Ecclesiasticus 4:28

"Fight to the death for truth, and the Lord God will war on your side."

Ora pro nobis,

Most Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Dominic. Amen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Quid Est Veritas?

Or, Maybe If I Say It Enough Times, It'll Become True.

For pastor and fellow blogger, Jacob Allee, the adage, "history repeats itself" looks more like a broken record. When he and I first "met" it was through comments and questions of his at my Youth Ministry blog, Grace for the Wayward Heart, which in turn prompted my visiting his blog, To Die is Gain. One of the first real dialogues that I had with Jacob (a Southern Baptist Calvinist) was, unsurprisingly, on the differences between Catholics and Protestants. He had started a series on his blog, "Why the Reformation was and still is Necessary", to which I felt compelled to debate with him (which is chronicled here). Since that time, I've stopped in at Jacob's blog (which on the whole is pretty decent) to review what he says--and a surprising amount of the time, it's devaluing Catholicism (which, he claims, is not a true Christian religion, but a false Gospel--and while some Catholics might be saved, it is because they have rejected certain key Catholic teachings...). Even his seemingly denominationally-neutral posts end up containing anti-Catholic rhetoric, such as his recent argument for the Bible as God's word, to which I replied, again on this blog, here.

Over and over again, I have corrected Jacob's misapprehensions of what Catholicism teaches, and yet, time and again, he's posted a short time later decrying Catholicism for precisely the things which I patiently explained to him, we don't believe. After my reply to his defense of Scripture (about which, in all honesty, I was expecting to have very little complaint, but then he accused the Church of forbidding the Bible), he actually asked me if I had nothing better to do than to reply to him. The truth is, I do, and I only write responses to him during times when I've managed to squeeze out some extra moments for myself. It's not even that I expect to convince Jacob that Catholics are, in fact, Christian, much less to actually become Catholic (though, with God all things are possible). Rather, it is possible that those who read Jacob's anti-Catholic rhetoric (or similar other claims from other sources) may take it at face value, when it is full of errors and half-truths. As someone passionate about his faith, I strive to proclaim the truth of Catholicism as ably as I can. If one still chooses to reject it, I hope it will actually be the Church he is rejecting, and not some strange caricature of it. And that, dear reader, is why I am again undertaking to reply to another article of Jacob's, linked to in the title of this article.

As usual, Jacob's words will be blue, and mine, white. A fellow Catholic, Phillip Davis, also posted some comments. His words will be in green.

"It's time for protestants to remember why they are protestants".

I ran sound at a funeral today. The preacher was a self proclaimed evangelical. One of the first things that came out of his mouth was how he appreciated that a Baptist minister (referring to me) an evangelical preacher (referring to himself) and several Roman Catholics who were providing some music for the funeral, were all working together as one family as brothers and sisters in Christ.


"How good it is when brethren dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133:1). Or, not...?

First of all (just to clarify) I consider myself an evangelical too. But nevermind that. What got to me is the inclusiveness of Roman Catholics as brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, I don't know the people he was referring to, maybe they trust in Christ alone, by faith through grace, but if they believe in the teaching of the Roman Catholic church, they are not believers. Paul is very clear that if anyone should preach another gospel that they should be accursed, but this is clearly what the Roman Catholic Church does.

Yes, clearly. After all, it wasn't the Catholic Church that preserved and canonised that Gospel, and proclaimed it from the beginning in the face of heresies and persecutions! For 1500 years, there was One Gospel, and then in the Reformation, suddenly there were two, then three, then four! If there is "another Gospel" being preached, it is not that of the Catholic Church, who has proclaimed the way of Salvation with uniformity throughout the world since the beginning of the Church. If Jacob disagrees with that, it is not because the Church has changed the Gospel.

Phillip Davis said...
As a fellow Christian, your ignorance of the Catholic Church and your anti-Catholic view greatly trouble me. But I won't really get into that. Try reading some books on the Catholic faith to see what it is really about. I highly recommend Dave Armstrong's books reguarding Catholic beliefs and their presence in the Bible.

The main purpose for my comment is because of what you call unbiblical teaching that are found in the Catholic faith.


Why are supposed "evangelicals" becoming more and more ready to include Romans Catholics as Christians?

Possibly because they've realised that Catholics are, in fact, Christians? Perhaps it is because the things that the Protestants continue to protest aren't actually true of the Catholic Church?

Have they forgotten that they are protestants? Protesting the false gospel of the Roman Catholic Church?

Between the disagreements with each other, is it any wonder that they've forgotten what they're "Protesting"?

Things haven't changed since the reformation in the 1500's. The RCC still teaches a works salvation,

We do not, and never have. We teach a grace salvation, a response to which--of faith and obedience--is required to appropriate that salvation.

teaches that salvation can be lost,

Since many Evangelical Protestants believe that, too, based on Scripture, it just shows how "Sola Scriptura" is a failure in upholding absolute truth.

teaches that purgatory exist,

Even C.S. Lewis believed in Purgatory.

that the Bible isn't the final authority,

The Bible never claims to be the final authority, so what's your point?

that the pope is sinless,

Jacob, that statement really is just ignorant. We've dealt with this over and over again. I notice that even though in the comments to your post, you admit that you were wrong on that fact, it was not altered in the main post.

teaches that indulgencies can shorten your temporal punishment,

Do you even know what that means?

veneration of the saints,

Something I could easily support from Scripture.

that Mary is a co-redeemer and co-mediator with Christ,

Not nearly in the sense which you take it to mean.

and so on.

I have, and will again below, responded in depth to everything on that list.

Jacob, for one who is so insistent on protesting the "false Gospel" of Catholicism, you'd think you'd have actually taken the time to figure out what Catholicism teaches! You simply aren't listening to any of the things I've written in any of our dialogues! How can you really protest something when your protestations all attack something completely different than what you've set out to oppose?

That is not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ who paid it all and said "It is finished." It's time that we remember what we are protesting and get busy seeking the salvation of our Roman Catholic neighbors who need the pure unadulturated gospel of Jesus Christ.

"Lord, to whom shall we go? To the SBC? To the Pentecostals? To the Lutherans? To the Anglicans? To the Methodists? You have the words of eternal life!" (cf. John 6:68). Or, as Thomas à Kempis wrote in his Imitation of Christ, "He to whom the Eternal Word speaks is set at liberty from a multitude of opinions."

With so many various forms of Protestantism running around out there, I'm wondering what exactly each of them would hold together to be the "unadulterated Gospel"? And, if they got right down to where they could all agree, would it really be different than the Gospel that Catholics proclaim? More likely, in the trying they would find as much to protest in each other as they have in Catholicism. The claim to find an "unadulterated Gospel" on which all Protestants can agree--one that is somehow different than Catholicism, is an assertion that has never been demonstrated to me, and this is not the first time that I've asked.

The Roman Catholic Church Teaches:

RCC:Works are necessary for salvation.

