Sunday, November 08, 2009

Windsor's treatment of Ephesians 2:8-10

Scott Windsor's more recent post on the question of Ephesians 2 is meant to be a response to some interaction we've had about this post I did some time ago. Let's see how it's gone so far.

Rhology: Notice how, again, "works" appears TWICE in the psg. You're proposing that "not as a result of works" = works of the OT Law, while "created in Christ Jesus for good works" is something totally different? Even though they appear one sentence of each other?"
--sw: Yes, but not absolutely. "Works of the Law" CAN be "good works" if one is in the State of Grace FIRST.

This is applying an RC gloss after the fact. Where does the Eph 2 psg give us that idea?
And it doesn't answer the question I've raised. Once again:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Just for ease of understanding, so we're all on the same page, this is the problem I'm contending Mr Windsor encounters here:

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works of the OT Law, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works of the OT Law, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

If this is inaccurate, why? Show me why from the text.
You had said: It is a command to perform "good works" and the context is specifically opposing 'works of the Law.' and You are mixing "good works" with "works of the Law" again.

It is your position that mixes the two, not mine. In my view, "works" in Eph 2:9-10 refers to any activity that one might otherwise expect to be meritorious towards one's good standing with God, something that God would want us to do. Said works don't save us - they are for those who are "created in Christ Jesus" (ie, born again believers) to do. Not in your view. In your view, you make an arbitrary distinction and make the first "works" into "works of the OT Law". So, why not the 2nd "good works"? You yourself said:

And this fact is made crystal clear by verse 15: 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace...

So why isn't the 2nd "works" also "works of the OT Law"? You're arguing that the OT Law is in the context, after all. We need to get this question answered clearly before we go anywhere else.

44 comments:

Nick said...

The answer is that v10 speaks of the works done "in Christ," meaning they are done in a 'fulfilled' sense.

Two examples:

1) Earthly circumcision does not save, but Circumcision of the Heart, but the Spirit is required for Salvation. A powerful example of OT works versus NT "fulfilled OT" works. See Rom 2:28f and esp Col 2:11-12 (which in context is a clear parallel to Eph 2)

2) Romans 8:4 (ESV)- "in order that(I) the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
This is clear proof that only with the Indwelling of the Spirit can we "fulfill" the Law, which is the NT sense of good works. See also Rom 13:8-11 "the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." You can only "fulfill the law" with the help of grace, and that is only by the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Gal 6:7-9).

And all that hearkens back to Mat5-7 where Jesus says "You have heard it say X [in the OT Law], but I say Y [in the NT fulfilled Law]."

Hopefully Scott doesn't mind me answering before he reads this!

Nick said...

The above quote for #1 should read "Circumcision of the Heart BY the Holy Spirit"

Rhology said...

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your thoughts.
How precisely does your proposed solution offset the obvious drive of Paul's thoughts here - it's not from man, it's from God lest anyone should boast? Therefore it's by faith not by works.

How would what you're saying overturn the "lest anyone should boast"?
On what basis do you say that the first "works" are "works of the OT Law"?
Your example #1 is MY position, not yours. Why would you do such a switcheroo?

Rom 8: - 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

God did it, not you. The requirements of the Law are imputed by Christ to us, which Paul's already discussed in Rom 4:4-8 and 5. This is exegesis, not Romanist-post-gloss.

So I don't think you're where you need to be.

Peace,
Rhology

CathApol said...

I was going to spend more time on this, but upon further review I am seeing that you're still obsessed in your focus on three verses in Ephesians 2 - while ignoring context and explanations already given.

1) Just because the word "works" is used twice in the same sentence does not mean both words are equivocated.

2) The first use is definitely referring to "works of the Law" and specifically the context gets into circumcision (see v. 11) and speaks of "the Law of commandments contained in ordinances" (v. 15). But back to verse 10 "we are... created in Christ Jesus for good works." These "good works" are not "works of the Law." Good works are those done in the state of grace - which we are "created in" - as in our "new creation." The two uses demonstrates a CONTRAST of two different types of works.

3) Your equivocation of the two uses of works would wholly negate the concept of "good works" used in verse 10. Obviously the two uses are not equal. The objective reader here can surely see this.

So, St. Paul is telling us that works of the Law do not save us. Circumcision will not save you, however for those created in Christ Jesus - they are created to do good works.

So, what happens to the faith of those who do NOT do the good works they were created in Christ Jesus to do? Such a faith is a "dead faith" and cannot save - hence the connection to James 2. St. James does not contradict St. Paul - he helps to complete what St. Paul wrote.

When we read Scripture, as a whole, and not dissect it down to narrow-minded tunnel vision views of individual passages out of the context of even themselves, much more the context of the whole of Scripture, then we can see the overall picture clearly. Such a myopic reading, as you have presented and then rationalized yourself away from the context, is not an honest reading of Scripture and what you portray puts St. Paul at odds with St. James - yet in context we do not see any conflict, only complementary completion of each other.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Rhology said...

Hi Mr Windsor,

1) Just because the word "works" is used twice in the same sentence does not mean both words are equivocated.

Hopefully you can tell us why they'd be different.



The first use is definitely referring to "works of the Law" and specifically the context gets into circumcision (see v. 11)

He's moved on to a totally different thought by v11.
Says "Therefore rememebr that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,”"
Gentiles are called uncircumcised by Jews, but they are in fact circumcised in the heart b/c they've been saved by grace thru faith. Nothing about works of the OT Law here. You've inserted it into the 9-10 text b/c you have to.

As for v15, the 2nd "good works" is even closer to v15 than the first "not by works". So why separate the meanings of the two "works"?



3) Your equivocation of the two uses of works would wholly negate the concept of "good works" used in verse 10.

No, that's YOUR equivocation that I'm arguing your position, if you want to be consistent, forces you to make. Internal critique.


