Friday, August 27, 2010

The donum superadditum and the doctrine of man: a foundational difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics

At the heart of the differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants, there are key differences understandings, both in terms of their understanding of the doctrine of God, but also of the doctrine of Man.

Over at Steven Wedgeworth's Wedgewords, Peter Escalante has, in the context of a discussion about civil authority, given a fairly succinct overview of one of the key differences. I'm not fully prepared to engage in a discussion of all of this -- it involves different concepts of man, and different consequences in terms of the doctrine of justification. But I've been following this excellent discussion, and I wanted to pass it along while it was still fresh in my mind.

It involves Rome's understanding of the donum superadditum with regard to the state that Adam was in before he fell. Briefly, Protestants say that man was "very good," and when he fell, it resulted in a spiritual death, and hence, God's imputation of righteousness and union with Christ is what's required to restore man back to his pristine, pre-fall state. Rome, on the other hand (thanks to Augustine's neopolatonism and some refinement by medieval theologians), holds that, not only was Adam "very good," but that he had some "super-added gift of grace" that he lost in the fall, and it is that "superadded grace" that needs to be restored. Hence the "infusion of grace" in Roman doctrine. [This accounts for the difference in which Calvin described man as "spiritually dead," and hence "totally inable" or "totally depraved," whereas Roman Catholics merely believe that man was "impaired" but with an otherwise full capacity to please God with his own grace-assisted works.]

Peter describes it this way:
For us, man originally had connatural beatitude, and when he fell, the reduced and superficial participation in that beatitude still possible to him, in an extrinsic way, was what we call temporal felicity or civic righteousness. But for RC, original felicity was a donum superadditum, and the status of original creation was thus left unclear, with at the very least a strong suggestion that much of what we think of as creation is in fact the effect of the Fall- an anti-Hebraic gnosticism which marred the thought of the ancient Greek church (and modern EO), and Rome too, though a more Biblical countertendency was present in the West and finally came into full victory with the Reformation. Given that the RC think of the New Covenant as the restoration of the donum superadditum, its relation to the temporal is ambivalent at best and hostile at worst. But for us, the New Covenant a) disables the heteronomous and unattainable Law which measured our alienation, and b) grants full citizenship in the Kingdom of God, simply by trust in Christ and union with Him. This means that the reality of original beatitude is poured into the forms of the creational order, and slowly transforms it spiritually, until all things shall be made new.
There are many, many concepts tied up in this one little paragraph, and it would (and will) take a long time to extract the meaning from them. But the one I want to focus on is that, right from the outset of their understanding of man, Protestants and Catholics differ.

John Fesko, in his "Justification," describes this situation with respect to the "donum superadditum":
It seems as though much of the debate over infused versus imputed righteousness hinges upon the presuppositions of each party. The typical Reformed understanding is that Adam was created upright, or righteous, and that God justified, or declared righteous, the initial creation as well as man in his declaration that everything was "very good" (Gen 1:31). We see the Westminster Larger Catechism echo this point when it states that God created man in "righteousness, and holiness, having the law of God written in their hearts, and the power to fulfill it" (q. 17). By way of contrast, the typical Roman Catholic understanding of Adam's original state holds to the necessity of infused righteousness. Roman Catholic theologians typically hold to the idea of the donum superadditum ("superadded gift"). Medieval Roman Catholic theologians, for example, argue that the donum superadditum was a part of the original constitution of man, that it represented his original capacity for righteousness. We see then, from the outset, that man in his fallen state required infused righteousness in the form of the donum superadditum. If man requires infused righteousness in the prefall state, then he would most assuredly require it in his sin-fallen but redeemed state. The original state of man, then, is an issue that must feature in any dialogues over the question of imputation (John Fesko "Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine" Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing Company, pg 372.)
Michael Horton, too, in his "Covenant and Salvation," expands on this concept greatly. "According to the federal theologians, Adam and Eve were never in a state of grace before the fall. Endowed in their creation with all of the requisite gifts for fulfilling God's eschatological purposes, there was nothing lacking requiring a gracious supplement" (194).

If anyone is interested, Horton develops this topic quite extensively, relying on Bavinck's account.

I've looked into this to some degree, and my hope is to discuss it in great detail once I've worked my way through the early church. But it is one of the key differences, and it is one of the distinctions that the Reformers made -- a (very likely unwitting) Roman misunderstanding and accretion that somehow became the law of the land at Trent.

71 comments:

John Bugay said...

This is one of many reasons why I think that it's proper to say that "the Church" misunderstood many things -- some of these innocent, as in this case, and some of them not-so-innocent, as in the papal usurpation of something that did not belong to it -- and that the Reformation was a re-alignment of biblical understanding.

Ryan said...

While Fesko is one of my favorite authors, his explanation of union with Christ in that book left me confused. Several times he mentions that union with Christ undergirds the whole ordo salutis and then says justification grounds union with Christ. Did you follow it and, if so, could you explain it to me?

webulite.com said...

The fundamental difference between protestants and catholics is that catholics use apostolic authority as the basis for their group, while protestants wish t look simply to bible texts as their authority.

Since the protestants did not come till the 1500s it would be impossible from them to track themselves back to the original church, so they had to come up with a different authority structure. They wanted to have a christian authority structure, but they wanted to break away from the catholic church. (The orthodox church too, but everyone in europe at the time was ignoring the orthodox churh) So, the protestant group decided that they would look to only the bible that the catholic & orthodox group had created as their authority structure.

Unfortunately for the protestants, this was bound to create a resplitting future. Since there was now actually no authority you get many many groups splitting from each other as they decide they prefer their views to other people's views

Cheers! webulite.com

webulite.com said...

please deliver me followups to this thread, yes, thank you.

Cheers! webulite.com

John Bugay said...

Ryan, I think Horton goes into some detail on this, too ("Covenant and Salvation"). Essentially, there is a "spectrum" of beliefs on this -- with the EO, such "union" leads to "theosis" or "divinization" -- in the RCC, there is an "ontological change" in the believer. In Protestant theology, this stems from being "in Christ," not an ontological thing, but nor is it easy to describe.

I'm at work right now, but this is one topic that I have wanted to explore. I'll try to put something down in the next day or so.

John Bugay said...

Since the protestants did not come till the 1500s it would be impossible from them to track themselves back to the original church, so they had to come up with a different authority structure.

Your conception of this is fundamentally wrong. The Reformers saw themselves as essentially in continuity with the church as it was already in place; they merely sought to Reform it.

Calvin compared Rome's sins at the time to the sins of the priests in Malachi 2. See his commentary on that for more details.

Ken said...

Ryan,
Giving the exact quotes and page number of Fesko will help for those who have the book. I don’t have the book, but the issue of justification vs. sanctification is central to the reformation apologetics. (and you have awakened my interest in this author, as I have never heard of him.)

1. I would guess that the issue is “man’s view of things vs. God’s view of things” (God knows and does the mysterious works of calling and regeneration and imputing us with Christ's righteousness, and sanctifying us and glorifying us - Romans 8:28-31) vs. “man’s view” = man is responsible to repent and believe and grow. (justification and then sanctification.

2. Also, Remember justification is punctilliar (happens at a point in time in history) and is not a process; and for us, is the ground of our progressive sanctification, spiritual growth, and perseverance.

Whereas sanctification happens both punctilliarly (starts at the point in time in history when God regenerates and makes alive and is so close to the point of repentance and faith that we as humans cannot tell the difference); and sanctification is also a process. (being conformed to the image of Christ, perseverance until we die.)

