Sunday, January 11, 2009

An interesting "only" debate from the Catholic Answers forums


In the past, I've had a hard time with Roman Catholics on Galatians 1:6-8. I've tried to get them to admit, from their perspective, that I, as a Protestant, should be viewed as eternally condemned because I don't believe the gospel officially taught by the Roman Church. But, the answer I've repeatedly gotten is that I can only be eternally condemned if I know the Catholic Church is the true church and I still reject her. What sophistry!

Check out this discussion from the Catholic Answers forums.

Here are a few highlights:

Sorry I love Catholic Answers, but I am going to have to appeal to Karl Keating directly here. Here is the problem. This is from the current "Ask an Apologist ." Here is the quote regarding whether Jews should convert to Catholicism. I have a real problem with the word ONLY here.

"This means that those non-Christians who serve God to the best of their ability according to the light that they have can achieve salvation. Only if someone knew that Jesus is Messiah and God, that he founded the Catholic Church, that all who know this are required to enter it and remain in it, and deliberately refused to do so, could that person's salvation be at risk should he not repent before death."

It isn't true that ONLY if someone knew that the Catholic church was the true Church, and they refused to enter it they would be damned. NOT TRUE AT ALL!!!

All are obligated, in a general sense, to enter the Catholic church. If someone doesnt know that the Catholic is the one true Church, and that ignorance is their fault(provided their ignorance doesnt reduce their sin to venial, and even then they would have to have no other mortal sins on their soul) then they would be damned even though they don't "know" that the Church is the one true Church. The answer Catholic Answers gave makes it sound like no one can be damned unless they consciously know the Church is the one true Church, and obstinately refused to enter it.

12 comments:

BillyHW said...

Wow James, I can't believe that somewhere on the internet you encountered someone that wasn't able to express the doctrines of their Church in a perfectly comprehensive way and with perfect clarity.

That's never happened before.

Okay, so I'll bite. Galatians 1:6-8 condemns you. You are as condemned as condemned can be. The demons have prepared a room for you in their father's house. Obedience to the Church is not optional for salvation. There is no salvation outside the Church, and that is a dogma of the Church.

Of course, when I say that the usual exceptions for invincible ignorance apply. And only God knows those who are truly ignorant through no fault of their own, and those who are not. Invincible ignorance may be so hard to attain that perhaps not even a single person who has ever lived qualifies for that exception. None of us can know in this life. However, we can speculate. I think that in your case, the utter magnificence of your ignorance is so manifestly stupendous that I cannot presume to imagine a scenario in which it could be classified as anything other than invincible.

But even if you are invincibly ignorant of the requirement to be a member of the Church, and thus are not condemned *for this reason*, that doesn't necessarily mean you aren't condemned for some other reason (eg. unrepented murder, fornication, adultery resulting from remarriage after divorce...). There are plenty of other mortal sins to choose from that will keep you from eternal life, if left unrepented of until the moment of death.

Nick said...

I'm really not sure what the problem is here. The answer that was given in red is pretty much on target. If someone doesn't know about Catholicism due to laziness that is very different than someone who has not had the opportunity, that is what the red comments are saying. What the person in red was objecting to is the incorrect notion that someone must have EXCPLICIT and clear knowledge otherwise they are in a sense given free pass to remain ignorant and slip in as 'invincibly ignorant'. The person was right to point out this is inaccurate. The more you do know, and the more opportunity you have, the greater your culpability. Someone who had the opportunity in life to look into religion and seek the truth yet preferred to watch tv would fall under condemnation for rejecting the Catholic Church (and even Jesus Himself).

Regarding your specific comments on Gal 1:6-8, the Catholic Church makes the distinction between objective and subjective when it comes to sin. Objectively, to deny a Catholic teaching puts one in a state of condemnation (unless they repent). So, from that perspective, when you openly profess to be Reformed, that is an objectively sinful act.

However, subjectively, we cannot read your heart and only at that specific point can we know whether you are confused or mislead in embracing Reformed theology or whether you are sufficiently informed and then rejecting Catholic teaching.

As an example, take the sin of theft. Theft is obejectively sinful, but lets say someone downloaded music from online and didn't know it was a sin. What they did was objectively sinful, but subjectively they dont face the full culpability of theft.

The Catholic response is actually very similar to the response I see Reformed people (including White, if I'm not mistaking) in which they say there are 'saved' people in Catholicism who truly accept Jesus but are confused or misguided and thus are saved in spite of Catholicism not because of it.

Matthew Bellisario said...

