Are you Saved? Are you sure?

145 comments
Tim Staples - Catholic Apologist

Are you saved?  Are you absolutely sure that you are going to heaven?  Is it possible to know for sure?  Can you lose salvation?

Are we saved by faith alone?  Or do our works have anything to do with it?  What does the bible say about this?

Former Protestant minister turned Catholic apologist, Tim Staples, clears the air in this dramatic (ok, I’m being dramatic) video down below that you do NOT want to not click on (that means click on it).  Preach on, Brother Staples. 

I wrote more on faith and works here.

And there is a great write up on the assurance of salvation here.

I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13).” – Catholic.com

145 comments Add comment

Joe Jordan August 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Good posting Matt. I’ve seen Tim do that in person and he’s awesome. Very powerful stuff and good to arm our kids with before they head back to school next week and face the barrage of “born again” Protestants that have spent all summer getting drilled on how to put them on the spot with that question.
Good timing!
God bless brother!
Joe

Kevin Bullock August 22, 2009 at 8:46 am

Interesting video, it does a lot to clear up what some protestants believe about Catholicism being a “works” religion. Even those of us that do believe in salvation through faith alone still believe our salvation should bear fruit. Dare I say “works”.

Joe, I reckon I’ll have to drill my kids on something else to put your kids on the “spot” all of next summer. If you truly believe protestants spend their summers drilling their kids to put yours on the spot I am sorry for you. My kids respect their Catholic cousins and the respect is mutual in our family.

Peter Scatolini October 12, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Hello
I am in San Diego California….
and am looking for a former colleague named
Kevin Bullock who was employed in Orange County
with the School District. Kevin is a Returned Missionary
who worked as an 18-20 year-old in South America.

Gerald August 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Kevin, your kids don’t but many do. When JPII went to denver in 95 when I was there there were lots of protestants there prosletizing. One thing I can say about this video. When I come out of the confessional and have done my best to be honest I know that I know that I know that my sins are forgiven by God when they have been forgiven by the priest. That’s a fact jack. I have his promise.

Artie August 23, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Often times when I get into discussions with protestant friends it is really a terminology difference, Jimmy Akin’s “Salvation Controversy” is a must read in regards to understanding both sides point of view.

Most protestants use the terminology faith alone, but they really don’t adhere to faith alone when you really start to discuss what faith alone really means in the Christian life in regards to salvation.

Terminology is so very important in this discussion. Works must be defined, faith must be defined, and when works is mentioned in certain scripture you have to determine whether it is talking about Mosaic Law or the fruits of the Christian life.

I didn’t completely watch this video of Tim Staples, but I am pretty sure it is right on target.

Kevin Bullock August 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

Gerald, there is also a wacked out baptist sect protesting at soldiers funerals. I would hardly call that a scientific formula for a norm and paint a large swath of people by the behavior a few. I dare say you wouldn’t want that either.

Most kids are more concerned with xbox than proselytizing ( did you mean evangelizing? …strange use of that term by a Christian) I have never witnessed anything like you say you have. I am not saying you haven’t, I am only saying in my very long experience being involved in my church as well as well as my local religious community, I have not ever witnessed that. Quite the contrary when I have seen Catholics and protestants come face to face, the atmosphere is usually one of respect and curiosity. That said …have I witnessed misconceptions and paranoia on the part of Catholics and protestants? Absolutely.

Artie, Akins is an excellent apologist, and I think your right it is semantics. Even in the protestant churches the rift between Arminian and Calvinist Christians is caused by semantics and a desire to defend a position rather than function as the Body of Christ.

It seems the current atmosphere is becoming one of reconciliation and unity from all sectors of the Church. I would hate to think I missed seeing something so beautiful and powerful as the Body of Christ come together because I failed to set down ignorant misconceptions.

Matthew Warner August 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

Hey all! Good discussion starting up here. I appreciate all the thoughtful and respectful comments. I love it actually!

I think it’s good to remember that the universal Church faces different challenges and exists in different cultures all around the world. So it is very easy to have a very different experience of it depending on where you are.

I know in parts of the southern united states (where I live) there are assuredly situations as Joe is describing. That’s not to say MOST encounters are still more like Kevin describes. But there are most definitely protestant groups that target Catholics who don’t know their faith. So a big part of being Catholic is being prepared to make a defense of your faith (as it is for any Christian, actually!).

That being said, I agree with Artie that most of the misunderstanding is on this issue is semantic. However, in order to bring about further reconciliation among Christians, we do have to hammer out these semantic or otherwise divisions. And when we can do so with respect and in love then I think God is smiling. Thank you all!

Kevin, I would be interested in your thoughts on my post here: The greatest of these is…. Just if you have time! God bless!

Gerald August 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

For as many evenagelical Christians as there are like you, there are just as many who hate the Catholic Church and think we are pagans. Go out to youtube and there is a whole host of anti-catholic videos out there. There are tons of anti-catholic websites. Yes, there are those like you who have charitable views toward Catholicism and we should not broad brush as perhaps I have. It was not my intent. I also think there is much semantics that need to get worked out in the discussion. Our religions have been separated for 500 years and developed a different way of speaking about Christianity. I agree that there is some good and helpful dialogue taking place. But there is alot more anti-catholicism around yet then you think. Just go on the Catholic videos and youtube and see how long it takes for someone to blasth the Catholic Church when we defend what we believe. Alot more.

Chris Weidenhamer August 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm

I can’t believe I’m walking into a faith vs. works debate. I guess I can, I just never thought I’d see the day. Again, Matt, yours has quickly become one of my most favorite blogs.

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 12:04 am

Mr. Staples is misusing the James 2:24 reference. If you back up a few verses, you’ll read:

“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

The full context of that section is not a justification by the Lord, but a justification by others. Show me your faith and I’ll show you mine, so-to-speak. Please re-read it, verses 14-25. When you do, consider the questioning that runs throughout it. Does God need to be made to understand if we have faith? Do we need to show him our faith in order for him to know we have any? I think we can be certain that God need no works from us to know we have faith; however, he did not bless us with this faith that we may hide it under a bushel.
A faith without works is dead – worthless – perhaps not even real. As stated above, I’ll tell you that, as a protestant, works are expected of a person who is saved. That’s right. If you are saved, we can expect to see works. The fact remains that the works are a PRODUCT of our faith and salvation, not a CAUSE. They are a sign to those around us that we are children of the living God. They are what separate us from demons, whom James mentions as believing that “there is but one God”. They are what set us apart from those who are of the world.
So I ask: does the Catholic Church teach that we must have works to be saved? If so, then what of the promises of God in John 6:37 (All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away) and John 10:28 where Jesus says none will be snatched from his hands?

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 12:06 am

So then I realized that I ended my comment with a question you probably answer in another post. I went back and read “The Greatest of These is…” and I came to one conclusion…

wait for it…

That conclusion is that if God wanted us to clear all this up before we get to meet him, he would not have made bodies for us that require sleep.

Matthew Warner August 25, 2009 at 12:24 am

Ha, perhaps, Chris! Glad to have you back and thank you for the compliments! We are getting a great readership here that is leading to some wonderful discussion.

Would love your thoughts on the other post though you reference. I think you’ll find that the Catholic view is more agreeable than you think. It takes into account the totality of scripture which demonstrates that for salvation God expects a response on our part of both action (love, works, keeping the commandments, etc.) and faith…all of which are products of HIS GRACE. Would be interested in your thoughts though!

Unfortunately, I’m still up working when I should be sleeping as well! Good night!

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 12:37 am

Forgive me, I’m just going to have to throw out a perspective, sans references, and come back to clean up later. Here are 2 major incongruancies between this and the aforementioned “Greatest of These” post, and the protestant perspective are thus:

1) Works don’t save us. They are expected of us and are a natural outpouring of a redeemed soul, but the work itself does nothing to save us.

2) You blog under the premise that faith, like works, is our own doing. Faith is a gift from God. That’s what Ephesians 2 is talking about.

Regarding your scriptural references in the other post (I’ll eventually have to take this dispute over there, I’m sure):
Matt. 19:16-17 and Rom. 2:2-8 are references to how your works CAN’T save you. They set the perfect standard of God, one we can’t accomplish.

Gal. 5:4-6 – how does this support your thesis at all?!!
“You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law(1); you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness(2). For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith(3) working through love”
(1)justified by the law, meaning the commandments – trying to do the WORK rather than trusting in God}}
(2)SEE? We have hope in CHRIST’S righteousness – BY FAITH. Nothing that says we can have Christ’s righteousness if we work at it hard enough.
(3) The faith does the work, not us! The faith is what does the trick! Faith in God! Faith in Christ! That is the true meaning of repentance – turning away from your old ways and turning to God! See the thief on the cross – no work, just putting his faith in Jesus.

I’m not saying we can live lasciviously or carnally. Sola Fide isn’t a get out of jail free card. The point is to realize that we have no power to work out our salvation before God. The point is twofold: To help people realize that we don’t save us but God saves us, and to help the Christian who wonders if they’ll ever be good enough for God to realize that you can’t make yourself good enough but Jesus already has. The fact that you try is more than enough.

I’d keep going, but there’s that pesky sleep thing again.

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 12:38 am

Ps:
Matt, I think you’ll be surprised at the totality of scripture taken into account from over here, as well ;-)

Matthew Warner August 25, 2009 at 1:03 am

Gal. 5:4-6 – how does this support your thesis at all?!!

Uhm, “faith WORKING through love” – faith and works. It’s right under your nose! Often times scripture is talking about “works of the law”…like circumcision and other works in the mosaic law. These are different than the works of obedience and love that Christ continually calls for in order to accept the gift of eternal life.

I’m not following your personal interpretations of these scriptures. Jesus says “If you would enter life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” and you say that means we only need “faith alone”? If Jesus taught “faith alone” for salvation (eternal life) he could have easily settled it for all time and just said “Have faith alone and you will be saved”. Yet, not only does he not say that here, but he doesn’t say it ANYWHERE in all of scripture. Instead he says “Keep the commandments.”

God’s greatest commandment is to LOVE. Love is an action. It is something we do. It’s a “work” in the catholic definition…a work made possible through God’s grace of course.

The point is to realize that we have no power to work out our salvation before God.

Yet Saint Paul says to do precisely that in Phil. 2:12-13 – “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Yes, it is not our power, but our choice of free will. By God’s grace we can have faith and do works. He offers them both as gifts. And we, by our free will, must accept both of these gifts. It is clearly both faith and works God asks of us to reach eternal life.

I’m not sure how much more clear God could have made it in the scriptures. And if he had wanted to teach “faith alone” then I’m not sure why his son was going around everywhere telling people to keep the commandments, love one another, do God’s work, and DO the will of the Father if they want to enter eternal life. Yet not once does he say all you need is faith. Not once.

It seems protestants teach salvation by faith alone (without works) because they don’t want people thinking that their works are “of themselves” and earn them salvation. The major problem with that is that neither is FAITH! Faith is no more of our own power than works. Each are gifts from God. Each we must assent to with our free will for salvation.

Kevin Bullock August 25, 2009 at 2:52 am

Chris, out of curiosity are you working under the assumption that there is but one will in the universe?

I have to agree with Matthew that faith is an assent to a work that has been done and gifted to us. Faith is a mental conscious assent a choice if you will. Faith is confidence,trust, dependence on that which is believed to be true.

“(3) The faith does the work, not us! The faith is what does the trick! Faith in God! Faith in Christ! That is the true meaning of repentance – turning away from your old ways and turning to God! See the thief on the cross – no work, just putting his faith in Jesus.”

I believe grace enables us to come to the knowledge of our need of salvation, faith is our response or “work” so that we may receive God’s gift of love expressed in the death of Christ on the cross.

I hope you all slept well.

Gerald August 25, 2009 at 8:44 am

Christ,

Does faith alone save? Let me remind you that the scriptures say “not everyone who says LORD LORD shall enter the kingdom but those who DO the will of my father.”. The devil of course believes and is not saved as well.

Have you ever read and will you acknowledge Romans 2:4-10, Matt 25, and John 5:21. Please read them before you post again and acknowledge them. EVERY SINGLE TIME IN SCRIPTURE that it speaks of judgement, it speaks of what we have done. In Rom 2:4-8 and Matt 25 it is quite clear that what we have done determines our destiny. VERY CLEAR. The scripture do not speak about faith at the end of our life. Does this mean faith is not neccessary for salvation? No. You see what you are missing is that faith is a product of grace. So are works. Works of value will not be produced without faith. But both faith and works are products of grace. Grace is God working in and through us to his glory. Now you can keep going back to those passages that talk about faith all you want and they are good passages but the measure of our faith is how we live our lives. The good that we do verses the evil. This cnanot be more clear. Works are of no value without faith but a man cannot go to heaven without them. Sorry. One can “get saved” without them but the other fallacy of protestant thought is once saved always saved, that forces this denial that what we do affects our outcome.

You can keep reverting back to your protestant mindset and ignore these passages I presented or give them less authority that the passages that are your favorites and fit you preconcieved notions if you want. At your peril. You may say the same for me but I don’t deny that faith is a major part of the equation.

Jesse D. Bryant August 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm

This is in response to the dialogue between Gerald and Chris. I have not had the opportunity to review all responses but did have this thought (I apologize if there is any redundancy here), that the dialogue between these two is very close to the type of argument that I had referred to in my original post, that being – semantics.

Allow me to pontificate, if I may. :)

Chris says that he is able to do (or perhaps we could also say is ‘compelled’ to do) good works, only by the grace of God and that these works are a natural expression of gratitude in response to what God has done for him, an undeserving sinner. Gerald says that we do it to help pave, prove or pay (?) the way for what will hopefully be our eventual salvation (I don’t believe it is out of line to say ‘hopefully––Yes? No?). At least, this is what I am hearing. So, does Chris believe in faith alone to his own detriment as Gerald suggested? How so? He has faith and works, same as Gerald. He just gives God the glory, while Gerald does it to prove himself worthy of, or in an attempt to earn his salvation. Chris says, ‘God saved me and this I do as an act of gratitude.’ Gerald says, ‘I want to be saved so I will do these good works to hopefully prove myself worthy.’ Chris claims assurance and lives with confidence in what his God has done for him, while it appears to me that Gerald lives in fear, only hoping that his works will save him. I think that if Chris has erred it will cost him nothing. If Gerald is trusting in his works to get him home––it may cost him everything. If we do works for the reward, to prove ourselves worthy, to earn our salvation––I just wonder if at the heart our motivation is not selfish in nature? Not to mention that it says that the price Christ payed on the cross––was not enough.

Both Gerald and Chris, it could be argued, have both faith and works. The question becomes, faith in what or who?

I agree with much of what both of these gentlemen have said, but believe Chris’ viewpoint to be more biblically sound. That being said, I do clearly see that Catholics put there faith––or give greater honor to––the Church and her traditions than to the teachings of scripture. Forgive me if that sounds like an attack. This loyalty to the church (with all her flaws) is something I don’t pretend to understand, but expect to learn more about.

Gerald, please realize that we all come to the table with certain biases and assumptions. You insist on using verses that favor your position, just as you attack others for doing. Maybe you should meet someone halfway and not only explain your perspective, but provide some rebuttal as to how Chris has misinterpreted the passages he is using (perhaps you have––as I said, I have not had time to review all the responses). All I know is that someone is wrong, because you can’t both be right. :)

Myself, I am just glad that there are some Catholics out there who will make an effort to defend what they believe, even if I can’t see the whites of their eyes. Half of my family is Catholic and they will not talk about it. My friends who are Catholic won’t verbalize either. Thank God we live in a country where we are free to discuss these ideas so openly. This is the very freedom the founders of this country were seeking…

A quote I recently heard that has stayed with me is that ‘TRUTH is a battle in which we both must win.’ I like to think of this battle as a triangle. On this site we have (primarily anyway) the protestant view, the Catholic view and the TRUTH. If we can debate the ideas and not each other, we can be productive. What I know is, I don’t want to believe a lie. I am a protestant. I trust the Bible. It hasn’t changed (Catholics believe there should be more in it than the Protestants do––but we are not presently discussing that issue), but the content of what we do have has not changed. It has proven itself to be historically, archaeologically, scientifically and prophetically accurate. It has stood the test of time, while the Church has not. With the Bible, there is no better description of man’s malady, nor greater prescription for the cure. And now, this is going to sound like an attack as well, but it is something that troubles me for those who place there faith in an organization rather than the inspired, inherent Word of God, and that is, that the church spent––I believe it was, a couple hundred years–– torturing and killing people who believe as I do. Perhaps I have been misinformed, but I find this deeply troubling. Is the Church infallible? Obviously not. Thus, I turn my attention to, as well as give my allegiance to the scriptures.

