Friday, December 14, 2007

Another Mailbox

Since James shared his email I thought I would share two of mine.

First, I also got an email from "Michael the Theologian In Training" which was also addressed to "Luther" which asked

I am in need of aid with your theology. You claim that we, human beings, are saved by faith alone. Please, define for me "saved".

I wasn't planning on answering Michael because I suspected a baiting, but what the heck. I'll give you the answer I would give my five year old - "go to heaven when we die". If you need more detail Michael, please ask. But don't call me Luther, you can save that for James.

A more interesting email is from a fiesty Catholic:

It is good to see a little light being shone on a blogsite which seems to thrive on existing in perpetual darkness.

For an appreciation of the Role of Mary in God's Plan for Redemption you should read the Book of Ecclesiasticus.

Oops! Sorry! You don't have that book in your so-called Bible do you?

Are Protestants really Christian?

For the answer to this why not access [snip] If you dare!

I did dare and managed to survive. I am leaving out the link to his site as he could just be a link troll (he appears to be selling materials). The site wasn't overally interesting, it seemed to be targeted to pushing the Traditionalist viewpoint.

25 comments:

Captain Kangaroo said...

Looking at the many different things various people say who identify themselves as Catholic (whether they are or not), I can see how Protestants can complain about not knowing what it is Catholics believe or practice.

Some might say it is almost as difficult in nailing down what Protestants believe and practice. (OK, I would not say "almost as difficult" unless by "almost" I meant a hundred times less difficult; but I agree that it is not all harmony and hand-holding in Catholic country either, whatever some others seem to want you to believe.)

On the other hand, there is good news for those complaining that they do not get a reasonable picture of what the Church actually teaches. The Church has conveniently set up a web site that has official teaching, commentaries and magisterial opinion laid out for easy access. Rather than trying to construe (or misconstrue) the ramifications of Trent on the doctrines of the 21st-century Church, why not go and see what the Holy See actually says about them and any other things?

Please take time to visit this URL if you are interested:
http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerus/index_eng.html

Plain ignorance is a sad state, but it is no sin. Willful ignorance is another matter.

Saint and Sinner said...

"You claim that we, human beings, are saved by faith alone. Please, define for me "saved"."

I would be a bit more careful with terminology, here (though I may be being a bit picky). We are *justified* *through* faith alone. Sanctification, which is also "being saved", is through works, and election, which is also part of salvation, isn't on the basis of *anything* we do but solely upon God's sovereign choice for His own purpose.

Second, we need to define what we mean by "faith" when we say "faith alone". We are NOT referring to "dogmatic" faith, an assent to revealed truth, but rather, a faith that lives in a constant state of repentance, a living faith. This is what we call "fiducia". [And on a quick note: repentance is not the same thing as penance.]

So:
Fiducia: A faith that is characterized by a constant state and disposition of a contrite heart.

Assensus: An assent to revealed truth. aka "Dogmatic" Faith

Thus, we would say that we are justified by fiducia alone (Paul's usage) but not by assensus alone (James usage).

Saint and Sinner said...

"Rather than trying to construe (or misconstrue) the ramifications of Trent on the doctrines of the 21st-century Church, why not go and see what the Holy See actually says about them and any other things?"

The problem, ck, is that what the RCC interprets Trent to mean NOW is different from what it meant 450years ago as evidenced from the writings of the theologians up to Vatican II.

Dozie said...

"The problem, ck, is that what the RCC interprets Trent to mean NOW is different from what it meant 450years ago as evidenced from the writings of the theologians up to Vatican II".

The problem is that you were not around 450 years ago to know what anything meant then nor do you have sufficient ear to understand Catholic stuff.

Captain Kangaroo said...

"The problem, ck, is that what the RCC interprets Trent to mean NOW is different from what it meant 450years ago as evidenced from the writings of the theologians up to Vatican II."

The problem is that if you want to criticise what the Church teaches now, then you need to know what the church teaches now.

Willful ignorance tells me much more about you than it does about whatever you want me to believe.

Saint and Sinner said...

"The problem is that if you want to criticise what the Church teaches now, then you need to know what the church teaches now."

My criticism of your church is that, in spite of its claims to be the one true church that teaches the unchanging apostolic doctrine, its doctrines change with the ebb and flow of modern culture.

"Willful ignorance tells me much more about you than it does about whatever you want me to believe."

Yes, your willful ignorance about what your church has historically taught tells me a lot about you. You're willing to blindly accept whatever your *modern* church says that it has historically taught in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Stop drinking the koolade, dude.

Richard Froggatt said...

Saint and Sinner,

Except for your interpretation of what James and Paul each meant by faith; I don't see how you can disagree with the Catholic objection of Sola Fide.

Re: your criticism of the Church changing its teaching from what Trent taught; prove it.

If your proof is that Protestants 450 years ago were not considered Christian but they are now then you need to reconsider your evidence. Unless you can produce a 450 year old Protestant.

Captain Kangaroo said...