The Bible teaches: Ephesians 2:8-9, "8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

John 3:16, "16"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."


The Bible also teaches:

Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God already designated to make up our way of life."

John 3:20-21, "And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up; but whoever does the truth comes out into the light, so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God."

Philippians 2:12-13, "...so work out your salvation in fear and trembling. It is God who, for His own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act."

Romans 2:6-7, "He will repay everyone as their deeds deserve. For those who aimed for glory and honour and immortality by persevering in doing good, there will be eternal life..."

"Romans 10:9-10, "That if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved. It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved."

James 2:24, "You see now that it is by deeds, and not only by believing, that someone is justified."

Revelation 14:11-12, "'And the smoke of their torture will rise for ever and ever. There will be no respite, night or day, for those who worship the beast or its statue or accept branding with its name.' This is why there must be perseverance in the saints who keep the commandments of God and faith in Jesus."
I could go on, but I don't think that I need to. Yes, we need faith, as the Bible teaches. But the Bible nowhere teaches "faith alone. Teaching Sola Fide is to, like the Arch-Heretic Marcion of old, cut out from Scripture the parts one does not like.

You say this as if faith and works are exclusive from each other. The Catholic view would be more to the likeness of two different sides(faith and works) of one coin. You can't have one side without the other.

James 2:24: "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone."

James 2:26: "faith apart from works is dead."


RCC: Salvation can be lost by commiting mortal sins.

Bible: Ephesians 1:13-14, "13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."

John 6:37, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."


Neither one of these verses preclude the possibility that we, by our own volition (and, in particular, choice to turn our back on God in unrepented sinfulness), can therefore reject God's salvation. We don't "lose" it in the sense that we could misplace it, or be robbed of it, or be snatched from God's hand. But we can choose to walk away from His hand.
Philippians 3:11-15, "...striving towards the goal of the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have secured it already, nor yet reached my goal, but I am still pursuing it in the attempt to take hold of the prize for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not reckon myself as having taken hold of it; I can only say that forgetting all that lies behind me, and straining forward to what lies in front, I am racing towards the finishing-point to win the prize of God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. So this is the way in which all of us who are mature should be thinking, and if you are still thinking differently in any way, then God has yet to make this matter clear to you."

Romans 11:17-22, "Now suppose that some branches were broken off, and you are wild olive, grafted among the rest to share with the others the rich sap of the olive tree; then it is not for you to consider yourself superior to the other branches; and if you start to feel proud, think: it is not you that sustain the root, but the root that sustains you. You will say, 'Branches were broken off on purpose for me to be grafted in.' True; they through their unbelief were broken off, and you are established through your faith. So it is not pride that you should have, but fear: if God did not spare the natural branches, He might not spare you either. Remember God's severity as well as His goodness: His severity to those who fell, and His goodness to you as long as you persevere in it; if not, you too will be cut off."

Hebrews 10:26-29, "If, after we have been given knowledge of the truth, we should deliberately commit any sins, then there is no longer any sacrifice for them. There is left only the dreadful prospect of judgement and of the fiery wrath that is to devour your enemies. Anyone who disregards the Law of Moses is ruthlessly put to death on the word of two witnesses or three; and you may be sure that anyone who tramples on the Son of God, and who treats the blood of the covenant which sanctifies him as if it were not holy, and who insults the Spirit of grace, will be condemned to a far severer punishment."

Hebrews 10:36, "You will need perseverance if you are to do God's will and gain what He has promised."

2 Peter 2:20-21, "And anyone who has escaped the pollution of the world by coming to know our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and who then allows himself to be entangled and mastered by it a second time, ends up being worse than he was before. It would have been better for them never to have learnt the way of uprightness, than to learn it and then desert the holy commandment that was entrusted to them."

1 John 5:16-17, "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that is not a deadly sin, he has only to pray, and God will give life to this brother--provided that it is not a deadly sin. There is a sin that leads to death and I am not saying you must pray about that. Every kind of wickedness is sin, but not all sin leads to death."

Revelation 2:4-5, "Nevertheless, I have this complaint to make: you have less love now than formerly. Think where you were before you fell; repent, and behave as you did at first, or else, if you do not repent, I shall come to you and take your lampstand from its place."

Revelation 3:3, "Remember how you first heard the message. Hold on to that. Repent! If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, and you will have no idea at what hour I shall come upon you."

Revelation 3:15-16, 19, "I know about your activities: how you are neither hot cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of My mouth...I reprove and train those whom I love: so repent in real earnest."

Revelation 13:10, "This is why the saints must have perseverance and faith."

Revelation 14:12, "This is why there must be perseverance in the saints who keep the commandments of God and faith in Jesus."
(Hmm, twice in two chapters. Maybe it's important?)

In sinning, it is not us being cast out by God (as we all know he'd like for all of us to be with him), but our sin (which is our rejection of Him and his gift of our salvation) that seperates us from Him. We are seperating our selves from Him, and not vice versa.

Hebrews 10:26: "For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,"

Galatians 5:19-21: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like . . . "those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."


RCC: Mary is a co-mediator.

Bible: 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"


Mary is not a mediator of Salvation (which is what 1 Timothy 2:5 is specifically referring to), but simply an intercessor (the best one, and the one closest to Jesus, as His Mother), but her "mediation" is the same as that of any Christian, which the Bible calls us to in the self-same passage from which Jacob quotes!
1 Timothy 2:1-6, "I urge then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone, for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives with all devotion and propriety. To do this is right, and acceptable to God our Saviour: He wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humanity, Himself a human being, Christ Jesus, who offered Himself as a ransom for all."
It is in the last phrase where lies the rub. Jesus mediates to us salvation, and is the only one who can because He was our ransom. The Church does not claim anything like that about Mary. It was not she who offered herself for us as our ransom. However, she did participate in that One Mediation in a unique way--a way in which no one else has or ever will contributed. Her "Yes" to God, her willingness to bear Christ into the world so that He could fulfil His mission to ransom us from sin, rightly gives her the title of "co-mediator". In a subordinate way, she cooperated in Christ's Mediation, making it possible! She could, after all, have refused the Angel's commission.

RCC: Mary is a co-redeemer.

Bible: John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."


Just as with the above (especially since "co-redeemer" and "co-mediator" in the Catholic Church are synonymous terms for the role which Mary played in Salvation history), Mary is "co-"redeemer in the subordinate sense that her agreement to the plan of God for our salvation was what allowed Jesus to be born in the first place. "Co" does not mean "equal", but simply "with", such as "cooperate", to "work with".

RCC: Purgatory is a place to pay for sins commited until a person is purified and can enter heaven.

A more accurate way to phrase this is "Purgatory is a state in which we are cleansed of our attachment to sins before we can enter into the presence of God in Heaven."

Bible: The Bible does not teach the existence of purgatory. The Bible does teach that once a person is justified by faith in Christ that their sin is paid for by Christ and no longer the burden of the believer.

