Monday, October 08, 2007

Catholic Historian on Trent and Salvation


Perhaps I am reading him incorrectly, but I have a feeling that Catholic historian Henri Daniel-Rops would be considered out-of-touch with "cutting-edge Catholic thought", especially as it relates to the interpretation of Trent. Daniel-Rops seems to recognize that the Reformation occurred for a reason and that Protestant and Catholic soteriology aren't as similar as some modern-day Catholics propose. In his book The Catholic Reformation, Daniel-Rops had this to say about the Council of Trent:

“The part played in the great debate by Luther, Calvin and the rest was exactly that recognized long since by St. Paul, in a celebrated passage to the Corinthians [1 Cor 11:19] as belonging to heretics. On the spiritual plane the Catholic revival…owed nothing to anti-Protestant endeavours; but on the doctrinal level the blows delivered by the heretics led the Church to discern more clearly those points of her structure which were threatened and to reinforce them accordingly. Every one of the great Protestant theses was surveyed by the Council, which opposed to it the Catholic truth, especially the three fundamentals bearing upon revelation and the bases of doctrine, upon the role of faith, works and grace, and upon the sacraments with particular reference to the Eucharist.”

…Luther won many followers by his doctrine of justification by faith, even while Calvin preached the terrible thesis of predestination in the cathedral of St. Peter in Geneva. Against these theories the Council took its stand...Luther and Calvin place no confidence in man. The Council of Trent has such confidence, because man bears within himself an ineffable likeness, which no defilement can erase. This is not to say that he is unscathed; original sin is there sure enough, and is minutely defined in five canons. But, darkened as it is by sin, human nature is not irremediably affected. Reason and will are damaged, but it is not true that they are without clear-sightedness, integrity and energy. What God asks of man is that he should co-operate fully in the work of his salvation, certain meanwhile that his effort is vain without grace, but equally assured that grace will not be refused to him so long as he remains faithful. Works therefore are necessary; faith alone is not enough. A Christian guilty of mortal sin is deprived of grace and condemned, even though he believes. Considerable stress is laid upon this double role of faith and works in decrees of the sixth session (thirty-three canons in sixteen chapters), which are due in large measure to the saintly Cardinal Cervini, afterwards Pope Marcellus II. Justification is not secured by faith alone, still less by Luther’s “conviction” of being justified. It requires human effort as well as the operation of God’s mercy.

…Thus on all essential points of difference between Catholic tradition and heretical doctrine the Council speaks and resolutely determines what is to be believed. Its achievement is of capital importance, assuring to the Church stability of her foundations, removing revealed truth from the arena of debate, establishing rules which none henceforward can reject without lapsing into error.”

The Catholic Reformation by Henri Daniel-Rops (pgs 96-98)
First Published in France, 1955
Nihil obstat: Joannes M.T. Barton, S.T.D.,L.S.S., Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: E. Morrogh Bernard, Vic. Gen., Westmonasterii, die 21a Novembris, 1961

73 comments:

Tim Enloe said...

On the other hand, I just read Benedict XVI discussing the Pauline doctrine of justification, and he (Benedict) wrote that it's good to think of justification as Therese of Lisieux did: the sinner comes to God with open hands, bringing nothing but receiving everything from Him.

Carrie said...

Therese of Lisieux did: the sinner comes to God with open hands, bringing nothing but receiving everything from Him.

That sounds nice, but then Therese was not a part of the Council of Trent.

Tim, no doubt you are much more well-versed on this subject than I am, but I don’t see how someone can read the decrees of Trent, knowing that their purpose was to refute what they perceived as the erroneous doctrines of the reformers, and not see that Catholic justification requires some effort by the sinner.

I fully understand that according to Catholic doctrine that grace is the catalyst behind good works and achieving salvation but when you break it down, it is up to the person to maintain their justification. They must work with the grace to be assured of final salvation. Hence the terminology like “assist” and “help”. In that sense B16's comment does not conflict – without grace the Catholic could do nothing, but that does not exclude cooperation.

Tim Enloe said...

Carrie, well, I suppose I'm in a minority of Protestants online who think that understanding the Council of Trent is not necessarily as simple as reading an English translation of it and "comparing it" with, say, Galatians 2, without oneself having any background in the Scholastic philosophy that produced Tridentine theology or any historical understanding of the rather convoluted theologies (plural) of grace, free will, and justification in the Middle Ages. One of the most interesting things a Catholic has ever said to me was to quote Augustine's dictum that when God crowns our merits, He's really doing nothing but crowning His own gifts. My Catholic friend thinks this is the lens through which Catholic doctrine of justification should be measured, and if he's right, what a far different perspective on Catholic doctrine would be produced than, say, what you read in R.C. Sproul or some other Protestant apologist who doesn't take the time and hasn't got the patience to work through complicated issues without a lot of half-taught blustering about "false Gospels" that damn people to Hell, and so forth. We are justified by faith alone, not by believing in justification by faith alone. That's a huge difference, and opens up a lot of room for different modes of doing things.

It is not that I am necessarily more learned than you. In many ways I don't count myself competent to address Catholic theology in a mode of "critique." It's a question, rather, of trying to gain a better and wider and deeper grasp of the issues than polemics on both sides typically present. Of course I know that many of the fathers at Trent were eager to refute the "errors" of the Reformers, but I also know that in the early phases of the Council there were parties there who were very sympathetic to the Reformers and wished to see their concerns incorporated into the Council's eventual decrees. The matter became somewhat complicated by the unfortunate fact that flaming Romanist fanatics (the Zelanti faction of hotheads like Giovanni Caraffa) got control of the Council and ousted the more moderate members and then proceeded to hack and slash their way through the Reformers' teaching, producing "refutations" that scarcely touched the Reformers' teachings at all.

Then as the polemics and counter-polemics ramped up with increasing lack of regard for charity and accuracy, and little things like blood feuds and the Wars of Religion and vast movements of secularizing and anti-secularizing forces played across the stage of history, we've all ended up with a bunch of hardened positions on these matters that rarely ever exhibit self-critical thought or the ability to try to sympathetically understand another's position rather than just excoriate it and distance oneself from it.

You point out that Therese of Lisieux wasn't part of Trent, and no doubt you'd also likely want to know that in the passage I quote from Benedict he stated at the beginning of the book that he wasn't giving an infallible doctrinal discussion. Well, likewise, Henri Daniel-Rops isn't part of the Magisterium, and just because he says something black-and-white about the issues doesn't mean that's the best way to put it, or even the way the Magisterium itself would put it.

I suppose what I'm getting at here is not that it's wrong to criticize Catholic doctrine, but that there's quite a bit more going on in Catholic doctrine than the simplistic polemics of both sides typically make out.

Carrie said...

We are justified by faith alone, not by believing in justification by faith alone. That's a huge difference, and opens up a lot of room for different modes of doing things.

I agree and I think this is an excellent point. You may think that I am just being polemic in my assessment while I think you have over-academicized (making up words here) this.

We can argue all day about what may or may not be of grace, what did Trent really mean, etc. And you are right. Daniel-Rops is no more qualified than Therese (and B16’s personal commentary) to really determine the truth here – I just bring him out as a support for what I consider the classical Catholic thought, which is exactly what I hear from cradle Catholics, it is always the former Prots-turned-Catholics that seem to want to “re-interpret” Trent. But at a basic level, Catholic salvation involves a fair amount of human effort – it is by no way obtained through faith alone.

I suppose what I'm getting at here is not that it's wrong to criticize Catholic doctrine, but that there's quite a bit more going on in Catholic doctrine than the simplistic polemics of both sides typically make out.

