Those Who Want History Straight Deserve to Get It Good and Hard

History does not conform to apologetics.

So says the American Jesuit, Robert Taft:

“It’s not true that at the beginning we had one Church centered in Rome, and then for various historical reasons certain groups broke off,” he said. “It’s just the opposite. At the beginning we had various churches, as Christianity developed here and there and someplace else, and gradually different units began to be formed.”

“That’s the reality,” Taft said, “and we have to accept it.”

So confirms the Capuchin order:

The Annuario Pontificio, the Vatican’s statistical yearbook, lists about 800 men’s orders in the Church, all of which have a story to tell. Precisely because Capuchins don’t call attention to themselves, however, several interesting elements of their tale are often lost.

The order was born in 1525 when a friar named Matteo da Bascio decided the Franciscans of his day had abandoned the initial vision of St. Francis of Assisi, and he wanted to get back to a strict observance of penance, prayer, and poverty.

That implied criticism didn’t sit well with other Franciscans, and with the support of influential Church authorities, they hounded Bascio and his initial companions, who were forced to take shelter from Camaldolese monks.

In 1528, the “Capuchins” (so named for the hood they wear with their habit) got papal permission to organize, but their problems were hardly over.

Within 20 years, Bascio had left his new order to return to the Observant Franciscans, while another early Capuchin leader, Bernardino Ochino, spurned the Catholic faith altogether to join forces with John Calvin in Geneva. Eventually Ochino’s support for polygamy and his rejection of the Trinity was too much even for the Calvinists, and he went into exile first in Poland and then in Slovakia.

The new order came under suspicion of heresy and narrowly avoided being suppressed, while for a time Capuchins were forbidden to preach. (This makes it a rich irony that since 1743, the Capuchins have had the privilege of supplying the official Preacher of the Papal Household; since 1980, that role has been held by the Rev. Rainero Cantalamessa.)

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61 thoughts on “Those Who Want History Straight Deserve to Get It Good and Hard

  1. The things I learned this week. Pope “whoami to judge” Francos labels all immigration restrictionists non-Christian. Does that mean the RCs in the Vatican City who support their walled fortification aren’t Christian (Bob Jones was right?)? Now the Pope and Moscow patriarch have taken the Manhattan Declaration international. Pentecostals, Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, and Catholics together. I guess unity of politics is good enough if you can’t get unity of faith? As the good book says, you shall know them by their politics.

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  2. I am not a fan of the Nehemiah option either–two kingdoms, two hands, one building the walls of the spiritual city, and the other hand ready to kill enemies for the sake of Babylon and its economy.

    Emigrating back to where you were deported from is not an advance . Divorcing wives to make sure that that only covenant children provide the genetic incubator is still not a return to Eden. Can one born out of wedlock really be a covenant child? Can one born in Babylon or Canada be a covenant child?

    Yes, the kings lead to up the King, and the land is the place where the King is born, but the land is no less detour than the wilderness. They didn’t need a king other than God, and now they will find that out. Exile looks like a punishment, but it’s not.

    The Vatican occupation will come to its end. The American occupation of the world will cease.

    Any person who is a pope is no Christian, but like Billy Graham, the pope also says you don’t need to be a Christian. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jerry-falwell-franklin-graham-donald-trump-pope_us_56c6ecd9e4b041136f169365

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  3. sdb: “The things I learned this week. Pope “whoami to judge” Francos labels all immigration restrictionists non-Christian.”

    GW: In all fairness to the Pope, I heard a reading of his fuller quote on the radio, and the gist of what he seemed to be saying was that those who are more concerned to build walls rather than to build bridges are not behaving in a Christian way. Of course the media, ever eager for breaking news headlines, selectively latched on to his words and created an attention-grabbing headline (“Pope says Trump not a Christian!”). After all, today the line between journalism and entertainment has grown increasingly fuzzy, and objective truth and fair reporting usually gets sacrificed somewhere along the way in service to ratings.

    Then again, Pope Francis has always seemed to have a problem with expressing himself clearly, with Vatican spokesmen often having to walk back his actual words and correctly “interpret” the words of the Church’s supreme spokesman/interpreter on earth.

    Of course, the irony in all of this is that here we have a social-gospel-style Pope defining the gospel in terms of walls and bridges, who is angrily denounced by Mr. Trump (a man who, I am given to understand, says he’s never felt the need to ask for God’s forgiveness) for allegedly saying that Trump is not a Christian (which Trump proudly claims to be). Did anyone notice that in all this back-and-forth over who is and who is not a Christian, the gospel definition of a Christian (indeed, the gospel itself!) has gotten lost in favor of political theater?

    Scripture reveals that a Christian is one who has professed repentance from sin and faith in Christ as He is offered in the gospel, and whose doctrine and life do not openly contradict the credibility of that profession of faith. It’s all about the biblical gospel, about one’s standing before an all-holy God; not one’s stance on immigration and border control, or on the multitude of other political issues about which well-meaning believers may differ.

    By this Scriptural standard of what it means to be a Christian, one has to ask if either Mr. Trump or the Pope measure up.

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  4. GW:
    By this Scriptural standard of what it means to be a Christian, one has to ask if either Mr. Trump or the Pope measure up.>>>>>>

    You know, one thing I find a little odd here at Old Life is how quick you guys are to judge others as not being true Christians, but rarely if ever do you apply your own standards to yourselves.

    It is always someone else who is not a Christian. Always some other group of Christians that does not measure up. Never you guys.

    Does anyone else find that odd? I mean, here you are judging others, yet you do not show any evidence of having judged yourself at all.

    When you stand before God, will He care what you think of the pope, or Trump, or Papists, or neo Calvinists, or anyone else?

    I hate to waste Scripture texts on you guys, because somehow, they are always trampled underfoot. So, trample me. I mean, to be fair.

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  5. Mermaid, who the hades here said that Challies isn’t a Christian? Your the one who collapses criticism into anathema and nudity into porn.

    You’re a credit to the convert-to-Rome tribe.

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  6. The Little Mermaid: “You know, one thing I find a little odd here at Old Life is how quick you guys are to judge others as not being true Christians, but rarely if ever do you apply your own standards to yourselves.”

    GW: First of all, if being a Christian means attaining to a certain level of sanctity, then none of us (myself included) “measures up.” We all fall short — grievoulsy so. We all need grace. None of us can boast.