This is true, so far as it goes. However, that's not very far, since the Bible never contradicts or denies the existence of Purgatory, either--and, while it never explicitly teaches the doctrine of Purgatory, there are some implicit references to it, as I will endeavour to demonstrate.

Hebrews 10:11-12, "11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God," Sin has already been paid for the believer by Christ's death and resurrection, there is no need for purgatory.

Jacob's continued misrepresentation of Purgatory leads to his erroneous conclusions. Yes, Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Yes, they are forgiven when we repent of them. But that does not therefore mean that we are not still attached to our desire for sin. In other words, we are not fully sanctified when we are initially justified. It is a process, lasting a lifetime (and often longer, since we are not all of us completely holy when we die). Since nothing imperfect can enter the presence of All-Holy God, our imperfections must be cleansed before we can enter His presence. This is the Catholic notion of Purgatory.

As such, Hebrews 10:11-12 does not pertain specifically to the question of Purgatory at all, and, ironically enough, the very context of Chapter 10 provides evidence against Jacob's belief in Once-Saved,-Always-Saved, which I quoted above (vv. 26-29), as well as a denial of faith alone saving, in verse 24: "Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response of love and good works." Aside from that, though, let us consider, immediately in the vicinity of Jacob's quotation, two verses later:
Hebrews 10:14, "By virtue of that one single offering, He has achieved the eternal perfection of all who are sanctified."
So we see that Christ's sacrifice has purchased "eternal perfection" of whom? The sanctified--those who have been made holy. While to some degree, we all share in that holiness, it is hardly a level that could be considered "perfect". So when are we made perfect? After our deaths, in Purgatory. But it is not us paying for our sins, but Christ who has done so. Purgatory is not something that we contribute to our salvation, but rather, something that, by the Grace of Christ, finishes the job that our own sinful attachments prevent Him from accomplishing (in most of us, anyway) during our earthly lives.

John 3:18 says "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." When a person dies there destination is either Heaven or Hell and it all depends on what they have done with Jesus.

Catholics would certainly agree with this statement (it certainly does depend on what we do with Jesus!), but John 3:18 has absolutely nothing to do with admitting or denying Purgatory, and is therefore entirely beside the point of Jacob's argument.
Revelation 21:27, "Nothing unclean may come into it [the Heavenly Jerusalem]: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb's book of life."

1 Corinthians 3:10-15, "By the grace of God which was given to me, I laid the foundations like a trained master-builder, and someone else is building on them. Now each one must be careful how he does the building. For nobody can lay down any other foundation than the one which is there already, namely Jesus Christ. On this foundation, different people may build in gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw but each person's handiwork will be shown for what it is. The Day which dawns in fire will make it clear and the fire itself will test the quality of each person's work. The one whose work stands up to it will be given his wages; the one whose work is burnt down will suffer the loss of it, though he himself will be saved; he will be saved as someone might expect to be saved from a fire."
RCC: The Pope is sinless.

The Bible: 1 John 1:8, "8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."


Since the Roman Catholic Church most certainly does not teach that the Pope is sinless, this point is irrelevant, and demonstrates again both Jacob's lack of understanding of Catholic teaching, as well as his refusal to be corrected on these points.

Need I go on?

For heaven's sake, please don't! Not unless, or until, you understand the Church which you choose to rail against, and can present cogent arguments against her teachings! In the meantime, the lack of accuracy, knowledge, and charity serve only to add confusion, and demonstrate ignorance of the topics you desire to pontificate on.

If you are a protestant evangelical born again believer, wake up.

-Jacob


You say all these things as if all Protestants agree with everything you personally believe, which is definitely not the case. Jesus calls all of us to be one in both mind and spirit in John 17:20-23, and this is just one of the things that the Catholic Churh has always been concerned with, unlike the Protestants. I know of several Protestant denominations that would be more likely to agree with the two supposed "Catholic" teaching shown above, than with your own views. If their definition of sola fide (faith alone), disagrees with your defintion of sola fide, are they not Christians as well?

Your Brother in Christ,
Phillip Davis


To another commenter's post on his blog regarding the Pope's "sinlessness", Jacob replied,

Jon, I did some research and have found that (as far as I can tell) there is no official teaching in the RCC that upholds the pope as sinless, but merely infallible when speaking on matters of faith and practice. My apologies.

Faith and morals, and again, only when he's specifically exercising his authority as Pope, not simply in any private statement he may make.

However, nonetheless, Peter the first pope in RC estimation was rebuked by Paul in Galatians 2:11-14 for his error in doctrine. He was guilty of legalism.

Peter was guilty of the sin of legalism in his private life--but Peter never proclaimed his personal sin as binding on the Church. The example doesn't pertain to Ex Cathedra infallibility.

And what would you say to my other points that very clearly shows the contradiction between what the RCC teaches and what God's word teaches?

I covered those above. In sum, I would say that the Catholic Church never contradicts the Bible. It only contradicts your personal interpretation of the Bible. That your arguments stem from your personal interpretation is evidenced by the very fact that not even all Protestants agree with you! What makes your interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:5 binding or correct, Jacob?

To my question as to whether Jacob actually knew what his description of Indulgences meant, he replied,

Yeah I know what it means:

"An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins and may be applied to the living or the dead." (CCC, para. 1471)


Wonderful. What's that mean? You said that Indulgences reduce the temporal punishment due to sin, and then when I asked if you knew what it meant, you quoted the Catechism saying "Indulgences reduce the temporal punishment due to sin." That's pretty much the same as saying "the definition of 'red' is a colour that is red." Greeeaaaat. What's that mean? I would suggest that you don't actually know, nor could you demonstrate from Scripture why it's a wrong belief.

It used to be you could buy these for the sins you were going to commit.

No, actually, it never was that. It used to be you could buy them for sins you'd already committed, which was an abuse in Luther's time, which was condemned then by the Catholic Church (even before Luther) and no longer practiced today.

You know I've talked to many, many Roman Catholics who would disagree with you, including the local priest who once told me knowledge of the person of Jesus isn't necessarily needed for entrance into heaven.

Then those Catholics, including that priest, are believing contrary to what the Church teaches.

Why should a person being paying for any sin when Christ made atonement for those sins already?

This question simply demonstrates that you have no idea what your definition of indulgence means!

And no matter how you define it, you still believe that good works and sacraments are necessary for salvation.

I believe that the sacraments are necessary for Salvation, because in them we receive the Grace of God through Jesus Christ, as the Bible teaches. I believe that performing the Works that God wills us to perform is necessary to continue in that salvation, again, as the Bible teaches.

Those who in the protestant churches believe salvation can be lost need to be corrected too.

Then the Bible needs correction.

I once thought that, but Scripture showed me otherwise.

Since Scripture clearly indicates that Salvation can be lost, I'd love to see evidence to the contrary.

