Sunday, December 14, 2008

"There was one Gospel for 1500 years in both the East and West, and it was not Protestant in any way" ?


There's a thread over on the CARM boards in which one of those "I'm going to join the Roman Catholic Church" announcements was put up. In the thread, a Roman Catholic made the following statement:

The "biblical Gospel" is the Catholic Faith. Once again, I shall remind you (for perhaps the 100th time now) that there was no Evangelicalism nor Protestantism prior to 1517. There was one Gospel for 1500 years in both the East and West, and it was not Protestant in any way.

Statements like this carry assumptions that often don't get challenged. For instance, what was the official Roman Catholic teaching on justification in 1517 or previously? What was the official definition of that "one Gospel"? If there was one consistent biblical gospel taught by the Roman Church, evidence of it should be easy to document. I challenged this particular Catholic to provide such evidence, and well, let's just say a week or two has gone by, and I'm going to shut off the lights and lock up.

The confusion of the Roman Catholic Church on this issue can simply be seen by looking at two 16th Century Roman Catholics previous to Trent. Alister McGrath discusses Gasparo Contarini and Paolo Giustiniani as an example of the confusion over justification during this time period. Both men were members of a group of Paduan-educated humanists. McGrath notes that Giustiniani chose to enter a local hermitage to have sin expiated (a retreat from the world), while Contarini remained "in the world" believing salvation can't mean such a retreat. Both men corresponded with each other. McGrath states:

The Contarini-Giustiniani correspondence is of importance in that it illustrates the doctrinal confusion of the immediate pre-Tridentine period in relation to the doctrine of justification. Giustiniani was convinced that it was necessary to withdraw from the world and to lead a life of the utmost austerity in order to be saved, whereas Contarini came to believe that it was possible to lead a normal life in the world, trusting in the merits of Christ for salvation. But which of these positions represented, or approximated most closely to, the teaching of the Catholic church? The simple fact is that this question could not be answered with any degree of confidence. This doctrinal confusion concerning precisely the issue over which the Reformation was widely held to have begun inevitably meant that the Catholic church was in no position to attempt a coherent systematic refutation of the teaching of the evangelical faction in its crucial initial phase. (Alister McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (Third Edition) [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005], 311.

117 comments:

Alexander Greco said...

Oh please Swan. You must first prove doctrinal disagreement between official Church teachings. Pointing to correspondence between two people hardly proves that the “Church was in no position to attempt a coherent systematic refutation of the teaching of the evangelical faction…” This is an absurd leap in logic. Those two people are by no means representative in themselves of the Magisterium of the Church. You have studied philosophy, haven’t you? You should know better than this. This is sad indeed. I should not have top prove that there was not disagreement within official Church teachings prior to Trent concerning Justification. You must prove that there was.

James Swan said...

I should not have top prove that there was not disagreement within official Church teachings prior to Trent concerning Justification. You must prove that there was.

Since there were no offical statements from the RCC on justification, you can wiggle all around to deny the obvious that Rome's theologians had very different opinions on justification. You should pick up McGrath's book and read it- the theologians at Trent even had to "debate" the issue- see 4.2 "The theological schools at Trent during the debate on justification" (p. 318 and following).

Lvka said...

The Catholics never believed that monks will be the only ones saved. That was the heretical belief of the Gnostics, Manicheans, Cathars, Albigenzians, and Bogomils.

Andrew said...

I am a Protestant, but I think this is really poor. Two guys arguing over justification doesn't prove the point that is being attempted. Anyway, isn't it historically accurate to say that most church councils, including the ones we more or less accept as orthodox, were motivated by some kind of doctrinal disharmony, disagreement, or even confusion? Assuming that is true I think you fail to make a valid point in this case. Don't mistake me here. I am a Protestant through and through. I just think you are reaching somewhat here. Am I missing something? If I am please tell me and I will take it all back.

Alexander Greco said...

Andrew, I think that you have a respectable approach to this, whereas Swan does not. It is one thing to have a disagreement towards the issues, and it is quite another to develop any poor seemingly-useful means to promote your agenda in the process.

I can respect your response knowing full well that you more than likely believe that I have a false gospel.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Aquinas was well before the time of Trent and he obviously understood the Catholic teaching on justification. McGrath's conclusion is a faulty one indeed. No one who has taken a simple class in logical thinking would make such an erroneous conclusion. Theologians today argue over Catholic doctrines that have long been settled. So what. Does this mean the Church isn't equipped to deal with the teaching? Nonsense.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Here is bit of theology 101 from Aquinas. Calvin would have been smart to read it prudently. Maybe he wouldn't have made such a fool of himself.

Article 5:
Whether for the justification of the ungodly there is required a movement of the free-will towards sin?

Objection 1. It would seem that no movement of the free-will towards sin is required for the justification of the ungodly. For charity alone suffices to take away sin, according to Prov. 10:12: "Charity covereth all sins." Now the object of charity is not sin. Therefore for this justification of the ungodly no movement of the free-will towards sin is required.

Objection 2. Further, whoever is tending onward, ought not to look back, according to Phil. 3:13,14: "Forgetting the things that are behind, and stretching forth myself to those that are before, I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation." But whoever is stretching forth to righteousness has his sins behind him. Hence he ought to forget them, and not stretch forth to them by a movement of his free-will.

Objection 3. Further, in the justification of the ungodly one sin is not remitted without another, for "it is irreverent to expect half a pardon from God". Hence, in the justification of the ungodly, if man's free-will must move against sin, he ought to think of all his sins. But this is unseemly, both because a great space of time would be required for such thought, and because a man could not obtain the forgiveness of such sins as he had forgotten. Hence for the justification of the ungodly no movement of the free-will is required.

On the contrary, It is written (Ps. 31:5): "I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord; and Thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin."

I answer that, As stated above (1), the justification of the ungodly is a certain movement whereby the human mind is moved by God from the state of sin to the state of justice. Hence it is necessary for the human mind to regard both extremes by an act of free-will, as a body in local movement is related to both terms of the movement. Now it is clear that in local movement the moving body leaves the term "whence" and nears the term "whereto." Hence the human mind whilst it is being justified, must, by a movement of its free-will withdraw from sin and draw near to justice.

Now to withdraw from sin and to draw near to justice, in an act of free-will, means detestation and desire. For Augustine says on the words "the hireling fleeth," etc. (Jn. 10:12): "Our emotions are the movements of our soul; joy is the soul's outpouring; fear is the soul's flight; your soul goes forward when you seek; your soul flees, when you are afraid." Hence in the justification of the ungodly there must be two acts of the free-will--one, whereby it tends to God's justice; the other whereby it hates sin.

Reply to Objection 1. It belongs to the same virtue to seek one contrary and to avoid the other; and hence, as it belongs to charity to love God, so likewise, to detest sin whereby the soul is separated from God.

Reply to Objection 2. A man ought not to return to those things that are behind, by loving them; but, for that matter, he ought to forget them, lest he be drawn to them. Yet he ought to recall them to mind, in order to detest them; for this is to fly from them.

Reply to Objection 3. Previous to justification a man must detest each sin he remembers to have committed, and from this remembrance the soul goes on to have a general movement of detestation with regard to all sins committed, in which are included such sins as have been forgotten. For a man is then in such a frame of mind that he would be sorry even for those he does not remember, if they were present to his memory; and this movement cooperates in his justification.

James Swan said...

The Catholics never believed that monks will be the only ones saved. That was the heretical belief of the Gnostics, Manicheans, Cathars, Albigenzians, and Bogomils.

The idea of devoting oneself to God by joining a monastary was the chosen means of many of (what was thought to be)a better path toward eventual salvation during the early 16th Century.

James Swan said...

I am a Protestant, but I think this is really poor.

Well, let's hope you understood my point.

Two guys arguing over justification doesn't prove the point that is being attempted.

I went back into the post and underlined what struck me as significant- that on such a basic question as which lifestlye one should choose in order to be justified was not clear. Many joined monasteries during the 16th century as a means of attaining eventual salvation (by being a monk, one can be closer to God).

If you think that on such a basic point Rome couldn't tell it's people with any clarity does not show some of the confusion over Rome's gospel, then we'll have to agree to disagree. I do suggest you pick up the 3rd edition of McGrath's book, and read the entire chapter before saying my argument is poor, or perhaps, you could present what Rome's gospel was officially previous to Trent.


Anyway, isn't it historically accurate to say that most church councils, including the ones we more or less accept as orthodox, were motivated by some kind of doctrinal disharmony, disagreement, or even confusion? Assuming that is true I think you fail to make a valid point in this case.

If you've read this blog, or searched this blog, you'll have found (or will find) Rome's teaching on justification suffered from one of her biggest problems: she allows her theologians to speculate and privately interpret on things not yet defined. McGrath's book does a fairly good job of showing the confusion and different positions on justification previous to Trent, during Trent, and after Trent.

You, Andrew, as a Protestant, need to ask: what does it say about the alleged "true church" if on one of the most important theological issues "how one is made right with God), the church was so confused for so long?

Don't mistake me here. I am a Protestant through and through. I just think you are reaching somewhat here. Am I missing something? If I am please tell me and I will take it all back.

Yes, I think you're missing it. Catholics always claim they had this "one gospel" for 1500 years, and then Luther came along. The truth is, Rome didn't have one gospel. They had a mish mash of confusion, even during Trent, so their argument is fallacious.

James Swan said...

Andrew, I think that you have a respectable approach to this, whereas Swan does not. It is one thing to have a disagreement towards the issues, and it is quite another to develop any poor seemingly-useful means to promote your agenda in the process.

If you continue with such personal stuff against me, I'll simply delete your posts. I don't go over to your blog and insult you. I'm not sure why you think you're doing your Church any positive service by acting in such a manner.

The choice is yours: if you want me to delete all your comments from now on, keep it up. I won't threaten "legal action" like Catholic apologists do, I'll simply hit the delete button whenever I see your comments pop up.

James Swan said...

Aquinas was well before the time of Trent and he obviously understood the Catholic teaching on justification.

So, you're saying Rome had an offical dogmatic standard on justification previous to trent?

Theologians today argue over Catholic doctrines that have long been settled. So what. Does this mean the Church isn't equipped to deal with the teaching? Nonsense.

Actually....that's a good point demonstrating that Rome's dogmatic statements still have to be privately interpreted by her theologians, and even they come to different understandings of what is meant by Rome- good point Matthew.

James Swan said...

Here is bit of theology 101 from Aquinas. Calvin would have been smart to read it prudently. Maybe he wouldn't have made such a fool of himself.

So, you've done research into Calvin's understand and use of Aquinas, or are you just posting stuff to make it look like you know what you're talking about?

Matthew Bellisario said...

James said, "Actually....that's a good point demonstrating that Rome's dogmatic statements still have to be privately interpreted by her theologians, and even they come to different understandings of what is meant by Rome- good point Matthew."

No James this actually demonstrates that people are people and people often choose to ignore Church teaching in favor of their own teaching, nothing more. The Church's teaching is quite clear in faith and morals. Aquinas was able to write because of the what the Church offered him in her teachings. He then went on to expound upon it.

If we were to use your analogy no Protestant is equipped to understand anything using Sola Scriptura because none of you can agree on anything and often exchange writings etc. This absurd doctrine is infinitely more problematic for you than our position of the Catholic Church. It is not one's private interpretation that is the problem in the Catholic Church. Your attempt to turn that argument against us has been tried over and over to no avail. Sorry, you'll have to better than that.

Matthew Bellisario said...

By the way. it is so obvious that McGrath's conclusion is faulty by the mere fact that all of the Eastern Churches who are not in union with Rome (Orthodox) also believe the same teaching on Justification and they have no Council of Trent. They have no problems understanding it.

Matthew Bellisario said...

It would also help if you understood Church history a bit. That may give you a hint as to the development of the Western scholastic mind which emphasized a systematic approach in dealing with theological issues. Go read the early Eastern Fathers. Although they have the same basic understanding of justification as the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, they do not use a systematic approach to understanding it. They have a more holistic understanding where deification is emphasized against the leaning towards a later juridical tendency in the West. Initial Justification is given by the Church in the Sacrament of Baptism. Justification means an impartation of righteousness. Hence the Eastern Rite of baptism exclaims, "“You are justified; you are illumined!” I don't have time to expound. If I get a chance I will add more later.

Alexander Greco said...

Also James, whether a person should enter religious orders depended upon where God was calling them (there are many parts to the body of Christ). Whether I should go to the religious life and you should not depended upon each of our calling, and by being obedient to our respective vocations this would dispose us more readily to receive the grace necessary to lead chrisitan lives according to the will of God.

Andrew said...

Mr Swan I hope that my comment did not come across thoe wrong way. I have great respect for what you do here. Perhaps in the context of the McGrath's entire book, or the entire chapter, this point is made more clear. As a brother in Christ I should have given you the benefit of the doubt. What I was getting at was that we don't know enough about these men from your post to understand why they thought how they did. Your point is not untrue, I just didn't see how this post proved it.

David Waltz said...

Hello James,

An interesting thread; you wrote:

>>McGrath's book does a fairly good job of showing the confusion and different positions on justification previous to Trent, during Trent, and after Trent.>>

Me: Very true, but one should not forget that the same must be said concerning the doctrine of the Trinity: there was, confusion and different positions on the Trinity previous to Nicea, during Nicea, and after Nicea.

Now, with this in mind, one very important distinction, and one very important commonality, must be pointed out. First, the distinction: prior to Nicea ALL the CFs were subordinationists (see this THREAD, as well as THIS ONE), but Nicea rejected subordinationism; yet prior to Trent, ALL theologians believed that justification was by infusion, not imputation, and Trent accepted infusion.

As for the commonality, the majority of the Church accepted the decisions made at Nicea and Trent, while the minority, those who rejected the decisions, went on the form schismatic churches.


Grace and peace,

David

The Dude said...

As David indicated, while there might have been a lot of diversity, I'm not sure there was much in the way of divorcing infusion from justification, but maybe I'm wrong (I know Pelikan in Riddle of RCism claims sola fide was a legitimate position but he also claims this was because some medievals and fathers held to it, but I don't think there's much support for the notion that the fathers' use of the particular phrase "sola fide" corresponded to the protestant distinction between sanctification and justification; Aquinas even used "sola fide" and one would hardly call his soteriology anything like Protestantism's sola fide).

But what is interesting is the rise of via moderna with Biel and Ockham that leads to a virtual semi-pelagianism if not outright pelagianism. I think most RCs would think that's even worse than the idea of Protestantism's sola fide bouncing around in RCism around Trent. Been a while since I read McGrath (and I know he writes about this in his other works beside ID so maybe you've run across it or in Ozment's or Obermann's works) but iirc he thinks the rise of this was due partly to the canons of Orange somehow missing for centuries, although Aquinas and the via antiqua still were strong and reflected an Orange soteriology. But I wonder how much of an influence via moderna (unchecked/permitted by the ecclesiastical authorities) had on the laity and outside the ivory towers - was it about equal to the Augustinian/Thomist views that were eventually codified at Trent or just had a small isolated following here and there?

I know a lot of RCs think that Luther and Calvin were exposed to the via moderna teachings as students and that is what drove their initial opposition, but it does seem a bit disconcerting that the via moderna view could have been holding large portions of Christianity for a few centuries. It seems if it wasn't or its hold was neglible and Luther/Calvin were really only reacting to a minority fringe view amongst theologians that this would have come up quickly in the disputations with and been corrected by the catholics, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I guess another good indication might be the reaction to Trent, whether a large majority reacted with concern that via moderna had been condemned (or maybe they were trying to reconcile it with Trent), or if all RCs pretty much embraced it universally as reflecting authentic teaching/tradition, confirming via moderna as an aberrant experiment.

Lots of thoughts - not expecting anyone to be able to answer all of them :)

Turretinfan said...

Bellisario wrote: "It would also help if you understood Church history a bit."

It would help if Bellisario understood church history, and particularly the evidence provided.

Greco wrote: "Oh please Swan. You must first prove doctrinal disagreement between official Church teachings."

Why? That's not the charge.

Luka wrote: "The Catholics never believed that monks will be the only ones saved."

LOL

MB wrote: "By the way. it is so obvious that McGrath's conclusion is faulty by the mere fact that all of the Eastern Churches who are not in union with Rome (Orthodox) also believe the same teaching on Justification and they have no Council of Trent. They have no problems understanding it."

I'd love to see MB try to document this using Eastern sources from before Trent. MB seems to be confused as to the difference between "Orthodoxy" today and Orthodoxy 1000 years ago, just as many people seem to imagine that the churches of 1000 years ago had tabernacles and pipe organs. It's anachronism at its finest.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said...

Turretin as usual your arguments have no foundation. We don't need a document for everything we believe. Unlike your upstart man-made church, our Church is a living entity guided by God. It may do you well to also take a history lesson instead embarrassing yourself all over the web. But you don't have to worry about that do you? Since your not even confident enough or man enough to use your real name.

L P Cruz said...

Lvka/

The fact that there was a Catholic monk who believe he can get saved by going to the monastery -- you can conclude - there was a problem with quality control.

AG/MB,

The point of the illustration was that there was no official stance on justification prior to Trent.

Oh sure, there is one now because of Trent prior to that there was none. That is the assertion being made.

Historically speaking you guys should concede that.

LPC

L P Cruz said...

James,

I do not always respond to Catholic Apologists because they have no backing from the Magisterium to speak on behalf of the RCC.

The Magisterium can always come back and deny what these Catholic Apologists have said.

It is not because they have nothing interesting to say, it is because what they say is not official unless the Magisterium says so.

The only one qualified to speak for Rome is the Magisterium itself.


LPC

Matthew Bellisario said...

Oh sure, we will concede..... Right! No one in their right mind would ever make such claims as these. Why should either one of us accept your historical revisionism? You have to be completely out of your mind to think something such as justification wasn't taught before Trent in the Church.

L P Cruz said...

AG,

The point in McGrath is that there was confusion and no official dogma. Now are you saying that prior to Trent, the official teaching of the RCC is that of Acquinas?

Is there a canon law that supports this? Could that be quoted in this discussion here so we may consider?

LPC

L P Cruz said...

Additionally, Contrarini seems to be teaching contrary to Trent, or at least believe something not Trent like.

LPC

L P Cruz said...

Dude,

I think one should consider where Luther differed from Augustine.

Indeed the Lutheran confessions never denied the idea of infusion, it acknowledges infusion, but it attributes justification through imputation alone.

When viewed from the Biblical text, Luther's view was more nuanced compared to Augustine and brings into logical conclusion what some of the father's wrote eg John Damascus etc. Chemnitz remarked that when the fathers are not being combative, and being devotional in their writings, they speak tenderly of imputation as the final resting place.

I notice this style also in the writings of Clement of Rome. AFter attributing justification through faith and not through our holiness, he launches into exposition of works/actions.


LPC

James Swan said...

Alexander Greco said...
James, your threat of deleting my posts does not really bother me. I'll still go on living.


Anything further you post here will be deleted.

James Swan said...

What I was getting at was that we don't know enough about these men from your post to understand why they thought how they did. Your point is not untrue, I just didn't see how this post proved it.

No problem- I wasn't at all angry.

the point was very basic. On the question, "which lifestlye should one live in order to be justified?", Rome could not answer with clarity- some folks ran into the monastary, others did not.

