A Reformed Protestant’s Criticism of My Book

lanekYou can read Lane Keister’s criticisms at Green Baggins. My response doesn’t come until later in the comments, as I didn’t realize he had written anything about the book until I swung over to his blog randomly a few days ago.

Lane believes that I misrepresent Protestantism’s view of authority. He believes that in Protestantism the authority of “the Church” and its “pastors,” is greater than that of the individual Christian. The problem with that belief, as I point out in the comments, is that the Called to Communion guys definitively showed it to be false. First in the big sola reduces to solo post and then in Dr. Mike Liccione’s follow-up.

Protestants are forced to define “the Church” circularly:

But how does he determine what is the Church? Being Reformed, he defines ‘Church’ as wherever the gospel is found, because the early Protestants defined the marks of the Church as including “the gospel,” where the gospel was determined by their own private interpretation of Scripture. So he claims that it is in the Church that the gospel is found, but he defines the Church in terms of the gospel. This is what we call a tautology. It is a form of circular reasoning that allows anyone to claim to be the Church and have the gospel. One can read the Bible and formulate one’s own understanding of the gospel, then make this “gospel” a necessary mark of the Church, and then say that it is in the Church that the gospel is found. Because one has defined the Church in terms of the gospel [as arrived at by one’s own interpretation of Scripture], telling us that the gospel is found “in the Church” tells us nothing other than “people who share my own interpretation of Scripture about what is the gospel are referred to by me as ‘the Church.’” This kind of circular reasoning allows falsehood to remain hidden.

The Catholic position does not suffer from this circularity, because ‘Church’ is not defined in terms of “gospel,” but in terms of apostolic succession, involving an unbroken line of authorizations extending down from the Apostles.

This is an incredibly difficult truth for Protestants to see. I remember sitting in my room during my Evangelical Protestant days, trying to work out in my mind whether this was true or not. I didn’t want it to be true, and I tried to see how it was not a tautology. But it was, and I eventually realized it. Now it seems obvious, but back then it did not. It is not obvious to Lane or to Dr. Mathison, or to many learned and Christ-loving Protestants.

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94 Responses to A Reformed Protestant’s Criticism of My Book

  1. I have found that what prevents Protestants from seeing what you see is their implicit Donatism.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Mike, can you explain any further? I have an idea of what you mean I think.

    • I thought the Donatists at least had the decency to affirm that the Catholic Church once was the church founded by Christ, as well as holding that Holy Orders actually is a sacrament. If only confessional Protestants nowadays held the same thing…

      ~Benjamin

  2. Nick Trosclair says:

    Dr. Liccione, next article “Ecclesial Donatism.”

  3. Anil Wang says:

    I think a fundamental disconnect is that Protestants have a lower expectation of certainty than Catholics. That expectation of certainty has reduced with time in Protestants, but it still remains (although shaken after Vatican II) in Catholicism.

    Anyone with lower expectation will see denominations with higher certaintly as being presumptious, which is one of the criticism towards your book on the blog.

    If you look at the history of Protestantism, Luther didn’t trust the Pope, so he “settled” for the authority of councils. Then it was pointed out that councils condemned some of his positions, so he “settled” for the authority of the witness of the early Church (and the underdeveloped Old and New Testaments). That unanimous witness didn’t quite work out since the early Church believed many times Luther rejected, and no-one other than Luther felt comfortable dropping any books from the New Testament, so a consensus was developed that the Jews owned the Old Testament, but the New Testament was okay, and that the early Church was only reliable when it proved the position of a denomenation and flawed when it didn’t. That consensus provided enough support for Luther so he settled on that being the rule of faith.

    But others such as Zwingli didn’t trust the early Church since it disagreed with some things we thought were true, so he accepted that the consensus Protestant Bible and nothing more.

    Flash forward a few centuries. Many denominations were caught on the wrong side of the slavery issue, so distrust that scripture is perfectly clear decreased in the popular mind. Flash forward a few centuries. Historical criticism and scientific evidence challenged the beliefs of many faithful. This in turn resulted in three reactions, fideism (the Bible is true despite evidence to the contrary), Pentacostalism (the Holy Spirit speaking to me is right despite evidence to the contrary), and liberalism (the Bible is unreliable, but a good source of inspiration).

    As a side note, I’ve recently reread Francis Schaeffer’s book “How then shall we live?”. He gives the same analysis of the problem, albeit from the Presbyterian (and slightly anti-Catholic, but mostly anti-Humanism) perspective.

    • De Maria says:

      There you are Anil. I thought I’d seen you elsewhere.

      They also seem to have a lower expectation of man’s ability to do anything righteous. Holiness, for instance. They don’t believe that anyone can become Holy as God is Holy. They seem to consider these verses as exercises in futility:

      Leviticus 11:45
      For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

      Matthew 5:48
      Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

      I wonder if these lower expectations come from, or are described in, the doctrine of “Total Depravity”?

  4. To answer Devin’s question:

    Most Protestants assume that, if the Catholic Church ever enjoyed “apostolic succession” at all, it was broken by the sins of medieval/Renaissance popes and bishops. Thus did those men lose the grace of Holy Orders, and their commission to preach and teach, by being unworthy ministers. Exactly what the Donatists used to say.

    In response to what Anil Wang said:

    The “lower expectation of certainty” you note is what makes the assent of faith, as distinct from that of opinion, impossible just to the extent one is Protestant.

  5. Some of us Protestants just actually want to trust in Christ alone, because we see ourselves for what we actually are, full blown sinners who do not want to live as God has ordained. We know that we are not up to it and we know that we need a Savior. Whatever we ‘kick in’ has already been nailed to the Cross.

    So we see no benefit in climbing spiritual ladders…in fact we see that way of living out the Christian life as self-focused and detrimental to the life of faith.

    Thanks.

    • Dave says:

      “we see no benefit in climbing spiritual ladders”

      What does that mean? Protestants don’t put forth any effort to become holy? I know that is not true. We are all called to be holy, to be formed into “other Christs.” That transformation happens through God’s grace, but we do have the free will to thwart the transformation.

      • I too would like to see Steve explain this phrase a little more and spell out its practical implications.

      • No, actually many Protestants do, also.

        A small percentage of us Protestants believe what the Bible says about it. That being that we are ‘declared righteous and holy for Jesus’ sake.

        • De Maria says:

          Steve Martin says:
          January 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm
          No, actually many Protestants do, also.

          A small percentage of us Protestants believe what the Bible says about it. That being that we are ‘declared righteous and holy for Jesus’ sake.

          Where does Scripture say such a thing? Here is what I see:
          1 John 3:7
          Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

          Titus 2:11-13
          King James Version (KJV)
          11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

          1 Corinthians 15:34
          Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

          1 Timothy 6:11
          But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

          Romans 2:7
          King James Version (KJV)
          7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

          Scripture says that those who believe in Christ, do the works of God. And Scripture says that these will be saved. Not those who work evil. Not those who refuse to do good works.

    • Steve,

      From what I know of the Catholic community, what you’re describing here doesn’t reflect what they believe.

      • That’s fine, Justin.

        I was a Catholic for 35 years and what I was taught was that we have to ‘do’ certain things. There were prescribed rungs on ‘the ladder’ so to speak.

        My friends and relatives who are lifelong Catholics still believe that way. What Jesus did was great and necessary, but we can’t rely on that…alone.

        To be quite fair, a great many Protestants believe exactly the same way (minus the Pope).

        • De Maria says:

          We have to keep the Ten Commandments-

          John 14:21-23
          King James Version (KJV)
          21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

          We must also submit to the Sacraments of Jesus Christ:
          Mark 16:16
          King James Version (KJV)
          16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

          John 6:56
          He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

          We must attend the Mass:
          Hebrews 10:25-31
          King James Version (KJV)
          25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

          Anything I’m forgetting?

    • De Maria says:

      Trust in Christ alone means trusting the Church which He established to teach His doctrines. You can’t claim to trust Christ by distrusting that which He established in perpetuity. If you don’t trust the Church, you don’t trust Christ who built it and sent it out to teach His doctrines.

      Matthew 10:40
      He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

      Luke 10:16
      He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

      • Bob says:

        De Maria,
        Trusting in Christ alone is not about trusting in the church. Trusting in Christ alone is to entrust to the person of Christ for salvation and that He is at work in the believer for sanctification.
        We should only trust church leaders when we have good reason to. We trust them when they are correctly teaching doctrine and not when they are not.
        Would you trust your church during the inquisitions? Would you trust all the popes?

        • De Maria says:

          Hi Bob,

          Good to see you.

          You said:
          De Maria,
          Trusting in Christ alone is not about trusting in the church.

          It is to us.

          Trusting in Christ alone is to entrust to the person of Christ for salvation and that He is at work in the believer for sanctification.

          We believe that. But we also believe that Jesus established a Church which would never succumb to Satan. We trust the Church because we trust in Jesus.

          We should only trust church leaders when we have good reason to.

          We have the best reason. Jesus established the Church and commanded that the Church be obeyed (Matt 18:17).

          We trust them when they are correctly teaching doctrine and not when they are not.

          Then you should have left the Protestants long ago and come to the Catholic Church. It is the Protestants who are teaching false doctrine.

          Would you trust your church during the inquisitions?

          Yes. Without the inquisitions the world today would be over run by Muslims.

          Would you trust all the popes?

          Yes. They are God’s anointed ambassadors of Christ.

          • Bob says:

            Hi De Maria,
            I’d like to address a couple of points you made. If Jesus established the Roman Catholic church and you claim it never succumbed to Satan then how do you explain the inquisitions which “generally, .. was concerned only with the heretical behavior of Catholic adherents or converts, and did not concern itself with those outside its jurisdiction, such as Jews or Muslims.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition. The methods of inquisitor was terrible and they went on for centuries. They also had full approval of the leadership of your church. They used torture methods that no civilized nation would use today.
            Do you think that this is the way that Christ intended Matthew 18:15-18 to be applied? Would this not be an indicator your church did succumb to Satan? If not, on what grounds could you show me that it did not?
            The priest scandals of today would be another example of the church succumbing to Satan considering these were leaders of your church. Why should I not take these as your church not succumbing to Satan?
            Do you believe all your doctrines were taught by the apostles? For example, did the apostles teach the Marian doctrines?
            If the popes are “God’s anointed ambassadors of Christ” then what should I make of the many evil popes such as the Borgias? How could these men who were wicked be anointed ambassadors of Christ?