I hope that helps some as an introduction to your question.

Ken said...

Ryan,
Since the Bible indicates the Spirit makes alive first, then we are able to believe (John 3:1-8; 6:44, 65; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 2:1-10); ie, justified by faith alone; and then are sanctified progressively; I would venture to guess that Fesko means our union with Christ - (progressive sanctification) is grounded by our justification; and yet union with Christ - God beginning the work in regeneration and continuing the work all the way to glorification, (the whole ordo salutis) is also, in a sense, the ground or cause or basis for God justifying us; but God in time and history sends prophets and apostles and preaches and evangelists to say "repent and believe" so that our faith is the instrumental cause of our justification in time. "Those who are predestined, are also called (effectively made alive, generated, internally); and those who are called are justified, and those who are justified are also glorified. (Carrying all the way - in that sense is what Fesko is probably getting at.)

webulite.com said...

Dear John Bugay,

Notice the reference to the 16th Century in wikipedia. If I have the understanding wrong, then Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britanica, The Encyclopedia American, and almost every modern source is incorrect.

quote...

Protestantism is one of the four major divisions within Christianity (or five, if Anglicanism is considered separately) together with the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Roman Catholic Church. The term is most closely tied to those groups that separated from the Catholic Church in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation.

The doctrines of the various Protestant denominations and non-denominations vary, but nearly unanimous doctrines include justification by grace through faith and not through works, the priesthood of all believers, and the Bible as the ultimate authority in matters of faith and order.

In the sixteenth century the followers of Martin Luther established the evangelical churches of Germany and Scandinavia. Reformed churches in Switzerland were established by John Calvin and more radical reformers such as Huldrych Zwingli. Thomas Cranmer reformed the Church of England and later John Knox established a more radical Calvinist communion in the Church of Scotland.


Cheers! webulite.com

John Bugay said...

Ryan, here's something, too. I don't think it precisely answers your question, but it gives some perspective:

http://reformation500.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/the-real-body-of-christ/

Ken said...

in my rush I made a couple of typos:

". . . but God in time and history sends prophets and apostles and preachers and evangelists to say "repent and believe" so that our faith is the instrumental cause of our justification in time. "Those who are predestined, are also called (effectively made alive, regenerated , internally); and those who are called are justified, and those who are justified are also glorified. (Carrying us all the way - in that sense is what Fesko is probably getting at.)

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I never heard of "donum superadditum" before reading this post.

This is educational. Thanks John.

Ryan said...

John,

//Essentially, there is a "spectrum" of beliefs on this -- with the EO, such "union" leads to "theosis" or "divinization" -- in the RCC, there is an "ontological change" in the believer. In Protestant theology, this stems from being "in Christ," not an ontological thing, but nor is it easy to describe.//

I understand. I believe what Ken wrote and even recall checking out that book by Horton more than once. I guess I just wish, if that is what Fesko means as well, he was a little clearer.

Tangentially, I suspect that the "legal fiction" charge is going to become more popular because of this disagreement regarding what it means to be united to Christ. It's been interesting to note over the past several months exactly how much RCs must sacrifice in order to maintain the consistency of this objection: denial of the imputation of our sins to Christ, insistence that adoption entails an ontological change, denial that a marriage is complete until consummated, etc.

Ken,

I don't have the book with me, so I could only find this a-contextual quote online:

"Therefore, the transformative is founded upon the forensic; union with Christ, though undergirding the whole ordo salutis, is grounded upon justification" (pg. 90).

Sorry. If interested, though, you can listen to his lectures on justification here or Paul Manata's review of the book here. So I'm more than willing to give Fesko the benefit of the doubt. I visited a Systematics III class he taught with my high school Bible teacher, and he's mad smart. He got me interested in typology (example).

John Bugay said...

Truth: I never heard of "donum superadditum" before reading this post.

I'm surprised that more people don't know about this. But it's one of those things that really seems to help make sense of a lot of the other differences.

Ryan -- Regarding the "legal fiction" thing -- Horton discusses that, too. The essence of his response to that is that, when God declares us righteous in Justification, His word is a creative word -- so that, just as He spoke creation into existence, He also speaks Christ righteousness in that same creative way.

It's been a while since I read this, but Horton believes the Reformers did not go far enough in purging from some of their language some of the "ontological" and "infusion" terminology.

I haven't read his whole "Covenant and" series, but in the intro to "Covenant and Salvation," he says he believes that the Covenant structure does provide the sound framework for all the rest of Protestant theology.

And I think, having read "The Heresy of Orthodoxy," and the covenant structure that they relied on in discussing the history of the New Testament church and immediately following, that the authors must have liked Horton's thoughts on that.

natamllc said...

Ryan,

very perceptive!

I would, if you don't mind, wade into this, seeing I have read the book in question and, in fact, I have all of Dr. Fesko's books. I just received several months back WHERE WISDOM IS FOUND, Christ in Ecclesiastes, Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids, Mich.

I would note a couple of Greek word peculiarities that should aid you in understanding "union" with Christ and what I will comment afterwards as the "two" justifications Paul taught in Romans.

What? Yes, you read that right. I will open up something now that should make clear what "full" justification is from a Biblical view.

First, to the question about union with Christ and the ordo salutis.

The Apostle Paul, as far as my research has taken me is the only writer of the New Testament to us a particular Greek Word when explaining our "union with Christ". It is best understood in light of the idea of "being made alive" in Christ.

For instance, we read this:

1Co 15:21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be
made alive.

"made alive" is this Greek Word: ζωοποιέω
zōopoieō
dzo-op-oy-eh'-o
From the same as G2226 and G4160; to (re-) vitalize (literally or figuratively): - make alive, give life, quicken.

What comes first? Faith or Regeneration, or the chicken or the egg?

Paul wrote this:

1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a
life-giving spirit.

The same Greek word is used there too, "life-giving", as is used above it, "made alive".

However that is not the Greek Word that should enlighten your understanding here. It is another Greek word and as I said above, it is only used twice in the New Testament and only used by Paul.

Here are the two places the Greek word is used. After the citations I will paste the Greek word so you can "compare" it with that other Greek word, zoopoieo, a word used many many times throughout the New Testament.

Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--

and

Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

The Greek: συζωοποιέω
suzōopoieō
sood-zo-op-oy-eh'-o
From G4862 and G2227; to reanimate conjointly with (figuratively): - quicken together with.

Do you see the difference and the significance in the meaning of the two words, zoopoieo, suzoopoieo?

God Himself "conjoins" us, "reanimates" us and "quickens" us together with Christ! This is the union, "...union with Christ undergirds the whole ordo salutis and then says justification grounds union with Christ."

Paul wrote later on in chapter 2 of Ephesians this:

Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Coincidentally, God Himself makes peace with us by the same Spirit through Christ!

Col 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.



continued

natamllc said...

continuing:

Now, hopefully your mind is forming an understanding of Who, [God] is doing what to who, [you]?

As you know in Dr. Fesko's book in question, he develops well an understanding of the variances and differences between the Reformed Faiths and all other religious practice, primarily as John's thread leads off here focusing on the RCC and the Reformed centering on the conference by the Lutherans and those who hold to the council of Trent, the conference held in Ausburg, Germany in 1999?

Here is something that has helped me greatly understand why it is confusing when we think about "justification".

It is rather simple, though?

Look now at two Greek words Paul uses in Romans 5, verses 16 and 18 that are translated into the one English word "justification".

