Sunday, October 19, 2008


Justification and Rome by R. Preus is a most useful read. His themes have caused me to pause and reflect. One should read p. 72, but I won't get into that right now.

What occurred to me was that Mother Church has no concept of imputation of Christ's righteousness to the sinner. What she has is not imputation, but impartation. For her, God does not impute anything to us, specially not that of the righteousness of Christ. God imparts, rather than imputes, so the position goes. For her, by virtue of Christ's atonement, God imparts grace to the sinner by which the sinner may be justified. In other words, for Mother Church, nothing is finished, there are things left to be be done by the sinner. "It is not finished".

I do not think it is caricature to say that such a position is "salvation by grace through works", besides they deny JBFA anytime anywhere anyway, so it is no mis-characterization.

The idea of impartation is humanly appealing and even in Concordia land, I had to stop when I get to Apology IV, 72.

Accordingly we wish first to show this, that faith alone makes of an unjust, a just man, i.e., receives remission of sins.

The critical word is "makes", and some, like me, might misconstrue this as teaching that sin's presence is abolished rather than forgiven. But this was not what Melanchton meant by the word "make". What he meant was that the unjust man is made righteous by imputation of the righteousness of Christ, not by impartation of grace to achieve righteousness.

Then there is another angle on imputation that bothers me a lot. My former Pentecostal pastors and teachers spoke often of "impartation", too. They spoke of "impartation of the Spirit" as a matter of habit. The remarkable thing is that they are anti-Roman, yet they talk and take similar concepts/ teachings from Rome. Little do they realize that what their tongues deny, they affirm in their beliefs and practice....They don't seem to care or bother about that.


steve martin said...

Nice post, L.P..

This problem in the sinner just does not want to go away. The assertion of the self is our default position.

That is why the law and gospel is so important. We must be killed off to the self (at least temporarily) for that sweet Word of the gospel to raise us again. And this is not our doing. These are tools that the Lord uses so that we might hear the Truth. He gives us life. We are forgiven.

To be a Christian is to be declared righteous for Jesus sake. He does the declaring. "Father forgive them..."

Whenever we place the self in the equation, whether it be in the justification equation, or the sanctification equation (oh come the "yeah buts" from the naysayers...I can just feel them coming on, already) we are asserting the self. Our wills jump ahead of Christ will to forgive.

This is where the battlefront is drawn in the Church.

L P Cruz said...


I like what you said, to borrow some terminology from the computer industry, inserting self is our default position.

In the Impartation position - the self says, God give me the help and I will do it.

In the Imputation position - it is God who says, I have done all you needed to do for you.


stevemartin said...

"In the Impartation position - the self says, God give me the help and I will do it.

In the Imputation position - it is God who says, I have done all you needed to do for you."

Well said, LPC!

Dan Woodring said...

...the self says, God give me the help and I will do it.

Do you seriously believe this is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, i.e. "Mother Church?"

L P Cruz said...


It is of course simplistic but as I said it is not without basis that Mother Church denies JBFA and hence, kicks in the gut the doctrine of imputation.

The point is this as well, Trent anathematized imputation.


Dan Woodring said...

"It is of course simplistic . . ."

But not incorrect? So you are claiming that the Catholic Church teaches than man saves himself with God's help?

"Trent anathamatized imputation"

Is that so? Which canon?

steve martin said...

I was baptised as a Catholic and raised in the Catholic Church. Along my life's journey I have been involved in many churches.

My experience is that while the R.C.C. may not say it outright (council of Trent aside)the practice is to get you to participate in saving yourself, by either what you do, or don't do. They are not alone. Most other churches have some manner of Jesus + that you must participate in (whether it is making a decision for Jesus, or just living a Godly life, or whatever, that is necessary for salvation.

Oftentimes it is just one thing that you must do...but one thing is one thing too many.

My understanding (also) is that the Catholic Church has never disavowed the Council of Trent which stated (paraphrased) 'that whoever believes that they are saved totally by faith alone in Jesus Christ, let them be damned to hell.'

steve martin said...


Canon 9

L P Cruz said...


As an ex-Lutheran I am surprized that you even have to ask that.

