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August 8, 2010 / vivator

Merits in Catholicism

Catholic teaching on merit is commonly misunderstood by non-Catholics.  Many thinks that Catholics believe we must do good works to merit salvation or eternal life, just like a worker must work to merit his/her wages.  Catholic teaching that we can merit eternal life and increase of grace [1] is definitely scandalous to Protestants and “Bible only” Christians – it even fuels their common charge that Catholics believe in salvation by works.

Six clauses of Catechism of the Catholic Church, clause # 2006 to # 2011, deal with Catholic teaching on merits. It first defines merit (# 2006), in general, as recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.  Under this general definition a worker merits his wages.  It will be injustice if the employer refuses to pay his/her wages. Note that both employer and workers are equal – the employer needs workers to do the work while a worker does the work to earn his/her wages.  His/her wages are not gifts from the employer but something he/she deserves.

Does the Catholic Church teach we deserve merits or reward from our good works, just like a worker merits his/her wages?  The answer is NO – the Catechism (# 2007) states that with regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man.  The same clause gives the reason: Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.  Because of this immeasurable inequality we cannot apply the general understanding of merit, described in the previous paragraph, to our merits in relation to our salvation. Unlike our employer, God does not need our works because He can do everything by Himself. He can rain down food from heaven to feed the hungry; He can bring the good news to anybody on earth without the help of any missionary.

The next question is: does Scripture say God rewards us for our good works?  The answer is YES – there are ample verses from Scripture, both Old and New Testaments saying that God does reward us for our good works. He who respects the commandment will be rewarded (Proverbs 13:13). The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me [Psalms 18:20]. Look to yourselves that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward [2 John 8]. Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done [Revelation 22:12]. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven [Luke 6:23].  Does Scripture say the rewards of our good works include eternal life?  Again, the answer is YES. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment [John 5:28-29]. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life [Romans 2:6-7].

Thus while we do not deserve any reward from God for doing good works, according to Scripture, He nevertheless still rewards us and His reward even includes eternal life.  The Catechism (# 2008) provides explanation: The merit of man before God arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. God chose some of us to be His agents to show love to others like feeding the hungry. He chose others to be His agents to bring good news to mankind etc.  It is worth to mention that in Catholicism the initiative of doing such works always comes from God – The same clause says the fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his [man] collaboration [2].  Because of this, the same clause further says that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Men’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.  To be able to do good works, we must connect ourselves to the true vine, Christ, who said apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:1-5). 

The next clause (# 2009) explains that our filial adoption [as children of God] can bestow true merit on us as a result of God’s gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and worthy of obtaining the promised inheritance of eternal life.  This means, as the same clause further says, the merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.  Our merits are God’s gifts.  Thus in Catholicism the merits of our good works are not something we deserve (like our wages) but they are gifts from God.  The first clause dealing with merit (# 2006) is preceded with a phrase from Augustine (354 to 430 AD):

You [God] are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts.

Clause # 2010 says: 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.  We neither have to do good works nor must become good persons to make God take the initiative to move our hearts to have faith in Christ.  Faith in Christ is gift from God, irrespective of our past behaviour, whether we were good or evil persons. This is how Catholics understand Ephesians 2:8, the verse mostly quoted by Protestants and “Bible only” Christians to support their belief of by faith alone salvation. Catholics understand the phrase “not by works” in Ephesians 2:8 to mean works before our conversion to Christ, while to Protestants and “Bible only” Christians it means all works, before and after our conversion to Christ.

Since our merits are God’s gifts and are not something we deserve, then they may come in the form of increase of grace and even eternal life.  John 1:16 says that through Christ we receive grace upon grace. Thus Clause # 2010 says: 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.  Finally, the sixth clause (# 2011) says that the charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merits before God and before men.

     

  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2010, Council of Trent: Canon XXXII of the Decree on Justification
  2. This is known as synergism, also in Clause # 2010.  It is not semi-pelagianism who says that the initiative belongs to man.
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102 Comments

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  1. Paul Haverstock / Oct 19 2010 7:10 am

    I have never heard such a clear and concise treatment of merit before, and from a faithful Catholic perspective. Thank you for your service to the blogosphere by providing such well-crafted essays. I look forward to following your blog.

    Ad Jesum per Mariam,
    Paul

  2. brown / Jan 18 2011 11:41 pm

    “Through Baptism we receive Sanctifying grace that entitles us to enter heaven (CCC # 1999). Thus to Catholics Baptism is necessary for salvation of those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for it (cf. CCC # 1257).”

    Why then are newborns baptized? Shouldn’t Catholics who have a heart transformation be baptized at that time as opposed to being baptized when they do not have the ability to make a choice?

  3. vivator / Jan 19 2011 6:30 pm

    Thank you for the comment. Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants? The Catholic Church believes that all (save Virgin Mary) were born tainted with original sin and (Sacrament of) Baptism erases this sin. To Catholics (Sacrament of) Baptism is neither simply ritual (to declare our faith in Christ) nor symbol but it regenerates us – it makes us new persons (Romans 6:4).

    • gsmj / Sep 30 2011 6:28 pm

      thank you for your comment. I cannot approve any comments yet on my blog however because its publication is still pending approval from certain authorities. I think this is where we might disagree: “Catholics understand the phrase “not by works” in Ephesians 2:8 to mean works before our conversion to Christ, while to Protestants and “Bible only” Christians it means all works, before and after our conversion to Christ.”

      On my comment about the RC Church, I would agree with this statement:

      “Does the Roman Catholic Church specifically state that we are “saved by grace and works”? Not that I am aware of and neither do the above Catholic Canons state such a thing. But, when the Roman Catholic Church negates justification by faith alone, it necessarily implies that we must do something for justification, for if it is not by faith alone, then it must be by faith and something.” http://carm.org/roman-catholic-view-justification

    • thetruthmadesimple / Jul 16 2013 9:59 am

      Which baptism are you referring to? eg. Water baptism or baptism by the Holy Spirit? If you mean water baptism, then you’re relying on an external actions to save you. Regeneration is being made spiritually alive from the spiritually dead. This is an act of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:6, 8.) Only he can regenerate you. God has made us alive with Christ (Eph. 2:5). Biblically speaking, H2O itself never regenerates anyone nor can it do so nor does it ever erase sin. This is impossible, and even if it could, then there would be no need for the Holy Spirit to work to regenerate anyone. The water would be sufficient. But we know this is not the case. Water itself does not make us spiritually alive. Look at 1 Pet. 3:21. It would seem that baptism saves us, hence the Roman Catholic belief that babies will be saved if they are baptized. But look at the meaning of the text. This is the gist of what is being said, -> “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you. Baptism is a sign and seal of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. The startling statement that baptism “saves you” shows how close is the relationship between the sign [which is NOT the reality] and the reality it signifies. Noah’s physical salvation through the waters of the Flood prefigured the waters of baptism and the salvation they signify. Baptism symbolizes judgment on sin in the death of Christ and then also renewal of life (Rom. 6:4) [Once again, keep in mind that baptism is an outward sign showing the inward reality that ALREADY has happened – the death to sin, the being renewed to eternal life.] The floodwaters were judgment to the wicked, and at the same time physical salvation for the just, Noah and his family.”

      “not as a removal of dirt from the body.” Lest his readers mistakenly attribute a magical or mechanical power to the sacrament, Peter states that the means of salvation is not performance of the external rite, but what it symbolizes—union with Christ in His death and Resurrection.”

      The act itself of baptism does not regenerate us but it does show the inward reality that we have died to sin and have been raised to newness of life. Rom. 6:4. It itself does not make us new persons. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit makes us new persons. And that happens well before water baptism and has nothing to do with the act of baptism. The believers baptism is first and foremost a spiritual washing by the Holy Spirit himself, Titus 3:5. We are reborn (spiritually or “born again” or “born from above” John 3:3) and renewed or made new creatures in Christ (1 Cor. 5:17) (the Holy Spirit convicts us of our need to repent of our sin and trust Jesus as our Savior) the moment we trust in Christ as our Savior.

      A baby does not and cannot understand that it is a sinner in need of salvation. You can baptize that child a million different ways but until it understands it is a sinner in need of salvation through Christ alone, and actually trusts Christ to save him/her, it will never, nor can it (babies don’t have fully developed, reasoning minds) be a new person. Not through baptism or anything other means than faith alone in Christ alone + nothing. It’s sin remains on it until then and so does the old man.

      • vivator / Jul 21 2013 8:39 pm

        By itself, I agree that water of baptism can do nothing, but God can and will work miracles through physical things (not only water). There is no magic here and we have examples from Scripture, both Old and New Testament. God asked Moses to make bronze serpent and to set it on a pole and whoever looked at it after being bitten by real snake will live. Prophet Elisha asked Naaman to wash in Jordan River to cure his leprosy (2 Kings 5:10-14). According to 2 Kings 13:21 bones of Prophet Elisha were able to bring back to life a dead man. Christ could heal blind men directly (Mark 10:52, Luke 18:42-43) but in John 9:6 He preferred to use soil mixed with His saliva. Likewise many were healed by touching fringe His garment (Matthew 9:20, 14:36). Handkerchiefs or aprons after touching Apostle Paul’s body were able to heal the sick and to cast away evil spirit (Acts 19:12). Coming back to water of Baptism, Reformer John Calvin rejected Baptism of regeneration but still believes through water of Baptism (that figures blood of Christ) all sins (past, present and future) are forgiven [Institutes of the Christian Religion 4.15.3]. In other words he still recognized sacramental aspect of Baptism – something that you reject. As noted by Reformed scholar Berkhof, Calvin understanding of regeneration is different with present day Calvinists. I have to correct you – Catholics believe it is God who regenerates us though water of Baptism – that is why Catholics call it Sacrament (and so did Luther and Calvin).

        Quoting from 1 Peter 3:21 you wrote (emphasis in capital is mine): Baptism is a SIGN and SEAL of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Which translation of Bible you use in 1 Peter 3:21? You wrote (emphasis in capital is mine) “The act itself of baptism does not regenerate us but it does show the inward reality that we have died to sin and have BEEN RAISED TO NEWNESS OF LIFE. Rom. 6:4. It itself DOES NOT MAKE us new persons.” Do you realize that contradict yourself? Christ said in John 3:5 unless you are born again of WATER and of spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Catholics always understand that water referred in John 3:5 is the water of Baptism. Babies and children before age of reason cannot and will not sin, but they are still born with original sin – and that is the reason why Catholics (and some Protestants, including Reformers) baptize infants.

  4. vivator / Sep 30 2011 7:56 pm

    Catholic believes we are saved by Grace through faith (Eph 2:8) and Sanctification (2 Thes 2:13). Catholics do reject salvation by faith alone because to Catholics our Justification is an on-going process while Protestants consider it to be one-time event. I suggest you to listen to both sides instead of drawing conclusion through one-side and biased view from non-Catholic source carm.org

    • gsmj / Oct 1 2011 3:06 am

      Council of Trent
      CANON 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”
      Canon 24: “If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.”

      This is, in part, why I said what I said.

  5. vivator / Oct 1 2011 9:13 am

    You cannot draw conclusion just by reading only two canons – it is like a person who reads ONLY Proverbs 31:6-7 and concludes that the Bible approves drunkenness or who reads only Numbers 31:17 and concludes that the Bible approves genocide.
    Canon 9 declares Catholic position that Justification is not one time event and is not by faith alone because Scripture does not say so (James 2:24). It also declares that Catholics are synergists, i.e. while our salvation depends on God’s Grace, He will not force it on us. Thus His Grace will first move us to believe in Christ and to obey Him – without His Grace we can neither believe nor obey Him, yet we have freedom either to cooperate or to reject His Grace. If you belong to Calvinist based church then you will subscribe to monergism – if you are Arminianist then you are synergist.
    Canon 24 denies Protestants position that good works (performed in our Sanctification) are merely fruits and signs of Justification. Works in Catholicism means graced works, i.e. we cannot do it without being first moved and assisted by His Grace. Following Scripture God does reward us for (good) works and He even rewards us with eternal life (John 5:28-29, Romans 2:6-7), however to Catholics this rewards are gift from God, i.e. it is not something we deserve.

