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Friday, August 28, 2009

Some insights I got from this week's debates.

1. Some Protestants are still hung up on Trent and apparently no amount of encouragement to read the Catechism instead will sway them!

2. Some are even concerned about being "anathematized." I don't think I ever did hear a response to the news from Kelly that Anathemas just ain't what they use to be!

3. Going to church is a work and works are bad, so it's ironic that going to church can be bad for you?  That was certainly a new one on me!!

4. I'm wondering why witnessing on a blog or on the internet isn't consider a work and how come that's not bad for you as well.

5. Some Catholics are just deathly afraid that Catholics are in danger. Some are afraid that with worshiping Christ in the Eucharist we'll start worshipping a cat or the chair or something. Jennie has a lot of fear for all the busy do gooders who go to church and then do good deeds all day although I still don't see how they have much time to get into trouble.

6. Some just want to turn Catholics away from Catholicism because they "love us." Although from being on the receiving end of that I think what they mean is they want to "tough love" us. At least that's how it feels.

7.  Interestingly today is the feast of a lot of Protestant's favorite Catholic and EFC - Augustine!  Coincidence?  Serendipity?  You decide!



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120 comments:

Jennie said...

Going to church is a work and works are bad, so it's ironic that going to church can be bad for you? That was certainly a new one on me!!
What I actually said is that it's ironic that by TRYING to keep the sabbath we end up breaking it. Keeping the sabbath, since Christ's death, means resting in His righteousness by faith. So in making 'going to church' something we must do, we are trying to keep the sabbath by doing a work instead of resting in His finished work. This is irony.
Going to church is a good thing, if we understand that it is done to help us learn of Him and not to save ourselves by earning merit.

Jennie said...

I'm wondering why witnessing on a blog or on the internet isn't consider a work and how come that's not bad for you as well.
Did I say works are bad? No, all I've been saying is don't trust in them, but in Christ's righteousness, given when we trust in Him for forgiveness and right standing with God.
We are created for good works, after we are saved.

Elena said...

"This is irony"


it's weird.

Jennie said...

Jennie has a lot of fear for all the busy do gooders who go to church and then do good deeds all day although I still don't see how they have much time to get into trouble.
That's because doing good works can't save anyone. We are all still guilty of sin, and if we trust in doing good, it is not enough.

Jennie said...

it's weird.
Maybe, but it's the gospel. The Jews stumbled at it.

Elena said...

it's the Gospel of Jennie. I don't have that one in my bible.

Elena said...

That's because doing good works can't save anyone. We are all still guilty of sin, and if we trust in doing good, it is not enough.

So these church do gooders, whom we can give the benefit of a doubt as having faith - good fruits and all - are still in a heap o trouble right?

Jennie said...

we are trying to keep the sabbath by doing a work instead of resting in His finished work.
all I've been saying is don't trust in them (works), but in Christ's righteousness, given when we trust in Him for forgiveness and right standing with God.

Is this not the gospel?

Jennie said...

So these church do gooders, whom we can give the benefit of a doubt as having faith - good fruits and all - are still in a heap o trouble right?
Only if they are trusting in themselves to build up good works to save themselves. Do you think the RCC has done a good job of teaching their people that this cannot save them?

Jennie said...

and I should add, if they are trusting in church membership or in anyone besides Jesus Christ to save them.

Elena said...

Do you think the RCC has done a good job of teaching their people that this cannot save them?

Yep. Because the only place I hear that Catholics do good works to save themselves is on blogs and forums from Protestants!

Jennie said...

Well then, can you tell me in detail exactly what you believe you have to do to be saved?

Elena said...

:::beating head against monitor:::

Don't you think since you've been "studying" Catholicism out of concern for the family member who converted that you should have a copy of the catechism or at least have the link and KNOW THAT BY NOW!!!!!

Jennie said...

Don't hurt yourself, Elena ;)
The idea is that it is very simple, and I just want to know in a few sentences what you believe is essential.

Jennie said...

I hope that you don't think you have to 'do' or know everything in the catechism before you can be saved.

Elena said...

You know, when my kids are studying something they do RESEARCH. When my middle son was studying American History last year he read Common Sense and the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

For all your bluster about wanting to save Catholics I find it amusingly curious that you wouldn't check out what Pope John Paul called at its publication, "the Sure Norm" for Catholics!

I realize of course its more fun to make stuff up, hang on to your old misconceptions etc., but really, I would think a serious student would own a copy that was seriously dog eared and highlighted by now.

Jennie said...

You are right that I should read it, and I had said I would. I've been too busy since then to read anything much. There seem to be many versions. Which one should I start with?

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"2. Some are even concerned about being "anathematized." I don't think I ever did hear a response to the news from Kelly that Anathemas just ain't what they use to be!"
--------------
Wow, that's amazing. Next you'll be telling me that Muslims worship the same God as Christians and can be saved without confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Elena said...

You're a funny guy Paul.

I kind of think deep down you sort of like thinking of yourself as anathema!

Elena said...

Catechism Catholic Church

Moonshadow said...

Your "insights" sound like mocking caricatures to me.

why witnessing on a blog or on the internet isn't consider a work ... Going to church is a work

Both of these activities are in obedience to Christ.

Look, I'm not in the position to shrug off anyone's love. But there is a double standard towards Catholicism that I cannot understand.

A Christian can claim membership in another other church and get a pass. But not in the Catholic church.

And I can't take the patronizing lip service: "Oh, a Catholic may be saved, we're not saying they can't be, just so long as they don't actually believe what their church teaches."

Such hogwash.

The Orthodox Church isn't our friend either but as more Westerners get familiar with its beliefs and practices, they are going to see that Christianity is very varied.

My friend's blog ran a gag on the free will debate a while back, and I pointed out to her in the comments that the Christian faith found in the Armenian Church would be completely foreign to her ... and to us. I suppose that makes them wrong.

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"You're a funny guy Paul.
I kind of think deep down you sort of like thinking of yourself as anathema!
Catechism Catholic Church
---------------
Thanks Elena,
You got me looking through my CCC:
The Council of Florence, the 17th Ecumenical (and hence “infallible”) Council of the Roman Catholic Church, said the following:

It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. (Denzinger 714).

Yet, section 841 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993) says:

The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

In a similar way the Pope seemed to be in line with section 841 when he said,

VATICAN CITY, SEP 9, 1998 (VIS) - At today's Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the theme of The Spirit of God and the 'Seeds of Truth' in non-Christian Religions. The 'seeds of truth', said John Paul II, are 'the effect of the Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body', the wind 'which blows where it wills'. The Holy Father explained that in all authentic religious experiences, the most characteristic manifestation is prayer. ... Every true prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit, Who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person. Through the practice of what is good in their own religious traditions, and following the dictates of their consciences, members of other religions positively respond to God's invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even though they may not recognize Him as their Savior. The attitude of the Church and of individual Christians with regard to other religions is characterized by sincere respect, deep kindness, and also, where it is possible and appropriate, cordial collaboration. This does not mean forgetting that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator and Savior of the human race. Nor does it imply lessening the missionary effort to which we have an obligation, in obedience to the command of the Risen Lord: 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'. This attitude of respect and dialogue, concluded John Paul II, represents a due recognition of the 'seeds of the Word' and of the 'groans of the Spirit'. It also prepares the proclamation of the Gospel in awaiting the time when the Lord shows his mercy.
continued...

