Independence Day Blues

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — the most memorable phrase from the Declaration of Independence, arguably. So Father Dwight tries to instruct us on the proper meaning of happiness (which is not as bad as trying to find the true meaning of hedonism, but it still doesn’t go well). Of the four levels of happiness, the ultimate is the “transcendental”:

This highest level of happiness comes when we learn how to serve an even higher being than our neighbor. Our happiness is linked with our self-esteem, and our self-esteem is linked with whether we feel our life is being spent in a worthwhile manner. Those whose lives have a high level of meaning and purpose have high levels of happiness. Those who serve God feel they are living for values and meanings that are eternal in their scope. No matter how negative the circumstances, people who are at the transcendental level of happiness evidence extreme, even ecstatic, happiness. They are not just happy—they are joyful.

As I say, it doesn’t go well since at the end of the article Father Dwight, a regular apologist for Roman Catholicism who points out the foibles and liabilities of his former Protestant communion, tries to make his pitch for happiness sound generically religious. This is how we are supposed to pursue this ultimate form of happiness:

. . . conservatism has always had deep roots in the traditions of faith. Religious belief takes us into the depths of the human experience historically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. The strength of conservatism is that it is a solid, stable, and secure philosophy. These deep roots are fed by the structures and systems of religion that open the individual to the transcendental dimension of happiness. Conservatism in religion connects the individual to the spiritual giants of the past, and the simple traditions of ancient religion open the individual to experience the true worship of God that experts tell us is the final stage of true happiness.

What about the sacraments, what about the death of Christ, what about sin and purgatory? “Religious belief” will do? Leo XIII would be appalled, but then he was the pope who condemned Americanism, a mild heresy that seems to be more prevalent now than it was 120 years ago.

The worry, though, has less to do with Protestant-Roman Catholic differences than it does with the conflation of “religion” and conservatism. That mix has produced a civil religion that leads many American believers to be very happy about the United States and its mission — except when they turn to despair because its officials have abandoned its religious ideals. Richard Gamble has a good antidote to such civil religion by showing (from a few years ago but recently republished) that even the sainted Abraham Lincoln was guilty of this dangerous conflation of piety and politics:

Such an appropriation of Christianity for politics dominates the Gettysburg Address, from its opening “four score” to its closing “shall not perish.” In the 1970s, literary scholar M.E. Bradford, in his essay, “The Rhetoric for Continuing Revolution,” identified the Gettysburg Address’s “biblical language” as the speech’s “most important formal property.” That is undoubtedly so. Lincoln drew from the King James Version’s archaic words and cadences, as he opened with the biblical-sounding “four score,” an echo of the Psalmist’s “three score and ten” years allotted to man on this earth. He continued with “brought forth,” the words in the Gospel of Luke that describe Mary’s delivery of Jesus—the first instance of what turns out to be a repeated image of conception, birth, life, death, and new birth, culminating in the promise of eternal life in the words “shall not perish”—a startling echo of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:16 (“whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”).

Lincoln’s speech also engages the other side of civil religion—not the appropriation of the sacred for the purposes of the state, but the elevation of the secular into a political religion. Early in his career, Lincoln had explicitly promoted this kind of civil religion. Again in his 1838 Lyceum address, he called for fidelity to “the blood of the Revolution” and the Declaration, the Constitution, and the laws to serve as America’s sustaining “political religion” now that the founding generation was passing away. In 1863, Lincoln filled the Gettysburg Address with the words “dedicated,” “consecrated,” and “hallow.” The cumulative effect of this sacred language was to set the American Founding, the suffering of the Civil War, and the national mission apart from the mundane world and to transport the war dead and their task into a transcendent realm.

Bellah, a defender of American civil religion who wanted to globalize it in the post-Kennedy years, claimed that Lincoln and the Civil War gave America a “New Testament” for its civic faith: “The Gettysburg symbolism (‘…those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live’) is Christian without having anything to do with the Christian church.”

The link between Gamble’s piece on Lincoln and Father Dwight’s on the Declaration is that both — aside from being alumi of Bob Jones University — are addressing, the former explicitly and the latter only implicitly, civil religion. Gamble is on the lookout. Father Dwight promotes it.

So what is the remedy? Maybe it is to abandon happiness. Life is hard, we seek to serve God in our callings, we die, and our remains await the resurrection. In other words, we await a better country. If we look for happiness in this one, we will “like” Father Dwight’s post and let President Lincoln inspire us.

So maybe the true conservative is the unhappy American. You may see him tonight at the fireworks display. He won’t be smiling. He’ll be fearful because of all the noise and explosions.

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167 thoughts on “Independence Day Blues

  1. blessed = happy = Matt 5:3-12

    Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. Ps 33:12

    A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. 1 Pet 2:9-10

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  2. Am I missing something here, or does Padre Dwight have a hole in his Bob Jones education that Oxford didn’t fill? Who needs a Trinitarian God to achieve Transcendence? Ralph Waldo Emerson didn’t think so. Deism gussied up with romanticism will get you there OK. Is this guy a complete hack? And don’t get me started on what seems to be his working definition of Conservatism. I really do have to watch my blood pressure.

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  3. Hi Muddy.
    the verse says it is ‘ the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance’, so I think it is ‘the people whom the Lord has chosen for His own inheritance’
    what do you think?’

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  4. DGH, pills help. My cardiologist has assured me that there is no class of heart drug she has not prescribed for me.

    Speaking of the Gamble piece, I think his mention of Mel Bradford is telling. His treatment at the hands of his fellow “conservatives” should be instructive in any consideration of whether or not there is an American Conservativism.

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  5. We are headed into a time of the most glorious church bride of Christ this continent has ever seen.

    a. we are on the same side of many things, but I can’t go along with ya here brother. Those passages have no application to the United Sates or any other extant earthly nation whatsoever. I would even say, probably including Israel. I can’t but be honest.

    Founding Christian influence here to be sure, but there is no such thing as a “Christian Nation” in the geopolitical sense. The invisible church. The body of truly elect believers alone, with Christ alone as the head, is the kingdom and commonwealth of God.

    What cultural influence she may ever wield will come from seeking first that kingdom and His righteousness and having those other things added as a matter of secondary course.

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  6. Greg, ever ever? Even more ever than when there was a “founding Christian influence”? Does it really get more Christian nation-y than that?

    But how are you discerning the future so confidently? Interpret providence much?

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  7. I was a sporadic subscriber to Modern Age from about 1970-90. Even in my approaching dotage, I well remember the scintillating debates between Bradford and Harry Jaffa found in those pages about Lincoln and the meaning of the founding. You young whipper snappers could probably dig a lot of this up with this thing called Google. A further taste of Bradford:

    http://www.mmisi.org/ma/23_01/bradford.pdf

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  8. DGH, agree, but I’m not the one who wrote…

    Oh, never mind. Enjoy your Fourth, however you interpret it

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  9. Greg The Terrible
    Posted July 4, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
    We are headed into a time of the most glorious church bride of Christ this continent has ever seen.

    a. we are on the same side of many things, but I can’t go along with ya here brother. Those passages have no application to the United Sates or any other extant earthly nation whatsoever. I would even say, probably including Israel. I can’t but be honest.

    Founding Christian influence here to be sure, but there is no such thing as a “Christian Nation” in the geopolitical sense. The invisible church. The body of truly elect believers alone, with Christ alone as the head, is the kingdom and commonwealth of God.

    I wouldn’t presume to say God smiled on the creation of the American republic [although GWash did] but in some real sense, as Mr. Lincoln put it,

    “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

    This is explicitly untrue in a real sense after the gay marriage ruling. Something indeed has changed. We no longer answer to any power higher than ourselves. “God’s side” does not exist.

    Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied.

    Not just religion but philosophy have been abolished in the public square. There is now only “liberty” for its own sake, more accurately libertinism. America has renounced her foundational principles, the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

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  10. Would most Presbyterians in the 18th century have been in favor of the Revolution, against it, or no clear trends? Any obvious variation between the minsters and elders, and the common folk?

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  11. Zrim says: “Greg, ever ever? Even more ever than when there was a “founding Christian influence”? Does it really get more Christian nation-y than that?”
    I have no idea what you just said. Or asked.

    Zrim says: “But how are you discerning the future so confidently? Interpret providence much?”
    Starting with the book of the acts of the apostles, the church is always strongest when under fierce persecution. I do thoroughly pity anyone naming the name of Christ who doesn’t see this coming.

    We are a grotesque object lesson in Romans 1 judgement as I type this. Not because of wicked sodomite politicians or the Marxist hedonists who elect them. We should expect that from sinners. But because of a self castrated world loving church that wouldn’t know the Christ of the scriptures if He showed up in their living room in full manifest theophanic glory.

    They’d probably tell Him to get outta the way because the game is on.

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  12. Kevin in Newark
    Posted July 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
    Would most Presbyterians in the 18th century have been in favor of the Revolution, against it, or no clear trends? Any obvious variation between the minsters and elders, and the common folk?

    J. R. Sizoo tells us: “When Cornwallis was driven back to ultimate retreat and surrender at Yorktown, all of the colonels of the Colonial Army but one were Presbyterian elders. More than one-half of all the soldiers and officers of the American Army during the Revolution were Presbyterians.”

    Historian Mark David Hall could only find one Presbyterian parson opposed to the revolution, John Joachim Zubly. The people of Savannah ran him out of town and threw all his books in the river.

