Wednesday, May 09, 2007

In My World Lately...

1. I recently got in a discussion with a man about Catholicism. (Thank you Stephen!) I was accused of having a Dark Sarcasm (OOOOOooooo) and of not knowing the truth because I believe that Catholics are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I really wanted to get nasty but that would be non-Christan of me. I am sure he is a nice guy. (John if you are tuning in, go read John 3:16 for a refresher on who "should not perish and have eternal life." Then go have your mommy tuck you in and read you a betime story so you won't be scared of the big bad Catholics.) Okay, I'll drop it. (Just kiddn' John, seriously! Don't forget, John 3:16. Report on my desk tomorrow!)

2. I spent 6 hours in one day trying to get my M powered interface to work with Logic. (That’s a big “qwa qwa, qwa qwa qwa qwa” to you non music software people.) For some reason I can never remember the name "Logic" when describing the software I use. Not really a name fit for music software in my opinion. Illogical music is much more interesting. Even Bach’s music has illogical, unpredictable things about it. It wasn't till Mozart decided to infuse rampant asymmetry in his later works that he became immortally beloved. In fact, I can't name a late work of Mozart without some strangeness in proportion.

Plain and simple, pure logic is boring. It is needed, it has its purpose but it is kinda like the Navy. They are pretty much there to give the Marines a ride. JUST KIDDING!!!!

3. I installed a symphonic sample library that will soon run every working symphonic musician out of business. It is called the Vienna Symphonic Library. VERY expensive but VERY worth it. I give you a preview soon.

4. I finally started working out again today. Finally. I bout’ croaked on the cross-trainer but I am back in the saddle.

5. I have started drinking Earl Grey tea instead of Coffee. I am now a huge Earl Grey-with-cream-brown-sugar-and-honey fan for life.

52 comments:

MamasBoy said...

There seems to be alot floating around the web right now regarding whether Catholics can be saved or can be considered evangelicals, etc. Dr. Beckwith's conversion last week in the middle of his presidency of the Evangelical Theological Society caused him to not only give up his position, but completely surrender his membership because the board no longer considered him to be an evangelical. Dr. Beckwith disagreed, but decided a discussion on that topic could best be conducted as a non-member.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/mayweb-only/119-32.0.html
http://rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/2007/05/statement_of_th.html#more
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2007/05/ets_on_beckwith.html
http://rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/2007/05/my_return_to_th.html

It's good of you to not assume the worst about the other guy. He probably is a nice person. Too often I write things that don't come across like I meant them to. I really appreciate it when people talk to me about their offense instead of just assuming the worst.

I remember an interview PBS did one time with several pro-life and pro-choice activists who had formed a group to understand one another. Many of the women had actually become friends as they got to know each other and get past the political.

Oh, yeah. I never liked Earl Grey much, but I never tried it with cream, BS and honey.

MB

PS: I hate taking the time to use html since I screw up the syntax a good portion of the time. Do other people have trouble cutting and pasting non-html links? It seems to work fine for me.

Seth Ward said...

I DESPISE it. I am a complete lazy-arse about that these dayz. I had about 4 opportunities to do that in this last post but... laziness triumphed.

I agree btw about what you said, and thanks for posting those links. That is where I had my discussion with John.

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

Seth I will gladly engage with you to discuss why those Catholics who are part of the heirarchy of the Catholic church cannot be considered saved as well as most likely the vast majority of those who follow the Catholic Faith. And I will agree to discuss with you those points as long as you can discuss those points in an adult and respectful manner.

I will attempt the discussion with you even though it seems that you follow a Post-Modern Ideology that says that man can not know absolute Truth, and that truth is defined by one's own personal experience.

Lastly I have a question and this is not meant as insulting or sarcastic, but I noticed that one of you favorite movies is "Pulp Fiction"

Knowing that this movie is one of the most puerile movies to have ever come out of idolatrywood, and has scenes portraying bondage and brutal violent sodomy by a man of another man, not to mention the rest of the despicable and perverse other scenes in the movie, how can you justify with your Christian faith the watching of such a grossly perverse movie?

As Paul says in Romans 12:1-2:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

And in Romans 13:11-14:

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Seth Ward said...

"That Man who will not look towards heaven but towards..." (Btw, are you John? Would sure save the typing of your hefty moniker there...)

Brother, if you are John, I think I have a pretty good idea by now on where you stand. It is tempting, but out of respect for my Catholic brothers and sisters who read this blog, who I love dearly, I think I will refrain from having comment after comment display, even for an unintended moment, insensitivity to the love that they have for Christ our Savior. You may find it hard to believe but I have heard your song and dance before. My whole life in fact. And I once believed as you do until the Lord changed my heart.

However, if my RC brothers engage, or anyone else, from this point on, that is entirely up to them. This blog has always been one of discussion, some going well into the hundreds. But it has always been discussion, not a pulpit to ram your fist upon with deaf ears.

You seem to have your mind made up. As do I. I am not searching for truth or greater discernment on this answer. I know it. How? To quote Karl Barth "The bible tells me so." That probably irritates the snot out of you, but I am no pot-smoking-peace-loving-whatever-feels-good-do-it child chasing the winds of change. I am a child of God and so is "all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,[c] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

However, I would like to take this moment to apologize. I am a VERY sarcastic man. It isn't a spiritual gift as Shaun Groves claims, even though sometimes I wish that it were. I am always finding the humor in things, whether it needs to be found or not, if you haven't noticed from my other posts. (Not that they were near the realm of funny, but the effort is there no matter how futile.) The cyber world is a poor conduit for sarcastic banter. Just know that I am only sarcastic with people that I like and you may return it tenfold.

I disagree with you 10000000% about this issue but I respect your opinion and believe you have a right to it.

About the Pulp Fiction question... First I must know... Did my mother hire you to haunt me about that?

Wait a second... MOM????!!!!

Anonymous said...

Seth,

What am I gonna do with you? Every time I turn my back you are getting into little scuffles!!

One thing that I haven't seen many people mention is that Beckwith has stated several times that he, in good conscience, could sign that ETS doctrinal statement concerning the Trinity and inerrancy.

If these are the only two requirements for this evangelical society then I don't understand what the fuss is all about. He believes in the Trinity and believes the bible to be inerrant.

These two beliefs alone seem to place him firmly within the family of God. What more do we want out of him?

Earl Grey is great, but lately I am a British Breakfast fan.

Stevie

euphrony said...

Seth, with all that cream, sugar, and honey in your Earl Grey, I can fully understand your need to work out again! I'm in the same boat, though. We just got a membership at a new gym 5 minutes from our house and I was there at 5:30 this morning. I don't like that time for exercise, but it's what works and I need the exercise.

I would agree with he whose name is too long to try and type here about Pulp Fiction not being something that God would be proud of. It may be highly effective art, and by all accounts it is, but that does not make it profitable for me as a Christian. But, we've had this discussion before, in the vein of language, on my blog. We've agreed to disagree on that, and I don't hate you for it man. But, when I'm proven right in God's kingdom, I'll specifically pick you as a footstool! Ha!

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

Seth yes it is John,

And from your response I would say it would most likely be a waste of both of our time to try and "shove" our Theology down the others throat. I personally do not believe that should be done.

However and I will make this as brief as I can so as to not turn this thread into a long drawn out Theological Debate.

First off I don’t hate Catholics as I said on the Thread at ETS I know many "good" people who are Catholics, but it doesn’t make them saved, and I use man's definition above for "good" because before God none of us are good.

The entire theme of the Old Testament is of a people who were given knowledge of God, but through their corruptness and interaction with surrounding pagan cultures changed that faith in God into creed's, dead outward acts and they absorbed pagan influences into their worship of God and created a man made religion that suited their corrupt minds and over time as their corruptness increased, they absorbed more pagan influences into their “religion” and their dead outward acts increased, they reached a point that the creeds, the dead outward acts and the influx of pagan influences became the core of their “religion”. To the point where God became a peripheral part of their “religion” but the vast majority of their religion was given over to the glorification of man’s “tradition” or those things that had been added to the worship of God by man. This is a glorification of man’s intellect over the Glorification of God. This is the core reason for Jesus, God the Son coming to earth in the form of sinful flesh, to set the record straight, to strip away the tradition and the pagan influences to show man how he must glorify God. In other words to show man the way once again.

So it is not enough to say that you believe in God and that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, after all the Devil and Demons believe in God and Jesus Christ, but they are not saved. Acceptance of Jesus is not just mumbling some words and then going on about your merry business. And then when anyone asks you if you believe in God and Jesus Christ you say yes. It’s much more than that.

Acceptance of Jesus Christ means that you become a changed person, Not for merit because none of us can earn heaven, but because when there is genuine acceptance of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within in you and you no longer have a desire for the things of this earth but only to glorify God in Heaven.

Now part of that Glorification of God is to love your neighbor, but you cannot use fallen man's definition of love. You have to use God's and that kind of Love can only be known as a Gift of the Holy Spirit. That kind of love gives you understanding of God's mind and how he sees things, not fully because we are human he is God but he gives us enough to understand his definition of Love and his definition of Righteousness. So that this Holy Spirit imparted love and Righteousness do not become works to earn favor but integral parts of our being or in other words automatic instincts.
Man made added traditions on the other hand come about via two avenues, and this is borne out by history: 1. Pagan influences, which entered the church through pragmatism, 2. through fallen selfishness to do work to gain favor.

So how do these make belief in Jesus Christ of none affect?

Pagan influences direct people away from the Glorification of God, which is what we are here for and diverts their attention to fallen man made creations or ideas. This is idolatry because it attempts to raise up man made creations or idea’s to equal with God and nothing can be equal with God.