Paul said...

Yet, scarcely two years later, we encounter a Papal encyclical Dominus Iesus, which reads in part,

4. The Church's constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto but also de iure (or in principle). As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been superseded; for example, the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, the nature of Christian faith as compared with that of belief in other religions, the inspired nature of the books of Sacred Scripture, the personal unity between the Eternal Word and Jesus of Nazareth, the unity of the economy of the Incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit, the unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the universal salvific mediation of the Church, the inseparability -- while recognizing the distinction -- of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, and the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church.

5. As a remedy for this relativistic mentality, which is becoming ever more common, it is necessary above all to reassert the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ. In fact, it must be firmly believed that, in the mystery of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), the full revelation of divine truth is given: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” (Mt 11:27); “No one has ever seen God; God the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has revealed him” (Jn 1:18); “For in Christ the whole fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form” (Col 2:9-10).

For this reason, the distinction between theological faith and belief in the other religions, must be firmly held. If faith is the acceptance in grace of revealed truth, which “makes it possible to penetrate the mystery in a way that allows us to understand it coherently”, then belief, in the other religions, is that sum of experience and thought that constitutes the human treasury of wisdom and religious aspiration, which man in his search for truth has conceived and acted upon in his relationship to God and the Absolute.

This distinction is not always borne in mind in current theological reflection. Thus, theological faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God) is often identified with belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and still lacking assent to God who reveals himself. This is one of the reasons why the differences between Christianity and the other religions tend to be reduced at times to the point of disappearance.

Hence, those solutions that propose a salvific action of God beyond the unique mediation of Christ would be contrary to Christian and Catholic faith.

But, only a few months later, we get this:

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Wednesday 6 December 2000

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

continued.

Paul said...

The theme of our General Audiences during this Great Jubilee Year has been the glory of the Trinity, and today we ask what we must do to ensure that the glory of the Trinity shines forth more fully in the world. In essence, we are called to be converted and to believe in the Gospel. We are to accept the Kingdom of God in our hearts, and to bear witness to it by word and deed. The Kingdom indicates the loving presence and activity of God in the world, and should be a source of serenity and confidence for our lives. The Gospel teaches us that those who live in accordance with the Beatitudes - the poor in spirit, the pure of heart, those who bear lovingly the sufferings of life - will enter God’s Kingdom. All who seek God with a sincere heart, including those who do not know Christ and his Church, contribute under the influence of grace to the building of this Kingdom. In the Lord’s prayer we say: "Thy Kingdom come"; may this be the hope that sustains and inspires our Christian life and work.

Do you really think Rome clarifies the issues of the gospel, or does she muddle them?
source:
http://vintage.aomin.org/YouTell.html

Elena said...

I know you have a point in there somewhere Paul. And I'm hoping it gets around to being on topic.

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"I know you have a point in there somewhere Paul. And I'm hoping it gets around to being on topic."
---------------
Well Elena, I'm just trying to figure out how a council (Florence) can declare something so clearly and allegedly irreformable. And yet then be contradicted so obviously by JP2 while RC Apologists claim "we have never changed regarding matters of faith".

Elena said...

I'm not a professional apologist (and I don't even play one on t.v.) However, this is how it was explained to me - the last arbiter of who gets in and who stays out of heaven is God himself. And the church relies on his abundant mercies.

You might want to check out Dave Armstrong or Jim Akin's blogs to see if they can give you a more thorough answer. If Kelly's reading she might be able to flesh it out a lot more as well.

In the mean time you're not anathema! Yea!! right?

Kelly said...

I am humbled by your confidence in my, Elena.

Dominus Iesus is the guiding document here.

Some relevant excerpts:

In fact, the truth of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord and only Saviour, who through the event of his incarnation, death and resurrection has brought the history of salvation to fulfilment, and which has in him its fullness and centre, must be firmly believed as a constant element of the Church's faith.

It must therefore be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith that the universal salvific will of the One and Triune God is offered and accomplished once for all in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God.

For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”;81 it has a relationship with the Church, which “according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”.



To summarize on that point, the Catholic Church teaches that salvation always comes through Jesus Christ, the one Mediator. If Muslims are saved, it will be because God somehow saved them through Jesus.

The Pope's comments at a Wednesday audience are not binding in the way that an official document or a church council is. If non-Catholics, or even non-Christians are saved, it will be through Jesus and through his One, Holy Catholic Church. They would have to be a part of it in some way of which we are not aware, seeing as do, through a glass darkly.

With our limited understanding, it does not seem possible, but we are now acknowledging that through God, all things are possible.

Kelly said...

Paul, many of the decrees of the Council of Florence were not promulgated, and therefore are not considered infallible. You list a publisher and page number, but can you direct me to the decree from where you quote?

"The Council of Basle/Ferrara/Florence is only ecumenical till the end of the twenty-fifth session, and of its decrees Eugene IV approved only such as dealt with the extirpation of heresy, the peace of Christendom, and the reform of the Church, and which at the same time did not derogate from the rights of the Holy See."

Paul said...

Kelly,
See if this helps:
Session 11—4 February 1442

[Bull of union with the Copts]


It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church's sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.

source:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/FLORENCE.HTM

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"2. Some are even concerned about being "anathematized." I don't think I ever did hear a response to the news from Kelly that Anathemas just ain't what they use to be!"
--------------------
Here is an interesting comment from Turretinfan:
"Today I encountered the following comment: "Anathemas were done away with under the most recent Code of Canon Law." (source) It's not the first time I've seen this claim. The problem is this: I have the most recent Code of Canon Law and it doesn't (that I can find) even mention anathemas. I suppose that some folks in Roman Catholicism think this silence means that anathemas have been done away. That seems like as weak an argument as the argument that prayer veils are no longer required because of the silence regarding them. I wonder whether there is anything more to the argument than that. Any ideas anyone?
I'm aware of Mr. Akin's argument as follows:

Yet the penalty was used so seldom that it was removed from the 1983 Code of Canon Law. This means that today the penalty of anathema does not exist in Church law. The new Code provided that, "When this Code goes into effect, the following are abrogated: 1º the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917 . . . 3º any universal or particular penal laws whatsoever issued by the Apostolic See, unless they are contained in this Code" (CIC [1983] 6 §1). The penalty of anathema was not renewed in the new Code, and thus it was abrogated when the Code went into effect on January 1, 1983.


The problems with that type of argument are:

1) Where was anathema mentioned in the 1917 Code? I've perused that code and couldn't find it. Perhaps I overlooked something?

2) A penalty and a penal law are not the same thing.

If that's all Mr. Akin has, his argument seems exceptionally weak.

-TurretinFan
(source)
http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/anathemas-have-been-done-away.html

Moonshadow said...

If that's all Mr. Akin has, his argument seems exceptionally weak.

Akin also says the penalty isn't incurred automatically.

Are you, Paul, like our Jennie, someone who was baptized Catholic and then left?

Moonshadow said...

This should answer Elena's consternation about your fixation on Trent et. al.: you want us to change but remind us we can't.

Florence met before y'all were much of a concern and was (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia) a continuation of previous councils focussed on reunion with Greek Catholics. Which was accomplished.

General councils are practical, do you appreciate that? You seem to expect that councils "pontificate" in general terms.