"My criticism of your church is that, in spite of its claims to be the one true church that teaches the unchanging apostolic doctrine, its doctrines change with the ebb and flow of modern culture."

S&S, I suggest that rather than simply asserting this is so, you go to the web site, and see whether that is so. I'm well aware of what the Church has taught in the past and what it teaches now, and I understand their reconciliation.

You merely assert otherwise, and then call me a Kool-Aid drinker?--all without really knowing. It always amazes me how people like you refuse to find out what we really believe, yet constantly assert to us what that it is. Your willful ignorance is outright sin. But then, being once saved, always saved, perhaps it does not matter to you. That's your loss--literally.

Thanks for so well demonstrating what being a "Beggars all" is all about: stubborn, willful ignorance asserted.

Saint and Sinner said...

"You merely assert otherwise, and then call me a Kool-Aid drinker?--all without really knowing. It always amazes me how people like you refuse to find out what we really believe, yet constantly assert to us what that it is. Your willful ignorance is outright sin. But then, being once saved, always saved, perhaps it does not matter to you. That's your loss--literally."

I know EXACTLY what you guys believe now and acknowledge that that is what the website that you pointed me to teaches, but I am asserting that that was not what past Catholics believed. The Traditionalists and Sedevacantists are far more historical in regards to pre-Vatican II teaching than your modern church.

Richard Froggatt said...

but I am asserting that that was not what past Catholics believed. The Traditionalists and Sedevacantists are far more historical in regards to pre-Vatican II teaching than your modern church.

IOW, I won't/can't prove it but I will point out that other people agree with me.

Captain Kangaroo said...

"I know EXACTLY what you guys believe now and acknowledge that that is what the website that you pointed me to teaches."

S&S, I'd be a lair if I said I believe you. I find it impossible to believe that you know EXACTLY what we believe, especially when you refuse to find out from the actual authoritative sources, as if such refusal were a virtue of some sort.

As long as you continue seeking to preserve your ignorance, you remain comfortable with and a slave to your false biases. You can know the truth, and it will set you free.

Saint and Sinner said...

Here are the pre-Vatican II OFFICIAL statements of your church:

“So, when the Greeks and others say that they were not committed to the care of Peter and his successors, they must confess that they are not of Christ’s sheep, even as the Lord says in John, ‘There is one fold and one shepherd.’...Furthermore we declare, state, define, and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff.”
-Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

[Notice how your pope, using the ex cathedra language of "declare, state, define, and pronounce", says that the Eastern Orthodox are not Christians. Secondly, notice how he says that it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the Roman pontiff.]

Here's another:

"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church."
-Pope Eugene IV, Cantate Domino

[I will note here that, although this came before the Protestant Reformation, Protestants would have been (and were) considered "schismatics".]

Here's a catechism from 1649:

"... that man who has not a due subordination and connection to the head and common councils thereof, (that is, the Pope and general councils from whence under Christ we have our spiritual life and motion, as we are Christians,) must needs be dead, nor indeed can he be accounted a member of that mystical body."
-The Douay Catechism

Here's a Papal Encyclical:

8. Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom "the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior."
-Pope Pius IX, On Promotion of False Doctrines

And another:

11. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. ... "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation."
-Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos

GeneMBridges said...

"You claim that we, human beings, are saved by faith alone. Please, define for me "saved"."

I would be a bit more careful with terminology, here (though I may be being a bit picky). We are *justified* *through* faith alone. Sanctification, which is also "being saved", is through works, and election, which is also part of salvation, isn't on the basis of *anything* we do but solely upon God's sovereign choice for His own purpose.

Second, we need to define what we mean by "faith" when we say "faith alone". We are NOT referring to "dogmatic" faith, an assent to revealed truth, but rather, a faith that lives in a constant state of repentance, a living faith. This is what we call "fiducia". [And on a quick note: repentance is not the same thing as penance.]

So:
Fiducia: A faith that is characterized by a constant state and disposition of a contrite heart.

Assensus: An assent to revealed truth. aka "Dogmatic" Faith

Thus, we would say that we are justified by fiducia alone (Paul's usage) but not by assensus alone (James usage).


I'd add that in Reformed theology in particular, Sola Fide subsists as a species of Sola Gratia. We are justified by faith, saved by grace. Sola Fide speaks to the instrument of justification, not a meritorious cause.

Which get us to:


Except for your interpretation of what James and Paul each meant by faith; I don't see how you can disagree with the Catholic objection of Sola Fide.

The Catholic objection is predicated on two things:

1. The treasury of merit and the infusion of grace. Justification, consequently, is righteousness imparted not imputed. Faith is not merely an instrumental cause, it is a meritorious cause in Roman theology. So, no, the differences are considerably more nuanced.

2. The exegetical controversy, is not over what is meant by "faith" but what is meant by the words "justify/ied/ification." The Catholic objection turns on two exegetical fallacies: semantic incest and semantic inflation.

GeneMBridges said...

The Church has conveniently set up a web site that has official teaching, commentaries and magisterial opinion laid out for easy access.

Of course one of the standard Roman objections to our rule of faith is that we don't enjoy infallible knowledge. Out of curiosity, would you point out a list of infallibly exegeted Scriptures for us on that site?

Carrie said...

[I will note here that, although this came before the Protestant Reformation, Protestants would have been (and were) considered "schismatics".]

Are you sure?

I thought the EOs were considered schismatics and Protestants were heretics. Note that Protestants are described under the heresy section in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

I thought this was spelled out more clearly elsewhere but I can't find it at the moment. I'll keep looking.

Carrie said...

Found it.

Catechism of St Pius

10 Q: Who are they who do not belong to the Communion of Saints?
A: Those who are damned do not belong to the Communion of Saints in the other life; and in this life those who belong neither to the body nor to the soul of the Church, that is, those who are in mortal sin, and who are outside the true Church.

11 Q: Who are they who are outside the true Church?
A: Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics, and the excommunicated.

12 Q: Who are infidels?
A: Infidels are those who have not been baptized and do not believe in Jesus Christ, because they either believe in and worship false gods as idolaters do, or though admitting one true God, they do not believe in the Messiah, neither as already come in the Person of Jesus Christ, nor as to come; for instance, Mohammedans and the like.

14 Q: Who are heretics?
A: Heretics are those of the baptized who obstinately refuse to believe some truth revealed by God and taught as an article of faith by the Catholic Church; for example, the Arians, the Nestorians, and the various sects of Protestants.

16 Q: Who are schismatics?
A: Schismatics are those Christians who, while not explicitly denying any dogma, yet voluntarily separate themselves from the Church of Jesus Christ, that is, from their lawful pastors.


The modern view is a bit softer on the Muslims also.

Saint and Sinner said...

I haven't read any of the comments since I last posted, and since its Friday and I want to have a calm weekend without getting fired up, I bid thee all fare-well.

Secondly, I would like to apologize to ck and to everyone here, but especially him, for calling him a koolaide drinker in one of my posts. That was out of bounds. [And yes, I'm being serious.]

Dozie said...

"...in spite of its claims to be the one true church that teaches the unchanging apostolic doctrine, its doctrines change with the ebb and flow of modern culture."

If what you assert is true, it should follow then that you are finding it difficult to have a firm grasp of what it is the Church teaches - the same teachings you feel competent to criticize. You should be admonished to first overcome your difficulties before exposing how little you are capable of knowing.

Dozie said...

"The modern view is a bit softer on the Muslims also."


How many times will you be told that Protestants are not truly members of the Church before it finally hits you as a serious commentary? Somehow when the Church talks about ecumenism, some protestants imagine that the Church has them in mind, Nah.

Carrie said...

How many times will you be told that Protestants are not truly members of the Church before it finally hits you as a serious commentary? Somehow when the Church talks about ecumenism, some protestants imagine that the Church has them in mind, Nah.

Huh?

Can you explain what you mean here exactly?

Dozie said...

11 Q: Who are they who are outside the true Church?

A: Protestants are still outside looking in. This is a dogmatic statement and has no chance of changing. Anyone can claim to be christian, true or false, but to belong to the Church as one belongs to any organization, certain conditions have to be met. Protestantism does not cut it. It never has and never will. Therefore, do not falsely console yourself on the basis of "the Church has softened its teachings". I hope this requires no further explanation.

Saint and Sinner said...

Well, I broke my promise to myself not to post anymore in this comment box, but...

"How many times will you be told that Protestants are not truly members of the Church before it finally hits you as a serious commentary? Somehow when the Church talks about ecumenism, some protestants imagine that the Church has them in mind, Nah."

...And of course, outside the church, there is no salvation. Its about time!

Well, it looks like we have a Traditionalist in the combox, and of course, his/her opinion of what mother church teaches is obviously different from the "seperated brethren" and "our Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ" language that we hear all the time.

I think it is clear that the claim that the Roman Magesterium provides a clear teaching authority is like the Emperor who had no clothes.

Now, if we only had Leo here...

Machaira said...

Dozie,

It would appear that you should direct your comments to your more "liberal" RC brethren. You don't seem to understand that Protestants in this thread would tend to agree with your comments, in that, we find the idea of "that was then, but this is now" kind of "modern" RC doctrine to be inconsistent with infallible councils, popes and magisterium. Although I disagree vehemently with the RCC, at least I can have a bit of respect for someone who is consistent with what they claim to believe.

Carrie said...

I hope this requires no further explanation.

No, I understand. But most RCs take the separated brethern stance (as S&S said) so I was surprised by your comment.

Rhology said...

This Dozie fellow is fun so far! Simultaneously, s/he
1) has intentionally taken the normal RC response out to the woodshed and called it out as wrong
2) shown him/herself in NONunity with other RCs in the combox
3) demonstrated that s/he would much rather throw poop on Protestants than realise that s/he agrees much more with the Prots around here on this question than his/her own RC "brethren".

This is good stuff.

Dozie, I'd invite you also to take a look at the 1st 2 blogposts and their comboxes as seen here. I am very interested in your thoughts.