I have some other material on this in some of my Luther studies. I'd have to dig around for it. Luther did what many who wanted to be close to God did...become a monk. Of course, Luther would blow the whole idea apart- and teach that whatever one does, he should do the glory of God. One doesn't need to be a monk to be closer to God.

James Swan said...

No James this actually demonstrates that people are people and people often choose to ignore Church teaching in favor of their own teaching, nothing more.

So, Rome's important dogmatic pronouncements are so clear they are not privately interpreted? Why is it then, Roman Catholics are not agreed as to Trent's statements about Tradition?

There is not a consensus opinion as to the exact content of Tradition, the precise relationship between scripture and Tradition, and exactly how the vehicle of Tradition functions and becomes known by the church. Rome’s official statements do not explicitly define whether Tradition is the second of a two-part revelation, or if both forms of revelation contain the entirety of God’s revealed truth.Does Tradition function as the interpreter of scripture, or is it interpreted by scripture, or do they interpret each other? Is the content of Tradition confirmed by historical scrutiny, or is it an unwritten opinion only confirmed by a movement within the developing church? Vatican II commands Catholics to accept and honor something quite ambiguous. One wonders if individual Catholics attempting devotion and reverence toward Tradition actually have the same or a differing concept in view. While dogmatic statements from official Roman Catholic councils are put forth to clarify truth, their statements on Tradition have done quite the opposite.

Compare and contrast:

Karl Keating states: “It is true that Catholics do not think revelation ended with what is in the New Testament. They believe, though, that it ended with the death of the last apostle. The part of revelation that was not committed to writing- the part that is outside the New Testament and is the oral teaching that is the basis of Tradition- that part of revelation Catholics also accept …"

Patrick Madrid states,"It may surprise you to learn that the Catholic position allows for what we call, ‘the material sufficiency of Scripture.’ This means that Scripture contains everything necessary for Christian teaching. All doctrines can be found there, implicitly or explicitly, but they're all there."

Stacey said...

the point was very basic. On the question, "which lifestlye should one live in order to be justified?", Rome could not answer with clarity- some folks ran into the monastary, others did not.

Why would the Catholic Church dictate the vocation a person should choose? It's whatever you do, devoting that to God, that's important. People ran to monasteries because they thought that was the best way to devote their life to God. It doesn't mean that the doctrine of justification is fuzzy because they didn't dictate people's vocations.

What about the Council of Orange on justification?

Tim Enloe said...

I love it when Internet apologists whose qualifications consist of Lord only knows what educational level think they can correct professional scholars who spend their whole lives in minute study of important issues. Poor Alister McGrath. What an idiot. If only he belonged to the one true Church and would start a debate blog and put away all the Latin manuscripts and instead read Wikipedia and tracts on catholicanswers.com. Then he'd really be something in the world of understanding the Reformation's controversy with Catholicism.

David Waltz said...

Hello again James,

You posted:

>>There is not a consensus opinion as to the exact content of Tradition, the precise relationship between scripture and Tradition, and exactly how the vehicle of Tradition functions and becomes known by the church. Rome’s official statements do not explicitly define whether Tradition is the second of a two-part revelation, or if both forms of revelation contain the entirety of God’s revealed truth.Does Tradition function as the interpreter of scripture, or is it interpreted by scripture, or do they interpret each other? Is the content of Tradition confirmed by historical scrutiny, or is it an unwritten opinion only confirmed by a movement within the developing church? Vatican II commands Catholics to accept and honor something quite ambiguous. One wonders if individual Catholics attempting devotion and reverence toward Tradition actually have the same or a differing concept in view. While dogmatic statements from official Roman Catholic councils are put forth to clarify truth, their statements on Tradition have done quite the opposite.>>

Me: The very nature of the development of doctrine includes the fact that some doctrines are more fully developed than others—historically, of course, speaking. The castigations leveled by polemicists against the lack of clarity within the official documents of the RCC concerning the exact nature of Tradition/tradition tend to ignore the history of development, for history clearly demonstrates that doctrines which have not been fully developed (dogmas that have been fully developed include: the Trinity, Christology, atonement, baptism, the Eucharist, original sin…) allow diversity of thought; and diversity without schism.

So, while the exact content and nature of Tradition has not been fully defined/developed, one should not jump to the conclusion that NO doctrines have been fully defined/developed.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello Tim,

You wrote:

>> I love it when Internet apologists whose qualifications consist of Lord only knows what educational level think they can correct professional scholars who spend their whole lives in minute study of important issues. Poor Alister McGrath. What an idiot. If only he belonged to the one true Church and would start a debate blog and put away all the Latin manuscripts and instead read Wikipedia and tracts on catholicanswers.com. Then he'd really be something in the world of understanding the Reformation's controversy with Catholicism.>>

Me: Substitute Hanson for McGrath; the Ahomoians, Homoians, and Homoiousians for the Reformers…


Grace and peace,

David

Matthew Bellisario said...

James. You are coming to many false conclusions on Tradition. It is not that complicated. You are looking for contradictions that just are not there. What is so difficult to understand that God has one deposit of Divine Revelation, some of which is written down in Scripture and some which is primarily oral? The Church has always defined, Scripture in Tradition. Of course there have been many different ways of explaining it more detail. It is the modern western concept of systematic theology which I believe causes your confusion. You just cannot imagine a world where everything is not categorically written and spelled out for you in a systematic theology book. In fact the human being just doesn't communicate and learn that way. Although written communication is invaluable, the oral teaching that must accompany it cannot be done away with. Otherwise why have a university to teach doctors if they can just read a book and get all they need to know? No, that is absolute nonsense. A doctor must have years of hands on experience and oral lectures and explanation to become a doctor. And so it is with all human interaction and learning. The invention of Sola Scriptura is not only un-Godly, it is inhuman and attempts to put God into one source of written text. The real Christian knows that all of God's Divine Revelation could never be contained and explained with a written text alone, and none of the ancients thought in this modernist, western, systematic mindset. It is absolute nonsense to conclude that the Church doesn't know how to define Tradition, or that it had no idea as how to live the faith in regards to justification before Trent.

The Dude said...

Hi Stacey,
"What about the Council of Orange on justification?"

Quite right, but as McGrath has written, the canons of Orange II seem to have been lost for centuries in the west (apparently there is no evidence of anyone citing them, even Aquinas); fortunately they were recovered before Trent. (It would be interesting to note what the reaction was when these were discovered, haven't come across any study of that). This makes some sense then in explaining why the via moderna view of grace in salvation which has very anti-Orange leanings gained some traction in the west (to what extent outside of the ivory towers I have no clue as I asked before) but fortunately the Augustinian/Thomist views were also strong and popular and so there was a good counterbalancing force (ultimately vindicated at Trent).

orthodox said...

Of course, this posting takes as its primary presupposition that the centre of the Christian religion is a precisely nailed down formulation concerning the mechanics of justification. Something you don't actually find mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Luke, aka "GOSPELS".

L P Cruz said...

The Council of Orange II affirmed sola gratia.

The justification side is Canon 21 as far as I can see.

If all is by sola gratia then it is not by works, by nature etc. There is only one conclusion.

LPC

Tim Enloe said...

David, I don't buy Newman so I don't buy your continual attempts to reduce the Reformation to just another "Arian sola scripturist" venture.

Tim Enloe said...

At any rate, I'm glad to see a few talking about important things like the loss of the canons of Orange for 1,000 years and the troubles swirling around the via moderna view of grace. If the apologists I mentioned would shelve their gratuitous insults about the Reformers, temper their silly idealism about "what the Church teaches / has always taught" with some critical thinking and realism, and ratchet back their "I am a perpetual 8th grader who loves to debate and assume that other people are fools" attitude, and actually discuss the issues, things would go a lot better.

bkaycee said...

Tim, I think if they actually "resorted" to facts and history, they would be at a supreme disadvantage. In fact, a clear examination of the facts would disarm most Roman arguments, leaving the examiner little reason to remain in the Roman fold. Seems to me that the emotional arguments of Tradition, Fullness of the Faith, The True Church, etc... shield the Roman from rational argument and make them "feel" they are correct.

Turretinfan said...

Bellisario wrote: "Turretin as usual your arguments have no foundation. We don't need a document for everything we believe."

One has to appreciate the irony of juxtaposing those two statements like that. It is your beliefs that lack foundation, because they are not based on the Sacred documents: Scripture.

My beliefs, in contrast, as has been extensively demonstrated, do have foundation - they are founded on the very Word of God. And my arguments, where they are in need of foundation of authority find it in the indisputable authority of Scripture.

Bellisario continued: "Unlike your upstart man-made church, our Church is a living entity guided by God."

Your church claims that, but your church's claim is false. It is not a claim supported by Scripture, it is not a claim supported by History, and it is not a rational claim.

Bellisario continued: "It may do you well to also take a history lesson instead embarrassing yourself all over the web."

There's no connection between this comment of yours and the rest of your rant. And history is no friend of yours or of your church. History shows that your church teaches things that the apostles never taught - that it practices religious practices that apostles never taught - and that the apostles would not recognize the idols before which you prostrate yourself.

I need a history lesson? Have you checked out your shade of grey, dear pot?

Bellisario continued: "But you don't have to worry about that do you? Since your not even confident enough or man enough to use your real name."

Your willingness to go there just shows your eagerness to replace rational argument with ad hominem invective. Face it: you've got nothing, and your recourse to ad hominem just demonstrates that.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

There is much more that could be said, but I thought I'd note a couple of things here:

Bellisario wrote: "What is so difficult to understand that God has one deposit of Divine Revelation, some of which is written down in Scripture and some which is primarily oral?"

I find it amusing that Bellisario argued for a single source view in his recent Sola Scriptura debate and now argues for the partim/partim view.

It is not hard to imagine a hypothetical situation in which God did entrust part of Revelation exclusively to oral tradition. It is also not hard to imagine a hypothetical situation in which God entrusted ALL of divine Revelation exclusively to oral tradition.

But the latter hypothetical view is contrary to the teachings of Christ himself, and the former hypothetical view is simply not the case.

One of my favorite examples in this regard is the papist innovation of papal infallibility. This is something invented by the papists, not handed down from the apostles. Both Scriptural and Historical investigations serve to demonstrate this.

So, in addition to the hypothetical world where there is a part of divine revelation given in Scripture, and part in oral tradition - there is a third category of "stuff we make up as we go along" into which innovations like papal infallibility, Purgatory, Marian prayers, use of icons/idols, and so forth go.

Bellisario wrote: "It is the modern western concept of systematic theology which I believe causes your confusion."

It is fun watching ignorant papists (in contrast to their more wise comrades) unwittingly beating up on those "modern western[ers]," Anselm and Aquinas and Peter Lombard. If John Duns Scotus were among us, no doubt he'd have a special hat for Bellisario to wear for imagining that systematic thinking causes confusion.

Bellisario also wrote: "The invention of Sola Scriptura is not only un-Godly, it is inhuman and attempts to put God into one source of written text."

In fact, however, the denial of Sola Scriptura is ungodly and humanistic as it attempts to place limits on what God can put into the written text.

Contrary to Bellisario's imagination, Scripture (this written text that seems to "inhuman" to Bellisario) is able to make one wise unto salvation. Imagine that! It is able to thoroughly furnish the man of God. But for Bellisario, it is not enough.

Bellisario continued: "The real Christian knows that all of God's Divine Revelation could never be contained and explained with a written text alone, and none of the ancients thought in this modernist, western, systematic mindset."

Bellisario was probably so busy giving me history lessons that he didn't have time to read what Basil of Caesarea (4th century) wrote, such as: "All the commands of the Savior are written" and "Believe those things that are written. What is not written inquire not into."

No, history and the fathers are no friends of the "make it up as we go along" innovators, because for most of the church fathers, Scripture was the ultimate authority in matters of doctrine, and - in Augustine's words: "Now who submits to divine Scripture, save he who reads or hears it piously, deferring to it as of supreme authority."

-TurretinFan

Lvka said...

ORTHODOX,

can You give me an invitation or password, so that I may be able to read Your blog-posts again?

Please? :-(

Stacey said...

I have to agree with Tim. It can be difficult to dig through all the mud that's been slung and learn something.

Dude,

What are you talking about with "via moderna"? My searches online have come up with only references I don't know and nothing clear.

LPC,

I don't really see that "grace alone" necessarily leads to "faith alone", unless you're talking about the Pauline "faith" i.e. total adherence in will and actions to God, not just belief.

If we presume we did anything under our own power, even believing, then yes, "grace alone" would destroy the Catholic belief system. But everything we are and have comes from God. Our total dependence is affirmed by Council of Orange. Here's Canon 23:

CANON 23. Concerning the will of God and of man. Men do their own will and not the will of God when they do what displeases him; but when they follow their own will and comply with the will of God, however willingly they do so, yet it is his will by which what they will is both prepared and instructed.

So even with our free will, when we choose to follow God's will, we only do so because he has given us a will and a way. So everything we do, and everything we believe, even our very existence is a grace from God. This doesn't nullify any requirements for us to adhere to God's will and claim the salvation available through Christ.

Tim Enloe said...

There is an interesting post on kepha's blog right now about this idea that there was always only one view of Scripture and Tradition. That's an uninformed view, but then, one doesn't expect people whose first description of themselves is that they "love to debate" to read serious works like Oberman's Forerunners of the Reformation. Too hard. Too much Latin. Too many philosophical nuances. Not conducive to painting the opponent as a simple moron who doesn't know anything about history. But above all else, not useful for "winning debates."

The Dude said...

Stacey,
If you search for "via moderna" grace biel in google you'll get lots of stuff, but given McGrath has written on this a bit, there's a good quick summary on google books - click here and read 150-155. In a nutshell, the view that "God does not deny grace to the man who does his best". It's here he also argues Calvin would have been exposed to this quite a bit (I think most already know of the strong influence of Ockham/Biel on Luther).

Matthew Bellisario said...

Turretin you are not worth the trouble of debating. You show me that you cannot read and comprehend since you have tried to contrast my defnition of Tradition and Scripture against my debate, which are one in the same. One source is the same as one deposit. Then again why should I expect anything different from you. We all remember your glaring errors when you tried to push your own definition of contraception on the Catholic Church a few months back with your pal Gene Bridges on my blog. When you were both shown to be wrong you denied it as well.

By the way, the denial to use your real name is relevant on any of these posts. You try and pass yourself off as some scholar who obviously knows nothing of Catholicism, yet you refuse to take any responsibilty for your writings or commnents. You are not just a person who is casually blogging around leaving a few comments here and there. You hav your own debate blog. You are on James White's apologetic blog passing yourself off there as well. Why don't you act like an adult and use your real name or get lost. It is childish to use someone else's name and act as if you are some Biblical scholar going around the web condemning "Papists." No real scholar goes around the web hiding their identity. It was agianst my better judgement to debate you in the first place when you refused to sign your real name to it. I wasted 6 months debating a man(or women, child, or who knows what, seriously), who is afraid to sign his name to his own debate. I won't do it again, nor would I reccomend anyone else doing it either. I may not always be right. But at least I'm man enough to admit it, and man enough to own up to my own posts and the information I provide on my website and blog. I may not agree with James White, James Swan, or a host of other people, but at least they don't hide their idenity in order avoid accountability for their blogs and websites. I am really surprised that James White allows you to participate on his blog site wihout using your real name. Consider this my last response to you until you start acting like an adult and use your real name. Until then I have no more to say to you.

Turretinfan said...

Bellisario,

As I already pointed out, your ad hominem invective just demonstrates to all readers the fact that you cannot rationally defend your beliefs or those of your church.

History is not your friend, Scripture is not your friend, and Logic is not your friend.

Insult and ad hominem are your friends. Get better friends.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Dear TF, Not all attacks on a person character constitute ad hominem. It is not an ad hominem fallacy to attack one's credibility by pointing out their refusal to provide his opponent one's name or even any information concerning their career or educational background. Your frequent use of needling, straw man argumentation, misstating your opponent's position or the teachings of their faith, and lack of accountability through your use of anonymity screams "caveat emptor". And dressing up your insult of Mr. Bellisario in a pretty package does not make your comments any less of an ad hominem attack on him.

Of course, you could point out that I have tripped up and have engaged in ad hominem attacks in my time on the internet as well. That is true. The difference is I am at least honest and humble enough to sign my name to my work and take ownership of such when I fallen short of the standards that an apologist should adhere to. Your use of anonymity in this type of forum smacks of hubris.

Paul Hoffer said...

With that being said, please do not misunderstand my comments. I do not suggest that all use of anonymity on the internet is improper. I can think of all sorts of valid reasons for one wishing to be anonymous. However, most folks I know who do wish to be anonymous or use a pseudonym on the internet give some sort of information about themselves so one could have some yardstick of sorts to measure credibility. I, for one, would be content if you disclosed your educational and career background. Are you a lay apologist or an amateur like myself, or are you something else?

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

As I said, Mr. Bellisario needs better friends. Your piling on of the insults/false accusations doesn't help out his failed arguments and only demonstrates that you too have nothing with which to defend your church on the merits.

A better rehabilitation of your fellow papist would be to try to butress his floundering arguments on the merits, rather than hurl unsupported accusations as so much mud.

Your attempted rehabilitiation is trying to spin his claim of cowardace as a claim of lack of credibility. The interested reader will go back and see whether he was attacking my credentials when he used the expression "man enough."

Sometimes questioning credentials is perfectly fine. That wasn't what he was doing, and this isn't one of those occassions.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

I see you added a new comment while I was drafting my response to your first comment.

My answer is that I don't put my credentials in issue, and I don't claim to be any particular expert on anything.

I'm willing to let the works published under my pseudonym speak for themselves. If they are the truth, accept them, and if not reject them.

Whether I never graduated high school or whether I received a doctorate, whether I do this full time or part time, has no bearing on the conversation.

-TurretinFan

L P Cruz said...

Stacey,



So everything we do, and everything we believe, even our very existence is a grace from God.

Not everything we do, only the good things we do come from God. Whatever is good in us comes from God, so Orange II says.

This doesn't nullify any requirements for us to adhere to God's will and claim the salvation available through Christ.

But that is the issue do we adhere to God's will? How is this understood? Is your best good enough? Do you believe' one's imperfect adherence to God's will is good enough for God?

If every good thing is from God, then clearly man contributes nothing to the equation. Man can contribute only sin. Rom 7:23.
Either God does all or you are left to do some even from the grace of God.

Orange II states that God preceeds everything - God takes the initiative

Here is a snippet...
We also believe and confess to our benefit that in every good work it is not we who take the initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any previous good works of our own that deserve reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism, and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him. We must therefore most evidently believe that the praiseworthy faith of the thief whom the Lord called to his home in paradise, and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent, and of Zacchaeus, who was worthy to receive the Lord himself, was not a natural endowment but a gift of God's kindness.


This means there is no cooperation on our part. That comment amplifies that faith preceeds everything.

It is auspicious when Orange II mentions the thief on the Cross. If there is an example of a person saved by grace through faith it would be the thief on the cross - the man was being executed for his theivery who clearly was a violator of the Commandment of God and this man went to heaven by sheer faith in Christ. Here this man had no time to do any good work that comes from infused Grace.

The logic of Sola Gratia when taken with Orange II, makes me conclude that if it cannot be by works, then it is all by grace, then it has to be by faith. Thee is no other way to receive the goodness of God through faith.

LPC

James Swan said...