Yes, but I still think the basic qualities that make the gospel of Rome a false gospel are quite obvious. I think the intricacies of Catholic doctrine just obscure the obvious to some.

Okay, here is my simplistic thinking on the whole thing – tell me where you think I am wrong. If I were a Roman Catholic (and I was for 20+ years) and had a basic level of Church doctrine (knowing the catechism), I would believe that to get to heaven when I die, I would need to have faith, be baptized and avoid mortal sin. To avoid mortal sin (for which the Church does not provide a clear definition) I would need to attend mass and take the eucharist plus do other good works to keep a good level of sanctifying grace in my soul so that I am not as vulnerable to mortal sin. We can go on to Mary’s intercession, penance, etc but let’s just stop here.

To me, that is a lot of faith and effort in myself to “keep up my end of the bargain” since I have no certainty of whether I will be saved or not. I will not be saved by my faith alone in Christ’s, but will be saved by my cooperation with God’s grace to keep sanctifying grace in my soul. All of that sounds nothing like why I believe I am saved today, which is by my faith alone. I went through all the RC rituals (baptism, first communion, confirmation), but it wasn’t until I understood the gospel message and placed my faith in Christ alone for salvation (outside of the RC) that I was actually saved (as shown by changes/fruit/understanding).

But this is the kicker for me. When I was saved (and EVERY former-RC I personally know who is now a born-again/Protestant agrees) I KNEW that the RCC was in error. Again, very simplistic, but at the time of justification, when I understood the gospel message and placed my faith in Christ (without haggling over when regeneration occurred) I received the Holy Spirit who testified to the truth. Not that I know all truths yet or have a firm grasp on everything, but there are certain basic truths that I believe become apparent when a true saving faith occurs and some of those are being saved by faith alone and the scripture alone as our authority.

Again, I may get slammed for the simplicity of what I am saying, but I believe that when a person possesses a true saving faith (which comes from God on his timing, not when a baby is baptized) they will recognize the error in RC soteriology and authority and will eventually leave. How long that could take I do not know, but I have a difficult time believing you can hog-tie the Holy Spirit forever and engage in all the unbiblical rituals and erroneous doctrines. I have actually thought many times of asking this question in a post – how long can you hog-tie the HS? (disclaimer: I am NOT saying that no RCs are saved and still in the Church)

Anyway, your initial point is what made me think of all this. I think that the details of soteriology can sometimes complicate the issue of what occurs from our perspective when we come into saving faith so I thought I would share some of my simplistic thinking on the whole issue. In the end, I know the RC gospel is wrong and I believe that because of what the Bible and the HS tell me – I point out all the other stuff as fruit of apostasy, not so much the final proof.

Jeff said...

Tim,

I have one question,

Are you asserting there was no fundamental soteriological disagreement between dogmatic statements coming out of Trent and those of the reformers? In other words, do you assert that Rome put forth a doctrine of justification that saves?

I appreciate the clarification,
Jeff

Anonymous said...

We are justified by faith alone, not by believing in justification by faith alone. That's a huge difference, and opens up a lot of room for different modes of doing things.

I asked a related question in another combox, but I think it applies better here:
Must one know exactly how one is made right with God to be made right with God?

E i E

David Waltz said...

Hi Carrie,

Once again, IMHO, you are creating a false dichotomy (for further reflection on “false dichotomy” see - http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/10/polemics-and-false-dichotomies.html .) In reply to Tim’s cogent post, you said:

>> We can argue all day about what may or may not be of grace, what did Trent really mean, etc. And you are right. Daniel-Rops is no more qualified than Therese (and B16’s personal commentary) to really determine the truth here – I just bring him out as a support for what I consider the classical Catholic thought, which is exactly what I hear from cradle Catholics, it is always the former Prots-turned-Catholics that seem to want to “re-interpret” Trent. But at a basic level, Catholic salvation involves a fair amount of human effort – it is by no way obtained through faith alone.>>

Me: So Cardinal Dulles, Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer, Fr. Carl Peter, and so many other current Catholic scholars are now “former Prots-turned-Catholics”?

Further, are you saying that all Evangelicals affirm the belief that NO human effort is necessary for salvation? (What about faith; what about correct belief; what about repentance; what about perseverance; what about Arminianism; and especially, what about James [2:24]?)

Carrie, I sincerely believe that if you spent half of the time and effort it takes to reconcile James 2:24 with your version of “faith alone”, you would come to appreciate what our modern scholars (any many EV’s) have to say about what Trent actually affirms and denies.

Fr. Carl J. Peter sums it quite well:

"Even if Luther and Lutherans were misunderstood at Trent, can Lutherans today see in the doctrine articulated by Trent on justification a truly Christian understanding of the gospel? Does the element of human cooperation in justification and its growth still imply for Lutherans a partim-partim view of salvation? Trent clearly meant to maximize the role of faith in all justification; do Lutherans today regard the results as sufficient or at least as not deficient to the point of being necessarily church-divisive? Is all merit talk anathema to Lutherans or could they see a truly Christian church having careful recourse to such discourse to bring out aspects of the gospel in need of affirmation? Are there truths and values that both the Augsburg Confession and Trent affirm regarding justification in a time-conditioned language that might be rearticulated by joint efforts of Lutherans and Catholics in such a way that may let God’s word be heard more effectively? The author, while thinking Trent gave important and true answers to rather precise questions, answers this final question with a decided affirmative." (“The Decree on Justification in the Council of Trent”, in Justification by Faith, pp. 228, 229.)

Though Carrie will no doubt give a resounding NO to all of the above, many other EV’s have YES, agreeing with Fr. Peter.

Grace and peace,

David

P.S. I sure hope some will take the time to do their own research into this important topic, starting with the list of resources I provided in posts at the following threads- http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2007/10/apology-to-s.html ; http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/10/polemics-and-false-dichotomies.html .)

Josh said...

I don't see why the issue of the 'C'ouncil of Trent should be complicated by focusing on the debate regarding faith alone and faith + works. The thing of major importance in the 'C'ouncil of Trent is that it specifies that a person must beleive certain erroneous things in order to be saved. Chief among these erros that the 'C'ouncil says you must beleive in order to be saved is that unless you beleive that the bread in the 'M'ass is literally the body, blood, sould, spirit, and divinity of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic 'C'hurch says you are anathema, that is, damned. Note how they make not the bread to be his body merely, but also his blood, his soul, and his spirit. And although they have gone too far already, they take it a step further, and declare that that bread is literally his very divinity. They declare that you literally eat, and chew, and digest the very essence of God. And further, if it be literally digested, it is literally passed out into the draught (i.e. the toilet). So, forget the works situation. Focus on the mis-faith of Trent, which requires a man to beleive that the very essence of God, the Divinity, the Godhood, of Jesus Christ is eaten, digested, and passed out.

Anonymous said...

"Focus on the mis-faith of Trent, which requires a man to beleive that the very essence of God, the Divinity, the Godhood, of Jesus Christ is eaten, digested, and passed out"

Ah, the old "God is not able to do what He said" argument. Not too compelling. If you can buy the incarnation--not actually a dignified or pretty sight (God slithering into a feeding trough and pooing Himself)--the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is small change.

E i E

Josh said...

"Ah, the old 'God is not able to do what He said' argument"???

Did you actually read what I said, Mr. Anonymous? I was not arguing about whether or not the bread is literally the body of Christ. I don't plan to get into that argument today. What I was talking about, rather, is that Trent goes beyond that. Trent doesn't just say that the bread is the body. Trent says that the bread is the body, the blood, the soul, the spirit, and the divinity of Christ. And further, if you don't beleive that, Trent says you'll burn in hell for all eternity. So, if you were a good Catholic in everything else, and even believed that the bread was the body, and denied that it was the divinity, you'd go to hell according to Trent. Claiming that you eat DIVINITY, the very essence of God, is a wholly different thing, and especially since he does not say "this is my divinity" now does he?

