Monday, January 15, 2007

stop&think

STOP&THINK

Click on the image to view a movie which I think is an honest and sincere attempt to present the Gospel the best way they know how.

I really like the guitar background, that rock and roll like music reminds me of my younger days, the has been days.

Dr. White of aomin.org has objections to this presentation, he says...
The gospel is not a bare "offer" to all people to accept God's love in Jesus: it is first a command to repent and turn, and then it is in fact a wide and broad and glorious proclamation that the love of God in Christ Jesus is freely experienced by all, Jew and Gentile, who in faith turn to Christ!

I have some thoughts on this film and that criticism above but I am stopping and thinking.

So what do you think?



27 comments:

Kelly Klages said...

My person take on the good vs. bad of the clip: most of the film gives a nice little personal presentation that includes both Law and Gospel, at least from this guy's personal experience and thoughts. The decision theology, of course, is a major smack against it. Personally I'm also kind of turned off by the panoramic nature scenes and soft alt rock in the background, as that seems to be the background of every PowerPoint "praise and worship" presentation I've ever seen. ;o) The other big thing that bugs me is the ultimate anti-churchliness of it: it sounds like an entirely private matter just between you and God; it describes not the church but the *individual* as the Bride of Christ (by proposal??); he discourages you from "running off to see some minister"; he says it's not about "Jesus + ritual" (which often translates to "baptism doesn't regenerate"). No mention of being part of the body of Christ, except for one disparaging remark about how following Jesus isn't about "joining some cult."

White is correct in his concern about the decision theology "offer" language. I'm not sure that he really means that the gospel is first and foremost a law which only those who obey the law obtain. I don't know enough of his own theology, but if he's really Reformed he probably doesn't go there. But I'm not sure precisely what he means, and I'd probably need a bit more context for that.

L P Cruz said...

Very insightful Kelly and your comments helped me a lot specially on the issue of alienating the listener to the church.

Dr. White sounds to me to convert the Gospel to a Law because the Gospel declares what the Law demands.

Eric said...

Those were very insightful comments, Kelly. The decision theology was an easy catch, but you expressed in words what my gut was telling me about the anti-churchliness of it.

We saw something sort of similar to that in our LCMS service not so long ago. It was a video presentation intended to highlight how the world treats the gift of Christ's body and blood so cavalierly (if that is a word). And yet the video showed simple bread and wine labeled body and blood sitting on a card table in various public settings (in Maryland), attended by a young man in very ordinary (i.e. sloppy) street clothes. The attendant/presenter wasn't saying anything. He was just waiting for someone to come to him and ask for Holy Communion. Back then there was something that bothered me about that video, but I couldn't really put my finger on what it was. You did it! There was an anti-church, ultra-individualistic theme running through the whole thing.

John Calvin, as a theologian, tried to synthesize Luther and Zwingli. As a result you will find some Calvinists looking and sounding very much like Lutherans, but you will find many more Calvinists looking and sounding very much like Zwingli, a rationalist and humanist. Calvinists in that latter category (which is where I would probably put Dr. White), will inevitably confuse Law and Gospel from time to time.

Kelly Klages said...

Eric-- that video you're describing does sound *very* strange. Why should anyone ask for or want bread and wine labeled "body and blood" apart from the Words of Institution and the corporate body of Christ, anyway? What sense does it make to tear the elements out of their context? If attendant guy is going to treat Communion in a silly and trite way, why expect any onlookers to treat it as though it's important?

Weird. (Maybe that's what happens when Lutherans try to be "cool" and do public performance art with their faith like the evangelicals.)

L P Cruz said...

Hmmm, it does sound like a trivialization of the Supper. You see when I was in evangelia, there was a default mentality that these sacramental guys were just doing Supper out of ritual or form. Then after some years in evangelia, what they cricticized became what they are - they treat it as ho hum.

Venerable Aussie said...

I looked at the video, but went beyond it and checked out their website. It has a special section on the "roman catholic church" entirely comprising documents from stridently anti-Catholic authors Boettner and Webster. (one of the "resources" refers to Boettner's laughable list of "Catholic Inventions" (for the debunk: http://www.catholic.com/library/catholic_inventions.asp )

As a Catholic I can't understand the basis for a Protestant critique of this guy's approach. After all he's only doing what thousands of guys have done since Luther: he's deciding for himself what the Bible means and has started a new church which mirrors this understanding.