I've been having some computer trouble, so visiting any webpage, including my own, has been quite an ordeal.

I'd like to respectfully ask everyone to refrain from discussing whether or not Turretinfan has to provide his name.

For many years, I posted on the Internet under the name "Tertiumquid." I didn't feel as if it really mattered who I was, and also I was nervous about identity theft issues. I reluctantly began using my real name, and I often wonder if I made the right choice. I don't really want everyone to know about me personally- I try as much as possible to keep the blog more focused on issues rather than me.
I don't want Internet people messing with my family or friends, or me.

Interestingly, more than a few 16th Century Catholic apologists posted under names that were not their own. So, maybe Rome's defenders should first clean up their own house.

Turretinfan isn't like those internet anonymous stalkers that post all sorts of silly and insulting comments. He presents excellent argumentation- I know some of you are desperate to attack him personally since you can't refute his arguments.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Please. I refuted the best Turretin had to offer on Sola Scriptura. It wasn't very impressive. If that is all that he has for good arguments defending it then Rome is safe for another day.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Oh yeah. We see 16th century Catholic apologists blogging all over the internet don't we! Give me a break. Two thumbs up to the wise and clever Swan. We all know what are referring to here. The fact is there are casual bloggers who do nothing more than visit here and visit there to put in their two cents.

Turretin puts himself up as some professional apologist, yet provides no accountability. He is one of James White's "Team Apologian" yet takes no responsibility for his work. What kind of business would survive if the producers of a product would not stand by their product in person and accept responsibility for it? None in this day and age.

Either way you go you are in a no win situation here. Lets face up to reality here. This is not a matter of identities getting stolen. It is a matter of not wanting to be exposed if someone is able to best your argument. This is nothing but pride and we see it over and over again. I'll keep an eye out for those 16th century Catholic bloggers and be sure to clean up my own house.

James Swan said...

Matthew,

Which part of "I'd like to respectfully ask everyone to refrain from discussing whether or not Turretinfan has to provide his name" did you not understand?Or...are you wishing to join Mr. Greco?

Feel free to comment on the blog post, but that's it in regard to Turretinfan. I think that's fair.

See, I don't even have to ask Mr. Hoffer about a legal action, I can simply delete your comments (I can't afford a lawyer anyway).

L P Cruz said...

Tim said

Poor Alister McGrath. What an idiot. If only he belonged to the one true Church and would start a debate blog and put away all the Latin manuscripts and instead read Wikipedia and tracts on catholicanswers.com. Then he'd really be something in the world of understanding the Reformation's controversy with Catholicism.


Quite right. Unfortunately fanaticism has no end, it is an addiction.

The more I read RC Apologist comments, the more I am convinced they do not differentiate between fanaticism and apologetics.

LPC

Paul Hoffer said...

TF, since you asked so nicely, I will attempt to do so. I am prefacing this with the note that I have not studied this issue in detail and have not done any ad fontes research on what was actually argued at Trent prior to the official pronouncements of the Council of Trent on the matter of justification. I will do so, if need be, but I have got four projects I am working on ahead of that to finish.

With that being said, it is my understanding that several folks far more learned than I have critiqued McGrath's book and disagree with his arguments particularly the historical aspects of his explanation of pre-Tridentine Catholic doctrine: Scott Ickert for one. Not having read Prof. McGrath's book, I am in no position to do so although it must not be that bad if Dr. Sippo has it on his Recommended Reading List for Catholic apologists.

Quite frankly, whether one wishes to argue that Trent rejected the beliefs of the Augustinian school or vindicated the Thomist or Scotist viewpoint of Catholic thought seems to me to be futile as Trent did not condemn any of them (although post-Trent, Vatican I did condemn Jansenism, which I believe was an extreme form of Augustinian thought). We Catholics usually tend to argue among ourselves to reach consensus rather than exaggerate issues we do not agree upon to the point we split off and form our own denominations. We don't fight "butter battle" wars like Prots. often do. Since none of the schools' teachings were explicitly rejected or condemned, all must have been within the acceptable parameters of Catholic teaching. Thus, the differences between the schools must not have been as significant as is suggested by the tenor of some of the comments here.

In support of that thought, I would point out that no group of Catholic scholars, whether they be Augustinian, Thomist, or Scotist, abandoned the Church en mass upon reading Trent's Decree on Justification or violently dissented from its pronouncements by going off and creating their own church in protest.

Also, I do not see anyone here quoting from any ECF, any Orthodox or Catholic doctor of the Church, or even a historically significant theologian, to show that Trent's declarations divurged from any prior authoritative teaching of the Church. Further, I have not seen anyone adduce or proffer any material of any weight that suggest that the Orthodox Church disagreed with the Decree on Justification at Trent or that it ever taught justification differently than in the West.

I would also hypothesize at this point (and would accept suggestions for reading something to the contrary) that the reason that one does not see such things prior to Trent from either the Catholic or Orthodox Church was because no one up to the Protestant Reformation misunderstood it or garbled it up so badly as the Reformers did that a Council was needed. Councils, at least in the Catholic sense of the word, tend to only step in define doctrines after someone really goes far off the reservation so-to-speak and teaches a doctrine that is truly antithetical to Catholic teaching and give clarification, e.g. Arius or Pelagius.

I would also note that since Catholics, certain groups of Lutherans, and some other Protestant denominations have reached agreements on many aspects of the matter of justification, that it would appear that some of the issues between Protestants and Catholics concerning justification may actually may be more semantical than theological, sort of like the Nestorian controversy. Being a five petalled, dyed-in-the-wool, TULIP- pushing polemicist, you would probably disagree with that assessment, but you can not deny the fact that Catholics and many of your Protestant brothers have reached such agreements. Does that warrant you labeling them with your pejorative "Papist" or "Romanist" tags, too? Not even calling them "puppies" or "raman noodle-heads"?

I would be interested to see you proffer something more definitive than a non-credible, anonymous e-apologist's statement of opinion on the above thoughts.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Swan, I apologize for making a reference to TF's anonymity after you posted your note. I did not see it since I was writing a response. Although I disagree with your reasoning, I respect the fact that it is your website and will refrain from such comments here in the future.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Bellisario:

For now, I'm willing to let people read the debate for themselves and figure out whether you did any damage to the Sola Scriptura position (link).

As for the rest (anonymity etc.), I'll honor Mr. Swan's request to move on to other subjects.

Mr. Hoffer:

"Does that warrant you labeling them with your pejorative "Papist" or "Romanist" tags, too?"

As I've pointed out to you before, while you may not like those descriptions, they are factually accurate labels that describe, rather than opine. Thus, I use those labels to describe not demean (although you seem to forget this).

To answer your question, those who have signed accords with Rome might be called "Romanizing" but would not properly be called "Romanist," since they are not in communion with her. Those who reject the office of the papacy cannot legitimately be called "papists."

Moving beyond such trifles as those labels, you (perhaps inadvertantly) made a good point by stating: "I do not see anyone here quoting from any ECF, any Orthodox or Catholic doctor of the Church, or even a historically significant theologian, to show that Trent's declarations [diverged] from any prior authoritative teaching of the Church."

The interesting fact seems to be a lack of "authoritative teaching" (at least of the kind that Trent proposed to give) before Trent. Thus, there were a diversity of views held before Trent - a point of Mr. Enloe's that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Trent was (on a number of issues) petrifying one view out of several that had previously been held in Western Europe.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

TF, The misspelling of diverge was inadvertent. My comments were not.

I have read Mr. Enloe's (or is it Dr. now?)opinion on the subject of diversity of theological opinions within the Catholic Church before. It has not fallen on deaf ears. It is a truth that most Protestants find hard to believe about the Catholic Church because so many of you believe in the myth that the Catholic Church is some sort of monolithic Orwellian structure imposing its will on every aspect of its members' thoughts and beliefs. While it does reserves for itself the right and responsibility to define dogma as we believe that was the design of Our Lord and Savior, the Church does not prevent one from expressing an opinion that is not contradictory to what it teaches.

Consider the analogy of the shepherd and the flock. While the shepherd protects and keeps his flock in a particular field, the shepherd does not dictate where the sheep may graze in that field. It is only when the sheep leaves the field does the shepherd uses his staff to bring it back to the sheep-fold.

The same holds true for the Church. While it will set the parameters of the "field" by its definition of doctrine, we sheep still have the freedom of movement with respect to our opinions about that field so long as we stay within it. When the Protestant sheep left the field with their notion of justification, the Church as shepherd had to use its staff, the Council of Trent, to try to bring people back to the field.

While you may be surprised at the "lack of authoritative teaching" on justification prior to Trent, I am likewise surprised that you are not able to find it. Did you not find the Church rejection of Pelagianism at Carthage? Isn't that one such teaching? I could cite you plenty more in the way of ECFs who agree with Trent.

In short, it wasn't that there was no "authoritative teaching" on justification sufficient to meet your satisfaction; rather, it is the fact that there is no "authoritative teaching" that teaches your view of justification.

God bless!

The Dude said...

Paul,
"The same holds true for the Church. While it will set the parameters of the "field" by its definition of doctrine, we sheep still have the freedom of movement with respect to our opinions about that field so long as we stay within it. When the Protestant sheep left the field with their notion of justification, the Church as shepherd had to use its staff, the Council of Trent, to try to bring people back to the field."

Do you believe that the via moderna/nominalist view of grace is contra-Orange and Trent due to its Pelagian leanings? Do you believe that it was taught by many theologians/schools for centuries leading to Trent? Do you not think this was a worst heresy than sola fide, and if so, why did sola fide have to emerge for Trent to react and set parameters on justification while it had permitted the sheep (not all of course since the Augustinian/Thomist schools opposed via moderna, but a considerable portion it would seem) to graze around Pelagianism/semi-Pelagianism for centuries?

Augustinian Successor said...

Matthew, actually you're the one making a fool of yourself. It is precisely Aquinas' explanation of justification that the Reformers rejected as inconsistent with St. Paul!

Augustinian Successor said...

"I would also note that since Catholics, certain groups of Lutherans, and some other Protestant denominations have reached agreements on many aspects of the matter of justification, that it would appear that some of the issues between Protestants and Catholics concerning justification may actually may be more semantical than theological, sort of like the Nestorian controversy."

That would have to be qualified since Protestants neither have a pope nor an ecclesiastical machinery which acts like the Magisterium.

Matthew Bellisario said...

If you read Saint Thomas you will find he is in line with today's teaching on justification. this subject is really not that difficult. Thomas understands as do we that when someone is in the state of grace he is justified. Therefore this begins at baptism. It is understood by the Church as to the nature of baptism and its effect of washing away sins. After that one must confess their sins in order to be justified. Thomas also understands that man has free will by nature, and thus God moves sinners toward justice through moving his free will. It is ultimately the grace of God that is the primary mover, yet the person must “do” something. That is they must accept this inspiration of grace by God to come to a state of grace. Thus Thomas writes in his summa, “Now the effect of the Divine love in us, which is taken away by sin, is grace, whereby a man is made worthy of eternal life, from which sin shuts him out. Hence we could not conceive the remission of guilt, without the infusion of grace.”

The specific role of the will is to accept the gift of justifying grace. Since infants are not capable of free will, God moves them toward justice by the mere infusion of grace in the soul by the sacrament of baptism itself. We know that Augustine understood baptism in this fashion because he says so in many places in his writings, and those after him quote his writings in the same context. Thus Thomas once again writes the same teaching that we have now on the baptism of infants. “Infants are not capable of the movement of their free-will; hence it is by the mere infusion of their souls that God moves them to justice. Now this cannot be brought about without a sacrament; because as original sin, from which they are justified, does not come to them from their own will, but by carnal generation, so also is grace given them by Christ through spiritual regeneration.”

Aquinas uses a fourfold means to describe what is necessary for justification. They are the infusion of grace, the movement of the free-will towards God by faith, the movement of the free-will towards sin, and the remission of sins. In other words, man sins willfully moved by his own fallen nature, and man moves to repentance by the inspiration of God by his own freewill. Thus Thomas writes in his summa, “I answer that, The justification of the ungodly is brought about by God moving man to justice. For He it is "that justifieth the ungodly" according to Rm. 4:5. Now God moves everything in its own manner, just as we see that in natural things, what is heavy and what is light are moved differently, on account of their diverse natures. Hence He moves man to justice according to the condition of his human nature. But it is man's proper nature to have free-will. Hence in him who has the use of reason, God's motion to justice does not take place without a movement of the free-will; but He so infuses the gift of justifying grace that at the same time He moves the free-will to accept the gift of grace, in such as are capable of being moved thus.” This is consistent with Catholic teaching today.

Tim Enloe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Enloe said...

r. Hoffer, no, it's not "Dr." now. I have one more semester and then the thesis to go on the Master's.

The truth of enormous theological diversity is not one I, as a Protestant, find hard to believe, and precisely because I do NOT have a monolithic, Orwellian concept of the Catholic Church. Actually, that sort of concept of the Catholic Church is the one that is presented by most contemporary Catholic apologists, including, it seems, Mr. Greco and Mr. Bellisario on this very thread, both of whom consider it to be something close to sheer lunacy to imagine there was serious "wiggle room" in doctrinal understanding of several important issues prior to the Reformation. These are just more examples of the absurdity of Catholic converts claiming to be "deep in history" and trying to lecture others on history's real meaning. The utter shallowness of imagining a basically unitary Traditionary matrix on all the important issues is not easily demonstrable, because most of the works in which the evidence is found are very expensive and not widely available. Nevertheless, it is there for those who really desire a Socratic search for wisdom, and not merely to win cheap debating points on message boards and blogs.

Again, the tremendous doctrinal diversity prior to Trent doesn't surprise me precisely because I do not hold the concept of Catholicism that many of you Catholics hold. It is a fact, demonstrable by many pieces of evidence scattered throughout scholarly studies on men such as Contarini, Pole, and Caraffa, that Trent was controlled by militant hardliners who kicked out the moderates and closed down the Catholic theological imagination in a way it had never been limited before. I say this with courtesy to you because you are usually a very courtous Catholic - but the fact is that many of you have committed yourselves in various ways (chiefly Newman's theory of development, but also on occasion sheer fideism and its accompanying willful blindness to contrary evidence) to an amazingly anti-historical and uncorrectable understanding of the course of God's redemption of man.

That said, myself, I see no need, and certainly no necessity, to use inflammatory language like "papist" and "Romanist," or to continually accuse Catholics of gross dishonesty and dislike of the Scriptures. I do not believe that there is only one way (the way of ramped up polemics that take Reformation rhetorical conventions as perpetually normative) to explain and defend the Reformation.

As I said, I am glad to see "The Dude" bringing up the issues of the via moderna and the seemingly widespread shift toward Pelagian-like views of grace that prevailed prior to the Reformation. These sorts of issues are so important for understanding the realistically actual, not the fantastically idealized, course of development of doctrine throughout history and the true nature, place, and meaning of the Reformation relative to the - again I say this courteously to you - simply excessive authority claims of Catholicism. It is a shame that Catholic controversialists so often take the low road of simple insults and simplistic caricatures of very complicated historical matters like these, and prefer to "win debates" and try to make other Christians look stupid rather than to work for real understanding and clarity. Many Protestants do it, too, but since I am equally hard on them, and since two wrongs don't make a right, I see no problem with my notation of the problem on the Catholic side.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Tim said" Actually, that sort of concept of the Catholic Church is the one that is presented by most contemporary Catholic apologists, including, it seems, Mr. Greco and Mr. Bellisario on this very thread, both of whom consider it to be something close to sheer lunacy to imagine there was serious "wiggle room" in doctrinal understanding of several important issues prior to the Reformation."


Look Tim you are really grasping at straws here to imply that I or Alex said there was no "wiggle" room. First of all your counterparts are implying that the Catholic Church had no clue as to what justification was before Trent. And yes this is absolute nonsense. Were there varying opinions floating around? Of course as there still are today. Once again the Church doesn't have to document everything in a systematic catechism. Oh, but I no scholar with a PHD. I am just a lay Catholic who knows nothing of history right?

I don't care how many degrees you have, if you are blind to the Gospel then you are blind to the Gospel. No PHD or Masters degree will help you. Getting on here insulting me or Alex is not going to change the fact that you are rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church. You can be ill-educated, mal-educated, or well-educated and still go the wrong way so don't get on your high horse and patronize or me or Alex. I think it is safe to say I've done my share of historical research regarding Church history. To say that the Catholic Church had no definition of justification before Trent is incorrect, and this is what has been implied and argued here by your buddies. Not whether or not there were people and theologians defining fine points about it and tearing into it on a deeper level. What I posted above by Aquinas is textbook Catholic teaching that has been around well before Trent my friend, say what you will.

Chuck said...

MB,

With as much respect as a blog can afford one, are you aware that this is a "public" forum?

Paul Hoffer said...

Messrs. Enloe and Dude, I appreciate the dialoguing.

Mr. the "Dude" asked: "Do you believe that the via moderna/nominalist view of grace is contra-Orange and Trent due to its Pelagian leanings?

I disliked William of Occam when I had to study him in my poli. sci. classes. I like him even less as a theologian. But to tell you the truth, I see little difference between nominalism which treats salvation as some sort of bilateral contract between God and man (Biel) and the Calvinist notion of forensic justification which boiled down to its essence says that yes--salvation is sort of like contract- a legal fiction, a forensic imputation of an artificial reality where man's sinful nature is not healed by grace, but is merely and purposefully ignored by God in return for a person's statement of faith. The difference between the two of course, is that in Calvinism God limits who He wills to contract with. I can't blame Calvin entirely for this--after all he was a lawyer too and one can not blame him for thinking like one.


Q: "Do you believe that it was taught by many theologians/schools for centuries leading to Trent?"

A: If I remember rightly William of Occam was from the 14th century-so the via moderna was probably knocking about the Church for around for 150-200 years.

Q: "Do you not think this was a worse heresy than sola fide[?]"

A: Yes, because it ultimately led to modernism which still plagues both Protestants and Catholics. In contrast, sola fide is not a heresy at all when it is properly understood between the parties. When Protestants understand that Catholics are not faithless and Catholics likewise understand that Protestants are not loveless, consensus can be obtained. As was said in the agreement on justification between the Catholic Church and Evangelical Lutherans:

"Our entire hope of justification and salvation rests on Jesus Christ and on the gospel whereby the good news of God’s merciful action in Christ is made known; we do not place our ultimate trust in anything other than God’s promise and saving work in Christ (solus Christus). This excludes ultimate reliance on our faith, virtues, or merits, even though we acknowledge God working in these by grace alone (sola gratia). In brief, hope and trust for salvation are gifts of the Holy Spirit and finally rest solely on God in Christ." To which I add~Amen! Spes mea Christus!

Q: "[I]f so, why did sola fide have to emerge for Trent to react and set parameters on justification while it had permitted the sheep (not all of course since the Augustinian/Thomist schools opposed via moderna, but a considerable portion it would seem) to graze around Pelagianism/semi-Pelagianism for centuries?

A: I do not know. Perhaps that is why there is a whole body of literature like the Divine Comedy by Dante and other Catholic writers springing up during that time period who consigned a number of popes to hell. Pelagianism was in fact condemned at Carthage 1000 years earlier and semi-Pelagianism too. The nominalists argued that they were not either and apparently snookered enough folks to keep their backing at universities to keep teaching. What is important to remember though is that you do not see a pope or a council adopting it as the view of the Church which I think was the point that Mr. Greco was trying to make 70 or so comments ago.