Now, as to whether the bread changes from bread into the literal body, Read 1 Cor 11:25 "This cup is the New Testament" -- Does the cup change into the literal New Testament? If the cup doesn't change into the literal New Testament, then how is the cup the New Testament? In that same way, the bread is his body.

Carrie said...

Though Carrie will no doubt give a resounding NO to all of the above, many other EV’s have YES, agreeing with Fr. Peter.

So?

So some Evangelicals are wrong and I should follow along?

David, I notice you spend a lot of time here and on your own blog pointing to ECT. Is this the whole basis that your beliefs are correct?

Because you never seem to address the actual content of what I say but always seem to come back to either “some Protestants believe in works” or “we have re-interpreted Trent and it is actually quite similar to the Protestants doctrine on justification”. So your only proof of the correctness of your position is “I’m really just like other Protestants”.

Having company in error does not make it the truth.

Saint and Sinner said...

Tim,

"...understanding the Council of Trent is not necessarily as simple as reading an English translation of it and "comparing it" with, say, Galatians 2, without oneself having any background in the Scholastic philosophy..."

I'm sure you already know this, but Calvin, who undoubtedly knew Medieval scholasticism and theology, gave his response to the Council of Trent in a fairly negative fashion. So, it's not like everyone who proclaims anathema on the RCC is ignorant.

Josh said...

You don't need to know any Scholastic philosophy to understand the following canons on the Eucharist points from Trent:

Canon 2 "If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ...let him be anathema."

So, if you confess with Paul the apostle himself, that it is still bread when you eat it, Trent says you are damned.

Canon 4 "If any one saith, that, after the consecration is completed,...[that the] consecrated particles, which are reserved or which remain after communion, the true Body of the Lord remaineth not; let him be anathema."

So, if you believe that the consecreation of the bread only lasts till the communion is over, and that after that the lefover crumbs are but common bread, the council of Trent says you go to hell. To be saved, according to them, you must believe that every crumb left after communion is wholly the body, blood, soul, spirit, and very divinity of Christ, even though as Tyndale says, you see that they grow mold and are eaten by mice.

Again, I would point out that the faith versus works argument is a red herring. Trent clearly has a different soterology than Protestantism, because Protests do not say any of the things above. The above things have nothing to do with works, but with faith. Trent demand that you have faith in certain non-Biblical, and very strange idea in order to be saved. Clearly their soterology is not the same.

David Waltz said...

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for responding; you posted:

>>Though Carrie will no doubt give a resounding NO to all of the above, many other EV’s have YES, agreeing with Fr. Peter.

So?

So some Evangelicals are wrong and I should follow along?>>


Me: I suspect the Evangelicals (and Lutheran scholars) whom I have referenced are a tad bit more informed on this subject than you. That in and of itself does not make them right, but it does suggest that you may be the who is wrong.

>>David, I notice you spend a lot of time here and on your own blog pointing to ECT. Is this the whole basis that your beliefs are correct?>>

Me: You mention only ECT out of ALL the references I provided. Though this joint effort produced some excellent documents, they do not have the depth of the other sources I cited.

>>Because you never seem to address the actual content of what I say but always seem to come back to either “some Protestants believe in works” or “we have re-interpreted Trent and it is actually quite similar to the Protestants doctrine on justification”. So your only proof of the correctness of your position is “I’m really just like other Protestants”.>>

Me: You and I can talk about what Trent says and does not say; along with what Jesus, Paul, James, and John affirmed and denied on justification until we both wear out our fingers typing…fact remains the raw data can be interpreted by Godly, scholarly Christians with variations. You seem to believe (and please correct me if I am wrong) that the raw data is CLEAR, and that one who does not understand it as you do is stupid and/or darkened by sin.

Yet with this said, I am willing to do something you stated that you are not willing to do: dialogue and reply to any, and all questions you might have for me. I ask but one thing for this compliance: STATE BUT ONE QUESTION AT A TIME, and explicitly direct to ME. If this is done, I shall do my best to respond in a timely fashion. (I would also suggest that you email me, providing the link each question as they are brought forth.)


God bless,

David

Carrie said...

I suspect the Evangelicals (and Lutheran scholars) whom I have referenced are a tad bit more informed on this subject than you. That in and of itself does not make them right, but it does suggest that you may be the who is wrong.

Again David, so what. There are plenty of scholars who would agree with me.

You seem to believe (and please correct me if I am wrong) that the raw data is CLEAR, and that one who does not understand it as you do is stupid and/or darkened by sin.

Raw data of what? Trent?

And can you please quote me where I have implied that "one who does not understand it as [I] do is stupid and/or darkened by sin.".

Carrie said...

Again, I would point out that the faith versus works argument is a red herring. Trent clearly has a different soterology than Protestantism, because Protests do not say any of the things above. The above things have nothing to do with works, but with faith.

I don't believe the works stuff is a red herring, but I do agree with your points on faith.

The reason I tend to focus in on the justification aspect is b/c it is that aspect which most clearly makes the gospel of Rome "another gospel", provided clarity on how we should deal with that other gospel using Galatians.

However, trying to discuss justification becomes tiring quickly because of people like David who seem to want to revise Trent's decrees on justification so it looks like we are just quibbling over wording. Sadly that routine does mislead some Protestants.

But the content of RC faith is an interesting aspect as well. You have pointed out one of just many articles of faith which are not biblical, but the problem I see overall is that the Catholic is to put their faith in "all that the Church teaches" which is more a faith in the Church (as the means of salvation) rather than a direct faith in Christ. It also appears to be a bit of a blind faith for many since I doubt any RC could tell you all of the articles of faith (de fide.) as we know a complete list of all such articles does not even exist.

kmerian said...

Carrie, it is interesting that you consider the "Gospel of Rome" to be "another gospel" when it is the reformers that came up with a new definition of justification. Trent affirmed the traditional view of the Church, and did not invent a new definition as the reformers did. This is confirmed by the fact that the Catholic view of Justification is identical to the Orthodox (who are not involved in Trent).

And yes, perhaps no Catholic can rattle off all the points of faith a person is to hold, but neither can any Protestant tell me what the "essentials" are that a Christian are to believe, so this is a bit of pot v. kettle.

Carrie said...

Carrie, it is interesting that you consider the "Gospel of Rome" to be "another gospel" when it is the reformers that came up with a new definition of justification.

The proper definition of justification is based on what the Bible says, not history. I only skimmed the chapter on justification in Jedin’s History of the Council of Trent so I need to try and get ahold of that again, but if memory serves me correct, the specifics of justification in the minds of the Trent council members were unclear. Since justification had not been dogmatically defined previously, there was room for a variety of beliefs prior to Trent. I believe Trent made a mistake in their final decrees in that area.

And yes, perhaps no Catholic can rattle off all the points of faith a person is to hold, but neither can any Protestant tell me what the "essentials" are that a Christian are to believe, so this is a bit of pot v. kettle.

I don’t define faith in the same way you do – as a list of revelations that must be believed. My saving faith comes from my justification before God, by grace and received through faith. I look more to my faith as a proof of my justification (by those things which I believe which I outlined in my longer comment up above). My faith is in Christ to save me by grace through faith as promised in his Word.

The RC definition of faith is “all that the Church teaches”, therefore, if you don’t know all that they teach then you are accepting their revelations based on a blind faith. You are putting your faith in the Church – I put my faith in God and what he has revealed in His written Word.

Josh said...

Actually, Carrie, what I mean is that what most clearly shows Rome to be another gospel is that it requires faith in something other than the gospel. Without the works issue, focusing only on faith, we can see that Rome requires a man to believe things contrary to the gospel.