    See also

    http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI3172505/

    The label “Presbyterian” was a much more ambiguous designation than it is at present. Employed broadly as a synonym for a Calvinist, a dissenter, or a republican, the term was used with considerable imprecision in the eighteenth century. Furthermore, it was used as a demagogic tool to inflame popular passions. The term Presbyterian carried with it the connotation of a fanatical, anti-monarchical rebel. Those who designated the war a Presbyterian Rebellion could be considered biased, partisan, and somewhat extreme. Nevertheless, the designation was based in reality. Calvinists and Calvinism permeated the American colonial milieu, and the king’s friends did not wish for this fact to go unnoticed. This inconspicuous reality is one of the missing chapters in the conventional history of the genesis of the United States. Part of the reason that it is missing is that it represents the view of the loyalist opposition, and it is “the winners who write the history books.” Another rationale for its absence is the fact that historians of the Revolutionary era prefer to emphasize socio-economic factors in their explanations of what happened and why. Hence, the hypothesis that there was a significant religious factor in the midst of the conflict has not been given adequate consideration. This study provides compelling evidence that there indeed was a profound religious factor at the heart of the conflict, both perceived and real, and that this dynamic deserves further attention in order to provide a more comprehensive account of the Revolution.

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  13. Greg: a. we are on the same side of many things, but I can’t go along with ya here brother.

    Hi Greg. Happy 4th.

    How can you disagree – all I said was what the Lord says?.

    and ‘on the same side’ – isn’t that, bottomline, all the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance ?

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  14. I found something to cheer all the 2kers up from their Independence Day blues –

    The country that almost was:

    4th of July, 1962
    Independence Hall in Philadelphia
    http://bit.ly/1dF77s8 (text and audio)

    “Governor Powell, Your Excellency the Archbishop, Governor Lawrence, Mayor Tate, Senator Clark, Congressman Green, distinguished Governors, ladies and gentlemen, citizens of Philadelphia.”

    President Kennedy gave a speech on the duties of government and rights of the states. His theme? Our system of gov exists “to preserve the rights of the individual and the locality against preeminent central authority.”

    At his side were the Catholic governor of Pennsylvania and Catholic mayor of Philadelphia. All bowed their heads in prayer as Archbishop Krol invoked God’s blessing on what many people still considered a Protestant country.

    Philadelphia’s population was, by one manner of analysis, 1/3 Catholic, 1/3 Protestant, 1/3 African American.

    Catholic fertility was 4.3 children per woman. Protestant was 3.1. The national population was rising at 1.8% annually. Protestant growth lagged, at 1.7%. The national Catholic population significantly outstripped national population growth at 3.4%.

    This was fairly typical for Northeastern and Midwestern cities. No birth control, no sexual revolution. No Vatican II, no crash in discipline. No “urban renewal” (including Quaker blockbusting, c.f. Slaughter of Cities), no “white flight.” We’d be talking a distinctly different America.

    ~(Irony alert): Drink a toast, if you will, to a hypothetical we need not concern ourselves with.~

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  15. kevin, don’t listen to vd, t. He’s an Americanist and only thinks about Presbyterians in the U.S.A. Scottish, Irish, and Canadian Presbyterians would not have supported the Revolution. They would have affirmed their loyalty to the crown.

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  16. I Is the answer then to forget about the transcendent? Towards the transcendent One is the direction our intellect and heart goes as we take into our senses the phenomenon of existence. So to deny God, and the happiness we have in knowing God, requires us to either close-off our perceptions, or to think and behave as if we have not received data that should lead us to know. We have to deny what man is, when we deny that we can understand transcendence. Now, it takes grace being supernaturally infused to our souls for us to have faith, but the whole reason we have intellect, sense and will is in order to lead us to where we can get supernatural faith.

    It’s certain that people are religious creatures, even if they rarely look up from their shopping catalogues(or what ever it is that keeps them more focused on this life), so if they are reaching towards the God who exists that’s a good thing. Seek and ye shall find…

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  17. DG –

    Why would there have been such significant differences between Canadian and American Presbyterians in the 18th century?

    And were there regional differences- Presbyterians in New England v. NY/PA v. Virginia/Maryland v. frontier country?

    My understanding is that the Revolution was supported by whichever group was in power in each colony – e.g., Congregationalists in New England, Anglicans in Virginia, with New York being divided between the English-speaking Revolutionaries and Dutch loyalists. Did Presbyterians divide along this principle?

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  18. D. G. Hart
    Posted July 4, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    kevin, don’t listen to vd, t.

    Heh heh, Butch. Calvinism: The Real History:

    http://davekopel.org/Religion/Calvinism.htm

    He’s an Americanist and only thinks about Presbyterians in the U.S.A. Scottish, Irish, and Canadian Presbyterians would not have supported the Revolution. They would have affirmed their loyalty to the crown.

    I believe Kevin’s original question was about his American ancestors, Dr. Hart. Some of us actually read this blog.

    And Kevin, if Darryl starts telling you about Britain’s Puritan Revolution where they beheaded King Charles I in 1649, don’t listen to him. 😉

    Why, what the Americans did over 100 years later was kid stuff.

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  19. Kevin, Anglicans nowhere supported revolution. How could they?

    Irish, Canadian, and Scottish Presbyterians were invested in the crown for different reasons and loathe to countenance disloyalty. Think David and King Saul.

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  20. vd, t, you still haven’t addressed why non-American Presbyterians would not support the revolution with all that resistance theory in their genes. Maybe rebellion has less to do with religion than your American creation narrative allows.

    Dave Kopel is no expert on Calvinism.

    David B. “Dave” Kopel is an American author, attorney, political science researcher, gun rights advocate, and contributing editor to several publications.

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  21. By being traitors to their oaths to the King- Washington, Madison, George Mason (all VA), Hamilton, etc. Over half the so-called “Founding Fathers” (almost however defined) were Anglican, at least nominally.

    The Virginia House of Burgesses did vote for a Committee of Correspondence (calling for all colonies to have one), which then called for and sent delegates to the First Continental Congress. Even if the Anglican clergy and potentially majority of lay were loyalist, the socially (economically) influential in Virginia were revolutionaries- and garnered adequate popular support.

    I do not think it unpatriotic to point out that George III was the best King we Americans ever had (although I wish James II had been given his fair chance), and that revolution was treason. Many later wars and government abuses could have been averted had Virginia remained loyal- had the Virginia House and Anglican economic elite not betrayed their duty to the people.

    The abuse of the loyalists should not be forgotten (numerous lynchings, vast amounts of property seized, >70k exiled), nor the division of popular opinion (1/4 loyalist, 1/4 revolutionary, 1/2 undecided).

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  22. Greg, it means “Christian nation” doesn’t just mean something outward or geopolitical. As an evangie, I doubt a period means that anyway. He probably means what you mean, i.e. to promote a geopolitical nation that’s Christian more at heart than in legislation. But the problem remains for you both that there is still no such thing. What Peter is describing is the church.

    The church may be at its strongest under fierce persecution, but how do you know so confidently this is what’s coming for the American church? Some might say that sort of riled up confidence tends to come from those who suffer from persecution-envy and delusions of grandeur. The paper bag goes over your mouth, then slow breaths in and out.

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  23. <i.D. G. Hart
    Posted July 5, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink
    vd, t, you still haven’t addressed why non-American Presbyterians would not support the revolution with all that resistance theory in their genes. Maybe rebellion has less to do with religion than your American creation narrative allows.

    Dave Kopel is no expert on Calvinism.

    The Kopel article is a quick compendium of stuff available from countless other sources. Try rebutting instead of delegitimizing.

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  24. Kevin in Newark
    Posted July 5, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink
    By being traitors to their oaths to the King- Washington, Madison, George Mason (all VA), Hamilton, etc. Over half the so-called “Founding Fathers” (almost however defined) were Anglican, at least nominally.

    The Virginia House of Burgesses did vote for a Committee of Correspondence (calling for all colonies to have one), which then called for and sent delegates to the First Continental Congress. Even if the Anglican clergy and potentially majority of lay were loyalist, the socially (economically) influential in Virginia were revolutionaries- and garnered adequate popular support.

    I do not think it unpatriotic to point out that George III was the best King we Americans ever had (although I wish James II had been given his fair chance), and that revolution was treason.

    Not at all. The colonists rejected the authority of Parliament [their charters were from the Crown], and maintained that the king “abdicated,” no different than when James II “abdicated” and Parliament replaced him with the compliant William & Mary in the Glorious revolution of 1688.

    As far back as Aquinas, “usurpers” have no legitimacy even under Romans 13. I think it no coincidence “usurp” appears 3 times in the Declaration, aimed at the king

    The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations

    as well as the parliament

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

    …as well as an “abdication”

    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

    Therefore, the forces of Parliament and/or the self-delegitimized Crown made war on the colonists [who didn’t invade Britain]. The question then becomes only one of self-defense. Further, the Continental Congress was indeed a legitimate authority to conduct that defense against a “usurping” Parliament.

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  25. Greg the T : and this is helpful from this am’s reading

    DAY 6: How does a verse such as 2 Chronicles 7:14 relate to country such as America?

    “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
    Unlike ancient Israel, America is not a covenant nation. God has made no promise to our physical ancestors that guarantees our national status. If Israel had to fulfill the conditions for divine blessing, even though God had covenanted with them as His chosen people, America certainly has no inviolable claim on the blessing of God. As long as unbelief and disobedience to the Word of God color the soul of our nation, we simply cannot expect the blessing of God. Israel didn’t get it in her unbelief. But for those of us who are Christians, the covenant blessings do apply. “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). All the promises of salvation, mercy, forgiveness of sins, and spiritual prosperity are ours to claim as long as we remain faithful to God.
    That is why the spiritual state of the church in our nation is the key to the blessing of the nation as a whole. If God is going to bless America, it will not be for the sake of the nation itself. He blesses the nation, and has always done so, for the sake of His people. If we who are called by His name are not fulfilling the conditions for divine blessing, there is no hope whatsoever for the rest of the nation.On the other hand, if the church is fit to receive God’s blessing, the whole nation will be the beneficiary of that, because the Word of God will be proclaimed with power, God will add to His church, and spiritual blessings of all kinds will result. And those are the truest blessings of all. http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

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  26. “Kevin, because Susan and many of the lalalala converts don’t seem to have a sense of tragedy. Since they converted, ‘s’all good.”

