully argue discontinuity using Scripture.

    After 1500 years of Christianity/Catholicism, where is the Protestant Reformation prophesied? The Catholic argument for continuity is rather plain. It’s not enough to deny or reinterpret “Thou art Peter” and “I will always be with you” and “I will send my Spirit.” The Reformation’s premise is not only that the new theologies post-1517 are correct, but that so many of the pre-1517s are wrong that a radical re-start of Christianity was required.

    This is no small thing: The Eastern Orthodox “Great Schism” of 1054 is merely ecclesiastical, the authority of the papacy and some small matters like purgatory. 1000 years later, the theology of the sacraments and the Mass still remains identical. The liturgy remains recognizably the same: The Liturgy of the Word followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

    Have you ever been? To each? To a Muslim or a Martian, it’s visibly the same religion.

    But Calvinism [and its evangelical descendants] dispensed with the Mass, and most of the sacraments. You turned as far away from the Eastern Orthodox as you did from Rome. Your argument–the Reformation’s argument–is not with the papacy, not ecclesiastical but theological.

    Therefore, if you want to justify your version of Christianity, you need to start at 1054, and not just harp on the easy pickings of Rome’s corruptions of simony, the Inquisition, Edgardo Mortara and the latest Pew Poll on how American Catholics don’t know the Mass from a hole in the ground.

    As for the rest of your worthy essay, Jeff, it’s worth engaging. But First Things First.

    But my point is this: Everyone is an interpreter. When a Catholic looks at a confessional Protestant and criticizes him for “relying on his own authority”, he is mistaken. Interpretation is what readers do. Authority plays a different role.

    Per the above, no, not “everybody” is an interpreter. No, not at all. That’s a Reformation thing. In fact, the Reformation came up with its own Bible, rejecting the 7 Deutero-canonical books and passages from Daniel and Esther. By what “authority” [Luther’s? Calvin’s?] is another question that the burden of proof lies on the Reformation.

    The Eastern Orthodox Bible is the same as Rome’s. They don’t accept your “Reformation” either.

    By setting the Reformation against 1054 rather than 1517, I think we’re onto something very important here. Thanks for the impetus on this, Jeff. It’s possible only because you play straight, and no energy is wasted clearing out the chaff.

    Cheers, bro.

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  15. Thomas,

    Wrong thread. You’re making those strange copy paste errors again when you get confused on how to use your computer.

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  16. TVD:
    As long as the gentleman calls me “vd,” I’m going to shame him by calling him Butch, which BTW, he once told me to be more “butch.” I thought it fit him much better, Calvinist tough guy that he is, beating up on these nice Catholic ladies and all.>>>>

    I see your point, Tom, and I saw when that happened. Yes, we are nice Catholic ladies. I have been surprised to see that these Protestants who say they know the Bible and theology are not very conversant with their own theology.

    Like when I explained to him the 3 stages in the order of salvation according to Reformed teachers vs. the stages according to the Council of Trent – based on the work of Aquinas – he asked me what the steps were.

    Serioulsy? He has it confused with Gothardism or something. This is classic Reformed theology vs. Catholic. No wonder the Reformed movement is in trouble. These guys are leaders.

    I have to both explain their own theology to them, and then answer questions about Catholicism. I’m doing’ double duty, here ‘cuz I’m a nice Catholic lady.

    Hint: look up ordo salutis and it will also explain regeneration… I’m say just now it’s not the order in which Reformed pastors greet one another.

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  17. @Tom
    1) We don’t reject the teaching authority of the church, we reject its infallibility. Only the scriptures are infallible. Like the catholic church now, we respect the right of religious conscience which means that if you disagree you can go elsewhere. Some start new churches and other people sign up. A lot of others go the spiritual but not religious route. The RCC is splintering even faster than the mainline (which is shocking and very sad), only ex RCs tend to not join other denominations (at least in the US).