Tim Enloe said...

Carrie, I'm not interested in "slamming" you for your "simplicity." I can appreciate your account of your experience as a Catholic; I would give a similar negative appraisal of my 20 or so years in which I was a Billy Graham-style Evangelical. While that raises interesting questions about the extent to which converts are able to properly represent their former faith, I'd rather not go into that here.

I notice you keep talking about cooperating in "salvation." Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Protestant doctrine that we don't cooperate in justification, not that we don't cooperate in salvation? Because of course we cooperate in salvation: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Sanctification is synergistic. So clearly there is a sense in which we Protestants believe that human cooperation is a significant part of the salvific process. I suspect that because Catholics define justification differently than we do, such that it encompasses the whole process, including what we call sanctification, that this is where a lot of the polemical difficulty comes from.

I don't feel the need to answer your scenarios about your experience as a Catholic. Clearly a big issue for you is assurance of salvation. That makes sense, since it's a big issue in Reformation theology generally. Though I would want to be careful myself about making that issue the determiner of a false Gospel (if that's what you're doing), because Lutherans don't believe as the Reformed do on this point and presumably we wouldn't want to say the Lutherans teach a false Gospel.

As for the litany of "works" that you go through, saying that it means you aren't saved by faith alone in Catholicism, surely that is a slur. If, as I noted from my Catholic friend citing Augustine, God is only crowning His own gifts when He crowns our merits, the merits are really His and must have been obtained by grace alone and, in some sense, even if Catholics don't like the language itself, by faith alone. Even in Protestant theology saving faith "works"--it necessarily issues in sanctification--so I hardly think that simplistic dichotomies between faith and works, as if there is no living connection between them, is the way to evaluate Catholic doctrine.

Lastly, I can't accept your personal testimony about the time when you were saved as any kind of reliable indicator about what Catholicism teaches and about what the Truth is. Your personal testimony about "being saved" is purely subjective; it can't be tested by any public criteria. This is especially problematic when you list sola Scriptura as an evidence of true saving faith. You've already admitted that there is a difference between justification by faith alone and believing in justification by faith alone. If you don't have to confess sola fide in order to have true faith in Christ, you also probably don't have to confess sola Scriptura. If you insist that such is the case, I am afraid I'll have to borrow a page from our Catholic friends and ask where Scripture alone teaches you that NOT confessing Scripture alone is evidence of not being saved.

I mean you no disrespect by saying this, but surely if you think about it you'll see that if your personal, subjective testimony is to be counted as evidence, so too must the personal, subjective testimony of people who converted from Protestant to Catholic. Religion certainly has a subjective dimension, but it cannot be reduced to the subjective. I don't know--and I can't know--whether the Holy Spirit personally spoke to you and told you that Catholic doctrine was a false Gospel. Please take care not to confuse your autobiography with apologetics. Too many Catholic converts do just that themselves.

P.S.--if any of the other comments below Carrie's are addressed to me, I am afraid I cannot read them or reply to them at this time. I have a ton of reading to do for class, and that has to take precedence, especially since it took me about half an hour to reply to Carrie. Thanks for your understanding.

Anonymous said...

"This cup is the New Testament" -- "

Sorry. Check out the case function in greek. This is the cup OF the new testament. Ablative case.

Anonymous said...

"...a person must beleive certain erroneous things in order to be saved."

Like "Faith alone?"
Whoops

Carrie said...

Carrie, I'm not interested in "slamming" you for your "simplicity."

That comment wasn’t meant for you, Tim. I was concerned with RCs taking issue of what I said.

I notice you keep talking about cooperating in "salvation." Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Protestant doctrine that we don't cooperate in justification, not that we don't cooperate in salvation?

I try to simplify things by speaking of salvation b/c Prots and Cats have different definitions of justification. My ultimate salvation (presence in heaven) will be based on my faith in what Christ did, not my own works (even though I will have those).

I mean you no disrespect by saying this, but surely if you think about it you'll see that if your personal, subjective testimony is to be counted as evidence, so too must the personal, subjective testimony of people who converted from Protestant to Catholic…Please take care not to confuse your autobiography with apologetics.

No, I was simply sharing my personal experience and the issues that I have with the RC gospel experientially. The point was, before even knowing what justification exactly meant in Prot or Cat theology, I was aware of the differences in what my faith was placed in and how that played out as a brand new believer.

You have read too much into my story and have over-analyzed, and now I am sorry that I even shared it. I may not have the depth of knowledge you have, but I do understand the difference b/w personal experience and apologetics (hence the qualifier – “here is my simplistic thinking…”).

Thanks for the limited discussion Tim, but you are one of those people that I have trouble communicating with so we will have to agree to disagree on Roman Catholicism. To be completely honest, your highly sympathetic attitude towards RCs to the point the point of belittling your fellow Protestants is a bit too upsetting for me.

Good luck with your classwork and thanks for taking the time out to respond to what you thought my point was (I’ll take the blame for not being more clear).

e i e said...

"One of the most interesting things a Catholic has ever said to me was to quote Augustine's dictum that when God crowns our merits, He's really doing nothing but crowning His own gifts."

Indeed. We cannot deny God's grace (Which we define as unmerited favor) even when we acknowledge the merit of even the greatest saints. It is not for nothing that we take Elizabeth's greeting as inspired, 'Hail Mary, Full of grace. The Lord is with you," when acknowledging her obedience that is an example for us all. To me at least, it is not an "either/or" conundrum, but a "both/and" affirmation.

E i E

kmerian said...

The proper definition of justification is based on what the Bible says, not history.

I agree, but what you are actually saying here is that the proper definition is your interpretation of what the Bible says.

I don’t define faith in the same way you do – as a list of revelations that must be believed.

And, that is not the way I define faith either. Carrie, I am Catholic because of what I believe, I do not merely believe what I do because I am Catholic.


My saving faith comes from my justification before God, by grace and received through faith. I look more to my faith as a proof of my justification (by those things which I believe which I outlined in my longer comment up above). My faith is in Christ to save me by grace through faith as promised in his Word.

And that is very Calvinistic of you, that faith is not a choice but something you are given, and something that others are not. Now, the Bible states that God wills all to be saved, Calvinism states he does not and that is my biggest problem with that belief system.

The RC definition of faith is “all that the Church teaches”, therefore, if you don’t know all that they teach then you are accepting their revelations based on a blind faith. You are putting your faith in the Church – I put my faith in God and what he has revealed in His written Word.

I put my faith in God as well and in his word that states that he leads his children to ALL truth. Again, you are assuming I only believe what I do because I am Catholic, and not that I am Catholic because of what I believe.

Carrie said...

I put my faith in God as well and in his word that states that he leads his children to ALL truth. Again, you are assuming I only believe what I do because I am Catholic, and not that I am Catholic because of what I believe.

No, I understand that, but I still say your faith is in the fact that the Church is correct, therefore you can trust her for your truth and salvation (even though you do not know all the truths she teaches as you have admitted). If She is wrong (which I say she is) then you are in trouble.

Since we can agree that God will lead his children to truth, then you should recognize that one of us either isn’t a child of God or one of us is in some serious error. How could we both be right?

e i e said...

"No, I understand that, but I still say your faith is in the fact that the Church is correct"

Any and all confidence I have in the Church is because I have faith in Jesus who is correct about her in every way.

We have confidence in the Church because we have faith in Christ, not the other way around.

No Christ = No Church
Know Christ = Know Church.


Im very sorry for you if your past experience as a Catholic taught you otherwise, and I truly do grieve for you and any and all Catholics or ex-Catholics who have been so poorly chatechised.