    But my point in the comment above about the Pope and Trump was to apply the standard of the biblical gospel to their own public statements, and to ask how they “measure up” in terms of their profession of the gospel (or lack thereof).

    Biblically-speaking, a Christian is one who has professed repentance from sin and faith in Christ alone for salvation as He is offered in the gospel (Mark 2:14-15; John 3:15; 5:24; Acts 2:38; 3:19; Romans 3:20-26; 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:8-9; etc.).

    While I do not presume to judge souls or to make any infallible pronouncements about the eternal destiny of either Trump or the Pope, measured by the standard of confessing the biblical gospel I do believe it is relevant to ask:

    (1) Since a Christian is one who professes repentance from sin, can Mr. Trump, who has allegedly stated that he has never felt the need to ask for forgiveness for his sins (sins which include boasting in his book about his multiple past extramarital affairs), be regarded as a Christian, biblically-speaking?

    (2) Since a Christian is one who professes faith in the biblical gospel, which proclaims explicit faith in Christ alone as the only way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:12; etc.), can the Pope, whose Church teaches a false gospel of justification by a faith and works combination (thereby bringing itself under the damning apostolic anathema of Galatians 1:8-9), and who himself has proclaimed that followers of non-Christian religions and even atheists can be saved apart from explicit repentance and faith in Christ, just by being good people, be regarded as a Christian, biblically-speaking?

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  7. D.G. Hart: “Geoff, Pope Francis has an easy solution to his gabby ways — minister the word of God.”

    GW: Amen. Of course, if he actually wanted to do that with consistency and integrity, he’d have to leave the Roman Church and “come home” to the Protestant fold.

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  8. Geoff Willour
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
    The Little Mermaid: “You know, one thing I find a little odd here at Old Life is how quick you guys are to judge others as not being true Christians, but rarely if ever do you apply your own standards to yourselves.”

    GW: First of all, if being a Christian means attaining to a certain level of sanctity, then none of us (myself included) “measures up.” We all fall short — grievoulsy so. We all need grace. None of us can boast.>>>

    Exactly. Preach it to yourself in first person singular.

    Geoff Willour
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
    D.G. Hart: “Geoff, Pope Francis has an easy solution to his gabby ways — minister the word of God.”

    GW: Amen. Of course, if he actually wanted to do that with consistency and integrity, he’d have to leave the Roman Church and “come home” to the Protestant fold.>>>>

    Which Protestant fold?

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  9. The Little Mermaid: “Exactly. Preach it to yourself in first person singular.”

    GW: Gladly. I admit: I don’t measure up. I’m a wretched sinner who deserves nothing less than eternal damnation. My only hope is found in the perfect, everlasting, alien (outside-of-me) righteousness of Christ, which alone has merited eternal life for a wretch like me, and which alone serves as my title to heaven.

    How about you?

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  10. GW:
    ..whose Church teaches a false gospel of justification by a faith and works combination (thereby bringing itself under the damning apostolic anathema of Galatians 1:8-9>>>>

    I hate to engage in dueling Bible verses, but please remember this key element of the Gospel that Paul preached. To ignore this is indeed damning.

    6 …the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

    Now the Reformed brethren here will hardly be able to resist the temptation to turn that back on me, thus avoiding the verse altogether. I would implore you not to do that.

    Your eternal soul is at stake, as is mine. This is Gospel.

    How do I judge you? My brother in Christ, so as a sister, I appeal to you and to me to not hide behind the sins of others – real or imagined. There is way too much of that. Adam blamed God and the woman and Eve blamed the serpent.

    God be merciful to me, a sinner.

    Mass in B Minor, BWV 232: I. Kyrie eleison
    —————————————————————————

    Galatians 5New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

    5 1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

    The Nature of Christian Freedom
    2 Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. 4 You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working[a] through love.

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  11. Mermaid: “Which Protestant fold?”

    GW: One which faithfully preaches the biblical gospel and rightly administers the sacraments according to the clear teaching of God’s Word. Which, measured by the standard of Holy Scripture, Rome clearly does not.

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  12. Mermaid: “I hate to engage in dueling Bible verses, but please remember this key element of the Gospel that Paul preached. To ignore this is indeed damning.

    6 …the only thing that counts is faith working through love.”

    GW: Confessional Protestants are perfectly comfortable with the Galatians passage you cite, for saving faith does indeed bear fruit and work. The Reformers were insistent that true faith bears fruit in good works. But recognizing this is quite different from teaching that faith and works are both conditions of justification before God. (Sorry, James 2 in context is dealing with the justification of our faith in the eyes of man, not man’s justification before God.)

    The real issue here is this: God is perfectly righteous. Heaven is a perfectly righteous place. We need a perfect righteousness in order to gain heaven. As sinners we do not have, nor can we attain (as long as sin continues to be present within us), that perfect righteousness necessary to serve as our title to heaven. Our only hope, therefore, is in the external, outside-of-us righteousness of Christ, which He offers to credit to us freely by grace. Faith rests on this promise of righteousness in Christ. Unbelief rejects it and seeks justifying righteousness elsewhere, such as in the believer’s Spirit-wrought works and supposed merits, or in the merits of saints.

    So, have you received the gift of Christ’s perfect, everlasting, alien (outside-of-you) righteousness, which alone can cause you to stand justified before the judgment bar of God? Or are you looking to something else (Christ plus Mary & the saints; faith plus works; etc.)? Only in Christ will you be able to die in peace and eternal safety.

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  13. Walton
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
    TLM, where’s the concern for Geoff’s soul? You’re happy that us Protestants have a man-made religion? But, as long as we’re nice, we’re probly already saved, right? Or as long as we don’t say the same things Trump is rumored to have said, right?

    “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that,” Francis said.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-pope-vs-the-donald-trump-immigration/>>>>

    Actually, I don’t have trouble thinking of you as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    You are the ones who have trouble seeing Catholics as Christians.

    Like I said. If that makes you happy, then I am happy for you.

    You are set in your ways in spite of all that provisional knowledge talk. You never let on that you might be wrong about anything. I never bought those arguments anyway. They lead to unbelief, not faith.

    The whole alien righteousness thing just doesn’t work logically or Biblically. Galatians 5:6 isn’t talking about an alien righteousness. It’s talking about our own faith, our own love, our own work – all empowered by the Holy Spirit, all by grace through faith, even.