Work to gain favor is self explanatory, we can never do enough to gain favor with God. As Paul said in Galatians to the Christians who were regressing and thinking of coming under the Jewish Law, if you return to works Jesus profits you nothing. What he was saying is that if you regress to the point to thinking self effort will gain you favor, which is what the Jewish law was at that time, dead works dedicated to self effort in an attempt to gain favor, then you have lost the understanding that works profit you nothing before God, and also the understanding of what Salvation by Grace is: unmerited favor.

When you lose the understanding of God’s unmerited favor and why we all need it, then you never enter into rest. You work and work and work and work doing dead works to try and earn salvation.

This is the tip of the iceberg of what is wrong with Catholic Theology. No matter our compassion for them and our emotion driven want for them to be saved they cannot unless they rest in the knowledge that Salvation is by Grace alone. There is no such thing as “works” after salvation, because if you are truly saved you will have the instinct to love as God loves, and to be righteous as Jesus asks us to be righteous.

I do not say these things without knowledge I have studied the Catholic Catechism with an open heart and it is tragic the millstone it places around the necks of those who follow the Catholic dogma. It is not hatred to point these things out it is love for them that they may find salvation.

Lastly and I do not say this to upset you, but in regards to your favorite movies, you say that God changed your heart towards the Catholics, I would say you need to test what you believe you are given via the Bible, Satan comes as an angel of light to deceive, I question the change if the change did not bring revulsion to you over movies like Pulp Fiction, the Righteous heart cannot even look upon such things let alone watch them for any length of time. A test as to whether you have had a changed heart: What can you accept into your eyes and your ears as entertainment? If the things that you accept as entertainment are things that would be revulsion to God then you need to pray and ask God to take that desire away.

God Bless you, I will pray for you and I will leave your blog at peace. God tells me that you love him and it is an earnest love, but that you must not try to direct his hand but become wise in him, to pray and ask him to reveal his word to you and wait upon him, and he will give you the wisdom that you so desperately seek from him.

MamasBoy said...

"No matter our compassion for them and our emotion driven want for them to be saved they cannot unless they rest in the knowledge that Salvation is by Grace alone."

Amen! Salvation is by grace alone. That's exactly what the Catholic Church teaches. See, you were parroting Catholic teaching and didn't even know it.

Now if you were to rephrase that as faith alone, then there would probably be some disagreement, but grace alone?!? We're two peas in a pod.

MB

FancyPants said...

John,

Greetings. I am a fellow Protestant. I have not followed your previous posts on other blogs that you mention, so forgive the possible redundancy of my arguments. I disagree with you on many issues here, but perhaps your belief that strikes me as the most dangerous is your belief that you have somehow aquired the right to take Christ's place on the Judgment Seat. Let me expound:

You say, Acceptance of Jesus is not just mumbling some words and then going on about your merry business. And then when anyone asks you if you believe in God and Jesus Christ you say yes. It’s much more than that.

Acceptance of Jesus Christ means that you become a changed person, Not for merit because none of us can earn heaven, but because when there is genuine acceptance of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within in you and you no longer have a desire for the things of this earth but only to glorify God in Heaven.


And elsewhere you say, I know many "good" people who are Catholics, but it doesn’t make them saved.

You believe that Catholics are not saved. And by your definition of saved, we conclude that you do not believe Catholics to hold a genuine acceptance of Christ to the point of being changed, of desiring God over the things of this earth.

When you stand before Christ in the judgment of your own soul, what will you say of the martyrs that stand to your right and to your left? The men and women that gave their life in the history of our faith. Will you say that they were not changed? That they desired this world more than God?

What will you say of Saint Agustine, Aquinas, and Mother Teresa? That they knew no true righteousness?

What will you say of the Catholic men and women who initiated the homeless shelter downtown in the name of Jesus Christ? That they cared more for the things of this world than Jesus Christ, who claims He is the poorest of our poor?

And finally, when, in the history of our Christian faith, do you discount the salvation of the men and women who have gone before us, preserving and spreading our faith throughout the world? The 1500 years of Chrisitianity that have occurred before the Protestant Reformation: at what point from the Apostle Peter to Martin Luther, of those 1500 years, did the Catholics lose their salvation?

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

To Fancy Pants:

You are confusing Fallen Man Defined "Goodness" for Salvation and the two are as far as East and West and never the twain shall meet.

you cannot use a culturally defined definition for "Goodness" to say it means salvation.

"Goodness" never comes into it.

FancyPants said...

No, I am pointing out the genuinely changed lives of countless Catholics due to their faith and acceptance in Christ.

Part of your definition of salvation.

I am curious of an answer to my last question.

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

mamasbooy said:

"Amen! Salvation is by grace alone. That's exactly what the Catholic Church teaches. See, you were parroting Catholic teaching and didn't even know it."


You see this is what every Catholic will say when you confront them with the Catechism of the Catholic church. This is not what the Catechism of the Catholic church teaches.

Also AGAIN what you fail to recognize is what i said about the story of the Bible. I doesnt matter if YOU say the Catholic Curch believes Salvation is by Grace alone or even if a Catholic Priest says it, what counts is what the CAtholic church documents as its Theology and what it requires those who wish to be in full communion with the Catholic Church to Believe in and that is contained within the Catechism of the Catholic Church and is diametrically opposed to salvation by Grace alone.

In addition those requirements are so "weighty" that they make the fundamental doctrines of the Bible of none affect, that they seem to agrre with just as the Jewish Tradition of Jesus day made the Law of none affect. As they both raise man made Tradition above the commandments of God as well as obscure them and oppose them.

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

FancyPants Said:

No, I am pointing out the genuinely changed lives of countless Catholics due to their faith and acceptance in Christ.

Part of your definition of salvation.

I am curious of an answer to my last question.


I say:

In reagrds to answering your question, it is one of those questions that set a trap i.e. you are saying

"No, I am pointing out the genuinely changed lives of countless Catholics due to their faith and acceptance in Christ."

You are using your subjective definition of what you consider salvation and you missed my point in my posting about tradition and how the Bible shows us how Tradition can make "A belief in Jesus Christ" of none affect or in other words of no use. You are also depending what you consider someones "goodness" as proof of a transformed life.

"Goodness" avails us nothing in relationship to God. There are good Hindu's there are good Buddhists, etc but they do not have salvation.

The Catholic Church places requirements on those who wish to be in Communion with the Catholic which are in opposition to what the Bible very clearly tells us we must depend on for Salvation. You cant just say you "believe" in Jesus Christ" and then tack on to it whatever traditions you choose as requirments and then say well I am "good" and I believe in Jesus Christ therefore I am saved irregardless of the rest.

The reason for this is, is that what begins as unrequired reverence and respect in added on to original doctrine, turns into tradition added on to original doctrine, which then turns into required tradition as Dcotrine, which then de-emphasize the original doctrine making the orignal doctrine of none affect or its orginal purpose of no consequence.

A good example is the story of Saul. Part of the orginal Mosaic Law stated:

Leviticus 19:31

Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 20:6

And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.

A familiar spirit was what we would term the dead or ghosts.

After Samuel the prophet died Saul needed advice, but he had no one to turn to advice, and God had shunned him. So:

1 Samuel 28:7-14

Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.” So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.” Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?” And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, “As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!” And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.” So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down.

The key phrase in this passage is: Saul perceived that it was Samuel. However it was not Samuel it was a lying spirit. Saul had violated a specific commandment from God not to seek out and inquire of Mediums because Mediums were not of God and could only call up lying spirits:

So then:

1 Chronicles 10:13

So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.

God has given specific instructions on how to seek him out, also nowhere in Scripture does it say that those who have died can be contacted by the living, and God forbids anyoe to try and contact the dead. The commandment from God also more importantly points out that God has specific methods for seeking him, and there are methods that are not to be used:

Deuteronomy 12:29-32

“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

But the Catholic Church allows and encourages praying to dead Popes, and "Saints"

This is against the methods of how God tells us to worship him

MamasBoy said...

"You see this is what every Catholic will say when you confront them with the Catechism of the Catholic church. This is not what the Catechism of the Catholic church teaches."

Actually, truth be told, grace alone is the view of the catechism of the Catholic Church. Nobody can be saved apart from grace, and it is only by grace that man is saved. Here is the section on grace and justification in the catechism.
http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect1chpt3art2.htm

Just one last note. If a person wants to know what the Catholic Church really teaches, they would do well to read the writings of the Church (best) or knowledgable, faithful Catholics explaining Catholic doctrine. I'm not saying it is inherrantly bad to read the writings of Protestants on Catholicism. I'm simply noting that much (probably most) of the Protestant descriptions of Catholic doctrine are inaccurate. Just as a sidebar, it's also best to read Protestants to understand Protestants.

MB

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

to mamasboy:

I am not quoting Protestant sources for what Catholic doctrine Teaches that would be wrong, unfair and would not give a correct view of what Catholic doctrine requires.

I have studied Catholic Doctrine including the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these are my sources.

There is a movement on within the Catholic Church to make Mary a co-redemtirx alongside Jesus.

Now my question to you, is that valid if it were to be done? Could you say then that the Catholic church no longer can claim to be a valid Christian Faith?

Also in regards to Mary, I refer to my previous post on Saul and God's commandment against seeking out mediums and or contacting familar Spirits, (The dead) All of the apparitions that have appeared to Catholics have been of Mary, knowing that God forbids contact with Familiar Spirits (The dead, Apparitions) how can the Catholic Church claim that these are valid, and further how can it claim that any of the prophecies given by "Mary" such as in the Fatima Prophecies, could possibly be from God?

Also if God forbids contacting the Dead how can it be valid within he Catholic Church to pray to Dead Saints? Dead Popes?

MamasBoy said...