            • De Maria says:

              Hi Bob,

              You ask:
              I’d like to address a couple of points you made.

              Ok.

              If Jesus established the Roman Catholic church

              He did.

              and you claim it never succumbed to Satan

              It hasn’t.

              then how do you explain the inquisitions

              The inquisitions were mostly national attempts by Spain to rid itself of radical Muslims posing as Christians. Spain had as much right to defend itself from Muslim terrorism as the US has today.

              The Inquisition which was begun by the Catholic Church assisted the Catholic nations in that endeavor and was a legitimate court of law run with even more propriety than any court of law in existence today.

              which “generally, .. was concerned only with the heretical behavior of Catholic adherents or converts, and did not concern itself with those outside its jurisdiction, such as Jews or Muslims.”

              Precisely. It was concerned, essentially with Muslims posing as Christians who were trying to infiltrate Catholic nations and the Catholic Church in their effort to spread the Islamic faith and conquer Christian lands.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition.

              Don’t believe everything you read in the wiki.

              The methods of inquisitor was terrible and they went on for centuries.

              The true records indicate the the methods of the Catholic inquisitor were, for the most part, very humane.

              They also had full approval of the leadership of your church.

              They had full approval to do the right thing. Any wrong they committed was their own personal weakness.

              They used torture methods that no civilized nation would use today.

              Our military (United States) is using those tactics today against the very same enemy for the very same reason.

              Do you think that this is the way that Christ intended Matthew 18:15-18 to be applied?

              The Gospel is not boiled down to one sentence in the Bible. This is what the Gospel also says:
              Romans 13:4
              For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

              Are you a pacifist Bob? Do you believe we should lay down our weapons and let the enemies of Christ eliminate all Christians?
              Is that how you think that Christ intended Matthew 18:15-18 to be applied?

              Would this not be an indicator your church did succumb to Satan?

              1. The Church didn’t kill anybody.
              2. The Church did nothing wrong.
              3. If the Church ever kills anyone, it is because God has given the Church power over life or death. Have you not read in Scripture?
              Acts 5
              King James Version (KJV)
              3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
              5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

              The Catholic Church has God given authority over life or death. Yet in 2000 years, these two, Ananias and his wife, are the only ones that have died because of the Catholic Church.

              If not, on what grounds could you show me that it did not?

              On the grounds that you believe anything that anyone tells you against the Catholic Church and disbelieve anything anyone tells you in favor of the Catholic Church.

              You, love to hate the Catholic Church. Therefore, anything anyone says against it, you believe.

              The priest scandals of today would be another example of the church succumbing to Satan considering these were leaders of your church.

              Any sin that any Catholic ever committed is against the Teaching of the Catholic Church.

              I can’t say the same about Protestants. Protestants have mainlined many sins and made them part of everyday life.

              Jesus said:
              Matthew 5:32
              But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

              Protestants do that everyday with the approval of their faith communities.

              Scripture says:
              Genesis 38:9
              And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

              Protestants do that everyday with the approval of their faith communities.

              Protestants are beginning to accept abortion, homosexuality and many other grievous sins. All with the approval of their faith leaders and communities.

              Why should I not take these as your church not succumbing to Satan?

              Because, if you ever paid attention to her, you would see that the Church is still fighting against all those sins. But your faith communities have caved and have endorsed all those sins.

              Do you believe all your doctrines were taught by the apostles?

              Yes. Some explicitly. Some implied. And none of them contradict the Scriptures as some Protestant doctrines do.

              For example, did the apostles teach the Marian doctrines?

              Yes.

              If the popes are “God’s anointed ambassadors of Christ” then what should I make of the many evil popes such as the Borgias?

              Are you there judge? Were you there to see the sins they committed? If you were then you must be God. If you weren’t, then you, like me, must read that and wonder how the author was privy to all those details? Was that accusation passed down by God or by a fallible and perhaps wicked man?

              How could these men who were wicked be anointed ambassadors of Christ?

              Do you remember Judas Iscariot?

  6. De Maria says:

    So we see no benefit in climbing spiritual ladders…in fact we see that way of living out the Christian life as self-focused and detrimental to the life of faith.

    Then you have cast aside the teaching of our Lord:
    Luke 19:17
    And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

    Luke 16:10-12
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

    You must climb God’s spiritual ladder and be found righteous in order to be saved by God.

    1 Corinthians 6:9
    King James Version (KJV)
    9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? ….

    They shall not. Therefore climb the ladder of righteousness and be saved.

  7. Bob says:

    Can someone explain to me what “The Catholic position does not suffer from this circularity, because ‘Church’ is not defined in terms of “gospel,” but in terms of apostolic succession, involving an unbroken line of authorizations extending down from the Apostles.” means?

    What is the gospel in the RCC? What are the essentials of it?

    Secondly, what does it mean that there is some kind of apostolic succession from the time of the apostles?

    • Anil Wang says:

      St. Augustine said it best (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1405.htm):

      “Perhaps you will read the gospel to me, and will attempt to find there a testimony to Manichæus. But should you meet with a person not yet believing the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manichæus, how can I but consent? Take your choice. If you say, Believe the Catholics: their advice to me is to put no faith in you; so that, believing them, I am precluded from believing you—If you say, Do not believe the Catholics: you cannot fairly use the gospel in bringing me to faith in Manichæus; for it was at the command of the Catholics that I believed the gospel;”

      Put another way, Catholics trust the Bible because the Church says we need to.

      Protestants have a harder time justifying why the should believe the Bible. The Bible didn’t just pop out of nowhere. It depends on two things:
      (1) the Catholic Church not being corrupted by the time the canon of scripture appeared
      (2) the Catholic Church preserved the Bible perfectly until today.

      We can’t rely on copies of the earliest Bibles since our oldest Bibles are from the 400s, are incomplete, and we have no idea if they were corrupted before hand especially since the writings of the Early Christians show that they believed a lot of things that Catholic believe. You basically have to assume that God preserved the Bible but not the Church the compiled and preserved the Bible.

      So how do you know that you shouldn’t trust the Catholic Church? Because you trust your reading of the Bible more than the Church. How do you know you can trust your Bible? Because you trust the Church that preserve it.

  8. Bob says:

    Anil,
    What is the gospel in the RCC? In other words, what must a RC do or believe to be gain heaven?

    • De Maria says:

      Anil,
      What is the gospel in the RCC? In other words, what must a RC do or believe to be gain heaven?

      Believe in Christ:
      Hebrews 5:9
      And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

      And Jesus commands that we keep the Commandments:
      John 14:21
      King James Version (KJV)
      21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

      And be baptized:
      Mark 16:16
      King James Version (KJV)
      16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

      Now tell me what you must do or believe to be saved?

  9. “We have to keep the Ten Commandments-”

    No one can even get past the 1st one.

    St. Paul said that if you break one of them, it is if you have broken them all.

    __

    We just are not up to it. And it is way too late to recapture our lost innocence.

    We actually need a Savior. Not someone to hold the ladder for us.

    • AnneG says:

      Steve, we do need a Savior and we have one. He is God come in Flesh, Christ Jesus. And you can’t confine Him to the pages of a Book nor inside the walls of one building because, as I’ve read from you, you interpret Him correctly.

  10. De Maria says:

    No one can even get past the 1st one.

    If no one can keep the Commandments, then to whom is Scripture referring?
    1 John 2:4
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    Revelation 12:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Revelation 22:14
    Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    To whom is Scripture referring then?

    St. Paul said that if you break one of them, it is if you have broken them all.

    So? That also means that if you keep one of them, you have kept them all. If you break one commandment intentionally, it is because you hate God and His law. Biut if you keep one commandment intentionally it is because you love God and His law.

    Also, have you not heard of repentance? If you sin and turn to God and ask His pardon, He is merciful and forgives.

    __

    We just are not up to it. And it is way too late to recapture our lost innocence.

    If you do it alone. But we have Christ. Christ guaranteed that we would be saved if we keep His Commandments.
    John 15:10
    If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

    Therefore, why do you falter? Why does your heart fail you? With God all is possible.
    Romans 8:15
    For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

    We actually need a Savior.

    We have a Savior. Jesus Christ.

    Not someone to hold the ladder for us.

    Why not? Is salvation not worth climbing up a few steps?

    What sort of spirit have you received? What sort of faith do you have?

    Romans 4:18-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

    The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the weak:
    Matthew 11:11-13
    King James Version (KJV)
    11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

    The Kingdom of heaven is not for the weak of heart.

    Hebrews 11
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went….

    By faith, the righteous do the works of God.

    • De Maria,

      Really?

      How then are you doing, De Maria?

      Jesus demands perfection, you know.

      No. We don’t have it in us. Who amongst us lives on a thin margin of income and gives the rest to the poor? Who spends their spare time at the prisons? Or at the nursing homes.

      No. Most of us spend our spare time on ourselves. We really are sinners in need of a real Savior…not a ladder holder.

      • De Maria says:

        Hi Steve,

        Steve Martin says:
        Really?

        How then are you doing, De Maria?

        1. My best.
        2. God is my judge:
        1 Corinthians 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

        Jesus demands perfection, you know.

        Jesus expects perfection because He is perfect. And it is HE who works through us:
        Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
        13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

        Galatians 2:20
        I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

        No. We don’t have it in us. Who amongst us lives on a thin margin of income and gives the rest to the poor?

        Many of the Catholic faithful do just that. Have you ever heard of vows of poverty?

        Who spends their spare time at the prisons?

        Many do. I even know Protestants who do so.

        Or at the nursing homes.

        Many folks.

        No. Most of us spend our spare time on ourselves.

        True. Most of us are not perfect. But that just means that God is more merciful.

        We really are sinners in need of a real Savior…

        We have a Savior.

        not a ladder holder.