Jeff Tan mentioned in comments to an earlier post that the Catholic Church clearly worked hard to clarify and explain her teachings as a response to Luther. But it remains true that this endless fragmentation is the true and inevitable legacy of Luther. And I can not believe that this could possibly ever be the will of Christ. Christ - being GOD - knew what humans would do once he ascended, which is why he established ONE Church with authority to act in His name to the end of the ages. To believe he did not so act, otherwise I feel makes Jesus a fool for not providing properly for his sheep.

Steve said...

Venerable,

Luther wanted to return the Chruch is the true orthodox Christian faith that the medievel Roman Church had left by a series of changes made by popes over the centuries. The Roman Church position that they can create new doctrines outside of Holy Scripture is the true cause of the Reformation. The Roman Church had abondoned the Gospel for a religion of works.

I can point to doctrines of the Roman Church that are anti-biblical since they place the authority of the pope as at least equal to Holy Scripture. When the Roman Church repents of her sins and returns to historic orthodox Christianity, the Lutherans will return to the Roman Chruch.

The unity of the Church is not based on a single human authority, but the authority of Christ. The Roman Chruch misteaching of this is both wrong and self-serving.

Venerable Aussie said...

Thanks for responding Steve. I've been giving a fair bit of thought to the issue of Christian unity lately, and to me there is a deep irony when James White and others critique this "stop&think" campaign. The guy fronting this is just doing precisely what Luther claimed he was doing (and indeed what every one of the 30,000+ groups that have splintered off since have done) - ie allegedly returning to the "true and pure" Christianity. I've listened over and again to the debates between Patrick Madrid and James White and the key charge in response to which White has no answer is that Protestantism is deeply akin to Mormonism. How do you know what to believe? Well, I read the Bible and it tells me. How do you know that your interpretation is true? Well I just know it is. This is the classic "burning in the bosom" testimony of the Mormon.

So our disagreement is not really whether Catholic dogma is "unbiblical" (my shelves are full of books and CD-sets by Dave Armstrong, Tim Staples et al - most of whom are converts to the Catholic Church - and all of them offer ample support for a Catholic "formal sufficiency of Scripture" position - and quite apart from this, the Bible nowhere tells us what books should be in the Bible, nor is there any command of Christ to compile a Bible - hence the Bible is clearly a "tradition of men", inspired yes, written word of God, yes, but a "tradition" handed down nonetheless).

No, the real question from the beginning, and to this day, is one of authority. And to say that Christ established a Church as the pillar and bulwark of truth, promising that he will be with it to the end of the ages, but then somehow abandoned it, well this just does not accord with a faithful God who keeps his promises.

After they came home to the Catholic Church, both David Schutz and Peter Holmes spent a couple of years in our parish before Peter moved to Sydney. When I saw Peter interviewed on EWTN I really began to understand how this disastrous splintering which Luther initiated could never be what Christ intended.

You can go here:

http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/intro.asp

and search for "holmes" under "all programs" and you can listen to the interview with Peter.

I think you will find it worthwhile.

Cheers.

Kelly Klages said...

Ven. Aussie-- you need to actually study what Lutherans teach about themselves before making such sweeping assumptions. You ought to know, if you've read ANY of this blog, that Lutheran theology is strongly at odds with all other splinter Protestant groups that came after it. Lutherans have NEVER advocated a "just read the Bible for yourself" approach to Scriptures. Their Confessions of faith, which were presented in response to RC charges of heresy, clearly and thoroughly use Scripture, the Church Fathers, and other documents of Christian history to verify that their teachings are perfectly in line with what the holy catholic Church has always believed, taught, and confessed until the recent innovations that things like indulgences brought to the table. Lutherans hold the history of the Catholic church as their own. You, as a Roman Catholic, are bound not to agree. But do your research first before comparing Lutheranism to a Wesleyan "burning in the bosom" approach to Christian truth, which is a flatly ridiculous statement to any Lutheran (and Methodist). Learn what Lutherans actually believe about the Bible, too.

Nor did the Lutherans desire to be a "splinter group," but rather they desired only the proper reformation of the one holy catholic church. They were the ones who got kicked out; they didn't kick themselves out to form their "new church." Nor do Lutherans believe that God ever abandoned the church so that the gates of hell prevailed against it. And if the Council of Trent only managed to get so many of their doctrinal "i"s dotted and "t"s crossed AFTER the Reformation, in response to the doctrinal state of disarray they were in, who is really at fault for having been unclear with their belief?

Yes, the Reformation should have gone differently. The church should have humbly submitted itself to the correction of the faithful sons of the church in its midst and to the centrality of the Gospel, but in the name of power and control it didn't. This is the tragedy.

