Skip to content

Justification – contrasting Catholic and Protestant’s position


Justification – contrasting Catholic and Protestant’s position

for pdf file of this post click here

How does God justify us to enter heaven? On this issue of Justification, 16-th century Reformers broke away from the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church declares that Justification is the most excellent work of God’s love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit [1]. Citing Augustine’s statement, the Catechism of the Catholic Church further says that Justification is even greater than the creation of the world. Luther wrote that justification is chief doctrine [2] and whoever falls from the doctrine of justification is ignorant of God and is an idolater[3]. To Calvin Justification is the principal ground on which religion must be supported [4]

In Greek, in which New Testament books were written, the word for Justification is dikaiosis while that of Righteousness is dikaiosune – both have the same stem, dike, meaning righteous or just. Justification has something to do with righteousness, i.e. the righteousness of God. This is something that both Catholics and Protestants (and “Bible only” Christians) agree – they disagree on how that righteousness is applied to us.

Catholic

Protestant and “Bible only” Christian

Definition

Justification is a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour [5]

Definition

Justification is God’s judicial declaration that the sinner is counted as just or righteous by virtue of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ [6]

Justification is an on-going process

Justification is one-time event [7]

Because Justification is an on-going process, it starts when God, without any merit from us [8], takes the initiative to draw us to believe in Christ (John 6:44). It includes Sanctification, remission of sin and renewal of inner man [9]. Faith in Christ, a free gift from God, is necessary and marks the beginning of our Justification [10]. Scripture says we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and through Sanctification (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Because Justification is one-time event we are justified when we believe in Christ as personal Lord and Saviour or when we become “born-again” Christians.

Sanctification is separated from Justification but there is no Justification without Sanctification [11]

Through (on-going process) Justification the righteousness of God through Christ is infused by the Holy Spirit in us or through Justification we are made righteous [12], as stated in Romans 5:19.

Through (one-time event) Justification the righteousness of Christ is imputed on us or through Justification we are declared righteous [13], as stated in Romans 4:3, 5. We are made righteous through Sanctification, which follows our Justification [14].

Intrinsic Justification

Our righteousness does come from God (not from ourselves) and with our co-operation it becomes inherent part of us – we become righteous [15].

Extrinsic Justification

We use external righteousness of Christ to cover our unrighteousness or we are righteous externally but inside we remain unrighteous [16].

While Scripture says no-one is righteous (Romans 3:10) it also testifies the existence of righteous persons [17].

Scripture says God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). God does not expect us to be perfect; we may fall and rises again (Proverbs 24:16). Being righteous does not mean being sinless (1 John 3:7). God loves righteous deeds (Psalms 11:7), wants us to be righteous (Matthew 5:20, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22) and rewards us for being righteous (Psalms 18:20, Proverbs 11:18). Being righteous entitles us to enter heaven (Psalms 15:1-2, Matthew 25:46).

Scripture says no-one is righteous (Romans 3:10) and our righteousness is like filthy rags to Him (Isaiah 64:6).

It is impossible to meet God’s high standard (James 2:10) of righteousness, therefore we need Christ’ righteousness imputed on us, i.e. it is Christ who covers up our unrighteousness with His perfect righteousness.

Non forensic Justification

God is our Father and we are His adopted children through our faith in Christ (Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:5). We start as “babies” who will grow up to become like Him under His fatherhood in His Kingdom on earth (i.e. His Church). During this process He disciplines us when we do wrong (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:11, 13:24) and rewards us when we do good (Matthew 6:4-6, 16, 18, 2 John 8, Revelation 22:12), until we are welcomed into His heavenly Kingdom.

Forensic Justification

God is the Judge and we stand in the courtroom as sinner unable to pay the penalty of our sins and are about to be thrown into hell. We are in hopeless situation until God offers the only solution – He sent His Son to earth and if we believe in Him (a one-time event) Christ paid the penalty of our sins on the cross, and saves us from hell. Justification is legal exchange where we get Christ righteousness while He gets our sins and bore them on the cross.

Justification is by Grace [18]

Catholics do not believe in Justification by works [19].

Through-out our (on-going process) Justification God always takes the initiative to save us. His Grace will move us, first to believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour, and later to obey His commandment [20], be they loving one another, praying, sharing faith, avoiding sin, repenting from sin etc. Without God’s Grace through Christ we can do nothing as Scripture says apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5).

A person will enter heaven upon dying if he/she die without un-repented mortal sin [21] as Scripture testifies (Ezekiel 18:21-22, 27-28) – it does NOT depend on the amount of good works or sins he/she committed. We cannot repent unless we are first moved by Grace. Those who die with un-repented mortal sin will go to hell – their faith and good works, no matter how numerous and impressive the latter are, will not save them (Ezekiel 18:24). Sins do affect our salvation, even after we become followers of Christ (Hebrews 10:26-27). Scripture says he who sins belongs to the devil (1 John 3:8).

Justification is by faith alone [22]

Works are not part of (one-time event) Justification.

Those who follow Lordship Salvation view believe that while we are justified by faith alone, faith that justifies (known as saving or true faith) is not alone, i.e. it will inevitably produce works [23]. A born again Christian will inevitably turn away from his/her old sinful life and will inevitably become new person who shows the fruits of his/her faith through good works. Luther wrote that while faith alone justifies, good works are necessary for salvation [24]. Those who do not turn away from their sinful life (or do not show fruits of faith in their good works) are false believers and will not enter heaven.

Those who oppose Lordship Salvation believe that saving faith should, but not always produce good works [25]. Thus, according to them, a born again Christian may not turn away from his/her old sinful way [26] but those sins would not jeopardize his/her salvation.

Merits of good works

We do not deserve merits from our good works in the same way we deserve our wages when we work. Between us and God there is immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from Him [27]. However Scripture says God rewards us for our good works (Proverbs 13:13, Psalms 18:20, 2 John 8, Revelation 22:12 etc.) and He even rewards us with eternal life (John 5:28-29, Romans 2:6-7). We are merited for our good works because God has freely chosen to associate us with the work of His Grace [28]. The merits of our good works are gift of the divine goodness [29] from God the Father to us, His adopted children when we choose to cooperate with His Grace. Because our merits are God’s gift we can merit for ourselves and for others graces needed for Sanctification and increase of grace and charity and even eternal life [30].

Merits of good works

According to Calvin our good works are polluted and will not pass God judgment [31]. Westminster Confession of Faith states that we cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God because our works are defiled [32]. Reformed theologian Berkhof wrote that the best works of believers are polluted by sin [33].

According to Luther our good works are not only imperfect but are also sinful acts. To the believers in Christ, His perfect righteousness will cover and hide this imperfection [34].

Luther’s teaching that we sin through good works were condemned at Council of Trent [35].

Grace and human Freedom

Grace is favour, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons (John 1:12, Romans 8:16), partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and of eternal life [36].

Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom [37], known as synergism. We can use our freedom because the Original sin we inherit from Adam makes us corrupted but not totally [38]. Our will is free and this means it is possible to either cooperate or resist His Grace [39]. However we can exercise our freedom only after first being moved by God’s Grace, i.e. we cannot use our free-will to initiate our Justification [40] as declared in Scripture (John 6:44) – Catholics are not semi-Pelagians [41].

The (Greek) word for regeneration appears only twice in New Testament (Matthew 19:28, Titus 3:5). To Catholics (washing of) regeneration stated in Titus 3:5 refers to (Sacrament of) Baptism [42].

Scripture says that the dead (without being first regenerated) will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live (John 5:25) and that our inner nature is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16), i.e. it is not one time event that takes place before (or after) faith.

Grace and human Freedom

Grace is unmerited favour of God shown to sinners, and represented it in a manner which excluded all merit on the part of sinner [43].

According to Luther our will is not free but depends on who controls us, God or Devil [44]. Calvin wrote that after the Fall (when Adam committed the first sin), our free will is in captive and set free by God [45]. In a nutshell, according to both Luther and Calvin, we do not have freedom (or free will) to cooperate with God’s Grace [46]. We are totally deprived [47] because we are (spiritually) dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1, 5, Colossian 2:13). Thus God, through His Grace must first regenerate us [48]. He does it without our cooperation (and no kicking and screaming from us either), known as monergism. Once we are regenerated then our will is set free and then we can believe in Christ and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in our Sanctification. In other words regeneration comes before faith [49] and their famous slogan is “by grace alone through faith alone”. Regeneration leads to new life in Christ as Scripture says (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 4:24).

Not all Protestants and “Bible only” Christians adopt monergism. Those known as Arminianists are synergists and to them regeneration takes place after faith [50].

Predestination

Catholic predestination (both Election and Reprobation) involves human freedom [51]. God predestines the Elect to heaven but He does not unconditionally [52] predestines any to hell [53]. The Elect receives sufficient and efficacious grace while the Reprobate receives sufficient but inefficacious grace [54].

God, by His Grace through Christ, calls every one to salvation [55] as Scripture testifies (1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 Timothy 2:4, Titus 2:11). Christ came into the world to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10) and sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), i.e. all mankind. He died as ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6). The Reprobate end up in hell because they, in using their freedom, refuse to cooperate with His Grace (Jude 4) which God foresaw [56], i.e. it is Conditional Reprobation.

Predestination

In Calvinism (monergism) God chose unconditionally from eternity the Elect whom He will regenerate (monergistically) and consequently will be saved. Those He chose from eternity not to be regenerated (also unconditionally), or the Reprobate, will end up in hell [57]. This is known as double predestination, which some, like R.C. Sproul, believe to be non-symmetric, i.e. He does actively predestine the Elect to salvation but passively bypasses the rest from being regenerated [58], i.e. they remain in their totally deprived state, the state of all mankind after the Fall. Westminster Confession of Faith, on the other hand, seems to indicate active unconditional reprobation [59].

Assurance of Salvation

The Elect has assurance of Salvation but we cannot know who they are, unless God reveals their state to us [60]. The Elect are those who persevere to the end, i.e. those who die without un-repented mortal sin.

Assurance of Salvation

Some believe in Assurance of Salvation or “once saved always saved” [61] while others believe they may lose their salvation [62].

Baptism

Justification is conferred in Baptism [63]. Baptism is necessary for salvation of those who hear the Gospel (Mark 16:16. 1 Peter 3:21) and have chance to take it [64]. Through Baptism we are cleansed from original sin, other sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16) and all punishment for sins [65] – we are therefore regenerated (Titus 3:5) and born anew (Romans 6:3-4) as sons of God [66], become members of His Church [67] and receive the grace of justification [68], i.e. Sanctifying Grace. According to Scripture there are mortal (deadly) and non-deadly sins (1 John 5:16-17). Sanctifying Grace is lost through committing mortal sin [69] – we regain it back when moved by grace we repent and are forgiven (by God) through Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation [70].

Baptism

Some, like Church of Christ and even Luther [71], consider the necessity of Baptism for our salvation. Calvin denied that Baptism erases original sin [72]. He did believe in Baptism for the forgiveness of sin but stated that the blood of Christ, figured by the water of Baptism, is the one that cleanses us from sin [73]. Calvin also stated that through Baptism all sins, past and future are forgiven, i.e. we don’t need sacrament of Reconciliation [74].

In general, Protestants and “Bible only” Christians consider Baptism only as symbol or public declaration of one’s faith in Christ – it neither regenerate us nor forgive our sins [75].

Purgatory

Since Justification includes remission of sins, those who die with non-mortal (or venial) sins must undergo purification through purgatory [76] as nothing unclean can enter heaven (Revelation 21:27). Scripture refers God as refiner’s fire (Malachi 3:2) who refines some as one refines silver (Zechariah 13:8-9).

When Christ said on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30) Catholics understand that it refers to His mission, i.e. to give Himself as a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6).

Purgatory

Purgatory is not required because we use Christ’ righteousness to cover our un-righteousness (this should include our sins). Following Calvin who taught that through Baptism we are purified from all sins, both past and future (refer to above) purgatory is obviously not required. Luther still believed in purgatory though he could not find its scriptural basis [77].

Purgatory makes what Christ did on the cross insufficient – it nullifies His last word on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30).

End Notes

  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1994

  2. Luther: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John, from Luther’s Works Vol. 23, page 129

  3. Luther: Lectures on Galatians, from Luther’s Works Vol. 26, page 395

  4. Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 3.11.1

  5. Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter IV

  6. Definition given by R.C. Sproul in Faith Alone, page 44

    Other definitions:


    But the doctrine of justification is this, that we are pronounced righteous and are saved solely by faith in Christ, and without works

    Luther: Lectures on Galatians, from Luther’s Works, Vol. 26, page 223


    The acceptance with which God receives us into his favour as if we were righteous

    Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 3.11.2


    Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner.

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 513

    Louis Berkhof (1873 – 1957) was Reformed Systematic Theologian.


  7. Justification takes place once for all. It is not repeated, neither is it a process; it is complete at once and for all time.

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 513


  8. the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace:

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter V


    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.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2010


  9. Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification and the renewal of the inner man.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2019


    This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby man of unjust becomes just [righteous], and of an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting.

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter VII


  10. And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter VIII


  11. God justifies not only by pardoning but by regenerating, he asks, whether he leaves those whom he justifies as they were by nature, making no change upon their vices? The answer is very easy: as Christ cannot be divided into parts, so the two things, justification and sanctification, which we perceive to be united together in him, are inseparable.

    Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 3.11.6


  12. Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or ‘justice’) here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to divine will is granted us.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1991


  13. Since we are justified, through God’s imputation, therefore by faith, not by works

    Luther: Lectures on Romans, from Luther’s Works, Vol. 25, page 43


    we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.

    Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 3.11.2


    The sinner is declared righteous in view of the fact that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him.

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 517


  14. 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. Sanctification, on the other hand, takes place in the inner life of man and gradually affects his whole being.

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 513


  15. the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just [righteous], but that whereby He maketh us just [righteous], that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just [righteous], receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one’s proper disposition and co-operation.

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter VII


  16. You should deal first with the center of our teaching and fix in the people’s minds what [they must know] about our justification; that is, that it is an extrinsic righteousness—indeed it is Christ’s.

    Luther: Letters II, from Luther’s Works, Vol. 49, page 263

  17. Noah (Genesis 6:9, Ezekiel 14:14), Daniel and Job (Ezekiel 14:14), Joseph (Matthew 1:19), Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:6) and without naming them (Psalms 1:6, 5:12, 34:15, Matthew 5:45, 13:17, 10:41, 23:29, 1 Peter 3:12 etc.)


  18. Our Justification comes from the grace of God

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1996


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

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Canon I


  20. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

    Council of Orange (529 AD): Canon VI


    For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God,

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter XVI


    If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema.

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Canon III


  21. God predestines no one to hell; for this, a wilful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1037

    For mortal and non-mortal sin refer to 1 John 5:16-17.


  22. Christ is both righteousness and life, and that the blessing of justification is possessed by faith alone.

    Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 3.14.17


  23. Justification is by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone. Saving faith is not a “lonely” faith, having no works following as a companion.

    Sproul: Faith Alone, page 156

    What Sproul wrote can be traced back to Luther and Calvin:


    In plain words, faith alone justifies a person, Rom. 3–5. After a man has been justified by faith, it is inevitable that the fruits of justification follow, since a good tree is not able not to bear good fruits, and a bad tree bad fruits, as Christ says (Matt. 7:18).

    Luther: Minor Prophets II: Jonah and Habakkuk, from Luther’s Works Vol. 19, page 23


    On the other hand, the subject of justification was discussed more cursorily, because it seemed of more consequence first to explain that the faith by which alone, through the mercy of God, we obtain free justification, is not destitute of good works;

    Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 3.11.1


  24. 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” [Romans 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

  25. Zane Hodges (1932 – 2008) expressed his opposition against Lordship Salvation in his own words:


    Today there exists in part of the evangelical church a wholly unrealistic view of the nature of Christian experience. According to those who hold this view, effective Christian living is virtually an inevitable result of new birth. But this view is as remote from the Bible as east is remote from west.

    Hodges: Absolutely Free, page 69

  26. Hodges argued that even “born-again” Christians still live in sinful body and will therefore continue sinning. In his own words:


    Let it be noted that this [Romans 8:10] is a description of a Christian, one in whom Christ and the Spirit live. Yet the physical house which contains them is spiritually dead!

    Hodges: Absolutely Free, page 70


    What they [Romans 7:15-25] do describe is the astounding enigma of Christian experience. The believer in Jesus is alive in spirit, while still inhabiting a physical house which is as dead to God’s life as it can possibly be

    Hodges: ibid, page 71

    Catholics agree that inclination to sin remains with us, yet we can resist it with the help (i.e. Grace) from God (1 Corinthians 10:13).


    An inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or, metaphorically, ‘the tinder for sin’ (fomes peccati); since concupiscence ‘is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1264

    Even when we, in using our freedom, choose to sin, Catholics believe that God will take the initiative, through His Grace to reconcile us with Him again.