So, what happens to the faith of those who do NOT do the good works they were created in Christ Jesus to do? Such a faith is a "dead faith" and cannot save

Agreed. Dead faith cannot save b/c it's not real faith at all. But let's stick with the question of justification, please.



is not an honest reading of Scripture and what you portray puts St. Paul at odds with St. James

That's rich coming from an RC; I don't know how many times I've quoted Eph 2 to an RC and he's responded with "Oh yeah? James 2!" as if Scr could contradict itself. Eph 2 tells us we're saved by grace thru faith, NOT BY WORKS, and James 2 tells us that the truly saved heart WILL DO WORKS, as Eph 2:10 says. Your introduction of works as works of OT Law confuses everything. I suggest you drop it, but you won't b/c it would mean that you'd have even less Scr support for the RC position than you have now, and clearly you can't stomach that.

Peace,
Rhology

Nick said...

Your fear over 'boasting' is unfounded. Nobody can boast because salvation is not based on anything inherent in them.

Point #1 is not your position, for you don't make the distniction between natural OT works and 'fulfilled OT works'. The term 'works' is being used differently, but not so differently (the latter is done 'in Christ') as to be an equivocation. You're the one who refused (or at least couldn't see how) the notion there were two types of works discussed here. And as CathApol noted, context is important here (eg 2:11-13 shows a Gentile-Jew distinction, pointing to OT works of the Law, and 2:15 indicates the Old Covenant was abolished).


As for Rom 8:3f, you're misreading it (as most Reformed do). Most Protestants cut off Paul at verse 4A, when really Paul is saying God sent Christ to die and sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts SO THAT we were enabled to fulfill the Law (8:4B). That's also what the context confirms.

And you can't go running back to Rom 4-5 if you're not going to let context be employed in Eph 2. But, even so, you're comments on Rom 4-5 are off as well. The statement "the requirements of the Law are imputed by Christ to us" is not something taught in Scripture.

CathApol said...

Alan,
You have been answered, repeatedly, and I'm not going to continue repeating myself to you. The explanation is there for any objective reader seeking the truth.

Not seeing anything different in your complaints, I am moving on now.

May God enlighten and soften your heart and open your mind to His Truth. I wish you no ill.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<
http://cathapol.blogspot.com.

Rhology said...

Hi Nick,

If one contributes sthg toward their salvation, it's room for boasting. It's just like Romans 4 says:
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.


I do make the distinction, absolutely. But I want to know, based on what in the passage do you separate the two "works" into two different things? It's arbitrary RC dogma imposed on the text. Prove me wrong.


Most Protestants cut off Paul at verse 4A, when really Paul is saying God sent Christ to die and sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts SO THAT we were enabled to fulfill the Law (8:4B).

??
Just what do you think a sin offering is? Is it some manner by which God infuses grace or power or magic or righteousness into the offerer? Or is it a substitution, by which the sacrifice takes the place of the offerer and suffers death in his place?
And, we're enabled to keep the commandments? So, you do that perfectly, like Tim Staples? Or do you fall short? And when you fall short, I guess God just kind of says "meh, he tried; no biggie," right?


The statement "the requirements of the Law are imputed by Christ to us" is not something taught in Scripture.

See Romans 4, above.


if you're not going to let context be employed in Eph 2.

No, let's let it be employed. Respond to what I already said, please.


Mr Windsor,

Thanks for the time. A pity you didn't see fit to advance the conversation any further.

Peace,
Rhology

CathApol said...

Alan/Rho wrote:
> Mr Windsor,
> Thanks for the time. A pity you
> didn't see fit to advance the
> conversation any further.

Well, I advanced it as far as you would go. When we get into repeating ourselves, where's the "advancing" happening? You left the following untouched thus far:

http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2009/11/works-and-grace-iii.html

As I said, you have been fully answered. I am willing to let the chips fall where they may. As I also said, unless you have something new and of substance to offer, we're done. It is not I who has not seen fit to give full and complete answers.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Nick said...

R: If one contributes sthg toward their salvation, it's room for boasting.

N: This is simply false, based on bad logic. If you are starving, and I give you money for food, and you buy food, you have no grounds to boast.


R: It's just like Romans 4 says:

N: That is speaking on works of the Law (cf Gal 3:5-6), not any and all works. Further, nobody ever argued we were saved apart from grace.

R: I do make the distinction, absolutely. But I want to know, based on what in the passage do you separate the two "works" into two different things? It's arbitrary RC dogma imposed on the text. Prove me wrong.

N: What are you talking about? You (claim to) already make the distinction I make but then demand me prove the two categories? That's illogical. Circumcision done by human hands doesn't save (not of works), where as circumcision of the heart by the Spirit does save (in Christ).

To have works mean the same thing backfires, for in 2:8 Paul would be saying not of circumcision of the flesh, but on in 2:10 he would saying go ahead and get circumcision of the flesh. He cannot have the same meaning.


R: ?? Just what do you think a sin offering is? Is it some manner by which God infuses grace or power or magic or righteousness into the offerer?

N: How is this relevant? I never said such a thing.

R: Or is it a substitution, by which the sacrifice takes the place of the offerer and suffers death in his place?

N: This isn't right, a sin offering doesn't have death "in his place" in the sense of a transfer of death penalty. Two points refute this: Lev 5:11 says a bag of flour can be used as a sin offering, but a bag of flour cannot be killed, impossible if penal-substitution is the framework. The sins listed for sin offering are not those deserving of the death penalty, thus the disproportionate penalty (death) for a sin not worthy of death.


R: And, we're enabled to keep the commandments? So, you do that perfectly, like Tim Staples? Or do you fall short? And when you fall short, I guess God just kind of says "meh, he tried; no biggie," right?