In Romans 5:16 the Greek word used is: δικαίωμα
dikaiōma
dik-ah'-yo-mah
From G1344; an equitable deed; by implication a statute or decision: - judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness.

And in Romans 5:18 the Greek word used is: δικαίωσις
dikaiōsis
dik-ah'-yo-sis
From G1344; acquittal (for Christ’s sake): - justification.


Do you see that the Holy Spirit gave Paul a perspicaciousness in understanding what is going on when it comes to God's Election of Christ's body out of every generation?

It is Christ who did the equitable deed that secures for all eternity my acquittal and yours!

God, Paul teaches, is both Just and the Justifier of the ones who have been given the Faith once delivered to the Saints! It is by Grace through Faith, and that not of ourselves, based on no merit of ours, that we too have been conjoined to Christ and have a union or a place now with the Holy Trinity here on earth and when we die, there in Heaven!

Wow!

Just like from "nothing" God created everything in the invisible worlds prior to this creation, so it is from nothing this natural world came into being. From Adam, a living soul, comes all humanity. God conjoins us, His Elect, from before the foundation of the world, to Christ, the Eternal Life giving Spirit and by so doing that when we come into the world, we too are made alive together with Christ, conjoined to Him and by so being made alive together with Him we too can come to see and understand that reality Paul develops in Romans 7, here:

Rom 7:1 Or do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to those who know the law--that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?
Rom 7:2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
Rom 7:3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
Rom 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.


and here:

Rom 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Rom 7:21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
Rom 7:23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Rom 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Rom 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.


This is how, I at least, have reasoned it out to understand what Paul meant as I cited above, this verse from 1 Corinthians 15:


continued

Ken said...

Ryan,
thanks for the links to Fesko and his teaching on justification and review of his book - and others - very interesting. He went to Ga. State University - same place I got my undergrad.

I am surprised I did not see that review by Paul Manata in 2008. Very interesting material.

Thanks again - good discussion!

natamllc said...

continuing



1Co 15:45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1Co 15:46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
1Co 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.


You asked: "....Several times he mentions that union with Christ undergirds the whole ordo salutis and then says justification grounds union with Christ."

The word Dr. Fesko uses there, "justification", I submit is the same word Paul uses to mean Christ's equitable deed.

Now, consider this "order" or phrase Paul uses here:

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.



That word, "justified" in that phrase is this Greek word: δικαιόω
dikaioō
dik-ah-yo'-o
From G1342; to render (that is, show or regard as) just or innocent: - free, justify (-ier), be righteous.

Why can God 'render' us innocent, washing us, sanctifying us and justifying us who are guilty?

Well as Paul explains it in Romans 5:16 it is because of the "equitable deed" of Christ done on our behalf, His Body!

That is why Paul goes on and says, as was cited above, this:

Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.


We are acquitted! It is because of Christ's equitable deed done on our behalf!

I would leave off with this reminder, Ryan, to fire up the Vision within yourself for His cause. As He taught then, so He, through the powerful work of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, teaches now:

Luk 24:44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
Luk 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Luk 24:46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
Luk 24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 You are witnesses of these things.
Luk 24:49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Luk 24:50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
Luk 24:51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.


Like Ken, above, I too hope this has been helpful to you Ryan come to understand?

Ryan said...

"He went to Ga. State University - same place I got my undergrad."

Is that right? I go to Ga Tech, but a close friend of mine is graduating from Ga State next year and it's possible I will go there to get a Masters in Education.

natamllc said...

Web

I have some problems with these words:

you wrote: The fundamental difference between protestants and catholics is that catholics use apostolic authority as the basis for their group, while protestants wish t look simply to bible texts as their authority. [sic]

The fundamental problem I am having here is Roman Catholicism is fundamentally built on the reasonings of men, mixing false doctrines with True making them the doctrines of demons, so, any apostolic authority they build off of will always line up with exhortations like this one:

2Co 11:1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!
2Co 11:2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
2Co 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2Co 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

and

2Co 11:12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do.
2Co 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
2Co 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
2Co 11:15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.


and

Rev 2:2 "'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.


Consequently, it seems to me you err here with those words?

Remember something Paul taught in Ephesians 4, here:

Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Eph 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Eph 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.


While that wonderful age is over, because the Book is now complete, our days have just begun and they will continue until our days are complete, and we too, pass over, out of knowing in part to knowing as we have been known!

webulite.com said...

natamllc,

you said;
"The fundamental problem I am having here is Roman Catholicism is fundamentally built on the reasonings of men, mixing false doctrines with True making them the doctrines of demons, so, any apostolic authority they build off of will always..."

That is a supernaturalistic idea. I am a historian, I do not get involved with supernaturalistic opinions. I simply study the history of early Christianity.

Cheers! webulite.com

natamllc said...

Web,

do you historically accept others of the days of Jesus and prior to and after, believe in His resurrection?

It is odd you would from one frame of reference write this:

"The fundamental difference between protestants and catholics is that catholics use apostolic authority as the basis for their group,..."

and then write this after as a response to my finding trouble with your prior words, here:

That is a supernaturalistic idea. I am a historian, I do not get involved with supernaturalistic opinions. I simply study the history of early Christianity.

Why the double standard then?

webulite.com said...

Hey natamllc,

I don't think the historicity of a Jesus character can be determined with much accuracy. Our data just does not provide the kind of evidence that will allow a historian to make a determination. Many great NT scholars have concluded that Jesus is a legendary creation, including Bruno Bauer, I think initially, and many other since. Information about some of the issues that a current scholar sees on the topic can be found here; http://webulite.dyndns.org:8080/wiki/the_jesus_puzzle

As I said, I don't see that data we currently have as making it possible to determine with much degree of confidence.

You said...

[[quote]]
It is odd you would from one frame of reference write this:

"The fundamental difference between protestants and catholics is that catholics use apostolic authority as the basis for their group,..."

and then write this after as a response to my finding trouble with your prior words, here:

That is a supernaturalistic idea. I am a historian, I do not get involved with supernaturalistic opinions. I simply study the history of early Christianity.

Why the double standard then?
[[/endquote]]

Sorry, I am not sure what you asking here. Could you explain more precisely. If you want you can post me at webulite@gmail.com if you want to get into more detail, or use the chat facility on webulite.com and we can talk real time.

Cheers! webulite.com

natamllc said...

Web,

I don't think the historicity of a Jesus character can be determined with much accuracy.

Well, there you go again! This is a double standard. You have just involved yourself in the supernatural!

Yet you write:

That is a supernaturalistic idea. I am a historian, I do not get involved with supernaturalistic opinions. I simply study the history of early Christianity.

Anyway, we probably have gotten so far over the line with these recent posts, John or one of the other brothers hosting this blog are about to bring down some natural realm reality on them! Or not?? :)

John Bugay said...

Webulite: I don't think the historicity of a Jesus character can be determined with much accuracy.

I'm going to quote myself here:

Consider the work of Gary Habermas who is said to have “compiled a list of more than 2,200 sources in French, German, and English in which experts have written on the resurrection from 1975 to the present. He has identified minimal facts that are strongly evidenced and which are regarded as historical by a large majority of scholars, including skeptics.”

http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/garyhabermas.htm

1. Jesus died by crucifixion

2. Jesus’s disciples believed he rose and appeared to them

3. The conversion of Paul (from persecutor of the church to leading Apostle).

4. The conversion of James, the brother of the Lord (originally a severe skeptic)

5. The empty tomb.

In his work “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,” Habermas says that virtually 100% of scholars believe the first four are “so strongly evidenced historically that nearly every scholar regards them as reliable facts,” and the fifth is believed by more than 75% (pg 48).

http://reformation500.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/a-positive-view-of-christian-foundations/

beowulf2k8 said...