    Haha! I’m glad Kevin asked. I’ve been trying to figure out what you meant. No, life’s still tragedy, and the Catholic Church isn’t perfect. So converting didn’t translate me out of this fallen garden, but I do have to say, I’ve regained a better sense of the transcendent…..a deeper longing, than I had before, for Heaven.
    Some of the lack is my own fault, I got caught-up in some sins that were hard for me to break free of, but the reason for that was because I thought sin-was sin-was sin, and so I didn’t have to work hard to combat it, and it didn’t matter how fervent my love for God was as long as I still had faith. It was an easier life as a Protestant in some ways, but(speaking for myself) it was a complacent life.
    I have no regrets because I believe I’ve found the Pearl of Great Price, but no, it isn’t easy, I have to fight the good fight to finish this race. When I worry about making it to Heaven, I remember that God’s property is *always to have mercy*( otherwise I’d despair of being forgiven of the same damn sins), that spurs me on to go back to reconciliation, and to come out trying once again to avoid the near occasion of sin. It’s definitely a workout (and I get stronger), but no pain, no gain.

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  27. “I got caught-up in some sins that were hard for me to break free of, but the reason for that was because I thought sin-was sin-was sin, and so I didn’t have to work hard to combat it, and it didn’t matter how fervent my love for God was as long as I still had faith.”

    Susan, you know this is a distortion of the Reformed faith, right? So maybe you left your distortion of the Reformed faith.

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  28. Muddy,

    I don’t think it is a distortion. Reformed beliefs are wonderful about reminding us of our fallen nature, and of gaining forgiveness, but( at least in my case), giving me a reason to abandon sinful thoughts wasn’t in the makeup of Reformed theology. I was going to sin and I was also sinning with every breath I took. There was no reason to beat any particular sin, if it didn’t threaten my eternity, I could appeal to justification by faith alone, if God asked me about any particular sins but since there was nothing necessitating my leaving them behind why would He ask me anyways.

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  29. Scratch that “gaining forgiveness” part. I never saw it as gaining forgiveness, because I never saw that I had lost grace when I sinned. I just reminded myself of what grounds I was justified, and that oriented me to Jesus’ love and mercy again.

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  30. Would you agree that, if your idea of the Reformed faith departs from the Westminster standards then it was a distortion?
    Then you say a couple things:
    1) I was going to sin
    2) I was also sinning with every breath I took.
    Do you now deny these?

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  31. Thank you, Muddy.

    Yes, if I my ideas depart from the Westminster standards then my understanding of Reformed theology is distorted.

    I don’t deny that I might sin again, but I pray to avoid mortal sin for that destroys grace in the heart of the sinner. I certainly will commit venial sin, but I hope to cooperate more with God’s grace that eventually I will have even less venial sins too.

    I do deny that I sin with every breath that I take. Concupiscence is a downward pull, but I don’t have to obey it. I can grow in grace and sin less and less, even avoiding mortal sin altogether. But it’s always by the grace of God.

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  32. tvd –

    Does it get much more “academic” than debating the justice of the American Revolution?

    I get the hostility to parliament – even though I don’t think it was justified, given the great freedom and low-low taxes in the colonies. I find it interesting to imagine the what-if of the colonies’ having been fully incorporated into the UK, with equitable parliamentary representation.

    Maybe you know, but 18th century English poetry had a whole strain of writings against the corruption of England (economy, traditions, social mores) by the administration of Prime Minister Robert Walpole. E.g., “The Deserted Village” and “The Thresher’s Labour” regarding the disruption of traditional economies and emigration to the US, or Pope’s Dunciad regarding those who enabled the budding Liberal-Capitalist regime with propaganda.

    I don’t think the problems rose to a level to justify secession – and I find it hard to condemn in principle the actions of Parliament and the King which sought to counter the rebellion-tending actions of the colonists. The “Intolerable Acts” were really not so intolerable.

    If anything, the early US might have extended the crown to George III independent of Parliament.

    I’m happy to admit my knowledge of the subject is spotty and unsystematic, though.

    I wonder how many Americans would profess loyalty to the Queen in exchange for access to UK tuition (not negligible, but less than ours) and social programs. Or for the subsequent EU citizenship – minimal tuition in Germany and elsewhere.

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  33. D. G. Hart
    Posted July 5, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
    “Try rebutting instead of delegitimizing.”

    Rebutter deligitimize thyself.

    I know your game, Butch. Mexican standoff, wait for the other guy to flinch. Pounce on the first error, bury him, dance on his grave. 😉

    You never leave your corner, let alone risk getting hit yourself. But meanwhile, the conversation goes on without you.

    I didn’t make up the term “Calvinist Resistance Theory,” Dr. Hart. Your ad homs are no more than flinging poo-poo.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/30040560?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
    The Use of Natural Law in Early Calvinist Resistance Theory
    David VanDrunen
    Journal of Law and Religion
    Vol. 21, No. 1 (2005/2006), pp. 143-167
    Published by: Journal of Law and Religion, Inc.
    Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30040560
    Page Count: 25

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  34. Susan, where in Scripture does it say that God’s property is always to have mercy. Jesus warned of judgment. The Israelites sure brought a lot of God’s wrath to the pagan tribes. Paul talks about those excommunicated being handed over to the devil.

    Are you really that liberal? Is grace that easy? Then why should anyone believe because — a la vd, t — everyone is going to heaven?

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  35. Darryl,

    Those OT pagans brought wrath because of their actions, and when the Israelites joined with them, forgetting the good laws of God, then they were punished too. And when the people quit being stiff-necked and repented, then what? Wasn’t God merciful to them?
    As for being turned over to Satan, it was because people refused to stop sinning. Does this negate the mercy of God that’s available to us?

    This present life is a time of testing, and so it’s here that we use our free will to make our decisions to either do right or do wrong( willful turning away). After this, the judgment. Christianity is a gritty but joyful life.
    We still can get a so-to-speak “judgment “, in this life( even though we confess our sins and they are forgiven) by the consequences of our choices.

    “Susan, what reason do you have now for giving up sin if God forgives everyone?”

    Isn’t mercy offered to everyone who hears that Jesus loves them and died for their sins? And doesn’t God want us to give up sin even if we were the only people on this planet for whom He died?
    Sinners don’t go to Heaven.

    “Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. ”

    And…

    “Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God”

    This is not a one time event. The Holy Spirit, blowing as He wills, is the one who does this and if we lose grace then He is the one to restore it to us after we lose it, BUT we must see the error of our ways and be truly contrite.
    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity an cleanse me from my sin…

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  36. Susan, did you know that even your good works are filthy rags?

    We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.

    Could be a long time in purgatory.

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  37. Susan,

    Those OT pagans brought wrath because of their actions, and when the Israelites joined with them, forgetting the good laws of God, then they were punished too. And when the people quit being stiff-necked and repented, then what? Wasn’t God merciful to them?

    But didn’t God in fact choose to be merciful to Israel and make them his people because they were stiff necked?

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  38. No, I deny they are filthy rags. God works in us both to will and do for His good pleasure.

    “We cannot perfect ourselves (for heaven) by ourselves; to deny that is Pelagianism. Nor can we even begin to perfect ourselves (for heaven) apart from antecedent grace; to think otherwise is semi-Pelagianism. But between semi-Pelagianism on the one hand, and the notion that God does everything in our salvation without any cooperation from us on the other hand, is the Catholic position. Since it is more perfect that we participate in our becoming perfect than that we not participate in our becoming perfect, therefore God brings us to our perfection by cooperating with us, so that the perfection of our participating in our becoming perfect is preserved. For this reason, by saving us in a more perfect way (i.e. by preserving our participation in our perfection), God receives more glory than He would if He were to save us without any cooperation with us.”
    http://principiumunitatis.blogspot.com/search/label/Monocausalism

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  39. Susan, so you needed a church that would uplift you. You wanted to feel better about yourself. You got it.

    But why make the son of God die so you can be a better person?

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  40. Susan, so somewhere between semi-Pelagianism and Protestantism is Catholicism? But if Pelagianism is all man and Protestantism is all God, then semi-Pelagianism is a a little of both, i.e. faith plus works, which means Catholicism is semi-Pelagianism. There is no semi-semi-Pelagianism. But maybe CtCers are the 3-point Calvinists (2-point Remonstrants) of Catholicism? Have you all found a whole number between 4 and 5?

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  41. D. G. Hart
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
    “You never leave your corner”

    Stick my neck out digitally a whole lot more than you do, oh bravd,te one.

    Not at the moment, tough guy. At the moment you’re trying to sabotage a conversation without actually saying anything you can be challenged on. We’re onto you, Butch. 😉

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=2208116&fileId=S0009640700034879

    Research Article
    The Political Resistance of the Calvinists in France and the Low Countries*
    Robert M. Kingdona
    State University of Iowa

    It seems to me that much can be learned by comparative studies of the histories of the several European countries, and that this is particularly true of their political histories during the sixteenth century. A stimulating start in this direction was made by H. G. Koenigsberger in an article in The Journal of Modern History, titled “The Organization of Revolutionary Parties in France and the Netherlands during the Sixteenth Century.” I would like to propose a further exploration of some of the interesting leads presented by Mr. Koenigsberger. For the present, however, I shall avoid attempting to survey the whole field he opens up for us. I shall limit myself to a study of the revolutionary Calvinist parties, and devote most of my attention to the period of their formation.

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  42. Katy,

    I agree that we are molded by Christ into regeneration. Once that happens, I think these two verses come in handy:

    “You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
    who remember your ways.” – Isaiah 64

    “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

    14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure […] Then you will shine […] as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. – Phillippians

    Salvation takes work. To me it is plain that, regenerated entirely by Christ, when we act in accordance with his will (without grumbling or… hmm, Oldlifers, arguing) we labor, becoming (not all at once) blameless, pure, and shining in Heaven. We attain to it. Part of that is holding firmly to the faith. Paul labors, “runs”, and even hopes to boast of his efforts.