        <a href="http://www.pathsoflove.com/love-therese.html"St. Therese Lisieux put it this way:
        “You make me think of a little child that is learning to stand but does not yet know how to walk. In his desire to reach the top of the stairs to find his mother, he lifts his little foot to climb the first stair. It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he falls. Well, be this little child: through the practice of all the virtues, always lift your little foot to mount the staircase of holiness, but do not imagine that you will be able to go up even the first step! No, but the good God does not demand more from you than good will. From the top of the stairs, He looks at you with love. Soon, won over by your useless efforts, He will come down Himself and, taking you in His arms, He will carry you up… But if you stop lifting your little foot, He willleave you a long time on the ground.” ( Counsels and Reminiscences)

  11. Bob says:

    De Maria- thanks for your responses. I’d like to address your use of Acts 5 as a support for the claim your church has “authority over life and death.” You do realize it was not Peter who killed them but the Holy Spirit. To use this passage as a justification to kill anyone is an abuse of this passage. No church has the authority to kill anyone yet 125,000 persons were investigated by the Spanish Inquisition, of which 1.8% were executed. It was the Roman Catholic church that was behind the inquisitions.
    Not a pacifist.
    Why would you say of me—“ On the grounds that you believe anything that anyone tells you against the Catholic Church and disbelieve anything anyone tells you in favor of the Catholic Church. You, love to hate the Catholic Church. Therefore, anything anyone says against it, you believe.”? We have hardly discussed anything at length and you draw this conclusion???? Amazing.
    I happen to believe that church history and theology is worth discussing.
    Your generalizations of Protestants is not a good way to argue. Many of the same things you say against them your own church and its members are guilty of. That can be discussed later.
    Are you claiming that there were no evil popes when there is quite a lot written on some of these popes? Is what they all wrote lies?
    Must you believe the Marian dogmas to be saved?
    I believe we must repent of our sin and believe in the Lord Jesus who died and rose again for me. Romans 10:9-10

    • De Maria says:

      De Maria- thanks for your responses. I’d like to address your use of Acts 5 as a support for the claim your church has “authority over life and death.” You do realize it was not Peter who killed them but the Holy Spirit. To use this passage as a justification to kill anyone is an abuse of this passage.

      The Church has killed no one, therefore that is not used as justification for anything. It is used however to show you that the Holy Spirit acknowledges the Church’s authority over life and death.

      No church has the authority to kill anyone yet 125,000 persons were investigated by the Spanish Inquisition, of which 1.8% were executed.

      They were executed by the Spanish authorities in accordance with their legal due process. This is a right guaranteed to government officials in the Word of God:
      Romans 13:4
      For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

      It was the Roman Catholic church that was behind the inquisitions.

      The Catholic Church held court and made judgement. The country then proceeded with its own rightful authority to execute its own sovereign laws.

      Not a pacifist.

      But you don’t want Christians to defend themselves against Muslims?

      Why would you say of me—“ On the grounds that you believe anything that anyone tells you against the Catholic Church and disbelieve anything anyone tells you in favor of the Catholic Church. You, love to hate the Catholic Church. Therefore, anything anyone says against it, you believe.”? We have hardly discussed anything at length and you draw this conclusion???? Amazing.

      Because in the short time we’ve spoken, you have provided nothing but the classical anti-Catholic rhetoric.

      I happen to believe that church history and theology is worth discussing.

      I do too. But you are not discussing Church history. You are passing on anti-Catholic propaganda which has been debunked over and over again.

      Your generalizations of Protestants is not a good way to argue.

      But your generalization of Catholics is?

      Many of the same things you say against them your own church

      Not true. The Catholic Church is not guilty of any sins.

      and its members are guilty of.

      Perhaps. But any sins committed by Catholics was done against the Teaching of the Catholic Church, not because of it. Whereas, many sins committed by Protestants are done in full agreement with the teachings of their leaders and faith communities.

      That can be discussed later.

      Ok.

      Are you claiming that there were no evil popes when there is quite a lot written on some of these popes?

      I’m saying that I’m not willing to judge any Popes. I’m not cavalier enough to claim that OJ murdered his wife. Why would I judge Popes that lived centuries before I did on the word of fallible men? Why do you?

      Is what they all wrote lies?

      Lies, errors, who knows? Do you? Do you know these men and their character?Who are you to judge another man’s servant?
      Romans 14:4
      Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

      Must you believe the Marian dogmas to be saved?

      To be saved you must be judged righteous in the eyes of God. Pure religion undefiled is this:
      James 1:27
      Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

      God didn’t call us to be theologians. He calls us to love Him and our fellow man. This is the entire law and the Prophets. Faith alone, is dead.

      I believe we must repent of our sin and believe in the Lord Jesus who died and rose again for me. Romans 10:9-10

      So do I. But believing in the Lord doesn’t mean to sit by idly while His people are suffering all around. Believing in God means we act upon His Word.

      Romans 2:13
      King James Version (KJV)
      13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

      Revelation 22:13-15
      King James Version (KJV)
      13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
      14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
      15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

  12. Anil Wang says:

    WRT the Marian doctrines, I think a bit of nuance is needed.

    John 6-29
    Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    Matthew 28:19-20
    Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you….

    Essentially, we must believe and obey those that God sends precisely because they were sent by God. So if the Church defines a doctrine, Catholics need to believe it. That being said, as Cardinal John Henry Newman pointed out, ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt. Many Protestant converts have a hard time accepting some doctrines or feel emotionally squeamish at some Church approved expressions of those doctrines. They aren’t sinning as long as their will is to submit…their mind and/or heart just haven’t caught up to their will. But eventually it will if they ask for the grace to understand.

    Do non-Catholics need to accept the Marian Doctrines to be saved? If they believe that the Church sent by God they would….but they’d have bigger problems since they’d be morally bound to become Catholic. If these non-Catholics didn’t believe the Church was acting in God’s name (wrt faith an morals), it’s an open question. But at minimum, they’d have to have the attitude that if you truly believed God wanted you to believe the Marian Doctrines or any other doctrine, they’d submit.

    That’s precisely why gives James 1:27’s pure religion quote its obligation to even non-Catholics. There are some things even an atheist cannot deny demand submission to.
    Romans 2:15
    since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

  13. Bob says:

    De Maria,
    If a RC does not believe in the Marian dogmas will he be saved? Are they necessary for salvation?

    If a person truly repents and believes in Christ (Romans 10:9-10) are they saved at that moment even if they do not do one thing? Is belief in Christ alone enough to save a man?

    I’m trying to understand what the gospel is for the RC.

    • De Maria says:

      Hi Bob,

      you ask,

      Bob says:
      January 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm
      De Maria,
      If a RC does not believe in the Marian dogmas will he be saved? Are they necessary for salvation?

      I could give a simple answer. But I’m afraid that would tend to confuse more than anything. So, let’s back up a few steps.

      You are asking the question in the Protestant frame of mind. The Protestant frame of mind is, “I must understand in order to believe.” Remember when you were asking me about the Eucharist and you said that my faith was not enough? You said:
      Saying that “faith” is proof does not prove that bread and wine has really changed.

      We don’t have the same frame of mind. We accept the Teaching of the Catholic Church whether we understand it or not. We accept it whether we believe it or not. When I first became a Catholic, I did not truly believe in the Eucharist. Like the Apostles, my answer to Jesus Christ would have been:
      John 6:
      67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
      68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

      Catholics have come to believe that the Catholic Church is the Church of Jesus Christ. We have nowhere else to go.

      I hope that answers your question.

      If a person truly repents and believes in Christ (Romans 10:9-10) are they saved at that moment even if they do not do one thing? Is belief in Christ alone enough to save a man?

      Those are loaded questions full of assumptions. Let me elaborate on your questions in order to make them more true to life.

      If a person, on his deathbed, truly repents and believes in Christ (Romans 10:9-10) are they saved at that moment even if they do not do one thing? In other words, if he converts and repents of all his sins and then dies.Is that person saved by God at that moment?

      I believe the Catholic answer would be, “yes!” If the conversion were sincere.

      Is belief in Christ alone enough to save a man?

      Belief in Christ entails obedience to His Word:
      Hebrews 5:9
      And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

      Any able bodied man who claims to believe in God and yet refuses to obey His Word condemns himself:
      1 John 2:3-5
      King James Version (KJV)
      3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
      4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

      I’m trying to understand what the gospel is for the RC.

      I hope that helps.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

      • Bob says:

        De Maria,
        You wrote-“ We accept the Teaching of the Catholic Church whether we understand it or not. We accept it whether we believe it or not.”
        How is it possible to accept and believe something if a person does not understand? To believe something you must have some understanding of it. The issue we both have to face is on what grounds do we have for believing something? This is why understanding what the gospel means is thee most important question to understand. If a person does not correctly understand the gospel, he will not be saved. Galatians 1:6-10 is very clear about the necessity of having the right gospel.
        I agree that obedience to the commands of Christ are of paramount importance for the Christian. However, keeping the commands of Christ in and of themselves would not be enough to save a man unless he first repented and believed in Christ for salvation alone. (Romans 10:9-10 and Eph 2:8-9)
        The keeping of the commands of Christ is evidence that salvation has occurred but they are not the cause of salvation. Would you agree?

        • De Maria says:

          De Maria,
          You wrote-“ We accept the Teaching of the Catholic Church whether we understand it or not. We accept it whether we believe it or not.”
          How is it possible to accept and believe something if a person does not understand?

          We have faith in the Teacher. In John 6, the Apostles obviously did not understand what Jesus was saying in the Bread of Life discourse. Therefore, St. Peter’s answer was not “Oh yeah, that makes complete sense!”

          His answer was, “To whom would we run?” It was a complete act of submission to Our Lord.

          We did not learn our faith from Jesus Christ as they did, but we learned from “their word”. Do you remember Jesus’ prayer:
          John 17:20
          King James Version (KJV)
          20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

          Because of our faith in Christ, we come to believe “through their word.” The Word which Jesus Christ deposited in the Church and then commanded:
          Matthew 28:19-20
          King James Version (KJV)
          19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

          To believe something you must have some understanding of it.

          In other words, “you” must see something in order to believe it. But we step by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

          The issue we both have to face is on what grounds do we have for believing something?

          Faith in Christ.

          This is why understanding what the gospel means is thee most important question to understand. If a person does not correctly understand the gospel, he will not be saved. Galatians 1:6-10 is very clear about the necessity of having the right gospel.

          What is the criteria?

          Galatians 1:6-8
          King James Version (KJV)
          6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

          7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

          We follow the Gospel the Apostles preached. The Catholic Church has been here for 2000 years and continues to teach the same Gospel.

          I agree that obedience to the commands of Christ are of paramount importance for the Christian. However, keeping the commands of Christ in and of themselves would not be enough to save a man unless he first repented and believed in Christ for salvation alone. (Romans 10:9-10 and Eph 2:8-9)

          In other words, you believe in faith and works on one hand, but deny faith and works on the other.