    • gsmj / Oct 2 2011 6:15 pm

      with all due respect,

      I have been accused twice of being biased. First, it was implied that I do not listen to both sides. Second, it was suggested that I drew my conclusions “just by reading only two canons.”

      I would suggest giving me some benefit of the doubt that, at least, I have researched the issue of justification (even at a basic level) and have decided that the interpretation the most closest to the witness of Scripture is the Reformed position. (By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ’s righteousness alone).

      • vivator / Oct 2 2011 6:20 pm

        Why don’t you read what I wrote on comparison (side by side) between Catholic and Reformer position on Justification at
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/223-2/
        If I misinterpret Reformed position or have biased view or not doing enough my homework let me know

      • Shogn / Oct 17 2015 3:17 pm

        gsmj:
        don’t hold waste your timehe “misinterprets the Reformed position, or has a biased view, or isn’t doing enough homework.”

      • Shogn / Oct 22 2015 7:33 am

        gsmj:
        apologies for my incomprehensible note above… it was posted prematurely as I was chuckling at vivator’s Oct. 2, 2011 post above: “if I misinterpret Reformed position or have biased view… let me know.” Now that I have composed myself, this is what I meant to say:

        Don’t waste your time – people have tried to “let him know” again and again, and still are – without success. He gives his reasons:
        1. I don’t like your tone.
        2. It’s my blog, so If you don’t like it – tough!
        3. you just don’t understand, and I’m tired of telling you.
        4. You’re the one who is misinterpreting and biased.

        So don’t hold your breath waiting for him to admit errors and misrepresentations – he just doesn’t make them!

      • vivator / Oct 26 2015 8:26 pm

        I can understand your frustration – in fact I got the same feeling whenever I checked a number of anti-Catholic blogs, some are maintained by former Catholics. If you have a blog who will set the rule and who is in charge? You or your readers? If you opt the former (most likely you do) then why you have problem with what I did?

  6. gsmj / Oct 3 2011 1:54 am

    after glancing over your post, i think a point you made could be further clarified by adding an “UNTIL”

    “Some Protestants and “Bible only” Christians are synergist while those who follow Calvinism or Reformed theology are monergist.  Monergist believes that when God takes the initiative (through His Grace) to regenerate us, {He does it without our cooperation, i.e. His Grace is irresistible [25] and their slogan is “grace alone through faith alone”.  We can neither cooperate nor reject God’s Grace because the original sin we inherit from Adam makes us totally deprived [26].}”

    Below is from the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCoF). {emphasis in brackets}

    CHAPTER X.
    Of Effectual Calling.

    I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ: enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good; {and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.}

    II. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, {until,} being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.

    In the WCoF, Cooperation exists; but, man’s cooperation is consequential. While in CoT God “requires” our cooperation, in the WCoF, God provides our cooperation.

    • vivator / Oct 4 2011 6:48 pm

      I need to clarify your statement. God is our creator and we are created in His image, which includes our freewill. In short even our freewill comes from God. Catholics and Calvinists disagree on what happened to our freewill after the Fall, i.e. when we inherit Original Sin from Adam. In Catholicism Original Sin wounded our nature but not totally corrupted it while Calvinists believe it makes us totally deprived. Thus when God moves us to believe in Christ (and to obey Him) Catholics believe we can still use our freewill to either cooperate or to reject His Grace. You cannot say God requires our cooperation in the same way like you (if you are CEO of a company) require cooperation of your workers. He gives us our freewill and let us use it. In Calvinism God regenerates us and because of this the Elect was able to believe in Christ. Thus in Calvinism regeneration precedes faith (while the Arminianists will say faith precedes regeneration). You cannot say in Calvinism God provides our cooperation – He makes the Elect cooperate.

      • gsmj / Oct 5 2011 12:57 am

        yes, in Reformed Theology, God makes the elect cooperate; he provides the means by which we may be able to cooperate; he makes the spirit of man alive so that he is willing to cooperate.

        that is why I wanted you to clarify this statement:

        {He does it without our cooperation, i.e. His Grace is irresistible [25] and their slogan is “grace alone through faith alone”. We can neither cooperate nor reject God’s Grace because the original sin we inherit from Adam makes us totally deprived [26].}”

        we cooperate, but our cooperation is the result of God’s Sovereign work.

      • Jeph / Feb 1 2012 7:27 am

        The common Catholic alibi that “because freewill (i.e. the ability to choose between good or evil) is endowed to us by God, therefore our willingness to cooperate is God’s gift also” (the same alibi used by the semi-Pelagians against St. Augustine) would not hold water upon close philosophical examination.

        First, the ability to do something is one thing, but the actual execution of that ability is another (e.g. the ability to walk or run is not the walking or running itself). Second, the praise or blame for the execution of an ability IS NOT ultimately on the ability of nature itself, but on the agent who executes the ability. Thus when someone commits a crime, the blame is on the criminal himself, not on his power to do the crime. The same goes with regards to piety or any positive decisions or actions.

        Thus, man’s willingness to cooperate with grace cannot be ascribed to God merely on the grounds that it was God who gave him the ability to cooperate or not (freewill). Otherwise, you would also have to blame God when someone is unwilling to cooperate! Therefore, man’s willing cooperation with grace in the Catholic position is a necessary contribution in man’s part in order to be saved. In other words, not by grace alone, but grace + man’s contribution.

        St. Augustine was spared from that problem when he contested against the semi-Pelagians that man’s ability of will to choose righteousness over evil is wholly lost in Adam when he sinned, that man became a “willing slave” under the power of Sin, and that when God converts a sinner, he does so by restoring in him not only the “ability to will”, but also the very willingness itself so that he may infallibly turn to God for Salvation. The same position held by Calvinists.

        Now to say that Roman Catholics believe in salvation by grace alone is just a wishful thinking. Catholics affirm that salvation is INITIATED by God’s grace alone, but the whole process of it, from first to last, cannot be termed the same way when the position is closely examined.

      • vivator / Feb 6 2012 10:00 pm

        Catholics believe in salvation by grace without the word ALONE! It seems you insist Catholics must contribute in their salvation but if there is such contribution then the next question is what is our minimum contribution? There is no such thing in Catholicism! We enter heaven upon dying when we die without un-repented mortal sin – it depends neither on the amount and quality of our good works nor on amount and quality of our sins.

  7. vivator / Oct 6 2011 5:44 pm

    Perhaps to better understand Reformed position is using analogy. Imagine you repair a damaged car and fill the tank with gas. That car is then “regenerated” and it will cooperate with you, i.e you can drive it anywhere you like or accelerate or stop it, whenever and wherever you want – no kicking and screaming from the car whatsoever. That car “cooperation” is obviously the result of your “sovereign” work. It can only “cooperate” and is unable to do otherwise.

    • gsmj / Oct 8 2011 12:31 pm

      Perhaps to better understand Reformed position is using analogy. Imagine you repair a damaged car and fill the tank with gas. That car is then “regenerated” and it will cooperate with you, i.e you can drive it anywhere you like or accelerate or stop it, whenever and wherever you want – no kicking and screaming from the car whatsoever. That car “cooperation” is obviously the result of your “sovereign” work. It can only “cooperate” and is unable to do otherwise.

      >> In the Ref. position the car is not just damaged. It’s totally dead.

      How would you use this analogy to represent the RC position?

    • Jeph / Apr 5 2012 4:37 pm

      I think this is is the Nth time I’ve seen you misrepresent what Calvinists believe.

      In the Calvinist anthropology, man is not a passive agent like a “car” or any inanimate object. Everything that man does, he does so by his own will – and his choices (mind you) are not coerced by anything outside itself. He freely acts according to the inmost desire of his heart.

      Now according to Scripture, man is born in sin and is a slave under it. His heart is desperately wicked, deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Thus, in the state of depravity, man freely sins and rebel against God according to the inmost desire of his heart – which is to SIN. On the other hand, when man’s heart is changed by the Lord, he freely chooses to repent of his sins and believe in Christ for Salvation. Therefore, your analogy about cars having no freewill (much less having no rationale) does not simply fit with what REALLY Calvinism teaches.

      • vivator / Apr 7 2012 9:32 pm

        Jeph,
        I got the idea from Luther who compared men with “beast of burden”. There were no cars in Luther’s time. Had they been there he would use car analogy. Luther wrote that our behaviour, as beast of burden, depend on who controls us, God or the devil.

        The car analogy works well in Calvinism. They are in damaged condition and are in conveyor belt, i.e. it represent what you wrote as [Man] heart is desperately wicked, deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Thus, in the state of depravity, man freely sins and rebel against God according to the inmost desire of his heart.” In Calvinism, just like those damaged cars, men must be first regenerated (cars must be first repaired) – a monergistic works of God because we are dead in sin or totally deprived. But Scripture says in John 5:25 that the dead (without being first regenerated by God) will hear the voice of Son of God. In a nutshell Calvinism is not scriptural!

      • RC1959 / Aug 12 2013 7:31 am

        Re.: your reference to John 5:25…
        You really believe a dead man should get the credit for “hear(ing) the voice of Son of God.”? What kind of power do you think you will have when you are dead?

        This is a perfect example of how a precommitment to an idea can keep one from seeing the obvious and going where the clear evidence leads.

      • vivator / Nov 2 2013 4:03 pm

        I did not write “dead man SHOULD GET CREDIT for hearing the voice of Son of God – do not put your words in my mouth. John 5:25 says dead can hear the voice of son of God without being regenerated first. If they are first regenerated as according to your belief then Scripture won’t call them dead.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Mar 20 2015 3:24 pm

        ..this fixes the prior typo..
        Regarding your comment,
        “John 5:25 says the dead CAN hear the voice of [the] Son of God without being regenerated first.”
        Sorry, but the verse says nothing either way about regeneration. Here it is:
        “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Thus your comment amounts to no more than an argument from silence, and pure eisegesis. So the more appropriate question here is: how can a dead man hear?

        To make sense of it then, the verse must be interpreted through other scriptures:

        “…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5
        “…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:5

        These verses make it clear that we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit only, before any cooperation with God is possible; and even while we were “dead” in sin.

        Says R.C. Sproul:
        “The reason we do not cooperate with regenerating grace before it acts upon us and in us is because we are are not able. We are not able because we are spiritually dead. We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him from the dead.”

        Thus it only makes sense that the only one who should get credit for a dead man hearing the voice of God… is God Himself.

  8. vivator / Oct 8 2011 1:18 pm

    That analogy is not applicable to Catholic position because we still have freewill. In Reformed teaching we are dead spiritually because of original sin. In the words of R.C. Sproul:
    When we considered in an earlier study our condition of original sin, we used the biblical metaphors of death and slavery. By nature we are born into this world DOA, dead on arrival, spiritually although alive biologically. We have no inclination whatsoever in our souls towards the things of God – no interest, no passion, no love. We are dead. Because we are spiritually dead, we are slaves to the sinful impulses and lusts that drive our behavior. We are not just participation in sin; such a description is far too weak. The Bible teaches us again and again that we are slaves to sin. Sin is not only in our nature, but it is our master.
    Sproul, R.C.: Romans, St Andrew’s Expositional Commentary, page 188-189

    • vivator / Oct 8 2011 1:20 pm

      You are entitled to write whatever you want to write and so am I. The case is closed.

      • Bb / Mar 19 2012 9:00 pm

        Maybe Aquinas view on merits will help

    • Jeph / Apr 5 2012 4:43 pm

      But where did Sproul say that man does not have a will and that he is just a passive agent so that you hastily compared it to a “car”?

      • vivator / Apr 7 2012 9:35 pm

        Obviously Sproul would not make such statement but we can deduce from what he wrote (quoted in my post)
        By nature we are born into this world DOA, dead on arrival, spiritually although alive biologically. We have no inclination whatsoever in our souls towards the things of God – no interest, no passion, no love. We are dead. Because we are spiritually dead, we are slaves to the sinful impulses and lusts that drive our behavior.
        If according to Sproul we are DOA (Dead on Arrival) then we are no different than any dead objects – car is one example.