If you really want to know what Lutherans have always believed, taught, and confessed, read their actual confessions for yourself-- not convoluted, uneducated comparisons to modern Christian sects. You may find they're a bit more in line with Catholicism than you're willing to currently admit.

Venerable Aussie said...

(quick correction: I absolutely meant material sufficiency not formal sufficiency in my previous comment!)

First, thanks Lito for letting me interact here.

Hi Kelly! Thanks for your comments. I agree that there is much that unites Lutherans and Catholics. We can praise God for that, and it truly gives us a head start when it comes to moves toward reconciliation.

My point all along has been that when all is said and done, everything boils down to the issue of authority.

I could develop a new confession of faith, one which is Scripture-rich, citing the Church Fathers, and other historical Church documents. But at the end of the day again, if the tenets of this new confession are at variance with that of the Church founded by Christ, then all I am doing is placing my authority above that of Christ's Church. Even if I write this confession as a Catholic with a group of 50 eminent people who also call themselves Catholics, then I'm still placing this as an authority above that of the Church.

I mentioned above the interview (by former Lutheran Marcus Grodi) with former Lutheran pastor Peter Holmes. I listened to it again last night and was really struck by the deep understanding and respect they both displayed not only toward the Lutheran faith, but even Luther himself. They acknowledged the close bonds which link our two Churches.

But Peter makes the same case I do with respect to authority: "What Luther did... was reject the Church’s authority to tell him what was genuinely Catholic and what was not, and he took that authority, whether he meant to or not, on himself and therefore taught each and every Protestant to do so."

Therefore, when I operate on a principle that allows the Church's authority to be ditched in favour of my own authority, then no matter how informed I am on Scripture, the Church Fathers, Council Documents etc, the bottom line is I've still made myself the final arbiter. And that's the $64 million "burning in the bosom" problem that the existence of countless thousands of new Christian denominations (like this "stop&think" outfit) are testimony to.

I hope this clarifies my understanding, if my previous comments were not clear enough.

Steve said...

Venerable,

If the Roman Church no longer followed Holy Scripture,but taught things counter to it, should it return to the true orthodox faith? That is was the point of Luther. The Pope has no more authority make new teachings and you or I. The Pope is to insure that the Chruch remains faithful the Holy Scripture. The Office of the Pope is considered an Anti-Christ because the office as removed Christ as center of the faith and replaced it with the Chruch. Over the centuries, the Roman Church as reinforced its incorrect teachings by councils (Trent) and papal teachings (Infallability of the pope).

The entire point of the Reformation is to return the Chruch to Christ and the Roman Church rejected it.

For example, there is no teaching of purgatory in Holy Scripture. The teaching of purgatory makes man's action the determinig factor on where his sends his enternity. This is a form of works righteousness that is anti-Christian. When Pope John Paul II died, he was either in heaven or hell. The only thing that will allow him to be in heaven with Christ is the faith in Christ. Anything else leads to hell.

L P Cruz said...

Venerable,

The problem with ex-Lutherans and ex-Protestants who swear allegiance to the Pope is that they do not respect the fact that Luther was once a RC priest and RCCbiblical scholar, they think he was ignorant of what was the in and outs of RC. Prior to being where I am now, I wondered the same things the RCC taught me to do such as praying to Mary and the rosary. Today, in the Phlippines indulgences are still around. Luther struggled with those and questioned them along scriptural lins.

At the end of the day we do take responsibility for the destiny of our own soul in the sense that we are placed in two situations either we believe what the Pope claims for himself as the Vicar of all of Christendom or we put our hope on what the Scripture say guided by conscience as Luther said in Worms.

I hope you study the Book of Concord specially start at the Augsburg confession for it is a confession that was not written alone by Luther but was written by his fellow ex-priests and scholars of the RCC.

Note that even before Luther came around there were already those protesting at the abuses - Huss and Wycliff.

Luther claimed that they were returning to the simple catholicism before the church became institutionalized, his thesis can be tested against historical data. For example, the Pope was never accepted by the EO, this rejection was befor 11th century 400 years before Luther. Also, as an example, the RCC have witheld the cup of the Supper from the people, Luther brought it back, This was introduced by the Roman heirarchy 12th century.

I am convinced that Luther was excommunicated because he was catholic but not Roman. He was more catholic than the Pope for catholics did not believe in purgatory, even the EO does not recognize such theory about after life.

I think Luther knew what he was talking about. He wanted change but he was kicked out.