    2) You wrote, “The Eastern Orthodox “Great Schism” of 1054 is merely ecclesiastical, the authority of the papacy and some small matters like purgatory. 1000 years later, the theology of the sacraments and the Mass still remains identical. The liturgy remains recognizably the same”
    First, ecclesiology is a branch of theology. Second, EO rejects a lot that Rome embraces such as the doctrine of original sin (thus baptism means something different as well; Augustine isn’t so popular in EO theology). The Mass is decidedly not identical. They do not insist on the doctrine of transubstantiation (they are much more vague on what real presence means…very mysterious and all that). Third, EO allow for divorce which means the sacrament of marriage means something different as well (and do not frown on BC the same way which means their interpretation of Natural law is different too).

    3) “Therefore, if you want to justify your version of Christianity, you need to start at 1054, and not just harp on the easy pickings of Rome’s corruptions” Your “therefore” doesn’t follow from anything you’ve written. The “easy pickings” strike at the heart of the MOC which make the reform of the western church legitimate. Rome’s claims for herself do not stand. Not everything that rome teaches is false, but some of it is. The church has split many times (Copts, Nestorians, EO, etc…) Usually the splits were geographic because the alliance between the state and church allowed the church to destroy dissent. The difference between Luther and Jan Hus is that Luther had a stronger defender. The HRE was relatively weak so groups could break away. The thing that gave rise to 30,000 denominations wasn’t sola scriptura (people have always believed what they’ve wanted anyway) or nominalism (no one really knows what that is about either). It is that they could leave without repercussions (political, social, or cultural). The combination of capitalism and freedom invariably gives rise to consumerism and entrepreneurialism – it gets us better hamburgers but also lots of religious variety. That genie isn’t going back in the bottle unless someone gets a better army…ISIS seems to be on the assent at the moment.

    4) “Per the above, no, not “everybody” is an interpreter. No, not at all. That’s a Reformation thing.” So help me out here. I really do not understand this. The bishop of San Jose is part of the magisterium and as a bishop commands the “submission of the intellect and will”l of roman catholics. I grant that he is not infallible, but that doesn’t change the authority he has. Now this bishop is quite infamous amongst traditional RCs for advocating things that contradict their interpretation of church teaching. Chastity is not the goal of the traveling gay mass that he has implemented. Why is it a “reformation thing” to interpret his statements as inconsistent with roman catholic teaching? If he can be wrong about something, who do I turn to for the correct answer? The bible seems pretty good to me.

    5) While EO’s think we are heretics and require us to specifically disavow calvinism as part of the conversion process, your statement that “The Eastern Orthodox Bible is the same as Rome’s. ‘ is incorrect. There are several books that the EOs include in their canon that Rome rejects.

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  18. Like when I explained to him the 3 stages in the order of salvation according to Reformed teachers vs. the stages according to the Council of Trent – based on the work of Aquinas – he asked me what the steps were.

    Serioulsy? He has it confused with Gothardism or something. This is classic Reformed theology vs. Catholic. No wonder the Reformed movement is in trouble. These guys are leaders.

    I have to both explain their own theology to them, and then answer questions about Catholicism. I’m doing’ double duty, here ‘cuz I’m a nice Catholic lady.

    Hint: look up ordo salutis and it will also explain regeneration… I’m say just now it’s not the order in which Reformed pastors greet one another.

    You think far too highly of your own clarity. I doubt very much that anyone here really doesn’t know the ordo salutis (which is not comprised of three stages by the way).

    No wonder the Reformed movement is in trouble.

    Buffeted to be sure, but I’m not so sure we are in “trouble”…particularly compared to the battles in the 1920’s and 1960’s. We lost. We got it. We are losers and we know it. We lost our buildings and seminaries to unbelieving modernists. It sucks. But it seems to me that we are in far better shape now than then…to be sure if we are in better shape and thrive, it won’t be because our members are so great. It will be a work of the Lord in spite of us (well me anyway, but I’m a nobody so who cares right?).

    I have to both explain their own theology to them, and then answer questions about Catholicism. I’m doing’ double duty, here ‘cuz I’m a nice Catholic lady.

    You see it is comments like this that make me worry about you triumphalism. You aren’t boasting in Christ in comments like these, you are boasting your putative superior understanding of reformed dogmatics. Pride is corrosive to faith, and perseverance is part of the ordo as well.