      • Jeph / Apr 14 2012 9:14 am

        Vivator,

        When Calvinists say that men are “dead in their sins,” they refer to man’s inability of will with regards to righteousness only, NOT WITH REGARDS TO EVERYTHING as if man ceased to have a will so that you may compare it to any inanimately passive object.

        Again, when God calls His elect, they are not passive as if they do not will to believe. As I have explained to you many times over, God draws His elect to Himself by making them willing, not by coercion or by removing their will.

        Such portrayal of yours about what WE believe is simply inarticulately gross. Please retract them and learn from US who know better about what WE hold.

        Thanks.

      • vivator / Apr 14 2012 9:56 am

        You wrote “man’s inability of will with regards to righteousness only, NOT WITH REGARDS TO EVERYTHING”. Then how do you explain John 5:25 that says the dead shall hear the voice of Christa and those who hear shall live if according to you we have no ability with regards to righteousness only?

        I already stated that in Calvinism there is no such thing as kicking and screaming. When you wrote “God draws His elect to Himself by making them willing” but this will imply their cooperation. The difference is here you believe God liberates their freewill (that was in bondage in sin) through regeneration. This, of course, is Calvinist tradition (who told you you don’t have tradition but Scripture alone?). Scripture nowhere says regeneration comes before faith.

        You are not aware that Calvin taught baptism for forgiveness of sin and you expect me learn from YOU who know better about what YOU hold. What you know is the sugar coated version of Calvinism which obviously look palatable and appealing. I suggest you to read what Berkhof wrote about Baptism in Systematic Theology pages 622 to 643. Hopefully what he wrote on Baptism match the practice and belief of your reformed church. If no, how do you explain that?

      • LetYesBeYes / Apr 15 2012 2:52 pm

        You ask: “how do you explain John 5:25 that says the dead shall hear the voice of Christa and those who hear shall live if according to you we have no ability with regards to righteousness only?”

        Tell me, in your twisted logic, when Lazarus came forth from the grave at Jesus’s command, whose ability should get the credit?

        Re.: your comment to ‘Jeph,’ “You are not aware that Calvin taught baptism for forgiveness of sin and you expect me to learn from YOU who know better about what YOU hold? What you know is the sugar coated version of Calvinism which obviously look palatable and appealing.”

        Aside from this being the diversion it is, it is also one of the most egregious instances of hubris I have seen. You take an exception: that ‘Jeph’ was allegedly unaware of one thing – and proceed to use this exception to build a rule: that HE can’t possibly teach YOU anything. ‘Jeph’ deserved better. In my experience, when a person is attacked thus instead of his argument, it is because the attacker has run out of bullets.

        I have lived in both faith traditions (Catholic and Reformed evangelical), and see clearly that ‘Jeph’ has been more faithful in presenting the truth about the doctrines of grace, and that you have misrepresented Calvinism over and over in this blog, despite the many attempts to correct you (your continuing and misdirected harangue on a presumed Calvinist “double predestination” is but one example). What you see as a caricature of Catholicism by ‘Jeph’ is perhaps more accurately your own coming face-to-face with the absurd conclusions to your own doctrines.

        Your word choice speaks volumes – may I suggest the reason the doctrines of grace “OBVIOUSLY look palatable and appealing” to you is because they are TRUE.
        I am convinced that had you known the true doctrines of grace in the first place (and this may have been the failure of a namby-pamby liberal Protestantism), you would not have succumbed to 2 Peter 2:22:
        “What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.””

      • vivator / Apr 15 2012 3:46 pm

        I see your point regarding John 5:25. The fundamental teaching in Calvinism is since we are spiritually dead (in sin) we have to be first monergistically regenerated by God. Once we are regenerated then our will, that was in bondage in sin (i.e. we can only choose freely to sin), becomes free and we can choose to believe in Christ. Here you draw parallel between spiritual dead and physical dead – physically dead man can only do what physically dead man can do, which is nothing . So far so good and it does make sense. But Revelation 3:20 says he who HEAR and OPEN the door to welcome Christ (who takes the initiative to knock at the door) will be with Christ. Can a “dead” person hear and open the door to welcome Christ?
        Jeph does not need to teach me Calvinim – there are a number of online resources and books written by Calvinists, which I do read. You accused me of caricaturing Calvinism because I present it not in the way you want to read. I wrote a post on comparing justification between in Catholicism and Protestantism (you can see it at the top of my blog). From Protestant side I quoted from Luther, Calvin, Berkhof and Sproul. Read it and let me know which point(s) I misinterpret Calvinism.
        You applied 2 Peter 2:22. First you need to read 2 Peter 2:20-21 to see the context. Second 2 Peter 2:22 quotes not one but two proverbs. The first one is taken from Proverbs 26:11 but the second one is taken from outside Scripture and placed in par with Proverbs 26:11 – are you aware of this?

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Apr 23 2012 7:09 am

        You ask: “Can a “dead” person hear and open the door to welcome Christ?”

        Yes, same as a “sheep” can:
        “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

      • vivator / Jun 1 2012 9:36 am

        The verse does not say the sheep can open the door and there is no such sheep in this world who can do that. You missed the point – Revelation 3:20 is conditional statement, i.e. it starts with “if”, not “when”. Conditional statement means the person has option either to open the door to welcome Christ or not to open the door for whatever reason. You may be familiar with painting based on Rev 3:20, showing Christ standing and knocking at the door. While it is not stated in Rev 3:20 usually the door has no handle, i.e. it must be opened by the person from inside.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Apr 28 2012 12:10 pm

        Dear Vivator:

        Earlier (April 15, 2012) you offer this challenge: “From Protestant side I quoted from Luther, Calvin, Berkhof and Sproul. Read it and let me know which point(s) I misinterpret Calvinism.”

        Six days ago I responded to this with a careful and detailed answer and have yet to see it here…
        Would you be so kind as to share guidelines or revisions, so I that I might re-post in a way that is acceptable to you?
        Thank you.

      • vivator / Jun 1 2012 10:27 am

        I made late response because I had surgery recently and need time for recuperating

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Mar 24 2015 4:37 pm

        to your post above from Jun 1 2012 9:36 am:

        Regarding Revelation 3:20…
        “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Rev. 3:20

        You write, “Revelation 3:20 is conditional statement, i.e. it starts with “if”, not “when”. Conditional statement means the person has option either to open the door to welcome Christ or not to open the door for whatever reason.”

        *Please note, there is something that must happen before your alleged “conditional statement” – that is, before you can hear anything. And this true whether you are a man, or a sheep:

        “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:47 This means only those who are of God will hear the words of God.

        “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 This means you must be one of His sheep, and be known by Him, in order to hear and recognize His voice.

        “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 3:37 This means only those whom the Father gives to the Son will respond. And that those who are truly saved, will never be cast out.

        “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48 This means only those who are appointed by God will believe.

        This leaves no room for the cooperative system of Roman Catholicism. In God’s economy there is room for zero boasting, as Ephesians 2:8-9 states.

      • vivator / Mar 24 2015 6:46 pm

        This is to respond to your two comments (the third one was deleted as it was a copy of the other one). You still don’t understand synergism but keep on clinging to your caricature of synergism.
        Both synergism and monergism teach that our salvation depends on God’s grace, NOT on our free-will. Synergists and monergists agree that no one can boast because everything is grace. Both synergism and monergism believe in predestination, election and reprobation. Election implies that the Elect go to heaven because God chose them – if they are the one who chose heaven then we do not call it Election. Synergists believe in the prevenient and efficacious grace, given to the Elect – it is grace that preceeds (comes before) and governs our free-will. The Elect cooperate because of this efficacious grace, NOT because they have stronger free-will. Thus the Elect in Rev 3:21 can hear Christ knock or the dead can hear in JOhn 5:25 because of this prevenient and efficacious grace, not because they have better ears.
        What differentiates synergism with monergism is when God prevenient and efficacious grace moves us, do we remain free or are we passive like dead person? The former is synergism and the latter is monergism. For more detail, including analogies to describe these two system you may read my updated post on this issue at https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/synergism-amd-monergism-which-one-is-scriptural/

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Mar 24 2015 8:23 pm

        My understanding of Roman Catholic synergism is fine since I use only authoritative Catholic sources. And your own sources are clear in saying that God’s grace might be prevenient, but it is only as efficacious as your free-will cooperation decides it will be. It really cannot be called “efficacious”; it’s more of a ‘potential’ efficacy, which is really no efficacy at all. Thus in your system of salvation, your free will is more important than God’s free will – He is at your mercy. A perversion of who’s boss if ever there was one.

        The only “caricature” is your understanding of monergism… we are NOT “passive like [a] dead person.” This has been pointed out to you again and again by “Jeph” and others.

      • vivator / Mar 24 2015 8:43 pm

        God’s grace is NOT “might be prevenient” but it is prevenient. It is efficacious because it MAKES free-will cooperate with it, NOT the other way around. You are entitled to keep on caricaturing synergism and if this is the case you don’t need to post any more comments. You deny that as monergist you believe that we are passive while we are being monergistically regenerated. Unfortunately that what and your Reformed Gurus like Sproul wrote, which you cited: “The reason we do not cooperate with regenerating grace before it acts upon us and in us is because we are are not able. We are not able because we are spiritually dead. We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him from the dead.” If, according to you and Sproul, you are spiritually dead, does it imply you are passive, i.e. like a dead person? If no, then you are no longer a monergist but a synergist.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Apr 10 2015 6:14 pm

        clarified, with typos corrected…

        You say “prevenient grace is efficacious because it MAKES free-will cooperate with it, NOT the other way around.”
        Elsewhere you say: “Thus in synergism our salvation DEPENDS on Grace, NOT on our free-will.”
        Again on Mar 24 2015 above: “..it is grace that preceeds (comes before) and GOVERNS our free-will.

        Hmmm…the Catholic Encyclopedia says it ‘is’ the other way around.
        the Catholic Encyclopedia states:
        “Man may receive or reject this inspiration of God, he may turn to God or remain in sin. **Grace DOES NOT CONSTRAIN MAN’S FREE WILL.” **
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm Section on: Individual Salvation.

        I dare say your descriptions of grace are closer to monergism than synergism – though I don’t blame you for that… monergism is more coherent, and more consistent than the Catholic synergistic system of salvation.

        The Encyclopedia goes on to say:
        • that the human will remains free under the influence of this grace;
        • that man really cooperates in his personal salvation from sin;

        So Rome says the human will remains free under the influence of grace, and Vivator claims that grace is “efficacious BECAUSE IT MAKES free-will cooperate…”
        Furthermore, the Catholic Encyclopedia makes it clear that God’s initial grace is not sufficient for salvation – man’s free-will cooperation is necessary.

        In Catholicism, what makes grace “efficient” is when man cooperates with it! “The actual grace to which free consent is given by the will so that the grace produces its divinely intended effect.”
        http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=33281
        “… it is clear that preventing grace must develop into helping or co-operating grace as soon as free will gives its consent.”
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06689x.htm Section: Graces regarding free will

        To repeat from my post above:
        “… [though] God’s grace might be prevenient… it is only as efficacious as your free-will cooperation decides it will be. It really cannot be called “efficacious” — it’s more of a ‘potential’ efficacy, which is really no efficacy at all. Thus in your system of salvation, your free will is more important than God’s free will – He is at your mercy. A perversion of who’s boss if ever there was one.”

        So when you use terms like “grace makes free will cooperate,” “salvation depends on grace, not free will,” and “grace governs our free will,” you align yourself more with the ‘Calvinist’ doctrines of grace than with the Catholic position – as you can see from your own authoritative sources that are listed here for all to see.

        Finally, to your question on Mar 25 2015: “do we remain free (synergism) or are we passive like dead person (monergism)?” You create a false dilemma there because being “dead in sin” (Ephesians 2:5) refers to man’s spiritual inability to respond to the gospel, not to whether our wills ‘remain’ passive like a dead person” as you put it. In the Biblical doctrines of grace (some say Calvinism) the will is, and remains very much alive to the flesh, as you describe with terms like “grace makes free will cooperate,” “salvation depends on grace, not free will,” and “grace governs our free will.” Those are descriptions that accord more with the doctrines of grace, hallelujah for that.