N: Yes, we're enabled to keep the Commandments. Did you forget about Phil 2:12-13 or Gal 6:7-9? Nobody said anything about keeping them perfectly, we fall short, but that's why Jesus is our Advocate (1 Jn 2:1-2). It's not a matter of "no biggie," because sinlessness is not the demand. What's interesting is that your position cannot explain texts like Mat 5:19, where those who sin more will be called "least in the kingdom" if sinlessness is what it's all about.


R: The statement "the requirements of the Law are imputed by Christ to us" is not something taught in Scripture.
See Romans 4, above.

N: Check Rom 4, don't see it. Are you sure YOU'VE read Rom 4? ;-)


R: if you're not going to let context be employed in Eph 2.
No, let's let it be employed. Respond to what I already said, please.

N: Eph 2:11 can only be talking about works of the Mosaic Law, "circumcision done by hands," contrasted to that done by the Spirit. Paul says it best in Phil 3:
2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh

Ben M said...
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James Swan said...

“He, therefore, that saith he loveth the law is a liar, and knoweth not what he saith.” - Luther, Commentary on Galatians 3:23

Ben, do you ever actually read any of the contexts you quote from? could you actually outline Luther's argument from his commentary on Galatians, and the expalin what his point above means?

Out of all the people I've interacted with about Luther citations, you're up there in the top 5 of people who can't read with comprehension.

Ben M said...
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James Swan said...

Ben,

Psalm 1 describes a believer as someone who delights in the law of the Lord. The "Law" can refer to a specific command, but also theologically to the whole of scripture which reveals how one ought to live. The righteous person grows (or becomes sanctified) by an obedient response to the Scriptures, which express the will of God. So yes, however flawed and imperfect I am, I "love" to know the will of God about how I should live. Those without the Spirit of God though will hate this law.

You may not know this, but I'm Reformed, and we hold to something called the three uses of the law. You can google search that. Also take a look at the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XIX, of the Law of God, as well as The Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 95-97. Also take a look at The Heidelberg Catechism Part III (Lord's Day 32-44), and The Belgic Confession of Faith Articles XXIII-XXV. I would wholeheartedly ascribe to the explanations and teachings of these secondary standards about the law.

As to Luther, his theology indeed has a place for the Law of God and its use in the life of a Christian. The Law for Luther was dual purposed: it first drives one to see their sin and a need for a savior; secondly it functions in the life of a Christian to lead one to a correct understanding of the good one ought to do. See my overview here.

Rhology said...

Hi all, I'll break up my comments to respond to each person.

Mr Windsor,

Thanks for reminding me of this link.
Just a bit to respond to there:
Again, I do not call "works of the Law" to be "bad" things. They simply do not justify.

I appear to have misspoken with the "bad things" comment; I retract it as a careless slip.
Let me try to rephrase to get directly to what I'm questioning - God Himself instituted the OT Law as a "schoolmaster to lead us to Christ" - Galatians. But here you're telling us that the first "works" in Eph 2, which Paul presents as totally irrelevant to our justification. Then you present "NT works" (I contend you do so inconsistently with the text, but I'll grant it for now) as something that IS relevant to our justification - they are necessary alongside faith.
So, what is it about OT Law-works that can't justify, and about NT Law-works that can?


Also, you said:
"Good works" DO justify, but in order for a "work" to be considered "good" one must already be in the "State of Grace."

I find this fairly misleading. Not only is it, as I've already said, eisegetically reading RC soteriology into the text, but more importantly, it doesn't tell us that to get to a state of grace, one must perform good works. That's the whole question of the text! So according to RC teaching, you're presenting a chicken-egg problem with this statement. Please clarify.


As an aside (you're shotgunning again):
"What else did Luther and later Calvin lie to me about?"

This is another thing I can't believe an experienced RC apologist would say. (To my shame) I've read nothing by Luther and only short parts of Calvin's Commentaries, nothing in his Institutes. And of course, they're not our Pope or anything. You should know better, a lot better.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Nick,

If you are starving, and I give you money for food, and you buy food, you have no grounds to boast.

Then why does Paul say that bit about boasting?


That is speaking on works of the Law (cf Gal 3:5-6), not any and all works.

Abraham wasn't under the Mosaic Law. Try again.


Circumcision done by human hands doesn't save (not of works), where as circumcision of the heart by the Spirit does save (in Christ).

Fine, but that's, again, MY position, not yours. Circumcision of the heart is a work of the Spirit and is one of the concurrent events in justification, when one is regenerated, repents, trusts Christ, receives His imputed righteousness and his sin is imputed to Christ.
The RC system presents justification as accomplished BOTH by a work of God and works of man in baptism, penance, etc. Don't obscure the situation; if you're going to defend your position, be proud of it at least!


To have works mean the same thing backfires, for in 2:8 Paul would be saying not of circumcision of the flesh, but on in 2:10 he would saying go ahead and get circumcision of the flesh. He cannot have the same meaning.

Exactly my point. So on what TEXTUAL basis do you make the two "works" different? If the first one is "works of the OT Law", why not the 2nd?


Two points refute this: Lev 5:11 says a bag of flour can be used as a sin offering, but a bag of flour cannot be killed

1) Flour is already dead plants.
2) It's BURNED on the altar. That's "re-"killing it. Try to follow the context.
So, try again with the sacrifice question.



Yes, we're enabled to keep the Commandments. Did you forget about Phil 2:12-13 or Gal 6:7-9? Nobody said anything about keeping them perfectly, we fall short, but that's why Jesus is our Advocate (1 Jn 2:1-2).

So make up your mind - are we enabled to keep them or not?
If we CAN'T keep them perfectly, why did you say in your last comment:
Paul is saying God sent Christ to die and sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts SO THAT we were enabled to fulfill the Law (8:4B)?

You need to explain yourself.


Check Rom 4, don't see it.

Vv 6-8 specifically.


Eph 2:11 can only be talking about works of the Mosaic Law, "circumcision done by hands,"

So BOTH "works" are works of the OT Law, right?
It's annoying to keep repeating myself; I'd appreciate some straightfwdness, please.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Ben M,

But I thought Protestants claimed that they do in fact keep at least one of the commandments perfectly, viz, against idolatry?