You will gain more credence in your criticism of Lutherans if you become aware of what heir confession says. This philosophy comes from the Bible - Paul says we believe therefore we speak (ie Confess)


Lito

L P Cruz said...

In addition as I said in this blog, the Gospel is corrupible by me, you, by Protestants and whoever, Catholics included. This is taugh by Paul in Gal 1:8, so he warned the church. We suggest that what has happened at that time during Luther's time was this corruption that Paul speaks about, and even today, christians being sinners are still capable of corrupting the Gospel, we are to fight for it for eternal destinies are at stake.

Venerable Aussie said...

Hi Lito,

I know this is a vast area, and we can't hope to tackle everything. I really appreciate you dialoguing with me.

First, I don't know any ex-Lutheran-now-Catholic who is in any way ignorant of who Martin Luther was and what he taught. On the contrary, I have listened to the testimony of many of them, and they have universally exhibited a very deep understanding of him, of the Book of Concord, (including all the catechisms and confessions) and have clearly covered all these issues in making their decision to convert back to the Catholic Church.

Second, I follow things very closely within the Catholic Church. They are always individuals and groups who think they are more Catholic than the Pope and splinter off. (a group of priests in Canada issued their statement late last year. Ho hum.) They all want to get back to the pure uninstitutionalised Christianity. It's nothing new. (it's also pretty funny, especially considering that it was the institutionalised Church which under the authority given it by Christ gave us not only the Nicene Creed but also confirmed the Canon of Scripture and guaranteed its authenticity and inspiration!)

Third, of course indulgences are still around. The Church guarantees this, so don't be too surprised! "Indulgences are the remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven" (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church q. 312).

But more than anything, I just can't resolve one key problem: Martin Luther and colleagues, and clearly in good faith, wanted to give Scripture the key role as final arbiter. But this presupposes the perspicuity of Scripture. Yet the endless fragmentation of Christianity by people appealing to Scripture is clear evidence that Scripture is anything but clear. It must be interpreted. And the question for you and me really boils down to this: why should either of us trust Martin Luther's or any one else's interpretation when Christ Himself established a Church and promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with this Church and guide it and all the faithful into all truth to the end of the ages? (Christ clearly didn't guarantee that there would be bad eggs).

Just as an aside, I find it rather amusing that the Augsburg Confession (article XXV, 12-13) supported the retention of the practice of Confession despite allegedly not having any scriptural warrant. I've heard many a contemporary Catholic apologist talk at great length on the scriptural basis for the Sacrament of Confession! Ultimately, though, I don't base my belief on their exegesis. I trust the authority of the Church.

And this, at the end of the day, is where it all comes back.

By the way, did you listen to Peter Holmes' story? What did you think?

Cheers.

L P Cruz said...

I have listened to Mr. Holmes' testimony. There are many things but presently here are my opinions, and I do appreciate the crisis he went through. We all face a crisis of faith not just once but several times in our lifetime.

1. Truth. It boils down to this - either you believe what the RCC will tell you about what scripture says or you will follow the conviction you get in honestly searching for the truth of scripture. He mentions the truth yet I am buffled the picture of Jesus never comes into the discussion - for Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.The issue for Luther and Lutherans is salvation. Either you believe you are saved because you belong to the right church - the RCC, or you are saved solely by what Jesus did on the Cross for you as promised by Jesus. Jesus said that if you do not belive what Moses wrote, neither will you believe if someone from heaven comes down to you and tell you the truth - see Lk 16:31. I will discuss this in my blog.

2, He believes catholicism is defined by the Roman Catholic Church. He does not accept that all were catholics before the papacy came along. Lutherans believe that catholicity is not passed down by a matter of succession, but it is about the Gospel. This is not how catholcism is defined. Effectively it says, I do not know what to believe unless the Magisterium tells me, only then will I believe whatever they tell me.

3. He was not sure if he was giving the absolution nor the body of Christ in communion when he was a pastor. Therefore, as I often argued, it became a matter of pedigree of ordination. The Lutheran church says that I can absolve you or your sins and baptize you if it is necessary, because the absolution is not my absolution but the finished work of Christ. He believes the efficacy of the sacraments is tied to the priest, it is not died to the Word of God. So, it is a matter of franchise ( I mean no disrespect please just the word I can think off), the pastor of the Anglican or Lutheran church have no authority in communion because they were not in the RCC. So for him, what makes a thing a sacrament is not the Word of God in Scripture but it is at the mediacy of the RCC, ie the priest being properly ordained by a bishop of Rome.

