Wednesday, October 17, 2007

NOT as a result of works

The usual Roman Catholic claim regarding the interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-10 was recently repeated, that the works by which we are not saved are works of human invention and/or are works of the now-obsolete Old Testament law. I'd like to devote a post to dealing with this by itself. This is mostly, ISTM, an exegetical question.

8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Now, let's be clear - our RC friends are saying that justification is at least PARTLY due to works, ie, justification is not by faith alone.
As for this passage, let us note how the ***same*** good works that God has prepared for us to do are the same works that are *NOT* the cause of our salvation. So if the 1st "works" are works of human invention or of the OT Law, then why isn't the 2nd "works" the same?

How can this be (pardon the pun) justified in the RC view?

125 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, very good point. Also it is interesting what these verses say about the good works:

... created in Christ Jesus for good works...

It teaches that our good works come after we are created in Christ Jesus. Therefore it begs the questions by what means are we created in Christ Jesus? By faith alone and not of works.

e i e said...

Not to merely shoe away your umpteenth go at exegesis, but really; we keep telling you that we ourselves do not believe we can justify ourselves by our own works, given that God's infinite good and infinite justice cannot be satisfied by our finite works. We tell you. The Church tells you. The Catechism tells you—but you keep twisting anything that so much as mentions merit or works to say that isn’t what we really believe.

Were I to continually misrepresent your own correct belief that men must repent to mean Men save themselves by their own merit by repenting, when I know full well this is not what you believe, wouldn't you grow a bit weary of it. I could trot out the many thusands of reformed writers who spoke about personal responsibility and the need to repent and claim this proves that you depend on your own works, ignoring or dismissing what they also say about grace. The more I would repeat such a claim in the face of your clearly telling me that this is NOT what you believe, the less credibility I would have.

I'm weary of refuting the same old "you believe your works save you; you worship Mary/the Pope/statues; you re-sacrifice Jesus, you believe in sola ecclesia, and all the other lies that I know for absolute fact are simply untrue. When you insist that I teach, profess or believe what I know I do not, to my ears you’ve reached nearly the same level as the nut jobs who claim the Church was behind 9/11.

If we're saved by works, we do a lousy job of it as we also testify as a matter of dogma that the only human who would qualify under those terms who was also not God, did so ONLY by reason of grace! If Catholics actually believed what YOU say we believe, we'd be forced to believe that there is no salvation at all.

Seriously,
Enough is enough.

EgoMakarios said...
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EgoMakarios said...
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EgoMakarios said...

As an addendum to my last addendum, the phrase "not a result of works" is very telling. It doesn't mean that no works are needed, but that the result doesn't really result from them. God promises to do things inside certain works, but those things are the result of God's actions, not of the works themselves, although the works are necessary since God makes them the condition of his promise. So, when God told Moses to strike the rock, the water flowing forth was not a result of striking the rock. The water flowing forth was a result of God making the water flow forth. But God promised that the water would flow forth when the rock was struck, and therefore the work was necessary as being the condition of the promise, but the work did not actually cause anything--the work was just as condition attached to the promise.

Rhology said...

eie and Egomakarios have ignored the force of the argument.

You need to deal with the psg.

Eie,

1) Are you Roman Catholic?
2) Do you believe that a sinner is justified before God by faith alone?

If #2 = no, then you're who I'm talking to. You're not fooling anyone with your pious talk here. At least have the courage to admit what your church teaches. Is that really too much to ask?

EgoMakarios,

Repentance is not a work, b/c biblically repentance is required for justification but we are saved NOT BY WORKS.
That's simple exegesis.

Paul missed them memo about salvation being by docile, passive, obedienceless faith.

And I missed where I was putting forth that view. I'm talking about JUSTIFICATION here.

I just see that faith alone is not taught in Scripture anywhere, except in James 2

Feel free to see here how well that lame excuse fares in discussion.
And let us all notice again how, in an effort to save the RC view from biblical condemnation, the defender of that view proposes a contradiction in the Scr. It's amazing - you could make a fortune at Vegas if the dealers were so predictable.

Paul speaks of works of the obsolete Law and of man's own devising, which are worthless.

That's the whole point of the post. What is your argument for that?

Peace,
Rhology

EgoMakarios said...

So, following the above, when Peter told the already baptized Simon Magus in Acts 3:19, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" Peter was not saying that repentance by itself saved. It was not the work of repenting that saved, but God's promise to save in repentance. The work itself did nothing, but the work was a condition that God set to his promise to save. Thus, Simon did indeed have to repent to be saved, but he did not save himself by works. But he did a work! Yes, but the work didn't save. God's action saved, but God's action was a result of God's promise, and the work was a condition set on that promise. The same in Acts 2:38-39 where Peter promises that when a believer repents and is baptized that they will receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit as a gift. Do these two works have the power to do such great things? Nay, but God does these things. However, this is a promise of God, that he will do these great things for whoever meets these conditions. As Peter says in verse 39 "for the promise is for you...as many as the Lord our God shall call." So, anyone who thinks they can avoid the work, must know also that they have avoided the promise of God. When you avoid fulfilling the conditions that God attaches to his promises, you avoid receiving the benefits of the same promises.

EgoMakarios said...

rhology, before you responded, I had already deleted that post a few minutes back as I found it didn't clearly express what I am trying to say. See the post above your response, and the one I was writing while you were posting your response. Unfortunately it contains more references to repentance being a work, although you just said repentance is not. If repentance isn't a work, then what is? What are the works we are talking about? All I'm talking about is repentance, confession, and baptism, the three acts that the gospel commands as a necessary response. I am not defending the Catholic system of "good works" or of rosaries counting and such. None of those works have any promise of God connected to them as repentance, confession, and baptism do.

Rhology said...

It was not the work of repenting that saved

Repentance is not a work. We've been over that.

The work itself did nothing, but the work was a condition that God set to his promise to save.

That would mean that we are saved by faith + works. But Eph 2:8-10 says we are saved NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS.
See, you need to deal with THIS psg rather than jumping somewhere else. Are you capable of doing that?

God's action saved, but God's action was a result of God's promise, and the work was a condition set on that promise.

Then why does Eph 2 say we are saved by faith, NOT works?

The same in Acts 2:38-39 where Peter promises that when a believer repents and is baptized that they will receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit as a gift.

1) You're not dealing with Eph 2. Try to stay on target.
2) Baptism comes AFTER justification. Peter doesn't say that justification is dependent on baptism. Again, Eph 2 is clear. Acts 2 could go either way. This is exegesis.

If repentance isn't a work, then what is?

Um, works are works.
Baptism.
Giving alms.
Giving hospitality. This isn't that hard, but it is if you're trying to wriggle away from something.

All I'm talking about is repentance, confession, and baptism, the three acts that the gospel commands as a necessary response.

Repentance is part of the faith required for justification. Confession is part of repentance and is to God.
Baptism comes AFTER justification, as a sign that one has been justified, born again. Try to focus here.

I'd really like to see you actually try to deal with the text at hand.

Peace,
Rhology

Carrie said...

It's amazing - you could make a fortune at Vegas if the dealers were so predictable.

Not as predictable as I expected. I was sure James 2 would be the very first reponse.

EgoMakarios said...

Please look at the post above your first comment below my two deleted comments. And as far as baptism being after justification, you are saying a man is justified before receiving forgiveness of sins, since Peter command that repentance and baptism "to receive the remission of sins" in Acts 2:38-39, giving this as a promise of God to believers.

David Waltz said...

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8. 9 NRSV)

Me: Salvation is a GIFT (UNMERITED GRACE) from God. This GIFT is not given to any man because of WORKS done prior to the reception of the GIFT. And this I believe without any equivocation. So, where is the problem? Why do many on this blog continue their diatribe?

Fact is, the GIFT must be received. One must DO something, one must have faith—and yet the reception of the GIFT (SALVATION) is not through FAITH ALONE. James is quite clear on this, but then, so is Paul who also wrote:

“he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5 NRSV)

Salvation you see is through faith, the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.


Grace and peace,

David

Pontificator said...

You raise an interesting exegetical point about Eph 2:9-10. I would caution, however, about reading this back into, say, Romans and Galatians, where "works" seems to mean "works of Torah."

I have to agree with eie that your article does indeed misrepresent the consensual Catholic understanding of justification. This is easily proven by the fact that Catholics believe that the newly baptized are justified apart from any works they have performed. How is that possible? Because Catholics believe that what truly justifies is union with the Father through the sacred humanity of Christ in the Holy Spirit. God justifies sinners by incorporating them into his triune life. Justification is deification; justification is adoption as sons of God in the Son. Until one understands this one does not understand the Catholic position. The Catholic position here follows the teaching of St Augustine:

"It is clear that He calls men gods through their being deified by His grace and not born of His substance. For He justifies, who is just of Himself and not of another; and He deifies, who is God of Himself and not by participation in another. Now He who justifies, Himself deifies, because by justifying He makes sons of God. For to them gave He power to become the sons of God. If we are made sons of God, we are also made gods; but this is by grace of adoption, and not by generation." (Ennar. In Ps. 49.2)

Can the Catholic say that we are justified by faith alone? Sure, as long as we understand that faith includes love, which is the substance of trinitarian life. Faith without love is dead, which is the essential point that St James makes in his epistle. Is this really that far from Calvin, who insisted that regeneration in the Spirit logically precedes justification or from Richard Hooker who insisted that charity and hope are faith's inseparable mates?

Pontificator said...

"Baptism comes AFTER justification, as a sign that one has been justified, born again. Try to focus here."

Here, I suggest, is a real difference between the Catholic understanding and some Reformed understandings. I do not say all Reformed understandings, because it is easy enough to cite Reformed theologians who would disagree with this statement. Martin Luther, and Lutheranism in general, would also violently disagree with it.

EgoMakarios said...

A gift that has conditions is just as free as one without conditions. If I fill out a FREE raffle ticket, and I then win the raffle, was it not free? "No, because you filled out a ticket." But I didn't pay for the ticket. When God told Moses to strike the rock and water would come out, was the water no longer a gift since there was a condition of striking the rock? Did Moses pay anything for the water? "Yes, he struck the rock." Did that earn the water? does water usually come out of a rock when you strike it? Of course not. This came by grace, and was free, being the result of God's promise. Yet, God's promise had a condition.

Carrie said...

David: Salvation you see is through faith, the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Pont: Can the Catholic say that we are justified by faith alone? Sure, as long as we understand that faith includes love, which is the substance of trinitarian life.

The old Catholic consensus.

Of course I'll be told these answers are the same although they are not.

This is one of the most frustrating things in discussions with RCs - they all have their own version of Catholicism which they "tweak" to serve their purpose.

Now, Eph 2:8 still says we are saved by grace through faith, not "through faith with love" or "faith and baptism".

Carrie said...

Proof number two that Catholics can't come to a consensus:

David wrote: "grace is something GIVEN by God, but faith is something DONE by man."

Pontif: David, this does not accurately represent the Catholic position either.


(from the previous post's combox)

Listen, if you "insiders" can't figure all this out, you really shouldn't fault us for not understanding your particular version of Catholicism. I'm still waiting for EIE to show proof that the laity is part of the magisterium as s/he asserted despite our own references from the catechism that said otherwise.

Pontificator said...

"This is one of the most frustrating things in discussions with RCs - they all have their own version of Catholicism which they "tweak" to serve their purpose."

This is a silly argument for three reasons.

First, most dogmas allow for a legitimate diversity of interpretations. This is as true for the Tridentine dogma of justification as it is for the Chalcedonian dogma of the two natures of Christ. But this does not mean that the basic elements of the Catholic view on justification cannot be identified. The Catholic Catechism and the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification are two good places to begin.

Second, the Catholic position is not easy to state. Most mysteries of the faith are not. It does not surprise me in the least that individual Catholics, especially if they have not studied the matter in depth, will get one or more of the particulars wrong. That does not mean that they are "tweaking" the doctrine to suit their purposes. It simply means that they have more studying to do or that they need to formulate their arguments more clearly.

I corrected David on the question of faith because the way he expressed the matter is misleading. Nothing unusual about this. People who comment on blogs often find themselves having to correct or amplify or refine what they write. I took the liberty of correcting David because I happen to know more about the Catholic view of justification than a lot of folks. It's a bit of a passion of mine, and so I have read a lot more on the subject than most. But my opinions still remain my opinions and are subject to correction by Catholics who know more than I.

Third, an equal, if not greater, diversity of views on justification exists within Protestantism. The typical Lutheran view is not identical to the typical Reformed view is not identical to the typical Methodist view is not identical to the Barthian view is not identical to the Pentecostal view, etc., yet this diversity is rarely acknowledged in Protestant-Catholic debates.

Folks, justification is a complex issue and cannot be reduced to polemical sound bytes. May I suggest that instead of resorting to ad hominem argument that folks address the arguments presented. I have presented a lengthy argument above on why it is inaccurate to reduce the Catholic understanding of justification to justification by works. So do you want to deal with it substantively, or are you simply going to mindlessly quote Scripture at me?

Pontificator said...

"Now, Eph 2:8 still says we are saved by grace through faith, not "through faith with love" or "faith and baptism"."

And Eph 2:8 doesn't say that we are not saved by faith with love, nor does it say that we are not saved by faith and baptism. As far as we know, Paul included love in his understanding of faith (Gal 5:6). As far as we know Paul understood baptism is the event in which sinners are justified in Christ (Titus 3:4-7). The mere fact that he is silent about all of this in Ephesians means absolutely nothing. But this would require interpreting these handful of texts from Ephesians in light of the entire New Testament and the theological tradition. And that's a lot of work.

orthodox said...

Let's think about some hypotheticals. What if we could live a perfect life? Well in that case, do we need to be saved? Yes and no. Yes in the sense we will die. No in the sense that the principle thing we need to be saved from: our sins, wouldn't be a factor.

What if we lived an almost perfect life. Everything we did was perfect, except for on this one occasion we had a bad thought about someone. Now will God save us because of our works? No, now we need faith, in which case he will save us from our sin by faith. He doesn't need to save us from the 99% of our good life, the atonement is for the sin. So it is the faith which made us fully righteous, because it covered the gap between our sinful state and the perfect righteousness of God. Everyone, having such a gap, is made righteous by faith, not by works which can never fill that gap.

But what then makes us righteous? Well, in one sense, it is the atonement that makes us righteous, because that covers over the missing gap. We can't cover that missing gap by doing more works. The gap remains. On the other hand, since we were 99% righteous, then we were righteous by works as well as faith. But the bit we need saving from was that other 1%.

Of course, for most of us, we are lucky if we can be 10% righteous with a 90% gap to fill. But the point remains, that both faith and works are a part of righteousness. The bible says so, in more places to count.

e i e said...

"Do you believe that a sinner is justified before God by faith alone?"

Justified? Yes. Saved? No.
I do see where the Word of God says we are not saved by faith alone.

When asked, "What must I do to be saved," do you simply sit on your hands and say, "Nothing. You'll know it if it happens. Good luck," or do you actually tell someone they must actually do something. I could easily present your theology as being both works and faith based if I wished to do so.

You can't have it both ways. If your theology that nevertheless requires action of the would-be saved is painted as meaning "by faith alone" in some odd sense ignoring the required action of the believer, so would be ours.

The substantial difference is that we acknowledge Scripture that plainly and clearly says it is not by faith alone that we are saved: Holy Scripture that you deny.

To my eyes, the absolute requirement of TULIP theology that one believe grace is "irresistible" seems to be the basis of your objection; and yet you have no problem accepting that fellow Protestants who also reject the "I" in TULIP, are saved.

I profess, teach and believe that by no other way than through Jesus does any soul enter heaven. Further I submit to and rely solely upon Him, who is the Lamb of God and the very Logos of God Almighty. If I tell you that this faith must be acted out as well if I'm to be sanctified fit for God's eternal fellowship does that somehow erase the faith that saves? Who can separate us from the love of God? Apparently (by your testimony) any person can by simply believing that his faith needs to be more than the confession that Jesus is Lord; that his personal behavior is a factor in how he grows in salvation.

You seem to view a man's salvation as an event only. We view it as an event of the past, present and future (were saved. are being saved, shall be saved); and as a process--as does Scripture.

"Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

"As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

1 Peter 2:1-5

If you actually believed that man is saved by faith alone, then the saving would be done even if the man did not correctly understand it.

If I'm utterly wrong and I misunderstand that God requires me (sinner and flawed man that I am) to participate in presenting myself as a holy sacrifice when actually God does it for me in toto whether I will or nill, it would not negate my faith, neither would it negate God's actually doing it--any more than a fool thinking he's keeping the airplane he's riding in aloft by flapping his own arms causes the engines and wings to vanish and the plane to fall.