Spell out RCC's doctrine of imputation then.

Dan Woodring said...

I am suggesting that before you start knocking what you think Roman Catholics teach and confess, that you at least get your facts straight.

On the issue of imputation, Trent Canon 11 (not 9) states:

If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the
justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the
charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost,[Rom. 5:5] and remains
in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let
him be anathema.

This Canon does not "anathamatize imputation", which is your claim concerning the Catholic Church, but rather rejects the view of those who say that we are justifified only by imputation to the exclusion of regeneration.

So here's a question for you. "Do Lutheran's believe that justifying faith excludes regeneration?"

Lastly, I asked you whether you really believed that Catholics teach that man saves himself, but with God's help. This is not a truthful representation of Catholic teaching. I suspect I am not the first Catholic to tell you this.

Now here is a final question for you: Is the unregenerate man able to trust in Christ?

L P Cruz said...


First this...
If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema. (Trent Session VI, Canon XII)

This is the Lutheran position Anathemized by Rome.

A justified man is regenerated but the cause of his justification is sole imputation of Christ by faith, so yes I believe canon 11 anathemizes Lutherans.

We are not justified because of our regeneration (by use of that term).

Your tack is faith + love = justification is it not?

Are you trying to make Rome Sweet Home?

Does the RCC agree with the Lutherans now, i.e. they have become Lutherans?

BTW, Dan, I am an ex-RC kid.

Dan, I think you are importing your Lutheran ideas in Rome and hence, she seems sweet and cozy to you. You have not left Lutheranism I suspect, you just brought it home to Rome.

You are just re-interpreting her with Lutheren lens so she looks as if she agrees with Augsburg now.


steve martin said...


The Roman Catholic Church is all over the map on what they teach and confess. One Pope says this, one council says that, another Pope says this.

The one thing that they have straight is that you have to belong to their church in order to be saved.

Jesus Christ said, "don't judge lest you be judged." When R. Catholics tell me that I am going to hell (many have) because I don't belong to their church they are just heaping more judgment upon themselves.

The Roman Catholic Church is a clergy club wherein the clergy are the real Christians and the rest of the folks just receive the crumbs.

This whole re-sacrificing Christ in the sacrament thing is a joke also. Christ died once for all. The Roman church turns everything upside down and backwards. Holy communion ought be from God to us....not the other way around.

The whole operation revolves around 'you'. Are you sincere enough, are you sorry enough, are you doing the prescribed acts of penence, are you saying the right prayers and enough times? Sounds like paganism to me.

Christ died on the cross for that? Gimme a break.

"On this rock I will build my Church."
R.Catholics say that it was Peter that was the rock. I say it was Peter's confession that was and is the Rock. Christ Himself is the Rock. Not some earthly, hypocritical church. The Pope speaks of the world's love for material things and is surrounded by lavish wealth. What a joke.

Am I saying that the R. Catholic church isn't Christian? NO!

I am saying that the attitude that they are the only game in town is not Christian. I am saying that the emphasis on 'the self' takes away from faith in Jesus and what He has done and shifts the emphasis to 'what we do'.
I've got news for you. What we do stinks. "All our righteous deeds are filthy rags." Isaiah 64

You want to be a R. Catholic and play church...fine. Just remind yourself once in awhile that the clergy are fallible, the pope is just a man, and that you along with everyone else on the planet are a forgiven sinner at the mercy of Christ.

steve martin said...

Dan, L.P.C,

Forgive me. I went a bit overboard in my last comments.

The fact that I get a little upset when I hear (not from either of you)that I am not a "real Christian" because I don't belong to church X,Y,or makes me angry.

I truly am sorry. Next time I'll use my own blog site for such purposes.

Dan Woodring said...

Every one take a deep breath. There. Feel better?

I haven't assigned anyone to the lake of fire or questioned anyone's faith or sincerity. I haven't even suggested that one teaching is correct over against another. I have only pointed out that the council of Trent did not "anathamatize imputation" (as it was claimed) and that Catholics do not believe that we save ourselves with God's help (as it was also claimed.) This is not to suggest that Lutherans and Catholics believe the same thing. Trust me, you, as a Lutheran, still have plenty to reject in the Catholic position without mischaractering what Catholics belief.