  27. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2007
  28. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2008
  29. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2009
  30. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2010

  31. All we assign to man is that, by his impurity he pollutes and contaminates the very works which were good. The most perfect thing which proceeds from man is always polluted by some stain. Should the Lords therefore bring to judgment the best of human works, he would indeed behold his own righteousness in them; but he would also behold man’s dishonour and disgrace.

    Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion 3.15.3


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

    Westminster Confession of Faith XVI.5

  33. Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 523.

  34. Thus we sin even when we do good, unless God through Christ covers this imperfection and does not impute it to us. Thus it becomes a venial sin, though the mercy of God, who does not impute it for the sake of faith and the plea on behalf of this imperfection for the sake of Christ. Therefore, he who thinks that he might be regarded as righteous because of his works is very foolish, since if they were offered as a sacrifice to the judgment of God, they still would be found to be sins. . . . . . Therefore iniquity will be found in his righteousness, that is, even his good works will be unrighteous and sinful. This iniquity will not be found in believers and those who cry to Him, because Christ has brought them aid from the fullness of his purity and has hidden the imperfection of theirs.

    Luther: Lectures on Romans, from Luther’s Works, Vol. 25, pages 276-277


  35. If any one saith, that, in every good work, the just sins venially at least, or-which is more intolerable still-mortally, and consequently deserves eternal punishments; and that for this cause only he is not damned, that God does not impute those works unto damnation; let him be anathema.

    Council of Trent, Canon XXV of the Decree on Justification


    If any one saith, that the justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal recompense; let him be anathema.

    Council of Trent, Canon XXXI of the Decree on Justification

  36. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1996
  37. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1993

  38. Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a depravation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 405


    The holy Synod declares first, that, for the correct and sound understanding of the doctrine of Justification, it is necessary that each one recognise and confess, that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam-having become unclean, and, as the apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as (this Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin, they were so far the servants of sin, and under the power of the devil and of death, that not the Gentiles only by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter itself of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated, or to arise, there from; although free will, attenuated as it was in its powers, and bent down, was by no means extinguished in them.

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Chapter I


  39. 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


    God’s free initiative demands man’s free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2002


  40. 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

  41. In semi-pelagianism and pelagianism we can use our freedom to take the initiative for our salvation, then God will assist us with His Grace. In semi-pelagianism God’s Grace is necessary for our salvation while in pelagianism it is optional.


  42. This sacrament [of Baptism] is also called ‘the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit’, for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one ‘can enter the kingdom of God.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1215

  43. Definition given by Berkhof in Systematic Theology page 429

  44. Thus the human will is placed between the two like a beast of burden. If God rides it, it wills and goes where God wills, as the psalm says: “I am become as a beast [before thee] and I am always with thee” [Psalms 73:22]. If Satan rides it, it wills and goes where Satan wills; nor can it choose to run to either of the two riders or to seek him out, but the riders themselves contend for the possession and control of it.

    Luther: The Bondage of the Will, from Luther’s Works, Vol. 33 page 66


  45. Again, that man, by making a bad use of free will, lost both himself and his will. Again, that free will having been made a captive, can do nothing in the way of righteousness. Again, that no will is free which has not been made so by divine grace. Again, that the righteousness of God is not fulfilled when the law orders, and man acts, as it were, by his own strength, but when the Spirit assists, and the will (not the free will of man, but the will freed by God) obeys.

    Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 2.2.8


  46. Man did lose his material freedom, that is, the rational power to determine his course in the direction of the highest good, in harmony with the original moral constitution of his nature. Man has by nature an irresistible bias for evil. He is not able to apprehend and love spiritual excellence, to seek and do spiritual things, the things of God that pertain to salvation

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 248


  47. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

    Westminster Confession of Faith IX.3

    Westminster Confession of Faith is the confession of faith of English-speaking Presbyterians. It was completed in 1646 and approved after some revisions in June 1648.


  48. Regeneration is that act of God by which the principle of the new life is implanted in man, and the governing disposition of the soul is made holy.

    Regeneration consists in the implanting of the principle of the new spiritual life in man, in a radical change of the governing disposition of the soul, which under the influence of the Holy Spirit, gives birth to a life that moves in a Godward direction.

    [Regeneration] does not comprise conversion and sanctification. It is an instantaneous change of man’s nature, affecting at once the whole man, intellectually, emotionally, and morally.

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 469, 468

  49. Sproul: Regeneration precedes Faith
  50. An Outline of the FACTS of Arminianism vs. the TULIP of Calvinism

  51. “To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of ‘predestination’, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace: ‘In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place [Acts 4:27-28]. For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 600

  52. Unconditional Election and Reprobation is based on God’s eternal decree when He created the world while Conditional Election and Reprobation is based on His foreknowledge of our responses to His Grace.


  53. God predestines no one to hell; for this, a wilful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1037

  54. Ludwig Ott: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pages 242 to 247.

  55. “’All men are called to this catholic [universal] unity of the People of God…. And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation.’

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 836


  56. God, by an Eternal Resolve of His Will, predestines certain men, on account of their foreseen sins, to eternal rejection’

    Ludwig Ott: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, page 245


  57. By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which He determined within Himself whatever He wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.

    Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion 3.21.6


    By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    Westminster Confession of Faith III.3

  58. Sproul: Regeneration precedes Faith

  59. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, does blind and harden, from them He not only withholds His grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their heart; but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had, and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God uses for the softening of others.

    Westminster Confession of Faith V.6


  60. If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end, unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

    Council of Trent: Decree on Justification, Canon XVI

    Examples from the Scripture are the criminal on the other cross to whom Jesus said that he would be with Him in paradise (Luke 23:43) and the seventy (or seventy-two) disciples to whom Jesus said their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). In Romans 16:3-16 Paul greeted a number of persons and only Rufus (Romans 16:13) he singled out as God’s Elect.


  61. They, whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

    Westminster Confessions of Faith XVII.1

  62. An Outline of the FACTS of Arminianism vs. the TULIP of Calvinism

  63. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1992


  64. The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5] He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them [Matthew 28:19-20]. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament {Mark 16:16]. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are ‘reborn of water and the Spirit’. God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1257


  65. By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1263


  66. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1213


    Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature’, an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature, [2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Peter 1:4] member of Christ and co-heir with him [Romans 8:17, 1 Corinthians 6:15, 12:17] and the temple of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 6:19]

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1265


  67. Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: ‘Therefore … we are members one of another [Ephesians 4:25]. Baptism incorporates us into the Church.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1267


  68. The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1266


  69. Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1861


  70. Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1856


  71. Baptism is recorded in the last chapter of Mark: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Even if a person is baptized but is without faith, he is lost. But we shall at this time omit discussion of that which serves us in disputation and controversy with the adversaries. In connection with baptism the words themselves, which are recorded here, must be understood. These every person must know. In the first place, note the command of God, which is very stern when he says: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). This is a strict command; if a person wants to be saved, let him be baptized; otherwise he is in God’s disfavor.

    Luther: Sermons I, from Luther’s Works Vol. 51, page 188


  72. It is now clear how false the doctrine is which some long ago taught, and others still persist in, that by baptism we are exempted and set free from original sin, and from the corruption which was propagated by Adam to all his posterity, and that we are restored to the same righteousness and purity of nature which Adam would have had if he had maintained the integrity in which he was created.

    Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion 4.15.10

    Note that Catholics agree that after Baptism we still have inclination to sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1264). Scripture says Baptism does not put away filth of the flesh (1 Peter 3:21). Catholics separate between original sin and effect of original sin while Calvin lumped these two together.


  73. Christ, who is figured by water from the resemblance to cleansing and washing. Who, then, can say that we are cleansed by that water which certainly attests that the blood of Christ is our true and only laver?

    Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.15.2


  74. Nor is it to be supposed that baptism is bestowed only with reference to the past, so that, in regard to new lapses into which we fall after baptism, we must seek new remedies of expiation in other so-called sacraments, just as if the power of baptism had become obsolete.

    We ought to consider that at whatever time we are baptised, we are washed and purified once for the whole of life. Wherefore, as often as we fall, we must recall the remembrance of our baptism, and thus fortify our minds, so as to feel certain and secure of the remission of sins. For though, when once administered, it seems to have passed, it is not abolished by subsequent sins.

    Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion 4.15.3

  75. Even Berkhof lamented the downgrading of Baptism among Protestants in his own words:


    There are also a few who regarded baptism as nothing more than the sign of an external covenant. Under the influence of Socinians, Arminians, Anabaptists, and Rationalists, it has become quite customary in many circles to deny that baptism is a seal of divine grace, and to regard it as a mere act of profession on the part of man. In our day many professing Christians have completely lost the consciousness of the spiritual significance of baptism. It has become a mere formality.

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology, page 627


  76. All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

    The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1030, # 1031


  77. The existence of a purgatory I have never denied. I still hold that it exists, as I have written and admitted many times, though I have found no way of proving it incontrovertibly from Scripture or reason. I find in Scripture that Christ, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Job, David, Hezekiah, and some others tasted hell in this life. This I think was purgatory, and it seems not beyond belief that some of the dead suffer in like manner. Tauler has much to say about it, and, in short, I myself have come to the conclusion that there is a purgatory, but I cannot force anybody else to come to the same result.

    Luther: Defense and Explanation of all the Articles, from Luther’s Works Vol. 32, page 95

60 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. John Mulvihill / Apr 22 2010 12:17 am

    Justification is only through faith in Christ, as the thief on the cross was not baptized, nor led a life of acting on faith. His only action was looking to Christ…”Remember me when you arrive in your kingdom.”
    Pharisees tempted Christ saying:
    John 6 28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
    29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
    IJohn5 13These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    We are not justified of ourselves, but in Christ who is the propitiation for our sins, who ascended into Heaven and seated himself as an eternal sacrifice for our sins, seated on the mercy seat.

    However,proof of a living being is a beating heart & breath from his mouth. Likewise, our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit 1Cor3:16, could not in good conscience ignore the Great Commission Ma28:19-20, not sharing the Gospel of Salvation in Christ.
    Twenty-one times in the Bible, the Apostle Paul mentions having a good conscience toward Christ. We need to listen to God’s calling in the Holy Spirit or we will be most miserable as the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins. The Holy Spirit is who changes us from the inside out. Not by our own acts, but his in us.
    Justification is believing in Christ, and his blood alone for the atonement of our sins.
    Matthew 19 15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. 16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    Point and case, only God is good. His work in Christ is our Justification.
    -God Bless

    • vivator / Apr 25 2010 2:55 pm

      Dear John,
      You cannot generalize the case of thief on the cross and apply it to all of us. Most of us are not in his situation. In his case he dies shortly after having faith in Chrits – thus he was saved without going through Baptism, Catholics have no problem with that as God can save a person without Baptism but He denanded those who have the chance to have Baptism (Mark 16:16).
      If you read my post carefully you will note that Catholics do not believe we can justify ourselves – our Justification comes from the grace of God. Scripture nowhere says we are justified by faith in Christ alone, unless you follow Luther’s faulty translation of Romans 3:28 where he added the word “alone”. James 2:24 plainly says against justification by faith alone. Even you cited verse that requires us to keep the commandments in order to enter life, i.e faith alone does not save. Most, if not all, Protestants, Evangelicals and “Bible only” Christians have “work-phobia” because they relate “work” with salvation by works. Catholics neither believe in salvation or justification by works either – our abilities to obey God’s commandment come from and are only possible with God’s Grace.

  2. Scott / Aug 18 2010 6:28 pm

    If you read the context in James, it is clear that he is talking about people who claim they have ‘faith’ yet their works deny it by nor controlling their tongues (James 1:26) showing no concern for the poor (James 2:2-4) committing adultery and murdering (James 2:11), and being hypocritical (James: 15-16)
    James was talking about ‘Justification’ before men, while Paul was talking about ‘Justification’ before God.
    This is what St. Ignatius of Antioch is talking about when he says that whoever has faith will have good works and will not commit any mortal sin: “None of these things is hid from you, if ye perfectly possess that faith and love towards Christ Jesus which are the beginning and the end of life. For the beginning is faith, and the end is love. Now these two, being inseparably connected together, are of God, while all other things which are requisite for a holy life follow after them. No man [truly] making a profession of faith sinneth; nor does he that possesses love hate any one. The tree is made manifest by its fruit; so those that profess themselves to be Christians shall be recognised by their conduct. For there is not now a demand for mere profession, but that a man be found continuing in the power of faith to the end” (St. Ignatius’s Epistle to the Ephesians.)
    Further, even James teaches salvation through faith alone, saying “Abraham believed in God, and it was credited unto him as righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23).
    Also, when Luther translated Romans 3:28, he was trying to write it so that it would be gramattically correct in the German language.
    And yes, Protestants do not believe that works contribute in our salvation in the least. We do this because we believe Paul when he wrote, “The righteousness from God is revealed to us by faith from beginning to end, as it is written, ‘The just will live by faith,'” and “If righteousness comes by the law, then Christ died in vain. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth . . . Do ye receive the spirit by the works of the law or the hearing of faith. Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect by the flesh . . . Abraham believed in God and it was credited to him as righteousness . . . Cursed is every one who continueth not in ALL the things written in the book of the law to do them. But no man is justified by the law in the sight of God . . . Christ is become no effect unto you, whosoever are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” And also, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth reighteousness without works, saying: ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blesses is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.'”
    Few protestants believe they are saved because they said a prayer.

  3. vivator / Aug 19 2010 6:37 pm

    Dear Scott,
    Thank you for the comments. Neither Paul nor James wrote that they dealt with different Justification. Catholics obviously agree to what Ignatius wrote, note that he stated “For the beginning is faith, and the end is love”, i.e. justification is not one time event and by only faith alone. James 2:23 talks about Justification that comes through faith, which Catholics strongly believe – it does not support “by faith alone” justification – in fact James plainly says that Abraham was justified by works (James 2:21) and a man is justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24). Earlier you declared that James dealt with different Justification but now you want to make his equal to that of Paul.

  4. friendly / Dec 26 2010 9:56 pm

    Why does everyone want to make this so complicated? It is simply:
    Jesus died to save us from our sins.
    Jesus became our righteousness.
    We accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us,
    We are called to righteousness by accepting Jesus not of self but
    of God’s sacrifice for us.

    We become righteous not of self or of the law, but by accepting
    Christ our righteousness.
    We thank God by giving our lives as little Christs, making sacrifices for other
    people.
    The Holy Spirit places in us a holy seed which continues to grow to that day when we become an enlarged tree presenting to God our fruits of gratitude for his sacrifice and example.

  5. Michael Kocian / Jan 10 2011 10:30 am

    Dear friendly,

    If you accept Christ, you will do what He said. He said for one that we must eat His Body and drink His Blood, else we have no life in us. He made this sacrament available to mankind in His Church that He built, that was named the Catholic Church. His delegated authority to teach and to administer His Sacraments was given to His Catholic Church which He built to assist in the salvation of all mankind. The Apostles were and are Catholic men. The authors of the New Testament were and are Catholic men. The same Catholic Church assembled the canon of Scripture into the full 73 book Bible. Jesus is Head of His one Catholic Church, which has a prime minister, the Pope. Those who hear the ones Jesus sent (Catholic Magisterium), hear also Christ. Those who reject those Jesus sent (Catholic Magisterium), also reject Christ and the Father.

    Yes, it’s really simple. We do what Christ said. Christ built His Church for us to have the truth about Him and about salvation. Men who are ignorant or don’t like it have tried to water down Christ’s message and plan for us. The Catholic Church is the only place to get the full truth of Christ for our salvation. If one chooses not to listen to His Church, then it’s also a rejection of Christ.

  6. wopod / Feb 3 2011 12:02 am

    Thank you for the link and comment. I value the opportunity to really get to the root of your objection of the Christian Gospel as defined in protestant/reformed/evangelical terms.

    In answer to my last post you replied…

    “Catholics do not (and never) believe we are justified by works – this is common mis-perception from Protestants.”

    Actually, in the passage you quoted from me that you were responding to I did not use the term “justified”. What I said was..

    “Any attempt to mix the completed work of Christ on the cross with aspects of our own works (religious or moral efforts), as a basis for confidence to stand before God is an entirely false basis.”

    Key point was “as a basis for confidence”. It seems to me ludicrous to suggest that the practicing Catholic places no confidence in such activities as mass, the confessional, penance, priestly absolutions, etc. It is clear that such things exist and the participation in them is entirely in the category of “a basis for confidence”. As such I would maintain with all my heart my claim that such confidence is a false confidence.

    The sacrament of penance, for example, is defined as a

    “liturgical action instituted by the Church for the reconciliation of sinners to communion with God”….. “or as a means of restoring full unity with God”…. “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against Him”. “And then the priest absolves the sinner,” (who claims, against scripture to be a mediator between man and God – my inserted comment),; “that is, he grants God’s pardon for the sins.”