I asked before: Must a man correctly know how his salvation happens to be saved? Must he understand justification to be justified?


Enough is Enough

e i e said...

"Repentance is not a work. We've been over that."

Yes and doing something is not doing something. You cotradict yourself in the same sentence. What nonsense! Repeating the same silly falsehood does not make it true.

Next up on Rhology Live: "Not by Faith Alone is Faith Alone--the clear message of Scripture--and we have links to prove it!"

E i E

Lucian said...

You've posted a proverb down Your page: "Iron Sharpens Iron" -- the same with grace, which comes in us TO WORK (Galatians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3), and is sharpened by its own works, like blade sharpens blade, so that we may have life, and that in abundance (John 10:10).

It's basically like giving birth (that's the Biblical metaphore for it: John, chp. 3). At no point is the woman being anesthesiated during labor (poor little thing). She actually has to suffer the whole thing true. Neither is this child the work of the woman alone. -- Isaiah 26:17; John 16:21.

Throughout the Bible, redemption and the Kingdom are likened to a wedding: Song of Solomon, Apocalypse of John, Jesus' parables, You name it. And You need two willing enamoured people to make a wedding.

God is Love. (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8, 16).

Carrie said...

Justified? Yes. Saved? No.
I do see where the Word of God says we are not saved by faith alone.


This is where things get difficult in discussions because justification is different in Protestant and Catholic theology. That is why I usually try to talk about salvation in general, but then there is just more terminologies to nit-pick through.

My post on “necessary for salvation” covers all the quotes from the catechism of all the things that RCs must DO to be saved. I don’t think any Protestant would agree with that list.

I also have some quotes from other RC sources that say that works are required for justification in contrast to what EIE is saying here. But Pontificator tells us there is some room for varying opinions on the details of justification allowed so we are almost back to David’s idea of “cutting-edge RC thought” and my idea that RCs aren’t really sure how they are justified.

Perhaps that is why they can never have certainty with regards to salvation?

Lucian said...

Works are the fruits of the grace of the Holy life-giving Spirit, living out His Own Life in us (Isaiah 32:15; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9). Suppressing good works thus parallels spiritual abortion, killing thereby the "good fruit" of the Spirit (Matthew 13; Mark 4; Luke 8). And unto whom sins against the Spirit of God, it will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10).

Suppressing good works parallels spiritual abortion also because we choke to death the "new man" or "new creation" or "child of God" that is being born inside our hearts, in the [dirty] mangers of our [sinful] lives.

Rhology said...

Carrie said:
Listen, if you "insiders" can't figure all this out, you really shouldn't fault us for not understanding your particular version of Catholicism.

I agree 100%. It's like you're part of diff denominations within the RCC. "Oh NO," you'll say, "we don't do denominations like you schismatic Prots!" But the proof is in the pudding.

Pontificator said:
most dogmas allow for a legitimate diversity of interpretations.

So the Tridentine condemnation of Sola Fide could actually be a NOT condemnation? That's what's at hand here.

The Catholic Catechism and the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification are two good places to begin.

1) Neither are infallible, so on what basis can I put much stock in them?
2) The latter doc is worthless - everyone already knows RC dogma makes faith a necessary element for justification, as do Lutherans. That's never been a question. The question is: is it by faith ALONE? The doc doesn't deal with that problem at all.

individual Catholics, especially if they have not studied the matter in depth, will get one or more of the particulars wrong.

I was gonna ask some questions but I'll put them in a separate post so that I don't sidetrack this combox.
Consider this a compliment that this statement is very interesting to me. ;-)

Third, an equal, if not greater, diversity of views on justification exists within Protestantism.

Irrelevant - we're talking about exegeting Eph 2:8-10 in this post.

And Eph 2:8 doesn't say that we are not saved by faith with love, nor does it say that we are not saved by faith and baptism.

But it does say we are saved NOT BY WORKS, the SAME works that Christ Jesus has created us to do. You haven't dealt with that at all; you've just tossed it aside like everyone else.
So in your understanding of RC dogma, baptism is not a work? It's not meritorious at all? Not even a little? It's not a commanded thing to DO? It's not necessary for salvation (for the guy who knows better)?

Paul understood baptism is the event in which sinners are justified in Christ (Titus 3:4-7).

This would introduce a contradiction between two of Paul's own teachings.
Given that baptism is a work and given that we are justified APART FROM WORKS, the baptism mentioned here would far more naturally mean Holy Spirit baptism, as it even says explicitly in the same psg.

The mere fact that he is silent about all of this in Ephesians means absolutely nothing.

Why would he need to make an exhaustive list of all the things by which we are NOT saved since he categorically ruled out works?



Orthodox said:
What if we could live a perfect life? Well in that case, do we need to be saved? Yes and no. Yes in the sense we will die.

We'd need to be saved from original sin. Oh boy, another can of worms. Do me a favor and get that straight with the RC commenters here, who would probably disagree with you on that question, before you bring it up here.

Everyone, having such a gap, is made righteous by faith, not by works which can never fill that gap.

Spoken like a Reformer. By faith ALONE? (just so we're clear)

in one sense, it is the atonement that makes us righteous, because that covers over the missing gap.

Yes, the atonement of Christ, His alien righteousness that is credited to our acct by faith (Romans 4).

But the bit we need saving from was that other 1%.

Except that little 1% makes us 100% an enemy of God.
And this example is impossible - no unsaved person would fit this contrived scenario. Unsaved people hate the light, b/c it would expose their wicked deeds. Deeds plural.

that both faith and works are a part of righteousness. The bible says so, in more places to count.

Eph 2:8-10, which you again didn't deal with, says that our justification is NOT A RESULT OF WORKS, but is by faith.



eie,

This is not necessarily your fault, but you are ignorant of Reformed (and biblical) soteriology, or at least you give no evidence of knowing anythg about it.
Strictly speaking, "salvation" biblically includes:
1) justification - the forgiveness of all sin and the imputation of Christ's alien righteousness to the acct of the sinner. This is an event, instantaneous. This is salvation from the Penalty of sin.
2) sanctification - the process thru life of becoming more like Christ. This is salvation from the Power of sin.
3) glorification - when the believer dies, he is taken into Christ. This is salvation from the Presence of sin.

So please try to keep that in mind in the balance of your comments here.

Justified? Yes. Saved? No.

that's what I mean. But Eph 2 is using "saved" as "justified" here. So you need to deal with the psg too. Paul didn't say "justified", he said "saved".

do you actually tell someone they must actually do something

I answer like Paul and Silas to the Philippian jailer. How can you not know this?
Acts 16:31 - do yourself a favor and read it. Then, please, come back and deal with Eph 2:8-10 like I've been fruitlessly asking.

I could easily present your theology as being both works and faith based if I wished to do so.

I seem to remember your shrill accusations towards me that I was wilfully misrepresenting your position as Sola Ecclesia not too long ago, and now you're so gauche as to propose you return the favor?

we acknowledge Scripture that plainly and clearly says it is not by faith alone that we are saved:

So, what's your argument on Eph 2:8-10?

the absolute requirement of TULIP theology

I'm not 5-pt Calvinist, so that's one thing.
But the I is not an essential of the Gospel, as all recognise.

I profess, teach and believe that by no other way than through Jesus does any soul enter heaven.

Of course, given CCC 841, that is virtually meaningless.

If I tell you that this faith must be acted out as well if I'm to be sanctified fit for God's eternal fellowship does that somehow erase the faith that saves?

Yes, esp b/c you know better.

Apparently (by your testimony) any person can by simply believing that his faith needs to be more than the confession that Jesus is Lord

I don't know what you mean but I'll correct you so we understand each other.
The sinner must repent before God and believe that Jesus is Savior and Lord and that God raised Him from the dead (Rom 10:9-10). At that moment, he is justified and regenerated.

You seem to view a man's salvation as an event only.

explained that above.

1 Peter 2:1-5

A brilliant example of our call to be sanctified.
Are you ever going to deal with Eph 2:8-10?

Must he understand justification to be justified?

Depends on what he's been told. A mark of a saved person is that they WILL not reject biblical truth when it's presented to him.

Yes and doing something is not doing something.

Now I'm obligated to accept your arbitrary definition of repentance as a work, am I? Biblically, how do you justify that?


Carrie said:
My post on “necessary for salvation” covers all the quotes from the catechism of all the things that RCs must DO to be saved.

Well said.

Perhaps that is why they can never have certainty with regards to salvation?

It might also be why they can never give us a straight answer about how the authority of the Magisterium works or is known to the individual RC.

I reiterate here that I'm looking for those who don't accept Sola Fide to interact with my post, with Eph 2:8-10 and its identification of works. Haven't seen any of that yet.



Peace,
Rhology

EgoMakarios said...

When Naaman the leper dipped 7 times in Jordan and was healed, was he healed by works or by the grace of God? Nuff said.

Rhology said...

Another example of NOT dealing with the text at hand.

And I didn't realise we were talking about healing of leprosy. I thought we were discussing justification.

Pontificator said...

"So the Tridentine condemnation of Sola Fide could actually be a NOT condemnation? That's what's at hand here."

The Tridentine condemnation of the sola fide must be interpreted in its historical context. What precisely was condemned? What did the council fathers believe they were condemning? Did the council fathers in fact accurately understand Reformation teachings? etc.

As I said before, there are ways to construe the sola fide that do not come under the Tridentine condemnation (see, e.g., the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration). Catholics are historically suspicious of the "faith alone" formula; but this does not mean that all formulations of the formula are unacceptable to Catholics. The sola fide means different thing to different Protestants, both confessionally and individually. The sola fide must be examined on a case-by-case basis.

CrimsonCatholic said...

I corrected David on the question of faith because the way he expressed the matter is misleading.

In David's defense, however people might have misinterpreted it, he didn't say that faith was a natural work of man. All he said was that faith was an action of man, which it surely is. It just happens to be a supernatural action entirely outside the capacity of his nature. ISTM that one could harmonize the ideas relatively simply by pointing out that God's grace is the principle of all supernatural acts, which is essentially what you did by invoking Augustine's understanding of deification. If one realizes that supernatural acts (baptism, faith) are divine acts and even Christ's own acts through His unity with the deified Christian (as member to the Body), I think it is easier to perceive that even supernatural human action is divine.

I mention this because I don't think that David is any slouch when it comes to knowledge of justification either. There was more he could have said, but thus far, I haven't seen any mistakes in his exposition of the theology of grace. I would commend the following posts:
http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/08/grace-necessity-and-sufficiency.html
http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/08/james-whites-confusion-concerning.html

On the question of how inordinate focus on one aspect of justification (forensic) prevents other aspects (like deification) from doing their explanatory work, I commend Joseph Fitzmyer's and Margaret Mitchell's contributions to Rereading Paul Together. Fitzmyer retains his "faceted" view of these aspects of justification, while Mitchell prefers to view each of the ten aspects as supporting and explaining one another. But they agree that one necessarily gets Paul wrong by reading a passage on one aspect without taking into account the others. I would presume that both of those authors have sufficient credentials that they would not be dismissed out of hand by serious inquirers.

EgoMakarios said...

"Another example of NOT dealing with the text at hand.

And I didn't realise we were talking about healing of leprosy. I thought we were discussing justification."


It doesn't matter what the topic is. The example shows that God can attach his grace to a condition via a promise. He promised that Naaman would be healed if he dipped 7 times. The healing was grace, but it was attached to a condition via a promise. So also, remission of sins is grace, but God attaches the condition of repentance and baptism via the promise given in Acts 2:38-39. So, to deal with the text of Eph 2:8, the fact of salvation being by grace through faith does not exclude the promises of God in any way, but rather establishes them, and as he gives conditional promises, there are some acts that are not considered "works" because they are the conditions of the promises and not disconnected or disjoint acts. These acts earn nothing, as dipping 7 times didn't earn healing, but rather the performance of them is faith in action fulfilling the conditions of God's promise, which action is necessary for true faith to exist, since those who do not fulfill the conditions prove that they disbeleive the promis. If Naaman had not dipped 7 times, in other words, it would have proved that he did not beleive God's promise, and thus the benefit of faith in the promise could not be received apart from the conditional act. So also, those who do not repent and get baptized do not beleive the promise of Acts 2:38-39 and cannot claim faith in said promise, since faith in said promise would not allow them to ignore the promise by foregoing the conditional acts necessary to receipt of the benefits of the promise.

Jeff said...

For any Catholic commentors,

Did Rome believe, at the time of the reformation, that the reformers were teaching heresy concerning the doctrine of justification to the ruin of souls?

If so, why?

Sola Fide,
Jeff

e i e said...

"I could easily present your theology as being both works and faith based if I wished to do so."

----

"I seem to remember your shrill accusations towards me that I was willfully misrepresenting your position as Sola Ecclesia not too long ago, and now you're so gauche as to propose you return the favor? "
As for "shrill," heal thyself.

----

Please note that I said I could present them as meaning something you know they do not. Similarly I could present Catholic teaching as meaning something it does not--which as a matter of fact you do.

But if you can paint your version of "Repentance is not an action" argument as if it were true, so we could paint our own understanding of how one must obey Christ as if it also were not an action--which also would be untrue. You just want your action to be exempt so you can claim it fits your theology--just like you want your claim that only the Bible has authority while you decide on your own authority yourself what is in it and what is not. You flat-out contradict yourself then say, "No I didn't," as if this somehow makes it actually so.

My previous observations regarding your lying assertion that we teach or preach "Sola Ecclesia" were and remain accurate. It is a lie and you, the person who willfully spreads the lie are a willful liar. Don't want to be identified as such? Don't willfully lie. That is not my fault. Would this "shrill" moment be a good time to trot out the Paul was not nice to the Galatians argument?

Don't complain to me because you choose to actually lie about what others believe (in the very presence of those who know they do not believe what you say we do... ASTOUNDING!), are caught at it and are held to account. The charges that we teach, preach or believe:
- "sola ecclesia"
- that we are not saved by faith,
- that we are saved only by works,
- that Jesus alone is not our Lord and Savior,
- that we save ourselves by our own merit,
- that we worship anyone or any thing but God and God alone
and a plethora of other falsehoods you and others continually proffer are lies. If that makes you a liar why be upset with me? You're the one doing it. It's your problem, not mine.

You are free to write whatever nonsense pops into your head, but you are simply silly to think that when you lie about others they will simply say, "Oh, that's interesting."

Enough is Enough

Jeff said...

EiE,

What would your response be to my question just above your last comment?

Thanks,
Jeff

Rhology said...

EiE,

1) "sola ecclesia"
2) that we are not saved by faith,
3) that we are saved only by works,
4) that Jesus alone is not our Lord and Savior,
5) that we save ourselves by our own merit,
6) that we worship anyone or any thing but God and God alone


You'll have to enlighten me where I said #2 or #3. This is what I mean by "shrill" - the way you sling stuff around makes me wonder whether you're foaming at the mouth in real life or just in your keyboard strokes.

#1 I stand by, of course.
As for #4 and #5, I would argue that your theology explicitly claims that Jesus alone IS your Lord and Savior and that you don't save yourself by your own merit, but then in the actual meat of RC teaching on that area, it disembowels the previous claim.
Jesus alone is not the Savior b/c you have your own works and merit to add to your infused justification, whether on earth or in Purgatory. You have to earn it at least partly. Implicit are #s 4 and 5. And of course, Muslims participate in the plan of salvation as well, per CCC 841. That's another black mark.

#6 is similar to 4 and 5, but a little subtler, b/c you claim a distinction (dulia vs latria) that is contradicted by the biblical usage of such terminology.

Again, though, seriously - you might take a peek into your heart and ask yourself why you run around calling me a liar so often. We disagree; that much is obvious. But am I a liar b/c I believe RCC's dogma implies certain things that you don't agree are there?


As for the other comments here, yes, grace is an interesting topic here, but I'd like to ask you to refocus if we could. On the table is Eph 2:8-10, where salvation (ie, justification) is said to be by faith, NOT BY WORKS. You guys have said some things that seem to me to call into question whether RC dogma *really* condemns the idea of Sola Fide. I didn't think that was in question. Is someone trying to say that RC dogma could actually be interpreted to support Sola Fide?
If so, why the explicit condemnation by Trent?
If so, why Purgatory?
If so, do you still accept the idea of infused righteousness or are you opting for imputed now?
If so, is a guy who knows a sufficient amount, who repents and believes but does not get baptised, fully justified before God?

I'm trying to focus on the question of faith here b/c the psg deals with by faith vs by works.

