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May 31, 2012 / vivator

My second post on: Was Augustine a monergist?

Monergistic regeneration means that regeneration is accomplished by a single actor, God. It means literally a “one-working.” [R.C. Sproul: Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will, pages 23].  As indicated in Sproul’s statement, monergism is closely tied to regeneration and this regeneration precedes faith.

The Reformers taught not only that regeneration does precede faith but also it must precede faith.  Because of the moral bondage of the unregenerate sinner, he cannot have faith until he is changed internally by the operative, monergistic work of the Holy Spirit. Faith is regeneration’s fruit, not its cause.

R.C. Sproul: Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will, pages 23

How about conversion and sanctification?  According to Sproul and Berkhof these two are not monergistic in nature but synergistic.

This view is clearly monergistic at the initial point of the sinner’s movement from unbelief to faith. The whole process, however, is not monergistic.  Once the operative grace of regeneration is given, the rest of the process is synergistic. That is, after the soul has been changed by effectual or irresistible grace, the person himself chooses Christ.  God does not make the choice for him. It is the person who believes, not God who believes for him. Indeed the rest of the Christian life of sanctification unfolds in a synergistic pattern.

There is much confusion about the debate between monergism and synergism. When Augustinianism is defined as monergistic, one must remember that it is monergistic with respect to the beginning of salvation, not to the whole process. Augustinianism does not reject all synergism, but does reject a synergism that is all synergism.

R.C. Sproul: Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will, pages 73

Regeneration, then, is to be conceived monergistically. God alone works, and the sinner has no part in it whatsoever. This, of course, does not mean, that man does not co-operate in later stages of the work of redemption. It is quite evident from Scripture that he does.

Berkhof, Systematic Theology, page 473

But though God only is the author of conversion, it is of great importance to stress the fact, over against a false passivity, that there is’ also a certain co-operation of man in conversion.

ibid, page 490

We can conclude that according to both Berkhof and Sproul: (1) only regeneration is monergistic in nature; (2) regeneration takes place before (synergistic) conversion and (synergistic) sanctification and (3) regeneration is distinct from conversion and sanctification.  Interestingly, according to Berkhof’s investigation this view is a later development, i.e. it comes neither from Luther nor Calvin.

Luther did not entirely escape the confusion of regeneration with justification. Moreover, he spoke of regeneration or the new birth in a rather broad sense. Calvin also used the term in a very comprehensive sense as a designation of the whole process by which man is renewed, including, besides the divine act which originates the new life, also conversion (repentance and faith) and sanctification [Inst. III.3.9]. Several seventeenth century authors fail to distinguish between regeneration and conversion, and use the two terms interchangeably, treating of what we now call regeneration under vocation or effectual calling. The Canons of Dort also use the two words synonymously [III and IV. 11, 12], and the Belgic Confession seems to speak regeneration in an even wider sense [Art. XXIV].

Berkhof, Systematic Theology, page 466

 In contrast Sproul concluded that the Reformers (plural, presumably Luther and Calvin) held the same view as he and Berkhof do (refer to his statement at the beginning of this post). According to Berkhof neither did the early Church believe the same view. Yet at the same time he insisted that Augustine adopted monergism in the same way he and Sproul believe.

In the mind of the early Church the term “regeneration” did not stand for a sharply defined concept. It was used to denote a change closely connected with the washing away of sins, and no clear distinction was made between regeneration and justification. As identified with baptismal grace, the former was understood especially as a designation of the remission of sin, though the idea of a certain moral renovation was not excluded. Even Augustine did not draw a sharp line here, but did distinguish between regeneration and conversion. To him regeneration included, in addition to the remission of sin, only an initial change of the heart, followed by conversion later on. He conceived of it as a strictly monergistic work of God, in which the human subject cannot cooperate, and which man cannot resist

Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pages 465-466

Berkhof wrote that Augustine’s regeneration includes remission of sin through baptism – something that neither he nor Sproul believe.  He did not provide us the source of Augustine statement either.  It is unlikely that Augustine believed in remission of sins (through baptism) as part of regeneration that takes place before conversion, unless he wrote about infant baptism. As pointed out correctly by Berkhof, to Augustine regeneration takes place in (Sacrament of) Baptism – something that is also admitted by Sproul (just like Berkhof, at the same time he also insisted that Augustine taught monergism in the same way present-day Calvinists understand):

It must be noted that here [Council of Orange decrees], as well as in Augustine, the grace of regeneration is effected by the sacrament of baptism.  Baptismal regeneration was later rejected categorically by Calvinists as well as most other Protestants.