          If a man must obey the commands of Jesus Christ to be saved, then that man is not saved by faith alone.

          The keeping of the commands of Christ is evidence that salvation has occurred

          No.

          1. Salvation does not “occur”. It is granted by the mercy of God unto the righteous.

          Matthew 25:46
          And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

          We do not save ourselves, nor is salvation automatic.

          but they are not the cause of salvation. Would you agree?

          Yes.

          2. The cause of salvation is God.
          3. Those who keep the Commandments receive the salvation of God.
          4. Those who do not keep the Commandments will not be saved by God:
          Revelation 22:14-15
          King James Version (KJV)
          14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

          • Bob says:

            De Maria,
            Even if you have “faith in the Teacher” you still have to have faith in the men of your church that are supposed to interpret the teachings of Christ correctly. I agree we are to believe what the apostles wrote but what about things the apostles never taught such as the Marian dogmas and indulgences? There is no record in the New Testament of the apostles teaching these things. In fact they are contrary to what the apostles taught.
            I’m curious about your conversion to Roman Catholicism. How were you able to embrace the Marian dogmas such as Mary being sinless and praying to her since they are not taught in Scripture? What or who convinced you these doctrines are apostolic?

            • De Maria says:

              Hi Bob,

              De Maria,
              Even if you have “faith in the Teacher” you still have to have faith in the men of your church that are supposed to interpret the teachings of Christ correctly.

              That is what Scripture says, true.
              Hebrews 13:7
              King James Version (KJV)
              7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

              I agree we are to believe what the apostles wrote but what about things the apostles never taught such as the Marian dogmas and indulgences?

              Mary the Mother of God:
              Luke 1:43
              And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

              Mary Queen of Heaven:
              Revelation 12:1
              King James Version (KJV)
              1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

              Mary Mother of all believers:
              Revelation 12:17
              King James Version (KJV)
              17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

              Indulgences:
              Matthew 19:21
              Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

              There is no record in the New Testament of the apostles teaching these things.

              You don’t recognize them or ignore them because your tradition of men has rejected them. But they are there.

              In fact they are contrary to what the apostles taught.

              Protestant doctrines are contrary to the Teachings of the Apostles.

              I’m curious about your conversion to Roman Catholicism. How were you able to embrace the Marian dogmas such as Mary being sinless and praying to her since they are not taught in Scripture?

              They are taught in Scripture.

              What or who convinced you these doctrines are apostolic?

              A thorough reading of Scripture will lead you to that conclusion.

              How did I get there? I compared Protestant doctrines to Scripture and found that they contradict Scripture:

              Scripture alone says that we should not keep Traditions or obey the Church, yet Scripture says:
              Matthew 18:17
              King James Version (KJV)
              17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

              2 Thessalonians 2:15
              King James Version (KJV)
              15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

              Protestant doctrine says we are justified by faith alone. But Scripture says:
              James 2:24
              King James Version (KJV)
              24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

              Since Protestant doctrine contradicts Scripture, that is proof that Protestant doctrine is false and not of God.

              I then inspected the Catholic doctrines and found that every single one of them is in Scripture either explicitly or implied.

              Sincerely,

              De Maria

          • Bob says:

            De Maria,
            I wrote- To believe something you must have some understanding of it.
            You wrote-
            “In other words, “you” must see something in order to believe it. But we step by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).”

            2 Corinthians 5:7 in context has to do with our lives in this world. While we are in our mortal bodies we are not in the presence of the Lord. Thus we live by belief in Christ and what He did. Our lives are to focused on living for Him since we are going to stand before Him. See v9-10.

            Without understanding and believing this, we cannot live like this.

            • De Maria says:

              Bob says:
              January 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm
              De Maria,
              I wrote- To believe something you must have some understanding of it.

              That is what you said.

              You wrote-
              “In other words, “you” must see something in order to believe it. But we step by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).”

              That is what I said.

              2 Corinthians 5:7 in context has to do with our lives in this world. While we are in our mortal bodies we are not in the presence of the Lord. Thus we live by belief in Christ and what He did. Our lives are to focused on living for Him since we are going to stand before Him. See v9-10.

              Exactly! In this life, we worship Christ according to how He instructed. We are baptized (Mark 16:16), we eat the Eucharist (John 6:53), we do the Commandments (John 14:23), we do good to our neighbor (Matt 25:31-46). I don’t see anything in Scripture where God says we must understand His doctrines in order to be saved.

              But I do see where He demands obedience:
              Hebrews 5:9
              And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

              Without understanding and believing this, we cannot live like this.

              YOU can’t live like that. I don’t understand the transcendant nature of God. Yet I believe in Him. I can live like this very easily.

  14. Try this one out (it’s under 12 min. long) to see the difference that I am talking about.

    http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/if-you-would-gain-your-life.mp3

    Well worth the 11 minutes and change.

  15. Bob says:

    De Maria,
    The Scripture warns us that we are not to blindly follow our leaders but to be on guard against false teachers that will come into the church and deceive many. (2 Peter 2:1) This is important to keep in mind when we study the Scripture in light of church teachings.
    Revelation 12:1 is not a slam dunk for it being Mary since the rest of the details of the chapter do not fit her. Rather, John is referring to the church which does fit the details.
    “An indulgence is the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due, in God’s justice, to sin that has been forgiven, which remission is granted by the Church in the exercise of the power of the keys, through the application of the superabundant merits of Christ and of the saints, and for some just and reasonable motive.” The New Advent
    What does this have to do with Matt 19:21?
    So again, where is an indulgence mentioned in the New Testament?
    If they are not found in the New Testament then they are not apostolic.
    In regards to Mary being sinless or kept from sin is not found in any verse of Scripture. Jesus never mentions it nor do the other apostles. Even Luke 1:28 where the angel greets Mary with the greeting “]favored one! The Lord is with you.” Does not mean she was sinless or kept from sin her entire life. No Greek lexicon of the New Testament comes close to saying this kind of thing. In this case, it is the Roman Catholic church that contradicts Scripture.
    Matthew 18 is about church discipline and not Traditions.
    2 Thessalonians 2:15 is problematic on the issue of tradition. Paul does not tell us what the traditions are specifically. What we do know is that he never taught the Marian dogmas in any of his writings that we have. To go beyond Scripture is to speculate.
    We are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. Eph 2:8-9. There is no work we can add to the salvation Christ gained for us. James is referring a faith that is demonstrated by works. In other words, if you say you believe in Christ but have no works to prove it, then it is dead. On the other hand, if you truly have believed in Christ then your works will show it. That is what James means by being justified by works.
    If I used your principle of doctrines are either explicitly or implied in Scripture then any doctrine could be said to be true. The Mormon and JW could use this same kind of reasoning to justify their doctrines and you would not be able to refute them.

    Sincerely
    Bon

    • De Maria says:

      Hi Bob,

      De Maria,
      The Scripture warns us that we are not to blindly follow our leaders

      You claim you see, so your sin remains. The truth is that it is you who is blindly following after blind guides:

      Luke 6:39
      King James Version (KJV)
      39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

      but to be on guard against false teachers that will come into the church and deceive many. (2 Peter 2:1)

      That is a prophecy against the Protestants, Bob. It is the Protestants whose teachings contradict the Word of God and who have deceived many. Sola Scriptura is the great shell game which has been perpetrated on you and you are now trying to perpetrate on us.

      This is important to keep in mind when we study the Scripture in light of church teachings.

      Agreed.

      Revelation 12:1 is not a slam dunk for it being Mary since the rest of the details of the chapter do not fit her. Rather, John is referring to the church which does fit the details.

      They both fit, but Mary fits better. Answer these questions honestly, please.

      Is Mary the mother of the Messiah?
      Is the Child born of the Woman in Rev 12, the Messiah?

      If your answer to both of those questions is, “Yes”, then your attempts to deny that this is a reference to Mary is self contradicting.

      If your answer to both of those questions is, “No”, then you are contradicting Scripture. Because Scripture tells us that Mary is the mother of the Messiah. The fact that her name is not mentioned in Rev 12 doesn’t mean that she is not there being described.

      “An indulgence is the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due, in God’s justice, to sin that has been forgiven, which remission is granted by the Church in the exercise of the power of the keys, through the application of the superabundant merits of Christ and of the saints, and for some just and reasonable motive.” The New Advent

      That’s a pretty good definition. Its all in Scripture.

      An indulgence is the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due, in God’s justice, to sin that has been forgiven,

      Temporal punishment means that there are consequences to our sins, even after God has forgiven us. Let’s take for instance, the occasion of David’s adultery with Bathsheba:
      2 Samuel 12:13-15
      King James Version (KJV)
      13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. 14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

      Notice that David’s sin was already forgiven. But, punishment was still necessary, therefore the child died. If you read the Scriptures carefully, many other things happened as a consequence and punishment for this sin. David’s children turned against him, his own son took his wives and slept with them in public. When all these things happened, David recognized that they were punishment for his sins. That is why he said,
      2 Samuel 16:10
      And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?

      which remission is granted by the Church in the exercise of the power of the keys,

      The exercise of the power of the keys refers to Matt 16:19 and Matt 18:18, where God gives the Church power to bind and loose. If we go back to the example of David’s adultery and its consequences, if Nathan the Prophet of God had been given the power to bind and loose, he also could have given David an indulgence which would remove the curse (That’s essentially what the punishment for sin amounts to, a curse, see Deut 28:15).

      through the application of the superabundant merits of Christ and of the saints, and for some just and reasonable motive.

      I’m certain you don’t question the merits of Christ since they are the merits by which all mankind is saved. But you probably question the merits of the saints. Those are the merits that Christ has said are stored in the heavenly treasury. That takes us to your next question.

      What does this have to do with Matt 19:21?

      Matt 19:21 is the basis of the doctrine of indulgences. The merits that the rich man is storing in the treasury are good, not just for him but for all whom the Church, in obedience to the will of God, decides to apply them.

      But you didn’t really post that definition from the Advent site in order to learn about indulgences, did you? But you thought posting it would scare me into believing that indulgences aren’t mentioned in Scripture. But, here is the definition of indulgences as you believe it and as taught by the blind guides which you follow:

      Buy your way to Heaven! The Catholic Church brings back indulgences

      By Jason Cochran

      These days, you can get a deal on anything. Even salvation! Pope Benedict has announced that his faithful can once again pay the Catholic Church to ease their way through Purgatory and into the Gates of Heaven.