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  19. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
    TVD:
    As long as the gentleman calls me “vd,” I’m going to shame him by calling him Butch, which BTW, he once told me to be more “butch.” I thought it fit him much better, Calvinist tough guy that he is, beating up on these nice Catholic ladies and all.>>>>

    D. G. Hart
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink
    B, A, vd, t doesn’t want me referring to him as vd. Never have.

    Normal people call me Tom, or TVD. I like pet names, but this one is ugly. Even your minions noticed that it’s questionable at best.

    But rock on if you want, Butch, you macho Calvinist tough guy you, kicking nice Catholic lady ass for Christ.

    I have enough trouble and joy corresponding with the sincere commenters at your “theological society” here, such as Jeff Cagle.

    Susan and Mrs.Webfoot do just fine, for they are sincere, as nearly-so are Messrs. Weakly and Zrim, and often the sometimes evil, sometimes likeable “sdb.”

    And Mr. Turrible picks his spots, good on him. I don’t know whose job it is to sort out the chaff, but somebody’s falling down on the job around here. But that’s the way you like it, Butch. All voices, sincere or cynical, informed or ignorant, are equal. Every man a pope, whether genius or joker.

    Survival of the rudest.

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  20. sdb, here is what I said to Erik earlier today. You probably missed it.

    “See, in the Reformed understanding of salvation, things are separated out into 3 stages – 1.) justification by faith alone – a forensic act of the righteous Judge whereby Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer, but not imparted 2.) sanctification – a process whereby the Holy Spirit works to produce greater Christlikeness that ends in 3.) glorification, when we will be like Christ because we will see Him as He is.”

    Here is what Erik asked me.:
    How does the progressive justification and sanctification work for those outside the Roman Catholic Church?

    Tell us the steps we must take.>>>>>

    How does one answer a question like that? It’s not about steps to take, it’s about stages.

    Do you know the difference between the Reformed understanding of justification and the Catholic? Do you know what the 3 stages are in Catholic teaching?

    Call me proud, but this is important.

    Thank you for picking up on this, even if it was to call me proud. I’m not too proud to try to focus on this crucial distinction. After all, this is the point of departure, literally.

    Notice: I speak kindly to D.G. Hart, and he continues to insult me. Just pointing that out.

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  21. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted May 23, 2015 at 12:50 am | Permalink
    Notice: I speak kindly to D.G. Hart, and he continues to insult me. Just pointing that out.

    Yah, that’s on you too, Darryl. Even if you don’t technically insult her, you have mocked her, and in your stead allow your prolific and vociferous supporters have at her rather mindlessly without stepping in.

    That’s not right, man. These are good people, fellow Christians, even.

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  22. DGH—some agreement on the accomplishment of that salvation.

    mark mcculley—-you still seem to be stuck looking back, to the high priest on earth finishing the sacrificial death, before His resurrection, before His ascension, before Pentecost. If you really want unity with Roman Catholics (who say the death is still happening, show up and see because it doesn’t matter what’s going in your emotions), then you need to join with Richard Gaffin and Mark Jones in looking to the present and future, to union with the risen Christ, and not only in gratitude for something already done (over there, back then)

    Luke 9: 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death,[j] which He was about to ACCOMPLISH IN JERUSALEM

    Jimmy Akin http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-jesus-transfiguration

    Mark Jones explains—-“the CONTINUATION of our justification depends on the continuing of Christ’s intercession since his intercession is the “virtual CONTINUATION OF HIS SACRIFICE” (Goodwin)….Though Christ’s death happened once, “YET IT IS TO BE DONE OVER EVERY MOMENT, for it is continued by acts of free Grace, and so renewed actually every moment” (Goodwin). Thus Christ is infinitely more interested in MAINTAINING the justification of his people than they can ever be….”

    Jonathan Edwards: “We are really saved by perseverance…the perseverance which belongs to faith is one thing that is really a fundamental ground of the congruity that faith gives to salvation…For, though a sinner is justified in his first act of faith, yet even then, in that act of justification, God has respect to perseverance as being implied in the first act.”