I can't speak for "Protestants". That terms is nearly meaningless.
I represent generally Sola Scripturist Baptists and Reformed (of course, I'm always open to correction).
1) And no, we don't keep that commandment. ANY sin is putting sthg that is not God before God in priority. Lust=putting my desire to ogle women before God and His commandment not to commit adultery. Greed=putting money before God. Anxiety=putting the future and my own responsibility before trust of God. Etc.
So no, no person keeps the commandments.
2) For people who like to run off to James 2 at any and every opportunity, you sure like to soft-pedal what he says elsewhere in the same chapter: 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

You, like Muslims, just can't bear to think of sin as all that big a deal, as very bad. It's disgusting.


In any event, again, grace is given freely (we cannot earn or merit it), but when it is given, it is given so that we may do meritorious good works, and thus merit eternal life.

And "merit"ing it doesn't mean that we'd be able to boast, even a little? So why does Paul say "that no man may boast"?
And I assume you don't think the "that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" refers not to faith but to salvation; in that case, how can a free gift be merited?


the Protestant utter inability to grasp the meaning of the Incarnation (e.g., "God became man so that man might become a god").

Speaking of shotgunning... where's Windsor when you need him to call you a user of the tools of the Devil?
And I've already done that.
More recently, see here.

Peace,
Rhology

Nick said...

R: Then why does Paul say that bit about boasting?

N: Because boasting (in the sinful sense) is wrong. But that doesn't make my example wrong either.


R: Abraham wasn't under the Mosaic Law. Try again.

N: Not under the full Law, no, but certainly circumcision (the starting point of the Law). This is why Paul's focus in Rom 4 is on Abe's circumcision, and not works in general (4:9-12). Paul is showing Abe was justified before circumcision even existed - which is as "apart from the Law" (Rom 3:28) as you can get.
My mentioning of Gal 3:5-6 is because Paul contrasts "works of the Law" in v5 with "Abe believed..." in v6. Harmonizing this with Rom 4 shows Paul is not shifting between works in general and Works of the Law, but rather is speaking of WoL only (Rom 3:27ff; 4:13ff).


R: Fine, but that's, again, MY position, not yours.

N: Ok, this needs to stop. That's my position (and Scott's)...yet you say its yours as well? You were the one originally objecting to assigning two different meanings to 'works' in Eph 2. If you believe the term is not used identically, then your whole blog post was a scam.

R: Circumcision of the heart is a work of the Spirit and is one of the concurrent events in justification, when one is regenerated, repents, trusts Christ, receives His imputed righteousness and his sin is imputed to Christ.

N: Nowhere does the Bible speak of "His imputed Righteousness" nor "sin imputed to Christ." Infact, the word "impute" doesn't technically even appear in the Bible (most translations don't even use 'impute' in Rom 4)! Given this, it's quite ironic that you'd go after Scott on what is infact something you agree on, while building your theology off of concepts foreign to Scripture.

R: The RC system presents justification as accomplished BOTH by a work of God and works of man in baptism, penance, etc. Don't obscure the situation; if you're going to defend your position, be proud of it at least!

N: I'm not denying anything, I just reject your description of the situation, especially using "work of man" in a pejorative sense when speaking of Baptism (a direct command of Christ, just as direct as repenting, believing, etc). Again, your unBiblical foundation (i.e. imputation) is forcing you to drive a wedge between faith and things like baptism (thus forcing them into the invented category of 'works of men').




[[N: To have works mean the same thing backfires, for in 2:8 Paul would be saying not of circumcision of the flesh, but on in 2:10 he would saying go ahead and get circumcision of the flesh. He cannot have the same meaning. ]]
R: Exactly my point. So on what TEXTUAL basis do you make the two "works" different? If the first one is "works of the OT Law", why not the 2nd?

N: LOL! Are you just messing with me here? I hope not, for such attitudes towards defending the faith are less than Christian. You say "exactly my point," indicating you agree with my case/logic/proof...then you demand proof for my argument?

Let me turn it around on you - since I have supposedly failed and assuming you're not messing with me - what TEXTUAL basis do you have for saying 'works' is used two different ways in 8-10?

Nick said...

[[Two points refute this: Lev 5:11 says a bag of flour can be used as a sin offering, but a bag of flour cannot be killed]]
R:1) Flour is already dead plants.
2) It's BURNED on the altar. That's "re-"killing it. Try to follow the context.
So, try again with the sacrifice question.

Nick: I hope you're kidding me here. You're not going to find any respectable Protestant apologists saying what you just said.


[[Yes, we're enabled to keep the Commandments. Did you forget about Phil 2:12-13 or Gal 6:7-9? Nobody said anything about keeping them perfectly, we fall short, but that's why Jesus is our Advocate (1 Jn 2:1-2).]]
R: So make up your mind - are we enabled to keep them or not?

N: Yes we're enabled to keep them. You must still be forgetting about Phil 2:12f and Gal 6:7-9.

R: If we CAN'T keep them perfectly, why did you say in your last comment:
Paul is saying God sent Christ to die and sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts SO THAT we were enabled to fulfill the Law (8:4B)?

N: Ahh, you're mixing up definitions! Fulfilling and "keep perfectly" are not synonymous (that's a very common error). Rom 13:8 says: the one who loves another has fulfilled the law...love is the fulfilling of the law.
Paul is speaking to Christians here, they can (and must) "fulfill the Law"...which certainly doesn't mean "never sin again."

[[Checked Rom 4, don't see it.]]
R: Vv 6-8 specifically.

N: You said "the requirements of the Law are imputed by Christ to us" is found in Rom 4, verses 6-8 specifically, let's look:
6just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."

I don't see anything close to what you said was here.