God bless!

The Dude said...

Hello Paul,
"a legal fiction, a forensic imputation of an artificial reality where man's sinful nature is not healed by grace"

Now this really seems a caricature - from what I've seen the Reformers and their heirs were adamant that believers are united with Christ and truly have an inherent righteousness. As Hooker wrote, "The righteousness wherewith we shall be clothed in the world to come is both perfect and inherent. That whereby here we are justified is perfect, but not inherent. That whereby we are sanctified is inherent, but not perfect."
and Owen,
"This inherent righteousness, taking it for that which is habitual and actual, is the same with our sanctification; neither is there any difference between them, only they are diverse names of the same thing. For our sanctification is the inherent renovation of our natures exerting and acting itself in newness of life, or obedience unto God in Christ and works of righteousness."

or as James cited Calvin in the previous thread,
"[justification and sanctification] are constantly conjoined and cohere; but from this it is erroneously inferred that they are one and the same. For example: - The light of the sun, though never unaccompanied with heat, is not to be considered heat. Where is the man so undiscerning as not to distinguish the one from the other? We acknowledge, then, that as soon as any one is justified, renewal also necessarily follows: and there is no dispute as to whether or not Christ sanctifies all whom he justifies. It were to rend the gospel, and divide Christ himself, to attempt to separate the righteousness which we obtain by faith from repentance."

So there is never a moment where someone is justified but not also sanctified, as they are both benefits of union with Christ, albeit distinct.

But that's a bit off-topic and has probably been discussed to death, so don't want to divert the thread, but I appreciate your thoughts Paul. Just an update that I ran across this from Sungenis:

"[Luther] accused Erasmus of Pelagianism. Other critics have also maintained that though Erasmus believed in grace, he failed to speak specifically of grace undergirding free will. The Council of Orange in 529 had condemned free will without grace yet Erasmus did not seem to be aware of it, nor did he reference the citation of Orange appearing in the writings of Anselm (1033-1109), Bernard of Clairvaux
(1090-1153), Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), and Gregory of Rimini (d. 1358), who all recognized Augustine and his anti-Pelagian theology as the norm for the Church. These theologians recognized that man could do nothing except by the grace of God, a grace that was properly called “prevenient.” Consequently, Luther is often accused of not really knowing, or perhaps not being fair, to the Scholastic theology he repudiated. Ockham, Biel, and Erasmus were certainly not the most informed or orthodox spokesman for Catholicism."

Now obviously Sungenis is contradicting McGrath on medievals' knowledge of Orange and footnotes accordingly:
"In light of this evidence, we take issue with the statement by Alister McGrath that “the important rulings of the
Second Council of Orange (529) on justification were quite unknown to the Middle Ages” (ARCIC II and
Justification, p. 10). But in the next paragraph McGrath admits: “But the possibility that Luther may have passed judgment upon the entire church of the period on the basis of his experience of a single school of thought (the via
moderna) cannot be excluded completely” (Ibid). Modern Catholic theologians such as Louis Bouyer and Joseph Lortz agree that Luther was struggling against un-Catholic elements left over from the medieval period."

I don't know Sungenis' sources but would be interesting to find that out.

"What is important to remember though is that you do not see a pope or a council adopting it as the view of the Church"

Very true, but do you think the representatives of the Church (those who should do a decent job of promoting its view to avoid strawmen) engaging Luther and Calvin and others in the disputes before Trent accurately represented views of grace and will and soteriology to be defined/in harmony with Trent? Erasmus kind of blew it, Contarini fared better though that was right before Trent after the cat was out of the bag, not sure what Eck's leanings were or others such as Cajetan, Pighius, et al. If there's an issue with an authority, and that authority sends representatives for correction, I'm going to assume they are speaking on behalf of the authority and reflecting its views, so if the Thomist/Augustinian schools weren't being represented well in those discussions, especially when Luther comes from Erfurt where nominalism is all over the place in the universities which I would gather Rome would be aware of, that seems to imply Rome either really didn't care much or was pretty confused about issues of grace and soteriology, or the T/A views had been sidelined even in much of the RC hierarchy.

James Swan said...

Here is bit of theology 101 from Aquinas.

The Church's teaching is quite clear in faith and morals. Aquinas was able to write because of the what the Church offered him in her teachings. He then went on to expound upon it.

Matthew, are there any significant differences in what Thomas teaches about justification in his Commentary on the Sentences and his Summa Theologiae, and if so, how does one determine which writing is correct? How would someone living at the time of these writings know which was correct?

What standard did Thomas use to write each work, and if there are differences, are they due to the standard being used unclear, or is it the case that the standard didn't have anything to say one way or the other, thus allowing Thomas to use private interpretation as his guide?

Was Thomas perhaps influenced by the pseudo-Aristotelian Liber de bona fortuna rather than a definitive church standard? If so, why would should a non-biblical source have influence on one's view on justification? Is God's revelation too incomplete to inform on justification? Was Tradition to unclear, so a Thomas used such a source?

James Swan said...

he Calvinist notion of forensic justification which boiled down to its essence says that yes--salvation is sort of like contract- a legal fiction, a forensic imputation of an artificial reality where man's sinful nature is not healed by grace, but is merely and purposefully ignored by God in return for a person's statement of faith.

Paul, If forensic imputation is true, wouldn't it be the case that since Christ's righteousness is a real righteousness, my possesion of it as a gift from God is a real possesion as well? That is, if I possess it, wouldn't it be a legal reality rather than a legal fiction?

James Swan said...

Mr. the "Dude" asked:

Ok, 2 points for that clever statement. That's proof I actually can say something positive about the statements of those I disagree with.

Turretinfan said...

Hoffer wrote: "a forensic imputation of an artificial reality where man's sinful nature is not healed by grace ..."

There is something of a false dichotomy being drawn. Justification is about imputation, but in sacntification (and ultimately glorification) the natural corruption is undone by the work of God's Spirit. What saves us is Christ's righteousness, and we are subsequently transformed to become more and more like Christ.

But worse than the false dichotomy is the result of complaining too much about the use of imputation. After all, we are justified by a double imputation: Christ's righteousness is imputed to us, because our sinfulness was imputed to him. While it may sound lovely to insist that we must become actually holy, it would be obvious blasphemy to suggest that Christ became actually sinful.

-TurretinFan

David Waltz said...

Hello again Tim,

You said:

>>David, I don't buy Newman so I don't buy your continual attempts to reduce the Reformation to just another "Arian sola scripturist" venture.>>

Me: Newman’s read of the early Church Fathers concerning the development of the doctrine of the Trinity is much more accurate than Bishop Bull’s (and any patristic “scholar” who attempts to defend Bull’s position). Hanson, and a host of other modern patristic scholars, are much closer to Newman than Bull…

Oh, and btw, though the Trinitarian debates of the early centuries focused on the content of the Scriptures, this should not lead one to believe that this excluded other important factors; as such, I too reject the attempt “to reduce the Reformation to just another ‘Arian sola scripturist’ venture”—me thinks you need to revise your characterization.

Grace and peace,

David

Tim Enloe said...

Sorry, David, I guess I didn't understand what you were getting at. It seemed you were attempting to portray Protestants as slaves to fads of scholarship, and in that light, to present the typical Catholic apologetics slur that the Reformers were like the Arians in their view of Scripture and Tradition.

If I misunderstood you, I'm sorry.

Paul Hoffer said...

Wow! Look at all the replies...

First, Mr. Dude:

I said, "a legal fiction, a forensic imputation of an artificial reality where man's sinful nature is not healed by grace"

You said, “Now this really seems a caricature - from what I've seen the Reformers and their heirs were adamant that believers are united with Christ and truly have an inherent righteousness.”

I apologize about the caricature (I am a horrible artist), but I must ask why do Protestants use the word “imputed” when talking about justification? All the quotes you gave suggest that we are not just declared righteous, but actually become so. As the French would say, “J’accord”! Catholics do not separate justification from sanctification. However, by using the word “imputed”, it is being suggested that sanctification is an event, not a process. I touch upon this a bit in my only actual apologetic effort on the net here: http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/11/defense-of-my-opinion-on-james-whites.html (Look about 5/6 of the way through).

Just some interesting little tidbits about Rev. Richard Hooker who wrote the quote you cited which may be found in sermon titled, “A Learned Discourse of Justification, Works, and how the Foundation of Faith is Overthrown” which was a defense of his position that Catholics were Christians. (Thanks for the quote!) I remembered reading somewhere about a pope speaking approvingly of Hooker’s “The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity”. Supposedly, Pope Clement VIII said of Hooker’s book: "It has in it such seeds of eternity that it will abide until the last fire shall consume all learning."

I remember Hooker for a different reason though. While John Locke may be called “the Grandfather of the American Revolution” because of our founding fathers incorporated his philosophical thought in our founding documents , it was Hooker’s writings on natural law that shaped Locke’s views. Thus Hooker could rightly be called “the great-Grandfather of the American Revolution”.

I will read your link to Sungenis and will try to find out his sources.

You asked, “[D]o you think the representatives of the Church (those who should do a decent job of promoting its view to avoid straw men) engaging Luther and Calvin and others in the disputes before Trent accurately represented views of grace and will and soteriology to be defined/in harmony with Trent? Short non-boring answer: Nope. However, I think that part of the problem was due to the fact that the the manner and rules (rhetoric and dialectic) in which theological issues were discussed and debated at that time required people who were master debaters, not necessarily master theologians. Also, secular authorities got involved and used the Reformation was a way to assert their authority over that of the Church by interfering in the mechanics on how the Church resolved theological disputes.

.James S. asked, “Paul, If forensic imputation is true, wouldn't it be the case that since Christ's righteousness is a real righteousness, my possession of it as a gift from God is a real possession as well? My response: If we really possess righteousness, then it is not merely a forensic imputation. Let me try to state it this way (hopefully successfully). To make a gift, there are three elements: 1) present donative intent, that is, I, as donor, actually intend to make a gift now; 2) there is a delivery of the gift–meaning that I, as donor, give possession to you, the donee, the gift; and, 3) you as donee, actually accept possession of the gift. Once this occurs, you as donee, actually possess the gift. You “really” possess it.

In contrast, imputation does not give you actual possession. Imputation implies rather that you are not given actual possession of the gift. Instead, you are given the gift in name only. It is like someone made a donation to your favorite charity in your name. (Sort of like the saints praying to God for us)

Christ’s righteousness is real. In the form of grace, we are actually given the gift of Christ’s righteousness by God. As His elect, we actually possess that gift.

T-fan, you complain that I make a false dichotomy, but the quotes offered by “the Dude” show that justification and sanctification go together. So why are you separating them? Aren’t you the one who is actually making a false dichotomy?

I will try to address the rest of your comments tomorrow–it’s late and your notion of double imputation really needs to be addressed when I am more than half awake.

God bless!

DH (DumbHusband) said...

Very interesting and lively discussion.
Would anyone like to offer a recommendation for a good book on the history of the council of Trent? At a laymen’s level, please. :-)


I asked a recent convert to RCism what she thought of the anathema placed on me by Trent for believing in 'Faith Alone'. After consulting with her new priest her answer was, 'Well, anathema didn't mean the same thing back then'. I hadn't heard that before and I didn't pursue it at the time.

cheers--

Paul Hoffer said...

I am still trying to understand how you folks are using "imputation". To try to illustrate my problem, I would like to tell a joke.

There were was once an extremely greedy old man who had three sons: an accountant, a doctor and a lawyer. He always told his sons that he was not going to leave them anything when he died, but rather he planned on taking his wealth with him to the grave. On his death bed the old man told his sons that he had taken his wealth and converted almost everything he owned to case which amounted to about three million dollars. He then told them that he had hidden the three million dollars in his mattress and made his sons promise that they would each take one million dollars out of the mattress upon his death and when he was buried, toss the million they took into the grave as the cemetery workers were lowering his casket into the ground. Shortly thereafter, the old man died. Each son duly took one million dollars out the mattress and went home. Several days later when the old man was being buried, the son the doctor and the son the lawyer each threw the million dollars they took from their father’s mattress into the grave. When it came to his turn, the son the accountant opened his brief case, took out his checkbook, wrote his father a check for a million dollars and threw it into the grave. When the doctor and lawyer looked angrily at their brother, the accountant said, "What are you complaining about? I deposited the million dollars into the account before I wrote the check".

One of the problems that I have been having is understanding the word “imputation” in the sense that some of the folks there have been using the word. You see, to an attorney such as myself, when someone says that they “impute” something to someone, I understand the word to mean to ascribe, to assign or to attribute a characteristic to a person as opposed to that person actually having that characteristic, usually in a negative sense. Here, you seem to be arguing that to impute something means to actually give possession.

In criminal law, a court may impute possession or ownership of an illicit drug or a firearm to a defendant even though he may not have ever actually possessed the drug or the weapon or was even aware of it being there. For example, if I was arrested with a bag of cocaine on my person, there is no question that I “possessed” it and will be held to account for such. However, let us say that the defendant is riding around in his car with several of his not-so-savory associates and the police pull that person over for suspicious behavior or a traffic violation. In the course of the search of the vehicle, drugs or a gun are found in tucked under the back seat. Even if the defendant never actually touched the drugs or the weapon or might not have even been aware that they had been brought into the car, a court of law may still forensically (that is, in a legal sense as opposed to an actual sense) impute ownership or possession of the drugs or the weapon to the defendant since he had care, custody and control over the vehicle that the drugs or the weapon were found in and hold him accountable for same.

To give another example, let us say a defendant owns a delivery business. One of the drivers he employs runs a pedestrian over with one of defendant’s trucks that he was driving. A court of law may well impute liability to defendant for the driver’s negligence even though the defendant was not actually in possession of the vehicle and driving it at the time of the accident.

In neither of these examples, was the defendant actually “possessing”at the moment the court is relying upon to make an imputation.

In my joke above, I hopefully showed the difference between actually possessing something and imputing a characteristic to something. One may well impute a million dollars of worth to the check the accountant tossed in the grave, but it is a far cry from actually throwing a million bucks into the hole. When I look at how Messrs Swan, Dude and T-fan are using the word “impute”, it seems that they are assigning a meaning to the word that is different than how the word is commonly understood. Again, are we talking semantics here? Is the word "impute" being used merely to create a difference between Catholics and Protestants that is not necessarily there? Perhaps it would be helpful to define the term "impute" before I try to respond further.

Do you see what the problem is when you try to use legal terms to discuss theology?

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi DH, For a Catholic perspective on the history of Trent, you might want to try reading Msgr. Philip Hughes, "The Church in Crisis, A History of General Councils 325-1870 AD" or Hubert Jedin's "Geschichte des Konzils von Trient". 4 vols. in 5. Freiburg, 1948–1975. translated by Ernest Graf as "A History of the Council of Trent". St. Louis and London, 1957–1961.

You wrote, "I asked a recent convert to RCism what she thought of the anathema placed on me by Trent for believing in 'Faith Alone'. After consulting with her new priest her answer was, 'Well, anathema didn't mean the same thing back then'. I hadn't heard that before and I didn't pursue it at the time."

You might want to check out what St. Francis de Sales said about the subject in his introduction to his book, "The Catholic Controversy". Catholics understand that there is are levels to scandal: datum, acceptum and receptum. You might want to read Vatican II's Lumen Gentium also.

God bless!

L P Cruz said...

Paul,

My apologies for intruding, the question is not directed at me, but being a Protestant, I fail to see the problem you are seeing even from a legal standpoint.

Take this as side comment. I am sorry to cast aspersions but to me the problem is the denial to accept the full force of what imputation means.

The best way to think of it is from the area of accounting/maths. It comes from "reckon" (logitzomai) - sometimes it is even translated as "credited" by scholars.

But more importantly it is not some ordinary human being who is doing the imputing, it is the very God of creation himself who is doing the crediting. What is being credited by God to the sinner is the very righteousness of Christ of which faith takes a hold of.


Seems to me the claim of legal fiction against us stems from thinking that the one doing the imputing is a human judge. But in justification, the judge happens to be God.


It is God who is imputing and what he is imputing is the very righteousness of His Son. This righteousness is real and is located in Christ.

To say that we are into legal fiction is to say that Christ's righteousness is fictional too and I don't think RCs should toy around that -- it has blasphemous implications.

LPC

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi LPC, I agree with the tenor of your comment, "To say that we are into legal fiction is to say that Christ's righteousness is fictional too and I don't think RCs should toy around that -- it has blasphemous implications." RCs do not toy around with it. That's why we do not use words like "impute". When I see folks bandy about legal terms without thinking about what they really mean, to me that is "toying around with it". I agree with you wholeheartedly that Christ's righteousness is not fictional in any way, shape or form. That is why my blog is captioned, "Spes mea Christus" ~"Christ is my hope". One of my favorite prayers if anyone is interested is St. Patrick's Breastplate which contains the words,

" Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me".

The sin of Adam MADE men sinners; the obedience of Christ MAKES us righteous. Rom. 5:19 Christ's righteousness is not a legal fiction; it is reality and truth. The Word did not remain just the Word; the Word became flesh and through such we were saved. Jn. 1:14.

This is why I have asked for a definition of the word "impute". It seems to me that when folks talk about "impute" they are talking about more than mere attribution or assignation. If they were not, then imputed righteousness is nothing more than a whitewash for appearances sake and such is condemned. Ezek. 13:10-16, Mt. 23:25-25, Mt. 23:27-28, Lk. 11:38-41, Acts 23:2-3. Christ's righteousness actually cleanses us of sin, not merely covers it up. See also, Ps. 51, Ps. 103, 2 Cor. 5:17 and Rev. 22:11.

You talk about reckoning and crediting. However, the reason that we reckon something or credit something is because it is recording an actual event. If I reckon my books and credit a client's payment on his account, it is because he actually made the payment. Likewise, if God is doing the reckoning and credits us with Christ's righteousness, it is because Christ's righteousness actually made us righteous also. Our God is recording that fact. I grew up in a family with CPA's and auditors~ to me, accounting is not merely made up numbers, but is a sort of writing down a history of actual events and happenings using numbers instead of words.

God bless and thank you for your thoughts!

DH (DumbHusband) said...

Thanks Paul,
I will check them out.

regards-

L P Cruz said...

Paul

If I reckon my books and credit a client's payment on his account, it is because he actually made the payment

Not necessarily.

If I owe a telephone bill and the Telephone Company wants to take me to court for action, my father can simply pay it on my behalf with his own money. The money does not even have to land in my hand, he can directly go to the telephone company and pay my bill/my account.

The Telephone Company reckons that I have paid it even though I never physically handed them the money. There was real payment that has been made, the telephone company would have to stop pursuing me, all my debts have been paid.

Likewise, if God is doing the reckoning and credits us with Christ's righteousness, it is because Christ's righteousness actually made us righteous also. Our God is recording that fact.

Yes indeed and that righteousness is not our own it is a righteousness handed by Christ to God on our behalf. Yes he has made us righteous in front of God. God sees him, his own seed, he is the atonement, the covering as we contend.

If not then imputation is a farce. More importantly it is not us who is making it look that way. It is the RCC who is claiming it is a farce because it is not taking the implication of what imputation means. Not us.

The question is this - whose idea of imputation is agreeing with the concept of "logitzomai"? That is the issue for the inquirer.