Finally, Gerald, thank you for providing me with a list of the verses to which you had referred. I have not had the opportunity to review them yet, but fully intend to.

As for the rest of this evening, I have work to do. :)

Gerald August 25, 2009 at 8:48 am

“the faith does the work, not us! ” This is a false dichotomy. We are given the strength through grace to have the faith and do the good that God requires. It is God doing it all, but that does not mean that we do nothing. Let me post Eph 3:20-21.

20]

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,

[21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Gerald August 25, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Lets expand on the Lord Lord passage I quoted above a bit in Matt 7.

[21] “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven.
[22] On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ [They called him Lord. Faith. They even used his name to cast out demons and probably do healings (mighty works) again faith.
[23] And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, YOU EVILDOOERS”
[24] “Every one then who hears these words of mine and DOES THEM will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;

Again what does ?Matt 25 and Romans 2:4-8 AND jOHN 5:EMPHASIZE that we are judged on? The fruits we bore. What did we do for our neighbor while in grace.

There is also the parable of the sower. Now we are told the seeds are faith. We are told that some seeds sprout. I.e. the faith comes to life but they whither in the hot sun or are chocked out by the weeds. This is clear evidence against Once Saved Always Saved.

Artie August 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I will simply say in regards to works and us doing something, while faith is a gift from God, do we not still have to do something in return… like responding to that call, like making a commitment to faith, so is having faith a work?

Again it comes down to definitions and how one defines it. I try not to get wrapped around the axle on this one with my protestant brothers and sisters. I will clarify that the Catholic Church does not teach an either/or works or faith, they teach a both/and faith and works. The word “works” typically in most cases scares a protestant to death, “You mean you Catholics have to work to get to heaven!”

When understood in its proper context it leads to the same place that protestants eventually end up and that is the totality of the Christian life. Us having faith and living out our faith by the gift of the Holy Spirit and us responding to that gift. We all have the opportunity to say “yes” or “no” to God’s calling.

Gerald some protestants really believe that those are good things to do in our Christian life, but those acts by no means justify us or lead us to salvation. It is merely the gift of faith that justifies the Christian in their perspective. Faith Alone in practice means one could live however they feel, not go to church, sin as much as they want, not love thy neighbor, and simply have faith and Christ and they are saved.

Gerald August 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I do look at the response of the sheep in Matt 25 and it gives me great hope for protestants though their theology is distorted. Protestants do much good word and I believe that much of it is God motivated by grace. That of course is for him to know. But the sheep say “when did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked”… Jesus of course says “when you did it to the least of these you did it to me”. The sheep just did the good from their hearts not knowing that in doing it they were serving the Lord and earning the reward. (again keep in mind Eph 3:20-21 in that last phrase as I know to protestants it is like nails on the chalkboard for me to say “earning the reward”. God gives us the grace to do the good but we must do it, grace is not irresistable as Calvinism teches). To the same degree that faith does not save works do not save. They are BOTH responses to grace and neither could be done without grace and so it is the grace that saves, generating the response so that God sees what is neccessary in us “faith working through love”.

Gal.5

1. [6] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 10:21 pm

“Faith is no more of our own power than works. Each are gifts from God.” – MW
“…faith is an assent to a work that has been done and gifted to us.” – KB
“We are given the strength through grace to have the faith and do the good that God requires.” – Gerald

To bring all this together, Artie asks us “is having faith a work?”

Nope. Faith is a gift. You all said it. Having faith means accepting a gift. Accepting a gift is not work. Being thankful and showing gratitude quit being work for me when I was 7. Okay, my wife started making me do thank you cards after we got married, and that is most certainly work – I think, however that I’m digressing on that one.

So I ask you all – if you aren’t even able to do the works until that ability is gifted to you from God, how are those works effectual in salvation? You all said it was a gift from God. So, how are they effectual? How do your works save you?

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Matthew-
Calling you out, bullet style:
1) My own personal interpretation of scripture? Really? Your condescension is showing again. To undermine someone’s arguments by insulting their intelligence cheapens the whole debate.

2) You said “Your Jesus says “If you would enter life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” and you say that means we only need “faith alone”?”

No, I said that means you’re not getting in. I was not using it to support my argument, but to show how it doesn’t support yours. Careful how you reference and quote others.

3) You said “If Jesus taught “faith alone” for salvation (eternal life) he could have easily settled it for all time and just said “Have faith alone and you will be saved”. Yet, not only does he not say that here, but he doesn’t say it ANYWHERE in all of scripture.”

Matthew, would you really stoop so low as to use that as an argument? REALLY? Jesus never said trinity either, so shall we cut that out of our doctrine? He never said Matt Warner and Chris Weidenhamer are getting into heaven, either. Great, now we’re really in a bind.

This is why I write all this: We are to be held to a higher standard. If I’m off base on these 3 points, please tell me. I expect Artie, Gerald and the others to keep me honest, too. I’m no sheriff, nor am I an authority on proper debate; regardless, I have a lot of respect for you as a Christian and an apologist and we need to keep each other out of the muck and mire. We need to be ambassadors for Christ.

Matthew Warner August 25, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Chris,

The problem with your question about works is that the same could be asked about “faith.” If you’ll allow me to paraphrase and substitute “faith” for “works” in your last paragraph there we get:

…if you aren’t even able to have faith until that ability is gifted to you from God (through grace), how is that faith effectual in salvation? …Faith is also a gift from God. So, how is it effectual? How does your faith save you?

So it depends on what you mean by effectual. If you mean that it earns our salvation or somehow merits it…then no, our works are not effectual in this sense (and neither is faith). If you mean though by effectual that they fulfill the clear requirements (to have faith and works) that God has given us in order to “accept the gift” and “have eternal life”….then yes, they are effectual in this sense.

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Kevin Bullock

“Chris, out of curiosity are you working under the assumption that there is but one will in the universe?”

Can you elaborate a little? I have a will, you have a will. That’s 2. Sincere question, what do you mean “but one will”?

Chris Weidenhamer August 25, 2009 at 11:26 pm

“If you mean though by effectual that they fulfill the clear requirements (to have faith and works) that God has given us in order to “accept the gift” and “have eternal life”….then yes, they are effectual in this sense.”

I guess I don’t see how that is work. Again, you’re accepting a gift. No matter how that acceptance (and I suppose, gratitude) is manifested, that isn’t work. IF it is work, then it’s not a gift, but wages earned. (See Romans for that stuff)…

Gerald August 26, 2009 at 12:34 am

Chris,

Do you believe in Once Saved Always Saved? I ask that because no matter how many passages I point out that say that in the end we are judged by our deeds, those who believe in OSAS can never acknowledge those passages. They will say “oh that was for the Jews” or “that was for another dispensation” or “if you could do the works then you would be saved by them”. I’ve hard all these arguements but they can never say, yes , we are judged by what we have done in this life. Salvation is a gift from God. It must however be nutured and grow. God gives us the grace to nuture and grow our faith. The works are like excercise for the spiritual body and they increase faith. Our faith and the faith of others. “people may see the good that you do and give glory to God”.

Works are the virtue that counters vice. Without the works, which are a response to God’s grace we fall in to sin. “Idle hands are the devils workshop”. Note in the parable of the talents, each recieved an intial “grace” in the talents. They did not receive equally, but all recieved. The last man did not use what he was given. Was it said, oh well you were saved anyway? Nope, he was cast out because he did not give his Lord a return on his investment. The Lord expects something from the grace he gives us. Some are to produce thirty, some 60, and some 100 fold. Again he is working in and through us. We are purified in the image of the son and the son did much good in this life. We are saved unto good works. If we don’t do the good work, John 5 tells us that we will be cut off and thrown in to the fire.

Gerald August 26, 2009 at 12:38 am

I think the better question is who’s work is it. Both faith and works of love are the work of God in us. Man cannot have faith without God and man cannot have love without God. Love manifests itself in how we treat our neighbor and if we provide for him. i.e. works. Surely love is as if not more neccessary than faith, for the scriptures say “faith, hope, and love abide and the GREATEST of these is LOVE”. Have you read Is 1 yet. It, to me shows the greatest misunderstanding of protestants about works. James tells us “pure religion is to care for the widow and the orphan”. Read in light of Is 1 it makes alot of sense. God never gave up on care of the widow and the orphan. Never stopped requiring it though he reviled the very works of the Law that he commanded.

Matthew Warner August 26, 2009 at 8:55 am

Gerald – I agree with those points, particularly about how we are judged in the end. No where does Jesus ever say God will judge people (i.e. determine if they’ve chosen heaven or hell) by whether or not they “had faith alone.” He always looks at what they’ve done – their works.

Chris – please don’t take me the wrong way.

1) My own personal interpretation of scripture? Really? Your condescension is showing again. To undermine someone’s arguments by insulting their intelligence cheapens the whole debate.

Are you suggesting that you’ve given us something else other than your own personal interpretations of these scripture? How is that condescending? And it certainly isn’t an insult to anyone’s intelligence. It’s an important distinction in this debate. First, if you are not offering your personal interpretation, whose are you offering? Second, ultimately I am not offering my own personal interpretation of these scripture passages. I have no authority to do so with much confidence in myself other than confirming with my limited intelligence that they do indeed make sense. But I am offering the interpretation of the Church Jesus founded. Albeit, it is my understanding of what that Church teaches (so I can err in this, of course). But the Church can not. Jesus gave us a Church precisely for this reason. He gave it the power to bind and to loose on earth and heaven. He gave special authority and responsibility to the Apostles to teach and be the final say on these matters. He also gve them the Holy Spirit in a unique way that protects them from teaching error on these matters. And they do so from the context of the tradition of the apostles and the historical Church. A Church that has passed down that Jesus-given-authority continually until the present day through the actual physical laying on of hands from the apostles to our present day bishops. This is the interpretation I offer you for these passages. It is in no way an insult to your intelligence, but a proper and important distinction in this debate.

2) …Careful how you reference and quote others.

Uhm, right back at you. Read my quote you quoted of me again please. It was a question. (note the question mark at the end).

I was asking how you thought “faith alone” is compatible with Jesus telling people they must “keep the commandments” to attain eternal life?

Matthew, would you really stoop so low as to use that as an argument? REALLY?

Ha, talk about insults! Now that is an insult. But I don’t mind.

It’s actually a very legit argument. First, do you think it is strange to adhere to a teaching (Faith alone, excluding the necessity of works also) that is not found once in the Bible?…yet you also seem to adhere to Sola Scriptura as well? Second, not only does the Bible never once teach faith alone, it contradicts it over and over again as I, Gerald, and Artie have noted in multiple scripture verses. Third, this teaching of faith alone is not found anywhere in the history of the Church until after the Reformation. There is no record of the apostles, the early Christians, or any Christians (aside from a few heretics) until 1500 years AFTER Christ practicing such a teaching. The early Christians would have surely found such a teaching very bizarre. And on top of that, what you do see in Church history, right from the very beginning in the Apostles and early Christians, is the understanding of “faith and works” taught by the Catholic Church today.

Referencing the Trinity only helps the Catholic argument. The Trinity is a Tradition of the Church passed down from the Apostles through the Church (one that it sounds like you adhere to). It also does not contradict any scripture (as faith alone does). And it is easily verified by the early Christians and throughout history.

Faith alone (which excludes the necessity of works also) is a tradition of men taken up 1500 years after the life of Christ. I’m not sure how to see it otherwise. If you can convince me otherwise, I’m all ears.

I still think you’re viewing work through your own theological definition. I’d ask you to consider the definition as the Catholic Church means it. If you view a work as simply something you do (as opposed to just believe), I think that would help clear things up.

Yes, when I love my family and friends by taking care of them, I don’t think of it as “work” in our modern sense of it. But it is indeed “a work” – it’s something we do. This is the kind of work we are talking about when the Church teaches “faith and works.” Just because it doesn’t feel like work when we do the right thing, doesn’t mean it’s not a work. But even still, God doesn’t require us to just love our families and do the things that don’t feel like work. He also requires us to love our enemies…in other words, to DO something we don’t want to do and probably feels like work sometimes.

Faith is something you believe. Work is something you do. These two things are mysteriously and intimately tied up together so closely that they support and manifest each other. But God does ask us to fulfill both of these things to attain salvation. Scripture indicates and teaches both of these over and over again. The Tradition of the Church does the same.

Jesse D. Bryant August 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm

This appears to me to be the classic art of distraction. James 2:24? Let’s include the previous verse and try to get a fuller context.

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

And for good measure verse 25 says: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

If I am justified by works, it would seem we have all failed. Check out James 2:10 – the very same chapter.

You are not made righteous because of your works. “Faith without works is dead.” “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:” So, consider this explanation. You can be a depraved sinner, a self-avowed atheist––and do good works. You can be kind, gentle, give to the poor and needy, live a good life, be faithful to your spouse, deal honestly in business–and not believe in Jesus Christ. However, you can not be a follower of Jesus Christ and not do those things. Works is the evidence of a regenerate heart. You cannot have faith without works, the two go hand-in-hand. If a person claims to have faith, and has no works (no evidence of his faith)––he is a liar.

Good works are a natural by-product, not a prerequisite. So, are we saved? Do we know that we are saved? Perhaps we should examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (II Cor. 13:15). Consider the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ and the ‘lust of the flesh’ (Galatians 5) and let us ask ourselves what is in our own heart.

In John 3:36 works on not tagged on as a prerequisite. Baptism is a public expression of faith (that an infant cannot make), but is not a prerequisite. The thief on the cross was neither baptized, nor did he have any works to prove his faith––other than believing. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,…” Acts 16:31

Titus 3:5, Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10, Romans 5:1, Romans 10:13, Acts 4:12, the list goes on…

Finally, I cannot finish without pointing out that Staples said the man challenged him on his belief that the Word of God is the soul source of the truth about God and told him that if he believed he was justified by faith alone that he was placing his faith in the ‘traditions of men’. I find this incredibly ironic. The Catholic church consists of, and relies upon the traditions of me. Traditions that do not have any scriptural origin, and have actually omitted the commandment not to make any graven images of any kind, nor to bow to them. He even specifically mentions praying the Rosary. That is a practice you won’t find in the Bible. This seems incredibly hypocritical. We need the whole TRUTH, and when it comes to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Bible is the only reliable source we have.

I apologize for the long response. There is obviously much confusion and disagreement here, and I fear much of it may be a matter of semantics.

Gerald, what are the passages to which you refer? Our ‘works’ will be judged, but we will not be judged by our works in the sense that there is some kind of scale that says, “Anyone who has not done this much good will not be admitted.” Do we get graded on a curve?…

Gerald August 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Chris,

Your post regarding the aethist who does good is a straw man. We don’t say that a man without faith can do anything good. I made that quite clear. Works done in faith are of value. Your “explanation” of James 2:24, which i never did bring up does nothing to solve the problem of Rom 2:4-10, Matt 25, and John 15 (think I said John 5 before). Will you please read those passages and tell me, at the end of life what are we judged on? I’ll give you more verses as well if you like. We Catholics agree that the unregenerate sinner can do no works that will get him in “the state of grace”. But once in Grace I think I have made it clear that when we cooperate with God’s grace HE produces the works that we will be judged by in the end. Your going to have to refute that point rather than raising other straw men. I will hold you to it.

Further there is another difference between us that won’t let you see what we are talking about. First of all I asked you, do you believe in Once Saved Always Saved because if you do it forces you in to the position that justification is a one time action of God at the moment of salvation and does not include sanctificatn. It means that somehow future sins you have not commited are already justified before you committ them. Catholicism does not hold this view. Catholicism says that all sin has to be justified after the fact. Further the definition of justification includes the process of sanctification because sanctification is tied to Christ’s meritts on the cross. I am sure you believe in a process of sanctification, but protestants don’t speak much about it because it does get in to works and they seem to have a very hard time talking about it. I’ve not yet met a protestant who had sanctification as more than an afterthought as he held his head down and admitted that there was reward for works.

As for your theory about works happening automatically or flowing naturally Paul speaks about striving to do good and about how “the good that I would do I do not while the evil that I would not do, I do.”. I can provide other passages as well but I don’t think Paul goes alone with free flowing works.

Artie August 26, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Jesse stated, “I apologize for the long response. There is obviously much confusion and disagreement here, and I fear much of it may be a matter of semantics.”

I will state that I have been in numerous and I do mean numerous conversations with my protestant friends on the topic of salvation. You are correct about semantics and that is why I stated in my first post that words are so important in this discussion.

Anybody can quote scripture to prove their doctrine, even Satan himself, but people forget about what the bible really is. It is not an apologetic book to prove doctrine and pit scripture against scripture. Is is the story of salvation history, too often in this debate people start throwing scripture around as if this will be the final factor to convince the other side that they are right and you are wrong.

Gerald in regards to your accusations that the Catholic Church relies on the traditions of men is a great status quo argument but contains zero credibility when discussed about what the Catholic Church is.

The fundamental difference between a protestant and a Catholic is Sola Scriptura. That is what separates us.

Catholic belief is Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magesterium Teaching. Protestant belief is Bible Alone which ultimately leads to division.

Traditions are condemned in the bible, but then again they are also highly smiled upon, so what traditions do we adhere to and which ones do we not?

For us Catholics it is apostolic tradition, not just mere men.

In regards to your accusation that “The Catholic Church actually omitted the commandment not to make any graven images of any kind”

I don’t know if you are aware of this but the major difference is not content but how Catholics and Protestants traditionally divide up and number these Commandments. Unfortunately the Bible lumps the Ten Commandments all together without division or numbering. (The verse numbers are no help since they were added by Bible scholars many centuries after Christ.)

Traditionally Catholics consider Deut. 5:6-10 as the First Commandment, verse 11 as the Second Commandment, verses 12-15 as the Third Commandment and so on. Verse 21 is split up into the Ninth and Tenth Commandments – distinguishing the desire (lust) to commit adultery from the desire (greed) to steal. So in short The Catholic Church has not altered the Ten Commandments of God. The Church has not dropped the “Second Commandment”. If God condemns the divine worship of statues, then the Catholic order of the 10 commandments scheme is justified since these images would be “other gods before” Him. A separate Commandment based on Deut. 5:8-10 would be redundant.

Furthermore regarding images, “Does God condemn making statues or worshiping statues?”

The Catholic Church strictly condemns the adoration (divine worship) of statues, images or even the saints, since this is idolatry and in direct violation of the First Commandment. For Christians these images, statues of Jesus Christ on the cross serve as a reminder of the high cost of our salvation.

You also stated, “He even specifically mentions praying the Rosary. That is a practice you won’t find in the Bible. This seems incredibly hypocritical. We need the whole TRUTH, and when it comes to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Bible is the only reliable source we have.”

Do you know what the Rosary is? I can assure you while the rosary is not directly mentioned in the bible it is very very scriptural in how it is prayed.

If the Bible in and of itself is the only reliable source for doctrine and morality then why are there over 85,000 different protestant denominations that adhere to the Bible as their sole authority and they all have different interpretations?

In regards to faith and works. Define Faith and define works. Then we can talk.

Artie August 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Jesse, I would also like to mention that I don’t mind people disagreeing with what I **”actually”** believe.

Gerald August 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm

“Gerald in regards to your accusations that the Catholic Church relies on the traditions of men is a great status quo argument but contains zero credibility when discussed about what the Catholic Church is.”

Ummmm. I didn’t say that., I’m Catholic. :=(

Gerald August 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Excuse me also. My last long post was to Jesse, not Chris.

Gerald August 26, 2009 at 8:08 pm

“If the Bible in and of itself is the only reliable source for doctrine and morality then why are there over 85,000 different protestant denominations that adhere to the Bible as their sole authority and they all have different interpretations?”

This is a great question. Prov 3:5 says “trust not in your own understanding” and Peter says that “no scripture is of private interpreation”. God says “I will send you SHEPHERDS after my own heart, who will give you knowledge and understanding” Jer 3:15. He also says “the Church is the pillar and support of the truth. 1 Tim 3:15. Wonder if the verse number in Jerimiah and Tim is just an accident?

Artie August 26, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Gerald, my bad. There are so many names and I just kind of used yours. Gerald I was trying to keep you on your toes.

:)

I would also like to say we can debate topic by topic by topic, but the core issue is “BIBLE ALONE” vs. “SACRED SCRIPTURE, SACRED TRADITION, and MAGESTERIUM TEACHING”.

If sola scriptura is true, then Protestantism as a worldview is true and Catholicism is false. If sola scriptura is not true, then Protestantism as a worldview is false and all of its versions (Baptist, Methodist, etc) are false and collapse.

Kevin Bullock August 27, 2009 at 6:19 am

Artie, that is quite a statement. Is it really either or? Do you believe that God can use both to advance His kingdom or is he reliant on the traditions that albeit were formed alongside the sacred scriptures yet do not share the same position. Scripture is God breathed …it says so. Tradition being God breathed is strangely absent.

Matthew Warner August 27, 2009 at 8:25 am

Kevin – the canon of the Bible itself is a Tradition. If you don’t believe in Tradition of the Church then there is no reason to believe in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t define itself anywhere within the Bible. We get that from Tradition.

So there’s at least one tradition you believe in. And if you believe in Sola Scriptura (which of course contradicts this Bible tradition) then the tradition of the Bible is one you place your entire faith on.

What is strangely absent is ANY belief in “sola scriptura” in all of history until 1500 years after Christ. What is strange is to think that the early Christians and apostles practiced Sola Scriptura. What is strange is to place one’s entire faith on a book and then deny the authority by which that book was assembled (the authority of the Magisterium…the teaching authority of the Church).

Gerald August 27, 2009 at 8:36 am

Kevin,
First of all arguements from silence are poor ones. Second of all it is quite clear from 2 Thes 2″15 that tradition caries equal authority to scripture. “HOLD FAST to the traditions you have recieved, whether by word of MOUTH or in WRITING from us.”. Did you catch that? Scripture is a tradition. But it is clear from the passage that there is an oral teaching as well that goes along with scripture. When one has their own interpretation of scripture and it is false, ie.. not what the pillar and support of the truth, the Church says, he does not have the word of God. For instance, there is a passage in Corinthians, I think 1 Cor 4:14 that speaks of a practice in the early church of baptizing the dead. Mormons baptize dead people because of this passsage. They have the scriptures but a false understanding and so do not have the word of God. They have formed a tradition over this passage that is not of God because it has no historic roots. So one can have the scriptures and all churches have tradition, including protestants who believe in sola scriptura. But if one does not have THEE tradition handed on by Christ and the Apostles he does not have the Word of God, though he has scripture. 2 Tim 2:2 gives the mode of transmission of Oral Tradition/teaching.

Tradition is guided by the Holy Spirit. Individual interpretation is not guaranteed that guidance or there would not be 30,000 denominations claiming that sola scriptura is the way to go. Catholic doctrine can be found in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8, 16th centuries and today. As Article points out, protestant doctrines trace back to 1500. Tradition in the CC was not made up along the way. It was expounded upon but not made up.

Kevin Bullock August 27, 2009 at 8:56 am

Matthew, What makes the Christian belief Orthodox? The Catholic tradition or by early church councils which agreed not only on canon but creed as well ?

Gerald protestant doctrine is much more than sola scriptura and obviously much older than the reformation.

Kevin Bullock August 27, 2009 at 9:09 am

Artie,
” If the Bible in and of itself is the only reliable source for doctrine and morality then why are there over 85,000 different protestant denominations that adhere to the Bible as their sole authority and they all have different interpretations?”

Good question may I take a liberty with the phrasing and change to if tradition were the only reliable source?

Then what is this about?:
Roman Catholic,Spanish Catholic , Orthodox – severed their ties with Rome in the 11th Century ,Byzantine Catholics , Polish National Catholics, Old Catholics, Eastern Orthodox , White Robed Benedictine Network of Catholics –
,Lutheranism – still considered part of Catholicism(he was un excommunicated …remember?) Universal Catholics

And round and round we go.

gerald August 27, 2009 at 10:10 am

“Gerald protestant doctrine is much more than sola scriptura and obviously much older than the reformation.”

I certainly know that protestantism is more than sola scriptura.
Protestant doctrine is the five solas. Of which really only sole fide and sola scriptura are the only ones that are really contested by Catholics, though certainly we would disagree on the specifics of the other 3. Beyond that there is debate about just about everything and what exaclty the 5 solas mean is up for debate. There are a few things they all agree on. I.e. the virgin birth, the incarnation, though there are denials of various elements of it (i.e. one will or two wills, etc.) Even the trinity within Protestantism is somewhat up for debate and I have heard Protestants who believe in it say that protestants who don’t are still Christian. When you speak of protestantism, there is no real place where the buck stops to say what is Protestant doctrine. Even sola scriptura I can go to 5 different protestants and get 5 different opinions, ranging from solo scriptura to almost a Catholic position where scripture and trandition are intermixed.

Artie August 27, 2009 at 10:25 am

“Good question may I take a liberty with the phrasing and change to if tradition were the only reliable source?”

If the Catholic position were tradition as the only reliable source you would have a point, but that is not what Catholics adhere to. Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition, and Magesterium teaching.

In regards to the schism in 1054. I recommend reading the information on this link.
http://www.catholic.com/library/Eastern_Orthodoxy.asp

The Eastern Orthodox is the left lung of the church and the Western Catholics are the right lung of the Church.

“While Catholics and Eastern Orthodox are separate for the moment, what unites us is still far greater than what divides us, and there are abundant reasons for optimism regarding reconciliation in the future. Over the last several decades, there has been a marked lessening of tensions and overcoming of long-standing hostilities.”

gerald August 27, 2009 at 10:28 am

“Good question may I take a liberty with the phrasing and change to if tradition were the only reliable source?”

No, really you may not because that is not Catholic teaching. If you read the Catechism it clearly states that there are three legs to the stool. Scriptural Tradition (again it is tradition according to the Bbile), Oral Tradition which goes hand in hand with scripture and cannot be separated from it like you want to in the above statement, and the magesterium. Three legged stools stand much better than single legged ones don’t you agree.

As for the division before the reformation, your arguement is really a strech as 99.99% of all division occured after the reformation. Division is not of God if you read 1 Cor 1. Yes the Orthodox and a few other groups separated but actually that proves more than it disproves. YOu see if you look at Orthodox and other early separating bodies theology it is very close to Catholic theology. There are only a few points of disagreement, i.e. the filloque, whether the Dormition or Assumption is true, they don’t use the words transubstantiation and purgatory but hold views that are consistent with them. They are in fact much like Catholicism of the 1050’s except they reject the papacy, which a historical and biblical study shows they are in error on. That is somewhat offtopic so I won’t go there right now. These groups you mention hold to Sacred Oral Tradition and so there are only a few of them and their theology stays consistent with Catholicism. But once the reformation hit and sola scriptura was the cry doctrine in fact started going all over the place. Do you want me to start enumerating the contraditory doctrines. There is even a book called 250 interpretations of “This is my body” from the 1700’s. On the matter of the Lord’s Supper we have Anglicans and some Lutherans who hold a view that is very close to Catholic called “real prescence”. Real Prescence is considered to be consistent with the Catholic view of transubstantiation. Then there is the consubstantiation of other lutherans which says there is both bread and Christ in the Eucharist, then the view of the Methodists and presbyterians which says that communion is spiritual only. Finally Zwingli was condemned by Luther for taking a symbolic only view of the Eucharist. Now Jesus said “unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you shall NOT HAVE LIFE WITHIN YOU”. “My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink”. This is a theology that we should go to the mat for.

In summary in answer to your question about early divisions, it is divisive to reject the papacy as the Orthodox and the FEW other groups did. You see the Papacy is a fixture of unity. As long as the Church has one supreme authority which is the final arbitrar in matters of faith and morals the issues get resolved. Futher that one authority brings about adherence throughout the world, i.e. I can go to a Mass in Austrailia nd they even have the same readings we do in Minnesota and they accept the same teachings of the Catechism. If they don’t I have recourse. Yet these groups still maintain a consistency with Catholicism because they maintain Oral Tradition. It is much easier to find commanailty with them on issues. The hurdles to unity are not nearly as high as with protestism. But when you reject both the papacy and sacred Oral Tradition all bets are off and division is all over the place as the reformation has proven.

Anyway enough rambling. More later. Good discussion.

Kevin Bullock August 27, 2009 at 10:29 am

Gerald to say that doctrine is up in air in the protestant church could not be further from reality.

When you say some do not believe in the Trinity you are not talking about protestants you are talking about deists. The Unitarian Universalists are deists as are Islamists neither would call themselves protestant because they do not believe in the deity of Christ, there is nothing to”protest” ;), to them He was a great guy ..not God’s Son.

Christians necessarily believe in the doctrine of Trinity whether Catholic or protestant. Trinity is a non negotiable for a Christian.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/nicene.htm

gerald August 27, 2009 at 10:29 am

Article, Catholic minds think alike. :).

gerald August 27, 2009 at 10:33 am

“Gerald protestant doctrine is much more than sola scriptura and obviously much older than the reformation.”

Protestant doctrine that is true must be traced back to Christ, for the truth was delivered once for all at that time. There is no new revelation or rerevealing of revelation that got lost. It must have been carried forth. Therefore since the protestant Churches did not exist before the reformation, any protestant doctrine that is true, must be consistent with Catholic doctrine. That is the only way there is a link back to Christ and the Apostles.

Kevin Bullock August 27, 2009 at 10:44 am

Absolutely Gerald, just as Catholic doctrine which Catholic large C was first mentioned here in a letter by Ignatius of Antioch in 107, who wrote: “Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”[14]” – ^ Ignatius of Antioch. Letter to the Smyrnaeans. para. 8.)

Must be in agreement with Christian doctrine. :)

Gotta go do something resembling productivity now, talk at ya later Gerald.

gerald August 27, 2009 at 11:17 am

“When you say some do not believe in the Trinity you are not talking about protestants you are talking about deists. ”

Nope. I am talking about some sects of pentecostalism, apostolic Churches, oneness nonenomiationals, Some Seventh Day Adventists and others that have split off from protestant denominations. There are in fact many more than you think. Not just deists. There are many oneness denominations that are a product of protestantism and sola scriptura.

gerald August 27, 2009 at 11:21 am

Also your statement “must be in a greement with Christian doctrtine. I spokeof 5 or 6 views regardin the Lord’s Supper above. Which one is in agreement with Christian doctrine? Who has the authority to say which one is? All claim they are consistent with scripture. Who is the final arbitrar as to what is Christian doctrine? I could speak of the varying beliefs about baptism concerning it’s neccisity, the age of baptism, what is required for baptism etc. I could list 10 or so views that I have run in to considering baptism. They all claim the are based on scripture so you test “must be be in agreement with Christian doctrine” is problematic once again. Paul tells us in 1 Tim 3:15 that “the Church is the pillar and support of the truth.”.

gerald August 27, 2009 at 11:26 am

I recommend the following short clip of a debate between Jerry Matatics in 1995 and James White, prominent protestant apologist. It exposes the weakness of sola scriptura.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJskrQq3dXM

Matthew Warner August 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Kevin – these types of tit-for-tat kinds of scriptural discussions are useful but can only get us so far. Catholics can do that if you like and all of our beliefs stand on those grounds. However, what is missed in all of this is that Christ created a Church – not a book. This Church has authority and responsibility to be the arbiter of these truths. Gerald and Artie are continually making these points in as many ways possible. But if you are going to continue to rely on protestant premises that are not historically apostolic and quote your own fallible, individual interpretation of a book assembled and validated by the Catholic Church (The Bible) in order to twist it into what you want it to mean, then we’re just going to go in circles.

The different branches of the Catholic Church are not comparable to protestant denominations at all! It is simple, those branches or “rites” of the Catholic Church who are in union with Rome and the pope are in total union with Christ’s Church and I can guarantee they all agree on doctrine. Anyone else is in schism. Even the “Orthodox” Catholic church is in schism. They are still recognized as the “lung” of the east because they still exercise and share apostolic authority and valid sacraments. But they are not in total union with Christ’s Church….they are VERY close, but not totally.

I love when “Bible Christians” start to define what you must believe to be a Christian and say things like what you just said…

“Trinity is a non negotiable for a Christian.”

Where does it say that in the Bible? Nowhere. And that anyone can pretend that there isn’t division on doctrine among protestants is astonishing! Can you give me a place I can go and look at that defines protestant doctrine? Or even just a single doctrine…like baptism (seems pretty essential to me)…do we need baptism? When should it occur? How is one baptized? does it matter if you are fully immersed? Or not? Is it a symbol? Or does it actually change a person? Does this mean they are saved? If so, can they lose this salvation? The list goes on and on and on. Protestants disagree on every one of these points because they have no arbiter. They have limited themselves to their own individual private interpretations of a complex, out of context, collection of old letters (the Bible).

Even if you could present some kind of “official doctrine of protestantism” who is the authority that interprets it? What happens when one protestant interprets it one way with the help of the holy spirit…but another protestant using the same holy spirit interprets it a different way? Who decides who is right?

As I said, Christ created a Church with the power, organization and authority to settle these things and unify the flock. Without such a Church, unity is unsustainable. Without an authoritative arbiter there is no unifier. The Bible alone divides – as the evidence CLEARLY shows. The only authoritative body that has remained from the very beginning, who traces its leadership directly back through the laying on of hands to the actual apostles and Jesus Christ, the one who unifies (like actually really does unify in doctrine) over a billion people on this earth (not including the eastern orthodox) – a feat no other institution has done in the history of mankind – is the Catholic Church.

Catholics hold scripture in the highest regard. No teaching of the Church can contradict scripture. And it doesn’t. But the idea that the Bible is all God has given us is simply not logical or historical. And it is also not plausible that God would just give us a book without an authority to interpret it and unify us. And if we look at history and scripture we see that he didn’t. He gave us a Church. And the Church gave us the canon of scripture. To ignore that is to miss a lot.

I would encourage you to check out a post I wrote on denominations here.

Kevin Bullock August 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Mathew, did you click the link I gave Gerald? Check out the history behind the doctrine.

And saying it is difficult to find Christian doctrine is telling me you have not searched too far. At least not much farther than the positions that have been been projected at protestant Christians here. Strawman positions and suppositions I might add.

If I have twisted anything to mean other than what it historically and accurately does mean. I am good student show me ..with substance not propaganda.

You may poll some protestants and find a weak doctrinal or scriptural understanding, I could poll many cradle Catholics who do not understand even the rudimentary elements of their faith. What does that gain?

I have no wish to go tit for tat but I will respond to false presentations of what my faith is and what it consists of. I have exercised much restraint in the exchange precisely because I am not a fan graceless exchanges.

Why should I give your link to a post anymore thought than you would give if I could show you an “official doctrine of protestantism”.

Your tone is more than a little surprising.

Matthew Warner August 27, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Kevin, I apologize if I came off as graceless or uncharitable. I don’t mean to. But I guess I’m having a hard time understanding how you could believe that Protestants have any kind of unified doctrine and by what means they are unified? If you provided such a link I would surely dive in! I’m willing to learn as well.

And I’m not talking about grabbing the odd protestant or Catholic off the street. Of course you will hear every belief under the sun. I’m basing this on numerous conversations with protestant pastors and leaders who undeniably believe in different doctrine than their protestant brothers and sisters.

You cited the creed in one of your links (I didn’t see another one – did I miss it?). I have met protestants that believe in the creed. I’ve also met protestants that think the creed means nothing because it is not in the Bible. I hope you can understand why it would seem to me that there is no unified protestant doctrine. And not only from the evidence I’ve encountered by reading the tenets of faith for various (and contradicting) protestant denominations, but also because I don’t know of a mechanism that exists to bring about or ensure this kind of unity you speak of? Can you help me out here?

Chris Weidenhamer August 27, 2009 at 10:39 pm

From Isaiah, chapter 64 in verses 5-6:

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

If we gladly do right, God will come to help us. There, your good works will save you… until you sin. Once you sin, God becomes angry. In plain english, it says all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. ALL OUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS. Our sins then become our undoing, as in “they sweep us away”.

I have never said we shouldn’t do good works. Clearly, we are called to – we are made for such things. I have tried to make clear that these good deeds do not gain us salvation.

If our good deeds DO gain us salvation, then how do you reconcile the above text? How do filthy rags justify us before God?

Artie August 28, 2009 at 6:21 am

Chris,

AMEN! I agree with the scripture 100%, but I don’t necessarily agree with your interpretation of it.

This scripture is classic that “once saved, always saved” is not valid. It also mentions that are sins separate us from God. Faith and Works and keeping clear from sin leads us to salvation.

Matthew Warner August 28, 2009 at 6:28 am

Chris – I think you’re confusing justification with salvation…which are similar, but not entirely the same thing.

I’m going to make another post that tries to clarify even further the Catholic position. I would really enjoy everyone’s comments to see if maybe between the lot of us we can come to agreement on some terms and understanding and just maybe take an ecumenical step forward. I think it is possible and God would be pleased if we did.

Matthew Warner August 28, 2009 at 8:22 am

Here’s the new post: Let me know what you all think if you get the chance! God bless and thanks for the great discussion.

Gerald August 28, 2009 at 8:52 am

Catholics agree that before we are “saved” and when we are in mortal sin we are not righteous in any way and our deeds are as filthy rags. Amen. That you would post this passage does nothing for the arguement that when we are in Christ our works are the works of God. Eph 3:20-21, producing 30, 60, or 100 fold. Are those works filthy rags? Odd if they are because the book of revelation calls them fine linen and God judges us on them.

Gerald August 28, 2009 at 9:12 am

Catholics agree that before we are “saved” and when we are in mortal sin we are not righteous in any way and our deeds are as filthy rags. Amen. That you would post this passage does nothing for the arguement that when we are in Christ our works are the works of God. Eph 3:20-21, producing 30, 60, or 100 fold. Are those works filthy rags? Odd if they are because the book of revelation calls them fine linen and God judges us on them.

Chris, I am really confused as to how Matt 19 and Romans 2:4-8 somehow contradict Catholic doctrine. In Matt 19 the man was attached to his goods and to earthly wealth. The scriptures say “no one can serve money and God”. Are you contending that this man was saved or something? Romans 2:4-8 speaks of what the gentiles did and says it would be used in their judgement. Again we are not claiming that works get us “saved”. But you seem to deny that they are used in judgement and that just can’t be supported when you read Matt 25.

Kevin Bullock August 28, 2009 at 11:34 am

“but also because I don’t know of a mechanism that exists to bring about or ensure this kind of unity you speak of? Can you help me out here?”

This has been happening since 94. :
http://www.seekgod.ca/ect2.htm

Here is an excellent commentary on the whole process. Which interestingly includes many of the points brought up in discussion here.
http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/sbjt/sbjt_2001winter5.pdf

Matthew Warner August 28, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Kevin – Thanks for the links. I am aware that different protestant groups have been working at reconciliation with the Catholic Church pretty much since the protesting started. But this is not unity of Protestant doctrine? This is a particular protestant group. The Church has done similarly on topics with the Lutheran denomination (I quote them in my recent post). But there is no unity among protestants on these issues in the least. And there is no mechanism (i.e. an authority to bind or unify) protestants in this way or to proclaim in any official or binding capacity the protestant doctrine (like we have in the Catholic Church). If you have such a thing I’m still interested in seeing it.

But I don’t think there is even a clear and shared definition of what makes somebody a protestant or not? Is there?

That being said, I can’t find anything in the ECT you sent me that disagrees with anything I’ve said here when understood properly. Can you? However, I will also note that this ECT was never “approved” by the Catholic Church officially. So I’m in no way endorsing it. And some of the way things are phrased I think are misleading and unclear and biased towards a protestant perspective…enough to the point that I don’t think the Church would ever actually officially agree with its statements.

Further, the ECT is far from a sign of unity among protestants. When it was released many, many significant protestant leaders came out very strongly against it! So it is just as much a sign of dis-unity among protestants.

But it is a good sign that a few protestants were able to get together and agree on a few things with Catholics. Which is important and I commend that for sure. And if you read my latest post it takes a similar tone as the ECT from the Catholic perspective.

Thanks for sharing!

Kevin Bullock August 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Where did unity among protestants come from? Are you asking for something that says that protestants agree on everything theologically?

1.) What would be the value or purpose?

2.) Not to be tit for tat , but do Catholics agree with everything theologically? We are much to educated to believe that. An easier proposition might be procuring Joel Osteen’s picture from God’s refrigerator. ;)

3.) If you are seeking protestant theology the two major camps of theology in protestantism are Arminian after James Arminius and Calvinism after John Calvin. Don’t be confused into thinking that two guys wrote a couple of books and came up with theology. Both are orthodox Christian theologies and both are grounded not only biblically but historically as well. Your St. Augustine was a heavy influence in reformation thinking. Luther of course being no less important. The major difference between the two is the nature of Gods sovereignty over mans will to choose salvation.

Google either and you will find reams of material.

Matt did you catch above how you said even though some Catholics supported the document you could not. Does that mean all Catholics are in disunion? Again not going tit for tat just responding to it.

I guess a good measure would be to see if any of the Catholics that signed the agreement were disciplined ..nope they sure were not and there are some heavy hitters from both camps on the list. Peter Kreeft isn’t exactly an anonymous figure in the Catholic church.

What part of the agreement did you disagree with and why?

Matthew Warner August 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Kevin, we’re getting off point here.

1) Don’t twist my words, please. I love Peter Kreeft and Neuhaus, etc. They are orthodox guys. And I have no doubt that the way they interpret what was written is completely in line with the Church. What I said is that I’d bet the Church would not officially approve of such a statement because some of the language would be misleading to people that may interpret it incorrectly. That’s all.

2) I never said I disagree with the statement. In fact, I asked if you could find something in it that contradicts what I’ve said in the post/discussion? Can you?

3) [backing up to what the original point was] I never said it was difficult to find protestant doctrine. I said there is no unified protestant doctrine and no mechanism in your theological view to unify it – which results in division. This is not the model Christ gave us. He gave us a Church with the authority and ability to unify. The Church gave us the canon of the Bible. If they had the authority to decide the Bible…perhaps they also have the authority to do other things? Just a thought.

You made a statement:

“Trinity is a non negotiable for a Christian.”

I’m asking you where you get this from and by what authority do you have to define what is negotiable and non-negotiable for being a Christian?

Kevin Bullock August 28, 2009 at 1:42 pm

The Nicene creed affirms belief in the Godhead. Father,Son,Holy Spirit. One God in three Persons.Not just their existence but the salvific work that was brought about and is being brought about.

If you deny that the Trinity exists you cannot affirm historical church doctrines agreed upon by both Catholics and protestants.

You said I twisted your words …which ones? That is the second time you have said that I have twisted words or facts. I assure you I have done neither.

Matthew Warner August 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm

So which protestants have agreed upon the Nicene Creed?

And so am I to assume that to be a Christian you have to affirm the historical Church doctrine? Do I have to affirm all of them? Or just ones affirmed by both protestants and Catholics? And what if some protestants affirm them but other protestants don’t? Do I have to believe in those?

How can I tell which ones are non-negotiable for being a Christian?

gerald August 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm

It’s interesting as you go around the net and look at lists of what people call savlation issues, i.e. non-negotiables some simply say it is faith in Christ, while others have lists of non-negotiables that apprach 50 items. Everybody’s list is different. So we have a 1500 or so page Bible that is said by protestant axiom to contain everything neccessary for salation but non-catholics seem to think that very little of it is really non-negotiable. But oddly enough John 6 and the Lord’s Supper does not often if ever make the list. It says “unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood YOU SHALL NOT HAVE LIFE WITHIN YOU”. How can that not be a salvation issue. Many try to detach it from the Lord’s Supper but Jesus says “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. There are also several parallels in John 6 and Matt 26 that make such a detachment rather unlikely.

Kevin you said above that we are all biased. Do you know what biases us? Traditions. None of us really go sola scriptura. Not even protestants. All have tradition which is the lens that they look at scriptures through. Also I am not sure why you say I am attacking Chris. I am not attacking anyone. If you say I am attacking him, then it is clear that he and you are attacking us Catholics because you are contradicting what we say. No I call it disscussion.

Kevin Bullock August 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Gerald I am not following you sorry. Where did I write that you were attacking Chris? Honestly, I am having a devil of a time following you guys.

My last response to Mathew did not post so I assumed I was blocked or something.

My response to Mathew was that all protestant Christians affirm Trinity without exception.

gerald August 29, 2009 at 8:40 am

Apologies Kevin, it was Jesse.

Jesse said:
“Gerald, please realize that we all come to the table with certain biases and assumptions. You insist on using verses that favor your position, just as you attack others for doing.”

gerald August 29, 2009 at 8:43 am

By the way, I don’t think the verses I use are trump verses over Jesse’s or Chris’s verses. When passages speak of faith I agree that it is absolutely essential. What I take issue with is that NEVER in any of the MANY passages they use is the word alone used. The same is true of the phrase works alone. But then contrafry to what it sounds like many times, we would never say works alone. We don’t like to go beyond what is written.

Matthew Warner August 30, 2009 at 11:30 am

My last response to Mathew did not post so I assumed I was blocked or something.

My response to Mathew was that all protestant Christians affirm Trinity without exception.

Kevin – you certainly weren’t blocked. Not sure where your other comment went, but I never saw it on this end. Sorry about that.

But with all due respect, you didn’t at all answer my last questions. Let me ask them again:

…So which protestants have agreed upon the Nicene Creed?

And so am I to assume that to be a Christian you have to affirm the historical Church doctrine? Do I have to affirm all of them? Or just ones affirmed by both protestants and Catholics? And what if some protestants affirm them but other protestants don’t? Do I have to believe in those?

How can I tell which ones are non-negotiable for being a Christian?

Kevin Bullock August 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Matthew , all protestant Christians affirm the doctrine of Trinity if you choose not to accept that answer then I can’t do much to help that.

I have answered all of your questions. Have you answered any of mine? Look back through and read the posts.

Matthew Warner August 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Kevin – I didn’t ask if all Christians happened to believe in the trinity. I asked if it was required and with what authority u proclaim such a thing? U also mentioned the creed as another commonality, but lots of Christians don’t beleive in the creed because it does not appear in the bible. Are they Christian?

My point is a much bigger one. U mentioned non-negotiable things required to be a Christian? What is ur standard for this? Where do u get these from? U mentioned historical Christianity…yet there r lots of things in historical Christianity that u don’t beleive in as a Protestant. For instance, the earliest Christians all the way up until the recent 500 years Christians universally beleived in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist… Yet most Protestants don’t beleive in this. So where is the line drawn?

Thanks!

Artie August 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Hey Kevin just a heads up Unitarians consider themselves Christians and they don’t believe in the trinity. So not all who consider themselves Christians affirm the belief in a triune God.

Kevin Bullock August 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Artie, from their site:

” Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. It has no creed. It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to provide a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.”
http://www.uua.org/aboutus/index.shtml

They have no creed and do not consider themselves Christians, you are as likely to hear a reading from an Islamic hadith or a well known humanist writer such as Neitsche as you are the Gospels.

Kevin Bullock August 30, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Matthew not all early church fathers agreed whether the elements are symbolic or actual. So to say that the protestant view of the elements being symbolic of Christs body and blood originating only 500 years ago is not accurate.

Doctrine and dogma are different than essential beliefs. I don’t
believe whether you view the elements from the doctrines of transubstantiation,consubstantiation or symbolic to be neccessary to your salvation.

Kevin Bullock August 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Sooo… Matt, how about some of my questions?

I would be interested in reading your answer to post 41.

gerald August 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Oneness pentecostals are protestant. Oneness pentecostals do not affirm the trinity. Many seventh day adventists do not affirm the trinity. The majority of protestants do but not all.

gerald August 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Kevin,

On what basis do you say that some of the Church fathers did not agree with the doctrine of the real prescence. Do you make this claim because some had not written anything on the matter. Or do you make the mistake of using certain statements of some, not understanding Catholicism. You see Catholicism affirms the symbolic/metaphorical spects of the Eucharist. Most certainly the bread is symbolic as is the wine. But for example Augustine speaks figuratively of the Eucharist and also literaly. One example is he said “Christ held himself in his own hands”. You see Catholicism is not either symbolic, or spiritual, or literal. Catholicism is not either or but both and.

Now I would ask that you support your contention that not all the fathers supported the doctrine of real presence. Also you have ignored what I have said regarding oneness pentecostals as one for instnace and the trinity. It is also a fact that some Seventh Day Adventists deny the trinity. Apostolics as well. These ARE protestants and the DO reject the trinity.

gerald August 30, 2009 at 3:18 pm

“Matthew, What makes the Christian belief Orthodox? The Catholic tradition or by early church councils which agreed not only on canon but creed as well ?”

How about the council that declared that Mary was Theotokos. Mother of God???? Few protestants agree with that. Funny you should mention the canon. Canon of Scripture? They agreed on the Catholic Canon of 73 books, no the protestants who felt they had the authority in the 1500’s to subtract 7 books from the canon.

Artie August 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm

They have no creed and do not consider themselves Christians, you are as likely to hear a reading from an Islamic hadith or a well known humanist writer such as Neitsche as you are the Gospels.

http://www.uuchristian.org/

Depends on which unitarian Church.

This is a church in my home state where they consider themselves Christian. The point remains, people can add/subtract and go so far as not believe in the trinity and consider themselves Christian. You tell a member of this church that they aren’t Christian because they don’t believe in the trinity, they will argue that they are indeed Christians.

Again 85,000 different denominations that adhere to the bible alone and have 85,000 different and/or similar interpretation.

Matthew is asking a very very important question.

I will say it again if Sola Scriptura is true then Catholicism is false, if Sola Scriptura is false then Catholicism is true.

gerald August 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Artie,

I do disagree with your statement though I understand what you are trying to get at. It is not Catholicism all true, protestantism all false. It is Catholicism is the fullness of the truth. Protestantism by its division CANNOT claim to be the fullness of the truth. There are truths in protestantism but every one of them must admit that, though he doesn’t know what they are because he sincerely believes the Bible teaches what he thinks, his personal theology or that of his denomination is in error in part of the Gospel/scriptures. But of course Jesus said “you shall KNOW the truth and the TRUTH shall set you free” and “those who worship God shall worship in spirit and in TRUTH”. The truth is knowable but not in protestantism. Everything has to be called in to question for all depends upon the interpretations of man of scripture. In Catholicism both oral and written teaching are passed down, revelation. Yes there are interpretations but they must be consistent with this passed down written and oral tradition.

gerald August 30, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Kevin,

On what basis do you say that some of the Church Fathers didn’t agree with the real prescence? Please support your statement. Read my post above however before you display errors of logic, i.e. arguments from silence/either or theology, thanks
Gerald

Kevin Bullock August 30, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Artie, I get it from the writings of the early church fathers themselves. Augustine was not even consistent in his writings about real presence.

Again Artie, I can find really nutty Catholic sects as I have already pointed out that call them selves Catholics and you will say they are not Catholics. A fringe group can call themselves whatever they want …if they do not affirm Jesus as the second Person of the Trinity they cannot be orthodox Christians …period.

What is so difficult to understand about that? A guy on the street can claim he is the pope that doesn’t mean I will be naive enough to think he is the actual Bishop of Rome and speaks for all of the Roman Catholic church. Unless of course the guy on the street was teaching some nutty stuff and I wanted to cast aspersions on the Catholic church and make false claims about what it is teaching. Then I guess I could believe it and claim ignorance ..but that wouldn’t really would be honest or honorable now would it? And certainly wouldn’t be a fitting witness for a baptized Christian.

Theotokos literally translated means god bearer. I have never once heard in my life of any protestant denying that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. That said protestants do reject Marian worship as does the Catholic church(you will correct me if I wrong I am sure) ,. Maybe in your conversations that point has become misunderstood.

gerald August 31, 2009 at 12:19 am

Hmmmm. Here is what Ephuses explicitly taught. 90+ percent of protestants will deny this in my experince which streches over 40 years. Rarely will I find what that will accept Elizabeth’s words “how is it that the MOHTER OF MY LORD shouldcome to me.”

“So shall we find that the holy fathers believed. So have they dared to call the holy virgin, mother of God,”

“so that the holy virgin is more accurately termed mother of Christ than mother of God.”

“Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with the flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God,”

“1. If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh, let him be anathema.”

Kevin Bullock August 30, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Artie says”Matthew is asking a very very important question.

I will say it again if Sola Scriptura is true then Catholicism is false, if Sola Scriptura is false then Catholicism is true.”

Unpack that a bit for me if you will.
If I am understanding you correctly you are defining sola scriptura as a stand alone doctrine. That is not true and I suspect you know that. if you were astute you would notice that are 5 solas from the reformation.

Simply put sola scriptura means that the bible is plenary. It is complete …batteries are included. It does not mean as you have falsely put forward that protestants reject tradition or doctrine. It only means that for protestants the bible defines what is acceptable tradition or doctrine and what is not.

Artie, the Catholic church believes in apostolic succession that the church has the authority to make doctrine and dogma even if it is not supported by scripture.
Protestants use scripture as the authority that defines doctrine.

Not much of Catholic doctrine cannot be found in scripture, yes some very important aspects at least as far as the Catholic church is concerned are not found in scripture. Yet the essentials are basically the same for protestanst and Catholics. So why would one cancel out the other?

Kevin Bullock August 30, 2009 at 9:18 pm

As far as the canonization of the 66 books of the protestant bible. Yes approx 1647 was when the books were canonized by protestant Christians, however the criteria used was similar to criteria laid out by the council of Nicea in 325 in response to a wacko Named Marcion who claimed to be the holy spirit himself. and gave a list of books he thought should be accepted.

If nothing else your getting me back into my history books. ;)

gerald August 31, 2009 at 12:01 am

” It does not mean as you have falsely put forward that protestants reject tradition or doctrine.”

Your broad brushing here. Many protestants reject ALL TRADITION. Lutherans and Anglicans allow for tradion, but Fundamentalist types don’t in general. There is a wide variety of definitions of what sola scriptura means from the lutherans and anglicans to those who say it is all evil. Those fundamentalists I dialogue with will usually say which is true scripture or tradition? Here are just a few quotes from video’s on youtube to PROVE my point.

“AD. The Reformers rejected the concept of “sacred tradition” (as Romanists affirmed) as another “form” or mode of revelation, and insisted that divine truth had to be …”

Note to Keven – Romanists is a derogatory term.
“The Bible alone or traditions or both see what scripture says … bible alone sola scripture faith works sola fide catholic anti catholic pope apostle apostolic. ”

“bible alone as our only rule of faith and life, because that is what the Scriptures teach. …., and alleged apostolic traditions must be rejected if we .”

” It only means that for protestants the bible defines what is acceptable tradition or doctrine and what is not.”

It does? Where? John said that if all Jesus said and did were written the world would be filled with the books. Wasn’t all Jesus said and did the Word of God? Where does it say anywhere that it was all written down explicitly? I Show me the passage that backs up your statement. Primarily what I see you posting is you own set of traditions about what you think the Bible says. Your own interpretations. But you really give very little support for your own interpretations.

“Artie, the Catholic church believes in apostolic succession that the church has the authority to make doctrine and dogma even if it is not supported by scripture.”

It is not supported by your interpretation of scripture. First of all I don’t think you even know what it means. But second of all there are many events that indicate succession, i.e. the laying on of hands, the office of Judas being filled, the fact that scripture speaks of bishops and most protestant Churches don’t even have them is non-scriptural. Does yours? The whole old testament is full of succession from the kings and stewards and princes in the Davidic Kingdom, to the judges of Leviticus and the book of Judges and throughout the Old TEstametn to the statement of Jesus “the scribes and pharasees sit on Moses seat. Therefore do whatever they tell you”. All the way back to Moses heh. That’s alot of succession. The paralel passage to Matt 16:18, Is 22:22-24 speaks of the Steward Shebna who became corrupt and his office was taken from him, the keys were given. Keys are successionary. This office had been carried on throughout the Davidic Kingdom for 700 years by the time Shebna was around. This passage directly parallels Mat 16:18. The opening and the shutting is akin to binding and loosing in rabinical language. Note the keys in both passages. Again Keys are successionary. If I buy a house I am given keys from the previous owner. They give me access and authority over that house. When I sell the house the succession of the new owner begins with giving him the keys.
Jesus is a king in the line of David and the Davidic Kingdom was full of successionary offices. If you can’t find succession in the Bible your not looking or your are biased by your protestant traditions.

“Protestants use scripture as the authority that defines doctrine.”

The problem is the early Church did not just use scripture as the authority that defines doctrine. They could not have because the NT was not completed for 90 years after Christ’s death and even then was not completely and readily available for a long time after that. It’s not the Biblical way.

gerald August 31, 2009 at 12:09 am

So in applying that method everybody up till Luther and the Reformers made mistakes when they declared the canon. Um. excuse me, mistakes in the Old Testatment. The reformers accepted the new canon. Oh wait, Luther wanted to throw the book of James out calling it an epistle of straw and also Hebrews and Revelations. By what authority did the reformation think they were better in discerning the canon. Actually they decided to go with a canon of 90 AD put together by some Jewish scholars at a place called Jamnia. I don’t know that there was any kind of a council of reformers, certainly not one with any basis of authority. But what’s funny is that they accepted the discernment of some Jews in 90 AD. Did the Jews have the Holy Spririt in 90 AD to properly discern? What was wrong with the councils of Hippo, Carthage, Flourence, and Trent? What was wrong with the statements of Damaus and Leo I which were accepted by the Church? Again I ask, by what authority did Protestants think they should change the canon in 1647? Dont fall for that old line that Catholics added books in 1546 at Trent. It’s all over the net and it’s baloney. The Catholics only affirmed what was there.

gerald August 31, 2009 at 12:13 am

Kevin,

I really need you to back up your statement that the Church Fathers did not all accept the doctrine of the real prescence. To me it shows you lack understanding of both history and Catholicism. These men were Catholic and did not use either or theology of protestantism. Either Scripture or Tratidition, either Peter or Jesus, either Jesus or Mary, either faith or works. Thus you find statements in the likes of Augustine, Clement of Alexandria that indicate a symbolic/metaphorical view of the Eucharist. But others are quite clearly literal. The symbol becomes the reality. I must challenge you to support your statement or retract it.

gerald August 31, 2009 at 12:29 am

“Artie, I get it from the writings of the early church fathers themselves. Augustine was not even consistent in his writings about real presence.”

If you were responding to me above, I am not Artie. But I know it is difficult to keep track of everyone.
All that is clear here is that you do not understand Augustine or Catholicism. The confusion is not on augustine’s part. The mystery of the Eucharist is a great mystery. You want a simple symbol or spiritual or real prescence. The CAtholic Church and the Fathers actually embrace all three. The Eucharist is said to be sacramental flesh of Christ (as opposed to physical) but no less real. If you see the Eucharist in light of Cathoiic theology, those statements of Augustine, as I said above make perfect sense. In fact the Fathers read quite coherently to a Catholic. Certainly if Jesus said “unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you shall not have life within you” the importance of these words would be such that we could be sure what he really meant. They are quite clearly in the ballpark of salvation issue of some want to think they have the authority to say what is and isn’t a salvation issue. I don’t think you are sure what they mean. Could be symbol and that’s okay if some prots such as baptists want to belive that, could be spiritual as the presbyterians and methodists believe, could be consustantiation as some lutherans believe, could be real prescence or transubstantiation and that’s okay if some prots and Catholics want to believe that. To Jesus it was a make or break doctrine and in v. 6.66 if some of his disciples did not want to believe it just as he meant it, he let them walk away. They weren’t really willing to trust him that he could pull this miracle off.

gerald August 31, 2009 at 12:35 am

Kevin, I want you to give me the quotes from Augustine that you think indicate that he only thinks the Eucharist is symbolic?

Here are some articles that might help.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num29.htm

This article is a good sum of Augustine’s view. Again to a catholic it is not confused.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num30.htm

Kevin Bullock August 31, 2009 at 6:46 am

Gerald said “The problem is the early Church did not just use scripture as the authority that defines doctrine. They could not have because the NT was not completed for 90 years after Christ’s death and even then was not completely and readily available for a long time after that. It’s not the Biblical way.”

Gerald, are you saying the bible is flawed and an unreliable source for doctrine? Why did Paul lay out church doctrine and procedure and tell others to remember what they have been taught. Are you more inspired and closer to God than Paul?

It is somewhat funny that you takes some parts absolutely literally (although teh context is misapplied and misunderstood) and say you believe that becasue it is in the bible and in the same breath you say the bible in unreliable.

No Gerald the early church wrote the New Testament the new testament church is the first expression of Christ’s church here on earth. Actual witnesses to Christ’s ministry, death, and resurrection.

You can say “nuh uh” all you want it doesn’t change fact or reality.

Matthew Warner August 31, 2009 at 7:27 am

Ok, this convo is getting futile. Kevin – you keep going on logically non-follow tangents and don’t answer the core questions being posed.

Case in point: Gerald says the early Church did not just use scripture as the authority that defines doctrine because it wasn’t assembled or defined yet (true). Then you illogically infer that he is saying scripture is unreliable. And then make a point about how Catholics interpret it literally sometimes and non-literally other times (which is unrelated to this convo). But in fact, Gerald said no such thing regarding scripture and the convo suffers.

I’ve asked a pretty basic question like three times now based on comments you made very early on in this discussion and you refuse to answer it. If you don’t know the answer just say so. But it’s silly to continue to pretend you’ve answered it when you do no such thing.

I ask you where you get the non-negotiable doctrine of the Christian faith and with what authority you proclaim such?…..and you say something like – All Christians believe in the Trinity. And then you insist you’ve answered it and I can believe that if I want. Thanks.

The reason I’m asking this simple question is to 1) try to get us back on a point that will make the convo meaningful and we can all learn something and 2) because it is a fundamental question that unerlies all of this other banter.

Kevin, you insist that all protestants believe in the 5 solas. That’s just not true. Maybe by YOUR definition of protestant. But that leaves out A LOT of people who call themselves protestant. And you come back and say something about how you can take some fringe guy that calls himself the Pope and believe he’s the pope, but that’s not honest. Well, you’re right. But there is a huge difference here between Catholics and Protestants – and it’s all the difference when it comes to unity and doctrine…the point I was trying to make early, early on.

We Catholics have a way to identify what is Catholic. We have a leader. We have unity. If you’re with the Pope and teaching magisterium of the Church – you’re in. If you’re not, then you’re out. It’s easy to see and determine.

To answer your question about “what makes Christian belief Orthodox”…I can answer it very easily. The Church. Jesus established a Church specifically FOR THIS REASON. The apostles lived it. The early Christians lived it. They had no New Testament canon until The Church gave it to them centuries later. The Church is who Jesus gave authority to. He gave its ordained leaders the authority to “bind and loose on heaven and Earth.” He gave them the power to forgive sins in His name. The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15) And when they had problems with each other…they took it to the Church (Mat 18:17).

I’ve told you this. I’ve brought some friends (Artie and Gerald) and they’ve told you this. Scripture says if that doesn’t work….that we are now to take it to The Church. It’s all there in scripture and the early history of the Church. And this Church is the same Church as the Catholic Church. It has the same beliefs, the same sacraments, the same doctrine and apostolic authority (not to make up new doctrine as you falsely suggest, but to “define” doctrine that have always been believed).

So this is not me telling you this by my own authority. These are not my own personal interpretations of something (although I agree with them). This is from the authority of Christ’s Church itself.

Now, will you please answer my question. I really want to learn something from you here as you seem to be a well-versed, intelligent protestant. But where is the line for Christian doctrine for you? It seems you can accept some councils and disregard others. You can take some creeds and disregard others. You can accept some historical Christian doctrine and you can disregard others. Some are non-negotiable, some are essential, some I guess don’t matter or are negotiable? Protestants differ on all of these points. They are not the same. THey do not share your understanding and foundation of the 5 solas. They don’t. So how can I, a non-protestant, tell what protestants think is true Christian, non-negotiable doctrine and what is not? How do you tell the difference? What are the non-negotiables for being a Christian? AND BY WHAT AUTHORITY do you establish these?

I would truly appreciate your answers to these questions. Pretty please resist the urge to just pick out some little tangent on how I’ve worded something weird or you disagree with some Catholic point of it to avoid the primary point I’m trying to get at here. Thank you.

Kevin Bullock August 31, 2009 at 7:58 am

Matt, read back through my posts every one of your questions has been answered. The futility comes your side being unwilling to accept the answers or even acknowledge that I have answered. You have answered every question I have posed with another question.

I am a well versed Christian(I do not call myself a protestant …thanks for the compliment though) it is you who insist that I am something other or lesser. It is also you who are saying that protestants pick and choose what they will accept not I. Although you have failed to tell me exactly what that is.

It is you who insists that protestants believe solely in sola scriptura, in an effort to try to discredit protestant Christians and make them appear as less than Christians.

Straw man arguments have no substance or fact ….that is what makes them positions made of straw …they are not real. So when you pretend that protestants hold this position or that and then expect an answer about positions or beliefs that do not exist …how can you truly expect an answer? That is absurd.

Your desire is hardly for knowledge it is to defend your position and that is all. I found this site when I google searched for a devotional to send to my nephew who is beginning college this fall. He happens to be Catholic and I want him to stay connected to his faith when he is away from home.

I sent him a link to your post for Catholics returning to school I though it was excellent. I am sorry now that I have sent anything from this site to him. As he is a sincere and honest young man as well as intelligent.

I am fortunate in that through my educational experiences as well as my personal and professional relationships that I have been exposed to some very godly and sincere Christians from several denominations. I am glad because after the spirit and tone of the dialogue on this site if I did not have a personal relationship with those from the Catholic faith I would come away thinking all Catholics regard other Christians in the same manner as you, that somehow we are lesser than you. My friend …what a dangerous attitude to let foster in your spiritual life.

I am too educated for that however and count my friends and family who are Catholics and sincere Christians as my brothers and sisters in the faith. I am blessed by them and hope I am a blessing in return.

“Galatians 6:18
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, sisters and brothers. Amen. “

Matthew Warner August 31, 2009 at 8:17 am

Kevin – thanks for your thoughts. God bless you!

gerald August 31, 2009 at 2:00 pm

” Gerald, are you saying the bible is flawed and an unreliable source for doctrine? ”

Why on earth would you deduce that from what I said. I choose my words carefully and you distort them completely. Then bash a straw man. No, the Scriptures are completely inerrant. My point was simply that not everything was written down for quite some time while the apostles walked the earth.

“Why did Paul lay out church doctrine and procedure and tell others to remember what they have been taught. Are you more inspired and closer to God than Paul?”

Now this is just an attack plain and simple. Where on earth did I ever indicate I was more inspired than Paul or closer than God. You insult. I think your can’t we all just get along approach is a veneer. I find your words that Paul laid it all out very interesting regarding the thousands of protestant denominations that all do everything differently. Some choosing to have bishops and deacons and some not. Some voting on the Word of God and what is right morality and what isn’t. Where is that in the Bible? And where are altar calls without baptism’s like Billy and Franklin Graham and so many others do in protestantism. In the Bible every single time people were called forward they were baptized.

“It is somewhat funny that you takes some parts absolutely literally (although teh context is misapplied and misunderstood) and say you believe that becasue it is in the bible and in the same breath you say the bible in unreliable.”

I knowwhere said hte Bible was unreliable. What I said was that the interpretions of man are unreliable. You know, proverbs 3:5 “trust not in your own understanding” and in Peter’s letters “No scripture is of peresonal interpretation.”. The Church is the pillar and support of the truth. Not the individual tom dich or harry who considers himself a bible expert the first day he is dipped in some water.

“No Gerald the early church wrote the New Testament the new testament church is the first expression of Christ’s church here on earth. Actual witnesses to Christ’s ministry, death, and resurrection.”

Amen. YOu really had to have been looking to twist my words. Perhaps you are getting frustrated.

“You can say “nuh uh” all you want it doesn’t change fact or reality.”

In fact you post boarders on bearing false witness.

gerald August 31, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Matt,

Amen. Thank you. One wonders how Kevin could ever interpret the Word of God when he so totally butchers the words of a man.

gerald August 31, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Kevin,
The truth is a gift. It is not something we boast of. We are held to a higher accountability for it. If this offends you then I am sorry. Protestants for 500 years have not heard the truths of the Catholic faith. We are bound by obligation to God to give it to you straight. If you don’t like it and what to think that all religions are equal then perhaps you better find a different website. CATHOLICISM IS THE FULLNESS OF THE TRUTH. I will declare it till the day I die. Not because of something amazingly superior about me. Not at all for as Paul says I am the greatest of all sinners. Gee I wonder if you would call Paul arrogant (which is what you are implying with us) if you found out that really some of what he taught was not how you understood it?

Kevin Bullock August 31, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Gerald, …frustrated? …offended? If you knew me we could laugh together. I hope you don’t proclaim anything until you die Gerald. I pray you may live to proclaim “Worthy is the Lamb” with me and the rest of creation surrounding the throne of God ….then our faith will be our sight.

Until then …enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf7t3P9ISrE

gerald August 31, 2009 at 4:19 pm

You totally butcher my words and my beliefs and then say “can’t we all just sing kumbayah together” with not even an apology.

Artie August 31, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Hey guys, I have been super busy and have not had a chance to reply, I think it is fair if I could at least explain my thoughts a little better this time. I have tried to keep it short and state my point.

First I would like to say that I agree with Chris, that being a Christian implies that we believe in the “Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (trinity as God). However, Sola Scriptura gives the absolute right of private interpretation to the protestant to say, “You know the trinity is not necessary to believe in and it is not required for my salvation as a Christian” and quote scripture to prove his doctrine.

If I am understanding you correctly you are defining sola scriptura as a stand alone doctrine. That is not true and I suspect you know that. if you were astute you would notice that are 5 solas from the reformation.

Chris the issue we are discussing is the issue of authority. This very issue “AUTHORITY” is the foundation for any worldview. Sola Scriptura is not just a doctrine it is a worldview in which protestants base their authority.

Often times we think of Martin Luther when it comes to the protestant reformation. Martin Luther was a Catholic monk and priest. He was a teacher of Scripture in Germany. As Luther studied Psalms and Paul’s epistle to the Romans -he became increasingly convinced that what he had been taught as a Catholic about how we are saved (the doctrine of justification) on salvation, that it was in error. He then started to teach against the Catholic doctrine of salvation. He started to write against it, debate, and finally brought it to a tribunal.

The Church said Luther was wrong. Luther said the Church was wrong. Church said it had authority. Luther at that point faced a problem, “Who has authority to speak for God?

Keep in mind the Catholic Church taught then, and still does now, that while Scripture is the only infallible and inspired record for divine revelation it has in its possession, the Church functions as the authoritative interpreter of Scripture.

Remember as Matthew has stated the Church is the official teaching office, not individual Catholics. One person can say this, another person can say that. Debates can happen within the Church and they still do… But when the Magisterium of the Church, the bishops in union with the bishop of Rome, formally defines a matter of faith and practice for the people of God, the Holy Spirit leads in that process, such that the definition that it comes to is true and binding on the people of God. The Holy Spirit leads in the definition such that it is true and binding.

Luther had 2 choices… He could accept the authority of the Church and recant OR he could reject the authority of the Church and stand squarely upon what “he” believed Scripture to be teaching.

Luther stated, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason, my conscious is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant because acting against ones conscious is neither safe nor sound, here I stand, I can do no other, God help me, Amen.”

AT THIS VERY MOMENT, THE FOUNDATION OF THE CATHOLIC WORLDVIEW WAS REJECTED AND A NEW FOUNDATION WAS LAID. Sola Scriptura, the believer’s sole rule of faith. This is the foundation of the Protestant worldview.

I state again and a little more clearly… If sola scriptura is true, then protestantism as a worldview is true. If sola scriptura is NOT true, the Protestantism as a worldview is false and *all* versions are false and collapse.

A definition of sola Scriptura by David King, a Protestant minister, wrote in “Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Faith (P. 129) – “the historical meaning of sola scriptura, which served as the formal principle of the reformation, is that scripture alone is the only certain and fallible norm by which all theology (doctrine, beliefs, creeds, and practice) and morality of the Christian Church is to be regulated. In accordance with that which is expressly sat down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture. This does not mean that the Scriptures constitute an exhaustive record of God’s special revelation, but that they are the only special revelation that have been preserved, and as such are sufficient to communicate clearly all truths necessary for man’s salvation and conduct in the world.”

Chris I am astute enough to realize that Sola Scriptura is not a single belief that can be said with few words, but it is a complex of believes and includes several things, that being said….

This is true for every protestant….

AUTHORITY: Scripture functions as the sole, infallible rule of faith.
SUFFICIENCY: Materially sufficient… meaning all material is there.
Formally sufficient… all you need to know is there and is set forth clearly enough in the Bible that as long as you seek the truth and careful to compare one passage with another and allow those passages that are more clear to interpret those passages that are less clear, we can know the teachings of the word of god and we don’t need any Magisterium to help us to know them.

Geisler and MacKenzie (popular Protestant apologists) say “The Bible nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else is all that is necessary for faith and practice”.

I stand by my previous post in that the primary practical implication of Sola Scriptura is the absolue right of “private interpretation/judgement” in which anybody that adheres to this can create their own Church and consider themselves Christian.

Luther, and the others following him (Calvin, Zwingli, etc) took this limited right and made it an absolute right. It’s not hard to see why…

They believed and wanted to teach doctrines that were contradicted by the official teaching of the Church. Sacred Tradition opposed them, the Magisterium of the Church opposed them, but they believed the Bible supported them and that was on their side.

It’s only logical. If there is no authoritative teaching office, if Christ did not give the Holy Spirit to his Church – then what is left to say what Luther said? What is left to say that each Christian has the absolute right to decide for him or herself without being bound by any Church, or Council, or Pope.

In fact, Luther said: “Each Christian should be his own Pope and own Council”

Sola Scriptura implies an absolute right of private interpretation – it leads to individualism, skepticism, and ultimately – division.

Chris, you will say that “the councils, the creeds, the church, have a genuine spiritual authority and it is always subject to Scripture, which is the final authority. But like Gerald and Matthew have stated this is slippery usage of protestant authority. This is stated because you do not want to admit that every man can have his own denomination and own interpretation, because you know this leads to doctrinal chaos.

The bottom line is this… Scripture is the only authority to a Protestant. Precisely because Scripture alone is to be seen as authoritative.

Chris I don’t deny that protestants adhere to certain traditions or doctrines, I can assure that you want to respect them, listen to what they have to say, because they represent the wisdom of thousands of Christians throughout the centuries – but let’s be honest – they are not authorities in your life. And if in the end, you come to see Scripture as teaching something different, you will abandon any one of them or all of them. And if need be, you could write your own confession – your own statement of faith (just like Luther, Calvin, and church after church after church have wrote their own confessions in the past 500 years).

Jesse D. Bryant August 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm

In response to some of Artie’s comments. And I will apologize in advance, as this is from the hip––and with a bit of frustration as this whole argument is just one side pitted against the other, and ain’t nobody gonna change anybodies mind. There are some questions that persist for me that lie very close to the surface, and if any one is willing to point me in the direction of a source, or answer, or explain––that would be great. So, some things to say, some things to ask…

Who killed Luther?

ARTIE: “Keep in mind the Catholic Church taught then, and still does now, that while Scripture is the only infallible and inspired record for divine revelation it has in its possession, the Church functions as the authoritative interpreter of Scripture.”

Do you believe this? That is a huge leap of faith if you ask me… I may be ignorant here, but where does the church get her ‘authority’ to the the ‘sola interpretora’ of scripture? Is that something the lay person can understand, or do we just have to accept it?

ARTIE: “The Church said Luther was wrong. Luther said the Church was wrong. Church said it had authority. Luther at that point faced a problem…”

I think that Luther and the Church face the same dilemma. I am not a Catholic so anyone who wants to tell me why I should trust the interpretation of a religious organization over my own capacity to study and read, please do so…

The church is the official teaching office, but the Catholic church says that it is the true church, while the protestants believe that ‘true believers’, those who embrace the teachings of the one source that claims to be inspired and infallible––the Bible, and who place there faith in Jesus Christ ARE the church. Not Baptist, Methodists, Lutherans, ––and all the other names we give to denominations, but the individual believers who are true Christians––these are those who are the body of Christ, the true Church.

“But when the Magisterium of the Church, the bishops in union with the bishop of Rome, formally defines a matter of faith and practice for the people of God, the Holy Spirit leads in that process, such that the definition that it comes to is true and binding on the people of God. The Holy Spirit leads in the definition such that it is true and binding.”

Who says? How do I know that that claim is true? On who’s authority?…

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason, my conscious is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant because acting against ones conscious is neither safe nor sound, here I stand, I can do no other, God help me, Amen.”

Amen to Luther’s words! That is a man of conviction. No matter what, if you are a someone who seeks the truth, you have to respect a man like Luther!
And if people had been permitted to read the scriptures for themselves, instead of being kept in the dark by the Catholic church, this whole movement would have happened much sooner––and I believe the Catholic Church knew this.

Where does this whole idea of private interpretation come from? Can we not read the words on the page? Can we not study (II Tim. 2:15), can we not dig to get to the truths of scripture for ourselves? I have a Bible written in English, and a newspaper written in English? I don’t need someone to interpret the newspaper for me (and true enough, depending on whether you are a democrat or republican––you are going to have a different perspective on any given political article––but the perspective does not change the ‘real’ story). There are only two interpretations of scripture, the correct or true, and the incorrect or false. If you want the truth, you can study it for yourself, seek God, thirst for truth––and come to know the proper interpretation––if you want the truth. If you want to make-believe and twist it to make it suit your own purposes (financial, sexual or other…), then I am sure you could be successful in doing so and that there are plenty who are gullible enough to follow.

“Each Christian should be his own Pope and own Council” ––In other words, the suggestion is made to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith, yes? Seems like that could be a good idea… Any pedophile or homosexual priest, is obviously not in the faith, but then, they are like ‘the Untouchables’ aren’t they?

ARTIE: Sola Scriptura implies an absolute right of private interpretation – it leads to individualism, skepticism, and ultimately – division.

Or, if you have the power to enforce, control, or intimidate; if you can call this one organization the one ‘true’ Church and all others rogues––that anyone who differs from the Catholic view or dares challenge them is the enemy… it all seems rather dangerous to me. Especially in light of some of the atrocities that have been committed by the ‘Holy Church’.

The splits in various denominations are difficult, but many times these are due to minor differences, and not issues regarding the deity of Christ or salvation. When there is no iron-fist, some division is always likely (the whole fallible man thing), but it also means that criticisms can be expressed, and that people are free to question, doubt and challenge––and I will suggest that such an environment can work as a purifying process––so that heathen practices don’t creep in and corrupt. And when pedophile priest are protected or simply relocated––corruption in the church is to me, self-evident.

The real difference is that the protestant is not chained to an organization masquerading as ‘the Church’, wielding ‘its’ authority, and ‘telling’ its people not only what the scriptures says, but what it means––and of course informing the people of all that it doesn’t say but should have. Yeah, can you sense my frustration there?

Finally, I don’t know about all the debate surrounding the Trinity (the idea of which seems pretty much self-evident from scripture), but if you don’t believe that Christ is God, you are not a Christian.

I intend no disrespect. There are just some areas that really bother me when it comes to the Catholic church. The above is all expressed with an genuine curiosity as to what the truth is, while at the same time––barring any really solid rebuttal or reply, I must get off of this merry-go-round.

Gentlemen, I bid you good night,
Jesse

gerald September 1, 2009 at 9:31 am

Jesse,

I guess like the definition of sola scriptura which has different definitions with just about every protestant I meet, would you please define what sola interpreter means to you. If you mean that noone else is supposed to interpret them, that is rather silly considering the encouragement that the Church gives to read them. One cannot read scripture without interpreting. Further if this is what you mean it is problematic if only for the reason that in the Catechism the Church gives instruction on how to interpret scripture.

The problem you have is that the scriptures sya “trust not in your own understanding” prov 3:5 and Jer.17

Jer 17
1. [9] The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately corrupt;
who can understand it?

You see, your heart will color your interpretation. Individual interpretation while it can bear good fruit cannot be trusted and that is why we have tens of thousands of denominations. Individual men elevating themselves over the rest of the Church.

The scriptures tell us that the Church is the pillar and support of the truth. Not the individual. The Church tells us that “whatever” the Church binds on earth will be bound in heaven in Matt 18. This passages is given to the Church. It most certainly is not given to the individual bible interpreter. God cannot bind a lie and so when the Church binds something with regard to Scripture it MUST be true.

Now there is no way that your definition of Church, though not completely invalid (yes we Catholics agree that anyone who sincerely believes in Christ, though invincibly ignorant of some truths, is bound to the Church and so would not be cut off on the day of judgement), would fit what is spoken of in Matt 18. Further if one studies this passage it is clear that this authority was given to the Apostles. Now it would also seem rather unwitting of Jesus to just give this authority to the apostles without having a mechanism to pass it along in some fashion. See my post a few back that speaks of succession.

One other passage of importance here is Jer 3:15 “I will send you shepherds after my own heart who will give you KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING”. You see, God sends us teachers. Your post seems to imply that you think your interpretation is as good as anybodies, even the teachers. Forgive me if my impression is off.

Here is what the Church says about interpretation of scripture.
85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

Now considering the passages of Jer 17 and Prov 3:5 this passage means that, while the Church knows that everybody is going to interpret scripture willy nilly the way they like, the Church is where to go for authentic interpretation. Jesus said “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”. In the system of sola scriptura where being a man of conviction counts for more and personal interpretation counts for more than the Church. And not an individual in the Church as many non catholics imply we teach (only in the case of the Pope at certain rare times is this the case) but the collective body of the Church, the Bishops and Councils. We are not following after a man, like the Lutherans followed after Luther and the Calvinists after Calvin etc. and their personal interpretations that sounded good. I can’t find it offhand but I think there is a proverb that says “one mans arguement sounds good until the other speaks”. You might want to read 1 Cor 1 regarding division and following after men.

1Cor.1

1. [12] What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol’los,” or “I belong to Cephas,”… Which I think can safely be said today “I belong to Luther” or “I am a 5 point calvinist”…..

As for Luther being a man of conviction, so was Joseph Smith. He died for his convictions. So were the Muslems that flew a plane in to the twin towers, so was Huhamed. There are many men of conviction in hell don’t you agree.

I know I have not dealt with all you said. Perhaps more later.

Artie August 31, 2009 at 9:25 pm

I apologize my last post was not towards Chris but for Kevin. Can I hit the reset button?!

In all seriousness I hope I did not offend any of my fellow separated brothers and sisters in Christ. (I hope that comment did not offend you either by calling you separated brothers and sisters in Christ).

The reality is this. We (Catholics and Protestants) do have our differences in regards to authority. There is just no denying that fact. Do we all love Christ and try our hardest to follow His commandments, etc? I am sure we all do.

My main point from the beginning is that we do have our differences, but we should try to be as ecumenical as possible. Definitions are KEY to any conversation regarding faith matters. Even I at times get my definitions mixed up… heck I even get names mixed up!

Artie August 31, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Jesse: “Do you believe this? That is a huge leap of faith if you ask me… I may be ignorant here, but where does the church get her ‘authority’ to the the ’sola interpretora’ of scripture? Is that something the lay person can understand, or do we just have to accept it?”

You bet I believe this, I don’t see how it is a “huge leap of faith” either. The same Church that agreed on the canon of scripture is the same Church that exists today. The canon of scripture did not create the Church, it was the opposite. It is a bigger leap of faith to say I believe only the things in the bible, yet at the same time reject the Church that canonized the collection of books.

Jesse: “I think that Luther and the Church face the same dilemma. I am not a Catholic so anyone who wants to tell me why I should trust the interpretation of a religious organization over my own capacity to study and read, please do so…”

That is your personal preference, I don’t think anybody is telling you to not study and read on your own, I would actually encourage you to do so if that is what you want to do, but I would also challenge you to research the history of the canonization of the book we call the Bible.. I do however trust Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magesterium teaching.

Jesse: “Amen to Luther’s words! That is a man of conviction. No matter what, if you are a someone who seeks the truth, you have to respect a man like Luther!
And if people had been permitted to read the scriptures for themselves, instead of being kept in the dark by the Catholic church, this whole movement would have happened much sooner––and I believe the Catholic Church knew this.”

Ha ha, yes that EVIL ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH keeping everybody in the dark by not letting people read scripture for themselves. I will simply say Luther was right about what was wrong, but wrong about what was right. No doubt there was corruption going on in the Church amongst the clergy and for that I commend Luther for standing up, I would have done the same, however I feel that I would have kept faithful to the teachings of the apostles that were passed down for numerous years. I will also say that I simply feel for Martin Luther he had a very difficult childhood and I can understand why he did what he did… if I went to Rome and saw all the atrocities going on, I would be a little upset myself.

Jesse: “Where does this whole idea of private interpretation come from? Can we not read the words on the page? Can we not study (II Tim. 2:15), can we not dig to get to the truths of scripture for ourselves? I have a Bible written in English, and a newspaper written in English? I don’t need someone to interpret the newspaper for me (and true enough, depending on whether you are a democrat or republican––you are going to have a different perspective on any given political article––but the perspective does not change the ‘real’ story). There are only two interpretations of scripture, the correct or true, and the incorrect or false. If you want the truth, you can study it for yourself, seek God, thirst for truth––and come to know the proper interpretation––if you want the truth. If you want to make-believe and twist it to make it suit your own purposes (financial, sexual or other…), then I am sure you could be successful in doing so and that there are plenty who are gullible enough to follow.”

Glad you mention this topic of private interpretation. As Catholics we also believe in the right of private interpretation – but it’s limited. We are encouraged to read it, learn about it, study Greek, etc – but we do our interpretation within the limits of what the Church has already authoritatively defined as true. For example if I decide you know… the word trinity is never mentioned in the bible, thus Jesus is not 100% God and not 100% human. Well, obviously I am way smarter than that evil and corrupt Catholic Church! So I know I am right!

Jesse: ““Each Christian should be his own Pope and own Council” ––In other words, the suggestion is made to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith, yes? Seems like that could be a good idea… Any pedophile or homosexual priest, is obviously not in the faith, but then, they are like ‘the Untouchables’ aren’t they?”

Being your own pope and own council implies you have the authority to interpret scripture, not just testing yourself. In regards to priests that are involved/accused of these specific atrocities, I think this was a tacky way to make a case in this discussion. However, as a Catholic I am used to hearing this from those outside the Church. I will simply state that 1 abuse is too many.

I have a very good friend who is becoming a priest and is a great person, and to think people like yourself would stoop so low to potentially throw that in his face is really disturbing.

Here are some stats regarding the sexual abuse scandal…
According to a survey by the Washington Post, over the last four decades, less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse.

In the authoritative work by Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests, it was determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests are pedophiles. The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent.

The issue of child sexual molestation is deserving of serious scholarship. Too often, assumptions have been made that this problem is worse in the Catholic clergy than in other sectors of society. The data simply doesn’t indicate that.

Jesse: “Or, if you have the power to enforce, control, or intimidate; if you can call this one organization the one ‘true’ Church and all others rogues––that anyone who differs from the Catholic view or dares challenge them is the enemy… it all seems rather dangerous to me. Especially in light of some of the atrocities that have been committed by the ‘Holy Church’.”

There are sinners in the Church, nobody denies that fact, to suggest that doctrines aren’t true because of sinners is silly to say the list. Remember Jesus picked sinners to be his disciples, even Judas.

Jesse: “I intend no disrespect. There are just some areas that really bother me when it comes to the Catholic church.”

I know you don’t mean disrespect, however on the flip side there are some things that people say about the Catholic Church that bother me. They mention all the evils that people inside the Church have committed but at the same time they never mention the great Saints and those who actually “LIVED” the Catholic faith. I can assure pedophile priests do not represent Catholicism, however to those who watch ABC, NBC, and the likes I am pretty sure that is what people think of when they think of the Catholic Church.

If being Catholic were everything you mentioned I would not be Catholic, but that is not our Catholic faith.

“There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is of course, quite a different thing.”
—-Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Artie August 31, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Jesse asked “Who killed Luther?”

By the tone of your previous post, I would imagine you thought a Catholic Opus Dei Monk did!? (BTW there are no monks in Opus Dei and nobody “killed” Martin Luther. If we are talking about Martin Luther King that is a different story.

I have heard people say that Martin Luther’s life or safety was threatened or endangered by the Church. I am pretty sure during that time there were some ticked off Catholics who wanted blood? Justified… no.

Protestants did some horrific things to innocent Catholics as well.

Let’s talk about King Henry and St. Thomas More! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOmzurM3clE&feature=player_embedded)

Keep in mind Catholics killed non-catholics and non-catholics killed Catholics. It is a shame that people do horrible things, but are we to measure truth by atrocities committed by one group of people over the other?

BTW I believe Martin Luther had an apoplectic stroke which deprived him of his speech, and he died shortly afterwards at the age of 62, in Eisleben, the city of his birth.

gerald September 1, 2009 at 9:35 am

PS. I don’t know whether Luther is in hell or not. I do know that he caused great division in Christianity. 99+% of all denominations originated after the “reformation”, because of the “reformation”, primarily because of the doctrine of sola scriptura which elevated individual interpretation above those ordained by Christ to have concern for our souls.

Heb.13

1. [17] Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account.

Artie September 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Let’s face it Gerald in our culture anything bigger than an individual is automatically perceived as more than likely being corrupt. I have had some family members say things like, “Don’t get me started on organized religion!”

Seriously organized religion is what canonized the scripture. The first Christians had no doubts about how to determine which was the true Church and which doctrines the true teachings of Christ. The test was simple: Just trace the apostolic succession of the claimants.

BTW Thomas More was hanged, drawn, and quartered not decapitated that would have been a much easier death.

gerald September 2, 2009 at 9:40 am

Well spoken Artie. Jess says “who killed Luther”. I wonder if he knows that 100,000 peasants were killed in Germany at Luther’s encouragement. I wonder if he knows who killed Servetus and over 50 others at the Geneva Inquisition? What I thought only Catholics had inquisitions. John Calvin did everything but light a match on servetus. Yep, the cooked him nice and crispy and calvin was there. Wonder if he knows who drowned anabaptists or which Calvinists murders 19 priests and nuns in Switzerland? Wonder if he knows who killed over 200 priests in England and started the penal laws that are still partially in effect today. Mary Tudor gets named bloody Mary and maybe she should have been, though it is hard to judge because People were trying to kill her. The Protestants on the other hand call her predesessor “Good Queen Bess” even though she imprisoned and killed Catholic preists for saying the Mass, i.e. reading the scriptures to the People. Isn’t that ironic. Do you know what “good queen Bess’s favorite method of torturing her victims was. Cutting their guts out. Nice slow very painful death. Wonder if he really knows anything about history other than the Popes killed protestants (which no pope to my knoweldge ever did anything like that or ordered it, yes Catholics and Governments did, but not Popes. Yes some of it was evil. Some of what both sides did was evil. But it’s all a red herring because there is plenty of scandal in scirpture as well. It cauases stumbling blocks that keep the likes of Jesse from seeing the truth or us if we should be wrong, but I doudt it. If we are wrong then to me there is no God. God in the end will judge and hopefully will excuse some for what they do not know due to the sins of us who are the most accountable.

God bless

gerald September 2, 2009 at 10:03 am

Oh and I wonder if he ever figured out how some countries, right along border lines are protestant and some are Catholic? Well it would seem that it was convenient for the king to become protestant so he could take the Catholic land and then persecute Catholicism out of the country.

Kevin Bullock September 2, 2009 at 11:40 am

Man, you guys are nothing if not convincing.

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen. “– Martin Luther 1521

Artie September 2, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Hey Kevin, sorry if I butchered up Martin Luther’s quote in my previous post. Something to point in Martin Luther’s quote though.

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.

“I”, “me”, “my” – all individualistic. This very quote is the heart of “bible alone” and is loved by numerous protestants.

No disrespect but as a Catholic it’s only logical that the bible alone implies an absolute right of private interpretation which leads to individualism, skepticism, and ultimately division. Sure the main things unite, and the medium to smaller thing divide.

There is no doubt in my mind that some of the most devout Christians are non Catholics and that there relationship and love for Christ is real. As a Catholic I love and have that relationship with Christ, I invite anybody that is not a Catholic to know Christ’s bride, the Church.

Kevin Bullock September 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Artie, Luther was the only one standing there when they asked him to renounce his own writings. It would have been rather silly for him to answer “our”, or “their”, or some such. I don’t know about you but when I am asked a direct question I answer it.

It reminds me of Stephen standing before the pharisee. He can’t renounce what he knows is right and true. What courage!

Artie says ” I invite anybody that is not a Catholic to know Christ’s bride, the Church.”

Thanks for the invitation, it’s not necessary though Jesus already let me in, apparently He forgot to ask you guys.
Gerald says “Some of what both sides did was evil. But it’s all a red herring because there is plenty of scandal in scirpture as well. It cauases stumbling blocks that keep the likes of Jesse from seeing the truth or us if we should be wrong, but I doudt it.”

Hmmm …scripture as a stumbling block to someones Christian walk. Sounds exactly like what a serpent told Eve in the garden. Theologians call that a hermeneutic. How you interpret God’s word. Eve knew God’s instructions, teh serpent told her His instruction wasn’t important, he was trying to keep the good stuff for himself. Eve believed the serpent when it told her God’s word’s were not important. …it didn’t work out so well. Of course that is all just bible stuff.

Artie September 3, 2009 at 6:32 am

Kevin,

You cannot deny that sola scriptura implies an absolute right of private interpretation – it leads to individualism, skepticism, and ultimately – division. All you have to do is look at the numerous denominations within protestantism that adhere to sola scriptura.

You need to read on the life of Martin Luther to understand all the individualistic terminology he used. Keep in mind he was a Catholic priest, but something made him breakdown and it was a culmination of his parents and the liturgical mishaps he saw in the Church.

Thanks for the invitation, it’s not necessary though Jesus already let me in, apparently He forgot to ask you guys.

Are you implying that Catholics need to adhere to Sola Scriptura in order for Jesus to ask us in? Are you also implying that Catholics don’t have a relationship with Christ?

There was no need to get “catty” with what I had to say. I was simply extending an invitation for you to at least know what the Church *ACTUALLY* teaches, not what you think the Church teaches.

Kevin Bullock September 3, 2009 at 6:48 am

Artie, i haven’t felt it necessary to leave anything out, or pare quotes to make them convenient to what I am stating. Your spots are showing.

I think you know very well that I am not implying that Catholics must adhere to sola scriptura (nice try at trying to put a spin … a James Carville you are not :).)
Salvation is through Christ alone …remember. Or was there something you wanted to add?

I was simply responding at your shaded attempt at saying no matter how faithful and devout the protestant, without the “fullness” of the Catholic church it doesn’t matter. For you to imply that even in my belief and devotion to Christ that I along with other Christians that are not Catholic are not a part of the Church that is the Bride of Christ.

..well now! lol! We may have a problem!

gerald September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Hmmmm. Salvation is by Christ alone. We agree. That doesn’t include knowing his teachings and understanding the 5 sola’s upon which the reformation was based. Well then what was the point of the whole thing? To divide it seems. Satan has heard the phrase “divide and conquer before. Kevin, whether we are wrong or you are wrong regarding the play between scripture and tradition, you speak in false dichtomomy if you don’t understand that Christ alone does not include his teachings and as a consequence proper use of scripture so that the truth is understood. Jesus says “you shall KNOW the truth and the truth shall set you free.”. So is knowing the truth important? You better know so. Is what you know in conflict with Christ alone? No way, for he is the way, the truth and the ligth. Christ alone becomes empty rehtoric if it is simply a slogan with no mechanism behind it. Sure Christ saves but he does it by motivating us through truth and grace. Not just some instantaneous event when we get to a certain point in a sinners prayer.

gerald September 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm

“Hmmm …scripture as a stumbling block to someones Christian walk.”