[[Eph 2:11 can only be talking about works of the Mosaic Law, "circumcision done by hands,"]]

R: So BOTH "works" are works of the OT Law, right?
It's annoying to keep repeating myself; I'd appreciate some straightfwdness, please.

N: No, no, no! They are not the SAME. Circumcision by hands is a Work of the Law (which is what v8-9 speak of), and 'circumcision of the heart by the Spirit' is a "Fulfilled_Work_of_the_Law." Different things, the former is is a shadow of the latter (which is realized only "in Christ", v10).

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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James Swan said...

Ben,

You really are desperately lost when it comes to reading. Go back to your library, or wherever you secured a copy of What Luther Says, and read entries 2276-2408. Then, make a brief summary of Luther's doctrine of Law and Gospel.

The first entry that befuddles you is about justification, and that for Luther concerns "Gospel." Law will never justify. The second quote concerns those who confuse law with gospel in the attainment of righteousness before God.

Next time you visit Google books, look up The Theology of Martin Luther by Paul Althaus. See chapter 19.

It's true, Luther's theology on law and gospel are a world apart from Romanism. There is enough there for a sincere Roman Catholic to say, "I disagree with Luther here." Unfortunately, you appear to not even know what to disagree with when it comes to Luther. You caricature Luther into strawman propositions, and then knock them down.

Having never met you in person, I don't know exactly why you can't read a context. Perhaps your zeal for Romanism has so influenced you you're unable to actually interpret a document or another view soundly. At times, I wonder if you're simply playing an Andy Kaufman-esque joke on me. That is, you deliberately misrepresent Luther's basic theology for humor's sake. In which case, the joke is on me.

James Swan said...

Note to James: Please don't say I'm taking things out of context or misrepresenting Luther etc. The facts are the facts - Luther did indeed counsel adultery, and no amount of spin can change those unpleasant facts of history, sad to say. It pains me to even have to mention them.

Ben,

You're all so worried about sin, yet when I point out contexts and show your clear errors and misuse of a variety of texts, you arrogantly malign me and say I "spin" things.

In other words, you don't really care about sin. Repent.

Rhology said...

Nick,

Because boasting (in the sinful sense) is wrong. But that doesn't make my example wrong eithe

But what did PAUL mean in Eph 2 about boasting?


This is why Paul's focus in Rom 4 is on Abe's circumcision, and not works in general (4:9-12).

Did you miss vv 4-8?


You were the one originally objecting to assigning two different meanings to 'works' in Eph 2.
since I have supposedly failed and assuming you're not messing with me - what TEXTUAL basis do you have for saying 'works' is used two different ways in 8-10?

I'm illustrating that by showing how you can't make Eph 2 make any sense if the two are diff, how you arbitrary assign one meaning to one and another to the other. It's called an argumentum ad absurdum.
The two "works" are NOT identical. That's my point. Windsor is making them different.
Could you please clarify, b/c now your confusion is confusing me. Are the two "works" referring to diff things or not?


Nowhere does the Bible speak of "His imputed Righteousness"

Romans 4:6-8.
And anywhere Gen 15:6 is quoted, it uses "imputed to him as righteousness".


especially using "work of man" in a pejorative sense when speaking of Baptism

Does God baptise you in water, or does a person? Is it something you do or that God does?
God does SPIRIT baptism, not water baptism. It's a work. You yourself would tell me that faith alone doesn't save, but faith and baptism along with various other things. At least be proud of your own position, or change it.


(a direct command of Christ, just as direct as repenting, believing, etc

Yes, of course it's a direct command of Christ. Plenty of things are direct commands of Christ, but there are diff categories, otherwise you'd have to be perfect in all your actual actions to be saved, which is impossible.


You're not going to find any respectable Protestant apologists saying what you just said.

Wow. How could anyone respond to such a thing?


Yes we're enabled to keep them. You must still be forgetting about Phil 2:12f and Gal 6:7-9.

When's the last time you broke one? How do you explain that violation, then?
You are a fool and you have far too low a standard of what holiness is. You are a failure and a lost sinner. Everyone is. You need Christ's perfect righteousness or you have no hope.


Fulfilling and "keep perfectly" are not synonymous (that's a very common error). Rom 13:8 says: the one who loves another has fulfilled the law...love is the fulfilling of the law.

Do you love perfectly?


You said "the requirements of the Law are imputed by Christ to us" is found in Rom 4, verses 6-8 specifically, let's look...I don't see anything close to what you said was he

"God counts righteousness apart from works".


Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Ben M,

why then do Protestants constantly, unceasingly, never-endingly, accuse Catholics of things like “idolatry” when they themselves are necessarily just as guilty of the same sins?? - a bit of Pharisaical self-righteous hypocrisy?

B/c we don't commit the two wrongs make a right fallacy.


I believe it is Catholics who teach that sin is an extremely big deal, and in fact, so “big a deal,” that one even risks LOSING HIS IMMORTAL SOUL for committing a single mortal sin and not repenting!

Hahaha, and then qualify "mortal sin" so much as to render it nonexistent, so virtually any sinful action an RC takes is a venial sin. EVERY sin, biblically speaking, is mortal.


Why, if anything, it is Protestants who, with their "guaranteed salvation," appear to wink at sin, to slight sin.

The tired old "eternal security = antinomianism" canard. Yawn.


I've heard many, many Protestants even boast: "I'm saved," and nothing can change that "no matter how much or how seriously I sin"!

Then they are fools and probably totally unsaved. It's a matter of VERY basic evangelical and Reformed doctrine that justification is accompanied by 2nd birth and a heart change. That's evidence of their unsaved heart. I get the feeling you've never talked to an informed evangelical/Reformed person about this, or if you have you've ignored what they said.


but did not the "Reformers" themselves live as immorally as they pleased when it suited their purposes?

What if they did? What would that prove?


Just read, for example, how Luther advised married couples to take lovers when their spouses were either unable or unwilling to fulfill their conjugal duty?