        Here is a good summary of what it means to be “dead in sin”: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/deadsin.html
        An excerpt:
        “Jesus said, “that which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit is Spirit… The Spirit gives life but the flesh counts for nothing…that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless God grants it” (John 3:3, 6; 6:63,65) The person who is flesh is unregenerate and therefore dead in sin or spiritually dead. He is dead to spiritual things BUT IS ALIVE TO THE FLESH. That is why he can love sin and resist the Holy Spirit. Notice in the three quotes from Ephesians and Colossians at the top of this article (Ephesians 2:1; 2:5; Colossians 2:13)… in each instance, quickening or regeneration is the solution to the problem of being dead in sin.”

      • vivator / Apr 12 2015 12:53 pm

        I must say either (1) you don’t understand synergism or (2) you pretend not to understand it or (3) you don’t want to understand it. Synergists believe that when God prevenient and efficacious grace moves the Elect, they remain FREE. Being free means they can either cooperate or reject it. There is no contradiction between what I wrote and what Catholic encyclopedia stated. There is no statement in Catholic encyclopedia that says grace depends on free-will. Below are two excerpts from Catholic encyclopedia at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06710a.htm on the topic Controversies of Grace. Both shows that grace governs over free will.

        So it remains true that grace is not efficacious because free will consents, but conversely the free will consents because grace efficaciously premoves it to the willing and performance of a good act. [from Thomism view]

        For it is not the will which by its free consent determines the power of grace, but conversely it is grace which makes the free good act possible, prepares for it and co-operates in its execution. [from Molinism view]

        You have been brain washed to think that the ONLY way grace can work efficaciously is when the Elect were spiritually dead. It is like a mechanic who repairs a damaged car – he will do the work monergistically, he does not need cooperation from the damaged car and no kicking and screaming from the car either. By believing such thing, you simply LIMIT what sovereign God can do. Catholics do believe that grace from sovereign God can work efficaciously while men remain free – unlike you, we do NOT limit God ability. Keep in mind that the Catholic Church NEVER teaches we can use our free-will to achieve our salvation.

        Your monergistic system is based on presumption that men behave like physically dead person, who, like damaged cars, can do nothing. I am not fabricating this concept, as you falsely charge – it is from what your guru, R.C. Sproul wrote. Another Reformed Guru, Horton wrote that we are passive before being regenerated and become active after being regenerated. There is no single verse in the Bible saying that we are SPIRITUALLY dead in sin and must be first monergistically regenerated. The word regeneration appears only twice in New Testament and neither of them talks about “being regenerated before faith”. Being dead in sin simply means we do not deserve heaven as Scripture says the soul that sin shall DIE (Ezekiel 18:4). Synergism, on the other hand has scriptural support. The Greek verb sunergeo, meaning to work together, appears in New Testament in a number of places, of which two are: And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked [Greek sunergountos] with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen (Mark 16:20, RSV) and: We know that in everything God works [Greek sunergei] for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, RSV). You might say that those verses talks about sanctification. If you follow Sproul, he indeed teaches that sanctification is synergistic. Horton, on the other hand, stops short for referring sanctification as synergistic. The speaker of the following video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TgFl2D9g3M claims that sanctification is monergistic and refer Sproul as heretic for teaching synergistic sanctification. My question for you (1) Which one you follow and why? (2) if you believe in synergistic sanctification does sanctification depend on free-will or on grace or on both? Don’t bother to reply if you don’t answer these two questions.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Oct 1 2015 1:29 pm

        Your question of whether sanctification is monergistic or synergistic is merely a reflection of your own Roman Catholic paradigm – where justification is entwined with sanctification, and therefore a lifelong process. The Bible rejects that view as it teaches that ‘salvation’ is secured at the moment of justification and leads inevitably to glorification, as taught in the book of Romans and Galatians.

        Both Dr. Sproul and Dr. Horton assert that regeneration precedes faith. And one’s justification follows from faith alone in Christ alone, by grace alone. So if these gentlemen differ slightly on the issue of sanctification – so what? The question is a tempest in your own teapot.

        An excerpt from page 92 of Free Justification by Steve Fernandez:

        “Justification is narrow and specific in meaning. It means to declare righteous in relationship to the law. It is a verdict in relationship to law and justice. As a verdict, by definition, it is once-for-all. There are no phases or steps to a justifying verdict. Salvation, on the other hand, is comprehensive and all-encompassing. In general it means “to rescue or deliver” (Acts 27:31). It is the basic term for deliverance. It can include justification, sanctification, the future redemption of the body, as well as glorification and our final inheritance.

        Therefore, because it is broad in meaning, salvation has both an ‘already’ aspect, and a future ‘not-yet’ aspect. Justification, on the other hand, being narrow and specific, has only an ‘already’ accomplished aspect.

        Since the terms do overlap, sometimes “saved” may refer to the ‘one-time,’ finished reality of justification. Ephesians 2:5, 8 is an example, Paul using the perfect tense says, “you have been saved.” The tense of the verb stresses a past completed act, with a present unchanging, ongoing result. At other times salvation refers to a future, yet-to-be-completed aspect, things such as; the redemption of our bodies and deliverance from judgment, etc. (Romans 13:11). However, the future aspect of salvation, although often prominent in Scripture, is never said to include justification.

        …The point I am making, that some fail to see, is this: Christ does not say, “justified,” He says “saved.” And salvation is not justification. It is deliverance which is the result of justification. This is evident in Roman 5:9, where Paul uses both terms. He says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.””

        This is why those who are justified have a now and ongoing peace with God, as Romans 5:1 states so clearly:
        “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

        And this ongoing peace from justification leads inevitably to glorification: “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:30

      • vivator / Nov 15 2015 10:40 pm

        The Catholic Church does not entwined justification with sanctification. Scripture does support on-going justification and it is not by faith alone as falsely taught by Reformers. In 1 Cor 6:11 Paul placed the word justified after sanctified, NOT before it as according to your belief following the errors of Reformers. How many times in Scripture Abraham was justified? Scripture mentions twice, by his faith (Romans) and by his obedience to offer his son, Isaac (James). Hence Justification is NOT one time and instantaneous event before sanctification and is NOT by faith alone as you believe. For sure many from your side tried hard to reconcile Romans and James. The classical answer is Romans mentions the source of justification while James talks about the effect or fruit of justification. Even this solution still implies that justification is on-going and not by faith alone.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Oct 15 2015 3:49 pm

        Viva,
        Is there a problem with my response to your questions at the bottom of your April 12, 2015 post? My response was posted October 1, 2015 and it is now October 15…

      • vivator / Oct 19 2015 8:14 pm

        Your comments are on hold until you answer my question posted on April 2015. To refresh your memory below is the same question:
        The speaker of the following video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TgFl2D9g3M claims that sanctification is monergistic and refer Sproul as heretic for teaching synergistic sanctification. My question for you (1) Which one you follow and why? (2) if you believe in synergistic sanctification does sanctification depend on free-will or on grace or on both?

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Oct 20 2015 12:08 pm

        What a clever way to stop further discussion of your posting above dated April 12, 2015 which is so full of error – by asking rhetorical questions tantamount to asking “when did you stop beating your wife?” Sorry, not buying that.

        I answered your questions in the best way I could, without insulting you or the questions themselves which I see as irrelevant to a discussion of justification. Why not let your readers decide whether I’ve answered your “questions”?

      • vivator / Oct 26 2015 8:34 pm

        I must say you forgot my question and did not bother to refresh your memory. My questions are NOT about justification but about monergism, i.e. about what you believe. When I posted those questions in April 2015 I expected your response within few days or a week or so, but surprisingly until today you do not, or I should say, you simply refuse to answer them. In the first question I asked whether you believe in (1) monergism in regeneration, followed by synergistic sanctification or (2) monergism from start to end. You just choose one and explain why, why it is so difficult? If you choose (1) then you have to answer the second question.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Oct 30 2015 8:33 am

        Your question about the role of sanctification in monergism was not “forgotten,” or “difficult.” Rather – it is irrelevant. So if people won’t engage with such questions in a timely enough manner for you – you probably shouldn’t flatter yourself.

        The last thing a real truth-seeker wants is stop meaningful dialogue whereby he/she might learn something. But that appears to be the last thing a Catholic apologist does, preferring instead to score mere rhetorical points – “what is truth?”

        The truth is that monergism leaves no room for a synergistic sanctification that saves anyone. Here is a quick look at the definition of monergism, found at http://www.theopedia.com/monergism :
        “This view, held by Reformed and Calvinistic groups, sees salvation as the work of God alone, from first to last.
        …This is opposed to the synergistic view as held by Arminianism and its theological predecessor Semi-Pelagianism where salvation is seen as a cooperative effort between God and man.”

        Note here that synergistic sanctification or cooperation is specifically excluded from the idea of monergism.

        The definition of monergism at Wikipedia also excludes man’s cooperation from the idea of monergism…
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monergism
        “Monergism is the position in Christian theology that God, through the Holy Spirit, works to bring about the salvation of an individual through spiritual regeneration, irrespective of the individual’s cooperation.”

        Wikipedia chooses rightly to focus here on the more important matter of regeneration (and subsequent justification) with respect to monergism, something I addressed in my response to your questions – which you (so far) refuse to publish. Wikipedia continues…

        “Monergism states that the regeneration of an individual is the work of God through the Holy Spirit alone, as opposed to Synergism, which, in its simplest form, argues that the human will cooperates with God’s grace in order to be regenerated. To most synergists, regeneration is a process that begins when a man responds to God’s initiative, repents, and begins the labor of loving God and his neighbor. Monergists believe that regeneration takes place as a single act in which God regenerates a man from his fleshly state and, thus now enabled, a man can believe, and that he inevitably and invariably will do so.”

        My response to your questions addressed these differences between monergism and synergism. You again and again blur the lines between your cooperative, synergistic system of salvation and a God-centered monergism. You incorrectly quote Reformed writers again and again as sympathetic to your side – but be assured they are not, and are as distant from Rome’s view as the east is from west. The two definitions of monergism above would find favour with Sproul, Horton, Berkhof, Turretin, Luther, and Calvin – why you continue to misrepresent these writers is beyond me.

        May I suggest something in the spirit of truth and charity? Instead of trying to so hard to make your synergism taste better to a monergist – maybe you should just do the honest thing… and change sides to become a biblically-consistent monergist.

      • vivator / Nov 15 2015 9:38 pm

        I am sure you were sincere when you ask me to change sides to become a biblically-consistent monergist. Unfortunately you are sincerely wrong. It is very easy to prove from Scripture (supposed to be your only and final authority, isn’t it?) that there is no scriptural support of monergism.
        We know that in everything God works [Greek sunergei] for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, RSV)
        The Greek word sunergei comes from verb sunergeo, which means to work together. The word sunergeo should ring the bell in your mind because it is word that the English word synergy comes from. On the other hand you cannot find the word monergism in the entire Bible – even on its definition you must rely on source outside the Bible and non-authoritative (even for you!) like http://www.theopedia.com and en.wikipedia.org. Isn’t that irony?
        From your answer I can see that you believe is “full monergism” – it is monergism from start to end. Unfortunately it is not what Reformed Gurus taught. R.C. Sproul explicitly wrote that sanctification is synergistic, only regeneration is monergistic (Chosen by God, page 131). If you don’t have this book (and you don’t want to spend money to buy one) you can refer to the following free online posts from Ligonier ministry (Sproul ministry):
        http://www.ligonier.org/blog/producing-fruit/
        http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/climbing-out-mire/
        Both posts affirm Sproul position on synergistic sanctification. The other Reformed scholars, though they did not use the word sysnergism (it could be unknown to them) taught that there is men cooperation with God in sanctification. For example Boetner wrote “It [sanctification] is a joint work of God and man (Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, page 172). I checked Berkhof, Hodges C., Hodges A.A – they all wrote something similar. Interestingly you accused me to misread their statement. I don’t want to waste space to copy and paste their statement again. You and the readers can find them in https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/synergism-amd-monergism-which-one-is-scriptural/
        Of course I don’t have time to check all the works of your Reformed Gurus – if you can find one that supports your position just let me (and other readers) know. Keep in mind that you are not under any obligation to follow Sproul or any of those Reformed Gurus. They are not your authority and will never be. You are fully entitled to establish your own version of Calvinism.
        I have to correct your wrong statement that in synergism salvation is NOT God centered. Both monergism and synergism salvation are centered in God. Both believe in election and election (whether it is conditional or unconditional) implies that God ALONE chose whom He wants to save. If salvation of the Elect depends, even partially, on their free-will or on their good works, then there is neither election nor the Elect. You are the one who keep on (or pretend to?) blurring and confusing synergism with semi-pelagianism.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / May 9 2016 8:00 am

        Responding to your request above dated Nov 15, 2015 where you write:

        “Interestingly you accused me to misread their [the Reformers] statement… Of course I don’t have time to check all the works of your Reformed Gurus – if you can find one that supports your position just let me (and other readers) know.”