I often find it amusing how this invincible ignorance blankets so many people these days. It is sheer presumption to think that everyone is invincibly ignorant. In today's relativistic culture we even have Catholics who think that everyone is invincibly ignorant. The Church says it is a possibility that they may be saved, not a guarantee. The point being that if you are not adhering to and living the Catholic faith you had better have a change of heart, or eternal damnation may well be your eternal destiny. You are not going to be able to plead ignorance. That is especially apparent for those who supposedly know the Catholic faith and then cavalierly reject it.

This over application of invincible ignorance has been the fault of lukewarm separated Catholics (if you want to call them that) who have long ago abandoned the Catholic faith. They find comfort in the fact that since they aren't living their faith then it is great to see others also not living it. So they trumpet this unique and exceptional clause to blanket everyone with, to make themselves feel better. After all you want everyone to like you right? So why not comfort them with a twisting of Church teaching and make something that is tantamount to going through the eye of a needle to going through the Saint Louis Archway. That's my 2 cents.

Matt Oskvarek said...

Alright, folks. I started swinging by this blog about two weeks or so ago. I am going to need to know some solid (read: solid) things. What is really the intention of this list and what are the motivations of folks on it? I continually learn and relearn that life is passing and we don't have time to waste. Why does this blog exist? Why are you (that's right - you) on it. I would like to know in about 3 to 5 sentences, if you are that in touch with your own convictions and have enough clarity.

Anyone?

Matt

James Swan said...

I am going to need to know some solid (read: solid) things. What is really the intention of this list and what are the motivations of folks on it?

I've included blog entries explaining the blog and the topics that interest me.

kaycee said...

Matt,

I am interested in the various arguments of RC and the logic behind rejecting Biblical Christianity. I also love The Lord Jesus Christ and desire to defend the Faith which was once for all handed to the saints. My family is also RC and studying the various arguments that RCs use, and more importantly, the biblical and historical refutations to those arguments helps in witnessing to my family and loved ones. Most importantly I pray for those in the RCC who comment here that God would be gracious to them and save them.

Matt Oskvarek said...

James and Kaycee, thank you for your response. James, true enough. I hear what you are saying. Kaycee, may prayers abound and continue for all things.

I am just trying to get a bit of discernment on things to see where things are going.

Matt

Rhology said...

I'm here b/c Jesus saved me and later saved me from following a close friend into Eastern Orthodoxy, thus forsaking the Gospel of grace. I want to help spread that truth and expose error.

EA said...

Observe the judgment of Pope Bellasrius I:

"It is sheer presumption to think that everyone is invincibly ignorant."

"You are not going to be able to plead ignorance. That is especially apparent for those who supposedly know the Catholic faith and then cavalierly reject it."

"This over application of invincible ignorance has been the fault of lukewarm separated Catholics who have long ago abandoned the Catholic faith."

"They find comfort in the fact that since they aren't living their faith then it is great to see others also not living it. So they trumpet this unique and exceptional clause to blanket everyone with, to make themselves feel better."

"That's my 2 cents."

And worth every penny, too!
Thanks your Holiness!

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thanks EA I appreciate it!

EBW said...

James,
A servant stands or falls to his master (Rm14:4NASB). So I will test the spirits to see if they are from God (1Jn4:1). You say the Scriptures teach that God justifies sinners by faith alone and He gives grace to the believer. So you have believed and are justified. Now lets see if what follows is true.
James is justified and has Eternal Life.
There is no condemnation for the justified.
James is under no Eternal condemnation. True?
In short, you are living proof of the four-fold grace (Rm8:30). Consider Gal.1:6-9, this passage is supposedly going to offer a final court of arbitration between Rome and yourself. How disingenuous! It's impossible for YOU to preach a diffrent gospel because to do THAT would incur an anathema, something not applicable in your case. The RC doesn't even have a chance.
I recommend you ignore the petty "anathema" from Papists and begin desiring the "anathema" of God (Rm9:3) for the sake of the Papist. Here you will imitate Paul and Christ. Seek conformity to Christ (Rm8:29) through suffering (Rm8:17). Suffering is a certain privation. Tell me what "better privation" is there than to be cut off from Christ for the sake of another. At least Rome claims to be servants of Christ, while Paul's kinsmen openly rejected Him. Even the Pope is called the Servant of the servants of God!
Please don't forget that the RCC, with Pope and Council, anathamitized a once legitimate
Pope. Maybe Rome really believes the Scriptures when it say...If ANY MAN preaches a different gospel...let him be anathema.

Agellius said...

Billy:

I was going to comment but after reading yours realized I couldn't say it as well as you did. Nor as funny!