Guy with the really long name,

God forbade graven images, yet he commanded Moses to make one and then called it a prophesy about himself (John 3:14, Numbers 21:8-9). The key was the intent. 1) was it done in obedience to God and 2) were the people worshiping an idol or replacing faith in the bronze serpent (or Moses) with faith in God.

Similarly, we must look at peoples hearts and motives when discussing contact with the "dead." First of all, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. I think we can both agree on that. Secondly, all potential contact with Mary today is wrong without exception, then Jesus is a sinner for meeting with Moses and Elijah.

So also are the people sinners who listened to the preaching of the "dead" saints who came out of their tombs after the resurrection.
Matt 27:52-54 "And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many."

Now, I'm not saying that if somebody wants to treat Mary or another saint in heaven like their little fortune teller or wish granter, then that's just a-ok. What I am saying is that one should be careful about making unbreakable rules when scripture itself has exceptions to those rules.

Regarding how an apparition of the virgin Mary could possibly be from God. Think fruit. When the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and destroyed their temples of human sacrifice, there were precious few conversions over the next decade. However, over 10 years later something amazing happened that resulted in the conversion of the vast majority of natives, some 9 million over the following 10 years. Considering the population of Mexico, that was an amazing evangelistic feat. So many people were being converted that priests were baptizing people all day long from sunup to sundown. The cause of this was the apparition of Mary to Juan Diego as Our Lady of Guadalupe. If Mary were pointing to herself as an object of worship, that would be wrong. But she didn't, she pointed to her son and asked that people believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. They did and Mexico was by and large converted.

Regarding Mary as co-redemptrix, I will say that if you were to define redeemer for us, I'm sure that I would agree with you that Mary doesn't fit that role. That term is meant to capture the idea that just as Christ is the new Adam, so Mary is the new Eve. That is why our Lord referred to her as Woman. Such an odd thing to call one's mother, Jesus was recalling for us Adam's reference to Eve as woman. Newman develops this idea much more eloquently and completely than I can in this short space, so I will refer you to his brief writings on Mary as the second Eve.
http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/marian/newman1.html

Now, what I have presented is short and incomplete. Even if it were more complete and better written, it would never convince anybody. That job I leave to the Holy Spirit . I do ask, though, that you prayerfully consider the mere possibility that a statue/icon is more like a family photo/bronze serpent than an idol, and the possibility that a marian apparition is more like the New Testament references to the appearances of saints from the past and a seance (sp?).

Honestly, I can understand your repulsion to how Catholics regard Mary, because not too terribly long ago I shared that repulsion. In fact, I didn't really understand or appreciate marian doctrine all that much until after I became Catholic. But this much I was able to convince myself of before entering the Church: Catholics don't worship Mary or the Saints. No, if Catholics are guilty of idolatry, it is not for worshiping Mary or the saints, but for worshiping what we believe to be our Lord in the Eucharist. If Catholics are wrong about Mary, well, it's kind of like asking your friend to pray for you over the phone when the call has been dropped without you realizing it. It's useless, but not sinful. However, if Catholics are wrong about the Eucharist, then we are big-time idolaters. As Catholics, we believe Jesus wasn't speaking metaphorically when he said, "Take, eat, this is my body..." and later, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood..."

MB

RC said...

wow...i've never had earl gray like that before...maybe then i wouldn't consider it "boring" in the world of hot beverages.

good luck with the physical activity...just think in a few days it'll actually feel good!!

interesting john 3:16 thoughts...is it really that simple? this is not really a catholic/protestant issue...but even the demons BELIEVE in HIM.

Seth Ward said...

Good question RC.

Demons believe in him because they have not choice and they are different from us because they are out of the scope of redemption.

John, actually Jesus, did not mean Demons. And of course, that is not who he was talking about there. He was talking about those that believe in Christ Jesus as the savior of the world, i.e. mankind, God's Son and THEIR savior for the forgiveness of their sins.

It is that simple! Ironically, one tries to condemn the Catholic by saying that they are jumping through hoops while simultaneously creating a bunch of other hoops. It is grace through faith. And that is what Paul spends 80 percent of his time drilling into the heads of those young churches.

Jesus makes it quite easy. Too easy in fact. Too good to be true. That is the beauty of Grace. UNMERITED FAVOR.

"Whosoever will."

"Even to those that believe on His Name."

When we talk about a man who believes that Christ died for his sins and believes in Him, it is different than a Demon from hell, who lived in heaven face to face with the Father, Son, and Sprit, yet rejected them fully for self, to spend all of eternity in hell to where his very existence, which he STILL owes to God and only makes him hate God more, is pure torture.

We are talking about two different things here. A man who cries out to God, Christ the savior, and a Demon who cries out in fear of one whom they hate with every fiber of their being.

One is loved, one is hated. One is in the realm of grace and forgiveness; one is in hell for all eternity. One was loved so much that God sent His Son to die on the cross for him, the other so rejected by God that they were thrown from heaven like lightning with their master, "The liar from the beginning,"

I also find it ironic that Protestants who use this verse "even the demons believe" are using a verse that James is engaging to REINFORCE the importance of works.

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Brody Harper said...

you guys write a lot.

MamasBoy said...

oh, btw. sorry for the redundancy with the first post. I had no idea you were referring to comments on Beckwith's blog.

FancyPants said...

John, the question is not meant to be a trap. I hear you saying that Catholics cannot be saved, and so I naturally think about Christianity before the Protestant Reformation. By saying that Catholics are not saved, you discount the validity of the majority of Christian history.

As far as the definition of salvation, I was using yours in your previous post. As far as "goodness" is concerned: you had mentioned that acceptance in Jesus Christ is becoming a changed person. There are fruits of a changed lifestyle. Jesus says that you will know a tree by its fruit. I mentioned people whose lives were changed by Christ, not do gooders.

As far as the requirements to be a part of the Catholic church, I'll let Mamasboy tackle that one.

And about tradition, I did not miss you point. Just overlooked it for the time being. To be honest, I do not know exactly to what you are referring to in the OT. Do you refer to the strict laws the Jews followed in addition to the law given by God? Do you see these as wrong traditions? I understand that. I think I see where you're coming from there...

There were traditions in the Jewish faith that as a Jew, Jesus followed. He did not condemn certain traditions. Passover, the temple, even the law Jesus followed. He said he came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

Mamasboy said:

God forbade graven images, yet he commanded Moses to make one and then called it a prophesy about himself (John 3:14, Numbers 21:8-9). The key was the intent. 1) was it done in obedience to God and 2) were the people worshiping an idol or replacing faith in the bronze serpent (or Moses) with faith in God.

Similarly, we must look at peoples hearts and motives when discussing contact with the "dead." First of all, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. I think we can both agree on that. Secondly, all potential contact with Mary today is wrong without exception, then Jesus is a sinner for meeting with Moses and Elijah.


I say:

You are doing what is known as extending scripture far beyond its meaning and intent. One of the main themes in the Old Testament is Israel’s constant wandering off to their pagan neighbors “Graven Images” and not just wandering off to them but worshipping the Pagan God they represented. The serpent that Moses raised up was clearly not a graven image and was not given a name to be a god to replace God, it like the rest of the story of their escape from Egypt and wandering in the desert was about keeping faith in God that he would keep his word. Also these events in the Old Testament were “Types and Shadows” pointing to Christ and in no way could said to be valid for practice today. Since these things were types and shadows pointing to Christ, it lacks Godly wisdom in the first place to try and re-implement them as they do not point towards anything, but actually due to unregenerate human rationality tend to lead man away from worshipping God in Spirit and in truth. And that is what we have seen over time. “Precept upon “Precept” has lead to the point where people think icons have special power, relics have special power, bones or remains of saints or popes have power and they pray TO THEM. No where in the Old Testament will you find people praying to these things. They are forbidden because they take the focus away from God and to man, and this increases over time.

Also in regards to Jesus speaking to Moses and Elijah in Matthew 17, the Apostles were given the ability to see into eternity and this is where Moses and Elijah were, and the context in this event again is they are with Christ, And Jesus was seen in all his glory as God the Son speaking to Moses and Elijah, not as some fallen mortal. What should be particularly telling in this is what Peter said:

“Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Did Jesus tell them to make three tabernacles? No immediately God the Father spoke from heaven and told Peter to in effect shut and listen to Jesus. Does it leave any doubt that God the Father was refocusing Peter on Jesus?

Mamsboy said:

So also are the people sinners who listened to the preaching of the "dead" saints who came out of their tombs after the resurrection.
Matt 27:52-54 "And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many."

Now, I'm not saying that if somebody wants to treat Mary or another saint in heaven like their little fortune teller or wish granter, then that's just a-ok. What I am saying is that one should be careful about making unbreakable rules when scripture itself has exceptions to those rules.

I say:

I apologize but once again you are extending scripture outside its meaning and context. The event of “dead” saints who came to life at Jesus resurrection was a one time occurrence for and in the context of showing God’s power over physical death full stop, their awakening from the “dead” was directly related to this event. And theses people were not apparitions. They were in their full physical bodies. Also no where else in scripture do you find God using “Dead” saints to communicate his will to man. And this is an important point because God knows man’s heart and he knows this would draw people away to worship the Saint.

Mamasboy said:

Regarding how an apparition of the virgin Mary could possibly be from God. Think fruit. When the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and destroyed their temples of human sacrifice, there were precious few conversions over the next decade. However, over 10 years later something amazing happened that resulted in the conversion of the vast majority of natives, some 9 million over the following 10 years. Considering the population of Mexico, that was an amazing evangelistic feat. So many people were being converted that priests were baptizing people all day long from sunup to sundown. The cause of this was the apparition of Mary to Juan Diego as Our Lady of Guadalupe. If Mary were pointing to herself as an object of worship, that would be wrong. But she didn't, she pointed to her son and asked that people believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. They did and Mexico was by and large converted.