E i E

Jeff said...

Great posts, Carrie!

I grieve over those who are kept in bondage to a system (Roman Catholicism) that cannot save. Justification in the Roman sense is clearly unbiblical.

When a church deviates from God's clear Word on how we stand righteous before Him, it is no longer a true church.

Jeff

EgoMakarios said...

'This cup is the New Testament' --

Sorry. Check out the case function in greek. This is the cup OF the new testament. Ablative case."


1. You didn't really look at any Greek.
2. You are obviously confusing the passage in Matthew that is referring to the contents of the cup where Jesus says "this is my blood of the New Testament" with the passage I referred to in 1 Cor 11 that says "this cup is the New Testameny (ratified) by my blood."
3. Why is a Greek scholar anonymous?

The point, though is that Jesus gives three statements, not two.
1. This (bread) is my body.
2. This (fruit of the vine) is my blood of the New Covenant.
3. This cup is the New Covenant (ratified) by my blood.

All the IS's are the same. If the cup changes into the literal New Covenant, then the contents changes into literal blood and the bread into his literal body. But if the cup represents the New Covenant, then the contents represents his blood, and the bread represents his body. And if you say the cup is nothing and only its contents and the bread are anything, they you deny that the Lord tells us the truth, since he said "this cup is the New Covenant"

Carrie said...

Any and all confidence I have in the Church is because I have faith in Jesus who is correct about her in every way.

Who told you about Christ?

e i e said...

Carrie said:
"Since we can agree that God will lead his children to truth, then you should recognize that one of us either isn’t a child of God or one of us is in some serious error. How could we both be right?"

I say:
True. Good question, and if we can't both be right, who has the authority to adjudicate, especially if you and I each see contradictory doctrines in the same scripture?

I hope we also agree that the Holy Spirit leads His Church in all truth, and that The Church is the body of which Jesus is the head.

"...you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."
1 Timothy 3:15

"His intent was that now, through The Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms..."
Ephesians 3:10

"After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it just as Christ does the church"
Ephesians 5:29

"And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."
Colossians 1:18


Carrie earlier said:
"I point out all the other stuff as fruit of apostasy"

Jesus said:
"...this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Matthew 16:17-19

I say:
Apparently Carrie believes (Correct me if I am wrong.) some variant of the idea that the Gates of Hell prevailed against the Church within a single generation or two of Jesus saying this; for we have ample proof of the "Catholic" doctrines she deems sign of apostocy were professed by Christians from the early Church era--and some even from contemporaries and students of the apostles themselves.
I simply do not believe Christ was so utterly wrong in His statement to Peter. That the Church fell into apostasy as soon as the apostles died and did not begin to emerge until the Reformation, some 14 centuries later strikes me as simply implausible--and unbiblical.

Obviously Carrie and our other Reformed-minded friends do not agree with this analysis, but it is my perspective--and it seems to be reinforced by almost every objection I read to the Church's authority when cntrasted with the testimony of scripture and the witness of the saints throughout the ages from then until now.

E i E

e i e said...

"You don't need to know any Scholastic philosophy to understand the following canons on the Eucharist points from Trent:

Canon 2 "If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ...let him be anathema." [...]


Sorry, Josh, but you do. In order to properly understand the partial excerpt you provided of just that one cannon, you must understand the medieval definitions of, and the history and debate surrounding transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation, and you must also have an accurate knowledge of what "anathema" means both in the context of Trent and as currently understood as clarified since then over the past five centuries.

Please forgive my skepticism, but I'm pretty sure by your comments thus far that you haven't much of an accurate notion.

E i E

Anonymous said...

"Any and all confidence I have in the Church is because I have faith in Jesus who is correct about her in every way."

Who told you about Christ?

My mother. Was I wrong to believe her? Who told you?

E i E

Carrie said...

My mother. Was I wrong to believe her? Who told you?

Was your mother Catholic?

I learned about the real Jesus from the Bible.

Carrie said...

I truly do grieve for you and any and all Catholics or ex-Catholics who have been so poorly chatechised.

BTW, what does being "properly" catechized have to do with anything?

kmerian said...

No, I understand that, but I still say your faith is in the fact that the Church is correct, therefore you can trust her for your truth and salvation (even though you do not know all the truths she teaches as you have admitted). If She is wrong (which I say she is) then you are in trouble.

Do you claim to know all that the Bible teaches? Or are you still learning. I know I am still learning, I learn something every day. But, if the RCC is wrong, I still have faith, and once you are saved by faith, it cannot be lost, no matter what you do. And isn't that all you claim is necessary? But, if you are wrong, you have turned your back on the true Church of Christ, mocked it and called it unchristian. So tell me, who risks more?

Since we can agree that God will lead his children to truth, then you should recognize that one of us either isn’t a child of God or one of us is in some serious error. How could we both be right?

We can't, but as I stated before, who has more at risk?

Tim Enloe said...

To be completely honest, your highly sympathetic attitude towards RCs to the point the point of belittling your fellow Protestants is a bit too upsetting for me.

I understand, Carrie. Let me just ask, in the spirit of the frequent posts here about the double-standard of the term "anti-Catholic." If you were to engage in a serious critique of things I wrote, would you be "belittling" me? Why is it that people who can sit around speculating about the spiritual state of people they've never even met (Catholics who allegedly aren't "children of the Lamb") are so fussy when they themselves are challenged?

Saint and Sinner said...

"I hope we also agree that the Holy Spirit leads His Church in all truth, and that The Church is the body of which Jesus is the head."

"1 Timothy 3:15"

Yip. Covered that one:

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2007/10/eisegeted-verses-1-timothy-315.html

"Ephesians 3:10"

Another verse cited out of context. In its context, it has to do with God's eschatological wisdom, spoken of in the prophets, being manifested in the uniting of the Gentiles and Jews into one body. It does not refer to God dispensing His wisdom through an authoritative body of clergy.

As to the next two quotes, no one disagrees with these.

"Apparently Carrie believes (Correct me if I am wrong.) some variant of the idea that the Gates of Hell prevailed against the Church within a single generation or two of Jesus saying this"

First of all, gates are a defensive measure, not offensive. The text mentioned says nothing about indefectibility but the offensive nature of the church militant spreading the light of God's Word to the heathen who are said to be under the control of Satan (and thus, within the "gates of hell"; 2 Cor. 4:4).

Second, it is a straw-man to say that Protestants believe that the church "died" for 1400 yrs. It would take an entire post to correct this error, but yes, the church began to stray from true doctrine (which doesn't make them non-Christian) as is evident from Paul's, John's, Peter's, and Jude's letters and from the incursion of pagan philosophy, culture, and language shortly after the apostolic era as seen in Justin Martyr and Tertullian.

Lastly, the testimony of Christians past isn't as uniformly on your side as you think it is.

Carrie said...

But, if the RCC is wrong, I still have faith, and once you are saved by faith, it cannot be lost, no matter what you do. And isn't that all you claim is necessary?

No, any "faith" is not good enough. You have to have true saving faith - even the demons believe in Christ.

Carrie said...

Why is it that people who can sit around speculating about the spiritual state of people they've never even met (Catholics who allegedly aren't "children of the Lamb") are so fussy when they themselves are challenged?

I don't mind being challenged on my content, I just don't like being judged on a personal level. I believe that can be done without making someone look stupid (like informing me that personal stories don't equal apologetics).

Tim, to be honest, before you commented here I followed a link over to CrimsonCatholic's blog where you "went off" a bit on Protestants (to the Catholic audience). I was a bit horrified by that exchange. Despite that though I have tried to have a discussion with you giving you the benefit of the doubt, but I feel like you have read me through an "anti-Catholic Protestant" filter and haven't listened to what I have actually said.