I have a question, RCC views faith as important, and has faith in Christ, but can you say - what is it about Christ do you have faith of?

LPC

Dozie said...

"It is God who is imputing and what he is imputing is the very righteousness of His Son. This righteousness is real and is located in Christ".

According to your theology, the righteousness that you lay hold of does not touch you; it goes from Christ to God the Father. If this is so, when you say "this righteousness is real", for whom then is it real? Is it real for you, for Christ, or for God? How exactly do you know that the righteousness is real, if you also reject the claim that the transaction you describe is a legal fiction? Did God send you a note saying your account has been updated? Please don’t cite a very misunderstood bible verse.


"Yes he has made us righteous in front of God. God sees him, his own seed, he is the atonement, the covering as we contend".

If what is being described is not legal fiction, it definitely sounds like mythical theology. Do you have Christ's righteousness as a matter of status or position or do you not? If you are not actually righteous, does Christ then merely cover God's eye with a blanket and ask Him to pretend you are righteous? Does Christ lie to God about your true condition? If you have Christ's righteousness as a matter of attained status through your very strong faith or little faith or whatever, do you continue to sin? When you sin, is it Christ who sins or is it you? When you sin do you take responsibility for the sin and beg for forgiveness or do you ask God to charge it to your account? or is it Christ’s account?

L P Cruz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...

"I am happy to answer, but answer first what it is your faith gets a hold of about Christ.

You believe in Christ, correct? What is it about Christ that you have faith of".

I am not interested in playing games with you; if you are happy to answer, I expect you then to answer.

I have faith in the figure of Christ, in all of Christ, and in all his commands and admonitions, including the one, "whoever hears you, hears me". Now to my questions.

L P Cruz said...

Dozie,

I am happy to answer more fully, but my answer will be a lot clearr if you first tell me what it is your faith gets a hold of about Christ?

You believe in Christ, correct? What is it about Christ that you have faith of?

All will be revealed from that answer.

Did God send you a note saying your account has been updated? Please don’t cite a very misunderstood bible verse.

I have plenty of evidences, none of them point inside of me. They are all external to me, I have Scripture, I have Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

That is what faith is all about - it believes what God declares in his word - 1 John 5

10Whoever believes in the Son of God(P) has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God(Q) has made him a liar,(R) because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11And this is the testimony, that God gave us(S) eternal life, and(T) this life is in his Son. 12(U) Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

LPC

Dozie said...

"That is what faith is all about - it believes what God declares in his word - 1 John 5"

Ok, I will check back tomorrow to see if you can come up with some answers. Just note that you are being asked to explain the rationale for your belief and you are saying that you believe because believing is what belief is.

L P Cruz said...

Dozie,



Here is what I believe, teach and confess (essentially). For the moment I will assume you are coming in good faith so my answers.

Romans 5:8.

1 John 2:1-2.

2 Cor 5:18-19.

Essentially read the Nicene Creed, that is what I believe teach and confess..specially these lines

who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father

Also the Apostle's Creed specially this line for the sake of the subject at hand...
the forgiveness of sins

I have emphasized for you so you may understand I take the full implications of those words in bold.

Do you have Christ's righteousness as a matter of status or position or do you not? If you are not actually righteous, does Christ then merely cover God's eye with a blanket and ask Him to pretend you are righteous? Does Christ lie to God about your true condition?

I am a sinner that is the reason why Christ died for me so that I may have his righteousness the righteousness that only avails in front of God - according to Rom 4:5Scripture Christ is my righteousness -- Rom 4:5, 21- 25, I hope that is not too strong for you to swallow.

If you have Christ's righteousness as a matter of attained status through your very strong faith or little faith or whatever, do you continue to sin?

I attain nothing on my own, everything is a gift to me, I did not ask Jesus to die for me, he did it freely with out asking for my approval. It is a gift out of his own mercy. Do I continue to sin? 1 John 1:8,10. Romans 7.

is it Christ’s account?

1 John 1:9, but I am not forgiven because my confession is a good work that deserves it, I am forgiven because of the atonement of Christ, - his atonement cleanses me from all unrighteousness. God does nothing good to human beings except for that atonement won for Christ on man's behalf - see again the Nicene Creed.


I believe I have answered you. Now for my questions...

I have faith in the figure of Christ, in all of Christ, and in all his commands and admonitions, including the one, "whoever hears you, hears me".

Can you clarify - this is a bit vague. What do you mean your faith is in all of Christ? Can you elaborate?

If I were to ask you - can you explain what is the difference between your faith versus that of the devil, what would your answer be (I am not being disrespectful)?

I am not playing a game with you, in case you think that. Do you believe anything at all that Christ has accomplished for you?

I do not wish to high jack this thread. You know where to find me, in my blog.

However, Jesus himself did not answer all the questions asked of him by his accusers, so I cannot guarantee you that I will answer your next questions, not because I do not have necessarily an answer but because some questions do not deserve one.


LPC

Stacey said...

LPC and Dozie (and whoever else),

May I suggest we do switch this worthwhile discussion to another blog, since the thread has gone on? Maybe LP Cruz's since he mentioned the hijacking. I am curious for a more detailed response from both Dozie and LPC.

Dozie, if you were to state what exactly you have faith in, what about Christ you have faith in, what would you say? I believe LPC was referring to "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."

LPC, I don't quite understand your response: I am a sinner that is the reason why Christ died for me so that I may have his righteousness the righteousness that only avails in front of God - according to Rom 4:5Scripture Christ is my righteousness

So, if you have not been made righteous, then how can you stand in front of a righteous God? Even if he has credited Christ's righteousness to you?

L P Cruz said...

My apologies to the others on this thread.

This is for now the last time I shall answer. Those interested can look at my profile to find me.

Stacey,

So, if you have not been made righteous, then how can you stand in front of a righteous God? Even if he has credited Christ's righteousness to you?


For now I am focusing on imputation, my confession, the Book of Concord does not deny impartation, but we confess that it is the imputation of Christ's righteousness that avails infront of God.

Please see the Scriptures I gave. As I said Christ's rigteousness is real and that is where my faith depends - that it is real righteousness that he freely mediates for me - Christ is the mediator between God and man.

Indeed I cannot boast nor point at myself because my righteousness is a gift by Christ

1 Cor 1
30But by His doing you are in (BM)Christ Jesus, who became to us (BN)wisdom from God, and (BO)righteousness and (BP)sanctification, and (BQ)redemption,

31so that, just as it is written, "(BR)LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."


My apologies again to the others, my original question is for Mr. Hoffer.

Peace to all,

LPC

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi LPC, you asked me, "I have a question, RCC views faith as important, and has faith in Christ, but can you say - what is it about Christ do you have faith of?" Is the "you" directed to me personally or to me as a Catholic apologist in general? I don't want to quote the Catechism or such if you were looking for a more personal response?

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

And vice -a- versa, I did not want to give you a chapter and verse response if you were looking for something a bit more personal.

Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...

I have read and re-read what you posted, trying to find something of substance to respond to; there is none. I am trying to understand how having Christ’s righteousness works in your system, beyond repeating empty phrases. I don’t think I am getting that from you. However I ask you again. "When you sin do you take responsibility for the sin and beg for forgiveness or do you ask God to charge it to your account? or is it Christ’s account?" Or, after having acquired Christ’s righteousness, do you still have need to grow in righteousness?

Turretinfan said...

Dozie asked: "When you sin do you take responsibility for the sin and beg for forgiveness or do you ask God to charge it to your account? or is it Christ’s account? Or, after having acquired Christ’s righteousness, do you still have need to grow in righteousness?"

There are a lot "or"s there.

When we sin, we ask God for forgiveness.

When we ask for forgiveness, we are asking (at least implicitly, but sometimes explicitly) that our own sin not be imputed to us, but that it instead be imputed to Christ.

We also desire to grow in Christ's righteousness, and pray for God to work such growth in us by means of His Spirit, while siezing on the means of grace, including the Word, Sacraments, and prayer.

Hopefully this clarifies things for you.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. T-fan, you said, "When we ask for forgiveness, we are asking (at least implicitly, but sometimes explicitly) that our own sin not be imputed to us, but that it instead be imputed to Christ."

Does not such a notion make it easy for a person to say, "I can sin all I want 'cause I got the Jesus express card"?

And how do you square what you say here with Heb. 9:28? Some Protestants like to throw this verse at us Catholics to show the folly of our Mass. How is treating Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ like a perpetual debit card any different?

Also, both Protestants and Catholics believe that eternal damnation is the price that one pays for his sins. If we are to believe that your system is correct, why isn't Jesus spending an eternity in hell paying for our sins? Or did God the Father give Jesus' a discount when He paid my "account"?

And under a system of predestination that you espouse, how is it that man is capable of formulating that desire unless God's grace was working on him in the first place. And if God's grace was working on him in the first place, how is that man could resist such grace and sin at all? Is God's grace that ineffective? (Please understand~I also believe that God's grace is effective, but the logical conclusion of your system of justification denies that.)

Do you not see what a blasphemy is caused by such an artificial man-made notion as forensic imputation?

God bless!

Chuck said...

Paul,

Did people sin in the OT? How did they atone for their sin? Did they repent? Did they sin again? Did they atone again? What is the difference now that the curtain is rent?

Dozie said...

“When we ask for forgiveness, we are asking (at least implicitly, but sometimes explicitly) that our own sin not be imputed to us, but that it instead be imputed to Christ.”

"We also desire to grow in Christ's righteousness, and pray for God to work such growth in us by means of His Spirit, while siezing on the means of grace, including the Word, Sacraments, and prayer.

Hopefully this clarifies things for you."

Well, I appreciate your coming to the rescue but I hope you save your answers here and return to them again and again.

There is the Protestant notion that Christ paid for their sins, past, current and future. If this is true for you, why are you still in debt – to have the need to ask for forgiveness? Have your debts (sins) been forgiven or have they not? When your account is paid with your creditor, you don't go about asking for loan forgiveness, do you?

You say you desire to grow in Christ’s righteousness, but why? Why would you want to add to Christ’s righteousness since you already possess the fullness of it? I would submit that Christ’s righteousness is perfect and requires no improvement.

The Calvinist is usually consistent in his logic, but in this area, it does not appear he (general term) has thought through the implications of his mantra.

Turretinfan said...

Dozie wrote: "There is the Protestant notion that Christ paid for their sins, past, current and future."

"Protestant notion"? This is not just a Biblical doctrine, it is a good way of stating even the seemingly majority position in the Western church during the medieval period, as reflected in Anselm, for example.

Dozie wrote: "If this is true for you, why are you still in debt – to have the need to ask for forgiveness?"

Although the debts have already been paid by our mediator, that is a transaction between the Father and the Son. Nevertheless, to show us our dependence on His mercy (mercy, not justice, as much as that may offend the sensibilities of those who dislike legal fictions), we are commanded to seek forgiveness through confession of our sins to God.

Dozie wrote: "Have your debts (sins) been forgiven or have they not? When your account is paid with your creditor, you don't go about asking for loan forgiveness, do you?"

As noted above, there is a difference between the intra-trinitarian transaction of Christ paying for our sins, and us receiving the forgiveness that comes with it. Christ's death gives Him the right to demand our release, but it does not give us the same right. Instead, justice between the Father and the Son results in mercy to us.

Dozie wrote: "You say you desire to grow in Christ’s righteousness, but why?"

Because I love God.

Dozie wrote: "Why would you want to add to Christ’s righteousness since you already possess the fullness of it?"

I don't want to add to Christ's righteousness, and I cannot add to it. I want to be more like Christ because I hate sin.

Dozie wrote: "I would submit that Christ’s righteousness is perfect and requires no improvement."

On that point, your submission is correct, but is at variance with the logical consequences of your own church's theology, which seeks to add to Christ's righteousness. See, for example, the doctrines related to the "Treasury of Merit."

Dozie wrote: "The Calvinist is usually consistent in his logic, but in this area, it does not appear he (general term) has thought through the implications of his mantra."

Hopefully your positive stereotype of us has been confirmed.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

PH wrote: Mr. T-fan, you said, "When we ask for forgiveness, we are asking (at least implicitly, but sometimes explicitly) that our own sin not be imputed to us, but that it instead be imputed to Christ."

Does not such a notion make it easy for a person to say, "I can sin all I want 'cause I got the Jesus express card"?


I answer: It does make it easy for a person to say that, if the person ignores Scripture's answer to that attitude.

Romans 6:1-2
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

PH wrote: And how do you square what you say here with Heb. 9:28?

It lines up perfectly:

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Christ, by his one-time-for-all offering, has ensured the salvation of the "many" - and they will be saved from hell on the day of judgment.

PH wrote: Some Protestants like to throw this verse at us Catholics to show the folly of our Mass.

Indeed they do, and rightly so. The Mass contradicts this verse through the re-presentation of Christ.

PH wrote: How is treating Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ like a perpetual debit card any different?

I'm not advocating using Christ that way. I'll leave such explanation to those who do. Asking for forgiveness in the name of Christ, however, is different from attempting to re-present the sacrifice of Christ.

PH wrote: Also, both Protestants and Catholics believe that eternal damnation is the price that one pays for his sins. If we are to believe that your system is correct, why isn't Jesus spending an eternity in hell paying for our sins? Or did God the Father give Jesus' a discount when He paid my "account"?

Anselm explained the answer in the 14th chapter of the second book of his work, "Why did God become Man?" The answer lies in the fact that Jesus was not a mere man. Jesus was both God and man, in two distinct natures and one person. Accordingly, the death of Christ is of more intrinsic value than the eternal damnation of an infinite number of mere men.

PH wrote: "And under a system of predestination that you espouse, how is it that man is capable of formulating that desire unless God's grace was working on him in the first place. And if God's grace was working on him in the first place, how is that man could resist such grace and sin at all? Is God's grace that ineffective? (Please understand~I also believe that God's grace is effective, but the logical conclusion of your system of justification denies that.)"

I think you must have confused yourself on this point. Perhaps your confusion arises from using "grace" in multiple ways in the same paragraph. In any event, the Reformed churches teach the Biblical doctrine that God's saving grace is irresistable (not merely overwhelming). On the other hand, "common grace" has as its object merely restraint on sin, such as through the institution of civil government.

PH wrote: "Do you not see what a blasphemy is caused by such an artificial man-made notion as forensic imputation?"

Forensic imputation is a Biblical doctrine, not a "man-made notion." Unlike your church, our churches do not see fit to make up doctrines and then try to interpret Scripture to fit them. Instead, our theology is strictly exegetical.

-TurretinFan

L P Cruz said...

Mr. Hoffer,

You said...
Does not such a notion make it easy for a person to say, "I can sin all I want 'cause I got the Jesus express card"?

At this point I am confident I have preached the Gospel to you because you are charging me of anti-nomianism.

The faith we speak of does not exist without repentance -i.e. sorrow or heart brokeness from
being a sinner, not just for sins but for having the being a sinner.

Unlike RCC, we contend that faith cannot exist (using RCC terminology) with mortal sin.

Here is St Paul's reply to what he teaches and we teach.
.Rom 3:8And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), "(N)Let us do evil that good may come"? Their condemnation is just.

Your charge is exactly what St Paul is alluding to and rebutts.

Besides, on a side issue - does not the RCC teach that indulgences are drawn from the merits of Christ? Does not the Pope grant indulgences? All the rhetorical comments/questions thus far are no arguments against us because we can ask you the same - where do you get the forgiveness of your sins, what is the source?

Hint: Look at your sacrament of penance.

Dozie,

I need no rescuing specially from you.

When you have proven that you are a truth seeker I am happy to answer you, but as it stand we cannot go further because you have not answered instead ducked my question - how is your faith/belief in Christ different from the devil - for the devil manifestly confesses that Jesus is the Holy One of God too.

Why confuse you with facts?

LPC

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. T-fan, Thank you for responding to my queries.

In reply I offer the following,

You cited Romans 6:1-2. I like Romans 6:1-2, too. Don’t you love how St. Paul uses passages from OT books you call apocryphal~in this instance Sirach 5:5-7~to prove his points. Here, St. Paul is not talking about some sort of imputed change, but a real one. Grace changes our behavior. Once grace acts on us to change us, we become dead to sin. There is no pretend here. I agree with this understanding and if you really want to re-write the dictionary and change the meaning of the word imputation to reflect the Catholic understanding of justification, that’s fine by me. As I said earlier, folks need to drop the pretense that Catholics are “faithless” and likewise Catholics need to remember that Protestants are not “loveless”. There is far less that separates us on this issue than many apologists make it out to be.

In response to your comments on Heb. 9:28, I realize that your exegetical powers are concentrated on promoting your own anti-Catholic vision, but you forgot that Christ through his sacrifice has a perpetual priesthood that does not pass away. (Hebrews 7:25) His intercession is not a sequel to His completed sacrifice, but shows that such sacrifice is eternally present. The Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross occurred "once for all"; it cannot be repeated (Heb. 9:28). Christ does not "die again" at Mass. The Mass is a participation in the very same once-for-all sacrifice that occurred on Calvary is made present on the altar. As St. Paul stated 1 Cor. 10:16-17, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” What you would need to convince me otherwise is to show me that any time in the recorded history of the Church when it stopped offering such a sacrifice. The Didache, Pope St. Clement’s letter, St. Ignatius’ epistles, St, Justin Martyr’s apologia, etc. all show that they treated the celebration of the Eucharist as a sacrifice.

I must admit that I was pleasantly pleased with your citation of St. Anselm in response to my question about the value of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself. You were aware that in “De Conceptu Virginali”, his sequel to “Cur Deus Homo”, St. Anselm goes on to explain how the Blessed Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception was fitting in order that Jesus’ human nature would also be conceived sinlessly thereby enabling His death to constitute adequate satisfaction, weren’t you? Of course, St. Anselm’s notions of satisfaction led him to compose such beautiful prayers to Mary like this one:

“Mother of Salvation Blessed Lady, you are the Mother of Justification and of those who are justified; the Mother of Reconciliation and of those who are reconciled; the Mother of Salvation and of those who are saved. What a blessed trust, and what a secure refuge! The Mother of God is our Mother. The Mother of the One in whom alone we hope and whom alone we fear is our Mother! The One who partook of our nature, and by restoring us to life made us children of His Mother, invites us by this to proclaim that we are His brothers and sisters. Therefore, our Judge is also our Brother. The Saviour of the world is our Brother. Our God has become, through Mary, our Brother! Amen.”

Anyway, St. Anselm does not teach that our sins are imputed to Christ. Rather, Christ’s sacrifice was/is an appeal to God's mercy, not a demand on His justice. St. Anselm, as you have pointed out, merely opined that the value of the offer made to appeal to God's mercy was of greater value to what is being asked to avoid insulting the honor of the Divine Sovereign.

I also appreciate you reminding me that many Protestants as do Catholics do acknowledge the difference between habitual grace and actual grace. I will try to remember my audience in the future. Of course what things Protestants get right when it comes to doctrine are things that they retained from the Catholic Church.

I disagree with you that forensic imputation is a Biblical doctrine when the Scriptures plainly show otherwise. Psalm 51, is just one example. Jesus, Himself, condemned such legalistic declarations at Mt. 15:1-20.

The problem with your exegetical method is that you do not relate what you think one writer of Scripture may say to what Christ, Himself, said. You may boast that the theology (so-called) of your churches (whatever they may be) is strictly exegetical, but your problem is finding anything in Scripture that demands that you follow your particular methodology of exegesis (whatever that maybe).