What if he did?
And see here.

You seem new to this whole RC epologist thing. Please, do everyone a favor and learn from your mistakes here. You've brought up nothing interesting and you haven't advanced the dialogue or debate one bit.

Peace,
Rhology

Nick said...

R: But what did PAUL mean in Eph 2 about boasting?

N: That boasting on improper grounds is wrong (as opposed to proper grounds, eg Phil 2:16). He gives a very clear example of improper grounds in Phil 3:3-11,
"If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless."

Notice what was described here was 'works of the law' from start to finish, and it was a broader issue than merely following the rules, it included lineage, circumcision, zeal, etc.


[[This is why Paul's focus in Rom 4 is on Abe's circumcision, and not works in general (4:9-12).]]
R: Did you miss vv 4-8?

N: No I didn't miss, I read Rom 4 as a whole, and thus not fall prey to the eisegesis caused by truncating the chapter to include only 4:3-8.
Paul is focused on Abe's circumcision, that's what the majority of the chapter is about! Expand your horizons!

R: I'm illustrating that by showing how you can't make Eph 2 make any sense if the two are diff, how you arbitrary assign one meaning to one and another to the other. It's called an argumentum ad absurdum.
The two "works" are NOT identical. That's my point. Windsor is making them different.
Could you please clarify, b/c now your confusion is confusing me. Are the two "works" referring to diff things or not?

N: This is ridiculous and thus my last response here. The first mention of "works" is a different kind than the "good works in Christ" mentioned second. They are different. Period. That's Scott's view, that's my view, that's the only acceptable exegetical view.

The alternative is to say the two mentions of "works" are identical, at which point you must say Christians have to get circumcision of the flesh via verse 10.


[[Nowhere does the Bible speak of "His imputed Righteousness"]]
R: Romans 4:6-8. And anywhere Gen 15:6 is quoted, it uses "imputed to him as righteousness".

N: The phrase/concept "His imputed righteousness" is not equivalent to "faith counted as righteousness." They are grammatically different. See Psalm 106:30-31, is that "His imputed righteousness" as well? Slim chance.


R: Does God baptise you in water, or does a person? Is it something you do or that God does? God does SPIRIT baptism, not water baptism.

N: LOL. Does the Gospel get preached to you directly by God or by the mediation of an authoritative preacher? (Rom 10:14-15)
Does God speak directly in your ear or through the medium of a stack of bounded paper and ink called the Bible?
Your anti-sacramentalism has led you to a form of docetism, where God operating through creation is somehow unthinkable.
You're stuck in a false dilemma that either God baptizes or man baptizes, with a sharp disconnect between the two.


R: It's a work. You yourself would tell me that faith alone doesn't save, but faith and baptism along with various other things. At least be proud of your own position, or change it.

N: Haha. I know the Protestant mind, you're comments are based on the fact that before anything is even examined you must drive an artificial wedge between things like baptism and faith because of how you see faith as the only instrumental cause. For you, anything besides faith must fall in the rejected 'works' category, meaning Paul included Baptism as a work. That's why you can't read Col 2:11ff and Gal 3:26-27 as a singular event, and instead must have baptism pushed to the side.

Nick said...

R: Yes, of course it's a direct command of Christ. Plenty of things are direct commands of Christ, but there are diff categories, otherwise you'd have to be perfect in all your actual actions to be saved, which is impossible.

N: Again, the Protestant mind at work: Everything not faith must be pushed into the 'works' category; even things never belonging to that category.


R: Wow. How could anyone respond to such a thing?

N: Show me ONE respectable Protestant who said what you just said (that flour models a life for life sacrifice because flour is 'already dead plants' and burning it 'rekills' it). With that logic, we'd wonder why a dead animal cant work, for it's already dead and burning it 'rekills' it.


[[Yes we're enabled to keep them. You must still be forgetting about Phil 2:12f and Gal 6:7-9.]]
R: When's the last time you broke one? How do you explain that violation, then?
You are a fool and you have far too low a standard of what holiness is. You are a failure and a lost sinner. Everyone is. You need Christ's perfect righteousness or you have no hope.

N: Why is it so difficult for you to address those passages? It's like the moment I mention them you unconsciously go off on a tangent. You must be unaware that the phrase "eternal life" is almost always linked to how we lived our lives, and not to faith alone (e.g. Rom 2:7; Gal 6:8).


[[Fulfilling and "keep perfectly" are not synonymous (that's a very common error). Rom 13:8 says: the one who loves another has fulfilled the law...love is the fulfilling of the law.]]
R: Do you love perfectly?

N: Here we go. This discussion has gotten to the point where you're knee-jerk reacting back to default responses rather than expanding your horizons about Scripture's teaching as a whole. I've been in these types of discussions enough to know what to say and what responses to expect. Loving perfectly is not synonymous with fulfilling the law; you've just reduced Rom 13:8-13 to no significance.

[You said "the requirements of the Law are imputed by Christ to us" is found in Rom 4, verses 6-8 specifically, let's look...I don't see anything close to what you said]]
R: "God counts righteousness apart from works".

N: Heresy quite often builds major theological points off of bits and pieces of Scripture quotes. This is a prime example. The plain reading of your quote says nothing close to what the text actually says. You're reading your entire theology into a few verses, and then reading the rest of Scripture in light of that. That's eisegesis and asking for trouble. If Rom 4:6-8 is the closest Scriptural evidence you have, and even that falls well short of fair evidence, then it's time to rethink your theology - yes, time to question Sola Fide.

Rhology said...

Nick,

That boasting on improper grounds is wrong (as opposed to proper grounds, eg Phil 2:16). He gives a very clear example of improper grounds in Phil 3:3-11

Yes, boasting of his own works. It's amazing to me that you keep missing this.


it was a broader issue than merely following the rules, it included lineage, circumcision, zeal, etc.

Yes, perfection in following God's commands is much more than "following the rules". Follow your own advice and stop playing down your own sinfulness!