R.C. Sproul: Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will, pages 76

The fact that Augustine taught baptism of regeneration, which is still the belief of the Catholic Church, is undeniable.  In the words of Augustine (underlined emphasis added)

As a consequence, then, of this disobedience of the flesh and this law of sin and death, whoever is born of the flesh has need of spiritual regeneration—not only that he may reach the kingdom of God, but also that he may be freed from the damnation of sin. Hence men are on the one hand born in the flesh liable to sin and death from the first Adam, and on the other hand are born again in baptism associated with the righteousness and eternal life of the second Adam; even as it is written in the book of Ecclesiasticus: “Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die.” [Ecclesiasticus or Sirach 25:24]

Augustine, a Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants, Book I Chapter 21

If any man, however, is still perplexed by the question why the children of baptized persons are baptized, let him briefly consider this: Inasmuch as the generation of sinful flesh through the one man, Adam, draws into condemnation all who are born of such generation, so the generation of the Spirit of grace through the one man Jesus Christ, draws to the justification of eternal life all who, because predestinated, partake of this regeneration. But the sacrament of baptism is undoubtedly the sacrament of regenation: Wherefore, as the man who has never lived cannot die, and he who has never died cannot rise again, so he who has never been born cannot be born again. From which the conclusion arises, that no one who has not been born could possibly have been born again in his father. Born again, however, a man must be, after he has been born; because, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” [John 3:5] Even an infant, therefore, must be imbued with the sacrament of regeneration, lest without it his would be an unhappy exit out of this life; and this baptism is not administered except for the remission of sins. And so much does Christ show us in this very passage; for when asked, How could such things be? He reminded His questioner of what Moses did when he lifted up the serpent. Inasmuch, then, as infants are by the sacrament of baptism conformed to the death of Christ, it must be admitted that they are also freed from the serpent’s poisonous bite, unless we wilfully wander from the rule of the Christian faith. This bite, however, they did not receive in their own actual life, but in him on whom the wound was primarily inflicted.

Augustine, a Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants, Book II Chapter 43

Augustine also stated that regeneration that begins in Baptism will be continued through-out our life (here he equates regeneration with renewal) – something that both Berkhof and Sproul (and any Calvinist of today) will reject.

For it is not from the moment of a man’s baptism that all his old infirmity is destroyed, but renovation begins with the remission of all his sins, and so far as he who is now wise is spiritually wise. All things else, however, are accomplished in hope, looking forward to their being also realized in fact, even to the renewal of the body itself in that better state of immortality and incorruption with which we shall be clothed at the resurrection of the dead. For this too the Lord calls a regeneration,—though, of course, not such as occurs through baptism, but still a regeneration wherein that which is now begun in the spirit shall be brought to perfection also in the body. “In the regeneration,” says He, “when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28] For however entire and full be the remission of sins in baptism, nevertheless, if there was wrought by it at once, an entire and full change of the man into his everlasting newness,—I do not mean change in his body, which is now most clearly tending evermore to the old corruption and to death, after which it is to be renewed into a total and true newness,—but, the body being excepted, if in the soul itself, which is the inner man, a perfect renewal was wrought in baptism, the apostle would not say: “Even though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” [2 Corinthians 4:16] Now, undoubtedly, he who is still renewed day by day is not as yet wholly renewed; and in so far as he is not yet wholly renewed, he is still in his old state. Since, then, men, even after they are baptized, are still in some degree in their old condition, they are on that account also still children of the world; but inasmuch as they are also admitted into a new state, that is to say, by the full and perfect remission of their sins, and in so far as they are spiritually-minded, and behave correspondingly, they are the children of God. Internally we put off the old man and put on the new; for we then and there lay aside lying, and speak truth, and do those other things wherein the apostle makes to consist the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness [Ephesians 4:24]. Now it is men who are already baptized and faithful whom he exhorts to do this,—an exhortation which would be unsuitable to them, if the absolute and perfect change had been already made in their baptism. And yet made it was, since we were then actually saved; for “He saved us by the laver of regeneration.” [Titus 3:5] In another passage, however, he tells us how this took place. “Not they only,” says he, “but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” [Romans 8:23-25]

Augustine, a Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants, Book II Chapter 9

To conclude since Augustine understanding of regeneration does not match with that of present-day Calvinists (who consider that only regeneration is monergistic in nature), he was not a monergist (and will never be).

56 Comments

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  1. Gty / Jun 12 2013 9:20 pm
    • Gty / Jun 17 2013 1:00 pm

      Augustine did not believe that baptism saves a person. Rather that the person who believes is ‘baptized.’
      “Wherefore, the Lord, about to give the Holy Spirit, said that Himself was the bread that came down from heaven, exhorting us to believe in Him. **For to believe in Him is to eat the living bread.** He that believes eats; he is sated invisibly, because invisibly is he born again. A babe within, a new man within. Where he is made new, there he is satisfied with food.” (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 26:1)

      http://righteousbutnotyet.blogspot.ca/2011/01/st-augustines-understanding-on-how-to.html

      • vivator / Jun 21 2013 4:16 pm

        Your source of information is defective. Augustine did believe in saving baptism for forgiveness of sin and baptism of regeneration as cited in my post and in my other post below:
        http://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/augustine-on-baptism.
        1 Peter 3:21 says Baptism saves us and Romans 6:3-4 says through Baptism we will have new life – and that is the scriptural regeneration, not the one you now believe, which itself did not originate from Calvin, the founding father of your church and early Calvinists but was a later development.

      • uHumbug / Jun 25 2013 12:04 pm

        The ambiguities of Vivator’s citations of Augustine are clarified by St. Augustine’s own words. These two citations from Augustine side with “Gty”:

        In other works, St. Augustine again teaches that the predestined, the elect, will not be permitted by God to die and go to judgment without having received the sacramental baptism by water.
        St. Augustine: “Not one of the elect and predestined perishes, regardless of his age at death. Never be it said that a man predestined to life would be permitted to end his life without the sacrament of the Mediator. Because, of these men, Our Lord says: ‘This is the will of the Father, that I should lose nothing of what he has given me.’” (Against Julian 5, 4)

        St. Augustine: “As, therefore, that one man [Christ] was predestinated to be our Head, so we being many are predestinated to be His members. Here let human merits which have perished through Adam keep silence, and let that grace of God reign which reigns through Jesus Christ our Lord, the only Son of God, the one Lord. Let whoever can find in our Head the merits which preceded that peculiar generation, seek in us His members for those merits which preceded our manifold regeneration. For that generation was not recompensed to Christ, but given; that He should be born, namely, of the Spirit and the Virgin, separate from all entanglement of sin. Thus also our being born again of water and the Spirit is not recompensed to us for any merit, but freely given; and if faith has brought us to the laver of regeneration, we ought not therefore to suppose that we have first given anything, so that the regeneration of salvation should be recompensed to us again; because He made us to believe in Christ, who made for us a Christ on whom we believe. He makes in men the beginning and the completion of the faith in Jesus who made the man Jesus the beginner and finisher of faith; for thus, as you know, He is called in the epistle which is addressed to the Hebrews.” (The Predestination of the Saints, 31)

        http://www.romancatholicism.org/augustine-final.htm

        It is hard to imagine how baptism, for Augustine, could possibly add anything to those who are elect and predestined to eternal life. “Not one of the elect and predestined perishes..”
        These passages affirm that baptism is subsequent to what is already established by God for His elect.
        Notice too, how monergistic these passages are.. no cooperation possible there for one’s justification.

  2. vivator / Jun 25 2013 2:46 pm

    From what you wrote in your response “St. Augustine again teaches that the predestined, the elect, will not be permitted by God to die and go to judgment without having received the sacramental baptism by water” clearly shows that to Augustine the Elect will not be permitted (by God) to skip Baptism. The other quote from Augustine shows that Baptism is a gift and so is faith. I wrote a number of posts on the relation between grace and free-will according to Augustine. If you have time you are welcome to read them.

    http://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/augustine-on-grace-and-free-will/
    http://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/12/08/augustine-on-faith-works-grace-and-eternal-life/

    • uHumbug / Jun 26 2013 11:08 am

      The important point being… that to Augustine – baptism saves no one, and that salvation is purely monergistic… as Augustine says: “ “Not one of the elect and predestined perishes..”

      • vivator / Jun 30 2013 10:57 am

        You contradict what you wrote on June 25 (emphasis in capital is mine): “In other works, St. Augustine again teaches that the predestined, the elect, will not be permitted by God to die and go to judgment WITHOUT having received the sacramental baptism by water.” There is nothing in Augustine statement you cited support monergism

      • uHumbug / Jul 5 2013 2:44 pm

        There is no contradiction.
        Read carefully this excerpt from my June 24 post :
        “Thus also our being born again of water and the Spirit is not recompensed to us for any merit, but freely given; and if faith has brought us to the laver of regeneration, we ought not therefore to suppose that we have first given anything, so that the regeneration of salvation should be recompensed to us again; because He made us to believe in Christ, who made for us a Christ on whom we believe. He makes in men the beginning and the completion of the faith in Jesus who made the man Jesus the beginner and finisher of faith; for thus, as you know, He is called in the epistle which is addressed to the Hebrews.” (The Predestination of the Saints, 31)

        Note that Jesus is “the beginner and finisher of faith.” There is no cooperation from man needed for salvation.

        Note that Augustine saw no place for merits in salvation… “we ought not therefore to suppose that we have first given anything.” Thus he maintains his monergism.

        Note that Augustine believed that faith in Christ alone “the beginner and finisher of faith” is sufficient for salvation, otherwise God would have to recompense us with salvation a second time… “and if faith has brought us to the laver of regeneration (baptism), we ought NOT therefore to suppose that we have first given anything, so that the regeneration of salvation should be recompensed to us again.”

        If you read this passage without preconception, it is clear that the baptized person is regenerated before he is baptized, otherwise “the regeneration of salvation should be recompensed to us again,” which is something “we ought not therefore to suppose…” according to Augustine.

        The fact that God makes sure that all the predestined will be baptized does not mean that baptism saves. It is like saying that all mortal men who are baptized will die – it doesn’t mean baptism CAUSES them to die. That is what Augustine means here… all those who are predestined to faith in Jesus, the “beginner and finisher of faith” are regenerated and will be baptized – not that baptism saves, otherwise “the regeneration of salvation [would have to] be recompensed to us again.”

      • vivator / Jul 9 2013 9:13 pm

        First let’s talk about necessity of Baptism which Augustine believed but you denied. Augustine taught infants who died without baptism will go to hell because without baptism they do not belong to the Elect – thus to him Baptism is necessary for salvation. When Augustine wrote “faith has brought us to the laver of regeneration”, he meant regeneration in Baptism comes AFTER faith. Even if you don’t interpret “laver of regeneration” to mean Baptism, what he wrote is against your belief – you believe regeneration takes place BEFORE faith, not the other way around as Augustine wrote. To Augustine Baptism of regeneration happens only once – thus he is against “the REGENERATION of salvation should be recompensed to us again”.

        Catholics DO NOT believe we can merit anything for our salvation in the same sense like you merit salary from your work. Note that Scripture does say God rewards us for our good works (Proverbs 13:13, Psalms 18:20, 2 John 8, Revelation 22:12 etc.) and He even rewards us with eternal life (John 5:28-29, Romans 2:6-7). Catholics understand that we are merited for our good works because God has freely chosen to associate us with the work of His Grace. In other words our merits come from His Grace, a gift from Him, our heavenly Father.

        Faith is a FREE gift from God – this something all Christians believe, i.e. it is not given to us because we do something good or because we behave well. When Augustine wrote “Jesus the beginner and finisher of faith” he did not support monergism because according to R.C. Sproul, monergism takes place only at regeneration. After regeneration (which happens before faith) everything is synergism and this includes conversion. You may read his statement in the post where you commented. For sure you are entitled to disagree with him. Other Reformed scholars may or may not agree with Sproul – I do not have time to check.

      • uHumbug / Aug 7 2013 7:18 am

        Sorry, from first beginnings to final completion, salvation is by grace, according to Augustine. He is a monergist.

        “Since these things are so, everything that is commanded to human beings by the Lord in the holy Scriptures, for the sake of testing human free will, is either something we begin to obey by God’s goodness, or is demanded in order to show us our need of grace to do it. Indeed, a person does not even begin to be changed from evil to good by the first stirrings of faith, unless the free and gratuitous mercy of God produces this in him…. So, therefore, we should think of God’s grace as working from the beginning of a person’s changing towards goodness, even to the end of its completion, so that he who glories may glory in the Lord. For just as no-one can bring goodness to perfection without the Lord, so no one can begin it without the Lord.”
        Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:23

        Much more from Augustine on monergistic regeneration:
        http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/augustinequotes.html
        From church history:
        http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/monergism_history.html

        Your comment is most unusual: “… monergism takes place only at regeneration. After regeneration (which happens before faith) everything is synergism and this includes conversion.”
        This is a meaningless statement since without monergistic regeneration (by God alone), nothing else happens. All the subsequent synergism in the world means nothing if God does not first regenerate His elect.

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 3:55 pm

        Even synergists agree that salvation is by grace from start to final completion. What Augustine does not support monergism and even sysnergist can agree with it. In synergism we CAN NEITHER use our freewill to begin to obey God’s goodness NOR begin to change from evil to good – God must start first and He always takes the initiative. As usual you keep on confusing synergism with semi-pelagianism which teaches that we can use our freewill FIRST before grace. The difference is synergist believe we can either cooperate or refuse this initial (technically we call it PREVENIENT) grace from God while in monergism we are simply passive recipient (just like a mechanic repairs a damaged car).
        Scripture nowhere says, not even alludes that we have to be monergistically regenerated before we can have faith. This belief is built from equating spiritual dead person with physically dead person.

      • UHumbug / Oct 26 2013 7:58 pm

        Your first paragraph does not persuade, and is merely a repetition of your position.

        As to your second paragraph:
        1) you claim “Catholics DO NOT believe we can merit anything for our salvation in the same sense like you merit salary from your work.”
        But that directly contradicts the Catholic teaching of condign merit as described in your Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm

        2) you claim: “…our merits come from His Grace, a gift from Him, our heavenly Father.”
        If it is true that you cannot claim merits for your own salvation, and that they are only gifts from God, then this is monergism. They are either God’s works, or man’s works – they cannot be both. If these works are by the “free will” of man, then man deserves to be rewarded for them, like the Catholic Catechism says regarding ‘condign merit.’ Aquinas agreed that conflating meritorious acts of man with God’s gifts was a bogus idea.

        3) your claims directly contradict your own Catholic Catechism:
        #2010 – Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then MERIT FOR OURSELVES and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.

        #2068 – The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them.
        The Second Vatican Council confirms: “The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.”

        Therefore, faith + baptism + keeping the commandments = attaining salvation.
        This is the same as the Judaizers adding to faith.

        Galatians 2:16 “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
        Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

        Rome’s system of salvation is a contradiction to the gospel – adding baptism and keeping the 10 commandments of the law of Moses, in order to attain to salvation = violation of all of Galatians, Romans, John, Acts, Philippians 3:9, Ephesians 2:8-9.

        4. Your two prooftexts in support of works meriting salvation are dead wrong:
        John 5:28–29 “Those who have done good … those who have done evil” does not imply that people’s deeds in this life are the basis on which judgment is pronounced (for that would contradict John’s strong emphasis on belief in Jesus as the way to gain eternal life: see John 3:16; 5:24–25; etc.). Instead, good works function as evidence of true faith, and if good works are lacking they show an absence of true faith. All those who truly believe will be brought “from death to life” (v. 24) and as a consequence will do good and will therefore enjoy the resurrection of life. (ESV Study Bible)

        Romans 2 “It seems more likely, however, that Paul is speaking here of real obedience that is rewarded on the last day—such obedience being the result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, as Paul explains at the conclusion of the chapter (2:26–29). Impartiality in judgment (v. 11) is a regular requirement in the OT (see Deut. 1:17; 16:18–20), reflecting the righteousness of God’s judgment (Deut. 10:17).” (ESV Study Bible)

        Yours is a common error – you cite verses that are indicatives and force them into service as imperatives.

        Finally, you are confused about Sproul. You would do yourself and everyone a favor by sticking to the terms ‘justification’ and ‘sanctification.’ As a monergist Sproul agrees that the God who is able to justify you, is also able to sanctify you. Salvation therefore is of God, from first to last.

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 10:06 pm

        First I must say you commented at the wrong place – you should do it under my post on merits in Catholicism. By placing it under my post on whether Augustine was a monergist, your comment becomes incoherent – I borrow this word from Ferd which you can read at
        http://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/07/19/from-the-blood-of-abel-to-the-blood-of-zechariah/#comment-5223
        However unlike Ferd I will not use the name of Lord to scare and judge you for your very minor mistake.
        First you claim my statement contradicts Catholic encyclopedia without offering any proof – it just empty and false allegation. Second does the Bible say we have to obey Ten Commandments? Open your Bible and read Luke 10:25-28 and just by one verse it is crystal clear that we have to obey the two greatest commandments to get eternal life. For sure Scripture does not teach salvation by works and neither do Catholics believe such thing, which you keep on falsely accusing. Scripture does say Baptism is necessary for salvation – read Mark 16:16 and 1 Peter 3:21. Is Scripture truly your only authority? The silliest thing you did is with your interpretation of John 5:28-29 where you twisted the verses completely.
        You keep on confusing Catholic teaching with your pre-defined belief of what Catholic Church teaches. To help you to clear your confusion, consider this hypothetical but possible case: A missionary went to a remote place in the middle of nowhere to preach the Gospel and he managed to make all indigenous people Reformed Christians (to make easy for you). My question for you: (1) Can he claim that he contribute in salvation of those indigenous people? (2) Does the salvation of those people depend on his missionary works? A missionary must work – he is not on vacation or retirement. If your answer to both questions is (and is supposed to be) NO, it should help you to understand Catholic understanding of grace & merits.
        In the above case Catholics believe that God through his grace FIRST moves that man’s heart to go to that remote country as missionary (the initiative does NOT come from that man freewill) and He too will provide all the necessities. Nobody is forced to work as missionary, at least not that I know – so he cooperated with this grace, went and worked there and through his works God gave the indigenous people ANOTHER grace that enables them to believe. Thus grace given to him that enables him to work as missionary “merits” grace that enables indigenous people to believe. Yet the missionary cannot claim any contribution because everything is grace even though he did cooperate. This should help you to understand # 2027. Catechism # 2009 says our merits are God’s gift and because they are gift we, saints on earth and saints in heaven can merit grace for other (like the above missionary) or for oneself. Salvation of those indigenous people does not depend on his missionary works either because God Himself can directly give grace to believe to those people. So why then He needs missionary? The Catechism # 2008 explains that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. He can do everything by Himself because He is God, but He let us “help” Him like working as missionary mentioned above – He even gives us grace that enable us to help him and TO DO GOOD WORKS. Without grace given through Christ we can do nothing (John 15:1-5). You may be surprised to see I use the word grace many times and it is, in fact, one of the reasons why I remain Catholic. Catholic teaching on salvation is grace based, without denying our freewill and merits. Calvinism, on the other hand, (1) denies freewill in the so-called monergistic regeneration, nowhere taught in Scripture and (2) teaches our good works are defiled and polluted with sin. The problem with the no (1) is it inevitably leads to double predestination as God regenerates the Elect and bypasses the Reprobate – a decision He makes unconditionally from eternity. Yet according to Scripture (Matthew 25:31-46) the phrase “prepared for you from the foundation of the world” is applied only to the Elect, which Catholics also believe but NOT to the Reprobate. In verse 41 Christ said hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, not for Reprobate and the phrase “from foundation of the world” is not there. This is against your belief that God decided from eternity to bypass Reprobate from being monergistically regenerated. The problem with no (2) is by declaring missionary (of the above case) work is defiled and polluted with sin for sure you will demoralize him. God is our Father – you believe that. If you are a father with children will you tell your children that their works are imperfect and polluted with sin? Human father is not perfect but God is our perfect Father in heaven.
        Scripture does not teach salvation by works and neither do Catholics believe such thing, which you keep on falsely accusing. As mentioned above we can do good works only by God’s Grace and when God rewards us for our good works, which Scripture affirms in many places, it is gift from him. Catholics DO NOT believe we collect points of rewards through our works to be exchanged for eternal life, just like you may collect Air Miles points. Catholics believe we enter heaven upon dying when we die without un-repented mortal sin. Those who die with mortal sin, even only one, will go to hell – their zillion good works will not save them. For Scriptural support you may read Ezekiel 18: 24. There is nothing unfair when God does not take into account good works of any who dies with un-repented mortal sin because good works are only possible with His Grace. We commit sin from time to time but God always takes the initiative and gives us grace to repent.
        I understand as Calvinist you keep on boasting salvation by grace alone through faith alone. May be it is the time for you to investigate. Below is what Reformed scholar Sproul wrote:
        Justification is by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone. Saving faith is not a “lonely” faith, having no works following as a companion (Faith Alone, page 156). Can you see works there? There is work component in your system of salvation, though, for sure you will hide it under the mask of faith alone.

      • spookchristian / Dec 19 2013 6:44 pm
      • vivator / Dec 19 2013 7:42 pm

        You refer to a number of videos – let me refer you to just one video:

        Do you believe what is stated in the video? If no, why? Anybody can pick on-line video matching his/her agenda and then present them as “truth”.

      • spookchristian / Dec 19 2013 8:17 pm

        your point is quite silly really.
        Its a well known fact that the vatican supported Hitler.

        It is also true that the roman catholic so called church seems to require all of their so called priests to be pedophiles…!!

        And the catholic so called church has murdered millions of people because they did not follow their demonic dogmas…

        your intensely ignorant of the truth…
        but then your a catholic, so no surprises there then..

      • vivator / Dec 20 2013 7:29 pm

        No doubt that there were, are and will be sinners in the Catholic Church. I am not surprised at all because Christ already predicted it two thousand years ago in His parable in Matthew 13:24-30. If you now belong to a church that teaches all members are guaranteed heaven because they are “born-again” and/or were monergistically regenerated then your “weed-free” church could not belong to the kingdom of heaven. I leave it to you to ponder to whose kingdom your weed-free church belongs to. The irony is you rely more on man-made video, not on the words of God.

      • spookchristian / Dec 20 2013 11:44 pm

        sharing scripture with catholics is an obvious waste of time,,,because you twist them out of shape so much..
        I actually believe what the bible says,..and trust in Jesus Christ for my salvation,
        there is no value in putting your faith in mary.

      • vivator / Dec 21 2013 10:36 am

        You didn’t share Scripture – what you shared are man-made videos. As Catholic I also believe in Christ as my Lord and my Saviour. Mary is not Saviour – Catholics never believe such thing.

      • spookchristian / Dec 21 2013 12:31 pm

        catholics believe that mary is a co-redeemer(redemptrix), which is certainly not biblical.

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 12:49 pm

        Co-redeemer is NOT redeemer and is NOT savior.

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 3:27 pm

        dont play word gamed,,,
        the fact that I am pointing out, is that,Mary, has no say in salvation,and has not authority in the redemption of sinners,
        she is not a redeemer along with Jesus,
        and there is only one means of access to the father,,
        and that is in the name of Jesus Christ,,,Acts 4v12

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 3:37 pm

        Catholics do believe Christ is the only Savior and the only mediator between God and men. Can you ask your friends to pray for you or you pray for others? You believe you or others can intercede one another through prayer without robbing Christ only mediator-ship. Does the Bible call us as co-workers?

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 3:49 pm

        co workers, not redeemers.
        and you are lying about your catholic doctrines,, as the catholic so called church teach that mary is co-redeemer.
        I can ask my brother christians to pray for me, but once they’re dead, then I do not attempt to ask them anything, as that would be necromancy…

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 8:39 pm

        According to Scripture whoever believes in Christ shall never die (John 11:26). According to Scripture the saints in heaven can communicate with us just like we communicate with saints on earth. For example Christ Himself conversed with Moses and ELijah (Matthew 17:3). Did He practice necromancy? John who wrote Revelation was able to converse with at least one elders in heaven (Rev 5:5, Rev 7:13-14). The source of your un-scriptural belief must be those man-made videos.

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 8:58 pm

        Jesus christ is God, and you are not.
        Secondly John, had, was given a supernatural revelation, of the things in heaven..

        you must be getting your doctrine from a Beano or some comic or something,, its called the catholic catechism.

        And where in Scripture does Jesus teach, that we should pray to the saints, dead saints by the way.

        The Revelation of John, was given by the Holy Spirit.

        You need to get a reality check, and hopefully get it from the Bible.

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 11:05 pm

        Did I ever claim to be God? I got my belief from Scripture while you got yours from man-made videos. You labeled as dead whom Christ declares as life – what an irony!

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 11:14 pm

        Mary, is in the Grave,the apostles are in the grave,e.t.c

        and if/when die, I will be in the grave until the resurrection..
        your forgetting that the book of revelation is prophecy, i.e yet future..
        You have no understanding or perception of Scripture at all do you??

        you really are desperate to prove how clever you think you are aren’t you.??

        You need to repent and get saved, and come out of that apostate whore of babylon..

      • vivator / Mar 9 2014 7:08 pm

        It seems to me you believe that if one dies he/she will be in the state of hibernation in the grave until they are resurrected at second coming of Christ. Some Christians believe such thing. But Heb 9:27 says after one dies he/she will face judgment – there is no such thing as waiting period. When Christ conversed with Moses and Elijah, did he resurrect them and then put them back in their graves? Paul wrote in 2 Cor 5:8 that to be absent in the body (death) is to be with the Lord – Is Christ spending time in the grave now? The fact that Revelation talks about end-times does not nullify the fact that John was able to communicate with elders in heaven.

      • spookchristian / Mar 10 2014 4:12 am

        i am getting a bit sick of you catholics, attemting to put words in my mouth..
        I never used the word ‘ hibernation ‘.
        so i will thank you to please go away,, or
        in Anglo-saxon
        F-Off.

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 9:02 pm

        the catholic so called church has obviously filled your mind with rubbish,and roman catholic lies, and the fables of Satan…

        You need to learn from the scriptures,for once,

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 11:06 pm

        I quoted from Scripture while you quoted from man-made videos. Your statement is well applied to yourself.

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 11:15 pm

        your so called doctrine is from the catechism,,,
        why cant you read the Scriptures for yourself.?
        your catechism so called,, is of the devil…

      • vivator / Mar 9 2014 6:51 pm

        The Catechism prepared by the Church, the foundation and pillar of truth, is certainly much more trustworthy than man-made videos you faithfully collect, believe and propagate. Catholics do read Scripture in every Mass – in fact there are more readings from Scripture than all Protestants services where congregation mostly listen to the words of their pastor.

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 9:27 pm

        Happy Christmas anyway… :D

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 11:06 pm

        Merry Christmas to you too!

      • spookchristian / Dec 19 2013 8:41 pm

        you are obviously some sort of catholic clown.

      • vivator / Dec 20 2013 7:31 pm

        You have good sense of humor. It is better than living in the world full of fantasy and conspiracy which you yourself built using cleverly chosen man-made videos.

      • spookchristian / Dec 20 2013 11:46 pm

        well perhaps you can illustrate which videos are fantasy please..
        unlike you catholics, I dont mind being corrected etc…

      • vivator / Dec 21 2013 10:36 am

        All of them

      • spookchristian / Dec 21 2013 12:32 pm

        All of them… that is a little ridiculous I am afraid… I dont say all those video’s are perfect, but not all of them are fantasy.
        just wondering if this conversation is going to go anywhere,??
        I genuinely want to be sharing the truth with others, so that they are not deceived,

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 12:43 pm

        Remember the one video I shared with you. The person in the video and those who agree with him will say the same thing, i.e. they want to share the “truth”. If you are so concerned about truth then why don’t you open your Bible and read 1 Tim 3:15 to know to whom Scripture address as the foundation and pillar of truth. No truth comes from any man-made video.

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 3:21 pm

        the truth does not come from the catholic so called church either …
        He roman catholic so called church, is a synagogue of Satan,,,The whore of Babylon..

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 3:31 pm

        Where does the Bible say the Catholic Church is synagogue of Satan and whore of Babylon? You still don’t realize you are living in the world of fantasy?

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 3:45 pm

        read Revelation 17…it is a perfect description of the vatican, and the roman catholic religious system.

        you are the one in a world of fantasy,,
        you think your so wise don’t you??

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 8:30 pm

        Your conclusion is based on man-made video, not based on Scripture which is supposed to be your only authority. Scripture provides crystal clear guidance where to find the pillar and foundation of truth but you prefer to listen to and to believe in man-made videos. You are free to disagree that the church in 1 Tim 3:15 refers to the Catholic Church and what you should do is start looking for that Church.

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 8:50 pm

        your ar the one that needs to find a genuine church to be a part of..you will not get the true gospel from Rome!!

        It is not the catholic so called church…
        It is not christian.

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 11:02 pm

        Then tell me which church do you believe deserves the title the pillar and ground of truth (KJV)?

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 11:09 pm

        The body of Christ, does not consist in one single denomination,…
        The Lord knows those that are his.

      • vivator / Mar 9 2014 6:56 pm

        Where does the Bible say “The body of Christ, does not consist in one single denomination”?

      • spookchristian / Dec 20 2013 11:52 pm

        would you prefer stupidly chosen videos that back up the lies of catholicism..and your heretic Jesuit pope..

      • vivator / Dec 21 2013 10:37 am

        I hardly watch video even if they are related to Catholicism.

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 12:45 pm

        Just another man-made video purportedly to present “truth”

      • spookchristian / Dec 22 2013 3:23 pm

        that link was not just to a video,,YOUR so called pope has made some very very unbiblical statements about himself, and other things, concerning Jesus Christ,,,

        I do not think that you want to know what the truth is,

      • vivator / Dec 22 2013 3:33 pm

        Your problem is you want to listen only to one side only which you claim to have “truth”, in reality it does not have any truth.

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