    Richard Gaffin, p 102, By Faith Not by Sight,–“This expression obedience of faith is best taken as intentionally multivalent…In other words, faith itself is an obedience, as well as other acts of obedience that stem from faith.”

    Gaffin: “Typically in the Reformation tradition the hope of salvation is expressed in terms of Christ’s righteousness, especially as imputed to the believer…however, I have to wonder if ‘Christ in you’ is not more prominent as an expression of evangelical hope…” p 110

    Gaffin—When the prepositional phrase “without works” is taken adverbially, that is, as modifying the verb “justifies,” then the statement “faith without works justifies,” is true. When “without works” is taken adjectivally, that is, with the noun “faith,” that is, “without-works faith,” then the same statement is false.”

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  23. Vd, t, Mermaid, Susan and all Callers — hear the magisterium. Don’t look to the past. The church is what’s happening now:

    Philippines Cardinal Luis Tagle — often cited as a possible successor to Pope Francis — has called on Catholics to avoid looking to the pre-Second Vatican Council church with a sense of nostalgia, but to embrace and live out the council’s sense of openness to the modern world.

    Speaking at a landmark theological conference focused on carrying the vision of the council forward, Tagle said Vatican II rediscovered the church’s understanding of mystery, mission and communion — and that, from there, “the understanding of church changed radically.”

    One of the key changes of the council, he said, was the move from a church that focused on itself to one that focused on the needs of humanity.

    “Many people want to witness to Christ in some idealized past that they long for with nostalgia,” said Tagle, who spoke Friday morning at Georgetown University. “No, we witness to Christ now, here, where we are in our world.”

    “The church is being asked to retrieve its deepest identity as a communion, but a communion that is not focused on itself,” he continued. “Not self-focused, not self-referential.”

    Like

  24. What are people who believe in Christ but can’t believe this to do?

    For nearly a thousand years, people have been walking the pilgrim routes to Walsingham, the shrine in Norfolk, in the east of England, where Our Lady is honored.

    A new rector, Msgr. John Armitage, has been appointed to the shrine. He was formally installed on the feast of the Annunciation and is full of plans for the development of the shrine so that it can welcome many more pilgrims in the years ahead.

    It will begin with spiritual renewal: A Walsingham statue will be taken from the shrine to each of the Catholic cathedrals in England for veneration and prayer, fostering a fresh dedication to Our Lady and asking her intercession for the country.

    At the shrine itself, a new Pilgrim Hall will be built in the present picnic area — at present, there is nowhere for pilgrims to gather in wet weather. And there will be extended refreshment facilities, replacing the present small café.

    The heart of the shrine is the small, Medieval “Slipper Chapel,” so named because it stands alongside a slyp (lane) leading to the village. A larger modern church stands nearby, and the two are united by a garden area that also serves for outdoor Masses.

    This area will now be developed with, as Msgr. Armitage explains, a place for “candles and holy water — and the whole site will be linked together by a cloister, which will be very helpful during open-air Masses when it rains.” Msgr. Armitage knows Walsingham well, having been a regular visitor for four decades, and is enthusiastic about the future. Although many visitors each summer are happy to camp in local meadows — groups such as the New Dawn charismatic gathering and Youth 2000 bring their own tents and marquees — better provision needs to be made for those who prefer something a little less basic.

    New accommodations are being planned, offering comfortable rooms with onsite facilities, with several providing specifically for the needs of disabled people.

    Like

  25. Mrs. Webfoot,

    We aren’t big on Edwards here.

    You should find bloggers who like Tim Keller if you want to talk Edwards. I suggest http://tgc.org for you Tom and Susan.

    More John Calvin, Hodge, Warfield, Machen, and Hart here.

    Peace to you on your journey.

    Next.

    Like

  26. Yah, that’s on you too, Darryl. Even if you don’t technically insult her, you have mocked her, and in your stead allow your prolific and vociferous supporters have at her rather mindlessly without stepping in.

    That’s not right, man. These are good people, fellow Christians, even.

    Where?

    As it stands this is baseless. Provide evidence.

    These statements are inadmissable, and therefore thrown out.

    Who’s next?