Chuck and LPC, I will try to respond to your comments later today.

Anyway, I wish all of you and yours many blessings this Christmas.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Chuck. You asked: "Did people sin in the OT?"

A: Yes.

Q: How did they atone for their sin?

A: It depends on time period in OT history. In very summary and cursory form: originally, burnt offerings were made. Then, under Mosaic law, offerings were made not to atone for sin, but to re-establish the relationship between God and man. The sin was actually atoned for by confession and then a cleansing by water. Eventually, by Isaiah and Ezekiel's time, confession, fasting, almsgiving and suffering were all considered efficacious forms of atonement in lieu of sacrifices. All of these forms of atonement meant nothing without an internal change occurring as well. Ezekiel talks about how atonement requires "a new heart and a new spirit" for example. (Ezek. 34:26)

Q: Did they repent?

A: The OT is pretty clear that an external imputation without an accompanying internal change of heart was not considered a valid form of atonement.

Q: Did they sin again?

A: Yes, particularly if they externalized their atonement and followed external rituals for appearance sake.

Q. Did they atone again?

A. See previous answer.

Q. What is the difference now that the curtain is rent?

A. The difference is that Jesus' suffering and death on the Cross fulfilled the requirements of the sacrifice in OT atonement rituals forever. However, there still must be the confession of individual sins, and an inward regeneration of the relationship between God and man so that Christ's sacrifice can be applied to us. See, Col. 1:24. Hence, we still need to repent of our sins despite the fact that Christ's sacrifice is once and for all.

I hope this is helpful to you.

LPC, Don't get too confident about preaching the Gospel to me. First, I have not charged you with antinomianism at least as I understand the term. What I have suggested here is the opposite~that forensic imputation is too legalistic and emphasizes external form over internal substance. Christ called those who engaged in such practices as whited sepulchers.

I agree with your statement, "The faith we speak of does not exist without repentance -i.e. sorrow or heart brokeness from
being a sinner, not just for sins but for having the being a sinner." Of course, the concept that you speak of here is not external nor something that is imputed.

You said, "Unlike RCC, we contend that faith cannot exist (using RCC terminology) with mortal sin." You would agree with me, however, that God can and does forgive such sins if a person truly repents of such sins. Besides, I do not want to really discuss the notion of final perseverence which is not shared by all Protestants.

Of course, St Paul's reply to accusation you allude to at Rom. 3:8 and Rom. 5 is set forth fully in Rom. 6. Again, I am not charging you with believing in the notion that one should sin more so that grace will abound. What I have been saying is that the use of words "forensic imputation" gives the impression that you believe that when in fact you probably do not. I alluded to this fact by acknowledging that Catholics and certain Lutheran groups and others have reached an understanding on justification.

You said, "Your charge is exactly what St Paul is alluding to and rebuts." Nope-read my comments again.

You mentioned indulgences...of course one can not obtain an indulgence in the Catholic Church unless their sins were first forgiven. Indulgences do not have anything to do with the guilt of sin, only the temporal consequences of sin. In the early Church, the penances imposed on the confessed sinner often lasted years. An indulgence originally was a remittance of a potion of the duration of that penance. Yes, the Catholic Church teaches that indulgences are drawn from the merits of Christ. However, the Pope does not "grant" indulgences in the way you are suggesting it. A Pope may define the conditions of when an indulgence may be obtained, but that springs from the authority Christ gave Peter and the Apostles and subsequently His Church to "bind and loose." Mt. 16:19, 18:18.

You asked, "[W]here do you get the forgiveness of your sins, what is the source?" Answer: The slightest drop of Christ's blood shed on Calvary was sufficient to wipe away the stain of sin from my soul and the souls of every person who has/will ever lived.

God bless both of you!

L P Cruz said...

Paul H,

Unfortunately you have completely misrepresented forensic justification in your mind when you say...
What I have suggested here is the opposite~that forensic imputation is too legalistic and emphasizes external form over internal substance

There is nothing legalistic in fact there is none - I do not think you are using the word "legal" in a consistent manner and so there is equivocation and confusion in the things being relayed by you on this matter This is bordering on sophistry.

To us when a person is being legalistic it means the person is insisting the performance of the Law to the letter.

It is not us who believe that salvation is faith + works, it is the RC. And what are the works part? Are they not the works prescribed by the Magisterium? So who is being legalistic.

Clearly it is not us who is being like that because you alluded at least by your reasoning that our position leads to libertarian abandonment.


When we admit the forensic aspect of justification we harken back to the Law of God. How is one pronounced guilty if not the person actually violating the Law? If justification is the releasing of guilt or the forgiveness or looking over of sin, then it is the legal counterpart of being declared innocent.

It is quite curious because Mt 15:1-20 is one of our verses against the RCC Majesterium's teachings - they follow the tradition of men rather than God's word.

You answered:The slightest drop of Christ's blood shed on Calvary was sufficient to wipe away the stain of sin from my soul and the souls of every person who has/will ever lived.

But your answer is similar to us so why do you behave/ask questions as if it is not what we also confess in fact we take that seriously and confess that it is by Christ's blood alone and none of our righteousness that we are able to stand before God.

So it is not us who is making a farce of Jesus' righteousness because it is you who is calling it legal fiction when in fact we do not call it such a thing.

You cannot have it both ways either you are saved by Jesus' blood alone or you are not saved by Jesus blood alone.

Which is it to you?

We confess we are saved by Jesus blood alone and none of our works contributing to that salvation. Our stance is consistent with that confession and truth we hold.

Clarify - do you agree with that or not?



Further and last point...again you said .emphasizes external form over internal substance

This is what happens when you disassociate justification from faith. Faith which is welded into justification cannot be separated from it (as based on our doctrine), but what is faith? And by the way this faith we speak of is not generic, it is very specific. This is something internal, the sinner is the one who has faith, this faith is created by God in his heart, by the Gospel promise. We believe in justification through faith alone. We do not believe in justification without faith. We do not believe in people being justified before faith in Christ. Though my declaration is external the means for that declaration which is faith, is internal.

So clearly you confirm my impression that the RC believes that faith is assent and not trust.,You think of it as something generic. Seems to me that you take it as similar to believing that Fiji is an island in the pacific, that it exists, that it has coconut trees, that it is surrounded by water etc.


God's peace to you too.

LPC

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi LPC, you have made my point so much better than I.

I agree with you that there is nothing “legalistic” about justification. My problem is with the choice of words that Protestants use to describe it. In their plain and ordinary sense of the words, neither “forensic” nor “imputation” mean what you are saying they mean. I have been trying to get past the labels that are used by Protestant to create differences in doctrine when in fact there actually is not that much difference between how you and I look at being “saved.” I think we actually agree far more than we disagree.

You say, “To us when a person is being legalistic it means the person is insisting the performance of the Law to the letter.” Which “Law” are you talking about? Natural law? Mosaic law? The Law of Love that Christ gave us at Jn 13:34? The first two do not save, but the last one does. Christ cries out to us, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and NOT DO WHAT I TELL YOU?” (Lk. 6:46)

You knock "works" but for Catholics, works are a part of faith itself. Faith does not mean merely belief, as even demons have that. Faith that saves means faithfulness; that is, obedience to God’s commands and turning away from sin. Christ, Himself, tells us that we will be judged on this. (Mt. 25:31-46) We are called on not only have faith, but to live that faith in all we do. Jesus is the Light of the World, we are called on to FOLLOW that Light. To follow means to work.

The notion of “works” that Protestants bring up, like your comment about “works prescribed by the Magisterium” means something far different from that you ascribing to it. I presume you are talking about going to Mass, male-only, celibate priesthood, receiving the sacraments, etc. These are not the modern-day equivalent of the “works” of the Law referred to in the Scriptures. We look at those things as God’s means to distribute His graces to us. These things are part of the “binding” and “loosing”powers that Christ gave His Church. We do not consider them as “the Law” in the place of a some sort of Pharisaic or Essene code.

If I do not go to Mass, for example, I am missing out on an opportunity to receive grace. If Our Lord was alive on earth today, how many of you would neglect an opportunity to go hear Him preach, to break bread with Him, to be in His presence? What graces would you receive by being with Our Lord! To me, however, going to Mass is the same as hearing Our Lord speak, receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist is participating with Him in His Last Supper and being in His presence again. My Church teaches that to be a member of the Catholic Church is to be a part of the Body of Christ itself. I abide in Him as He is abiding in me. When I go to Mass, I am with Christ.

The purpose of our “rules” or as you called them, “works of the Magisterium” is so we do not profane Our Lord’s body. I realize that I have summarized things but I hope you understand what I am trying to say.

I realize that many Protestant apologists from Calvin forward have misused Mt 15:1-20 as one of their texts against Magisterial teachings. I can't help it that they have been blinded by their dislike for Catholicism. If they actually had known of the different pharisaic schools, the manner in which they taught, and the manner in which the "tradition of the elders" was formulated, they would have known that Jesus was debunking a sola scriptural reading of Num 30:2 that disassociated the requirement of love from the commandments. I attempted to put the teaching back into the context in which Christ had used it as opposed to the horribly improper way that it is commonly used. Here, we have a precept of men (Protestant) that denies that works which we define as faith working through love has a role in our salvation. We do not separate our sanctification from justification.

I told you, “The slightest drop of Christ's blood shed on Calvary was sufficient to wipe away the stain of sin from my soul and the souls of every person who has/will ever lived.“ This answer may be similar to one you would say, but what I have been trying to say is that the very words, “forensic imputation” deny the implications of how Christ’s blood saves us. His blood wipes away the stain of sin from our souls thereby making us new men enabling us to make His righteousness our own, to do what is right and to turn from sin. We are not merely declared holy, we become holy.

You stated, “You cannot have it both ways either you are saved by Jesus' blood alone or you are not saved by Jesus blood alone. Which is it?” Once "saved" is understood as a process like it is described in Ps. 51:1-10 and 1 Cor. 6:11, then I can say that yes Catholics believe by Christ’s blood alone we are saved.

You stated, “We confess we are saved by Jesus blood alone and none of our works contributing to that salvation. Our stance is consistent with that confession and truth we hold.” My response: This most precious gift of Our Lord is the catalyst for regenerating us as new creations, for renewing us, and for restoring the bonds between us and Our Father in heaven. Faith in God is a grace in and of itself. If God does not give it to us, then we can not have faith. However, once we have received that gift, we must grow it as Christ told us in the parable of the talents at Mt. 25:14-30, lest it serves to condemn us as well (Jn. 12:47; 2 Cor. 5:10). Our participation is necessary. You can not disassociate works from faith. In order to avail in Christ, faith must be working through love (Gal. 5:6). “If I have all faith. So as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (Rom. 13:2) Sanctification and justification can not be separated.

I stand by my words, “forensic imputation is too legalistic and emphasizes external form over internal substance.” While you claim not to disassociate justification from faith, you then turn around claim that love (works) is. By acknowledging that God creates faith in one’s heart, you have implicitly accepted what the Catholic Church has always taught. However, you do not seem to acknowledge the obvious conclusion: it is what you do with that newly created faith in your heart that Christ will judge. Catholics do-that is where the works part comes into the equation. I think that when Protestants honestly look past the labels that they have created, they agree with this too.

As far as your last comments about confirming your impression that the RC believes that faith is assent and not trust. If you look at comments that I have made on this blog in the past, particularly to a fellow Christian gentleman who goes by the moniker, “Augustinian Successor” as well as my statements on my blog, you will find something a bit different. I have written:

“At its core, faith is based on obedience and assent. It is not based on how well we understand. I do not need to understand in order to have faith in Jesus Christ, in His infallible Word and in His infallible Church.”

You will also find me saying this:

“Now what do we mean when we talk about “obedience of faith?” To “obey” in faith is to submit freely to the Word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. The word “obey” comes from a Latin word meaning “to hear and listen to.” Another word for obedience is to trust. Implicitly, to trust in the truth of the Word of God is another way of saying I acknowledge and assent to be under God’s authority and to obey Him and His Church.”

See, http://capriciousness.blogspot.com/2008/07/reaffirmations.html


Thank you for this discussion. I have learned a lot. God bless!


P.S. I thought Fiji was a country. Isn’t Viti Levu the island? Or is Fiji merely the Anglicized version?

Turretinfan said...

PH wrote: Hello Mr. T-fan, Thank you for responding to my queries.

TF: You're welcome.

PH wrote: In reply I offer the following,

TF: and I answer in this style ... going line by line ...

PH wrote: You cited Romans 6:1-2. I like Romans 6:1-2, too. Don’t you love how St. Paul uses passages from OT books you call apocryphal~in this instance Sirach 5:5-7~to prove his points.

a) Saying that Romans 6:1-2 is Paul using Sirach 5:5-7 is a creative association, but totally speculative.

b) But, while I do not consider the Apocrypha canonical, I too sometimes use them to make a point.

c) In fact, I sometimes not only use but quote from non-canonical writings in the New Testament era, such as the Shepherd of Hermas or the Epistle of Pseudo-Barnabas.

d) I would hope that you would not assume that I think every author is an inspired writer of Holy Scripture, just because I use them in some way. Surely you would not make the same mistake with Paul.

PH wrote: Here, St. Paul is not talking about some sort of imputed change, but a real one.

TF: Actually, in Romans 6:1-2, Paul is answering the objection that if God is glorified by showing his grace in forgiving our sins, should we sin more so that He can be even more gracious.

PH wrote: Grace changes our behavior.

TF: Yes, it does.

PH wrote: Once grace acts on us to change us, we become dead to sin.

TF: Yes, we do.

PH wrote: There is no pretend here.

TF: No one says that, but you're right.

PH wrote: I agree with this understanding and if you really want to re-write the dictionary and change the meaning of the word imputation to reflect the Catholic understanding of justification, that’s fine by me.

TF: No one is proposing to do so.

PH wrote: As I said earlier, folks need to drop the pretense that Catholics are “faithless” and likewise Catholics need to remember that Protestants are not “loveless”.

TF: This really has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

PH wrote: There is far less that separates us on this issue than many apologists make it out to be.

TF: It may seem small to you, simply because you don't appreciate its importance. I am occasionally told by atheists that the one God I believe in is only a small difference from the zero gods they believe in. I think it's a big difference.

PH wrote: In response to your comments on Heb. 9:28, I realize that your exegetical powers are concentrated on promoting your own anti-Catholic vision,

TF: If you look at what I write through that sort of warped lens, it is no wonder you have difficulty following it. No, I exegete Scriptures to arrive at the truth, not to promote any vision of my own. As for "anti-Catholic," that sort of nonsense is a great way to get yourself mentally classified with Armstrong.

PH wrote: but you forgot that Christ through his sacrifice has a perpetual priesthood that does not pass away. (Hebrews 7:25)

TF: Nope, I didn't forget that.

PH wrote: His intercession is not a sequel to His completed sacrifice, but shows that such sacrifice is eternally present.

TF: His intercession is not a sequel to His completed sacrifice. The idea that his sacrifice is eternally present poses some serious difficulties for certain aspects of medieval speculation that your church seems to have adopted, such as the idea of Limbus Patrem. The sacrifice of Christ was an actual event that was anticipated in the Old Testament time period, and is remembered in the present era. To say that it is "eternally present" is potentially quite misleading.

PH wrote: The Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross occurred "once for all"; it cannot be repeated (Heb. 9:28).

TF: There is a lot Jesuitical sophistry on this point from Romanist theologians. Although they certainly will make statements like that, they will also turn around and (from the other side of their mouth) call the mass a re-presentation.

PH wrote: Christ does not "die again" at Mass.

TF: He certainly doesn't (whether in reality or in your theology). And without a death, there isn't a sacrifice. But, your church does claim that it is a re-presentation of a sacrifice. Two sides, one mouth.

PH wrote: The Mass is a participation in the very same once-for-all sacrifice that occurred on Calvary is made present on the altar.

TF: This is just incoherent nonsense. It occurred on Calvary, it is not any longer occurring. Christ is not dying, which demonstrates that it is not occurring. This problem of inconsistency, though, is to be expected when one is trying to defend the indefensible.

PH wrote: As St. Paul stated 1 Cor. 10:16-17, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

TF: Here's a better translation:

1 Corinthians 10:16-17
16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

We are feasting on Christ (spiritually), but we are not watching him get sacrificed. The sacrifice is an historical reality.

PH wrote: What you would need to convince me otherwise is to show me that any time in the recorded history of the Church when it stopped offering such a sacrifice.

TF: The communion of the body and blood of Christ is not a sacrifice being offered. It is a remembrance of the sacrifice that was offered. Your demand presumes something that you would need to demonstrate first, namely that Christians initially treated it as a sacrifice, not a remembrance of the once-for-all sacrifice.

PH wrote: The Didache, Pope St. Clement’s letter, St. Ignatius’ epistles, St, Justin Martyr’s apologia, etc. all show that they treated the celebration of the Eucharist as a sacrifice.

TF: No they don't. Who made you think they do?

Let's take the Didache, for instance. It states: Chapter 9
1 Now concerning the Thanksgiving (Eucharist), thus give thanks. 2 First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David Your servant, which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. 3 And concerning the broken bread: We thank You, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. 4 Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom; for Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever. 5 But let no one eat or drink of your Thanksgiving (Eucharist), but they who have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, Give not that which is holy to the dogs. Matthew 7:6
Chapter 10
1 But after you are filled, thus give thanks: 2 We thank You, holy Father, for Your holy name which You caused to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. 3 You, Master almighty, created all things for Your name's sake; You gave food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to You; but to us You freely gave spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Your Servant. 4 Before all things we thank You that You are mighty; to You be the glory for ever. 5 Remember, Lord, Your Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Your love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Your kingdom which You have prepared for it; for Yours is the power and the glory for ever. 6 Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God (Son) of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen. 7 But permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as much as they desire.


Those are the two chapters having to do with the Lord's Supper (aka the Eucharist). They show it being observed, but there is no description of it as a sacrifice - either a new one or a re-presentation of an "eternally present" one. It's a remembrance, just as in Reformed churches today.

Given how far off your claims were with the Didache, we need not investigate the remainder of your claims.

PH wrote: I must admit that I was pleasantly pleased with your citation of St. Anselm in response to my question about the value of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself.

TF: I'm glad it was a pleasant experience for you. Perhaps it will help to make you cognizant of the Reformation's recognition of its own theological ancestry. The point, of course, was that as to the atonement, certain portions of the Reformers theology is already developed in Anselm's day.

PH wrote: You were aware that in “De Conceptu Virginali”, his sequel to “Cur Deus Homo”, St. Anselm goes on to explain how the Blessed Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception was fitting in order that Jesus’ human nature would also be conceived sinlessly thereby enabling His death to constitute adequate satisfaction, weren’t you?

TF: Actually, De Conceptu Virginali (You may find chapter 18, "God was conceived from a just virgin—not out of necessity,
as if He could not be conceived from a sinful virgin, but rather
because such a conception was fitting," to be of interest), while often attributed to Anselm, may actually have been composed by Eadmer of Canterbury. Nevertheless, the error of imagining that Mary was immaculately conceived (against the testimony of Scripture and the fathers) does seem to have been around in Anselm's day, and it seems reasonable to suppose that he may well have accepted it. It has a very tangential relation to the issue of Christ's own immaculate conception - a doctrine that actually matters when it comes to the atonement.