As far as speculating about Catholics, I try to keep that a general level - the phantom RC who believes all the Church teaches. I certainly don't know who is or isn't saved, but I do believe there are certain fruits and truths which can give me an indicator of who I should be worried about. It would be difficult for me to be confident in my own salvation if I cannot even define the process enough to know who is in probable jeopardy.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hi Tim and Carrie,

Not meaning to interrupt your conversation, I just wanted to add one point. Tim, you referred to Phil. 2:12-13 which says:

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, 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.

I see at least two reasons why these verses should not be viewed as describing human meritorious cooperation regarding justification.

First, Paul says "work out," not "work for" your salvation. The idea conveyed is that of the practical application of our sanctification; the outworking, that is, what our life in Christ should look like and be like in a practical, physical and spiritual sense as we live from day to day. When we become disciples of Christ, whatever time we have on this earth will be spent in active obedience to Christ's will, so that we may be conformed to His image.

Second, verse 13 is clear that it is the work of God Himself that is accomplishing this wonderful obedience in our lives, and this for His own good pleasure and mysterious reasons. Some sort of meritorious work on our part is not in view here. The Reformers and Reformed believers today see the sovereignty of God (decrees) in action in these verses.

Now if we want to use the term salvation in the broadest terms, then sanctification, of course, is included in that. I won't quibble about the word cooperation in this sense, since we are called to obedience for the sake of our life in Christ.

There may be other verses from which to argue the Roman doctrine of justification. For the above reasons, though, I am confident that Philippians 2:12-13 cannot be used as the basis for arguing the meritorious cooperation of the believer in his justification.

All God's Best,

Pilgrimsarbour

Saint and Sinner said...

BTW: I just posted on Acts 15.

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2007/10/eisegeted-verses-acts-15-and-jerusalem.html

Thanks,
S&S

Saint and Sinner said...

"Why is it that people who can sit around speculating about the spiritual state of people they've never even met"

We are bound to *treat* someone as heathen either by their moral character (Matt. 18:17) or by their profession of faith (Gal. 1:8-10).

So, although many RCs may be regenerate, by their profession of faith, I am bound to treat them as anathema.

Tim Enloe said...

Well, Carrie, I would exhort you, with Luther and Calvin, to move beyond anxieties about your own salvation. And even more so to move beyond what you take to be a related need to see the states of others. Such raw subjectivism, as popular as it is in Evangelical circles, is not a firm foundation for religion. I don't know what church you go to, but if it's any kind of baptistic one, please, please, please compare what it teaches about the foundations and maintenance of faith with what Luther and Calvin teach. Luther says something to the effect (I'm conflating several places) that when the Devil assaults you with doubts about your salvation, say your prayers and trust in Christ, who put you under the waters of baptism and brought you back up with His very own hands. Look to Christ and Him crucified, not subjective experiences of coming out of "darkness" into "light." I did that subjectivistic wheel for many years as an Evangelical, and I tell you it nearly destroyed me. It was Reformation teachings about the objectivity of salvation that got me out of that Slough of Despond. Don't stay in that muck, especially since the Reformation offers so much more.

As to the rest:

I wasn't attempting to make you feel stupid by reminding you that personal stories aren't apologetics. Since this an apologetics blog and you write apologetics posts for it and in some of those posts you feel very free to speculate about the states of other people's souls, connecting said speculations to your doctrinal and historical points, it seemed natural to point out to you that your private spiritual experiences are not apologetics arguments. I'm sorry you were offended. Perhaps if you'd stay away from personal stories and dark remarks about the states of other people's souls, you'd have more success getting Catholics to listen to your actual arguments?

Be horrified all you like at what I said to Crimson Catholic. In my opinion, if more Evangelicals would study the rise and decline of Evangelicalism, especially in the American context, there would be a lot less subjectivistic lashing out at other traditions and a lot more self-reflective endeavoring to work out our own salvation instead of that of others. Take a look, if you will, at works such as Mark Noll's The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, or Michael Horton's Made in America, or Nathan Hatch's The Democratization of American Christianity. Works like these will open your eyes in many ways, and not least of which would be giving you much greater insight into why all the Evangelical-to-Catholic convert jazz is both so popular and so shallow.

I'll end by saying that I see very little value in rampaging against the supposed "false Gospel" of Catholicism when oneself is buried neck deep in a virtually completely uncritically held compromise of the Reformation Gospel that is subjectivistic Evangelicalism. Unfortunately, pasting some Calvinist sentences and some Reformation slogans on top of that morass of subjectivistic and self-aggrandizing pietism isn't sufficient to redeem it.

At the risk of offending you again, apologetics isn't a game where you just get to yell at the other guy for his "logical fallacies" and "errors." If you can't give an intelligible account of your own methods, and take criticism from other schools within your own faith tradition, maybe you shouldn't be doing apologetics. To adapt a maxim from Socrates, the unexamined apologetic is not worth doing.

I am sorry I've offended you. You need not worry about it continuing on a regular basis, because my class work is more important to me than Internet debates. Chances are pretty good I won't be around here often enough to upset the apple cart too terribly bad.

EgoMakarios said...

So, you can't understand Catholicism without philosophy. But Paul say not to let any man spoil you after philosophy. I think, then, that the very tactic the Catholics use to defend Trent "you Prots are too stupid to understand it because you don't know philosophy" shows that Catholicism teaches another gospel, one based on philosophy rather than Christ.

Carrie said...

Well, Carrie, I would exhort you, with Luther and Calvin, to move beyond anxieties about your own salvation. And even more so to move beyond what you take to be a related need to see the states of others.

I don’t have anxieties about my own salvation and I don’t feel a “need” to think about others although I would be foolish to try and witness to my own Pastor, so some discernment comes in handy.

Look to Christ and Him crucified, not subjective experiences of coming out of "darkness" into "light."

I don’t. But if I had no subjective experience how would I know I am saved if there is no change in my life. I am sharing just one aspect of my faith and experience, there is a bit more to it than that.

Perhaps if you'd stay away from personal stories and dark remarks about the states of other people's souls, you'd have more success getting Catholics to listen to your actual arguments?

Okay, I shared my personal story in the combox and don’t recall remarking on the dark state of anyone’s soul. Unless you have a quote that would correct me on my recollection, I think this was an unfair statement.

At the risk of offending you again, apologetics isn't a game where you just get to yell at the other guy for his "logical fallacies" and "errors." If you can't give an intelligible account of your own methods, and take criticism from other schools within your own faith tradition, maybe you shouldn't be doing apologetics.

I am not offended by you, just confused. Why you would continue to harshly critique me while accepting Roman Catholicism as a legitimate gospel (and defending it vigorously, at least here) is beyond me. In reality, you know very little about me and seem to be responding to a strawman of “Evangelical Subjectivism” that doesn’t sound at all like me. Therefore, it is difficult to take your advice.

Unfortunately you missed the whole point of my personal story, but lesson learned on my part. I apologize if I have been over-sensitive to your remarks. I expect the barbs from the RCs, I don’t expect them from other Protestants. Now I know better.

kmerian said...

No, any "faith" is not good enough. You have to have true saving faith - even the demons believe in Christ.

So, how can you tell the difference?

Carrie said...

We are bound to *treat* someone as heathen either by their moral character (Matt. 18:17) or by their profession of faith (Gal. 1:8-10).

So, although many RCs may be regenerate, by their profession of faith, I am bound to treat them as anathema.


Thank you S&S! You have said it in an objective way that I wasn't able to convey.

Looking forward to reading your new post!

Carrie said...

So, how can you tell the difference?

Well, I tried to explain this by my personal story but that didn't work out so well ;).