Peace,
Rhology

Jeff said...

You guys have said some things that seem to me to call into question whether RC dogma *really* condemns the idea of Sola Fide. I didn't think that was in question. Is someone trying to say that RC dogma could actually be interpreted to support Sola Fide?
If so, why the explicit condemnation by Trent?


Great point Rhology. That was why I posted the question I did a few comments up. The Catholic folks seem to be saying in essence that the reformation was really no big deal and that current teaching can be harmonized with the Reformers' view.

I hope the Catholic folks can address that question and provide some clarity.

Great post on Eph 2:8.

His grace is sufficient,
Jeff

Rhology said...

Ooops, forgot, re #s 4 and 5, to include the many mediators between God and man, the BV Mary and the saints, from whose merit you draw, and particularly the BV Mary's role as Co-Redemptrix. Jesus is not alone.

e i e said...

"I'm still waiting for EIE to show proof that the laity is part of the Magesterium as s/he asserted despite our own references from the catechism that said otherwise."


Is a Vatican Council good enough for you?

I addressed that the Bishops do not simply sequester themselves and offer up their take on "what is God saying" today, but that they consider all of the Church, present and past in their contributions--that even right now, Catholic bishops throughout the world are soliciting the laity via synods for their input as part of the operation of the ordinary Magesterium and they may consider any Christian opinions if they desire. There can even be infallible teaching by the Ordinary Magesterium. Vatican II says that the assent of the laity can be part of the ordinary Magesterium and even goes so far as to say they can be part of stating an infallible teaching, provided that "1) the doctrine must be taught unanimously by all the bishops, 2) absolute assent on the part of all the faithful must be explicitly called for.”

Thus, to say church is contradicted by the Magesterium, it is in a real sense, nonsense, as the Magesterium voices the entire church not by "formal definition" but in doctrinal practice as laid out by the council.

In that post I was not offering a formal definition, and if that is your impression, I am sorry. I was talking about how the Magesterium functions as the voice of what the Holy Spirit is saying to and through the entire Church.

If my wording failed to reflect this correctly, I am sorry. We know the "Magesterium" includes practical sense of what the Spirit is saying to the entire Church. It is not a democracy; however, and that is where The Holy See presides and dictates and we find a defined body—often a sub-set (as when the college of Cardinals elects a Pope) or even a subset of one (When the Pope speaks ex cathedra). "Extraordinary Magesterium is a special exercise of office by either the Pope and bishops together, or the Pope alone, in which a definitive judgment is given. When a General Council pronounces a solemn definition, this is an exercise of the extraordinary Magesterium. So is an ex cathedra definition by the Pope.”

Regardless, this has no bearing on what was the original point of that post: that the notion that Catholics are obliged to disobey scripture in favor of clearly contradictory statements by "the Magesterium" is a falsehood. I also touched upon that there is more than one magisterial collection / opinion. Whomever it was who made the original comment was acting as if by Magesterium, we always mean "Extraordinary Magesterium," which in fact is rarely cited as being the speaking authority.

Carrie's reaction to more than one Catholic having even slightly different ideas or understandings of doctrine is mere childishness. The Catholic posters I've read comenting here ranging from tose of Roman to Orthodox Rites shows greater unity in understanding than can be found in many single local Protestant congregations. This is a case of the pot calling the snow bank, "black."

E i E

e i e said...

"You'll have to enlighten me where I said #2 or #3. This is what I mean by "shrill"

What I wrote was,
"The charges that we teach, preach or believe:
- "sola ecclesia"
- that we are not saved by faith,
- that we are saved only by works,
- that Jesus alone is not our Lord and Savior,
- that we save ourselves by our own merit,
- that we worship anyone or any thing but God and God alone
and a plethora of other falsehoods you and others continually proffer are lies."

Shrill "slinging" indeed, eh?

The bottom line: You bear false witness. You are a liar. Why should I hold anything you say as having any credence when I know you not only lie, but you continue to do so? Faithful in little. Faithful in much.

E i E

EgoMakarios said...

"grace is an interesting topic here, but I'd like to ask you to refocus if we could. On the table is Eph 2:8-10, where salvation (ie, justification) is said to be by faith, NOT OF WORKS.

It says by grace through faith. Not of works means not earned by works. It doesn't mean that grace is never conditional upon a promise of God, nor that faith is ever inactive. It means that although works are necessary, the real work is done by God and the works are merely conditions of God's promise. Did God's promise of saving Noah cease to be grace because he placed a condition of building an ark on it? No. Building the ark didn't earn his salvation, but his salvation was wholly of grace, even though there was a necessary condition to that grace based on the promise of God.

e i e said...

"Why would he need to make an exhaustive list of all the things by which we are NOT saved since he categorically ruled out works?"

Moot point, since the Word of God already categorically ruled out "Faith Alone."

E i E

Carrie said...

Carrie's reaction to more than one Catholic having even slightly different ideas or understandings of doctrine is mere childishness.

My reaction is due to the “claims” by Catholic e-pologists I have met online that say things like “Protestants have no unity”, “each is their own Pope”, “sola scriptura leads to anarchy”, etc. They then go on to tell me that an infallible magisterium is NEEDED to avoid all the “disunity of opinion” seen in Protestantism.

If you cannot see the hypocrisy in all that in light of the basic disagreements amongst RCs commenting here then there is not much I can do for you.

The charges that we teach, preach or believe:
- "sola ecclesia"
- that we are not saved by faith,
- that we are saved only by works,
- that Jesus alone is not our Lord and Savior,
- that we save ourselves by our own merit,
- that we worship anyone or any thing but God and God alone


Perhaps you should go back and read Rhology’s post again where he said “Now, let's be clear - our RC friends are saying that justification is at least PARTLY due to works, ie, justification is not by faith alone.”

Can you explain how his quote can be translated into your #1 & #2?

You are the one who seems to be here simply to be polemic. Stop playing the martyr and start dealing with the actual facts presented. If you cannot present a decent exegesis of Eph 2:8-10, then move on please.

(btw, I still need to investigate your magisterium claim. Since you have provided no references to actual documents that will take some time).

e i e said...

"Great point Rhology. That was why I posted the question I did a few comments up. The Catholic folks seem to be saying in essence that the reformation was really no big deal and that current teaching can be harmonized with the Reformers' view."

You folks have a knack for misstating what other people believe.

"Faith Alone" for salvation as you dogmatically assert it is contrary to Scripture and the fullness of Christian teaching, yet our faith in Jesus' sacrifice is accounted to us as righteousness, and that righteousness is the righteousness of Christ alone--not of any man. It is not "either / or" it is "both / and." Jesus calls. We obey in faith. God alone saves.

E i E

PS: I asked before: Must a man correctly know how his salvation happens to be saved? Must he understand justification to be justified? There have been a lot of posts. Did I miss the answer?

e i e said...

"If you cannot see the hypocrisy in all that in light of the basic disagreements amongst RCs commenting here then there is not much I can do for you."

Carrie's reaction to more than one Catholic having even slightly different ideas or understandings of doctrine is mere childishness.
Still works.

E i E

e i e said...

"Can you explain how his quote can be translated into your #1 & #2?"

I waas not quoting him or citing that quote, but the claims I've read from Protestants in general. It was regarding the things that he AND OTHERS have said.

Get a life.

Enough is Enough

Rhology said...

Let me add that I was hoping to keep this post's discussion focused, and for a while I was doing OK for my own part and then recently became distracted.

I'll make y'all a deal, those who are talking to me (ie, EiE and EgoMak et al); if you want to respond to what I've said extraneous to this topic, go ahead and I won't rebut.

After that, I'd really like to get back to wondering about how one could say, as EgoMak did, that works are necessary for salvation (thus betraying an understanding seemingly diff than what CrimsonCatho was saying), while Eph 2:8-10 says that it's by grace thru faith and NOT BY WORKS. You keep saying yes works are necessary in conflict with what Ephesians says. It's like you don't even care.


EiE said:
Get a life.

OK.
This is good stuff, EiE. Keep it up.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

EiE said:
"Faith Alone" for salvation as you dogmatically assert it is contrary to Scripture

Prove it. Deal with the Eph 2 text.

it is not "either / or" it is "both / and."

I assume you mean both faith and works.
If so, that's exactly what I've been saying you believe.
And how can you say that since Eph 2 says it's *****NOT***** by works? Where's the both/and there?

Peace,
Rhology

PS, yes, you missed the answer.

Pontificator said...

"In David's defense, however people might have misinterpreted it, he didn't say that faith was a natural work of man. All he said was that faith was an action of man, which it surely is. It just happens to be a supernatural action entirely outside the capacity of his nature."

If I misinterpreted David, I gladly apologize and withdraw my criticism. It is of course inevitable, given the brevity and sponetaneity of blog commenting, that one does not always formulate an argument as precisely as one would like.

My concern was to address a formulation of grace and faith that at least sounded semi-Pelagian.

e i e said...

"btw, I still need to investigate your magisterium claim. Since you have provided no references to actual documents that will take some time)."

Good! Have fun. I hope and pray it is constructive and instructive for you. However, I'm a bit curious how your finding the quote will affect your opinion of the issues discussed.

I can see it now...

Carrie: "OK I found it, but that doesn't change anything."

Me: "and so the point is...?"


As for "polemics" I strongly suggest you invest in a mirror. Have you actually read your own stuff?

Instead of apologizing Reformed Theology, you bash Catholic teaching--these are NOT the same thing--especially given that you have to deny Protestant history to do so.

Time and again, nearly every post you put up, Carrie, amounts to "Catholics are doo-doo heads. Yay for the [secret until 1500-something] Remnant of True Christians! Thank God those Catholics are Damned! Calvin knew more than the apostles."
(What? You're going to protest that this is NOT what you believe or profess, right? Please do. The irony meter is fired up and ready to go.)



E i E

Anonymous said...

"Depends on what he's been told. A mark of a saved person is that they WILL not reject biblical truth when it's presented to him."

Like You are NOT saved by Faith alone?

got it.

Pontificator said...

"Did Rome believe, at the time of the reformation, that the reformers were teaching heresy concerning the doctrine of justification to the ruin of souls? If so, why?"

Here is my very fallible answer: The Catholic Church heard Martin Luther as declaring that God's justifying act does not interiorly change sinners, thus leading to antinomianism. Trent rightly anathematized this proposition. Does Luther's position actually fall under the anathema? Now that is an interesting question. Clearly Luther rejected all antinomian inferences from his simul iustus et peccataor. Does Calvin's more nuanced position, which grounds justification in our union with Christ, also fall under Trent's anathema? That is an even more interesting question.

I am convinced that if we put aside the polemics, we will discover that the Catholic Church and the Reformation traditions share more common ground than not on the question of justification, as evidenced by the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration. The real differences lie elsewhere. I cite, e.g., Rhology's separation of water baptism and Spirit baptism.

Rhology said...

Pontificator,

That's interesting though hard to see.
I guess it goes without saying that this is your individual, private opinion about Trent, correct?

Pontificator said...

Rhology, all my opinions are private opinions. I do not speak for the Catholic Church. But I invite you to read and ponder the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification.

Pontificator said...

If I may be so bold, I commend to my various reflections on justification, written over a period of three years.

CrimsonCatholic said...

My concern was to address a formulation of grace and faith that at least sounded semi-Pelagian.

An understandable concern, given how much confusion the issue of semi-Pelagianism introduces into Protestant/Catholic dialogue. Coming from an OPC background as he does, I suspect David would be as far from semi-Pelagianism as East is from West, but it doesn't hurt to make that point clear. Of course, even the worry of semi-Pelagianism itself is a sign of confusion, since the dispute over Trent has nothing to do with semi-Pelagianism anyway, as you have correctly noted.

EgoMakarios said...

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

What works are excluded? Works that make men boast in themselves. What works make men boast in themselves? Works by which they think they earn salvation. But if a work is presented to man as a condition of God's promise, then the man no longer boasts the he earns anything thereby, knowing that the work is merely a condition to a promise of God, and that therefore God does all the real work and that the work enjoyned on the man is a mere technicality, necessary only because God place it as a condition to the promise, and therefore the thing which God does is grace and is unearned although the condition must exist. Thus the man does not boast in himself by said work, but boasts in God who performs so great a promise, and who has enjoined so trifling a condition to such a great promise. So, when Naaman dipped 7 times in the river, he did not feign that he earned his healing, but understood that God by his grace, unearned by him, did heal him upon the performance of a trifling condition, which condition did needs be met only because God enjoined it, and which did not in any wise earn anything. And so, he would boast in God, not in himself.

Rhology said...

EgoMak,

Many thanx for doing what no one else has done - engage the psg.
Your problem is two-fold - you forgot v. 10 and you missed the point re: boasting.

1) v. 10 says"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
These are the same works as in vv. 8-9. We are to walk in good works; Christ created us to do those good works. How are these not the same good works that do not result in our salvation?

2) God wants ALL the credit for saving us. Justifying us by faith alone is how He has chosen to do it, so as to be 100% clear that salvation is by His grace alone, not by 99.999999% His grace and 0.000001% our efforts or sthg like that.

Of the 2, #1 is the most important for you to sustain your argument.

Peace,
Rhology

Jeff said...

In RC theology, one's ultimate destiny hinges on being in a state of grace upon death. Committing a mortal sin forfeits one's justification and if it is not restored (by faith + works) one will not be saved. So if ultimate salvation hinges on man's not committing mortal sin it IS a faith + works salvation. That your eternal destiny, according to Rome, ultimately depends on your keeping the commandments makes this a works "gospel".

I submit that if one really looks into his heart he knows he has not kept the 1st commandment. Being the sum of the law, how can this not be a mortal sin in the Catholic scheme. And hence all men are condemned. The Catholic who is "justified" at baptism would surely lose it the next second later. He could never say "I KNOW I have eternal life" (1 John 5:13).

Yes, Ephesians 2:8-10 is a stumbling block for many. Those Catholics who have asserted "we have been saved, are being saved, and WILL be saved" offer what as the basis of that. They may (and I submit, will) shipwreck their faith tomorrow (by mortal sin) according to the Catholic system and so be lost. To say we have been saved MEANS something. We have been saved from God's wrath. If you have been saved, you have been saved, period. You will not experience his wrath in eternity. This is what salvation is. If one says he is saved but could end up lost, it is not what the bible calls salvation. That notion is probation and not true, biblical salvation.

Rejoice in the glorious promise that he has made concerning his new creatures. Those that have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into light will continue in holiness for we were created unto good works. This Ephesians passage is so wonderful and shows so clearly that our ultimate destiny does not have as a foundation ANY works of our own. When it does, it inevitably makes you to differ. And that leaves room for boasting. Our ultimate destiny depends on the work of Another, Jesus Christ, and our appropriation of it by faith alone.

CrimsonCatholic said...

Mr. Maricle:
I'll say this and then leave it be. I hope that it profits you to hear it. You once said that you rejected the idea that works could be both 100% God's and 100% man's, one of four options, because that option pertained to Christology and not justification.

In light of v. 2:10 and the rest of the book of Ephesians (espec. vv. 1:9-10, 22-23 and ch. 3), do you truly believe that Paul's doctrine of justification and Christian works is not Christological? And if the dichotomy between divine works and human works is false in Christ, why is it not false for those in whom Christ is working as well? Moreover, in the work of Christ, what cause do we have to boast of ourselves? (Compare Rom. 3:27 with Rom. 15:17-18, Gal. 2:20, Phlp. 2:13.)

Paul calls what his teaching on grace in Ephesians his knowledge of the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:4; see also Eph. 5:32). If, by that same Incarnational mystery, Jesus of Nazareth can be wholly man and wholly divine, why would be treat grace differently? Thence comes the Catholic theology of grace; the works of Christ are not properly ours, but only as a gift, mysteriously worked through the operation of grace by Christ Himself.

The mystery of the Incarnation is beyond argument, so even if you are asking for one, I can't give it to you. Instead, I'm asking you to listen to that phrase "in Christ Jesus" in v. 2:10, and let it resonate with what you know of the Incarnational mystery. And then try reading Ephesians and 1 Cor. 15 once more. If the Scripture doesn't speak to you on this, then I very much doubt that anything I could say would help, so I'll shut up now.

EgoMakarios said...

Rhology,

To your point 1, the conditions that God sets on his promises are not the same as "good works." You seem to thing they are. So, are you saying that baptism is a "good work"? How? It has nothing to do with morality. What makes it a "good work"? It isn't a "good work." It is merely a condition to one of God's promises. It is not, after all, a work that we "walk in" but a one time action that is the condition of a promise.