    Like

  27. It will begin with spiritual renewal: A Walsingham statue will be taken from the shrine to each of the Catholic cathedrals in England for veneration and prayer, fostering a fresh dedication to Our Lady and asking her intercession for the country.

    At the shrine itself, a new Pilgrim Hall will be built in the present picnic area — at present, there is nowhere for pilgrims to gather in wet weather. And there will be extended refreshment facilities, replacing the present small café.

    The heart of the shrine is the small, Medieval “Slipper Chapel,” so named because it stands alongside a slyp (lane) leading to the village. A larger modern church stands nearby, and the two are united by a garden area that also serves for outdoor Masses.

    This area will now be developed with, as Msgr. Armitage explains, a place for “candles and holy water — and the whole site will be linked together by a cloister, which will be very helpful during open-air Masses when it rains.” Msgr. Armitage knows Walsingham well, having been a regular visitor for four decades, and is enthusiastic about the future. Although many visitors each summer are happy to camp in local meadows — groups such as the New Dawn charismatic gathering and Youth 2000 bring their own tents and marquees — better provision needs to be made for those who prefer something a little less basic.

    Show me Jesus.

    God help us.

    Like

  28. @WF Erik can speak for himself of course, but I’m pretty sure his question was rhetorical. But besides, he’s Lutheran, so what can you do?

    More seriously though, you wrote, “See, in the Reformed understanding of salvation, things are separated out into 3 stages”. This is not a correct understanding of the reformed view of salvation, as it is really quite incomplete. If you wanted to break up the subsections of the ordo salutis into three I guess you could, but they wouldn’t be justification, sanctification, and glorification. These are three really important elements of salvation, but perhaps it would make more sense conceptually to divide salvation into what was done (The divine decree, predestination, and election all happened “before the foundation of the world”, our atonement was accomplished in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord), what is being done (we are effectually called – as Jesus said in the gospel of John, “no one can come to me unless the Father draws him” and “everyone whom the father calls will come to me”; regenerated, have saving faith and thus are justified and adopted making us united to Christ; as a consequence we are being sanctified and will persevere until our bodies die) and what will be done (when we die we enter the Saint’s everlasting rest while we await the resurrection of our bodies and our final glorification). Of course the ordo salutis is not an official part of any reformed confession, but rather a way of organizing the summary of what our confession teaches is expressed in scripture. It is not intended to be a restatement of any verse(s) in the Bible such as Romans 8:18-30.

    When we talk about salvation, we generally emphasize some aspect of it and speak colloquially and thus imprecisely. That’s OK if we know what we mean. But your imprecise statement of the reformed view of salvation creates a conflict with your exegesis of this passage in Romans. You mistakenly state that the ordo salutis is completely here in Romans 8:29-30 with the exception of sanctification and thus want to call the reformed view into question. Clearly Paul’s “golden chain” here is not complete. That’s not a problem in my reading, but obviously we differ here.

    “Do you know the difference between the Reformed understanding of justification and the Catholic? Do you know what the 3 stages are in Catholic teaching?”
    Yes, but I frankly find it incoherent. The ongoing “development” of RC doctrine and endless qualifications on something so foundational is a big, big problem in my estimation.

    Like

  29. WF,

    By the way, thanks for being nicer about the OPC in this thread.

    I still want to know about your prophecy about the OPC’s death from the other thread. I found it interesting you were parroting Tom Van Dyke in that assessment. Why would you say something like that about a people who even Tom Van Dyke says is a part of Christ’s church? You do care about Christ’s church, right?

    I’m take more of the star wars approach to the OPC, I wonder if you will be into that franchise now that Disney owns it?

    Like

  30. TVD, I guess Susan already answered for you. I just don’t want you to go to hell.

    Susan
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
    Andrew Andrew Andrew,

    Tom doesn’t want to go to hell. I’m sure that he means he loves you( which means that he wills your good), and doesn’t want you to go where he fears he might.
    Mortal sin is a very real possibility, but we trust in the mercy of God whose property is always to have mercy.