The first mention of "works" is a different kind than the "good works in Christ" mentioned second. They are different. Period.

Why? How many times do I have to ask you to prove it and to respond to my counterarguments on that count?


The alternative is to say the two mentions of "works" are identical, at which point you must say Christians have to get circumcision of the flesh via verse 10.

That's not what v11 is saying at all. Where's the command in v11?
The "works" are, in fact, the exact same. That is why I keep asking you to prove why the two are different.


They are grammatically different. See Psalm 106:30-31, is that "His imputed righteousness" as well?

Is it OK in the RC apologist's world to look at a work in Heb and aid in exegetical questions of Greek?


Your anti-sacramentalism has led you to a form of docetism, where God operating through creation is somehow unthinkable.

No, you're right about the other examples; it's not unthinkable at all. But when God specifically says that we're saved APART FROM WORKS, that also means something. So one has to take both statements, not one or the other as you are doing.


Col 2:11

Why wouldn't I be able to read that as a singular event? Where's the "human" aspect there?


Gal 3:26-7

Ditto. Spirit baptism. This isn't that hard, you know. It seems that you've also had limited contact with competent Sola Scripturists, though thankfully you're not on as low a level as Ben.


R: Do you love perfectly?

N: Here we go. This discussion has gotten to the point where you're knee-jerk reacting back to default responses rather than expanding your horizons about Scripture's teaching as a whole. I've been in these types of discussions enough to know what to say and what responses to expect. Loving perfectly is not synonymous with fulfilling the law; you've just reduced Rom 13:8-13 to no significance.


So, you don't love perfectly, but that's OK anyway?
You know, since you don't love perfectly and thus break the two greatest commandments on an hourly basis if not more frequently, maybe Paul meant sthg diff in Rom 13:8? Maybe he meant that it's a COMMAND, and IF we keep it, we fulfill the entire Law...but we don't, and thank God that our justification is not dependent on our own faithfulness to fulfill commands? Just maybe? You know, not by works, apart from works, the man to whom God does not impute sin?

So, it doesn't bother you that, to you, love = fulfillment of the Law, but you don't love even close to perfectly? Doesn't even bother you a little?


Peace,
Rhology

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Rhology said...

Ben M,

The only worthwhile comment you made was this one:
I could quote St. Jerome (letter 69) who said: "A teacher loses all his influence whose words are rendered null by his deeds."

The pornocracy. The Avignon popes. The RCC hierarchy shuffling pædophiles around. Cardinal Law. Pope Leo's hawking indulgences. Johann Tetzel. The burning of Hus.
Pope JP2 kissing a friggin Qur'an. Benedict 16 giving official visit time to Hugo Chávez.


Seriously, man, a Romanist should not want to go there.
Just answer the question. A repetition or a lack of answer will be taken as a concession.

Peace,
Rhology

Ben M said...
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Rhology said...

Ben M,

But who denies that the Church has imperfect members – even Judases - just as Christ foretold?

YOU made precisely that implication. Did you already forget what you wrote?
You said:
I could quote St. Jerome (letter 69) who said: "A teacher loses all his influence whose words are rendered null by his deeds."

I'm responding to you on your own terms.


As for JP2 kissing the Qur'an, well, the opinion of many Catholics was that this was imprudent at best, scandalous at worst. I believe it was simply an act of respect, and also a desire to foster some degree of peace

And what respect does the filthy, blasphemous Qur'an deserve?
You're so eager to explain away his actions, since he's your guy. Hypocrisy.


But tell me, are you not troubled by the deliberate campaign of propaganda, distortion, and exaggerations of the Church’s faults by those hostile to her?

I don't see any of that in this thread, and I don't feel like speaking for others. Did I exaggerate anythg in my response to you?

The rest of your comment is silent on the issue I raised to you, so I presume you concede the point.
Nice talking to you.

Peace,
Rhology

Ben M said...
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Rhology said...

Ben,

I gave you one possible (and I believe valid) reason for the Pope's action.

And I asked you what respect the blasphemous Qur'an merits. Care to answer?


Besides, how does JP2's action even begin to compare with Luther’s counseling of people to deliberately break God's commandments??

That's the 2nd time you've committed the two wrongs make a right fallacy. It's a bad habit.


Can't say whether or not you approved of slander, at least in general?

In general, I do not approve of slander.


The issue to which you have not responded is this:

Rhology: You, like Muslims, just can't bear to think of sin as all that big a deal, as very bad. It's disgusting.

Ben. But did not the "Reformers" themselves live as immorally as they pleased when it suited their purposes?

Rhology: What if they did? What would that prove?

Ben. I could quote St. Jerome (letter 69) who said: "A teacher loses all his influence whose words are rendered null by his deeds." But what does he know? ;) Maybe we should each just put the question to folks at, say, our respective churches, and then compare notes?

Rhology: The pornocracy. The Avignon popes. The RCC hierarchy shuffling pædophiles around. Cardinal Law. Pope Leo's hawking indulgences. Johann Tetzel. The burning of Hus.
Pope JP2 kissing a friggin Qur'an. Benedict 16 giving official visit time to Hugo Chávez...Just answer the question.

Ben (missing the point entirely): But who denies that the Church has imperfect members – even Judases - just as Christ foretold?

Not only have you missed the fact that
1) your own peeps are guilty of the same charge, and
2) you've AGAIN committed the two wrongs make a right fallacy,

you haven't dealt with the issue that Roman theology makes sin not a big deal. You can talk big about the existence of the category of mortal sin, but in reality Romanists hem and haw and kill the category with 1000 qualifications, whereas in Reformed theology EVERY sin is mortal.


Peace,
Rhology

Ben M said...
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Rhology said...

Ben M,

The Acts 17:22 is more naturally understood as sarcasm. Did Paul kiss their idol, or was his spirit provoked within him, moving him to preach the Gospel? Did JP2 do that right after kissing the book of demons?