    It is our own,- given to us as a gift. If it were only an alien righteousness, then why does the writer to the Hebrews exhort us to fix our eyes on Jesus as we run the race?

    The infusion of righteousness makes a lot more sense biblically. Like a seed that takes root and grows, even.

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  14. “It is our own,- given to us as a gift. If it were only an alien righteousness, then why does the writer to the Hebrews exhort us to fix our eyes on Jesus as we run the race?”

    Since the righteousness is outside (alien), we look outside ourselves as we run the race (i.e. to Jesus).

    “The infusion of righteousness makes a lot more sense biblically. Like a seed that takes root and grows, even.”

    But if I’m still saying Trumpish things post-root, why would you think it really took? Francis agrees with me here.

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  15. Mermaid, “Actually, I don’t have trouble thinking of you as my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

    How about Hindus and Muslims? That’s where Pope Francis’ gospel train is going. Are you on board?

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  16. Who’s judging tlm? Oh Pope”whoami” Francis is the one who says immigration restrictionists are not Christians. Atheists are ok, rethuglicans that vote trump are beyond the pale. Not saying he’s wrong. Just curious.

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  17. Mermaid: “The whole alien righteousness thing just doesn’t work logically or Biblically. Galatians 5:6 isn’t talking about an alien righteousness.”

    GW: That’s because Galatians 5:6 is speaking to the fact that true faith always “works” — always bears fruit — through love. Which (as I pointed out above) is a biblical truth that the Reformers and all historic Protestant churches (whether Lutheran, Reformed, or Anglican) have always taught and confessed in their official confessions and catechisms. Contextually this fits in well with where Paul’s discussion at this point in the Epistle is headed, namely the fruit of the Spirit in contrast to the works of the flesh (i.e., Paul is beginning to deal with the subject of sanctification, not justification; see 5:16-26). He has already dealt with the “alien righteousness thing” and justification by faith apart from works with great force and clarity in the previous chapters of his epistle (2:15-21; 3:10-14; 23-29; etc.).

    As a Roman Catholic you may want to reconsider your use of Scripture, for your out of context, isolated proof text use of verses like Galatians 5:6 is almost no different from the proof text approach taken by Protestant fundamentalists.

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  18. Mermaid: “It is our own,- given to us as a gift. If it were only an alien righteousness, then why does the writer to the Hebrews exhort us to fix our eyes on Jesus as we run the race?”

    GW: Because only Jesus can provide us with the perfect righteousness we need (namely, HIS imputed righteousness) which alone can gain us entrance into heaven. The language of “fixing our eyes” upon Jesus is the language of faith/trust. We “run the race” only insofar as we look to Christ and Christ alone, apart from works. After all, Hebrews summons us to run the race of faith, not a race of works whereby we accumulate merit with God.

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  19. Walton:
    Since the righteousness is outside (alien), we look outside ourselves as we run the race (i.e. to Jesus).>>>>

    We do the actual running. Not in our own strength. Besides, here is a list of things that are ours through the precious faith we have because of the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    So, it’s not entirely alien if it is also said to be ours. It is both – His and ours as a gift. Well, yours, because you are part of the elect. I am Catholic, so I couldn’t possibly be a real Christian. I’m just a pathetic lost soul trying to earn my salvation, right? 🙂 I mean, that’s what you teach one another.

    2 Peter 1:5-8New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

    5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with mutual[a] affection, and mutual[b] affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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  20. Mermaid,

    So, it’s not entirely alien if it is also said to be ours.

    The fact that it is ours has nothing to do with the meaning of the word alien. Alien simply means we didn’t do it.

    IOW, when God issues his justifying declaration, all he sees is Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. He doesn’t see my good deed of walking the old lady across the street that I did in the power of the Spirit.

    Alien=I did nothing in the particular righteous act. It does not mean the righteousness isn’t my possession. It’s my possession via imputation.

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  21. Robert:
    IOW, when God issues his justifying declaration, all he sees is Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. He doesn’t see my good deed of walking the old lady across the street that I did in the power of the Spirit.>>>>

    If He doesn’t even see your good works, then how can faith without works be dead?

    How can the Holy Spirit enable you to do good works, but not see your good works?

    According to Scripture, by saying that God does not see your good works, you are calling Him unjust, that is, unrighteous.

    He doesn’t ignore them, either. He doesn’t overlook them at all. He notices.

    Hebrews 6:10
    – For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.

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  22. “If He doesn’t even see your good works, then how can faith without works be dead?”

    He doesn’t see them as a barrier or credit to your salvation. Good works belong only in the sanctification bin.

    “How can the Holy Spirit enable you to do good works, but not see your good works?”

    He does see them because he is of the God-head. Matthew 6:1

    “According to Scripture, by saying that God does not see your good works, you are calling Him unjust, that is, unrighteous.”

    Nope; nobody’s doing that.

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  23. Mermaid: “According to Scripture, by saying that God does not see your good works, you are calling Him unjust, that is, unrighteous.”

    GW: You misunderstand the sense in which Robert was speaking of God “seeing” our works. The point is, with respect to our justification before the tribunal of God, God only “sees” (in the sense of, has respect for) Christ’s righteousness. Since the believer’s righteousness, while wrought in them by the sanctifying Spirit, is still in this life always to some extent mixed with very many flaws and imperfections due to remaining sin, it could never serve as the basis for our justification before a perfectly holy and righteous and just God. Therefore, were God to judge believers by looking upon their own less-than-perfect righteousness as the condition for their justification, the only verdict would have to be damnation; for only a perfect righteousness will suffice before a perfectly righteous God. And only Jesus Christ has earned that perfect righteousness for His people, by His obedient life, atoning death and glorious resurrection.

    And regarding your concern about justice, consider what St. Paul the Apostle has to say about this matter in passages like Galatians 3:10 – “For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law.”” (New American Bible)

    If you seek justification by works (instead of by trusting in Christ alone), passages like this one are clear: God requires that you always, without fail, do “all” 600 plus commandments recorded in God’s Law or else you will be cursed (i.e., damned), not justified. It’s all or nothing. There is no lowering of the bar of God’s perfect justice to meet even your best, most sincere attempts at righteousness, if that righteousness falls short of perfection.