Again, we find things Catholic not meeting Protestant expectations. When are you going to engage reality as it is rather than how you think it should be? I warn you, it takes some humility.

Elena said...

On snap!

Barbara C. said...

Works, works, works!! I'm so sick of works. First from him now from you; is this all you blighters can do?

You know Catholics, they just sit around all day tallying up how many empty good things they can do everyday to earn our salvation. They're all accountants. It's such hard work, though!!

It would be so much easier just to sit back, knowing they are saved, and they can pretty much do whatever they want and know their salvation is assured. They just have to say the Sinner's Prayer and they're good to go...wait, that's a bit of work. But they don't have to go to church every week. They don't even have to read the Bible. The Bible doesn't say they do. They just have to believe that everything they need to know is in there. Not that it really matters. Once they believe that Jesus saved all the rest is just...well, works. And the last thing they want is to have people catching them performing works; they might think they're Catholic or something.

I have been saved; I'm being saved; and by the Grace of God I will be saved.

Jennie said...

To summarize on that point, the Catholic Church teaches that salvation always comes through Jesus Christ, the one Mediator. If Muslims are saved, it will be because God somehow saved them through Jesus.
Kelly,
Muslims are saved every day by coming to faith in Christ, at the peril of their lives. They are not 'somehow saved' but are saved in the same way scripture teaches that all must be saved. They hear the gospel of salvation that is by grace and believe in it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Elena said...

I think the point Jennie is that God does us certain rules. He doesn't have to follow His own rules.

I'm not going to tell him what He can and can't do. Are you?

Kelly said...

Jennie, I was addressing the accusation that the Catholic Church now teaches that Muslims or Jews may be saved without becoming Christian. I hope to write a blog entry about that and more on anathemas later today. I have some other obligations to attend to first.

I do not deny that Muslims or any non-Christian can become saved by becoming a Christian.

Jennie said...

Barbara,
you seem a little annoyed.
Speaking for myself, my concern is not to point at individuals, Catholics or not, and say 'You're not saved because you're trying to work for your salvation.' I am concerned because I see teachings that seem to lead to a works mentality, as well as practices that can lead to idolatry, and that these things have not been corrected over all these years since well before the reformation, and have been added to as well.
I have a personal concern in this, as I have mentioned before, and have been studying it partly for this reason. I believe there are things that protestants can learn from catholicism, and the Fathers, but because of the major differences in doctrine,especially as effecting salvation and scripture, I don't believe it is possible for there to be unity, until there is common recognition and dependence upon the truth of scripture.
I also believe there are things catholics can learn from Bible christians, such as that scripture is God's word and as such is the final authority; and that sacraments, or ordinances, of Christ are for a sign by faith and are not a work and not to be mistaken for the reality of the cross and the Spirit.

Jennie said...

Barbara,
It would be so much easier just to sit back, knowing they are saved, and they can pretty much do whatever they want and know their salvation is assured. They just have to say the Sinner's Prayer and they're good to go...wait, that's a bit of work. But they don't have to go to church every week. They don't even have to read the Bible. The Bible doesn't say they do. They just have to believe that everything they need to know is in there. Not that it really matters. Once they believe that Jesus saved all the rest is just...well, works. And the last thing they want is to have people catching them performing works; they might think they're Catholic or something.
I hope you know that's not what real protestantism is about. Or is that the point? :) There are some people that think this way, of course. But I wouldn't call them protestants, or even Christians.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
Jennie, I was addressing the accusation that the Catholic Church now teaches that Muslims or Jews may be saved without becoming Christian.
If it's not an official teaching, it, and other similar things, is something that has been said by both John Paul 2 and Benedict XVI. They have both actively pursued relationships with leaders of other religions and worshipped with them, giving them honor and credibility, and saying that they are saved by their own religions. Some catholics are apparently concerned about this, as well as protestants who see it as the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophesied one world church of the end times.

Elena said...

But I wouldn't call them protestants, or even Christians

The only true Protestants and Christians are the ones who think exactly like Jennie does! Which leaves out 98% of Christendom but oh well...

Jennie said...

Works, works, works!! I'm so sick of works. First from him now from you; is this all you blighters can do?
And I like 'My Fair Lady', too :) My daughters and I watched it again recently.

Jennie said...

The only true Protestants and Christians are the ones who think exactly like Jennie does! Which leaves out 98% of Christendom but oh well...
Let's see...choices...preserve dignified silence...blow a razzberry...defend myself against false accusation....hmmmm.
I can't resist: the only true Christians are those who are born again by the Spirit and are being made like Christ by the Spirit as they continue to abide in Christ. They don't have to have all the answers right or understand everything all at once, but they are justified and are being sanctified and will be glorified when He returns for them.

Elena said...

Whew!! Well that leaves the Catholic off the hook then!! Much adieu about nothing!

Barbara C. said...

Jennie, I do find the whole "works" accusations extremely annoying. Anyone would assume that good works are a good thing no matter what a person's personal intentions, which only God can really know. The underlying assumption always seems to be that ANYTHING Catholics do is automatically empty and wrong-headed.

And I WAS being facetious about the Protestant path. Because most Protestants Christians I know, like my mother and my mother-in-law believe that as a Christian we are called to do good works as an extension of our faith. (Of course, maybe you wouldn't consider them "true" Christians.)

And just like faith should lead to good works, sometimes good works can lead to a deeper faith.

And Catholics don't really sit back thinking "how many God points can I earn by going to Mass?" It's a rule because God in his wisdom knows that we need to be there even when we don't feel like it in the moment. Mass to the Catholic is like weekly Sunday dinner with your Father. You go to dinner with your Father because you love him, not because you're wondering how much money he might give you if you show up. And you better have a pretty good excuse for not going when invited. Because THAT is what personal relationships are all about.

And when sacraments are equated with "works to earn God points" it drives us crazy. The sacraments aren't something we DO. They are something we are GIVEN by God. They are outpourings of God's love for us in physical ways that we can touch, hear, and even smell.

When your beloved grandmother gives you her diamond ear rings, you don't think "I wonder how much money I can get for these". You think about how much you love her, how thankful you are to have had her in your life, how touched that she loved you so much to give you something so valuable, and how you wish you could emulate all of her good qualities. This is what the sacraments mean to many, many practicing Catholics.

And the problem that us Catholics have with Once Saved Always Saved is that it seems really arrogant and presumptuous. It's like you're holding the Bible up as a legal contract that you're going to hold God to. God can do what God wants because He is God. And God is the judge of peoples' hearts and actions.

Jennie said...

Barbara,
I don't go around thinking 'Catholics are deliberately going around trying to be disobedient and trying to work to save themselves.' I and apparently many people now and in the past are concerned that the Catholic Church doesn't teach the scriptural version of how people are justified or made in right standing with God, and makes justification into a process instead of something that is done immediately by the Holy Spirit when we first call on God in faith to save and forgive us. If someone begins the 'Christian life' on their own power they can't then continue by faith. They don't yet have the Holy Spirit. We can't just 'decide' to be Christians, we have to be reborn by the Spirit first. That is what I have been trying to figure out all this time, if you guys have understood this. I think it's a legitimate concern. If someone hears the gospel of Christ's sacrifice for sin, is convicted of their sin and calls on Him to save and forgive, trusting in Him to give His righteousness, the Spirit gives faith by God's grace, and the person is reborn a new creation. THEN he can live by faith, and do good works out of love for God and not to save himself or to feel good about himself.

