Monday, January 10, 2011
Taylor Marshall on "signs of Predestination" and David Meyer on Limited Atonement at Called to Communion
Taylor Marshall has written a short blog article on "Signs of Predestination" at Called to Communion.See, "Signs of Predestination"
David Meyer, a new convert to Roman Catholicism from a Reformed background
also commented in the comboxes on the difficulty of letting go of "Limited Atonement". (Comment # 7; see below)
I wrote two responses, now awaiting moderation. For this article, I corrected some phrases and added a few thoughts, but it is basically the same as what I left in the comboxes. I hope my comments go through.
Taylor, you wrote:
However, it would be wrong to suppose that Catholic deny predestination per se. Rather, the doctrine of predestination is upheld, albeit with a important qualifications.
Arminians, RCs, and EOs, all must confess some kind of doctrine of Predestination, because the word is there in Scripture, along with the concepts of God’s Sovereignty and election. Ephesians 1:4-5; I Peter 1:1-2; Romans 8:28-34; Acts 2:22-23; Acts 4:27-28; Romans chapter 9, and many others.
Is the Roman Catholic view of predestination the “foreknowledge of future faith and perseverance in some, and then God responds to future faith” ? Or is the Roman Catholic view the “chosen in the Chosen One” view? Or what?
How do you get around the fact that foreknowledge is about knowing a person, not about knowing that they will have faith; (although God knows all things infallibly) ? “whom He foreknew” (Romans 8:29); “Before I formed in the womb, I knew you” (Jer. 1:5)
As a Catholic, what is now more important to me is the “signs of predestination.” In other words “faith alone” is by no means a sign that one is among the elect of God.
Taylor, you make it sound like “faith alone” is taught by Protestants as the only sign or evidence of Predestination. “Faith alone” historically refers to the only way in which someone is justified before God. Luther spoke of living faith and the results of true faith. Calvin and the Westminster Confession says, “we are justified by faith alone, but that faith does not stay alone”, that is, it results in good works, fruit, patience, perseverance, love – very close to those first seven things you mention in your article. Number 8, devotion to Mary, is no where in the Scriptures, so that one is wrong. In fact Devotion to Mary is nowhere mentioned in Scripture. So, it seems that you and the Dominican father that you quote do not believe in the material sufficiency view, but the partim partim view of Scripture and tradition. It seems that that really is the view of the RCC, that “God’s word” is found partly in Scripture and partly in tradition, and tradition according to Rome, is the ability of the church to bring out new doctrines and dogmas that did not exist in the Bible or the earliest centuries.
So follow the eight signs of predestination, but especially foster a deep filial love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Where is that in Scripture that devotion to Mary is a sign of Predestination? And then, you make it even harder by the word “especially” as if it is more important that the other seven, yet the other seven are in Scripture, at least in principle.
When Jesus gives His mother to the apostle John as the cross, sound exegesis shows that that this is historical narrative and Jesus is giving her specifically to John for John to take care of her. It seems like “adding to the word of God” to then say that Jesus is giving Mary to be the mother of all believers. Even if one wants to say that this shows that Mary is the spiritual mother of all believers, which it doesn’t; beyond that [originally, “then”], Scripture is silent on prayers or praises or devotions to Mary. Praying in front of her picture or statue is wrong and looks like idolatry.
[I add for this article: Taylor, you have added to the word of God, and you do what Jesus condemned the Pharisees and scribes of doing in Matthew 15 and Mark 7. ]
What version of 2 Peter 1:10 are you using? “as long as you practice these things” – these things refers to the things in verses 5-9, and nothing there indicates any Marian devotion, so your argument is defeated.
Taylor, [you called Peter, “that holy pontiff” when quoting 2 Peter 1:10. ] If Peter was the “holy pontiff” or “Pope” or “bishop of Rome” or “bishop of bishops”, he failed to mention it in both of his letters. In I Peter 5:1 he calls himself “fellow – elder”; and in 2 Peter he says that the way he is diligent so that the believers will have a way to stir up their sincere minds in the truth by way of reminder is by his writing this second letter. (2 Peter 1:12-18; 3:1) If there was a such thing as a pope, then he would have mentioned it here, since he knows he is going to die and he is being diligent so that they will have a writing to read and meditate on after he is dead and gone.
David Meyer wrote:
I have always thought that Limited Atonement was really the center of TULIP. . . . It is also one doctrine that I continue to struggle to let go of. (well worn mental paths need some magisterial grass seed thrown on them!)
Thanks for your honesty about having a hard time letting go of the Scriptural teaching of Christ’s particular, powerful, effective Atonement. That is very interesting. Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 show that the people that Christ redeemed by His blood are “out of” (ek ) every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation. It is clear; and that helps us interpret I John 2:2 and II Cor. 5:14-15 properly.
Without that, then you are left with an atonement where Christ died for every individual, but only makes them savable, and does not actually save them. A universal atonement for all individuals does not turn the wrath of God away from anybody. How can it be a saving, powerful, effective atonement? It is up to the person then by the moral power of his own will to chose Christ, which seems like Pelagianism or at least semi-Pelagianism, even if the RCC denies them officially.
“magisterial grass seed” are thorns and thistles that choke out the word of God. The reason why it is so hard to get rid of, is because it is Scriptural and Scripture is more powerful and over all the RCC additions to the word of God. This desire for extra things to crowd out the word of God really speaks volumes, and shows that you have to go outside of Scripture in order to “convince yourself” of the RCC doctrines.