    Congrats on the baby – what a joy to have so many. It took a long time, but my wife and I finally have a little one (6 months this Saturday). It’s not so easy for some.

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  43. Hi Walton,

    He chose Israel because that was His way of eventually offering salvation to all nations. The Messiah came through Judaism after all. I think He punished them for being stiff necked, always reminding them of His mercy.

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  44. “Salvation takes work.”

    Kevin, agreed. But for those of us who have spurned the RCC and say it’s by Christ’s work alone, there evidently is no salvation for those who abide and fuss at OL.

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  45. CW –

    St. Paul: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure”
    KiN, that’s a wretched formulation you have there. Saved by not grumbling. Sweet.

    Agreed it seems in a way funny, but those are Paul’s words. Any Greek scholars present?

    Kevin: “Salvation takes work”
    Zrim: it’s by Christ’s work alone

    Why does Paul exhort us to action in such strong terms? He says “do everything” in a manner which will make us “become blameless and pure” so that “then you will shine as you hold firmly” – these are all actions, even the injunction to hold to the faith.

    Why does he hope to boast of his own efforts?

    And ($40k question) why is his ability to boast of his own efforts dependent on whether we (his audience) heed him?

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  46. “zrim, it’s like brunch, a little like breakfast and a little like lunch.”

    That made me laugh. Thought it was cute.

    I answered that way, because it would take me forever to do it justice. The Church condemns Pelagianism, so I don’t worry about holding a heretical view.
    Oh and no I didn’t want to feel better about myself, I just wanted the truth about man, including myself.

    I know that I’m not really liked here, but I honestly am very fond of you all. I too would like to congratulate Katy. I have four and wish I could have had more.

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  47. Susan: threaten my eternity

    Susan, are you maybe confusing salvation with faithfulness reward? Luke 19:17;1 Cor 3:14-15?

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  48. Sorry Katy, to speak to of you in the third person. Congrats on your sixth. I saw that you said you homeschool. I do too. My oldest is 28, and my youngest is 14. I homeschooled through highschool using a classical and Great Books approach. It’s work, as you know, but fun to learn along with them.

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  49. Zrim
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink
    “Salvation takes work.”

    Kevin, agreed. But for those of us who have spurned the RCC and say it’s by Christ’s work alone, there evidently is no salvation for those who abide and fuss at OL.

    Don’t flatter yourself. The Catholic Church prays all will be saved from their pride and vincible ignorance, even you. 😉

    CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema

    http://www.thecounciloftrent.com/ch6.htm

    Some people just won’t take yes for an answer.

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  50. DG Hart Susan, did you know that even your good works are filthy rags?

    they can’t be all filthy rags now that we have been saved, can they? Rev 22:12; 2 Cor 5:10;1 Cor 4:5

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  51. Thanks! Baby isn’t born yet. We’re hoping for 7/8/15, because 7+8=15. (Last one was 2/7/14.) Ha!

    I don’t have time right now to respond to the responses to my Isaiah and Philippians comment. There seem to be a lot of fast and loose use of terms like “regeneration,” and the word means probably 4 different things to the various readers of this blog. I brought it up, though, since many Roman Catholics seem to think “righteous works as filthy rags” it’s a Reformation-ism, when it’s not.

    The whole chapter of Isaiah 64 especially is very strong in the forensic justification–passive righteousness–department, especially if the “rending the heavens” can be read as speaking of the Incarnation. Isaiah 63-66 repeatedly talks about God’s Name, which we passively receive (and therefore all his benefits, including righteousness). “We have become like those who are not called by Your Name.”

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  52. Katy,

    Sure, I will listen to you on this, and if you don’t mind, I would like for Michael, Kevin, Cletus or Mrs. Webfoot to chime in if they want to.
    Just to be upfront, I’m worried about doing a lexicon approach in order to address our differences( I don’t read any Hebrew or Greek. I know some Latin, not very helpful here though). There are wonderfully learned people on both sides and still appealing to the scriptures, they cannot resolve their(our) differences. That puts us in the position of reading the scriptures through the lenses of our respective paradigms( trusting in the people who are already in agreement with), so in order for us to get past this obstacle we both have to go back to the Fathers to see how they understood scripture. I have read some ECF’s, but not enough to know what the ones who, studied exhaustively, found in Isaiah. Maybe other Catholic can help here. I’m sure it a worthwhile endeavor. To show you what I mean, just consider this take on Isaiah 22 by a Catholic apologist who finds proof in it for the papacy.
    http://www.catholicfidelity.com/apologetics-topics/papacy/the-peg-of-isaiah-22-by-steve-ray/

    This instance is just one example of paradigm differences between us. I will definitely hear you out, but I fear that we will both be stuck if we approach what divides us by talking about first order things.
    Hope you are cool where you live. It’s super hot here. Being pregnant in the summer is tough. Rest and respond when you are able.
    It’s a pleasure to speak with you. God Bless!

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  53. Kevin, so semi-Pelagian. Why is this so hard to admit? It’s not hard to understand. Pelagianism is man alone, Protestantism is God alone, Catholicism is God and man together. Or would you prefer semi-Protestantism?

    TVD, right. Rome isn’t Pelagian, it’s semi-Pelagian. Canon I affirms grace, and coupled with IX–If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema–and voila, brunch. Faith plus works justifies.

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  54. The wimmenz are taking over OL! Pretty soon it will be all about pregnancy, tomato plants, and homeschool curriculum

    I’m a housewife who never finished her MA (in English…haha), and I also only know Latin. I guess perspicuity (or a belief in the lack-thereof) of Scripture will probably hinder any ecumenical discussion, besides a lack of Hebrew and Greek knowledge. I’m happy to quote the pre-Tridentine/Reformation Fathers on this. I’m quite confident

    New Testament concealed in the Old, Old revealed in the New, etc.

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  55. Hey, I’m sorry, Katy, I guess I didn’t understand what you meant earlier, when you mentioned the rending of the heavens. You are completely right, of course, about the New Testament being concealed in the Old and the Old being revealed in the NT!
    I was referring to the idea that Isaiah 64 is speaking of forensic justification. I’m right with ya on the idea that we don’t merit his condescension, but after that we need to see what the believed Church believed and taught.
    Would you mind taking a look at this article? It’s one of the shorter essays at CTC. It will explain what I meant about paradigms, and how we both approach the scripture and tradition.
    I would like to get your thought afterwards.
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/02/the-tradition-and-the-lexicon/

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  56. “I was referring to the idea that Isaiah 64 is speaking of forensic justification”

    Yes, I meant that.

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  57. Okay, I understand. That’s what divides us. Earlier I was talking about how this wasn’t working in practice( for me), that’s all. When I was Reformed, I met different ideas( monergism, synergism) and all the scholarship in the world didn’t settle the debate. It started there and I was off trying to find out what and who was true and right. That led to who was right about the Lord’s Supper, icon, infant baptism, authority…
    But, I believe people of good will can dialogue:)

    Kind Regards,
    Susan

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  58. Oh No! Not the tradition and the lexicon! Murmur, murmur, ‘inside jokes’, murmur, grumble, ‘paradigm’, ahem, ahum, achew, dinner table conversation, blech, harumph, mumble, mumble, ‘but the fathers?.., red herring, mumble, mumble, aha, ecclesial deism. Problem is, they missed the whole Vat II table setting. That’s not very insider.

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  59. Sean,

    Double-double animal style? Those are messy burgers…… Okay, good refuting 😉

    I still like you.

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  60. Zrim
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
    Kevin, so semi-Pelagian. Why is this so hard to admit? It’s not hard to understand. Pelagianism is man alone, Protestantism is God alone, Catholicism is God and man together. Or would you prefer semi-Protestantism?

    TVD, right. Rome isn’t Pelagian, it’s semi-Pelagian. Canon I affirms grace, and coupled with IX–If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema–and voila, brunch. Faith plus works justifies.

    Jesus: the Sheep and the Goats. I don’t get you sola scripturists sometimes. Did Martin Luther cut this out of your Bible too?

    The Sheep and the Goats, Matthew 25

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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  61. Wait, are there inside jokes in the thread? I saw that some of the other men were anticipating how Reformed Protestants might refute Bryan’s article, but I didn’t see any jokes at the Protestant’s expense. I like it that they were bouncing ideas off each other. I like seeing how others think a thing through. I like transparency, it makes me feel safer. But, if there is something in there that unfairly represents, or marginalizes…, I hope you will bring it to their attention.

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  62. DG Hart: a dot, tell it to the Westminster Divines.

    Oh ok, I will, D dot G dot, can you sent me their e-mail address? But what do YOU think (really)?

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  63. Zrim –

    Semi-Pelagian? What did I ever do to you to get called such a thing? What would your mother say?

    Summarizing the Catholic position from Ludwig Ott:

    We are justified (regenerated) in baptism. Once justified, we are capable of truly (supernaturally) good acts, but not without God taking the leading role. He does this with actual grace (i.e., grace coming from a specific act on God’s part):

    -Before we even consider willing a good act, God intervenes and sends us antecedent grace (prevenient/stimulating/calling/exciting/working grace) – this creates good will, a pious thought, delight, any sort of desire for a real good – God here works alone, stimulating our knowledge and will. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”

    -Simultaneously with our will to act, God sends us consequent grace (helping grace) – first our intellect is enlightened and will strengthened by the in-flowing quality of the grace – qualitas fluens, it flows in precisely when we decide to act, and permits the supernatural element our will otherwise lacks. This is not a permanent quality of ours, the helping grace isn’t even a part of us in a permanent sense, but is a temporary state which comes and goes.

    -Our will to act in response to the antecedent grace and with the help of the consequent grace is truly our act; we can also not act – refusing to do God’s will for us.

    – Either way, we can repeat our action (or refusal) to build a habit. Insofar as we are building good habits (= virtues), we are more sensitive to the promptings of antecedent grace and find it easier to act (with the assistance of consequent grace). If we build bad habits (=vices), we receive the just ‘reward’ for that as well.