On point 2, even though repentance, confession of faith in Christ, and baptism are set as conditions to the promise of remission of sins (and remember I'm only speaking of these three, since they are the conditions to the promise) yet God gets all the credit. "Baptism saves," Peter says, "by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" in 1 Peter 3:21. Clearly then, God gets all the credit.

So, when I say that some so-called "works" are necessary as conditions to the promise but that man does not earn anything by them, firstly I am speaking of these three, and secondly of things that God gets all the credit from and that man cannot boast in. In fact, if man boasts in baptism, he is boasting in the Lord, boasting in the greatness of the Lord's grace for the power found in Christ's resurrection and for God placing such a great promise in such a feeble act.

Interlocutor said...

Was wondering what some great ancients of the faith thought about this passage:

First, Augustine:
“If eternal life is rendered to good works, as the Scripture most openly declares: ‘Then He shall reward every man according to his works:’* how can eternal life be a matter of grace, seeing that grace is not rendered to works, but is given gratuitously, as the apostle himself tells us: ‘To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt;’ and again: ‘There is a remnant saved according to the election of grace;’ with these words immediately subjoined: ‘And if of grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace’?”**
[…]
“This question, then, seems to me to be by no means capable of solution, unless we understand that even those good works of ours, which are recompensed with eternal life, belong to the grace of God, because of what is said by the Lord Jesus: ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’*** And the apostle himself, after saying, ‘By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast;’ saw, of course, the possibility that men would think from this statement that good works are not necessary to those who believe, but that faith alone suffices for them; and again, the possibility of men’s boasting of their good works, as if they were of themselves capable of performing them. To me, therefore, these opinions on both sides, he immediately added, ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.’”****
[…]
“It follows, then, dearly beloved, beyond all doubt, that as your good life is nothing else than God’s grace, so also the eternal life which is the recompense of a good life is the grace of God; moreover, it is given gratuitously even as that is given gratuitously to which it is given.”
On Grace and Free Will

Second, Chrysostom:
Ver. 8. "For by grace," says he "have you been saved."
In order then that the greatness of the benefits bestowed may not raise you too high, observe how he brings you down: "by grace you have been saved," says he,

"Through faith;"
Then, that, on the other hand, our free-will be not impaired, he adds also our part in the work, and yet again cancels it, and adds,

"And that not of ourselves."
Neither is faith, he means, "of ourselves." Because had He not come, had He not called us, how had we been able to believe? for "how," says he, "shall they believe, unless they hear?" (Rom. x. 14.) So that the work of faith itself is not our own.

"It is the gift," said he, "of God," it is "not of works."
Was faith then, you will say, enough to save us? No; but God, says he, has required this, lest He should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is, that faith saves, but it is because God so wills, that faith saves. Since, how, tell me, does faith save, without works? This itself is the gift of God.

Ver. 9. "That no man should glory."
That he may excite in us proper feeling touching this gift of grace. "What then?" says a man, "Hath He Himself hindered our being justified by works?" By no means. But no one, he says, is justified by works, in order that the grace and loving-kindness of God may be shown. He did not reject us as having works, but as abandoned of works He has saved us by grace; so that no man henceforth may have whereof to boast. And then, lest when you hear that the whole work is accomplished not of works but by faith, you should become idle, observe how he continues,

Ver. 10. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them."
Observe the words he uses. He here alludes to the regeneration, which is in reality a second creation. We have been brought from non-existence into being. As to what we were before, that is, the old man, we are dead. What we are now become, before, we were not. Truly then is this work a creation, yea, and more noble than the first; for from that one, we have our being; but from this last, we have, over and above, our well being.

"For good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them."
Not merely that we should begin, but that we should walk in them, for we need a virtue which shall last throughout, and be extended on to our dying day. If we had to travel a road leading to a royal city, and then when we had passed over the greater part of it, were to flag and sit down near the very close, it were of no use to us. This is the hope of our calling; for"for good works" he says. Otherwise it would profit us nothing.
Homily 4 On Ephesians - http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/230104.htm

These views, coupled with Crimson's points about the Incarnation (which should always be kept in mind when reading Scripture), should always be in play when discussing these matters.

Pontificator said...

If I may, I would like to strongly affirm CrimsonCatholic's latest comment, and I would like to add that his christological interpretation of justification has strong support within the Reformed tradition. I cite here especially the work of Karl Barth, T. F. Torrance, and James B. Torrance. Catholic engagement with the thought of Barth in particular (via Hans Kung and Hans Urs von Balthasar) has had strong constructive impact on contemporary Catholic reflection on justification.

Carrie said...

And then what happens when you fall out of grace through mortal sin and lose your justification?

Is that failure 100% God’s and 100% yours also?

Rhology said...

Mr. Prejean,

Re 100%/100% - I was responding to the proposed comparison between justification and Christological identity at that time.
I can't seem to find the post where that occurred, but here's the deal:

do you truly believe that Paul's doctrine of justification and Christian works is not Christological?

Of course I do. But is it the same thing as Christology? No. Why didn't Paul ever make the connection you do?

And if the dichotomy between divine works and human works is false in Christ, why is it not false for those in whom Christ is working as well?

No one is claiming that. However, where we differ is in what the Scr says about the conditions for justification. Eph 2:10 tells us that Christ created us for good works. Eph 2:8-9 tell us that it's apart from works that we are saved by grace thru faith. These works are the same works; the ones in v. 10 that don't save us in v.9 are what we do after we're created in Christ Jesus. Any distinction I make is what is made in the text; indeed, I'm forced into it. Nobody has yet dealt with that here.
What I hear you saying seems to me to be similar to the common RC argument about the Assumption of the BV Mary, that it "would be fitting" for Christ to show the honor shown to Enoch and Elijah to His mother as well. Ergo, she was assumed. Game, set, match.
Here, you seem to be saying that since Christ was 100% God and 100% man, it is fitting that our salvation might be 100% God and 100% man as well. But how can we justify that connection biblically? It's a just-so story, b/c *you* think it would be fitting that it be that way. But God apparently disagrees.

Moreover, in the work of Christ, what cause do we have to boast of ourselves?

Since Eph 2 says that our salvation is NOT BY WORKS, **so that noone may boast**, it looks like God thinks that if a man were to contribute merit towards his own justification, he'd have room to boast. Isn't that what Paul tells us in Rom 4:2?

"If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God."

Instead, I'm asking you to listen to that phrase "in Christ Jesus" in v. 2:10

Thank you; it's a glorious thought indeed! But not in RC dogma, where your justification is created in Christ Jesus AND the merit of the BV Mary AND the merit of the saints AND your own good life and works (and baptism) AND/or sufferings in Purgatory.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

EgoMak,

BTW, I dig your handle. Almost as cool as "the Pontificator", which is an outstanding handle!

And I appreciate your attempts to stay on point - this fleshing-out of the psg is what I was hoping for. So thank you.

the conditions that God sets on his promises are not the same as "good works."

Well, let's take this case.
God promises salvation to those who repent of their sin and believe in their heart that God is and that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.
The condition for this promise is given in Eph 2:8-10 - faith, NOT works.
And you are creating a distinction out of thin air where none exists in the text. Where does Eph 2:8-10, or the surrounding context, differentiate between the works not as a result of which we are saved, and the works that we do, having been created in Christ Jesus? That's the fundamental question and has been from the beginning of this post.

are you saying that baptism is a "good work"?

Of course.
What, is it NOT a work?
In RC dogma, is baptism not meritorious at all? Not even a little bit? Didn't Jesus command us to get baptised?

What makes it a "good work"?

The fact that Christ commanded it. On this I doubt we have any differences.

It is not, after all, a work that we "walk in" but a one time action that is the condition of a promise.

I agree 100% - in this case it would be a condition for Christ's promise to sanctify His people. But this is different from the question of sanctification.

even though repentance, confession of faith in Christ, and baptism are set as conditions to the promise of remission of sins (and remember I'm only speaking of these three, since they are the conditions to the promise) yet God gets all the credit

See my above comments to CrimsonCatholic.

Peace,
Rhology

EgoMakarios said...

"Of course.
What, is it NOT a work?
In RC dogma, is baptism not meritorious at all? Not even a little bit? Didn't Jesus command us to get baptised?"


1. I'm not RC.
2. No, baptism is not meritorious.
3. Jesus did indeed command it as a condition of a promise, but not as a means to earn any merit.
4. It is not a "work" because it is a condition of faith. When a promise is given with a condition, faith in the promise requires the condition. So, as an example used already, if Naaman had not dipped 7 times he would be shown to not have had faith in the promise God gave (that if he dipped he would be healed). In that he dipped, he was healed by grace, through faith, not of works lest he should boast. So also, seeing that God has provided a promise to beleivers that when they Repent and are Baptized they receive the remission of sins and Holy Ghost as a gift, none can truly be said to have faith in that promise who do not meet the conditions of the promise. Those who meet the conditions of the promise are saved by grace, through faith, not of works lest any should boast, seeing they will not boast in what they did, it being a mere condition of a graceful promise of God, in which promise is all the power, and thus no merit is derived from meeting the condition, the condition being a necessity but not at all meritorious, being that all the merit is in God and is presented by grace.

Pontificator said...

I'm afraid that I simply do not see Ephesians 2 in any way "refutes" the Catholic understanding of justification. Putting aside for the moment exegetical questions like "What does Paul here mean by 'saved'?" "What is'faith'?" and "What are 'works' and 'good works'?" I simply do not see in what way the "plain" meaning of the text contradicts the Catholic understanding of justification/sanctification.

The above citations from Sts Augustine and John Chrysostom demonstrate that Ephesians is plausibly read within a transformationist model of salvation and indeed was read within such a model by the Church Fathers.

One thing for sure: Paul was not addressing the kinds of questions that preoccupied Protestants and Catholics in the 16th century.

Is salvation by grace? Catholics answer: yes.

Is salvation by faith? Catholics answer: yes.

Are sinners saved by their "works"? Catholics answer: no.

May Catholics boast of their good works? Catholics answer: only at their souls' peril.

Do Catholics wholeheartedly affirm St Paul's teaching in Ephesians 2? Catholics answer: yes, absolutely.

There simply isn't anything in the text that troubles Catholics, Orthodox, or Arminians.

Rhology said...

I have a very difficult time taking this comment seriously, Pontificator.

Did you read Carrie's recent post composed entirely of quotes from authoritative, magisterial RC sources? I just don't think you're shooting straight here.

Rhology said...

And I wasn't saying anythg about Arminians, unless you mean the semi-Pelagian (ie, extreme) brand of Arminians, of whom there are few. But their Gospel is different than RCC's and EOC's. It's the same as ours.

Rhology said...

Rapid-fire thinking here - why am *I* the guy quoting the RCC sources here? Why am I the one who has to remind you what RCC teaches?

Unless you're not RC, Pontificator.

EgoMak, you're not RC, what do you believe? Could you describe your general position in 2-3 sentences?

Pontificator said...

Okay, i just read Carrie's post. There is absolutely nothing in it that contradicts Eph 2 or the entire letter; indeed, I would argue that much of Ephesians explicitly supports the material cited by Carrie.

Is Baptism necessary for salvation? Of course--the Church has always affirmed it, including the Lutheran Reformers and mainstream Anglicanism. Why is it necessary? Because it is incorporation into the Church.

Is the Church necessary for salvation? Of course--the Church has always affirmed it. Why is it necessary? Because the Church is the body of the risen Christ. To be incorporated into the Church is to be incorporated into Christ Jesus. This is basic Pauline theology.

Rhology, you and Carrie are not just attacking the peculiar teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. You are attacking the consensual teaching of the Church catholic, including confessional Lutheranism and mainstream Anglicanism. How much the Reformed tradition supports your anti-ecclesial, anti-sacramental reading of Scripture I'll leave for others to debate; but clearly you are reading Scripture through a very narrow lens. Take off your Reformed spectacles and start reading the New Testament with the Church Fathers and the sacramental faith of the early Church. You will find it reads very differently.

Rhology said...

Is Baptism necessary for salvation? Of course...

Well, let's just cut if off right there, to stay on target.

Now, is baptism a work?
If not, what is it? Faith?

Is the Church necessary for salvation? Of course...

OK. Is joining the church a work?
If not, what is it? Faith?

You are attacking the consensual teaching of the Church catholic, including confessional Lutheranism and mainstream Anglicanism.

This and all the "the Church has always affirmed it"s are question-begging. If the apostles didn't believe it, then
1) these statements wouldn't be true
2) and I prefer the testimony of the apostles over anyone later than them. And you should too.

Peace,
Rhology

CrimsonCatholic said...

Mr. Maricle:
In response to your implicit questions,
(1) the earlier post was here; and
(2) re: v. 10, it seems to me that Paul is simply explaining why Christian works are not out of one's own or out of ergon, because they are Christ's own eternal creation. But again, that turns on one's Christological understanding of how the believer is united to Christ's eternal operation.

Rhology said...

Mr. Prejean (and feel free to address me by my handle),

1) Ah, I must have a pitifully short memory.
2) In Eph 2, are the *works* Christ's creation or is the *person* Christ's creation?

Peace,
Rhology

Carrie said...

EgoMak, you're not RC, what do you believe?

Rhology,

EM is part of the Church of Christ.

Or a "Campbellite" as Gene likes to call him ;)

Rhology said...

Ah, thanks.

Pontificator said...

Now, is baptism a work?

Yes it is. It is Christ's work. He is the minister of the sacrament--which of course means that it is not the kind of "work" about which St Paul is speaking.

CrimsonCatholic said...

Rhology:
In Eph 2, are the *works* Christ's creation or is the *person* Christ's creation?

Both, as far as I can tell. The Christian is said to be Christ's workmanship, and he is said also to be created for good works. It is that act of creating for good works that I take to make those good works Christ's own actions.

Pontificator said...

I note that no one has responded to the comments of Jeff and Carrie about mortal sin. It is quite true that the Catholic Church teaches that mortal sin (i.e., "sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent" [CCC 1857]) breaks the state of grace. It does so because by this act the sinner freely and decisively turns away from God toward self. Mortal sin implicitly renounces faith. To put it in contemporary terms, mortal sin engages the human person's fundamental option.

It's hard to see how any Christian tradition can avoid some sort of mortal/venial sin distinction without falling into antinomianism. This is hardly an exclusively Catholic concern. See, e.g., C. F. W. Walther's lectures on "The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel," particularly Lecture #20. Walther writes:

“The light of faith can be extinguished not only by gross sins, but by any wilful, intentional sin. Accordingly, defection from faith occurs far oftener than we imagine. Faith ceases not only in those who lead a life of shame, but also in such as permit themselves to be led astray against their better knowledge and the warning of their conscience. They plan to do a certain thing and carry out their purpose, although they know that it is contrary to God’s Word. In such instances faith becomes extinct ... As soon as faith is lost through some mortal sin, the grace of God is also lost, and such a person becomes a child of death and damnation. He may return to faith and ultimately be saved, but in the interval he was not a blessed, but an utterly miserable, lost creature."

Jeff said...

Pontificator,

What, in your estimate, is it that makes circumcision a work?

Thanks,
Jeff

Lucian said...

Rhob,

the man walking in the righteousness of God is the new creature in Christ Jesus. SO, the answer to your either/or question is a both/and. [Cp. this passage with John 8:39, John 8:44].

Rhology said...

It can't be both/and, as I've already pointed out several times, since Eph 2 specifically points out that it's by faith and NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS. It's amazing to me the obtuseness of those who won't own up to that. It's almost as if their tradition is getting in their way.

Hmm, I might be onto sthg there...

Lucian said...

Rhob,

Paul makes it pretty clear in all of his epistles, that the "new creation" is a man walking in the "newness of life", which "new life" had been given to him at his "birth of anew". I don't understand Your objection to that. [Or maybe we're just talking here besides each-other ... I surely didn't read all the 80+ comments in the combo, so that's pretty muych possible].

Rhology said...

the "new creation" is a man walking in the "newness of life", which "new life" had been given to him at his "birth of anew".

That's correct.
The question at hand is whether the man has to DO anythg to be born anew or whether that is a work 100% of God, 0% of man, entirely on the basis of God's grace given on the condition of faith alone.

You're asking a question about whether I believe that God will sanctify His people after they've been justified. Yes, of course, but that's a separate question.

And my handle is "Rhology" not "Rhob" nor "Rhoblogy".

Peace,
Rhology

Lucian said...

®ho-Blogy, :-)

We already had this discussion (on the nature of our Redeemer paralleling that of our redemption), and You chose to disbelieve my arguments, because You were fully and totally unimpressed by them.