"Rome, on the other hand (thanks to Augustine's neopolatonism and some refinement by medieval theologians), holds that, not only was Adam 'very good,' but that he had some 'super-added gift of grace' that he lost in the fall, and it is that 'superadded grace' that needs to be restored."

You are getting Augustine confused with Athanasius here (in his famouse Incarnatione Verbe Dei). Augustine was a Manichean like you Calvinists are, who believed that man was created evil.

natamllc said...

Beo,

what was that?

John Bugay said...

We'll just have to take your word for that.

Jae said...

"Your conception of this is fundamentally wrong. The Reformers saw themselves as essentially in continuity with the church as it was already in place; they merely sought to Reform it."

This is an outright erroneous statement; continuity? yup, by founding their own version of churches, again continuity? The ideas of the reformers were so deliriously absent from ANY church's historical documents or Patristic Father's writings until 500 years later which she comdemned as heretical teachings.

Jae said...

ERRATUM:

It should be 1,517 years later to be exact (reformation) and not 500 years.

Anyways, we could deny, ignore and spin it all we want but HISTORICAL FACTS REMAIN.

John Bugay said...

yup, by founding their own version of churches, again continuity? The ideas of the reformers were so deliriously absent from ANY church's historical documents or Patristic Father's writings until 500 years later which she comdemned as heretical teachings.

Jae -- You'll be required to submit documentation for statements like this one in the future. It's such an inane and thoughtless statement as it is.

Meanwhile, just to put your inanity into perspective, I'm going to provide some numbers here from Anthony N.S. Lane's "John Calvin, Student of the Church Fathers" (Grand Rapids: Edinburgh: T&T Clark) to show just how heavily Calvin relied on ANY church's historical documents or Patristic Father's writings until 500 years later which she comdemned as heretical teachings.

This is the number of times Calvin cited this particular individual only in the 1559 Institutes. In the vast majority he names the work he is citing:

Ambrose: 35
Ambrosiaster: 1
Augustine: 486
Basil: 3
Bernard of Clairvaux: 43
Cassiodore: 14
Chrysostom: 37
Cyprian: 38
Cyril of Alexandria: 5
Epiphanius: 5
Eusebius of Caesarea: 5
Gelasius I (pope): 3
Gratian: 51
Gregory the Great (pope): 81
Gregory Nazianzen: 3
Hilary of Poitiers: 7
Innocent I (pope): 2
Irenaeus: 11
Jerome: 26
Lactantius: 2
Leo I (pope): 18
Origen: 5
Peter Lombard: 39
Prosper of Aquitaine: 5
Siricius I (pope): 1
Tertullian: 10
Theodoret of Cyrus: 7

Canons from Councils: 39 (these last include such early canons as Carthage (256) and Elvira (305) as well as the four big ones, plus Orange (529, which the Roman church had lost for a time), and the Lateran (1215) and Constance (1415).

You'll notice that he's citing popes, too. My guess is that he's doing it to show how far the later popes had deviated from the earlier popes.

A citation here is defined as "a quotation of, a paraphrase of, or a clear reference to (a portion of) a work). In each case there is an explicit mention of an author or a work.

So I'm wondering whether you'll care to retract your fairly uninformed statement here and maybe even commit yourself to operating on a more factual basis, or if you want to continue to rant and rave, uh, deleriously?

webulite.com said...

The good news is calvinism is not growing.

Cheers! webulite.com

John Bugay said...

The good news is calvinism is not growing.

No, the good news is that you were completely wrong in your statement that I don't think the historicity of a Jesus character can be determined with much accuracy.

The really good news is that Jesus Christ died for sinful men, and he invites you to repent of your sins and accept his mercy.

Cheers!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Bugay, It is not a big deal that Attorney Calvin cited to patristic sources since there is a great deal that Protestantism agrees with Catholicism despite you folks' claims to the contrary. Protestantism is a Catholic heresy no matter how you and I choose to dress it up. No, the proof in the pudding is whether Calvin correctly cites to them in an effort to demonstrate the verity of various deviations from Catholicism he believed in.

God bless!

John Bugay said...

Paul Hoffer -- there is a great deal that Protestantism agrees with Catholicism despite you folks' claims to the contrary.

All of this stems off of my statement that the early reformers actually tried to "reform" the church and not start a new one. So this observation merely supports my statement.

Protestantism is a Catholic heresy no matter how you and I choose to dress it up

the Catholic Church, by the time of the Reformation, had hopelessy fallen into corruption. Leaving such corruption (having tried to clean it up) was the only option.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

webulite writes:

The good news is calvinism is not growing.

I'd think that you'd be more concerned with the bad news that orthodox, robust Christianity is growing all around the world. The secularization thesis is dead.

Dozie said...

"This is the number of times Calvin cited this particular individual only in the 1559 Institutes. In the vast majority he names the work he is citing."

And the citations are supposed to prove what exactly? Shabir Ally, the Moslem apologist, cites the bible to support the authenticity of Islam and its superiority over Christianity; I wonder why John Bugay has not jumped ship yet (converted to Islam). Why is John Bugay a Reformed Protestant and not an arminian; the arminians also cite the Fathers and the bible.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Dozie writes:

And the citations are supposed to prove what exactly?

You could try following the discussion and find out.

John Bugay said...

Dozie -- Matthew is right. If you had been following the discussion, you would have noted that my list was in response to Jae, who was suggesting that for 1500 years or so, "The ideas of the reformers were so deliriously absent from ANY church's historical documents or Patristic Father's writings ..."

Would you agree that my response, in this case, was an appropriate response to his observation?

beowulf2k8 said...

"Beo,/what was that?" (natamllc)

"We'll just have to take your word for that." (John Bugay)

The concept of super added grace (of gift) was in use within orthodoxy before Augustine the Manichean stopped worshiping the moon and returned to Catholicism. Do a google search for "superadded grace athanasius" or some such.

natamllc said...

Paul,

against better judgment, seeing if we would judge ourselves correctly we would not need to be judged by anyone, I cite your words, a most learned man of the bar, while sitting in my imaginary dock, I will testify against your presupposition:

Paul wrote, "Protestantism is a Catholic heresy no matter how you and I choose to dress it up."

What I find enlightening with that assertion, to wit, it is indeed the truth! I object, though, as it is the fact, that I too, as others in here, am delivered and will be delivered from the apparent darkness of the RCC by the mercy and grace of God alone. God has imputed the righteousness of Christ to me and to my account in this life still!

To a man, in your faith, I have no hope! Basis your faith as governed by the RCC rules, I am found wanting and would be dispatched, by my own judgments, to hell bypassing purgatory! Your religion is one without hope. Mine is not!

On the other hand, seeing there was nothing, nor ever will be anything required of me to accept Salvation other than accepting it is a fact of my Election that Christ died for sinners, of whom, I too am counted chief. And ironically, that fact is the gift of Faith as the gift of Righteousness and God's Love and all the good works God has prepared for me, are, from before the foundation of the world!

Can you explain all that, if you care to, that is?

And not wanting to ever make a comment in anyone's combox without a Biblical basis for doing so, here is one:

Rev 16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
Rev 16:13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
Rev 16:14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
Rev 16:15 ("Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake,
keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!") emphasis mine.