    But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

    Like

  31. morning Andrew, have time yet this am for your reading?

    basis of unity: John 1:12; Heb 8:10; 1 Cor 2:16; Eph 4:4-6
    therefore: Rom 15:5; 8:6; 12:2; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor 1:10; Phil 2:2

    Like

  32. Another reason for thinking that church clutter can keep you from the real deal (thanks to Pertinacious Papist):

    Rather than seeking scapegoats to blame, one might perhaps try to understand in a more realistic way why Catholicism in Ireland has collapsed so quickly. How deeply rooted was the Catholic culture really in days gone by? What was there about it which made it into a house of cards which one gentle push would topple over?

    Similar questions arise over the well established Catholic culture of Poland. As soon as they started to receive the benefits of Western consumerism, their Catholic culture was the first thing many Polish people jettisoned. Why? And the benefits were not even things worth having.

    Unless we make a serious attempt to understand why people abandon their religion, we can only expect the decline to continue, but I think people in the Church are reluctant to question too far or deeply because they fear what it may show up – not about people, but the about the Church.

    One thing we might consider is whether or not the Church over the centuries has placed most of its emphasis on the externals of religion – doctrines, rituals, moral codes, practices which create a tribal identity – rather than on the simple knowing of God which should be the heart of religion. And this is not to blame anyone, but to acknowledge honestly what has happened in order to move on.

    Like

  33. Erik,

    Tom explains his potty mouth in that youtube video, recorded whilst I was still in the womb.

    You’d think he would have grown up by now, huh?

    Like

  34. His exploits are something for him to be proud of. I justike how him and I have that connection, even if only by my guessing the close enough price of skiis with Bob Barker.

    He flails, laying criticism of me, when he then goes on to tear into Dgh and use foul language. He’s more a troll than anything, and I get that. He feels a level of threat against the tradition of RCism of which he most closely identifies, or at least that’s what I can gather.

    Hi Tom.

    Like

  35. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 23, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
    Another reason for thinking that church clutter can keep you from the real deal (thanks to Pertinacious Papist):

    Rather than seeking scapegoats to blame, one might perhaps try to understand in a more realistic way why Catholicism in Ireland has collapsed so quickly. How deeply rooted was the Catholic culture really in days gone by? What was there about it which made it into a house of cards which one gentle push would topple over?

    Similar questions arise over the well established Catholic culture of Poland. As soon as they started to receive the benefits of Western consumerism, their Catholic culture was the first thing many Polish people jettisoned. Why? And the benefits were not even things worth having.

    Unless we make a serious attempt to understand why people abandon their religion, we can only expect the decline to continue, but I think people in the Church are reluctant to question too far or deeply because they fear what it may show up – not about people, but the about the Church.

    One thing we might consider is whether or not the Church over the centuries has placed most of its emphasis on the externals of religion – doctrines, rituals, moral codes, practices which create a tribal identity – rather than on the simple knowing of God which should be the heart of religion. And this is not to blame anyone, but to acknowledge honestly what has happened in order to move on.

    Spot on.

    I wonder how much of this was about homosexuality and how much was just to punish the Church.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/ireland-set-to-back-same-sex-marriage-1432372645

    Like

  36. sdb
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
    @Tom
    1) We don’t reject the teaching authority of the church, we reject its infallibility. Only the scriptures are infallible. Like the catholic church now, we respect the right of religious conscience which means that if you disagree you can go elsewhere. Some start new churches and other people sign up. A lot of others go the spiritual but not religious route. The RCC is splintering even faster than the mainline (which is shocking and very sad), only ex RCs tend to not join other denominations (at least in the US).

    2) You wrote, “The Eastern Orthodox “Great Schism” of 1054 is merely ecclesiastical, the authority of the papacy and some small matters like purgatory. 1000 years later, the theology of the sacraments and the Mass still remains identical. The liturgy remains recognizably the same”
    First, ecclesiology is a branch of theology. Second, EO rejects a lot that Rome embraces such as the doctrine of original sin (thus baptism means something different as well; Augustine isn’t so popular in EO theology). The Mass is decidedly not identical. They do not insist on the doctrine of transubstantiation (they are much more vague on what real presence means…very mysterious and all that). Third, EO allow for divorce which means the sacrament of marriage means something different as well (and do not frown on BC the same way which means their interpretation of Natural law is different too).