PH wrote: Of course, St. Anselm’s notions of satisfaction led him to compose such beautiful prayers to Mary like this one:

“Mother of Salvation Blessed Lady, you are the Mother of Justification and of those who are justified; the Mother of Reconciliation and of those who are reconciled; the Mother of Salvation and of those who are saved. What a blessed trust, and what a secure refuge! The Mother of God is our Mother. The Mother of the One in whom alone we hope and whom alone we fear is our Mother! The One who partook of our nature, and by restoring us to life made us children of His Mother, invites us by this to proclaim that we are His brothers and sisters. Therefore, our Judge is also our Brother. The Saviour of the world is our Brother. Our God has become, through Mary, our Brother! Amen.”


TF: Although Canterbury was in England (still is!), I'm guessing Anselm probably wrote that particular Oratian, (52, isn't it?) in Latin, seeing as he was of Italian extraction. I wonder if you've checked the original to see how accurate that particular translation is ... no matter, Anselm's view of Mary is not particularly relevant to the matter at hand. It is interesting to compare his comment about Jesus being the "only" hope, with Benedict XVI's recent comments which suggested that hope was placed also in Mary herself.

PH wrote: Anyway, St. Anselm does not teach that our sins are imputed to Christ.

TF: Yes, he does. Book 1 explains that man is unable to pay for his own sins, those sins must be paid for if man is to be set free, and consequently someone must pay for them - and that someone is Christ. Thus, Chapter 25 poses the question: B. How, then, will man be saved if he does not pay what he owes and if he ought not to be saved unless he pays it? Or how can we impudently maintain that God, who is rich in mercy beyond human understanding, cannot bestow this mercy? Anselm goes on to provide as the central answer that A. From what I have already said, do you not realize that it is necessary for some men to attain happiness? For if it is unfitting for God to bring a man having any stain to that end for which He created him free of every stain—lest [by so doing] He should seem either to regret the good work He had begun or to be unable to fulfill His purpose—then, much more, because of this same unfittingness, it is impossible that no man whatsoever be elevated to the end for which he was created. Therefore, either the kind of satisfaction-for-sin which I earlier showed to be required must occur outside the context of the Christian faith—something which no sound reasoning can demonstrate—or else satisfaction-for-sin must assuredly be believed to occur within the context of the Christian faith. For that which on the basis of rational necessity is inferred really to be the case ought not to be called into any doubt, even if the reason why it is true is not discerned.

It is this satisfaction-for-sin by another than the actual sinner that we call "imputation" of their sin to him.

PH wrote: Rather, Christ’s sacrifice was/is an appeal to God's mercy, not a demand on His justice.

TF: No. You've got it completely backwards.
(from I, 12, p. 320 at this link)
A. Also consider the following point: Everyone knows that human justice is subject to law, so that God deals out the measure of recompense according to the degree of justice.
B. This is what we believe.
A. But if sin were neither paid for nor punished, it would be subject to no law.
B. I cannot think differently.
A. Therefore, if injustice is forgiven out of mercy alone, then injustice is more at liberty than is justice—something which seems especially unfitting. Moreover, this unfittingness is so extensive
that it makes injustice resemble God, for as God is subject to no
one's law, neither would injustice be.
B. I cannot oppose your reasoning.


PH wrote: St. Anselm, as you have pointed out, merely opined that the value of the offer made to appeal to God's mercy was of greater value to what is being asked to avoid insulting the honor of the Divine Sovereign.

TF: No, as demonstrated above, he went beyond "merely" that.

PH wrote: I also appreciate you reminding me that many Protestants as do Catholics do acknowledge the difference between habitual grace and actual grace. I will try to remember my audience in the future. Of course what things Protestants get right when it comes to doctrine are things that they retained from the Catholic Church.

TF: No comment ... obviously I don't share your attempted hijacking of historic Western Christianity.

PH wrote: I disagree with you that forensic imputation is a Biblical doctrine when the Scriptures plainly show otherwise. Psalm 51, is just one example.

TF: Umm ... no Psalm 51 isn't. Affirming actual regeneration is not denying forensic justification. One can have both, and Christians are both transformed inwardly and accounted righteous for Christ's sake.

PH wrote: Jesus, Himself, condemned such legalistic declarations at Mt. 15:1-20.

TF:

A) Calling forensic imputation "legalistic" is a rather silly polemic trick, unless you seriously don't understand the difference between something being "legal" and something being "legalistic."

B) Matthew 15:1-20 is about the so-called Corban rule. We can view it as lawyers trying to find legal loopholes, and it was condemned, but the condemnation was not of the use of legal mechanisms generally, but rather of pitting Scripture against Scripture via human traditions, rather than letting Scripture interpret Scripture.

PH wrote: The problem with your exegetical method is that you do not relate what you think one writer of Scripture may say to what Christ, Himself, said.

TF: That's a false charge. It's certainly not my professed exegetical method of Sola Scriptura and Tota Scriptura and my actual exegetical method does not vary from that profession.

PH wrote: You may boast that the theology (so-called) of your churches (whatever they may be) is strictly exegetical, but your problem is finding anything in Scripture that demands that you follow your particular methodology of exegesis (whatever that maybe).

TF: The comment "whatever that maybe [sic]" belies the fact that the charge itself is false. If you don't know what the method is, you can hardly claim that we have trouble finding support for it in Scripture.

(the remainder of PH's comments were directed to others)

-TurretinFan

Dozie said...

TF “On that point, your submission is correct, but is at variance with the logical consequences of your own church's theology, which seeks to add to Christ's righteousness. See, for example, the doctrines related to the "Treasury of Merit."

Me: I have come to the conclusion that either you are predestined to not understand Catholic theology or you do not actually have the facility to do so; it is, in either case, futile to engage on points of Catholic theology.

Me: The Calvinist is usually consistent in his logic, but in this area, it does not appear he (general term) has thought through the implications of his mantra.

TF “Hopefully your positive stereotype of us has been confirmed”.

Me: I am very sorry to disappoint you. Yes, the Calvinist is consistent, but he is consistently wrong. As a matter of fact, the best I can make of Calvinism is that it and atheism are two sides of the same bad coin.

The atheist looks for God in the world and wonders where in the world he is. He sees calamities and injustices in the world – world war one, world war two, plane crashes, church bus fatalities, church shootings with fatalities, Tsunami, sudden deaths, 911, prolonged droughts, unprovoked wars, rampant injustice, racism, lynching, the saved and the lost, unimaginable poverty, child rape, and on and on; he asks: if there is God why does he not act? Not finding the footprints of God in the sand or seeing a burning bush or hearing a voice from the clouds, he concludes there is no God.

The Calvinist has the same problems as the atheist but resorts to an attempt to explain the apparent remoteness of God. This he accomplishes through his TULIP. Calvinism is no more than an attempt to make excuses for God. Repeat, Calvinism is no more than an attempt to make excuses for God. In my many hours of listening to the best of them, I perceive that their efforts are based on fear – fear that the atheist be right.

In any case, like the atheist, the Calvinist looks for God in the calamities mentioned, not find Him, he suggests that God has no reason to act; that God has already acted and having predestined everything to happen better than the Swiss clock, He is resting until the end of time. Everything therefore, including the multiplication of evil in the world, happens and is happening according to God’s predestination. The folks at Unchained Radio would go as far as suggest that God is the author of sin- that every sin committed is with God’s approval.

To the questions: If Christ died for the sins of all why would some be saved and others lost? The Calvinist responds – God did not die for all. The Calvinist suggests that Christ died for a few and that all those will be saved. Here again, the Calvinist goes beyond what the bible clearly says (listen to James White/Steve Gregg debate) to make unwarranted excuse for God. James White likes the phrase, “Christ saves perfectly”, and concluding therefore that whoever is saved is saved eternally. You ask, what about those who were former or Ex-Saved? The Calvinist resorts to another excuse – they were never saved. Why did Obama win the election against the prayers and wishes of Christian leaders? The Calvinist pulls out his excuse – predestination. You ask, why is it so irrevocably predestined? Why was it predestined that so many would die in 911, in the Tsunami, in world wars, in the Ethiopian drought, etc, etc? The Calvinist says it is for the glory of God. Very convoluted and tired theology! This kind of Calvinist will be incapable of making sense of Catholic theology.

In any case, if one goes through all that Calvinist believes, one sees that they are all attempts to defend God against an apparent lack of his active presence in the world. This is why their theology is short and circular.

If you subscribe to the Calvinist’s arguments however, he is pretty consistent in his excuses but in doing, he ends up thinking much less of God in not being able to speak the truth; perhaps, he has never learned the truth.

L P Cruz said...

Paul H.,

I agree it is now time to wind our talk to a close.

My problem is with the choice of words that Protestants use to describe it. In their plain and ordinary sense of the words, neither “forensic” nor “imputation” mean what you are saying they mean

I wonder why you say after discussion you still say that. I wonder why it is causing some allergies, for it is a Biblical term.

I cannot give up on imputation because a.) it is Biblical, it is the way the Bible translators translated 'logitzomai', b.) it conveys what is to be understood. Example look at Rom 4:6-8 (KJV). My disappointment is that you struggled with me on philosophical rather than exegetical grounds.

For me to give it up is to say the Word of God is of no consequence.

Faith that saves means faithfulness; that is, obedience to God’s commands and turning away from sin. Christ, Himself, tells us that we will be judged on this. (Mt. 25:31-46) We are called on not only have faith, but to live that faith in all we do. Jesus is the Light of the World, we are called on to FOLLOW that Light. To follow means to work.

Paul, if you looked at my response to Stacey, I came out to say that we do not deny impartation.

Perhaps I should give a quote of Luther...

WA,DB 7,10.

Faith is a divine work in us which changes us and makes us to be born anew of God, Jn 1:12-13. It kills the old adam and makes us altogether different men, in heat, and spirit and mind and powers;...it is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly.

We do not separate our sanctification from justification.

Neither do we, we distinguish but not separate, you do not separate but confound them.


It saddens me that you also do not respect differences of categories, faith and the things that proceed from faith are two different things, they are not one and the same.

Peace,

LPC

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Fan,

I wanted to offer a counter-reply to some of the things that you said in your last comment to me.

Your said, “I would hope that you would not assume that I think every author is an inspired writer of Holy Scripture, just because I use them in some way. Surely you would not make the same mistake with Paul.”

My response: Of course, considering that St. Paul is an inspired writer of Scripture, when he uses deuterocanonical works that is a bit more significant than you using them. All I am doing is suggesting is that St. Paul considers Sirach to be Scripture. Given St. Paul’s primary usage of the Septuagint in his writings, even when it comes to books of the OT that post-1st century Jews and Protestants accept (See, Rom. 11:26-27 and at 15:12 for just two examples), it is suggestive that he accepted it as Scripture. You may call my view “speculative”if you so desire, but my view is based on a bit more on knowledge than on conjecture. I suggest that it is your view of the Deuterocanonical books that is conjectural.

Pertaining to 1 Cor. 10:16-17...while I happen to like the translation I cite to, yours does not help in any way your argument in light of 1 Cor. 10:18. We may disagree over which English word fits the koine Greek words “koinonia” as used in 1 Cor. 10:16 and “koinonos” at 1 Cor. 10:18 best, but whether we participate, partake, share, or commune with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, St. Paul makes it clear that we are still participating, still partaking, still sharing and/or still communing with the sacrifice on the altar. It is not just a past event in history to St. Paul.

This is made even clearer at 1 Cor. 11: 23-31:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep” (Emphasis Added) When St. Paul talking about us examining ourselves prior to eating the bread and drinking the cup here is he talking in the past tense here?

You said, “The communion of the body and blood of Christ is not a sacrifice being offered. It is a remembrance of the sacrifice that was offered. Your demand presumes something that you would need to demonstrate first, namely that Christians initially treated it as a sacrifice, not a remembrance of the once-for-all sacrifice.”

My response: Of course, you are using the word “remembrance” in a modern-day sense, not in the sense that someone in the 1st century would have understood the term. [Thus, may I conclude that you do not believe in using the historical-critical method of exegesis?] “Anamnesis” meant to the Hebrews and the early Church “a corporate act in which the event remembered was experienced anew through ritual repetition.” Remember, too, that while Jesus was crucified once and for all (Hebrews 9:12, 10:10), we are also told in Scripture that he was crucified “before the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8) and that he is today standing before the throne of God as a living lamb standing as though slain (Rev 5:6). Is this sacrifice not eternally present?

But I forget, in your eyes, I am merely a stupid lawyer, unversed in the pure, unalloyed theology of Calvinism armed only with Romish notions and Jesuitical sophistry. What could I possibly know?

Since you asked me to prove my contention that the early Catholics treated the Eucharistic celebration (a.k.a the Mass) as a sacrifice, I will try. Let’s start with “The Didache.”

While you cited Chapters 9 and 10, you forgot Chapter 14. Is there any doubt whatsoever as to what sacrifice the writer is talking about here:

Chapter 14:

1) On every Lord's Day—his special day—come together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.

2) Anyone at variance with his neighbor must not join you, until they are reconciled, lest your sacrifice be defiled.

3) For it was of this sacrifice that the Lord said, "Always and everywhere offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is marveled at by the nations.” See, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html

Three guesses what these early Christians were sacrificing. I would hope that you would agree with me that Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross is the only one that could possibly qualify as a pure sacrifice.

TF said, “Given how far off your claims were with the Didache, we need not investigate the remainder of your claims.”

My response: Given how you missed an entire chapter of the Didache that shows the Eucharist to be a sacrifice, we had better go through the other sources I alluded to make sure I didn’t just get lucky.

Pope St. Clement’s letter to Corinthians:

From Chapter XLIV:
“Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its SACRIFICES.” (EMPHASIS ADDED) (St. Clement to the Corinthians, quoted in Jurgens' Faith of the Early Fathers, Volume 1, pages 10-11)

[In fairness to you, the translation that most Protestants look at (found here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.txt] has changed the meaning somewhat]

From St. Ignatius’ Epistle to the Ephesians, Chapter 5:

“He, therefore, that separates himself from such, and does not meet in THE SOCIETY WHERE SACRCIFICES ARE OFFERED, and with "the Church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven," is a wolf in sheep's clothing, while he presents a mild outward appearance.” (EMPHASIS ADDED)


From St. Ignatius’ Epistle to the Philadelphians, Chapter 4:

“Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with his blood, and ONE SINGLE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE—even as there is also but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow servitors, the deacons. This will ensure that all your doings are in full accord with the will of God” (EMPHASIS ADDED)

From St. Ignatius’ Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 7:

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.”

Ibid, Chapter 8:

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid. See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord's might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or TO OFFER, or TO PRESENT SACRIFICE, or to celebrate a love-feast. But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid.” (Emphasis added).

St. Justin Martyr’s Dialogue Against Trypho Chapter 41 :

“God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [minor prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: "I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord, and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands; for from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the Gentiles" [Mal. 1:10-11]. He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us [Christians] who in every place OFFER SACRIFICES to Him, that is, THE BREAD OF THE EUCHARIST and ALSO THE CUP OF THE EUCHARIST.” (Emphasis added)

St. Irenaeus’s Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapter 17:5:

“Again, giving directions to His disciples to offer to God the first-fruits of His own, created things— not as if He stood in need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor ungrateful— He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, This is My body. And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world, to Him who gives us as the means of subsistence the first-fruits of His own gifts in the New Testament, concerning which Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus spoke beforehand: I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord Omnipotent, and I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun, unto the going down [of the same], My name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the Gentiles, says the Lord Omnipotent; — indicating in the plainest manner, by these words, that the former people [the Jews] shall indeed cease to make offerings to God, but that in every place sacrifice shall be offered to Him, and that a pure one; and His name is glorified among the Gentiles. “

St. Ignatius, Book 4, Chapter 18:

“The oblation of the Church, therefore, which the Lord gave instructions to be offered throughout all the world, is accounted with God a pure sacrifice, and is acceptable to Him; not that He stands in need of a sacrifice from us, but that he who offers is himself glorified in what he does offer, if his gift be accepted. For by the gift both honour and affection are shown forth towards the King; and the Lord, wishing us to offer it in all simplicity and innocence, did express Himself thus: Therefore, when you offer your gift upon the altar, and shall remember that your brother has ought against you, leave your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then return and offer your gift.”

...

“Sacrifices there were among the people; sacrifices there are, too, in the Church: but the species alone has been changed, inasmuch as the offering is now made, not by slaves, but by freemen.”

...

Inasmuch, then, as the Church offers with single-mindedness, her gift is justly reckoned a pure sacrifice with God. As Paul also says to the Philippians, I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things that were sent from you, the odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, pleasing to God.

...

“But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.”

All five sources that I alluded to earlier bear me out. The Eucharist was offered as a sacrifice in the early Church.

As far as the rest of your comments, I think that is something that I will try to address on my own blog.

God bless!

P.S. The only time someone accused me of Jesuitical sophistry before you was a lawyer from Cincinnati. Are you by any chance related?

Turretinfan said...

PH wrote: "Of course, considering that St. Paul is an inspired writer of Scripture, when he uses deuterocanonical works that is a bit more significant than you using them. All I am doing is suggesting is that St. Paul considers Sirach to be Scripture."

I recognize that. My response is several:

a) The fact that a somewhat similar concept is mentioned in Sirach doesn't really establish that Paul was even aware of that same concept, much less that he was using Sirach.

b) Even if Paul were using Sirach, it wouldn't infer that he was using it as his rule of faith (i.e. as a canonical writing).

c) Witness the fact that Paul used pagan poetry, yet no serious scholar suggests that the pagan poetry quoted is canonical.

Consequently the allegation that because there is something remotely similar in Sirach 5 is hardly a reason to suggest Paul was implicitly endorsing the canonicity of Sirach.

PH wrote: "Given St. Paul’s primary usage of the Septuagint in his writings, even when it comes to books of the OT that post-1st century Jews and Protestants accept (See, Rom. 11:26-27 and at 15:12 for just two examples), it is suggestive that he accepted it as Scripture."

a) That kind of comment seems to reflect a perception that there was a version of the OT (obviously not with the word "Old" on the cover) floating around that was the "Septuagint version." That perception is not consistent with the historical data.

b) Paul wrote in Greek. Thus, when he refers to the Old Testament, it is often hard to tell whether any apparent differences between his wording and the wording of the Hebrew we have is:
i) a textual transmission matter in the Hebrew text;
ii) a textual transmission matter in the Greek text;
iii) a preference for the Greek translation of the OT over the extant Hebrew text; or
iv) a looseness/flexibility/added-value-commentary in translation style from the OT.

One phenomenon that some modern textual critics note, for example, is that it is possible for Greek scribes who are unfamiliar with the Hebrew language to "correct" quotations of the OT text to match the Greek OT with which they were familiar (or vice versa - correcting their Greek OT to match the NT quotation).

I mention these issues not to cast doubt on the text, but to highlight some of the problems with facile claims like "Paul primarily relied on the Septuagint."

PH wrote: You may call my view “speculative”if you so desire, but my view is based on a bit more on knowledge than on conjecture.

With all respect, I think it's based more on wishful thinking than on knowledge. It would be handy for the Tridentine position if Paul endorsed the LXX canon, so people come up with creative ways to try to find some endorsement of the deuterocanonicals.

PH wrote: "I suggest that it is your view of the Deuterocanonical books that is conjectural."