    So, Mermaid, do you have the perfect righteousness you need to gain heaven? (And if you think God will accept your less-than-perfect righteousness or your most sincere religious efforts for entrance into heaven, then just how righteous do you think you have to be in order to gain heaven? What is the standard of righteousness that must be met in order for us sinners to gain heaven, if that standard is less than perfect righteousness?)

    So, the options are clear, biblically-speaking: You either receive the perfect, everlasting, outside-of-you righteousness of Christ that is freely offered to you in the biblical gospel, which will result in your justification and eternal salvation. Or you seek to establish your own righteousness, which Scripture testifies will most certainly result in your eternal damnation. Contrary to what your church teaches, Scripture knows of no third option.

    May God in His sovereign mercy grant you the grace to embrace the good news of justification by faith in Christ alone.

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  24. D. G. Hart
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, who the hades here said that Challies isn’t a Christian? Your the one who collapses criticism into anathema and nudity into porn.

    You’re a credit to the convert-to-Rome tribe.>>>>>

    Oh, Brother Hart, there you go slandering me again, but I forgive you.

    The guys here don’t think I’m a Christian because, well, I’m a Papist. The evidence for that: they all preach the Calvinist Gospel at me and tell me that I am following a false Jesus and stuff like that.

    Maybe you posted to the wrong threat. I never said that any of you said Challies wasn’t a Christian.

    I never said any of you aren’t Christians. In fact I consistently say the opposite. You guys consistently tell me I am not a Christian.

    Who gives you the authority to make that judgment? You give that authority to yourselves. Who gives me the authority to call you my brothers and sisters in Christ? Well, I don’t have that authority, but the Church does. She calls you separated brethren, so I am free to do so as well. We all share the one baptism part of Ephesians 4:1ff.

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  25. Geoff,

    “Since a Christian is one who professes faith in the biblical gospel, which proclaims explicit faith in Christ alone as the only way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:12; etc.), can the Pope, whose Church teaches a false gospel of justification by a faith and works combination (thereby bringing itself under the damning apostolic anathema of Galatians 1:8-9)…. The language of “fixing our eyes” upon Jesus is the language of faith/trust.”

    Benedict: “The wall is no longer necessary; our common identity within the diversity of cultures is Christ, and it is he who makes us just. Being just simply means being with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Further observances are no longer necessary. For this reason Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love.

    Paul knows that in the twofold love of God and neighbour the whole of the Law is present and carried out. Thus in communion with Christ, in a faith that creates charity, the entire Law is fulfilled. We become just by entering into communion with Christ who is Love. We shall see the same thing in the Gospel next Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King. It is the Gospel of the judge whose sole criterion is love. What he asks is only this: Did you visit me when I was sick? When I was in prison? Did you give me food to eat when I was hungry, did you clothe me when I was naked? And thus justice is decided in charity. Thus, at the end of this Gospel we can almost say: love alone, charity alone. But there is no contradiction between this Gospel and St Paul. It is the same vision, according to which communion with Christ, faith in Christ, creates charity. And charity is the fulfilment of communion with Christ. Thus, we are just by being united with him and in no other way.”

    If you want to understand a bit of RC teaching on justification instead of trading on generalizations and caricatures, read http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/09/does-the-bible-teach-sola-fide/ and www(DOT)vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c3a2.htm and www(DOT)catholic.com/magazine/articles/justification-sola-fide – and since you seem to have an issue with merit – www(DOT)calledtocommunion.com/2011/11/the-doctrine-of-merit-feingold-calvin-and-the-church-fathers/

    “Because only Jesus can provide us with the perfect righteousness we need (namely, HIS imputed righteousness) which alone can gain us entrance into heaven.”

    Or he could provide it through infusion.

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  26. Philip Cary—-For Augustine and the whole Christian tradition prior to Calvin, it is perfectly possible to have a genuine faith and then lose it. Apostasy from the true faith. For Calvin, on the contrary, there is a kind of faith I can have now which I am sure not to lose, because it comes with the gift of perseverance. What is more, I can know that I have such faith rather than the temporary kind.

    For anyone who adds to an Augustinian doctrine of predestination the notion that we can know we are saved for eternity will necessarily believe that we can know we are predestined to be saved. For if Augustine is right about predestination, it is logically impossible to know you are saved for eternity without knowing that you are predestined for such salvation. That is precisely why Augustine denies you can know you are predestined for salvation.

    Philip Cary—To require faith that you are predestined for salvation before admission to the sacrament is… to make faith into a work

    mcmark—. The idea of sins having already been paid for by Christ’s death has no place in the sectarian calculus of Rome. Like the pope, Cary also is caught in a discussion about the nature of faith, in which he says that other people’s faith is a work, and that the object of other peoples’ faith is not true.

    Philip Cary—Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Reformed Protestants don’t worry about mortal sin but about whether they have true saving faith—so they seek conversion.

    Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me

    In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe.

    For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe).

    It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me. Thus precisely the kind of faith that is insufficient to get me admitted to the Puritan sacraments—which is to say, mere belief in the truth of the creed and TRUST IN MY BAPTISM—is all the faith I have. It is all the faith I can ever have, and all the faith I need.

    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/clinging-to-externals-weak-faith-and-the-power-of-the-sacraments/

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  27. Robert,

    I’m justified by the presence of sanctifying grace and divine life in the soul freely given at infusion in initial justification – if one has it, they are justified, if one doesn’t, they are not. It’s 100% righteous, perfect, and unmerited, though my participation in and union with it can always grow deeper and ever more perfect (or be killed via mortal sin). Hence merit only applying after one is transferred to that state and varying degrees of glory for the saints in heaven.

    I’m glad to know the Eastern fathers blew it with greek in their teaching on justification and theosis that apparently is gospel-denying and unbiblical that any first-year Greek student should know.

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  28. 1992 Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church —“Water baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.” It adds that “God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but God is not bound by his sacraments”. It states that, since Christ died for all , “every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it can be saved”

    I want to see the word “righteousness” in the Bible where it has the meaning of “infusion”. I am not asking to see the word “infusion”. I know it’s not there. Many read Romans 6 with the assumption that it says that the Holy Spirit (or the church) unites our insides to Christ on our insides. It does not.