    3) “Therefore, if you want to justify your version of Christianity, you need to start at 1054, and not just harp on the easy pickings of Rome’s corruptions” Your “therefore” doesn’t follow from anything you’ve written. The “easy pickings” strike at the heart of the MOC which make the reform of the western church legitimate. Rome’s claims for herself do not stand. Not everything that rome teaches is false, but some of it is. The church has split many times (Copts, Nestorians, EO, etc…) Usually the splits were geographic because the alliance between the state and church allowed the church to destroy dissent. The difference between Luther and Jan Hus is that Luther had a stronger defender. The HRE was relatively weak so groups could break away. The thing that gave rise to 30,000 denominations wasn’t sola scriptura (people have always believed what they’ve wanted anyway) or nominalism (no one really knows what that is about either). It is that they could leave without repercussions (political, social, or cultural). The combination of capitalism and freedom invariably gives rise to consumerism and entrepreneurialism – it gets us better hamburgers but also lots of religious variety. That genie isn’t going back in the bottle unless someone gets a better army…ISIS seems to be on the assent at the moment.

    4) “Per the above, no, not “everybody” is an interpreter. No, not at all. That’s a Reformation thing.” So help me out here. I really do not understand this. The bishop of San Jose is part of the magisterium and as a bishop commands the “submission of the intellect and will”l of roman catholics. I grant that he is not infallible, but that doesn’t change the authority he has. Now this bishop is quite infamous amongst traditional RCs for advocating things that contradict their interpretation of church teaching. Chastity is not the goal of the traveling gay mass that he has implemented. Why is it a “reformation thing” to interpret his statements as inconsistent with roman catholic teaching? If he can be wrong about something, who do I turn to for the correct answer? The bible seems pretty good to me.

    5) While EO’s think we are heretics and require us to specifically disavow calvinism as part of the conversion process, your statement that “The Eastern Orthodox Bible is the same as Rome’s. ‘ is incorrect. There are several books that the EOs include in their canon that Rome rejects.

    You’re emphasizing minor differences and ignoring the vast similarities. You’re correct on some, but these are not dealbreakers. The Order of the Mass is the same.

    As far as the order of the Liturgy, it follows the same basic outline as the Roman Mass—introductory psalms, scripture readings and homily, offering, Eucharistic Kanon and Epiklesis [Consecration], commemorations, the Lord’s Prayer, Holy Communion, and closing prayers with final blessing. However, the Liturgy that is generally celebrated is that of Saint John Chrysostom, which is much, much older than the order of the Mass currently in use among Roman Catholics and the Tridentine Mass that had been used prior to Vatican II.

    The premise here is that the Reformation [esp the Calvinist variety] has to justify its radical reinvention of the Christian religion. For logical purposes, you can leave Rome out of it and explain [and justify] your deviations from the EO. Until 1054, there was only one Christianity. Your version differs so greatly it is indeed a dealbreaker.

    Thx for the courteous and thoughtful reply.

    Like

  37. The RCC and EO disagree with you about how minor these differences are. Original sin is a pretty fundamental doctrine that undergirds what baptism means for RCCs. Yes both EOs and RCCs baptize, but the rite means something very different. Similarly, both RCCs and EOs see marriage as a sacrament, but EOs don’t see it as indissoluble (divorce can be justified).

    You wrote,

    The premise here is that the Reformation [esp the Calvinist variety] has to justify its radical reinvention of the Christian religion. For logical purposes, you can leave Rome out of it and explain [and justify] your deviations from the EO. Until 1054, there was only one Christianity. Your version differs so greatly it is indeed a deal breaker.

    I’m not following. There was division prior to 1054 as well (the Nestorians?). The justification of the reformation is that the bible is the only final infallible authority for adjudicating matters of faith and morals. Only teachings from the bible can be made binding on believers… the church can’t make up extra rules. The example of scripture shows that God’s people can be led astray for quite sometime, tradition is fallible even if authoritative, and this didn’t change with the church. Calvin’s institutes was a justification of reformation if you want a detailed account. Do you find it wanting?

    Like

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