Paul said...

Moonshadow wrote:
"This should answer Elena's consternation about your fixation on Trent et. al.: you want us to change but remind us we can't.

Florence met before y'all were much of a concern and was (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia) a continuation of previous councils focussed on reunion with Greek Catholics. Which was accomplished.

General councils are practical, do you appreciate that? You seem to expect that councils "pontificate" in general terms.

Again, we find things Catholic not meeting Protestant expectations. When are you going to engage reality as it is rather than how you think it should be? I warn you, it takes some humility."
---------------------
"When are you going to engage reality as it is rather than how you think it should be?"

That's a Patrick Madridism if ever I saw one.
Let's take a look at reality. You mentioned:
"Florence met before y'all were much of a concern and was (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia) a continuation of previous councils focussed on reunion with Greek Catholics. Which was accomplished."
Your link took me here:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06111a.htm
The Council of Florence.
Now what is fascinating is that Florence truly was a continuation of previous councils, including:
Council of Constance
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04288a.htm
Now in the Council Of Constance, something very important took place.
Condemnation and execution of John Hus
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04288a.htm
In November following the Council of Constance assembled, and Hus, urged by King Sigismund, decided to appear before that body and give an account of his doctrine. At Constance he was tried, condemned, and burnt at the stake, 6 July, 1415. The same fate befell Jerome of Prague 30 May, 1416. (For details see COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE.)

"General councils are practical, do you appreciate that?"
I guess it depends on what "practical" means.

Jennie said...

Barbara,
And the problem that us Catholics have with Once Saved Always Saved is that it seems really arrogant and presumptuous. It's like you're holding the Bible up as a legal contract that you're going to hold God to. God can do what God wants because He is God. And God is the judge of peoples' hearts and actions.
I don't believe in once saved always saved, though I do not believe you lose your justification by sinning. We all sin. Apostasy is a not something that happens easily.

Jennie said...

Forgiveness of sins is part of being in the body of Christ. We can go to the Father as His dear children and be forgiven when we repent and confess our sins.

Paul said...

Moonshadow wrote:
"Florence met before y'all were much of a concern and was (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia) a continuation of previous councils focussed on reunion with Greek Catholics. Which was accomplished.
----------------
I'm presuming that "y'all" refers to Protestants? It's true that Florence was prior to the Reformation (proper) i.e 1518. However, The First Vatican Council met:
Pope Pius IX, at Vatican Council I (1869-70 AD):

… This true catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess and truly hold, is what I shall steadfastly maintain and confess, by the help of God, in all its completeness and purity until my dying breath, and I shall do my best to ensure that all others do the same. This is what I, the same Pius, promise, vow and swear. So help me God and these holy gospels of God.


Now this was long after the Westminster Confession of Faith 1646 was written.
http://www.opc.org/wcf.html

Moonshadow said...

And you know the other thing VCI declared ... after which no Catholics had any reason to ever expect another general church council ... and yet, less than one hundred years later ... VCII.

Just can't figure that Holy Ghost sometimes.

Moonshadow said...

Condemnation and execution of John Hus

From Wiki:

Nearly six centuries later in 1999, Pope John Paul II expressed "deep regret for the cruel death inflicted" on Hus. The pope then went on to suggest an inquiry as to whether Hus might be cleared of heresy.

Let's hope the Lord God forgives better than Paul does.

There were civil as well as ecclesial representatives at Hus' execution. It wasn't a "church execution" any more than Servetus'.

On a personal level, for the last ten years, I've had a very close friend who's ordained in the Moravian Church ... she's kind and gentle towards me ... we've talked about Hus ... there are a few things I'd be if I wasn't Catholic ... membership in the Moravian Church ranks high among them.

Moonshadow said...

Jennie said: and makes justification into a process instead of something that is done immediately by the Holy Spirit when we first call on God in faith to save and forgive us. If someone begins the 'Christian life' on their own power they can't then continue by faith. They don't yet have the Holy Spirit. We can't just 'decide' to be Christians, we have to be reborn by the Spirit first. That is what I have been trying to figure out all this time, if you guys have understood this. I think it's a legitimate concern. If someone hears the gospel of Christ's sacrifice for sin, is convicted of their sin and calls on Him to save and forgive, trusting in Him to give His righteousness, the Spirit gives faith by God's grace, and the person is reborn a new creation.

It is a legitimate concern.

I hear you saying this, that we can't decide for Christ. We can't will it for ourselves, it has to come from above.

But, you know, plenty of groups who target Catholics for evangelism do advocate making a decision. So our knee-jerk reaction is, "Well, sheesh, which answer will satisfy this one?" You see, we're approached on all sides.

However the underlying presumption (the right word, I think), even in making a decision to surrender to Christ's lordship, is that the Holy Spirit is at work, prompting the favorable outcome.

The very expression, "born again," suggests a beginning, a birth, not completion. Right? It's a new life which, barring deathbed regeneration, still has to be lived. And since Catholics think this new life begins with water baptism, we tend to simply move forward in faith, "leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, ... go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

You're afraid we're missing a step?

Jennie said...

The very expression, "born again," suggests a beginning, a birth, not completion. Right? It's a new life which, barring deathbed regeneration, still has to be lived. And since Catholics think this new life begins with water baptism, we tend to simply move forward in faith, "leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, ... go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

You're afraid we're missing a step?

Yes, the most important step.Being born or made alive. Though I don't think step is the best word for it, as it is something God does in you. You hear the gospel, He opens your eyes to the truth of your sinfulness and His righteousness, He by His grace gives faith so you can submit to Him and receive new life. I don't want to start a discussion on infant baptism or on how baptism works, but baptism requires prior faith and rebirth by the Spirit to be more than just a bath. All the baptisms shown in scripture were of people who had already repented and believed.

Jennie said...

By the way, in case anyone wonders why I'm blogging on Sunday AM, most of us have colds, so my husband is in bed with a sore throat, and 4 of the girls are coughing and blowing noses, so here I am.

Elena said...

FYI Jennie, some Protestant denominations also practice infant baptism - I'm guessing they fall into your "not REAL Christians" category

Elena said...

Though I don't think step is the best word for it, as it is something God does in you. You hear the gospel, He opens your eyes to the truth of your sinfulness and His righteousness

Here's what I think the difference is. For you and your brand of Christianity, being saved sounds like a SHAZAAM!!! moment. You get it in an instant and SHAZAAM! You're saved.

For Catholics it is a process that grows and develops from childhood or conversion onward. And we strive to "run the good race" and "persevere to the end" just as St. Paul said.

We know Christ won't leave us but we also are aware that we are easily mislead and able to fall into our sinfulness and leave Him! For that reason Catholics believe that indeed we can lose our salvation because we have free will and the ability to turn away from Christ at anytime.

We also understand that living a Christian life of Faith and Grace strengthens us and makes that less likely, but if St. Paul could worry about it for himself, I don't think I'm better than he is!


So I guess, to wrap up this thread, we've cleared up that ya'll aren't anathema and that Catholics basically meet Jennie's basic requirements - or at least as much as the nearest almost apostate Protestant church in her eyes.

I'm saying thanks for all the concern, but as you can see - it's really not necessary.

Jennie said...

Elena,
FYI Jennie, some Protestant denominations also practice infant baptism - I'm guessing they fall into your "not REAL Christians" category
Have I ever used the words 'not real Christians'? I wish you would stop saying that. I have said many times there are born again Christians in every denomination, but I believe much less than the actual membership numbers are actually saved in ALL denominations or groups.

Moonshadow said...

I'm sorry to hear that many of you have colds. There was an unusual summer cold that went through here a few weeks back.

I'm blogged on Sunday morning because we all went to church last night. :-) But it isn't necessary to explain such things, only that I was reminded again, and I'll remind you, that we pray for God to save us at mass. What else can we do?

"Lord, may this holy offering bring us your blessing and accomplish within us its promise of salvation. Grant this through Christ our Lord."

Yes, we bring the offering ("Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer ...") and utter the prayer.

Whether or not you think baptism or communion are efficacious towards eternal salvation, we cover ourselves with prayer and confess our sins ... and you agree that is the primary mode at getting the ball rolling.

Jennie said...

Elena,
You get it in an instant and SHAZAAM! You're saved.

For Catholics it is a process that grows and develops from childhood or conversion onward. And we strive to "run the good race" and "persevere to the end" just as St. Paul said.


You still have to be made alive before you can begin to live and continue to live in Him. You can't live the life if you are dead in sins, not being yet regenerated.

Elena said...

We believe that life in Christ starts with Baptism.

I understand that you don't.

That's fine.

I would like you to understand that our beliefs are also from scripture. We can argue all day about the different interpretations on that - (Let's not). I think on this one we could just agree to disagree.

And since this is just a matter of different interpretations albeit from the same scripture, I think you can also be a little "less concerned" about us Catholics

Jennie said...

I'm sorry to hear that many of you have colds. There was an unusual summer cold that went through here a few weeks back.
Thanks, Teresa. I appreciate that.

I was reminded again, and I'll remind you, that we pray for God to save us at mass. What else can we do?

"Lord, may this holy offering bring us your blessing and accomplish within us its promise of salvation. Grant this through Christ our Lord."


You said 'What else can we do?' You can't do anything to save yourself. But the Holy Spirit works through the word of God to convict people of sin and bring them to repentance and faith; the Spirit regenerates us when we submit in repentance and faith, giving up our own 'life' of sin and of trying to do it our way. If you hear the word and are convicted, pray for mercy and grace and forgiveness. He gives you faith and life by His grace.
John 16:5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Moonshadow said...

If you hear the word and are convicted, pray for mercy and grace and forgiveness. He gives you faith and life by His grace.

We do this liturgically and corporately.

I'm still trying to figure the objection. Is "corporate" the problem?

Do you think that individual, one-on-one evangelism has a greater degree of certainty?

Certainly, in the individual model, someone gets the credit for the conversion ("bear fruit").

Jennie said...

Elena,
Well, there's no point in us arguing about it, since that doesn't often help to convince anyone.
I just want you to know that baptism is not effective without faith and the washing of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the Living Water. Scripture IS clear on that.

Elena said...

I just want you to know that that is YOUR opinion that is not shared by the rest of Christendom including the Orthodox- whom I have never heard you express any concern about.

Baptism - Catechism Catholic Church.

Moonshadow said...

whom I have never heard you express any concern about.

That's a good one!

Jennie said...

Teresa,
We do this liturgically and corporately.

I'm still trying to figure the objection. Is "corporate" the problem?

Do you think that individual, one-on-one evangelism has a greater degree of certainty?


The Spirit can work in each person in a group or by an individual. It doesn't matter. Wherever the word is preached (and I've heard of cases where the Spirit directly preached in someones' heart and they were convicted and saved) the Spirit works. But just because someone hears words and repeats them in church, it doesn't mean it has actually affected the person, if the Spirit has not been effective in that person for whatever reason. It could be they are not ready, or are not repentant, or are resisting Him, or that the word has been rendered ineffective by other teachings that counter it, etc.
The Spirit works in each heart individually.

Moonshadow said...

just because someone hears words and repeats them in church, it doesn't mean it has actually affected the person, if the Spirit has not been effective in that person for whatever reason.

True.

And so, consequently, you recommend ... stepping out of that church? "Oh, snap! This didn't work. Better try something else."

Your words don't add up.

Our bets are hedged as Catholics. The greatest potential for salvation is in the Catholic Church.

Jennie said...

Elena,
just want you to know that that is YOUR opinion that is not shared by the rest of Christendom including the Orthodox- whom I have never heard you express any concern about.
I have read that part of the catechism, by the way.
I think we've talked about the fact that I don't mention the Orthodox church. I don't mention them, first because I don't know much about them and don't know anyone in that group. I haven't studied it. Secondly, I'm not talking to Orthodox people, I'm talking to you ladies, who are Roman Catholic, and it seems like too much trouble to type 'Roman Catholic and Orthodox' every time I mention something. I assume I would probably have alot of the same objections as I understand their beliefs are similar, except for the authority issue.

Moonshadow said...

I don't know much about them and don't know anyone in that group.

I imagine "ex-Eastern Orthodox" is a small group. Whereas "ex-Roman Catholic" is the second largest denomination in America, after "Roman Catholic."

Jennie said...

And so, consequently, you recommend ... stepping out of that church? "Oh, snap! This didn't work. Better try something else."
No. I recommend seeking the Lord in His word and prayer to be sure you are 'in the faith' that is taught there. I know my saying this won't cause you to want to do this, but Jesus commands it, and in Revelation He warns the churches of the things they each need to repent of.

How come everyone's saying 'Oh, snap!' all of a sudden? I don't hear that expression here in Georgia, and I don't remember it when I was growing up in New York state or Florida either.

Elena said...

I recommend seeking the Lord in His word and prayer to be sure you are 'in the faith' that is taught there. I know my saying this won't cause you to want to do this,


You know, that's the kind of rhetoric that makes me want to find that gravy ladle and smack you with it.

Really Jennie, how DARE YOU suggest that Catholics (particularly the ones on this blog)don't already seek His will in the word and in prayer.

Honestly, it's the "I'm such a better Christian then you near-Pagan-Christian wannabes are" attitude that makes me just wanna close up the whole thing, and just stick with Catholic blogs.

Moonshadow said...

"Oh, snap!" is something the kids are saying these days.

I'm not getting what Elena is getting from Jennie's comments.

But I would ask how long it's been since Jennie attended a Catholic mass. Because, now that I think of it, there are people at mass who, for one reason or another, cannot receive communion. So if mass was only about receiving the sacrament, the service wouldn't be beneficial to all in attendance.

Yesterday we read from Psalm 15 which includes the verse that reads like this:

"by whom the reprobate is despised,"

according to the New American translation.

Now, to me, "reprobate" is a precise theological term but I was concerned that this verse means genuine believers "despise" non-believers. Well, that doesn't fit my theology at all. It may fit my practice! but I would see that as a personal shortcoming. Not the ideal. Something to be confessed as sin.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I may just be sharing as an instance where a Catholic engaged the Scripture in an intimate way at the public proclamation of the word. God spoke a word to me.

Moonshadow said...

Jennie seems to be saying something like this:

"Further, for Calvin the Holy Spirit does not always work to save through the Gospel; rather, the Spirit bestows His special illumination only on some of those who hear the Word preached. This concept stands in contrast to the classic Lutheran insistence that the Word which God speaks always brings God with it. In practice, Barth's idea that Scripture becomes the Word of God when God so wills does not differ much from Calvin's view that the Holy Spirit only deigns at times to work graciously through the Word."

So, yes, on this point, Calvin is at odds with Catholicism.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I was answering a specific question that Teresa asked, which was a rhetorical and rather sarcastic question of what someone should do if they are not individually experiencing the conviction of the Spirit in church.
I certainly had no intention of offense, and I apologize that it came across that way. I was not telling anyone to do anything that I don't have to do myself. I do have to examine myself and question where I am spiritually. I was quoting indirectly from Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Moonshadow said...

I'm sorry you thought that was sarcasm. I try not to do that. Because it doesn't come across right.

But we Catholics avail ourselves of God's forgiving, merciful presence in word and sacrament.

According to you, there's nothing more we can do. So, I don't get your beef.

Kelly said...

Have I ever used the words 'not real Christians'? I wish you would stop saying that. I have said many times there are born again Christians in every denomination

Well, we've said many times that Catholics do not believe we are saved by our works and that doesn't seem to have made much of an impact, either.

What happened to Paul?

Jennie said...

I should have said 'slightly sarcastic' I guess. I didn't think you were being unkind at all.
I'm not getting across what I mean very well, so maybe I'll quit for now.
I apologize again for giving the impression that I think I'm better than you all. I don't at all. I am impressed with many things about all of you, and am acutely aware of my own shortcomings, especially in situations like these. Please forgive my clumsiness.

Moonshadow said...

Paul's probably at church.

I would say, on the self-examination exercise, that I'm inclined to be self-deceived and it may just be better to assume that I could always stand to be more faithful.

Jennie, I'm still not offended in any way. And I'm sorry if I offended you at all. I think you've explained yourself very well but I'm not convinced that you have anything on us. You haven't shown me that you have anything on us.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
"Further, for Calvin the Holy Spirit does not always work to save through the Gospel; rather, the Spirit bestows His special illumination only on some of those who hear the Word preached. This concept stands in contrast to the classic Lutheran insistence that the Word which God speaks always brings God with it. In practice, Barth's idea that Scripture becomes the Word of God when God so wills does not differ much from Calvin's view that the Holy Spirit only deigns at times to work graciously through the Word."
I think the parable of the sower is the answer to this. Jesus said that our hearts are the soil, and the Word of God is the seed. Our hearts have to be ready for the word. Each person is in a different place and condition in their lives and hearts, so the word is not equally effective for all people at all times.

Paul said...

Kelly said:
"What happened to Paul?"

Moonshadow said:
"Paul's probably at church."
----------------
Yes, I was at church and will be heading back for evening worship soon.
Kelly,
I was wondering if you had a chance to blog on "anathema" yet? I would be very interested in your response to Turretinfan's blog-post.
http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/anathemas-have-been-done-away.html

I tried to find "anathema" in the Code of Canon Law that he linked to:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

I made it about half way through using a search tool and found nothing.

Paul said...

Elena said:
"So I guess, to wrap up this thread, we've cleared up that ya'll aren't anathema and that Catholics basically meet Jennie's basic requirements - or at least as much as the nearest almost apostate Protestant church in her eyes."

--------------
Chrysostom said:
Chrysostom (349-407): And a rule admits neither addition, nor subtraction, since that destroys its being a rule. NPNF1: Vol. XIII, Homilies on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, Homily XII, Comments on Philippians 3:16.

Greek text: Ὁ κανὼν οὔτε πρόσθεσιν, οὔτε ἀφαίρεσιν δέχεται, ἐπεὶ τὸ κανὼν εἶναι ἀπόλλυσι. In Epistolam Ad Philippenses Comentarius, Caput III, Homilia XII, PG 62:273.

Clare said...

Moonshadow:

"I'm not getting what Elena is getting from Jennie's comments."

Seriously?
I certainly am.


Jennie
I read this:
" I recommend seeking the Lord in His word and prayer to be sure you are 'in the faith' that is taught there. I know my saying this won't cause you to want to do this, but Jesus commands it"
With mouth agape.

It didn't sound to me as though you were merely paraphrasing Paul in 2 Cor.
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, but to my ears it just carries such a lofty and over confident tone.
This:
"I know my saying this won't cause you to want to do this, but Jesus commands it"
is very revealing.
it just reeks of spiritual pride.

I'm sorry if I'm flogging a dead horse here, because I see that subsequently you have apologised for giving that impression, and I do appreciate that at least. But I have to say, it's left a VERY bad taste in my mouth.

I realise that I may be misunderstanding you, but I can't see how.
That your opinion on the likelihood of Catholics "seeking the Lord in His word and prayer" is so low, even after engaging with a number of them on the blogs...well. It's certainly a sobering cause for reflection at least.
I wonder what the value IS of these kinds of discussions for you?

Elena said...

Oh shoot... I don't know if my Latin translator can do Greek too!


If it makes you feel better I can be the pontiff of this little blog and make you anathema for over quoting if you like. I want you to feel at home.

Jennie said...

Clare,
Have you carefully read the conversation Teresa and I were having?
I was trying to explain our belief that justification by faith comes first before one can live the life of faith, and that that is a big part of the concern protestants have about Catholic teachings; that if one is not reborn first, practicing good works does no good for your salvation. She understood that I am concerned that catholics (in general, not all, because of the way justification is taught) may not be understanding that justification by faith and regeneration by the Spirit must come first, so that they might be trying to live without first being 'made alive.' We went on to talk about how the Spirit works individually in each person and that in corporate worship, someone hearing or repeating words and prayers may not be getting anything out of it for many reasons. Then she asked, kind of fasceciously, if I recommend someone just leaving the Church, since it didn't 'work' for them. Here is my answer: No. I recommend seeking the Lord in His word and prayer to be sure you are 'in the faith' that is taught there. I know my saying this won't cause you to want to do this, but Jesus commands it, and in Revelation He warns the churches of the things they each need to repent of.
I think Teresa understood what I was trying to say. I was not referring to her in particular, but to any person, and I include myself, to examine themselves as Paul teaches. I was not saying that Catholics don't seek the Lord in prayer and the word, but trying to say that it seems to me that Catholics may have a harder time realizing that they might not be 'in the faith' because they might think that being in the Church and doing what she teaches is enough. Because Catholics take the word of the Church as law, they may not listen to the exhortation of a single non-catholic to examine themselves as we all are commanded to do. I know what I said didn't come across that way, and I am truly sorry. Again I am a little used to the way Teresa thinks from our conversations, and felt she would understand.

just evelyn said...

Jennie wrote: " Apostasy is a not something that happens easily."

I should not be here this late, but I'm still boggling on the whole deceived by evil spirits thing, where I spent my whole life in prayer and the scripture and yet accidentally apostasized in my conversion to Catholicism. But here you say that it doesn't happen easily. Which is it?

just evelyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennie said...

Clare,
I meant to say also that I have used that quote from Paul many times in different contexts, and no one got offended. All of us are supposed to do this, comparing ourselves to the word of God.

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
I've already offended several people today, so I think I'd better not try to explain anything else.

Moonshadow said...

I got the English cognate "canon" (κανὼν) out of the Gk. Paul cited, "rule".

A link to the homily.

The lines before and after Paul's citation: "Seest thou, that he wills that his precepts should be a rule to us? ...'By the same rule,' i.e. by the same faith, within the same limits."

Chrysostom is calling for "catholicity" of faith, "let us mind the same thing", τὸ ἀυτο φρονεῖν.

Ironically, the gloss is a TR variant. :-)

If the Code of Canon Law changes, it changes for everyone (in the Latin rite); catholicity is preserved.

The only thing that might make Paul feel better would be to talk to a priest.

Yeah, again, Jennie's recommendation to seek the Lord in his word and prayer is always a welcome instruction. And should be welcome.

"they might think that ... doing what she [the Church] teaches is enough."

Not enough, but a good place to start.

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
I had to go back and read the comments on my blog to remember what we said. I didn't remember saying you had apostasized, and I didn't. I said, among other things, that I believe you are going the wrong way and are in danger, because you have gone into a church that teaches that their traditions are on the same level as scripture when in fact they contradict scripture. I said that scripture teaches that it is possible to be deceived by false spirits and warns repeatedly to test everything by the word. I believe that the marian doctrines are an affront to God. I don't want to offend people, but I don't want to fail to tell the truth of scripture if I am confronted with error.

Elena said...

This is the cagey part that you always avoid answering Jennie.

WHAT DANGER!!!!?

As long as Evelyn believes (faith) what do you care if she believes in Sacred Tradition as well as Sacred Scripture or any of the other Catholic Doctrines?

Jennie said...

Elena,
WHAT DANGER!!!!

I don't believe I have avoided answering that. I think it would be obvious that someone could be in danger of at least earthly discipline and eventually of eternal judgment if they are going into spiritual error. I don't know at what point this line is crossed. If what I have warned about is true, and I believe it is a great concern, then people are in danger. If I believe this, then is it not irresponsible and unloving to just ignore it?

Elena said...

So to be crystal clear in my own mind at least, you believe that Catholics who do have Faith in God are still in danger of losing their salvation and spending eternity in hell if they follow the teachings of the Catholic Church - yes or no?

Jennie said...

Elena,
If individual Catholics, or anyone, are trusting in God alone for their salvation and continue to do so, they are not in danger. If the teachings of the RCC, or the Baptist church or any church, lead individuals away from faith in God alone, and they trust in anything else, such as belonging to a church or being baptized or taking the eucharist, or praying to anyone else to save them, or being good enough, etc., then these people are in danger of hell. I know I have said this awkwardly. God is merciful, and He gives us many warnings in scripture, and gives us all time to repent.

Moonshadow said...

Jennie said "If Catholics are trusting in God alone for their salvation ... they are not in danger. If ... they trust in taking the eucharist, ...then these people are in danger of hell."

Elena, you are beating a dead horse. Who's the masochist now?

Jennie said...

Elena,
Is what I'm concerned about with Catholic doctrine any worse than what many modern Baptist churches are teaching, or not teaching? I would guess not. In many churches their traditions make the word of God of no effect, and their vapid and shallow teachings have starved their people, who in many cases have no understanding that they are called to repentance and holiness and how they are to begin to do this. This is not true of all, but most of the 'church' today is in danger of being 'vomited out of His mouth'.

Moonshadow said...

Jennie, what do you think of the remarks here on the principle of letting Scripture interpret Scripture?

I got a good look at the practice in these discussions, mostly as worked out in Turretinfan's exegesis. And in listening to this sermon on why it's biblical to pray for Obama's death.

I don't think the method guarantees a faithful interpretation of Scripture.

Now before we get all down on Baptist churches, let me tell you that the preaching at the closest Baptist church to me is very good. But I am prejudice, believing that churches in the Northeast - where most people are professionals - are better grounded than anywhere else in the country. :-)

Elena said...

Jennie should go into politics they way she tip toed around that dead horse, coming as close to it as possible and only picking an old scab.

So to pick it a bit further, Jennie, do you know any Catholics who in your opinion are going to hell and are in fact, sprinting there?

Jennie said...

Teresa,
There's alot I could say about Simon's post on scripture interpreting scripture. I don't know if I want to take the time to go into it in detail, but I'll try to explain why I think he's wrong.

First of all, he says that the problem with the idea is that people forget the fallible agent that is doing the interpreting. This fallible agent is using one passage to interpret another. One problem with Simon's objection is that there is always a fallible agent involved when humans are interpreting scripture, whether they are using scripture to interpret scripture or using some other source. The problem is not that people are fallible. The problem is that people are either ignorant of the whole of scripture, are not being led by the Holy Spirit, and/or they are using some other source to contribute to interpretation that is not consistent with scripture.
Saying scripture cannot interpret scripture is like saying God cannot interpret scripture. If His people are abiding in His word, and are filled with the Spirit, and are growing in knowledge of Christ, and are exhorting and encouraging each other, and are using His word alone as their guide (their teachers must do this as well), then they can't go far wrong. The problem is that people are not doing these things consistently.

Jennie said...

And I should add that the Apostles interpreting scripture IN scripture are infallible because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Moonshadow said...

Sure, Simon walks that line carefully.

Jennie said...

So to pick it a bit further, Jennie, do you know any Catholics who in your opinion are going to hell and are in fact, sprinting there?
Elena, I don't have any way of answering that question. I can't possibly know. I'm dealing with whether doctrines are in line with scripture, not with condemning individuals or groups to hell.
The only Catholics I know personally, besides you ladies, and I'm not sure that qualifies as 'knowing', are my own extended family members. All of them are very nice, normal people who probably go to mass every week and don't live overtly sinful lives. Most of them live out of state. All I know is that being nice and going to Church isn't enough, and I haven't been able to talk to them enough to know what they personally depend upon for salvation.

Elena said...

Well Jennie, it sure seems to me that you have put a whole lot of time and energy into shouting danger danger when you Don't know if anyone is in danger.

So I guess my next question have you heard or read about a Catholic who was devout in their Catholicism and then went to hell?

Jennie said...

How could anyone know about it to write about it, even if someone did go to hell? I don't have time for unanswerable questions.

Elena said...

So again, to be clear in my own mind,

you don't think we're going to hell.
you don't think your family is going to hell.
you've never read an accounting of a Catholic who probably ended up in hell.

And to go on further, you know that the Catholic church teaches faith in Jesus Christ.

So what's your problem?

Jennie said...

That's not what I said. I don't condemn people to hell, God does. All I can do is judge doctrines against scripture. God judges hearts.

just evelyn said...

"only 40% of millennial Catholic adults are certain you can have a personal relationship with God - the lowest number of any Catholic generation."

From blog.siena.org

Yikes.

Jennie, what's happening in the Catholic Church is that a great lack of proper instruction for the current middle-aged generation (would that be boomers?) has created a Church full of people who don't know the faith they profess, and who may not do a decent job of passing that faith on to their kids.

So it may well be that the Catholics you know personally aren't recognizable to you as Christians saved by grace through faith. I don't think any practicing Catholic would argue much about that. We are quite dismayed by it.

The trouble, as I see it, is when people start generalizing from non-practicing Catholics to the Church as a whole.