4. On Vatican II, those who are already finding Rome likeable can see that Vatican II makes the Reformation no longer an issue, I disagree. Sure you can still be a functioning Lutheran and functioning evangelical in the RCC and it will not affect you. So it boils down to conscience. The issue is the Gospel - if the Gospel is that we have the RCC and that is the gift of God and mediated by the RCC heirarchical authority, then we misunderstood the Gospel and all Protestants and Lapsarians like me are wrong on the Gospel.

5. Why the Scripture? Why would we have a Bible written only to be superceded or only to be expounded by a heirarchy that can never be wrong and I am required to obey it.

6. Thus, it is a matter of where you put the care of your soul in - either you assume that God is telling you to put you salvation on what the RCC say and you will be safe, or put your salvation on what the Scripture says.
7. Every cult around have claims to authority and they tie your salvation to your belonging to their group or being "in" them. I wonder the same philosophical reasoning is involved, for Mr. Holmes from now on, it will be RCC is true because it claims to be true and it has the HS and the rest do not have the HS. She has exclusive claim of the HS.

8. I can not help but relate his disillusionment to what happened in the LCA, as of last year , the ordination of women, did not come to pass and there are other Lutheran synods who will not ordaine women either - LCMS, LCC are some of them.

Lastly we can know if the scripture has been handled properly by examining what is being proposed as interpretation and in the community of believers too and making such interpretation available for discussion, in fact the RCC follows this procedure too, only that the RCC claims they have the HS, and the others do not have. By the way the Lutherans have already addressed such exclusive claim of the HS in their debate with the RCC.


I hope you can comment if you have not yet on my analysis of the conversion of Fr. Neuhaus who was a former Lutheran pastor. Search for Neuhaus in my blog.

You are most welcome again to disagree and comment, as you know I never edit nor ban people's comments on the blog.


Cheers,

Lito

Kelly Klages said...

I realize that people get very excited about conversion stories by people "from the outside"-- I've seen this mainly in Catholic and evangelical/Pentecostal circles. Probably because both faiths are, ironically, very much about personal experience. I have my own such "conversion story" into Lutheranism. But such "conversion stories" can be found in abundance from every direction into every other direction, many of them by perfectly intelligent and scholarly people, and the mere existence of such converts from every Christian church body under the sun has largely ceased to impress me. If a convert from a Protestant group to Catholicism is following their conscience on the matter (as I hope they would), it seems funny that they would criticise Protestants from doing the same when pointing out the abuses of the Roman church.

You're certainly right as to the unwieldiness of this topic, especially on this particular blog post. Perhaps further specific discussion could be directed under further posts that specifically address these topics, as Msr. Cruz promises to do in the not-too-distant future? There are also extensive conversations possible on blogs dedicated specifically to exploring the Lutheran Confessions, which really is indispensable to a Catholic who is trying to figure out the issues of what Lutherans were actually addressing and why. One such blog is here:

http://bookofconcord.blogspot.com/

L P Cruz said...

Wow Kelly, you beat any male theologians I know. How true Kelly, one's testimony does not establish truth. It is once again, playing up on the pragmatics.

I will go now and post my thoughts on Scripture.

Venerable Aussie said...

Thanks Lito for your response. Coincidentally I actually purchased Fr Neuhaus' recent book for Christmas - it's called Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth. Being back at work, and with my kids still on school holidays I haven't had time to read it yet. When I finish it I will look up your comments.

Just a small issue about the testimony of converts. The www is full of stories of ex-Catholics who are really bitter and are glad to have been saved from the clutches of the whore of babylon etc. (and there are countless others who are ex-Catholic because they never even knew their faith). But the conversion stories of those who have become Catholic are generally very painful, deeply reflective, and are usually without a shred of bitterness. In many ways they present a clear and sympathetic window into the Protestant world. People like Scott Hahn (who I met personally this time last year) are really breaking open the Scriptures for millions of Catholics, but doing so in such a way as to place it back into the heart of the Church for which, under the insipration of the HS, it was written and which authorised its use in the first place. This whole issue of the conversion of Protestant pastors to the Catholic Church, particularly in the US, is a truly amazing 21st century phenomenon. We don't really get the feel for it here in Oz, but I get the impression that something major is afoot. So its not about trumping each other with conversion stories. I just sense that the HS is at work in a way I can not comprehend, and it is drawing me to a sincere and humble effort to deepen understanding not only of my own faith, but also of the faith of my separated brothers and sisters in Christ.

Eric said...