MacArthur has a good article on this, let me look for it.

Carrie said...

Be horrified all you like at what I said to Crimson Catholic. In my opinion, if more Evangelicals would study the rise and decline of Evangelicalism,

By the way Tim, your comment on Crimson Catholic was critical first of the “Evangelical” understanding of the Gospel and also the Reformed understanding of the Gospel. As I read it, it seemed neither had a firm grasp of the Gospel in your opinion but somehow the Catholics you were speaking to had something to offer?

It was all quite confusing and certainly not a very charitable remark towards either camp. That is what I was “horrified” about.

Tim Enloe said...

egomakarios, why don't you quote Colossians 2:8 properly, eh? It says let no one deceive you with philosophy based on the elementary principles of the world (ta stoicheia), but to seek after the philosophy of Christ. It does not excoriate philosophy per se.

Plenty of Christian philosophers from Justin Martyr to the present have excellent insights into the relationship of philosophy and faith. Perhaps you take Tertullian's position on Jerusalem and Athens, but not everyone does, and it requires a great deal of sophisticated argumentation to establish Tertullian's view over others. Shoot, it just might even require some philosophy to do it.

Everyone has a philosophy about all kinds of things. Philosophy is in one way just a description of how you think about things. How you approach history is your philosophy of history. How you think about the human mind's access to Truth is your philosophy of thought. How you think about God's relationship to the created world is your philosophy of being. How you approach Bible study is your philosophy of exegesis. What you think about science is your philosophy of science. You can't get away from philosophy. All you're supposed to do is avoid the philosophy based on "the elements of this world"--a phrase which has a context in the world of the New Testament. Do you know what that context is, or do you just trust in your own amazing ability to read "plain words" in the Bible and have a completely self-contained worldview based on them?

You'd better demonstrate that you can think clearer than a carte blanche denial of "philosophy" if you expect to be taken seriously. The kind of hermeneutically naive, "face value," Bible-Only fundamentalism that your comment displays is simply intellectual laziness, and it cripples apologetics. Get yourself any good primer on apologetics and you might not make such ill-considered remarks in the future. On the other hand, maybe guys like R.C. Sproul and Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen were just morons who didn't observe the plain meaning of Scripture, since they had to go and get quite learned in philosophy as part of their theological and apologetical training.

Tim Enloe said...

OK, Carrie, since I believe in letting people explain their own beliefs I have no choice but to accept your explanation of your words, even though they make little sense to me. You outright stated that you need Catholics to be unregenerate and apostate so that you can have some idea of what the process of not believing the Gospel looks like so that you can better understand your own salvation, but now you say you have no anxieties about your salvation. OK, whatever you say.

I can see that I'm not helping you at all, so I'll stop addressing you. Thanks for your patience.

Tim Enloe said...

Oh, I forgot, egomakarios, maybe the Reformers were unbiblical morons, too, since they had quite a bit of philosophical training, particularly in the Nominalist school. Not to mention Wycliffe, who thought that Holy Scripture underwrote philosophical Realism.

Why didn't they just read Colossians 2:8? It's so plain.

Tim Enloe said...

Saint and Sinner: What problem was Paul addressing in Galatians 1? And did he consider the Apostle Peter, who was neck deep in that problem, a heathen?

Carrie said...

You outright stated that you need Catholics to be unregenerate and apostate so that you can have some idea of what the process of not believing the Gospel looks like so that you can better understand your own salvation, but now you say you have no anxieties about your salvation.

No, I did not say that or mean to imply that. I am sorry if my writing was unclear on that.

e i e said...

"No, any "faith" is not good enough. You have to have true saving faith - even the demons believe in Christ.

So, how can you tell the difference?


Excellent question.

This is my faith:
I believe:

that Jesus is the living and only begotten Son of God;

that He is one in being with God the Father;

that through Him all things were made;

that for us and for our salvation he became man, suffered and died as the one and only sacrifice worthy to atone for our sins;

that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead;

that He alone will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead;

that His kingdom will have no end;

that He is my only Lord and Savior;

that no person ever comes the Father but by Him;

that He alone is worthy;

that He alone is The Holy One;

that He alone is The Lord;

that He alone is my salvation;

that He alone is the most high: Jesus Christ who reigns with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father forever and ever;

that He is the second person of the one and only Triune God who is One God and the one and only thing in the universe that I worship.

Is this the confession of the demons who "believe and tremble?"

Do you (a person who has never met me and who knows virtually nothing about my life) somehow know that this is not “true saving faith?” If so, what faith is and how did you gain the role of its judge, which is the role of Jesus alone?

E i E

EgoMakarios said...

"Oh, I forgot, egomakarios, maybe the Reformers were unbiblical morons, too, since they had quite a bit of philosophical training..."

The Reformers continued certain corrupt traditions of Rome that have their basis in philosophy not in Scripture. I wouldn't call them "morons" but they clearly were allowing something other than Christ to lead them. The Gospel, however, is based on REVELATION FROM GOD, not philosophy.

"Why didn't they just read Colossians 2:8? It's so plain."

Indeed it is. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

Tim Enloe said...

egomakarios says:

The Reformers continued certain corrupt traditions of Rome that have their basis in philosophy not in Scripture.

Well, that's very easy to say and not so easy to prove. But we'll just give you a pass on the historical-theology scene since your above statement cannot even be analyzed until your understanding of "philosophy" is made more explicit. I'll ask you again for the meaning of the ta stoicheia, "the elements of the world," that qualifies Paul's use of the word "philosophy" in Col. 2:8. What were the ta stoicheia which Paul wishes the Colossians not to be taken captive by? It is not philosophy per se that Paul is warning against, but the philosophy that proceeds from the ta stoicheia. It's right there in black and white. You do see it, right? Now, once you've identified the ta stoicheia that qualifies "philosophy" in the verse, what might you conclude about what Paul advocates as the solution--namely the "philosophy that is according to Christ"? Here's a hint: what was Paul in trouble with the learned men of Athens for in Acts 17?

Carrie said...

Do you (a person who has never met me and who knows virtually nothing about my life) somehow know that this is not “true saving faith?” If so, what faith is and how did you gain the role of its judge, which is the role of Jesus alone?

I will assume you are asking me this question.

I never said I was the judge of who does or does not have “true saving faith”, if you can quote me on that I would be happy to repent. Otherwise, I will assume you are just attempting to poison the well (like when you labeled me an “anti-Catholic zealot”) in which case I will no longer spend my time responding to your comments.

That said, I do believe I have some responsibility to judge a tree by its fruit, otherwise, why would Jesus have ever have told me to so? I also believe that distinguishing the wheat from the tares is not so easy as separating those who can recite the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed from those who cannot, otherwise why would that task only be capable of being done my the Lord himself? I believe it is possible to believe one has faith in Christ only to find out that their faith was misplaced, otherwise, why do the goats seems so surprised by Jesus’ answer to them? I believe that I am told by Jesus and the Apostles to be aware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing and therefore may have an appearance of truth yet be a ravenous wolf. I believe the warnings to “work out my salvation” and “be sure that I am in the faith” are not because my works contribute to my justification before God, but because my works provide me with the proof/assurance that I have been justified by God and am in possession of the true saving faith that is necessary to attain eternal life.

If you need verses for the above, let me know and I will work on that when I get home.

e i e said...

Carrie:

Is this the confession of the demons who "believe and tremble?"


E i E

e i e said...

PS. I'm sorry that you don't like being identified as an anti-Catholic zealot. We "apostate Romanist / Papists / Heretics" simply see you that way. Apparently what's good for the goose makes the gander get uppity.

E i E

e i e said...