Well, since I didn't broach the subject, I don't feel particularly compelled to redirect this thread into a discussion of the canon of the Old Testament. Suffice that I find myself agreeing in large part with the views of F. F. Bruce on this subject. His book on the Canon should help you see that our views are not merely conjectural.

PH wrote: "Pertaining to 1 Cor. 10:16-17...while I happen to like the translation I cite to, yours does not help in any way your argument in light of 1 Cor. 10:18."

Your opinion is noted.

PH wrote: "We may disagree over which English word fits the koine Greek words “koinonia” as used in 1 Cor. 10:16 and “koinonos” at 1 Cor. 10:18 best, but whether we participate, partake, share, or commune with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, St. Paul makes it clear that we are still participating, still partaking, still sharing and/or still communing with the sacrifice on the altar. It is not just a past event in history to St. Paul."

Of course, the communing is present. Yes. There is, of course, no "altar" in Paul's church. There are not sacrifices being performed in Paul's church. So, though the communing is a present event, the sacrifice of Christ is not a present event (and, of course, Christ was actually sacrificed on a cross).

PH wrote: "This is made even clearer at 1 Cor. 11: 23-31:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep” (Emphasis Added [and removed when I pasted this])"

That's not my favorite translation, but anyway ...

PH continued: "When St. Paul talking about us examining ourselves prior to eating the bread and drinking the cup here is he talking in the past tense here?"

The tense in which Paul is talking is really not all that relevant. The examination is clearly something that ought to take place before we eat and drink.

PH wrote: "Of course, you are using the word “remembrance” in a modern-day sense, not in the sense that someone in the 1st century would have understood the term. [Thus, may I conclude that you do not believe in using the historical-critical method of exegesis?]"

No, I'm using the word "remembrance" as it would have been understood at the time, as a reminder.

PH wrote: "“Anamnesis” meant to the Hebrews and the early Church “a corporate act in which the event remembered was experienced anew through ritual repetition.”"

a) Saying what a Greek word from a gospel to the Greeks (apparently quoted by Paul in a letter to Greek believers) meant "to the Hebrews" is a bit odd, to say the least.

b) Although, of course, some reminders were of a corporate nature (and the Eucharist is an example of that), the word has a broader range of meaning, and is used with that broader range in Scripture.

c) Likewise, while repetition of a ritual can serve as a reminder, other things can as well, and other things are so identified in Scripture. One reason that we periodically celebrate the Eucharist in Reformed churches is precisely to be reminded.

PH wrote: "Remember, too, that while Jesus was crucified once and for all (Hebrews 9:12, 10:10), we are also told in Scripture that he was crucified “before the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8) and that he is today standing before the throne of God as a living lamb standing as though slain (Rev 5:6). Is this sacrifice not eternally present?"

Yes, the event of the sacrifice is not eternally present, though the victim is the Eternal Now.

PH wrote: "But I forget, in your eyes, I am merely a stupid lawyer, unversed in the pure, unalloyed theology of Calvinism armed only with Romish notions and Jesuitical sophistry. What could I possibly know?"

I did criticize your sophistical misuse of the characterization "legalistic." That doesn't mean you are stupid: to the contrary, it shows your cleverness.

PH wrote: "Since you asked me to prove my contention that the early Catholics treated the Eucharistic celebration (a.k.a the Mass) as a sacrifice, I will try. Let’s start with “The Didache.”"

Ok.

PH wrote: "While you cited Chapters 9 and 10, you forgot Chapter 14. Is there any doubt whatsoever as to what sacrifice the writer is talking about here:

Chapter 14:

1) On every Lord's Day—his special day—come together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.

2) Anyone at variance with his neighbor must not join you, until they are reconciled, lest your sacrifice be defiled.

3) For it was of this sacrifice that the Lord said, "Always and everywhere offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is marveled at by the nations.” See, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html

Three guesses what these early Christians were sacrificing."

Guess 1:
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Guess 2:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Guess 3:
Philippinas 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
and
Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

Or to capture all three, the Didache is referring to the people themselves, not to what they are going to eat. For can you imagine the absurdity (and even blasphemy) of trying to say that Christ might be an impure sacrifice?

PH wrote: "I would hope that you would agree with me that Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross is the only one that could possibly qualify as a pure sacrifice."

It is indeed. Nevertheless, Peter writes:

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

PH wrote: "Given how you missed an entire chapter of the Didache that shows the Eucharist to be a sacrifice, we had better go through the other sources I alluded to make sure I didn’t just get lucky."

See above. And below.


PH wrote: "Pope St. Clement’s letter to Corinthians:"

Before we get there, it's worth noting that it is anachronistic to refer to anyone of the era of the epistle of Clement, "pope," that title and office not having yet been innovated. It's also worth noting that it is questionable whether Clement of the epistle of Clement was even a bishop in Rome. But, we'll leave those tangents aside for now.

PH wrote: "From Chapter XLIV:
“Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its SACRIFICES.” (EMPHASIS ADDED) (St. Clement to the Corinthians, quoted in Jurgens' Faith of the Early Fathers, Volume 1, pages 10-11) [In fairness to you, the translation that most Protestants look at (found here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.txt] has changed the meaning somewhat]"

a) I'm not sure how calling the Lightfoot translation of "gifts" (as opposed to "sacrifices") a "change" is historically plausible. It would seem that the shoe is actually on the other foot.

b) 1 Clem. 44:3 For it will be no light sin for us, if we thrust out those who have offered the gifts of the bishop's office unblamably and holily.

c) The Greek word in question is δωρα, and "δωρα" (dora) means gifts, not sacrifices. Thus, the translation of the word δωρα as "sacrifices" is wrong.

Moving on ...

PH wrote: "From St. Ignatius’ Epistle to the Ephesians, Chapter 5:

“He, therefore, that separates himself from such, and does not meet in THE SOCIETY WHERE SACRCIFICES ARE OFFERED, and with "the Church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven," is a wolf in sheep's clothing, while he presents a mild outward appearance.” (EMPHASIS ADDED)"

Perhaps in adding screaming caps, Mr. Hoffer simply accidentally deleted the footnote that accompanies the phrase "the society where the sacrifices are offered." The footnote explains, "literally “in the assembly of sacrifices.”"

This more literal translation helps to highlight that it is the people themselves that are the sacrifices.

It should also be noted that even the phrase "assembly of sacrifices" is an interpolation found only in the "longer" version of the letter. One of the problems with Ignatius' epistles is that there has been a lot of tampering with the text over the years.

PH wrote: "From St. Ignatius’ Epistle to the Philadelphians, Chapter 4:

“Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with his blood, and ONE SINGLE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE—even as there is also but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow servitors, the deacons. This will ensure that all your doings are in full accord with the will of God” (EMPHASIS ADDED)"

Neither the shorter or the longer version of this epistle justify the further interpolation of "of sacrifice" to the word "altar." Interestingly, both versions of this letter, in the form we have them today, do use the term "altar."

PH wrote: "From St. Ignatius’ Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 7:

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.”"

This oft-quoted sentence is just saying that the Gnostics didn't eat the Eucharist because they didn't believe that Jesus had flesh and body (and yet the Eucharist symbolizes the body and blood of Christ).

PH wrote: "Ibid, Chapter 8:

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid. ||| See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord's might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or TO OFFER, or TO PRESENT SACRIFICE, or to celebrate a love-feast. But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid.” (Emphasis added)." (the "|||" are my insertion)

Apparently unaware that there are longer and shorter versions of this epistle, Mr. Hoffer has copied both versions at once, and run them together. I've broken them out with the "|||" indicator. As you can see, the part he wants to emphasize falls only in the longer interpolated form of the letter.

Furthermore, in this case, the insertion of "to present sacrifice" would seem to render the remark about "love-feast" redundant, unless one is going to argue that these love-feasts were not the Lord's supper. The short version of the letter tends to suggest that the Eucharist and the love-feasts are the same thing.

PH wrote: "St. Justin Martyr’s Dialogue Against Trypho Chapter 41 :

“God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [minor prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: "I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord, and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands; for from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the Gentiles" [Mal. 1:10-11]. He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us [Christians] who in every place OFFER SACRIFICES to Him, that is, THE BREAD OF THE EUCHARIST and ALSO THE CUP OF THE EUCHARIST.” (Emphasis added)"

ok ... we'll come back to this in a bit.

PH wrote: "St. Irenaeus’s Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapter 17:5:

“Again, giving directions to His disciples to offer to God the first-fruits of His own, created things— not as if He stood in need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor ungrateful— He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, This is My body. And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world, to Him who gives us as the means of subsistence the first-fruits of His own gifts in the New Testament, concerning which Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus spoke beforehand: I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord Omnipotent, and I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun, unto the going down [of the same], My name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the Gentiles, says the Lord Omnipotent; — indicating in the plainest manner, by these words, that the former people [the Jews] shall indeed cease to make offerings to God, but that in every place sacrifice shall be offered to Him, and that a pure one; and His name is glorified among the Gentiles.“"

ok ... this is basically the same thing as Justin Martyr.

PH wrote: "St. Ignatius, Book 4, Chapter 18:

“The oblation of the Church, therefore, which the Lord gave instructions to be offered throughout all the world, is accounted with God a pure sacrifice, and is acceptable to Him; not that He stands in need of a sacrifice from us, but that he who offers is himself glorified in what he does offer, if his gift be accepted. For by the gift both honour and affection are shown forth towards the King; and the Lord, wishing us to offer it in all simplicity and innocence, did express Himself thus: Therefore, when you offer your gift upon the altar, and shall remember that your brother has ought against you, leave your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then return and offer your gift.”

...

“Sacrifices there were among the people; sacrifices there are, too, in the Church: but the species alone has been changed, inasmuch as the offering is now made, not by slaves, but by freemen.”

...

Inasmuch, then, as the Church offers with single-mindedness, her gift is justly reckoned a pure sacrifice with God. As Paul also says to the Philippians, I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things that were sent from you, the odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, pleasing to God.

...

“But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.”"

Presumably Hoffer means "St. Irenaeus" not "St. Ignatius." The first section relates to the things that are placed on the altar, not things removed from it. Thus, the passage goes on to say: "We are bound, therefore, to offer to God the first-fruits of His creation, as Moses also says, “Thou shalt not appear in the presence of the Lord thy God empty;” so that man, being accounted as grateful, by those things in which he has shown his gratitude, may receive that honour which flows from Him." Sounds more like giving tithes than anything else.

Similarly, after the second quotation, Hoffer has omitted: "For the Lord is [ever] one and the same; but the character of a servile oblation is peculiar [to itself], as is also that of freemen, in order that, by the very oblations, the indication of liberty may be set forth. For with Him there is nothing purposeless, nor without signification, nor without design. And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not the less valuable portions of their property, since they have the hope of better things [hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into the treasury of God." which again confirms that the sacrifices mentioned are gifts to the church.

It seems questionable even in the later passage where the Eucharist is mentioned whether the Eucharist is being mentioned as the thing offered to God or whether the Eucharist is an example of God making use of the created things. In any event, we already have reference to sacrifice with respect to the Eucharist in Irenaeus above, so perhaps it is a moot point.

PH wrote: "All five sources that I alluded to earlier bear me out. The Eucharist was offered as a sacrifice in the early Church."

Even if it really just two or three of the sources that confirm that sacrificial language is used in reference to the Eucharist, that really should be enough. But here is a curious problem:

those that do seem to provide such terminology don't say that it is the same sacrifice - and don't emphasize (or even mention) this supposed oneness of sacrifice. Justin Martyr, for example, expressly says "sacrifices" and if we take the reference to "gifts" to refer to "sacrifices" we have the same problem in another case.

Recall that Hoffer's original claim was, "The Didache, Pope St. Clement’s letter, St. Ignatius’ epistles, St, Justin Martyr’s apologia, etc. all show that they treated the celebration of the Eucharist as a sacrifice."

We've shown (hopefully to the reader's satisfaction) that the Didache and 1 Clement do not treat the celebration of the Eucharist as a sacrifice. The Ignatian epistles are a textually mangled source. The shorter forms generally seem to omit the parts that Hoffer thinks are handy. Justin Martyr doesn't view the Eucharist as "a sacrifice," but as sacrifices.

I should add a further qualification with respect to the view of Justin Martyr with respect to that word "sacrifices." Justin tells us what it is that is offered, not "the body of Christ" and "the blood of Christ" but the bread and the cup!

In short, even if the bread and cup are sometimes described in sacrificial terms (which would not necessarily be surprising if they were meant to represent our sacrifice), it is not stated that the people (or the bishop for that matter) is sacrificing Christ.

One obvious reason for the sacrificial analogy is that in the sacrificial systems, the victim was brought to the altar, offered up as a sacrifice, then the remains were eaten.

The Eucharist is what the Christians ate in their worship. If one wanted to make a parallel to the practices of other religions, one can see that the parallel would be that the Christians brought the bread and cup, gave thanks (hence "Eucharist"), and consumed them in remembrance. Not remembrance of their just having dedicated these very elements to God's service, which is a sort of sacrifice, but in remembrance of the sacrifice they depicted.

PH wrote: "As far as the rest of your comments, I think that is something that I will try to address on my own blog."

Ok

PH wrote: God bless!

thanks

PH wrote: "P.S. The only time someone accused me of Jesuitical sophistry before you was a lawyer from Cincinnati. Are you by any chance related?"

Who knows. I don't give out personal information over the net. I note, however, that LPC made the observation that this is "bordering on sophistry" (though he left out the "jesuitical" bit).

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Dear Doize:

I had written: “On that point, your submission is correct, but is at variance with the logical consequences of your own church's theology, which seeks to add to Christ's righteousness. See, for example, the doctrines related to the "Treasury of Merit."

You wrote: "I have come to the conclusion that either you are predestined to not understand Catholic theology or you do not actually have the facility to do so; it is, in either case, futile to engage on points of Catholic theology."

I'm sorry you feel so frustrated. Since you raise points that contradict your own church's position, though, I think the shoe is actually on the other foot.

Dozie wrote: "The Calvinist is usually consistent in his logic, but in this area, it does not appear he (general term) has thought through the implications of his mantra."

We're coming up on 500 years since Calvin's birth. Are you seriously suggesting there's something that has been carelessly overlooked? If so, perhaps you should be more specific.

I had written: “Hopefully your positive stereotype of us has been confirmed”.

Dozie wrote: "I am very sorry to disappoint you. Yes, the Calvinist is consistent, but he is consistently wrong. As a matter of fact, the best I can make of Calvinism is that it and atheism are two sides of the same bad coin."

What a strange analogy.

Dozie continued: "The atheist looks for God in the world and wonders where in the world he is. He sees calamities and injustices in the world – world war one, world war two, plane crashes, church bus fatalities, church shootings with fatalities, Tsunami, sudden deaths, 911, prolonged droughts, unprovoked wars, rampant injustice, racism, lynching, the saved and the lost, unimaginable poverty, child rape, and on and on; he asks: if there is God why does he not act? Not finding the footprints of God in the sand or seeing a burning bush or hearing a voice from the clouds, he concludes there is no God."

Which is quite wrong of him.

Dozie continued: "The Calvinist has the same problems as the atheist but resorts to an attempt to explain the apparent remoteness of God. This he accomplishes through his TULIP. Calvinism is no more than an attempt to make excuses for God. Repeat, Calvinism is no more than an attempt to make excuses for God. In my many hours of listening to the best of them, I perceive that their efforts are based on fear – fear that the atheist be right."

The remoteness of God? I've never heard that one from Calvinists - perhaps you didn't hear properly. The answer to the problem posed by the atheist is this: "man is sinful and God is holy." What the atheist should marvel at is not the suffering of humans, but the fact that humans suffer so little.

It is by His mercy that we are not consumed in an instant.

A proper understanding of God's holiness and the sinfulness of sin prevents anyone from impudently asking why God does not prevent human suffering - why he permits devestation and agony in this life, and the tortures of hell for eternity.

It has nothing to do with "remoteness," it has to do with God being a Holy God.

Dozie wrote: "In any case, like the atheist, the Calvinist looks for God in the calamities mentioned, not find Him, he suggests that God has no reason to act; that God has already acted and having predestined everything to happen better than the Swiss clock, He is resting until the end of time."

No. That is not the Calvinist position. These calamaties are brought about by God. "Is there evil in the city and the Lord hath not done it?" It is true that God has predestined all things that happen, but the very continued existence of the world depends on God - and he takes an interest in his creation. He is not an absentee landlord, but the governor of the universe.

Dozie continued: "Everything therefore, including the multiplication of evil in the world, happens and is happening according to God’s predestination."

Yes, that's true - it is all in God's plan.

Dozie continued: "The folks at Unchained Radio would go as far as suggest that God is the author of sin- that every sin committed is with God’s approval."

Those two concepts are not the same ... no sin can be committed without God's permission, and yet God is not the author of sin.

Dozie continued: "To the questions: If Christ died for the sins of all why would some be saved and others lost? The Calvinist responds – God did not die for all. The Calvinist suggests that Christ died for a few and that all those will be saved."

Right. That is the Calvinist position. The price of Christ's blood is so precious to God that none will be lost for whom it was paid. Would you think Christ's blood so ineffective that it could not accomplish His desires?

Dozie wrote: "Here again, the Calvinist goes beyond what the bible clearly says (listen to James White/Steve Gregg debate) to make unwarranted excuse for God."

I enjoyed the White/Gregg debate, and listened to the whole thing twice. I think Dr. White did a great job of answer Mr. Gregg's questions and presenting a Biblical, exegetical case for his position.

Dozie wrote: "James White likes the phrase, “Christ saves perfectly”, and concluding therefore that whoever is saved is saved eternally."

Of course!

Dozie wrote: "You ask, what about those who were former or Ex-Saved? The Calvinist resorts to another excuse – they were never saved."

Why do you call it an excuse? Why not just say what the Bible says:

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Dozie wrote: "Why did Obama win the election against the prayers and wishes of Christian leaders? The Calvinist pulls out his excuse – predestination. You ask, why is it so irrevocably predestined? Why was it predestined that so many would die in 911, in the Tsunami, in world wars, in the Ethiopian drought, etc, etc? The Calvinist says it is for the glory of God."

And it is for the glory of God. That it was predestined is the truth, but it is not the answer to "why did it happen." It may be that God brought Obama to power as a punishment on America, or perhaps God brought Obama to power as a punishment to the Republican Party. Only God knows why God raised up Obama to be Predident of the USA. But whatever the reason, we know that God is glorified in it.

Dozie wrote: "Very convoluted and tired theology! This kind of Calvinist will be incapable of making sense of Catholic theology."

I think it makes more sense for me to conclude that you are confused by Calvinist theology and by theology of your own church, when it comes to the topic of predestination.

Dozie wrote: "In any case, if one goes through all that Calvinist believes, one sees that they are all attempts to defend God against an apparent lack of his active presence in the world."

No, that's not true.

Dozie wrote: "This is why their theology is short and circular."

Short? Circular? This isn't even consistent with the previous claim that it is convoluted. Why not just say you don't like it, and leave it at that. It spares you the inconsistency.

Dozie wrote: "If you subscribe to the Calvinist’s arguments however, he is pretty consistent in his excuses but in doing, he ends up thinking much less of God in not being able to speak the truth; perhaps, he has never learned the truth."

Thinking that God is in control of everything is not "thinking less of God."

-TurretinFan