Now. Can we have an adult conversation? Can we stay on topic without getting into papal infallibility, the sacrafice of the mass, and so on and so forth? If you forget what it is, you can look at the title of the post. "Imputation/Impartation."

I have quoted Trent Canon 11. As you can see for yourself, it doesn't anathamatize imputation, but rather, those who say we are justified by imputation alone "to the exclusion of the grace and the
charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost,[Rom. 5:5] and remains in them." See it isn't



Catholic=imputation + impartation

and Trent rejects:

imputation - (minus) impartation.

I don't know whether you understand Canon 11 as attacking the Lutheran position. I know of Lutherans who would say that it does not because faith always results in regeneration. Others would say that it does contradict Lutheranism because we are justified exclusively by faith, even if that faith is never exclusive to regeneration. I guess it depend on how much force one takes in the word "exclusion."

That said, I really don't care which way you would answer that question. However, I am interest in how you would answer this one:

Q: Can the unregenerate man trust in Christ?

If you are initially uncertain, you may consult AC Art. II.

My question is, "Can the unregenerate man trust in Christ?" If you aren't sure, you may consult AC Art. 2.

L P Cruz said...


Canon 12 comes after Canon 11. I think a guy called Chemnitz handled this a long time ago in his Examination of Trent.

Canon 12 is the Lutheran position, that is anathemized.

Canon 11 may not anathemize Lutheran at that point, but Canon 12 does.

So let us move forward from there.

In my perspective the two canons anathemize Lutheran position.

I will make a concession with you. Let us grant your point, even at that, that Canon 11 does not.

But I assert Canon 12 does.

This is simple logic, Trent has n number of anathemas, you satisfied one of the n, then you are anathemized.

There is no going around it, Dan.

Let us quibble with Canon 12.


Dan Woodring said...

Man, it's hard keeping you focused.

I am not saying that none of Trent's anathemas apply to the Lutherans.

I am interested in discussing imputation and impartation. Is that okay? Whether or not 12 anathamatized Lutheranism is beside the point. But perhaps we can take it up later.

You still haven't answered my question.


L P Cruz said...


Read again, did I not say that Canon 11 may not anathemize Lutherans? I took the hypothetical view let us say you are correct, it does not. The critical question is what do you mean by regeneration?

Tell me what you mean by that, so I am sure then we can move on.

My point is that by implication of Canon 12, it does.

To repeat, as I said, I am already granting your point on Canon 11! What is there to discuss? I already conceded. I am being generous, but looks like you do not want to take the offer.

That is why I go to the real issue, namely Canon 12.

Is that hard to fathom?


steve martin said...


If you read what I wrote you would see that I never attributed you with judging my salvation. But rather many other R. Catholics.

That they believe they are the only ones that will be saved doesn't just come from thin air. Somewhere along the line they were taught that B.S. by someone in the church. I have been personally told as much by one priest and many lay people.

There. We can all breathe a sigh of relief and start acting like adults. (I don't appreciate that type of condescending do you like it?)

L P Cruz said...

Also the answer to the question ...IS THE UNGENERATE MAN ABLE TO TRUST IN GOD? is simple.

I am not trying to be difficult but it is not without reason that the BoC calls its Roman counterparts sophists, so I like a clarification of the term, "regeneration" first.

For it can be taken in two senses and I want to find out in which sense can we agree and in what context.


Dan Woodring said...

I apologize for not being able to get back to this conversation for the last few days. So picking it up where we left off:

I assure you I am not trying to trap you in a word game. There is no sophistry in the question, and I am amused that you would make such a comment in response to such a simple question. Perhaps the question is too simple, and that has you wondering what I am up to.

What do I mean by "unregenerate." I realize that in some places the term regeneration in the Lutheran Confessions is used to mean justification (forensicly). What I have in mind the renewal which takes place in man through the working of the Holy Spirit. Since I take the term "unregenerate" to mean the sinner in whom this inner renewal has not begun to take place. Man just as he is after the fall.

Can that man trust in Christ?