The Bible is the word of God.

Yes.

And it is our final authority because he revealed in it all that He wished us to know about Him and how we ought to relate to Him.

The Bible never makes the claim to be the final authority.

And after the last Apostle died so did the era of God's revelation of new things.

Yes. But that's immaterial unless you can determine that the Bible alone is our final authority.

Say what you will put whatever spin you like on things, but different things are being taught and believed all over the place. In the Phillipines every Sunday men have themselves nailed to a cross for a short time to receive time off from purgatory.

According to an article from CBC news:
And in the Philippines, nine Filipinos re-enacted the crucifixion by nailing themselves to a wooden cross as scores of other pilgrims flagellated themselves.

The annual re-enactment in the village of San Pedro Cutud, about 80 kilometres north of Manila, is frowned upon by the local church. But it has become one of the most awaited events in the local church calendar.
In one place they take offerings for the burial of Jesus.

I'm not sure what you're talking about here. Source?

All sanctioned by the church in these places.

I can't speak for the burial thing, since I have no idea what you're referring to, but as the CBC pointed out, the Catholic Church does not approve of the extremes of self-mortification gone to once a year, on Good Friday--not every Sunday in the Philippines.

I don't need to "put a spin" on anything in order to demonstrate that your knowledge of the Catholic Church is sorely lacking. All I need is the truth. I might suggest you actually state the truth about Catholicism, but that exhortation has gone largely unheeded by you so far.

One billion Catholics all under one roof with tons of different views.

You critisize protestants for being divided, but you all are just as much so, you simply claim the same banner.


No, Jacob. The difference between Protestant disunity and Catholicism is that Protestantism has institutionalised their differences. Denominationalism is a Protestant ideal, which many Protestants (including a Calvinist professor at my Bible College) said was a good thing! If you stand by what you posted in your description of 1 Cor 1:10-17, you would see that Protestantism, in institutionalising its divisions, is committing major schism and sinning.

Catholicism, on the other hand, has one unified teaching, which must be believed by faithful Catholics. Yes, not all of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics believe every tenet. But the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism on that point is that those who disagree are not therefore permitted to disagree. The Catholic Church condemns false opinions and strives to correct them or to discipline their proponents, in order to maintain Doctrinal Unity.

So no, Jacob, there is a vast difference between the disunity of which you accuse us, and the disunity which is permitted and part and parcel of the structure of Protestantism.

Jacob, as a minister of God's word, it is incumbent upon you to speak the Truth. That truth includes providing an accurate description of others--even when you disagree with them! Repeatedly, here in this article, and in others you have written before, you have not spoken the truth about what Catholics actually believe, but what you, it seems, wished they believe so that you would have an excuse to write us out of the Christian faith.

Moreover, you prove nothing, even when you accurately describe our beliefs, when you use one or two prooftexts, torn wholly out of context, in order to support your claim that our beliefs are unbiblical. The vast majority of the time in this very essay, I had but to look two or three verses either before or after the verses you quoted, in order to demonstrate the truth of Catholic claims, or, at the very least, that Catholic teaching doesn't, in fact, contradict the Bible's teaching. Unless you can demonstrate why it is that you have the correct interpretation of Scripture, over and above the Catholic Church and the numerous other Protestant denominations who believe oppositely of what you do, simply quoting scripture out of context will not help your case.
"The first to plead is adjudged to be upright,
until the next comes and cross-examines him" (Proverbs 18:17).

(Category: The Church: Ex Ecclesiam Nulla Salus--The Church and other Christian denominations.)

13 comments:

Gregory said...

Another blogger, named Dave, posted a comment at Jacob's blog, primarily directed to Phillip's comments. I replied to it at Jacob's blog, but for some reason was unable to publish it (it wouldn't even get to the comment moderation notice). I don't know if it's a problem with Blogger Beta, or something else, but I'm reproducing Dave's comments here, with my response. His words will be in italics.

Mark 1:17 said...
Hello all,
Jacob, Gregory: it's been a long time! How are you?


Doing alright. You? I've been eagerly waiting your series on TULIP.

I really hesitate to enter this conversation but, I feel that I must say a few things:

Phillip davis: greetings,
you said:
1. "The Catholic view would be more to the likeness of two different sides (faith and works) of one coin. You can't have one side without the other." Then you used James 2:24 and 26 to back up your point.
If fear that you have used an eisegetical interpretation rather than exegetical interpretation of scripture.
You need to keep these verses in the context of James 2 as well as the whole book of James as well as the rest of the N.T. and the entire Bible.


David, I must say, in this you criticise Phillip for doing the exact same thing that Jacob has done in his entire post. Phillip, in fact, so far as I can see, was imitating Jacob's methodology. So before you criticise Phillip for citing texts out of context, it might be well for you to criticise Jacob for the same thing. Or is it a different matter when you agree with the conclusion?

We as readers must not lift passages and use them to support what we are saying, rather, we must keep them in context with the entirety of Scripture.
That being said, my stand point is that Faith in Christ is what saves a person...works are a fruit of that faith that come from being conformed into the likeness of Christ. These works are not nessesary for salvation but they are a good indicator to other people that one is truly saved by faith in Christ.


I don't see at all that this is what the Bible says, and would rather state that this interpretation is you yourself eisegeting into the text of James.

But I will let the words of an older but more importantly wiser man clarify:

So much for "sola Scriptura".

R.C. Sproul
James 2:24 "A person is not shown to be just by the mere profession of faith or by having a faith that remains alone. A person is only shown to be just by what he or she does. None of our deeds are worthy of ultimate justification in the sight of God. Only the merit of Christ avails for that kind of justification. Only by trusting in Christ alone can we be made righteous in the sight of God. Here James attacks all forms of antinomianism that seek to have Jesus as Savior without embracing Him as Lord. Just as Paul demonstrated that trusting in one's own works is deadly, so James teaches that resting on empty or dead faith is deadly. See theological note "Faith and Works" on next page.


So far, I, nor I assume Phillip, would have any disagreement with Dr. Sproul.

Faith and Works:
Faith is the means or instrument by which a person is saved. Christians are justified before God by faith (Rom 3:26; 4:1-5; Gal 2:16), and by faith they live their lives (2 Cor 5:7) and sustain their hope (Heb 10:35-12:3).
Faith cannot be defined in subjective terms, as a feeling or optimistic decesion. Neither is it a passive orthodoxy. Faith is a response, directed toward an object and defined by what is believed. Christian faith is trust in the eternal God and His promises secured by Jesus Christ. It is called forth by the gospel as the gospel is made understandable through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Christian faith is a personal act, involving the mind, heart, and will, just as it is directed to a personal God, and not an idol or an idea.
It is usual to analyze faith as involving three steps: knowledge, agreement, and trust. First is knowledge, or acquaintance with the content of the gospel; second is agreement, or recognition that the gospel is true; and third is trust, the essential step of committing the self to God. These steps go together in the sense that there can be Christian faith only when the gospel is known and its truth is accepted (Rom 10:14). Calvin defined faith as "a firm and sure knowledge of the divine favor towards us, founded on the truth of a free promise in Christ, and revealed to our minds and sealed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Calvin, Institutes 111.2.7).
Through faith we recieve Christ, who satisfied the law on our behalf. In this way we are justified through faith alone, without doing the works of the law.