How do you manage to twist and distort everything I say. I DID NOT at all say that scripture was a stumbling block. I said the sins of those IN the Church was a stumbling block. You do not have the right to use what I say and spin it to try and make some point to attempt to make me look foolish. You bear false witness every time you reply to me and I am getting a bit sick of it. I know about hermenutics. We Catholics are not ignorant about interpretation as has been said by others above.

gerald September 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm

As I said before, there are many men of conviction in hell. I am not saying Luther is. But he was wrong in his stand. He set himself and his own personal understanding that was twisted by his scrupulosity, which he dealt with by “fixing” his theology rather than his own understanding. Certainly the nominalists in Germany at the time he lived were somewhat at fault for his overreaction in the other direction and inserting the word alone next to faith in Romans 3:38. Isn’t it funny that all protestant bibles have removed this corruption and yet this is the very reason the Catholic Church did not want him to translate scripture. He was not qualified.

Kevin Bullock September 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm

:)

http://blogs.cbn.com/ChurchWatch/archive/2009/02/06/pope-benedict-xvi-luther-was-right.aspx

Pope Benedict XVI: ‘Luther Was Right’

“Luther would have been amazed at the efforts of the Vatican today to put the Bible back into the heart of the Roman Catholic Church,” writes Jeff Fountain of Christian Today.

Fountain reports that during Pope Benedict XVI’s recent weekly public addresses in St. Peter’s Square, he quoted Martin Luther in declaring “Sola fide,” that salvation is by faith alone.

Pope Benedict XVIAccording to this report, Benedict affirmed that Luther had correctly translated Paul’s words as ‘justified by faith alone’ — the well known sola fide.

It was disagreement over the doctrine of salvation by faith that sparked the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, splitting Christianity in Western Europe.“Yet, said the Pope, it was indeed biblical to say, as did Luther, that it was the faith of a Christian, not his works that saved him.”

By defining “faith” as “identification with Christ expressed in love for God and neighbor,” Pope Benedict qualified his statement, noting that the Apostle Paul had written about such faith in his letters, especially the one to the Philippians.

According to Fountain, the Pope highlighted the fact that prior to his Damascus Road conversion, Paul had strictly adhered to all the Pharisaical laws and rules. However, after meeting the Lord Jesus in his vision, Paul began leading a lifestyle of faith alone.

Fountain goes on to explain that last October, bishops from around the world were called to Rome for a three-week synod to discuss how to promote prayerful reading, understanding and proclamation of God’s Word. “Pope Benedict XVI himself kicked off the synod with a round-the-clock Bible reading marathon lasting a whole week, by reading the opening verses of Genesis. Twelve hundred readers took part, including Orthodox and Evangelical leaders.”

“So now Benedict is personally leading the way to encourage Catholics to engage with Scripture,” Fountain writes. “The theme of the synod was ‘The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.’ The pope told the gathered bishops that true reality was to be found in the Word of God.”

gerald September 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Wow. Your author and you sure take alot of liberties with Benedict XVI’s words just as you do mine. So that we can intelligently discuss it rather than read the distortions of a protestant thinking he knows Catholicism let’s all read the Wednesday Audience:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20090204_en.html

Where did Benedict say that “Luther was right” in the open ended way that the article you link implies. Nowhere in the audience does the Pope say anything about the translation of Rom 3:38 being correct. That is total nonsense. That the Pope is telling Catholics to engage is scripture is not new in the slightest. Leo XIII in the 1890’s has a whole encyclical about reading of scripture for the laity. The Catechism promulgated by JP II highly encourages it as do many other Popes. The article is just silly.

We have agreed that faith saves in the context of initial justification. No works before that point do anything for you. Further if you read the quote from the Pope about what he says regarding faith vs. works it is clear that in context he is speaking of “works of the law” as opposed to acts of charity.

So what we have is a protestant “interpreting” Catholic words in light of their own traditions, definitions, and biases and Mr. Bullock says “see you catholics are wrong. Benedict XVI in the audience says JUST what I said regarding Luther changing his theology based on his scrupulosity and that he was influenced by the nominalism around him. It is sad that you did not bother to go and read the Popes words to see if the article is accurate. But then again, like the author you would have done what you do with my posts. Take great liberties regarding what was said and go “beyond what is written”. See 1 Cor 4 if you don’t know why I am putting that in quotes.

God bless

Matthew Warner September 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Kevin – do you have a point you are trying to make? Or are you going to just continue to twist people’s words into things they are not and then pretend that they are wronging you somehow?…all without ever making a coherent point?

You are doing no service to your argument, trust me. Any objective reader sees it for what it is. I know you’re probably going to respond back taking some offense to what I’m saying. If you do, again, you will only continue to hurt your own side. It’s painful to watch you do it over and over again in this conversation with people.

In the interest of coming to some common ground and getting past the ignorant, false, tired old propaganda that the Catholic Church didn’t want people to read the bible, blah blah blah, I’m gonna challenge you to read this follow up post I wrote and see if you can clearly tell me if we have anything we can agree on: catholics-on-faith-and-works-clarified

Thanks.

gerald September 3, 2009 at 9:49 pm

“According to Fountain, the Pope highlighted the fact that prior to his Damascus Road conversion, Paul had strictly adhered to all the Pharisaical laws and rules. However, after meeting the Lord Jesus in his vision, Paul began leading a LIFESTYLE OF FAITH ALONE.”

Where on earth does Benedict XVI ever say thins????? This is taking total liberty with his words, putting a protestant spin on them as I said above.

gerald September 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm

WIth regard to my last post I wonder if Kevin can focus a bit and read Bendict XVI’s words from the vatican website and show me where he says what Kevin’s article said that I quoted.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20090204_en.html

Have at it kevin. I look forward to your response. Or not since I doudt it will be pertinent to the question that I am raising.

Artie September 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Kevin,

Like Gerald said salvation is through Christ alone, no body is arguing this point. Your argument proves you do not know the Catholic position on salvation.

As a person posted on the link you provided…
“By faith we are saved, but faith without works is dead. It has to be a living faith. Even the demons believe in Jesus and tremble, but their belief does not save them.”

Regarding your response to me…
Kevin you fault my character for leaving something out in Luther’s quote, which I fully admit was an honest mistake, I had copied and pasted some text from an old word document that I had from 4 years ago when I was frantically taking notes from a CD I was listening to. My argument is still the same regarding the world view of sola scriptura and that it is individualistic and causes division.

In regards to the article and Martin Luther and the Pope. You want to talk about people leaving out important things, let’s talk about how dishonest this article really is in the approach that it took, by essentially twisting the Pope’s words and leaving things out…..

Pope Benedict does believe that Martin Luther’s doctrine on justification is correct, IF faith “is not opposed to charity.”

He states, “Luther’s expression “by faith alone” is true “if faith is not opposed to charity, to love. Faith is to look at Christ, to entrust oneself to Christ, to be united to Christ, to be conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence, to believe is to be conformed to Christ and to enter into his love.”

We are just when we enter into communion with Christ, who is love.
http://www.zenit.org/article-24309?l=english

And the entire premise that a Pope is finally encouraging Catholics to read the bible is intellectually dishonest. Lectio Divina is nothing new, and yes Catholics have always been encouraged to read the Bible. I have heard it all in regards to the chained Bibles. Bias and ignorance have falsely interpreted this usage of by-gone days as a proof that the Church purposely withheld the Bible from the laity. No such malicious interpretation of the chained Bible was forthcoming so long as Protestants remembered their own chained Bibles. The myth, that Bibles in the Middle Ages were chained in order to prevent people from reading them, arose in Germany in the 18th century

In regards to the admiration of Martin Luther…

I will say again that he was right about what was wrong, but wrong about what was right. I have noticed some people on this board admire Martin Luther and his defiance of Church authority in the name of religious freedom. The idea is that Luther stood up to overbearing Church leaders who were no more than pagans in disguise. Luther freed us from unlawful intrusion in the area of conscience, which is supposed to be left to the individual, after all. Because of Luther, 1500 years of religious repression have been broken and the individual is now free from unnecessary and harmful religious laws, as the story goes.

Here is a reality check first about Luther.

The reality is that Martin Luther suffered from scrupulosity, which is a tendency to see sin where it does not exist, or to see mortal sin where only venial sin exists. He essentially had obsessive compulsive order when it came to religious matters. Anxiety can fill the mind of the scrupulous to such an extent that everything they do appears to them as sinful.

Martin Luther describes his own scrupulous conscience as an Augustinian monk in his Commentary of the Epistle to the Galatians (1535), saying that:

“When I was a monk I tried ever so hard to live up to the strict rules of my order. I used to make a list of my sins, and I was always on the way to confession, and whatever penances were enjoined upon me I performed religiously. In spite of it all, my conscience was always in a fever of doubt. The more I sought to help my poor stricken conscience the worse it got. The more I paid attention to the regulations the more I transgressed them…”

I am sure Kevin you would say something like… “See there you go — Luther’s problem was the Church’s harsh rules, and the way he became free was by breaking off from the tyrannical EVIL ROMAN CATHOLIC Church.”

As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend!”

Did the Augustinian Rule include making lists of sins and always being on the way to Confession? Of course not. So why did Luther say that he tried to live up to the “strict rules of my order” and then go on to name two rules that were not in the Augustinian Rule?

The simple rule that a doubtful law does not bind the scrupulous conscience would have helped Luther greatly if he had followed it. St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) tells us that “If an opinion is probable, it is licit to follow it, even if the opposing opinion is more probable.” Similarly, St Alphonsus Liguori tells us that “an uncertain law cannot impose a certain obligation,” so there is no requirement for the scrupulous to follow a law that does not certainly exist.

Also of note here is the fact that St Thomas of Villanova (1488-1555) was an Augustinian monk during the same time as Luther. They lived under the same Rule, yet one man became a saint, the other a colossal heretic. Why was this? The difference was not the Rule, or even Church teaching in general, but how they dealt with these things. A striking difference between the two men was that St Thomas humbly obeyed Church authority while Martin Luther proudly disobeyed Church authority.

St. Thomas did not want to have the great burden of being a bishop, but accepted his assignment to the See of Valencia, Spain out of humble obedience.

Luther on the other hand, proudly disobeyed Church authority and set himself up as his own master, doing what St Bernard described with sharp disapproval:

“He who constitutes himself his own master, becomes the disciple of a fool.”

Kevin Bullock September 3, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Paragraph 4, 5th line from bottom

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081119_en.html

I love what the pope writes about faith at the bottom of paragraph 3 in this one. I am in full agreement with the Pope, it’s a festivus !:)

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081210_en.html

Artie September 3, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Hey Gerald I did a a cross reference to check my link with the papal audience, thanks!

In regards to “The Doctrine of Justification: from Works to Faith”.
http://www.zenit.org/article-24309?l=english
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081119_en.html

In regards to “St Paul’s martyrdom and heritage”
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20090204_en.html
This shows a date of 02/04/2009

The pope gave an excellent explanation of this, it is just a shame that people want to twist the pope’s words.

It was an interpretation that freed him from the scruples and anxieties of his previous life and gave him a new radical trust in the goodness of God who forgives all, unconditionally. From that time Luther identified Judaeo-Christian legalism, condemned by the Apostle, with the order of life of the Catholic Church. And the Church therefore appeared to him as an expression of the slavery of the law which he countered with the freedom of the Gospel. The Council of Trent, from 1545 to 1563, profoundly interpreted the question of justification and found the synthesis between law and Gospel to be in line with the entire Catholic tradition, in conformity with the message of Sacred Scripture read in its totality and unity.

Kevin Bullock September 4, 2009 at 6:27 am

One thing that is not surprising that within Catholic writings is that you can almost always find a contradictory writing to the one in question. How do you know which one to go by? Whichever on suits your argument the best?

I believe this is where sola scriptura in fact does have it over tradition..scripture is consistent. This was Luther’s contention.

Artie September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am

I believe this was a good conversation. Kevin thank you for your time an patience. I hope you don’t feel like any of us were personally attacking you, I know that was not my goal. My only intent was to help address misunderstandings of the Catholic faith. Trust me there are numerous misconceptions about what we as Catholics believe.

Catholics have nothing to hide, the Catechism, the Bible, and Magesterium documents are available to everybody.

I will admit as big as the Catholic Church is, it is probably the most misunderstood because people really don’t want to hear the truth of what the Church actually teaches.

I agree that scripture is consistent! Scripture is the Word of God, I believe everything scripture says is true. I don’t believe it is always interpreted correctly by people who read it on their own.

Catholicism is not tradition minus scripture. Catholicism is Sacred Tradition carried down from the apostles, Sacred Scripture which was given to us by the Church, and Magesterium Teaching who derives everything from Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

Gerald September 4, 2009 at 7:06 am

“One thing that is not surprising that within Catholic writings is that you can almost always find a contradictory writing to the one in question.”

If your implying that the article that you posted yesterday was by a Catholic

Is this back to the old Augustine didn’t believe in the real prescence? No Keven this is in fact not a fact. Or when it is true the holder of the false teaching rejects major tenants such as the authority of the papacy and exalts himself and his own position, i.e. Luther, Arius, Marcion, Donatus, etc. etc. And when people disagree we have the teachings of the councils and the Catechism to keep our rudder straight.

Kevin, you never really back up your statements. I asked you several times to back up that Augustine didn’t believe in the Real Prescence. All you showed is that you don’t understand Catholic theology.

Gerald September 4, 2009 at 7:12 am

Amen. Faith alone is true if it is defined in such as way that is consistent with Catholic thought. John Paul II’s confesser a few years back wrote a whole article about this. ‘faith working through love” . This in general
Kevin, if you agree with the Pope then you need to become Catholic. I think your just making excuses not to. You need to follow Christ’s teaching on the rock in Matt 16:18.

Kevin Bullock September 4, 2009 at 7:16 am

I have seen beagles follow less rabbit trails than you guys. I am still waiting for the other three convoluted posts to show up.

LOL! Every time I post an answer you guys respond with and encylopedia of Catholic thought doctrine and dogma. Some of it may be related some maybe not. For the life of me I almost can’t keep up. ;)

Are we talking Augustine and real presence now?

Kevin Bullock September 4, 2009 at 7:17 am

Gerald I have honestly given it some thought in the past.

Gerald September 4, 2009 at 7:32 am

RCIA will be starting soon. WHy don’t you go through it. Your not required to join. It’s just a class about the CC and at the end if you want to join it’s up to you. Contact the parish nearest you and they should have a class.

Gerald September 4, 2009 at 7:36 am

We never got any closure on Augustine and real prescence because you made the accusation that some of the fathers didn’t believe in it but never backed up your statement. You get alot from us because we as Catholics understand Catholicism and back up our statements historically, with fathers, councils, and popes, and scripturally. It all fits together. But you see confussion only because you are in confusion and division of protestantism and your human reaction is I’m fine where I am at because there is so much confusion. Come in, the water is fine.

Kevin Bullock September 4, 2009 at 7:38 am

LOL! Not likely Gerald, if that ever happens though you’ll be one of the first to know I promise. :)

Matthew Warner September 4, 2009 at 7:43 am

Kevin – just stop pulling against it – The pull of the Church

Give in already! :-)

Gerald September 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Your against taking a class about Catholicism? Then coming on these boards and trying to tell us what the Catholic Church teaches? Interpreting a Pope through the mind of a protestant just ain’t gonna do anything but paint foolish all over your posts.

Kevin Bullock September 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Boy Gerald your a handful, the second things don’t go your way you throw a fit. LOL!

Kevin Bullock September 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Artie nice post thanks. I don’t mind the sparring, as long as things don’t get out of hand it can be sharpening.

Gerald September 5, 2009 at 10:15 am

Throw a fit? Really Kevin? You don’t know me but somehow you can read in to what you want in my posts? I haven’t thrown any fits. When I do I’ll be sure to let you know. Just say you can’t support what you say about the early church fathers and the real prescence. I’m okay with that. It is clear you have not studied the matter to any serious degree.

God bless

Del Leak June 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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