Friday, December 21, 2007

The Bible

Wow. There's enough going on in the comments section over there to keep us in conversation here for a month of more! I have copied and saved them all because we just can't be assured that they will remain there.

So I thought I'd take one little piece at a time.

Anonymous, without the Bible, we wouldn't KNOW that we are saved by faith. Also, the Bible increases our faith: Candy

Well she has it half right. The Bible does increase our faith! St. Jerome said "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ." When we read the scriptures we can see God working out his plan over time through holy men and women like Noah, Joseph, Moses, Hannah, Samuel and many more. A great book to read is Scott Hahn's A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture. In it Professor Hahn helps to walk the reader through the Old Testament and show him Jesus Christ. It's a great bible study.

So Catholics would agree that the bible promotes faith, grows faith, nurtures faith, sustains faith and is indeed a gift from God.

But where Candy is incorrect is that without the bible we would not know we are saved! The bible did not even exist for the first few centuries of Christianity. Yet I would dare say that the early Christians were more on fire with their faith than many of us are today. Afterall, when was the last time you had to decide whether to admit you were a Christian or get eaten alive by a hungry lion in the Coliseum? The bible didn't exist, and yet the Christians had faith. They believed.

Then of course for centuries after the Catholic Church closed the canon of the bible, the common man neither owned a bible or could read a bible! Surely Candy is not suggesting that because those millions of Christians did not access or knowledge of the scriptures that they had less faith or no clue about their own salvation?

Finally Candy ends with this quote from Romans:

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." -Romans 10:17

Note that the the key word there is HEARING. Faith comes from HEARING the word of God, possibly in your own head as you READ the word, but also and probably more likely from HEARING the word of God proclaimed as it was for centuries. And that was and is the main mission of the Church - to have the people hear the word, regardless of their station in life or their literacy. Just to hear it.

In conclusion then I think Candy's remark leaves a lot more questions than answers and I think it would be extremely difficult for her to support her remarks in any sort of historical context that made sense.


Tracy said...

Elena... that is excellent.. very well said!

ann nonymous said...

Excellent post! Can I just add though that assurance of salvation is not something we Catholics believe in. I mean, we can't know absolutely whether or not we get to Heaven while we're still here on this earth. That, to me, is a big difference and comes up repeatedly in conversations I have with non-Catholic Christians. Lord knows I'd love to be able to be so confident in proclaiming that I "am saved" but the fact remains that until it actually happens, it's not guaranteed.

Tracy said...

faithful, boy you hit it right on!! I can't even count the times I have heard friends and even family members say that "I'm saved, so I don't have to worry" but their actions in the sinful way they live their lives... yikes... I think to myself, how can you give this lip service but you go and sin and think you don't have to repent and change those ways because one time you were saved? I think we would be crazy to think that we can't lose our salvation... we sin all the time.. I sin so many times each day, sometimes I am aware of it and I'm positive there must be times when I'm not as aware of it.. if I don't repent and ask forgiveness and I die.. can I just assume I'm going to Heaven because one time in my life I gave my life to the Lord? No way.. if I have not been living the life God has asked me to live I think I am in big trouble when I get to the gates of Heaven... I just think it is so simple and really it is nothing to be afraid of, we have confession and God will always forgive a heart that is really sorry and willing to change..Amen!

Tanya said...

Exactly what I was thinking, too FC. I find it quite arrogant and offensive when a person says "I know I am saved." We are not "saved" until after we die, and since we do not have the ability to look into the future, we have no idea when we will die and how we will be living our last days on earth.

Tracy said...

Amen Blondie, so true!

Jennifer Sr. said...

I had NO IDEA Catholics do not believe in assurance of salvation!

If anyone is still reading this one, what about Rom 10:9-10 "If you confess with your mouth that "Jesus is Lord"and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Doesn't that verse give you assurance that you will be saved?

Thanks again for allowing this discussion!