    Clearly the confidence is in the priestly ministry and in this and other sacraments to cause us to be made right before God! Where do we go to obtain forgiveness and restoration? To the cross – no to the priest, to the sacrament! Not by works?!, The entire system is WORKS! WORKS! WORKS!

    As I read your work I am sensing there is a central and reoccurring theme that you bring up which seems to be at the heart of your rejection of Protestantism and embrace of Catholic theology. This seems to be the emphasis upon the requirement of our cooperation. You quote this point in multiple instances.

    Flowing from this and linked to it you seem to deny two essential doctrines.
    a. You deny the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. (thus righteousness requires another source)
    b. You deny of the full payment of Christ for sins on the Cross (Thus forgiveness for sins requires another source).

    To quote one instance…

    “Our righteousness does come from God (not from ourselves) and with our co-operation it becomes inherent part of us – we become and are righteous” .

    Surely you can see this statement is entirely circular! If “Our righteousness” comes from God then where does “Our cooperation” come from? An unrighteous man clearly would not cooperate! Is not “our cooperation” in and of itself righteousness?! One would presume so! (Abraham’s cooperation certainly seems to have been counted as righteousness). How actually can we define “cooperation” except acceptance of and obedience to God and his word and His commands? Yet surely this is also the definition of righteousness is it not?! If ‘cooperation’ is ‘righteousness’ then it too comes from God (by your own definition!). You are essentially saying that we receive God’s righteousness, which comes from God and not from ourselves, by being righteous! So please clarify – does “Our Cooperation” come from God or from ourselves. If the latter, it is a basis for our confidence “works”.

    Elsewhere you seem to suggest another basis for our cooperation, namely ‘freedom’.
    ……”Using our freedom we cooperate with this Grace”

    “Freedom”? that is the basis of our cooperation. We could, of course dive into the thorny bush of ‘free will and predestination’ but that is not my point. Assuming this ‘freedom’ to be real we have still not answered the previous point but reinforced it! If you by your own free will choose to cooperate with God, that is a righteous decision and action by any definition. So by your own definition this too comes from God. Or else it is a work’s righteousness and not by Grace?

    Your contradictions are clear. You claim that righteousness entirely comes from God and then describe it as a half half cooperation between God and man. Just as you claim “Justification by Grace” – and then in the next sentence proceed to explain that Grace does not Justify it “Helps” – You even underline the word yourself! Grace, then may be God helping us, nudging us towards Justification, but it is in no way God justifying us! Justification comes by responding to and cooperating with his grace. You have said so many times that we protestants misrepresent the Catholic position claiming it is salvation by works and yet you proclaim it yourself loud and clear. Sure God takes the initiative, God provides the opportunity, but we are saved clearly by our own cooperation by our own responses. The very salvation by works you claim Catholics not to believe!

    The idea of cooperation in salvation seems is deeply central to the catholic system. We participate in his sacrifice in the Mass, we pay off our own sins in purgatory, its all designed to take our eyes off Christ as full payment of our sins and try to vainly imagine we can participate and cooperate in the processes of salvation and Justification.

    The very systems of the catholic church (which you seem rather reluctant to mention in the posts I have read thus far), such as Popes, the priesthood, the sacrificial lives of the Nuns and Monks, the artifacts, indulgencies, confessionals, priestly absolutions, Mass itself, Hail Mary’s, the very emphasis of Mary as co-redeemer, and so on and so forth, all seem deliberately designed with this one single intent – to take Gods work, Christ’s completion of it on the cross, and to exchanged the completed work for an uncompleted one, a finished work for one ongoing, a work of God into a work of man.

    Again and again, catholic belief and practice claims man as a positive and cooperative partner in the sovereign work of God. God is dragged down and we are raised up! The error of this should be evident from the very point of creation! We did not play and part or role in creating ourselves! Nor can we play any role or part in re-creating ourselves. The same idea from the term “Born again” we play no part in the time and manner of our own birth or re-birth!

    Yet with our eyes on all these catholic God – replacements, we will always trust in these seen things over and above the invisible work, always trust in the ongoing as opposed to the completed and trust in these things, these religious activities, ceremonies, sacraments, and so on to impute righteousness to us. Here is the root of why you repeatedly contrast the protestant view of imputed righteousness with your own. Likewise you downgrade Christ’s statement in the cross “it is finished” to simply referring to his mission! No it didn’t! It is finished – Tetelestai – an accounting term often associated with Greek receipts, carries with it a clear meaning “Paid in Full!”.

    I have read so many of your responses to people like me. Your eloquence and knowledge are without doubt but, before God I plead with you, let this not be a point scoring exercise in Theological dexterity. In doing so you may defeat me but God himself is the judge of both of us. Where actually is your trust? Your confidence? Your assurance?

    God’s grace be with you

    Chris

  7. Steve N. / Feb 21 2011 12:15 pm

    Wopod, reading your post, I am not sure that Catholic teaching has been presented correctly.
    Referring to Vivator’s last response, you wrote:

    -In answer to my last post you replied…

    -“Catholics do not (and never) believe we are justified by works – this is common mis-perception
    -from Protestants.”

    Catholics indeed do not. We are justified by Grace.

    -Actually, in the passage you quoted from me that you were responding to I did not use the term
    -“justified”. What I said was..

    -“Any attempt to mix the completed work of Christ on the cross with aspects of our own works
    -(religious or moral efforts), as a basis for confidence to stand before God is an entirely false
    -basis.”

    I’m sorry, but God’s work using us as willing instruments of His righteousness is not a basis of confidence? Why, it is confidence itself!

    -Key point was “as a basis for confidence”. It seems to me ludicrous to suggest that the
    -practicing Catholic places no confidence in such activities as mass, the confessional, penance,
    -priestly absolutions, etc. It is clear that such things exist and the participation in them is
    -entirely in the category of “a basis for confidence”. As such I would maintain with all my heart
    -my claim that such confidence is a false confidence.

    The confidence that the Catholic has, and always should have, is ultimately in Jesus, the Eternal Word of God, and His work on the Cross. Jesus established the Church to put in effect the Sacrifice of the Cross in the lives of men. The Church was to do this first by making known the Gospel to men, then by showing them the way that Jesus wanted them to pledge a good conscience and to enter into His Body, ie Baptism. Next by showing them the way Jesus wanted to be reconciled to Him after committing serious, deadly, sin, ie, Reconciliation. Next by showing them how Jesus wanted the believer to abide in Him, ie, by partaking of the Eucharist. And finally other ways that the believers were to keep the Divine Life active or increasing in their lives (sacraments, sacramentals, devotions).

    Remember that there are 2 aspects to every work, the willing, and the acting. It is the work of God in us to will to follow God that is the basis of our confidence. In Confession then, it is the confirmation of the presence of God’s work with our will that is our basis of our confidence.

    And this was the point of the Cross. to be able to send us the Holy Spirit to work within us and change us, even our will.

    you continue:

    -The sacrament of penance, for example, is defined as a

    –“liturgical action instituted by the Church for the reconciliation of sinners to communion with
    –God”….. “or as a means of restoring full unity with God”…. “Those who approach the sacrament of
    –Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against Him”. “And then the
    –priest absolves the sinner,” (who claims, against scripture to be a mediator between man and God
    -–my inserted comment),; “that is, he grants God’s pardon for the sins.”

    Yes, we have confidence that Christ has given us men with authority to vouch for the action of the Holy Spirit within us to move our will and heart toward God when it has been previously opposed.

    -Clearly the confidence is in the priestly ministry and in this and other sacraments to cause us
    -to be made right before God! Where do we go to obtain forgiveness and restoration? To the cross
    –no to the priest, to the sacrament! Not by works?!, The entire system is WORKS! WORKS! WORKS!

    No, our confidence is in Jesus, who instituted the priestly ministry by giving His authority to forgive sins to the apostles, along with the ability (binding and loosing) to pass the authority to their successors. And also, the apostles gave to these successors the authority to pass authority to their successors.

    And all this because of Jesus’s Words, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”, and “whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. These words give us confidence in the work of the Holy spirit within us (in Confession, of repentance).

    You continue:

    -As I read your work I am sensing there is a central and reoccurring theme that you bring up –
    -which seems to be at the heart of your rejection of Protestantism and embrace of Catholic
    -theology. This seems to be the emphasis upon the requirement of our cooperation. You quote this
    -point in multiple instances.

    -Flowing from this and linked to it you seem to deny two essential doctrines.
    -a. You deny the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. (thus righteousness requires another
    -source)
    -b. You deny of the full payment of Christ for sins on the Cross (Thus forgiveness for sins
    -requires another source).

    We don’t deny imputation, we just believe that this imputation leads directly to the infusion of Divine Life and Righteousness within us. Further Jesus’ payment for sins on the Cross was for the healing of the Eternal Effect of sin, the separation from God, the emnity with God, that our sins incurred. It did not remove the effects of those sins on our own soul (deformed memory, intellect, & will). We are left with them to struggle with and remove, through the guidance and living of the Holy Spirit within us, changing us to ever mor true images of Christ.

    Any imperfections left at death will be burned off with a spiritual fire.

    You continue:

    -To quote one instance…

    -“Our righteousness does come from God (not from ourselves) and with our co-operation it becomes
    -inherent part of us – we become and are righteous” .

    -Surely you can see this statement is entirely circular! If “Our righteousness” comes from God
    -then where does “Our cooperation” come from? An unrighteous man clearly would not cooperate! Is
    -not “our cooperation” in and of itself righteousness?! One would presume so! (Abraham’s
    -cooperation certainly seems to have been counted as righteousness). How actually can we define
    -“cooperation” except acceptance of and obedience to God and his word and His commands? Yet surely
    -this is also the definition of righteousness is it not?! If ‘cooperation’ is ‘righteousness’ then
    -it too comes from God (by your own definition!). You are essentially saying that we receive God’s
    -righteousness, which comes from God and not from ourselves, by being righteous! So please clarify
    -– does “Our Cooperation” come from God or from ourselves. If the latter, it is a basis for our
    -confidence “works”.

    No, not circular, but cumulative. Our cooperation comes from the work of the Holy Spirit on our will so as not to oppose future work in us by Him. This cooperation, or ability to cooperate, is instilled in us by the Holy Spirit at our initial justification. After that we are enabled to allow the Holy Spirit to begin work within us (although we might possibly still oppose it by our will.) Every act of the will not to resist the Holy Spirit keeps our faith alive and keeps the Life of God within us.

    The word Paul uses in ancient greek for “justify” literally means “actually make righteous”. Ordinarily it is translated “declare innocent” becuse it refers form man to man. But God is able to make one actually righteous, not just call him inocent. Thus infusion is the better term for how God applies his righteousness to us.

    -Elsewhere you seem to suggest another basis for our cooperation, namely ‘freedom’.

    -……”Using our freedom we cooperate with this Grace”

    -“Freedom”? that is the basis of our cooperation. We could, of course dive into the thorny bush
    -of ‘free will and predestination’ but that is not my point. Assuming this ‘freedom’ to be real we
    -have still not answered the previous point but reinforced it! If you by your own free will choose
    -to cooperate with God, that is a righteous decision and action by any definition. So by your own
    -definition this too comes from God. Or else it is a work’s righteousness and not by Grace?

    Again any cooperation comes from the enabling of it by the Holy Spirit, and it is by refusing to oppose the work of the Holy Spirit within us. What is meant by freedom is that we are no longer slave to the impulse to oppose the work of the Spirit. We, by justification, are now able to allow Him to work.

    -Your contradictions are clear. You claim that righteousness entirely comes from God and then
    -describe it as a half half cooperation between God and man. Just as you claim “Justification by
    -Grace” – and then in the next sentence proceed to explain that Grace does not Justify it “Helps”
    -– You even underline the word yourself! Grace, then may be God helping us, nudging us towards
    -Justification, but it is in no way God justifying us! Justification comes by responding to and
    -cooperating with his grace. You have said so many times that we protestants misrepresent the
    -Catholic position claiming it is salvation by works and yet you proclaim it yourself loud and
    -clear. Sure God takes the initiative, God provides the opportunity, but we are saved clearly by
    -our own cooperation by our own responses. The very salvation by works you claim Catholics not to
    -believe!

    Not half-half, it is all of God, including the ability to get out of God’s way. But Grace does justify, in that the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside one. He begins to make us righteous by actually giving us the ability not to oppose God. That is He can now work within us to transform us.

    But Vivator means cooperation in the sense that we willingly give our members to the service of the Holy Spirit working within us. We are saved not by the actions we take but by the accession of our will to the will of God.

    -The idea of cooperation in salvation seems is deeply central to the catholic system. We
    -participate in his sacrifice in the Mass, we pay off our own sins in purgatory, its all designed
    -to take our eyes off Christ as full payment of our sins and try to vainly imagine we can
    -participate and cooperate in the processes of salvation and Justification.

    No it is giving our will over to His.

    -The very systems of the catholic church (which you seem rather reluctant to mention in the posts
    -I have read thus far), such as Popes, the priesthood, the sacrificial lives of the Nuns and
    -Monks, the artifacts, indulgencies, confessionals, priestly absolutions, Mass itself, Hail
    -Mary’s, the very emphasis of Mary as co-redeemer, and so on and so forth, all seem deliberately
    -designed with this one single intent – to take Gods work, Christ’s completion of it on the cross,
    -and to exchanged the completed work for an uncompleted one, a finished work for one ongoing, a
    -work of God into a work of man.

    Just becuse the Holy Spirit has many phsyical ways (actions) that He uses for His purposes, with our bodies as instruments, doesn’t negate that the actual effective means of saving us and bringing us to righteousness is the changing of our will to accepts God’s.

    -Again and again, catholic belief and practice claims man as a positive and cooperative partner in
    -the sovereign work of God. God is dragged down and we are raised up! The error of this should be
    -evident from the very point of creation! We did not play and part or role in creating ourselves!
    -Nor can we play any role or part in re-creating ourselves. The same idea from the term “Born
    -again” we play no part in the time and manner of our own birth or re-birth!

    As a partner, it’s not quite positive; I would say instead non-negative. However, for God, to not resist is is more that enough to do miraculous things.

    -Yet with our eyes on all these catholic God – replacements, we will always trust in these seen
    -things over and above the invisible work, always trust in the ongoing as opposed to the completed
    -and trust in these things, these religious activities, ceremonies, sacraments, and so on to
    -impute righteousness to us. Here is the root of why you repeatedly contrast the protestant view
    -of imputed righteousness with your own. Likewise you downgrade Christ’s statement in the cross
    -“it is finished” to simply referring to his mission! No it didn’t! It is finished – Tetelestai –
    -an accounting term often associated with Greek receipts, carries with it a clear meaning “Paid in
    -Full!”.

    Well actually, in a sense you are right. If we trust in the visible work and not the work of the Holy Spirit within us to have us give our assent of the will, then indeed we are not “working out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us both to will and to do.” And we should be careful that “those who think they are standing should take care lest they stumble and fall”.

    But correctly taught, no Catholic should fall into the pitfalls you mention.

    And by the way, “Tetelestai”, means in ordinary ancient Graeek, it is finished. Only when applied to a bill can it mean “paid in full”. So we must ask ourselves, what is finished? Catholics believe what is finished is the basis of propitiation of the wrath of the Father. How and when it is applied in the temporal reality was yet to be seen/accomplished.

    That is why Jesus left the Church, with leadership and authority.

    -I have read so many of your responses to people like me. Your eloquence and knowledge are without
    -doubt but, before God I plead with you, let this not be a point scoring exercise in Theological
    -dexterity. In doing so you may defeat me but God himself is the judge of both of us. Where
    -actually is your trust? Your confidence? Your assurance?

    Jesus. All He is, all He has said, all He has done. And the Father. All He is, all He has said, all He has done. And the Holy Spirit. All He is, all He has said, all He has done.

    -God’s grace be with you

    And may God’s peace be with your spirit.

    -Steve

  8. wopod / Feb 22 2011 7:46 pm

    Thanks for your response Steve.

    Clearly you join your voice with Victors in claiming that Catholosism is being misrepresented and misunderstood. Sorry, I just don’t buy it. You both seem to remain mystified as to why anyone from a reformed/protestant or, to use victors oft used term, ‘bible only’ Christian perspective would ever come to the conclusion that Catolosicim and its ministries, sacrifices, catechisms, priesthood, ordinances, artifacts, etc, etc is remain profoundly idolatrous and against Christ whom it claims to represent. It’s all just one big misunderstanding?

    It is that Luther, having had the benefit of “Catholic teaching … presented correctly” would never have penned his 95 thesis. Or, on to the reformers ( Calvin etc), that they simply didn’t understand what they were criticizing and would have returned to rosaries and penance and indulgencies in an instant had they understood them in the correct light?! No, really, I don’t think so!