Anonymous said...

"It can't be both/and, as I've already pointed out several times, since Eph 2 specifically points out that it's by faith and NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS."

Paul in Ephesians does not say that salvation is by faith alone, nor does he clearly deny that salvation is by faith and works together, but that salvation is not by works alone, lest anyone could boast. Paul places our need to actually function according to faith in aas high a place as do all the apostles, and Christ himeslf.

You're trying to say that "I got to work by the subway" means "I did not walk at all and electricity played no role in my movement", but what I got to work by the subway" means is "I got to work by the subway, and that includes all aspects of subway travel, including the use of electricity to move the train and my own legs to get me on and off of it."

James teaches that salvation is absolutely not by faith alone, citing Abraham's faith and works in the same context as does Paul. You can't have James 2 contradict Ephesians. To say salvation is by faith and faith alone is patently untrue by Scripture and it is a clearly false doctrine.

You deny the Word of God. You are wrong. Deal with it. Repent. (Hint: that requires you to DO something.)

Mike Burgess said...

"As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, 'Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!' And when he saw them, he said, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.' As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, 'Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?' Then he said to him, 'Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.'"

Anonymous said...

"Rhology,"

I honestly don't get your approach to this topic (much less your seemingly myopic approach to Holy Scripture, the writings of the Fathers, theology in general, etc.)

I suppose it's difficult for a
darkened, reprobate mind to grasp such things, no? But if you believe that is indeed the case... why are you arguing the point with such minds as these?

You seem to be jumping up and down and screaming about the words "not as a result of works" as if they are some kind of trump card "proving" that the Catholic doctrine of justification (which you don't seem to understand any better than you do historical theology) is under "biblical condemnation." Yet when someone uses the same excited tactic you seem to be the master of here - when harping on the words from St. James epistle "not by faith alone" - you call their argument "lame" and throw up some URL as if the tactic you are using is any less "lame" that that of your opponents.

I, for one, am not fooled by your shouting, sir.

It seems to boil down to this. You have a certain understanding of what St. Paul simply *must* be teaching about justification. You interpret the rest of Holy Scripture based on this "gospel" (as "the gospel" seems to boil down to Sola Fide for you). So you propose that St. James *must* mean something by his words "not by faith alone" than people outside of the Reformed camp think he means. I think you are wrong on St. Paul. If you are right... then there were virtually no Christians between St. Paul and the 16th century. It's really that simple.

I don't think you understand Catholic biblical theology, historical theology, patrology, etc. I don't think you understand St. Paul correctly, and I think this is *the* major problem your theology (see 2 Peter 3:16).

If you honestly can't see how justification has to be rooted in Christology (and not vice verse)... if you honestly believe that it's reasonable to posit that justification (meaning SF) just "wasn't talked about much the first few centuries" for some reason or another. If you honestly think that getting your historical theology perspectives from the ranks of Reformed apologists (who are obviously wrong on many things pertaining to their understandings of Catholic theology). I don't know what to tell you.

Your explanation of St. James doesn't convince me. There is only a contradiction being implied if you are right about St. Paul's teaching. I don't think you are.

As I said... I don't understand your approach to this discussion any better than I do your approaches to the Scriptures, historical theology, patrology, etc...

BCcath

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

One 2nd thought... I do think that (maybe) your concept of justification is rooted in your Christology. I am not sure if it's intentional on your part, but...

I keep seeing your problems with the 100%/100% and the "both/and" types of concepts/statements that some of the Catholics are throwing about here, and, it just occurred to me, that it's possible that you have a corrupted (heretical) Christology behind your warped view of justification.

You believe that Jesus the Christ is both 100% man and 100% God, correct? How do you understand this? What is Jesus? In what way would you express His being 100% God and 100% man at the same time? I would love to know!

It amazes me that one could think that a coupled of misunderstood passages in Ephesians, Romans, the Corinthian epistles (et al) as to what seems to (for you and those of your ilk anyway) be the "gospel" (sola fide) would be judged as THE hermeneutical lense through which one should read the rest of Scripture.

I still maintain that I have seen no evidence that there were ANY "Christians" at all (who understood the "gospel" as you preach it) between St. Paul and the 16th century that left anything proving they existed. William Webster and those cut from the same cloth have not proven this to me... I would love to see a credentialed scholar who had the same ideas as Webster and Engewer have about the Fathers "teaching" on sola fide... especially with the sharp distinction between justification and sanctification. Have anything for us on that?

BCcath

e i e said...

WOW!

I go away for a long weekend and find things still cooking! I don't think I could sum it up better than BCcath did.

By the way, salvation, like faith, is not a result of works, but works are part of both. For faith without works is dead and salvation without faith is fiction.

Do the math.

E i E

Rhology said...

BCcath,

myopic

This is what I mean by "lame".

why are you arguing the point with such minds as these?

I'm hoping the Lord will have mercy on them and use this as a means to convict their hearts.

the words "not as a result of works" as if they are some kind of trump card "proving" that the Catholic doctrine of justification (which you don't seem to understand any better than you do historical theology) is under "biblical condemnation."

OK, so I'm wrong when I characterise the RC doctrine of justification as NOT by faith alone? It would be news to me and to the other RCs who've been posting here!

St. James epistle "not by faith alone"

The URL I pointed to deals with this exact same point, and I'm the one discussing over there. But you don't have to read it if you don't want to.
Why do I call it lame? B/c it has been dealt with SO many times. B/c it proposes a contradiction in Scr, which means the RC position contains an internal contradiction.

Now, maybe you don't think Paul is saying "by faith alone" here. Then deal with Eph 2:8-10 as I've been begging people to do, and show how it doesn't teach that.
I've shown that James DOESN'T teach justification by faith+something else. So the onus is on you now.

You have a certain understanding of what St. Paul simply *must* be teaching about justification.

Fine, prove from the text that he's not.

You interpret the rest of Holy Scripture based on this "gospel" (as "the gospel" seems to boil down to Sola Fide for you).

It is an integral part of HOW God saves, yes.
And you think I shouldn't use the Gospel that saves as a hermeneutic for the rest of the Scr? OK, can't help you there.

St. James *must* mean something by his words "not by faith alone" than people outside of the Reformed camp think he means.

Why do you assume that it just might be the case that I was forced into my position by the text?

I think you are wrong on St. Paul.

Show me how, please. How many times in this post have I asked that RCs do so?

it's possible that you have a corrupted (heretical) Christology behind your warped view of justification.

This from an (presumably) RC poster, who would therefore have to confess that there is another Mediatrix between God and man and another Redemptrix, to whom he can, indeed must, flee to ask reprieve from the wrath of Jesus. OK, I'm listening.

How do you understand this? What is Jesus? In what way would you express His being 100% God and 100% man at the same time?

The Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon answered the question just fine for me.
Maybe you can help me in seeing what you're trolling for here: Do you want me to say that Jesus was NOT 100% God and 100% man? That's not going to happen.
What's wrong with expressing that Jesus is one person with two natures, one human and one divine? That Jesus is the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, that He has eternally been God? That He is the ONLY mediator between God and man? That He alone, by His atoning death on the cross, is the Savior and Redemptor of the sinful human soul and needs nor allows no other help? What do you think is my heretical Christology?

I have seen no evidence that there were ANY "Christians" at all (who understood the "gospel" as you preach it) between St. Paul and the 16th century that left anything proving they existed.

Why would this make any difference to me, even if I granted your point? I am interested in what God's Word says.



EiE,

salvation, like faith, is not a result of works, but works are part of both.

A naked assertion can be answered with a naked assertion.
You're mistaken.

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I am so glad you are still here posting stuff on this!

You wrote:
"I'm hoping the Lord will have mercy on them and use this as a means to convict their hearts."

So far as I understand the theology you seem to be espousing here, God has *already* "had mercy upon whom He will have mercy," but...

You wrote:
"OK, so I'm wrong when I characterise the RC doctrine of justification as NOT by faith alone? It would be news to me and to the other RCs who've been posting here!"

Um... ok...?

You are not wrong to characterize the Catholic doctrine (I don't think RC exhausts the fullness of the Churches in communion with Rome, but...) as not teaching "faith alone" as you seem to understand the words, but... I don't see that you've shown you've gotten St. Paul right on this verse.

What you seem to have missed is that you seem to be screaming the words of the passage "and not of works" as if Catholics have to deny them. When a Catholic does this with the words of St. James... you you show how the Reformed understanding "harmonizes" it's (mis)interpretation (IMHO) of St. Paul's doctrine of justification with St. James words in chapter 2 of his epistle.

I am saying I don't think you have St. Paul right to begin with, and I think that a corrupted Christology might be at the root of your problem (at least to some extent) here... we shall see...

You wrote:
"The URL I pointed to deals with this exact same point, and I'm the one discussing over there. But you don't have to read it if you don't want to. Why do I call it lame? B/c it has been dealt with SO many times. B/c it proposes a contradiction in Scr, which means the RC position contains an internal contradiction."

The URL shows how you "harmonize" St. James teaching with your (mis)reading (again, IMHO) of St. Paul. I don't think St. James is speaking about a "justification" before men. The amount of yardage you seem to get out of the words "You see" is impressive. I just don't buy it.

You may have "dealt with" this numerous times, but repeating something as unlikely as what seems to be your understanding of James 2 in order to "harmonize" it with what think think St. Paul means about justification as if you shown proof of something to someone who disagrees with you is... well... not "dealing with" reality.

And there is *only* a contradiction presupposed if the non-Reformed person dealing with James 2 *admits* that you are right about St. Paul's teaching on justification (and the faulty Christology that I believe might be at the root of the problem) and then opposes St. James to it.

There *are*, indeed, people who admit a contradiction between St. Paul and St. James on justification... ones who grant that you are (mostly) right about St. Paul's doctrine of justification, even. But they are most likely some manner of dispensationalist, and NOT likely from an ancient communion.

You wrote:
"Now, maybe you don't think Paul is saying 'by faith alone' here. Then deal with Eph 2:8-10 as I've been begging people to do, and show how it doesn't teach that."

I don't think St. Paul is saying, "by faith alone" here. Obviously the words aren't there, but I also deny the concept is taught there is well, as you well know.

We disagree on *how* St. Paul is using the very words you are reading. Now, before you cry foul and complain that my position is that the Scriptures are completely unintelligible, I think we can both agree that texts can, indeed, be sincerely misunderstood. So that would render the foul-crying moot, IMHO.

I don't think St. Paul is using the word "works" the way that you claim he *must* mean it. Did you see that? I don't have to deny even one syllable of the text (in any language) to disagree with your interpretation of a given word, it's meaning in context.

You wrote:
"Fine, prove from the text that he's not."

Ugh... throwing down the same tired , "Sola Scritpura! Doctrines can only be determined by parsing the verbs of a dead language from which we are well-removed and giving them simplistic lexical definitions! The Scriptures alone are theopneustos!! Semper Reformada!!" gauntlet, are we?? And asking me to *assume* Sola Scriptura to debate the point with you to boot? I am speechless... almost. :)

"It is an integral part of HOW God saves, yes. And you think I shouldn't use the Gospel that saves as a hermeneutic for the rest of the Scr? OK, can't help you there."

We disagree on the very point of justification... not to mention Sola Scriptura, authority, imputed righteousness, predestination, the atonement, ad nauseam... so I think it's probably pretty clear that we won't agree on a biblical hermeneutic either.

You wrote:
"This from an (presumably) RC poster, who would therefore have to confess that there is another Mediatrix between God and man and another Redemptrix, to whom he can, indeed must, flee to ask reprieve from the wrath of Jesus. OK, I'm listening."

I thought the discussion had been revolving around how justification was related to Christology (which should be obvious by now to most everyone), but you bring up Mary? This coming from a guy who was getting honked-off at other people for not staying on point??

You wrote:
"The Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon answered the question just fine for me."

That's interesting...

You wrote:
"Maybe you can help me in seeing what you're trolling for here: Do you want me to say that Jesus was NOT 100% God and 100% man? That's not going to happen."

That's good!

You wrote:
"What's wrong with expressing that Jesus is one person with two natures, one human and one divine?"

Not one thing...

You wrote:
"That Jesus is the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, that He has eternally been God?"

Amen!

You wrote:
"That He is the ONLY mediator between God and man?"

Assuming we understand the same thing by the word "mediator" in the same way... :)

You wrote:
"That He alone, by His atoning death on the cross, is the Savior and Redemptor of the sinful human soul..."

I think the honeymoon is over...

We both know that we don't agree on the atonement.

I deny that God "crushed" (read murdered) Jesus after making Him sin by the way of imputing the sins of the unconditionally-elected individuals predestined from eternity past to respond to the God's call to all men to obey Him (even though only the ones who were predestined to actually can respond positively to said that call) by grace alone, through faith alone (as you understand the words). I deny that these elect have imputed to them the alien righteousness of Christ, that their "justification" is an objective "justfiction" since there is said to be "no subjective change." I deny that justification and sanctification have such a sharp distinction between them... JUST as I do with faith and works under grace. :)

You wrote:
"...and needs nor allows no other help?"

Needs, no. Allows...? I think that if we flush out the Christological aspects (read: foundation) of justification we will see some resolution here too. ;)

You wrote:
"What do you think is my heretical Christology?"

I would love to see you explain what you learned from the aforementioned Councils before delving into that.

Then maybe for some more fun we could see which Fathers (if any at all) echo seem to take away from those Councils.

It's amazing that we can look at the very same words and (potentially) understand many different things by them, isn't it?

You wrote:
"Why would this make any difference to me, even if I granted your point? I am interested in what God's Word says."

The fact that it makes no difference to you and that you seem so happy to say so makes me cringe...

I am interested in what God's Word says and in what God's Word means, properly and consistently (logically, historically, etc) within God's intended context.

You seem only to be interested in Sola Scriptura+lexicons...

We should really be debating more foundational aspects of our theologies rather than debating the finer points of two systems that seem to have very little common ground in the areas in which we are discussing.

BCcath

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

While I think about how to go about getting at the more foundational aspects of our respective theologies so we can begin to actually discuss on more sure ground...

Some questions:

1. Do you see any relationship between Christology and justification?

2. If so, can you explain that connection?

3. What does it mean to be "in Christ" in a Christological sense?

4. What does becoming a "partaker of the divine nature" mean?

5. Does a person who becomes a partaker of the divine nature still have a human nature?

Is it both/and? What percent divine, what percent human...

I got tired of numbering. :)

BCcath

Rhology said...

hi,

God has *already* "had mercy upon whom He will have mercy," but...

You misunderstand me. I'm not 5-pt Calvinist, for one thing.
But even a 5-pter would not fully agree with that statement. Depends on what you mean by "already". If you mean that we're not Open Theists and the future is exhaustively known to God, then no argument here at all. Either way, that's what we're all here for - communication. :-)

I don't see that you've shown you've gotten St. Paul right on this verse.

fair enough, but I've been waiting for 90+ comments for someone to deal with the psg and show that it does not teach faith + nothing.

The URL shows how you "harmonize" St. James teaching with your (mis)reading (again, IMHO) of St. Paul.

Indeed. Harmonisation is part of exegesis, as I'm sure you realise.

I don't think St. James is speaking about a "justification" before men. The amount of yardage you seem to get out of the words "You see" is impressive.

That wasn't even the linchpin of my argument. You'll need to try to deal with the harmonisation again.

there is *only* a contradiction presupposed if the non-Reformed person dealing with James 2 *admits* that you are right about St. Paul's teaching on justification

You'd need to prove that I got Eph 2 wrong, which you haven't even attempted yet. You've just asserted it. that's why I wrote this post; I've been almost begging people to engage the psg itself.

I don't think St. Paul is using the word "works" the way that you claim he *must* mean it. Did you see that?

Ugh... throwing down the same tired Sola Scriptura... gauntlet...

This is nothing less than a tacit admission of inability to answer the questions posed here.

This coming from a guy who was getting honked-off at other people for not staying on point??

Haha, honked off. That's funny. I'm gonna use that. :-)
And as for staying on point, I don't believe I was the one who accused the other sans provocation of a faulty Christology.

We both know that we don't agree on the atonement.

So is THAT where my faulty Christology lies?
I don't even know if that would qualify as part of a Christology, more like a soteriology.
I thought you were going to take me to task over a bad Christology...

I deny that God "crushed" (read murdered) Jesus

"Murdered," eh?
Would you also use the term "cosmic child abuse" of the Reformed understanding of the Atonement and believe it to be fair?

I would love to see you explain what you learned from the aforementioned Councils before delving into that.