And with that emphasis, here are some clothes from Heaven I wear happily forgiven of all my sins from the day Christ breathed again into that corpse laid in another man's tomb:

Rom 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

natamllc said...

Beo,

put your whole argument on the table and let's debate it seeing you have commented on this thread correctly!

beowulf2k8 said...

From the beginning of orthodoxy to the time of Augustine, orthodox theologians believed the men started out upright but invented many schemes (as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 7:29). They were very staunch (see Justin Martyr for example) that unless men had the power to choose to do either right or wrong, there was no point in punishment. This changes only when Augustine, who had been a Manichean from the age of 17 to 26, came back to the Catholic church (he had been baptized in it as an infant). He came back only after his mother arranged a marriage between himself and a rather wealthy Catholic woman, the very sort of marriage that could give a man a shot at becoming a bishop, which of course he did, bishop of Hippo. At first, Augustine tried to leave his old Manichean doctrine that men are born evil because they are material and matter is evil, and he left it so strongly that he was at first (when he rejoined Catholicism) an uber-pelagian before Pelagius.

beowulf2k8 said...

(cont.)In fact, in the Pelagian controversy it was never really Pelagius that Augustine was responding to, but it was his younger self. Augustine had started a commentary on Romans which he never completed. In this, the younger Augustine had actually argued that grace is earned (he literall speaks of earning grace). Eventually realizing how stupid such an idea was he began to back away from it. This was all before he became a bishop, of course. But in backing away from it he went too far. He could have just accepted biblical teachings like Ezekiel 18, but instead he went back to his old Manichean past and tried to dress up the idea of man being born evil because he is made of matter in Scriptural terms. This brought about the doctrine of inherited original sin that all rational people hate and all evil people love. Then Pelagius comes on the scene and challenges this doctrine, and Augustine's response to Pelagius is a totally crazed response. He blackballs Pelagius as one who denies grace, but he did not. Part of the controversy was that Augustine was jealous that Pelagius had completed a commentary on Romans (a rather good one, I own a copy) whereas Augustine was incapable of doing this. It was Pelagius' completion of the commentary that sparked the controversy. Augustine went back to his own unfinished commentary, and it is from there that he got the accusations against Pelagius. He essentially transfers his own beliefs from when he first converted out of Manicheanism to Pelagius, although Pelagius had never said like the younger Augustine that grace is earned. Read Pelagius' commentary for yourself and see. Augustine was arguing with his own self, not Pelagius. His uber-anti-manichean self from when he first became a Catholic is what he was attacking now that he had created a new form of Christianity, a sort of abominable mix of Manicheanism and orthodoxy, which of course is today called Calvinism.

beowulf2k8 said...

Nobody should speak on the subject without reading both Augustine's and Pelagius' commentaries on Romans.

Pelagius' completed commentary

Young Augustine's unfinished commentary

This will give more perspective on the controversy than anything else.

The prices have dropped significantly from when I bought them, each of them is now about 20 dollars less.

John Bugay said...

Beowulf: Augustine had started a commentary on Romans which he never completed. In this, the younger Augustine had actually argued that grace is earned (he literall speaks of earning grace). Eventually realizing how stupid such an idea was he began to back away from it. This was all before he became a bishop, of course. But in backing away from it he went too far.

If you've read some of my stuff here you know that I'm not a huge fan of Augustine.

You'll know, too, that several times I've mentioned Torrance's study of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers. This is a two-part study, first, a word-study of grace both in Greek culture and in the Old Testament (along with such terms as "hesed" or "lovingkindness"), as well as a thorough discussion of what "grace" meant in the New Testament. This he contrasts with some of the writings of some of the Apostolic fathers, and if I recall, some of them (I'm thinking of Clement but also Barnabas and Didache) also tend to have the notion, as you said, that "grace had to be earned."

So I can see some merit to what you are saying.

But I'm not really intending to go into great detail here. There are far better theologians than I am who frequent this blog. I just wanted to mention this because it had come up in another discussion that I thought might be edifying to some of the folks here.

natamllc said...

Beo,

that's it?

That is your apologetic??

This is what you want to debate???

Would you clarify????

These questions are not meant to demean you in any way!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Natamllc,

You wrote, “What I find enlightening with that assertion, to wit, it is indeed the truth! I object, though, as it is the fact, that I too, as others in here, am delivered and will be delivered from the apparent darkness of the RCC by the mercy and grace of God alone.”

I respond: The darkness you see in the doctrines of the Catholic Church is apparent only because you view them in the dark. I myself have been in the dark on some things until I took the time to find out the truth about what the Catholic Church teaches. Thus far, I have not been disappointed. What I found enlightening about your comment is the fact that we are saved by mercy and the grace of God alone is Catholic dogma, too. I pray that someday you will come to see that as well.

You wrote: God has imputed the righteousness of Christ to me and to my account in this life still!

I respond: God’s righteousness is not only imputed to us, we as Christians are infused with the grace that comes from it. As a Christian, I am an adopted son of God, as you are. I do not see anywhere in the Scriptures where I am merely a page in His ledger book.

You wrote: To a man, in your faith, I have no hope!

I respond: Then as a brother in Christ Jesus, I will have hope for both of us and will pray that you will find the fullness of faith that can only be experienced in the Catholic Church.

You wrote: Basis your faith as governed by the RCC rules, I am found wanting and would be dispatched, by my own judgments, to hell bypassing purgatory!

I respond: Perhaps you would be found wanting, perhaps not. I would not presume to judge you. However, in light of what the Church teaches in the documents of Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio for instance, you would be in error to suggest that “governed by the RCC rules” you would be found wanting and accordingly you “would be dispatched, by your own judgments, to hell bypassing purgatory.” Would that you had put as much effort in finding out what Catholicism really is about as you do now in trying to refute it.

You wrote: Your religion is one without hope. Mine is not!

I write: Spes mea Christus finds its truest and best expression in my religion. The closer your religious views are to the Catholic view, the more hope you have in finding and keeping Christ Jesus in your heart.

to be cont.

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

You wrote: On the other hand, seeing there was nothing, nor ever will be anything required of me to accept Salvation other than accepting it is a fact of my Election that Christ died for sinners, of whom, I too am counted chief. And ironically, that fact is the gift of Faith as the gift of Righteousness and God's Love and all the good works God has prepared for me, are, from before the foundation of the world!

I respond: I am supposed to disagree with this?

I am happy to see that despite leaving the Catholic Church, you have kept part of its teachings close to your heart and soul. Before each time I receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist or with my wife when we do our Eucharistic Adoration, I say a similar prayer which you have set out as creedal statement:
“O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first.
“Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God, for I will not reveal Your mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to You:
“Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
“Remember me, O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
“Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
“May the partaking of Your Holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of my soul and body.
“O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious body and Your life-giving blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.
“O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
“O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
“O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number

You wrote: Can you explain all that, if you care to, that is?

I respond: I just have!

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

I forgot to respond to your Scriptural verses...

Without presuming why you have chosen to cite them here, I can only say, Amen! Maybe you will provide me with a clue why you decided upon these verses in addressing my comments. I have never been good at 20 questions unless I am cross-examining someone in trial.

God bless!

natamllc said...

Paul

you indeed are polished.

In my circle of communion with other True Believers, we would say of you, "you ain't a burnt stone, yet!"

Go figure!