    In truth it doesn’t take a Luther or a Calvin or any sort of learned theologian. Just a bible and open eyes and heart. As we look down at scripture we read of only one mediator between God and man, we look up and see the many in the Catholic church; we look down and see that “noone is righteous not even one”, and we look up and see Mary and the pope presented in just such a light; we look down and see that God pronounces all who have faith in Christ fully forgiven and we look up and we see the Catholic priests pronouncing absolution and the act of pennence, mass, and many other such elements as prior requirements for such; we look down and see that we are to worship and pray to God alone and we look up and see the adoration of Mary and the prayers to saints; we look down and see the once and for all completed work of the Cross and Christ now resurrected and ascended and we look up and we stare at crucifix’s and the eucharist where Christ’s sacrifice is not presented as completed but on-going.

    Of course the catholic answer to this is that Christ is present in the Eucharist, in the priesthood and in all these aspects and so it is Him doing these things all along and so we can maintain the claim that we are trusting in him alone! To have you cake and eat it as it were. But the bible speaks in simpler terms, that we have no requirement of earthly mediation at all and can freely receive, and can only receive, these things by receiving them freely and directly from Christ himself. We are justified by a direct faith that simply trusts in Him. We have direct access through Christ, by faith to the Father. I, and all Christians, can boldly approach the thrown of grace myself. My priestly representation before him is Christ and no other, and He is sufficient for all my sin. But the catholic priest says NO! “You need to go through me, through the Eucharist, through penance, through all these other things”. The whole catholic system is set up to prevent direct access to God.

    For me, no thanks! I go through Christ. These things you think mediate between you and God in reality are preventing not enabling your access to him!

    You proclaim “the way Jesus wanted” in terms to the catholic view of reconciliation, eucharist. sacraments, sacramental, devotions, when scripture itself testifies that these things were not the way he intended at all. The way he intended was a simple faith that trusts in him alone. It is not surprising that Catholics make the claim to have that but their very practices deny this claim entirely. It seems that throughout this blog, As in the Catholic catechism itself, along with one thousand repeated claims that it is all by Grace, only through Christ, not by works etc etc,, there exists one thousand examples of the contradiction to these claims. It reads like someone claiming an orange is really an apple. Look at it’s orange color, you can peal the skin off by your hand, its segmented and you can squeeze the juice easily – see I told you it was an apple!

    From a Catholic perspective maybe it is possible you can reconcile these definitions with these practices although it requires a lot of mental gymnastics, and redefinition to do so but to claim that the protestant view is based upon misrepresentation is completely reverse of the reality. To the protestant these things ARE idolatrous ARE are Works based. You do not define them as such but protestants sure do. There IS a priesthood regularly proclaiming forgiveness for sins, there ARE prayers to Mary and the saints, the catholic Eucharist really DOES present itself as participation and continuation of the sacrifice of Christ rather than just a grateful remembrance of it’s completion. To point out things is NOT to misrepresent Catholosism at all. These things really do occur, not just figments of a protestant imagination. And because they do exist, to the protestant they ARE profoundly idolatrous and works based. The misrepresentation claim would be if these things actually do not occur in the Catholic church but they undeniably do! I wonder if you cannot realise that maybe it is you guys misrepresenting the protestant faith not the other way round?

    So I don’t know where this is going, I don’t know where your hearts really are, maybe the tomb is so prettily whitewashed that you really cannot see the death within. But I will continue to pray that this may not be the end of it. But please consider this beyond a theological point scoring/sparing match – in truth the catholic system is well summarized by Jesus words…“you shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

    I do pray for a better foundation for faith and a better future for you both and all who tune in to this blog,

    With Christian Love,

    Chris
    http://Wopodsbb.blog.co.uk

  9. Steve N. / Mar 13 2011 1:40 pm

    Chris, (Wopod?)

    Thank you for responding. However you failed to address the logic of my points. It seems to me that you are repeating your points in the hope that repetition=truth. You also mischaracterize my arguments because, as far as I can see, you have no reasonable response to them. But, in any case, I will try to engage your objections.

    BTW I have visited your website and you seem to have a wonderful family, reminding me very much of my own.

    -Thanks for your response Steve.

    -Clearly you join your voice with Victors in claiming that Catholosism is being misrepresented
    -and misunderstood. Sorry, I just don’t buy it.

    I’m sorry you don’t. What was wrong with my arguments?

    -You both seem to remain mystified as to why anyone from a reformed/protestant or, to use victors
    -oft used term, ‘bible only’ Christian perspective would ever come to the conclusion that
    -Catolosicim and its ministries, sacrifices, catechisms, priesthood, ordinances, artifacts, etc,
    -etc is remain profoundly idolatrous and against Christ whom it claims to represent. It’s all
    -just one big misunderstanding?

    Actually I’m not mystified at all. When one throw out the Church’s original understanding of the the teachings of Christ, preserved in the Church, with Jesus’s own authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit for 2000 yrs, and replace it with one’s own presuppositions and invented traditions, one can believe anything, and in Protestantism, most likely will. The sound teachings carried forward from the Apostles are replaced with imaginings. If one makes up his own standards by which to interpret the Bible, one can easily read idolatry into any teachings he wishes, or read truth ino any falsehood.

    -It is that Luther, having had the benefit of “Catholic teaching … presented correctly” would
    -never have penned his 95 thesis.

    No,unfortunately he was incapable of understanding, nor did he truly understand the meaning of faith. So he manipulated the meaning to justify his desires.

    -Or, on to the reformers ( Calvin etc), that they simply didn’t understand what they were
    -criticizing and would have returned to rosaries and penance and indulgencies in an instant had
    -they understood them in the correct light?! No, really, I don’t think so!

    Perhaps not in an instant. But had they been willing to suspend their unbelief, they may have reached the same conclusion that the church had reached.

    -In truth it doesn’t take a Luther or a Calvin or any sort of learned theologian. Just a bible
    -and open eyes and heart.

    And you really believe that every man has an open heart? Or even open eyes and open hearts? And you put yourself in their group???? Why should I follow your interpretation vs one that came from the Apostles themselves, appointed by Christ Himself, and preserved by their own appointed authorities?

    -As we look down at scripture we read of only one mediator between God and man, we look up and
    -see the many in the Catholic church;

    I look down in scripture and see Paul asking us to pray for others. I see Paul say we are the Body of Christ. Do you pray for others? If so you are doing a form of mediation. One bases God’s hearing of his wishes upon one’s adopted sonship and so are using the mediatorship gathered for you by Jesus by His propitiation of the Father. If you disagree, look up the definition of mediation.

    -we look down and see that “noone is righteous not even one”, and we look up and see Mary
    -the pope presented in just such a light;

    I look down and see that the Bible calls several people righteous in the new testament. I look up and I see a typical Protestant misinterpretation where if you actually read the psalm from which Paul takes these words, you would see it refers to those who are “fools”, ie, who have denied God, and who are being contrasted to the just. To call the Mother of Jesus a fool, that is to say she denied God, is a blasphemous attack on Jesus’s honoring of His Mother. You have no idea to what lengths God went to have a Mother for His Son who would be worthy of His obedience. However, this all being said about Mary, the pope is not in the same league as her. We respect him on account of his office, and hopefully, his person. But why you would add him to her there makes no sense at all.

    -we look down and see that God pronounces all who have faith in Christ fully forgiven.

    And your definition of faith is…what? To do all that Christ asks? How would you know what He wants without consulting His Church?

    I look down and I see that the Church is the Pillar and Bulwark of the Truth. How do you know you’re living in the true faith, or that it is a living one?

    I see James saying that faith without works is a dead faith. How are you sure your faith is alive?

    -and we look up and we see the Catholic priests pronouncing absolution and the act of pennence,
    -mass, and many other such elements as prior requirements for such;

    I look down and I see where Jesus has given the apostles His own power to forgive sins (“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whosoever’s sins you shall forgive…whosoever’s sins you shall retain….’). Further I see where he has left the power of selection of successors
    with them, along with the power to pass to these successors similar powers as they were themselves given. If so, then the church has the need to hear a person’s sins, otherwise, how could the sins be known to need forgiveness?

    You have problem with confession don’t you? Understand that it is only necessary to confess to a priest if the sin concerns a serious matter. The Church defines what are serious matters and believe me, there aren’t many. If you have a question, go to confession and ask the priest about it. And, another point, shouldn’t the Church decide whether one has sinned seriously enough to remove himself from it, the Body of Christ? Didn’t Jesus give the Church the right to decide whether one is to be allowed within when that person disagrees with it on some doctrinal or other matter? My Bible says so in the Gospel of Matthew (“and it he will not listen to the Church,treat him as a heathen of publican”).

    On the other hand, Priests are honored by being allowed to act in the person of Christ in our re-presentation of the last supper in the Mass. The honor is so special that the must be ordained to be allowed to do it. Jesus ordered us to do just as He did, in memory of Him. He changed Bread and Wine to His Body and Blood. Jesus must have expected the same to happen in our memorial, wouldn’t he? Otherwise we could never “Do this” in memory of Him.

    -we look down and see that we are to worship and pray to God alone and we look up and see the
    -adoration of Mary and the prayers to saints;

    I look down and see Paul says to pray for each other. He is asking us, praying us, to pray for each other. So Paul is praying to us himself. Then I look up and see Protestants confused by the origin of the word worship, which originally meant “acknowledging one’s
    worthiness.” So they blame Catholics when they hold older translations referring this way to Mary, instead of understanding that not all people have up to date translations of old prayer books. We love Mary. We ask her to pray for us and she is the mightiest prayer warrior. I look down and see where Jesus has given her to us, His beloved disciple, as Mother on the Cross. We say we adore her in the manner that one would say one adores his mother, not like one thinks Mary is God. And again our prayers to the saints, including Mary, are according to the old meaning of the word “to pray” that is “to ask”. We ask them for prayers and they are overjoyed to pray on our behalf.

    -we look down and see the once and for all completed work of the Cross and Christ now resurrec-
    -ted and ascended and we look up and we stare at crucifix’s and the eucharist where Christ’s
    -sacrifice is not presented as completed but on-going.

    Funny, I look down and see Paul say that he fills up in his own flesh what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church. Is Paul saying that Christ’s work is complete or not complete? I look down and see where Christ os eternally offering His sacrifice on the Cross to His Father on our behalf. I look down and read in the OT where offering of the victim after killing it is part of a sacrifice, as well as consuming the sacrificial victim (as we do in the Eucharist).

    -Of course the catholic answer to this is that Christ is present in the Eucharist, in the
    -priesthood and in all these aspects and so it is Him doing these things all along and so we can
    -maintain the claim that we are trusting in him alone!

    No that is not the Catholic answer. The Catholic answer is that your understanding of what is in the Bible is deficient without taking into account the Tradition of interpretation maintained by the Church from the Apostles themselves. You ignore the Churches perspicacious view of the Bible to your peril.

    The Catholic answer is that we are part of the Body of Christ, but that He has given certain responsibilities to some to lead and guide.

    -To have you cake and eat it as it were. But the bible speaks in simpler terms, that we have
    -no requirement of earthly mediation at all and can freely receive, and can only receive, these
    -things by receiving them freely and directly from Christ himself.

    Chapter and verse. Jesus says that He and the Father will only come to dwell in those who keep His word. Do you keep His word?What is His word? The Church knows. Ask His Body.

    -We are justified by a direct faith that simply trusts in Him. We have direct access through
    -Christ, by faith to the Father. I, and all Christians, can boldly approach the thrown of grace
    -myself.

    If you havent’ allowed you faith to die, of course. But mortal sin is the death of faith and needs the intervention of the Church to discern true repentance. Serious sins require serious intervention by the Church.

    – My priestly representation before him is Christ and no other, and He is sufficient for all
    -my sin. But the catholic priest says NO! “You need to go through me, through the Eucharist,
    -through penance, through all these other things”. The whole catholic system is set up to prevent
    -direct access to God.

    And you are wrong for you do not understand that the Church is the Body of Christ and has the responsibility and right to discern if by sin you have separated yourself from it. As I said above:
    “And shouldn’t the Church decide whether one has removed himself from it, the Body of Christ? Didn’t Jesus give the Church the right to decide whether one is to be allowed within when that person disagrees with it on some doctrinal or other matter? My Bible says so in the Gospel of Matthew (“and it he will not listen to the Church,treat him as a heathen of publican”).”

    -For me, no thanks! I go through Christ. These things you think mediate between you and God
    -in reality are preventing not enabling your access to him!

    You are profoundly wrong. You cannot separate Christ from the authority he has given his church, the “pillar and bulwark of the truth”, as Paul says in 2 Timothy.

    -You proclaim “the way Jesus wanted” in terms to the catholic view of reconciliation, eucharist.
    -sacraments, sacramental, devotions, when scripture itself testifies that these things were not
    -the way he intended at all.

    I could show from Scripture how Jesus wanted all of these. Your claiming something does not make it so. It just occurred to me that God in the OT required a sacramental from his Chosen people. They were to wear the certain scriptures on their forehead and their wrists as a reminder.

    -The way he intended was a simple faith that trusts in him alone.

    Really.. thats why he talked in parables i guess. to keep it simple.

    -It is not surprising that Catholics make the claim to have that but their very practices deny
    -this claim entirely. It seems that throughout this blog, As in the Catholic catechism itself,
    -along with one thousand repeated claims that it is all by Grace, only through Christ, not by
    -works etc etc,, there exists one thousand examples of the contradiction to these claims. It
    -reads like someone claiming an orange is really an apple. Look at it’s orange color, you can
    -peal the skin off by your hand, its segmented and you can squeeze the juice easily – see I
    -told you it was an apple!

    Ha ha ha. But really, coming to faith IS simple,although it is not done from us. Keeping faith is hard. Catholics do not deny this. But the Church provides all the aids one needs to maintain faith, aids that enable the assent of the will to the work of the Holy Spirit.

    -From a Catholic perspective maybe it is possible you can reconcile these definitions with
    -these practices although it requires a lot of mental gymnastics, and redefinition to do
    -so but to claim that the protestant view is based upon misrepresentation is completely
    -reverse of the reality.

    I’ve already shown numerous examples where what you said is directly contrary to the Bible.

    -To the protestant these things ARE idolatrous ARE are Works based. You do not define them
    -as such but protestants sure do. There IS a priesthood regularly proclaiming forgiveness
    -for sins, there ARE prayers to Mary and the saints, the catholic Eucharist really DOES
    -present itself as participation and continuation of the sacrifice of Christ rather than
    -just a grateful remembrance of it’s completion.

    Why should I believe its ONLY a grateful rememberance of its completion. Especially where Christ is offering His Blood to the Father on our behalf eternally in Heaven.

    When did Jesus say thaat works are not necessry to perfect and enliven our Faith? James says that they are!

    -To point out things is NOT to misrepresent Catholosism at all. These things really do occur,
    -not just figments of a protestant imagination. And because they do exist, to the protestant
    -they ARE profoundly idolatrous and works based. The misrepresentation claim would be if these
    -things actually do not occur in the Catholic church but they undeniably do! I wonder if you
    -cannot realise that maybe it is you guys misrepresenting the protestant faith not the other
    -way round?

    Maybe if you interpreted correctly and/or read the Bible you would have a proper understanding of the Christian faith, the same faith that existed everywhere (was catholic) all over the Mediterranean within 100 yrs of Christ’s Resurrection.

    -So I don’t know where this is going, I don’t know where your hearts really are, maybe the
    -tomb is so prettily whitewashed that you really cannot see the death within. But I will
    -continue to pray that this may not be the end of it. But please consider this beyond a
    -theological point scoring/sparing match – in truth the catholic system is well summarized
    -by Jesus words…“you shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter,
    -nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

    Oh,judging my heart, eh… Have you checked for logs in your own eye lately?
    Your connection of the catholic “system” with Jesus’s words lacks any reasoning whatsoever.

    -I do pray for a better foundation for faith and a better future for you both and all who tune
    -in to this blog,

    And I pray that you and those who interpret the Bible deficiently as you do will repent of their obstinate refusal to listen to the Church and what true faith in Jesus means.

    -With Christian Love,

    -Chris

    May the peace of Christ be with your spirit as well, in the manner as the Church believes.

    Steve N.

  10. wopod / Mar 13 2011 9:03 pm

    Chris, (Wopod?)

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your response and kind words regarding my family. Please send my kind regards back to yours.

    Steve, I feel we are stuck at an impasses and are beginning to talk past each other rather than to each other. You seem to feel I have utterly failed to answer your points, I feel you have utterly failed to answer mine. You seem to feel you have adequately demonstrated that your stance is biblically supported, I feel you have not even come close in this objective. It seems you feel the opposite and believe your own position strongly supported and mine the reverse. It seems there is only one point of agreement between us… One of us is wrong!

    On my side it seems that you have conceded a lot of ground as you now retreat back to drawing your line of defense squarely on the authority of ‘The Church’ (meaning, by your own definition “the catholic Church”) which you clearly see as the one true Church.

    By doing so you immediately are speaking past me rather than addressing my arguments. You have unfairly moved the goalposts. By doing so you down grade scripture as the key authority (for me – my only measure of truth under God himself) and you retreat back as if to say, “well even if scripture seems to say that we are wrong, only we are Gods appointed authority to correctly interpret scripture anyway so, raspberry to you, we must be right!”