    Calvin: “Osiander objects that it would be insulting to God, and contrary to his nature, to justify those who still remain wicked….. But as it is too well known by experience, that the remains of sin always exist in the righteous, it is necessary that justification should be something very different from reformation to newness of life. This latter God begins in his elect, and carries on during the whole course of life, gradually and sometimes slowly, so that if placed at his judgment-seat they would always deserve sentence of death … But herein is the wondrous method of justification, that, clothed with the righteousness of Christ, they dread not the judgment of which they are worthy, and while they justly condemn themselves, are yet deemed righteous out of themselves.” (Institutes, 3:11.11)

    http://heidelblog.net/2010/06/calvin-on-osiander/

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  29. Calvin, 3/11/4—But the most satisfactory passage on this subject is that in which he declares the sum of the Gospel message to be reconciliation to God, who is pleased, through Christ, to receive us into favor by not imputing our sins, (2 Cor. 5: 18-21.)

    Let my readers carefully weigh the whole context. For Paul shortly after adding, by way of explanation, in order to designate the mode of RECONCILIATION, that Christ who knew no sin was made sin for us, undoubtedly understands by reconciliation nothing else than justification. Nor, indeed, could it be said, as he elsewhere does, that we are made righteous “by the obedience” of Christ, (Rom. 5: 19,) were it not that we are deemed righteous in the sight of God in him and not in ourselves.

    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 already 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.

    http://heidelblog.net/2009/10/has-the-forenisc-eclipsed-union-with-christ/

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  30. Mark Mcculley
    Posted February 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
    Philip Cary—-For Augustine and the whole Christian tradition prior to Calvin, it is perfectly possible to have a genuine faith and then lose it. Apostasy from the true faith. For Calvin, on the contrary, there is a kind of faith I can have now which I am sure not to lose, because it comes with the gift of perseverance. What is more, I can know that I have such faith rather than the temporary kind.>>>>

    Exactly. No one taught what Calvin taught before Calvin.

    Aquinas spoke of persevering faith, but not in the same way Calvin did. Calvin’s version is his own invention.

    A person can’t really can’t know that he has persevering faith, since he cannot know he is part of the elect. Nothing that he does before believing in Christ or after means anything, really. It is all Christ’s righteousness all the time – never his own – that God sees. It is always alien, never really part of him in any real way.

    Original sin dogs him every day of his life. All he can do is cast himself on God’s mercy, which may or may not mean he is justified.

    He can have such assurance only in theory, not in reality. After all, he could very well be self deceived. If he turns away from the faith, then his Calvinist friends will tell him that he did not have justifying, saving, persevering faith to begin with. He are now a reprobate and always was. He is the dog who turned back to his own vomit. He always had a dog nature, and he returns to where he belongs – with the dogs.

    You are not omniscient, so how can you know that you are part of the elect? You might be a dog. Yes. From Scripture you can know that there is a such a thing as “the elect.” What you cannot know in your system is whether or not you are part of that elect. It is all God’s choice. You may be deceiving yourself into think that you have chosen Him because He chose you. You know there is nothing in you worth saving.

    You could be wrong, very wrong, and you have nothing to say about the matter.

    No one before Calvin ever believed or taught this and called it Christianity.

    Like

  31. Robert Reymond, Systematic Theology, p 754—-The Protestant doctrine calls into question the salvation of millions of Christians throughout history. This group would include, we are informed, sacerdotalists who believed in baptismal regeneration and, because they confused justification and sanctification, believed also in the necessity of deeds of penance for salvation.

    Reymond– This argument is aimed not so much at Protestantism’s “rigidity” as it is against Paul’s insistence that there is only one gospel, and that any other “gospel” is not the gospel, that those who teach any other “gospel” stand under God’s anathema (Galatians 1:8-9), and that those who rely to any degree on their works for salvation nullify the grace of God (Romans 11:5-6), make void the cross work of Christ (Galatians 2:21, 5:2), and become debtors to keep the entire law and are under the curse of the law.

    Reymond: It is neither my nor their defenders’ place to assure the Christian world that surely God justified them by faith alone even though they themselves did not hold to a faith alone view of justification. I will not speculate but I will say that our attitude should, with Paul, ever be: “Let God’s truth be inviolate, though EVERY man becomes thereby a liar. ” (Romans 3:4) The clear teaching of the Word should be upheld and we should not look for reasons to avoid it, even if the alternative would force us to conclude that these fathers–and all others like them—were not saved.

    mcmakr–I have not doubt that the false gospel has been around for a very long

    so nobody watered is doing penance or paying for imputed guilt or inherited corruption in purgatory?

    so you can be sure that God loves you but not sure that this will amount to much when it comes to getting out of purgatory? your sect sounds like the J-W cult which teaches that only 144, 000 make it in.

    maybe you will get out, but who can be sure

    you can never have enough indulgences
    or merits from the “saints” who did more than enough to get out of purgatory,
    with left overs to add to those who still don’t know?

    http://heidelblog.net/2012/10/canonization-saints-and-christ-our-only-mediator/

    Like

  32. “The clear teaching of the Word should be upheld and we should not look for reasons to avoid it, even if the alternative would force us to conclude that these fathers–and all others like them—were not saved.”

    Thus saith Robert Reymond. All those generations of previous so-called Christians who blew the gospel while fighting heresies and hammering out core dogmas just didn’t get the clear teaching of the Word as defined by Reymond. Considering Reymond’s history with the Nicene creed as well as his rejection of God’s timelessness, one shouldn’t be surprised.

    Like

  33. Francis Turretin, well explains and clarifies some of the differences between the Roman view of justification and the Reformed view (which he describes in this quote as the orthodox view):

    “On the other hand, the orthodox think far differently. For although they do not deny that inherent righteousness was purchased for us by the merit of Christ and by his grace conferred upon us so that by it we are and can be denominated truly just and holy, still they deny that it enters into justification in any way, either as a cause or as a part, so that justification may be said to be placed in it and by and on account of it man may be justified before God. For the righteousness of Christ alone imputed to us is the foundation and meritorious cause upon which our absolutely sentence rests, so that for no other reason does God bestow the pardon of sin and the right to life than on account of the most perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to us and apprehended by faith. Hence it is readily gathered that we have not here a mere dispute about words (as some falsely imagine), but a controversy most real and indeed of the highest moment. In it we treat of the principal foundation of our salvation, which being overthrown or weakened, all our confidence and consolation both in life and in death must necessarily perish.”

    – p. 639. Sixteenth Topic, Q. II, VI; Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Volume Two (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, Copyright 1994 by James T. Dennison, Jr.