" believe it is possible to believe one has faith in Christ only to find out that their faith was misplaced, otherwise, why do the goats seems so surprised by Jesus’ answer to them? "

Isn't it the goats who failed to demonstrate their faith in action? Why where they surprised, indeed? Sounds like they could just as easily be Reformed as Catholic goats.

E i E

e i e said...

" I believe the warnings to “work out my salvation” and “be sure that I am in the faith” are not because my works contribute to my justification before God, but because my works provide me with the proof/assurance that I have been justified by God and am in possession of the true saving faith that is necessary to attain eternal life."

Then you deny the same scripture you claim to follow exclusively, for the warnings against apostasy are not in vain, and if your salvation were sacrosanct, you would require no warning--or in fact, no correction whatsoever, being utterly justified, as you claim.

Now of course you do not agree with this interpretation; however, it is absolutely in line with sola scriptura as you and others here have presented it as your authority.

Seriously look at the debates you folks have over essentials: the fate of children and the retarded, the salvation of those who gravely sin after being saved, the very need for amending one's life after salvation lest one lose it (As far as I can see the only unforgivable sin some Reformed-minded believe any Christian can commit is to become a Catholic, e.g.: the Beckwith affair.), doubts and contention about who is and who is not saved (an all time favorite game that I --God forgive me if I'm wrong-- that I wager you play on a regular basis)... All of these are up for grabs, and for any one of you who champions one view via sola scriptura, another is ready to deny it along with his or her litany of proof-text verses.

And amid all this, you astoundingly continually return with the assertion that it is the Catholic traditions that preach "another gospel."


Enough is Enough

e i e said...

"I also believe that distinguishing the wheat from the tares is not so easy as separating those who can recite the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed from those who cannot."

I absolutely agree! Now, who told you it is your job to separate the wheat from the tares? According to scripture, whose job is it?

Enough is Enough

faithful said...

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."


This verese does not say all philosophy is bad, just that it can be used as a vehicle for deception. The verse itself could be considered theologically philsophical. Does that mean the verse is warning against itself?

faithful said...

"The Gospel, however, is based on REVELATION FROM GOD, not philosophy."

That's an interesting philosophy.

e i e said...

"My mother. Was I wrong to believe her? Who told you?

Was your mother Catholic?

I learned about the real Jesus from the Bible."


Which Bible?

E i E

Tim Enloe said...

Pilgrimsarbour, I didn't say that Phil. 2 is a text that supports the Catholic doctrine of meritorious justification. I said, in context of Carrie's general remarks about "cooperation" in salvation, that certainly we do have to "cooperate" in some sense. The key being that Protestants, via the distinction between justification and sanctification, confine the cooperation to sanctification whereas Catholics use the word justification to describe the whole salvific experience.

At any rate, none of this touches the point that if Catholic theology is read through the lens of Augustine's statement that "our" merits are really God's and He is crowning His own gifts to us, quite a different picture of Catholic doctrine emerges than one might find in, say, the latest hot polemical book about Rome's "false Gospel of works righteousness."

Tim Enloe said...

Jeff wrote:

Are you asserting there was no fundamental soteriological disagreement between dogmatic statements coming out of Trent and those of the reformers?

No, I'm not asserting there was no fundamental difference. At the very least, there's a huge metaphysical difference in conceptions of "grace."

In other words, do you assert that Rome put forth a doctrine of justification that saves?

Well, in the first place there is not any doctrine of justification anywhere that saves. Doctrine does not save, faith in Christ does. Justification is by faith alone, not by believing in justification by faith alone. To say otherwise is to turn human willing and running--in this case, human theologizing--into a work that brings or denies salvation.

This being the case, it is wrongheaded to analyze Catholic doctrine on the principle "does this doctrine save?" Of course it does not, but then, neither does Reformation doctrine. Again, doctrine does not save, faith in Christ does. All of that said, I think it's ludicrous to imagine that messing up intellectual concepts of the relationship of justification and sanctification excludes a person from salvation. This is pretty much to collapse the Reformed understanding of the tripartite nature of saving faith into only one of its aspects, the intellectual (notitia). And, as numerous infinitessimally parsed debates on justification well show, by making justification depend on whether you can say "shibboleth" correctly, it is not only a scheme of justification by works but a scheme which excludes the vast majority of human beings, who aren't gifted with the kind of legalistic intellect that likes to wrangle about words all day long, from the possibility of salvation.

Take care how you construe Reformation polemics against the 16th century doctrinal constructs of certain Roman theologians. There's a lot more going on in both the polemics and their targets than most people today, 500 years later, are able to appreciate--especially if their understanding of the issues comes from pop-apologetics books and websites and they can't be bothered to take the time to learn fundamental concepts and contexts first.

Tim Enloe said...

Saint and Sinner,

Backing up quite a bit: yes, Calvin knew some Medieval scholasticism and theology and gave quite a negative response to Trent. So what? I didn't say "everyone" who attacks Trent is ignorant. But certainly about 80% of layman blowhards who appear in blog comboxes ranting about "false Gospels" are profoundly ignorant and really ought to spend their time in more constructive pursuits. Like, oh, maybe reading some real apologetics and theology books instead of pop-Evangelical "The Romanists are coming! To arms, to arms, the Romanists are coming!" trash that never teaches you anything but one narrow-minded view and never answers for its own assumptions.

At any rate, Calvin's theology was influenced by Nominalism, and his intellectual pursuits were immersed in very complicated philosophical-theological debates that had been going on for centuries without any resolution. At the very least, there are huge questions of faith and reason operating behind the scenes of the Reformation battles--or rather, they're behind the scenes to us because we don't have the kind of training the Reformers did. Things just aren't as simple as picking up English translations of Trent and setting them side-by-side with Galatians and "comparing them" to see what "plain truth" is.

Unfortunately, many people are terrified out of their skulls at the prospect that the realm of things they can be "certain" about is not quite as big as they'd like it to be, and so there's a lot of angry, fearful denunciation that occurs whenever someone comes around and smudges the nice, neat, pretty little lines. I find that most Protestants on the Internet who bluster about Trent's "false Gospel" and quote the Reformers' trash-talking against "papist dogs" have little to no concept of the shape of the intellectual landscape at the time. This makes their opinions pretty much worthless, and more on the level of bigoted slander than intelligent argument.

Tim Enloe said...

At any rate, I've spent too much time on here the last few days, and I have a feeling I'm about to wear out my welcome to boot. So that's it for me. I'm disciplining myself NOT to come back here, at least not for a good while. Thanks for the interaction.

EgoMakarios said...

faithful said...

"The Gospel, however, is based on REVELATION FROM GOD, not philosophy."

That's an interesting philosophy.


So you don't beleive the Gospel is a revelation from God. At least you have the courage to admit you aren't truly a Christian.

faithful said...

"So you don't believe the Gospel is a revelation from God. At least you have the courage to admit you aren't truly a Christian."

How on the Lord's green earth did you derive that absurd conclusion? My point is that your contention that revelation from God and philosophy are somehow mutually exclusive is an expression of your own philosophy.

Is this an example of your ability to ferret out the true meanings of others' writings? If so, you don't give me much confidence that you can correctly represent the Word of Truth.

Philosophy itself is neither good nor bad. It refers to the approach we apply to reason. Scripture happens to contain a good deal of both reason and philosophy. You can no more have a theology without an associated philosophy than you can have a language without an associated grammar. It is not the language itself, but it helps define its structure.

Philosophy is no more the exclusive realm of atheists than science is the exclusive realm of materialists or mathematics the exclusive realm of empiricists. Come, let us reason together, says the Lord.

As for you saying that I am not a Christian: This is not a nursery, and "Nyahh nyahh nyahh. You're a doodie head," is not an argument. Grow up.