I say:

Here you are making the same mistake that the Protestant Church Growth Movement is making and equating numbers of converts as success. In that regards then Hinduism must be valid due to the numbers that adhere to Hinduism. I Mexico, Central American and South America, the people mix Catholicism with local pagan customs, even voodoo. A people who are already in bondage to a pagan faith will be drawn by their bondage into another false belief system as their author is the same. If you want fruit to prove that point look at the Mexican, central American, and South American Catholic Faith.

Regarding Mary as co-redemptrix, I will say that if you were to define redeemer for us, I'm sure that I would agree with you that Mary doesn't fit that role. That term is meant to capture the idea that just as Christ is the new Adam, so Mary is the new Eve. That is why our Lord referred to her as Woman. Such an odd thing to call one's mother, Jesus was recalling for us Adam's reference to Eve as woman. Newman develops this idea much more eloquently and completely than I can in this short space, so I will refer you to his brief writings on Mary as the second Eve.
http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/marian/newman1.html

I say: this is a Bill Clinton answer and I wont go into the details of his version. But to say, You are rationalizing away the seriousness of this proposal. Those who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ (alone) as their Savior would never want any ambiguity, confusion or any appearance of those in regards to any other saints relationship to Christ in this regards. Apologies but you answer lacks Godly Wisdom in this regard, and is a defensive answer to defend a dubious practice.

Mamasboy:

Now, what I have presented is short and incomplete. Even if it were more complete and better written, it would never convince anybody. That job I leave to the Holy Spirit . I do ask, though, that you prayerfully consider the mere possibility that a statue/icon is more like a family photo/bronze serpent than an idol, and the possibility that a marian apparition is more like the New Testament references to the appearances of saints from the past and a seance (sp?).


I say:

Again I apologize for saying this but you are using some serious fallen rationality here. And I say again because you lack Godly wisdom you miss one of the main themes of the Bible and that is of a people who gradually over time walked away from true worship of and faith in God to a gradual inclusion of fallen man made tradition and the including of pagan influences over time until these became the core part of the Theology. I am horrified that you so de-emphasize the seriousness of how these over time “dumb down” true faith in god and make it of none affect.

mamasboy said:

idolatry, it is not for worshiping Mary or the saints, but for worshiping what we believe to be our Lord in the Eucharist. If Catholics are wrong about Mary, well, it's kind of like asking your friend to pray for you over the phone when the call has been dropped without you realizing it. It's useless, but not sinful.

I say:

I’m sorry but this is an unbelievable answer here. What Church that claiming to have infallible wisdom from God could actually say “ok we know its stupid, they are not really reaching God etc etc, but they like it so we let it continue” and then allow that practice to perpetuate? This is what I am saying here your answers are a practice in pragmatism and rationalization and this one of the main themes in the bible to show how people gradually over time walk away from true faith in God.

Mamasboy:

However, if Catholics are wrong about the Eucharist, then we are big-time idolaters. As Catholics, we believe Jesus wasn't speaking metaphorically when he said, "Take, eat, this is my body..." and later, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood..."

I say:

And in this Catholics are “big time wrong” Jesus was speaking metaphorically to make a point of showing the importance of his sacrifice. In the context that Jesus was a Jew and knew the Law, the Prophets and the writings, after all he was the one who was THE word, he would know that the actual eating of human flesh was a pagan practice, and in no way would he want his followers to think they were really eating flesh and drinking Blood! One of the roles of the Holy spirit to is to assist the believer to “Rightly divide the Word” And the Holy spirit will only be drawn near and dwell in a person if they live how Jesus and the apostles ask us to live. The Catholic Church when it was formulating its doctrine was violating practically everyone one of the commandments of how Jesus and the Apostles asked us to live, therefore ANY theology set down as Doctrine during those times cannot be said to be true revelation.

I apologize in my delay in responding to everyone’s posts but I travel a lot and will not be able to respond to the other posts until later.

god bless you.

Chaotic Hammer said...

I actually understand and agree with John's premise that truth is absolute and is revealed in the Bible (and by the Holy Spirit).

But the long and short of it is that the basic fundamental core of the Gospel is extremely simple, so much so that a child can fully grasp it and accept Jesus as Lord, and be saved.

Jesus personally ministered to many people of very minimal sophistication, and nowhere in Scripture do we find Him complicating the way homeward to Him.

What I'm not saying is that there is no room for personal spiritual growth, advanced theology, and an ever-growing knowledge of the Scriptures. I'm thankful that there are people of God who are called to study theology to an advanced degree, and who are able to make fine distinctions between various doctrines and institutions.

But all this talk of virtually every member of a given sect or denomination being in gross error which will cost them their salvation makes me wonder -- is that ultimately what the Lord will use as a measuring stick of salvation in each of our lives -- that we believed all the right things, and associated with the right groups of people in the process? If somebody associates with the wrong group or institution, does that nullify the salvation?

It's not that I have a problem understanding that teaching error is dangerous and needs to be challenged. But when "discernment" is used in such a way that it applies doctrinal differences as a substitute for knowing what only God knows, which is who is truly His and who is not, then it has lost me completely.

I hate the wickedness of my heart, and my sinful nature. I have to ask the Lord daily for forgiveness, and no matter how many times I sense the freedom from sin (both from the power of it, and the ultimate penalty of it) that Jesus gives, I still know that I'll wake up tomorrow, again in need of that forgiveness. I honestly can't relate to this talk of entering some new place where I'm on a new plane of spirituality, and things are magically better and suddenly holy and perfect.

Like Seth, I'm deeply immersed in many of the things in our culture, and like Seth, I believe that God is big enough and tough enough to live in our hearts, and accompany us to new places of creativity, and to be able to visit the very limits of human depravity and experience, and still remain God of all. We're probably way too desensitized to the coarse and vulgar stuff, but surely that's not an instant indicator that someone is completely reprobate and without discernment. Otherwise we'd have to build giant walls around designated "holy cities" and separate ourselves from the "dirty masses", since the culture is where everyone else that needs Jesus lives.

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

Seth said:

It is that simple! Ironically, one tries to condemn the Catholic by saying that they are jumping through hoops while simultaneously creating a bunch of other hoops. It is grace through faith. And that is what Paul spends 80 percent of his time drilling into the heads of those young churches. Seth said:

I also find it ironic that Protestants who use this verse "even the demons believe" are using a verse that James is engaging to REINFORCE the importance of works.

I say:

Umm Protestants make believers jump through what hoops? It is a simple concept of the New Testament. And it is this, it not sufficient that you just say you believe in Christ, that was my analogy. Because anyone can say they believe in Christ, what counts is what is in your heart when you make that declaration! That was point! If the intent is correct then the Holy Spirit will come and dwell within you and lead you to Truth. Also you are misunderstanding what James calls “works” see below.

Seth said:

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


I say:

Seth you are confusing two totally different things here: You are confusing dead works which are outward acts done in order to make one look holy. And there are Fruits as James speaks of which are the outward indication of inward righteousness, this is what James is speaking of. Too many people think he was defending the practice of rituals, he WAS NOT.

Catholics have dead outward acts. In no way can James be used to defend the Rituals or Millstones that the Catholic Catechism places around the necks of Catholics. Also the bible is a holistic revelation in and of itself; you cannot use your narrow definition of what you consider “good works” as the full definition of what James is speaking of.

Lastly:

Seth says:

Jesus makes it quite easy. Too easy in fact. Too good to be true. That is the beauty of Grace. UNMERITED FAVOR.

"Whosoever will."

"Even to those that believe on His Name."


I say:

What IS ironic is that you can say the above and then defend the Catholic Doctrine of “Dead Works” which they require of those who profess to be Catholic and of which they require for someone to be “saved” this denies and is opposed to what you just said above!

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

Fancypants said:
As far as the definition of salvation, I was using yours in your previous post. As far as "goodness" is concerned: you had mentioned that acceptance in Jesus Christ is becoming a changed person. There are fruits of a changed lifestyle. Jesus says that you will know a tree by its fruit. I mentioned people whose lives were changed by Christ, not do gooders.

I say:
Yes I accept that but again, my point was this God has laid down how we should worship him and acknowledge him, not just how we live, not that we just live moral lives. Because there is morality without God. And how we should be believe in him, and because he does, that means if we depart from that we can become susceptible to “Seducing Spirits” Satan doesn’t come at us as a horrible being with horns to scare the life out of us, he comes to us as what seems attractive to seduce us. And this is why it is important to not allow practices into worship of God that God has forbidden. Because it creeps in little by little and clouds our ability to recognize Truth.

fancypants said:
And about tradition, I did not miss you point. Just overlooked it for the time being. To be honest, I do not know exactly to what you are referring to in the OT. Do you refer to the strict laws the Jews followed in addition to the law given by God? Do you see these as wrong traditions? I understand that. I think I see where you're coming from there...

There were traditions in the Jewish faith that as a Jew, Jesus followed. He did not condemn certain traditions. Passover, the temple, even the law Jesus followed. He said he came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

I say:

The Jews have what they call “The Law” most people think this is just the first five books of the Bible, it is not. These books only make up a part of “the Law” the rest is made up of the “Oral Tradition” After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The only Jewish sect that survived was the Pharisee’s. A Rabbi by the name of Yehudah HaNasi asked the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius if he could establish a rabbinical school near Jerusalem and he began to codify or documents the “Oral Law” into what is know now as the “Mishna”.
Jesus spoke against the Oral Law as it was a man made tradition that had been added onto the original Mosaic Law. The Oral Law or Tradition was made up of all the pagan influences that had come into Judaism through contact with the Greek Egyptian. Babylonian & Roman worlds and their Pagan Religions. I have traveled extensively and visited archeological sites of Jewish Synagogues of Jesus time, such as in Capernaum, Chorazim, Bethsaida, and other places, and the remains of the Synagogues bear out the pagan influence as they had carved in the stone lintels pagan images and pagan God’s mixed in with Biblical Scenes. In Beth Alpha near the valley of Jezreel they excavated the entire mosaic floor of a Synagogue and what was very telling of the condition of the Jewish religion at that time was the majority of the mosaics were of Pagan symbols and the periphery had scenes from the Bible.
If you read the works of Josephus a 1st century Jewish Historian, he in detail describes how paganized the practice of the Jewish religion had become as does works by Tacitus and others.