        For the benefit of those “other readers” you mentioned, here is the response:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/predestination-in-catholicism/#comment-7009

      • vivator / May 17 2016 5:57 am

        For the sake of readers your comments were already replied and let them decide which one is more scriptural in teaching, your church or the Catholic Church. Refer to
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/merits-in-catholicism/#comment-7042

  9. Bb / Mar 15 2012 8:36 am

    The idea of imputed righteousness is very funny, in God there is no shade or shadow and jn 17 :22 pray that we may posses the glory of christ paul futher confirm that we have that glory, surprisingly pastors are teaching that our righteousness (divine glory in us) is bright outside and dark inside and that we have a blind God who cant see our sins, so we have a free pass to heaven not because God cleanse us but because of imputed righteousness. This is a funny theology

    • Jeph / Apr 5 2012 4:24 pm

      Yeah… To say that we have “a free pass to heaven not because God cleanse us but because of imputed righteousness” is a theology which is rather funny.

      But you know what’s even more funny? It’s the fact that everything you said in your comment not taught by Protestants. Lolz…

      • vivator / Apr 7 2012 9:23 pm

        Jeph,
        Please read my post on Comparing Justification in Catholicism and Protestantism at
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/223-2/
        You can check the source my statement where I quoted from Luther, Calvin, Berkhof and Sproul.

      • Bb / Apr 8 2012 10:30 am

        Jeph
        that is not true, imputed righteousness and forensic justification is a protestant position, unless you are say your pastor has a different one. I guess we have so many positions in protestanism that one cant say this is THE protestant position and also hard to say this is not a protestant position. Do some research.

    • Jeph / Apr 8 2012 2:20 pm

      Bb,

      Protestants believe in imputed righteousness and forensic justification, but that’s just half of the real story. They also hold that justification also involves the “forgiveness / washing away of sins” by Christ’s blood, making what you said above as another gross misrepresentation of what Protestants believe. It is true that Luther illustrates the justification of sinners to a dung covered with snow (or something to that effect), but it doesn’t end there. Luther also teaches that justification cannot be complete without the forgiveness of sins.

      In justification, according to Luther, there is a “happy exchange” of moral accounts.

      1) Our sins being imputed to Christ to be nailed on the cross for the forgiveness of sins,
      2) Christ’s righteousness being imputed to our account to satisfy in us what the Law demands we should do but we couldn’t.

      Thus, your caricature about what Protestants believe regarding Justification is just that; a caricature.

      Justification didn’t just make us holy in God’s sight, but cleanses us from the inside out, which eventually leads to actual sanctification.

      • vivator / Apr 13 2012 9:49 pm

        Jeph,
        Below is what Reformed scholar Berkhof wrote (emphasis in capital is mine) in Systematic Theology page 513:
        Justification takes place OUTSIDE of the sinner in the tribunal of God and does NOT change his inner life, though the sentence is brought home to him subjectively.
        For sure Berkhof also wrote on the same page that justification also involves forgiveness of sin.
        According to Calvin Justification is the acceptance with which God receives us into his favour as if we were righteous (Institutes of Christian Religion 3.11.2). The phrase “as if we were righteous” means we are not righteous but counted as righteous through righteousness of Christ.

      • jephrbny / Apr 14 2012 9:08 am

        Viva, I have no problem with Berkhof. My point is that you shouldn’t have portrayed the evangelical view WRONGLY by saying that in we disregard the forgiveness of sins in our view of Justification.

        Are you having fun misrepresenting others to make them appear to be the bad guy?

      • vivator / Apr 14 2012 10:00 am

        I can ask you the same question: Are you having fun misinterpreting Catholicism to make them appear to be the bad guy? A good example is you keep on insisting that in Catholicism men’s freewill ultimately determines their destiny. If you insist we do then show me official teaching from the Catholic Church that says so.

      • Bb / Apr 17 2012 11:56 am

        Jeph the truth is your idea of justification is has a little catholicism. The calvinist position (which is not hard to find) believe justification takes place outside the sinner by the imputation of christ merit i.e he is legal declear justified by God based on the righteousness of Christ without any thing happening within the sinner, hence the historic catholic defence tha God does not lie and does not declear as righteous that which is not. Read more on calvins work, for calvin no santification takes place during justification.

      • Rog2012 / May 10 2012 5:53 pm

        Re.: your comment: “If you insist we do (“that in Catholicism men’s freewill ultimately determines their destiny”) then show me official teaching from the Catholic Church that says so.”

        The Catholic Encyclopedia:
        “Against the heretical tenets of various times and sects we must hold
        – that the initial grace is truly gratuitous and supernatural;
        – that the human will remains free under the influence of this grace;
        – that man really cooperates in his personal salvation from sin.”
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm

        While initial grace is free in Catholicism, it is not sufficient. Human free will is required to cooperate with this initial grace. Thus God is powerless against the “free will” of His own creation. No free will, no cooperation. No cooperation, no salvation.

        To make this even clearer, the Catholic Encyclopedia sets Rome’s doctrine of ‘free will’ in contradistinction to the Protestant doctrine:

        “[Justification] receives its first impulse from the supernatural grace of vocation (absolutely independent of man’s merits), and requires an intrinsic union of the Divine and human action, of grace and moral freedom of election, in such a manner, however, that the will can resist, and with FULL LIBERTY reject the influence of grace (Trent, l.c., can.iv: “If any one should say that free will, moved and set in action by God, cannot cooperate by assenting to God’s call, nor dissent if it wish. . . let him be anathema”). By this decree the Council not only condemned the Protestant view that the will in the reception of grace remains merely passive, but also forestalled the Jansenistic heresy regarding the impossibility of resisting actual grace.”
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08573a.htm

        So man’s ‘free will’ is the determining factor. No free will, no cooperation; No cooperation, no salvation.

      • vivator / May 11 2012 9:11 am

        Without God’s grace, he [man] cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight
        Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1993

        while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.
        Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter V

      • Rog2012 / May 11 2012 11:53 am

        Here is #1993 from the Catechism, including the part you left out:
        “When God touches man’s heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is NOT INACTIVE while receiving that inspiration, since HE COULD REJECT IT; and yet, without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight.”

        CC#1993 says that man retains veto power in the Catholic process of salvation, since he has the free will to reject it. In other words, he can move toward grace only if he first does not reject it. This is how his ‘free will’ determines his salvation.

        This is why the Catholic Encyclopedia is so clear: “Man may receive or reject this inspiration of God, he may turn to God or remain in sin. Grace DOES NOT CONSTRAIN MAN’S FREE WILL.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm

        The Catholic doctrine of man’s free will has not changed since Luther wrote The Bondage of the Will. He understood the implications of a presumed ‘free will’ and that if
        one proves this to be erroneous then the entire edifice of Catholic salvation comes down.

      • vivator / May 11 2012 7:41 pm

        CCC # 1993 is taken from Council of Trent which I also included including the part you claimed I left out. As you admit the Catholic Church does not change will never do.

      • Rog2012 / Apr 11 2016 1:15 pm

        …you write “the Catholic Church does not change will never do.” [sic]
        Wow, Pope Francis begs to differ with you.

      • vivator / Apr 11 2016 5:47 pm

        The Catholic Church never changes her doctrines. What the Church can change and did change are discipline and governance. Examples are: (1) in the past married men can be ordained as priests in both Western and Eastern Catholic Church. We even have married Pope like Pope Hormisdas whose son also became Pope. Now only Eastern Catholic Church keeps this practice. The Western Catholic Church requires celibacy of priests (it may change in the future – who knows). (2) Before Vatican II the Church was against any ecumenism, now no more. (3) In the past Catholics are required to abstain from meat on Fridays – now no more etc. What Pope Francis proposes belongs to the same category.

      • Rog2012 / Apr 22 2016 6:54 am

        I don’t know how you do it.

        Everyone knows the Catholic world is split on this issue. Conservative Catholics disagree, and even the Magisterium is split on the kind of change that Pope Francis is now proposing. Cardinal Marx is one who says that doctrine does and should develop and change.
        http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/cardinal-marx-doctrine-can-develop-change

        Another who acknowledges the reality of changes in Catholic doctrine is John T. Noonan Jr., a distinguished law professor; a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and the author of many books on jurisprudence, legal history and ethics, and church law. In his book “A Church That Can and Cannot Change,” Noonan drives home the point that some Catholic moral doctrines have changed radically. History, he concludes, does not support the comforting notion that the church simply elaborates on or expands previous teachings without contradicting them. “Theologians joked that when a pope or other official circuitously introduced a modification of church teaching, he would begin, “As the church has always taught. . . .”
        http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/books/review/a-church-that-can-and-cannot-change-dogma.html

        Yes, the Catholic church “never changes”… it merely engages in doctrinal development or “aggiornamento” — which stretches interpretations and frameworks thus enlarging the meaning of them. It’s like the scrawny kid who builds himself into a 250 pound bodybuilder — ‘aggiornamento’ would claim that this is no “change” but merely a “development”! And if that’s not crazy enough, the scrawny kid wants you to know that there was never a time when he wasn’t a hulking 250 pounder — only that he hadn’t officially been recognized as such! George Orwell would be impressed with such double-talk. What’s to prevent the Catholic church from canonizing Martin Luther?

        And let’s be very clear: some of the changes, or “developments” are far more than matters of “discipline and governance” — they are about doctrines:

        For instance the doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix of all grace:
        “So we answer, since Mary was associated with her Son in acquiring grace for us, she will also share with him in distributing that grace to us. This fits well with the words of the Popes, who call her the ‘administra’ of grace, meaning that she administers or dispenses it. So Pope Leo XIII, ‘Iucunda semper,’ said:
        “… when He [the Father] has been invoked with excellent prayers, our humble voice turns to Mary; in accordance with no other law than that law of conciliation and petition which was expressed as follows by St. Bernardine of Siena : ‘Every grace that is communicated to this world has a threefold course. For by excellent order, it is dispensed from God to Christ, from Christ to the Virgin, from the Virgin to us.'”
        http://ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marymenu.htm

        And what about the doctrine of hell?
        “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” the Pope exhorts in his paper on The Joy of Love. The Pope adds that he is speaking not only of the divorced and remarried, “but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves.”

        Mary as Mediatrix… Jesus lied about hell? These are blasphemous contradictions of history and Scripture. Perhaps a Catholic can drink this Kool-Aid — but a Christian cannot.