JP2’s actions, which were merely a gesture of good will and by no means an approval of everything the Koran teaches

How would we know that? Don't you kiss the Bible in worship, or right before entering (like the Orthodox do)? You're making ad hoc excuses; ANYthing to defend the Pope, even when he does sthg blasphemous! You can be sure I'd call out one of my elders for kissing the Qur'an. Why can't you?


a. It’s one thing for those who hold legitimate offices in the Church to sin grievously; the office itself nevertheless remains unaffected

I could quote St. Jerome (letter 69) who said: "A teacher loses all his influence whose words are rendered null by his deeds." But what does he know? ;)


b. It’s quite another thing however, when someone announces himself spokesmen for the Holy Spirit and then proceeds, not only to sin just as grievously, but teaches others to do so also!

Such as Pope Honorius?
You think the pornocracy had no effects on anyone watching?
You think Pope Leo's indulgence-whoring had no effect on anyone watching? What about on Tetzel himself, who was BELOW Leo in hierarchical rank?



Now there’s simply no question that Luther believed himself God’s infallible spokesman:
In 1522, e.g., Luther writes against Henry VIII:

“My teachings will stand, and the Pope will fall, although he should be supported by all the gates of hell and the powers of the air and the earth and the sea.”


That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard, sorry.
Please prove that this indicates Luther thought HE was infallible and not that he thought he was accurately representing GOD'S infallible teaching.


Blah blah blah Luther was a big meanie

Do you think I think Luther was infallible?
Do you think I base most of my convictions on the strength of Luther's teachings? Of his personality?


I for one, would be interested in your definition of a false prophet.

I'd go first to Deut 13 & 18.


On the contrary, I did deal with it! Did you not see where I quoted both St. James and St. Augustine, both of whom distinguished between venial and mortal sins?

Yes, I saw that, and that's exactly what I mean. It's nearly impossible to commit a mortal sin on RC theology. It's literally impossible NOT to commit many mortal sins every day, on Reformed theology. And you have the gall to say that MY position doesn't take sin seriously?

Peace,
Rhology

Ben M said...
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Rhology said...

Hi Ben M,

The Acts 17:22 is more naturally understood as sarcasm.

By whom?


Anyone who reads it.


Look, the Muslims don't "worship" the Koran, thus it is not an “idol."

Sigh. They worship a false god, who is 'revealed' in the Qur'an.
Look, I know this is hard for you to buy into, given that your CCC slobbers all over itself making conciliatory statements to Muslims, but could you at least TRY to be a consistent Christian? Just for a second?


Now as for “the Gospel,” can you (or anyone around here??) tell me just what the Gospel is in the words of Christ himself?

Sure I can.
Now, can JP2? Or does he just tell it when surrounded by old white men wearing funny hats, rather than to those who need it most?


But if you want to talk blasphemy, how about the blasphemy of Protestants by their removal of 7 books from the Bible?

Nice change of subject. Nice diversion from the fact that there was no infallibly-declared canon of Scr until Trent, well after the death of Martin Luther, not to mention the many good reasons not to accept the DCs.

DA said:
It was a conciliatory, ecumenical gesture, meaning, "I respect all that is true in Islam, and it does contain much truth."

How does DA know this? Is he reading JP2's mind? Did JP2 say that?
ALL religions contain much truth! Why not just go around kissing every "holy book"?
Do you think the Apostle Peter went around kissing Qur'ans? Or did he tell people to repent, like at Pentecost or to Simon Magus? The answer is obvious.


I wonder what form your “call out” would take? ;)

Look no further than Matthew 18, where church discipline is described in detail, and I'd make sure to have more than one other witness, as 1 Tim 5 says.
See, it's things like this that make me think you ARE in fact new to the anti-Protestant polemic thing. If you have a question about what we believe, look in the Bible! It'd save everyone a lot of time.


And can we please have an end to these propagandistic terms – “pornocracy,” “indulgence-whoring” and the like (have you never read Pastor?).

No, I haven't read Pastor.
Give me a good reason to stop.


just give some specific examples of a Pope, either publicly or privately, teaching the people to live immoral lives

You're fleeing to ad hoc qualifications b/c you can't answer the obvious problems with what I've said.


Luther blah blah

Let's say I grant your points on Luther. What problem do you think this poses to my position?


Do you follow his canon? Do reject the authority of the Roman See? Do you follow his teaching on sola scriptural, on sola fide? Do you follow Luther’s teaching on the priesthood, the sacraments, etc…?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then I'd say you were indeed very much a disciple of Luther.


Then you're willfully ignorant of my position. Why are we even talking?


Do you agree with this statement of Luther’s, that the likes of Münzer and Zwingli were false teachers / prophets?

Dunno. Did they make false prophecies?


Murder and fornication are just two examples of mortal sins.

And if they weren't premeditated? If their implications weren't "known" beforehand? If they were committed in the presence of the amazingly-fluid "invincible ignorance" in place?


So you commit “many mortal sins” every day?

Since I commit many sins every day, yes.


Yet for all your "moral sins," I'm sure you nevertheless boast of being “saved”?

Boast? What do I have to boast in?

Peace,
Rhology

James Swan said...

James, I’ve read and am re-reading those entries.

After reading them, could you, in your own words, provide a summary of Luther's understanding of Law and Gospel?
I ask this to see if you actually understand what you're reading. It doesn't seem as if you do. Before you try and tear down a position, it's always good to at least understand it.

Here's what you should do:

Maybe, shoot for a 100 word summary, minus rhetoric and polemic. That is, to the best of your ability, as honestly as possible, attempt to summarize Luther's position, from Luther's perspective. Don't even quote Luther, simply define his position. I often do this when I get in to a detailed discussion with someone.

Rhology said...

Robert Sungenis disagrees with Scott Windsor on this topic. And he actually gives some reasons for it!