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  34. @cvd
    Hadn’t heard of Reymond until now. Curious that a covenant seminary prof. would reject God’s timelessness. What was he arguing for exactly? It doesn’t seem to square with either the WLC or WC definitions f God.

    Like

  35. Clete,

    I’m justified by the presence of sanctifying grace and divine life in the soul freely given at infusion in initial justification – if one has it, they are justified, if one doesn’t, they are not. It’s 100% righteous, perfect, and unmerited, though my participation in and union with it can always grow deeper and ever more perfect (or be killed via mortal sin). Hence merit only applying after one is transferred to that state and varying degrees of glory for the saints in heaven.

    So are you justified by your love for God or by the perfect righteousness of Christ that includes nothing that you do?

    Is what Christ did perfectly sufficient to justify you, or is your justification finally dependent on how well you keep yourself in grace, with the help of God of course?

    I’m glad to know the Eastern fathers blew it with greek in their teaching on justification and theosis that apparently is gospel-denying and unbiblical that any first-year Greek student should know.

    You can keep trying the tack of saying that the fathers don’t hold the Protestant position, but it doesn’t work unless you assume the fathers were dealing with the same issues that the Reformers were. They weren’t. They were also woefully inadequate in their understanding of the Hebrew background of the Greek Old Testament. This isn’t a problem for those who believe in doctrinal development and understand that the fathers weren’t the high-water mark in church history and everything after that is a mere afterthought. It shouldn’t be a problem for you because in theory Rome should be better off doctrinally today than back then.

    Like

  36. Mermaid, let me help you remember:

    You know, one thing I find a little odd here at Old Life is how quick you guys are to judge others as not being true Christians, but rarely if ever do you apply your own standards to yourselves.

    It is always someone else who is not a Christian. Always some other group of Christians that does not measure up. Never you guys.

    No one has asserted you are not a Christian. But plenty have paraphrased Walter on Donny, “Mermaid, you’re out of your element.”

    Like

  37. James Young, “my participation in and union with it can always grow deeper and ever more perfect (or be killed via mortal sin).”

    The Mr. Rogers Roman Catholicism. No possibility of losing it or going to hell. Just deeper and better every day, just deeper and better every day, just deeper and better every day. . .

    Sing with me.

    Like

  38. Mermaid, “A person can’t really can’t know that he has persevering faith, since he cannot know he is part of the elect.”

    Not even if you get a phone call from the infallible pope?

    What happened to all those certainties won in the epistemology seminar?

    Like

  39. Darryl,

    What happened to all those certainties won in the epistemology seminar?

    Apparently you can know that the Roman system is true, but you can’t ever know if you are really a part of it.

    I guess it makes some sense, gotta keep the people coming back for more. Dangle the hope of salvation, but don’t ever let anyone have it. Perpetual waiting and sitting on edge keeps the people and the money flowing. Just ask Tetzel.

    Like

  40. Robert
    Posted February 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    What happened to all those certainties won in the epistemology seminar?

    Apparently you can know that the Roman system is true, but you can’t ever know if you are really a part of it.

    I guess it makes some sense, gotta keep the people coming back for more. Dangle the hope of salvation, but don’t ever let anyone have it. Perpetual waiting and sitting on edge keeps the people and the money flowing. Just ask Tetzel.>>>>>

    Hey! That’s your system. In your system you have no way of knowing for sure that you are part of the elect.

    You know from Scripture that there is such a thing as “the elect.” You have no way of knowing who is part of that group. Your claim to assurance can be just presumption.

    Have you never heard of evanescent grace? How can you know that you are not one of those reprobate whose grace runs out?

    ” There is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent.”
    ————————————————————————————————
    …experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect, that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them. Hence it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith, is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption. Should it be objected, that believers have no stronger testimony to assure them of their adoption, I answer, that though there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith, yet the elect alone have that full assurance which is extolled by Paul, and by which they are enabled to cry, Abba, Father. Therefore, as God regenerates the elect only for ever by incorruptible seed, as the seed of life once sown in their hearts never perishes, so he effectually seals in them the grace of his adoption, that it may be sure and steadfast. But in this there is nothing to prevent an inferior operation of the Spirit from taking its course in the reprobate. Meanwhile, believers are taught to examine themselves carefully and humbly, lest carnal security creep in and take the place of assurance of faith. We may add, that the reprobate never have any other than a confused sense of grace, laying hold of the shadow rather than the substance, because the Spirit properly seals the forgiveness of sins in the elect only, applying it by special faith to their use. Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment; not that they are partakers of the same faith or regeneration with the children of God; but because, under a covering of hypocrisy, they seem to have a principle of faith in common with them. Nor do I even deny that God illumines their minds to this extent, that they recognize his grace; but that conviction he distinguishes from the peculiar testimony which he gives to his elect in this respect, that the reprobate never attain to the full result or to fruition. When he shows himself propitious to them, it is not as if he had truly rescued them from death, and taken them under his protection. He only gives them a manifestation of his present mercy. In the elect alone he implants the living root of faith, so that they persevere even to the end. Thus we dispose of the objection, that if God truly displays his grace, it must endure for ever. There is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent. (3.2.11, Institutes of Christian Religion

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  41. Mermaid, remember, Trent condemned Protestants for teaching assurance of salvation:

    It is not to be said to any one boasting a confidence and certainty of the forgiveness of his sins, that his sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven; seeing this vain confidence, totally remote from piety, may exist in heretics and schismatics. … As no pious man ought to doubt of the mercy of God, the merit of Christ, and the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, so every one, while he beholds his own weakness and disinclination, may be in fear and dread respecting his own gracious state; seeing that no man can know with a certainty of faith, as to which there can be no lurking error, that he has obtained the grace of God. (Chapter 9)

    Whosoever shall say that he holds it absolutely and infallibly certain that he shall have the great gift of perseverance even unto the end, if he has not learned this by special revelation, let him be anathema. (Canon 16)

    Your whole affect is off. Cocky when you should be fearful, antinomian when you should be going to confession. You’re a Protestant trapped in a Roman Catholic cheerleaders outfit.

    Like

  42. Cletus van Damme: “I’m justified by the presence of sanctifying grace and divine life in the soul freely given at infusion in initial justification – if one has it, they are justified, if one doesn’t, they are not. It’s 100% righteous, perfect, and unmerited, though my participation in and union with it can always grow deeper and ever more perfect (or be killed via mortal sin).”

    GW: In this comment you manifest the typical Romanist confusion of justifying and sanctifying grace. Justification and sanctification are distinct in Scripture, though the one always implies and is connected to the other, for both spring from union with Christ. (I.E., everyone who is justified will also be progressively sanctified, but our sanctification through infused righteousness is not the basis of our justification; rather, our sanctification, grounded in union with Christ, flows out of our justification and is the fruit and evidence thereof). Because justification involves a forensic declaration (and not the infusion of a habitus via infused righteousness) it can be neither increased nor diminished; for, in a courtroom setting the judge in sentencing declares the accused to be either “innocent” (justified) or “guilty” (condemned). You are either one or the other. Forensically-speaking, you cannot become more justified or more condemned, for legal declarations know of no degrees. But because sanctification is progressive it can involve degrees of attainment, and thus can increase as believers grow in the knowledge and love of Christ.

    Furthermore, from a biblically-Reformed perspective, if our justification could be lost, then that would impugn the absolute, infinite perfection of Christ’s merit and sacrifice which are imputed to the believer. In other words, because Christ’s atonement is a perfect, once-for-all atonement that has forever dealt with the sin problem of God’s people, and because His imputed righeousness is a perfect, everlasting righteousness, the believer is secure in his justification. If a believer could lose his justification, that would mean that Jesus failed at His saving work, that His merit was merely hypothetical rather than effectual, that His redemptive work in very many cases fails to actually redeem, and thus that the believer would be deprived of all stable hope and comfort from the gospel.

    But, thankfully, God will never call for a re-trial of the justified believer, for justification is a once-and-for-all, irreversible and unrepeatable declaration of God in His heavenly tribunal. “There is therefore NOW no condemnation for those who are in Christ…” (Rom. 8:1); the believer “…WILL NOT come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). The believer’s vindication on judgment day is simply an open acknowledgement and acquittal before gathered humanity of the verdict that God had already issued in His heavenly tribunal in the believer’s once-for-all justification.

    Like

  43. Geoff,

    “[Turretin]: Hence it is readily gathered that we have not here a mere dispute about words (as some falsely imagine), but a controversy most real and indeed of the highest moment.”

    The Benedict quote did not indicate there were no differences. Nor did any of the links; Malloy’s and Cross’ articles explicitly cover disagreements. The purpose of the citation was to show how saying one affirms “faith alone” does not entail one must believe in justification via ongoing extra nos imputation. RCism affirms faith alone, but it denies certain formulations of it.

    “[Turretin]:For the righteousness of Christ alone imputed to us is the foundation and meritorious cause upon which our absolutely sentence rests”

    Trent: “The causes of this justification are:
    the final cause is the glory of God and of Christ and life everlasting; the efficient cause is the merciful God who washes and sanctifies[31] gratuitously, signing and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance,[32] the meritorious cause is His most beloved only begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies,[33] for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us,[34] merited for us justification by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross and made satisfaction for us to God the Father, the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith,[35] without which no man was ever justified finally, the single formal cause is the justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but that by which He makes us just, that, namely, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind,[36] and not only are we reputed but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to everyone as He wills,[37] and according to each one’s disposition and cooperation.”

    “In this comment you manifest the typical Romanist confusion of justifying and sanctifying grace.”

    Just as Augustine did. Calvin: “Even the sentiment of Augustine, or at least his mode of expressing it, cannot be entirely approved of. For although he is admirable in stripping man of all merit of righteousness, and transferring the whole praise of it to God, he classes the grace by which we are regenerated to newness of life under the head of sanctification. Scripture, when it treats of justification by faith, leads us in a very different direction. Turning away our view from our own works, it bids us look only to the mercy of God, and the perfection of Christ.”
    “It is not unknown to me, that Augustine gives a different explanation; for he thinks that the righteousness of God is the grace of regeneration; and this grace he allows to be free, because God renews us, when unworthy, by his Spirit; and from this he excludes the works of the law, that is, those works, by which men of themselves endeavour, without renovation, to render God indebted to them…. But that the Apostle includes all works without exception, even those which the Lord produces in his own people, is evident from the context.”

    You’ve been confusing and conflating initial justification with ongoing justification in analyzing Romanism, thus clouding your earlier criticisms. The links were provided to disabuse you of that.

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  44. sdb,

    Reymond: “These verses [Gen. 21:33; Ps. 29:10; 45:6; 90:2, 4; 102:25-27; Is. 40:28; 1 Tim. 1:17] clearly ascribe everlastingness to God. But what is not so clear is whether his everlasting existence should be understood, with most classical Christian thinkers (for example, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas), as also involving the notion of timelessness. ”

    “…it would seem that the ascription to God of the attribute of timelessness (understood as the absence of a divine consciousness of successive duration with respect to his own existence) cannot be supported from Scripture nor is it self-consistent. At best, it is only an inference (and quite likely a fallacious one) from Scripture. These reasons also suggest that the Christian should be willing to affirm that the ordering of relationships of time are true for God as well as for man.”

    [citing Dabney]: ‘that God’s existence is without succession, does not seem so clear to natural reason…. In all the acts and changes of creatures, the relation of succession is actual and true. Now, although God’s knowledge of these as it is subjective to Himself, is unsuccessive, yet it is doubtless correct, i.e., true to the objective facts. But these have actual succession, so that the idea of successive duration must be in God’s thinking. Has He not all the ideas we have’ and infinitely more? But if God in thinking the objective, ever thinks successive duration, can we be sure that His own consciousness of His own subsistence is unrelated to succession in time?’
    “I concur with Dabney’s anlysis. Not to do so and to insist that God is timeless, that is to say, that the distinction of time and hence existence with succession have no reference to him, lies behind much theological mischief.”

    On Nicaea (from theopedia): Reymond discusses his objections in A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith. Departing from orthodox Reformed theology of the Trinity, Reformed theologian Robert Reymond is rather emphatic in his rejection of eternal generation and procession. For Reymond, it is clear that Father, Son, and Spirit relate in covenant; he places distinctive emphasis on the equal self-existence of each person and the arbitrariness of the roles enacted by them. The subordination in their roles in salvation indicate nothing about what they are ontologically; and therefore, the name “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” is not a revelation of who God is, but rather only a revelation of God’s purposes.