    Thus you make your defense based upon apostolic succession and presumptions of the supposed authority of the catholic Church authority whilst knowing surely that I would reject all such claims as utter presumption. I may well say “I don’t believe the pope is Gods representative and authority on earth” and you may counter “ well the pope says he is Gods representative and authority on earth, and we must believe him because he is Gods representative and authority on earth!”. How can be more forward from this?

    You describe the Catholic in terms of “Church’s original understanding of the teachings of Christ, preserved in the Church, with Jesus’s own authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit for 2000 yrs”. It is clear your claim of Apostolic succession is central to this as you presume the Catholic church to continue to represent “the sound teachings carried forward from the Apostles”. You clearly believe the catholic church to be “the Pillar and Bulwark of the Truth” and maintain my “obstinate refusal to listen to the Church and what true faith in Jesus means.”. Apparently the Church provides “all the aids one needs to maintain faith, aids that enable the assent of the will to the work of the Holy Spirit.” And so on… and so on…

    The bible would never lead me to any such conclusions. Drop a new testament into the hands of some native in a territory where the catholic church had never been heard of, and , should the Lord see fit to open his eyes to scripture, he would see the pathway of salvation through faith in Christ and what he has accomplished on the cross, laid out before him and the door open to come to Christ in repentance and faith, and receive full salvation. Nothing in scripture would cause him to come up short and think “Oh no! Quick, I need to find a priest, a pope and a confessional!” Scriptural revelation acted upon by faith, is sufficient for salvation. Do not put false barriers in his, (or my) way. He (and I) can come to Christ freely by faith.

    This is the very reason we consider the Catholic church as Anti-Christ. Anti not simply in the meaning of against but also in the sense of replacement – replacing Christ. This is also why we consider it to be idolatrous. The presumption of all the ministries of the catholic church is that it claims to provide what only Christ can provide, to be what only Christ can be, to do what only Christ can do and, as such, it draws people’s faith, attention and emphasis away from the person and work of Christ to the ceremonies and traditions of the Church.

    Can you not see what you are doing Steve. In everything you say you exalt church and tradition above scripture, above the work of the Holy Spirit, above faith, and in the place of Christ himself, is placed the Church, as the central means by which we gain access to God.

    You say

    “If one makes up his own standards by which to interpret the Bible, one can easily read idolatry into any teachings he wishes, or read truth into any falsehood.”

    Well this is extremely one sided wording. Rather I would say

    “If one takes the Bibles own standards, rather than those imposed from some outward tradition or authority, by which to interpret the Bible, one can clearly see idolatry in and falsehood in the traditions pronouncements and practices dictated by this presumptuous outward authority!”

    The point is Steve we cannot dialogue on this level because you make the claims of apostolic succession, that the catholic church is the one true church and is Christ’s authority on earth, as the basis of your arguments. Yet I simply flatly reject the presumption behind all of these false claims. If I believed any of those things I would be a catholic. I do not and I am not. The presumption behind the priesthood, sacraments church authority is a blasphemous claim of the authority of Christ that is not yours to claim at all.

    So instead you (i.e. the Catholic Church) presume to be the ones to tell us how to interpret Scripture. Here is the full evidence. Scripture is clearly and expressly placed lower than the Church authority as it is only the church that can dictate what scripture actually means! Little wonder the catholic church historically persecuted so strongly those who first withed to translate the scriptures into the common languages. It wished to retain its imperious claim that it alone is the channel through which scripture can be correctly interpreted. Having formed this presumption of authority over scripture the Catholic church has then felt free to interpret scripture in any and every way it so chose without needing to give any real defence of the correctness of such. It is because we say it is! Thy then proceeded to churn out proclamation after proclamation that were against the very scriptures they clam to be able to interpret.

    Regarding your points on the Eucharist I am glad that my latest blog already covers this topic (http://wopodsbb.blog.co.uk/2011/03/10/bread-and-wine-or-body-and-blood-crucifix-or-cross-10799544/ ) and so I will not comment beyond saying that your points about

    “Priests are honored by being allowed to act in the person of Christ in our re-presentation of the last supper in the Mass”.

    And

    “Christ as eternally offering His sacrifice on the Cross to His Father on our behalf”.

    And

    “Christ is offering His Blood to the Father on our behalf eternally in Heaven.”

    …are examples of the blastphemy of the catholic mass that I mention there. It is attempting to Crucify Christ and expose him to shame again and again and again. Yes he continues in an on going sense to be our mediator and advocate before the father but he entered that place (past tense) through a once and for all sacrifice, “once” as in never to be repeated. His sacrifice is past tense in scripture not ongoing as it is in Catholisism.

    For example Hebrews 9:

    12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. …14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

    Its all past tense – its all “once” The whole book of Hebrews – particularly chapters 9 and 10 drive this point home with such force (I quote some other scriptures illustrating this in my blog) and yet still the Catholic church, against scripture, continues such a blasphemous practice.

    I must begin work. I am already late!

    In closing, 1 Timothy 2 was among my personal readings this morning and Chapter 2 vs 23-26 was fresh on my mind as I begun to pen this reply. I have no idea to what extent I have met the requirement of “avoiding quarrelling”, whether us engaging in these arguments may be classified as “stupid or foolish” and weather I have managed to “instruct gently” but at least know there is no resentment behind my words and there remains a true “hope” as it is expressed there for you and all the readers.

    In Christ,

    Chris

  11. Steve N. / Mar 26 2011 8:12 am

    Chris, (Wopod?)

    Steve, I feel we are stuck at an impasses and are beginning to talk past each other rather than to each other. You seem to feel I

    have utterly failed to answer your points, I feel you have utterly failed to answer mine. You seem to feel you have adequately

    demonstrated that your stance is biblically supported, I feel you have not even come close in this objective. It seems you feel the

    opposite and believe your own position strongly supported and mine the reverse. It seems there is only one point of agreement between

    us… One of us is wrong!

    -In reality, I am seeking to find the actual point of divergence.
    -I believe I may have become exasperated at not seeing how to
    -“close the ground” of our differences”.

    On my side it seems that you have conceded a lot of ground as you now retreat back to drawing your line of defense squarely on the

    authority of ‘The Church’ (meaning, by your own definition “the catholic Church”) which you clearly see as the one true Church.

    -Well I have read the testimony of the Church of the early centuries.
    -I can’t see how it might have diverged from the earliest church without
    – records of the divergence.

    By doing so you immediately are speaking past me rather than addressing my arguments. You have unfairly moved the goalposts. By doing

    so you down grade scripture as the key authority (for me – my only measure of truth under God himself) and you retreat back as if to

    say, “well even if scripture seems to say that we are wrong, only we are Gods appointed authority to correctly interpret scripture

    anyway so, raspberry to you, we must be right!”

    -no, I want to see the point of divergence of views. Yours and the church.
    – I just think that sometimes you are dismissing the church’s arguments
    – without sufficient reason. So maybe we should define “sufficient” here.

    Thus you make your defense based upon apostolic succession and presumptions of the supposed authority of the catholic Church

    authority whilst knowing surely that I would reject all such claims as utter presumption. I may well say “I don’t believe the pope is

    Gods representative and authority on earth” and you may counter “ well the pope says he is Gods representative and authority on

    earth, and we must believe him because he is Gods representative and authority on earth!”. How can be more forward from this?

    -See. “utter presumption”. As far as I can see, you are unwilling to
    – examine the possibility that the apostles were given authority to place
    – rules on the church, and that they had also authority to pass this
    – authority to appointed successors. What has brought on this unwillingness
    – to examine? At what point did you say “enough!”?

    You describe the Catholic in terms of “Church’s original understanding of the teachings of Christ, preserved in the Church, with

    Jesus’s own authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit for 2000 yrs”. It is clear your claim of Apostolic succession is central to

    this as you presume the Catholic church to continue to represent “the sound teachings carried forward from the Apostles”. You clearly

    believe the catholic church to be “the Pillar and Bulwark of the Truth” and maintain my “obstinate refusal to listen to the Church

    and what true faith in Jesus means.”. Apparently the Church provides “all the aids one needs to maintain faith, aids that enable the

    assent of the will to the work of the Holy Spirit.” And so on… and so on…

    -Well, you have very well given my position.

    The bible would never lead me to any such conclusions. Drop a new testament into the hands of some native in a territory where the

    catholic church had never been heard of, and , should the Lord see fit to open his eyes to scripture, he would see the pathway of

    salvation through faith in Christ and what he has accomplished on the cross, laid out before him and the door open to come to Christ

    in repentance and faith, and receive full salvation. Nothing in scripture would cause him to come up short and think “Oh no! Quick, I

    need to find a priest, a pope and a confessional!” Scriptural revelation acted upon by faith, is sufficient for salvation. Do not put

    false barriers in his, (or my) way. He (and I) can come to Christ freely by faith.

    -But the bible says the opposite. Philip needed to explain the Bible to the
    – eunuch. Philip was a leader of the early church. It also says not to
    – forego the gathering of the saints. So where are you to go? How do you
    – find that “church”? I appears to me that you have made an assumption that
    – the church of today would look exactly like that you glean from the New
    – Testament, and that the NT contains an complete description of the church
    – of the 1st century, without realizing it is the basic teachings that ought
    – to have been preserved, and that not all of the teachings may have been
    – preserved in writing, but rather also in the actions of the church in worship
    – and prayer.

    This is the very reason we consider the Catholic church as Anti-Christ. Anti not simply in the meaning of against but also in the

    sense of replacement – replacing Christ. This is also why we consider it to be idolatrous. The presumption of all the ministries of

    the catholic church is that it claims to provide what only Christ can provide, to be what only Christ can be, to do what only Christ

    can do and, as such, it draws people’s faith, attention and emphasis away from the person and work of Christ to the ceremonies and

    traditions of the Church

    -I only see the replacement of Christ with the work of the Holy Spirit within us
    – to produce images of Christ within us. But since we belive in Circumincession,
    – where the Holy Spirit is, there is the Son and the Father.

    Can you not see what you are doing Steve. In everything you say you exalt church and tradition above scripture, above the work of the

    Holy Spirit, above faith, and in the place of Christ himself, is placed the Church, as the central means by which we gain access to

    God.

    -Actually we say it is a three legged stool, scripture, Tradition, and the
    – Magisterium. None of which can subsist without the other. And the Holy Spirit
    – wrote the 1st 2 and guides the 3rd from error in faith and morals. And the work
    – of the stool is to support the faith of those in the Church.

    You say

    “If one makes up his own standards by which to interpret the Bible, one can easily read idolatry into any teachings he wishes, or

    read truth into any falsehood.”

    Well this is extremely one sided wording. Rather I would say

    “If one takes the Bibles own standards, rather than those imposed from some outward tradition or authority, by which to interpret the

    Bible, one can clearly see idolatry in and falsehood in the traditions pronouncements and practices dictated by this presumptuous

    outward authority!”

    The point is Steve we cannot dialogue on this level because you make the claims of apostolic succession, that the catholic church is

    the one true church and is Christ’s authority on earth, as the basis of your arguments. Yet I simply flatly reject the presumption

    behind all of these false claims. If I believed any of those things I would be a catholic. I do not and I am not. The presumption

    behind the priesthood, sacraments church authority is a blasphemous claim of the authority of Christ that is not yours to claim at

    all.

    -What I am interested is is finding at what point our arguments fail to be
    – reasonable, and by what standards you consider something reasonable. Again
    – you seem to reject the possibilities out of hand. As a start to show how you
    – have tried to consider the Catholic Church’s POV, have you read St Justin martyr’s
    – 1st apology? Can you show how his depiction of the church at year AD150 differs
    – from the Church of today in a way that is destructive to faith, and how it has
    – become apostate? Or St Ignatius of Antioch’s letters to the churchs of Asia minor
    – from the year 120AD?

    So instead you (i.e. the Catholic Church) presume to be the ones to tell us how to interpret Scripture. Here is the full evidence.

    Scripture is clearly and expressly placed lower than the Church authority as it is only the church that can dictate what scripture

    actually means! Little wonder the catholic church historically persecuted so strongly those who first withed to translate the

    scriptures into the common languages. It wished to retain its imperious claim that it alone is the channel through which scripture

    can be correctly interpreted. Having formed this presumption of authority over scripture the Catholic church has then felt free to

    interpret scripture in any and every way it so chose without needing to give any real defence of the correctness of such. It is

    because we say it is! Thy then proceeded to churn out proclamation after proclamation that were against the very scriptures they clam

    to be able to interpret.

    -I think The Church only opposed bad translations, or those that interposed the
    – translators comments on the text which were clearly contrary to the teachings
    – of the Catholic Church.

    Regarding your points on the Eucharist I am glad that my latest blog already covers this topic

    (http://wopodsbb.blog.co.uk/2011/03/10/bread-and-wine-or-body-and-blood-crucifix-or-cross-10799544/ ) and so I will not comment

    beyond saying that your points about

    “Priests are honored by being allowed to act in the person of Christ in our re-presentation of the last supper in the Mass”.

    And

    “Christ as eternally offering His sacrifice on the Cross to His Father on our behalf”.

    And

    “Christ is offering His Blood to the Father on our behalf eternally in Heaven.”

    …are examples of the blastphemy of the catholic mass that I mention there. It is attempting to Crucify Christ and expose him to shame

    again and again and again. Yes he continues in an on going sense to be our mediator and advocate before the father but he entered

    that place (past tense) through a once and for all sacrifice, “once” as in never to be repeated. His sacrifice is past tense in

    scripture not ongoing as it is in Catholisism.

    -Christ may not be temporally (in time) offering His sacrifice anymore, but from
    – the Father’s view, where past, present and future are equally present to Him,and
    – Eternal view of history, the Sacrifice and Offering are indeed present to God.

    -Although at first I intended eternal in what I wrote as meaning “never ending in
    – time”, I realize this is probably wrong. However, if eternal is looked at as
    – God’s view of time, then the Sacrifice is indeed eternal, in that God sees the
    – past, present and future as one.

    For example Hebrews 9:

    12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood,

    having obtained eternal redemption. …14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself

    unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

    Its all past tense – its all “once” The whole book of Hebrews – particularly chapters 9 and 10 drive this point home with such force

    (I quote some other scriptures illustrating this in my blog) and yet still the Catholic church, against scripture, continues such a

    blasphemous practice.

    -In God’s view, time is all the present to Him. In the Mass we are sharing in
    – His view of the Sacrifice.

    I must begin work. I am already late!

    In closing, 1 Timothy 2 was among my personal readings this morning and Chapter 2 vs 23-26 was fresh on my mind as I begun to pen

    this reply. I have no idea to what extent I have met the requirement of “avoiding quarrelling”, whether us engaging in these

    arguments may be classified as “stupid or foolish” and weather I have managed to “instruct gently” but at least know there is no

    resentment behind my words and there remains a true “hope” as it is expressed there for you and all the readers.

    In Christ,

    Chris

    -I myself have taken quite a lot of time to think this over inasmuch as I don’t
    – see myself anywhere as literate and clear in expressing myself, or in the
    -knowledge and study of the scriptures, as yourself, as evidenced by your blog
    – which shows a love of scripture and eagerness to bring this knowledge to others.
    – I believe your attitude to be very gentle and understanding, and I thank you in
    – taking the time to engage me in the calm discussion of what I, and also you,
    – believe are vital points in the unjdetanding of our salvation.

    Your blog has changed! Wow, can you really write in Japanese?

    peace
    steve

  12. Lu Xian / Apr 5 2011 9:24 pm

    I totally agree with “Friendly” about the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ. Why do you all stand in doubt, and complicate matters with “man’s words of wisdom”, and adherence to man’s ecclesiastical bodies, rather than to the BODY OF CHRIST?

    Where is “Catholic” in Scripture? Where is “Protestant” in Scripture? Where is adherence to a man-made “body of Christ?” Why adhere to a man-made “body of Christ” with man-made “priests”?–Except one prefers to be “comfortable” in man-made “justification” in order to be excused from following the uncomfortable high-standard WORD of God, Who tells us to “GO into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature!” We prefer to stay in the “comfortable warm womb” of man-made bodies, with a comfortable “Mater Dei” to excuse and soothe our disobediences to “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and follow me” “and I will make you fishers of man!” kind of original active Christian life!

    THIS is the mystery! “CHRIST in you, the hope of glory!” Nothing else!

    “But…as many as RECEIVED HIM, to THEM.. He GAVE the RIGHT to become the children of God, even to them that BELIEVE on his name.” Jn 1:12
    I see no Catholic nor Protestant, nor man-ordained priest in there?! Do you?
    “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal PRIESThood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
    ALL children of God are a royal priesthood, without exception!