    -As the virtues are ‘infused’ within us, we become bearers of sanctifying grace – grace existing not from temporary acts on God’s part, but derived from our repeated cooperation with God’s repeated offer – a state of grace. Yet we are still subject to Original Sin. Hence:

    -The justified require repeated actual grace of God in order to avoid sin and remain in justification (final perseverance). Semi-Pelagianism denies this.

    -God gives us all enough grace for conversion from sin and observance of his commandments. Semi-Pelagianism says this is unnecessary, man’s natural will is enough.

    -Our dependence is so great that we cannot even desire grace without a prompting from God. Semi-Pelagianism says our will for grace precedes God’s.

    So never again may the accursed name of Semi-Pelagian soil the ears of the fair Catholic people.

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  64. (If it is tiring to you to contemplate reading that, imagine how I feel having spent an hour with Ludwig Ott.)

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  65. Susan
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
    Hey, I’m sorry, Katy, I guess I didn’t understand what you meant earlier, when you mentioned the rending of the heavens. You are completely right, of course, about the New Testament being concealed in the Old and the Old being revealed in the NT!
    I was referring to the idea that Isaiah 64 is speaking of forensic justification. I’m right with ya on the idea that we don’t merit his condescension, but after that we need to see what the believed Church believed and taught.
    Would you mind taking a look at this article? It’s one of the shorter essays at CTC. It will explain what I meant about paradigms, and how we both approach the scripture and tradition.
    I would like to get your thought afterwards.

    LINK: calledtocommunion/the-tradition-and-the-lexicon/

    Risky business citing Bryan Effing Cross here, Suze. Like citing Machen at the PCUSA. Oy!

    Per a discussion on the other live thread, arguing the Bible against the Christian Tradition for 1000–if not 1500–years of the Eucharist is to say that Christianity just didn’t need “reformation,” it needed a demolition.

    Even Martin Luther wasn’t willing to go there,

    http://pages.uoregon.edu/dluebke/Religions407/407MarburgColloquy1529.html

    Fortunately, hotter heads prevailed. The irony is, Protestants disagree more with each other than they do with the Catholic Church.

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  66. Susan, that was my favorite article. “The wait, wait, you don’t understand because you aren’t from here and we aren’t either but that’s O.K. cuz we read Scott Hahn………..O.K., he wasn’t from here either but that’s ok cuz natural birth…..errr…..no birth control.” Bryan Cross at his prot-RC, i’ve been here for four years and I heard of Vat II and it was a thing but what’s important is my breakthrough cuz of mormons, best . The WASPy poster child was gonna tell us(me) about the RC ‘dinner conversation’. Awesome Sauce.

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  67. Tom,

    “Per a discussion on the other live thread, arguing the Bible against the Christian Tradition for 1000–if not 1500–years of the Eucharist is to say that Christianity just didn’t need “reformation,” it needed a demolition.”

    This is one of the things that made me scratch my head too; i.e. the disappearance of the “altar” for the “table” in Protestant churches( I believe they are used interchangeably in the Catholic Church, yet “table” never stops also meaning the altar where the sacrifice takes place). I understand from this that the Passover meal was to continue as a memorial, but since this isn’t the same as the re-presentment of the once for all sacrifice that happened at Golgotha, in what way was it a sacrament without there being a priest and an altar?
    I think I would have been more convinced of Lutheranism if there had not been a complete overhaul( as you say). But the thing is, once you get adopt a justification by faith alone, it’s really necessary to have the inside of the churches comport with this change, so you have to get rid of what came before. No person can forsee all of the consequences when he attempts to change religious practices. But, I am very much a traditionalist( knowing what to conserve), so I am distrustful of revolutions because I know what man is capable of.

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  68. “Susan, that was my favorite article. “The wait, wait, you don’t understand because you aren’t from here and we aren’t either but that’s O.K. cuz we read Scott Hahn………..O.K., he wasn’t from here either but that’s ok cuz natural birth…..errr…..no birth control.””

    You’re pulling my leg. Now sometimes threads go all over the place, but CTC is awfully good at demanding we stay on topic.

    “Bryan Cross at his prot-RC, i’ve been here for four years and I heard of Vat II and it was a thing but what’s important is my breakthrough cuz of mormons, best .”

    This might be fun, but when one is really in a pickle( as I was) about whose version of Christianity is true, no one is going to buy a Cheech and Chong impersonation. Reasoned arguments prevail.

    “The WASPy poster child was gonna tell us(me) about the RC ‘dinner conversation’. Awesome Sauce.””

    Well, he is earnest. If his understanding about what is or isn’t, isn’t correct, don’t get mad, talk it out.

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  69. Susan, all I’ve done is talk about it, around it, above it and through it. He gets Vat II RC wrong and then turns around and won’t engage the prot paradigm cuz it’s “begging the question”. He’s rather famous for it at this point. This has zero to do with him possibly being smart and crafting syllogisms for a living. It has everything to do with honest representation.

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  70. Susan
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:33 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Per a discussion on the other live thread, arguing the Bible against the Christian Tradition for 1000–if not 1500–years of the Eucharist is to say that Christianity just didn’t need “reformation,” it needed a demolition.”

    This is one of the things that made me scratch my head too; i.e. the disappearance of the “altar” for the “table” in Protestant churches

    I think I would have been more convinced of Lutheranism if there had not been a complete overhaul( as you say).

    Actually, Martin Luther tried to hold onto the Eucharist. He was truly a “reformer.” The Catholic Church had become corrupt and needed a wakeup call.

    But when Martin Luther held a “summit meeting” with the great and powerful fellow “Protestant” [although the word was not yet in use] Huldrych [or “Ulrich”] Zwingli about the Eucharist

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2008/02/18/luther-vs-zwingli-series/

    Luther’s going like, f**k off, heretic, and good luck on Judgment Day!

    “Your Spirit and our spirit cannot go together, Indeed, it is quite obvious that we do not have the same spirit. For there cannot be one and the same spirit where, on the one side, the words of Christ are accepted in sincere faith and, on the other side, this faith is criticized, attacked, denied, and spoken of with frivolous blasphemies. Therefore, as I have told you, we commend you to the judgement of God.”

    The more you learn about it, the more “Protestantism” is such a useless word.

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  71. sean
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:54 am | Permalink
    Susan, all I’ve done is talk about it, around it, above it and through it. He gets Vat II RC wrong and then turns around and won’t engage the prot paradigm cuz it’s “begging the question”. He’s rather famous for it at this point. This has zero to do with him possibly being smart and crafting syllogisms for a living. It has everything to do with honest representation.

    Vague attack, delegitimization. Impossible to rebut or discuss.

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  72. adbengelman, I thought you believed the Bible: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Is 64:6

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  73. Susan, you had to go to a Prot-turned-RC to find out which Christianity was true? Why not a bishop? Bishops are the guys who make Rome happen. Your Protestant slip is showing.

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  74. Tom, first, you aren’t up to it. Second, it’s been done multiple times. Third, he wasn’t there to be able to discuss what happened at the dinner table. However, he can tell you what happened when the mormons came for dinner.

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  75. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”
    KiN, I thing Ott’s reference here is pivotal. Only those drawn can come. But it isn’t complete. In the same passage Jesus says that all of those the Father has called to him wil come to him (i.e. , it’s an offer you can’t refuse). Jesus doesn’t say here that those who are called and don’t refuse or those who are called and sufficiently cooperate with the call will be Christ’s. I know tvd isn’t crazy about the doctrine of election, but then either were those listening to Jesus weren’t either. The idea that we are a love offering from the father to the son is offensive and pretty crazy. But that’s the gospel for you.

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  76. “in what way was it a sacrament without there being a priest and an altar?”

    Altars are necessary for something to be a sacrament? I thought your church taught protestant baptism was a valid administration of the sacrament.

    Are altar calls sacramental? I’ve never heard of table calls.

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  77. Kevin, if that’s a summary then keep the LP. Reading Catholics on justification is reminiscent of reading Dispensationalists on eschatology–lots of bobbing and weaving, flowing and charting, wordplay galore, feigned nodding and smiling pretending to understand where the reader is at any given moment.

    But there is this: “The justified require repeated actual grace of God in order to avoid sin and remain in justification (final perseverance). Semi-Pelagianism denies this.” Remain in justification? Anyone who holds that justification is relative based upon the believing creature’s works has just stepped into some form or another of Pelagianism. But orthodoxy has never allowed even an iota of this. Justification is completely God’s work alone and it remains for the believing creature full stop.

    What’s curious is how Catholics will often speak as if they believe as Prots do, that God alone saves his people and all that is left for them is to be grateful and obedient in response. But then they say things like this but then won’t also admit that it at least implies that God and his people save his people, that salvation is co-opted by sinners, that Christ’s atoning work is insufficient, etc.

    But what will anybody lose on that final day by ascribing salvation completely to the sole work of Christ? If that is misguided and our works do count, then how can any Prot worry since he continues to do good works? But there is much to lose if salvation isn’t a cooperation and one appeals to both Christ’s works and his own as if the latter have any value (not to mention the implication that Christ’s works are insufficient, yeow).

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  78. DG Hart: I thought you believed the Bible: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Is 64:6

    Aw DG, but I asked what YOU thought and I really wanted to know. Oh well. Must violate your ‘2k’ rules or somethin’

    Paul’s filty rags ? But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 1 Cor 15: 10 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal 2: 20

    Jesus calling out filthy rags-don’t think so? I know your deeds, toil, perseverance…. Rev 2: 2,19; 3:8

    Jesus calling out filthy rags -maybe so? I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive,but you are dead….‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot 3 :1,15

    Jesus’s ‘advise’: I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

    Thank you for your link Susan. Don’t know much about Catholics. Learning some things here.

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  79. SDB, All –

    Ott is all about predestination. A few de fide statements (quote these to Catholics who don’t seem to agree, please – if we can’t get the bishops to catechize US Catholics, maybe the Calvinists can):
    God, by His eternal Resolve of Will, has predetermined certain men to eternal blessedness.
    God, by an eternal resolve of His will, predestines certain men, on account of their foreseen sins, to eternal rejection.