I am not asking this question in reference to the point about Trent "anathamatizing imputation", but am moving forward in the discussion about imputation/impartation. If you wish to discuss the other canons of Trent, we may do so another time. For now, the question is "Can the unregenerate man trust in Christ?"

L P Cruz said...

Here is my answer.

I take the word regeneration similar to justification, in the first sense as used in the BoC. I think you are into the second sense, the renewal. I take the faith side.

Hence, an unregenerate man is not someone justified through faith, therefore an unregenerate man does not have faith in the Gospel.

That is my brief reply.

The word "can" now needs clarification. On his own an regenerfate man can not believe, because believing is not something we can even do, we are dead in trespasses and sin. But God uses means to regenerated us, he uses the Gospel to create that faith in us.

Can you then define, for me now, in your terms, what is the difference between a regenerated man vs the unregenerated man?


L P Cruz said...

correction, my mistake in typing - I mean on his own an unregenerate man can not believe.


Lucian said...

If it was finished in the Protestant sense, why does Christ Himself then bother telling us to carry each our own cross?

L P Cruz said...


Christ meant in that sense to suffer for righteousness' sake, it does not mean pay for your own sins.

It is Christ who said at the Cross it is finished, prots did not invent that concept.

We carry our crosses when we tell people of the good news and they treat us as liars and heretics.


Lucian said...

To take up the cross means to perfectly die to the rudiments, the very same way Christ did, when he took our nature upon Himself and took it to the Cross upon Golgota. Only in this way are we united to Him and are able to become one with Him and to truly share also in His Life. (Romans 6:3-14).

they treat us as heretics are heretics :-| That again, so are many who treat you as such also. :-\

L P Cruz said...


Being incoherent is not as grave as being inconsistent.

Saying... are heretics :-| That again, so are many who treat you as such also. :-\

is being self contradictory, inconsistent with one's self. Either we are heretics or they/you are.

It cannot be both so, Ex Falso Quodlibet, which I know you know what that means.


Lucian said...

Uhm, ... there are extremely many Christian denomninations out there. My hunch is Your problems are not just with the [in America virtually unextant] Orthodox. (In one post, You've mentioned a Baptist precher, etc).

Dan Woodring said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Woodring said...

(I am deleting and reposting my comment with (hopefully) fewer grammatical errors.)

You said that the unregerate man cannot, on his own, trust in Christ. Rightly so.

However, that trust, or faith, is worked in us through the Holy Spirit. "I believe that I cannot by my own reason and strength believe in Jesus Christ..." Faith is something that can only come through the inworking of the Holy Spirit. That is the flaw in the whole impartation vs. imputation thing. Because of faith, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us (extra nos). But that faith itself is something that the Holy Spirit imparts to us (in nobis).

Let me point out the logical inconsistancy another way. For Lutherans:

Faith (Trust in Christ) comes before Justification (because we are "justified by faith alone")

Justification comes before renewal. (FCSD III: 19ff.)

Yet, renewal must preceed faith, since the unrenewed man cannot trust in Christ.

Your comment about "it is finished", reminds me of the day this was discussed in seminary. The prof explained that on the cross, our justification was complete. One student raised his hand and asked "So why did Jesus rise from the dead." The prof answered "what else could He do?" I had that some prof for my theological interview, and he asked me to what event does St. Paul connect our justification. I answered "The cross." He pointed out that in fact it was the resurrection (Rom. 4). I replied, tongue in cheek, that I thought my answer was "more Lutheran."

Man's sin, his unrighteousness, consists in two things. Guilt, which is largely extra nos (the guilt of Adam) but also guilt for our own transgression. But sin is also corruption, which is entirely in us, in nobis. If our unrighteousness is twofold, so also must be our righteousness. It is a non-imputation of guilt and imputation of an alien righteousness (extra nos), but also the injury, the corruption of sin, must be repaired in nobis. The former is by imputation, the latter by impartation. The former is gained on Calvary, the latter comes through the empty tomb. If you read Augustine's anti-pelagian writings, you will see how the grace of pardon (imputed righteousness) and the grace of renewal (imparted righteousness) both belong to justification. Interestingly enough, it was Pelagius who, like Lutherans, accepted the former while denying the latter. Further, the insistance that renewal follows justification, and cannot precede justification, inadvertantly implies a pelagianism because it requires an unrenewed man to exhibit faith.