    “One says he is of Paul, another of Apollos, I am glad I baptised no one, save…” I see no Catholic, Protestant, nor PRIEST, nor pope! Paul was an apostel, a “forestander”, ordained only and directly by God without any “man” or “body” interference. And so am I, and I hope you are too.

    “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen YOU, and ORDAINED you, that ye should GO and bring forth fruit…” I see no MAN’s ordination into a man-made “priest” of some man-made “body of Christ”. Do you? Where do you see a “Pope?”

    Neither Peter nor Paul were “popes”. Popes were/are post-mortem inventions of man-made “priests” of man-made “bodies of Christ”, so the weak in faith can continue in their doubtful disputations, instead of laying aside “Woe is unto me, if I preach NOT the Gospel!”
    “laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men”
    “Therefore LEAVING the principles of the doctrine of CHRIST, let us go ON unto perfection; not laying AGAIN the FOUNDATION of REPENTANCE from dead works, and of FAITH toward God, 2 Of the DOCTRINE of BAPTISMS, and of LAYING ON OF HANDS, (etc. etc) and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will WE do, if God permit.” In other words LEAVING this incessant trying to fathom and dispute how God’s Own Holy Salvation works! You can’t figure it out! Just let Him IN! It’s so simple!
    “25 At that time Jesus answered and said, {I thank thee}, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

    WHERE are “mortal” and “non mortal” sins (no one should pray for), when He says:
    “28 Verily I say unto you, ALL sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme” “except “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost!”

    “Except you are born AGAIN (a second time), you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”
    Being “born” doesn’t sound like a long-term process, does it? And Peter states clearly he considered MANY to be “born again children of God”, (not Catholics or Lutherans!) when he stated:
    “As new born babies, desire the sincere milk of the WORD, that ye may grow thereby…”
    Not “Catechismus”, nor Protestant “simple Salvation class” of MAN! No! The WORD OF GOD!

    Why count “angels on a pinhead”, while the Word of God abideth forever?
    Are ye therefore not carnal?
    “Let the WORD OF GOD dwell in you richly!” Not “in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

    What do you wanna be? A Lutheran? A Catholic? Or just a simple child of God, where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them.
    Look what these bodies of man have caused in their violent persecutions of children of God! Untold suffering, massacres, political charades, and cruel hypocrisy!

    There are a lot of Indonesians who need Jesus Christ, who don’t relate to any of that, not even when you call yourself a “Christian!” So let’s GO and give them the GOSPEL! We can do that! Right Mr. Vivator?
    Are we doing that?

    • vivator / Apr 6 2011 8:51 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Mr. Lu.
      You mention adherence to the Body of Christ and that’s exactly what Catholics do – the Church is the Body of Christ. The Church as the Body of Christ and the Word of God always come together – here the Word of God are both in written (Scripture) or unwritten form (know to Catholics as Tradition). If you insist that Scripture alone is the authority, let me ask you this question: Where does the Scripture say that it comprises (in your case) sixty-six books, not more and not less? If you cannot find any verse to support this, how can you claim Scripture is the only authority.
      You mention that we are all royal priesthood – I would say Amen. You may be surprised that Catholics believe that too. Catholics priesthood is not man-made as you claim but has scriptural basis – you may read what I wrote in:
      https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/priesthood-of-the-old-and-new-covenants/
      https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/year-for-priests/
      The word “pope” is not in the Bible and neither is Trinity and there is no single verse in the Bible saying that God is one God in Three Persons – that definition appeared only in fourth century AD, but you still believe in it. You argue that are no mortal and non-mortal sins in the Bible – I recommend you to open the Bible and read 1 John 5:16-17.

  13. wopod / Apr 6 2011 7:10 pm

    HI Victor and Steve,

    Thanks for your posts. We seem to be running cocurrent and related discussions on your own blog and mine (http://wopodsbb.blog.co.uk) and so I hope you don’t mind I post my latest reply here as well. I have just returned to Japan from China and in a frantic rush to complete some papers (I am a conservation biologist) and unable to reply to such things at leisure. I have uploaded a couple of blogs (Feast of tabernacles and Faith Formulas) which i hope will be of some interest to you guys. These cover the period I was in China where .co.blog.uk is blocked and inaccessible. I am thinking to open a wordpress account for that reason.

    Anyway I have read your comments and links but have also been reading through my own daily bible readings. It so happens I am going through Hebrews at the moment and just beyond our last discussion I came to Hebrews 7…

    23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
    26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

    The passage really closes the issue for me guys. I don’t need to dig into Catholic histroy books the truth is plain and clear. The weakness and incompleteness of human ministries and priesthoods has been entirely replaced by the permanent and perfect priesthood of Christ. He, “truly meets my needs”, he IS “able to save completely those who come to God through him”, I have no need for any other. He is perfect and I will not substitute his perfection for an inperfect Catholic priest, or a heavenly ministry for an earthly one.

    You guys truly have an eloquence and some level of persuasion in your arguments but ultimately they are arguments that attempt to move myself and others from the secure and full devotion to Christ into something else. I am sorry, i draw the line, I will not be removed. If Christ, without earthly representation of a human priest, is insufficient for salvation then let me proclaim right now I am indeed unsaved and will remain so. However I believe with all my heart scripture testifies otherwise, and am so thankful that it does.

    Blessings to you both,

    Chris

    • vivator / Apr 6 2011 9:00 pm

      Dear Wopod,
      Thank you for your comments. You don’t need to dig into Catholic history books – what you need to do is to read Scripture more thoroughly, not just Hebrews. You will be surprised to know that Scripture not only says God will perpetuate Levitical priesthood (Jeremiah 33:17-22) but He will extend it to include non-Jewish people (Isaiah 66:21). This does not refer to universal priesthood (which Catholics also believe), which was prefigured in Exodus 19:6.
      I also just finished writing a post on the Eucharist and let you know about it in your blog.

  14. wopod / Apr 6 2011 10:12 pm

    God does perpetuate the priesthood! Hebrews 6 vs 20 “He is our priest forever”. 7 vs 24, “he has a permanent priesthood”.

    I found a useful quote on this issue in http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/heb7v25-28jesuschristperfectpriest.html

    “The writer of Hebrews uses the word aparabatos which is a legal word meaning Jesus’ priesthood is unalterable, non-transferable, and inviolable. He is able to do this because His priesthood is permanent, unchangeable, and perpetual. The priesthood of Christ does not pass to another because it is an everlasting priesthood. He continues forever because He holds His priesthood permanently. It will not be transferred to anyone else. This is His priesthood and no one else will ever receive it. It is not going to pass to another like the Levitical priests.”

    You say I should look scripture beyond Hebrews properly yet you refuse to look at Hebrews properly. This too is scripture and nothing elsewhere is more relevant to the question in hand. “HE IS able to save completely those who come to God THROUGH HIM”, “26 SUCH a high priest TRULY meets our need”. You flatly deny scripture. He is unable to save those who come THROUGH HIM because thy must come THROUGH the continuing human catholic priesthood. Scripture says “SUCH a high priest TRULY meets our need”, but catholic teaching is blatant that he does not and you foint our focus not to Christ as priest but to sinful human priests. – You would claim that we protestants who come simply THROUGH HIM are unsaved and have out needs unmet (right?). Thankfully you are wrong in this.

    The whole point of the Hebrews (especially chapters 7-10) is explaining in a clear and simple manner, the full fulfillment and therefore replacement of the levitical priesthood in Christ. Unfortunately to truly believe such would be devistating to the catholic church and all its structures and rituals and traditions, and its authority would come crashing down at that point. Truly those who come in and through Christ receive full salvation. Catholic priests, can do nothing of the kind, except in the imaginations and presumptions and pronouncements of the Catholic church itself.

    Truly we see the clash of Kingdoms and authorities in all of this, the authority and offer of salvation of and through Christ and the authority and offer of salvation through the catholic church – polar oposites indeed. A great and dark spititual deception clouds the latter. Let each person make his coice and stand by it. But I pray many will come to see the deception that you represent and be freed from it – I pray you will come to see it yourself somehow. For me – I stand trusting in Him.

  15. vivator / Apr 9 2011 4:36 pm

    Dear Wopod,
    If you believe Levitical priesthood is abolished with the coming of Christ then you make Scripture contradict itself. Jeremiah 33:17-22 clearly prophesied that they never cease offering sacrifice and Isaiah 66:21 prophesied that God will make priests and levites from all the nations. I must say the way you interpret Scripture is wrong since you follow your tradition, the one established by the Reformers. Remember that the entire Scripture, not only Hebrews, is supposed to be your “only” authority.

    Catholics have no problem with High Priesthood of Christ – He is the only Priest who offers Himself as sacrifice at heavenly sanctuary. You may read my post on this issue and leave your comments there.
    https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/priesthood-of-the-old-and-new-covenants/

  16. jephrbny / Apr 5 2012 4:11 pm

    Vivator, may you post here Luther’s statement which says “while faith alone justifies, good works are necessary for salvation”? This seems contradictory to me. May you kindly direct me to the original source of this statement? Thanks.

  17. vivator / Apr 7 2012 9:04 pm

    The source of Luther statement you can find at end note number 24 in the same post – you just scroll down. You can also download the same article in pdf for your convenience.

    • Doug Shearer / Jun 10 2012 6:12 pm

      Vivator,
      I happened upon your website doing work in Isaiah. I am grateful for your work. While I thought I was Protestant all these year I may have been wrong.

  18. leanproductivity / Oct 15 2012 7:51 am

    If I may put my two cents in to this discussion. I will try to be brief. Both sides refer to authority to promote their point of view ie the Westminster Confession, Luther, Calvin’s Institutes, Catechism otf the Catholic Church. The difference between Catholic and protestant seems to boil down to who’s version or authority listen to. I am a “protestant,” but I find many of the Catholic reasoning and discussion as heartfelt and intelligent; however I am not convinced of the basic premise that the church, is the “Catholic Church,” No where in scripture is it named or authorized, or delivered as an eccliesiastical body, delivered and announced by Jesus Christ, the apostles or even the early church. The church is not made up of priests, or even having a structure like the Jewish system it purports to replace. All of the teaching about Christ building His church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, speaks to a spiritual body not an earthly body. All of the scriptures and teaching about binding and loosing, pillar and ground of truth are just as true in protestant teaching but it recognizes the church as a spiritual reality not a physical structure. Protestants believe in the priesthood of all believers. We also believe, that God’s revelation is ongoing, historical and ever deepening in the life of the church and the life of the believer. From this the argument is, where is tradition, where is truth, what is the foundation for salvation, for deeper meaning, for the salvation of the whole world, and the preaching of Christ in the world?
    Protestants firmly believe in the eucharist/communion as an example and remembrance of the spiritual reality and physical truth that Christ died for sinners, of whom I am chief; He was also raised up from the dead and He now sits at the right hand of God. This is what we celebrate, believe and understand as foundational truth for every believer – not some interpretaiion of the bible and structure of the Catholic church as foundational truth.
    It is Christ that saves us- and even this is a mystery as to how, when, what, why and who, gets saved. Even the process is a mystery. This is profoundly a mystery and protestants are still trying to grasp the true meaning of the gospel, the church, salvation – ie saved from or to what?
    You can quote Luther, Calvin or any other protestant theologian to try and understand the basis for protestant theology but all you are getting is the spiritual church working out it’s faith in fear and trembling knowing that revelation is not a one time event – it is an ongoing process to understand our faith but knowing we see through a glass darkly but then we shall see face to face. Our hope is Christ in us, which is our eternal hope of glory.

  19. Canonn / Oct 27 2012 12:04 pm

    In the Catholic Church justification is granted by God from baptism firstly, (Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1992 “Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.”) instead of plainly by faith, and from the Sacrament of Reconciliation after if a mortal sin is committed.(Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1446 “Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.” ” A mortal sin makes justification lost even if faith is still present. Before baptism faith is required of adults. The baptism of babies requires the parents’ promise to pass on the faith to the child. Baptism is called the sacrament of faith.

    • GTY / Oct 28 2012 1:21 pm

      If I understand correctly, the faith of the parents is imputed to the child since the child is too young to have faith. Of course the word “conferred” in CC#1992 serving the same purpose as “credited,” or “accounted,” or “imputed.” Imputation is also the mechanism for dispensing grace from the “treasury of merit,” whereby the supererogatory works of the saints are doled out to the penitent.

      Neither of these two scenarios are Biblical, but that doesn’t stop Rome from pronouncing anathemas on the Reformed, and eminently Biblical, idea of imputation:
      “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is ACCOUNTED for righteousness, 
      just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God IMPUTES righteousness apart from works…” Romans 4:5,6. NKJV

      Not to mention the two-way imputation (our sin imputed to Christ on the cross; His perfect righteousness imputed to us) described in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

      So why is it wrong (according to Rome) to trust God’s Biblical idea of imputation, but okay for Rome to create its own unbiblical ideas of it?
      Give me the simple biblical plan of salvation any day.

      • vivator / Nov 3 2012 4:48 pm

        First you need to understand what imputation (of righteousness) means. Reformer John Calvin explained justification as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favour as if we were righteous (Inst. 3.11.2) The phrase “as if we were righteous” implies that we remain unrighteous after our justification. There is no change in us whatsoever – we are only declared righteous but does not become righteous. Reformed scholar Berkhof explained further: 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 (Systematic Theology page 513). In contrast Catholics understand that Baptism is sacrament of regeneration – it does change us regardless whether we were baptized as infants or as adults. Through Baptism we are cleansed from original sin and other sins and become righteous in God, though the inclination to sin remains with us. You cannot apply imputation to Catholic Baptism.
        Catholics do not reject righteousness that comes through faith – there is no problem with Romans 4:5-6 but we reject justification by faith alone. To Catholics faith is the beginning of our justification, which we understand to be on-going process – not one time event as Reformers taught.
        Does 2 Cor 5:21 supports imputed righteousness? The verse says we become the righteousness of God. As mentioned above according to Reformers there is no change in us, i.e. we remain unrighteous after our justification – hence 2 Cor 5:21 does not support imputed righteousness as taught by the Reformers.

      • GTY / Nov 8 2012 2:32 pm

        What “Canonn” wrote above: “Before baptism [of children] FAITH is required OF ADULTS. The baptism of babies requires the parents’ promise to pass on the faith to the child. Baptism is called the sacrament of faith.”
        Please explain then how the parents’ faith is credited to the child’s ‘account’ if not by imputation. Same goes for the imputation of grace from the Treasury of Merit (a demonic doctrine if ever there was one). The parents’ faith is either imputed to the child or the child is monergistically justified without faith.

        Page 452 of Berkhof’s Systematic Theology better describes the idea of imputation:
        “Justification is always a declaration of God, not on the basis of an existing (or future) condition, but on that of an gracious imputation- a declaration which is not in harmony with the existing condition of the sinner. The judicial ground for all the grace which we receive lies in the fact that the righteousness of Christ is freely imputed to us.”
        In other words, justification is purely one-sided, a gift from God.

        2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
        You imply this is an infused righteousness instead of an imputed righteousness – a very poor interpretation because you would have to extend the same hermeneutic to the first clause: that Christ (who knew no sin) WAS sin. Is this what you are saying – Christ IS sin in the flesh, i.e., a sinner?
        A better interpretation is that Christ is imputed with my sin, that he is credited or accounted with my sin; NOT that He IS sin!

        The attempt to square Romans 4:5-6 with Catholic salvation is laughable. The whole point of Romans 4-5 and Galatians 1-3 is that works have absolutely NO role in justification. The loud implication therefore is that salvation is by faith alone. Whether “alone” is there or not – irrelevant.

        Here is RC Sproul from his book Are We Together? A Protestant Analyses Roman Catholicism:
        “This is the very heart of the gospel. In order to get into heaven, will I be judged by my righteousness or by the righteousness of Christ? If I have to trust in my righteousness to get into heaven, I must completely and utterly despair of any possibility of ever being redeemed. But when we see that the righteousness that is ours by faith is the perfect righteousness of Christ, we see how glorious is the good news of the gospel. The good news is simply this: I can be reconciled to God. I can be justified, not on the basis of what I do, but on the basis of what has been accomplished for me by Christ.”