I was embarassed last week to find tucked into my pew, a copy of a novena that "never fails" and promises that my request will be granted on the eighth day. Every day the person is supposed to leave a copy of the novena in the church, with the instructions. I took it and tossed it. God is not bound to answer my prayer just because I repeat it nine days in a row, and I feel sorry for anyone who tries the "magic" and does not receive the answer they are looking for, because they think that God let them down.

The Church doesn't teach that novenas are magic. She teaches that novenas are a disciplined way to spend time in focused prayer over an issue that is important to a person. But you would never know that based on what I found in the pew!

I guess I'm just going back to my original request at your blog, that you consider that perhaps your knowledge of the Church is incorrect, incomplete, or misunderstood, instead of insisting that it is dangerous to be Catholic and a Christian becomes Catholic when deceived by evil spirits.

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
The trouble, as I see it, is when people start generalizing from non-practicing Catholics to the Church as a whole.

I'm not sure that that is related to what I am seeing, because I'm not going so much by the way Catholics that I know or see are living, but by the actual doctrines and practices of the Church. Of course my knowledge is incomplete; there is so much to cover. But I have mainly been studying about the doctrines of salvation(justification) and the eucharist, and some Marian teachings, which are important areas of difference between protestants and catholics.
I have started to read the catechism so I can get a better and more comprehensive idea of things. If only my main reading time wasn't after the girls go to bed; it's hard to get through when I'm getting sleepy. I think the Bible is an infinitely better way of getting doctrine, since it is written with such variety, and even has stories and 'pictures' too! :) It is the most amazing creation of God, and it seems like new things are always popping out at me when I read it.

About the novenas, I've heard the term, but don't know much about them. I looked it up and I see they are prayers to Mary and saints and to the sacred heart of Jesus (It seems strange to me to pray to someone's heart instead of to them; I can't help it).
Turretinfan, who has commented here and on my blog, has a post up about prayer here: http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/analogical-argument-on-object-of-prayer.html

just evelyn said...

Jennie, what I'm seeing is that you have some very strong negative ideas about our Church. Elena and others have clarified your misconceptions over and over, but you don't believe us. There must be something more going on. You are committed to the idea that the Church is unbiblical, even when we've shown you it is and why. Something is coloring your opinion and making it impossible for you to believe us, to the point that you are willing to say that brothers and sisters in Christ are deceived by false spirits. If you're not basing your opinion on Catholics that you know, why aren't you able to hear what we're saying?

Elena said...

Jennie is being a bit disingenuous. She didn't seek us out on this blog, or engage me on my other one because she wanted to dialogue about doctrines. She admits to starting her own blog because she was upset that some of her family members converted to Catholicism and she wants to save them. Presumably she wants to convert us as well.

It's fine to disagree with doctrines, but to insist on an ill defined danger is a little bit more personal than that.

The bottom line is that when Candy, Jennie etc. talk about how we just need to "read our bibles" or are following a false doctrine as opposed to a different interpretation they are insulting. It insults our intelligence and it insults our relationship with the Lord. It smacks of superiority and arrogance.

And frankly it's hard to get by the personal garbage they put up to get to the actual discussion on bible interpretations and doctrines.

Paul said...

Moonshadow said:
"Jennie, what do you think of the remarks here on the principle of letting Scripture interpret Scripture?"
-----------------
I read Simon's post. He obviously subscribes to some form of the "emergent" movement. He even admits "I'm being very postmodern here".
Moonshadow said:
"I don't think the method guarantees a faithful interpretation of Scripture."
------------------
Well, that would put you in disagreement with many of the ECF's. I wouldn't say that they "guaranteed" a faithful interpretation but they (those that addressed it) certainly considered it the "most" faithful method of interpretation.

Paul said...

Jennie wrote:
"Teresa,
There's alot I could say about Simon's post on scripture interpreting scripture. I don't know if I want to take the time to go into it in detail, but I'll try to explain why I think he's wrong.

First of all, he says that the problem with the idea is that people forget the fallible agent that is doing the interpreting. This fallible agent is using one passage to interpret another. One problem with Simon's objection is that there is always a fallible agent involved when humans are interpreting scripture, whether they are using scripture to interpret scripture or using some other source. The problem is not that people are fallible. The problem is that people are either ignorant of the whole of scripture, are not being led by the Holy Spirit, and/or they are using some other source to contribute to interpretation that is not consistent with scripture.
Saying scripture cannot interpret scripture is like saying God cannot interpret scripture. If His people are abiding in His word, and are filled with the Spirit, and are growing in knowledge of Christ, and are exhorting and encouraging each other, and are using His word alone as their guide (their teachers must do this as well), then they can't go far wrong. The problem is that people are not doing these things consistently."
-------------
Jennie,
Very well put.

Moonshadow said...

I gave two examples where I observed the principle of "letting Scripture interpret Scripture" done poorly. I am unimpressed with the typical results.

Maybe one would say the practitioners weren't "faithfully handling the word of God." So many slogans.

Have I quoted any Church Fathers? That may tell you something.

As to being postmodern, nobody today can help that.

Paul said...

Moonshadow wrote:
"I gave two examples where I observed the principle of "letting Scripture interpret Scripture" done poorly. I am unimpressed with the typical results."
----------------
What method of Scripture interpretation would you recommend?

Moonshadow said...

A method that deals with the immediate verse completely without jumping right away to other (favorite) parts of the Bible.

For instance, pay attention next time how often Romans is used to interpret the Gospels.

In recent years, I took two different Bible studies at two different Protestant churches on the Gospel according to Matthew ... and, in both, we spent most of our time in Paul's Letter to the Romans and very little time in Matthew.

I found it very frustrating.

Jennie said...

Evelyn, you said
Jennie, what I'm seeing is that you have some very strong negative ideas about our Church. Elena and others have clarified your misconceptions over and over, but you don't believe us. There must be something more going on.

There are centuries of history, from well before the Reformation, of people objecting to doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic church. The objections of the Reformers have never been resolved. How can we resolve them here, when the magisterium has not changed anything since then except to add more objectionable doctrines? I believe the Reformers were right; and the differences still remain today.
It has nothing to do with individual Catholics or how well they follow the teachings of the Church, and how 'good' they are. None of us is good without Christ's imputed righteousness and the regeneration and sanctifying of His Spirit and word.
Evelyn, if you were already saved before you entered the RCC, then you may be seeing things differently than a person who was raised in the Church. If someone was baptized as a baby, they may be depending on that to be saved, and on doing things according to the Church teachings, but may never have been reborn by the Spirit by faith in Christ. They may think they can earn merits for themselves by doing good works or praying prayers. You as a saved person may not see that the Church does not preach the gospel clearly; you have already seen that many who are in it are clueless and have not been taught properly.

I do hear what you are saying, but in many cases I have explained something in light of scripture and Elena or someone else just explains it away without actually answering the scriptural claim. You use the teachings of the Church and her apologists that have reinterpreted scripture so as to answer legitimate concerns of others. I have not been convinced because I clearly see the contradictions to the truth and you have accepted false explanations of these objections.

I will see what I learn in the catechism, and if it clarifies anything or just confuses things more. From what I've seen it is far from clear on how to be saved and to continue in it.

Paul said...

Moonshadow wrote:
"A method that deals with the immediate verse completely without jumping right away to other (favorite) parts of the Bible."
-----------------------
That method seems very sound to me.

Elena said...

I'm starting a new thread on this. See the top of the blog.