Right, and insofar as we are discussing this initial Justification, we can in fact agree on this--God's Grace prompts us and gives us the ability to respond in faith, and thereby be justified in Christ. But here we differ. For you, and Jacob, that initial justification is all that is needed to completely save a person. For Catholics, this Initial Justification continues until we are finally, ultimately Justified and Saved through living a life of faithful obedience and dying in God's favour.

But since faith unites us with Christ, it cannot be lifeless. Directed toward God and resting in Him, it is active, "working through love" (Gal 5:6), seeking to do all the "good works, which God prepared beforehand" for us (Eph 2:10). Justification is by faith alone, but justifying faith can never be alone.

Because a faith without works isn't that justifying faith. Obviously, faith begins the process, but that faith must then be accompanied by works, or it was not really justifying faith in the first place. Sproul is again saying nothing contrary to the Catholic Church.

When James says that faith without works is dead, he is describing a faith that knows the gospel and even agrees with it, but has fallen short of trust in God.

Where is this borne out in James 2:14-26? James nowhere delineates between a faith with works and a faith without works. He is talking about one faith: which is alive when it has works, and dead when it does not.

Failure to grow, develop, and bear the fruits of righteousness shows that the free gift of God in Christ has never been received. The answer for those with such a faith is not so save themselves by establishing a righteousness of their own, as if they could create faith by their own efforts, but to call on the name of the Lord (Rom 10:13). God alone can save those for whom it is otherwise impossible (Mark 10:27). Paul shows that good works cannot break this impossibility; James shows that the faith required is faith that rests in the living God.
Even when we have believed, the good works we do are never perfect. They are acceptable to God only because of the mercy of Christ (Rom 7:13-20; Gal 5:17). We express our love for God through doing what pleases Him, and He is His kindness promises to reward us for what we do (Phil 3:12-14; 2 Tim 4:7-8). In this we are not making God our debtor, any more than when we first believed in Him. As Augustine noted, God in rewarding us is graciously crowning His own gracious gifts.


Again, Catholics have no argument! He even quotes the great Catholic Theologian, St. Augustine, in his description (a quote that I have presented to both you and to Jacob, time and again, each time that we have debated Sola Fide). This is the notion of "Sola Fide" with which the Catholics and the Lutherans were able to agree and sign their joint declaration in 1997. But let's think through the implications:

Faith alone brings that initial justification, but that faith cannot remain alone (which even Sproul stated). Thus, works are necessary to faith, and if faith is necessary to Salvation, then it follows that works are also necessary to salvation. If one cannot be saved without a faith that is active in works, then we have to agree that living a life of obedience to God is necessary for salvation. If this is what you mean by "faith alone", then it is the selfsame thing that Catholics mean by "faith + works." And if we actually, in fact, agree on that, then what have we been arguing about all this time?

2. "In sinning, it is not us being cast out by God (as we all know he'd like for all of us to be with him), but our sin (which is our rejection of Him and his gift of our salvation) that seperates us from Him. We are separating ourselves from Him, and not vicevera." With Hebrews 10:26 and Galatians 5:19-21 as support.

First thing I want to say is that a sin is a sin is a sin is a sin!!! There are no differences in sin to God. 1 sin and you fall way way way short of His Glory!!!!


Dave, we're not talking about the sins of the unregenerate in this, but those of the saved. If you as a Once-Saved-Always-Saved believer hold to the fact that, even for the saved, one sin separates us from God, then how, pray tell, can you differ with us when we say that sin in fact does cut us off from God?

Luke 8:19 "Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,"
If we break even what we would consider to be the most insignificant portion of the law, we sin against God and are considered least!


Yes, least in the Kingdom.

And let us not think that we are without sin! 1 Jn 1:8 "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

No one ever claimed this, so I'm wondering what you're going on about?

I think we would all agree on this, but what does sin deliberately mean?

It means that, through full knowledge of an actions sinfulness, and full consent, we choose to sin. If we don't know something is sinful, or commit that sin against our will, we cannot rightly be held as guilty of it as if we had wilfully made the decision to go against God.

Sproul: "Christians who claim to be sinless are selfdeluded (1 John 1:8), and those who sin should not despair of grace (Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 2:1-2). The willful sin here is abandoning on's confession altogether, trampling the Son underfoot, treating His sacrificial blood as unclean, and insulting God's gracious Spirit (Hebrews 6:6 note; 10:29). The seriousness of the charge is indicated by its willfulness (cf. Num. 15:30) and the measure of knowledge or enlightenment it refuses(cf. Heb. 6:4; 10:32).

Hey look! Sproul said what I just said (I'm reading this as I go along)!

Note on 6:6: if they fall away. "There is a kind of falling away that is irreversible (1 John 5:16).

That's not what 1 John 5:16 says. "There is a kind of sin that leads to death." Kinda different. It doesn't say "irreversible." It merely says that we, as fellow Christians, cannot pray for another and ask God to forgive them (which we could do in the case of sin not leading to death (aka, venial). A mortal sin (leading to death, literally), is one that must be repented of by the sinner, because it was their deliberate will that caused the fatal rejection of God's grace.

Christian salvation is final (Hebrews 10:4),

"Bulls' blood and goats' blood are incapable of taking away sins." I fail to see the relevance to the permanence of salvation in the Christian...

Perhaps you meant 10:14, but even that does not say that salvation is permanent, but that those who are sanctified will be perfected eternally. Since none of us here are fully sanctified (as you just said, we all still sin), 10:14 cannot rightly apply to the earthly life of the Christian, but his eschatological glory.

and the decision to reject it, if made at a certain level, cannot be reversed. According to 1 John 2:19, anyone who makes such a decision was not really a member of the household of faith, although they may have seemed to be.

This passage does not refer to every believer, but to false teachers (anti-Christs). So much for reading in context.

Judas Iscariot is the clearest example of someone who participated in the coming of the kingdom, but did not enter it (Matt 26:47-49; cf. Matt. 7:21-23). This warning is not to encourage speculation about whether others are irretrievably lost, but urges us to cling closely to the Savior ourselves.

If we are certain (as you, Dave, based on your profile, seem to think) that we are saved, then what need have we of "making sure" we stay close to Christ? If we cannot lose our salvation once we have it, then what is the need for this effort of "clinging"? If on the other hand, we need to cling to Christ so that we don't fall away, which according to Sproul means that we were never saved in the first place, then how can we in fact be assured of our salvation?