I haven't read this entire thread yet, so I don't know whether anyone has said this or not... but it is just a little bit ironic when a Roman Catholic accuses Martin Luther of schism. Martin Luther didn't just leave the Church to start his own. The pope, whose doctrine was (and is) clearly contrary to Scripture in several substantial matters of faith, excommunicated him. So while I am genuinely moved (no sarcasm -- I really am) by the appeal for catholic unity (and Venerable has made some excellent points), the blame for disunity belongs entirely to Rome.

L P Cruz said...

Venerable,

The evangelicals are functioning RC for the last half a century already and they provide a lot of new converts to the RCC. They may not like the RCC sacraments at the start but they are quite semi-pelagian in their doctrine of how one is pronounced righteous by God.

Abuses will always lead to correction. This is true not only religiously but politically, the history of where I was born attests to this. Instead of the RCC looking at Luther and his fellow priests and scholars as possibly being used by the HS to bring the Gospel at the center, they rejected his reforms.

What I have noticed is that RCC never recants its anathemas, it just adds new proclamations which contradict the old ones, because to recant means that they can be wrong and the majesterium is never wrong because that would mean the HS is not with them.

You put yourself in a game of pride once you declared for yourself that you have exclusive hold on the HS and you are never wrong - you are infallible by decree. You then have no need to repent.

The only reason that the RCC can blame Luther for these 25,000 denominations is that they just failed to kill him. The "heretic" lived for a while.

If Luther did not conduct a dialog and did not appeal for a conversation, then Luther was unreasonable and just a schismatic. But history shows that he did attempt to get the RCC to look at the Scripture and the practice of the Fathers. In fact he was so naive, he believed in the benevolence of the Pope and he taught that the Pope would side with him. Was he shocked.

jim cronfel said...

In no way shape or form is Sola Fide a schism or heresy. It is the article upon which the Church stands or falls.

L P Cruz said...

That is right Jim,

In all of these conversions, I wondered what became of their former belief in the teaching that man is saved by grace along through faith alone for the sake of Christ alone.

Looks like these conversions have thrown away this notion and therefore they now believe the Law is do-able and we can work our way to getting God pronounce us as righteous.

The Scripture speaks about the unity of faith - this is doctrine to me.

jim cronfel said...

And the test of do-able (false security) vs. undo-able (spiritual desperation) is certain a priori eternal conscious torment -- not purgatory and not annihilation and not Nirvana.

The full rigor of the law is evidenced by the fear of eternal conscious torment deserved merely for being human after Adam.

Then we are ready to hear the Gospel pronouncement that Jesus shed His blood on the Cross for our sins and escape to that Gospel.

But the sense of purgatoy is false security.

This is the law at work:

Psalms 119:126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.

Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

Steve said...

The Council of Trent called Sola Fide a heresy. (http://www.carm.org/catholic/trent.htm).

In Canon 9 and 12 state that if anyone says that faith alone justifies, then that person be anatheman.

So is Luther and Lutherans committing the herersy or the Council of Trent? I believe it's the Council of Trent.

jim cronfel said...

Dear Venerable,

God requires infinite perfection to be saved. The Roman Catholic Church reduces the Law to inperfect finite human capability. For example it reduces original sin from an infinite debt to a psychological struggle with lust. This psychological struggle is then further negociated away through the mass and confession and indulences. But God is infinite and holy and wrathful against all sins.

The Theology of The Cross (Substitution) is the only salvation from this wrath.

Luther did not suffer from "scruplosity" as I have heard more than one Roman Catholic say.

The reason why protestants reject the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church is not only because of Sola Scriputura, but because the Catholic Church waters down the law in those teachings. What Catholics accuse as different or individual protestant laws or teachings or ways according to Sola Fide are actually all the same way in so much as that they are all in acknowegement of the infinite debt as well as declared righteousness.

All the saved different protestant Churches agree that the law demands infinite perfection but Roman Catholic teachings, while the RC Church is only one tradition does not truly teach or demand infinite perfection. If it did then it would also see Faith Alone and would automatically become another protestant Church.

L P Cruz said...

And we do declare to you Venerable that the requirement of God upon you has been fulfilled by Jesus by his perfect life and death for our sins, past, present and future. It is done, Jesus has and now answers for you.

Tell me if this is not goodnews indeed.

Steve said...

In Romans 8:29-30, St. Paul wrote that "For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amoung many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."

All of these actions that God for us through Christ have already been accomplished. Our justifification and glorification is something we can have no part in since God has already done it.