      Never mind that Martin Luther fired up the Reformation because of them: Plenary Indulgences are back.

      But, the fact is that indulgences never left. The Catholic Church did not do away with indulgences and will never do so. Jesus Christ advised that we obtain our indulgences (deposit our treasures in the heavenly treasury) by giving alms to the poor and giving to the Church (Mark 12:43).

      And it boils down to this, indulgences is something which Jesus teaches which Protestants refuse to believe.

      So again, where is an indulgence mentioned in the New Testament?

      Matt 19:21. What is Jesus advising that man to do?
      Matthew 19:21
      King James Version (KJV)
      21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

      Jesus has just advised that man to buy his way into heaven.

      Here’s another:

      Luke 11:41
      But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

      Matthew 6:20
      But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

      Matthew 13:52
      Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

      Mark 10:21
      Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

      Luke 12:33
      Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

      Luke 18:22
      Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

      2 Tim 1:18
      18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

      If they are not found in the New Testament then they are not apostolic.

      They are found throughout the New Testament.

      In regards to Mary being sinless or kept from sin is not found in any verse of Scripture.

      Does Scripture say that she ever sinned? The answer is, “No!” It is a Protestant wish. But it is not so. In fact, going back to the Greek, the Bible describes her as “Kecharitomene”, which means, “always full of grace”. Therefore, the Bible says that she never sinned, since grace and sin have nothing to do with each other.

      Jesus never mentions it nor do the other apostles. Even Luke 1:28 where the angel greets Mary with the greeting “]favored one! The Lord is with you.” Does not mean she was sinless or kept from sin her entire life. No Greek lexicon of the New Testament comes close to saying this kind of thing. In this case, it is the Roman Catholic church that contradicts Scripture.

      The Apostle Luke said it plainly in Luke 1:28. The Scripture never says that Mary sinned. Plus, Scripture says that the Church teaches the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). And as you said when you started this sermon of yours, Scripture tells us not to blindly follow anyone.

      Here’s the choice you have placed before me. Follow you or follow the Institution which Scripture calls the Pillar of Truth (1 Tim 3:15). Follow you or follow the Word of God. What choice do you think I will make? Oooh, man, that’s going to be tough……NOT. :)

      Sola Scriptura is the great shell game which has been perpetrated on you and you are now trying to perpetrate on us.

      Sola Scriptura is misdirection. People who teach it say, “Believe Scripture alone.” But really mean, “Don’t listen to Scripture, listen to me.”

      Look at the Word, Bob. It doesn’t say anywhere, “wait for Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, they will straighten out the errors of the Church.” Nowhere Bob, nowhere. It doesn’t say, “wait for Bob” either. It says that the Church teaches the Wisdom of God (Eph 3:10). It says the Church is the Pillar of Truth (1 Tim 3:15).

      Matthew 18 is about church discipline and not Traditions.

      This is what Matt 18:17 says:
      Matthew 18:17
      King James Version (KJV)
      17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

      Where does this verse limit the actions of the Church to anything? It doesn’t. Your blind guides added that to Scripture and you blindly swallowed their lie. And now you are passing it on.

      2 Thessalonians 2:15 is problematic on the issue of tradition. Paul does not tell us what the traditions are specifically. What we do know is that he never taught the Marian dogmas in any of his writings that we have. To go beyond Scripture is to speculate.

      Scripture is not limited to the Epistles of St. Paul. I have shown you plainly where Scripture teaches all the doctrines of Mary. I have shown you plainly where the Protestant doctrines of men contradict Scripture. But you prefer the doctrines of men to the Teaching of Scripture. You are blindly following your blind guides.

      We are justified by faith alone in Christ alone.

      That is found nowhere in Scripture. Nowhere. Scripture plainly says not by faith alone, but you refuse to believe the Word of God:
      James 2:24
      King James Version (KJV)
      24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

      Eph 2:8-9.

      Protestants always leave out verse 10 because it puts the entire saying into perspective. Lets look at the whole thing:

      Ephesians 2:8-10
      King James Version (KJV)
      8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

      V. 10 is a double entendre. We are born again onto Christ. But we are all created by Christ, before we were born.
      Ephesians 3:9
      And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

      And all mankind was born to do the will of God. And the will of God is that all men do righteous works. These righteous works are summarized in the Ten Commandments.

      That is the framework of this teaching which puts the entire thing into perspective.

      8 For by grace are ye saved through faith;

      We are saved by grace because faith is a grace.
      Romans 4:16
      Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;….

      and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

      But faith alone is not a grace, faith alone is dead:
      James 2:17
      Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

      We can not produce faith in ourselves. We can’t claim to have faith by ourselves. It must be given by God and if you don’t respond to it with good works, it is dead.

      9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

      Nor can we save ourselves by our works alone.

      10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

      But that doesn’t mean we don’t work. We are not His children if we don’t work and do the will of God:
      1 John 2:4
      He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

      There is no work we can add to the salvation Christ gained for us.

      But unless we work and obey God, he will not save us:
      Hebrews 5:9
      King James Version (KJV)
      9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

      James is referring a faith that is demonstrated by works. In other words, if you say you believe in Christ but have no works to prove it, then it is dead. On the other hand, if you truly have believed in Christ then your works will show it. That is what James means by being justified by works.

      True. That is what the Catholic Church teaches.

      If I used your principle of doctrines are either explicitly or implied in Scripture then any doctrine could be said to be true.

      On the contrary, it is the other way around. Catholic Teaching is anchored by the Traditions of Jesus Christ. It is Protestants, because they discarded the Traditions, who constantly come up with innovations.

      The Mormon and JW could use this same kind of reasoning to justify their doctrines and you would not be able to refute them.

      No. Mormons and JW’s are simply a different variety of Protestants.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

      • Bob says:

        Hi De Maria,
        I’d like to address some of your points. How could 2 Peter 2:1 be about protestants only? In fact we already see in Revelation 1-3 where the Lord Christ Himself is rebuking various churches for holding to false doctrines.
        In regards to your church we could look at a number of examples of its teachings and see if they line up with Scripture. Take Mary’s sinlessness. No one in the New Testament taught she was without sin and in fact acknowledges her need of a Savior in Luke 1:47. To claim she would was without sin would contradict Romans 3:9 for example. Have you ever read The Glories of Mary by Alfonso Ligori?
        Do you also believe that all grace comes through Mary?
        What is your definition of Sola Scriptura? I want to know if we agree on what it is before I can agree with you that its false.
        Here is what a couple of Roman Catholic scholars say about the woman of Rev 12:
        Raymond Brown and J.A. Fitzmyer, editors of the Jerome Biblical Commentary (2:482):
        “a woman: Most of the ancient commentators identified her with the Church; in the Middle Ages it was widely held that she represented Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Modern exegetes have generally adopted the older interpretation, with certain modifications.
        In recent years several Catholics have championed the Marian interpretation. Numerous contextual details, however, are ill-suited to such an explanation. For example, we are scarcely to think that Mary endured the worst of the pains of childbirth (v. 2), that she was pursued into the desert after the birth of her child (6, 13ff.), or, finally, that she was persecuted through her other children (v. 17). The emphasis on the persecution of the woman is really appropriate only if she represents the Church, which is presented throughout the book as oppressed by the forces of evil, yet protected by God. Furthermore, the image of a woman is common in ancient Oriental secular literature as well as in the Bible (e.g., Is 50:1; Jer 50:12) as a symbol for a people, a nation, or a city. It is fitting, then, to see in this woman the People of God, the true Israel of the OT and NT.”

        You use Matthew 19:21 as the basis for indulgences but the verse in context has nothing to do with the idea of “the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due, in God’s justice, to sin that has been forgiven”. There is no mention of any kind of sacrament in this passage. I don’t get it.
        Even the Old Testament passages don’t support this idea. It is true there can be and usually consequences of sin in our lives but there is no promise in Scripture that these consequences will be alleviated because of some sacrament.
        Where does it say in Matthew 19:21 or anywhere in Scripture that one man’s treasure in heaven can be used for others? Where does it say in Scripture that the church can use these “extra treasures” for others?
        Trust me. I don’t want to scare you but i want to understand how you arrive at your beliefs that Roman Catholic doctrines are true.

        If by the merits of Christ all mankind is saved then why is there a continual warning about hell? If all are saved, then there can be no hell.

        Getting back to the claim that Mary was without sin based on Luke 1:28 here is what a New Testament Greek lexicon says what the words “favored one” mean: “To grace, highly honor or greatly favor. In the NT spoken only of the divine favor, as to the virgin Mary in Luke 1:28, kecharit?mén?, the perf. pass. part. sing. fem. The verb charitó? declares the virgin Mary to be highly favored, approved of God to conceive the Son of God through the Holy Spirit. The only other use of charitó? is in Eph. 1:6 where believers are said to be “accepted in the beloved,” i.e., objects of grace. (See huiothesía [5206], adoption, occurring in Eph. 1:5) In charitó? there is not only the impartation of God’s grace, but also the adoption into God’s family in imparting special favor in distinction to charízomai
        Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.)
        As you can see, it does not mean she was without sin. It does not even mention it.
        Again, Matthew 18 has nothing to do with traditions or doctrines but only with church discipline. Good exegesis requires us not to go beyond what is written. Claiming its about Traditions is to go beyond what this passage is saying.

        I’ll address your other points next.

  16. Bob says:

    De Maria,
    In regards to the traditions mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 we don’t know specifically what traditions Paul is referring to. We can though get a good idea from his letters what Paul taught. What we don’t see in his letters are things like Mary being sinless, indulgences, papal infallibility. Nor are these doctrines taught else in the New Testament. I don’t want to be blind and i hope you don’t either. This is why exegeting the Scripture is so important because it will tell us if our doctrines are sound or not. So far, we have seen in our discussions that some your doctrines are not.

    What does James mean in James 2:24? Is James teaching that we must do good works to be saved without faith in Christ? Is he teaching that when Christ died for our sins that our good works helped Christ and added to it? How does your church officially exegete this verse?
    It is true that Ephesians 2:8-9 is teaching we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. It is Christ alone who died for our sins and gained salvation for us. It is by faith alone in this that we are saved.
    From this, as verse 10 says, the good works are the result of salvation and not the cause of it. The good works we do can do nothing to affect our salvation that Christ has already gained and secured for us.
    It is true we are to obey God and work out our salvation (that Christ gained for us) in our lives. But our obedience does not keep us saved. Rather, it is the power of God that keeps us saved.
    Before you converted to the Roman Catholic church did you talk to your pastor or anyone who was knowledgeable on the Scripture?