Seth Ward said...

John, I don't remember defending dead works... ever. That may have been my fault if it came off that way in quick typing.

I am making a statement of fact that the church has believed since Jesus said it:

Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart and you will be saved.

'For God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life'

I am using YOUR argument of "self-evident"

It means what it means. A demon CANNOT or WOULD NOT believes and be saved. Their nature is totally different than ours and so is their plight. They had their chance, and blew it. There is no redemption (that we know of) planned for them. No grace. I don't understand it but that’s how it seems to be.

I am saying this: It is SIMPLE. Confess, believe. If a man does this, he is saved. The rest is God's territory.

If a Catholic comes to you and says: "Hey John! I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the Son of God and he died for my sins, and I accept that grace and forgiveness!"

What would you say to them?

This isn't post modern talk here John. It is basic, basic Christianity. I am not quoting some dead Catholic Martyr or superimposed philosophy. I am quoting the Lord and the Apostle and saying that they meant what they said.

In all that I say and write here you will notice that I am trying to keep it simple.

"To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,[c] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

Are you prepared to pass judgment on those that receive Him? -On those that call out his name in forgiveness?

This, I find unbelievable.

If this is true, then it confirms my suspicions and confirms my resolve that it is futile to argue with you about this. How can you argue with a man who positions himself in equal standing God on judgment?

And, no, I am not confusing the two types of faith. Sorry. Everything starts with God and ends with God. For some reason he decided to give us a choice in the middle, and that is a mystery, but other than that... Faith is faith. If you have no works then your faith is dead or it never lived. If you have no faith then you have no works. It is like saying that my body has life without my heart beating. They go hand in hand. The brother of Jesus makes it clear as day, "Faith without works is dead." It has no life. It is not living. Goner.

However, you cannot do a work and get faith, this is why I say it begins with God. Faith is a gift. Without God, you could not have faith.

Now we can argue if the Greek is feminine for "salvation" or "faith" till the cows come home but I stand where I stand on this one. Every Good and perfect gift comes from God, and I believe that faith is one of them. However, I differ from the Calvinist in that I believe that God desires that none should perish. Meaning that every man has the possiblity for having faith intertwined into his very core. He can use it. He may not. To receive forgiveness and Grace He must only engage his faith by his will, which God will NOT force. He may move us. He moves the will, which moves the intellect which engages our faith. This is how I, and other theologians, make sense of "whosoever will," or "Receive Him." or "Believe."

Your will engages your faith. Some have argued that "your will" is actually your works. I don't think an act of will is a work. The result of that will becomes work. The will is another mystery. But it is the key into the ignition.

BUT I also believe that God knows who will, and predestined it all. So somehow, He knew, yet we chose. Another mystery. But so is the Trinity, Fully Man and Fully God, and creating something out of nothing, and all other things of the Almighty that are too high and wonderful for my understanding. These are concepts that I really have little interest in arguing, but the "salvation to those that believe" issue. I can't get over your conclusions.

They baffle me. But I am still willing to understand you. Maybe we don't disagree as much as I think.

What does it mean to be a Christian? To believe that Jesus was who he said He was, and did what He says that He did. We can get into semantics on what "belief" is, but whatever you think, when you "believe" you step into the light from darkness. How clearly you reflect that light is yours to choose after that.

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

Seth said:
I am making a statement of fact that the church has believed since Jesus said it:
Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart and you will be saved.
'For God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life'
I am using YOUR argument of "self-evident"

It means what it means. A demon CANNOT or WOULD NOT believes and be saved. Their nature is totally different than ours and so is their plight. They had their chance, and blew it. There is no redemption (that we know of) planned for them. No grace. I don't understand it but that’s how it seems to be.

I say:
Ok once again you are concentrating on the “Demon” thing when that was not even the main point I was making.

Seth said:
I am saying this: It is SIMPLE. Confess, believe. If a man does this, he is saved. The rest is God's territory.
If a Catholic comes to you and says: "Hey John! I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the Son of God and he died for my sins, and I accept that grace and forgiveness!"
What would you say to them?

This isn't post modern talk here John. It is basic, basic Christianity. I am not quoting some dead Catholic Martyr or superimposed philosophy. I am quoting the Lord and the Apostle and saying that they meant what they said.

I say:
Seth your statement about believing. Believing cannot come without assistance from the Holy Spirit, we cannot in and of ourselves believe, the Holy Spirit has to draw us and if the Holy Spirit draws us, we therefore then truly believe and we will then believe how Jesus Christ asks us to believe which means our knowledge of him will be as God wants it to be. We will NOT tack onto it Dead Ritual Acts. We will not tack onto it DEAD WORKS as requirements to be part of a Church that says it is a valid faith! You want to have it both ways, you want to issue a free ticket to anyone who says they believe and then allow them to do whatever they want with that belief, this cannot be done.
You consistently deny the fact that what destroys any validity in the Catholic Doctrine is its doctrine was laid down in a time when the Catholic church was violating virtually every commandment that Jesus said we should follow to show that we were truly his disciples, and this is borne out by how their doctrine denies the words of the Bible and so mangles its meanings as to MAKE SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE OF NONE AFFECT, And this is the main Theology of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus that you choose to ignore!
It is not enough to say that you believe in Jesus Christ with all your heart and have what YOU define as “Good Works” and then practice that faith in such a way that actually denies and destroys Salvation by Grace alone, even if you believe in Jesus with all your heart! What’s important is HOW DO YOU PRACTICE YOUR BELIEF! Again this is a core main theme of the Bible!
The Jews believed in God! But the way in which they believed in God, what they tacked onto it what they required of others to believe made their belief OF NONE AFFECT!

Seth as regards to Post-Modernism, it is unfortunate that you say you do not follow Post-Modern ideology but I am sorry to say you do. You want to have it both ways you want to say you believe in absolutes but then you want to wiggle out of that.
You say that it is not enough to say you Believe in Jesus Christ but then you say it is.
You say it is wrong to add on requirements to Salvation by Grace alone , but then you turn right around and say its ok!
That my friend is Post-Modern Ideology.
And I agree with you that we are far too apart to continue any rational discussion on that basis.
Lastly and this is not meant as sarcasm, but somewhere in there before you turned around and denied it, you said something to which I agree, we are known as Christians by our fruit, but you see fruit as only “acts of Goodness” this is a stunted view of what is “fruit”
Case in point, Paul says we are to renew our mind daily by concentrating on spiritual things and nothings of the flesh, as if we concentrate on things of the flesh, it will increase within us the warring between the flesh and the spirit. And this is what I mean by the Catholic Church laying down doctrine that opposes and denies scripture, it was done at a time when the Catholic church was debauched, perverse and in its actions violating every teaching of Jesus Christ of how we should conduct ourselves to show that we are his disciples.
But if we concentrate on the things of the spirit it will draw the holy spirit near and the holy spirit will help us to “crucify the Flesh” and reduce the warring in our being between the Flesh and the Spirit.
Fruit is defined by how our whole life changes because of our belief n Jesus Christ, inclusive of that is what we desire to see, do and hear.
I put to you, that you cannot discern things of the spirit if you “sew to the flesh” or desire things of the flesh.
So my question to you is this, you list your desires on your profile, you list them as if you are proud of them. In this you list not just sensual movies but perverse movies, movies that portray the most corrupt and vile actions as entertainment.
How can you, knowing that you enjoy these things say that you can discern the things of the Spirit and then further say that you can rightly divide the word?
I put to you, you cannot desire these things and then be so bold to say that you can rightly divide the word. You cannot!
Now before you say I am being hypocritical and judgmental unjustly, Yes everyone has sin within them, everyone sins. Anyone who says they do not is not of God. But Jesus atonement does not cover willful sin, and sin that glories in the things that God despises especially perversion.
So I close and leave your website with this, you cannot feed sinful flesh and say you are justified because YOU believe with all your heart in Jesus Christ, because if you believed with all your heart in Jesus Christ, the Holy spirit would be present within you and where the Holy spirit is it cannot coexist with a being who desires after perverse things.

Seth Ward said...

Brother John, I’ll narrow it down further. I might not be as clear I as should be.

I am simply trying to keep it simple:

Confess, believe in the Lord Jesus.

That comes by Grace, THROUGH FAITH, a gift of God.

The rest, as far as who's in and who's out, or if it was sincere, or if they weren't concentrating when they said the prayer…that is God's territory.

As far as I'm concerned, Jesus commanded me to do 3 things.

1. Love God with my whole mind, soul, spirit,
2. Love my Neighbor, as He has loved us and
3. Go into the world, with the Good News of the Gospel, Baptizing in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things He commanded.

If that is postmodern then... well. I guess that I am just as postmodern as they get. Sounds like Old-time Religion to me but shoot, who knows, I guess Old Time Religion could be labeled as Post Modern if it is convenient to slant it that way in an arguement.

I also think you are confusing postmodernism with post-structuralism which rejects claims of absolutes in the world. The post-structuralism movement also claims that truth or meaning is inseperable with culture which would explain your disdain for the Catholic Church and its influences. The term "post modern" covers a WIDE range of concepts with no definitive definition, But, if I remember correctly, one of them, in art which would be my field, is that postmodernists REJECT a sense of universality. This seems to go in the face of your accustions as I am trying to say that ALL who believe and confess will be saved. I would say that I am a bit more of a modernist than a postmodernist.

