I was alerted that a Catholic apologist seems to think I believe the Apostles could be in Hell. Rather, the careful reader who followed my comments in Carrie's post will note I was arguing from a theoretical Catholic perspective. I am Reformed. I believe the Apostles were chosen by God, and that Christ's blood was shed for their sins, and that nothing could snatch them out of the hand of God. They were justified long before they were sanctified, as are all who embrace Christ by faith alone.
Then, some of my quotes directed toward another person in a completely different context were added to the entry, and frankly, I'm not sure what the connection was supposed to be. Along with this was a mocking picture, and an insult to the title of my blog. I'm not sure if the post from this Catholic apologist will still be up in the form it is now. My guess is it will be edited or expanded to further the cause of ____________ [fill in the blank, I really don't know the point of this entry against me].
As to my methodology, remember, Roman Catholics are the ones who have repeatedly told me that one cannot know who is, or isn't in Hell. Recall, the old question..."where did Luther end up?" A Roman Catholic on this question of Luther's fate stated, "Unless Mr. Swan wishes us to disregard the plain language of Scripture, the Church will not speculate as to Fr. Luther's fate"
and also, "We do not know whether Fr. Luther damned himself to hell by preaching heresy If Mr. Swan has the ability to read the heart of Fr. Luther at the moment of his death back in 1546, he does not state the source of his ability."
So, now, I guess for Roman Catholics, it is possible to know the fate of particular people, just not Luther. If Catholics have the ability to read the heart of people at the moment of their death, well, this is new to me.
In context, here is what I stated:
The possibility of a "Pope in Hell" is quite consistent with Rome's systematic teaching. If one is sanctified unto eventual justification, and that process is in "some way" dependent on the free will response of the one who can choose not follow Christ unto that eventual justification, it is indeed possible even the apostles themselves are in Hell.
The only surety (for the Romanists) is that Mary is the only type of Calvinist in Roman Catholicism... in a sense. She was chosen by God before her birth to be completely saved from all sin, and therefore, completely justified this side of eternity....but she's the exception. Of course, the Reformed would never argue we are completely sinless this side of eternity, but I think it's interesting that when it comes to knowing who the "chosen" are, there really is only one answer for the Romanist....Mary. Everyone else runs the risk of Hell.
and then, I responded to this charge:
James Swan,Characterizing the Catholic church's view of Mary as idiosyncratically "Calvinist" seems to be fundamentally mistaken.
I would suggest reading my statements carefully. I stated, "The only surety (for the Romanists)is that Mary is the only type of Calvinist in Roman Catholicism... in a sense." Note the words "type" and "sense." These are crucial to my point. I then stated, "Of course, the Reformed would never argue we are completely sinless this side of eternity, but I think it's interesting that when it comes to knowing who the "chosen" are, there really is only one answer for the Romanist....Mary. Everyone else runs the risk of Hell."
The doctrine of Mary's preservation from original sin - which is not as unique as you may think (See John the Baptist was "filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb." Luke 1:15)
To my knowledge, Roman Catholics do not argue John the Baptist was kept from sin his entire life, hence there is not a parallel.
Thereafter, the Church teaches, Mary was provided with a special grace that preserved her from committing sin.
Patrick Madrid states, 'Christ indeed saved Mary from sin- from all sin- but he did this for her prior to her contracting sin. We on the other hand, are saved after we fall into it" [Madrid,Pocket guide To Apologetics, p. 30]. Karl Keating states, "But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and certain of its consequences" [Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, p. 270]. On p. 271, Keating states, "It took a positive act of God to keep her from coming under [sin's] effects the way we have." "...she enjoyed certain privileges we never can, such as entire avoidance of sin." Keeping Mary from the stain of original sin, in effect, keeps her from all personal sin. So much for Mary's free will according to Catholic apologists.
Could Mary nonetheless have committed sin? This involves some speculation, but the answer would probably be "yes." Mary had free will.
Now, not all sin is an outward act. I agree with Augustine, whom I think it was, who argued the fall of man occurred before the eating of the fruit, with the pride of Adam and Eve craving for undue exaltation. In fact, the worst of all sins is the sin of unbelief- it's at the root of all sins. In a certain sense, when we sin, we don't believe God's ways are the right way, we think ours are, hence, we commit unbelief against God with each of our sins. In Roman Catholicism, Mary was preserved from even these inward sins. I would argue, if Mary was kept from sin, she was kept from the desire to sin as well. So much for free will.
Admittedly, God knew the outcome of Mary's life from the beginning, but knowing something isn't the same as predestination in the Calvinist sense.
Well, once again, let's note that Catholics don't all have the same opinion on this, nor are there infallibly defined answers on predestination, nor are the Biblical references on Predestination dogmatically defined. So much for Catholic certainty.I picked up a little book a few years back, Mary Immaculate In The Divine Plan by Michael D. Meilach, O.F.M., who argues for Mary's predestination: "...we maintain that her predestination to be the Mother of Jesus Christ is absolutely fundamental- the single factor that explains everything else about her" (p. 58). The preface states that "Christ and Mary emerge as holding an absolute and universal primacy over the rest of creation...the Savior and his Mother must have been predestined first, and hence independently of Adam's fall" (pp. v- vi). So, there are indeed those who see Mary as predestined with the Roman sect.
Insert all the free will you want- Catholic apologists still argue Mary was kept from sin throughout her life. This means that in terms of salvation, Mary was given something special. She lived a completely sanctified, and hence a completely justified life. By God's miraculous predetermining act of the immaculate conception, Mary (and Jesus) become the individuals in Roman Catholicism kept from sin, and completely justified, their entire lives.
12:20 AM, March 30, 2008