As far as "Mother Church" goes, we hold that the subject who both imputes and imparts righteousness is God, though Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Neither righteousness has its origin in man or is achieved through human effort. Both are by grace alone. Your presupposition that imputation is grace and impartation is works (by human effort) is off the mark.

As I see it, the problem with Lutheranism is that it only has half of the Gospel, but at least it's the better half.

L P Cruz said...



Justification=Regeneration. You know that the BoC put it that way too. But here Regeneration is not the renewal that follows but the faith that is counted for righteousness because it holds on to Christ's work.

You said...
Yet, renewal must preceed faith, since the unrenewed man cannot trust in Christ.

The Calvinists believes that too in their ordo salutis. Lutherans have no commitment on an ordo salutis. There is no ordo salutis marked off in BoC.You should know that Dan, I am quite surprised as if that is foreign to you.

You should study the Calvinist confessions, they would agree with your definition of regeneration but still would not go down the path of justification subsumming impartation.

I believe in justification through faith. I believe in universal objective atonement, I do not believe in universal objective justfication. That is a Synodical Conference invention.

Your profs probably believe in objective justification. I do not believe that. Objective Atonement/Reconciliation is not the same as Objective Justification.

No one is justified without faith, without the means of grace.

My reconciliation happened outside my time, but my justification happens in my time.

Your imputation is virtually nothing. That is why I say you do not have an imputation.

You do not escape the dilemma your profs are in. You are also inconsistent. If righteousness has already been imputed to me, then at that time I am already accounted righteous. If impartation is part of justification then, I cooperate with the HS in my renewal of life and so my cooperation is a part of my works. Good for me, I was wise enough to cooperate with the HS.

I think you misunderstood. Lutherans do not deny impartation, what it denies is impartation as included in the article of justification. It does not deny impartation in the renewal of life but that is not justification.

Here is the equation:
in RC...
justification = impartation + imputation.

justification = imputation.

But imputation to the RC is virtually = 0.

Hence, in the RC...
justification = impartation + 0...
justification = impartation.

Also you say that faith in Lutheran theology implies the unrenewed man to exhibit faith.
I am not justified by my faith per fidem.
Faith as Luther said is nothing. My faith only has value because of what it is holding too, it is holding to Christ. And that holding is not my own work but was created by the promise of God itself. I would have nothing to hold on if there was no promise that was offered to me.

Dan, you have an interesting way of reconciling the dilemma you got from your profs. Imputation happens at the cross and impartation happens at the resurrection. Indeed those who belive in UOJ will have that dilemma to reconcile.

Jesus was raised for my justificatiion, that is why the author of my faith is Christ. He is the one that creates faith in my heart. That is why he also lives today. Hence raised from the dead to deliver what he has accomplished.

Lastly, Augustine did not read the Greek Bible.


1:20 PM

Augustinian Successor said...

Romans 3:5 ...

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

Faith comes by imputation rather infusion. This is the Lutheran meaning that faith is created rather than infused, which is more often than not the standard Reformed understanding, which places it quite close with Roman theology. Romans 3:5 seems to say two things at least:

1. That faith is a means of righteousness;
2. So that faith is not righteousness itself but the present righteousness which is total and complete is hidden by faith (eschatological rather than ontological).

This is why for Luther faith spells the death of the old being and resurrection of the new being. Grace is not a repair job. Faith is not infused into a sick body. But faith kills the old man who is already dead in trespasses and sin and raises him up again in newness of life. Faith therefore is not pouring new wine into old wineskins, but Jesus calling forth Lazarus out of the tomb.

So for the Lutheran (at least pre-scholastic), imputation is effective and the question of ordo salutis does not arise. Dan's valiant attempt to synthesis the contmeporary understanding of imputation and impartation may be commendable, but Roman theology even post-Vatican II still falls short of what St. Paul actually had in mind. Only Luther some 500 years grasped that.

L P Cruz said...

New comments should be made at this post...