    He distinguishes with Paul in Romans predestination to grace and predestination to glory. Grace cannot be merited; glory (in his eyes, of us his works, as with Paul’s boast) comes as we attain virtue (following God’s antecedent promptings, depending on his will to do what is pleasing to him).

    So predestination to grace does not involve his evaluating our moral character (he simply ordains what he will send us); but predestination to glory (to eternal bliss) is up for debate:

    The question is whether predestination to glory (glorification, including resultant eternal bliss) depends on how we respond to the helping/consequent grace (i.e., as doing God’s will has its impact on our character in the virtues, which are infused with God’s sanctifying grace inhering in our souls). There are two basic options:

    a) Molinist/many Jesuits – depends upon God foreseeing how we will respond to the grace he decides he will offer;
    b) Dominican/Augustinian – does not so depend.

    Position (a) is that God creates ‘a fixed and definite order of grace’ – he ‘sees beforehand how man would act to various orders of grace.’ ‘He knows infallibly in advance what use the individual man will make of the grace grace bestowed on him.’ ‘He elects for eternal bliss those who by virtue of their foreseen merits perseveringly cooperate with grace.’ – Man is in fact much more dependent on God than the Semi-Pelagian position advocates.

    Do we know that we are predestined? Well, we must be careful lest we neglect to follow God’s promptings and do His will – lest we fall (1 cor. 10,12); yet if we are among the predestined, there are signs (signa predestionis) which indicate a high probability of one’s predestination – practice of the beatitudes, frequent reception of the Eucharist, active love for one’s neighbor, love for Christ and his Church, etc.

    Is the Dominican/Augustinian position really that different from the Reformed position?

    Why is even the Molinist position really all that problematic for Reformers? It can’t fairly be called Semi-Pelagian or Pelagian since man’s will in no way merits glory without God’s planning of an order of grace in advance, his specific intervention prior and during any act we do, and his fortification of our will and sanctification according to His predetermined plan.

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  80. DG Hart: a dot, since you read this, you know.
    part of the sinner’s prayer you quote there:“ There is nothing in us that gives us reason for hope”

    but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account FOR THE HOPE THAT IS IN YOU, yet with gentleness and reverence;

    to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE of glory. Col 1:27

    and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rom 5:5

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  81. Kevin,
    A problem with Molinism is that it commits the Arminian error of God looking through the tunnels of space-time and seeing who will respond to certain “orders of grace.” The Reformed position is that no one will respond to any amount of grace in a saving way unless they are regenerated.

    John 3:19-20 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”

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  82. Walton … and many others verses, including… God’s purpose according to His choice stand not because of works but because of Him who calls…so then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. Romans 9 11,16

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  83. a period, how is anything you’re quoting refute the plain truth that sin still clings to even our best works (and since most of our works are mainly mediocre, that’s cause for humility)?

    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

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  84. Zrim –

    Kevin, if that’s a summary then keep the LP. – What’s LP? I’m still digesting the argument, that was like an undergraduate assignment to summarize an author.

    Reading Catholics on justification is […] –lots of bobbing and weaving, flowing and charting, wordplay galore, feigned nodding and smiling pretending to understand where the reader is at any given moment.

    It’s a difficult topic – not because God is complex, but because our minds have particular faculties and ways of understanding (conceptualizing) which, when we engage them all, point to the truth – from our perspective it seems complicated.

    I would divide “Catholics on justification” into a few categories:
    a) Ignorant uncaring – those who don’t understand and repeat what they read without really trying to understand (various motivations);
    b) Struggling in good faith – those who are trying in good faith to understand the teachings and to relay them faithfully (what I presume is the default position unless I have reason to think otherwise);
    c) Dead experts – those who had a decent understanding and have left us writings (and audio lectures);
    d) Live experts – usually not spending much time on blogs, but instead are teaching somewhere, and writing books.

    But there is this: “The justified require repeated actual grace of God in order to avoid sin and remain in justification (final perseverance). Semi-Pelagianism denies this.” Remain in justification? Anyone who holds that justification is relative based upon the believing creature’s works has just stepped into some form or another of Pelagianism. But orthodoxy has never allowed even an iota of this. Justification is completely God’s work alone and it remains for the believing creature full stop.

    I bolded the phrases I want to highlight – if you’ll re-read the statement, you’ll see it isn’t the acts of man which are stated as required, but acts of God. They are the causal factor in this statement.

    Retaining belief is a form of action (we can be tempted to depart from belief, we can reaffirm belief). The action required to “remain in justification” is no more than this – fulfilling God’s predestined plan, responding to his grace (as he foresees we will and has created us to do so). This passage is stating we are 100% dependent on God’s predestined plan.

    What’s curious is how Catholics will often speak as if they believe as Prots do, that God alone saves his people and all that is left for them is to be grateful and obedient in response. But then they say things like this but then won’t also admit that it at least implies that God and his people save his people, that salvation is co-opted by sinners, that Christ’s atoning work is insufficient, etc.

    I think the Catholic position here outlined is simply a slightly more intricate means of describing that dependence. I don’t think it exaggerates man’s role any more than, say, “RAF pilots firebombed civilian neighborhoods in Dresden” points out that individual cooperative actions of pilots were necessary for the act; the primary author (and therefore bearer of blame) was the commander. This is just an analogy, of course.

    But what will anybody lose on that final day by ascribing salvation completely to the sole work of Christ? If that is misguided and our works do count, then how can any Prot worry since he continues to do good works?

    I basically agree – in and of itself, said ascription doesn’t seem problematic to me. But it implies other statements which are problematic for understanding scripture (again I point to Paul’s exhortation to action, his desire to boast, and the dependence of that boasting on his audience’s behavior).

    But there is much to lose if salvation isn’t a cooperation and one appeals to both Christ’s works and his own as if the latter have any value (not to mention the implication that Christ’s works are insufficient, yeow).

    Zrim’s wager? I like the manner of thinking, actually. I’m serious about wanting to understand the Reformed position on Paul’s quote above, thuogh.

    I am simply rejecting that Ott or standard Catholic theology ascribe any justificatory or sanctificatory value to man’s works unless they correspond to a predetermined plan of God’s. I believe this does full justice to God’s omniscience and omnipotence. Doesn’t that put God enough in the driver’s seat for your purposes?

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  85. “C’mon, TVHS — Sean’s fighting with one hand tied behind his back. Quit yer b!tchin’.”

    No, he’s showing restraint while verbalizing where he sees something amiss. That’s a very good start. I felt like I sat down next to a pleasant human being.
    I do wish that he’d take the arguments from the article, bullet point them and then maybe together we can see where the accusation of begging the question holds or doesn’t. I really believe that if we are all wanting the truth, we can mutually find it out. You are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

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  86. Zrim

    a period, how is anything you’re quoting refute the plain truth that sin still clings to even our best works

    whose trying to do that, Zrim, for that plain truth as you say, is very important; but it is not the same as understanding that verse and using it correctly

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  87. Kevin, LP = long play, i.e. I bought an LP album today and will play it on my turntable (how old aren’t you?). Fair point on perseverance dependent on God’s grace, but then what’s so wrong with the Prot formulation of sola fide which includes the same doctrine (yet that bit about God foreseeing sets off my Arminian alarm)? And it seems like the old Pelagian worry that to say it’s all God will lead to a laxity in the pursuit of holiness. What it actually fosters is a sane pursuit of holiness, one that is free of eternal worry which then opens the way wider for temporal pursuit, which itself allows for imperfections.

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  88. a period, you are. The point was made that our even our good works are filthy rags and you crow. That must mean you don’ think so.

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  89. Zrim – it would be a serious thing to call God’s work ‘filthy’ rags
    for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Phil 2: 13

    I do appreciate the concern to correctly understand, Zrim, but wouldn’t it be great when those in error on the other side who say: all you (children of God) do is filthy rags so don’t do anything, that you would equally challenge

    awww CW, don’t you know that it is neither the minor nor macro aggressive (as unrepentant continued pattern of life, aka reviler? (1 Cor 6:10) who will inherit the kingdom of God. love, a. have a great day.

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  90. a period, sure, but where are these people? All I see are some making a point about abiding sin and humility and others dissenting.

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  91. cw l’unificateur
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink
    Vague attack, delegitimization. Impossible to rebut or discuss.

    C’mon, TVHS — Sean’s fighting with one hand tied behind his back. Quit yer b!tchin’.

    When he left the Catholic Church for yours, the IQ of both went up. 😉

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  92. Susan
    why do you find “paradigm” a helpful motif for understanding the prot rc divide? The point of paradigms is that rational discussion across them is impossible. Further inconsistent paradigms can be internally consistent and empirically valid so the only way to choose among them is extra-rational factors. This puts the possibility of certainty out of reach. You should re-read your Kuhn and decide if this is really the motif you want to adopt.

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  93. Wow, to hear little a tell it all of his spiritual heroes must have been Quakers or Mennonites or possibly IFB children’s Sunday School teachers. And he’s enjoying learning from/about Catholics. What could go wrong here?

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  94. Zrim,

    RCism is not semi-pelagian, unless you wish to redefine semi-pelagianism to be “any cooperation involved”. Orange condemned both P and SPism – many on your own side agree to as much (Sproul, Warfield, Schaff, etc). It affirmed cooperation. It would be an odd thing indeed for a council condemning a heresy to actually espouse that heresy. Nor did SP have anything to do with the efficacy of grace (i.e. a denial of monergism does not entail SPism). And if you question whether RCism has a full-orbed theology of predestination, election, grace, and honoring God, I would suggest reading Garrigou-Lagrange – his Commentary on the Summa Theologica is free on ewtn’s site.