      • vivator / May 16 2016 5:20 pm

        My apology for late response. You need to learn more on Catholicism from Catholic sources. You are fully entitled to disagree with Catholicism but at least you should listen at the correct source, not from second hand source.
        First there is difference between doctrines and dogmas. I admit I myself got confused. Pls refer to the following link at http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-is-the-difference-between-doctrine-and-dogma. Second, do doctrines develop? Yes, but it does NOT mean they are changed. To develop and to change are NOT the same. Pls read the following link: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/can-dogma-develop.
        Doctrines can and will develop before it was declared as dogma, then it will NOT change. Examples of dogmas are Catholic teaching on Justification, Sacrificial nature of the Mass, Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Virgin Mary and her perpetual virginity. Before they were declared as dogmas everybody may have different view on it. Once they became dogma then nobody, not even popes, can change them. Don’t expect Catholic Church will approve justification by faith alone as taught by Reformers, though since Vatican II Protestants are no longer anathemazed; and neither does the Church will teach that the bread and wine are only symbols of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Church teaching on Mary as Mediatrix of all graces is a doctrine but not a dogma. If you strongly disagree with it, which I understand why – well it is your right and it is your problem. Any Catholic doctrine requires neither your approval nor your endorsement.
        What New York Times describes as changes in doctrines are disciplines and rules. The example given in NYC is the Church teaching on slavery. You cannot deny that there was slavery in the Bible, both in OT and NT and nowhere in the Bible says abolishment of slavery. As NY Times article wrote “neither Jesus nor his followers directly changed the institution of slavery. The fathers of the church accepted the buying, selling and owning human beings”. NY Times did not give the source for the statement about church fathers. It could be true and it could be false – even if it is true it shows change of attitude. Slavery is NOT even a doctrine. The other examples given by NY Times article are usury, religious freedom and marriage. They are also NOT doctrines but rules and rule did change. The Church will not approve same sex marriage but rules on how annulment is made may change. NT Times criticized Noonan dealing with religious freedom, i.e. there is no religious freedom after Vatican II. I would recommend you to read Vatican II statement on Religious Freedom yourself. It does not endorse that all religion are true, i.e. it does not matter whether you are Christian or not. Vatican II admits there are truths in other religion. If this scandalizes you remember that most, if not all, religion teach doing good to others and denouncing sex outside marriage – something that you cannot deny as true. I suggest you to read Noonan book directly, instead of relying on digested information from NY Times, who is non Catholic source. If you do provide me and the readers list of dogmas that were changed from the book.
        Catholics do NOT believe that whatever a pope says or write is infallible. Even his encyclicals are NOT considered as infallible, let alone his statement made during interviews. You wrote that in his Encyclical “Joy of Love” Pope Francis wrote ““No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”, and through this statement you claimed that he denies the existence of hell. Well did you read the document yourself or your statement is simply based on what you read from second and unreliable source? You can download it for free –just google it! The Pope is NOT writing about hell at all. Please do your home-work diligently! If you think that statement covers also hell then it is based on your wild imagination to match your caricature of Catholicism! Perhaps your real source is based on Pope Francis interviews with Eugenio Scalfari, who is atheist. In one of his interviews he claimed that the Pope denies the existence of hell. Yet he reconstructed this statement from memory, not from recording that can be verified. Even if the Pope did say that, his statement given through interviews are NOT infallible.
        Nice try but fail!

      • TJ / May 5 2016 4:01 pm

        Change and development in the Catholic church is also affirmed by William Webster in a piece titled: The Repudiation of the Doctrine of Development as It Relates to the Papacy:
        http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/vaticanIanddevelopment.html

      • vivator / May 16 2016 5:25 pm

        If your source is non (and former) Catholic like William Webster then I can understand how you got your distorted view on Catholicism. Just like what I tell Rog2012 you are fully entitled to disagree with Catholcism but at least you should listen at the correct source, not from second hand source. Will you believe statement on Christianity made by non-Christians, won’t you?

  10. jephrbny / Apr 6 2012 4:28 am

    Vivator: [Catholics believe in salvation by grace without the word ALONE!]

    Exactly my point!!! If it is not by God’s grace alone, then it follows than man has to contribute in some way to be saved. You just admitted in that statement the very thing you’ve been denying all along.

    • vivator / Apr 7 2012 10:12 pm

      You confuse cooperation with contribution. We do cooperate but we do not contribute to our salvation. A good analogy is from John 9:7 when Christ asked the blind man to wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Can the blind man claim he “contributed” to his healing because he followed Christ instruction? He did cooperate but he did not contribute. Another analogy, supposed one of your friend has one million dollar debt and has no way to pay it. Suppose you are kind enough and rich enough to give him a cheque of one-million dollar. It is a free gift from you, no string attached and he does not need to pay you back (because you are super rich). Can he claim he contributed to his debt free state because he needs to go to the bank to cash the cheque? He did cooperate but he did not contribute!

      By grace alone through faith alone of Calvinism is indeed very appealing. If Calvinism is a product then it would be its best selling point. The scriptural problem with it is those whom God chose from eternity not to receive saving grace will be doomed. This does not go in-line with what Scripture says in 1 Cor 15:22 and Titus 2:11.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Apr 23 2012 6:57 am

        1 Cor 15:22 and Titus 2:11 actually hurt your position and support Calvinism:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/12/08/augustine-on-faith-works-grace-and-eternal-life/#comment-2952

        Re. your comment: “We do cooperate but we do not contribute to our salvation.” May I remind you of what the Council of Trent put in stone:

        “If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are gifts of God in such a way that they are not also the good merits of the one justified, let him be anathema.”
        Also:
        “If anyone says that this righteousness received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification, but not THE CAUSE of the increase, let him be anathema.”

        What authority do you have to supercede the Council of Trent?
        Do you ever get tired of kicking against the biblical goads?

      • vivator / Jun 1 2012 9:31 am

        You just read two canons of Council of Trent and made your conclusion. In this case you are no different than a person who reads Proverbs 31:6-7 and concluded that Scripture endorses drunkenness or who reads Psalms 137:9 and concludes that Scripture tolerates smashing babies against the rock.
        Your question is related to merits in Catholicism, which you totally misunderstood. You are welcome to read my post on this issue at:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/merits-in-catholicism/
        I also have post on Calvin and Luther’s view on merits of good works at:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/07/06/luther-and-calvins-view-on-reward-of-good-works/
        You may read and judge yourself whether their view is scriptural or not.
        To answer your question: What authority do you have to supercede the Council of Trent? I do not supersede the council of Trent. I don’t think I need to answer your next rhetorical question.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Jun 22 2012 1:16 pm

        Have read your post on merits in Catholicism and it still contradicts what Trent established:

        CANON XXIV.-If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.

        CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life…

        Are you denying Trent’s claim that good works are truly meritorious?
        Please say so unequivocally.

      • vivator / Jun 23 2012 10:02 am

        I don’t think you read my post on merits. Pls do so! I would not tolerate one-way discussion because you are not in the position to interrogate me. If you read it you will notice that Catholics do believe in merits in good work because Scripture says so but our merits are God’s gift. We do NOT merits rewards from good works in the same way we merit our salary. Because our merits are God’s gift then we can merit increase of grace and even eternal life.
        Now it is my turn to ask your opinion on Reformers view on good works. According to Luther we sin whenever we do good works and according to Calvin our good works are defiled and imperfect. What is your response on their statement?

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Jul 9 2012 1:00 pm

        ‘RJ’ has already addressed your spin on merits here:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/08/18/all-our-righteous-acts-are-like-filthy-rags-isaiah-646/#comment-3238

        Your statement “We do NOT merits rewards from good works in the same way we merit our salary.” Sorry, but yes you do – your own teaching authority says so:

        “Merit in the strict sense (meritum de condigno) GIVES A RIGHT to a threefold reward: increase of sanctifying grace, heavenly glory, and the increase thereof; other graces can be acquired only in virtue of congruous merit (meritum de conqruo).
        (a) In its Sixth Session (can. xxxii), the Council of Trent declared: “If any one saith . . . that the justified man by good works . . . does not TRULY MERIT [vere mereri] increase of grace eternal life, and THE ATTAINMENT OF THAT ETERNAL LIFE — if so be, however, that he depart in grace — and also an increase in glory; let him be anathema.”
        The expression “vere mereri” shows that the three objects mentioned above
        can be merited in the true and strict sense of the word, viz., de condigno.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm

        Regarding your question about how Calvin and Luther felt about ‘good works’…
        they felt the same as Isaiah did in Isaiah 64:6, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

      • vivator / Jul 13 2012 9:27 pm

        You and RJ have the same problem. Both of you try hard to portrait Catholicism in the way you wish to see, i.e. that Catholics believe in salvation by works and we merits salvation through our works like we merits our salary. You cleverly quote few canons from Council of Trent to prove your view and cleverly ignore other official statement that say otherwise. The canons you quote talks about rewards of our good works – they do NOT say the reward is our wages. Let me ask you does Scripture say God rewards us for our good works? There are ample verses from Scripture, both Old and New Testaments saying that God does reward us for our good works. He who respects the commandment will be rewarded (Proverbs 13:13). The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me [Psalms 18:20]. Look to yourselves that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward [2 John 8]. Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done [Revelation 22:12]. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven [Luke 6:23]. Does Scripture say the rewards of our good works include eternal life? Again, the answer is YES. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment [John 5:28-29]. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life [Romans 2:6-7].

        Catholics do believe in condign merits (means worthy of merits) but contrary to your predefined belief of Catholicism, we condignly merit our rewards because God promises to reward us, not because we derserve it as shown by many Scriptural verse quoted above. You cleverly ignore official statement that say our rewards are His GIFT. Here is a quote from Chapter 16 of the sixth session on decree of Justification from where you got your Trent canons: “nevertheless God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own GIFTS BE THEIR MERITS”. If you work you won’t call your salary as gift from your company, will you?

        My suggestion for you (and RJ) is do not simply quote from few canons or phrases and build your pre-defined belief on Catholicism. You are no different than those who quote Proverbs 31:6-7 to prove that Scripture promotes drunkenness or quote Psalms 137:9 to prove that Scripture tolerates smashing infants against the rock!

        My apology for overlooking your answer on my question. As I expect you quote Isaiah 64:6 to justify their teaching. This is another example of quoting one verse to build doctrine. Incidentally it is the same technique the devil used when he tempted Christ – he quoted verse from Scripture to prove his point. Following example set by Christ we should look at other verses. Taking Isaiah 64:6 independently indeed gives us impression that God is not interested in our righteousness. Yet if this is the case then it contradicts other verses that emphasize the importance of our righteousness. Matthew 25:46 says that the righteous will go to eternal life. Christ said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6) and “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). Blessed are those who do righteousness at all times (Psalms 106:3) and he who walks blamelessly, and does what is right will sojourn in the Lord’s tent and dwell on His holy hill (Psalms 15:1 – 2). Scripture defines our righteousness as he who does right is righteous (1 John 3:7) while “whoever does not do right is not of God” (1 John 3:10) and the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). The Lord loves righteous deeds (Psalms 11:7, Proverbs 15:9). Revelation 19:8 uses fine linen to symbolize the righteousness of the saints. Coming back to Isaiah 64:6 one should read not only that verse but the entire Isaiah 64 to see the context. In fact Isaiah 64:5 says: Thou [God] meetest him that joyfully works righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways.

      • Dash Parr / Oct 15 2015 7:04 pm

        You write: “…our rewards are His GIFT.”
        You quote Trent:
        “nevertheless God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own GIFTS BE THEIR MERITS”. ”

        Question: What do you call a system that can “trust and glory” in nothing but the Lord; and where even our rewards and merits are “His GIFT”?

        Answer: Monergism!
        Anything else (including the Roman Catholic system of salvation) gives you something to brag about – thus is unbiblical. Ephesians 2:8-9. Romans 4:2

      • vivator / Oct 19 2015 6:18 pm

        I must say you do’t understand either monergism or synergism. To help you you may read my post at https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/synergism-amd-monergism-which-one-is-scriptural/
        Even famous Reformed scholar like R.C. Sproul believes in synergistic sanctification, not in monergistic one. Where do you get the idea that Catholics brag their good works? Show me official Catholic teaching that says so – or does it come from your wild imagination?

  11. vivator / Jul 9 2012 1:56 pm

    I got received your comment dated Jul 9. Referring to to my earlier reply, I asked you question which you chose not to answer. Remember you are NOT in the position to interrogate me! I have the same right to ask you question and you MUST answer it! Unless you answer to my question I will not post you comment (the last one and future ones).