      • vivator / Nov 20 2012 10:35 pm

        Finally I find time to give response your comment. The problem with your argument is you apply reformed principle to Catholic system. Reformers understand justification to be forensic, i.e. it involves legal exchange where we get Christ righteousness imputed on us and Christ get our sins, which He bore on the cross. Catholics, on the other hand, consider justification in different way – it is NOT forensic, hence there is NO exchange. Through justification the righteousness of God through Christ is infused (by the Holy Spirit) in us, but we do NOT infuse our sins to Christ, which is what you falsely think. Catholics also believe that our justification comes from the grace of God. Catholics agree that WORKS do not contribute in our justification – another false charge you made. Catholics do NOT use our own righteousness to be justified for simple reason – we do not have it. We are made righteous through Christ (Rom 5:19) where we receive righteousness of God infused in us. In other words our righteousness comes from God, not from ourselves. It is not imputed because imputation implies we are only declared righteous, but not made righteous.
        How do we the phrase “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” of 2 Cor 5:21? If you read Leviticus 4:22-31 a goat or sheep must be sacrificed for sin atonement. Being animal, a goat or a sheep is sinless before and after being crucified – sin is neither imputed on nor infused in it. It dies to atone the sin of that person. In the same way Christ dies on the cross to atone the sins of not one or few persons, but the whole mankind – Catholics reject unbiblical Limited Atonement teaching of Calvinism. To conclude 2 Cor 5:21 does not support Reformer concept of justification. To become the righteousness of God does not go in-line with imputed righteousness concept because we are only declared righteous, but actually are not righteous.
        Faith (in Christ) is free gift from God – this is something both Catholics and Protestants agree. Free gift means we do not need to be good person or do something to receive that gift. Baptism is called sacrament of faith does not imply that the faith of parent is imputed on the child – another false charge you made. Only righteousness of God is infused in us as according to Catholics or righteousness of Christ is imputed on us as according to Reformers. If you believe your faith is imputed on you then it means you do not have faith but are only declared to have faith.
        Many non-Catholics misunderstand Catholics belief on merits. They think that Catholics must earn enough merits to enter heaven, just like you collect reward points through using your credit card, which are accumulated and later can be exchanged for reward for ourselve or for our friends. The truth is Catholics consider our merits as gift from God, who as our heavenly Father rewards us for our good works performed with His Grace (without Grace we can do nothing). You have problem with treasury of merits – I recommend you to read Matthew 19:21 and Luke 12:33.

      • GTY / Nov 21 2012 10:00 pm

        It is clear that you do not have a clear understanding of imputation: “Even in Reformed forensic justification you do not impute your sins to Christ – if that is the case then you will declare Christ to be sinner, though He is not.” It is good that you saw the ‘disconnect’ caused by your (wrong) interpretation of 2 Cor. 5:21… which makes Christ a sinner: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

        You clearly don’t see the resonance or parallelism between the two clauses: Him to be sin for us; us to be the righteousness of [Him]. The honest interpreter will use a consistent hermeneutic: if you claim an “infused” righteousness for us, you need to claim sin “infused” to Christ. But that would make Christ a sinner.
        The more reasonable interpretation of this text is one of “imputation” – both ways: my sin reckoned/counted/imputed to Christ; and Christ’s righteousness reckoned/counted/imputed to me. You can’t see this because you read the Bible through Roman lenses. And there is certainly nothing fictitious about a real atonement reckoned to my account if that is what God Himself says about it.

        You write: “If you believe your faith is imputed on you then it means you do not have faith but are only declared to have faith.”
        Hmm, let’s see, was Abraham’s faith in Romans 4:20-25 merely a fictitious “declared” faith?:
        “20 He [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it [Abraham’s faith] was accounted to him for righteousness.”
        23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 BUT ALSO FOR US. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” NKJV

        For examples of an early church Father, a medieval Father, a Doctor of the Church (according to Rome), and a cardinal of the Roman church, all affirming imputation in some form or other:
        http://turretinfan.blogspot.ca/2012/11/imputation-attested-by-in-early.html

        Here is a quote from one of your own trusted sources, about the necessity of faith from “a community of believers” as a proxy for the infant’s faith:

        “Need for Beginning Faith (1253-1255)
        To be baptized, the person needs only a “beginning faith” (not a perfect and mature faith). This beginning faith requires a community of believers within which the believer’s faith can develop. Because this baptismal faith must grow, every year at Easter time the Church celebrates the renewal of baptismal promises.”
        http://www.catholicity.com/catechism/history_of_salvation.html
        Tell me please, how does the faith from the “community of believers” get put to the child’s account if not by imputation. You keep avoiding this question by regurgitating RC dogma!
        Finally, your two proof texts in defense of The Treasury of Merit are unpersuasive to say the least.

      • vivator / Nov 25 2012 6:48 pm

        If 2 Cor 5:21 supports your belief then it should say: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be DECLARED SINNER for us, that we might BE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS THROUGH Him.” Your problem is you are forcing the verse to match your pre-defined belief. Keep in mind that in your church concept of imputed righteousness of Christ, you remain unrighteous after justification – you do NOT become the righteousness of God. You keep on applying your forensic justification to Catholic justification, which is NOT forensic. You are entitled to disagree with Catholic position but to interpret it using Calvinist lenses is simply absurd.

        In Romans 4:22 Abraham faith was reckoned as righteousness and THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (not his faith), according to Reformers, is imputed on him and those who believe in Christ. Your scholar Berkhof wrote “the ground of justification can be found only in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is imputed to the sinner in justification (Systematic Theology page 523). To help you grasping the basic concept, in Greek, in which New Testament books were written, the word for Justification is dikaiosis while that of Righteousness is dikaiosune – both have the same stem, dike, meaning righteous or just. Justification has something to do with righteousness, in this case the righteousness of God (NOT OF US). This is something that both Catholics and Protestants (and “Bible only” Christians) agree – they disagree on how that righteousness is applied to us. Is it imputed through faith alone or is it infused through faith and sanctification? The Reformers follow the former, which implies we are declared righteous (extrinsic justification). The Catholic Church believes in the latter that implies we are made righteous (intrinsic justification).

        There is no such thing as imputed faith. Faith is gift from God who can give it directly or through others be they parents, missionaries, friends who witness to us etc. Faith is not static but it can grow – in Luke 17:5 even the apostles asked Christ to increase their faith. According to Scripture (1 Tim 1:19) one can shipwreck his faith. If faith is imputed or we are only declared to have faith (as you keep on insisting) then it cannot grow and won’t be shipwrecked either – because we don’t have it in the first place.

      • GTY / Nov 22 2012 9:52 am

        Your comment: “Many non-Catholics misunderstand Catholics belief on merits. They think that Catholics must earn enough merits to enter heaven, just like you collect reward points through using your credit card, which are accumulated and later can be exchanged for reward for ourselve or for our friends.”
        I’m glad you recognize the absurdity of it – because that is exactly the idea behind your doctrine of the Treasury of Merit, which still costs the penitent real money.

        you continue…
        “The truth is Catholics consider our merits as gift from God, who as our heavenly Father rewards us for our good works performed with His Grace (without Grace we can do nothing).”
        Yes, and if those merits are not there… there is no Catholic salvation. No works or merits – no Catholic salvation. Christ’s work on the cross was insufficient, apparently. You insist that your merits are His but at the same time claim ‘free will.’ Aquinas was more honest about this, admitting that you can’t have both at the same time.

      • vivator / Nov 25 2012 7:33 pm

        I must say you don’t understand basic and simple English. I wrote “They [non-Catholic] think” and you put their thinking into mine. Your understanding of Catholic salvation is defective because you rely on one side only (i.e. your allies). If you do your homework properly you will know that in Catholicism a person will enter heaven if he/she dies without un-repented mortal sin. It neither depends on amount of good works nor amount of sins. We can repent only when God assist us with his grace, which we cooperate with our free-will. A person who dies with any un-repented mortal sin will go to hell, his/her zillion good works will be forgotten and will not save them. For scriptural support you may read Ezekiel 18:24, 26. In parallel a person who dies with all mortal sins repented will go heaven – all his/her past sins no matter how many and horrible they are will be forgotten (Ezekiel 18:21-22, 27).
        Because our merits are God’s gift, not something we deserve, there is nothing unfair if God does not take into account when a person dies with un-repented mortal sin. If you do your homework, which is only reading three clauses of Catechism of the Catholic Church, your will realize that treasury of merits is not what you think. The fact that one can have treasure in heaven is biblical, which you don’t want to admit referring it as unpersuasive.

        You wrote that according to Catholic Christ’s work on the cross was insufficient. My guess the reason behind your statement is Catholic must cooperate with God’s grace, known as synergism, while you advocate monergism. First let’s look at what apostle Paul, wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Col 1:24 (RSV, emphasis in capital added) “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I COMPLETE what is LACKING in Christ’s affliction for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.” How do you explain his statement?
        Second when you say monergism you relate it with regeneration which takes place before faith and must be monergistic in nature. Only regeneration is monergistic, conversion and sanctification is synergist. Yet this teaching is quite recent, i.e. Calvin and the early Calvinists understood regeneration in different way (Berkhof, Systematic Theology page 466).

        For sure you will say that salvation is by grace alone and through faith alone. But does this slogan match with the reality? We just look what Luther wrote

        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” [Romans 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

        Justification is by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone. Saving faith is not a “lonely” faith, having no works following as a companion.
        Sproul: Faith Alone, page 156
        You don’t need to be a genius or rocket scientist to understand that according to Luther and Sproul good works are essential and integral part of salvation.

  20. laskk / Nov 6 2012 12:17 am

    Hi vivator ,
    I am glad with your intelligent capability and deep theological knowledge. I want to ask a thing, first i must admit I am protestant to be precise I am lutheran (Tanzania-ELCT) “Can a protestant like me be saved even if he is outside the catholic church”?
    regards.

    • vivator / Nov 6 2012 10:17 pm

      If a person sincerely believes that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ – hence His Body, but refuses to join the Church for whatever reason. then he/she would not be saved. Whether a person has such believe or not, only God and he/she know – I am not (and nobody is) in the position to judge him/her.

      • aldrin dela cruz / Dec 22 2012 9:56 pm

        hello mr. vivator 🙂

        your statement : …If a person sincerely believes that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ – hence His Body, but refuses to join the Church for whatever reason. then he/she would not be saved… seems to insinuate that salvation is via becoming a member of the catholic church. in what chapter and verse of the bible do we see that mr. vivator?

        Do you honestly believe that the gospel (good news) is about becoming a member of the catholic church?

        let us all be reminded of Galatians 1:8
        …But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!…

      • vivator / Dec 22 2012 10:20 pm

        The answer is simple and scriptural. Scripture refers the Church as the Body (singular, not Bodies) of Christ. It is simply absurd if a person believes in Christ and refuses to belong to His Body. You are entitled to disagree that the Church, which is the Body (and Bride) of Christ, is the Catholic Church. Whom do you think the most suitable candidate and what makes you think so? Galatians 1:8 is applicable to you and to other churches established after Reformation.

  21. Aldrin dela Cruz / Dec 25 2012 9:29 pm

    Good morning Mr. vivator

    you said the answer is simple and scriptural. where are the verses I politely asked you?

    May your eyes be opened to the truth 🙂

    • vivator / Dec 26 2012 10:16 am

      The answer is simple and scriptural. Scripture (Colossians 1:24) refers the Church as the Body (singular, not Bodies) of Christ. It is simply absurd if a person believes in Christ and refuses to belong to His Body. You are entitled to disagree that the Church, which is the Body (and Bride) of Christ, is the Catholic Church. Then Whom do you think the most suitable candidate and what makes you think so? Galatians 1:8 is applicable to you and to other churches established after Reformation.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Jan 16 2013 5:42 pm

        Kind of mindblowing that you would support your position with possibly the greatest polemic “against” the Catholic Church: the book of Galatians.

        There is no greater indictment of Roman Catholicism than the book of Galatians, especially Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
        This is a perfect condemnation of Rome’s doctrine of “saved by God’s initial grace, and by man’s ‘cooperating’ with that grace.”

        And your misuse of Colossians 1:24 is purely anachronistic, that could only satisfy someone who has already bought the idea that the word “church” there means the “Roman Catholic” church.

      • vivator / Jan 16 2013 9:17 pm

        Welcome back! You will re-examine your anti-synergist attitude upon knowing that according to Reformed teaching ONLY regeneration, that takes place before faith, is monergistic while conversion and sanctification are sysnergist. Scripture nowhere says that monergistic regeneration must take place before faith – it is Calvinist tradition developed later because even John Calvin and early Reformers understood regeneration differently. Sysnergism is clearly taught in Phil 2:12-13 and 1 Cor 15:10 – there is no problem here for you, because as mentioned above even Calvinists believe in synergist nature of sanctification.
        You are entitled to disagree that the church referred in Col 1:24 is the Catholic Church. Then tell me which church did Paul mean in the verse and what makes you think so?

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Jan 18 2013 1:53 pm

        Wrong again. And again. And again.
        You say “Scripture nowhere says that monergistic regeneration must take place before faith.” Hmmm… The order of salvation in Romans 8:29-30 says otherwise, where the “called” proceed inevitably to final “glorification.” This certainly points to an “effectual” calling. Notice too, no mention there about sanctification – though He who is able to justify is certainly able to sanctify us.

        Ephesians 2:5 is another example where God must regenerate dead men without faith: “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” If Paul didn’t really mean “dead” here, there are lots of other words he might have chosen. He picked the strongest word he could, for good reason.

        Phil 2:12-13 says nothing about synergism,
        “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
        13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
        The verse says work “out,” not work “for.” In other words, “work out” what God has already “worked in.” Verse 13 tells you “who” is doing “what.”

        As to your question: “which church did Paul mean in verse Col. 1:24, and what makes you think so?” The word church there, “ekklesia,” means church, or assembly – as in the churches at Colossae, at Philippi, at Galatia, at Thessalonica, at Ephesus, at Smyrna, at Pergamum, at Thyatira, at Sardis, at Philadephia, at Laodicea, at Rome, etc.
        In another sense, all these churches together, plus all the others, make up the worldwide “church” of believers. To see Rome in that verse is pure anachronism.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anachronism

      • vivator / Jan 27 2013 9:34 pm

        What Paul wrote in Phil 2:12-13 and 1 Cor 15:10 (which you did not comment) indicates synergistic pattern – while God works in him through his grace Paul was not passive but also works. Catholics and Calvinists need not fight over synergism in sanctification because we both agree on this issue. R.C. Sproul wrote in Willing to Believe: The Controversy Over Free Will, pages 73 (emphasis in capital is mine):

        The grace of divine regeneration changes the heart’s disposition in such a way as to raise the sinner from death to life, from unbelief to faith.
        This view is clearly MONERGISTIC at the initial point of the sinner’s movement from unbelief to faith. The whole process, however, is NOT MONERGISTIC. Once the operative grace of regeneration is given, the REST OF THE PROCESS IS SYNERGISTIC. That is, after the soul has been changed by effectual or irresistible grace, the person himself chooses Christ. God does not make the choice for him. It is the person who believes, not God who believes for him. Indeed the rest of the Christian life of sanctification unfolds in a SYNERGISTIC pattern.

        Your argument to support monergism in regeneration is standard. Here you draw parallel between physical dead and spiritual dead. A physically dead person can do nothing because he is dead until he is regenerated back to life, which is obviously monergistic action. The argument indeed does make sense and pretty convincing – until you consider implication of monergistic regeneration. It implies that God chose from eternity unconditionally whom He wants to regenerate and whom He bypasses from being regenerated. This is against Scripture that says: “For the grace of God has appeared for salvation of ALL men” (Titus 2:11) and “For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive (1 Cor 15:22). What Calvinists do is fine-tuning those verses to make ALL mean ALL ELECT.

        Scripture says the Church is the Body (singular, not bodies) of Christ. There are churches in different places, even in New Testament times, as you pointed out correctly, but all of them belong to ONE Body. The present day post-reformation churches do not belong to one body, including those who share the same faith. Even worse they have no apostolic origin – certainly Paul would not write about church(es) established in sixteenth century or later.

  22. Mike / Apr 20 2013 12:11 am

    Hello. I want to thank you for doing a good job in comparing the two views of justification. I have recently read sections about grace and justification in a book called Outlines of Dogmatic Theology by Sylvester Joseph Hunter. I come from a staunch Calvinistic based faith and am trying to fully understand the catholic view using the terms they prefer. I find one can’t really begin to understand another’s view without accepting all their terms and trying to understand what is intended by them rather then extrapolate meanings that are not intended. This has been hard for me and your list of comparisons is first rate and helped me dust off a few of my confusions.

    The other reason that I am responding is I was shocked to find the modern understanding of monergism that you have correctly explained which is not actually the traditional view of Luther or Calvin. The original Protestant view up until more recent years where most forget what was previously believed includes some very limited synergism in the monergistic view. R.C. Sproul seems to be the culprit in this poor choice of words (actually his professor). The traditional concept believed by Calvinists that hold dual predestination (as I do) is that salvation is only of God, that his grace is irresistible, etc. but that he has chosen ‘faith as the instrument whereby we, under his power, receive Christ.’ It involves our will to receive, which is not considered a ‘work’ (predisposing to grace, meritorious, or any other sense). This receiving Christ as an atoning sacrifice, precedes the new birth for it is the instrument by which we are justified, upon being justified we are reconciled to God which is sanctification, the new birth being its initial resurrection of life. The best source to get past the confusing statements by Sproul and attain a clearer understanding of mainstream Calvinism is in John Owen’s treatise Justification by faith. Actually there is probably no writer in all of history that better explains Calvinistic views.