I do believe in absolutes though. Trinity, Christ, Holy Spirit, 2+2 = 4, the Bible, and that God means what He says. And when he says, "those that call upon the Lord will be saved," Or "Whosoever believeth in Him should NOT perish." I take him at his word. It is simple to me. No two sides about it. It doesn't seem to be me adding all kinds of angles and quid pro quo's.

I am getting the gist of your arguement, finally. Somehow, I guess you believe that the Catholics stepped over the line and now being a Catholic makes their confession and belief, no matter how sincere, by virtue of just "being Catholic," null and void.

If that is what you believe, in a nutshell, I am thankful that you are not God and aren't allowed to make that call.

As far as the movie goes, I do have a response, and I think a good one. I will tell you, you will find some good company here about that issue. But one thing at a time.

Alexis said...

I am new to this blog... Hi! Most of this conversation is way too theological for me but here are my two cents. I was raised Catholic. At 18 I ditched it, partied hard, tried other things... met my future husband and accepted the Lord into my heart at the age of 26. I was very bitter against Catholism... it was hard to get over some of what I learned... and I felt at one time that Catholics can't be Christians. I have since changed my view. NEVER if a Catholic or anyone for that matter... came up to me and told me that they have accepted Christ into their hearts... confessed and believe, never will I doubt. At that point I am judging and I don't know their hearts ( and plus, tha'ts not my job anyway!!). Can Catholics be Christians... YES are all of them Christians... NO but I'm sure praying for them. Thanks for the wealth of info here.... I'll have to go through it again to "get more!" God Bless ya.... everyone!

Seth Ward said...

Alexis, thank you for stopping by and thank you for the thoughtful comment. I couldn't agree more.

Drop a line anytime!

Seth Ward said...

Stevie!

I meant to comment a while back but got distracted.

I don't see the problem either. I think it would be a great sign of unity if they did allow him to keep his position. It's about time Protestants and Catholics made nice.

btw, when are you guys coming back this way?

Miss the heck out of ya!

FancyPants said...

John,

For a moment, I was interested in what you had to say...about the Jewish tradition.

And then I read your response to Seth where you accused him of not having Jesus's atonement or the Holy Spirit. The part where you accused him of not believing in Jesus with all his heart.

And now I am no longer interested.

That's it for me. Thank you for the discussion. I'm done.

Stephen and Haley said...

Seth,

I can't understand why you got distracted :)
Love the discussion!!

The amazing thing is that Beckwith acknowledges a belief in the Trinity and inerrancy. Maybe I could get the average protestant to acknowledge inerrancy (maybe), but I have experienced many who will not acknowledge the Trinity and really seem fine with that.

This make me very, very uncomfortable.

It is baffling that they can call themselves Christians and not not acknowledge the Christian concept of God. This at a basic level seems just as problematic as issues of salvation. That is, if salvation is built upon one's belief in God. The problem for some protestants is, again, that they don't believe in God, at least not the Christian God.

I think we protestants need to be talking about God just as much as we talk about salvation by grace through faith! Because after all it is faith rooted in the understanding of God as Trinity.

We miss you guys too.
When are you guts moving to NYC?
I am leaving for Scotland in a little over 2 months.

Not sure if we are going to be near you, but are you going to be up here anytime soon?

Rob said...

I'm late to this discussion, but waded through most of it. I confess I found it a bit troubling because of the long-winded confusion that seemed to dominate a lot of the posts. (Maybe that reflects my simple mind, I'm not sure.)

I thought at first that the discussion was about salvation, that is are members of the Roman Catholic denomination "saved," but now I'm not really sure what the discussion is about. This issue of salvation is perhaps the smallest point of division among the denominations. In my experience, we mostly (but not completely) agree on what salvation is, and how a person receives it. God intentionally didn't leave much wiggle room in that one.

In the final analysis, I can only know about the eternal state of one person. Me. I know exactly what kind of relationship I have with Jesus Christ, and I know I'll meet him one day in heaven. I believe Jesus is the son of God, that I have sinned and he has paid the price for my sins, and I freely surrender my will to his. I honestly don't know how to be sure about the rest of you, although, I'm pretty sure God has figured you out.

I also can't do much one way or the other about your relationship with God. I can tell you all about mine and what I think it all means, but when it comes to your relationship I'm afraid your pretty much on your own. I'm not saying that there is not absolute here, we're either right or wrong. :-) What I'm saying is that I'm only responsible for and able to comment on my own decision. Also, whether I think you're saved or not is pretty much meaningless anyway since I suspect God isn't going to be asking me for my opinion on the subject.

Seth Ward said...

I think you are on to something there Rob. Although, I tried to keep it simple.

That was a futile attempt as John posed 4 things that I feel needed correction per sentence. And I am sure he felt the same for my opinion and everyone else’s.

That is why again, I tried to simplify. And it is probably why he decided to exit the building.

It is hard for me to back down from conflict like that because I feel so strongly about extremism. But in the end, it is better to lay down the sword if there is no end in sight.

I do get tired of letting those that have the most judgment in their tone have the mic all the time. IMO it is the reason the SBC split and the reason the world views Christianity today as a bunch of self-righteous morons.

But again, that is my nature. To roll up a fist and punch.

Someday, the Christians who have a balanced and majority view of the Gospel are going to have to find an effective yet peaceful way to speak up.

A rational way to combat irrationality.

Discontented Refuge said...

Ok, I started reading this about an hour ago...I think there some great discussion here. To tell you the truth I agree with John about how modern Catholicism can lead people astray. I believe there are many saved Catholics, and God bless them all. I also believe there are some very lost Catholics, those who have averted their faith in Christ for a sad substitute.

Also, Fancypants, I believe John was pointing out that one should not attempt to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" when their minds are cluttered with the things of this world. I didn't read it as an attack on the validity of Seth's salvation.

I read a post the other day how Christians need to "get on the inclusion train" or something to that effect. I understand where our willingness to accept someone's word that they have had a "salvation experience" without digging into it could cause someone to misconstrue that. (from love to inclusion)

I have seen the work of the Catholic church in third world countries (Spain & Mexico) and after being exposed to it I understand completely where John is coming from. I belive the USA Catholic church is far different from those in other countries. The Catholic church in those other countries (of which I was exposed) does not preach salvation by grace through faith.

Seth Ward said...

D.R. I appreciate your kind tone.

I agree about the Catholic church in America. But that does not excuse broad strokes. Baptist churches in the Deep south still preach racial hatred. I have heard it with my own ears.

Hate is hate. To attribute that to unique to a denomination is wrong. "The catholic church did this... or that..." We all know what people in the Catholic church did just as we know what people in the protestant church do.

My point has been this: Chirst prayed for our unity. I do not think that unity in the spirit will EVER come by calling any denomination evil. Especially one that has so many devoted Christians and beautiful things about it.

I have seen what Catholics have done in 3rd world countries as well. Not just third world but Ireland and other places. I have also seen what Catholics like Mother Teresa have done in 3rd world countries.

I would say that the people are evil in the name of something rather than the views of the catholic church are evil. People do horrible things in the name of good things or Christ or God all the time. It doesn't make that denomination all bad or damned. I believe this is what John is saying.

About challenging my salvation... This is where John nearly stepped over the line:

"But Jesus atonement does not cover willful sin, and sin that glories in the things that God despises especially perversion."

"So I close and leave your website with this, you cannot feed sinful flesh and say you are justified because YOU believe with all your heart in Jesus Christ, because if you believed with all your heart in Jesus Christ, the Holy spirit would be present within you and where the Holy spirit is it cannot coexist with a being who desires after perverse things."

In saying this it seems to me that he makes it pretty clear that he doesn't think that I can be saved and like Pulp fiction at the same time. Which in my opinion is total bologna, not to mention hurtful. However, I do not discount his CONCERNS as silly. I have heard them before and do understand and sympathize with the concerns.

And on a separate note, I do not understand the statement that" Jesus blood does not cover willful sin. Especially perversion." Everyon willfully sins. Every day. It happens, and we are forgiven. Where sin abounds grace superabounds. And if the blood of Christ didn't cover perversion, then I guess about every man that ever lived would be in a world of hurt. -Adultery or lustful thoughts being a perversion of God's intent as well.

Discontented Refuge said...

Seth!

Yes Christ prayed for unity within the church, but there is some great arguments out there that Catholicism is a cult, and therefore not part of the "church" - much like JW's or Mormons.

Unity is a dangerous word in today's culture who pushes us all to unify - Muslims, Buddhists, etc.

Seth Ward said...

Unity can be a dangerous word. I am speaking of course of the Unity that Jesus prayed for in the Garden. For us.

I would disagree about the "great arguements" though. I think that there have been Catholics who have become quite supersticious but those supersticions are not endorsed by the Vatican, or Catholocism. At least the ones that would be considered a cancellation of one's salvation or Belief in Grace through faith, which the Catholic church has always stated as the way to forgiveness and salvation. There have been plenty of abuses in the past, for sure, as in the indulgences and such, but those cannot be used as an arguement to say the the Catholic Church is a cult or on the same page as Mormonism or JW. In fact, many protestant churches have as many heresies running around the sunday school rooms, unchecked as the Mormon church.

I just heard one a few weeks back as a matter of fact. About the Trinity. Stunned. People nodded their heads. All agreed. Said Amen. Dead wrong.

There are plenty of supersticious protestants btw. Take a poll to see how many read horiscopes. You'll be AMAZED.

Believing Mary can inetercede on your behalf in prayer is not heresy. Just like asking you to intercede on my behalf is not heresy.

We have but one mediator, and he is Christ our Savior. But we are his body. And through Christ in us, we can intercede for each other daily just as He does for us all the time and so does the Holy Spirit. And the Catholics believe that your grandma, dead parent, or any of the long gone christians can and do intercede for you. Mary is one of them.

Now, whether I beleive the emphasis on Mary is too great or the beliefs about Mary are right or wrong, is another discussion. It does not however have anything to do with a person's salvation. You won't find one Catholic, who know the doctrines of their church, saying that you have to pray to Mary to be saved.

Whether some do that or not is also another discussion. If you went to the Pope right now, and asked him if you had to pray to Mary for the forgiveness of sins, he would probably direct you to the first three things found in the CATECHISM:

1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

2 So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."4 Strengthened by this mission, the apostles "went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it."5

3 Those who with God's help have welcomed Christ's call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.6

Or they might direct you to a statement of belief found in the Apostle's Creed or the Nicene Creed. Both written by Catholics. Apostle's Creed embraced by most Protestant churches today. NOT by Mormans or JW.

About the Trinity the Morman Church writes:

"Most modern Christians accept creeds developed primarily in the fourth century that teach a Trinity of one substance and one Being, without body, parts, or passions, yet having three coequal persons. Many feel that the doctrine of the Trinity is exactly what the Bible teaches, but I see that doctrine as a departure from the teachings of the Bible due to the powerful influence of Greek philosophy, where God was taught to be immaterial and of one "substance."

It goes on to say that God the Father is a man and the Holy Spirit is a man. Then it gets even more interesting... again, another blog. But not the same as Catholics.

FancyPants said...

CR:

Thank you for trying to make clear John's statement.

Seth highlights John's words to which I refer. It is very clear to me that he questions Seth's salvation, and even goes so far as to accuse him of not having it.

If John meant something different, he is more than welcome to offer an explanation.

I grew up being taught that Catholicism was a cult. It never sat right with me, and it still doesn't. The very basic of reasons being that if we as Protestants accuse Catholicism as being a cult, we are accusing the very church from which we came as cultish.

From my understanding, when Martin Luther wrote the Ninety-Five Theses On the Power of Indulgences he was not wishing to abolish Catholicism altogether. We was a Catholic, and a devout one at that. He saw problems. He was right about the problems. The Church is not perfect. But it doesn't discount the salvation of Martin Luther or all Catholics that came before him.

Can you pinpoint a date when the religion of the Apostles became a cult in which salvation is nullified? It's just not that easy.

The Cachinnator said...

I have a raging headache, (not from reading the post), or else I'd leave a fuller comment tonight. As is, it will have to wait until tomorrow. But I'd like to challenge some of John's fundamental understandings and beliefs about the OT, the Jews, the Church, Scripture, etc. I think it's pretty pointless in arguing over the faulty conclusions of bad premises. He'd no doubt disagree, but since he hasn't demonstrated much willingness to admit the possibility of fallibility on his part, I probably wouldn't bother to debate him. Instead, I think we'd all benefit by talking about some of the things I mentioned above. Drawing sensible conclusions is a lot easier when you start with a solid foundation.

Discontented Refuge said...

John said:

... It is a simple concept of the New Testament... it is not sufficient that you just say you believe in Christ, that was my analogy. Because anyone can say they believe in Christ, what counts is what is in your heart when you make that declaration! That was point! If the intent is correct then the Holy Spirit will come and dwell within you and lead you to Truth."

This is like the greatest debate of all time (very close to predestination/election and followed up by the role of women in church).

What must I do to be saved?

The thing is we ALL know the answer to this. We have a word-for-wrod answer in Acts. But we want to add on to it another question which bugs us more, and is none of our business because it is a question only the Holy Spirit can answer.

How do I know you're saved?

We want to see results. And James addressed that. There SHOULD be results, someone's life SHOULD be affected when they come in contact with the GOD of the Universe. But the thing is we don't lose the bad part of us afterwards and lots of time our "sin nature" wins the battle of what is seen.

I believe if we (one finger points at you, three point at me) spent more time telling people about the answer to the first question, the second question wouldn't be a question. It would be evident.

FancyPants said...

DR: (sorry about using the wrong initials in my other comment.)

I think you're right on. So many of us (myself included) are, or have been in the past, caught up in the second question. How do I know you're saved?

I think one reason we focus on that question so much is because somewhere deep down inside we're scared. How do I know you're saved is asking myself at the same time, how do I know I'm saved? We're scared of losing our own salvation, scared of not doing enough to keep it. And it's when we realize that salvation is not an act of our own, but an act of God, that we rest in His peace. And then we can stop casting judgments on others.

CACH: I'm up for it. I'd like to hear what you have to say. OT and the Jews, specifically.

Discontented Refuge said...

If ya'll are interested

http://www.reallivepreacher.com/node/1196

Here's is a debate on "what must I do to be saved"

These are God-aware people, arguing that there is more than one way to God besides Jesus Christ.

I commented on this when I first read it, and left it after a few replys as so many people agreed with this "tolerance train" and "more than one way to Jesus"

Notice where most of these people call their church homes. (presbyterian, methodist, etc)

So my question goes back to what John addressed. If so many people, from the same "religion" are so waaaay off in their theology, what should our reaction be to that "religion"?

Should we say "it's a specific instance unrelated to the whole" ?

Or do we realise that there are fundamental errors happening within the context of that religion that are actually leading people away from the cross and empty tomb of Christ?

And if we recognize those errors as commonplace instead of exceptions, how should we react?

The Cachinnator said...

First off, let me say that my comments will not be an exhaustive response to John or some of the other comments here. Even I don’t have the attention span for that. I’ll leave stuff like Pulp Fiction for Seth.

I do find it interesting that people characterize relativism and the elusive nature of truth with postmodernism. One might consider Pilate’s remarks in John 18:37-38 to be postmodern, but of course that would be nonsense. Postmodernism is quite a larger and more nebulous thing than people want it to be. I don’t think it suits to sling the term at anything that they think smacks of relativism. But more to the point, it makes discussion fruitless when John accuses Seth of “follow[ing] a Post-Modern Ideology that says that man can not know absolute Truth.” To do so suggests that John is enlightened and Seth is misled. Therefore no discussion could fruitfully ensue since John leaves open no door for error on his own part.

Of course we all believe in the rightness of our position, but to stick out a verbal jab like that tells me from the get-go that there can be no mutual exchange of ideas. We are human; there is always the possibility that we are in error. In saying what he did, John also suggests that not only is the truth of God entirely knowable, but that he fully knows that truth. That’s a curious position for a Christian to take when even the first followers of Christ wouldn’t have made such a claim and in fact admitted many errors and showed growth and development of their belief over time. Without belaboring the point, see Peter with regards to gentiles in full fellowship, Thomas’ belief in resurrection, and Paul’s view of gender roles in a leadership context. One does not have to define truth subjectively in order to find it elusive or difficult. That should be borne in mind by all of us at all times lest we fall into the kind of arrogance that prevents revelation, growth, and transformation.

As to the content of John’s remarks, I find it troubling that he seems to equate the small group that comprised late Pharisaic Judaism with modern Catholicism on a one-to-one basis, and that he paints all Jews with the same brush. I would certainly dispute the notion that “[t]he entire theme of the Old Testament is of a people who were given knowledge of God, but through their corruptness and interaction with surrounding pagan cultures changed that faith in God into creed's, dead outward acts and they absorbed pagan influences into their worship of God and created a man made religion that suited their corrupt minds…” There is no such unifying “theme” to the OT. It is a story of God’s relationship with his people. It takes a pretty sick and anti-Semitic view of the Jews to read the OT and only see corruption, faithlessness, idolatry, and such. It would seem that John tailored his description of the Jews to suit his opinions about Catholics. But here’s one problem among many: there isn’t a single “creed” in the Old Testament. Try to find one. But if John can set Jesus against the Jews as he describes them, he can then set Jesus against the Catholics. Absurd.

The Old Testament is surely a love story. Does it contain stories of Israel’s infidelity and wandering? Doubtless. But if it weren’t a love story, why on earth would God continue it? It’s a comedy and not a tragedy. (Comedy in the sense of a happy ending, not full of laughs.) One could easily say the same for Catholicism and Protestantism too. Has the Catholic Church had its failings? Of course, just as God’s people always do. Yet theirs is part of God’s love story with his people just as with Protestants. It’s a pretty cynical and unbiblical view of God that sees him sitting back while all of his followers go fatally astray rather than pursuing us to the end.

I think John’s conclusions are also tainted by his understanding of salvation. He is dead sure that he understands salvation and that his view is thoroughly biblical in contradistinction to anyone else’s. Yet salvation is not about going to heaven, nor does it always happen in a moment. Heaven is a byproduct of salvation, not its chief aim. This is where gross misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine vs. “works salvation” occurs. We are saved for today and hereafter. Therefore what we do in a day is a part of our salvation. Everything in a Christian's life is part of his/her salvation. Grace is the condition that makes it possible. Grace alone “saves” us into identity with Jesus Christ, but part of that salvation and identification is the actions that we do as lead by the Holy Spirit. Is that so difficult to understand? To say that our actions matter? Is that so radical? It isn’t; it’s thoroughly biblical.

Also, we must understand that salvation may well be a process. Ever read about C.S. Lewis’ conversion? It does not always happen in a moment. Else how could Paul instruct us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling?” None of a Christian’s acts are dead and outward. All, no matter how imperfectly, point towards Christ as a part of the ongoing journey of salvation.

FancyPants said...

Question: This oral tradition or law to which John refers....what now is recorded as the Talmud.

Was this oral tradition known and followed by only the Pharisee sect of Judaism at the time of Christ, or all Jews?

The Cachinnator said...

Fancy, it was followed closely only by the Pharisees. How much influence they actually exerted upon the larger Jewish community is debatable. Doubtless there were Jews that were not Pharisees who followed as well, but most first century Jews were akin to modern Christians: they follow to a degree, but most are not fully devoted.

It is exceedingly difficult to say anything meaningful about the entire Jewish community of first century Palestine. This is a community made up of the post-exilic pilgrims who returned from Babylonian and then Persian rule, the remnant who stayed after the fall of Jerusalem, a strong Hellenistic cultural presence, and Roman occupation. It might be easier to say something about all Christians today!

Susanne said...

Holy cow! Wait...I'm not saying I worship cows...it's just...wow, I just read a book here! :)

Most of the things that bother me about Catholicism are things that have no bearing on one's salvation. For example, I would have a hard time converting to Catholicism because of its views on Mary that aren't biblical but have been handed down through "tradition." For instance, I can't fathom Mary remaining a virgin after marrying Joseph. It seems ridiculous to me because I don't see why consummating her marriage would make her any less amazing. Seems to me that being the ONE that God chose to bring his Son into the world is more important than staying a virgin. But I don't think that my opinion on this matter is of any importance to a discussion of salvation. I think the fact that Scripture is quite vague on this issuue means that we should not spend much time debating it. Our focus should be on Jesus, not His parents. I'm sure that when I walk through the pearly gates I'll be standing among fellow Christians who believe that Mary did remain a virgin. And only God knows which of us is right.

The main problem I have with Catholicism is that there are so many things one is expected to do (rites, etc.) that many people become discouraged. Having so many rituals can take away from doing the actual work of spreading the Gospel. But do these rituals make them "less Christian?" I think not. Who knows...there might be some rituals that would do me some good.

I do worry that many of my Catholic friends do not know how to pray to God themselves because they let the priest intercede for them. They think that the priest has more of a direct line to God than they do. Scripture says that Jesus is our High Priest and we can speak directly to Him. But are you lost if you go to confession? Not necessarily. Only God knows whether we're saved or not. Many of us will be surprised to find Heaven populated with people from many different denominations of Christianity.

I do think that inclusion can be a bit dangerous. I'm not comfortable with some of the more mystic areas of Catholicism, for instance. But not all Catholics are mystics. We just need to always be discerning (not the same as judgmental). It's funny, but I've been in discussions before where I agreed more with my Catholic friends than my Protestant friends. It all comes down to God's Word...do we believe it or not?

Susanne said...

As far as Mary being a co-redemptrix with Christ...I truly hope that the Catholic church does not proclaim something like that. That would be very disturbing because it would cause non-believers to think that salvation can be attained through someone other than Christ, which would be heresy. Scary. Do any of you guys have any idea why they would even say such a thing??

MamasBoy said...

"The main problem I have with Catholicism is that there are so many things one is expected to do (rites, etc.) that many people become discouraged. Having so many rituals can take away from doing the actual work of spreading the Gospel."
- What rituals/rites are you speaking of? Baptism, confirmation, annointing of the sick, partaking of the eucharist? How do they take away from "spreading the gospel"?

"I do worry that many of my Catholic friends do not know how to pray to God themselves because they let the priest intercede for them." - It would be a pretty poor "Catholic" who did not know how to pray to God directly. Can you imagine saying the "Our Father" every single Sunday and not taking it in? I find such an idea unconscionable.

"For example, I would have a hard time converting to Catholicism because of its views on Mary that aren't biblical but have been handed down through "tradition." For instance, I can't fathom Mary remaining a virgin after marrying Joseph. It seems ridiculous to me because I don't see why consummating her marriage would make her any less amazing."
- It is not that being a perpetual virgin makes Mary more amazing, but that such an interpretation really fulfills Scripture better than any other. Two things struck me when I studied this. For one, consider the annunciation of Gabriel to Mary. Her response to you WILL bear a child is, "How can this be." You would think that if she was planning a normal life as a mother her response would be something like, "Cool, how many kids will I have?" Instead, she is dumbfounded at the prospect of having kids period. The second thing that stuck in my mind when studying this as a Protestant was that Jesus gave Mary to John at his death. If there had been other children, surely they would have taken care of her. They didn't have social security back then and it was universally considered the duty of children to take care of their parents. Lastly, the idea of Mary's perpetual virginity and the accompanying interpretation of Scripture was accepted within living memory of Mary herself, as laid out in the protoevangelium of James. While not canonical, it was a book whose ideas were accepted by the early church and were not attacked as false (unlike the gnostic gospels, etc.). There are other reasons for holding to Mary's perpetual virginity and rejecting the idea that she had other kids. These are given in the references below.
http://www.scborromeo.org/papers/virgin.PDF
http://www.catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp
http://www.catholic.com/library/Brethren_of_the_Lord.asp

Regarding why Mary would be called co-redemptrix, that is beyond the scope of this conversation, requiring an understanding of several other specifically Catholic/Orthodox ideas. I will say, though, that if Protestants were to define the terms, I would most likely agree that Mary is not to be referred to as co-redemptrix. You see, Catholics view Marian doctrine the the lens of Christology. Protestants tend to view Marian doctrine through the lens of salvation without specific reference to Christology. Thus, Catholics and Orthodox often refer to Mary as Mother of God and Mother of the Creator. How often have you heard a Protestant refer to Mary as such? Even those who admit it when pressed, rarely (if ever) use the title. To give another example, Mary is called by many the "Gate of Heaven". This smacks of idolotry to most Protestants and their stomach convulses at the thought of such a title being given to a mere creature and not reserved solely for God himself. If they were to define the terms, I would undoubtedtly agree. However, Catholics view this as a simple extension of the virgin birth. As the prophet Ezekiel proclaimed of Mary, ""This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut." The womb of Mary is quite simply the gate through which Christ entered this world in the incarnation. It is in this sense that she is referred to as the "Gate of Heaven." And if she is not the "Gate of Heaven" and "Mother of God", then God did not come as a man in the person of Jesus.

I could go on and on about Mary, but I probably should stop. Honestly, it wasn't until well after I became Catholic that I really started to understand Marian doctrine. At the point of my conversion and well into my journey as a Catholic I was simply convinced that it couldn't be shown from Scripture that the Catholic teaching on Mary was unBiblical. It took several years for me to get past the prejudices and misunderstandings of my Protestant days so that I could fully affirm the many of the titles which Mary has been given over the years.

If anybody is interested in learning in a brief overview about the Catholic teaching on Mary with numerous references to Scripture and the Church Fathers, Newman's writings extracted in "Mary, The Second Eve" are helpful.
http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/marian/newman1.html

MB

MamasBoy said...

"I have seen the work of the Catholic church in third world countries (Spain & Mexico) and after being exposed to it I understand completely where John is coming from. I belive the USA Catholic church is far different from those in other countries. The Catholic church in those other countries (of which I was exposed) does not preach salvation by grace through faith."

This is patently false. There is one catechism of the Catholic Church, not many. The Catholic Church is varied with liberals and conservatives, traditionalists and progressives, but it there is only one teaching on many topics. If anybody were to claim to that salvation is not by grace, that would go against what the catechism teaches and would be false profoundly unCatholic.

I find the reference to Spain as a third world country in which the true gospel is not preached particularly odd. For one thing, it is a developed country quite firmly in the first world. For another thing, if one has any knowledge of the great Spanish Catholics of ages past and current ages, this claim is egregious. To be familiar the writings of St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier, St. Dominic, St. Vincent Ferrar and more recently St. Josemaria Escriva is to be immersed in the Gospel, for their writings are chuck full of Christ's teaching applied to our lives. To read about the history of Mexico is to read about a land where the religion of the people has been outlawed several times, their preist's run out of the country or executed and still the people of Mexico have persisted in faith. This is in sharp contrast to many communist countries like Russia where the faith virtually disappeared.

I don't want to deny that Christians in every country have problems fully integrating their faith and resisting the pull of the culture around them, but this is not a problem unique to Catholics or unique to Mexico/Spain. There are animist "Protestants" in Africa and who can but wonder at the disconnect in the lives of many church attenders when one considers the divorce/abortion rates here in the US.

http://www.religionstatistics.net/afrelen.htm
The above website seems to give a very good overview of the mixture of local superstitions with orthodox Christianity. I read criticisms of both Catholic and Protestant animist admixtures, so I tend to trust the reliability of the website. It also recognizes some local critics of the practices and has links to other sources.

To recap my points,
A) Heresy isn't a uniquely Catholic problem
A-2) If it is tolerated, I'm not excusing it.
B) One shouldn't confuse the teachings of some local heretics with the teachings of the Catholic Church. There are objective measures of true Catholic teaching.
C) I truly doubt the condition of the Catholics is as bad as it has been made out to be in Mexico and Spain. I have known very faithful, holy, orthodox Catholics from both those countries and can't imagine how such people could be produced by a Church that doesn't preach the gospel. Looking at the saints they have produced, my incredulity increases even more.

MB

MamasBoy said...

"It is exceedingly difficult to say anything meaningful about the entire Jewish community of first century Palestine. This is a community made up of the post-exilic pilgrims who returned from Babylonian and then Persian rule, the remnant who stayed after the fall of Jerusalem, a strong Hellenistic cultural presence, and Roman occupation. It might be easier to say something about all Christians today!"

Good call Cach. The Jewish disagreements in Jesus day were often (in my humble estimation) even deeper than Protestant/Catholic disagreements today. They didn't even agree on an afterlife and differed immensely on which books were considered Scripture. The Pharisees considered both the law and prophets to be Scripture and held to a belief in an afterlife (which is much more easily supported with later books). The Sadducees didn't believe in an afterlife and held that only the first 5 books were inspired Scripture. Talk about a deep disagreements!

MB