    Secondly, your characterization of saved by faith plus works in RCism is off the mark. RCs are saved by the infusion of faith, hope, and charity (the presence of sanctifying grace) – these are virtues – that’s why baptized infants and deathbed conversions are saved even without works and why an RC doesn’t lose sanctifying grace when he’s asleep.

    Kevin,

    “I think the Catholic position here outlined is simply a slightly more intricate means of describing that dependence. I don’t think it exaggerates man’s role any more than, say, “RAF pilots firebombed civilian neighborhoods in Dresden” points out that individual cooperative actions of pilots were necessary for the act; the primary author (and therefore bearer of blame) was the commander. This is just an analogy, of course.”

    Interesting you bring this up – Kettenring is a Protestant who wrote a book on sanctification and brought up some analogies discussing the model of cooperation in sanctification – one of which is exactly the one you formulated (troops + commander) – you can see the 6 analogies he lists in the excerpt here – http://books.google.com/books?id=mTUk_f6e_PkC&pg=PA33 – just shows that even Protestants agree cooperation in salvation does not somehow rob God of glory by simple virtue of that fact.

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  95. Darryl,

    “did you know that even your good works are filthy rags?
    We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.”

    RCs do not deny we cannot merit conversion or initial justification – merit only applies in the state of grace – natural good works of the condemned will not avail at judgment. So according to you, the glory of the gospel is not empowering in any way – it’s just a nice band-aid?
    Btw, how could we even “have done but our duty” according to this theology?

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  96. Susan, we already pushed this to the brink. Sorry if you missed it. It was determined that we were paradigmatically ‘irreconcilable’, so, you had to push it back one more step, which was for the RC’s the MOC. Once the MOC was deemed sufficient and the paradigm embraced, RC criticisms couldn’t lay a glove on it without ‘begging the question’. So, the fight is over the veracity of the MOC, which, as it turns out, isn’t a mere evaluation of the claims but a supernaturally aided faith claim. Awesome. Somehow this isn’t noumenalism. Double Awesome.

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  97. vd, c, seeing how I get to go right to heaven (and by your theology you need to go to purgatory and who know for how long, if you were really cooperative) I’ll take my band-aid, thank YOU!

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  98. proof text DG, you mean like yours with Isa 63:6?

    oh oh CW, think I’m in trouble then; hey, what a minute, I’m gonna go research that to see if it’s true.
    I do envision God’s writing on the tablets though w/o those things! don’t know ; what do you think?

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  99. vd, c, the good news is honesty. Simultaneously just and a sinner. And that Christ’s righteousness overcomes all sin. For you, Christ’s righteousness needs a lot of help and you really don’t know how much, unless you can get an office over in Rome to deem you a saint.

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  100. Darryl,

    Is this honest?

    “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
    “For me, to live is Christ”
    “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
    “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship…The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
    “be filled with all the fullness of God”
    “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
    “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”
    “We have come to share in Christ”
    “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
    “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”
    “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”
    “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”
    “been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God”
    “For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
    “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
    “that you may be partakers of the divine nature”
    “Because as He is, so are we in this world”
    “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, You are gods’”
    “Be ye perfect”

    “Simultaneously just and a sinner.”

    Is sin reigning in your heart? Remember, all your works are filthy rags – even your best works are defiled with sin, so evidently “honesty” includes holding you are damnably grievously sinning every second of your life. But “Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” and “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

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  101. When Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” Genesis 8:20

    Cletus, were you ever ungodly?

    were you ever born again?

    has your new birth not happened yet?

    were you ever justified yet?

    were you ungodly after you were born again?

    https://www.dbts.edu/journals/2002/Snoeberger.pdf

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  102. Mark,

    Part of the point of the gospel is that the ungodly do not remain ungodly after justification. The gospel is far more glorious and grace far more empowering than a mere band aid as all the NT writers attest in their affirmations of theosis.

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  103. vd, c, no it’s not honest. That’s the Bible talking. Where’s tradition and the bishops?

    Btw, if Christ lives in me, and Christ was/is perfect, what’s up with sin in meEEE? Don’t tell me. You’re perfect like your church.

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  104. CvD, right, saved by infused virtues. But Protestantism says by the extrinsic work of Christ alone (made ours by faith in that extrinsic work alone).

    a period, it would. Is this the part where you tell me to get inspired about humility? But it feels like wiping my dirty nose with a filthy rag.

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  105. Darryl,

    “Where’s tradition and the bishops?”

    It’s not difficult to cite fathers attesting to infusion as means of justification and theosis and not saying Christians are damnably sinning every second of their lives. You seem to think STM are mutually exclusive rather than mutually attesting/reinforcing.

    “So what do you do when you read Paul (not Peter) say, “wretched man that I am”?”

    I reconcile that statement with his affirmations of theosis the same way I reconcile John’s statements I cited with his other statement that Zrim pointed out “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” – that is by distinguishing between actions that are opposed to and incompatible with charity and those that are not, that is mortal sin vs venial sin and concupiscence.
    And since you’re a fan of tradition, the two dominant interpretations of the Rom 7 man up to the Reformation were 1) Paul was taking on a persona of the natural man’s plight or 2) Paul was describing his struggle as a believer with concupiscence and venial sin common to all Christians. Aquinas asserts both are permissible, though he favors the latter, and points out Augustine held to the former early on but after the Pelagian controversy adopted the latter. The main point being the Reformed view that Rom 7 describes Christians as constantly damnably and mortally sinning every second has no historical precedent I’m aware of.

    Zrim,

    “CvD, right, saved by infused virtues. But Protestantism says by the extrinsic work of Christ alone (made ours by faith in that extrinsic work alone).”

    And what does Trent say is the meritorious cause of our justification? And the source of our infused virtues? Enough with the false dichotomies.

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  106. D. G. Hart
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
    vd, c, no it’s not honest. That’s the Bible talking. Where’s tradition and the bishops?

    Btw, if Christ lives in me, and Christ was/is perfect, what’s up with sin in meEEE? Don’t tell me. You’re perfect like your church.

    If Christ lives in you? Observing your sneering behavior, bro, that’s a big if.

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  107. vd, c, your appeal to stm would make sense if that’s what the Council of Trent did. But it was Protestants who appealed to church fathers and came up short because they weren’t scholastic enough.

    On the two dominant interpretations of Paul, when did you become a historian of exegesis?

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  108. The context of Galatians 2:20 is forensic, and so there is some serious exegetical question about if the text says “Christ lives in me” or “Christ lives in regard to me”. This is not to deny Christ”s indwelling those who are already now justified, but it’s a question about the meaning of Galatians 2 in context.

    D. A. Carson makes the argument for “resurrection in regard to me” (based on our secured justification before the law) in his essay on imputation, p 74, What;s At Stake in Current Debates on Justification. The parallel would be Romans 4:24-25 “righteousness will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered BECAUSE OF our trespasses and raised BECAUSE OF our justification.”

    Faith in Paul means “not works”. Often in key gospel texts, like Romans 3 and 4, faith refers to an individual elect person hearing, understanding, and believing the gospel.Faith is God’s gift of cognitive knowledge to the elect. But Christ does not believe for us. Christ makes us both able and willing to believe the gospel so that we do believe the gospel.

    Christ indwelling in us does not believe for us, and so we need to battle with universalists who deny that the elect need to hear or understand or believe the gospel. We also need to battle with those who deny that Christ was under the curse of the law, and who insist that we are saved by Christ’s believing for us.

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/07/north-texas-conference-on-assu.php

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  109. Saying that Jesus lives in your heart CAN BE a sneaky liberal way of denying that the body of Jesus which died rose again and lives in heaven.

    John Bunyan—“suddenly this sentence fell upon my mind, ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven.’ And
    methought withal Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say was my righteousness; so that wherever I was or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, ‘He wants my righteousness’, for that was just before him. I saw moreover that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor from my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was that of Jesus Christ himself…when I came home I looked to see if I could find that sentence: ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven’, but could not find such a saying; wherefore my heart began to sink again, but was then brought to my remembrance, 1 Cor. 1:30, ‘He is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption’; . For by this Scripture I saw the man Christ Jesus, as he is DISTINCT FROM US, so he is our righteousness….

    Calvin, 3/11/4—Osiander holds in regard to the mode of receiving Christ,that by the ministry of the external word the INTERNAL word is received; that he may thus lead us away from the priesthood of Christ, and his office of Mediator, to his eternal divinity.

    It would be incongruous to say that that which existed naturally from eternity was made ours. But granting that God was made unto us righteousness, what are we to make of Paul’s interposed statement, that he was so made by God? This certainly is peculiar to the office of mediator, for although he contains in himself the divine nature, yet he receives his own proper title, that he may be distinguished from the Father and the Spirit.

    Jehovah, when made of the seed of David, was indeed to be the righteousness of believers, but in what sense Isaiah declares, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many,” (Isaiah 53: 11.)

    Let us observe that it is the Father who speaks. He attributes the office of justifying to the Son, and adds the reason, – because he is “righteous.” Christ justified us by his obedience to the
    Father; and, accordingly that he does not perform this for us in respect of his divine nature, but according to the nature of the dispensation laid upon him.

    mark: if Salvation were by infusion and indwelling and impartation, there would be no need for Christ’s incarnation or for Christ’s death as cursed under the law.

    Bruce McCormack—“The early church thought of an ontological union of a ‘person” in whom being is mixed with non-being (that’s us) with a ‘person’ in whom being is pure from non-being (Jesus). Where that occurs, the life communicated from the vine to the branches flows organically….But in the case of Christ and the individual believer,the ‘bearing of fruit’ takes place on the foundation of justification.”

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  110. walton, all –

    walton –
    Kevin, A problem with Molinism is that it commits the Arminian error of God looking through the tunnels of space-time and seeing who will respond to certain “orders of grace.”

    I can’t speak to the errors of Arminianism, and have no interest in defending it (not sure what connotations there might be to “orders of grace”).

    The Reformed position is that no one will respond to any amount of grace in a saving way unless they are regenerated.