    I am only bothering to provide this tip as a favor for helping me see the Catholic view. It is harder to define a mainstream protestant view because we do bot have many creeds and canons that publish an official stance os specific terms and words. You have to do a whole lot more reading and most Protestants can’t explain what they believe that well. This makes it pretty hard for someone of another faith to fully understand. Hope you get what I am saying and do not see it as an attack on what you have been able to gather so far.

    Cheers. Mike

    I leave a reference for further exploration if interested or for other to skim the highlights that show monergism includes limited synergism in justification and contrary to Sprouls poor choice of words, faith precedes justification as a instrumental and unmeritorious cause. The formal cause being the election of God and work of Christ, whereby his full righteousness is instantly accounted against sinners who by faith receive it.

    http://gbfc-tx.org/Books/Public%20Domain/JUSTIFICATION%20BY%20FAITH%20-%20JOHN%20OWEN.PDF

    Pay particular observation of Chapter three – “The use of faith in Justification” you get the ‘real’ Calvinistic view. For example here are some quotes:

    Protestant divines, until of late, have unanimously affirmed faith to be the instrumental cause of our justification. p108

    But it may be said, that if faith be the instrumental cause of justification, it is either the instrument of God, or the instrument of believers themselves. That it is not the instrument of God is plain, in that it is a duty which he prescribeth unto us: it is an act of our own; and it is we that believe, not God; nor can any act of ours be the instrument of his work. p110

    But that which is principally intended is, that it is the instrument of them that do believe. Neither yet are they said hereon to justify themselves. For whereas it doth neither really produce the effect of justification by a physical operation, nor can do so, it being a pure sovereign act of God; nor is morally any way meritorious thereof; nor doth dispose the subject wherein it is unto the introduction of an inherent formal cause of justification, there being no such thing in “rerum natura;” nor hath any other physical or moral respect unto the effect of justification, but what ariseth merely from the constitution and appointment of God; there is no colour of reason, from the instrumentality of faith asserted, to ascribe the effect of justification unto any but unto the principal efficient cause, which is God alone, and from whom it proceedeth in a way of free and sovereign grace, disposing the order of things and the relation of them one unto another as seemeth good unto him. Δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι, Rom. 3:24; Διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αῖματι, verse 25. It is, therefore, the ordinance of God prescribing our duty, that we may be justified freely by his grace, having its use and operation towards that end, after the manner of an instrument; as we shall see farther immediately. p111

    Secondly. They designed to declare the use of faith in justification, expressed in the Scripture by apprehending and receiving of Christ or his righteousness, and remission of sins thereby. The words whereby this use of faith in our justification is expressed, are, λαμζάνω, παραλαμζάνω, and καταλαμζάνω. And the constant use of them in the Scripture is, to take or receive what is offered, tendered, given, or granted unto us; or to apprehend and lay hold of any thing thereby to make it our own: as ἐπιλαμζάνομαι is also used in the same sense, Heb. 2:16. So we are said by faith to “receive Christ,” John 1:12; Col. 2:6;—the “abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness,” Rom. 5:17;—the “word of promise,” Acts 2:41;—the “word of God,” Acts 8:14; 1 Thess. 1:6, 2:13;—the “atonement made by the blood of Christ,” Rom. 5:11;—the “forgiveness of sins,” Acts 10:43, 26:18;—the “promise of the Spirit,” Gal. 3:14;—the “promises,” Heb. 9:15. There is, therefore, nothing that concurreth unto our justification, but we receive it by faith. And unbelief is expressed by “not receiving,” John 1:11, 3:11, 12:48, 14:17. Wherefore, the object of faith in our justification, that whereby we are justified, is tendered, granted, and given unto us of God; the use of faith being to lay hold upon it, to receive it, so as that it may be our own. p111

  23. Mike / Apr 20 2013 1:54 am

    Thought I should add an assumption that might explain the contradiction. Sproul must only be talking about the initial call and conviction involved in the wider term of regeneration. The basic order is this: irresistible call, faith, justification, new birth, continued sanctification. Everything but continued sanctification is often referred to as regeneration but Sproul must be only talking about the first step as preceding faith, for there can be no justification in classical Calvinism but through faith as a synergistic element. Absolute monergism does not exist without some synergistic idea among Luther and Calvin. I am assuming the best possible meaning of Sproul’s article and think it is only confusing because he is dummying down his terms for an uneducated audience which could confuse an educated one 😉 He does not probably intend this effect.

  24. Daniel Hunt / Apr 23 2013 11:47 am

    Awesome discussion here. Both traditions of interpretation are presented well and I’ve learned a lot about the subject. This is probably the single best web page to view in order to see both sides of the coin.

    I’m sure the non-Catholic reader would object to my implication that they follow a tradition of interpretation, but it’s just plain true. The difference between the two traditions is, in part, one of age. The tradition of interpretation followed by most Protestants/”Bible Christians” was popularized several centuries ago. The tradition of intepretation followed by Catholics is historically documented to be nearly two thousand years.

    • Mike / Apr 29 2013 5:38 pm

      Yes Protetsants would object. I have look closely at Augustin’s description of Justification, election of those to grace and election of those to damnation. Luther and Calvin seem to me just a deeper explanation of Augustine’s view. i.e. Protestants can trace there view back 2000 years also.

  25. Globus Odzież / Jan 15 2014 10:35 am

    Wonderful work! This is the kind of info that should be
    shared across the net. Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this post
    upper! Come on over and discuss with my website .
    Thanks =)

  26. Joshua / Apr 15 2014 9:29 pm

    The problem w/ attributing salvific quality to Love is that Love is the sum and fulfillment of the Law, also itself being commanded (that is, Law.)

    Have you Loved the Lord God with all your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength? Have you Loved your neighbor as yourself?

    If you answered ‘yes’ – you are an arrogant self-righteous hypocrite.

    If you answered ‘no’ (being the Truth), you will spend your entire Life trying to reach Heaven by your efforts to fulfill this Law, never be able to, and ultimately be damned, unless you obey The Gospel . . .

    “For Christ is the END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, for them that believe”

    and Christ” fulfilled the law”

    • vivator / Apr 27 2014 7:50 am

      When one asked Christ what he must do to inherit internal life, His answer was (1) to love God with all his heart, soul, strength and mind and (2) to love his neighbor as himself (Luke 10:25-28) – both are embedded inside the Ten Commandments. Christ did NOT say that to inherit eternal life the ONLY thing one must do is to believe in Him as Lord and Saviour – that’s what you believe, I presume, as taught by your pastors and/or founding fathers of your church. Scripture also says that God’s commandments are NOT burdensome (1 John 5:3). God is our heavenly Father – a good father will not ask his children to do something impossible but he will provide means to make his children able to do it. While no human father is perfect God is our perfect Father – He will give us (prevenient) grace that makes us able to obey His commandments. Scripture nowhere says that we must obey His commandments perfectly – in fact it says the righteous fall AND rise again (Proverbs 24:16). Catholics have no reason to be arrogant as you falsely accuse – the reason is simple, our ability to obey God’s commandments is only possible with the grace from God given through Christ as Christ said that apart from Him we can do NOTHING. There is NO such thing as self-righteousness – another false charge you made. Catholics believe that our righteousness comes from God.

  27. Pedro Arrupe / Jan 20 2015 12:36 pm

    Are We Justified by Faith and Works?

    No! Many people misunderstand the words of James the Apostle because they don’t know their Bible well. I don’t think I’ve received even one letter of debate from a Catholic who didn’t bring up the words of James, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). James goes on to say in verse 24, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” At first glance, it sure does seem like the Bible is requiring works for salvation; BUT, as you will see, nothing could be further from the TRUTH!

    Carefully notice James 2:21, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” This event took place in Genesis 22:8-10. Now notice Genesis 15:6, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” The event which took place in Genesis 15:6 was different from the event which took place in Genesis 22:8-10. We see in the New Testament that Paul spoke of the ROOT of Abraham’s faith; BUT, James spoke of the FRUIT of Abraham’s faith. We read in Romans 4:3, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” This occurred in Genesis 15:6, which is when Abraham was born again. Paul said in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul doesn’t mention works. Romans 4:5 declares, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Yet, James declares in James 2:21, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” This event took place years later, when Isaac had grown at least old enough to speak clearly to his father (Genesis 22:7). James is simply saying that if a person is genuinely saved by faith, then there should be some FRUIT (good works) in that person’s life to show it. BUT, James was NOT teaching that works are necessary to be saved–they aren’t! Abraham was saved by faith ALONE! Titus 3:5 clearly states, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…”

    Also, notice carefully James’ words, “…shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). With God we are justified by FAITH; BUT with men we are justified by WORKS. The reason is simply because mankind cannot see out heart; but God can. We read in 1st Samuel 16:7, “…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” James said, “shew me” your faith and I’ll “shew you” my faith. Every believer possessing the Holy Spirit of God should be a new creature in the Lord, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This is what James was looking for.

    • vivator / Jan 21 2015 7:40 pm

      You wrote “With God we are justified by FAITH; BUT with men we are justified by WORKS”. My question for you is: (1) Why do our works need to be justified by men (plural)? and (2) if our works need to be justified by men then what is the minimum amount or frequency of works one must do to be justified as enough FRUITS of faith. Since you mentioned “men” (plural) different person will have different minimum requirement of works. You should be able to realize that your concept of salvation is NOT by faith alone, but by faith AND works. You can say justification by faith alone if you consider justification is one time event. Catholics, on the other hand, consider (1) justification as a process, starting from faith and includes sanctification and (2) justification is by grace, i.e. grace of God enables us to believe in Christ and to obey His commandments in doing good works. We are NOT justified by our works, but by grace. Our salvation does NOT depend on how many works we do. To Catholics there is no any conflict between Romans and James because Catholic understanding of justification as a process, not one time event as taught by Reformers.

  28. Ron Sr. / Aug 13 2015 5:07 am

    Hi All,

    In the Substitutionary Atonement model of John Calvin, I can’t help but think that if Christ Jesus became actual Sin on the Cross, doesn’t this imply that God fractured the Hypostatic Union for, say, 3 hours. I just find this hard to believe. Many passages in scripture say Jesus was without SIN. So, as far as I am concerned, Jesus was without Blemish or Spot, (1 Peter 1:19).

    If Jesus in fact, did bare our sins in his body, then he became SIN, a Sinner. Yes, if 2 Cor 5:21 is correct: “21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Then Jesus had to assume a sinful nature, in otherwords, Jesus assumed the Nature of Satan. All sin is from the evil one (John 3:7-9).

    I believe that the only time that anyone assumes the Nature of Satan is in Johns account of the Last Supper, where Jesus gives the symbolic bread of the deniel of Christ as Lord, body, blood, soul and divinity. When Jesus gives Judas this symbolic bread, Satan enters Judas, Judas assumes the Nature of Satan, the father of sin. Judas and Satan then abide, one in the other.

    It is an abomination to say the Jesus became Sin. It’s impossible. Look at John 8:29-30: The Father Never Leaves the Son. God never turns away from the Son. Jesus on the Cross still has two Natures, His human nature and His divine Nature. Can anyone say that only His human nature assumes actual SIN. No way.

    In Christ,

    Ron Sr.

    • az4christ / Aug 14 2015 7:34 am

      If Jesus wasn’t or can’t be the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the elect, no one can be saved and we all remain condemned. Is that the catholic position? It’s not the biblical position. Therefore, Catholics are anti-Christ.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      • vivator / Aug 14 2015 7:52 pm

        Catholics do believe Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), not only the sin of the Elect. It is you who revised the word of God to meet your belief!

      • az4christ / Aug 14 2015 8:41 pm

        So everyone goes to heaven, no purgatory, no hell? His blood saved everyone he came to save. Those not in Christ receive just punishment in Hell. It’s what God’s word teaches. Catholicism is what God’s word warns us about – An apostate church.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • vivator / Aug 14 2015 9:18 pm

        You put your word in my mouth and your knowledge on Catholicism is deficient. Catholics never believe that everyone will go heaven – some do go to hell, the difference with unscriptural Calvinism is we don’t believe they go to hell because God decreed them from eternity to be there – the so called unconditional Reprobation. Scripture says His Grace appears for the salvation of ALL men (Titus 2:11) and in Christ shall ALL be made alive (1 Cor 15:22). In Matthew 25:41 Christ said the hell was prepared for the devils and his angels, NOT for the goats (the Reprobate). You still do not realize how unscriptural your belief is? Because of this false belief you change the God’s word “world” in John 1:29 into “Elect”!

    • az4christ / Aug 14 2015 7:45 am

      “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 ‭ESV‬‬

      That is Paul, not John Calvin. Believe it! Trust It !

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  29. FourFingersBackAtYou / Oct 6 2015 5:20 pm

    Re.: your blog post at the top: Justification – contrasting Catholic and Protestant’s position;

    Under the heading “Justification is one-time event” above, you state the Protestant view:

    “Through (a one-time event) Justification, the righteousness of Christ is imputed on us or through Justification we are declared righteous [13], as stated in Romans 4:3, 5.
    We are *made* righteous through Sanctification, which follows our Justification [14].”

    I’m sure it is merely an oversight that you use the word “made” in the second sentence “We are *made* righteous through Sanctification…” As you know that would contradict your preceding sentence where you correctly state that the righteousness of Christ is “imputed” [on] us.

    To the immediate left of that, you explain the Roman Catholic position under the heading “Justification is an ongoing process.” There you write:
    “Through (an on-going process) Justification, the righteousness of God through Christ is infused by the Holy Spirit in us or through Justification we are *made* righteous [12], as stated in Romans 5:19.”

    There you offer Romans 5:19 “many will be *made* righteous” to support the Catholic view.
    But the Greek word for “made” there occurs only once in Scripture and is better translated “appointed.” This can be viewed online at BibleHub:
    http://biblesuite.com/greek/2525.htm

    Here is an excerpt showing two separate word studies:
    HELPS Word-studies:
    2525 kathístēmi (from 2596 /katá, “down” and 2476 /hístēmi, “to stand”) – properly, set down (in place), i.e. “put in charge,” give standing (authority, status) which enables someone to rule (exercise decisive force).
    Strong’s Concordance:
    kathistémi: to set in order, appoint

    So although “made” is in the range of possibilities for Romans 5:19, the better Greek rendering supports the idea of “appoint.” It would read: “…so by the one man’s obedience the many will be [appointed as/ put in place as / given the status of] righteous.”

    This also fits far better with “logizomai” of Romans 4:4-6, which says that faith (I.e. without works) is “counted,” “accounted,” “reckoned,” or “imputed” as righteousness:
    4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not *counted* as a gift but as his due.
    5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is *counted* as righteousness,
    6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God *counts* righteousness apart from works.
    Romans 4:4-6

    It is certainly better to assume that the apostle Paul was consistent in his understanding of how righteousness is applied to the sinner,
    than it is to go along with Rome’s contradictory interpretation.

    • vivator / Nov 15 2015 10:25 pm

      It seems to me that you believe that even in sanctification the righteousness of Christ is also imputed. Let me quote from Turrentin. On the difference between Justification and Sanctification, he wrote: “As to their form, the former [justification] consists in the judicial and forensic act of remission of sin and imputation of righteousness, the latter [sanctification] in the physical and moral act of the INFUSION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and internal renovation” (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Vol. 2, page 690-1) and “Although by sanctification we ARE MADE RIGHTEOUS habitually, still we are NOT MADE RIGHTEOUS IMPUTATIVELY or rather justified (ibid page 691).
      Your exegesis of Romans 5:19 is very poor. You tried hard to make it sound like accounted righteous to suit your belief, instead of made righteous. Interestingly you admit Rom 5:19 uses different verb than Rom 4:4-6. Inspired by Holy Spirit why didn’t Paul use logizomai in Rom 5:19, if it what the Holy Spirit inspired him to write? The verb logozomai means (in passive form) counted or reckoned – Catholics have no problem with that. Rom 4:4-6 say that his [Abraham] faith is counted as righteousness but they DO NOT SAY that this righteousness is imputed on him.
      Coming back to Rom 5:19, the first part says “for as by one man’s [Adam] disobedience many were made sinners”. The same verb is used here and is translated as “made [sinners]. Do you believe the sin of Adam is imputed on us, i.e. we are declared sinners while in reality we are not sinners? If you do then you have support from Michael Horton who wrote: “The sin of Adam was imputed to the human race as a covenantal entity in solidarity because it was imputed to each member {Ro 5:12). This notion of imputing the sin of one person to each Israelite – and thus to the nation generally – is found elsewhere, as in Achan’s theft (Josh 7:10-26). (Pilgrim Theology, page 294). Unfortunately what Horton wrote is not scriptural, even though he cited Josh 7:10-26. You just need to read and meditate on Ezekiel 18:19-20. There is no such thing as imputed sin, and neither is imputed righteousness in Scripture. They are man-made beliefs taught by Reformers.

  30. simonjkyte / Jan 8 2016 6:31 am

    Very interesting.

Trackbacks

  1. The 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Homily | Fr. Charles Zlock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: