Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A prayer for judgment


I think I've caused a bit of a stir when I said:

I pray that God will have mercy on many unknowingly in the darkness of RCC and cause Mary to be elevated to the title of a person of the Divine Quadernity.


Apparently my previous explanation was not sufficient.
Let me try something else.

Romans 1:18-32
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
What relevance does this passage have to the topic at hand and my expressed hope?
RCC is, to many people, a viable option when it comes to Christian churches. Why? For the same reason that the Word of Faith and Oneness Pentecostal heretics like TD Jakes are seen that way - they use the words "Jesus", "Holy Spirit", "forgiveness", "grace", "faith", "love", "God", "church", "Bible", etc. They quote from the Bible. They have crosses (usually) in their buildings and around their necks.
Insufficient differentiation between them and that which is truly biblical has taken place, and that's of course partly the fault of the true people of God. But it's also the fault of those who wish to take some of the labels of the biblical faith upon themselves and cut out other parts they find less convenient.

I want this mixing, this near-syncretism, to be eradicated, so that the difference between truth and error may be clearly visible. I join my tiny voice to the bold voice of the Scripture - "come out from them and be separate" (2 Cor 6:17) - and to Jesus' own words in Matthew 16:6-12 -

Jesus said to them, "Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 7And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread." 8But Jesus, aware of this, said, "O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.


Now, why the boldfaced print in the Rom 1 passage above? It is to point out that a fair amount of the perverted actions that are described in the passage are results of God's judgment on those who had already rejected God's revelation and the worship of God. They went from bad to worse, from rejection to perversion, from lust to homosexuality, from self-hurt to other-hurt as well, because God took what was in their hearts and caused it to be amplified, to distinguish it further from that which is good, to carry out further judgment and receive glory for His justice.

Our RCC friends will of course object, but all are invited to take a look at the three recent posts on that very topic and decide for themselves just how relevant the "images of mortal man" part of Romans 1 is to RCC practice, as well as the many references to Mariology/Mariolatry that have gone before on this blog.
Thus my prayer is that the institution of the church will go from bad to worse, from blasphemy to serious blasphemy, from implicit rejection of biblical truth to explicit, etc. I pray that individual people in great numbers would come out from the church, and that others would be swayed against joining her because the dogma is just too blasphemous for even the most clueless to accept.
And of course it should always be our prayer that God be glorified in all things. He has chosen to glorify Himself through such judgments visited upon blasphemous institutions. Glory to God in the way He chooses His glory to come. And may God have mercy.


33 comments:

Carrie said...

Amen!

Insufficient differentiation between them and that which is truly biblical has taken place, and that's of course partly the fault of the true people of God.

Great point. This is such a frustration for me and why I engage this field.

I want this mixing, this near-syncretism, to be eradicated, so that the difference between truth and error may be clearly visible...I pray that individual people in great numbers would come out from the church, and that others would be swayed against joining her because the dogma is just too blasphemous for even the most clueless to accept.

Double Amen! Maybe even a triple, but I'm still thinking about it.

Matt said...

Rhology,

Great Post! I also join you in the prayer that the root of idolatry in the RCC would bear clearly blasphemous fruit, so that it may be plainly visible to all for what it really is, for "by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20). Truly, as the Psalmist says, "Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments" (Ps. 119:137), and such a judgment would indeed be most fitting upon the RCC.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Am I the only one who thinks Mel Brooks is holding a hammer to the Wittenberg door at the top of page here?

Just sayin'...

Hidden One said...

Dear Matt,

I have three honest questions.

1. Why do you wish Catholics would sin (more?)? (That desire seems to me to be contrary to the will of God, who, to the best of my knowledge, desires perfection.)
2. If the Catholic Church doesn't "bear clearly blasphemous fruit", will that alter your view of it?
3. In a hypothetical universe where Catholicism turned out to be right, would the hypothetical you be willing to accept the love of the "Catholic" God?

Sincerely in Christ,
Hidden One

Matt said...

Hidden One,

I should have clarified myself more here. First, I never said that I wanted Catholics to sin more. I have many family members who are Catholics, and I have no desire for them to sin. I do believe that there are true Christians within the RCC, and I certainly have no desire for them to sin. God demands holiness, and I pray that Christ's Church will grow in holiness. Rather, what I wished to see was the "root of idolatry" within the RCC to bear clearly blasphemous fruit, which is the essence of what Rhology is saying, I believe. I should have also added that as an alternative condition, that the blasphemous fruit that the root has already produced could be clearly seen as blasphemous. It should be noted that I don't consider the ordinary Catholic to be the "root of idolatry." Rather, this has to do more with the theology adopted at the highest levels and forced down upon the people. Indeed, it seems to me that many Catholics are honest folk who have no desire to be idolatrous, and in many ways are like sheep without a shepherd (Mk. 6:34), harried back and forth by the decrees of Rome, needing the saving grace of Christ if they are unsaved, or if they are saved, needing the true knowledge of the grace and comfort that comes from Christ's finished work, which frees them from the burdens imposed upon them by Rome.

Rather, my contention is that at the heart of Roman Catholicism are presuppositions which are unbiblical and anti-Christian in themselves (the chief of which is the abandonment of Scripture as the sole authority of faith and practice). Furthermore, these presuppositions have within themselves a potential to produce a quite blasphemous anti-Christian system, if they are taken to their full extent. As it is, this root within the RCC is idolatrous. However, it has not produced such a system yet as to be so blatantly anti-Christian that it could not be reasonably called Christianity. After all, there are Christians in the RCC, and I'm sure that God saves people within the RCC. But Roman Catholicism is not a pure form of Christianity, for Scripture is not its sole source of authority, and as a result it has incorporated various pagan elements into its religion. My hope and prayer is that people will see Roman Catholicism for what it is, as it is, now. However, if this distinction from pure Christianity remains hidden from the majority of people, then I hope that the root will only produce what it has the potential to do - a system that further demonstrates the anti-Christian-ness of its presuppositions and fundamental nature. I hope that this will be not to the greater sinning of the Roman Catholic people, but to their greater awakening, so that they will think about what they believe, and why, and come to a true and Scriptural understanding of Christ and His grace. Thus, my heart is for the benefit of Catholics, and not their harm.

With respect to your second question, whether or not God chooses to bring such a judgment to pass upon the RCC (in the vein of Rom. 1) is not for me to decide. If He does, I hope and pray that it will be to the saving of a large number of souls, to His glory. If He does not, then I also pray that He will be glorified in it. There is nothing within this potentiality that necessitates that it actualize to its full degree of potential. There is nothing that necessitates that the root of idolatry within the RCC develop any further than it already has (with its mariolatry, the veneration of saints and images, etc.). Thus, if it does not develop further, then this will not change my mind, since nothing in my view is conditioned upon its further development as a necessity, but only as a contingent possibility.

With respect to your third question, I am not familiar with all of the minutiae of RC theology to know what all that this would entail. Nonetheless, since God is immutable, nothing of His nature could be different if He had decided to create a different world than the one He has created (for instance, He could not be not sovereign over all). Whether of not I could accept God's love, I can only say that my fallen humanity is at enmity with God, and apart from His grace drawing me to Him, I never could have accepted His love, no matter what other particulars of theology obtain in this specific universe. We only love Him because He has first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19) and the love that we have for Him has come from Him, having been poured into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). We can never accept Christ's love, lest He draw us to Himself and open our hearts to receive it, having ordained from eternity past that we should come to Him. Thus, no matter what other theological details might obtain in a hypothetical universe, I would still be an enemy of God by nature, the sacrifice of Christ would still be necessary to atone for sin, and my acceptance of His grace and love would be dependent upon His sovereign pleasure (since He could not cease to be sovereign). Thus, God would have to answer this question, and not I. If you want me to consider a world in which God is not sovereign over everything, then I am afraid that I cannot answer your question, since a hypothetical world in which God is not sovereign over all is a world that is logically impossible.

I hope this clarifies matters somewhat.

Grace and Peace,
Matt

Carrie said...

Am I the only one who thinks Mel Brooks is holding a hammer to the Wittenberg door at the top of page here?

Huh?

James said...

Take a look at this new Catholic apologetics website. catholicchampion.com.

BJ said...

Rho,

I've been thinking about your statement a lot over the past few days, and I've wanted to reply. However, I haven't been quite sure how.

I think your statement has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. Still, I'm surprised that you're shocked that people are offended over this. I know I would be if such statements were made about my denomination/beliefs.

More to the point, your motivation and purpose is spot-on: "I want this mixing, this near-syncretism, to be eradicated, so that the difference between truth and error may be clearly visible."

Yep. Amen! Near Christianity is far more dangerous than anti-Christianity. I couldn't agree more.

A couple things where I think I part company with you are these two things. First, you said, "RCC is, to many people, a viable option when it comes to Christian churches. Why? For the same reason that the Word of Faith and Oneness Pentecostal heretics like TD Jakes are seen that way - they use the words "Jesus", "Holy Spirit", "forgiveness", "grace", "faith", "love", "God", "church", "Bible", etc. They quote from the Bible. They have crosses (usually) in their buildings and around their necks."

This is an oversimplification and a caricature of the many people who see Catholicism as viable. I'm sure the great Catholic thinkers and theologians, focusing especially since the Reformation, didn't think Catholicism was true because of crosses and buildings. Also, Protestants, like Machen, who believe Catholicism to be a faction of true Christianity do so for more significant reasons that this. To simplify the real reasons Christians see Catholicism as viable, you paint all Catholics and "Catholic Allies" as foolish, stupid, unreasonable, and superficial. I don't think that is a fair depiction, which hurts rather than helps your argument.

Second, I've read you say elsewhere that you don't want individual Catholics to fall into more apostasy; you want them to come out of the Church. Instead, you say that you want the official teaching of the Church to become as apostate as possible so that the Truth will be seen to true and vastly different from such falsehood. Am I summarizing you properly? Let me know if I am not.

The problem I have here is being able to differentiate the two (individual apostasy with institutional apostasy) for this reason: For the official teaching of the Church to slip into further apostasy, it requires that individual Catholics (namely bishops) vote for such changes. Hence, this would mean that the majority of Catholic leadership would have to become incredibly apostate, vocal, and revolutionary. Therefore, it seems to me that in praying for the Church to become more apostate as an institution, you would ipso facto be praying that a large number of her members (namely bishops) become apostate. How can you pray for institutional apostasy without also praying for individual apostasy? It doesn't make sense to me.

To me, it seems that the better prayer would be to first pray that those misled by apostasy would convert to the Truth and exist their old ways. You seem to be praying that as priority one, and for that I'm thankful. However, instead of praying for more apostasy in the institution, I would pray that the institution would close down and/or collapse. In other words, for those preaching a false gospel, I'd pray that their mouths would be shut, not that they would teach more falsehood. Inevitably, more false teaching will lead to more false disciples, which is certainly what neither you, nor I, nor any of your readers desire.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. I'm glad you posted this further explanation because I do think it was helpful to see where your heart lies. The first post(s) could easily be taken in a manner you did not intend, but this one is a bit clearer. I look forward to your response, if you have the time.

In Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Carrie said...

To simplify the real reasons Christians see Catholicism as viable, you paint all Catholics and "Catholic Allies" as foolish, stupid, unreasonable, and superficial.

No he doesn't and I think that is an unfair rendering of what he said. I think his point is rather simple and accurate, most people think Catholics are viable Christians b/c the have so many components of Christianity. It takes time and thought to understand the difference and many don't take that time but choose to punt. If you don't believe me, round up 10 people from your church and ask if Catholicism is a legitimate Christian sect and why. And of course, for every scholar who believes that Catholicism is a "viable option" I can find just as many who disagree, so that won't solve any problems.

Therefore, it seems to me that in praying for the Church to become more apostate as an institution, you would ipso facto be praying that a large number of her members (namely bishops) become apostate.

You are assuming that they aren't already apostate. If Catholicism is apostate, then certainly her high-level individual authorities are false teachers.

To me, it seems that the better prayer would be to first pray that those misled by apostasy would convert to the Truth and exist their old ways...However, instead of praying for more apostasy in the institution, I would pray that the institution would close down and/or collapse.

First, many who convert to the Truth do leave and that is great. Yet there are still many left in the body and some who leave Protestantism to join. How many among those are true believers and why do they stay/go? Who knows, but if something could happen to "shake out" more, that is great.

Second, hoping for the collapse of that system would be nice, but history is not on our side, nor are numbers. We will never be rid of false systems till Christ comes, the best we can do is try to get people out of them.

But the main issue here for me isn't "what is the best way to overcome the RCC", the issue is, what is the truth. This discussion is a bit of a side issue b/c of Rhology's comment, and I think his reasoning is a viable option for promoting the truth (and I fully agree with him), but the the real problem is that Protestants can't seem to figure out the truth about Catholicism.

Rhology said...

BJ,

I don't know if I ever said that I'm "shocked" that people are offended over this. It's that I don't care.
I'm sure you mean well, I'd just ask that you write your comments and then read over them at least once before posting them. I think I remember this isn't the 1st time you've put words in my mouth.

Now, the reason I posted this in the 1st place was b/c some people took exception to a comment I had made in another post (to which I link at the beginning). This is a self-defense post and explication after people have been questioning what I said.
I mean, I'd pray that the RCC would descend deeper into, I don't know, worship of alien life-forms if that would lead more people out and lead closer to the institution's collapse. They don't have any tendency to do so, so that's kind of dumb. But countless numbers of RCs DO worship Mary in practice, while the official dogma might as well be worship.
Similarly, I'd pray that RCC would go all-out in their other perverse doctrines, like extending the prohibition of marriage to all members, that they'd cut out faith in Christ as a requirement for salvation so that it would be only by good works (which is already in place in some RC circles), etc.

I know I would be if such statements were made about my denomination/beliefs.

Fair enough, but the nice thing about being a Reformed Babdist is that we can offer a rational, scriptural response, as opposed to what RCs/EOdox can do. It's a blessing, for which I'm thankful!

Near Christianity is far more dangerous than anti-Christianity. I couldn't agree more.

Great! Then we're together on this one. And I'm glad to see that the main point wasn't lost - that's the main thrust.

I'm sure the great Catholic thinkers and theologians, focusing especially since the Reformation, didn't think Catholicism was true because of crosses and buildings.

True.
But please note that I said "even the most clueless". Sometimes even the most brilliant minds can be the most clueless in matters of truth b/c they allowed their desires and assumptions (of sola ecclesia, in this case) to override the truth. It's a danger for everyone, but it would be less dangerous if Mary were in the Quadernity.

you paint all Catholics and "Catholic Allies" as foolish, stupid, unreasonable, and superficial.

Stupid? I don't agree and don't see how I've done so. The blindness is spiritual, not intellectual.
Though that would possibly extend to "unreasonable" and "superficial"; I'd possibly be willing to grant that.

Am I summarizing you properly?

Yes, you got it exactly right.
I pray that EVERYONE will leave the church, that the buildings would be converted to godly use, etc. But that's not gonna happen; I pray thus that many will leave, many more will avoid it, and that God will judge the false teachers therein.

For the official teaching of the Church to slip into further apostasy, it requires that individual Catholics (namely bishops) vote for such changes

Yes, that's true as well.
But such prayers and occurrences of judgment, imprecatory psalms, imprecatory predictions and condemnations in the NT, are dispersed throughout Scripture. I'm in good company here, though it mean that some individuals fall into further judgment. God is glorified in destroying false teachers too.

However, instead of praying for more apostasy in the institution, I would pray that the institution would close down and/or collapse.

This isn't the only avenue thru which I pray the RCC will collapse, but it's one of them. Perhaps the most obvious.
But yes, I agree with your statement.

Inevitably, more false teaching will lead to more false disciples

Sometimes. Sometimes it leads to the total marginalisation of the cult, like Jim Jones. Either way will work.

And all of what Carrie said, I agree with. Except when she rips the reading level on my blog. :-D


Peace,
Rhology

------- Theo ------- said...

BJ, my bother in Christ:

Your commentary is insightful and charitable. I can think of little more or better to add to your frank, generous and kind statements. God blesses you, I have no doubt.

Rho, my brother and others: please prayerfully consider BJ's words regarding the nature of such prayer for "institutional" sin. If you deem in your heart that any one person's sin of blasphemy is something you should petition God to bring about, and that whomever you pray would blaspheme is already a sinner, please consider these facts:
1) All of us (you and I) have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God,
2) God commended His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and
3) God takes no joy the death of the wicked.

To pray for any other being (whether a sinner or an angel, a saint or a demon) to blaspheme God is perilous. When one prays that it should be done by leaders who would likely drag others down with them that otherwise would not have so fallen, it is dangerous to the point of risking one's own relationship with God. Millstones come to mind.

Yes, it would be wonderful if the tares and the wheat bore no resemblance one to the other, but it simply is not so. Jesus gave us clear instructions on how to deal with this situation. Nurture all in the field together. Let them grow together lest you uproot the genuine crop, which you might not correctly discern. Then, when the time is fight, let the master of the harvest whose eyes see the true grain winnow the wheat from the chaff and bring all that he has planted into the storehouse. For all that the Father has given Christ will come to Christ; and he that comes to Christ, He will in no way cast out.

May our wise and all-seeing God bless us all and may we pray for one another and seek for one another that we all might come into that harvest as the produce of the Master in Jesus' name I pray.

I remain by His good grace, your humble servant and brother in Jesus,
--Theo

Carrie said...

If you deem in your heart that any one person's sin of blasphemy is something you should petition God to bring about, and that whomever you pray would blaspheme is already a sinner,

Theo, stop twisting Rhology's word around. He never said he was praying for individuals to blaspheme God, he is hoping that an apostate institution would bear clearly blasphemous fruit so that true believers would no longer be under the spell of her false teachings. Read through the NT passages on false teachers and how they should be dealt with along with Elijah's taunts of the worshippers of Baal.

I don't expect you to understand this point b/c you believe the RCC is the one true church. But if WE are correct and she is apostate, then why would we not want her apostasy to be clear. Now read 3 John.

Yes, it would be wonderful if the tares and the wheat bore no resemblance one to the other, but it simply is not so.

This isn't about wheat and tares within a true church. This is about a false church. By this misapplication we would oppose no false teachers which goes against the rest of the NT.

When one prays that it should be done by leaders who would likely drag others down with them that otherwise would not have so fallen, it is dangerous to the point of risking one's own relationship with God.

In your system this applies, but not in mine. You believe that people are keeping themselves in God's grace by their own effort, which contradicts with your later use of "For all that the Father has given Christ will come to Christ; and he that comes to Christ, He will in no way cast out." You can't have it both ways Theo. Either God chooses his own whom he will not cast out, or people choose themselves and have to maintain their status contrary to what that verse says.

BJ said...

Carrie and Rho,

Thank you both for the lengthy replies. Since there is a lot here, I think I'll post twice: first in response to Carrie, and then in response to Rho.

Carrie,

None of the reasons Rho gave for people thinking that Catholic Church is legitimate. He mentioned using the "words," wearing crosses, having church buildings, and quoting from the Bible, as if these were the only reasons people believe the Catholics Church to be legitimate. This is simply untrue. Even if this is the majority position, which would be difficult to prove," it excludes others, who for theological, biblical, and rational reasons believe the Catholic Church is viable. I don't think I've misrepresented his words at all.


You are assuming that they aren't already apostate. If Catholicism is apostate, then certainly her high-level individual authorities are false teachers.


Alright conceded, but that doesn't disprove my point. The prayer would still be for individuals to journey into further apostasy. Like I said before, I can't see how can separate a prayer for institutional apostasy from a prayer for individual apostasy.

I think I'm on track with the rest of your reply, and I see no need to respond. You are correct in that I do not agree with you that the Catholic Church is 100% apostate, but that goes beyond the scope of this thread.

Thanks again for the response. You give me a lot to chew on.

In Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

BJ said...

Rho,

I don't know if I ever said that I'm "shocked" that people are offended over this.

I never said that you "said" that. There is more to meaning that mere words. I was implying your surprise from the tone of your posts, both here and elsewhere. Apparently I misread. Apologies, indeed.

I think I remember this isn't the 1st time you've put words in my mouth.

Really? When was that?

The nice thing about being a Reformed Babdist is that we can offer a rational, scriptural response, as opposed to what RCs/EOdox can do.

Are you saying that no argument posed by Catholics is ever Scriptural or rational?

Stupid? I don't agree and don't see how I've done so. The blindness is spiritual, not intellectual.

Like I wrote in my response to Carrie, by granting only superficial reasons in your initial post, the implication is that there are no intelligent reasons for seeing the Catholic Church as "viable." That's what I'm reacting against.

But such prayers and occurrences of judgment, imprecatory psalms, imprecatory predictions and condemnations in the NT, are dispersed throughout Scripture.

This is interesting and a very good point. I think imprecatory psalms, and oracles of judgment are ignored. However, I'm not aware of a prayer in Scripture asking for someone else to sin. I could easily be wrong on that, and I would be happy to concede the point, if you can provide one. A prayer for judgment is different than a prayer for someone to sin. I'm sure you'll mention Romans 1 again, where the judgment is more sin, but I don't know of a prayer that asks God to let people sin more.

And all of what Carrie said, I agree with. Except when she rips the reading level on my blog. :-D

Hey, facts are facts! :-D

Like I said to Carrie, you make me think and wrestle with truth, and for that I'm thankful.

Blessings in Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

------- Theo ------- said...

Carrie, dear sister in Christ:

Please understand that as far as I can tell, I am twisting neither Rho's words nor his meaning. I do not wish to do so, and I absolutely do not wish to portray any person's actions suspect when they are not. I have great disdain for the cheap debater's tactic of syntax manipulation.


However, I am addressing the actual import and meaning of his stance--and yours. As BJ already pointed out: prayer for sin to be the result, whatever the pretense or the desire to see it acomplish good, always amounts to a prayer for some individual to sin--in this case blaspheme. You and he seem to imagine “sinner-free” sin: blasphemy without blasphemers.

Speaking only for myself, I would not pray for God to have even Satan or any of his unholy works blaspheme God’s Holy Name (or “bear a fruit” of blasphemy). Rather, may God’s name be ever praised and let every knee bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Jonah's example might be wise to consider. Please recall that he only wished that the Ninevehites would fail to repent and undergo judgment; and this displeased God. How might God have dealt with him had he actually prayed that anyone of Nineveh bow down to Baal, naming Baal the One true God Almighty and one in being with the Father? Do you honestly imagine that prayer pleasing to Him whose name is Sacred?

On another matter I raise a small yet salient point: Although I understand your characterization of our practice and teaching regarding the state of grace, please understand that we see a very important distinction: We do NOT believe that people are keeping themselves in God's grace by their own puny effort: that would deny the entire concept of the need for grace.

Yes, we DO believe that one can remove one's self from grace by one's own willful sin (along with most of Protestantism which does not hold to irresistible grace and double predestination as dogma as well).

If this is your basis for identifying us as infidels who so closely mimic true believers that you pray we bear the foul fruit of blasphemy that we should be unmasked, you have a much closer sea of them about you--and their counterfeit is the much more insidious, as their doctrines and practices resemble yours much more than do the mere superficial things (buildings, crosses, etc.) that we share and you claim lead people astray.

Please do not misunderstand. I do not encourage you to pray for those who lead all to deny the “I” of the TULIP acrostic to name Calvin and Edwards parts of the Holy Pentilogy. I merely ask you to prayerfully consider that on this one issue you might be mistaken and consider that prudence might lead you to avoid petitioning unto the Lord who hates sin that grave sin be born as the fruit of any creature.

As for the wheat and tares, I doubt they are for you to name. Matt sees wheat in our field. Is he wrong?

Ever praying for your continued growth in grace and peace of Christ, I humbly remain your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Carrie said...

as if these were the only reasons people believe the Catholics Church to be legitimate.

He never said those were the "only" reasons and I did not interpret his words as you did. I understand what he is saying and I agree. Anyway, who cares if people seem to have good reasons or not, the question is really, are their reasons accurate.

Like I said before, I can't see how can separate a prayer for institutional apostasy from a prayer for individual apostasy.

Again, this seems nitpicky. I see Rho saying "I pray that God will have mercy on many unknowingly in the darkness of RCC" as the emphasis of his desire. Elevating Mary is a way to make the argument of apostasy easier on our end, but I certainly don't see Rho's intent as trying to cause individuals to blaspheme or sin. I understand his point, but more importantly, knowing Rho from his online discussions I know that his desire is to see people come to true faith in Christ. That is a good thing.

You are correct in that I do not agree with you that the Catholic Church is 100% apostate, but that goes beyond the scope of this thread.

I think this is where alot of the disagreement comes from, then. Obviously you wouldn't want to pray for apostasy for a church system that is not apostate. But understand that for those who believe the RCC is apostate, we just would like it to be clear so none are fooled. Heck, if I am right, then you for one are fooled, right?

You know, I had a good article in mind for you after the last comment thread but I can't find it. I will keep looking and I was going to look for other links as I mentioned, I've just been busy.

BJ said...

Carrie,

He never said those were the "only" reasons

I don't think I ever said he did, but by the way he posted it, it gives the impression that these are the only reasons. It's a strong implication, because the only examples he gives are superficial and pointless. I care about this, because I don't think it's a fair depiction of these people, and it's not an argument. It's a caricature. I would assume a similar depiction of Reformed Baptists would not be tolerated here, and rightfully so.

Again, this seems nitpicky.

I don't think it's nitpicky at all. I agree with you about what Rho's motivation is; he wants to see people come to a knowledge of the Truth. GREAT! I'm glad. However, what his particular prayer in this case boils down to is praying for people to sin and to teach that which is contrary to Scripture. I don't think that was his intention, but that is what it does. That is a serious consequence, not a minute corollary.

Heck, if I am right, then you for one are fooled, right?

Yeah, but if I'm right, then you have maligned and misrepresented true members of the Body of Christ.

You know, I had a good article in mind for you after the last comment thread but I can't find it.

Gimme, gimme, gimme. I'd love to read whatever you can send my way.

In Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Carrie said...

We do NOT believe that people are keeping themselves in God's grace by their own puny effort: that would deny the entire concept of the need for grace. Yes, we DO believe that one can remove one's self from grace by one's own willful sin (along with most of Protestantism which does not hold to irresistible grace and double predestination as dogma as well).

I still cannot understand how the blatant contradiction of your statement is not obvious. People are not “keeping themselves in God's grace by their own puny effort” BUT people can “remove one's self from grace by one's own willful sin”. What then is the deciding factor for whether or not someone is “in God’s grace”? It is a persons actions!! In the final equation, salvation is dependent on your ability to not willfully sin and remove yourself from grace. YOU are the deciding factor in the salvation equation.

That is not salvation by grace alone but salvation by grace plus your own effort. And that is not the gospel, sorry. And “most” of Protestantism does not believe that, sorry again.

As for the wheat and tares, I doubt they are for you to name. Matt sees wheat in our field. Is he wrong?

I never said it was my job to distinguish wheat from tares, but it is my job to be able to identify false teachers. But after thinking more about it, I don’t think you as a firm Catholic have the ability to discuss wheat and tares unless you want to consider all Protestants as tares. If you think there is wheat among Protestants then you are holding to an invisible, universal church of Christ idea which flies in the face of the visible Roman Catholic Church as the “ark of salvation”. As with the John 10 quote, your use of these passages conflicts with your own theology.

Carrie said...

It's a caricature. I would assume a similar depiction of Reformed Baptists would not be tolerated here, and rightfully so.

BJ,

I'm starting to think we may me talking about different points. I was agreeing with Rho's point as to why many Protestants may be fooled by Catholicism, not so much why Catholics believe they are right. No one shoots for caricatures here, it never helps the argument.

I don't think that was his intention, but that is what it does. That is a serious consequence, not a minute corollary.

Understood. But I still think this point has gotten way beyond the intent. But let's move on.

Yeah, but if I'm right, then you have maligned and misrepresented true members of the Body of Christ.

Totally understood. And trust me, I have spent alot of time in thought and prayer on this issue. It is a serious issue that does warrant careful attention b/c of that fact.

But I think you will have a tough time finding a happy medium here. In my mind, the RCC is either legit or not, and if she is legit then you need to accept the whole bagll of wax including the "one true church", eucharist, etc. The Prots I know who ride the fence would not accept those traits and I think that is inconsistent and illogical.

Gimme, gimme, gimme. I'd love to read whatever you can send my way.

Okay, I'll look around and get back to you.

Carrie said...

whole bagll of wax

that should read "whole ball of wax".

Rhology said...

BJ,

If you think the RCC is legit, then God help you. I hope you'll change your mind after exposing yourself to their teaching a bit more.

for theological, biblical, and rational reasons believe the Catholic Church is viable

Yes, I'm aware they exist. But their arguments aren't good.
And you may note I've aimed my post at the more clueless, as I already said. I was using a few examples of why many people think RCC is legit. I didn't say they were the ONLY reasons, did I? No.
I don't get why you're acting like this.

Really? When was that?

The last combox we discussed in.

Are you saying that no argument posed by Catholics is ever Scriptural or rational?

ON THIS TOPIC of which church(es) is/are legit, yes.

the implication is that there are no intelligent reasons for seeing the Catholic Church as "viable."

OK, I don't see it, but I can't help what you see. I'll just have to appeal to authorial intent, which I happen to know fairly well. At least better than you.

However, I'm not aware of a prayer in Scripture asking for someone else to sin

I'm not asking for SOMEONE else to sin. I'm asking for the institution to go down in flames.
And here's just one biblical example.


Theo said:

prayer for sin to be the result, whatever the pretense or the desire to see it acomplish good, always amounts to a prayer for some individual to sin

In this case, false teachers, yes.
But I also pray for repentance. Which everyone here seems to have missed, so as to focus on the harder things. Why not take ALL of it into acct?

Yes, we DO believe that one can remove one's self from grace by one's own willful sin

Which is the same thing as keeping themselves in God's grace by their own puny effort. But whatever.

you have a much closer sea of them about you

Why would that mean that we can't ALSO minister the truth to RCs?

Peace,
Rhology

kmerian said...

Any Catholic who elevates mary to the status of a god has committed a grave and mortal sin. Mary was a woman, not devine.

That being said, it is dishonest to portray the church as stating Mary is anything other than a human. A remarkable woman no doubt

BJ said...

Rho,

I'm not asking for SOMEONE else to sin. I'm asking for the institution to go down in flames.

As I've said already, the end result of praying for the institution to promote more apostasy results in asking for individuals to sin. Here is why:
1. For the institution to promote more apostasy, the official church must officially teach more apostasy.
2. This means the college of bishops and the Pope must vote for more apostasy.
3. Thus, the majority of bishops must vote for more apostasy.
4. Hence, the prayer is in effect a prayer that the majority of individual bishops would become more apostate.
5. Therefore, the prayer for the institution to go down effectively is a prayer for individuals to sin.

As I've said, I don't see how you can separate praying for an apostate institution without also praying for apostate individuals.

As to my comment about you making Catholics and their allies look foolish, I feel like we're getting nowhere so I'll just drop it. I'll let your readers judge whether or not your intent was clear in the original post.

Blessings in Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Rhology said...

Yes, let's indeed let the readers judge.

And you'll note that your 5 steps refer to the BISHOPS, the hierarchy, etc. I have already stated several times that I don't see the problem with praying that false teachers (and that's what they all are) receive judgment. Given that this is mostly dealing with false teachers, doesn't that knock out your objection? Or do you have a soft place in your heart for false teachers? God doesn't really.

Peace,
Rhology

BJ said...

Rho,

Yes, I realize that I'm dealing with the bishops. But they are individuals, and you have repeatedly said that you aren't praying for individuals to sin, namely to become more apostate. What I have shown is that indeed you are doing so, although probably unintentionally. I do not at all equate praying for judgment with praying for one to sin. I do not think the Bible does either. The former is permissible, but that is not the issue under discussion.

In Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Carrie said...

Mary was a woman, not devine.

Is this a trick? She's not "devine" but she is "divine"

Just Kidding!

Haven't seen you in awhile kmerian, how have you been? New flag, huh?

kmerian said...

Sorry about that, spelling is not one of my strong suits!

I have not posted in awhile but, I have been reading, so just though I would drop in and let y'all know I am still here.

------- Theo ------- said...

Carrie:

I suspect you already know that we teach, believe and practice as a matter of faith that even the churches of the reformed tradition may be agents of salvation, and that to whatever extent they are, they function as if under the Church Proper--whether they know it or not. The Church visible is comprised of many who do not even realize they are part of it and in their ignorance rebel in other matters and thereby separate themselves from full communion. As I sometimes tell my Protestant friends: you already are Catholic; you just don't know it yet.

Humbly, I remain by grace your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

------- Theo ------- said...

"Yes, we DO believe that one can remove one's self from grace by one's own willful sin

Which is the same thing as keeping themselves in God's grace by their own puny effort. But whatever."


Your reasoning is flawed. One does not logically require the other any more than one who gets into the air carried by an airplane cannot jump out of the thing if he's fool enough to do so.

One comes into the Kingdom of God and remains there only by grace. One can reject that salvation by one's own will. Were it not so, we would not be warned against doing so, and there would be no possibility of apostasy.

By logical extension your own claims that the Church is "apostate" would by definition be absurd--unless you are of the "One cannot remove oneself from grace by committing murder or serial rape, but one can do so by becoming Catholic" school of OSAS theology.

Praying that we all might endure to the end, fight the good fight, and win the prize; I remain your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Rhology said...

How would it be OSAS if someone could lose their salvation by becoming RC? By definition, it's not OSAS if one can say "It's possible to lose your salvation if you ____". Think a little, Theo. Think.

You seriously don't know that OSAS theology would call an apostasy or lifestyle of serious sin evidence that one was NEVER saved?

------- Theo ------- said...

"How would it be OSAS if someone could lose their salvation by becoming RC? By definition, it's not OSAS if one can say "It's possible to lose your salvation if you ____"

Exactly! :-)

"Think a little, Theo. Think."

...and every now and then, even more than a little. For example, I'm thinking, how can you tell the difference between a saved man who backslides with serious sin but of course (being saved) cannot remove himself from grace and an unsaved man who appears to be saved but he commits serious sin because he never experienced grace?

Are there particular sins or quantities of lesser sins that qualify as a sure-thing "never was saved" aside from the tell-tale sin of becoming Catholic?

This "thinking" stuff is quite novel. I thank you for suggesting I try it. :-)

God bless you, my friend and brother--and God bless all former Reformed Baptists who in spite of living Reformed Baptist lives for decades never were "saved" but are now Catholic.

Your servant and brother, I remain by grace,
--Theo

Rhology said...

Theo,

That's the thing - you CAN'T tell the difference, especially not infallibly.
And that's another question - how do we tell? Can we have complete assurance? Separate questions.

Are there particular sins or quantities of lesser sins that qualify as a sure-thing "never was saved" aside from the tell-tale sin of becoming Catholic?

There are essentials and non-essentials, you know. One of them is salvation by grace thru faith alone, apart from which we are anathema as Paul said in Gal 1:8-10.
The premium question must be on belief. We don't earn our salvation by anythg we DO. We are granted salvation based on what we believe. That's the 'faith' thing. If it were salvation by works, then it would be what sins you committed/didn't commit and what good things you did/didn't do.

Your servant and brother, I remain

With all due respect and peace,
I wish you were my brother, as I wish all people. Perhaps by the grace of God, one day...

Peace,
Rhology

------- Theo ------- said...

"With all due respect and peace,
I wish you were my brother, as I wish all people. Perhaps by the grace of God"

Thanks Rho, I appreciate it.

--Your bro (though you do not know), Theo