You responded: Thus far, I have not been disappointed. What I found enlightening about your comment is the fact that we are saved by mercy and the grace of God alone is Catholic dogma, too.

I have never claimed God's people are want to be found within the flocks of errant souls who gather routinely for Mass around the world. Jesus did die for sinners, taking some from every tribe, kindred, tongue and nation people by the Sanctification work of the Holy Spirit! After all, He took me! :)

I am glad to acknowledge that we at least have a meeting of the minds on that point! :)

By the way, I make a fierce distinction between catholic/general and the ["R"]C, which, by your persuasions so far, have not convinced me to return back to her mud puddle.

And I say that with due respect. I have met a couple of present day Cardinals and one Polish boyhood and personal friend of your dear late papist, Pope John Paul 2. None of these fallible human beings have ever convinced me they were Bishops of Christ, just Bishops of Rome. So sad! Ironically though, the boyhood friend was on his way to Rome to convince his friend of his errors! I guess he did not succeed? Will they ever make him a Saint in our lifetime? I am 57 and it doesn't look like things are moving as fast as some would like things to move across the Tiber, there??

I see many glaring rebuttals that I will pass on seeing the judge will stupor and sleep if I continue to object!

I will go to the heart of the matter and respond to the last inquiry.

Those curses, [the wraths of God] poured upon the world of men; the sixth one in line, is of particular interest to us both seeing we will only be allowed to remain a member of the wedding with the proper attire worn and not being found naked after coming in?

What is the attire the Angel of the Lord was dispatched to convey to John, the prisoner of Christ, on Patmos Island?

It is the Eternal Righteousness of Christ imputed not infused. It is His Eternal Salvation. If we die in our sins, "infused righteousness", we don't eat the wedding cake prepared for those Elected, Called and Chosen out of this world of men or drink the wines of the King!


Apparently you want to argue there is some part of you inherent in created man that God's Grace would redeem? Isn't that in direct conflict with the Words we adhere to:

Rom 3:9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
Rom 3:10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;
Rom 3:11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Rom 3:12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
Rom 3:13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."
Rom 3:14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
Rom 3:15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Rom 3:16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
Rom 3:17 and the way of peace they have not known."
Rom 3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."




Paul, you are too fortified for me to assault your doors or walls and barriers surrounded by your mote. And I can tell, at this time, you have not let down your draw bridge so one can cross over and knock on your castle shut doors.

Ecc 4:12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecc 4:13 Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.
Ecc 4:14 For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.


I will leave off for now and see your response, so far?

beowulf2k8 said...

"Beo, that's it? That is your apologetic?? This is what you want to debate??? Would you clarify????" (natamllc)

Its not an "apologetic" nor a subject for "debate." Its just the historical truth of how the move from the original views of the orthodox to the strange system of Augustine (which you follow) took place. It is a matter of historical inquiry only. I just wanted to point out the lack of historical accuracy in the OP, the utter lack of knowledge about where the ideas being attacked or defended came from and when, and show what really happened. You can debate without me, or say it isn't worthy of debate, but I've demonstrated the historical truth on this subject and I'm done with it.

Paul Hoffer said...

Natamllc, I hope our hosts do not mind us bantering back and forth.

You wrote: you indeed are polished.

I respond: Not hardly. I am neither fashioned nor polished. I am a work in progress and God is not done with me by any stretch of the imagination.

You wrote: In my circle of communion with other True Believers, we would say of you, "you ain't a burnt stone, yet!"

I respond: I like the allusion to Stan Lee but between you and me when it comes to spiritual geology, I hope to be recognized someday as a living stone rather than a stumbling block (1 Pt. 1:2-8)

You wrote: I have never claimed God's people are want to be found within the flocks of errant souls who gather routinely for Mass around the world. Jesus did die for sinners, taking some from every tribe, kindred, tongue and nation people by the Sanctification work of the Holy Spirit! After all, He took me! :)

I respond: I appreciate your sentiment. I wonder how many of your co-religionists believe that any Catholics can be saved within the “clutches of Catholicism.” For myself, except for my first experience as an apologist when I was 5, I have never claimed that God’s people are wont to be found within the shepherd-less flocks of errant souls who do not gather routinely for Mass around the world.

You wrote: I am glad to acknowledge that we at least have a meeting of the minds on that point! :)

I respond: Me too! God be praised!

You wrote: By the way, I make a fierce distinction between catholic/general and the ["R"]C, which, by your persuasions so far, have not convinced me to return back to her mud puddle.

I respond: “So far” is better than never. I have something to aspire to. And far as the Catholic Church being a mud puddle, Our Lord was able to cure a blind man with a dab of mud (Jn. 9:6) so imagine what He is able to do with entire puddle!

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

You wrote: And I say that with due respect. I have met a couple of present day Cardinals and one Polish boyhood and personal friend of your dear late papist, Pope John Paul 2. None of these fallible human beings have ever convinced me they were Bishops of Christ, just Bishops of Rome. So sad! Ironically though, the boyhood friend was on his way to Rome to convince his friend of his errors! I guess he did not succeed? Will they ever make him a Saint in our lifetime? I am 57 and it doesn't look like things are moving as fast as some would like things to move across the Tiber, there??

I respond: If you are referring to Pope John Paul II’s being recognized as a saint, whether that happens sooner or later or if at all is up to the providence of God who does things according to His plan. Not ours. As for the rest of your comment here, I will suggest that it is not enough to merely meet a bishop. They are shepherds of the Church. That means that one should listen to the Gospel message they preach and put into practice what they preach. For myself, I have met and known several bishops-holy and humble men all. From them I learned that my faith is strengthened by helping the quiet, weak, and meek ones of the Lord~the poor, the homeless, the unborn, the folks in the hospitals and nursing homes, and the homeless. The Lord sends those folks our way so we can see how worthwhile our labors are in the vineyard of Our Lord. I hope that despite you leaving the Church, the Gospel message will take root in your heart and help you reap a great harvest in the service of others.

You wrote: I see many glaring rebuttals that I will pass on seeing the judge will stupor and sleep if I continue to object!

I respond: I will grant you a continuing objection so you do not have to.

You wrote: I will go to the heart of the matter and respond to the last inquiry.

I respond: Great!

You wrote: Q. What is the attire the Angel of the Lord was dispatched to convey to John, the prisoner of Christ, on Patmos Island? A. It is the Eternal Righteousness of Christ imputed not infused.

I respond: The angel was not dispatched to convey any attire to John. As is shown through Revelation, Chapter 3, 4, and 7, the faithful were already wearing garments, however, to mark those who are saved, those garments must be made white by being washed in the Blood of Christ. The effect of that washing is real not merely imputed. Christ does not want merely attitude, He wants us to demonstrate the Beatitudes which is made clear by Mt. 25. After putting on garments washed in the Blood of Christ at Baptism, it is clear that we are truly judged by our actions towards God and others. Imputation reeks a philosophy that pretends that the emperor is wearing new clothes. Grace is a real gift that God gives us, not something pretend written on a ledger sheet.

TBC

Paul Hoffer said...

Oh no not again! It would appear that the final segment did not post. If it did not save, I will have to reconstruct it tomorrow.

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

You wrote: Apparently you want to argue there is some part of you inherent in created man that God's Grace would redeem?