  17. De Maria says:

    Wow! That’s a lot Bob. I guess you subscribe to the “if you can’t beat ‘em, confuse ‘em” theory of apologetics. It is a technique which Protestants use because you know that if you were to look at any one doctrine in detail, you would be silenced. Therefore, you shift and move all around the place, never focusing on any one thing. You are afraid of Truth.

    Anyway, I hesitate to intrude on Devin’s hospitality any further. I have my own blog and I have begun to address your comment which says, a How could 2 Peter 2:1 be about protestants only? there.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

    • Bob says:

      De Maria,
      I have to admit you shocked me with your response. We have been discussing a number of doctrines and there is going to be a lot of comments. I’m not trying to confuse anyone. I thought I gave some good counter responses.

  18. De Maria says:

    De Maria,
    I have to admit you shocked me with your response.

    Probably not as much as I was shocked to see the barrage of objections which I saw. Which also indicate that you didn’t even consider the answers I had previously provided.

    We have been discussing a number of doctrines and there is going to be a lot of comments. I’m not trying to confuse anyone. I thought I gave some good counter responses.

    What I see, in the main, is that you ignored my responses and repeated your same objections and added new ones.

    Why do I need to repeat the same answers to your old objections?
    Why do we need to consider new ones when we haven’t resolved the old ones?

    At the same time, I addressed to you a few objections of my own, which you simply bypassed. Why should I consider your questions when you aren’t considering mine?

    In our exchange, I’m the only one answering questions.

    Anyway, read the title of the article by Devin and look at our responses. He has been gracious enough to allow us to commandeer this thread uninterrupted. However, I feel it would be rude for me to continue to do so. I won’t continue on this thread without explicit permission from Devin.

    In the meantime, if you want to continue the discussion with me, I have provided the link to my blog. And I have responded in detail, there.

  19. russ says:

    Bob: you said: “The good works we do can do nothing to affect our salvation that Christ has already gained and secured for us..” That sounds good at first glance and I actually believed it at one time. But then I read Matthew 25 , one more time, and realized that the Lord of our salvation himself in his every own words made it crystal clear that our actions do have an effect on where we will be spending eternity. The Protestant strawman is that “Catholics work their way to heaven” No, only Jesus can open the gates of heaven for us by his redeeming death on the cross. But He allows us to cooperate (reformed folks hate that word) with him in our salvation. It’s like this: “DO the Works I command, and ye shall live. Act like a schmuck , thinking you are saved and you better get used to hanging with the goats.”

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    These are all good works, that were done (by the grace and power of God we as Catholic believe, not on our own) that determined whether these folks would be apportioned to the sheep or to the goats. It was all about what we did or didn’t do. I know that only by God’s grace can I do the works he asks of me, but if I choose to ignore the poor, the needy, and live selfishly ignoring Christ’s commands, then I have essentially rejected his salvation and will end up in Hell.

    • Bob says:

      Russ,
      We don’t earn salvation by works. Matthew 25 is not about our works helping us to gain heaven but are the manifestations of salvation. Works are the fruit of genuine salvation. One thing to look at in this passage is how does one become a sheep? A sheep is referred to in Scripture as a believer. A sheep is one who believes in Christ for salvation.

  20. russ says:

    One last thought, sorry Devin to blogiate here:
    But i need to point out that Luther knew exactly what James meant about faith and works. Luther knew that the plain reading of scripture made it crystal clear that faith without works is dead and you could not be saved by faith alone. He wanted to remove James from his canon of scripture because he could exegete James to reconcile with his interpretation of Paul, to justify his novel doctrine of faith alone. Here is my proof of this:
    http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2012/06/luther-actually-disproved-sola-fide.html

  21. russ says:

    correction: “he could NOT exegete James to reconcile with his interpretation of Paul.

  22. russ says:

    Bob:
    thanks for your response. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I don’t think you are getting what I am saying. I wrote that it is a Protestant strawman argument to say that “Catholics work their way to heaven” but you then responded by saying as if we believe this. “We don’t earn salvation by works.” That is not a Catholic belief. Please go back and re-read my post. We don’t believe we can earn salvation alone without Christ. That is truly a terrible thought! God forbid.

    You say: “Matthew 25 is not about our works helping us to gain heaven but are the manifestations of salvation.” No offense Bob, but isn’t that a bit of eisegesis? I don’t want to be uncharitable, but couldn’t you possibly be influenced by your pre-existing belief that good works have no place in our salvation? Let’s consider the good scriptural study practice of looking at the context of the passage we are discussing. As they say “Context is everything.” Start in Matt 24 – Jesus is talking about the eschaton, the final days, the stuff that happens right before the end before eternity, so in that context we then go to Matt 25, where he talks about heaven and who will get there and who won’t. Using parables, jesus talks about the ten virgins, and makes it crystal clear that those 5 who wisely and diligently prepare beforehand are the ones who get invited in. Those foolish virgins who DON’T DO the things necessary to prepare (gathering oil for their lamps = doing stuff) miss their opportunity. “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. ” I imagine you would say this readiness just means they were manifesting the salvation they already had, though I don’t see how the context would support that view. Jesus then immediately follows this parable with the parable of the servants and the talents. Those who did “stuff ” (works) with the gifts the Master gave them, got in, those who DID nothing, were left out in the gnashing and weeping place. So again, the emphasis is on DOING Stuff, which we as Catholics call good works, which are actually good! Finally Jesus discusses the sheep and the goats and what they DID and DIDN’T do which determined their “sheepishness” (going to heaven)of their “goatliness.”(going to hell) I don’t see any reference to “manifestation of their salvation” here.
    It was all about what they DID or DID NOT DO. So from the context of Matt 24 followed by Matt 25 and all those parables about DOING “stuff” and that corresponding with entrance to heaven, why did Jesus make so much effort to reinforce doing, if he really intended to teach his disciples that these virgins were just manifesting the fact that they were going to go to heaven, the wise servant was just manifesting that he was going to be included in the feast, the folks who obeyed Christ by serving the least of these were just manifesting their pre-existing state of salvation? If you ask me, that is a confusing and rather not straight forward way to interpret the actions of all these folks. Why did our Lord waste all that time and just say, “listen folks, sheep and wise virgins and wise servants are all going to heaven regardless of their behavior, those other foolish virgins, lazy servants ,etc are just manifesting the reality that they are not going to see the kingdom of God? (again realizing the context of the end of time , Matt 24)

    My plain reading of these scriptures is that Jesus is talking about doing stuff=works and immediate follows how it relates to gaining access to heaven. I can’t see the context supports the concept that Jesus is just talking about the attributes/manifestations of those who gain access to heaven.

    If anything is gained at all from this exercise at the very least, I hope I have illustrated that “Scripture alone” cannot help us to prove that “faith alone” is a true doctrine. If Scripture was perspicuous, you and I would have only one interpretation of Matt 25 regarding the role of works in our salvation. The Catholic view is that Matt 25 is about the importance our Lord placed on works as part of attaining heaven. The Protestant view is that Matt 25 is about how to manifest your salvation already attained.

  23. Bob says:

    Russ,
    Can you give me the official interpretation of Matt 25 that your church has produced on this passage? Otherwise all I see here is your private interpretation.

    BTW- How does one become a sheep of Christ? Is it by works that we become sheep or is it something else?

    Thanks for your input

  24. russ says:

    Bob: I am not sure why private interpretation should be an issue for you.
    When a Catholic looks at a scripture we do it with the sacred tradition of the Church in mind and our “private interpretation” cannot contradict the teachings of the Church. Regarding the verses in question, I don’t know if there is an official interpretation of that scripture, but I can assure you that your belief that Matt 25 is only Jesus pointing to the “manifestations” of one who is saved is not consistent with the teachings of the Church.

    • Bob says:

      Russ,
      Doesn’t your church claim to be the only church to have the authority to interpret Scripture correctly?

      Secondly, am I to assume that all RC’s would agree with your interpretation of Matt 25? If not, could you be wrong and they are not?

      So how is one saved in the RCC?

      • russ says:

        “But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.” (Dei Verbum Vatican 2)

        Is my interpretation correct and or could it differ from other Catholics? Possibly, but we have a final arbiter to decide whose interpretation is most in line with the Sacred Tradition and the whole of Scripture. But contrarily, Luther has given permission to everyone to interpret the Scripture, which is why there are now 30,000 Christian sects, most of which claim to have the most accurate and authentic interpretation of Scripture yet differ bitterly over crucial doctrines. This whole debate about the meaning of Matt 25 just proves the Catholic’s point that one needs the Church to be the final arbiter.

        How is one saved in the Catholic Church? The same way they have been saved for 2000 years, the same way that Christ Jesus instructed Nicodemus in John 3 and Saint Peter in Acts and later in his own epistle. “You must be born again.”

        Thanks for the discussion Bob, I’ll leave you to Devin’s blog now.
        BTW, Catholics like to be referred to as Catholics vs RC. Just a point to note that there are other rites in the Catholic Church who are submitted to the pope, yet are not RC’s. The term is often used pejoratively and it may engender better dialogue to avoid it in the future. God bless

  25. Bob says:

    Russ,
    I understand what the written Word of God is but what is the unwritten Word of God? Is it different than the Scripture?
    As for your church “teaching only what has been handed on” is not really true. The Roman Catholic church teaches doctrines that the apostles never taught. Things such as indulgences, purgatory, the papacy or the Marian dogmas were never taught by the apostles.

    How do you determine if your interpretation is “ most in line with the Sacred Tradition and the whole of Scripture”? Do you know all the Sacred Traditions of your church? You would need to, to know if it’s in line would you not? Secondly, you would need to know what the proper ways to interpret Scripture. I have never met a Roman Catholic that can do this. You might be the first though.

    I don’t know how you can claim that your church is the final arbiter if it has never officially and infallibly interpreted the Scripture. Without this, you cannot claim to have the right interpretation since your church has never officially interpreted the Scripture.
    If a Roman Catholic does not believe in the Marian dogmas will that Roman Catholic be saved?

    I think its important to carefully note that there is a difference between Roman Catholic and Catholic. People think they mean the same thing but they don’t.