    • HowsYourHealth / Jul 12 2012 7:50 am

      I must say your response above dated July 9, 2012, gives me a new appreciation for the Roman Catholic Inquisition!
      How do we know whether “FourFingersBackAtYou” didn’t answer your question, and that you simply didn’t like his answer?

      • vivator / Jul 12 2012 6:08 pm

        I missed to see his/her answer. His/her answer to my question is:
        they [Luther and Calvin] felt the same as Isaiah did in Isaiah 64:6, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
        My question is: According to Luther we sin whenever we do good works and according to Calvin our good works are defiled and imperfect. What is your response on their statement?

        Where does the Bible say that we sin through good works? Using Isaiah 64:6 ALONE as a proof will contradict other verses that say otherwise. That is the same technique the devil used when he tempted Christ – just quote one verse and build the complete belief using it. In fact Isaiah 64:5 says: Thou [God] meetest him that joyfully works righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways. God blesses the righteous (Psalms 5:12), He loves righteous deeds (Psalms 11:7) and does reward us for being righteous (Psalms 18:20, Proverbs 11:18). Romans 3:10 say no one is righteous but at the same time Scripture mentions the existence of righteous men and women (Matthew 13:17, 23:29, Luke 1:6, Hebrews 11:4, 1 Peter 3:12). In Old Testament Noah, Daniel and Job were righteous (Ezekiel 14:14).

      • HowsYourHealth / Jul 13 2012 3:22 pm

        Do you think, given the vehemence of your response to “FourFingersBackAtYou”
        that an apology is in order?

        Especially since according to Rome, the older you get: the greater your ‘infused’ grace, the greater your ‘justification’, and that YOU are gradually being “MADE righteous”?
        Do you feel there will come a time BEFORE YOU DIE that your own infused grace will be worth the same to God as Christ’s perfect righteousness?

        This of course is in contrast to the biblical idea of “imputed grace” – the idea that CHRIST’S perfect righteousness is credited/accounted/reckoned/imputed to us by faith.
        2 Cor. 5:21. Romans 4:4-6.

        An “imputed righteousness” puts me in accordance with Romans 5:1, Hebrews 10:17-23, 1John 5:21, and a host of other biblical passages. I can know NOW that my future is assured; have rest in Christ NOW; have peace with Christ NOW.

      • vivator / Jul 13 2012 6:22 pm

        Thank you for comment. You are saying that because Catholics believe in infused righteousness then they should express a change, albeit gradually, in their life while those who believe in imputed one does not need to do so because you borrow Christ perfect righteousness. That’s what exactly imputed righteousness implies – a change within you is optional, i.e. you don’t need to become righteous, though your are expected to be so in Sanctification. When Christ said in Matthew 25: 46 that the righteous shall go to eternal life, does He talk about infused or imputed righteousness? Read Matthew 25: 24 – 40 for the answer. Scripture and the Catholic Church never teaches we need to achieve perfect righteousness of Christ – what Scripture says is he who does what is right is righteous, as he [Christ] is righteous (1 John 3:7). You simply confuse being righteous with being sinless.

        Scripture also says: for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again (Proverbs 24:16). I freely admit that do make mistake from time to time and I am still a sinner. But thank God He provide through His Church Sacrament of Reconciliation through which I receive His divine forgiveness. You don’t need it (and your church is not authorized to forgive sins) because you don’t need to change.

        You are free to believe in your “assurance of salvation based on your imputed righteousness concept. Let me quote from what Paul wrote in 1 Cor 9:25-27: Every athlete exercises self control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. If Paul, whom you believe is the author of (your belief of) assurance of salvation, claimed that he himself could be disqualified, what makes you so sure that you have that assurance? I suggest you read also Luke 12:42-46, John 15:1-6, Rom 11:20-33, 2 Cor 11:2-3.

  12. HowsYourHealth / Sep 29 2015 2:09 pm

    Re.: Vivator’s posting July 13, 2012 above…

    Cutting through your misrepresentations and faulty interpretations of Scripture – and getting right to the heart of the matter…

    You claim above there is a kind of ‘righteousness of man’ that is acceptable to God?
    or
    is it the ‘righteousness of God’ that Is acceptable to God? (This would imply a *perfect* righteousness).

    “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith IN CHRIST, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Philippians 3:9

    “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
    That of course is the Great Exchange: my sin is imputed to Him; and Christ’s (perfect) righteousness is imputed to me.

    The justification of the believer by faith alone (no merits of my own) through grace alone, in Christ alone – is what leads to being “in Christ.” That is why we can have peace with God:
    1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
    Romans 5:1-2

    • vivator / Oct 19 2015 6:31 pm

      In justification Catholics do believe that our righteousness comes from God (pls read what I wrote thoroughly) – it is NOT something we must and are able to produce. Scripture says that whoever does what is right, which includes NOT only believing in Christ, is righteous. When Scripture says we are righteous, it means we are made righteous by grace of God. It is His Grace given through Christ that enables us to do good works. That is what Christ meant when He said the righteous shall go to eternal life (Mat 25:46) – He did not talk about imputed righteousness through faith alone here, the sheep are righteous because what they did, which is possible only by grace of God (Mat 25:37-40). There is no such thing as perfect righteousness – we are either righteous or non righteous.

      • How'sYourHealth / Oct 19 2015 7:05 pm

        Of course Matthew 25 is absolutely no support for your works-based, cooperative salvation.
        https://carm.org/matt25-31-46

      • vivator / Oct 19 2015 8:05 pm

        You cannot argue and then you fabricate standard myth that Catholics practice woks based cooperative salvation. I suggest you read one of your own Reformed Guru, Francis Turrentin who wrote that good works arer necessary for salvation in:
        Hence it is evident that the question here does not concern the necessity of merit, causality and efficiency – whether good works are necessary to effect salvation or to acquire it of right. Rather the question concerns the necessity of means, of presence and of connection or order – Are they required as the means and way for possessing salvation? This we hold.
        Turrentin, F. : Institutes of Elenctic Theology,
        Seventeenth Topic: Sanctification and Good Works, Vol. 2, page 702

      • How'sYourHealth / Oct 20 2015 7:33 am

        Your own authoritative sources say that the RC system is merit based – that proof isnt hard to find.

        No Reformed reader, and no fair-minded Catholic scholar familiar with Turretin would agree with your very selective citation. A fair and accurate assessment of his work would interpret him in the context of his body of work.

        Here Kevin DeYoung writes on this issue of sanctification, with quotes from Turretin that clarify your misunderstanding (there are more links there to related blogposts):
        http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2015/10/08/are-good-works-necessary-to-salvation/

        An excerpt:

        “…”Although we acknowledge the necessity of good works against the Epicureans,” Turretin observes, “we do not on this account confound the law and the gospel and interfere with gratuitous justification by faith alone. Good works are required not for living according to the law, but because we live by the gospel; not as the causes on account of which life is given to us, but as effects which testify that life has been given to us” (XVII.iii.15).

        This question about the necessity of good works has often perplexed Christians. If, on the one hand, we say no, good works are not necessary, we can hardly make sense of the warnings and moral imperatives of the New Testament. But if we say good works are necessary to salvation, it can sound like we’ve suddenly made heaven the product of our effort and obedience. But that’s not what Hebrews 12:14 means, nor what Turretin means. Read carefully this paragraph:

        Works can be considered in three ways: either with reference to justification or sanctification or glorification. They are related to justification not antecedently, efficiently and meritoriously, but consequently and declaratively. They are related to sanctification constitutively because they constitute and promote it. They are related to glorification antecedently and ordinatively because they are related to it as the means to the end. (XVII.iii.14)

        That’s a mouthful, but really crucial and really wonderful. Good works are inextricably linked to justification, sanctification, and glorification, but they are related in different ways. Good works come after justification as a result and a declaration. Good works are identified with sanctification as its definition and cheerleader. And good works come before glorification as God’s appointed means to a divinely secured end. Or as Turretin puts it, “grace is glory begun, as glory is grace consummated” (XVII.iii.14).”

        I expect you in the name of fairness and Truth to retract your erroneous citations of Turretin.

        On a final note, it would be nice if you’d allow the recent attempt by FourFingersBackAtYou to respond to your often repeated and erroneous uses of Michael Horton and R.C. Sproul in support of your view of justification.

      • vivator / Oct 26 2015 8:44 pm

        You wrote “Your own authoritative sources say that the RC system is merit based – that proof isnt hard to find”. Can you point-out what you call as authoritative source of RC? You commented under my post of which title is “merits in Catholicism”, which explains how Catholics understand merits. Did you read it or your statement is based on your false belief that Catholics merits salvation in the same way we merit our wages/salary through our works.

        Below is more quotation from the same book he wrote (emphasis in capital is mine) showing his belief of necessity of works in salvation. Kevin DeYoung did not quoted them.

        Hence it is evident that the question here does not concern the necessity of merit, causality and efficiency – whether good works are necessary to effect salvation or to acquire it of right. Rather the question concerns the necessity of means, of presence and of connection or order – ARE THEY REQUIRED AS THE MEANS AND WAY FOR POSSESSING SALVATION? THIS WE HOLD.
        Turrentin, F.: Institutes of Elenctic Theology,
        Seventeenth Topic: Sanctification and Good Works, Vol. 2, page 702

        For since the will of God is the supreme and indispensable rule of our duty, THE PRACTICE OF GOOD WORKS CANNOT BUT BE CONSIDERED AS HIGHLY NECESSARY (which the Lord so often and so expressly recommends and enjoins in his word). There is no need to refer to passages for they are so numerous. Let the following be specially consulted (1 Thess. 4:3, 4; 1 Jn. 4:21; Jn. 13:34; Mt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 1:15, 16; 2 Pet. 1:5-7, 10; Rom. 6:11, 12; 12:1, off.). And so far from leaving to each one the license of living according to his pleasure, it openly condemns and abhors it (Rom. 6:1, 2, 15; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Pet. 2:16) and declares that believers are “debtors” who are bound to new obedience by an indissoluble and indispensable bond (Rom. 8:12; 13:7; 1 Jn. 4:11), not only by the necessity of the precept, but also by the necessity of the means.
        ibid, page 703

        We also hold that it should be pressed against the license of the Epicureans so that although works may be said to contribute nothing to the acquisition of salvation, still they should be considered necessary to the obtained of it, so that NO ONE CAN BE SAVED WITHOUT THEM.
        ibid, page 703

        For since good works have the relation of the means to the end (Jn. 3:5, 16; Mt. 5:8); of the “way” to the goal (Eph. 2:10; Phil. 3:14); of the “sowing” to the harvest (Gal. 6:7, 8); of the “first fruits” to the mass (Rom. 8:23); of labor to the reward (Mt. 20:1); of the “contest” to the crown (2 Tim. 2:5; 4:8), everyone sees that there is THE HIGHEST AND AN INDISPENSABLE NECESSITY OF GOOD WORKS FOR OBTAINING GLORY. IT IS SO GREAT THAT IT CANNOT BE REACHED WITHOUT THEM (Heb. 12:14; Rev. 21:27).
        ibid, page 705

        Turrentin also wrote that the above quoted statement about necessity of works does not contradict Refomers teaching of justification by faith alone.

        Although we acknowledge the necessity of good works against Epicureans, we do not on this account confound the law and the gospel and interfere with gratuitous justification by faith alone. Good works are required not for living according to the law, but because we live by the gospel; not as the causes on account of which life is given to us, but as effects which testify that life has been given to us.
        ibid, page 705

        According to the Reformers justification is instantaneous. Thus, using this terminology, they (and you) can correctly say that justification is by faith alone. But your salvation is by faith plus works because works are required, not just optional.

        The reason why withhold FourFingersBackAtYou last two comments is because FourFingersBackAtYou does not reply my questions posted in April 2015. Since you raised this issue then perhaps you can help FourFingersBackAtYou to answer them. Below are the questions:
        The speaker of the following video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TgFl2D9g3M claims that sanctification is monergistic and refers Sproul as heretic for teaching synergistic sanctification. My question for you (1) Which one you follow and why? (2) if you believe in synergistic sanctification does sanctification depend on free-will or on grace or on both?

      • RJSweet / Oct 24 2015 6:19 pm

        That is a really bad citation of Turretin. Have you actually read his work? This quote, as difficult as it is to discern, is no support for your claim that “good works are necessary for salvation.” His voluminous writings prove that without a doubt.

      • RJSweet / Oct 24 2015 6:23 pm

        That is a really bad citation of Turretin, and certainly no support for your claim that he believed “good works are necessary for salvation.”

      • vivator / Oct 26 2015 8:20 pm

        Bad citation of Turrentin? Below is more quotation from the same book he wrote (emphasis in capital is mine).

        Hence it is evident that the question here does not concern the necessity of merit, causality and efficiency – whether good works are necessary to effect salvation or to acquire it of right. Rather the question concerns the necessity of means, of presence and of connection or order – ARE THEY REQUIRED AS THE MEANS AND WAY FOR POSSESSING SALVATION? THIS WE HOLD.
        Turrentin, F.: Institutes of Elenctic Theology,
        Seventeenth Topic: Sanctification and Good Works, Vol. 2, page 702

        For since the will of God is the supreme and indispensable rule of our duty, THE PRACTICE OF GOOD WORKS CANNOT BUT BE CONSIDERED AS HIGHLY NECESSARY (which the Lord so often and so expressly recommends and enjoins in his word). There is no need to refer to passages for they are so numerous. Let the following be specially consulted (1 Thess. 4:3, 4; 1 Jn. 4:21; Jn. 13:34; Mt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 1:15, 16; 2 Pet. 1:5-7, 10; Rom. 6:11, 12; 12:1, off.). And so far from leaving to each one the license of living according to his pleasure, it openly condemns and abhors it (Rom. 6:1, 2, 15; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Pet. 2:16) and declares that believers are “debtors” who are bound to new obedience by an indissoluble and indispensable bond (Rom. 8:12; 13:7; 1 Jn. 4:11), not only by the necessity of the precept, but also by the necessity of the means.
        ibid, page 703

        We also hold that it should be pressed against the license of the Epicureans so that although works may be said to contribute nothing to the acquisition of salvation, still they should be considered necessary to the obtained of it, so that NO ONE CAN BE SAVED WITHOUT THEM.
        ibid, page 703

        For since good works have the relation of the means to the end (Jn. 3:5, 16; Mt. 5:8); of the “way” to the goal (Eph. 2:10; Phil. 3:14); of the “sowing” to the harvest (Gal. 6:7, 8); of the “first fruits” to the mass (Rom. 8:23); of labor to the reward (Mt. 20:1); of the “contest” to the crown (2 Tim. 2:5; 4:8), everyone sees that there is THE HIGHEST AND AN INDISPENSABLE NECESSITY OF GOOD WORKS FOR OBTAINING GLORY. IT IS SO GREAT THAT IT CANNOT BE REACHED WITHOUT THEM (Heb. 12:14; Rev. 21:27).
        ibid, page 705

        Turrentin also wrote that his statement of necessity of works does not contradict Refomers teaching of justification by faith alone.

        Although we acknowledge the necessity of good works against Epicureans, we do not on this account confound the law and the gospel and interfere with gratuitous justification by faith alone. Good works are required not for living according to the law, but because we live by the gospel; not as the causes on account of which life is given to us, but as effects which testify that life has been given to us.
        ibid, page 705

        According to the Reformers justification is instantaneous, not a process as taught by the Catholic Church. Thus, using this terminology, they (and you) can correctly say that justification is by faith alone. But your salvation is by faith plus works because works are required, not just optional.

      • RJSweet / Nov 3 2015 4:14 pm

        I’m afraid your answer above dated Oct. 26, 2015, would earn you a failing grade in theology class.
        As a sinner my first impulse when seeing such egregious bias as yours demonstrated here, is to assume you have a dishonest motive. In this case – despite your less-than-forthcoming response above – I will assume you are not a native English speaker and thus misinterpret Turretin’s admittedly difficult syntax. Adding to that difficulty is the fact that Turretin is translated from the Latin.

        Let us look at your leading citation from above, used to support your view:

        “Hence it is evident that the question here does not concern the necessity of merit, causality and efficiency – whether good works are necessary to effect salvation or to acquire it of right. Rather the question concerns the necessity of means, of presence and of connection or order – ARE THEY REQUIRED AS THE MEANS AND WAY FOR POSSESSING SALVATION? THIS WE HOLD.”

        The first sentence is absolutely vital to getting the second sentence right. Turretin begins with: “Hence it is evident that the question here does NOT concern the necessity of merit, causality and efficiency – whether good works are necessary to effect salvation or to acquire it of right.”
        Thus we see that this is not about the “merit, cause” or “efficiency” of works for “acquiring” salvation; but rather “whether works are necessary to effect (prove, or show) salvation.”

        Now a brilliant thinker like Turretin isn’t going to contradict himself in the very next sentence is he?
        “are (works) required as the means and way for possessing salvation?”

        I assume the word “possessing” here has captured your imagination, but “possessing” is not the same as “acquiring,” “meriting,” or “causing.” Those can be ruled out immediately by the preceding sentence. What he means is “are (works) required as the means and way for effecting (proving or showing) the “presence” and “connection” to SALVATION – what we might say are “the result of” salvation.

        Your other citations of Turretin can be written-off in the same way. If one is going to cite a Reformer – he or she needs to be diligent in citing them accurately and honestly. You hurt your credibility when you repeatedly cite the Reformers erroneously. You need more than a few key words as a smoking gun.

        If you know Turretin’s correct conclusion, then simply stating that conclusion is sufficient. To keep repeating passages that on the surface seem to support your view, only muddies the waters and confuses people. That might get you rhetorical points, but won’t get you a passing grade for integrity.

      • vivator / Nov 15 2015 9:00 pm

        Your argument is classical. Your wrote that according to Turrentin (and you) good works are necessary to effect (prove or show) salvation. I heard that statement many times. Let me ask you if you don’t have good works as effect or proof of your salvation then are you saved? If the answer is no, then good works are necessary for salvation. The second question is if god works are necessary as proof of salvation then what is the minimum amount of frequency of good works you must do to produce minimum proof or effect of your faith? This question may never cross your mind but without this cut-off point a person might claim he produces good works just once a week and claims he has enough proof of his saving faith. Your analysis on Turrentin statement “possessing salvation” is even worse, regardless you are native speaker of English or not. Suppose a person does not do good works, then according to Turrentin he does not possess salvation. Is he saved or not? If you say yes then how can he be saved without possessing salvation? If you say no then you must admit good works are necessary for salvation, regardless you call it necessary as fruit or effect or proof of faith – it is still necessary, i.e. it is something you must do – it is not optional. For obvious reason you avoid commenting Turrentin stronger statements: “the practice of good works cannot but be considered as highly necessary” and “the highest and an indispensable necessity of good works for obtaining glory. It is so great that it cannot be reached without them”.
        You have been taught all the times that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. Understandably you were shocked to see such statement from Turrentin. Yet Turrentin was not the first and the only one.
        WORKS ARE NECESSARY TO SALVATION, but they do not cause salvation, because faith alone gives life. On account of the hypocrites we must say that good works are necessary to salvation. It is necessary to work. Nevertheless, it does not follow that works save on that account, unless we understand necessity very clearly as the necessity that there must be an inward and outward salvation or righteousness. WORKS SAVE OUTWARDLY, that is, they show evidence that we are righteous and that there is faith in a man which saves inwardly, as Paul says, “Man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved” [Rom. 10:10]. Outward salvation shows faith to be present, just as fruit shows a tree to be good.
        Luther: The Disputation Concerning Justification, from Luther’s Works Vol. 34, page 135

        Although not the ground of acceptance, GOOD WORKS ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION, as the necessary consequences of a gracious state of soul and perpetual requirements of the divine law.
        Hodges, A.A. : The Confession of Faith, page 196

      • RJSweet / Mar 11 2016 12:19 pm

        As to what Turretin means when he uses the word “necessary,” let’s make this easy for everyone… With thanks to Lane Keister at
        http://theaquilareport.com/are-good-works-necessary-for-salvation/

        “The other word that can be defined differently in the equation is the word “necessary.” Necessary can mean more than one thing as well. Is the noise of a cannon necessary to its being fired? Yes, but not as the cause of the firing of the cannon, but as part of the effect. Similarly, the time when something is necessary is important to consider. Is something necessary before something else, or after that something else? So, with his usual care and precision, Turretin helps us to understand just how works are necessary to salvation (17.3.14):

        “Works can be considered in three ways: either with reference to justification or sanctification or glorification. They are related to justification not antecedently, efficiently and meritoriously, but consequently and declaratively. They are related to sanctification constitutively because they constitute and promote it. They are related to glorification antecedently and ordinatively because they are related to it as the means to the end; yea, as the beginning to the complement because grace is glory begun, as glory is grace consummated.”

        Your Luther quote has already been discounted elsewhere in this blog… in fact, the quote as presented above does not support a cooperative salvation.

        Nor does the quote by A.A. Hodges… the first clause says it all “Although not the ground of our acceptance…” The Reformation, I remind you, was all about the “ground,” or cause, of our salvation. That “ground” cannot be found in Rome’s cooperative system of salvation, but in grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone… to the glory of God alone.

      • vivator / Mar 18 2016 9:43 pm

        According to Reformers, which you also subscribe, justification is one time event that takes place before sanctification. Using this concept then they (and you) can say that justification is by faith alone and has nothing to do with works – as Hodge wrote they are not ground of our acceptance or Luther wrote faith alone gives life. The question is: are they necessary or essential for salvation? Keep in mind that while justification and salvation are related, they are not the same. According to Turrentin the answer is yes and he used strong words, not quoted in the link you provided as follow (emphasis in capital is mine): (1) “We also hold that it should be pressed against the license of the Epicureans so that although works may be said to contribute nothing to the acquisition of salvation, STILL THEY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO THE OBTAINMENT OF IT, SO THAT NO ONE CAN BE SAVED WITHOUT THEM” and (2) “For since good works have the relation of the means to the end (Jn. 3:5, 16; Mt. 5:8); of the “way” to the goal (Eph. 2:10; Phil. 3:14); of the “sowing” to the harvest (Gal. 6:7, 8); of the “first fruits” to the mass (Rom. 8:23); of labor to the reward (Mt. 20:1); of the “contest” to the crown (2 Tim. 2:5; 4:8), everyone sees that there IS THE HIGHEST AND AN INDISPENSABLE NECESSITY OF GOOD WORKS FOR OBTAINING GLORY. IT IS SO GREAT THAT IT CANNOT BE REACHED WITHOUT THEM (Heb. 12:14; Rev. 21:27).” Luther wrote that faith saves inwardly and good works save outwardly – in other words salvation according to Luther is by faith AND works. You may say that they are necessary as effect i.e. like noise of cannon after being fired. The word necessary or essential implies that good works must be there – they are not optional. For example banana is one of essential (or necessary) ingredients of banana cake. Can we make banana cake without banana? Nope. Oxygen or food is necessary for our life. Can we live without it? No. The canon analogy provided in the link is not correct analogy either because you cannot hear its noise unless there is a medium, in this case air that transfers vibration produced by firing canon to our ears.
        As a Calvinist I can understand that you champion monergism. Perhaps you don’t realize that synergism is in the Bible. In NT Greek verb sunergeo, meaning work together appears five times while sunergos (co-worker or fellow worker) appears eleven times. Monergism, on the other hand, is not mentioned in the Bible at all – it is based by making analogy of “dead in sin” with “physically dead”. Finally let me correct your mis-conception of synergism. In synergism our salvation depends on entirely on God’s grace. Our cooperation comes from and is only possible with efficacious grace God gives us through Christ. We DO NOT contribute anything through our cooperation. I suggest you to read my post on this issue at
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/synergism-amd-monergism-which-one-is-scriptural/

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