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  45. Robert,

    “So are you justified by your love for God or by the perfect righteousness of Christ that includes nothing that you do?”

    Deathbeds and infant deaths don’t have works. They are still justified and saved just like believers with long lives. Because they are infused with sanctifying grace.

    “well you keep yourself in grace, with the help of God of course?”

    Those who persevere have no reason to boast – the gift of perseverance was a grace of God. It’s not two men in a rowboat.

    “You can keep trying the tack of saying that the fathers don’t hold the Protestant position… [they] were also woefully inadequate in their understanding of the Hebrew background of the Greek Old Testament””

    You said any first-year Greek student should know justification defined as being in Christ is laughable. So the eastern fathers affirming that in justification with their doctrine of theosis apparently were dummies who didn’t really know Greek. Or apparently the “clear word of God’ was masked in confusing Greek language and background knowledge that only those a millenium later could decipher by doing sentence and grammar parsing diagrams. Somehow this wasn’t a problem when those same fathers were hammering out very complex core dogmas on Christology and the Trinity though.

    Like

  46. Cletus,

    Deathbeds and infant deaths don’t have works. They are still justified and saved just like believers with long lives. Because they are infused with sanctifying grace.

    The bolded part of the statement is wrong because you affirm a final justification that includes works, do you not?

    So do the works you do under the influence of sanctifying grace justify you or not? Seems to me that the answer for deathbeds and infant deaths, the answer is no and that the answer for others is yes, since you grow in your justification and even maintain it by your ongoing obedience, particularly with respect to your obedience in sacramental matters.

    Those who persevere have no reason to boast – the gift of perseverance was a grace of God. It’s not two men in a rowboat.

    If grace is intrinsically efficacious and finally irresistible, then this is correct. If not, then they can boast of how they assented via their free will that was influenced by but by no means made certain by grace.

    You said any first-year Greek student should know justification defined as being in Christ is laughable.

    That’s because justification is God’s declaration of righteousness. Of course, you do get that by being in Christ, but we know that is not what you mean.

    So the eastern fathers affirming that in justification with their doctrine of theosis apparently were dummies who didn’t really know Greek.

    To the extent that theosis/glorification is the final end of the believer, built on the foundation of what Christ did in His life and on the cross alone and not what He does in the believer, they are correct in connecting the two. But since they weren’t involved in the arguments of the Reformation, what they say is largely irrelevant to the specific Protestant-RC debate on justification. I’m fully content not to read either Protestantism or Roman Catholicism into them, as are most church historians.

    But they weren’t dummies. They knew Greek—more classical Greek. They also knew Greek philosophy and Greek culture. But it is inarguable that they were also poorly educated in the Hebrew background of the NT. This is what happens when you go all anti-Semitic and cut out the Hebrew heritage. Something that, incidentally, was not only true of the East. This is something even modern Roman scholarship admits. If you want to be a RC OT scholar, you better believe knowledge of Greek isn’t going to be enough to get you a professorship or a spot on the pontifical biblical council.

    Who do you get that is familiar with Hebrew in the early church? Origen, who I’m sure you won’t want to claim and Jerome, who to no final avail argued against the apocrypha but finally gave in to people who had no good knowledge of such things. If those are the standard, then you better believe you will have a mixed bag of truth and error among the earliest Christians.

    Or apparently the “clear word of God’ was masked in confusing Greek language and background knowledge that only those a millenium later could decipher by doing sentence and grammar parsing diagrams.

    Sentence and grammar-parsing diagrams are irrelevant to how the Jews used diakaio in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew. Justification in its OT context never means “make righteous.”

    Somehow this wasn’t a problem when those same fathers were hammering out very complex core dogmas on Christology and the Trinity though.

    It’s entirely possible for people to be right in one area and to be wrong in another. Which is why even Rome doesn’t accept everything the church fathers taught. When Rome stops picking and choosing, this argument might have more merit. Until then, the “very complex core dogmas” were also formulated when the church was in a greater state of unity and involve different linguistic and contextual issues than in the justification debate. You simply don’t need a thorough grounding in the Hebrew OT in order to see that Jesus is unambiguously identified as God.

    JBFA is the logical consequence of those dogmas. If Christ is God and never sinned, only His extrinsic righteousness can provide the foundation of salvation. Otherwise you get a muddled mess of venial sin that really isn’t all that bad but does force you to go through purgatory to meet the standard of absolute perfection which both Protestants and RCs agree is necessary for heaven. We just get there exclusively through the mercy and grace of Christ, not through Christ plus what we do in cooperation with him if we are lucky to live long enough and good enough to deign to give our yes to him.

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  47. Geoff Willour says:
    February 20, 2016 at 6:49 pm
    Mermaid: “It is our own,- given to us as a gift. If it were only an alien righteousness, then why does the writer to the Hebrews exhort us to fix our eyes on Jesus as we run the race?”

    GW: Because only Jesus can provide us with the perfect righteousness we need (namely, HIS imputed righteousness) which alone can gain us entrance into heaven. The language of “fixing our eyes” upon Jesus is the language of faith/trust. We “run the race” only insofar as we look to Christ and Christ alone, apart from works. After all, Hebrews summons us to run the race of faith, not a race of works whereby we accumulate merit with God.>>>>>

    Is the righteousness of Christ a human righteousness as well as Divine righteousness? Is it not the righteousness of a perfect human being? If His righteousness is also human righteousness, then it can’t be totally alien to humanity.

    Think of this. How do we lay up – accumulate – treasures in Heaven? Is it not through good works done in faith?

    We have already established the fact that God is not unrighteous so as to forget our gifts and labor of love. (Heb. 6:10) There has to be some kind of accumulation going on. Treasure is laid up in heaven. (Mt. 6:19-22)

    Part of Protestant misunderstanding is that the word “merit” in Catholic terminology is “ reward.”

    You might be interested in this article. Check out the actual doctrines of the Council of Trent as well as the CCC.
    ————————————-
    Protestants often misunderstand the Catholic teaching on merit, thinking that Catholics believe that one must do good works to come to God and be saved. This is exactly the opposite of what the Church teaches. The Council of Trent stressed: “[N]one of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification; for if it is by grace, it is not now by works; otherwise, as the Apostle [Paul] says, grace is no more grace” (Decree on Justification 8, citing Rom. 11:6).

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/reward-and-merit

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