    I think that’s consistent with the Dominican/Augustinian position as well. I take it to be true that:

    1) God ordains an order for the distribution of grace and salvation which takes into account all factors (his providential plan);

    2) God’s knowledge, being unlimited, includes knowledge of all human actions, including how we react to (a) all the events of life which occur and (b) the grace he offers us (we can follow his promptings when they occur to us, or we can be selfish, weak-willed, etc.);

    3) God’s power, as creator of all, means he is the ultimate first cause of all of our actions which accord with his plan- i.e., not one portion of our good works would be possible without Him;

    4) In some sense, everyone (regenerated or not) is subject to God’s power;

    5) those not regenerated are not capable of being partakers of the divine nature – or habitually responding to his promptings and the grace he provides to assist us in our actions;

    6) those not regenerated may be offered grace on an actual (per-act, prompting+assistance) basis, which they can respond to or not – but it isn’t salvific or permanent since they do not have faith (& the Christian hope, & charity in Christ’s name);

    7) the first grace itself, the offer of salvation, is entirely God’s action and not at all man’s – but man can reject it;

    8) faith, our participation in the offer of salvation (at least a huge part of it), can be affirmed or denied (in thought, word, or in a weaker sense perhaps deed, insofar as faith is a motivation to action).

    Just some thoughts.

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  111. Zrim : a period, it would. Is this the part where you tell me to get inspired about humility? But it feels like wiping my dirty nose with a filthy rag.

    Nice deflection try Zrim. Your teacher has taught you well. You’re the one who brought up humility. And I’m thinking maybe you’re even thinking we can even muster it up ourselves.

    As far as ‘inspiring’, it would be depressing if it were true that the Lord saw all believers do as ’filty rags’. If so, why doesn’t He just zap us up to heaven as soon as He saves us. Humility is a filthy rag if false humility wrought by the flesh; but is not, if a genuinefruit of the Spirit.

    It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. The one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
    Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. John 6:63; Rom 8:6 Gal 5:17; 6:8; 5:16

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  112. Zrim-

    Sorry for the delay, real life stepped in the way of Old Life.

    Kevin, LP = long play, i.e. I bought an LP album today and will play it on my turntable (how old aren’t you?). – I thought this was another abstruse in-joke (you guys have a lot of those, you know). My summary was definitely an EP, the original is a box set, I admire your ability to issue succinct 78s, I aim at 45s myself.

    Fair point on perseverance dependent on God’s grace, but then what’s so wrong with the Prot formulation of sola fide which includes the same doctrine

    No idea. You tell me. Whatever it is that God does, He does well-prior to Catholic or Protestant theological labels. I’m more interested in trying to figure out what He does.

    -A divinely prompted act of faith in Christ’s extrinsic work (an act which which we can’t even desire, much less accomplish, independent of God’s action) leads to our partaking in divine nature;

    -such that we follow His promptings and accept His fortification of our will, without which we do nothing pleasing (including the sane pursuit of holiness);

    -God preordains that we will follow those promptings;

    -Repeated acts in conformity with God’s grace grow into habits (virtue) and result in holiness;

    -Our ‘degree of holiness’ is truly ours (if it were all God’s and not at all ours, then our degree of holiness would be equivalent to God’s – but some are more virtuous than others – so in a sense, the extent to which it is ours is the extent to which we depart from God);

    -all of human history is in accordance with God’s providence

    Does that seem compatible with how you see things (even if you would phrase things a bit differently)?

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  113. DGH, cvd, Mark –

    dgh – You’re perfect like your church.
    Who says the Catholic Church is perfect? Christ is perfect, and we all become perfect to the extent we partake in Him – but we don’t achieve that on Earth.

    For you, Christ’s righteousness needs a lot of help and you really don’t know how much, unless you can get an office over in Rome to deem you a saint.
    Let’s be fair – all saints go through a rigorous process including the role of the Devil’s advocate (which assembles the strongest-possible case against someone), lengthy proceedings with arguments both against and in favor, and decisions are not made in haste (often centuries go by). Oh wait we got rid of that in the 60s.

    Are we required to ascertain whether we number amongst the elect? If so, does that mean we need to hire lawyers and private investigators to weigh our actions?

    cletus-
    Kettenring is a Protestant who wrote a book on sanctification and brought up some analogies discussing the model of cooperation in sanctification

    Thanks for the link, just had a look. I also like his analogy of a jazz band – where the band leader picks the tune and leads on the melody, all abide by the chord changes, but each player has a little bit of leeway as each plays his part.

    Needn’t be jazz, baroque music worked the same way, as does the contemporary revival of medieval music (e.g., Jordi Savall), Brazilian choro (look it up on Youtube if you don’t know it, you’ll be amazed – it’s origin is contemporary with jazz), and in a sense, classical liturgical organ improv, or even perhaps Moravian choral singing (based on what an organist was telling me last night at choir practice).

    Mark –
    Faith is God’s gift of cognitive knowledge to the elect. But Christ does not believe for us. Christ makes us both able and willing to believe the gospel so that we do believe the gospel.
    Looks right to me.

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  114. …it would be depressing if it were true that the Lord saw all believers do as ’filty rags’

    a period, how about letting God see what he wants and limiting ourselves to only what we see, and if God is at work within then we see how even our best works pale in comparison to absolute holiness? IOW, set expectations low now, that way we are either pleasantly later when they are revealed as better than we thought or not at all when they aren’t. Plus, it helps in keeping our heads down and getting through our pilgrimage now without getting distracted with how wonderful we think we are. But, I know, yawn.

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  115. Zrim –

    I was hoping we could continue discussing the issues raised. You’ve moved in a different direction.

    Why? Because I trust in the role Christ has given the Church. But that doesn’t mean that the anathematized collection of propositions (and interdependent concepts) dubbed “sola fide” is identical to what you or anyone else is calling “sola fide.”

    I don’t know what you’re calling “sola fide” unless you tell me, just like I don’t expect you to know what the Catholic theologians teach on predestination. Isn’t the whole point of a blog like this that we can discuss substantive issues and learn something?

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  116. Kevin, this site does:

    A society with a complete human purpose that is not, in its own order, subordinate to a higher good. On this level a society is perfect in its end. From another viewpoint, a society that is complete in its possession and right of control over all the means required to achieve its purpose. On this level a society is perfect in its means. The Church founded by Christ and the State are perfect societies on both levels.

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  117. DG-

    Not to be obnoxious, but that’s an equivocation on what “perfect society” means – it doesn’t mean the moral perfection of its members or perfect efficiency is carrying out its mission.

    “Perfect society”means the organization does not depend on anything outside of itself to carry out its purpose.

    A family does – it depends on the broader bonds amongst families- family members exist as a part of Church and State. Municipal governments depend (in the US) on the state and federal governments (for better or worse). A blog (a society of participants) depends upon the contributions of members whose lives are carried out as a part of other organizations- no blog can fulfill the ends of man even within the topics it addresses.

    When the Catholic Church calls itself a perfect society, it means it has within it everything it needs to… bloom, blossom, proliferate, and thrive according to its scope of activities. Failure comes from thinking it doesn’t, and reaching outside of its proper scope for nutrition.

    Similarly with the State. It is coordinating – and should not suborn the proper scope of other institutions. The other institutions, on the other hand, depend upon the State (particularly the administration of justice).

    I think that’s a fair off-the-cuff summary, although a scholastic political theorist would be a more appropriate source.

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  118. Darryl,

    “your appeal to stm would make sense if that’s what the Council of Trent did.”

    Hmm? How did it not do that?

    “But it was Protestants who appealed to church fathers and came up short because they weren’t scholastic enough.”

    Mormons appeal to church fathers to support their views.

    “On the two dominant interpretations of Paul, when did you become a historian of exegesis?”

    I’m nobody. If I remember right I was reading Robert Wilken who discussed that issue, though Aquinas and Augustine I read directly on it. But regardless, a belief in mortal/venial sin or loss of justification would not permit the Reformed view of Rom 7 man. And those beliefs were quite common amongst the ecfs. But given the Protestants appealed to the church fathers, perhaps you can surface some material in support of your Rom 7 interpretation from them.

    Mark,

    “mark: if Salvation were by infusion and indwelling and impartation, there would be no need for Christ’s incarnation or for Christ’s death as cursed under the law. ”

    No need for Christ’s incarnation? What are you talking about? Why do you think Athanasius’ statement on God becoming man is like the standard citation offered by proponents of theosis? The incarnation is foundational and drives it. And Christ’s death does not necessitate a penal substitution or forensic model.

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  119. kevin, “When the Catholic Church calls itself a perfect society, it means it has within it everything it needs to.”

    Maybe it needs something outside itself — like — God?

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  120. DG-

    Good response, and I can only reply with something that may get me re-added to several do-not-read lists.

    The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. It is rooted in the Incarnation and sanctifies all mankind. Since the activity of Christ constitutes its deepest principle, Christ, and man insofar as he partakes of the divine nature, are its bedrock. God is separate from man, but not from the Church.

    Probably missed something there, but that’s the quick smartphone view (weltanschaaung basis) from a park in Newark.

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  121. Zrim:it helps in keeping our heads down and getting through our pilgrimage now
    we look UP Zrim -our only hope – fixing our eyes on Jesus…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Heb 12:1-3

    Zrim: without getting distracted with how wonderful we think we are.
    Exactly Zrim. See quite a bit of that type distraction around here? Make up your mind about humility

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  122. Darryl,

    “vd, c, how did Trent do that? Your assertion proves nothing.”

    Trent cites/alludes to Scripture, previous councils, the practice of the church, and church fathers in support of its statements, including its teachings on STM as rule of faith itself. So I’m not sure what else would demonstrate to you that it held to STM. Hence my question. You’re the one proposing it was being inconsistent with its own teachings.

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  123. vd, c, I’m the one proposing it was being inconsistent.

    #dogbitesman

    Nothing you’ve said has demonstrate what I said is not true. How do you like dem apples?

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