Either Assurance + OSAS = no effort in Perseverance and no need to cling;

Or Assurance + Perseverance = No OSAS;

Or OSAS = No Assurance if those who fall away were never saved in the first place, even though before their fall, they would have thought they were.

You can't logically have each conclusion.

See "The Unpardonable Sin" at Mark 3:29
Crucifying once agian the Son of God: "By renouncing their fatih in Christ they declare that Christ's cross is not a holy sacrifice for others' sins, but the deserved execution of a guilty criminal (Hebrews 10:29). Such apostates have returned to a point where the Cross does nothing but condemn them as accomplices in murder (Acts 18:5-6).


Right. This would be the unpardonable sin, not because God won't forgive those who commit it, but because those who do so will never repent of such a sin. But this is not the same as "Mortal Sin" which John talks about in his first epistle.

There is an analogy between the once-for-all character of CHrist's sacrifice for sin and the beliver's symbolic participation in that crucifixion through baptism (v. 4 note). Christ's sacrificial death cannot be repeated. In the same way, the believer's participation in His death, sealed by baptism (Rom 6:3-4; Clo 2:12), cannot be withdrawn and the repeated.

No, which is why rather than rebaptising, Christ gave us the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Contempt: The apostasy described in Ch. 6 is not a matter of private, internal doubt. It is the forceful, complete, and public rejection of a faith once confessed. As such, it has bad effects for others as well as for the apostate (Hebrews 12:15).
Note on Mark 3:29 Blasphemes against the Holy Spirit: For various forms of blasphemy, see Mark 2:7; Ex 22:28; Lev 24:10-16; Ezek 35:12-13; John 10:33-36; Acts 6:11. The unforgivable blasphemy specified here is the act of deliberately associating the power of the work of Jesus, who is full of the Holy Spirit, with the work of Satan. This is to equate supreme spiritual good with supreme spiritual evil, hardening one's heart in a way that makes repentance, and therefore forgiveness, impossible.
Note "The Unpardonalbe Sin":
Jesus' solemn warning about a kind os fin that will not be forgiven, either in this world or the next is found in three Gospels: Matt 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10. It is specifically "blasphemy against the Spirit." This blasphemy is an act performed by speaking, understood as an expression of the thoughts of the heart (Matt 12:33-37; cf. Rom 10:9-10). In the particular context the opponents of Jesus were saying that the Power doing good works among them was not God but he devil. Jesus distinguishes between this blasphemy and other sins, both other sins of speech and other sins in general. As the Bible teaches, God forgave sins of incest, murder, lying, and even Paul's persecution of the church, which Paul did while "breathing threats and murder" against God's people (Acts 9:1).
What makes the unpardonable sin different from others is its relation to the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit's work to enlighten the mind of sinners (Eph 1:17-18), to reveal and teach the gospel (John 14:26), persuading souls to repent and believe the truth (cf. Acts 7:51). The Spirit not only explains the Word of God, but He opens the mind so that it is perceived (2 Cor. 3:16-17). When His influence is deliberately and knowingly refused, in opposition to the light, then the irrecersible sin can be committed as a voluntary, informed act of malice. In response there is a hardening of the heart from God that rules out repentance and faith (Heb 3:12-13). God permits the decision of the human will to be permanent in this case. God does not do this lightly or wihtout cause, but in response to an offense against His love.
A person who wants to repent, that is, to reverse the sins they may be guilty of, has not suffered this hardening and has not committed the profound act of hatred that God has determined He will not forgive. Anyone who has been born again will not commit this sin, because the Spirit lives in that person, and God is not divided against Himself (1 John 3:9).


More words, but basically again what I said above.

The other verses dealing with the unpardonable sin are Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-29; and 1 John 5:16-17. These show that the possiblity of this sin depends on there being particular enlightenment and understanding from God and that it is not a common, everyday matter. Jesus said "all sins" and "whatever blasphemies" will be foregiven, excepting only this one sin.

Going off of what Sproul said there...we, if we truly are born-agian and have revieved the Spirit of God living within us cannot loose our salvtion!!!


Except that Sproul isn't really addressing Mortal Sin (which is different from the unpardonable sin), and makes a leap of logic in forming his conclusions about OSAS, as I outlined above. And anyway, "Because Sproul said it" is hardly a convincing argument.

The Spirit is our Guarantee!!!
Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:22 and 5:5


Yes, that we have been justified, and that God desires our final justification. But He is not our guarantee of that final justification, if we do not continually yield ourselves to Him all of our lives.

I know that this is a lot, but I hope that it is clear. I only ask that you would read it thoughtfully, study the scriptures, and pray that God would reveal His Truth!

I have done so. I hope that you would read my (admittedly brief) reply, particularly our agreement on salvation by faith, and on the logical dilemma of OSAS and Assurance that I detailed above.

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:20-21

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:7

In Christ,

Dave


A hearty Amen! to your concluding Scripture.

I'd also again direct you to my response to Jacob's original article.

Mark 1:17 said...

Gregory,

I don't have a way with words: I am very blunt and this comment is going to be as well. Please forgive me for my lack of tact.

You come across as very antagonistic. That is why people don't continue discussing things with you. You don't listen to their arguements as a whole...you eiesegetically tear apart my arguements (or Sprouls) arguements rather than treating the entire as a whole.
You also as you write tell me what I am thinking when I wrote what you are responding to...You have no Idea what I was thinking and that comes across very clearly when you put words into my mouth that were never written (or Sprouls mouth which He never wrote).
You also have no respect for the person who you are diologuing with. That is why you do the things in the above paragraph! And why people stop discussing things with you; and primarily the reason why I said I was hesitant to reply.

By being an antagonist you provoke people. But personally, (this is where it might get harsh) you quench the Spirit of God in me! You provoke me to anger that not many people can!

This is not a good thing. Seeing as you say that you believe in Christ and are a Brother...and Brothers are supposed to build each other up...you do no such thing in these cases...you only tear down.

I must thank you though, because God is using you in my life to continue to support and confirm everything that I believe. But really the thanks goes to God, because He is challanging me to study these topics and then confirming each standpoing.

Anywho...
This will be the last time that I intentionally respond to anything that you write...for when something causes you to sin, it is better to cut that off and enter heaven mammed than to go to hell with that part attached.

I pray for you...

Sincerely,

David

Hidden One said...

"Anywho...
This will be the last time that I intentionally respond to anything that you write...for when something causes you to sin, it is better to cut that off and enter heaven mammed than to go to hell with that part attached."

What is causing you to sin? Gregory, or your lack of patience?

I'm sorry, but, from this discussion at these two blogs... you are not blameless (either).

It is a simple matter to clarify oneself. Had no one clarified what they meant when speaking to me of Scripture and Faith... I wouldnt' be a Christian. Actually, I'd probably be long dead of suicide.

You don't have to respond to Gregory, but do please heed my warning not to think yourself above every one of your opponents.

I'm praying for both of you.

Sincerely in Christ,
Hidden One.

Mark 1:17 said...

Hidden One,

In no way have I lofted myself above anyone, and if it seems that way, I am sorry and I apologize and ask for forgiveness.

Everything I have tried to relay has come from a position of humility, but apparently it has not come across that way and again I apologize and ask forgivenness.

Also, it isn't about impatience at all. I take a lot of time to respond and pray through my responses be for I post them. I have other trusted brothers read through the responses and offer advise as well. Please do not think that I rush responses. This diologue between Gregory, Jacob, and myself, as well as a few others has been going on for almost a year now...if not longer. It really isn't about impatience.
There are few people in this world that can anger me, and I do rarely get angry...so I need to cut this off.

Writen text is also very hard to add in emotion. This whole post here was written with a heart of humility, but it could also be taken in a very arrogant way. I hope and pray that you do not take this in an arrogant way, but in a posture of humility.

If you have questions that I can answer, I would be more than happy to chat with you, but with Gregory, I must cut it off completely.

I hope that you can understand where I am coming from.

David

jon said...

david,

just be honest with why you think it best to quit conversing with greg, why he so gets under your skin, and why it's better to be 'mammed' (sic) going into heaven than whole: Truth scares you. nicely deconstructing sproul's arguments and yours puts a fear into you that you react to with anger, naturally, and since in your mind greg is responsible for your anger--which need not be a sin, in and of itself, anger--you think it just better to quit talking to him altogether. sorry you and sproul are so easily undone by good, solid discussion.

be not afraid of the Truth of catholicism! 13 years ago i left the tribal, tautological, self-focused illogic of protestantism for Christ's own Church and have never, ever looked back with anything but horror at what i used to believe. so could you.

merry christMASS!

Gregory said...

Jon, thanks for stopping by! I'm curious, are you the same Jon that comments at Dave Armstrong's blog, and had the recent hearty disagreement with him, there? Either way, nice to see you.

I will say this to you, though, Jon. You'll notice that I didn't quote you from Jacob's blog in my above paper. It wasn't because what you said was not relevant, but rather, it was the tone (and diction) that you used. While I tend to respond to arguments against Catholicism or Christianity in general, with vigour (which seems to offend Dave and others), I don't intend nor try to be insulting with them. Consider this a brotherly correction, Jon, but your replies at Jacob's offended me, and I'm a Catholic brother. I appreciate that here at my blog, in reply to Dave above, you were much more civil, but I just wanted to state for the record that at this blog, neither I nor Christopher (my Lutheran-as-of-now [yes, Chris, I'm still holding out hope]) co-blogger will not tolerate offensive or insulting rhetoric. Jon, you've got a sharp mind and wit, and your commenting contributions are welcome so long as they stay in the bounds of charity and civility. Because Jacob is apt to write us out of Christianity, does not mean we have the selfsame right or attitude toward him or Dave or any other Protestant. And even if we didn't regard them as Christians, we still owe them respect and charity as fellow men created in God's image.

Now, in light of this, it's ironic what I have to reply to next.
Hidden One, thank you for your defence, and your timely alerting me to your posting it, even though that obliterated my initial reply to David, because it served to do two things. 1) it kept me from perhaps responding too defensively and injuredly to David's comments, and 2) it did let me know that David is still poking his head in here, perhaps to see what others are saying, and, as such, I hope he will read my reply to him, even if he chooses not to reply. God worked his grace through you here, H1.

David,
I had taken some time yesterday to respond to your initial comment here on my blog, and the accusations you made against me. I was sorely offended by your statements, and was perhaps about to reply more emotionally and angrily than would have been right. Thankfully, I've had the chance to begin my reply again, and hopefully say what I want to say with more grace and tact.

For the record, let me state that I disagree with what you wrote above. Well, not everything, but for sure parts of it. I certainly disagree that my replies are disrespectful, eisegetical attempts to read others' minds. What I try to do is take apart an argument (or, as Jon called it, "deconstruct" it). Arguments are made point-by-point, and so I respond point-by-point, so that I can keep the full view of the argument, not simply take parts out of context, or forget to reply to certain points. I admit to not being officially diagnosed, but I think I'm at least somewhat ADD, so it's difficult to read a huge block of writing (particularly arguments) without breaking it down into smaller pieces, and rereading those to make sure I have the proper sense, as best as I can grasp it. In my replies, I stick with that format (which is not unique to me. Professional Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong employs the same technique in his writings, though it was something I did even before I found his site), of breaking a point down and replying to it. This is not "eisegeting", or "taking words out of context". It is a method that I use that helps me cut to the point of the argument amid much extraneous rhetoric that often accompanies writing for the sake of style and persuasion. I do it, ultimately, precisely to be respectful and courteous to my opponent, since this way I know that I've dealt with everything he says and don't shy away from parts of his arguments that I might find at first difficult to defend against. If I had so little respect for my opponents as you claim, I would not bother to be so very thorough with them as I am.

That said, since in your accusations you accuse me of doing things that I am not in fact doing, for reasons that I am not in fact believing or acting on, you engage, it seems, in the very same "mind-reading" of which you accuse me. I think that Hidden One was therefore not too far off the mark in objecting to your criticisms of me, saying that you are "setting yourself above".

Now, you have replied to him saying that this was not your intent or motive, but that you wrote what you wrote with humility and genuine concern for yourself and for me. And I, for my part, take that at face value. But David, I would ask of you the same courtesy.

You said: "Writen text is also very hard to add in emotion. This whole post here was written with a heart of humility, but it could also be taken in a very arrogant way. I hope and pray that you do not take this in an arrogant way, but in a posture of humility."

I wholeheartedly agree. But while you plead that excuse for your comments to me, you don't even seem to consider it as a possibility in my comments to you. I see this as a double-standard. Like you, I apologise if my words came across as you complained they did. But as well, like you, I assure you that that was not my intent.

I suppose that's everything I wanted to say. I do hope you'll read and consider it.
God bless
Gregory

CJFreeman said...

Gentleman,

This is an apologetics blog. In the spirit of apologetics, let's just have it out in the open and make it known that debate, tension, and doctrinal sensitivities are going to come out in the open. They have to. If they don't, you're hiding.

Humility is not often a virtue of the academic, especially in academic arenas like apologetics. This doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for it, but let's not assume of anyone else that they're not pursuing humility simply because we don't agree with their points, or writing style. We're all supposing ourselves mature Christians so let's make sure we all have the pluck, and intestinal fortitude to deal with intense debate before we enter our comments. The old saying comes to mind, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." In any case, let's not deny that there's any such thing as 'heat', or even a 'kitchen' just to pacify our overarching interests in what we think.

Dave, if you have a point to debate, debate it.

Jon, if you feel impassioned about the doctrinal truths you've learned, please set them out with all fervour and common civility.