Sorry, without knowing what you're looking for I'd have no idea what to focus on, and I don't have time to write a treatise on my Christology.
If you have a problem with a Reformed Christology in general, I'd be happy to discuss with you. Just pretend it's my own position.

You seem only to be interested in Sola Scriptura+lexicons

Hmm, mind telling me where I referred to a Greek or Hebrew definition of a word in this post or combox to bolster my argument?
I believe my argument is very simple: to sustain a non Sola Fide position, please show how in the text the works that we are created to do in Christ Jesus are different from the ones that, not as a result of which, we are saved.


Oy vey, hombre...
1. Do you see any relationship between Christology and justification?

Yes.

2. If so, can you explain that connection?

The nature of the atonement is a good place to start.
Christ's righteousness imputed to the sinner as per Rom 4.
Christ's being the Passover Lamb... etc.

3. What does it mean to be "in Christ" in a Christological sense?

Almost too many ways to count.
Partakers of the divine nature.
New creations in Christ.
Christ lives in US.
We are Christ's Body.
Etc.

4. What does becoming a "partaker of the divine nature" mean?

Again, too many ways to flesh out even preliminarily in a combox.
Our human nature, once corrupted and dead, has been brought to life in Christ and transformed.
We are baptised in the Holy Spirit.
We walk in newness of life.
We are no longer dead in sins and dead thinking.
etc.

5. Does a person who becomes a partaker of the divine nature still have a human nature?

Yes.

Is it both/and? What percent divine, what percent human...

What, the person himself?
Hmm...It'd be a both/and, certainly, but I've never thought about a %. I'll have to say I've never thought about that.

Now, since I've answered all these questions, would you *please* be so kind as to answer the 1 (one) question to which I've been calling commenters back this whole combox? Please?

Peace,
Rhology

Lucian said...

You believe that Jesus the Christ is both 100% man and 100% God, correct?

errr, ... that doesn't seem to work for him; sorry; I've tried that also. (Mental note: must come up with other devishly concocted unBiblical ideas like that one to corrupt his soul and make it a son of Gehena, just like ours). Nya-ha-ha! We shall meet again, Flash Gordon! >;)

Then deal with Eph 2:8-10 as I've been begging people to do, and show how it doesn't teach that.


It doesn't seem to teach that, because it kinda appears as if it would pervertly imply that the pauline understanding of the term "faith" would kinda seem to imply works all the way ... For Paul, seemingly, faith is always active, always working (change, repentance, sanctification, and what-have-You in our minds and hearts) and shamelessly and constantly expressing that through its deeds. For Paul, it would appear, saving faith = working faith. It seems like this is his understanding of the word.
[See Paul's "Hymn of Faith", in Hebrews chp. 11; see 1 Corinthians 7:19, Galathians 5:6, Tit 1:13-16 and 3:8, 9: where BOTH things -faith AND works- are opposed to circumcision and the like]. It would appear as if his understanding of "faith" were not quite the same as James'. Non idem est si due dicunt idem, to put it in plain English.

That again, ... this isn't the first time I point this out to You, is it? -- I guess we just have agree to disagree on this particular topic here.

The Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon answered the question just fine for me.


Did they? Then why don;'t You accept the later's teachings?

I am interested in what God's Word says.


And they weren't? [the Chr. from Paul to Luther]. Answer sincerely.

...nor allows no other help? What do you think is my heretical Christology?


I've already told You that: in Christ, the human and the Divine worked together: sixth Council [Maxim Martyr & "syn-ergy" (that's Greek for "co-operation")]. Neither one of the two natures assimilated the other one as to destroy it; be it either fully, or just by the annihilation of one of its properties; in our case: will and/or operation/action/work. [Mono-tellism and Mono-energism were condamned]. -- and don't make me repeat myself on matters already discussed.

I don't even know if that would qualify as part of a Christology, more like a soteriology.


No connection whatsoever between Christ the Redeemer and the redemption of Christ. Christ isn't Soter. Christology and soteriology are unconnected. What Christ actually is has no bearing on wehat Christ actually does. -- Now, ... there's something very FISHY about this ...

Rhology said...

Lucian,

-Yes, faith is always alive, else it's dead and not real. That's James' point. But you again slid past the point - how are we justified before God? Eph 2 says it's by faith, NOT by works, which means faith alone. You reject faith alone. Why?

-I never said there was NO connection. Just I didn't see a reason to link them as you did, especially since nobody has yet dealt with the Eph 2 text that teaches otherwise.

-What part of the Creed of Chalcedon do you think I don't accept?
Are you referring to some extraneous part of what the Council taught? If so, I wasn't necessarily referring to that; I was talking about Christology.

-I have no way to know whether earlier "Christians" were interested in God's Word. Some were, no doubt, some weren't. Unfortunately, in many/most cases, those who weren't won out. But again, this is the same thing we see in the OT and in Athanasius' time - we should expect it to go this way, not the other way around.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

And I note that Lucian seems to think I'm Eutychian b/c of my stance on justification.
Hopefully he'll be able to make the connection apparent, b/c this is a serious charge that I repudiate explicitly. Lucian is a weird character, no two ways about it.

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Thanks for continuing the discussion.

You misunderstand me. I'm not 5-pt Calvinist, for one thing.
But even a 5-pter would not fully agree with that statement. Depends on what you mean by "already". If you mean that we're not Open Theists and the future is exhaustively known to God, then no argument here at all. Either way, that's what we're all here for - communication.


Not sure where you were going with the 5-pointer thing, as the point usually "dropped" is the L of TULIP, but...

That being said, I do know some 5 point Calvinists who have agreed with the language that I used above "maybe with a qualifying "in a sense, yes") but... that's for another discussion.

fair enough, but I've been waiting for 90+ comments for someone to deal with the psg and show that it does not teach faith + nothing.

The passage does not exist in a vacuum, Rhology. It's really as simple as that.

I think it's a matter of not seeing what you are doing with it. You are screaming the words "not of works" from the rooftops. Then you have to "exegete" the epistle of St. James (the "faith and works" discourse) with the idea in your head (from a couple of misinterpreted words in a couple of misused passages) that St. Paul is teaching a Reformationesque "sola fide" doctrine that, frankly, I don't think existed at all until the 16th century.

You are screaming at me to deal with the text. I don't have anything to deal with. Since I am telling you I don't think there is any evidence that St. Paul is using the word "works" in the way that you are, that he has a 16th century Protestant's idea of justification in mind when using it.

You shout the words "NOT OF WORKS" and then have to do some pretty extensive "harmonization" of the 2nd chapter of St. James epistle to make your shouting stick?

All I have to do is say that I don't think God's justification begins because of any work we do, that I don't think St. Paul and Luther had much in common as far as how they conceived justification, and that I don't think you (or any of the "Reformed Divines") are getting St. Paul right on justification.

Indeed. Harmonisation is part of exegesis, as I'm sure you realise.

Yes, I realize that.

However when you use a misunderstanding of St. Paul's words in some select verses as the heremeneutical lense though which you "harmonize" (much like the Borg, it seems) the rest of Scripture.

That wasn't even the linchpin of my argument. You'll need to try to deal with the harmonisation again.

Nothing have seen you writ on the subject proves to me that St. James was also a 16th century Reformer when it came to justification.

You'd need to prove that I got Eph 2 wrong, which you haven't even attempted yet. You've just asserted it. that's why I wrote this post; I've been almost begging people to engage the psg itself.

And what "proof" would you accept? I have a feeling that here is where we will run into "Sola Scriptura," "plain meaning," lexicons.

I am indeed asserting that your reading of St. Paul is based on misreading of his words from the perspective that you inherited from the 16th century Reformers who didn't understand St. Paul, St. Paul's world, St. Paul's usage of words, nor St. Paul's real problems with the Judaizers in Galatians (for instance). Which is why your usage of St. Paul against Catholics and other non-Reformed Christians comes up way short, IMHO.

This is nothing less than a tacit admission of inability to answer the questions posed here.

It's nothing of the kind, sir. I think to think of it as an explicit admission that I would be forced into a conceptual framework that I think "myopic" in it's approach to the Scriptures and theology in general.

So is THAT where my faulty Christology lies?
I don't even know if that would qualify as part of a Christology, more like a soteriology.
I thought you were going to take me to task over a bad Christology...


Not sure where I related your Christology to the atonement above. I was merely making a list a few other points we disagreed upon.

Is the born again person one person with 2 natures? Does one have to be in Someone else that fits a similar description in oder to see God?

Just a note. Your shouting from the rooftops the words "not as a result of works" doesn't address what I am saying since we disagree about how St. Paul is using the word works. I also don't believe you understand the position St. Paul is arguing against. I think there is some scholarly thinking that goes my way. I also think there is some patristic reason to doubt the Reformed conception(s) of the doctrine of justification.

The fact that you can state in such a cavalier manner that (basically) even if you were the first person to "get" what you call "the gospel" it wouldn't matter to you. Blows my mind...

As far as the atonement goes... I do find the penal substitutionary model (as it has been broken down for me by some Reformed I know) more than a bit disturbing, sickening...

"He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD." -Proverbs 17:15 [NASB]

Maybe I am not alone in that...?

In your comments to Lucian you seem to imply that St. James teaches that we are justified by "faith without anything else" ("faith alone" as you understand it).

I have yet to see anyone show anything close to that.

Truth be told you wouldn't try to "HARMonize" St. James the way you do if if didn't (mis)understand St. Paul.

BCcath

BCcath

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I also wanted to remind you (although) I am sure that you already know it), that I don't believe justification to be:

1. A one-time event.
2. Solely forensic (maybe not even primarily forensic).
3. Disconnected in the way I would suspect you would say it must be from sanctification.
4. To be connected to the imputation of Christ's (the "penal substitute") alien righteousness to the "account" of the sinner.
5. A guarantee of entrance into heaven.

There are probably more, but I am short on time...

BCcath

Lucian said...

That initial justification You're talking about, and which is freely granted to us from above, is worth nothing in the end, and can't save the soul from eternal death, unless it bears fruit (think of it as a VERY investment, or some sort) : that's Paul (incl. the passage You point to, and many more). And it's rooted in Christ's holy words: when he cursed the fig-tree that was found unfruitful in Matthew 21, when He showed us the parable of the talents in Matthew 25; in the description of the final Judgement, and so on.

Read Leviticus 22:4, and with that in mind proceed to reading the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. Take then a look at Romans 2:29, 7:6 or 2 Corinthians 3:6. And then go on and read all Your favorite passages from Romans all over again.

P.S.: "HARMonize" -- that's a good one! :-)

Rhology said...

It's my pleasure to continue this convo.

You are screaming the words "not of works" from the rooftops.

B/c no one will own up to the fact that that's what it says.

Then you have to "exegete" the epistle of St. James (the "faith and works" discourse) with the idea in your head (from a couple of misinterpreted words in a couple of misused passages) that St. Paul is teaching a Reformationesque "sola fide" doctrine that, frankly, I don't think existed at all until the 16th century.

I don't know about you, but I don't accept the Scr contradicting itself, especially when there's an easy harmonisation to be made.
I don't know how you could make Eph 2:8-10 say that salvation is by faith + works. Once again, that's the question I've been asking. Are you ever going to get around to answering it?

I am telling you I don't think there is any evidence that St. Paul is using the word "works" in the way that you are, that he has a 16th century Protestant's idea of justification in mind when using it.

Naked assertions can be answered with naked assertions.
Only this time I've been pointing out the actual thing you need to deal with. The works that don't save us are the same works we are created in Christ Jesus to do. Why is that so bad?
(I mean, other than the fact that it would destroy your tradition. That's what's at stake here, let's not kid ourselves. Will you submit your tradition to God's Word or not? So far, the answer is no.)

You shout the words "NOT OF WORKS" and then have to do some pretty extensive "harmonization" of the 2nd chapter of St. James epistle to make your shouting stick?

How "extensive" it is is in the eye of the beholder. I'd be happy to see any counteroffer you have.

Nothing have seen you writ on the subject proves to me that St. James was also a 16th century Reformer when it came to justification.

Strawman, of course.

I have a feeling that here is where we will run into "Sola Scriptura," "plain meaning," lexicons.

You could start by answering my one single question.

I do find the penal substitutionary model (as it has been broken down for me by some Reformed I know) more than a bit disturbing, sickening...

I thought you would. Maybe sometime we can talk about that too.

I don't believe justification to be:
1. A one-time event.
2. Solely forensic (maybe not even primarily forensic).
3. Disconnected in the way I would suspect you would say it must be from sanctification.
4. To be connected to the imputation of Christ's (the "penal substitute") alien righteousness to the "account" of the sinner.
5. A guarantee of entrance into heaven.


1) OK. You're wrong, but OK.
2) It's not SOLELY forensic, but Rom 4 makes it clear it is a huge part of it.
3) Only in terms of distinguishing HOW those two things occur.
4) How else can one read Rom 4:6-8?
5) John 10:28-29 says that Christ's sheep will never perish. I don't know what else to do with that.

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Time for some more fun!!

B/c no one will own up to the fact that that's what it says.

You can't be serious... really?

I have not seen anyone deny what the text says. I don't deny it. I deny that St. Paul had a Reformationesque concept of justification in mind when he wrote it, that the word "works" have to mean what you are claiming it does, etc etc.

We are going in circles...

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." -Eph. 2:8,9

I deny that St. Paul had the concept of justification that the Reformers taught in the 16th century in mind when he wrote this. And if no one "got" what you call "the gospel" until the 16th century. Christianity is a sham religion...

I don't know about you, but I don't accept the Scr contradicting itself, especially when there's an easy harmonisation to be made.

There is only a contradiction if St. Paul had your concept of justification in mind when he penned the words.

I don't know how you could make Eph 2:8-10 say that salvation is by faith + works.

I don't want to make it say the we are saved by "faith + works" - It doesn't say that. I can read.

Once again, that's the question I've been asking. Are you ever going to get around to answering it?

You were asking how I was going to make the text of your favorite verse (seemingly) say that we are saved by faith + works? I missed that, I guess. I can't make the text say what it doesn't say.

Is that all you wanted to hear?

The works that don't save us are the same works we are created in Christ Jesus to do.

The text doesn't say this.

That's what's at stake here, let's not kid ourselves. Will you submit your tradition to God's Word or not? So far, the answer is no.

Nice rhetoric.

How "extensive" it is is in the eye of the beholder. I'd be happy to see any counteroffer you have.

The "counteroffer?"

Look, I am saying that I think that you are wrong on St. Paul's doctrine of justification, that he didn't have what they were teaching in the 16th century on the subject in mind when he wrote the passage we are discussing. And, I think, you shoehorn the above baggage onto St. James and call it "harmonization" when it's really HARMonization because of the violence it does to the text of his epistle.

You could start by answering my one single question.

How much clearer do I need to be? When in heaven's name did I ever claim that the Ephesians passage said that we are saved by faith + works?

I thought you would. Maybe sometime we can talk about that too.

If you wish, but I believe it do be a "doctrine of devils." I see no "glory" in it at all.

"He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD." -Proverbs 17:15 [NASB]

1) OK. You're wrong, but OK.
2) It's not SOLELY forensic, but Rom 4 makes it clear it is a huge part of it.
3) Only in terms of distinguishing HOW those two things occur.
4) How else can one read Rom 4:6-8?
5) John 10:28-29 says that Christ's sheep will never perish. I don't know what else to do with that.


What?

1. No, YOU'RE wrong. ;)
2. I didn't deny a forensic component.
3. Don't you mean that you want to distinguish between them in the WHAT they do category? Like only one of them has anything to do with your seeing God, the other is merely some manner of by-product?
4. I guess I missed the part about the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ in the passage.
5. I don't think that justification implies "eternal sheephood."

Question: Do you think St. James is using "justified" in a different way than St. Paul? Yes or no will do. :)

BC

Rhology said...

Hey,
I'll keep it short and sweet this time. ;-)

I don't want to make it say th(at) we are saved by "faith + works" - It doesn't say that

But what's the alternative if not faith alone? I'm not following you.
And why is Tim Staples on record saying that justification is by faith + works, if that's not the case? Do you disagree?

Rhology: The works that don't save us are the same works we are created in Christ Jesus to do.

BCcath:The text doesn't say this.


Um, yes it does.
Please justify, then, from the text, the differentiation of the two "works" in Eph 2:8-10. This is one of the linchpins of my argument.

Do you think St. James is using "justified" in a different way than St. Paul?

Paul doesn't say "justify" in Eph 2 at all, so I don't know what you refer to.
If you mean the Pauline definition of "justification" in general, then yes, he means it differently than James does. We can tell from the contexts of the psgs in question.