You then cite to Rom. 3:9-18 as proof for imputation. That is the true as to the state of men before God gives them the gift of grace that then moves a man to accept to Him through Baptism. Calling it imputation is eisegesis though. At Rom. 3:28, St. Paul 'reckons' that faith saves while the Law does not, because faith does in fact save, the Law never saves.. At Rom. 4:3, Abraham actually showed faith in God, thus it was reckoned to him. At Rom. 6:11 the Christian is 'reckoned' dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. Imputation implies a fiction; infusion acknowledges the reality of grace acting upon us.

You wrote: Paul, you are too fortified for me to assault your doors or walls and barriers surrounded by your moat. And I can tell, at this time, you have not let down your draw bridge so one can cross over and knock on your castle shut doors.

I respond: I am not a fort; I am but a sheep in Our Lord’s sheepfold. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. (Jn. 10:1)

You quoted some passages from Ecclesiastes:

Ecc 4:12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I respond: Strength through unity exemplifies one of the marks of the Catholic Church: It speaks with one voice through its Magisterium. Thanks for the proof text!

Ecc 4:13-14: Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.

I respond: I am not Solomon nor do I pretend to be as wise as he. I know full well that there are those who know more than I and I have been knocked off my high horse more than once in my life. And from all of the times that I have picked myself off the ground and dusted myself off with the help of the grace God has given me to face my weaknesses and failures, I have found that what distinguishes the wise man and the fool is their attitude and behavior toward God and one’s neighbor. As the inspired writer of Ecclesiastes concludes his book, Eccl. 12:13-14:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

The notion of imputation no matter how you gussy it up denies this truth just like it makes light of the judgment depicted at Mt. 25.

You wrote: I will leave off for now and see your response, so far?

I respond: I apologize that it took so long to get one posted.

God bless you and yours!

John Bugay said...

Not sure where these comments are going. But here is the third Paull Hoffer comment which apparently did not post:

* * *
cont.

You wrote: Apparently you want to argue there is some part of you inherent in created man that God's Grace would redeem?

You then cite to Rom. 3:9-18 as proof for imputation. That is the true as to the state of men before God gives them the gift of grace that then moves a man to accept to Him through Baptism. Calling it imputation is eisegesis though. At Rom. 3:28, St. Paul 'reckons' that faith saves while the Law does not, because faith does in fact save, the Law never saves. At Rom. 4:3, Abraham actually showed faith in God, thus it was reckoned to him. At Rom. 6:11 the Christian is 'reckoned' dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. Imputation implies a fiction; infusion acknowledges the reality of grace acting upon us.

You wrote: Paul, you are too fortified for me to assault your doors or walls and barriers surrounded by your moat. And I can tell, at this time, you have not let down your draw bridge so one can cross over and knock on your castle shut doors.

I respond: I am not a fort; I am but a sheep in Our Lord’s sheepfold. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. (Jn. 10:1)

You quoted some passages from Ecclesiastes:

Ecc 4:12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I respond: Strength through unity exemplifies one of the marks of the Catholic Church: It speaks with one voice through its Magisterium. Thanks for the proof text!

Ecc 4:13-14: Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.

I respond: I am not Solomon nor do I pretend to be as wise as he. I know full well that there are those who know more than I and I have been knocked off my high horse more than once in my life. And from all of the times that I have picked myself off the ground and dusted myself off with the help of the grace God has given me to face my weaknesses and failures, I have found that what distinguishes the wise man and the fool is their attitude and behavior toward God and one’s neighbor. As the inspired writer of Ecclesiastes concludes his book, Eccl. 12:13-14:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

The notion of imputation no matter how you gussy it up denies this truth just like it makes light of the judgment depicted at Mt. 25.

You wrote: I will leave off for now and see your response, so far?

I respond: I apologize that it took so long to get one posted.

God bless you and yours!

John Bugay said...

Ryan -- I have not forgotten your request to talk a bit more about Fesko's treatment of "Union with Christ." But it's a pretty big subject, and as I mentioned, other traditions have different takes on what that means. The EO, for example, look to "deification" or "theosis." And as I've related, Ratzinger has stated (and Roman Catholics believe) that this means a similar kind of ontological change in the believer. As Fesko noted wrt the Lutheran doctrine, it is a particular event in the Ordo Salutis. For the Reformed understanding (which Fesko seems to be outlining), it undergirds the whole Ordo.

I don't think it specifically refers to sanctification but it is certainly a foundational support to that process.

Berkhof has a fairly succinct treatment of all of this; Reymond calls it something like "the umbilical cord between Christ and the believer."


I've written elsewhere about "the new man" in Christ, in my post on "the Real Body of Christ":

http://reformation500.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/the-real-body-of-christ/

This is an important topic and many people have many different understandings of what this means. There's just a lot to it.

natamllc said...

Paul,

well, if we continue, which I suggest we do not, you will undoubtedly come to this conclusion about me borrowing a phrase from the next in the series about the accusations against Martin Luther, Luther, Exposing the Myths, above and below.

Here is the phrase: ".... "from Luther’s own words we shall see him for what he really was, that is a rebellious apostate, who abandoned the faith and led many into apostasy from God under the guise of “reformation” in order to follow his perverse inclinations."

I wholeheartedly agree that Luther abandoned the RCC's errant faith and lived his life in such a way that he too, after leaving Rome, like the Apostle Paul, went about speaking and writing for Christ opening the eyes of many, blinded by Rome's doctrines and, many, they too, would turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God and receive true repentance and forgiveness of sins and by so doing they were being placed into their eternal place with God and man.

I do see Martin Luther, among many, as a reformer of that era and I do not see what I know of him through studies of his words or the words of others of that era as having any perverse inclinations like I see in the progressions of Rome's dogmas and edicts and current frustrations around the world.

I see the reformation era in question as a realignment to the Words of Jesus as recorded here:

Luk 24:44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
Luk 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Luk 24:46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
Luk 24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.


I believe many more people will be enlightened by the Truth from all the past centuries or from particular study of particular eras of any century including this one.

God is not handicapped one bit.

It is as true today of the Holy Spirit as it was true of Him when we read these words:

Col 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
Col 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,
Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
Col 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf
Col 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.


Eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are as much alive and active and working as they always are no matter what errant creatures do or say whether they are fallen angels, Elect Angels, fallen man or the Elect of God, Christ's Body!

Ryan said...

John,

In consideration of your post, would it be fair to say that, from the Reformed perspective, the doctrine of union with Christ is reflected in any soteric declaration of the Father and work of the Spirit by which man is or is purposed to be fully conformed to Christ's image?

John Bugay said...

would it be fair to say that, from the Reformed perspective, the doctrine of union with Christ is reflected in any soteric declaration of the Father and work of the Spirit by which man is or is purposed to be fully conformed to Christ's image?

Ryan, I think it's fair to say that one of the reasons it's called a "mystical" union (in what I've read of the reformed position of it) is that we can't say with precision what it actually entails. (And in what I'm learning about Reformed doctrine, that's so true of many things. Reformed folks genuinely want to describe such things with precision, but they just can't do it).

I'd venture to say that we think it's a good thing. I'd also venture to say that there's not scriptural warrant for us to say it means "theosis" or "deification" or "ontological change."

I am by no means the expert on this topic. But Reymond does note Murray's approach distinguishing when such a union is "accomplished and applied," and yes, I would say that "union" is reflected all through the Ordo, even if we can't say precisely how that occurs or precisel what it means. Maybe that's why Fesko simply shows it simply as "underlining" the entire process. There's no real, precise way to fit it in.

Ryan said...

I stumbled across this at the library today:

"The idea that God created man in his own image is so clearly stated in Genesis that the early church fathers could not miss it. It is also such an amazing idea that they could not refrain from discussing it. Some of the first attempts were, naturally, less than intelligible. For example, Gregory of Nyssa expatiates in flowery metaphors conveying awe of the subject, but which lack any explanatory clarity. Well, perhaps there is one clear point: The image has something to do with human intelligence. This is at least better than Justin Martyr’s identification of it with the bodily form. Augustine took the image to be the knowledge of the truth, and he took the likeness to be the love of virtue. In his Summa Theologica (Q. 93, Art. 9) after stating some views to be rejected, Thomas Aquinas in his usual form writes, “On the contrary, Augustine says, ‘Some consider that these two were mentioned not without reason, namely image and likeness, since if they meant the same, one would have sufficed.’ “ This attempt to distinguish rather than to identify image and likeness was not one of Augustine’s happiest tentatives. If the Bible were written in the technical language of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, one could well imagine that the two words bore different meanings. But in literary language such as the Bible uses, two such words can be synonymously used for the sake of emphasis. The Psalms are replete with this device: “I cried unto Thee, O Lord, and unto the Lord I made my supplication”; and “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered,” where there are two pairs of synonyms; and “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” There are many such.

Even so, it is not fatal to the doctrines of grace if a distinction, without faulty additions, is made between image and likeness. Since the New Testament refers to knowledge and righteousness, we could call the one the image and the other the likeness. Such a speculation, however, is rather fanciful and futile. One must therefore consider what distinction the Roman church imposed on the terms and how it fitted into a distortion of Biblical truth."

(cont.)

Ryan said...

(cont.)

"In support of the distinction, Thomas had already (Q. 93,Art. 1) argued that where an image exists, there must be likeness; but a likeness does not necessarily mean an image. Now, the Roman church developed this, which so far is innocuous, into something that contradicts important parts of the Biblical message. Their present view is that the image itself is rationality, created because, when, and as man was created. But after man was created, God gave him an extra gift, a donum superadditum, the likeness, defined as original righteousness. Man therefore was not strictly created righteous. Adam was at first morally neutral. Perhaps he was not even neutral. Bellarmin speaks of the original Adam, composed of body and soul, as disordered and diseased, afflicted with a morbus or languor that needed a remedy. Yet Bellarmin does not quite say that this morbus is sin; it is rather something unfortunate and less than ideal. To remedy this defect God gave the additional gift of righteousness. Adam’s fall then resulted in the loss of original righteousness, but he fell only to the neutral moral level on which he was created. In this state, because of his free will, he is able-at least in some low degree-to please God.

Obviously this view has soteriological implications. Even though the neutral state was soon defaced by voluntary sins, man without saving grace could still obey God’s commands upon occasion. After regeneration, a man could do even more than God requires. This then becomes the foundation of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the treasury of the saints. If a particular man does not himself earn a sufficient number of merits, the Pope can transfer from the saints’ accounts as many more merits as are necessary for his entrance into Heaven. One horrendous implication of all this is that although Christ’s death remains necessary to salvation, it is not sufficient. Human merit is indispensable.

However logically implicated this soteriology is, the present study should not stray too far from the image itself. Above, it was said that an assertion of a distinction between image and likeness, by itself, is not fatal. But it is not Biblical either. Scripture makes no distinction between image and likeness. Not only does the New Testament make nothing of such a distinction, even in Genesis the two words are used interchangeably. Genesis 1:27 uses the word image alone, and Genesis 5:1 uses likeness alone, though in each case the whole is intended. The likeness therefore is not an extra gadget attached to man after his creation, not a donum superadditum, like a suit of clothes that he could take off. It is rather the unitary person."

- Gordon Clark, "The Biblical Doctrine of Man" (pgs. 11-14)

John Bugay said...

Ryan, that's a fabulous explanation from Clark. I have a couple of thoughts:

It's too bad his feud with Van Til clouded such analyses as that one (or at least put them on the back burner).

It's another great reason to dislike Augustine.

It shows why there are profound soteriological differences between what Roman Catholics believe and what Protestants believe.

Would you mind if I re-posted this on the main site, for the benefit of those who might not be following down in the comments?

Ryan said...

Not at all. I should think myself quite proud of myself for having found something so worthy of consideration.

natamllc said...

When I read this:

If a particular man does not himself earn a sufficient number of merits, the Pope can transfer from the saints’ accounts as many more merits as are necessary for his entrance into Heaven.

I thought of a movie I caught a portion of a few weeks ago flipping channels on the T.V. in which Jim Carrey played a lead role. He got to experience life from God's perspective for awhile. I believe it dealt with free will and getting someone to love God or in his case, to get his girlfriend to love him. In the movie, as I recall, Carrey was given some extraordinary powers to cause things to happen as he willed them to happen.

In that portion of this movie that seems to me to be fitting in light of the citation above, Jim Carrey is in a restaurant and begins to hear voices, many many many voices.

He runs out of the restaurant and this Black man, Morgan Freedman I think, as God tells him those voices are all the people making supplication to him.

This is driving him crazy. There is another scene where he is at a computer calculating how many people are making a request of him. There are millions upon millions of people praying at the same time and it is driving Carrey crazy.

Just think about the citation from the quote and just how many "merits" the Pope has to convey upon his subjects in this life of his particular papacy for them to make it to Heaven?

This one impossible task alone should be enough for Roman Catholics to stop and think just how anti-Christ Roman Catholicism really is?

Sadly, it isn't going to be that way, though!

Rev 16:10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish
Rev 16:11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.
Rev 16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
Rev 16:13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
Rev 16:14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
Rev 16:15 ("Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!")
Rev 16:16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

Paul Hoffer said...

Ryan and Natamllc: As for the statement: "If a particular man does not himself earn a sufficient number of merits, the Pope can transfer from the saints’ accounts as many more merits as are necessary for his entrance into Heaven. One horrendous implication of all this is that although Christ’s death remains necessary to salvation, it is not sufficient. Human merit is indispensable."

This Gordon Clark doofus must have been cut from the same cloth as Boettner or a Chick. Am I supposed to take someone that wrote this as a serious theologian or philosopher. It is a joke right? Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!!! I thought this is supposed to be an apologetics blog not the Protestant version of Comedy Central. What next-James White in drag.... If I am seem harsh here, I apologize. I mean no disrespect to folks who actually want to engage in serious discussion but if you folks actually wish to argue against the teachings of the Catholic Church it would be wise to actually quote from a Catholic source, not a joke book.

God bless!

John Bugay said...

Paul Hoffer -- one of the hopes of this site (as I see it) is to help to raise Protestant understandings of what Roman Catholicism actually teaches.

Clark's analysis of the donum superadditum is straight on, and your characterization of him is pretty much the type of response one would expect from someone who doesn't want to defend the concept of the donum superadditum, but would rather tend to call someone names, and as we've noted, that is a clear position of weakness.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer:

The problem is not that your comment is harsh, but that it is non-responsive. It's just mockery, not argument.

- TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mssrs. Bugay and Fan: I acknowledged that I was mocking Mr. Gordon's statement as I felt that there was nothing in it deserving of a detailed response. I was mocking a mock. However, since you gentleman feel that there is something in Gordon's quote that deserves something more, I shall endeavor to construct a detailed one and offer it as a response. Because of other things I have going on today and tomorrow, it will probably not be up until the weekend.

God bless!

BFrei46 said...

....(Hoffer) If he had REALLY intended to respond, is either no longer with us or ..."crickets chirp away"...