Greg, though I am not yet convinced of the Catholic position, I thank you for your continued efforts to teach me, point out resources, and allow me to participate as an administrator on this blog. Sir Arthur F. Holmes once said, "all truth is God's truth no matter where it is found." That being said, I will join in defending the Catholic position where I understand it to be true, and I know you will do the same for me concerning Lutheran theology.

Okay boys: let's play!

God bless you all,
Christopher J. Freeman

Gregory said...

Chris, thanks for that erudite and timely laying-down of the law around here. I think it would probably be good to set down as a post that can be referenced from the margin, the terms of dialogue that we adhere to, outlining conduct expectations, whether that be, to the one extreme, not being insulting, and, to the other extreme, not getting overly insulted by normal conversation.

We'll have to work on that one.
God bless
Gregory

jon said...

greg,

you are indeed correct: i am the 'jon' that recently got into a scuffle with dave, and, if you add what you know from that conversation to what i said to jacob, then yes, it is quite evident that i am often in need of working on my delivery. i don't excuse it, because i know better: more flies with honey and all that.

i'll be honest with you, however, and tell you what you probably already know i believe--for 1900 years we catholics refused to pussy-foot around the Truth of One God, One Christ, ONE CHURCH. if someone was a heretic, a schismatic, a pagan, etc., then we *called them* a heretic, schismatic, etc. like the popes were fond of saying: "Error has no rights." now, if you were present for the conversation with dave, then i need not rehash all of that, but i am not at all offended by your not posting my comments to jacob--they probably were harsh and don't need repeating (i really tried to go back and re-read them after i read what you said about them offending you, but his combox isn't working properly so i don't have access to them at the moment--i haven't paid them much mind since then). but when it comes to jacob, well, one shakes the dust and whatnot. i couldn't care less about someone 'validating' the Truth on his poorly-written blog than i do about jacob giving catholicism his personal imprimatur, but i will, however, say this much for him: one knows where they stand with him, and i like that in people.

i appreciate your hosting me here, albeit for only these few lines. keep well, gregory and christopher, and a very fulfilling ChristMass season to you both.

SS Thomas More and Pius V, orate pro nobis!

Gregory said...

Hello Jon!
Quickly, to your comments on Jacob's blog, I think it was the specific labelling of him as an "ignoramous" that got me. It was a bit too personal. But enough with that.

Around here, Christopher and I both endeavour to call truth, truth, and error, error. So you have nothing to fear in us not doing so, unless we are mistaken about what is truth and what is error (and then, we will -hopefully- accept correction). If you haven't already read them, I would point you to our two inaugural posts, Intention and Definition and Battleship Ecclesia.

I would also suggest a post I wrote some time ago, on another blog, in response to Jacob in our first real debate, and its rather disappointing end: If I Call You a Heretic, Please Be Assured that I Mean That In the Nicest Possible Way as well as, perhaps, Apologetics Without Apology, from the same blog, and in response to another debate I'd had with Dave above.

So yes, be assured that if I believe someone is teaching error, I will try to correct them and it, and not mince words in opposing their argument. However, I still uphold the virtue of charity toward the person.

Have a wonderful Christmas(s) season, with your family, as well.

God bless
(St. Francis de Sales, ora pro nobis!)
Gregory

Hidden One said...

Sorry it took me so long to get back here.

Gregory said: "Hidden One, thank you for your defence, and your timely alerting me to your posting it, even though that obliterated my initial reply to David, because it served to do two things. 1) it kept me from perhaps responding too defensively and injuredly to David's comments, and 2) it did let me know that David is still poking his head in here, perhaps to see what others are saying, and, as such, I hope he will read my reply to him, even if he chooses not to reply. God worked his grace through you here, H1."

Indeed - Credit Him, not me (as you have done).

Now, to back up a step...

Mark 1:17: "In no way have I lofted myself above anyone, and if it seems that way, I am sorry and I apologize and ask for forgiveness."

Consider it received (that is, done).

Mark 1:17 "Also, it isn't about impatience at all. I take a lot of time to respond and pray through my responses be for I post them. I have other trusted brothers read through the responses and offer advise as well. Please do not think that I rush responses. This diologue between Gregory, Jacob, and myself, as well as a few others has been going on for almost a year now...if not longer. It really isn't about impatience.
There are few people in this world that can anger me, and I do rarely get angry...so I need to cut this off."

Impatience in that sense was rather not what I was trying to get at... what I meant was the patience of correction. That is, taking the time to clarify the part where you have been misinterpreted, and to generally remove the words from yuor mouth which were not thered. (Rather like I am doing.) I never said that you fire off your posts in a two-minute burst: I haven't seen much of your writing, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. That is to say, I'll trust you.

mark 1:17 "Writen text is also very hard to add in emotion. This whole post here was written with a heart of humility, but it could also be taken in a very arrogant way. I hope and pray that you do not take this in an arrogant way, but in a posture of humility."

I take this post with the heart of humility in which you meant it.

mark 1:17 "If you have questions that I can answer, I would be more than happy to chat with you, but with Gregory, I must cut it off completely."

Well, then, I have two tests of this for you...

You said: "Writen text is also very hard to add in emotion. This whole post here was written with a heart of humility, but it could also be taken in a very arrogant way. I hope and pray that you do not take this in an arrogant way, but in a posture of humility."

Therefore Gregory said :"I wholeheartedly agree. But while you plead that excuse for your comments to me, you don't even seem to consider it as a possibility in my comments to you. I see this as a double-standard. Like you, I apologise if my words came across as you complained they did. But as well, like you, I assure you that that was not my intent."

I ask that you believe Gregory when eh says this, and, just as importantly, that you would apply that possiblity to any and all comments and posts fo mine (even if it is nto somethign you can do for Gregory.)

This is important, because I do have a question:

"Why is Sola Fide true, and why are the arguments against it full of holes?"

I ask this because I am (currently) a Protestant, but after extensive investigation and debating (this mostly with Gregory), I cannot logically support it.

Well, last week, I asked Jacob, at his blog, to explain to me why Sola Fide is correct, and he went to my blog (www.wyidbsa.blogspot.com) and put forth an argument. I have since countered it, (and several others, all Catholics) who frequent that lbog have weighed in. Well, I'd ask you, if you have time, to visit that blog and weigh in yuorself. (Because I don't know if Jacob will respond again, and I know that the Protestant view will be better defended with two people, and I don't want Jacob to feel as if he is being overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers.) Admittedly, this woudl be more debate than chat, but such is the life of those who wish to debate.

(So you are forewarned: I respond peac-by-peace to arguments and such for simplicity and such, so dont' be surprised, adn be not afriad to correct me if I misrepresent something: it is not on purpose.)

Sincerely in Christ,
Hidden One.

Gregory said...

H1, I might suggest reposting your comment at David's blog since it doesn't seem as though he'll be back.

Hidden One said...

Done.