4. I guess I missed the part about the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ in the passage.

Rom 4:5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.
8"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."


5. I don't think that justification implies "eternal sheephood."

So a sheep will perish?

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I will try to keep it short this time too!! ;)

BCcath: I don't want to make it say th(at) we are saved by "faith + works" - It doesn't say that.

But what's the alternative if not faith alone? I'm not following you. And why is Tim Staples on record saying that justification is by faith + works, if that's not the case? Do you disagree?

I don't have time to listen to a whole program right this minute, so I can't say...

That being said, I have a hard time believing that Mr. Staples read the verse you are touting here as proof that St. Paul is in agreement with the Reformers on "Sola Fide" and remarking something akin to, "See? Like the verse says, 'faith + works.'" If he says something like that, that the verse says "not by works," but really means "faith + works," then, yes, I disagree with Mr. Staples. However, I would disagree with your reading of James 2:24 if you said, "He says, 'not by faith alone,' here, but what he means is 'by faith alone.'"(that's an example, not a critique of your position)

BCcath:The text doesn't say this.

Rhology:Um, yes it does.

No, it doesn't. The text says nothing about those works being the "same works" that don't save us.

BCcath:Do you think St. James is using "justified" in a different way than St. Paul?

Paul doesn't say "justify" in Eph 2 at all, so I don't know what you refer to.

I never said he did.

This question was after the numbered section(s) where you had been bringing up Romans 4 where St. Paul does use "justified" (Grk: dikaioō), which is the same word that St. James uses in chapter 2 of his epistle.

If you mean the Pauline definition of "justification" in general, then yes, he means it differently than James does. We can tell from the contexts of the psgs in question.

I don't think you mean that St. Paul and St. James have different definitions of "justification" in general. ISTM that you mean that they are using the word "dikaioō" differently in these passages. Passages in which they both reference the same passage.

As far as "contexts" go... I think you are saying that St. Paul is speaking about justification "before God" and St. James is speaking about justification "before men," no?

Ok, ok so... you say that St. Paul and St. James are using it differently. Do you say this because of what you understand St. Paul to be saying in Romans 4 when he uses it? (Y or N will do here too) ;)

I assume your fuller quotation of Romans 4 was to show me that:

1. Justification has a forensic component (something I never denied).

AND

2. Christ's alien righteousness is imputed to the believer's account.

I still miss the bit about Christ's alien righteousness... no objective change... etc. :)

So a sheep will perish?

I will think on this as I may have misstated my position on this. That being said, I am not sure that I am willing to say that all of the "justified" are, indeed, "sheep."

BC

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I am sorry for posting again so quickly.

It's just that I just now finished reading what I wrote to you concerning the "sheep," and I wasn't sure how to express myself on the matter.

I think the the "sheep" are those that are in the Church (which is Christ's Body). Those that are not in the Church are not sheep.

Do you see what I am trying so desperately to express?

I don't see the "Church" as synonymous with the "sheep," but those that are in the Church as being closer to the mark...

I hope I am making some sense here... :)

BC

Rhology said...

BCcath,

In order for your Eph 2 argument to stand up to anythg, you need to show how the 2 "works" are different. That is fundamental, and that's the bottom line.

Rom 4:6 - whence cometh the righteousness that God imputes to the sinner apart from works, then? If not Christ?

Sheep - so those that are in the Church never perish? You don't believe a fully-committed RC who's been baptised and confirmed can commit a mortal sin and perish? I ask b/c Christ says the sheep will never perish.

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Ok... a couple of points...

In order for your Eph 2 argument to stand up to anythg, you need to show how the 2 "works" are different. That is fundamental, and that's the bottom line.

I don't agree with you.

You are the one who asserted that they are "the same works," not I.

That being said, I don't see any reason to believe that they have to be. The text certainly doesn't tell us that they are "the same works" even though you seemed to indicate it does).

Also... I think it important to point out that the forensic language which you seem to concentrate upon so much in Romans 4 (though not in James 2) is absent from the Ephesians passage we have been dealing with ("sōzō" [translated as "saved"] is used here and not any form of "dikaioō" [to justify] like in Romans 4, for example).

As far as Romans 4 goes... You seem to have backed off of saying that the the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ to the account of the believer is to be found in the text of this passage, and I, for one, am glad of it. ;)

whence cometh the righteousness that God imputes to the sinner apart from works, then? If not Christ?

I think that's a good question, but the text might answer it for us without any reference at all to the righteousness of the penal substitute being imputed to the account of Abraham being forced into it. :)

I happen to think that Abraham's faith (Grk: pisteuō) is what "was counted" (Grk: logizomai) as righteousness.

Sheep - so those that are in the Church never perish? You don't believe a fully-committed RC who's been baptised and confirmed can commit a mortal sin and perish? I ask b/c Christ says the sheep will never perish.

I do believe that apostasy can lead to eternal death. I think that this has been the historical understanding of the biblical teaching the subject since the dawn of Christendom.

To me the Scriptures seem to indicate that just as much as they seem to indicate that the sheep cannot be lost.

There is certainly a tension in this area that I feel inadequate to resolve as these things are mysteries to all of us.

The Catholic Church gives a lot of latitude on the questions surrounding predestination so...

I will think on it some more, ok?

But our discussion seems to be more about the passages from Eph, Rom, and Jas and how they relate to (if at all) the 16th century Reformation teaching "Sola Fide," so... can we wait on predestination and perseverance a bit?

BC

Lucian said...

Alan,

First the fishes, now the sheep ... do You have a fauna-phobia, or? :-)

The sheep are those that hear Christs voice and hearken to it (John 10:4, 27). Compare with Matthew 7:21. To these faithful men a promise is given by God, that He will NOT let any of them perish, or be plucked out of His hand (John 10:28, 29). St. Paul testifies to the same in Romans 8:28.

Once a frog always a forg does not apply to sheep ... whereas sheep are so by nature, we are so by choice (if we obey God, we're His sheep, if not, then not). Same thing with the fig-tree: "it wasn't time for the figs yet" ... but can this be said of men also? Is there a "specific time" for us to be fruitful? Do we await "special inviattions"? Can we honestly say to the Son of Man, whose Day comes as a thief, that "we're not ready yet", when he comes to judge the quick and the reposed?

Lucian said...

But, on the other hand, we've been here already, done that, and covered this issue as well, now, haven't we?

Rhology said...

BCcath,

That's fine, we can wait on the perseverance thing.
But you need to tell me on what basis you think the 2 "works" are different. That's the question, and has been the question all this time.

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I am a little surprised that you had no comments on some of the other things I said in my last post, but...

I think a lot of this controversy still boils down to words, what words mean in certain contexts, etc.

You're position (and the questions you are asking me that are based on it) seems to understand "saved," "through faith (possibly)," and "works" a bit differently than I do.

I agree completely that nothing we do as individuals can earn us initial justification.

Now, you might not like the way I have phrased that, but you can probably agree with it to a point, no?

I have the idea that you understand "works" (where the word is used in these verses) to mean "any human effort." I think we agree that we cannot come into "right relationship" with God (initially) by "earning" it.

However, is St. Paul using "works" primarily to express "any human effort" here in this passage? Is he concerned at all with "works of Torah?" Does "saved" here carry the meaning "reckoned righteousness?"

I think we probably disagree on all of these things to some extent.

You want to know how I differentiate between the "2 works," as you called them, in these Ephesians passages...

We... as I told you before... I don't think that one can come into "right relationship" with God by earning it. I think this is a gift of free grace. We agree thus far, I think. I am not sure that St. Paul has "earning" in mind when he speaks of "works" the first time...

The 2nd occurrence of the word "works" comes after the words "created in Christ Jesus." I think this is significant as it pertains to several of the things we discussed earlier (Christology as it relates to justification, partaking of the divine nature, etc.).

Is the first "works" any different that the 2nd "works?" You say no... I say that I see no reason at all to think they are the same (the text never says that they are) and some reason to think that St. Paul might be expressing something different the 2nd time...

As I said... the 2nd usage occurs after "created in Christ Jesus" (I am going to presuppose that means after coming into "right relationship") and the word works is now being modified by "good."

So there are two reasons I think St. Paul might be trying to express something else with the 2nd usage of works.

The text does not say the 2 usaages of the words are the same.

The second usage occurs after "created in Christ Jesus."

The second usage is modified by "good."

Those reasons are based on the text alone.

Why do you say they are the same? Can you show me that the text means to express that they are the same from the text alone?

BC

Rhology said...

BCcath,

oh, I have plenty to say about those other things, but I want to focus the convo. :-)

I agree completely that nothing we do as individuals can earn us initial justification.

This is a meaningless statement given RC theology. Fine.
As opposed to my theology, in which, yes, I agree with it 100%.

I don't think that one can come into "right relationship" with God by earning it.

You're being disingenuous here.
Look, either you're a maverick or you're a Roman Catholic. You have to choose.
If you're a maverick, welcome to the "schismatic" crowd like EgoMakarios (and me, as other RCs would have it).
If RC, your own merit is partly in play in the salvation of your soul. You're talking like you're sola fide without using the words "sola fide" or "faith alone". You're trying to ride the fence, making distinctions that imply no difference.
But RC dogma does not allow you to play this game, and I'm getting a little tired of it too. Are you proud of being RC or not?

I have the idea that you understand "works" (where the word is used in these verses) to mean "any human effort."

But what does it mean IN THE TEXT?
Look at it one more time.

8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The works that do not result in our salvation:
1) are not our own doing
2) are not the gift of God
3) would apparently merit boasting before God

Why do I think the 2 "works" are the same?
1) B/c they occur in consecutive sentences.
2) They are the same Gk word (ergon).
3) It matches the rest of Paul's theology, where men are totally depraved and do NOT seek to do good at all (Rom 3, Eph 1-2:3). So how could we do works to be saved, since no one does good works?

You say they're not the same b/c:
1) The text does not say the 2 usages of the words are the same.
2) The second usage occurs after "created in Christ Jesus."
3) The second usage is modified by "good."
4) The 1st "works" could be "works of Torah".

Please explain why any of these make any difference.
Re #3 in particular, you think that the 1st "works" would not be good? You think that Paul could be saying "not as a result of (evil) works"? What sense would that make?
Re #4, he doesn't say that. Also, why wouldn't the 2nd "works" be "works of Torah"?
This seems to be grasping at straws.

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I am looking forward to those "other things."

Re: "Initial justification."

This is a meaningless statement given RC theology. Fine. As opposed to my theology, in which, yes, I agree with it 100%.

I don't think initial justification necessarily ends in final salvation. You sound almost surprised to hear this... I assure you that I can hold this belief as a Catholic and meaningfully so.

You use the word "meaningless" quite liberally here, by the way. If you think it's a distinction without a difference you either don't understand Catholic theology, are imposing your definitions on it in places, or both things.

BCcath:I don't think that one can come into "right relationship" with God by earning it.

You're being disingenuous here. Look, either you're a maverick or you're a Roman Catholic. You have to choose. If you're a maverick, welcome to the "schismatic" crowd like EgoMakarios (and me, as other RCs would have it).

I haven't said anything outside the pale of orthodox Catholic teaching on the matter. You obviously aren't getting me or the teaching of the Catholic Church.

If RC, your own merit is partly in play in the salvation of your soul.

In crowning our merits, God is merely crowing His own gifts.

You do call yourself "Augustinian," do you not? ;)

Seriously though... it seems to me that God's grace enables us to do the works that merit His crowning them. The giving of that grace do be able to do them in the 1st place seems (to me at least) presuppose the God will that they be done. And when done, crowned.

"New creations" (not as before) that were "created in Christ Jesus" (creations with 2 natures, just like their Master) to do "good works" (when these "new creations" do "good works" they merit God's crowning. Just like the works of their Master). Gee, sounds fine to me! ;)

You're talking like you're sola fide without using the words 'sola fide' or 'faith alone.' You're trying to ride the fence, making distinctions that imply no difference. But RC dogma does not allow you to play this game, and I'm getting a little tired of it too. Are you proud of being RC or not?

1. There is nothing "sola fide" about saying that initial justification cannot be earned. That has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church.

2. As I said before, if you are going to keep making the charge that I am making "distinctions without a difference," you aren't getting what I am saying or Catholic teaching on the matter.

"RC" (yeah... you obviously really well versed in all things Catholic. I can tell by your use of the terminology. ;)

You don't seem to understand what "RC" theology teachings on these matters, as it seems that you keep conflating your understandings of biblical and theological terms with the ways that I am using them and then find contradictions (so-called). I, for one, am getting a little tired of that game.

I am proud to be a Christian in communion with the Pope of Rome, yes. Any historically-minded Christian who considered it to be anything other than a good thing just boggles me, if I am being honest.

BCcath:I have the idea that you understand "works" (where the word is used in these verses) to mean "any human effort."

But what does it mean IN THE TEXT? Look at it one more time.

*SIGH*

The "text" does not tell us how it is using the term at any point in the passage!

You seem to be claiming that "works" boils down to "any human effort" in these passages, and that both times the passages mention "works" they are referring to the same works.

Got news for you friend... the "text" doesn't tell us any of these things. Your claims are merely assumptions that you cannot prove from the text of these passages.

Your constant quoting of the text (that seems to imply that you think that I didn't read it) doesn't show you to be correct. You claimed something based on your theological presuppositions, and not on something the text is telling you.

The works that do not result in our salvation:
1) are not our own doing
2) are not the gift of God
3) would apparently merit boasting before God


It's obvious that we are disagreeing on how "saved" is being used here. It's also obvious that we disagree on how "works" is being used here.

ISTM that you threw in the word "merit" to reference your caricature of Catholic teaching on the subject since the passage says nothing of "merit" leading to the "boasting." That's productive.

If we ourselves could "earn" our initial justification (by faith or works) the we would, indeed, have something to boast about, but Catholic theology doesn't make that claim, and I don't make it either.

Why do I think the 2 "works" are the same?
1) B/c they occur in consecutive sentences.
2) They are the same Gk word (ergon).
3) It matches the rest of Paul's theology, where men are totally depraved and do NOT seek to do good at all (Rom 3, Eph 1-2:3). So how could we do works to be saved, since no one does good works?


1. It doesn't mean that they mean the same thing, as there is some presuppositional understanding of terms going on, and there are also some (I think, anyway) important words in between the 2 occurrences.
2. Same words with some important words in between them.
3. Only true if we presuppose that you are right about the rest of St. Paul's theology... which we certainly do not.

I won't comment on the "totally depraved" bit...

I agree with you that no one who is not "(re)created in Christ Jesus" is able to do anything worthy of merit. That seems to be where our agreement ends.

Please explain why any of these make any difference.
Re #3 in particular, you think that the 1st "works" would not be good? You think that Paul could be saying "not as a result of (evil) works"? What sense would that make?
Re #4, he doesn't say that. Also, why wouldn't the 2nd "works" be "works of Torah"?
This seems to be grasping at straws.


I am making the argument to counter you assertion that both usages of works mean the same thing. You cannot show that from the text.

As far as #3 goes... St. Paul uses "good" to modify "works" in the 2nd usage of the word. You are the ones claiming they mean the same thing. I was simply giving my reasons that they might, indeed, be being used differently.

You really want to see me compare "works of Torah" and "good works of Torah?" ;)

When beings are given the gift of partaking in the divine nature (which is a gift of God) do "good works" they are meritorious in the sight of God. Jesus is a perfect (take that both ways) example of that. :)

BC

Rhology said...

BCcath,

I am looking forward to those "other things."

All in good time.

You keep saying that I don't understand RC theology on salvation.
Look, *you* listen to Catholic Answers' Tim Staples on a radio show with a Reformed apologist. He's a professional apologist; you're an anonymous Internet commenter. I think I trust him to teach RC dogma more than you. He says RCs must contribute at least some merit to their own justification. You apparently disagree, but that's not my problem. This post is designed to interact with RCC dogma in contrast with the teaching of Eph 2:8-10, not "what BCcath thinks".

Now, in the Eph 2 psg, "works" means SOMEthing, as I'm sure you'd agree.
What in the text would lead you to think that the 1st "works" is diff from the 2nd?

You said:
As far as #3 goes... St. Paul uses "good" to modify "works" in the 2nd usage of the word. You are the ones claiming they mean the same thing. I was simply giving my reasons that they might, indeed, be being used differently.\

But you didn't explain what that could mean nor why it's even relevant.
As an example, look at these last 2 sentences you just wrote. You used "they" in each one. Each of the 2 "they"s means the same thing.
Similarly, Paul gives no indication that one "works" is different than the other.
What's more, he's clearly extending his thought from just a few verses before, where the children of wrath who followed Satan's leading in everything were saved by God's mercy. How? By grace thru faith. Faith AND works, or just faith? Just faith. Why?
1) No one who's in slavery to Satan does good works.
2) No one who's in slavery to Satan CAN do good works.
3) B/c God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting.
(Sorry if you don't think that RC dogma leaves room for it; Paul seemed to think that injecting ANY works into the equation means there's room for human boasting.)