    Take care

    • AnneG says:

      Bob, I’ve been following this discussion. May I suggest something that I experienced. You seem to be looking for dogmatic responses and Catholics have lots of them. We also have a different way of looking at things. The Faith is broad and the Mystery infinite. There are even areas of prudential judgment. May I suggest you look at the things you keep bringing up from a Catholic point of view. Instead of asking, “do you have to believe…”, ask the question in a different way. And, not “why”. Instead, maybe what and how and is it possible looking through the eyes of faith.

      • Bob says:

        AnneG,
        I think the questions I have been asking are pertinent to our discussions and they help to clarify what RC’s believe. What I see a lot of from RC’s, are claims about Sacred Traditions are mentioned but never shown specifically what these Sacred Traditions are and how they differ from Scripture for example. I want to make sure I understand what a RC means by the terms he-she uses otherwise we won’t be on the same page. Don’t you think its important to understand each other clearly?

        • Anil Wang says:

          Hi Bob,

          There’s a simple answer. The word Tradition literally means “something that is handed down” if you read the original Greek. It’s the deposit of faith. So Scripture is a Tradition. But it’s not the only Tradition. Liturgy and common prayers are also part of Tradition. If you research the Canon of Scripture, you’ll notice that the Lectionary played a key role in determining the Books that were accepted in the Bible, since if all Bishops accepted these books for public reading in the Mass, they must be valid books otherwise the Church would have gone off the rails. Similarly, Prayers read during the liturgy were key parts of the defense of the Trinity since Arius and Nestorius *both* claimed that they were interpreting scripture. Homiles of all the Bishops are also a witness, as would be the lived faith of all Christians. Catechisms are also a source of Tradition as are homilies and the writings of bishops (especially the early bishops).

          Give all this mess, how can you know what to believe? That’s the role of the Magesterium of the Church, which is the consensus of the Bishops.

          But as a Protestant, you likely don’t trust them, so how can you know what the Tradition? You could go by the Catechism, but it’s a thick document and it doesn’t include all of Tradition. What’s another way? A good rule of thumb is the Vincentian Canon, which is a simple threefold test of Catholic orthodoxy expressed by St. Vincent of Lérins (400-50) in his two memoranda (Comonitoria): “Care must especially be had that that be held which was believed everywhere [ubique], always [semper], and by all [ab omnibus].” By this triple norm of diffusion, endurance, and universality, a Christian can distinguish religious truth from error.

          • Bob says:

            Anne,
            Where do you find where the bishops have ruled on what is Tradition and what is not? How would you know what is believed by all on a particular issue? What do you do when it has not been believed by all? Take papal infallibility. That has not always been believed by all.

            • De Maria says:

              These are really strange questions Bob, because the Protestants don’t have anything like that either.

              You asked:
              Where do you find where the bishops have ruled on what is Tradition and what is not?

              Have the Protestants ruled on what is Tradition and what is not? After all, they reject Tradition. Therefore, they ought to know what Tradition is. For instance. The Trinity is not mentioned in Scripture. Neither is Purgatory. Protestants reject Purgatory but some accept the Trinity and some don’t.

              So, if you don’t need such a ruling, why do we?

              How would you know what is believed by all on a particular issue?

              We don’t. Why would we want to know that?

              Do you know what is believed by all on a particular issue?

              What do you do when it has not been believed by all?

              God knows what is believed by all. We don’t need to know. We do not believe in judging everyone before time as do you. We follow the teaching of Scripture:
              1 Corinthians 4:5
              Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

              Take papal infallibility. That has not always been believed by all.

              Nor is it yet believed by all. There are some Catholics who do not believe it. They have a Judge, just as do all the people of the world, Protestant and Catholic.

              Catholics will be judged the harsher because we are they who know the Lord’s will:
              Luke 12:47
              And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

              But we don’t judge even ourselves. God is our Judge.

  26. Bob says:

    I’m focusing on how a Roman Catholic knows what specifically Tradition is. As a Protestant I can go to the Scripture for my beliefs. I asking how a Roman Catholic knows what their Tradition is and how many are there. Do you know?

    I can find out what particular Protestant churches believe on specific issues.

    Take for example the claim that Mary was without sin. This was not a belief in the church for centuries. Some fathers think she sinned and others did not. Who do you believe in such instances?

    Is it a sin not to believe in papal infallibility?

    • joeclark77 says:

      I take it you already know about the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), but if not, take a look. You can find it online at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm. The current one was drawn up in the 1980s to be a universal catechism and is easy to navigate to the specific teaching on most specific issues. (This should answer your question about what the Church teaches on specific issues; it does not explain all of the reasoning why. That would take many more volumes.)

      How can you, as a Protestant, “go to Scripture”? You know it was written by Catholics, right? (You also know that your Bible is missing seven books, right?) I was puzzled earlier on when you replied to someone, “if it’s not in the New Testament, it’s not apostolic.” Well, that’s ridiculous, of course — the apostles themselves were apostolic. We Catholics have the teachings of the apostles (through their successors) and certainty in the truth of Scripture (all of it). You are in intentional rebellion against the apostles on the one hand, and on the other hand you have no logical grounds for trusting the Bible except that you found it in the bookstore and you just assume that the publisher must have checked it for accuracy.

    • De Maria says:

      Bob says:….
      As a Protestant I can go to the Scripture for my beliefs….

      1. You’re funny, Bob. You ask us thousands of questions designed to trip us up, but you refuse to answer any of ours. I asked you some questions as well. I want to point out that you ignored them all.

      2. You’re wrong.

      a. Fact:Some Protestant claim that the Trinity is taught in Scripture.
      Fact: Some claim it isn’t.

      Catholics all know that the Trinity is part of Catholic Tradition.

      Apparently Protestants have trouble finding that Tradition in Scripture.

      Also, you keep asking us where we can go to find our Traditions. Where can we go to find yours? The traditions of men which you believe vary from Protestant to Protestant. Some have catechisms, some don’t.

      Does your tradition have a catechism? Where is it? I’d like to see what it is you believe to compare to Scripture.

  27. Bob says:

    The New Testament was written by Christians. They were not Roman Catholics. Did you know the missing 7 books were not considered inspired-inerrant Scripture until Trent? Also it was not Rome or some pope that determined the Canon of Scripture.

    For something to be apostolic it must have been taught by an apostle otherwise it’s not apostolic.

    • russ says:

      Our Lord and Savior quoted from these 7 books many times:

      Matt. 6:19-20 – Jesus’ statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 – lay up your treasure.

      Matt.. 7:12 – Jesus’ golden rule “do unto others” is the converse of Tobit 4:15 – what you hate, do not do to others.

      Matt. 7:16,20 – Jesus’ statement “you will know them by their fruits” follows Sirach 27:6 – the fruit discloses the cultivation.

      Matt. 9:36 – the people were “like sheep without a shepherd” is same as Judith 11:19 – sheep without a shepherd.

      Matt. 11:25 – Jesus’ description “Lord of heaven and earth” is the same as Tobit 7:18 – Lord of heaven and earth.

      Matt. 12:42 – Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.

      Matt. 16:18 – Jesus’ reference to the “power of death” and “gates of Hades” references Wisdom 16:13.

      Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 – Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.

      Matt. 24:15 – the “desolating sacrilege” Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.

      Matt. 24:16 – let those “flee to the mountains” is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.

      Matt. 27:43 – if He is God’s Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.

      Mark 4:5,16-17 – Jesus’ description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.

      Mark 9:48 – description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17. (cf. Scripture Catholic)

      If they were good enough for Jesus, they are good enough for his Church.

      Secondly, The Church indeed came up with a canon of scripture (particularly to delineate which books should be read at Mass) a good 1200 years before Trent.

      The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, produced a list of books similar to today’s canon. This was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon.

      Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today’s canon.

      The Council of Rome, 382, was the forum which prompted Pope Damasus’ Decree.

      Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse wrote to Pope Innocent I in 405 requesting a list of canonical books. Pope Innocent listed the present canon.

      The Council of Hippo, a local north Africa council of bishops created the list of the Old and New Testament books in 393 which is the same as the Roman Catholic list today.

      The Council of Carthage, a local north Africa council of bishops created the same list of canonical books in 397. This is the council which many Protestant and Evangelical Christians take as the authority for the New Testament canon of books. The Old Testament canon from the same council is identical to Roman Catholic canon today. Another Council of Carthage in 419 offered the same list of canonical books.

      Since the Roman Catholic Church does not define truths unless errors abound on the matter, Roman Catholic Christians look to the Council of Florence, an ecumenical council in 1441 for the first definitive list of canonical books.

      The final infallible definition of canonical books for Roman Catholic Christians came from the Council of Trent in 1556 in the face of the errors of the Reformers who rejected seven Old Testament books from the canon of scripture to that time.”(cf Catholic Biblical apologetics)

      Note, the Council of Trent defined the canon as a reaction to the reformer’s attempts to pick their own canon, deviating from each and every council of the Church. The Protestants side with the Jew’s of 90 AD for their canon, rather than the Church. Weird, but true.

      • Bob says:

        “There are no clear, definite New Testament quotations from the Apocrypha by Jesus or the apostles. While there may be various allusions by the New Testament to the Apocrypha, there are no authoritative statements like “thus says the Lord,” “as it is written,” or “the Scriptures say.”

        The “oracles of God” were given to the Jews (Rom. 3:2) and they rejected the Old Testament Apocrypha as part of this inspired revelation. Interestingly, Jesus had many disputes with the Jews, but He never disputed with them regarding the extent of the inspired revelation of God.

        The Roman Catholic Church has not always accepted the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha was not officially accepted by the Catholic Church at a universal council until 1546 at the Council of Trent.

        Many church Fathers rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture, and many just used them for devotional purposes. For example, Jerome, the great Biblical scholar and translator of the Latin Vulgate, rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture though, supposedly under pressure, he did make a hurried translation of it. In fact, most of the church fathers in the first four centuries of the Church rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture. Along with Jerome, names include Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Athanasius.

        Historical Errors

        Wrong historical facts:
        Judith 1:5, “Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him.”
        Baruch 6:2, “And when you are come into Babylon, you shall be there many years, and for a long time, even to seven generations: and after that I will bring you away from thence with peace.”
        The book of Judith incorrectly says that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Assyrians when he was the king of the Babylonians.1

        Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations where Jer. 25:11 says it was for 70 years. “And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”

        http://carm.org/why-apocrypha-not-in-bible

        • Bob,

          I have to take issue with your argument here:

          “Interestingly, Jesus had many disputes with the Jews, but He never disputed with them regarding the extent of the inspired revelation of God.”

          I think this depends on which Jewish group you’re referring to. The Sadducees only accepted the first five books of the Old Testament as Scripture, which is why Jesus referred to Exodus to prove that the resurrection is a doctrine from Scripture. I think we’re safe in concluding that Jesus disagreed with them on this subject.

          My point is, I’m not sure there was a set Jewish canon at that time.

        • Devin Rose says:

          Bob, you missed it that Russ pointed out that Ecumenical Council of Florence in the 1400s also reaffirmed the same canon, which included the seven deuterocanonical books.

          Even well-regarded Protestant historians accept that the early Church referenced the deuterocanonical books in indistinguishable ways from the rest of the canonical books. That is not to say that there was universal agreement on them early on–there was debate–but there was also considerable debate about Hebrews, Revelation, 2 & 3 John, etc. etc.

          • Bob says:

            Devin,
            Isn’t it true that it was not until Trent that these 7 books were declared to be inspired-inerrant Scripture?

            • Devin Rose says:

              Bob,

              Allow me a more general explanation. All the Church’s doctrines are infallibly protected from error. So, the Church infallibly taught the doctrine of the Trinity from 33 to 325 AD. Now then, the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea decreed this true doctrine of the Trinity (Christ is consubstantial with the Father), and that made the doctrine irreformable. In other words, there can be no more speculation or discussion about this dogma. It is true and taught with the fullest authority of the Church.

              Similarly with the canon. The deuterocanonical books were inspired from the get-go, and the evidence is there that the Church from early on was using them as Scripture. So the Church was teaching that they were inerrant, God-breathed. BUT that infallibly taught doctrine did not become irreformable until Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformers challenging those 7 books (and Luther’s rejection of the 4 NT ones). At that point (mid-1500s), the canon became dogma, and thus not open to speculation or debate.

  28. JeffB says:

    Bob,
    As Devin mentioned, most of the early church fathers not only did not reject the Apocrypha as Scripture, but rather they referred to it in the same way as they did the Protestant canonical books. I once thought as you do that the Apocryphal books were rarely quoted by the early fathers and if so, it was mostly devotionally. I got this idea from reading prominent books on the canon by Protestant scholars I trusted. But once I read the early fathers for myself, it was amazingly and blatantly obvious that I had been misinformed and it was one of the things that shook my confidence in those Protestant teachers I trusted.

    One additional note regarding some church fathers that supposedly rejected Apocryphal books. Some of these fathers include lists of books that are considered canonical and in some cases, those lists exclude certain Apocryphal books. However, in other portions of the same father’s writings, he quotes those missing books as Scripture. The implication is that the book in question was considered perhaps part of one of the books listed and not particularly separately named. Just like some lists group the books of Kings into one book, it’s not unlikely say that Baruch would have been considered part of Jeremiah, etc. So even when you see an explicit list that seems to support the Protestant canon, things are not so obvious as they seem.

    Peace,
    Jeff

    • Bob says:

      Jeff,
      Was it the fathers who determined what Scripture is? Do they speak for the entire church and if so who appointed them to do so?
      It is true that some may have thought of them as Scripture but so what? We don’t base doctrine on what some church father says.

      The fact remains: the church did not consider the 7 books to be inspired-inerrant Scripture until Trent.

      • JeffB says:

        Hello Bob,
        Keep in mind that the Orthodox church also recognizes the Apocryphal books as Scripture…independently of Trent. I also would have agreed with your last statement of “fact” until I actually read the fathers, Aquinas, etc spanning first century to Trent….but once I began reading, I realized that so-called “fact” simply wasn’t so. I’ll have to just leave it at that at this point but best to you as you continue to think about these things. I wanted to comment specifically because the Apocrypha question was very instrumental to me personally in my own move away from Protestantism.

        Peace to you,
        Jeff

  29. Bob says:

    Devin,
    No church is protected from teaching error. The apostles warned that the church could and would fall into error. Acts 20:29, 2 Peter 2:1 and Revelation 2:12-17. If the church was protected from teaching error these warnings would be unnecessary.
    How could the “deuterocanonical books were inspired from the get-go” if they were considered to be books of a second canon before Trent? Even Roman Catholic scholars during the Reformation period distinguished between deuterocanon and canon. Cardinal Ximenes made this distinction in his Complutensian Polyglot.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Bob, the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. The Holy Spirit was promised to lead the Apostles (and their successors, and thus, the Church) into all truth.

      In Acts 20:29, St. Paul warns them that wolves will come and try to lead them astray. Astray from what? From the truth that they have been taught by the Apostles and the men they have ordained. Your position means that wolves have come and corrupted the Church’s doctrine, corrupting the deposit of faith. That means they could have even corrupted the books of the NT, right from the beginning. It destroys the possibility of knowing divine revelation through the Scriptures, which you base your understanding of the Faith on.

      Regarding 2 Peter, that is why after he gets done in the passage warning them he says at the beginning of chapter 3 “I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.” In other words, trust to the tradition of the Apostles, whether by word of mouth or by letter, and not to the teachers who contradict them. There is a true measure of orthodoxy: the tradition of the Apostles (word of mouth, and letter).

      Similarly with Revelation, yes some believers had gone astray and believed false doctrines. They are called by Christ to repent and return to the sure truth found from the Father to Christ to the Apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit.

      Books are either inspired or not. Deuterocanonical is a handy phrase. I recall Cardinal Ximenes was following some humanist ideas of the day on this matter. His opinion was not the ultimate decision of the Church herself at Trent (and prior) which confirmed the canonization of the books.

      • Bob says:

        Devin,
        Churches can and do err. That’s why Scripture warns about this in the passages I gave you. Even Peter erred in Matthew 16:22-23 and Galatians 2:14. What this shows is that even an apostle could have taught error.
        This does not destroy “ the possibility of knowing divine revelation through the Scriptures” since divine revelation does not depend on man being perfect.
        You are right that when we trust the apostles in their writings we will not error. Its when we trust the men after them that we get into problems. That’s why its essential we compare the teachings of your church with Scripture. When we do so, then we see they are not teaching apostolic teachings but their own ideas. Doctrines such as indulgences, purgatory and the Marian dogmas come to mind.
        The passage I gave in Revelation proves that a church can err.
        It was not until Trent that the 7 Deuterocanonical books were considered inspired-inerrant. Up to that time they were not.

        • joeclark77 says:

          First of all, Bob, there are not “churches” in the world. There is the Church, the Body of Christ, instituted by God and guided by the holy spirit. In addition, there are 30,000 loosely-defined bible study organizations that meet in buildings they call “church”. To lump them all together is to compare apples to oranges.

          So there you are with an edited Bible, which you have no logical reason to assume is credible, written by you care not who, a Bible edited with Luther’s ulterior motives — trying to discern what the apostles would teach, if you were willing to listen. Over here are living, breathing successor apostles, carrying out orders given to them by Christ himself through direct laying on of hands through the generations, guided by the Holy Spirit, informed by the unadulterated Scriptures, doing their best to tell you what the truth really is. Why won’t you give them a chance?

          Imagine a student of physics struggling to understand Einstein’s theories, with a used textbook with half the pages torn out, and Einstein himself is offering to help but the student tells him to buzz off.

          • Bob says:

            Joe,
            In the NT times there were “churches” and not just one. In Rome there were house churches.

            Would you like to discuss some of the doctrines of your church that are not found or grounded in Scripture? I’d be more than willing to do that so you can straighten me out if you want.

            • De Maria says:

              Bob, you keep bringing up the same Catholic Doctrines. We keep showing them to you in Scripture. You ignore us.

              Then you bring them up again. We show them to you again. And you ignore us.

              Then we bring up the Protestant doctrines that don’t agree with Scripture. You ignore us and go back to the same Catholic doctrines you mentioned before. And we show you from Scripture and you ignore us. On and on and on…..

  30. Bob says:

    Devin,
    There are only so many doctrines to address. I noticed you didn’t address the issue that churches can and do err. RC’s assume their church cannot and has not erred. No matter what evidence is brought forth that shows it did the RC will just dismiss it because of the claim the church cannot err. Would that be correct?

    • De Maria says:

      No matter what evidence is brought forth that shows it did the RC will just dismiss it because of the claim the church cannot err. Would that be correct?

      Who is bringing forth the claim? Man or God?

      Because Scripture says:
      Ephesians 3:10
      King James Version (KJV)
      10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

      That is God’s Word saying that the Church teaches His Wisdom.

      God’s Word also says:
      1 Timothy 3:15
      King James Version (KJV)
      15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

      That’s God’s Word saying that the Church always upholds the truth.

      You provide claims from men, we provide claims from God. Whom do you think we will believe?

      • Bob says:

        De Maria,
        I honestly don’t know how you arrive at your conclusions that “church always upholds the truth” by using I Tim 3:15.
        How could the church always uphold the truth considering the warnings of false teachers in the church that would lead the church astray?

        All you can give me with your interpretation of Scripture is your own private interpretations. I wish I knew what the official interpretation is. That way we could see if your interpretations are correct. Without this, there is no way for you t o determine which interpretation is the correct one.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Bob,

      You are conflating two related entities: there are local Churches (say, the Church in Ephesus, or the Church in Austin, Texas) which make up the Church Catholic. When we say the Church cannot err, because God protects her from erring, we speak of the universal Church, the Catholic Church, when she teaches with her full authority. We are speaking of the bishops of the local Churches who are full communion with the bishop of Rome. Think of the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 for an example.

      So sure, a bishop or even group of bishops could go into schism, or could teach heresy; a local Church could be plagued by heresy and even go into schism over it, but it is just that, a heresy, not something taught by the Church.

  31. Bob says:

    Devin,
    Your position on erring is arbitrary. Rome has taught error in a number of cases. Secondly, and more importantly Jesus never promised the Roman Catholic Church could not err. If He did, then the warnings of Paul in Acts 20:29 and 2 Peter 2:1 would be senseless to make. Jesus also never excitedly-implicitedly taught the church could not err. Third, so long as fallen-fallible men are the leaders of churches there will always be error.

    The situation this puts you in is that it makes it impossible for you to hold your church accountable and forces you to believe in false teachings. It also means your church can never reform itself when in it is in error. It has to keep denying that it has erred even when the evidence is clear.