You really want to see me compare "works of Torah" and "good works of Torah?"

Yes, b/c that's one of your possible disproofs of what I'm saying. I'm waiting for a full-fledged exposition of what Paul is saying, but you seem to be flitting at the edges.

Finally, I want to go back to this "you don't understand RC theology" thing. Educate me - is the statement "The idea that a sinner's initial justification is by faith alone is the position of official RC dogma" correct?
If not, please correct the statement.
If so, please provide a magisterial proclamation expressing that very thing.


Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I don't get what you are saying at all...

Look, *you* listen to Catholic Answers' Tim Staples on a radio show with a Reformed apologist. He's a professional apologist; you're an anonymous Internet commenter. I think I trust him to teach RC dogma more than you.

When I have time I will I will listen to it.

"RC" apologists don't know anything about Catholic theology when they disagree with the likes of James White on it, but if you think they are proving your point they are trustworthy. Duly noted.

He says RCs must contribute at least some merit to their own justification. You apparently disagree, but that's not my problem.

It would be your problem if you weren't representing him completely accurately, would it not?

And, of course, he says initial justification, right? Because would prove the "disagreement" you seem to eager to prove.

He would be contradicting Trent as well, I would say I assume you already know that, but I am now having my doubts about what it is you know.

Now, in the Eph 2 psg, "works" means SOMEthing, as I'm sure you'd agree. What in the text would lead you to think that the 1st "works" is diff from the 2nd?

We both agree that it means something, just not on what.

You said they meant the same thing. You said, "UM, yes it does" when I denied that the text told us they meant the same thing.

Admit you would wrong about the text telling us they both mean the same thing, would you?

I wouldn't have to offer an alternative to show that your assertion that the text says that they mean the same this is wrong, by the way. That is a separate issue.

Paul gives no indication that one "works" is different than the other.

The text doesn't say that they mean the same thing, which is what you claimed.

Your "no indication" thing is as subjective as you might claim the reasons I offered for thinking that he might have meant something different by them.

1) No one who's in slavery to Satan does good works.
2) No one who's in slavery to Satan CAN do good works.
3) B/c God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting.
(Sorry if you don't think that RC dogma leaves room for it; Paul seemed to think that injecting ANY works into the equation means there's room for human boasting.)


1. Where did I disagree?
2. ""
3. St. Paul doesn't tell us what you that, "God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting." Sorry, that's YOUR presupposition.

I realize that you probably like to "boast" about your theology being more "God-glorifying" while mine is more "man-glorifying," but I think this is just posturing more than anything. Do you know why? Because if God didn't actually do the things the ways you are claiming that He did it isn't God-glorifying to say that He did.

Yes, b/c that's one of your possible disproofs of what I'm saying. I'm waiting for a full-fledged exposition of what Paul is saying, but you seem to be flitting at the edges.

You missed my point about adding "of the Torah" to both of the "works" I think, since only one of the "works" has good in it either way.

Also... I wouldn't have to show anything to disprove your claim that the text tells us that St. Paul means the same thing in both instances other than the fact that the text itself does not make this claim. These things are separate issues.

"The idea that a sinner's initial justification is by faith alone is the position of official RC dogma" correct?

It is official "RC" teaching that we can do nothing to merit the grace of initial justification. It's free... it's Trent.

Does that help?

BC

Rhology said...

BCcath,

"RC" apologists don't know anything about Catholic theology when they disagree with the likes of James White on it, but if you think they are proving your point they are trustworthy.

I don't know what you mean here, so I'll just note its quality as a cheap insult.

He would be contradicting Trent as well

Which I asked you to provide the quotation for, and you declined. Would you mind?

Admit you would wrong about the text telling us they both mean the same thing, would you?

Absent any argument from you that they are different, why would any reasonable person do sthg like that?
Should I count how many requests I've made for someone to explain how they could be different in this thread? It is easily over a dozen.

I wouldn't have to offer an alternative to show that your assertion that the text says that they mean the same this is wrong, by the way. That is a separate issue.

I highlight it just to showcase. To let the admission sink in.

The text doesn't say that they mean the same thing, which is what you claimed.

Prove my claim wrong.

St. Paul doesn't tell us what you that, "God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting." Sorry, that's YOUR presupposition.

THen what does "not as a result of works, lest anyone should boast" mean?

I note, finally, that BCcath, despite quite a few lengthy comments, has not attempted to take up the challenge of the original post either. You're not alone, BCcath. You had given me some hope, though, and you still have a chance. I don't know why you're dilly-dallying, except that you have no idea how the two "works" could be different.

Oh, but they MUST be different! They simply MUST be! If they're NOT, then RC dogma is in conflict with Scripture, and that just COULDN'T be!

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

It seems painfully obvious to me that you don't understand me any better than I understand you.

I asked you to provide the quotation for, and you declined. Would you mind?

When did I "decline?" What does "decline" mean to you?

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.

If any one saith, that the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, is given only for this, that man may be able more easily to live justly, and to merit eternal life, as if, by free will without grace, he were able to do both, though hardly indeed and with difficulty; let him be anathema.

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.[Trent: S6-C1,2&3]

If Mr. Staples says that the passage we are discussing teaches that we merit our initial justification by works in any way he is at odds with Trent.

By the way, I think that you see my use of "initial justification" as being "meaningless" and a "distinction without a difference" because you seem to believe that initial justification implies seeing God when you die. I understand that's what you believe, but it's not Catholic theology... even if you disagree with that don't pretend like you've shown some kind of contradiction in the Catholic understanding of the subject when you clearly have not.

Now, sir, it is you who claimed that the texts in question here tell us that the "2 works mean the same thing."

The text never tells us such a thing. Thus, unless you can show where the text claims that the "2 works" of the texts we are examining "mean the same thing," you are wrong in making that claim.

Your claim that St. Paul's use of "works" in these passages means "any human effort" as it relates to seeing God at death is a separate claim! It's distinct from the claim that the texts tells us they mean the same thing. Can you not see that?

Should I count how many requests I've made for someone to explain how they could be different in this thread? It is easily over a dozen.

Yes, yes... I know... we just keep seeing shoddy "RC" theology "breaking against the rock of God's Word." *sigh*

I guess some of the problems we are having in this discussion include:

1. You seem to have made this verse an island.

2. You are assuming that St. Paul means the same things when he uses certain words as you do say he means when he uses them.

3. You claim (with no proof whatsoever) that the text itself "tells" us that it's using words in a certain way.

4. You claim that you understand "RC" teaching, but continue to say things that imply that you don't.

5. When reasons are offered for one's not understanding a word or a text differently than you do you ignore them and claim that no one has offered anything but denials of your position.

And many more, to be sure...

Prove my claim wrong.

The claim I was speaking about, which I made fairly clear, was your claim that the text tells us that the word "works" is being used in the same way in both instances.

Your claim is clearly wrong as the texts tells us no such thing.

BCcath:St. Paul doesn't tell us what you claim... that, "God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting." Sorry, that's YOUR presupposition.

Rhology: Then what does "not as a result of works, lest anyone should boast" mean?

That's a good question!

Did you not see that you claimed that, "God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting."

I simply wanted to point out that St. Paul makes no such claim that what you have offered is what he means by the words "that no one may boast" in the passage.

The question about what St. Paul means by the words "so that no one may boast" is separate from you claim that, "God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting" which is not stated by in the passage. Can you not see that???

I note, finally, that BCcath, despite quite a few lengthy comments, has not attempted to take up the challenge of the original post either.

I am not denying one word of the text, Rhology. Which word have I denied? I even told you that we can do nothing to merit initial justification. I have now provided some quotes from Trent that I think agree with that premise.

I have seen no one (unless Tim Staples specifically says otherwise) that this passage teaches we can come into "right relationship" with God by works.

I will listen to the clip this Sunday or Monday, alright?

If Mr. Staples says that this passage is teaching that we can come into right relationship with God by faith and works then I will gladly tell you he is wrong, as the passage doesn't say that anymore than it says, "the 2 works mean the same thing" or "God wants to be the One Who can boast and not leave room for any human boasting." Deal?

I gave you some reasons (from the text alone) why I believed that it was possible that St. Paul might have been using the word "works" differently in each instance. If those reasons don't satisfy you, that's perfectly fine, but it's silly to act as if I never gave you any reasons at all, IMO.

Rhology:Oh, but they MUST be different! They simply MUST be! If they're NOT, then RC dogma is in conflict with Scripture, and that just COULDN'T be!

Maybe I am not the only one capable of making cheap insults?

BC

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

By the way, I probably won't be able to respond till Monday so don't think I have run out on you, ok?

BC

Carrie said...

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema. (Trent)

Rhology said...

Hi BCcath,

BTW, have you ever gone by the handle "BobCatholic" or "BobCat", particularly in Steve Ray's DCF forum? I'm just curious.

When did I "decline?" What does "decline" mean to you?

You and I both know what "decline" means. Let's not waste time.
You declined b/c I asked and you didn't do it.
And you still haven't done it. You can't back up what you said.
Here is what I asked for:
Educate me - is the statement "The idea that a sinner's initial justification is by faith alone is the position of official RC dogma" correct?
If not, please correct the statement.
If so, please provide a magisterial proclamation expressing that very thing.


You provided a statement from Trent that condemns Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. Yes, I know that much.
Trent does not affirm justification by faith alone. EVeryone knows that, but you seem loathe to affirm it, which is why I said you don't seem proud to be RC.
But the heart of the matter is: does RC dogma affirm that a man must MERIT justification at least partly? And your statement from Trent doesn't count THAT out either. RC dogma is that man merits justification, but somehow it's still "all grace". That makes no sense, either to me or biblically, but that's the most you could say. Trent does not proscribe what I said. Point out to me *specifically* where it does, if you disagree. Otherwise, provide another RC magisterial statement or please retract your assertion.
(I'd add that I've been a few times in your situation of having to locate a statement by the RC Magisterium, and it can be tough. So I empathise. ;-) )

And Carrie's post right before this provides a statement relevant to this. And the following statement is *vitally important*:

that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary

If sthg more than faith "is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of justification", what is it? Works, no?

(thanks much, Carrie)

you seem to believe that initial justification implies seeing God when you die

I do, but I'm not making that part of my argument. But I am at least arguing that justification could be defined loosely as "the state in which one, if he were to die in that state, would go to eternal life." I think we agree on that.

it is you who claimed that the texts in question here tell us that the "2 works mean the same thing."

Yes, and I've made arguments to that effect.
And it's the plain reading of the text. Why *would* they be different? That's my question.

unless you can show where the text claims that the "2 works" of the texts we are examining "mean the same thing," you are wrong in making that claim.

That's just grandstanding. Neither of our positions is the "neutral, default" position. We need to find out which is correct. Please, present your arguments, and please remember that "I don't think they are the same" is not an argument.

You seem to have made this verse an island.

I am not discussing any systematic theology. I just want to know what this verse says.
At the same time, however, yes, if this verse means one thing unequivocally, then God-inspired Scripture will not teach elsewhere anythg contradictory. I think you see that and are trying to wriggle out of the implications.

You are assuming that St. Paul means the same things when he uses certain words as you do say he means when he uses them.

Umm... guilty as charged? If I *thought* Paul means sthg ELSE, then I'd believe THAT thing, not the thing I believe now. This claim applies to you as well.

You claim (with no proof whatsoever) that the text itself "tells" us that it's using words in a certain way.

Anyone can see that I've made multiple arguments for my position.

When reasons are offered for one's not understanding a word or a text differently than you do you ignore them

I challenge you to cite any opposing argument in this thread that I've ignored.

St. Paul makes no such claim that what you have offered is what he means by the words "that no one may boast" in the passage.

Then what does that statement mean?

I even told you that we can do nothing to merit initial justification.

In opposition to RC dogma, yes.

I will listen to the clip this Sunday or Monday, alright?

OK, sounds good. What I refer to occurs fairly early in the interview, when Slick asks Staples what we must do to be saved.

If Mr. Staples says that this passage is teaching

He doesn't talk about this psg much at all, just FYI.

If those reasons don't satisfy you, that's perfectly fine, but it's silly to act as if I never gave you any reasons at all, IMO.

You're right, it is overstatement to say you've not given ANY reasons, much like it is to say that I've "ignored" counterarguments here.
That said, I don't see you dealing substantively with my rebuttals to your initial reasons.

I probably won't be able to respond till Monday so don't think I have run out on you, ok?

Yes, that's fine. God knows there are more important things in life than blogposts, especially posts that only like 8 people are reading anymore. ;-)

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Carrie,

You quote of Trent only affects my argument if I am trying to argue that Trent (or any other Magisterial pronouncement) affirms Reformation theology as it relates to Sola Fide.

You and Rhology have gotten the impression (I have no idea how, that I am a Catholic trying to show that the Catholic Church actually affirms JBFA. I am not.

HINT: Initial justification does not logically,infallibly end in final salvation for every person.

We can do no work to earn the grace giving by God when we are initially justified.

That's what Trent teaches.

I DON'T BELIEVE IN THE REFORMATION DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE NOR DO I CONTEND THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES IT.

Ok?

BC

Rhology said...

You and Rhology have gotten the impression (I have no idea how, that I am a Catholic trying to show that the Catholic Church actually affirms JBFA.

No, I never thought that.
But let's be clear - there are three options for the justification of the sinner.
1) Faith alone
2) Faith + works
3) Works alone

We hold to #1. I know you don't hold to #3. But I present #2 as the RC position, and you keep denying it, which is disingenuous, since everyone knows RCC's position here. We're just trying to help you keep track of your own position.

Initial justification does not logically,infallibly end in final salvation for every person.

I deny that, but that's not what we've been discussing here.

We can do no work to earn the grace giving by God when we are initially justified.

See, there you go again. You're talking like Sola Fide, even though we both know you don't really believe that.
Is the key to this in the word "initial"? I wouldn't think so, but maybe I'm missing sthg.
If that's not it, I have no idea; this is maddening.

Remember, Trent says this:

that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary

Looks like you don't understand Trent as well as you thought.

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I feel like you might just say that, "Trent contradicts itself here, no surprise there..." but I will then know you have no real desire to dialog on these issues and our discussion will be over.

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.

Find the quote yourself since you seem to sure of your grasp of Trent (hint: it's in session 6). Then try, if you please, to find a way of harmonizing what they could possibly have been thinking aside from making contradictory statements that could only be made by idiots. If you want to take that route, then I will know that our discussion is over. As I will not dialog with a person who leaves leaves the only status open for people who disagree with him is "because they are idiots."

BC

Rhology said...

BC,

The only usage of the term "idiots" I can find in this thread is by you in this last comment. This is hyperbole.
And dialogue with me if you want. Don't do so if you don't want. I can't fathom why you'd want to make me say you're an idiot or something, but... whatever.

OK, let's try for some better understanding here. I had said this:

If sthg more than faith "is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of justification", what is it? Works, no?

You are now responding with a quote from Trent:

none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification.

Is the problem in that your statement says "merit" whereas I'm asking about the means by which grace is obtained?
I want to get to the heart of the matter, indeed I have wanted that for 120+ comments, and a misunderstanding about merit vs. non-merit doesn't seem useful to me. Maybe that's where we've gone wrong. What I'm interested in is an answer to my question.

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I think we are talking past one another, and, unfortunately, I haven't much time today as I have gotten slammed with a project here at work.

I will have to keep this short.

The "idiot" comment was preemptive in the sense that you if had posited that Trent contradicted itself in the same session on the same matter that would be a mistake that only idiots would make. Many Reformed like to point out (ones who aren't experts in Catholic theology) many "contradictions" that they find all the time in Catholic theology.

The quote you provide from Trent is one of the Canons from Session 6, correct? The 9th?

The quote I am providing is from the Decree on Justification. Those canons are tied to the decrees. I suggest you read the decrees before reading the canons.

I submit to you that "none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification."

That is my position.

We also might be getting tripped up because Trent seems to use the term "justification" to refer to a continual process. I would say that your canon reveals that usage. It's also important to understand how the Tridentine Fathers might have understood and been using the terminology "faith alone."

BC

p.s.
I am not the person that you thought I might be.